FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: The Stranger

Rainy weather

 

Amy glanced again at the clock on the mantle. Where was he? she wondered. Her friends were wrong. It’s not the knowing that kills your spirit. Its the gut-wrenching waiting and  not knowing that slowly breaks you. When she got the call he was finally coming home, she decided she would just wait.

No judgement.

Just the mind numbing waiting as she counted the raindrops sliding down the window. When is he going to get here? All she had were random letters between deployments. He said it was better if he stayed away, rather than drawing her into his madness. But now he had no choice. Injured, he was coming home and if Amy was honest with herself, she didn’t know if she still loved the stranger he had become.

No judgement.

Having to do something…anything…Amy began pacing back and forth. Never taking her eyes off the rain coated window. Any minute now he would walk up those steps and ring that doorbell. Just like a stranger in his own home. Would she open the door? Of course she would. You can’t just turn your back on thirteen years of marriage like it never happened. But what about the next thirteen? How would she get through them?  Yes, her friends were all wrong. It was the not knowing that ate at her like a poison, until there’s nothing left but crippling doubt. And oh, so many questions.

The sudden peal of the doorbell ringing startled Amy out of her daydream. She’d been staring out the window the whole time, but was buried too deep in her thoughts to see the military car pull up to her curb. A stranger was standing on her doorstep and the time had come for Amy to decide what those marriage vows really meant.

Taking a deep breath, she slowly opened the door to the stranger standing there. All it took was one glance at the fear hiding behind the doubt in his eyes and she knew. 

No judgement.

Opening her arms wide, Amy stepped into her future…

 

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books

They make great stocking stuffers!

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams

HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: The Chocolate Train Wreck

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, was released in November.

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: Hunting Gris’ Gris’

gris gris.jpg

 

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Since book three of my HISTORY’S MYSTERIES coming out in the spring of 2020 will be titled Hunting Gris’ Gris’, I thought I would give you a little “teaser” from the bayou legends of this swamp monster and the mystery surrounding my hometown in southern Louisiana. I promise my chapter book version will be MUCH tamer…

 

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Long, grey strands of Spanish moss wrapped its way around the branches of the old cypress tree, dipping low into the murky waters of the swamp. Dusk was fading fast and the night songs were starting to echo in the wind, carrying with it the stench of rotting vegetation and something else Collin couldn’t quite make out.

His friends dared him to spend a night on the bayou alone. “Chicken” and “scaredy-cat” they’d called him, taunting until he had no choice but to accept the challenge. With all his friends gathering to see him off, Collin barely had time to grab a lantern and blanket before he was hoisted into the back of Tommy’s truck and headed out to the edge of town to be dumped where the bayou beckoned the fool-hearted.

Sinking into the spongy, marshy ground, Collin looked in vain for a drier place to camp and finally settled for the base of the old cypress tress, wrapping the blanket tightly around him to ward off the damp mist rolling across the water in his direction. Using his cigarette lighter to ignite the lantern, Collin could just make out the shapes of turtles resting on a fallen tree trunk to his right and heard the deep, baying sound of an alligator somewhere off to his left.

He thought he’d never be able to sleep at all, but hours later he woke with an ache in his bones from remaining in that cramped position for so long. He realized with dismay the low flickering of the lantern meant it was about to go out, plunging him into a world of darkness, except for the pale moonlight peeking its way through the strands of moss. Collin was about to stand up to stretch his cramped legs when a strange sound came from somewhere directly in front of him.

Low at first, a deep throated growl could  soon be heard ringing throughout the surrounding trees. Collin’s breath caught in his throat as he suddenly remembered every tale Paw Paw had told him about the Gris’ Gris’. A half-man, half-beast born of the bayou, children were told bedtime stories of how the Gris’ Gris’ would come out of the swamp to get them if they didn’t fall asleep right away.

Collin always thought it was just old Cajun tales but as the sound drifted closer and closer, he desperately willed his numb legs to move as he stumbled toward the levee surrounding the swamp. Tripping over a root, Collin felt his breath rush out of his lungs when he hit the ground, momentarily stunned by the force of the fall. Rising to his knees, Collin began to stand up when he felt a hot breath slide across his neck, the stench of rotting flesh causing his stomach to recoil as his scream bubbled through his chest before echoing into the night…

 

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contest prizes

STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST PRIZES

 

*** I’m WAIVING THE ENTRY FEE!!***

It’s now FREE to send your short stories in for a chance to be published in an anthology. 25 winners and 25 prizes! Tell all your young, writerly friends from ages 10-18 to check out the contest rules by clicking on the STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST tab above.

Hurry…entry deadline is Friday, November 15th!

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, will be released in November.

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: A Deadly Silence

tiger.jpg

 

His world was covered in white. Snow deep enough to brush against his belly, the future king followed in his father’s footsteps through the underbrush. Sunlight sparkled through ice crystals hanging from the dense, low branches, turning his world into bright shards of color. 

The young prince could almost feel the coiled energy tightening in the animal just in front of him. He stopped, dropping deeper into the snow as he mimicked the hunter in front of him. Mesmerized, he watched as the king inched his way towards the buck nibbling on the last of the winter berries peeking out from under a blanket of snow. The dead silence hid the king’s intent and the buck savored its last meal in peace.

For a split second the world seemed to hang frozen in time. Springing from his hiding  place, snow exploded everywhere as the tiger took down the buck with one snap of its mighty jaws. Tiny paws padded in closer to bigger ones as father nudged son to fill his belly with fresh meat.

The deadly silence giveth life and it taketh away…

 

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contest prizes.jpg STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST PRIZES

 

*** I’m WAIVING THE ENTRY FEE!!***

It’s now FREE to send your short stories in for a chance to be published in an anthology. 25 winners and 25 prizes! Tell all your young, writerly friends from ages 10-18 to check out the contest rules by clicking on the STAR CATCHER YOUNG WRITER’S CONTEST tab above.

Hurry…entry deadline is Friday, November 15th!

 

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

 

donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest chapter book series is called HISTORY’S MYSTERIES. Book One, Ship of Dreams, is available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. Also, coming to the Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Book Two, A Chocolate Train Wreck, will be released in November.

 

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: Down To The River

river.jpg

 

Kali’s feet knew the way to the river without her even having to consciously think about it. Which was good because her heart hurt too much for her mind to focus on anything else.

Stephen would have loved this time of year. All reddish gold, the falling leaves fluttered like butterflies and floated away from him as he would skip down the path to the river. Kali would look at his white blonde hair, puppy brown eyes, and her heart would swell with love for the little boy embracing life with all the joy a five year old could muster.

Kali’s feet slowed as she rounded the corner and saw the tree. Even now, after two years, seeing that tree standing guard over the spot where they recovered his body still had the power to shock her. Tears sprung to her eyes like it was yesterday. They said it was an accident. They said Stephen slipped on a muddy bank and fell into the river.

But she knew better.

It was the butterfly floating leaves’ fault. Swirling with light, they challenged her little boy to fly. Maybe now his wings were strong enough to take him to a safer place.

Folding her clothes and placing them at the base of the tree, Kali quietly slipped into the chilly water. It almost took her breath away but she just focused on the golden leaves floating just beyond her reach and let herself be carried deeper into the river…

 

Okay, your turn! What happens next? Does Kali reunite with her son in another place and time? Add to my story or start one of your own in the comments below…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this latest volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

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

 

donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. And coming soon to both Titanic Museums in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: Unicorn Lake

 

lake.jpg

 

Softly their hooves drummed over the rocks leading down to the water. Take a step, sniff the air. Take another step, ears rotating to catch any hint of sound riding the slight breeze ruffling their coats.

The Old one threw its head high, his long horn piercing the early morning fog. Something didn’t feel right but he couldn’t put his hoof on it. Cautiously he continued to lead the herd to the water’s edge. It was almost time for the sacred trilogy and only the Old one knew the ancient dance.

The last of the herd had just cleared the forest when the high pitched sound of golden netting being released from catapults shattered the early morning stillness. Rearing up on his hind legs, the Old one snorted a warning trumpet, scattering the herd like rustling leaves before turning to charge the hunters crouched on the edge of the  forest.  

It almost worked.

The herd scattered in different directions, racing to escape the falling netting. All were saved, but one. The Old one fought with all his strength but the long horn, his crowning glory, tangled in the golden strands and brought him to his knees.

Twenty sets of eyes stared in shock as their leader was quickly bound in ropes and loaded into the cage.

Who would lead them now?

Who would perform the ancient dance and save their magic?

 

Okay, your turn! How will the Old one be saved? Will Unicorn Lake lose it’s magic forever? Add to my story or start one of your own in the comments below…

 

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HM The Chocolate Train Wreck front cover

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this latest volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

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

 

donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: Low Hanging Fruit

 

archery

 

Maytia scooped up the rune stones and threw them into the dirt once more. He knew better than to think the future could be so easily changed with a flick of a wrist, but he still held out hope as he studied the new pattern. But no matter how Maytia looked at the stones, the message was still the same.

The gods had spoken.

He always knew this day would come. It was the ways of the ancient ones…this choosing of souls every seven years…like low hanging fruit. Like culling a herd of animals where only the strongest remain.

Quickly storing the stones in the pouch hanging low on his neck, Maytia headed toward the upper ridge of the forest. There he would have a better view of those coming for him. His mother’s voice floated on the wind.

“Be careful, my precious one. It is your time.”

“I know this, Meenu, but I do not have to like it.”

“How can you turn your back on the gods? It is our way, Maytia. It is the only chance to ensure we as a chosen people survive.”

“I know this is the way of YOUR past, Meenu, but must someone always die so others might live?”

Maytia knew it was useless to argue with her. All she’d ever known was the ways of the elders. It was only outlanders like himself who questioned the rightness of these sacrifices. Now it was his turn to be pitted against those on his trail. He’d felt their energy all evening, like lightning bolts crawling across his skin. By the time the last of the evening’s moonlight filtered through the treetops, Maytia could almost taste the fear on the wind from those hunting him.

They had no idea what was about to happen with the coming of the sunrise.

Even Maytia didn’t know exactly and he had no time to toss the stones again.

They were here.

Now it is your turn to add a paragraph or start your own story in the comments below…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)

 

Amelia Earmouse travels back through time to uncover little known secrets. You may THINK you know your history, but wait until you see what Amelia uncovers in this latest volume of HISTORY’S MYSTERIES!

In Book One, Ship of Dreams, ten-year-old Margaret can hardly wait to see the largest ship ever built visit Southampton! Life is already hard for her family in the spring of 1912, but the coal workers’ strike could turn a bad situation into a deadly one. Margaret hopes to see the great Titanic leave on its maiden voyage, but will the strike prevent it from happening?

 

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

 

donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: Love Train

 

train.jpg

 

My town is small and dusty. Some of the streets muddy my pants whenever it rains. The tar on other streets colors my bare feet during the summer. There is nothing much to do around here most days.Except for Saturdays.

On Saturday, the love train comes through town, with its clickety-clacking wheels and cheery toot-toot of its whistle as it slowly crosses Berry Junction before disappearing around the next bend.

Sneaking away from chores, I sit on the hill near the crossroads, biting into the sweet apple I snatch from Mr. Cramer’s yard, and watch the happy faces pass me by.

And for a moment I get to dream.

Maybe today’s smiling faces will make memories at the beach, drawing sand angels and hunting for seashells hidden among the waves.

Or maybe those happy faces are going to grandma’s house for the holidays. Gifts peeking out from under seats as they sing Christmas carols to pass the time.

But one Saturday last fall everything was different.

The love train was different.

The happy clickety-clacking wheels were silent. Instead, I heard the slow thumping of steel hitting rails as it cautiously approached the junction. Even the faces looked sad, all framed in black as a flutter of white wiped at a few tear-stained cheeks.

A long, mournful whistle blew and I was surprised to see the love train slowly stop in front of me. Before, It always passed me by on its journey to some happier place.

What made it stop today?

Why the tears?

Why all the black?

I stared in confusion as several large boxes covered in flags were lifted down from inside, watched over by someone in a dark uniform and white gloves.

Suddenly my cousin called out to me, running up the hill to fetch me home. One more glance at my love train and I followed him back to more sad faces shrouded in black and bits of white.

It isn’t until much later when I finally make it back to Berry’s Junction. I don’t go by Mr. Cramer’s yard today. It’s been ten years since Momma’s brother came home for a visit.

Now, I stop to brush the snow from my uncle’s grave before climbing the hill.
Silently I watch long puffs of smoke cling to bare branches as the love train rolls closer. The return of the happy clickety-clacking and cheery toot-toot almost makes me smile.
No stops today and for the first time in weeks, I begin to dream again.

I think love fills that train, carrying some to faraway places and new adventures.
But, sometimes, like one day last fall, I think the train simply brought a loved one home.

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)         HM The Chocolate Train Wreck front cover


      SHIP OF DREAMS (OCT 2019)                      THE CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK (NOV 2019)

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.