Flash fiction and floating voters

Flash Fiction Curtis Bausse

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I’ve been working hard on Perfume Island, so I wasn’t expecting to post very often, but I did think once a week, doing Matt’s Flash Fiction Foray. But I think he must be busy as he hasn’t provided any prompts of late, so while I hope he’ll return before too long, here I am being unfaithful by switching to Ad Hoc, an initiative run by the Bath Flash Fiction Project. I came across it thanks to the excellent Damyanti Biswas, whose story, Picasso Dreams, was commended in the inaugural edition of the Bath Flash Fiction Competition (her interview about it is here). While Matt takes a song title as a prompt, here it’s a single word, which has to appear in a story of 150 words or less. Not all submissions are accepted, but if it is, it appears on the site anonymously and readers can vote on the one they like best. The winner gets a free entry into the next stage, the competition proper. Last week’s prompt was ‘float’, so my take on that is up there now. I won’t spoil the anonymity by posting it here now, but it’s a great way of encouraging flash fiction, so don’t hesitate to go along and vote.  There are 87 entries this week, so I don’t suppose many people plough through them all, studiously taking notes before choosing a favourite – a rigorous procedure, it ain’t. But if you read a few and vote for one that you like, maybe I’ll get a few votes coming my way 🙂 Not to worry if you can’t – I’ll post the story here in any case. Not next week, though – off for a fortnight travelling.

 

Flash fiction: Jealous

He wears flashy trainers. Likes Coldplay. Smokes. Any one of those is a turn off, but all three combined? What she sees in him is beyond me. But then, Jessie’s shallow. Must be to find a jerk like Josh cool. Josh and Jessie. Makes you think of soggy fish and chips.

He wasn’t cool in History today. Dipped a hand in his rucksack and… well, seeing how he freaked, it must have been seriously gross. And he snarls at me, ‘I’ll get you for this!’

What the…? Me? Because I sniggered? Everyone did. As if I care what she does. Jerk.


In response to Matt’s Flash Fiction Foray, where this week’s prompt was Labyrinth’s song Jealous. My thanks to Matt for hosting this – not only does it give me a chance to try my hand at flash fiction, but since I’m easing up on the blogging to finish Perfume Island, it allows me every so often to stay in touch.

Flash Fiction: Death of a Bachelor

‘We’re safe then?’ whispered the gangly one.

The fat one nodded. ‘If all goes to plan.’

‘If?’ His beady eyes glared in the shadows. ‘We’re counting on you. A fortune’s at stake. Not to mention our positions.’

‘Yes, yes. It should be over now. But I don’t know -‘ He glanced round. ‘If the you-know-what was strong enough.’

The other flapped a hand in exasperation. ‘Come!’

Footsteps echoing, they scurried through the dark, draughty corridors to the chamber. Timidly, the fat one opened the door. ‘Yes!’

Grinning with delight, the two cardinals danced a sedate jig round the Pope’s dead body.


In response to Matt’s Flash Fiction Foray, where this week’s prompt was Panic at the Disco’s Death of a Bachelor. Although this precise scene is not historically attested, many an unfortunate Pope has met with just such a fate. The most recent was John Paul I in 1978, after only 33 days. He upset more than a few with his plans to clean up the Vatican and though it’s never been proved, it’s more than likely he paid the price. Quite a risky profession all in all.

 

Thursday interview: Curtis

Perfume Island Curtis Bausse

Um, Curtis, nice as it is if you to come along to be interviewed, I already have a schedule extending a couple of months. But since this is your own blog, you’ve given yourself the right to barge to the top of the list. I assume there’s a good reason for this.

I’m a narcissist. There’s nothing I like more than interviewing myself.

I take it that’s a joke, right? Actually, what I heard was that you’re stopping Pic’n’Post. Rumour has it tomorrow’s will be the last. Is it true?

Not just Pic’n’Post. The whole blog.

What? No way! But you can’t do that!

Well, it’s my blog, isn’t it? Of course I can.

But why?

I’m in the middle of Perfume Island, the sequel to One Green Bottle. Not the middle, really, I’m three quarters done and I have to get it finished. I did nothing for six whole weeks over Christmas. I got back to Mayotte two days ago and I’ve just got back into the swing. I need another three months of sustained concentration. So the blog, I’m afraid, has to go.

You mean for good? After putting in all that effort?

Oh, no. I hope to be back before the summer. But we’ll see. I’m making no definite plans.

And in the meantime, nothing at all?

There’ll be posts on Curtis Bausse Books. You know,  about writing and so on. A bit more serious, though I’ll keep it light-hearted all the same. And on this one, I might make an exception for Matt’s Flash Fiction Foray. I’ve been doing it for a while and I’m kind of hooked. I’d never done flash fiction before and I find it a great exercise. Like doing a 100 metre sprint as opposed to the marathon of a novel – if you’ll accept the comparison from such a terrible athlete.

OK, so it’s not a complete disappearance. And the sooner you finish Perfume Island, the sooner you’ll be back blogging.

Well, yes, but it’s not a race. I set myself deadlines but it won’t be finished till I’m satisfied.

But you never are, though. Surely that’s a problem?

OK, I mean satisfied enough. It’ll never be to my satisfaction but I’ll get to the point where any changes I make aren’t going to improve it.

I see. Well, I hope it goes well. I’ll do my best to help.

Very kind of you, Curtis. Thank you.

Flash fiction: To The Rescue

calvary riding to the rescue

After a while it was always the same – reporters, witnesses, police outside the hotel. Same words repeated, same pictures. He switched channels: a black and white, childhood world. He heard the murmur of Julia’s voice in the next room. The embassy hot line again. He squeezed his eyes.

Then she was with him, staring at the screen, trying to make sense of it. Hastily, he switched back to the hostage crisis. ‘Anything new?’

She shook her head and turned away, defeated. The knot of anguish tightened in his chest. Oh, for the bugles, the thundering hooves, unstoppable.


Many thanks to Matt for hosting the Flash Fiction Foray. This week’s prompt was Stop The Cavalry, by Jona Lewie.

 

Three new pages!

They’re all on my other blog, the one where I get to be a serious indie author posting about writing, promoting and… well, nothing else really, because that’s all indie authors do.

Aware that even the smallest exposure can help, I’ve added an Indie Books Page with bite-sized reviews of books I’ve read. Not many for the moment but I’ll add more as and when.

There’s a One Green Bottle audio page – the first four chapters recorded. If you who don’t like reading on screen, or want to be entertained as you cook, this is for you!

Finally, win a holiday break in Provence! That’s right – a short story competition, first prize being a long weekend in Provence as a guest of yours truly. Check it out!

The five moments of morning

IMG_0117

Wow! I like that! Why don’t I…?

Yes! That’s what I’ll do – write a story that dazzles and glows with an understanding of the heart-breaking beauty of life. Right! To work…

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A bit more awake now…

 

Morning coffee - inspiration!

Muse? Are you in there?

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From the deep obscurity of my mind – an idea!

This is it! The vision! Thank you, Muse! A couple of hours from now, I’ll have a story that sparkles, uplifts, inspires like the golden glow of dawn. Here we go!

Um… Uh… Arrgh! No, no! Concentrate, brain! More coffee, quick!

Two hours later…

Mangrove

Hmm… Not quite what I had in mind. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow…


 

There’s a monthly photo challenge over at A ‘Lil Hoohah – you take five photos on a given theme and link back to the blog. This month’s theme is Morning.

OGB released!

It’s out! Took a bit longer than expected due to some cover issues. But here’s the link, if you feel tempted. And this is one occasion when giving in to temptation can only be good 🙂 For the moment it’s just the e-version, the paperback will be up in a few days. There are many people I’ve thanked in the acknowledgements, so here I’ll just say thank you to Aaron Meizius, who not only accepted it for publication but has been cooperative and supportive throughout the process.

I haven’t done a quarter of what one should in terms of promotion, so now I’ll have to get stuck into that. OGB is released, but the real work is only just beginning. Competitions, giveaways and things like that. In fact why don’t I start straightaway? Yes! For the next two weeks a free pdf version is available to anyone promising to write an Amazon review afterwards. As far as I can tell, honest Amazon reviews are the single most effective means of getting noticed. So if you want to share your opinion, click here to receive the free version, or write directly to curtis.bausse(at)outlook.com

cover01 cover04

Speaking of covers, I ran a poll a while ago asking readers choose their favourite. Most opted for the black cover – the red one was third. But when I asked a couple of marketing experts, they said, ‘Oh, no. If it’s on an internet page, you’ve got to go for the red. Stands out better.’ So there you go. I thought I was being all democratic, but power today is with the marketers. As Stendhal no doubt realised, since he covered both angles very cleverly.

Back in the small place

So after a very pleasant, but quite distracting summer, we’ve just got back to Mayotte. I say ‘the small place’ because it is, well, small, but also because it was the first in Clara’s series People Who Live in Small Places. I was honoured to start that series off back in January – it now includes several others: Virgin Gorda, St. Croix (US Virgin Islands), Roatan (Honduras), Gibraltar and Brunei, to name just a few. You can check out the series here and for anyone interested in expat life, Clara has also written an excellent Expat Partner’s Survival Guide.

Though I’ve been away for almost three months, I only had to get on the barge, as the ferry between the two islands of Mayotte is called, to feel as if I’d never left. The lagoon, the bouéni in their colourful salouvas, and the occasional gendarme made sure of that. It’s good to be back, settling down to resume work on the sequel to One Green Bottle, provisionally called Perfume Island (i.e. Mayotte). Hopefully also get back into blogging, not just posting but exploring other blogs – it’s all been a bit sporadic of late. As far as this blog goes, Pic’n’Post will move to Fridays and from next week, the Thursday Interview returns. I’m grateful to Sir Souvenir Mug for agreeing to kick off the new series – find out what he has to say on 25th! In the meantime, to those who’ve recently discovered this blog, welcome, bienvenue, karibu!

Flash Fiction: Happy

brady-mansion

In response to my favourite flash fiction event, Matt the Bookblogger’s Flash Fiction Foray. The prompt this week was the Pharrell Williams song, Happy.

‘Up 82 places from last year. 141st.’

‘Why, that’s wonderful dear. Congratulations!’

‘Champagne?’

Magnus popped the cork. They sat for a moment, savouring the taste of happiness.

‘You must be over the moon,’ she said.

‘Absolutely. A dream come true.’ He shook his head, laughing. ‘Incredible!’

Caroline rose, kissed him lightly and dived into the pool.

Magnus reclined, contemplating the Grade II listed mansion they’d bought the previous year, and the shiny Lamborghini beside it. A cloud passed over the sun. He put down his glass and frowned. ‘Goddammit!’ he muttered. ‘Still 140 people in Britain richer than me.’