Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - Z is for Ziti

The last post for the 2013 A to Z Challenge.
It was so much fun! Thank you, everyone, for your comments and support.

I've been posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
(Well, this one is a little longer than a snippet. But hopefully it's well worth it!)
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


Erik pounced on the monster's head and dug his fingers into its eyes. Both roared - each with their own sort of pain. It thrashed its head back and forth, but Erik held fast with hands deep into its eye sockets.

The tail unraveled, and Danielle gasped for air. She stumbled, righted herself against the dresser, and calling forth her blades again, she sliced her way along the serpent's body. It bashed Erik against the wall above the bed before she could decapitate it.

The monster's head rolled toward the closet, and Erik fell onto the queen-sized bed. Libby hopped up with him, crying and clutching her father.

Danielle stood ready for the serpent to reform. Her chest heaved and still burned from lack of oxygen. She'd do this forever if she had to. For Libby. For Erik.

The pile of ooze looked like over-baked ziti. It didn't even twitch. Not after three seconds or ten. Not even after a full minute.

Her glowing hands dimmed, the blades retracted, and the soft blue light winked out.

It's dead. What happened differently this time? Fenn's voice made her startle.

On the bed, Erik embraced Libby even as he winced. The girl wept as he murmured to her. "I have you, baby. You're so brave. I love you so much."

"Maybe he realized something that he was too blind with his own fear to notice before." Danielle pressed a hand to her bite wound. She gritted her teeth with the pain, but a smile turned up her lips. "I think they're going to be okay."

Perhaps. Several years of therapy won't hurt either. Make sure you suggest that. Fenn sniffed.

"Danielle." Erik beckoned to her. She hedged nearer, not wanting to interrupt their moment, but he grabbed her uninjured arm and pulled her into their hug. "Thank you. We owe you everything." He kissed her head, her cheek, and then her mouth. "Thank you."

Heat spread through her that had nothing to do with her wounds. Her lips tingled and her heart sped up again. Before she could say anything though, Fenn cleared his throat and Libby spoke.

"Daddy, did you just kiss her?" Libby gasped and then giggled. "You like Miss Sawyer!"

"Yup, I sure do." Erik tugged them both to him, and Libby reached out to place a hand over Danielle's.

I'm sure this is a deeply emotional moment for you, but shouldn't you be getting everyone to a hospital now?

Monday, April 29, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - Y is for Yawned

It's the penultimate post for the 2013 A to Z Challenge!
I can't believe it's almost at an end already. What a month!

I'm posting snippets from a story this year.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


"No." Danielle's chin trembled. "No! I will kill this monster a million times before I ever hurt Erik!"

She charged the serpent.

You're not thinking with your head, Danielle. Fenn bellowed. The child's safety must come first!

The monster reared back, taking its head out of Danielle's reach. It whipped its tail around and smacked her, sending her flying against a set of drawers.

"I'll never let it harm Libby! But killing Erik isn't the answer!"

You don't know this!

"And neither do you!" Danielle's screech was cut off as the tail slammed into her. It wound around her body and squeezed. She couldn't get a breath. Hacking at the monster's body was doing nothing to deter it.

"No!" Libby ran at the serpent. "Leave her alone! Go away!"

"Libby!" Erik managed to roll to his hands and knees. His cry hoarse and wobbly.

"Go away! Go away!" Libby's tiny fists struck the monster. It hissed, almost like a chuckle.

Danielle wanted to scream for the girl to get away, but not even a squeak escaped her throat. Black dots decorated her vision.

The monster's mouth yawned, fangs glistened, and it descended upon the child.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - X is for Xanax

I'm posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


How fascinating. A monster born from an adult's fears. Fenn mused.

"What? It's not possible!" Danielle yelled, ignoring the blood streaming down her arm as she stood and readied herself for the next attack.

The monster was more wary this time. It curled up and watched her, clearly weighing its options. All the while, it shook that infernal rattle.

"It is! It is!" Libby sobbed and hugged her father's arm. "I like snakes. I'm not scared of them!"

I believe her. Fenn stated. Erik's fear for his daughter is powerful.

Danielle shook her head. She didn't want to believe Erik had created these nightmares. The man might need some Xanax sometimes, but no adult could be that terrified.

Images of Erik flashed through her mind. Him smiling, slow and sexy. His easy laugh. The glassy-eyed look he got when watching the news. Always with the news.

The bonnet and rattle. The baby store that had gotten robbed. Then the squirrel with the shotgun for the school shooting in Kentucky. The gangster mummy for the murder at the museum.


I think the only answer to saving the child may be to kill Erik.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - W is for Wails

I'm posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


The monster's fangs plunged into Danielle's upper arm. It flung her up against the ceiling, smashing her into the stucco. It fluttered around them like stage snow.

She screamed. Or at least she thought she did, but all she could hear were Libby's wails.

Danielle summoned her blades back to her, and they emerged from her palms. The serpent threw her against the far wall beside the open closet. The world swam before her eyes, but she'd been hit in the head enough times sparring to know how to push through the pain.

Kill it properly this time. Fenn ordered.

An eerie rattling filled the room.

"I did!" Danielle growled. When the monster struck again, she was ready. Kicking its lower jaw up, she raked her swords along the soft flesh under its head. It didn't deal with pain as well as she did. As it flailed, she loped off its head, and it lost form becoming goo. "Definitely dead."

For three seconds.

"Dammit!" Danielle jumped out of the way and crouched down in front of Libby and Erik. "Libby, you don't have to be afraid any more. I'm here. Your fear is giving the monster power."

"But it's not my monster!" Libby cried. "It's Daddy's!"

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - V is for Vow

I'm posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


Quickly, Danielle! Fenn shouted.

Danielle didn't need to be told. In one smooth motion, she launched herself at the monster. Her arms crossed, and with a scissoring motion, she cut off its head.

Falling to her knees beside Erik and Libby, Danielle dropped her weapons. Her heart was hammering so hard, she thought it might punch its way out of her chest. "Libby! Erik! Are you okay?"

Erik only replied with a groan. She helped to turn him and sit him against the wall. Danielle couldn't tell without a light, but he didn't look any more than bruised. No blood stained him anywhere. Placing a hand on his bare chest, she could feel he was still alive.

"Miss Sawyer." Libby whispered.

"Your dad will be okay. You don't have to worry." Danielle let out a long breath. She'd made it just in time. Libby's monsters were getting stronger. So strong they could show up in front of an adult. How she was going to remedy this, she didn't know, but she made a silent vow that she would do anything to help Libby.

"No. Behind you." Libby whimpered.

And the serpent struck.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - U is for Ululation

I'm posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


Danielle ran through the neighborhood's backyards and sent dogs to howling. Her hair whipped against her face and tangled as she leapt over fences.

Please let Libby be okay.

She heard a child's scream as she raced across Erik's back lawn and barreled through the glass door. Glass rained over the kitchen floor, and the alarm went off sounding like a dying siren's last ululation. Skating along with the shards, she darted down the hall and took the stairs two at a time to the second floor.

There was another scream and an ominous hiss. Not from Libby's room, but farther down the hall.

When Danielle kicked open the door, she found herself in the master bedroom. A gigantic serpent with a pink bonnet and a baby's rattle clutched in its tail loomed over its victim.

No. Victims.

Erik used his body to cover Libby's. Perhaps as his last act, because he didn't appear to be moving.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - T is for T-Rex

I'm posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


Hooking the T-Rex's lower jaw with one blade, Danielle yanked it down and sliced through its neck with her other sword. The monster tried to roar, but black ooze gushed forth instead. Danielle darted to the side as it lost its form and fell to the floor in a jiggling pile.

That was a dangerous move. You couldn't guess how strong its jaws were. Fenn chided.

"I was well in control of its head. And those tiny little baby arms would never have reached me. Whoever said that was the T-Rex was one of the most ferocious of carnivores needs to spend a night with me." Danielle snorted and then paused to take in her own words. She corrected herself. "Not like that. I meant slaying monsters."

I didn't think anything else, Fenn said dryly.

"Yes, that's right. You're no fun." She then quickly added, "Not that I want you thinking anything like that." She shook her head at herself. The boy whose room it was had fled to his brother's bedroom, so there was no need to stick around. She headed to the window when she stopped and stared at her hands.

They were still glowing.

"My hands." Danielle surveyed the room. There were no monsters left. None in the house that she could feel. "What's going on?"

After a few seconds, Fenn spoke. How close did you say Libby lived to this boy?

"The next block." Danielle leapt out the window and ran.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - S is for Soothing

We're on the last full week. I love the posts I've been reading this year.
We can do it! We will survive the 2013 A to Z Challenge!

I'm posting snippets from a story this year.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


Danielle dropped her iPhone on the couch beside her. She kicked at the air with both feet before flopping back. "Erik ditched me tonight. I can't believe he cancelled."

Did he give a reason? Fenn inquired.

"Just that he was tired." Danielle scoffed and leaned sideways letting gravity take her over onto the pillow so she could bury her face in it. The noise from the television was muffled and the faint scent of Lavender Febreze tickled her nose. It wasn't the least bit soothing.

At least he didn't say he had a headache.

Startling a bit, Danielle raised her head and stared at the little dog. "Did you just make a joke?"

No. Clearly I did not. Fenn said in a monotone. You're not laughing.

"I know that I'm truly pathetic when you make a joke to try to cheer me up." She groaned and smashed her face against the pillow again.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

3 marvelous years

My adorable little guy is 3!
He had a fantastic birthday. Even a little flooding at the park didn't ruin the fun.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes.
You guys are so sweet.

Have a lovely Sunday! 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - R is for Restless

I'm posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


Breathe deep. Focus your energy. Fenn's voice was low and hypnotic.

Danielle sat cross-legged on the floor of her living room with her eyes closed. Meditation helped after a work-out. Usually if she didn't, she remained restless for hours afterward. Perspiration dried on her flesh and called forth rows of goosebumps.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Fenn continued. You are one of the Fearless. Nothing shakes your core. You are strong. You are a warrior.

A fighter she was. After killing her first monster, nothing terrified her. She wished she could pass some of that onto Libby. Poor kid. And Erik. It was hard to be a parent in today's world.

Okay, maybe she was a little afraid of losing him. They'd just started to get to know each other. It could be something great. Danielle could see herself making a life with him and helping him raise Libby. Maybe another baby . . .

Her eyes snapped open. What was she thinking? She and Erik weren't even officially a couple yet. It was ridiculous to even think beyond the next time she saw him. How did she suddenly become one of those silly girls planning a wedding with a guy she'd only kissed?

In other news: Today is my little guy's 3rd birthday! We'll be having a picnic at the park if the weather cooperates. Happy birthday to the best boy in the world!

Thanks to everyone who has been complimenting the photos with my A- Z this year. He had fun checking out the Monopoly game, and wanted the hotels and houses to be cars zooming around the track.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - Q is for Quintessential

I'm posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" Libby hugged Danielle around the waist, bouncing with each word.

"Uh, you're welcome?" Danielle smiled, unsure of what this was about, but glad to see the girl so happy.

"Thank you for talking to my dad. This weekend was perfect. He didn't get all grumpy with too much to do. We played games and cleaned up the garden together. We're going to buy some flowers next weekend and plant them. It's going to be awesome!"

Or he could just be happy after all the canoodling the two of you did on Friday night. Fenn huffed. 

Danielle burst out laughing and put a hand over her mouth as if she could contain it. Seeing Libby gazing at her with raised brows, she shook her head. "Sorry, just thinking funny, uh, gardening stories. That's wonderful. It sounds like a lot of fun."

"Yup! Gotta go!" Libby waved, the quintessential happy little girl in pigtails skipping down the hall.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - P is for Pie

I'm posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


"Have you ever thought of not watching the news?" Danielle gazed at him from across the small kitchen island. Even with the dark circles under his eyes, he still managed to be the most gorgeous man she'd ever seen.

"What?" Erik blinked, cocking his head to the side as if he truly didn't understand her question.

"Let's turn off the TV. We can sit and talk. Maybe play some cards, or if you really want to watch something, let's find a movie. Something funny. You look like you need a good belly laugh." She fingered the rim of her bottle, not sure of how he'd react.

Erik stared at her for a moment and then breathed out, smiling. "I haven't watch a comedy in ages."

Her shoulders relaxed as he walked to the TV and grabbed the remote. Erik flipped through the channels and found one that made him grin. He came back to lean on the island next to her. "Here's a good one."

"American Pie? I do love to watch teenage boys taking advantage of baked goods." Danielle bumped her hip lightly against his as she turned to rest against the island as well. Erik laughed, low and sweet. A hopeful tingle went from her smile down to her quivering stomach and a little lower.

In other news: My short story, "No One Believed Me" was accepted by Every Day Fiction. Yay! I'll let you know when it will be available on their site. I needed a boost this week, because I'm behind schedule with my writing and I'm making some major changes with no extra time to make them.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - O is for Opened

I'm posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


Erik opened the front door and smiled at Danielle as she stepped into the foyer. He shut the door with a quiet click, motioning her to follow him. No hug or kiss. Not even a "good evening."

They entered the kitchen at the rear of the house. A single light was on its lowest setting and a small television whispered the news. The black cupboards and gray marble counter tops made it appear as if the room were made of shadows.

"Sorry about that. I didn't want Libby to know I have anyone over." Erik opened the fridge and took out two bottles of beer. He twisted off the caps and offered one to Danielle.

"I understand." And she did. There was no point in Libby knowing about them when Danielle didn't even know if there was a "them." Yet part of her was still hurt by him sneaking around with her, even in his own house.

She took the beer with a thank you and downed half of it in a few gulps. "Couldn't find a babysitter?"

"I didn't bother calling one. I didn't want to leave Libby at home." Erik sipped his drink and motioned to the TV. "Have you seen the news lately? Nowhere's safe anymore. An armed robbery of a baby store. How horrible must someone be to do that?"

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - N is for Night after Night

I'm posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


"There's not enough coffee in the world to keep me awake today." Danielle pressed her cheek against the desk's cool surface. She closed her eyes for a minute, and when no one responded, she opened one eye to peek at her Scotty dog. "What? No comment on how coffee is bad for me or that I shouldn't have stayed up all night?"

The pewter piece had no expression. You were comforting a child. Your compassion is one of the most admirable things about you.

Danielle smiled, but there was little joy in it. "Do you think maybe Libby might be one of the Fearless? Night after night, monsters come for her. Maybe they know."

No. Fenn sighed. I would know. And if she was, she would've displayed her powers with the first monster.

"I wish I knew how to stop them. Why do they keep coming?" Danielle yawned, teetering on the edge of sleep, but not finding it. Somehow she'd find a way. She had to for Libby's sake.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - M is for Monopoly and the April W4WS event

We're halfway there, folks!
This year for the Challenge, I'm posting snippets from a story.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


"When I was little, I had a monster in my closet too." Danielle rubbed the girl's back and didn't protest as Libby leaned against her.

Libby wiped at her cheeks, sniffling. "What did you do? Did someone come save you too?"

"Nope, no one. My parents wouldn't believe me. My brothers made fun of me. But the monster was real." Danielle ran her hands through Libby's blond locks, brushing them back from her face. "I would stay up all night with a flashlight pointed at the closet. To stay awake, I'd play Monopoly. I rolled the dice on my blankets so no one could hear them. I was always the dog. My brothers used to fight over the race car, but I loved the dog."

"I've never played that game," Libby said. Her voice was soft, but there were no more tears.

"Kids these days don't play it anymore. You have cool video games." Danielle gave the girl a little smile. "But one night, I fell asleep and the light went out. No one can stay up all night all the time. The monster came out and pinned me down on the game board with one big paw. It was going to eat me. I knew it. Its mouth was huge.

"I started kicking and screaming. I wasn't going to end up in a monster's belly. Then my hands started to glow, and the little dog yelled at me to kill the monster. Well, if my dog said I could do it, I was going to do it." Danielle made a slicing motion with her hand. "I killed it. Just like that."

"But I can't kill the monsters." Libby's lower lip trembled.

"That's all right. You have me to kill them for you." Danielle hugged the child. Tight.

Welcome to the March 2013 W4WS event! I'm honored to co-host this event with three talented writers, Mary Pax, C.M. Brown, and Stephen Tremp.  The mission of this group is simple: we have a spotlighted author(s) that we strive to help bring awareness of their book(s) to tens of thousands of new people, increase the sales of their book(s), drive new traffic to their blogs and increase followers, and create verbal and viral buzz.
We've made this simple and fast. It's as easy as a tweet or a RT, and sharing a status on Facebook. Go to the writer's blog and copy a tweet or RT from the posts with the tag #W4WS. The W4WS Facebook page will have all the updates and links for you.
To join the W4WS event, click here for the linky list. It will only take a minute of your time, and you'll have talented writers take a step closer to their dreams. 
This month, we're spotlighting two fantastically talented writers.

E.J. Wesley is a scribbler of words and author of the Moonsongs series. It's a kick-butt NA paranormal series which I highly recommend. Check him out on his blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

M. Pepper Langlinais is an award-winning screenwriter and bestselling author. Her newest book, The K-Pro, is a contemporary fantasy that's highly original and superbly written. Check her out at her blog, Twitter, and The K-Pro's site.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - L is for Libby

I'm posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


"Under the desk, Libby!" Danielle shouted as she leapt into the girl's bedroom. Her blades were blue blurs as she charged the gun-wielding squirrel. The monster was quick and knocked her against the wall.

It chattered and cocked the gun. Danielle dropped to the floor as it fired. Remnants of acorns sprinkled down on her.

Danielle somersaulted toward the monster and swept out a leg. It jumped and swung the shotgun. The butt smacked against her hip. She hissed and slashed at it. Slicing the weapon in half, it became two guns. The squirrel nabbed them and flipped backward, twirling the pistols in its grip.

"Seriously?" Danielle rolled behind the end of the bed, dropped her blades, and pulled the mattress over her as the monster fired on her again. "Busting Deadwood's gun didn't work!"

Then chop off his head! Fenn yelled.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - K is for Kiss

I'm posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


I don't need to see to know what look you have on your face. I can tell by the way your voice trailed off there. Fenn sighed. It's been nearly a week. Stop daydreaming.

"I can't help it. That kiss." Danielle smiled and leaned her head against her hand. She pressed her lips together as if she could still feel Erik's on them.

It had only been one kiss, but the world whooshed out from under her. Floating on a cloud was too mild of a way to describe it. She'd been spinning with galaxies. Her dreams replayed it over and over, but it wasn't like the real thing.

We were discussing the effect of the Kentucky school shooting on your students. Focus, Danielle. Fenn urged with an exasperated exhale.

"I am focused." Just not on what her guide wanted. She smiled again.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - J is for Jive

I'm posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


Laughter shook Danielle's body, and she nearly slipped off the edge of her stool. She gripped the bar with one hand as the other rested across her stomach. Erik assured her through his chuckles that the story was true, and she laughed harder yet.

The bartender shouted "last call," and Erik glanced at his watch, chasing off the laughter.

"I need to get home and relieve the babysitter. I didn't expect to stay out this late." His smile was soft, but not from liquor. Neither of them had anything to drink in the past hour.

Danielle wanted to ask him to stay for one more drink. Anything to make this night last longer. Instead, she nodded. "It was a lot of fun. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time."

"Me either," Erik said and rubbed his hands on his thighs. "We should do this again some time."

"Yeah, that sounds great." Danielle stood at the same time as he did, putting them inches apart. They held out hands to shake, but the closeness made it difficult. After a weird little hand jive, he slid his arms around her. Heat surged through her as she leaned against his hard body and wound her arms around his shoulders. Her heart pounded as she breathed in the fresh scent of his shirt and a hint of Irish Spring soap on his skin.

She wondered how long to hold the embrace. Should she pat him like a buddy or run her hands down his arms like a potential lover? Danielle nipped the inside of one cheek, wishing she had as much confidence in this department as she did killing monsters.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - I is for Indiana

I'm posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


Danielle blushed when Erik smiled at her from across the bar. She waved and hoped the lighting was dim enough to hide the rosiness in her cheeks. It was ten years too late for her to be giggling like a boy crazy teenager, but one silly little laugh threatened to escape.

She managed to walk over to where he was seated with some sense of grace. Her stomach tightened as he stood to greet her. Erik wasn't only a great father, but a gentleman too. If all the single women in Indiana knew what a catch he was, they'd be flocking to his house.

This was the first time she'd seen him in jeans. His tailored suits gave him a trim figure, but the jeans, oh my. Danielle had to force her eyes to focus on his face.

Was she smiling too widely? Would he like her perfume? She needed a drink. What would he think if she drank beer form a bottle or snorted when she laughed?

She caught him dragging his gaze up too.

"Hi." At least she didn't lose her voice.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - H is for Heels

I'm posting snippets from a story for this year's Challenge.
If you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


Put the bracelet back on this instant. Fenn demanded.

"No." Danielle snapped as she slipped on her shoes. She couldn't remember the last time she wore heels. "I don't want to hear you lecture me any more. Tonight's my night to relieve the stress from both my jobs. No one takes their boss on a date with them."

Well as your boss I'd like to remind you that you do not get involved with parents of children you've saved. Fenn shot back. I will also speak for your boss at the school and add that you do not date any of the students' parents.

"What are you doing to do? Tell on me?" She snorted. Checking her reflection for the fifth time, Danielle fiddled with her hair. She hadn't been this nervous about anything in years.

How juvenile of you.

"It's one date. And not really a date. I'm just meeting Erik for drinks." Danielle popped a breath mint into her mouth and flicked off the bathroom light before she could fuss any more. "Besides, I'm allowed to have friends. And a friend with benefits would be even better."

Monday, April 8, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - G is for Goose

The second week of the 2013 A to Z Challenge! Woot!
I've been posting snippets from a story. You can enjoy them on their own, or if you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


Ducking under the wing, Danielle spun and landed a solid kick on the snarling goose. It squawked as it stumbled back, crashing against the open doors of the closet.

The monster stood and shook itself as it fluffed out its feathers. It hissed and coiled its neck, ready to strike like a viper.

Danielle bounced from one foot to the other and twirled her blades in her hands. "Come on, ugly. I can do this all night."

But you're not. Fenn stated. You'll do your duty quickly as possible.

"I hate geese. The schoolyard is a minefield of goose poop. You have no idea what it's like to have to walk through it." Danielle danced to one side, and when the monster's head darted forth, she dodged the other way and landed another trio of kicks.

It doesn't matter. You need to do as I say. Fenn barked.

With a honk that sounded like a dying elephant, the goose charged with wings extended. There was no room to slip away on either side. Danielle jumped up on the dresser behind her. Trinkets crashed to the floor. She struck at the monster's head with one blade as it collided with the drawers and sliced through its neck with her second sword. The headless body shuddered and transformed into black goo. She dropped the head into the pile.

"You guide me. You don't control me." Danielle hopped down as her weapons retracted. The blue glow vanished and left her standing in the darkest corner of the room.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - F is for Fenn

I'm posting snippets from a story this year for the Challenge.
You can enjoy them on their own, but if you'd like the whole tale, please start with A.


“She's eight. She not only can do these things, she needs these responsibilities.” Danielle let that sink in for a few seconds. “In fact, Libby was the one that suggested it herself. She knows how to work the dishwasher. Let her rinse the dishes and load it as you throw in some laundry. Then the two of you can watch something together or play a game. Talk, relax. I think she'll sleep better for it.”

“She really said that?” Erik leaned back and ran a hand through his hair. When she nodded, he let out a little laugh. It was more than a bit sexy. “Well, I think we can do that.”

“I also have another suggestion.” The corners of her mouth quirked up. “One just for you.”

Danielle, Fenn warned.

“Of course.” Erik shifted in his chair to face her fully.

Struck by his masculine beauty again, she almost forgot to speak. She wet her lips. “You need to get out and do something on your own. Something not related to work or Libby.”

Friday, April 5, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - E is for Email

I'm posting snippets from a story this year for the Challenge.
You can enjoy the bits on their own, but if you'd like to read the whole tale, please start with A.


No. Absolutely not. Fenn protested. Your job is to help children. Not set up dates for yourself with their parents.

“Oh come on. I am helping Libby.” She tapped the return key and put her name at the bottom of the email. “I always put the children first and you know it. Look at me. I'm a school counselor making a crappy salary. Half the time, I'm just a glorified file clerk. I stay out at night killing monsters. I haven't had a date in over a year. That's whole loads of pathetic. Oh, and yeah, the majority of my time is spent talking with a tiny dog.”

I'm your guide. The vessel I'm in shouldn't matter. Fenn sniffed. Also, your job is ideal for one of the Fearless. We discussed your career when you were—

“Yeah, yeah. Perfect for me. So much better than being a stunt woman like I wanted.” Danielle sighed, glanced around her small office, and then hit send. “It's time I made my life a bit more exciting.”

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - D is for Dreams

This year I'm posting snippets from a story for the Challenge.
You can enjoy them on their own, but if you'd like to read the entire tale, please start with A.


Ask her if there's anything new happening in her life. Something has to be going on that's frightening her. Fenn said.

Danielle ignored her guide. “Yeah, no problem. A mummy this time. Really retro. You getting into ancient Egyptian history or watching old movies?”

“No.” Libby shook her head and picked at her nails.

“Maybe you saw a cartoon about it?”

“No.” The girl gnawed on her lower lip.

“It was pretty scary, though, wasn't it? Just so you know, there was no zombie underneath the bandages.” Danielle nodded putting on her best I-know-these-things expression.

Back to the zombie thing. Fenn groaned.

“Really?” Libby glanced at Danielle again. “It was scary. My dad was having some really bad dreams too.”

“Your dad? I bet that was just as scary.” Danielle leaned forward with her elbows on her knees.

“Yeah,” Libby replied.

“Did he tell you what he was dreaming about?”

“No. He just says work stuff. He gets them sometimes. He calls them bundles of stress trying to unwind at night.” Libby shrugged again.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A to Z Challenge 2013 - C is for Chill - and IWSG for April 2013

This year I'm posting snippets from a story for the challenge.
You can enjoy them on their own or get the full tale by starting with A.


“Thanks for the lesson, Professor.” Danielle lifted her right arm and gave the charm bracelet on her wrist a little shake. The single charm – a pewter Scotty dog from the board game Monopoly – jiggled, and she grinned. “In case you've forgotten, I know all that.”

Stop that. You should feel lucky I don't have a stomach to empty on you. Fenn huffed. I think you need to talk with Libby again. Find out what's going on. This is too much like what happened last year with the massive increase in monsters.

“I'll have Libby come to my office tomorrow.” Danielle sat on the window sill and swung her legs out. It was only April, but the chill was absent from the night air. Yet she shivered before easing outside, and then sliding shut the window and screen.

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.
Inspirational quotes are always welcome. Here are a few that have struck me recently.
“Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young." - W. Somerset Maugham
"All writers are crazy. So never mind what the editors and your family and your critique group tells you. Submit your manuscripts and keep submitting until you get an offer. Then you can be crazy, with a paycheck." - MaryJanice Davidson
"Believe in yourself and in your own voice, because there will be times in this business when you will be the only one who does. Take heart from the knowledge that an author with a strong voice will often have trouble at the start of his or her career because strong, distinctive voices sometimes make editors nervous. But in the end, only the strong survive." - Jayne Ann Krentz