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

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)