Sarah Potter Writes

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

Friday Fictioneers — Snow Baby

This week I’m going to post my 100-word story for Friday Fictioneers on a Wednesday, which is what many of the other participants do anyway! Many thanks to our wonderful hostess, Rochelle, for using my snow picture as the photo prompt.

My story is an excerpt from my unpublished fifth novel, Counting Magpies, which is presently in the hands of my beta-reader-in-chief. There’s quite a bit of snow in this novel, but I selected this short passage, which works as a standalone, too … I hope.

PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter

Genre: Dystopian speculative fiction

Word count: 100

SNOW BABY

I’m her scapegoat for all that has gone wrong in our world.

When she bled a fortnight ago, after three months of believing herself with child, her wailing and lamenting crushed me. I don’t understand her desperation to make a baby. Until yesterday, I didn’t even know what babies looked like.

She drew a picture of one in the snow and told me that’s how we both started out, with tiny round faces and miniature toes and fingers. “I can’t remember being a baby,” I’d said, to which she’d replied, “Neither can I, but I crave motherhood more than anything.”

Monday Morning #Haiku 145 — Wild Violets

february-violets

Shyness overcome,
violets velvet the grey
of February.

Friday Fictioneers — An Assault on Vanity

PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young

When I saw the photo prompt © Liz Young for this week on Friday Fictioneers, it immediately brought to mind the story that was my first blog post back in December 2011.  The original story was 150 words in length but I’ve pruned it down to 100 words without difficulty and with added punch.

As a footnote to original, I wrote the following…

Author’s note: In my experience the more fantastic the claims for a beauty product, the more expensive and full of dangerous chemicals it is. I believe in organic beauty products, used from head to foot, and a balanced diet of freshly prepared meals.  Combine this with a positive attitude, creativity, and trying to see the funny side of things whenever possible.  Who cares about a few laughter lines and characterful wrinkles?  I don’t fancy looking like a faceless mannequin doll. Do you?

Genre: Science fiction horror

ASSAULT ON VANITY

Cries of terror rocked the city and catapulted Tania into wakefulness.  She fought to focus on her clock, but to no avail. The digits blurred grey and her eyes had the deep ache of a hangover, but she’d not touched a drop of alcohol for days.

In the bathroom, she splashed water at her face but couldn’t feel it contact her skin. Then she looked in the mirror. Apart from her eyes and the skin covering their sockets, her face had metamorphosed into a featureless blank; the work of Dr Hamid’s new wonder cream that claimed to banish wrinkles overnight.

Monday Morning #Haiku 144 — Azalea

lone-azalea-flower

Kitchen windowsill…
Lone azalea flower
ahead of the game.

Friday Fictioneers –The Truth About Goldilocks

mystery-chair-ted-strutz

Genre: Alternative Fairytale
Word count: 100

In the forest lived a family of grizzly bears.

Goldie “daredevil” Locks was an 8-year-old tomboy who’d recently chopped off her blonde curls with a hacksaw blade. She lived in a lakeside shack with her father, not far from the bears’ den.

After Pa had forgotten to feed her for the umpteenth time, she stole his chair when he was drunk and set it up in the lake to do a spot of fishing. She hated fish, but reckoned on trading her catch with the bears for some honey.

That day they feasted upon fish, followed by Goldie honey pudding.

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Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo Prompt: copyright © Ted Strutz

My Tanka Poetry Response to Cybele Moon’s Magical Photo Prompts

As you can see from the pictures below, my friend The Dune Mouse (Cybele Moon), who blogs at The Runes of the Gatekeeper’s Daughter, is a super-talented photographer. In fact she’s the queen of magical images, as well as the weaver of wondrous mythological tales.

To my delight, she agreed to select three of her creations for me to respond to with Japanese-style 31-syllable tanka poems. This is a great honour, so I hope to have done the pictures justice; it’s very much my interpretation, and they might mean something completely different to Cybele.

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hill-of-tara

Storm clouds muddy dawn;
make an omelette of sunrise.
A hilltop tombstone…
Full of life, the girl races
to read her own epitaph.

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morning-prayer-in-the-kalifs-garden

 Peacock perched in shade,
mere hint of iridescence
in his silhouette.
He belongs to a proud earl,
who nicks feathers for his hat.

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path-small

In the dark forest,
fraught birds exchange alarm calls…
human invaders.
A perfect day for walking;
how beautiful the birdsong.

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Related reading:

To read more poems in this style, enter the word “Tanka” into Search on my blog’s sidebar
https://sarahpotterwrites.com/2017/01/25/an-interview-with-poet-sarah-potter/ (all about Japanese poetic forms)
https://cybeleshineblog.wordpress.com/
https://sarahpotterwrites.com/2014/05/03/mays-guest-storyteller-cybele-moon/

Monday Morning #Haiku 143 — Full Moon

full-moon-2am

Two after midnight,
dazzled awake with a start…
LED full moon.

Poll: Which Book Should I Publish Next?

sign-post-seaford-beach

Okay, I need some help focusing here. The time-gobbling monster has already eaten January and is threatening to eat February, too.

First, before I go any further, it’s time to get something off my chest. I’m not sick of indie publishing but I am sick of trying to sell novels to children and young adults. On the plus side, I have some fabulous loyal adult readers, many of whom have read both Desiccation and Noah Padgett and the Dog-People and given me a heap of positive feedback. This has led me to believe that I don’t write the sort of novels that most people under the age of 18 want to read, but ones that their parents and grandparents want to read instead. Yes, my novels contain elements of fantasy and science fiction, but no, they’re not about wizards, vampires, paranormal romance, spaceships with lasers blazing (or whatever lasers do).

sarah-potters-quirky-novels

This leads me on to my next point: even if I publish a novel specifically for adults, it could still deviate from the expectations that die-hard fans of a particular genre might have.

I had considered writing a genre-bending novel, as it fits into the bracket of quirky and yet has an identifiable market. With that in mind, I decided to read Jane Austen’s  Pride and Prejudice and then carry out a textual comparison between it and Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and the Zombies. The trouble was that I loved the original so much that I couldn’t get past the first few chapters of the zombie version, which I hated. Maybe if I hadn’t read the original, then I might have seen it differently. Certainly it made the New York Times best seller list. I don’t have a problem with zombie books per se, having read some excellent ones. I just don’t like ones that would make Jane Austen turn in her grave (no apologies for the pun), although I do acknowledge that some of her writing is quite witty. Maybe one day I might bring myself to write a novel based on a classic novel but not so that it follows the original text word-for-word in places; otherwise, what’s the point in having worked hard to develop a voice of my own?

I’ve written five novels in all, leaving three unpublished as yet. The fifth one, my speculative fiction novel Counting Magpies, I intend to submit to publishers after a further edit, as I’ve identified some new small press publishers that didn’t exist a couple of years ago but are looking for quirky novels. There are plenty of successful hybrid authors, who have both indie and traditionally published novels, so why not me?

Now to ask you, my wonderful blog followers and visitors, readers or potential readers, which book I should indie publish next. In other words, which would you be most likely to buy, if any at all? To help answer this, I would really appreciate it if you could take part in the poll and/or comment with some constructive feedback. I’m at a bit of a crossroads and am not sure which direction to take just now.

 

Monday Morning #Haiku 142 — Solid White

chalk-and-ice-03

Hard to tell apart
chalk rocks mixed with blocks of ice…
winter assortment.

Friday Fictioneers — Roadside Snack

PHOTO PROMPT © Al Forbes

GENRE: Black Comedy

I roll down the window of my 4 x 4. “What can I do for you, officer?”

The cop holds out his hand.  “Your driving licence, sir.”

“Dr Victor …Crankenstein?” He narrows his eyes and compares me with my mug shot.

A second cop examines the trailer. She calls out, “No number plate and cargo inadequately secured.”

“What’y call that contraption?” asks the first cop.

“A cyborg car.”

“Looks like a heap of junk to me.”

A minute later I drive off down the road, not a cop in sight and my cyborg car with a smirk on its grille.

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Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo prompt: copyright © Al Forbes

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