Something Different

I posted this on my Wattpad page and thought I’d share it on the blog as well. I dabble in different kinds of writing and this is one of my general fiction pieces with a southern flair.

Summary: Irene Gooden is facing the final moments of her life. As her breathing slows she remembers the days of light and darkness.

Lord Forgive Me for the Azaleas

By Mike James from Reston, VA, USA (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Mike James from Reston, VA, USA via Wikimedia Commons

It was a dream. A dream of cane syrup, of floured hands and rolled out biscuits.

Irene Gooden drew in a deep breath trying to smell them…real biscuits. It had been so long.

She broke into a fit of coughing only opening her eyes because of the concern in Liza’s voice.

“Rene, drink this.” The younger Ms. Gooden, as she was known in the little community of Battlecreek, Mississippi, pushed the straw between her sister’s lips.

Irene drank a few tiny sips and closed her eyes again. Biscuits and cane syrup.

When was that Liza? We must have been just girls. You and me and mama and papa.

Remember the fields? Mornings and afternoons in the fields. Bent over the cotton. Back strained and hands torn apart. Praising the Lord that we had been given another day.

Evenings in the front room rubbing down mama’s legs in the foot tub. The knots so hard it took both our hands to rub one of them loose. Papa sitting back reading from his Bible. Us trying to figure out the words at his knee. Boys all gone. Just the four of us left.

Going into town on Saturdays. Lowered eyes and ‘Yes, sir. No, sir’. Penny candy after the cotton was sold. Afternoons washing Dr. Lee’s clothes. He would give mama a nickel or two.

That was where Jack Butler was working. That’s when he seen us.

That’s when it was done written in the Book in Heaven.

There was a voice. A man’s voice. What was he saying? Ohhh. Drink this. Irene took a few more sips and opened her eyes. It was Dan. Liza’s son. Sweet man. He would often sit with her and read for a few hours. Dan, do you remember how you would read to me and your Uncle Dan when you was just a little boy?

Her Dan loved Liza’s son. They never had no children of their own, just Liza and Bill’s son. Love and Pride didn’t know that he wasn’t their natural born son. The four of them raised him up in the church and made sure that he got his lesson out. They was there when he graduated from high school and college. Dan didn’t live to see him make a doctor.

Did you know about Jack Butler, son? I was married to him before your Uncle Dan. He was an old man when I married him. He came looking to marry your mama and she was just a girl. Come to my papa one evening asking about her. Papa said she was too young to be getting married. Said I was the right age if he was set on Gooden gal for a wife.

So I married that old man and went to live outside of town. It was a cold place. It was all Jack’s doing. Nothing was ever right for him and he brought in the cold and the dark. He lived outside of the Word in all he said and all he did. I…I…shall not speak of it. Tears spilled from her closed eyes. She felt Dan’s hand on her own. “Aunty, Aunty? It’s alright darling. I’m here with you.” Dan was here. He would keep her safe.

Safe. Irene opened her eyes and smiled. She could see Dan and Liza next to her. She breathed in easily. She had been breathing easily for most of her life. It was this sickness. This last sickness that had taken her breath again.

Jack Butler had taken her breath. He had made sure that she didn’t know how he would behave. Didn’t know how badly he would hurt her or if this time would be the last time. I accepted that, Liza. I told you that before. This body was dust and dust it would return.

It was the azaleas. The only pretty thing out there on the edge of them woods. Those azaleas that grew without tending. Just grew cause they was my gift from God.

He tore them down. All over the yard. Into the wind and they was gone. I screamed and screamed. It was night before I went on in and started making something to eat. I just put as much rat poison as was in the shed into the cornbread. Jack Butler was a big eater and he had a belly full. It took him a while to die and two or three days for me bury him out in the woods.

It was for the azaleas, Irene gasped. He was tearing down the beauty in my soul. He was trying to kill my Spirit. Take my Joy. Lord, forgive me. Forgive me.

Irene could feel her body shaking. Feel the wetness on her cheeks. She wanted to cry out but there was no sound. It was Dan’s voice that calmed her. A voice so sweet. He was saying that it was alright. No more crying now.

Irene was able to sleep again. Dan sitting up on their porch. A yard full of azaleas. Mama rolling out biscuits and Papa reading his Bible.

Romance Novel Convention 2014

After sleeping for ten hours, I’m finally awake from my four days in Vegas at the Romance Novel Convention 2014! I had a blast, met some amazing writers, cover artists, readers, cover models and learned some stuff too!

I attended a class by Anne Perry, author of the William Monk series, and wonderful speaker. Her class was supposed to focus on weaving the back story throughout the piece so as not to create a historical laundry list. Instead it grew into something more. And this afternoon, I’ll be writing out my back story and then writing the outline for a new piece! Ms. Perry just added to my to do list.

Another class that has added to my to do list was the Twitter: Dos and Don’ts presented by Cheryl Bradshaw, author of the Sloane Monroe series. I have to clean up my twitter act and really take advantage of this free marketing tool. At some point today, I’m going to come up with what I’m going to regularly tweet about and go from there – slowly and steadily.

Then there was fun for the sake of fun!

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Swoon! Fitness Guru and Model – Mike O’Hearn

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The Rone Awards

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Sharks by the pool

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Music/Light show on Fremont Street

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Love this sign

Spotlight on Witch Way to Love

wwtl1mWhen Breena McCall goes to find her wayward wand, the last thing she expects to find is the man destined to be hers. Instant attraction only goes so far, especially when her chosen one acts like someone pissed in his kibble.

Wolf Shifter Cade Milcom doesn’t understand the sudden urge to bend the witch over and take her every way imaginable. She’s sassy, sarcastic, and gets on his nerves from the beginning. And yet, he finds himself answering the distress call when she gets herself into trouble.

An accidental mating and a demon bent on blackmail make for an interesting few days, but it’s nothing Breena can’t handle. Maybe.

 EXCERPT

Lightning skittered across the sky, the brilliant flashes lighting up everything around her. Thunder boomed overhead, shaking the earth beneath her feet. The high-powered winds whipped her long, red hair around her head and made her fight for purchase on the pavement. It was a bad night out, for witches and mortals alike. If only she hadn’t lost her damn wand! What was a witch without her wand? Damn near mortal, that’s what. The heavens were going to open up at any moment and she would be drenched. Taking a witch’s wand was as good as stealing her powers. No, she didn’t need the wand to create magick, but if it wasn’t in her possession, her powers sort of…fizzled and died out.

Her high-heeled sandals were a poor choice of footwear at the moment, as she tottered down the sidewalk, following the beacon of light in the distance. She’d cast a locator spell in hopes of finding her wayward wand. She wasn’t certain if it had been appropriated by someone, or had merely wandered off, kind of like her broom had done the month before. Anyone who thought a wand was an inanimate object was a fool. It had a life force of its own. Otherwise, it would just be a piece of wood with pretty carvings.

The beam of light shooting into the sky started to flicker, and she worried it would sputter out completely. She could tell it was in the area the residents of Mayfair Heights called “the jungle.” Only shape-shifters lived in that part of town. Despite the ominous clouds in the sky, she knew there was a full moon tonight. She just had to hope whoever had taken the wand, or the lucky person her wand had chosen as its guardian, was in residence. It would be just her luck that the furball would be out on a run, even if the weather did leave a lot to be desired.

With the wind buffeting her small body, she felt like she was fighting an uphill battle, and wondered if she’d ever reach her destination. If her powers weren’t on the fritz, she could just translocate to wherever she needed to go. But, of course, on the worst night they’d had in months, she was stuck traveling on foot. She couldn’t even use her broom until she was at full power again. The damn thing refused to work. She completely blamed the tree sprite, the one who had gifted her with the branch used to carve the broom handle. It had obviously imbued some of its stubbornness into her broom.

Breena rounded another corner and sighed in relief. The home she sought was half a block away and lit up like the fourth of July, thanks to her little spell. She thanked the goddess that it had worked so well, or at all, for that matter. She couldn’t imagine having to find her wand the old-fashioned way, or having to hire someone else to cast the spell for her. How embarrassing! It was bad enough that things like this kept happening to her, but if the spell-casters guild caught wind of it, they’d pull her license to practice for sure.

As she neared the home, she took in the little details, like the gargoyles standing guard at the edges of the roof. She had no doubt they were the real thing and gave them a little wave. The red door stood out in stark contrast against the gray and black home, beckoning her closer. She stepped under the portico just as the rain began to beat down, a deluge really, and she thanked the goddess she hadn’t been standing out in the open just then.

She lifted her fist and knocked on the door, listening for any sounds of life within. No answer. She banged again, this time a little harder. The light from her spell spluttered and blinked out, leaving her standing in the dark. The fact that there were no lights on in the home, nor on the porch, told her that her query was probably out running wild, but she refused to give up.

Breena’s tiny fist pounded on the door for the third time. Grumbling under her breath, she gave the wood a good, hard kick, wincing as her toes met the unforgiving surface. She had just turned, and was about to leave, when the door flew open.

“Do you have any idea what time it is?” growled a deep voice, a voice that zinged through her and made all of her lady parts take notice.

She spun around with a snappy retort on the tip of her tongue, but it died the moment she was faced with six-foot-six of yummy goodness. A button-down shirt hung open, leaving his scrumptious muscular chest in full view. Her gaze dipped down over six pack abs and she licked her lips, wanting to run her tongue over each and every inch of him.

“I’m, uh, looking for my wand,” she stuttered lamely, her brain having been fried by his hotness.

He smirked. “Oh, I have a wand for you all right, but I don’t think it’s the one you came looking for.”

 

Buy Links

ARe – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-witchwaytolove-1557640-140.html

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Witch-Way-Love-Spell-Book-ebook/dp/B00LB8ZFD2

Evernight Publishing – http://www.evernightpublishing.com/witch-way-to-love-by-jessica-coulter-smith/

Sidelined…But Still Going

This weekend, I was going to make my first author appearance at Beautiful Trouble Publishing’s Eat and Greet. I was so excited. Since I’m currently unemployed, I had to make cuts to my advertising budget but was able to wrangle books to sell along with bookmarks for giveaways. I had my rental car and was on my way to Target to pick up miniature body sprays to attach to the bookmarks.

And I got hit by a large truck…

Apparently after the accident I stepped out of my car and fainted in the parking lot of Wendy’s. When the EMTs arrived and asked me how I was doing. I responded – I’m writing a book about tights. Different kinds of tights.

Later that evening, I begged my husband to drive me to Austin since the ER docs said that I had a concussion and shouldn’t drive. He refused and yes I will hold this against him for the rest of his life. He seems okay with this.

Anyway, I missed my first publicized event. I’m sore and I’m afraid to drive. However, there is a the gleam from a silver lining sparkling through my clouds.

anawcoverA short story that I penned two years ago has found at least two new fans. I checked my Amazon stats today and found this for A Night at the Wesley:

4.0 out of 5 stars Short and hot June 22, 2014
By dncc26
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I didn’t know where this story was taking me, but I liked it. Old crushes are the best. It’s short but good. Could be turned into a longer story.
5.0 out of 5 stars Night with who? June 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First I would like to have a longer story. I liked this book. It needed to be longer. Romance is romance and this story reminds you that old flames can come back into your life. This one I’m going to say worked out. Again I WOULD LIKE TO SEE LONGER ENDINGS.
Sometimes I think I’m the only one who likes short stories, but I’m so appreciative of those who want a novel to give me a shot. Wow! And Wow! What a way to make a terrible weekend bearable.

Sympathetic Heroine or Nah?

valloryv:

Blogging over at the LLs today!

Originally posted on :

I’m polishing a novella for submission. Yes, I’ve been polishing it way beyond what should be needed for a 20,000 word piece but that’s me.

And I’ve got another one of those heroines who may not be easy to like. I don’t set out to create them they just speak to me.

There’s Amber Grayson Miller, a strong personality who likes to be in control. A reader said that Kevin should have dumped her in the first novella. Eek!

Then there’s Darcey St. Claire Guidry, a fashionista with panic attacks. Darcey’s been told to simply get over her PTSD. I think you know what the Psychology major in me says about that.

Anyhoo, I’ve got another one.

Young black woman wearing dress and sun hat, afro hairstyleTara Kirkland, the other woman. Does it matter that she didn’t know her lover was married? Should she have donned her detective hat when a prospective client asked her out to dinner?

Hmmm, it’s…

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Publishing Snafu – Just Between Us

I write romance as Vallory Vance.

I write erotica as Cecile Duval.

So this weekend, while under the influence of a muscle relaxer, the two worlds collided. Just Between Us, an erotic flash fiction piece. was published under the name of Vallory Vance. This is my public apology for anyone who picked up the work looking for a romantic HEA because you aren’t going to get one.

Just Between Us is the story of three roommates who become intimately acquainted one sunny afternoon. They don’t fall in love, at least not in this story. It is a story of exploration not only sexual but intellectual. As one of the heroes asks the heroine, “What did you expect a man who enjoyed watching his wife being pleasured to look like?”

Psychology graduate student, Mara Brighton, gets her answer and hopefully erotica readers will get theirs as well.

Now if you are interested, Just Between Us is available FREE from Smashwords with the coupon code, KR79L, until tomorrow!

Beautiful woman making a hushing gestureEve Calloway, a grad student in the study of human sexual behavior, has a paper to complete. And in all of the porno flicks she’d viewed there was nothing that made her want to take part in any of the acts she’d watched.
That was until one of her roommates caught her masturbating and the other eased his hands up her quivering thighs. Then research took on a whole new meaning.

Just Saying I Love You

valloryv:

Today, I’m posting over at Luscious Literaries. Enjoy your Saturday!

Originally posted on :

Ti voglio bene.

It’s Italian and if you type it into Google Translate, you’ll be given – I love you. Literally it translates as I want well for you. The special meaning behind it is – regardless of me I want the best for you. That’s love isn’t it? But so much prettier to say it in Italian.

I wanted that feeling for my latest release, Scent of a Woman.

In my first paranormal romance, I got the opportunity to invent my own language, Ap-Muen – spoken by the puma-shifters who reside in the small town of Haziel, TX. It is a mixture of my imagination and base words from the Apache language. I even came up with a lexicon of about fifteen words..

And I had to give them their own version of ti voglio bene.

As Ewan Hathorn, the Kai’lai of the Ap-Muea, explains to…

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