Posting new material fifty-two times a year is a challenge, and I’m proud to say I’ve largely maintained that schedule for over seven years. Yay me! (Sorry.) In addition to writing, I stay busy editing, teaching, and working with other writers. So, this week, in addition to posting a dose of flash fiction, I’m happy to introduce my readers to books by two fine authors with whom I’ve worked. But first things first; here’s the short stuff:
“I’m Detective Williams,” said the man at the door. His plaid coat reminded Jerome of the one his mother made him wear. She never treated me like an adult.
“Come in,” the teen said.
Williams declined. “I was in the area and thought I’d drop by. I hoped you could tell us something new about your mom’s disappearance.”
“Can’t think of anything,” Jerome said. “I called when she didn’t come home from choir practice.”
“It’s only been a few days,” the officer said as he backed away. “We’ll keep looking. There’s still hope.”
Alone again, Jerome smiled. His experimental conditioner worked! Yes, it took a while, but once a subject’s bones dissolved, well….
Sandra glared at her beau. “Enough, Brad! I’m angry, but I’m too tired to argue. In fact, I’m exhausted. Take me home.”
He started the car and pulled into traffic. “Chill, babe. I just teased him a little.”
“Teased? Hardly. You went way past that.”
“He started it, the little geek. Said I was French.”
“Yeah. He called me a frog.”
Sandra had known Jerome since they were little. He’d had a crush on her since the 4th grade. “Are you sure he didn’t say, ‘trog’?”
“Yeah, maybe. I dunno. What’s a trog?”
“It’s short for troglodyte, someone who lives underground. Like a troll.”
“Then, the little shit had it coming. He owed me.” Brad reached for her, but she scooted away. “What’s your problem?”
“You are! You said you made those fancy lunches–just for me. But you stole them. How should I react?” She shook her head. “You’re disgusting. I can’t believe you’ve been picking on poor Jerome all this time. You know his mother is missing. She could be dead! Don’t you care?”
“Jerome Pilheim is a hideous geek,” said Brad. “If not for chem class, he wouldn’t have any life at all! Besides, I’m not picking on him, I’m just playin’ around with him. He prob’ly loves it.”
“You bullied him, and you know it.”
Brad shrugged. “Okay, I’ll apologize. Will that make you happy?”
“I doubt it,” she said. “We’ll see.”
Jerome finished his chemistry homework, then stretched and yawned. “God, I’m tired,” he said, smiling at the irony. Mother had been tired too, especially while her system fought to resist the conditioner he’d been putting in her food. Of course, once it destroyed her immune system there was nothing to keep it from causing her whole body to disintegrate, from the inside out. He’d had to put her in the basement those last few days for fear the neighbors would hear the screams.
Jerome turned off his night light and settled under the covers. A huge smile of contentment stretched his face as he thought about the special lunches he’d been preparing for Brad to steal. If his formula worked on him the way it did on Mother, the bully would be in for a big surprise any day now.
Okay, and now for some book stuff. Both of these new books were written by gifted writer friends, and I’m happy to show them off. Both are available now at Amazon (links follow). These two writers are amazing people, and they could use a little love. The best way you can show it is to buy a copy of whichever one tickles your fancy and post a review.
The first book, Coffee Hour in Flensburg, is a memoir by Erika Passantino which brings to life conditions in war-time Germany for a little girl and her parents, one a gifted pianist, the other a brilliant engineer. While the primary focus is on Germany in the 1940s, the full story ranges across three continents and several decades. It’s a fascinating read. I had the pleasure of editing the text and the many photos in this wonderful book. I know you’ll enjoy it. You can order your copy here.
Snapshots, the second book to debut this month, is a delightful collection of flash fiction–short stories under a thousand words. Written and compiled by a genius of the genre, Doris Reidy, these stories run the gamut of emotions from joy to sorrow and everywhere in between. You can order a copy here.
I’m extremely fortunate to know Doris, and even more fortunate to have her as my co-teacher for a writing class devoted to flash fiction. If you live in the metro Atlanta, Georgia, area and think you might like to join us, check out our class listing here.
Finally, an extra word or two about my own new release, Zeus’s Cookbook, which also debuted this month. Though I did a cover reveal last week, I didn’t take the time to say anything about the story itself.
Anyone who knows me also knows I’m no cook, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this isn’t actually a cookbook. Instead, it’s a book about some extraordinary flavorings–spices of an unusual, positively unearthly, variety. These spices will not only change the character of a meal, they can change the character of… well… a character. Fun stuff ensues!
You can find your copy right here.