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B&Q Staff Picks for Best Flash Fiction

This month is Flash Fiction February in our Writer’s Haven! As such, our staff is reading a lot of flash fiction this month–and we’re enjoying every bit of it!

Here’s a list of our staff’s favorite flash fiction pieces! For your convenience, we’ve included the links to read them online. Enjoy!


The Egg by Andy Weir

http://www.galactanet.com/oneoff/theegg_mod.html

The Huntress by Sofia Samatar  

http://tinhouse.com/the-huntress/

Three Questions by Leo Tolstoy

http://www.online-literature.com/tolstoy/2736/

What the Moon Brings by H.P. Lovecraft

http://www.flashfictiononline.com/fpublic0001-h-p-lovecraft-what-the-moon-brings.html

The Five Boons of Life by Mark Twain

http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/the-five-boons-of-life/

The Watch-tower by Lord Dunsany

http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/the-watch-tower/

Midnight Mambo by Daniel José Older

http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/midnight-mambo/

When Death’s Daughter Deals the Cards by Stefan Milićević

http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/when-deaths-daughter-deals-the-cards/

Elsewhere by Meera Jhala

http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/elsewhere/

The Stars That Fall by Samantha Murray

http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/the-stars-that-fall/

Rabbit on the Moon: A Tale From India

http://www.weingartdesign.com/TMaS/Stories/tmas1-RabbitonMoon.html

Sleeping by Katharine Weber

http://www.vestalreview.net/sleeping.htm

Bust-Head Whiskey by Continental Monthly

http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/bust-head-whiskey/

Bliss by Anton Chekhov

http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/bliss/

Egocentric Orbit by John Cory

http://flashfictiononline.com/main/article/egocentric-orbit/


We love receiving reading recommendations as much as we enjoy sharing them! What’s your favorite piece of flash fiction? Let us know in the comments!

Daily Drabble: February 14th

As part of our Year of Writing, participants have the opportunity to enter a Daily Drabble contest throughout the month of February. This contest consists of writing a short drabble–100 words or less–based on our fill-in-the-blank prompt, which is posted daily on our Twitter.

The prompt for February 14th was:

Winner: Dove

 

“What’s your sign?”

“I like the stop sign, personally.”

“I was talking horoscopes…”

“And I’m talking about my favorite sign.”

“But… That wasn’t my question…”

“I don’t care what your question was, my sign is the stop sign because most of humanity doesn’t remember how to USE it and they need to again.”

“I… well, you’ve got a point… Right, well, then I guess your sign is the stop sign…”

“I told you so!”

About Dove

Dovey is a teacher by trade who currently is working two jobs, a full time in retail and a part time in restaurants. She loves being there for people she cares for, and she’s the sort of person who would give the shirt off her back to someone in need. This is both a great thing and a horrible thing, because she often gets walked all over like a rug, but she’s trying to get better!

Honorable Mention: Rob

“What’s your sign?”
“I like the peace sign personally.”
“I was talking horoscopes…”
“And I’m talking about one of the most humble and most important signs in the history of humanity.”
“You seem right about that…”
“Don’t be such a Virgo, act like the Leo you are!”
“You’re wrong then!”
“Rawr, that’s what I want to hear.”
“Uuuuh…”

About Rob

Starting writer that wants to accumulate as much info as possible

Check back in tomorrow for the winners of today’s Daily Drabble contest!

Caveman: Flash Fiction Contest Winner

For Flash Fiction February, participants of our Year of Writing have the opportunity to enter four flash fiction contests throughout the month. The concept is simple: entries must be a piece of original flash fiction inspired by one or more of our daily prompts.

We’re happy to announce the winner for our very first Flash Fiction Contest of the month! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Winner: Taylor Barton

CONTENT WARNING: MAY BE DEEMED VIOLENT. READER DISCRETION ADVISED.

 

 

He waited in the bushes. The tall grass and green shrubs kept him hidden from the prey he was hunting. Mud was smeared across his face and body to mask any odors and camouflage his form. His heart thumped at a steady pace in his chest. Slow deep breaths went in through his nose and out his mouth. He had to be careful. One wrong move and the animal would be spooked and take off.

 

His bare feet padded softly against the jungle floor and he made sure to avoid any fallen twigs or sharp objects. The animal continued to graze in front of him. They seemed unaware that they were being watched from the nearby shrubbery. Slowly he edged closer until he was sure that his throw wouldn’t miss. He spotted the chest area and made a mental target for himself. His hands twisted around the rough wood of his spear shaft. Adrenaline began to surge through his veins. It was now or never.

 

He sprang from his hiding spot with the spear high over his head. With a mighty thrust, it soared towards the animal. The creature had only a moment to look up from its grazing spot to see the intruder but could not outrun the weapon. The spear found its mark and sank deep into the flank of the animal. There was a screech and the animal twisted as it tried to run and bucked in an attempt to remove the weapon. The caveman quickly chased after the animal.

 

In the brush, the animal disappeared but this was not the first prey he encountered that tried to escape. While crouched low to the ground he checked for tracks in the dirt and smears of blood. The trail had been easy to follow. After a short trek, he came upon the animal. It had laid down and was breathing hard. Blood was starting to pool around it as the ruby liquid flowed from the wound. The eyes bulged with fear as it spotted the attacker. It tried to get up and run but the caveman was already on top of it to prevent a second attempt at escape.

 

He placed a knee on the neck of the animal and gently stroked its head. He knew this fear. The fear of dying, of knowing that this would be its last moment. Once before he had encountered this. A saber tooth tiger had made its way to his home. He had woken in the cave to screams of others. With his spear in hand, he confronted the tiger. The large cat growled at him and bared the long canines at him.

 

In that moment he had been afraid. He was either going to kill that tiger or become its next meal. Or he could run away. It would be easy to turn away from the tiger and run, to save himself. The others would be slaughtered and those who would survive would see him as a coward. He would be turned away from the tribe. Even if he did run, there was no guarantee that the tiger wouldn’t chase him down and kill him. He charged the tiger and chose to fight. It hadn’t been an easy battle. His body bore marks of the fight. Long scars marred his body from the tiger’s claws and sharp teeth. It had been a worthy fight in the end. The tribe had a fresh supply of food and he now had a tiger pelt to keep him warm in the winter and use for camouflage.

 

The same fear he had felt when he faced the tiger he saw in the eyes of the creature he hovered over. He pulled the spear from the animal’s flank and thrust it into the chest cavity. The animal took a few more breaths before succumbing to death. It lay motionless in the dirt. A sliver of guilt crept its way into his heart. The creature had been innocent and done nothing wrong, but the meat would mean his and the tribe’s survival during the winter months. He looked to the sky and thanked the animal for providing a purpose. The caveman removed the spear again and wiped the blood from the point on his loincloth. He crouched down to pick up the animal and drape it over his shoulders.

 

He had survived another day out in the wild. The tribe continues to thrive with fresh meat. Today had been a better day than the one before but it was unclear what the next day would bring. With the spear in hand, he began his trek back to the tribe. The jungle was quiet today aside from a few chirpping insects and squawks of birds, but the caveman knew better. He kept his eyes open and ears alert. The jungle was no safe place for man.

Congratulations, Taylor! 

About Taylor Barton

Taylor currently resides in Texas but lives in the world of imagination. When she’s not working retail she enjoys reading, writing, coloring, and watching her favorite shows.

The prompt that inspired this piece of flash fiction was “caveman”

Daily Drabble: February 13th

As part of our Year of Writing, participants have the opportunity to enter a Daily Drabble contest throughout the month of February. This contest consists of writing a short drabble–100 words or less–based on our fill-in-the-blank prompt, which is posted daily on our Twitter.

The prompt for February 13th was:

Winner: Jes Bowers

“So my Walkman died yesterday.”

“When’s the funeral?”

“Um, we’re talking about a wake…”

“You don’t hold funerals for your possessions?”

“Excuse me, Ricardo Walkman was a cherished member of the family, and community. So the wake is for all those who shared cool jams, and we’re playing Beach Boys in memory. So there.”

About Jes Bowers

According to reports, Jes is a cryptid that lives in the Austin area of Texas, and migrates to the coast in certain seasons. This cryptid is easy to approach, and in fact seems to love human contact, fond of talking people’s ears off about their cats. If you’re unable to make the trip to sight them in the wild, they’re also on the internet.

Check back in tomorrow for the winners of today’s Daily Drabble contest!

The Book Flood: Book Gift Ideas

Perhaps you’ve seen the meme of how Iceland lists books as the most popular gift at Christmastime. This tradition has been nicknamed the Book Flood, and, according to an NPR article, has its roots in WWII, where import taxes on paper were less than they were on other imports, so it was easier to use books as gifts. Even so, apparently, giving paperbacks weren’t popular because of the importance of reading and the specialness of giving a physical book as a gift. Paperbacks were seen as too cheap.

Less than two months after Christmas, on February 14th, we have another opportunity to give books to our loved ones: International Book Giving Day. 

If you’re interested in giving books to your favorite bookworm, here are a few gift ideas:

 

Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada

Tawada is a Japanese-born author who has lived in Germany since she was 22 and writes in Japanese and German. This book centers on three generations of polar bears who are used in a German circus. It interestingly looks at how culture and anthropomorphization changes with each generation and how the bears are able (or not able) to communicate with each other and with humans.  Tawada’s imaginative writing would make it an interesting and delightful choice as a gift.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente

She has published at least a dozen books and lives a quirky life on an island off the coast of Maine. This book, unique for the fact that it was crowdfunded, is perfect for the teenager who already loves fantastical escapism (or if you’re looking for an excuse to get them into the genre) which is part Alice in Wonderland, part Golden Compass, and part Wizard of Oz.  The main character, September, like Alice, is swept off to an adventure in Fantasyland by The Green Wind to fight the Marquess. And if this gift goes over well, further adventures featuring September are found in The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (Volume Two), The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Volume Three), The Boy Who Lost Fairyland (Volume Four), and The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home (Volume Five.)

House of Evidence by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson

This Icelandic author started as an engineer before transitioning to a writerly and publications life, and has been nominated for Scandinavian crime writing awards for two of his novels. This novel would be perfect for the reader who loves crime novels, especially ones set not-in-America. Set in 1973, it focuses on a murder that was supposedly a robbery gone wrong, and involves the emerging study of forensics in crime investigation, the Icelandic railroad, ambition, and true detective work.

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman

For a Latin teacher-turned-writer, it makes sense that this debut novel focuses on a Latin teacher returning to teach at her former high school in the hopes of restarting her life. The gorgeous novel follows Jane, the teacher, as she struggles with the dark memories from 20 years prior and is confronted with new tragedies with her students. Fantastic, realistic fiction for those who don’t mind a bit of a tug on their heartstrings.

Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney

Widely regarded as the best translation, this gorgeous prose won the Whitbread Prose award. One of the classic oral stories passed down for nearly a thousand years before it was first published in the 1800s, this is a story of Beowulf, the defender of his people, who slays monsters who have been terrorizing the Danes for years. This emotional story resonates now as much as ever and is perfect for the linguist as this version is bilingual in Old English and Modern English.  

 

 

Daily Drabble: February 12th

As part of our Year of Writing, participants have the opportunity to enter a Daily Drabble contest throughout the month of February. This contest consists of writing a short drabble–100 words or less–based on our fill-in-the-blank prompt, which is posted daily on our Twitter.

The prompt for February 12th was:

Winner: Rob

“Don’t say those things! You’re going to get us in trouble!”

“It’s not like I’m cursing. I’m just saying, y’know, wink wink.”

“But what if my dad finds out we’re doing this?”

“Then he will be in for a surprise, he might even want to join us, wink wink”

“Oh god please no, he never has to know this!”

“Dude, calm down. We are just trying to summon demons.”

“Exactly!”

“Lame….”

About Rob

Starting writer that wants to accumulate as much info as possible

Check back in tomorrow for the winners of today’s Daily Drabble contest!

Daily Drabble: February 11th

As part of our Year of Writing, participants have the opportunity to enter a Daily Drabble contest throughout the month of February. This contest consists of writing a short drabble–100 words or less–based on our fill-in-the-blank prompt, which is posted daily on our Twitter.

The prompt for February 11th was:

Winner: Dove

“What’s with this mess? It’s like a tornado hit!”

“You won’t believe it mom, but that’s just what happened! I had a dream that there was a tornado and I woke up and it looked like this!”

“Cait…”

“But Mom, I cleaned my room last night before I went to sleep and I woke up and it looked like this!”

“Caitriona Eithne O’Hara, you tell the truth right now or there’s going to be trouble, young lady…”

“I AM telling the truth! I promise!”

“”You’re lying.”

“I swear! I’m telling you the truth! Just watch the Nanny Cam! You’ll SEE!”

About Dove

Dovey is a teacher by trade who currently is working two jobs, a full time in retail and a part time in restaurants. She loves being there for people she cares for, and she’s the sort of person who would give the shirt off her back to someone in need. This is both a great thing and a horrible thing, because she often gets walked all over like a rug, but she’s trying to get better!

Check back in tomorrow for the winners of today’s Daily Drabble contest!

Daily Drabble: February 10th

As part of our Year of Writing, participants have the opportunity to enter a Daily Drabble contest throughout the month of February. This contest consists of writing a short drabble–100 words or less–based on our fill-in-the-blank prompt, which is posted daily on our Twitter.

The prompt for February 10th was:

Winner: Savitri Horrigan

“Hey, gimme that uniform.”
“Get your own uniform. This one’s mine!”
“It has my name on it, buddy. Made.”
“Made? I thought they’d messed up the manufacturer’s label. What kind of name is that?”
“It’s not ‘maid’, first of all. It’s pronounced ‘Mah-dei’. Second, it’s a common Balinese name for the second or sixth kid. I happen to be the latter.”
“Oh. So you should be used to sharing, right? I think I like yours better.”
“I think you’ll like it less when I call you into my office.”
“Oh yeah? Who do you think you are?”
“Your supervisor.”

About Savitri Horrigan

Savitri is a social worker who loves the interplay between arts and activism. After reading loads of mystery, fantasy, romance, and science fiction, she is finally trying her own hand at storytelling. In addition to staring at blank pages, her favorite pastimes include journaling, walking, learning something new, and spending time with her friends and family.

Check back in tomorrow for the winners of today’s Daily Drabble contest!

Part 1: The Two Types of Publishing

You’ve written your first manuscript and are trying to make heads or tails of which route to go in the publishing industry, but it isn’t as cut and dry as you thought it might be. You’d like to make an income, maybe even retire to a new writing career. Does that sound about right?

Two Types of Publishing

Over the next few weeks I’ll be taking a look at the different types of publishing out there and hopefully provide some insight into which is best suited to your needs. First and foremost, you’ll need to make sure your manuscript is as perfect as it can be – that means you’ve already hired an editor and made revisions to the original work. Whatever route you go, mistakes are going to cost you in the long run. Eliminating them before you start will pay off.

There are basically two types of publishing: traditional and self-publishing. I know a few people are shaking their heads at that, but it’s true.

Traditional Publishing

Traditional publishers buy the rights to books. They are most likely retain all creative control and pay the authors a royalty from sales. Author cost is zero. They may help with some marketing, but authors are expected to do their own as well. While it is advised that you send an error-free manuscript in, traditional publishers have their own in-house editors who go over manuscripts and make changes at no cost to the author.

Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is a little more complicated. It includes any type of publishing in which an author is required to pay out of pocket on the route to becoming published. There are numerous different types included under the umbrella name including: vanity publishing; subsidized publishing; print-on-demand publishing; and self-publishing. Each one is a unique entity to be considered carefully before making a final decision.


Join me next week, when I take an in-depth look at traditional publishing on the road to helping writers make their publishing choice.

 

Daily Drabble: February 9th

As part of our Year of Writing, participants have the opportunity to enter a Daily Drabble contest throughout the month of February. This contest consists of writing a short drabble–100 words or less–based on our fill-in-the-blank prompt, which is posted daily on our Twitter.

The prompt for February 9th was:

Winner: Maggie N.

“The week is just way too long…”

“But more than half of it is the weekend!”

“That’s the problem. There’s a week left before the weekend begins!”

About Maggie N.

Maggie is 20 y.o. Norwegian philosophy major, minoring in literature, classics, and biology. By day Maggie minds kindergarteners, volunteers at music and film festivals, and writes for a local immigrant-focused magazine, and by night Maggie writes queer fantasy, dances pole and aerial silks, sings choir, reads tarot cards, plays Dungeons & Dragons, and suffers from an excess of opinions

Check back in tomorrow for the winners of today’s Daily Drabble contest!

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