Remember writing doesn't love you. It doesn't care. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others, pass it on. A. L. Kennedy

Monday, 19 February 2018

WEP entry - In Too Deep - a #flashfiction of #floods in #outbackAustralia.

It's time for the Write...Edit...Publish (WEP) February challenge. 

Some suggestions by the WEP team: 

In Too Deep is a prompt for any situation with the potential forunforeseen conflict. Or it could be literal – a flood, a hurricane, a mining disaster, you name it. As always, the badge depicts how wide open the subject is. There are a million possible takes.

I've gone with a literal interpretation of the In Too Deep prompt. All I could see was water swirling, having been moved by news reports of flooding globally in the past months, followed by landslides, mudslides, with tragic consequences. So, here's mine...

In Too Deep

Sunny’s heart pounded in time to the steady drumbeat on the roof. Rain didn’t usually scare her, but tonight the sound unnerved her... just a little.

The whispers of wet leaves blowing on the wind had became a roaring as the galvanized roof took a pummeling. If she allowed herself to turn fanciful, she could imagine a jack-booted army running across the corrugated iron.

Enough of that. She must think about Matt. She wished she’d not been so abrupt when he’d rung earlier and shouted down the phone at her.

“Sunny, get out of the house – now!” 

"Don't be silly! I’ve lived in the country all my life. You’re just a city slicker, and a British one at that." What would he know?

"Just leave, I beg you!"

“Listen, Matt, I’m not leaving my home for some itty-bitty water. I’ve been through worse. And look, no matter how bad the rain’s been in the past, this house has never flooded. When Mum and Pop lived here, it came close just that one time, but never too close. Relax. It’d have to be the flood of the century for our home to be inundated.”

“Don’t be infantile, Sunny. You can’t control nature. With climate change, nothing is simple any more. We’re going from one extreme weather event to the next.”

“Oh, pfft. You sound like some mad scientist with your doomsday theories. I’m a positive person. Nothing bad will happen.”

“Why do you always have to play that glass-half-full card? I might be in London, but they do have breaking news here. This flood is looking grim, according to the BBC. I’ve done the math. Our house will be metres under before the night is through!”

London seemed so far away. It was far away. And it rained every time she set foot in the place. Why should they be concerned about a littl precipitation in Oz? “Darling, you’re such a worry wart. I know it goes with the territory. I love that about you. It’s nice of you to be so concerned, but last time I went outside, the river was way down. The weather reports never get it right. Always sensationalism. They get off on scaring people.”

“You should be scared. You’re so stubborn. Does that go with the territory?”

Best not to answer that.

Matt continued: “If you won’t leave, I’m sending Josh over to drag you out.”

“Don’t waste your time, darling. Josh’s already been. He was very persuasive, but I told him I was staying. I’m a big girl.” She certainly was that.

“I love you Sunny. I can’t live without you. Leave for me and that little one if you won’t do it for yourself.”

Matt continued his cautionary tale, but she hadn’t listened.

After hanging up, she nodded off at the kitchen table, lulled by the wind and rain.

Hours had passed by the time she jerked awake. She struggled to her feet and walked to the window. OhMyGod! The river had broken its banks. Her house was surrounded with murky, swirling, murderous-looking water.  She jumped back in fright. A log shot into the air, narrowly missing her window.

The enemy was at the door. What could she do?

Sunny pottered around the kitchen fixing a snack, singing on top of her voice – singing away the water – anything to keep her mind off the now raging beast which was coming for her. She stayed away from the windows. They might shatter. No one to stitch up a cut for kilometers.

 In the gathering gloom, she could just make out palm trees straining, fronds bashing the sodden grass in long wet trails. She sat back down at the kitchen table, rubbed her stomach, singing softly, praying for the water to go down. Or the rain to stop.

She shivered in the icy coolness. She pulled her parka over her jeans, leaving it unzipped. Uneaten snack pushed aside, she huddled in her chair, alert to the river sounds.

“Matt, my darling, I love you,” she whispered, “I’m sorry.”

Crack! A eucalyptus tree speared her kitchen window – shattered shards of skittering glass pinged onto the tiles, narrowly missing her legs. Rain poured in through the jagged hole.

“Help me God.” She clutched her stomach, cradling its mound, waiting for something to happen.

The phone... again...loud, shrill, insistent.

“Sunny!” Josh shouted down the line. “Get the ladder and climb into the roof! I’m coming!”

The phone dropped from her freezing fingers. Water crashed through the kitchen door and sucked and swirled around her sopping feet.

She was tough. But she was in too deep this time. She lived in outback Australia. She’d overcome adversity many times – bushfires, drought... and now... unusually, floods. A once-in-one-hundred-years event. 

But she’d survive this. She had to – for Matt and their baby.

She set up the ladder.

She had a foot on the bottom rung when the first pain struck.

WORDS: 800+


If you have an extract from a WIP, photos, a true story, or a flash fiction swirling in your head, please feel welcome to write for us! We're simply lovely!

To read more WEP stories, click on names in my sidebar with a DL (Direct Link) after the name. Or go to the WEP website. These are already posted for your reading enjoyment.

Thanks for coming by. I'd love a comment about my story.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

#IWSG post - Why I write what I write.

Hi everyone!

It's our favorite time of the month again. Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh, we have the IWSG, ably assisted by an awesome team of writers/bloggers and monthly helpers. This month, helping are Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte! Try to visit each if you can.

I'm so pleased you rushed over to read my post, but it'd be really lovely once you finish if you'd CLICK on the badge and read some more entries.

February 7 question - What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

I belong to several Facebook writers' groups, and a thread was begun on one recently around whether you should write what you like because you love it, or whether you should write what's hot, what sells, what the market wants.

Okay, we could get on our writer professional high horses and say, what??? Surely all writers write what they want, but, according to this group who like to make a ****load of money from the pen, they study the market, study their own books, to see what's selling and what isn't. There's all sorts of detailed ruminations about choices which made my eyes water and my brain shut down, but I see their point.

F Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote commercially to make enough money to keep he and his wife, the famous Zelda, living the high life, but always, whether in a villa in the South of France or an apartment in Paris, he was working on the novels he wanted to write. We remember him for The Great Gatsby and This Side of Paradise and other greats; we don't remember him for his commercial work for newspapers and magazines, but he totally had a right to make enough to eat and drink and party hard. How else could he have written The Great Gatsby where Jay Gatsby is supposedly him?

So, why do I, Denise Covey, write what I write?

Most people who know me know I love Paris but not so much that I love Italy, too.

I adore reading novels (and travel articles and non fiction books and coffee table books and old documents and old postcards and drink coasters and placemats) set in Paris, so as I'm such a fan, I've either written, or partially written, two novels set in that fair city along with a ton of short stories. It's a joy and gives me an excuse to go back often to check the details.

Hey, that's how I knew that the love locks that were removed from the Pont des Arts had

been moved to Pont Neuf, the next bridge. Paris without love locks? Pfft. Read my short story here which showcases the locks. That's great work if you can get it. And who knows, I might actually sell a book or two set in Paris one day.

So look out for An American in Paris (still with Avon) and Le Petite Paris Cookery School under construction. Both I adore.

And I also adore Italy, which always speaks to my dark side while Paris speaks more to my frivolous side, or something. I imagine all sorts of weird stuff happening in those dark Italian forests and mountains. Which is why I write Paranormal Romance. Starting with a short story I began in 2010!!! I actually self-published my first completed paranormal novella in, ahem, what was it? 2015 I think. I let it sink without trace, always planning to rewrite it to the MARKET. Which I'm now doing. It's now a 27,000 word novella under critique with my awesome 'critters' after having been edited by a pro.

The cover will have shades of this quick mock up...

With apologies to my cover artist who is reading this post. 

So look out for Vampire Obsession (which first appeared as Under the Tuscan Sun) coming to a kindle near you! I'm really going to finish it within the next 2 years, LOL. Actually, I've set myself an April deadline.

So, that is a little about why I write what I write. Then there's the travel articles and short stories that occasionally put some money into my bank account. That's commercial, right.

Look, I don't know if I got off topic, but we're all good at skim reading, so I hope you saw something in this post. It'd be pretty hard for a writer to write completely to the market. You've got to have something to feed the soul.

  • How about you? What do you think about writing commercially?
  • Why do you write what you write? Do tell....
Thanks for coming by. I do appreciate your time. I'll be over to say hello as soon as I can.

And you can't help noticing that WEP has their new challenge up. See the sign up in my sidebar? Please sign up and let us read your stories. If you go to the site, you'll see we have a new look for a new year!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

#IWSG post - What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

Happy New Year and welcome to the first IWSG posting for 2018! Here we encourage each other monthly on our writing journey.

The brainchild of Alex J Cavanaugh, his awesome co-hosts for the January 3 posting of the IWSG are Tyrean Martinson, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan, Jennifer Lane, and Rachna Chhabria! Please visit if you can.

Today I'm going to answer the set question:

January 3 question - What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

I apologize in advance if this is a bit garbled. I had a very small window to get this done...

My writing schedule is pretty awesome at the best of times, and woeful at the worst of times.  Soon the Christmas holidays will be over -- for me the end of this week -- so I can begin my routine of heading to my office (called Den's Den) early in the morning when I'm at the beach and going early to the State Library on teaching days when I'm in Brisbane. Usually this gets me up to 4 - 6 hours a day at the laptop.

But it's not just about the writing, is it? I also have to factor in sending my work to beta readers, editing, paying an editor, rewriting, attending meetings with my critters and sending them chapters routinely to be discussed together. I'm never going to be one of those writers who write a book a month. How do you do that if you edit/rewrite? Please do tell. 

And then there's the reciprocal critiques I do for other writers. 

This year I need to factor into my schedule more book reviews of blogger books.

I'm planning to de-list my vampire novel on Amazon and republish in its new-beaut version through Draft2Digital who now have Amazon on their list of distributors, too!! My critters have been too busy over Christmas to re-read, but I have it with one beta reader who has already made suggestions, good ones.

  • So, my Paris romance (75,000+ words) is still with Avon and Tule. Waiting to hear.
  • It seems to be generally accepted that you need to self-publish more than one novel or it's not worthwhile, so I'm also working on getting the next vampire novel in the series finished and at least Chapter One on the third before I publish. We'll see.
  • I've decided to go with a pen name for my vamp trilogy. I checked out the top-selling vampire novels on Amazon and the authors have very apt names. I started a thread in the facebook group I mention below and got 250 useful comments on the ways and means of pen names. So that means an author page on facebook, and a newsletter I guess, (jury's out on this one), all to garner interest before I self-publish.
I've been haunting the 20Booksto50K Facebook group which is a boon to see what successful authors are doing re self-publishing and marketing. A great place to lurk and learn. Can't sing their praises highly enough.

So, I won't hold you up. You can see I have a plan for 2018. You need to head to more posts for the IWSG. Go HERE for the list...

And over at WEP we have announced the winners for those who wrote for us in December. Please visit and congratulate them if you can. Also check out the awesome challenges for 2018! 


Now I'm looking forward to hearing all about your writing goals for 2018!

And please, if you have a newsletter, would you answer the following:

  • who did you choose to go with? 
  • how did you grow your reader base?
  • how often do you send out your newsletter?
  • er, do you actually recommend a newsletter? I know heavyweights like Anne R Allen say it's old hat, but that's not what I'm hearing elsewhere.
Thanks a mille!!

Monday, 18 December 2017

December WEP challenge - The End is the Beginning - another story set in Paris.

Whoa! December already! Time for holiday celebrations a'plenty. Also time for the final WEP (Write...Edit...Publish) challenge for 2017. We've already prepared all the challenges for 2018, so if you enjoy a writing challenge, go HERE to read all about it. We'd love to have you.


The December WEP challenge is The End is the Beginning. Pretty open, wouldn't you say? The blurb said: 
A flashback? A new start? A cascading change? A branching off point? An end and a beginning? Celebrate year's end with us!

Here I am, all fuelled up after my latest sojourn in Paris, so of course, my flash fiction is set in that beautiful city. It's probably more suited to Romantic Friday Writers, but, heck, what's wrong with a bit of romance? My story offers a new start, an end and a beginning,

               The City Where Love Lived and Died

It’s our wedding day. May 25, 2011. The most romantic day of my life is finally here and I’m spending it in the most romantic city in the world. Ooh la la! Can I take it all in? Everywhere I look there is beauty – Notre Dame's aged bricks and soaring buttresses being kissed by sunset – the lock-filled bridge, the Pont des Arts that joins the Left Bank and Right Bank – lovers sharing wine and baguettes, dangling their legs in the Seine and throwing bread to the ducks. 
As I walk beside the river, my candy pink dress with its French Poodle embroidery flares around my knees. Pink satin heels complement my black net stockings. I clutch the tiny posy of white roses which my darling Mitch handed to me on the steps of the town hall, known here as the mairie. Their scent envelopes me as I walk arm in arm with my beautiful man feeling oh so French.
Mitch, so handsome in his black suit, kisses the white gold and diamond ring on my finger – Could this day get any better?
‘Let’s do it!’ he says.
We walk to our chosen spot midway across the Pont des Arts. Mitch reaches into his pocket and flips the copper lock in his hands.
We gaze at the token as if it were made of solid gold. 
‘I had it engraved,’ he says.
Wrapping my arms around his waist, I read the inscription – ‘Capt'nFlynn, Mastarata  25-May-2011’.

Yes, this day could get better. 'You used our special names.'
We loop the lock over the wire and click it shut. Mitch reaches for me and we kiss. I hear a passing tourist snap our photo. I giggle, wondering if they'll give it a caption: The Kiss.
‘Let’s come back every year to celebrate our wedding anniversary,’ I say.
‘I can’t think of any better way to celebrate our love,’ Mitch says. 
We kiss again to seal the deal.


As I cross the bridge between the Latin Quarter and Notre Dame, I think to myself how apt it is that the skies are all smudgy, not that brilliant Parisian grey-blue of two years ago.
Nevertheless, I came here for a reason, no matter how painful. I hold my breath as I stand on the timber deck of the Pont des Arts once again and search through the multitude of love locks. It’s a wonder the bridge doesn’t collapse under this weight of metal. 
Finally, there it is - still bright and shiny in the gloom. I pick it up and rub my thumb over our pet names.
I attach the tiny plastic envelope to the lock handle, then I collapse onto a bench and sob for our fractured love.

Darling Mitch

I could have trusted you instead of showering you with jealousy.
I could have travelled with you instead of putting my career first.
I could have forgiven you instead of throwing you out without listening to you.

Your Dearest Polly

We were meant to be together, forever. 
 I stroll along the Seine, then order mussels in garlic cream sauce at what was our favourite restaurant in the Latin Quarter. When the attentive waiter brings the bowl of dark, half open shells, pours my wine and places the bread basket before me, I cannot eat or drink. 
It’s futile to retrace steps from the past; those steps have been obliterated with time.

The 17th Century Hotel le Relais is not at all romantic without Mitch. Climbing the winding stairs is just a leg-numbing chore. Surely they could install a lift. 
The fifth floor at last. The Romantic Room with the etched carvings on the ancient door. From the window I’ll be able to gaze at Notre Dame and watch the old lady turn golden in the sunset, watch the tourists snapping pictures, watch the thousands entering her Gothic doors, hoping to find solace as they gasp at the beauty of the rose window.
I take a deep breath and rattle around with the ancient key. 
The door opens before I find the slot. I step back in fright, clasping my chest and breathing jerky breaths.
‘Mitch! What are you doing here?’
‘Same as you, I imagine.’
‘I read your letter.’
‘Then you—’
He holds out our wedding album. 
I'd left it on the desk under the window. 
‘I saw this. How could I have put what we have at risk? I’m a fool.’
‘Marrying you was the happiest day of my life. That album reminds me of our special day.’
‘I’m sorry sweetheart. It wasn’t you who needed reminding, it was me. I’ll do better. What I did was despicable, but...will you take me back? I’m so sorry. I love you...I love you...’
I entwine my arms around his neck and soak his beautiful white shirt with my tears.
‘I love you Mitch. I don’t want a life without you. I've missed you so...’
His arms feel so right, around me where they belong – could this day get any better? 
It’s about to.

NOTE: The ‘love locks’, despised by most of the French population, were removed from the Pont des Arts on June 1, 2015. When I returned this visit, I was happy to see that Pont Neuf is now adorned with ‘love locks’. Obviously, the City of Love didn’t want to be known as the City Where Love Died.

WORDS: 844

Love locks on the Pont Neuf - corridors and corridors of them leading down to the Seine.
Taken by moi in September, 2017.

PLEASE click on names in my sidebar which have DL next to them for more entries.

Thanks for reading.
Happy Holidays!


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

#IWSG post -- If you could backtrack anything in 2017, what would you do differently?

Top Site for Writers

Hello all! Remember me? Probably not, so I'll be chatting to myself. I've missed the past two IWSG posts, being busy meeting writing deadlines and travelling. So I'm glad to be back and look forward to reconnecting and doing a great lot of reading.

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the December 6 posting of the IWSG are Julie Flanders,Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner! Try to visit if you have the time.

I'm so rusty at this, I actually went to the IWSG Page and checked out the question of the month, something I don't usually do, but I think it's a great idea when you're stumphhed for what to be insecure about, LOL!

So here's the December 6 question - 

As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

There is always the benefit of hindsight, but if I had known I'd have 2 publishers asking for my full manuscript for my 'American in Paris' women's fiction, I wouldn't have planned a 5-week holiday right after the RWA conference, which left me scarcely any time to write. 

But it was kinda cool working on my story from my cruise ship balcony as we powered through the Aegean and Ionian Seas passing by the Greek Islands. I'll never have that experience again. So, no matter if I was tardy delivering my manuscript to Avon and Tule, and they toss it in the rubbish bin because it took me 2 months to get it to them, I had a magical time.

No matter what, I'm a writer, so I'm insecure. I've plenty of projects to work on while waiting on the powers-that-be. I'm revamping my paranormal story, getting a chapter done of book two, so I can include it when I re-publish my Under the Tuscan Moon as Vampire Obsession.

  • So, now tell me, are you insecure about anything?
  • What would you change about 2017 if you could?
Thanks for coming by...

Now, a shout out for WEP (Write...Edit...Publish). We posted our December challenge on Dec 1st. If you'd like to write something for us, we post on Dec 20th or before. You can sign up here in my sidebar or visit WEP and check it out. We also have all our challenges prepared for 2018. All is revealed HERE.