Tag Archives: fantasy

Vanessa’s Curse [fss]

Cards magic girl

She was confused when she opened the letter addressed to her recently deceased father. Apparently, he’d been served with a lawsuit by the board of directors of the necromancy club for not being a real wizard and the judge had ruled in their favor. Her father had been banned from the club!

Vanessa had noticed her father faltering at times lately and using a few illusions to make up for it, but she’d attributed that to his ongoing health issues, along with grief over her mother’s desertion, both of which had sadly caused his early death at the age of 54. Even wizards weren’t immune from heart disease and heartbreak. But surely most of his show had been real. Hadn’t it?

Vanessa ran to her father’s study, breaking open the locked door with a mental image of a bull, and began rummaging through his desk. She picked up his favorite fountain pen and received a clear picture of him in pain, clutching his chest and gazing at a photo of her mother. She flung down the pen as if it were a serpent and resumed her task. Aha! Here was the original lawsuit, accompanied by a thick ream of exhibits, documenting instances of what they called “malicious and fraudulent deception to fool the audience and steal glory from real magicians.”

Tears trickled from her eyes as she collapsed into her father’s worn chair. Surely, the board was wrong! They’d accused him of having no magic whatsoever, and that simply could not be true. Vanessa recalled her mother saying the same thing when she’d left them to go live with the coven last year, and her father had explained that she was just angry because he hadn’t become as successful as they’d planned. But what if her mother had been right?

I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with muggles! You’ve lost your magic! Vanessa remembered the hateful words her mother had spewed the night she ran off, while her father had stood there silently. Until today, Vanessa hadn’t considered that there was no response. She recalled the times when she wondered why her father was using marked cards and hoaxes instead of spells, and now she realized the magic had disappeared for him. But her mother had been wrong about one thing: Vanessa was no muggle.

She began to devise a plan to get even with her mother, the coven, and the nasty board of directors. She’d devise particularly cruel revenge for every necromancer whose name appeared on that complaint. And the judge! It would all be done in secret, however, for Vanessa intended to use ancient wizadry, not parlor tricks, in order to inflict the most misery upon the people who had ruined her father’s life. Magic was her legacy, as well as her curse, and she hadn’t called upon it much until now. They would all be sorry!

But she didn’t dare tell them the truth.

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Written for Fandango’s Story Starter 65, Emma’s Title Challenge, and Chelle’s Last Sentence.

It Began in Darkness [fss]

vampire galaxy stars

He hadn’t realized that he’d passed the point of no return until he felt his fangs lengthen and sharpen when the woman in the glimmering blue dress gave him a sultry smile over the edge of her martini glass. Immediately, he left the bar and rushed home before he could do anything rash. After checking that all the doors and windows were secured against the morning light, he flung himself into his lonely bed and contemplated how he might bring an end to his miserable existence.

It began in darkness, when he’d succumbed to a beautiful vampire and her blissful bites, and it would end in darkness, since he’d never be able to walk in the sunshine again. Maybe he should just stay in his room and starve to death! His animal instincts rebelled against that idea, however, and he knew he’d have to feed upon human blood before too long, else he’d weaken, collapse, and crumble into dust. He’d become a fiend, a monster, a soulless wretch who cared nothing for human life except to gulp down its essence into himself.

But the speck of conscience that remained accessible to him forbade him from seeking out innocent victims and perpetuating the wicked cycle. Just because his flesh had been violated, causing this blood lust to dominate his thoughts, did not mean it was acceptable to turn others into the hideous creature he’d become. Who then? Not prisoners, for some were innocent. Not hospice patients because their life force was too weak to sustain a grown man in the prime of death. Annoying celebrities? Maybe, but surely there was a better solution than to seek a fresh vein in the midst of all that silicone and cocaine. Finally, it came to him.

The next day at sundown, he tossed his suitcases into his black Tesla and headed to Washington, D.C., where he received a warm welcome. It was easy to ingratiate himself with the career politicians — after all, he was handsome and charming and exceedingly wealthy — and invitations to fabulous events soon followed. Whenever he felt the need to feed, he now had an unlimited buffet of corrupt egomaniacs he could drain without feeling guilty. He congratulated himself on his success.

But it was a hollow victory.

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Written for Emma’s Title Prompt, Chelle’s Last Sentence Challenge, and Fandango’s Story Starter.

Genre Bingo 6

day of the dead couple makeup kiss

LONG POST WARNING!

Hello. I’ve been reviewing a bingo card full of different genres to expand my reading range. You can find my other reviews here: Genre Bingo 1, Genre Bingo 2, Genre Bingo 3, Genre Bingo 4, and Genre Bingo 5. Thanks for following along. Here are the latest four books I’ve finished.

1. Dream Man by Linda Howard, 1994. This falls into the romance category, though it’s also a thriller with lots of gore and death, along with a clairvoyant heroine. I picked it up for a quarter at the library book sale due to a vague memory of liking Howard’s books in the past. But meh. First, the POV’s of the hero and heroine were mixed together within scenes, and as I’ve said many times, this is a big no-no and an amateur writer’s mistake. Howard’s no amateur, so I guess she’s just sloppy. Second, I didn’t like the way the killer was apprehended, since our smarty-pants hero cop didn’t pick up on an early clue that would have resolved it differently (and better). Usually we get some explanation for the killer’s motivation in books like this, but here we had nothing. We could have had it, easily, because the POV of the murderer was included as well. Third, I no longer enjoy reading about hunky, moody men who “take what they want because they know she wants it too despite her protests.” There’s another word for this. One star.

Woman offering ghost spirit

2. Reluctant Concubine by Dana Marton, 2012. I chose this for the fantasy genre, though it was just a random selection from Amazon Prime’s free books. I didn’t want to purchase something in this genre, since I felt sure I wouldn’t like it. I actually enjoyed RC more than I thought I would though. First, it’s really well-written and stays consistently in first person, past tense. I know, that’s such a basic thing, but it’s amazing how often writers fail at it. Second, despite being annoyed that I couldn’t find a fantasy book with a protagonist other than a teenager journeying toward a “special destiny,” I appreciate the world that Marton created here and find Tera an interesting character. Third, the fantasy aspect is unexpectedly nice, given that it mostly centers around healing powers as opposed to monsters. The title is a bit off, however, and Marton admits it at the end. She wanted to call the book The Third Scroll, and did title it that initially, but it didn’t sell, so she changed the title, the cover, and the ending. It’s nice to have the “human element” come through directly from the author ~ I respect that. I gave the book three stars, which is not a bad rating. It means “I liked it.”

rosh hashanah apples honey

3. It’s almost Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), so it’s appropriate that I read a Jewish-themed book for one of the genre categories (historical fiction). This one is Rav Hisda’s Daughter, Book 1: Apprentice by Maggie Anton. I enjoyed it a lot (so much of it still relates to present day Jewish practice ~ Orthodox, anyway), though at times it was hard to follow because of all the unfamiliar names. The story takes place around Babylonia in 285 CE, as the youngest daughter of an esteemed rabbi comes of age and marries. Life is often extremely difficult, even for the wealthy, and misfortune spares no one. This is one of the reasons Dada (the daughter’s nickname) becomes interested in magic ~ people often blame evil spirits for death/disease/barrenness and seek spells and amulets to protect themselves. It’s interesting the way some of the women find ways around the patriarchal culture to earn money and even keep property for themselves. The title refers to Dada learning the trade of a “sorceress,” meaning she creates amulets, bowls, and other items, inscribing them with specific prayers, that people purchase in order to protect themselves from curses and demons. I gave the book four stars and may read more in the series, though I do have a ton of books in my queue already right now. We shall see!

Jar stars planets space

4. For the paranormal category, I read Semi-Charmed by Isabel Jordan. This is really an erotic romance novel… it just happens to contain a seer (heroine), a slayer (hero), a shapeshifter, a pile of vampires, and others with special abilities. The normal romance novel elements and dynamics remain in play throughout, though the ending is a bit more ambiguous than the traditional HEA in order to entice us to continue along in the series. Even though this book had its good moments along with lots of amusing banter, I don’t think I’ll be reading any more in this series (or genre). Two stars. Less rapey than Howard’s book (above), but again POVs were mixed up in scenes. Also, I can handle one woo ability in a character, but when they all have something? Nah.

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Tapping at the Window

Woman phone text bed night

Pamela was in bed, dozing off while playing word games on her phone, when something repeatedly began tapping at the window. She opened it and in flew Cupid, a bit older and fatter than she’d expected.

“Lady,” he said. “We need to talk.”

“Uh oh. That sounds serious.” She locked the window and pulled the shades.

Cupid held out a bunch of arrows. “Look at all these! How am I supposed to use them on you if you never go anywhere? I get docked for any leftovers, which isn’t fair, but I don’t make the rules.”

Pamela shrugged. “That sounds like a you problem. Use them on someone else.”

“No can do.” He shook his curly head. “They were assigned exclusively to you and you’ll get in trouble for unused ones too. You don’t even want to know your penalty.”

She counted six arrows. “That’s ridiculous. There’s no possible way I—”

“You began with eleven,” he interrupted.

“Eleven!” Pamela shrieked. “Does everyone get eleven?”

He laughed. “Of course not. Most get two, maybe three.”

“I don’t remember falling in love five times.”

“Brad, Chad, Vlad, Moopy, and Doodle.”

“Pets count?” she smiled “I think we can work something out.”

“Good.” Cupid walked to the door. “Don’t wait too long. You aren’t getting any younger.”

Pamela rolled her eyes and started googling shelters on her phone. Cupid waddled out, clutching his arrows. She closed the door.

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Written for Emma’s Wednesday Writing Prompt (title) and Chelle’s Last Sentence Challenge.

Splish Splash [fss]

bath bubbles washing soap

When he decided to spy on his wife, the last thing he expected was to discover that she was a mermaid. He’d read about such things and had even seen a movie about it, but he never thought it would happen to him. The camera he’d installed in the bathroom didn’t lie though, and now he knew why Lila spent most of the night in the tub. He had thought she was texting a lover, or secretly using some drugs or chemicals, but nope. She’d fill the tub, disappear into the bubbly depth, and stay under for hours. When she emerged, her bottom half had transformed into a shiny, turquoise, wet, scaly tail. Then she’d let out the water and dry off, using all the towels in the cupboard. After an hour, her tail would transform back into legs and she’d throw the towels in the washer.

“Honey,” he said that night. “I have figured out why our water and electric bills are so much higher than average.”

Lila gave him an angelic smile. “Why’s that, sweetie?”

“Because you are taking a full bath every night and doing extra loads of laundry.”

“I do like to be clean,” she said. “Would you like another piece of salmon?”

He shook his head. “No thanks. I’m full, and it was delicious as usual. Is there something you want to tell me, Lila?”

She took their plates into the kitchen. “Yes,” she said. “I bought the fancy ice cream for dessert.”

“That’s okay.” He sighed. He supposed he could live with a mermaid wife and the high utility bills. There were worse things, after all. “I hope it’s chocolate chip mint.”

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Written for Fandango’s Story Starter 63 and Go Dog Go Café’s Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge (depth and chemicals).

The Heart-Shaped Balloon

jump for joy heart balloon

They were always the cutest couple and we all knew they’d get married. I crashed their wedding and ate their cake, but they didn’t even notice because they were so wrapped up in each other. When I saw her mom glaring, I dashed outside.

Their electric blue hybrid waited in front, festooned with streamers, cans, and heart-shaped balloons. Nobody was watching, so I sidled over and took a balloon from the bunch on the bumper ~ the biggest, heartiest, puffiest, reddest one of all.

And now I’m floating, up to the heavens, afraid to let go. What have I done?

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Written for the Carrot Ranch Story Challenge (99 words).

5 Favorite Adaptations

movies film projector

Dr. Tanya continues her #5Things series by asking about our favorite adaptations from books to film. I hope she asks about our most hated ones too!

1. The Shining by Stephen King. This one is obvious, I realize, but I have to mention it. I’m a big King fan, and of course I love Jack Nicholson, so this one is at the top of my list. The book and film are different from each other, but in a good way. Jack puts his own spin on the crazy writer dad, and it’s fab.

2. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. I suspected the movie wouldn’t do justice to the philosophical and political complexities of the novel, and I was correct. But the film is still excellent! It doesn’t try to recreate the book, but instead it features only a few themes, which is definitely the right move. Daniel Day Lewis is superb as the unfaithful doctor.

3. Speaking of… how about Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak? This is a massive saga of a novel, with loads of history, politics, and plot twists, yet the film captures it all. It’s over three hours long, but it’s never boring! I shall watch it again one of these days. Omar Sharif (RIP) and Julie Christie are wonderful as Zhivago and Lara.

4. Shopgirl by Steve Martin. I love Steve as a writer and an actor, and here we have the best of both worlds in a sad love story. Steve wrote the novella and stars in the film. Both are great!

5. Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Dare I say the movie surpassed the book? I first saw it in 3D, which was awesome. I watched it again more recently in 2D, and it still held up. The book is good, but at times it becomes a bit tedious, while the film remains exciting throughout.

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Tanya [fss]

Sexy vampire

After the shock of seeing the amount of his latest electricity invoice wore off, Ted decided that, in order to save energy going forward, he would… become a vampire. Since he worked at home anyway, choosing his own hours to create marketing copy for travel agencies, he could easily do so by moonlight instead of powering up during daylight hours when energy rates were highest. His salary wasn’t the greatest, but he vastly preferred working on his own to making more money at a corporation where one was required to make constant inane chitchat with fellow employees and suck up to managers. Ted now realized that his introverted, reclusive personality was perfect for his new lifestyle as a vampire, and in a roundabout way he had the electric company’s gouging to thank for that epiphany.

But where to meet a lovely female vampire to assist in his transition? Naturally, being somewhat of a techie, Ted turned to the personal ads, bypassing traditional dating sites for Mystical Match. Here, one could peruse profiles from witches, genies, werewolves, and even some of the minor gods. Ted set his filters to female vampires only, up to 500 years old, as one needed to have some standards, and within a thousand miles. He figured if he connected with the right vamp, she’d have no issue with transforming into a bat or something and flying to him. After all, it was an honor for them to switch someone over.

In no time at all, Ted met Tanya, who was happy to leave her stifling basement apartment in the city for Ted’s home in the ‘burbs. She particularly liked his huge basement, protected from the sun, where they could hang out and watch old movies when they weren’t snoozing during daytime. After his transition, Ted spent most nights working harder than ever in order to pay for all the furniture and what-not Tanya was ordering, but he was happy to have her there. Until today.

“Tanya!” Ted shrieked when he saw his latest invoice from the electric company. “This is three times that huge bill I told you about. What’s going on?”

She shrugged. “It’s probably that huge refrigerator system I had installed. How else are we to keep our blood fresh? I’m certainly not going to go out hunting every night when I’ve gotten hooked on Downton Abbey.”

“You’ve been running the air conditioning all day too,” Ted complained. “Look at this!”

“I’m going through the change,” she said, baring her teeth. “Stop criticizing me.”

Ted began to think he had made a terrible mistake.

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Written for Fandango’s Story Starter 59.

Feathers [fss]

White feathers

I awoke from a sound sleep, and before I could switch on the light a strange vapor clouded my senses. It was cool to the touch and smelled like eucalyptus. An angel began to form in the mist, glowing brightly and wearing a robe of white feathers.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” she said, and I realized how precarious my situation was.

“But… but I still haven’t lived all my days,” I protested weakly. “There are things I need to do. Besides, I thought you were a myth.”

“You should have written that book when you were off work instead of playing video games,” she admonished. “And why haven’t you proposed to Laura?”

“I meant to, but I couldn’t afford a nice ring. She knows I love her. I think. And gaming helped my, uh, creative process.” I winced at the fragility of my denial.

“Psssh,” the angel said, clearly unimpressed.

“Give me another chance,” I begged. “I swear I will do…” But my words stuck in my throat, which was dry as sandpaper, and the angel vanished.

“Good morning, Zack,” a male voice intoned. “I just took your vitals, and your doctor will be making his rounds shortly. I’ll leave a cup of ice chips on your tray. Your phone is here too.”

Wait, what? I struggled to make sense of this. “Where’s the angel?” I rasped.

He laughed as he walked away. “You mean your surgeon? I’ll be sure to tell her you think she’s an angel. Have some ice for your throat.”

Surgeon, right. I remembered I was in the hospital for an appendectomy. The angel had been a mirage. Crazy anesthesia!

I had a sudden urge to call my girlfriend Laura. As I reached for my phone, a white feather floated from the tray table down to the floor.

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Written for Fandango’s Story Starter 58.

Waiting

Green moon

I’ll be waiting for you
In the garden of screams,
Where slivers of light
Slash through the trees.
Demons are dancing
To a dramatic beat—
Keep your eyes closed
And suspend disbelief.

~*~
©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

Written for Moonwashed Musings and the Skeptic’s Kaddish W3-13.