shaped up to be an interesting year. In March, I discovered the existence of
critique partners and in July, after I finished my first story and put it away
in the drawer, it was my CP’s who pushed me to request a fairytale from
back, rubbed my hands together and anticipated a dark tale from the Brothers
Grimm with a moral to guide the way through my own version of it. Wrong! When I
checked my email, I’d received a Hans Christian Andersen story – but that was
okay, too. After all, I know a couple of his – ‘The Little Match Girl’, ‘The
little Mermaid’ and… wait a minute ‘Dance, Dance, Doll of Mine’… what?
Suddenly, all I knew about my story that it was written by somebody Dutch.
Actually, no. He was Danish, so what I knew kept shrinking.
came. I looked up my story found it a grand total of forty-nine lines long.
Forty-nine. Almost like he never meant it to be a story on its own – more like
the ideas we all scribble down when inspiration strikes but we have limited
time. He probably wrote it on the 1800s Danish version of a napkin.
it, and then I read it again. I already had my starting point – “Once upon a
time”, so I had that much going for me, at least.
slowly, the short story that seemed like a limiting factor turned around to be
limitless. I didn’t have only forty-nine lines, I had ONLY FORTY-NINE LINES and
I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. I had little to guide me, but also
nothing to constrain me.
up with ballet dancers, toy makers, gang members, mortorbikes, a step mother,
and a tattooed hero.
December 22nd, Decadent accepted my story for publication, and I
received my contract. Christmas came early to my house and 2015 is going to be
a fabulous year full of hard work and opportunity.
year I knew nothing about what to do with a story after I finished it, and this
year I’m going to learn.
really looking forward to 2015 – to the learning, the hard work, the new people
to meet and network with, and the way my kindle is about to groan under an
ever-increasing TBR list courtesy of all the new authors I find.
New Year, everybody! I wish lots of luck, success, and opportunity for all of
I’m very excited to present my first Beyond Fairytales' release, The
Century Sage, based on The Dryad. Writing for the line has been a true
adventure, and I’m so excited to have my book out.
The Dryad is a fascinating Andersen fairytale. Here’s what inspired my
story and a brief summary of The Dryad story:
The Dryad is a tree spirit and she lives inside a tree in France in the
countryside. Paris is becoming a popular destination, and she hears all the
wonderful stories about the city by people and creatures nearby where she’s
rooted. She wishes to go to Paris for years. Eventually, her wish comes true
and she’s replanted in Paris but it’s not as exciting as she’d hoped because
she’s only in one spot and doesn’t get to see all the wonderful sights and
sounds. She wishes to be human to see those sights. She cries out for a short
life as a free spirit to see the world. It’s granted to her. She goes to the city,
the catacombs, under the sea, a beautiful garden, but she’s never satisfied –
she’s always looking for something, ever restless. Eventually, she dies outside
a church having never found her heart’s desire because she didn’t flourish
where she’d been planted.
It’s rather a tragic little tale, but I suppose it has a valid message
to us – the proverbial grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Anyway,
Lina in my story has been trapped in one place her whole life because of her
calling as a dryad or tree sage. When she goes to Paris, she finds herself
trapped there for other reasons.
Lina is a tree sage, a gifted person who heals trees, but her duty binds
her to one place for her whole life until she marries. Tree sages must marry
and birth a daughter by twenty-eight, even if true love is out of the picture.
When hot rally winner Brad meets her, he is drawn to her mystical powers. Lina
can’t resist the man who represents something she shouldn’t go for, but neither
can she turn away his sexy touch. Brad offers to marry her and take her on a
world-wide rally tour. She can fulfill her dream of traveling, and he provides
a way to meet the demands of her breed, but will that be enough? What about
When Lina settles in Paris, loneliness and unfulfilled expectations threaten to
pull the shaky relationship apart. Could the barriers between them be caused by
an evil greater than they imagined? Soon, they will have to fight for Paris,
but will they survive?
She led the way through the darkened nursery to her front
door. The fresh breeze from the trees calmed her, and she couldn’t resist
stopping by the dwarf coral trees with their scarlet trumpet flowers gathered
onto tapered spikes.
“These are one of the most popular choices for gardens.” She
sniffed a flower and caressed a silky leaf. “They’re hardy and grow fast, but
don’t take up too much space.” Her nerves were making her babble.
Surprise shook her when his hand caressed the nape of her
neck, his touch cool yet sending searing heat through her.
“You’re so gentle with them. Kiss me, Lina.”
She turned to find him inches from her. His breath smelled
sweet like the rose or lavender bush, warm and fresh at the same time. She
moved closer to kiss him, and as their lips met, shivers ran through her.
Closing her eyes, she took in the full sensation of him surrounding her with
solid arms. Joy and hunger for more mingled inside her.
If only she could have him.
“Let’s go inside,” he murmured, his voice husky. “I want to
see you. The dim light coming from your front door doesn’t illuminate your
For a first kiss, it was a little disappointing. Too quick,
not enough savoring, little exploration.
“Don’t you want to look around?”
“Do you have a brochure I can look at?”
The trees nattered amongst themselves. Several of them seemed
surprised she’d brought a man home. Smiling, she unlocked her front door,
snapped on the lights, and directed Brad to her living room.
Immediately, her indoor ferns shimmered, and their leaves
plumped up. Brad gaped at them.
No one had ever noticed the big part of her life—the way
plants responded to her presence—before. Not even Henk had picked up on it.
“I feel it, too,” he whispered near her ear, sending spasms
through her core.
“Feel what?” Her body moved toward unmistakable arousal. The
disappointment from the hurried kiss faded in the brightness of his male aura.
Could she resist?
“This power, this energy when you come into a room. The trees
and plants pick it up. What sort of talent do you have?”
“I’m just like anyone else.” A lie, but she’d wished for
normality her whole life.
“Oh, no you’re not. That’s what drives me crazy about you.”
He ran sizzling hot fingers down her neck to the dip where her collar bones
met. “Every time I see you, I get goose bumps on my arms. Tingles run up and
down my legs. I struggle to breathe. It’s more than sexual attraction. I’m
drawn to you, to your essence. I don’t think I could ever enjoy life without
Yes, Ana is punishing me. In order to get my prize, I have been instructed to write a 2k story in 24 hours. Sweet f/f romance and it must have a wooden spoon.
Okay, I'll bite. Here you go. Now where are my cookies!
grandmother always said good chocolate comes from the heart. It’s simmered in
love and if prepared properly, will warm the soul.
why I call my chocolate shop, Soul Candy.
I pull the spoon out of the batch and stare at the clump, I know even the devil
wouldn’t want a piece of this soul. It’s nothing short of stomach turning, and it’s
not the impression I want to make on Ms. Ka-Bloom.
smell of burnt chocolate carries a certain stench that’s hard to get out of
your nostrils and off your clothing. It also doesn’t lie. It says I’m
impatient, more about the finish than the process to get there. And lord, it
stinks. The smoke rolls off the pot as I grab the handle and head to the sink
before the smoke detector starts screeching.
rushed the batch, I’ll admit. It was my fault. But my hastiness doesn’t stem
from the need to get the task over and done with. I love the process. It’s the
florist next door that drives my desire to get it done.
is Valentine’s Day and she’s put in a rather large order of boxed chocolate
dipped caramels sprinkled with coarse ground sea salt. The sooner I get these
babies dipped, the sooner I can drop them off. Purely for my own selfish
but a few minutes ago she blew into my shop smelling like roses and fresh
greenery. A scent better than any perfume she could wear. She stopped me in my
tracks, this blonde, floral whirlwind. Spring had exploded in my store and I
caught myself muttering, Ka-Bloom.
shipment is stuck in a blizzard. I won’t have it for at least a week.” She
wrings her hands and stares at me. “I have a ton of flower and candy orders
going out Valentine’s Day and have no candy. Can you help me? I need over twenty
boxes of chocolate covered caramels.” She sets three hundred dollars down on
the counter and reaches up and chews on her thumbnail, then drops her hand and
begins to pace in front of my counter. “Do you have time? Is that enough? I
mean can you...of course you don’t have time...it’s only the busiest day for
candy shops and florists. Oh, I’m in such a mess....” She stops and turns
toward me. “Am I crazy for asking this?”
has eyes the color of a green glass bottle with sunlight shining through it. I
only can make this comparison because my mother kept an old soda bottle in the
windowsill. You don’t see pop in glass that way anymore, but I couldn’t help
but think of it as I stared at them. “Yes.”
you can help me, or I’m completely nuts?” She bites her lip. Plump. Pink. Oh so
pretty. Her cheeks are flush and I’m not sure if it’s with excitement or from
the chill in the air outside.
come around the counter, some because conversation is easier this way, some
because I’m dying to get closer. I tuck an errant strand of my fire engine red
hair behind my ear. It always wants to hang in my face, twist and curl in every
direction imaginable. I know the effort is futile and won’t make a bit of
difference in the unruliness, but I’m nervous. She’s exactly the kind of woman
I’d date. “Yes, you are in a mess. Yes, it’s the busiest time of the year for
me. Yes I will help you. Three hundred is more than enough. I’m sure you’ll
squeals and throws her arms around me, hugging my body tight. “You don’t know
how much this means to me.”
I inhale her scent and I’m smitten. She releases me and steps back, her cheeks
have gone from pink to red. “I’m sorry. I’m just so...grateful. You’ve saved my
butt. I have to go, but thank you so much.” She spins around. The chimes on my
door jingle, and she’s gone.
florist next door is a goddess.
minutes later, the door jingles again. “Be right there!” I call out from the
back and wrinkle my nose, hoping the customer doesn’t catch wind of what’s
cooking in the back. I untie my apron and toss it on the counter in disgust. My
wooden spoon stands upright in a pot of petrified burnt chocolate. Expensive
chocolate I’d imported from Germany. No amount of soaking would loosen the
mess. I’d broken out the best for Ka-bloom. I shake my head staring at the
dollars signs headed for the dumpster. What had come over me?
I step through the door to the display case, I once again come face to face
with Ka-Bloom. “Hey, you’re back.” I smile, feeling shy. My belly flutters as
she thrusts a bouquet of deep red roses into my hands.
am.” Her dimples make an appearance and my heart does the soft shoe in my chest.
The scent of flowers permeate the air and I catch myself staring again. I can’t
take my eyes off her decadent mouth.
wondered if you’d like some fresh flowers to display around the shop, you know,
for Valentine’s Day?” She sniffs and her nose wrinkles. “What’s that smell?”
Blink. “Um, what smell?”
like burnt rubber.” Sniff. “But worse.”
step back. Is it clinging to me? “I think the city is flushing the sewers.”
she smiles again. “That explains it.” She turns to leave and stops, glancing
back. “You can keep the vase. I found it at an antique mall.” I glance down and
see it’s this marbled glass in caramels and creams. It almost looks edible. “It’s
called slag glass and it made me think of you.”
then she was gone. I sigh. Hopeless. Sap. Whatever.
sniff the roses and grin. She thought of me.
She thought of me. Outside of the
shop. Could the attraction go both ways? I stare at the
flowers for what seems like several minutes when a customer comes through the
door and I’m snapped out of my trance.
you’re the chocolate lady.” A man stands in front of me, sticks his hands in
his pockets and rocks back on his heels. “You know it’s just an excuse for her
to come over here. Right? She doesn’t really need all that candy.”
What?” I stutter.
sister, Ana.” He gives me one of those “oh duh” looks.
lower my bouquet and study the man closer. He has the same eyes as Ka-bloom, er
Ana. “Your sister?”
She’s been talking about you since she opened her shop four weeks ago. She saw
you putting a candy display in the window and has been trying to work up the
courage to meet you.”
don’t follow.” He couldn’t be telling me what I thought he’s telling me.
gives me the look again. “You do like women, or am I way out of line here?”
set my vase of flowers down on the glass countertop, maybe a little harder than
I should. “Not that it’s any of your business, but yes. And you are out of
line. Do you see me asking you if you date women?” I don’t advertise, but I don’t
hide it either. That he knows, raises my brow a bit. What gave it away?
if reading my mind, he answers. “You know, I’ve seen the way you look at her,
through the shop window. I kind of coaxed her into coming in here and waited
for her outside. I’m the moral support.”
know, that you’ve been watching...it’s kind of creepy.”
shrugs. “So, there are these two tickets to a show downtown tomorrow. I’ll pick
you up at six."
I throw my hands up. “I didn’t say I was looking for anyone.” I hated when
people found out I was a lesbian, I became the perfect girlfriend for their
friend, co-worker, sister or whatever. It didn’t work that way. I liked to pick
my own dates.
She likes you. You like her. What’s the problem? I saw the way you watched her
from outside. I don’t mean to offend, so I’m just going to come out and say
this. Her high school sweetheart, her girlfriend of ten years was killed in a
car accident two years ago. She hasn’t dated anyone since, and I want to see
her happy. Yes, I’m the interfering big brother. Don’t you think I know that? When
she talks about you, she smiles. And you can’t tell me she isn’t pretty. Please,
help me out here. Say yes.”
don’t know.” I fidget. I hate setups, and I’m not exactly crazy about the fact
I seem to be wearing a big target that says available lesbian.
know you want to.”
shut up.” I roll my eyes. “I’ll go. She kind of makes me smile too.” Who was I
kidding, she more than makes me smile.
does this fist pump and he’s out the door. I’m beginning to wonder If I will get
anything done today. Who cares? I
have a date, and twenty boxes of caramels to whip up before tomorrow and I’ve already
decided to write them off as a promotion. Flowers and chocolates combined. I
should have thought of that sooner. I head out back and get to work.
Day comes faster than expected. I pull on my favorite pink sweater, jeans and
boots. I’ve arranged my hair twelve different ways, in a full range of Orphan
Annie to Pippi Longstocking. Right now, I’m totally rocking Raggedy Ann. I look
at my curls, dosed with a healthy portion of styling products and decide it’s
about as good as it’s going to get. Now, I just need to remember to stay away
from open flames.
arrives about five. I help her load the chocolates into her hatchback. Just as
she opens the door to get in, she turns to me. “I wanted to ask you something.”
smile, having a pretty good idea what it is she wants to ask. “Yes?”
lied about the chocolates. I didn’t need them. I wanted to meet you, and well,
I guess I went a bit overboard. Would you mind helping me take these chocolates
to the local shelter? I’d like to give them a Valentine’s Day treat.”
and a heart of gold. I reach into my pocket and hand her the three hundred
dollars back. “It’s okay. I know you didn’t need them. Your brother told me.”
they cost money to make.” She shoves the bills back at me.
shake my head and refuse to take them back. “Which, is the best money I ever
spent. What a great idea. Let me lock up and I’ll be right back.”
if you won’t take the money, I’ll donate it. I’ve also been meaning to ask....”
press my fingers to her lips. “We better get going or we’ll miss the show. I’ll
be right back.” I close up and lock the shop door. When I get back to the car,
Ana is sitting in the front seat with the engine running. “You know,” she says
as I climb in and buckle my belt. “There’s nothing quite like flowers and
chocolates for Valentine’s Day.”
there isn’t. Other than spending it with someone like you.” Ana smiled and we
pulled away. Thirty years later, we still make a trip to the shelter on
February 14th. Ana gives me flowers and her heart. I give her chocolates and my
James and Micah both face serious illness. Checking off
things from their bucket lists, they find themselves drawn to a club like none
they’d ever experienced. From the doorman’s leather kilt, to the waiter’s
jockstrap uniform, they thought they had seen it all, when a tower of
masculinity in leather and stainless steel walks onto the stage and turns the
couples lives upside down and inside out.
made the landing and stood watching James ascend. A few seconds later, he
reached the top and looked around. They found themselves outside a door almost
as dark as the night, set into a wall of cimmerian brick that disappeared into
the gloom on either side.The doorman
standing beside it was equally striking. He stood taller than James's six feet,
and wore only a black leather kilt and heavy boots that seemed to consume the
lower part of his muscular legs. No one would dare challenge the man. His torso
rippled in ways James had never seen before. His face was rugged, covered with
a few days scruff trimmed precisely along his jawline. Before he could think of
what they should do, the doorman spoke.
to Razor. What’s your pleasure tonight?”
speechless as the deep bass of the man’s voice resonated through the night.
“The music. The music is wonderful. We caught it from a few blocks off and
wanted to hear more.”
emerged on the man’s face and changed him from executioner to guardian. “Of
course, the music. You’ve found the right place. Just in time, too. Tonight is
drawing to a close.”
He grasped the bronze door
pull that was easily as long and thick as James's forearm and opened the
massive door with little apparent effort. He motioned them into the portal with
a wave of his hand. “Go. Enjoy yourself.”
Want to know more about Jon? Visit his links below.