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F3 Until Again and Meanderings

I have a lot of kettles, personal and professional, to watch right now, but this last week Thomas Pluck joined the crew of Flash Fiction Friday as the Week 3 moderator and came up with a dandy of a prompt. There was an eloquent introduction to the prompt, but the balls of it was write about the old man in the picture above.

I went back and forth, because the story that came to mind — which could have been a bigger story, better told — isn’t in my usual wheelhouse as they say. I may go back and rewrite/edit it for submission somewhere. I think it’s got legs.

Read “Until Again.”

As for writing, I’m at a crossroads. In late winter I had a very clear idea of what I was going to do in preparation for my weekend at BoucherCon 2011. Have a finished draft of DIMES FOR DYING or ONE WITH A GUN. Then life got a little wonky in April, leaving me with little time to focus on the larger projects. Just bits and pieces. Doubtful of a finished product, at least in terms of finding an agent.

Shotgun Honey continues to do surprisingly well. Enjoying the submissions from all the great talent. I have some favorite new writers now. We’ll be running an interview series over there soon on the off Tuesday or Thursday.

Next week I’m going to announce a writing contest. You’ll get roughly a month to complete. The prize will be a copy of Frank Bill’s CRIMES IN SOUTHERN INDIANA. A book of short stories from the darker side of rural Indiana. I can’t recommend it more, but I will. You don’t have to wait until the contest, go ahead and pre-order a copy today.

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Killing Hope and other maladies

I should just start off by thanking Christopher Grant, the editor of A Twist of Noir, for letting me participate in his 600-700 spot/word challenge. I hadn’t any stories out there prior, and “Killing Hope” is my second accepted story, third published. So Grant and ATON are the bee’s knees around these here parts.

I wrote “Killing Hope” about 6 or 7 months ago, though I had promised to write it much sooner. The initial idea came about during an episode of IN TREATMENT staring Gabriel Byrne with Hope Davis as a recurring and possible love interest. I’m not a regular watcher, but enough to get the gist. So I’m watching Byrne and Davis debate about parenting, he obviously has feelings for her character and I can’t stop thinking wouldn’t it be great if he just got up from his chair and killed her?

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Father’s Day

Morning.

Happy Father’s Day.

It wasn’t until 1994 that I ever celebrated Father’s Day. I have no recollection of the holiday in my family as a child.

It’s not that it didn’t happen, I just don’t remember. At least not for me personally. My father was absent.

On January 4, 1994 I became a father and the following June my hapless parenthood was celebrated. And every year since.

And as it would happen, I told my own father Happy Father’s Day a year later.

Many of my fellow writers and friends share this day with memories. Anything I would have to share would be fiction, so here’s a story I wrote last year titled, “Father’s Day”

Read Story: http://ronearl.com/fiction/fathers-day/

It might be a odd Father’s Day tale, but it’s a good read. Enjoy.

Again, Happy Father’s Day.

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Addicted to Flash

Tap, tap, tap.

Clears throat.

Hello, I like flash fiction.

Kind of sounds like a testimony. That I’m standing behind the podium of a Friends of Bill meeting. Confessing to clear my soul. To open up and ask for forgiveness. Find salvation. Can I get an ‘Amen’ up in here?

It’s OK, flash fiction isn’t an addiction. If you don’t know what it is — well simply, flash fiction is any fiction that generally falls below 1000 words. Some may push that depending on the source and the need. At the end of the day, flash fiction is short short fiction.

It is fast. It is succinct. It is direct and to the point. Short and sweet.

Some think, because it’s short, it is a lesser format. That somehow akin to an abridged story. That it’s not quite a story. That the reader is being cheated somehow.

If written well, by someone who cares about the craft of story telling and an understanding how to economize words, well, honestly it can be just as powerful.

Personally, I’ve invested a lot of time in flash fiction during the last 12 months since discovering the format. Before May of last year, I didn’t know of such a beast. That there are hundreds, if not thousands, of writers putting out, creating these short short stories. Especially in my favorite genre, Crime.

But I did discover flash fiction. Sites like A Twist of Noir and Thrillers, Killers ‘n Chillers or Flash Fiction Offensive and Shotgun Honey.

Shotgun Honey, of course is one of my investments of time, signing on with Kent Gowran as an editor.

Another large investment, to promote the format is the weekly story prompt site, Flash Fiction Friday. An homage to Friday Flash Fiction and Cormac Brown.

And of course I’ve contributed a few of my own stories, most of which are available on this site.

I am not alone.

Far from it. Taking any of the links included in this post you can hopscotch for hours reading story after delectable story. Nice edible bites that you can string on for weeks.

If by chance you twitter, you tweet. Every Friday you can find dozens of writers pimping their fiction under the hashtag #fridayflash.

Yes, I like flash, and I bet you — if you try — you will too.

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Where I don’t talk about Flash

Hello there. I see you’ve survived the Rapture or the raptors. Either way, here you are reading this post.

Congratulations.

Now it’s been a while since I’ve posted something other than a story. And since — like you, unless you’re a zombie — I survived as well, I thought it was time to give my blog more attention. Daily attention.

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Daniel B. O’Shea – Tornado Relief Challenge – Treading Water

This week over at Dan O’Shea’s GOING BALLISTIC blog, he challenged his friends and readers to write a bit of flash fiction. To motivate the writers and help out the Red Cross, and the many devastated by the violent weather, heavy rains and tornadoes that have swathed through the South, Dan being the big man he is will donate $5 for each entry.

How could I not contribute. The restrictions on the story were that it relate to rain and that it be 1k or less in word count. I got the rain, but oops, I went over the word count a little. Sue me.

Hope you enjoy the story. Be sure to read the stories by the others who want to see Dan separated from his hard earned money (for a good cause).

Link – http://ronearl.com/fiction/treading-water/

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Terribleminds – The Greenhorn

Over at Chuck Wendig’s TERRIBLEMINDS, Chuck has been throwing down a weekly flash fiction challenge. Each week I’ve been meaning to participate. In fact I’ve got two drafts from previous challenges needing some attention. Eventually, I’m sure.

This challenge featured a prompt of 5 random words: “Figure”, “Dusk”, “Flirt”, “Mobile Phone” and “Wig”.

Link: http://ronearl.com/fiction/the-greenhorn/

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“Fish Stew” and other edibles

I haven’t posted much lately, which doesn’t make this blog all that interesting to most, I aim to change that in the new year. Like with with most of my writing I need to do more of it.

I’m sure I didn’t mention it here, particularly, but Christopher Grant, the mind behind A Twist of Noir (ATON), announced a challenge in early Fall and I accepted. ATON has been publishing some of the finest bits of fiction on the web, nearly 600 stories by the time Grant got a marvelous idea. For the next hundred and one stories, 600 – 700, contributors would have to match the word count to the post count. I opted to write two stories, so for story 641 I had to write a story exactly 641 words. And I did.

“Fish Stew” published today. I guess this technically is my first non-self-published story. I’ve posted quite a few stories these last few months thanks to prompting from Steve Weddle, Patti Abbott and my own workings with Flash Fiction Friday.

Hopefully it will be received well. My next story for the ATON 600-700 challenge is story called “Killing Hope.” I’ve got a few drafts down, but well over the 672 my story is required to be. When I’m done, I should be a killer.

Speaking of Steve Weddle, Steve has put the finishing touches on the Winter Edition of NEEDLE: A Magazine of Noir. It promises to be great one with the first part of an ongoing serial by Ray Banks and stories by Anthony Neil Smith, Kieron Shea and quick up-and-comer Matthew McBride. I put my order in, and you can too. You can even save the cost of shipping by using promo code: HOLIDAY305.

I was laid up a bit the last couple days, so I spent it reading some shorts online. I especially got caught up in the work of Ian Ayris, a Londoner, who writes this bloody brilliant twisted tales. I been gobbling them up over at Pulp Metal Magazine. I don’t what I like better the completely British names of his protagonists or the twisted endings? My favorite has to be “Cold” about poor Jonathan Sideboard, his stony father and an old bike. Actually what I love the best is the language. Spot on as they say.

Will try to post more. If I don’t before Christmas hits, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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F3 – Cycle 6 – Cross Country

I’d been lax in contributing to Flash Fiction Friday, but since I kind of manage the project I thought I ought to give it a try at this week’s (Cycle 6) prompt that was provided by Darren Miller. The prompt was a classic starter sentice: “The train seemed unusually empty this morning.”

This is what I came up with in a quick couple hours. And it’s a little different from what I usually write.

Cross Country

Hope you enjoy. Crits and Comments always welcomed. I expect some editorial mistakes.

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The Needle And The Damage Done

Steve Weddle held a writing challenge this last week in the name of Hilary Davidson. The prize her book, THE DAMAGE DONE, signed. Pretty sweet. Only requirements were that it reference Canadian Neil Young and actress Ava Gardner.

The story came quick, but went through several iterations. It doesn’t feel quite complete, but I hope it makes for a good story a good story and you enjoy.

Link: http://ronearl.com/fiction/the-needle-and-the-damage-done/