ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Write...Edit...Publish August challenge - REUNIONS. My #flashfiction, The Reunion.

It's time for Write...Edit...Publish again. This month of August, the challenge has been set by Nilanjana Bose--Reunions. I've asked for early posts as I'm busy with the Romantic Writers of Australia conference, then packing for a trip to Europe soon after. So...I'm posting early myself!

I've been inspired into a magical foray for this one, a flash fiction piece, as always. My first thoughts were of The Kiss by Rodin and checking out the backstory for all those The Kiss statues in various places--St Pancreas station, Times Square, Milan, Paris--but the stories weren't what I was looking for. Here's my story instead ... sorry it's slightly over 1,000 words ...



The Reunion

Charlotte scarcely remembered the long bus ride from the city through the rugged countryside, so focused was she on seeing Jack again.

‘We’re here,’ the driver said. ‘You’re being met?’

‘Yes,’ Charlotte said, as she slashed her lips with the bright red shade Jack loved.

Slinging her black tote over her shoulder, she thanked the driver who’d come to the door to help her alight.

‘Are you sure about this, lady?’ he asked. ‘People who wander into the bush often never wander out again.’

‘I’ll be fine.’

‘No luggage then, love?’

‘Not this trip.’

‘Are you sure you’re at the right place? There’s no one here.’

‘He’ll come.’

‘But no one lives here. All the houses were bulldozed years ago. There’s nothing left.’

Charlotte smiled and turned away, slipping a pill under her tongue. ‘Thanks for bringing me this far, young man. I know it’s out of your way.’ She handed him a tiny red rose from the posy she carried.

He twirled the flower. ‘I’ll come back. One? Two hours?’

‘Thanks, but no. You can be on your way now.’

Charlotte walked away, tugging her bright red coat around her shoulders. The last leg of her journey stretched ahead.

The track was once a well-maintained gravel road and there’d been shacks amongst the trees, but now it was no better than a goat track.

It was hard going, but she made it to Gulliriviere, the tiny settlement where she once lived with Jack. It’d been named by Irish ex-convicts who were used to plentiful rains in their home country. How flummoxed they were by a river that bore nothing but gravel year after bitter year.

Further into the bush she trudged, her steps slowing, away from the desolation of the little street where houses were sacrificed for a lumber mill that was never built.

Logging.

Controversial even then.

As she passed by, the eucalyptus trees rustled their arms in salute.

Home.

But home had left. Only the scraggly beauty of nature remained. Where once their cabin stood smugly, framed by the white picket fence Jack built and the fragrant flowers she planted and lovingly tended, there was … nothing.

‘Jack,’ she whispered, ‘there’s no clue we ever lived here … Oh … but I’m wrong. Look!’

Charlotte creaked to her knees before her tatty rose bush, hanging on after all these years. She tugged out weedy grasses, revealed tiny closed buds, then inhaled the earthy smell. ‘Not everything’s gone, my darling Jack.’ She lay the posy beside the rose bush, memories flooding her head.

She recalled her twenty-three-year old self following her love to his rough-hewn shack in Outback Queensland. It was two hours’ drive to the nearest town and a light plane trip to Brisbane twice a year. She loved the koala who lived in the tree nearby, she loved the solitude and yes, she even loved the big red kangaroos who nibbled the green shoots in her garden, looking cheekily at her over their shoulders as they loped away.

She’d set her easel amongst the trees and paint miniatue bush flora until the sun set on the faraway horizon. Her paintings would hang in art galleries in Australia and the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris long after she was gone.

Living in the bush had been good.

Leaving it had not.

After their cabin had been razed to the ground, they’d relocated to Byron Bay. Plenty of flora for her to paint, but Jack had to fly in/fly out to continue his work on the western Droughtmaster grazing property.

‘Hello, Madam Charlie,’ Jack would greet her at the airport. Tossing his duffle bag in the *boot, he’d hurry to the passenger door, wrench it open. ‘Come here,’ he’d growl, kissing her over and over much to the delight of the traffic inspector.

Their only argument was over his retirement.

 ‘No, Charlotte, I won’t retire. I’m only sixty-five. Our experiment with the new Droughtmaster breed is ongoing. Perhaps when it’s done …’

***

Midnight.

Phone call.

Frank Mangin, Jack’s boss.

‘I’m sorry, Mrs Sandilands ... Jack’s gone ... Heart attack.’

The bed caught her as she fell.

‘He wasn’t alone. We were working in the study.’

Only garbled noises came out of her mouth.

‘Can I call someone?’

Clunk! The phone hit the floor, but she could still hear Frank screaming at her. 

‘Mrs Sandilands? Im calling someone.’

‘No!’ No one could put her back together. 

‘Mrs Sandilands! Jack had a message for you. He said, and I wrote it down—um—Tell Charlie to come to the shack.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes. I know your home at Gulliriviere is long gone. But that’s the message.’

‘Thanks, Frank.'

If Jack wanted her at the shack, then to the shack she would go…

***

Still kneeling at the rose bush, she took the gold fob watch out of its pouch and let it drop into her palm. She’d bought it years ago to give to Jack when he retired. It was a work of great artistry, with minute patterns painstakingly etched into every chain link. She read the inscription: 
To Jack, my wild Colonial Boy! Yours ever, Charlie. XX

She brought it to her lips, kissed it, just as the first pain hit.

***

The rose bush bloomed with blood-red roses. The fragrance enveloped her as it mingled with sweet summer smells.

‘Charlie!’

With the sweet fragrance of roses whirling around her, she ran through the tall grasses, trailing her fingers over the white, silky flowers. He’d be waiting by the creek just ahead, beyond the grey houses.

She hesitated at the stand of weeping willows, their lush tendrils like dishevelled hair as they caressed the surface of the water.

Then she saw him—her Jack—running through the willows, pushing aside the graceful drapery. He hurried towards her—arms outstretched—welcoming her home.

She held out the fob watch and beckoned her love.

They gazed into each other’s light-kissed eyes, marvelled at their sun-painted limbs, overjoyed at the beauty they saw in each other. He took the gold object from her soft, smooth hand, then they strolled away hand in hand across the sparkling water, fading from sight in a gentle swirl of silvery mist.

 *trunk


The End

Words: 1037
FCA

©DeniseCCovey2016
  
WEP CHALLENGE FOR AUGUST, REUNIONS.
Thanks to Olga Godim for the badge!

If you would like to join us, sign up in my sidebar or at the Write...Edit...Publish website. Click on entries with DL (Direct Link) after the names.

Don't forget--our next challenge is in October--Halloween! Wooo hooo...



  



Wednesday, 2 August 2017

#IWSG day -- Sure I'm insecure, who isn't? AUGUST IS BIG, SO BIG FOR ME!

Hello friends!

I missed last month's IWSG as my favorite aunty took ill. Unfortunately, she passed away, so I was too busy to think about posting on my blog.


But I'm back for August's post. I love the August question: 

What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

I'd rather not get started on this one -- but really, I'm always against all the rules for emerging writers which the big guys break all the time. 

And these broken rules don't hurt the story. 

Lately, every book I've picked up has got a Prologue (you know what we get told, right? Wrong. I love prologues but I'd be afraid to write one.) And backstory--you know how we get told to just insert it like splinters of glass--hey ho, I agree. Several books I've read recently start with a lot of backstory, whoa, pages and pages, yawn, yawn. Yeah. Readers don't really want to be bombarded with lots of the old stuff that happened pre-story, they want to keep ploughing along in the moment. Except those who read best-sellers, apparently, LOL!

Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh and his team for keeping the IWSG on the road. This month he has the assistance of several luminaries:

Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner!

If you have time, do pay each a visit.

So, what am I insecure about this month?

Well, August is very important to me and my writing.

It actually starts today (July 27th when I was writing this post) with the IWSG pitch contest. Well, Australian time it's 10 pm tonight - 10am tomorrow. Insecurity to the max and black circles under eyes, anyone?

Hey, I totally suck at selling anything, but I'm giving it a shot. 


HAVE A GO!!!!!!!!! PITCH TO AGENTS!!!

It's all over by now. I know some of you got 'favorited' by editors/publishers. I got 'favorited' by a publisher who I later found out was a vanity publisher who wanted money up-front. I hope no one else got taken in by them. It disturbed me that they were allowed in the pit. Now, moving on...



The next scariest thing happens from August 11 - 13th. This is the Romance Writers of Australia's conference, luckily held in Brisbane -- just a short stroll across the river from where I live when I'm in town. It's going to be MASSIVE for me as I've just finished my Paris women's fiction. Well, as finished as it can be before 600 more rewrites. And my next trip to Paris in September to check my locations for my sequel...

So, I've written a Synopsis with the help of my critters, touched up my bio and air-brushed my photo (just kidding) and sent my manuscript to the Director of Avon Romance/William Morrow who's attending the conference. I've paid for a 15-minute session where she's going to assess my manuscript. Altogether terrifying and wonderful. This is what she's looking for in case any of you are sitting on a ms that might suit Avon. They do take unsolicited mss for their Avon Impulse digital first line. 

CARRIE FERON - AVON
Executive Editor, Senior Vice President
1. Which areas/imprints are you actively acquiring for?High concept historicals, historical romance, psychological suspense, women’s fiction
2. What subgenres are you currently seeking?Single Title, Contemporary and Historical
3. What kind of writing will especially pique your interest?I love writing with a very strong voice.
4. What are you not looking for, so we don’t waste your time and ours?Literary fiction, SF, YA
5. What would you love/hate to see pitched to you?Something with a great hook.
So, here's hoping my story is just what she's been searching the globe for. Now added to the session with Carrie Feron,

  • I have a 5-minute pitch to Tule Publishing
  • A session with a publisher with only 9 attendees
  • 15 minutes with Google
  • 15 minutes with Draft2Digital
and 3 days of fabulous workshops with fabulous people in between.

So, you get it? My August is going to be OUTTA THIS WORLD (even if Carrie says no thanks)!

And there's more:

JOIN WRITE...EDIT...PUBLISH FOR THE AUGUST CHALLENGE!


I haven't neglected my Write...Edit...Publish friends. (Well, maybe just a little...)

We have a new challenge which opened yesterday. If you'd like to try your hand at flash fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography, artwork, join our REUNIONS challenge. An excerpt from a WIP is totally fine if it suits the prompt. I know we're going to get our heartstrings tugged here.

CLICK on the SUBMIT button in my right-hand sidebar or trot across to WEP and add you name to the list. There you'll find some extra help to participate in this awesome prompt, dreamed up by Nila Bose and the badge created by Olga Godim.

C'mon. Make my August and yours even better!