Short Story: Not Fair

Hullo, friends! This is another short story that’s a little different from what I usually write, since it’s historical fiction. It was really interesting for me to try a new genre with a time period that I don’t write in often (late 1700s). This is a little more on the serious side, too. Hope you enjoy!

I thought I knew what loneliness was, but as I watched my closest friend get into her father’s carriage, I realized I had no idea. I felt a surge of sadness overcome me, and I pressed my face against the glass, gazing after the carriage as it bumped into the distance along the road leading away from my family’s plantation. I was glad she had come to say goodbye, but now I was left staring out at the cotton fields that stretched in every direction, big and lonely. Tears pricked at the corners of my eyes. My dearest friend was leaving her family’s nearby plantation and moving all the way to Philadelphia, and I was alone.

“Phoebe, dear, don’t get smudges on the window.” The voice was distant and distracted, and I turned to see my mother starting a new row on her stitching, hardly glancing at me. I huffed and sat on the sofa, slumping backward. I was only 10, the youngest child of five siblings, and as the only one condemned to a life indoors and the only one still living at home, I often felt forgotten.

“Posture, Phoebe,” my mother reprimanded, and I begrudgingly forced myself to sit up straight.

“Mother,” I said hesitantly, glancing sideways. Mother didn’t look up from her stitching. How did she even manage to sew with her pregnant belly in the way? “Can I go outside today?”

Mother looked up and gave me a sharp look. “You know you can’t. It’s too hot outside, we don’t want you fainting.”

I sighed. It was always either too hot or too cold for me to go out. From the time I was a baby, I had breathing problems when I get too active or stay outside too long, and my parents decided I should stay in the house, except on especially nice days. Since my mom had been dealing with all of my older sisters and their marriages, I had always had to find my own entertainment indoors.

I stood and excused myself from the room, walking out in the dignified manner of a young lady, just as my mother had taught me. Once I was in the hall and out of view, though, I skipped off towards the kitchen. I peeked into the open doorway and caught sight of Hanna pulling pastries out of the oven.

I slipped into the kitchen, and Hanna looked in my direction. A sympathetic look crossed her face, and she wiped her dark, work-worn hands on her apron before stretching her arms out to me. I leaned into the embrace, burying my face in her flour-dusted apron. I finally let the tears come, and my shoulders shook as I sobbed. Hanna just whispered soothingly into my ear, gently stroking my hair.

Finally, I ran out of tears, and I pulled back. Hanna handed me a dishcloth, giving me a gentle smile. A spot of flour on her cheek stands out against her dark skin. “It’s alright, miss.”

I wiped my sleeve across my face, unsuccessfully trying to clear away my tears. “But my closest friend just left me forever. How am I ever going to find another friend if I can’t even leave the house?” I sniffed, my nose starting to run from the tears. “Why do people have to move away and leave?”

Hanna smiled at me, but it was a smile with lots of sadness behind it. “I don’t know, miss. I wish I did. But most of the time, it’s out of our control.” She turned away and started to take the pastries off of the baking sheet.

I moved over and stood next to her, looking up at her face. Her eyes were watering. “Hanna, why are you so sad?”

Hanna smiled down at me and wiped her hand across her eyes. “Oh, no, miss, don’t worry about me.” She turned and handed me one of the pastries. “I made them with raspberry, your favorite. Now run along. I know you have that book you were wanting to read.”

I obeyed and scampered off down the hall. I spent most of the rest of the day reading until my mother made me work on my embroidery. I didn’t mind embroidery, but my mind longed for the outdoors, and it was easy to miss a stitch when your mind was wandering through the cotton fields or to a big city like Philadelphia. The odd thing was that I also found myself wondering why Hanna was so sad, too. That alone took my mind off of my own problems.

The good news was that I only stabbed myself in the finger twice. My mom lectured me on paying attention and not getting blood on my embroidery, but I barely listened. I waited for her to take a breath during the lecture and jumped in with my own question.

“Mother, why is Hanna so sad?” I asked, looking up slightly from my embroidery.

Mother hesitated in her pacing. “Phoebe, darling, you needn’t concern yourself with the slaves.” She turned and I felt her eyes on me, although I pretended to be absorbed in my embroidery. “You may be the mistress of this house someday, if you do not find a husband, and if so, you need to have the proper attitude towards the slaves.”

I finally looked up at her. “So you don’t care why Hanna is sad?”

Her eyes turned fierce and felt like they were boring a hole in me. “Phoebe, it is not your place. They are your father’s property, nothing more.”

I almost said She’s my friend, but something in my mother’s look makes me hold back. “Yes, Mother,” I said instead and turned my eyes back to my stitching.

Later that night, I lie in bed in my room upstairs, simply trying to go to sleep, but what my mother said nagged at my mind. Why couldn’t Hanna be my friend? Finally, my thoughts overwhelmed me, and I decided to sneak down and get another pastry from the kitchen. I slid out of bed, the hem of my nightgown brushing against the floor. I stepped carefully across the wooden floorboards, making sure to avoid the spots that I knew would creak. I left my door slightly cracked to avoid making too much noise.

The house was fairly quiet as I snuck to the stairs. I could hear doors closing somewhere else in the house, and golden candlelight flickered from my father’s study. The murmur of my parents’ voices barely reached my ears. I hesitated on the top stair, not sure if I should chance going past my parents to get my pastry. Finally, though, my craving won out over my fear of getting in trouble, and I crept quietly down the stairs. Being inside all the time had helped me learn where all of the creaky spots were on the stairs, too, so I managed to sneak downstairs without a sound.

At the bottom of the stairs, I paused again. My parents’ voices were clear enough now that I could make out what they were saying, and I heard my own name. I knew it was wrong to listen, but I couldn’t help but move closer to the doorway to my father’s study.

“She was bordering on disrespect, Elias.” My mother’s light footsteps betrayed her pacing. “Do you think we’ve been too soft with her, letting her interact with the slaves?”

“Possibly.” Father’s deep voice sounded like he was only halfway paying attention to my mother. “But she does have a lack of companionship.”

A chair creaked as my mom sat in it. “Elias. I’m afraid that when the time comes for her to take charge of the household, if that occurs, she won’t have the proper attitude towards the slaves.”

The sound of Father’s chair scraping back from his desk made me jump. “Perhaps you’re right, Amelia. What do you propose we do about it?”

Mother sighed. “We need to find her some kind of companionship. I don’t know how, though.” She paused. “Do you think Hanna could be putting ideas in her head, ones about slaves that shouldn’t be there?”

Father’s voice grew serious. “Do you believe that could be possible?”

“I don’t know.” Mother’s voice was shaky. “We’ve always trusted Hanna, but what if she has misused that trust?”

My stomach churned, and I couldn’t bear to listen any longer. I crept towards the stairs quietly, unsure of what to think any more. These were all new and confusing things to think about. I was so absorbed in trying to decipher what “ideas” my parents were talking about that I forgot to watch where I was walking. I stepped directly on a creaky spot, and the sound echoed through the house.

I froze. My parents had gone completely silent behind me. For a second that felt like a minute, I thought I might be able to get away with it. But my father’s footsteps echoed as he hurried into the hall.

“Phoebe.” My name was said with a combination of sternness and surprise. I turned slowly around to face him.

“Father, I—” My mother appeared behind him, looking at me in disbelief, and I couldn’t finish my sentence.

“Young lady, you will go right to bed this instant.” Father’s voice was firm and unyielding, and I ducked my head. “We will discuss the consequences of your eavesdropping in the morning.”

My mother walked me up to my room and made sure I got into bed. I tried to explain to her that I just wanted to get a pastry, but she shook her head at me. “You listened in on a conversation that was not meant for your ears. That is certainly not becoming of a young lady.” She left me alone in my room, and I felt tears slip down my cheeks for the second time that day. I was afraid of what my punishment might be, and I longed to find Hanna and get a comforting hug from her.

Somehow I managed to fall asleep, and the next morning I went downstairs, making a beeline straight for the kitchen. To my surprise, a different woman was in the kitchen. I vaguely remembered her name being Betsey.

“Where’s Hanna?” I asked, looking around in confusion. She rarely let anyone work in the kitchen without her supervision.

The other woman looked up from peeling potatoes. Sadness dripped from her gaze, the same sadness I’d seen in Hanna’s eyes the day before. “Go talk to your parents, miss. They should be in the dinin’ room.”

I backed out of the kitchen and fled down the hall towards the dining room. A sinking feeling of dread sat in my stomach like a rock. What terrible thing had my parents done? I found them at the table, eating their breakfast as if nothing had happened. I walked slowly into the room, slightly afraid that if I entered, things wouldn’t be the same.

Father noticed me first and motioned for me to sit down. “How did you sleep last night, Phoebe?”

“Where’s Hanna?” I asked, hesitating next to my chair.

My parents exchanged glances, but my father was the one to speak. “Phoebe, we decided that you were getting too attached to Hanna. We sent her off to auction this morning.”

My hands started to shake, and I gripped the chair to keep myself upright. “Bu-but… last night, that was my fault! I shouldn’t have eavesdropped and snuck downstairs, but those were my own actions. Why are you punishing Hanna?”

My mother set down her teacup. “Phoebe, dear, your father is right. You’ve been getting too attached to Hanna. It’s not proper. She is our property to do with as we please, as are the rest of the slaves.” She paused and looked at me. “As were her son and her husband.”

The rock in my stomach tightened, changing to a fist that clenched my stomach and wouldn’t let go, and I slumped into the chair. My parents looked at me, a mix of sympathy and sternness on their faces. “It’s not fair,” I whispered.

It’s not fair.

So there’s my historical fiction story! What did you think? Comment below with your thoughts, and what other posts you’d like to see. I love talking with you guys!

Tales From The Writer’s Desk: Procrastination and Productivity

Hullo, friends! It’s been a while since I’ve written a Tale From The Writer’s Desk, but I had a lot of fun writing this. This is also a way to announce my new Facebook page, which you can check out here if you don’t feel like reading to the end (I highly recommend you do). It’s basically a way to keep you guys updated on my writing without always having to write a blog post, plus a way to interact more with y’all. So check it out, and enjoy the post, too!

I sat at my desk, flipping through an old folder and frowning at the contents. A superhero retelling of Snow White might be a fun story to start on again. It needed a lot of editing though. I shrugged and set the folder down on top of the terrifyingly-large stack next to my desk labeled To Continue. I groaned. “There is no way I’ll ever get all of these done.”

“Yeah, no kidding!”

I jumped out of my chair, spinning around. My shock quickly turned into annoyance. “Blaze, seriously? Why don’t you ever use the door?”

Blaze grinned and pulled my chair towards him, flopping down in it. “Because I can teleport? Also, Benedict wouldn’t let me in.”

I lifted an eyebrow. “Am I supposed to be surprised by that? I told him not to let anyone disturb me.”

He spun around in my chair, ignoring my comment and my glare. “Yeah, he said you were finally being productive, so I needed to leave you alone.” He turned to face me, and I was shocked to see a serious look on his face instead of his usually teasing grin. “Bri, you need to write and be productive. And I’m not leaving until we get you on track.”

“I was being productive, at least until I was interrupted.” I motioned at the pile of folders next to my desk.

“Sorting through stories isn’t the same as actually working on them.” Blaze stood up and motioned to the chair. “So you’re going to sit here and write while I watch. Albany is working on your reward for when you finally make progress.”

I sat and glared at him suspiciously. “She’s not making cookies or anything, is she?”

Blaze smirked. “Yes, but that’s the punishment for not being productive.”

I immediately turned to my computer, pulled out a folder, and got to work. Before I even knew it, I was in the zone, writing as fast as I could. Who knew that writing was so much easier once you actually got started?

A snort from Blaze brought my attention back to the room. He was peering over my shoulder at my computer screen, and I moved to cover it up. “It’s not ready for anyone to read it yet!”

“That was an awful pun.” He stepped back and sat down in a very fancy armchair that he must have brought while I was writing. “And that’s coming from me.”

I rolled my eyes. “I’ll work on it. Besides, it’s supposed to be cheesy.”

Blaze shrugged. “At least you were productive. That’s all I can ask for.” He grinned. “That wasn’t so painful, was it?”

I couldn’t help but smile back. “Thanks. I needed a kickstart to get me going.”

“And now you get your reward.” Blaze pushed my spinning chair out of the way and bent over the computer. I watched over his shoulder in confusion as he pulled up Facebook. “Ta-da! Albany and I set up your very own author Facebook page!”

“Really?!” I’d been wanting to start one for a while, but I’d never found the motivation or the time.

He nodded. “Okay, so this way, people can like your page and get updates you post about your books and writing, and–”

“I know how Facebook works,” I interrupted, but I couldn’t keep the grin off my face. “Thanks, Blaze.”

Blaze sat back in his chair, looking like he owned the place. “Glad I could help. Now, please… work on book 3.” With that parting shot, he disappeared.

I grinned at the empty spot, then turned back to my computer and began to type.

I hope you enjoyed that Tale From The Writer’s Desk! Be sure to check out my new Facebook page for more updates on what I’m writing (and maybe Blaze will take over occasionally, too). And if this is your first time meeting Blaze, be sure to check out Twinepathy, which is currently free on Kindle Unlimited! Comment below your thoughts on this story, and let me know what you think Albany was trying to make!

Short Story: The Villain And The Hero

Hullo, friends! Unlike some of the short stories I’ve posted recently, The Villain and the Hero is firmly planted in my usual genre: superhero. I had a lot of fun writing this one, and it was nice to get back to writing with superheroes after a little break for other projects. Enjoy!

I’m in love with a boy, and unfortunately, he hates my guts. I know that if he got to know me, he would begin to like me, I just know it! But there’s not much chance for small talk when he’s blasting fire in my direction.

I stand firm as fire blazes towards me, and I throw up a forcefield with one hand. It’s virtually invisible, but I can see the air shimmering slightly in front of me as I hold my hand over my head. With my other hand, I stuff the rest of the money from my latest robbery into the inside pocket of my long black trench coat. Torch’s fire hits my forcefield, reflecting off and shooting straight in the air. I hear him yell in frustration, and I drop my hand, letting the forcefield dissolve. I reach up and scratch around the black mask on my face. Paired with the dark wig, it hides my identity, but I can’t wait to take it off. Talk about itchy.

Torch stalks toward me, his anger and frustration clearly evident. Unlike my dark mask, his black one with flame details makes him look even more attractive. Then again, I’ve always liked guys with brown hair. “Give yourself up, Mirror!” he yells.

Okay, let’s be honest here for a second. I could easily win this fight. It’s as simple as throwing a bubble forcefield around him and making it shrink. Easy peasy, no more Torch. That’s the dumb part about having a crush on your superhero. You tend to go easy on them, even if you’d be better off getting rid of them.

Then again, I’m just stealing from overly rich corporations to pay off student loans, and killing someone wouldn’t help with that anyway.

I put my hands in the air slowly, in a show of surrender, eyeing the distance between the two of us. “You win, Torch. Take me to jail.” The air shivers ever so slightly between us, and I grin. “Or you could take me to dinner instead.”

Torch looks at me suspiciously and rolls his eyes, but he walks towards me. After two steps, he smacks into my invisible forcefield. He yelps and steps back, rubbing his head and glaring at me.

I shake with laughter, letting out a snort on accident. Dang it, Alexis. Play it cool. I try my hardest to smother my laughter, but the glare on his face makes it really hard. Why does he have to be so cute when he’s annoyed? “Sorry, Torch!”

“That’s cold, you know!” he yells back, although I swear he’s hiding a smile. My smile fades when he calls me cold, though.

I throw a disk forcefield on the ground in front of me and step onto it. The other forcefield dissolves automatically. Only being able to make one forcefield is one of my weaknesses that no one has figured out. Not yet, at least. I crouch down and salute Torch, winking. “Until next time, hot stuff.”

At my command, the forcefield raises slightly off the ground and takes off over the nearest building. The wind blows through my hair—at least, the hair on the wig—and I breathe deeply. The air smells of car exhaust and pollution. For a second, I miss the fresh country air from my childhood, but I shove down those memories. This is my home now, and I need to love every part of it. It’s not like the time I spent in the country was any better. Living with my mom was a nightmare.

I lower my forcefield, dodging in between buildings and down alleyways. I come to a stop and dissolve my forcefield, landing on the ground. No one’s around, so I ditch my costume and hide it in the usual spot. I let my long blond hair down and slip on my favorite sweatshirt. Back to my normal college student self.

It doesn’t take me long to make it back to school, and I unlock the door of my apartment. Some kind of Latin music fills the air, probably coming from the kitchen, while I can hear Riley yelling at a basketball game in the living room. I can’t even hear the door close behind me as I walk in.

Lucia does, though. She pokes her head out of the kitchen. “Alexis, amiga! You’re just in time for dinner. Everything’s almost ready.”

I sniff, inhaling the scent of Mexican spices. “Yum! I can’t wait.” I kick off my shoes by the door. “Have the neighbors complained about the noise yet?”

An unintelligible shriek of triumph rises for the living room, and Lucia winces. “Not yet, but I would not be surprised.”

She slips back into the kitchen, singing in Spanish along with the music. I cross into the living room to find Riley flopping back onto the couch, still in her running clothes. She glances up at me and then turns her focus back to her game. “How was your shopping trip?” she asks, reaching for a bag of chips.

I grab the chips before she can get them. “I didn’t get to do any shopping. Mirror and Torch were fighting right by the mall.” At her glare, I set the chips back down, just farther away from her. “Lucia says dinner is almost ready.”

A few minutes later, Lucia calls us into the kitchen. She always makes the most amazing food, and Saturday nights are sacred “Roommate Dinners” for the three of us. After dinner, we all hang out in the living room together, watching a show or talking about our lives. Tonight, we gather all of the junk food in our apartment and sprawl out in the living room. The fight with Torch is still lingering in my mind, and I glance at my two roommates. I love these girls, but if they ever found out about my secret identity, they would go crazy. At least I’m just a supervillain who steals, not one who kills people. I mean, I’ve hurt a few people, but I’ve never killed anyone. I’ve met some villains who are much worse than me.

We’re halfway through our show when Lucia gasps. “Oh my gosh!” Riley and I both turn to look at her in surprise, and she turns her phone around to show us. “Mira!”

A breaking news alert lights up her screen, with a picture of Torch, mid-fight with a supervillain that I immediately recognize. My stomach sinks. Riley snatches the remote and changes the channel to a news channel that’s covering the fight. The voiceover crackles with panic, sending a shiver down my spine.

“…no one knows what Glacier is doing in the city, but so far, she’s been giving Torch quite the beating…”

I tune out the voice on the TV, focusing on the footage. Even from the view of a helicopter, I can tell he’s tired. “Oh, he’s got this,” Riley says, popping a chip in her mouth. “She must be a nobody. I’ve never heard of her before.”

On the TV, Glacier shoots a blast of ice out of her hands, and Torch barely manages to dodge it. Glacier smirks up at the helicopter, and I feel like she’s staring into my soul with her icy gaze. Lucia winces. “I hope he’ll be alright.”

Riley switches the channel back to our show, but my hands are shaking now. What if something really bad happens to Torch? At least when I fight him, I go easy on him. He’s not going to be able to walk away from this fight. Glacier would never take it easy on him.

Before I can think about it, I’m standing up and heading to the front door. Lucia looks up from her phone. “Where are you going?”

I unlock the door. “I’m just going for a walk. I’ll see if the laundry room is open.”

She nods. “Just stay away from downtown. That’s where the fight is happening.”

I nod and smile. “Don’t worry, I’m not going that way at all.”

As soon as I get out of view of our apartment, that’s the exact direction I go. I run to my hiding spot and retrieve my costume, changing as quickly as I can. This is one of the many reasons I chose a trench coat for my costume, instead of some skintight outfit. It’s so much easier to put on. A forcefield materializes underneath my feet, and I zoom off in the direction of the fight.

The closer I get to downtown, the more unsure I feel of myself. What am I even going to do? Fight Glacier? I’m pretty sure I can fight her, yeah—I’ve improved a lot since the last time I fought her—but as soon as I defeat her, Torch is going to turn on me.

But I also can’t let her hurt him… or kill him.

Ugh, feelings are dumb.

I know I’m getting close to the fight because I start feeling blasts of heat and cold. I lower myself behind a building. I’m even more nervous now, but mostly because I feel more cold than heat in the air. I duck around a few corners and finally come across the fight. I immediately cringe. I’ve fought Torch enough times that I can tell he’s exhausted. His fire blasts are weak, barely reaching to Glacier.

Glacier is smirking at him, clearly toying with him. Her skin shimmers, coated in a frosty layer, and her long, dark blue dress sparkles with ice, too, glittering like stars set against a backdrop of night. Her dark hair, streaked with gray, sparkles with a layer of ice too. She looks like a queen, and I shudder at the sight of her. I could have ended up ruthless and cold, just like her.

I step out of the shadows, the wind from Glacier’s next blast of ice whipping my trench coat around my legs. Torch shoots a blast of fire at Glacier’s ice blast, melting it just before it could hit him. He’s almost done, and Glacier can tell. She starts to stalk towards him, just like he did when he was fighting me earlier.

Then she catches sight of me.

A smile slithers across her face, something sinister lurking behind it. “Hello, dear,” she calls out, her voice deeper from the cold air. “Don’t worry about this. I’m finishing the job you’ve never been able to handle.”

Torch glances in my direction just as I glance at him. Anger flashes across his face, but then it fades to nothing. He’s losing hope.

I’m in the middle right now, off to the side, not committed to either one of them. I look over at Glacier. “You’re a monster,” I whisper, my voice carrying on the breeze.

She shrugs and steps closer, towards me instead of Torch this time. “It took you long enough to figure that out.” With a quick flick of her wrist, she sends icicles shooting in my direction.

I know she expects me to put up a forcefield to block the icicles, but I don’t. I react instantly, swirling my hands in the air and then pushing towards her. A bubble forcefield surrounds her as I jump to the side. I feel the impact from one of the icicles, and cold spreads through my shoulder.

Glacier laughs and starts to walk toward me, but she runs into the forcefield. She reaches out and puts her hands on it, her smile fading as she realizes she’s completely trapped. I look at her, and she stares back at me, horror growing on her face. I hold up my hand, and she backs up, hitting the back of the bubble. “No!” she shrieks.

I slowly begin to close my hand into a fist, and bubble shrinks around her, and she panics, trying to make herself as small as possible. The bubble tightens more. I find myself shaking in anger as I glare at her. Out of nowhere, someone’s hand grabs the one I’m holding up. I turn to find Torch, his hand grasping mine.

“Don’t kill her,” he rasps, his voice weak. “You’re not like her. Don’t become her.”

I look at him in shock and then look back at Glacier. Fear covers her face as she sobs into her own skirt, curled up in the fetal position inside the forcefield. It’s barely big enough to fit her now. Horror floods my body, and I let my hand drop. The forcefield dissolves, but Glacier stays on the ground, still sobbing in terror.

Torch helps me to my feet, and cops descend on Glacier. He holds my arms, looking over me. “Are you okay?” he asks, looking at my face. I stare at him, surprised to see concern in his eyes.

“I’m fine.” I lean against a wall nearby, looking over at the icicle lodged in my shoulder.

Torch puts a hand on my arm and inspects the icicle in my shoulder. “Why would you do that?” he asks, searching my face as if he would find answers there. Ambulance sirens echo in the distance.

I look back at him and give him a weak smile. “You’re just trying to do your job. I knew she wouldn’t leave you alive.” I stare off as the police put power-eliminating cuffs on Glacier and push her in the back of a cop car. Relief and sadness tug at opposite sides of my heart. A whisper slips out of my lips, stolen away by the wind.

“I’m sorry, Mom.”

Short Story: The Interview

Hullo my friends! I’m starting to dig through my collections of stories from the past semester, and I came across this one. This is a little different than my usual genre, but I had fun writing it, and I thought you guys might like it. Enjoy!

It was one of those miserable days where the mix of icy rain and gusting wind makes it impossible to stay dry. Melody could feel the cold water trickling from her hair onto the back of her neck and shuddered, pulling her coat tighter around her. She always hated walking, but walking in the rains was even worse. She quickened her pace, close to the edge of the curb, as the coffee shop came into view. Her meeting was supposed to start five minutes ago, but the closest parking spot to her destination was three blocks away.

Melody hesitated on the edge of the curb, eyeing the oncoming traffic before dashing across the road. Her new boots splashed in the puddles near the edge, sending cold water squishing into her socks. The wind whipped her hair back as she jogged across the street. She didn’t even notice the darker spot on the road, glistening from spilled oil.

Her foot slipped, and she hit the ground. She groaned, trying to catch her breath, but all she could feel was the water seeping into her clothes. A car screeched to a halt, bouncing to a stop only a few feet away from hitting her.

Melody sat up, groaning again. She was definitely going to have some bruises. The car door opened and a guy half got out, peering over his car door. “Are you okay?” he yelled.

“I’m fine!” Melody snapped, pushing herself up to a standing position. She wobbled slightly, but she was glad she could stand. Falling again would be too embarrassing. Not that she wasn’t already a mess.

“Then could you get out of the road?” the guy called, pushing his light brown hair off his forehead. “I’m running late.”

Melody glared at him, any gratefulness she’d had for his concern evaporated. She didn’t give him the benefit of a response and stalked to the side of the road. She made sure to take her sweet time. The guy slammed his door and raced off down the street, and Melody glowered at his retreating taillights.

She walked the little ways down the street to the coffee shop and shook herself off at the door, sending droplets of water mixed with oil flying. Smoothing her hair down and stomping the water off her boots, she slipped into the coffee shop. A bell jingled over the door as she opened it. Soft music played over the speakers, and the dim lighting gave it a homey feel. Unlike most coffee shops, old-fashioned booths and checkered tablecloths made the coffee shop feel more like a diner. Only two or three people lingered in the coffee shop.

Melody went up to the pastry case, where a middle-aged woman was humming as she replaced some of the pastries. The woman looked up and her eyes widened. “Oh, honey! Bless your heart! You’re soaked right through!” She bustled out from behind the counter. “You sit right down and I’ll find you some towels. I’ll get you some fresh coffee, too.”

Melody thanked her and sat in a booth, wrapping her arms around herself as the cool air and her wet clothes sapped her body heat. Her wet clothes clung to her skin, and she was grateful when the woman came back a minute later with two clean dish towels. The bell dinged over the door, and Melody looked up from patting herself dry with one of the towels. Her eyes narrowed instantly as she recognized the man who had almost run over her.

“Hello, sweetheart! What do you need?” the woman called out cheerfully.

“I’m here to meet with Melody Hackett.” He shook the raindrops off his thick coat.

Melody smiled. How perfect was this? She could give him a hard time now. Clearing her throat, she raised her hand. “That’s me,” she announced. She kept her face neutral, but she couldn’t help but feel a spark of delight at the look of utter shock on the man’s face. He approached her cautiously as if she was a wild animal that might bite him.

“Oh… hello,” he said, quickly switching to a smile, but she could tell it was a nervous one.

“You must be Luke Norwood,” Melody said, staring him down, but still trying to keep her expression neutral. Keep him guessing, at least.

He scratched the back of his head, still standing awkwardly next to the booth. “Um… can I sit?” At her nod, he slid into the booth. “Yeah… Um, I’m sorry about yelling at you earlier. I was nervous about this meeting and I wasn’t thinking, and I knew I still had to walk over here from the parking lot down the street…” He trailed off, fidgeting with his hands and staring down at the table.

Melody hesitated as the waitress came over and poured coffee into mugs for them. She sipped the steaming liquid and felt warmth spread through her. She looked over her mug at Luke, and he quickly looked down at his coffee. “It’s okay,” she told him. “But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to give you a hard time.” Luke looked up, and he must have seen the twinkle in her eye before she could hide it by taking another sip of coffee. “Why don’t we get started on this interview?”

Luke nodded, seemingly relieved, but his hands shook as he pulled out a pad of paper and a pen. “Do you mind if I record this?”

Melody shook her head, and he started the recorder on his phone. “So, your official book release and release party are tonight. Are you ready for that?”

She shook her head. “I’ve released books before, obviously, but as an author, this project is close to my heart. I’ve never written a story this personal, and this story is based off some of my own real-life experiences.”

Luke tilted his head. “Really? How so?”

Melody began to explain the story behind her book, and Luke seemed genuinely intrigued. Eventually the interview shifted from normal interview questions into other topics of conversation. Before long, the two of them were laughing like old friends.

“I can’t believe you actually went skydiving with your grandma,” Melody said, gasping in between her laughter.

Luke shook his head, grinning. “She’s done more crazy things than I have.” He sipped his coffee. “She’s the reason I wanted to be a reporter, so that I could travel and experience new things.”

Melody looked at him over her coffee cup. “Has she ever almost run over someone before?”

He laughed. “Not that I know of.”

The waitress came by, placing the check on the table. Melody glanced at her phone. “Wow, I can’t believe we’ve been here for over two hours. That went by fast.” She dug around in her purse and pulled out her wallet.

Luke shook his head. “No, my treat,” he insisted, handing the waitress his card. “It’s the least I can do.”

Melody hesitated, then shrugged. “I guess I’ll let you, since you did almost—”

“Hit you with my car,” he finished, grinning.

Melody laughed and didn’t argue any further. The two of them got up from the table. “I can’t wait to read the article later.” She smoothed out her coat, although she knew she couldn’t do anything about the oil stains. “I hope you’re not one of those reporters that twists everything I say to mean what you want.”

“Of course not!” Luke exclaimed. He looked at her, eyes wide. “I would never!”

Melody made eye contact with him and he noticed the mischievous glint in her eye. “Are you teasing me?” he asked, shocked. She grinned and nodded, and he elbowed her. “Not funny!”

Melody laughed and gathered up the rest of her things. “I’m just joking. I trust you.” A little idea sparked in her mind as they walked towards the door. “So, what are you doing the rest of the day?”

Luke glanced sideways at her. “Well, I’m going to finish writing up this article and turn it in, but that’s really it. That’ll only take me a couple of hours.” He opened the door and held it for her.

Melody hid a smile and stepped outside. “Thanks.”

“No problem.” They hesitated outside, and Melody looked at Luke.

“So, um,” Melody hesitated and looked down, fiddling with the edge of her coat. “If you’re not doing anything tonight, do you want to come to the launch party?”

He looked at her, a smile growing on his face. “I would love to.”

Melody couldn’t help but smile back. “It’s a date, then.”

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed that short story. Did you like this different type of story? Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below!

Hullo I’m Back! What Have You Been Up To?

Why hello friends! Look who’s still alive over here! Due to the craziness of school, the last few months I’ve definitely slacked on this blog. So now I return for the summer (and hopefully the rest of the year, too)! I thought I’d update you guys on a few happenings and what to expect soon.

First, I have a stash of short stories from a class I took this semester, so I should be posting those soon. Some of them are outside of my normal genre (superhero), like historical fiction and aliens, but I hope you’ll still enjoy them!

Second, I’ve been making some (slow) progress on IDIA #3, but I’m not sure when that will be released. I have another big novella-novel writing project that I’m super excited about, and that will probably be taking precedence since it’s for school. I’m definitely still working on book 3, though!

Finally, voting for the TCK Reader’s Choice Awards is still open, and Twinepathy is on the list! If you haven’t voted yet, you can read more about how to do so here.

Most importantly: I want to know what you’ve been up to! I’ve been out of the loop for a while, so let me know in the comments below about any awesome books you’ve been reading. I love talking with you guys!

The Mermaid and The Shell – A Fairy Tale Fable

Hullo, friends! So I’ve been trying to figure out some things to post recently, and I realized that I have stories saved up from my creative writing and fiction classes that I can post! So today I’m sharing the first story I wrote this year for my fiction class. It’s a cross between a fairytale and a fable, and I had a lot of fun writing it. Hope you enjoy!

The Mermaid and the Shell

In a far-off land, or sea, I should say, there lived a young mermaid named Nahla. She loved living with her family and playing among the coral reef. Her people were a joyful group, and she couldn’t imagine life without them. The king of the merfolk was a good merman at that time, and under his rule, the merpeople lived in harmony.

For every mermaid’s sixteenth birthday, they were required to decorate a shell to bring before the king. This symbolized their loyalty to the throne and made them a part of the tribe forever. The only requirement was that they make the shells themselves.

“I can’t wait, Mom!” Nahla exclaimed, spinning in a circle next to her mother. “Tomorrow I get to decorate my shell! It’s going to be the most beautiful shell anyone’s ever made.”

Her mother smiled at her. “I know it will, darling. I think you should paint it the colors of the ocean. That’s what I did for my shell, and everyone loved it.”

Nahla tilted her head sideways. “I hadn’t thought of that.” Secretly, she had imagined a swirl of colors, yellow, orange, pink, and purple, the colors of the coral.

Her mother nodded. “I think it would be beautiful. And it would match your eyes.”

Nahla smiled, shifting the picture in her mind. She could put some ocean colors on the shell, she was sure.

Her mother sent her off to find her younger brother, and she found him at the edge of the reef, watching the sharks swimming through the cool blue waters. His eyes lit up as she approached. “Nahla! You need to put a shark on your shell! That would the coolest thing ever.”

Nahla frowned. “Why would I do that?”

Her brother’s face melted into sadness. “For me. I won’t get to make a shell since I’m a merman. If I could make one, I would want a shark on it.”

Nahla put an arm around her brother’s shoulders. “Don’t worry. I’ll definitely find room for a shark on there.”

A little while later, Nahla ran into her best friend, Ara. “I can’t believe you get to decorate your shell tomorrow!” Ara exclaimed, twirling around. “You’re going to put a starfish on there for me, aren’t you?”

Nahla looked sideways at her friend. “A starfish?”

Ara nodded. “It’s our favorite animal, that’s why I put one on mine. It’ll be like a piece of me with you.”

“Of course!” Nahla hugged her friend. “I wouldn’t forget to do that.”

The next day, Nahla was released to find a shell and decorate it. She looked for hours, seeking the perfect shell, and finally, she found it. She struggled as she made it, trying to tie in all of the ideas she had been given. Before long, she finished, a sinking feeling in her stomach. It was nothing like she had imagined, and she couldn’t help but think about how ugly the shell was.

Eventually, the water grew darker, and she knew the day was nearly over. It was time to present her shell to the king, beautiful or not. She entered his throne room, knowing her family and friends would be there watching. Head hanging, she placed the shell before the king.

“What is this, Nahla?” The king asked, his voice stern.

Her mother approached and peered at the shell. “Those aren’t ocean colors, darling. Why are they smeared with yellow?”

“Where’s the shark?” Nahla’s brother asked. “I thought you were going to put a shark on it.”

“That doesn’t look like a starfish,” Ara added, tilting her head.

Nahla felt disappointment welling up inside of her. The king gazed at her. “What do you have to say, Nahla?”

She bowed her head, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment. “I wanted to make my shell coral colors, but everyone kept asking me to add something else. I didn’t want to disappoint my mom by not doing what she wanted, and since my brother doesn’t get to make a shell I wanted to put a shark on it for him. And since Ara put a starfish on hers for me, I wanted to put one on mine for her, too. I tried to include everything, but it turned into a big mess.”

The king nodded. “I will give you a chance to redo your shell, Nahla. Don’t try to please anyone, just yourself. Remember, the one who tries to please everyone pleases no one.”

And there you go! What did you think? I hope you enjoyed the story! Comment below if you have any thoughts or any ideas for future short stories you think I should write. And don’t forget to vote for Twinepathy in the TCK Reader’s Choice Awards!

A New Year: Bookish Goals for 2019!

Wow, I can hardly believe that 2018 is over already. It seems like it just started! So for 2019, I came up with a few writing and reading related goals. I thought I’d share them with all of you, and, hopefully, you can help keep me accountable!

  1. Finish Forcefield. I’m super excited to be working on IDIA #3, and this is my biggest writing goal. I’ve been working on plot ideas, and while I started the book during NaNoWriMo… I didn’t make much progress (and I definitely didn’t win NaNo). I’m hoping to work a lot more on it this year!
  2. Create a regular writing habit. Right now my goal is around 250 words a day, but in general, I just want to try and write more. Even if that means 100 or 10 words, I want to work on sitting down to write something every day, even with a crazy college schedule.
  3. Post at least once a month. I’ve been really bad about posting during the school semester, which is understandable due to the amount of work college entails. But it doesn’t take much to whip up a quick blog post at least once a month! This is one I really plan on working on this year.
  4. Read more! Reading also slips through the cracks when it comes to college. My goal is to read 24 books this year, which is about 2 a month. Even if I can’t read during the semester, I should be able to make that up this summer. We’ll see…

And that’s it! Here’s to a year of (hopefully) more regular blog posts. What are your goals or resolutions for 2019, reading or otherwise? I’d love to hear what they are! 

A Christmas Short Story and Release Tour Sign-Ups!

Hello, everyone! I apologize once again for disappearing for so long. It seems like just yesterday that the school semester started, and now it’s pretty much over. Where did the time go???

But in spite of the craziness of this semester, I’ve still been able to get some things done… like getting my Christmas short story, The Villain Who Saved Christmas, ready for publishing! There’s still a lot left to do, but I’ve set an official release date: December 24th. That’s only 10 days away, but I can’t wait for it to be out!

I posted about this story when I did the 777 Challenge, and I’m very excited to finally be sharing this with all of you. So here are the cover and the blurb!

This may be Becca’s last Christmas, and all she wants is a white Christmas. But with no snow in the forecast, her brother and sister know that might not happen… until they get the idea to track down supervillain Hypothermia for help. With his ice powers, he could create a white Christmas for their sister. There’s only one problem—they have to find him first. Can they discover where Hypothermia is hiding and convince him to make it snow?

So here’s where I need your help…

I’m not planning on doing official dates for a release tour, because I know how crazy this time of year is for everyone, and how last minute this is! Instead, if you want to help out, you can post whenever you want. The book will be releasing on December 24th, and I’m looking to have as many reviews then as I can, so feel free to share this post or the form below with anyone who may be interested!

Also, for the release, Twinepathy will be free on Kindle from December 24th-28th! If you haven’t gotten a copy of Twinepathy yet, that’s the perfect time to get a copy on Kindle.

I’m so excited to be sharing this book with all of you! Are you excited? Share any thoughts, comments, and questions you have below!

The 777 Challenge | The Villain Who Saved Christmas

Well, look who’s posting two weeks in a row! Earlier this week, Claire posted her snippets for the 777 Challenge, and today, Deborah tagged me for the challenge! Unfortunately, IDIA book 3 is still in the brainstorming stage… but I just got over 7 pages on my Christmas superhero short story, which also now has a title: The Villain Who Saved Christmas! I’m very excited about this story, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. For now, you can add it on Goodreads. First, the rules:

Rules

  1. Open your WIP to the seventh page
  2. Scroll past the seventh line
  3. Copy the next seven paragraphs and paste them on your blog for THE WORLD to read
  4. Tag seven people

And here’s my snippet! (For reference, Scott is a supervillain with ice powers named Hypothermia, and Reflex is a superhero, Scott’s archnemesis.)

Continue reading

Fan Art Contest Update And Some Author Interviews

Hullo, everyone! So technically Saturday was the deadline for the fan art contest… but I definitely forgot to post reminders! So I’m moving the deadline for the fan art/fiction contest to July 31st! So if you still want to submit something, you have more time, and don’t forget to submit it using this form. I’ve already had a few submissions (which I’m super excited about!), but I wanted to allow more time since I didn’t post reminders.

And in other news, I got to do a few author interviews for a recent blog tour with three other authors! It was a lot of fun to answer the questions! You can find one of the interviews here. It was mostly a small blog tour, but still fun.

I plan to post again soon, but let me know in the comments below what posts you would like to see me write. Movie reviews? Book reviews? More guest posts? Book updates? Posts about writing? Comment below with your thoughts!