The Final Flash! Friday Fiction, & A Thank You to Rebekah

“Balancing on the Brink.” Eagle Peak Summit, Chugach Mountains, Alaska. CC2.0 photo by Paxson Woelber.

A few weeks ago, fearless dragoness and Flash Friday leader Rebekah announced she was closing the weekly Flash! Friday competition. While we Flash writers are sad, I understand Rebekah’s desire to send us out into the world, and her desire to concentrate on her own novel writing (and, people, she is seriously one of the best writers I’ve ever read, so watch for her to storm the world soon.) Huzzah!

Though I wrote these two pieces for the final Flashversary contest last Friday, I waited to post them until today because a) I didn’t want Rebekah to see them while she was judging (in case she was going to pick ME ME ME to win!), and b) (and probably the more truthful answer) I’ve been neck-deep in episodes of Outlander for the last few days.

But here they are – my final two Flash! Friday stories, each 100 words on the dot, as prescribed by the rules. The photo prompt was optional, but we were required to start our stories with the sentence, “On Friday everything changed.” One of my tiny tales is funny & light, the other an homage to the woman, the contest, and my fellow writers who’ve given so very much to me. I am 100% certain if I had not had the support from this flash community and my Shenandoah Valley Writers, I would not be a published author today. So thank you, Rebekah. Thank you, all!

Just Call It Puppy Love, 2015-style

On Friday everything changed.

It was totally like that old Cure song, you know? I was in love.

He was epic. Sick. Black hair slung low over ice blue eyes.

Full-on gone, peeps.

On Saturday we went out. Mashed all night.

I don’t care what Shanna says. I can’t even. Hashtag jealous liar.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday, just me and my bae.

On Thursday we hit the club. He hit on everyone in sight.

Shanna says she told me so. I told her off.

Thank God tomorrow’s Friday. Can I get an amen?

‘Cause on Friday, everything changes.

Hashtag so over.

In Praise of Dragons

On Friday, everything changed.

No, that’s a lie.

On Flash Fridays, I changed.

I took off the mask I’d worn for so long, bared my soul to the world.
I screamed, “Here I am. Take your best shot.”
I stood, vulnerable, heart wide open, awaiting written arrows, verbal bullets.

They never came.

I’m still standing.

I’ve come too far now to turn back.
I’ve spread my wings. Showed my scales.

She taught me how.

Just show up, she said.
Be kind. Give generously. Praise others.
Some will tear you down.
But you will rise up.

For love always wins.


And there you have it. I will certainly miss these weekly bursts of creativity, but hope to take the skills, enthusiasm, and delight in the written word that this contest sparked and infuse it through all of my future writings. Thank you, Flash!Friday.


Writer Wednesday: Meet Grace Black

Grace BlackIt’s not only Wednesday, it’s Writer Wednesday! Just what you need to get you through the rest of the week, right?

I’m delighted to welcome fellow flash fiction writer (and host of her own flash fiction contest, Three Line Thursday) and poet, Grace Black. Grab that cup of coffee (or tea, or whatever you like to drink) and settle in for a delightful few minutes learning more about Grace and her work.

What inspires you to write?

Fueled by emotions and the unseen web of words that linger long after we’ve left, I am fascinated by the ordinary moments life offers. The ichor of the first summer cherry as it dribbles down a child’s chin and the broken skins that stain innocent fingers a sunset crimson this is the simple moment of awe and a poet’s manna. Everyday life is an inspiration, and to live is to bleed ink.

Which type of romance do you love, and why?

As a poet, I fall in love with the simplest of things and paradoxes abound. Isn’t life one complex romance in and of itself? I’ve always favored the unexpected romance, the unseen story that’s tucked neatly in the margins of a first draft, and the imprints the author leaves behind, beneath the bindings. Love is the question and the answer.

What’s the one piece of advice you wish you had when first starting out?

Find other writers and share your work, participate in online challenges, or find a local writer’s group where you share work with others. Rejections mean keep writing, they do not mean give up! 

When you find a comfy nook and begin to see small successes, leap; progress comes from taking chances and stepping out of our comfort zones, repeatedly.

(ML’s note: Great advice!)

Three Lines BookOn her collection of poetry, Three Lines:

Grace Black takes her love of poetic brevity and brings you a compilation for the soul. She weaves emotive verse and naked prose in a minimalist format and carries you on a journey through life, love, and loss of the heart. This is poetry that doesn’t know its poetry and is meant to be a visceral experience.

Find Three Lines here: 

Want to know more about Grace? Find her here: 



Thanks so much for joining us, Grace.
Your words are beautiful, and I’m glad you could be here.

Guest Author Interview: Emily June Street

EJSWoo hoo! Strap yourselves in, ladies and gents, because you’re going on a ride today as we get to know Emily June Street, author of the new epic fantasy The Gantean. I know Emily from her flash fiction from the weekly Flash Friday Fiction contest, so I know the superb quality of her prose. I’m not normally an epic fantasy reader, but you can bet I’ll be delving into The Gantean when it releases Saturday (but you can pre-order it right now)!

Give us a three-sentence summary of The Gantean.

After she is violently kidnapped from her stark existence on the cold island of Gante, Leila must learn to survive in a southern culture that her native people hate. In the south, exotic temptations greet her at every turn: rich flavors, profligate magic, and dangerous love with a forbidden man. As a civil war threatens, Leila has to choose between southern love and northern rituals—but at what price?

GanteanCoverWhere did the idea for The Gantean come from? How long did it take you to craft such an intricate fantasy world?

Don’t laugh, but the idea for The Gantean came to me when I was twelve, and I was told in class to write a story. I started the story with a girl on a cold northern island, watching the sea as a foreign ship crested the horizon. My character ended up being a prophesied “chosen one” in the typical fantasy narrative that I’d read so often at that time in my life—though always with heroes rather than heroines. Since then, the story has changed tremendously, of course, although I still have the original handwritten draft. I’ve rewritten the book over and over again over decades and written other books in the world, too. The world-building aspect of the story is always a work in progress, always changing depending on what different characters reveal and the needs of the story as it grows.

What authors have most influenced your own writing?

This is such a difficult question. I’m not sure how much others’ great writing can penetrate this thick skull, but I have admired many writers over the years. I’m a voracious reader, and I read widely. I do wish that I could pick up tight, smart prose by osmosis, but unfortunately, developing that skill isn’t so easy. So here are some writers I love to read, always hoping they’ll influence me, though I’m well aware that brilliance can’t really rub off just through reading: Margaret Atwood, for stark and intelligent prose; Carol Berg, for fantasy world-building and intricate plotting; Colum McCann, for building deep internal worlds for his characters; Tana French, for deft structure and timing; Toni Morrison, for economical and beautiful sentences packed with meaning. That’s an all-star team that, in my wildest dreams, would influence me. More directly, my writing partner/critique buddy Beth Deitchman influences me because she is my first reader who interacts deeply with my work. She’s great at helping my writing get clean and clear. She blends a perfect combination of creative looseness and literary rigor.

You write novels and you write flash fiction. Which do you prefer? Do you think one influences the other?

My brain thinks in novels. My ideas are big and complicated. I find flash fiction really difficult, because every idea I have feels larger than a few hundred words. I’m still trying to figure out how to narrow the focus in such short works. Also, I think I have a plain writing style, stripped down and not very poetic, which doesn’t always work, because you have to put the flash in flash fiction, right? I got into flash fiction because my critique buddy Beth Deitchman sent me a prompt from Angry Hourglass showing a beat-up bicycle. I love bicycles, and I wrote a whole novel about my love of bicycles called Velo Races, so the prompt was a natural starting point for me. I liked the challenge of being economical with my words and my story, and I recognized short writing as a good exercise, but it really is like eating my Brussels sprouts without bacon. Good for me, but not my great love. I will always be a writer of novels. That’s what I love; that’s my bacon.

You run a publishing company, Luminous Creatures Press. How does that inform your own writing? And how the heck do you find time to write, with how many other things you do?

secret roomLuminous Creatures Press began as a way for my writing partner and me to self-publish our work, together. We put out some collections of short stories as practice runs, and then I put out Velo Races, my bike novel, and a second novel called Secret Room. Beth published her novellas set in the world of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Self-publishing is still our primary focus, but we are experimenting with avenues for publishing other authors, too, and hosting our own flash fiction contests a few times a year, the results of which we sometimes put out in book form. I do freelance editing and formatting under the umbrella of Luminous Creatures Press. Reading other peoples’ work always teaches me, and editing rougher, less polished pieces is just as educational and important as reading the great published works—it teaches me how to develop something from the ground up.

As far as time management goes, my life is organized and routine-oriented; that’s the only way I can keep all my balls in the air. My real-life, everyday profession is teaching Pilates. I run a big studio in Marin County with my husband. That takes up the vast majority of my time. I teach Pilates seven days a week, 363 days a year. Having that regular, relentless schedule actually helps me with writing, because when I do have time to write, it’s an explosion—I want to do it so badly, it just pours out. That said, my schedule is difficult—I can only get new writing done two or three days a week. I edit in the little bits of time between appointments or whenever I have a spare hour. I get up early to work, and I don’t sleep as much as I probably should. I’m not complaining—it’s good problem to have, being hungry for more time because you love everything you do so much. I’m grateful to have the privilege and the freedom to be creative.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d wished you had when you started writing?

No one ever gave me this piece of advice, but I figured it out over the course of rewriting The Gantean so many times. HAVE A PLOT PLAN, even if it’s only a few hastily sketched directives on post-it notes. Have a sense of what the story is about on its deepest level and use that to shape where the story goes.

What’s your take on the traditional vs indie discussion?

velocipederacesMy basic take on it is: do what pleases you. Experiment. Try everything. Deciding which way to go is a personal choice, and may have to do with goals for a given book or goals for personal development. My book, Velo Races, was originally self-published, but it has been picked up by Microcosm Publishing to be revised and then re-published by them. I’ve had a great time working with them to make something bigger and better than the original. The traditional route pushes me out of my comfort zone. As a time-challenged introvert, marketing is hard for me. I don’t like to spend my precious time doing it, and it isn’t a satisfying experience. I’m not someone who likes to garner attention. I’d much prefer to stay holed up, writing, but with a book being produced traditionally, I feel more pressure to put myself out there. With self-publishing, I can just do the parts that I love, writing and making books, and the marketing can flow more organically. I’m extremely glad to have some experience working both ways. It’s helped me understand my motivations for writing and helped me clarify what I want. I’ll keep going with the hybrid route, doing some self-publishing and some traditional. Spanning the two worlds suites me, perhaps because I’m a Gemini? For whatever reason, I like to work with dualities.

What’s next in your writing career? Is The Gantean a stand-alone novel, or will it continue? Perhaps a trilogy?

Hahahahahaha! A trilogy! If only! The Gantean is part of a series of seven books. All of them are drafted right now. The next book in the series, called The Cedna, is tightly connected to The Gantean, and so I consider those two books a duet within the seven-book series. Then Book Three is stand-alone, in terms of its plot. After that, things get messy. Books 4-7 are tangled in a big, complicated knot, as yet unraveled. I’m not sure how to structure them to best tell the conclusion of the story, so I’m ripping them apart and putting them back together in various ways right now. I’m hoping to release Book Two, The Cedna, later this year and Book Three sometime in 2016.

Want to connect with Emily? Find her here:


Twitter: @EmilyJuneStreet



Luminous Creatures Press:

My Amazon Book Links:

The Gantean

Velo Races:

Secret Room:

Other file formats:

Velo Races:
Secret Room:

Whew! What a wonderful interview – I’m so glad you took the time to join us today, Emily. We wish you the best of luck with The Gantean – and all the marvelous books to follow!

Flash Friday Fiction: Clause and Effect

Wanted: Santa Claus. CC artwork by Kevin Dooley.
Wanted: Santa Claus. CC artwork by Kevin Dooley.


Clause and Effect – 158 words

I had to do it.

I mean, have you seen all the press that stupid Elf on the Shelf has been getting lately? Cavorting with Barbies, snorting powdered sugar, pooping on cookies?

He lands Barbie and I’m stuck with ol’ Mrs. Claus? Come on.

Seriously, it’s as if people have forgotten I’m the reason for the Season.

Er, well, you get my drift.

I didn’t think anyone’d notice. People leave me cookies all the time. What’s the big deal about sampling a wee bit early? A man’s gotta drown his sorrows somehow.

Who knew she’d turn me in for taking a bite? Just one bite. OK, so it was out of fourteen cookies. Perhaps I should have stuck with two. But quality control, I tell you.

Now here I am, locked up. Until the 24th, at least. Because no matter what fame that idiot Elf claims, I’m still Big Man on Campus come the 25th.

Take that, Elf.


Hee hee hee. I couldn’t resist, especially after a friend told me a mysterious someone had taken one bite each out of fourteen of the Christmas cookies she had just baked. She blamed her child, but I maintain it could have been Santa himself.

Jingle your way on over to Flash Friday Fiction to read the other offerings and perhaps leave a comment or two – or craft a quick little tale of your own!