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?

[​IMG]
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)

And then…

Well, here I am. Two and a half months later.

NaNo was a bust. I wrote about 5000 words before tossing my hands up in disgust. I know I should not do these things… a finished terrible story is better than no story at all. sigh

Anyway, so I flaked out for the remainder of November. Plus most of December. This blog ignored Christmas. And New Year’s.

However…

Starting on January first, I have written at least something every day. Not always big. Not always good. But words on the page.

And I’ve already reached “The End” on three short stories so far this year. No kidding.

Two of them are currently marinating and will need revision in order to be fit for public consumption.

The third? It’s a flash-ish fiction (a wee bit over 1000 words) that will be appearing right here for the next Blog Hop on Wednesday, January 31. Woo Hoo!

So, yeah. I wish I hadn’t not done more at the end of 2017. But I’m pretty happy about where I am so far in 2018.

NaNoWriMo 2017

 

Today (November 1) marks the beginning of that month-long insanity known as National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short.

For the uninitiated, this is a challenge that happens every November to encourage writers to write a 50,000 word novel (or, at least, 50,000 words towards a novel) in 30 days. That sounds like a lot, and it is. But if you make writing a daily habit, that is actually a mere 1667 words per day, and that’s not that bad.

As usual, I’m participating. I nearly always participate. I have yet to actually complete the goal, but I always participate.

This year, I have a plan. I have a story in mind that is fairly well-formed living inside my head. (I really should write some of the details down, but, well, this is me. insert eye roll here) Weirdly, the story I have in mind is not in my usual genre. It’s a real-world, suspense-thriller in the style of something like Girl On A Train or Fatal Attraction.

Weird, right? But I’m running with it because my muse is excited about it. And I can’t help but think that since this isn’t a genre that I’m all that invested in, maybe I won’t get in my own way so much worrying about how terrible it is and actually get some writing done.

Here’s hoping anyway.

If you want to know more about my story… if you want to track my progress… or if you want to play along… come to NaNoWriMo and add me as a buddy! I’d love to see you there. 🙂

Sanctuary–Blog Hop October 2017

I actually wrote this story a couple of years ago. I had intended to find somewhere to submit it, but never did. So here it is for your creepy enjoyment.

Fair warning… it is considerably darker than my usual fare and some may find it unpleasant or offensive. It’s horror, after all. Sue me. 😉

Sanctuary

He pushed through the entryway, his face hot with exertion and fear. Dear God, he was getting too old for this. Already exhausted, he blinked sweat from his eyes as he struggled to swing the heavy oaken door closed behind him. The grate of the hinges belied the frequency with which the door’s mass was moved. When he finally turned the lock, he allowed himself to collapse against its reassuring, worn surface. His breath came in ragged gasps.

The dark of the night is when the affliction of this city was illuminated most clearly, the unholy dead rising from their graves. And he—he alone—must hold them at bay.

“Bishop?” His heart raced at the voice. He hadn’t realized he wasn’t alone. “Father, is something wrong?” The Abbess had always unsettled him, more so since the creatures had come. He wished he understood why.

He took a moment to compose himself; tugged his frock into place, wiped at his forehead before noticing the grime on his sleeve. “All is well.” He couldn’t bring himself to say more. Despite his unnatural dislike for the woman, he had no intention of subjecting her to his terrors. God gave him this burden. The visitation. The instruction. He would continue to bear it alone. He knew in his heart the dead could not harm him. Surely God would protect his chosen? He only wished his experience… well…. He shook his head. These past months had been a nightly trial.

And yet he stood. That was something.

She rose, gliding toward him across the ancient stones of the floor. “Come,” she said. “I will bear you up.” She maneuvered to his side. “My lord has strengthened me.” She gave him her arm which he accepted without thought, relaxing slightly onto her surprisingly sturdy form. She smelled of soap and orange blossoms, but that was overlaid with something more foul. The creatures, he thought. Have they followed me here? But, no. It had always been safe here.

The linen of her sleeve was rough against his fingertips—his long years had calloused neither heart nor hands. She brushed his hand with her own—he was glad to note he was not trembling overmuch as she guided him into the Nave, tracing steps he had taken countless times before. She guided him toward one of the long, hard pews that would be filled with supplicants come morning.

Discomfort pricked at him. Has God not set me apart? A voice full of certainty whispered in his mind, insisting that he must not acquiesce to this woman, no matter how slight the circumstances.

She grimaced as he dropped her hand and took a step back. “Not here!” he said too forcefully. He saw something in her eyes then that increased his disquiet. Frustration? Anger? His own anger flared then. After all his years of sacrifice, he would not be judged so casually. He pulled back his shoulders and stepped aside. If he could face the non-living, he could face this lone woman. “Give me the strength, Lord.” He whispered it quietly, not wanting her to hear his weakness.

A chill ran through him. The Presence. I still walk in favor. But what kind of favor leaves me battling the dead?

She smiled at him, but he did not return it. Was there falsehood in her meekness? His own uncertainty rankled as much as anything. He drew a breath, flinching at the fetid scent that still lingered, and walked past her toward the front of the cathedral. Her footsteps echoed a few paces behind. Reaching the dais, he paused, not trusting his strength, but unwilling to be weak. He did manage the stairs, albeit slowly.

He trailed a finger along the edge of  the altar—the place he’d sacrificed so much. Finally he turned, leaning on the cold marble, and stared at the Abbess. She climbed toward him until she, too, leaned on his sacred table.

“Woman!” He gasped at her brazenness. “You presume too much.”

The corners of her mouth played into a cold smile. “You,” she said, “have no idea what you are dealing with.”

He growled. “You are the one who doesn’t know!”

“I know dead men walk.” She leaned closer. “I know not every resurrection is sacred.”

His head spun as realization crashed in on him. How long had she known? His prayers were what was important. His dedication. His authority. He would not tolerate her insolence.

“I WILL NOT BE OVERCOME!” he shouted. Spittle foamed at the corners of his mouth; his eyes wide. Wild. Staring.

He felt every one of his endless years in that moment. Tearing his eyes from her, he let his vision stray to the image of Adam holding an apple, the serpent coiled at the feet of his temptress.

He knew, then, the truth of it.

“You.” He jabbed a finger toward her even as his voice lowered. “You caused this. You brought in this evil.” The bitter taste of bile rose in his throat. Oh, God! Why did you not reveal your path sooner? A single bark of laughter escaped him, the sound entirely without mirth. “I will send you to settle your own kind.”

“Good.” The smile the Abbess showed him chilled him to the bone, even as he rounded the altar to settle his hands at her throat. “My Master will be happy to see us both.”

Insensate, he tightened his grip around her slender neck. Choked laughter rolled out of her.

The Bishop’s screams echoed in what was once his sanctuary.

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. Sanctuary by Elizabeth McCleary **YOU ARE HERE**
  2. Till Death Us by Fanni Sütő
  3. The Cloud by Karen Lynn
  4. Data Corruption by Barbara Lund
  5. Wish Granted by Kami Bataya
  6. The Witch of Wall Street by J. Q. Rose
  7. Grim Reapers on a Field Trip by J Lenni Dorner
  8. Unwelcome Vistors by Bill Bush
  9. A Writer’s Morning by Katharina Gerlach
  10. Unverified by Erica Damon
  11. Tito’s to the Max by Chris Makowski
  12. The Boon by Juneta Key
  13. Recommended Reading @ Raven O’Fiernan

 

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I’m really bad at updates…

In my last update I said I was almost done with my collection.

That was true.

I also said I’d update again when it was finished and “out.”

I feel like I should insert the Maury Povich “That Was A Lie” meme here. So I will.

Here’s the whole truth. I finished what needed finishing. I got everything all lovely and formatted in Vellum. I uploaded to Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, D2D, and Smashwords. (Along with uploading my previous titles to everyplace that isn’t Amazon.) Then I found additional errors, fixed them, and re-uploaded.

Twice. sigh

So my book has been widely available pretty much everywhere since the first week of October. And I was out of town for 2 weeks and didn’t actually tell anyone. Oops.

I was on cruise-ship time. That’s my excuse and I’m stickin’ to it.

I thought about scolding myself… Bad Author… but I don’t actually think I’m a bad author. Bad marketer, sure. But I’m pretty happy with I’ve written.

If you want to see if you agree, feel free to pick up a copy of my latest collection, Flashes of Splashes. All the available eBook sales outlets can be found on the Book2Read aggregator.

For those who prefer a print copy, you can buy one from Create Space or Amazon.

Soon. Very soon.

So much has happened since I last updated.

There’ve been fires.

There’ve been earthquakes.

There’ve been hurricanes.

Has anyone checked the volcanoes? I feel like someone should check the volcanoes.

That has been a whole lot of bad news.

The good news is that, while it has taken longer for me to get my act together than I’d hoped, I am finally on the verge of getting my new collection published! Woo hoo!

I’m using 23 of the 26 stories I wrote for this year’s AtoZ blogging challenge. They’ve all been fully edited and polished to a high shine.

Plus, I wrote 3 entirely new stories to replace the ones that weren’t working for me.

Plus, I’m including a couple of stories that previously appeared on this blog that fit the watery theme.

Plus, I wrote 3 additional bonus stories, especially for this collection.

So this collection of flash fiction will be coming in at a whopping 31 stories! That’s one story a day for a month, regardless of the month!

And… I will also be putting out a print version! This will be my first title with a physical copy, so I’m pretty excited.

In conjunction with the new collection going up, I’ll also be posting my 2 previous collections at additional retailers instead of just Amazon. Nothin’ against the ‘Zon, but it hasn’t helped me to be exclusive so I taking the wide-market plunge. As soon as I have links for those, I’ll add them to my book pages. If you’ve been waiting with baited breath to buy on Nook, Kobo, iBooks or elsewhere… first, go brush your teeth. Then watch this space for information on when they’re available.

All these things should be happening within the next week or less. Potentially significantly less.

I’ll post again when it’s all out there.

Freeman–Blog Hop July 2017

It’s that time again! I hope you enjoy not just my story, but the stories of the other writers involved in the hop!

Freeman

Martin sat peeling the jenfruit, silently waiting for whatever would come next. People he didn’t know had been coming and going. He heard the commotion elsewhere in the house. He was told to wait.

He’d only been a freeman for a short time, but it was enough to know how these things worked. He wouldn’t interfere. He would only wait.

“Go outside. Take a walk.” Charel’s voice sounded stern, but her face held traces of a smile. “You do no good just sitting here. Your nerves may as well be poison in the air. Go. Go…”

Martin stood, gathered the sections of purple jenfruit, and went without a word. He knew better than to argue with Charel, even though he had no place to go.

Outside, Martin paused in front of the building. Charel told him to go, but as a bondman he’d never had the right to simply wander. Finally he chose a direction and began to walk, eating wedges of fruit as he did.

As he passed the park he heard children laughing. The sound drew him closer. He’d never been around children—not since the collective anyway, and that was not the same. It was so strange to see these little ones running and playing, their mothers watching close by.

A little one in a red romper ran up to him and squealed. At a nod from his mother, Martin handed over the last of his jenfruit. The boy stuck it in his mouth as he ran off, purple juices dripping down his chin.

They live their freedom not having earned it. I paid for mine, yet still I’m bound.

He started walking again, so caught in his own thoughts that he didn’t realize where he was until he looked up.

His bond yard looked as it always had. Bondmen lifted and worked and hurried. Some he recognized, but none paid him any attention. No bondman would look at a freeman unbidden. Certainly not during a laboring day.

Martin was surprised to feel emotion rising in his chest. He did not miss this labor. Those men were no longer his brothers. And yet…

He leaned forward, hands on the fence, as he watched a pair of grimy hands cutting a board held in place by strong arms dripping with sweat. Martin had known who he was in the bond yard.

He turned and walked quickly back the way he had come. He no longer belonged in this place. He suddenly wanted to be no place but back in that kitchen Charel had shooed him from.

He didn’t run. Freemen don’t run. But he wasted no time. If he was told to go again, he would refuse—that was his right, now.

The door opened to a silent room. It surprised him considering the earlier activity. Is something wrong, he wondered. He stood frozen, not knowing what to do.

Then Charel was there, tugging at his sleeve. “Where have you been, Martin? Gemma is asking for you.” The woman smiled now, showing every crease in her worn face. “It’s time for you to go in.”

Martin let himself be led to his wife and freeborn son.

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. Freeman by Elizabeth McCleary **YOU ARE HERE**
  2. Hell’s Play by Juneta Key
  3. The Token by Eli Winfield
  4. Moshe by Chris Makowski
  5. To The Moon And Beyond by Fanni Sütő
  6. Surprise by Katharinia Gerlach
  7. In A Picture by Erica Damon
  8. The Past Tastes Better by Karen Lynn
  9. Revealing Space by Barbara Lund
  10. The Rose Tender by Raven O’Fiernan
  11. The Last Sleeping Beauty by Tamara Ruth

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New Covers, Old Books

I promised a post with the new covers I decided on for my already-published collections. With the new collection coming out I wanted to re-brand these so they look like they belong together.

Feel free to comment–I’ll be making final tweaks and uploading the new covers within the next week or so. I’d love to get your feedback. Let me know what you think!

Here are the original and the new cover for Flashes of Magic.

And here are the original and new covers for New Skin.