Thursday teaser: Things That Are Just True

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A frightful fragment from

Corinne O’Flynn

I was nine years old when the darkness claimed my daddy. I watched it happen with my own two eyes. I know what you’re thinking; I can see it in your face. But you can file that under the heading of Things That Are Just True.

It happened right over there, just across the other side of the cemetery. It was summertime and that magnolia tree was in full bloom. You can’t tell it now, what with it being winter and all, but believe me when I say the smell of those flowers filled the air so thick it was as if the good Lord above had thrown open the Pearly Gates to welcome my grandpa, spilling the heavenly scent over his funeral like a blanket. I was just a kid back then, but God as my witness; I will never forget the smell of the flowers on that tree. 

The funeral ended and everyone milled around—tossing flowers into the grave, and giving my daddy condolences as he stared down at my grandfather’s coffin. Most people shook hands with the pastor from the next town over who had come to stand in for my father, who was a pastor himself but wasn’t expected to preside over his own daddy’s funeral. I was a shy child then, so I hung back, content to watch from a distance instead of being in the thick of any activity. 

Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

And that’s when I saw it. 

The darkness slithered right up out of the grave. It spread across the too-green sheet of fake grass covering the dirt pile they would later dump on top of Grandpa’s coffin and tamp down flat. Eventually real grass would grow over it, leaving the world to think that Grandpa had always lived right there in his hole.

The darkness pooled like a smoky black cloud for a moment near the base of the dirt pile and then it moved in my direction. I remember holding my breath as it slinked across the top of the tidy neighboring graves, snaked unseen through the legs of the mourners, and covered a patch of dandelions as it coiled up over the tips of my newly shined shoes. One of my laces had come undone, and as my feet turned icy I worried if my untied laces had acted like an invitation, an open door to let the darkness get inside.

The night before, my daddy had shown me how to polish my leather shoes. He seemed nervous and a little distracted but soon fell into the familiar rhythm of daubing and buffing, daubing and buffing. I sat across the kitchen table from him, each of us with a shoe over one hand and an oily brush in the other. He showed me how to rub the black polish into the leather and buff it with a rag until it gleamed. The air in the room had filled with the tangy smell of gasoline and wax that was both delicious and sickening as he explained the procedure and told me with a wink to file that under the heading of Things Every Man Should Know.

The mourners continued to disperse from the graveside as the darkness wafted away from my cold, cold feet and found its way to my daddy. I watched and waited for it to pool around his shiny black shoes and turn his toes icy before moving on to someone else. 

But instead, it stopped. 

Then the darkness just seeped right up into him as if his feet were a thirsty sponge and the darkness was a cool, wet puddle. 

My father turned to me at that moment and smiled. It was a good smile, a real one with kindness and truth. But it was his eyes that stopped me cold. The dad-ness had gone from his eyes, replaced by something not-my-daddy.

Sometimes, when the light shines through glass just right, it breaks into slices of color so bright and pure you could almost forget about the darkness. And sometimes the darkness is so strong it conceals the true nature of everything so completely you could forget the light even exists. That was the kind of darkness I had felt in my feet back then and had seen in my daddy’s eyes when he smiled at me all those years ago. You can file that under the heading of Things I’ve Never Told Anyone.

About the story 

Believe it or not, the genesis of this story came from a real event. While the true story did not entail a seeping darkness creeping from the grave nor any missing persons, it did have to do with an evil spirit that possessed someone, and impacted their family in disturbing ways. Of course, my mind exploded with the possibilities of how to develop this as a fictional story, and thus Things That are Just True was born.

Where to get it

Readers can get this story for free by subscribing to my newsletter (they actually get three stories, and this is the third) or they can grab it online in the anthology Dead Night: Four Fits of Fear

Corinne O’Flynn

Corinne O’Flynn, romantic fantasy

is a productivity geek, graphic designer, ghostwriter, and the author of an ever-growing list of fantasy and mystery novels and short stories.

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and a professional napper. She also serves on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

You can check out all of her books on her website or on Amazon.

Anyone interested in staying connected can sign up for her emailsWhether you’re a fan of mystery or fantasy stories, or a fellow busy human looking for ways to build your own productivity systems, Corinne O’Flynn invites you to join her as she shares what she learns on her adventures.

“I believe in doing things with intention, and making sure those intentions are good. :)”

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Book launch: Death Comes Ashore

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A new urban fantasy series

By Corinne O’Flynn

The deepest mysteries lie within… 

When Detective Corey Proctor became a cop, she put her ridiculous family history well behind her. Being the only female descendant of the Proctors and Coreys of Salem Witch Trials fame made her a target at an early age. But there’s no magic here, thank you very much… her kidnappers saw to that.

As she begins investigating a murder on New England’s Nahant Island, Corey’s troubled past comes roaring back like the turbulent waves that carried the victim’s body to the shore. Dark memories stirred up by the victim’s likeness threaten Corey’s ability to remain focused on the job. When a friend calls, worried that her daughter is missing, it’s one more thing to add to the ever-growing list. 

Corey’s always managed to keep her past where it belongs… in the past. But as her investigation progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that all she’s worked so hard to contain is threatening to reveal itself, ready or not.

Available now exclusively on Amazon.

Corinne O’Flynn

is a productivity geek, graphic designer, ghostwriter, and the author of an ever-growing list of fantasy and mystery novels and short stories.

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and a professional napper. She also serves on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

You can check out all of her books on her website or on Amazon.

Anyone interested in staying connected can sign up for her emailsWhether you’re a fan of mystery or fantasy stories, or a fellow busy human looking for ways to build your own productivity systems, Corinne O’Flynn invites you to join her as she shares what she learns on her adventures.

“I believe in doing things with intention, and making sure those intentions are good. :)”

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Thursday teaser: Forever Still

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Sample the new Vampire Brides novel, launching May 15.

By Corinne O’Flynn

The singer of country song on the car radio promises to make me the queen of his castle. With a name like Delilah Cecelia Elizabeth Rae Worthington, I should have been born a princess at least. But the closest I ever got to anything like that was growing up in Royal Hollywood Mobile Home Estates. Not to let the cliché end there, my father left when I was still in diapers and my mom chased one bad-news boyfriend after the next ever since.

Mama wanted to be an actress. She came to California like a bumpkin off the bus, and instead of working hard and going to auditions, she fell in with the party crowd and got into drinking and drugs. Then she got pregnant with me. I’m not disparaging her; she was always the first one to tell her story like that. She told me it was her cautionary tale about staying focused. 

She’d always remind me about it while I was finishing high school, then when I was in college working on my bachelors in nursing. 

“Nobody can ever take an education away from you, Delilah.” She’d poke her cigarette hand at me. “Don’t do what I did. You keep your head down and you work hard. Don’t give in to the temptations.” She said it like there was an official list of tempting things to be avoided. Maybe there is.

I did all right, in general. I finished school and I am a nurse, I don’t drink much, I don’t smoke, and I have never done drugs. But, in the boyfriend department… well, the spare tire doesn’t roll far from the mobile home.

My boyfriend, Earl—no royalty there either—isn’t much better than many of my mother’s choices. None of this comes as a surprise; I mean, when considering the potential role models of my childhood, the bench isn’t deep. He hit me so hard last night that I spun around. When I opened my eyes I was face-to-face with the two urns containing my mother and her fiancé, Cleveland’s ashes.

Something in me had snapped to attention as I stared at my mother’s urn. I heard her voice in my head saying, Stop this. Break away. You don’t have to live like this, Darlin’ D! And that’s all it took. I decided in that moment to change my life. 

I’ve never been one to stress about choices. I make up my mind and I do the thing. So, I waited for Earl to get the beating out of his system, and then I dropped an Ambien in his beer when I served him his dinner. Once he was asleep, I cleaned my stuff out of our mobile home, packed my car full of everything it could hold, and I hit the road.

I don’t have a plan, and I don’t know where I am going to end up, but I do know one thing.

“That’s all behind me now.” I speak to my reflection in the rear-view and touch my fingertip to the bruise that’s been rising on my cheek all night. It’s a big one, damn it. I’ll need to get some makeup on that when I stop.

Forever Still is one of 11 Paranormal Romance Novellas releasing this month with the Midnight Coven group.

It releases May 15, 2019, and you can pre-order it now.

Love never dies. But it can be damn bloody…

Miles

If there’s one thing I’ve learned after more than five hundred years on this earth, it’s that history always repeats itself, and usually in the worst way possible. So when Delilah checks in to my hotel, all the signs are there—she’s stunningly beautiful, achingly irresistible, and as history has taught me, one-hundred percent dangerous.

The last time I took a chance like this, it broke my heart and almost cost me my immortal life. I’ve managed to survive all these years by heeding the warnings my instincts raise. Ignoring them now feels foolish and short-sighted, but I can’t stay away; she’s everything my soul wants, history be damned.

Delilah

With my mother’s ashes riding shotgun, and my loser ex-boyfriend passed out in our trailer in my rear view mirror, I am finally free. I’ve had enough of being told what to do and how to live. It’s time for me to take charge of my destiny on my terms and see what fate sends my way. When I stop in Lake Tahoe and Miles crosses in my path, it feels like fate is testing me to see if I will throw myself into the the arms of the first guy I meet—just like I always do.

He’s beautiful, kind, and completely enamored—all the things I have never known a man could be. But how can I ever make a new future if I keep reliving my past?

The Midnight Coven presents: Vampire Brides

Tall, dark and handsome, these vampires are no strangers to the art of the hunt. Seduction and secrecy have ruled their lives for centuries, but these eleven alpha vamps are about to meet their matches and say “I do” to their forever mates.

From eleven bestselling paranormal romance authors comes an all new series of standalone novellas set in a shared world. Grab your kindles and get ready to meet your new favorite vampires.

Find all the Brides here at their Facebook group. Join for exclusive updates.

Corinne O’Flynn

is a productivity geek, graphic designer, ghostwriter, and the author of an ever-growing list of fantasy and mystery novels and short stories.

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and a professional napper. She also serves on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

You can check out all of her books on her website or on Amazon.

Anyone interested in staying connected can sign up for her emailsWhether you’re a fan of mystery or fantasy stories, or a fellow busy human looking for ways to build your own productivity systems, Corinne O’Flynn invites you to join her as she shares what she learns on her adventures.

“I believe in doing things with intention, and making sure those intentions are good. :)”

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Six reasons why you should vlog like nobody’s watching

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Monday Musings

By Corinne O’Flynn

Let talk about video blogging—vlogging. I can hear you saying to yourself, “Vlogging? What do you mean, vlogging? I am not a YouTuber… I am a writer!”
Trust me, I totally get it. But I’m here to share with you six reasons why vlogging is something you should consider adding to your author platform—even if you don’t think anyone is watching.

Vlog to become a better speaker

Even if you’re already a decent public speaker, vlogging will improve your speaking skills because it forces you to address your audience directly. When you’re vlogging, you usually have to look at the camera. Even if you’re demonstrating something with your hands, there will be (and should be) a large portion of your video that features you facing the audience. This means that while you can have notes to assist you during your talk, the medium lends itself to more conversational and natural speaking.

Vlog to become a better storyteller

When you start vlogging, you start thinking about vlogging. And when you start thinking about vlogging, you start thinking about topics and how you’re going to share them. Vlogging is done in short intervals, which requires you to be concise and stay on topic. Being able to distill your message to make it interesting and engaging is a skill that develops as you vlog. Being able to shape your message into a story will engage your audience!

Vlog to connect with your audience

Video allows your audience to see you as a real human—to truly connect. While conventional blogging is alive and well, adding video to your repertoire will bring your audience closer to who you are as a person. They see your personality, your wit, and your humor. They see how you move, they hear your voice. They see you. The reason authors have a platform is so we can connect with our audience.

Vlog to diversify content and Your Audience

People consume content online via blogs, podcasts, images, audio, and video. The more ways you have to connect with people, the more people you’ll connect with! It’s that simple. Adding vlogging to your platform will help you broaden your reach. Video isn’t going anywhere—it’s only gaining popularity.

Learn a relevant skill

Video is the present and the future. Learning to vlog is a valuable skill that will help you maintain an interesting and diversified platform to reach your readers. It is so easy to start vlogging with only a cellphone! Whether you’re reading from your own writing, talking about your process, sharing a book review, or just talking about life, your audience wants to hear from you. Why not try doing a video next time, instead of blogging?

Vlogging is fun!

When most people start vlogging, there is a lot of stress over what to wear, where to sit, how you look… but I’m here to tell you that the message is what’s most important. I used to stress about lighting and what was in the background of my videos, and what my hair looked like. But the reality is that people tune in to my videos to hear what I’m going to say. They’ve seen me vlogging from my car, from my office, all dressed up after a night out, and on days when I haven’t left the house. They’ve even seen me lounging on my couch with my dogs in front of the Christmas tree. If nothing else, vlogging has made me much more at ease with how I connect with my followers, and it’s shown me that being real on camera has made that connection deeper.

Corinne O’Flynn

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and a professional napper. She also serves on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

You can check out all of her books on her website or on Amazon.

Anyone interested in staying connected can sign up for her emailsWhether you’re a fan of mystery or fantasy stories, or a fellow busy human looking for ways to build your own productivity systems, Corinne O’Flynn invites you to join her as she shares what she learns on her adventures.

“I believe in doing things with intention, and making sure those intentions are good. :)”

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Thursday teaser: Defenders of the Realm

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This week’s urban fantasy teaser is from

The Aumahnee Prophecy Book 4

By Lisa Manifold and Corinne O’Flynn

I spun a U-turn and parked the car in one of the angled spots outside the bookshop and fought to stop laughing. Something about that billboard struck me funny. Here we were—a fae warrior with an invisible sword and magic portal stones that didn’t work, and me, a witch who had recently been turned into a wolf shifter—driving across country, looking for the keepers of an ancient portal to allow us to travel to the Fae Realm. And as we arrived in this tiny town, the first thing we saw was an advertisement for conspiracy hunters? What are the odds?

“Marigold, I do not see what has made you laugh so.” Eamonn was so earnest and serious it made me laugh even harder. I sputtered, fighting to get the words out between fits of the giggles.

“Maybe we should… should call them. You know? The crackers, or whatever they were called, from the billboard. We could report a witch-wolf and a fae spotted in Eureka.” My voice rose up higher and higher until I squeaked out the words. The unreality of everything that had happened over the past few weeks seemed to have finally caught up with me.

Eamonn smiled and laughed a little, the moment finally growing contagious. “It is nice to see you…feeling better. Happier.” His sherry eyes held mine, bringing me back to earth and stirring something else inside me.

I wiped the tears from my eyes and checked my face in the mirror. Life at the no-tell motels hadn’t done me any favors. I pulled my unruly hair into a braid and tied it with a hair tie I wore around my wrist. I had no makeup on—wolf shifting was not at all kind to mascara—but on the whole I just looked tired. Whatever. It would have to do. “Okay, so what’s the plan? How does this go?”

Eamonn looked at me and the setting sun made his sherry eyes seem to glow. Damn. 

“Well, I suppose we walk inside the shop and request the portal from the portal keepers. Then we will be on our way.”

“There’s no secret handshake or anything? That doesn’t seem very secure.” I couldn’t understand why he didn’t seem to be more bothered about this.

“Honestly, I do not know what we shall find. I have never used one of the old portals for travel. I’ve never met a portal keeper for that matter.”

“Alright-y, then. Let’s do this.” I turned the key and listened as Matthias’ old Buick rattled to a stop. That we’d finally be out of this car was a blessing no matter where we ended up. This thing sucked. 

Eamonn opened his door and used it for cover as he attached his sword to his belt. The moment he let it go, the sword and scabbard became invisible.

“Do you really think that is necessary?” I asked, eyeing his sword.

“Given the current climate across all the Realms, I’m not willing to take any risks. Besides, would you have me leave it behind?” He smoothed the front of his black T-shirt, checked his hair in the window’s reflection, and looked through and caught me watching. He arched an eyebrow at me and smiled.

I rolled my eyes, hoping he wouldn’t see me blush as I walked around the front of the car to meet him.

About Defenders of the Realm

War is here. There is no escape.

A witch at risk.

For Marigold, the questions keep mounting while answers remain elusive. With the drama surrounding her mother growing darker and the intrigue regarding her missing sister deepening, Marigold struggles to face reality over the lengths her family is willing to go to get what they want.

A Fae warrior in turmoil.

Navigating his new position in the King’s court should be enough to keep Eamonn busy, but he can’t stop thinking about Marigold’s illness, and her willingness to put herself in harm’s way–both of which could be deadly. He failed the king once before, he will not do it again.

The portals between the realms are broken and the Veil is under attack. The battle waged by the wolves–and their odd alliance with the witches–threatens everything the Fae hold dear.

And despite it all, the prophecy continues to unfold.

Available on Amazon.

Corinne O’Flynn

is a productivity geek, graphic designer, ghostwriter, and the author of an ever-growing list of fantasy and mystery novels and short stories.

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and a professional napper. She also serves on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

You can check out all of her books on her website or on Amazon.

Anyone interested in staying connected can sign up for her emailsWhether you’re a fan of mystery or fantasy stories, or a fellow busy human looking for ways to build your own productivity systems, Corinne O’Flynn invites you to join her as she shares what she learns on her adventures.

“I believe in doing things with intention, and making sure those intentions are good. :)”

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Monday Musings: Life imitates fantastic events

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By Corinne O’Flynn

It’s interesting when life imitates art, but pretty strange when events in a fantasy author’s life echo something from their fiction. When this question was first posed to me—to share a moment when something from my fiction seemed echoed in real life, my instinct was to dismiss it. I mean, I write paranormal suspense and fantasy adventure with telepathic talking animals and ghosts—what could there possibly be that reflects on something that happened in my life after the books were written?

I sat down and thought about my character’s journeys, looking for events in their inner growth that later appeared in my own life. But then I remembered a particularly amazing moment I had with what I feel was a ghost that could have come directly from the pages of one of my books. 

In my book, Ghosts of Witches Past, the main character, Wavy McClintock is a witch with the rare ability to see ghosts. She cloisters herself in her village because she knows where the local ghosts are and how to avoid them. During the course of ths story, she has a moment where she sees her mother’s ghost. The sight doesn’t scare her; she is intrigued and curious and tries to catch up with the ghost. 

As someone who writes about the paranormal, it should come as no surprise that I am interested in all kinds of new age things. One afternoon, I was with a friend at her house so she could perform Healing Touch on me. For those of you who may not be familiar, Healing Touch is a modality of energy work for stress reduction and relaxation to promote healing of the body, mind, and spirit. Like Reiki, it is performed fully-clothed, on a massage table, and in my case, under a blanket.

I should preface this story by sharing that my friend is someone who was a very close friend of my mother’s while she was alive. It isn’t odd for her to share that she had a dream about my mother or felt her presence with her from time to time. In fasct, she almost always shared these things with me because I so rarely have them. 

This one evening, while laying on the table during a Healing Touch session, I had the strangest sensation. The room was dark and I lay on my back with my eyes closed. The session was nearing the end, and I had the sensation that the table was floating; almost as if it were suspended from the ceiling instead of standing on the floor. 

When the session was over, I was overcome with a lovely sense of calm. As I opened my eyes, I saw my deceased mother’s shape. She appeared in black and white, like chalky fog. She had been laying her ear on my chest, as if listening to my heart. As I sat up, she pulled away, smiled at me, and disappeared. 

I sat there stunned for a moment before mentioning it to my friend. We usually sit on the couch and chat after each session and discuss random things and catch up. My friend told me that she felt my mom with us the whole time, and wanted to mention it to me, but the session had already started and we don’t speak while she’s doing her energy work.

I know it sounds bizarre to share something of the paranormal, but I personally have had too many of these kinds of experiences to dismiss them outright. I want to believe that my mother is checking in on me. And now that I have made this connection to a moment in my book, I wonder if my subconscious was directing that part of the story. 

If nothing else, it’s intriguing (at least to me)!

Corinne O’Flynn

is a productivity geek, graphic designer, ghostwriter, and the author of an ever-growing list of fantasy and mystery novels and short stories.

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and a professional napper. She also serves on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

You can check out all of her books here on this website or on Amazon.

Get to know more about Corinne on her:

And follow her on Twitter at @CorinneOFlynn.

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