Sarah Potter Writes

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

Archive for the category “Writing”

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My story is an excerpt from my unpublished fifth novel, Counting Magpies, which is presently in the hands of my beta-reader-in-chief.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.”

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.

Friday Fictioneers –The Truth About Goldilocks

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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

Poll: Which Book Should I Publish Next?

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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).

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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.

 

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

Friday Fictioneers — Blank

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“You’ve no idea what mortal sin we committed, have you?”

Who’s that stranger shouting in my ear?

“I’m your husband, John, for God’s sake. How dare you leave me to shoulder all the guilt.”

Why can’t that horrid man go away?    

“I’ll see you in purgatory.”

Is he the priest? I don’t know him. Think only of the past, as its remembrance gives you pleasure.”

“What, the hell?”

“Elizabeth … in ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Mama likes to read to me. …My Harry, as handsome as Mr Darcy. I married him yesterday, you know.”

“He’s been dead forty years. We buried him.”

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Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo prompt: copyright © Dale Rogerson

INSIDE THE QUIRKY MIND OF SARAH POTTER

This week, the fabulous Rochelle Wisoff-Fields has invited me over to her blog for an interview. Indeed, this is a great honour, as Rochelle is a super-talented author, whose novels I love. She’s also the facilitator (otherwise known as The Queen, the Bus Driver and the Cat Herder) of the ever-popular Friday Fictioneers, where bloggers are given a photo prompt to write a 100-word story.

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple

sarah-potter

It’s my great pleasure to start the year off by interviewing Friday Fictioneers regular, Sarah Potter who lives in a house on a hill, with panoramic views over the English Channel in SE England. Sharing the house are her husband, son and chocolate Labrador, all three of whom are great supporters of her literary endeavours. When not writing novels, she pens haiku and tanka poems, takes nature photographs, grapples with bindweed and snails in the garden, invents recipes, and sings mezzo-soprano.

What made you decide to be a writer?

My love affair with writing fiction and poetry blossomed at the age of eight. I could read before I went to school, which gave me a head-start with vocabulary. My mother read me lots of books as well; ones that were too advanced for me to read myself, such as The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White. Also, she…

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January’s Guest Storyteller, William D. Holland

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William D. Holland is the author of five full-length novels, one non-fiction book about the craft of writing, and five novellas in the “Billy the Kid” chronicles.  He can be found hanging out on his website https://artistrywithwords.com/ when he isn’t tending to his urban farm in Olympia, Washington.

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Sarah says: I’m delighted to welcome as this month’s guest storyteller, one of my newer blogging friends, William (his WordPress username Billybuc). I really look forward to his weekly Tuesday posts that are always packed full of interesting and informative things.

Time to hand over to him now,  for a two-sentence hook, followed by an extract from his latest novel, Shadows Over A Hangman’s Noose…   

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HOOK 

Eli Baker has dreams, and Melanie Hooper has visited him in one, along with four other orphans who are also missing.

The search is on, and Eli Baker is the right man to delve into the case of the missing orphans; however, Eli soon finds that evil acts are not only performed by evil men, but by Evil itself.

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EXCERPT

“I’m no psychiatrist or psychologist.  I don’t know a damned thing about how the human mind works, why one abuse victim will become a counselor while another will become an abuser, why serial killers snap and feel a need to destroy innocence, or why one day a soccer dad buys an AR-15 and unloads a magazine in a crowded mall.  All I know is the aftermath stains us all forever, and the whys will visit us in our dreams until the day we draw our last breath.

The second case I had as an army investigator was a child abuse case, a little nine-year old girl in the hospital for a broken arm, doctors and nurses suspicious about bruises on her upper arms.  They made the phone call that dragged me out of bed at two a.m. on a muggy night near Fort Hood, Texas.  The girl, curly blond locks pasted to her forehead, her mother holding her good hand, her two sisters standing nearby, told me she fell down the stairs and she was so sorry she bothered everyone, and mom nodding and saying her daughter was just clumsy like her mommy, laughing with a little too much nervous energy to appease me.

I coaxed an address out of the mother, drove to the off-post housing and found dad, a master sergeant, sleeping the sleep of the innocent.  He wasn’t too happy, me waking him up, and he was even less happy when I mentioned the bruises on his daughter’s arms, and he was downright pissed when I asked him if he had anything to do with those bruises.  He pulled his right arm back, fixing to turn out my lights with a massive punch, and I snap-kicked his kneecap.

That was ten years ago. The master sergeant is still in prison on three counts of child abuse, a history of beating his three kids in some confused attempt to quiet the demons only he could see and hear.

No, I’m no psychiatrist.  All I know is the stain never goes away, and rabid dogs need to be shot.”

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From “Shadows Over A Hangman’s Noose,” the third in the “Shadows” series, available in hard copy and Kindle at Amazon.

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You can find the links to previous guest storyteller posts at 

Friday Fictioneers — Whiskers

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They called me Whiskers, but in my head I was The Terminator, rat and mouse zapper extraordinaire.

Master had always paid me my dues with gourmet cat food, until his employees at the flour mill went on strike on health and safety grounds, after the death of a worker from respiratory disease.

Following a fortnight’s standoff, Master downgraded my dinners to the supermarket’s own brand. Fine punishment, considering my workload had increased. So I went on strike, too.

The last I saw of Master, he was a skeleton, the rodents had trebled in size, and I took instant early retirement.

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Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo prompt: copyright ©  Sandra Crook

Friday Fictioneers — Uncle Bogeyman

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“If you don’t behave yourself, the bogeyman will come and get you.”

Toby sat up in his bed hugging his knees, his back pressed to the headboard. The only comfort was his old bear, pressed against his belly, out of sight behind his legs’ defensive drawbridge. “Bogeyman? No.”

“He’s outside, lurking in the shadows, hungry for you. Move over now. Let your uncle in for a hug.”

Uncle Rob’s ragged breath stinks of old rugs and tobacco. He tugs at the drawbridge with pudgy hot hands. “Shush! Stop blubbering. This is our secret. I’ll call the bogeyman if you tell.”

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Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo prompt: copyright © Shaktiki Sharma

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