End of July: Monday Blog Post

Payson Book Festival 2017

Newest News:

Some updates from the Payson Book Festival. After digging into the stats, we had over 700 people attend the festival. That’s the 3rd straight year with 100+ attendee growth. Our new venue, the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino had the tables arranged so that it didn’t feel crowded, even with so many attendees. Feedback from volunteers, authors and attendees were favorable for the most part and I really thank everyone who filled out a feedback form. It makes it so much easier to figure out whether or not there was a problem when people actually tell us!

Bush Green Beans

I harvested 8 yellow squash on Friday. I’m definitely going to have to start calling friends and asking if they want some squash. The peaches are ripe and I have a glut of those, too! Hubby ate three of them (they’re small) for his morning snack on Sunday. Good thing we like peaches.

The editor emailed me, he’s having trouble getting the Tested file to me. I’ve sent an alternate email address so hopefully that will do the trick. I’m still looking for my First Encounter and Downtrodden files. Grrrrrrrr.

Giveaways:

Would you like to win free ebooks, other prizes, or a $130 in Paypal cash? Drop by http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link for the Summer Blockbuster Giveaway.

An annual giveaway on the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale is over at midnight today! You can go to my author page or search for Troubled Streets, Mystery at the Fair, First Encounter, or A New Start. Use code SW100 to claim these books for free on the checkout page. Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/1 to browse all of the books on sale. Lots of great stories are ready for you!

Shout Out:

Author Mary Anne Edwards

Today’s shout out goes to author Mary Anne Edwards. A life-long fan of authors such as Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Mary Anne decided to listen to the voices in her head and began writing her own series of traditional mysteries featuring Detective Charlie McClung. Mary Ann is my featured author on Wednesday’s Author Interview. Can’t wait? Check out her site at http://maryanneedwards.com.

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

My next public appearance will be at the Pine Fall Festival October 14th and 15th. On both days I’ll be in the Community Hall with a few other authors selling and signing books with the antique dealers. On Saturday besides crafters, is the annual chili cook-off. Saturday hours are 9am – 5pm and the chili cook-off starts at 11am. Be there at 11am. The chili usually runs out by noon. Buy a ticket, taste the chili, vote for your fav top three! My hubby is usually there with his version. Sunday the hours are 9am – 4pm. Lots of crafters will be there and the weather is lovely in October. Come on by and say hello.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

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Creating the Gift: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Blue Pottery Bowl by Connie Cockrell

Blue Pottery Bowl by Connie Cockrell

Emily Wu checked her bank statement and sighed. It wasn’t going to work, getting her mother a nice Christmas gift. She was sick of the TV talking heads telling everyone it was the economy. The economy seemed good for the rich. Why didn’t any of that trickle down to her? She closed the bank app on her computer and rubbed her eyes. Her $8.53 per hour job gave her just over $1700 a month. It wasn’t enough. With rent so high, she had to live at the edge of town which meant she needed a car to get to work. She needed nice clothes to be the receptionist at the office she worked at. Thrift stores helped with that, but then there was the medical insurance, poor as it was, it was at least something if she got sick. Then the life insurance, taxes, cell phone bill, internet, and on and on and on. She choked back a sob. All she wanted to do was buy her mom a nice Christmas gift.

At work the next day she was looking through the paper. A local artists group was doing a workshop for gifts. Anyone could come and create a project. At the bottom was the price for the workshop, $25, and a name, Brian Wellsley with his phone number. Emily sighed. Twenty-five dollars was a quarter of her grocery bill or half a tank of gas. She thought about it all day. Finally, deciding that she could live on rice and beans for a week, she called the number.

“Hi, I’m Emily Wu. I saw your article in the paper. I’d like to sign up.”

“Great. Love to have you.” He gave her the address and time and when they hung up, Emily smiled. He sounded nice. It would be good to do something besides watch TV in the evening.

The day of the workshop, Emily brought clothes to change into after work. No sense wasting gas by driving home then back into town. The address turned out to be an old factory, turned into artist workshops and apartments. She’d heard about these. It seemed cool. There were signs directing people to a large open space where wooden tables, easels, stools were scattered around the room. Art hung on the walls and from the ceiling. The splashes of color made the room seem friendly and alive.

She found an empty stool and sat down at a table, greeting others who had also signed up. Brian introduced himself and several other artists and that they’d be helping everyone with their projects. After going over the projects available, they broke into groups, each around the project they wanted to do. Emily had to switch tables. She wanted to work on a pottery project. She was pleased to see that Brian was the mentor for her group.

At every step of the process of molding the clay, shaping it, prepping it for the oven and decorating it, Brian was there. His hands over hers, laughing. They went out for coffee after class and talked about their dreams. After five weeks, the workshop was over. Emily had a bowl, glazed blue, for her mother. But she had received a gift, too. New friends, a new-found passion and a new love.

They went out nearly every night. He spent the weekends at her house. By Christmas, he was invited to meet her family. Her mother loved the bowl. Even better, in the kitchen, she complemented Emily on Brian. “He’s a lovely young man, Emily.” She gave Emily a hug. “I’m happy for you.”

The next spring, they were married. One afternoon, Emily was looking at her bank statement. She played with the ring on her finger. The statement didn’t look any better but she no longer fretted. Her life was now full. Happiness covered everything and she felt rich beyond measure. Brian came into the room and gave her a kiss on top of her head.

“We still solvent?”

“Barely.” She laughed and turned off the computer. “And that’s enough for me.”

 

Thank You!

677 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Cranberry Orange Relish: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Cranberry Orange Relish

Cranberry Orange Relish

I’m jumping the holiday gun just a little. Since my posts appear on the 25th, I wanted to share this before your Thanksgiving holiday meal. This is the cranberry sauce I grew up with. It used to be right on the back of the 12 oz Ocean Spray fresh cranberry bag but this year when I looked, it wasn’t. I had to go to www.OceanSpray.com where it, and a good many other holiday recipes, are located and download it. This is also great because there’s no cooking, freeing up a burner on your stove for other things, like gravy!

To see the rest, click here.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What is your favorite holiday recipe? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Fall Photo Contest: Monday Blog Post

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From October 2009 Upstate NY

Have been traveling to California and back to see my daughter and arrived home after noon today, totally wiped out. So instead of my usual Monday post, how about this. I offer up a contest. Your best fall picture. Yep. I choose from the photos posted to comments. I’ll give you a free ebook if your photo is chosen. I’ll make the winner announcement next Monday (Oct 3rd).

So, to kick it off, I’ve put a photo at the top of the page, just to give you an idea.

Also, just a quick push for my new mug: a halloween one. https://www.gearbubble.com/chihuahuapumpkin2016

Not very scary but cute.

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Tomato Soup: Chicklets in the Kitchen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s the end of summer and I have a glut of tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes. Fortunately, the variety I chose for this year has that cherry tomato sweetness but isn’t too sweet. What to do with a giant bowl full of cherry tomatoes? Why tomato soup, of course! A few random Amish Paste and Early Girls found their way into the soup as well but it’s all good. The batch ended up making 3 pints of soup. Half a pint made it into my lunch but the rest I froze for future meals. Happy cooking and eating.

Hardware

4 Quart Pot

Cutting Board

Knife

1 or ½ pint freezer containers

Immersion Blender

 

Ingredients

Bowl full of cherry tomatoes, washed

¼ cup sliced onion

2 med garlic cloves, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the onion and garlic. Cut the tomatoes in half.

Click here to see more.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What do you do with your tomato abundance? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Peach Shortcake: Chicklet’s in the Kitchen Blog Post

PeachShortcake005

Mid-Summer in my neck of the woods means peaches. My peach tree tends to ripen late July, depending on the weather. It held off to the 1st week in August when all the peaches ripened just about at once. Nothing like an avalanche of peaches to make you put on your thinking cap. After giving away a LOT! I decided peach shortcake would be just the thing. Now it’s not complicated, but after all those peaches, I didn’t have too much brain power left. And it’s hot! So why not peach shortcake for supper. Or breakfast!

Hardware

Medium Bowl

Cutting Board

Knife

Individual serving bowls

 

Ingredients

Bowl full of peaches, washed

½ to 1 cup sugar (your choice)

Can of Whipped Cream

Shortcake

PeachShortcake001

Cut the peaches in half, remove the pit, chop up and put in the bowl. Continue until all of the peaches are chopped up. Read the rest at Chicklets in the Kitchen.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

 

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Valentine’s Day Weekend: Monday Blog Post

Valentine's Day Hello by Connie Cockrell

Valentine’s Day Hello by Connie Cockrell

Valentine’s Day was yesterday, did you celebrate? My husband and I don’t do much for it. I gave him a card, which from year to year may or may not happen. He took me to breakfast. That’s it. Both of us feel it’s a Hallmark holiday so don’t pay it much attention though with all of the ads on TV and the posts about how to make the Day romantic, well, it’s tough to miss. The picture at the top is one I posted for the holiday. Hubby took the picture of the humming birds at our feeder last July. They’re rufous hummingbirds if you live on the east coast and have never seen one. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufous_hummingbird They’re extremely aggressive toward the ruby-throated and other humming birds that frequent our area.

I have some breaking news. I’ve been invited to be a guest blogger on the site, CoolErbs.com on Wednesday the 17th. What’s great is that I get to talk to his readers and my readers get introduced to a new author, one, hopefully, you’ll like and want to read. Wins all around. He’ll be guest posting on my blog soon. I’ll let you know the details once they’re finalized.

Kindred Spirits is back from the editor. Now it’s up to me to take it through the final edit and begin formatting. I’m still looking for people interested in receiving an Advance Reader Copy (ARC) for a review. If you’d like to be an ARC reader and do a review for me, let me know. You do not have to have read the first two books of the series to enjoy the third book. So if you’d like an advance copy, let me know today! Time is running out for an advanced ‘look see’ at the third book, and if I may say, the best book, in the series. You’ll want to get this in advance of your friends.

News from  the Phoenix-Scottsdale MysteryCon (http://www.azmysterycon.com/) that will be held on June 3rd and 4th. Final details are being communicated and I’m getting excited about it. I hope to see your there!

I mentioned last week that the darned mint is growing again. I spent about half an hour digging the bed all the way down to the ground and sifting roots out of it. I’ll have to keep an eagle eye out for new sprouts. In that same bed I see sprouts pushing up like daffodils but maybe they’re spring onion. The bulbs lived all summer in the purposely un-watered bed while I tried to kill the mint. Good for them. In another bed the parsley is re-sprouting. I dug it up and transferred it to a different bed as the one it was in will be tomatoes this year.

Last week we had a new sliding glass door installed. It is a bigger door than the old one so the installation involved cutting the wall out, reframing it, installing the door then finishing the walls, inside and out. Hubby spent Friday and Saturday repainted the whole wall the door is in, just to be sure there’s no strange paint color contrasts. One last step is required. The contractor will be back today to provide a fix for the carpet. Because we moved the edge, there’s about a six inch gap in the carpet at the door. Other than that, it’s done and I love it.

The Lovestruck Authors Giveaway ended Sunday, the 14th! I put up my book, Recall, signed, as my first prize and an Amazon Gift card as my second prize. The grand prize is $150 in Paypal cash.  Go to www.conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways to enter the Rafflecopter. I’m awaiting the list from the organizer for the prize winners. I’ll contact them directly.

Did you miss the Lovestruck Author Giveaway? No worries. The Luck O’ the Author Giveaway is starting. I’ll have the link up on my Facebook and Twitter pages. The more times you enter, the better your chances to win. I cannot express how much I appreciate all of you who sign up for my website, newsletter, Amazon Author page and Facebook page. Thanks for participating.

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. If you missed it, leave a comment in the sign up form and I’ll send you January’s newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is shareable, send it to whomever you think will like it. You’ve already missed out on great offers. Sign up now.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Merry Christmas! Monday Blog Post

My Tree

My Tree

Last week I talked about the 21st and 22nd being busy days for me. It’s true. I’ve mentioned before that I’m on the board of the Northern Gila County Fair. I love the fair and it’s very exciting for me to be on a team that puts on this great event every year. There are drawbacks. One of them is the every third year audit required by the state of Arizona. Like every volunteer, I dread these audits.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re necessary but no one likes to be put under a microscope. At any rate, it starts at 8am today and will run through the end of the day. It may bleed into tomorrow, too, more than likely, actually. Cross your fingers for us. We have to produce paper trails for everything. Let’s hope we have everything they need.

Want to wish my hubby a very happy birthday. He’s such a sweetie and I want everyone to know.

I have everything ready for Christmas. Presents are under the tree, food is on hand, brother-in-law and daughter are invited to participate. It’s a big day. We’re having duck and ham. I love duck and ever since we were stationed in England, I fell in love with goose for Christmas dinner. It’s too expensive for goose here but duck is doable as I only buy it once a year. I’m looking forward to it, actually. Some people don’t like duck, they feel it’s too fatty or too strongly flavored. I love it. How about you? What is your Christmas dinner plan?

I’ve been having fun with my new Instagram account. This week I posted pictures of the snow coming down on Monday and our Tuesday hike on the south end of town high up on a ridge. It was just stunning. Here’s a pic.

Bike Trail to Mogollon Rim in Snow by Randy Cockrell

Bike Trail to Mogollon Rim in Snow by Randy Cockrell

You can find me on Instagram at ConniesRandomThoughts. What a fun way to share pictures. I hope you stop by my page and follow.

We’re down to the last week of Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway also known as the Winter Wonderland of Books Christmas Giveaway. Here’s the link through my website:  http://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/. Fifty authors have put up all kinds of prizes from books to jewelry to Amazon gift cards. Go ahead and log in. You’ll find links to all of the supporting author’s social media. Click on a link, enter to win. The more links you click, the better your chance of winning. The grand prize is $200 of Paypal cash, good anywhere on the planet. I’ve put up the two signed paperback books in my Brown Rain series as my main prize. I also put up my Christmas Tales book (signed, of course) as a second prize. Good luck! Thanks for participating.

I hope you had a chance to sign up for the Holly Lisle How to Revise Your Novel, offer. It ended Tuesday (the 15th!) at mid-night. I’ve used this course myself and found it to be just the thing to get me from a hot mess of an initial draft manuscript to a real story. It’s been revised and is better than ever. If you missed out, I know it will be out again, probably the end of 2016 but it may come out sooner. Even so, Holly has a lot of other classes, including the free, How to Write Flash Fiction that Doesn’t Suck. You’re coming onto her site at the end of a massive six month overhaul. Click on this link to take a look around the site and join up. It’s free. Then you’ll be in on the next classes opening back up. https://hollyswritingclasses.com/?home&aid=10009

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I hope you’re having a marvelous December. Do you have family Christmas stories? Kitchen disasters to share? Fun in the snow pictures? I’d love to hear about them. Please share in the comments below.

I published my December newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is sharable, send it to whomever you think will like it. Don’t delay signing up. You’ve already missed out on two great offers. The January newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords , Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Gar’dyne’s Revelation: Flash Fiction Story, Christmas

Young Mage by hokunin at DeviantArt.com

Young Mage by hokunin at DeviantArt.com

Prince Gar’dyne pulled off his battle helmet and wiped the sweat. From just after sunrise until now, just before sunset, he’d wielded his battle sword in a bloody swath across the hell hounds and gremlins of the evil wizard, Anrak. They were victorious; he and his battle-scarred battalion, but he had no joy. The wizard had escaped and his battalion was cut to a third of its previous power.

His lieutenant, Yawo, his first cousin from his mother’s side, rode up beside him. “The wizard vanished into a cloud, sire, taking a guard with him. The evilest of the lot, as far as our scouts can tell.”

Gar’dyne pulled his canteen from his hip and drained the last of the well-watered wine. Every muscle in his body screamed but he only had a few cuts, so he hid his exhaustion. “The conjuror has caused great havoc, cousin. Have the seers a destination for the craven?”

“No, Lord. Their cauldrons provide only smoke and confusion.”

Gar’dyne grunted. That was usual in his experience. He’d have the whole lot of seers beheaded and start over. The wizard had power, the seer’s not as much. But his mother favored them so he held his tongue. “Find the damned wizard. Someone must be able to track the stench of his magical passing.”

After his tour of the wounded and prayers over the dead, Gar’dyne retired to his command tent where his servants had prepared a bath and a simple supper. He was scooping the soldier’s portion of grits and bacon with a square of corn bread when his staff entered the tent.

“Sire,” Yawo dipped his head. “We have a seer with news.”

Gar’dyne scraped the last of the gruel from the wooden bowl with the cornbread and chewed while he thought. “A seer actually saw something?”

Yawo dipped his head. The rest of the staff shifted uneasily. Gar’dyne had made his feelings about seers well known. The prince leaned back in his camp chair. Time to put the staff at ease. If the seer knew something, well and good. Best to keep the staff open minded. “Bring the seer.”

Yawo snapped his fingers and the tent flap opened. A young woman entered. Dressed as a peasant, an un-dyed woolen gown reached to her ankles with an apron of un-dyed linen, she caught his attention with a curtain of glossy blond hair that fell to her waist. Her eyes were downcast.

Gar’dyne had to catch his breath. “Speak, maiden seer, what have you for your prince.”

He watched her swallow. She’s nervous! “Tell, maiden,” he said in a softer tone. “Tell your prince your vision.”

She glanced up through thick lashes. “A babe, highness. The evil one has tracked a babe, destined to save the world.”

Gar’dyne blinked. He was so tired and now a riddle. His wrath against the seers was renewed. “That’s it? A baby?” He scrubbed a hand across his bearded face. “What’s that to my king?’

The girl slipped to her knees and he saw that she quivered as she dropped her head to the carpets strewn across the floor of his tent. He did his best to control his anger at the stupid wench. “Rise, girl. Explain.”

Tears glistened in her eyes making him feel even more a callous clod.

“Sire. Rescue the babe and win freedom from the wizard and his minions for the rest of time.”

And in front of the entire staff. Damn Yawo for not dealing with this slip of a girl in private. “Where is this babe?”

“A day’s march, Sire. The wizard is already there. The family resists.”

Gar’dyne wanted more than anything to sleep. “Yawo, Generals, form up. We march on this mud-hole of a town.”

The staff hustled out. Yawo took the girl by the elbow.

“Hold, cousin.”

The girl turned back to him.

“If you are wrong, I’ll have you flayed in the town square.”

She paled but nodded. Gar’dyne signaled for them to leave.

At dawn they arrived at the mud-walled village the girl had seen. The wizard’s soldiers surrounded the town. Gar’dyne wondered how the peasants had held off the wizard when his own troops had been mowed down the day before. He deployed his troops and had the wench brought up beside him.

“Girl, how do we win?”

“The babe will win, Sire. You will press the attack.”

He glared at her and she shrank into the saddle of the pony she rode. He felt both an ogre and a fool. “Yawo, deploy the men. Attack at each gate. Beat the evil scum back whatever the cost.”

Yawo nodded and spurred his horse. The girl hung her head.

“Have you always had visions?”

“Yes, Sire.” Eyes on the ground she patted the pony she rode and it ceased it’s stamping.

He sighed. From his hilltop vantage he could watch his troops. A horn blew and his troops attacked. He ground his teeth at the first contact. The gremlins and hell hounds savaged what was left of his battalion. Then, sun beams broke through the sullen clouds. Puffs of smoke arose whenever the beams hit the wizard’s army. Gar’dyne blinked. His soldiers were winning!

He and his guard raced down the hillside. Sword swinging, he cleared a path through the town to the stable where the girl directed him. He dismounted his foam-flecked horse and strode inside.

There, a baby lay in a horse manger. Mages surrounded the babe and the parents. They knelt. “Sire. We’ve been waiting.”

Gar’dyne approached the manger. The baby, wrapped in homespun wool, smiled up at him. The girl beside him dropped to her knees. Exhaustion and worry melted from him. Gar’dyne knelt on one knee, his sword point to the ground in front of him and bowed his head. His father would want to know his seer’s predictions had come true. The savior was born.

 

 

The End

983 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: Melt at your own Risk

Melting Witch by Lora Zombie via www.DeviantArt.com

Melting Witch by Lora Zombie via www.DeviantArt.com

“No,” Roxanna shouted at her daughter. “Never, ever, give in. No melting.”

Little Pam gave her mother an eye roll.

“No! Oh, it seems fun at the beginning but then, it’s harder and harder to pull away.” Roxanna grasped her daughter’s shoulders with both hands and looked her eye to eye.

At twelve, Pam was in full parental defiance mode. Melting was delicious. All of the edges blurred. Her muscles relaxed and everything became soft and flowy. “I can control it.”

“You can’t.” Roxanna gave her daughter a little shake. “You’ve just started coming into your powers. It’s unfortunate that melting was the first one. You should have had more time to learn the proper techniques and controls. Melting is easy. It feels good. But the danger is that you go too far and won’t be able to or perhaps won’t want to come back. Is that what you want? For me to keep you in a jar on the mantle?”

That got Pam’s attention. Spending her life in a jar sounded horrible. “No. I’ll hold off melting.” The girl scuffed her sneakered toe into the carpet.

Roxanna clapped her daughter on the shoulders with a sigh. “Good. Soon your other powers will develop and we’ll work with those. Be patient.”

Pam nodded and left for her room. She flopped on the bed. Being a witch had seemed so exciting. Her mother was a powerful witch. Pam had been eager to get her own powers. Now it seemed as though everything was a no. ‘No, you can’t melt.’ ‘Be careful, that power needs years of practice.’ ‘Stop, that’s dangerous.’ Pam flung her arms out across the bed.

Especially today. It was All Hallows Eve and the witches party was tonight. Pam wanted to show off her melting to her friends. Now it would be another year before she could be a full participant.

By the time it was full dark everyone was assembled. The bonfire was blazing, and the dancing had started. Despite the chill in the air, many of the witches danced naked. Pam thought nothing of it. She’d been attending the coven gatherings since she was a baby.

“Pam!”

Pam turned to see her two best friends, Agatha, and Emily, running to greet her.

“Look!” Agatha opened her hand. Dancing on her palm was a tiny flame. “It came to me over the weekend. Mom helped me learn to control it.” The girl raised her index finger and the flame move to its tip. “See! Isn’t this the greatest?” Agatha and Emily grinned and giggled.

Pam’s heart sank and a red wash of jealousy coursed through her. Her face grew hot. “I can melt. That’s my first power.”

“Melt?” Emily’s eyes grew big. “No one in my family can melt.”

“My mom can and now, so can I.”

“Show us,” Agatha demanded.

Pam looked around the clearing. Her mother danced in the circle. Her long red hair swung with abandon, glinting in the firelight. “My mom says it’s dangerous. I may never come back.”

Agatha, always competitive with Pam, snorted. “You can’t do it, can you?”

“I can, too!” Pam checked her mother again. Roxanna danced with her friends. “Well, just a little melting won’t hurt.” She let herself relax. Pam could feel her edges soften. The warmth of the change accelerated the process. Her mother was right, she thought. This does feel good.

Dimly she could hear Agatha and Emily gasp. “You can melt,” Emily exclaimed.

Pam didn’t nod. That would pull her out of the melt. Just a little more so Agatha would know she could really do it. Her body continued to soften. Pam could feel herself flowing. The moon began to pull at her and a low thrumming echoed in her mind. Just a little more. This was so peaceful and the thrumming, first loud, then soft, relaxed her. She could feel it ebbing and flowing within her.

She could barely hear Emily screaming for her to stop. A little more. How far can I go? She could no longer see when Agatha dragged Roxanna to the remains of Pam’s body. Roxanna held her hands over Pam’s soggy clothing and began to chant. Several witches joined her, adding their power to hers.

Agatha and Emily held each other and sobbed.

After an hour, the witches gave up. Roxanna, pale and shaking, lay sobbing on the cold ground. One of the witches covered her with her clothes. Pam was gone, soaked into the ground. The witches went home. Roxanna and a handful of friends built a fence around the spot where Pam had melted. No one would walk on it. Roxanna hoped that the child would reform and come back.

Three witches stayed behind as two friends led Roxanna away. “Think the girl will come back?”

“Nope. She’s part of the earth now. Glad my family doesn’t have melting in our lineage. I’ve heard of this happening. The melters never come back.”

The three stood around the fence. “Melt at your own risk, I guess,” the third witch said.

They all nodded.

 

The End

847 Words

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