Saturday, September 20, 2014

Flash! Friday The Proposal

by Michael Seese

I feel pretty good about this week's Flash! Friday. Though the competition is growing. When I started a few months back, it would get around 200 comments (which includes both the entries, as well as people saying, "Nice job"). Now it's over 300. So we shall see.

By the way, last week's "At War," earned third-place honors.

Here is the picture.



 















Here is "The Proposal."


True love always prevails. Or so Richard hoped.

His associates scoffed at his plans. “Marry the princess? You?”

Who’s laughing now? he thought.

Richard lay on his bed, staring at the castle, waiting for the signal that his proposal had been blessed. The imposing insular walls no longer seemed unscalable.

The King had staged a tournament to determine who was to be his only daughter’s suitor. Archery, jousting, and other barbaric pursuits. Having been born outside of nobility, Richard could not compete. Instead, he circumvented the charade, and homed in on the girl. Moving with the swiftness of an arrow, he swooped in, courted, and wooed her. Within a week they toasted their betrothal with wine.

Wine laced with poison.

Richard’s proposal was simple: give me her hand—and the throne—and I shall give you the antidote.

He knew the King would acquiesce. For true love does prevail. And no love is truer than that a father has for his daughter.



Results on Monday. Let me know what you think.




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Here I Go Again

by Michael Seese

Come with me, dear readers, into the WABAC machine. If you'll recall, last October, I undertook a tremendous effort. To submit something, somewhere, every day for the whole month. "Something" could be... well, anything involving words. And "somewhere" could include:

- Contests
- Literary agents
- Magazines
- Online publishers (for example, Readwave)

It did not include blogging or tweeting.

Well, October is just around the corner. And I plan to repeat this asinine and painful challenging and fulfilling effort.

Actually, I think this time around it will be easier. Specifically, because I've found three weekly flash fiction contests:

- Flash! Friday, hosted by Rebecca Postupak
- Indies Unlimited
- (one I just learned of) FINISH THAT THOUGHT, by Alissa Leonard.

So those three alone take care of 13 days. I've already got four existing short stories which I plan to submit to anthologies / contests I found on HorrorTree. I have two other stories in the works, one for another HorrorTree find, and one for MASH stories. So I'm up to 19 days.

** Since I know that I will have some days which might be crazy, I'm "allowed" to submit two "somethings" one day, and then skip the next. But I'll try not to.

To quote James Brown, I feel good.

Who's with me? Who's up for the challenge?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

If You Love Something....

By Michael Seese

OK, let me get a few things out of the way up front.

1. I have never been accused (legally) of stalking.
2. I have never been accused (girlfriend to friend, mother, sister, etc.) of stalking, to my knowledge.
3. I have never been served with a restraining order.

I point these out because I want to make it clear that this story has no basis in personal history or reality. I learned of this contest on Readwave. The challenge: to write a 150-word story with the words, "if you love books and reading" embedded.

So, here for your reading enjoyment (I hope) is "If You Love Something." 


"If”

It’s perhaps the cruelest word in the English language.”

If only I had tried a little harder…”

“If ifs and buts were candy and nuts…”

“If you love something, set it free…”

I met her at the bookstore. We exchanged cautious glances. My mind flashed the word “escape.” But I found courage. I usually have trouble with women. I’m not very adept at reading the signs. But I took her mere presence as a good one. After all, who reads real books these days? Everything is online and Amazon and electronic.

But this was real. I believed she was in love. I know I was.

Still, I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t set her free.

Looking at my walls, now flecked with crimson, I wondered how something which started so beautiful could end with a police officer handcuffing me and reading me my rights. 




By the way... you can go to Readwave here and like it. (HINT, HINT.)

And, what do you think?




Saturday, September 13, 2014

Flash! Friday: "At War"

by Michael Seese

As I had said, I was pretty proud of last week's Flash! Friday entry, "Happy." It didn't win, place, or show. No matter. I still liked it.

I'm similarly psyched for this week's entry, "At War." Here is the photo.




















It's the marathon from the first modern Olympics, in 1896. We also had to include the theme "War." (We always have to include some stated them. I don't always mention it because it often folds seamlessly into the story. But "war" and the Olympics are a bit incongruous.)

Without further ado, below is "At War."



Serhan was at war with his lungs. His entire body, in fact. His legs were ready to abandon him. His heart threatened to spill over its cramped borders. His mind had long since seceded.

The Olympics is war without guns,” their coach had screamed. Daily.

He had to win.

Serhan forged a hasty alliance with the rebels, and pressed on. Through painful eyes he spied Geōrgios, the reigning champion, slightly ahead.

The weary combatants trudged into a small grove, the finish line less than a mile away. Serhan and Meriҫ exchanged glances. Here, they had agreed in advance, one would trip Geōrgios. Then, “May the best man win.”

The unexpected happened.

Geōrgios’s knee buckled oddly. He crumpled to the dirt. Serhan and Meriҫ looked at each other as if to say, “What now?”

Serhan knew.

He slipped the shiv out of his pocket and buried it in his brother’s side.

War without guns,” Serhan gasped as he sprinted to victory.


Feel free to comment on "At War."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

PayPOL SPAM

By Michael Seese

It's been a while since I'd gotten a good SPAM. But his came the other day.





Hmmm.

It's from "Apple <Support@paypol.securnet>

Why "paypol?" Are the spammers worried about PayPal suing them over copyright infringement? 

(So that would be SPAM hint #1.)

It's addressed to "Dear,"

(So that would be SPAM hint #2.)

When you hover over either "Verify Now" and "My Apple ID," the URL resolves to  http://www.dopropriobolso.com.br/images/stories/2014/ree.php/

(So that would be SPAM hint #3.)

I have no idea who this website is. If I had to guess, this probably isn't a site which will load malware; they're probably just trying to nab your Apple credentials. The top-level domain .br means it's Brazil.

I won't even go into "Extend our this request."

Remember, when in doubt, stop and think.

And then, still don't click.

Be safe out there, cyber-surfers.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Flash Friday: "Happy"

By Michael Seese

Win or lose, I'm really proud of my entry in this week's Flash! Friday.

Here is the photo we worked with.



















And here is "Happy."


Burial mounds are never merry places. Except for today.

The denizens of the small town in western Ayrshire County arose in collective joy, as if under the spell of magic. Even the newborns saw fit to exchange their colicky cries for contented squeals.

The bells of the church, normally reproachful and condescending, rang gaily this morn. The parishioners filed faithfully into the nave and settled into their favored spaces. The priest rose, gazed upon his flock with loving eyes, and delivered his sermon with a single word.

Happy.”

Then the preparations began. Homes were tidied, picnic lunches were prepared, hearth fires were extinguished, and affairs were put in order.

Hand in hand, with voices in collective harmony, they marched to the glen. There, the witch directed them to the shallow sepulchres she had impelled them to dig a fortnight ago. Still singing, they stepped in and began burying themselves alive.

And thus was “born” the appropriately named town of Beòcairn.


Wish me luck. And let me know what you think.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

La Nuestra Señora

by Michael Seese

So, I've been somewhat busy lately with "general" writing, not to mention winning a Flash! Friday or two. Did I happen to mention that I won two in a row? (End crowing.) Because of all this, I hadn't entered the Indies Unlimited flash fiction contest lately. This week I did.

There was a photo of Boston Harbor. 




















But it was the verbal prompt which intrigued me.

It was a long journey. Truly, it took much longer than Sergio Cortinez could have ever guessed. His ship, the Nuestra Senora, left Spain on May 4, 1497.

On May 4, 1997, the unscathed Nuestra Senora emerged from a squall just thirty miles away from Boston harbor…

My first effort was a whopper! Nearly 500 words, which is double the "strictly enforced" limit. So out came the virtual red pen. The result was a svelte, exactly 250-word "La Nuestra Señora."

  

El Diablo toma su tiempo.”

“The Devil takes his time.”

As if the mystery of La Nuestra Señora could get any stranger. What did the last entry in the captain’s log mean?

She appeared one morning, unassumingly and absent the clap of thunder or bolt of lightning which heralds these phenomena, at least in the movies.

She sailed serenely to dock 6 and dropped anchor. The harbor patrol boarded. She was empty.

I was called because of my research into the disappearance of La Nuestra Señora, which set sail for the New World on May 4, 1497, never to be heard from again. Her mission? A word not yet introduced into the Spanish language.

Genocide.

My interest in the ship stemmed from the fact that her captain, Sergio Cortinez, was my great-great-great...well...a distant, yet direct, ancestor.

No sooner had I read the confounding passage when I heard the clap of thunder. I found myself surrounded by an ethereal crew. Standing before me was Captain Cortinez. He pointed to the book. To the words.

“Yes. ‘El Diablo toma su tiempo.’ I saw that. What does it mean?”

He placed a bony finger on what I initially assumed to be a smudge. It was, in fact, a word. Actually, a single letter.

“a”

I said it aloud. “El Diablo toma su a tiempo.” “The Devil takes his in time.”

He nodded as La Nuestra Señora eased away from the dock, her newest crew member impressed, apparently, to atone for a five-century-old sin. 



Feel free to comment.

Oh, and voting tomorrow is here.

PS: To close the loop, "Passengers" did not win. But it did earn an honorable mention.