Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Free Stories and a Rabid Opossum?

A quick shout from me, I've got another piece of Flash Fiction up at Lightning Quick Reads for your reading pleasure:

Get the rest HERE.

(Leave me some comment love and I'll toss you some cheese, eh?)


Last week Lan Chan shared with us POISON, along with two truths and a lie. Those who guessed the lie correctly were entered into a random drawing for the chance to win one of two copies of her eBook.

Lan's Game:

1. I was born in a refugee camp in Vietnam where I spent the first five years of my life. Whilst there I almost drowned twice by falling into rivers. Once it happened because I was trying to retrieve a flip flog that had fallen in. What a way to go!

2. As you might be able to tell from the environmental themes in Poison I am a bit of a nature geek. To that end I've been experimenting with alternatives to shampoo and conditioner because of all the nasty chemicals they contain. The most popular alternative is baking soda and apple cider vinegar. This is called the "No Poo Method." It did not end well. 

3. Right before we moved to Australia my family moved from the refugee camp to Saigon. One day whilst coming home from the fields surrounding our house, I had my brother on my shoulders but because he was a very chubby baby I tripped and we fell into a muddy field littered with buffalo dung. My mother was not happy when we came home.

THE LIE: #3. This happened to her sister. When they came home she was sitting on the porch, and as a four year old, the first thing she did was run inside and tell on them. 

Way to guess everyone! And the winners are:


Congrats, Ava & Jess! 

And now for this week's feature... 

Is the opportunity to create the next generation of life a dream come true or a deadly nightmare? 

When seventeen year old Katherine Dennard is selected to become a "Creation Specialist" in Sector 4, the opportunity sounds like a dream come true. But Kate soon discovers the darker side of her profession - the disposal of fetal organs and destruction of human life. It makes sense, really. In a society where disease and malformations don t exist, human perfection demands that no genetic "mutants" be allowed to live. For Sector 4, "survival of the fittest" is not just a theory - it's The Institute's main mission. 

When Kate discovers that The Institute is using her DNA to create new life, her work gets personal. In order to save her unviable son, she'll have to trust Micah and his band of underground Natural Born Rebels. The problem is, if The Institute discovers her betrayal, the next body being disposed of could be hers.
Get your copy HERE.

Ready to meet the author?

There’s not much to do growing up in a small town in Western, NY, so J. Andersen wrote stories and won high school writing contests. But in college her writing was limited to term papers. While teaching middle school she began to read young adult books and got serious about writing. She now writes full time, volunteers at the town library, helps to run a School of the Arts at her church, and sings in the church band. She enjoys good coffee—read: home roasted by her husband—crafts, baking, and chasing after her children. You’ll rarely see J. without a book in her hands, and that’s the way she’d like to keep it. 

She ADORES white sharp cheddar. The sharper the better! A couple weeks ago she took a beach picnic with her hubbs. They stopped at a cool little deli near us and got amazing artisan sandwiches and olives stuffed with gouda. OH MY!!! So good. She was instantly hooked. Like, she's-been-eating-them-for-breakfast kind of hooked. Strange, but so yummy.

Jessie gave me two truths and one lie (story) to test your "lie detector" skills. These are a little long, but they're so fun I just had to keep reading. I hope you enjoy them as well. Those who figure out the lie will go into my magic hat for the chance to win an eBook of THE BREEDING TREE

You have until Tuesday, September 29 at 1 p.m. EDT to guess. Be sure to come back for the answers on September 30.



   When I was a kid, we vacationed at Allegany State Park. We’d rent a cabin for the week, gallivant around the trails, swim, hike, the works. It was bliss, except for the year I turned 7. 
   Mom and Dad had managed a fire and grilled hamburgers as my brothers and I worked on catching crayfish in the stream behind our campsite. Dinner was uneventful minus the fact that my brother, Matt, continuously threw clumps of dirt in my hair. I’d try to pick them out, but then they’d fall into the mac and cheese on my plate. By the time we finished dinner, it started to rain, so I ran inside to grab my rain coat. There’s nothing worse than camping in the rain, unless you’re 7 years old. Then, rain, shine, it doesn’t matter. Sun meant swimming; rain meant mud pies and puddle jumping. 
   Mom spent a few moments cleaning up while my brothers and I played. I remember holding an umbrella in my hand, probably wielding it as a sword to defend myself from my brothers. I’m sure it would have been a mighty duel if I hadn’t tripped over the fire ring and fell into the burning coals. 
   The sizzle of my skin sent a shriek to my lips and somewhere in the distance I heard two voices, “Mom!!! Mom!!! Jess fell into the fire!” 
   Mom sprinted across the porch, leaped onto the ground and pulled me up. She ripped off my raincoat, which was melting and my pants. 
   In 1986 we didn’t have cell phones, so Mom and Dad threw me in the truck and headed for the entrance of the camp. I lay face down across Mom’s lap, screaming. When we arrived, they called an ambulance. I don’t remember much after that, but Mom says they prayed over me while they waited for the ambulance. She said, I instantly stopped crying and said it didn’t hurt any more. Even when the doctors tried to give me pain medication, I didn’t need it because it didn’t hurt. 
   Today, I have a little scar from the incident, but nothing major. 


   I woke up early, which was unlike me and as soon as my feet hit the floor, I knew it was going to be that kind of day. You see, when I stood up and stretched my back, my water broke. 
   “Um, Todd?”
   He grunted next to me. 
   “You might want to call in sick to work today.”
   “Why’s that?”
   “Because my water just broke.”
   It was a millisecond later that he was moving. 
   Whip on clothes, call the doctor, call the sister-in-law to watch our son, grab the bags. He was a whirlwind of activity. 
   “How are you?” he’d ask.
   “Fine. No contractions yet.”
   In minutes, we were on the road.
   Down the street about a mile, is the turn off for the highway. I glanced at the speedometer. 50 in a 30. “Um, you better slow down.” The moment I said it, I happened to see the big blue. “Because there’s a cop right there!”
   The hubs mumbled under his breath and pulled over. He looked at me, who had not yet started contractions and was pleasantly sitting in the passenger seat. “You better look like you’re in pain.”
   Mr. Officer approached. “License and registration, please.”
   “Um, Officer,” Hubs began, “Would you believe we’re on the way to the hospital to have a baby? My wife is in labor.”
   Mr. Officer leaned his head down to get a good look at me from the window. “Yes, sir, I would. Have a nice day and drive carefully.”
   To this day, I still regret that my hubs didn’t get a ticket to put in the baby book.

   "There’s a possum in our garbage can.  I think it’s either hurt or rabid, or both,” my husband said as he stood at the back door in his shirt and tie, ready to leave for work.
   The clearly-rabid possum rested comfortably in our garbage can between left over spaghetti and a few rotten onions, hissing at our barking dogs. My husband leaning out to poke it with the end of a broom.
   One glimpse of its head wobbling and the fact that it still hadn’t tried to move told me one thing: Rabid.--Yes, I'm that observant. However, this country chick does not handle rabid animals.  I'm not THAT crazy.
   The hubs, already late for work, was not impressed that this poor creature had decided to take up residence in our garbage can. 
   “It’s a good thing you hadn’t left for work yet, Todd,” I said, hoping he’d get the hint that there was no way on earth I’d kill it myself and he better not leave this house until it was gone!
   He gave me the look.
   “What?  I can’t let the kids out the door. What if it jumps at them?"
   “What if it jumps at me?!”  He sighed. “I don’t know how to kill it.”
   “My brother used a shovel one time.”
   With a disgusted look, he trudged into the house, changed his clothes and ran to the barn to grab the shovel, all while I stayed safely inside (protecting the children!).
   A few moments later, he came inside. “I think it’s dead.  I whacked it like ten times in the head."
   I ran inside to call animal control. 
   Me: Can you send someone out to dispose of a dead rabid opossum for us? Or test it or whatever?
   Them: I’m sorry, maam. We only deal with dogs.
   Me:  Excuse me?
   Them: Perhaps you could put it in the bag and place it out for the sanitation people.
   Me: Um, a few years ago we had a rabid raccoon in our yard.  You sent someone to pick that up.
   Them: I’m sorry maam.
   WHAT THE HECK?! What do you mean you don’t dispose of rabid animals?  Why the heck are you called ANIMAL CONTROL? You aren’t called DOG control!  
   I ran to tell Todd, who was already dressed again and headed toward the car.
   Before I reached the door, I heard the dreaded words again, “Jess?!”
   “IT’S. NOT. DEAD!”
   “WHAT?! What do you mean, ‘It’s not dead.’?”
   “It’s still moving. Look.” He tipped the garbage can my way.
   Sure enough, it wobbled it’s head again.
   “Use the end of the spade shovel this time.”
   Once Todd left for work that fateful morning, I ran inside to call my Dad to ask for him to bring his truck down and empty our whole can into the dumpster at church.
   A few minutes later, my dad pulled up. He peeked his head inside to tell me he'd arrived… at least that’s what I thought.
   “Jess, it’s not dead.”
   "You’ve GOT to be joking. Todd hit it like 16 times in the head.”
   Sure enough, its little body was still breathing. In. Out. In. Out. Oh so slowly. But, when dealing with a rabid animal, you never really know at what point it's going to go postal, start foaming and hissing and lunge at your face with rabies-covered teeth, so we still used caution.
   Thankfully, Dad said he’d take care of it. I called him later to see how everything went. 
   “Well, I whacked it a few more times and tossed it in the dumpster.  But when I looked over the side, I saw that thing perk its head up and look around. I was going to leave it there but thought it might jump out at someone. So I climbed the snow pile and shoveled that thing back out onto the pavement, where I hit it enough times with the shovel to make sure it was really dead.
   “I then had to go tell Betty (the church custodian) that when she came outside to take out the garbage, not to freak out because there was blood spattered on the pavement.”
   Finally the opossum was really dead and I no longer have to fear the ravages of the dangerous creature or dream of mouth- foaming marsupials sneaking into my house.

So sleuths, which is the lie? True or not, which one of the stories is your favorite? Did you check out my flash fiction? What's your favorite dystopian book?


  1. Congratulations on the flash fiction piece.
    I'm going to guess the first one is the lie.

  2. Ooh, The Breeding Tree just gave me shivers. And yes, congrats on your flash fiction!

  3. Fantastic story, Crystal! Just left a comment there... :)

  4. Another great story, Crystal! You're rocking the flash. :)

  5. Great flash piece, Crystal! :) And congrats to J! I think #2 is the lie. It's difficult this time with these really great stories that go with them.

  6. Loved your flash fiction piece! And I'm going to guess #1 because...well, why not?

  7. I'll bow out of the truth or lie. I've already got a copy of this wonderful book. And she's told me these stories before, so I feel like I'd be cheating.

  8. Congrats on your new flash piece. I really enjoyed Ryan's voice.

  9. I love this flash piece, Crystal!!

    Um...#2 for the lie? :)

  10. You had me on the edge of my seat ... really good Crystal xox

  11. You bring me back to those old days of playing chicken. The bluffing, the dare back and forth!

  12. Love the flash fiction.

    And I'm guessing #2 is the lie. Congrats, J!

  13. Congrats on your story! You are one busy chick. :) Congrats also to Jessie! It's good to meet her. Thanks for the intro, Crystal. Have a great rest of the week!

  14. I did enjoy the flash fiction bit!! Great job and congrats to everyone!! I think the lie is #3. Hard to say because each was so thorough. Haha

    1. That's the trick, right... Be thorough.

  15. Yay for you, Crystal! Congrats on the story published!

    Yay for J. and a cool sounding story. i"ll guess #1 is the lie.

  16. Congratulations on your story! I am heading over now to give it a read. :)

    Haha! You can always count on a four year old to taddle-tale. :P Congrats to the winners!

    All three of those stories for the True or Lie game. I loved them all but I'm going to say #2 is the lie.

  17. I'm so behind on the LQR stories--hope to catch up on them this weekend!

  18. I've thoroughly enjoyed all of your flash fictions, Crystal, but because I don't have a Google+ account, I haven't been able to leave a comment on that page. Anyhow, you've clearly got a real knack for writing short pieces like that. Great job!

    I'll guess #1 is the fib this time around. Since I've had similar dealing with our Animal Control, I'm guessing #3 is true. Gives me a 50-50 shot at ferreting out the lie this time, right? Maybe.

    1. HA! I'd like to hear your Animal Control story.

  19. I'm guessing #3 is the lie, but I'm not sure. :)
    Congrats on the previous winners and Congrats on your short story, Crystal!

  20. The Breeding Tree sounds very interesting.

    Congrats to the winners.

  21. I'm saying #3. Possums are almost never rabid because of their low temperature. They are timid non violent little creatures. Ugly, but timid.

  22. We had opossum around our house all the time, so I believe that one. Number 1 is the lie.

  23. Sounds like an intriguing story. I'll guess the lie is #2.

  24. All kinds of interesting stories today!! :) Old buildings have so much inside them!

  25. Wow.. parts of Jess's book could be torn out of the news headlines... wishing her the best with the novel, because she is definitely a *great* writer :)

    I'm voting the lie is #1 (a burn like that would leave a bigger scar, methinks :)

    PS: The best (worst, if you're an opossum!) one was #3!)

    1. Funny thing is, I wrote this book 3 years ago, so these headlines are perfect timing!

  26. Hi Crystal - number three -yes the tell-taler ... yugh though! This one I think # 3 - the Opposum ... how very horrid! Good luck with your stories .. cheers Hilary

  27. Haha, "nightmares of mummified teachers" does sound frightful!

  28. Love your Chicken story! And thanks for all the cheese. I'm going to need it! :)

  29. What a cool cover for The Breeding Tree! I'll guess #3 as the lie.

  30. Wow, I want all those stories to be true. Guess I'll guess number 1.

  31. Nice little snippet of a teaser there, Crystal - so what happens inside - toss me some cheese!
    I say 3 is the lie.
    PS: Can you e mail me, I want to ask you something and can't locate your e mail address cos I'm stupid. :)

  32. Could the lie be number 1? LOVE the voice in your FF. You rock at that, girl. It takes a special talent. You got it. xo

  33. I think 3 is the lie. Congrats to Ava and Jess. Great writing piece here. :)

  34. Ha! Day of the Undead Possum. I should introduce you to my mom who trapped 13 skunks living under her backyard shed.

    1. My Gramps believed the old wives tale that if you pick a skunk up by it's tail, it won't spray. Yeah... um... it's not true.

  35. oh I LOVED the flash fiction!! and I say 3 is the lie!

  36. Really cool writing piece!!! And I'm going for number 3 as the lie!

  37. You had me at "the way a dog sniffs people's butts." What a fun description. I'm off to read the rest.

  38. Loved the flash fiction! Loved the Breeding Tree cover. My guess is #3 is the lie. I never guess right! So anyone who guesses after me, don't choose #3.

    1. Lol, but what if you are right? Then again, maybe not. :)

  39. The Breeding Tree cover is fascinating and the story sounds really interesting. I am very curious about it. The truths and a lie are hard to figure out because of all the details! I am going with #3.

    I am thrilled to have won Poison. I look forward to reading it (had it sent to my co-author's Kindle and then I can borrow her Kindle). :) I still need my own ereader.


  40. Hi, All. For some reason, I wasn't getting notifications about all your awesome comments. Crystal will be revealing the winner tomorrow. Looks like I had many of you stumped due to the varied answers!

    I do want you all to know that my publisher is offering The Breeding Tree for FREE on Kindle starting Friday and going into Saturday. Please tell everyone you know!


Hit me with your cheese!