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: 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!

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 Guest Post: How I Became a Zombie Cheerleader

Hey folks!! Happy news! A Flash Fiction story I wrote for SlasherMonsterMagazine went live last week. You can check it out here. Interesting fact: It’s loosely–very loosely–based on something that happened to me in college!! Ha! Enjoy the story!

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Awesome artwork created by SlashMonsterMagazine. Go read the story! 🙂 

ACFW New Releases–April 2017

Don’t miss out on this month’s new releases from fellow ACFW authors! Pick up a new book to read over spring break!

April 2017 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:
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Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon — When a police chief and an ex-con join forces to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks fly. Given their backgrounds, it’s not a promising match—but in Hope Harbor, anything is possible. (Contemporary Romance from Revell [Baker])

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Oh Baby by Delia Latham — Dawni Manors seeks peace in Angel Falls, Texas. What she finds is a cowboy, an abandoned infant, and emotional chaos. If the Heart’s Haven angels really are there, what in the world are they thinking? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

General: Continue reading

Caffeinated Speculation: About that Last Jedi…

At the end of January, Star Wars fans were treated to a belated Christmas present: We learned the title of Episode VIII! My Facebook and Twitter feeds exploded with all kinds of chatter as the speculation began about who The Last Jedi could be! Did it refer to Luke Skywalker? Possibly, considering the final scene of Episode VII showed the return of the long lost character. Or could The Last Jedi mean Rey, since she discovered her Jedi powers in the last movie?

Just a few days ago, there was renewed interest in the subject with the release of the new international posters. It seems that as Americans, our own language may have kept us from determining the truth: The Last Jedi may not be a single person, after all. 

As seen in various articles such as this one, the Star Wars Episode VIII posters featured in other languages show the phrase to be plural, not singular, as we had assumed.

This changes the game entirely! Woo-hoo! *Back flip* I’m super excited about this guys! This could mean a sort of ‘assembling’ of the Jedi. We’ve long been exposed to that lone hero, that single guy or gal who saves the day and wins for the good-side. But in this case, maybe we are about to see something more along the lines of an Avengers-like ensemble–a reference that The Last Jedi may refer to not only Luke and Leia, but also Rey, Finn, whoever! There are so many unknowns of who could hold the secret ‘Jedi gene’ in their blood, since the Jedi have been ‘extinct’ for so many years (in the SW Universe, that is.) I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for an Avenger-type Star Wars! (No disrespect to Han and Chewie. We love you guys!)

What about you? Were you surprised at the announcement over The Last Jedi? What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave them below. I’d love to hear who you think The Last Jedi might be!

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(Note to self: The above is plural! Yay!)

Caffeinated Speculation: ‘Firefly’ Reboot?

I had a few things on my mind to talk about this week–the release of the mid-season premier for The Walking Dead being one. (Hello!? How awesome was it, right?) But in the end, another article floating around the internet caught my attention: 

Will Firefly finally see a reboot?

For those of you unaware of this TV show, it originally aired back in 2002 on the Fox network, with Joss Whedon at the helm. It’s unique concept of old-time western mixed with futuristic sci-fi gained it a cult-following, despite the fact it lasted only 1 season. Since that time fans have demanded for a return of the show, and many Comic-Con type events have hosted the cast and crew, along with a feature length film, entitled Serenity, that was released 2005. (If you haven’t seen the show, check it out on Netflix! **Side note: This show is for mature audiences.)

For those of us who’ve watched (and re-watched) this show, it will always have a special place in our geeky-scifi-lovin’ hearts. But interviews with both Joss Whedon and lead cast member, Nathan Fillion, have both shown a hesitation on their end, for a reboot. Yes, it’s what the fans want; Yes, the cast and crew would be thrilled to revisit that time of their career; But is it what’s best for all? Maybe not. Whedon has suggested that the very fact that Firefly went off the air in it’s prime–when so many viewers have such fantastic memories of it–is what makes it such a cult favorite. To bring it back could set it up for a mediocre return, which could then prove as a disappointment that overshadows the entire series.  Continue reading

Caffeinated Speculation: Stranger Things 2 Trailer

Here we go! Surprise #2 for the week!! Yay!

Again, the month of February is full of new things, including this weekly column! I’ve been thinking on what I can contribute weekly to the site and realized I’d love to talk about my favorite thing: Anything Fantasy or Sci-Fi related! So, each Thursday I will be talking about all things Speculative–books, movies, TV shows, trailers–whatever peeks my interest! If you’ve ever been cornered by me while I’ve talked about my love of Star Wars, then you’ll know how much I love to talk! *insert cheesy smile*

Feel free to leave comments about the weekly post. Or give a suggestion, if you’re wondering what my thoughts are on a particular topic! I’d love to hear from you!

This week’s topic: The Stranger Things Season 2 Trailer!

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Some people watch the Superbowl for, well, the football. (Duh!) Many watch it for the commercials. (Way more fun, in my opinion.) But my family? We watched it just for the Stranger Things Season 2 trailer! Yep! You heard that right. And it didn’t disappoint! (If you haven’t seen it yet, find it here.)  Continue reading

ACFW New Releases–January 2017

Happy New Year!! Can you believe it’s 2017 already? And with a new year come new books! Yay for everyone! Check out these new releases for January 2017 from fellow ACFW authors. Happy reading, friends! 🙂

January 2017 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley by Valerie Comer, Mary Jane Hathaway, Elizabeth Maddrey, Danica Favorite, Lee Tobin McClain and Annalisa Daughety — Is love possible for a makeshift mom and a handsome widower? What about a bed and breakfast owner and the farmer next door? A curvy jilted bride and a mysterious, handsome chef? Then there’s the real estate consultant and the grandson of her elderly client; a high-powered lawyer and a woman farmer, and a formerly engaged couple. Can love make a difference in their lives? Exploring food, friends, and family in Arcadia Valley, each of these novellas kicks off a three-book series, intertwined with the works of the other authors. This collection is only the beginning of your adventure! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Restoring Love by Jennifer Slattery — Mitch, a contractor and house-flipper, is restoring a beautiful old house in an idyllic Midwestern neighborhood. Angela, a woman filled with regrets and recently transplanted to his area, is anything but idyllic. As Mitch struggles to keep his business afloat, and Angela works to correct the mistakes of her past, these two unlikely friends discover they have something unexpected in common–a young mom fighting to give her children a better life after her husband’s incarceration. While both Mitch and Angela are drawn to help this young mother survive, they also find themselves drawn to each other. Will a lifetime of regrets hold them back from redemption and true love? (Contemporary Romance from New Hope Publishers)

Historical Mystery:

Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering — Drew and Madeline Farthering visit the Yorkshire moor to catch a killer and solve a mystery that involves an old feud, a new rivalry and a huge, spectral hound that may or may not be a harbinger of death. (Historical Mystery from Bethany House [Baker]) Continue reading

ACFW New Releases – December 2016

Happy Holidays, friends! Here is the latest list of new releases from my fellow ACFW authors! Grab a few to give away as gifts! Happy reading, friends!!

December 2016 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

bella-natale Bella Natale! by Marianne Evans — An aspiring American artist and the widowed, Italian owner of a premier art gallery meet and fall in love in Florence when he champions her work, but there are her American family’s expectations and his five-year-old son to consider. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

with-this-kissWith this Kiss by Marianne Evans — A kiss stolen in a midnight snow. A jealous colleague at Jonathan’s firm is bent on revenge…revenge that puts Isabella’s store into legal peril. Will love be enough to see them through? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

mistletoe-daddyMistletoe Daddy by Deb Kastner — Bubbly Vivian Grainger bids on gruff Nick McKenna at Serendipity Texas’s annual Bachelors and Baskets for one reason–to help her build her hair salon; but once Nick finds out she’s pregnant, he does his best to build a path to Vivian’s heart. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

a-hero-for-heatherA Hero for Heather by Marion Ueckermann — When a “homeless” man she’s been helping rescues social worker Heather Blume from a vicious attack, she’s so grateful she violates one of the most important rules in her profession–she takes him home to tend his wounds. But the mysterious Paxton Rathbone is no homeless man…he’s a gentleman. When feelings grow, and Paxton’s past beckons, both he and Heather discover there’s a fine line between gratitude and love. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published) Continue reading