Flash: Special Night

Young Man Stock Art

Image courtesy of photostock at

“You are going through with this, aren’t you?” Rober accused Drew.

Drew ran around the kitchen doing last minute preparations; he couldn’t believe Rober had cut his business trip short to revisit the argument he thought settled two months ago. He wouldn’t have started the down this path if he didn’t believe he had Rober’s full support. “It’s the only way with the new laws.”

“Damn politicians need to get out of the bedroom.”

“It’s not the bedroom that is the issue, it’s the nursery.” Drew pulled out the chicken breasts to lay a couple slices of Swiss cheese on them and pour a splash of wine before returning the entrée to the oven. “And society has the responsibility to regulate the care and training of its future members.”

“The only reason to restrict artificial insemination to married couples it to keep gays from making babies.” Rober growled. He bit back several curses about republicans and conservative values, knowing Drew’s adamant support of tradition, even after a decade under the military’s don’t ask-don’t tell. Or was that especially after serving an institution that specialized in hating homosexual and brainwashing its members?

“True. And in a couple years it will tumble because of the discrimination. Already single women everywhere are fighting the law.”

“Then wait … or go to Canada. Or Europe.” Rober begged.

Drew shook his head as he carried the salad to the formally set table. “No, I want our child to be an American.”

“It’s not our child!” Rober grabbed the smaller, but stronger man by the shoulders. “We can’t have children. It will be you and this slut.”

Drew broke away. “Brie is not a slut.”

“Prostitute, then. She will be having sex for money.”

“Because it is the only way!”

“No, it’s not.” Rober countered. “We could adopt.”

“I want at least one my own child, not someone else’s.” Drew said firmly, adding some bread to the oven for final warming. “We can adopt a couple more later, but I want one of mine now.”

“Hypocrite. You talk about overpopulation but are just adding to the problem when thousands of children are looking for dads.”

“And you know how hard it is for a single person to adopt. I’ve been trying ever since I left the Navy. Somehow I never qualify.” Drew’s sarcastic tone admitted he knew why he didn’t qualify even after serving two tours in the Mid-East.

“So you are just going to pay a woman to have sex and carry your kid.” Rober threw up his hands. “That is just sick and obsessive.”

The doorbell rang as they stared daggers at each other.

“Guess that is your whore. Have fun tonight.”

Rober popped the collar of his sweater and stalked out the glass doors leading to their deck and down to the bench. He didn’t look back.

(474 words – originally appearing at Breathless Press 10/21/13 for the 8/5/12 Sunday Fun and published on Erin Penn’s First Base blog on 11/3/2013. Republished under the new format for 1/10/2016.)

Other Cool Blogs: Magical Words December 9, 2015

I love Magical Words as a reader, writer, and editor. Member bloggers include self-published, small house published, and big house published individuals. And they know their craft.

For example, Gail Z. Martin‘s December 9, 2015 post on world-building. (see

Adding the layer of Holidays to your world can help define the values of your world, what they spend money on, and how they celebrate.

WRITING EXERCISE: After reviewing the above blog, create a fictional holiday for your world and/or work-in-progress.

Book Cover for Cons of RomanceMy present work-in-progress, Cons of Romance, is set in contemporary America and actually has some world-building based on holidays. A lot of conventions cluster about holidays, because the long weekends allow people to take time off. I tried to tie my fictional conventions to real American holidays, which made added an interesting twist for my world-building.

The first convention is located in Maryland during March. I will come back to it.

The second convention, “GearFest,” is set in North Carolina during June and is only a two-day convention because it doesn’t fall on a holiday weekend. I specifically wanted this to be a short convention.

The third convention, “Tea Party,” is set over the July 4th weekend and is located in Boston.

The fourth convention, “WyvernCon”, is located in September over the Labor Day weekend and runs nearly five days.

Again all conventions are fictional and created specifically for this romance novel.

Back to the first convention. I had decided the convention started life on the main character’s, Tara Miller, college campus and was tied to a holiday in Maryland. I wanted the convention to happen before June but after the weather started to get warm. Something that wouldn’t interfere with finals but warm enough people wouldn’t get snowed in. Low and behold Maryland Day is March 25th. Thus my fictional “ConButtony” (a Cross Buttony appears on the distinctive flag of Maryland) was born.

YOUR TURN: Comment below about your use of holidays in a work-in-progress or, if you are a reader, a book you enjoyed specific for the holidays such as Hogfather by Terry Pratchett.

Book Review: Even Villains Fall In Love

Book Cover for Even Villains Fall in Love

Book Cover from Amazon

Even Villains Fall in Love (Book 1 of the Heroes and Villains Series) by Liana Brooks
A super villain at the top of his game must choose between the world he wants and the woman he loves. 

If you believe the rumors you know that Doctor Charm, the wickedly sexy super villain, retired in shame seven years ago after his last fight with the super hero Zephyr Girl. The fact that the charming Evan Smith-father of four and husband of the too-beautiful-to-be-real Tabitha-bears a resemblance to the defeated Doctor is pure coincidence. And, please, ignore the minions. 

Everything is perfect in the Smith household, until Tabitha announces her return to work as a super hero. Evan was hoping to keep her distracted until after he rigged the 2012 presidential election, but-genius that he is-Evan has a backup plan. 

In his basement lab, Evan has a machine whose sole purpose is keeping Tabitha hungry for him. But children and labs don’t mix. The machine is broken, and Tabitha storms out, claiming she no longer knows him. 

World domination takes a back seat to meeting his daughters’ demands to get Mommy back right now. This time his genius isn’t going to be enough-he’s going to need both his evil alter-ego, and the blooming super abilities of his children to save his wife. But even his most charming self might not be enough to save their marriage.


Evan Smith was a super-villain with an ethical code (morals are different from ethics) who fell in love with a super-hero. He was *mostly* willing to give up world domination if he could feel like king of the world with his wife Tabitha; he still dabbled a bit to keep food on the table and for the intellectual exercise. But in general he tried to live by the moral code of his woman in order to keep her happy and in his bed.

Then something happens to his wife, leaving him with four active daughters. And both her black-and-white moral code and his grey-scale ethical code get jettisoned by the biological (mate and offspring) imperatives. What will this nearly-reformed super villain do to save his wife?

The book is short as appropriate for the novelette romance genre. The minions could have used more fleshing out; we find out more about his gizmos than his minions.

Linda Brooks never forgets the story is both (1) a romance and (2) a superhero adventure. She mixes the two genres well.

I reread the book with the release of the third book of the series. Still a very good yarn; enjoyed it as much with the second read (2 years later) as I did the first time. 

Flash: Their Bench

Park Bench Stock Photo

Image courtesy of Simon Howden at

The November sunset reflected shades of reds from the treetops below. Julia sat down on Their Bench and waited. The bite in the air made her draw the jacket closer.  The leaves rustled in the trees and tumbled across the ground in the slight breeze. Darkness snuck into the park through lengthening shadows.

Eventually, a brief touch on her hand gave away the second arrival. “Has it been a year already?” asked the masculine voice she loved for so long.

Carefully keeping her eyes forward Julia responded. “Yes.” She paused, enjoying the quiet moment. “Your son took a couple classes over the summer. He will be graduating come Christmas.”

“I wish I could see it.”

“So do I,” Julia said with a misty smile. She turned her hand over and felt the finger clasp hers. The warmth made her glad she hadn’t given into the urge to put on gloves earlier. His other hand reached up to tuck some stray hairs behind her ears. Julia made her eyes bore into the cement pad in front of the bench.

“He brought home a friend he met at college.”

“A girlfriend?” Came the prideful response.

A laugh escaped Julia. “Oh, he has had several of those. No one special yet.” The soccer field lights started to wink out as the park closed. “No, this friend was older. A graduate student who had been tutoring him. … We hit it off.”

“Oh.” The whisper escaped the other.

Julia waited for more. Eventually the question she knew he would ask followed. “Does he make you happy?”

“Very much.”

“Does Leroy approve?”

She nearly turned her head to watch his reaction, but caught herself. “He gave me the same speech I gave him when he was 16, complete with the condoms. Be careful, be safe, and be kind.”

Together they sat as the night aged.

“You won’t be coming back…next year,” he stated sometime after midnight.

“It’s been fourteen years.”

“So long, it’s been so long” he sighed. “I will miss you.”

A gentle brush of lips and wetness touched her cheek.

“I will always miss you.” she returned.

Dawn found the park bench empty of all except a touch of frost.

(368 words – originally published on 11/14/2012; republished in new blog format 1/3/2016)

Blog: New Year 2016

Image acquired from Internet Hive Mind

A new year, 2016!

Time to write again. Life grabbed me and beat me soundly about the head the past couple of years, but I am coming back.

This year’s goals:
1. Restart the blog
2. Start a newsletter
3. Start a website
4. Get a new self-published novel (or two) out.

Basically kick my writing back into gear.

To that end, the blog is going to undergo a severe facelift. Some things, such as the cross-reference of stories and characters, will be moved to the website. Everything else is going to be burned to the ground and restarted.

The new production schedule shall be:
1. Sunday – A flash story  (initially about half will be repeats)
2. Tuesday – Book Reviews, Author Spotlights, Writing Exercises, maybe an editing rant or two, and every so often a little look at my calligraphy and embroidery … because it is pretty
3. Thursday – Links to other people blogging about writing..

Hope you like the new Erin Penn’s First Base. (Feedback appreciated on what works and what doesn’t.)