New Flash Fiction

warrior Flash Fiction

Years and years ago I discovered my love of warrior stories. I started reading and watching every warrior story I could get my hands on. I look for moments of strong men standing for what is right, realizing that being a warrior isn’t a bad thing if you’re using it for the right thing. I look for “between” moments when the warrior stands between something evil and the one they love. I look for brotherhood moments.

In the middle of reading a book about WW2 fathers and their Vietnam sons, I came across a scene involving a downed helicopter and a soldier who stood on it to hold off the Vietcong while the other soldiers boarded a rescuing helicopter. The moment blazed with courage. I told one of my dear readers, Deanna, I wanted to write Historical-Fiction short stories about these heroic sacrifices and battles.

A great idea, but I shelved it, busy with stories for my nieces and nephews.

Whenever I read a modern, military book I wonder why we have so many movie remakes. There are hundreds of moving, amazing, self-sacrificing war stories. There are tender stories, hard stories, stories that will make you weep with their beauty. Instead, Hollywood badly retells something done well years ago. Why, when there are a wealth of stories in any given history book, especially military history?

A great idea, but I don’t make movies.

I have, on the other hand, had a certain amount of positive feedback from some of my flash fiction.

Hmmm. Two thoughts. Can I tie them together? Can I do something here?

I recently discovered Strong Men Armed by Robert Leckie. It tracks the Marines as they move through the Pacific during WW2. It’s beautiful. It’s amazing. And so sad. Leckie is a good writer and paints the scenes with a detailed, loving brush. Reading the book, I was moved by a small snippet of a battle Leckie shared to write a flash fiction. I wrote it. I loved it. I was thrilled. I found a way to share something I read, something that really happened, in a new and fresh way. I did what I always wanted: I took a heroic moment in the middle of a messy war and shared it with the world so that these men aren’t forgotten. I sent it to a handful of readers. Their response was overwhelmingly positive. I entered it into a contest and wrote another one. Here is Story 2:

This Way

The small blue and white flag fluttered in the warm, tropical breeze, glowing in the setting sun. Two generals—Julian Smith and Howlin’ Mad Smith—stood, gazing, eyes dimmed by tears.

Bodies lay piled up against the sea wall, some stirred by the still pink waves.

One body topped the pile.

One dead boy reached over the wall.

The flag planted.

The flag that called fellow Marines, “This way!”

Here was the beach to attack. Here was the force before which your lives must be thrown. The pillbox. The machine guns. The mortars. The field of fire. Here. Come this way. Attack here.

One boy on top of others, placed a flag, with his life.

“This way.”

The chief’s eye flashed; but presently
Softened itself, as sheathes
A film the mother-eagle’s eye
When her bruised eaglet breathes;
“You’re wounded!” “Nay,” the soldier’s pride
Touched to the quick, he said:
“I’m killed, Sire!” And his chief beside
Smiling the boy fell dead.[1]

Marines saw the small flag. Marines poured from amtraks and LCMs.

They charged. Slogged. Crawled.

They fired. Tossed grenades. Fought hand to hand.

They died. Cried. Bled-out.

They won.

Days later, the Generals toured the scene of the dance with death. They saw their brave boys mixed with the enemy. They saw courage, sacrifice, and bitter loss. Carcasses of men jumbled with carcasses of machines. But, the day was won. The Atoll was theirs. The Generals toured and toured, measuring the ground gained against the lives lost.

But this. This blue and white flag planted as the last act of a dead boy brought tears to two old Marines’ eyes. This one little flag.

“This way,” it whispered in the evening breeze.

In poured the Marines.

“Julian,” Howlin’ Mad Smith went on in soft amendment—“how can such men be defeated?[2]

—Inspired by Strong Men Armed by Robert Leckie

[1] Incident at the French Camp by Robert Browning

[2] Quote from Strong Men Armed by Robert Leckie

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Quote of the Weekend

“We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.”
Winston S. Churchill

Quote of the Weekend

“Now I was shocked! The old shibboleth, intelligence! Had not our government been culpable enough in pampering the high-IQ draftees as though they were too intelligent to fight for their country? Could not Doctor Gentle see that I was proud to be a scout, and before that a machine gunner? Intelligence, intelligence, intelligence. Keep it up, America, keep telling your youth that mud and danger are fit only for intellectual pigs. Keep on saying that only the stupid are fit to sacrifice, that America must be defended by the low-brow and enjoyed by the high-brow. Keep vaunting head over heart, and soon the head will arrive at the complete folly of any kind of fight and meekly surrender the treasure to the first bandit with enough heart to demand it.”
Helmet for my Pillow by Robert Leckie

Quote of the Weekend

 

bab70c3dffd198b6304513b72566b20b
Courtesy of Pinterest.

I must admit to being torn between my love of the ordinary, that grows more every day, and my love of being weird. I think we should be content with an ordinary life, for it has a beauty all its own. But, we should all be and embrace a little weirdness. Balance. Life is about balance.

 

Yes!…oh, wait…

 

HomeMaker

Life is funny sometimes. All the best laid plans, filled with good intentions, research, and excitement can get turned on their head. This happened to me this year.

I started the New Year with a new blog, a new social media schedule, a Patreon, about four different short stories/flash fictions sitting in different publishers’ laps, and all my social media nicely linked together under the name Faerie Stories: Warrior Stories for the Brave. I was excited! I had plans to use my writing time and that shiny new schedule to build a platform for Children’s stories, Middle Grade stories, and YA stories. I was ready to work. I set aside more of my writing time so I could listen to videos and podcasts to hone my art and meet other writers. I was excited.

Well laid plans are a good thing, but sometimes you don’t really get to experience them. Sometimes something bigger and better comes along. Sometimes something you only dreamed about happens. Sometimes your husband needs your help more than others. This is what happened to me.

In short order this year, my husband was nominated as an elder in our church. He was voted in and shortly after that he was brought on full time with the church planning on paying for seminary. With that blessing, I quit my job at Nordstrom. I became a full time homemaker for the second time in my life, better prepared, mentally, emotionally, and educationally this time around. Since my health had started improving, I longed to quit splitting my energy and time between my home and Nordstrom. I longed to have my whole focus here.

With both our lives changing, my writing had to be examined and my husband and I both agreed that for now, for the time being it needed to be a hobby. It was time for my writing to be something I piddle with instead of focus on.

This was hard, but necessary.

Necessary but not easy.

The best laid plans of mice and men...

It meant that just as I felt like I was starting down the road to being published, I had to pull back. Just as I felt my voice being accepted, I had to slow down. This means no more getting up early to write. I get up early to get my day going. Instead of writing six days a week, I might write two hours a week. This means putting my mind to work in my home for my husband instead of torturing characters. Sad day.

There is a huge push in writing circles to be published. When you say you’re a writer, that’s the first thing people ask. All the writing forums are about being published. They’re either there to help you polish, or prep, or primp your story for the world. That’s all wonderful, but I’m not at a point where I can devote the time or money to primping my stories for the world. I had to make the tough decision to unfollow, unsubscribe, and stop reading all the things about writing. No matter what I did, the minute I engaged in a writing group, I can’t focus on my work. All I want to do is write. It’s hard to be content when you’re feeding your mind with all the other writers who have shiny books.

Just as I kicked off my new blog, I found my blog writing better suited to my old blog.

Just as I prepared to jump in the deep end, I found I didn’t really have a pool.

There was some sadness to this decision. I’ve wanted to have one of my books in print for years now. Almost twenty years. But, that dream has to wait. Oddly, there was also a lot of freedom in this decision. Now that I moved from trying to be publishable, to just writing for fun, I could…well…write for fun. I can take what little time I have and work on fun stories, old stories, new stories. I was suddenly thrilled at the idea of all the stories I could work on cause I didn’t need to spread my time around writing things that were meant to be published. In a way, I took a big sigh of relief. Sometimes a dream is meant to be a hobby for a little while longer.

So, right now, I’m going to post between here and my Gentle and Quiet Spirit Blog. Gentle and Quite has a much broader readership that I feel like I’m no longer serving or interacting with. On Faerie-stories, I’ll share about my writing, and my stories, but theological, soapboxes, and homemaker articles won’t be here. I’m going to be a focused, down and dirty Homemaker and HearthKeeper. I’m still writing. I’m going to keep my social media platforms open and inching along, but not at the pace I was before. So. Please keep reading if you can. Follow me on all my things. And we’ll see what the Lord does in my life…because dear reader, sometimes He brings things about you totally didn’t expect.

Meet The Muse: Remi

RemiHappy happy birthday to my dear Remi-roo. You are the spunkiest, most hot and cold child I have ever met, and I love you dearly for it. You are solidly your own little person, but game for so many things. You love being the villain. You insisted on Darth Vader pajamas. You give the best hugs, and always want to know where Ol’ Sport is. You love Uncle Jason and laugh when he teases you, then take extra steps to protect that cookie of yours. You are wonderful and I love you so much!

Quote of the Weekend

 

Benjs quote
Image from Pixabay, edits by me.

This is a quote from one of my oldest stories, by one of my oldest characters, Benj. He’s a saved unlit, and it’s his son that finds the Preacher and stops many evil guardians. Someday I’ll share Benj’s story. Someday.

In all my stories, you will find someone who doesn’t deserve forgiveness, but gains it anyway. Undeserved Rescues.