Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction Weekly Series

Anyone remember What Will You Write? I’d mentioned that I wanted to bring it back eventually. Well, it sort of is coming back, but I want to run the idea I have for it by you first.

First of all, it will probably be under a different name. It’ll be competitive, and I want the name to reflect that.

Second, my idea for this is to have it as a weekly feature. With the success of Authors Answer, I’d like to ask for a group of people to submit weekly flash fiction of only 100 words. That’s much shorter than the original What Will You Write? And with only 100 words, it’s easier to write something every week.

Third, the group of people that will be writing will be the same each week. For this, I want those people to be absolutely sure they can submit something every week. I haven’t decided how many people will be able to participate, but I don’t think there’ll be a maximum. However, I’d like to keep the same group of people for a month at a time. Every month, new people can join and those who wish to stop participating can stop.

Finally, the way it will work is as follows. The participants will submit their stories to me by email. I will post the stories without their names in a post that contains a poll.  Anyone can vote in the poll for the story they like the best. This will be completely anonymous so that the participants have a fair chance of winning that week. Every week, I will post the stories with the winner or top three, and link back to the original post, which will have been edited with the authors’ names included. The following day, the new round starts.

Every month, I’ll write a spotlight post featuring the month’s winners, and at the end of a full year, I’ll post a ranking of all the winners. The top winner may receive something, but I have no idea what it would be at the moment.

I’d like to hear what you think. If you’re interested in participating in something like this, let me know in the comments. When I start this, I will make an announcement for people to apply to participate. If you leave a comment here, it’s not an official application, but I will do my best to try to contact you when it’s starting to see if you’re still interested. It will likely start in spring, after my move to Canada.

For everyone else, I’d like some feedback about this. What do you think? Any suggestions? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

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A to Z Reflections

A-to-Z+Reflection+[2015]+-+LgIt’s been nearly a week since the end of the A to Z Challenge.  I completed it successfully and on schedule.  Looking back, I think it was not only a successful challenge, but also gave me something more. I proved to myself I could write consistently every day. This will give me the confidence to write my book every day, even if it’s a little at a time.  I just have to give myself a monthly goal.  And that’s what I’ll do. I’ll tell myself to write at least 500 words a day. At that pace, I should be able to finish Journey to Ariadne (which is not a book) this year.

In addition to that, I’ll be able to get to work on both my short story sci-fi series and my first Ariadne novel, which will take place on Ariadne after the events of the A to Z Challenge. If you haven’t read my A to Z Challenge, well, here’s your chance.  Every part linked to right below.

If you read all of it, thank you very much. I appreciate it. Leave any comments you have about my challenge or talk about your challenge below. I hope you had a successful challenge, too.

The Zoologist

And so we come to the end of the A to Z Challenge. This was a fun challenge for me, and I got to write about Ariadne. For those of you who read these brief windows into the world of Ariadne, thank you for sticking around. Consider this a preview of what’s to come in future books. You’ve met some of the key characters, though there are others who will play a major role. But with this final part, you’ll see one big potential problem for the colonists.  Enjoy.

The Zoologist

Ariadne

Northern Ipeiros Continent

Twenty-ninth day, third month, fifteenth year after colonisation, Ariadne Era (3/29/15 AE)

Preston Moore crouched behind a jumble of boulders. Next to him, Tracy Spacek recorded the scene with a camera. What they saw Preston couldn’t quite believe. The bipedal creatures were mammalian in appearance, though they resembled nothing on Ariadne or Earth. He estimated they were three metres tall. They were completely covered with a brown hair, and had two arms and two legs. But that’s where the similarities to the legendary Sasquatch ended.

“They appear to have two knees and two elbows on each limb,” Preston narrated. “They walk on their toes, and their hands have four fingers, all completely opposable. The oddest features are on the head. No nose that I can see, but their eyes are on the sides of their heads. Their mouth is a long proboscis, reminding me a bit of anteaters, but I don’t think they have any jaws. I can’t guess about their diet. On either side of the neck are two gills or breathing holes.”

Two of the four creatures turned their heads toward the pair of observers.

“Shit. I think we’ve been seen,” said Tracy.

One of the creatures approached them with caution. It stopped five metres from them and its eyes focused on Preston. Then he heard it. Squeals and pops filled the air, but there seemed to be a pattern. It was language, he was sure of it.

“I don’t understand,” said Preston.

The creature blinked its large eyes. Images flooded Preston’s mind. He couldn’t make any sense of it. He saw images of life forms he’d never seen before, one blue with a vague resemblance to an insect. He saw the double-helix of DNA. He saw landscapes, a dull grey spacecraft, and a field of this being’s species dead.

“Stop!” said Preston. “I don’t understand.”

The creature’s shoulders slumped and it turned. It looked back once more at the scientists and walked back to the other three.

“We’ve invaded someone else’s world,” said Tracy.

“Did you see or hear any of that?” asked Preston.

“Everything.”

The Youth Coordinator

It’s the second last letter of the alphabet! Time for the letter Y in the A to Z Challenge. This was the most difficult job to figure out. I didn’t even know what it would be until about 24 hours ago. But here it is. You get more of Solona. Enjoy!

The Youth Coordinator

Ariadne

New Athens

Sixth day, fifth month, thirteenth year after colonisation, Ariadne Era (5/06/13 AE)

Carl Snyder sat on the sofa, a tablet in his hand. Next to him sat Solona Knight. He had his assignment, one that the Governor hoped would be successful.

“Solona,” he said. “I’ve asked you here to make a proposal. You may be only eleven, but you have shown a lot of maturity, so I’m going to speak to you like an adult.”

She nodded. “Okay.”

“You’ve shown some great natural leadership skills, and you’ve done an amazing job helping the other kids who have the same abilities as you. But Governor Fernandes wants to have something more formal in place. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“Yeah. I think he wants a group made for us,” said Solona.

“Yes, that’s right. And he would like you to be in charge in the future. But for now, there will be adult supervision, mainly from me. This group will help all of the kids, including you, develop their skills in a safe environment. We don’t want any of you getting hurt trying to figure all of this out by yourselves. We think there should always be a responsible adult around, but it’s better if you could all practice together. What do you think?”

“It sounds like a good idea. You want me to be a leader?”

“Yes, I’d like you to be the leader for the other kids. I’ll just be supervising and making sure no one gets hurt. In two or three years, you could take over as you learn more leadership and management skills. How would you like that?”

“I think it’s what I’ve been doing all along. So, yeah, that’s no problem.”

“Okay, great. Is there anyone you’d like to assist you?”

Solona looked at the list of children on Carl’s tablet. “Mmm, I think Chisa Hara and Danny Bosch would be great.”

“Chisa’s only nine right now. Are you sure?”

“Yeah, she’s great. She’s very responsible. And Danny is great with the kids. They all look up to him. I don’t always agree with him, but he’s good.”

“Okay, I’ll have to talk to them and their parents about this. We can talk more tomorrow about how to set it all up. Thanks, Solona.” He held out his hand for her to shake. She slowly raised her hand and stopped.

“One thing, though. I can’t stop kids from practicing by themselves. I don’t want to be responsible for them making that mistake and getting hurt.”

“I wouldn’t expect that of you. I just think you’ll be a great teacher and role model for them,” said Carl.

Solona smiled and shook Carl’s hand. “It’s a deal.”

The Xylophonist

The letter X! Surprisingly, this was not the most difficult letter of the alphabet to use for the A to Z Challenge. That honour goes to the letter Y.

Before you begin reading this part of the story, I just want to remind you of the calendar system used on Ariadne.  There are twelve standard months of twenty-nine days each. But at the beginning of the year, there’s a Celebration month that is three days long, unless it’s a leap year. Then it’s four days long. The leap year comes every ten years. You can read all about it here.

Now, enjoy the magic!

The Xylophonist

Ariadne

New Athens

First day, Celebration month, eleventh year after colonisation, Ariadne Era (0/01/11 AE)

Twelve thousand people stood before him. Konrad Fleischer occupied the stage with the Governor of the Ariadne colony, Paolo Fernandes. He had never been at such a large event. Half of New Athens must have been there. It was the first day of the new year, the tenth anniversary of landing at this site. This very site, now called Landing Square. This was also the first leap year. The Celebration month this year was four days long. He expected a big party. But here he was, standing on stage with the most famous man on the planet ready to play the xylophone.

Konrad looked around at the audience. Many familiar faces. He noticed that the Governor had been speaking, but had no idea what he was saying. He forced himself to pay attention.

“The first ten years of our colony have been an incredible success. There have been some disappointments, but most of all, amazing surprises. Tonight, we have one of those surprises. I’ve invited Solona Knight to the stage to demonstrate something for you. I’m sure you all know what it is, as some of you with children have seen this with your own eyes.” Paolo Fernandes looked back at Konrad and nodded. “Solona, please join us on stage.”

The young girl, wearing a green dress and her long brown hair tied back in a ponytail, climbed the steps to the stage. She must have been around nine years old, if Konrad’s math was correct. She was the first to display the magical ability of energy control. It wasn’t really magic, but everyone kept calling it that. Some form of telekinesis, or something like that. He didn’t know the terms. He was a musician, not a scientist.

Solona stood next to the Governor. “I’d like to thank Governor Fernandes for inviting me up here today on this great anniversary. I’m sure you know my story, but I’m not so sure if you’ve seen what I can do. I’ve heard some of you may be scared of what I can do. But please don’t be scared. I think this is an amazing gift from Ariadne, and I want to use what I can do for the good of everyone.”

Such poise and confidence, Konrad mused. She was a celebrity, and she knew it.

“Let me show you a little of what I can do,” she said.

Konrad readied his mallets. He struck the fiberglass bars, beginning his own composition, Ariadne Landing Movement Number One. Then he heard the gasp of the audience. He smiled as he saw the fire above Solona form into a dragon.

The Waitress

We now enter the final four days of the A to Z Challenge! It was actually rather difficult to choose the jobs for the final four letters, except for Z. I’ve known what Z would be for quite a while. X is tomorrow, and I had a tough time with that one. Y still hasn’t been chosen. But here is W.

The Waitress

Ariadne

New Athens

Fourth day, seventh month, ninth year after colonisation, Ariadne Era (7/04/09 AE)

“Sal, I’m going on break,” said Kaoru Hara as she walked through the kitchen and back to the staff room.

“Right,” he responded. “Bit slow out there now?”

“Not a single person out there. Shane’s taking care of everything.”

“Enjoy.”

Kaoru grabbed a tablet from her bag and checked her messages. Two messages. That’s odd, a message from the school. She tapped on the call icon and watched the small waveform animation. A face appeared on screen. Margaret Sanderson.

“Mrs. Hara? I’m so glad you called,” she said.

“Is there something you wanted to talk to me about?” asked Kaoru.

“Yes. I’m afraid there’s something I need to see you about. It has to do with Chisa.”

Chisa? She couldn’t have fallen off the table, could she? She’s always climbing up there. “What happened?”

“Well, this is a bit hard to explain. You know the incident two years ago with the young Knight girl?”

Knight girl? Kaoru’s eyes widened. “No. I mean yes, I know what happened. But there must be a mistake. Chisa? She couldn’t—“

“I’m afraid this isn’t the second time a child has exhibited unusual abilities. Chisa has shown the same abilities as Solona Knight. She showed me a small flame. It always seems to start with fire with these kids. I suggest you come over here to see her. She’s really frightened.”

“Of course, I’ll be there in a few minutes,” said Kaoru. She turned off the tablet and ran to the kitchen.

“What’s up?” said Sal.

“Sorry, Sal. I need to go to Chisa’s school. Something happened.” She pulled off her apron.

“No problem,” he said. “Take care of your kid.”

“Thanks. You’re the best.”

Kaoru dashed to the break room and grabbed her bag. Why does this have to happen to my kid?

The VTOL Pilot

On the letter V in the A to Z Challenge. That leaves us with a challenging final four letters. But I get a day off to contemplate what to do for them. This entry contains some language, so if four letter swear words offend you, then you don’t read enough non-YA fiction. Just a friendly warning.

The VTOL Pilot

Ariadne

New Athens

Eighth day, second month, eighth year after colonisation, Ariadne Era (2/08/08 AE)

“Landing pad is clear,” said the voice on the radio.

Barry Wong lowered the VTOL. Then it was dark. The lights and all instruments went out. He jerked the manual controls up. “I have a problem here,” he said.

“What’s happening? We lost computer contact,” said the control tower.

The lights returned and instruments turned back on. “I don’t know what just happened. I lost all the lights and screens in the cockpit,” he said as he regained control. “Everything is back.”

“We have contact again.”

“I’m getting this thing down before it does anything like that again.”

Barry landed the craft without any further incident. He checked the instruments and everything read normal. He removed his straps, opened the cockpit door, and bounded down the steps.

“Hey, Barry,” said a young blonde woman. “What the hell happened up there?”

“Never thought I’d see your face again, Kristina,” said Barry. “Nearly pissed myself up there. Everything went dark in the cockpit. I need a diagnostic run.”

Kristina connected her tablet to the VTOL data port with a cable and tapped a few times on the screen. “Diagnostics running.”

“Shit, that scared the hell out of me. Never seen anything like that happen before. With all the redundancies in the systems, that should never happen,” said Barry as he gesticulated.

“Well, I don’t have your answer. Diagnostics complete. Everything is normal. The computer recorded the power drop, and it was within the power system for the cockpit itself. The backups would’ve failed anyway. It lasted one point six seconds only, enough to make you shit your pants. But all systems are normal now.”

“That shouldn’t happen. How is that even physically possible? The circuits themselves stopped working?”

“That’s what it says. I don’t understand it, either. But I’ve been hearing about this kind of thing happening all over the place. Sudden power cuts, but the cause is unknown.”

Barry sat on the steps to the cockpit. “I need a drink. Is this planet screwing with our electronic systems? Some strange magnetic field or something?”

“Well, I’ll get this data to the university, then I’ll dig around inside this piece of beautiful garbage,” said Kristina.

“I’m getting my drink now.”