A Year in the Life of Ripples on the Pond

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A year in the life of Ripples on the Pond    my debut anthology of flash fiction and short stories, with photos and highlights

 

December 7, 2017 The first copy of Ripples on the Pond arrives home via UPS.

Ripples arrives home

and finds a cozy spot.

Ripples for Twitter 2

 

First copies arrive in London

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December, 2017 Highlights from the first reviews on Amazon, Amazon UK, and Goodreads

I’m delighted to have tasted the delights of this exceptional flash …

Tender observations and wisdom – a wonderful collection of stories

“Well Worth the Ride!

 

Jeanne with Ripples

 

Each story has you linger a bit longer, while waiting for a sunset… or perhaps you are the person anticipating the sun rise. A real treat! A fantastic beach read! ” on Goodreads

 

 Sebnem Sanders creates breathtaking fables that make realistic myths from the human condition.” on Goodreads

“Ripples on the Pond will leave ripples on your heart” 

 

Ripples in My Handbag

Ripples appears on author and blogger Jessie Cahalin’s Books in My Handbag, December 15, 2017

https://jessiecahalin.com/handbag-gallery/

 

January-April, 2018:

Read between the words…”

Generous collection of beautiful stories”

“A delightful collection.

“Sebnem Sanders writes beautifully, often with an anthropmorphic slant that reminds me …

 

Ripples in the Pond by Sebnem Sanders

April, 2018 : Ripples Receives a Readers’ Award and a review from Chill with a Book, on Amazon, Amazon UK, and Goodreads.

 “A thoroughly entertaining book of short stories. The cancer ward story was particularly poignant.”

 

 “Beautiful Language, Good Ideas

“Thoughtful collection of short fiction”

 

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Spring in Çeşme, İzmir, Turkey

“Such a wonderful collection of short stories!”

When I finished and there were no more stories, I smiled to myself. This is one of those books I will be re-reading again and again. A must read!

 “The gamut of human emotion and experience”

 

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Swedish Blogger Ray Not Bradbury Reviews Ripples on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2212927603?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1

Varmdö collage

And I time-travel to Varmdö, the biggest island in the Stockholm archipelago, and cherish memories from my teenage days.

 

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Ripples in Datça, Muğla, Turkey, in the Summer.  Photo by a reader,  https://www.instagram.com/nilgun_ozbudak/

 

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Ripples on the Beach

“Sublime Power

 

Ripples web banner for twitter

A pleasure that I did not want to end….”

 

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December in Çeşme, İzmir, Turkey, as the fire crackles and we taste the pomegranates and oranges from the garden.

 

Not all the stories in Ripples of the Pond have specific locations, but here are a few that do:

 

Ripples on the Pond   is free on Kindle between December 6-10th, Thursday-Monday. If you’d like to have a look, here’s the preview and the link:

 

 

 

Thank you very much for reading and visiting. 🙂 

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Flash Fiction – Guest Post at the Blue Jinni Media Blog

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Flash Fiction Image

 

Here’s a blog post from me on Flash Fiction at the Blue Jinni Media website. Many thanks to Dedra L. Stevenson for inviting me to the Blue Jinni Media Blog.

 

https://bluejinnimedia.com/flash-fiction/?fbclid=IwAR0DrkMiKgxXg3YfABBaATY3-w3bkR32xh1OS0KirxhR-fGQbSfoplFoCaE

 

Excerpt from The Child of Heaven

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I posted the below excerpt on a prompt #neardeathexperiences , in a writers group on Facebook because the prompt reminded me of this excerpt from The Child of Heaven, my first completed manuscript. I may or may not publish it, soon. I need your opinion. Would you like to hear what happens before and after this excerpt? Tell me, please. I value your opinion. Thank you. 😍😍

(PS. only about 500 words. Like you, I don’t like very long posts, in small print.)

 

The Passage

 

 

Leila opened her eyes to a rosy haze. Stretched out beneath a bizarre blush of dawn, she could hear the echo of gentle waves coming from nearby. Her hands touched the smooth surface that felt like fine sand. She blinked several times and looked in the direction of the rhythmic hum. A vast beach bordering a sea seemed to expand infinitely. The turquoise-coloured sea met with the cerise sky far on the horizon. She sat up and looked behind her. She could make out the soft curves of rose-tinted hills encompassing the beach in the distance. As her eyes adjusted to the surroundings, she became aware that everything within her sight was dipped in a different shade of pink.

“Ton sur ton pink,” she mumbled.

Leila rose unsteadily and felt dizzy.  Trying to regain her balance, she walked a few steps. She stopped and looked around again. Not a single living creature seemed to be in sight; not a single tree, the odd bird or even an insect.

‘Where am I?’ she thought, uneasily. ‘Am I dead and is this heaven?’

Leila walked towards the sea and dipped her hand in the water. It felt cool. She tasted her wet finger. It was salty.  The waves rolled over her feet as she walked along the edge. It felt good.  A bright ball of crimson light in the sky sent  its rays to the sea, forming sparkling, spiral beams on the water.  Everything seemed peaceful and comforting, yet she felt strange and lonely. She knew she was in a different place.   In spite of the great calm surrounding her, uneasiness took over her soul. Leila stepped out of the sea and sat on the pink sand. While trying to debate her circumstances, she could feel the surge of panic rising in her chest.

She saw a figure approaching her from the direction of the hills and awaited in uncertainty. As the figure moved closer, she could make out the stature of a very tall, slim man, clad in a tight-fitting black outfit. The bald headed man with piercing turquoise eyes, stood grandly by Leila and said, “Hi, Leila, I’m Alem, and I am here to welcome you to Leia.”

“Leia, where is Leia? How did I get here? “

“Leia is a planet in the constellation of Libra, rather far  from planet Earth.  It is also called the pink planet because we have a crimson sun.”

“You mean you abducted me here from planet Earth?”

“No, Leila, we did not abduct you. You came here on your own free will. “

“How far is it from Earth?”

“In human terms, it’s more than twenty light-years away, but we don’t measure distances in those terms. Your measurements for distance and time are of no significance to us. We have different abilities to transport ourselves in space.”

“I’m not sure I totally believe you! Why would I want to go through such an ordeal?”

“You are probably much dazed and tired, but you will remember soon. We will try to make you as comfortable as possible. Let me take you to our guest quarters where you can rest and recover from your trip. “

 

The Child of Heaven ©2012 ©Sebnem E. Sanders

Part II Life on Leia

The Passage

 

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The Secret Gate

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old door

 

I switched off the morning news. While the TV screen darkened, I yearned to escape the gloom and the toxic atmosphere of the city. A photographic excursion into the countryside would do me good.

Picking up my camera bag, I left the flat and made my way to the garage. After a couple of stops at charming spots, I drove past a sleepy old town and slowed down when a detached sandstone house came into view. Through its open gates, a tilted For Sale sign caught my eye. Thinking this could be an interesting subject, I parked the car and entered the grounds.

The weathered signboard hinted it had been there for a while. The house looked decrepit and forlorn, its windows boarded and the paint on the front door chipped and cracked. Unkempt and overgrown, the garden conjured a strange melancholy. Taking a few shots, I walked around the building. Broken branches and decaying leaves from tall trees echoed the same neglect. Ready to leave, something behind the shrubs, along the back wall caught my attention. A pair of pale green doors which at first glance resembled a trompe l’oeil.

Something about the stately gate told me a story. It stood intact and supported by tall tapered pillars. The half-moon pebble mosaic steps that led to it boasted of history. Its ornate, solid iron body whispered tales from the past. Yet, the walls on its either side had partially crumbled, and peeking through the gaps, I saw nothing, but an expanse of wilderness beyond.

At the bottom of the steps, a pond had formed, housing an array of horsetail reed, water lilies, and sweet flag. Natural or landscaped, I couldn’t tell. It looked authentic and picturesque, in sheer contrast to the condition of the rest of the estate. Maybe the heavy rains of the last few weeks had brought it back to life.

At some point, the door that led to nowhere must have stood proud to protect a house and the people beyond it, allowing only friends and family inside. If so, what had happened to it, or its connection to the stone cottage remained a mystery. Confrontation, natural disasters, and family sagas came to mind. Nature had built a façade over the remains, if there were any, and camouflaged it to look like an extension of the massive open fields.

I tried to pull the door open. It didn’t budge. Most likely its hinges had been bonded by the threads of time. So I climbed over the wall and stepped into the meadow woven with a carpet of spring flowers. Keeping my eyes on the ground, I set out to find remains of life on the soft knolls. I picked up an old pipe, a metal button, a penny, and the broken arm of a wooden doll. They looked old. Would they be considered as clues to who had once lived here? Not really, I told myself. Such items could be found anywhere. The sun about to  set, I became weary of wandering in the fields.

Slowly, I walked back, pondering on the remains that had endured time. Like the iron gates, intact and still present. Similar to my genetic memory, the will to live and hope, despite the dystopia the entire world is going through.

I debated whether to return to the sleepy town to inquire about the house and the gate. I dismissed the idea. Instinct had already told me the story about the property and myself. Why I endure, how I distract myself with photography, why the structures remain standing, like sentinels, steadfast in their duty, despite the odds.

 

Photo credit: Google images

Amber Street is at The Rye Whiskey Review

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The Drinking Duck

 

 

I’m back at the The Rye Whiskey Review with Amber Street from Ripples on the Pond. Thanks for having me onboard John Patrick Robbins. Nice to be among such good company. Cheers.

By the way, this is my 22nd published story on various online magazines and in anthologies in the US, UK, Canada, and Turkey. I just updated the list here: Publications

 

Amber Street

 

The last customer leaving the bar, Harry staggered into the cold night air and made feeble attempts to walk in a straight line. The icy wind signalling the approach of harsher weather, chilled him to the bone. Despite the protective shield of his padded coat and the woollen hat pulled over his ears, he felt naked. The combination of intoxication and freezing temperatures blurred his sight. All he could see ahead were dark buildings on either side of the road and a few flickering streetlights. He followed the pavement, counting his steps on his long walk home down Amber Street.

Harry kept counting to keep his mind active, but the road seemed to continue forever. 2500 steps later, he still had not arrived at the turn to the street where his flat was located. He halted and glanced back, then looked ahead again. There were no side roads, but one long avenue where all buildings looked the same. “I’m lost,” he muttered.

continued here:

https://ryethewhiskeyreview.blogspot.com/2018/09/amber-street-by-sebnem-e-sanders.html

Old Witch
Photo from Google

The Red Room

sebnemsanders

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In my self-imposed solitary confinement at the castle,

I roam the many halls and corridors

and stop by the Red Room

Do I dare enter her chambers for the first time

ever since she left?

Autumn has arrived though it doesn’t feel so,

the night is tender and tempting.

I unlock the door,

throw open the windows

and light the tapers on the candelabra

scattered around her boudoir.

Crimson velvet drapes sway in the fresh breeze,

the floral fragrance of her perfume still lingers in the air,

the candles flicker and cast their light

upon the guild-framed paintings on the red walls.

Portraits come to life,

their gazes follow me,

the lips curl into a smile, or a sneer,

they talk without speaking,

an organ plays in the background,

I pause by her picture, allured by her beauty,

She walks out of the frame and takes my hand,

Into the eternal…

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Interstellar

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Interstellar by Jasric, Deviant Art

https://www.deviantart.com/jasric/art/Interstellar-503752453

 

Ash Hawthorn spent his childhood climbing trees in the village meadow and watching the world below. Settled comfortably on a branch, he daydreamed or read books, and made friends with countless birds and squirrels who approached him without fear. At night, he mounted the towering oak tree in the garden and perused the sky, naming the constellations and the planets he learned at school.

For higher education, Ash debated between studying astronomy or botany. In the end he opted for plant biology because of his passion for trees. The celestial objects were far away, yet he could touch and feel the woods, identify their leaves and fruits.

Ash became a spiritual man as well as a plant biologist. He travelled the world to acquaint himself  with exotic plants in various terrains. Each morning, after his yoga meditation, he hugged a tree and continued a ritual he’d begun so long ago.  At home, he wrapped his arms around the magnificent acacia in the garden. When abroad, he found a local tree to exercise his routine. Trees talked to him, he felt their vibes and communication lines.

On the way back from The Aokigahara Forest in Japan, which some called the suicide or talking forest, he was thrilled to have successfully made it through the challenging trail without a guide or using markings. The trees had guided him as his feet pounded the lava rocks and edged around perilous pit holes.

Ash clicked on the notification from the NASA website he subscribed to and read:

A small, recently discovered asteroid — or perhaps a comet — appears to have originated from outside the solar system, maybe from a distant part of  our galaxy. If so, it would be the first “interstellar object” to be observed and confirmed by astronomers.

‘How exciting,’ Ash thought, interstellar, as in science-fiction movies and books. He wished he could see it, and wondered if it would have an impact on earth, perhaps strike it. Probably not, as most space stations were equipped with devices to repel such a happening. Yet, in the event they resorted to such action, what effect would this create on the entire universe? These thoughts occupied his mind as he continued his tours.

Trekking in the Valdivian rain forest between Chile and Argentina, Ash felt thirsty and hot. He took off his safari jacket and hung it on the branch of a towering Araucaria araucana, better known as the Monkey puzzle tree. Leaning against its trunk, he drank water from the thermos and rested. The air was still, though on its languid current he detected a hint of expectancy. Under the cerulean sky, the tree whispered. He wrapped his arms around it and listened. “Interstellar” it said. Ash smiled and repeated, “Interstellar.”

He smelled burning, and raising his head, spotted a massive fireball approaching. That was the last thing he saw before his interstellar journey transported him to another dimension.

 

Happy Fall Equinox!

The Key to Happiness

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Conversation in a book store

Photo from Google

 

 

Thomas hates the aisle of self-help books he has to pass through to get to the serious non-fiction section. “Rubbish,” he mutters, noting the titles. How to Deal with Loss, The Answer is in the Stars, Quantum Way of Thought, My Mother and Me, How I Fought Obesity, My Anorexic Journey. These books sell millions because people seek magical formulas to deal with their problems. All this sharing, support groups, as though they have no brains in their heads.

A towering stand for a best-seller dominates the middle of the aisle: The Key to Happiness. ‘The winner of the rotten tomatoes top prize for the worst title,’ he thinks. He picks a copy from the stand and flips through the pages. While perusing the blurb, he hears a female voice behind him.

“I lost my keys,” she says.

He turns and faces a petite woman. “Here?” he asks.

“Here, there and everywhere,” she replies. “Happiness is hard to find.”

“You’re pulling my leg.“ He chuckles.

“I’m serious,“ she says, blinking. “Shall we look for it together?”

He pauses for a moment, then decides to play along. Who could ignore those dark, mysterious eyes?

He follows her out of the store, into street. Bustling lunchtime crowds scurry along the pavement in both directions.

“This way,” she says, pointing west.

Thomas joins the flow, walking next to her.

“First we must define it,“ she says.

“What?”

“Happiness. What is happiness?”

“A much over-rated notion, which doesn’t exist.” He smirks.

“Is that so? See the blind man crossing the street, using his cane. Happiness is being independent.”

“Unhappiness is being disabled.”

“You mustn’t do that. Laws of attraction will hear you and bring you the opposite of happiness.” She points to a sparrow, searching for food by a garbage bin. A morsel of bread discovered on the pavement, the bird takes off to a safe location to enjoy it. “Happiness is being able to escape,” she says.

Leading him to an empty table at a street café, she drops her handbag on a chair and grabs her wallet. “Sit here and I’ll be back.”

She returns with two mugs of coffee and a generous portion of dark chocolate cake.

“Happiness is a cup of coffee and piece of cake?”

“You’re learning,” she nods.

The serotonin from the chocolate washed down with coffee takes Thomas to a moment of bliss. “Happiness is sitting next to an attractive woman and sharing a forbidden delicacy.”

Holding his arm, she takes him to the park across the street, and settles on a bench “Happiness is finding a vacant bench on a sunny day.”

Thomas watches the children racing their miniature sailboats on the pond and remembers his childhood. “Happiness is having friends.”

“You’re getting there.” She pats his hand.

His gaze falls on the woods, bordering the park, on the other side of the pond. “Happiness is being an evergreen, dressed for all occasions.”

“Perfect!”

Thomas looks into her eyes, speckled with gold beams from the sun. “Are you the author of the book?”

“No, I’m Samantha, just a reader. I read on your face you were in need of a burst of cheerfulness. The key lies inside you, not in a book. It’s up to you to unlock the door or to keep it shut.”

“I’m Thomas. Samantha is a lovely name. Mine’s plain, yours is melodious. All this positivity could be addictive. It’s like taking drugs.”

“It’s better than scepticism. There are so many things we can’t control. Every single day bad things happen in the world. If we don’t look for happiness in little things, we won’t be able to cope with the serious problems.”

“What now? “ he asks.

“It’s up to you.” She flutters her eyelids.

“Can I invite to dinner tonight?”

“I’d like that.”

They part at the park entrance. His gait livelier than ever, Thomas heads towards his office block. He’s looking forward to seeing, discovering more about the beguiling Sa-man-tha tonight. “Carpe diem,” he mutters. ‘Less history, more lightness, living -being.’

A Kind of Loving

Here’s something “Noir” for the weekend. This story was first published in my anthology, Ripples on the Pond.

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Jack Vetriano A Kind of Loving large

Jack Vetriano, A kind of Loving

Photo prompt: Jack Vetriano paintings

Bernard visited the flea market every Sunday and looked for objects to add to his collections, or something interesting to start a new one. Seeing a display of old-fashioned mannequins at one of his favourite stalls, he stopped and studied them, imagining what he could do with them. He negotiated the price for four, and carried them to his station-wagon, one by one, taking great care. They were a treasure, rare samples from the 50’s, made of wood.

Bernard installed the mannequins in the basement of his house, which he’d turned into a nostalgic bar, after his mother died. Not that he was a drinker, but he liked the idea of people socializing under the influence, telling each other their secrets, or meeting someone new. This was something he envied, yet his shyness prevented him from making friends. As…

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