My first self-published book is out and I am really excited. It is called The Last Hut and 29 other flash fiction stories and you can buy a copy over at feedaread.com
When I first decided I wanted to seriously pursue writing fiction (rather than just talking about it) in November 2012 I had no idea what type of writing I wanted to focus on but I knew I wanted to write. I was already writing non-fiction eBooks but I wanted to do more.
I can’t remember exactly how I came across a genre called flash fiction or short, short stories but I immediately connected with it. I loved its brevity and something in the way the stories were written resonated with me. I call flash fiction the Twitter of the literary world because you have to get your point across with fewer words than a short story and far less words than a novel.
With genre chosen and ideas flowing I started to write. I love the idea of writing memoirs or life writing one day and many of my first 30 stories are based on events that happened. They are retelling an event but by applying plenty of fiction in some cases and in others they are all pure fiction. I wanted to include a little of everything that is important to me in my life in this first book.
You can click the link below to download and read a free extract of the book, which includes the story The Last Hut
Below is a summary which covers the idea behind the writing of The Last Hut and 29 other flash fiction stories:
I actually spent a lot of my childhood summers building a “hut” with a few of my friends. Being a tomboy I loved constructing it and even in adult hood my love of starting things, planning them out and putting them together still lives on. This story is about the very last hut that we made at the age of 15 and the circumstances that lead to it being the final one.
Listening (or not)?
This story focuses on my inner voice and the first time I heard it speak to me quite clearly during what an incident that took place in my local swimming pool. I can’t remember my exact age but I think I was 10 years old. It then goes on to tell some of the other moments I listened and didn’t listen and the consequences. Some of these moments are made up and some of them are true.
The jazz man with the brown eyes
This is one of my first “future” stories. It is telling a story of the future me doing an activity I actually want to do in a few years – moving to and working in another country for a few months. In this story the country is France and despite having plans to focus only on herself those plans change on her very first day.
The potential do-over
This was inspired by a journal entry. I wondered what it would be like if I could go back and talk to my teenage self and tell her to pick her ideas up and make our future life different. In this story I go over some of the things I would have said to my younger self.
The older generation are great at sticking to rituals and routines. They do something in a certain way and they want it done in exactly the same way day in and day out. In this story I talk about my thoughts as it relates to rituals and routines and my desire to break this person out of theirs.
Black and British in the 70s
Growing up as a teenager was a confusing time for me in terms of my ethnicity and heritage. A trip to the Caribbean and I was told I was not one of them and was British but the hatred and “go home” campaign taking place taught me I wasn’t wanted in England either. This story covers the period before all of the prejudice made any sense to me.
I wrote this because I missed someone I was in love with but no longer dating. I would never tell him I wanted him back because I don’t believe in going back only forward so after our break up the only thing to do was to work through the pain of losing him. There were many dreams. This was one of them that I wrote out as a poem originally.
I have always wanted to give myself an exotic name. Like Madonna or Prince I wanted to be known by just one name and that name is Zyanne. I haven’t fully adopted it yet but I do use it in online forums and social media. This is the story of how the name Zyanne chose me thanks to a man at the bookies.
Women don’t like questions
I don’t recall the origin of this story but I know it had something to do about my annoyance with men who want to know everything about you, including minute by minute movements during the day, but who never want to tell you anything.
This story was inspired by a song I love during which the musician talks about the fact that he must follow his path of being a singer/song writer and although there are struggles now it will all work out. I applied the story to a life of a writer. A single mother and her teenage daughter who is fed up about missing out on stuff because her mum never has enough money.
The day I met Lenny Henry for coffee
I love Lenny Henry. LOVE him. So it was only right that in my debut story book I included one of the many thousands of stories I have written about him, him and I, him with me, me with him… you get the picture. It was difficult to choose. I decided to choose one that my mother could read without raising her eyebrows and this is it.
On holiday in Italy a man selling roses tried to get me to buy one by calling me Mama Africa. Every time we saw him he came up to our table with his mama Africa routine and tried to get me to buy a rose. I thought it was a powerful name so I used it to represent a powerful woman who refuses to let tradition dictate her life.
The absent father
This story outlines what happens when a mother sees the father of her children who is refusing to help her. The story is true and based on me feeding the mother and giving her a place to stay for a few months after her babies were born.
Babaloos and the beach – Jen’s story
When I was 18 I went topless on the beach in Greece… eventually! It was my first holiday abroad with my boyfriend and being shy and insecure it took me ages to finally take my bikini bra off because I had a million and one things going through my head about why I shouldn’t. The event is true but the way it is depicted in the story is not.
Babaloos and the beach – Roger’s story
This story came out of an exercise I was given to write one story from two different points of view. After writing the story about Jen I decided to write a story based on how her boyfriend retold the event.
The never the better
Do you love for love or for money? If money has been a huge part of your love with a partner are you willing to walk away from it all? This story outlines the viewpoint of one woman and her friends and their different perspective on answering that question. This story is pure fiction!
Alzheimer haze of a loving dad
I did care work for a few months when money was tight and I was looking into where my future was heading. I looked after a man who made me cry when he turned on me. It wasn’t him of course it was his illness but it took me ages to get over it. I don’t believe I was adequately trained to deal with it and this story tells what happens but uses a relationship between a father and a daughter.
What would you do if you had 76p left in the bank and you had to live on it? Could you manage? This is a true story, a journal entry, covering a dark period when money was really, really tight. It was a period that lasted several months and still haunts me but I got through it.
The West Indian English cup
I was taken to a cricket match as a first date. I loved it. Two teams full of West Indian men, food, music and plenty of conversation. Based on that event I made up this story. It covers being a young child and the fun of getting together with other families.
Growing up I was taught to eat before I went out to a party in case there wasn’t enough food. I was raised to fear hunger and I still do! This story focuses on the West Indian habit of catering for their own needs even when they are going to a high class hotel that probably has everything they could ever need.
Living with the Irish
Growing up not only was I a tomboy but all the boys I hung out with where of Irish decent. This story focuses on my love of all things Irish and how much I enjoyed being part of their family. They welcomed me with open arms and colour was never an issue.
Get in between us
My son and his friends upset some girls one day by sending them explicit text messages. The school got involved and I made him sit and write out why it was wrong to do what he did. I used what they did to help me write this story based on two female adults who are teasing a male friend.
This is the second of my “future” stories in which I write about travelling in a camper van, visiting different parts of the UK and the people I meet. In this story I introduce my love of the Welsh and Wales.
A writing prompt on a blog asked us to write about social media and the lack of privacy. That is how this story came about and focuses on a girl who is running from something after her antics have been shared on social media. She has no idea if what she is running from is real but it feels real to her at the time.
This story is based on a story that a friend told me about a son who had been asked to buy a lottery ticket but he spent the money on something else.
Pleasure between the sheets
I outline how much pleasure I enjoy between the sheets in this story and give you some insights into how to enjoy your own pleasurable experience too.
The threesome that was
This story is definitely made up and focuses on a woman who is doing her best to give up her past vices that were having a negative impact on her life and be more positive and responsible in the future. The trouble is when your past catches up on you it can be very easy to be tempted back into old habits.
The day I think I finally got it
This story focuses on the moment I realised that my thoughts were all in the wrong place and how I could change the pattern of my life by changing my thoughts. It is based on a journal entry and in the story I am reading a journal entry and telling people how I transformed my life.
Out of time
Have you ever wished you had more time? Or complained that there weren’t enough hours in the day. I wrote this story after watching someone I know who was always complaining about time have an affair. She was married and despite believing there she didn’t have enough time to get everything done she made time for her affair. Just goes to show when we really want to do something we make time, create time or plan time – no excuses!
I hope you enjoying reading these stories as much as I enjoyed writing them. Click the link to buy yourself a copy of The Last Hut