Can You Vague That Up For Me?

Bronwyn Green's Random Thoughts

Brain Dump

So, it’s brain dump time–we blog about everything rattling around in our heads. So, if you read further, please don’t expect a lot of coherence or cohesion. In addition to fighting with ADD, I’m also too tired and depressed and stressed out to try to do much beyond dump. So…here’s the unloading.

I’m tired, depressed, and angry. Lately, it seems the only news is bad news, and it’s not just bad, it’s catastrophically bad. It gets harder and harder to see hope beyond the latest horrific shitshow members of our “government” are pulling.

My house is a wreck a mess–too messy for the houseguest I’ll have Sunday, but trying to get everything organized seems almost insurmountable at this point. I know she’s coming to see me, not judge my house, but as I look around, I’m still freaking out about it.

Honestly, I’m stressed and sad about literally everything from school  issues to job issues to this country’s rapid slide into fascism. And if I actually take the time to write out all the thoughts I’m having about these things, I’ll probably end up in a fetal position in the bathtub.

So, I’m going to move on to other random thoughts in my head.

I really need to get rid of the rest of the wedding dress that was the base for the new wedding dress I made.  It’s ginormous box is taking up too damn much space in my house and my brain.

My feet are ugly and my toes need to be painted desperately.

I have two audio preps that I need to finish this week for a client.

I really want to finish the chapter of my book that I’m writing.

I wrote over 10K while on vacation and still managed to do family stuff.

I’m sick and tired of being the one who has to decide what stays and goes in the big house purge.

I really want some popsicles, but we’re out.

In five more sleeps, I’ll be driving to the U.P. to pick up Jess.

I still need to write my blog about this year’s writer’s retreat.

Jess Jarman, Jenny Trout and I are going to be at the Rust City Book Con during the first weekend of August, and I still need to do ALL THE THINGS for that.

Jen and I are going to go see Billy Joel in Chicago in a few weeks.

I have awesome people in my life who make me realize how lucky I am to have so many people who love me.

I need to remember to bring fabric and scissors when I babysit my niece Saturday so I can use their table to cut out tops after I put her to bed. It’s the perfect height. and I don’t have to fight with cats there.

Cutting out fabric with cats is a nightmare.

I still want popsicles.

Sometimes, I feel like I hate everything, and that makes me feel like a terrible person.

I’m tired of constantly feeling like I’m trying to swim upstream and getting nowhere.

I’d like to go to bed right now, but I have too much to do.

I bet that Gwen, Kellie and Jess have heads full of better thoughts. You should go read theirs.

Looking for for great kids books about LGBT+ families?

Unless you’re super new here, you know that I love me some great picture books. Despite the fact that my kids are in their early twenties, my children’s book collection continues to grow. I get some to read to my nieces and nephews, and some are just for me.

Because books.

The It’s Fundamental – Children’s Book Blog is a fantastic resource for all things picture books. Run by a former educator (though, trust me, she’s still educating) named Crystal, this blog features fantastic booklists (carefully and thoughtfully curated by topic) as well as book reviews.

Some of her booklists include: Shark Week, World Changing Women, Trains, Juneteenth, Ramadan, Women in Science, Books for Kids Who are Afraid to Swim, Civil Rights, Star Wars–and this is just a small sampling of the topics. Seriously, this blog has it all!

But, I’m not blogging today to talk about Sharks or Star Wars (and now, I have Queen stuck in my head) but to share It’s Fundamental‘s amazing LGBT+ Families booklist.

When I was a kid, books featured families that were comprised of a mother, father and kids. Or the parents were dead and the kids were orphans. There was no inbetween. I remember wondering why there were never divorced parents like mine in books. We all know that representation is incredibly important, and as a child, when you never see your reality represented in stories, it leaves you with a feeling of disconnectedness. The sense of being “other”.

That’s why I’m so happy to see books like Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino and I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary.

Please take a few minutes and check out this fantastic list Crystal has put together. And if you’re on social media, enjoy books, like to give books as gifts, like hanging out at the library and/or representation and inclusion, be sure to follow It’s Fundamental‘s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest pages. Oh, and duh…the blog.

You won’t be sorry!

Musical Musings: If you could define yourself with a song, what would it be, and why?

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It was much harder than I’d anticipated to narrow my life down to one song. But since I’m leaving for vacation four days before this post goes live, and I only have two days to finish all my work and get packed, I figured I’d better get to it.

But I went with The One Who Knows by Dar Williams. It’s beautiful and perfectly sums up how I feel about this stage of my life and my kids’ lives.

Here are the lyrics.

Time it was I had a dream, and you’re the dream come true.
If I had the world to give, I’d give it all to you.
I’ll take you to the mountains, I will take you to the sea.
I’ll show you how this life became a miracle to me.

You’ll fly away, but take my hand until that day.
So when they ask how far love goes,
When my job’s done you’ll be the one who knows.

All the things you treasure most will be the hardest won.
I will watch you struggle long before the answers come.
But I won’t make it harder, I’ll be there to cheer you on,
I’ll shine the light that guides you down the road you’re walking on.

You’ll fly away, but take my hand until that day. So when they ask how far love goes,
When my job’s done you’ll be the one who knows.

Before the mountains call to you, before you leave this home,
I want to teach your heart to trust, as I will teach my own,
But sometimes I will ask the moon where it shined upon you last,
And shake my head and laugh and say it all went by too fast.

You’ll fly away, but take my hand until that day. So when they ask how far love goes,
When my job’s done you’ll be the one who knows.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ song choices.

Jessica

Flash Fiction #62 – Breathe In, Breathe Out

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This month’s song fic inspiration is Breathe In, Breathe Out by Mat Kearny. Here are the lyrics if you want to check them out. And here’s the video.

Sweat stood out against his almost waxy-looking skin as he sat slumped forward on the edge of his bed, elbows balanced shakily on his thighs. Every part of him shook, and his sheets were in a sour-smelling tangle behind him.

He looked up at me, eyes completely bloodshot around irises that were still the darkest blue I’d ever seen. “Go away.”

I know he’d meant to growl it, but it had come out weak and almost lifeless.

Lowering myself to the floor, I sat cross-legged in front of him. He was older. So much older. And frail. Like I could break bones without trying. An amber-colored glint under the bed caught my eye. I reached beneath the bed and grabbed the half-empty bottle of whiskey.

“That’s mine.” He reached out for me–or more likely, the bottle as I stood and walked to the sink. I didn’t bother looking at him as I poured it out. I didn’t want to see the expression of desperation mixed with hate that I knew would be on his face.

After I washed my hands, I returned to my spot on the floor.

“Fuck you.”

There wasn’t as much heat behind it as he’d intended because he’d started shaking violently again. His hands clenched and unclenched, repeatedly curling into painful looking fists as his breathing turned jerky and panicky.

Reaching out, I grasped his clammy hands and held on. “Breathe with me, Dad. Breathe in. Breathe out.  You can do this.”

That’s it for me this week. Be sure to check out the other stories, too!

Promptly Penned: Rock Bottom

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Prompt: Well, apparently, Rock Bottom has a basement. 

I looked around the crowded bar. There wasn’t another server free. “Motherfucker,” I muttered under my breath. I’d have to take his table.

Sighing in resignation, I pulled the hairtie off my wrist and quickly pulled my hair up into a sloppy bun. I turned toward the bar where Veronica, one of my fellow waitresses, was loading up a tray with drinks and plucked the hot pink, prescriptionless glasses off the top of her head and shoved them on my face.

She glanced at me as she lifted the heavy tray off the scarred bar. “Got a creeper?”

“Something like that.” I grimaced and adjusted the glasses as I walked to his table.

He glanced at me then back at his menu. There didn’t appear to be any glimmer of recognition. Sometimes, a different hairstyle and ugly glasses were all it took.

“Are you ready to order?”

He did a doubletake. “Samantha?”

I didn’t respond. Unless glaring at him balefully could be considered a response.

“I haven’t seen you in class lately.”

I tilted my head to the side and just stared at him. The sheer magnitude of his douchery exerted a force too great for me to keep my head upright.

“No,” I finally answered. “I don’t suppose you would have. I dropped out.”

He sighed in seeming disgust. “Well, that was stupid.”

It was then that I noticed the hot, young blonde in the booth with him. I’d been so distracted by my dread of having to interact with this man, I hadn’t even seen her. She was a beacon of golden perfection, I honestly can’t understand how I’d missed her in the first place.

Something inside me snapped. I turned to address her. “Look, I know he’s hot. Smart is sexy and all that. But take it from someone who knows, he’s completely void of any kind of moral compass and has no business being an educator.”

I could hear my voice getting louder, but I couldn’t quite manage to quiet myself. Conversations around me in the capacity-packed restaurant sputtered to a halt. Too bad I couldn’t make myself do the same.

“He doesn’t give a shit about you,” I continued as the girl stared at me, eyes wide and lips parted. “He’ll fuck you, and then he’ll steal your research, slap his name on it, and when it comes time to defend your dissertation, you’ll have nothing. And you know what? The sex wasn’t even all that good.”

He blinked at me as I saw the night manager barreling my way from the corner of my eye. She looked pissed. 

I glanced back at my former advisor.

He cleared his throat and turned to the blonde. “Chloë, this is my former student, Samantha.” Then he looked at me. “Samantha, this is my daughter, Chloë.”

Well…apparently rock bottom had a basement. Fucking fantastic.

That’s it for me today, be sure to read Jess, Gwen, and Kris‘ stories!

Top 10: Quotes I Say from Movies/Shows/Songs

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It’s time for another top ten post, and this month is quotes. In our house, we quote stuff allllllll the time.  Also, this is probably going to be more than top ten–it might even be top ten from each thing I quote regularly.

Top Ten Labyrinth Quotes: 

10. ) “Say your right words.”

9.) “Goblin King! Goblin King, wherever you may be, take this child of mine far away from me!”

8.) “I wish the goblins would come and take you away. Right now.” (It never worked.”

7.) “You remind me of the babe.” (This inevitably turns into a sing along.)

6.) “Oh, please. I haven’t said it in such a long time.”

5.) “Well? Laugh.”

4.) “No, no, no. Of course, not!”

3.) “Nothing? Nothing? Nothing, tra-la-la-la?”

2.) “Ohhhhhh, what a lie!”

1.) “It’s in the rules.”

Top Ten Buffy Quotes:

10.) “This could be mathier.”

9.)  “Lie to me.”

8.) “Button, button, who’s got the button. My money’s on the witch.”

7.) “It’s a ritual sacrifice. With pie.”

6.) “Right. Wasn’t here. Didn’t see it.  Couldn’t have stopped you.”

5.) “A vague disclaimer is nobody’s friend.”

4.) “Can you vague that up for me?”

3.) “Bored now.”

2.) “What is your childhood trauma?”

1.) “It sucks beyond the telling of it.”

Top Ten Princess Bride Quotes:

10.) “Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.” (Said any time a wedding invitation arrives. But, I also got to open a wedding I officiated last year just. like. this!)

9.) “I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I’m swamped. ” (Said often when I’m on deadline.)

8.) “Life is pain, Highness!”

7.) “Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

6.) “Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much.”

5.) “It’s for posterity.”

4.) “Good night, (insert either child’s ur husband’s or house guest’s name). Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”

3.) “Murdered by pirates is good.”

2.) “Jesus, Grandpa, what’d you read me this thing for?”

1.) “Have fun storming the castle!” (Said almost anytime someone leaves the house.)

Top Ten Hamilton Quotes:

10.) “Here’s an itemized list of 30 years of disagreements.” (Sweet Jesus.)

9.) “Uh, do whatever you want. I’m super dead.”

8.) “I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love.”

7.) “Take a break. Run away with us for the summer. Let’s go upstate.” (Sung while we’re getting ready for our family vacation in the UP.)

6.) “When you knock me down I get the fuck back up again.”

5.) “We gotta go, gotta get the job done, gotta start a new nation, gotta meet my son!”

4.) “Pick up a pen, start writing.”

3.) “Write day and night like you’re running out of time.”

2.) “I’m not sorry.” (I sing this whenever someone complains about pretty much anything.)

1.) “I’m not here for you.” (I sing this whenever I enter the office I share with my son and all of his art supplies and gaming rig.) 

Top Ten Miscellaneous Quotes:

10.) “I could talk about industrialization and men’s fashion all day, but I’m afraid work must intrude.” Die Hard

9.) “She doesn’t even go here.” Mean Girls

8.)  “Flames…flames…flames on the side of my face!” Clue

7.) “I use antlers in all of my decorating.” Beauty and the Beast (You’d be surprised how often this one comes in handy.)

6.) “Then go ahead and STARVE!” Beauty and the Beast (What I said when someone dares express discontent with what’s for supper.)

5.) “If you don’t let me gut out this house and make it my own, I’ll go insane, and I’ll take you with me!” Beetlejuice

4.) “I have a permit.” Parks and Rec

3.) “I know what I’m about, son.” Parks and Rec

2.) “C’mon! We have a playdate with Banjo and Wingspan!” Baby Mama (My sister and I say this whenever we hear an especially hipster name. Since she works in an infant room at a childcare center, we say it a lot.)

1.) “In this parade of dumb and stupid, I’m the one twirling the flaming baton.” Gilmore Girls

Yeah…I know. Total overkill, but a lot of quoting goes on over here. What about you? What do you quote regularly? Be sure to check out Deelylah, GwenKris, and Jess.

Flash Fiction #61 – Dude in Cave

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This story is a continuation of one that started with another flash fiction, but it should be able to be read as a stand alone. But if you’d like to read the whole thing, here are parts one, two, and three.

At Eoin’s whispered curse, Hollis slowly turned, and her breath stalled in her throat. Of all the things she expected to find beyond the elaborately carved gothic door, a cavernous, underground tunnel — or maybe it was a cave — hadn’t been on her short list. Which, when she thought about it was kind of dumb. After all, they had been in the underground vault of the university’s library prior to going through the door.

Reaching behind Eoin, she felt for the doorknob and gasped.

“What’s wrong?” he whispered almost soundlessly against her ear.

“The knob is gone.” As near as she could tell in the gloom, the door was still the same. She could feel the raised carvings, except, as she moved her hand over the surface, they were quickly becoming stone. “Fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck.”

At Eoin’s inquiring murmur, she grabbed his hand and placed it on what remained of the wood and watched his face as he registered what was happening. His eyes widened, and he turned and looked at her, seeming unsure for the first time tonight.

“Now what?” he asked.

She shrugged, her shoulders brushing his chest as she realized how close they were still standing. “Can’t go back. So…I guess we go through.”

“I don’t suppose you had the foresight to bring a torch, did you?”

She reached into her jacket pocket and withdrew the small flashlight. “I’ve got the one on my phone, too, but I don’t want to kill the battery.

He nodded. “Same.”

She pushed the button, and a narrow beam of light revealed more of their surroundings. Rough walls, ceiling and floor — naturally formed — from the looks of it, extended for what seemed like forever. She suddenly felt very small. She wondered if Eoin did, too, because he reached out and grasped her free hand, lacing his fingers through hers. The comfort was immediate. And despite her earlier annoyance at his threat of blackmail, she couldn’t help but be glad that he was with her right now.

Hollis scanned the floor again. It looked solid enough. There weren’t any gaping fissures or bottomless underground pools that she could see. Though, she was slowly becoming aware of the sound of rushing water. There must be a subterranean river down here somewhere.

She took a cautious step forward, and he followed. “Where do you suppose we’ll end up?”

“Faery.” His muttered response sounded more like an epithet than an answer.

She snorted. “Right.”

“Where do you think we are, love?”

She shivered as they walked forward, telling herself it was a chill from the surrounding dankness as opposed to his casual endearment or the way his accent seemed to roughly caress his words.

“In a cavern under the library.”

“With a doorknob that disappears and wood that magically turns to stone?”

He had a point. She shivered again, but this time it had nothing to do with him or the chill in the air. She fished her cell phone from her back pocket. There was no signal. Not that she’d really expected one in a cave or whatever this was, but she’d hoped.

She watched as he checked his phone, shaking his head before powering off the device and pocketing it.

They walked for hours — it felt like it, anyway. The path ahead was getting lighter — bright enough that they’d notice any potential deathtraps, so she switched off her flashlight. As they rounded a bend, they both squinted as mouth of the cave suddenly opened up before them.

The world beyond the cave’s mouth was bathed in an eerie golden glow, and as the details slowly came into focus, her breath caught. There was a man standing there. She couldn’t quite tell if he was facing them or looking the other way.  Either way, he looked imposing.

He turned with a movement as fluid as a dancer, and Eoin’s hand tightened around hers. “Fuck me swinging.”

That’s it for me this week, but I will be continuing this at some point. Be sure to check out Deelylah’s story, too.

Halfway Through the Year—2017 Goals Check-In

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So…it’s come to this. The halfway through the year goals check-in. Things aren’t…going as well as I’d like.

These were my goals at the beginning of the year:

Get a handle on the negativity that’s seems to be plaguing me.

Do what I can to affect positive change in the world–even if they’re only small things.

Write day and night like I’m running out of time.

However…this is how I’m currently feeling.

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Because everything is chaotic and scary and I’d like that shit to stop now. So…I’m looking for volunteers for this:

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I’m desperately hoping that my end of the year check-in is a hell of a lot better. And I’m also hoping Deelylah, Torrance, and Jess are having a better time of it.

Death, Beauty, and Samantha MacLeod

My friend, the very talented Samantha MacLeod, has a brand new book out, and I’m excited to share it (and her) with you. Using primarily Norse mythology as a backdrop, Sam writes breathtakingly lyrical stories that breathe new and unexpected life into the old gods and the mortals who cross their paths.

Sam was a great sport and let  me interview her, so settle in and take a moment to get to know her a little better.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Right now, Tuesdays and Thursdays are my “work” days. I teach for a few hours in the morning, then try to finish up my grading, and then head to my office (a local Portland coffee shop) for smut writing! I’m with my toddler the other weekdays, which means I can sometimes squeeze in a few hours of writing (if he deigns to nap), and I usually try to spend my weekends outside.

Do you have any collections?

Do books count? 😉

I have way too many books of every genre, and I’m especially pleased with my small collection of antique and vintage cookbooks. My absolute fave is Helen Gurney Brown’s 1969 Single Girls Cookbook: How to Stir up a Little Seduction in the Kitchen, which has got to be the most entertaining cookbook ever published.

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Do you have any hobbies?

Yes, too many hobbies! In addition to writing, I’m a gardener, I fish, hike, and camp, and I occasionally build furniture. I also bake a lot of cakes. Sometimes I even stir up some seduction in the kitchen… 😉

Do you have any bad habits?

Of course not! *wink, wink*

City or country?

I’ve done both, and I’ll side with the country. I like trees more than people.

Coffee or tea?

Both!

I never drank coffee until I was 26, in graduate school, and working in a coffee shop. Now I’m coffee in the morning, herbal tea in the afternoon.

Morning or night person?

As much as I hate to admit it, morning. Yes, this makes me officially boring.

Get things done early or procrastinate?

Hand in hand with being a boring morning person, I do tend to get things done ahead of time. The things that I remember, anyway… I’m 37, and I still have to pull the occasional all-nighter.

Introvert or extravert?

Introvert. Nine times out of ten, I’d rather hang out with trees.

Samantha MacLeod

Proof of that statement. 

What do you like best about writing?

In his fantastic book On Writing, Stephen King describes stories as found things, and he compares writing a story to discovering something hidden, like unearthing a fossil. That’s how writing is for me. I love that sense of, “Oh! So this is what happens next!”

What do you like least?

The paycheck! Ha! *sob, sob*

Do you have a day job in addition to writing?

Why yes, I’ve got several. I’m a part-time philosophy professor, a part-time reading and writing instructor for immigrants in Portland, Maine, and a part-time stay-at-home mom. Oh yeah, and a part-time writer…

What was your favorite childhood book?

Maybe it’s not exactly a childhood book, but I was obsessed with Clan of the Cave Bear in grade school. I dressed as Ayla for Halloween when I was ten (I wrapped myself in towels and carried a baby doll on my back). 

Death and Beauty is another foray into Norse mythology for you. What is it about the Norse Pantheon that draws you back again and again?

I swear I did not set out to become obsessed with Norse mythology!

In part, the Norse myths draw me in so much because there’s so much empty space. We only have two surviving texts about the Norse pantheon, and they’re barely more than outlines; they cover what happened, but there’s almost no character development. Neil Gaiman, in the forward to his recent book Norse Mythology, says it’s almost as if the only surviving record of the Greek myths were the stories of Hercules and Theseus.

So, we’ve still got all the intimate details of Greek mythology. We know Zeus and Hera were unhappily married; we know Aphrodite cheated on Hephaestus. But we don’t have those details for the Norse myths. We know Loki had a wife named Sigyn, but that’s all. How did they end up together? Were they happy? Did they love each other?

It’s those blank spaces that keep pulling me back to the Norse myths!

What do you like best about Baldr?

Baldr, in my story and in the myths, is the guy who has it all. He’s Baldr the Beautiful, the son of the All-father Odin, and he’s also invulnerable. Beloved, beautiful, and impervious to harm…what could possibly go wrong?

In my story, Baldr is a respected diplomat, one of the most important figures in Asgard. But he was never given a choice. He serves his father Odin because he has to, not because he wants to. And he has to die before he can begin to ask himself what kind of a life he really wants.

What do you like best about Hel?

Hel is such an interesting character!

The daughter of the equally interesting trickster god Loki, she has absolute dominion over an entire realm; I’d argue she’s one of, perhaps even the, most powerful female figure in Norse mythology.

Of course, the myths don’t say anything other than, “Loki’s daughter Hel rules Niflhel,” so she’s also a blank space. How does she feel about ruling the dead? Why is she there? And why didn’t she return Baldr the Beautiful to the land of the living?

Those are the questions that drove me to write this story…

What other characters in your story are you especially fond of? Why?

Well, my very favorite Norse god Loki does make an appearance, and he’s much younger than the Loki we meet in The Trickster’s Lover. It was interesting to revisit a character from a different perspective, and at a very different point in his life.

Thor also makes a brief appearance in this story, which surprised me. I think he’s got more to say in the future.

What’s up next for you?

Finishing my next novel!

I’ve got yet another Norse mythology inspired novel in the works. This one is about Loki’s son Vali, who was turned into a wolf when Loki was imprisoned beneath the earth and then vanished completely from the mythology. In my novel he meets Karen McDonald, a wildlife biologist in Yellowstone National Park who’s trying to bury her own traumatic past.

I don’t want to make any commitments, but I’m hoping to have that novel out in the fall(ish)…

Now, let’s check out Death and Beauty.

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Baldr the Beautiful is dead.

Desperate to get back to his privileged role as Óðinn’s favorite son, Baldr strikes a bargain with Hel, the terrifying half living and half skeletal queen of the realm of the dead. He offers her the only thing he’s got: knowledge from the living world. Hel gives him three days. If he can teach her something new, she will return him to the realms of the living.

But the icy Hel seems completely impervious to Baldr’s charms. What’s worse, she already knows everything. By the end of the third day, Baldr realizes he’s only got one chance left to impress her.

Returning to his former life looks like it’s going to depend on Baldr the Beautiful seducing the most formidable woman in the Nine Realms.

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Excerpt:

The branch trembled, making the delicate green leaves and white flower clusters dance. A single petal shook free to sail across the bright blue sky. It was so beautiful, caught in the golden light of late afternoon. I couldn’t understand why someone was crying.

The flower petal tumbled through the sky, heedless of the voices below. I liked it. I liked it all, the bright sky, the white flowers, the audacious little green leaves. I tried to turn and follow the petal through the sky, but my neck wasn’t quite working. It didn’t matter anyway. Soon the brave little petal would be swallowed by the blackness creeping into my vision, turning the sky into a little, shrinking circle, growing farther and farther away, until it was entirely gone—

Darkness. Darkness and voices, a soft rush of motion. Then something harsh and acrid, like battlefield smoke, stung my nostrils, and my head spun. I tried to open my eyes.

“What happened?” I moaned.

Someone clucked above me. “Don’t move just yet, my boy.”

The voice sounded old and only mildly sympathetic. I ignored it, pushing myself up to sitting. My head throbbed and my stomach surged, making me gag. Soft hands grabbed my arm, dragging me back to the bed. Her grip felt weak, but I didn’t have the strength to resist.

“Where am I?” I whispered, once my stomach stopped roiling.

“You’re dead, dearie.”

I shook my head, making the room spin. “No. That’s not possible.”

She clucked again. My eyes were adjusting to the gloom, and I could just make out a hunched figure tending to a fire. “Oh, that’s what they all say.”

“No, you don’t understand. I’m—”

“Baldr the Beautiful,” she said. “Óðinn’s favorite son. Yes, yes, we know all about you here.”

“But I can’t die. My mother is Frigg. She traveled the Nine Realms, and everything she found—”

“Promised not to harm you. I know. I heard all about it.”

The old woman turned and gave me a sympathetic, tired smile. She looked like a nice woman, but of course you never can tell. “But your mother couldn’t possibly have gotten a promise from every single thing.”

She hobbled a bit closer to the bed, her arms outstretched with a rough wooden bowl in her hands. “Drink this, dearie. It’ll help.”

I tried to push myself up to sitting. Again, my head and stomach revolted, throbbing and churning. The old woman chuckled sympathetically.

“It takes some getting used to, being dead,” she said. “Tell you what, Baldr the Beautiful. Why don’t we talk about the last thing you remember, hmmm?”

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Born and raised in Colorado, Samantha MacLeod has lived in every time zone in the US, and London. She has a bachelor’s degree from Colby College and an M.A. from the University of Chicago; yes, the U. of C. really is where fun comes to die.

Samantha lives with her husband and two small children in the woods of southern Maine. When she’s not shoveling snow or writing steamy sex scenes, Samantha can be found teaching college composition and philosophy to undergraduates who have no idea she leads a double life as an erotica author.

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Wordless Wednesday: Picture a Day for a Week

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When this posts, I’ll be blissfully in the middle of our annual writers retreat, but here are some of the photos I took this past week.

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Loki at the top of the stairs.

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Climbing roses in the backyard.

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A faery and her flying cat – drawn by my son, Corwin.

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My nephew and his baby, King Edward (though some insist it’s Tedward) Burps a Lot.

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My husband and my niece have a mutual admiration society. And my mom has the ugliest (but comfiest) chairs known to man.

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Wedding dress I made for my daycare kiddo who’s getting married next month.

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Flower girl dress I made for the same wedding modeled by the flower girl’s most adorable body double.

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My brother and my niece playing before he has to go to work.

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My friend, Jonesie, and my niece have the same expression.

Okay, so that’s it from me this week. And be sure to check out Kris,  Jess, and Deelylah’s pics, too!

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