ACFW New Releases–November 2017

Hey CF friends! Looking for some new books for the long holiday weekend at the end of the month? Here are the latest releases from fellow ACFW authors! Enjoy!

November 2017 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

Rooted in Love by Valerie Comer — A divorcé with a set of rambunctious twins falls for the boys’ daycare administrator, but does he deserve another chance at love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Prescription for Romance by June Foster — Though history teacher Scott Townsend made a commitment to the Lord as a teen, he can’t relinquish his bitterness toward his younger brother after he squanders their parents’ money. When a beautiful, young pharmacist seeks affirmation in a way that challenges Scott’s values, he must uphold his Christian upbringing. (Contemporary Romance from Forget Me Not Romance [Winged Publication]) Continue reading

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Flash Fiction Friday: Out of Time

Ava ran through her front door gasping for breath. “We’ve got to leave. Now!”

“What?” Peter said, jaw wide. “Are you sure?”

“They’re coming. We don’t have much time!” Tears swam in her eyes. She jumped at a noise outside.

“Okay….” Peter glanced around.

“No!” Ava’s voice trembled. “There’s no time! They’re coming!”

Peter bit back the agony of leaving behind so many memories. “So be it. Stay close behind me.”

They fled their home just as a man and woman rounded the corner, voices raised.

The two mice ran for their lives, away from the homeowners and their nasty traps.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo by Vladimir Kramer on Unsplash

Flash Fiction: Bad Luck

“You’re late husband owes us a debt and it must be paid ‘fore you leave the country, lil’ lady,” the man says with an Irish accent. His thick mustache twitches with joy at my misfortune.

I swallow hard and blink back tears as I stare at the one-way ticket in my hand. It had taken every dime I could make to buy it. This was my chance, the only chance I’d get to start over. “But–” My chin quivers.

But nothin’. It’s the law. Your husband owes us so you gotta pay.” He takes a step closer, his large shoulders looming above my head. “Now.”

“I don’t have any money. How can I–”

He grins and shifts the toothpick around that sticks from between his teeth. “That third-class ticket you’re holding would do the trick. Always wanted to explore the world, see how much money I could make somewhere other than this dirt heap.”

My heart sinks. How long would it take for me to save up again? Where would I live until I was able to afford another ticket? “And I wouldn’t owe anymore? Ever again?”

The man laughs deep in his gut. Chills spill across my skin.

“You’re debt will be paid, lil’ lady. On my word.” He holds out a hand. “Do we have a deal?”

I duck my head and accept my fate. Never a day in my life had I ever had anything other than bad luck. Guess today was no different.

As a single tear slips down my cheek I hand over the ticket.

He squeezes it in his palm with a glimmer in his smile. “Thanks! Can’t wait to see what the Titanic will hold!” before he slinks away.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman

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Photo by Amy Reed on Unsplash

Flash Fiction Friday: Mother

“Another p-pancake, sweetheart?”

Jordan swallowed against the lump in his throat and eked out a smile. “No thank you, um…mother.”

“Y-you sure? You’re not yet t-twelve. A growing boy needs nourishment,” her voice sang. “I made your f-favorite, chocolate chip. You’ve loved those since you were a t-toddler, remember?”

Her mechanical grin made Jordan’s insides grimace.

“It’s fine,” his father, Carl, said. “I need to get the kids to school anyhow.” Carl’s brow creased as he looked at Jordan’s younger sibling, Sissy.

“They were…erm…good,” Sissy said. “Thanks.” She bit her lip. “Mother.” The third grader stood and shouldered her pack, followed by her brother and dad.

“We’ll see you after school.” Carl hesitated then leaned in to give Mother a kiss, cold metal against his lips.

“Bye!” Mother waved. “Maybe this weekend we can go to the F-fun Park like we did when the kids were l-little.”

Carl and the kids mumbled a goodbye as they stepped outside in silence.

Once they were out of earshot, Jordan turned to his dad. “Do we have to keep her? She’s weird. And she thinks she’s known us our whole lives. This has been the longest six months of my life. None of my other friends have a Mother like her.”

Carl frowned. “Give it a little more time, kids.” He looked back at her as she stood on the front porch, her smile frozen in place. His gaze drifted to the sign attached to her side, the one that read Artificial Intelligence. Brown & Company. “In the meantime, try to be nice.

“After all, she thinks she’s alive. It wouldn’t be fair to tell her she’s not.”

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo by Jessica Bristow on Unsplash

Flash Fiction: Wisps

“Come on, Lettie. It’s getting dark. The Wisps will be out soon.” Emerson looked around the thick forest, her blue eyes wide.

“Stop with the toddler-tales,” Lettie groaned and plucked another jacaranda blossom from a tree. “You’re almost eight. You don’t really believe all that fairy nonsense, do you?” She sniffed the flower and walked deeper into the woods.

Emerson tried to swallow but it ended up a hiccup. She scuttled after her sister. “But Lettie! What if they’re true? What about Nora-Mae?”

Lettie tossed her curled blonde hair over her shoulder with impatience. “Grow up, Em. That story’s been around since Granny was born.”

“But Daddy said it was true. Nora-Mae disappeared long ago when she followed the lights, the ones that bounced along the path.” She curled her fists tight. “This path, Lettie.”

“It was just a story. Momma yelled at Daddy after he told you. I heard her in the kitchen when I was supposed to be practicing piano.”

“But Lettie….”

“It’s not true, Em.” Her voice rose an inch higher.

“Nora-Mae heard voices, too. The fairy voices that called her to come and play. The ones that led her away and got her lost, so she never got found again.”

Lettie huffed. “Fine. We’ll leave. Only to shut you up!”

She stomped back toward their home, her little sister close behind. Along the way they passed Charlotte, one of Lettie’s school-mates.

“Watch out for the Wisps, Char,” Lettie teased. “They might get ya.”

Charlotte laughed. The sun sank another few feet into the ground, trickles of faded light on the path. She only needed a handful of blossoms to complete her bouquet for the supper table. She’d be gone before the forest was dark.

Giggle.

She turned at the sound just beyond the trees to her left. Had Lettie and Emerson come back?

Giggle.

A light twinkled just over the small mound of earth that took the path in another direction. But then it was gone. What could it be?

Charlotte looked back toward her home. It wouldn’t hurt to look, right?

Then she followed the light as it bounced and danced across the ground and into the trees.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo credit Pixabay

Teaching Your Characters to Fight Write

Hey guys! How is your week going? Another blog post I wrote for the Almost an Author website has gone live. You can check it out here. And yes, I did word the title of the piece with purpose. You’ll have to read it to find out why! *wink, wink*

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Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

ACFW New Releases–October 2017

Hey guys! Fall is finally here–yippee! Of course with a new month there are new releases. Listed below are some books available from fellow ACFW authors. Take a look and pick one to snuggle up with while drinking a pumpkin spiced latte! Happy reading, friends!

 

October 2017 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner — Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier. (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

A Waltz for Amber by Kimberly Rose Johnson — Amber, a struggling dance teacher, is desperate to make a success of her studio. The quickly approaching Christmas recital should help except for one problem—the high school music teacher scheduled the holiday program on the same night, causing a conflict for her students. Will she be able to sustain her business or will she lose everything in the pursuit of her dream? Chris is thrilled to be back in his hometown. However, his past won’t stay in the past, and the pretty dance instructor is a constant reminder of his failings. He wants to make up for his youthful mistake directed at her, but how? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Secret Christmas Twins by Lee Tobin McClain — Christmas came early for Erica Lindholm! Suddenly a mom to adorable twin baby boys and part owner of a snowy small-town Pennsylvania farm, Erica is living her dream. Until the boys’ estranged uncle, Jason Stephanidis, comes home to celebrate the holidays. The handsome, brooding detective turns out to be a natural with the babies…and with Erica’s wounded heart. But if Jason knew the truth about their identities, her picture-perfect life could melt away. Will Erica’s secret cost her everything? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Fall Into Romance by Melanie D. Snitker Surround yourself in the romance of the autumn season with 10 heartwarming, sweet novellas from USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors. Each story takes you inside the heart of a small town—its people—and features adorable animal friends in need of a forever home.
Take a trip to Romance, Oregon, where falling in love has never been easier and happily-ever-after is guaranteed! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published) Continue reading

Caffeinated Convo: Most Anticipated Fall TV Show?

Hey guys! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so I figured I’d start the week off with a CC!

My family has been furiously binge-watching TV shows in anticipation for premiere week next month! We just finished Riverdale last night and are (finally) 13 episodes away from catching up on Supernatural. (12 seasons is reeeaaallly long…) I heard that last night was the season finale of the final season for Teen Wolf, but since my middle daughter and I are only 1/2 way through season 5, we won’t be ending that too soon. And of course I’ve got some catch up to do with Doctor Who if I’m going to be ready for Doctor #13! (Even though we have another year before that premiere happens…) As far as upcoming premieres go, the ones I’m most excited for are Supernatural and Stranger Things (both in October.)

What about you? What TV show(s) are you most looking forward to seeing? Feel free to leave a comment below so we can get chatting about premiere week! *tosses confetti*

Flash Fiction Friday: Nightly Visitors

The alarm yanked Ruby from her half-dream, not that she had gotten much sleep anyway. She rubbed her eyes and charged like a mad bull up the stairs of the hundred-year-old house to face her new roommate.

“Jenna!” she yelled as she slammed open the door. “What in the world were you doing last night? All night long all I heard were footsteps marching through the living room and someone in that squeaky rocking chair.”

Jenna sat up in bed with a scowl, one eye still closed. “Whatever, Ruby. I was going to ask you the same question.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Ruby crossed her arms over her chest.

Inviting Jenna to live in her deceased grandparents house had seemed like a good idea a few weeks ago. Not so much now. Maybe she’d give the place back to her parents and move into an apartment.

Jenna scrubbed her hands over her face. “It means, I could say the same thing about you. For hours last night I heard you downstairs moving around, pushing furniture across the floor.”

Ruby froze, glanced at the picture of her grandparents that hung on the bedroom wall. “No, I didn’t. I never got out of bed once.”

All color drained from Jenna’s face. “Neither did I, Ruby. Neither did I.”

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Photo by paul morris on Unsplash

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!