Flash Fiction Friday – Lady of Shalott

Lady of Shallot by John Waterhouse

Her ethereal beauty astounds me. Waterhouse perfectly captured the muted sunlight in her hair.  But what moves me beyond comprehension is her expression; wonder, wistful, wanting and acceptance of her fate.  Cursed, and yet more – she is enchanted.  Her love for him is enough to willingly accept death.

Could I ever love someone so deeply?

Beside me, a man grunts as his companion murmurs quietly and I wonder if she, too, is emotionally moved by the painting.

He chuffs and speaks too loudly for this place, “Basically, she committed suicide instead of making quilts.”

Just like a man to not appreciate an exquisite gift so freely given.

I hadn’t meant to utter the words aloud but when his companion’s eyes turn to mine I see sadness, understanding and resolve.  Her brows furrow and she drops her hands to her sides and walks away leaving the foolish man.  He is Lancelot, ignorant he has just lost his greatest treasure.

 

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Flash Fiction – super short stories, or as I like to think of them, poems that I understand.  I am totally inspired by my friend, author Rebecca Barray and her ability to capture the story in 55 words.  I tried, and failed.  

When I first saw this painting in London I was mesmorized and then went home and read Tennyson’s poem and cried for her.  I wish I had her strength and I wonder if Lancelot would have been happy in love, his heart would be torn in two – but alas, that is another story to be told…  You can find Tennyson’s poem here.

Rebound Baby, Too excerpt

brendan kelly

Big Mike – or Bike Mike as Anna’s roommate Melinda calls him.

jennifer lawrence

I picture Anna Kincaid to sound like Jennifer Lawrence and look a little like her too.

ryan lochte

Ryan Lochte is my inspiration for Mr. Lickable because hey, I don’t care who you are… you’d taste him.

Here’s a sneak peek.  Intended for readers eighteen and over. And, yeah, it’s all copyright protected material, but I’m happy if you share this tidbit.

I was nervous to be alone with Jake. He must have sensed it because he gently set my bags down and pulled me in for a hug. His large hands cupped my face and he kissed me. I melted against him. Somehow I had forgotten how intoxicating he smelled. His hands tilted my head, his fingers combing through my hair. When he finally broke our kiss I was panting. He kissed me lightly and whispered, “I missed you.”

I slowly released my clenched grip from his twisted shirt. I leaned up and kissed him gently, “I missed you, too.”

“I’m Mike.” A big hand appeared in my periphery and Jake hands lowered. One went protectively around my waist holding me tightly to him while his other shook Mike’s.

“Jake. Thanks for taking care of my girl.” I wanted to bristle but I understood Jake needed to take a stand. I couldn’t correct him now.

Mike’s lips twitched, “Funny, there’s no ring on her finger.”

Oh hell.

“Mike.” I narrowed my eyes in warning. “Shut the hell up.”

He shrugged a mischievous glint in his eyes, “Just saying, a pretty girl like you, no ring. If you were mine I’d have a big rock on your hand with a band in like, five minutes.”

“I’m not yours. I would never be yours.” Sheesh, to think I was going to introduce him to Melinda. She’d kill me if he went all caveman on her. Probably. Maybe. Maybe not.

Jake bristled, “You trying to tell me something, Mike?”

“Yes, I am.” He stood to his full height, his suit still impeccably neat, full intimidation mode. “I’ve spent the last two weeks with your girl and I like her. She’s like a little sister to me. A pregnant, unmarried little sister.”

“Ok, then. It’s time for us to go.” I grabbed Jake’s hand. “Please?”

“Let me clear something up, first. Mike, I appreciate your loyalty to Anna. Don’t for a second think I don’t want to marry her. She isn’t ready for that. When she is, I will happily buy the biggest rock she’ll let me put on her finger and give her the wedding of her dreams. She’s mine, and I’m not letting her go. Anna?”

Oh hell. Jake was radiating anxiety. He’d just put it all out there, trusting me. The man loved me. He trusted me.

I leaned up and kissed his cheek. “Yes, Jake, I’m yours. Your mine, the baby is ours and I’d like to take a shower and go to bed, with you.”

“Well played.” Colt cheered from behind us. “See you kids tomorrow.”

———

So, I think if this was a movie Ryan Lochte would be Jake, Jennifer Lawrence would be Anna, Brendan Kelly would be Mike, and well, I’m not sure who I see for Melinda yet… She needs to be spunky, cute, snarky, kind of like a young Wendy Malik. What do you think?

Just finished editing Rebound Baby, Too and submitted it to publishing house…

I decided to try the traditional route on Rebound Baby, Too. I’ve submitted it for publication and hope to hear back soon that they love it and want to publish it and pay me millions… Ok, so maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here’s my blurb…
Office flirtations lead to a night of unparalleled sex for Anna and Jake. Just when Jake is ready to cuddle, Anna kicks him out letting him know that it was a one-night stand. Jake recognizes that Anna is perfect for him; she’s young, vivacious, but not ready to settle down. He was blown away the first day they met, her quick wit and husky voice enchanted him. He just needs a little time to convince her that they are perfect together.
Anna can’t help but fall in love with Jake. He’s ridiculously attractive, has a great job, a passionate and generous lover, and doesn’t live with his mother. On paper he’s perfect. In real life he’s a little bossy, a lot intense, and when Anna realizes she’s pregnant she’s not sure that she’s ready to handle all of him and morning sickness too. She’s not sure she can even trust her instincts when it comes to men, after all her first husband was Prince Charming right up until she was no longer the damsel in distress. Jake proves to her he’s worthy of her trust, wanting her to be his partner in life, sharing their future, not controlling it.

And here is a sneak peek at their first interaction…

I found Anna in the copy room, bent over and dissecting the machine in order to remove a paper jam. Anna was dressed prim and proper from the ankles up. A grey skirt of sensible length paired with a light blue blouse and pearls. However, the four inch black heels made my mind wander to what it would take to simply walk up behind her, hike her skirt up and take her. She was the perfect height, the perfect angle. Was she wearing stockings? A thong or lace panties?
I was being a douche.

“Can I help?” I asked politely, begging silently that she would stand up and make the mental images fade.

She squeaked and stood up quickly, “You startled me.”

“Do you need any help?”

She raised an eyebrow, “Are you insinuating that my copier repair and paper fluffing abilities aren’t up to task?”

I grinned, “Yes.” I liked that smart mouth. I wondered what it would taste like.

She blew her hair out of her eyes, “Ok, if you can get eight copies of this color-copied, collated, and stapled I will concede that you are the Conquistador of Copies.” She handed Jolie’s presentation to me.

I chuckled and couldn’t help but wink at her. “I see. You think flattery will blind me to the fact that you’re having me do your work?”

She tilted her head and winked back, “If necessary, I can offer fresh baked cookies as payment.”

I closed up the machine and waited for it warm up, “Bribery and flattery. So, public relations comes naturally to you then.”

“I’m afraid so.” She admitted. “Can I watch how you manage this feat?”

“Sure.” I moved over leaving a respectable distance between us as I taught her how to do color copies. As it whirled to life she murmured thanks.

“I appreciate your help.” She stepped back putting more distance between us.

I nodded, “Anytime.” As she picked up her copies I winked, “I prefer white chocolate macadamia nut.”

“Sure thing, Conquistador.” Her husky voice left me unable to articulate. It was if her voice stole my soul.

 

Phew – I just love Anna and Jake!

 

Just finished rough draft of Rebound Baby, Too

and now on to edit, edit, edit.  Sigh….

Here’s an unedited excerpt.

Jake–

I watched as the new interns sat down at the conference table.  Jolie, Andrew, and I had to pick one or two interns to join our teams.  I did my homework last night and read through their internship applications and found two that sounded like they might not be a total pain in the ass to work with and train.  One was Melinda Noonan, and the other was Anna Kincaid.  There were two other interns, Sarah Brooks, and Scott Cunningham.  If I was lucky I’d get either Melinda or Anna, if I was smart I would choose Scott.  

Two years after surviving a nasty sexual harassment suit from an intern, I was still wary to work with women.  I won the suit, but missed the chance to make partner and wouldn’t ever put myself in that position again.  Ever.  The agency had decided it was best if all interns were off limits, and while it was a legally unenforceable rule, we all abided by it.

Jolie whispered to me, “Ready for the cattle call?”

I raised an eyebrow in answer.  We both knew the drill, make nice, be polite, and hope that you got the intern with common sense and a working knowledge of the alphabet.  Jesus, I had no idea what the hell they were teaching in college these days, but it surely wasn’t any marketable skills.

I heard a soft “moo” emanating from down the table and nearly swallowed my tongue at the beautiful brunette seated there.  She was smirking and when I caught her eye she blushed prettily.  The introductions went around the table and I was surprised at her sweet husky voice.  The interns were assigned, and I was thankful that I had Melinda.  I didn’t need the distraction of Anna.  

Three months, I reminded myself.  The woman would be in the office for three months, if I was still interested after that I’d ask her out.  I just needed some patience.  It had been over two years since my last date, I could handle three more months.  

Or so I thought.

Two hours later I found Anna in the copy room, bent over and removing a paper jam.  Anna was dressed prim and proper from the ankles up.  A grey skirt of sensible length paired with a light blue blouse and pearls.  However, the four inch black heels made my mind wander to what it would take to simply walk up behind her, hike her skirt up and take her.  She was the perfect height, the perfect angle.

And I was being a douche.

“Can I help?” I asked politely, begging silently that she would stand up and make the mental images fade.

She squeaked and stood up quickly, “You startled me.”

“Do you need any help?”

She raised an eyebrow, “Are you insinuating that my copier repair and paper fluffing abilities aren’t up to task?”

I grinned, “Yes.”  I liked that smart mouth.  I wondered what it would taste like.

She blew her hair out of her eyes, “Ok, if you can get eight copies of this color copied, collated and stapled I will concede that you are the Conquistador of Copies.”  She handed Jolie’s presentation to me.

I chuckled and couldn’t help but wink at her.  “I see.  You think flattery will blind me to the fact that you’re having me do your work?”

She tilted her head and winked back, “If necessary, I can offer fresh baked cookies as payment.”

I closed up the machine and waited for it warm up, “Bribery and flattery.  So, public relations comes naturally to you then.”  

“I’m afraid so.”  She admitted.  “Can I watch how you manage this feat?”

“Sure.”  I moved over leaving a respectable distance between us as I taught her how to do color copies.  As it whirled to life she murmured thanks.

“I appreciate your help.”  She stepped back putting more distance between us.  

I nodded, “Anytime.”  As she picked up her copies I winked, “I prefer white chocolate macadamia nut.”

“Sure thing, Conquistador.”  Her husky voice left me unable to articulate. It was if her voice stole my soul.

Three months were going to be hell.

Audible offers free Days of Noah audiobook giveaway.

I recently recorded The Days of Noah by Virginia Smith. It’s a wonderful story about Noah and his family with an interesting twist. I don’t want to give it away but I enjoyed reading the book and I’m proud to be a part of the audiobook. If you’re interested in receiving a code for a free copy just email me at doylemacbrayne@gmail.com

Here is her blurb about the story…

Belief in the One God is dangerous in Cainlan, a city founded on the worship of the god Cain. But when the daughter of a pagan priestess meets the son of a religious fanatic she is drawn to Shem’s caring manner and deep faith. Eliana believes his assertion that the One God will wipe the earth clean of the corruption that fills it, especially when she discovers a terrifying secret known only to those high in the government’s ruling council.

Though desperate to escape her destiny, Eliana’s life has been preordained. Not even Shem’s God can rescue her from the fate for which she was born – becoming the next high priestess to Cain.

I think a reviewer on Amazon said it best: The Days of Noah by Virginia Smith is an intriguing and fascinating tale that imagines the time of Noah being an age of advanced technology, in transportation, power, and weaponry. I especially appreciated the parallels with today’s troubling issues of absolute power, corrupting absolutely. The story describes the age-old tragedy of the human situation in which the people who control the power source of society hold oppressive power over the less influential and also control the wealth of the society.
The romantic subplot adds wonderful emotion to the tale as one of Noah’s sons falls in love with a pagan temple priestess whom he desperately desires to rescue from the catastrophic flood which God has told Noah would cleanse the sinfulness of the earth.
The tale is an excellent hybrid of scripture, fantasy, science fiction, and action. Virginia Smith has come into her own as a very gifted writer.

Contact me if you’d like to receive a code for a free copy on audible.

I read a wonderful book and wanted to share…

Do you ever read a book where you just fall in love with the characters and absolutely LOVE their interactions? This is my favorite summer read this year. I found myself smiling practically the entire time I read Back To You. John and Sophie are childhood friends who grew apart as they grew up. Sophie finds herself back in her hometown and a wonderful romance and love bloom between John and Sophie. It is an incredibly sweet story and definitely a great summer read!

I’m still working on Rebound Baby, Too and it’s coming along nicely.

Here’s a link to Back to You by Carmen Roy on amazon.

My most exciting email to date!

Hi Tobi!

Congratulations! You are one of the 9th Annual Passionate Plume finalists for your entry Rebound Baby.

I still have a huge, stupid grin on my face! I find out in July if I’ve actually won for my category of novellas, and while that would be cool, I’m ridiculously giddy to be a finalist.
Passionate Plume is an “erotic” chapter of Romance Writers of America. I joined earlier in the year, after joining Romance Writers of America and took an interesting online course… My cheeks are still flaming! It took forever for me to even say the words “erotic author” in description of what I write. Now, while I wouldn’t put it on a business card that I hand out to my neighbors, I feel less embarrassed. More confident? Not confident enough to tell my mother-in-law… My husband and I were joking that if she ever heard, I’d explain that I was an exotic author, writing travel stories. Heh-heh-heh. For crying out loud, what would you say to an 80 year old woman?
So – I’m extremely tickled to have been chosen as a finalist and had to share my good news with you all. I hope that you follow me on my blog, twitter, facebook, and encourage your friends to as well. I am currently working on Rebound Baby, Too – and while I love the characters and the plot, it’s taking longer to get the words to page. They are really good words once they are on the page though…
If I get a message from you all, I might even put up another free short story for July 4th.
Have a wonderful Tuesday. Mine is absolutely fabulous!

Tobi