Tag Archives: inspiration

Writing Prompt Wednesday


keys

The inspiration for this week’s writing prompt is ‘keys’. Let your imagination take over. What is your story?

I wrote this short story as my mind gazed at the keys above.

Her hand trembled, hesitant to pick up a key. If it were the wrong one, she would be held hostage for another month. Her hand hovered over the tabletop covered in keys. Ever shape and size, old and new, which one would release her?

“Hurry up and take one. I don’t have all day.”

She turned to see him glaring at her the knife in his right hand and the end of the chain in the other. With a silent pray she took one key and gave it to him. He bent down to insert it into the padlock. She willed it to fit with all her might.

There was a click. The padlock sprung open. I’m free? Please let me be free. Is it a trick?

“Well, there’s a surprise, you found the right one.”

He pulled at the chain making her stumble and kneel at his feet. She held her breath waiting for some sort of punishment but he un-linked the chain from the padlock and pulled it away from her ankles.

“Go on then, run.”

Her dazed mind held her still for a moment. He pushed her towards the door. The sunlight was bright, the air fresh. She looked up to see acres of forest before her.

“Find your way and no telling or I’ll bring you back.”

She ran, stumbling over tree roots and rocks. Freedom. She was on her way home. The bullet struck the back of her head. No more fear, no more pain. He dragged the body to the pit and kicked it into the depths.

He would drive eastward tomorrow and pick up another hitchhiker.

I know my mind can be dark but your story will be completely different.

Writing Prompt Wednesday


This week’s prompt is ‘revenge’. Write a poem or short story of getting back at someone. I wrote this story some time ago but still like it. The story began with a picture of a beach veranda, I have no idea why it went in this direction but that’s the joy of writing.

beach

Britney

Warmth was carried through the windows by the salty sea air as I pulled the voile aside to look at the gentle waves break on the golden sand. The cream painted deck was just wide enough for a chair and a small table and as I set down my book and glass of wine I raised my face up toward the sun. I can feel the stress releasing from my neck and shoulders, no more 10 hour days, no more frantic rush to be first in the morning and working later than everyone else. I’d thought my hard work and commitment would ensure a promotion but buxom, blonde bimbo, Britney, waltzed in on Friday sporting a smug Cheshire cat smile and announced her new position; CEO’s personal secretary. I knew she hadn’t got the job for her secretary skills! My rage exploded as my scream vibrated around the open plan office, I knew I had to get out of there. Grabbing my bag I stomped my way to the elevator and slammed my hand on the button. I could faintly hear giggles and whispering behind me but my heart beat was much louder, the roar in my ears blocking out their petty comments.

As I made my way home my rage seethed, I’d get my own back on Britney, she couldn’t have ‘my’ job. At home Smudge twisted around my legs mewing for his dinner, I picked him up for a cuddle and relished in his softness. After feeding Smudge, I sat at my computer looking for ideas to get my own back on Britney. Ah yes as expected Britney had posted her good news on her MSN account and was inviting everyone to ‘Crime’ the newest club in town for a celebration. Now what could I do to ensure Britney didn’t come into work on Monday or Tuesday or the whole week? A plan came to mind, so after making several phone calls, I got dressed up in my most daring outfit and drove to ‘Crime’.

The music was so loud it was almost unbearable but everyone in the club seemed to be having a great time, dancing and shouting to be heard. This really wasn’t my sort of place at all but needs must. As I pushed my way through the crowd I spotted Britney and her pals at a table on the raised platform above the dance floor. I knew in this outfit & wig no one in her group would recognize me so I moved closer to try and hear the conversation. It wasn’t as hard as I expected as they were shouting across the table and Britney was telling her captive audience of her seduction of Greg Lessner. I clinched my fists in anger but knew I would need to stay calm if my plan was going to succeed. My cell beeped at that moment, a message from my ‘surprise’ for Britney. Callum had returned my call and was ready to meet Britney as I had arranged, he looked like the ‘perfect’ man, all muscles and dark brooding looks as well as expensive clothes and a designer watch, all of which Britney would notice, the little social climber. Britney would not be able to resist a dance, a few drinks & an evening of love! I’d paid for the fancy hotel suite and asked the concierge to place champagne in the room, Britney would be beside herself, fancying her luck at catching a rich handsome man, her dream come true.

I pointed out Britney to Callum and as he approached Britney’s table I held my breath but as soon as she saw him she turned on the bimbo act, all fluttering eyelashes and heaving of barely covered chest; disgusting. I watched Callum & Britney ‘fused’ together, gyrating on the dance floor to the rhythmic beat. It didn’t take long for Britney to dump her friends in favor of her new found lover and after a while I saw them exit into the darkness. Following behind at a safe distance I drove behind their taxi and parked across the street as they walked into the fancy hotel lobby. Opening my lap top I linked up with the camera’s I had set up in their suite and waited for them to arrive. Greg Lessner had fallen for Britney’s interest in him and believed her love was real – what an idiot-she had tricked him like a little kid watching a magician. Once he saw ‘his’ Britney with Callum he was sure to sack her and I would make sure I was indispensable as his assistant by the time Britney’s week of passion was over. I hadn’t had enough money for a longer ‘date’ with the male escort but it would be time enough. Now I could relax all Sunday at the beach knowing I had my perfect job waiting for me on Monday.

I would love to read your response – leave it in the comments.

Writing Prompt Wednesday


prompt

Your prompt today is to describe a walk, whether in nature or a city, you recently took.

This is mine.

Lunchtime Repose 

Buffed by the breeze
Dancing above the rippling water
Wings flutter and glide
Darting back and forth
Juicy morsels to eat on the wing
I sit enjoying the show with ease
 
Sunshine on my face
New leaves jiggle and flash
Branches bend
Pollen releases for some that’s sneezes
Tiny blooms appear above the grass
Bathing in the warm embrace
 
Opportunist waterfowl spy my bread
Stand with pleading eyes
Grateful for the crumbs given with pleasure
Brown, green and white feathered friends
For this delightful repose

 

ducks

Wednesday Writing Prompt


Apologies – I forgot to schedule this post.

The prompt today is ‘ a glimpse out of a window’. What do you see?

window

Here’s my effort.

It started with a glimpse out of the corner of her eye. A movement passing the opened window but when she turned there was nothing there. Dismissing it as possibly a bird or a butterfly floating in the warmth of summer sunshine, she turned back to her work.
Just one more chapter and then she would treat herself to a walk to ease and stretch her aching muscles. Janice had woken bursting with inspiration at five o’clock, now six hours later a major part of the novel was complete. With a flourish she hit the keypad and straightens up. There in front of her was a beautiful face peering through the window. Instinct makes her jump and involuntary utter a gasp.
“Hello, who are you?”
The lady smiles but does not answer just reaches out her hand to beckon Janice outside. Her dark shape and long ebony locks float as if in water, it is surreal. Fascinated Janice opens the patio door and enters the warmth of the day time sun.
“Come follow – you will find.”
“Find what, where are we going?”
Without waiting the lady turns toward the rose garden, the oldest part of the cottage garden. The floral scent permanents the air as they approach the blooms. The dark lady stops in the centre of the path and points. Janice’s eyes follow her fingers direction – there blooms an ebony rose so dark it gleams.
“Write its story, Janice and release me.”
“Release you – I don’t understand?”
“My spirit resides within the bloom I am relying on your gift of words to free me forever.”
“What shall I write? Tell me what to write.”
“You know my story it is deep within you.”
Janice’s mouth opens to ask another question but the dark lady has disappeared. Was she dreaming? Everything seemed so real, so tangible – the warmth on her skin, the grass beneath her feet. Janice returns to her desk, puzzling thoughts race through her mind. There she finds a dark rose petal lying upon the laptop keys. It was real?
A blank page faces her and her fingers begin to type – a story unfolds.
Esmeralda’s roses were well renowned even as far away as London. Each bloom was perfection itself due wholly to her unwavering commitment to their care. After years of trial and error with combinations of manure, egg shells and herbs, Esmeralda had found her ‘secret’ formula. Each season demanded another ritual before the first buds appeared in April. With careful attendance each bud was nurtured to its full potential. Every flower show saw Esmeralda take first place much to the dismay of her rival, Vanity. The competition between the two women was fierce.
During the sixth annual London show Esmeralda was summoned by the Duke of Suffolk. He commissioned her to produce a truly black rose – something never achieved before. With a deep bow Esmeralda had thanked him for his obvious confidence in her abilities but felt she would not succeed. The Duke took her hands and solemnly stated that if anyone could succeed it was indeed the Rose Queen herself.
Upon her return home Esmeralda began researching the deepest and darkest strains of rose. Using grafting techniques and cross pollination she grew several young plants. As they grew and flourished she waited patiently for the first blooms. She achieved deep burgundy and the darkest crimson but never ebony. Three long years past each new bloom took her a step closer to her goal but never close enough. Then in the fourth year a tiny shoot grafted to the main plant produced a bud unlike any Esmeralda had ever seen. It was the darkest green she had ever seen. She tended to this special bud as with all her charges and waited in anticipation for it to blossom.
Sunday 14th April would be a date Esmeralda would never forget – for that morning she witnessed the darkest most beautiful ebony bloom gleaming in the sunlight. She would send word to the Duke that she has succeeded in making his wish come true. However, Esmeralda died that day at the hands of her arch rival, Vanity. It was a dagger to her heart as she breathed sweet words to her special bloom. Vanity took the plant and professed it was her own creation. She became famous over night and reveled in the adulation.
As for Esmeralda her body was buried beneath her rose garden- a place she had loved above all others. Her spirit lived on in the multitude of blooms until one day it rose up and made its presence known. She was the Rose Queen and the ebony bloom her creation.
The words flowed so quickly Janice could not read them quickly enough. At last her fingers ceased their frantic tapping and she realized who her visitor had been. Janice would make sure the real creator was acknowledged for her Black Rose.

Why not share yours in the comments?

Author Interview Nathan Hystad


Author-Interview-Button

Nathan

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I do most of my writing in the morning, but after a shower. I get up just after 5 am and get an early start at the day. It energizes me, and gets my brain and body going. I find that by doing this, I can go to my day job and be extremely productive. If I’m on a push, or am doing NaNoWriMo (writing 50K words in a month) I’ll write right after work as well, before dinner. I am not a late-night writer.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

I don’t get writers block. I have very specific projects, and for the most part they are outlined, at least as bullet points, with the tighter plot in my head. I made writing part of my daily routine last summer, and when you do that, you get trained to need that time. But if I have to choose something, I’ll say golfing. In the summer I love to go golfing once or twice a week, and that can end up taking out some desk time.

The Event

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

My novels are all currently under my real name, but I do have a series coming out late this year that will be using a pen name. It’s a collaborative project, and it works out better that way.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I’ve been lucky enough to make a really close-knit group of author friends that I talk to on a daily basis. Without them I wouldn’t be the same writer today. I also interact with a wide net of amazing indie science fiction authors. Being able to bounce ideas off them, whether its marketing or cover ideas is priceless. They are all virtual friends, but I’m heading to a 20bookstoVegas event this November where I’m going to meet a bunch of them.

New Threat

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I’ve written two stand alone’s so far. Sleepy Grove is a supernatural thriller about a woman who works at a cemetery and see spirits. It was a great experience but I don’t think it will see the light of day. Red Creek is out May 18th, and is a hometown horror. It may be my best novel to date (according to me) and I had such a great time writing it.

That leads to what I’ve done with my Sci-Fi series, The Survivors. It starts with The Event, and so far it’s a three book series with the first two out, and book three out May 29th.

They say splitting genres isn’t ideal, but I have so many stories to tell, that I will break conventions to get them out there if necessary.

New World

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Covers and editing. A book needs professional editing, and when I was publishing my first Explorations anthology, I found the artist many of the top selling SF authors were using and had him custom make the cover. I’ve used him for nearly all of my Woodbridge books, and all 4 of my own novels. Tom Edwards is amazing!

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I was a reader from a young age. My mom claims to have taught me to read when I was 3, and I loved to read. I remember winning the book award in grade one, which was basically a construction paper bird travelling around the room on a scale of books read. I still have little stories from grade 3-4 I wrote.

Explorations

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I read a lot of books, mostly fantasy and science fiction. I also have read a ton of indie stuff, so I could name far too many that are under-appreciated.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I’d be a duck. Calm on the surface, but flailing around under the water.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have Sleepy Grove sitting there, and me and my writing partner are working on a 3 book series to release this fall. Book one is done, and I’m currently writing book 2.

Explorations 2

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

I’ve never wanted to write that masterpiece high school students read in a hundred years. I want to write books people can enjoy, and move on to the next one. My first book only came out two months ago, and I still have a best-seller tag on Amazon, so I’ve already surpassed any life-time goals on that front.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Depends on the project. I use google maps a lot, and to be honest, I try to write what I know. You’ll see a lot of New York in my writing, and that’s because I’ve been there on vacation four times, and love the place. I find that life experience is the best research for writing you can find.

Red Creek

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

I write almost every day of the week, and would say I spend at least 20 hours on book stuff a week. (Plus the time thinking about it…)

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

Some of the names are nuggets for people I know, and some are random. I try to fit a name with the vibe of the character or location. Not a lot of science to it for me.

The LAST cITY

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

I’ve written some heavy scenes. The Event has a particularly emotional one. The main character’s wife died a few years before the book, and I have a few flashbacks of them together at the start of the book, which are relevant to the plot of the series. Here’s an excerpt:

Janine was in bed sleeping soundly when I stepped into the room. The hot soup cup was burning my hands, and I just stood there with the pain. I felt like I needed the distraction, like the burning would make my other pain go away somehow. Even though we were in our own house, the smell of the hospital still stuck in my nostrils, and I wasn’t sure if the chemical scent would ever be gone.

It was time, and Janine demanded to come home for the end. How could I deny that beautiful woman’s wishes when she was so small and frail, her life slipping away in hours and minutes instead of decades and years like someone her age should have left?

I put the soup down, sat at the foot of the bed, and just watched her breathe. The sounds lulled me, and I felt my own eyes getting droopy. I lay down and curled up beside my wife like I always did when we went to bed. Even if it was too warm, I needed to feel her body next to mine to fall asleep. I’d become dependent on her in so many ways, and I had no idea what I was going to do when she was gone. As I closed my eyes, I thought about dying and wondered if we would be together in some sort of afterlife if I ended my own life when she was gone. My last thoughts were of a bottle of whiskey and a vial of pills before sleep took over my exhausted body.

I woke to her touch. A soft kiss on my lips; her hair cascading down on my face. I cried and felt shame in my pain. She was the one dying and I was the one crying about it like a baby constantly. The worst part was, it seemed like she was okay with having a husband who couldn’t stop blubbering.

“Janny, I love you so much. I’m so sorry this happened,” I blurted between sobs.

She looked me in the eyes, and for the first time in weeks, I saw her own eyes well up. A single tear fell slowly and splashed on my cheek. It mingled with my own, and somehow, I felt better for it.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I love science fiction, and always have. It was natural for me to write there. I also have a long-time love of horror, and needed to write in that genre too. My main focus will be in Sci-fi now that I’ve found success there, but hope to still do some passion projects.

  1. How long have you been writing?

I used to dabble, but really only for the last 4 years. I started to write, and the floodgates opened up inside me. There was no turning back.

cRIME

  1. What inspires you?  

A lot of things. The outdoors, trees, green grass, the smell of autumn, the energy of a big city…so many things inspire my thought process, and I take them all and use it in my writing.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

Routine. I get up early to do it. No excuses.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m working on my final final final proof read of Red Creek, and about to send New World (Survivors book 3) to my formatter.

Baby

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

I’m going to be releasing a 3 book pen name series this fall, as well as book 4 of The Survivors. From there, I have many plans for 2019!

  1. Share a link to your author website.

You can follow along at www.nathanhystad.com I haven’t been around it to blog much lately, but you can follow my newsletter from there, and see what I’m up to. I also run www.scifiexplorations.com with some friends where we promote the best indie authors and their deals and new releases. Follow along there for some amazing promotions.

Bio:

Nathan Hystad is an author from outside of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He lives there with his wife, dog and piles of books. He runs Woodbridge Press, and is the series editor and creator of the Explorations series of anthologies.