Thursday, December 10, 2015

Madison's Avenue - Deleted Excerpt

Today's muse: I am trying to get back into my photography and have reinstated my blog at 365 Project. My dear friend, who is in charge of kicking my butt to continue writing and finishing Madison's Avenue, posted a photograph of an old key. Which reminded me that the muse for Madison's key is this:

365_Key on 365 Project

This is the key to my inlaws's home. The moment I saw it, it invoked mystery and famly secrets. It was the starting point for Madison's Avenue. But, as any writer will tell you, the book (and Madison's character) took me along a different path and the key scene has been deleted.

This is how it used to read:

* * *

Madison's Avenue - Deleted Excerpt

Madison wandered back into the living room. Wine glasses, tea cups and dessert plates scattered the room. She pulled the papers from the envelope, frowned at her grandmother’s sloped handwriting.


You were small and scared when you came to live with us. It was a long time before you trusted. No surprise, given the terror you had lived through. Your grandfather and I raised you as though you were our own. Perhaps it was the fates giving us a second chance, to have something good come from such evil. I don’t know if we succeeded, but I do know that we are proud of you. We couldn’t ask for a more loving child.

It was a blessing that you couldn’t remember; we thought the life you had before was best forgotten. Now, I’m not so sure. Perhaps it is better that you understand your past and know that, despite everything, you are a strong woman. A survivor.

I cannot bear to know that you will not forgive me, forgive us, for keeping the truth from you. Even hiding behind these written words does not give me the strength to say what I need. Instead, I will do the only thing I can. I will send you home.

Open your heart and listen. Hear the whispers of the past and trust. Trust yourself, Maddy. I hope, one day, you will trust enough to forgive.


The air whooshed out of Madison’s lungs, blood thundered in her ears. She tilted the envelope; a key, heavy and old, dropped into her hand, leered up at her like a toothless Carny.

Long-forgotten memories slammed into her: the stench of stale booze and cigarettes, his rough hands pressing her down into the worn mattress.

Madison stared at the key that opened her childhood home. How could Nana expect her to forgive?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Still a Rose

Still a Rose

Rose seldom made eye contact, talked to no one. She sat alone in a cubicle meant for four secretaries. She sat alone because no one wanted to share a space with her.

Rose’s name did not befit the aroma that hovered around her. It shrouded her like Pigpen’s dust cloud; omnipresent and foul. Everyone talked about her, but avoided engaging in any actual conversation with her. After all, it’s difficult to talk and hold your breath at the same time.

The complaints to Human Resources could no longer be ignored and Rose was walked out the door under the premise that her job was obsolete.

The thing is, the smell lingered.

A cleaning crew was called in to disinfect the area, scrub it down. They sprayed the carpet tiles around her desk, replaced her chair.

It still stank.

A second crew came in and ripped out her desk, even emptied her filing cabinets.

“Jesus, fuck!”

Eric took two steps back, dropped the garbage bag he had pulled from the last drawer.

“What?” Frank walked over, peered inside. The stench was overpowering and he gagged. “What the hell?”

Eric pulled his t-shirt over his nose, opened the bag to get a better view, though he immediately regretted that.

“What is that?”

“Not what." Frank swiped his hand over his mouth. "Who.”

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Cover Up

Today's muse: First 50 Words

Today's prompt: Cover Up

* * *

Cover Up

A trickle of snot leaked down her chin as she stared at him, wide-eyed, frightened. Her lips trembled, but she didn’t cry. Though he refused to acknowledge it, shame fought a losing battle against his arousal.

He tossed a blanket at her.

“Cover up,” he muttered. “We’ll start again tomorrow.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Interview

Today's muse:

I wrote The Fuchsia Bear back in 2009. It was one of my first posts. I have toyed with rewriting it many times, then came across a writing prompt from Sarah Selecky: write from the point of view of something that normally does not have a voice. Without question, I needed to rewrite my bear's story.

* * *

The Interview

“Is this thing on?” I point at the winking red light.

“We’re rolling.” She wears her formal face, but I know she’s excited. She thinks her producer pulled some strings, but the truth is, Barbara is the only one I would talk to.

I shift my plastic eyes to hers. “Where do you want me to start?”

“We all know how it ended.” She flashes her famous You-Can-Trust-Me Smile. “I want to know how it began. Tell me how you met Emily.”

I clear my throat and wonder if I can get through this without getting emotional. “Her parents introduced us.” I pick at the purple fur on my arm. Once soft and shiny, it is now matted and dull with age. “We slept together that first night.”

Barbara glances at the camera, sends the viewing audience a knowing smile. “And, I understand, every night after.”

It is difficult to hold back the grin. “Yeah, but most nights I slept propped against the pillows.” I drop my voice as if the entire world won’t hear me. “She kicked a lot back then.”

“But it wasn’t always like that.”

“No, it wasn’t. On the nights I did sleep next to her, Emily kept one arm wrapped around my throat in a stranglehold so tight I could hardly breathe.”

“And you still managed to wake up on the floor every morning.”

Whether it’s habit or loyalty, I defend the only girl I have ever loved. “It wasn’t because she didn’t care.”

“No, of course not.” Sarcasm is thick in that short sentence. “Yet, you weren’t exclusive.”

“There were others,” I admit. “At least once a week, one of them would share our bed.”

“You never felt threatened?”

I shrug. “The others looked up to me—still do. Mostly because I know everything. And I mean everything.” I lean forward, rest my elbows on stubby legs. “The moment she got home, Emily would run up to our room and debrief me on her day. She trusted me with classified data; the kind of information that can’t be passed on to just anyone.”

“Give us an example.”

I smile. “I can’t give you specifics. Let’s just say she kept detailed dossiers on those who didn’t play well with others, and lengthy reports on what went down at recess. I know where it’s all hidden. It would humiliate a lot of people if those things were made public.”

“What other secrets did she ask you to keep?”

I shake my head. “Come on, Barbara. You know I can’t tell you that.” It doesn’t surprise me that she tried. Everyone does. “It’s part of the Code.”


“That’s right,” I confirm. “The Silent Code of Teddies.”

“Surely some bears break the code.”

“None that have lived to tell the tale.”

Barbara stares at me, her eyes wide. “You don’t mean…”

I cut her off with a wave of my paw. “How would you feel,” I ask her, “if your bear shared your secrets?”

She straightens in her chair. “I don’t have a bear.” Her eyes dart around, refusing to meet mine.

“Barbara.” I wait until she looks at me. “Barbara, we both know you have a bear.”

“I was a child.”

“He still knows your wishes. You have a lifelong bond that will never break. He still knows when you hurt.” I lean forward. “He still cries when you do.”

She stares at me, her eyes bright with hope and need. “He does?” No longer a world-renowned reporter with a voice of steel, she is now eight years old and needs to cuddle.

“Yes, Barbara, and he always will.”

She looks down at her papers and I know she is collecting herself. I do what I know her bear would do and I wait in silence.

When she is ready, she looks up. “We may edit that part.”

I shrug. “As you wish.” But I know when she reviews the tape, she’ll leave it in. She’ll leave it in because it’s good for ratings. More important, she’ll leave it in for her bear.

Composed now, Barbara carries on.

“Tell me about your amputation.”

“What? Are you referring to this?” I run a paw across faded pink yarn stitched into the right side of my head and snort out a laugh. “She chewed my ear off. It’s no big deal.”

“Did it hurt?”

“Not at all.”

Barbara sends me a dubious look.

I cross my legs. “Bears don’t feel pain the same way humans do. It’s part of our training.”


“Fluff Camp,” I explain. “Six intense months before we’re shipped for retail.”

“What does your training cover?”

“We’re expected to be fluent in at least three languages, including Newborn. We also take psychology and learn to deal with sleep deprivation. And, of course, there’s etiquette.”


“It’s important to know how to dress for and behave at special occasions.”

“Such as?”

I smile as memories whip by. “Emily used to throw these extravagant tea parties and I went to every single one. Who wouldn’t? I mean, everyone was there: Kenny and Barb, the Rangers, some of the Care Gang. Emily’s parties were always formal.” I let out a quiet laugh. “And she’d make me wear that gaudy, orange hat. It clashed with my fur, but it made her happy when I wore it.”

“You changed for her. Were you resentful?”

“There wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for that girl. Everyone said we’d grow apart, but that never happened. In fact, we became closer the longer we were together. We’d spend hours together in our room discussing everything.” I tick off the topics on my three-fingered paw. “The pain of love, the torture of betrayal, how our friendship helped each other heal.”

“And she still left.”

I drop my short arms and sigh. “Yes. She left.” I shift in the chair, my worn feet just touching the edge of the seat. “Things have changed in the last few months. There was a time when my days were filled with her laughter and tears, her songs and stories. But lately, my days are empty, passed in solitude, lying prone on our floral bedspread. Alone.” I swallow the lump that blocks my breathing. “Lonely.”

The crew is silent. The only sound in the room is the quiet hum of the camera.

After a few moments, Barbara gives a small cough. “When did she leave?”

“Last week.” My throat is tight. Dammit, I don’t want to cry. “She left for college on Friday.” I feel hollow, as though the very stuffing that lets me live is now wrenched from my fuchsia body and I am nothing but a dishevelled casing.

I look up at Barbara. “I’m not naïve. I know how this ends. I’ll be boxed and sent to a charity to live with other abandoned stuffies. We’ll remember the days when we were loved, boast of lavish play dates, each tale more embellished than the last.” My mouth stitching curves up in a rueful smile and another thread pulls loose. “No one will talk about the end.”

I look into the camera. “But in the dark hours, when the lights are asleep, and I am not, I will remember how she wrapped her arms around me and hugged me close while she dreamt.”

Barbara’s eyes are bright and wet. “You don’t forget, do you?”

“No. Never.” I press a worn paw against my purple chest, just above my polyester heart. “And we pray you never forget us.”

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Madison's Avenue - Excerpt

Today's muse: A.B. Funkhauser, author of Heuer Lost and Found, tagged me on Facebook in the 777 game: post seven lines from page 7 or 77 from your current WIP. Here are seven lines from MADISON'S AVENUE (chapter 5, page 77).

* * *

Madison's Avenue - Excerpt

The smell slammed into her, and she cupped her hand to her mouth to keep from retching. Not the usual smell of cigarettes, this was different—this was the metallic tang of blood.

It’s a dream, just a dream. The knowledge of that pierced through the haze and she remembered that Dr. Eagen had told her she could walk away from her dreams, make the choice to change the ending.

She knew where she was and what was about to happen. Everything inside her told her to run. Then she heard her name.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sugar Beach

Today's muse: This photograph, titled "At the Sugar Beach", by Summerfield.

(You can view her photography at her 365 Project Site.)

at the sugar beach on 365 Project

* * *

Sugar Beach

“Get up.”

Charlie Fischer’s hiss was barely audible above the crash of waves, but Earl Ashton heard it well enough.

“I just need to get this shot.” Earl did not bother to hide the sigh in his voice. Less than an hour ago, the sand was pristine, smooth as glass and now…well, now it was a complete clusterfuck.

“Forget it. You won’t get a good shot now.” Charlie scrubbed a meaty hand over his face. At least the bride and groom had a few decent pictures.

Earl peered through the lens. “I have to try.” More than a hundred people had trampled over the beach front. How the hell was he supposed to get a good shot? “They shouldn’t have let a rookie look after this site.”

“Don’t I know it.” Charlie glanced over at the guests who were waiting just beyond camera range. “They don’t seem to be phased by it, though.”

Earl shrugged, snapped another picture before standing up. He brushed pale sand from his suit—a suit he had purchased only last week; his fourth suit in two months. “Weddings are boring. This…” he swung his arm in a wide arc, then peered through his camera. “They’ll be talking about this for years.” He focused on the white chairs. Click. The pink umbrellas. Click.

“We’ll need pictures of all the guests.”

“Yeah.” Earl sighed. “I hate that part. They never cooperate.”

Charlie glanced over at him. “Should they? I mean, it’s a happy occasion. They’re here to have fun. They don’t want to stand still while we snap pictures.” He leaned over a snow-white chair, squinted against the bright sun. “Hey, Earl, did you get a shot of this?”

Earl wandered over to stand next to his partner, leaned in to look at the red droplet on the wooden arm of an Adirondack.

“Shit.” He focused, snapped two pictures, stood up. “Why don’t you clear out the guests so we can remove the body.”

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Today's muse:

We had a health fair at work on Thursday. It was, to say the least, enlightening.

* * *


The cuff squeezes my bicep, compresses like a vice. As the blood pressure monitor whirs, Cheryl—one of the nurses on the Health Fair Team—notes the results of my glucose and cholesterol tests.

As she writes, and the machine chugs along, I stare out the thirty-eighth-floor window of my office tower and recall that about two years ago, my doctor insisted I go on stress leave. Back then, my blood pressure was one-sixty over ninety; considerably lower than when I went to the hospital just a few months prior to that with chest pain. After some serious discussion, we agreed to try rest and meditation, rather than medication. And I managed to bring my blood pressure down to one-fifty over ninety.

Although most of my stresses remain looped around my throat like a noose, I have managed to reduce a couple of them. I feel pretty good—I don’t feel any different than I did when I was hooked up to wires and a heart monitor while I jogged on a treadmill and took the stress test. So I’m pretty confident that my results will be reasonable, if not good.

When the machine beeps, Cheryl glances at the numbers then looks at me.

“Do you want me to call nine-one-one?”

“What? No! Why?!”

“I’m giving you the choice to let me call.” She points at the machine. “Your numbers are high. Your systolic is one-seventy-seven. If it was one-eighty, I wouldn’t give you the choice. I would just call.”


“You should make an appointment to see your doctor. Get some meds to get it under control.”

I nod. Yes. I should. But I don’t have time. And isn’t that the problem…that there’s never any time? Time to finish my work at the office, though I average a ten-hour day. Time to look after my in-laws who have dementia and Alzheimer’s and won’t be with us much longer. Time to visit my family who live a five-hour-drive away. Time to finish the novel I desperately want to write. Time to dedicate to my small business that I have neglected.

Time to take care of myself.

“I’ll make an appointment,” I promise her.

And I do. My appointment is next Friday. In the meantime, I have taken my blood pressure twice since seeing Cheryl. The readings continue to be high. One-seventy-four over one-fifteen. One-seventy-five over one-seventeen.

I have done some research and these numbers are not good. In fact, they’re pretty bad. And now I’m afraid to see my doctor.

I’m afraid that he’ll put me on mandatory stress leave, and I’m not prepared to leave my desk for more than the vacation that I have planned for next week. I’m afraid to let down my boss and my co-workers, leave them short-staffed when our office has just announced a new protocol for no coverage while staff is away.

But, mostly, I’m afraid that everything I have read is true, and I won’t even get to see my doctor.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wing Man

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Today's Words: absorbed, deeply, frantic

* * *

Wing Man

“Do you see that woman? Next to the newspaper stand?” Frank points with his chin across the street.

Gerald nods. Of course he sees her. Who wouldn’t? Legs that seem to stretch up to her throat, tits that beg to be cupped by his hands.

Absorbed in his fantasy, he imagines brushing his thumbs across hard nipples, her head dropping back on a moan. “You think she’s the one?”

He tilts his head, tries to picture her in something other than the yoga pants, snug tee and worn runners. She’d look good in a halter dress and heels.

Frank folds his arms across his chest. “She’s an accountant. Works at one of the top firms.”

Gerald does not question how his friend knows this. Frank is a god when it comes to picking out women. It’s why he asked him to be his Wing Man. After all, when you’re looking for your next mark, you don’t want to waste a lot of time. Get it done and done fast.

Gerald watches her trot in place as she waits for the light. It’s not just about looks—though she has it in spades—it’s about personality and a willingness to…shall we say…play along. And Frank is gifted when it comes to pinpointing this important trait.

Gerald watches his next conquest jog across the street, zigzagging through pedestrian traffic. She makes eye contact when she passes them. Her full lips curve up in greeting as she continues on her run.

Oh, yeah, he thinks, she’s the one.

“You think she’ll be into it?”

Frank snorts out a laugh. “Come on, man. How long have we been doing this?”

“Two years, five months, two days and…” Gerald glances at his watch. ”Eleven hours.”

“You are deeply disturbed, my friend.” Frank shakes his head at Gerald’s laugh. “You scare me sometimes.”

Gerald ignores the frantic pounding of his heart, slips his hand into his pocket, fingers the cold steel of the knife. His cock twitches as his thumb rides along the blade.

“Just imagine how frightened she will be.”

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Edge

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Today's three words: intimate, jagged, thirst

Thom G knows that I write erotica. I swear he picks these naughty words just for me.

* * *

The Edge

Lips—a breath away from hers—whisper intimate details that promise pure bliss. Each teasing stroke brings her closer to that jagged edge where she knows her thirst will be sated.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Today's words: annoyed, hushed, pain

* * *


He had that annoyed look that said he had a bad day at work. He always had that look.

Momma fussed over him, made him a drink, cooked his favourite dinner and laughed when he told his stupid jokes. Me, I sat real quiet at the table and didn’t say nothing. I did my homework real fast and went to bed early.

That’s when they started yelling. It got louder and louder and I tried to pull the covers over my ears, but I could still hear them. Momma begged him to stop. She was crying and I wanted to help her but she told me so many times never to come out of my room if they were fighting. She said it was for my own good.

So I waited for a long time. And then it got all hushed.

I stood by my bedroom door and waited until I heard the front door slam. I ran down the hall to the living room and Momma was lying on the floor. Only this time, she didn’t move.

Now I’m living with a new family. And I have this pain in my stomach that won’t go away.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

The words: Docile, Inflict, Whimper

* * *


The flat of his hand came down a little hard. Not too hard—just enough to inflict that delicious tingle between pleasure and pain. It made her wet.

Laura maintained her docile persona while his hand hovered over her ass. She thought the heat from his palm would ignite the delicate skin already tender from his discipline. She wanted to groan when he slapped her again.

Instead, she let her imagination veer to candle wax, and a stifled moan escaped.

Mistaking her whimper for a plea, he stopped. “You know the safe word.”

She arched her back, raised her hips. Tilting her head, she looked up at him. Her lips curved in what most would think of as a smile, but he knew it was a challenge.

“I forgot it,” she whispered.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Over a Barrel

Today's muse: This is a true story. No names have been changed. The whole scenario happened, except for the last line.

I swear.

* * *

Over a Barrel

I follow Roberta into the elevator, press the button for the ground floor.

“Starbucks or Timmies,” I ask her.

Roberta looks up at the ceiling as she contemplates the daily morning query. “Timmies,” she replies.

I nod. I can get my vanilla latte fix at lunch.

The elevator stops at the thirtieth floor and a woman enters, pushing a rather large black barrel on wheels. She positions herself in the elevator, hitches her leather bag over her shoulder.

Roberta says what I’m thinking. “That’s big enough to hold a body.”

We all laugh.

“There are a few people I’d like to stuff in here,” Barrel Woman says.

Roberta and I laugh again. “We can think of a few co-workers,” I say.

The other woman nods. “Getting the body out of the office is one thing. It’s disposing of it that’s the problem.”

I say the phrase I use all the time. “My husband is an undertaker. I’ll help you get rid of the body.”

She laughs hard at this, swipes away faux tears. “Appreciate that.”

I nod. “I got your back.”

We all fade to silence as the elevator moves down. Barrel Woman pats the enormous black bin. “It’s a portable marketing sign.”

Roberta and I both smile. “Oh!” It’s as though we’re both relieved to know that she’s not really transporting dismembered colleagues.

We reach the ground floor and I hold the elevator door for Barrel Woman as she maneuvers her tube.

“Have a great day,” I call out, as she walks away in the opposite direction.

“You, too,” she replies, and disappears around the corner.

I elbow Roberta. “Hey. Maybe we just met a serial killer.”

Roberta lets out a nervous laugh. “Yeah, right.”

We glance back—I don’t know why, and I regret it now—to see a zigzag of crimson drops along the terrazzo floor.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Summer Breeze

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

This week's words: docile, inflict, whimper

This scene has been bouncing around my head for a while now. It won't fit in with Madison's Avenue (or its sequel), but maybe the next book.

* * *

Summer Breeze

It had been nine—no, ten—years since she had seen him. That glorious summer, when Fiona was at the cusp of womanhood, her heart filled with a yearning she didn’t yet recognize.

She had experienced her first kiss. Well, she considered it her first. She figured Tommy Woodrow’s sloppy open-mouthed spasms didn’t count.

Sam had held her face, looked deep into her eyes, until she felt her heart tip. When he lowered his lips to hers, she became weightless. He had tugged at her bottom lip, nipped hard enough to inflict the right amount of pain. She could still feel the tingle that spread through her.

He had pulled her against him, flattened her small breasts against his hard chest, crushed his mouth against hers. His tongue probed, teased. She remembered thinking that Tommy Woodrow didn’t kiss like this. And that her Catholic parents would be appalled to know their little girl wasn’t so docile.

Her body had responded instinctively. She had angled her head, snaked her arms up his back, bunched his shirt in her hands. She sighed when Sam whispered her name, groaned when his hand brushed her breast. Let out a pathetic whimper when he pinched a hungry nipple between his thumb and forefinger.

And she cried when he left the next day without saying goodbye.

Now he stood in the entrance to her studio—a converted two-car garage, re-wired to accommodate her tools. The secluded location meant the neighbours didn’t hear the clang of metal, the hiss of the welder, as she pieced together larger-than-life sculptures with salvaged scrap.

He leaned against the door jam, hands stuffed into worn jeans. A crisp white tee accented muscles now defined with age.

“You look good, Fi.” Sam’s deep, sleepy voice had need arrow straight to her belly and shoot down.

She could still feel his hands on her body, his mouth possessing hers. His warm breath against her ear as he whispered promises he never kept.

“So do you.”

Dammit. So do you.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Vile Bile

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Today's words: devious / frown / venomous

I have a horrible cold. It is consuming me. So, why not write about it.

* * *

Vile Bile

I should have paid attention to the warning, but I chose to ignore the light tickle at the back of my throat. Now, venomous bile has meandered down my throat and lodged itself in my lungs.

My cough is wet and thick; my chest threatens to implode with every bark.

There are forty-two razor blades lodged in my throat. I frown in silence each time I swallow; moaning, I discovered, makes it worse.

My only solace is that I have managed to share this devious virus with my husband.

I shall not die alone.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Late Arrival

Today's muse: First 50 Words

Today's prompt: Late Arrival.

This prompt was suggested by me. I'm so thrilled that Virginia DeBolt chose to use my prompt!

* * *

Late Arrival

Neck-deep in lavender bubbles, Janice dropped her head against the cool bathroom tile. Just a few more minutes, then she’d know.

Would Frank be happy or sad? Would she?

She started when the timer rang; sloshed water over the tub. Janice reached for the stick. Stared at the results.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Crystal Ball

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Word prompts: amicable, frivolous, unrefined

* * *

Crystal Ball

Each house in the quiet subdivision was painted a drab brown, fronted by a postage stamp of manicured green. The few gardens that existed were planted with simple white flowers. No color existed on the street.

“Jesus,” Keith muttered. “It’s like driving through a Sepia photograph.”

He scanned the front of every home as he crawled through the neighborhood, kept his speed under twenty-five. She had said he’d recognize it, that it would stand out. Every fucking house looked the same. How the hell was he supposed to…

Then he saw it.

Bright red siding. Neon-yellow front door. Enormous sunflowers reaching for the afternoon sun.

He couldn’t stop the laugh. “She wasn’t kidding.”

He parked his simple, blue four-door sedan behind her car—a bright yellow eighty-four Volkswagon bug. The only spot of rust, he noted, as he walked to the front door, was at the bottom of the rear passenger-side fender.

Moonflower, Keith decided, was an appropriate name for her.

The self-proclaimed gypsy was the product of hippie parents who had insisted on raising their only child within the amicable confines of a farming compound. She had taught herself to cook—vegan, of course—learned to paint and had discovered she had the gift of Seeing. At least that’s what her website stated.

The door opened before Keith could knock.

Moonflower stood in the doorway, raven curls swirling past her hips, eyes so dark they only reflected hope. She wore a floor-length dress in periwinkle blue, a frivolous number of gold bangles on her left wrist and a serene smile that spoke of knowledge beyond this realm and a promise of unbridled sexuality.

Months of text messages and telephone flirting had bloomed to this. It was no longer a fantasy. Every unrefined thought whipped through Keith’s head and straight down to his cock. She reached out and took his hand, guided him into her home.

“I don’t think I’ll need my crystal ball today,” Moonflower said, backing him into her bedroom. “I already know how this will end.”

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Two of Cups

Today's muse: Sarah Selecky's Daily Writing Prompts

The prompt: Write a scene about tarot cards and a fishing rod.

* * *

Two of Cups

The sun had not yet reached the horizon when he walked across the dock. Each morning, for the last three months, Jerry Walker had followed the same path: tackle box in one hand, fishing pole in the other. A thermos of strong, black coffee tucked under his left arm.

He opened the thermos, took a few gulps. After baiting his hook, he swung back, cast out his line. The high pitched squeal of the line as it released was comforting and heartbreaking.

Fiona had liked fishing.

Jesus. When would he stop thinking about her?

He’d never met a girl who would even think about touching worms, let alone bait her own hook. Fiona was almost perfect. She never understood football, but he could overlook that. His parents liked her. His friends liked her. She was a goddess in bed.

Jerry reeled in his empty line, cast out once more.

But when that fucking gypsy woman had flipped over that card, it had changed everything.

Fiona had stood up, sent her chair tipping back. “The Six of Swords?”

The old woman squinted through thick glasses. “Yes. You are leaving on a journey.”

“No I’m not.”

“But you need to, child.”

He remembered Fiona seemed panicked at the time, denied it a little too much. And then she left. Left him alone. He lived on nothing but Jack Daniels and bourbon for weeks. Played her favorite song over and over. Stopped counting the days.

It had been ninety-one days, eighteen hours and—he glanced at his watch—twelve minutes.

But he wasn’t counting.

And he wasn’t going to catch anything today. Jerry reeled in his line, packed up his tackle box, picked up his thermos. Back at the cottage, he put away his gear, rinsed out his thermos. It wasn’t quite ten o’clock yet, but he poured three fingers of scotch and dropped into a chair at the kitchen table.

He fingered the card he kept in his pocket. He didn’t believe, but why take the chance? He pulled it out, stared at the lovers gazing at one another, each holding a golden chalice. He ran his thumb up and down the female, pure and innocent in her white gown.

As was his habit, Jerry sent a quiet prayer to the Goddess—because, hell, you never know—before slipping the Two of Cups back into his breast pocket. Closest to his heart.

Closest to Fiona.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Change of Heart

Today's muse: Sarah Selecky's Daily Writing Prompts

The prompt: Write a scene that starts with the line, "Next.".

* * *

Change of Heart


Jennifer was now at the head of the line, had been standing there for what seemed like hours.

“Are you going?” The angry woman next to her all but growled the question. “We’ve been waiting, too, you know. You’re holding up the line.”

“I know. I just…” She just what?

Jennifer looked around the room filled with women who smiled and laughed. She could see that a queue had formed out the door; imagined it went down the street and around the block. After all, an event like this only happened once a year. And most of these women had dreamed of it since childhood. She didn’t fit in with these women.

“Honey, don’t be shy.” The assistant—the only man in the room—smiled at her, exposing a neat row of straight, white teeth. “Step behind the curtain. I’ll help you.”

Jennifer glanced behind her. A woman—quite a few years younger than her—seemed faint with excitement. Before Jennifer could ask if the girl was okay, Angry Woman shoved her forward.


“Alright! Alright!”

She had a sick feeling in her stomach. It was the same sensation she’d had when she walked to the principal’s office that time she got caught cheating on her calculus exam. She’d hated calculus. Sucked at it. Who the hell needs to know linear functions?

The toothy assistant pulled the curtain aside and nudged her through, let the drape close behind her. It was exactly what she had imagined, every vision she had conceived since she could read.

And she felt empty inside.

On the other side of the curtain, the crowd erupted in cheers. The first woman must have exited her own curtained room with her selection, Jennifer thought. She knew she should be happy for her, excited to walk out with her own selection, but she just couldn’t bring forth that emotion.

“I can’t.”

With one last glance at the wedding dresses hanging in the curtained room, Jennifer pushed through the drapes. Angry Woman stopped her as she walked by.

“You didn’t pick one?”

Jennifer smiled. “It’s not for me. But the second one from the left will look great on you.”

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Wednesday's words: electric, passionate, savage

* * *


His gaping maw snaps open and closed. My breath catches with every savage clamp. His fight to hold on is passionate, but useless, for I am unable to keep my catch.

With tender hands I dislodge the hook and apologize for the pain I have caused. Sad, electric eyes stare back. He does not understand why I am throwing him back. He wants to stay in the boat.

His long, narrow body undulates in the water. He turns to me, beckons.

“I can’t swim with you,” I tell him.

Playful now, he flicks his fin in the air, gives me a splash.

I reach over for my rod, drop my line in the water.

Okay. Maybe just once more.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Dirty Words

Today's muse: First 50 Words

Today's prompt: Dirty Words (well, to be honest, it was the December 20 prompt)

* * *

Dirty Words

I often hesitate when asked what I write. The standard response is ‘I write Romance’. But the truth is, I write Erotic Romance.

It’s not much different from your run-of-the-mill romance. Girl still meets boy. They fall in love. Live happily-ever-after.

But there is one difference: I use dirty words.

Monday, January 5, 2015


Today's muse: Standing on a crowded train platform. Too many people, too much noise, too many smells. I had a brief flash and to suppress the panic that I was sure was about to swamp me, I spun the image into a piece of prose. I am so thankful I have my writing for therapy.

* * *


He thrust out his hand. “I’m David.”

His smile was genuine, showing straight, white teeth.

“Erica.” She slipped her hand in his, gave a slight pump, then let go. In what seemed like a casual gesture, Erica transferred her drink to her right hand, took a sip. Five years of intense therapy allowed her to perform the ritual without trembling or breaking out in a sweat.

Prior to meeting the wonderful Doctor Gibson, Erica would have stayed home in the dark, rather than attend any social function. Within a year of working with Dr. G, she was able to go to a movie by herself. Of course, if anyone sat next to her, she rushed off to the bathroom to vomit. But the fact that she was out and socializing was an enormous leap.

“How do you know Andrew?” David asked.

“We took some classes together.” Art therapy, but David didn’t need to know that.


Erica nodded. “He has a brilliant eye.” He had taken pictures of her while she set up her own shot. Had printed them in black and white. They were sad and somehow hopeful. She had framed a couple, hung them in her apartment.

They were different from the other pictures taken of her.

“I’ve never seen you at Andrew’s parties.”

“No. This is the first one I’ve been able to attend.” Not because of her schedule, but because it had taken Andrew this long to convince her to come.

She didn’t like strangers encroaching her personal space; didn’t even like people she knew invading it. Erica didn’t like to be touched. She no longer cringed if someone did—she had suppressed that reaction a few years ago—but she didn’t like anyone touching her. Especially men.

Men had touched her before. Doctors, police. And, of course, him.

He had kissed her, rough and angry. Had pinched her nipples until she’d cried out in pain. And when she turned twelve, he told her it was time to be a woman.

“How do you know Andrew?” She forced a smile, just to be polite, pleased that she was keeping up her end of the conversation.

“We went to Boy Scouts together.”

“Oh.” Oh!

David only smiled. “I see Doctor G, too.”

Erica smiled back, and this time it reached her eyes.

David gestured with his glass. “Do you want to sit? Maybe talk?”

It was the first time that Erica had ever felt relaxed around a stranger. More important, it was the first time she’d felt relaxed around a strange man.

She noted that he was careful not to touch her when they sat. She wasn’t sure if that was for her or him. Either way, she was grateful.

David sipped his drink, sat back in his chair. “Andrew and I reconnected in university. We had Spanish together.”

“Hmmm. I’m afraid my Spanish is rather limited. I can ask where the bathroom is.”

David raised his glass in a toast. “A very important phrase to know.”

Erica laughed. “Indeed.”

She bumped her glass against his and their fingers brushed. It was unexpected and she jolted back.

“I’m sorry.” Ashamed, she stared over David’s shoulder, unable to look at him.

“It’s okay.”

Her gazed shifted to his and it was then that she noticed he hadn’t moved his hand. It was still raised in mid-air, as if he waited for her to tap his tumbler again.

And it trembled.

“Oh, David.”

He lowered his hand. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t like to be touched.”

“Me neither.”

He nodded and Erica sucked in a shaky breath. He set his glass on the table, gestured for her to do the same.

“Let’s start over,” he suggested.

Relieved, she smiled at him and nodded.

He held out his hand. It trembled, but he held it out. “Hi. My name is David.”

She hesitated for only a moment, then slipped her hand into his. It was warm and dry. She wanted to pull away and sensed he felt the same. Instead, she wrapped her fingers around his and he squeezed back.

“I’m Erica.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Erica.” He didn’t let go of her hand, kept his eyes on hers, his smile natural and full.

No, Erica thought, the pleasure is all mine.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Curtain

Today's muse: First 50 Words

Today's prompt: The Curtain

I didn't treat this prompt as the beginning of a piece but, rather, a stand alone fifty-word prose.

* * *

The Curtain

Stress has only brought stabbing pain to mine, Tin Man should wish for something else. My spinning brain gives me sleepless nights. You’re better off without one, Scarecrow. And trust me, Lion, being brave is overrated.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Dorothy was right. Go home.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


I know, I know. Where have I been? I've been busy. Too busy. And a little stressed out with it. But I hope I'm back. Thom G's site is my favourite writing prompt site, so it's only appropriate that I start off the New Year with Three Word Wednesday.

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

Today's words: jovial, promise, resolute.

* * *


Today is the first day of the new year.

I won’t lie and tell you I promise to write every day, or even every week.

The fact is, I lead a busy life. I have a frantic full-time job where I put in a lot of overtime. I look after my in-laws every Saturday. This leaves one day a week to myself—to write my novel, operate my small business, socialize with friends and family, and reestablish peace in my soul so that I can start the crazy ritual again on Monday.

It is not easy to maintain a jovial façade. In fact, I am a miserable failure at being happy.

But that ends today. Or, at least, I plan on trying to end it. My parents, gods love them, always told me they only wanted me to try my best. So that is what I will do.

Henceforth (I am a legal secretary), I will try my damnedest to write more often, take more time for myself, and make the time to finish my novel.

And I am most resolute in finding happiness.