I know I’m late, very late again this year, but as you all know this hasn’t been your normal “run off the mill” year once more. Although things aren’t as bleak as they were last year, the prolonged problems seem to affect all my writer friend’s creativity (including my own). Just a few days ago, I only had 7 submissions. I’ve got more now, but still not the full 24 stories I’d hoped for.

So this year is going to be even bumpier than the last. I’m already sorry for this. I’ll make it up to you on Christmas Day, promised. This year, you’ll get two eBooks, the collected stories and bonuses and one of my short story collections.

Spread the word that it’s that time of the year again. The Indie Author’s Advent Calendar is open from December 1st on and you’re signed up for the daily alerts (BTW, if you get annoyed with the alerts but want the exclusive eBook at the end of the calendar, it would work to unsubscribe and then sign up again a day or two before Christmas *grin*).

This year’s theme is: Magic

 

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Luckily someone reminded me of the quarterly bloghop, and I managed to write a story for it. Naturally, it is slightly spooky. It’s Halloween soon, after all. You’ll also get free short stories from the other participants. As usual there’s a list at the end of this post. Enjoy and leave a comment!

 

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Morning Misery

I hated the morning’s blinding light in my eyes, but welcomed it nonetheless for I must have missed the alarm. I just couldn’t afford to arrive late at work again, especially after the scary dream of how I had prepared for work. The details were fading, but I remembered the tube station and lots of people running my way.

My mouth tasted like something had died on my tongue, but I had no time to brush my teeth and wasn’t in the mood for coffee.

I left the house in a hurry. As I walked swiftly towards the tube station, I wondered if I’d locked the front door. I wasn’t quite sure.

The air smelled of lilacs that filled the tiny front gardens of my neighborhood. When was the last time, I’d noticed? Again, the sun blinded me.

The tube arrived just as I jogged up the last few steps to the raised platform. I entered behind a stocky man in suit and tie. Thankfully the car was nearly empty, but I still remained standing. There were always one or two people who ignored the unwritten rule of not looking directly at others. Some even wanted to talk, and that was something I abhorred this early in the morning.

My gaze traveled over the few people spaced out in the car. Some were reading, some used earphones and had their eyes closed, and a young girl, probably a teen on her way to school, looked in my direction. Her gaze went past me as if she hadn’t seen me at all. Perfect.

I got off at my usual stop, although I had trouble with the electric doorknob. It only did its duty when the schoolgirl pressed it. Maybe it didn’t like the sweat on my hands.

My throat constricted the closer I got to the office building where I worked. Hopefully I wasn’t too late. I needed the job to pay off the mortgage. I took the stairs to the third floor to avoid co-workers and my boss and managed to reach my place in the cube farm without anyone noticing. The scent of coffee hanging in the otherwise fetid air was particularly strong this morning.

Relieved I sank onto the ergonomic chair that came with the gray table and the computer in the cube and leaned back. I’d have to water my plant soon. It looked slightly droopy.

“Have you seen Finlay?” My boss’ voice sounded too close for comfort, so I bent over my keyboard and pretended to type although the computer wasn’t even running yet.

“Nope, not yet.” The voice of the co-worker in the next cubicle sounded annoyingly happy. “Maybe he’s late. There’ve been delays on the tube lines in his direction.”

“He’d better not.” The boss sounded annoyed, so I ducked even deeper. “Tell him to see me as soon as he shows up.”

My gaze wandered to the clock at the wall over the door to my boss’ office. Impossible! It was nearly time for lunch. A bright light reflected from the clock’s glass, and I had to close my eyes.

I stood in front of the Sludge Maker, as my co-worker called the coffee machine in the tiny, nondescript kitchen with its gray cupboards and counter top, and pondered whether I should pour myself a cup or not. I didn’t really like the stuff this machine produced.

Wait a moment. I’d forgotten to punch in. Leaving the Sludge Maker behind, I hurried toward the timer. Just as I left the kitchen, one of my co-workers entered. It was the petite brunette from the far corner that I’d admired secretly. And she didn’t see me.

Before I could step aside, she passed right through me. What the …

“Folks!” The boss’ voice rang over the low hubbub of the office and any noise died immediately. My co-workers stood up to better see him. I, too, turned toward him. Behind me, the petite brunette looked out of the kitchen. Her gaze tingled in my neck, but I didn’t turn. It was too creepy to be watched by a ghost.

“I am sorry to inform you,” the boss’ voice sounded strangely strangled, “that your co-worker Finlay Harper has passed away in the hospital after having a heart attack on the tube this morning. We will prepare …”

Not hearing the rest of what he had to say, I could feel my mouth hanging open, but my mind was too numb to do anything about it. Dead? I was the ghost, not the brunette? But … but … but …

A light, as bright as the sun—if one was stupid enough to look into it—appeared right in front of me. A dog barked. The scent of lilacs, cut grass, freshly brewed coffee, and rolls drifted toward me, and my father’s voice called, “Come on, son. What are you waiting for?”

Without looking back, I walked away from my life.

 

Enjoy these stories too:
The Aftermath of GRIT’s Interference by Bill Bush
Inhuman by Gina Fabio
A Ghost of a Trick, or Treat by Jemma Weir
Storytime Blog Hop Hosted by Juneta Key
The HOA by Vanessa Wells
Voices by Sue Abrie

 

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I’m sorry I missed the September post. Time just ran away from me. My husband turned 60 a few days ago (which needed some organizing), my in-laws hadn’t done their taxes yet (and I’m good with tax documents, so they requested my help), the 5 anthologies for the flood victims here in Germany (July 2021) needed a lot of my attention, and Frankfurt Bookfair (I needed a catalog) and NaNoWriMo (the prep-work is mostly done now) are approaching fast.

Due to this, many of my projects have been pushed back a bit, and I clean forgot about posting in September. But I’m catching up. I’m still good in time with my “52 short story this year” challenge (36 out of 40 finished), the series I plan to write next year under my new pen-name is developing nicely with some really cool ideas, and I’ve got a few really cool client projects that I’m looking forward to or currently working on.

You’ll hear from me again soon because it’s October which means the quarterly Bloghop is due. I hope you’re looking forward to your free stories again.

Oh, and I’d love suggestions on what you’d be interested for themed posts. I’m running out of subjects again, and it’s so much easier to motivate myself when I know what I want to write about.

 

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Liebster Blog Award 2011