Doesn't it look amazing?!
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I hope Mom didn’t get into poison ivy again, Jules thought as she checked her reflection in the mirror. She hissed at the sight of her bright pink shoulders.
“What is that?” She angled her left shoulder toward the medicine cabinet mirror. It looked like someone had drawn swirls and daisies on her skin with a dark pink marker. She shook her head and told herself that it was a trick of the light or something she did to herself due to her vigorous scratching.
Jules shook her head and refocused on more important things, like what she was going to wear for school. She had a few outfits in mind but none that screamed ‘Day Before My Birthday.’ She’d have to give it a little more thought.
© Liz DeJesus 2015
Bianca stared at the clock. She bit her nails until she broke the skin of her index finger. She hissed in pain when she tasted the bittersweet, metallic bite of blood. She forced herself to give her nails a break, only because she still wanted to have her fingernails intact by the time she went back home.
She tapped her pencil against her desk. A few more minutes and she would be free from the imbeciles that surrounded her on a daily basis. She had tolerated them for five long months. She promised her mother, Rose, that she would be on her best behavior and not use magic in public. That was the hardest part. No magic. Especially when she was getting picked on by the head cheerleader, who seemed to hate everyone, including herself. Being ‘accidentally’ pushed against lockers. And the school jerk, Brandon Campion, was currently throwing spitballs at her.
Even when she complained to the teacher, all anyone would get was a warning, and nothing else would ever come of it. So Bianca remained quiet and put up with it. All she wanted was to make it through the end of the day. Tiny droplets of sweat trickled down her temples, and she felt a single drop of sweat making its way down her lower back. Control was more difficult than she thought. Just thinking about everything she had endured so far made little white puffs of smoke flutter out of her fingertips.
Bianca hid her hands underneath her armpits and closed her eyes. She did her best to meditate like Rose sometimes did. Her mom’s gentle instructions breezed through her mind.
“Clear your thoughts. Think of pleasant things like the rain, the ocean, flowers. Basically anything you like that makes you happy. You know, nice things.”
“As long as it doesn’t make me fly off to Neverland,” Bianca muttered.
“Neverland?” Rose asked.
“You know that whole thing about pixie dust and happy thoughts and that’s how you can fly? Although I have it on good authority that Tinker Bell carried Peter Pan everywhere.”
Rose arched an eyebrow. “Anyway, if you ever have trouble controlling your magic, just meditate and see if that works.”
All calming thoughts vanished the moment Bianca felt a saliva-covered piece of notebook paper land in her hair. Then another one immediately afterwards on the back of her shirt and several others that had struck her on the cheek. It took every ounce of willpower she possessed not to set the whole school on fire. She took a deep, steadying breath and made herself think happy thoughts all over again.
A quiet forest.
She glanced at her math teacher, Mrs. Carpenter. She sat at her desk and did nothing. Magic would’ve solved her problem. Bianca could already imagine herself setting Brandon’s notebooks on fire.
Stop. Don’t go down that train of thought. I can’t do that. Just two more minutes. Almost done with this place. Think happy thoughts. Fluffy kittens. Cotton candy. Gummy bears. Sour Patch Kids. Terrance. Terrance’s dark brown eyes. His smile…
Bianca sighed and wondered what Terrance would do if he were here right now. She was fairly certain that none of this nonsense would’ve happened in the first place. Her boyfriend would’ve stood up for Bianca and would’ve given Brandon a stern warning…since Terrance was a gentleman. And the second time around (because Brandon would’ve brushed off the first warning), Terrance’s wolf side would take over and Brandon would’ve learned the hard way not to mess with the grandson of the Big Bad Wolf.
It was a shame that her boyfriend lived in a different dimension.
Bianca drummed her fingers against her desk and did everything she could to push the thought of fire away, to stop her hands from literally bursting into flames and melting Brandon’s stupid, smug face off. Bianca jumped when she felt yet another spitball stick to her cheek.
That does it. I’m so sick of this crap. Stupid teachers not doing anything to stop jerks like him from bullying people for being different.
Bianca took a deep breath, got up and walked to Brandon’s desk. He snorted and covered his mouth to keep himself from laughing. She gave him a fake smile and placed her hands on each side of his desk.
“Miss Frost, I’m going to have to ask you to return to your seat,” Mrs. Carpenter said.
Bianca took a deep breath, looked over her shoulder, and said, “In a minute.”
She turned her attention back to Brandon. Her eyes locked with his muddy brown ones. Bianca felt the heat being generated by her hands. A fiery ocean rolled through her body. She needed to stop herself from setting stuff on fire. Little wisps of smoke fluttered from her fingertips.
“Stop it,” Bianca said in a loud, clear voice.
“Yeah, right.” Brandon leaned forward and narrowed his eyes at Bianca.
A dark shadow moved between them, and a cold breeze caressed her briefly…even though all of the windows in the classroom were closed. Bianca frowned. What was that?
He whispered, “Who’s gonna make me? I own this place, Freak.”
Bianca hated that word. It made her stomach feel twisted and sick. She gave him a tight-lipped grin and pulled her hands away. It took a moment to free her hands; it was as though his desk had been covered with glue.
“Whoa!” he cried.
Brandon’s jaw dropped, and his eyes widened in shock. Bianca’s hands had molded the fiberglass desk. Every wrinkle, and fingerprint on her hands were visible on top of Brandon’s desk. It made her think of the clay with her handprints that Rose kept on the mantle above the fireplace in the living room. She waved her hands to repair the desk before anyone else noticed. She snatched the straw from behind his left ear as well as the notebook he used to make the spitballs and tossed them in the trash can by the door.
“Look at what she did,” Brandon cried and pointed at his desk.
Bianca ignored the teacher’s beady little eyes and returned to her desk. She crossed her arms across her chest, grinned, and let out a happy sigh as she gazed at the clock.
The clock struck three. Bianca didn’t wait for the teacher to dismiss them. She snatched her backpack and headed out the door.
“Did you see what she did?” Brandon shouted as she walked down the hallway.
Mrs. Carpenter yawned and dismissed the students. Bianca was already halfway to her locker when the bell rang. A few minutes later, she heard the familiar click-clack of Ming’s high-heeled boots.
Bianca turned toward her best friend’s voice.
She gave her friend a warm smile. The only person who was ever truly kind to her in school. How hard was it for other people to be nice? Was it really that complicated?
“You ready for next week?” Ming asked.
Prince Ferdinand had invited Ming and Bianca to the Winter Ball although he mainly wanted Ming to attend. Bianca was fairly certain that Prince Ferdinand didn’t care whether Bianca joined them or not. He only had eyes for Ming. She had no problem with that. Bianca was going to the ball with Terrance and would spend every single moment of her vacation with him. She let out a sigh. She had gotten used to that sting in her heart every time she wished to see him. Bianca didn’t want to get used to missing her boyfriend. She wanted them to be together, like a normal couple.
Sometimes, it sucked having a boyfriend who lived in another time period, dimension, and shared a set of genes with the Big Bad Wolf.
Complicated didn’t even begin to sum up their relationship.
Bianca and Ming had been preparing for the Winter Ball by taking ballroom dancing lessons. They learned the waltz, quadrille, the spiral and other traditional dances. Ming did well enough that she wasn’t stepping on her instructor’s toes anymore. Bianca, who was a natural dancer thanks to years of taking Irish step dancing and ballet lessons, had the steps down after a few lessons. She did her best not to rub it in since Ming often suffered from two left feet.
“Yeah, I seriously can’t wait to get out of here,” Bianca replied.
“I still can’t believe we’re going to an actual ball,” Ming said. She bounced on the tips of her toes. Safe to say she was excited.
“Shh. We can’t let anyone know,” Bianca whispered.
Ming rested her back against the metal gray lockers. “I know. I just…I wish I could tell someone. You should’ve heard Betty Rodriguez bragging about going to Disney World on her winter break. I wanted to say, ‘Oh yeah? Well Bianca and I are going to a ball in another dimension, and my boyfriend’s the prince’.”
Bianca giggled. “You know you can’t say anything.”
Ming huffed and crossed her arms. “It sucks.”
Bianca opened her locker. She was just about to reach for her coat when a book tumbled out of her locker and landed on the floor.
She bent down to pick it up and saw that it was a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. She had completely forgotten that she had that book in her locker. It had fallen open to the story of Bluebeard. Bianca cringed. It was her least favorite fairy tale. Mostly because it was about a serial killer that had a thing for torturing and murdering his wives. She shuddered as she closed the book and put it back inside her locker.
Bianca grabbed a few nonessentials, her coat, scarf and gloves from her locker and slammed it shut. “Come on. We gotta go. I almost set Brandon Campion on fire in math just now.”
“Seriously?” Ming arched an eyebrow.
“Yikes.” Ming smirked and shook her head. “Never a dull moment with you, is it?”
Bianca rolled her eyes and chuckled. Together, they walked out of school.
“You wanna come over my place tonight?” Ming asked. “We can order Chinese or pizza, watch movies, eat candy, and paint my nails.”
“What about my nails?” Bianca examined her short, plain and uneven nails. She was a notorious nail biter.
“I know for a fact that I currently own one hundred shades of pink—which is your least favorite color. Besides, you hardly ever paint your nails. So I spoke correctly, thank you very much.”
Bianca laughed. “Sounds great. Let me call Mom and see if she needs anything. I’ll see you at your place in an hour or so.”
“Later!” Ming waved and walked away.
Bianca stood by the front doors and put her dark purple coat on and zipped it up. She wrapped her emerald green scarf around her neck several times and put on her cherry red gloves. She stepped out into the winter cold and shivered. It was at least twenty degrees outside. Bianca hated the cold. Winter was her least favorite season. She always preferred autumn—not too cold, not too warm. Just right.
She braved the bitter wind and searched for her car in the school parking lot. It was hard to miss the oldest car in sight. Her loveable white VW Beetle. It was a classic. She even bought a book on how to fix a few simple things. She was now able to change the oil, the brake pads and the tires. Safe to say, her parents were impressed with her newfound skills. Bianca unlocked the car and was a second away from opening the door when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
“Hey, Freak,” the male voice said as he spun her around.
Her heart leapt to her throat and found herself face-to-face with Brandon Campion.
Bianca narrowed her eyes and stared at him. She remained silent.
“What did you do to my desk?” he asked.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. You are clearly losing your mind,” she replied. She put on a brave face even though her heart hammered against her chest so hard and fast that she thought it would burst out of her chest.
“What are you?” Brandon squinted as he studied her.
She ignored his question and tried to get inside her car once more. The faster she got away, the better. She needed to get home.
“Hey! I asked you a question.” Brandon put his hand on her shoulder and forced her to meet his gaze once more.
Bianca placed a gloved hand on his chest and called the wind to aid her. A gust of air shot straight at him and slammed him into the car parked next to hers. The glass cracked. Brandon slid to the ground and gasped in pain.
Bianca squatted down next to him, her hands clenched into fists. “Don’t you ever…ever put your hands on me again. Do you understand?”
Brandon’s eyes widened in shock as he nodded. He tried to push himself away from Bianca but pushed himself further against the car behind him.
“Touch me again, and I promise you it will be the last thing you do. Are we clear?” Bianca growled.
Brandon remained speechless.
“Y-yes, yes. I-I understand,” he stammered.
“Good. Merry freakin’ Christmas, you big jerk.”
With that, Bianca got in her car and drove away.
© Liz DeJesus 2015
Shattered Frost will be released through Indie Gypsy on August 17th 2015
For more information about Liz DeJesus and her work please visit her website www.lizdejesus.com
- Current Mood: accomplished
Before he knew it, his feet moved of their own volition. He followed the sound; it felt like he was the only one to hear the series of whispers and murmurs. He walked until he stopped in front of a large greenhouse.
“Hello?” Terrance said.
When he spoke, the murmurs stopped. He frowned but stepped closer to the door; it was ajar.
“Hello? Is anyone in here?” Terrance called out.
No response. He was about to give up and turn around when he heard a soft feminine voice speak.
“You must be very special if you were able to hear my voice from so far away.”
Terrance was slightly taken aback by what he heard. He didn’t like using words like ‘special’ to describe himself. He was who he was, nothing more…nothing less. He still couldn’t pinpoint the stranger’s exact location; it was as if she was everywhere at once. Who was she? Why couldn’t he see her?
Once more, his curiosity drove him to step inside the greenhouse and find the source of the hypnotic voice. He was amazed at the humidity inside, everything smelled like wet wood. There was condensation on all the glass and metal surfaces. There were terracotta pots sitting on shelves all along the wall. The white paint was peeling off the walls and the place felt abandoned and unkempt. He walked around the greenhouse until he found a hole in the ground and a set of stairs that went further underground. Against his better judgment, he went downstairs. He noticed right away that the steps were made of the bare earth. The room was dark, but thanks to the eyesight he inherited from his father, he was able to see. There were roots everywhere.
On the ceiling.
On the walls.
On the ground.
Terrance took a step back and tripped over an overgrown tree-root. Something about this place made him feel suffocated and slightly claustrophobic as though the walls would cave in and consume him. Buried alive.
“Looking for something? Or someone? ” the voice asked.
A swirl of leaves, bark and flower petals circled around Terrance. His heart hammered against his chest. Should he stay still? Should he leave? For the first time in his life, he was completely unsure of what to do.
“Do not fret…I bear you no ill will,” the voice said as her face and body slowly began to take shape. Blue-black flower petals made up her hair. Her skin was made from soft looking, dark caramel bark. Her eyes were the color of golden amber. Her feet and toes were like the roots on a tree. Her dress was made of up of light pink rose petals that reached her knees. Once her transformation was complete, Terrance admitted to himself that she was beautiful. So very different from the way Bianca looked but that was why he loved her so much. She wasn’t like anyone he had ever met before. His heart ached for his missing love.
Who is she? He wondered as he continued to study at the strange creature before him.
The woman grinned, and that made him wonder if she had heard his thoughts. It wouldn’t have surprised him, but he made a mental note to be careful what he thought while he was standing around her.
She went back to her task of talking to the roots on the ceiling and the flowers in the garden.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“Blodeuwedd. The Spring Queen,” she whispered.
© Liz DeJesus 2015
Pre-order your copy of Shattered Frost today!
She unlocked the door of her car, sat on the driver’s seat, and started the engine. Her hand touched the clutch; she was just about to change gears when for some reason she stopped herself. She frowned before putting the car in reverse. A strange feeling spread out from the bottom of her stomach as though something were horribly and terribly wrong. She shook her head and pulled out of the driveway.
Even though she knew Rose would yell at her if she found out she was calling while driving, she pulled out her cell phone and called home. With one hand on the steering wheel and the other gripping the cell phone, she waited as the phone rang.
Something isn’t right. Rose always answered after one ring. It rarely went to voicemail, but that was exactly what happened. After impatiently listening to the automatic female operator, she left her mother a message.
“Mom? Are you okay? I’m on my way home. Call me.”
She pressed the END button and tossed the phone on the passenger seat. She wove in and out of traffic and stopped at all the stop signs and traffic lights, even though what she really wanted to do was push her little Beetle as fast as it could go. The feelings of unease continued until she parked the car in front of her house. The lights were on, but there was no visible movement coming from behind the curtain in the living room. Rose always waited by the window with a cup of green tea when Bianca was due back home.
What if there’s a robber or something inside the house?
She didn’t know whether to go inside or call the police first.
But what if someone was attacking her mother at that moment? What if she could stop something terrible from happening by simply opening the door and spooking the attacker away?
“Screw it,” she muttered.
She got out of her car and ran inside the house. She called for her mother as she searched for her upstairs in all the rooms. Nothing. She quickly ran downstairs and was ready to go down to the basement when a strange turquoise light caught her eye.
What was that?
She walked slowly toward the kitchen window; and what she saw would change her life forever. Her mother was throwing what Bianca could only describe as turquoise fireballs at a woman wearing a black hood. Rose no longer looked like her mom: sweet, kind and with a perpetual smile on her face. Rose looked like a warrior ready for battle. Bianca couldn’t see the woman’s face, but she could see her pale hands and slender fingers.
Bianca tried to make sense of it all. She kept expecting to see a special effects crew to come out from behind the trees and tell her that it was all part of an elaborate prank. But no such thing happened. All she knew was that a strange turquoise flame was coming out of her mother’s hands and that she had a ton of questions she needed to ask Rose when this was over.
She knew that her mother sometimes read old, dusty books on witchcraft, but she didn’t know she had actual powers. She thought about all the little quirks her mother had. Things that Bianca thought were essentially Rose. Her mother talked to plants and trees. She would sometimes stare off into space as though she were looking at something in another world. Something only she could see. She read tarot cards to random people and would tell them things about his or her life as though she were reading an open book. Bianca always thought she just made really lucky guesses. She chose not to believe in this other world and everything it stood for. Magic represented a life out of the norm, and Bianca desperately wanted to be normal. Just like everyone else.
Bianca pulled herself out of her thoughts. As she looked at the blue and green flashes in the backyard, she quickly realized that this was something she couldn’t escape. Normal was no longer a part of her world. Normal was no longer an option for her.
© Liz DeJesus 2015
Pick up your copy today! Available for the first time in paperback and also on Kindle!
If you enjoyed First Frost, be sure to pick up the sequel, Glass Frost.
CONTRARY to the title of this anthology, working with such a talented cast of writers is an opportunity that usually comes once in a lifetime. From best-selling to greenhorn, independent or traditionally-published, the authors in this anthology span all ranges in addition to spanning the globe—from England to Australia and all over the United States. I've had the privilege of getting to know each and every one of them, and they have become a part of my extended family. I've even caught a glimpse of a secret side of them that only another writer...editor...is privy to witness through their words.
Through this series of posts, I plan on introducing you to my new family through a mini-interview of each. You may not get a chance to see their secret side, but you'll get a sneak-peek into their minds, their passions and inspirations, and what made them the writers they are today.
..The Mini Interview..
1. At what age did you start writing?
I wrote my first story in 6th grade for a class assignment and I haven't been able to stop.
2. Which book introduced you to Speculative Fiction?
Harry Potter; it opened me up to a world I never knew existed.
3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? What about it makes it your favorite?
The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. When I first read it, I fell in love with the writing style and I felt like I connected to Mercy.
4. Which author and/or book inspired you to start writing?
Stephen King. His determination to have his work out there is inspiring.
5. What would you say is the most important lesson all writers should learn?
Writers need to rember to have fun. Its too easy to get caught up in edits and promoting. Both are important, but you need to have fun writing so you keep doing it. Don't let the pressure get to you.
6. Of the entire publishing process, which would you say is the most difficult aspect to endure?
Edits. I like getting lost in the story. When you edit you can't, you need to check grammar and spelling, make sure the story flows.
7. If applicable, did you have a favorite character (to write) from your story? If so, what sets them apart the others?
Scarlette Gunn. She's the main character in a series I've been working on for a few years. She is who I want to be, but won't become. She stands up for herself and won't let anyone beat her down.
8. On what projects are you currently working?
My latest paranormal romance, Emily's Captive, was just released on May 30, 2015.
Read Bobbie's story, Iron Strong Adalie, in your very own copy of Twice Upon A Time today!
..About the Author..
BOBBIE PALMER writes both paranormal and thriller novels. She loves reading just about anything and when she’s not writing she has her nose stuck in a book. She loves to cook and hang out with her nephews and two cats. She is very involved in the writing community, hosting a writer’s breakfast once a month and a former municipal liaison for NaNoWriMo.