Watch “Laura A. Lord: Boudoir Photos, Self-Esteem, & Poetry | PenPaperPad Talks Books” on YouTube

I know I’ve introduced you to Laura my cohort at The Reverie Journal. Here we discuss a whole menagerie of things- aging, self-confidence small town living, and learning to love yourself. All this and we managed to talk about poetry as well. I hope you enjoy this interview.

Also catch me today on the channel with Amy and Burgess talking about our Camp NaNoWriMo experiences at 8 pm EST on my channel. Join us.

Aloha y’all

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The Moon Curse (A Short Story)

Princess Tatiana adjusted the lace at the end of her ballgown, looking out among the people. The most affluent, the most elite were at the St. Williams Gardens tonight to ostentatiously celebrate the rising of the moon’s tide. St. Williams was an incredibly superstitious country town where everyone followed the rules.

Tonight she would disobey those rules. She would stop the senseless defiling of one of the landowners tenant’s son. An act that had happened every few months since before she was born. She could scarcely think of it without shuddering. It was a horrifying practice that she refused to allow to happen anymore. Tonight was the night.

Tatiana adjusted her crown when no one was watching, knowing that her curly raven’s nest of hair would set off by the rubies and emeralds in the crown, the town’s colors. She smiled and nodded to countrymen as they passed. The women were all settled in a room off of the galley way, probably planning needlepoint and gossiping about barren wombs and slutty daughters.

“Princess Tatiana, you look charming this evening,” It took a moment for his thin rather rodent-like features to register.

“Yes, of course, Lord Wilfrog, how do you do this evening?” He was one of the biggest landowners in the town, however, he treated his land and his wives like chattel. Probably worse than his chattel as he needed to actually sell the cattle.

“As long as the sun rises and sets, all is well,” he smiled, and she imagined his whiskers shook. She excused herself and went to find her father. She could feel his eyes on her bared back and she stifled the need to shiver. The little man had always made her feel entirely uncomfortable.

“Shouldn’t you be holed up somewhere with the other bitches Tatiana?” her nemesis, Lord Canton sneered at her. The boy was jealous because she would always have a higher standing than he would. And she’s always be much more clever than he could dream of being.

“I’ll be sure to let your mother know you said so,” she said, just to watch him squirm.

He shook it of quickly, “Regardless, the lady-folk are to be in the backroom, sipping tea and doing what women folk do. And you are to be doing something entirely different.”

“Well, thank you for that succinct summation of my lady duties. I’ll be sure to make a note of it in my planner. Now if you would excuse me,” she spun out of his light grasp and went on toward her father.

She stopped less to talk to people. She had a feeling she wasn’t going to get to him in time. She needed to stop the travesty before it occurred. Not again. Never again.

Her father stood on the balcony, his hand already wrapped around the boy’s throat. The entire party gave him room, a semi-circle to watch the festivities with a grim resolution. The boy himself was only a few years younger than she. He had kicked out a few times when he was younger, but he’d been soundly beaten for it.

He had learned obedience.

“The dagger,” her father, the Lord King said, open his hand. He whispered something she couldn’t hear in the boy’s ear and he nodded quickly. He closed his eyes.

One of the King’s footmen put the jeweled handled dagger into his hands. This was the only time she ever saw it out. For this outdated ritual. The King pressed it against the boy’s neck, starting a small river of blood to drip down his neck, pooling at the top of his ragged-edged shirt.

The boy’s eyes were tightly closed and then her Father, the Lord King, latched onto him, almost slurping up the boy’s life’s blood. As he drank greedily, the boy became even paler than before. His hands twitched at his side and he made a strangled grunt.

It was horrifying to watch, but yet she couldn’t look away. She knew her father would take a moment to allow the boy to have a bite of a bread with jam and to drink a bit of wine and then he would go for more. Leaving the boy half dead on the floor.

When that happened, she knew what she would do.

Her father’s hand had blood flowing over his fingers. The boy’s pale skin glistened in the moonlight. She could smell blood and the scent of the aroused males around her. They liked to watch, they seemed to feed on her father feeding on this poor lad.

When another foot soldier came with the tray of bread with jam and the wine, she knew she had to make her move. Her father disengaged from the boy and the boy stood there swaying in the wind. A small shove would send him over the edge. And really what would be better for him? To live like this for the rest of his days until The King accidentally took to much, which happened more often than not? Or to be freed from these procedures. To fly free.

Before she could truly registered what she was to do, Tatiana rushed over and pushed the boy. He wasn’t able to cry out, but she could hear the final thud as he fell down the three stories.

“What have you done?” her father asked. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!”
She remained silent, defiant. Raising her chin against his cruelty. His sickening madness. What kind of man would do such a horrid thing?

“Oh dear, she’s ruined us,” the footman whispered under his breath, but loud enough she could hear. “She’s ruined us all.”

Her father marched over to her, blood clinging to his beard, dripping from the fingers that were pointing over the banister.

“That my foolish girl, was the only thing that separated the town from the monster that’s inside of me.”

‘What ?”

“The blood from my bi-blow in the pale full moon’s light keeps me from turning into a monstrous beast that will roam the land, slaughtering and killing along the way,” he said, and she noticed how long and sharp his teeth truly were. “Now I’ll have to take another one of my children to finish tonight’s job.”

She gulped, inaudibly. She had a feeling she knew who that unfortunate soul would be.

****
This flash fiction piece was in response to April’s #writestuff prompt. Check it out and if you want to share your own piece.

Aloha y’all!

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Spring Cleaning- Flash Fiction

Louisa Mae impatiently blew a tuft of stringy hair out of her eyes and heaved a breath. The clean scent of lemon was overwhelming but comforting. She felt more comfortable when things were nice and neat. She surveyed the room around her. Nothing was out of place. The carpet looked brand new, even the brass on the drawers sparkled. She pulled her gloves with a satisfied snap, even as fatigue dug deep into her lower back.

She couldn’t wait to go home and have a whiskey and coke with an Advil chaser. Her favorite crime show was on tonight. She always enjoyed it when the criminal got caught. In the real world nothing ever gets wrapped up so easy in 60 minutes or less.

She wiped her brow with the back of her hand while she checked her cell for the time. Louisa Mae nodded in satisfaction. She had two hours left before her shift was up. She might as well go to the next one. She’d get a bonus for hitting more than five places in one day. It was nice working for a cleaning service that actually gave a damn about hard work.

And she needed every penny she could get.

She startled when her “Goodbye Earl” ringtone rang out. She didn’t have to check the Caller I.D. Only one person had that tone. Did she want to talk to him? Habit and an underlying fear dictated her pressing talk.

“Hello?….Yea, course I’m at work. No, ain’t nobody’s here with me to tell you I’m at work. Janice called off today, so they sent me by myself.”
“….”
“Guy? What guy? What are you talking about? There’s no one here.”
“…”
“That don’t even make sense. There ain’t nobody hiding in the damn closet Shawn. Why would some guy hide just because you called?”
“…”
“That ain’t what I mean and you knowed that. Calm yerself down.”
“…”
“I ain’t got time for this. I need to clean another apartment.”

Maybe if you had a your own job, you wouldn’t be so worried about mine, she thought, but swallowed those words down.

She gathered up her supplies, resolve growing with each item. She stood, wavering for a minute. The soles of her feet were lit on fire. She’d been her feet for hours on end, every day. She was bone weary, her arms resembled limp noodles. She looked down at her jeans with the threadbare spots on her inner thighs and her pink and white Goodwill shirt. It was a little too tight, but she didn’t want to waste money on buyin new things.

Her phone rang again and this time the song made her smile. “Here for the Party” meant Allie Cat was giving her a ring. They’d been friends since the womb when their mamas hungout in high school.

“Hey girl! How’s that little boy of yours? Still ornery just like his mama?”
“Ladies night special at The Crossroads tonight? I don’t know Allie, my dogs are barkin.’ I think I’d like to just kick them up for the night.”
“Yeah, he done called me…He called you too?! Good Lord. I’m sorry about that.”
“…”
“No, it is my fault. If I could just git rid of him, then he wouldn’t be callin’ my friends and hassling them.”

“I know you got my back. Go out tonight and have a drink for me.”

They hung up. She stood there for a minute, staring blindly. She was tired, real tired of his shit. One night when she and Allie Cat were up to no good and too many Alabama Slammers, she’d met him. He seemed real nice, close-shaved. Had all his teeth. Spoke gentle to her. Didn’t try to put the moves on her or nothing. He bought her a few drinks. They danced in the middle of the bar. That night Allie Cat got pregnant with her youngest and she got a boyfriend she cain’t git rid of.

But she’s tired of him too. It feels like everything just keep dragging her down and she just wants to break free. Start fresh. And that’s why she’s trying to make as much as she can. She’s ready to start over.

As she walked to the next place a couple blocks over, she imaged herself in a new place. Dyeing her hair a real bright blonde. Wearing new clothes. Being a brand new person in a new place. Nobody knowing nothin’ about her.

Maybe trying her luck in Atlantic City or Nashville. Somewhere classy. She smiled, her bucket tapping against her thighs as she walked. The thoughts almost made her full of energy. She was ready for a change.

***
This flash fiction piece was written in response to #writestuff’s March prompt, A Fresh Start. Each month there’s a different prompt that’s revealed during the first tweetchat of the month. Let me know what you think about this one in the comments below. Feel free to write a response to the prompt!

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