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

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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

 

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

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!

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

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.