Flash Fiction Friday: The Bike (Part 2)

Dan rubbed the hood of his brand new, cherry colored Chevy Corvette Stringray with a clean cloth, then stepped back to admire it. His chest swelled. He’d longed for one of these ever since he could drive. He leaned in to continue cleaning then—

A cough from someone at the end of his driveway.

His face fell as he turned, sparks flying through his mind, seeking the memory of how he knew this man. The guy was tall and thin, with a cigar that just barely dangled from his lips. Dan’s blood pressure dropped. Had it been twenty years already?

“Hello, Danny-boy,” the man said. “Good to see you again. Years have treated you well, I see?” At this, he glanced at the car, his gaze dripping with want.

Dan clenched his fists. “I—I—”

“Breathe, Danny-boy. You’ll give yourself a heart attack.”

The man’s mouth curled into a hungry grin that made Dan’s skin crawl. “Please, don’t take my car. I’ve worked so hard for it…so many years—”

“No worries. I’m not here for the car, Danny-boy.”

Dan’s shoulders slumped in relief, then immediately tensed again. “What do you want, then?”

“Dad?” a small voice came from the garage.

“Tyler, go inside the house. This doesn’t concern you.” Dan nodded his head and hoped the ten year old would obey, for once.

“Oh, but this situation very much concerns Tyler, Danny-boy,” the man crooned.

Dan furrowed his brow. “What do you—”

The most valuable thing you possess, Danny-boy. That wouldn’t be some rusty old car, now would it?” The man choked on his laugh. Continue reading

Caffeinated Convo: Camp NaNo or Time for a Vaca?

Hey guys! Guess what time it is? You guessed it–Camp NaNoWriMo! With July 1 just around the corner, it’s time to prep for that once a year writing camping trip a la internet! The only question is: Are you joining me for camp, or is it time for you to take a vacation? 

If your answer is no, I totally understand! I hadn’t actually planned on doing NaNo camp this year, simply because I feel like my brain is going to explode (some days) and I was really looking forward to summer break. Buuut, then I got a great idea for (another) book and a friend invited me to join. So in, I am! I’m ready for meeting new cabin-mates, encouraging other writers, racing to win Word Wars, and meeting my word count goal! Woot!

What about you? Will you be writing with Camp Nano this year? Please leave a comment below if you are–I’d love to connect! And even if you aren’t, feel free to discuss what fun vacation plans you have coming up!

Happy camping, friends!

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Flash Fiction Friday: The Bike (Part 1)

The neighbors were moving.

Eleven year-old Danny kicked a stone along the sidewalk. He squinted against the sun and watched men move furniture into the house across the street. This was the third time the house had sold in two years.

A shiver ran down his spine, despite the fact it was the first day of summer vacation. Place must be cursed or something.

Crash! The boy jumped and glanced at the U-Move truck. His eye caught the glint of something shiny sitting in the back. Could that be…?

He stepped closer and got a solid look at the magnificent treasure. His heart sped and palms went sweaty. Bright red paint, polished aluminum frame, thick knobby tires. This was it. This was the exact bike he’d asked for at Christmas. The one he didn’t get—which was going to make for the most boring summer ever, this year. His heart sagged.

“Like it, eh?” a low voice sounded from behind.

For a second time, Danny jumped. His cheeks went hot and he pretended to look away.

A man, tall and thin, older than Danny’s dad but not really old, stood at the base of the truck. A cigar wagged at the edge of his cheesy grin. Danny swallowed.

“It’s okay, son. Any boy your age would drool over a baby like this.” The man patted the bike gently.

Danny tried to look like he didn’t care.

The man rocked on his feet for a second, then, “Tell ya what. How ‘bout I give it to you. Free of charge.”

“But—” The boy’s brows pulled tight. “Doesn’t that belong to someone—?”

“As a matter of fact, no. It’s left over from another move. Doesn’t have an owner currently.” The man eyed Danny and puckered his lips. “Unless, of course, you would like the job.”

The boy turned his empty pockets out. “But I don’t got any—”

“No problem.” The man held up a hand. “Won’t cost you a penny.” He scratched his chin in thought, even though it was obvious to Danny he already knew what he would say. “How ‘bout this: I’ll let you have the bike now, then in twenty years I’ll come back to collect payment.”

“Huh?” Danny scrunched his face up the way that annoyed his mom so much.

The man patted the bike again. “I’ll let you have this baby, then in a few years I’ll stop by for payment: The most valuable thing you possess.”

Danny bit his lip. The most valuable thing he possessed? What would that even be? He didn’t have much, other than those collectible baseball cards from his dad and the expensive wrist watch he never wore. And twenty years? How would the guy even find him? He wouldn’t be living in his house anymore!

The boy smiled. “Deal.”

The man with the cigar gave a nefarious grin in return, as he rolled the bike toward the boy. “See you in twenty years, then, Danny-boy.”

To be continued…

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo credit Unsplash by Sollers

 

Book Release: “The Gold Son” by Carrie Anne Noble

Hey friends of Caffeinated Fiction! Today I’m super excited to have a visit from author Carrie Anne Noble to discuss her new release, “The Gold Son.” Read on to see what inspired a story about leprechauns and how you can get your hands on this highly-anticipated YA novel!

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Thank you for being here with us, Carrie Anne. Tell us three interesting (possibly little known?) facts about yourself!

  • I am currently the foster mother of a grumpy but adorable hedgehog called Chuff, while her owner is studying abroad.
  • If you keep me up past nine at night and give me Coke and chocolate, I will become quite silly and prone to fits of giggling. This may or may not be a good idea.
  • While riding the school bus to middle school, my best friend and I used to make up fan fiction about Han Solo, in which he’d always fall madly in love with one of us.

 

Can you share with us a little about your “writing path?” Have you always enjoyed writing? Do you prefer to write YA or are there other genres that peak your interest, as well?

From an early age, I enjoyed making up stories, plays, fictional newspapers, and comics. At 11 or so, I attempted my first novel, and I also wrote numerous, ridiculous short stories about a pair of rabbits called Mildred and George around that time. (They had a terrible marriage, let me tell you!) In high school, I moved on to poetry. After a bit of a break (during which I got married and then had babies to attend to), I took a writing course—which gave me the confidence to pursue writing again. A few “practice” novels later, I wrote The Mermaid’s Sister–and the rest is history!

I really like the YA genre and plan to stick with it for the foreseeable future. The teen years are so much about becoming who we are, discovering what we really feel and want and believe. I think there’s a lot of beauty in that confusing mess of a time, and endless story potential.

That said, I do have an idea for a Middle Grade science fiction book (about a dachshund) I’d like to write eventually. Continue reading

Caffeinated Convo: Dogs vs. Cats

Yep! I went there!

Okay, okay. I know this is a heated topic. (No fighting, guys!!) But I had to throw it out there. Why you ask? One simple answer: We got a kitty this week! Eep! His name is Max and we love that he has no tail! *swoon* (Born that way, so I think that makes him part Manx?) He’s playful and cuddly and has already become a part of our family. Which brings us to the question of the week:

Are you a dog person or a cat person? 

Unfortunately, I’m going to mess things up and break the rules! The fact is, our family loves pets! All kinds of them. And although this kitty is our first in our new abode (we rented before, so we couldn’t have any) we already have plans to get a dog, a bunny and who knows what else? I even know a couple who own prairie dogs! They swear they’re just like a regular dog but smaller and more affectionate, like a cat. Hrmmm… Maybe down the road for us? But I honestly can’t say that we love dogs more than cats–we love them both! But I know some of you are hard-core, on one side or the other.

So, where do you fall? Do you choose the forever-friend of a dog? Or the furry-friend of a cat? Please start some convo below! I’d love to hear your thoughts on pets–and maybe even a suggestion of one more we can own???… *wink*

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Our beautiful baby boy!! ❤ 

The Secret to a Good Sidekick

It’s time to head on over to AlmostAnAuthor to check out my latest blog post in the fantasy/sci-fi arena. This month we discuss sidekicks–why you need one and the role they can play within your story. My sincerest apologies to Jar-Jar Binks–(It’s not you, it’s me. Promise.)–but the truth had to come out. We all desperately want a Samwise. (In fact, I’ve long suspected that it’s ingrained in our human psyche to continue to search for a pal like Sam until our dying day. But that’s for another post…) Anywho, don’t miss out on some of the other great posts on the A3 website while you’re there!!

Happy writing, friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash by NASA

Flash Fiction Friday: The Sock Monster

“The Sock Monster was at it again.” Susan placed a pile of folded laundry on her son’s twin bed, a set of mismatched socks right on top.

“He’s been hungry, lately,” Kyle said. The seven year-old sat crossed legged on his bed, a comic book before him. “Can we get more?”

Susan bent to put some t-shirts in the dresser. “Get more what, hon?”

“Socks. For The Sock Monster.”

“We’re not buying more socks for a fictional character, Kyle.”

“But he’s not fix-chinal—”

“Fictional.”

“Yeah, whatever. He’s not, mom. Mr. Socks is real.”

“Mr. Socks?” Susan hung a pair of jeans in the closet.

“Yep. It’s what I named him. ‘Cause he’s not a monster, he’s—”

“Okay, okay. I get it. You’ve had your fun. Now get ready. We need to hit the store.”

“But what about Mr. Socks? We need to get more socks so—”

“Feed him the leftovers.” She dangled the two mismatched socks in front of Kyle with a smile.

“He doesn’t like eating the same thing every day. It’s boring—”

She headed toward the door. “No socks for something that’s not real.” Then, “Get those shoes on. I mean it.”

Kyle frowned as his mom left. He picked up the odd socks and shuffled to the laundry room. His shoulders slumped as he yanked the dryer door open and tossed them in before shutting it again.

“Sorry, Mr. Socks. This is all I’ve got for you.”

The dryer jerked, then it lunged, then it went still. Kyle opened the door to the dryer. It was empty.

He smiled. At least Mr. Socks wouldn’t go hungry, even if leftovers weren’t his favorite. Then Kyle ran to get his shoes on.

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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ACFW New Releases–June 2017

Hey guys! Gather round for more books to add to your summer reading list! Yep–it’s that time of the month again. Here are all the new releases from fellow ACFW authors and all the pertinent info that goes along.

June 2017 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

Engaged by Julie Arduini — Trish Maxwell returns to Speculator Falls with egg on her face and apologies to make as she tries to determine what’s next, especially when around paramedic Wayne Peterson. (Contemporary Romance from Surrendered Scribe Media)


Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter — When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down. But when Josephine drives out to Noah’s North Georgia cottage to deliver the corrected papers, they are trapped there during a snowstorm. Things couldn’t get worse…until they are forced out into the storm and must rely on one another to survive. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Zondervan])

Then There Was You by Kara Isaac — Would you give up everything for a life you hate with the person you love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)


An Encore for Estelle by Kimberly Rose Johnson — A former A-list actress seeks to redeem herself in the most unlikely of places—a children’s theater. The writer/director didn’t anticipate a famous actress would ever show interest in his musical much less him. Will their pasts pull them apart or join them together? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

The Cowboy’s Baby Blessing by Deb Kastner — When Ex-soldier Seth Howell suddenly becomes guardian of a two-year-old, he needs Rachel Perez’s help. Though she is gun-shy about relationships, this handsome cowboy and his adorable son break through. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Finding Love by Toni Shiloh — Delaney Jones is putting her life back together after widowhood when in walks Army soldier, Luke Robinson. Luke had a part in the death of Delaney’s husband–will his secrets widen the gulf in their relationship or will he finally find absolution? (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit) Continue reading

Caffeinated Convo: Do you prefer the beach?

Summer.

It has finally arrived! Woo hoo! *cartwheel & flip* The kids are out of school (almost), vacations have been planned, and it’s time to break out the shorts and the tank tops! And with Memorial Day weekend just a few short days ago, beaches along both coasts were undoubtedly swarming with bodies.

Which leaves one final question. What about you? Do you prefer the beach? 

This question wouldn’t have passed my lips, sixteen years ago. My childhood consisted of spending at least one week each summer at the beach, memories packed full of sand, waves and sunburns. I mean, the beach is the beach, right? It’s fun, relaxing, and beautiful. Who couldn’t possibly like the beach? 

Well, I learned the answer to that question when I met my husband: He hates the beach. 

Whaaat? Yes, it’s true. And no, he’s not so miserly that he hates the beauty of the place. It’s more the sand-in-your-underwear, seagulls-that-eat-your-lunch, and skin-that-blisters-for-weeks-afterwards kind of problem. (He’s got that pasty white skin that never tans. Sorry, hon!) So, yeah. It took some time for me to get used to the fact that we wouldn’t be visiting the beach every summer for all of eternity! (At least he lets us go every other. *wink*)

So, what about you? Are you a beach person? Or is that a place you’d rather leave behind to vacation somewhere else? Please get some convo going! I’d love to hear what you think!

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P.S. That’s my husband on the right. There is hope for all. 😉 

 

Guest Blog Post: Five Courses of the Rough Draft

Hey guys! I’m on the road again, back in Delaware and ready to head into Pennsylvania, as well. (I know! I just can’t stay put! *wink*)

Today I have the privilege of Guest Posting on fellow writer Kellie M Parker‘s blog! Check out my post “Five Courses of the Rough Draft” and stick around to see what other fun things Kellie has to say about her writing journey!

Hope you all had a good Memorial Day! Happy writing, friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash by Annie Spratt