Tag Archive | fiction

Christmas Reads!

I love reading Christmas stories. And writing them 🙂 Stay till the end, where I’ll hook you up to some great reads, a holiday blog hop and more!

 

Santa Cindy

Cindy ran down the steps of the museum, heels clattering on the slick stone. Damn that Ella, anyways. Promising her that this party would be different. The people gathering at a museum fundraiser had to have better manners than those other goons. These people wouldn’t stare, or whisper, or ask pointed questions.

Wrong. Wrong. And wrong again.

Did everyone know? Did they all feel as if her pain existed for their personal entertainment? Fingers shaking from cold and nerves, she searched her small clutch purse for her keys. Keyes to the monstrosity, as Ella called it.

The only good thing to come out of the whole mess, the brand new truck gleamed silver in the moonlight. Relieved, Cindy’s fingers found the keychain and pressed the button that would let her into the driver’s seat.

Gratefully, Cindy squashed her full length skirt into the cab of the truck. The red satin gown would be ruined but at this point she didn’t care too much about it. She turned the keys in the ignition, waited a few moments for the defroster to work its magic. As soon as the pale frost cleared from the windshield Cindy shoved the truck into gear and left.

She pushed buttons until she found a radio station that would lift her spirits. They were playing Christmas carols, and Cindy found herself humming along. “Who needs another Grinch? They’re all at the museum tonight!” she sing-songed to herself. A laugh escaped from her mouth before she could stop it. Damn it, she wanted to be in a foul mood.

One of her pearl earrings broke free from her ear, bounced on the skirt of her dress and fell to the floor. Her mothers’ earrings, one of the few things she had been able to keep from the witch. Scanning the empty road, Cindy took a breath then bent down to begin groping for the pearl.

The truck lost its grip on the road. Tires squealed, a woman screamed. A dull thud, then, blessedly, nothing.

“How’d she get here?” the soft voice tickled Cindy’s consciousness.

“I dunno. Thought you knew all authorized visitors.” This voice wasn’t as soft, and it brought Cindy fully awake.

“The only person I have on the schedule is the new… you know.” The soft voice became prissy.

Cindy moaned, tried to straighten from the steering wheel. Her arms strained, it was too much effort. “She’s hurt. We need to get her some medical attention.”

“Well, just as long as everyone knows it happened on your watch, not mine.”

Cindy’s eyes fluttered opened to see two small men, dressed in parka’s as long as they were tall, each reach to take hold of her arms. They’ll never get me out of here, she thought just before the blackness claimed her again.

The next time she awakened, she was in a large bed. King sized, at least. It dwarfed her, made her feel like a little girl crawling into her parents’ bed. Her fingers glided across a plush comforter, and there was a wonderful aroma coming from a bedside table. She turned to see what it was, and smiled at the cup of hot coco sitting on a warming plate. Gratefully, she took a sip from the mug and settled down to look at the room she was in.

Whoever owned this room was a big kid, she decided. An enormous doll house sat on a low wooden table, surrounded by plush teddy bears. Only one of them looked well loved, its fur worn off and its belly flat. The sight of it tugged on a memory, but she couldn’t quite place it.

“You’re awake,” one of the dwarves that had rescued her stood framed by the door. He had apparently opened a portion of the door made specifically for someone of his stature.

“Yes, thank you. And thank you for taking such good care of me,” Cindy sat the coco back on the table and smoothed the comforter around her.

“Do you know where you are?” She shook her head no. “You’re a wee bit north of where you meant to go. But I have a feeling that you are right where you need to be. Would you mind answering a few questions for me?”

Cindy felt her heart sink at the request. Here we go again, she thought. Though he had taken care of her, had made sure that she was warm and comfortable. Reluctantly, she nodded her permission.

“Do you believe in Santa?” The little man peered intently at her, his thick gray brows drawn close together in concentration.

Cindy thought about it. “I believe that there was a Saint Nicholas, who tended to children. And I believe in the magic of Christmas, of the possibility that there might be a Santa.”

The little man nodded, obviously pleased. “Then it’s settled. Good, I had a feeling that we were about to change with the times, so I had the room made special for you.”

“Special for me? Changing with the times?” Cindy shook her head, unsure if she was supposed to be able to follow his conversation.

“Yes, it was about time we had a woman Santa. Makes perfect sense, right?”

Oh great. He had lost his mind. Cindy watched as the little man walked to the drapes directly across from her bed. With several tugs, he was able to get the heavy material to part.

Cindy gasped. Walls made of ice encircled what had to be a courtyard. She could see the tops of trees, frosted with iced fruits hanging from their branches. Was she in a dream? Did she really care? “What ever you do, don’t wake me up.”

The short man smiled. An elf. He would be an elf if this really were the North Pole. “My name is Tobias, Santa Cindy, and it is my pleasure to serve you.”

“What about…” Cindy let her voice trail off. It wouldn’t be that easy to escape her past, to leave all the pain and anger and hurt.

“You’ve had a rough life, to be sure, darlin’. Santa Bobby followed it on the Chronometer. He saw the filthy woman who claimed to care for you.” The elf came to the edge of the bed and touched her hand lightly. “He saw, too, how you never let that affect your joy. How you faced the crowds with humor, never letting them see you cry.”

Cindy released a sigh. Her shoulders relaxed, finally rid of her burden. “Well, Tobias, if I wake up, I’ll just have to play Santa on a smaller scale.” What was the use of being the richest girl in all the world if you couldn’t have a little fun with your money?

There were a few on her list that she had perfect ideas for.

The gift of knowledge to the husbands of her step-sisters.

The gift of divorce papers for the sisters.

The gift of a perpetual calendar for step-mummy. So she would know exactly how long she was incarcerated for.

 

A new magic wand for a certain fairy godmother named Ella.

And some breath mints for that prince, along with a map to the other princesses. Perhaps he’d have better luck with Sleeping Beauty or Snow White.

Cindy clapped her hands together happily. “Oh, it’s going to be a wonderful Christmas this year!”

 

I hope you enjoyed the story of the first woman Santa. Want some more great reads? Mocha Memoirs Press has some great ones out right now! The little froggie will bring you to the Season’s Reading Blog Hop, and there’s a contest link below, too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ll be back a little later in the week with some great holiday reads from MMP!

 

© 2015 Wynelda Ann Deaver, All Rights Reserved.

Flash Fiction (Essay) Challenge

Do you read/follow Chuck Wendig over at Terrible Minds? Love the guy, love his quirkiness to bits. On Friday’s he posts a Flash Fiction challenge. This week… it’s not fiction. Yay! You can read his original post here

(PS Chuck, you said to drop the link in the comments, but… the comments aren’t open. Insert Sad Face).

Write an essay on the topic of: Why I Write.

This is something that I’ve been struggling with lately. I’d love to make my living writing, but that currently isn’t happening and it doesn’t look promising. I want to support my son and myself, by my writing, but it’s not in the cards right now. It does remain in the realm of dreams.

So. Money isn’t the reason why I’m writing.

I have been published, and I loved the accolades. When people tell me that they loved it, ohhh… my heart shivers. I haven’t made much money (see above), and I have received some wonderful reviews, but…

That isn’t what keeps me writing.

Not for money. Not for accolades. Both would be bloody brilliant, don’t get me wrong. I won’t lie.

I write because words have power. We can shape our worlds, and make sense of that world, through words. When I was writing fiction, I almost always work out a problem in my fiction. Something that’s been on my mind comes out in the theme of the story.

Still has my quirky voice,tho.

I liked fiction because it gave me a buffer between my feelings and what I was working out. Sometimes I need that space, the step back from the situation that fiction gives. In Dragon’s Champion, the heroine saves herself. And when she finds her voice… oh, the power she wields! In The Golden Apple and Other Stories, there were lots of strong women saving themselves… as they dealt with love, death, family and the perception of others versus reality.

Not everyone needs saving.

Except, perhaps, me.

I write to save myself, to save my soul. It’s how I pray, how I connect myself to… myself. It enables me to get the junk out and cross it out decisively and then get to the meat of the matter. I took a step back from fiction, and have been writing a lot of nonfiction and poetry, trying to realign myself. Essays mostly, some a micro shot of life as I see it. (One is scheduled for tomorrow, my shifting sideways series. Whee!) They are all full of my weird quirkiness, a lighter slightly twisted version of myself or the deep, dark and twisty. Apparently, my writing is like the water I love so much. Some is nothing more than a babbling brook—entertaining and will cool you off and refresh you. The other half is the middle of the ocean, deep, dark currents pierced by light.

I write to save myself. Because when I don’t write, I can feel it calling to me. Even my nine year old can tell when I’m not writing. A line of poetry that grabs hold until I write it down. An opening sentence will grab hold of me and won’t let me go until we go exploring down the rabbit hole.

It’s the only sure way to comfort myself, make my soul nice and tight with the world. If others get saved along the way, that’s a blessing. But I have to save myself first.

Gender in Writing

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My son is all boy. He loves to run, ride his bike, play video games and go exploring. Over the New Year break, we went to see a movie. I expected him to throw a fit because it was the new version Annie. There were people between he & I, and what I saw every time I looked was my boy with his feet up on the chair in front of him, a fierce look on his face.

He loved it.

Now, when he takes a hit in daily life he says “It’s a hard knock life, huh, Momma?”

Yesterday, we went to the movies for my (still upcoming) birthday. He wanted to see Home (which isn’t out yet), I wanted to see Cinderella. His beef with Cinderella wasn’t that it was a girls movie (Home has a female protagonist as well), it was that Home was about real life, a real girl, mom! (Never mind the lavender alien and the flying cars). Turns out he loved Cinderella, too.

I don’t think I’ve been entirely fair with my son, at least in terms of movies. He has proven that he sees them as movies– not for girls, not for boys… just movies.

And the same goes for television, btw. He used to watch Sophia the First. He quit not because it was a girl’s show, but because he outgrew it. He will watch Monster High.

Then I started thinking about Legos. Maybe instead of trying to have a line specifically for girls (Except the Disney Princess– keep those!), they should try being more inclusive with in their sets. Adding women/girls isn’t that hard.

So now we get to the beast of the matter. The reason all these thoughts started popping through the percolator is that the story I’m working on, if I write it, will be almost entirely from a male point of view. I know women writers can do it, I’ve read them for crying out loud (Robin Hobb, Mercedes Lackey). But… the question becomes, can I?

In my last point, I talked of writers stretching their voice. Trying new things even if it was scary. I think this is the nextscary for me. Although…. Based on my son’s taste in entertainment, maybe it’s not that scary.

I’ll let you know.

What  are you working on in your writing to stretch yourself? What’s scaring you as a writer about the story?

The Secret Garden

One of the books that had the most profound impact on my life was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. A Little Princess comes in a close second, but for me… It’s always been Mary Lenox.

I’m not sure why Mary’s story struck such a cord with me. An unloved child, being shuttled far away from all she knows after the death of almost everyone. Mother, father, aya… all of them. I came from a rock solid family with lots of siblings. Although sometimes, I felt invisible.

But mostly, I just wanted a place of my own. A place to get away from everyone else. I thought it was highly unfair that Mary had to share the garden, and Dickon, with her cousin. Because a girl needs a room, or garden, of ones own. If it had been mine, I am sure, i would have guarded it jealously.

Or maybe not.

I have a brown thumb.

Still, I re-read that book on a regular basis. When I moved out, I realized that my copy got mislaid somewhere… so I went and bought another one. I’ve always wanted to write a tribute to that book, just something that gave it a little nod. Garden, a short interlude in my collection (coming out in December! Woohoo!) is more a nod to Willie Wonka than The Secret Garden.

So now… well, now… I’m gonna bend that garden. I’m going to stretch it, warp the weave, and hopefully come up with something that is completely me as well as being a nod toward something I love so much.

How do you handle paying tribute to a story that means so much to you, but still keep it in your voice? As your own story?

My Little Obsession

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If you know me at all, you’ve probably seen me with one of these close by. They are small notebooks, 8.35 in x 6.5 in. They’re made by Studio C and are called Ideal Books. I love these.

I have about 9 of them now. Maybe more.

Within those pages are magic— the magic of my stories. I now prefer writing in these, at least to get me going. And if I’m stuck, it’s within those pages where the muse kicks back into gear. Sometimes they contain a letter to a friend. Notes on the webinars I’ve been taking lately. A to do list like above. And once in a while, as I’m scribbling away, I come across pure gold. Because there are pages scattered throughout where the princeling has drawn pictures in Mommy’s notebook. Some were drawn while we were in the car are he was bored. I’d pass back the book (pen handily clipped to the front) and let him go for it. It makes for a lot of really nice surprises while writing.

Now, if you’re able to see the list I attached above, I have to admit a few things. First of all, the first 3 things had already been accomplished. I believe in making sure that I have some sense of accomplishment LOL. 6-10 all have to do with writing, although 7-9 are the only ones dealing with short stories that I’m actually working on right now. On those, I only worked on Broken, but.. But… I finally finished it. WOOHOO! I finished it! I finished it! AND, um, well, it’s going to have a part 2. But I finished it and sent it off to Beta’s!

So. On my list there were 3 items that I didn’t even touch. I thought a bit about two of them (which does count, but not for this list), but nothing was written down either in my lovely note books or on the computer so I’m not counting that. But, all in all, I’m happy with my little list and with what I accomplished today.

Book Review: Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl by David Barnett

Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl

I’ve seen this book a lot– the Nook app was forever recommending it, but I resisted. I had tried steam punk written by men before, and it just didn’t have the same soul that I loved in the female version of the genre. This one didn’t have the same soul, either… But that’s ok. Cuz I liked it.

Yes. You heard me right. I tried something new and I liked it.

At first I was like… What the Heck? Because by today’s standards, Gideon Smith is naive. So, so naive. But that what makes it great. It’s immersing yourself in what I imagine penny dreadfulls were. Just a great, rip roaring adventure. Gideon’s naivete is the perfect foil for his more damaged comrades. It’s a tight balance that has to be maintained by the author, and he does it well. I’m not sure how the followup novel will work, because some of that naivete will be lost, but I’m looking forward to finding out how it’s handled. 

I’ll be back later in the week with some thoughts on Mercedes Lackey.

Ta for now, lovelies!

 

 

Eloisa James and Frozen

So last Monday was my birthday. The family got what I wanted, the movie Frozen. And I fell in love with it. There’s a scene, during the coronation ball, when I thought to myself “This is just like an Eloisa James novel.” I might have even said it out loud, but my son being only seven didn’t get the reference.

While Three Weeks with Lady X doesn’t have any magic in it, I defy you to tell me that it isn’t magical. Because that’s what falling in love *is*. Or at least I hope so… I haven’t given up on it yet.

While there is a certain lightness to her novels, and some froth and fun… There’s always the underlying emotion. Strong, identifiable emotion. With India (also known as Lady X), it is the feeling of never being good enough. Even though she is gorgeous, talented… everything we as women would want to be, she has that deep seated insecurity.

And Thorn, oh Thorn. He kind of has the same problem. The way he misreads what she’s saying, and vice a versa, makes for a lively ride.

Bonus: There’s a reference to literature! Almost always there’s a nod to it… can you find it on your own in this one?

I may work in mainly the fantasy genre, but I hope that I can attain this kind of heart felt plot that just explodes. Like a Disney song. All over the reader’s heart. I loved Frozen, and I loved the new book (it came out on Tuesday, I devoured it in one day… may have to re-read….hmmm).

Anyways, my dahlinks, next up is Lynn Flewlling’s latest. It’s already written, so I’ll get it up during the week. I’m reading a new series that is just making language explode, so I’ll try to get that up before the end of the week, too.

 

Ta for now!

Book Review: The Confession of Piers Gaveston

the confessions of piers

I received a copy of The Confession of Piers Gaveston from the author, Brandy Purdy. At first, I wasn’t sure how to approach it. Even though, strictly speaking, she doesn’t write a series of books, they are all tightly clustered around the same theme. Royalty, and those who surround them.

I almost never read backwards in a writers catalog. But I am glad that I did with this one.

The language that enthralled me in The Queen;s Pleasure starts to bloom in this novel. If you ever want to find out about a Brandy Purdy novel, I am becoming convinced that you should read the first paragraph. It’s all encaspulated right there, in one beautiful package, if you know what to look for.

This novel was hard, for other reasons. The narrator is not at all reliable. At first, it can be mistaken for a new author’s handling… but no. I believe that the narrator has deluded not only everyone else… but himself as well. The cycle of abuse winds its way through the novel, and Pier’s romantic relationship with the king.

I’m glad that I read this one. It’s not my normal style, and definately breaks the tradition of going in an author’s back list (except for romance authors). But the seeds are there, sprouting into a glorious rose…..

It’s not a comfortable read. It’s disturbing. It stays with you.

Just like great fiction is supposed to.

Ta for now, my lovelies. I’ll write more soon!

Hello, New Year

So, for 2013 I made 3 Resolutions: 2 of which I knew I would fail at and one of which was more like a personal thing.

2013

1. Write a book that Oprah loves. (This is almost impossible, because many of the books she chooses for her book clubs– cant stand. Too depressing!)

2. Write a rock opera using the music of Bon Jovi. (I actually started on this one, a monologue interspersed with music… but had to shelve it. It was based on the worst of times in my marriage, and I was angry all the time while writing it. Angry. All. The. Time. Writing may be therapeutic, but as a mommy— I don’t need that anger hounding me. I still need to let some of it go before I can write this… So it is currently shelved, to be revisited at a later date.)

3. Pray every day for the women of the world who are marginalized. (I took this up when the poor women of India were in the news so often. It expanded into other areas of the world. I can’t do a lot for them, but I can do this. And this one I have kept.)

 

Here’s what really happened, though.

1. Took a fiction class at Writer’s Village University called F2K and one of the subsequent writing assignments was submitted to the WD Short Story competition.

2. Submitted work to an anthology (and was shot down).

3. Wrote 2 new short stories and submitted them (Still waiting to hear on these.)

4. On a lark, submitted a poem to the local paper and became their “Poet of the Week.” Go figure!

Might not seem like much, but it has definitely gotten my feet wet again. So I failed on what my goals were— still made forward progress and am STILL WRITING. WOOHOO! Yay for me!

SO here goes for 2014

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

1. Complete and submit 10 short stories.

2. Write more poetry.

3. Finish work on Novella currently working on (Not sure of title yet, might just be the first of the Soul Catcher series).

4. Plot and start a longer piece of work (we’re talking novel here, folks.) (also, might need to challenge one of my friends to this… much better than NanoWriMo for us right now. Nanowrimo is great— but I can’t devote that much time to writing in one month. My son’s head would explode or something)

5. Write on blog more regularly. Both reviews and on writing and life and everything in between.

 

So, if you’re a writer, what kind of goals do you have for yourself this year?

Love Affair with Paris…

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Laura Florand has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I love her stories of Paris, and chocolatiers.

The one person who doesn’t like Paris, however… Is her newest heroine, Summer Corey. The Eiffle Tower mocks her, the city leaves her distraught. Luc, on the other hand, doesn’t know quite what to do when she collapses into his arms and offers to buy him a yacht.

And doesn’t understand the significance of that gift for way too long.

While I love this series, this one was the hardest for me to get into and let go of. It’s almost as if, like on of Luc’s delectable creations, the heroine and hero’s layers were encased. Once that was cracked, it was a great story about being who you are (not whom your parents and/or others want you to be), and learning how compromising with the one you love can lead to a better dream.

I really hope this series continues— there’s still a few chef’s who need to find love in the series 😀  (And I just found one I didn’t know about, so my new Nook will be getting a workout!)

 

But it has lead me to a question regarding series. Once I got past the first chapter or two, I tore through this book like all of the others. Slow start, but worth it. I’ll pick up her next book in a heart beat, no questions asked. But how do authors keep the series fresh, while still bringing their core readership with them? With Florand, the series is about Paris and, of course, chocolate. Many of the characters are either related, or floating in and out of each other’s lives as rivals / friends. This is the best type of series for romance readers… because we get to pop in on our happily ever after couples 🙂

 

 

Hopefully, New Years Eve, I will be posting an update on my writing goals for the year vs. reality (no where near close, but better than I thought) along with my goals for the new year. If I don’t get it done Tuesday, definitely Wednesday.

Cheers, my lovelies!