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)

Jeremiah Jones, Cowboy Sorcerer: Author Interview with H. Duke

Hi guys! Today I get to interview fellow writer and blogger (and friend!) H. Duke! Her blog, The Writersaurus, is a hub for anything and everything writing! Be sure to visit, if you haven’t already. H. Duke and I met on my brief stint in AZ and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her and follow her journey with Jeremiah Jones. Not sure what Jeremiah Jones is? Read on to learn more! (Her third installment in the Jeremiah Jones series releases Tuesday. Find it here.)

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Tell us a little about yourself. What genre(s) do you write?

Hi, Laura! First let me say I’m super excited to be here on Caffeinated Fiction! I’m a writer and blogger. My blog, www.thewritersaurus.com, features educational articles and tips for writers of all levels.

As far as my fiction, I write a little bit of everything, but my two main genres are horror and contemporary fantasy.

Oooo! Both genres I love! 😉 Is this your first published work? Where else can readers find your work?

Cowboy Sorcerer is my first published work of long-form fiction, but I’ve had shorter stories published elsewhere. Links to those pieces can be found on my author website (hdukeauthor.com).

What inspired Jeremiah Jones? Is this a story that’s been ruminating for a while, or did it hit you all at once?

Jeremiah has definitely been ruminating for a while! About four years ago I wrote a truly awful story about a girl named January who finds out she’s a witch. One line in that story describes January’s grandfather as a “gunslinger wizard.” And the story snowballed from there. Continue reading

My Birthday Flash Fiction Challenge Part Deux!

Happy Birthday to me! *Blows out candles and grabs a present*

Last year I challenged my readers to write a Flash Fiction story in honor of my birthday! It was so much fun–you can read some of those great stories here–that I’ve decided to do it again! Yippee!! *Throws confetti*

Sooo, put on those creative thinking caps and get writing! I challenge you to write a story in 43 words or less, following the theme: Birthday. (Why 43 you ask? Hrmmm…that’s how old I am! Tee hee.) I’ll start with my own story, then you can post yours in the comment section below. Have fun and celebrate!

Happy writing, friends!

 

My Birthday Flash Fiction Story:

“Happy thirteenth birthday, Kirsten! It’s time you know the truth. Surprise!” Her mom pressed a button.

Kirsten’s eyes glowed in the mirror, skin pulled back to reveal metal. Every part of her body was a machine.

Her jaw dropped. “I’m a robot?”

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo credit Unsplash by Brooke Lark

Flash Fiction: The Quest

Sweat drips down my back. The day is unusually warm for the autumn equinox.

“How much farther?” I say to my father.

There are eighty of us, male, hiking to the temple. I’m the youngest, privileged to be among the men of our tribe. Pride swells inside my chest.

Each year one male is chosen from those aged thirteen. Me. I’m the chosen one. Friends before me were chosen, are still on their Quest to seek the knowledge life. No one knows where they go, what they do.

Now I will find out for myself.

My father glances at me with worried eyes. Does he not think I can’t face the Quest?

We arrive at the temple, a table stained with blood before us. Is there to be a sacrifice today? Father stands beside the table and all fall silent. My pulse races.

“Gods of the harvest, we thank you for a plentiful season and ask for renewal of the soil during the dead months. Bring it to life again, provide for our people as you have always done.” He looks at me. “It is time, Raeliki.” Father motions to the platform.

My heart skips a beat but I do as he says, climb onto the table, lie down.

“Gods of the harvest, guide this young man as he begins his Quest to seek the knowledge of life. Aid him in his needs. Bring him back, within your will.”

He pulls a knife from his belt, his eyes no longer worried but filled with anguish.

“Father?” I say. My gaze darts to the crowd, my hands shake.

He raises the knife.

It all makes sense now, why I’ve never seen my friends return. My Quest for life will be on the other side.

“Father!” I gasp.

The knife comes down.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman

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Photo credit Unsplash by Frances Gunn