Three Line Tales: End of story

For Sonya’s Three Line Tales photo prompt.

photo by Clem Onojeghuo via Unsplash

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Every market day for the last twenty-seven years he has set up his stand, laid out his merchandise, books stuffed with magic between their shining covers, and waited for customers.

In the beginning, he had sold books; people had stroked the bright coloured covers and dipped inside, tasting the contents first, and he had watched their faces grow absorbed, the worries of their hum-drum lives put on hold.

Things change, laws and attitudes, and today, as the police make him pack away the shining friends that no one has glanced at in weeks, he knows he has to leave and find a place where people still need magic in their lives.

 

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Big deal

Tomorrow the third and final book in The Pathfinders series is released. It should be a big day, but I can’t honestly say it thrills me to the core. In two and a half years I’ve had six novels and several short stories published. I believe I write well, and a handful of people have told me so. Maybe it’s true. Whatever, the bottom line is that I haven’t got what it takes to flog books. Because it isn’t enough to write the bloody things, you have to work like a door to door double glazing salesman to con people into buying them. I’m tired. I’d like to write and earn a bit of money from it, but it’s not happening. I have loads of WIP and the motivation to finish any of them just isn’t there.

This summer we are trying to get our very basic, if not primitive, new house into a fit state to live in, patch up and sell the house in town, sort out the five children who are being turfed out of the nest and make sure they all have roofs over their heads. We are battling at a 100 kilometres distance with horny handed peasants with harvesters, the water board, the neighbours who want to build a lake next door, the removal man who’s playing hard to get, and worrying about not having the money to do what needs doing. These are important things, not blathering on about imaginary friends.

I don’t have the time or the energy to promote my books in a low key way, it’s not in my nature to push them in an in your face kind of way, and I don’t have the means to buy advertising to do it for me. I’m not a ‘street team’ person, I’m not going to chat about my characters and pretend they’re real, I’m not going to do blog tours and rafflecopter stuff, or pay for reviews or giveaways. Even giving away review copies has been a waste of time. I know other authors manage to sell their books. Either they are doing a better job of selling themselves, or they have a more dynamic publisher, or they write better books than I do. I know, you can’t have more than two items in an either…or phrase in English, but you can have as many as you like in French, so…

Whatever the reason, I’m backing off. My self-published books are going into an induced coma, and if my publisher doesn’t get into the swing of promotion, The Pathfinders is going to die the death too. I’ll still write poetry and short pieces, and I might even potter along with a WIP, but until the miracle happens and the books already available start to sell, it’s not worth the hassle of even attempting to find a publisher. What about agents? Don’t make me laugh. Just don’t.

Sorry to sound so miserable, but I’m very tired and broke. Tomorrow is release day, again, and unfortunately that means absolutely nothing. I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again, there are just too many books available, too many readers expect to read for free, and too many ‘novels’ are utter shit. We are adrift is a sea of merde. I give up.

 

New blog agenda

Life is getting very full and complicated and I need to be more organized so I’m starting with this blog. From now on, there will be less random posting, and more theme days.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will be poetry days:

Monday I thought I’d start a poetry showcase. If you’d like a poem, or your poetry in general to feature in a post send me the link to your blog where the poem is posted. If I get a lot of entries, I’ll either have to choose a ‘winner’ or use a first come first served system. Either way, if you don’t get the spot one week keep trying. Contact form is at the bottom of the page.

Tuesday is poetry challenge round up,

Wednesday is the new poetry challenge . You know the rules for the poetry challenge, and that will remain unchanged.

Thursday and Friday will be flash fiction days.

Saturday and Sunday I will post book reviews, my own promotions, and author interviews. I can’t take any book review requests, I just don’t have the time, but if you would like to take part in an author interview, just use the contact form, specifying that’s what you’re interested in.

There’s still time to sign up for my newsletter

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and for details of my own books

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Microfiction: the Books serial

The seven 99 word microfiction episides of the story, grouped into a single flash fiction piece and renamed, The Man with the Golden Pen. Thanks to Charli Mills for the prompt. Follow the link for the round up of stories she inspired.

Spruyt_Landscape_with_birds

She ran her finger along the spines of the books on the shelves

Read it, read it, readitreaditreaditreadit…

Her finger ran out of books and found a door at the end of the shelf.

Private.

She shrugged. This was a public library. She tugged on the handle and opened the door. A man, bald, glasses, seated at a desk, raised his eyes.

“Sit,” he said and pushed a book across the desk. “Read that.”

“Why?”

“It might teach you how to find your way home.”

She turned. The door clicked closed. She tugged on the handle. It was locked.

 

With a glare at the man behind the desk, she took out her phone.

“Who are you calling?” he asked, raising his eyebrows. “The Marines?”

She slipped the phone back in her pocket.

“Nobody. No signal.”

“What a surprise.” He tapped the cover of the book. “Read it.”

“You can’t keep me here. It’s illegal.”

The man got to his feet. “If you say so.”

She threw herself at the door, beating it with her fists.

“They can’t hear, you know.”

“Open the door!” she screamed.

He shrugged. “I’ll be back later.”

Turning away, he walked through the wall.

 

She ran her fingers across the wall looking for a secret panel or something. It was smooth as ice. After a flurry of anger, sweeping papers and pens off the desk, she threw herself into the chair with a sob of rage. The book glittered, mocking her. Her first impulse was to rip the cover off and set light to it. She opened the desk drawers looking for a lighter. All were empty. The snarky fucker didn’t even smoke!

She opened the damn book, flipped through a few pages then riffled through to the end. The pages were blank.

 

“How can I read what’s not there?” she yelled at the empty room.

You have to write it first. The reply dropped into her head.

A string of obscenities formed a chaotic dance in counter-attack then faded into frustration. She picked up a pencil from the floor and opened the book. After writing something that resembled the graffiti you find in public toilets, she doodled a bad cartoon image of the bald-headed man. The pencil lead snapped and she tossed it back on the floor. A metallic glint caught her eye. By her feet lay a gold fountain pen.

 

Her first impulse was pure cupidity. Fingers gripped the pen avidly, weighing up the value. A shift, almost imperceptible, of perspective and she felt the smooth beauty of the object seep through her pores. The slender lines, the perfect balance in her fingers, like a seabird poised to dive, became the only way of looking at the pen. Timidly, she pointed it towards a clean page, let it plunge into the snowy whiteness and cover it with delicate black tracery.

She sat back and tried to make sense of the pattern. The filigree held a secret. She almost smiled.

 

 

The gold nib, a warhead, the point of magnified sunlight that starts a fire, wrote the words in a flood of emotion. This was the answer to the conundrum.

What conundrum? I’m being held prisoner!

Anger flared up, hot and red, and the words the pen wrote were passionate and full of fire. She gave herself up to the impulse to write and realised that it had always been there, bottled up inside. She wrote a poem full of wide skies, clouds, green waves and white birds, and when she had finished, the pen lay still and she cried.

 

“Wasn’t so hard, was it?”

The voice startled her, pulling her out of her winged flight to see what lay beyond the horizon. A smart answer bounced on the tip of her tongue then burst like a bubble.

“You could have made it easier.”

The bald-headed man smiled, and it was like seagulls laughing on a windy day.

“That would have been to miss the point,” he said.

“I know,” she said and handed him the pen. “Yours, I believe.”

“Keep it,” he said—“Souvenir”—and opened the door to let her back into a world of sunlit dreams.

 

Three line story

This is a great idea, a story in three lines prompted by the photo below. Please head over to Sonya’s blog to read the other stories.

Photo ©Glenn Noble

worldbookday

Take 1.

She bought a lottery ticket and gave it to him to look after.

They watched the draw on TV, and the result almost gave her a seizure.

He said he’d put the ticket safely inside the front cover of a book.

 

Take 2.

The shelves crowded closer in the dimming light.

Nobody heard when she called out that she couldn’t find the exit.

When the lights went off, she was alone—until the rustling started.

 

Microfiction: Books part V

Initial_s_Paulus_Frank_1601

Her first impulse was pure cupidity. Fingers gripped the pen avidly, weighing up the value. A shift, almost imperceptible, of perspective and she felt the smooth beauty of the object seep through her pores. The slender lines, the perfect balance in her fingers, like a seabird poised to dive, became the only way of looking at the pen. Timidly, she pointed it towards a clean page, let it plunge into the snowy whiteness and cover it with delicate black tracery.

She sat back and tried to make sense of the pattern. The filigree held a secret. She almost smiled.

Microfiction: Books part III

Next installment of the series inspired by Charli Mills’ prompt.

Photo ©Leningradartist

Nenartovich-Anatoly-Still-life-with-red-material-pos04bw

She ran her fingers across the wall looking for a secret panel or something. It was smooth as ice. After a flurry of anger, sweeping papers and pens off the desk, she threw herself into the chair with a sob of rage. The book glittered, mocking her. Her first impulse was to rip the cover off and set light to it. She opened the desk drawers looking for a lighter. All were empty. The snarky fucker didn’t even smoke!

She opened the damn book, flipped through a few pages then riffled through to the end. The pages were blank.

Microfiction: Books part II

This is an on-going serial inspired by Charli Mills’ 99 word story prompt.

Théo_Van_Rysselberghe_-_Portret_van_Marguerite_van_Mons

With a glare at the man behind the desk, she took out her phone.

“Who are you calling?” he asked, raising his eyebrows. “The Marines?”

She slipped the phone back in her pocket.

“Nobody. No signal.”

“What a surprise.” He tapped the cover of the book. “Read it.”

“You can’t keep me here. It’s illegal.”

The man got to his feet. “If you say so.”

She threw herself at the door, beating it with her fists.

“They can’t hear, you know.”

“Open the door!” she screamed.

He shrugged. “I’ll be back later.”

Turning away, he walked through the wall.

Microfiction: Books

Charli Mills asked us to write about libraries this week for her 99 word flash fiction challenge.

820px-Anker_Der_Gemeindeschreiber

She ran her finger along the spines of the books on the shelves.

Read it, read it, readitreaditreaditreadit…

Her finger ran out of books and found a door at the end of the shelf.

Private.

She shrugged. This was a public library. She tugged on the handle and opened the door. A man, bald, glasses, seated at a desk, raised his eyes.

“Sit,” he said and pushed a book across the desk. “Read that.”

“Why?”

“It might teach you how to find your way home.”

She turned. The door clicked closed. She tugged on the handle. It was locked.

Promote Yourself: Over to Susan Navas

I’m loaning my blog to another fantasy author today, and just for a change, a writer for children. Here is Susan Navas to tell us a bit about herself and her books set in Agnil’s World.

A very short while ago I started a new chapter in my life. Until the end of the summer term I was a primary school teacher in Cambridgeshire, UK and now I’m a full-time writer. If you had told me last year that I would be in this position now, I would have laughed. Inspired by a literacy unit of work I was teaching about stories set in imaginary worlds, I wrote a short story which became the basis of my first book. I took that story and began the journey into writing children’s fantasy in the autumn of last year. So far, I have three books in the Agnil’s Worlds series published by Ant Press. All the illustrations in the books are by Charlotte Moore.

The books follow the adventures of a half-elf called Aggie (Agnil in the elf worlds). A life changing secret is revealed to her in The Rise of Agnil and she discovers she has powers greater than any elf or human. With a magical trout which turns into an elf, a mysterious old man of the woods and an evil wizard, The Rise of Agnil has all the ingredients of a perfect fantasy for 7-10 year old readers.

What follows is the first chapter (kid size!) of The Rise of Agnil and its accompanying illustration by artist Charlotte Moore.

trout

The Rise of Agnil by Susan Navas
Illustrations by Charlotte Moore

Sitting on a small canvas stool on the riverbank, Aggie held her fishing rod in both hands. It was the first time her dad had trusted her to go fishing on her own. Until now, it had always been the two of them, always together. Aggie had pleaded with her dad and this time he’d given way.
The reeds that lined the bank on the far side of the river quivered in the cool morning breeze. As Aggie sat, she dug deep into her thoughts looking for an image of her mother. She had died a long time ago when Aggie was only three. Seven years of living just with her dad meant that her memories of her mother were fading. Please don’t let me forget her, she thought, and felt a warm tear roll down her cheek.
On her 10th birthday, her dad had given her a bracelet that belonged to her mother. Until then her wrist had been too small and he was afraid she might lose it. Her mother had always worn an identical bracelet but had another made to give to her daughter. The bracelet was precious, her father had said, and was all that was left of her. Aggie could never understand why her dad had never kept any photos of her mother and so all that was left were Aggie’s memories and the bracelet she now wore every day.
Glancing down at the silver bracelet, she reminded herself of its strange and delicate beauty. A silver tendril wound round her wrist, completing the circle with two leaves and a simple silver flower from which three small gemstones cascaded like coloured dewdrops; one purple, one claret and the third, a milky white, each one smaller than the next.
Suddenly, Aggie felt a powerful, sharp tug on the end of the line. She was pulled to her feet as the force dragged her closer to the water’s edge, her feet slipping along the muddy bank. She gasped from shock as she hit the icy river water but didn’t have time to scream. Then she was under the water. River weed tangled through her limbs, dragging her further and further down, deeper and deeper. Where was the river bed? I’m drowning, she thought. Darkness and cold surrounded her. She closed her eyes.
When she opened them again, she found herself lying on a bed of straw in a gloomy cave. A small fire was burning a short distance away and the smell of the smoke
tickled her nose. For a few moments she watched the flames as they licked around the glowing logs. And then she noticed it. Rather oddly, a trout stood next to the fire. Aggie rubbed her eyes in disbelief.
A trout? she thought. But trout don’t stand!
As she watched, the trout seemed to shed its skin and a thousand silvery scales flew like sparks up to the roof of the cave where they sizzled against the rock and became
small star-like lamps. Where before there had been a trout, now stood a strange small man.
He was a little shorter than Aggie, dressed from head to toe in bright green, his pointy ears sticking out beneath spiky blond hair. Aggie had seen pictures of elves in some story books she’d had since she was a small child and this little man looked just like one. All that was missing was the pointy hat. She thought she had to be dreaming; she knew he couldn’t be real and had stopped believing in the tooth fairy when a boy called Alex in her class had told her it was a load of rubbish that babies believed in. She didn’t want to be called a baby so had put thoughts of such things right out of her mind.
“Who…oo…oo are y…ooo..uu?” Aggie quivered. “Garallil, at your service!”
The elf smiled and bowed politely. As he held out his
right hand to one side, a shiny silver platter appeared on top of it. Aggie couldn’t help thinking how he looked like some kind of undersized waiter!
“I am so pleased that I found you, Agnil! Now you can fulfil your destiny and help us get our world back to normal!” He held out his free hand to pull her up from the ground.
Aggie’s mind was in a whirl! How did this being know her name? Her father was the only person who ever called her Agnil and only when he was telling her off. The last time had been the previous week when she’d stubbornly refused to do the washing up.
Aggie hesitated and tried to stand on her own, but her legs felt stiff and her chest felt as if someone had been sitting on it. Eventually, she let the elf help her up despite being unconvinced that he’d be able to, as he was so small. Garallil, however, lifted her to her feet effortlessly.

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If you have children who like a dose of magic with their adventure reading, you might like to check out Susan’s books. You can find them here.

http://smarturl.it/AmazonAgnil1
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rise-of-agnil-susan-navas/1117790597?ean=2940148919179&itm=1&usri=2940148919179
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id788443271
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-rise-of-agnil-1
Also on Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/book/230477571/The-Rise-of-Agnil-Agnil-s-Worlds-1