Tag Archives: Friday Fictioneers

Moving On – Friday Fictioneers

Photo Prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Photo Prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

He left and darkness fell.

For days she hid, reluctant to share the news. Plates collected in the sink, bags of rubbish gathered by the door. She ignored the red light flashing on the telephone. The candles she burned did not mask the smells of stale food and unwashed body. Her flat became a temple of the lost forever.

One day the pain ebbed a little, and she opened the window for air before returning to her nest on the settee. The twittering song of a visiting finch filled the silence. She opened her eyes, ready for the new day.

 

A shout out to the amazing Rochelle at http://www.rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com. She organises the photo prompts and links for the Friday Fictioneers. 

Authors write a piece of 100 word fiction, prose or poetry based on a photo prompt and exchange comments on each other’s work.  If you are a writer of short fiction, join in and let your imagination feed us with your stories. 

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Spanish Winter

Costa Blanca Views

                            Costa Blanca Views

After a long period away from Spain due to illness, a family wedding, book launch, etc, our arrival on Friday was anticipated with some trepidation. During those months, there have been serious fires that wiped out our local national park and apparently licked the borders near our house, severe rains and floods that destroyed local properties, and of course, Spain is still recovering from a period of recession. In addition, our home has not had anyone staying in it for months and we expected problems with heating, water, television, etc.

The landscape is somewhat scarred but Mother Nature is doing her miraculous job and green shoots are already appearing amongst the burned out remains of the forest. Few houses were lost to the flames and the area retains its beautiful Mediterranean character. Waves have broken some of the sea walls and some sea-front buildings look a bit battered but the locals are already repairing what they can. Sand scooped to form a breakwater has protected the bars and restaurants along the main tourist beach and we sat outside this morning enjoying our coffee and croissants watching the promenading locals.

The house is fine, thanks to a lovely Spanish girl and our friends.

So, things do not look as bad as we feared and this part of the eastern Spanish coast remains a stunning place to escape the chilly UK winter weather.  In addition, the peace means that I should be able to concentrate on my second novel and finally finish its first draft.

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Downstream – Friday Fictioneers

Photo Prompt © Ted Strutz

Photo Prompt © Ted Strutz

The wagon teetered then tipped its cargo, including the beautiful widow, Mrs. Snow, and her three children into the flow. The youngsters welcomed their dip and laughed as they splashed each other. They were not hampered by long skirts and so were not aware of the danger and their mother did not want to frighten them as she was dragged along the current. Eventually, she sank to the riverbed. Young Jeremiah, one of Mrs. Snow’s suitors, heard the cries for help and he swam to the bubbles, grasped calico and pulled her to the surface. Once his lips touched hers, how could she refuse his proposal?

 

I’m writing from the soft side again this week as the chair looks so lonely that I am afraid my dark side would cause tears and I’m tempted to say that this story is a bit wet but that would cause groans. 

Rochelle at http://www.rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com organises the Friday Fictioneers and she does a wonderful job so thank you to her.

Authors write a piece of 100 word fiction, prose or poetry based on a photo prompt and exchange comments on each other’s work.  If you are a writer of short fiction, join in and let your imagination feed us with your stories.

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Beauty – A Story for the Friday Fictioneers

Photo Prompt ©Roger Bultot

Photo Prompt ©Roger Bultot

Chalk and cheese: one of the girls caught his eye, beckoning him closer. The other disturbed him. She would not last, her beauty was fragile and he saw the poison in her eyes. Blonde and the red hair interlaced, a colourful curtain that joined them as they whispered.  What secrets did they share? He edged nearer and she caught his eye once more. That glance sealed their fate.

He never looked elsewhere and nurtured by his care and love, the beauty within blossomed until she dazzled everyone.

 

When I read out some of my work recently, I realised that sadness and gloom dominates my short writing. This week I have attempted something with a more positive slant and am interested to find out if it works for my readers. If not, I will have to return to my dark side.  

Thank you to Rochelle at http://www.rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com who organises the Friday Fictioneers. Authors write a piece of 100 word fiction, prose or poetry based on a photo prompt and exchange comments on their work.  If you are a writer of short fiction, join us and see where your imagination takes you.

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The Ice Vault – a story for the Friday Fictioneers

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

The man’s mouth moved but her mind refused to accept his words. A pain, so sharp that she struggled to breathe causing her to gasp as she reached out to touch the motionless fingers. Eventually she raised her head, looked up at the man and nodded.

‘If you’re ready, we’ll take him to the vault. The process will begin immediately.’

‘Will he .. When he … Will there be pain?’

‘We don’t think so. It should be like waking after a long sleep.’

The woman nodded and then, she rummaged in her bag. ‘Take his teddy. He’ll need his friend in that strange world. ‘

Thank you to Rochelle at http://www.rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com who organises the Friday Fictioneers. Authors write a piece of 100 word fiction, prose or poetry based on a photo prompt and exchange comments on their work.  If you are a writer of short fiction, join us and see where your imagination takes you.

 

 

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The Strike – Friday Fictioneers

Photo Prompt ©Sandra Crook

Photo Prompt ©Sandra Crook

The boy, half his size, tugged on the hem of Alistair’s jacket.

‘What now?’ he grumbled.

The boy chewed his lower lip and beckoned. Alistair wagged his head, then knelt so that he was at his brother’s level.

‘I can’t see.’

Freddie had a point – they were engulfed in a forest of legs and steel capped boots.

‘Come on, hop on my shoulders.’ His muscles burned as Alistair rose. ‘You’re getting heavy mate. Hold on, we’re going to the front. Let’s show them bosses who they’ll be hurting. Wave your sign Freddie.’

‘Save jobs. Feed my brother.’

Thank you to Rochelle at http://www.rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com who organises the Friday Fictioneers. Authors write a piece of 100 word fiction, prose or poetry based on a photo prompt and exchange comments on their work.  If you are a writer of short fiction, join us and see where your imagination takes you.

 

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Copy – Blog post on Jenny Kane’s Blogsite

The following is a copy of the guest blog piece I wrote for the lovely UK author Jenny Kane. You can read about her books and hook in to lots of interesting interviews by visiting her site at http://jennykane.co.uk

Writing What I Know (or How Life Influences My Fiction Writing)

Thank you Jenny for inviting me to write a guest blog piece for your website today.

In the company of other writers and readers, we often discuss what inspires our storytelling. During November, I was with a group of four writers at a retreat in Shropshire and it was clear that each of us had in-depth knowledge and experiences that informed our writing. One focused his story on his life as an Asian child within a predominately-white British community and another was using the experiences of a relative within the mental health sector. The third writer was interested in the modern history narrative, drawing from her own memories and I enjoy writing about human strength, in particular what happen when a female character faces a threatening situation.

Silencio, my debut novel, is a suspense story set in Spain, narrated with Spanish characters, and based on real life events that took place during the mid to late 1900’s.

Writing tutors and experts instruct writers that it is best to write about something they know but most of us have not committed a crime, witnessed a murder or had a new-born baby stolen whilst in the Maternity Unit. I started writing this first full-length novel in 2011 after watching a BBC documentary on television about the Stolen Babies of Spain (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJJ7Pp_Zvvs). The investigative documentary introduced me to the background behind the baby trafficking of an estimated 300,000 babies in Spain during the Franco and immediate post-Franco periods.

I am an English woman, too old to worry about childbirth, and have not experienced the loss of an infant. How did I ensure that I wrote with authority and authenticity without the value of these experiences?

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My Experiences

I am a Mum. My daughter may be in her 30’s but I remember holding her as a newly delivered baby – the colour of her skin, the warmth and smell of her body. The memory

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of the sleepless nights and leaping out of bed to run to her assistance having recognised her cry in a room full of other babies, will not be forgotten. My maternal intuition kicked in from the moment of conception, well before the morning sickness and the tickling of tiny feet inside of my womb. Even now that she is an adult, I sense when my daughter is in danger and needs my support.

My previous employment was as a midwife and nurse. Every hospital has common features and my experiences of working in various hospitals allowed me to add detail to the hospital scenes in Silencio. It doesn’t matter that a Spanish hospital is different from one in the UK because this is a work of fiction and as long as the reader believes that the place could be real, he or she will not be distracted from the story. Having had experience of Spanish health care and hospitals, I can testify that there are more similarities than differences.

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Spain is my second home and I have lived there for a number of years, speak conversational Spanish, have travelled throughout the country, and have experienced life in a Spanish community.

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However, I am English and was not brought up as a Spanish girl within a Catholic family. Not a problem, because as the saying goes I know a man who can or in this case, a young Spanish woman who was delighted to read and correct my work and give me an insight to the lives of her mother, her sisters, her fellow villagers, etc.

Mercedes, the main character in Silencio, is a journalist. I am not a journalist but I studied the subject at university many years ago, I read newspaper articles and I am lucky to know a young magazine journalist who gave me the benefit of her experience.

early-reading-of-the-news

Many readers have commented on the development of the love relationship and the passion between Mercedes and Orlando. Apparently, it is quite steamy and some of my daughter’s friends are shocked that Rachael’s mum ‘wrote this’. 25 years ago, I met my husband and I thought back to those early days and the excitement that a look or a brush of the fingers could stimulate. I remembered the heightened senses and the fear of commitment and tried to bring these to my writing.

Research  

During a three-year period, I researched background information for Silencio and most of it has not ended up in my novel. One of my pet hates as a reader is to read a research-led story instead of one that focuses on the characters and plot.

In addition to internet searches, books and library research, I tried to visit each of the places in my novel. I travelled on the public transport and ate in local cafes so that I absorbed the culture. This was important when writing about a country as large and diverse as Spain because the northern life is different to that of Madrid, and the society of the eastern coastal towns does not resemble that of the central plane. The clothing changes to suit the local climate and the locals socialise in different ways. Hearty foods of the north are too heavy for the warmer climates of the south. I changed a number of details after each research visit; for example, the men in a northern village play cards instead of dominos.

My novel-in-progress A Life on the Line takes place in 1961 between York and Scarborough.

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Last summer I spent several weeks in the area as I surveyed the layout for detail and interviewed local people who remembered the period. In the York library, microfiche records of local press helped me to discover the products, trends and issues of that year and the library of the excellent National Railway Museum holds information and photos that add detail to the backstory.

Friends

There is a saying that goes something like this ‘be careful of what you tell a writer as you or it may end up in her next book’. None of my characters is based on a single person I know but each is a compilation of the characteristics of many people I have met. Mercedes, in Silencio, does not represent either of these two beautiful friends but she has the strength of one and the humour of the other. Without the people in my life, there would be no characters in my stories.

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It is time to finish this piece but if anyone wants to have a discussion about what influences their own writing, I would be delighted to read your comments. You can find out more information about my writing and research (including links to articles about baby trafficking and the Spanish stolen babies) at my website www.laberrynovels.org

Follow me on twitter @LABerryNovels or @writelindy

Like me on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/silenciobylaberry

 

Silencio is available to purchase as a paperback through the following link or to order from any good book retailer  – ISBN 9781785890994

The EBOOK version of Silencio by LA Berry is available on all major ebook retail sites including Amazon, Ibook, Google play, Kobo, Nook – EISBN 9781785894732

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