Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose and poetry

Archive for the tag “Novel excerpt”

Snowy Monday Morning #Haiku191 & #Novel-in-Progress Excerpt

alongside snowfall
chalk acquires a creaminess
hitherto unseen


I’ve decided to take about a fortnight’s sabbatical to complete the first draft of Twicers,  the futuristic satire I started writing during National Novel Writing Month, 2017.

In January, for Friday Fictioneers, I posted a 100-word excerpt from the viewpoint of my main protagonist, Japeth. Today, you are to meet Blip, who has Asperger’s Syndrome and works as a computer and robot maintenance engineer at the Duffers’ Centre, a futuristic take on the Job Centre.

THE EXCERPT (260 words)

Overtime felt good because it meant starting work after closing time. No people. Just robots and a row of dispensing machines stocked with salt and vinegar crisps and cherry red energy drinks that she would raid when spring arrived.

It was February, with plump snowflakes tumbling through the twilight. The building inside was neither hot nor cold, but warmer than the temperature outside. The toughened glass windows had security blinds. Tonight, a few disgruntled duffers had gathered outside, looking as if they wanted to throw something harder than snowballs at the window, not that it was yet minus one degree Celsius and cold enough to make a decent one.

Blip hurried into the Centre, her graphite earmuffs over the hood of her hoodie and under the hood of her graphite parka. She saw the duffers without meeting any of them in the eye. Not that she was afraid of them. Simply, she wasn’t in the mood for conversation. But then she was never in the mood for conversation. On the rare occasions she had to pretend interest in what someone else was saying, it was agony, unless they were talking about animals, alternative energy, astronomy, chess, or computers, but only if they knew their subject and weren’t spouting bullshit.

She knew ‘bullshit’ was a silly word, as humans did not literally spew bull’s faeces out of their mouths; however, it was an excusable addition to her vocabulary as it had a hard-hitting sound to it and she couldn’t think of a more concise way of describing such idiocy.

Friday Fictioneers — Memory Stoked

The writing of my latest tome is taking longer than I expected, thus my urge to take a breather and take part in this week’s Friday Fictioneers challenge. Many thanks to Sandra Crook for the photo prompt and to our dynamo of a host, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

My apologies for posting yet another excerpt from my novel Counting Magpies (last seen disappearing through a black hole into another universe, otherwise known as the publisher’s submissions backlog!).

Genre: Speculative fiction
Word Count: 100


Janice has never lived in a city akin to Warsaw, or witnessed multitudinous fire-gutted buildings, some with bodies inside. I trudge after her, weighted by a memory.

When I was seven years old the Mafia burnt down my favourite ice-cream parlour—some kind of turf war—with my friend, her older sister, father, and grandmother inside. Afterwards, I’d obsessed over visions of gallons of ice-cream melting into a rainbow stream that ran all the way out the door and down the road to forever, not to hell but to paradise. This fantasy was better than imagining the family incinerated alive.


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.


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.           


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.


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


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.”

January’s Guest Storyteller, William D. Holland


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 when he isn’t tending to his urban farm in Olympia, Washington.


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…   



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.



“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.”


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


You can find the links to previous guest storyteller posts at 

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