Hunger in the Veins: Flash Fiction #Monday’sMuse #SciFi #Thriller

Vein City. That wasn’t its true name, but that’s how he felt about it. From there the very lifeblood of the world seemed to flow. He flexed his hands and watched his own veins pulse. It had cost him nearly everything within him to get there. 

Flipping open his wallet he stared at the nearly faded photograph of his family. So much had happened in so little time, but it was enough to wipe his mind clean. He couldn’t even remember their names. All he remembered were their faces.

That would have to be enough.

Truth be told, few men ever came back from the grave in the way that he had and those that did were only shells of themselves.

That was what Embryous was all about. Taking fully grown men and women, developed in every form of the word but not in their hearts, not in their emotions. Emotions were fickle. They got in the way. They kept the underdeveloped, the embryous, from doing what they were designed to do.

He flexed his hands again. They still burned from the crushing grip they’d held on…what was his name? He glanced back at the dead man’s face. Daryl, his name was Daryl. Daryl’s eyes were cold, lifeless, the product of Embryous, meaning dead.

In fairness, the Daryl had asked for it. They all had. Anyone who looked him in the eye saw his hunger. For anyone who tried to stop him from feeding his appetite, that look was the last thing they saw. Nothing would keep him from his former life. Nothing would keep him from his family.

That was why he was in Vein City. His family was his lifeblood and he was determined to live again.


*I don’t know if I will ever get around to fleshing out this tale, but I am curious about the nameless main character and Embryous. I have an inkling that things for him are not what they seem and finding that out will be like kicking a hornet’s nest. Anyhow, these are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt August 21st, 2017.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!


Miss Madelyn Haze: Flash Fiction #Monday’sMuse #AmWriting #Suspense

She scribbled down the memory so quickly that her fingers began to cramp. It didn’t matter that the thought stretched across days of her day planner. It was the closest thing she could find.

Her recollection of years passed had become congealed and foggy the day of her accident. Flashes of herself, her true self, would come and go like strokes of lightning–there one minute and gone the next.

But this memory, these moments were clear, concise, solid. She could even remember the words of the conversation, no, argument, she was having with … a man? The timber of his voice modulated in and out of focus, the pitch twisting as if someone was messing with the sound system of her mind.

Still, she wrote down the memory and the conversation, word for word, until the cramps in her fingers spread into her forearm.

June, July, August, all of the days nearly eaten away by this specific moment. Besides the date and year on the calendar she was remembering, April, 2014, most of what she jotted down was useless. She might as well have been writing down a recipe for chicken soup it was so mundane.

She would have cried for the time she’d spent in that moment of recollection, chocked it up as a simple exercise, another stone of hope to throw at the glass tower of amnesia, had it not been for the last thing the person she argued with said.

They had called her Madelyn, Miss. Madelyn Haze.

She let out a shout of triumph and even did the cliche fist pump in the air. Her fingers squeezing so tightly against her pen she nearly snapped it in two.

This was a victory, but it only caused a greater level of fear, one that overshadowed the doubts and worry of not knowing who she was.

The person in the memory had not only called her by a name that was different than the one she’d been convinced was her own, but they had also called her ‘Miss,’ which meant she was not married, which left no explanation for the man in the other room who’d sworn that he’d been her husband for the last seven years.


*Oh, I love when a writing prompt goes down a road like this. For me, this is like a delightful bread crumb, a trail that could lead to a great full-length novel. Only time and the completion of other projects will tell. These are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt June 12th, 2017.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Battle of the Books is Here!: Which will be Published First? You Decide!


Go to for more details!

The official kickoff of the Battle of the Books, a competition between two of my novels where you the reader get to vote and decide which book will be indie published first has begun! 

Read sample chapters of and cast your vote for the novel you think should be the first published.

Click HERE for more details!



warden-coverBook Flap: 
Ever since the bizarre death of her grandmother, Maeve Grandie has made it her sole purpose to be reliable, even if that means living a dreadfully predictable life. The only sense of adventure Maeve experiences is in her dreams. The only problem is her peculiar hereditary condition that gives her rashes on her hands and arms, turning the veins of her arms a screaming azurite blue, not only gives her weird dreams but causes her to sleepwalk as well.

But what would happen if those dreams that carry her into a bizarre land where people can cause their arms to ignite with blue flames and tear open the sky with their bare hands is not really a dream at all?

What if the dream world, Maeve finds herself suddenly trapped in, is actually a true world of wonder but one she is somehow destroying just by being there?

Senior Warden Vincent Jasper of Trident finds himself facing that very real and immeasurable danger when a young woman in the ugly pink nightgown interferes with an arrest right before disappearing through an Unzoned Door in the Universe causing the very threads of the Cluster and Realms to ripple and stretch, putting it and the lives of all who live within it in grave danger. Not only is the woman unknown but she keeps opening Doors and is somehow hiding right underneath his nose.

Can Jasper and his team along with the rest of Trident, apprehend this villainous threat clad in garish pink flannel and ruffles? Or will they find out that she is not the threat at all but the weapon of someone else, all before their side of the universe collapses?

nexus-gate-4037-the-animal-coverNOVEL 2: NEXUS GATE 4037: THE ANIMAL


Book Flap: Most important rules of time surveillance; never disrupt your host timeline and never step into the future. Decorated Surveillance Specialist Vivian Leona of 6037 has broken both.

Losing her husband, John Joseph Spruce, in the Nexus of time past, Vivian mistakenly pulls the wrong man into the future, a man recorded by history as having died on that very day in 1837. The consequences for keeping him alive in the future could prove far worse than Vivian bargains for, especially in the American South’s New Golden Age, 4037, where any overt emotion or cause of such, like racism, is seen as a deadly contingent—‘conditions’ cured only by euthanasia.

Slave foreman and bounty hunter ‘Tucker’ John Josephus Spruce of 1837 is called ‘The Animal’ by those he hunts, and a ‘necessary evil’ by those who enlist his skills, but are his ‘talents’ enough to keep him alive when he steps into a deadly snare set twenty-two hundred years in the future where he is now pawn and prey?

Will Tucker John’s instincts lead him towards retribution for his abduction, or will they make Vivian his only ally while setting him on an unexpected hunt for the one not only out for his blood, but the very woman’s he’s purposed to destroy?


  • Read teaser chapters of both books. (NEXUS GATE  and WARDEN)
  • Follow the link at the end of the Chapter Teaser back to the Voting Polls here and cast your vote for which story YOU think should be indie Published first
  • Leave your constructive criticism for both stories
  • Follow!

See you at the battle!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Chapter 34: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 34

This was just great! Not only did Etta hate having to drive a manual transmission, but it was also raining out, which meant Kyle was going to be late to work and she was going to have to do a mad dash to get the store opened. It didn’t help at all that she was still fired up over Jørn. He had managed to completely avoid her that morning, slipping out for work during the few short hours of rest she had managed to take hold of.

Frustrated, she allowed herself a good fifteen-minute cry in the car before she made her way into the mall, shoving on a pair of large sunglasses that covered up most of her bruised face. She only lifted them up when she saw that the shop was already opened for business with Mr. Albert standing behind the counter drinking a cup of coffee.

“Well good morning to you too, Etta.” The sarcasm in his greeting was only overshadowed by the dip and pull of his ridiculous eyebrows.

Etta pushed her sunglasses over her head and studied the currents of light around him. The white streaks that had broken through the gray had multiplied, weaving their way around him, slowly overtaking the darkness. “What are you doing here?”

“I own this place. Clearly, you’ve forgotten.”

She shook her head. “I didn’t forget. You just told me that you weren’t coming in for a while, just yesterday actually. What gives?” She set her bag on the counter. “Did your master make you have a change of heart?”

Chapter 31: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 31

Etta gripped the steering wheel with tight knuckles. What the hell was Jørn thinking? She had just gotten off the phone with Kyle, who somehow had managed to find a degree of humor in his near encounter with Jørn’s fist. And for what? Because Mr. Albert had convinced him that she and Kyle were having an affair?

“You shouldn’t be so upset about this. You saw this coming.” Baldwin broke into her thoughts. “You actually should be praying about what actions you should take in order to do some damage control.”

Etta glanced at him before putting her eyes back on the road. “Uh, no, I didn’t see this coming. This is totally out of character! He was going to beat up Kyle, Baldwin, all because of a something Mr. Albert said.”

“He’s frustrated because he doesn’t know what’s going on.”

            “I told him to trust me!” She snapped.

“That’s easier said than done, especially considering the circumstances. Put yourself in his shoes, see things from his perspective. He just found out I’m alive, sort of, and that you knew about it all along. And to add insult to injury, you won’t tell him anything about me.”

“What does that have to do with Kyle, Baldwin?!” She couldn’t help but bark at him.

Chapter 29: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 29

The Encounter Blog interview with Etta Castle Teague

ECT: Did you know that the word “Kangaroo” actual means “I don’t understand your question.” In the tongue of the aboriginal people of Australia? When the Europeans first laid eyes on the hopping creature they asked what it was, and the Aborigines answered “Kangaroo.” The Europeans thought that was its name, and it has been called Kangaroo ever since.

To call this a miscommunication would be an understatement.

I feel like this when talking to the Council or other people who are actual against the ascensions. They all have so many questions and yet they cannot handle the simplest answer. They’re just a bunch of broken dolls or so fogged out that they can’t add things up.

Me: “This is a mission to save the world from the T.O.W.E.S.”

     Them: “What are you doing?”

     Me: “Kangaroo.”

HL: Sorry, I don’t understand your meaning?

ECT: I’m not surprised.

HL: I’m kidding. (laughter)

*          *          *

Etta fought off the urge to bang her head against the table. She’d been at the meeting with the Council for three hours, three dreadfully long, meaningless hours. The only thing of value that she’d gleaned from being there was the fact that the Pulse was scared enough of her to call in twelve other Seat holders from around the world.

Etta didn’t know what good that would do. Ironically enough, the Pulse hadn’t even shown up. Clive Meeks had not shown up.

Chapter 28: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 28

The Encounter Blog interview with Etta Castle Teague

HL: I have to tell you that, meeting you, having this interview has changed my perspective of things so much. I admit, I was very uncomfortable at first.

ECT: In order to survive, all creatures must learn to adapt…change. Change is often a very painful experience. But bless it all if it isn’t worth it.

*          *          *

Wesley cupped the man’s hand before pulling him into a tight embrace. “It’s been too long, Uncle Arnie.” He smiled, leading the man beyond the front entryway of his home. Stepping into the front room he said, “Did you leave your bag in the car? I can go and get it.”

Arnold waved him off as he scanned the room with his eyes. It was a force of habit. Too many years on the force had ingrained it into him. “No, son, I rented a room outside of town.” He finally brought his steely eyes in line with his nephews. “Fewer distractions the better. If I stay here, I’ll get to thinking about your folks or worse, find myself fishing until the lakes are empty. Neither are good ideas, though the later is beyond tempting.” He cupped Wesley’s shoulder and nudged him towards the sofa. Wesley didn’t resist.

They spent a few minutes on catching up. Arnold Anderson had always been like a second father to Wesley. When Wesley’s father died of a heart attack several years ago, Arnold had made it a point to fill in the gap that his brother-in-law had left in the boy’s life. It wasn’t easy living out of state or working the crazy hours that he was required to work. But he did the best he could. Felons didn’t keep nine to five shifts.

Chapter 27: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 27

The Encounter Blog interview with Etta Castle Teague

HL: You trust Jørn, but you haven’t given him the same level of trust.

ECT: I have my reasons.

HL: I’m sure you do. It just doesn’t seem very loving.

ECT: Love has many expressions, Hard Lines. It can be such a beautiful thing, especially when it’s in its bud of life. It can also burn if we aren’t careful. Unfortunately, no one ever is. Too bad it doesn’t come in cups with caps that read, “Caution! Contains Hot. Will Burn if not careful.” I suppose no one would be so willing to indulge if there weren’t those thrilling risks involved.

*          *          *

Baldwin held onto his chest and forced himself to breathe. He was still standing in Etta’s office, right behind the chair that Mr. Albert had been seated in when he opened his eyes.

How long had he been standing there, alone? His disappearing wasn’t so much of a shock to him. It had slowly been happening, it was just more frequent as of late. What shocked him was the growing loss of time and the inexplicable reason for it happening.

He couldn’t blame it on what the Pulse had done. He just hoped what happened to them at the Yard hadn’t made things worse.

He stepped forward and looked at the face of Etta’s cell phone. An hour, he had been standing there for an hour, except he hadn’t been there. He had fallen asleep again. That was twice in the span of a couple of days. He didn’t know what it meant, but he knew it made him panic. He hadn’t slept since the accident. He certainly hadn’t dreamed.

Chapter 22: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 22

The Encounter Blog interview with Etta Castle Teague

HL: Oh that is a tricky play on things, saying because a person doesn’t ask the right question gives you the right to omit certain aspects of your answer. You could be doing that right now, being tricky.

ECT: My reality is tricky. That’s why I have an absolute grey area when it comes to lies or the afore mentioned “lie by omission.” Telling all is never a wise thing, not in my experience, not when you are fighting an invisible enemy who can inhabit your closest of kin just on a whim. But the truth, the truth is always the truth. Some say “Truth hurts.” I don’t care for this statement either. The reality is that the truth only hurts when it follows a blatant lie…thinking about it, I suppose omitting the big things in the face of the truth can feel like a lie. Grey is not my favorite color, if that means anything.

*          *          *

Jørn felt like he’d been hit by a Mack truck. He sat in Doris’ front room staring forward as he inwardly gnawed on every word that she’d said. Never mind the fact it was past midnight. Doris had been talking for hours and had only recently slowed her pace. Andrea, her niece, had even given her perspective on things.

Jørn had all but completely tuned them out, their voices falling into the background of his pounding thoughts. Etta, his Etta, his wife had stopped the ascension.

How in the world had she done it? The whole idea seemed utterly impossible. What hit him even harder was hearing his cousin’s name. Baldwin Falk was a part of it. Where the hell had he been all of this time?! Hiding somewhere only Etta could find him, that’s where! Etta knew all along! All those phone calls from Nobody….

His jaw clenched beneath his beard.

“You want some more coffee, Jørn?” Jørn snapped out of his thoughts, his eyes glanced down into the dark liquid. It had been neglected the same way the Sheppard’s Pie Doris insisted he eat for dinner had been, a few bites here and there, a few sips, but otherwise, his appetite was completely gone.

Doris’ held the coffee pot in hand, tilted at the ready. Jørn shook his head. “No. No, thank you, Doris.”

Chapter 20: Ascension Graveyard by Candice Coates

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Chapter 20

The Encounter Blog interview with Etta Castle Teague

HL: Back to your grandfather for a moment. The entire town was surprised when we found out that he was on the Council. That must have hit you pretty hard.

ECT: No, not then. I already knew so it wasn’t a surprise for me.

HL: With all the action that has been your life, it must have been nice to forgo that surprise.

ECT: Yes, indeed. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have never liked surprises. I have always felt like they were sneaky attempts at distraction, or they are just badly played out, leaving the surprise-victim feeling awkward or wanting to throttle the one who has given the surprise. If we are all honest, we’d have to admit that we tend to feel a mixture of both.

*          *          *

Etta had been home for a couple of hours. She allowed herself a moment to lie down. Her head was no longer pounding and the assaulting sound of high pitched frequencies had dulled in her ears. She still wasn’t herself, but at least she wasn’t vomiting.

Baldwin sat next to her. He had been silent since they’d left the hills, a contemplative expression painted on his drawn face. Etta asked him again what was on his mind even offering another apology for having blindsided him that morning.

“It’s not that, not to say that is still not an issue, but,” He turned towards her. “I suppose I had never really taken into consideration the way Mr. Albert felt about me. Honestly, it surprised me.”

Etta cocked her brow. “Baldwin, really? There are so many more important things going on right now. I mean does it really matter what Albert Castle thinks? That wasn’t even him speaking today. He is a doll, just like Clive, and just like Vanessa and a handful of other oily-eyed bandits in Greenwich Pass.”