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Fiction Friday: In the Snowstorm

For this first Fiction Friday (Fiction Friday continued? Whatevs…), I thought I’d share a quick bite I wrote for the writing class I took in December. Partly because it’s about snow, and we’ve had virtually none this year. I miss snow. *sigh*
Enjoy
, and Happy Friday!


Nick tucked his chin and nose down into the thick woolen scarf his grandmother had knit years ago, and fought to steal a full breath against the cruel wishes of the icy sideways snow that pelted his skin with microscopic needles. Tiny pellets tapped at his rough canvas coat, and stung his legs through not-thick-enough acid-washed jeans. He hadn’t wanted to bother with heavy boots and thick socks for the drive into town, a decision he regretted as he dragged one tennis shoe after the other through two-foot high drifts, his feet already numb and clumsy.

The old Toyota had gone on strike in front of the Meadowlark County Courthouse, an imposing, three-story square stone building to the north only just visible through the fierce flurry biting and whistling at Nick’s ears. A single illuminated globe hanging from a small stone awning cast a wide, reflected glow over the stately stairs and double wooden doors that led inside. It was the tallest building in Juniper Falls, and also one of the least likely to be populated on a Sunday.

Small town Montana had seemed like a good idea last spring. He leaned into the storm and trudged forward to forge a path where he thought the sidewalk went, wishing the cell service didn’t suck.

Southern California was probably nice right about now. Hawaii, too. No storms howling like a wolf through the night, just waiting for its prey to nod off before making a final attack.

Tilting his head to the south just slightly, Nick peered through the ice flakes on his eyelashes across the road at the shadowy outlines of buildings almost completely hidden behind the gauzy static. One church-shaped with a prominent steeple, another flat and squat like an oversized shipping box. Both dark, without even a curl of smoke to wish on. Closed for the winter.

The cold wind-wolf snapped at his head and he stumbled, falling sideways into a deep, soft bank that cradled his body as he sunk deep and rolled to his back. It was quieter inside, the cold not so sharp, the smell of fresh ice reminiscent of snowcones. He stuck out his tongue, tasted the snow-slush, not so cold as he’d been just seconds before.

He should get up, keep moving. Someone would be at the bar.

There was always someone at the bar.


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Storytime: The Dolls of Rosewater Hill

Welcome to Storytime Friday! Unless otherwise noted, everything posted here will be largely unedited draft work, just for fun.

This week’s excerpt is from a story I started last year. It’s a little different from what I normally write, but I’ve had fun with it, and the draft is nearly finished. Meet Adam and Carrie:


Adam couldn’t remember the last time he felt so out of place, standing in the little shop, surrounded by a horde of porcelain dolls, all dressed in various outfits, most elaborate with big fluffy hats and puffy skirts.
Never in a million years had he imagined that he would end up in a place like this. And yet here he was, desperately needing to find three specific dolls.

He approached the glass counter, housing all manner of miniature furniture, tiny dolls, and bits and baubles to go with. No one was standing behind the counter. He tapped the bell beside the cash cash register, wondering how much traffic a shop like this actually got. It must be a terribly boring job to work in such a niche store. Although maybe these dolls were more popular collectibles than he gave them credit for.
The woman who came from the back room didn’t look anything like the coiffed and elaborately dressed dolls on show. Her mousy brown hair was thrown up in a bun with strands sticking out here and there as if she hadn’t had the time or energy to worry about making it smooth. Her eyes were partially hidden behind glasses that could have been cat-eyes but fell just short, and her dress was casual – jeans, a simple light yellow sweater and a white cardigan over the top.

She looked a little agitated, as if she didn’t appreciate being interrupted.
“What can I help you with?” she asked, looking at him as if she felt the same way he did – that he didn’t quite belong. “Are we shopping for a gift today, perhaps?”

Adam shook his head.

“No. I need to find some dolls. Three specific dolls, I mean. I think someone might have brought them into your shop last week. Do you happen to remember buying three dolls from an estate sale? It would have been last Wednesday or Thursday.”

She didn’t even have to think about her answer. “The Rosewater Hill dolls, you mean?” She raised an eyebrow. “They came in last Thursday, and sold on Friday and Saturday. I can get the name of the person who brought them in if you’d like. I can assure you I gave her a fair price. I can get the receipt for you as well, if you’re a family member. I was so sorry to hear of Greta’s passing. She was a good customer with a beautiful collection, but a good friend as well. Do you know what happened to the rest of the dolls?”

“Greta was my grandmother, and I’m sure she’d appreciate your kind words. The will was just read yesterday, and I inherited everything, but my aunt Bernie sold those three dolls. I really need them back. Is there any way that you can help me find out who bought them so that I can offer to buy them back?”

The woman tilted her head and looked at him as if he were a little off kilter.
“What’s so special about them? Which dolls were they, that they’re so valuable?”

“They’re special to me, and I need them back. That’s really all you need to know. Can you help me or not?”

She paused for a moment, and then nodded. “I might be able to. Let me go check in the back. But I won’t be able to give you the information for anyone who’s bought them. All I can do is promise to contact them for you.”

She disappeared through the door behind the counter before he could protest. He waited, tapping his fingers on the glass case. She didn’t understand. No one would understand. But the dolls had something that he needed. Something that would decide the fate of the entire Rosewater Hill estate.


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Talkin’ Books: January 14, 2015

Books Finished:
None

Kindle Books In Progress:
The Indie Author Power Pack
Best Man For Hire by Tawna Fenske

Print Books in Progress:
Invasive Species by Joseph Wallace

Comic Books:
None

I had last week’s post mostly written, and then never got time to post it (or rather, forgot when I did finally get time). Getting back in the swing of things is taking me a little while, but I’ll get it figured out.

Yes, I’m still working on Invasive Species, but I dare say it’ll go faster if my plan to get to bed earlier works well. I’m trying to get to sleep around midnight when possible, which means getting to bed around 11:30pm so I have time to read for half an hour or so before sleeping. Last week didn’t work so well for that, but this week’s been going better. Thank goodness for that, because the print TBR pile by my bed is getting a bit deep. I still have a Pendergast novel hanging out there (Preston & Child), and now I have a new Rollins book too (Tucker & Kane). I really need to kick up the pace! So much yummy fiction…

As for the Kindle, I’ve got the latest Tawna Fenske novel, Best Man For Hire going for lunch hours, and as usual, it’s hilarious and sexy. Good stuff…I skipped the last “for hire” book because it was centered on babies/childcare (I’m sure she still managed to make that hilarious, but just not my boat), but I’d recommend any of her books to anyone looking for a seriously good fictional time. She’ll make you laugh, no doubt about it! She’ll also make you late getting back for lunch if you don’t keep a careful eye on the clock…

The Indie Author Power Pack is a collection of three self-publishing/marketing guides that I’m forcing myself to work through because I really need to pay more attention to the promotional part of publishing. It’s not available as a collection any longer, but the individual books are available and listed on the Amazon page linked above. I’m currently reading the first book, “Write, Publish, Repeat”, and I think you can really just skip everything in the first couple chapters before you finally get to the “meat” of the book (stuff that actually might be useful). The main narrator is pretty long-winded, but he’s amusing at times. He works with two other authors that are mentioned frequently, and I’m fairly certain that were I in a room with all three, Dave (I can’t remember his last name just now) would be my favorite. He seems like the practical one.

Some of it’s pretty common sense stuff, other parts I’ve heard before, but the narrator’s long-winded nature occasionally comes in handy for adding clarity. I’ll be working on this one for awhile – it’s my workout book, so it gets 20 minutes of my time in the evenings…when there’s nothing good on TV, anyway.

So…not much, but plenty, for sure. I have a stack of comic books to catch up on, and since I have a long weekend coming up, I hope to do that then. There have also been some nice freebies out there lately that I snapped up, so no shortage of reading material around here…which is just as it should be.


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