Big Enough–Blog Hop April 2019

This month–heck, this whole year–has gotten away from me without much productivity to show for it. So far.

I looked at the calendar and realized that, oops, the Blog Hop was upon me and I didn’t have a story ready and no chance at all that I’d have time to pull one together. So I went prospecting. I found this story that I wrote several years back and decided to re-use it here. It’s not available in print anywhere–it was a blog exclusive.

So here it is again.

For those who have been following me for some time, please note that I have a new email server. Only a handful of you have signed up to my new list, so if you want to get occasional updates from me in your inbox, please join me!

And please, think about clicking through to the other stories by the other writers on the hop. You might find a story that changes your life. Seriously… you never know! 😀

Big Enough

“I’m not a baby.” Dylissa muttered to herself as she stomped through the woods. “I’m seven-and-a-half years old, and I’m BIG ENOUGH!” She shouted the last two words at nobody in particular.

In fact, Dylissa being big enough was, in large part, what she was proving to everybody by running away. At seven-and-a-half, Dylissa was braver than many who were twice, or even three-times, as old and as big as she was.

The problem, in her eyes, was that nobody ever let her do anything. When her brother Alpin went to sword practice, Dylissa was sent to the kitchen to help Cook make biscuits. When her sister Lexine trained on horses, Dylissa was sent to the governess to practice her reading.

Dylissa found the differences in their training hugely unfair, despite the fact that everyone told her that when Alpin and Lexine were seven-and-a half they had to do kitchen chores and lessons, too. “It’s just not fair,” she grumbled. And as she grumbled, she wandered further into the forest.

Presently, as seven-and-a-half-year-olds often do, Dylissa found that she was tired and her feet hurt. She found a nice pile of leaves beneath a tree, collapsed onto it, and felt tears sting her eyes.

She scrubbed at her cheeks, willing herself not to cry, when a great rumbling shook the woods around her. She looked around warily, wondering what could have made the noise. In the dim light of dusk, a flicker of amber light between the trees drew her gaze.

Fire? She decided she should go check; fire could destroy the entire forest. dragon-29761_1280

Hurrying towards the light, Dylissa soon found herself in a small clearing, facing the smallest dragon she could imagine. The beast shimmered a shimmery red over its green scales, and it blew small but intense flames out it’s bulbous nose. It was about the size of her father’s hunting dog.

Covering her mouth to stifle a nervous giggle, Dylissa inched closer to the fearsome creature. She couldn’t resist–it was just too cute.

When she was close enough, she reached over and gingerly patted the tiny dragon’s back. The animal turned yellow eyes toward her, causing Dylissa to take a step backwards. But as it moved towards her, she noticed that it had a limp.

A cloud of concern crossed the little girl’s face. “What’s ‘a matter?” Dylissa asked. The dragon held up a forepaw with a thorn wedged between two scaly toes. She forgot to be nervous as she quickly swooped forward and deftly pulled out the splinter.

As the sliver came free, a single drop of the dragon’s green blood smeared Dylissa’s fingers. She felt a tingle as her hand warmed. The dragon pushed it’s forehead against her arm and she was sure she could hear it… Thank you.

Just then she heard her name echoing through the forest.

“They’re coming for us,” she told her new companion. “They’re bigger than me, but I won’t let them hurt you.” She snatched up a nearby stick, held it aloft like a sword, and prepared to stand her ground against all foes.

“Dylissa!” Her father nearly ran to her, but stopped short as he noticed the weapon she held.

Frowning at her father, who was now surrounded by Alpin, Lexine, and several members of the household staff, Dylissa stood as straight as she could. “You can’t take him,” she said.

“I can’t take who?” Father’s eyes widened in shock as the mossy rock behind his youngest daughter lifted its head and blew a tiny spurt of flame in his direction.

Lexine screamed. Alpin drew his dagger. Someone collapsed in a heap; Dylissa suspected it was her governess.

“You can’t take him,” she repeated, brandishing her stick.

Father stared at her a moment, no longer looking surprised. Dylissa could tell when he decided. He got that look.

“Dylissa,” he said, “you are seven-and-a-half and I believe you’re big enough to train this beast. If you’re brave enough to try, we will call down the Beast Master and you will begin lessons next week.”

A smile split her face as she ran to her Father’s open arms, the miniature dragon on her heels.

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.
>> YOU ARE HERE << Big Enough by Elizabeth McCleary
Grumpy Old Demeter by Vanessa Wells
Say Please By J. Q. Rose
Provoking the Muse by Moira K. Brennan
It all Started… by Bill Bush
Zombies by Barbara Lund
Before The Dreams by Katharina Gerlach
To Wake A God by Juneta Key
The Sprite In The Well by Angela Wooldridge
Something  Different by Karen Lynn
0 – The Fool by Raven O’Fiernan

How To Write A Novel

The utterly epic How to Write a Novel by Holly Lisle is open again, for a few days only. And this is the last time it will ever be available at the early bird price.

So if you’ve ever thought you might want to write a novel, but didn’t know where to start, or how to middle, or when to end… this is the class for you.

Check it out now before time is up!

Note that this is an affiliate link. I will receive compensation if you purchase through this link, but it won’t cost you anything extra. And, as always, I only recommend things that I use and believe in. If you take this class and follow through, you will learn how to write a novel. Full stop.

Ends Monday April 8, 2019 10:00:00 pm ET

Oh yeah… I have news…

Grumpy Old Gods cover

Grumpy Old Gods–Storm Dance Publications (affiliate link)

I think I missed mentioning it… I’m in an anthology! It’s coming out this month, and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

The title is Grumpy Old Gods, and the concept was to write about a god–either from an established mythology or a new one–who is old, decrepit, or otherwise waning in power. I chose to invent the God of Morning for my story.

The book is available now for pre-order on Amazon! Don’t miss out!

And, in related news, I have a featured post on the StormDance Publications blog. Go check it out and take a look at the other authors in the book while you’re there.

 

 

Duty–Blog Hop January 2019

This month’s story is shorter than my usual. Sci-fi this time around. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Duty

Klaxons blare. Red lights flash. The sound of running feet echoes from every direction.

Over the public address system, a gentle female voice speaks in tones completely at odds with the urgency of the alarm.

This is not a drill. The ship is under attack. All hands, please report to your designated duty stations.

I step out of the room and glance in both directions. Then I begin running, too. This is no time to be caught standing still.

This is not a drill.

At the intersection of each corridor I slow to be sure I’m not going to collide with someone, then continue running.

The ship is under attack.

My route would  seem random to someone not familiar with the ship’s architecture. Right. Left. Left. Straight. Right. Right. But I’ve been trained in the extensive security measures on this vessel, which include intentionally confusing layouts for crew quarters, work spaces, and even engineering access.

Saboteurs can’t damage what they can’t find.

All hands, please report to your designated duty stations.

After several minutes, the alarm stops sounding, though the lights continue to flash. The voice keeps repeating her message.

This is not…

I keep moving. Left. Left. Right. Straight.

…a drill. The ship…

Now I have the corridors to myself—all hands have presumably arrived at their duty stations.

Everyone but me. I am still making my way to the launch bay.

I’ve only been onboard for a week.

…is under attack.

I run, my breathing heavy. Up two decks. Through an access tube. Left. Right. Right.

All hands, please…

Crews are getting ready for multiple launches. They are preparing a return assault on enemy vessels.

…report to your…

I board a small ship. A shuttle, not a fighter. This vehicle was never meant for battle.

It doesn’t matter. I may as well be invisible for all the attention I get. They only see their own jobs.

…designated duty stations.

I’m in the silence of space when it happens–my shuttle suddenly surrounded by debris when an explosion tears a hole in the command module of the ship I’ve just evacuated.

Mission accomplished.

But I… I am still running. Back toward my designated duty station.

Running back home.

 

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. Duty, by Elizabeth McCleary **YOU ARE HERE**
  2. The Footnote, Karen Lynn
  3. The Monster Under The Bed, by Nic Steven
  4. Field Trip to the UFO Museum, by Bill Bush
  5. Scary Monsters and Other Friends, by Lisa Stapp
  6. Morning Has Broken, by Katharina Gerlach
  7. Good Honest Work, by Chris Wight
  8. Bad For Business, by Gina Fabio
  9. The Last Friday, by Raven O’Fiernan
  10. Lost And Found, by Angela Wooldridge
  11. Bia Trevi’s Worldly Eats, by Barbara Lund
  12. Hunting Bob, Vanessa Wells
  13. Don’t Drink The Water, by Juneta Key

 

The Advent Calendar is live!

I probably should have posted this on Saturday. But it was Saturday.

I forgot.

Anyway, no harm. No foul. The Indie Author’s Advent Calendar is live, and new stories will be revealed each day until Christmas. Click the link to get the stories. And if you want the bonuses, sign up for the email reminders while you’re there. (Cat doesn’t ever spam, and that list will get you nothing but these emails. It’s a safe and very quiet list.)

Enjoy the stories!

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