Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose and poetry

#Tanka 36 — Squashes

Kabocha squashes
grown football-sized overnight:
fresh soup at no cost.
On the supermarket shelves,
pricey glop packaged as soup!

Monday Morning #177 — Crow (02)

Feathered sentinel
Black sheen competes with blue sheen
Stilled riverside crow

Friday Fictioneers — Yumi and the Gods

This week’s photo prompt for Friday Fictioneers, courtesy of Ted Strutz, brought to mind one of my poems (a secret favourite of mine) that I published on my blog a couple of years ago. The poem is a progressive haiku centred around the phases of the moon and contains the names of two Japanese Shinto deities: Tsukuyomi the Moon God, and Amaterasu the Sun Goddess. I’ve sandwiched this poem between two short pieces of prose, producing a story within a story.

For newcomers to Friday Fictioneers, the challenge requires you to produce a story of 100 words (maximum). It’s worth noting that according to WordPress and to my word processor, compound adjectives and nouns count as one word and not two, although only if you hyphenate them. As a Brit, I love hyphens 😉

YUMI AND THE GODS

The ghost-ferry headed for the shore, each of its passengers’ experiences unique en route to the afterlife and dependent upon their main focus at the moment of their taking.

Yumi was looking heavenward…

under cutglass stars
she dreams of Tsukuyomi
new moon love potion

nocturnal circus
leg draped over crescent moon
girl hangs upside down

gibbous halfway house
shadow night crickets gossip
she needs sedating

full moon tree-trunk spin
naked dancing on silver
she coruscates dew

blackbird sings her home
waning moon ambushed by dawn
Amaterasu

The gods awarded Yumi first prize for her dream and allowed her to live.

<><><>

To read other Friday Fictioneers’ stories for this week, or to add a 100-word story of your own, please click on the blue frog below.

Allow me a little hoot!

In my June post #Tanka 33 — Light and Shadow (plus some scintillating “shades of”), I mentioned the Highly Commended awarded to me in this year’s University of Winchester Writers’ Festival for the first three pages (+synopsis) of my unpublished 90,000-word speculative fiction work, Counting Magpies. Since then, I have gained access to a working scanner, hence the images I’ve shared below.

It’s possible that a few of my blog followers have already clicked on the new widget in my sidebar titled “Latest News” and arrived at the relevant page, but for those who usually access my blog through WordPress Reader, or are email subscribers, you may have missed a chance to see the two fabulous certificates mailed to me by the competition organisers.

Four months on, I’m still touched and humbled by the feedback I received from the judges. So thank you, judges, whoever you are, for giving this author a much-needed boost to her confidence 🙂

For those who missed my three Friday Fictioneers’ posts, with adapted standalone 100-word excerpts from Counting Magpies, here are the links.

Snow Baby

The Ancient School at D-wh-n-e

A Rare Specimen

Monday Morning #Haiku 176 — Sea Treasure

Pebble-weed circlet…
Ebb tide find, a Mermaid’s crown
stolen by storm thief!

Review: Feeding Time by Adam Biles

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This début novel is possibly the quirkiest one I’ve ever read. It’s set in a care home from hell, Green Oaks, which is directed/neglected by Raymond Cornish, a middle-aged guy who needs serious therapy himself and spends most of his time ensconced in his office, masturbating and leching over a teenage girl he can see out of the window at the bus stop most days and with whom he’s determined to get his end away.

The residents of Green Oaks suffer from dementia in varying degrees. Their elected commander-in-chief is someone who calls himself Captain Ruggles, having constructed from his delusions a complete history of his heroic actions in the war. He’s a wonderful character who you can’t help but applaud for his constant rebellion against the Care Friends (Carers) whom he believes are Nazis controlling the prison camp of which he’s an internee; hence his frequent attempted escapes.

The Care Friends are total pieces of work, especially with their Supervisor off his head on drugs most of the time. Of course the title “Care Friends” is a sick joke, as they are the worst enemies of the residents, and this is no delusion on the part of Captain Ruggles.

Adam Biles writes in a vivid and faultless literary style that plays on all the senses: in fact, his quality of writing is excellent. However, I decided to award his novel four rather than five stars for the following two reasons.

My first problem with the story is that in the real world, I cannot imagine a care home going so off the radar that it isn’t subject to regular statuary inspections. In the case of somewhere as bad as Green Oaks, at the very least it would be subject to warnings to improve followed by unannounced inspections, but more likely it would be a candidate for instant closure. As for the residents’ relatives, it seems too far-fetched that their visits are so rare and that they are so easily conned by the annual “show”, when the Care Friends give the home a temporary face-lift for their benefit.

My second problem is that there is too much preoccupation with bodily functions. Yes, I know that people suffering from dementia lose control over their bowels and bladders, and can become generally disinhibited in their behaviour, but there is just an overdose of excrement of one kind and another. Also, there was one chapter in the book about a rotting corpse, where things became so gross that I had to skim read a number of pages, and skim reading is something I rarely do. So I feel bound to warn readers, do not open this novel when eating, as you will definitely lose your appetite fast.

Would I read another novel by Adam Biles? Yes. I love his originality and his fluent prose, plus, I think that if he keeps writing, he’ll be a serious contender for a much-coveted literary prize sometime in the future.

As a footnote to this review, I feel compelled to give a special mention to the limited edition that is in my possession as it’s a wonder to behold. The publishers, Galley Beggar Press have produced a book that is simple and yet classy in design. I love the minimalism of the soft back black dust jacket with green interior, the blurb, and the author’s bio. There are also some wondrous, surprising, and fun black and white illustrations by Melanie Amaral and Stephen Crowe throughout the book.

Please note that the limited edition described above, I ordered direct from the publishers, Beggar Galley Press. However the mass-market paperback and Kindle editions for sale on Amazon (UK) & (US) are green, although the green paperback edition is also available direct from the publisher.

Monday Morning #Haiku 175 — Little Egret (02)

Beak points downriver…
Little Egret pleased to wait
until lunch is served

Friday Fictioneers — Beyond Comprehension

Oooo, how exciting! I’ve just discovered that the photo prompt for Friday Fictioneers this week is one of my pictures 🙂 That being the case, I had better get cracking with posting my 100-word contribution to the weekly blog challenge hosted by the grand lady in purple, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

The shoes, by the way, were discovered lurking under my son’s bed during a recent tidy-up, but it was with his agreement that I photographed these cobweb-strewn antiquities and sent Rochelle a copy of the picture.

For my literary contribution, I’ve adapted an excerpt from my 1960’s crossover young-adult science fantasy novel Desiccation, the first draft of which I wrote a couple of decades ago but indie-published in 2015. As you will see from the excerpt, the creatures in question are not arachnids but crustaceans, although doubtless there are some husks of the latter hidden among those spiderwebs in my son’s old shoes.           

BEYOND COMPREHENSION

The polished black crustaceans retreated. They crawled out of the door into the night or scuttled up the walls and out through the broken windows, leaving behind a tangle of humans, many of whom had been out of sight inside the minds of other humans for various lengths of time. Some were limp, bedraggled, and lifeless as rag dolls; others were crazy as demon-possessed Jack o’-lanterns. It was science turned on its head a million times over: a total impossibility akin to squeezing size fourteen feet into size two shoes, succeeding, and then returning them to non-mangled size fourteens again.

<><><>

To read other Friday Fictioneers’ stories for this week, or to add a 100-word story of your own, please click on the blue frog below.

 

Monday Morning #Haiku 173 & 174 — Estuary (03)

Breeze plays on boat masts
a tune of distant wind chimes:
estuary peace.

Breeze ripples water
traversed by sun-silvered path.
Clouds trill with skylarks.

Review: The Elsewhen Gene by Gary Bullock

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I adore time travel romances, so was thrilled when Gary Bullock asked me to beta read his wonderful novel and write an honest review after the book’s publication.

The Elsewhen Gene is entrancing and brought many smiles to my face. It is one of those novels that has a real feel-good factor about it and reminded me that hope and beauty still exist, as well as innumerable mysteries on a cosmic scale. The writing flows with the same gentle forward momentum and intertwining of light and shade as a sun-mottled brook. The descriptions are vivid and the dialogue authentic to the characters, whom I adored.

Laura and Elijah are both science geniuses and soulmates since childhood. Elijah sees future events. Laura sees what she thinks are ghosts but are really people in another universe into which she can sidestep at will. A romance between two such unusual people is never going to run according to convention, when it involves multiple universes and alternate lives. But it is a story of enduring passion between them both, as well as their crusade to reunite another couple who have ended up in separate universes to each other.

The novel has a most satisfactory end, but I am hoping that the author has more adventures in store for Laura and Elijah in a possible sequel.

The Elsewhen Gene is available at any of the following links

Amazon (US)  (Paperback and Kindle) & Amazon (UK) (Kindle only)
Next Century Publishing  & GoRead (Paperback only)
Nook & Kobo (eBook)

<><><>

Gary Bullock was born and grew up in the hills of East Tennessee, then worked in New England, where he got his first film acting job, as Abraham Lincoln in a commercial for a Detroit radio station. He met his mate, Mil Nicholson there, and they were married in 1987 at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre on the set of The Importance of Being Earnest.

They moved to the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina, where he won his first film role in Winter People. He has also toured with Poetry Alive!, performing poetry in schools all over the East. He has written and performed his own one-man show as Abraham Lincoln. He and Mil also worked in dinner theatre, and carried out an artist’s residency program in theatre in Western North Carolina schools.

Gary and Mil then moved to Los Angeles in 1992, just in time for the riots, the fires, the floods, and the Northridge earthquake, and a co-starring part in Twin Peaks –Fire Walk With Me. Some other notable film roles were in Lakota Woman and Terminal Velocity, and most recently, Racing Stripes. Gary was a member of Playwrights Kitchen Ensemble in Hollywood as an actor, then later became a writer/actor member of Playwrights 6, also in Hollywood. Two of his scripts and part of a third were developed there.

He began writing partly to preserve his sanity during slow times for acting work, and because there were stories he wanted to tell. He soon found that he loved it. He has written both in book and in screenplay form.

Gary and Mil returned to North Carolina in 2005, and are busy writing, recording audiobooks, raising apples, persimmons, paw-paws, a large organic garden, dogs (a Jack Russell and a Silken Windhound at present), and watching the wildlife.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: