A Flash Flood of Fiction

Weaving Wings by Judy DarleyTomorrow, Saturday 6th June 2020, marks National Flash Fiction Day UK, and I’m thrilled to have one of my stories take part. All day long, flash fiction stories will be published in the Flash Flood, and my tale Weaving Wings, a favourite of mine from my collection Sky Light Rain, will appear at around 8.40am BST.

I’m particularly thrilled as this year, thanks to lockdown, the hard-working team at NFFD headquarters received an unprecedented number of high quality submissions – 1,650 in total!

You can pop in at any time from 00:01 BST on 6th June to dip a toe in the torrent. From the chatter on Twitter it looks like there will be some shining examples of the flash fiction form to sweep you along.

You’re also invited to take part in the The Write-In this year. Throughout Saturday 6th June, the team will publish 24 flash prompts — one every hour from 00:01 to 23:59 BST.

“Submit your responses by 23:59 BST on Sunday 7th June for a chance to be published at The Write-In.  Writers of all levels of experience welcome!”

A short story – Shadows and Shine

The BeautifullestI’m thrilled that my flash fiction story ‘Shadows and Shine’ has been published in The Beautifullest: Pure Slush Vol. 17. It’s a slightly twisted tale of sibling rivalry between two brothers.

Here’s a line from my story:

‘A spare key to the woman’s house hangs in their hallway. He wants to see what happens if he enters while she’s out.’

The publication features flash fiction, poetry and essays by 89.
Various other eBook formats will follow in the coming weeks.

Need some words?

Frisbee dog by Wolfgang Hasselmann on UnsplashWhen I’m not playing Frisbee with fictional characters, I’m working as a contract communications manager and freelance features writer.

I produce and manage execution of content strategies, populate websites, advise on branding, and launch and revitalise social media channels.

This includes producing engaging targeted features for consumer magazines and B2B titles as well as digital content, newsletters, brochures, press releases and social media copy, primarily aimed at boosting brand loyalty and inspiring readers to try something new.

If that sounds like something that could help you or your business, drop a line to judydarley@icloud.com

A short story – The Go-Get-Gone

The Go-Get-Gone by Judy Darley
My short story The Go-Get-Gone, about a teen trying to enjoy a night out despite the best efforts of her dissociative identity disorder symptoms, has been published on the Lucy Writers’ Platform. I’m thrilled!

I’m delighted to see Amanda and her so-called friends coaxed out of the shadows!

This story has taken a long while to grow strong enough to fumble its way into the light. I believed in it from the start but needed to translate the story in my mind from its nebulae state into something other people could understand. Somehow that seems really apt, given the topic, and now I’m cheering for Amanda and Bim for remaining resolute throughout.

My editor Hannah at the Lucy Writers’ Platform introduces my story with the following words:

Amanda is out for the night with her new school mate, Lea. But when her so-called friends – an assortment of symptoms from her Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) – turn up, she finds it hard to determine who and what is real.

You can read the story in full here.

A short story – Rocked Awake

Earthworm by Judy Darley
I’m chuffed to bits that my mini myth Rocked Awake has been published as part of Dear Damsels‘ nature theme.

In the story, a mother attempts to solve the riddle of why her baby daughter is usurped in her crib by wild flora and fauna. Nature’s clues lead her to a fresh interpretation of the changeling myth. 
Here’s a fragment from the centre of the tale:

This morning, it was an earthworm, fleshy and pale, curled into a shape like a shepherd’s crook.Sometimes it wasn’t even a creature that breathed – last week my daughter had been usurped by an acorn.

You can read my full story, and the other fabulous words published by Dear Damsels, here.

A 75-word story – Other residents’ symptoms confine you

Perretts Park during lockdown by Judy DarleyMy 75-word story ‘Other residents’ symptoms confine you’ is the story of the day on the excellent Paragraph Planet.

I often use writing to soothe myself, and this small piece is a response to my worries about my dad, now confined to his room in his care home due to other residents’ Coronavirus symptoms, with no way of understanding why. It’s a situation that makes me feel powerless, so all I can do is wish him memories of tree branches and leaves, and transform his four-wall cell into a forest.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’m writing rather a lot of Coronavirus fiction at the moment.

Stories published by Paragraph Planet are live for just 24 hours. In case you missed mine, here it is:

Other residents

Guided visualisation – Amidst cherry trees

Guided Meditation_Amidst Cherry Trees by Judy DarleyMy second guided visualisation has been published by Planet Mindful as part of their issue 11, aka Planet Mindful 2020 issue 3.

Planet Mindful 2020 issue 3The print magazine industry is being hit hard by the coronavirus, as in the UK most people still prefer to buy from newsstands. As a result, publishing companies across the country have cancelled freelance contracts. It’s understandable, but difficult! I’ve only recently returned to freelancing so am unlikely to benefit from government measures to keep the self-employed afloat.

On the upside, you can help by buying magazines online, and have some sunshine delivered to your door. Planet Mindful is a gorgeously positive magazine, and my guided visualisation in 2020 issue 3 will hopefully give you a few moment’s respite and serenity. It’s set in a Japanese garden and accompanied by one of my original paintings, pictured above.

‘The path guides you towards a pool shaded by cherry blossom trees. As you stroll amidst the trees, petals fall and alight on your skin.’

I’m pleased to say that writing and painting these guided visualisations is a pleasure I’m able to continue.

A short story – The Tempered Lake

The Tempered Lake by Judy DarleyMy short story The Tempered Lake has been published as part of Ayaskala‘s beautiful March 2020 issue. Based in India, the online publication led by editor-in-chief Vaishnavi Sharma has a focus on mental health. As a writer with a preoccupation for the fallibilities of the human mind, I’m thrilled to have my story featured.

The Tempered Lake is part of my novel-in-progress Lake Glas, which explores a sister’s growing obsession with her brother, who removed himself from her life when she prevented him making a dangerous decision.

If you fancy a read, you can buy and download Ayaskala’s March 2020 digital issue here. It’s packed full of inspiring and moving writing and art.

Short story – Enduring Night

Iceland by Judy DarleyI’m utterly delighted that my short story Enduring Night, inspired by a visit to Iceland, is feeding the wonderful, eternally ravenous The Cabinet of Heed. It has taken up residence in Issue Twenty-Nine, out now.

Enduring Night is a love story that may not be a love story, set against the elemental beauty of Iceland in the snow.

It begins with a moment of anticipation, which I wrote before I actually visited Iceland, and long before the rest of the tale took shape.

I haven’t been here yet, but this is what I imagine it will be like. Dark as ink from waking till sleeping, with an occasional reprieve when the sun lifts its lead-heavy head. Fissures of aurora borealis dancing above bare-branched trees as ice crystallises in the air. Eyeballs rolling in the fight not to freeze; skin tightening; breath blooming like fog.

Read Enduring Night in full.

Enduring Night

A spot of mindfulness

Early One Morning painting by Judy DarleyMy first feature for Planet Mindful appears in issue 10, aka Planet Mindful 2020 issue 2, out today. The lovely editor, Becky, commissioned me to write about the benefits of mindful reading and writing. As you might suspect, I had a lot to say on the topic! The feature’s titled ‘Through the Looking Glass’, and offered me a chance to chat about my favourite pastimes. Heaven!

Planet Mindful 10 coverI also wrote a guided visualisation for the magazine. It felt a bit like writing an extremely peaceful ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ story, with lots of opportunities for readers to interpret their imagined surroundings in ways that personalised the experience to themselves and their own life

‘A blackbird resting on a nearby branch pauses, mid-song, to watch you pass.’

As part of the process of dreaming it up, I painted a picture of the scene I was envisioning, and Becky printed that too. Very exciting!

Becky also included a mention of my short story collection Sky Light Rain. Marvellous.

Planet Mindful magazine is available to buy here.