A Spark of Flash Fiction

The Passage to Publishing; Support for Writers, Editors, and Designers Facebook Group recently hosted a flash fiction challenge to write a 500-word piece inspired by the following photo. I thought I’d share my entry.

(On a side note, that support group is pretty awesome if you’re looking to make some publishing/author friends or want advice.)



Dry grit rubbed between her exposed toes with each shuffled step. Brown dust clung to glistening skin, kissed by the night wind’s song and streaked red with paint from berries. Her rapid breath added to the chorus. A raging heart leading one foot in front of the other, up the hill of her ancestors.

This would be the last pilgrimage. At dawn, she would lead the tribe east towards the rising sun. Towards the promise of fertile soil, herds to hunt, rivers that flowed faster than their horses could run. Towards hope. A flicker of chance. But no assurance.

The dry blades of grass swayed as she summited, beholding the stone arch which had watched over their people for generations. Her black hair swirled in the air, feathers dangling from the locks taking flight once more.

Having reached the peak, her long limbs collapsed to the ground. Longing fingers traced the ornate pattern of rocks embedded into the craving dirt. Tears could not replenish the land, but she let them fall anyways, unable to feign strength any further. Up here she could be weak. Where no one could see her. No one except the elders she came to invoke.

Looking into the sky’s depth, she felt their presence in the twinkling light gleaming down through the black. Each star representing a soul who had faced such trial before. Somewhere her mother was there, and her grandmother, and strong woman before. Someday she would add her own light to the heavens, but not before leaving her mark upon the dust.

And what mark would that be?

Her ears still echoed from cries of resistance. Warriors who shouted uncertainty. Aged women who stayed silent with the fear of leaving home floating in their hollow eyes. But to stay would bring certain death. Their numbers would fade with the fish and bison.

Only the children harbored no opinion. In the plain below, they slept in stick shelters unknowing tomorrow they would leave everything they had known. Yet their hands and backs would bare the greatest burden. The young ones would be counted on to resettle a new land somewhere beyond the horizon. They would bare hardship so their own children might prosper.

And if she was wrong, there would not be a future generation.

“Give me a sign.” Wind lifted the plea. “Show me I do not lead my people to death.”

Without answer, the stars traversed above, white light painted in the sky by the Gods. She found the large bear, and the salmon. The hunter with his arrow drawn and the great white bird whose wings she longed for. But the figures stayed in the heavens where they were every night, silent. The stars. The one constant as the soil turned to dust. The light which still shone each night as rivers dried.

And the stars would follow their journey. A simple truth that rushed into her soul with realization. No matter where they wandered over the coming months, the stars would be there, overhead each night. Their ancestors, their heritage. The stars would provide continuity and reassurance. She could not see beyond the horizon, but the stars could. She could survive each day and lead her people, knowing the stars would be there at night.


Cover Reveal: Meant to be Broken

I’m excited to host the cover reveal for Meant to be Brokena YA contemporary romance by southern belle by Brandy Woods!


Rayne Davidson is perfectly happy fading into the background. Her mama’s antics garner enough attention in their small Southern town for the both of them, but when Rayne catches the eye of all-star quarterback, Preston Howard, she’s enamored with the possibilities. Too bad Preston doesn’t make her heart thump—his brother does.

Gage Howard doesn’t mind the town’s stares because he doesn’t get them. Growing up in his older brother’s shadow, Gage shrugs off the endless parade of girls Preston brings home—until Rayne.

But there are unwritten rules that shouldn’t be broken, like cheating on your boyfriend or betraying your brother. Rayne and Gage deny their growing attraction, neither willing to hurt Preston—until the town finds out.

They think overcoming the gossip will be the hardest obstacle.

They’re wrong.

Rayne’s mama has a secret, and its revelation could divide the town, the families, and the new couple.

Can love endure if it’s all built on a lie?

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Her secret is big. Mama’s is bigger


I love the yellow background of the cover which gives such warmth and is sure to stand out on a bookshelf. You can have this beauty in your hands on July 2, 2018.

Pre-order at: https://www.fillesvertespublishing.com/product/meant-to-be-broken/

Read an Excerpt:

The store manager calls me on my cell and asks me to come get her. He has my number because he’s Daddy’s best friend’s brother and used me to babysit his kids a few times last year. I answer, expecting another job offer.At 9:30 Saturday morning, I find out Preston Howard wants to date me. At 11:30, my mama hears it from old lady McAlister and has a “spell” in aisle three of the Piggly Wiggly. It’s taken seventeen years, but I finally understand the two things my social life and Mama have in common. They’re both erratic and one usually suffers because of the other.

“Rayne? This is Dave Sullivan, you know, the manager down at the Piggly Wiggly? There’s been an incident with your mama.”

Apparently it’d happened in front of the Luzianne tea bags. She was comparing the family size to smaller ones when Mrs. McAlister offered her a coupon… and a piece of news.

The details get a little sketchy from there—something about her sinking to the floor and gasping for air. That’s when the manager came over with one of those small brown paper sacks they use to bag up ice cream and had her breathe in it. A nurse and a vet, both in the crowd assembled around her, agreed from their varied medical expertise it didn’t appear to be life-threatening. When the paper bag seemed to work, he decided to call me instead of the ambulance.

I pull into the parking lot ten minutes later. She’s sitting on the front bench beside the automatic doors where the employees go to smoke, under the “I’m Big on the Pig!” sign. Mrs. McAlister sits beside her, a little too close, waving a folded-up circular in her face. I wonder what the store employees and shoppers think of me, casually parking the car, walking-not-running, and looking both ways before crossing the main traffic flow. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out they’re all watching from between the weekly specials scribbled on the plate-glass windows.

I don’t feel the need to rush. It isn’t a heart attack or stroke. I call it her bipolar though Daddy gets mad when I refer to it like that. The diagnosis is anxiety, better known as my evil little sister—always around, always a pain, and always ruining my life.

This sort of episode has happened before, just not too often in public. In most societies that’s considered good news—but not in the South. They say we don’t hide our crazy, we dress it up and parade it on the front porch. And even if we don’t, someone else will do the parading for us—telegraph, telephone, tell-a-southern woman. We know how to reach out and touch some people.

Mrs. McAlister jumps up from the bench and grabs my arm as I step up on the curb. “I suwannee, child. She liked to turned over her buggy and spilt them groceries everywhere.”

Talking to some of the older ladies in town always feels like walking out of real life and into some part of Steel Magnolias. She gives me her version of the sordid details. Mama created quite a scene, not just with her episode but also by her scandalous choice of groceries. The mayonnaise was the only casualty, rolling out the leg hole of the kiddie seat portion of the cart when Mama accidentally gave it a rough shove while collapsing on the linoleum.

Mrs. McAlister hadn’t bothered to pick that up and put it back in the buggy, which was now waiting by the customer service desk. It wasn’t Dukes Mayonnaise. She leans in close to whisper because how embarrassing would that be for Mama. To her, it’s further proof Mama hadn’t been feeling well long before their conversation. What southern woman in her right mind buys off-brand mayonnaise?



About the Author

unnamed (1)Brandy Woods Snow is an author and journalist born, raised and currently living in beautiful Upstate South Carolina. She earned a BA in English/Writing from Clemson University and worked in corporate communications and the media for more than 17 years before pursuing her true passion for novel writing. Brandy is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Young Adult RWA.

When Brandy’s not writing, reading, spending time with her husband or driving carpool for her three kids, she enjoys kayaking, family hikes, yelling “Go Tigers!” as loud as she can, playing the piano and taking “naked” Jeep Wrangler cruises on twisty, country roads.

Reviews of Meant to be Broken

“Brimming with romantic tension, Brandy Snow’s MEANT TO BE BROKEN is a story of forgiveness, friendship, and first love. Full of authentic southern voice and populated by characters who are real, relatable, and raw, this intensely emotional debut kept me reading late into the night. Romance lovers, you’re in for a treat!”

– Katy Upperman, author of Kissing Max Holden

“Brandy Snow’s poetic prose keeps the reader turning the pages. This story is about more than just a love triangle. It is also a family drama with dark secrets and twists.

The story unfolds from both Rayne and Gage’s perspective. Growing up in his older brother’s shadow, Gage is almost oblivious to the girl’ s Preston brings home—until he meets Rayne. You want Rayne and Gage to get together, but you don’t at the same time because Preston is a good guy.

When Rayne and Gage finally get together secrets come to light that will surprise you!”

– R.J. Garcia, author of Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced


Pre-order now: https://www.fillesvertespublishing.com/product/meant-to-be-broken/


Cover Reveal: Abducted Hope

Abducted Hope

by Tracy Renee Wolfe

From Filles Vertes Publishing, LLC


Available March 30, 2018

Pre-order HERE!

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When lonely college student Melissa Field is abducted and swept into an out-of-this-world adventure, it’s nothing like she imagined. Her life collides with Orion’s aboard a space station where Melissa is the captive subject for Orion’s forced experiment to save his species.

Being the center of this life-changing study has its perks. Having researched humans as a longtime hobby, Orion allows Melissa the comforts of home; even if the pizza is cooked in a replicator. At least his touch is warm and real enough.

As they discover the corrupt intentions of those in charge, their only chance at joy and safety together exists away from the Phaeite leaders known as the Ruling Class. But escaping brings short-lived freedom when the Phaeites aren’t the only species intent on ruining their lives.

It will take more than reliable transportation and courage for Melissa to span a galaxy and save her new family. Being abducted by aliens was nothing compared to getting in the middle of an intergalactic war.

Meet the Author

Tracy Author PhotoTracy Renee Wolfe is an author, lover of books, Christian, wife, mom, animal lover, geek, and Hokie. She lives in her native state of Virginia with her husband and son. She loves all furry animals, including rats, and is known for stopping to pet any dog she encounters. As a self-professed geek, she loves science fiction and fantasy, and fervently defends her belief that Star Trek and Star Wars are not mutually exclusive fandoms. She considers herself to be an online extrovert and an offline introvert, leading to her love of social media. Additionally, she shares many interests with little kids, such as Disney movies, the opinion that no food can be “too sweet,” and cheesy poetry that rhymes. An example of the latter can be found in the poetry anthology, Our Virginia: The State For Lovers.

Connect with Tracy on Her Official Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Full Jacket


After a few minutes, I adjusted to the noxious air. Maybe my subconscious accepted its fated death and allowed me to relax and accept the gas into my system. I physically relaxed and idiotically gave up my struggle under the strange circumstances.

“I’ve completely weaned you off oxygen,” he said. “You’re now breathing the same air I am. Now we just need to ease off the psychotropic. It’s similar to a drug you know as valium but stronger. It helps to lessen anxiety but also makes you more cooperative.”

“Ohhh,” I said with a musical lilt to my voice.

That’s why I’m so relaxed. But why on earth would I be breathing something other than oxygen?

The calming effect slipped away as he turned off the drugs. The panic slowly started to creep back in at first. Then it bombarded me, and everything went black.

At some point, I realized I was waking up again and tried to speak. But even breathing was like sandpaper rubbing my windpipes, aching as if I was inhaling fire. The thick air seemed to congeal in my system, almost like a solid instead of a gas.

Orion sat next to me on a stool, staring and holding my hand as if he were a friend trying to comfort me. “Shhhhhh,” he gently cooed. “Try not to speak. Give your body the chance to get used to this new feeling. You didn’t pass out; I gave you a sedative, so your body could just focus on breathing ryphahl instead of oxygen. Also, we were both in bloody desperate need of sleep. You slept for ten hours.”

I tried to speak but got shushed again. “I promise, I’ll answer all your questions later. Let me get you something to drink.” He placed my right arm back into the restraints as he left the room.

I didn’t have time to attempt a breakout as he returned quickly with a cup of water. He held it close to my mouth, and I took a big slurp through the straw but gagged and spewed the entire mouthful all over my lap.

“I should’ve warned you.” He gently wiped off my hospital gown with a towel. “This is similar to your water, but not quite the same. Plus, everything tastes different due to the change in atmosphere which affects your sense of taste and smell.”

He tossed the towel behind me and sat back down on the small stool. As he seemed to be composing his thoughts, I searched his face for the answers I needed. He noticed and, gazing toward the floor as if suddenly self-conscious, he straightened the surgical cap he wore.

“Okay, Melissa—is it okay that I call you by your name?”

I nodded, wondering how he knew.

“Learning to breathe was rough, but that’s not the only thing to get through. This next part will be uncomfortable, and I’m sorry.” He looked remorsefully at the ground again, but got right to work without waiting for any response.

Click HERE to check out the mini-trailer for ABDUCTED HOPE



Cover Reveal: Fifty-One



by Chris Barnham

Available on February 12, 2018

from Filles Vertes Publishing, LLC

Fifty-One Cover

( Cover Art Credit : Kate Cowan, Broken Arrow Designs )


Jacob Wesson is a timecop from 2040, sent back to WWII London to stop the assassination of Britain’s war leader. The assignment plays out with apparent ease, but the jump home goes wrong, stranding Jake in war-ravaged 1944. Jake’s team, including his long-time girlfriend, is desperate to trace him before something else goes wrong.

Stuck in the past, Jake must pull from his training and blend in. He clings to the one familiar face he can find, Amy Jenkins, a war widow whose life he saved during the assignment. Drawn to each other by their loneliness and thrown together amid the terror of war, Jake and Amy look to a future together.

But Jake’s future cannot let him go. And when his bosses finally find him in 1944, Jake faces a terrible choice: risk unraveling the modern world, or let Amy die.

PreOrder FIFTY-ONE at Filles Vertes Publishing OR Amazon

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“What is it?” asked Jake.

“There’s more detail in here.” Robinson tapped the file on the table. “Read this in a minute, but it can’t leave the room. I’ve downloaded the orders on your palmers so you can brief yourselves later. But here are the basics.” Robinson opened the folder and glanced at the first page. “The backroom boys picked up unauthorized temporal Jumps into late April and early May 1941.”

“London?” Lew leaned forward.

“Yes. A history scholar like yourself, Agent Brockley, won’t need me to tell you how crucial a time this was in the war with Nazi Germany, with Britain fighting alone and in danger of invasion.”

“So what’re they trying to do?”

“They’ve already done it, of course,” Robinson said. “We’ve checked it out, and the system says it’s at least 90 percent likely they’re behind the assassination of a politician, a guy called Winston Churchill.”

“Should I know him?” Jake didn’t share Lew’s interest in obscure periods of the past, but the thoughtful expression on Brockley’s face said he’d heard of Churchill.

“Well, he was prime minister for a year, as I’m sure Agent Brockley could’ve told you,” Robinson said. “I’ve had it checked out: if Churchill isn’t shot after a year in the job, he turns out to be an inspirational war leader.”

“How can anyone know that?”

“You know I can’t talk about that, Jake. But you can trust me on it. Churchill shouldn’t die, and your job is to save him.”

“Hold on.” Lew frowned. “What’re these guys trying to achieve by killing Churchill?”

“I assume they want Britain to lose the war.”

“But the Allies won without Churchill,” Lew said. “So they failed.”

“Maybe their computers aren’t as good as ours. But we still need to undo the damage,” Robinson said. “Look, the details are on file but a couple of things I need to say now. First, it’s very important you follow the schedule in your orders. I mean precisely—time, place, everything. You need to be where the orders tell you when they tell you. At all times.”

Jake nodded. Lew remained still. Neither spoke, and Robinson peered once more at the cigar in his fingers before putting it away in a desk drawer.

“I’m sending four of you,” Robinson went on. “There’s you two, with Jake as mission leader. You’ll be joined by Hannah Benedict and Nancy Ahmed.”

“Hannah?” Jake asked. “Is that really necessary?”

“Nancy’s a good pick,” Lew said. Jake found that predictable; Lew had a reputation with the female OffTime agents, and he wasn’t the only one in the Office who thought Nancy was a striking recent recruit.

“But Hannah,” Jake said again. “She’s got the experience, but shouldn’t I get a say, as mission leader? And she’s my partner.”

“You are having a say,” Robinson said. “And I’ve listened. But it’s my call, and I’ve made it. We wouldn’t be much of an organization if the boys on a mission got to choose the girls, would we? Now,” he stood up to leave, “get yourselves briefed. I want you ready to go uptime by this time tomorrow.”

Reviews for FIFTY-ONE

“If you want to stay up at night thinking about time travel, Chris Barnham is your man.” —–Joe Stech, Publisher/editor-in-chief of Compelling Science Fiction Magazine

“When it comes to time travel, alternate history and the human heart, I would trust few writers more than Chris Barnham.” —– Nicholas Royle, Author of First Novel

Barnham Author Pic

Chris Barnham worked for two decades for the British government, advising Ministers on education and employment policies. In 2013, he decided it was time to make stuff up for himself. He now combines writing with running a small business, and active involvement in community politics in south London, where he has lived since the 1980s. His short fiction has appeared in a range of magazines, including Compelling Science Fiction, Black Static, the UK’s premier horror magazine, and the late-lamented Pan Books of Horror. His first novel, Among the Living, was published in 2012 (revised 2nd edition, 2017).

Chris lives in London, England, with three tall children and a scary wife. Whenever work allows, he spends as much time as possible out of town with mud on his boots. His latest walking challenge is the 630-mile South West Coast Path, around the Devon and Cornwall coasts. You can follow his (slow) progress on his blog

Check out Chris and Connect on Twitter

Check out the Book Trailer for Chris Barnham’s FIFTY-ONE here!

Don’t forget to check out Filles Vertes Publishing, LLC for more great books! Connect on Facebook, Twitter


2017 Nanowrimo Reflection


It’s been 5 days since the madness.

5 days later, I’m starting to have the itch to write again.

I was pretty quiet on my blog during November since I focused on nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). This is an insane, annual activity where authors attempt to write a novel (50,000) words in one month.

Yes, 50,000 words or 1,667/day. (Insert rant of how it’s unfair that a historical fiction novel is more like 80k-100k words…)

As a full-time working mother who likes to remain somewhat sane, I set a personal goal of 30,000 words towards the sequel to Apricots and Wolfsbane, and am pleased to say I made it. It’s not an “official” nano win since it’s 20,000 words short, but dang-it, I’m calling it a personal win! My official word count was 30,547 and the story draft is sitting ~47,000 words to date.


Apricots and Wolfsbane was a 2016 nanowrimo project and I also wrote ~30,000 words during the month. I somehow kept up that trajectory during December 2016, but I doubt that is going to happen this year. Frankly, I’m burnt out! Also, marketing for Apricots and Wolfsbane is taking a lot of my writing time, but I have some exciting events in the works for 2018 I plan to announce in the coming weeks!

The good news: I am loving my draft novel so far and am so pleased with how it is coming. I hope to have the first draft finished in early 2018.

But more importantly, I made some new author friends last month. Thank you to everyone who word-sprinted with me and for the fantastic community and encouragement.