Category Archives: children’s fiction

My Writing Niche- episode #62: “Sleeping Beauty Retold”

Play or download episode *here*

Hello, and Welcome to My Writing Niche, a podcast for new writers. Today’s podcast, #62, was recorded for Sunday, August 12th, 2012. I’ll be reading my latest #FridayFlash, “Sleeping Beauty Retold“,  as well as talking about my writing break and current projects.

 

**image courtesy of hiddedevries via Flicker.

***Slow Burn from the album Blues Sampler courtesy of Kevin MacLeod via Creative Commons Attribution license. More of his music can be found at FreeMusicArchive.org or at http://incompetech.com.

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Filed under Audio, children's fiction, Fairy Tales, fantasy-magic, Flash Fiction, humor, Podcast (audio files down but show note links active), Writing Corner

Friday Flash ReVisited *and* (link to) 52/250: Morpheus

This week began the first week of 4th grade for my son, Monsterbat.  Mommy things take priority, so I haven’t had time to write something for #FridayFlash. Last night however, as I read a post by the brilliant and talented Jim Bronyaur, a wonderful idea struck me – I’ll repost my original #FridayFlash too as a gauge of my progress over the course of the past year! It’ll be a bit embarrassing because it’s not terribly well written, but that’ll show my progress over the past year… So, Jim, thanks for letting me steal… um, I mean BE INSPIRED BY your idea. :)

So, below is my very first #Friday Flash, ‘Of Penguins and Men,’ originally posted August 28th of 2009.  I wrote it as a children’s story for my little boy. At the time my writing experience was very limited, and I had absolutely no experience writing flash fiction. So please… be kind.

Of Penguins and Men

Once upon a time, there was a penguin that dreamed of attending a fancy party. Specifically, the fanciest kind of party. The kind where you had to wear black ties and tuxedos. He had seen enough sitcoms to know that tuxedos made people look like penguins, so he thought he’d fit right in. In fact, he’d be the life of the party.

The only problem was that he wasn’t. At a party, that is. He wasn’t able to go to a party, because he was stuck here in these tiny little rooms. Rick kept the fridge stocked, well- the mini fridge anyway, with plenty of raw fish for him to snack on. His bedroom was kept very cool and stocked with the finest television series available on DVD. So, Charlie really felt that he had little to complain about. Still, there must be more to do than sit in a chilly room watching sitcoms and eating raw fish. At the moment he wasn’t sure what, but the party idea seemed like a good place to start.

He needed a black tie. Didn’t everyone call these fancy wear-a-tuxedo parties  “black tie?” That was the one thing he wasn’t equipped with. Tuxedo looking body, sure. Black tie? Nope.

These were the thoughts going through his head as he rummaged through Rick’s closet. Shoe boxes, crates, piles of old clothes and smelly socks went flying. Rick entered the room to a barrage of laundry and airborne clothes hangers. A sock caught him squarely in the eye.

“Anything you need help with, Charlie?” asked Rick, removing the sock and holding it at arm’s length.

“Do you have a black tie?” asked the penguin.

“Um…I don’t think so. Why?”

“Because I need one.”

“Um… guess I have to ask the obvious here. WHY do you need one?”

Charlie looked at him for a moment, shocked. “For a fancy dress party, of course! Why else would I need one?”

“Because you’re becoming a magician? I don’t know. I just work here.”

The cotton and polyester hurricane subsided as Charlie reached the closet’s bottom. “Nothing? Nothing! I can’t believe you haven’t got a black tie. Have you no sense of decorum or style?”

Rick looked at the disheveled room, the soda cans littered on the ground, and his little black and white friend sitting there in Hawaiian shorts. “Clearly not,” he replied.

“Why are we here, Rick?” asked Charlie in shrill, high tones. “Why can’t I leave?”

“What? The room?”

“No… I mean, YES! LEAVE leave. Go outside!”

“Well, you could if you really wanted to. Do you?”

Charlie nodded vehemently. “Is a jellyfish an invertebrate? Of course, I want to go!”

“Well, finish getting dressed then. This place has a strict ‘No shirt, no pants, no entrance policy.’”

Charlie grinned, as much as it’s possible for a talking aquatic bird, and quickly ran to his room for his suit.

Penguins, thought Rick, sometimes there’s simply no reasoning with them.

Within 20 minutes, they both stood on the surface, taking in the sights.

“Happy now?” asked Rick, punching the mike button in his helmet.

The Earth’s reflection made it hard to judge Charlie’s expression through the helmet, but he looked disappointed. His space suit seemed to sag. He started to waddle back to the hatch. Rick stood for another moment, gazing at the blasted planet, shrugged and then followed.

“You didn’t really think there’d be anything to see out there, did you?” asked Rick, removing his helmet and beginning to undress.

“Well, no… not as such,” evaded the penguin.

“I told you, it’s going to take years for us to make it to the colony,” said Rick.

Charlie hung his head.

“But don’t worry! We’ll get there eventually! What about that black-tie idea of yours?”

“Well, your culture is fascinating, really. But truth-be-told, I was getting really BORED just sitting there while you did all that work. I wanted to have a little fun, even if it was just pretend.”

“Well, once we get to your planet, you can have your own fancy dress party. Hey, I’ll introduce you to my family. They should have quarters set up nicely by now.”

“Are you sure? Your technology is so much more primitive; I’m not sure they’d be comfortable with so much unfamiliar machinery. And we don’t have fancy dress parties.”

“Hey, you guys are helping us out, taking us in. The least I can do is help you throw a party. Besides, I’m sure my family will feel more than comfortable. Your people, well- penguins in general, are very hospitable.”

“If only I could repair the FTL drive, we could get there so much sooner, and I wouldn’t be so darned BORED,” whined Charlie.

“Well, do you have the parts?”

“No, I was trying to be cheap and didn’t get spares,” admitted the bird.

“Then sit back, my friend, and enjoy the fish. Want me to replicate some more?”

“No thanks. I’m stuffed. Hey, do you want to watch ‘Stellar Trek’ again?”

“Sure thing,” answered Rick, plopping into another lazyboy and popping open another soda.

“Fizzy bubble drinks,” laughed Charlie. “What’ll you humans think up next?”

They both reclined in their chairs to watch Ruddenburry’s classic show.

The ship flew silently through the great void.

THE END.

*I hope that you enjoyed that. I like to think that I’ve improved a lot in the past year, in large part thanks to #FridayFlash – the brainchild of author J.M. Strothers at Mad Utopia. Friday Flash is a wonderful community, and I’m very grateful for the support and stories available through this wonderful community.

As a direct result of my involvement in #FridayFlash, I now have a story, Hell of a Job,  published in the wonderful Best of Friday Flash Anthology, as well as my story, Doomed, published at Flash Me magazine. I really encourage you to check out both these publications. They are absolutely wonderful. Did I mention they were wonderful?

Also, just a quick reminder – For the theme, Sleep, I posted another story, ‘Morpheus‘ up at the 52/250 flash challenge site.

Update: Click Morpheus to hear this story in audio (for #SpokenSunday) or visit my Audioboo account for my other short audio stories. Due to technical difficulties with Audioboo, I will most likely be posting my audio stories and poems directly from my blog. Thank you for your time.


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Filed under children's fiction, fantasy-magic, Flash Fiction, scifi, Writing Corner

Friday Flash: The Witch and the Frog

The Witch and the Frog

Blasphemous and profane hymns filled the room as the hag threw ingredients into the boiling cauldron. “Eye of newt and toe of dog,” she sang. From a rotting shelf, she grabbed a dish and threw its contents into the pot. Foul odors rose with the steam as she babbled arcane phrases mixed with snatches of old tunes.

On the windowsill of the stone tower, a frog croaked, watching the proceedings with interest.

“Snake skin next,” she called. The small serpent wriggled as she tossed it into the bubbling liquid. She cast a backward glance at her amphibian observer. “Then a witch’s clog.” She reached down, pulled off her right shoe, and tossed that into the concoction.

She shot a brief look at the frog as she stirred the loathsome brew. From a hook on the wall, she removed a ladle. She dipped it into the pot and blew away the steam before drinking.

Thunder roared. Lightning flashed. Arching her back, she cackled in triumph before orange flames consumed her body in an explosion of heat and light. When the smoke cleared, another small frog sat in her place.

She hopped over to the windowsill and asked, “Now will you kiss me?”

THE END.

*Please feel free to leave comments, and polite suggestions are always welcome. I was originally going to submit a different story, but decided at the last minute that I wanted to spend more time on it. This was written just before Midnight Friday, so be kind! Seriously though, I appreciate all feedback.

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Filed under children's fiction, Fairy Tales, fantasy-magic, Flash Fiction, humor, Writing Corner

Friday Flash: The Story of the Dandelion


The Story of the Dandelion

 

When the world was young and the sky was old, the sun and wind became one. As he sailed across the heavens, she caressed his face with soft wisps of cloud, his golden beams piercing their billowy white layers. His rays caught the dust floating through her breezes. The first dandelion was born of this union, blessed with the bright face of her father as she blossomed from his warm touch. She returned to mother wind upon her death, but even then her seeds bore new life. Thus the eternal cycle began, sanctifying the earth and bringing joy to those fortunate enough to gaze upon a living field of gold.

 

*Dandelion III image courtesy of eyabu at Flicker

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Filed under children's fiction, Flash Fiction, mythology, Writing Corner

Friday Flash: Revenge of the Snow Ogre

Revenge of the Snow Ogre

Time was short. The sun was out in full force, and that boy was out making snowballs again.

The snow ogre knew all snowmen were evil. The warmth of a beneficent heart would melt them from the inside out, even before the sun and Spring eventually ended their all too short lives.

The circumstances of his creation hardened his heart beyond the norm.

Born in the last few weeks of Winter, his life was unusually short- even for someone destined never to survive a Spring. It knew its destiny. The roadside snow that made up its body had absorbed so many toxins that its heart froze into a bitter, biting ball of ice, filled with hatred for all warm blooded creatures that would survive the thaw. Not content to make a mere snowman, the creator child had fashioned him in the image of his favorite monster.

That stupid boy was still making snowballs, these ones bigger than himself. He couldn’t lift the second ball on top of the first one, so he climbed the first instead, raising his arms out from his sides as if to say, “Look at what I’ve done!” The ogre remembered how the boy had made a similar declaration to his mother only the week before- the day of the snow ogre’s birth.

The child, noticing the frozen monstrosity once more, jumped down and approached the snow ogre. He tilted his blond head to the side, marking how the sun had thawed the ogre. The wooden spoon and fork still stuck out from its sides, but its frame was obviously thinner. Little beads of water trickled down its face. The boy and his creation contemplated each other.

Without warning, but not completely unexpected, the boy kicked the bottom ball – the ogre’s most stable element. Great chunks of slushy snow fell to the ground when the boy left a large bootprint in the ogre’s side. Impressed with his destructive prowess, the boy kicked again and again. Each kick diminished the snow ogre’s frame from the bottom while its upper torso remained intact. The ogre glared at him, contemplating revenge.

When about half its bottom ball had been destroyed, the snow ogre’s wooden fork arm plummeted to the frozen earth, narrowly missing the boy’s foot. Unheeding, the boy continued his rampage, until the snow ogre collapsed in a heap at his feet. Just before its face fell, the ogre’s smile widened as the heavy ice of its heart thumped against the little boy’s foot.

“Ow! Mommmm!” cried the boy, running to the front door. His mother put her arms around him as he cried. “I hurt my foot on that stupid snowman!”

“How could you possibly do that?” asked his mother, bending down to retrieve the kitchen utensils. She looked at the scattered piles of snow where the ogre used to be. “Come inside and have some hot chocolate.”

She didn’t notice the frozen smile melting into the ground.

*My son has a penchant for scary stories. This, while fiction, is mostly based on events that my son inflicted on the snow ogre he created last week. I embellished slightly. I’ll leave it to the reader to figure out which is fiction and which is fact.

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Filed under children's fiction, Flash Fiction, Writing Corner

Flash Fiction: Of Penguins and Men

Friday, August 28, 2009.

This is a new type of Writing post for my blog. I’m taking up the “Flash Fiction” challenge as written about here and here and will be posting a link to this story on Twitter. If I decide to keep this up, my Flash Fiction stories should be posted every Friday. If anyone wishes to follow me on Twitter, I am “ganymeder” there also.

Now, onto the story!

Of Penguins and Men

Once upon a time, there was a penguin that dreamed of attending a fancy party. Specifically, the fanciest kind of party. The kind where you had to wear black ties and tuxedos. He had seen enough sitcoms to know that tuxedos made people look like penguins, so he thought he’d fit right in. In fact, he’d be the life of the party.

The only problem was that he wasn’t. At a party, that is. He wasn’t able to go to a party, because he was stuck here in these tiny little rooms. Rick kept the fridge stocked, well- the mini fridge anyway, with plenty of raw fish for him to snack on. His bedroom was kept very cool and stocked with the finest television series available on DVD. So, Charlie really felt that he had little to complain about. Still, there must be more to do than sit in a chilly room watching sitcoms and eating raw fish. At the moment he wasn’t sure what, but the party idea seemed like a good place to start.

He needed a black tie. Didn’t everyone call these fancy wear-a-tuxedo parties  “black tie?” That was the one thing he wasn’t equipped with. Tuxedo looking body, sure. Black tie? Nope.

These were the thoughts going through his head as he rummaged through Rick’s closet. Shoe boxes, crates, piles of old clothes and smelly socks went flying. Rick entered the room to a barrage of laundry and airborne clothes hangers. A sock caught him squarely in the eye.

“Anything you need help with, Charlie?” asked Rick, removing the sock and holding it at arm’s length.

“Do you have a black tie?” asked the penguin.

“Um…I don’t think so. Why?”

“Because I need one.”

“Um… guess I have to ask the obvious here. WHY do you need one?”

Charlie looked at him for a moment, shocked. “For a fancy dress party, of course! Why else would I need one?”

“Because you’re becoming a magician? I don’t know. I just work here.”

The cotton and polyester hurricane subsided as Charlie reached the closet’s bottom. “Nothing? Nothing! I can’t believe you haven’t got a black tie. Have you no sense of decorum or style?”

Rick looked at the disheveled room, the soda cans littered on the ground, and his little black and white friend sitting there in Hawaiian shorts. “Clearly not,” he replied.

“Why are we here, Rick?” asked Charlie in shrill, high tones. “Why can’t I leave?”

“What? The room?”

“No… I mean, YES! LEAVE leave. Go outside!”

“Well, you could if you really wanted to. Do you?”

Charlie nodded vehemently. “Is a jellyfish an invertebrate? Of course, I want to go!”

“Well, finish getting dressed then. This place has a strict ‘No shirt, no pants, no entrance policy.’”

Charlie grinned, as much as it’s possible for a talking aquatic bird, and quickly ran to his room for his suit.

Penguins, thought Rick, sometimes there’s simply no reasoning with them.

Within 20 minutes, they both stood on the surface, taking in the sights.

“Happy now?” asked Rick, punching the mike button in his helmet.

The Earth’s reflection made it hard to judge Charlie’s expression through the helmet, but he looked disappointed. His space suit seemed to sag. He started to waddle back to the hatch. Rick stood for another moment, gazing at the blasted planet, shrugged and then followed.

“You didn’t really think there’d be anything to see out there, did you?” asked Rick, removing his helmet and beginning to undress.

“Well, no… not as such,” evaded the penguin.

“I told you, it’s going to take years for us to make it to the colony,” said Rick.

Charlie hung his head.

“But don’t worry! We’ll get there eventually! What about that black-tie idea of yours?”

“Well, your culture is fascinating, really. But truth-be-told, I was getting really BORED just sitting there while you did all that work. I wanted to have a little fun, even if it was just pretend.”

“Well, once we get to your planet, you can have your own fancy dress party. Hey, I’ll introduce you to my family. They should have quarters set up nicely by now.”

“Are you sure? Your technology is so much more primitive; I’m not sure they’d be comfortable with so much unfamiliar machinery. And we don’t have fancy dress parties.”

“Hey, you guys are helping us out, taking us in. The least I can do is help you throw a party. Besides, I’m sure my family will feel more than comfortable. Your people, well- penguins in general, are very hospitable.”

“If only I could repair the FTL drive, we could get there so much sooner, and I wouldn’t be so darned BORED,” whined Charlie.

“Well, do you have the parts?”

“No, I was trying to be cheap and didn’t get spares,” admitted the bird.

“Then sit back, my friend, and enjoy the fish. Want me to replicate some more?”

“No thanks. I’m stuffed. Hey, do you want to watch ‘Stellar Trek’ again?”

“Sure thing,” answered Rick, plopping into another lazyboy and popping open another soda.

“Fizzy bubble drinks,” laughed Charlie. “What’ll you humans think up next?”

They both reclined in their chairs to watch Ruddenburry’s classic show.

The ship flew silently through the great void.

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Filed under children's fiction, Flash Fiction, scifi, Writing Corner