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. 

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