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Furious Fiction 17 – November 2020

This month I found it really easy to use the prompts provided by the Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction Short Story Competition. The good luck fairies were standing on my side of the fence! I have been able to progress my Frankie story and have managed to get the Judge and Frankie in the same room. There may be a few continuity errors creeping in but heh…I’ll fix all that up when I combine all the chapters I have been putting together over this year.

This short story competition is serious fun and I recommend it to anyone who likes creative writing. Only 500 words with a prize of $A500. I’ve given up on writing for the prize, now I am just trying to write my story. I’m getting closer to the end!

November’s prompts

This month the prompts were as follows:

  1. LOCATION: Your story must take place at a HOTEL.
  2. OBJECT/PROP: Your story must include a PHOTOGRAPH.
  3. WORDS: Your story must include the following words: COLLAR, GLOOMY, POLICE, RHYTHM, SAPPHIRE.

In Australia, a hotel can mean a number of things. A pub or bar or a hotel where you can get accommodation. Theoretically all hotels have to offer accommodation.

This month I submitted the story at 6:30 PM on Saturday, although I had essentially finished it on Friday night. Exactly 500 words.


O’Mallory meet Frankie

It had been a long time since O’Mallory had been in a dive as gloomy as the Mumbai Sapphire.  Despite its name, there was nothing colourful or exotic about it. The air was fetid and the carpet sticky. He gingerly picked up his glass, and satisfied it was clean, he took a deep swig. He sighed and closed his eyes wallowing in the simple pleasure of an ice-cold beer.  

His eyes darted around the bar, looking for signs of recognition in the faces. Had any of these characters been in his courtroom?

As he sat waiting for the others he peeked at the photograph again, holding it under the table like a schoolboy with their phone. He snorted with glee! He couldn’t believe that the Honourable Karen Brooks, Minister for Social Inclusion, founding member of the Ultra Conservative Party and co-drafter of the Fashion Laws,  had been so indiscreet. So undeniably, comprehensively indiscreet! He snorted again! He wanted to drum his feet on the floor in a happy little rhythm. 

The longer he waited the less brave he felt. It was all very well to talk about sedition on a Friday night after a few whiskeys, but could he actually do it? He was tempted to leave the photo on the table and walk out. He was certain someone would report Brooks to the Fashion Police. The cops would collar her quicker than you could say Violation of the Federal Fashion Code. He’d read about it in tomorrow’s news from the safety of his own home, far away from any chance of being caught. 

He toyed with this safer but short-sighted option for a few moments.  The goal wasn’t to topple just one lousy Minister, however senior. He wanted to see every single duplicitous, shonky, hypocritical ratbag who made up the UCP scattered on the Parliamentary floor with no chance of political resurrection. 

To do that he needed more evidence. To get the evidence he needed Thomas Ball and the ex-con he was bringing, Frankie.  Frankly, he didn’t remember Frankie despite having sentenced him to five years.

Ball had heard about Frankie and his stash of incriminating photos when he was digging up dirt for his underground blog.  According to Ball, the stash was worth much more than a blog post.

The Judge looked up and there stood a man with a shock of Elvis-like hair, pasty skin and the eyes of a scared animal, dressed in the regulation grey outfit of the times.

“Guv’nor” the man said and then O’Mallory remembered Frankie, the serial offender. The one with the blue pants and green shirt. The one with the silver and gold sequins. 

The words fraternising with a known felon echoed in O’Mallory’s brain. 

“Right-o, Frankie, down to business,” O’Mallory said clumsily, “who are these men with their back to the camera?”

“Beer first, Guv’nor. Business second.” 

Frankie closed his eyes, and sipped his first beer in five years, he wallowed in the simple pleasure of the icy-cold liquid.


Are you a fan of short story competitions? Are there any others I could be entering? Add your ideas in the comments below.

The Great Southern Road Trip

I have spent the last few weeks settling on a destination for my next big adventure. I had been hatching a plan to do an extended road trip through Victoria. This plan has been on the drawing board for at least 3 years, when I set out my 60 for 60 plans (60 things to do before I turn 60). 

Border closures make things tricky

I had to reconsider my plan when  Victoria became Australia’s hot bed of COVID19 and strict lock down laws including a complete shut down of the border ensued and continued long after the other States had begun to loosen up. I thought I’d have to go north and began looking at a huge trip through Central Australia. Some of my sensible buddies talked me out of that given the time of year I was planning on going. Days and days of endless 40oC plus may not be a great idea!  

Too hot for this trip!

In the meantime, things were getting better in Victoria and I decided to take a punt and start booking a few critical bits of the itinerary. I crossed all my body parts in the fervent hope that by the end of February things would be open. 

And….they have! It seems that all Australian internal borders will be open from the end of November without the requirement to self-isolate. (Provided we don’t go backwards!!)*

The Great Southern Road Trip

With that good news I’m pleased to announce that the Great Southern Road Trip is going ahead! However, now that the borders ARE open there is the very real prospect of destinations being booked out because those Aussies who might normally be heading off for international destinations are “stuck” at home.  On top of this many towns near the NSW-Victorian border have still not recovered after the horrific bushfires which preceded COVID.

The Great Southern Road trip itinerary is shaping up well. The overarching plan is to follow the NSW and Victoria coast down to Melbourne then take the Spirit of Tasmania across Bass Strait to join the 6-day walking tour and then a few days in Flinders Island. After that I’ll spend another week exploring other parts of Tasmania.

So far I have booked one night’s accommodation in Victoria at a lighthouse because there was only one night available in the time frame I was planning on passing through. This sought after accommodation was already close to being completely booked out for the next 6 months!

After three weeks in Tasmania, I’ll head back to the mainland and ‘do’ regional Victoria concentrating on the western side of the state, then back up through the Highlands to home.

The Two Iains are looking forward to another adventure!

The itinerary shapes up

All up I’ll be away for 6 weeks.  While I’m tootling around in my trusty Subaru, I intend to knock off a few things from my 60 for 60 list including:

  1. Southernmost point of the Australian mainland and perhaps even most southern point of Tasmania.
  2. A hot air balloon ride.
  3. A cheese-making course in Melbourne (if it’s on!)
  4. A writing retreat. In a way, the whole trip will be a writing retreat!
  5. Astrophotography. I think there will be dark sky on Flinders Island and I might even get lucky and see the aurora in Tasmania, although I could be a bit early. It is apparently at it’s best from March – September.

Apart from the 6-day guided walking tour there will be at least one other overnight hike. I’ll be alternating between luxurious accommodation and camping to make my money spread a little further. Once my spending ban is over, I’ll be on the look out for a good second hand tent and camping gear. I have already jumped the gun and bought some maps!

I haven’t nutted it all out yet, but this is part of the plan.

I’m counting down already!

* The South Australian border has been closed again since I began drafting this post! 🙁

2021 Australian Landscapes Calendar

If you’re like me you’ll be glad when this year is over! While it won’t make the days go any faster, my 2021 Australian Landscapes Calendar is now ready to order.

The 2021 Australian Landscapes Calendar is 30 x 30 cm on high-quality fine art card (250 gsm). Full colour images with large boxes on the calendar pages to write in your events.

$25 plus $8 postage within Australia.

Sorry no international delivery this year unless you want to pay full postage (for example approx $A25 to the USA!!!)

This year I have used Dorothea McKellar’s poem, My Country, as inspiration and included some of the lesser-known stanzas.

I’ve been collecting the images over the last few years. You’ll find beautiful scenes from Victoria’s High Country, the arid west of NSW and the azure seas of tropical islands in North Queensland. I think this calendar is my best one so far. it would make an excellent gift for family overseas.

VERY limited stock so get in quick! Send me a message via the contact form before you pay so I can confirm they are still in stock.

Not all the images are included here, and yes that’s me on the front cover!


BUY NOW WITH PAYPAL!

2021 Calendar

A beautiful full colour 30 x 30 cm calendar featuring Australian landscapes. Price includes postage.

$33.00

VERY limited stock so get in quick! Send me a message via the contact form before you pay so I can confirm they are still in stock. Then allow 10 – 14 days for delivery.