Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose, poetry, and music.

#Tanka 33 — Light and Shadow (plus some scintillating “shades of”)

In June meadow land,
she meets her silly shadow
and it makes her laugh.
Winter’s black dog locked in cage;
birds, bees, butterflies abound.

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I dedicate this tanka poem to my shadow, which needs locking up in a cage permanently, if it can’t behave itself.

Last week, I reached the conclusion that I was flogging a dead horse with the juvenile fiction market; I just don’t write the type of novel that appeals to contemporary children or young adults. Okay, full stop and amen to that.

Fast forward to this week, by which time my shadow had convinced me that I should give up novel-writing altogether.

On Monday morning, I went to check the results of the First Three Pages of a Novel Competition in The University of Winchester Writers’ Festival. As I scrolled down the page in search of them, my shadow said, “You’re deluded if you expect to find your name there, considering you’re probably up against brilliant writers, including MA creative writing students.” Then I read this…

Highly Commended: ‘Counting Magpies’ – Sarah Potter

To my utter amazement, I had reached the top six with the opening pages and synopsis of my adult speculative fiction novel. But it gets better, because in the reviewer feedback, amid some wonderfully encouraging comments, it said the magic words

…shades of Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman.

Well, those are some “shades” I can deal with; the sun has definitely got his hat on and is coming out to play.

Friday Fictioneers — Lipstick and High Heels

Genre: Mainstream fiction
Word Count: 100

~~LIPSTICK AND HIGH HEELS~~

“Lunar, my dear, you’ve a heavenly body but, for heaven’s sake, keep your mouth shut in front of my parents.”

“What’s it worth?”

“My everlasting love.”

“Liar! All you care about is your inheritance.”

“Not so. I just don’t want my snot-bag of a sister getting her hands on the money.”

“What if she’s at the dinner party, too, and wants to engage in girl-talk.”

“She doesn’t do girl-talk. …Look, it’s essential that my parents don’t get wind of my sexuality, or they won’t leave me a penny.”

“I can’t wait to kick off these stilettos and become Michael again.”

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 Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo Prompt: image copyright © Dale Rogerson

Monday Morning #Haiku 161 — Green (2)

Plethora of greens
Embrace the dryad in you
Breathe that verdancy

Book review: The Writer and the Rake by Shehanne Moore

The Writer and the Rake (Time Mutants #2)The Writer and the Rake by Shehanne Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I totally loved everything about this time-travel romance and would give it ten stars if I could.

Brittany Carter is an author, who drinks, smokes, and parties too much. After a surreal encounter with a character called Morte, she’s transported to the Georgian era and meets bad boy Mitchell Killgower, who is locked into an inheritance dispute with some hateful relatives of his deceased wife. When Brittany materialises out of nowhere, he hopes she can prove useful by pretending to be his obedient and mousy wife for long enough to hoodwink those who hold the purse strings and stop his son getting the inheritance. The only trouble is that the feisty Brittany is incapable of fitting into this role and Mitchell has truly met his match on the impossible person’s front.

I don’t want to give too much away, as this will spoil readers’ fun; and the novel is such great fun, in a quirky sense of the word, always sustaining a great forward momentum with wonderfully entertaining dialogue. Come to think of it, I don’t recall the author using any dialogue tags at all and, if she did, they weren’t intrusive.

Brittany is often insufferable, but also pretty cool in a chaotic way. Mitchell is a Mr Darcy type: dark, handsome, brooding, stubborn, hard to impress, and master of his heart, but decidedly sexier than the original. His relationship with Brittany is meant as a short-term arrangement of convenience and nothing more. And the feeling is mutual …until it isn’t.

Speaking of the raunchy scenes, Shehanne Moore knows how to write about sex in a way that’s humorous, playful, erotic and, at times, intense. It’s never explicit, because it doesn’t need to be; the subtle interplay of all the human senses is sufficient.

On the hilarity front, the crowning moment for me is when Mitchell rifles through Brittany’s bag and puzzles over its contents from the future, and then questions her about one of the items in particular.

If you haven’t already guessed, I fell in love with Mitchell and felt really sorry for him when Brittany kept appearing and disappearing. A rake like Mitchell does not give his heart easily to a woman, preferring the casual company of floosies when needs dictate.

The Writer and the Rake can be read as a standalone novel, even though it’s the second part of a series. One reviewer has suggested that, in order to understand the time mutants better, it’s an idea to read the series in the right order, starting with The Viking and the Courtesan.

As you can imagine, Time Mutants #1 is near the top of my reading list, as I can’t get enough of Shehanne Moore’s writing and am delighted to have discovered someone with such a fresh and original voice.

A highly recommended read.

View all my reviews

Friday Fictioneers — Nineteen years later

Many thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for choosing one of my pictures as the Photo Prompt for Friday Fictioneers this week.

Last week, some of you will remember that I wrote some alternate lyrics to the song “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic” but, because of the 100-word restriction, had to end mid-verse and complete my word count with the promise of a further instalment for this week. Well I meant that as a joke, but a few people said they were looking forward to Part II, so here it is!

For those who missed “The Crazy Bears’ Battle” last week and wonder what on earth is happening below, here’s the link. And please feel free to sing along to both instalments.

Genre: Alternative song lyrics
Words: 100

THE TOMBOY AND HOMICIDAL DOLL’S VENGEANCE

If grown lads go to the potting shed
They’re in for a huge surprise
If grown lads go to the potting shed
It could end in their demise. 

For every year since skiving from school
They’ve met up there for certain
Because today’s the day they
Commemorate that battle.
 

Laughter time for lazy louts.
The pot-smoking hillbillies are having
A dopey time today.

Watch that doll creep up on them
And see her snaggle-teeth go clickety-clack.
 

See her bite the lads with glee.
They’re off their heads alright,
They never feel a thing…

Epilogue: ‘Rich Compost For The Asparagus Bed’

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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 158-160 — Foxgloves & Bees

Bumblebee size bells
Buzzing instead of ringing
Musical foxgloves
*
Bees drift somnolent
Bindweed climbs up foxglove stems
Gardener unwinds
*
Bees cart pollen home
Empty tubular bell blooms
Become pixie hats

Friday Fictioneers: The Crazy Bears’ Battle

Genre: Alternative song lyrics
Word count: 100

THE CRAZY BEARS’ BATTLE

If girls go down to the mudflats today
They’re in for a foul surprise.
If girls go down to the mudflats today
They’d better go in disguise!

The worst boy’s gang that ever existed
Will gather there for certain,
Because today’s the day the
Crazy bears fight a battle.

Wrestling time for crazy bears
The mud-slinging boys’ bears are having
A filthy time today.
Watch them catch dolls unawares,
And see them battle on their skive from school.

See them pelt the dolls with mud.
They love to taunt the girls…

Next week’s instalment: The Tomboy and Homicidal Doll’s Vengeance

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Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo prompt: image copyright (c) Karuna

Friday Fictioneers — The Ancient School at “D–wh–n-e”

This week’s photo prompt brought to mind the horrendous terrorist attack in Manchester on Monday night. I am so overwhelmed with emotions about this, that it has rendered me mute with regard to such atrocities. Therefore, I’m going to avoid the subject of explosions and move forward to the year 2183 and write about a ruin instead.

This is another chance for you to meet Morag in my not-yet unpublished novel Counting Magpies. On the previous occasion she was in York, having trouble with her decrepit bicycle (A Rare Specimen). This time, she’s in the Highlands of Scotland in a village that has some of the letters missing from its signpost.

Come on, you clever clogs. Let’s see who’s going to be the first to fill in those blank letters (each em dash stand for two missing letters and the hyphen for one)…

Genre: Dystopian speculative fiction
Word count: 100

~~THE ANCIENT SCHOOL AT “D–WH–N-E”~~

I pick my way through the rubble, tripping once and almost twisting my ankle on a rusted kettle.

At first I mistake the bundle for a heap of rags, until I prod it with the plank and turn it over. The thing has a face, or rather bones with empty eye sockets and a gaping jaw. I let out a reflexive scream, despite knowing a skull can’t harm me. The rest of the skeleton is clothed in rags covered in mildew. 

Who was this person with unusually long leg and foot bones and narrow hipbones? Perhaps it was a man.

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Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo prompt: image copyright © J Hardy Carroll

Friday Fictioneers — Fixing The Past

Genre: Time Travel
Word count: 100

~~FIXING THE PAST~~

“Have we met before?”

“I don’t think so.” Before and after, actually.

“You look so familiar.”

“They say that everybody has a double somewhere in the world.”  He shouldn’t remember me.  Have I returned once too often?

“I finish at nine. Perhaps we could have a drink.”

“Yes, why not?” That demon, alcohol. Why do I keep returning to this point in time? It’s too late to save him.

“I’m looking forward to it, babe.”

“Likewise. But I’ve an errand to run between now and then.” Off to locate that 12-year-old boy and lace his first alcoholic drink with purgatives.

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Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo Prompt: image copyright © Roger Bultot

Monday Morning #Haiku 157 — Potter’s Pots

Yearly pilgrimage
Expedition to buy plants
A simple pleasure

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