SONG FLASH FICTION ~ NICKELBACK

Okay, so obviously it’s no surprise who chose this. I unapologetically love Nickelback. I know some of the other ladies might not love me for picking another song by these guys, but… what can I say.  Anyway, I love this song because it’s very inspirational for me. It’s on my running track and always gives me that extra push when I’m reaching my limit. If you haven’t heard it, and are brave enough to give it a listen, the video’s below. I decided to continue with Seth and kent. Their latest snippet was March Photo Fiction. Otherwise, here’s the story…

 

“Foster party, you’re up next.”

Seth stopped fidgeting with his tie as he watched the older man smile, then slip back into the other room. Laughter filled the sliver of space before it cut off as the door snapped shut, dulling the sounds into nothing more than mumbled voices. He swallowed against the flutter of nervous energy through his chest, making it suddenly hard to breathe. The unnaturally bright waiting area dimmed until a loud blast of music broke through his haze.

He jumped, glancing at Kent. His partner stood off to one side, a clipboard in one hand, pen in the other. Kent shook his head, placing the items on the counter against the wall before retrieving his cell. He answered, his voice so hushed Seth couldn’t make out what the man was saying. Kent furrowed his brow, giving Seth the ‘one minute’ sign before secluding himself to the far end of the room.

Seth groaned inwardly then paced to the window on the opposite wall. Sunlight brightened the patch of lawn beyond the glass, casting long shadows across the sidewalk and street. A strip of orange coloured the sky in the distance, as the orb dipped toward the west.

The door behind Seth sprang open amid a round of laughter and a shower of confetti. A man and a woman dashed into the room, hands clasped together, jubilant smiles curving their lips. The guy pulled the girl to a stop, dipping her down for a long, slow kiss before leading her out.

Seth swallowed again, noting the bitter taste of fear on his tongue. What was he doing? Did he really think he and Kent had a chance? That they’d beat the odds and find a way to keep this…thing…between them from turning into dust and ash? That their jobs wouldn’t bleed out every ounce of joy from their lives until even love wasn’t enough to banish the shadows that followed them like a ever-present cloud? And if that wasn’t enough, Seth had to live each day knowing it could be his last. Or worse…Kent’s.

Panic chilled his skin, settling like a rock in his gut. This was crazy. He was crazy. What had possibly possessed him to ever think this was a good idea? Especially when they didn’t know a single hunter, yet, who’d gotten their happily ever after. Who had managed to make any kind of relationship work. True, they knew full well what they were getting themselves into, and had managed to forge ahead these past few months, but this…this meant so much more. This made it real. Made what he felt for Kent real.

Seth glanced at the man in question. Christ, just watching him standing there, talking, shouldn’t make Seth’s legs feel weak or his damn heart race. Shouldn’t make him smile in spite of the fear still churning his stomach. And it sure as hell shouldn’t make him want to close the distance between them and take the other man’s mouth in his. Feel Kent surrender into the kiss, his tongue sweeping across Seth’s. There was always a moment of anticipation before Kent’s taste filled his senses, and Seth swore he’d gladly drown in the man’s scent. That he’d give up a hundred years living safely on the sidelines if it meant just one more day with the jerk.

God, I’m such a fucking pussy.

He needed to grow a set. He fought demons and won. Surely he could manage to keep a few promises to the one person who meant more to him than any one else. Who he’d die for a thousand times over.

A hand touched his shoulder, and he spun, grabbing the other man by the collar. He blinked a few times before he realized it was the old guy who’d taken down their names.

Seth cringed, taking a moment to smooth the man’s jacket. “Sorry about that, I’m just a bit…”

“Nervous?” The older man laughed. “Par for the course, my boy. Few that come through those doors aren’t. I just wanted to know if you’d picked a song.”

“A song?”

“For when you walk through? Everyone picks a song.”

Seth swallowed again, doing his best not to choke. “Right.” He took the sheet the man handed him, trying to remember the name to a song they both like. Fuck, the name to any song. He glanced at Kent, then scribbled the title across the blank page. “This one.”

The man furrowed his brow. “That’s not one we usually get. It’s…”

“Perfect.” Seth smiled as Kent shoved his cell in his pocket then locked his gaze on him. “It’s absolutely perfect.”

“If you insist…”

Seth chuckled as the guy walked back through the doors, mumbling to himself.

Kent arched a brow as he joined him, glancing at the door as it shuddered closed. “Do I want to know what that was all about?”

Seth stared at him, mesmerized by the way his mouth moved when he talked. The collection of fine lines around his eyes and across the bridge of his nose. The guy was fucking breath-taking…and he was Seth’s.

Kent frowned, giving him a slap in the shoulder. “Dude! Should I be worried about that look on your face?” He scrubbed a hand back through his hair. “Shit! You’re not getting cold feet, are you? Because you said you were ready. You said you wanted this.”

“Me? Wuss out? Please. I’m the brawn in this relationship, remember?” He leaned in, brushing his mouth over Kent’s. “Besides, everybody needs to take a leap of faith. And I can’t think of anyone I’d rather jump for than you.”

Kent narrowed his eyes, giving Seth the once over. “You drank tequila, didn’t you? You always get so damn dramatic when you drink Patrón.”

“Maybe I’ve discovered something far stronger than alcohol.”

Kent’s expression softened. “Are you going to be this sappy the entire trip? Because we have a possible ghoul sighting. Not that I said we’d do anything about it considering what we’re about to do, but…the honeymoon can only last so long.”

Seth sighed, feeling the fear fade into the warm sensation in his chest. “Who needs a honeymoon when I’m already happy with the way things are. I’ll make you a deal…” He pushed into Kent’s chest, making the man grab his shoulders so he didn’t fall. “We say the vows, then go hunt us a ghoul. And then…” Seth whistled. “Then I get to use those silver cuffs for something far more interesting.”

Kent studied him, looking as if he could see right through Seth before breaking into a wide smile. “Deal.” He grabbed Seth when he went to move back. “Now, what was all that scribbling about?”

“Foster party?”

They glanced over at the man standing in the doorway.

He nodded. “It’s time.”

Kent arched a brow. “You sure? Because the last thing I want is to screw this up. I love you. That’s enough.”

“The hell it is. You like vows. And certificates and belonging. And I’m discovering I like that, too. So shut your pie hole and walk with me down that aisle.”

Kent laughed, stopping when the music started up. “Seriously, Seth?”

“I know. It’s perfect. So what are we waiting for…”

 

And that’s it for me. Go visit the other ladies….

Bronwyn  ||  Jessica  ||  Deelylah

 

 

Promptly Penned ~ March

This month, the prompt is…

Three more days of this.

Here we go….

promptlypenned

“To Lizzy and Darryl. Enjoy your last few days of bachelorhood because before this long weekend is up, you’ll be chained together by the bonds of marriage.”

Bailey Harrington groaned inwardly at her uncle’s toast, downing the entire glass of champagne in one, long pull as everyone cheered her sister’s impending wedding. She stopped one of the waiters as he dodged past her, grabbing another flute off the tray before giving him a sweet smile. The man arched a brow, looking as if he was considering taking the glass back, before shrugging then continuing through the crowd.

That’s right. Keep on moving.

How anyone was going to get through this event without a blood alcohol level of ninety proof was a mystery to her. Especially when they were all essentially trapped in the overly priced venue for the weekend. Her heart skipped at the thought.

Three. More. Days—of this.

Of obscene happiness and people gushing over how great they couple looked together. Of how lucky her sister was to have found a guy like Darryl. Smart. Kind. Grounded.

Bailey sighed, taking another long drink. It wasn’t that she wasn’t happy for her sister—she was. Immensely. Lizzy deserved to be happy. To be blissfully ignorant to everyone and everything around her. She was the bride. The centre of attention. Her entire job was to smile.

Bailey just didn’t understand what her sister saw in her future husband. Not that he was a bad guy. Chartered accountant. Respectable member of the local country club. Accomplished sailer—he was everything her parents had every hoped their daughters would find in a spouse. But  he was just so damn…safe. It didn’t help that Bailey was basically the exact opposite of everyone else here. The proverbial black sheep of the family. Not that she cared. She’d known from the first time her dad had let her ride in the company helicopter that she’d been born to fly.

Of course, choosing to join the Coast Guard hadn’t been what her father had envisioned. He’d happily encouraged her to follow her dreams when he’d believed she’d be working for him. Taking over as his company’s corporate pilot. That support had stopped when she’d signed up. Harrington’s didn’t serve, plain and simple. They were supposed to be above that. They drove the economy, not machines, and definitely not into dangerous situations.

Tension wove through her shoulders, sending a dull ache through her back. If she was this stressed out after only a few hours, how the hell was she going to survive the weekend? Survive the sideways glances and hushed conversations that stopped whenever she got close. There was no doubt in her mind that every guest mulling about the old mansion was measuring her up. And it didn’t take a genius to know they all found her lacking.

Bailey finished off the drink, scanning the crowd for the next round, when a glass appeared in front of her. She frowned, glancing to her left, only to inhale sharply. Stunning blue eyes gazed back at her, a bemused smile capturing his lips.

He quirked one eyebrow, holding the glass out to her. “I’m pretty sure the staff has been told to cut you off before you drink through tomorrow’s bottles, as well.”

Bailey smirked, accepting the drink before purposely downing half of it. “Alex.”

He chuckled. “Hello, Bailey.”

She forced herself to swallow past the thick feeling in her throat. How had she missed that Alex Fontain was on the guest list? She tipped the glass toward him. “Thanks, by the way.”

“You might want to slow down.”

“Not if my parents want to avoid bloodshed.” She glared at Alex’s frown. “Please, they have enough alcohol stockpiled away to throw a dozen parties. I’m merely helping them get rid of some of it.”

“Is that what this is? Because it looks more like you drowning your feelings in bubbly.”

She cocked her brow, taking a step back as she crossed her arms, careful not to spill her drink. “Do I want to know what you’re doing here? Or did Hell really freeze over because I’m pretty damn sure that was the only way you were ever returning.”

“Freak blizzard. And for the record, I was twenty-three at the time. I’d like to think I’ve matured in the ten years I’ve been gone.”

She shrugged, gulping down the last of the liquor. “Shame. You might have been the one silver lining in this entire weekend. The only other person brave enough to ditch some of these parties and find something fun to do.”

“Always the adrenaline junkie. Glad some things never change.”

“You obviously did.”

And in all the right ways.

Bailey bit her bottom lip before the words sprang free. The last thing she needed was for the arrogant ass to see that, even after a decade, he could still make her feel breathless with nothing more than a smile or the sound of his gravely voice. But damn, of all the scenarios she’d run over in her head, bumping into Alex Fontain hadn’t even made the list. Not when he’d stormed out of her father’s office shouting that he’d rather die than spend another minute helping her father’s overly privileged clients beat the system. From what she’d heard, Alex had joined the military and finally made his way into JAG.

Which explained the muscles pressing against his shirt and the army-regulation haircut. All of which only made the man look even sexier than he had been ten years ago. Any hint of boyhood long gone.

Alex smiled, a flash of white amidst pink lips. “I’ll take that to be a good thing.”

“Guess that’s yet to be determined.” She glanced at the happy couple as the moved onto the dance floor. “So did Lizzy invite you just to spite my dad?”

“She swears it wasn’t but…”

“That’s definitely her style. Though, I’m surprised you actually came.”

“I wasn’t going to but then she called me.” He kicked at the floor. “I can cross-examine generals but your sister puts on the waterworks and I can’t say no.”

“You fell for the tears? Christ, Alex, are you five?”

“Sue me for being compassionate.”

“I believe the word you’re looking for is gullible.” She grinned at his glare. “You do realize you’re stuck here, right? Until they open those gates on Monday.”

Alex let his gaze drift the length of her before he finally focused on her face. “Guess that means we might have a chance to try something foolish, after all.” He leaned in, his spicy breath ruffling the hairs around her neck. “We could start by ditching this dinner party. Full moon’s rising. Bet it would look like diamonds on the water.”

Bailey moistened her lips. “Think you could acquire a bottle of something strong and two glasses?”

He winked at her. “I’m a Marine, sweetheart. I’ll do one better and get us some food to go with it. Wait here.”

Bailey watched him strike off, the sudden fluttering in her stomach catching her by surprise. She looked around, smiling. Three more days of this, might not be quite the epic tragedy she’d first thought. Of course, she hadn’t made any regrets just yet.

 

And that’s it for me. Go check out the other ladies…

Bronwyn  ||  Jessica   ||   Deelylah   ||  Jessica (other)

 

 

Photo flash fiction ~ March

We’re into March. And there’s still snow on the ground. I know I’m Canadian, but damn…we don’t usually get it out on the west coast this time of year. Apparently Mother Nature didn’t get the memo.

Anyway, it’s time for another flash fiction. I’m going to revisit Seth and Kent, my hunting partners turned lovers. If you want to read their other adventures, you can check out January 2016,  June, and January 2017. Otherwise, jump right on in.

19861754 - old times farmhouse - interior of an old country house with fireplace, kitchen cupboard, ancient mantles and straw broom

19861754 – old times farmhouse – interior of an old country house with fireplace, kitchen cupboard, ancient mantles and straw broom

“Call me crazy, Kent, but I thought when you said you were taking me somewhere nice for our six-month anniversary, we’d actually go somewhere…”

Kent glanced at Seth over his shoulder as he landed just inside the window, glass crunching beneath his feet. “Less creepy?”

“With actual windows would have been enough.” Seth jumped in beside him, frowning. “Hate to be a buzzkill, but…the lights are still on. And there’s a fire burning in the hearth. Are you sure this is the right address?”

“Thinking the broken window, scattering of salt and the fact a chair is wedged beneath the handle of the room’s only door suggests it is. But hey, I could be wrong.”

Seth punched him in the shoulder. “Jackass.” He took a few steps away, spinning to scan the surroundings. “So why break the window instead of just moving the chair and running out the door?”

Kent sighed, resisting the urge to shiver as a cold swirl of air prickled his skin with goosebumps. “I don’t think the owner left willingly. Anna said the woman who called her was screaming before the line went dead.”

“Fantastic.” He walked toward the fire, stopping before lowering to one knee.

Kent moved over to his partner, doing his best to ignore the way Seth’s jeans rode low on his ass, accentuating the firm muscles Kent knew hid behind the faded denim. God, what he wanted to do to that ass. Seth was right. This wasn’t how Kent had planned on surprising the other man. He’d actually called ahead to an out-of-the-way roadside dinner, where he and Seth had first met a couple of years ago. Had them reserve that same booth. With all the traveling they did, he’d wanted to do something nostalgic for their celebration. Show his buddy he didn’t take their relationship for granted. That Seth was as important as all the ghosts and demons they hunted. Of course, he’d bought the silver band burning a hole in his pocket on a whim, a month ago, waiting for the perfect time to make his move—half considering that tonight might finally be the break he’d been looking for. Then his damn cell had rung and they’d had to detour to a rustic version of the Amityville house.

He nudged Seth’s shoulder. “You gonna share with the class or are you keeping all the crayons for yourself?”

Seth rolled his eyes before holding up his finger. “Pretty fucking sure this is ectoplasm.”

“Shit.”

“Ya think? And by the looks of the scratches over on that far wall, it’s definitely not Casper.”

Kent darted over to the other side of the room, running his fingertips along the grooves. “Ya know. If I were a betting man, I’d say there’s more than one unhappy spirit haunting this place.” He glanced up at Seth when the man moved in beside him. “Two distinct patterns in the wood.”

“Misery does love company.” Seth groaned when something crashed to the floor in an adjoining room. “That didn’t sound at all alarming.”

“Rock, paper scissors to see who opens the door and who tosses the salt?”

Seth gave him a gut-wrenching smile when Kent stood. “It’s our anniversary. I’ll open the door. Consider it my present, seeing as I probably won’t get a chance to give you your other one.”

“You got me a present?”

Seth punched him again. “You think you’re the only one who can be romantic? Please. I had your plans beat without breaking a sweat.”

“Really?” Kent loaded up some salt rounds, nodding to his buddy as they slowly inched toward the door. “You don’t even know where we were going.”

Seth chuckled, checking his supplies as they stopped when another crash echoed beyond the closed door, followed by a loud scratching sound. “We’re just a few miles outside Cache Creek. Ten to one you were taking me back to that crappy little dinner where we first met. Bet my ass you reserved the same grungy booth, too. After a greasy meal, you probably booked us a room in that same motel. The one with the seventies style shag carpet. But you’d ensure there was beer chilling in a cooler. Probably ketchup chips that you got your buddy up north to send because we can’t buy them here.” He elbowed Kent. “Am I close?”

“You are such a jerk.” Kent sighed. “And fucking spot on. How the hell did you know all that?”

“Easy. I know you. And I knew you’d want to do something…special. Because we don’t get much time for that. For us.” He shrugged. “If it’s any consolation, I appreciate the effort.”

He reached for the handle, arching his brow. “Ready?”

Kent grabbed his wrist, halting him. “Just one thing. What had you planned that beat all of that?”

Seth grinned. “I’d planned on saying, ‘yes.’ On three.”

 

And that’s it for me. A bit shorter because it’s nearly three AM. Hey, I had other stuff to do. I hope you enjoyed the boys, now head off and see what the others have to offer.

Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica Jarman  |  Deelylah Mullin

top 10 countdown

Hey all. It’s another top 10 post. This time around it’s things I avoid. Thinking I’ll need more than 10 spots, eh.

Top10-03MAR

10 – Horror movies.

I love movies as much as the next person but I’m over wasting my time watching a group of stupid people do EVERYTHING wrong. Now, if it’s a thriller with scary moments or a paranormal, that’s different. I love those. I’m taking the traditional, old fashioned, nasty ones. Thanks but Nightmare on Elm Street still creeps me the hell out.

9 – Sad movies

I’m sorry, but the last thing I need is to go to a movie, spend the 10 bucks it costs to get in then cry. Life is sad enough at times and I really don’t need to watch in it dolby sound. So no… I don’t watch Nicolas Sparks movies or war movies, for the most part, lol.

8 – Shopping

I really don’t like shopping. I’m definitely not the kind of person who loves to wander a mall, looking at everything. Nope, I’m an in and out person. That might explain why I only have a few pairs of shoes, most of which are for either running or working out.

7 – Grocery shopping.

No, this isn’t the same. Which is why it’s a bit higher on the scale. But it’s still something I avoid just as much. I’ll actually send a kid if at all possible rather than go myself. Not even sure why.

6 – Cleaning

I know. We all do it, but… I do avoid it whenever possible. Dirt’s good for the immune system, right? RIGHT?

5 – Laundry

No one is surprised. No one. Other than workout gear, yeah… I’ve recently paid the teenage girl to do it for me. It’s money well spent.

4 – Negative People/Thoughts

This might sound a bit harsh but…if there’s something I’ve learned over the years it’s that time is short. And wasting it on negative thoughts or people who have this as their default setting take more of your soul with every moment. So I don’t whenever possible.

3 – Going to the Doctor

Okay I will go when it’s absolutely necessary but I avoid going for most things. Tape. Glue…you know how it goes. Even my kids know when to ask and when to bring me the tape or sterie strips.

2 – Anything with more than 4 legs.

This needs no explanation. And all creatures that fall into this category should be, I’ll say avoided, but you all know what I mean.

1 – CLOWNS

And if this isn’t the number one thing you avoid… WHY NOT? Seriously… what is worse that a clown? The answer… NOTHING. NOTHING AT ALL.

 

That’s it. Go check out the other ladies…

Bronwyn  | Jessica  |  Deelylah  |  Gwendolyn  |  Kellie  |  Paige  |  Torrance

Wordless Wednesday ~ Winter

A post…without words? Never! Anyway, I just wanted to note that, despite the photos that depict a clear image of the great white north, we usually don’t get much snow on Vancouver Island. It’s generally rain, rain, some wind and more rain. In fact, the kids have more ‘flood’ days than snow days. But this year… this was the year of the 100-year-snow storm. So…enjoy the winter wonderland and some images of the days just before. Oh, and it’s raining now. Lots. As in 50mm, lol. So, back to the usual for us.

IMG_0274 IMG_0249 IMG_0273 IMG_0311 IMG_0406IMG_0352

IMG_0355

Check out how winter is with the others…

Bronwyn Green  |  Deelylah Mullin  |  Kellie St. James

Gwendolyn Cease  |    Torrance Sené

Picture Flash Fiction ~ February

It’s the second round of picture flash fiction. As usual, I’m staring at it and wondering what to write 😉 Only one thing pops to mind. A piece out of the my on-going serial or trilogy. I haven’t really decided how it’s going to progress, yet. It’s epic in my mind, so…

Anyway, we’re taking a jump into Red Sky Dawning. Sorry, it’s going to be just a snippet out of the blue , but it’s more of an aside to the novel. You can read the first four chapters by clicking on the link to Free Reads in the nav bar it you wish. Otherwise, here’s a bit with Aelwyn…

44148085 - mysterious woman in red cloak

44148085 – mysterious woman in red cloak

“Princess Aelwyn.”

Aelwyn looked up from the pages she’d been scouring and glanced at the door to her chambers as the thick, wooden slab swung inwards. Her brother’s personal guard, Captain Tarn, stood in the opening, his armour gleaming in the bright light. His distorted shadow stretched out across the floor, reaching towards her like a wraith.

She placed the tome down on the small table beside her, then slowly rose. She nodded, glancing over the man’s shoulder. “Captain Tarn.”

The man shifted on his feet, gazing around the small room as if expecting something to leap out at him. “Cane has requested your presence in the throne room. If you’d please come with me.” He motioned to the corridor and adjoining staircase.

“Aern is King of Aldhaven, not Cane. I don’t take orders from him.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “If my father wises to see me, he can summon me, himself.”

Colour rose high on the man’s cheeks as his hands fisted at his sides. “Your father is ill. His time here is quickly diminishing. Besides, you know that Cane speaks for him.”

“What I know is that my father is currently dying from a disease I could cure if he’d only ask.”

Tarn glared at her, pursing his lips together as if simply being in her presence sickened him. “You know you are forbidden to use your dark arts.”

“Since when is healing someone evil?”

“Since it was abolished centuries ago.”

Aelwyn shook her head. “You mean since my grandfather had every healer within the kingdom killed. If my mother were alive—”

“Your mother died bringing you into this world.” Tarn took a step forward, one hand lifting to rest on the hilt of his sword. “That should be proof enough that you weren’t meant to survive.”

Guilt and pain settled unforgivingly in her core as tears stung her eyes. Why she even bothered to try and reason with anyone was a mystery. Only her brother had ever seen her as anything other than a monster. As someone worthy of love.

She forced herself to swallow around the ball of emotion stuck in her throat. “Are you so sure I’m the reason she’s dead?”

Tarn frowned. “How could there be any other reason?”

“Perhaps you only see what others want you to.”

“I see perfectly fine.” He motioned to the cloak lying across the back of a chair. “I suggest you wear your cloak. It’s quite cool outside. I’ll wait for you in the Keep. Don’t keep me waiting, Princess.”

Aelwyn sneered at the man’s back as he marched out of her chambers, not bothering to close the door behind him. Not that she’d expected him to. Respect wasn’t a virtue many bestowed upon her. And she’d only be wasting her energy if she lamented that fact.

She walked over to the chair, gathering the red fabric in her hands. A gift from her brother. One of the few possessions she actually coveted. The soft garment eased some of the tension bunching her shoulders as she wrapped it around her, lifting the hood to cover her head. Not that it would hide her identity. Her father’s soldiers would recognize the cloak—know it was her. But at least it would spare her having to see their reactions as she walked down the corridor. Shield her from the blatant hatred that would follow her every step. And all because she was different. Because she’d been born with a gift long since condemned.

“Enough.”

She was bigger than this. Stronger. And when Aelrik finally became king, she’d show everyone how wrong they’d been. How Cane was the monster who dwelled with the castle walls, not her.

She sighed. It was a dream at best. Even if Aelrik freed her from her tower, she knew her people would never embrace her power. Never trust her or see her as anything other than an abomination. That regardless of where she slept, she’d never truly be free.

The sides of her cloak fluttered in the wind as she walked along the stone path. Tarn waited at the entrance to the Keep, his face pulled tight, his back stiff. She paused just long enough to draw herself up—mask any pain that still lingered inside her. She’d play her part. Bide her time so Aelrik didn’t have to suffer on her behalf. But it wasn’t a role she’d play forever.

 

And that’s it for me. I seriously have nothing else. But go visit the other ladies.

Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica Jarman  |  Deelylah Mullin  |  Kayleigh Jones

 

A TOP 10 COUNTDOWN

Hey all…It’s time for another top ten list. This month it’s Ways to Hook Me as a Reader. Now, I’m not sure if this will solely be ways to hook me or might end up having points of how NOT to hook me,  or lose me, lol. But I’ll try to stay on topic. Soooo, here we go.

Top10-02FEB

10 — I hate to put this in here, because as an author, I hate writing them, but…. a good blurb will get me to buy your book in the first place. That and an interesting cover. If neither of these are done well, I probably won’t even pick up the book, either literally or virtually, and you won’t have a chance to hook me. So, ensure you put your best foot forward here.

9 — Likeable characters. I know this seems silly, but if the guy is a total douchbag, with no redeeming qualities… I’m probably not going to continue to read the book. This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a bad boy or a guy who’s a bit of an ass—adorable asses are one of my faves. But if he’s going to be a jerk, he’d best redeem himself along the way or the book will end up hitting the wall.

8 — Words I can actually read. Okay, this might need a bit of explaining. I don’t mean you have to use the vocabulary of a 5th grader. I mean more along the lines of not using too much dialect. I read a book once with a Scottish hero and I swear it took me twice as long to try and puzzle out his dialogue because it was all super deep brogue that was more frustrating than anything to read. I ended up skipping parts because it just wasn’t worth trying to figure out the accent. I mean, tell me he’s Scottish.. toss a few common Scottish words in there, and I’m good. Don’t make me wade through pages of horrible, awkward dialect. The same goes with super ‘big’ words. Don’t use obscure meanings from a thesaurus that will make me feel like I truly am a fifth grader. I don’t mind some unusual words sprinkled throughout, but if I to check my dictionary every other page… I’ll be putting that book down.

7 — Ensuring your book actually fits the genre you’re writing in. If it’s a suspense book, there’d better be some suspense in it, lol. My old classic saying is when I used to edit, I was given an erotic novel to edit that had absolutely no erotic content. Which is fine, except then it’s not an erotic romance. There will be sex in this sex book, lol. So, don’t call it a romance then hand me a straight paranormal where the couple barely acknowledge each other. Stay true to what you’re marketing.

6 — Good editing. I can overlook the odd forgotten word, wrong word or spelling mistake. Hell, shit happens and I know that pretty much every book has an error in it somewhere. This isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about those books where the author didn’t think they even needed an editor or it was a sad attempt at best. If the book is riddled with errors. If the characters continually sit down twice or go from being dressed to miraculously naked in every scene… then you’ll lose me. Also along with this is good formatting. JUSTIFY PRINT BOOKS PEOPLE. It seems silly but that jagged right edge in a print book enrages me.

5 — A action packed or dramatically strong opening. It’s an old saying but it’s true. I’m more apt to keep reading if something happens in the first chapter or two to grab my attention. If you make me wait too long, I might get too distracted and stop reading. The first book in the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan is an example. It’s a great book and I’m glad I toughed it out, but it was nearly 100 pages before I was truly invested. Well over 50 before anything happened and I was ready to put it down. So… shock me early and I’ll forgive some dull periods later.

4 — Not too many descriptions. Okay, I know some folks like to have things detailed down to what kind of swirls are on the wallpaper, but I’m not one of those folks. Just give me enough so I can picture the scene in my head. Besides, I like to picture the hero in my own head. If you detail too much, I can’t create them to be to my liking. So… tall, dark-haired with blue eyes that rival the sea is great. I don’t need to know how many freckles he has or what kind of hair products he uses.

3 — Good plot. I’ll read lots of different genres, but if you want me to keep turning the pages, there has to be something more than just Sally met Harry… and never had an argument or that restaurant scene… I like a few detours in my books. That doesn’t mean you have to follow a formula. It just means if there are a few different ideas running through the book, I’m more likely to get hooked and keep reading when I should be doing other things… Stephen King is a wizard at this. He’s unnatural in his ability to weave all sorts of threads together.

2 — Strong female characters. Okay, not every heroine has to have a black belt in Muay Ti, or be some kind of crack shot, or a Marshal, spy, cop, etc. But… and this is huge for me, if they’re a doormat. If they do things that are too stupid to live. If they just sit there crying waiting to be rescued… or as Sydney would say from Scream…. if the bitch is running up the stairs when she should be running out the door… I won’t finish the story. So… let’s celebrate strong heroines, who hold their heads high and aren’t afraid to get a bit dirty.

1 — Snappy and realistic dialogue. I’m not sure why this is my number one. Maybe it’s because it makes everything feel far more real to me. So, please….don’t use character’s names every other line. Don’t forget to use contractions… and no, just because it’s historical doesn’t mean they didn’t speak in contractions. Trust me, humans are lazy by nature. We’ve been shortening EVERYTHING since the dawn of time.

 

And there you have it. Now jump on over to the other ladies and see what keeps them turning those pages.

Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica Jarman |  Deelylah Mullin

 Gwendolyn Cease   |  Kellie St. James

MUSICAL MUSINGS ~ JANUARY

Wow, mid-January already. And that means it’s time for a brand new feature on our Wednesday random blog schedule. It’s called Musical Musings. I’m not exactly sure how it will evolve throughout the year, but this month it’s about favourite songs based on three questions. So, without further ado, here we go…

MusicalMusings

1.) FAVE SOUNDTRACK

Okay, this is a tough one. I don’t really listen to soundtracks, anymore. When I was younger, I think I listened to all of them. But now, it’s more that I might like a particular song from a movie or play, but not the entire playlist. So… god, this is going to so date me… I’ll have to say GREASE. I know… trust me, I know, but, come on. We are all Sandra Dee.

Though a close second is Awesome Mix Vol 1 from Guardians of the Galaxy. Yes, I’m breaking the rules and showing two… because I can.

 

2.) SONG THAT MAKES ME WANT TO DANCE

ALL OF THEM! Okay, I guess maybe not the slow ones, (though I love to slow dance, too) but there are so many that make me want to dance. All I need is a beat and I’m there. But, one that never fails… MOVE by Luke Bryant. Yeah, it’s a country song. It’s no longer a secret I have a deep love affaire with country music. One that’s rubbing off on the kids, at least a bit, lol. But this song is just so toe-tapping. So upbeat. I move, (see what I did there) every time I hear it.

3.) SONG I LOVE TO SING ALONG WITH

ALL OF THEM! No really. I shudder to think how much of my grey matter is used up on song lyrics, movie lines, and other trivia. So I sing to every song that comes on the radio that I know. How do you isolate one song? Sigh… fine. Yes, I’m pouting. But, in the spirit of playing along, lol, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE, by Billy Joel. Oh, Jenny Trout would be so proud.

 

Now go check out the other ladies and see what their choices are…

Bronwyn Green  | Jessica Jarman  |

 Paige Prince  |  Torrance Sené  |  Gwendolyn Cease

SONG FICTION ~ ALBATROSS

One of the popular posts we kept this year is our month song fiction. This month’s choice is Albatross by Susan Mckeown. I’ve never heard of this one but you can check out the video below. After to listening to it, I’ll admit I like the music. The lyrics are a bit…different, but the melody is pretty cool. And she has a nice voice. So… here is the resulting story, which is more from the mood of the song than anything else. Though it does play into some of the lines. It’s a bit with the characters from a previous post… Bryony. You can read that one here— this Song Fiction —or just jump right in. It doesn’t require the previous bit.

 

“See! I knew we could make it, big brother.”

Bryony grinned as she crested the last rocky scramble, reaching the summit just as the downpour ebbed for a moment, giving her a misty view of the rolling hills and pasture land a few thousand feet below. She picked her way to a group of rocks near the edge of a steep drop-off, finally shuffling the heavy pack off her shoulders. Despite the non-stop rain and dangerously slick conditions along the trail, she’d still managed to finish the hike before darkness had completely engulfed the mountain. Though, she’d definitely been cutting it close leaving as late as she had the previous day.

Thunder rumbled overhead, a stark reminder she had limited time before the next round of showers hit. She settled onto the flattest rock she could find, sighing as some of the tension eased from her muscles. She almost hadn’t come. Had thought of a thousand reasons to let the trip go this year. To find another way to cope with the loss. The ever-present emptiness slowly gnawing away at what was left of her sanity. But then she’d heard Aaron’s voice inside her head. Remembered how much he’d loved their annual trek, and she’d packed up a bag and left. Hell, she hadn’t even told the rest of the Watchmen she was leaving. Hadn’t wanted to have to say the words out loud, not that the others wouldn’t remember. Half of them had served with Aaron, so it wasn’t a secret what this weekend signified.

“Shut up! Christ, you’re being a damn drama queen.”

She liked the way her voice echoed around her, reminding her this wasn’t supposed to be about drowning in her own self pity. It was a tribute to her brother. A celebration of all he’d sacrificed without ever expecting anything in return except a cold drink and a warm smile. And that was the least she could give him.

She dragged her bag closer, rummaging through the contents until she found the set of plastic cups. Then she removed the bottle of tequila, holding it up against the waning light. Coloured streaks reflected off the clear liquid, casting lines along the stones. She smiled, then twisted off the top, pouring a healthy amount into both cups. She balanced the bottle against some boulders, then lifted the two cups. A few drops of rain splattered against her skin, sending a round of shivers down her body. Though she wasn’t convinced it was the cold beading her skin with goose bumps.

She sighed, then held her chin high, raising both drinks above her head. “Okay, brother mine. I’m here. Just like I promised I would until you came back. And no, coming back like you did doesn’t count. You know that. So don’t think about bitching at me or telling me to stop. Not a chance in Hell that’s going to happen.”

She swallowed with effort, not sure what to say. Hell, she never knew what to say. “I can’t believe it’s been three years. Three years without you hearing your voice. Having you tease me over just about everything. Beating your ass at poker only to have you whine and call it beginner’s luck. Hate to be the buzzkill, bro, but it can’t be beginner’s luck when I’ve been playing for years.”

She glanced at the horizon, watching the light fade into grey. “I miss you, Aaron. Every day. I still keep expecting you to call or show up on my doorstep. Sometimes I swear I see you standing across the street, or sitting in a car that drives by. I wonder if that’ll ever go away. Or if I’ll be chasing your ghost for the rest of my life. Not that I mind. After all you did, it doesn’t seem like much to ask in return. To be remembered.”

She shook her head, clinking the cups together. “Here’s to you, wherever you are. And if for some reason they were lying. If those pieces I buried weren’t you, and you’re still out there, wondering if you can ever find your way back, I’ll keep the light on. Keep watching. You won’t have to explain. You can just come home. We can pick up where we left off, as if this never happened. As if I didn’t lose the one person who’d always had my back. Who knew me better than I knew myself. And I’ll be back here every year, just in case. Promise.”

Bryony cursed under her breath then downed the liquor, wincing as it burned a path along her throat. She’d always hated tequila, but somehow, this year, it didn’t taste quite as bitter as she remembered. Didn’t sour her stomach like it had before. She poured herself another glass, then slowly emptied Aaron’s onto the rocks, watching as it dripped down the sides and into the ground.

Pain tightened her chest, as the scenery blurred beneath a wash of tears. She’d hoped this year would be different. That time had finally made her accept that he was gone. That no amount of wishful thinking or praying would bring him back. That it was time for her to move on.

She glanced at the empty glass, pouring some of hers into it. Then she shifted onto her knees, digging at a spot on the far side of the rock. A ring of plastic appeared amidst the stone as she removed a few more rocks. One cup for every year she’d ventured here, alone. She stacked the third inside, then covered them up, hoping they’d make it through another winter. Though she always had extras in her bag, if need be.

Bryony regained her seat, then pulled out her phone. She didn’t bother smiling, just held up her drink and snapped a shot. Her way of proving to herself she hadn’t backed out. Not that anyone else would ever see the photos she took every year. But she’d keep them, nonetheless. Who knew, maybe one day she’d be able to look back at them and feel something other than pain. Than the ache she feared would never truly vanish.

An eerie silence settled over the summit as she drank the last of the tequila as the rest of the light dimmed into black. If she’d been smart, she would have used the past few minutes to put up her tent. But she’d wanted to toast Aaron while there had still been something worth seeing visible. Before the night swallowed up any good thoughts she’d managed to bring along. And it wasn’t as if she couldn’t put the damn pop tent up in the dark.

A sudden onslaught of rain had her moving. She got the pad laid down and the tent set up in record time, finally climbing inside the small enclosure and shutting out the storm. Though she had to admit, the weather always seemed to suit her mood. Dark. Angry. Unrelenting.

She kicked off her boots and snuggled into her sleeping bag. She’d have to leave early if she wanted to make it back to the trailhead before dark, especially if the storm worsened the conditions. And there was little hope the deluge would help her situation.

Just as long as she didn’t become one of the many hikers she’d had to rescue over the years. God knows the others would never let her live it down. And seeing as her work was all she had going for her right now, it didn’t seem wise to tempt her last remaining sanctuary.

“Christ, I really am a drama queen.”

She sighed, grabbed a bag of granola and laid back as she listened to the thunder echo across the sky as the rain struck the tent. At least, she had something other than disturbing quiet to keep her mind off of her poor excuse of a life. And lord knows, she’d take any help she could get.

 

That’s it for me. Go read the other ladies, who I’m sure have pulled much better out of their asses.

Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica Jarman  |  Deelylah Mullin

 

 

 

PROMPTLY PENNED ~ JANUARY

Welcome to 2017’s first promptly penned. And I have to say, I’ve been looking through the snippets and scenarios for this year and Bronwyn and Jess outdid themselves. They are brilliant. So without further ado, here’s the first prompt and the resulting story.

S/he showed up at his/her door, soaking wet, bruised and covered in glitter.

promptlypenned

Kameron groaned as pain thrummed through her head, the loud banging echoing inside her skull making every nerve feel overly stimulated. She palmed her temples, blinking open her eyes. Grey light brightened the curtains of the large picture window on the far wall, the hint of brightness igniting another jolt of pain. She closed her eyes, determined to drift back into the darkness when more banging resonated through the room.

She squinted at the door, muttering under her breath when she realized it wasn’t her head that was pounding but some jackass trying to break down the door. She rolled off the sofa, stumbling half across the room before gaining her balance. She tripped against the wall when the floor seemed to tilt, finally righting herself as the asshole slammed the door again.

She clicked over the lock then yanked open the door, barely getting out of the way before a wall of male muscle barged through, his footsteps ringing loudly across the linoleum floor. He paced across the room, spinning once he’d reached the window. Dark circles stained the skin beneath his eyes, one coloured in shades of purple, and his brown hair was spiked up in all directions.

Kameron sighed as she closed the door, leaning against it in the hopes of not falling on her ass. She arched a brow when the guy copied her stance, his green eyes watching her. She shook her head then crossed her arms over her chest. “Do I want to know what happened?”

Confusion shaped his features before he tipped his head back. “Not sure what you mean.”

“Please. Your clothes are soaked, your eye is five shades of blue and you’re covered in glitter.” She cracked a hint of a smile. “Either some serious shit when down after you dropped me off or you went down on the wrong pixie, and she packs one hell of a punch.”

His lips twitched. “Always was partial to a gal with wings.”

“Right. So why don’t you go back to your room, spoon with your faery friend and come back later. Much later.”

“No can do, sweetheart. Duty calls, or have you forgotten?”

She chuckled. “I’m not your sweetheart, and it’s five am.”

Branch shrugged. “You know what they say…no dark of night stops the marshal service from getting their man.”

“I believe that’s the postal service from delivering the mail. And it’s only been a couple of hours. Pretty sure I’m entitled to at least six.”

“Try fifteen minutes.”

“Fifteen minutes since what?”

“Since I left you here.”

“What?” She scrunched up her nose. “No. You left here around one.”

“The first time, yeah, but not the second.”

She sighed, then picked her way over to the small kitchenette. She grabbed the coffee pot, filling it with water before emptying it into the machine. The crinkle of the packet tearing made her eyes roll slightly before she flicked on the switches. Though she wasn’t sure even a strong cup would be enough to clear her head.

She glanced back at Branch as he fell into one of two chairs pushed up against a small round table. “You’re not making any sense, though judging by that eye, you probably have a concussion.”

“I’m not the only one who looks like shit.” He lifted his hand, holding up three fingers. “Can you tell how many or are you still swimming with Captain Morgan?”

“Three, smartass. And I switched to Patróne after you left.”

“Tequila? Really? You know how you get when you drink that shit.”

“Yeah. Drunk. Which was what I was going for.” She jumped when a drop of coffee hissed against the hot plate before getting a couple of mugs. She poured them each a cup, sliding it across the table to Branch as she claimed the other seat. “Your turn. Who gave you the shiner?”

“Same guys who tossed me in the pool.”

She nodded, not that she had a clue what he was talking about. “And the glitter?”

He stilled, staring at her as if she’d spoken another language. He pushed to his feet, stomping away before turning. “You’re serious? You really don’t remember?”

“Remember what?”

“Last night.”

“Which part? Where we got our asses handed to us by those bounty hunters who didn’t take lightly to two marshals showing up and claiming their prize? Or the part where we picked the wrong bar to drink away the pain and embarrassment of nearly losing that convict?”

“That part after that.”

She frowned, trying to rerun the events of the night, but all she got was a big, empty space. “There wasn’t anything after that. You dropped me off here, I had a few shots of tequila then passed out on the couch.”

“So that ring on your hand?”

“Ring? Are you high, I don’t have…” Her voice rasped into a harsh breath as she stared at the shiny diamond wrapped around her finger. Panic clawed at the blank spaces, but nothing surfaced but nerves.

Kameron forced herself to swallow, slowly raising her gaze to Branch’s. She made a point of searching his left hand, nearly falling off the chair at the gold band on his ring finger. She opened her mouth, then closed it.

Branch walked back over, once again taking the seat opposite her. “If you could see your face—”

“Don’t! Don’t fucking sit there and pretend that this is all some kind of joke and tell me what the hell happened. As far as I know, you dropped me off and I passed out.” She held up her hand. “And I’m damned sure I wasn’t wearing a ring.”

Branch raked a hand through his hair, half staring at the ring before folding his hands on top of the table. “Yup. I saw you to your door then went next door to my room. Fell asleep nursing a beer watching some infomercial. I came to a couple of hours later on a bench in a chapel. You were draped across my lap more than a little out of it and we were sporting matching jewelry. Some lady with an annoying accent handed me our wedding certificate then told me our limo was waiting outside. I didn’t see many options at the time, so I picked you up, and carried you out.” He smiled. “Didn’t realize you knew the words to every John Legend song.”

She ignored the comment, snippets of one of the songs playing in her head. “So, I sing when I’m smashed. That’s no great secret. Then what?”

“Brought you back here with every intention of sobering you up with a cold shower. Praying you had a clue what was going on—how we’d gotten to that chapel. Where the hell we even got rings. Then these two guys showed up, claiming to be your brothers. They managed to wrestle me outside and one punched me in the eye. I fell into the pool and…well…”

“Well what?”

“They took off. I came back here but the door was closed. You know the rest.”

Kameron stared at him, still trying to follow all his words before snorting. “First of all, I don’t have any brothers. A sister, but she’d be hard pressed to do more than break a nail if she ever tried to punch someone. And I don’t remember any of what you’re saying.”

“So the wedding…”

“There wasn’t any wedding. Who in their right mind would marry two people in our condition. And I can assure you I wasn’t in any shape to walk out of this room last night. Not after the fight then the alcohol.” She held up her hand. “Obviously, this is a joke. Probably Johnson. You know he hates the fact we get the fun runs.”

“Tracking down a convict in Vegas isn’t a fun run. And this isn’t a joke.” He reached into his pocket then placed a sheet of paper on the table.

She turned it toward her, reading the words stamped on the page. Her heartbeat echoed in her ears as she stared at their signatures scribbled across the bottom, before gazing at Branch. “This…no. It can’t be.”

“Afraid so.”

“No. This is Vegas. It doesn’t mean anything.”

“Actually, it’s legal. And binding. Not that it can’t be changed, but…for right this moment, we’re husband and wife, sweetheart.” He smiled sweetly at her. “You were going to take my name, right?”

“Shut up.”

She gained her feet, regretting it when the world tipped again and she swayed to her right. Branch caught her, tugging her against him as he wrapped his arms around her. She closed her eyes, doing her best not to breathe in the scent of spicy cologne and chlorine. Her stomach fluttered, but she didn’t think it was from the alcohol. She was married. And not just to anyone. To her damn partner. The same guy she’d been secretly in love with for the past six months.

Branch sighed, laying his chin on the top of her head. “See, I told you shit happens when you drink tequila.”

She gave him a shove, hoping he’d think the flush she felt heating her cheeks was from anger, not because she wanted him to do so much more than simply hold her. “This wasn’t from the tequila, unless…” She groaned. “Someone drugged us.”

“Seems so. Though it was most likely at the bar. We’ll have to give up some blood. See if we can trace it. Figure out what happened.”

“Why would someone drug us then take us to a chapel to get married? If we were that out of it, why didn’t they do something worse?”

“Like kill us?” He shrugged. “No idea. Thinking it’d be best if we found out.”

She nodded, still trying to take it all in. “Wait. That explains the clothes and the eye. What’s up with the glitter?”

His smile was nothing short of sinful. “You might want to take a look in the mirror.”

She frowned, then made her way to the bathroom, cursing the flash of bright light as she flicked the switch. Her reflection glared back at her, the sparkly dots on her face  casting coloured spots on the mirror.

Branch’s face appeared behind her. “The glitter’s from when you kissed me just before those guys showed up.”

She slowly turned to face him. “I…kissed you?”

“Well, kiss is a bit of an understatement. It was more like a carnal act of war.” He moved in close, hovering dangerously within reach. “One I plan on answering, Mrs. Wilson. So…do you want to shower before I do that? Or after?”

 

And that’s all for me. I had hoped for short, but…now hop on over to the other ladies.

Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica Jarman  |  Deelylah Mullin

Paige Prince  |  Kellie St. James  |  Gwendolyn Cease