Let’s keep this tradition going!

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happy

It’s a little later in the day for this posting but *shrugs* better late than never.

I hope you all have a happy, safe and fun Halloween!

One Last Time
(Unedited because no one can be perfect all the time.)
Janet Eckford

“I really don’t think we should be doing this.”

“Stop worrying and just keep an eye on them.”

A chorus of tiny giggles and mock screams of terror rang out in the crisp October night. Fall had decided to snatch the reins from her sister Summer and the night sparkled with the promise of cool days and even cooler nights.

“I think we lost one.”

“We haven’t. Stop panicking and just keep an eye on them.

The two figures dressed in heavy black robes stood on the peripheral of ghoulish merriment that only Halloween seemed to bring out in both children and adults alike. Aside from their hushed bickering, one wouldn’t have noticed them amongst the throngs of adults and older siblings, waiting patiently at the curb for little ones to come running back winded from the thrill of adding to their candy horde.

“They’re giving out entire candy bars!”

A small girl screeched with excitement, waving said candy bar at her mother.

Her mother smiled and added it to the bag she carried, the tiny skull bucket her daughter had insisted on having because it matched her costume had stopped fitting all of her treats a long time ago.

The two dark robed figures stood back, silently watching, keeping an eye on their equally excited charges.

“Tia! Tia!”

“I’m over here.”

A little boy dressed in a homemade superhero costume gave a grin of relief when he saw a woman waving at the edge of the lawn for him. He scrunched his cape in his hand and balanced his swelling bag of candy in another and sprinted toward her.

“The woman knew who I was,” he lisped in triumph as he jutted out his little boy chest with pride.

“I told you someone would,” his aunt replied with affection.

And the two dark robed figures still stood off to the side waiting patiently for the little ones they watched over to return.

“Papa scary!”

The wail of a toddler dressed in a bunny onesie cradled in the arms of a man in a matching costume broke the joyous revelry.

“I’m not scared Papa,” a little girl shouted, raising her toy sword and charging toward a house with spooky music and flashing lights.

“Don’t run, Clarissa!” The bedraggled father yelled, tucking the toddler with a wet face making hiccuped noises of displeasure to his chest.

And amongst the brightly costumed children, and adults chatting amongst themselves, the two dark robed figures stood, one still and resolute, the other slightly hunched and fidgety.

As a throng of children hustled from one house to another on the bustling block of houses lite with macabre decorations and dark good cheer, a child broke away from the pack and headed toward the direction of the two dark robed figures.

Painfully thin, dressed only in a thin hospital gown, it was hard to tell the gender of the gaunt faced child with closely cropped hair. It was an odd look amongst the princesses, witches, pirates, and shiny store bought costumes. Just the hospital gown and a paper crown colored carefully by hands that hadn’t quite mastered keeping within the lines, placed precariously on a head shorn of locks of some indiscriminate color. That was it. No shoes or socks, not even a light jacket against the chill, more than a few concerned adults noted with judgement.

But the child beamed and danced across the distance toward the two dark robed figures standing in the shadows and it was hard not to smile as the sweet little face, faded of color like a picture pressed between the pages of a photo album for far too many years, peered up at its guardians and giggled with delight.

“I didn’t think I’d get a chance this year.”

The soft words spoken with awe didn’t travel far. Night was jealous it seemed and gathered the sound so it could be put away as a keepsake of remembrance.

“There isn’t much time before we have to leave. Go on. Go have your fun with the others.”

It was the more anxious of the two that spoke, apprehension having been whisked away on the tide of the small child’s joy.

The other dark robed figure watched the exchange with approval, nodded as the child waved before skipping off to join the shifting crowd of little tricksters.

“We can’t break rules often, but at least for Halloween we can try,” the initiator of their scheme said with confidence, gazing out as their little ones frolicked with their peers one last time.

So you see, on this night when children make merry, gathering up handfuls of candy. Look for two dark robed figures, standing quietly aside, for they make sure everyone has fun, before their final ride.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Getting my writing on

I’m working on a new story and pecking away at its word count. I’d had a lovely winter break to add a bulk of what I needed, but I’m back to work and inspiration has started to lag. When I need a little pick me up, I often go back and read what’s been written already, not to edit, because that way usually leads to excessive revisions and stalling of the process. Instead, I do partial read throughs to inspire me to keep going, or let a project sit for another time.

Today, I’m still feeling good about my untitled third book in my Ambrose Family series. The first two books were previously released and are waiting for the third to help launch them back into the world. I’d always planned to tell the story of each sibling and really want to see this happen.

Today as I organize my day to include some writing time, I thought why not give you a snippet of what I’ve done so far. Out of order without much context, but I think a lovely tease none the less.

Enjoy!

Unedited and copyrighted excerpt by Janet Eckford.

Thomas connected the call from his sister and greeted her with a rough hello.

“You’ve spoken to Micah,” she said without a greeting of her own.

Anger burned in his chest at the mention of his brother.

“Are you calling in to check up on me?” He asked, his words crisp from brittle precision.

Charlie sighed deeply and muttered something under her breath to low for him to hear.

“I knew this would happen once Mia told me Micah went to help Dani.”

Thomas perked up at the mention of his brother’s fiancé and Dani’s friend. “What does Mia have to do with anything?”

“Because my idiot brother, she’s the reason Micah helped Dani out,” his sister replied, in a derisive tone.

“Why the hell am I an idiot?” He asked defensively.

Charlie snorted and said, “Because you’ve probably been at home throwing one of your epic tantrums because you’re jealous.”

The tips of Thomas’ ears burned, a reaction he had when embarrassed. It ratcheted up his temper more that his sister had called him out so effectively.

“First of all, I haven’t had a tantrum since I was about eight years old-”

“So you didn’t break anything in a jealous rage?” She interrupted him.

“Charlie,” he growled in warning.

The tinkle of her amused laughter on the other end smoothed some of the rougher edges of his temper. They could fight, and disagree with each other, but there was no denying the power one of his sister’s infectious laughs had on him.

“Micah is going to be so pissed when he finds out you thought he did you dirty over a woman.” Charlie said once her laughter tapered off.

“I didn’t think that,” he denied hotly.

The statement rang false and when he heard his sister humph with disbelief he sighed with frustration.

“Well, what was I supposed to think when he said he was helping Dani out with an emergency?” he asked, “Fuck, Charlie, Dani wouldn’t let me help her make a cup of coffee most of the time, and Micah gets to roll in white knighting for her and her son.”

His sister was silent at his declaration, and he could practically hear her brain turning over his words.

“Honestly, Thomas, why would she expect anything from a man that is only focused on a good time.”

He opened his mouth to respond, but she cut him off before he could start.

“Hear me out, Big Bro. You’re the first one to admit your relationship was only required to meet the most shallow requirements. I wouldn’t have called you either if I was in Dani’s place too.”

“Yeah, well you also almost kept your husband’s child from him, so I don’t know how good you are with judgement.” He snapped back.

Charlie didn’t gasp with shock or even light into him as she usually did when he pushed her to far with harsh words. Instead she sighed deeply, and it sounded as if her very soul was involved with the action.

“Are you ever going to forgive me for that?” She asked softly.

“There’s nothing for me to forgive,” he replied.
“Really, because any time you get mad at me you throw that up in my face. So I’m wondering when you’ll get over it, because Grant, my husband and father of my children has.”

This time when she spoke there was a sharper edge to her words. Thomas knew he should back off, stop before words were spoken that couldn’t be taken back, but something niggled at him to keep pushing.

“It was a cold thing to do, Charlie. Knowing Grant even more makes what you were planning to do seem even crueler,” he admitted.

“It was shitty, yes I’ll admit that, but here’s a not so fun fact. He was just a fuck at the time, Thomas. The same way I was just a fuck for him. Yes, there was the possibility for more, but I wasn’t ready to open myself up to hurt from a person I’d only planned to sleep with and leave.”

Charlie’s words hit him in the gut. “Is this your way of saying I’m only a fuck to Dani?” He asked.

“Maybe,” he could hear rustling as she adjusted the phone. “Thomas, honestly you’re confusing the rest of us. You have been a notorious bachelor, but now…I don’t know. We don’t know what you are.”

“So the three of you are talking about me behind my back?”

“As a matter of fact yes.” She said with a humorless chuckle. “This thing with Dani isn’t like you.”

Her admission annoyed him mostly because she was right. This wasn’t like him. Throwing glasses, putting off work, and planning to flee the city. He’d always been good with beginnings, middles, and ends with his relationships. He’d never had his heart broken before.

Thomas’ heart sped up as his last thought sank in.

“Thomas,” his sister whispered.

He couldn’t do this right now. “I’m good. Thanks for checking in on me.” He heard himself say, as if from a distance.

“Thomas, talk to me, please,” his sister pleaded.

He couldn’t though. His heart was beating too fast and he was finding it hard to breath.

“I love you, Charlie.” He paused before adding. “I gotta go.”

Charlie’s silence was deafening and he wondered if he was going to have to hang up to make her stop.

“I love you too, Big Bro.” She finally said.

He didn’t wait to see if she’d say more and instead disconnected the call. He suddenly felt raw, as if he’d been left out exposed to the sun for too long. It left me feeling shaky and uncertain. When the thoughts of broken hearts and love tried to force their way into his consciousness he mentally flailed and walled them away.

He looked over at his overnight bag, gaping open on his bed. Should he stay or should he go, the words twirled like a dervish in his head. Fatigue creeping up, he decided he didn’t need to make any decisions right now. He’d take a nap and clear his head. He’d be able to make a better decision once he’d had some sleep, he decided and curled up on top of his comforter, not bothering to slip underneath. Thankfully his brain agreed, and instead of plaguing him with thoughts and memories, helped lead him into the dark bliss of sleep.

New release joy for all!

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Slow and steady is how it seems I participate in the race of writing now, and I can’t begin to describe how excited I am that I have a new release to announce. This was a particularly great accomplishment for me because Give and Take is the third book in the Wallace Pack Series. I write with a series in mind but it isn’t often I’m able to finish what I’ve planned.

I want to say there is more where this is coming from with regards to the characters in the three books…but…let’s all just be thankful for what we have now.

*wink*

large-GiveAndTake

Give and Take
Wallace Pack Series: Book 3

Amazon

B&N

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Henry Wallace is the fixer of his Pack, the smoother of rough edges caused by the nearest and dearest of his family. It seems, however, that he couldn’t fix himself out of a coma, a broken body, and a forced medical leave. Henry’s ready to take up the mantle of responsibility once he wakes, but his partner Violet Peau—and the reason he’s confined to his bed—has other plans in mind for the wolf that always handles things.

Violet Peau held Henry in her arms while he died, and although he was only gone for a second, it was one second too long in her book. Instead of allowing him to bound out of bed as if he hadn’t almost gone into the light, she wants Henry—and the feelings his near-death experience unburied—put on a shelf where she can keep an eye on them. The problem? The stubborn wolf is one of the best when it comes to solving mysteries in their line of work. The newest riddle involves an ongoing battle to shut down a network of shifter mills and her need to protect is pulled in entirely too many directions.

Will Henry and Violet learn the fine art of compromise in work and love, or will bruised egos and past hurts prevent them from creating a partnership that can exist in both worlds?

Go get the ball!

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Michael Mcllvaney

It wouldn’t be Halloween without a little treat from moi! I do hope you all are having a lovely day, filled with spooky good fun. If today is more than a secular celebration for you, I wish you a Blessed Samhain!

Go get the ball!
Unedited and copyrighted by Janet Eckford

Lin balanced his tablet on his lap and reached down for the damp ball his dog Scooter had brought dutifully to him. Scooters tags jingled as his little body wiggled with anticipation to play his favorite game. Usually Lin didn’t like to play fetch in the house, but he’d had an exhaustive week, and decided to hibernate for the night under the covers with a good movie. Scooter yelped at him, his tiny tongue vibrating as he panted with excitement.

“Okay, go get the ball!” Lin shouted, and tossed the plastic toy out his bedroom door.

Scooters clipped nails clacked on the hardwood floor as he ran to retrieve his ball. Lin chuckled before turning back to the movie he’d been watching on his tablet. He could hear the tingle of Scooters tags as he ran frantically searching for his ball, and just when Lin had settled into the story of his movie, Scooter rushed back into the bedroom and made three sharp barks. The little dog didn’t have his ball, and from the way his body shook with barely contained energy, Lin knew he wasn’t pleased.

“Scooter, where’s your ball?” He asked, his voice lilting at the end of his words.

Scooter barked sharply again and ran toward the doorway as if answer. Lin sighed with frustration, but untangled himself from his covers and went in search of the ball. He’d never grown up with pets, and had never thought of himself as the type of person that would shape his life around an animal, but the day he saw Scooter, dirty and shivering, tucked away in a bush near his house, he’d fallen under the spell of the little dog.

“Where’d your ball go?” He asked, his voice once again lilting at the end of his question.

Scooter yelped and ran into the hallway, his nails click clacking as his little legs powered. Lin followed quickly, his sock covered feet sliding on his polished floors. When he made his way to the living, Scooter was running the parameter, sniffing and doing his best to search for his lost toy. Lin looked in the usual places the small ball could have lodged itself but didn’t find it. He lost track of time as he and Scooter inspected every inch of the living room and surrounding rooms of his small house for the missing ball. Not wanting to spend his whole night looking for the toy, Lin whistled to his dog and headed back to his room.

He climbed back into bed and opened the drawer of his nightstand and pulled out one of the reserve balls he kept there. It seemed the house had swallowed another ball and he wasn’t in the mood to keep searching. “Scooter, go get the ball!” He shouted and the little dog yelped with excitement before running to chase down his plastic prey.

Lin tossed the ball as he finished his movie, and growing drowsy decided to call it quits for the night. It wasn’t until he’d started to power off his tablet that he realized Scooter hadn’t brought his ball back. He vaguely remembered hearing the sounds of the dogs tags clicking as he scurried around the house, but Lin’s movie had been engrossing and he’d lost track of what the dog was doing. Now, the house was too quiet and he worried his rambunctious little dog was up to something he shouldn’t be. Lin looked at the clock and noticed that it was past midnight and contemplating letting Scooter be. He might have just tired himself out and fallen asleep in his bed in the living room, Lin thought.

Yet, the last time he’d left Scooter alone without checking up on him, he’d managed to chew a hole in the side of Lin’s couch. The dog was little but could be mighty in his destruction. Climbing out of bed, Lin padded softly from his room toward the living room. The light from his bedroom was enough to guide him down the dark hallway, but his living room was shrouded in darkness as he stepped into it. He looked around for a ball of white fur but didn’t see Scooter immediately.

“Scooter, come here!” He called out, his voice firm in its command.

Silence stretched as he waited to hear the tinkle of Scooter’s tags. There was nothing, and he called out again for his dog. He was probably hiding, Lin thought, thinking they were playing another game.

“Scooter, here, now!” He called out into the darkness.

He whistled and slapped his hand on his thigh for emphasis, but there wasn’t the usual sound of nails scrapping against wood as he expected. Lin groaned with frustration and whistled again.

“Scooter, come here now!” He shouted, his words sharp with anger.

The echo of his words faded in the house, but still no whimper or yelp of acknowledgement from his dog. Lin turned in a circle, and knew he wouldn’t be able to see in the dark. He moved to walk toward the lamp in the corner but cursed when he stepped down on a plastic ball.

“Dammit!” He yelled and snatched up the toy with frustration.

“Oh, gross,” he groaned and rolled the sticky ball between his fingers.

He was more than annoyed as he walked to turn the light on and yelped with pain as he stepped down on another ball.

“Fuck!” He cried out and snatched up the other ball.

This one was even more sticky and damp as the first and he pursed his mouth with anger. Scooter was going to get a major time out in his crate once he found him. Lin finally clicked the lamp on and startled at the red stain his fingers left behind. He looked down at his hand and noticed that the sticky goo he thought was dog salvia looked suspiciously like blood. His brain couldn’t seem to process it for some reason, but once it set in he looked around the dimly lit room with concern.

“Scooter? Come here boy,” he called out, worry setting in.

“It’s okay, come here boy,” he cooed, hoping his earlier anger hadn’t made Scooter burrow further where he was hiding.

Lin didn’t know how the little dog had gotten hurt but now his heart pounded as he searched frantically around the house to find him. As he clicked more lights on he could see blood smeared in places on the hardwood floors, and he called out for Scooter with increasing anxiety. Lin went outside to check the front and back yard, but there still wasn’t any sign of his dog.

When he came back into the house he noticed that the lights were out and he paused on the threshold. He’d left them on, he knew he’d left them on, but with his frantic search for an injured Scooter he couldn’t be sure. Lin padded quietly back into the house, his fear for his dog suddenly transforming to something else. When another bloody ball rolled toward his feet he startled and jumped.

“Scooter?”

The tinkle of Scooters tags pierced the quiet of the room and he tensed, waiting for the sound of little nails scrapping against wood. Seconds stretched and when he realized he hadn’t been breathing, Lin took a shallow breath.

“Scooter?” He called out again, his voice tinged with fear.

This time there was no tinkle of tags, but there was the sound of something scrapping against the wood floors. Lin’s body froze as his ears strained to listen for where the sound was coming from. When the house remained silent he let his body relax. It was when he turned toward his room that he saw something hunkered in the shadow of a corner. As if sensing his awareness, it unfurled itself and shifted forward enough for him to make out the bulk of its mass by the light of the moon streaming through his windows, but not the details of what it was.

Lin heard a whimper and shook when his brain registered that it was him making the sound. The gloppy thud of something rolling across the floor drew his attention and he watched as one of Scooter’s lost balls stopped at his feet. He didn’t need light to know that it was covered with blood like the others, and he wheezed as fear locked like a vise around his heart.

The thing in the shadows shifted forward more and Lin fought between the need to flee or freeze. As it continued to stay in the shadows of the dark room, the light from his bedroom illuminating only the hallway, Lin’s imagination filled in what his eyes could not see. Something flew past his head and he cringed as he felt it sail past. The sound of hard plastic hitting the floor and skittering to a halt was familiar, and he knew it was another ball. Lin didn’t move, waited to see what the thing in the shadows would do. He wanted to run, but his feet seemed frozen, waiting for a sign, before they helped him flee.

When the thing in the shadows finally spoke, it’s words were low and gravely, as if pronouncing them were difficult because it’s mouth was filled with too many teeth. Lin’s brain took a while to decipher what it said, but when he did, he shivered with fear, because it was clear the thing in the shadows had just commanded him to, “Go get the ball.”

Darkest before the dawn

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Winter is coming, literally, and I must confess I’m a bit reticent as always. As a winter baby one would think I’d revel in the long lights and chilled air (yes, it does get cold in So. Cal) but I don’t. I’m more prone to hibernating if given the chance, but alas me sleeping the days away in the comfort of my bed is not possible and I am required to brave winter like everyone else.

I noticed though that as with the other solstices I have launched a book and it caused me to wonder about my subconscious need to be connected to change. My newest re-release Fire and Ice fits quite nicely into the schematics of the Winter Solstice. The book deals with themes I think speak to the idea of dark giving way for the light.  Continue reading

I bring you treats!

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It’s here! It’s here! *jumps up and down with excitement* I wait an entire year for this day and I can’t even begin to describe how happy I am that today is Halloween. I’ve had a whirlwind year that has seen me branching off into the world of self publishing, buying a house, and the usual hustle and bustle of a busy professional career. Every word I put to page is a gift, and this year I was not gifted with the skill to write a collection of new horror themed shorts for Halloween, BUT you know what, I’m cool with it. Guess why…go on…because I’m clever enough to still find a way to give you lovely tricksters a treat. Continue reading

Darkly wicked thoughts

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Marco Pochestorie 2013 Flickr

Marco Pochestorie 2013

I’m gearing up for my favorite Holy Day and as such I’m thinking about the Halloween treat I will have for everyone on the 31st of this month. I wasn’t able to do my 31 horror shorts as I’ve done in the past, or even 13 little ditties that make one listen closely for the things that go bump in the night, but I’m committed to having something for you all on one of my favorite days of the year (my birthday has to rank #1 of course). My collection of shorts hold all that I have done with regards to the macabre, but there are a few tales tucked into the ramblings of my blog.  Continue reading

New release and new beginings

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Today is a special day for me because it’s the 4th anniversary of my very first blog and the announcement of my first published short story. Today’s milestone is even more exciting because it also marks the announcement of my first self published short story. It’s amazing to see how I’ve grown when I look at that first blog. Continue reading

Destined for Love Series

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I’m bursting at the seams right now! I set my mind to combing my forgotten WIPs, picking out those that could be spruced up and given new life as a complete story and actually did it. I’d originally hoped they would be reborn as full length novels, but pulled back and thought, why don’t I trust the process and see what happens. I’m excited to announce that I’ve written TWO new short stories! Continue reading