Alycia Christine

Vivid Fiction, Epic Photography

Category: Short Stories (Page 1 of 3)

What Do You Do When The Monster Is Worth Saving?

Of_Kelpie_Lullabies_cover-1600x2400As many people, I am a huge lover of mythical creatures from lore and legend. The reason I love working with these strange and fantastic figures is because of the freedom they give me as an author. Using mythological creatures allows me the ability to explore different cultural archetypes and stereotypes without overtly offending anyone. Of the many stories I have written, “Of Kelpie Lullabies” is a perfect example of this technique. I created a deeply flawed heroine who longs for a normal life, but is cursed by corrupted magic to be a murdering monster. In the end, it is Keiranna’s choice to accept or reject love and forgiveness for her crimes that determines whether or not she can have that normal life that she so desperately craves.

The story itself may deal with sorcerers and magic, but I believe that most people can identify with its themes of grief, love, longing, despair, and forgiveness. How many of you reading this are cursed with the slavery known as drug addiction and alcohol addiction first hand? How many have become so angry that you have harmed someone with words, actions, or with your own fists? Who now hates yourself for the wrongness of you choices or the weakness of your habits?

Welcome to Keiranna’s hellish life.

How many of you know a drug addict or an alcoholic cursed with a need for a substance that is so powerful it controls every decision. Do you weep for them or are you beyond caring? What about those who hurt you? Do you write them off as a monster too loathsome to love or do you cry for them all the harder?

Welcome to Edwin’s predicament.

Edwin could have turned his back on the monster he saw destroying others from a distance, but he did not. He saw her, all of her. He saw Keiranna’s anger and her sadness. He saw her brutality and her fragility. In the end, he reached out to her because he understood that her pain matched his own.

Keiranna does not rely on her own strength to save herself nor does Edwin. Instead they make the choice to help each other and seek aid from a power far stronger than both of them to accomplish that goal.

Are you the monster or do you know the monster?

I ask you today, who is your Edwin and who is your Keiranna? What power do you rely on that is greater than yourself to remake your life and to remake the lives of others? I personally rely on Jesus Christ to help me love myself and love others—even the monsters. I know that many of my friends and acquaintances prefer to pray to other deities such as Allah or Buddha, but I prefer to worship Jesus because he is the only person I have ever known to prove his true love for me by dying in my stead. He took the penalty for my imperfections on himself to show me that, though I often make mistakes and do wrong toward others, I am still worth dying for. It is Jesus’s love, his sacrifice, and his defeat of death that I cling to daily because Jesus is the only person I have ever found whose loving faithfulness never wavers.

If you’re struggling with something that you can’t overcome on your own, I encourage you to ask Jesus for help. You’ll be amazed just how far his love and strength can shine in your darkness and your doubt.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia

P.S.-If you haven’t read the story, you can do so for free. It’s one of the stories in my Musings anthology which is given away on my Welcome Page.

~

The SCRAWLS blog is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

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“Hero’s Moment” Available Now!

Heros_Moment_Cover_2-1563x2500Today, in honor of my grandfathers and their service to their country, I am proud to publish the short story “Hero’s Moment”! I hope you enjoy it! Here is the story’s description:

Cameron’s dad, Doug Welch, died days after saving a girl from the fire at the town’s elementary school five years ago. On the eve of the latest ceremony honoring Doug’s heroic sacrifice, Cameron discovers a security video that shouldn’t exist. It reveals Doug risking life and limb once again, but its time stamp indicates that the event occurs years in the future. Something must explain this hero’s moment. Is it a software glitch, a cruel hoax, or is Doug more than a shadow haunting Cameron’s memory?

At a good 9000 words (about 40 pages), this story is one of my longest short stories to date. It also features the first full chapter from the upcoming novella Thorn and Thistle as part of its bonus material. You can pick up “Hero’s Moment” for a mere dollar at Amazon by going HERE. Happy reading!

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

“Paper Castles” Is Out Today!

Paper_Castles_Cover_2-4x6Just wanted to remind everyone know that my new short story “Paper Castles” is available today!

Story synopsis:

When Kate Bennett first meets Jo Hitachi, she isn’t sure what to think. How can a person make a decent living selling origami in Washington, D.C.? But with each new paper sculpture that he makes, the simple artist hints that he’s more than he seems. He’s asking her to trust him, but can Kate really afford to trade in the security of her ambitious career for a life built out of love and paper castles?

Want to buy it? Go HERE.

Want to read the excerpt? Go HERE.

Want to ask me questions about the story? Contact me HERE.

By the way, I’ll have a full newsletter with new Treasure Chest loot in April, so be sure to subscribe if you haven’t yet.

Now on to our somewhat regularly scheduled blog…

Cactus_Colors-4x6ACCactus Colors

Since I didn’t get the chance to send out a blog post on Tuesday due to being horribly sick, I thought I should at least show an awesome photo to everyone today. I took this particular photograph while traveling between Alpine and Fort Davis a few weeks ago. I love the contrast of the deep blue sky with the bright green cactus.

I shot the photo with an f-stop of f/6.3. I used a semi-fast shutter speed of 1/500 seconds to keep the rich, crisp detail of the cactus and its droplets of rain water. To keep the deep blue sky from getting washed out, I chose a low light sensitivity ISO speed of 100 with no flash. I photographed the subject with a small zoom lens and a fairly short focal length of 55 mm. As always, I used Photoshop to add some of the contrast between my dark and light colors back into the image.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

“Paper Castles” Pre-Order Time!

Paper_Castles_Cover_2-4x6My new short story “Paper Castles” is available for pre-order today, so I thought I’d share some of it with you!

Here is the story synopsis:

When Kate Bennett first meets Jo Hitachi, she isn’t sure what to think. How can a person make a decent living selling origami in Washington, D.C.? But with each new paper sculpture that he makes, the simple artist hints that he’s more than he seems. He’s asking her to trust him, but can Kate really afford to trade in the security of her ambitious career for a life built out of love and paper castles?

Want more? Check out the excerpt:

If the sun was out and the skies were clear, I would find the paper artist sitting by the water below his pink canopy of cherry blossoms in the National Mall, selling his folded miracles to tourists and children. Most of his washi paper stock was patterned in these fantastic shades of oriental reds and royal purples, but he always kept a few sheets of snowy white on hand just in case I stopped by his table.

“Good morning, Kate! What would you like me to make for you today?” he would always ask in his quiet way.

I would always answer him with a request for an animal of some sort.

“May I have a bear?” I’d ask; or I’d say, “Make me a paper crane, please!”

And he would. His strong, tan hands would fold the warm white paper in a series of crisp-edged angles that would invariably become the very animal I sought. I would give him his money and then I would walk away cradling some new treasure. In one month, I must have collected thirty animals to place on my bookshelf at home beside Jo’s paper cat. By the end of April, I had run out of room on my bedroom bookshelf and had to add them to the top of my desk. May found me hanging all of the birds from my bedroom ceiling with golden thread—my own miniature flock in mock flight. Each bird would wheel and turn at the slightest breeze from my apartment’s second-story window. At night, I would watch them fly until their quiet rustling lulled me to sleep.

One day in May I asked Jo if he could make my animals a zoo. It was better, I reasoned, to house my entire paper art collection all in one place rather than to sacrifice my bookshelves, desk, bedroom ceiling, and half of the kitchen table to display their scattered kind. Such beautiful works of art deserved a true home of their own after all, and I had a blank corner in the living room just waiting for the proper decor.

Jo considered this latest request in serious silence for a moment before answering, “Tell me, Kate, have you gathered every origami figure that you desire?”

I shook my head. “No, not yet.”

“When you have all you want, I will build you a castle!” he declared. “Now, what shall I make for you today?”

“A swan,” I said eagerly.

Jo smiled. “Ah, the elegant swan. Even the ugliest of their ducklings becomes beautiful with enough maturity.”

I smiled. “That’s my favorite Hans Christian Anderson story!”

“Ah, you’re well-acquainted with fairy tales then. Good. I love fairy tales of all kinds, but I must admit that I like those with happy endings the best.” His hands moved like tan lightning across his little table and soon a snowy swan was born from the blank paper twisting between his deft fingers.

“Why is the ‘The Ugly Duckling’ your favorite?” he asked as he finished shaping the bird’s graceful neck.

I rubbed my hands up and down my suit-sleeved arms even though it wasn’t particularly cold.

“Because I’m not a pretty woman,” I finally admitted. “Growing up I felt more than a little like that ugly duckling. Most days I still do. I still hope that maybe I’ll grow out of my awkward nose and bulldog cheeks and become a beautiful swan in my own way, even though I know it isn’t really possible anymore.”

“The truest beauty is the one we carry in our minds, not in our bodies. Besides, you’re beautiful to me in both ways,” Jo said, his expression sincere. “Just like a queen—a swan queen.” He gazed at me a long moment before presenting the paper sculpture to me. “Tell me when she truly flies.”

I blinked at him in astonishment and then nodded. I handed over my monetary thanks, which he refused, and hurried down the blossom-strewn lane so he wouldn’t see the blush overtaking my face or the tears stinging my eyes…

I hope you liked this sample from “Paper Castles”. To pre-order the story, go HERE. Thanks!

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

Thanksgiving Recipe: Orange Spiced Tea and a Short Story

Twirling_Ballerina_Cover-1600x2400Since Thanksgiving is a mere nine days away, I’m working double-time to make sure that all of my writing and photography work is finished before the holiday hits. I plan to sit back, relax, and enjoy my time with family next week. Okay, truthfully I plan to enjoy my time with family and help cook, but cooking for me is fun anyway so I don’t mind.

Now that the final preparations are finished for “The Twirling Ballerina” short story’s publication date on December 1, I’m feeling pretty festive. I’m also practically bouncing off the walls with excitement over this story because it’s one I’ve wanted to tell for a while now. It’s a story about faith, family, love, and grief. As excited as I am about its publication, I have to ask that no one try to pre-order it yet because I want to make “The Twirling Ballerina” free as a Christmas gift to everyone. Since Amazon is weird about free e-books, I have planned a 24-hour sale in which you can pick up the story for free as soon as it’s released. Don’t worry, I’ll make a blog and newsletter announcement when all of this takes place. Until then, please DO NOT purchase it unless you just want to spend the extra $0.99.

Since I am prepping for holiday feasting, I thought I should post a fun recipe for everyone. It’s a hot beverage that won me several smiles last night when I served it for the first time. Here is my version of Orange Spiced Tea. Enjoy!

Orange Spiced Tea

Ingredients:
3 quarts (18 cups) water (purified water makes better tea than tap)
3 teaspoons whole cloves (McCormick seasonings work best)
3 1 inch cinnamon stick pieces (McCormick seasonings work best)
6 tea bags black tea (Twinings Ceylon Orange Pekoe Tea works wonders for this recipe; although you could use Lipton if needed.)
2 12-ounce cans frozen Orange Juice concentrate (I use Minute Maid)
1 12-ounce can frozen Lemonade concentrate (I use Minute Maid)
2 cups sugar

Pour the water into an 8 quart pot; add the cinnamon sticks and cloves (I use a loose-leaf tea infuser to hold everything). Bring water to a boil; remove from heat. Add tea bags to the water and set tea mixture aside to steep. You want the liquid to have a nice dark red coloring throughout (steeping about 7-9 minutes should do the trick). Remove the tea bags, cloves, and cinnamon sticks (you can reuse these to brew a second batch of plain Spiced Tea later if you wish. If not, just discard them.).

Add orange juice, lemonade, and sugar together in a 4 quart pot and bring it to a boil. Be sure to stir the mixture until the sugar completely dissolves. Carefully pour the juice mixture into the spiced tea pot and stir until completely mixed. Serve hot. This makes about 6 quarts or 24 servings. Cheers!

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

Author Reading of “Raven’s Fall”

Ravens_Fall_Cover-1600x2400Hi, everyone! Since today marks the fifth Tuesday of the month, I decided to do something special for my blog post today. Since I don’t have the financial ability to travel across the country on book tour, I decided to record my first author reading of “Raven’s Fall” and share it with you all via the internet. I hope you enjoy it!

The video blog link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j18LUimPmS0

My new YouTube Channel link is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClkVGjAqCRQLfHhWJ9JP3nw

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

Cover Reveal for “The Cleaning” Short Story

Cleaning_cover-1600x2400It’s cover-revealing time! My new short story “The Cleaning” is being released this week and I have a sneak-peek to show everyone the cover art! I absolutely love this eBook cover! I had a very difficult time creating it, but I think it turned out really well. It definitely fits the story itself—dark, moody, and mysterious. I hope you all like it, but more importantly I hope that you really love the story itself.

Pre-order “The Cleaning” right now on…

    Amazon
    Smashwords

Or wait until September 17 for it to be available on…

    Amazon
    Apple
    Barnes & Noble
    Smashwords

In other news, I want to shout out a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Simonetta, Jodilyn, Mary, Brandyn, Jon, James, Joshua, Melanie, Kimberly, and Irene! These awesome people were the recent winners of my Goodreads Contest Giveaway. Each of them received an autographed copy of Musings. I hope you all enjoy the book! Please leave a review to let me know what you think. Thanks!

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

Head’s Up: MUSINGS Book Giveaway at Goodreads!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Musings by Alycia Christine

Musings

by Alycia Christine

Giveaway ends August 31, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

I’m running a contest for Goodreads members to win one of 10 autographed copies of my new book Musings! If you haven’t entered the contest, please do so before August 31st!

In other news, here is another sneak peek at one of the book’s short stories. I hope you enjoy this “Winter’s Charge” excerpt!

If every story must have a beginning, then mine should start on the ice. I was born on the ice. I was raised on it. I learned to hunt while running over the crisp, clear crunch of it. I am constantly captivated by the purity of its whites and the bejeweled depth of its blue hues. As a boy, I once even lost myself on it.

Losing my way on the ice happened as one of my people might expect, in a blizzard. My clan had trekked west from our summer village nestled amid fields of the tundra’s fading fireweed toward the rocky hunting grounds on the coast. I was 12 years old, and this winter would be my first chance to hunt with the men of our village. I was so excited as I mushed my small dogsled alongside those of the adults. What kills would I make this year to help feed the Alawaeun Clan? Would I catch a seal or a beluga or maybe even a walrus? Surely I was brave enough and strong enough now to hunt all three.

Our hunting party left the wooden shelters of our winter village once the ice fields proved safe enough to sled across. We traveled along the snowy ground with the light of the midnight sun to guide our sleds and the waves of the Aurora to wash our dreams clean. I dreamt of many things during our journey, but the dream I remember most was the vision of Nanuq. I saw Nanuq robed in her magnificent white fur with four great stars of heaven encircling her brow like a crown. With one mighty paw, she held back the frothy waves of the green sea. The outstretched claws of her other paw kept the tremulous mountains from tumbling on top of her. And in Nanuq’s lap an Alawaeun child slept the deep sleep of one at peace with the world.
I am not sure why I dreamed about the great white spirit bear. Perhaps it was a type of premonition given to me by the Father Spirit. The clan elders all say that the dreams dreamt under the Aurora are some of the holiest and most important of our lives. I am not sure if I believe that to be true, but I do know that my dreams under the multihued waves of sky lights are always highly symbolic.

The blizzard that changed my life came soon after the third recurrence of my dream about Nanuq. Our hunting party had just entered the less-sheltered part of Mukluk Pass when the winter storm unleashed its full fury. A blur of white obscured the sun, and then darkness overtook the world. We fought against the swirling cold, our quivering lips as blue as the ice deep beneath our fur-lined boots. My father yelled for the rest of the party members to huddle ourselves and the dogs together, using the sleds as windbreaks.

As the storm worsened, my father and I dug trenches in the mounting snow to further protect ourselves from the biting wind. I heard nothing but the storm’s fierce roar until a sound far louder and far worse shook the frozen ground around us.

“Avalanche!” my father yelled. I saw the word form in his mouth, but never heard it resonate from his lips over the awesome shake of the earth. Even so, he shoved me out of our crude igloo toward safety. Fear fueled my legs and I ran with abandon away from the colossal sound of shifting snow. I ran blind into the swirling darkness, using my ears to guide me away from the deadly waves of white. When a wall of rock appeared out of the blinding blizzard, I tightened the leather gloves around my fingers and began to climb. I scrambled up the craggy mountain while waves upon waves of snow crashed into the pass below me. The avalanche tumbled through the pass, burying anything in its way. I kept climbing, unsure of how high I should go to be safe. I climbed up and up and only stopped when my hands began to blister from the near-constant friction of gripping stone with leather-clad skin. I was high on the mountain now and, although I finally felt safe from the avalanche, the blizzard’s bite was far worse since I was so exposed to the winds. Our clan elders speak of the wind as the touch of the ancestors’ spirits. If that was true, then clearly these gusts were the slaps of ancestors from a rival clan who wished me dead! I had to find shelter soon or I would indeed meet death on this slope.

I found my temporary salvation in the form of a shallow cave on the leeward side of the mountain. It was little more than a hole in the rock. It was too small for a full-grown man to use, but just large enough for me. I shoved myself into the stony darkness and used the remnant twigs of an abandoned eagle’s nest to keep the howling spirits at bay. The last of my strength ebbed and I curled up inside my fur parka to sleep a dreamless sleep…

Want to know how the story ends? Find out more information about Musings HERE.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

MUSINGS Book Available Now!

Musings_Proof_2-4x6

It’s finally here!

MUSINGS Releases Today!

I am so excited to announce that the book Musings hits major online retail stores today!

The short story collection is available as:

  • An eBook for $3.99
  • A print book for $13.99

Click a link to order eBooks through:

Or order the Print Book HERE

Want to read a few excerpts from the book before purchasing? Go to the MUSINGS page and click on the EXCERPT links under the short story descriptions.

Finally, I was honored to be invited over at Total Nerd Takeover to talk about my writing, photography, and more during their latest TNerdT podcast today. If you want to listen to the show, go HERE.

Thanks so much for your support and encouragement! I hope you enjoy the read!

Alycia Christine

The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

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