A Book You Regretted Buying

Every once in a while, I’d binge buy a bunch of books at my local Barnes & Noble, especially when I used to work there years ago. We used to get a pretty sweet employee discount that made it nearly impossible for me to save money.

The majority of books I bought were great (rather, still have the potential to be great — I have plenty on my to-be read list), but there are a couple that I remember that I do regret buying.

One book in particular I was certain I found in the fantasy section of the bookstore. I tend to gravitate towards fantasy, sci-fi, graphic novels, and the occasional YA. I stay away from the romance section. Romance as a sub-genre is fine and dandy, as long as it’s fluffy and not shoved down my throat, but the genre is not this asexual’s cup of tea. I prefer earl gray or chamomile with honey. The book in question was probably in the fantasy section due to involving a — or the? — devil.

I figured that romance would be part of the story, but I think my reasoning for picking up the book was that it may have some adventure in Hell or something. Give me mischief and trouble and magic and hellfire! Unfortunately, the book itself was more about a human woman trying to navigate her romantic entanglement with a — you guessed it — devil.

I tried to read it. Really. Yet, there were a few too many scenes glossing over how the characters were tumbling into bed (among some other, um, unsanitary places and the use of the devil’s tail) when the woman should probably have been figuring out how she got to this point in her life. She would begin to try to put down boundaries and explain how human life should work to her Boyfriend From Hell — like, you know, not killing her roommate’s cat — then he’d smirk and the nearest bed would be used.

It was not interesting.

I don’t even remember the title or the author of the book. I recall the cover a bit — some reds and whites, with a woman gazing up at a rugged-looking man, which honestly should have been my first clue about the story — and that it wasn’t a thick book. It’s been quite a while since I gave the book away to a thrift shop, hoping that maybe it would find a nice home with someone else who could give it proper attention.

The book was already donated before I realized that I gave a near-erotica story with the devil to the thrift shop attached to my church. Whoops.

…Maybe one of the older ladies who ran the place got a kick out of it.

Any books you’ve regretted buying?

History, Huh?

How often do you stay up a little too long past your bedtime to finish reading a book?

While there was a possibility I may fall asleep at my desk at my day job the next day, this particular book was worth it. The book in question was Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.

Basically, the son of the female President of the United States and a prince of England get together, much to the chagrin of their respective countries. Chaos ensues and, throughout it all, both young men are trying to figure out their place in the world and with each other.

I obviously enjoyed the story, sacrificing a couple of extra hours of sleep for it, but the acknowledgements in the back of the book also caught my eye. This book was published in May 2019, but it has existed with the author since 2016 which, she admits, did not turn out as she — and much of the U.S. — expected. As she states in the acknowledgements, “Suddenly what was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek parallel universe needed to be escapist, trauma-soothing, alternate-but-realistic reality.”

American and English politics, sexuality, race, immigration, they’re all touched upon in this book. They’re mostly in the background of the story, true, but these aspects of the real world drive the main characters as they try to figure out how to be true to themselves despite their public lives. The drama kept me reading, but the real world issues hit home.

Keep fighting, keep making history, keep looking after one another. It’s crucial now more than ever.

October Flash Fiction Day 6 – Day 12

Continuing my October daily flash fiction, the prompts can be found here.

Please note that these are posted daily on my Tumblr, if you’d like to catch up with them there. Let me know what you think or if you are also following the prompts!

Day 6: Ashes

Her hands were gray and black from the ashes. Spots of red here and there indicated that her palms had grown callous enough to blister and bleed, but she didn’t recall when. Her focus had been solely on digging through the volcanic ash, heedless of the smoke still lingering in the air. She had to find it. It was buried somewhere among the ashes, a solitary sapphire gemstone. She didn’t understand the significance of the stone, but her employer did. Giving up was not an option. She would either die trying to find it… Or die for not having it.

Day 7: Lightning

Lightning danced in her eyes, the hazel color flecked with spots of gold. It was difficult to keep up with her, always had been. Ideas sparked in her head and she ran with each one, and it was all he could do not to stumble after her from one adventure to the next. Ideas that were good, ideas that were bad… It mattered not. He would follow, seeking that electrical charge that coursed through her naturally, if only so he could touch a spark and maybe have some of the same magic — the same brilliant power — enter him as well.

Day 8: Seek

“What is it that you seek?” the sphinx asked, its eyes gazing at nothing. He stared at the creature blankly, not prepared for the question at all. He was prepared for riddles. He had studied countless books, both modern and history, of riddles that taught him how to think critically for when he inevitably faced the sphinx. To be given an existential question instead was causing his mind to scramble. And yet, seeking the sphinx for power and guidance was why he had gone on this journey in the first place. Perhaps the sphinx’s question was a riddle after all…

Day 9: Owl

He wished for his own wings. After exploring a world full of people born with fantastic wings — modeled after birds like eagles and insects like butterflies and mythical creatures like dragons — he wanted to fly. He decided he would like owl wings. Thick feathers with a decent wingspan so he could glide through the sky would be ideal. A snowy white owl would look handsome with his frame, or the tawny brown wings of a barn owl would be fun. As a symbol of wisdom, he figured an owl would be appropriate, despite the teasing he got from his friends.

Day 10: Pumpkin

The pumpkin had been hollowed out and given the traditional face of most jack o’lanturns, something that she had been doing since she was a young girl. With the top cut as a cover, she placed a small tealight candle inside, ready to help light up her front steps at night. Unfortunately, the squirrels had other plans. She knew they’d nibble on the pumpkin until she got rid of it, but she hadn’t expected to come home one night to see the cover tossed to the side and a squirrel curiously holding the candle in the middle of her yard…

Day 11: Professor

The new professor was the same age as him. He hadn’t believed she was the professor he was supposed to be aiding. He thought she was a student trying to pull an ill-guided prank. When he didn’t believe her at first (and for the second and third time they spoke), her cheeks turned crimson. He almost lost his job before it started. Despite the rough start, the week leading up to the start of the semester gave the pair time to clear the air. She was brilliant, and he vowed to be one of her best allies for the year.

Day 12: School

It was the most absurd school she had ever seen. When she saw the advertisement for an art teacher for the private school online, she figured she had nothing to lose by applying. Yet, the school was full of students roaming about instead of in classrooms, with teachers here and there providing quips of wisdom in the hallways as opposed to keeping order. She could even swore she saw one student holding fire in his hands, but dismissed it as a trick of the light. He must have had a match, or something that was surely against the school’s policies…

Sept/Oct Flash Fiction Day 29 – Day 5

Today marks the last of my September Flash Fiction and the beginning of my October ones. The prompts for September can be found here, while the October prompts can be found here.

Please note that these are posted daily on my Tumblr, if you’d like to catch up with them there. Let me know what you think or if you are also following the prompts!

Day 29: Fog

She disappeared whenever it was convenient for her. At first, he had been trying to catch up with her because the two were paired up for a science project. He’d be damned if he ended up doing the work himself. Yet, she was always gone, no matter how closely behind he had been, whenever she left school. It wasn’t until he saw her at the park one evening at dusk. He called her name, determined to talk about their project, but she merely glanced at him. Before he got too close, she vanished like a ghost into the fog.

Day 30: Bright

Her hands grew bright as she threw a force field up between them and the hot rocks and lava the volcano spewed. He noticed the sweat rolling down her forehead and cheeks. She did her best not to waver against nature trying to beat down her force field. He commanded the villagers’ attention, getting them to move farther back from the volcano now destroying their homes. Someone asked why she didn’t just force field the entire village. He didn’t regret clocking the guy for having the gall to ask her to spend even more energy for their ungrateful asses.

Oct. Day 1: Mischief

It was a right of passage to get into mischief as a teenager. Harmless pranks — TP-ing the neighbor’s house, smashing eggs on someone’s doorstep, ringing the bell and hiding — should be expected by the adults of the world. Let the teens have a little bit of fun before they need to worry about things like taxes, he said as he started to clean up the silly string that decorated his bushes. They were all young only once, if they were lucky. He was one who grew up too quickly and he’d be damned if he ruined that for someone else.

Day 2: Broomstick

The broomstick was dancing. She stared, dumbfounded, as the broomstick wiggled its way around the living room. Low jazz came from the old boombox sitting in the cabinet. When she enchanted the broomstick, it must have somehow gained both her love of music and her lack of rhythm. Yet, dancing was not what she enchanted the broom for, despite how much guilt she felt when she turned off the boombox. The broomstick’s bristles drooped as it returned to sweeping the kitchen. She stared at the boombox before bringing it to the kitchen so the broomstick could listen while it worked.

Day 3: Cat

It was the cat’s fault. It yowled like something was wrong and, thanks to Finn’s bleeding heart, Finn followed it into the woods. There was enough daylight streaming through the treetops so Finn wasn’t worried about getting lost. He was too surprised at seeing the quaint cottage to feel anything but. The cat wandered inside, its yowls met by someone asking, “What did you bring today?” A young man, his hair sticking to his forehead from beneath a pointed hat, popped his head out of the cottage. His green eyes stared at Finn, the surprise mutual. Damn Finn’s bleeding heart.

Day 4: Potion

She stared at the bubbling liquid in the vial, hoping that she wouldn’t taste it if she downed it like a shot. Glancing at the old woman who had given it to her, she asked, “You’re sure this works?” She got a slow nod in return, even as the woman’s gnarled hand snatched the money. She awkwardly thanked her before making her way to the end of the beach. Sitting at the edge of water, she drank the potion. With gasps and writhes, her legs stitched together, her feet flattening into fins until she could swim away from the land.

Day 5: Transform

The legends regarding werewolves were all similar. By the light of the full moon, a man would transform into a beast, a monstrous canine slave only to its desires and hunger. The afflicted man would remember nothing of his time as a wolf, save for torn clothing and perhaps the taste of a recent kill in his mouth. No legend ever mentioned about the reverse happening. What did one do with a werewolf pup that transformed into a human toddler? One entertained him, of course, until the full moon disappeared until the next month. Toilet training was a chore, though.

Flash Fiction: October 2019 Prompts

Writing | Flash Fiction | Fiction | Writing Prompts | Prompts | Krispoli.com

Well, hey, I was able to keep up with the September flash fiction. Let’s see how well I can do with the October flash fiction.

Originally, I was going to do the theme for October as Halloween, but I felt like that was a bit cliche. So I went with Harry Potter. Which is, admittedly, very similar, but a few fantasy elements were thrown into it instead of the generic skeleton, bat, etc.

As with the September prompts, I will be posting the flash fiction daily over on my Tumblr. This blog will see the responses every Sunday. Let me know if you ever try these prompts as well!

September Flash Fiction Day 22 – 28

Part Four of my September Flash Fiction! The prompts can be found here. Please note that these are posted daily on my Tumblr, if you’d like to catch up with them there. Let me know what you think or if you are also following the prompts!

Day 22: Crunch

It was the crunch that made her shudder, the crunch that made her stomach somersault, the crunch that made her double-check her grip on her knife. There may have been safety in numbers during the end of the world, but her priority was herself whenever they came face-to-face with the distorted zombies. She felt awful that she could do nothing for him, that she could only crawl away with her own safety in mind as the zombies crunched down on flesh, but if the situation were reversed, she wouldn’t want him to pull any white knight heroics for her sake.

Day 23: Forage

They could forage for as long as they wanted during the day, but it was apparent every night that they could never find enough. “We need to leave,” was the general consensus. “There’s not enough food here any longer.” Still, the decision was made slowly, with backpacks and the few personal items they managed to save being meticulously packed away for days until there was no reason to stall any longer. As they looked back at the graves of perished friends while they shouldered their packs, they rationalized that their friends would have wanted them to move on and live.

Day 24: Crisp

The lines of Lee’s uniform were clean and crisp, as immaculate as he always needed to be. He took a deep breath as he stared at the mirror, praying that his eyes weren’t red-rimmed from grief. Despite the funeral, it wouldn’t do for the captain to be anything but stoic. He needed to be focused on his duty and keep his soldiers in line for the crowning ceremony. The country grieved for the fallen Crown Prince even as they scrutinized his brother, the next king. Lee may have failed the Crown Prince, but he would not with his brother.

Day 25: Gray

If there was one thing Carl never thought he would do in his life, it was following a wolf. The wolf was a young female, most likely trying to strike out on her own or was tossed out of her own pack for one reason or another. Upon finding him, she latched on, bonding to another outcast on the edges of the territory. Amid the tree line, the skyline was gray with the coming dawn, just like his mood. Nevertheless, he turned to follow the wolf when she barked for his attention to continue leading them through the trees.

Day 26: Maple

She understood why seasonal drinks were a thing, especially in the corporate world, but they were always a pain to create. A shot of this flavor here, sprinkles on this one, whipped cream at the bottom of the cup for that one… She was using precious brain space to memorize custom drink recipes rather than her spells. On the other hand, busying herself with creating complex drinks gave her a chance to test out spells. She smiled at the customer as she handed him his maple pecan latte, hoping that her confidence spell would mix well with the flavors.

Day 27: Blanket

“It’s the only one I have,” she said, shaking it. “Go ahead and take it.” The blanket, worn and thin, some of the corners fraying with use and time, was tossed to him. He murmured his thanks as he wrapped it around his shoulders. She went back to tending the campfire, the scent of roasting fish making his stomach nauseous. The fish was small, probably only enough for each of them to have a couple of bites, but he was willing to share his food if she was willing to share warmth. Sometimes war meant finding your own allies.

Day 28: Spice

The spice scent was so thick, he choked on the air as he entered the bazaar. Vendors hawked their wares, each competing for the attention of strangers wandering about. At the very least, his quarry was intelligent. It was difficult to distinguish his scent amid the bazaar’s chaos. Still, there was more than one way a werewolf could hunt down his prey. With a snarl to a vendor who had gotten a little too close, he stalked through the stalls, looking for anything out of place or any nooks that his prey could hide. He wouldn’t get away this time.

September Flash Fiction Day 15 – 21

Part Three of my September Flash Fiction! The prompts can be found here. Please note that these are posted daily on my Tumblr, if you’d like to catch up with them there. Let me know what you think or if you are also following the prompts!

Day 15: Amber

The amber liquid burned as it slid down her throat and she suppressed a cough from the smokey taste. Pretending that it didn’t make her nauseous, she ordered another shot, hoping that she would be able to get buzzed sooner rather than later. Noticing the stain of color on the glass, she choked back a sob as her thumb wiped away the remnants of her coral pink lipstick from it. Her second shot and a glass of water plinked onto the counter, and she looked up at the bartender’s deep plum lipstick as the woman said, “He isn’t worth it.”

Day 16: Breezy

She laughed whenever the wind blew past them, making the strands of her hair that had escaped her ponytail dance. He hunched his shoulders against the wind, not as enthralled by the breezy day as she. He watched as she directed her face to the wind, apparently delighted at the weather, until a particularly strong gust billowed her jacket out behind her. She was almost knocked off her feet, but he reached over to wrap her jacket and his arms around her to keep her in place until the gust died down. They stayed hugging even past the strong wind.

Day 17: Fireside

They were sitting by the fireside, the crackling flames being a stark beacon against the dark trying to swallow the field they were camping in. He lay awake in his bedroll and stared up at the starless sky, only knowing where the sky and earth met with the help of the campfire. In the distance was the telltale wail of strange creature or a monster, his mind couldn’t decide which. A gloved hand gently ruffled his hair as his friend passed by, and he heard his friend whisper, “Close your eyes and get some rest. I’m on watch right now.”

Day 18: Woodlands

The woodlands were neverending. Sunlight streamed through the leafy treetops, making the woods sparkle. Skipping over a babbling brook that looked familiar, he soon found himself lost for the umpteenth time as he encountered another fork in the woods. He used to know the woods as well as he knew his mother’s favorite dress or his father’s favorite food, but even those memories were beginning to slip from him. While the woodlands were gorgeous and filled with all sorts of greenery and creatures, he didn’t fancy remaining lost for all eternity. He should have never given the fairy his name.

Day 19: Crackling

The fireball, sizzling and crackling, hovered above his hand as he stared at it in wonder. Now that he created the large flame, he wasn’t sure what to do with it. He glanced around, trying to find a target to singe to dispel his magic. A smirk curled on his lips as he spotted one of his classmates, his self-proclaimed rival when it came to the magical arts. With a whisper, he directed his fireball to the feet of his rival, finding delight in the indignant yelp that came from him. His rival needed a new pair of boots, anyway.

Day 20: Pecans

The litter of dragon hatchlings were named after various nuts which, considering Paul was training them, didn’t surprise Katie at all. Almond, Peanut, Pecans, Cashew, the quartet of dragons were a jumble of clumsy limbs as they chased after each other and played. She watched them for a few moments before asking how their training was going and that she was impressed that not too much in the yard seemed to be destroyed. Paul preened but then turned red when Pecans sneezed out a chunk of ice that froze over a patch of lilacs. “We’re working on it,” he said.

Day 21: Migrate

A flock of geese overhead flew past, loudly announcing their plans to fly south for the coming cold. Lily took a deep breath, her chin resting in her hands as she waited for the inevitable. It wasn’t a bad job, not really. Rather, it was tedious. Every year, Lily hoped she would have been promoted by the time the annual Frost had to be done, but to no avail. Sage called for her and Lily shook out her wings as she joined the other fairies near the beginning of the woodlands, wand in hand. As the fairies flew, ice followed.

September Flash Fiction Day 8 – 14

Part Two of my September Flash Fiction! The prompts can be found here. Please note that these are posted daily on my Tumblr, if you’d like to catch up with them there. Let me know what you think or if you are also following the prompts!

Day 8: Harvest

Looking almost yellow, the harvest moon hung low in the sky and he paused a moment to gaze and appreciate the beauty of the night. At this time of the year when he was younger, he used to help out on his grandparents’ farm. Perhaps he’d be picking ears of corn before the first frost of the year came or being sure all of the chickens were gathered in the coop for the night. A crisp wind reminded him of where he was. He sighed as he began to dig up the grave again, harvesting a different crop that night.

Day 9: Pine Cones

There was a pile of pine cones at the side of their house, right in front of the stacked firewood. She wasn’t quite sure where they all came from, but there was enough there now that they were noticeable. A handful of pine cones dropped by a squirrel made sense. But a dozen pine cones gathered together? She was tempted to scatter them, hoping a rodent wasn’t trying to make a nest. Before she could, a cat popped out from beneath the firewood, followed by three kittens who immediately practiced their pouncing on the pine cones. The pine cones stayed.

Day 10: Quilt

The quilt was tightly crocheted, a perfect square with frilled edges. Woven with golden yellows and a touch of red, it was one of the favorite family blankets for cool autumn and winter nights. The colors have since faded with the years and she couldn’t remember how bright the quilt used to be, but she was sure she believed it had shone with the power of the sun when she was a girl. As she wrapped her newborn in the quilt, she hoped she would be able to instill that same secure feeling into her baby as she always had.

Day 11: Orange

He couldn’t have been less inconspicuous if he tried. The neon orange hat could be spotted miles away, even if she didn’t have a pair of binoculars trained on him. For a guy who had important government secrets and documents in his briefcase, he wasn’t trying to hide. It made her job easier. It was simple to catch up to him. She planned to grab the case when the next train dropped off its riders. Yet, when she rounded the corner of the station, there he was, grinning. He held up the briefcase and said, “I’ve been waiting for you.”

Day 12: Rain

Her roommate was enthralled with the rain. She sighed while staring out the window like one who was awaiting her lover. When asked about it, all that she said was, “You can’t sense it? The magic in the air that the rain brings?” Her roommate chalked it up to it just her enjoying nature, returning to her coffee. Yet, it was only a few minutes before her roommate gasped and tugged her outside with glee. In the seconds it took to become soaked, she was yanked into a puddle with her roommate that was much too deep for the sidewalk.

Day 13: Scarecrow

A trail of straw emerged from the corn stalks through the backyard, took a detour to the barn, then into the house’s back door. She grabbed the axe next to the firewood, entering her home. The trail continued through the kitchen, seemed to grow into a suspicious pile by the bathroom mirror, before going into the living room. She gaped and nearly dropped the axe at seeing her scarecrow — previously inanimate — sitting on her sofa with her cat playing with the straw from his arms. He stared at her with his button eyes and said, “I don’t know what happened.”

Day 14: Cobweb

As intricate as a snowflake, the spider’s cobweb was a mesmerizing display of soft gauze weaved into a maze-like pattern. Dewdrops from the morning clung to the thin threads, twinkling in the sun like stars. The spider itself wasn’t seen, most likely tired from all the hard work it took to create such a detailed web with only instincts and the light of the moon to guide it. But it was also placed right outside of her back door. With a quiet apology, she took the vacuum to the web, destroying the spider’s night work in a matter of seconds.

September Flash Fiction Day 1 – 7

Follow along with the September Flash Fiction prompts found here! Please note that these are posted daily on my Tumblr, if you’d like to catch up with them there. Let me know what you think or if you are also following the prompts!

Day 1: Leaves

She leaves once more, her steps firm, her heels clicking on the hardwood as she marches out of the office. Her face is forward, hiding any emotions that she may feel, while I ignore the burning sheen of tears in front of my eyes. Her woven scarf – violet and crimson, colors of a queen – is snatched from the coat rack, the wooden stand wobbling precariously in place from the force before going still. Its brief respite ends when it shakes from her door slam. She leaves once more, but the difference this time is that she does not look back.

Day 2: Red

It was the richest red he had ever seen, the same color as her date night dress, as the rubies of the ring he had given her. She used the lipstick to mark what was hers, her green eyes bright as she licked her lips before kissing what she claimed. His favorite coffee mug, between a couple of black spots on his dalmatian’s head, the stubble on his cheek. Unfortunately, the color also stained the collar of his white shirt, a fact he had neglected to notice until it was too late. His wife’s shade of lipstick was coral pink.

Day 3: Falling

The last leaf was clinging to the tree branch, trembling with every breeze that blew by. She stared at it from the window, imagining that the leaf was trying to break free from the tree, much like she wished she could break free from school. A squirrel bounced along the branch as it leaped to the next tree, and she was silently cheering on for the leaf to gain enough momentum to let go. The leaf shook, the tip of the stem cracking with the next gust, before finally flying away. One day she hoped to finally fly as well.

Day 4: Sweaters

The scents of motor oil and spearmint gum clung to the fibers of his boyfriend’s oversized sweaters. One was a knitted, striped brown and autumn-leaf orange piece, made from a grandmother, although he could never remember which one. The other was a hoodie, a vivid green with details harking a favorite video game series. They were favorites to wear when the weather began to turn cold, both by his boyfriend and by him whenever his boyfriend needed to travel away for work. The scents always allowed him to pretend that they were close together until his boyfriend could come home.

Day 5: Chill

Her blue eyes held more chill than ice, a perfect sheen that reflected nothing of her thoughts. She listened, unblinking, as the soldier gave his report regarding the man that had snuck over the border. She asked little, interested in only knowing the trespasser’s relation to the emperor in the next country. Once the report was finished, she paused for only a few heartbeats before stating, “Display this man’s body at the border for the emperor’s other spies. Let them report back that I have no tolerance for the emperor’s antics. If he wants a war, he shall have it.”

Day 6: Pencil

It began with a sketch, with a light pencil touch, with outlines barely legible as anything but scribbles. Next came the inks, the pens, the markers, to make more permanent outlines for the whole picture. Colors then bloomed onto the canvas with paints and pastels, making the picture recognizable after its multiple drafts. But it all started with a pencil sketch. A dream that started out rough but, with enough perseverance, patience, and careful planning, became realized. And if the outline wasn’t quite right, an eraser could always help to start over. It would always work out in the end.

Day 7: Apple

She peeled bits of the fruit’s skin with her manicured fingers, flicking the curled pieces away from her as she walked. She eyed the red-shuttered house with a perfectly manicured lawn. A cluster of trees hid most of the house from view, as well as hiding her from view of the house. She tossed the apple in the air a couple of times, thinking of the last time the doctor stood her up, claiming work as an excuse. The apple hit the biggest window with a satisfying splat. As the saying goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Flash Fiction: September 2019 Prompts

Flash Fiction | Daily | September | Autumn | Writing | Krispoli.com

I may be biting off more than I can chew, but I’m going to do a daily flash fiction challenge. To me, flash fiction is 100 words. No more, no less. While I’m planning on posting the flash fiction daily over on my Tumblr, I’ll probably post my responses to these weekly on this blog.

But, hey, feel free to do this too. If you do a little flash fiction — or anything with these prompts — let me know!

%d bloggers like this: