#8DaysofEther #FlashFiction 5: Throwing Rocks

*Cue Big Brother Voiceover Man*

Day 5 in the ‘8 Days of Ether’ contest and Natalie is telling her twitter-mates about her latest flash-fiction. They’ve been tolerant so far, but will another day of pestering push the twitter-sphere over the edge? Will Natalie find herself up for eviction, or at least on the receiving end of a reduced number of downloads?

*Cue Intro*

*Cue Big Brother Voiceover Man*

Well, it looks like Natalie has survived another day in the ‘8 Days of Ether’ contest, but what will tomorrow bring? Come back on Day 6 to find out …

 *Cue Credits*

All of Natalie’s contest entries are available to download via the Ether Books app:

  1. Lasso
  2. A Great Release
  3. Ballerina Dreams
  4. A Price Too High
  5. Throwing Rocks
  6. They Really Do Look Like Ants
  7. The Broom
  8. Pax

#8DaysofEther #FlashFiction: A Pit Stop

8daysofetherIt’s Day 4 of the reading phase in the ‘8 Days of Ether’ contest, which means we’re HALF WAY through, an appropriate point, perhaps, to take a pit stop and think about the competition so far …

The submission phase was hard work, but ultimately rewarding. There’s nothing like a deadline to focus the creative mind. Over the first few days of the reading phase, I’ve had fun promoting my entries, which is not something I thought I’d ever say. Being an introvert, I naturally shy away from self-promotion, but there’s something about the distance twitter provides that’s given me the confidence to plug my writing to a wider-than-normal audience. What’s really surprised me though is that I don’t seem to have annoyed anyone enough to make them unfollow me!

So far, the best thing about this contest has been that I have come across a number of talented authors whose work I might not have otherwise discovered. It seems counter-intuitive to plug other writers during a ‘most downloads wins’ contest, but it would be selfish of me to keep them to myself! Don’t take my word for it though. You can check them out on EtherBooks. They are, in no particular order:

And this brings me to my own Day 4 story: A Price Too High (written for the ‘Desire’ prompt). This is another of my ‘penned from scratch’ entries and one of my favourites. It’s a cautionary tale in which a woman discovers the one thing you should never trade, not even for your heart’s desire … Perhaps you’d like to download the app and read it for yourself?! Go on. You know you want to!

EtherAll my other entries are available to download too:

  1. Lasso
  2. A Great Release
  3. Ballerina Dreams
  4. A Price Too High
  5. Throwing Rocks
  6. They Really Do Look Like Ants
  7. The Broom
  8. Pax

#8DaysofEther #FlashFiction 3: Ballerina Dreams

bdweb
Image by Charlie Truell. Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-SA 2.0).

And so we’re onto Day 3 of the reading phase of the ‘8 Days of Ether’ contest, and today’s flash-fiction is called Ballerina Dreams. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about feel free to read this.)

I didn’t write Ballerina Dreams specifically for this contest. I actually wrote it about a month ago after spending a few minutes mindfully contemplating the fuchsia growing in our back garden. It seemed perfect for ‘Time’ (the Day 3 theme) though, because amongst other things (I won’t tell you what those things are, you’ll have to download the story and read it for yourself!) it’s also about the ticking away of childhood innocence.

So, if that’s whetted your appetite, please head on over to the Etherbooks app and download your copy of Ballerina Dreams. If you do, I’d love to hear what you thought of it. (I’m starting to feel like Oliver Twist here: Please, sir, I want some more … downloads!)

EtherAs always, my other entries are available to read too:

  1. Lasso
  2. A Great Release
  3. Ballerina Dreams
  4. A Price Too High
  5. Throwing Rocks
  6. They Really Do Look Like Ants
  7. The Broom
  8. Pax

#8DaysofEther #FlashFiction 2: A Great Release

A Great Release
Image by Erin Kohlenberg. Some Rights Reserved (CC BY 2.0).

Hello! Today, I’m blogging about my second story in the Etherbooks ‘8 Days of Ether’ contest. This is one of my ‘written from scratch’ entries and is probably the one I’m least confident about. But don’t let that stop you from downloading it! Please have a read and let me know what you think. It’s called A Great Release and is about a girl called Libby whose family is falling apart.

Diary entries are a bit of a departure for me in terms of fiction. Writing in a young teenager’s voice is also something I’ve not attempted much. As a mum to an almost-teenage son, a volunteer at my daughter’s school and a youth worker at my church, I spend a fair bit of time with young people, so I know, like, that they don’t all talk, like, as if they’re, like, from another, like, planet, but I’m also aware that I’m forty years old and therefore may as well be from another planet! I hope I have at least managed to give Libby a believable voice of her own.

This story was the hardest of the eight in terms of getting from prompt to idea, so I thought I’d share my thought process, so you can see how I traveled from ‘Hats’ to ‘A Great Release’. It went something like this:

Hats. Sun hats. Sports Day. Overheard last year: She’s really good at sport; she should have been a boy. Lost sun hat fiasco. Coloured hats for different teams. Not sending kid to school in sports kit. Wind blows hat off kid’s head. Chase across field. Sunstroke. Kite flying – looking into the sun. Peaked cap. Bobble hat. Keep head warm. Kid insists on wearing a wooly hat instead of a baseball cap despite the heat. Been there! I don’t think that’s the kind of hat your teacher meant. Irrational behavior. Outnumbered. Precious hat. Taken by the fairies. Time to give it up. Avoiding responsibility. Chef’s hat. Hairnet. Keep hair out of eyes. Dragnet. Crime solving chef. Hat knocked off by criminals running through the kitchen. Chinese takeaway. Mistaken identity. Puts on a hat to disguise self and hide face from CCTV cameras. Shoplifting. Stealing. Mugging. Cowboy hat. Magic Hat. Invisibility Hat. Intelligence Hat. Makes people see her differently. Crowned with a simple hat because they had now crown. De Bono’s Thinking Hats. The Red Hat signifies feelings, hunches and intuition. When using this hat you can express emotions and feelings and share fears, likes, dislikes, loves, and hates …

And that’s how I arrived at the idea for A Great Release. At first I was going to have an actual red hat in the story, but I couldn’t write it without it feeling forced, so I went for a metaphorical red hat: a diary. If you’d like to know what emotions Libby is expressing and to whom, you can download the story via the Etherbooks app. It’ll probably be quicker to read than this blog post!

EtherAll my other entries are available to download too:

  1. Lasso
  2. A Great Release
  3. Ballerina Dreams
  4. A Price Too High
  5. Throwing Rocks
  6. They Really Do Look Like Ants
  7. The Broom
  8. Pax

“Everyone should have a form of a diary, it’s a great release.” Stanley Victor Paskavich

#8DaysofEther #FlashFiction 1: Lasso

Worn
Image by Faye Godwin (All Rights Reserved).

Today, I’m blogging about the first of my entries into the ‘8 Days of Ether’ flash-fiction contest. It’s called Lasso, and is now available to download to your smartphone or tablet via the Etherbooks app. But before you do that (You are going to do that, aren’t you?!) here’s a little bit about how the story came to be.

Last year, I was given this picture (‘Worn’ by Faye Godwin) as a flash-fiction prompt for the website Stories with Pictures.

Gorgeous isn’t it?

What comes to mind when you look at it? The first thing that grabbed me was how the woman’s arms seem to be pinned to her side. It’s as if she’s been bound with invisible rope. The moment I had that thought, I knew I also had my story: the story of a young woman, the invisible ropes that bind her and her attempts to escape them.

Then there was the colour, the golden sandy colour. It made me think of heat and dust and needing to get cool and clean.

After that came something my father-in-law said once: the trouble is that wherever you go, there you are. (He’s a very wise man!)

Finally, all this amalgamated with my love of Westerns. As a kid, I spent many a happy afternoon watching John Wayne and his ilk toting guns and wrangling cattle on TV. (This has probably contributed to my bordering-on-the-obsessional love for shows like Justified and Firefly and anything else vaguely pioneery!)

Thus, Lasso was born. And when Etherbooks announced that its theme for Day 1 was ‘Adventure’ I immediately knew that this was the story I had to submit.

As I said, you can read it via the Etherbooks app on your smartphone and tablet. Here’s the Etherbooks page about Lasso. Here’s where to find the Etherbooks app. When you’re on the app, just search ‘Natalie Bowers’ and you’ll find me. All my other entries are available to download too. Fill your boots!

Lasso
Image by Elizabeth Halsan (CC BY-NC 2.0).
  1. Lasso
  2. A Great Release
  3. Ballerina Dreams
  4. A Price Too High
  5. Throwing Rocks
  6. They Really Do Look Like Ants
  7. The Broom
  8. Pax

Enjoy!

 

“Well, there are some things a man just can’t run away from.” (John Wayne in Stagecoach, 1939)

#8DaysofEther Done and Dusted!

8daysofether“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” Gene Fowler.

Substitute ‘an empty Word document’ for ‘a blank sheet of paper’ and you’ll have summarised my writing experience over the last eight days.

I’m not sure how I ended up embroiled in the latest Etherbooks contest, but somehow I found myself endeavoring to write and submit one flash-fiction a day for eight days, each one inspired by the daily prompt provided by Ether. I blame my dad. I inherited my impulsive side from him!

Despite wanting to pull my hair out on more than one occasion (I find the generating ideas part of writing the hardest.) I’m glad I signed up. Over the last eight days, I’ve tweaked three previously published stories, extensively rewritten two previously un-submitted stories and written three stories completely from scratch. I’d have liked to have written them all from scratch, but I decided a long time ago that I’m not Superwoman, and writing when the kids are around is just a recipe for grumpiness!

Anyway, the titles (and the prompts that inspired them) are as follows:

  1. Lasso (Adventure)
  2. A Great Release (Hats)
  3. Ballerina Dreams (Time)
  4. A Price Too High (Desire)
  5. Throwing Rocks (Risk)
  6. They Really Do Look Like Ants (Tragedy)
  7. The Broom (Family)
  8. Pax (Song and Dance)

Within the next few days, they’ll all be released to the Etherbooks app and will be available for download to your smartphone and/or tablet. Once they’ve appeared on the app, the competition participants have eight days to plug their stories via social media and generate as many downloads as possible. The winner will be the writer with the most overall downloads, plus the Ether team will be picking their favourite story from each day.

So, if you’ve enjoyed my fiction in the past, you might like to download the Etherbooks app and stay tuned for updates. If you’ve never read anything of mine before, you still might like to download the Etherbooks app and stay tuned for updates. Also, I’ve already got 14 stories on the app, so you could read those in the meantime if you like. Either way, I shall be blogging and tweeting about my stories once they’re available, so apologies in advance!Ether

(You can follow @etherbooks on twitter and the #8daysofether hashtag for information on all the participants and their stories. Ether are also on Facebook.)

Flash-Fiction News

Ballerina Dreams
“Ballerina Dreams” by Charlie Truell. Some Rights Reserved. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Oops! It’s been a while since I blogged, but never mind, I’m blogging now with a few bits of writing news …

Firstly, I’m really pleased that my flash-fiction “Ballerina Dreams” is going to appear in the Flashflood on National Flash-Fiction Day. It should pop up around 2pm on the 21st, so if you’re interested, you can keep a weather eye for it here. They’re accepting submissions until June 19th.

Secondly, this year’s National Flash-Fiction Day Anthology, Eating My Words, has been published. You can download it from Amazon for the bargain price of £1.99. I don’t have a story in it this year (I didn’t submit one, but I like to think I’d have made the cut!) but I’ve already read a few, and it’s just as brilliant as in previous years. Some of my favourite flash-fictioneers are featured: Angela Readman, James Coates, Calum Kerr, Sarah Hilary, Nik Perring, Ed Broom, Tim Stevenson, Cassandra Parkin, Kevlin Henney, Cathy Lennon and Shirley Golden.

Thirdly, Ether Books is running its “8 Days of Ether” flash-fiction competition. You can submit one piece of flash (up to 500 words) every day for the next eight days. Each day there’s a new theme, and each day the previous day’s entries will be released to the app where they can be downloaded and read. Details here.