Krka National Park Kendall Bullen

Photo courtesy of Kendall Bullen

“How long are you going to keep us here?” asked Bridget, through chattering teeth.

Fear of hypothermia was overriding the threat of the stranger’s rifle. It was hard to enjoy nature’s beauty while freezing your naked bum off. She could barely feel her legs in the frigid water. Jason’s arms were tightly wrapped around his chest. Behind them crystal clear water cascaded over steep rocks. Their well-worn surface turned the waterfall into a musical lullaby. Both she and Jason had fallen sound asleep after their long hike. Then the stranger showed up. Now the sound knelled like a death sentence.

“Y’all just enjoy your little bath,” said the stranger. He lounged in the sun on their blanket eating fried chicken. Empty containers lay scattered about; all licked clean by their captor. “I haven’t eaten this well since I killed my ex.”

Bridget’s heart jumped. This was supposed to be paradise, not a nightmare. “You promised you wouldn’t hurt us.”

“Don’t you worry, darling.” He bit into a lemon tart and moaned with pleasure. “These are delicious. Sure you won’t consider staying?”

She glanced at Jason and saw the panic in his eyes. If he thought for a second that she’d consider the offer, he didn’t know her at all. Being one with nature didn’t include becoming part of it.

Bridget turned away. “No thanks.”

The stranger smiled and put a lighter on the blanket. “Too bad. Y’all get a fire going now.”

With one last wink, he vanished into the forest.

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swan 1Our world is like a glass swan

Beautiful and fragile

It will take all of us working together to keep it whole

End the hate

End the violence



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DON’T MESS WITH MOM Wins Flash Fiction Challenge

indies flash fiction starA. L. Kaplan is the Readers’ Choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. The winning entry is decided by the popular vote and rewarded with a special feature Indies Unlimited today.

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“Ensign Jeffries, there’s been a malfunction,” said Samuels.

Teleportation was risky. People used to end up in walls, underground, midair, even floating in space, but there hadn’t been any off world malfunctions like this in years. She glanced at the strange dome with the bulging transparent material, then checked the air quality analyzer. This wasn’t Republic headquarters but at least the air was breathable.

Trees and shrubs surrounded the huge structure. Hundreds of triangles formed the dome. It was unlike anything she’d ever seen in Republic space. Only a supremely advanced and powerful species would dare to construct such a fragile looking building. They must have severe punishments to keep their world under control. Trespassing was a jailable offence where she came from.

“Begin emergency retrieve protocol.”

Static greeted her, not unlike Jeffries’ expressionless look when he initiated the transport. Her throat began to constrict. Neither she nor Jeffries made mistakes. They were both top technicians up for the same promotion.

A huge, furry creature barreled toward her. Its lips pulled back showing savage teeth and a long tongue. Her universal translator couldn’t interpret what it bellowed. Panic gripped her.

“Jeffries, you can have the promotion! I don’t want it. Just get me out of here!”

The massive beast knocked her to the ground. Samuels screamed. Saliva splattered her face.

“Bad dog,” said a man. “I’m so sorry. He’s usually very gentle. Are you okay?”

Samuels stopped shaking as he helped her stand. The man didn’t seem dangerous and was rather attractive. The dog flopped on its side, tail wagging, too cute to ignore. Maybe this place wasn’t so bad.

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Reading is Fun

We all know the wonders of reading, but reading to live audience is really fun. Here are some pictures from the Young Adventurers reading last week with Austin Camacho.2062

I had a great time reading WOLF DAWN. The Q & A was a blast as well, despite being a bit nervous. 20160625_125528What do you think of my Kara costume? 20160625_120800I think I came pretty close to the description in the book although I did a few minor adaptations for general public display.20160625_120208I also left Kara’s hunting knives at home.

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Looking for something to do this Saturday? Come meet me at the Havre de Grace Library. I’ll be reading WOLF DAWN.

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The 2015 Flash Fiction Anthology Now Available!

Indies 2015 flash fiction anthologyGreat news: the Indies Unlimited 2015 Flash Fiction Anthology is now available as an eBook! It will look great on your eReader, but we know you know that already.

The eBook is available in all Amazon stores. And it’s FREE 5/19 – 5/23/2016!! Yes, we know we’re awesome. You’re welcome.

Photographs by K. S. Brooks. Prompts by Stephen Hise & K. S. Brooks. Authors with stories in the anthology include: Susan Berry, Robert Capko, AV Carden, Victoria Ann Carr, Thomas Diehl, Leland Dirks, Jules Dixon, Stephen Douglass, Ed Drury, S.K. Fischer, Kira Flynn, R.B. Frank, Christine Frost, Terveen Gill, Dusty May Jane, A. L. Kaplan, Zack Lester, William Lewis, S.A. Molteni, John D. Ottini, Rachel Palmer, Brenda Perlin, Daniel Peyton, Greg Phelan, Diane Selby, Hannah Selby, S.B. Smith, Chris Sparks, Sara Stark, Kat Stiles, Steven M. Stucko, Janni Styles, James R. Tate, Richard Trisdale, Byron Wade, and M.P. Witwer.

Just in case you missed it, the Indies Unlimited 2015 Flash Fiction Anthologyis AVAILABLE NOW at The print editions will be out soon – maybe, if you’re nice to us. Don’t be the last kid on the block to get one!

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