Exotic Birds :: Flash Fiction

SRS1CN0UYVSt. Jule Street is the dregs of London, and London is the dregs of all I’ve seen.

The Danish are clean and the Italians are brave, but in England I’ve seen but two kinds of filth: those who prey on the innocent and those who are too ignorant to prey. My uncle’s gamble ended me here. Twice I’ve visited him in debtors’ prison, but never again. It is my aim to be rid of this place, but first to garner some alliances, for a girl alone will soon be a caged dove.

Yesterday it was the theater. I thought to gain assistance in my disguise, but all I gained was knowledge of the less fair sex and their repugnant humor.

Today my aim is to endear myself to a passing noblewoman, who will likely consider me but a dear child, for I am quite small, and take me in as her pet. From thence I may work an escape.

But where to begin?

Ah, there is a house at the end of Pike where each night I’ve seen a crowd gathered. Ladies in gowns like those in Paris, those that my mother wore, and gentlemen in lace. There I shall wait for a single lady with sympathetic glance. It is my chance.

My plans were laid yesterday morning, and oh, what a story I have to tell! I visited the house; I waited in the ally, begging like a poor child when e’er I saw a lady of my choosing. But I was accosted! Not by force, nor by anyone’s knowledge!

My breath was taken from me by a short man of such unusual feature as to be the only one like him in all the world. His eyes were the largest I’ve seen, almost odd, but so full of life and love for living that they seemed to dance all on their own. His laughter, it was joyous.

But I was accosted! Not by force, nor by anyone’s knowledge!

But more than any other enchantment was his demeanor. His graciousness toward the crowd about him was beyond that of a prince. I confess that I was quite enamored of him and because of this – the world’s most pertinent emotion – I emboldened myself to approach. Casting off my disguising shawl and letting down my hair, I moved quietly through the edge of the crowd.

My lord did see me then and hushed. He met my eyes and all the ladies and all the gentlemen turned to see this forward waif. My heart pounded in my ears until the world went silent too. All that I knew was that my lord saw me. His great eyes longed to know my story and I could see he wanted to share his own, but the grabbing crowd did pounce upon him then and demand he make his music.

When all was still, I sat under the upper window and listened to the happiest song I have ever heard, and then another and yet another. He played only pleasant songs on his pianoforte, but I knew him to be the caged bird, and I the free one.

And yet, I would rather sing in his cage than flit about without him.

Meet the Author

IMG_6707Genevieve Gavel lives in the shadow of Mt. Rainier with her husband, kids, cat, and loyal spaniel. An avid reader since her toddler years, and a writer from the age of five, Genevieve can’t imagine a life without books. She divides her time between shuttling her children to and fro, teaching music, and writing stories about fairly ordinary people surrendering to the poetry of life. Connect with her on Facebook or Instagram @gengavel.


Posted in Flash Fiction Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Bolt Flash Fiction :: All’s Fair in Love and Uniform

Welcome to Bolt Flash Fic Friday where the goal is to let your imagination loose and make your fingers fly with a flash fiction story inspired by this picture prompt.

But for our challenge this picture is only worth 100 words.

Can you do it? Link up your stories in the comments below and check back next week to see who we’ll feature. It might be you!

This week we’re inspired by today’s deadline for Splickety Love’s last 2016 edition, Love in Uniform. Did you know you can submit nano fiction to us? We love the short impact of a few, well chosen, words. Check out all our upcoming theme information and submission guidelines.


Ready, set, WRITE!


Posted in #BoltFlashFic, Flash Fiction Tagged with: , , , ,

The Rhythm of Pacing, Part 2 :: Writer Wednesday with DiAnn Mills

How to Keep the Pace Flowing

Last month we talked about how rhythmic pacing keeps a story alive. Genre is an area where pacing affects the characters, story line, setting, dialogue, and theme. When conflict, tension, and credible emotion are applied, the reader is engaged in your story. WW727

This month, I want to give you tips that will make pacing your story more powerful.

Action scenes use short sentences or phrases. Narrative takes the time to complete a thought, explore emotions, weigh options, plan actions, or manipulate others in the increasing need to reach a goal.

Write action scenes that keep the reader holding her breath and still begging for more. We want our stories to be addictive.

Pacing is not about extending action scenes but accomplishing a purpose.

Write short narrative scenes. Lots of action with a sprinkling of narrative—for pacing.

Sometimes you need to hit delete on a sequel portion and send the character into another scene—or even change to a different POV character.

Word choice is important to genre, character, increasing pace, and slowing it down. Short words, sentences, and paragraphs peak action while longer passages slide into narrative.

She slapped me.

Pacing is not about extending action scenes but accomplishing a purpose.



My face stung from her open palm. The remainder of the evening was spent in a blur, my heart ablaze with what how she’d betrayed me—again.

A writer can slow down pacing by using a different viewpoint. This pushes the reader to make an adjustment and form a bond with a new character or return to an already established relationship.

Write only what the viewpoint character experiences. No time to smell the flowers unless your character’s picking them and is stung by a bee.

Is a scene stagnant, devoid of conflict and tension? Consider having it take place off stage, then have the POV character consider the outcome in narrative.

She’d stood me up for the third time. Made me feel like a fool, especially when I saw her snuggle up to her ex. I’m finished.

Don’t cheat the reader by failing to use every ounce of emotion and action to build higher stakes.

Give the character a time limit to accomplish a goal, then slice it in half.

Build pacing with the what-if principle. What is the worst possible thing that could happen to the viewpoint character? Make a list and brainstorm a scenario crammed with surprises.

  • What if Susan forgot to turn on the light in her aunt’s backyard?
  • What if Susan fell into the pool?
  • What if Susan didn’t know a water moccasin was in the pool?
  • What if Susan didn’t know the snake had killed a man that night?
  • What if Susan touched the man’s body?
  • What if Susan tried to climb out, but someone pushed her back?

Speed up the pacing and fill the reader with excitement, then slow it just long enough for your reader to grab her blood pressure medication before another dynamic scene. Take charge of your story, and keep your readers coming back for more.

Do you have pacing tips to share with us?

Meet the Author

DiAnn Mills headshotDiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association; International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is co-director of The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

Deadly EncounterDiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.


Posted in Featured Authors, Quick Tips, Uncategorized, Writer Wisdom Tagged with: , , ,

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