Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New Anthology Release

As my good friend Cathy Webster pointed out the other day, it's only a few sleeps until the release of The Best of Friday Flash (volume 2). Or BOFF2, as it is fondly referred to within the Friday family of writers. Forget the jokes...we've heard 'em before...

I was up early this morning to write create finely sculpt this blog post to announce that we both have stories that made the cut and will appear in that fine anthology. I am quietly celebrating...having added champagne to my morning orange juice. This is a grand substitute to the harsh-tasting vodka that normally flavours that beverage. I now hold the date of October 30th in as high regard as Christmas Day and that special day in May when my income tax return magically appears in the mail box. But enough about me, lets talk about BOFF2.

The Friday Flash family was created in 2009 by Jon Strother. It's an Internet meme designed to increase your visibility as a fiction writer. The idea is simple enough. Write a piece of flash fiction, defined as 1000 words or less, post it to your blog, and then on Friday announce it to the world via Twitter or some other social network along with the link to your post. If you use Twitter be sure to include the hash tag, #fridayflash. You can read more about Friday Flash here.

The Best of Friday Flash (volume 2) can be described as nothing less than an international affair. It is published by eMergent Publishing, an Anglo-Australian small press founded founded by Paul Anderson and Jodi Cleghorn in 2009. The anthology contains short stories by established and emerging writers from the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Italy and a couple of other countries yet to be named.

I have enjoyed the work of many writers in this anthology for a long time through the Friday Flash group and am pleased to have my name in the table of contents with them. I am also pleased to see that Canada is so well represented in the Best of Friday Flash (volume 2).  Cathy Webster, that fine writer from Bracebridge, has two stories in this anthology. Other Canadians? You will also find the writing of T.S. Bazelli, Lauren Cude, and ex-pat Jen Brubacher who now lives in the U.K. (we won't hold that against her!). Please click on their names and check out their blogs.

If you are a fan of short, crisp stores pick up a copy of the Best of Friday Flash (volume 2) by ordering online. You can order this publication in paperback or you can download it in various formats. Click here to order and see a full table of contents for this anthology.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

#Fridayflash~ Thor's Hammer


The three children floated on their raft in Diablo’s pond. Meaghan, usually boisterous, was quiet today. Her knees were drawn up to her chest and she stared into the murky water.
Luthor nudged her with his shoulder. “What’s wrong?”

She shrugged in response.

“Holy crap! Did you see that trout jump?” Dickie shouted.

“Shut up, I’m talking to Megs,” Luthor shouted, swatting him with a rolled up horror magazine.

“Jeez, sor-ree!”

“We’re your friends, right?” Luthor continued. Meaghan stared ahead, nodding slightly. “Tell us. Maybe we can help.”

“It’s just…I’d really miss you guys if we moved.” she said.

“But you told us your mom wouldn’t move again until you finished school. That’s still four years away,” Dickie said.

“Yeah…,” Meaghan answered, tears tracked down her pale cheeks.

“…it’s really got to do with that man—“

“What man?” Luthor said.

“You’ve seen him around. That creepy, bald guy at the end of Cochrane Street?”

“I know him. He hardly ever goes out.”

“I’ve seen him too. He jogs every day. Just before dark,” Dickie added.

“Tell us…,” Luthor whispered.

“He’s talked rude to me. Dirty stuff. “He also touched me…,” she added, glancing at Luthor through reddened eyes.

Luthor grasped the edge of the raft, his knuckles white. “Did you tell your mom?”

“She wouldn’t do nothing. The same thing happened in Jersey three years ago.”

“What did she say then?” Dickie asked.

“She told me it was all a misunderstanding. A week later she had us packed and moved here.”

“I know you’re worried,” Luthor said. “But this is wrong and we’re going to fix it.” Dickie nodded in agreement.


“Don’t you worry about it, Megs.”

* * * * *

photo courtesy of www.nenature.com/
The boys had found a large, moss-covered boulder on a hillside far from the path. Luthor’s grandpa called it an erratic and said they were scattered all over New Hampshire during the last ice age. For three days they removed dirt from beneath the rock, propping it up with long bits of wood wedged into the dark soil.

On the Friday evening before Labor Day, Luthor stayed in the woods while Dickie waited near the jogging trail. As the bald man neared, the boy, frantically waving his arms, jumped into his path.

“Please help, mister—my friend’s hurt!”

“What happened?”

“I think he broke his leg. Come quick!” Dickie said, and dashed through the trees. The man hesitated for a moment and then followed the boy. They ran far into the woods, eventually stopping at the boulder.

Dickie was breathless. “Down there, mister,” he said, pointing under the erratic.

The man bent over the moaning boy. “Are you hurt?”

Dickie snatched the hammer that lay against the base of the rock and struck the man in the temple. Luthor scampered from the hole as his friend swung again, sinking the claw into the base of the man’s skull. He screamed, clutching at the hammer as Dickie shoved him into the void.

Luthor grabbed a shovel and rammed the blade into the man’s throat, unleashing a gush of blood. “That’s for Meaghan, you perv!” he hissed.

The boys removed the wooden supports, causing the boulder to list forward. They shoveled the excess dirt around the edges of the rock and covered the soil with moss, leaves and branches.

* * * * *

Luthor watched the grey clouds from his office; the rain pelted the window and wound down the glass in sparkling tears.

The intercom voice startled him. “Dr. Guttormson, your patient is in exam two.”

Luthor strode down the sterile hall, rapped the door and entered the exam room. A thin, vaguely familiar woman sat on the bench. She smiled and offered her hand. “I’m Meaghan King. You probably don’t remember me, but my name was Murphy when we were in junior high.”

Luthor chuckled and squeezed her hand.” Of course I remember you, Megs. How did you end up in sunny Seattle?”

“I’m in computer sales and my work transferred me here. Dickie Stein said I should look you up.”

“Dickie? We haven’t talked in years. When did you see him?”

“Years ago, after we moved back to New Hampshire. He showed up at my door one day selling life insurance. What a grand chat we had.”

“That’s great,” Luthor said. He swallowed and leaned closer to Meaghan. “Didn’t you and your mom leave town because of that bald guy…on Cochrane Street?”

She thought for a moment and laughed. “Oh that! Mom got another job in Boston and moved us away. Practically overnight. What I told you guys was a huge pile of crap. He never touched me—he never even talked to me.”

* * * * *  

Forgive me readers, as I haven't submitted a #Fridayflash story in over 22 months! The days leading up to Halloween seemed like a good time to throw a horror story out there, so I dusted off this one from 2010. My story, Thor's Hammer, previously appeared in 52 Stitches-Horror Stories (vol. 2), edited by Aaron Polson and published by his Strange Publications. A scary little gem to pick up before Halloween. Aaron is a horror writer second-to-none and you can follow him at his blog.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mushrooms and Fancy Hats

As with most conversations, I will start off by observing the weather...

We had a sub-tropical day yesterday with a high of about 20C (70F). It was mainly overcast so it didn't feel as warm as it could have. That's a far cry from the hint of snow that were observed on the rooftops of some parts of town on the weekend. I'm no weather man, nor do I play one on TV, but I believe that this spike has to do with the tropical storm Raphael headed in our direction. They are predicting it will pass us somewhere to the east so we won't be battered as we were by Leslie about three weeks ago.

The warm summer and comfortable fall have the grass growing like prairie wheat. I'm soon going to have to order ask bribe the boy to leave the cavernous depths of the basement to go out and mow the lawn.

Upon closer observation, I noticed a dark-coloured mushroom growing in the grass(ignore the weeds). This blackish (blue-ish?) nasty looking thing had me wondering if our front garden had been hijacked by  psilocybin (magic) mushrooms 'farmers' looking for a safe place to grow their crop. After a few minutes of internet research--Google images--I managed to find several photos of magic mushrooms.

photo courtesy of magic-mushroom.net
 The one pictured to the right certainly does NOT look like the fungus growing in the lawn. It's a good thing that I didn't add that to last night's pasta...whoa, just had a flash back to an old Cheech & Chong skit from the 70's...you remember that old shtick, don't you? I shall paraphrase...

"Looks like dog shit, smells like dog shit, feels like dog shit, tastes like dog shit. Must be dog shit. Good thing we didn't step in it!".

All that aside, supposing that it WAS psilocybin and I HAD added it to last nights linguine then perhaps I would have given up my trusty fez for some new head-gear. Something a little reminiscent of the old propeller beanies (see below). Were they from the 50's? Don't ask me...I wasn't around in those days. Perhaps, though, if I had some 'special' mushrooms I could be magically transported back...

"You want me to fly where...?"