Fantasy Flash Fiction 101

Hey guys! I meant to post this yesterday but, erm…forgot. *wink* So here it is! My most recent blog post for the AlmostAnAuthor website! Have you ever wanted to write flash fiction but weren’t sure where to begin? Check out my post here and give it a try. **Warning: Writing flash fiction can become addictive. Write at your own risk. (Tee hee.)

Okay, for those waiting for the official flash fiction story for today, it’s coming! Look for it a little later.

Happy writing, friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash by NASA

Caffeinated Convo: How do you celebrate July 4?

Happy Independence Day, friends! I hope this post finds you doing something fun to celebrate our nation’s birthday. In the past, our family has celebrated by going to a nearby park to eat a picnic supper and play games with friends, then finishing the night by watching the Lititz fireworks. Alas, we are in a new state, so we shall see what sort of tradition(s) we create to party!

What about you? What is your favorite way to celebrate the Fourth of July? 

** Is there a party you attend annually? 

** A special dessert or meal that completes the day for you?

** Are you a fan of fireworks?

** Or maybe you like to skip the crowds and just hang out at home with your family and light sparklers before bedtime? 

Leave a comment and share how you enjoy celebrating America’s birthday. I’d love to hear what you guys are up to, or what you’ve done in the past. Let’s talk!

Happy celebrating, friends!

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Photo credit Unsplash by Cristian Escobar

Ironwood Alchemy Anthology Release–Including a short story by moi! (*squeal*)

Yay! It’s finally here! I’ve been wanting to tell you guys about this super fun anthology coming out this month, but didn’t want to post until the link was live. And guess what? It is!! Go find it here.

This is the first anthology I’ve been part of and I’m really excited to read all the other stories by my fellow writers from the Parchment and Prose Writers’ Group in Phoenix, AZ. My time in AZ was short but I was crazy blessed to be part of the group and to meet so many talented writers! This anthology reflects the blood, sweat and tears of the fourteen authors that went into creating it over the past year. (Special thanks to H. Duke for editing/formatting/literally-putting-together-the-entire-thing! The Parchment and Prose group is indebted to you, girl! *heart*)

Since the theme was Transformation, my brain went in the direction of taking a classic children’s tale and adding a twist. Check out my middle-grade short story, Wonderland Revisited, and let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your comments below. And feel free to come back and post which story was your favorite of the lot! Maybe you’ll find a new favorite short story. *wink*

Happy reading, friends!

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Ironwood Alchemy is now available on Amazon. 

ACFW New Releases–July 2017

Hey guys! It’s a new month–which means a new list of books from fellow ACFW authors are ready to be read! Run, swim, or do whatever sort of vacationy-type-thing you need to do to get to the nearest bookstore and grab some of these titles up! And don’t forget to soak in a few rays while you’re at it. *wink*

Happy reading, friends!

July 2017 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

On Love’s Gentle Shore by Liz Johnson — When Natalie O’Ryan’s fiancé books their wedding in her hometown, Natalie didn’t know the only reception venue available would be an old barn belonging to Justin Kane–the best friend she left behind all those years ago after promising to stay. As they work together to get the dilapidated building ready for the party, Natalie and Justin discover the groundwork for forgiveness–and that there may be more than an old friendship between them. (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Their Ranch Reunion by Mindy Obenhaus — Single mom Carly Wagner is surprised to learn she’ll have to share ownership of the home she’s inherited with her first love—and first heartbreak—Andrew Stephens. The man who fled their tiny Western town is back and standing in the way of her dreams to expand her B and B. Now a successful businessman, Andrew has eight weeks to buy Carly out. But Carly’s too stubborn to persuade—and too beautiful to ignore. When fire ravages her inn and she and her daughter move in to their shared property, Andrew’s in over his head. Time is running out and Andrew must decide: leave and chase another deal…or stay and chase Carly’s heart. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Time and Tide by Kristen Terrette — Recovering from addiction and a near death experience, Chad moves to Moanna Island, a small island close to Savannah off the Atlantic coast, to begin a job with his family’s real estate empire, a job he was supposed to have taken years ago. Free-spirited Ryan Mason is a Moanna local girl from a blue-collar family. She’s dropped her own dreams to help her father care for her schizophrenic brother. When Chad and Ryan meet at the rehabilitation center where her brother lives, feelings develop between them. Can their crazy worlds ever fit together once he learns her secret and she finds out he is the sole heir to the Cusher Empire? (Contemporary from Hartwood Publishing Group) Continue reading

Flash Fiction Friday: Time Travelers

“You’re going back to the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.” Harry pushed a few buttons on the control panel before turning to Jim and Ann. “Remember, you’ll have thirty minutes before your cloaking device wears off. Be at the vehicle before then, so you can return to good old 2074.”

“Yes, sir,” Jim said.

“I know this is your first trip, but we take our travels very seriously here at The Wrinkle In Time Agency.” Harry stepped back. “Enjoy your flight!” He closed the door of the time machine and gave two pats.

Jim swallowed as lights blinked and engines whirred. This was one heck of a honeymoon trip!

“Relax, Jim. We’ll be fine,” Ann said. She squeezed his hand. “Besides, how could nobodies like us mess things up?”

In seconds the machine quieted, then halted. The couple unbuckled and stepped into bright sunlight. Sure enough, they were smack dab in the middle of the largest fair Jim had ever seen. Of course, no one around them could see them or their ship, but he didn’t care. Excitement pulsed in his veins as Ann grabbed his arm and yanked him away. Acrobats, clowns and animals performed around them, long lines led to game booths.

“What’s a frank?” Jim said, pointing to a food stand.

“I think those were hot dogs,” Ann said. “Ten cents. Wow. That won’t buy a piece of gum, now!”

They passed a display with a time capsule. “‘To be opened in five thousand years?’” Ann said. “Who’s idea was that?”

Jim shrugged. “Dunno. But I don’t recognize a single thing on display. What’s a slide rule?”

Ann’s timer beeped and she jumped. “Jim, we’ve got to get back! Our thirty minutes are up.”

They ran toward their ship.

“It’s not here!” Jim said, voice strained.

“We’re in the wrong aisle,” Ann groaned. “Come on!”

Again they ran. Down two more rows, up a third. Jim’s heart pounded like wildfire.

“There!” Ann said.

“Ahhh!” A teenaged girl screamed and pointed at them.

“Oh no. Our cloaking devices are wearing off,” Jim said.

More people gathered around, jaws open, eyes wide.

“Let’s go!” Ann said.

The two hopped in the vehicle and took off. A minute later they stepped off the time machine. Jim blinked against a dizzy spell.

Harry met them with a frown. “Well, your trip was memorable.”

He held up a yellowed newspaper, an object Jim had never laid eyes on. They’d been obsolete for decades. Across the top was the date 1939 and a picture of him and Ann, running hand-in-hand. Their bodies were just barely visible against the background. “Ghosts Spotted at World’s Fair.”

“Oh jeez.” Jim’s shoulders slumped.

“Ghosts?” Ann said.

Harry nodded. “Yep. For years people’ve believed in ghosts, but they’re really just time travelers with a fading cloaking device.”

Jim gulped.

Ann patted his hand. “Cheer up, Jim. We’re officially ghosts! How cool?”

Harry smirked. “Looks like you found your fame, after all.”

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

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Photo credit Unsplash by Sebastian Davenport-Handley

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!! ❤