Sunday 31 March 2019

The A-Z Blog Challenge Blog Hop, April 2019

"26 posts. 26 days. 26 letters of the alphabet, one blog post beginning with each letter!"

That's the idea behind the A-Z Blog Challenge that runs throughout April. I haven't actually tried it before, although I have many writer friends that have. And this year marks the Tenth anniversary of this international blog hop, so I am joining it on an auspicious year. But I have set my theme and I am excited about it! 😃

And the theme is: 

My Favourite Reads

They will be based off titles of the books, rather than the author, so there will be several books from the same author. Due to this I will try and provide interesting anecdotes about the authors to keep it interesting.

When I find an author I like I tend to then read everything they've published, which does two things, 1) means I have more than one favourite among their books and 2) restricts my collection to specific authors.

The genres that surface the most are: Horror, Science-Fiction and Fantasy. There will be a couple of others, some YA and some non-fiction in there too, but the majority will fall into the first three.

For some of the letters I have more than one book because I find it so hard to choose a favourite! And for the letters that I can't find titles for, I will choose numbers instead of letters, because I have a couple of those.

I hope you join me on this journey and enjoy my ramblings!

Let's do this!

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 100

This week's picture prompt is going uncredited, because, although it doesn't appear that much on the internet, where it has been shared there is no credit and I can't find an original. Shame.

I went for a more humourous tale this week, with a hint at something darker. I rather enjoyed it. Hope you will too. 

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.

Magical Feud
Lesley scrabbled at the book on the shelf, trying to get hold of a particular one.

“Bloody talons! Ugh!”

She scrabbled some more and finally prised it out, letting it drop onto the floor. Then she moved her massive bulk round, being careful her gigantic tail didn’t knock the bookcases over, managing to pick it up and slowly back out of the aisle and back to the table in the large university library.

She was grateful that she could at least read in her current state, because otherwise she’d be in real trouble.

Audrey was such a nasty cow, but at least the spell she’d used was in here; all of them were. They weren’t of age yet to officially learn to write their own, so it would be in here and the counter spell would be alongside it, thankfully.

She heard the door go at the other end of the room and the sound of giggling as a group of girls spotted her. The amount of rage it sparked within her was overwhelming and she wrangled with it, forcing herself not to open her mouth and breathe fire on them like she wanted to do. She had to consider that fire breathing was not a good idea in a library – not in one that held the answer to her predicament.

She could of course go straight to the head of her house; he could resolve this in a second with a wave of his wand, but that would spark an inquiry and lead to expulsion – and not just for Audrey, even though she deserved it. They would find out what Lesley had been up to as well and that was not a good idea.

“Bitches!” she muttered under her breath, referring to the little group that had uncovered her secret and started this feud. If they dared to open their mouths about what she’d been doing in the dungeons under the university there’d be hell to pay. There went that rage again! Gosh, no wonder dragons got such a bad rap for burning everything to the ground; it didn’t take much to spark the urge.

She considered that she could easily resolve the problem of Audrey and her cronies with what she’d been working on in the dungeons, but their disappearance would be noted, and a search of the building would be a really bad idea for Lesley. Rock and a hard place – especially when she could do with some humans to practice on. Mmm, she’d come back to that later, for now she needed to resolve the immediate issue, then she would work on a plan to exact revenge.

She’d managed to work out how to turn the pages with the claws, and within minutes she was staring at the spell that that little busy-body had used. She read through the counter spell underneath and prepared herself. She had a cloak ready on the chair next to her, so she wouldn’t be naked for long. She took a deep breath and recited the words in a whisper. She felt the familiar tingle, and relief flooded through her as she watched her hands return.

Lesley grabbed up the cloak as soon as it finished and wrapped it round her. She thought about returning to her dorm, but the residual anger she had experienced as the dragon still lingered and it powered her thoughts of revenge. A rather lovely idea had come to her and she wanted to get it in motion as soon as possible. If it worked there’d be no coming back for Audrey this time, and they’d never be able to trace how it happened.

Lesley chuckled to herself and rushed along the corridors in the direction of the dungeons. She’d been ready with this for a while, but thought it’d be a few years yet before she tried it. 

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 99

This week's photo prompt - as best as I can ascertain, I believe was created by someone under the name of Georgie69 back in 2008, as it appears on a blog with many other pictures designed around the same picture, but the blog seems not to be in use after 2009.

I seem to have lost track of days this week. I thought it was Tuesday when it's Wednesday, and in my haste to write something, nothing is working, so I've gone with a poem. 

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.

The key

To find the lock
To find the door
To find the key to unlock the door

To know what’s there
On the other side
To enter in
And reside

To see within
And to be within
To revel in
And finally begin

So find the key
And open the door
Fulfill the dream
And discover more. 

Wednesday 13 March 2019

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 98

This week's photo is a photo used by many news papers, but was originally taken by photo journalist Elise Amendola of the Associate Press. The story in an article about time zone changes in Seattle, and says this about the photo: "Electric Time Co. employee Walter Rodriguez cleans the face of an 84-inch Wegman clock at the plant in Medfield, Mass. Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008."

I've tried to think outside the box with this photo. It's ended up in some extreme science fiction. I do like to write this stuff, although it can be tricky working it out.

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.

Holding Pattern

Malik smiled as he passed Henry polishing the clocks on the landing. It was his favourite time (ha, ha, time!) of year when they were brought in for their yearly service. It was also a tense time, with having to keep the world in stasis for the duration. 

Thinking of which, Rafe had requested a meeting with him. He went into his office, the curved wood panelling and bookcases greeting him. He sat down in the leather high back chair at his desk facing the door, picking up a report to read.

When Rafe arrived he came in quietly and sat down opposite Malik in a smaller leather chair. A skinny, mouse of a man, who fitted his Time Analyst job title perfectly, Rafe sat poised waiting for Malik to finish reading. Malik lifted his head and greeted Rafe with a grin. 

“Perfectly punctual as always.”

“Of course.”

“Any hiccups?”

“Nothing major, just some strange occurrences that need resolving.”

Malik arched an eyebrow and took the proffered graph. Their love of detail made it the perfect partnership; Rafe knew exactly what Malik would consider important.

The flat line on the graph depicted the timeline of the stasis holding period, the duration against movement fluctuation, and every hour there was a second jump, like a blip on a screen.

“And we’ve not seen this before?”


“And nothing has changed in the analysis?”


“Mmm, odd.” Malik frowned, peering closer at the chart. “Any theories?” 

Malik knew Rafe would have some idea about what was behind it.

“I think it has something to do with the current climatic and political state going on, in that particular world, it’s influencing how time there is running. It’s like an overload.”

“What they are doing is having an impact on how time runs? But yet time is something fabricated and installed, no?”

“Yes, but the energy vibration they are creating – in particular negative energy, is causing it to fluctuate and expand.”

“But they are in stasis, nothing can fluctuate. Are you saying that this negative energy is able to penetrate a stasis field?”

“Potentially. I can’t imagine what else it can be. It’s like they are consuming more than they should, like it is starting to leech into other metaphysical bodies. It’s like they are bulging at the seams with this negative energy.”

“And what do you foresee will happen?”

“Well if you look closely it is escalating at a fraction of a millisecond, so it appears every hour, but each time it’s getting shorter.”

“Like a ticking bomb counting down?” 

“That’s a good analogy.”

“So could they breakthrough the stasis field and start running on their own without our guidance?”
“It’s a possibility, or ...”

“Or?” Malik leaned forward, looking intently at Rafe.

“Or they could implode.”


“And suck surrounding dimensions in, too.”

“Like a black hole?”

“A very good likeness.”

“Is there anything we can do to stop this?”

“Well I’m fairly certain it won’t come to that during this stasis, but next year will be a risk. Another year running at their current rate could drive it faster. I was wondering if we could install a slower runtime?”

“What, increase the length of a second?”

“That’s right, but they won’t notice. It will give more space to absorb this excess energy.”

“And you are certain it will work?”

“Yes, I’ve calculated to a 99.958 success rate.”

“Should we worry about the negative percent?”

“No, that’s the probability of their behaviour improving over the next year, but the forecasts on that are in the minus.”

Malik knew Rafe’s calculation could be trust it. 

“Okay, so we need to recalibrate before we restart.”

“Yes. Is there enough time?”

Malik flashed a smile at Rafe. “We create it, so of course.”

Rafe gave a high pitched squeak that passed for a laugh. “Of course.”

“I’ll get it in motion.”

Rafe stood, turning to go.

“But Rafe, keep an eye on this world would you, even during runtime? I want to understand this anomaly better. It could be useful.”

“Certainly. I was going to do that anyway.”

“Of course you were; it’s why you’re my right hand man.”

He gave Rafe a broad smile and a wink. Rafe returned it with a slight upturn of the lips - his version of a smile, and left Malik to organise the recalibration. 

Malik started preparing the paperwork. It had been a while since they’d done one of these. This little world was going to prove to be more interesting than he’d thought when they’d taken it on.

Wednesday 6 March 2019

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 97

This week's picture comes from an artist I have used before (you may remember the dancing tree sprites?) - Igor Zenin, a photographer from Moldova. He calls this one Magic Bubbles. I love this, it has so much depth.

This week marks the official 2 year anniversary of #MidWeekFlash! Wow, two whole years I've been running it! Loved every minute too. Still loving it.

I went sci-fi with this weeks. I mean who wouldn't, and a little philosophical with the whole 'could you imagine' thought process. 

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.

Galaxy Eggs 

Olivia reached out a gloved finger to touch it, but it went straight through as though it wasn’t there, disturbing the world within the tiny apple shaped ball, putting a dent in the swirling clouds within. She imagined what a giant finger poking through the atmosphere of her planet might look like and quickly withdrew it.

The translucent glow they emitted reflected in her visor, making it harder to see anything on this dark planet. The only light came from a nearby galaxy, its centre, although emitting intense light, wasn’t close enough to penetrate this planet.

“What do you think they are?” John’s voice came through the headphones in her helmet.

“I have no idea. I thought they were fruit – they look like fruit – but there are swirling clouds within them, like other worlds.”

“Portals to other sections of the universe?”

“Or the relatively of size: we are giants compared to the microworld within it. Whole universes in one bubble.”

“Wow, deep. But the light is fading and I need you to come back to the ship. Is there any way you can bring one of those with you?”

“They’re not solid. They’re like bubbles you blow as a child, but with no surface tension.”

“Magic bubbles? Have you tried encompassing them in one of the baggies?”

Olivia fumbled in a top pocket and brought out a plastic bag. She endeavoured to surround the ball with it, but it moved right through the plastic.

“Nope, won’t work. It’s like the bubble isn’t really here, or we aren’t. It’s like it exists in another space and time. The plastic has no effect on it. Bizarre.”

“Bizarre, indeed. We’ve got the footage from your helmet camera though, so come back. I don’t want you getting lost.”

“You’re not far.”

“Are you sure, in a planet where things don’t exist on the same plane?”

“Okay, point taken. On the move.”

Olivia had no trouble returning and came through the airlock, shrugging off her space suit. She joined John in the small cockpit as they prepared to depart.

“How many of those magic bubbles do you think there were?” John asked.

“Thousands. The entire forest was full of them.” Olivia locked herself into her seat as they powered up for blast off.

“A forest full of worlds on different planes or dimensions, makes you wonder ...”

“Wonder what? She glanced at John as he flipped a row of switches overhead.

“Well this planet is dark and sits on the fringes of other galaxies. It bears a magical fruit of other worlds. Are we seeing something that could explain the existence of our universe?”

“I don’t follow.” Olivia completed a memorised sequence of switches and the rocket’s fired, lifting them off the ground.

“Could this be the birthplace of the galaxies that surround us? Are those trees pregnant with each new world?”

“Like galaxy eggs, you mean? No big bang theory, but a tree that produces new galaxies or worlds? Wild. But they weren’t solid – or here. They weren’t tangible.”

“Yet your finger disturbed their atmosphere,” John observed.

Olivia paused. “True. But why and how?”

“Ah, and there we have it, the age old questions that human’s have been asking since their existence and not yet answered. It’s why we are here. But maybe there is no answer. Maybe it just is.”

Olivia gave him a long look. “Getting all philosophical now?”

“Come on, that’s got to make you wonder.”

“Yes it does, but I need more solid proof, more evidence.”

John laughed. “Like any good human scientist, conditioned by a society that doesn’t like to think outside the box.”

“Are you mocking me?” Olivia smirked.

“I’m mocking all of us! But sometimes I think we need to stop thinking in rigid lines and consider that there is more we don’t know than we do know. And those things back there produce more questions than we can conceive of. They could be the holy grail of life.” 

“People would never believe it.”

“Of course they won’t, they like to believe an imaginary giant being controls and created everything, because somehow that makes more sense.”

This time Olivia laughed. “And yet, I was that giant being to those worlds. God’s finger just pushed its way through their atmosphere.”

“Exactly. Worlds within worlds.”

Conversation stopped as they prepared to dock on their mothership that was in orbit round this mysterious planet. They’d resume their musings once they were settled back in.