The Winning Stories of the Flash Fiction Year-end Special Competition at Scribblers – Story Number 1 by Matteon, M.E. Lucas

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Over this weekend, I’m delighted to share with you the top three stories of the Year-end Special Competition at the Flash Fiction Group I host on Scribblers.

Flash Fiction at Scribblers

http://scribblers.freeforums.net/board/26/flash-fiction

 

The prompt was The End and The Beginning, with a 1000 word limit.

 

Here’s story Number 1 by Matteon, M.E. Lucas :

Matteon photo

 

Just Another Conversation

 

The weather Gods are frantic with their hailstorm task. The bouncy-ball-sized ice smash downwards through the flashing clouds. It’s a surprise they don’t crash into each other. I guess that’s why they are the Gods.

D.Q. Parker-Braithwaite Jr is deep in conversation, I expect he hasn’t even noticed the prostrate pedestrians in the street below his window, hands and heads bloodied and bruised from large frozen water droplets.

‘Oh, go on then, have your say mister bossy-pantaloons-ideas-man!’ He says.

‘You can’t do that, you know you can’t,’ comes the reply.

‘Will you stop being so bossy.’

‘You’re starting it at the end!’

‘Yyyyes,’ he breathes, ‘at the end. What’s your point?’

‘What do you mean at the end exactly?’

‘You know?’

‘No! I don’t think I do.’

‘It’s a time frame thing,’ he starts to explain, ‘a reminder of what’s to come. A snap shot of action to pique the interest the reader.’

‘Well, it could be action from any decent part of the story. So, why end it before you’ve started?’

It was an honest enough question. And D.Q. has an answer, he’d researched the structure.

‘Wwwwell,’ more lengthiness, ‘you introduce all the characters at a really interesting climax.’

‘Then you’ve nowhere to go?’

‘But you have to explain how you got there.’

‘Who cares, the reader now knows what’s going to happen.’

‘The reader will care, and no, you forget that bit anyways.’

‘So, why add it, if you forget about it.’

‘No, no, you don’t completely forget, only your recent memory, it becomes ingrained into your subconscious, and then at the end of the novel all re-revealed, your head pops and thinks Woah, what the hell! I remember this now, that’s amazing! And you suddenly realise what’s happened, and how it happened, and why it happened, and who it happened to, and when—’

‘That’s a lot of happening.’

‘Yeah, that’s the best part, it all comes crashing back to the readers memory, conscious and subconscious mind collide in a planet sized imaginational vortex of—‘

‘If … you can pull it off.’

‘If I can pull it off?’

‘Yeah, if!’

‘Oh man, don’t bring me down, I had this. All meticulously planned, interweaving the back story of my MC, his family, ex-lover, current love interest, the protagonist ulterior motive, and the—‘

‘Yap, yap, yap, too much woof of back story blunders. Action! That’s what you need, action, more action, platefuls of … restaurants full of … shopping malls full of, no, city centres exploding with action.’

‘Literally?’

‘If it works, big bangs, shards of sugar glass, why not?’

‘I don’t have a mall in this WIP.’

‘Then put one in.’

‘Really?’

D.Q. ponders the inclusion of a high street shopping mall, the plush new finishes, free WiFi, ice-cream counter, could it work with the antagonists sweet tooth?

‘No, you plonker, I was being metaphorical. Just get with the action ASAP.’

‘Which is the end bit, at the start in this case.’

‘Umm …’

‘And! The best part is I can use a great piece of writing twice; at the start and then splice it in at the end.’

‘Copy!’

‘Splice!’

‘You really think so?’

‘Sure, dude, why the hell not?’

‘Because readers aren’t morons, some are pretty intelligent, and reading the same thing twice will feel odd, especially if you made them forget it by stuffing it into the old subconsciousness.’

He has a point, D.Q. thinks. He reaches out for his drink of half-drunk coffee in his favourite Hogwarts auto-stirring magic mug. He takes a long gulp of cold coffee until his cheeks are full, swallows, and gasps for air.

‘It’ll be ok,’ he says after inhaling enough oxygen to get his brain in gear.

‘It won’t, there’ll be queries.’

‘Such as?’

‘Such as, ‘… I’m having a Neo two glitching cats moment …’ or ‘… did the author write this bit twice? That’s a bit cheap …’ or ‘… I’m sure I’ve read this before, what a waste of my precious reading time …’ then they’ll close it and bin it, just paragraphs from the end. Chastising it as plagiarism!’

‘Don’t exaggerate.’

‘Well, your it’s your decision I suppose.’

‘It is my decision, thanks, and I’ll thank you not to interfere.’

‘Interfering now, am I? Well there’s gratitude for you, interfering indeed.’

‘You know what I mean.’

‘Yeah, you’re the boss and if I don’t like it then …’

‘Oh, don’t start that again.’

‘Again?’

‘Yes, again, you always start with the boss nonsense.’

‘You mean the bit I started with.’

‘Yes, you started, you know, you where moaning at the start, telling me how to plan this novel, telling me I’m being bossy, when it’s you who are the bossy one, and now we’ve gone full donut back to the start-line again.’

‘Back to the beginning, huh?’

‘Yes!’

‘Like your story!’

‘Like my, no, you cheeky sod, not like my—‘

‘Yes, like your start stop end beginning twisty turny finish ending tale of repetition.’

‘Ah …’

‘You see, or rather you didn’t see it coming. And now it’s here it’s a bit of a—‘ there’s silence as D.Q. makes a movement behind his writing desk. ‘What are you doing with that large jewel encrusted dwarves sword?’

‘Changing direction.’

‘Changing what?’

‘Direction. Wait it’s too damn heavy. Ahhhh, this is a much better description.’

‘What the, where did you get that from?’

‘It’s an old one of yours, don’t you remember?’

‘Wait! Yes, let me see, of course. Ultra-pulse photon-clasp automatic firearm with omni-rotator and eyeball recog. That was a while ago. Let me just—‘

‘No! Oh, ho, ho, no you don’t, not this time. Prepare to meet your make, er, your imaginator!’

He points his weapon and the gun lets out a loud Zzzzongping, quickly followed by a ftomb!

‘Bet you didn’t see that coming did you, mate? Change in the plot, see. Little twist. Playing on the end-beginning-end-beginning-end sequence with a drop of sufficient darkness to make the reader—‘

D.Q. peers over the top of his glasses. Then stands and gazes down from his messy paper covered work surface, to the unfolding scene on the shaggy carpet.

‘Are you alright?’

There is no answer.

‘Muse?’

 

 

 

Matteon, M.E. Lucas,  is a regular contributor to the Flash Fiction thread at Scribblers.

Short Bio:

Matteon AKA M.E. Lucas is a fifty-something (but not too many) architect, who attempts flash fiction and poetry on a regular basis. He began his escape into storytelling through the sci-fi comic 2000AD as a young boy, however, only wrote his first fiction five years ago following the death of his father. He has finished one novel, but seems content to keep on re-editing it!

M E Lucas Blog www.melucas.uk

 

***

 

If you wish to take a look at the other great stories of the Year-End Special, here’s the link to the thread:

Year-end Special

http://scribblers.freeforums.net/thread/966/flash-fiction-december-2017-results

 

Or better still, come and join our bi-monthly Flash Fiction thread at Scribblers. Newcomers are always welcome. Here’s the link to the current thread:

Flash Fiction January 2018

http://scribblers.freeforums.net/thread/972/flash-fiction-january-2018-week

 

 

 

 

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The Winning Stories of the Flash Fiction Year-end Special Competition at Scribblers – Story Number 2 by Jennie Ensor

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Over this weekend, I’m delighted to share with you the top three stories of the Year-end Special Competition at the Flash Fiction Group I host on Scribblers.

Flash Fiction at Scribblers

http://scribblers.freeforums.net/board/26/flash-fiction

 

The prompt was The End and The Beginning, with a 1000 word limit.

 

 

Here’s story Number 2 by Author Jennie Ensor:

Three pears Raymond HuiPhoto by Raymond Hui on Unsplash

 

 

The End and The Beginning

 

 

‘Carl’, Catherine murmured, gazing at the dust jacket of Volume Four of Carl O. Nystrom’s distinctly autobiographical series of novels. She could change her name to Carla, perhaps. ‘Catherine’ was such a mouthful. And everyone spelt it wrong, with an ‘K’ instead of a ‘C’ or an ‘a’ instead of the middle ‘e’.

Come on, Catherine. This Carl thing is getting out of hand. A famous author with millions of adoring fans isn’t going to interested in you.

The author talk at the South Bank was tomorrow. Should she still go? It would only feed her… infatuation. That’s what it was, wasn’t it? She sighed and went downstairs.

‘You’re looking very nice this evening.’

Catherine considered her husband’s remark while crunching into a notquitecooked potato. Tom didn’t usually comment on her appearance these days, didn’t seem to notice her at all, in fact. But any pleasure at his having praised her appearance was immediately quashed by a profound regret at Tom’s limited vocabulary.

Very nice. Was that the grand total of her husband’s feelings for her? Carl would never have used such words to a woman he loved. He would have chosen with care, sensitivity and aplomb from his vast literary hoard.

She studied the decidedly fleshy droop of her husband’s face. Carl, as she had seen in his spot on Meet The Author, had a well-toned body (from various athletic pursuits, she imagined) and wayward wavy hair that hung around his shoulders in that scrumptiously bohemian manner. Unlike Tom, Carl wouldn’t scoff ice-cream straight from the tub during ad breaks, or stop cycling to work because he was worried about getting run over.

*

Her seat was closer than she’d expected. The sight of Mr Nystrom produced a pleasurable shiver, as if someone had traced a cool fingertip along her inner thigh. There he was, not ten metres away, his oh-so-expressive face crowned with a glorious tangle of blonde hair. She longed to be even closer so she could see his eyes properly.

*

Carl was seated on a L-shaped sofa behind a coffee table. This intimate cubbyhole felt oddly surreal, as if she were stepping into his living room.

‘Hello… Carl. I’m so glad to meet you at last. I’ve read all your books.’

His eyes were a mesmeric blue. Blood rushed to her cheeks, leaving her legs to fend for themselves. She swayed. He sprang up, catching her arm.

‘Come sit a moment.’

She almost fell onto the sofa.

‘How would you like me to sign?’

‘Put “To Carla”’.

‘That’s a coincidence.’

‘Isn’t it?’ She felt her eyes pulled into his; the dizziness returned. ‘You’re different to how I thought you’d be.’

‘Really?’

‘Your eyes. They’re so… penetrating. And your body – I never realised how muscular you were.’ No, you can’t say that.

‘Thank you, Carla. You have a lovely body too.’ He put a hand just above her knee. If only this moment would last forever. But her time in the spotlight was ending – she hadn’t even taken a photo.

From the signing queue, a pointed cough. Carl removed his hand.

‘Do you mind if I take a photo of us?’ Catherine took her phone out of her bag. ‘Oh no. There’s no battery.’ What a dork. She’d meant to charge it at the hairdresser’s.

‘I’ll use mine,’ Carl offered, withdrawing a phone from his pocket.

Without thinking, she smiled and tilted her head towards his.

‘I’ll send it to you later. What’s your number?’

She wrote it down.

‘So, did you enjoy the interview?’

‘I didn’t think much of the questions, actually. I would have asked different ones.’

‘Like?’

Do you sleep naked at night? What do you do to arouse a woman?

‘What colour is your cat?’

‘My cat?’

‘In your house in Sweden. I thought you had one. A cat, I mean.’

‘Ah!’ His face crinkled. ‘Sheba. She’s white with a black ring on her tail. She takes advantage though.’

‘Cats do, don’t they? What’s your house like?’

‘Big, modern. Very Swedish.’

‘How lovely.’ She stood, reluctantly. ‘It was wonderful to meet you, Carl.’

‘And you, Carla.’ He stood too, leaning towards her. For a crazy moment she thought he was going to kiss her.

*

Uncharacteristically, Tom came into the hall to meet her. ‘How did it go, love?’

‘Really well.’

‘You’ve changed your hair. You look… like you used to dress for me.’ Tom disappeared into the living room.

Catherine fled into the kitchen, then put her phone on to charge. What was she doing? Did she want her marriage to sink like a weighted corpse into the nearest river?

She was pouring two glasses of water when her phone beeped. She pounced on it.

Hello Carly, here’s your photo. Hope you enjoy the book. My fondest wishes, Carl

Thanks Carl, I am so grateful for this. I’m sure I’ll enjoy the book!

She hesitated, then added three kissing cat-face emojis.

*

For days, while snuggled under the duvet with Volume 5, or in the classroom struggling to convey the concept of irrational numbers to less-than-attentive teenagers, Catherine thought about Carl. She imagined him in his Swedish house, stroking the cat.

Inside her, a constant battle took place. She was determined to forget him, make the most of the life she had. The other half of her wanted to become engulfed by a liaison to rival any literary romance.

*

It arrived just before midnight, a week after the book event while Tom snored gently beside her. She reached over to switch off her phone, then saw the message.

Hello Carla, my apologies for this sudden interruption at such a late hour. The truth is – and I quake as I tap these words – I can’t stop thinking about you. I wish to see again, soon. Could visit me in Gothenburg? Your humble scribbler, C

The famous author wanted to see her! She sat staring at the screen, re-reading the words. Before she could change her mind, her fingers replied.

Yes, yes, yes! Oh please, yes!

 

 

Jennie Ensor is a regular contributor to the Flash Fiction thread at Scribblers. She is the author of  Blind Side, a psychological thriller published by Unbound.

 

www.jennieensor.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JennieEnsorAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jennie_Ensor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jennieensor/

BLIND SIDE by Jennie Ensor
Publisher: Unbound

Blindside

Paperback edition available from your local bookshop (UK only), including Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Daunt Books and independent booksellers

Amazon (paperback & e-book): https://geni.us/bldsd
Apple iBooks (e-book only)
Unbound (e-book only) https://unbound.com/books/blind-side

 

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If you wish to take a look at the other great stories of the Year-End Special, here’s the link to the thread:

Year-end Special

http://scribblers.freeforums.net/thread/966/flash-fiction-december-2017-results

 

Or better still, come and join our bi-monthly Flash Fiction thread at Scribblers. Newcomers are always welcome. Here’s the link to the current thread:

Flash Fiction January 2018

http://scribblers.freeforums.net/thread/972/flash-fiction-january-2018-week

The Winning Stories of the Flash Fiction Year-end Special Competition at Scribblers – Story Number 3 by Toppykat

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Over this weekend, I’m delighted to share with you the top three stories of the Year-end Special Competition at the Flash Fiction Group I host on Scribblers.

Flash Fiction at Scribblers

http://scribblers.freeforums.net/board/26/flash-fiction

 

The prompt was The End and The Beginning, with a 1000 word limit.

 

 

Here’s story Number 3 by Toppykat:

171025-joe-and-the-juice-london

The End — The Beginning 

 

The smell of autumn but more like musky, warm, rich odors of a bonfire in the distance. I walk miles across an unfamiliar terrain. A twilight sky as black a sky I have never seen before cloaks me. In this world silence is explicit. My breathing reverberates in my ear with a periodic whistle in accompaniment. I’ve been walking for hours now, it seems. However, the theme of the landscape, unchanged. I am without my sunglasses, I am not squinting but more alive than I have ever felt before. Suddenly, my legs are Jello beneath me. My abdomen feels as though a sledge hammer collided with it. On the caked ground; facing the night sky, I am screaming. My stomach crushed. Blood is everywhere.

Startled, I sit up in bed staring into the mirror mounted on the wall before me. I am in perfect form.

I wish to stay here and never return, I whisper to myself retrieving notepad and pen off the nightstand. Noting the specifics of my dream. No change, I write. It has been the same dream occurrence for as long as I can recollect.

****

 

People like ants scurry about Grand Central main concourse in lieu of their destinations. I taste the bile in my throat as envy boils in the pit of my stomach. They have their destination in sight. I have yet to formulate a plan to reach mine.

After my parents’ sudden death, I quickly squander my fortune. The new world envisioned in my dreams will require no currency of any kind.

The dream gives me hope and promise for a new life elsewhere. It fuels my days. The end is near for the dreams are becoming more and more vivid with each occurrence. I believe, I have hope!

The homeless shelter at night – a contrast to Café Joe where I spend my days. I sit here now looking out the window at busy Park Avenue. I watch as cars drive into the gaping mouth of the avenue’s underpass. Being swallowed into its wrought iron and trestle mouth, affixed to its diagonal cement wall of a face. Its trestle mouth; slick black and paved surface of a tongue sports brilliant, white double lines down its middle. I hear folks say it is yellow.

I wear sunglasses to protect my eyes from the glares of each day of my miserable existence in this world. My monochromatic vision a birth defect. I see in shades of black, white and grey. However, I can differentiate white from black quite easily. The texture is extreme and dense identifying the blackest shades as black and the lightest shades as white. The grey are other colors in their world I can identify due to minor variations within. I can typically fudge out blues and yellows. All others are lost to me and seen as grey.

The time is soon. The moment near. End life in this world. Spin a new beginning in another is the plan. The excitement of its premise heightens my sensitivity to the glare outside. I turn away sipping my coffee. It is tasteless today. Oh! My bad! It is water and my twelfth cup. Instincts dictate more consumption is necessary today. Re-filling my glass from a now empty pitcher, I gesture to the waiter for another.

I don’t recall vacating my stool at Café Joe because I stand in the midst of oncoming traffic. Cocoon within a bubble of silence, which pops precipitously within seconds of my realization. My body hits the paved road before the underpass, hard. My vision skews. The underpass transforms to an eagle readying for flight. Brought back to reality when the pain in my abdomen registers throughout. Flesh raw to the touch as I am being propped up by a woman. She folds her sweater and places it underneath my throbbing head. A masculine voice of despair pleads to me.

“Sir, what can I do for you?”

Lifting my head, I watch as slick, thick liquid seep from my wound. I am unsure of its color for a mill-second. I ask the man before me.

“It is red? Isn’t it?”

“What is red?”

“My blood … it’s red, right?”

With a look of puzzlement and disbelief in his eyes, he responds. “Yes.”

I smile. I focus on the gaping mouth of the underpass. I am no longer on the roadway but inside my dream. My feet carry the miles along into nothingness. However, this time I witness bright red dots cloaked within fragile moths-like skirts. They are floating through the atmosphere. The warmth of this world touches my heart. I reach for my sunglasses — gone. The trousers I wear a relic of my previous life.

I feel cold, sweaty palm touches my hand. A prelude to a coarse voice like that of a chronic smoker invades the silent night. A singular baritone overture trails upward from the caked and baked earth beneath my bare feet.

“You cannot enter here in your human form? You must be as I am to reside here.”

It is male! Instinctively, I look up to the sky searching the night for its source. A tug to my trouser makes me look down to reveal. A diminutive creature no taller than a two-year old toddler. It snickers. Its head thrown all the way back. Its mouth houses a full set of sharp canines. Its head clearly the size of its body doing a balancing act. Yet it does not topple over.

On my knees, I stare back adamantly, “I must remain!”

The creature tilts its head to the right; then left. Its hollow puncture holes for eyes seem to be blinking at me in delight. A chuckle caught in my throat at its preposterousness. It walks away pensively; stops then turns around, abruptly.

“Ah! Of course! I remember you. Welcome!”

I start to my feet but there is no need. I now stand eye to eye with the diminutive creature.

 

Toppykat is a regular contributor to the Flash Fiction thread at Scribblers. Here are links to some of her published work:

Moment is My Name
thedrabble.wordpress.com/20…/…/28/moment-is-my-name/

The Ex
thedrabble.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/the-ex/

 

If you wish to take a look at the other great stories of the Year-End Special, here’s the link to the thread:

Year-end Special

http://scribblers.freeforums.net/thread/966/flash-fiction-december-2017-results

 

Or better still, come and join our bi-monthly Flash Fiction thread at Scribblers. Newcomers are always welcome. Here’s the link to the current thread:

Flash Fiction January 2018

http://scribblers.freeforums.net/thread/972/flash-fiction-january-2018-week

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

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wonder-how-many-wishes-a-star-can-give-snoopy-and-9363894

 

Wishes

I wish I were taller

wish I were stronger

but I’m not

sometimes I lack the strength

mediocre, vulnerable, and weak

I rise from the shards of my psyche

damaged, cracked and chipped along the edges

but not defeated, yet-

only human,

with my imperfections.

There must be more… margin release

A lovely review of Ripples on the Pond from Jeanne on WordPress. Thank you very much, Jeanne. 🙂

https://seasonsapoeticjourney.com/2017/12/26/there-must-be-more/

borderline crossing

Indian Rocks Beach FL 2017

That would be me, reading Sebnem Sander’s new book “Ripples on the Pond” published December 4, 2017. Here is my review…

Brought a book along, to read, while on the white sands of the Gulf of Mexico. From Clearwater to Venice, Sebnem travels along, telling stories the waves often whisper and the gulls cry out loud. This book is for those who oft think and find beauty in everything or yearn to live mindfully. 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!

I will treasure new stories this whole week, recklessly abandoned to my self… let each tale immerse into me, along with my tequila sunrise. You are a true delight to read Sebnem!

Here is her WordPress blog. Her book is available…

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Happy Winter Solstice, Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year! The Pomegranate Tree

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Something from the past!

sebnemsanders

pomegranate_tree-418x415

The Pomegranate Tree

The crimson blossoms of

the pomegranate tree in springtime,

turn into magical red globes during summer,

giving us ample fruit with sparkling ruby seeds inside.

A treasure within a treasure,

a chest within a chest,

one that contains many,

each seed from the heavens,

a sacred gift of Mother Nature,

heralding prosperity, nourishment, and health.

Let’s tie many coloured ribbons on the tree of plenty

and make wishes for happiness, peace and oneness.

Although Saint Nicholas has his home in these lands,

he’s busy carrying gifts to other children around the world,

but will be here on the 31st to celebrate

New Year’s Eve.

Let’s hope our tree will attract

 the birds and creatures upon Gaia and

when the gathering is complete,

with a full audience,

we’ll crack the pomegranates on the ground,

spreading prosperity around the globe,

to all the children and people of the world.

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Ripples on the Pond Review

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Ripples 3

 

Many thanks to author Kate Murdoch for this wonderful, detailed review, my first on Goodreads.

“This delightful collection of short stories encompasses a span of human emotions, frailties and flaws as well as a wider perspective on what it means to be human. Sebnem Sanders examines loss, love, despair, joy as well as the philosophical picture of our place in the world and our relationship with nature. In ‘Selma of Soghut’ she explores transience and ageing, in ‘Shards of Glass’ the magical realism of another self performing shocking acts, and in ‘King of Hearts’ an unlikely friendship is struck between a dying man and a sick child.

I very much enjoyed the wisdom and observations in these stories along with their magic—there are unexpected twists and turns and always, a sensitivity and tenderness.”

 

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2213836233

Subzero Temps Bring A Harsh Reality to Homeless Plight at Sleep in the Park Event

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A noble act of charity supported by OMP, One Million Project. Many thanks to Sheena Macleod, an author and One Million Project Administrator, for this blog post. 🙂

theonemillionproject

Emma Short and Emma Park joined 9,000 other participants on December 9th for Sleep in the Park, the world’s largest ever sleep-out event.   Organized by Edinburgh Homelessness Charity, Social Bite, they slept in the sub-zero 25317224_10214322188265571_180551377_otemperatures under the stars in Edinburgh’s city centre with the aim of raising £4m to eradicate homelessness in Scotland.

Emma Short and Emma Park were excited to take part by sleeping out in the cold overnight along with the other participants to gain some insight into what type of conditions homeless people experience every day. They planned on taking two sleeping bags and two camping chairs.  Emma Short thought she and Emma Park would drink hundreds of cups of tea between them in the effort to keep warm.

Sheena Macleod, an author and One Million Project Administrator, interviewed Emma Short about the event and their experiences.  Emma’s story about the night follows:

“The event was…

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Dedication to Ripples on the Pond at the #OMP #OneMillionProject Blog at Wattpad

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OMP Author Spotlight

 

I’m most grateful to #OMP, #OneMliionProject, for this wonderful dedication at Wattpad.

https://www.wattpad.com/506618693-omp-author-spotlight-sebnem-e-sanders

 

What is OMP?

One Million Project is a global network of creatives and a series of books (one existing anthology and three planned) – all profits from sales are being collected to be donated to our two major charities – Cancer Research UK and EMMAUS (Homelessness organization) with other initiatives in the works (Music and Art).

One Million Project