“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Image Prompt Week #7. Join in, have fun and let the creative muse loose. @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and welcome to my weekly “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!”  Week #7 Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in a format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by 4pm EDT on Thursday, July 9th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll begin sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on Friday, July 10th.

Here is the week #7 Image Prompt.

 

flash Free lighthouse beautiful

I hope the image inspires you! Come and join in the fun.

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

 

 

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #6 Entries 4-5. @JanSikes3 @gmplano #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity.

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 2 of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #6.

Today I’m featuring contributions from  4) Jan Sikes and 5) Gwen Plano. Week #7 prompt will be featured here tomorrow.

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Here is the image prompt.

FREE FRAMED IMAGE OF BABY AND DADDY SLEEPING WEEK 6

#4 …Contributed by JAN SIKES

“I’VE GOT YOU”

I’ve got you, little one

Safe and secure

In this world filled with troubles

Heartaches and fear

Your tiny heart beats in rhythm with mine

My blood flows through your veins

Our lives forever intertwined

I’ll protect you until my very last breath

And warm you when icy winds

Threaten with the kiss of death

Yes, I’ve got you, little one

Today, tomorrow and all your days here

I’ve got you, little one

My love unshakable and sincere.

            Your Father

#

Jan can be contacted here …

All books are available at http://www.jansikes.com

Amazon

On Twitter

On Facebook

 

#5 … Contributed by Gwen Plano;

My contribution is a Haiku poem, a 3-lined poem characterized by 17 syllables. When I saw the photo, a song began playing over and over in my thoughts. My dad would sing this song and perhaps your father did as well. It begins: Hush little baby, don’t say a word; Papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird

 

Gwen Plano can be reached here:

 

Reflections on Life … Blog.

Author Page: Gwen Plano on Amazon

On Twitter.

Gwen Plano on Facebook.

~~~

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Contact me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

The Week #7 Writing prompt will be posted tomorrow.

“Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #6 Entries 1-3 @pursoot @KIngallsAuthor @dlfinnauthor #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

 

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 1 of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week 6.

Today I’m featuring contributions from Karen Ingalls and D.L. Finn as well as my own contribution. Part 2 entries 4-5 will be posted here tomorrow.

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

#1. Contributed by Karen Ingalls.

FREE FRAMED IMAGE OF BABY AND DADDY SLEEPING WEEK 6

 FATHER AND SON

 POEM

by

KAREN INGALLS.

 

        I HOLD YOU WITH LOVE

MY HEART REJOICES

         YOU ARE A MIRACLE

 

 WE SLEEP TOGETHER

IN A SILENT RHYTHM OF BREATHES

         YOU ARE A BLESSING

 

   GOD’S LOVE EMBRACES US

ALWAYS WITH US

YOU ARE A GIFT

 

    YOUR SWEET SPIRIT

CALMS MY BEATING HEART

        YOU ARE SPECIAL

 

THIS TREASURED MOMENT

  IS ONE OF MANY TO COME

        YOU ARE MY SON

Karen Ingalls can be found on

Karen Ingalls Blog.

On Twitter:

Karen Ingalls Author Page Amazon

On Facebook

#

#2 A Haiku Contributed by D.L.Finn

FREE FRAMED IMAGE OF BABY AND DADDY SLEEPING WEEK 6

Chests rising in rhythm
A sleepy moment captured
Love’s perfection
D.L. Finn can be found here …

#3 My own Contribution;

FREE FRAMED IMAGE OF BABY AND DADDY SLEEPING WEEK 6

“I did it, Dad!”

by

Suzanne Burke.

Michael D’Angelo looked up from his laptop as his assistant knocked on the door.

“Problem, Danny?”

“Oh, no, sir. At least I don’t think so.” He handed across a large envelope, “This just came for you.”

Michael looked at the envelope for a brief moment. “Thanks, Danny. It’s from my father.” He flicked a glance at his watch, “What time are we leaving?”

“We need you to be ready to go in just over an hour.”

“Okay, can do. Uh, Danny, I’m taking a moment. Can you see I’m not disturbed?”

The man nodded and left the office.

Mike looked at the handwriting again. He’d be seeing his father in just a few short hours, so why this? A photograph slid out onto the desk as he opened the envelope. Mike picked it up. “What the? How have I never seen this one?” There was a letter waiting, and Mike’s hands shook a little as he opened it.

Hello, Mikey.

Now I know this is gonna seem strange, and maybe it is, but I needed to say some stuff now and it’s too important to risk me freezing up when I try to say it out loud later. So, I’m writing them down as they come to me.

I took that photograph of you sleeping with my newborn grandson.  I kept this picture framed on my desk down at the precinct. It was such a huge milestone in your life. I was privileged to be around to see it happen. I recognized the moment and I cherished it. But did I ever tell you that? I should have.

I was there when you took your own first steps, you tottered towards my outstretched arms and giggled with delight when you made it! You had a smile that your mother swore could melt ice cubes, and then there was the other smile that you shared only with me. I always called it your ‘I did it, Dad’ grin.

It surfaced often in those early years as you added other firsts to your journey. Do you remember the day I got called down to the school because you’d been in a fight? Man, your left eye had some black and blue shiner in the making. The principal sat me down and laid out the facts. “Michael was witnessed to strike James McGuire. We have strict rules about violence here. Now, if Michael will apologize to James and the McGuire family, we’ll avoid suspending him.”

I looked at you and recognized something in the set of your jaw as you spoke up, “I’m sorry, sir. I’m afraid I can’t do that. Not unless McGuire apologizes to the little kid from the special needs class that he had shoved up against the lockers. He’s only nine-years-old, sir! If McGuire does that, I’ll apologize.”

You got suspended for two weeks. I took you out for burger and fries and tried to look stern while we celebrated. You gave me that smile. But did I say the words ‘I’m proud of you for standing up for what you believe in?’ I should have.

That kinda brings us over the mountains and the milestones that time hands us, to today. I love you my son and I’m proud of you. I’ll say that to you a little later.

Dad.

Mike shook his head and took a deep breath. Then he composed himself and dressed ready for the afternoon ahead.

***

Frank D’Angelo stood alongside his eighteen-year-old grandson. They held onto each other’s hands tightly as Michael Thomas D’Angelo was sworn in by The Chief Justice as the new Attorney General of the United States of America.

Frank cried as his boy flashed him his ‘I did it, dad.’ Smile.

He applauded with the others.

Mike hugged his son and his mother then turned to his dad, “Can you say it now, dad?”

“I’m so very proud of you, my son.”

Mike pulled him into a man hug. “It goes both ways, dad. So, let me get this formal stuff out of the way. Then you want burgers and fries?”

His father laughed, “You buying?”

“You know it. Let’s go celebrate our way.”

#

 

Thanks so much for stopping by. I’ll take this opportunity to wish all my American friends a safe and Memorable 4th of July 2020.

Don’t forget to drop by tomorrow for Part 2 of the entries.

The Challenge Photo-Prompt for Week #7 will be posted on Friday, July 3rd.

Contact me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

 

“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Image Prompt Week #6. Join in, have fun and let the creative muse loose. @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and welcome to my weekly “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in a format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by 4pm EDT on Thursday, July 2nd. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll begin sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on Friday, July 3rd.

Here is the week #6 Image Prompt.

FREE FRAMED IMAGE OF BABY AND DADDY SLEEPING WEEK 6

 

I hope the image inspires you! Come and join in the fun.

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

 

“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Week #5 … Entries 1-3. @KIngallsAuthor @gmplano @pursoot #IARTG #WritingCommunity

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week 5.

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge! Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in a form and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by 4pm EDT on June 18th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on June 19th.

 Here is the prompt image and ENTRIES 1-2 and 3…For #Week 5.

Entries 4 and 5 will be featured tomorrow.

flash best marionette

 

#1 …This contribution by Gwen Plano:

My contribution is a Tanka poem, a 31 syllable poem known for its five lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables. The photo prompt is the figure in the bottom left corner.

Flash week 5 Gwen Plano Tanka june 25th 2020

You’ll find Gwen here:

Reflections on Life … Blog.

Author Page: Gwen Plano on Amazon

On Twitter.

Gwen Plano on Facebook.

 

***

#2 … This contribution by Karen Ingalls.

flash best marionette

For this challenge, I have written my first Haiku poem, which is a short form of Japanese poetry. It consists of three lines, with seventeen syllables divided into 5/7/5 syllables. I hope you enjoy it.

Karen Ingalls can be found on

Karen Ingalls Blog.

On Twitter:

Karen Ingalls Author Page Amazon

On Facebook

***

#3. My own contribution:

flash best marionette

‘The Puppeteer’.

By

Suzanne Burke

“Our audience will arrive soon, my pretty one. We must give them a show they’ll always remember.” The man looked down at her from his perch on the step ladder, “What are those grey eyes of yours asking?” His voice dropped to a cracked whisper, “Tell me.”

“ Look, I’m really sorry, but I don’t think this is my kind of assignment. I’ll give back the modeling fee. ”

The man’s laugh echoed around the basement studio. The sound made Holly shiver. “Not your kind of assignment? Trust me, my pretty one, this assignment will make you quite famous.”

Holly’s voice was tight with fear, “I’m leaving now.” Holly stood and took a close look at the ties that bound her. “These bindings need to be removed.”

“Oh, no, no you can’t go now. You’re about to be launched on the worldwide stage.”

“I said these need to be undone. Please, I, … I’m already late. I have a two-year-old daughter waiting. I just want to go home.”

“She’ll get to brag about her famous mommy.” The man turned his head and caught the beam of a flashlight shafting through the small window just below the ceiling. “Ah, perfect. Our audience has arrived.”

Holly dropped to her knees, “Please, please… whatever this is it’s not too late to stop! Please?”

She looked up to discover the gun he now held aimed at her.

“It’s far, far, too late, my pretty one. The ball’s already in play.” His voice was soft and somehow wistful.

Holly grew silent, scrambling to think clearly through the adrenaline-fuelled fear.

She heard the heavy thud of a door upstairs being rammed open, and the boots overhead moved towards the basement stairs.

“Here they come!” The Puppeteer flicked on another spotlight and illuminated his stage; he moved with assured steps to stand behind his living marionette. Holly felt the gun barrel of the Glock placed against her left temple. She moaned in fear.

Seconds later the basement door was forced open, “FBI … Drop the weapon! Do it now!”

“Oh, no…no, I don’t think so. You aren’t about to risk me getting a shot off before your bullets take me out of play. You can’t let ‘The Puppeteer’ add another victim to the list. You’d kiss goodbye any hope of furthering your career.  He laughed. “I believe that gives me the advantage.”

“Let’s calm this situation the fuck down. What is it you want?”

“Ah, of course, and you’d be the hostage negotiator?”

“Declan O’Connor. Talk to me. Let’s all walk away from this with no bloodshed. Now, what will it take for you to cut her loose and let her walk over here?”

“Oh, nothing much. I’m thinking a Presidential Pardon would suit me nicely. My very own ‘get out of jail free’ card.”

“Not about to happen. Not with the sixteen females you’ve butchered. Now ask me for something I can do.”

“I don’t need anything else. Pity. She’s quite pretty.”

Declan O’Connor whispered into his mouthpiece, “Do it now!”

The Puppeteer screamed as the sniper’s bullet came through the small window and removed three fingers and the gun from his right hand.

NO! NO! You, damned fools! You are meant to kill me! There’s no glory in this.”

Declan O’Connor now cradled a sobbing Holly in his arms, he looked over as his men took charge of their prisoner. “We’d already figured you didn’t plan on this ending well. Sixteen cases and you have never made a mistake that could lead us straight to you. Except for this time.” Declan gave Holly’s shoulder a squeeze as the paramedics helped the shaking woman onto a stretcher.

He walked over to man the press had labeled The Puppeteer as another paramedic dressed his wound. “Pity you didn’t commit one of your atrocities in a state that still upholds the death penalty. But, in many ways, it’s far more satisfying to know you’ll do life without any hope of parole. The best news is that we’ll see to it that you’ll do that time in the general population of a maximum-security facility.”

“I’ll plead insanity.”

“Nah … won’t happen. Every psychologist and psychiatrist that has read the case files will testify that these murders were at the hand of someone sufficiently in charge of his faculties to plan meticulously and enact pre-meditated murder. I for one look forward to seeing you live to enjoy your sentence, for as long as it takes for another inmate to kill you. They all have sisters’ mothers and sweethearts. Pity is you won’t last awfully long.

The Puppeteer began screaming as he was shackled and shoved into the waiting van.

Declan addressed his team. “Great work, people. Let’s meet up for drinks after the debriefing. I’m buying!”

***

Holly said a grateful prayer that night as she cradled her daughter in her arms.

#

I look forward to sharing entries 4 and 5 with you tomorrow.

Thanks so much for stopping by. The Challenge Photo-Prompt for Week #6 will be posted on Saturday, June 27th.

Contact me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seasons of The Muse. Does your muse have a favorite season? Mine does. #RRBC #WritingCommunity #IARTG

Seasons of The Muse.

Does your muse have a season when it’s at its most active? I’ve discovered that mine does.

SNOW

It’s winter here in the Land of Oz and a quick glimpse out my window confirms what my bones have been telling me all morning, we have more snow on the way. I’ve been awake since 4.00 a.m and have already indulged in way too much caffeine. I’m edgy, and my thoughts are all screaming in unison to gain my attention. I’ve been caught up in a cycle of examining all my past works and the discoveries I’ve made have caused me to faceplant and groan more than a few times.

I’ve learned so much since those early days, and I have so much more to learn. I hunger for that knowledge.

I also began to notice a pattern to my writing, something I’d never consciously thought about had recurred far too many times to be a coincidence.

I discovered that I’d written countless short-stories and six of my eight novels in winter.

I also found these particular works to be my writing at its very darkest.

Seasonal disaffected disorder? Possibly. Yet I don’t venture outside much at all no matter what the season.

I’m beginning to understand why my muse demands so much more of me, why it pushes away any doubts and self-imposed limitations I’m still carrying as baggage. And why it surfaces so strongly when the cold wind blows and the clouds billow outside.

We all draw from our past. Subconsciously reliving both the best of times and the absolute worst of them. The tools our lives handed us back then go into our personal arsenals. We draw those weapons to protect us when survival demands it of us.

Winter honed those skills for me. That’s when my muse first surfaced. I recall sitting around a fire pit with the other street kids and telling stories that made us laugh or punch the air with a “Hell, yeah!”. Taking our minds away from the hunger for a while, enriching us, and connecting us as a family.

I still tell those stories now. Only now I write them down and share them with friends across a far bigger fire pit.

Winter will lash our small town until Mid-October. And yes, I’ve just finished writing another novel. With one more underway. Are they dark? Uh-huh, and then some. The cycle continues.

Grab a moment and share your own insights.

Do you recognize a particular season when your muse fires up and hits hyperdrive? Do you know why that is, or is it always planned that way? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Contact me here:

 

Suzanne Burke Amazon Author Page

On TWITTER.

On Facebook.

My Blog

 

 

 

“The Comfort of Silence” #New #ShortStory #RRBC #Anthology @pursoot

silence confuscious

Hello and welcome. I have added one more story to my new anthology a work-in-progress. This is the last one I’ll share here until the book is released.  Thank you for joining me.

The Comfort of Silence

By

Suzanne Burke

From my upcoming anthology

“Closure”

 

Ellie sat out on the back deck and breathed in the comfort of silence.

Grant, her husband of ten-years had finally fallen into drunken unconsciousness around an hour earlier, and she’d left him laying on the floor in the pool of vomit that the last bourbon had created.

The days were long gone when she’d struggled and strained to drag his limp carcass into the bedroom. She’d even stopped placing a sofa cushion under his head and leaving a bucket beside him.

It was winter now and starkly beautiful sitting under that diamond strewn canopy. She shivered a little and snuggled down deeper into her quilted jacket. She smiled even as she trembled, knowing how cold his inert form would get laying there on the tiled living room floor.  She’d turned off the air-conditioned warmth everywhere in the house but her own bedroom. A woman has gotta conserve electricity when she can. That thought caused her to laugh out loud in the solitude, she enjoyed that rare sensation and laughed again.

Her coffee had grown cold and Ellie craved another, she stood and stretched languidly before heading inside to the kitchen.

She cast a brief glance at Grant’s now snoring body. He’d curled into the fetal position to ward off the cold. She shrugged and flicked on the recessed lighting above the kitchen island, then busied herself making another pot of coffee.

She craved warmth now and placed the coffee and some Oreos onto a tray and stepped over her husband on the way into the welcoming warmth of her bedroom.

There had been a time as recently as three years back when she’d deadlocked that door and placed barricades against it to keep the violent monster she’d married at bay.

It had taken her the intervening three years of hard soul searching to reach her decision.

Putting it into action was now delivering her a measure of peace.

The few friends she’d managed to keep isolated from the stench of her home life had commented on the change in her. When asked for the reason behind it she’d laughed it off as ‘just taking some me time.’

And she had.

She’d begun meditating and working out a few times every day, to assist in keeping her new resolve on track. She was reaping the benefits tenfold three years in.

It had taken Grant coming at her again with his filthy accusatory mouth and raised fists to at last fuel and light her new ignition switch. Her swift retaliation stunned him into shock and the kick to his abdomen felled him. She savored the sweet vindictive taste of revenge as he lay on the floor in a whining sniveling heap. Another savage kick to his gut stopped the sniveling. That was the sweet start of the solitude.

From a woman who had insisted on cooking any meal he asked for, at any time of the day or night, she’d become his keeper and fed him once in the morning. He’d help his drunken self to the rest if he could make it as far as the kitchen.

Ellie had carefully rearranged all the furnishings to create barriers between every room that a drunk would find difficult if not impossible to navigate.

She had no one but the delivery guy from the local bottle-shop knocking on this door. Nobody to raise an eyebrow at her new version of ‘home beautiful’. It had been another defining moment to be noted and reread in her diary at night for visual confirmation of her latest achievement.

Ellie reached for her coffee, munched on a few Oreos and switched off the lamp.

She calculated around five hours of downtime before the man outside her sanctuary would begin to awaken.

Ellie had at last begun looking forward to her days.

***

The sound of his whining voice awakened her. There was a tentative tap on the door. “Ellie, you in there?”

“What do you want?”

“I just wanted to be sure you’re here.”

“Well, I am. I’ll be there to fix you some food shortly.”

“Shortly? What the fu …”

What did you say?

Silence greeted her question, she repeated it. “Well?”

“I’ll, uh, I’ll see you, um, shortly.”

Ellie didn’t bother to comment further. She showered in her en-suite and took her time dressing. The stench in the living room made her head across and throw the windows wide, ignoring the cold wind that swept in.

She filled a bucket with disinfectant, grabbed the mop and placed both down in front of the man. He was sitting hunched over, still wearing the soiled clothing he’d passed out in.

“I’m not preparing food in this stench. I’ll feed both of us after you clean up your own disgusting mess.”

“I’m sorry, Ellie.”

“Yes, I believe you actually are. What else are you sorry for, Grant?”

The blank look that question created on his face didn’t serve to elevate Ellie’s mood.

“You ask me that every day. And every day I tell you I don’t know. Why the fuck do you keep asking?”

“I’ll keep asking that question until I hear the right answer.”

“But…”

“No, that isn’t it.”

Ellie sniffed at the air and gave him a pointed glare.

“Okay. I got this.”

“Don’t take too long. I’m craving my morning coffee.”

It had taken an hour for the room to begin to smell like the towering pines outside again.

“Ah, that’s much better. Grant, you need to shower and change those filthy clothes. Place them in the washing machine on the longest cycle.”

“I’m hungry.”

“The sooner you act the sooner you eat. Simple isn’t it?”

He muttered something she didn’t catch and went to do as she’d said.

Ellie closed the windows and ramped the heat up to a comfortable temperature.

She was seated on the large sofa drinking her coffee when he re-entered the room. She looked up at his freshly washed and shaved face and for one bitter-sweet moment, she caught a shimmer of the man she’d been so utterly in love with for as long as it took for the fear to kill it.

“Can we eat now?”

I don’t break my promises. What do you feel like?”

“Can we have pancakes?”

“Yes, that’s doable. Sweet or savory?”

“A stack with maple syrup?”

“It’ll be ready soon.”

“Did my delivery arrive yesterday?”

Ellie called “Yes.” from the kitchen.

She heard him shuffle across to the bar, a tinkle of ice and his grunt of satisfaction told her he’d just started on his binge for today. She checked her watch. 7 a.m was early even for him.

The pancake stack she placed in front of him sat cold and uneaten as the booze took back control.

Her diary was added to with the date and time he began and finally stopped drinking for any given day. She flicked back through several years worth and shuddered. His last 90-day rehab had only been three and a half years earlier.

It was just another 3-month break in the cycle. She craved for and enjoyed those breaks. They’d managed to help her hold on to her sanity for a little longer. He’d lasted exactly twelve days at home and every promise made during those sweet twelve-days was shattered as he beat her again night after night.

Ellie had begun planning today from that last night. The paramedics had managed to get her to the hospital in time to save herself, but their unborn child had died at 20 weeks with no chance to begin his tiny life.

If their little boy had lived he’d be three-years-old today.

She watched Grant slump further down into the sofa. His unsmoked cigarette still burning away in the ashtray.

Ellie checked the hour, well satisfied. It was only lunch-time and he was already nodding off to sleep. She knew well that he’d stay that way for two or so hours then he’d wake up and finish his first bottle of bourbon of the day.

It was time.

Ellie pulled the suitcases from under her bed, checked the contents again and carried them out through the mudroom and into the garage. Her other belongings had been loaded into the trunk and the back seat of her new SUV over a period of days. The suitcases fit perfectly on the top layer.

The refrigerator was emptied and switched off and she carried everything out front for the trash collectors to collect later this afternoon.

Ellie began calling to confirm again the arrangements she’d made.

The power would be disconnected at 5.00pm.

All internet services had been permanently closed.

She’d already packed his cell-phone. There was no longer a landline. He had no available contact with the world outside the stupor he lived in.

Their nearest neighbor was a ten-mile walk through rugged walkways to get to, without the car she now owned and would have in her possession.

Grant had been so acquiescent to her requests to place his drunken signature on any documents she’d handed him. Ellie had paced them carefully. The house had been signed over giving her sole ownership months ago now. The real-estate agent she’d hired would be placing the ‘For Sale’ sign up early this evening. She’d given her broker signed consent to have Grant evicted if he was still in residence when the property sold.

Grant had made her a signatory on his only bank account. The balance had made her smile. One hundred-thousand-dollars had been withdrawn slowly and she’d carefully spread it over several offshore accounts.

She placed another call to Grant’s alcohol supplier and canceled all further deliveries.

The sound of Grant belching into wakefulness had her return to the living room.

She watched him suck in the alcohol and surprised him when she held out a glass filled with ice. “I’ll join you.”

“Whoa, really? You! Have a drink? What are we celebrating?”

“A birthday.”

“Anyone I know.”

“You robbed yourself of the right to know him.” Ellie threw the drink back and stood looking down at him. “What are you sorry for, Grant? Last chance to answer?”

His expression registered nothing.

Ellie headed outside without a backward glance. She made one stop on her way out of town.

Every diary she’d ever owned had been copied. Her solicitor had been instructed to hand her written statement and all the proof of abuse over to the police in the event anything should happen to her.

She pointed the SUV east, hit the button on the playlist and sang her happy heart out on the journey towards a new tomorrow.

#

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Dying on Stage.” A comedy of tragic proportions. I kid you not!” #RRBC @pursoot #IARTG

 

Violin for short story horror contestA recent tag on Twitter by my friend Vashti asked me to reveal something personal about myself. I shared the fact that I had once taken acting classes. That memory caused me to shudder and laugh simultaneously. Are you gonna ask me why?

(Whew … for a minute there I didn’t think you were gonna cooperate.)

So … the acting classes led to a few forgettable amateur performances with a group of like-minded but otherwise normal people.

Laurence Olivier

Trust me Laurence Olivier’s reputation wasn’t in any danger of being outshone.

But, hell … we were a dedicated bunch. In a group like that you soon learn to put your hand up for anything remotely connected to a production, which meant we all worked scenery, props, backstage and front of house when we weren’t actually selected to be up on that stage ourselves. Like I said dedicated. Or maybe certifiable.

Anyways … I was chosen for a part in the next production. It was a great part. I got to be shot and die on stage as the final curtain came down and everything! Seriously! I mean let’s face it that was probably the greatest challenge ever handed an aspiring actor.  I rehearsed the hell out of that final scene. I perfected pitching forward as I’m shot from behind and landing face down on the floorboards, but with a side view so the audience could get a clear view of my dead face as my shocked lover comes forward and kneels over me in an agony of loss. My assassin still stands with his gun in his hand and a shocked look on his face.

AUDIENCE

Are you with me so far?

That was the pivotal curtain moment.

Meanwhile back on the floorboards I lay, unmoving. I held it, I had that sucker under perfect control, until my dead nose came in contact with a pile of dust that one of us hadn’t quite swept off stage before the curtain came up.

I felt the dust reaction hit my senses and I began willing that damned curtain down. But my mourning lover was milking the hell out of his big scene and I knew I was in trouble.

I thought my head was about to explode.

At last my lover moaned out his last effort and the silence just before the curtain drops permeated the theatre  … and I let loose the sneeze from hell.

I was mortified. Especially when I heard that first snicker, you know that embarrassed snicker you make just before you double up laughing? Yeah … that’s the one. Multiply that by about thirty folks still sitting in our audience. Uh-huh. Yep.  And then I heard it … A voice in the crowd that carried well called out ‘Bless You’ and the whole place erupted. To make matters worse my lover collapsed in gales of hysteria over my no longer dead body which had his boyfriend off stage wishing me dead all over again.

My assassin barely managed to put the gun prop down before she cracked up completely.

Need I say that the only stage I was ever welcomed back on was the first one outta town.

True story. Seriously it is … even I couldn’t come up with this one.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope that my sharing a memorable moment has helped you to smile.

Have you ever had an oddly pivotal moment like that?

I’d love you to share it.

 

 

 

#CoverReveal #NewRelease: “The Alternative” by S.Burke @pursoot My new #Thriller #Anthology. #RRBC #premium_indie #IARTG Now Available for PRE-ORDER.

 Hello, and welcome to the Cover Reveal of my New Thriller Anthology

“The Alternative”

The ALTERNATIVE BANNER HEADLINE FOR COVER REVEAL BEST

The Alternative

The Alternative
by S.Burke

Available to Pre-Order NOW.
Release Date:  Monday June 18th 2018
Mystery> Thriller & Suspense > Anthology.

It is such an exciting time for an author when releasing a new book! I would be remiss in not sharing my heartfelt thanks to the marvelous people who gave of their time so readily to beta read my latest book. Their valuable insights helped me enormously when crafting “The Alternative”

At long last, I’m able to share the cover and blurb for “The Alternative” my latest Thriller Anthology.   “The Alternative ” is due for release on June 18th.

It is NOW available for Pre-Order

I have many good friends sharing this cover across the blogosphere today and tomorrow, so you’re likely to see it pop up in various places. Thank you to everyone participating in my cover reveal splash, and to everyone dropping by to share in my excitement.   Here’s my new baby . . .

With much gratitude to Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khaleesi for the cover creation.

Cover Created by Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khalessi

Presenting “The Alternative” A Thriller Anthology.

“The Alternative”

THE ALTERNATIVE COVER IN HIGH RESOLUTION BEST

BLURB:

The Alternative.

There are those that cling unreservedly to the lifeboat that believing in Karma hands them so willingly.

They work, they live, and they function in a world that allows them the option of unreservedly trusting that Karma has no deadline.

Until they are handed the spark that ignites them into becoming the instrument of Karma itself.

There are others who have had all they once held to be truths, everything they once stood for and took pride in, torn apart and ripped from them by the hand of a cruel fate.

Then, of course, there are those who believed in nothing and no one, to begin with …

These are their stories.

The stories of people both good and bad, who made the choice to exact “The Alternative.”

An excerpt from Chapter 1. Picasso.

February 1990.

The tall man stretched his arms and flexed his long artistic fingers. He stood back to gain a different perspective of his latest work of art. He’d spent a great deal of time sketching his outline and was well satisfied with the outcome. Perhaps this one would be the perfection he craved above all else.

His other efforts were upstairs in the gallery, and while they were far from his lofty imaginings, they each represented another step forward toward his ultimate goal. He knew this exhibition would prompt worldwide interest, that was a given. His reputation was on the line. That at least was something he valued.

He grunted and moved the newest piece into the workroom. The more difficult application of his talent needed to begin.

***

 NEW YORK JULY 2015

Meredith keyed in her code, shouldered the door open and dropped her briefcase onto the polished boards of the entry. Working on autopilot, she flicked on the light and bent to collect the mail from the floor; throwing it onto the small bureau without bothering to check the sender. She shrugged off her coat and draped it over the arm of the sofa. Too damned weary to be bothered with any external interruptions tonight, she removed the home phone from its cradle and headed to the kitchen to fix enough coffee to sustain the long evening ahead, deliberately ignoring the well-stocked bar. She was well aware that she’d need every bit of concentration she could muster. She removed the Glock from her handbag, and out of habit, she placed it on the coffee table next to the perpetually full ashtray.

Her head was already pounding and she rubbed at her tense neck muscles until her fingers ached. Relief from the unresolved tension still hovered … just out of reach. She held her breath for a moment, stilling her impatience. If all went to plan, this thing would be finally ended. If justice existed at all, it would go well. All the years she’d worked to bring what was the only course left open to herself and the others to completion was coming. ‘Soon now’, was her daily mantra. But the darker visions still danced vividly in her mind’s eye and tormented her rare sleeping hours … it had been that way for almost twenty-five years.

The memory haunted her, dark and unforgivingly brutal. It replayed in clear and explicit detail every time she was forced to reflect on it … and its aftermath.

***

THE ALTERNATIVE IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

“The Alternative” on AMAZON.COM

Suzanne Burke Amazon Author Page

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Thank you so much for joining me here today. Your support is very much appreciated.

I would be delighted to hear your thoughts and comments below.

Look Back in ANGER … Move Forward with DREAD. A brief exploration of me. #RRBC #RWISA #IARTG

BANNER LOOK BACK IN ANGER

 “The best predictor for future behavior is past behavior.”

Have you read and heard that statement as often as I have?

More importantly however, is, do you recognize and believe it?

Has your past behavior resounded through time to continuously affect the way you respond to life, right here and right now?

Mine certainly has.

I’ve headed this post “Look Back in ANGER … Move Forward with Dread.”

Therein lay my challenge to myself.

Make no mistake, I have held onto the fierce anger I learned to feel before I was taught to write my own name.

It has raged inside me forever, or so it seems.

It is relentless, soul consuming and unapologetic in its efforts to deny me peace of mind.

I have loathed it … and I have nurtured it.

For it has become comfortingly familiar to me, much like an old friend that I recognize, and in that recognition I’ve invited it to re-visit me over-and-over, and over again.

I seek answers within the rage, knowing in advance, that there are none to find. For I know from whence that rage stems.

I rail against it, I abhor it … I recognize the damage that it offers my future self, and in an instant I deny that recognition.

For I have sought comfort in the unrelenting familiarity I find within these boundaries I have set myself.

The anger, helplessness and utter frustration that I’ve recognized and clung to, have not enriched my existence.

Nor have those raging reactions and emotions enriched the existence of those that have loved me in spite of it.

It is not only for myself, but, for them, that this morass of soul devouring rage has to change.

I can NOT go backward in time and alter the situations that crafted my rage.

I can NOT undo the damage that life’s fickle hand has dealt me.

I can NOT forget or forgive those that perpetrated their evil betrayal on an unsuspecting child.

But … I CAN learn to reshape that rage into a renewed sense of purpose.

I CAN learn to channel that sense of purpose into a passion that spurs me on to do better.

I  CAN permit myself to love those that love me … and do so unconditionally.

I CAN allow myself to again trust in my own judgment.

Until, ultimately, I CAN move forward into a future unclouded by dread.

Yes, it will be difficult, and, Yes, it will present me with challenges.

But the rewards of attaining this freedom from rage  will enable me to pursue personal goals I’ve long wanted to acheive.

It will grant me the permission to feel pleasure in its final accomplishment.

Now THAT is the future I want. THAT is the future I’ll aim for.

That gives me reason to smile.