Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Late Valentines Gift & Baby Shower Giveaway

You love giveaways, right? Well, as per usual (as of 2015), I've got a short free read for you AND an amazing giveaway. 

Firstly, if you missed my announcement about Lightning Quick Reads, let me share again. IT'S A FLASH FICTION BLOG (stories that are 2000 words or less) with 100% free reads. This month has been all about love--whether love between family members, friends, or couples. How about a sample, eh?

The Kiss of Death by Crystal Collier

People crowded against the police perimeter to get a closer look at the twisted metal, broken cable and black smoke. Officers directed traffic away from the billowing wreck. Half the road was blocked by fire engines. Pictures snapped at the train-less overpass and demolished road below.

Miriam stood motionless in the middle of the wreck. High pressured streams of water spewed past in an attempt to quench the flames, blowing brown hair loosely across her face, spray spattering her smart black pants and crimson top. Water pooled in the ruined asphalt, soaking through her new Fendi heels.

She’d boarded the Metra half an hour ago with a copy of Glamour in one hand and coffee in the other. Her greatest worry had been lipstick smears on her teeth or embarrassing herself in front of steamy James Laughlin, again. She’d been excited to spend lunch proofreading the latest articles, or brownnosing with the boss…

A cheer echoed off the overpass.

She blinked. Water dripped from her spoiled business attire, waves of stick-straight hair hanging in her eyes. She brushed the mess back and turned. 

Firefighters recoiled their hoses. White smoke drifted lazily up from around her feet and various other hotspots, stinging her nostrils with embers. A policeman’s whistle pierced her ears as he waved a line of honking cars down a side street. A done-up woman stood in front of a white van with a camera angled at the destruction around her. Another reporter stood half a block away, blabbing his take on the “accident,” a program Miriam would watch tonight, if she wasn’t…


She glanced at the overpass, its broken railing and crumbling cement. A gasp pulled her eyes to a sodden woman in her forties with running makeup and a super short skirt. The woman stared at the broken train rail, fuzzy hair hanging half down, the rest clinging to its bun.

Miriam remembered passing her as she moved to the back of the car, thinking it was a crime to wear anything so short…

Behind the woman stood a man in a tweed suit and buggy glasses. His jaw hung. Other disembodied souls filled her periphery, each motionless or in an early stage of realization. Some stared blankly into the distance. One woman had broken down sobbing over a blackened and water-logged lump.

Miriam’s eyes dropped to her feet. She swallowed. Remnants of a crimson silk blouse clung to the ashes--just like the one she was wearing. A metallic stench wafted up at her, mixed with a musky sweetness. 

Her stomach clenched. The gag reflex started at the back to her throat. She bent over and dry heaved.

It was true. She was dead. Deceased. Over...

So any guesses how this could possibly turn into a love story?


(And leave me some comment love, eh?)

And on to the super amazing giveaway!

Last week Jamie Ayres shared her brand new release, 18 THOUGHTS, along with two truths and one lie. Those who guessed the lie were entered into a random drawing for the chance to win her entire trilogy in eBook!  

The game: 

1. Jamie accidentally joined a religious cult for two weeks during her first year of college at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
2. For as long as she can remember, Jamie has always been an avid Star Wars Fan. 

3. She was nominated by her senior class as Most Likely to Warn the World Aliens Are Coming. 

And the lie is:

#2. From all the references in her book, you'd think Jamie is a huge Star Wars fan. But her education of Star Wars did not begin until her first year of marriage, when the hubs took her to see Episode I the night it came out in theaters. 

Way to guess everyone who got it right! And the winner is:


Congrats, Rhonda! 

And now for this week's game...

Jo Leigh Harper comes from a long line of trouble-making, white trash stock.

Tanner Coulter comes from a longer line of wealth-creating, blue blood stock.

Jo graduated college top of her class, moving toward a future full of possibilities.

Tanner dropped out of college, trading a law degree for drinking games and one night stands.

A family crisis throws the rich party boy and the poor genius girl together. The attraction is immediate, though neither one is a heart-in-the-sand-drawing believer in true love. But as the summer sun heats up along the shores of the Outer Banks, so does the connection between them. Maybe, just maybe, they can win at love by defying reason.

Get your copy HERE.

Ready to meet this fabulous and incredibly generous author? (Seriously, she deserves a cheese badge. Yup. She's that amazing.) 

Elizabeth Seckman is a wife, a mom, and a believer in dreams. She is a multi-published author and the best-seller on her street. There may not be any other writers on her street, but that doesn’t matter. She still outsells them all. 

She doesn't have a favorite cheese, but loves them all equally, even with jam. And she would eat cheese anywhere, be it land, sea, or cheesy air. Hold the questions, but never the cheese. That you pile on as high as you please!
Elizabeth gave me two truths and one lie to test your "lie detector" skills. Those who figure out the lie will go into my magic hat for the chance to win a SIGNED copy of DEFYING REASON and a SWAG PACK including bookmarks, pens, and a necklace. (In honor of my coming baby, it's a kind of baby shower prize pack.) (Open internationally.)

You have until Tuesday, March 3 at 1 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answer on March 4.


(Because I'm in the final stages of baby making, Elizabeth decided to share some of her baby facts.)

1. When Boy #4 was born, Elizabeth had a condition known as precipitous labor (or speedy labor). From start to finish, his labor lasted three hours. It was so short, they didn’t even have time to get to the hospital, so he was born on the living room floor.
2. When Boy #3 was born, he was as big as a modest Thanksgiving turkey. That made Elizabeth a freak in the hospital- even the kitchen staff stopped by to meet the woman who had the eleven pounder naturally. 
3. When Boy #2 was born, his name was going to be Colby (like the cheese!), but Elizabeth's mother-in-law loved that named and disliked the name Cole. And she brought Elizabeth's husband a Big Mac (which he didn’t even offer to share!) to the hospital and not her, so she named the baby Cole. 
So which is the lie? Do you like love stories? (Even slightly morbid ones?) Did you read my LQR story and leave me a comment? Have you met Elizabeth before?


  1. Love this first part of your story and I'll be heading over to finish the rest as soon as I finish this comment. Congratulations!!
    And I'm going to guess #1 for Elizabeth's lie. #3 is my favorite and I hope it's true LOL. :D

  2. For Elizabeth's sake, I hope the first one is the lie.
    Congratulations that your story appeared at Lightning Quick Reads.

  3. Congrats on the story - the first part is fantastic.

    I'm going to go for #1 as the lie.

  4. What a great start to that story, Crystal. Poor Miriam; I hope she isn't dead!!

    Congrats, Elizabeth! I'm going to guess that #2 is the lie, mainly because I desperately want it to be a lie for your sake.

  5. This sounds like a story to look forward to. Good job!

  6. Awesome short story. Love it. And a ghost love story? I'm really intrigued.

    I'm going with #1 as the lie. I'm reading Elizabeth's third Coulter book right now and loving it! :)

  7. I have to go with # 2 also, because I'm pretty sure the last one might be true and I certainly hope the first one is! I'm all about a fast labor, I don't care where! Yes, I know Elizabeth, and have even read Defying Reason! Really great characters... I read your LQR and it gave me shivers. Very good! I'd like to participate in a blog like that.

  8. What great flash fiction! :D

    Gosh, this is tough. I'm going to guess #1 is the lie.

  9. I'm going to go with number three as the lie? Also, I loved your short!

  10. Ooo, heading over to read the rest of your story.

    I'm going to go with #1 as the lie. Congrats to Elizabeth!

  11. Ha, those are great truths (or lies). I'm going to guess the lie is #2!

    Great fiction, Crystal! Going to go check out how it ends!

  12. I am totally going to steal this idea on my next Lightening post--hope you don't mind ;) And I'm going with #1 as the lie, though all of them have me cringing just a little (11 pounds???).

  13. LOVE, Crystal. The story sounds wonderful. A ghost love story. WOW. That is awesome. Hmm. Dang, she has almost as many boys as I do (six). I had an eleven pounder naturally. It can be done. So I think #3 is the lie. I NEVER get these things. Can't wait to hear all about your little one in Vegas.

  14. The lie is no.#3... just a wild guess!
    Great story! I love Flash Fic!

  15. Congrats on your lightning story! Way to make it come to life the way you did. :) Great descriptions, I felt the whole setting come to life.

    As for the truth or lie...I'm going to go with #1! Because that's just scary....

  16. Loved your lightening story. Awesome job with it!

  17. Loved your lightening story. Awesome job with it!

  18. Cliff hanger!! >.< Very good! How ARE you going to turn that around? :)

    Ha,ha, I hope #3 is true! I'm going with #1 for the lie because a turkey baby sounds cool (though painful!)

  19. I have a novella titled Kiss of Death. ;) Great minds.

  20. Loved the first part of your story. And congrats to Elizabeth!

  21. Congratulations to Elizabeth! Loved the story.

  22. Excellent story Crystal! I had to run over and finish before coming back here and saying Thanks for hosting me!!

    I will take the fifth for the rest...don't want to give away the truths or the lie.

    Hugs and blocks of cheese!

  23. What a great way to get a sense of the author's voice. Nicely done, Crystal!

  24. Great job on this story! It kind of reminds me of Ghost of Death. ;)

  25. Great job on this story! It kind of reminds me of Ghost of Death. ;)

  26. Amazing story. Loved it. Congrats to to Elizabeth.

  27. Great job with the story. And congrats to Elizabeth! I certainly hope #2 is the lie because OUCH!

  28. I do love good flash fiction. And morbid love stories are the best.

  29. Wonderful story! Congrats on the publication.

    I'm saying #2 is the lie.

  30. LOL! I think Elizabeth's lie is #3, although secretly I hope that really happened. Yeah, I'm not always the nice girl :)

    Great start with that story, Crystal!

  31. Neat necklace! And I'm headed over to check out the rest of the story, super intrigued!

  32. Hmmm... I know that later babies come faster, but living room floor? My nephews were all large at birth, so 11 lbs is not out of the question (although painful). And #3 is so ridiculous that it's probably true. This is hard. Okay, need the darts... #2...

  33. I'm guessing number three. But I'm usually wrong.

  34. I liked the start of the story - I'm ridiculously busy right now and don't have time to read the whole thing, but I do believe it could turn into a love story. Something with that traumatic a beginning has the potential to turn into anything, and it makes perfect sense for someone who's just died to seek out someone else and have some very intense feelings involved. ^_^

    That, and I believe just about anything can turn into a love story. :P

  35. I like love stories but as get older, I don't expect them to be the perfect happy ending... as that is not what life is about... xox

  36. Man, I hope #3 isn't true. That would be messed up! So I'm going with that one. Though I had super short labors and made it to the hospital both times. I lived quite close to the hospital, so that could explain it, right? Second guessing myself.

    A love story? Does it go back in time a bit? Or is a ghost love story? Or maybe someone she's left behind finds love. Great start to the story. Who wouldn't want to read on?

  37. I think #1 isn't true, although it could be #3, not sure. Congrats, Elizabeth!

    And, I think it could be a love story if it's an after-life love story - or maybe he's the doc who brings her back to life with some CPR and surgery. Hmm.

  38. I'll say #3 is the lie. The more dramatic, the more true, I reckon!

    Really enjoyed your story at Lightning Reads.

  39. ["So any guesses how this could possibly turn into a love story?"]

    Maybe she helps a couple who survived the "accident."

  40. "So any guesses how this could possibly turn into a love story?"

    Hmmm.... Any ghost on ghost love possible here? What would happen if two ghosts fell in love and only one of them had a chance to be brought back to life?

  41. Loved your story Crystal, commented both there and here to let you know. Great work!

  42. Congrats to Rhonda for winning! Congrats to Elizabeth on her new book! Congrats to you on your new new Flash Fic blog! (How do you do so much? All this and making a baby too. You must be tuckered out! lol)

  43. Crystal, I can't say it enough how powerful your writing is. I can't wait to read how it ends. I have a school visit this morning so I will be leaving here shortly. Will finish reading after work tonight and comment on how it ends=)

  44. I love the story. All those people, now dead. And the way they slowly realized it was chilling.

    The third item is the lie.

  45. With a beginning like that, how could I not read more? I don't want to ruin it, but, yep, it turns into a story about love. Well done!! Your ability to draw people into your story is nothing short of amazing.

  46. I tried to leave a comment after reading your story on the other blog, but it meant I would have to create a Google+ profile, which I haven't done yet; I'm paranoid that if I create too many profiles online that my real name and other personal information will be detected by the people in my offline life. (I still keep my blogging and Tweeting a secret from everyone in my offline life.)
    Anyway, I really liked your story, Crystal! The details were really good, and I especially liked that line about the pastries; that made me laugh! I also liked that line about the summer of 67.

  47. love love stories of all kinds :) and I say #2 is the lie (if not, ouch!)

  48. The beginning of your story is a good hook.

    #1 is fact.

  49. well... what a fab read. She clearly has to now fall in love with the dead man in the tweed jacket! shame about those heels...;)

  50. So excited for the soon-to-be arrival of your little one! Congrats, congrats, congrats!

    I loved your story—I visited and left a comment. :) Of course, I loved the romance and I especially liked how you threw in the concept of paradise and prison. :)

    Yep, I "know" and love Elizabeth! All of her truth/lies are so good—any of them could be the truth. But I think I'll have to go with #2 for the lie—maybe she didn't have him natural?

  51. Great job on the FF. Definitely interesting!

    So excited to see Elizabeth and her book here. I am guessing 3 is the lie. :)

  52. Hi Crystal - loved Miriam's story .. I guess she returns to life with a kiss of life; while Elizabeth could have done#3 but I don't think so ... so # 2 ... lots of boys around ... good luck with that little one - cheers Hilary

  53. I believe anything can be turned into a love story.

    I'm guessing 3 is the lie.

    Congrats to Rhonda.

  54. Congrats to Rhonda for winning! Congrats to Elizabeth on her new book!

  55. So now I am wondering if your new little one will have a name with some association with cheese...I'm thinking with a little creativity (you are a writer, after all) that it could be something really wonderful. :)

  56. Suspenseful tale so far! And yeah, I hope that cult bit isn't true.

  57. Came by with some Swiss cheese and crackers. Hope you like it. As to the excerpt... Wow! Let's find out what happens next.

  58. I'm hopping over now to finish the story.

    I think #3 might be the lie, but I don't know.


Hit me with your cheese!