“Waiting for True Love” — Flash Fiction, week 5

Allen ran his hand through his short black hair. “They’re not even real.” He turned her back around. “They make a living lying to people, telling them what they want to hear.”

Valentine’s Day is around the corner — what better way to celebrate than with a story about true love? Or is it?

This piece is my week five #52weeks52stories story that is also part of the Voices of the Darkly 800-word flash fiction writing challenge using the prompt “Love after…”.

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Waiting for True Love (rated G, for those who need a rating)

“You can’t be serious.” Allen tried to stop her from packing the final suitcase. “How can one fortune teller make you give up the last four years?”

“I told you what she said,” Rachael snapped. “‘True love will walk up to you at your favorite place during the next full moon.’” She continued packing. “That’s tonight.”

“This is crazy, Rach.” He pulled the top layer of clothes out of the suitcase. “We’re engaged. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?” He grabbed her hands and forced her to face him. “This is already true love.”

Rachael pushed him away. “It can’t be,” she whispered, “not when someone else is out there for me.”

Allen ran his hand through his short black hair. “They’re not even real.” He turned her back around. “They make a living lying to people, telling them what they want to hear.”

“She didn’t know anything about my love life,” Rachael retorted.

“Of course not.” Allen lifted her left hand. “You didn’t wear your engagement ring, so how would she know?”

Rachael jerked her hand back and returned to packing. “You don’t get it Al.” She stuffed the last of her belongings into the suitcase and zipped it. “This isn’t true love. It can’t be.”

A few tears escaped as she walked out the door, leaving behind the tall man with the gorgeous goatee that she’d begged him to grow out.

After lugging everything from her car to her friend’s living room, she walked the short distance to the park. “True love,” she whispered to the full moon, “here I come.”

Her favorite bench sat empty under the pecan tree, so she sat down to wait.

And wait.

She looked down to check her watch before remembering that she left it behind. She didn’t want to bring any reminders of Allen with her, including the silver and gold beauty with an inscription of love.

“Love,” she whispered. “What if-”

A blue blur jumped out from behind a tree, sat down beside her, and took off its hoodie. The short blond hair was quickly hidden by a red hoodie, which seemed to appear out of thin air.

“Who-” Rachael started.

“So sorry. I’m Becca.” She looked over her shoulder, then back at Rachael. “We’re playing Moonlight Madness, but I don’t want anyone to find me.”

“Shouldn’t you hide then?”

Becca laughed. “I am.” She pushed her glasses back up her nose. “The winner is the one who’s best at hiding in plain sight.”

“Right.” Rachael looked around again, wondering if her true love would stop to talk to her with a teenager sitting next to her. “Maybe you should hide somewhere else, then.”

“Please let me sit here with you. I promise I won’t bother you.”

“I don’t…” She saw him walking her way. Tall. Short hair. Face shadowed like the dark side of the moon. “Sure kid,” she whispered, standing. “Stay as long as you want.”

Rachael moved closer to the figure. “True love,” she whispered, heart pounding.

The goatee made her stop in her tracks. “Allen?”

“Rach.”

“This isn’t funny, Allen.” She turned away, but he pulled her back.

“Rach,” he coaxed. “You can’t-”

“Can’t what Allen? Can’t be happy? Can’t have true love because you won’t let me go? Can’t-”

“No,” he said. “You can’t possibly throw away what we have. I love you, Rach.” He moved closer. “I love you. Why would you leave me over what a fortune teller said?”

Her heart pounded, and she pushed him back. “Just go, Allen.”

“You know where to find me when you’ve come to your senses.”

She watched him walk away and wondered if she was doing the right thing. Could the fortune teller be wrong?

“Who’s that?” Becca stood next to her crunching on a chip she pulled from her hoodie.

“No one.”

“Oh.” She grabbed another chip. “You went to a fortune teller?”

“Yeah.” Rachael sat back down on the bench. “I had a gift card for my birthday.”

“Cool!” Becca sat next to her. “My mom always said it’s hard to find love after visiting a fortune teller.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know, but my parents split up after-”

“Found you, Becca!” A red-haired kid wearing a ninja costume jumped out from behind them.

Becca screamed. “Tom! What’s wrong with you?” She tackled him, chips spilling everywhere. “Did I win?” she asked when she had him pinned.

“Almost. We still can’t find Timmy.” He escaped her hold and ran off.

She picked up her empty chip bag and ran after him.

“True love,” Rachael whispered. “Full moon. Favorite place.” She looked around.

And waited.

When she couldn’t keep her eyes open any longer, she started walking back to her friend’s apartment. “I’ll just come back tomorrow,” she said to the moon. “You’re still full tomorrow.”

***

Feel free

Please feel free to leave comments below with your feedback regarding this story! I’d love to hear what you think.

If you’d like to read more, check out the other stories I’ve posted here:

“Poisonous Behavior” — Flash Fiction, week 3

Brenna stepped into the elevator, balancing both coffees in one hand and her office bag in the other in an attempt to locate her keys. She found them as the ding announced the third floor and lifted her elbow in a wave to Naomi as she stepped out. 

I’ve decided not to post all of my stories this year for #52Weeks52Stories, but I will post some of them.

This one (for week 3) is another flash fiction piece written for the Voices of the Darkly group I’m in on Facebook. They conduct a flash fiction challenge every other week with a predetermined topic.

This week: poison.

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Image is a painting by Sharon Freeman.

Poisonous Behavior (PG for those who need a rating)

Brenna stepped into the elevator, balancing both coffees in one hand and her office bag in the other in an attempt to locate her keys. She found them as the ding announced the third floor and lifted her elbow in a wave to Naomi as she stepped out.

“Brought your coffee,” she said, rearranging the items in her hand to carefully set one of the cups down.

“Thanks.” Naomi’s burgundy lipstick clung to the lid.

 “No problem.” Brenna set her coffee down, too. “Naomi? Can I ask you a question?”

 “Sure.”

 “How often do they update that list downstairs? I’m only asking because Jeff’s head of security position is posted. He’s been here for ages, right?”

 “Oh.” Naomi dropped her pen and reached under her desk to retrieve it. “Um, he uh- he… resigned a couple days ago.” She pulled her wavy brown hair from her eyes and clicked her pen.

 “Resigned? I thought he was on vacation. He did get a speeding ticket last week, but other than that he was fine. Did he say why?”

 “He- he didn’t say.”

 “Why would he just leave?”

 “He-” Her phone rang. “Datura Employment Agency. This is Naomi. How may I help you?” She covered the receiver. “Sorry,” she whispered.

Brenna picked up her things and walked down the hall to her office. She jumped when the knob moved before she touched it.

“Late again, Brenna Clary?”

“Mr. Calla?” Brenna looked up into his light brown eyes, which were not as welcoming as they had been a month ago. “I stopped by to talk to Naomi for a minute.”

“Chit-chatting on the job again?” He pointed to his watch. “We had a meeting ten minutes ago.”

“What? We did? I didn’t know.”

“Not checking your emails again?” He stepped into the hallway. “Bring the files and meet me in my office.”

“Which files?”

“All of them.”

“All of them?” she whispered as she watched his perfectly pressed pinstripe suit stride down the hall.

Brenna entered his office trying not to drop the stack of folders up to her ears. “The only ones that haven’t been uploaded yet are from yesterday, but I’m adding them today.” She looked around, and set the stack on one of the empty chairs in front of his desk. “Why did you need the files?”

He motioned toward the other empty seat. “It has come to my attention that your performance at this company has been sub-par.”

“What?” She moved to the edge of her seat. “I don’t-”

“You, Ms. Clary,” he said, pointing to a file on his desk, “have been on my list for three weeks.” He opened the folder. “Loss of keys. Tardiness. Chit-chatting instead of working. Running a stop sign. Dumping grease in the garden outside. Hanging cl-”

“Wait. What? You can’t possibly-”

“Sit.”

She did. “But I don’t understand.”

“Since you were fleeing from a bad relationship, we let your poisonous behavior slide. But this town does not tolerate these actions, and as the representatives who manage employment in this community, it is our job to make sure everyone abides by our expectations.”

“I still don’t understand. How does this-”

He stood up. “Here is your letter of resignation.” He held up a pen. “Sign it so we can dismiss you.”

“Sign?”

“They’re clearing out your office as we speak.” He laid the pen on the letter and pushed it toward her. “Sign.”

Brenna skimmed the letter where she admits to all the work infractions she’s committed. She took a deep breath, and signed the letter.

“Thank you for making this easier on everyone. Please leave through the back exit.”

Brenna rushed down the stairs, tears smearing her mascara even though she tried to keep them in. Two men stepped out from the other side of the delivery truck when the back door closed.

“Brenna Clary?” The younger of the two men motioned to her. “We’re here to pick you up.”

“Pick me up?” Brenna stepped back and grabbed the door handle. “My car’s out front.” Locked.

“Don’t worry about your car,” the older one said. His scar near his eyebrow seemed to speak as his mouth moved. “Mr. Calla has given us our orders.”

She moved away from the door and away from the men, but they were quicker.

“Wait! There’s been a misunderstanding!” she screamed as they dragged her through the small door at the back of the truck.

“Save your breath.” The younger one clamped her wrists into cold metal restraints. “Lucky for you, tomorrow is delivery day.”

“What?”

But he closed the door, surrounding her with darkness.

“Don’t tell me that you resigned, too, Brenna?” a hoarse voice whispered beside her.

“Jeff? Is there anyone else in here?”

“Yeah, but he won’t make the delivery.”

“Delivery?”

Silence. “Jeff?”

**************

Thank you!

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below!

Out with the old… In with the new!

How many of you set goals each year? How many of your goals do you achieve?

I set quite a few goals for 2017, and some of them were successful. I hope to be a lot more successful this year by planning out exactly what I need to do to achieve them. I start by categorizing them, and I continue from there.

Last year, I wrote them all down in my writer’s notebook on January 3rd…

Reading

I didn’t have many reading goals last year, but that didn’t stop me from not achieving them…

2017

  • read 25 books (ummm… I managed 19…)
  • read 1 horror novel (If Shutter Island counts, then I did it!)
  • write 2 book reviews (I wrote one… here.)img_7334

2018

This year, I hope to do a little better.

  • read 25 books (I’ll read 2 books per month, and tack on an extra one during the summer to reach my goal)
    • I’m already one down! I read So B. It by Sarah Weeks.
  • read 3 books from genres outside my comfort zone (science-fiction, high fantasy, and horror)
  • write 2 book reviews (at least one in the first half of the year, and the other in the last half)

Writing

Writing was by far the easiest for me, which means I surpassed all my goals from last year.

2017

  • write 10 poems (I’m not sure why I limited myself in this category since I love poetry, but I managed to write 25 poems and over 80 micropoems on Twitter.)
  • create plans for 5 new story ideas (I do this either by brainstorming, free-writing, or plot mapping — I managed 20!)
  • finish revising first novel (I did this and started on the third draft.)
  • regular writing goals (I keep writing goals with my students, so I create new ones every grading period — most of the time I achieve all my goals.)
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Check out The Wonderful World of Writer’s Notebooks

2018

This year will hopefully be a big year for me when it comes to writing. I hope to have my first novel ready to query by December, and I want to write a new story every week for #52weeks52stories!

  • write 52 stories (I will write a new one each week — most will be flash fiction.)
  • finish first novel (I have quite a few more steps before this task is complete, but I’m working on it!)
  • plot out my MG novel idea (I would like to draft it, too, but I’m not sure if I’ll be ready for that this year.)
  • continue writing goals (I still keep writing goals with my students, but I keep track of them in a Johanna Basford coloring planner!)

Lifestyle

The majority of us have lifestyle goals each new year: “lose weight,” “eat healthier,” and so many more. Our problem is after a week or even a month or two, we lose interest… because it’s not a lifestyle change.

2017

My lifestyle goals last year were simple:

  • meal plan every month (that lasted until June)
  • plan healthier meals (also lasted until June)
  • exercise at least three times a week (I’m not sure when that faded out)
  • keep a positivity journal (ooh… I don’t even know where that journal is…)
  • fix our budget (did, but stopped working on it in June)

At the end of May, some of my family came in to visit… June was only one month of not sticking to the plan, right? One month soon turned into the rest of the year…

So, how what will I change?

2018

Well, there’s nothing wrong with the goals I had last year. The only problem is not planning better.

  • meal plan every month (at the beginning of the last week of each month, we will sit down and plan out the meals for the month on the calendar hanging on our refrigerator — we will make sure to plan for healthier meals)
  • exercise… (I dislike exercising, but I bought a bike this past summer. When it warms up outside, I’ll definitely bike at least three times a week, which will require some warm-ups.)
  • positivity journal (I can do this. It doesn’t take a lot of time to write down the good things that happen daily.)
  • budget (we have already started to re-vamp this… it’s a bit of a process.)
  • family outings (we want to take our kiddos on more outings this year, so we’ll need to work on planning for these)

Crafting

My main crafting hobby is crochet, but I’ve branched out due to my goals from last year!

2017

  • crochet a temperature blanket (a major undertaking, but so fun!)
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  • crochet a virus poncho (no, it’s not a disease — that’s just the name of the pattern)
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  • attempt planned pooling (this is where you get variegated yarn to make a pretty design)
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  • learn a new craft (at the beginning of the year, I had no idea what to choose, but I decided on quilting!)

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    This is only the quilt top (for an I Spy quilt), but I practiced the process with little quilts first.

2018

Since I have big plans when it comes to writing, crafting will take a little bit of a backseat.

  • finish the I Spy quilt (I need the batting, backing, and binding)
  • finish the quilt I’m making my husband (it’s a living room quilt — Star Wars themed)
  • learn how to crochet a graphghan (this has always looked fun to me, so I want to try!)

Next Steps…

My next step will be to prioritize my goals and add them to my weekly planner. I feel that I can accomplish all that I’ve set out to do this year if I plan properly and persist.

What are your goals this year? What did you accomplish last year? How have your goals changed from year to year? Share with me in the comments!

Book Review: Chasing Eveline

As you may have guessed from previous posts, I love Twitter. I have found wonderful writing communities, teaching communities, and people who share my interests, too. Every now and then, interesting tweets will pop up via one of the daily hashtags, and you will have no choice but to acknowledge them.

One such tweet entered my feed in early April from a new author (who also happens to teach and share a similar last name to mine): Leslie Hauser.

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Leslie went on to add: “I place a cupcake in every novel I write!” (Intrigued, yet?)

About a month later, Leslie was asking for readers: a free copy of her novel in exchange for an honest review. Her novel, Chasing Eveline, would debut a few months later (July 2017).

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Having already been interested in her writing, I agreed! Although I didn’t share how many times cupcakes were mentioned when I reviewed her lovely novel, I will share the review I wrote:

Book Review as it appeared on Goodreads

(I received a free copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. I do not know her, nor have I ever met her personally.)

Book Review: Chasing Eveline by Leslie Hauser

Single parent. New best friend. Lost identity. Ivy Higgins has a lot to learn in Leslie Hauser’s new YA novel Chasing Eveline.

Ivy, a 16-year-old who still doesn’t know where she wants to go for college, is lost after her mother walks out of her life. She seeks answers in the lyrics of her mom’s favorite band, “Chasing Eveline,” a (fictional) 1980s Irish rock band.

After seeing her dad slowly become a new person these last two years, Ivy decides that she must reunite the band if she wants to find her mom, which she hopes will also reunite her family and help her father.

Ivy draws you in with her determination to put her family back together, a determination that drives her spontaneous decision-making. Some choices she makes are only half-heartedly supported by her new best friend Matt, who is still obsessing over his former girlfriend Charlotte.

One of Ivy’s wild ideas leads the duo on a dangerous path through the Internet, a place that isn’t as safe as she thought. Their adventure takes you on a spontaneous ride, complete with 1980s music and movies, tears you don’t see coming, and laughter, specifically at a hilarious – albeit slightly disturbing – zoo fundraiser.

Hauser hooks you from the first moment Ivy speaks of finding her mother, and she keeps you reading throughout Ivy’s journey of self-identity and discovery.

I recommend Chasing Eveline to readers who love to be surprised, who love music and movies, who are making new friends, and especially to readers who are trying to find a piece of themselves when a piece is missing.

Connect with the author:

I hope you get a chance to find all the cupcakes in Leslie’s new novel! Here are a few ways to follow her, too:

Website and Blog: “Writer of YA Novels”

Twitter: Leslie Hauser

Goodreads: Author Page

Facebook: Author Page

Have you read Chasing Eveline? Tell me about it in the comments!

I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award!

I’ve been nominated! Woohoo!! I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award! I’ve been nominated for the — wait a second…

What exactly is the Liebster Award?

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The Liebster Award

Questions. I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Dianna Gunn, but I was left with questions. What is this award? Who’s it for? Why pick me? These were some of the questions in my head.

Dianna answered a few of them on her blog post, which also listed the rules. Yes, rules. Rules the nominee has to abide by should he/she choose to accept this award.

I wanted to know more.

From what I can gather, this award originated sometime around 2010. It’s an online award intended to encourage new bloggers as they settle into the life of blogging and build their readership.

We definitely need encouragement. That’s for sure!

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Rule 1: Thanks!

Thank you Dianna Gunn for thinking of me and for nominating me with this award!

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Rule 2: Display the award.

I did this up there! ^^^

Rule 3: Answer the questions.

Dianna asked 11 questions, so I will answer them here!

  1. What is your favorite color?
    • Tie-Dye! I’m not kidding. Josh and I even had a tie-dye wedding cake!img_5954
  2. If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you would do?
    • I would like to say pay off debt or set aside enough for a college fund for our kiddos, but who am I kidding? I’m more likely to upgrade my phone and buy a laptop.
  3. Cats or dogs?
    • So… I used to be a cat person, but I am slowly becoming a dog person.
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      Athena: our almost 4-year-old terrier mix (Staffordshire Bull Terrier mixed with Fox Terrier)
  4. Cake or pie?
    • Cake… Sometimes pie, but mostly cake.
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      Josh’s groom’s cake at our wedding!
  5. What’s your favorite genre?
    • Historical fiction. This is my favorite book in that genre:Image result for the guernsey literary and potato peel society
  6. What’s your favorite series?
    • A tough question to answer…Image result for a modern witch series
  7. Favorite book to screen adaptation?
    • Books are almost always better than their movie counterparts. However, the movie was better this time. (Given, it could be because this one was based on a short story and not a full-length novel, but still…)Image result for shawshank redemption
  8. If you could be any character from a book or movie, who would it be?
    • I think I’d be Hermione Granger. Not only does she get to use magic, but she gets to ride a dragon, too!
  9. Do you read one book at a time or many?
    • Many
  10. What are you reading RIGHT NOW?
    • I’m about to start a Middle Grade fantasy. I checked out four from the library.
  11. What’s the one big thing you really want to accomplish before 2017 ends?
    • I want to have the third draft (yes… I said third) of my novel written by the end of this year.

Rule 4: Random Facts…

Random facts? What in the world do you want to know about me? I’ll try to think of 11…

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  1. I’m semi-ambidextrous. I write with my right hand, but I do most everything else left-handed: bowling, tennis, playing pool, etc.
  2. I’m the oldest of four children.
  3. Only my little brother and I were born in the same state — my parents, sister, and baby brother were all born in different states.
  4. Oddly, only my youngest son and I were born in the same state — hubby and oldest son were born in different states.
  5. I love Judy Blume books, but I haven’t read any in quite some time.
  6. I am one of those weird teachers who can’t wait for school to start again!
  7. I hate having my hair up, but I hate having it in my face, too…
  8. I played French horn in band, and before that I played the trumpet.
  9. I can solve a Rubik’s Cube (I still have to look up the patterns online for the yellow part, though).
  10. I don’t believe in ghosts… sort of…
  11. I can’t play video games with the music on.

Rule 5: Nominations!

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  1. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Dunlap — Lizzie launched a new book last month (second in the series), and she’s working on reaching her readers.
  2. G.R. McNeese — George not only shares his stories with his readers, but he also shares his struggles.
  3. Cori Miller — Cori writes about family, parenting, and the trials and blessings of motherhood.
  4. Remus — Remus writes about writing and how to get a little better at it.
  5. Leigh M. Lorien — Leigh encourages writers with helpful tips on writing and self-care.

Rule 6: Your questions… And some non-question type questions…

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  1. If you could meet any author (alive or from the past), who would you meet and why?
  2. Describe your first happy memory.
  3. What is your favorite scent, and has it ever appeared in your writing?
  4. Describe your favorite place in the whole world.
  5. If you could only listen to music from one decade in history for the rest of your life, which decade would you choose and why?
  6. Describe how it looks outside right now.
  7. What do you remember about your favorite teacher?
  8. Describe your ideal vacation.
  9. If you could live in one fictional world (that you didn’t create), which one would you live in and why?
  10. Describe a time when you wish you had a camera, but didn’t.
  11. What would you do with a million dollars?

Rule 7: List the rules.

Already done, too! ^^^

Rule 8: Inform your nominees!

I linked them in, but I’ll let them know, too!

What now?

That was fun! I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about me, and I can’t wait to hear more about you!

What now? I’d like to hear a few random facts about you. So, feel free to share a couple or answer a few of my questions above about yourself in the comments section below!

Dianna, thank you again for this nomination!

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