Ask and you shall receive. Sort of.

Further attesting to my sleep deprivation and head-stuffiness: the flash fiction contest is NOT open for another two weeks. Voting is closed, so just let me reiterate once more thank you so much to those who voted, to those who liked it, and to those who asked me to consider expanding it. Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed and see how everything plays out.

Onwards. In my last post (which was yesterday! I know!) I whined noted that I haven’t had any writing to work on lately. Editing (for other people) yes, but no writing of my own, and no real editing of my own projects either. Last night, however, I had my Wordsmiths meeting and the last exercise was to write for twenty minutes based on a visual prompt – in this case, one of three paintings that our chair for the evening brought in. I love these exercises because they force me to write and they force me to write something other than whatever giant WIP I have going on at the moment. Anyhow, sometimes I find these exercises to be a real challenge, particularly if I haven’t slept or if I have a cold, or, you know, both. But last night I just ran with it and what I came up with I can see expanding either into a short or possibly into a longer work. If it looks like it is going to be on the longer side, I’ll have to settle for notes and maybe a scene here or there. The current work has to come first. But for now, it is simmering, and it’s nice to have something writing-related to toy with for a bit.

This morning I was also considering my WIP and managed to get myself very excited at the thought that maybe I could at least start working on the first set of chapters. After all, most (though not all) of my draft readers have made it to at least Chapter 3. Maybe I could get those back at least and by the time I’d made those revisions, my readers would have more for me to work on. Then, just as I was really getting into the little dance I was doing in my head at the thought of getting back at it, the bigger picture occurred to me. This will be fourth draft. I can’t work on it piecemeal. My readers are going to be giving me their suggestions not only line by line but overall – if they want me to change something in Chapter 21 that gets alluded to in Chapter 4, I need to have the whole thing in front of me so that there aren’t continuity errors. I hope that there’s nothing major but I recognize now that I really can’t work on the earlier bits while waiting for later ones.

So much for that plan.

And so, while it seemed like I suddenly had all kinds of writing projects suddenly springing up around me, what I actually have is at least one new thread dangling in front me – or possibly two, since I’m still considering another writing prompt exercise from a couple of weeks ago as well (ooo! Wait…I’m suddenly realizing a possibility for combining those! Hmmmmm.).

 

But hey, that’s more than I had yesterday!

 

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Flash Fiction Contest Entry

This is my entry for Jessa Russo’s Flash Fiction Blog-Hop contest. The parameters: write a 300-1000 word Ghostly Paranormal Romance.

If you would like to vote for my story, please comment with the word “VOTE”. If you want to comment outside of that, please leave it as a separate comment. Only comments with “VOTE” will count (and they can’t be anonymous either!)

Thanks very much for your support! I hope you enjoy it!

The End

Fictional Impulse

Slipping into her shadow was easy now; simple enough even to ensure her absence wasn’t noted. Kenneth remained buried behind his paper or captivated by his bell-jarred ticker-tapes if she mentioned plans to wander their vast garden or check on the child he assumed was his, but she suspected was not. Stay pretty, speak softly, do her wifely duty when he wished, and her life was otherwise her own.

She had climbed the arcing staircase to the sparsely furnished room kept for those rare occasions when guests lingered longer than an afternoon tea. Another flight would take her to her son, a right turn onto the porch with the outer stair that descended into the gardens. She paused, listening for footsteps drawn near, for her husband’s familiar breath. Nothing. She turned her foot and shivered as her shadow opened.

He was intangible as yet, but she saw him still. His autumn locks stole in and out of her vision and his eyes were verdant as springtime, luminous even in apparition. She’d known he’d be here; he claimed the ability to leave the room but was ever waiting when she sought him. She walked into his embrace, letting his arms engulf her before they’d even exchanged greetings. His hands, his lips, his entire self became tangible where he touched her.

His scent of ever-impending rain threatened to overwhelm her as he kissed her hair.

“Clara.” His lips had moved to her brow, his tone hunger itself. “I’ve missed you. I’ve…waited.”

He said no more, but she read his meaning. “I know,” she said, “It’s Kenneth. He hasn’t been away for weeks. He’s home tonight but I…got away.”

A moment spanning eternity passed. “He loves you, Clara.”

She shook her head in emphatic denial. “Perhaps once.”

“No. Even now. Almost always, I am here. I watch. I know.”

“That doesn’t matter.” Not now. It couldn’t matter. She raised her face, kissing him fiercely, stoppering any further discussion of that matter. Kenneth was downstairs nurturing his true love, his business; if he still looked on her with longing, perhaps he should do so when she could take note.

He pulled away, shocking her. He’d never resisted her, since the night he’d first spoken to her from the twilight, to teach her how to find him. “He is mortal. As are you. As was I.  Flawed.”

“He doesn’t love me as I love you,” she retorted. Though he seemed taken aback to hear such a declaration made outside of the intensity of their passion, his expression was gentle. Pleased.

“Even…”

“Even so.”

She knew well what he’d been called, labelled. Demonfae. Witchchild. All for the shape of his ear, the brilliance of his eye. His eldritch nature had seen him hanged in this very room, beaten bloody by those he’d played with as a child now grown into men. He’d been near senseless when they’d pulled the rope through the rafter, believing that strangling the life from him might return vitality to their land. Yet not a fortnight had passed before a windstorm swept away their blighted crops, toppling houses and taking no few villagers in its wake. The remaining fools had died that winter, empty of belly and bereft of proper shelter.

And perhaps he had impoverished the village by some fae magic. Perhaps he had twisted the weather in a curse of vengeance from beyond his death. Her pity had been short had it blossomed at all.

His eyes grew somehow brighter and an unsure grin teased at the corners of his mouth. He pulled her to him, his spirit taking form as they drew together. Tender now, Clara kissed the red welts that marred his throat to underscore the truth of her words. Her breath caught as his hand tightened in her hair, his other slipping down her spine.

“Clara!”

The voice was distinct, far too close. He broke their embrace, the glint in his eye vacillating between fury and panic. Kenneth.

“He cannot see you,” she reminded him, breathing the words into his ear as she traced its elfin point. Nonetheless he stepped away lest her touch lend him a solidity seen outside of these shadows. They watched as her husband passed by the still-open door. Kenneth stepped onto the porch, returning a moment later, glancing up the stairs. He has no idea where I said I’d be, she realized with a fresh rush of hot irritation.

“You must go to him.” His broken voice was the slightest whisper. Already he faded, pulling himself into a place she’d not yet learned to reach. Perhaps never would. “This night he will miss you. It will go badly if you’ve vanished.”

Indeed. It wouldn’t do to have a search launched. She touched his face, bringing him into sharp reality for a single, final moment.

“I’ll come to you again,” she said.

“When?”

“Tomorrow. And I’ll see to it that he thinks I’m to be out of the house. For hours.”

He nodded, risking discovery by holding her face as he kissed her, his embrace swift but swollen with promise.

A single step and he was gone. Out of the house, out of this plane, she couldn’t know.

Kenneth had reached the uppermost storey now, creaking open the door to her son’s room. She turned her foot, slipped out of her shadow and smoothed her dress. Her mortal husband was stepping onto the stair. She knew her duty.

The End

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