Flash Fiction, Week One

The following exercise is inspired by a writing prompt from, Flash 52: 52 Writing Prompts for a Year of Writing by Jamie DeBree

Richard pours tea and we raise our cups in a celebratory manner. This is our quintet—well, sextet considering Richard. Basically, it’s a group of stressed out writers looking to profit more than gas money from words.

“How’s it going? Any new ideas, progress?” Richard asks.

Sheila’s hand shoots up first. “I don’t know how I did it,” she beams, “but this week,  I managed 50k in between the twins’ naps.”

Another hand goes up. 10K. 6K. More cheers and tea.


That’s me; it’s my turn. I clutch my yellow notebook to my chest. The notepad is as blank as when I opened it to its first college-ruled page, two weeks ago. How would they know if I did 50K or zero? It isn’t as though we inspect each other’s drafts, at least not during the first part of the month.

“I’m still outlining,” I say, which is neither truth nor lie.

An uncomfortable silence ensues. And then a collective murmur of well, that’s a start.

Sheila’s eyes scan the group. “I’ve been hiding something,” she says.

Let me guess, she isn’t human? She hired a ghostwriter? She hasn’t typed one alphabet but instead fibbed to make herself feel better?

As if sensing my skepticism, she plops a copy of her manuscript onto the table and then retrieves a small, plastic bag from her purse.

Are those…poppy seeds? No, poppy seeds are smaller. And darker.

“Okay, I know certain things improve brain function, and that’s why we drink  tea and  meet twice a month and share our thoughts. But these babies,” she continues, grabbing a handful of the seeds and dropping them into a cup, “are like…bees to flowers, bubbles to baths, syrup to waffles. This is brain food!”

Within minutes of sipping from a teacup, she’s reciting passages of Spoon River Anthology.

“Amazing!” Richard says.

“I’ve retained four plays, three anthologies, every word of Ethan Frome and created my draft in two weeks—all with the help of these Z seeds.”

Suddenly, I’m reminded of a time I came home sporting a nose ring and red hair. Ma took one look and admonished, “If the entire class jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?”

Would I?  Am I seriously considering Sheila’s claim?

I imagine four to five completed novels a year, a new car, a full-tank of gas instead of the fumes I’ve driven on the majority of the day. Surely similar thoughts are running through the other’s mind.

Would you be silly enough to do it, too?

And so it begins…


Shonte Sanders aka Whatevertheyaint


* I didn’t follow the premise to a fault, but I did keep the basics as far as setting and characters. The original prompt calls for a man in his thirties, a folding table in a huge parking lot, an electric kettle, a teapot and teacups, and five women approaching. Feel free to continue to add to this piece by sharing (300 words or less) in the comments section. Ready? Let’s Go! Have fun 🙂


The Reading Itinerary


…and we continue with even MORE books!

Currently Reading:

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah


Eagerly Awaiting:

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

A Step of Faith by Richard Paul Evans


On Bookshelf, Lonely, Waiting for Me to Open:

Sisters & Husbands by Connie Briscoe

Substitute Me by Lori L Tharpes

Longing by Karen Kingsbury

Loving by Karen Kingsbury

The Lost Quilter by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Showing by Beverly Lewis

The Telling by Beverly Lewis

Getting to Happy by Terry McMillian

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson


On the Nook:

Dwelling Places by Vinita Hampton Wright

Coming Up for Air by Patti Callahan Henry

The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri

Trails of Blood by Lisa Black

Save Me by Lisa Scottoline


In the Closet:

…(Just kidding:-)

Books, books, and more books!

Books in the Douglasville, Georgia Borders store.
Books in the Douglasville, Georgia Borders store. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My aunt is one of those folks with books everywhere.  In the kitchen.  On the couch. In the bathroom. Basically, in every corner and crevice of her apartment.  Often, I’ll drop by and find her reading one novel while stashing a sheet of folded paper in another.

“How do you do that?” I asked one evening.

“Do what?”

“Read more than one story at a time without getting lost.”

“Easy,” she replied.

Let me be the first to tell you, people.  It AIN’T easy!

I bought an electronic reader with part of my short-story winnings (which is a story in itself), but my new-found toy had no books, no magazines, and very little else other than what came with it out of the box.  So, I began shopping.  And I chose several novels and magazines, which I determined I’d peruse later, like when stuck at the doctor’s office, suffering from insomnia, or waiting on Thing 1 and 2 to wrap up practice.  Meanwhile, I also checked out reading material from the library.  (Why go on a buying frenzy when you’re on a budget)

Here’s where the problem started: I began Southern Comfort, also by Fern Michaels, but it was too depressing for my light mood.  The guy’s family is murdered two or three pages into the story.  So, out of restlessness, I began a book I’d downloaded by Debbie Macomber called Starlight. Not one of my usual go-to authors, but hey.

Then, yesterday, I added Save Me, by Lisa Scottoline. (Talk about gripping!)

But before that, I’d begun The Last Promise by Richard Paul Evans.

Now I don’t know if I’m in a villa, a school, or the middle of a crime scene.

What I’m trying to say here is that…I can’t do three or four books at once!






Can you? 

Any suggestions as to what to read next?



I Have Come to These Conclusions…

Suspense has never been my thing.  I can’t take it! That’s why I don’t watch serialized television shows anymore.  Me?  I just wait for the DVD and skip around as I see fit.  To agonize an entire season over whether dude and girl are going to get together, or if  such-n-such is going to “get the ax” (they’re experts on knocking folk’s off on Grey’s), is…too much for my brain to handle.

Same with books.  I tried diligently when my book club read Stephen King’s humongous novel a few years back, the one about the rabbit hole and time travel and JFK.  It was a true page-turner, so much so that somewhere or another, right around the time the lead character’s true mission began, I had to flip to the back, read the last five chapters, and then work my way through the middle.

I do this with magazines, conversation, novels. Everything.

Is this wrong?  Is it?

Anyway, I realized that sustained drama and I don’t mesh well when I began reading  Tuesday’s Child, by Fern Michaels.

I must admit, the story is/was/will be awesome.  I say “is” because I’m still reading. I’m on the part where Sophie has been released and is hiding out in Hawaii. (I’ll tell you the gist of the overall plot in a minute)

The “was” is because I couldn’t stay up till 1 a.m. another night not knowing what was going on!  And the “will be” is because I’ve now read the ending and know that this book is a must read.

So there.

Yes, I’ve somewhat spoiled the excitement and am not as obsessed with reading, but I’ll find my way back to where I left off and complete the book…eventually.

Now, about the book.  Top prosecutor, Kala, represents a twenty-four-year-old nurse who is accused  of murdering her invalid patient. The nurse, Sophie, is found guilty by a jury and spends the next ten years in prison.  Meanwhile, the husband of  Audrey (the deceased) gets off free because there is no evidence to prove he did it.

Kala never believed for a second her client, sweet Sophie, could take Audrey’s life, and has fought in Sophie’s behalf for the past ten years. But just as she’s about to retire and give up on the case for good, Audrey’s husband makes a shocking confession.  Not only does he claim to have murdered his wife, but he leaves the entire estate (which his wife had turned over to him upon marriage) to Sophie.  The only stipulation is that Sophie can’t come into the millions until dude’s death. And unfortunately the man is dying.

So Sophie’s lawyers sue the state for wrongful imprisonment, she gains the estate, and is shipped off until all the media hoopla blows over. Meanwhile, all fingers point to the jury and the opposing lawyer, Ryan Spencer.

Of course, nothing is as it seems.  There are surprises, misjudged characters, and lots of secrets.

Find it.  Read it. Let me know what you thought about it. Tuesday’s Child, by Fern Michaels.

Books and Authors: Bernice L McFadden

Bernice L McFadden came on the scene in 2000 with her debut novel, Sugar, which tells the story of a woman in the late 50’s with a painful past and less-than-stellar lifestyle.

The minute Sugar arrives in the small town of Bigelow, Arkansas, the accusations and labeling begin. “Slut”, and “whore” ring out as she struts down the sidewalk on a spring day in 1955 carrying two suitcases.  Sugar is, in fact, a prostitute, abandoned by her mother and raised by a group of women called the Lacey sisters.

Spell-binding, full of secrets, unspeakable traumas, ties, and friendship, I knew this would be one of those books I looked forward to reading every night before bed.  Just check out McFadden’s description of Sugar on page twelve:

The storm walked into their town on two legs and spiked, red patent leather heels.  She waltzed right through the main square, blond wig bouncing to the rhythm of her walk, a leopard print pocketbook slung over one shoulder, matching suitcases in each hand.

But there was something else about the main character, Sugar, that puzzled the neighbor, Pearl.  (One of the other key characters of the novel)  It was Sugar’s face.  It reminded her of her own daughter, Jude, whose body was found on the side of a dirt road–mutilated, murdered.  Jude, who at an age when most girls began to blossom, had her womanhood taken, cut from her body, and placed alongside her.

Despite the naysayers and Sugar’s cold attitude from years of  being unloved in the way that all women yearn to be loved, Pearl and Sugar form a bond that goes beyond that of neighbors, a bond that neither of them quite realizes the depth of until the end.


Other books I’ve read by Bernice L McFadden:

This Bitter Earth–A must read and the sequel to Sugar.  Want to know who killed Jude and scarred yet another for life?  Want to know why, in the end, you’ll both loathe and empathize with this person?  Care to gain insight into the past lives of Pearl, her husband, Joe, Sugar, Lappy, and even the Lacey sisters?  Then you have to read This Bitter Earth.

Loving Donovan   2003