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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Exhausted, angry and stuck on a plane for 16 hours . . . #Literary

Wings of Hope

by Hillary E. Peak

There was no end in sight, so I pulled out the deck of cards I used to entertain Jules. The ex and I started to play gin rummy. Usually, she wouldn’t play with me, but there was nothing else to do.
A guy in the row in front of us starts getting really rowdy. He was laughing, spilling alcohol everywhere. I got up; I was on the aisle. I can remember touching his shoulder, ‘Excuse me, can you keep it down, my little girl just fell asleep. ’
‘What’s your problem buddy? ’ He slurred all his words and talked at the top of his voice. He reeked of alcohol and perspiration.
‘My child is tired and hungry, she’s finally asleep. I’m asking you, keep it down so that you won’t wake her. ’
‘S’not my problem. What the hell do I care if she wakes up? ’
That did it. I grabbed the guy by his necktie, shoved him up into the ceiling of the plane, knocking him out and tossed him into a seat about three rows back. My ex was so stunned, she jumped and all the cards went flying into the air, it looked like it was snowing because she had the full deck to shuffle.
But I’ll tell you, the plane was silent after that—for two hours until we took off. Also, the stewardess came and brought food for Jules. Everyone apologized in hushed tones. It was great.”

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Almost but not quite a fantasy short story with several twists... #Fantasy #Short Stories

"The Dark Knight Rizan the Destroyer, the Lair of the Ice Wyrm Vandrakarn and the Strange Incident on the Ninth Level of the Dungeon of Tharg"

By Michael White

The adventurers continue down into the dungeon... or do they?

"The final sounds of battle faded around them as the last ice creature fell dead, clearing the way ahead. Rizan slumped to the floor; his blood stained great sword clattering to the ground alongside him. Breathing heavily he could hardly manage to raise his face to ensure that the rest of his comrades had come through the last battle unscathed. His swords brother Gethane was also slumped on the floor, his back propped up against the narrow brick tunnel wall behind him. He was attempting to wipe the gore from his blade, a small whetstone being placed on the floor close to hand. As Gethane noticed him taking stock he nodded once in recognition. It seemed as if even that small gesture had drained him completely of all energy. Yet still he continued to clean his sword. To the side of Gethane stood Vix the female fire wizard. She gave him a haughty look and swallowed a small drink from a phial she had concealed up a sleeve. “That last ice fury came close to killing us all!” she pronounced haughtily, “It seemed resistant to most of the fire bolts I cast upon it.”

“True.” mumbled the cleric Legaoniel who was flitting amongst the mostly slumped forms gathered about the lit torches held by several of the warriors there. She occasionally cast an arcane gesture or ward and the recipient would take on a slightly healthier aspect. After some time however she too sloped to the floor, gathering her energy. “Strange for ice to be so resistant to fire.” Her voice faded away into the darkness. At the edge of the light Rizan could just make out the shadowy form of Varesh, the hunter..."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Quick, before some country nukes us, get your copy of The Feud so you'll have something to read in the shelter! #Horror #Fantasy

"The Feud"

by Hubert Williams

Here big brother, while we wait for someone to bring me a torch, let's have a drink.” De Valen squirted some of the contents of the flask into Bertalans mouth. “Is that good? Have some more” he said while squirting some more into Bertalans mouth and down the front of his clothes. The soldier brought a lit torch to the platform. “Hold it out away from you.” the soldier did as he was told and De Valen squirted some of the contents of the flask on the torch, causing the torch to flare up. “Do you see that young woman over there? The one that is with child. Bring her over here so we can drink to her baby.” De Valen squirted some more of whatever was in the flask into Bertalans mouth and onto his clothes. Motioning the guard to give him the torch and remove the woman who was just brought over. “The father of that baby was a friend of mine. I was there when he was born. He died last night. Do you know how he died?” Bertalan shook his head. “Like this!” De Valen tossed the torch onto Bertalan igniting him. Bertalan began screaming louder and writhing in pain. “Is that how my daughter screamed as she died!?!? Is it?!?! Is that how my little girl screamed?!?!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Being feared and respected comes at a price... #Thriller

Lawless Justice

by Karina Kantas

Raven offered Cass a beer, and then stood in front of her. “Okay, I don’t want you altering you life just yet, not until it’s official.”
Cass’s heart skipped a beat.
‘So it’s not going to be as easy as I thought. I wonder if there’s going to be an initiation.’
“I want to watch you for a while before I make my mind up.”
“Sure, I’m not going anywhere,” Cass replied.
“This is how it will be. You will turn up where and when I want you, with no exceptions. And you will do anything I tell you.”
“Anything,” Scarlet repeated, hinting to what might be expected.
“You will dress down,” Raven continued. “Don’t try to compete with us. When in public, you do not know us and we don’t know you. You will be on your own. Is that understood?”
“Yep, you want me to hang out with you, but not with you.”
“You’ve got it,” Eve giggled.
“Just carry on with your life as normal,” continued Raven, “the change will happen if and when you’re accepted as a Kittn. I want you to hide in the shadows and watch. See how we operate, our attitude. And think seriously about what being a Kittn entails. I don’t know you well enough to decide whether you’ve got what it takes.”
“Whether or not you can keep up with us,” Storm added.
Raven nodded. “We’ve made our rep by fighting and it’s our tough attitude that keeps it. I’ve yet to see how you fight.”
“We know you have a hard heart.” Jade said, “With the shit you went through with your ex, it’s not surprising.”
“Each of us are rebels in our own right,” Scarlet declared. “What about you? Explain to us why you think you’re tough enough to be a Kittn.”

Can a future exist when all hope is lost? #Romance

Always There

by K T King

“Are you sure you don’t want a lift Kell?” Rachel asked as Mike and Laura clambered into her car.
“I’m sure. Jake said he’d pick me up after his meeting. He must be running late.” Kelly checked the road to see if she could spot his car, the wind hitting her face and threatening to knock her down.
“Try ringing him again. If he doesn’t answer I’m giving you a lift, I don’t want you hanging around in the dark on your own, especially not in this weather.”
“Ok. Hang on.” Kelly rang Jake’s mobile for the tenth time, it went straight to answer phone. She sat in the front seat of the car and cursed Jake, under her breath, for showing her up in front of her friends. Laura smirked to herself.
“It’s not a problem Kell. There’s bound to be a reasonable explanation. Jake never goes back on his word.” Mike reassured her.
“Yeah, you’re right.” Kelly replied as she seethed and gritted her teeth all the way home, thinking that no explanation would be reasonable enough for him to forget her.
“Thanks guys, it was great to catch up again. How about same time, same place next week?” Kelly asked climbing out of the car.
“Yeah, let’s do it. We don’t spend enough time with each other anymore. We’re starting to grow apart, and I for one, don’t like it. Oh and make sure Jake comes too, I could do with some decent eye candy!” Mike answered chuckling.

This could be the best two weeks of their life... #Romance #Comedy

Summer Lovin'

by Donna Cummings

"So, Bootsie, why do you think hunky neighbor guy is washing that car all day long?"

Mia turned the puppy around to face her, and he tilted his head, as if he was seriously considering her question. Or admiring his reflection in her oversized sunglasses. The Bichon was tiny, a cotton ball's worth of white fur, but he had the most expressive dark eyes. Not to mention a big personality.

Bootsie barked, twice.

"You might be right. Maybe he's a chauffeur."

Mia resettled the pup in her arms, stretching her bare legs out on the lawn chair. There was a lot to be said for the leisurely life of a dog-sitter.

Such as the neighbor with dark flowing hair and enviably tanned skin. He wore cargo shorts and flip flops, and a faded blue T-shirt that stretched across his broad chest. When he bent over to scrub the sporty BMW's hubcaps, Mia bit her lip.

She didn't know whether to admire his well-developed calves or the nice curve of his backside.

After the past few years stuck in a windowless office, running her brothers' business, she had decided it was time to do something else with her life. Dog-sitting for the next two weeks was the perfect opportunity to figure it out.

Mia sipped her iced tea, holding it away from the puppy's curious paw so she could set it on the plastic table next to her. "I wouldn't have expected chauffeurs to be so muscular, but he is getting a pretty good workout with that wax on, wax off routine." She lifted the puppy. "See how his arms flex each time he washes the hood of the car? I know! Maybe he's a music video stud."

The car washer/chauffeur paused, the sponge gripped in his hand.

One Lie Can Destroy All Truths #YA #Mystery

Deck of Lies, Book 1: Justice

by Jade Varden

“Oh, Rain,” she squeezed me, and for several minutes we stood there and cried together. Finally she pulled away, wiping tears off her cheeks. “Honey, what are you doing here?”
“Looking for you. And Aaron. And my…and…everybody.”
“Rain,” her brown eyes, so much like my mother’s, were filled with pain as she reached out to brush a stray curl behind my ear. “You can’t be here.”
“But you haven’t been answering my calls! I had to come here.”
“Oh, Rain,” she turned away, bowing her head to hide behind a black curtain of hair. “I can’t take your calls. I can’t talk to you, and neither can Aaron. Not right now.”
“What? But Aunt Ronnie-”
“It’s not me, Rain, it’s the lawyer.” She held up her hands defensively.
“Rain? Rain!”
My breath caught in my throat, and for a moment I couldn’t catch it to speak. “Aaron!”
He appeared at the top of the stairs. Aunt Ronnie stepped before me, blocking my view of him just as he came into sight. “No. Aaron, back upstairs. Do you want to make things worse than they already are? Rain, you’ve got to go.” She put her hands on my shoulders and bodily turned me toward the door. “Aaron, upstairs!”
I’d heard her use that firm tone only once before, when I was six. I’d found the birth control pills in her purse and thought they were candy. Aaron was no longer rushing down the stairs, and I had no choice but to let her physically push me out the front door.
“Aunt Ronnie,” I turned and seized her hand, my eyes boring into hers. “Just tell me why they did it. Just tell me they aren’t terrible people.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Laments, Love and Loneliness #Fantasy

The World In-between

by IE Castellano

Morning broke with a soft cold light inching through Berty’s window. Getting out of bed, Berty paused to look at the gray sky though his window thinking that finally the outside reflected the inside. After he showered and dressed, Berty walked downstairs to sit at his desk.
Opening a book, he began to read. A chapter into the book, Berty realized that it was yet another book that not only described different places within the Empire but also chronicled someone’s journey through it. "You could not travel yourself," muttered Berty aloud, "so you filled your study with books about people who did." Theodore ringing his wind chimes interrupted his pondering about how lonely and confining Silvia’s life must have been.
"Good morning, Emperor," said the young Dwarf.
"You are cheerful today," Berty said.
"Getting ready for Wassail," said Theodore. "This is my first Wassail as Head Tender. I am so excited."
Berty could not help but smile as Theodore placed his breakfast on the table. After Theodore left, Berty ate. His mind wandered more and more with each chew. Taking a sip from his goblet, he lowered it slowly to the table saying, "I did give you my life -- I set you free." He closed his eyes and could feel her limp cold hand beneath his as he wrapped her fingers around the metal of the scepter. Opening his eyes, a single tear rolled down his cheek.

Rise and Fall: Book One of the Blood and Tears Trilogy [Epic Fantasy]

Rise and Fall: Book One of the Blood and Tears Trilogy

by Joshua P. Simon

The Hell Patrol, a mercenary outfit, are sneaking out of their employer’s encampment in the middle of the night…

“Where are Cassus and Krytien? They should be here by now.”

“You got me, Boss,” said Kroke, again cleaning his nails.

“We’ll give them ten more minutes and then we head out. They can catch up later.”

“Whatever you say.”

“Is that really necessary?”

“Is what necessary?”

“That,” said Jonrell pointing at the dagger. “How can they be dirty if you’re constantly cleaning them?”

“They aren’t. Just habit I guess. Like the way a blade feels in my hand is all.” Kroke sheathed the knife and looked up. “Don’t sweat it, Boss. They’ll be here.”

Jonrell sighed.

“See, that’s them coming out the camp now,” said Kroke with a nod. He pulled out a different knife, picking at the nails on his other hand.

Jonrell shook his head and turned toward the encampment. He squinted and saw some movement but couldn’t make out more than a few shapes in the night. The distance was too great. “How can you tell it’s them?”

“I can’t.” Kroke shrugged his shoulders. “Just trying to be positive is all.”

“You’re unbelievable, you know that.”


“It wasn’t a compliment.”

Kroke sheathed his blade and pulled out another that he started spinning in his hand, a small grin crawled across his face as he watched the blade dance in the moonlight.

“How about you do something useful and grab Yanasi? Something’s up and I need her eyes. That’s definitely Cassus in front but there is no way that many soldiers were worth bringing with us.”

“Sure thing, Boss.”

Indie book with a movie in the works #YA #Thriller

The Pineville Heist

by Lee Chambers
(based on the award-winning screenplay co-written with Todd Gordon)

Aaron whipped through the long grass as fast as his legs would carry him. His eyes were filled with angst and adrenaline. He was still in shock. Not every day you see a dead man. Not every day you see that much money either – he glanced down at the backpack in his arms. Must – keep – running.
Aaron was nearing the edge of the dense forest. Not much further now. He slowed down, beside a huge uprooted tree, throwing down the backpack, breathless. Looking ahead, there was the clearing leading to the stream, a direct route to the school. Almost home free. He hoped that Steve and Mike were far away from here. They’d all laugh about this later. Suddenly, a branch snapped. He wasn’t out of the woods yet.
Aaron threw himself over the uprooted, felled tree and crouched behind the trunk. Suddenly, Aaron remembered the backpack, just out of reach. He periscoped his head to look over the top of the tree, but there was another loud crunch, somewhere in the impenetrable green-darkness of the forest. He ducked and cursed himself.
Another twig cracked into two pieces, beneath the force of the alligator skin boot. The figure’s right foot, almost touching the discarded backpack, as it blended evenly with the green foliage.
“I know you’re out here...” The figure pulled back the hammer with a telling click. Aaron squirmed uneasily and tried to push himself closer to the tree. Perhaps he could disappear into a hollowed out section, he thought. But, instead, there was nowhere to go. He was cornered.

The Palaver Tree - Truth was never as deceptive as this ... #MysterySuspense #Thriller

The Palaver Tree

by Wendy Unsworth

The Palaver Tree Having made the decision to teach in Africa, Ellie desperately tries to persuade her friend, Diane to agree....

it’s pointless kidding myself. I’m not going to go off travelling the world on my own. This way I’ll be helping to teach all the children you raise money for. We’ll be a team. Wouldn’t that be great? Come on, I need you to come around on this or I won’t go!’ She put a hand across the table and squeezed Diane’s arm. ‘I’ll be a miserable hermit and it’ll be all your fault.’
Diane laid down her fork, placed her own hand over Ellie’s and gave it one last try. ‘Ducana is thousands of miles away stuck in the middle of the dark ages. The place is unhealthy; the water is full of horrible bugs. There are snakes and spiders and mosquitoes, Dysentery, malaria, AIDS, for God’s sake.’
Ellie let out an explosive snort, ‘I hope you’re not suggesting I’m going to catch that!’
‘Don’t be flippant Ellie. It’s my duty, as your loyal friend, to point out the bad bits.’
‘Would you like coffee? Or tea?’
‘Coffee, I think, good and strong.’ Diane had tried scaring her off and that wasn’t going to work. ‘Okay then, I would miss you,’ she said and gave Ellie a puppy dog look that was promptly ignored.
’Gabriel will look after me, you know him well enough to trust that he would never have asked if it wasn’t going to be safe. I’ll never get a chance like this again and I only even considered it because you’ve known Gabriel for a long time and think so highly of him.’ When Diane didn’t immediately jump in to agree she added, ‘you do, don’t you?’
‘Of course I do.’

Monday, February 20, 2012

Even deep space is no longer safe... #ScienceFiction #Speculative

We Of The Universe

by Rachel Cooper

“Your work has shown us that you are ready for a closer connection with the universe,” the woman said. “Of course, it will lead to more restricted personal surroundings, but it will allow you to better commune with the universe.”
“Your thoughts will be monitored and downloaded to the system, to be studied for their true meaning. The universe will speak through you,” the man stated.
“It will be worth what you have to pay for the privilege,” the woman finished.

Legeve did not know how to feel. She bowed her head, as if overwhelmed by emotion at the opportunity, because that was what was expected from her. Their lives were centred around this. For women of her class, it was as high as you could go. To become a vessel for the universe was an ultimate honour, and yet it meant that she would never see the man again.

With her every breath and thought monitored, he would not be able to reach her, and she could not go with him. The pain that thought gave her made her realise she wanted to go with Staffan. She did not want to become a part of the universe, but wanted to go out in it and live it.
“I enjoy my work here,” she said. “Surely there are others more worthy than me.”

Her overseer's smile vanished, and the man and woman’s smiles became smaller.
“Why, dear, you honestly don't know what a big honour this is,” her overseer said.
“It is not to be discussed,” the man said, a finality to his words that seemed to freeze her insides.
“Your body has been moved to its new confines already,” the woman said. “This meeting is just to congratulate you and to prepare you. Now it is time for you to go back and prepare for the joining.”
“It has been wonderful working with you,” her overseer said insincerely.

"Rih al-Khamsin." It was an eerie howl rather than a cry. #Historical Fiction

Khamsin, The Devil Wind of The Nile“Rih al-Khamsin!”

by Inge H. Borg

It was an eerie howl rather than a cry. It multiplied, and it traveled fast. The urgency of the warning sent the inhabitants scurrying. In great haste, children were collected, drinking wells covered, and home sites secured. All against the onslaught of the feared wind whose turbulent airs had gathered strength from far away.

Its father, the Sirocco, was spawned over the hot desert. Before it abandoned its cyclonic origins to reach across the Great Green Sea, clawing its young islands along the way, racing toward the densely forested virgin coast of the primitive Northern Continent, it gave birth to its unbridled son Khamsin, the Devil Wind of the Nile.

This new turbulence then grew into adolescence over the desolate sandy expanses of the great desert, gathering strength and hot dust, reaching merciless maturity as it slammed into the broad Valley of the Nile. With the Khamsin’s arrival, the populace knew to expect accompanying sand storms; and swarms of vermin covered the ground bringing widespread devastation to the already parched land.

Only when the Great Wind’s hot fury was spent, did its evil spirits seem appeased, and the land and its people could breathe anew, and anticipate the life-giving flooding of their river once again.

Just as once again, the principles of Ma’at would be adhered to. It was their cornerstone of all life, of all culture. Its teachings were to suppress all chaos stemming from ones emotions, feelings and reactions. To keep life in absolute order. No deviation was permitted. Those who offended its strict laws were severely punished - often by a cruel death.

But during those enervating days when the incessant wind raged, Ma’at was often breached; usually calm tempers flared; violent crimes were committed. And it was said, that people vanished without a trace.

Selena and I found ourselves staying in a haunted guesthouse on Kauai... #NonFiction #Literary

Toward the Double Rainbow

by Gabriella West

Our trip had a strange coda. We had only two nights left to go. Selena was in the hallway outside the bathroom of the guesthouse when a low, whispery male voice said at her ear, “Come over here…” She rushed into my room, pale with a sickly, anxious smile, to tell me what had happened, after checking to see if there were any teenage boys hiding in the house or garden. But no one was there. She asked if we could go to a hotel nearby. I didn’t want to, pressed her to tough it out. “You can sleep in my room,” I said. We switched rooms, and I spent an uneasy night in her bedroom, which did have an eerie presence about it. It was hard to put into words, but it was as if I was being watched by some slightly malicious spirit the whole time.
The next morning, I plucked up my courage and marched over to Sharon’s next door. “Selena heard something,” I said. “She thinks there’s a ghost in the house.”
I wanted Sharon to laugh—even wanted her to smile complicitly with me at Selena’s paranoia, I’m sorry to say—but her reaction was oddly blasé, muted. “Well, she’s not the first one who’s felt something,” Sharon said. “The place used to be rented out by the military. And then when B., my ex, and I moved in, we held séances there. I used to be a medium.”

Two guys and beautiful girl struggle for love in 1830's Natchez, Mississippi #Romance #HistoricalFiction

Beloved Destiny

by Carol Ann Fears

William grasped her hand in his, kissing her fingertips one at a time, and then held her hand in both of his. “Your name suits you so well. Did you know that Carina means “beloved” in the Spanish language? You are meant to be my beloved one. I knew from the day I entered the door at Camellia Hill and our eyes met. Although you were upstairs peering at me over a rail, your face reflected a purity and intelligence that enthralled me in that instant. My soul has cried out to call you my beloved. May I?” William continued to hold her hand as if he could not bear to relinquish it. “My beloved Carina.” He repeated her name with a smile. He kissed the palm of her hand, the brush of his lips giving her the first hint of the sensual pleasure which could occur between a man and a woman.

Friday, February 17, 2012

He's going to wish he'd listened to her... #Paranormal #YA

'A Matter of Perception' - a collection of perception challenging urban fantasy and magical realism short stories.

by Tahlia Newland

 Ellen scanned the rocks and gasped. Ragged ethereal bodies floated towards her, staring with the sightless eyes of long dead sailors.
“Ghosts!” she rasped, grabbing Con’s arm. “Con, there’s ghosts. We have to get out of here.”
He looked around, unmoved. “Jesus, Ellen,” he said disdainfully when his gaze returned to her. “You’re imagining things.”
“Con, will you just listen to me for once. Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t here. We honestly have to get out of here!”
“You never said you had a girl,” a voice croaked from the shadows.
Ellen and Con spun around. An old woman stepped into the growing light. Her pale eyes glittered keenly and her skin had a strange greyish sheen.
Ellen shot a glance at Con. He frowned.
“It’s the woman that told me about this place,” he whispered. “I didn’t know it was a rendezvous.”
“Get ready, now.” The old woman stared at Con with chilling intensity, then turned towards the now glowing horizon. “The sun heralds the winter equinox.”
Con looked at Ellen and shrugged. “It’s what we came for.”
The woman chuckled quietly and Ellen had a strong urge to grab Con and run away, but the ghosts stopped moving and gold suddenly streaked the horizon. A giant fiery orb rose into the sky, splashing light across the land. It gilded the rocks, bringing their jagged forms into stark relief. It kissed their faces with the promise of warmth and illuminated something rising to the surface of the ocean. Ellen peered into the brine. Beautiful white-faced women stared back at her, their long hair flowing on the waves behind them.
An eerie, enchanting song danced on the rising breeze. Con took a step forward. Ellen grabbed his arm.
“No,” she hissed.

2 Personalities, 2 Attitudes, 2 Goals, 2 Methods - 1 Darkness

Forgive Me, Alex 

by Lane Diamond
The mere sight of him pushes me to the dark edge of my mind, where sanity hangs like... like... like a balloon in a tornado!

I stand in shadow across the street, one amongst many in the crowd of curiosity-hounds gathered to watch a monster's release. As my face blazes, fists clench and teeth grind, I can easily imagine the onset of a stroke, an aneurism, a pulmonary embolism, a raging scream—

'Control yourself, Tony!'

I long to charge across the street to destroy him—no remorse—as if stepping on a cockroach. Only sheer force of will prevents my doing so.

For seventeen years, I assumed this day would never come. How could they even consider releasing this vile creature, this very personification of evil?

In 1978, Norton murdered innocent kids who'd barely tasted of life. He tortured two of them beyond the limits of rational imagination, for to imagine such deeds was to summon a devilry that we dared not face. Yet the jury held him not responsible, a victim himself to the ravages of an illness that drove him to insanity beyond our reckoning.

He thus resides forever in the darkest pit of my psyche, chained to me in perpetuity. Now only two choices remain: I must cast off those chains, or yank them tight around his neck. Yes, I must obtain satisfaction. The idiotic jury seventeen years ago, and today's flawed court system, has left little recourse. No one else seems willing to deliver him to justice.

I am willing. After all, this is what I do. It's who I am. Indeed, the devil himself made me into this hunter of monsters. What a sweet twist of fate this is, that I may still, finally, administer justice.

Sugar's dance with Van when emotions run high [Romantic suspense]

Sugar's Dance

by Katie Mettner

Edwin McCain opened up into “I’ll Be” and he pulled me in, turning me into the first steps of a Viennese waltz. My body responded immediately to the music and I felt the breeze blowing across my face as we waltzed. I was floating around the floor my eyes closed as he led me through turns, not talking, just dancing, flowing and moving like two flowers in the wind. I tuned out all the thoughts about how bad of an idea it was to depend on him this much and enjoyed being led through a dance that made me love life. It was a dance that let me forget about the nightmares and the pain that was my life right now. The dance floor was what made me smile when nothing else could by releasing the weight of life from my shoulders. There was something here that gave my soul a break from the demons. A break from having to be something I couldn’t figure out how to be and simply be who I was. I was a dancer and I was dancing with someone who loved being here as much as I did. I knew it wasn’t a good idea to love how it felt in his arms as he danced me around the floor and I knew it wasn’t a good idea to like him as much as I did, but each turn he led me through and each time he pulled me to him to dance me across the floor was filling my tank up for what I had to face over the next few days.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

If you feel like getting fired, please do as Mr. Sean Smith #comedy #satire

Working for Heat

 by Donovan Sotam

Sean is trying to get a raise with Mike's help.

‘So, what we need to do Mike, is: climb up that tree, reach the second floor, cut the window with the diamond tip pen and move from there.’ said a very confident Sean.
‘Why can’t we just enter through the front door?’ We both know the access code.’ In fact every other person in a mile radius of that building knew the access code. It was the famous 1234 code that comes with that lock.
‘Well, where would be all the fun in breaking in, if we were just to enter in. No, no! We must do this properly.’
‘Ahh, yes, where would all the fun be in trying to avoid physical damage, from let’s say…’ a small pause while he observed his surroundings ‘falling down from the tree?’
‘Ohh, shut up, Mike, you’re taller than me, you could probably reach the second floor without the tree.’
‘Very funny Sean. Tall people’s jokes! Haha.’ replied a bit angry and even more sleepy Mike.
Eventually they decided to just go through the front door, since the window that was cut led to a storage room that was closed from the outside. They made their way into their boss’ office in a very cinematographic way, jumping, diving into the cover of a desk, running and sneaking, all to avoid, what apparently was not missing the chance to use the cheap ninja costumes to the fullest.
They were now in the waiting room and Mike picked up the National Geographic and started whistling the National Geographic theme.
Yeah, I read it this morning’ said Sean. ‘There’s an interesting article on Atlantis.’
‘Where did they find it, this time?’
Sean didn’t answer for he had managed to pick the lock of Mr. Anderson’s office.

It's All Coming Back to Me Now by Lovely Whitmore

It's All Coming Back to Me Now

by Lovely Whitmore

Latrease Wilson falls for an older man who doesn't want the same things in life. He's not ready to settle down. A traumatizing event causes her to develop a rare type of Amnesia, forcing her to lose sight of who she is and the people around her.

Randy Jackson, a child psychiatrist, is the older man she's been dating and comes to her rescue only to discover she doesn't remember him. Even more surprising, he learns that Latrease is pregnant.

The only choice he has is to take her home and begin helping her recover, while hoping her lost memories aren't gone forever.

During which Randy battles his own emotions and discovers his feelings for her are deeper than he'd been willing to admit.

He would have left a note ... #Literary #Speculative


by Edmund Jorgensen

By the time Buddy Johnston vanished, his humiliation had become so abject, and so public, that I don't suppose many people would have been shocked if he had washed up one morning on the banks of the East River with rocks in his pockets and stones in his shoes. But after more than ten years of acquaintance—or friendship, as he and I both charitably called it—I knew Buddy too well to imagine that he could have committed suicide without leaving a note. A note at the very least, and more likely a tract, a manifesto, a complaint in the classical sense and quite possibly in classical meter. He was just the sort of man who could have begun composing a suicide note and so lost himself in admiration of his own prose style and depth of feeling, become so overwhelmed by the pathos of his own situation, that he forgot entirely he had intended to do away with himself. Then he would have published the note in The New Yorker with an introductory remark explaining how writing had "literally saved my life."

A heartwarming foray into the world of cats and the humans who love them #YA

The Tribe

By McCarty Griffin

GriffinArching her back and yawning, Tia stretched lazily in the sun-warmed grass.
Her orange, tan and tabby pattern, splotched across snowy white, had lately taken on a scruffy appearance, and her hipbones, never heavily padded, were perhaps a touch more prominent than they had been in past years. Her eyes, however, focused now on the hillside below the cats’ fragrant bed, were as lime-green bright as in her kitten days. Next to her, a silky black cat with a white chest and paws turned her head sharply to peer down the hillside.
“Someone’s coming.” Bella rose to her feet in one quick movement with her ears forward and her gaze intent, but Tia merely waited with her eyes half-closed. “Sounds like a bouncer, by the racket. A bit too far from the litter, if it is.”
An explosion of orange and cream burst through the grass just before them. Whipping a tail fat with excitement, the young tabby skidded sideways to a stop. “Eldest, eldest! A great beast’s coming! Everyone must hide!”

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Indie Snippets is Now Accepting #NonFiction

I've added the new category of non-fiction (after many requests). Just a head's up in advance though: spammy get-rich-quick ebooks likely won't get posted.

More than a zombie book, it is about the bonds of family, friends and what one man will do to protect them #Horror

Zombie Fallout

By Mark Tufo

Reuters – Estimates say that nearly three thousand people nationwide, and fifteen thousand people worldwide have died of the H1N1 virus or Swine flu and nearly eighty thousand cases have been confirmed in hospitals and clinics across the United States and the world, the World Heath Organization reported. The influenza pandemic of 2010, while not nearly as prolific as the one that raged in 1918 still has citizens around the world in a near state of panic.

New York Post (Headlines October 31st) – Beware! Children Carry Germs! – Halloween Canceled!

New York Times – (Headlines November 3rd) – Swine flu claims latest victim – Vice President surrounded by family and friends at the end.

Boston Globe – (Headlines November 28th) – Swine Flu Vaccinations Coming!

Boston Herald – (Headlines December 6th) – Shots in Short Supply – Lines Long!

National Enquirer – (Headlines December 7th) – The Dead Walk!

There would be no more headlines.

It started in a lab at the CDC (Center for Disease Control); virologists were so relieved to finally have an effective vaccination against the virulent swine flu. Pressure to come up with something had come from the highest office in the land. In an attempt at speed the virologists had made two mistakes, first they used a live virus, secondly they didn’t properly test for side effects. Within days hundreds of thousands of vaccinations shipped across the US and the world. People lined up for the shots, like they were waiting in line for concert tickets. Fights broke out in drugstores as fearful throngs tried their best to get one of the limited shots. Within days the CDC knew something was wrong. Between 4 and 7 hours of receiving the shot roughly 95% succumbed to the active H1N1 virus in the vaccination. More unfortunate than the death of the infected was the added side effect of reanimation.

Caught with his hand in the cookie jar... #MysterySuspense #Romance

Playing Fields

by Karen Stillwagon

“Oh Baby, if I can’t have you now my balls are going to burst!” Good lord there have been many bad lines muttered in a bar but this is by far the worst. But I agreed to take the case and I was here to do a job. But if I had to deal with this guy for too much longer I’d have to hurt him. Finding him was easy. He was the one making his rounds to all the single women, and subsequently getting rejected by the same. The night was too young and the crowd too sober for him to find any takers. After securing a place at the bar where crowd was in view, I lean over to order a drink, wearing my black sundress that fits like a glove, my breasts all but falling out, and Charlie makes his approach.

My name is Cassidy Fields. My job is to follow husbands...

He woke one day with super powers ... but no memory #YA

Dairy of a Teenage Superhero

By Darrell Pitt

My name is -.
Scrub that thought. I don’t know my name. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know how I came to be here.
I don’t know anything.
I’m lying flat on my back looking up at a ceiling coated in peeling mustard yellow paint. Light is streaming in through a window, casting long rectangles across the floor and the bed. A white curtain, fading to brown, covers the window. To its left hangs a small white hand basin. It’s leaning badly, clinging grimly to the wall by only one bracket. A single square mirror sits directly above it. A plain round clock to its left counts the minutes.
This place has all the trappings of a seedy motel room. It even smells like it. Stale. Unkempt. Even the mattress smells bad, covered by a grimy grey sheet.
I stagger to the hand basin. My head feels heavy. Everything seems to be vibrating from side to side. I feel like I’ve been drugged. I look into the mirror.
The face staring back is completely unfamiliar.
But this is me. Male. Seventeen. Maybe eighteen. Short cropped brown hair. Brown eyes. A small scar on the left side of my chin. I’m wearing a blue and white striped t-shirt. Grey jacket. Faded blue jeans. My shoes are clean, though worn.
Then I examine my hands. Not working hands. Not someone who’s used to outdoor labor. I’m probably still at school.
Wherever that is.
But I still have one overriding question.
Who am I?

New England mystery on Kindle: Yankee Swat #MysterySuspense

Yankee Swat

By Myrica Blue

I had noticed that he was carrying a long object wrapped in paper, but I’d figured it was a golf club. “That’s the Boston Post cane?”

“Yep.” He tore the paper off and handed it across my desk. It was made of smooth, polished dark wood – ebony wood from the Congo, according to Pudge Loring’s letter – topped with a shiny gold head. The head was surprisingly heavy and engraved. I ran a finger over it.

“This is just gold plate, right?”

Coot shrugged. “I don’t really know.”

“What’s it worth?”

“I don’t know that either,” he said, suddenly thoughtful. “In fact, I don’t even know if the town ever insured it. Like I said, I wasn’t on the board the last time they gave it out and I never really thought about it.”

“Did your uncle carry it around with him?”

Coot shook his head. “I had forgotten he even had it, until the paper brought it up. It wasn’t in the car when he crashed, if that’s what you’re wondering. My wife found it at his house.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

When a woman confronts her missing lover's mother #ShortStories

Single Edged Blades: 7 Stories for a Broken & Angry Heart

By Deanna Roy

After driving two hours to her lovers' childhood home...

“I haven’t seen my boy in two weeks, two weeks!” Richard's mother said. “Yesterday he was in town with his wife, he say he cannot stay two more hours to wait for his mother. Too much in a hurry to wait for his own mother two hours!”

My mind stumbled on the unexpected word, then dismissed it. “He--he wouldn’t wait? He said he got here midafternoon. He left me at noon and came here…”

“Already gone! Said he had to move into a new apartment with his wife--new place by her new job. You didn’t know about her new job? That they were moving this week?” The señora sat back, not with spite, but knowingly, and watched me with gentle concern as my mind caught up to her words.

I was too dizzy to answer, pressing my hands on the wood table. His wife. The one he had left many months ago, he told me. He was moving into a new apartment. With his wife.

“You look like you need orange juice. Let me pour you some.” The señora heaved from the chair. I grasped small details of the table and its contents--a loaf of bread, a stack of newspapers--unable to master the broad swath of scenery that had changed like a theater rolling in a completely altered stage.

Do you believe in magic? #YoungAdult #Scifi #Fantasy

Promising Light

by Emily Ann Ward

“Do you believe in magic, m’lady?” the woman asked.

The first page of the book was in a language Grace had never seen before. “I don’t know,” she told the merchant. “I’ve never seen it.”

“Ah, but just because you haven’t seen something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”

“True. What kind of magic are you talking about?”

The woman waved her hand. “All kinds. Different families are gifted with different magic.” When Grace raised her eyebrows, the woman said, “There are those who can heal the body or break it. There are shape changers from Shyra. There—”

“Shyra?” Grace repeated.

“Yes. They say the shape changers have the power to look like anybody, dead or alive. Some can change into animals. Some can even change into things that aren’t alive. Trees, rocks, water.” She smiled. Her teeth were dirty and cracked. “Perhaps you knew someone from Shyra? Or perhaps you don’t know that you know someone from Shyra because they pretend to be someone else.”

Grace swore she could feel her heart pounding in her ears. Shape changers? It couldn’t be real. They were legends, tales from storybooks. They couldn’t have anything to do with the man who warned her about Dar or with Dar’s sudden departure. “Perhaps. Why should I believe the magic is real?”

“You don’t have to.” The woman sat down again. “But my books will convince you.”

Hard-boiled Detective in Cybernetic Playground #Scifi #fantasy

Dragon's Teeth

By Suzanne van Rooyen

The Detective meets a contact in a less than salubrious establishment...

Cyrus gazed towards the stage, peering through the
smoky haze that billowed around the crowded tables.
The interior of the club was dark, the walls painted a
deep green--or perhaps even black. Life-size projections of Dizzie Gillespie and Miles Davis moved across the walls, living shadows in moribund dance. The patrons were a motley lot. Some were clad in sequins and feather boas, others sporting the slim-fit catsuits of the modern era, all engrossed in the speakeasy vibe of the club called Dixieland. The kid on stage dipped and swayed beneath the flickering blue and orange lights, the sax sitting snug in his fat cherub mouth. His lips, Cyrus decided, were
made for caressing a wind instrument into sonorous ecstasy.
The detective tapped his feet to the rhythm of the drums, his eyes still fixed on the saxophonist, his criminal accomplice: Cleo. The kid was young, not yet qualifying for longevity treatments. Still au naturale in the bloom of late adolescence, his face doused in freckles and framed by the tight springy hair of his African heritage. Young as he was, Cleo was smart with a ruthless street savvy cultivated by a hard life lived on the sidewalks. He was Cyrus’s connection to the underworld. Half Chinese and half black, Cleo was the poster child of the lower end district: part Chinatown, part 1940’s Louisiana. This strange juxtaposition was the new New Orleans and Cyrus loved it—the warmth of nostalgia in his belly, the hankering for a past he had never lived but only read about in books and seen in gritty black and white films. He had been born two centuries too late, a situation he lamented.

How much is enough? #Thriller #ActionAdventure

H10 N1

by M. R. Cornelius

A flu pandemic has ravaged the country. Four friends are driving west, looking for a safe place to hunker down.

As Rick zipped along, Devin scanned the highway.
"This is so weird, not seeing other cars coming or going."
"I told you," Rick said. "The mass exodus is over. People got to wherever they were going a long time ago. There's no one left but us stragglers."
Devin chuckled. "They're all hunkered down now, waiting for their refrigerator to kick back on."
"Or in their bomb shelters," Judith added from the back seat, "organizing for the revolution."
Massaging his bald head, Devin said, "I'm just not sure they'll stay put."
"Why not?" Rick asked. "Either they're in a safe place, or they're dead."
"I think we're heading into Phase Two." Devin turned in his seat toward Rick, and the two women in the back. "First all the stores are looted, the spoils are stock-piled. And I'm not talking television, here. I'm talking necessities. But there are only so many cans of corn out there. Now that the stores and warehouses are emptied, people will start robbing each other, don't you think?"
"Yeah, I suppose." Rick propped his arm against the window, his hand twisting his ponytail.
"Phase Two will be all about the hysteria," Devin continued. "No one knows how long this will last. So how much food is enough? You may have twelve cans of tuna. But wouldn't twenty cans be better?"
"So people will venture out to rob their neighbors," Rick said. "I can just see it in the history books--Starkist Wars."

Monday, February 13, 2012

Deep Wounds Are Not Only Physical... #Literary #SuspenseThriller [under $3]

The Depths of Deception

by Ian Fraser

Despite appearances, the following extract describes emotional pain.

Deep wounds are an educational process. It begins with the realization that a piece of flesh is gone and will never return. The body knows it has been disfigured; the conscious mind must be restrained from self-disgust, and the continual pain must be perceived as merely signals from torn nerve receptors. The jagged perimeter of the wound and its exposed tufts of severed muscles flex perpetually – an internal forest of scratching claws. The nostrils enter the picture; one becomes accustomed to the metallic tang of an open wound.

Deep wounds require daily attention; their owner becomes intimate with its crevices. Few wounds are symmetrical, each has unique features. Lubricated with saline, the fingertips must slide into the wound and pat it with dressings to dry the exposed layers. From doing this, a familiarity comes. The glistening flesh becomes a landscape of points and indicators on a map. Here is blissful nothingness; there a stabbing pain makes the world darken. The secret artwork of the body’s interior is displayed in the wound: vermillion streaks of raw flesh, the tempura brilliance of exposed muscles and tendons.

The owner of a deep wound learns that skin itself is a liquid as the body attempts to seal deep holes with viscous fluid. But when too much flesh has been lost, the body gives up trying to use the seeping liquid. Dark-brown purple clots start gathering like barnacles around the wound’s perimeter. The slowly-shrinking wound resembles the iris of a camera lens, or a dark clotting sphincter. Finally, once this growth is complete, the body abandons the interior crater, a pocket of liquid hidden by a thin veneer. Some catastrophic wounds can never heal.

These are my scars. This is my blood. This is my body.

Five Million Dollar Cat #Suspense #Novella [under $3]

Five Million Dollar Cat

by Laura Lond

Jack, Amy’s ex, has offered her a quarter million dollars.

Without a flinch, she held out her palm. Jack let out a chuckle.
“Well, not right now. I don’t have it yet, but as soon as I do, it will be yours, I promise.”
Amy narrowed her eyes. Of course. She should have known.
“I see. Another one of your shady dealings, and you want me to help. You know what? Get lost.”
She rose to leave, but he caught her hand.
“Amy, wait! Nothing shady. You promised to hear me out, you said five minutes. Would you at least give me that? Please?”
“Well, okay.” She had no idea why she agreed.
The waiter brought their appetizers and asked whether they were ready to order the main course. Amy no longer cared for the dinner, but Jack insisted, so she picked the first thing her eyes fell on—some grilled fish. The waiter left.
“I’m listening. Five minutes.”
“That’s all I need,” Jack nodded, moving the appetizers closer to her, gesturing for her to eat while he explained. Amy picked up the fork.
“Nothing shady,” he repeated. “Everything’s perfectly legal, comes from a buddy of mine who works at a law firm. Here’s the deal. There’s this homeless animal shelter called Friendly Paws. There’s one ugly cat in that shelter that probably no one will want to adopt. And there’s this crazy old hag who secretly arranged to pay five million bucks to whoever adopts this cat, if it ever does happen.”
Amy was studying her overly entrepreneurial ex in silence. His plan was not difficult to guess.
“You want me to adopt the cat and get the five million. I keep two hundred and fifty thousand and give you the rest.”
Jack smiled again. “You’re a smart girl.”

Ancient Worlds Collide... #HistoricalFiction

Calling Crow (Book One of the Southeast Series

by Paul Clayton

Runs Like Deer extended his lance into the water to prod the thing. The surge picked up, moving it forward, turning the large head as if it were trying to look up at its tormentors.

“Aieyee!” said Runs Like Deer, drawing back to hide in the dugout. “It moves!” They watched in awe as the thing slid over the small rocks and continued its snail’s pace toward the beach.

Calling Crow turned to Big Nose, who continued to maneuver the dugout. “Go to the shore. We will wait for it there.”

The form broke the surface of the water and did not move. Calling Crow and the others waded into the sea. Calling Crow held his knife outstretched. Big Nose put an arrow to his bow and Runs Like Deer raised his lance and prodded the manlike thing. Nothing happened.

“Pull it out of the water,” said Calling Crow.

The others grabbed the thing by its legs and dragged it up onto the sand. It was big. Big Nose jabbed at the gleaming shell-like skin, his lance glancing off with a loud clatter none of them had ever heard before.

“It has magic skin,” said Big Nose.

“Aieyee,” said Runs Like Deer.

“With his first novel, Paul Clayton has taken me out of today, even out of the world I know best-- the frontier of the early far west-- and plunged me back to an ancient America that resounds with the ring of truth to my very marrow. Make no mistake about it: This is frontier fiction at its finest and most compelling-- characters that yank you into their lives at this most crucial time in the history not only of this hemisphere, but in the making of the New World. -- Terry C. Johnston, author of Wind Walker

Learn how to conquer the planet on your lunch breaks [Humor]

Supervillain: The Concise Guide

By Ras Ashcroft

A popular brand of dictionary defines the term ‘Supervillain’ as follows:

su•per•vil•lain [soo-per-vil-uh n]: A malicious person usually involved in complex schemes to achieve an ambitious evil end goal such as world domination.

This is a white lie since dictionaries do not even bother to define the term. Perhaps it is because they think that ‘Supervillain’ is a title which bears no real significance outside fiction. Another more probable theory hints at a massive conspiracy involving the heads of the powerful dictionary-industrial complex. Whatever the reason, many average people still aspire to achieve this title. They wish to experience the simple (and clichéd) pleasures of relaxing in a diamond palace on a throne crafted from the skulls of their enemies.

By reading this book, you have taken the first step towards achieving these nefarious goals! Along the way, your loved ones will tell you that this is a ridiculous path to follow. They will tout the merits of following a more traditional career path, such as a Marketing Executive for a major brand or a Cat Groomer for upper class spinsters. Pay little attention to these naysayers. The only Marketing Executives you should worry about are the ones you will eventually hire to manage your propaganda. Similarly, the only cats worth grooming will be the genetically modified lions under your command.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Indie Snippets is Back and Accepting Submissions!

Well, that was quick. I've made some changes to how I receive content which should improve the site and increase my efficiency.

Summary of most important changes:

1. A submission form. Emails were taking up too much of my time and getting lost. Formatting issues were also one of the biggest disadvantages to fielding submissions in this manner. The new submission form will simply things and allow me to post more snippets.

 2. Simplified Guidelines. You can see at a glance what is required. Before I had too many rules cluttering everything up. I've never been a big rules kind of guy.

3. Increased snippet word limit. You can now post up to 300 word snippets -- but any scene intro/setup lines will be included in the word count.

4. Blurbs now accepted in addition to excerpts. If you just want to submit a product summary of your book rather than a snippet, you may. I will still give preference to snippets though.

5. Agents and cross-promotion. You may submit the work of other authors as long as you have their written permission.

Please visit the submission guidelines to view all changes.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fantasy Kindle Book: "Judgment Rising: The Rys Chronicles Book III" by Tracy Falbe

Having just survived a vicious attack, Dreibrand contemplates a new threat to his realm...
He dug the grave himself. The physical exertion provided his anxiety with an outlet. While the men gathered stones for the cairn, Dreibrand recalled the image of the male creature who had loomed in front of him. His weapon had been refined and beautiful but the being had been a wiry wild thing and naked except for a primitive bit of covering. This killer born of the Tabren was powerful, vicious, and utterly intimidating. 

 As Dreibrand shaped the grave, he wondered if Nufal’s haunted past had coalesced into a monster. The sable creature that had confronted him was the incarnation of every strange noise in the night. It made real every tingle of superstitious fear, and Dreibrand believed that it threatened everything that he loved. 

After they buried Pel Ton, Dreibrand kept a vigil at the trailhead. For the first time in his life, he envied Shan’s power and wished that he were a rys so that he could send his mind over the land and find his friend. Repeating Shan’s name in his head, Dreibrand clasped the warding crystal on his sword and hoped that Shan would answer him—that Shan could answer him.

Young Adult, Horror on Kindle: "The Other Side of Eden" by Ethan Cobb

Carrie, a lone teenage girl, is confronted by her old boyfriend who is now infected with a sickness that attaches to a single emotion (in this case Anger) and becomes the driving force of everything that person does:

“Hello Carrie,” the muffled voice of Derek penetrated the window.  Carrie snapped her head up.  Narrow slits almost hid the purple of his eyes.  Derek grinned.  She stared at him.  He whistled.  Five runners jumped from surrounding positions.

“You can’t run,” he said and laughed.

Carrie punched the gas.  Tires squealed and smoke shot from behind.   She yanked the wheel to one side and her body slammed against the door.  The car tail whipped as she pulled back down.  Derek stood in front of the exit.  The Cavalier shot forward.  She grimaced, certain she was going to flatten him, but he jumped out of the way at the last second.  A flimsy toll gate exploded and the car barreled onto the empty road.   She kept the pedal pushed to the floor, although she was away from the immediate danger.  Her foot felt like concrete stuck to the pedal.  She shot past several stop lights, before beginning to feel her heart beating.  Buster’s head was low.

“I think we lost them.”

She looked behind her.

“Definitely lost them.”

She turned back.  An abandoned car sat crumpled directly in front of her.  She shrieked and swerved. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Historical Fiction Kindle: "Race Against Time" by Sydney S. Song

Desegregation caused this historical riot at lunchtime in Florida in the 1970s...
What my psyche witnessed from afar included bodies- people- all over the place moving hastily then not at all.  Screaming accompanied this sight.  A riot finally registered in my soul; it clearly blocked the path between the gym and a row of bathrooms falling into the area in front of the main back doors.  Natural, student traffic couldn’t enter our main loggia or hallway to classes due to the violent storm raging in that region.
A few grown-ups got hold of students dragging them through the doors to the main building as the bell rang out. “Go to class!”  But, how? The passage remained blocked.
 I turned quickly walking between the building and the cows mooing in their pastures.  Were they warning me of trouble ahead or speaking to their owners? Was the noise a signal of a stampede ahead? In spite of these unknowns, it still felt smarter to pass as near as sensible to the herd bellowing as I led the impromptu parade around to the front doors into the high school building.

New Kindle Science Fiction: "Isadora DayStar" by P.I. Barrington

Isadora and Iphedea escape a monster and find a place to sleep:

"Yeah, okay, truce for tonight. I’m tired too. Look, there’s a bed and a couch. Which do you want?"
"I don’t mind the couch," Isadora said with gratitude. "I’ve slept in worse places."
"I’ll bet." Iphedea smirked.
Isadora would have argued with the girl if she could have. But she had slept in worse places and done a lot worse to do it than the girl could probably imagine in her most disturbing nightmares. Instead, she ignored the barb, and concentrated on shaking out the small, soft blanket that served as a cover for the couch. Iphedea concentrated on stripping down to her undergarments and sliding under the thick blankets on the bed. She moaned happily and pulled the covers up to her chin. Isadora pulled off her boots and gingerly probed the wound on her leg with two fingers.
"Yeow! What happened there?" The girl asked, staring at Isadora’s leg.
"Just my own stupidity. I shot myself accidentally."
"You have a gun?" That fact shocked Iphedea more than the fact that Isadora had shot herself with it.
"Yes. I do."
"You mean you could have shot that Imanthyr instead of letting me try to whack it to death in the dark?"