Hi Laura! Tell us a little about your stuff!
Hi Nicola! My latest release is MERCURY RETROGRADE (Harper Voyager Impuse), the second in the DARK ALCHEMY series. When I'm not writing, I'm busily serving my gang of semi-reformed feral cats.
"Semi reformed"... that sounds kind of ominous....! So let's talk about RustCity, shall we?
1. Fill in the blank: "I used to be really good at reading Tarot cards , but these days I'm pretty rusty." (Tarot cards -- so intriguing!)
2. Eminem or Aretha? Explain.
Aretha. Because of her incredible, luminous awesomeness.
Nice answer. I approve.
3. Choose One:
I'm confused. And not from around here.
4. What are you looking forward to most at the RustCity conference?
I'm looking forward to getting the chance to meet folks in person that I've only met online!
5. Which is NOT an actual community in Michigan? (no googling!)
(The correct answer is "Hero." I got very tickled at some of the names, especially when I saw that "Alpha" was one!)
6. Your latest work of fiction features a wealthy industrialist and an R & B singer. What's the first sentence?
There were two dead bodies found in the trunk of Jill's rental car.
7. And finally, would you like to participate in the Alpha Heroes Five Words Fiction Game?
Yes! Can I do magical paranormal stuff, maybe some anthropomorphic lizards?
Absolutely! How about you kick us off? Your words are: alchemy, alpha, rust, spreadsheet, and groove. The category guidelines are: anything goes, including paranormal, fantasy, and time-travel! (For more details about how the game works, refer to this post.)
Yay!!! Total freedom!
If you don’t tend it properly, even the best-cast alchemy will rust.
Mara peered into the fire of the athanor, stirring the flames with a piece of pipe. In the belly of the cinder-block furnace she’d built, a glass mason jar perched. Surrounded by a nest of litter she’d found in the abandoned house – yellowed spreadsheets, broken tree branches, and a handful of wine corks – it seemed like a pathetic attempt at big magic. Flames licked the glass, changing color from blue to red as they boiled the silvery liquid inside.
A fire salamander, irritated by her prodding, slipped out of the firebox and waddled across the makeshift hearth. He was clearly the alpha salamander of those inside the furnace, the king. He was the largest and most brightly-colored of the group, nearly twelve inches long and covered in a gold glittery hide. He stared up at Mara with slitted eyes, tail lashing.
“Yes. I know that I’m doing it all wrong,” she sighed. She hadn’t worked alchemy for years, and it showed. The solution in the bottle was bubbling unevenly, and a crack had formed at the lip of the jar.
“Mrrp,” the salamander agreed. She’d clearly disturbed his sleep when she’d summoned him and his fellows. Salamanders were not known to be patient.
“How about a trade for your help?” Mara reached into her pocket for a handful of unpopped popcorn. She placed it on the hearth between them. The corn was interspersed with bits of lint and a quarter. She had nothing else to offer him, but perhaps he would at least be amused.
The salamander cocked his head, then scuttled forward. He gathered the pieces of popcorn, stuffing them in his mouth like a squirrel, and scurried back to the fire.
Mara sighed. He’d accepted it. Peering into the flame, she could see him dancing with the other salamanders and flinging the corn about – he’d clearly gotten back in his groove, and happy elementals were always good magic.
The silvery liquid in the jar had begun to blacken. Sweating, Mara donned a welder’s glove and reached inside for the precious potion. She set the jar down on the hearth and stared at it, waiting for the solution to settle.
Beyond, in the fire, the popcorn began to pop, with the sound of tiny gunshots. The salamanders chortled in glee as the fire died out, springing after the bits of yummy joy before they faded back into the belly of the furnace.
Mara stared at the jar. Working up her nerve, she unscrewed the lid.
OK, that is an amazing start. Thank you so much for playing, Laura!
If you'd like to check out more from this storyteller, please have a look at the links below:
Come back next Thursday for more Five Words Fiction from another fabulous RustCity16 author, and don't forget to comment on last week's post for a chance at a signed book from Shelly Bell!