Holiday/Vacation/Summer Break Begins – See Ya Later!

As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I’m about to disappear for a couple of weeks. I’m very fortunate to be visiting Tunisia, a fascinating country on the continent of Africa. Long-suffering hubby is coming too, of course. :-)

I intend to:

Read lots of books

Laze about and get a suntan

Visit places of interest

Play in the pool and the sea

Eat local foods, and enjoy a drink or two. ;-)

Oh, and shop. I like haggling in markets.

I may pop up on social media from time to time, or I may not…

Be good while I’m away!

Karen xx

The Blood and the Cauldron Part 3

Karen Soutar:

The 3rd and final part of this tale (for now). ;-)
Many thanks to Mari Wells for letting me feature on her blog!

(Read Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t already)

Originally posted on Mari Wells:

Karen is back to give you the final installment of The Blood and the Cauldron

The Blood and the Cauldron – Part 3

Mark pounded on the door of the cottage. He hated going behind Ewan’s back, but his friend was in over his head this time. ‘Kate! Open up!’

‘Good Goddess!’ The door flew open, revealing the Witch – as she was known to nearly everyone. Most people didn’t want to know her name, or any more about her than they needed to. At this moment, Mark saw why. Her arms were covered up to the elbows with leaves and sap, and in her left hand she held a bundle of twigs which was crawling with spiders.

‘Kate, I need your help,’ panted Mark. ‘It’s Ewan.’

‘Get in here.’ Kate hurried back inside.

Following her, Mark glimpsed something steaming away in her stillroom, before he was whisked into the…

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The Blood and the Cauldron – Part 2

Karen Soutar:

Okay folks, this is the EROTIC Part 2 of my vampire story. AND there’s blood. You have been warned… ;-)

(If you haven’t already, read Part 1 here. And for Part 3, click here)

Originally posted on Mari Wells:

Everyone who knows Karen’s writing knows it gets HOT and steamy. She’s about to make it hot and steamy up on this blog. You know if you’ve got Little “eyes” all around you or not. If you do, I recommend you come back once those little “eyes” take their naps. :D

The Blood and the Cauldron – Part 2

‘No,’ he whispered. ‘It’s not true. It can’t be. I’ve seen you in daylight. You can’t…you can’t…’
The corners of Cara’s mouth turned up. ‘Never full daylight, Ewan. At dawn and dusk. If I’ve consumed enough human blood I can withstand the light. It lulls people into a false sense of security.’
He scrambled towards the door, but the acolytes caught him. His body betrayed him, refusing to fight as lust surged at their touch. Forcing his mind to overcome his treacherous limbs, he struggled in their grasp. He might as…

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The Blood and the Cauldron – Part 1

Karen Soutar:

Today and for the next 2 days I’m featuring on Mari Wells’s blog for Vampire Month. Thanks for letting me loose, Mari! Read Part 1 of my 3 part story here.
(If you’ve already read Part 1, Part 2 is here, and Part 3 is here)

Originally posted on Mari Wells:

Karen Soutar, is an awesome writer. Her vampires are smexy to the extreme. This installment is tame, but just keep coming back. Tomorrow’s installment is as hot as an Arizona summer.

The Blood and the Cauldron – Part 1

The heavy door swung inwards without a sound. That was good; he had half-expected it to creak. He stepped inside, hugging the wall and scanning the hallway for any movement. There was none. He left the door open, hoping that a little light would follow him. It was risky being here this late. The sun was almost down. Then they would rise, and he had no way of knowing how many there were. He had only ever seen the two, but he couldn’t save Cara if there were many more. He would be too outnumbered.

He had asked Mark to go with him, but his friend had refused.
‘It’s a trap,’…

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A Taste of Freedom? (Flash Fiction)

I mentioned in my last post that many of the exercises I did for my Creative Writing course turned into stories in their own right. A lot of them are short pieces – spot on for flash fiction.

The following piece was written for this exercise:
Write a 500 word scene in which a character feels trapped in his or her surroundings with no immediate prospect of escape.
Of course, that prompt lends itself to my slightly dark style. ;-) Hope you enjoy it.

 

A Taste of Freedom?

She felt the accusation of the books all around her. We’ve never been read, they seemed to shout. We’re trapped here behind these glass doors. Surely you can understand that? We want somebody to free us, dust us off, see what’s inside. There are wonders in here, if only someone would look.

She didn’t know why she kept coming back to the library. Maybe because it was the only part of the house where she could still feel her mother. In this room, she still raged silently at her, just as she had when mum was alive. Mum, who had shackled her here, even more so now that she was gone. Mum, who had wanted everyone to see that she owned this house, this library, and these books. Reading them wasn’t the point. Appearance was what mattered, not what was on the inside.

The fuchsia tapped on the window, stirred by the rising wind. She should do something about that. But she daren’t tackle it herself, and there was no money to hire a gardener. The overgrown garden meant that the room was dark even on the sunniest of days. She should clean the windows, as well – that would help. She snorted. Help with what? Having a clear view of the world outside that she was never going to be a part of? Even the journey to the gate to collect the post was an ordeal.

The bookshelves dominated the room. Their mahogany did nothing to lighten the atmosphere, being a serious, oppressive kind of wood. Of course, it had been chosen because it was expensive. It was too dark for the room, even when the windows had been clean and unobstructed by branches. Now, the unpolished cabinets just added to the gloom.

She sat down in the old chair by the fire (unlit, of course), and stared at the shelves. The ones nearest to her held travel books. She was staring at faraway places, journeys by land and sea, unusual foods and exotic drinks. Dare she slide back the glass doors; take out a volume and read of these things? Would she sense her prison even more keenly? Or would she be transported to another world in the only way she could, feeling sand between her toes, smelling spices, hearing snatches of conversation in a foreign tongue and trying to work out what was being said? She imagined her mother, checking that the staff had dusted and polished, that the glass doors were clean so everyone who visited was able to read the titles. She had never seen her mum read a book in her life. What a waste of time, when there were neighbours to impress, social gatherings to attend, and her less-than-perfect daughter to worry about.

She threw back the door, freed the first book she put her hand on, and sat back in the chair, trembling. On an impulse, she jumped back up, opened every case, and took a title from each one. She left the doors open. Curling up in the chair, she piled the books on the table beside her, and set the first one on her knee. ‘Travels in Egypt’, the cover said, above a symbol of an eye surrounded by curly lines and strange markings.

She opened the book and began to read.

101 Blog Posts!

Okay, blog posts aren’t as cute as Dalmatians, but hey… ;-)

I’m celebrating this 101st post with some news. I passed my Open University Creative Writing course! Furthermore, I scored in the highest band for the fiction I used for my end-of-module assessment. I’m particularly pleased with this, as the piece I submitted was the opening chapter of my work in progress. Language, structure and ideas were all described as ‘excellent’. So now my face looks like this:

Cheshire Cat from Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland

Cheshire Cat from Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland

Just to bring me down a peg (before you all start shouting ‘bighead!’), my overall pass was a Grade 2. A couple of my continuous assessment pieces let me down, namely my poetry (no surprise there), and my life writing. My fiction pieces gained the highest marks, which I’m chuffed with, as fiction is what I intend to concentrate on writing. It’s what I most enjoy writing. As well as this blog that I’m chattering at you from, of course. :-)

So everybody please partake of virtual champagne and cake with me. Who knows, I may go back and do Advanced Creative Writing next year. Or maybe not. For now, encouraged by the tutors’ comments, I’m going to concentrate on my work in progress, and my short fiction.

Pic courtesy of theinchef.com

Pic courtesy of theinchef.com

If any of you are thinking of doing Creative Writing with the OU, I can highly recommend it. Go in with an open mind, embrace the techniques that work for you, and make good use of your tutorial and workbook exercises. Many of mine have turned into stories in their own right, or are little story seeds just waiting to be planted. I’ve learned so much, and that was my main aim. I admit I was quite experimental with a couple of my pieces of assessed work, trying out different things. Believe it or not, I decided it was worth possibly forfeiting high marks, in order to get feedback on my ideas. My tutor has been very helpful and really identified my strengths and weaknesses. (By the way, I’m sure many other Creative Writing courses are equally good – I’m just speaking from my own experience of the OU.)

Well, I better go and get on with this novel, since apparently I’m on the right track and not writing complete drivel. Have a great week all!

Insect Aerobics

I love this drawing!

I love this drawing!

 

Insect aerobics
Is a cat’s fitness routine
(And a diet plan)

**********

Had this haiku and pic floating around, thought I’d share for a bit of fun. The haiku was prompted by a conversation with a friend, about our cats’ lovely eating habits. :-)