Late last year a fellow Chinese Whisperings writer Tina Hunter contacted me about Absolute Xpress’s Flash Fiction Challenge. She told me to keep an eye out for the 1st December when the prompt for the challenge would be announced, adding my writing would definitely suit the anthologies they were producing.
Thieves and Scoundrels is the third anthology, coming in the wake of Creatures of the Night and The Seven Deadly Sins (Tina had stories published in both!) cementing Absolute Xpress’s committment to the Flash Fiction form, which is growing in popularity with writers and readers alike.
There is nothing like someone making, even the smallest investment in your writing life, to spur you on to bigger and better things. In many ways it was the indebtedness to Tina which made this a priority once I had submitted to the 12 Days Project (work begets work… I’m convinced of that!)
The prompt was:
Would your characters try to swindle a dragon out of his treasure? Perhaps they’d try to steal the fastest spaceship in the galaxy? Or are they after something a little more sinister that’s in need of taking? Where ever and when ever they take place, the stories of these Thieves and Scoundrels will take hold of your imagination and ransom it back to you.
I had a couple of ideas floating around in my head, especially after Vasia Markides and Anna Barros posted to their Facebook pages an article about a group of elderly Cypriots being charged with illegal gambling. The youngest was in their mid-70s. While it didn’t end up firing for this competition but it is latent waiting for the right trigger.
It was a moan about shopping hours which lead me to ask: What could possibly happen to someone in the dead of night in a supermarket. ‘The Chameleon’ answers that and is my debut story in the sci-fi/spec-fic genre. This from someone who said two years ago, “Oh but I don’t write sci-fi.”
While I’m indebted to Tina for encouraging me to enter, I’m also indebted to some wonderful people who read the first draft, commented and compelled me to distill and capture the essence of the story. These wonderful beta readers were Chris Chartrand, Annie Evett, Dan Powell, Diane Ballard and Jen Brubacher… oh and my Mum, who is captured here mid-story. Why mention them… because these amazing folk are the real powerhouses behind any writer, the unseen who help to sculpt and solidify creative flights of fancy. Who ensure a piece goes from “er, yeah,” to “OMG!”
The anthology is scheduled for release later this month, so watch this space.