Burn the World, Volume 1

My first full-length novel is available FREE at Smashwords!

Fiona had a rough start in Kentucky, but she worked her way out and now has everything going for her: a thriving medical spa chain in Miami, great friends, and a hot tub on her rooftop deck. When not one, but two men of her dreams arrive in her life, she must choose between a volatile artist who gave up his entire life in New York City to be with her, and a gentle, intelligent, media writer with a nightmare of a mother and a psycho ex-girlfriend. Chemistry alone won’t be enough to decide between these two! The sex is terrific, but what *is* love, and what *is* absolutely necessary in a partnership?

Look for Burn the World: Changeable Skies (Volume 2) out July 26!


The Rope, Sliced Through (a #31ShortHorrors Tale)

The Rope, part 1

(note: this poem is based on Neneh Cherry’s single Love Ghetto, from her album Raw Like Sushi)

I hit a home run on the last stretch of life

Finding you finding me

Seems so long ago

I focused on the rope across the canyon

I focused on the rope across the ocean

I focused on holding on, I searched for your oars

The weather ripped at the rope

We nipped at the rope, others hacked at the rope

Sharks gnashed at the threadbare rope

The rope shivered and shook as I inched across

Tugs from behind shook my grip as I crawled

Halfway there, no longer stuck on my island

You saw the tugs as my receding

I crawled, I lost my grip in the wind

I clawed my way back up the ravine, began again

A puddle of misunderstanding like a sea between us

Come rain come shine, I crawled and I clawed

Leave the love ghetto behind, I crawled and I clawed

I made it partway once more when I saw you take your knife

Convinced I’d fall, what your eyes tell you

Your ears can be deceived

And this chase is haunting me

I focused on the rope as you chiseled with your knife

Just a trim, just a butter knife

It isn’t all that sharp

But dull knives still slice damaged substrate

With enough persistence

The sharks were swimming up for me

As I clung on to the rope

You were calling out to me

As I clung on to the rope

Terrified, I cried out too

And clung on to that rope

Good intentions bad connections

I saved you from saving me

Forever is only like the sky and the sea between us

The winds of time and distance, mangled language not believed

The teacher keeps on crawling but will never be relieved.

The Rope (a #31ShortHorrors tale)

Stolen Paradise

Shouldn’t talk about it

But we have to and we do

What happened to our Paradise?

Stuck in traffic, the traffic of life, the traffic of reality

Suspense controlling my mind

I have to find my way out of here

Maybe I can tunnel out

Or open the front door and just waltz out into the sunshine

The bitter cold air on my free face

Free fall into the void

I know what’s on the other side of the void but I’m scared of the journey

Travel is a necessary part of life and how one learns

I need to learn

I need too much

I need to travel and run and escape

The void is not nothing

The void is everything loud and brash and too much

The route through the void is a tightrope

Not tightly strung

It’s loose and fraying and swaying in the wind

I have one tool for balance and it’s unreliable

I lose my balance so often though my target never changes

It moves

As I move

Creeping, crawling, along the rope, so slowly

It seems I’m not moving at all

Millimeters at a time but forward progress to forward Paradise

I’m halfway there, halfway across

It’s so loud and bright and swirling so fast around me

I focus on the rope

Not on the frayed broken strings

I focus on the rope

Not on the wind that throws me off, hanging on by my raw fingertips

I focus on the rope that will take me to Paradise

My yellow brick road is unsolid, wavering, shuddering but clear

My Oz is real

This rope is real and

I focus on the rope.

For My Love

My love, my rock
My shining star
You’re steady through my waves
Let me rescue you
Right now
Pull you from the depths of caves
So dark and lost
Been there, my love
You saw me through that maze
So empty, blank
You’re there, my love
Let me relight your blaze
We’ll find our way
Into the light
Please take my hand
Please feel me
Let me rescue you
Right now
We’ll build a life
Please trust me
We can only
Look up to our dream
And march into it
I’m ready for us
Our future
Let’s run o’er fire to it
We’ll grow up and old
This I know is true
I’ve grown up, become myself, within our love.
It’s you.

Otherwhere (a #31ShortHorrors tale)

She stared at the ceiling

And beyond it

Willed a scene into her head

And beyond it

What if, what else, what might have been

Alternate universes casually seen

Through the telescope of her mind

A door opened, and what did she find?

Her dreamworld far and wide

Rolling hills and snowcapped mountains

Jagged cliffs and fog

A man climbing a steep wet hill

Panting with his dog

She called out to him

Then the pup

But neither could give answers

She gave chase to the pair

Please wait for me right there!

They couldn’t hear her for the fog

And soundwaves can’t flow here

In the Dreamworld of her mind

Frustration, flowing tears

They vanished up the moldy hill

And she was frozen still

She spied another door cracked open

She entered into light

A beach of endless proportion

An ocean roared its might

Strung and stung, she wandered the hot sand

Only water pounding shore

Sharp seashells in her hand

A mirage down the stretch at last

She’d been walking hours

She ran towards her visiondream

The one with her same powers

She yelled his name, and called his pup

But he stared out at the ocean

I’m here, I’m here! She screamed at him

But he could only look on

His dog yanked at her leash, Let’s go!

And so he followed after

Never seeing, hearing, touching her

Out of reach, with bitter laughter

She walked into the cold bright waves

And never stopped until

She fell into a trapdoor

On a sandbar

And a whale nearby sucked krill

She landed in the barrio

A place she’d often been

She knew the alleys and the lanes

Rowhouses on the main

No grass but heat

No smell but wharf

She looked out on the harbor

She entered what seemed to be the house

The one her conscious warned of

She opened every drawer and door

She heard the creaks and groans

Footsteps overhead somewhere

Everyone is somewhere

Her memory served her well

Those wonderpets would never miss

A chance to ring her bell

She took the narrow staircase

How many landings? Five?

Eight, twelve, and she stopped counting

Realized she’s still alive

This house of death had never offered

Solace or retreat

And now familiar rustling

Hurried panicked feet

She hurled herself upward

Ready to meet her agony

Once more she prepared

Her goodbye speech

Count of three, I fall and flee

What’s this? I’ve finally reached it?

The casing at the top? No more steps

The door is locked

Por supuesto, how could it not?

Panic rising in her throat

They’re coming for her now

Up the countless steps behind her

She set her teeth for blows

She crashed into the attic dust

And slammed the door she thought

It swung closed slowly like a wind

Weakly fought the lock

A tiny greasy window looked upon alley below

And there he was, her target

With his little dog in tow

She banged the glass

She raged she stabbed she tried to break it free

As mumbling in the hall outside brought her to her knees

Please help me find me see me hear me

I’ve never been this far

I don’t know where the next door is

She searched the room

A bar

A country western bar with smoke

And beer and stench and sweat

She stood at the jukebox

Pulled the lever, made a bet

Her quarter clinked and roared to life

His voice in the next set.

She slouched against the chrome and glass

Vibrations traveled through her

Reality was everywhere

But she chose this nightmare

Night after night she opened doors

Seeking out her other self

The one who read her mind and

Kept it from splitting in half

Without her partner she had lost

Her own reality

Finding him would find her home

His roots, her sanity.

The real world disallowed her search

She functioned there no more

Making do with Otherwhere

And other, distant shores.

A boundary-less dreamworld

She was trapped unless she found him

In her mind forevermore.

The Sun and the Moon (a #31ShortHorrors tale)


The Sun and the Moon were at odds. They could not see each other often, and when they did, it was glorious. The rest of the time, they saw reflections of the other, or observed the effects each other had on that which came between them, the Earth.

Moon vented her frustrations with the expanse of time and space by yanking at the Earth’s tides on a regular basis and causing the women and children of Earth to behave uncooperatively, impetuously. Soon as she felt the warmth of the sun, however, her anxiety eased, and the shores of Earth were bathed in the soft consistency of gently lapping waves.

Sun, on the other hand, vented solar flares and radiation at irregular, powerful intervals when he was aggravated with their circumstances. Hurricanes, cyclones, droughts, satellite failures: these were his domain, and the aftershocks were felt for generations on Earth. On the rare occasion he did glimpse Moon, however, the Earth sighed in relief, happy to vacate Sun’s fierce focus.

And what of Earth?

Earth suffered profoundly, and reaped her rewards profoundly. However, the problem was this: the negative effects of Moon and Sun not seeing each other outweighed the positive effects of their connection, and Earth’s suffering accumulated in disproportion to her gifts. Her humans suffered Moon’s wrath and took it out on each other and Earth herself. Her atmosphere and physical features suffered and changed in reaction to Sun’s fury. The two sets of problems combined, fed on each other, and Earth found herself choked for life.

Earth decided to speak to her neighbors about the situation. Venus, to her left, had no moons, and Mars, to her right, had two moons. As Earth’s problems were primarily rooted in the interaction of her Moon and Sun, she approached Mars first.

“Mars, tell me, how do I convince Moon and Sun to not throw all their frustrations at me? I am but an innocent bystander in their path, and I am dying from their aggravation of being apart.”

Mars considered Earth’s Moon, her position relative to Sun and Earth herself. “Your moon is large, nearly a planet in her own right. She has reservoirs and mountains but little atmosphere. No wonder she craves the warmth of Sun. Perhaps you could share some more space with her,” Mars suggested.

Earth nodded thoughtfully. The seasons changed.

“However, I must warn you,” Mars whispered, “you may go cold and dead, if Moon takes too much space, light, and heat from your path. I have two moons, and not enough heat to support a living thing.”

Earth furrowed her brow. Earthquakes shook the Himalayas. “How do I prevent Moon from taking too much?” she asked.

“She can only take what you allow, as she is bound to her path by your gravity,” Mars answered. “Maintain your bond, but loosen your grip a little.”

Earth thanked Mars for his time and returned her gaze inward. She sighed, and a blizzard formed over the mountains of Peru. She approached Venus next.

Upon hearing Earth’s predicament, Venus squinted to bring Moon into better focus. “Mars has an excellent idea, however, consider this: Moon may fear the Sun’s heat once she feels the full potential, and hide behind your forever. You will end up like me, too hot and roiling to support life at all. You must consider both sides of this coin, Earth,” Venus warned. “Moon may never want to leave the path of the sun, and you will freeze. Alternatively, Moon may never want to feel his warmth again, and you will boil.”

A tear formed, and Spain found itself flooded.

“Are you quite sure what you have is a problem that needs solving?” Venus pressed on, “You’ve survived this long, and you’re in better shape than the rest of us.”

Earth explained the cumulative consequences of her Moon and Sun’s issues with each other, how instead of freezing or boiling to death quickly, she was dying, one pinprick at a time, a slow drip poison spreading through her crust. “There must be a way to fix this!” Earth wailed. Hurricanes raced through the Caribbean.

Venus tried to console her, she urged Earth to take the deep, slow breaths that she herself was no longer able to take. The green and blue marble calmed, and a light breeze wafted over Beijing, relieving it of smog. Earth thanked Venus for her advice and looked once again upon her inhabitants. She thought long and hard, meditating on what, or what not, to do.

Meanwhile, eclipse season was starting, and Moon was very excited to bask in the full warmth of Sun once again. She had adjusted her orbit to take full advantage of the star, and Earth’s tides lapped happily at Earth’s shores. Sun swelled in his anticipation, could barely contain his plasma. Earth breathed a sigh of relief, eclipse season was her favorite. Her inhabitants were fascinated with the astronomical sights, her weather was calm, pollution low as humans went outside and enjoyed that which was beyond their control.

Each solar eclipse reminded Earth of the best the Universe had to give. And so she continued to breathe deeply and wait for it, twice a year, every year. A decade passed, a generation passed, a century passed. A millennium, and another, and another went by. Each season, the Sun swelled larger with anticipation and eagerness to greet his Moon.

Knowing their fate, the planets aligned, nodded their goodbyes, and one by one, were consumed by the Sun. Mercury, Venus, gone in a puff. Still, the Moon, in love with the Sun, eager to become one with him, took her place in syzygy, offering her Mother planet one last moment of clear, cool shade, the last and only protection she could ever give.

Sun approached Moon slowly, yet suddenly. “At last,” he whispered as he enveloped her coolness.

Moon watched Sun approach at full speed, ready to join him after billions of years of separation. Even in death, he raced ahead. Even in death, he warmed her core, protected her, annihilated her.

Earth watched her beloved Moon evaporate in love, took a deep breath, gave a nod to Mars, and joined the endless flow of the Universe.

Far, far away, in the Perseus arm, a star was born.