The Case of the Missing Blogger

The police were stumped. What appeared to be just an average month for Caffeinated Fiction turned out to be an unsolved mystery. *gasp* One day the blog was bopping along perfectly happy, with posts here and there and everywhere, and then bam! Out of the blue the posts just disappeared. Not a clue was left behind with only an occasional blurb over a six week period, which–let’s be honest–really did nothing but raise the hopes of the readers that another blog post just might actually appear. But they didn’t. They were just…gone. Where, you ask? Never fear…Detective Laura L. Zimmerman is on the case and ready to investigate…

Or maybe not.

Clearly there’s no need for investigation since I’m the missing blogger! *peeks from behind a pile of books in the corner with a cringy smile*

Oops. Okay, so in case you missed it, I haven’t been too active on this thing, as of late. And yes, I have been contacted by others to ask where in the world I could’ve gone? Was I abducted by aliens? Lost in the Bermuda Triangle? Joined the Witness Protection Program? Finally put my awesomely amazing ninja skills to the test?

As much as I think that last one would be cool, none of those are the answer to my absence. Actually, I just took a vacation. Back in August. For a week. But as these things happen, that week turned into three. No big deal, I thought. Everyone deserves a vacation. I’ll start blogging again in September. And I did. Once. But as vacations are so very hard to leave, mine was equally just as hard. And before you ask, nope. I have no excuse for being lazy this far into the month. I have a list of things to discuss for my Caffeinated Convo column and can certainly come up with a thing or two to discuss in Caffeinated Speculation. And let’s not even talk about the Friday Flash Fiction–sooo many stories have gone unwritten (yet still bonk around inside my head and not on paper.)

All this to say, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’ve been lazy and absent and confusing. I still want to report what I learned at Realm Makers and I’ve just got stuff to say. I will admit that I’ve made the decision to give myself grace when it comes to the “weekly” columns. Yes, I’d love to get a CC or CS up when I can, but I’ve learned recently that one stressor can sometimes become a block for my writing. I feel too much pressure to get my blog posts done. So from here on out I’m going to write as much as I can, when I can. And hopefully not take another extended vacation for a very long time.

So, there you have it. Apology given and case solved! Having said all that, how have you been? What have I missed over the past 6 weeks? I’d love to hear any news you’d like to share or just hear a shout out from anyone who has ever had a tough time coming off vacation.

Now, go drink some coffee and get on with your day! *imagines fireworks in the sky as she slinks away to write*

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A picture of my cat to make you smile!

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ACFW New Releases–September 2017

Hey guys! I’m back after a short hiatus in August. (Sorry, but that beach was calling my name–had to be answered!) So, did you finish your summer reading list? Well, it’s a new month and I’m excited to share some new releases with you! Check out these new titles from fellow ACFW authors. Grab a copy (or five!) and sit down with some hot chocolate to welcome the fall weather. *Sigh* Enjoy!

 

September 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Planting Hope by Brenda S. Anderson — Jess Beaumont is trying to get her separated parents together again by restoring the family cabin gardens that helped them fall in love. Luke Harrison inherited his Gran’s candy store, but would rather have a Vice President position in his family’s land development business—a sure sign of his father’s approval. To get the promotion, he must acquire the land on both sides of his store within five months, including the Beaumont cabin. As Luke gets to know Jess, he realizes buying the Beaumont cabin and land will nip their blossoming romance in the bud. Even worse, it could end her parents’ marriage. But if he doesn’t succeed, he could be trading his corner office for the candy store counter…for good. Is their romance doomed? Or could the classic combination of chocolate and flowers solve everything? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

An Amish Christmas Love by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Ruth Reid, and Beth Wiseman — Fall in love this Christmas to the gentle pace of Amish courtship. In Winter Kisses by Beth Wiseman, six lonely hearts find healing in the Stoltzfus homestead basement while waiting out a Christmas Eve storm. In The Christmas Cat by Amy Clipston, a group of young people and a forbidden house cat bring reminders of love and hope to a grieving widow at Christmas. In Snow Angels by Kelly Irvin, A young woman’s prayer for a Christmas proposal is delayed by the appearance of her potential groom’s first love, whom me met on his rumspringa. In Home for Christmas by Ruth Reid, an Englisch woman thinks she’s breaking into the house her aenti left to her, only to discover she’s trespassing upon an Amish widower and his young daughter, whose quiet way of life tempts her to stay. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing) Continue reading

Flash Fiction Friday: Awaken

“Jen!”

I gasp, eyes now open as I sit up in bed. The spot beside me is empty. Where is my husband?

Chilly air clings to my skin as I slip from beneath the covers and cross the room into the hallway. The stale scent of tacos I made the night before still lingers and my stomach winces. Why does this all feel so familiar?

The living room is vacant, although sunlight streams through the cracks of the blinds. No husband. I rub my eyes and search upstairs, then the basement. Still nothing.

“Kurt?” I call. No reply.

I try the front door. It’s locked. With a low growl I twist the locks on the door and yank again. It still doesn’t budge. I roll my eyes, triple and quadruple check to make sure the locks are off, tug on the handle. It stays cemented in place.

“It won’t open.”

I spin on my heel with a cry. Kurt stands beside me. I blink, breathe. “Where have you been?”

His expression is flat. “You can’t get out. No matter how hard you try.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“That door will never open.”

A hand squeezes around my heart and ice spills down my spine. “Kurt? What are you talking about?”

He steps forward, grabs my arms. “You can never leave, Jen. Don’t you understand?”

“Kurt–”

“Jen!”

I gasp, eyes now open as I sit up in bed. The spot beside me is empty. Where is my husband?

Chilly air clings to my skin as I slip from beneath the covers and cross the room into the hallway. The stale scent of tacos I made the night before still lingers and my stomach winces. Why does this all feel so familiar?

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo credit LLZ

Setting Versus Dialogue

Hey guys! I promise I’ve got that blog post summarizing the Realm Makers conference coming. I’m having a hard time dwindling down so many words to describe such a life changing event! *sigh* In the meantime, check out my latest blog post for the Almost An Author website! Are you a writer that “sees” the setting or the dialogue first? Your answer just might help you hone your craft!

Happy writing, friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash by NASA

 

Flash Fiction Friday: The Accident

Jill wiped the windshield of condensation. A chill buzzed across her skin. How could it be both cold and humid? She shook her head and squinted against the rain that pounded the windows.

Was that a form up ahead? Her car crept to a stop and a thrash of rain assaulted it, the sound of a thousand angry drums beating the roof. Yes. There was a person walking on the side of the road. A young girl, no coat, hair plastered to her head, arms wrapped around her body.

Jill unrolled the window. “Do you need a ride?” she yelled over the cacophony of nature’s music.

The girl bent to look inside, her pale eyes piercing. Her chin shook. She blinked, then gave a curt nod. Water sprayed across the dash as the girl got settled.

Jill bit her lip. “Are you all right?”

The girl shivered and gave another nod. “Thanks. Nasty storm.”

“You’re lucky I came by. I’m on my way home. This road doesn’t get much traffic, especially on a night like this.”

The girl pushed hair from her face. Jill’s stomach twisted. Why did this girl look familiar?

“Why are you out here?” Jill put the car in drive.

“I need to get home.” The girl suddenly looked alarmed. “My boyfriend—I don’t know where he is, he—”

“Wait, you’re boyfriend is missing? What happened?”

“I have no idea. We were on a date but our car hit a tree. I blacked out and when I woke, I was here.” The girl began to cry.

“Okay, just relax.” Jill kept her voice calm. “You’re probably in shock. Do you know where the car is?”

The girl shook her head. “No, I don’t. Jimmy—he could be hurt. Take me home, please!”

Jill held out a hand. “Relax. We’ll find him. First, let’s call the police.” She grabbed her cell. “Why don’t you—”

“You don’t understand. I need to get home!”

“Yes, but don’t you—”

“No.” The girl swallowed. “Take me home. My mom will know what to do.”

Jill dropped the phone in her purse. “Okay. Everything will be all right.” But her belly pulsed with panic. Something wasn’t right.

The girl pointed down streets and Jill turned. Minutes later they pulled down a familiar road.

“This is where I—” Jill said.

“There. That’s my house.” The girl’s finger shook.

Shards of ice stabbed along Jill’s spine as she pulled into the well-known driveway. “What did you say your boyfriend’s name was?” she whispered.

“Jimmy Kovane.”

Breath stalled in Jill’s lungs. That name. She knew that name.

“Thanks for the lift. I’m home now.”

“Wait, what’s your name?” Spots danced before Jill’s eyes.

“Joan Chester.”

The girl jumped out, ran toward the rancher. Jill’s vision clouded with tears, her entire body shuddered. She blinked. The girl was gone.

Jimmy Kovane and Joan Chester died in a car accident ten years ago. Jill knew this.

She knew because Joan was her sister.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman

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Photo by Michael Mroczek on Unsplash

ACFW New Releases–August 2017

Hey guys!! I’m super excited to share all the amazing things I learned at Realm Makers–but first I’ve got some books to recommend. *cartwheel and squeal* Here are the latest releases from fellow ACFW authors. Look for my post later this week about Realm Makers, including pictures! Yippee! 

August 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Action/Adventure:

Imperfect Lies by Elizabeth Noyes — When another woman emerges from the past to claim Mallory Cameron’s happily ever after, she cuts her losses and sets out to find a headline-worthy story to launch her journalism career. She embarks on a whirlwind journey that takes her across the United States, to the blue-green waters of the Caribbean, on to sunny Mexico, and deep into the dangerous parts of Africa where terror reigns. James Evers turned his back on a life of power and privilege to carve a place in the world for himself. Now that he’s finally discovered his niche as a small-town sheriff and found the woman he wants in his future, a past indiscretion struts in on high heels and sends his newfound love fleeing headlong into peril. His mission: neutralize old enemies, defuse new threats, resolve past mistakes, settle family disputes, and—most importantly—find and rescue his woman from terrorists before the unthinkable happens. (Action/Adventure from Write Integrity Press)

Contemporary Romance:

The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family by Lisa Carter — Young widow Kristina Montgomery moves to Kiptohanock, Virginia, hoping it will give her and her teenage son, Gray, a fresh start. She longs for the peace and quiet only a small town can provide. But her plans are thwarted by her new neighbor, Canyon Collier, a former Coast Guard pilot and a crop duster. Gray is instantly drawn to the pilot and his teenage niece, Jade—and Kristina’s not far behind. She and Canyon are soon bonding over parenting their charges and their spark becomes undeniable. Could it be that the spirited pilot is just what Kristina needs to teach her heart to soar again? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Gift of the Magpie by Zoe M. McCarthy — Amanda Larrowe’s lack of trust sabotages her relationships. The English teacher and award-winning author of middle-grade adventure books for boys has shut off communication with friends and family to meet her January 2 book deadline. Now, in the deepest snow accumulation Richmond, Virginia, has experienced in years, Camden Lancaster moves in across the street. After ten years, Amanda’s heart still smarts from the humiliating aftermath of their perfect high-school Valentine’s Day date. Camden may have transformed into a handsome, amiable man, but his likeability doesn’t instill trust in Amanda’s heart. When Cam doesn’t recognize her on their first two encounters, she thinks it’s safe to be his fair-weather neighbor. Boy is she wrong. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) Continue reading

Flash Fiction Friday: Sight

A police radio crackles to life as the paramedic dabs antiseptic on my bloody forehead. Lights from the cruiser outside flash through my living room.

I squeeze my eyes shut. “Tell me again how you knew the man was here?”

The officer is young, his face stoic as he scribbles in his little pad. “Neighbor. Across the street. Saw the attacker, called 9-1-1.”

Pain laces down my neck. My shoulders tense. I see images of a man in black, his knife. That punch.

I shiver. “Who?”

“The little boy.”

Ice fills my blood. I swallow. “That’s impossible,” I whisper. “He’s blind.”

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo by Matt Popovich on Unsplash

 

Flash Fiction Friday: Midnight Snack

The cat needed food.

Joanie groaned and looked at the clock beside her bed. One thirty-two A.M. Fantastic.

She crawled out of the sheets and took care of business as fast as her tired muscles would allow. With one final pat on Max’s head and a prayer that he wouldn’t wake her again, she climbed into bed, settled into warm arms and a firm chest that welcomed her. She nuzzled in, breathed the spicy scent of cologne, relaxed into the embrace.

Her eyes shot wide and she gasped. She didn’t have a husband!

She lived alone.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman

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Photo credit, Me. Meet Maximus the Manx!

Caffeinated Convo: Time Travel–Past or Future?

For whatever reason, I’ve been writing a lot of time travel stories lately. In every instance my story has revolved around a person (or persons) that has traveled back in time. As much as I love Back to the Future, I had to stop and ask myself: Why? Why is it that I’m not writing stories where the main character travels forward? This got me thinking (furthermore)–If I had the opportunity to time travel, which would I rather do? Travel to the past or to the future?

And so I pass the question on to you: If you could time travel, would you choose to go to the past or the future? 

It won’t surprise you to learn that my answer would be the past! (Of course!) I’m not frightened of what I might find in the future, as much as fascinated by what came before. Oh how I would love to be a fly on the wall during the reign of King Henry VIII! Or how cool would it have been to get to watch the signing of the Declaration of Independence? I’m young enough to wish I could’ve been inside the studio with The Beatles to hear what really went on during their recording sessions!!

What about you? Past or future? Please leave a comment below and let’s get chatting! I’d love to hear your reasons for traveling through time!

*cue Huey Lewis and the News “Back in Time” as a Delorean pulls to the curb and whisks me away*  

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Photo credit Unsplash by Ales Krivec

Caffeinated Speculation: 13th Doctor Announced!

First off, I realize it’s not Thursday. But considering I’ve either missed or had other stuff to post for the past number of Thursdays, I figured I could get away with a little Caffeinated Speculation on a Monday! 🙂 I was actually tempted to post this last night but then thought I’d give the world a good twenty-four hours to digest the news of the 13th Doctor announcement! 

Which leads us to this week’s speculation: Sooo, what do you think?? 

If you haven’t been anywhere within a mile of technology in the past day, I’ll clue you in to the fact that the internet has exploded with the disclosure of the final doctor (or is it?) on the hit TV show, Doctor Who. You can check out the announcement that Jodie Whittaker will be playing the role, here.

My personal opinion: It’s about time! 

And no, I’m not excited that the Doctor is a woman just because I happen to be one. *wink* There are many reasons I think a female Doctor is a good idea but I won’t bore you with my thoughts. I want to hear from you!

Are YOU excited to see a female play the role for the final Doctor? Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts!

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Newly announced Doctor, Jodie Whittaker (image: Colin Hutton, BBC)