Three Things Challenge: Fiction – The Homeless Wood Nymph’s Fairytale #3ThingsChallenge #amwriting #fiction


Thanks to the Haunted Wordsmith for hosting the #3ThingsChallenge. Today’s things are: discovery, lace, basketball.


Credit: Caroline Hernandez via Unsplash


Kate tromped through the bushes, in her wedding gown; at least she’d switched to her flats. The fist fight between her fiancé, and his best man, Jim, had her heart thumping fast. She ran to catch Evan as he disappeared into the pussy willows, into the Woods. The sun burnt her skin, and she swore as makeup and sweat melted in rivulets down her face.

She’d met Ev playing pick-up basketball with friends, walking her fiendish dog, Slash. He was a rescue dog, and Ev abhorred him. Slash won him over when Ev learnt that the accident-prone doxie was left to die by the side of a road — just as him. Both doxie and man had a roped scar down their torso.

Ev had studied law within the military, but had been called up for a tour in Afghanistan. A mine exploded, killing one of his squad and leaving Evan half-dead; his right side slick with blood and guts.

It was two-years since Kate met Ev in the park and nine-months since he proposed, but only six-months with therapy twice-a-week that lessened his nightmares of that insufferable day.

Kate’s lace dress tore as she shoved her train over her shoulder. Where was her made of honor, Rose? She couldn’t get out of her corset alone.

“Ev?” In the stillness of nature she searched. “Where are you? What happened with Jim?” No answer, but leaves crackled. “Ev, please. It’s our wedding.” Little trails of blood marked Kate’s skin as prickled branches scratched.

Kate blew out her breath; a long train and flats made hikes through the woods impossible. “Don’t do this to me, don’t ruin our day because of him. You’re out, and you’re finally getting over the horror — you and Slash. You’re working at you’re dad’s practice, and you’re why I haven’t been drinking these past two-months.”

Kate’s throat was raw, and she heard twigs snap as she neared Ev’s scuff-less shoes cast aside. The pussy willow fluff in the air made her sneeze. She wiped her nose and sniffled. Her allergies alone hadn’t caused her eyes to tinge red and her nose to drip. She rubbed her eyes and screamed. Tears leaked out of her eyes, a constant dripping faucet.

“Kate?” Finally, Ev stepped out from the woods, barefoot. Her handsome guy in a fitted suit. He’d thrown his jacket over his arm, and his sleeves were rolled. He held a beer to his blackened-eye.

“Ev, thank God. I’ve been yelling your name forever. There’s barely cell reception, and we’ve missed our ceremony. What happened with Jim?”

Ev grumbled and rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t want to talk, not today.”

“He’s your best man.”

“Not anymore, Cameron’s in.” Kate sat beside Ev on a fallen tree.

It crackled as she sat, and tore at her lace skirt. “You ruined my dress, you know. My mother will never forgive me.”

Ev rubbed a hand over her cheek. “Your shoulders are sun-burnt and you’re face is red; you’ve raccoon eyes too.”

“How observant of you.”

He grimaced then pressed his lips twice against hers, back and forth. “I would’ve come back. I wouldn’t leave you. I told Cameron to say I needed two hours.”

“Well, Cameron wasn’t fast enough. I saw you leave and ditched my Kate Spade’s. While I searched for you I suffered terrible allergies. Now that you’re discovered, I’m mad at you, Ev.”

“I get that. I still don’t want to talk about Jim.”

Kate huffed. She pushed at Ev’s shoulders. He teetered, but didn’t fall. She shoved him until she was pounding at his chest and shoulders. Then Kate rushed Ev as if she were a linebacker. Ev didn’t fall or talk.

Instead, he sniggered, a hand holding his stomach. “You have to stop! My stomach hurts from holding in my laughter of your whimpiness. Stop running at me; you’re exhausted.”

Kate grabbed Ev’s tie and yanked. “You pick up my train and march us back to the ceremony. Don’t pull this shit on me today.”

Ev’s mouth hung open, and Kate closed it, peach nails digging into his chin. “Bella, luckily, will fix my makeup and hair and even has a little vacuum to get the thorns and twigs from my ruined dress. We’re getting married, screw Jim.”

“You don’t want to know what happened?”

“Not until tomorrow.”

“He–”

“Shut it. There maybe no guests, but your dad surely knows a judge who can help us before tonight.”

“Listen Kate –”

“No, you listen.”

“He hurt me. When that landmine killed Jace, he pushed me too. Jim was scared, but he was also a trained soldier. I asked him straight out who pushed me three-years ago. Today, he chose to tell me it was him who left me to die; him who never returned for me until twenty-three hours later.”

“Selfish prick. I’d like to deal with that coward myself. I’m sorry, Ev. I would’ve wanted to tackle him too”

“I’d have forgiven him anything as long as he’d been honest. No guy we were with would’ve said a thing, and they didn’t. It wasn’t their fight. But, it’s two-years later and he’s lied all this time. I went through so much. I’m still going through it.”

Kate swore and grabbed her phone from her clutch. She texted Rose.

“What are you doing?” Ev’s grey-eyes were wide. His hand stopped her typing.

“I postponed things. We’ll get married at the hall tonight before the fesitivities. It will be a half-hour, not a whole service, thankfully. This time away’s more important.”

Ev nodded and she gawked as tears ran down his face. “I’ve never seen you cry. Not even in physiotherapy.”

He pulled her down next to him, and buried his face in her neck. A wet cooling sensation flowed onto her collar. She barely flinched when his tears stung her sunburned skin. He needed to get this out, and Kate didn’t want him to notice her pain. She embraced Ev, and didn’t move until he was done.

Eventually, he peered up. “How much time?” His voice rasped and his face was flushed.

“Until 5:30 p.m. Rose and Cameron have it arranged. Everyone saw what happened with Jim. They’ll understand.”

Ev pushed a hand through his chocolate hair and wiped his eyes. “My face is probably as red as yours.” Kate leaned against him and the rip of her skirt up her leg made them both wince.

Ev shrugged. “It’s okay, babe. We’ll deal with it. We’ll get through tonight, and everyday after that. You’re my new bestie, and Cameron’s been promoted too.” She smirked and entwined their fingers.

Her thumb brushed over his mouth and his hand wrapped around her head, as he laid it on her shoulder.

Ev played with her curls. “Now, I look like a homeless wood nymph. Your fingers aren’t helping my hair. Ev kissed her neck beneath her ear.

She rested her cheek against his hair, as he laughed. “I like your new look. The amount of leg where your dress ripped is also an improvement.”

Kate elbowed Ev and he sniggered. He placed his hands around her face. “Is it true I’m the reason you haven’t been drinking? Is it because -?” She nodded and Ev’s eyes twinkled. When he grinned and rocked her back and forth, she knew the wedding would turn out.

He placed his hand on her belly. “Let’s hope Slash isn’t the jealous type.”


©Mandibelle16. (2018) All Rights Reserved.

Sunday Photo Fiction: Not To Touch #amwriting #flashfiction #fiction


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF. 

——

A Mixed Bag

——-

I’m reminded of a science experiment my class did in grade five. We used chalk to grow crystals on them. The exact process I don’t remember, but I do recall feeling proud upon removing a piece of chalk from my container and finding various coloured crystals on it. 

I thought back to this day when I saw the trees begin to glitter with crystals. It had been extremely cold and blizzardy, so we all assumed it was naturally, the accumulation of ice crystals. But then the trees became covered in crystals of all colours.

 There were bright lavender crystals and cyan blue crystals. There were even bubble gum pink crystals. Everyone thought this was the most beautiful and unique oddity. Journalists came from every city across the country, to report on this rarity for themselves. 

Then, scientists in the area starting testing the crystals and while they were lovely on the trees, the were not so lovely attached to your skin. They crystals once fastened, would not unfasten from one’s skin until a person was completely covered in them. Until their body was frozen, stiff, and dead as the trees which never budded in spring. 

Our town was nearly deserted by the time the military took over. The colourful forest was burned to the ground. 

The most heart breaking aspect for everyone was that the small children were the first to touch the trees. They had the smallest bodies and didn’t last long. I think it’s the reason so many people started over, the unbearable misery they left behind. 

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Interview With Melinda Kucsera


Welcome to another edition of my bi-weekly writer interview series. Today I have interviewed the fascinating and lovely, science-fiction and fantasy writer Melinda Kucsera. You can visit here blog here: www.melindakucsera.com


 

Melinda Kucsera
Melinda Kucsera

1. Melinda, Please Tell Us About Yourself?

I’m an IT project manager for an academic journal publisher by day. By night, I write fantasy books, science-fiction books, and short stories. Then, I post them to me blog: www.melindakucsera.com


2. When did you start writing and blogging?

I started building my own world, when I was small and fleshed out a fantasy world for my characters to live in. Originally, my world only had one country called Shayari. But my world grew to include other countries as well as extensions into other worlds and realms.

I used to tell stories about Shayari and its people to my siblings, the kids I babysat, (etc). But I didn’t write my stories down until I was in middle school and even then, I spent more time writing about my created world and its peculiarities than its people.

Around the age of sixteen-years-old, I came across the bookThe Winds of Fate by Mercedes Lackey at my local library. It was the first fantasy book I’d ever come into contact with and it gave me the idea to write down the stories I had been imagining. I thought, if readers liked Lackey’s fantasy world, then they’d like mine too. So, I began writing all my stories down. And I don’t have to tell you, writing for me is pure joy. I’d rather write than do anything else.

I started blogging a year ago in 2015 because everyone kept telling me I should do it. Blogging seemed like a good way to start fulfilling my sister’s last request. She asked that I publish the stories she grew-up loving so that other people could enjoy them as well.


” . . .I began writing all my stories down. And I don’t have to tell you, writing for me is pure joy. I’d rather writer than do anything else . . . Blogging seemed like a good way to start fulfilling my sister’s last request. She asked that I publish the stories she grew-up loving so that other people could enjoy them as well.” – Melinda Kucsera


3. What Does Writing Mean to You? Why Do You Write?

I write for the joy of it and because I can’t not write. There’s an ever expanding number of characters walking in and out of my imagination, demanding that I capture their life in words. I want to write these character’s stories. Their stories are compelling and they always show me tantalizing bits which make me want to know more!


4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?

Writing is the first and last thing I think about every day. In fact, every other thought I have is about a story in progress, or a character, or an idea for a character for a story. My imagination has no off switch. It never takes a vacation and it doesn’t sleep. It’s always working away in the background, no matter what I am doing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s no logic to what my imagination latches onto and spins into a story or character.


“My imagination has no off switch. It never takes a vacation and it doesn’t sleep. It’s always working away in the background, no matter what I am doing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s no logic to what my imagination latches onto and spins into a story or character.” – Melinda Kucsera


5. Do You Find There is a Time of Day You Most Enjoy to Write?

No, I steal time for writing whenever and wherever I can. I have a demanding day job which keeps me busy for eleven to twelve hours-a-day, five-days a week, if you factor in my commute time to and from work. Additionally, I’m a fitness and health nut and I walk anywhere from one to three hours each day. Thank God for smartphones, they allow me to write, edit, and walk at the same time.


6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? Do You Have Any Hopeful Projects?

I have too many projects! I love working on multiple projects at the same time, hence, my day job as a project manager.My most current projects are:

1.Curse Breaker: Enchanted, which is on sale on Amazon at http://bit.ly/CurseMK. Sarn must find out why a child was murdered in the enchanted forest before the same fate befalls him or his son. (It’s a heartwarming fantasy tale). I’m finalizing the Kindle version and will start the print edition hopefully, the week following.

 2. Curse Breaker: Faceted, which is the sequel to Curse Breaker: Enchanted, (Dec 2016/Jan 2017 release). It’s already written and I only need to edit the novel. In this book, odd events happen around an old tower which only Sarn can remember seeing. These occurrences are building up to something and Sarn wants nothing to do with it. But he can’t escape what’s coming…

3.Curse Breaker: Jousted, book three of the Curse Breaker Saga (March/April 2017 release). Sarn and his family take in a joust which takes a deadly turn when extinct creatures show up. Who will survive the hunter’s game?

4.Curse Breaker: Trapped, book four of the Curse Breaker Saga (June/July 2017 release). Sarn’s luck has finally run out. The silence that hid his son for the last four years now dooms him when an old enemy shows up to even the score. Sarn’s two lives collide and his son hangs in the balance.

5. I’m also working on several other novels and extensions for the short stories readers have requested. And I publish a short story a day on my blog so yeah, I’m also working on blogging short stories as well.


” . . . I walk anywhere from one to three hours each day. Thank God for smartphones. They allow me to talk, edit, and walk at the same time.” – Melinda Kucsera


7.  Are You Planning to Publish More Works of Writing in the Future? Do You Have Other Published Works Besides What You Are Currently Working On?

Yes, I am planning to publish my stories. My sister asked me to publish my stories before her death in 2014; it is one promise, I intend to keep.

I published Stars and Angels Sing in January of 2016 as well as Curse Breaker: Enchanted, is on sale right now on Amazon. (See the second link to purchase Melinda’s first book in Sarn’s journey.)


Curse breaker Enchanted Melinda
http://www.amazon.com

Additionally, as stated above, I plan to publish the first four books of the Curse Breaker Saga: Curse Breaker: Enchanted (9/27/2016); Curse Breaker: Faceted (December 2016/early January); Curse Breaker: Jousted (March/April 2017); and Curse Breaker: Trapped (June/July 2017). I haven’t figured out which book will follow book four, possibly a book book five; but I’m not sure yet.


8. Can you Briefly Describe the Process You Are Going Through to Publish Your Curse Breaker Series of Books?

Sure, though I’m making this up as I go along. Consider yourself forewarned. I couldn’t afford an editor so I’m doing all editing myself. For me this means:

1. I submit each chapter to The Hemingway App which is a fantastic writer’s tool. It highlights uses of passive voice, wordiness, hard to read sentences, adverbs, words that can be simplified,(etc). I edit my chapter based on The Hemingway App suggestions and until I’m satisfied with my editing.

2. I also, use an app an on my android phone called Voice Reader. It essentially, reads my word document of my manuscript to me and I edit my book while I walk. I listen to each section in my book two-times.

3. I spell and grammar check my entire manuscript in MS Word as well as double-check the meanings of words to ensure I am using them correctly. To ensure I’m using words correctly, I use:  Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

4. After completing the appropriate steps to self-edit a group of chaptersI send them to my beta reader and wait for feedback while I work on the next group of chapters requiring editing.

5. Once, everything is edited to my satisfaction from self-editing and the comments of my beta reader, I will listen to the entire book one last time, to be certain I’ve caught any missed mistakes.

6. I designed the covers for the Curse Breaker Saga since I know my way around Photoshop. But first, I researched. I browsed audio books and ogled a lot of book covers. I may have bought a bunch of those books. I asked my cube-mate fro, work, who is the web designer from my day job, for feedback on the covers but she didn’t have any.

7. Next, I formatted my book for Kindle which required me to apply some styles in MS Word, slap in a hyperlinked TOC, and I was done.

8. After, I created a new MS Word document and set it up for print. I cut and pasted chapter by chapter, following basic design rules (chapter heads always start on the right hand page etc.) I always chose the ‘paste as plain text’ option AND THEN  I applied the new styles. If the document is set up right this process is boring but painless.

9.  I submitted two documents using self-publishing, one to Amazon and one to a printer to proof and print/put up for sale.


9. How Does Your Writing Process Work? Do Prefer Certain Areas or Genres of Writing and Reading?

I write whenever I can steal a few minutes to do so. I always have pages of my writing, clawing its way out of my head. Also, I love audio books. They are the only books I read anymore. As for genres, I love fantasy and science-fiction. Reading science-fiction, I especially enjoy military, speculative, and hard science-fiction. I also like to read whatever else catches my eye when I feel like reading.


” I submit each chapter to The Hemingway App which is a fantastic writer’s tool [for editing] . . . I also, use an app an on my android phone called Voice Reader . . . I edit my book while I walk. I listen to each section in my book two-times.” – Melinda Kucsera


10. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice For Other Writers Or Anything Else You’d Like To Share Related To Writing or Yourself?

Write because you love writing; write for yourself not for others. Read a lot and if you’re busy, listen to a lot of audio-books while you do other work. Hearing great writing in your ear and thinking about it in your mind is vital. So read, hear, think, about writing, however, you can.

Write On!


11. Please Share With Us a Few Links from Your Blog With Some of Your Favorite Pieces? 

Curse Breaker: Enchanted blurb:

“SARN indentured himself four years ago to pay for his brother’s education. It was a desperate bid to help his brother escape the cycle of poverty. For him there was never any hope, not while his body brims with illegal magic that just so happens to fuel the perpetual glow of his green eyes.

THE BARGAIN…The terms of his indenture landed him a stint with the Rangers who patrol the enchanted forest until a party of travelers is attacked in the forest’s midst and killed. Everything changes when that first drop of blood is spilled, waking the forest’s ire.

THE MYSTERY… Sarn tries to stay out of sight and trouble but one of the Rangers has plans for him. And the ghost of a child murdered in the forest haunts him—a green-eyed child just like his own son. Who killed this boy and the party he traveled with and why? The answer might cost his sanity but to find it, he risks losing the son he’s kept a secret for four years. Not finding the answer might damn his son to share that murdered boy’s fate.

As conflicting plans collide beneath enchanted boughs, one thing is certain. If Sarn can’t get his magic under control, he’ll never find the answers that he seeks. But how far is he willing to go to find those answers? The search might cost more than his sanity; it might cost his life.”


12. Here are Some Short Excerpts of Curse Breaker: Enchanted Below from Melinda’s Blog:

1. Queen Of All Trees

2. Curse Breaker: Kaulayaw

3.The Trouble With Marahuyo


Thank you so much Melinda for agreeing to be interviewed and providing such a thorough description of your publishing process and the exciting book series you are publishing. Here is the link to Melinda Kucsera’s Blog again and the link on Amazon to purchase her amazing first book!


Hope you enjoyed today’s interview. I know I did 🙂 If you would like to share about yourself and your writing in my bi-weekly interview series, please reach-out to me through my Contact Page here. Thanks for reading!


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer: A Hideous Bench


“Oh what a tacky bench,” Violet complained to her husband Wes. “Who would put such an outrageously coloured bench in Hewitt Park. We have to walk by it when we take Snuggles for his walk.”

“Meow,” Snuggles said, struggling in his harness and leash.

Wes sighed as his wife continued to moan about the red bench. The bench was in an ideal spot for him to seat his aching bones and red was his favourite colour.

“Oh my, Wes! Why are you sitting on that hideous bench. I was just saying what an eye-sore it is.” 

“I’m eighty-four-years old Violet and the red bench is a perfect place to rest.” Snuggles meowed and sat on the bench in agreement.

Violet was starting to complain when she noticed Snuggles sitting on a plaque on the bench seat.

Wes moved Snuggles and both he and Violet read the plaque which said: ” In honour of our Grandson, Corperal Jonathan Crest, who died under enemy fire in Afhganistan. Lest We Not Forget.” 

 Violet sniffed and her eyes went wide as she read the plaque. 

“Pretty good reason to have a red bench here, don’t you think Violet?” Wes said.

Violet was speechless.

—–
 

Ady
 

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Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.

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©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

Writing 101: Day 16 – Twitter Poetry Advice 


Hope is a life line, you just have to grab hold and never let go.

You inspire my inner serial killer.

Freaky lightening strikes in Australia – surely heralds the end of days.

Exercise is like telling your body : “You’re gonna hate me for this, but you’ll thank me later.”

That’s how I feel. Your writing is beautiful and you create beautiful characters.

Love your enemies. It makes them so damned mad!

Those leopard bottles are so shot! Grab your’s now.

Get out of your comfort zone. It just might #changetheworld.

Sometimes when you innovate you make mistakes. It’s best to admit them quickly and get on with your other innovations. (Steve Jobs.)

A story of a devastated Britain ruled by a ruthless military.

I took a Date Night out of the Budget and almost ruined my marriage.

Go to bed with dreams. Wake up with plans.

Just be good to people, get to know them.