Flash: No Cure for Blessed Hearts

No Cure for Blessed Hearts
by Amy Hunter

 

Childhood Sundays once meant home-cooked meals, dresses stitched by my mother’s loving hands, and a spiritual cup overflowing with faith. Doubt had no place in my life. I didn’t worry about mental disorders, because I was a “child of God.” He loved everyone—even temperamental little shits like me.

At seven, I was an eavesdropping ninja, but sometimes, my high-strung parents made my job easy. Their whispers carried throughout the house, ricocheting off walls, like stray bullets. The foam kind.

“June Bug’s teacher sent this home. The assignment was to draw the future, so she drew a grave.”

I heard the paper crinkle and imagined my mother handing it to my father.

She sighed, defeated. “She’s sick, Billy. We need a second opinion.”

My face burned. I didn’t understand why they were so upset. From my limited knowledge, lots of people died. I probably would too one day, so I’d need a grave. And my name was Juniper, not June Bug.

My father—a man who had bashed mailboxes with a baseball bat as a teen—tried to hide his temper, but flicking his Zippo lighter gave him away. “I won’t trust some scientist to tell me what’s wrong with my daughter. I damn sure won’t drug her.”

I exhaled to release the steam building within my chest. Anger was more helpful than shame, even with the side-effects of blindness and stupidity. Sure, throwing tantrums and destroying property was naughty—I had broken dishes, written on walls with a permanent marker, and painted my mom’s laptop screen with nail polish—but my parents were acting like I was irredeemable.

I curled into the fetal position with Moo, the stuffed cow I’d won the previous year at the state fair. He was a good friend, not at all subscribed to my mom and dad’s brands of judgement and condemnation.

I love you too, Moo.

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They woke me by hovering over my bed. Their mouths moved soundlessly, but their eyes screamed. That’s when my heart rumbled, competing only with the ripples shaking me from the inside.

My entire head was an exposed nerve. I disregarded the throbbing and licked my lips, tasting copper. I had bitten my tongue.

The world flooded back, as if I were a diver reemerging from the deep. Hysterical, I clawed blood from my father. Without a second thought, he backhanded me, stunning me into submission.

“Stay down,” he said.

Mom pinned my shoulder to the mattress. “Billy, she needs a doctor.”

“Bullshit. We need Brother Kinsley,” my father said, clutching his arm where I’d torn into him. “He’ll get this beast out of her.”

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When we entered New Life Bapticostal Church, the congregation was on its feet praising the Lord—maybe because their baseball team had won a game; maybe because they had demonstrated restraint toward chocolate cake. Most of the group was phony.

I apologized again for hurting my father, but both of my parents were silent. We sat, and before I knew what had hit me, the circus was over. The Sinners’ Prayer was said, the last song was sung, and the Bibles were closed.

Brother Kinsley approached the pulpit. “Brothers and sisters, before you go, the Lord has a favor to ask of you: Brother Scott is having a family crisis. Would any of you be willing to stay and help?”

Mom and Dad each grabbed my arms, jerking me toward the altar to face the twenty people who had remained. I dragged my patent-leather shoes to no avail. I dropped to the carpet, but my father wasted no time scooping me up and throwing me over his shoulder. I was too weak to kick. They could have me.

Brother Kinsley removed a vial of clear liquid from his jacket, dabbed his brow with a monogrammed handkerchief, and examined the microphone connection on his shirt.

“Keep its hands behind its back, Billy,” Brother Kinsley said, loosening container’s lid.

Like a witch burning at the stake, I glared holes into people until they recoiled; their fear was almost worth my trouble.

“Jesus wants everyone here to cast out this demon and redeem His daughter!” He flung the water on me, vertically and horizontally. “In Jesus’ name! Out, demon!”

Brother Kinsley shoved my forehead until I fell against my father, but he dropped me, as if to say, You’re not my child anymore. I lay sprawled on the red carpet, my wet Sunday dress, with its lace shredded from fighting.

I reached for someone—anyone. I was hyperventilating, but no one could free their hands of applause long enough to comfort me.

In that house of God, His people couldn’t be found.

 

Author F.A. Fisher discusses his A Haunting of Words story, “Fighting Sleep”

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Today F. A. Fisher takes over my page to discuss his A Haunting of Words story, “Fighting Sleep.”

Synopsis/Blurb: 

The new crib smells wrong to Ross. His parents won’t listen to him because he’s only four, but how can he protect his new sister from it all by himself? The truth is, he’s afraid the crib is haunted.

He’s right.

 

What inspired you to write this story?

I overheard a small girl when she walked into a room, looked at the crib, and said, “That crib looks evil.” I thought the idea of an evil crib sounded pretty cool, so I wrote the story.

 

 

How long have you been writing?

Off and on for thirty years. Last year I decided to get serious about it, and published my first two novels.

What genres do you most associate with in your writing?

Science Fiction and Fantasy

What are you working on right now?

The third novel in my Cloaks series.

What else do you have available/published?

My first novel is Cloaks. The sequel is Pandir Decloaked.

What advice do you give to new writers?

Keep writing. Don’t stop (repeatedly!) like I did.

List links where people can find your work:

My website is:

       http://fafisher.com

Cloaks is on Amazon at:

            https://www.amazon.com/Cloaks-F-Fisher-ebook/dp/B01FYCUL02/

Pandir Decloaked is also on Amazon at:

       https://www.amazon.com/Pandir-Decloaked-Cloaks-Book-2-ebook/dp/B01N9GKDPV

And it should go without saying that my story “Fighting Sleep” is in the anthology, A Haunting of Words. http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-haunting-of-words

Thanks, F.A.!

Author Interview: Laurie Gardiner discusses “Thief” from A Haunting of Words

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Today the talented Laurie Gardiner takes control of my page to talk about her A Haunting of Words story, “Thief.”

Synopsis: Luna Fiore promised to be with her twin sister, Cira, when she dies. Instead, Luna’s own death sends her on a journey through memories where she must explore her mother’s darkest secrets. Can Luna find the truth and make her way back to her twin before the thief in Cira’s head releases her?

 

What inspired you to write this story?

The song of the same name by the band Our Lady Peace. It’s always been one of my favourite songs by OLP simply because of the emotion it conveys. When I was brainstorming story ideas for A Haunting of Words, I watched the video for “Thief” and inspiration hit.

 

How long have you been writing?

Almost as long as I can remember.

What genres do you most associate with in your writing?

I write mainly contemporary drama and women’s fiction. Writing a paranormal story pushed me slightly out of my comfort zone, which, I think, turned out to be a good thing!

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a series of flash fiction stories centered around the theme of elder abuse.

What else do you have available/published?

So far, my publications include: debut novel, Tranquility, published in 2015 by Escargot Books; short story “Retribution” in Scout Media’s 2016 “of Words” anthology; “Thief” in Scout Media’s latest anthology, A Haunting of Words.

 

What advice do you give to new writers?

Never stop learning.

List links where people can find your work:

http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/of-words-series/

https://www.amazon.com/Laurie-Gardiner/e/B00RZPBBTC

 

Thanks for stopping by, Laurie!

 

 

Author Interview: Amy Hunter talks about Salted Ground

 

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Today I get to talk about my story, Salted Ground, which is included with many other talented authors in Scout Media’s anthology, A Haunting of Words.

Blurb: Marley was convinced she had found happiness with Adam when he helped her escape an abusive relationship. When tragedy strikes, will she find hope or torment?

 

What inspired you to write this story?

One of the many things I struggle with is not knowing when to let go… of anything. Marley became sort of a hero to me. In the first paragraph, she salted the ground and moved on, and in the rest of the story, she deals with the consequences.

 

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since my early teen years. Earlier than that, if you count the childhood plays my friends and I would perform for my mom (all of which received standing ovations). I moved on to high school journalism, which I thought I would make into a career, but here I am at thirty-three, diggin’ the hell out of fiction.

 

What genres do you most associate with in your writing?

Suspense, Creative Nonfiction, Psychological Horror

 

What are you working on right now?

Monster’s Edge. When Coralie manipulates Shane into committing a crime, he double-crosses her and leaves her with a parting gift she’ll never forget.

 

What else do you have available/published?

So far, aside from ‘A Haunting of Words,’ I also have a story called “Core” in ‘A Journey of Words.’

 

What advice do you give to new writers?

A piece of advice saved my life once and continues to do so every day. I feel like it applies here. So: remove the cotton from your ears and put it in your mouth. Listen and learn from those who came before you. Don’t assume you know everything. And hire an editor. Okay, so the editor thing came later, but do it. You’ll be glad you did.

 

List links where people can find your work:

http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-haunting-of-words

https://www.facebook.com/AmyUnleashed/

https://www.amyhunterauthor.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15700724.Amy_Hunter

 

Thanks for reading! 

Author Interview: Kari Holloway Talks about A Haunting of Words

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Today Kari Holloway takes over my page to talk about her A Haunting of Words story, “Gunpowder & Wool.”

Blurb: Corporal Hulett greets the morning on the eve of battle, readying his men to march forth, but what comes through the ghostly fog of gunpowder and scattershot leaves him defending the merits of battle and the rights of brothers-in-arms.

 

What inspired you to write this story?

Where I am from, Andersonville Georgia is a staple from school field trips, national holiday activities, and the yearly reenactments honoring the men who lost their life for a cause they believed in. Not the cause of the government, but the cause of being beside their neighbors standing up together as a united front. Millions were affected with the civil war, and we like to look at it as an overview, but for the men serving, it wasn’t black and white, ideas vs truth.

 

How long have you been writing?

Professionally, July 2015 marks the starting point. I wrote Cracked But Never Broken and haven’t stopped writing since. Prior to that, writing was a dirty little secret I hid from everyone, even my parents.

 

What genres do you most associate with in your writing?

Southern fiction is the umbrella I write while the specific genres would be romance (my Laughing P series) and paranormal (my Devil’s Playground series).

 

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on the third Devil’s Playground novella, the final proofing for the second Devil’s Playground, titled Cry of Gold, which is due to be released in June. Never too Late is headed to the editor to finish up my Laughing P. I’m gearing up a book signing at Xion and having a table at Epicon.

 

What else do you have available/published?

Cracked But Never Broken (http://books2read.com/CrackedButNeverBroken )
Behind the Lens (http://books2read.com/BehindtheLens )

Forgotten (http://books2read.com/DPForgotten)

Beneath the Mask (http://books2read.com/BeneaththeMasks ) [a perma free short story found on all e-book retailers]

Unbound (http://books2read.com/UnboundAnthology )

Love, Lust, and Scary Monsters (http://books2read.com/LoveLustScaryMonsters )

 

What advice do you give to new writers?

Just because one idea doesn’t work now, doesn’t mean that idea won’t work later.

 

List links where people can find your work:

For the easiest list, they can check out my site http://KariHolloway.wix.com/fiction or www.facebook.com/k.l.holly. I use books2read links which lead to global and universal links making it a one click button for those around the world.

Thanks, Kari! 

Author Interview: JM Ames talks about his A Haunting of Words story

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Today’s A Haunting of Words interview is with author J.M.Ames.

 

Only The Dead Go Free:

Wendy flees from her abusive boyfriend, daughter in tow, to her families’ cabin in the woods, only to discover what is already residing there is far worse. Based on the Transpose song of the same name.

 

What inspired you to write this story?

The desire to write a disturbing tale about a haunting, coupled with the imagery captured by the lyrics of the song.

 

How long have you been writing?

Professionally, since January 2016. As a hobby, as far back as I can remember.

 

What genres do you most associate with in your writing?

I am definitely a multi-genre author. I don’t really stick to any of them exclusively. I usually try to evoke some kind of emotion, include something unusual\weird, and incorporate a twist. With that in mind, Fantasy (all kinds), Horror, and Sci-Fi probably make up about half of my work. Rock Fiction (stories based on songs or albums) are becoming a fairly common thing for me, too.

 

What are you working on right now?

How much time you got? J I have too many works in progress to go through here, so I will go through the ones I think you can see from me in 2017:

Not Yet Dark:  War devastates a man’s life, and he goes to extremes to get revenge on those who’ve hurt him. Based on “Masters of War” by Bob Dylan

Fourteen Years:  Nonfiction biography of my best friend of 38 years, and his struggle to return his life to normalcy after a horrific accident that left him heavily injured and another of our friends dead.

The River Sticks:  An elderly man awakens in the middle of the night to discover his long-dead wife and poker buddies are back for one night only. Stakes are high, as he must now play for his own life. Somewhat inspired by (but not based on) Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt.”

I have several other completed works I am actively marketing to various publishers.
 

What else do you have available/published?
“The Last Ride,” which is available in the A Journey of Words anthology.

 

What advice do you give to new writers?
Read, a lot. Write even more than that – never stop. Hire a good professional editor. Use Beta readers, but only make suggested changes that you agree with and make sense, or a large number of readers suggest. There are many paths to becoming an author, not just one – find your own path.

 

List links where people can find your work:
Website:          https://jm-ames.com/  (includes links to many other Social Media Platforms)
Facebook:       https://www.facebook.com/JMAmesAuthor/

 

Author Interview: Travis West talks about his A Haunting of Words story

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Today’s A Haunting of Words interview is with author Travis West.

“If It’s Not Okay, It’s Not the End” – With the help of a late music icon, a newly deceased rock band embarks on a cross-country trip to help their drummer deliver a message to his ex-girlfriend.

What inspired you to write this story?: The punk band Rancid has a great song called “Ghost Band.” I heard it one day and knew that I should write about a phantom music group. Originally the band wasn’t going to meet anyone famous, they were just going to discuss the possibilities of meeting their late heroes. As a matter of fact, the original title was going to be, “Do You Think We’ll Meet Keith Moon?” Then I happened upon a quote attributed to the rock star in question and the entire story unfolded in my mind within minutes. Funny how that works. I feel this is my deepest story yet, even if the premise isn’t entirely original. In hindsight I realize it’s about regrets. Regret over loved ones left behind to achieve fame, and those used as stepping stones for the same purpose.

How long have you been writing?: Seriously writing, only three years. With a story published at the end of each year.

What genres do you most associate with in your writing: The majority of my short stories are speculative fiction, but I don’t think any of them fit into a Sci-fi/Horror/Fantasy box. I’ve only in the last few months discovered Slipstream. All ideas I have for possible novels are more contemporary or literary fiction.

What are you working on right now?: Right now I’m working on my own project. I’m writing a series of short stories involving a government shadow group who over the past century and a half attempt to infiltrate an alien race for their own nefarious purposes. Each story takes place in a different period in time from the 1800’s until now. It’s very “pulp” and heavily influenced by old comic books and magazines, such as Weird Tales and Planet Comics. The stories will be strange, violent, funny, and hopefully readers will find it to be entertaining.

What else do you have available/published:
My story “The Most Beautiful Boy” is available in A Matter of Words, and my story “The Errandsman’s Folly” is in A Journey of Words. Both are from Scout Media.

What advice do you give to new writers? Keep writing, of course, and always hire a professional editor. A great editor is an invaluable asset. If you use beta readers, which I do recommend, use a balance of men and women. Even if you don’t use a beta reader’s suggestions, at least give those suggestions ample consideration. Don’t assume your story is perfect simply because you think so. A wise person once said, Your ego is not your amigo.

List links where people can find your work:

ScoutMediaBooksMusic.Com

Facebook.Com/TravisWestWrites
TravisJackFlash.Blogspot.Com

You can purchase A Haunting of Words (available in paperback and eBook) through the Scout Media online store at:www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-haunting-of-words  and get an exclusive companion soundtrack CD, or through Barnes & Nobles, Target, Books-a-Million, and Amazon.