on Writing Forward: I love collecting writing tips. You never know when you’re going to stumble across a golden nugget of wisdom that will make your writing richer and more vibrant. One of the reasons I started this website was so that I could share the many valuable tips that I’ve collected over the years. […]The Only Two Writing Tips You’ll Ever Need: Read and Write – by Melissa Donovan… — Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog
GIRL IN A COFFEE SHOP.
BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
Instinctively, Brian knew, just by looking at her, that she was the kind of girl whom other women might find annoying, or of whom they might be jealous. Floaty, wispy, ethereal, insubstantial, lost in daydreams, with very long flowing brown hair that none but other women would want to see scraped back tightly and tied up. Huge brown heavy-lidded eyes that a man could easily imagine gazing up at him soulfully during the act of love, and flawless honey-coloured skin, like a peach that has never been touched.
She would be called Anita, Brian decided, staring at her as openly as he dared from over the top of the coffee-shop menu (cakes, scones, different fancy teas and coffees, etc.), or Eliza, maybe. Yes, that was it. Eliza Spenlow.
Like a character from a Jane Austen novel, he thought, pleased with himself. Brian was not the kind of man to avoid Jane Austen because she was a woman and wrote women’s books; Brian was an equal opportunities reader, and he loved the television adaptations of Miss Austen’s books. All those low necklines, high waistlines and heaving bosoms.
But back to Anita, or Eliza Spenlow. She was dressed in a sort of loose-fitting, off-white crocheted top with an ankle-length skirt patterned in flowers. Around her white, graceful swan-like neck she wore a long string of coloured beads, probably glass, and on her dainty little feet a pair of pink sandals with cork heels.
A wide-brimmed straw hat, of the kind that Brian thought might be commonly called ‘cartwheel,’ with a pale pink satin ribbon round the brim, hung from the back of her chair.
Everyone in the coffee-shop had watched her take it off when she’d entered the place and shake out her long brown hair, which had shimmered and shimmied behind her like a waterfall.
Not an altogether necessary action, Brian had chucklingly noted, as she had nothing so mundane as ‘hat hair,’ but an action performed purely for show. Who could object, however, when she was a creature of such enchanting beauty?
Brian, who fell in love about once a month with the regularity of clockwork, surrendered his heart completely. He tried to catch her eye and flash her a grin as her eyes swept the coffee-shop for points of interest, but her gaze skated coldly over him and away.
He watched her curiously as she bent her lovely head to her table and concentrated hard on the words she was putting down in a sheet of paper in her notebook. Her pen was a good one, Brian could tell, and her notebook was hardbacked and also of good quality.
She scribbled furiously away and seemed lost in thought, not even looking up when the waiter, a good-looking young man who eyed her up appreciatively, set her order, a cappuccino, down on the table beside her.
What was she writing with such intensity, wondered Brian, what beautiful lyrical words were flowing from her pen onto the quality lined notepaper?
Poetry, he decided. It had to be. A poem about clouds, perhaps, the white fluffy cirrussy ones that dotted today’s otherwise perfectly unbroken blue sky, or about the beauty in general of a summer’s day, like the one they were currently enjoying? Yes, she had the look of a poetess all right.
Brian was pleased with his own astuteness. He wondered if she attended a creative writing class such as the one he taught at night in the college, and if there was any way he could let her know about it without coming across too much like the married overweight sleazebag women normally judged him immediately (and correctly) to be.
To Brian’s disappointment, the woman he now thought of as Eliza Spenlow- his Eliza Spenlow- stood up suddenly, without, as far as Brian had seen, having taken so much as a sip of the cappuccino she’d ordered and paid for at the counter.
She gathered up her notebook and pen and dropped them into the straw bag she’d been carrying when she entered. She put on the cartwheel-brimmed hat with the pale pink satin ribbon round the brim and a pair of mirrored sunglasses that had been in the bag, and swept from the coffee-shop without a glance to the right or the left of her. A single loose sheet of paper, dislodged from her notebook, floated to the ground under the seat she’d vacated.
Brian leaped on it, beating the waiter to it, much to his satisfaction, even though he was at least thirty years older and many pounds heavier than the younger man. He grinned at the crestfallen waiter and quickly grabbed his briefcase and sunglasses, before hurrying out the door to see if he could catch her. He nearly called out the name ‘Eliza!’ after her departing form.
To his annoyance, he got his jacket caught in the door of the coffee-shop. By the time he’d freed himself, there was no sign of her either up the street or down. Brian clicked his tongue in irritation. Damn and blast it, anyway! What a wonderful night of passion they could have had together, he was sure.
Well, he could read what she’d written, at any rate, even if a busy street was possibly a less fitting place to read her lovely fragrant words than, say, beside a fountain in a castle courtyard or in a rose garden.
He put the sheet of notepaper to his nose and breathed in its smell. To his disappointment, there was no perfume emanating from the lined paper. Oh well. His heartbeat racing with anticipation, he began to read.
As he read, his fat face reddened and his eyes began to bulge and pop the way they did when he was disturbed. His breath came fast between his fleshy parted lips and his bulbous nose purpled with rage.
‘The bloody bitch!’ he spluttered. How dared she? How did she know? Who told her? Who was she anyway, this little jumped-up airy-fairy strumpet he’d never seen in his life before today, to be spreading poison like that about him?
The police had dropped all charges. The Jarvis woman had been confusing rape with a bit of slap-and-tickle between friends. Even the Guards had been able to see that, in the end, although it had been touch and go there for a while.
He looked round him desperately for a bin. Finding one just a few steps up the street a bit, he hurried to it and thrust the piece of paper into its gaping maw with as much urgency as if it had been burning him. Then, mopping at his sweating face with a hanky, he walked away, taking great care to appear casual and unperturbed, just in case anyone was watching.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO
In her capacity as a performance poet, she has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home. In 2003, she was invited to be a guest on Niall Boylan’s 98FM late-night radio talk show purely on the basis of having a ‘sexy voice.’
She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact Sandra at:
Hello and welcome back to the blog! It has been an interesting week in the Roth household. A failed hose caused our main floor bathroom to flood… with hot water. This happened for an unknown amount of time before it was discovered. When it was found water was leaking through the ceiling of the basement […]
by Ryan Lanz We’ve all felt it at one time or another. The story loses its shine and you’re left with a half-completed story. Why does this happen, and how do you continue? For a lot of writers, this is the mid-point of the story, but truly, it can happen at any point. […]
on Anne R. Allen: Page-turners aren’t the only books that employ action. In every story the characters’ actions drive the narrative forward. Without action, a book would be a series of scenes full of dialogue and description, a literary Dinner with Andre that would put the reader straight to sleep. Writing Action, a book I […]
How many times have you heard someone say, ‘I don’t read poetry. I just don’t get it.’ Or perhaps, ‘Why can’t poets just come out and say what they want to say? Why say something in such a way?’ For many people, poetry is ‘difficult’. But whilst it’s true that […] The post 10 of…
Originally posted on K Morris – Poet: The purpose of this post is to let you know that on or around 1 June, there is a possibility that posts on this blog may cease for a time. If this happens, I wont have been assassinated by readers angered at what they (rightly or wrongly) perceive…
LAST GIRL STANDING. (2015) DIRECTED BY BENJAMIN R. MOODY. STARRING AKASHA VILLALOBOS, DANIELLE EVON PLOEGER AND BRIAN VILLALOBOS.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
‘What happens AFTER the horror movie?’
This isn’t exactly the greatest horror movie ever made, but it whiled away a June Bank Holiday Friday night during coronavirus lockdown nicely enough, and it’s definitely worth one watch and one evening of your time.
The idea of the ‘last girl standing’ is a ready-made horror trope all of its own already. (It’s always a girl, by the way; maybe because the aesthetics of a trim young woman running in a slim vest top and hotpants, with unfettered boobies bouncing freely and with long hair streaming out behind her, are more pleasing to the eye than if we just have, say, a heavy-set bearded bloke in sweatpants pounding along, struggling to breathe ’cause its years since he attempted anything approximating physical exercise.)
We’re all familiar with the image of the last girl in a horror movie to survive a massacre by the serial killer. We’ve all seen her running frantically through the woods in the dark, her white vest top stained with the blood of the friends she’s seen murdered by the villain and her long hair matted with blood and twigs. (From the trees and bushes, see?)
We’ve seen her trip and stumble to the forest floor just inches ahead of the pursuing killer. We’ve seen her flag down the one car on the otherwise deserted motorway, only to find that the car is being driven by the killer or one of his local accomplices, say, a corrupt sheriff or something. In other films, the car’s occupants are genuine and the Last Girl Standing is whisked away to the safety of the nearest hospital or police station.
In this film, Camryn (the world’s worst spelling of Cameron, a lovely name) is the titular Last Girl Standing. She saw her friends butchered in the woods in a pagan ritual, by a serial killer wearing a deer mask complete with antlers known as ‘the Hunter.’ Camryn went one further than most victims, however, and actually killed the man who was looking to add her name to his list of kills.
So, now, it’s a few years later and Camryn’s life is, to be totally honest about it, a bit shit. Her apartment looks like no-one lives in it, so reluctant has she been to personalise it or put her own stamp on it.
Her hair is limp and lank-looking, she dresses in the drabbest of drab shapeless hoodies and tops, she’s become almost terminally shy and jumpy and she barely talks to anyone at the dry cleaners-cum-launderette where she works. Even Nick, the cute new guy, has trouble getting a smile or a friendly word out of her.
Camryn has terrible survivors’ guilt. Why did she live, when none of her friends did? Plus, she lost all her closest friends in one fell swoop; all murdered by ‘the Hunter.’ That’s plenty to be depressed about as it is, but now, as well, since Nick joined the staff, coincidentally enough, Camryn has the feeling she’s being stalked.
Is the Hunter not dead after all? Has he come back to finish the job he left unfinished before? Or is Camryn merely losing the plot after all this time? You’ll have great fun trying to figure out which it is.
Camryn’s new friends- they’re Nick’s mates really- certainly think that Camryn is as mad as a box of frogs, out in their garden in the dead of night searching high and low for skinned and bleeding rabbits, and digging up dead serial killers in the middle of nowhere, also in the dead of night, just to make sure they’re still dead.
Is she cuckoo, or is she right? Is the Hunter back to finish her off, or maybe one of his friends or relatives is seeking to avenge the killer? It could go any way, especially as Camryn has such a tenuous grip on reality at the moment. Have fun figuring it out. It’s a good, serviceable little horror film and you’ll enjoy watching it, as I said earlier, at least once.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
You can contact Sandra at:
If you learn this, you’re good to go.
on Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity: The COVID-19 pandemic is no match for writers! Literary magazines have stepped up and spawned a whole new genre – lockdown writing. How isolation affects people is varied and often unpredictable. People can become more gregarious, sympathetic and communicative, or they can drift toward the opposite side […]