Tuesday 14 August 2018

#WEPff - WEP August challenge - my #flashfiction - Carpe Diem.

Hello everyone!

My story for the inaugural combined WEP/IWSG challenge has a long history. I first wrote a much different version for my first #fridayflash entry in 2010 which was somewhat behind my idea to start RomanticFridayWriters, now WEP. I've since written a novel based on this original idea which is languishing in the slushpile at Avon Books. 
I present to you a snippet from the original Saskia and Raphael Parisian love story. 
I hope you enjoy my women's fiction. 

Image result for images of paris rooftops

Carpe Diem

It happens every morning. That seeping dread. Jolting her feet until they burn from toe to heel. Creeping up her limbs like a colony of ants, enflaming her throat. Finally, it settles like a leaden ball in her chest where it maintains its constant slow burn.
As the room washes with the first glimmer of light, Saskia lies in the bed of her third-floor Parisian apartment, whispering her mantra over and over – Carpe diem, carpe diem, carpe diem, willing the dread to pass.
She has always loved this golden hour when the world holds its breath, hoping the new day will disperse gifts from a benevolent god.
What will be my gift?
Will He send the angels for me today?
Or will Raphael come back to me today?
She spies a dove at the window, silvery wings fluttering, ‘Get up. Get up. Get up.’
Ignoring the leaden ball in her chest, she throws aside the sheet and pads across the carpet to the open window.
Satisfied it now has an audience, the little dove dives into the ornate bath in the courtyard, shaded by purple wisteria which creeps restlessly along the exposed ledges as if it knows time is short, that in winter it will become an ungainly skeleton.
From the spindly branches of the pretty tree, the bird begins its morning song. The joyful notes thrum like a soaring solo in a Beethoven symphony.  
Song over, the silver bird soars into the sky.
She stands at the window clutching the sill. The beat of every passing moment pulses in her ears.
Carpe diem.
She must seize the day.
I will not think of all I have lost.
Raphael. Raphael. Raphael.
I will not think of the glory days.
Raphael. Raphael. Raphael.
She puffs out a breath and decides that a pure blue sky demands a walk over the bridge in front of Notre Dame.
Today she will miss the ecstatic sounds of Eloise and her lover in Apartment 2 who like to make noisy love in the afternoon, all afternoon, reminding her of herself and Raphael in the flush of first love.
Before he had a change of heart.
Before he found someone he loved more than her.
Why does her heart still pine for him?
Perhaps she can blame Eloise.
Get out of my head, Raphael.
She studies the glorious golden sun cresting the horizon. She watches the orb creep over the beautiful old sandstone buildings like a playful giant, blowing fire onto the zinc rooftops, transforming them into molten gold.
She completes her salute-to-the-sun routine, bathed in the warming rays.
While she dresses, she glances at her bed. Their bed.
One morning she woke and his side of the bed was cold, the sheets unwrinkled. He has never shared her bed since. According to the social pages he has warmed the bed of many of Paris’ young women and broken their hearts like he has broken hers. She wonders how he finds the time.
Today, if she can manage the short walk from la Tour Eiffel, she will surprise him at his latest art exhibition at the Musée du quai Branly. She must give the gods a chance to bestow on her a last wish.
To see Raphael one more time.

Leaning over the wide cement ledge, her vision fills with the Gothic splendour of Notre Dame. The sun-bathed brick structure stands proud and golden on the Île de la Cité, her buttresses grasping the edges of the Seine. Taking a deep breath, she inhales the river smell − reedy, thick, brackish.
She averts her eyes from the thousands of glinting golden padlocks that lovers have attached to the bridge’s mesh sides, signifying undying, unbroken love.
Hers and Raphael’s lock is lost amongst the thousands of metallic clasps engraved with initials and love symbols, rusting away, short-lived like their marriage, soon to be cut loose by Parisian councilmen.
Why is Raphael clouding her mind today of all days? She closes her eyes and imagines him running across the bridge as he used to do, wrapping her in his arms, spinning her around, making her feel safe.
How she would love to feel his arms around her again.
She stands glacial, immobile, a Rodin sculpture. 
Tomorrow she will leave all this beauty to enter an entirely different world.
A world of hospitals, doctors, nurses, prodding, jabbing, priestly prayers and last of all, hope.
She steps away from the rails, Mahatma Ghandi’s words giving wings to her feet: ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow.’
She whispers her mantra over and over.
Carpe diem.
Carpe diem.
Carpe diem.
A pain stabs her heart, throwing her against the concrete rail. She clutches her chest with both hands. No, not yet!  The ground rushes to meet her. Warm concrete slaps her face. A dog yaps.
Then black envelops her.

She hears him.
A much-loved engine purrs in the distance.  
A huge black motorbike is propped against the kerb.
Her angel. Her Raphael.
He stands at the end of the bridge, hands in pockets, watching her, his studded motorcycle boots planted firmly on the timber.
Her heart beats so loudly the sound chokes her throat.
If only she could get out from under this block of concrete and run to him.
Oh, those capricious gods!
Why is he wearing black?
He opens his arms.
She stands, but is rooted to the spot, hands pressing her heart, feeling the throbbing joy.
He beckons her … come!
She whispers her mantra over and over as she staggers into his waiting arms.
Carpe diem!
Carpe diem!
Carpe diem!
‘Saskia.’ The aching note in his voice moves her more than his words.

WORDS - 948
FCA - as per preference list below


This is my entry for the WEP/IWSG August challenge.


Please CLICK on entries at WEP to read more stories. 

Thank you for reading. If you're not joining the WEP/IWSG challenge this month, perhaps you'd consider joining us in October for Deju Vu Voodoo - (((shiver))) (((shake)))


Wednesday 1 August 2018

August 1 #IWSG, including the question - What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

Hello all!

Another month, another IWSG. Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh for this group and for a great place to turn up each month and read awesome posts!

Top Site for Writers

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the August 1 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover, Susan Gourley, and Lee Lowery! Please visit if you can.

  And be sure to visit the
Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website!!!

Most of you will have heard/will soon hear that from today, the IWSG has partnered with WEP (Write...Edit...Publish) for the bi-monthly writing challenges. I will be guest posting on the IWSG website on August 6 to tell you more about WEP and how you might like to join the writing challenge. We hope you do.

The WEP team is guest posting on the IWSG website on August 6 where we explain more about WEP. I invite you to swing by and say hello.

Here is the permalink which will go live on August 6:


Sign ups begin today for the challenge, CHANGE OF HEART. I'm neither insecure nor secure about how this partnership will work out, but many in the IWSG are friends, so I see it's got the potential to make both WEP and the IWSG stronger. 

Follow this link to learn more about it, and/or to SIGN UP for the August challenge.



By writing together we can help each other avoid the pitfalls that are waiting to entrap the unwary emerging writer. Here's just a couple I've learned/am still learning...
  • Sending a work to a publisher without having it beta read/edited/edited/edited/re-written/re-written...etc

  • Self-publishing without sourcing the best cover you can afford, the best blurb you can create, flawless formatting, clever launching of bulk titles - there's Farcebook groups to help with all of these...
That's enough for now. I must race over to Write...Edit...Publish and see how many of you have signed up for the challenge!

Here's some chocolate for you while you rearrange the words in your manuscript!