Power

I have an ability

Like magic in my veins

A power intense

Causes ecstasy or pains

 

I wielded this in my youth

With strength and ease

Senseless abandonment

Whenever and wherever I please

 

The skill is honed

Now that I’m older

Can kill without thought

Fine-tuned and bolder

 

And it shakes me with terror

As many by it fall

I stifle my power

Evaluate it all

 

It makes the eyes glisten

Moves the heart

Brainwashes the mind

And changes every part

 

So these later years

I watch, wait, and pray

And nervously pace

Guarding what I say

 

What is this power

That fills me supernaturally?

It’s something you have too

It’s basic and actually…

 

Our words.

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“Peach Fuzz” by Amy Curtis

Here is the winning entry for my first flash fiction contest.  This piece won because it received the highest scores from the judges for both technical competence and how emotionally moving it was.  Congratulations to Amy Curtis!

Thank you to all of our amazing judges who gave freely of their time and energy to make this a success.  These friends mean so much to me!

13301293_10155030960138975_1866992993383659836_o (1) copyLiz Sheller
Liz is a lifelong reader who has proofread so many of my works.  Well-read and meticulous, Liz is a mom of three, including the cutest canine named Romeo.  

 

Aaron DeMottaaron

Aaron is the author of the Psygens and Space Cats series, and the Onicranium Dragons series. Aaron is a certified Linux nerd who’s been a fan of both Star Trek and Star Wars as long as long as he can remember. Naturally he writes space-opera. He lives in rural Michigan with his wife, four kids, and at least two cats. You can learn more about Aaron and his books at aarondemott.com
https://www.aarondemott.com
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAaronDemott/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/360908771403168/

 

LoriAnn Weldon

24131521_1501556789893060_631155941391861402_nL.N. Weldon is a small-town librarian who dreams of the big city, a world traveler who dreams of seeing more, and a writer who prefers to read, because she’s lazy like that. She lives in the Midwest in a cozy apartment with a million books, and has a promising future as a crazy cat lady. 
She is a fantastic cover designer, and designed my Astound booklet!
https://www.facebook.com/MagpieDesignsLtd/

 

R.J. MetcalfHeadshot

During the day, RJ is a stay at home mom of two active little boys. When she has ‘free time’, she enjoys reading, writing, baking and sewing.
After many years of creative writing classes, writing fanfiction drabbles and daydreaming, it was high time to start writing her husband Mike’s story. She dove into the world of Terrene and hasn’t looked back—except for when she runs out of dark chocolate.
Any free time not spent in Terrene is typically expended on hosting dinner and game nights, running amok with the two little monkeys or watching nerdy movies with Mike.
https://fayettepress.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rj_metcalf/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StonesOfTerrene/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/StonesOfTerrene
Amazon link: http://a.co/iGK7anP

H.A. Titus

authorphoto2019H. A. Titus is usually found with her nose in a book or spinning story-worlds in her head. 
She first fell in love with speculative fiction when she was twelve and her dad handed her The Lord of the Rings. She lives on the shores of Lake Superior with her meteorologist husband and young sons, who do their best to ensure she occasionally emerges into the real world, usually for some kind of adventure. When she’s not writing, she can be found mountain biking, skiing, or playing table-top games and RPGs.
Instagram: http://Instagram.com/hatitus
FB: https://facebook.com/HATitusAuthor
Freebie book: https://mybookcave.com/d/29ec990d/

IMG_0739

John Thomas

John Thomas is an avid reader, especially of historical narratives. But, he has read many books of a wide variety of genres. He also wrote a novella, “Mara is Crying”. https://racheliscrying.wordpress.com/rachel-is-crying/
John was a corporate executive in information technology and was a County Commissioner overseeing the county he lives in as a member of the five person Commissioners Court. He served in the military as an Army officer and was an Airborne Ranger. He graduated from West Point and Harvard Business School.

 

Faith Blum

91Z74YdeT6L._US230_Faith Blum is a 20-something author of multiple books in various genres. She loves to write, read, play piano, knit, crochet, sew, watch movies, and spend time with her husband. She lives in Wisconsin in a small town with her husband and cat where she can write to her heart’s content during the day. Faith’s goal in her writing is to encourage Christians in their walk with Christ.
Website: http:// bit.ly/1tAFm4V 
Blog: http://bit.ly/12g3gfC
Twitter: http://bit.ly/1y3MLQt
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1y94De5

Kara Swanson

As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent her childhood in the jungles of Papua New37087821_10212777851180998_1162619377552457728_n Guinea. Able to relate to characters dropped into a unique new world, she fell in love with the fantasy genre and was soon penning stories herself.
Shortly after moving stateside, Kara received the Mount Hermon Conference “Most Promising Teen Writer Award.” Her latest release, The Girl Who Could See, was a finalist for a 2018 INSPY Award and won the 2018 Parable Award. Swanson is also on the faculty for the Young Writer’s Workshopwhere she helps to guide thousands of young writers. 
Kara is passionate about crafting stories of light shattering darkness, forming sincere connections with readers, and becoming best friends with a mermaid—though not necessarily in that order.

 

And without further ado – the winning entry:

PEACH FUZZ

 

“The smallest coffins are the heaviest.” No one warns you about that, ever. No one talks about it – at all. A baby boy, he’s her biggest newborn yet. Once you look past all the tubes and wires keeping him alive, so we can say hello and goodbye, he looks just like his siblings. He might even be the most handsome yet.

How his momma and daddy are doing this, I don’t know. I don’t think I could. There are twenty of us huddled in the birthing room next door waiting our turn to cherish our sixty seconds of time with their precious, silent four-day-old. If ever prayer held someone up, it was now. Digging my nails onto my forearms I close my eyes and press back into the corner praying again that He would change His mind, hold them up, make a way in the dark.

My mother-in-law touches my elbow and says it’s our turn. My knees want to buckle and I can’t breathe right. My hands go to my tiny but growing belly. All I can think is, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry I am still pregnant, I’m sorry they won’t get to grow up together like we planned. I’m sorry you have to see my hope in the middle of your pain. I’m sorry the three bundles of hope, four months apart, are now only two. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”

Hiding in the back of the small group I see his daddy, so strong and kind, encouraging each one to hold a little pink hand or stroke a soft baby toe. His momma sits holding him in her arms with physical pain, that I’ll understand later, and emotional torture blanketing her face. I now perfectly understand the phrase, “Silent tears traced rivers down her cheeks.” “You have to hold her! Don’t let go! You’re the only comfort she has.”

With how hard emotions and situations like this are for me, I surprise myself when it’s my turn by stooping down and kissing his blonde peach-fuzz head. He’s so warm and soft and normal. How can it be that he won’t just open his big, undoubtedly blue, eyes? How can it be that this sweet-smelling, squishy baby won’t be with us in a few short hours?

Terrified that I have overstepped some precious boundary, I quickly retreat to the hall. I find his biggest sister and their aunt sitting on the floor hugging their knees and crying. In the pale green hospital hall next to the water fountain they lean on each other and sob yet again for lost hope. Another thing no one tells you is there is pain you can’t comfort.

Heartbroken and spirit torn apart for my family, I can’t go back into the crowded room. I can’t bare the pain that has seeped into the hallway either. A sob echoes in the hall. Maybe I’m selfish, or maybe it’s pregnancy hormones, but without saying goodbye I make my way to the elevator. Two things will forever stay with me: how tangible this grief was and the softness of his peach fuzz. Stepping inside feels like leaving a different reality. No one on the other side of these doors knows about the literal ocean of grief flooding through the halls of Maternity Ward B Room 102.

 

Artificial Love’s Cover Reveal!

It’s here!  Artificial Love’s AMAZING cover is here!  Thank you, thank you, Seedlings Design!

The pre-order is up too if you want this short story.  🙂

Blurb: Deep in the heart of the wild west, rebel marauders are drawing out a bloody civil war that no side can win. Many ranchers, including Lisbeth’s father die trying to save their farms, leaving their women to fight to keep their land and stay alive.

When Lisbeth and her mousy younger sister Ruth come face to face with the uncouth land pirates who seize their farm as a scouting base, they only have one plan to protect their virtue: pretend to be commonplace, advanced domestic robots. Suppressing their fears, enslaved to the ruffians, the two young women are determined to convince the men they’re not human.

Their plan hits a snag when they meet Dane: a gorgeous prisoner-of-war who has a secret belief that robots can become sentient and develop emotions on their own… and he’s determined to use Lisbeth as proof.

Can the sisters keep up their ruse and survive?

For fans of The Twilight Zone meets Gone with the Wind and Magnificent Seven

ArtificialLove_FC

To Court a Queen

Guys, I always buy what H.L. Burke writes.

They’re clean, pretty family-friendly, and tons of original fun.  Heidi comes up with amazing plots and characters every time.  There are no H.L. Burke dud books.  Each one is pretty fantastic stuff.

Check out her latest, and pre-orders are up!

 

He doesn’t want to get married, but he wants to be a frog even less.

To Court a Queen_Internet Use(1)

Knight errant, Devin, takes a shortcut through the woods, only to be captured by fairy forces. The fairy queen has run out of breathing males to fight for her hand, and Devin, while not ideal fairy stock, is breathing–for now.

Telling a vain fairy queen you’d rather not be her one true love is a ticket to life on a lilypad, so the knight agrees to face three challenges to win Queen Agalea’s hand. When a clever servant girl offers to help him navigate the trials in order to stop the constant bloodshed of the courtship ritual, Devin jumps at the chance. However, as he balances “flirting” with his “beloved” and overcoming tasks specifically designed to kill him, he finds his heart drawn to his new partner in survival.

 

H.L. Burke is the author of multiple fantasy novels including the Dragon and the ScholarHeidi-107 saga and The Nyssa Glass YA Steampunk series and Coiled. She is an admirer of the whimsical, a follower of the Light, and a believer in happily ever after.

H.L.’s social media links:
twitter.com/hlburkewriter (for random snarkiness and occasional book snippets)
facebook.com/hlburkewriter (for longer form random snarkiness, occasional book snippets, and #dailydragon posts where she shares her favorite dragon related finds)
Her website (and mailing list) for news and deals www.hlburkeauthor.com
my instagram for #TheodoretheDragon awesomness instagram.com/burkesdragons
and her reader group if you want to be the first to hear about beta and ARC reading opportunities as well as her day to day struggles and weekly live videos. https://www.facebook.com/groups/hlburkereaders/

Robots, Cowboys, and New Books!

THE DAY the marauders came for us started with an ominous gray horizon. Dust flew in on the heavy winds that stirred up the dirt and grime stuck to every inch of our farmhouse, silt and debris like tears gathering in the corners of the old building’s eyes.

It had been eleven months since our father had passed, struck down by the roving gangs of rebels that plagued our country from the bottom up, the battles for power that had been fought, without end, for an entire generation.  No end to this war in sight.  No side willing to give in.

Papa had been a peaceful man, as sturdy as the strong oak that made up the sides of his enormous barn.  Not interested in politics or feuds, he wanted to raise animals and crops in peace until the end of his days, and then pass on the land to his two unmarried daughters – me, the old maid in her late twenties, and eighteen-year-old mousy Ruth, too timid to leave my side.  Mama had died of the influenza back when Ruth was two, and the loss had left her child heart as skittish as a tiny rabbit’s. She never left the property.

Thus bound, I had given up all hope of my own future, and had thrown all of my dreams and affection into the grand old farmhouse, the barns overflowing with happy animals, and the little plants straining to reach the expansive prairie skies.

It was a good life.

We had multiple artificial farmhands, bland male robot models that Papa had bought with his savings. They did the work of ten men, never tiring except for the six hours of battery recharging they required at night.

But then Papa was killed.

 

— Artificial Love, coming out February 2019

 

Happy New Year, friends and readers!!! So thankful for all of you and your motivation to keep me writing for Christ! 

This month I’m going to be focusing on getting you all excited for my new sci-fi cattlepunk short story, “Artificial Love,” coming out in February! It’s around 7k words, so the size of Lucent Sylph and Gem, both of my award-winning stories.   

The first piece of news I have to share is that I’m getting Seedlings Designs to make the cover!!  So stay tuned for that – cover reveal at the end of the month!  🙂