Flash Fiction: Valuable Vista – part 1?

I had intended to post a flash fiction piece on my blog, but I find limits difficult: I’ve been known to end up with a novel after I started out writing a short story. As a comprise, I’ll be posting a short story in instalments, with each one standing alone.

What follows is part one of Valuable Vista…

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Like most people, she aspired to bigger and better—a large family home and possibly a pied à terre in the country—but in the meantime, Gail lived in a tiny flat.    

While it had it disadvantages, there were also some benefits to living in a box in close proximity to others. Gail liked her little flat, a cosy sanctuary from the world, which had everything she could need. It also offered things she didn’t need, but wanted all the same.

Gail was sure that many would be put out by the bedroom’s lack of view, but she took pleasure from it.

The brickwork of the near identical box across the alleyway could almost be touched if she leaned out of the window far enough. The window of the neighbouring building was almost opposite hers—perfect for the voyeur in her.

Not only did she not know his name, she didn’t know his story, but watching him was one of her favourite pastimes, guaranteed to satisfy her.

At first, she would conceal herself to get her fix, flattened against the wall next to the curtained window to peek through. However, after many months of going unnoticed while watching him, Gail had become emboldened.

Sitting on her bed, directly in front of the window, was her favourite place from which to see the sights. In the darkness of her room, she saw his lack of window covering as an invitation.  

From the look of his physique, toned and tanned, she speculated on his job, his athletic ability and his sexual prowess.

The sight of him pulling his T-shirt over his head was guaranteed to make her hold her breath, no matter how many times she saw it. Moving around as he disrobed, he tantalised her by momentarily disappearing from her eye line. Sometimes he returned to her view wearing less, other times in the same state—always comfortable in front of the window. From his mannerisms, she wondered whether he knew she was there. Watching him raking his fingers back through his hair, revealing his boy-band looks, her vulva pulsed with a deep clench.

It was possible that a furtive glance confirmed she was there—giving him the knowledge to know when to put on a show.

The Trouble with Technology

Ah, technology.

Love it or hate it, it can prove difficult to get away from. Whether it’s the latest new fangled washing machine or an automatic telephone operator, some form of technology can play a part in the everyday dealings for many of us. Much of the time, those clever techno-boffins design items that make our lives easier, other times, components seem only for show as they are mostly unnecessary.

There are as many opinions as there are items containing electronic components.

In my world, the laptop and mobile have been two of the most inventions, though I remember the time before I owned or needed either of them. Now, I couldn’t do without them. I mostly enjoy the benefits technology can offer, that is, until it goes wrong. When the proverbial does hit the fan, it is often a generous quantity and an industrial sized fan.

I suffered such a problem when my laptop recently decided that it needed a break. While I can’t be described as a luddite, I’m no computer whizz either and was at a loss in trying to figure out how to fix it. Internet failure, reinstall Windows, the dreaded blue screen shut down—all leading to a nightmarish drama that prevented me from working as I wanted to. In all, the debacle only lasted about two weeks, but it felt like so much longer. It is like I have been ensconced in a darkened room for many weeks with no access to the outside world, despite the fact that my television and radio were working just fine and I was free to leave at any time.

You really do realise how much you rely on something when it is no longer there and this isn’t diminished by considering the negatives. I sure the advent of technology has contributed to the decline of legible handwriting (I’m one of the first in that queue) and the rise of text-speak (ridiculous), but I still wouldn’t have it any other way. Longhand? Pah! Snail-mail? No, thanks.

During the sudden hindrance, all I could think about was what I was missing. It is always easier if you can avoid the technology that is annoying or unnecessary, especially those that are foisted on you, a la Oyster cards in London, but even then, a small price to pay.       

Anyway, I am now, thankfully, back online with a working laptop and am sold on the technological revolution. I don’t know where I’d be without it.

Long live the laptop!

Tale of Two Cities?

If you need a clue to the contest you will find on The Romance Reviews to win an ebook from my backlist, I’m offering a great big one in the form of a poem…  

A tale of two cities,
Or one city of two halves?
Some residents get fat,
While others can starve.

Upper and lower echelons,
All wanting more.
Where one of the richest boroughs
Can border the most poor.

A trip can be made
To the home of the Queen.
Nestled amongst lands
All leafy and green.

Other areas contrast,
And sharply, at that.
Where dull paving slabs
Lead to grey high-rise flats.

Days of blazing sun,
Can be spent lazing in a park.
Pubs and clubs available,
For fun to continue after dark.

A small part of an island,
Though not near the sea.
Where a view full of smog
Turns to a sky blue as can be.

A range of transport options,
Available for all to use.
Though sans the colourful tube map,
You could be left confused.

The verse could relate to any city,
When looked at on its face.
But the description relates to London,
In this particular case.

Buff Enough?

If one wanted to find out what type of men I like, they need only read one of my stories. From my tales, it is pretty easy to see what qualities I consider befitting of a fictional hero. In fact, the situation has reached a stage where I’m forced to make a conscious effort to make sure they’re not too much alike.

Of course, personality traits are just as important as looks, but that is not where the problem lies. I’ve written about heroes that are lovely take-home-to-see-your-parents type. Whilst others are gloriously arrogant, which leave you sure that only you can be the one to tame them. However, the looks always get me.

The male protagonists are always tall, toned and effortlessly handsome—more elite athlete than stick-thin male model. This sometimes makes me wonder whether I am going over the top with the image I paint of hero. Are they really believable? Am I just catering to myself rather than to the readership?                                   

I once had a story rejected because the hero wasn’t desirable. He was quick, intelligent and loving, but slender and wore spectacles. Isn’t it the geeky Clarke Kent that becomes Superman? And that really is a movie where you have to suspend your disbelief to see any difference. Besides, isn’t it always the quiet ones you have to watch out for?                                  

In addition, I once saw a documentary of sorts that considered the characteristics that women really like in a man. Many women rejected the buff, sculpted type for the sake of the ‘normal’ man—not buff, but not obese nor anorexic. Most were put-off by the idea of a man who would potentially spend more time looking in the mirror than themselves, others thought such a man would heighten the doubts they have about their own appearance.

Hmm, all right, then. I finally made my peace with my characters on the basis that fiction is all about living a fantasy. Real life is all well and good, we’re all required to act a certain way and follow a certain path, but fiction can allow you to enter a different world. And that includes a man you might not consider in real life, for whatever reason. 

With this in mind, I shall continue to create male characters that are buff and beautiful, intelligent, desirable, sometimes witty and sometimes cocky. Of course, they’ll have the occasional fault, but nothing that the heroine can’t get over. The reader deserves nothing less to fuel their fantasies.  

As a bodybuilder and Mixed Martial Arts fighter, Isaiah, the hero in Lean and Mean, is at the extreme end of the scale. But everyone needs to go a little extreme once in a while, don’t they?

Win Prizes! Grand Opening at The Romance Reviews

Stop by The Romance Reviews for your chance to win prizes as you find out more about the latest releases from new and established authors.

You will have a chance to win a copy from my back list on 22 March by answering a simple question – come back to my blog on the day for a big ol’ clue!

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