100 Nightmares – coming very soon


Horror is not a genre I usually feel comfortable with. That said there is something about the writing of K.Z. Morano that draws you in, in spite of yourself.  How someone who looks so sweet, could write such gut-wrenching stories baffled me when I first read her work. But she is a writer who can turn her pen to other genres too, and I admire her ability to do that.

She has put together 100 of her stories into a book ‘100 Nightmares’ which will be released very soon.  Read them if you dare…

100 NIGHTMARES – COVER REVEAL!

COMING THIS APRIL! — official date TBA

100 nightmares x900 (3)

100 NIGHTMARES by K.Z. Morano is a collection of horror stories written in exactly 100 words and accompanied by a few illustrations.

It takes a brief encounter with death to cause enduring nightmares.

A single well-placed blow could maim you for life…

One well-placed word could haunt you forever.

 Micro-fiction is a blade—sharp, swift…

Sometimes it goes for the jugular, killing you in seconds.

Its silver tongue touches your throat and warm blood hisses before you can scream.

 Sometimes, the knife makes micro-cuts in the sensitive sheath of your sanity, creating wounds that will fester throughout eternity.

 Take my 100 words daily like a slow-acting poison or read them all and die of overdose.

Your call.

It’s your suicide after all.

 

The Author

K.Z. Morano is an eclectic eccentric… a writer, a beach bum and a chocolate addict who writes anything from romance and erotica to horror, fantasy, sci-fi and bizarro fiction. Over the past few months, her stories have appeared in various anthologies, magazines and online venues. Visit her at http://theeclecticeccentricshopaholic.wordpress.com/ where she posts short fiction and photographs weekly.

For more updates on the story collection like K.Z.’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/100Nightmares

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Writerly Reflections


I realised years ago that I wanted to write.  My first attempts at short stories ran to three handwritten pages or so, and I would make my sister sit and listen, along with an audience of soft toys and dolls. She got quite bored with my tales of princesses lost in woods and toys that would come alive at night when their owners were fast asleep.

I moved on to bigger projects when I was about nine or so.  I announced that I was writing a play entitled “The Little Bull” and would be happy to let my parents read it when it was finished, which I confidently announced would be in a week or so.

A few weeks later, after losing my way with the plot, I threw away all the pages I had written and started again.  The play would still be about the little bull, an antique milk jug spotted in the window of a little shop in town, but this time I had a definite idea how the play would end. I made the mistake of mentioning the play to my teacher who got very excited and asked me every day how things were going, until I handed in the finished pages.

I must be honest here and say that I did expect some modest praise for my efforts.  My parents told me how good they though the play was and thought perhaps the school may want to put in on at the end of term. My teacher had other ideas.

She gave me what I am sure she thought was a fair critique of my play; at nine years old you are not ready for talks about directions, or voice, or sense of place or even a timeline. She lost me.

I didn’t attempt to write anything for a long time.  Then in the last year in high school, the English teacher mentioned a short story competition and urged as many of us as possible to ‘give it a go’.  I wrote furiously about a girl who finds some letters written to her grandmother years before she was married, obviously from a lover.

It was all going beautifully, until the boy from the local bank asked me out on a date. I had fantasised over him for months …

Over the next few years, I married (not the banker)  – moved to Scotland – moved back – had a child– got divorced and wrote nothing.  Years rolled by and still I wrote nothing, although I was sure that I could write something.  Sometime.  Perhaps.

I read everything I could find about writing and successful writers; about skill with words and plot, about voice, a sense of place and dedication to their craft.  I joined a creative writing class a few years ago, with eight other women and two men.  Towards the end of the first term, Arthur who wanted to write a book about fishing, disappeared.  He never returned to the class.  Tristan our tutor, ‘who had been published’, tried in vain to find out what had happened to him. Tony, now the only male in our class, decided to put this strange happening to good use and wrote a short story about ‘The Disappearance of Arthur.’ It did nothing to shed any light in Arthur’s disappearance.

I stayed the course and received my fair share of honest criticism and some praise too I might add, but found the experience stifling.  Although I enjoyed our discussions about Hemingway, Carter, Chekov et al, and no doubt gained a lot more than I thought I had, when the class decided to move on to studying poetry the following year I decided not to join them. I made some good friends and we keep in touch.  None of them has as yet finished the novel they began in the classroom, but they are all convinced that they will finish them one day.  And I wish them well.

Since starting my blog I have met lots of good writers. I look forward to reading their posts and stories.  I’ve found that a lot are waiting for that phone call or email from an agent telling them The Good News, whilst others are happy just to write when they can and entertain the people who follow them.

I find that life has a habit of interfering with my writing, perhaps that’s as it should be; perhaps all other writers and bloggers experience the same thing and I am not just as organised as they. I would like to write more and do find it frustrating when I can’t. I read most all of the Daily Post hints and tips on blogging, feeling that I am missing that vital key to unlock the blogosphere.

Perhaps I am thinking too much about the why and should just get on and write.  Perhaps as Hemingway put it:

‘We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.’

ERNEST HEMINGWAY, New York Journal-American, Jul. 11, 1961

 

Rewritten for Weekly Writing Challenge: Writerly Reflections.

 

The Games Children Play


An early prompt this week, thought I was still caught up in jet-lag-holiday-mode.

Once again, Queen Rochelle gathers her workers about her with a new prompt, this week the photograph is courtesy of John Nixon. I love the wizened looking trees and twisted roots, and guess the photo will provide the usual brilliantly inventive stories from the other Friday Fictioneers. You can read mine below the photograph.

Copyright John Nixon

Copyright John Nixon

 Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

The Games Children Play

‘You abducted him, admit it’

‘No!’

‘You say you know where he is’

‘Sort of’

‘So you took him?’

The world slows, the mist comes.  I see a blindfolded child standing in front of a tree; five older boys are running away.

‘I can see him, in a wood’

‘You can see him in a wood, what sort of crap is that?’

‘I came here to help. I see things. I didn’t take him, but I can see him’

‘You see things?  Then I guess you know what’s coming! Lock him up Ben’

I see the bough break.

And fall.

 

You can read more stories here 

The Entertainment


Another photo prompt this week for the wonderful group of writers, who make up the Friday Fictioneers Family.  Mother Hen Rochelle Wisoff-Fields takes charge every week, posting the photo – this week courtesy of Adam Ickes – and urging us all to ‘write what we see’.  This is what I saw…

Copyright - Adam Ickes

Copyright – Adam Ickes

Genre: Horror

Word Count: 100

The Entertainment

Silence as the numbers are called. Nervous boys go to their allotted place, although challenged, no-one refuses. My number is called last. For one brief moment, as I join the other ninety-nine, I consider the challenge. My mother is ill and Mary’s pregnant, but The Glory will change everything, forever.

Outside, we line up shoulder to shoulder. The General reads the rules of ‘The Entertainment’.

You will walk until only one remains; to him will be awarded The Glory – anything he wants for the rest of his life.

Those who stop walking will be ‘removed’.

We walk.

The crowd roars.

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

Inspired by ‘The Long Walk’ a novel by Stephen King – his first, published under a pseudonym Richard Bachman. Set in a future United State of America, the story tells of the annual event called The Long Walk.  On 1 May each year 100 teenage boys are drafted into taking part; the idea is that they all walk until there is only one left standing.The walking never stops. If anyone does stop they get a warning, three warnings and they are ‘ticketed’ which eventually you realise means they are shot. Read more about his novel here –  http://stephenking.wikia.com/wiki/The_Long_Walk

 

To read more FF stories, click on this link –    

 

When We Were Young


I love the sentiments Renee has expressed in this poem and, speaking as one who has a few miles on her clock, I can confirm that life just keeps surprising the hell out of me.

Renee Writes Here

When we were young.

We thought we knew so much didn’t we?

Our young brains could only comprehended the present.

We never thought of the future and what we’d be like when we were middle aged.

Now, we are no longer children, yet our hearts are childlike.

We are less stodgy than our parents were at this time in their lives.

At least we hope we are.

We think about the future.

About our children all grown up and moved away.

Living lives we’ll know only a smidgen of.

We think about retirement.

Maybe, we’ll live somewhere warm in the winter months.

Yet we live with that niggling fear that we’ll miss out on being groovy grandparents.

We’re no longer young, and that’s okay.

I’ve the feeling that what’s around the bend is going to be so much better than we anticipated.

*Special thanks to my friend Stephen Uelk for…

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The Island


Hello from sunny Wales!  It’s been a long time since I could say that.  Seems the rains have eased, fingers crossed.

Another Wednesday, time for another Friday Fictioneers story.  Thanks as usual to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who is in sci-fi mode this week and also to Danny Bowman, for providing the photo prompt.

Copyright - Danny Bowman

Copyright – Danny Bowman

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

The Island

The island has been in my family for generations.  It’s home to seabirds and seals, virtually uninhabited most of the year. The crossing can be quite dangerous; I was intrigued by his suggestion that we take the boat across.

‘You OK?’

‘Not really, be glad to land’

‘You didn’t ask why’

‘Thought you’d tell me once we got there’

‘You think you’re going to get there?’

‘What?’

‘Where did you put the papers from Islandhopper?’

‘That was years ago. I’m still not signing’

He made a grab for me as the boat rolled.

The ocean holds lots of secrets

For more FF stories click Mr Froggy 

Before applying for that job vacancy – Are you sure you are ready for work?


 

JobSeekDuring the past few weeks I have spent a lot of my time interviewing candidates for a vacancy we had in our service department.  When you cut away all the job description jargon, the job is basically one of providing the best in customer service.

The ability to write clearly, spell most common words and know what numbers are, is a distinct advantage in this and I would dare to suggest, in most other jobs.

On-site training is provided, so an ability to understand and assimilate spoken instructions is also essential.

In the past, to save time, we have used recruitment companies to help find us the ‘perfect candidate’. My experience of using this method has left me very cynical.  Despite talks of ‘criteria’ and ‘job positioning,’  I find that inevitably I receive lots of CVs that bear no relation to the original ‘perfect candidate’ we first spoke about.  It seems sometimes that the recruitment company’s idea of finding the right candidate is a bit like testing if spaghetti is cooked, if you throw enough of it at the wall, some is bound to stick!

A recent article in the local paper about the level of unemployment in the 17 – 24 age group  pricked my social conscience and I placed an ad in the local job centre, giving a full description of the job and what was needed for a candidate to be successful. I was heartened and also saddened by the 145 replies I received via email.

I have often been criticised for being ‘too grammatically correct’ when writing an email – I tend to use capitals at the start of a sentence, proper words and spell them correctly and, horror of horrors, I break my message down into paragraphs to make is easier for the recipient to read.

This is an extract of one of the emailed CVs I received:

 I’m writeing about the job you put in the job centre as I think I could do it.  I am working as a carer at present but the moneys not much good and im a bit fed up and could do with a change.the only thing is the advert said I’d have to work some Saturdays and Friday night is mostly when I see my mates down the pub so I couldn’t do many Saturdays I hope that’s ok with you

There were a few that were really good, but too many were like the example above. They had no idea what a prospective employer was looking for. No grasp of how they should present themselves.

I asked about twenty people to attend interviews. Five just didn’t turn up or bother to get in touch; six were already receiving unemployment benefit and had no intention of working for me, just wanted me to sign their sheet to say they had turned up so their payment would continue. Surely this can’t be right?

Of the remaining nine, they all turned up on time and were reasonably well presented. I offered the job to a young man who I thought would work well with our team; he was young and bright and with training I thought he would do well.  I arranged some training days for him and spent some time re-organising the service reception area, setting up another work station in time for his first day. He didn’t turn up for work.  I rang his home to enquire if he was ill and his mother told me he had taken a job at a nearby Call Centre as ‘the money was a lot more than what you offered him.’

All this left me wondering just what happens these days when teenagers are getting ready to leave school. What sort of advice do they receive about the world of work?  Do they really have any idea what will be expected of them?  And, most important of all, do they get any advice or help from their parents and immediate family?

It’s all well and good government telling the private sector to buck up and take on more young people, whilst I fully  expect to offer them training to do the job, I don’t expect to have to give them training in basic courtesy and common sense.