Flash Fiction Friday

Hi there! I’m participating in a fun flash fiction challenge on Instagram, and I wrote up this 499-word story this morning, inspired by the prompt “Wicked”. Let me know what you think! 💅

Tittering at a worn, wooden table in the middle of a cottage sat two sisters. A third young woman, the eldest of them, Sulea, stood in a haze of fragrant fumes as she mixed drinks. The scent of juniper, bitters, and burnt marshmallow hung on the air, and the clank of spoon against glass rang out. Outside the moon was sickly-white; the light shone through the windows. Sulea’s hands were steady as she stirred, yet her stomach coiled with anticipation.

“Did you see their faces?” The youngest, Fehna, giggled and wiped tears that had spilled onto her acid-green skin. “Those idiots never saw us coming!”

“I love how that one was just so surprised. His face…” the middle snickered. Her skin was the darkest shade of green, and it couldn’t be exaggerated that she was the most wicked.

The three broke into laughter again.

Sulea set the glasses down and took her seat at the table. She raised her own drink triumphantly, the billowing black of her sleeve hanging off her cuff with an elegant—if threadbare—fall. They’d never been wealthy, but that was about to change. “We got what we went for. It’s only a matter of time before we rule all.” With that rule would come not just wealth, but power.

Without mentioning it, the three synched their glances into the other room. On a crude, handmade bench sat a pair of glittering slippers, sequins winking in the moonlight.

“So beautiful,” Fehna whispered. She pushed up from her chair, just a little, as if she were going to rise.

“Don’t,” Sulea snapped. “You know how dangerous they are. Don’t weaken yourself.”

I’ll have to watch her carefully. Sulea thought. She’d already allowed herself to weaken, already let her foolish heart soften for another, let her power dwindle with her vulnerability. Letting yourself be mesmerized—by lovers, or even enchanted tools—was the surest way to suck your magic dry. Her throat clenched with hatred, and she forced a smile on her face. “Now, let’s drink to us.”

“The wickedest sisters of all!” the three said in unison, clinking their glasses, and downing a long pull of the cocktail.

After a minute, the middle sister said sharply, “What’s in this?” Her skin appeared to be lightning, her chest rising rapidly.

Fehna’s eyes slid to Sulea, wide, but with an admiring glint within. “Did you poison us then?”

“Of course not you.” Sulea scoffed, jabbed her green finger—still caked with blood to her left. “Her.”

They both looked at Glinda, whose skin was smudging out at the sharp edges, turning as milky as the moon. Her hands wrapped around her throat as her wickedness choked out of her. “Why?” she managed weakly.

“Him.” Sulea said. Her heart thumped inside her chest. Revenge would make it harden again. “Get out.” Before I kill you.

And Glinda did, escaping into the moonlight, tripping as she ran out into the woods. Leaving two sisters, laughing at the worn, wooden table.

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Book Review: Rise of the Phoenix by Jamie McLachlan

Rise of the Phoenix (The Memory Collector Series, #3)Rise of the Phoenix by Jamie McLachlan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rise of the Phoenix is the third and final book in the Memory Collector Series. It follows where we left off with Moira, the empath, and Keenan, the detective, trying to solve the twisted games of the serial killer The Phoenix before another person is killed—or forced to commit suicide. Right away we are thrown into this fantastical world where people can alter emotions, read minds, and even “play” in the landscape of the minds of others (seriously, how cool is this? What would YOUR mind look like inside?).

There’s plenty of sexual heat, suspense, and so many twists I did NOT see coming. I was so connected to the characters by this point I was devastated when certain things happened to certain people. No spoilers but I kept thinking I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING??! It was a roller-coaster of emotions for me, which is the mark of a great suspenseful read, I think. I messaged the author (my pal Jamie) to ask how she could do this to me? lol. My nerves were shot at a few spots.

This is a spectacular series, and a great ending to a story that I thoroughly enjoyed. 4 solid stars. Fans of dark fantasy, sexy romance, independent bad ass heroines, and more will love this. I received an advance copy of ROTP in exchange for an honest review. I very much enjoyed this book, and the way it concludes the trilogy.

Pre-order your copy now, and if you haven’t already please check out #1 & #2 in the series. You can also purchase the 3 e-book set for $11!

Visit Jamie’s website for a free excerpt of the story, and to keep informed of all her upcoming projects! Trust me, you don’t want to miss what she’s cooking up next.

View all my reviews

Calling Book Bloggers & Reviewers!

Hey there!

If you guys recall from my last post (and numerous posts before that ha ha) my short story collection Beach Glass & Other Broken Things will be released in late April. I’m looking for book bloggers and reviewers who are willing to post their honest reviews to places such as Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, kobo, itunes, Facebook, or a personal website or blog. The more places you post, the better!

I’m happy to send an advance reader copy (ARC) once I get my proofs and also happy to sign them. If you’d prefer to have it sooner, and don’t mind an email copy, let me know and I will send it as soon as I get my edits back!

To remind you what the collection is about, here’s my working synopsis:

From the author of Ditch Flowers comes a collection of twenty-eight stories about women on the cusp of becoming who they really are. These stories highlight the complexities of girls and women at a crossroad in their lives, from a transgendered teen struggling with her reality, to an eighty-four-year-old grandmother falling in love for the first time. In one story we meet a victim of domestic violence who makes her escape, in another, a woman grieving the loss of her husband by suicide finds comfort with an unlikely life coach, and in another, a pre-teen girl tracks down her absent father, only to find he’s made a whole new life without her. Beach Glass & Other Broken Things delves into unimaginable loss, and unbreakable hope. It celebrates women who are happy, those who are broken-hearted, those who are saving themselves, and those who allow themselves to be saved.

Included in the collection are four previously published short stories: Running, Rousseau, Clementine, and How to Get Unstuck. The first three of those are all available FREE (check the Store tab) so if you want a taste of my writing, feel free to go read those! If they pique your curiosity, then the collection may be for you. I should add, because I know people like to know what they’re going to read, that there are stories including profanity, sex, violence, and adult themes. I’d categorize the collection as Women’s Fiction, and different stories have elements of romance, thriller, humor, LGBT, and healing. Yay! I’m really excited about this collection!

If BG&OBT interests you, please let me know by emailing me at authoralinsmeier(at)gmail.com or leaving a comment here. I will have my edits back in March, which I know leaves only about a month to read and review (which I apologize for) however, it is shorter than a novel. At about 40,000 words it’s about the size of a novella so it should be fast reading! Ditch Flowers is 75,000 words if that’s any help.

Thanks for your support you wonderful people! If this interests you, again, let me know, and if you think you know someone who would might like to read an ARC, feel free to share this post. At some point I’ll close off my request when I have enough readers, so hurry up and email me before it’s too late 🙂

Amanda

On Books and Reading

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If I were to tell you I love to read, it probably wouldn’t come as much of a shock. After all, I’d wager many (most?) writers are also readers. I’d guess a lot of us were inspired to write because we’ve felt a deep love for books, because we felt what they were keenly, because we wanted to try to do the same for a reader enjoying our own work. That is at least true for me, anyway.

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading, and loving it. I certainly recall a fondness books before I had any interest in writing them. As a girl, I enjoyed inventing stories about people, but I didn’t realize I wanted to be a writer, really, that I was a writer, until I was 23. I knew I was a reader, and an eager one at that, many, many years prior. In elementary school I remember walking through the hallway of school with my nose in a book, because I just had to finish that chapter, my trusted friend steering me through the passing students by the elbow (Thanks, Nicole!). In high school, instead of studying or sleeping, I would stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning reading a whole book a night. Books were a release for me, and an escape, the same, and yet different, than writing.

You will never hear me claim to be a great reader. I am a little embarrassed to admit I don’t read widely. I’ve only read a handful of the classics, and hardly any of the really popular books on bestseller lists. This isn’t because I’m snobby about my reading, simply that I would rather re-read a favorite any day. I suppose I’m the opposite of adventurous when it comes to reading. I do read new books, but it’s the old favorites that hold a special place in my heart. I don’t care how nerdy that makes me sound! If I love a book, as in deep-down in my bones, love it so much I would get a tattoo in its honor (been there, done that, true story) I will read it five, ten, twenty, fifty, even a hundred times. Yes, I think I’ve actually read some of them that often. Some people find that boring. My husband teases me. “How can you read the same book again? Don’t you know what happens?!” And to him I answer, with loving snark, “I see you’re enjoying cheesecake again. I thought you already had that once? Don’t you know how it tastes?”

Re-reading a favorite book is like visiting with an old friend. It’s cool if that’s not how you see it, but I find it comforting. No matter how many times I’ve read my favorites, something still surprises me each time. Reading my favorite books from years ago now, through the eyes of a writer on top of being a reader, well, that’s even more special. I love falling back in love with the books I so admired as a child.

As a writer, I find myself envious of the talent these authors have, of the emotions they can invoke in me after I’ve read their words so many times I have whole passages memorized. I find myself trying harder to be just a fraction as good as they are. To someday hope someone will feel that way about what I write. And I appreciate my books more than ever now, because these days I just can’t devote the time to reading that I used to. I don’t know any mother of three who would willingly stay awake until 2am when she didn’t have to! Alas, my darling books get dropped lower on the list these days. I can’t read a whole book a night anymore. So no, I don’t read widely, or greatly, or quickly these days. But, I read passionately. I would not be me without the words that have shaped me, from my father’s poetry, to Harry Potter, to Pride & Prejudice, to historical romances, to fairytales, to the Little House books, to my favorite novel ever, Beauty by Robin McKinley. All of these, my old pals, inspired me then, inspire me now. And that’s only naming a few. I have many, many more book friends. (You can find out more in my ever-expanding Library page in the menu.)

Now, I’ve got a stack of books on my nightstand. Fourteen of them, plus a Kindle, to be exact. And that’s just on the top shelf. And yes, I counted. Depending on my mood any one of these might make it into my hands tonight, and be the last thing on my mind before I fall asleep. It’s exciting, I think, not knowing which one I’ll choose yet. And I can’t help but think how very fortunate I am that there are just so many there, right at my fingertips. If I were to walk out to my living room, there’d be a whole bookcase full. And if I waited till I got to work- at a public library- well, it’s practically a whole universe of possibility.

We are so very lucky, us readers, to love books like we do.

Tell me, are you a book re-reader, or no? If yes, which are your tried and true favorites?