Behind the Scenes Vol: 9 – An Interview with Author Joel Bain

ebook coverCould there really be anything worse than an eternity of damnation? Maybe if you were Heinrich Juarez. Today my guest is Joel Bain, author of EACH OUR OWN DEVIL (March 2017, Dumple Meadows Publishing).

Joel Bain makes his home in Vancouver, Canada. His first novel, TEARDROPS IN THE RAIN, debuted in 2009, while his latest novel, EACH OUR OWN DEVIL, released March 2017.

He started Dumple Meadows Publishing in 2008, delving into a variety of platforms including fiction and digital magazines in the pursuit of developing and encouraging aspiring writers. He formerly held the role of Editor-in-Chief and founder of Sour Grapes Winery from 2010-2014.

Since 2017, he has worked as a Copy Editor with Bookfish Books. In 2017, he also launched a literary editing firm, Q Book Editing Services, working as a Book Editor to help train and mentor aspiring writers and authors.joelbainbusiness

He is a graduate of the University of British Columbia (2009) with a B.A. in International Relations and English Literature. In late 2016, he completed his Certificate of Editing from Simon Fraser University.

Among his writing interests are storytelling, social commentary, and film.

Me: So tell us a little about the book.

Joel: Abandoned. Adopted. Bullied. Orphaned. Disowned. Terminated. Rejected. Heinrich Juarez is Lucifer’s worst nightmare. Only, not for the reasons that one might expect. Heinrich is the saddest man in Hell, and tales of the miserable life he led in Cuba are spreading among his friends. Suddenly, Lucifer’s greatest fear is realized when the damned souls begin to believe their torment is not severe compared to the torment Heinrich endured on Earth.

Lucifer attempts to extradite Heinrich, but as he arrived in Hell by his own request, Lucifer cannot unilaterally expel the sad man. Heinrich doesn’t want to leave because for the first time in his existence, he has made friends. After a lengthy negotiation, Lucifer convinces Heinrich to abandon his infernal friends for a second chance at life in New York City, providing he swears his soul to return to Hell. In return, Lucifer grants Heinrich the role of Dante Condonnato: an agent of the devil, a broker of power, and a harbinger of wealth. To sweeten the deal, his new life will give him a chance at revenge against his adopted brother, Jose, who ruined his life by bullying and disowning Heinrich after their parents’ death in a freak accident.

Me: Oh, sounds exciting and intense. How long did it take you to write this book?

J: The idea for the book first came in my last year of university (2009), but I only started developing it in 2013, so about 3+ years in reality. In December 2015, the final pieces came together, and I spent the next year and a half editing and refining it.

Me: It must be wonderful to finally finish the journey. What Genre do you write and why?

J: I’d classify myself as multi-genre. I like to explore themes rather than finding new ways to explore genres. Nothing against genre writers, I’d just prefer to explore themes more.

Me: That’s great you’re so versatile. Can you pick a favorite line from your latest work and tell us why this is your favorite?

J:   “Mephistopheles, do all these souls really hope for an audience with me this evening?” Heinrich asked.

Most are, but few will be so lucky.

“Why are some chosen, and others are not?” asked Heinrich.

It is simple, replied Mephistopheles. Some are at their best service to Lucifer by continuing to live their lives the way they are—narcissistically and without meaning.

This passage from a shorter chapter explains almost all of Lucifer’s motivation, or lack thereof, for acting in most of the novel. It is why Lucifer meets with Heinrich in the first place in Hell. It’s what propels the devil to act throughout the novel, even if Lucifer is often contradictory and rarely is consistent. There’s spooky stuff that occurs all around the world that people attribute to the spiritual realm, but I think most of us here in North America would say it’s absent or it’s rare. If there is a devil, perhaps it’s absent because we’re all doing a fine job of mucking up the world by just living our lives the way we are. Or it could simply be like how The Usual Suspects laid it out, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist. And like that, poof. He’s gone.”

I love it, because it’s a foretelling.

Me:  That’s great! What can you share with other writers were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?

J: I don’t know if I learned it this time around but was simply reminded of it. The publishing process is not a journey that one goes on alone. Without the support of others, it is a fruitless endeavor. You need the opinion of others to not only to validate you, but to draw your eyes to that what you cannot see on your own. Never mind that writing can often be a lonely journey.

The other thing I’d say I’ve learned time and time again is that the journey to publishing is not so unlike the path many of us take in dating. Finding an agent and/or a publisher is about making a connection with someone with your story. It doesn’t matter what someone’s manuscript wish list says. You can write verbatim to what someone is calling for, but if they don’t connect with the story, it’ll go to the PASS pile. And with that, a rejection from an agent or a publisher is not a judgment of your ability as a writer, in the same way that if someone turns you down for a date, it isn’t dismissing you as the most unattractive person; there was just no connection from their end. You can think you check off all their boxes, but unless they have that connection, it won’t go anywhere. So really, the journey to publishing is one of simply getting your book out there to as many agents and publishers as you can. And if you still don’t find someone who connects with it, maybe it is time for you to self-publish it since you are the one who connects the most with your story, and you might be the person who needs to bring it to the world. Or…maybe you’re fortunate and someone connects with your story, and you’ve found your greatest ally in the form of an agent or a publisher.

Me: Very true. The arts are so subjective and we’re not all going to connect, but I think so far you’ve made some connections. Do you have a favorite author(s)?

J: Malcolm Gladwell. I know he doesn’t write fiction, but I buy every single one of his books. He is great at telling real-life stories in ways that few fiction writers are even capable. For a fiction author, C.S. Lewis would be the one I’ve read and enjoyed the most. The Great Divorce may be my favorite by him.

Me: What are a few things about yourself most people wouldn’t expect?

J: It wasn’t until I studied other languages in university that I finally understood English grammar. I couldn’t have even told you what a noun or a verb was before university. Embarrassing to admit. Now though, I speak three languages, English, French, and Italian. In the past, I could speak Russian and German, but not any more. What else? I’ve been to 40 of the 50 States, to all but one Canadian province, and to eleven countries.

Me: Well traveled! Must be some great experiences. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers?

J: NEVER skimp on your book cover. While the old adage of “never judge a book by its cover” is oft repeated, it is patently false in publishing. It is mind boggling that we as writers would work so hard and long on our manuscripts and wrap it up in an unsightly package. It’s like a car engineer putting together a Ferrari engine and using the body of a Ford Pinto. No one would take it seriously.

My other piece of advice might go against the grain, but…whenever one tells a story, there needs to be some moral or a theme that the manuscript explores. Too often I fear writers start a story with a wiz-bang premise, but they scrap the idea or move onto another one down the road because they didn’t know what the story is about. They lack a passion to finish the manuscript and then get sucked into doing the whole thing all over again with another premise that they won’t finish because again they don’t know what the story was about. Know what you want to say with your story, but find a way to say it subtly. No one wants to read a tract or a pamphlet for the “moral of your story.” This is partly why so many of the classics are timeless because we can discern what they were about and what they were trying to say. There is so much to study within them.

Me: Great advice! If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

J: I’m not sure. I know a lot of other writers (and myself in the past) have used inspiration boards to help figure this out, but I didn’t do that this time with EACH OUR OWN DEVIL. I guess if I were to cast Heinrich, it’d be Jesse Eisenberg. Not even for his appearance, but because he’d have the range as an actor to bring Heinrich to life both as a lonesome, depressing figure, a figure of power, and finally as a figure of brokenness in the end. As for Lucifer, Michael Fassbender or Mark Strong would both intriguing choices. Probably Fassbender since he has often been so capable of portraying characters who we ought to be unsympathetic towards as sympathetic in their own perverse way. He could capture the duplicitous nature of Lucifer very well. And for Greta, I’m not sure. It’s difficult for me to say because I intentionally try to leave some of the characters as a mostly blank slate with the exception of a few identifying details. I wrote almost no description of Lucifer because I feel most readers already have some notion or feeling about what Lucifer must look like and I felt it would be more powerful to allow their own horror or fear of Lucifer to play into their visualization of him as a character.

Me: Something fun. Chocolate or Wine (or any other adult beverage)?

J: I was going to say wine, but in truth, coffee is my main morning routine. Love getting to quietly wake up with a cup and a book. Plus…my day job is working as a Starbucks store manager, so…it kind of comes with the territory.

Me: *raises hand* Coffee addict here! What is your favorite meal?

J: Hawaiian Pizza. There’s been so much hate for pineapple on pizzas lately. It’s the perfect pizza, and there are few things I get as excited about eating. Could eat it every day for a week if I had to. Don’t know if I could do that with anything else.

Me: Lol. Yes! I’ve heard the it could possibly be outlawed! Favorite Color?

J: Orange! Love its brightness and how lively it is. That’s not to say I enjoy wearing it though.

Me: What’s next in your future?

J: I’ve got a couple of things going on in the future. I’m working on a dystopian novel that takes place in Dunkirk, France, where I lived from 2009-2010. I’m also editing a novella I’ve written for a Christmas anthology coming out next holiday season. I also just finished my Certificate of Editing from university just this past year, so I intend to launch my editing business both for literary editing and corporate editing.

Me: So many great things in the works! Thanks for joining us today, Joel. And for our readers, check out all of Joel’s links and an excerpt from his book below. 

Links:            Amazon      |        Twitter       |        Website       |       Facebook

Click on Author Interviews on my homepage if you’d like to be featured on an upcoming post of Behind the Scenes, an author spotlight series.

Excerpt from Each Our Own Devil:

Never had a couple looked so out of place. Blonde hair and blue eyes were rare in Havana as was the tongue of Swedes. The hot Caribbean sun scorched their pale skin, but they were too enthused to complain. The island nation of Cuba welcomed them with a greeting sign in English, but they didn’t know it. They spoke only a few words of English, and even less of Spanish. They looked as lost as could be. If it were not for their enthusiasm, they might have looked isolated waiting for a taxicab by the airport roadside curb. The woman glowed in her loose-fitting bright blue sundress, disguising her pregnant belly.

Her partner hailed a cab to take them to their resort hotel. He stood lanky but had soft and charming features, which played a role in drawing her to him. He tried his best to appear confident in front of his wife.

As the cab approached, he grasped her hand and gave it a weak squeeze. The cab driver jumped out and scooped their luggage, placing it in the rear trunk. The husband helped his expectant wife into the back seat and followed her in.

When the driver returned, he attempted to communicate with them, but it was a fruitless effort. The husband flashed a hopeful grin and gave a hand-written note with their destination. The driver recognized the address and did his best to convey his understanding to the couple. They were on their way, much to their relief.

Later that evening within a gated seaside resort, the couple sat down for dinner. They shared a brief kiss just before beginning their meal. Within minutes, the woman’s water broke. A flash of embarrassment came over her, but she became much more concerned about another fact: their child had chosen that moment to be born. Her husband shouted in broken English for a medic. He comforted his hysterical wife.

An ambulance shuttled them to a hospital outside the resort. The ride was rough, but the husband and wife clung each other’s hands. When they arrived, the paramedics ushered the parents into the delivery ward. Again, they ran into the language barrier, as the doctors spoke frantically in Spanish. The couple’s inability to communicate traumatized them, but after a hard, quick labor that involved many attempts at conveying instructions through body language, a child was born.

The mother spent several days in the hospital recovering from the premature delivery as did the newborn boy. Complications from the premature birth required him to stay beyond the mother’s discharge from the hospital. The couple’s romantic getaway to Cuba became consumed with visits to the hospital, as their appetite for anything else had dissipated.

After a week, the couple took the child and the birth certificate produced for them back to the resort. The young couple embraced their new roles as mother and father. The rest of their vacation passed almost exclusively within their hotel room. The mother nursed her son as her husband gazed upon the child. They named him Heinrich in honor of his mother’s father, who had died in the Second World War.

Once their ten-day vacation ran its course, they checked out of the resort and caught a cab to the airport to return home with their newborn son. They checked their bags and passed security, but customs stopped them. The officials demanded papers for the infant. The couple had none but the Cuban birth certificate provided to them.

Communication was difficult due to the language barrier again, but the officials clarified that the child couldn’t leave the country. The child was born on sovereign Cuban soil and he was a Cuban national without the proper paperwork to leave the island nation. Neither did the parents have any documentation of the child’s Swedish citizenship.

The parents returned to the resort and sought guidance from their national embassy in Havana. Little was accomplished though, as the father lacked the necessary documentation to register the child’s foreign birth.

Several days later, the Cuban authorities came knocking on their door. Their tourist visas had expired. Escorting them to the airport again, the authorities checked the parents into their flight and ushered them through security. When it came to the customs officials, against the parents’ will, the child was taken from them. The officials re-iterated that the child didn’t have the proper permission to leave the country. The parents were required to leave due to their expired visas. The father attempted to bribe the officials. He offered their wallets, their wedding rings, and any jewelry they had on them, but the officials were unswayed and shuffled the child away.

The mother became so hysterical in seeing her son taken away from her that it required four male officials to restrain her. With their hands on her, the father responded with violent force. An official knocked him unconscious in response. They carried the father onto the plane. The officials dragged the mother to her seat and waited with her until the plane took flight. Her husband slumped unconscious beside her and bore a bandage applied to his head.

When the time came to shut the plane door, a customs official helped a medic from the airport administer a sedative to the mother; they gagged the woman to not disturb the other air travelers. The door was shut, and the plane took off for Sweden, leaving the child in the care of the Cuban customs officials.

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#FlashFictionFriday – Vol. 64: LOVE’S SACRIFICE

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This is for week sixty-four of the flash fiction challenge by Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, check out their blog and join in or read others’ posts and be inspired.

Read mine below and feel free to leave a comment. I love comments, so don’t be shy!!! Enjoy!

LOVE’S SACRIFICE (156 words)

The sky was as dark as Callista’s mood. Fate awaited her. At dawn her body would belong to the sea and the beast that threatened her people.

Liam joined her on the cliff’s edge, the wind whipping his cloak. “You wished to see me?”

“I wanted to say goodbye.” Callista placed her wind-bitten hands on his face, stubble scratching her palms. Tears brimmed in her eyes, and the fierce winds swept them away. She loved him. Her lips pressed into his, one last kiss to last a lifetime. One last touch. One last heartbeat.

Liam pulled away. “Will you not rethink this?”

“As ruler, this is my sacrifice.”

“I know.” Liam stroked Callista’s hair. “I don’t know how I’ll go on without you.”

“I had the same thought.” With the stealth of a dark knight, Callista slipped a dagger into him and shoved his body over the edge—her sacrifice of love to the beast below.

Can’t wait to read more? Check out my other flash fiction posts here.

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Don’t you want A PIZZA MY HEART ?

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Hello WordPress World!

What has been going on over here? So I took a hiatus from blogging to finish a R&R. For those who aren’t familiar, this is a revise and resubmit. Back in 2015 I finished the original draft of my YA dragon fantasy and queried it in 2016, but despite interest and several requests, I didn’t find an agent to love it. I did find some interest in publishers and was given the opportunity to revise it. From April to October of 2016 I sat on it, not really sure how to fix it, rewriting the opening several times, and working on another project. But by November I figured it out and through the stress of the holidays I managed to finish it a week ago, along with a new query, synopsis, and oh what fun, a map!

So now back to the now! Now, now….who got that reference 😉 I’ll be working on moreBROKEN BOY_cover1 frequent posts over the week, along with starting back up with Broken Boy my lovely project on Wattpad. You can catch up with that series if you want to check it out. And while all of that is going on I’ll be doing research and plotting out my newest project which I hope to finish in time for Pitch Wars 2017! Exciting stuff.

I didn’t do a blog post on this, but I recently had a short story, LOVE PIZZA NO. 9, published in an Pizza-thology. Yep you read right! An entire book of short stories dedicated to pizza! Yum! I mean who doesn’t like pizza??? My particular story is about a girl in love with a boy (as all good stories should start 😛 ) with the help of a guy friend, finds a magical pizza recipe that will help her nab the guy of her dreams. Unexpected romance and realizations ensue. This released back in February and we had an awesome pre-order! We hit #3 in the best sellers of short story collections for teens right next to JK Rowlings! So please check that out! You will surely have a pizza my heart. 😉

Love-Pizza-No-9-Teaser

What have you been up to? Feel free to share the good or bad of what I’ve missed the past few months!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day WordPress!

St Patricks Day 2017

Hope you get lucky…uh, er, I mean…I hope luck is on your side 🙂

 

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#FlashFictionFriday – Vol. 63: THE FEAST OF ANSEGDNISS

flash fic 63

This is for week sixty-three of the flash fiction challenge by Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, check out their blog and join in or read others’ posts and be inspired.

***It’s been a really long time, guys! I’m sorry I haven’t been keeping up with the blog, but I’m finally done with my edits for my YA fantasy revision, so I’m coming back to blogging and catching up with my flash fiction and some exciting things going on the past few months. Hope you’ll stick around to read. If you want to join in the challenge for the current’s week prompt, check out it out here!

Read mine below and feel free to leave a comment. I love comments, so don’t be shy!!! Enjoy!

 

THE FEAST OF ANSEGDNISS (158 words)

“Welcome to the Feast of Ansegdniss!” Annalise and Marigold was ushered into a great hall lined with dimmed chandeliers. A long table donned crimson linens, crystal goblets, and gold plates and flatware. Cocktails served, chatter drifted among seated noblemen and jeweled countesses.

How had they been so lucky to be invited?

“I’m pleased you could join us.” Duke Reginald’s smile brought a flush to Annalise’s cheeks.

He was beautiful: eyes flecked with gold that danced in the firelight, sharp cheekbones, lips that beckoned to be tasted.

“Thank you.” Marigold batted her eyes.

The Duke looked at Annalise, hunger and desire unhampered. “Tonight won’t be forgotten.”

Annalise’s heart pounded. He took her hand. They stood.

“Tonight we celebrate. Let us feast…” The Duke hushed the din, his gaze blazing a fire over Annalise’s body. “…on the innocent.”

Hands clasped the girls’ arms. They screamed as they were pinned to the table. Tonight would be one to be remembered, indeed.

 

Can’t wait to read more? Check out my other flash fiction posts here.

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#FlashFictionFriday – Vol. 91: A GENTLEMAN’S PRISON

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This is for week ninety-one of the flash fiction challenge by Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, check out their blog and join in or read others’ posts and be inspired.

This prompt made me think of Downton Abbey, I was actually tempted to make myself a cup of tea. I got stuck about 3/4 of the way through this challenge, but I managed to finish. I hope I came away with an interesting ending. How do you feel about Everett’s perspective on his life?

Read mine below and feel free to leave a comment. Enjoy!

A GENTLEMAN’S PRISON (157 words)

The kitchen maid screamed and cursed as the head butler dumped her on the street. Everett couldn’t look away. Cheeks flushed and eyes bright like silver flashed at him.

“Everett, that’s ungentlemanly,” Aunt Millie chastised.

Everett released the curtain and stepped back into the tea room. “May I be excused?”

Before his aunt conceded, he walked briskly into the hall and out the back door. If he hurried he could catch her. In the alley, the maid crossed his path.

“Penny.”

She looked up, her copper curls wild. “Master Everett, here to ask me back?”

Everett shook his head. “I need your help.”

“It’ll cost you.”

“How much?”

“Not how much. What?” Penny grinned. “I want you to take me to the debutante ball.”

With a dress, Penny would be stunning, but her etiquette wouldn’t get her past society’s door.

Everett sighed. “Fine. But in return I want what you have.”

Penny’s brow furrowed. “Poverty?”

“No. Freedom.”

Can’t wait to read more? Check out my other flash fiction posts here.

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#FlashFictionFriday – Vol. 62: TO PROTECT ONE’S HEART

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This is for week sixty-two of the flash fiction challenge by Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, check out their blog and join in or read others’ posts and be inspired.

I love writing stories about romance, but after awhile I find it hard to come up with new, fresh stories – a play on classic tropes. What do you think about Claudette’s actions? Was her thinking justified? If you want to join in the challenge for the current’s week prompt, check out it out here!

Read mine below and feel free to leave a comment. Enjoy!

TO PROTECT ONE’S HEART (157 words)

Turn, turn, turn. Claudette watched the windmill blades. Golden wheat swayed around her. Harvest time.

“Lazy girl.”

Claudette’s head perked up coming face-to-face with Liam.

“Says the merchant’s son.” She lay back down.

“Always so haughty,” he said, resting next to her. “What did I ever do to you?”

“Liam, the list goes on.” Claudette thought him handsome, but she was a farm girl—no need to waste time on politeness. “And I finished my work.”

“Then you have time for the pub.”

“Pub? I’ve got time, but no shilling.”

Liam frowned. “I meant with me.”

“Oh.” Could he be sincere? “You best go alone.”

Before Liam could respond, Claudette pulled his lips to hers until she was wrapped in his arms and their breath gone. Without another word, Claudette stalked off leaving a confused Liam behind. What chance did she have with a merchant boy? None. And she’d never give him a chance to reject her.

Can’t wait to read more? Check out my other flash fiction posts here.

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#FlashFictionFriday – Vol. 61: TROUBLE IN PARADISE

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This is for week sixty-one of the flash fiction challenge by Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, check out their blog and join in or read others’ posts and be inspired.

Bringing it back from a prompt in April, something about this picture made me think of weddings and fairy tales. Check out my flash fiction piece where the prince doesn’t quite follow the protocol of finding his princess. If you want to join in the challenge for the current’s week prompt, check out it out here!

Read mine below and feel free to leave a comment. Enjoy!

TROUBLE IN PARADISE (158 words)

Prince Bertrand sat on the palace steps, a slipper in hand and a fleeing maiden disappearing into the darkness. Next, he’d find her, the shoe would fit, and they’d be married—or so the fairy tales went. But he’d felt no spark. Bertrand didn’t want to marry her. His father would be disappointed. What was new?

“Trouble in paradise, your highness?”

Behind Bertrand, a woman in a navy gown sat on a bench in the shadows. He recognized her from the string quartet.

“It’d have to be paradise for there to be trouble.”

The woman chuckled. The sound warmed Bertrand’s insides. They spoke for some time until dawn threatened the night away.

“I should go.”

But he didn’t want her to.

“I must see you again.”

The woman eyed him wearily. “Fine. I play in the village’s pub tomorrow night. If you’re serious.” Then she said goodbye and left.

Bertrand never felt this way before—he’d be there.

Can’t wait to read more? Check out my other flash fiction posts here.

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#FlashFictionFriday – Vol. 90: THE LAST SUNSET

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This is for week ninety of the flash fiction challenge by Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, check out their blog and join in or read others’ posts and be inspired.

So glad I’ve kept up with the next flash fiction prompt. I have another previous prompt ready that I’ll be posting tomorrow for fun if you want to check it out about a prince charming that just doesn’t follow the fairy tales. This week while at my writing group, one of my fellow writers gave me an idea for this lovely prompt. You know me, I love a twist! What do you think? Did you see that coming?

Read mine below and feel free to leave a comment. Enjoy!

THE LAST SUNSET (157 words)

The sun sat low on the horizon, the sky washed in oranges and reds. Wendy sighed. The summer air much cooler in the barn doorway.

“Not much longer,” Carmichael said behind her in the shadows.

“I’ll miss this the most.” Wendy glanced over her shoulder. Even though she only saw Carmichael’s silhouette, she didn’t have to be reminded of his perfection. Crystal blue eyes, fine chiseled features, shiny black hair like silk. So painfully beautiful did she dare call him handsome?

“With time you won’t miss any of it.”

Could that be true? Being with him would release her of missing her family or her previous life?

The sky darkened to a bluish-purple, the sun’s glow only a memory.

Carmichael’s breath whispered against Wendy’s skin. When had he stepped behind her, she hadn’t heard or sensed him. The sun made its final descent and with it Carmichael’s fangs plunged into Wendy’s neck, bringing her forever into darkness.

Can’t wait to read more? Check out my other flash fiction posts here.

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#FlashFictionFriday – Vol. 89: SIREN

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This is for week eighty-nine of the flash fiction challenge by Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, check out their blog and join in or read others’ posts and be inspired.

Keeping up with the flash fiction…so far. This prompt turned into more fun that I thought. I love a twist at the end. Did you see it coming?

Read mine below and feel free to leave a comment. Enjoy!

SIREN (158 words)

The dock’s boards creaked beneath Isla’s sandals. She hated this place at night. Why did Barry insist on meeting here?

The moon’s reflection glittered off the lake, the surface calm.

“Where are you?” Isla whispered.

She stopped at the dock’s edge and peered into the black waters. All was quiet. Then a splash flicked water on Isla. She yelped.

“You called?” Barry said, hanging onto the dock feet away.

“Don’t do that!”

“I have to tell you something.” He patted the dock. “Hop in.”

“Can’t you just tell me?”

“Fine. I have to show you something.”

Isla sighed. She’d had a crush on Barry all summer. They’d gotten closer, but he never divulged anything personal. Tonight has to be the night.

Isla shrugged off her tank, shorts, and sandals before diving in. When she surfaced, Barry was at her side. The moonlight set his skin aglow, only it wasn’t skin Isla saw.

He was covered in scales.

Can’t wait to read more? Check out my other flash fiction posts here.

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