Tag Archives: Writing

A Match Made In Heaven

Please make sure to read the author’s note at the end of the story.

Illustration by Gabriel San Martin © 2022

The Blue Stone Bench

Karina Kantas ©2022

She’s there again. Just like clockwork, her and her dog. Every Thursday, ten o’clock in the morning on the dot, she arrives, coffee in hand. I wonder what she does or where she goes when it’s raining?  Why every Thursday? Why always this park, this spot, this blue stone bench?

Every time, I say I’m going to go over and introduce myself and talk to her. But every week my feet say glued to the ground. My mouth goes dry and my heart feels like it is about to jump out of my chest.

It’s her big brown eyes and the smile she gives to her dog. I swear she casts a spell that leaves me frozen.

Again, another week was wasted. Again, she bewitched me, and I knew at eleven o’clock she would stand up and leave the park. And I would have to wait another week before I see her again.

But fate had another plan!

“Benji, no!” I yelled as my small, patched Jack Russell scarpered off. I watched his little legs and the lead disappear around the corner before I registered what happened and started running after him.

I chased after him, but I’m not what you would call an athletic man. Don’t get me wrong. I’m tall and slim. You just won’t find me in a gym. That was made obvious as I had just completed a lap of the park, yelling for Jack (yes, I know, very original.)

And guess where I found him? Sitting beside her dog. I threw myself on the bench and held out my finger to her, hoping she would let me get my breath back, before she started up a conversation. I hoped she didn’t see my shaky legs that felt like they had turned into jelly and would have caved in on me if it wasn’t for the blue bench that became my rock.

The gorgeous lady looked at me. Her eyes twinkled with laughter.

I smiled, even though I hadn’t got my breath completely back. The lady held out her coffee to me. I shook my head.

“Please take it. You look like you need it more than me.” Her voice sang to me; smooth, clear and left me with goose-pimples.

She held the coffee out, and so I took it.

“Thank you.” I sipped the cooling dark, strong coffee. Umm just how I like it. A took a couple more sips when I turned to face her, intent on talking normal English words that would come out of a human, but instead, I just looked at her, with a half-open mouth and nothing coming out of it. Thankfully, she shot the embarrassment down and spoke first.

“I wondered how long it would take you to get the nerve to come over and say hi.”

Now my mouth opened wider in shock.

“I see. A man of few words.” There was laughter again twinkling in her eyes. “I’ve seen you and Jack a few times around the park.”

I knew I had to say something before she accused me of being a creepy stalker or something, which, okay I was watching her, a lot, but not stalking, and now it seemed my stealth wasn’t as good as I thought.

I sat the cup on the blue stone in between us and then held my hands up in defence and hopefully gave her my winning smile.

“Yes, we come here regularly and if you don’t mind me asking–Oh, shoot, my manners. Hi, I’m Mark.” I held my hand out to her, and she fitted her soft small hand into mine.

“Hi Mark. I’m Jessie.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Jessie.” I must have looked like an idiot just staring with this huge smile on my face. “Thanks for the coffee, by the way.”

She laughed. “You’re welcome.” She looked down at her dog and then looked up at me. “Maybe you can return the favour sometime.”

She looked so shy. I guess it wasn’t often a woman ask a man out for coffee. Well, I wasn’t about to leave her hanging. “Yes. That’s a definite IOU.”

Jeez, her smile warmed my chest. I could just stare at Jessie all day.

“Umm, you were saying before you introduced yourself to me something about if I don’t mind you asking. I don’t, so go ahead.”

Her hand reached over and touched my arm. No, electricity didn’t occur, but when she moved her hand away I felt the warmth leave with it.

“So, umm. I see you and your dog sitting here every Thursday at around the same time.” I saw her smile vanish, and she had a faraway look in her eyes. Gosh, did I just put my foot in it and ruin this chat? “I’m sorry. It’s none of my business. Just pretend I didn’t ask.”  I turned my head away while trying to think of something smart to say to her.

She shifted away from me, and my stomach dropped, knowing I had messed things up, and it didn’t look like I was going to get a second chance.

“Grace was my sister,” she said with a sigh. I looked to where she was pointing and saw a silver metal plaque with the words ‘In memory of my loving sister Grace,’ and two dates and then underneath was the line, ’Sing with the angels.’

“Oh, I’m so sorry, Jessie. I should never have asked.”

“No, it’s okay. It must have seemed strange seeing me here at 10 am every Thursday. My sister lost her fight with cancer on a Thursday at 10 am. She loved this park and used to come and sing. She had a wonderful voice, and people stopped to listen.”

“Then I can understand why this place and spot means so much to you. That was a beautiful thing you did for your sister, and I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you, Mark.” She smiled, and my heart lifted.

“I hope this is not too forward of me. But it’s coming up to 11 am when you normally leave. I don’t suppose you would like to go for a coffee with me?”

“I would love to.” She answered and held my hand as we walked out of the park with our dogs following behind us.

Author’s Note:

I manage the group Children’s book and illustrations, on Facebook. This is where authors and illustrators of children’s books can promote their work. When I saw the above illustration I immediately wanted to write flash fiction about it. The illustrator Gabriel Martin was very excited about the idea. And so above is the story I wrote using this wonderful Illustration as inspiration.

For more information and wonderful illustrations by Gabriel San Martin, go and check out the website. http://www.gabrielsanmartin.com

Please let the artist know what you think about this illustration.

I am an award-winning author of fourteen publications. You can find all my work and social media links right here.

https://www.linktr.ee/karinakantas

Day 28 #MarchoftheWriter

Book you’ve read the most.

I would love to grab all the covers of my favourite books, but that would be going against the copyright rules. And although I love breaking them, won’t be doing it this time.

So let’s start with the woman who inspired me to become an author. I didn’t just go to one book, as I have and love her full series of rebel teen, books.

S.E.Hinton

Mr J R R Toilkien For Lord of The Rings, the Hobbit and his smaller shorts stories and novellas.

My fantasy, https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Phillip%20Pullman and his trilogy, His Dark materials

A lady not as well known, but what an amazing tetralogy Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. A MUST for fantasy PNR books.

You’ve all heard or seen the movie and then TV adaption of Cassandra’s Claire’s, The Mortal Instruments. But it’s her other series that stood out for me. Check out the trilogy of His infernal Devices.

Then there are the Best-selling authors that have written hundreds of books – slight exaggeration there. lol

Dean Koontz books have pride of place on my bookshelf. Door to December– has never left me, Totally chilling. Short stories in Strange Highways

Some of James Herbert’s books have become classic horror films, such as Rats and The Fog. But the book I have and has stayed with me is this one

And although I’m not a true fan, his book Neverwhere showed me the true meaning of Fantasy.

Day 26 #MarchoftheWriter

Plot or Pants?

I’m a panster all the way!

I don’t use novel software. I don’t have a storyboard. I don’t have post-it notes everywhere. The character’s name, the start of the story, the plot the world-building, even the ending is all in here.

When I start writing the dialogues the scenes. It’s done on pen and paper. Then when I’m ready. It gets typed up. The only part of planning is just keeping the consistency. So what the road name is of a character what bike he rides.

I love to be out, away from my workstation and sit in a cafe drinking coffee, listening to rock music as I type up the notes. People watching as I think about the next scene. Sadly that hasn’t happened for a while.

This is a panel I was part of, where we talked about pantsing and plotting. Make sure to like the video and subscribe to the channel.

Day 24 #MarchoftheWriter

Why do you write?

What a loaded question. I ask my guests on my YouTube show, Radio show and podcast, this question and it comes with a barrage of different reasons, yet one is always the same. Which one do you think it is?

Day 20 #MarchoftheWriter

 Block Breakers

The dreaded writer’s block.
It’s more the loss of the muse or inspiration, and there’s one tried and tested method that I always use.
I ask my fans on my FaceBook author page, to give me three random words. I collect all the words and write them down into three rows. Then I randomly choose a word from each row and they are the three words I have to use in my flash fiction. They can be plural and changed to suit the sentence, but the word I use must come from the original word, and you can use the word in the title. They are the rules of the prompt. And the flash fiction can be any length, but I try not to go over 1000. After I’ve completed the challenge, I get my creative juices back and can return to the MS and the scene that stopped me in my tracks and finish it.

Here’s one of my favourite flash fiction. The words were jelly, butterfly and corpse.

Butterfy Effect

© Karina Kantas 2020 from the book, A Flash of Horror.
© 2007 Heads & Tales.


Who would volunteer their face for a scientific experiment? Well, I wouldn’t. Neither would any sane member of the public, which is why inmates serving life sentences were handed over for this government project.

By the time the bill passed, freedom of speech had been demolished. So, there were very few demonstrations.

Now the famous chemist, biologists and DNA experts had one year to perfect an antidote for ugliness.

Being branded ugly put you in a new class, the lowest in society. Ugly people were shunned and segregated by the butterflies of the modem regime. The ugly people were forced to live and work in the poorest parts of the country. However, even that wasn’t enough to satisfy the beautiful people. It was announced that if the wondrous treatment did not work, then drastic measures would be taken.

I swallowed the bile that rose in my throat as I barely glanced at the deformed face of what used to be prisoner X. Taking a deep breath I forced myself to look again, before turning to Dr. Sapphire Turner.

“That’s nothing,” she said, her brilliant teeth beaming their brightness at me, her voice soft like her young glowing skin. “You should have seen the last batch. It was like looking at the face of a jellied corpse.” Her perfectly proportioned breasts bounced as she laughed.

Jellied corpse seemed a valid description of what I was looking at, I thought. My stomach wouldn’t digest a worse vision.

Prisoner X’s skin had mutated into large pus-filled abscesses. As I watched, the skin bubbled and new boils appeared and then burst with a squelch. The vile stench of the mucus, as it ran down the crusty skin and soaked into the now lime green pillow, made me want to vomit. Covering my mouth and turning my head away from the sight, I swallowed the acidic saliva before addressing the stunning Doctor.

“So, what went wrong with this one?” I asked.

“Nothing,” she chirped. “The result is what we expected.”

Her hand touched my shoulder, but it was quickly removed in disgust.

“It’s trial-and-error at this point, but we’ll find a cure.”

The way she used the word cure made my skin crawl. Ugliness wasn’t a disease and who gave them the fucking right to judge?

I would never have classified myself as ugly, but the yellow armband I was forced to wear told me there were others that did. It doesn’t matter that I’m one of the lucky ones; permitted to continue working among perfection. I remained an outcast waiting for my sentencing; beatification or annihilation.

First published on a blog called Bibliophilic Blather.


Day 19 #MarchoftheWriter

  Method to your madness

There’s certainly a method I follow with all my books. First, I break the rules constantly. But hey, that’s my style. My books are easy to read, thrilling page-turners. Explosive!

I had a hard time getting around the well-known phrase ‘SHOW DONT TELL’. It’s instilled in me now, but my editor still catches my slip-ups.

I love writing in first person, as it helps me get into the mindset of the character, to feel her thoughts and experience the good and bad with her. However, some of my stories are in third person.

I always start my books off with a conflict. A scene where the reader HAS to know the reason for the conflict, and the conclusion. Once that scene is done, the plot is set and characters introduced then the rest will flow and if I get stuck on a spot, I will skip it, write another scene with a fight, sex or something dramatic happening in it, then I can go back to the scene I was stuck on, and continue.

I put a lot of twists in my storylines that throw a spanner in the works. The strange thing is I don’t do these twists deliberately. They just happen naturally and it’s not until I read the chapter back, that I’ve realised what I’ve done.

I’m trying something different with the new book I’m currently working on, In Times of Violence Adult edition. It’s risky and I haven’t tried doing this before, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
I’ve mentioned earlier about when you get into the zone and characters start talking, you listen and you follow the path. Well, the path took me in a whole new direction causing the genre of the book to change, and I didn’t want that. So there is a time skip of a year and I’m going to write a novella, of everything that happened that year. For readers to have the choice to buy the book or not. The story works well as a straight one year skip, but I think the novella will be an exciting addition to the new book. It’s a risk, but sometimes you have to step out of the box!

Day 14 #MarchoftheWriter

Return of the pitch

So a pitch is just like being a salesperson. You have maybe 5 mins to sell your product to that manager of the shop, factory, office. A story is no different. The first line has to be the shocker, the lead line; Leading the agent or publisher to read the next part.


The rule of pitching SHORT BUT SWEET. But then you all know I like to break the rules! 😉

So without further ado here’s my pitch.

What do you do if you’re stranded in a barren land and the sky turns red, a sign that the acid rain is about to pour down on you and melt your skin and bones?
Bez is thrown out of Mount Elta for having a big mouth. Kyte for being an instigator and disturbing the peace. The Committee, are the law inside what was their home. No one would dare stand up to them in fear of being cast out.
Now with a backpack containing an acid-proof tent, a little food and medical supplies all created from the precious Terra Plant, the two hunt for the OutCasts; those that had somehow survived. There was proof of their existence but not of their habitat. Can they find them in time, and more importantly, will they be welcomed?

So how did I do?
Does it make you want to know more?
Can you work out what genre of fiction this book is?

Day 13 #MarchoftheWriter

Treat-yo-self

This is a hard one for me. As I’m so busy working many hours with Author Assist, I find it hard to make time to write, let alone think about self-care.
I guess when I’ve finished a book or got something done in time for a deadline, I start to breathe again. Meaning I take a deep sigh and then move on to the next project.
I don’t have any quirky traditions I do at the end of my first draft. I write The End and sigh.

However, receiving the final copy in my hands is another matter entirely. If you’ve seen my live feeds of my opening. You know I’m practically jumping up and down and have tears in my eyes. It’s a very special moment that I want to share with the public and especially my readers and tribe.

I do have another hobby, other than reading (see last blog post) I love to sing. I sang in choirs, I’ve sung lead in a rock band and I even represented Greece in the World Karaoke Championship.
Sadly there is a downside, for those that don’t know the other side of my life. I have bad health with two serious medical conditions, that affect my daily life. Last year one of them, decided to take away the second passion I have and that is to sing. It decided it would mess up my vocal chords. If I talk for too long, my voice breaks and I can no longer talk. Now imagine that happening when you try to sing, how much more strength and use the vocal chords have when you sing. So much power is needed from them. But I’m not one to give up so easily. I refused to allow what the Drs told me to be true. So with the help of my daughter who has an amazing voice, I started looking for a song that I could sing without too much effort. Songs that I could train my voice to sing. And so I did. And I had a wonderful summer, showing off these new songs that I now tackled with and won. And I entered the WKC and got to the semi-finals, which was exciting. I never had any dreams of winning, I guess I wanted to prove to myself that I still had it. Even though I can’t sing like I used to, I have trained my voice and not accepted defeat.

I have a good set-up at home and sing nearly every day now, rehearsing for the next WKC and trying out new songs.

So I guess, I’ll be brave and leave something on here for you to listen to, or not. I’m not a professional, I don’t claim to sing like an angel, I just love singing.

Day 12 #MarchoftheWriter

Filmspiration

Ooooh, this is a good one.

Tolkien’s, Lord of the Rings, inspired me to write my YA fantasy duology, Illusional Reality.
However, you will not find elves, trolls, hobbits, dragons or wizards in my books. They are unique in name and character no stereotyping for me.

Did you know I was one of the managers of the UK Lord Of The Rings fansite?
I knew everything you needed to know about the books and films. And I can tell you that even though LOTR is the best movie EVER made, the fans were not happy. They believed that essential scenes were left on the cutting floor or never even filmed. Me, I was happy with how much they could fit into the movies.


The OUTSIDERS by S.E.Hinton was the reason I became an author. It was the film ( and book) that inspired me to write my own novel. In Times of Violence. I had a story to tell and I wanted to get my novel on the reading curriculum at schools. (That never happened) but my book, which was once my bestseller, was the one that started it all.


The film stared the brat pack, Emilio Estevez, Rob Low, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dylan and the rest of the greasers. Many of those actors played the next main roles, in her other book-based films, like Rumble Fish and Tex and That was Then This is Now.


You have heard me mention his name once or twice in these #MarchoftheWriter blogs.
Yes, it is my man Mr Quentin Tarantino. I must have watched every film he directed ( and acted in) but it was the film Death Proof, that inspired me to write Lawless Justice.

So they are just a few films that I have admired, loved and helped me as an author.
Special mention to West Side Story, Basketball Diaries, Drugstore Cowboy, Wild Ones, The Godfather trilogy, Goodfellows and Romeo & Juliet.

Day 11 #MarchoftheWriters

Writer Wisdom

Gosh, where do I start? This is what I do so I could go on for hours but I’ll list the most important lessons. (I will be tough.)

  • Write about what you know.
  • For example, this is your first book and you’re writing a detective mystery about a body being found on an archaeology site. Why would you do this to yourself? Do you know how much research you would have to do? What do you know about police procedures? What do you know about archaeology?
  • Write about what YOU know. When you write about something you’re passionate about, something you’ve actually experienced. That will come across in your writing. Giving it depth, realism and valid description.
  • Remember the three essentials.
  • Editor (No, not your mum or next-door neighbour)
  • Formatter ( No, not a converter. A formatter makes it pretty inside, adds the chapter and front and back matter.)
  • Cover Designer (No, not Canva or Fiverr)
  • These three essential cost a lot of money and if you don’t have that money, then you are not ready to publish.
  • Don’t cut corners.
    Your book has to be polished before it goes out to the public. It needs the three essentials and a kick-arse blurb. Your book has one chance to be a success, if you send it out after writing the first draft, not having it edited and using a cover you did, I can guarantee failure. And that’s a word we authors DON’T want to hear.
  • Have that first line ready.
    The tag line is what you will use on your promos, graphics or posts. It’s going to be the first thing a potential reader sees when they look at the blurb. That one line has to have power, it needs to pack a punch so that the person who reads it will then continue to read the rest of the blurb.
  • Anything worth dying for is certainly worth living for – Catch 22.
  • Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same – Wuthering heights.
  • Paul Sheldon used to write for a living. Now he’s writing to stay alive. – Misery.
  • They are feared, hated, hunted down and destroyed….and yet they are mankind’s last hope. -The Aldoron Chronicles.

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