Flash Fiction Friday: The “Block” Button

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Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

The “Block” Button
by Kelly F. Barr

Theresa pushed the “block” button to block his messages and felt her heart tear in two. All her friends, and her own head, told her this was the right thing to do, but would her heart … could her heart … survive it?

Yeah, she’d heard all the warnings: “Don’t make friends with strangers on the internet”, reminiscent of the “Don’t talk to strangers” rule her parents had taught her when she was a young child. But didn’t everyone do it? Wasn’t it called socializing?

Maybe, but you weren’t supposed to lose your heart, and that is what she had done. He was so sweet; so romantic. He’d said he loved her.

Had there been red flags? Yeah, small ones at first that her heart brushed aside. Then the red flags began to occur more often—“buy a $100 Amazon gift card and send me a photo of the card and receipt”; “can I have the username and password to your credit card account”? She’d fulfilled a couple of these requests, but she wasn’t made of money.

Then he’d sent her money. So was he really a bad guy?

Theresa got scared and changed all her usernames and passwords to keep him out because of all the warnings she kept hearing in her head. Today, pushing the “block” button was her last act to shut him out. She was listening to her head while her heart shattered, leaving an incredible ache in her chest.

He’d promised he’d never let her go, said he’d fight for her.

Now she wondered, would he … could he? Would he come and find her, declare his love and propose to her as he’d promised?

Or had pushing the “block” button not only severed their connection, but also left him devastated? He had told her he had no one else but her in the world. Was that true?

Unbearable guilt and pain filled her chest. Though she had never met him face-to-face, he’d made her feel more loved than anyone else ever had.

Had pushing that “block” button protected her from someone she needed protection from, or had it shut out her knight in shining armor?

Tea and Poetry Tuesday

Today’s tea tidbit:
Tea tempers the spirits and harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens thought and prevents drowsiness, lightens or refreshes
the body, and clears the perceptive faculties. —
Confucius

Fall and Holidays
by Kelly F. Barr

There’s a chill in the air,
Colorful leaves are everywhere.
Pumpkin is the feature flavor
Of drinks, desserts, and soup to savor.

Harvest time is nearly past;
The holidays approaching fast.
It’s my favorite time of the year
Drawing friends and family near.

Used Bookstore Tour

What fun things happen when you and your friends love books and writing! One of my friends came up with the idea of doing an online search for used bookstores within a reasonable driving area. She found quite a few! So, she planned two “used bookstore tours” for us in two different areas. So, on Saturday, October 5, 2019, we went on our first tour. We left around 10:30 a.m. and didn’t return until 8 p.m., but we had so much fun and found some great stores!

The first store was by far my favorite. It is an old barn that has been converted into a bookstore that sells old used books. It has four floors!

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This is where I sat perusing an old book about Virginia City during the time of the Old West. I ended up buying the book.

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This was our second stop. My friends found great deals here! I purchased one book, that I found completely fascinating, here.

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Okay, so Barnes and Noble isn’t a “used” bookstore, but we stopped anyway, and being from a small town with a one-floor Barnes and Noble, imagine how excited we were to enter a Barnes and Noble with a second floor! We had a lot of fun in this store!

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This is a magnet I found in a bargain bin at Barnes and Noble. I laughed and showed it to one of my friends who then insisted on buying it for me because she said, “It fits.” (I think it’s because I have a strong personality and strong opinions. And, yeah, I don’t have a lot of money.)

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This store only had a small section of “used” books.

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No “used” books here either, and it was a very small store with more gift items than books.

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We thought this store’s prices were kind of high for “used” books.

Our next stop was a comic book store. (Yeah, I know, not a “used” book store.) Also, I forgot to take a photo of the outside of this store, but I took a photo of one of my favorite items inside the store:

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This was supposed to be our last stop, and it was out last “used” book store. This store had three storefronts in a strip mall. Another one of my friends bought a Langston Hughes poetry book here, just because I said, “I like Langston Hughes’ poetry”.

We did actually stop at a Five Below as well. They often have some very cool books for writers.

We had so much fun on this tour. Our next one will be in just a couple days! Have you ever done anything like this?

 

 

 

Flash Fiction Friday: “Trusting Hunter”

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Photo by Patrik Chiminec on Unsplash

Trusting Hunter
by Kelly F. Barr

 

Maddie walked along the riverfront, alone again, story of her life. She couldn’t figure out if there was something wrong with all the men in the world or if it was her. She veered off and entered the park, but it wasn’t long until she was wishing she hadn’t as she saw couples holding hands, talking, and laughing. They all looked so happy and comfortable.

It must be her—with all her fears and insecurities—who could ever earn her trust? Maddie cursed all those who had hurt her in the past. It had begun with her parents, then boys in high school, and finally grown men. Maybe she was better off alone. But how could she convince her heart?

She sat on a park bench and sighed. Maddie didn’t believe in “happily ever after”. She’d seen too much real life for that. Relationships took work—real work, and if both people didn’t put in their share of the work, the relationship would fall apart. She just wanted to find someone willing to work with her, to treat her like she was the most important person in their life. Was that too much to ask?

“Do you mind if I sit here?”

A gravelly male voice startled her. Maddie turned to find a man in faded blue jeans and a black t-shirt with disheveled dark brown hair standing at the other end of the bench. She shook her head and the gentleman sat down.

“Are you okay?” He reached into his right jeans pocket and pulled out a white handkerchief. “You can use this. I promise it’s clean.”

Maddie wrinkled her brow, then lifted her left hand and placed her fingers on her cheek. It was wet. She hadn’t even realized she was crying. She swiped the tears away. “No, thank you.” A white handkerchief. He really has a clean, white handkerchief. She didn’t think any men carried hankies anymore.

“Let me guess … relationship problems or one recently ended.”

Maddie raised an eyebrow and frowned.

“I’m sorry. It’s just so common anymore. The dating pool lacks good character. People are too self-absorbed in today’s world. It’s tough to find someone who cares about the wants and needs of another.”

Where had this man come from? Maddie remained silent.

He smiled at her. “I’m Hunter Winters. Would you like to grab a cup of coffee? There’s a nice café just a block from here. If you need someone to talk to, I’m a good listener.”

Maddie was taken aback. Should she even consider a man with the name “Hunter”? Why would he want to listen to the sob story of a total stranger? Yet, something about his offer was very appealing, and he didn’t seem threatening at all. She continued to consider him.

He stood up and reached out his hand. “Come on, what d’ya say? Maybe you’ll feel better after a good latte and a listening, nonjudgmental ear from someone who’s been where you are.”

Maddie smiled, took his hand, and stood. If Hunter was feeding her a line, it was definitely the most unique one she’d ever heard. “That’s the best offer I’ve had in a long time.”

Hunter smiled and, still holding her hand, led the way out of the park.

Author Interview: Lisa Renee Blog Tour

   

Q: When did you know you wanted to be an author?

As a young adult, I believed that one day I would write a non-fiction book, but fiction came as a surprise. Only two years ago, I felt inspired to write my first novel.

Q: Where did the idea for More Than a Second Chance come from?

My debut novel is based on a true story. “Cassie” is a determined woman despite her misfortune and tragedy. I wanted to give her a happy ending, so the romance is fictional until it comes to pass in real life.

Q: Why did you decide to indie publish rather than traditional publishing?

My story is based in Australia with Australian characters which isn’t what American publishers are looking for. We have small publishers in Australia, however with my marketing and business background, I thought I would try indie publishing for this first series.

Q: You are a homeschool mom of seven children. How do you care for a family of this size, homeschool, and still find time to write?

Many people perceive homeschooling to be a massive task. I’ve been homeschooling for fourteen years and I find I’m mainly working with one younger child and the older ones are self-taught with the programs we use. All our homeschooling activities are finished by lunch time. We also attend a once a week group with other families for extra curriculum activities.

Q: What does a typical day in your life look like?

After breakfast, the children have some free time while I check my emails and perhaps do an edit on a chapter. By nine o’clock, I set the children up with homework and work with my new reader for up to an hour. After morning tea break, I work on my computer next to their desk and I’m available if they need help.

In the afternoons I might read a novel or work on writing a chapter in my work in progress. I’ll be finished for the day by five p.m. My schedule is flexible, and family always comes first.

Q: Do you have plans for upcoming novels?

I’m working on Acres of Promise, the next novel in the Single Again series. This one is also a lot of fun, but has some meaningful themes that will bless single mothers.