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Archive for the tag “Jessica Jarman”

Promptly Penned: Traitor

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Prompt: They say I’m a traitor. Maybe I am. All I know is that I did what I had to do.

 

“Hi, I’m Roxanne,” I said when she answered the door. “We spoke on the phone earlier.”

“I’m Alicia.” We shook hands, and warily, she invited me inside, leading me to her dining room table. I carefully moved some macaroni artwork off the chair before I sat.

She smiled, but she kept shifting in her chair as if she were considering running away. “I’m a little nervous. Can you tell me a little more about how this works? I mean how did you even get into this…business?”

I studied the woman across from me. Her hair was falling out of her messy bun. It wasn’t a cute Instagram messy bun. It was a straight up mess, complete with what looked like crusted baby food in there. Squash, if I remembered my pureed vegetables correctly.

I looked like her not too many years ago. Exhausted, frantic, inside out shirt, and a leaking nursing bra. Though, my kids prefered to slime me with peas.

“To be honest, I didn’t even intend to make it a business, but my brother-in-law left me no choice.” I sighed. “I don’t want to sound cold. I’m actually pretty fond of him, but when his kids were little and his wife was out of town, he’d drive for five hours, show up on our doorstep with his infant and toddler, and basically move in until his wife was back from her business trips.”

“He did not.” She looked furious on my behalf. I liked her already.

“Oh, he did. And he and my husband would sit around and play video games and I was stuck with five kids under the age of four. But my favorite was when my husband was at work, and my brother-in-law decided that that meant it was naptime for him.”

She leaned forward. “I have to know. Did you kill them? I think I would have killed them.”

“Honestly? I came far closer than I’m comfortable with. That’s when I started studying the occult.”

Alicia got up. “Keep talking, I’m going to get us some coffee. You want creamer?”

“And sugar, please.”

“Okay, so tell me more about how the occult figures into all this.”

I shifted in my seat. I was pretty sure I was going to stick to it when I stood up. “Well, I didn’t go full bore. I started out looking for protection spells and binding rituals. And while I was researching, I discovered sigils.”

Alicia placed a huge cup of steaming coffee in front of me. “I wanted to make a mocha, but all I had was Hershey’s syrup.”

I took a sip. “You know what? This is great. Trust me, I’ve made much worse. And I drank it anyway. Because caffeine.”  I took another sip then shook off the memory. “Where was I?”

“Sigils.”

“Right, sigils. These things are so incredibly versatile. You can use them for protection, hexing, attraction, but as far as I’m concerned, their best use is warding. It was getting so bad, that my brother-in-law was coming up two or three times a month and staying for three to five days at a time. I snapped. I couldn’t take it any more.”

“What did you do?”

“Dude is a pig. Seriously, doesn’t pick up after himself at all. So, I took a pair of his dirty underwear he’d left wadded behind the door and hair from the shower,” I shuddered, “various herbs and oils, and boiled it together under the light of a full moon. Then, the next time he called to tell use he was coming, I took a small brush and painted warding sigils on every side of the house, the garage and the cars. And I waited.”

Alicia had slid forward in her chair, her eyes wide. “What happened?”

I tried not to smile, but it was almost impossible. “He called a few times. Said he was lost. My husband thought he was pranking us, but nope. He turned around and drove the five hours back home.”

“No.”

I nodded. “Couldn’t find the place at all.”

“That’s brilliant!”

“When my husband pisses me off, I do it to him, too.”

She laughed and clapped her hands.

“These days, I let my brother-in-law visit every two to three months. And now that I’m not stuck at home with nursing babies, I leave, and let my husband and his brother parent all the kids.”

Alicia shook her head. “I’m impressed. Seriously impressed.”

I shrugged. Some people would say I’m a traitor to family togetherness.” I shrugged. “Maybe I am. All I know is that I did what I had to do.”

“You absolutely did. And,” she added, “you didn’t go to jail for murder.”

“Exactly.”

I pulled my spellbook out of my purse. Technically, it was one of those planners with all the stickers for things like doctor’s appointments and soccer practice, but it doubled and a mighty fine spellbook. And hey, I’m a busy mom, makes sense to combine the weekly menu with my side gig.

“Now,” I said, clicking my pen. “Who are we warding against? Tell me everything.”

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

Kris * Jess * Siobhan * Deelylah

Flash Fiction #65 – VW Bug

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17241577 - color shot of a vintage car in a forest

I pulled the giant handknit sweater over my head. It was way too big for me, but I didn’t care. It was warm and cozy and something about it made me feel safe. It wasn’t even my sweater. My mom had knitted it for my brother, Kevin–hence the giant-ness–but he’d left it at my apartment a few years ago, and I’d never managed to remember to get it back to him.

I scooped up my keys and phone from the table and headed toward the door.

“Cat? Where are you going?” Jesse called from the other room.

“Just out for a bit.”

“Will you pick up milk while you’re out? The other jug went bad, and I want cereal.”

You could always get off your ass and get it yourself.

I didn’t answer, just pulled the door shut behind me and jogged down the stairs, eager to get out of the stifling heat of the apartment. Jesse constantly complained that he was cold, hated to have the windows open, and turned on the furnace at the first sign of an changing leaf.

The cool crisp air swirled around me as soon as I stepped outside, and my hair immediately blew in my face, catching on my balm-slathered lips. Tucking the strands behind my ears, I squinted into the weird autumn light. There’s no other time of year when the entire sky can look like the inside of a dull pewter bowl but the leaves glow as if they’ve been lit from within, because somehow the sunlight is still managing to get to them even though, there’s no sign of the actual sun. It’s surreally beautiful, but eerie and unsettling, nonetheless.

There was something about September… Maybe it was the start of the school year and that anticipation that pervaded the neighborhood whether you were in school or not. Maybe it was the swiftly turning leaves or the weather that grew chillier by the day. It could be the scent of woodsmoke in the air. Or the pumpkins ripening in the field. Whatever it was, it made me restless.

Too restless to walk down to the party store to get Jesse’s milk. Too restless to walk to the park. I wanted to go farther than that. I needed to go farther than my feet could comfortably carry me. I wasn’t even sure where, but I needed to go.

My phone’s text tone chimed, and I glanced at the screen. Will you get Poptarts, too?

I tossed my phone in the passenger seat of my ancient VW Bug. Well, like the giant sweater, it was Kevin’s, too. But he was gone to god knew where. On September 26th, it would be three years.  No one knew where he’d gone. No one had heard from him. Not even our mom.

I started the car and put it in drive. Maybe he’d been restless, too.

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

Jess * Siobhan * Kris

Writing Hopes and Aspirations

Old black vintage typewriter

So, my writing hopes and aspirations are pretty simple. I’m not looking to hit lists or become a millionaire, I’d just like to:

  • To make enough to support myself by writing full-time–not that I don’t genuinely love my other jobs, but…this is the dream, people.
  • To write stories that provide people with an enjoyable escape from reality for a bit.
  • To write stories that I love and am proud of.

I’m actually feeling confident about number three. Really need to work on number one.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ writing hopes and aspirations.

Jess * Deelylah * Torrance * Kris

Monthly Goals Check-In: August 2017

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August is, historically, not a great month for me to get stuff done. I’m not sure why that is. But since Jess Jarman has been coming to stay with me every August, I’m getting more done.

This month I…

  • wrote all my scheduled blog posts and an extra or two
  • went to the Rust City Book Conference with Jess Jarman and Jenny Trout and did panels and a book signing and played Cards Against Humanity and helped name a new martini and had a fantastic time
  • prepped two audio books (I’ll have three done by month’s end)
  • edited two novels (180K)
  • started helping a friend with a new aspect of her business
  • wrote over 21K that I’m really happy with and I still have a few days left of August to make it to 25K.
  • I’ve been working on 3 websites
  • I went to see Billy Joel with Jenny Trout and her daughter

 

Next month, I want to…

  • Release Rewritten
  • Finish all my scheduled blog posts
  • Continue writing daily
  • Finish building the websites
  • Make progress on some re-releases I’ll be putting out
  • Complete the assigned audio preps
  • Complete the spreadsheet for my friend’s business
  • Finally sort out the bedding and purge my clothes
  • Finish two very late Christmas presents

So, that’s it for me. What’s on your list of things to accomplish for September? And be sure to check out what Jess and Torrance are kicking ass at!

The Most Rebellious Thing I Did While Growing Up

I feel as though this blog post is going to be an overwhelming disappointment. Of the five of us kids, I was really the least rebellious.

For instance, I  wasn’t the sibling who relandscaped a neighbor’s lawn with my car and relocated their patio furniture (also with my car) into their inground pool. That wasn’t me. That was my brother who’s two years younger than me.

I also wasn’t the sibling who ended up on Cops (and virtually every news station in the U.S.) because we got pulled over and my girlfriend stole the cop’s car and ran multiple barricades and had to have the tires shot out. That was my brother who’s thirteen years younger than me.

Nor was I the sibling who staged a fake hit and run accident that alarmed the old lady down the road who then called the cops. That was my brother who’s fifteen years younger than me.

Lastly, I wasn’t the sibling who cut off a huge chunk of below-the-ass length hair from the top of my soon to be sister-in-law’s head. That was my sister who’s eighteen years younger than me.

Most of my rebellious transgressions were the civil disobedience kind. And interestingly enough, most of my rebellious acts featured the same person…

  • Protesting and pushing the limits of the flagrantly sexist dress code at the Catholic high school I attended. (I spent a bit of time in detention for that.)
  • Protesting the preferential treatment the football players received at said Catholic high school by staging a walkout of my religion class with my forever friend, Alex Kourvo.  (More detention.)

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    These weren’t our detention outfits. This was just us being cute af.

  • Starting a literary magazine, with Alex and some other friends, and getting shut the fuck down by the administration. Yes, that happened. We put together a chapbook type collection of original fiction and poetry. We all contributed, someone’s dad bought us paper for printing and cardstock for the cover, and we distributed it to students at the school. And we all got in trouble. We were called into the office and reamed out. There was nothing offensive. Nothing problematic. But there were six or seven kids who dared to be creative, and that was a transgression that wouldn’t be tolerated.

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    Recently found a copy of contraband literary journal.

  • A final bit of rebellion was the garage band I was a member of–again, with my girl, Alex and several of our other friends. Our name? Rebell and the Ions. (If you put it together, it spells, Rebellion – get it?)
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    For some reason, the grouper fish was our mascot.

    You may have noticed a bit of a theme here. We’re still amazing forever friends, we’re both still writing, and we’re both still rebelling.

    Also? Neither one of us has been on Cops.

Be sure to check out Jess, Jessica, and Deelylah’s post and see what kind of shit they got up to.

Flash Fiction #64 – Ghost

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This month’s song fic was inspired by Ghost by Halsey. If you’d like, you can read the lyrics here and/or watch the video here. 

“What are we even doing?”

Ryan sighed. “We’re trying to get some sleep because we have an early flight.”

A car drove slowly down the street, its headlights bouncing around the perimeter of the bedroom, and I shifted against the pillow I had propped up against the headboard. In the temporary illumination, I stared down at the man in my bed. My husband, I supposed.

It was weird. Like I was looking at him from a distance despite the fact that if I shifted, I could feel him next to me. But it was still as if I were looking at him through inches-thick plexiglass. Trick of the light or trick of my broken heart? The car fully passed, plunging the room into darkness again.

He wasn’t the same man I’d married. Though, to be fair, I wasn’t the same woman I was ten years ago, either. I knew why I’d changed. If you spend long enough kissing someone whose mouth is always full of lies, it poisons you. Changes your perception of everything around you–even yourself.

I missed the guy I’d fallen in love with, but more and more lately, I was wondered if he ever existed. The soul I’d loved had vanished, and in its place was an empty shell I didn’t recognize. And even more important, I didn’t like him.

His breathing had deepened and evened out as another car passed, illuminating the room again. The white fabric of his t-shirt seemed to glow. He was a ghost sleeping next to me.

But I was done trying to sleep. And I was done swallowing lies.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories. Hopefully, they’re a little more upbeat.

Jess * Kris * Siobhan * Kayleigh * Gwen * Deelylah

Wordless Wednesday: Summer Where I Live

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It’s another edition of Wordless Wednesday, and as usual, mine will probably have words.

There are some things that piss me right off about Michigan, but the landscape isn’t one of them. No matter the season, it’s almost always freaking gorgeous. Here are what some of my favorite spots look like in summer.

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Northern shore of Lake Michigan. We had so much fun swimming in the waves.

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Lake Superior in Gay, Michigan

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Lake Superior in Eagle Harbor, Michigan

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Lake Superior in Gay, Michigan

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Lake Superior in Munising, Michigan

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Lake Superior at Whitefish Point, Michigan

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Sunset on South Manistique Lake in Curtis, Michigan

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Floatie parking on South Manistique Lake in Curtis, Michigan

As you may have guessed, I really like being by (and in) the water. I try to spend as much time by the water as possible in the summer–as long as I have my SPF Vampire handy, that is.

Be sure to check out the other blogger’s posts to see what summer is like where they live.

Jess * Gwen * Kris * Paige * Jessica

Promptly Penned: One Last Time

promptlypenned

Prompt: S/he gripped the rim of the porcelain sink and tried to steady her/his hands.
“One last time,” s/he whispered to her/himself. “One. Last. Time.”

(I owe anyone who reads this an apology. I couldn’t think of anything until my husband made a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad suggestion. And of course, my brain decided to run with it. I’m so, so, SO sorry, you guys.)

 

Michael gripped the rim of the porcelain sink and tried to steady his hands. “One last time,” he whispered to himself as he dipped his fingers into the thick, white goop. Cringing, he began to smear it over his face and neck, covering every inch of visible skin with a slick layer of greasepaint.

He would have rather have used white foundation, but the greasepaint had a particular scent. One that would hopefully linger, long after he’d finished the job. At least, his employer insisted that would be the case.

Next came the red and black paint. He applied it to his face, trying to make himself look as much like the faded, ragged polaroid as possible.

“More red.”

Michael stiffened and looked in the mirror, toward the corner where the voice had come from. It was too dark to see much, but he knew Bill was there. Bill was always fucking there.

“Got it, Boss,” he muttered, dipping his brush into the red paint pot and adding a wider layer around his mouth.

“Don’t forget to outline it. Looks creepier that way.”

Michael nodded that he’d heard, and continued applying the paint. When he was finished, he dragged the motheaten wig onto his head, tucking in any hair that peeked out. He adjusted the stained ruffle around his neck and pulled on the gloves that hadn’t been white in years.

He glanced at his reflection and then toward the darkened corner. “One. Last. Time,” he reminded himself and Bill. Turning toward his boss, he picked up the recently sharpened carving knife and walked toward the back of the room and his employer. “Tonight’s the last one, Boss. After this, I’m out.”

The dummy’s eyes glinted, and his mouth opened, the splintered wood clacking as its jaw moved. “Last one, Mikey. Now, get moving. The show must go on.”

This is more than enough from me this week. Please read Jess and Kris‘ stories to wash away this awfulness. And again, I apologize for the fucking clown and dummy. I deserve whatever nightmares I’m plagued with tonight…

Flash Fiction #63 – Beach People

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42086649 - beach, party, summer.

“Emily! C’mon! You’re missing all the good shots! I want pictures with all my bridesmaids!”

It wasn’t that I didn’t like the beach. I liked it fine. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be there with Rosalind or our other friends. I liked them just fine, too.

“I’m coming. Hold your pants on!”

I liked the beach.

I liked my friends.

But I’d been in love with Rosalind for the last three years, and watching her getting ready to marry Brad was nothing short of torture.

That’s it for me today – super short flash fiction. Be sure to check out Jess and and Siobhan’s stories, too!

Cover Reveal: Rewritten

You guys! You guys! Look! Look what Norris made me!

Looooooooooooooooook!

LOOK AT IT!

It’s my precious…

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My next installment in my and Jess Jarman’s Bound series will be out this fall!

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