Friday, February 22, 2019

Fi50 this week!

Bet you thought I’d forgotten :). Only almost, but it’s not too late!

Fiction in 50 is a regular feature in the last week of every month and I invite any interested composers of mini-narrative to join in!

fiction in 50   image Fiction in 50 NEW BUTTON

What is #Fi50? In the words of founder Bruce Gargoyle, "Fiction in 50: think of it as the anti-NaNoWriMo experience!" Pack a beginning, middle and end of story into 50 words or less (bonus points for hitting exactly 50 words).

The rules for participation are simple:

1. Create a piece of fictional writing in 50 words or less, ideally using the prompt as title or theme or inspiration.
That’s it!  But for those who wish to challenge themselves further, here’s an additional rule:

2. Post your piece of flash fiction on your blog or (for those poor blog-less souls) add it as a comment on the Ninja Librarian’s post for everyone to enjoy.  
And for those thrill-seekers who really like to go the extra mile (ie: perfectionists):

3. Add the nifty little picture above to your post (credit for which goes entirely to ideflex over at or create your own Fi50 meme pic….
and 4. Link back here so others can jump on the mini-fic bandwagon.
At this time, I haven't been able to find a source for a free linky-list, so it's just comments. I recommend posting your basic blog link below, with the day you post your Fi50 story. You can also add a link in the comments on my story, posted the next-to-last Sunday of the month. Feel free to Tweet using the #Fi50, though I'll not lie: the Ninja Librarian is a lousy tweeter.

I will do my best to visit if you post, but the first half of 2019 I will be away from the computer a lot, so be patient! 

The prompt for February is No More Hearts and Flowers

I look forward to seeing what you make of it!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

WEP: 28 Days

Let me begin with an apology: I shouldn't even post this, because as I do so I'm heading out again for 9 days and will have limited chances to visit other posters. If you want to skip me because of that, I understand. If you comment anyway I WILL read your story--it will just take me a week or two.

998 words. FCA.

28 Days

Twenty-eight days isn’t very long. 

Twenty-eight days is an eternity. 

Sometimes it’s both at once. 

It was February 1st when I was given one month to meet the love of my life. To make it worse, I had to start from scratch, since I hadn’t had a date in longer than I wanted to admit.

I got lucky on the 3rd—I ran into my high school sweetheart at the Pac-N-Save (in the baking aisle, if you want to know. I was buying chocolate chips; I think he was lost). We chatted, and he was still single, so time being of the essence I set to work. Flirtation has never been my strong suit, but I made a point of exhibiting an unwarranted enthusiasm for his company.

You probably wonder how I ended up in such a mess. It was, as usual, thanks to my fairy godmother. She has a wee drinking problem, to use her slurred words. When she heard me lament that I hadn’t had a date in ages, she tried to bless me with a promise that I’d find the love of my life by the end of the month. Alas, she wasn’t quite sober, and what came out was more of a threat: “You must find your love,” etc. The “or else” wasn’t explicit, but it would be bad. That’s what she said when she sobered up and discovered what she’d done.

That’s why I was trolling for love in the Food4Less, and why I was prepared to be satisfied with my high school sweetheart, even though he was kind of a conceited idiot back then.

He still was, but I tried not to notice. Love conquers all, right?

I had my work cut out for me. In addition to my own inner resistance, I had to overcome whatever it was that made him dump me the night before our Senior Prom.

Over the next few days I contrived to bump into Brad just about everywhere except the men’s room. I knew I was making progress when, the second time I ran into him on the 6th, he asked me to go out for coffee with him. 

Unfortunately, once we were seated with our lattes, he asked me if I was stalking him. I don’t think he completely accepted my explanation about a new job that seemed to be sending me to all the same places he went. But he did agree to see me again, so I counted it as progress. It might have simply been his ego—it was so easy for him to believe a woman was chasing him.

The hard part for the next week was coming up with reasons why we should go out. Every. Single. Day. That, and keeping my smile pasted into place while he talked on and on about himself. I must have succeeded, because Brad began to come around to my place without me even asking.

It looked like I’d dodged my Fairy Godmother’s drunken bullet. I still had ten days left and Brad was eating out of my hand, even starting to drop hints about a ring.

There was only one problem. I didn’t really like him. In fact, I really didn’t like him (there’s a big difference). Would it break the curse if I married someone I didn’t love?

I asked my FG, but all she said was, “Hand me another beer, dearie.” My uncouth Fairy Godsot drinks Bud Light.

I was left with a dilemma: I’d not found anyone better than Brad, and while I didn’t exactly consider him my ideal man, he seemed to be getting genuinely fond of me. Anyway, he was my best option. My only option, actually.

Brad had to go out of town for work, and I spent the next three days debating if I should lure him on to the proposal I needed. When he got home and called me, I told him I had a migraine and couldn’t go out. I agonized all night over that decision.

I spent the morning of the 20th with Brad, who bored me to death. He assumed I was pale and listless because of the migraine I’d not had the night before.

That evening I cruised singles bars with my BFF, flirting with everything male. She kept asking, “What about Brad?” She knew all about him, but I couldn’t tell her about my Fairy Godsot. 

On the 22nd I turned down Brad’s proposal. He was justifiably furious at the way I’d led him on. I didn’t try to explain, not that he gave me the chance. 

I spent the 23rd to the 26th imitating the FG: I bought a few of boxes of cardboardeaux and stayed drunk the whole time. 

I called in sick to work, planning to drink until the sky fell March 1st.

My boss showed up on the 27th, worried because I’m never sick. Nor do I get drunk, so when he saw the wine boxes, he knew something was very wrong.

I was drunk enough to explain. He listened without comment, then said, “You have 15 minutes to shower and dress for work. Make the most of it, because I need to you to train the new guy.”

I groaned and rolled my eyes and cussed some, but he didn’t budge. I could see it all: he was going to try to set me up, and it would be another Les, the sexist pig from Accounting with wandering hands.

“It’s my nephew, Donal,” my boss added. Why would he set up his own nephew with a doomed drunk? The kid must be odious.

I wasn’t going to get myself hooked up with a Les, or a pimply youngster either, but I pulled myself together and the boss drove me to the office. He didn’t say anything more about his nephew, and I guessed he’d be a mess.

Donal was no Les, and he wasn’t a mess. 

I made the deadline. 

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2019
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Middle Grade Monday: The Voice of the Xenolith


Title: The Voice of the Xenolith
Author: Cynthia Pelman
Publisher: Grosvenor House Publishing, 2015. 214 pages (in paperback)
Source: Library digital resources

Publisher's Blurb:
Thirteen-year-old Amethyst does not get on with her teachers. Her classmates think she is weird. She prefers to be on her own, and she wishes she did not have to go to school. Amethyst reads detective stories, collects fossils, loves archaeology, and is writing her own dictionary. She has trained herself to become an expert in tracking, searching and following clues, and she uses these detective skills to search for someone who was murdered seventy years ago. Amethyst reaches out across time and space and in doing so finds her own voice among the many meanings of silence.

My Review: 
I picked up this book because it seemed to fit a theme being explored on the Goodreads group Great Middle Grade Reads; i.e., girls in science. To some degree, that is true, as Amethyst is definitely interested in archaeology and geology. She is also dealing with a history of selective mutism (oddly, this is the second book I've read recently dealing with that--not sure what's up with that!).

In the end, I'm not sure how to classify the book, nor exactly what I thought of it. It deals with identity, with having a sense of self, with history, and with memory--in this case, remembering victims of the Holocaust. It also deals with the struggles of an extremely intelligent girl with an unusual upbringing to integrate into a normal school setting, which not surprisingly doesn't go well. I do wish that books like this could maybe not have so many clueless teachers, but at least she does find one who is willing to meet her where she is and go on from there.

I did like that she's very bright, and doesn't end up having to be forced into behaving like other girls (the author doesn't even try to pretend that deep down all girls like that stuff, which too many books do, I think). And the story was engaging, so that I read through a lot of it in a single go (and not just because I was reading it on the plane).

My Recommendation:
Because of the Holocaust elements, I'd recommend for 10 and up--old enough to deal with what Amethyst discovers about the person she is researching. It definitely has the potential to open up some interesting discussions, as well as just being an enjoyable read.

Full Disclosure: I borrowed an electronic copy of The Voice of the Xenolith from my library, and received nothing from the author or the publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."