In thirty years as an editor, I've found the same words blight and bloat the style of many authors. One of them is 'sigh'.
In real life, people who constantly sigh soon get on our nerves. Few folks enjoy the company of sighers. The same applies to fiction: readers don't like characters who sigh a lot.
Yet, sighs creep into fiction and multiply like vermin. If you're not on your guard, your novel soon reads like this:
He sighed....She sighed deeply.... He heaved a deep sigh... A sigh escaped from her lips.... With a sigh, she did this... Sighing, she rose.... He looked at her and sighed...
Moreover, a character who sighs at the slightest trigger comes across as a wuss.
One sigh is enough for the reader's subconscious to file that character as a wimp. Two sighs make the character a wimpy wimp. By the time your heroine has heaved her third sigh, the reader has lost respect for her.
It's raining - sigh.
Aunt Agatha is coming - sigh.
Little Laura misbehaves - sigh.
The kitten scratches - sigh.
Work needs doing - sigh.
Another Monday - sigh.
Life goes on - sigh.
Use your wordprocessor's Find&Replace tool to count how many times you've used 'sigh', and then cut most of them.
By cutting the sighs, you'll make your writing tighter and your characters spunkier.
I recommend keeping just one or two sighs in the whole book: one for a wimpy minor character, and one in the second half of the book where your protagonist has real reason to sigh.
I'd love to hear from you. When you've checked your WiP for 'look' and 'turn', post a comment to tell me how many you've found, and whether you're going to cut some of them.
What other 'wordy words' do you think writers can cut from from their word diet?
If you have questions about writing style, or need advice on how to tighten your writing, please ask. I'll be around for a week, and I enjoy answering questions.
JANUARY ONLINE CLASS: THE WORD-LOSS DIET
If your writing style tends towards wordy waffling, if your critique partners urge you to tighten, and if editorial rejections point out dragging pace, this class may be the answer. It's perfect for toning your manuscript before submitting to editors and agents, or for whipping it into shape before indie publishing.
This is an interactive class with twelve lessons and twelve assignments, for writers who have a full or partial manuscript in need of professional polish. At the end of the class, you may submit a scene for individual critiques.
Dr Rayne's Word-Loss Diet is much more fun than depriving yourself of food, and you'll see real results fast.
The Word-Loss Diet, presented by Rayne Hall. 1-31 January 2012
Deadline: December 29, 2011. Fee: $25
'Author portrait by Kuoke; copyright Rayne Hall.'
Rayne Hall is the author of more than twenty books in different genres, published under several pen names with different publishers. Currently, she writes scary horror and outrageous fantasy fiction, and tries to regain the rights to her previously published works so she can re-publish them as e-books.
She has a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing, and has worked for nearly three decades in the publishing industry in Britain, Germany, China, Mongolia and Nepal, mostly as an editor.
After writing and editing, her great love is teaching, and she teaches online classes for writers: 'Writing Fight Scenes', 'Writing Scary Scenes', 'Writing about Magic and Magicians', 'Writing about Villains', 'Dr Rayne's Word-Loss Diet', 'SWOT for Writing Success' and more.
It's official! I finished The Ripper's Daughter, my vampire Victorian paranormal mystery for National Novel Writing Month on November 20 and verified it November 25.
I wanted to write about vampires, but I also wanted my story to be different. So I decided to make the relationship between Nathan and Stephen a symbiotic one. Stephen needed Nathan to drink his blood and Nathan had someone he could feed from without endangering other people's lives. Their relationship goes much farther, however, a sexual one they need to keep hidden from society. Not only that, but also continuing the charade of Stephen, Nathan's master, playing the part of his manservant.
What really inspired me to write this story, though, was Inspector Lewis. The show aired on Masterpiece Mystery while I was plotting my NaNo WIP. Not that the two have anything in common except I knew, after watching Inspector Lewis, I wanted Nathan to be a former Detective Inspector.
Who would I pit Nathan against? Then it came to me. Who is the most infamous murderer in Victorian history? Jack the Ripper. (Okay, there are others, but I'm going with the most well-known.) And what if Jack the Ripper weren't human? What if he were a werewolf, and only Nathan knew this? So the DI risked his life and all he had to become a vampire and stop the Ripper? But what if he failed?
I explore this throughout the story. The guilt Nathan feels at failing to catch the Ripper and the determination to stop him when he finds the Ripper has come to Louisville, Nathan's new home. Nathan now owns a saloon called The Cloak and Dagger. I wanted a place where he could get information but not resort to making him work as a police officer or as a reporter. Besides, both those jobs would require working in daylight, something Nathan can no longer do. He can go out in overcast weather but direct sunlight will cause considerable damage, even death. And if Nathan dies, so does Stephen and vice versa.
Although this is a first draft, I thought I'd share a short excerpt.Remember, this is from a draft and is not intended to be considered final.
I caught Stephen biting his lower lip, a worried expression on his face. Concern? He needn’t worry. After all, he turned me, knowing a vampire’s strengths and weaknesses. He knew I wouldn’t take foolish risks.
No, it was something else. Stephen hadn’t eaten or drunk much the last couple of days and seemed a bit sluggish and redder in the face, as if stricken with high blood pressure.
Something primal stirred in me. A faint coppery smell triggered an ache in my fangs which dropped slightly.
Our eyes met, Stephen’s blue ones darkening. He rose, pulling the brocade curtains shut against the moonlight and any passersby. We couldn’t risk complacency. To do so could put our lives in danger.
He crossed the room and sat on the sofa next to me. The light from the lamp glinted on his hair, throwing shadows across his face, the bridge of his aquiline nose. But my attention was drawn to his carotid artery. I licked my lips, desire pooling in my body, heightened by his nearness and the smell of blood. As my fangs continued to drop, my need grew and I shifted impatiently, eager to drink.
Stephen leaned his head back. I unbuttoned his shirt collar, pushing it aside to reveal pale flesh at the juncture of neck and shoulder. Leaning in, I breathed in the scent of soap and water, a clean smell.
He made no sound as I licked the skin, readying it. I looked down to see Stephen clench his fists and I wrapped my fingers around his wrist. The gesture served two purposes, to comfort him and to anchor myself against the ecstasy of drinking his blood.
Stephen closed his eyes. My breathing quickened, my heartbeat increased as adrenaline pumped through my bloodstream. In contrast, Stephen’s breathing and heart rate slowed as his heart struggled to pump the excess blood circulating through him.
Again, I marked the spot with a gentle swipe of my tongue, tasting salt. The ache in my fangs intensified and I became heady with passion, both for his blood and his body, which needed to be satisfied in that order.
I bit, incisors pricking his skin. A thin line of blood trickled free and I lapped at it. Within seconds I fed, my mind focused on Stephen and the pleasure this act gave both of us.
For him, it was relief. For me, it became an almost orgiastic experience.
His hand tightened on my leg, fingers pressing into my kneecap as I continued to drink. At first I worried I hurt him. But he assured me the sensation was one of pleasure-pain and far more preferable to the discomfort he felt when his body became gorged with too much blood.
First, I'm excited to announce I won NaNoWriMo with my short novel, The Ripper's Daughter.
"Nathaniel James, former DI with Scotland Yard, is now a vampire and owner of the saloon, The Cloak and Dagger, in Louisville, Kentucky. But he can't seem to let go of his inspector past. When the mauled bodies of prostitutes start showing up, Nathan believes the Ripper has come to the River City. But why? And who is the mysterious young woman who now accompanies the Ripper?
Nathan knows one thing. The police won't be able to catch the Ripper using conventional methods. Not when their killer isn't human."
(Note: That's a working blurb, nothing official.)
This story is my first mystery. It's a cross-genre paranormal erotic romance/mystery. For those of you who don't know, I love reading whodunits, from cozies to hard-boiled. I'm currently reading Fadeout by Joseph Hansen and wondering why it took me so long to find the David Brandstetter mysteries.
The other news is a bit more complicated. I've discovered I may be an Empath. Earlier this month, on the 14th and 15th, I suffered from a near-suicidal depression. It was so bad, I also nearly deleted my works-in-progress, including my NaNo project. I had no idea why I felt this way. Life up to then had been fine. Wednesday came and the miasma of pain disappeared, as if it had never been there. Strange, I thought. But then I learned that on that same Monday, someone I knew had killed himself.
This is something I've been struggling with. Have some of my other "depressions" merely been psychic reactions to other people's deaths? People I didn't know? People who died by their own hand, consumed with a grief so strong they projected it onto me?
If this is true, it's something I need to deal with. Like someone said, we all have an empathic ability to some extent. I guess I'd kept mine shut off for so long I'd no idea.
I attended his memorial service. Even though I'd only met him a few times, I wanted that chance to say goodbye.
Suffice it to say, I didn't destroy any stories. (The thought of retyping doesn't appeal to me.) I've gone back to Serpent Fire, the second book in my Angels of Death series. I know it needs work but I think I'm ready to tackle it. Same with my other angel urban fantasy. But I plan to write more stories involving other preternatural beings, including some not common to Western readers, such as the alp.
Because you know what? I don't plan to give up on my writing. I'm just not wired that way.
In the battle between good and evil there is always a dark side and a light side. In my recent release, Courting Demons, I’ve appropriately named mine “The Dark Order” and the “High Order”. I chose “High Order” because I wanted to have the angelic feel as in “Angels We Have Heard on High”. And although I don’t give too much detail on the High Order in this story it is sort of a given that it is run by angels or Guardians and that they have a plan that has yet to be revealed.
I can’t share that plan with you now but I can tell you that the High Order will be heavily featured in the sequel to Courting Demons…coming soon!
In the meantime, we get to visit the Dark Order several times during this story. First, Paisley goes on trial there for her vengeance spell gone awry. Later, we get to experience that world through the eyes of a demon character as well.
So, what is it about the dark side that so interests us? I doubt that most of us really wish we were on the side of darkness. But yet, we cannot deny that it has an allure to it that draws us back time and time again.
Is it the feeling of the forbidden? The taboo taunting us? Maybe we are just intrigued with knowing how the other half lives.
Whatever the reason, those who are fans of paranormal and fantasy cannot deny our desire to take a journey into the darkness. In my dark world, I’ve inserted both humor and a bit of scariness but Paisley must walk a fine line between the light and dark if she is to get her life back in order.
The question remains, if given the chance, would you be willing to take a walk on the dark side? Or, would you rather bask in the safe glow of the light?
Thanks for hosting today, Pamela. And to everyone who drops by, don’t forget to enter my Kindle contest no later than November 7th! The grand prize winner will be announced at my Twitter Party on November 8th.
Book Title: Courting Demons
Paisley Barton was already having a bad day before she turned her husband into a rat.
First, she was fired by her boss and then came home to find hubby in the shower with a naked blonde chick. They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned but this break-up may just unleash hell on Earth when Paisley casts a spell of vengeance against her philandering husband.
After her spell casting inadvertently opens a portal between dimensions, Paisley finds her family home transformed into a nightly courtroom for settling disputes between demons of the underworld and she’s the judge! If that’s not enough, she’s got to deal with a charming, ancient demon named Camden who wants to be her personal bodyguard while trying to explain her husband’s sudden, mysterious disappearance to sexy police Detective Dalton Briggs.
But Paisley will show them all that an everyday working mom is better equipped than most to deal with the mystical mayhem…and with a tempting demon hottie and a flirtatious young detective vying for her affection, she soon learns that being single again isn’t so bad after all.
“When a wronged wife turns her cheating husband into a rat, you know you have to keep reading! Kerri Nelson offers up a lot of fun and wild magic in Courting Demons!” --Bestselling author, Linda Wisdom, Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend
Kerri Nelson discovered her love of writing at an early age and soon became a columnist for her local newspaper winning the Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year Award for her efforts.
After a fifteen year career in the legal field, Kerri fulfilled her lifelong dream of publication and is now an award winning multi-published author of nearly every genre under the sun (and moon) and also writes young adult fiction under the penname K.G. Summers.
A true southern belle, she comes complete with a dashing southern gentleman and three adorable children for whom she often bakes many homemade treats.
Kerri is an active member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America as well as numerous chapters including Futuristic Fantasy & Paranormal Writers and her Presidency of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.
I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember. Back in grade school I devoured any book that had an animal in it. I went through all the dog books, all the horse books, all the pig, cat, chicken, goat, mule, deer and spider books that our local library had. I used to bike there every couple of days with a basket full of books and return with a basketful of books. My mom used to laughingly claim that I missed every family vacation because I had my nose buried in between the pages.
Even then I wanted my happy ending. I hated books where the animal died. Hated them. Hated them. Hated them. I wouldn’t even check them out. I’d ask the clerk at the counter. Lassie doesn’t die, does she? Or the Black Stallion’s Minx doesn’t die, does she. Old Yeller doesn’t—he does? Back on the shelf it would go.
So looking back, romances and I were a natural fit. I wanted a happy ending, even back then—without knowing what a happy ending was—that’s what I was looking for.
I still remember stumbling across my first romance. I was a teenager at the time, around fifteen, still on a horse kick. And someone loaned me a book about a city girl who gets shipped to her grandparents for the summer and rescues a starving horse. There was a boy in this book. A local cutie, who happened to be the town’s expert on horses. He helped the heroine nurse her horse back to heath. I guess you’d call it a sweet young adult romance. I think there some kissing, but that was all. I devoured it, and it wasn’t the horse action I was hooked on! After I finished the book, I biked to my local bookstore to buy more. Problem was he didn’t have anything else like it, instead he pointed me to the Barbara Cartland section of the wall. I didn’t know enough to look at the blurb, so I bought the books that had a horse on the cover. *g
And that’s how I discovered romances. I bought from Barbara Cartland’s shelf until there were none left, and then I moved down the row, which happened to be Harlequin presents. I used to save up my allowance, and my paper route money and I’d spend every penny on books. I never saved a dime because I was always buying books. These, you see, weren’t books I could find in the children’s section of our local library. I didn’t know enough to look in the adult section.
And then, wonder of wonders, I discovered I could get these same books really, really cheap at the local Goodwill. So I used to go down and buy shopping bags full of them. At the Goodwill, there were other romances too, historicals mostly. So I bought them as well. I was in high school by then, and most definitely did not need sex education.
I read my first romantic suspense while in college. It was from the now dissolved Silhouette Intimate Moments line, and they quickly became my favorites. I knew exactly when to expect the new releases to arrive and I’d buy every single one of them. This is where I discovered Linda Howard, Suzanne Brockmann, Rachel Lee, Kylie Brant, and a host of other romantic suspense authors. When my favorite authors moved to single title, I followed them. As the category lines became more and more bogged down with clichéd storylines, I branched out into single title romantic suspense and pretty much stayed there.
I’ve read almost everything through the years, with the exception of inspirationals. But my two favorite genres have always been romantic suspense and paranormal. It’s no surprise, I suppose, that every single book I’ve written combines these two elements.
So tell me, do you remember the first romance you read? How did you find it? And what did you move onto from there? What was your evolution as a romance reader?
Beth Brown doesn’t believe in premonitions until she dreams a sexy stranger is gunned down during the brutal hijacking of a commercial airliner. When events in her dream start coming true, she heads to the flight’s departure gate. To her shock, she recognizes the man she’d watched die the night before.
Lieutenant Commander Zane Winters comes from a bloodline of elite warriors with psychic abilities. When Zane and two of his platoon buddies arrive at Sea-Tac Airport, he has a vision of his teammates’ corpses. Then she arrives—a leggy blonde who sets off a different kind of alarm.
As Beth teams up with Zane, they discover the hijacking is the first step in a secret cartel’s deadly global agenda and that key personnel within the FBI are compromised. To survive the forces mobilizing against them, Beth will need to open herself to a psychic connection with the sexy SEAL who claims to be her soul mate.
"Forged In Fire is a smoking hot adventure with an irresistible alpha hero. Danger, action, suspense, and a steamy romance make a story that's impossible to put down!"
Patti O'Shea, National Bestselling Author of Through a Crimson Veil
You can create exciting plot complications if the magician who casts a spell gets it wrong.
Here are some ideas you can use in your fiction. Although I've used the female pronoun, everything applies to magicians of either gender.
* The magician summons a spirit (e.g. a demon) to do her bidding - but that spirit is malevolent and more powerful than she expected, and she is unable to keep it under control.
* The magician creates a protective circle around herself which shields her from the summoned spirits and from evil - but then she accidentally steps out of the circle.
* The magician recites a complicated spell ... but she misremembers a word or mispronounces a syllable, and the outcome is not what she intended. (This happens only with forms of magic which rely on the precise wording, for example, ancient Egyptian magic. It doesn't happen with forms of magic where the intent is more important than the word, such as Wiccan witchcraft.)
* The magician wants something intensely, and doesn't mean to cast a spell ... but she has unwittingly raised magical energy by dancing or drumming, and her intense desire turns into a spell... one which she comes to regret bitterly.
* The magician, roused to righteous anger, casts a harmful spell (a hex or a curse) on someone... but the harm returns to her, and she suffers the same fate. (In some forms of magic, it is said that the harm returns threefold, or hundredfold.)
* The magician casts a benevolent spell to help someone... but by helping one person, she is harming another (e.g. by helping a friend succeed at a job interview, she robs someone else of the chance), and the harm returns to her.
* The magician casts a spell on the spur of the moment, which at the time seems the right thing to do... but afterwards, she realises that what she has done is unethical, or has unwanted consequences.
* The magician summons a god into the circle .... but gods don't take kindly to humans who boss them about. Although they may lend a helping hand to the magician who invites them, they may punish the presumptuous ones.
* The magician raises magical energy to fuel a spell (for example, by dancing, drumming or chanting)... but she raises more than she intended, and the spell magnifies out of proportion. She may intend to light a candle, and instead set the house on fire. She may intend to bring an afternoon's sunshine, and instead bring ten years of desperate drought.
* The magician may desperately try to concentrate on the spell, because magic works through the mind... but in a situation of acute danger, she can't concentrate. The more urgently she needs to concentrate, the less she is able to. Perhaps the gun-armed killers are already breaking down the door, or the sadistic villain is torturing her lover in the same room, and the distraction means she can't summon the concentration she needs to work magic.
* The magician casts a spell for what she wants to happen... but she forgets to specify how. For example, if she's desperate for cash, she may cast a spell for a hundred thousand dollars, and a week later she learns that her beloved sister has died and in her will left her that amount.
* The magician casts a spell for what she wants to happen... but she forgets to specify when. The results come years later, when she has long forgotten about the spell, and when the results are no longer desirable.
Magical mistakes can seldom be undone. Trying to undo a spell may even mess things up further. A sensible, experienced magician will always think carefully before she works magic, considering the necessary preparations, the ethic implications, and the possible consequences - but the magician in your novel may not always be careful and sensible.
The fiction potential of magical misjudgements and screw-ups endless. I hope this article has inspired your creativity.
If you have questions about magical mistakes, or want feedback for an idea, or if you need help with a magical mistake scenario in your WiP, please ask. I'll be around for a week and will answer questions.
Rayne Hall teaches an online workshop 'Writing about Magic and Magicians'. Create believable magicians (good and evil), fictional spells which work, and plot complications when the magic goes wrong. Learn about high and low magic, witches and wizards, circle-casting and power-raising, initiation and training, tools and costumes, science and religion, conflicts and secrecy, love spells and sex magic, and apply them to your novel. This is a 4-week class with 12 lessons and practical assignments. If you wish, you may submit a scene for critique at the end of the workshop.
Rayne has had more than twenty books published under different pen names, with several publishing houses and in several languages. Her latest novel, Storm Dancer, is a dark-heroic fantasy about magic and demons.
This past weekend, two types of fans descended on the sci-fi/fantasy/horror con known as Fandom Fest. The first consisted of authors, readers, editors and publishers devoted to speculative fiction. The other kind blew air on perspiring con attendees. Yes, folks, when other bloggers mention the unbearable heat, they speak the truth.
Nevertheless, this con is particularly special because not only did I participate in an Author Reading with Kathryn Sullivan and Sarah Glenn, where I read the first chapter of my short novel, Death Sword, I also sat on my first panel: “Urban Fantasy – Can You Define It?” Other authors on the panel included Michael Williams, Denise Verrico, Missa Dixon, and Julie Kagawa. Yes, folks, I sat next to a RITA winner. For those of you who don’t know, Julie Kagawa won the 2011 RITA for best young adult romance with her novel, The Iron King.
The problem with panels, of course, is not being able to attend them all. Fandom Fest offered a diverse selection, ranging from “Academic Credibility for Speculative Fiction” to “Cover Art – A Book is Judged By Its Cover” to “The Paranormal in Fiction.” And no, I can’t tell you my favorite panel. I enjoyed them all.
Also enjoyed hanging out with three other members of Savvy Authors: Amy McCorkle, Marian Allen and Fiona Young-Brown. Except for Amy, I hadn’t met Marian or Fiona in person until then, even though they live in the region.
Of course, cons are for networking. Not only did I collect a number of business cards and bookmarks, I also chatted with authors and publishers, some who I’ve met before at previous cons. Gwen Mayo, a Kentucky mystery writer, gave me some good advice about noting information on the back of someone’s business card for future reference. And Missa Dixon gave me tips on how to prepare for a panel. I’m happy to say my first time went pretty well. Not perfect but better than I expected.
Credit also goes to Gwen and Sarah Glenn of the local chapter of Sisters in Crime for telling me about Fandom Fest and encouraging me to contact Stephen Zimmer, the literary track director. And thanks to Stephen for letting me play in his sandbox.
Networking often brings opportunities we might otherwise have missed. If not for an announcement in the Kentucky Literary Newsletter, I wouldn't have known about ConGlomeration. Nor would I have had the chance to read an excerpt from my debut short novel, Death Sword.
This weekend, I have another opportunity to read from Death Sword at Fandom Fest. Not only that but I'll also be on an urban fantasy panel with fellow Kentucky writers Molly Harper and RITA winner Julie Kagawa (along with Denise Verrico and Missa Dixon).
If it wasn't for networking, I wouldn't have even known about Fandom Fest. That information is thanks to Gwen Mayo and Sarah Glenn of the local Sisters in Crime chapter (which I must join). They suggested I contact Stephen Zimmer, director of the literary track (Fandom Fest) and introduce myself. Why not? So I did and now here we are.
I'm looking forward to meeting my fellow authors. Some I've met before and others are new to me. But that's what's so great about cons.
And there's always opportunities for more networking. :-)
Fandom Fest is this weekend, July 22-24 in Louisville, KY (Fern Valley Hotel and Conference Center, 2715 Fern Valley Road). Tickets are available at the door.
The Literary Track program can be found here.
When my father was still living, we spent many hours on vacations searching for and collecting sea glass. I still have our jar full of weathered “gems” sitting on my writing desk. The title of my latest release, Sea Glass and Sand Memories came quickly, when I had only a shred of the plot and setting in mind. It has a double meaning. To me, the title is all about the memories of those family trips, the wonderful times I had with my father who I miss a lot. The second meaning of the title comes with the ending. When my main character, young woman named Kate, returns to a familiar location in search of sea glass, she finds a surprise in store for her.
Sea glass is glass found on beaches of oceans, bays, rivers, and lakes that has been tumbled smooth by the action of waves, water, and sand. The results are pieces of broken glass, frosted and smooth like gems. In a rainbow of colors, the original source determines the color and texture. The most common are Kelly green, brown, and colorless, mostly from bottles used to sell beer, juices and soft drinks. Less common colors include jade and amber (from whiskey and medicine bottles), lime green, forest green, and soft blues (from soda bottles during the 1960s or earlier). The rarest colors are purple, cobalt/cornflower (Milk of Magnesia and Vick’s VapoRub bottles) and aqua (Ball Mason canning jars).
Dad and I aimed for any color other than clear with equal delight. Many great pieces of our collection came from the setting of my story, the western coastline of Lake Michigan, the dunes area. That area of shore has a relaxed, time-stands-still feeling I think made a good setting to harbor a mysterious ghost story. It’s a quaint artsy area, a quiet place where unusual happenings could pass unnoticed for years…until the right person stumbled in like Kate.
Looking forward to a relaxing week at a Lake Michigan coastal resort, Kate finds much more than the picturesque dunes she intended to paint. Adventures start when her requested room is switched beside an unusual couple – a witch and her lover, a ghost.
During her stay, the handsome ghost, Anson, tries to ensnare her into helping him escape the witch who killed him and then enslaved his spirit. That witch holds him captive on the property of his mother’s resort. Anson wins Kate’s heart and loyalty, but is that enough to set him free?
Warning: This story contains paranormal sex, pagan abuse of a ghost spirit, nightmares, and happy family memories.
A loud knock on my door made us hush.
I held my breath.
I heard metal scraping, as though the door bolt slide open. A shadow moved across the rug in the main room.
My pulse rang in my ears.
Zandra stood in the bedroom doorway, her face ashen. “Lover, you and I have something to discuss. Leave her!” she commanded.
Anson gathered his clothes and left obediently. With only a chilling look cast at me, she turned and followed him.
What would she do to him? I dressed quickly and quietly, moving to a position under their sitting room window, listening to every noise. Soon, they argued.
“I own your soul,” Zandra pronounced.
“You possess me only by your black deeds.”
“You are my lover. What do you think you’re doing with that girl?”
“I will never love you.” His voice remained composed and assertive.
She declared, “Then, you will never love her.”
I rose up just enough to peer through a slat in the blind.
She stomped across the room, snatched an amber-colored bottle from a shelf, and yanked out the stopper. She turned toward Anson. Her face looked like a corpse, drawn and white. She proclaimed, “Captus anima!”
My mouth dropped open as his form vaporized into smoke sucked in by the bottle. When all his matter entered the vessel, she quickly replaced the stopper.
Her lips curled. “You will never love again.” Then, she looked directly at me.
Horrified, I dropped down. My heart thumped in my chest. Had she seen me? I waited. Nothing happened. Then I heard her footsteps, but they sounded from farther in the apartment. I crept back to my room. I sat on the floor, completely still, listening. Still nothing. A faint glow of dawn shone through the window. What should I do?
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Her creativity also spills into watercolor painting and drawing. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transforming into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Crazy about cycling, she usually passes the 1,000 mile mark yearly. She is learning kayaking and already addicted. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and that spiritual quest helps her explore the mystical side of fantasy. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at new stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical!