TITLE – Things from Other Worlds AUTHOR – Anne E. Johnson GENRE – Children’s literature / science fiction PUBLICATION DATE – October, 2015 LENGTH (Pages/# Words) - 84 pages PUBLISHER – Anne E. Johnson COVER ARTIST – James for GoOnWrite.com
Many strange things wait inside these pages. There's a fuzzy ball of kindness, camped out on a grumpy man's porch. A chewed piece of gum with a mind of its own. A smart Alec who actually stands in line twice when they're handing out brains. A girl who isn't afraid when all the plants in her neighborhood come to life.
This collection of 15 science fiction and fantasy stories for kids by award-winning author Anne E. Johnson is perfect for ages 8-12, or anyone with a child's heart.
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EXCERPTTHE CRUSTY-HEARTED MAN (Excerpt from Story No. 15 in Things from Other Worlds)
Outside our town, a few miles from where Jimbo’s gas station used to be, an old man lived all by himself. Everybody knew he was there, but nobody actually knew him. He’d show up a few times a year to buy canned goods at Ruth & Bobby’s, but that was it. Not a soul, not even the oldest soul in town, could remember a time when that man hadn’t been around. He must have been two hundred years old. Some said more like three hundred.
Truth was, he’d been out of touch with people for so long that nobody could remember his name.
He couldn’t even remember his own name. Folks said that a crust had grown over his heart.
The heart’s a funny organ, though. It’s tougher than you’d think, and can survive through pretty much anything. It’s like a tulip bulb. No matter how icy and long the winter is, that little bulb stays alive under the frozen ground until it’s time to shoot up a new sprout, green and full of life.
But for some especially frosty people, there’s rarely enough sunshine to wake up their hearts. It takes something spectacular, maybe even something from another world. I’ll tell you what happened to this old, old man, and you’ll see what I mean.
Nobody wanted to have anything to do with him. Flies and grubs and spiders occasionally tiptoed into the walls of his house, but most were never heard from again. The younger raccoons and rabbits only touched his front stoop on a dare because their parents warned them not to.
“Get away!” the old man would scream hoarsely while shaking a frying pan above his head.
Every living creature, from human on down to bedbug, knew enough to keep off the old man’s property. But that knowledge had not been broadcast across space. So, when an alien landed in a clearing in the woods one late winter afternoon, it didn’t realize what it was up against. It was scared and a little woozy after a rough landing, although it wasn’t afraid. It had been brought up to assume that all beings will do right by each other when given the chance. Poor little thing.
I bet you think an alien is a spindly sort that looks like it’s made of green plastic. Well, not this one. It was furry. Oh, so furry. Picture fur as thick as a polar bear’s and as soft as a mink’s. Now double how thick and soft it is. Now color it blue-green. This deep, soft, dark fur was all over its body, which was short and wide. The alien, standing, came up just past your knees, but was too wide to get your arms around.
It had two giant tangerine-orange toenails on each of its four feet. Its eyes, too, were the color of tangerines, but twice as big. They were very close together in its head, and surrounded by fur, giving it a very intense look. Your average human would probably describe this alien as “the cutest thing I’ve ever seen,” and make a sound that went something like “Awwww.”
Well, this little alien was in need of shelter and food. It didn’t know the plants and animals of our planet, so it shuffled right by some perfectly edible berries and nuts. But it recognized a building when it saw one. And so it approached the old man’s house in the middle of the woods, with hope in its heart but nothing in its belly.
“MMMnnnyonggg,” it called out from the yard. Nothing stirred in the house, but several woodchucks and foxes gathered to watch from a safe distance. The alien trundled up the front steps. Once it caught its fur on the rotting wood, but freed itself like a real trooper. Inside the house, the old man heard a nasal howl.
He assumed it was a wolf or an injured bear. “Durn thing’s up on the porch,” said the crusty-hearted man as he pulled his frying pan down from its nail. “I’ll teach ʼem whose house this is.”
The old man shoved the front door open so hard it smacked against the rotten siding. A few shingles crumbled and fell. The woodland creatures watching the show skittered deeper into the shadows, fearing what would come next.
But the alien didn’t move. It didn’t know it was supposed to be afraid of the sound of wood smacking wood, or the sight of a two-legged earthling holding a round metal object. It assumed this was either a way to say “hello,” or else a communication device telling the whole planet about its arrival. Those were the only options that made sense to the alien. Widening its eyes and puffing up its fur, it tried to look as friendly as possible.For his part, the old man was so puzzled that he forgot to swing the pan. “You’re not a bear,” he accused the blue-green furry thing. “You’re sure not a wolf. What are you? Gorilla?”
The alien didn’t know what the word “gorilla” meant, but it enjoyed the sound, so it waddled a little closer to the cool-talking human.
“GGgggrrrrill,” said the alien, trying to fit in.
The old man just snorted and slammed the door, leaving the alien alone on the porch.
As the author of dozens of published short stories, Anne E. Johnson has won writing prizes for both children's and adults' short fiction. Her short fiction for kids has appeared in FrostFire Worlds, Wee Tales, Jack & Jill, Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, Rainbow Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her stories for adults can be found in Alternate Hilarities, The Future Fire, Liquid Imagination, and SpeckLit. For a complete list of her published stories, please visit AnneEJohnson.com. She also writes science fiction novels, including the humorous Webrid Chronicles series.
To give back to the writing and children’s lit community, Anne is a volunteer story judge at RateYourStory and writes a weekly column called Kid Lit Insider for EatSleepWrite.net.
Anne grew up in Wisconsin but moved to New York City over 20 years ago. She now lives in Brooklyn with her husband, playwright Ken Munch.
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PARAMOUR FOR THE DEVIL
AUTHOR: Savannah Hill
GENRE: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Darkly erotic. Supremely powerful.
Haley Hawthorne is a witch. She shuns her paranormal gifts, instead escaping into a mundane, reclusive life as an accountant for her Uncle Eli’s firm. Five years earlier, Haley was kidnapped by Raden, brother of Lucifer, and held captive as his personal sex slave. She escaped but still bears the scars, both physical and emotional. Now she’s turned away from both magic and sex, and she’s certain nothing will ever bring those lost things back into her life...
Damian, son to Lucifer, has renounced his right to the throne of Hell and has become a soldier for Adversus, hunting evil supernatural creatures on Earth. Unfortunately, he’s powerless to witches, and this witch can read his mind. He can’t decide what is more dangerous—the irresistible attraction he feels for her, or the intoxicating peace she gives him. One thing is certain, they both share a tortured past.
After Damian rescues her from an attack by monstrous djinn, Haley discovers the dangerously seductive soldier has secrets of his own. One of them is the collection of whips, ropes, handcuffs, and a leather riding crop he keeps locked away, though he refuses to show her his “Master” side. But when her trust in him grows, she finds herself increasingly intrigued by all the kinky things he’s hiding. But Damian has been given a new mission to kill a monster. A monster that turns out to be her uncle...
Damian abruptly woke on the couch in the darkened living room with the sense he was being watched. He furrowed his brows at the dangerous witch in front of him, scarcely able to make out her hourglass figure in the sliver of sunlight from a gap in the curtain.
"What are you doing?" Lowering his arm to his side, he sat upright.
"Oh, I'm sorry." Haley's gaze darted downward. "I was..." He tried to probe her mind, and she promptly pushed him out, forming an invisible shield around her thoughts. "I was looking for Adam." She cleared her throat lightly.
Panicked by her unknown intentions as his eyes adjusted to the low light in the room, he pinpointed his gaze on her. A blur of white and black polka dotted silk, awkwardly standing with her face turned away from him. Her neckline plunged deeply, brought up to tie in a silky bow behind her slender neck, accentuating her bare shoulders.
"He's in the library." Surprised at how soft his own voice sounded, Damian suddenly felt an intense urge to pull at the ribbon until it slid down her perky breasts.
"Oh, alright, thank you." Her eyes wandered nervously. "I wasn't...um...watching you."
He raised an eyebrow as her creamy complexion turned pink.
"Adam, I mean, Aimee said Adam was in here, so..." The girl could barely breathe.
Shameful self-loathing tore through him as he recalled her tear-filled eyes, their bright blue depths staring up at him from Raden's table.
She rushed to the doorway, a black tulle slip under the hem of her dress swaying at her sexy thighs. With a sudden ache in his groin, he caught a peek at the red soles on her black high heels. Her ponytail bounced as she hurried away from him. He imagined how she would look perched on his lap without any clothes on.
Forcefully eliminating that thought from his mind, he stood, cracking his neck back and forth, and headed into the sun-soaked hallway. She's a goddamn witch, what are you thinking? He happened to be oddly vulnerable to their magic, rendered completely powerless, and tended to harbor an automatic hatred for them. If this beautiful witch was, in fact, planning any kind of vengeance toward him, he'd be royally fucked. Not to mention, she's Adam and Stephen's little sister. That's gotta be some kind of guy code violation.
Walking into an empty bathroom, he undressed to take a shower and found his cock standing firmly at attention. He rolled his eyes. Even if you did want her, I'm sure she fucking hates you. You let her get tortured while you sat inches away. Leave her the fuck alone.
He scrubbed himself hard in the shower, trying to rid his mind of her, but was still achingly swollen between his legs. His thoughts drifted to what she'd looked like sleeping next to him the day before, perfect pink nipples barely showing through her lacy white top in just the right light, those sexy fuck-me heels with the red soles as she walked away. He'd never experienced such a strong attraction to anyone before, and it was insanely distracting, especially since she was entirely off-limits to him.
Lowering his head in frustration, he let the water wash over him for a moment. Just thinking about her couldn't hurt anything. He moved his hand to his pulsing cock and began to stroke it.
Savannah Hill is an erotic romance novelist diligently working to create a world that readers can truly experience and enjoy along with her. Captivated by romance at a very young age, she began writing love stories in grade school, always imagining new scenarios and characters. Addicted to her passion, her first novel, Paramour for the Devil, is the story that invaded her dreams until the final chapter was written. She is currently writing the sequel to Paramour, Seducing the Devil.
She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her man, the love of her life, and spends her days chasing their toddler boy who loves to giggle.
First, who are your favorite authors? What do you like about them?
I really love River Savage's men. They're total alphas, and they have really dirty mouths. She's great at tossing you right into the story. My favorite erotica author is Anne Rice, writing as A.N. Roquelaure, the Claiming of Sleeping Beauty quartet. Those books are wild and dirty. I also really enjoyed the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.
Are you reading a book now? Which one?
I'm reading two ARC's right now, Shadows by Amber Lacie and Degrees of Control by Eve Dangerfield, both are fun and sexy. I read them whenever I need to take a break from writing, and they are both really great so far.
What are you passionate about?
I love to write. When I'm in the writing zone, I feel like a complete person. Lately, I've taken an interest in cooking for my family (my man and our toddler boy). At least one home-cooked meal per day. I'm having a lot of fun with that. Our little boy eats up the meals I make a mistake with and doesn't like the ones that I think come out like perfection.
What does a perfect day look like for you?
If it's a writing day, complete solitude and dark, rainy weather. I live in WA, and I love that weather. For just a regular day, I love preparing for a big event, whether it's a fun party with our friends, or a vacation. I like getting up early when I have something to look forward to that day and marking things off the to-do list.
Is Paramour for the Devil a standalone story? What can your readers look forward to next?
It is actually the first book in the Hawthorne Witches series. I'm working on the sequel, Seducing the Devil, right now. The third and fourth books are about Haley's cousins, Emily and Cassie. They both fall in love with very dark supernatural men. I also have plans for novellas (or possibly full-length novels) for Haley's brothers, Adam and Stephen. And I just completed a novella called Unchained Love that should release by Christmas 2016. That one is about a wealthy girl whose father is running an underground fighting ring, and she comes across his newest prize fighter chained in the wine cellar. It's an erotic, violent holiday-themed story.
How do you feel about your characters in Paramour for the Devil? Do you think you'd get along with them? Would Damian be able to steal your heart?
Haley has a lot of respect for other females. She's passive by nature, but can be a total badass when she has to be, and she has two really fun best friends. I'd love to hang out with them. As for Damian, oh yes, I think he's so dreamy. He's definitely a bad boy, but he's got a vulnerable side underneath. He's also really kinky, I love that.
What inspired you to write this story?
I dreamed up the Damian character after watching many hours of Supernatural in my early twenties. Originally, I planned to write a sweet romantic comedy, and then I decided to tap into this fantasy I had for years about Damian, the son of Satan, joining the good guys and hunting evil creatures. I threw out my embarrassment about my friends/family knowing I was writing an erotic novel and chose to just go for it.
Do you have a favorite scene in the book? Why does it spark your interest?
I really love the BDSM scene toward the end of the book. Damian shows his "Master" side, and I think it's hot as hell. He uses his supernatural powers in combination with a riding crop. I'm excited to explore more of his Dominant side in the sequel and venture a little deeper into BDSM for Haley and Damian's sex life.
What type of scenes do you consider the most fun to write?
I love them all. I attempted to write many novels before this one (beginning in sixth grade) and I got bored easily, abandoning the book if I hit a boring scene. Then I decided that if the story bored me to write it, it would bore the readers too. I wanted this book to be a wild ride. That's my goal for all of my upcoming projects as well.
If Paramour for the Devil is adapted to film, which actress/actor would you envision for Haley and Damian?
I'd picture Danneel Ackles with bright blue eyes for Haley. For Damian, that is tough. I don't think I've seen an actor that looks just like him. Maybe the guy from Avatar if he had iridescent green eyes. Even then, I don't think he looks quite like him.
Is your own personality reflected in any of your characters?
Yes, a lot of the dialogue between Haley and her girlfriends, and between Haley and Damian (minus most of the dirty talk) are from actual conversations I've had with friends or with my man.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
If I had any advice to give, it would be to write what you genuinely love and power through your fears. Hard work and perseverance will always produce great results.
Is there anything specific you want to say to your readers?
THANK YOU for reading. :)
Trinity Morris, co-founder of You’re Not Alone, has a domestic violence past that still haunts her ten years later. She is devoted to helping victims find freedom and to sharing information on how to help them through their emotional and violent trials. While Trinity is presenting at a seminar, she comes across Gavin, a police officer who knows her past all too well.
It’s been ten years since he last saw her, but the moment Gavin’s eyes land on her, he’s intent on getting to know the woman who has haunted his dreams all these years.
Can Gavin break through the wall that Trinity has built around herself, or will the present and the past collide and take her away from him again?
Content Warning: deals with domestic violence and partner abuse
Content Warning: deals with domestic violence and partner abuse
PUBLISHED: November 10, 2015
I was usually a bit uneasy before I spoke, and now my empty stomach seemed to be roiling after that memory had passed through my mind.
I glanced around the hallway, intent on finding a peaceful place where I could gather my thoughts. I saw the door down the hallway and quickly entered the women’s restroom.
Inside, I found exactly what I needed, and I sank into a deep burgundy chair in the sitting area. Closing my eyes, I took a few deep breaths.
On the back of my eyelids the memory flashed again, only this time it was with the pulsing flash of amber ambulance lights around me. The strong solid chin, the thin pointed nose, the soft green eyes set back behind thick eyelashes blinked with the lights of the emergency vehicle. He wasn’t looking at me as my eyes opened, he had turned so I only saw his profile for a moment before it was replaced with other people and darkness sank in around me again.
I felt my pulse ticking quickly in my throat, the pain from that moment so long ago almost as alive as the memory. I lifted my hand and allowed my fingers to slide over my throat. I took a shaky breath to shove away the pain.
That was ten years ago and far away from here. There was no way that could be him.
Stacy has been a full-time police officer since 2000. Her current assignment is as Detective of her small town department. She enjoys crime scene investigation; taking a passion in putting the pieces together to figure out the crime. She is also a business owner where she helps people get the awareness out for the causes they care most about. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for her local Domestic Violence Center. She is a mother of two, a son proudly serving in the United States Navy and a tween daughter who is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and loves cheerleading. Her husband is also in law enforcement. She loves music and photography. Stacy has published 9 novels to date, with several more coming out in 2015.
Book Title: A Stone's Throw
Author: Debbie De Louise
Release Date: November 17, 2015
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers…
After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York, hoping to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library.
Secrets stretch decades into the past…
Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. But her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John.
Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered…
When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John.
As the pieces begin to fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident. The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears—Has she fallen in love with her husband’s killer?
Sneaky dug his paws into the quilt at her back. It had been a long time since she’d had a cat, but she recalled the kneading sensation both male and female cats practiced to comfort themselves. Maybe it would comfort her too. Had she done the right thing by returning to Cobble Cove? Would she be bored in this small town with only a hand full of people patronizing the library each day? Sheila had mentioned the large number of homebound patrons, the seniors of the town, who needed books delivered. She might enjoy that. She liked reader’s advisory work, selecting books that would interest people. Sometimes it was a challenge, but she always learned through the experience and even found new authors and books for herself.
After a few hours of restlessness, Sneaky finally got sick of her tossing and left the room. She felt strangely deserted. She decided it might be better to get up and do something than spend unproductive time in bed. She turned on the light and went out into the hall. All was quiet from downstairs except the continuous downpour. She didn’t plan to go into the library, but she considered checking some of the unprocessed books Sheila had mentioned Mac was working on in the storage room. Perhaps she’d find something more interesting than her current reading that could help her fall asleep.
When she entered the storage room, she didn’t see Sneaky, although she thought he might’ve headed there to use his litter box. Cats can be quiet and liked to sleep in the strangest spots, so he could be there in some corner. Mac’s jacket was still draped across the chair by the desk. She laughed recalling the story about what Sneaky had once done to it out of spite, so typical of an angered cat. She sat in the chair and perused the stack of books on the desk. A few were from James Patterson’s “Private” series. She didn’t read too many series and had only read a few of Patterson’s standalone titles. As she was about to choose a book from the pile, she heard scratching in the corner. She jumped. Hopefully, that was Sneaky and not a mouse he hadn’t caught, for this place probably attracted them. She walked cautiously to the corner where she’d heard the noise. It wasn’t coming from the litter box under the window but from the opposite side.
Since the one bulb in the room was dim, she could hardly see in the dark recesses of the room. She wished she had a flashlight. As she approached the area where she heard the noise, she saw a bunch of boxes. She was relieved to see Sneaky scratching the side of one, cardboard pieces scattered at his feet. “Oh, Sneaky,” she said. “You scared me, but you’re only using a box for a scratching post.” The cat, caught in the act, stopped in mid-scratch and scampered away through his cat flap. Alicia made a note to speak to John about helping her find a real scratching post for Sneaky,.but before she left the room, she went over to the boxes. She figured they contained more books, but when she looked inside the one Sneaky had been scratching, she saw a few papers bundled together with rope. Newspapers? They weren’t that thick. She realized as she picked up the first bundle, they were a stack of letters. She felt uneasy snooping through them and was about to toss them next to the other two stacks in the box when she caught the name on the top envelope, Miss Carol Parsons. Her heart thudded in tempo with the rain. Were these the letters Mac wrote to Peter’s mother all those years ago? If so, how had Mac gotten them back?
She dug deeper, despite a growing unease, and pulled out all the bundled letters. She brought them to the desk. While the first two bundles were addressed to Carol in different handwriting, the second bundle of letters hadn’t been opened. The last bundle was addressed to John McKinney in a flourished female hand. These looked as if they had been handled the most, and some of the letters spilled out of their envelopes.
For a moment, Alicia considered sitting down to read them. She could hardly go back to bed now. She knew they must be Mac’s private property, so she put them back where she found them. Mac hardly had them hidden because the box they were in wasn’t sealed. She decided to ask John about the letters the next day since he was already planning on questioning his father about the information Pamela gave them.
Surprisingly, after Alicia turned off the light and crawled back into bed, she fell asleep rather quickly next to Sneaky, who had rejoined her, a beige ball of fur purring a soothing lullaby that drowned out the rain.