Sniffles and yawns

First of all, I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has left me votes on my flash fiction – and an extra thank you to those of you who sent me separate emails to tell me how much you enjoyed it! I stepped well out of my comfort zone on this one in both length and genre and was told more than once that I should expand it into a longer work. So thank you, thank you, thank you! The contest is on for another couple of weeks…I’m doing well, but if you know anyone else who might enjoy it and want to send a vote my way, please pass it along.   (oops. Contest is now closed. But thank you!)

I haven’t done as much writing of my own as I’d like to lately, other than that flash fic. It’s been difficult because I’m used to trying to cram in writing every single spare second, and I do believe that I should do at least a little bit everyday. The problem at the moment is what to work on. Draft three is still out with most of the test readers. I’ve received full feedback from one but I can’t really move ahead on anything until I’ve heard from everyone. Similarly,  I had my second chapter (or rather, the first three-quarters of it) critiqued in class last week. Overall, the reviews were very positive (yay!) and the most common request was to provide “more”. As for the other suggestions, those still have to wait until I’ve heard back from the test readers. I’ve started playing a bit with Book 2 in my head, but aside from a few jotted notes I haven’t been able to write much down for it. I don’t have the full story mapped out in my mind just yet and I’m not exactly one for making huge outlines either. I have a short story that I’ve been working on here and there but it stalled out a bit. I reopened it today to take a look and I may make another go at that pretty soon – perhaps I’ll provide that as my next piece to be critiqued in my class. Having something other than my novel to look at should throw everyone off.

So what have I been doing? Well, a lot of editing. I finished up editing manuscript one for my friend and have now started on manuscript two. I also have critiquing for my class, so it isn’t as though I have nothing to do. And then of course there’s Baby D, who has decided that, since I have a really bad head cold, now would be an excellent time to stop sleeping through the night.

*headdesk*

I’ve been very badly wanting to write for the past several days, even to take a shot at the outline of Book 2 or reconnect with that short, but this head cold coupled with lack of sleep has not been making it easy. Mostly what I want to do is sleep. I’m trying not to worry about my lack of writing-productivity, but it’s not been easy, especially as I’m pretty sure my “me-time” during the days is about to get shortened due to a number of factors. I might have to go back to the 5am consideration…though this morning Baby D was up at 4:30, so that won’t necessarily help.

I managed to write through the summer holidays with Kid A and Baby D at home…surely I can find a way to keep writing now. You know, once I can breathe through my nose again.

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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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