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

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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!

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