Join A Slice of Orange

Enter your email address and never miss another post on A Slice of Orange.

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter

Archives

Calender

November 2017
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Tag: short story

Home > ArchivesTag: short story

The Thing About Kid Brothers

April 4, 2017 by in category 25 Days of Romance, Twenty-five Days of Romance tagged as , , ,

HeartBy Julia Nelson

That clock was a liar. It couldn’t be 10 yet, could it? Damn.

Liz Cooper rushed around her apartment collecting everything she should have assembled last night: towels, sunscreen, hat, glasses. She thought she’d have more time this morning. And she would have, if she hadn’t hit the snooze alarm so many times that it shut off for good.

Today she was seeing Kathleen, her best friend since first grade, who had the nerve to marry a great guy who swept her out of Orange County and all the way north to Seattle. While her great guy sweltered at a convention in Atlanta, Kath had taken a bungalow for a week at Huntington Beach. Liz planned to spend all day Saturday with Kath and her three kids. Or what was left of Saturday, after the 30-mile drive to the beach.

Liz glanced around her apartment and quickly confirmed that she was ready to leave. As she slid her half-read novel into the outside pocket of her tote, the phone rang. She grabbed it on the second ring.

“Oh, Liz, you haven’t left yet.” Kath sounded harried. But with three kids under age nine, she always sounded that way.

“Sorry, I’m running late. I’ll be there.”

“No, this is great. My brother called and I need you to pick him up.”
“Pick him up?”

“Oh, didn’t I tell you he’s coming to the beach with us today? The kids haven’t seen Uncle Joey in, like, forever.”

“Joey’s coming with us?” She remembered Kathleen’s bratty brother. The thing about kid brothers was that there was no reason to let them live. When Joey wasn’t releasing captured reptiles into Kath’s bedroom while they played, he was invading Barbie and Ken’s wedding with his army of Imperial Storm Troopers.

“Look, if you want to make this just family . . .”

“Don’t be silly. The kids want to see you and they want to see Joey. You haven’t seen him in years! This’ll be fun!” Kath gushed.

Liz doubted she’d find Joey all that fun, but for Kath and the kids’ sake, she agreed to pick him up. She wrote down the directions to his place, packed her gear and took off.

Before she reached Joey’s address, she saw a tall guy in trunks and T-shirt, dark glasses and carrying a gym bag, standing halfway into her lane. Kath must have told him about her car, because he waved her over with a “Hey, Liz!”

This couldn’t be little Joey. How long since she’d seen him? Seven years, at least. The brat had grown over six feet tall, with muscles filling out those scrawny little arms. The perpetually shaggy dark hair was cut somewhere between military short and businessman sleek. She guessed those three years in the Army did him good. But he’s still Kath’s kid brother, and she had a long memory for his disruptive antics.

“Thanks for the lift.”  He tossed the gym bag into the back and folded himself into the passenger seat.

Liz answered noncommittally and headed for the freeway.

They were only 30 miles from the beach, but there was no easy route. The freeway gave way to surface streets, and apparently everyone else was driving to the coast today. She kept the radio turned up just loud enough so that they didn’t have to talk much. But after yet another driver cut in front and forced her to brake quickly, Liz let out a colorful description of what that driver could do to himself.
“Hey, relax, Liz,”  Joey said. “We don’t have a deadline.”

“I”ve been running late all day.”

“As usual.”

“What do you mean?’

Joey laughed. “You were always late. Late to school, late to graduation, late to your own wedding.”

Liz glared at him.

“Oh, I guess that’s something we can’t talk about.” He nonchalantly glanced out the window.

“My wedding? I should have been even later and missed it altogether. Talk about mismatched couples.”

“So it’s over?”

“It’s definitely over. Three years now.”

Joey turned his gaze back to the road. The radio was almost loud enough mask his quick “Good.”

The traffic cleared and Liz hit the gas. The car lurched forward then rattled to a stop as the engine died. She turned the key, and the engine rolled over and over, but didn’t catch.

“Damn.” The honking began a few cars back.

“Problem?”

“I think it’s dead,” Liz muttered.

Joey opened his door and hopped out. The honking intensified. “Let’s get off this road.”

With him pushing and her steering, they rolled the lifeless car out of traffic. It glided to a stop on a side street, right in front of an auto shop that looked the least greasy of several lining the road. Liz popped the hood and looked over the engine compartment. She’d hoped she’d find a loose wire or a big switch that said “flip me,” but no such luck.

Liz backed away from the car and crashed into Joey. She whirled around to apologize and found herself just inches away from the guy. He took off his dark glasses and his eyes were oh-so-green. Green like nothing she’d seen in nature. Green like the bottles that hold the most premium beer available. Green and full of mischief, the good kind. The fun and sexy kind. He smiled and ohmigod! he still has dimples. They look so different on his all-grown-up face. So kissable.

Before she could say or do anything that would embarrass her for life, a mechanic came out from the repair shop to see if they needed help. Liz explained the car’s symptoms, got an estimate and handed over the key. The mechanic directed them to a waiting room filled with mismatched plastic chairs, vending machines and a coffeemaker that smelled like it had been heating the same inch of tar-like brew for hours. Joey headed to the soda machine with a handful of change. Liz plopped into a chair and worked to banish her earlier thoughts. Yeah, Joey’s cute, but he’s Kath’s kid brother, and the thing about kid brothers was that they were put on this earth to annoy older sisters and their friends, no matter how hunky they grew up.

Joey handed her a diet soda and took the chair next to her. He popped the tab on his root beer and kept his gaze on her as he drank down the can in one gulp.

Liz popped open her soda. “Sorry. I should have told you the car’s a piece of crap. My alumni association wants my license-plate frame back.”

Joey just smiled.

What does that mean? Liz wondered. She took a deep breath to keep from babbling, as she knew she would given the chance.

“I’ll put in a word for you. I belong to the same alumni association.”

“Since when?”

“What do you think I’ve been doing since I got out of the Army?”

Come to think of it, she did remember Kath saying something about Joey going to their alma mater. “What”s your degree?”

“Liberal arts.”

“Oh, that’s useful.”

He chucked and hook-shot his empty can into the recycling bin. “Actually, I just got accepted at the sheriff’s academy.”

Liz pictured him in a tan uniform and a shiny badge. A very nice image, indeed. She smiled. “Who could resist a man in uniform?”

Joey leaned closer. “I hope you can’t.” And he kissed her.

Liz started to resist, to explain all the reasons why they shouldn’t do this. And there must be a million reasons why they shouldn’t do this. Starting with …uh… Liz ignored all the objections that popped into her head and kissed him back. They could wait.

Joey eased out of the kiss and pressed his forehead against hers. “Nice.”

“You know,”she said, “I’m old enough to be your …”

“…Older sister. So? You’re not 30 yet, and it’s not like 25 is so young for me. Sounds just about right.

Liz grinned. He was right. The thing about kid brothers is that they grow up.

7 0 Read more

Calls for Submission — Happy New Year’s

December 31, 2013 by in category Writing tagged as , , ,

Start your New Year with some new creativity. Here’s a sampling of recent calls for submissions. 

Resolutions
How perfect is this new call from Loose Id? Sometimes, such a teaser causes the perfect stimulation, and my brain’s been tingling with this one.
Every year, millions of people make resolutions for the new year. Most of them fall by the wayside within a few weeks, but what about the ones that don’t? Resolutions is an open collection focusing on what happens in the wake of someone’s New Year’s resolution.
Did they resolve to be more adventurous and meet the hunk of their dreams finally going on that skydiving trip they promised themselves? Did they resolve to compliment at least one stranger a day, and pick the just right day to compliment a down-in-the-dumps billionaire? Did they resolve to buy at least one dress that isn’t black, or a pair of pants that isn’t leather? To try out for The Voice, or the local production of Grease? Did they take their artwork into a gallery? Put their profile on a dating site? 
Resolutions features the commitment and the sexily ever after that somehow grows out of it. Anywhere and anyway that the tradition of making resolutions exists, even if it’s a place that only exists in your imagination, a Resolution story could take place. A Resolutions protagonist can be anyone. The sky’s the limit.
Specifics: stories must be at least 30K and preferably not longer than 80K; all genres you can work a New Year’s resolution into will be considered. To be considered for publication as a Resolutions title by the end of 2014, we must have your submission by no later than August 15th, but they can be submitted at any time before that for earlier publication dates. Follow the guidelines below for submitting a proposal, and include “Resolutions” in your email’s subject line.
For more information, visit Loose Id
Science Fiction – East of the Web
We’re seeking imaginative, idea-filled science fiction and fantasy short stories. Stories should be accessible, with strong plots and compelling characters, written with a good knowledge of the science fiction or fantasy canon.
We pay for selected stories starting at $0.05 per word or a mix of an advance and a royalty. Stories should be at least 7,000 words. Stories will be published under a new electronic imprint from East of the Web, one of the world’s leading publishers of short stories.
We encourage the submission of previously published as well as new stories. If you’re looking for a way to make some money from your back catalog or to get those stories in front of new readers, we would like to hear from you.
For more information, visit East of the Web
Love Me Tender
Scandalous Submission call for stories from the 1950s
As you probably know, our regular submission guidelines stop at 1949. We thought it might be fun to see what you creative types could do with some pomade, pencil skirts, and rock-n-roll music, so we invite you to submit a story that takes place anytime from 1950-1959.
    Word count 15-20k
   Heat level: any
 Happy Ever After- please!
Submissions end March 31
For more information, visit Entangled Publishing
Any of these calls sound good? Have one you’re working on? 
Until next time,
Louisa Bacio
0 0 Read more

Continuity Counts – Updating a Short Story to Match a Novel by Kitty Bucholtz

October 9, 2013 by in category Blogs tagged as , , , , , ,

When I worked in the film industry, I once had the happy job of assisting the script supervisor for a few days. As a writer, I found it fun and interesting to see what went into making sure we ended up with hundreds of little pieces of film that could be edited into a continuous story that made sense. Especially fascinating when you consider that you shoot scenes completely out of order.

With that in mind, I tried to make sure that my novel Unexpected Superhero (published in May) didn’t contradict anything I wrote in the short story “Hero in Disguise” (published last September in our Romancing the Pages anthology). Even with all of my notes and highlights, it seemed to me that there were still a few things that wouldn’t make quite as much sense as I intended (grin!) if you read the two stories back to back.

I’m publishing the short story myself next Tuesday (Oct 15) as an ebook. When I read it over again, I knew I wanted to make some changes. For one thing, I’d decided that all of the titles for the stories in the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke series would have the word “superhero” in them. So the new title is “Superhero in Disguise.”

But more than that, I wanted the tone to match better. We put together Romancing the Pages as a romance anthology, and my short story matched that tone when I wrote it. But the overarching series story in my head is definitely more humorous urban fantasy. So I went through the short and made changes with that in mind.

As I did so, I was pretty sure I was finding some inconsistencies in how Tori, the main character, perceived her unusual abilities. The short is going to be permanently free as a promotion for the series, so I was hypersensitive to the fact that someone could conceivably read the short and immediately buy and read the novel.

It took a few days and a lot of sticky notes, but I think I managed to smooth it all out. (I hope so! LOL!)  I’m trying out a new cover style to see how readers react. It may take some time to find the best way to present this series in terms of book covers, but I’m finally beginning to relax about that.

One of the things I’m beginning to appreciate about self-publishing is not only how I can learn to be flexible and make changes when things don’t seem to be working as well as I’d expect, but also how that mindset is influencing the rest of my life. While I’m in an incredibly stressful situation in life right now, I’m noticing that I’m calmer and looking for alternative solutions every time something doesn’t work out.

It’s nice when you can find that growing in one area of your life can provoke growth in other areas, too!

Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her first novel, Little Miss Lovesick, came out in 2011. Her new novel, Unexpected Superhero, book one in The Adventures of Lewis & Clarke humorous urban fantasy series, is now available in print and ebook format. Love at the Fluff and Fold, book one in The Strays of Loon Lake romantic comedy series, will be released later this year. Her short stories can be found in the anthologies Romancing the Pages and Moonlit Encounters, available in both print and ebook formats.

0 0 Read more

New Year, New Writing (Calls for Submission)

December 31, 2012 by in category Blogs tagged as , , , , ,

Many authors have a goal of writing in 2013. How about taking it one step further and submitting, too? Kick off the new year with some creative inspiration with these calls for submission, and if you need an extra kick in the pants – a watcher, if you dare, then I’m teaching a “Writing the Short Story for Anthology Call-Out” starting mid-January for Savvy Authors. More information below!
Cosmo Red Hot Reads
If you write romance, you had to have heard of this call. I’m already planning a submission. A super-fun short story I wrote (about 5,000 words), and never submitted anywhere. Want to finish it up, expand it, if necessary, and submit!

Cosmo
Red Hot Reads from Harlequin feature contemporary, fun, sexy stories for today’s fun fearless females!
The Heroine:
  • She is the Cosmo woman: fun, fearless, female
  • She is independent
  • She does not need a man to make her life complete, but he is the icing on the cake
  • She’s adventurous and daring both in the bedroom and out!
  • She values her female friendships
  • She is focused on her career
  • Our heroine (and hero) grew up with reality TV, texting, online dating
  • She is most likely in her early to mid-twenties
  • The heroine drives the story

Key Elements:
  • Sexy romantic relationship with a satisfying ending
  • Love scenes are frequent, fun, detailed, fantasy-oriented and push the envelope
  • A strong conflict
  • Fast-paced, snappy dialogue, witty repartee
  • Strong female lead
  • A hero that you want to spend the weekend in bed with
  • Fresh, contemporary voice

Stories Can/Will: Include multiple points of view; be told in first person; be contemporary (but not paranormal please!); urban international settings are good; heroes can be bad boys, successful entrepreneurs, geeky scientists—different flavors of men for different fantasies.
Stories are 25,000–30,000 words, 2 titles a month, digital first, launching late spring/early summer 2013. For more information, visit http://www.harlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=1784&chapter=0
ROUGH & TUMBLE
Theme: Fight Clubs, Tattooed Warriors, Muscled Bad Boys
From fight clubs to medieval warriors, dueling cowboys to tattooed mercenaries, what happens when the tough fall hard. Silver Publishing is looking for stories involving those hot men we love to read about. What happens when the mighty fall?
Boxers, ninjas, medieval warriors, gladiators, bouncers –the list goes on and on. Submission close: Feb. 1, 2013. Click on the link for word count, character pairing, cover info, release date and more! http://sp-pub.com/fKOWq
YA Suspense and then Some!

Theme:  Goosebumps Galore!
Do you have a story that will have readers looking over their shoulders and double checking their doors? We want your most spine tingling tales… truly suspenseful stories only involving young adults. Everything from edge of your seat to horror is welcome!


• 15k+ words
• Romance and Non-Romance
• All Genres
• No sexually explicit content



Submission Deadline: January 5, 2013

Release Date: May 25, 2013. While this deadline is really soon – more for those almost done, they also have an YA Fantasy & Adventure call due March 23.
Note: at its base, every story within the Young Adult section should involve issues important to young adults—these can be directly related to the storyline or sub-plots that they young adult tackles along the way. No topic is considered taboo as it relates to this age group; however, sensitive topics require sensitive treatment, so please keep that in mind as you craft your stories.

BDSM Anthology(ies) 
Secret Cravings Publishing is putting together a BDSM Anthology. Depending on how many stories accepted, this anthology may come out in volumes, as many as needed to get the smutty, romantic goodness to the masses. Here’s what I want: BDSM stories of any flavor from uber-kink (keeping the rules of publisher in mind regarding scat, rape, etc) to light vanilla, first-time play. Anywhere from your most Dom males to femdom to menage to an orgy, if you can pull it off and are so inclined. Even bondage out of this world on some foreign planet. Or a world of your own creation where BDSM rules the land ala The Sleeping Beauty series. Any sub-genre, mystery, paranormal, contemp, etc. I want intelligent, hot, tension filled erotic romance or erotica with a HFN or HEA ending. So long as you keep me reading every word from the first page, whether it hurts so good or tickles like a feather is all up to you. Due March 1.

Caveats:
No M/M pairings
Submissions must be 15-20k in length
Steamy to burning the page stories wanted, nothing behind closed doors here
Submissions must be formatted in SCP House Style upon submission
Usual no-no’s apply regarding rape, bestiality, scat, necrophilia, etc. Send all submissions to faithsommerseditor@gmail.com
Riverdale Avenue Books (RAB) – New Publisher
Riverdale Pop is our pop culture line. We are actively looking for both authorized and unauthorized biographies of celebrities who have captured the cultural spotlight, mostly current, but a blast from the past might be occasionally appropriate. We will also be publishing books about favorite TV shows, movies, and pop cultural phenomenon.

Riverdale/Magnus is our LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) imprint. We are looking for titles, both fiction and nonfiction, in a wide variety of areas, including popular culture, entertainment, biography/memoir, self-help, spirituality, and current affairs, among others.

Riverdale Desire
is our erotica and erotic romance imprint. We are looking for works of fiction from 50,00 to 65,000 words that explore either the erotic journey (erotica) or the quest for satisfaction with a happy ending or at least a happy–for-now ending. We will consider anthologies as well as novellas of between 20,000 and 40,000 words.
We are looking for erotica and erotic romance in the following subgenres: contemporary, historical, male/male (m/m,) female/female (f/f), ménage, paranormal (especially vampires, weres and zombies) and BDSM (especially novels featuring dominant women).

Riverdale Truth
is our erotic memoir imprint. We are looking for true stories of erotic exploration and adventures from midlife dating to the life of a swinger. This is nonfiction, but we will consider anonymous memoir. We will consider anthologies as well.

Riverdale HSF
is our horror, science fiction and fantasy line. We are looking for game- changing fiction in these categories. If anyone has ever read anything like your book before, we don’t want it; we want you to blow us away.
For submission guidelines, and more information, visit http://www.riverdaleavebooks.com
~*~*~*
The first time I taught Writing the Short Story for Savvy Authors last January, a handful of students went on to have their stories final in contests or get published. A half-dozen “repeat offenders” have already told me they’re signed up. I look forward to keeping that track record going!
Writing the Short Story for Anthology Call-out
Jan. 14-Feb. 10, 2013
Beginning writers are often told to: “Write the story you want to read, not what someone else might want to see.” This class, instead, deals with catering a short story specifically to a publisher’s request for submissions. Regularly, editors and publishers list upcoming anthologies and the types of stories they’re looking to include. 
The course will explore current call-outs, and students will be encouraged to write specifically for one anthology and to submit the work at the end of the course. Basic crafting of a short story, such as development, characterization, plot structure & dialogue also will be covered. Since most short stories fall within 2,500 to 5,000 words, we’ll also look at ways to making word choice count and the editing process.
— Louisa Bacio

0 0 Read more
12

Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

%d bloggers like this: