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!

Screen Shot 2017-07-03 at 11.21.13 AM

Ironwood Alchemy is now available on Amazon. 

Advertisements

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

IMG_0531

Book Review: RED by Liesl Shurtliff

Here it is! My review of book #3 from Liesl Shurtliff‘s series of children’s novels based on fairytales. I’ve mentioned Shurtliff’s other two novels–RUMP and JACK–multiple times in past blog posts regarding middle-grade books I would recommend. (You can find those reviews here and here.) So it’s no surprise that RED, The True Story of Red Riding Hood is no exception! Read on to learn about this delightful tale!

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-4-20-22-pm

Synopsis:

Red is not afraid of the big bad wolf. She’s not afraid of anything . . . except magic.
But when Red’s granny falls ill, it seems that only magic can save her, and fearless Red is forced to confront her one weakness.

With the help of a blond, porridge-sampling nuisance called Goldie, Red goes on a quest to cure Granny. Her journey takes her through dwarves’ caverns to a haunted well and a beast’s castle. All the while, Red and Goldie are followed by a wolf and a huntsman—two mortal enemies who seek the girls’ help to defeat each other. And one of them just might have the magical solution Red is looking for. . . . Continue reading

Flash Fiction Friday: Invasion

Aliens aren’t real.

That’s what I’ve been told the last twelve years of my life, anyway. Sure, science found a single-cell life form somewhere in our system, but it can’t even talk back. What good is that? In our vast universe of planets, stars, and galaxies, we are the only intelligent life.

That was, until today.

Today we learned we are no longer alone. The world around me is in mass hysteria as we await our very first, bonafide visit from a space alien! But not me. I’m calm. My dad is one of the head-honchos at the landing site.

Which is why I stand here, crowded in by another half-dozen family members of fellow employees who got by security, too.

A ship lands in the dirt. My heart stops beating.

This is it.

The door opens. Two figures emerge, dressed in white suits with shiny silver helmets. One stops, holds up a hand with only five fingers. It pulls off it’s helmet, reveals a face with two eyes but only one nose. A gasp draws from the crowd.

“Greetings. We come in peace. We are from Earth.”

 

©Laura L. Zimmerman 2017

planet-581239_1280

Photo Credit Pixabay by LoganArt

Flash Fiction Friday: Houses

I sit criss-cross applesauce and look up at my house.

Mommy is working and I have to wait for her to come back.

I pick at the lint on my pants. Waiting is hard. I don’t like to wait. Especially when I’m hungry.

Maybe she won’t know if I don’t wait.

With a glance around, I stand and walk to my house. I bend and take a bite out of the side. My teeth sink into soft graham and sweet icing.

I’m glad I didn’t wait. Then I pull a gumdrop from my gingerbread house and begin to eat.

@Laura L. Zimmerman 2016

sxbbskmfkde-andrew-branch

Photo credit Unsplash Andrew Branch

Top Ten Thursday: Favorite Middle Grade Books

Today I wanted to explore my Top Ten Favorite Middle Grade Books. Except that I had more than ten. *Sigh* #bookloverproblems

Soooo, to narrow things down, I lumped together a few of the most popular books that made my list. I mean, let’s be honest, there are just a few that will always-and-forever-and-ever-and-ever be on every Favorite Book list. But I didn’t feel right leaving them off, either, since they’re my favs and all.

Without further ado, here is my list of Favorite Middle Grade books (in no particular order!) with one very big number 10! Happy reading, friends!

1. Percy Jackson Series. Mythology. Demigods. A dyslexic boy on a quest. Wait until you find out who daddy is!

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 1.16.22 PM

2. Savvy Series. If you haven’t read this yet, you need to drop what you’re doing and read it, now! A beautifully written story about a family of youngsters who discover they have powers, you will fall in love with the poetic style in which Ingrid Law writes. A must-read!

3. Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin and Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk. The retelling of these classic fairytales will keep you glued to the page! With unexpected twists and turns at every bend, you’ll love how the stories intertwine. A 3rd book has been released – called Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood – and I can’t wait to read it!

4. The False Prince Series. This Scholastic series is set in a fantasy medieval world with orphans and a race to rule the throne. Complete with pirates and battles, this story will interest more than just middle grade boys – be sure to grab all three books so you don’t miss the thrilling end!  Continue reading

What I’ve learned in the past 12 months…

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. It wasn’t until in recent conversation with a fellow writer that I was reminded it had been floating around in the back of my mind and it needed to get out. The journey of this lesson actually began more than two years ago, when I was in the midst of writing my novella series.

NowISleep1

Many of you have asked why I’ve pulled that series from the virtual retail world, and if they will ever be available for download again in the future. The answer to the latter part of that question is, yes. The answer to the first part of the question is a bit lengthier and has taken shape over the better part of 12 months.

For those who aren’t familiar with my novella series, Now I Sleep, I refer to a work that I first began self-publishing in April 2014. Over the course of the next 6 months I released the remainder of the series, until all six novellas (that tell one single story) had been published. This series is a YA sci-fi mystery, set in present day, as well as the future.

To sum it up for you, there are two main reasons why I pulled these novellas from circulation in the late summer of 2015. First off, this was my maiden voyage into the self-publishing world. Although I had given each of the novellas a thorough revision and edit process – as well as feedback from beta readers – I did not realize at that time just how valuable professional editing is, no matter how minor the work. Throughout the early months of 2015 I felt a strong conviction that anything that bears my name should be the best possible work I can possibly provide. So until I get the process finished – with professional feedback given from an editor – they will not be available for download. The good news is, they are currently under revision as we speak! I’m excited to use the awesome services of Nadine Brandes and hope to apply her revision suggestions to the series this summer, for a fall 2016 re-release. Woo-hoo! Continue reading

Flash Fiction Friday: The Daily News

“That kid brags all the time. There’s no way he can do magic.” Tony kicked at a stone with his worn Converse, one shoe-lace untied.

True. Ryan Jenkins did brag about everything, most of which were obvious lies.

Still…

My teeth dug tight into my lip as I fought to stay silent. Could I trust him? Tony had been my best friend since preschool – eight years. There wasn’t anything I hadn’t told him.

Until now.

I pulled my backpack a little higher on my shoulder. His he dragged behind him. One more thing his mom would yell about, for sure, when she saw the rip he’d made along the side.

“Sure you, erm…” I cleared my throat. “You don’t think it’s possible for magic to be real?” My eyes stayed connected with the tiny colony of ants on the ground as we stepped over them.

“Pfft! No way! He really expects us to believe space aliens visited him last night and gave him the Magic Wand of Endor, and that he can hop from planet to planet now? He’s thick if he thinks we’ll buy that. Besides… Endor’s just a planet from Star Wars…” He kicked at another stone.

Again true. The magic that Ryan Jenkins spoke of was definitely not real. There was no way he could do magic. But the fact that he bragged that he could, sort of ruined it for the rest of us.

A gust of wind whipped my hair, pulled the hood of my parka up over my head. I fought to smooth it back down, my eyes watery from the sudden force of air. I blinked quick in case he caught the glint of extra moisture in them.

So, Tony didn’t think magic was real. Which I admit, would’ve been my answer a week ago, too, if it hadn’t been for that night…I shook my head, images of lamps that flicked on and off without a touch, baseball cards and dinosaur figurines that floated around my room by themselves.  Continue reading

Book Review: Rump by Liesl Shurtliff

So, I think I’ve decided something. I like to read and I like to blog but I don’t necessarily have time to post a review about every single book I read. You’ve probably noticed the last number of reviews have all been 5 stars, which I think I’ll keep as my standard for choosing which books to review! So, without further discussion on the matter, here is another fantastic book that I’d like to recommend – Rump by Liesl Shurtliff.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 9.12.07 PM

Synopsis:

In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone’s joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.

To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.

The Short: 5 out of 5 stars Continue reading

They’re coming to take me away…

Well… not anymore, but it sure felt like it a few weeks ago! I’m happy to make a bigger than big announcement that may or may not put a smile on your face but certainly makes me want to do things like cartwheels and back flips, or maybe just go to Starbucks for another latte.

I finished editing my book!

Yes! The one that was in pieces because I had chosen to cut a few (*read: a heck of a lot*) of words and I couldn’t figure out how it fit together anymore? Yeah, that one. It’s back together and it makes sense and I think it has all it’s working parts again! Now I can move forward with the next step in the publishing process… which is to actually seek publication!

During the process of this whole fiasco, a song from my childhood kept running through my mind. This little ditty was popular in the 1960’s – so I’m told – but it was in my childhood of the 80’s that I first ran across it. In eighth grade art class, if I remember correctly. But I digress… if you’re not familiar with it, feel free to search for it on You Tube, I’m sure you’ll have no problem finding it. And while the words are crazy weird, it’s really just the tag line that reflected how I felt inside during this tumultuous time… there were some days where I really felt like life would be better if I could just be taken away from this project that seemed to have no end! Gah!

crazy

But I’m glad that no one took me away, or that I didn’t run away, and that I did decide to finish it. Because it’s pretty and shiny and I think it’s a whole lot better than when I first began.

So, there. Come celebrate with me. Go get a massage or a coffee or just re-watch an episode of The Walking Dead. Or all three, because, why not?

Happy reading, friends!