“The Social Network” ~~ by John Nedwill

“The Social Network” ~~ by John Nedwill

Writing is meant to be a lonely thing, isn’t it? After all, the popular image of the writer is that of a solitary figure, closeted away in some garret or study, committing their thoughts to paper. And the actual act of writing is something that is done somewhere quiet, away from people, all the better for the thoughts to flow uninterrupted.

Well, it’s not. Not for me, anyway.

I belong to a number of writing groups. Most of them are virtual affairs, based around message boards, with the members posting online to exchange views and offer each other encouragement. There is always a bit of chatter going on, with the conversations taking place over days or weeks. The nature of the internet means that the members of these online groups are scattered across the world, and they come on at various times of the day. I have made some good friends in these groups.

However, the group that I love best is my local writing group. It is a group of about a dozen members, although we rarely get everybody turning up at the same time. We meet twice a month in the function room of a local pub. The agenda for most meetings is the same: everybody gathers in the bar downstairs for a quick drink, then we go upstairs to start our meeting. We talk about the events of the last fortnight, share our news – good and bad – and then settle down to the evening’s business. Usually, this is a talk from one of the members on a subject of interest, sometimes it is a talk from a local author or a workshop. But this isn’t what is important to us. What is important to us is the companionship.

Writers are not antisocial. We like to talk to other people with the same interests. We like to share our experiences. Most of all, we want to be with people who are like us, who understand what it means to set pen to paper and create stories. And, while online groups are good and have their place, there is nothing quite like getting to know our fellow writers in person – and there is nothing like sitting around a table, talking with friends.

So, if there is a writing group local to you, are you an active member? Do you go along and share your thoughts with other writers? Or, if there isn’t a writing group nearby, have you thought about starting one? You never know who you might meet.


OMP Admin Note:  John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #OneMillionProject Blogger.  His work can be found on Wattpad.com and in the One Million Project’s Short Story Anthologies published in February 2018.


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

“HOPE — Against the Odds” ~~ by Christine Larsen

“HOPE — Against the Odds” ~~ by Christine Larsen

The odds WERE formidable.

A US Air Corps fighter pilot who found himself in a German prisoner of war camp after his plane was shot down. He survived that disaster but wasn’t too sure about his current ‘home’. Despite this, he refused to let the probabilities stop him from making the best he could of every moment he would have.

Boredom threatened his sanity until a light bulb moment illuminated a memory of a gift of an old ‘fiddle’, with the words, “It’s yours, Red. Maybe you can make music with it.” And thanks to that other life and long-lost place, he’d become a musician… a violinist with an intimate knowledge of violins and their magical workings. Getting one now was an impossibility but he had been carving many small things, so…?

His first move was a common tactic in these harsh conditions – barter, swap, or trade. For tobacco rations,  some sympathetic guards desperate for AmerikanischeZigaretten, traded a pen-knife. From his upbringing on a farm during the Great Depression, and his resourceful father he got determination, remembering, “You can make something out of nothing, Son. All you’ve got to do is find a way… and there always is one.”

When other POWs learned of his quest to carve a violin, they began slipping odd bed slats from their already barely underpinned and supported bunks. And he began whittling and carving. Some parts required a sharp piece of broken glass, others an old kitchen knife, ground on a rock to form into a chisel. All took time… a great deal of time. And patience. And stealth.

Glue presented another problem until he solved that one too, with others pitching in to help scrape old dried carpenters’ glue residue from a few chairs in their wretched barracks. Ground and heated and mixed with water, it worked. Soaking of other thinnest of timber pieces in water heated on their communal wood-stove enabled intricate manipulation and bending of the pieces.

It took three months to make the body, but time was one thing the prisoners had aplenty. Eternally grateful he chose not to be a smoker, care-packages provided him and several other non-smoking prisoners with many cigarettes to barter – for pumice for sanding and paraffin oil to bring out the golden glow of the beech wood, the now unrecognisable bunk slats. A sympathetic guard found him catgut for the strings and a real violin bow was like a gift from the Gods.

All was done… but would it play? To his joy, the pilot and his violin produced the pure poignant sounds of that wonderful instrument, as though this one had volumes to say. Although he was banished to the latrine for his earliest practices, he soon regained his old skills. And caused singing and dancing and some relief for aching hearts and bodies.

One Christmas Eve, the pilot played Silent Night, and voices were heard from other barracks, singing that beloved old carol in different languages. Amongst them, German was heard… from the guards.  So many of them were ordinary family men far from their homes and their loved ones, too.  Somewhere in the shadows, it was said, an elderly guard [maybe the donor of the bow?] stood and sang quietly. And cried softly.

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Among the countless tributes, a particularly precious one was 50 years after WWII, when the pilot donated his violin to a special museum aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid, honouring the men and their memorabilia. At the opening, the concertmaster of the NY Philharmonic orchestra played this precious instrument and commented it was ‘an amazing achievement’ with a ‘quite wonderful sound’, when he had actually expected ‘a jalopy of a violin’.

Not really. More like a gift from God was the thought the pilot had at that precious moment, later shared with his family.

Winning ‘against the odds’ does not always bear the shape we imagined, not always the wish we made. Bizarre how often the worst imaginable outcomes of illness and loss reveal unimagined ‘silver linings’, so often ending in unexpected strength and empathy, and a new or renewed determination to help and support others.

 


OMP Admin Note:  Christine Larsen is a writer, farmer, wife, mother, and grandmother from Australia. She has never been homeless or had significant cancer – yet – but has had exposure to both – creating a great sense of empathy and desire to help in any way she can. She is humbled by the opportunity to give one of her stories to the sincerely worthwhile causes of Cancer research and Homelessness.

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To find out more about Christine and her work:

ceedee moodling  (Christine’s website)

Christine Larsen, Author

 – on Wattpad

–  on Facebook

– on Tablo

– on Amazon

Old McLarsen had some Farms (farming memoirs)

ceedee4kids (Christine’s children’s book site)


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

 

“Grammar, What Big Teeth You Have” ~~ by Mark Huntley-James

“Grammar, What Big Teeth You Have” ~~ by Mark Huntley-James

Grammar rules, OK.

Breakages will be reported, criticised and condemned.

I never learned much in the way of English grammar.  Plenty of French, Latin and Greek, but very little English.  I’ve largely forgotten the former three, and now I just struggle with my native tongue and frankly the natives can get pretty damned restless if not outright hostile.  For some reason, there are two things which bring out the tyrants, the complainers, the rabid proselytisers – grammar and spelling.

When I was a kid I was frequently told that there was no such word as ‘can’t’.  Not even finding a suitably recent and liberal dictionary containing the fabulous ‘can’t’ could put an end to the assertion.  There simply was no such word, no matter how many people used it, in speech and print.  Now roll on a few years, to my teens, and those immortal words: to boldly go where no man has gone before.  I don’t care that everywhere they went there were clearly people who had arrived earlier, it was the split-infinitive that troubled me.

Or, strictly speaking, failed to trouble me.  I like to boldly go.  I try to imagine that opening as the grammarians might have it – to go boldly – and I can see myself switching channels.  And back when I first encountered all that bold adventure, there was no remote on the TV so I would have had to have got out of the chair…

The trouble with grammar is the collision, with resultant debris, between a pattern of rules and the fluid reality of people communicating.  People like rules, like patterns and, as someone who once earned a living as a scientist, I like rules and patterns, but language does not follow grammar, grammar is the attempt to slap rules on later.  The one size fits all garment that inevitably sags or pinches.

In the dim and distant past, I learned about verbs – regular verbs and irregular verbs, the ones that follow the rule, and then all the special cases for the ones that don’t.  The very terminology is misleading because the regular verbs are the ones that barely get used.  The irregular verbs have been ground down, knocked about and generally dented by frequent exercise, constant use and regular abuse.

And so the language changes.  Language is like that – words, phrases and grammar of my parents’ generation often seem a bit stilted, and my grandparents’ generation… well that’s some foreign language that sounds close to English.

The trouble is that language changes as if change is the only thing that matters, a crazy race to be somewhere else, whilst those grammatical rules are slow to adapt.  The rules, by my crude and unsubstantiated estimate, describe the language at a time somewhere between my grandparents and my parents and, like me, are a bit too padded around the waist and likely to get out of breath if they have to run too hard to catch up.

I don’t dislike grammar – it’s just a set of rules best treated as guidelines (to borrow from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean). Grammar doesn’t define language, it’s a report done later to explain what happened, to hide the uncomfortable bits, to bring the erratic into line. Forget Disney, let’s borrow from the legal world – the rules of grammar are simply sentencing guidelines. And remember that if you deviate too far from those guidelines there will be complaints, protests and appeals to a higher authority that the sentence is wrong and ought to be corrected. There is no deeper sin, except to fail to get the spelling rite.

Those who treat grammar carelessly, who choose to explore beyond and to boldly go where no writer has writ before, they must expect to be hounded mercilessly. If you do it right, and well, then applause and acclaim await, but pick poorly and you are off to literary obscurity.

There’s a quote I like, attributed to Pablo Picasso (but possibly falsely), that I’ve seen doing the rounds on social media lately –  Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.

Syntax, anyone?


OMP Admin Note:  Mark Huntley-James writes science fiction and fantasy on a small farm in Cornwall, where he lives with his partner and a menagerie of cats, poultry and sheep.

Huntley-James has two urban fantasy novels out on Kindle – “Hell Of A Deal” (http://relinks.me/B01N94VXBC ) and “The Road To Hell” (relinks.me/B07BJLKFSS  ) – and is working on a third.

“He can be found online at his blog https://markhuntleyjames.wordpress.com/, and occasionally on that new-fangled social media.”


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

 

 

 

“Don’t Leave Me Here Like This” ~~ by Michele Potter

“Don’t Leave Me Here Like This” ~~ by Michele Potter

The people sitting opposite him in the small room were his people. He knew that and wished he could say it. For a minute, he struggled with trying to form the words. In his mind, he heard them: I’m so glad you’re here. I love you. The garbled vocalizing that came out of his mouth, however, frustrated him to no end.

He could see the sadness and pity on their faces. Faces that he once knew so well, now unrecognizable. He only knew that they were his people. They belonged with him and he with them.

“Do you want to go for a walk, Dad?”

He understood what the woman was asking but couldn’t phrase what he really wanted. Instead, he nodded and smiled in a grimace. His facial gestures no longer worked the way they should.

She helped him up, gently, as if helping an invalid. Suddenly, he had an image, a flash of a memory. A little girl holding his hand, her copper hair shining bright like a penny in the sunher warm hand in his ownhow strong he feltDaddy, she said, looking up to him with all the love in the world.

Then the memory left, a puff of smoke, and he was bereft, sad beyond reason. Resisting the efforts to assist him, he sagged, dropping to the floor, sobbing. He hit the floor hard, almost pulling the woman down with him. The man with her tried to help, and a nurse rushed in.

“You two should wait outside for a bit,” the stern-looking nurse said, after getting him back on the bed.

“Has this happened before?”

“It’s been happening with much more frequency now. The dosage needs adjusting. He is in the final stages, we think.”

They talked about him as if he weren’t there; as if he couldn’t hear or didn’t know what was going on with his memory and his body. He didn’t want this nurse near him, her calloused hands tugging and probing. She was the one who admonished him constantly, telling him to hurry, quit being so stubborn, behave, stop slobbering. If he were strong again, he would push her aside and walk out the door into the sunshine.

Instead, he allowed the ministrations, so as to get them over with. He lay on the narrow bed, looking out into the hallway. He could hear them whispering. He didn’t want them to go.

They were his people.

At last, the nurse left, and they came back in the room, unnerved, it seemed.

“Dad, I think we should get going and let you rest,” she said, reaching out for his hand. The man stood smiling oddly by her side.

He didn’t want them to go. Or if they did, he wanted to go with them. He grasped her hand, his daughter’s hand, with a sudden strength. He knew, for a moment he knew, and he fought to hold onto the moment. He pulled himself up and stood, a bit shaky, but on his own feet. He leaned against her, his daughter.

“Don’t leave me here like this,” he said clearly.

 

This story is not completely fiction. Many of us have or had loved ones in nursing homes/elder care. I believe most of the staff in these places are compassionate, professional people who treat their clientele with dignity and respect. Yet, many individuals have been neglected, abused, or taken advantage, often not detected until it is too late.

If you have someone in a care facility, there are steps you can take. 1) Visit often; enlist friends and family to visit. 2) Get to know the staff, including cooks, janitors, and maintenance personnel, anyone who could have interaction. 3) Watch for a reaction of the individual to the staff. Even if your person is nonverbal, they can show positive or negative reactions.


OMP Admin Note: Michele Potter is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues.

Michele is an incredibly diverse and talented writer who I hope will collect her short stories and make them available on Amazon someday soon. In the meantime, her story PERCEPTIONS is available in the guest author section of the flash fiction anthology BITE SIZE STORIES VOLUME ONE.

https://www.amazon.com/Bite-Size-Stories-Jason-Greenfield-ebook/dp/B01HALHVBW/ref=la_B00CBFLI1W_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475095358&sr=1-4

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bite-Size-Stories-Jason-Greenfield-ebook/dp/B01HALHVBW/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1475095546&sr=1-1


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

 

 

 

The Importance of Dialogue in Plot Development ~~ by Kate McGinn

The Importance of Dialogue in Plot Development ~~ by Kate McGinn

Dialogue — can you picture a story without it? Most stories have chapters or scenes without dialogue, and an example of a book without any dialogue from the main characters is the animal story, An Incredible Journey.

So, yes, it can be done and successfully, but dialogue plays an important role in a story. Humans communicate with more than dialogue. Their actions, tone of voice, what they say and how they say it as well as what they don’t say all communicate something about the message they want to convey or perhaps what they are reluctant to say.

One important role of dialogue in a story is that wherever it occurs it should move the story forward. The following excerpt is from my book, Winter’s Icy Caress, and I’ve used it to show an example of how dialogue moves a story forward.

“What are you reading?” Wyatt asked while surveying the contents of the refrigerator. He lifted the half gallon of milk in a mock toast before tipping it back for a drink. She knew he drank from the milk jug because it irritated her. One corner of her mouth turned up.

“There was another abduction. A Chippewa woman. Have you heard anything about this?” She scanned the article for more information.

“No. I don’t think Dave’s involved yet. The local authorities would still oversee the investigation until they decided to bring in the FBI. Do you know either of the women?”

Clare’s forehead furrowed, and she shook her head as she continued to read about the Wind disappearance. “The latest woman’s name is Sara Wind. I wonder if she’s related to Alana.” Wyatt looked over her shoulder at the newspaper photo.

“Not the best photo. I know Alana when I see her, but I’ve never talked to her. Maybe Loretta knows.” Wyatt grabbed a glass from the cupboard and poured the remaining milk into it before stealing a slice of peanut butter toast from Clare’s plate. She slapped his hand. He gave her a saucy grin before taking a big bite of toast.

“I think I’ll ask her when we have dinner tonight.”

In this example you meet two characters — Clare and Wyatt. The dialogue between them moves the reader further into the story as we learn about the disappearances of women in the Bayfield area. We are also introduced to other characters during their conversation: Dave – who is connected to the FBI, Sara Wind – the missing woman, and Loretta – the woman they will have dinner with that evening.

In a few sentences we find out Clare is concerned about the news, wants to know more information about the disappearances and plans on asking her friend that evening. The dialogue moves us into the next scene, but what isn’t said while they are conversing tells us another story about the couple and their relationship.

This next example from Empty Chairs, Empty Promises offers an example of how dialogue can define character. What the character says, the words they use, their tone reveals who they are as well as their relationship to the other character. Dialogue changes dynamics in the story by creating emotional responses to what is being said.

“Mom, I don’t understand you! You sell our family home and now you want to go alone to who knows where…” Carrie argues over the phone with me.

“Puerto Rico. That’s where I’m going,” I correct.

“What are you talking about? Traipsing off in some type of mid-life crisis, it’s ridiculous. I’m embarrassed one of my friends will find out how demented you are!” Carrie isn’t going to let up and frankly, I’m getting tired of the tirade.

“Young lady, I’m your mother, and I won’t have you talking to me like this. I’m not having a mid-life crisis. I’m taking a much-deserved vacation, and I plan on enjoying myself. I’ve got another thirty or forty years ahead of me. I need to decide what I would like to do with it.”

“Whatever. Have fun. Don’t worry about your children, we’ll be fine.” My daughter is filled with resentment and each word drips with venom.

“Carrie, you’re an adult. I’m not abandoning you. You and Nate are always in my thoughts. I’ll get in touch with you when I get there.”

“Well, don’t let it interfere with your fun. I need to go.” And then, she was gone. I sigh at the petulant tone in her voice and shake my head, wondering if I’d been as insufferable when I was her age. No, I had two children to care for when I was her age. I didn’t have time for drama.

In this conversation, you are introduced to Libby Crenshaw, the protagonist of the story and her daughter, Carrie. The conversation moves the story forward by revealing Libby’s plans, gives the reader a glimpse into Carrie’s personality and how she and her mother interact. Through Libby’s inner dialogue, we see that she has made up her mind and will not give in to her daughter’s demands.

Through this passage, the reader may begin to form a connection towards one or the other of the characters, choosing sides and bringing them into the story as they feel the tension build between the two women.

Dialogue serves many purposes within the story structure by providing realism, dramatic tension, and giving voice to the characters as it defines who they are.

It makes the story advance by helping to direct the course of the plot. Characters should experience some type of change after a scene containing dialogue. If it doesn’t cause change it isn’t required to tell the story. It is nothing more than filler and should be deleted.

Dialogue provides information as secrets are revealed and the histories of the characters are divulged. It serves to balance the elements of storytelling by breaking up action sequences and/or descriptive passages.

Keep it natural by giving characters different voices. Let them interrupt each other and give them and non-participants in the scene actions in the background to convey reactions to the conversations. Put them in a specific identifiable location and time during their conversation. Use misdirection, what is unsaid, what is ignored or implied to increase the tension in the scene. Use internal dialogue to communicate those things only the character knows.

Dialogue is a powerful tool for the writer, but it is only effective if it moves the action forward.


OMP Admin Note: Kate McGinn is a writer and OMP Network member – one of a group of networkers who will be blogging on a regular basis on various causes and issues. Kate hopes to spread awareness of the issue of American Veterans returning home to less help than they deserve. EMMAUS is one of the two main charities we are supporting.

Kate McGinn’s fiction can be found on Amazon in the flash fiction series BITE SIZE STORIES (Volume Two) along with five other guest writers, and in the One Million Project Fiction Anthology. Her Clare Thibodeaux Series which include the suspense books — EXODUS, WINTER’S ICY CARESS, and NEVER SHOW YOUR HAND are available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01KUKTYFQ

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kate-McGinn/e/B01KUKTYFQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1473258097&sr=1-2-ent

https://www.katemcginn.com/


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

Making a Difference ~~ by Sebnem Sanders

Making a Difference ~~ by Sebnem Sanders

In the wayward, icy wind, blowing the city fumes in all directions, Miss Plenty tucked in the errant locks that had escaped from her wool cap and pulled it tightly over her ears.  Warming her freezing hands, framed in fingerless gloves over the heat of the fire, she scrutinized Mr. Nothing. “I see a pensive look in your eyes. What’s up?”

“Sometimes, my thoughts drift to the past, but what’s done is done.”

“This is our reality. Your memories belong to a life that is no longer yours. Or one you left behind for your own reasons. No point in slipping back into something that’s gone.”

“I know. Still, acceptance or not being acceptable bugs me.”

“Acceptable, hmm,” she said, watching her warm breath turn into white vapour in the cold night air.

“I betcha,” she said, with a smile, “we can make a difference.”

“How so?” Mr. Nothing asked.  “The only difference we make is they run away from us as if we carry the plague.”

“Yup. But what if we meet them on their terms? Other than that stark discrepancy we conjure when we walk down the high-street.”

“You mean dress like them, and mingle with crowds without anyone noticing us?”

A mischievous spark gleaming in her eyes, she answered, “No. That would be against our philosophy and decision to live on the streets. Something more clever and subtle.”

“Hmm,” he said thinking. “By staying the same and beating them at their game?”

“You’re getting there,” she said, fumbling through the pockets of her over-sized, shabby coat. “You got a fag? I must have smoked the last one.”

“Yeah,” he said, digging beneath the layers of clothes on his slim torso to extract a crushed pack. “Here,” he took one out and stuck it in her mouth, then dipped a twig into the fire, lighting hers and one for himself.

“So, what’s the plan?”

“I’m thinking,” she said, as Wino approached the barrel, with a flask in his hand.

“Evening, guys. The nice lady at the bar gave me some mulled wine and magazines to read. Want some?”

“Why not,” Miss Plenty replied. “Keeps you warm. What did you do, sweep the shop front?”

“I carried some stuff for her.”

The temporary warming effect of the spiced drink invigorated their bodies, as the homeless settled into their corners, watching the lives of the homeful spread out on the pages of the glossy magazines. An article about a socialite triggered Plenty’s attention. A Costume Party Fundraiser, with a reward for the winner. Tickets $65. How to get the tickets … do I dare?

The following morning, Plenty ambled to the pay-phone and made a collect call to her best friend.

“Hi, Sandy, I need a favour.”

“Where are you? When will I see you?”

“Don’t know, yet. I’ll call you. Please do me favour, get me two tickets to the fundraiser…”

“Why? Are you into the benefit events?”

“Don’t ask questions, and please have them delivered to The Mayflower on West Street…”

“I’ll do anything for you. Just promise not to go AWOL too long. I miss you.”

“Promise. I miss you, too. Thanks.”

Two days later, Plenty picked up the envelope containing the tickets from the local bar.

Back at the homeless settlement beneath the bridge, she looked for Mr. Nothing. She spotted Wino, stretched out in his corner, fighting with a crossword puzzle.

“Good to see you sober for a change, Wino. Where’s Mr. Nothing?”

“Crosswords keep the mind active,” he said, with a big smile, exposing his missing teeth. “He wasn’t feeling well, maybe pissed out of his mind. I saw him going to the bushes down there.”

She found Nothing asleep behind a tree, by the embankment. His face appeared flushed. She put her hand on his forehead. It was burning. “Wake up, wake up. You’re going to get hypothermia here. You have a fever.”

Nothing opened his bloodshot eyes and moaned. “I don’t feel well. My tummy is churning.”

“What did you eat again? Didn’t I tell you not touch anything thrown in the garbage bin? Especially, after the last time.”

“It was only leftover pizza in a box.”

“You don’t know how long it’s been there, do you? Or whether it’s been contaminated. Get up, we’re going to the shelter for some soup.”

She dragged him along to the homeless shelter. After serving him a bowl of soup with a generous squeeze of lemon, she gave him a paracetamol tablet from the first aid cabinet and made him drink it with lots of water.

“For the next two days you’re having nothing but soup, and my mother’s remedy.”

“I didn’t know you had a mother.”

“Everyone has one. Hot lemon juice mixed with fresh mint is the best. You’d better get well soon. We’re going to a party.”

“What party?”

“A costume party.”

“What? Are you mad?”

“I’m not. It’s a fundraiser with a reward.”

“Where do we find the costumes?”

“We won’t have to.”

Plenty kept an eye on Nothing for the next two days as he recovered.

They arrived at the venue of the Fundraiser and mixed with the crowds stepping out of their cars at the entrance.

“You’d better turn on your best accent, Nothing. I betcha, you’re some kind of academician with your knowledge of literature.”

“I’ll try,” he said, grinning.

The event was televised live by a local channel working with the charity website. The homeless couple was photographed at the entrance, along with the other guests in fancy costumes. Kings, queens, knights, Cinderella, Snow White, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Don Quixote, Long John Silver. Dracula, Superman, Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Deitrich, George Sand, Madonna, Rita Hayward, and many diverse characters and icons.

Awed by their sumptuous surroundings and the publicity involved, Plenty and Nothing tried hard not to look out of place. Once they settled into the ambiance, they scoffed as much as they could eat and drink from the buffet. They danced and chatted to the other guests.

A couple of hours into the event, the highlight of the evening came as the votes began to pour in. Plenty and Nothing watched themselves and the other contenders on the screen. The session closed down at the end of the hour.

A presenter mounted the stage to announce the top three winners: Brigitte Bardot 950 votes, Dracula 1240, The Homeless Couple 1350 votes.

Heads spinning, legs shaking, Plenty and Nothing made their way to the stage. Nothing took a deep breath and thanked the audience. He coughed and continued, “We won’t be able to accept the award because we didn’t make the effort to prepare our costumes. These are our regular clothes, second-hand gear from charity shops. We’re real homeless people.”

The presenter took the microphone, as a commotion rose from the audience. “I invite the Charity President, Mr. Smith, to the stage.”

Mr. Smith climbed up the steps and greeted the homeless couple. “There’s nothing I like better than genuine stuff. The cheque for $1000 is yours to do as you please. We’re happy with the results.”

Dodging their way through a sea of photographers, Plenty and Nothing managed to leave the venue. They ran down the streets, taking shortcuts via narrow alleys, between blocks to lose the press on their tail. They hid in a derelict building near the settlement and waited to make sure there were no reporters around.

Back under the bridge, they called the members of their clan to make a decision about the cheque.

“Cigarettes for everyone.”

“Wine for everyone.”

“Burgers and pizza for everyone.”

“Give it to the shelter for everyone.”

The shelter won, by the majority of votes. Plenty and Nothing, accompanied by Wino, as the witness, took the cheque to the manager of the Shelter from the Storm. “With our compliments.”

On the way back, Plenty nudged Nothing with her elbow. “See, we make a difference.”

This story first appeared in Ripples on the Pond, my debut anthology of flash fiction and short stories.

https://www.amazon.com/Ripples-Pond-Sebnem-Sanders-ebook/dp/B077XCK3SD/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1546758746&sr=1-1&keywords=ripples+on+the+pond


OMP Admin Note:

Sebnem E. Sanders is a native of Istanbul, Turkey. Currently, she lives on the eastern shores of the Southern Aegean where she dreams and writes Flash Fiction and Flash Poesy, as well as longer works of fiction. Her flash stories have been published on the Harper Collins Authonomy BlogThe DrabbleSick Lit Magazine, Twisted Sister Lit Mag, SpelkFiction, The Bosphorus Review of Books, Three Drops from the Cauldron, The Rye Whiskey Review, and CarpeArteJournal. She has a completed manuscript, The Child of Heaven and two works in progress, The Child of Passion and The Lost Child.  Her collection of short and flash fiction stories, Ripples on the Pond, was published in December 2017. Her stories have also appeared in two Anthologies: Paws and Claws and One Million Project, Thriller Anthology. More information can be found at her website where she publishes some of her work:

https://sebnemsanders.wordpress.com/

 

Ripples on the Pond

https://www.amazon.com/Ripples-Pond-Sebnem-Sanders-ebook/dp/B077XCK3SD/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1546758746&sr=1-1&keywords=ripples+on+the+pond

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17427985.Sebnem_E_Sanders

https://www.facebook.com/sebnem.sanders

https://Twitter.com/sebnemsanders
https://Instagram.com/sebnemsanders
https://www.linkedin.com/in/sebnem-sanders-b3593263/


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

 

 

 

 

A Hidden World ~~ by John Nedwill

A Hidden World ~~ by John Nedwill

I’m not writing a novel, and you don’t have to either.

This may sound strange coming from a writer, but it makes sense. You see, these days there is a perception that successful authors only ever write novels; and whatever genre it is you are writing in, your novel should be as long as you can make it. It’s even better if your novel is part of a series. After all, if you look at the shelves of your local bookshop – and if it’s anything like mine! – you see row upon row of thick volumes facing you. And a lot of these books are not stand-alone stories.

However, there is a hidden world of short stories out there. Many famous authors – both past and present – have written short stories or essays, and published them in magazines or collected them in anthologies. A quick browse of the shelves in my local bookshop turns up George Orwell, Charles Stross, Walter M Miller and many others. There are also collections of short stories based around different themes and genres. Stepping out of the world of published books, there is a thriving culture of magazines – electronic and print – where short stories are welcomed and celebrated.

Short stories are everywhere!

I’m not ragging on novels or the people who write them – far from it! I love to settle down with a good book and lose myself within its pages. But I also love to dip into collections of short stories, with their glimpses of imaginary worlds and fantastic situations. You see, not everyone is suited to writing stories of 50,000 words or more. Not every plot can or should be spun out to meet some arbitrary target. Nobody – especially not a writer starting out on their chosen path – should feel pressured to write a novel.

Writing should be a pleasure. Enjoy being creative, no matter what you write.


OMP Admin Note:  John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #OneMillionProject Blogger.  His work can be found on Wattpad.com and in the One Million Project’s Short Story Anthologies published in February 2018.


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers have been recently published (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology