Promptly Penned ~ April

And the year is zooming by. A quarter done, and after this month, a third, lol. Which means it’s time for another promptly penned. Very cool one this month. Here’s the prompt…

You’ve been able to read people’s thoughts since you were a child. But no one has ever talked back. Until now.

This probably won’t appear exactly in these words, but… the thought will be there. So, sit down, and let’s do this…

Look at her. Dressed like that. All that silky material hugging her body and those shoes… I bet she wants them pressed into my back as I fucking ride her.

Maddison stopped, fingers clenched around her purse, heat burning beneath her skin. She turned to glare at the asshole leaning against a pillar, dressed in a cheap Armani knockoff. The one with beady eyes and greasy hair. Bastard looked every inch the slimy predator he was. The guy narrowed his eyes, staring back for several moments before clearing his throat then disappearing into the crowd. Maddy made a mental note to ID his ass later—after the reception. After her brother had left on his honeymoon. And after she’d faced the same, unending questions. Why wasn’t she married? What had she become a cop? Why didn’t she ever come home?

It wasn’t because she wasn’t willing to answer them. She just knew no one would like the answer. Belay that—no one would believe the answer. Believe that the reason she remained alone, why she never came home—why she’d chosen to join the force—all boiled down to one, unimaginable truth. The voices made her do it.

She snorted. She sounded like the countless psychos she locked up. Except in her case, it was true. But not in a disconnected, batshit crazy sort of way. She actually heard voices. Had heard them for as long as she could remember. Originally, she’d thought everyone had people talking inside their heads. Until she’d realized the voices were other people’s thoughts. Like the creepy asshole thinking her evening gown was her way of asking to be harassed. She couldn’t pinpoint exactly when she’d finally figured it out, only that she went to great lengths to hide it. Saying you had people mumbling away inside your head when you were five was considered cute. An active imagination. Saying you heard people talking when you were fifteen—yeah, it got you a weekend under psychiatric observation at the local hospital.

That minor mishap had been the by-product of experimenting with tequila…never, again. But it had definitely emphasized the need for secrecy. To isolate herself. She’d worked hard to learn how to block others… not that it was perfect. Creepy guy had slipped past her defenses. Though, the stress of being in a room with so many people—of being home and having to face the disappointment of her family—that was enough to tax even her skills.

Maddy drew a deep breath, grabbed a flute of champagne, then headed for the balcony. The sheer exhaustion of trying to remain sane in a sea of unending internal conversations was overwhelming. It was part of the reason she loved working the night shift at the precinct. Only a handful of people around her. And if her ability helped narrow down suspects—it made the curse she’d been living with a bit more bearable.

The cool night air beaded her skin as she stepped onto the small terrace. The sun had set hours ago, but the moon was just starting to rise, casting a warm glow across the yard. Crickets sang in the background, easing some of the tension bunching her shoulders. And for a few precious minutes, she could pretend she was like everyone else. That she was normal.

Normal’s overrated, sweetheart.

Maddison gasped then spun, searching the shadows for the gravelly male voice. Nothing.

She gave herself a shake. Obviously, the strain was getting to her. She’d just finished a huge case. Hadn’t really slept in over a week. And now, having to shield herself from a few hundred wedding guests had pushed her past her limits. Had her hearing voices that weren’t even there.

Is that what you think? That I’m a figment of stress?

Who is this?

You don’t know? I thought you were a detective, Maddison?

She froze. She’d spent the past thirty years dealing with her ability, but in all those years, no one had ever talked back—until now.

The guy laughed, and she had to remind herself he wasn’t there. That no one else heard him before she started speaking out loud. Demanding answers. Before they took her away for more than a weekend, this time.

You’re not crazy. You’re different. Like me. 

Who are you?

Look over your left shoulder.

Maddison swallowed past the tight feeling in her throat then slowly turned. A man stood in the centre of the yard, his shadow stretching out in a long, finger-like shape behind him. He took a step forward, illuminating half his face in the moonlight.

She dropped the glass, barely registering the high-pitched trill as it shattered into tiny pieces, scattering bits of glass across the cement. Some of the shards sparkled in the light, reflecting tiny rainbows of color.

The man took a few hurried steps forward. Maddison? Are you okay?

“Parker?”

She jumped at the sound of her voice, looking around before focusing back on the man who’d been her best friend growing up. The boy next door, in every sense of the word. The one she’d been in love with until she’d realized she’d never have that kind of life. How could she when every tiny flaw she had would be pointed out to her? Not in words but in thoughts. In a way far more damning.

Nothing. Even as she moved to the edge of the terrace, the yard remained empty.

A shiver wove down her spine. Oh, god, was she really going crazy? Had she imagined the whole thing?

A hand landed on her shoulder, and she reacted before she had a chance to think—grabbing the man’s wrist then locking it as she spun behind him, bending him over the railing.

“Really, sweetheart. If you want a bit of rough foreplay, all you have to do is ask.”

“Parker?”

He glanced at her over his shoulder. “Hello, Maddison. It’s been—a while.”

She released him, taking a few quick steps back. She opened her mouth, but all that made it past her throat was a raspy gasp.

Parker smiled as he turned and leaned against the rail, raising her hand when she tried to talk, again. “How about I make you a deal?”

She nodded, knowing anything she said would come out as another pathetic gasp.

“Good. The deal is this—you agree to come home with me, and I’ll answer every question rattling around inside your head.” His smile widened. “And there are a lot of questions in there. I should know. I can hear every one of them.”

She managed to shake off some of the shock. “That’s it? Come over to your place and you’ll answer my questions?”

“Oh, did I forget to mention the part where I don’t plan on us getting any sleep? And yes, that’s code for sex. But before you get out your handcuffs and read me my rights, I’ll remind you that I’ve been able to hear your thoughts since we were kids. So…”

“You mean, all this time, you knew? All this time and you never once mentioned it?”

“Those sound like a questions. Which brings me back to my offer. Spend the night with me, and I promise you’ll get far more than you bargained for. Unless…you’re afraid to know the truth? To be more than a one-off. That is how you live your life, right? You use this…ability as an excuse. To hide behind.” He straightened, then walked past her, pausing at the entrance. “Your choice, Maddison. I’m offering you more than a life spent living in the shadows. Are you brave enough to see what that might be like?”

He held out his hand and waited.

Maddison stared at his palm, finally raising her gaze to his. She sighed then placed her hand in his. “Fine. We’ll start with tonight, and see if you can make me want more. But know this. I’ve spent years fantasizing what this would be like. You’d better live up to the expectations.”

“I do like a challenge.”

Then, you’re in for a hell of a ride.

He chuckled, tightened his grip, then led her out.

 

That’s it for me. Go visit the other lovelies playing along…

Bronwyn  ~  Siobhan

The Best and Worst ~ POV

Hey, it’s time for another Wednesday Random post. Now, first off, sorry this is late. I’m in Vancouver and for some reason, the wi fi would not connect to my WordPress site last night. Tried a dozen times, so…this is late. It connected this morning…no idea what’s going on, but better late than never.

Okay, so the topic this week is the Best and Worse of POVs. Now, I believe it means what I consider the best and worst. And if you don’t know what POV is, it’s Point of View in terms of first, second or third person.

BEST

1 – Third Person Past ~ For me, I’m traditional. The old, he or she said is my favourite POV to both read and write. Maybe it’s because all the books I read growing up were like this (or at least the ones I can remember and enjoyed). Or it’s just a DNA thing, but given the opportunity to read a book that’s either third person or another type, I’ll choose third person. Now note, I said past tense. So it’s along these lines. He walked into the bar, fists clenched, heat burning his skin. NOT… He walks into the bar, heat burns his skin. (God, is that even right? It’s so alien to write I honestly don’t know, lol). Also, I like to have only the POV of the main characters. I don’t want to know what the barber is thinking… thanks but no thanks. I don’t want you to change every paragraph. One per chapter, or two if you’re doing a scene break but that’s it. And I do want to know what all the main characters are thinking, not just the guy or gal. So, if it’s a MF, I want the hero and the heroine. If it’s MM… give me both of those guys. If it’s a ménage, I’d like to know about all of them, too… doens’t have to be equal per se, but at least more than a chapter.

2 – First Person Past ~ I won’t completely shun first person…this is the I said or did something. It’s hugely popular. But, I feel a certain amount of disconnect with First Person. Now, done well, I can definitely get into a story and some of the ladies here write amazing first person past tense. An example of first person past… I looked in the mirror, hating what stared back at me. And like above, past tense not present. My main complaint with first person is that often, we only get to here what’s happening in the main character’s head. So, the author picks who the story is really about and we stay inside that person’s head the entire book. It’s good in that there isn’t any head hopping. But I really like getting inside both of the main characters. Some authors will provide alternating first person POVs in books. I do enjoy this.

But for me to embrace this POV, it has to be done well. I’m not sure I can describe what WELL is, just that I find it easy to be completely disconnected if the writing isn’t that great.

 

WORST

1 – First Person Present ~ This is a new trend, or maybe an old on that I just never read. But I can count on one hand the number of authors that I think can actually pull this POV off and have me enjoy it. I don’t know what it is. I just can’t get into a book written in First Person present. I think part of the issue is I spend a bunch of time switching it to past in my head, lol. And it just feels unnatural. So, if I read an excerpt and it’s first person present, I’m going to pass.

2 – Second Person anything ~ I don’t know if any books exist in complete second person… the you did this and that. I have seen authors slip into this POV in the midst of a third person scene… it happens. I don’t particularly enjoy it, and couldn’t fathom reading a book that way. Again, I don’t think they are out there, but if they are… nope, not for me.

3 – Third Person Present ~ As much as I love third person, make it all present tense for a book, and I won’t read it. I don’t mind blogs written that way. But for an actual novel… I’ll just quietly put that one down.

And that’s it for me. Again, sorry this is late, but it’s up. Now go check out the other two ladies joining in today.

Bronwyn  ~  Gwendolyn

Top 10 ~ Best Things in Life

It seems like this would be easy but it’s not. How do you narrow down the top 10 things in your life? Then, once I started thinking, it was… how do I find 10 top things in my life, lol. But, here goes. There’s no specific order…just a list.

  • Kids/family.  This goes without saying. They drive me to drinking and are the source of grey hairs, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I’m extremely lucky to have 3 amazing kids. And my brother’s okay (did you read that, Norm?) Cassie rocks.
  • Writing.   I love my job. When I’m not bleeding every word… but even then. There’s just something magical when it all just flows.
  • Graphic Art.  I really do love this, as well. Some days I might want to strangle folks, but most of the time, it’s just a whole lot of fun.
  • Working out.  Don’t underestimate what this gives back. It centers me. Helps me focus and makes me a better EVERYTHING.
  • Being Canadian.  I’m extremely fortunate to live in a beautiful place. We might not have it all figured out, but we have made some great advancements. And I feel privileged to salute hockey and the maple leaf. Our money’s pretty, too.
  • Friends.  I know, I could have put this in with family because honestly, I look at a lot of my gal pals as soul sisters. But… They all deserve their own shoutout. Thanks to all the people who help keep me sane. Who inspire and encourage me and talk me down from the ledges. I’m truly blessed.
  • My Furry Friends.  Yeah, I’d like to strangle the cats and the dog a lot, too. But… when they cuddle up beside you, or lay their head on the bed when you’re sick or sad… yeah. Animals make everything better.
  • My health.  Okay, I’m starting to scrounge. But, I am lucky that overall, I’m okay. I know lots of folks who have to deal with medical issues, and I think we sometimes take for granted when we don’t. So… I feel pretty lucky.
  • My sense of humor.  It’s the reason I’m not on the evening news under the words “Most Wanted”. So…. yeah.
  • All things Tim Horton’s.  Or really, just their steeped tea. Don’t judge, people. Haters are just gonna hate… And I’ll be drinking tea smiling and waving.

 

And that’s it for me. Hope on over and see what the other ladies have on their lists.

Bronwyn  ~  Jessica  ~  Gwendolyn  ~  Siobhan  ~  Torrance

 

Promptly Penned ~ March

Time for another promptly penned. I’m actually in a super tough deadline, so… I’m striving for super short. Mostly because I’m writing ALL the other words. Anyway, here is the prompt and here is the resulting story…

“It’s okay. You don’t have to love me.”

“It’s okay. You don’t have to love me.”

Those were the last words Vivian had said to Sully. The last time he’d heard her voice. She’d been standing in the rain, her long blonde hair plastered to her face and jacket—the strands looking more brown than golden as the droplets soaked the thick mass, straightening out the usually bouncy curls. It hadn’t struck him then, the weight of her statement. It had been more like a whisper on the breeze. As if it had come from somewhere else. Someone else. It wasn’t until she’d turned that he’d realized she’d actually spoken. That he’d been so fucking dense, he hadn’t responded when she’d told him she loved him.

Of course he hadn’t responded. He’d been…dumbfounded. And scared. Bone-deep scared. The kind that woke you in a cold sweat. That ate at your gut, making it hard to eat. To freaking breathe. He’d heard those words before. Had believed them, only to end up broken. Alone. So, when Viv had stated it over dinner—just sat there and spoken the words as if it was natural. As if they didn’t change the fucking fabric of space and time—he’d panicked. And shut down. He’d smiled, then changed the direction of the conversation, asking how her next article was going. If she’d managed to get the interview she’d wanted. It had been a dick move. He knew it, but…

This was Vivian. Vivian! His best friend since grade school. Since he’d learned how to tie his shoes, play nice in the sandbox. They’d been through everything together. Love. Loss. Engagements and breakups. She knew better than anyone how he felt about love. That it didn’t exist. That it was merely a by-product of sex and lust, and just as fleeting as the dew on the grass in the morning. Sure, sometimes it hung around for a while, and it was damn sure pretty to look at, but just when you thought you could make it stay, it vanished. There one second then gone. No recourse. Just—emptiness.

So, Sully hadn’t reacted. Had avoided everything because what scared him more—what made his damn body shake—was that he was pretty sure he loved her, too. That the way his pulse kicked up or his mouth lifted into a smile, all by itself, whenever she was around, was a definite indication there was more going on here than simple friendship. That wanting to talk to her before bed every night, then, again, first thing in the morning had some serious ramifications. The way he’d check his shirt to see if he could still smell her perfume or listen to a message she’d left him just to hear her voice wasn’t what “just friends” did. And he didn’t know what to do. How to move beyond it because if he was right—if love really was just an illusion like the woman vanishing inside the box—then he was going to lose more than his heart. He’d lose his soul because Viv was his best friend. His other half.

He hadn’t replied. Had stood there, his brain seven steps behind, until it had finally caught up. And he’d realized, in that split second, that he’d lose her either way. And wasn’t it stupid to have his world implode without trying? Without telling her he loved her, too, and maybe, just maybe, she wasn’t the kind of dew that misted away. Maybe she was the magic kind, like that stupid snowman in the Christmas show—made from magical snow that didn’t melt or at least came back to life. Something. Anything. But as soon as he’d taken a step, called out her name…she was gone.

Lost.

“It’s okay. You don’t have to love me.”

“But…I do love you. I’ve always loved you.” Sully stared at the tombstone, her name etched across the grey surface. Beloved daughter. Beloved sister. But where was beloved wife? Beloved friend who’d died on that dark rainy night as she’d turned back to face him and stepped into the road. Where was the love?

And that’s it for me, folks. Told you it would be super short. Now, jump on over and see what the other ladies have.

Bronwyn  ~  Jessica  ~  Siobhan  ~  Gwendolyn  ~  Paige

Flash Fiction ~ Blue Abstract

So, I was seriously debating whether I’d be here this week. I have heavy deadlines and am beginning renovations, so… my time is so tight. But, I’ll give it a whirl. Honestly, I looked at this image and was like… yeah, how do you make that into a story. I’m fairly certain it’s tree cracks and rings with a blue overlay, but… I wouldn’t bet my life on that. There’s only one way for me to make this work. I’m revisiting a couple of good ole boys from the past. When last we saw them, they were either in a tent beneath the northern lights, or getting married. I can’t honestly remember and becauseI had a different wordpress site then, I’m not sure what the URLs are but… no matter. Let’s just jump right in. Here’s the photo and here’s the resulting story…

 

“What the hell is that?”

Seth groaned, punching Kent in the shoulder. “What does it look like, jackass?”

Kent tilted his head to the left, squinted, then tilted it to the right. “Seriously, Seth? Is that some kind of trick question? It looks like…”

“Art, you moron. It’s art.”

Kent chuckled. “It’s a bunch of lines.”

“The word you’re searching for is abstract.”

“What’s abstract is your taste in art.” Kent glanced at him. “And where is said art going?”

Seth punched him, again. Harder. Not hard enough to hurt, but enough to show Kent he thought Kent was finally looking…better. Colour had returned to his cheeks, and his skin had lost that loose look from severe hydration. Or in Kent’s case, blood loss. “Are you sure you’re back to normal? Or is your brain still playing catch up from going toe to toe with that vamp?”

Red slashes rose along Kent’s face. Nothing like a bit of teasing to rouse Kent’s hunter instincts. The ones that had somehow kept him alive when others would have died. Shit, Seth wasn’t sure he would have survived, not after losing three liters of blood. At that point, most people were long past hemorrhagic shock and well on their way to death. It was just a matter of time—organs shutting down. The brain slowly dimming then turning off. But not Kent. He’d managed to stagger to his feet and stake the vamp when the bastard had wrapped one hand around Seth’s neck. Slit a line across his chest with one, black claw, determined to watch him die, slowly before draining any remaining blood.

Fucker had paid with his immortal life. But damn, had Seth been scared. He’d carried Kent to the car, made him mumble the entire way to the hospital. Seth didn’t even remember the drive. One minute, he was shoving Kent in the passenger side, keeping pressure on the twin wounds on his neck. The next, he was carrying his partner—his lover—through a set of silver sliding doors, and a slew of lab coats and scrubs had appeared. He didn’t even remember the faces—just those clothes and a bunch of arms and hands… all grabbing Kent. Starting lines, pushing meds. There were voices and bright lights, and then nothing until the doctor told him Kent would make it. Barely. But in this instance, barely counted.

Seth assumed he’d given the doctor some kind of lame ass story—getting mugged, fighting back, one of the perps using some weird weapon—all the while wondering if his life was about to end. If the better part of him—the biggest part of him—was going to wither and die.

Kent gave him a shove. It was decent. Nearly hard enough to push Seth off-balance, but substantial. Which meant Kent was getting better. Stronger.

Kent glared at him. “Well enough to kick your ass.”

“I’d settle for you pounding it, but it’s a bit soon for that.” He laughed when Kent’s eyes darkened. Good. Thinking about sex meant he was definitely getting stronger. “And I thought I’d put it above the bed.”

“Fuck, no.”

“It took us six months to find a place we could actually call home. One you deemed safe enough. But the loft is pretty damn small and doesn’t provide for a lot decorating room.”

“It’s not going in the bedroom. I’m finally feeling like I might actually get back out there. The last thing I need is to have some creepy-ass painting watching me while I sleep.”

Seth laughed. “Dude. It’s a painting. It doesn’t watch anything.”

“Yeah? Do you remember how Parkins got that slash across his face?”

Seth scoffed. “Some gypsy had cast a spell and entombed that slasher freak into the photo. The one of him. This is just a fractal wood pattern with a blue filter. Nothing to come alive and kill us while we sleep. Guaranteed.”

“Right, so that little heart image in the center?”

“Now, you notice. That’s why I got it. It symbolizes love.”

“Or it starts beating when the lights go out.”

Seth laughed. “It’s supposed to be romantic. Christ, I thought you’d clue in. See that it had an ulterior meaning.”

Kent’s eyes narrowed a second before he grabbed Seth’s shirt and dragged him over, settling his lips on Seth’s. A few seconds of flesh-on-flesh contact and Kent was twisting Seth’s mouth open and delving inside. A hint of coffee teased Seth’s senses as he closed his eyes and savored the feel of Kent’s knuckles digging into his chest, his muscles flexing beneath Seth’s fingers as he palmed Kent’s arms, slowly smoothing them up his biceps to his shoulders. Kent hummed against his mouth then eased back, resting his forehead on Seth’s.

Kent grinned. “That had ulterior motives. Your painting…”

“Fine, it can go on that wall by the fireplace.”

“Great. And tonight, we’ll sit there until I’m sure nothing is coming out of the damn thing.”

Seth bit back his smile. His plan was working perfectly. “How about I make you a deal?”

Kent ached a brow.

“If, by three am, nothing has jumped out and tried to gut us, I get to spend the rest of the night worshipping your body.”

Kent’s mouth quirked. “And if we do have to fight off the monster with the blue heart?”

“Same wager.”

“So, no matter what happens, whether you’re right or wrong… You win?”

Seth brushed his mouth over Kent’s, licking his lower lip then pulling back before Kent could take it further. “Actually, I’ll make damn sure it’s you who wins. As many times as you’ll let me.”

Kent’s mouth lifted into a stunning smile. “Deal.”

 

And that’s it for me. Please visit the other ladies and see what they came up with.

Bronwyn  ~  Jessica  ~  Gwendolyn

Top 10 ~ Disney Movies

Welcome to the last Wednesday in February! Wow, time is flying by. This week’s post is all about Disney. Now, I’m not sure if it’s just supposed to be Disney before Pixar, but… I’m including the combos because some of them are my faves.

Anyway, here’s my list. I’m not putting them in order because my favorite changes based on my mood.

Beauty and the Beast — The music. The beast. Yeah, don’t crush my dreams by looking at all the plot holes. Just sing with me… little town, it’s a quiet village…

The Incredibles — OMG.. what isn’t there to love about this movie. Even the villain is hilarious. And Jack-Jack. Priceless. I loved the voices too.

I FREAKING LOVE THIS PART.

Up — First off… why must they make you cry? When it started out with them as kids, and I KNEW it was about him when he was older… I was all… OMG… she dies. And I knew I was going to freaking cry. But I loved everything else about this. The dog… Kevin… Kevin’s a girl?

Toy Story — I knew I wasn’t the only one who believed their toys were alive. This is now a classic, I guess. But a great one.

Cars — I love how they put in all the small details for the parents. Like Arnie being a Hummer… classic.

The Little Mermaid — I had to skip the shark part when the kids were young. Apparently it was too scary, lol. And I sang Part of Your World to Syd as a bedtime song FOREVER….

Winnie the Pooh — Hands down, one of the most iconic movies, EVER. And NO SCARY PARTS. For a long time, this was the only movie my kids would watch because nothing scared them.

Tangled — I LOVE THIS MOVIE. Probably my current fave… Max… he’s like the icing on the cake.

The Emperor’s New Groove — I use more one-liners from this movie than any other. Loved it. Cronk is one of my all-time fave characters, ever.

Hercules — The way they really made the characters look like the ‘live’ actors… Hades.. he was so great.

 

And that’s it for me. Hop on over and see what the other ladies say…

Bronwyn  ~  Jessica  ~  Gwendolyn  ~  Siobhan

 

The Perfect Lazy Day

Now, I know this is going to come as a shocking surprise to all, but I’m not much of a Lazy Day person. I know!!!! Honestly, I feel way better if I do at least an hour of something challengingly active. Running, kick boxing, hiking… I don’t care. For me, it makes the lounging around later that much sweeter…  but we all need rest days so..

My Perfect Lazy Day.

I’m a night owl, so, it would start with NO alarm. My god, I love waking up naturally. Now, I might not really sleep that much later but… definitely a bit of bed lounging would be nice. (If I had a significant other, nasty lovely things would be happening next.)

Tea. I need tea. An extra large Tim Horton’s steeped tea would be waiting for me… hopefully with a yogurt and berries.

I’d get comfy in my favorite chair and read for a while, because I love reading. And it’s something I don’t always make time for. But on this day, hell yeah.

Now, it’s a perfect day, that means perfect weather. So, I’d step outside and take the dog for a long walk. Nothing fills my inner peace jar like some quality time in the woods. No bugs. No sounds of technology. Just me, Bandit and nature. If I was really lucky, some time spent on the water would coincide with this. Kayaking along a lake or in the ocean… yeah, that’s perfect.

Having found inner peace (let me dream) I think I’d love to have a massage. All those knots and aches…oh yeah. Gone.

No perfect day would be complete without a bout of Netflix binging. Maybe it’s Supernatural. Maybe it’s the new season go RWBY. Or, maybe I’ll make a dent in all the episodes of Fairy Tale I haven’t gotten to, yet. But kicking back with one or more of the teenagers..(it’ll be Jared. It’s always Jared) is a great way to relax.

Someone else would make dinner (This never happens, but this is my dream, people. Don’t crush it.)

Thinking to end it off, a round of cards or some kind of game with the kids. We don’t play near enough, but it’s a laugh fest when we do.

I might spend the last couple of hours in bed, writing.

Now, if I had a partner… well, let’s just say there would be other items added in, but… since it’s easier to stroll across the plains of Mordor undetected than successfully date or find the special guy so…

 

And that’s pretty much it. I don’t have grandiose plans. I wonder what the other ladies have for their perfect day?

Bronwyn  ~  Jessica  ~  Jessica DLR

Gwendolyn  ~  Torrance

Song Fiction ~ Angel With a Shotgun

It’s February and in stunning West Coast fashion, we get a freaking snow storm. Not anything to do with this post, but…. I’m so over winter already. And we haven’t even had it that bad.

Anyway, this month’s song is Angel With a Shotgun, by The Cab. I’ve never heard of this song, or this band. But damn, one listen and I love this song… Kinda making me wish I was writing Lucifer right now! Though, he’s never expecting Heaven to take him back, lol. If you want to give the song a listen here’s the video. Despite really enjoying the tune, I’ve got nothing. Been thinking all day and still, nothing. And the one thought that springs to mind… well… not sure it fits the bill, but guess it’s what you’re gonna get. And it’s super short so… you’re welcome.

“Thank god, you’re here.”

Clay nearly tripped over his own feet as Sarah grabbed his hand and yanked him into the room. He stumbled to a halt, almost taking them both to the floor when she threw herself at him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders as she hyperventilated against his neck.

Clay held her close, stroking one hand down her hair. “Easy, sweetheart. Everything’s going to be okay.”

She stiffened then pulled back, swiping angrily at the tears dotting her cheeks. “Okay? Nothing is okay, Clay. And it won’t—” She gasped as shouts and screams sounded through the walls a second before loud crash shook the floor. “Oh, god. It’s starting, again.”

Clay eased forward, tugging her close, as he smiled against her hair. “Take a deep breath for me.”

“I can’t. I have to stop them.”

“You have to breathe for me, first. Come on.”

She hiccuped her next breath against his neck.

“Slower. Try to match mine.” He took a few deep breaths, relaxing when she finally calmed enough her chest rose and fell with his. “Better. Now, why don’t you stay in here for a few minutes and let me deal with this.”

She shook her head, eyes wide, her pale skin dotted with a light sweat. “I can’t let you do that. Shit, I never should have called you. But…I didn’t know who else to turn to? If my brother ever finds out how much I fucked this one, stupid thing up…”

“Shhh, you did the right thing. And Roy’s never gonna know. We’ll have this place back to normal long before he and Trixie get back. Promise.”

“How can you be so calm when you’re about to face…” She jumped when the something hit the wall just beside the closed door, glancing back at it. “They’re demons. Every. Single. One.”

“Then, I guess it’s a good thing I have some experience dealing with demons.”

She whipped her head around, staring at him as if she’d never seen him before. “Experience?”

“Just…trust me.” He pointed to the counter. “Is that up next?”

She nodded. “I tried once, already, but they swarmed me.”

“They’re like animals. They smell fear.”

“This isn’t funny. I thought I was ready. That it would be simple. Play some games, be their friend, but…” She met his gaze. “They turned on me. And… I panicked.”

“This isn’t a typical day. Ron set you up to fail, you know that, right?”

She shrugged.

“Hey, you were smart enough to call for backup. That’s way more than most people would do. The war’s not over, yet.” He picked up the tray. “Do me a favor? Wait until it’s quiet then join me. And bring the cleaning supplies.”

Her mouth gaped open as he winked at her then headed for the door. “Clay!”

Clay paused at the threshold. “Yeah, sweetheart?”

“Why? Why are you doing this for me? Facing…them?”

He frowned. “Because I love you.”

A few more tears fell as she worked up a smile. “This might go beyond that.”

“Love’s a battlefield. If I wasn’t prepared to fight until the end, I never would have started.”

He turned, opened the door, then stepped into the living room. “All right, you little monsters. There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s armed with cake. Who wants a piece?”

See? Oh well, it’s what you got. Now, venture off to the others and enjoy their stories.

Bronwyn  ~  Jessica  ~  Siobhan

Promptly Penned ~ February Monsters

It’s Valentine’s Day, not that I celebrate it. Well, maybe if I actually had a boyfriend, I would, but… That’s okay. Now, I don’t have to worry about there being chocolate in the house 🙂  Anyway, this month’s prompt is an interesting one…

Her/His life changed when she/he learned the monsters were protecting her.

So, without further ado, here’s the resulting story…

Lexi ran down the narrow alleyway, lungs burning, the muscles in her legs starting to cramp. Every step felt heavier. Slower. As if the air had somehow thickened around her, pushing back against her as fiercely as she tried to forge ahead. Pain radiated up her side, settling with unforgiving force in her chest. She wouldn’t last more than another few minutes—not with the wound still oozing blood—staining her skin and clothes a dark red. She chanced a glance behind her. Two of the castle’s guards followed her through the twisting cobblestone roads, slowly gaining ground. She focused in front of her, wondering where the third guard was, when she caught a flicker of movement off to her left.

She leaned back, threw her feet out in front of her, and slid along the slick stones as the other guard’s sword swiped through the air where she should have been, the blade’s tip scoring the stone wall. Sparks glinted in the darkness before falling to the ground like dying fireflies. Lexi scrambled back to her feet, chanting the only spell she had the strength left to cast. Footsteps pounded the road behind her followed by the whoosh of a sword cutting through the air. The hairs on her neck prickled, and she closed her eyes, anticipating the strike when everything paused. She swallowed, glancing at the silver metal blade poised beside her neck. One inch. But it was enough.

The pain in her side flared, tripping her to her knee before she managed to stagger away, the bonds of the spell already weakening. She kept moving, one shaky step after another, until she reached the edge of the cemetery. Towering monoliths stretched out before her, the stone markers scattered across the field. A smile twitched her lips, and she took several more steps across the boundary before finally stopping. Shouts rang out behind her, the men’s voices drowned out by the sudden cackling of crows as they took flight, blocking out the glow of the moon before disappearing into the forest behind her. The guards clattered to a halt, swords raised, their heavy pants echoing through the night.

“Enough!” One of the men walked to the edge of the grounds, glancing at the gathering of headstones. “There’s nowhere left for you to hide, mage. Cross over, and I promise your death will be swift.”

She smiled, bracing against one of the graves when her legs trembled. “If you want my head that badly, sir, come and get it.”

The man narrowed his eyes, glancing at the crude barrier of stone and earth before looking back at his comrades. The others shook their heads, taking a noticeable step back.

The man huffed, then spun. “Do you really think a bunch of stories spun to scare children will stop me? This land is nothing more than a tribute to the dead. There are no such thing as monsters.”

Lexi cocked her head to the side. “If that’s truly what you believe, then, why am I still breathing?”

He shifted his weight to his other foot, once again, staring at the edge of the road. “You’re a fool. If, through some dark sorcery, the monsters are real, then you’re dead either way.”

“Then, I suppose there’s no need for you to take that final strike. Leave now, and you might live to try, again, another day.”

“You’re bluffing.”

He sneered at her, placed one foot on the muddy ground, then froze. His eyes widened, the white quickly eclipsing the black as shadows rose from beneath the ground, slowly taking shape. Growls filled the air as claws scratched across the rough stone. The guard scrambled away, joining the other men several feet back.

Lexi pushed off the headstone, motioning to the creatures amassing around her. “It would seem you’re mistaken. The monsters are quite real.”

His mouth hinged open, quickly replaced by a smug grin. “Then, you’re the one who’s made the mistake. I’m just sorry I won’t get to be the one to see justice served.”

“Justice? What do you know about justice? You serve an evil king who’d rather watch his people starve than lower his taxes. You kill women and children over crusts of bread. I’m afraid it’s me who will see justice served this night.”

“You? You’re the only one still stuck on sacred land. The one about to be killed by the very legends you’d hoped would save you.”

“Am I?” She turned when a massive bear-like creature stopped beside her, smiling up at it before focusing back on the men. “You see, this isn’t the first time I’ve come here. Several years ago, a man very much like yourself chased me in here, then left me to die. I nearly made it to the edge of the forest before passing out. When I awoke, I was surrounded by the beasts you see before you. That’s when I discovered an unusual truth.” She took another step. “The monsters, as you call them, are here to protect me.” She gave them a wry smile. “I’d start running if I were you.”

And that’s it for me. Please visit the rest of the ladies and see what they came up with.

Bronwyn ~ Jessica ~ Gwendolyn ~ Siobhan

Top Ten ~ Things I Should Do, But Don’t

The first Top Ten post of the new year… and it’s all in my new home at WordPress. So happy I made the leap. Here’s to having more fun making more sites, lol. Okay, now onto the post. I’m not taking this one as in a “what does society think I should do” because other than not being a psychopathic serial murderer, I think I’m a decent enough person. So, I don’t subscribe really to what society thinks I should or shouldn’t do. But there are lots of things I should do for myself. To make “me” better. And isn’t that what we’re all striving for? To be the best us? Here’s my list, but in no particular order because they are all things I should be doing…

  • Sleep more. Though, in my defense, it’s not always my fault, but… I know I often choose to skip out on sleep because that’s where I can get more time. I always say “I can sleep when I’m dead,” but better self-care in this area should happen.
  • Find balance. I tend to be an all-or-nothing kind of person and often give up one thing to do another because I feel like I’m way behind or something. I’m working on this. I know I tend to go to extremes… though that might just be a personality trait, lol.
  • Learn to say “no” more. Pretty sure this doesn’t need an explanation. And this is a hard one for me.
  • Drink more water. I know… I’m better than I used to be but not where I know I should be.
  • Be more confident in myself. In some areas, I’m okay. Others….so not there. And we all know believing in yourself is half the battle.
  • Learn to slow down and appreciate things more. In the immortal words of Ferris Buller…

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once in awhile, you might miss it.

  • Market my jobs better. I know I have to promote myself to sell books, to get more cover/graphic orders. I’m trying, bit it’s not something I enjoy, so it’s one thing that gets pushed aside. I really need to be better about this.
  • Learn to… Let it go, let it go… yes, sing with me. I’m getting better, but I still get bogged down by guilt or anger about something that already happened. Or… I get obsessively worried or worked up about something that hasn’t even happened, yet. (Did I mention I went to extremes?)
  • Make time for other interests. This is hard. Work is always there and with kids and interruptions, it feels like it takes ten hours to get in five. But, I should step away a bit more often. Get back to playing the piano or finally learn Spanish. Maybe take that kick-boxing class.
  • Be comfortable in my own skin. John Mayer has a new album out and there’s this song… In The Blood. One line there sums everything up perfectly…

And what about this feeling that I’m never good enough? Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?

And that’s it for me, folks. I wonder what the other ladies said and if I’m way off-mark, lol.

Jessica ~ Bronwyn ~ Siobhan ~ Deelylah ~ Gwendolyn ~ Torrance