Accidental Magic – Sneaking Off – Part 1

This is also available on Curious Fictions, if that platform is preferred for longer works.




The gravel crunched under Laura’s feet as she crossed the road to the old logging trail.  Faint shadows of mist clung to the low spots.  The trees were spread out, so there was plenty of light, and the area had been logged out in the past, so there were no enormous trees.  Her passage startled a Broken Window bird, who crashed and clinked at her as it sought a higher branch.  The grass was long and thick, and Laura’s canvas sneakers were quickly soaked.

Before swapping charms yesterday, Laura and Kaveh found a spot in the woods, where they could practice without being seen.  He’d said they should practice magic in preparation for school, but it was such a secret she suspected they weren’t supposed to be doing it by themselves. Instead of deterring her, it made their trade more exciting.

Continue reading Accidental Magic – Sneaking Off – Part 1

Digital Book Cascade

The cascade of eBook availability continues. Something Familiar is now available in the following formats:
ePub 
iBookstore 
Nook

As soon as the print proof is approved, it will be available in paperback as well.

If you read it and enjoy it, I would love it if you could put up a review (at whatever site you prefer), as it will help me reach a wider audience.

Cover of Something Familiar.

Speed Writing #10 – Fumbled Shot

Stupid forest.  Stupid right of passage requirements.  Stupid bow and arrow.

So I’m not your typical elf.  Yes, I’m tall and can pretend to be a willow tree if I really try.  And it’s dark.  And you’re half blind.  I can stomp through the woods without making the kind of noise that draws attention, even if I want to call attention to myself.  I’m pretty smart, though I don’t think I’m really old enough to be considered wise.  I mean, who’s wise at nineteen?

My people have a rich culture mired in our history, and no one clings to tradition and history like elves.  I mean, I have some cousins, on my dad’s side, who still work for Saint Nicholas, despite the fact that their great, great, great, great grandparents fulfilled the terms of that indenture contract.  This might sound great, if you’re the sort of person who prefers stability to uncertainty, and custom to progress.

Continue reading Speed Writing #10 – Fumbled Shot

A Gift of Sky (teaser)

“Do you want to play with us?” Rellin asked, his voice gentle and slow, as if he thought Shya might not be able to understand him. An eager wind pulled at the long white fringe dangling from his coat sleeves and pants, fanning it out behind him.

Though she would have loved to join the other children, she shook her head and looked away from the pity on his face. The branches below her were full and lush, and only a few patches of ground were visible through the gaps when the boughs danced with the weather.

“Leave her alone, Rellin,” Bexa chastised, her blonde curls bouncing in a playful breeze. She was Shya’s sister and protector, although all her siblings watched out for her. It was utterly humiliating that Shya’s staunchest defender was two full years younger. “You know she doesn’t fly well.”

Shya turned her back on them, in part so she wouldn’t hear the rest of the conversation, but also so she wouldn’t have to see them soar easily into the sky, where a group of children waited. Unlike the birds, sky folk didn’t need wings to fly.

She made slow but steady progress along the wide branch, toward the three-level tree house where she’d been born. It was a cool day, which meant she wouldn’t be able to save herself if she fell, but she’d lived all of her thirteen years with the same danger. She had fallen out of trees more than once, and still, she liked heights. If she could fly, she wouldn’t be afraid of going up higher than the birds did. If she could fly.

“Shya Skychild, what are you doing out there?” a woman demanded, her voice issuing through an open kitchen window. “Come in here this instant.”

Shya sighed as she felt gentle breezes nudging her toward the door. “I’m coming.” If her mother had her way, Shya would never leave the safety of the house. The door blew open before she could reach for the handle. She took her time hanging her coat on its peg, hoping she might be able to sneak through the kitchen without a reprimand. Her soft leather boots made no sound as she crossed the hardwood floor, and for a moment she thought she might make it.


Hop on over to my Curious Fictions account (where longer form stories will reside) to read the whole thing free.

Speed Writing #5 – Fairly Artistic

She looked down into the swiftly flowing water of the tiny stream, imagining her troubles flowing away with the water.  If they bumped into a couple of rocks and cracked along the way, so much the better.

“Excuse me –”

She shrieked in surprise, turning so fast her feet slipped on the gritty limestone.  Her arms pinwheeled desperately in an attempt to catch her balance.  She felt her hand hit something, then everything stopped for just a moment.

“It’s okay,” he said quietly.  “You’re not going to fall.”  Though a Germanic accent colored his speech, his English was perfect.

Continue reading Speed Writing #5 – Fairly Artistic

Speed Writing #4 – Night Swimming

There was nothing more perfect than gliding through the water at two in the morning, under a cloudless sky with a sliver of a moon.  This was when everything was calm.  The annoying mosquitoes and even more annoying drunks had all gone to sleep or passed out.  The bats, who were active early on, had settled in for a few hours.  The surface of the lake was still, glassy, with the exception of the small ripples spreading out from her body.

Having a restaurant and bar right on the edge of the lake was a novelty, though it had worn off after the third or fourth karaoke night.  It wasn’t that she minded the music.  She was all for expressions of happiness.  But the off key howling of hammered patrons hurt her sensitive ears.  Her evening swims had moved later and later.  And it seemed she had finally stumbled upon the perfect time.

Continue reading Speed Writing #4 – Night Swimming

Teeth in Soft Places

Bee was a vampire teddy bear.  While his plush siblings clamored to frolic with children in the sun, he preferred the shadows and shady areas.  It wasn’t that he was in danger of bursting into flames or abruptly deteriorating, because that’s one of those vampire myths that just isn’t true.  He was simply of a darker nature and preferred a habitat to match.  He often found himself grossly misjudged by his appearance.  Baby blue fur and a pelt-matching satin necktie did not fit the stereotype of a vampire.  Sharp functional fangs didn’t fit the expectations of a teddy bear.

No other vampires were produced at the facility where he was made, and it seemed his state was accidental.  Still, quality control had passed him through, possibly because a despondent man was responsible for ensuring that each plush animal, of the type produced that day, was as free of flaws as the next.  The man never had his own teddy bear, and had since been conditioned to believe he didn’t need one. Despite his on-site training, he was not an expert on appropriate features for stuffed animals.

Continue reading Teeth in Soft Places

Autumn

This story is also available on Curious Fictions, if that platform is preferred for longer pieces.


It was quiet in the big woods these days. From atop her great pine, Zenza could see over most of her neighboring trees. Holding two branches for support, she leaned out, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. She smiled as fallen leaves, wet from a recent rain, filled her senses.

“Don’t do it!”

The horrified shout broke her out of her reverie and she looked around for the source.

“For the love of maple sugar, don’t do it!”

She knew that voice. She looked down into a young maple that had barely begun to change color despite the season. Darja stood on one of the uppermost branches and, even from the distance, Zenza could see fear on the girl’s face.

“Oh Zenza, it’s only autumn.”

“What are you talking about?” she demanded. Why did she always have to get the nervous neophytes?

“It’s not worth killing yourself,” she said gently. “You’d be missed far too much.”

Continue reading Autumn

Dragon Tale

This story is also available on Curious Fictions, should that platform be preferred for longer pieces.


Despite the heat of the day, the forest was cool. It was truly the only place to be, if one had any choice in the matter. Kevesh waded through the shallow stream, his great taloned feet sinking in the soft mud and sending out eddies of cloudy water behind him. Although he was one of the largest creatures in the forest, he watched where he walked. He carefully stepped over a painted turtle peering up at him with some concern.

“I see you, little shell-friend,” he called softly, not wishing to disturb the forest with his usual booming voice.

Though most of the water in the slowly moving stream was stagnant, it was cool. Kevesh held his wings flat against his back as he pushed headlong between two pines at the water’s edge. His scales protected him from the worst of the prickly branches, but it hurt to catch a wing that way. Yes, there it was. The hollow he’d dug into the side of the hill had grown thick with moss since his last visit. It would be a comfortable place to wait out the heat of the day. As he took a deep breath, nearby branches and fronds wafted toward him. He loved the smell of the forest in the summer. The only way he’d ever been able to describe it was ‘green,’ like wet ferns. But then, dragons weren’t fond of fancy descriptions and gold-plated words.

As he settled himself on his bed of politrichum moss, he recognized the distinctive rounded leaves of wild mint. He grinned, then rubbed the side of his muzzle through the plants, smearing himself with the juice. It was turning out to be a perfect day.

Continue reading Dragon Tale