Temporal Mechanics

The first few seconds after a jump are always a doozy. Once the room stops spinning, I can take stock of where I am… and when I am. This time, I’ve jumped into my past self from about two years ago during one of my training sessions with Jonathan. He is in the ring with me, complete with boxing gloves and shin guards. 

“Keep your hands up, Rachel,” he says. 

I block my face in time for a kick, which glances off my arm. 

I remember this moment now; it’s all coming back to me. He had faked a right jab and caught me off guard with a hook. I’m not going to fall for it this time. 

He fakes his jab, but I’m not fooled. I immediately roll under the hook I know is coming. 

Jonathan holds out a gloved fist for a knuckle bump. “Well done! How did you know to do that? I was planning to teach you how to roll and slip in our next class, but I guess I’ll have to come up with something else.”

I unstrap my boxing glove to get a drink from my water bottle. “What can I say? Guess I have a good teacher.”

Before the water touches my lips, my mind is yanked back to my own time and body. 

I only knew how to roll under a punch because Jonathan taught me. If past Jonathan decides not to teach me those boxing skills because he thinks I already know them, will I still know how to do them in my own time? Will it ever have happened?

I shake my head to dispel the circular chain of thought. 

“Ugh, temporal mechanics gives me a headache.”


I wrote this flash fiction piece as part of 2020’s Writober. These characters are from my novel, No Exit. I’m a time-travel junkie and decided to have a little temporal fun with some of my characters!

Such A Quiet Place Book Review

I have been a big fan of Megan Miranda’s work for quite a while, and I was extremely excited to be able to read and review an advanced copy of her newest book, Such A Quiet Place, coming this July.

Such A Quiet Place is about a small and safe community where everyone knows everyone and they all look out for each other… or so it would seem. Until the mysterious murder of two of the residents unhinges their sense of security and what they thought they knew about each other. 

Megan Miranda is a master of suspense and probably the best at writing flashbacks. She effortlessly sweeps you away into the life and past of her characters and reveals little by little the answers to the mystery; answers that lie in their memories. Just like all her books, Such A Quiet Place does not disappoint. 

This book reveals the characters’ flashbacks in a slightly different way than her previous books. The flashbacks in this story are only revealed through the characters reminiscing, and not through real-time scenes of past events, like she has done before. However, this new approach offers a fresh take to something she does so well. 

The characters in Such A Quiet Place were well written and full of layers, pulling you deeper and deeper into their lives. And the murder mystery kept building throughout the narrative, letting you believe you knew what was going on, until she flips it on you with shocking twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat, turning page after page. 

Another home run for Megan Miranda. A joy to read, and I can’t wait for what she brings us next! 

Blogging MIA

Hi Everyone!

I know it’s been a while since I last posted… a long while. Things have been a little crazy in my writing world. First off, the publisher of my first book, No Exit, went out of business. That wouldn’t be too bad, if they didn’t take hundreds of author’s royalties with them. And this all under the banner of being a “Christian Publisher.” Needless to say, they didn’t get away with it, they got stuck with several felony charges and are on probation so they can pay it all back. So that has been an ongoing process with the Attorney General in Oklahoma where they were located.

And yeah, it sucks, but this is how I’m choosing to look at it: through it all, I still got my book out there. May not have worked out the way I wanted in the end, but if it reached at least one person, it all was worth it. And I’m not letting any of it stop me…

Enter my WIP… (that’s work in progress for any of my non-writerly friends out there) Even though I haven’t been writing on the blog, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. I’m well into my current WIP as you can see in my manuscript screen shot, I’ve passed the half-way point of my goal word count. I may even surpass it by the time I’m done.

What is it about, you ask?

I don’t think I’m quite ready to give the synopsis. But I will tell you it hits a little closer to home on this one; it’s a story of a very personal nature that I pray will speak to someone out there. It’s been a hard process; a difficult story to write, for sure. But it’s one that has been heavy on my heart for some time now, and it would almost be impossible for me not to write it.

Anyway, I’ll be putting up updates as it progresses.

#amwriting

live long and prosper!

CK

Zeit and Kylie Grand Finale

“Zeit!” I screamed, but it was too late. He couldn’t hear me; I had already started my walk through time. My stomach lurched and turned as centuries passed before my eyes in streaks of color and ghosted visions. Men and women lived out their lives, oblivious to my tiny, fleeting window into it.

And then with a jolt, the visions coalesced into solid matter, and I was back in my own time. I was in the middle of the sidewalk, just down the street from my bookstore. The sun was past its apex; still a few hours left in the day. Whatever day it was. I teetered as I tried to regain my bearings, put my hands on my knees and squeezed my eyes shut to keep the world from spinning.

Deep breath in. Long exhale. Repeat.

“Now what?” I said out loud. How do you go back to normal life after such an experience? Seeing all of time and space laid out before you, falling in love with the person who brought you that amazing world. Then to have it all ripped away…

A sob broke free from my throat, thick and heavy, no matter how hard I tried to keep it back.

“Excuse me, Miss, are you alright?” A voice said behind me.

I turned around. A man in his fifties stood there, kind eyes looking into me. “Uh, yes I’ll be fine,” I mange to get out, though not very convincingly.

“You look sort of familiar.”

It was only then that I noticed it. He was older, silver hairs speckled the sides of his head and wrinkles creased his forehead and smile lines, but there was no denying his identity.

“Carlo.”

“How do you know my name? Where do I know you from?”

“I was there. That day in the square. How is she, did you find her again?”

“Julia.” He paused, a faraway smile on his face. “Yes, I remember you. You were standing in the street with that strange looking fellow.”

The reminder of Zeit shot a pang through my chest. I couldn’t speak, but nodded in response.

Carlo continued. “To answer your question, I did find her. It took many years, and I almost gave her up as dead, but we did find each other. Thank you. I don’t know how you did it, or how you haven’t aged a day in all these years, but thank you for the role you played in saving her life.”

“You’re welcome. It… cost a great deal, but words can’t express how happy I am for you both. I own the book shop just up there. Please come visit me sometime.”

“I’d like that.”

Carlo patted my arm and turned to leave.

“One more thing before you go?” I said, and he stopped to look at me. “I know this may sound very strange, but what time is it, and more importantly, what day is it?”

A questioning look twisted his face, but he answered me without protest. “It’s about three in the afternoon, Thursday, the fifth.”

“Thank you.”

The fifth… That’s the day I left!

I broke into a run toward my shop. If I hurried, I could still make it. I don’t know what I expected to find. Zeit, maybe. If I could stop him before we left, maybe I could keep him from dying. But then I never would have fallen in love with him in the first place.

The endless loop of quantum mechanics was starting to make my head spin. At the very least, if I could just see him one more time…

I made it to the storefront, and pushed the door to enter.

But it didn’t budge.

The memory of my actions that day snapped into place.

After Zeit had introduced himself, I locked the front door so that we could talk without being interrupted.

I was too late. I banged on the door in desperation. “No! Please!” And then in a cry almost to myself, “Please don’t be gone.”

I don’t know how long I stayed there, crying into the locked door.

“Don’t tell me those tears are for me,” an impossible voice said from behind me. The breath escaped my chest and I spun around. “What would the other Time Walkers think of me if I made a human girl cry.”

“How?” I asked as I ran to him. He pulled me into his arms and held me there for an extended moment. It ended far too soon.

“I told you, Love. I exist outside of space/time. I have no past or future. Which, apparently, means I did not die. I was never aware of my inability to die, but none the less, here I am.”

I stood there, speechless and smiling. “So when to now?”

“Anytime you want. Time is at our fingertips.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed the story! I had a blast bringing these characters to life, and maybe I’ll revisit them someday. If you missed any part, check out the full story here.

Zeit and Kylie part 5

Consciousness returns to me, albeit, hazily.

“Zeit!” Kylie screams. Her voice is distant and distorted, like hearing someone try to yell underwater.

I slit my eyes open, letting a little light into my dark world. I see the blurry image of Kylie hovering over me. I’m lying on my back, I gather.

Then the memory of the day’s events return full force.

“Kylie,” I say with a hoarse voice. “Did it work?”

She looks over her shoulder, presumably at the woman we were trying to save.” She’s alive, but still unconscious. The helicopter is gone, and so is Carlo.”

“They bought it then.” It is a statement rather than a question. “They thought she was dead and left. It worked.”

Kylie nods.

I look down at my chest; my clothes are blood-red, and I probably don’t have long. That was it, I realize. No matter how many times I tried, I never would have been able to do it on my own. Kylie was the missing piece. Or, I should say, she and I together. Kylie had to intervene and I had to take the woman’s place. We were meant to be here now, together.

“Kylie, listen to me.”

“Don’t you dare say what I think you’re about to say.”

She sniffs back tears, and something forms deep in my chest that I have never felt in all of my existence. Could I? Are my kind even capable of it? And why did it take dying for me to experience it?

I know what I have to do.

I slowly, and painfully, reach into my coat pocket and retrieve my pocket watch. Reaching across my body, I motion for Kylie to take it, but she refuses.

“What are you doing?”

“You need this to get you home.”

“No.” Tears are running freely down her face now, her next words come out fast and strung together, “No, you have to come too. You have to take me home. I can’t use that thing by myself. I won’t leave you here.”

“Kylie…”

Before I can say anything else, her lips are on mine, her hot tears searing my cheeks.

“I love you,” I whisper, with all the strength I can muster.

“I don’t know how I could after such a short time, but I think I love you too.”

Helicopter blades startle us out of our conversation. They have returned. I know the kind of men they are, and I must get Kylie out of here.

“They’re back?” She asks and looks around. “The woman is gone too.”

“Something tells me she will be just fine. But you must go. It is the only way. I cannot let those men get to you.”

She nods, and finally reaches for the watch. I clutch the watch and her hand in mine.

“Live a good life, and remember I will always love you.”

“As will I,” she says and kisses my hand.

I close my eyes, knowing if I look into hers any longer, I will not be able to send her away.

“Goodbye, love.”

With those parting words, I split time once more, and send her through the void.

I hope you’re enjoying the story! There’s one more installment to come. In case you’ve missed any of Zeit and Kylie, check it out here.

Zeit Meets Carlo, Writober Part 4

Now where have you taken me?” Kylie gasps. At least she doesn’t vomit this time. “It’s too hot here.”

She looks around at the desert landscape. We are standing in a town square, of sorts, where some children are playing baseball. The square is surrounded by a few tall buildings. Hot air whips at her hair as she tries to keep it out of her face.

“In my many travels, I met a very compelling man named Carlo, an assassin trapped in a world he wished beyond anything he could escape. Something about his story calls to me. It is this very moment that defines the rest of his life. We travelers are not supposed to meddle in the affairs of humans, but as you may have learned, that is not always so easy. I have tried, and failed, many times to change this. For both their sakes.”

“What happened here?”

“Happens, present tense,” I correct her. “Watch, up there.”

I point to the roof several stories above our heads. I see the familiar scene unfold as it always does. Carlo is on the roof, looking through the scope of his rifle.

“He’s going to kill someone?” She asks.

“Her.” I point to a woman on the ground a few feet away from us. Her face is beautiful, framed by brilliant auburn hair. “He loves her more than his own life.”

“Then why kill her?”

“He has no choice. Punishment, for trying to leave his profession.”

The deafening thunder of helicopter blades drowns out further conversation. It hovers just above the rooftop where Carlo is perched. After seeing the helicopter, Carlo runs to the closest storm drain, trying to reach ground level.

“He can’t do it,” Kylie realizes. “He loves her too much.”

“No, but they will.” I point to the men with guns hanging out the door of the chopper.

“We have to do something.”

“I have tried.”

“But I haven’t.”

I doubt Kylie can be successful. I have tried talking the woman into leaving, sheltering her from the bullets, every time she somehow ends up dead.

But Kylie still frantically searches for inspiration. Finding it, she grabs a baseball bat from one of the kids and runs to the woman.

“I’m taking her out of the equation,” she yells to me.

I follow, unsure how this new development will change things, if at all. My nature as a Time Walker allows me to perceive events as if they were happening in slow motion. The scene unfolds around me…

Carlo makes it to the ground and locks eyes with the woman just as we reach her. The helicopter descends, the sound of which distracts Carlo for just long enough. Kylie swings the bat and knocks the woman unconscious, who crumples to the ground. The inevitable shot from the helicopter’s gunman splits the air. I push Kylie down so that both women are out of harm’s way.

Then fire rips through my chest.

In case you’ve missed any of Zeit’s story, you can read all about him here.

Enchanter (Flawed #4) Book Review

enchanter_cvr_med-683x1024I wanted to take a moment to post my official review of Enchanter, the latest release in the Flawed series by Becca J. Campbell. If you’re not familiar with the series, it’s set in a world where some people develop supernatural abilities, sometimes referred to as “flaws” by those who feel their abilities are more of a curse than a blessing.  I’m a huge fan of Becca J. Campbell and the whole Flawed series, so if you haven’t read them yet, be sure to pick them up! The series consists of four full-length novels: Empath, OutsiderProtector, Enchanter. There are also a few short stories in the series: Pulled, Constricted, and The Father Hunt.

Here is the official synopsis of Enchanter:

Violet can make anyone obey her. And she wants revenge.

After a series of abductions, Jade just wants to enjoy life with her boyfriend, Logan. But her empathic flaw has morphed into something even worse. Now her emotions are affecting everyone nearby, making her a dangerous force. Jade’s volatile emotions and Logan’s super-strength make a deadly mix.

Meanwhile, Violet, a woman from Logan’s past, has turned from infatuated colleague to jealous stalker. After recovering from an injury, she develops the power to control minds. Now Violet is finally able to get anything—and anyone—she wants.

And Violet wants Logan.

While Jade is dealing with her escaping emotions, she meets fellow English major Graham. He is the only one who knows what Violet is truly capable of. Jade enlists his help to in trying to save Logan from Violet’s clutches. But can they stop Violet before she puts them under her spell?

This fourth and final installment in the Flawed series once again pulls together a crew of friends with unique abilities. This time they must face the fury of a vengeful enchantress.

Now that you know a little about the story, here’s my review:

Wow, what a great read! Enchanter by Becca J Campbell is the fourth and final book in the Flawed series. And I must say, she ended this amazing journey in a spectacular way.

In case you haven’t read all of the books (something that should be remedied immediately) The Flawed series centers around a group of individuals who have developed supernatural abilities ranging from ultra strength, to not feeling pain, to absorbing the pain and ailments of others. Enchanter again follows the story of Jade, an empath who is learning to control her evolving powers. She is confronted by some very tough decisions, challenging her values and her control. These challenges cause her to cross paths with a couple of familiar characters: the ever-loveable Graham from The Father Hunt, and Violet, this installment’s love-to-hate villain. Violet has developed some abilities of her own, and she is out for revenge.

Becca has taken us through an exciting ride with this series, and Enchanter is the perfect cherry on top. The characters are loveable and well written, and the story was gripping and fast-paced, not letting you put it down until the end. It was a great addition and a satisfying ending to the series. When I first heard this would be the last book, naturally I was sad to see it go. But after reading how this one ended, I feel it was a good place to stop. The series started with the characters feeling as though their powers were a flaw, something to despise and fear. But at the conclusion, they are viewed as something that can be used to help others, not to fear, but to embrace. It was a good message and a fitting conclusion. But not to worry… I hear a spin off series is coming out next, so while this series may be closed, there is more to come from the world of “glitches.”
So until next time…

P.S. I would like to thank Becca J Campbell for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I hope you enjoyed reading the review. Look for Becca’s books on Amazon. And check out her website: BeccaJCampbell.com to stay up-to-date on her upcoming books, news, giveaways, and more!

Zeit Part 3

I feel the familiar tug in my gut, the very fabric of my being wrenched from the moment and space I once occupied. I am not surprised by the sensation, but rather welcome it, like returning home. But even after centuries of Time Walking, it still sends a thrill through me. Surrounded by black, lights sweep past my field of vision, like shooting starts in the dead of night, and for a brief moment, I feel as though we are flying.

And as immediate as the Walk started, we jolt to a halt. I look over at Kylie, who stumbles to the ground from the sheer force of the abrupt stop.

“Are you alright?” I ask, though I know she probably is not.

“Excuse me while I hurl,” she says.

And she does.

Though I can hardly hold it against her. I can only imagine what an experience like that must feel like to a human.

When she finally composes herself, she stands and straightens her clothes. “I think ‘quite a rush’ doesn’t cut it. Time Walking should come with a disclaimer.”

“That is why humans do not typically attempt it. I must applaud your bravery.”

“Umm… thanks. So where, or when, are we?”

“This is my favorite place. Victorian England.”

Kylie looks around at the people bustling by on the cobblestone street, then looks back at me.

“Wow, you really do fit in here. You’ve got the top hat, waistcoat, long coattails… You even have the scarf thing.”

“ I believe the term you’re looking for is cravat.”

“Oh, pardon me.” She smirks and turns to walk away.

“Hold up a moment. You cannot go galavanting around by yourself. We need to lay low and blend in.”

“You mean everyone can see me?”

“You could see me when I came, could you not?”

“I guess you’ve got a point.”

“Hey!” A voice yells from across the street. A man in his mid thirties starts running toward us.

“What’s his problem?” Kylie whispers to me.

My stomach drops. Now I know when we are. “If I am not mistaken, it is about to start drizzling.”

Raindrops splatter our clothes and Kylie looks bewildered at me.

“How did you know that?”

“I must apologize, I believe I forgot to mention something. Traumatic and/or historical events tend to pull those of my kind toward them when we travel. Sometimes we cannot help it.”

“Okay…”

“I did not realize until this moment when exactly we landed.”

“What happened here, Zeit?”

“This was one of those traumatic events for me. I made a mistake many years ago and involved myself a little too deeply into the affairs of the humans in that time. They found out what I am, and let’s just say they did not take kindly to someone messing with their lives and futures. They tried to kill me.”

“Is that possible? Never mind. Tell me later. But that’s where we are now?”

I nod and pull out my pocket watch.

“Oh no, not again.” Kylie shakes her head. I’m not ready for another one of those whoosh feelings in my stomach yet.”

“It is either that or this man will try to kill us both.”

“If I die while I’m with you…”

I nod, not letting her finish her train of thought. She immediately grabs my arm and squeezes her eyes shut.

“Here goes nothin’,” she mumbles.

Zeit the Time Walker – Writober Part 2

More from Zeit and Kylie’s story…

“Tea?” Kylie asks with a hint of humor and sarcasm. She motions with her hand toward the area of the store once occupied by my time portal. “Do you realize when you… whatever it is you do to get around… you’ve landed yourself in Seattle, the coffee capital of the country. No, I don’t have any tea.”

I stare at her, momentarily struck speechless. “Wait a minute. I reveal I can travel through time, and your most pressing concern is that the only refreshment you can offer me is coffee? Hmm… I think we’re going to get along just swimmingly. Now then, where were we?”

“How about I close up early and put a pot on, while you tell me how and why you’re standing in the middle of my shop?”

“That would be agreeable.”

She stares at me a moment longer before turning to lock the front door and switch the sign to ‘Closed‘. It makes me wonder what thoughts had her so captivated in that moment. I gaze at her, watching her glide down the aisle, every movement a  testament to the love and care she pours into this place every single day.

“What?” She asks. “You were staring.”

“Oh, it’s nothing. Lead the way, my dear.”

She leads me through a heavy maroon curtain at the back of the shop and into what I assume to be the break room. Although, I can’t image she has many employees to take advantage of such a space.

“Does anyone work here with you?” I ask nonchalantly.

“Just one, but he’s part-time, not due to show up until tomorrow’s evening shift.”

I nod, and she motions toward the round table and chairs set up in the middle of the room. I set my top hat on the table, lift my coat tails and take a seat while she starts preparing the coffee.

“Can I help?” I offer, starting to rise.

“Are you kidding?” Tea drinkers should not be in charge of making the coffee.”

She snickers softly, and I do the same. She is quite amusing, this one.

She is gone but a few minutes, and returns with two steaming mugs.

“So, Zut,” she says, sitting down.

“Zeit,” I correct her. “Unusual name, I know. It’s German, means Time.”

“German? I thought you said you were from England?”

“I say England because it is easier for humans to identify with me if I am from a place they are familiar with. Although, I do greatly enjoy it; it is a place I return to often, and I speak as if I was from there. But as I exist outside of space-time, I do not have any one origin point, nor do I have a past or future. I simply am.”

Kylie nods, and I wonder if she is actually understanding my explanation.

“Can I come with you?” She says after pondering silently for a moment.

“You want to join me on a Time Walk?”

No one has ever requested that of me before. Most humans fear my kind, keeping their distance as best they can.

“You are sure?” I say. “What about your store?”

“You can travel through time right?” She pauses, and I nod in affirmation. “So… can’t you just bring me back to this same moment when we’re done? Then no time will have passed and the store will be fine.”

I have, without a doubt, never met anyone such as her, easily grasping the concepts of time travel and so willing to step into the unknown.

“Alright, we have an agreement.”

Pounding from outside the shop interrupts our conversation.

“Is that coming from the front door?” Kylie says.

“No, please!” A voice yells from outside before the pounding resumes.

The voice sounds eerily familiar, sending a chill up my spine. We must leave. Now.

“If you are adamant about accompanying me, the time has come. We must hurry.” I say. “Are you ready?”

She casts a concerned look in the direction of the commotion, then back at me and nods.

I retrieve my pocket watch from my inner coat pocket, return my hat to my head, and hold out my hand for hers.

“Is that how you get around?” She indicates the watch.

“You shall see. Please take my hand and close your eyes. This next part can be quite a rush.”

New Story from Writober – Zeit’s Grand Entrance

So… Writober just ended, the anual writing event I participate in every October. So I’ve got a fun new story for you all. I’ll be posting it in segments. I hope you enjoy!

“Where the heck did you come from?” The blond woman from behind the counter says as I emerge from my portal. I’ve arrived in a meager antique bookstore, rows of weathered first editions line my path. How fitting that such books, little snippets of their time, should welcome the arrival of one such as myself.

“The proper question to ask would be ’when,’” I say with a dip of my top hat. “But then that would depend on what timeline you’re perceiving me from, and that is another matter entirely.”

She gives me a puzzled look, one I’ve grown quite accustomed to over the centuries. “Suffice it to say, I am from… I believe you call it England, just a different time period than yourself. My name is Zeit, and I am a Time Walker.”

I remove my hat and bow as I announce my title. She stares at me a moment longer, then sticks out her hand.

“ Kylie. Nice to meet you,” she says.

I take her hand in mine and place on it the gentlest kiss.

“A pleasure,” I say. “Now, do you have a spot of tea?”