#AmWriting #AmReading News – February 2015

It’s almost the end of February and therefore time for another reading and writing round-up. This time of year seems to fly by, which is not a bad thing as I’m not a fan of Winter. I do like the cold-and-crisp blue-sky days, but you can keep the grey-and-drizzly ones!

As far as writing goes, I’ve not been doing much at all (Every winter it’s the same: my fiction-writing brain takes a vacation between January and March. I only wish it would take my body with it. It could do with some warm sunshine.). Two of my stories have, however, been published and are now available for public consumption.

I hope you like them!

On the reading front, I’ve worked my way through four books.

indexI finished FlashDogs: An Anthology. This is a super read. I do have two short stories of my own in it, but that’s not what makes it super. What makes it super is that it’s packed with great flash-fiction and short stories spanning every genre imaginable. Obviously, I enjoyed some tales more than others, but that’s to be expected from a book that contains 110 stories written by 34 different authors. At £1.99 for the ebook and £6.38 for the paperback, it’s an absolute bargain. Plus all profits go to The International Board on Books for Young People, a charity devoted to encouraging excellence in children’s books, to supporting literacy and reading projects across the world, and to developing international understanding through children’s books.

17336666After spending the whole of the autumn reading flash-fiction collections, I felt the need to start the year by devouring a novel or two. I bought Deadly Heat ages ago, but lent it to my mum who then lent it to a friend, and it only found its way back to me at Christmas. After reading it in January, I quickly ordered the latest book in the series, Raging Heat, as I knew I’d need a February fix too.

For those not in the know: Richard Castle (played by the ruggedly-handsome Nathon Fillion) is the titular character in the TV show Castle. Castle is a crime writer who rides along (initially for research purposes) with NYPD homicide detective Kate Beckett (played by the mesmerizing Stana Katic). A series of spin-off books have been released. This is where it gets complicated: these books are “written” by Richard Castle and “inspired by” his adventures with Beckett. In the books, the writer is a Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist called Jameson Rook (See what they did there?) and the NYPD homicide detective is called Nikki Heat (hence the ‘Heat’ in every title).

20454547The plots in the books are loosely based on the plots in the show, but readers are meant to believe that the show is not a show but real life, and once you get stuck into the books, you really do start to believes that’s the case, and it becomes increasingly difficult to remember that both Castle and Rook are fictitious.

As far as I’m aware, the public doesn’t knows who ghostwrites these novels. Whoever they are, they do a pretty good job of capturing the show’s ethos – and bending my mind. The writing can be a little bumpy in places and both of these latest books could have done with another pass in front a proofreader, but when it comes to Fillion/Castle/Rook I can forgive anything!

428864Living Out Loud by Keri Smith is a cracking little book – although it’s not really a book; it’s more of a folder with lots of pull-out-able pages. As my fiction-writing-brain has been switched off since Christmas, I decided to give my creativity a boost with some new fodder. This book is packed full of inspiration to keep you dreaming and playing. There are games, projects, activities, crafts and ideas that open the eyes and mind to all manner of creative opportunities. If, like me, you’ve been feeling a bit stagnant on the creative front, this might be just the refresher you need. (Expect another post about the creative endeavours inspired by the book!)

#LastLineFirst – A #FlashFiction Challenge: Week 6

last line firstHello and welcome to another round of Last Line First. How did we get to Week 6 already?

Your last line prompt this week is from Killing to Save by Paul. I picked it as my favourite because it’s short and snappy and makes me want to read on.

As always, you have until midnight (GMT) on Sunday to comment on this post with your ≤200 word flash-fictions. Remember, you can tweak the last line however you see fit. For a full run-down of the rules and easy access to previous challenges and their stories visit this page.

So, here’s your new first line:

Sometimes you feel like you’ve just saved the world.

Enjoy!

#LastLineFirst – A #FlashFiction Challenge: Week 5

last line firstGood morning/afternoon/evening! Welcome to week five of Last Line First.

It was really hard to pick a favourite last line this week as there were so many great openers to choose from. I did eventually manage to settle on one though.

Your last line prompt this week is from The Blind Date by Kirsty. I picked it as my favourite because that ‘…’ is just begging to be replaced with a story.

As always, you have until midnight (GMT) on Sunday to comment on this post with your ≤200 word flash-fictions. Remember, you can tweak the last line however you see fit. For a full run-down of the rules and easy access to previous challenges and their stories visit this page.

So, here’s your new first line:

I don’t believe in love at first sight, but …

Happy flashing!

#LastLineFirst – A #FlashFiction Challenge: Week 4

last line firstHello and welcome! It’s week four of Last Line First. I wonder what stories will surface this time around.

Your last line prompt this week is from Fairground Initiation by Denise Sparrowhawk. I picked it as my favourite because it’s short, sharp and to the point. It’s also written in the second person which I find challenging to read and write. (Of course, you don’t have to write your story in the second person if you don’t want to.)

As always, you have until midnight (GMT) on Sunday to comment on this post with your ≤200 word flash-fictions. Remember, you can tweak the last line however you see fit. For a full run-down of the rules and easy access to previous challenges and their stories visit this page.

So, here’s your new first line:

You’ll know better next time.

Well, what are you waiting for? Off you go and … write!

#LastLineFirst – A #FlashFiction Challenge: Week 3

last line firstGreetings, and welcome to Week 3 of Last Line First!

This week’s last line prompt is from The Last of the Battle Queens by Nat Newman. I picked it as my favourite because when used as a first line, it begs a question – and that’s a great way to start a story.

As always, you have until midnight (GMT) on Sunday to comment on this post with your ≤200 word flash-fictions. Remember, you can tweak the last line however you see fit. For a full run-down of the rules and easy access to previous challenges and their stories visit this page.

So, here’s your new first line:

They will never, ever learn that lesson until it is too late.

I’m looking forward to reading what you come up with this week.

Now, my pretties … fly … fly … fly …