Shorty Shorts Season

I know, I know…it’s the end of summer and Fall season is around the corner which is definitely not the season for shorts. But this is not the shorty shorts I am talking about. While I don’t have a new book coming out until January 2022, I have two short stories in two different anthologies, coming out in September and October. Holidays seem to be a popular season for shorts. I am excited for both anthologies to hit the market, but not because I think my stories are that amazing. Instead, I am joined by some incredible authors in the second Lonestar Collection and also the Halloween favorite, Lady Grimm II.

Almost always, I offer short stories for charity. In the Lady Grimm collection, proceeds go to The Trevor Project which helps with LGBTQ+ youth. The Lonestar Collection helps to support the Lonestar Lesfic Festival which unfortunately has not happened the last couple of years due to COVID. Instead of a long rambling blog with obscure research on equally obscure topics, I’ve decided to share two teasers from both stories in the hope that you will buy both anthologies!

From Rainstorm in the Lonestar anthology (sorry, you might have to pull out your box of tissues):

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do was walk in the rain during one of the famous summer rainstorms in Houston. It was like taking an outdoor shower. I shouldn’t have done that when I moved to Amarillo, where the rain is freezing cold, even in July. It hadn’t stopped me from trying.

Like a horse returning to their corral, I saw the rain, and I wanted to dance and sing in it. I wanted to reinvent the scene from Singing in the Rain. I needed to be silly again. Act like a child and simply enjoy those simple pleasures before the reality of adulthood completely overtook my body and soul.

Thank goodness I still danced in the rain, even as I eased into adulthood. If I hadn’t, I would have never met my wife.

I’m old now as I watch the rain splatter against the pane of the window in my hospital bed. I lift my head an inch above the pillow and stretch to see the fat wet drops splatter against the clear glass. My wife is holding my hand and smiling at me. Her hair frames her face. She was never one to follow the rules and decided there was nothing wrong with shoulder-length hair on an old woman. No cropped silver hairdo for her. I’d given up on long hair years ago, finding a short haircut a lot easier, especially after I became ill.

“Can we?” I ask.

She shakes her head, and that sad, indulging smile appears. “They would never let me take you outside.”

“Please.”

She knows it won’t be long, and I see her resolve starts to wane. The mischievous smile appears, and I know I’ve won this last request. Her head turns to the right and left, and then it lands on the wheelchair beside the bed. I know I won’t get to dance in the rain on my own two feet, but I can still sing. My wife will twist and turn with me in the wheelchair, and we’ll do a modified dance in the rain.

“Okay,” she agrees, and her silver hair moves with her laughter. “We’ll have to time this so Nurse Ratchet doesn’t catch us.” She’s still quite the jokester.

I giggle. My mind takes me back to the day we danced in the rain for the very first time.

For those who actually bought The Dream Catcher and enjoyed that story, I’ve done a continuation short called Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue. This story will be in Lady Grimm II that comes out on September 18th. Here is a teaser for that:

I felt the tickle of a tiny sandpaper tongue on my cheek as my eyes slowly opened. A fluffy orange kitten was giving me a bath. I giggled before taking in the scene before me. I’d done it again, conjured hundreds of kittens. Maya simply smiled and shook her head. Scolding me was not her style. That was reserved for Syl. She never appreciated the result of my good moods and hated when I went to my dark place, which thankfully wasn’t often after my hard work at the Dream Seeker’s Commune. I’d come a long way with the assistance of the love of my life, Maya.

“I think I’ll get a few of the kids. They won’t want to miss out on your treat for the day. At least this one is more PG than the twin strippers. Although, several of the older girls were quite enamored with that dream manifestation. They really wanted Syl to inject you with something that would make them last a smidgeon longer. I didn’t know whether to be offended or flattered that they had a surprising resemblance to me,” Maya said.

Forrest and Rain were the first to arrive, squealing with delight. “Oh my God, they are so adorable.” Rain scooped up a black and white kitten.

“You can have this dream every day,” Forrest exclaimed while grabbing two squirming tabby kittens.

Syl entered my bedroom and scowled. “Why can’t you do anything in moderation? There must be a hundred of these furry critters. If they pee and shit all over the cabin, you’re going to have to clean it up.”

“Aw Syl, we love when she conjures kittens. Can’t you try out the new serum so we can play with them a little longer? Thirty minutes isn’t nearly long enough,” Rain pleaded.

“I am holding you responsible, too, Maya. You were supposed to be working with her to rein in her gift. A hundred?” Syl glared at Maya.

Maya shrugged. “What’s the harm? The girls love it. At least she didn’t dream up a hundred She-Hulks or Godzilla’s. I don’t think they would have fit in the cabin,” she joked.

Syl crossed her arms over her chest. “Actually, I did not come here to scold you about the kittens. We have problems. I need both of you in the conference room.”

Maya quirked her eyebrow. “What now?”

“Your brother has surfaced.” Syl uncrossed her arms and bit the bottom of her lip in a gesture I’d often seen when she was over-stressed. I’d never heard Maya talk about her brother. I didn’t even know that Maya and Leah had another sibling. If her brother had the same talents as Leah and Maya, that could be a really good thing or something awful. Considering Syl’s expression, I was sure this meant doom and gloom for us.

“Shit,” Maya muttered.

“You have a brother, too?” I asked.

“Not now, Heaven,” Maya snapped.

Maya had been nothing but patient and kind with me, and she’d certainly never used that tone before. She was the chipper, self-confident one. My good mood was heading into dangerous territory. I hoped tonight I wouldn’t conjure up anything that could do harm to the compound.

She must have realized that she’d been harsh because she immediately apologized. “Oh, God, Heaven. I am so sorry. I honestly didn’t realize that my brother was still alive or in the US. This is bad, really bad.”

“Rain, Forrest, can you watch the kittens until they disappear? Don’t let them pee on the bed,” I instructed.

“Sure thing, Heaven,” they both responded.

More of the younger Dream Weavers and Catchers shuffled into the house as we left our cabin, squealing with delight. At least they would have a good day. After we had rescued them from the awful Dream Center, my mission was to ensure a smooth transition to the Dream Seeker’s Commune. I had a first-row seat on the atrocities they’d all had to endure. I shuddered to think about that torturous time in my life.

In some ways short stories are easier to write, and in other ways, they are more challenging because the author has to create an entire story arc in ten thousand words or less. With these two short stories, that brings my total shorts to fifteen. Certainly less than the number of full-length novels, but something I have always loved about writing shorts is my ability to continue with beloved characters. The majority of my shorts are based on characters from my full-length novels. Thus the reader gets a pseudo sequel without me having to actually write one. For those of you who know me, I’ve only reluctantly traveled that road a few times. Anyways…I promised I would not ramble, so I hope you will check out these two anthologies and also read or re-read my other books. You know the drill, just click on the links below! Don’t forget this week’s sale books from incredible Affinity authors, Erin O’Reilly and Erica Lawson. Next Time and Possessing Morgan are both on sale!

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