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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Short Story Saturdays ~ A Fantastic Short By Guest Author Katie Cross!

The beach was silent.

            The ocean swallowed the sun on the horizon. Waves lapped softly against the sand. A little girl with light hair gazed at the crumbling dock beneath her bare feet. A cascade of water and bubbles swirled around her ankles. It disappeared, leaving the wood dark and warm.

            She cocked her head to the side. Were those words carved into the board? She’d never noticed them before.

            When she glanced back to the house, the silhouette of her parents dancing in the window caught her eye. Frank Sinatra’s voice drifted into the air.

            Were they worried?

            No. They never kept track of her. She hadn’t been home since breakfast. She’d built a fort in the trees and hid, waiting for them to find her. They never searched. Now it was past dinnertime and they were still giggling over their wine glasses.

            As long as she wasn’t bothering them, they wouldn’t care what she did. They didn’t have time for little girls. She looked back to the writing on the plank.

            Papa told her to stay away from the old dock.

            “It’s deep out there,” he warned one day, extinguishing a cigarette in his palm. She liked the way his deep voice rolled, and the careless way his open shirt flapped in the breeze. “The boards aren’t safe on the far end. See how they’re sinking out there?”

            But she loved the smell of the rotting boards, the slimy feel of the sea water as it rushed through the holes. The dock rocked her, up and down, as she sat on the edge by the beach and watched the sunset every night.

            She crouched down, her white dress trailing just above the next set of waves. The water covered the words in the boards, then retreated with a soft hiss. She traced the letters with her fingertips.

            In memory of my first-

            The last word dropped off in the darkness She lowered onto her knees and crawled forward. Another wave rushed towards her in a quiet roar.

            -love. I will never forget the days we danced near the waves.

            She stopped, up to her wrists in water, and waited, pressing her face closer to the surface. The sunset was fading into an ebony sky, leaving little light.

            You died so suddenly, leaving me here.

            A wave splashed onto the little girls face, soaking her dress and arms. She shook the water off and continued forward. The boards groaned beneath her, tottering up and down in the loose swells. The wood was fluid, and sinking.

            I didn’t know how much I loved you-

            The little girl inched deeper into the water. The waves splashed her chest. Foam dripped off her cheek. Her milky dress swirled around her as she peered into the dark water. The words were barely visible. She scooted forward, tipsy on the uncertain dock.

            -until you never came back.

            The cracking boards and stifled cry faded as the sounds of Frank Sinatra drifted into the night.

Katie Cross is an aspiring writer who loves to read, write, eat cookies and hike with her dog and husband. She plans to e-publish her first book, Miss Mabel's School for Girls, sometime in the fall. Visit her website at:

Or you can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fun Fridays ~ Caption This Contest

Short & Sweet! 

In ten words or less, give me your best caption for this photo:



I'll announce the winner next Friday!


Don't forget to come back tomorrow for an awesome

Short Story Saturday

Featuring Author Katie Cross!


Winner's Circle:

These are past contest winners that are on the mail-out list to receive the following prizes.  I'll be trying to get these shipped out in the next two weeks.

Linnette Mullin - Coffee Themed Prize

Shelby Mullinax - The Land Beyond The Portal by J.S. Bailey


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thoughtful Thursdays ~ ReSharing An Award Winning Short By LaDonna Cole!

Even though it's "Thoughtful Thursday", I'm going to skip blogging and am instead reposting this award winning short story by author LaDonna Cole!  It originally posted over a rather busy weekend and I think it didn't garner nearly the attention it deserves.  So my "thoughtful" gesture today is to put LaDonna back in the spotlight.  Let's show her some love by leaving her a comment below!  Please, enjoy her short story "Final Act" and send others this way to give it a read.  I know I sure thought it was worth sharing again!


Final Act
by LaDonna Cole

Heart pounding in her chest, Liliana drew a deep breath and steadied her Glock. “I need an extraction, now!” She whispered into her com.

“Copy, Vixen. We are ten minutes out.”

“I don’t have ten minutes!” She pressed her back to the marble wall of the Library of Congress, the chill seeping through her thin cocktail dress. She slid to the corner where a slice of light dissected the shadows.


The elevator door across the room opened and two men in camo uniforms exited, led by their Browning M2 HB’s at the ready.  Turning toward the north corridor, they stomped away from Liliana.

“Get to the third floor, Vixen.” Her partner’s voice crackled over the com. “We may have another…”

Liliana didn’t hear the end of his sentence. She ran for the open elevator and skidded in just before it closed. She punched the three and checked her clip, chambered a bullet and pressed her body against the wall beside the elevator doors.

They opened and Liliana peered around the corner. The third floor was abandoned. She slipped into the darkness, keeping her back to the perimeter wall.

“Vixen, did you get the documents?”

“Affirmative.” Flinging the blond wig over her shoulder, she scanned the shadowed room. Tall maple bookshelves eclipsed her view, and the odor of dusty books assailed her.

“Good.” Her partner sighed. “I’m gonna get you out safely, Lil.”

“I know.” Liliana’s heart spiked at the tremor in his voice. She and Tim had been partners for seven years and lovers for three.  Inevitable from the beginning, the air sizzled when he was near.

The elevator dinged.

“They’re here!” She escaped further into the back section of the shelves and wove between discarded desks and chairs.

“Lil, get to the last row of shelves on the north side.”


“Just do it.  I have schematics.”

Keeping low Liliana pressed toward the last row. She froze when a radio crackled on the next aisle.

“No sign of the intruder.” A deep voice faded away.

She inched back and her foot struck something on the floor and she staggered. A hand grabbed her ankle.

She clenched her teeth to keep from screaming and whirled around. Bright white FBI letters cut through the dark.

“Help me,” a man rasped and clung to her calf.

“Shhh.” She squatted down beside him and placed her finger on his lips, then checked behind her to see if the guard had heard. He was still moving toward the elevator. 

“Agent Keller, FBI.” He breathed, barely a whisper. “National security risk…must get…” He gurgled out the end of his sentence.

A rusty smell rose from the floor, warm fluid seeped into her shoes. This agent was gone.

“Did you hear something?” the guard asked his partner.

“Back there.”  They jogged toward Liliana.

“Vixen, are you there?” Tim asked.


“Top shelf to your right, seventh book down, Photogenics A-Z.”

“I don’t have time!”

“Pull the book! Now!”

Liliana yanked at the tech manual. The bookcase slid back like a patio door revealing a staircase winding down into darkness.

“Down here! I heard something!” the guard bellowed at the end of her row and spat a volley of bullets.

Liliana dove into the stairwell and the bookcase door slammed closed.  Bullets pelted the steel door.

“Tim. Tim!” Liliana tapped her com but it was silent.

She placed a stiletto pump on the next step and carefully descended, spiraling into the dark unknown. Gun supported between both hands, Lilana delved into pitch black.

With her eyes useless, she honed in on her other senses.  A waft of stale air fingered through the strands of her wig and she could hear the fading sounds of the guards above trying to blast through the door.

As she crept deeper, sounds above yielded to other noises. The click of her heels on the stone steps, a scramble of tiny claws and squeaks fled before her. Her pounding pulse and ragged breathing clamored. She spiraled deeper.

The wall fell away and the steps ended.  Sliding her foot forward she felt a cobbled stone floor and sensed open space ahead.

Another sound pierced the darkness. Someone else was in the room with her. She could hear them breathing.  A masculine scent filtered past her, familiar and intoxicating, Grey Flannel, Tim’s favorite cologne.

A light flared and Liliana flinched as the pain stabbed her eyes. She blinked and peered through her lashes.

“Tim!” Relief washed over her and she stepped toward a safe embrace. “How did you…”

She stopped. Tim aimed his gun directly at her heart.

“Give me the documents, Lil.”

She pealed back the slit in her gown and withdrew the folder of documents. “What’s going on, Tim?”

“This is my last job, Lil. I’m done. I’m out. When I deliver these documents to my employer, I will be filthy rich.” His eyes flashed with wild ambition.

“Your employer.” Liliana slowly lifted her Glock. “I assume you don’t mean the CIA.”

Tim snorted. “No.”

“You’re a double agent?”

“I prefer to think of myself as freelance.”

“Traitor,” Liliana growled.

“Now, Lil. No need to get hostile.” His eyes scanned her lean form. “Come with me. We can get that beach house in the Caymans.”

“You killed the FBI agent up there, didn’t you?”

“He shouldn’t have interfered.”

“You are never going to touch these.” She waved the documents at him.

“You don’t know the combination to get out of here. If I die, you are stuck here, forever.”

“You said we would be together, forever.  That was the only time you told the truth!”

Liliana and Tim glared, eye to eye, gun to gun and fired.  Documents scattered into the air and both agents slammed back against the walls and emptied their clips into each other.

Tim convulsed then stilled. Liliana slid down the wall leaving a bloody smear as US government seals and Top Secret stamps fluttered to the ground and soaked up her final act of patriotism.

LaDonna Cole, Writer, Nurse, Therapist, Mom, and Ukulele singer extraordinaire, loves to write fantasy/fiction, songs, and poetry. She just finished Holding Kate Trilogy, Heartwork Village Stories (Scifi), is editing Sisterhood of the Sword Saga (Fantasy),  and working on Forbidden Encounters Trilogy (Supernatural) and The Blood Singer (Supernatural), and Donnie Dudgeon series. She is a single mom with two kids and a beagle and looking forward to a research trip to the Bahamas this summer. 
You can sample her work at:


Thank you LaDonna for allowing me to feature this amazing award winner!

If you enjoyed this, (I sure did!) be sure to check out
LaDonna's pages and leave her a comment here,
and/or head over to her Facebook fan page and let her know! 

*Do you have a teaser or short story you'd like to see featured at The Realm?  It's easy friend!  Email me with your submission, and be sure to send any photos/artwork (be sure they are YOUR intellectual property or you include proper copyrights and permissions) you'd like featured with your tale.  Don't forget to include your photo and a brief bio!  That's all you need to be featured at The Realm!*

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday ~ Special Guest: Black Cat Photography


 "Story" by Nicole Monson, Black Cat Photography

Nicole Monson is a 28 year old wife and mother. She has lived
in the Billings area of Montana her whole life. Nicole started taking pictures on her phone just for fun and found herself getting caught up in the magic of it all.  With some encouragement and instruction from her husband, who is a creative tech. for their church, Nicole moved on to taking more and more photos.  It wasn't long before she was hooked!

Nicole has no plans for going pro or charging for her work, stating that she takes pictures for the sheer joy of doing it! 

You can see more of her work at: Nicole Monson, Black Cat Photograpy

Nicole titled this submission "Story" writing that she "found this outside town near some farm land. It seemed to tell its own sad story lying there forgotten in the weeds... and I knew I had to take its picture".  I'm so glad she did.  I dare say, it would make an amazing book cover!  Thank you Nicole for sharing your "Story" and your brilliant photography skills with us.  I hope you'll submit many more works of photographic art in the future!

What do you think the story behind this forgotten mail box is?  Why don't you comment below and let's see just how creative the readers here really are!  I want to hear your story behind Nicole's "Story" image!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Teaser Tuesday ~ Another dose of J.S. Bailey!

You remember the very talented J.S. Bailey that was featured here not so long ago right?

Well, if you missed it, here's a second chance to take a peek:

"The Land Beyond the Portal"

Today's Teaser Tuesday offers up a glimpse of J.S. Bailey's new short story, Vapors.

The white object now lay about thirty yards behind the trailer. It must have been heavy to have remained still in the wind. He trudged toward it, shielding the lower half of his face with one hand to prevent his mouth from filling with grit.

He squatted down beside the object. It looked like a small, white dome protruding from the earth, like a child’s toy ball. There were a few dents in it; and some thin lines traced their way around the dome like threads. No, not lines. Sutures. Kerry had seen his fair share of skeletons in his lifetime. The thing sticking out of the ground was a skull.

Now, wasn't that a great little tease?

Vapors is only available as an ebook, so hurry over and get yourself a copy now and see how it ends!  Click here to get yoru copyVapors on Amazon

Want to win a copy of Vapors?  

Just leave a comment below and I'll select one lucky random winner!  Winner will be announced Friday, June 21st on my Fun Friday post.  Drop a comment below then stay tuned to see if your the chosen one! ;)

J. S. Bailey is a lifelong resident of Clermont County, Ohio. She is an alumnus of St. Louis School and Clermont Northeastern High School, and graduated cum laude from Northern Kentucky University in December 2011 with a degree in Entrepreneurship.

Bailey learned to read at a young age and began writing soon after. She had a brief stint writing horoscopes for her high school newspaper before deciding she would have better luck inventing other things at the keyboard.

She penned her first (unpublished) novel while still in high school, and her debut novel The Land Beyond the Portal was released in July 2011 through Tate Publishing. Her other writing credits include a short story called Vapors and an upcoming novel called Rage's Echo. 

Bailey enjoys reading books by her favorite authors. When she isn't working or glued to a computer screen, Bailey spends time with her husband, Nathan, in their Southwest Ohio home.

Visit J.S. Bailey at her official website and be sure to become a fan on Facebook too!


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