The Advent Calendar is Coming!

I’ve done it in the past, and I’m doing it again this year. I’m going to be a part of Cat Gerlach’s Indie Author’s Advent Calendar!

Woot!

What this means is that I have a story that will appear on one of the days in December (I don’t know which day) on the Advent Calendar site. Anyone can just go click on that page starting December 1st and read anything that’s been revealed so far. But if you sign up for the Advent Calendar mailing list, you’ll get daily notifications when the new story is available, plus there will be bonus downloads for email only, including the collected stories in e-book form.

This year’s theme for the calendar is Snow. There will be a bunch of great stories, and you never know what you’re gonna get. It’s possible you’ll discover your new favorite indie author, just in time for Christmas!

So, go sign up to get alerts, and enjoy the holidays!

Indie Author’s Advent Calendar 2018

The Ghost in My Yard–Blog Hop October 2018

Who doesn’t love a good, spooky story? I remember being a kid at sleepovers, trying to tell scary stories, but mostly just dissolving into giggles.

So for this installment of the Blog Hop, happening on Halloween, no less, it absolutely had to be something a little on the spooky side.

Lucky for me, I just submitted a story for Holly Lisle and Rebecca Galardo’s podcast, Alone In A Room With Invisible People. They took flash story submissions that had to be Halloween themed and 500 words, max. The two of them, plus Holly’s son, Mark, have recorded the best they received, as many as they could fit into a podcast episode. If the Halloween episode isn’t live yet, do check back. I’m expecting there to be some great stories there.

For your reading pleasure and chills, here’s the story I submitted. You’ll have to listen to see if it was selected, but you should probably listen anyway because it’s an awesome podcast!

 

The Ghost In My Yard

I first seen it when I was eight-years-old. It was after Mama got sick and died.

I was sitting on the front porch swing at Granny’s house and there it just was, over by the camellia bushes. There weren’t no camellias at the time, being that it was the cold days after the new year. That’s where it was all the same, looking grey and dim and tattered around the edges.

I didn’t know then what it was. Wouldn’t for a long time.

I sat there with a hole in my heart and a heaviness just about pulling me over. Somehow it got my attention so as I just couldn’t look away. I was sure it was my Mama come back to say goodbye.

After that, things got bad. Me and Daddy, we moved in with Granny since Daddy needed someone to watch me and Granny had extra rooms.

We was only supposed to be there for a little while; just until Daddy quit his sadness about Mama. I guess he kinda did that after Miss Natalie moved in with us, but she wasn’t no help. She and Daddy shared a taste for the sour mash, and when they was drinkin’ it, things was a whole lot worse.

 

I seen it again when I was eleven, a little clearer than the first time. I was standing in my room looking out at those same camellia bushes after Daddy and Miss Natalie wrecked the truck. We couldn’t have no proper funeral on account of they were pretty smashed up, but the minister said some words at the church.

I knew it couldn’t be Mama that time ‘cause Mama was long since gone. I went down to get a closer look, but it left before I found it. I just stood in the yard and smelled the camellias. Their scent hung in the cool spring air like a cloud.

 

The year I finished high school, Granny was old and tired. I was doing more for her than she was for me, by then. But it seemed right, somehow.

When I got home late from working at the filling station, I saw it again, hovering white and clear by those same bushes. The humidity didn’t break despite the dark, and the camellias smelled almost sickly sweet. Their scent followed me into the house where I found Granny. When they took away her body, they told me her heart failed.

 

Now the chill of the hallows is setting in and I finally understand.

The porch swing is old, it’s once white paint grey and chipped. I can still see the camellias from here, but they’re already turning brown.

I finally recognize what I always missed before. It’s there, by the bushes, near as bright as silver and wearing the face I see in the mirror every day.

My ghost is finally come to claim me.

Its’ no surprise. Not really.

I been dead inside a long time.

 

 

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

Links

perpetualbloghop

I hope you’ll take the time to read the other stories in this Hop. These are some great writers and wonderful people. And if you like what you read, I hope you’ll consider joining their lists too. The world is a richer place when there are more stories to tell.

Please note, if you find links that don’t work, try again later. Sometimes it takes a little time to get the gremlins worked out.

  1. The Ghost in My Yard, by Elizabeth McCleary **YOU ARE HERE**
  2. Her Majesty, by Katharina Gerlach
  3. A Show Of Support (No story, just the links, but go say hello anyway!) Chris
  4. Black Moon, by Lauren M. Catherine
  5. Poe’s Heart, by J. Q. Rose
  6. Hanks A Lot, by Joe Bouchard
  7. In The Gray Lake, by Karen Lynn
  8. The Right Honorable Brotherhood of Spirits, Poltergeists and Ghosts, by Vanessa Wells
  9. Life of a Pumpkin, by Bill Bush
  10. Why Should I?, by Gina Fabio
  11. Reaper, by Juneta Key
  12. Snow White Tabloid Style, by Fannie Suto
  13. Starving Artist, by Samantha Bryant
  14. Halloween Dance, by Barbara Lund

Last chance for early-bird pricing

A quick reminder… tomorrow (October 5th) is the final day to get in on the launch special for Holly Lisle’s new Novel Writing class.

If you think you’re interested, now is the time to go for it. The next opportunity might not be for months, and will definitely have a higher price tag.

How To Write a Novel. (affiliate link)

A New Novel-Writing Class

I am super-stoked to announce that Holly Lisle has just released How To Write a Novel. (affiliate link)

This is the class that many people have been waiting for. It’s set to be over 35 weekly lessons with suggested homework assignments so that at the end of the class you should be able to have a finished novel of at least 50,000 words.

Until October 5th only, HTWAN is available at an early bird price that will never again be available. There are also single-pay or monthly-pay options to make the class as accessible as possible. If you’re interested, I highly recommend joining now!

The super early bird class will also include an amazing bonus–80% off a content edit from Holly’s personal editor, her husband, Matt.

I am already signed up and getting started, and already incredibly excited about having new motivation and direction. If you decide to join me, let me know! We can start a writing support group to help keep one another on track.

Note that this post includes affiliate links. I may receive a commission if you choose to purchase, but your price will not be affected in any way. 

Summer Siren–Blog Hop July 2018

I think I cut this one just a little too close for comfort. As of Monday afternoon, I had no story and no ideas. So I picked a title which became my prompt. Here’s the product of my last-minute, mad dash to complete a story.

I hope you like it.

Summer Siren

Halia scowled as dark clouds gathered over her island home. It was summer, and she wanted to be on the cliffs, watching as beautiful men on their beautiful sailing vessels skirted the reefs that ran below the surface of the deep blue water. In her dreams a sailor with golden hair, ruddy skin, and deep blue eyes beckoned to her. He sang songs of the sea and told tales of distant lands.

Halia watched for him.

Longed for him.

She knew he would come to her. She knew.

Neso did not approve. The matters of men are their own affair. The love of men leads only to despair. The rhyme was her sister’s mantra. Halia didn’t care. She saw the ships and their sailors and she was drawn to them, certain that their journeys would take them to exotic destinations far away. She liked to imagine what it would be like to go on an adventure across the sea.

“Maybe,” she had mused to herself on more than one occasion, “my blue-eyed sailor might some day come share tales from across the water. Maybe I could go with him. Maybe he could love me.” Desire bordering on desperation filled her soul.

She knew it was an empty wish.

Still, she watched the waves.

This day, what she saw surprised her.

It was not a sailing ship large enough to carry cargoes of silks and spices and wine. It was a smaller boat, a mere skiff by the looks of it. Not a vessel fit to be traveling this far out to sea.

Halia ran along the strand of sandy soil to a rocky outcropping. From that vantage point she would be able to see the boat more clearly.

More importantly, anyone on the boat would be more likely to see her. With the wind beginning to whip, she knew the tumbled boulders of her shoreline would be all but invisible. A ship large enough for fifty men would easily be grounded on those rocks. This tiny boat could be smashed to kindling.

She climbed until she could haul herself onto a broad, flat ledge. The heat of the stone soaked into her bare skin in spite of the storm that now threatened. A wall of grey rain loomed in the distance.

And there it was. A tiny white boat bobbed between waves that revealed and hid it in turn.

On its deck a single man worked to control the bobbing vessel. She could see his golden hair and his ruddy skin. And despite the wind, she could hear a deep, baritone voice ringing out clear and piercing.

Come to me, my bonnie lass
Come across the sea
For though I sail ten thousand leagues
Ever I’ll return to thee, my love
Ever I’ll return to thee

She knew in her heart that, could she see his face, she would fall right into his deep blue eyes.

Her toes curled against warm granite as the rain began. “I’m coming, my love. You have found me!” Her heart leapt and Halia followed.

***

“Halia? Halia!” Neso cried out for her sister as she picked her way along the rocky beach. Tears welled in her eyes as she chased a faint hope that her foolish sibling might have taken shelter in a grotto against the morning’s storm. She’d heard the song herself, so she knew. Her sister was lost forever.

Halia had answered the call of the siren.

 

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

Links

perpetualbloghop

I hope you’ll take the time to read the other stories in this Hop. These are some great writers and wonderful people. And if you like what you read, I hope you’ll consider joining their lists too. The world is a richer place when there are more stories to tell.

Please note, if you find links that don’t work, try again later. Sometimes it takes a little time to get the gremlins worked out.

    1. Summer Siren, by Elizabeth McCleary **YOU ARE HERE**
    2. The Birch Tree, by Juneta Key
    3. The Zoning Zone, by Vanessa Wells
    4. Secrets, by Elizabeth Winfield
    5. Team Building Exercise, by Samantha Bryant
    6. Another Time, by J. Q. Rose
    7. Suds and Sclaes, by Eileen Mueller
    8. Beginning Again, by Karen Lynn
    9. Under the Bridge, by Katharina Gerlach
    10. Black and White, by Bill Bush

Short Story Class

Anyone who has followed me for any amount of time knows that I think Holly Lisle and her classes are terrific. Her newest class, How to Write Short Stories, is no exception.

And because I’m working through that class right now and finding it very useful, I wanted to take a minute to share it with those of you who follow me before the price goes up on it next week.

In this class, Holly teaches:

  • generating ideas that work for short stories (haven’t we all had what we thought would be a nice, short idea only to have it turn into a meandering mess?).
  • the difference between short stories, as opposed to vignettes, scenes, slices of life, or experimental musings with no goal.
  • how to deconstruct stories written by other people so you can see what works or what doesn’t.
  • how to come up with endings that matter instead of just stop.
  • how to revise short.
  • how to write to a specific theme or word count when writing for a contest or specific market.
  • and a whole lot more!

Click Here to see the whole curriculum so far. The class is currently under development, so there is still plenty more to come. 😀

It is a well-structured class that should help anyone who wants to get better at writing short stories, whether you’re just starting out, or been writing a while.

And until next Thursday, July 26th, you can still get it at the early bird price of $67. That’s a bargain for what you’re getting.

After that it will still be available, but at the permanent price of $97. So you’re better off buying now if you think you’re interested.

Holly’s classes are delivered at one lesson each week, and you get to work at your own pace. You will have access to her online community where students of all her classes gather to discuss writing, answer each others’ questions, and support one another on their creative journeys. And your access will never expire. You can go back and revisit the class months or even years later. It really is a great deal.

Please note: If you purchase How to Write Short Stories through my links, I will get an affiliate commission. That helps me out, but does not affect your price.

Hare–Blog Hop April 2018

Welcome, once again, to the Story Time Blog Hop. I hope you enjoy this round’s offering. Don’t forget to check out the links to the additional stories below!

Hare

Clementine changed as quickly as she could and slipped out the back of her hut. It wasn’t the best night to be out, what with the rain and all. A definite chill hung in the air despite the coming of Spring. Fortunately, the fur that now cloaked her would protect from the elements. Besides, the Elemental that sought her, a vengeful wood sprite, would never recognize her as a hare.

She honestly didn’t even know what that sprite was so upset about. There were plenty of trees. How was she to know that particular tree was so important? Sprites don’t hang out shingles to announce their presence. All Clementine knew was that it was old and gnarled and looked like it would make fine firewood.

It had, too. She was right about that.

She supposed her own home might as well be firewood now, too. That sprite, nasty fairy, had called on the wind to circle her house. Near enough knocked the blessed thing down. Near enough destroyed or swept away all her notes and papers. Near enough dashed Clementine’s hopes of ever being more than a simple shape shifter.

At least she was still that. The angry sprite had surely meant to kill her. There was fire in her eyes—never a good sign on a wood sprite, touchy as they could be about fire near their trees. So before the sprite’s wind could catch her scent, Clementine had shifted to a jackrabbit. Low and fast, she’d slipped out and watched from nearby bushes as her house collapsed and was torn apart.

She nibbled on a sprig of ivy and pondered what to do.

A rustle in the nearby underbrush caught her attention, putting her on high alert. She paused only long enough to sense movement before she began to run for her life. A fox darted after her and was close on her heals.

Bare moments passed before Clementine started to feel the fatigue of the chase. Taking the form of a rabbit didn’t give her the speed or stamina of the creature. She’d been a hare numerous times, but never for long enough to build the proper muscles.

Lucky for her, she had enough of her own human wits about her to head for a nearby clearing. As soon as the open sky hung above her, she leapt. Strong, feathered wings spread to her sides and she flapped moonward.

Her transformation happened none too soon; she felt the fox’s breath on her feet as her eagle’s body lifted into the sky.

Strong.

Free.

And vengeful. In this guise, she resented the fox that wanted to eat her. She looked down and saw it with her enhanced vision, still skulking warily at the edges of the thicket. It probably wondered where it’s meal went.

With another screech, she dove toward the little fox that had seemed so large just moments before. She got closer and reached, but her talons just missed catching her hunter-turned-prey. She climbed toward the moon again as the russet fox disappeared back into the shadows. No fresh meat for this eagle. Not this night.

She rose above the trees, now, enjoying her flight. It was easy, as a bird, to forget the troubles below.

Before long, though, she needed to return to the ground. Human life called back to her and she knew if she didn’t answer soon, human sense would escape her and she’d be left in this form. Clementine circled once again, closing in on the location of her own secluded homestead. She spotted an opening in the trees and descended, alighting with surprising grace beside a fallen log.

As she began to change back to human form, recognition came. Not a fallen log, after all. Cut. A tree she herself had felled.

The tree belonging to…

Oh no!

She felt the magic a moment too late to avoid the wood sprite’s trap.

“You!” The sprite, appearing from the surrounding darkness, approached her frozen form. “Witch! You destroyed my home!”

Clementine struggled against invisible bonds, to no avail. “And you, Sprite, have surely returned the favor. Let me go!”

“It’s my duty to protect these woods, witch.” A dark smile spread across the wood sprite’s pale face as she stepped closer. “Today, they are protected from you.”

 

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

Links

perpetualbloghop

I hope you’ll take the time to read the other stories in this Hop. These are some great writers and wonderful people. And if you like what you read, I hope you’ll consider joining their lists too. The world is a richer place when there are more stories to tell.

Please note, if you find links that don’t work, try again later. Sometimes it takes a little time to get the gremlins worked out.

Hare, by Elizabeth McCleary YOU ARE HERE
The Widow, by Vanessa Wells
A Snow White Morning, by Katharina Gerlach
The Letter, by Juneta Key
Trick or Treacle, by Angela Wooldridge
Sugar in the Raw, by Karen Lynn
Inferno, by Fanni Soto
Tae, by Barbara Lund
Interstellar Student Exchange, by Raven O’Fiernan
The Ghost Fighter, by Bill Bush

I wrote a thing

I forgot to mention it here earlier, but I had the opportunity to write a guest post for the blog at Holly’s Writing Classes.

Because I’ve been focusing on goals, habits, and tracking, my post was about how to set goals that you can keep. If you’re interested, you can read my post here.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention again that Holly’s classes and community are a big part of why I still write. If you’re interested in learning how to write fiction, I highly recommend looking at her free starter class on flash fiction. (affiliate link)

Grandma’s Legacy–Blog Hop January 2018

Grandma’s Legacy

I pull down the garland from over the door and coil it into a box. Sighing, I glance around the old shop. That seems to be the last of the Christmas decorations.

I’d been counting on a holiday boost to get caught up on the bills. Unfortunately between the online deals people were getting and the blizzard that shut down the city the last three days before Christmas… well, let’s just say that I didn’t have my happiest holiday.

I flip to door sign to open and turn the brass lock with a click. Tuesdays aren’t big sales days, but I can’t afford to miss out on even one potential customer. Not if I’m going to keep Grandma’s Legacy, the antique shop I’d inherited from my grandmother, alive for another year. No crowds come rushing in to greet me.

Then I pick up the box of decorations, same ones grandma used when this was her shop, and head for the store room. I’ll get it up to the storage loft later. For now I just need to have it out of the way. As I’m tucking it into a corner, the bell out front jangles. Probably a tourist still here from Christmas. Maybe they’re looking for a souvenir.

“Hello?” I hurry back out to the front of the store and don’t see anyone at first.

“Mornin’, lass!” The voice comes from near the door and as I approach I realize there’s a man standing there. He can’t be more than three feet tall. A holdover elf, maybe?

I almost giggle, then falter and catch myself. I wouldn’t want him to think I was laughing at him. “Can I help you find something? We have some great memorabilia from good ole Walter Falls.”

He takes a step closer and looks around the shop, then leans to look past me towards the back. “Actually, I was hoping to find Edna. Is she around?”

Grandma.

“Oh. I’m so sorry to tell you this. She passed away a couple of years ago.” I thought I was over the loss, but the disappointment on his face makes my breath hitch. “I guess you knew her?”

He took a deep breath before talking. “A bit. I promised her I’d be back one day. I guess I’m too late.”

“I really am sorry. Can I get you some tea? Grandma always taught me to keep the water hot.” I motioned to an antique armchair where he could sit, though he had to climb up to settle himself. “Constant Comment or Irish Breakfast?”

“Irish, if you please. Milk and sugar if you have it.”

I nodded and stepped to the side board where I kept an electric kettle on. He continued talking.

“I met Edna fifty years ago. Mistook me for an elf, almost.” He chuckled and I relaxed a little. “I suppose I can’t blame her, allowing for my short stature. And it was Christmas, after all.”

I brought over my best English Rose tea service and set it on a small table. The man paused to put three lumps of sugar in his cup which I then filled with tea. When he put up a hand I stopped pouring and he topped it off with milk.

“Thank you, young lady. So many these days forget the niceties of life.” He sipped at the cup and smiled. “Perfect.”

“Where did you meet Grandma?” Not a suitor. She’d have been long married to Grandpa by then.

“Why, right here in this shop. It looked a shade different then. Just bobbins and noggins, of course. Folks didn’t bother much with collecting antiques back then.” He waved his hand as if to clear his thoughts. “That doesn’t matter though,” he said. “What matters is that she saw me and, bright lass that she was, recognized the difference right away. No, not my size. I’m telling you, Edna had the rare gift of really knowing folks. Folks of all kinds.

“Though many call me elf, she saw the right of it straight away. Had me dead to rights, she did. But me? I tricked her. Wicked as I am, I did. Told her I’d be back with what I owed. Gave me word. People always forget to ask the time up front.” He seemed to be staring right into the past as he tipped back the last of his tea.

“I’m confused,” I said, squatting next to the chair so we could talk at eye level. “If you’d just met, what could you have owed her? Did you break something in the shop? I’m sure that was forgiven long ….”

He waved his hand. “No, lass. This is a deeper kind of owing.”He looked right in my eyes and nodded as if that made sense. “Most disappear in fifty years, but she’s still here.”

I frown at that. Did he forget?

“I don’t forget, girl,” he said as if he heard my thoughts. “None of the details nor my obligations.” He scooted off the chair and looked up, again catching my eyes. “Edna is right here in the heart and hands of her rightful heir. Consider my debt now paid.”

He handed me his empty cup. I smiled back. Paid his obligation by drinking my best tea. I put the cup on its tray. When I turned back, the man was gone.

“Sir?” I stood from squatting and walked around the shop, looking. He can’t have left. The bell didn’t chime. And yet… I walked all the way around the counter and when I got back where I started I noticed a small chest on the floor by the chair.

That definitely wasn’t one of mine. Something that beautiful would have sold right away, no matter how slow business was.

I tried to lift it, but it felt nailed to the floor so I lifted the lid instead. My knees buckled and I sat hard on the floor when I saw the gold coins inside. A note lay across the treasure.

Lass,
I gave my word and a Leprechaun always keeps his word.
My apologies for the delay in fulfillment, but it seems to me that these things always happen just when they should. Pardon the lack of a pot. Chests are a mite more convenient.
Blessings be yours, and may the luck of the Irish follow all your days.

I guess Grandma’s legacy is safe after all.

Copyright Notice: Please note that I fully assert my right to be associated as the author of this story, and while it is complete, it may not be finished. This story may be subject to alteration at the author’s discretion. Please do not copy, quote, or post this story or excerpts anywhere in any format. You are, however, free to share the link with anyone who might be interested.

Links

perpetualbloghop

I hope you’ll take the time to read the other stories in this Hop. These are some great writers and wonderful people. And if you like what you read, I hope you’ll consider joining their lists too. The world is a richer place when there are more stories to tell.

Please note, if you find links that don’t work, try again later. Sometimes it takes a little time to get the gremlins worked out.

  1. Grandma’s Legacy by Elizabeth McCleary **YOU ARE HERE**
  2. Dragonslayer by Barbara Lund
  3. Megan’s Virus by Karen Lynn
  4. Studenting by Chris Makowski
  5. I, The Magician by Raven O’Fiernan
  6. Growth Spurt by Bill Bush
  7. Mystical Manatee Park by J. Q. Rose
  8. Phased Out by Kami Bataya
  9. Snow White (17) MURDERED by K. M. Flint
  10. A Character Profile by Juneta Key
  11. Monstrous Monday by Fanni Soto

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Want to participate in a Blog Hop?

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GENERAL SPECULATIVE FICTION
OPEN CALL
NEXT HOP: WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31st, 2018
STORY LINKS DUE: JANUARY 20th*

We currently have an ongoing open call to all speculative fiction authors each blog hop. Story links always due on the 20th of the month* of the hop. You post your story on your blog and send the link to the host. The hop occurs four times a year on the last Wednesday of the month. You can read more about this in the RULES & GUIDELINES​ (on my friend Juneta’s website).

This is Storytime blog hop’s third year featuring speculative fiction flash stories of 500-1000 words (give or take) from authors all over the world.

For anyone unclear on the definition of “speculative fiction”–our intent is that every story will fall, one way or another, into the sci-fi/fantasy/horror or related genres. It doesn’t have to be extreme, but if everything in your story is firmly grounded in reality you aren’t understanding the term “speculative.”

*PLEASE NOTE: Just because the link is due, doesn’t mean your story has to be finished. You have until the hop goes live to finish and polish your story. We just ask for a link in advance so whoever is acting as host/hostess can build a link grid and get it to all the participants. We do ask that all participants include the link grid on their story pages, splicing the list so their own story is at the top. That, hopefully, means the greatest number of reader will click through to the greatest number of stories.

If you decide to join us, let me know! I’ll make sure you have the info you need to get your deets to the right person. 😀

And if you want to see the kind of thing I’m talking about, here are links to some of my previous Blog Hop stories.

Sanctuary (October 2017)

Freeman (July 2017)

Reflected (January 2017)