Promptly Penned ~ May

This month’s prompt is an interesting one.

Magic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For example, there are 20 spells for making tea but none to save yourself from falling off a cliff.

Let us, begin…

promptlypenned

 

Magic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For example, there are twenty spells for making tea but none to save yourself from falling off a cliff.

At least, that’s what played over and over in Sebastian’s head as he balanced on the slippery crag, body plastered to the unforgiving rock, each gust of wind threatening to dislodge his grip. Rain fell in torrential sheets from the dark expanse of clouds blanketing the sky, soaking through his woollen coat—making it feel as if it weighed another ten stone. He shifted his weight, trying to find better purchase on a small ledge just off to his left, but his boots slid along the slick surface, nearly tumbling him into the gully.

A laugh bubbled up through his chest, breaking free as nothing more than a murmur as the wind whipped through the opening in the cliff, drowning out any other sound but its echoing whistle and the rattle of what remained of the wooden bridge he’d been crossing. Inappropriate or not, he had to admit, his current situation was funny. Bone deep hilarity that would either end as a tale of his greatest adventure, or the markings on his epithet.

He laughed again when he realized it was most likely the latter. Not that he should have found his last moments of life funny, but… It was more the circumstances of how he’d gotten himself into the deadly situation to begin with.

Gypsies.

He knew better than to trust them. To put blind faith in their ability. After all, most of them were just skilled at reading people. Noticing subtle changes in a person’s facial expressions or how to draw out information all the while making it appear as if they’d received divine guidance. But he’d been desperate—more than desperate. This had been his one chance to track down his brother’s murderer, and Sebastian hadn’t been willing to simply give up. He had magic. Was it too farfetched to believe at least some of these so-called fortune tellers also possessed abilities.

Of course, he’d picked the one without an ounce of magical essence. But that was just becoming obvious now. At the time, he’d thought…

He sighed. He really hadn’t been thinking at all. After a week of tracking the man he believed had struck his brother down, his spell had simply vanished. Either it’d been blocked, or broken—hell, for all he knew a much more powerful mage had rewritten the damn thing and his prey was now stalking him. Either way, Sebastian had ridden into town without a clue of where to head to next.

So he’d taken his only other option—he’d asked a gypsy. And now—now he was trapped on a crumbling ledge a few hundred feet above a rocky gorge doing his best not to tumble to his death.

Sebastian released a calming breath. He was a mage. His magic was real. Surely, he could remember one tiny spell that would save his hide, yet again.

A metamorphosis spell. 

He shook his head. They were notoriously long and overly complicated. The chances of him getting every pronunciation and intonation correct while barely holding onto the ledge or hurtling to his death seemed unlikely at best.

Levitation.

A great plan, except for the part where he could only induce it within a few feet of the ground. Once he stepped off the ledge, the spell would fail.

Maybe he could manipulate the rock? Mentally carve out a set of steps or…

The wind eddied around the protrusion next to him, blowing him off balance. He shoved his fingers farther into the cracks, trying to flatten his body as best he could. But the searing cold crept up his hands, numbing them to the point it took all his concentration just to wiggle the tips. One more blast like the previous one, and he’d fall.

Sebastian grunted, drawing himself up. Metamorphosis it was. He’d just have to concentrate—ensure he didn’t make a mistake. He inhaled, mentally working his way through the spell, when pieces of rock and dirt sprayed down from above him, stinging his skin as they bounced off his face. He looked up, wondering how this day could possibly get worse, when a rope bounced over the outcrop above him, settling into place beside his head.

He stared at the offering. It wasn’t a regular rope, the shiny golden strands glowing in the waning light as sparks of energy arched off the surface. The rope swayed in the breeze, snapping with apparent annoyance when he didn’t grab it outright. The end curled toward him, more of the strange arcs brightening the small circle of space.

He sighed. While this appeared to be a miraculous answer to his prayers, he knew better than to believe it was anything other than another trap. Though, not falling to his death meant he’d be alive to create another escape plan.

He reached for the rope, cursing when the end snaked toward him, twirling up his arm then around his chest. He tried pull free, gasping when it shook him off the ledge, keeping him suspended above the gorge for several frantic heartbeats before bobbing him upwards. He bounced along the rock, groaning as pain ignited across his ribs and limbs only to be dumped on his ass in the mud.

The sloppy dirt soaked through his pants, tripping him twice before he finally gained his feet. The rope uncurled, hovering in front of him then winking out. Sebastian flicked some of the muddy water off his clothes, scanning the small clearing when a shadow moved out from the thicket of trees just off the winding path. The cloaked figure walked along the flattened stones, a golden glow colouring his hands. He seemed indifferent to the rain, the searing chill of the wind, as he headed toward Sebastian, stopping several feet away. A battle-scarred sword hung around his waist, the hilt poking out from between the edges of his overcoat. He raised his head, tilting his hat back just enough to expose his face to the yellow light.

Emerald eyes stared back at him.

Killer’s eyes.

He quirked his lips, allowing one side to lift into the beginnings of a smile. “Sebastian Thatcher. I’d say this meeting is long overdue.”

Sebastian grinned, allowing his magic to burst across his palms and up his limbs, surrounding him in an ethereal blue glow. He took a single step forward, the muddy water hissing as his power heated the air around him. “Lucian Charlemagne. Just the man I’ve been looking for. Raise your guard and prepare to die.”

 

That’s it for me. Now check out what the other ladies did with the prompt.

Jessica Jarman  |  Bronwyn Green  |  Gwendolyn Cease

Deelylah Mullin  |  Siobhan Muir

Hindsight is 20/20

It’s random Wednesday and this week’s topic is… I wish I’d learned this earlier. Now, I’m not sure if this is supposed to be purely associated with writing or just life in general…though if it’s life in general, I might run out of space 🙂

So… if I look at it solely for writing, here’s my list of things I wish I’d known starting out.

Dialogue tags…

I discovered a few novels in that instead of having endless, he said, she said, he yelled, she exclaimed, or she muttered, etc, that tagging with an action eliminated the need for these. I occasionally will use a tag here and there, but using action tags keeps the story flowing and avoids endless repetition of other tags. I remember reading a book where every character ‘bit out’ every sentence. Even ‘said’ eventually feels overused.

Keeping POV for entire chapters.

While I can say I’m not a POV hopper, I did tend to change POVs in the middle of a chapter. But I realized that the story flows better with less chances of having a reader get pulled out if I kept POV changes to entire chapters. This might be a personal choice, but…I do wish I’d started out this way.

Looking more into the future, with respect to publishers.

I’ve been pretty lucky. I have some really good publishers. But I do wish I’d been a bit more hesitant to sign up for long contracts or to get too caught up in some of them. ARe… I’m looking at you. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. I really need to ensure I look ahead before making decisions in the future.

Learned how to do marketing.

This is self explanatory. I suck at it. I’m trying to learn, but… I do wish I’d learned how to do that from the beginning.

Lastly, I really wish I’d made the decision to pursue writing sooner.

Okay, that’s it for me. Please jump on over to the other ladies to see their lists.

Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica Jarman  |  Deelylah Mullin  |  Gwendolyn Cease

wordless Wednesday ~ spring

It’s a picture post, but of course I’ll break that rule. But no flash fictions, lol. This month the topic is SPRING. Usually, spring starts at the beginning of March, but this year, with all the snow and colder temperatures, we’re a good month behind. But, at least it looks like things are getting back on track.

Cherry Blossoms…nothing quite says spring like these.

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White ones, because who doesn’t love variety.

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Spring means rain and lots and lots of mud. I miscalculated today. Soaked through. Glad these weren’t my new shoes! Those are for tomorrow.

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Spring means training. A shorter one in preparation for the long-ass weekend runs.

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This view never gets old. And doesn’t change all that much 🙂 Gotta love BC.

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Okay, that’s all I have time for. Go check out the other ladies…

Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica Jarman  |  Deelylah Mullin

Song flash fiction ~ Rob Thomas

For the record, I love me some Rob Thomas. Solo. With Matchbox 20. I don’t care. The guy’s voice is just so damn good. But knowing the song doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to write something. But it was a nice surprise to recognize the title right off. Though I do like discovering new songs and artists, too.

Also… we have a new member playing along on all the flash fiction pieces. Waves at Siobhan. She’s great and you’ll love reading her short pieces.

Okay… here’s the song if you’re not familiar with it, and the resulting story. (PS… really Rob? This is a weird ass video, but… great song, just the same.)

I decided to continue on from the March’s Promptly Penned. You can read that one or just jump right in….. March Promptly Penned. I was away this weekend, and got home super late, so… this one is going to be short….

 

“Come on, Alex, it’s not that cold.”

Alex Fontain snagged Bailey’s elbow, stopping her from walking past him. “While I love the thought of skinny dipping with you, the water’s far too cold for even a quick dip. Unless you’d planned on including a bout of exposure to your to-do list for the weekend.”

She shrugged but didn’t pull away. “If you stay out, you can warm me up.”

He clenched his jaw at the thought. While he hadn’t seen Bailey for ten years, he sure as hell hadn’t stopped thinking about her. They’d been inseparable growing up—their shared love of adventure usually getting them into trouble. He hadn’t really noticed the sexy, beautiful woman she was maturing into, until just before he’d quit her father’s company. They’d been at a family function—like a thousand others they’d been forced to endure—but she’d shown up in a strapless, red dress that had taken his breath away. Made him look at her in a completely new light.

He sighed. Whatever he thought they might be able to have had quickly vanished when he’d finally taken a stand and walked out—joined the Marines then made his way onto JAG. While he didn’t regret his decision, he’d always wondered if he’d left the best part of him back home. If he’d ever find another woman like Bailey.

He hadn’t—a fact that was instantly apparent as soon as he’ spotted her across the room, trying hard to blend in. He’d spent an hour watching her—looking for her date, only to realize she’d come alone, just like him. A quick chat with Lizzie had confirmed his childhood best friend was still single. In fact, Lizzie had gone as far as to say Bailey hadn’t been involved since she’d had her bastard of an ex charged with assault.

He tamped down the anger just thinking about it. Thankfully—according to Lizzie—Bailey had had the strength to walk away after the first, and only, incident. Hadn’t fallen for the apologies and token promises. Not that Alex expected any less of her, but he wasn’t naive. He’d been involved in more than a few domestic violence cases with the service, and he knew leaving someone you loved wasn’t always the easiest road—even if it was the right one. Knowing Bailey had stood up for herself—had seen that the asshole was charged—made him extremely proud. He only wished she’d called him for help.

He sighed. He hadn’t so much as called her since he’d stormed out of her father’s office. It wasn’t any mystery why she’d chosen to face her issues alone.

He smiled, running his thumb along the inside of her arm. “If you freeze your adorable ass off, I won’t be able to let you drink anymore alcohol. Not when it will only lower your core temperature more.”

She arched a brow. “And here I thought you were a lawyer, not a medic.”

“Multifaceted, sweetheart.” He lifted the bag he’d managed to fill before they’d snuck away. “Which is it going to be?”

“Like that’s a choice. Obviously, the booze.”

He chuckled. “Good thing you’re not flying any time soon.”

“Three whole days off. In a row. Which means I can be plastered for two and a half. I’ll be sure to stop twelve hours before I’m due back.” She arched a brow. “Since when do you worry about how much I drink?”

“Since I realized you’re the only person here that I want to spend any time with. And I’d like you to remember at least some of it.”

Her expression changed as she swept her gaze the length of him before settling on his face. “How about I make you a deal? You stay at my side, like the old days, and I’ll stay sober. Won’t have another drink.”

“I thought you needed the alcohol to avoid bloodshed?”

She smiled in a way that made his chest tighten and his heart race. “Not if I have you.” She held out her hand. “So, do we have a deal?”

“I was thinking I’d counter-offer.”

“You’re a lawyer. Of course, you were.”

He tugged her closer, grinning at her sharp intake of breath as her body pressed up flush to his. “I’ll stay at your side, but I don’t want it to be like the old days—back before I realized there was a woman beneath the jeans and tee. In fact, I’d like to get very, very…” He leaned down, nearly brushing her mouth with his. “Very close.”

Bailey stared up at him, eyes wide, breath noticeably increased. Her lips quirked before she wet them. “Now, Counsellor, are you suggesting a weekend of no-strings attached, blow your mind, friends-with-benefits kind of arrangement? Because I could make that deal.”

He dipped in, nipping at her bottom lip then letting it go. “Actually, I was thinking of far more than just this weekend. And when it comes to you—strings are a given.”

A shiver worked through her, and he wasn’t sure if he’d unwittingly crossed a line she wasn’t prepared to step over just yet. She stared up at him, worrying the lip he’d snagged then sighed. “You’re looking for complicated, huh?”

“Anything worthwhile rarely comes easily.” He nuzzled her nose. “So?”

She eased out of his embrace, a wide smile on her face. “Complicated it is. Which means I’m definitely going to go for a dip. So I suggest you start stripping because once I get back, you’re going to have to use your body heat to save me. And I have a feeling that rescue is going to take all night.”

 

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

Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica Jarman  |  Siobhan Muir  |  Deelylah Mullin

Gwendolyn Cease  |  Paige Prince  |

 

 

 

promptlypenned

Promptly Penned ~ April

Time for another monthly edition of Promptly Penned. And I love this month’s prompt. The only problem is… so many possibilities!

“Wow. Can we just pretend, for one second, that you’r not a complete douchebag?”

And here is the resulting story…


“Don’t worry, Mr. Hayward, I’ll keep—”

 “What the hell is he doing here?”

Samuel Montgomery paused mid-sentence, twisting to gaze at the woman standing partway down the broad staircase. He didn’t miss the tight press of her lips, or the hint of colour high on her cheeks. She glared at him as she continued down the last of the steps, her boots sounding loud across the old hardware floors as she walked halfway into the parlour.

Her father gave her a wide smile, extending his hand toward Sam. “Ah, Bridgette, just the person I needed to see. This is—”

“Sam Montgomery. Yeah, I know who the jerk is. What I don’t know is why he’s standing in my house.”

Her father frowned. “You two know each other?”

She leered at Sam, crossing her arms over her chest. “Hard to forget the guy who took you to prom, then slept with your best friend instead of driving you home. So, yeah…we’ve met before.”

“Oh. Well, then I suppose I don’t need to introduce you.”

“No. You need to answer my question.”

The man sighed. “He’s here because it’s been three weeks since you promised you’d hire a suitable security detail and you’re still walking around on your own as if nothing ever happened.”

Her jaw hinged open, her gaze sliding to Sam’s. It swept the length of his body, openly assessing him before settling on his face. Stunning blue eyes stared back at him, the corners creased in irritation. Though Sam noticed the flash of fear before she broke eye contact, glancing at her father.

“Dad. While I appreciate you’re only trying to help, I’m not a kid anymore. I can take care of myself.”

George Hayward arched his brow. “You’ve been getting death threats for six weeks. Someone smashed in your windshield and slashed your tires. Then, just last week, someone sent you a bunch of photos in the mail of you jaunting about town by big red Xs over your image.”

“It’s just posturing. One of Stevens’ underlings flexing their muscles. Trying to unnerve me. It’s not the first time a defendant has tried to intimidate me. But I don’t scare easily. Besides, all of that happened at work. That’s why I came back to stay here until the court date.” She snorted. “Trust me, no one’s following me to this blip on the map.”

George frowned, turning to Sam as he pointed to his daughter. “Samuel. Please talk to her. Tell her I’m not being some overprotective, helicopter parent. That she should take these threats seriously.”

Sam glanced at Bridgette. God, she was stunning. Not in a New York model sort of way, but more of a homegrown, girl-next-door kind of beauty. Long, golden hair, smooth, symmetrical features, with a hint of natural blush on her cheeks, and curves that put any backroad in the country to shame, she didn’t strike him as a hot-shot attorney. But then, he’d learned not to judge people by how they looked—it usually came back to bite him in the ass.

He braced his feet apart, copying her stance. “Your father’s right. You need to stop being so stubborn.”

Her left eye twitched as she stared at him. “Stubborn? You think this is me throwing a tantrum?”

He shrugged. “Your words, not mine, Bridg. But since you brought it up—I’ve seen the photographs. Read the letters. They aren’t idle threats. And denying help because you don’t want to choke on your pride isn’t a wise choice.”

Her eyes rounded, then narrowed, as she took a calculated step forward. “Choke on my pride? Who the hell are you to judge me?”

“The guy who deals with this kind of situation on a regular basis. Who might just be able to keep your ass in one piece. That’s if you stop whining long enough to actually listen to what I have to say.”

“Okay. Wow. Can we just pretend, for one second, that you’re not a complete douchebag? Or is that impossible? First, I never said I wasn’t taking it seriously. That’s why I’m here. I’m distancing myself from the case—from my life—to let things cool down a bit. Second…” She uncrossed her arms, shaking a finger at him. “If I hired a bodyguard every time a defendant threatened me, I’d have a harem by now. It comes with the job.”

A loud ringing sounded in Sam’s head before he closed the distance, purposely invading her personal space. “Am I hearing things, or did you just say this wasn’t the first time you’ve been threatened?”

She palmed his chest, trying to shove him back, but he answered her by walking them backwards until she was trapped between him and the wall. “Damn it, Sam—”

“Answer the question.”

She huffed, fluttering some strands of hair against her cheek. “I’m a prosecutor for the DA’s office. I try murderers and mafia henchmen and drug dealers. People who aren’t worried about breaking the law to send me a message. So yes, I’ve been threatened before. Sometimes it’s photos. Sometimes vandalism. Or a creepy ass message on my work cell. And every time I increase my vigilance. Make sure I lock my doors, don’t wander down dark alleys at night.” She quirked her lips. “Don’t pick up strange men at bars, or go for a run in the park after sunset.” She poked his chest with one delicate finger. “Not a damsel. Don’t need some alpha male to ride to the rescue.”

Sam placed his palm over her finger, pressing her entire hand against him. “Oh, sweetheart. If only I had a dollar for every time a client has assured me they didn’t need my services, I’d be one rich son of a bitch.” He eased away just enough to reach into his pocket and remove an envelope. “Your dad didn’t want to upset you, but these were waiting on your doorstep when he arrived this morning. It’s the reason he called me. Because what’s in here—it’s so much more than some pissed off lackie throwing smoke bombs your way. This—it’s serious.”

She frowned as she took the envelope, staring at it as if it might suddenly burst into flames. “Someone sent this here? To Montana? As in, my actual address?”

“Looks like your little hideout isn’t quite as secret as you thought it was.”

She swallowed with effort, worrying her bottom lip before tilting her head and staring at him. “Why are you even here? I thought you joined the military? Became some special ops soldier or something.”

Memories flashed through his mind, but he managed to shove them aside. Avoid the gut-wrenching episode that generally followed. Now wasn’t the time to show any weakness, not when he needed Bridgette to understand this wasn’t some token prank.

He nodded as he stepped back. “I did. I’m not anymore.” He glanced at her father, then motioned to the door. “I’m leaving for exactly five minutes to get my equipment out of my truck. I suggest you jump on board in the time I’m gone because whether you like it or not, I’m going to be shadowing your ass until you head back to Seattle for the trial. And before you lose your shit—I’ve already cleared it with your office. They agree. And for the record, I never called you a damsel. But I’m fairly certain those kick-boxing classes you’ve been taking don’t compare to my level of training.”

Sam turned and marched out, smiling when something hit the door just after he closed it. While running into Bridgette hadn’t been something he’d ever expected to happen—especially with how they’d broken things off—he was having a hard time being as upset as he’d originally thought he’d be. Maybe it was her feisty personality, or her obvious intelligence. Either way, he needed to find a way to work with her, because if the people who sent those threats turned up, things were going to get ugly.


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

Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica Jarman  |  Gwendolyn Cease  |  Deelylah Mullin

Top 10 ~ I’m out of here…

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So, we’re switching hats, in a manner of speaking. Every author is also a reader, lol. But I’ll admit, I’m picky when it comes to what I read. Maybe it’s like that old saying… doctors make the worst patients… maybe authors are the toughest readers to please, lol. Whatever the reason, here are ways to lose me if you’re an author.

10 — No research… This is a huge pet peeve of mine. I used to be a commercial pilot and honestly, helicopter fiction is some of the worst. It only takes five minutes to know what the controls are called… so don’t, for the love of God, call the cyclic a joystick. And don’t tell me you can fly from Las Vegas to New York in a chopper, or that anyone would arrange that. Do you know how much helicopters cost? Yeah, not happening.

I don’t expect you to know everything. Just do enough I don’t feel the need to fact check. And if you don’t know, don’t put it in writing. I love writing old west books, but some stuff I have to leave out because I just can’t find the answers I’m looking for. Also… and this is huge… please don’t put EVERYTHING you know into the book either. While some well-place medical jargon is great, endless paragraphs of every medical term known to man to ‘prove’ you know your stuff is equally frustrating. Just tell me enough I’m confident in your knowledge and let me enjoy the fiction part of the story.

9 — Poor grammar/too many typos… I’m not talking about the odd typo or wrong/missing word. Every book has one. I mean books wrought with them. Everyone needs an editor and a copy editor. That’s just the facts.

8 — Too many flashbacks, forwards or sideways… If I get whiplash, it’s a few too many. If I have to constantly go back to check what year I’m in… if I have no idea if this is the present, the future or the past, it’s too many. I don’t mind a few. But I think the book loses traction when you spend too much time going backwards. Stephen King did a fabulous job of dealing with this in the book IT… he actually had a bunch, but it was executed well. Flow is a huge issue and if you don’t have it, I probably won’t finish reading.

 

7 — Too much name dropping… Hey, I love movies, shows, songs, books, you name it, as much as the next person. And I’ve done some name dropping in here, lol. But when it’s every other page… it gets tedious. It also dates the work. So while I get you love Vampire Dairies or True Blood… please don’t show us that a dozen times over.

6 — Unrealistic dialogue… No one says a person’s name every time they address them. And people speak in contractions (unless they’re alien or robots, maybe). Even in most historical periods, I’m sure they spoke in contractions because humans are lazy about speech 🙂 And I think we all know bad dialogue when we read it. Don’t ask me to suffer through three hundred pages of that.

 

5 — Too stupid to live characters… One of the best lines ever is from the movie Scream… Sydney say… I hate horror movies because the bitch is always running up the stairs when she should be running out the door. But it applies to lots of other situations. So, if your book has our heroine deciding to cut through an alley in the city at night when she’s being stalked? Yeah, I probably won’t finish that one.

4 — Heroines who are weak and whinny… I think this says it all. Not all heroines need to be martial arts specialist, or boxing champions. Strength comes from within. So stop waiting for the rescue and rescue yourself. I think Dean says it best…

3 — Heroes who are controlling assholes. Do I really need to say anything else? I honestly don’t understand why so many people love stories where the guy is a controlling douche. It’s not romantic and I’ll toss that paperback across the room if your hero is a stalker jackass.

2 — No plot… I know, this could and maybe should be number 1, but…while I love some hot sex as much as the next person, please have some sort of plot. Something to keep me turning pages, because I should be able to skip the sex scenes and still enjoy the book. Obviously, it might be a short one, lol, but that’s okay. While the sex can, and often does, drive the book forward, it shouldn’t be the only thing that does. And please make sure I can’t drive a big rig through your plot. I can suspend belief a bit, but don’t ask me to go to Narnia every time I turn a page.

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1 — POV switching EVERY FREAKING PARAGRAPH. People… this is not how good writing happens. Pick a head and for the love of all that’s holy on this green earth, stay in it. At least for a scene. And try not to change more than once, maybe twice in a long chapter. And I don’t want to know what the gardener is thinking, or the maid, or even the hot doctor if the hot doctor is not the hero or heroine of this book. I’m here to read your hero’s/heroine’s story. Let me learn about them. What they think, what scares them. I’m all for a hot doctor, but give that man his own book (or girl, however you write it).

 

And that’s it for me. Check in with the other ladies and see their lists…

Bronwyn Green  |  Jessica Jarman  |  Gwendolyn Cease  |  Deelylah Mullin

Photo Flash Fiction ~ April

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Well, it looks as if spring is finally here. Snow is gone (at least down lower) and I’ve been able to wear a tank running a few times. I love this time of year. The temperature is perfect. Anyway, it’s time for another flash fiction. Here is the photo… yes, it screams Steampunk. I’ve never written anything steampunk, so perhaps fantasy?

38846997 - steampunk man wearing mask with various mechanical devices. fantasy.

38846997 – steampunk man wearing mask with various mechanical devices. fantasy.

“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.”

Randy bit back his reply as he glanced at Matt over his shoulder, silently promising to strange his buddy if he bitched one more time. “I thought you wanted to get to know Ashley Banks? In the carnal sense?”

Matt gave Randy a light punch on his back. “You know I do, jerk.”

“Which is why we’re going to the event tonight.”

Matt huffed, jogging a few steps to catch up as Randy began walking again. “It’s a charity auction for the museum. Why would that make a good impression on Ashley?”

Randy stopped dead, spinning to face his friend. “Have you listened to anything I’ve said over the past several hours?”

“You talk way too much, buddy.”

“So, that’s a no.”

Matt crossed his arms over his chest. “Something about a charity event. Costumes and that Ashley would appreciate my effort. That about cover it?”

“And to think you’re applying to the Bureau after graduation. Dude, her mother is the head curator. The woman has like three PhD’s. She’s the one organizing this event. As you can imagine, her loyal and oh-so-supportive daughter will be there. And when a smuck like you walks in—in costume, no less—she might actually see you as more than a abnormal psychologist geek with some decent upper body strength.”

Matt stared at him, eyes wide, before punching him in the shoulder. “Decent upper body strength? That’s what you think I have to offer?”

“Seriously? That’s your takeaway from what I just said.”

His lips quirked. “I might have heard the part where you’re actually helping me out.” He tugged at the neckline of his outfit. “Though, I still can’t believe you had these hanging around.”

“What? I happen to like Halloween. Girls think it’s sexy when guys get into the spirit crap. And I happen to like sex, unlike you, who hasn’t seen a vagina in…how long?”

“Screw you.”

“You’re so not my type, even if I swung that way. I’d want soft, supple hands, not those things you have with callouses all over them.”

“I’ll never make it into the Bureau if I can’t fight, or shoot, or do another half a dozen things they screen for. And not jumping every woman that smiles at me isn’t a bad thing.”

“Which is why I’m dressed like a damn knight straight out of King Arthur’s Camelot.” Randy tugged on Matt’s sleeve. “You’re just lucky I want you to get laid enough I gave you the Assassin’s Creed costume. Because you would not like how this chainmail rubs. Trust me.”

Matt snorted, shaking his head as he fell into step beside Randy. Randy grinned, crossing the road, then jogging up the steps to the museum. It was weird seeing the place lit up this late, with banners fluttering in the wind and a fancy red carpet leading up the steps and into the gallery.

They walked through the revolving door, making their way toward the main exhibit at the end of the hall, nodding at the guy who walked out of the brightly lit room, heading for bar set up along the far side of the hall.

Matt stopped, pulling Randy to a halt with a hand around his elbow. “What the hell was that guy wearing?”

Randy groaned. “Oh, I don’t know, maybe a costume for the freaking costume party?”

“I know that, jackass. And call me crazy, but that doesn’t look like a medieval or prior costume.”

“Say what?”

Matt shoved him. “His mask, Einstein. It’s all gears and, well, gears. That’s not Arthurian or even remotely medieval. I know the whole Assassin’s Creed aspect is pushing it a bit, but…”

Randy frowned, stepping inside the room. He cursed under his breath, gazing around the room and a hundred people dressed exactly like the man they’d passed in the hallway.

Matt muttered under his breath. “Um, Randy? Have you noticed that everyone else is dressed like that guy? With the gears?”

“Don’t be an ass. Of course I see it. But…”

Randy groaned inwardly when Ashley sauntered over to them, her headpiece even more elaborate than the rest. “Randy. Matt. How…nice of you to drop by.” She pursed her lips together, obviously trying not to laugh. “Those are…interesting choices for costumes.”

Matt scrubbed his hand down his face. “My buddy, here, told me it was medieval dress.” He glanced at Randy. “Thanks for that.”

She laughed. “Medieval. Steampunk. I can see how he got confused.”

“Look, we don’t want to embarrass you. We’ll just go—”

“And ruin all the work you guys put into these ones? You look fantastic.” She winked at Matt. “Assassin’s Creed is one of my favourite games. And that hoodie…”

“Then, I guess we’ll stay. Even if we don’t fit in.”

She stepped closer, drawing her finger down his arm. “Fitting in’s overrated. Can I get you both a drink?”

“Sure.” Matt swatted Randy once Ashley had walked off. “Steampunk? Seriously?”

He gave his buddy a shove. “I thought it was some medieval thing. Sue me. Besides, you look way better in that hoodie than some funky outfit like those other guys are wearing. And the whole point is to get Ashley to take the next step, right? Which is looking pretty promising.”

“Just, don’t do anything to embarrass us further, okay?”

“When have I ever…” He coughed as Matt glared at him. “Fine. I’ll behave. Now, go impress your girl.”

 

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

Bronwyn Green  |   Jessica Jarman  |  Kayleigh Jones  |  Deelylah Mullin

Be afraid. Be very afraid…

So we’re talking fears. Fear and anxieties. But not the spider kind. It’s what we fear or get anxious over with respect to writing. So this is going to be a super short blog, because the answer is … EVERYTHING!!!!

Okay, maybe not everything but it often feels like that. But let’s look at the obvious ones.

  1. That my books will or do suck. I’m sure most authors worry over this at some point. But that doesn’t seem to be at all comforting. It’s like a constant battle between reading your work and thinking… wow, did I actually write that? It’s pretty good. And… EVERYTHING SUCKS. I suck. The plot sucks. The characters suck (or maybe they didn’t suck and that’s the problem 🙂 Did you get that pun, lol. Though, I hope that worrying means I care. As long as it doesn’t come to this…

 

2.   That I’ll get a few chapters into it and just have nothing. No more plot, no more anything. And I have more than a couple of half started books to prove this is a real issue. Now, I try to tell myself I WILL go back and finish them, but it’s definitely the cause of some sleepless nights.

 

3.   That my characters aren’t likeable. I quite enjoy writing the adorable asshole hero, but it’s a fine line between being likeable and readers thinking he’s a douche.

 

4.   That when I write suspense/thriller my characters will either be too stupid to live, or I’ll mess up on the plot and it won’t be at all suspenseful.

 

There are lots more, but… it’s mostly along the same lines. I fear I’ll never build a readership. That I won’t ever feel as if I’ve made it. But I’m trying to just keep moving forward. Now go visit the other two ladies and see what their lists are.

Bronwyn Green   ||   Jessica Jarman

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)