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5 Min – Day 6 – What’s free?

Last night I finished editing two more chapters for Dragons Flame, and wrote the last chapter. That last chapter had gone incomplete for a while. But this get’s me even closer to the end of the writing.

I also did a bunch of newsletters to let people know about the free short stories this weekend. If you’re interested you can find them here:  Small Bites 1 and Hidden Treasures for free this weekend, and  Witch’s Sacrifice is back on sale for 99 cents, along with most of my short stories being 99 cents.

 

 

 

But no progress on the declutter front yesterday. Life is about balance, trying to find that sweet spot of work, chores, family and everything else you have going on in  your life. And so I’m trying to do that. I know I work from 12:30 to 10:30 five days a week, including the commute to and from. I know that I have some time in the evenings with Gregg. And I know that in the morning I am carving out five minutes for this blog post. The other things, like writing and reading, and playing a game, or decluttering my life…those all take second fiddle to the facts of keeping a roof over our head, and spending time with my boyfriend so we don’t feel like we’re ignoring one another.

Some days I wish I could go back to being a house wife. I had a lot more time then, and would sometimes spend weeks just doing spring cleaning. Sometimes you  have to spend a lot of time to find all those little nooks and crannies where soup or spaghetti found their way. Especially when you have toddlers.

Maybe I don’t have toddlers anymore, but I do have a house filled with stuff.

And that’s my five.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2017 in Updates

 

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The time has come….

The week is drawing to a close, and, as promised, here I am.

I love reading, and I have a horrible habit of filling my kindle with books, many of which I might not get to read. But every time I open the cover I know there will be something amazing to find inside. And I want to share that experience, that love of finding diamonds in the rough among the countless books. And maybe I hope some of my stories find their way into your favorites as well.

So, tomorrow (4/23) is the last day of the 99 cent sale. You can also find Witch’s Sacrifice and Witch’s Curse on that list. You’ll also find some boxed sets, and a number of novels that look very interesting.

I’d also like to let you know about The Scarab Necklace and Footprints which are free this weekend. The Scarab Necklace is a look into what makes us tick, and what drives us insane. Footprints is about a young man dealing with a tragedy in his life, while also running from something in the woods.

And, as always, all of my stories are available in KU.

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2017 in On Writing

 

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The beginning is often the hardest story to tell.

A few weeks ago I announced on the Bradbury Challenge that I would be finishing, and publishing, Witch’s Sight. I finally finished writing it tonight, now it just needs a bit of an edit. However, I wanted to give everyone here a quick peek behind the scenes. You get to read it before anyone else.

As you probably know, the Witch’s Trilogy is now finished. While finishing up the last book in the series I started thinking about the origin of the Little Mother, and how she made her own escape from the acolytes. That tale is here, in Witch’s Sight.

I love this world, and I’m going to keep coming back to it with new books down the road. It is such a wonderful world to write in. However, the other stories I have planned for the world of Peyllen don’t take place in the Sea of Tears. They are in the far distant realms beyond the edge of the sea. I will eventually be making a website specifically for Peyllen with a timeline, maps, and some more information about the world at large.

For now, I’m off to write in a different direction, taking a short break from Peyllen to see what other mischief I can get into.

And, as promised, here is Witch’s Sight.

***************

~~Witch’s Sight ~~

Katrina sat in a sea of people, all of them moving at once. They were big as trees, towering over her. Though she clung to mama’s hand, Katrina shivered. The big people were screaming at someone, shouting and calling names. Names she’d never heard before. But she didn’t need to know what they were to know they were bad. Just the way they screamed them out told her so.

The bodies pressed in, jostling her against mama, and she clung with all her might as the sea of people tried to sweep her away.

“Mama!” she screamed, but no one could hear her above all the voices, the screaming. The crying.

Mama grabbed her, and pulled her up into her arms. Safer, Katrina sunk down into mama’s embrace, feeling mama tighten her grip, keeping her safe from the crowds.

“Look away, Katrina,” mama cried. “Don’t look!”

It was an order. Mama gave so few orders, and Katrina tried to obey them all. She did now, shutting her eyes tight as she lay her head against mama’s shoulder. But the commotion outside her mother’s embrace was too enticing. Katrina wanted to look, wanted to see what the people were yelling at, and wanted to see what angered them so.

She blinked, catching glimpses of people towering over a small figure at their feet. Another blink, red blood covering the small figures face, hair a mess.

It was a girl with short hair lying on the ground. The girl tried to scramble to her feet, slipping on the wet stones. She wasn’t much bigger then Jamie, Katrina’s neighbor who came to watch Katrina when mama was in the fields. But Jamie was always smiling and happy, this girl was crying. Dirty tear tracks ran down her face, and she pulled herself away from the crowd, clawing at the stone to get away.

“Why are they so mad, mama? Did she do something bad?”

“Look away, Katrina. You’re so young. You shouldn’t see this.”

Mama pushed through the crowd, elbowing people to get out of the way. Katrina watched as the tiny figure got swallowed up by the crowds, and still she could not understand why they were hurting the girl.

****Join the mailing list for the full story.***

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2016 in On Writing

 

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Free books, and a challenge

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Today’s free books: The Camara, Potion Shop and Twilight Tales. That’s five short stories for free!

Also, we recorded the first episode of “The Bradbury Challenge” podcast this morning. It’s a challenge undertaken by me, +Maya G​​ and +Gerald Hornsby​​ to write one short story every week because “no one can write 52 bad short stories.” (Or we’re masochist, whichever.)

The podcast will be out every Monday, and I will be giving away my short stories every week in my newsletter. So if you’d like to read along and see if it’s true that you can’t write 52 bad short stories then you can sign up here. (Also a reminder, these short stories will eventually be available on amazon, etc, but most of them will not be released for at least a month, so the only way to get them is through the newsletter.)

If you’d like to take the challenge with us, or just watch us trying, then come to the website and tell us about it! Share in our misery and successes.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2016 in On Writing

 

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Moonlit Sonata (A Short Story)

moonlitMoonlit Sonata

Sonata’s hands danced across the keys, her soul reaching out through her fingertips. Ebony and ivory, a harmony that responded to her touch, and hers alone.

Whenever she sat down to play the piano she couldn’t help remembering the first time. Caressing the keys. Tentatively pressing a few notes. And each note came out pure and strong even though she, just a girl of eight, had no idea how to actually play the giant instrument.

Her grandfather pulled her up in his lap and she would watch as his hands moved along the keyboard playing chopsticks, Mary had a little lamb and the wheels on the bus. When she showed so much interest in the music he started moving into more intricate pieces. Fur Elise. Barber of Seville. Blue Danube.

Each song played a story in her mind. The notes moved upward in sharp angles, and she saw dragons fighting across a red sky. Soft keys flowing out in a slow rhythm were like swans lazily swimming across an icy pool of water. Each key. Each score. An image and a story that laid itself out just for her.

The memories made her melancholy, longing for her grandfather, long since passed, and all the quiet moments they spent together making music.

The melancholy worked its way into the music. Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven. The quiet rhythms of the thousand year old piece slowly playing out across the dark night.

Her thoughts moved to the room, the darkness closing in around her. The piano still sat in the same room overlooking the river far below. On still nights you could see the moonlight glittering off the subtle waves. A fitting companion to her music. She matched her tempo to the rippling light, softer then faster, and softer again. Experimentation.

The home, built by her great grand father shortly before the civil war, was her second love. It had housed the sick and injured during the war, been home to a speakeasy during Prohibition, held wild and sometimes disastrous parties, all before she’d ever been born. The history was written into every piece of wood. Names carved into balusters. Graffiti stenciled on bathroom walls. Holes cut into certain walls, then repaired over and over again.

Her mother once told her the house was haunted. A laughable thing, surely. Sonata didn’t believe in heaven, or hell, demons or angels. Why, then, would she believe in something as insubstantial as a ghost?

She giggled at her own pun as she set into Presto Agitato, her fingers fairly flying across the keys. Over and over she pounded out the notes, faster and harder with each slide up the scale.

Like a frolicking gazelle, she played the notes, feeling the joy and wonder of her home around her, swaddled in the moonlit night. Happy and content. Locked together just as the notes of the song were locked together.

She glanced up to the left of the piano. Her grandfather use to stand there watching over her as she played, and even now she felt she could feel his presence there. Watching. Waiting.

If her grandfather watched over her then she would give him the best concert of his entire life, or death, she thought as she tripped across the ivory keys.

Piece after piece she played. Chopin. Lebrun. Bach. Tchaikovsky. Each one with their own virtues and difficulties. She had practiced for years, learning piece after piece to add to her repertoire. Learning the inscrutable differences between the frenetic work of Mozart, or the melancholy scores of Schubert . And she played them all with the utmost precision.

Precision wasn’t enough to be a great pianist. Being female had it’s own drawbacks. Men did not think highly of women who pursued places in the arts. Painters, sculptures, musicians. All of the truly greats in all areas were men. Sonata always maintained that she, as a woman, had just as much right to play professionally as any man, but it didn’t matter. You couldn’t sell tickets to a womans concert.

Instead she spent the long days whiling away her time in front of the piano. With her inheritance she lived comfortably, never wanting for anything, and throwing the occasional party where she would play for her guests who watched in rapt adoration as she played.

From the shadows she heard a scrape on the wood, like shoes walking toward her. She glanced up to find ghostly images walking down the corridor toward her. Faint white glimmers on the landscape that shimmered into view then blinked out of existence.

There were no such things as ghosts, she told herself again, her fingers never stopping on the keys. It was the night playing tricks on her. Old memories surfacing from the past. But the night was coming to a close. The sun would rise, and she would still be safe in her mansion. All alone.

For hours she played, song after song echoing up through the old wooden house. Memories circled through her thoughts. Her father on his death bed wishing her happiness. Her music teacher praising her for her marvelous playing. A cousin stopping in to see why she never answered her telegrams.

And always the music soothed away the troubled memories.

Then the sky grew lighter, sunlight spilling over the horizon. The warm glow splashed across the side of the piano and Sonata smiled, enjoying the warmth washing over the room as she started playing another complicated piece.

The sun rose higher, as though each note she picked along the keyboard was a signal for the world to spin, the sun rising in the west at her bidding. She watched it creeping up the side of the piano, playing faster and faster, as though trying to capture every possible note she could before the sunlight touched her skin.

Something about the suns progress across the hard wood floor sent a shiver through her. The sun was supposed to bring cheer and good will, but all she felt was panic.

Sun. Son. Was that why? Was it the reminder of the child she would never have?

At one time there had been many suiters calling for her hand. They would come to the great mansion at the top of the hill and gaze over the land with hungry eyes. And some part of her hardened. If she could not be the concert pianist that she dreamed of then she would not give into their demands. Would not give them the key to their desires.

Selfish? Perhaps. Her mother once begged her for the gift of grandchildren. But it was already too late. As the consumption ate away at her mother’s body she had no comfort of tiny feet racing across the floors, only the sound of the piano. The endless music reminding her that she failed her daughter.

Once her mother started to scream, begging that the music end. Only her fathers threats of destroyed the piano stilled the keys. Sonata would stare longly from the doorway, her fingers moving to the staccato beat across the counter, waiting, yearning for the day she could play again.

And the day came when her mother passed away, and they laid her in the ground in the small cemetery out back. She lay beside her own mother and father, and many family members from before Sonata’s birth. Men and women who lived, and loved, and died in the walls of the mansion.

And music once again filled the walls.

Light touched the keys and Sonata cringed away from it. Why? It was only light she told herself.

The keys glowed white as the sunlight spread.

Sonata played on, dancing across the keys, her eyes closed as they flew up the scale…

And screamed!

The sunlight burned. Like putting her hand into a vat of acid, the light spilled around her finger tips, burning away her flesh, the pain searing up her arm and into every nerve of her body.

She backed away from the piano, and the light flooding over it, cradling her hand to her chest. How was it even possible? How could the sun keep her from the piano. Music was her life. She had to have it or she would fade away.

The light slipped across the floor as the sun rose in the sky, a pool of it edging closer to her feet.

She took a step back, stretching her hand out toward the piano, needing the music. Feeling herself growing dimmer as the notes faded from the room.

But something was wrong with her hand. She held it up before her. There were no burn marks from the sunlight, but her hand began to twist in on itself. She tried stretching out her fingers, as though playing the scales, but they barely moved, the tendons tightening and pulling even harder.

“No!” she cried, looking down at her hands as they curled up into claws right in front of her eyes. “No! You can’t do this to me! No!”

The music long since silent, her cries echoed through the room, vibrating off the empty walls, and flooding up the stairs.

And then the full force of the sun spilled across her feet, and up her body.

With one final agonizing scream Sonata blinked out of existence.

****

“Did you hear that?” Janet asked, sitting up on the couch.

“What? The piano?”

“Yes, it sounded like a piano. Is there a radio on or something?”

“No, it just plays sometimes. Ever since Sonata Everson died you can hear it on moonlit night. I think it’s Beethoven.”

“Beethoven? You have a ghost that plays Beethoven?”

“I didn’t say I had a ghost,” he said, before taking a sip of coffee. “I have a home with an interesting past. Sometimes happy, a lot of times quite sad. Ms. Everson was no exception. And now you hear the piano on moonlit nights. That doesn’t mean its haunted.”

“She killed herself, didn’t she?” Janet said, settling back against the overstuffed cushions.

Anthony’s arms snaked up around her to enjoy the sunrise through the grand balcony overlooking the river below. His thumb rubbed back and forth across the bare skin of her arm.

“Yes. Her hands started turning in on themselves. Some think she had a severe form of carpal tunnel, but they didn’t have diagnosis for that back then.”

“Carpal tunnel? You mean from repetitive motion, like playing the piano?”

“Ironic, isn’t it? A simple surgery would have fixed it, but they didn’t know about it back then. Once she couldn’t play the piano anymore she didn’t want to live. Quite tragic, really.”

“And you bought the old house anyway?”

“It’s a beautiful house with great bones, and an incredible view of the water. If I have to share it with a ghost that finally gets to play the piano again, I’m alright with that.”

Janet looked out across the sun deck. There was a darker patch on the hard wood floor. Perhaps it wasn’t as faded as the rest, and it was vaguely in the shape of a grand piano. The sunlight streaming in through the window settled on the spot like a cat stretching from a long nap. Something about it made her shiver.

“Well, I hope you’re right,” she said. “If Ms. Everson is still here I hope she’s happily playing the piano still.”

 

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Stories

 

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Finally Free

I honestly forgot that Twilight Tales was going to be free this weekend, and it will only be free until midnight.

The RingBut, I also found out that “The Ring” is finally price matched as free with the Kobo version. The ring is the start of a short series of short stories. (Each about 5k words long.) The second book, “The Camera“, is also available.

The Illicit Gain’s series tells the story of several mysterious items, each with a strange power that the wielder can use to do some fantastic things. The first book, The Ring, is about the thief who stole those items, and what happens to him. The second, The Camera, is about an old Polaroid camera and a young boy who happens upon it.

Although the items look ordinary, they are far from it.

 

UPDATE:

“Mermaid’s Curse” is now nearly 83,000 words long, and I have 13 of 36 chapters left to edit and rewrite. Let’s see what I can get done in the next couple hours. I also shared another little section of the book if you’d like a sneak peak.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2014 in Updates

 

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It’s FREE!

Twilight TalesYou can’t beat free, right?

Right now, and for the rest of the weekend, “Twilight Tales” is FREE. If you haven’t read it then it’s a great time to pick it up.

Inside are three short stories.

The Scarecrow:
A lonely stretch of road, and a scarecrow is the only witness to a senseless crime. But the scarecrow doesn’t understand human pain and suffering.

Smother and Bake:
A man obsessed with flames and light wants to wrap himself in the sun. And maybe he’ll get his chance.

 

Necropolis:
Two women fight to abolish an ancient evil in the depths of the necropolis. forgottensml

The last story, Necropolis, is the inspiration for “Forgotten Ones“, which is also half price until the end of next week. Forgotten Ones tells more about the goddesses of Fate and their struggle to keep balance between the unseen world of gods and goddesses, and the humans who now inhabit the earth.

This is a contemporary fantasy book along the lines of “Supernatural” or “Grimm”, so if you like them you might like this.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2014 in Updates

 

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