Wordless Wednesday February 2019

wordless

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for Wordless Wednesday . . . other than not be wordless, obviously. Then I thought about just how gray and horrible it’s been here for days and days. It either snows or rains (usually rains) pretty much every day. So, yeah, it’s time for beautiful flower pics. The pics are from botanical gardens I’ve visited over the last few years. Enjoy!

 

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Jessica     Bronwyn     Siobhan    Kayleigh

 

 

An Image in the Mirror

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I really like our flash fiction picture for February. It took me a bit to come up with a story, but one it hit I was off and running. Hope you like it.

Sophia stared at herself in the mirror. She saw a woman with cool eyes and serene features, but that wasn’t the reality. The reality was she was scared shitless. Who wouldn’t be when her parents were going to sell her to the highest bidder? Oh, no one called it that, of course. They were too classy to call the “coming out” ball an auction, but that’s what it was. Women, girls really, were paraded around for the wealthy Coadjutors to view and, if one was to his liking, he approached her parents or guardians to work out a deal.

Sophia knew her parents would hold out for a large payment since she was a virgin. It wasn’t a secret either since it said so right in the catalog that was handed out to each Coadjutor as he entered the enormous ballroom. If she could, Sophia would run away, but there wasn’t anyplace to go. Her parents owned her until they sold her to the highest bidder.

Closing her eyes, she breathed in and out of her nose, trying to get her pounding heart under control. It really wasn’t any use though since she was scared. Okay, she was terrified and deep breathing wasn’t going to fix that.

“What are you doing?” her mother whispered angrily in her ear. “Turn around and smile.”

Sophia looked at the woman who had given birth to her and felt nothing but contempt. From the moment she could understand anything, this woman had explained that she was a commodity. They were raising her to elevate themselves. That was it. So, they’d put money into her. Giving her dance and voice lessons, teaching her comportment all so that she could be sold into wealth and power.

Pinching the underside of her arm, hard, her mother yanked Sophia across the room to where her father waited. He stood next to a man older than he was and she crossed her fingers that they were just friends.

“Ah good,” her father said, with a smile. “This is our daughter, Sophia. She is only twenty-two and a virgin, so her power is untapped and ripe.”

Sophia forced herself to stand perfectly still because, she knew, if she moved at all, she would run. Run and never stop.

The man she didn’t know looked her up and down. “I will need to check. I cannot take your word that she’s a virgin. My Daimon would not be pleased if we were to offer for her then found out she’d already been taken.”

“Of course,” her father said, “I understand. I’ve already reserved a room.”

Before Sophia could react, her mother and father had her by the arms and were dragging her into a small room that held a shelf bolted to the wall and a chair.

“Don’t give him any problem, girl,” her father said and backed out the door.

The stranger gripped her chin in his large hand and tilted her face up. Turning her head left and right he studied her.

“You’re pretty enough,” he pronounced. “Now pull your dress up and sit on the table.”

“Excuse me?” she finally forced out.

“I need to check to see if you’re a virgin. Get on the table and spread your legs.”

Sophia stared at him. “Have you lost your mind? You are not going to touch me.”

He smiled. “Oh, I like a fighter. Yes, this will be quite good.”

He grabbed her and wrapped an arm around her waist and he tried to shove a hand up her dress. Sophia fought, but could feel his hand run along her leg. He began to pant and rub himself against her so she tried to kick out at him.

“That’s right,” he said, “yeah, squirm around and fight.”

Sophia held back a sob as she fought harder, then he released her as she staggered forward. Spinning, she found a man she didn’t know holding a knife to her assailant’s throat.

“Doesn’t look like she wants your hands on her,” the new man said conversationally.

“I don’t,” Sophia said.

“So, love, what do you want me to do to him?”

Without hesitating Sophia stepped forward, raised her dress and kicked the man who attempted to assault her right between the legs. Crying out, he dropped to the floor and cradled his genitals.

The unknown man smiled and bowed. “Well, I guess that fixed him. I’m Raiden.”

“Sophia,” she said and curtseyed.

He held out a hand. “Come, let’s get out of here.”

Smiling, she took his hand figuring anywhere was better than where she was.

 

Jessica     Bronwyn   Kayleigh

January 2019 Top 10

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This month we are counting down our top 10 children’s books. This is going to be hard for me since I’ve read so many. Between being an elementary school teacher and then holding the title of kids’ lead at B&N my list is endless. I will attempt to give you my top favorites, though these are in no particular order, except the first one.

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My very favorite children’s book is: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I know I’ve talked about this book before,  but I can’t say enough good things about it. If you’ve never read it I say go and read it right now. I probably have, at least, 6 or 7 different copies as well as an ebook. I can now read it any time I need a pick-me-up

 

 

2 is Nancy Drew. I know it’s not a single book, but I love the series. I started reading them when I was probably eight and they remain a favorite.

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3 is Skippy Jon Jones. If you’ve never read it you’re missing out. When I was teaching, this was the book my kids wanted me to read to them. I think I read it like thirty times and, not only to my students, but to other classes too.

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4 is Harriet the Spy. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read this book. I loved the idea of her having a “secret” notebook she kept all her observations in. I had a notebook too, but I made up stories. Sort of the same thing.

5 is the Little House books. I didn’t watch the TV show. I didn’t like it, but I loved the books. My favorite was These Happy Golden Years since it was the one where Laura and Almanzo fell in love. *sigh*

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6 is the book Auntie Claus, which I purchased when I was teaching. It’s all about children who discover their aunt is Santa’s sister.

 

 

 

 

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7 is Tuesday. This book is so clever and so imaginative. And it has no words, just pictures to tell the story. If you’ve never seen it I highly suggest you check it out.

 

 

 

8 is a Wrinkle in Time. I’ve read this whole series over and over and it never gets old. I also shared it with my students every year I taught.

9 is, of course, Harry Potter. Of course, I was an adult when the first one was published, but I was going into teaching so asked for The Sorcerer’s Stone for Christmas. My sister had never head of it, since the book has come out a few months before, but got it for me anyway.

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10 is The Borrowers. If you’ve never heard of the book it’s by an English author and was pubbed in the early 50s. I found the first one in my very tiny school library and instantly fell in love. The novel is all about a family of tiny people who live in the walls of a “human” house. So much fun.

 

 

 

Jessica     Bronwyn     Kris     Siobhan

January 2019 Brain Dump

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I have so many thing on my mind lately. The state of the world, politics, why is high fashion so weird . . .my thoughts are endless. But let me share just some of what’s on my mind.

If you know anything about me, you know that I’m a crafting crazy. I always say I’m a Jill of all trades, but Mistress of none. So, I knit, embroider, cross stitch, make jewelry, make my own spa stuff, help Sis when she messes with her miniature projects. Now, I’ve decided I want to teach myself to water color. Yeah, I know, but it’s just something I feel I need to do. I’m sure I’ll be crap at it, but I don’t care.

I’ve labeled this year the Year of Self-Care and I downloaded the coolest app called Stop Breathe Think and I love it. It’s meditation, but more than that. It has a journaling section and it walks you through yoga and falling asleep. It’s good stuff.

I’ve also decided to try and teach myself Spanish or reteach myself. I have this app called Duolingo and it’s really good. The lessons are super short and I like it too.

Why is it when you need to work a cat will insist on being cradled like a baby, but when you’re free the cat is nowhere to be found?

Why are the stories in the news always bad? Couldn’t we maybe have 1 good story to every 2 bad?

I still don’t understand how people can back the current president. The man is a liar. He lies so much I expect his pants to just burst into flames at any moment. If they did, that would be really funny.

Why do some people think that if the person in front of them stops at a stop sign they don’t have to stop for it? Are they special? Do they not see it? Do they not understand what STOP actually means?

Cold weather is stupid. That’s all. It’s just stupid. Once the holidays are over the weather needs to be sunny and 65.

If I won the lottery, I wouldn’t stay at my day job. Even though I like my day job, yeah, I’d be so done.

Wow, I think that’s about all for me. If you want to share a random thought, you are more than welcome to jot one in the comment section.

Jessica    Bronwyn     Kris

God of Ocean Tides

 

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Welcome to the first flash fiction based on a song for 2019! Our song this months is called God of Ocean Tides by Counting Crows. If you don’t know it, which I didn’t, here a video for you to check out.

Also, I’m not a fan of the Counting Crows, especially when that horrible song Mr. Jones was played over and over on the radio. BUT, I like the title of this song and the imagery from the video. So, here’s my flash:

Blaire raised her face to the salty ocean breeze and breathed deep. The rhythmic roar of the waves combined with the starry night sky made the evening perfect. Okay, the man walking at her side holding her hand didn’t hurt either. She and Ryujin had met at a party on New Year’s Eve, a party she hadn’t wanted to attend, a party her friend Stacy had practically had to force her to go to. Stacy had told her all about the consultant who had come from Japan to work with Stacy’s husband’s company on their idea on how to get the plastic out of the oceans.

Blaire had reluctantly agreed, wanting to meet the man that even Tom, Stacy’s husband, gushed over. Ryujin Nakashi truly was gush worthy, from his shoulder length ink black hair to his sharp cheekbones to his startling ocean green eyes, the man was all that and a bag of chips. Yes, he was good-looking, but that hadn’t held Blaire’s attention. What did was the man’s brain. He was smart and funny and the two of them could sit for hours and just talk. Politics, religion, the newest science fiction movie, there wasn’t a subject they hadn’t covered.

Now, nearly eight months later Ryujin’s job was taking him back to Japan. She knew their time was limited, but eight months had seemed like such a long time. Not anymore. Not when eight months was now down to hours. Hours until he left. Hours until she wouldn’t see him anymore.

When they’d started, they said they would keep things light, knowing it had an end date. Blaire had been totally good with that. She hadn’t been in the market for a long-term relationship. Her career as a lawyer was the most important thing in her life. She planned on making partner by the time she was thirty-five so she couldn’t afford distractions. Now, after eight months, she was in love for the first time ever and she would give up the idea of becoming a partner just to be with the man who walked beside her.

Not that she would ever tell him that. They’d said casual with an end date and she had no right to ask for more. To expect more.

“I love the ocean,” he said, his deep accented voice easing over her.

“I do too. I could live on the beach and be quite happy.”

“Really?” He stopped and turned to face her. “Would you really be happy living on a beach?”

Blaire looked out at the moon casting its silvery light over the waves and nodded. “Oh yes. When I first came to California. The very first day I was here. The first thing I did once I collected my luggage at the airport was come to the beach. I remember having beach posters hanging up in my room when I was a kid. I even asked my mom for a table top fountain for like my sixth birthday. I wanted the sound of water in my room.”

“Did you get it?”

“Oh no, water and electricity with a six-year-old. But mom did get me a sound machine that played ocean waves. I had it on all the time. I went to sleep with it and woke up with it.”

He smiled. “Now I understand all the fountains around your home and in your office.”

“I know it’s not the same, but it’s the closest I can come on a daily basis.”

He pulled her into his arms and kissed her. Damn, the man could kiss. She’d found that out on New Year’s Even too. Then she’d taken him home and found out what else he could do with sexy mouth.

He pulled back to cup her face in his hands and stare into her eyes. She mimicked him by cupping his face. They stood like this for long moments, just staring into each other’s eyes.

“I don’t want to leave you,” he whispered. “I know what we said—”

She interrupted him. “I feel the same way. I don’t want you to leave.” Then she took a chance and said the words she’d never said to a man before. “I love you.”

“I love you and I would stay with you here, but I have responsibilities at home.”

“I know,” she said.

“If I asked you to come with me. To my home. To leave your home. Your job. Everything.” He closed his eyes. “Too much to ask of you.”

Something in Blaire rose up. The something that she always listened to, no matter how crazy. It was the same knowing she had when she decided to move to California. Took a different train where she met her friend Stacy. The knowing that had guided her, her whole life.

“Ask me.”

“Will you come with me? Be mine? And I will be yours.”

“Yes, I will.”

He took her mouth in a kiss that was all teeth and tongues and passion. A kiss that always made her crazy for him. This man that she loved and was willing to give up everything for.

“In Japan,” he spoke against her lips, “there are stories about gods of the ocean. Dragon kings who live in cities deep, deep in the ocean. These dragons protect and guard their territories. One of these dragon kings is Ryujin, who rules a kingdom city in the North Pacific Ocean. He had many responsibilities, but no one to share them with. No one to call his own. Until now. Now Ryujin has Blaire who will live with him and love with him.”

She nodded slowly. “Yes, I will live with you and love with you. But I am very human.”

And why wasn’t she freaking out? Why wasn’t she calling him a liar and running away? Because she knew there was something different about him. She’s always known. Once again, her instincts had nudged her and so, she accepted.

“Not so much anymore.” He said and looked a bit embarrassed. “The last few months, when we had sex without a condom, my essence had begun to prepare you, especially since we…you…”

Blaire laughed. “When I went down on you.”

He ran his fingers through his hair. “Yes, that combined with the intercourse had begun to make changes to your body. And, before you ask, if I would have left in the morning these changes would have eventually gone away.”

“Would you have gone away?”

“No, I love you too much. Need you too much.”

“So, what do we do?”

“We leave, if you’re ready.”

“I am ready.”

He backed up from her and smiled then his figure blurred and changed. Blaire blinked her eyes to try to bring him back into focus, but where Ryujin had stood now stood a…dragon. A ginormous black dragon that slowly lowered his head until they could see eye to eye. His eyes were Ryujin’s eyes.

“Wow, you are utterly amazing.”

He nuzzled her gently with his snout and spoke. “Thank you.”

He turned his front paw over and in the midst of the talons was a pearlescent sphere.

“Step in and I will show you our home.”

Blaire stepped up and into the shape that reminded her of a soap bubble and, before she could blink, they were in the water. She knew, that no matter what life brought her, it would never be boring with her god of the ocean tides.

Now head on over and see what Jessica, Bronwyn, KrisSiobhan and Kayleigh have written.

First Meeting

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Hello and welcome to a new feature for 2019. It’s called First Time and it’s where we each talk about a first time occurrence for a set of our characters. Today is first meeting. Now, lately I have like 3 or 4 different projects going at once. The keeps me writing no matter what is going on or how I’m feeling. So, I think I’ll introduce two of the three main characters from Entangled, Rowan and Sergei.

Having never done this feature before, I’m just going to jump in and do it the way I want, which is what I’m sure Jessica and Bronwyn would say to do anyway.

Anyway, Rowan and Sergei met before the book started, but it was in a professional capacity so there wasn’t time to talk. I consider this time there true “first” meeting. Hope you enjoy it!

 

She pulled into the parking lot of the motel she’d picked, as a shadow eased out from the darkness around the office. The man was enormous, probably topping six-four with wide shoulders and bulging muscles to spare. Brutally handsome, with high sharp cheekbones and a nose that had been broken in the past. She recognized him. He was the man she hadn’t been able to get out of her head. The man’s ruthless sexuality had stirred something in her, something she’d wanted at the time and, apparently, still wanted.

“That’s Sergei!” Misha said joy evident in his voice. “Hi, Sergei!”

“I’m Sergei Bukolov,” the man said, putting his hands out to show he had no weapons.

Rowan almost laughed, since she knew from first-hand experience this guy didn’t need anything to be dangerous. Menace rolled off him in waves as she rolled the window down so they could stare at one another.

“I know you,” he said, as his gaze roved over her features.

The man still had beautiful brown eyes, which was something she’d noticed when they’d first met. No names had been exchanged, but she’d found a man like this didn’t need a name to be remembered. Only after, had she asked around, wanting to put a name to the face, to the voice, she couldn’t get out of her head.

“We worked together once,” she replied.

“I remember,” he said, his voice deep and accented. “You are not someone I would forget. I’ve already got us a room.”

She wondered at his comment, but instead of asking said, “Hop in and you can direct us.”

And there you have it. Their very first meeting. Now go and see what the other Bloggers did with the task.

Jessica    Bronwyn    Kris    Siobhan    Kayleigh

What a dump!

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dump

Welcome to the first photo flash fiction of the new year!! Obviously, we’re using the pic above to write a short piece. I can’t wait to read what the other bloggers are going to do with it.  Hope you enjoy what I came up with.

 

“Okay, take off the blindfold.”

Andromeda really didn’t want to. She hated surprises, especially the surprises her younger sister Rhea presented to her. Usually, the surprise involved some kind of horrible decision that Andromeda would have to get her out of. Crossing her fingers that this time would be different, she slowly pulled the blindfold off.

The room she found herself in was all wood. From the ceiling to the cabinets that lined the wall. The floor could possibly be wood too except she couldn’t see for all the trash, broken glass, and paper that was strewn about. Bare wires dangled from the ceiling where some kind of light fixture probably hung at one time.

“Well?” Rhea said, practically bouncing on her toes.

Without thinking, Andromeda uttered Bette Davis’s oft-quoted line. “What a dump.”

Rhea gasped. “What are you talking about? I know this room looks rough, but wait until you see the rest of the house.”

Rhea grabbed Andromeda’s hand and dragged her out into an equally dismal hallway. Large holes decorated the walls as the main stairway sagged dangerously.

“This will be the perfect place for a bed and breakfast,” Rhea enthused. “All it needs is a little work. There are a lot of bedrooms upstairs and the kitchen is huge, and, as you saw, there’s a butler’s pantry.”

Andie rubbed her face. “Bed and breakfast?”

“Yeah, you know, the B&B we always talk about opening. Now that we have our inheritance it’s the perfect time.”

“I have a job with a fairly prestigious hotel. I like it. It gives me a salary and benefits. And, my portion of the inheritance is going to help me finally buy a home.” Andie looked around at the disaster surrounding them. “Besides, even if I would think about throwing away everything I have and opening my own inn this wouldn’t be the place. It needs way more than a little work. I’m sure the electrical and plumbing all need to be updated as well as the HVAC system. From the brown stains on the ceiling it needs a whole new roof. So yeah, the best thing that can happen to this place is it burns down.”

She turned to find Rhea staring at her with wide eyes. Wide guilty eyes.

“What did you do?” Andie asked.

“Well it’s the perfect place,” Rhea repeated herself. “So, I bought it.”

“You what?”

“I bought it,” Rhea said, her voice firmer this time. “I signed the papers this morning.”

“What were you thinking? You can’t afford this place. It’s a wreck, but I’m sure with the land and as big as it is, it’s not cheap.”

“No, there you’re wrong. I bought it outright so there’s no mortgage.”

“How?” she asked, though the sinking feeling in her stomach already told her how.

“I used our money. I used our money to buy the house. It’s going to be great. Once we fix it up the place is going to be incredibly popular. There’s even a ghost here. That’s going to pull people in since they love that kind of stuff.”

Andie took a breath, then another. Calm down, she told herself. Just calm down. Stay calm.

“You stole my half of the inheritance to buy this dump? And, somehow, you think that’s okay?”

“I didn’t steal it,” Rhea insisted. “I used it to give us an incredibly future. We’ll own our own haunted B&B.”

“Oh, it’ll be haunted alright, since I’m probably going to kill you dead.”

Jessica Jarman    Bronwyn Green   Kris Norris   Siobhan Muir     Kayleigh Jones