Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cara Michaels Week 1: Dandelion Wishes

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Cara Michaels’ Picture Choice: 2

Title: Dandelion Wishes

I woke inside a dream. Alert, but hazy. Aware, but not. I couldn’t be awake, but I shouldn’t know otherwise.


Tall grass and trees surrounded me, capped high above by bright blue skies. I felt out of place, spinning around and seeking an anchor. The unfamiliar world slowed and finally stopped on a familiar face.

I recognized the girl before me, but I couldn’t find a name to go with her. Dark brown hair surrounded her like a short cape, ending just above her elbows. In her hand she held an enormous dandelion. Not the flower, but the cottony seed stuff I’d made wishes on as a kid.

She blew on the dandelion, sending fluffy seeds into the wind. The bloom, nearly as big has her face, took three puffs to clear.

“Must be one helluva wish,” I said.

She looked at me with knowing eyes and nodded, her generous lips kicking up into a sly smile. “Oh, it is.”

“I suppose I can’t ask.” My mind struggled to find her name.

She shook her head with a laugh. “You always told me that ruins any chance of the wish coming true.”

“I did?”

“Mmhmm,” she said.

“Is it an important wish?”

Her eyes, dark and quite suddenly serious, focused on me, all traces of humor gone. “The most important wish I’ve ever made.”

The gravity of her manner unsettled me.

“I hope it comes true then.” Internally, I hoped I’d wake up soon.

She smiled, a sad ghost of previous efforts.

“You’ll be the first to know,” she said.

I cocked my head and gave up. I felt slightly embarrassed to ask, but I felt equally certain I needed her answer. “I know you, don’t I?”

Shock and hurt chased across her face.

“Not as well as you should, I guess.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. It’s my fault.”

Dandelion fluff swirled back to me with a change in the direction of the breeze.

“I’m the one who turned away.” She reached out and plucked a seed from my hair. She held it an inch or two from my lips. “Make your wish.”

I obeyed the urgency in her tone and foolishly blew. The seed danced away, bobbing along.

“I don’t feel the wind,” I said. “I didn’t notice before.”

“What did you wish for?” she asked. “Tell me, tell me.”

I laughed at her eagerness, taken back in time. “I can’t tell you that, Janey.”

I froze. She stood as still, her eyes wide with a dreadful sort of hope.

“Jane?” I whispered.

“My wish came true,” she said. “Please remember me. I love you.”

I woke, gasping, her name on my lips.


My daughter. I hadn’t seen her for half her life and now she haunted my dreams. I pushed free of the tangle of sheets and stumbled to my feet. I couldn’t remember much of the dream beyond the young woman who’d claimed to be my estranged offspring, and even those little bits seemed to fade as quickly as I focused on them.

Staggering into the kitchen, I poured three or four fingers of whiskey to drown out the little I could recall. I took the drink out onto the balcony with me and downed the liquor in one long pull, barely noticing the burn. The glass hit the wood railing hard as I clumsily put it aside.

The breeze stirred and as I stood there a dandelion seed landed in the glass, soaking up the liquid residue and sinking down. I plucked the sodden bits from the glass and stared. Something nagged at me, a memory or sense of déjà vu, but I couldn’t place it.

The liquor warmed my body and dulled my brain, just the way I liked it.

I swiped the fluff on the pants of my pajamas and headed back to bed.

If I got my wish, I wouldn’t remember a damn thing about the night when I next woke.


Cara Michaels is the author of the Gaea’s Chosen sci-fi romance series and host of the #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Jeff Tsuruoka Week 1: Flesh and Ink

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Jeff Tsuruoka’s Picture Choice: 1

Title: Flesh and Ink

Maldoc the All-Seeing... He knows where you're going because he can see where you've been... Five Bucks a whirl...

The hand-painted particle board sign leaned against a milk crate in front of a pair of lawn chairs.

Maldoc remembered the day he painted that sign on a hot summer day over thirty years ago.

You wouldn't know that kind of time had passed by looking at him. He had the physique of a man half his age and his long, unruly hair was still as black as coal. His sun-bronzed skin was weathered but taut.

He chuckled when he thought about his sign. “Maldoc the All-Seeing” sounded grandiose these days. He had long since ditched the flamboyant Romany costumes for a series of pairs of disreputable cut-off shorts and a black leather vest he wore in any weather.

The rugs and the trinkets, along with the fancy tent, had been sold off or given away and the wooden cart he used to lug down to the boardwalk each day turned into kindling one winter. His tarot cards served as bookmarks, which was just as well since he never used them for divination in the first place.

He didn't even have a table anymore.

He didn't need one.

Everything he needed to practice his craft was on his person at all times. The Elders had seen to that.

It was tattooed into his skin.

Maldoc stretched out in his lawn chair and yawned. It was just past noon and he'd already given up on the day. Few people were likely to be out in the split pea soup that was passing for air in the late summer and even fewer would ever make it all the way down to his stretch of the boardwalk.

Recent years had been hard on the town of Caravan Bay.

A single motel and one crummy bar were all that remained of what once was an active scene for both visitors and locals alike. The town was a throwback, a sleepy waterfront destination that had passed the point where its antiquity could be considered quaint.

One by one the members of what had been a tight working community of vendors and entertainers closed up shop and moved on. Maldoc found their replacements not up to scratch, if they were replaced at all.

Caravan Bay had become a third-rate beach town with nothing to recommend it but a patch of golden sand, a mile of boardwalk, one motel, and one bar.

And, of course, Maldoc the All-Seeing.

Maldoc was the last of the old guard. He'd been working the boardwalk in Caravan Bay for the better part of thirty years, taking in a little cash by practicing his Talent- fortune telling.

He didn't need much in the way of cash. He lived in a trailer on public land and bartered small favors and odd jobs for meals, booze, and other necessities of life.

The heart of the boardwalk boasted a pair of pathetic food stands, three or four old carnies running dubious games of chance and skill, and a crumbling arcade that was held together by a combination of salt crust and wishful thinking.

Maldoc lit a clove cigarette and inhaled a lungful of harsh, fragrant smoke.

Carnival music tinkled in the air from the other end of the boardwalk and every so often he could hear the voice of a barker hawking his wares.

He looked down at the backs of his hands as he smoked, at the pattern of lines of ink criss-crossing them.

“You open for business?”

The voice stirred Maldoc to wakefulness and he smiled at the irony of a man billing himself as all-seeing being surprised by customers in broad daylight.

He dropped his cigarette and rose out of his chair to greet them.

The speaker was a young man, a biker. Leather vest. Tattoos running down the length of each arm. As much beard as the kid could manage. Red bandanna over a clean-shaved scalp.

The sun's glare made it difficult to see much else but he did notice the girl standing next to the biker boy. They were holding hands.

Electricity ripped through Maldoc's entire body as he looked at her.

Her face was obscured some by the sun but he did not have to see her clearly to know her face, her fire-red hair, her skin- ink-marked where henna once adorned it, the contours and soft places of her body. She could be no more than twenty-five but he knew her of old. Another lifetime ago.

He would know her essence anywhere.

“My name's Derek,” began the biker, “and this is-”

“Katrina,” whispered Maldoc.

The girl took a step back. “How did you know?”

Her voice. It was the same.

Derek broke the spell. “Maybe he's the real deal after all,” he said.

Maldoc recovered and bowed in welcome.

“What would you know of your futures?”

The two young people hesitated. The looked at one another with sheepish grins on their faces and then Katrina stepped forward.

Maldoc guided her to a lawn chair and sat down in the other.

“What are you gonna do?” she asked. “Read my palm?”

He smiled at her. The sun glinted off a tiny gem in her nose.

“No, child.” He put his hands out in front of him, palms down.

“Lay your hands on mine.”

She looked down at his hands, at the tattoos.


“Of a kind. They represent the tendrils that bind all things together. The past. The present. The future. Touch them and you will see.”

She smiled back at him and shot a glance at Derek before putting her hands down.

The contact lasted only a few seconds.

Maldoc's heart raced. There was no doubt. It was her.

She had returned.

“I have something special to show you, Katrina,” said Maldoc. “Something I do not allow just anyone to experience.”

He stood up and shucked off his vest.

On his chest was the most impressive tattoo Derek and Katrina had ever seen.

It covered his entire chest, from breastbone to the bottom of his ribcage. At first glance it looked to be of the branch network of some kind of tree, with three small birds resting among the leaves. The longer one looked at it though one was struck with how much the branches resembled ribs and lungs.

Maldoc lifted Katrina's right hand and placed it against one of the birds.

Katrina stiffened and gave a little cry.

Maldoc shot out his free hand to keep Derek at a distance. “She's safe! I will allow no harm to come to her.”

Derek was far from mollified but he did stay back.

Katrina cried out again. Unbridled joy spread over her face. She laughed until she was out of breath and then stepped back and let her hand fall to her side.

Derek ran forward to catch her before she fell over.

“What happened?” he demanded. He glared at Maldoc.

Katrina began to laugh again. “I was a bird!” She pointed to one of the birds tattooed on Maldoc's chest. “I was that bird! I was flying, flying fast and so high up! It was... amazing!”

She and Maldoc sat back down. Her hands found his on his lap.

The door opened once more.

Maldoc saw Derek in her mind, saw him through her eyes and through her heart. The way he looks at her. The way he speaks to her. The way he touches her. They way he protects her. He saw the strength of his love for her and of hers for him.

In that moment he understood.

“Are you all right, mister?” she asked him.

Maldoc opened his eyes and forced a smile. “Yes, child,” he said. “Never better.”

They sat in silence for a moment. The wind brought the roar of the surf to them. A single gull squawked out over the water.

“It's your turn, Derek,” said Maldoc.

Katrina lingered and held his gaze for a second before getting up out of the chair.

She brushed Derek's hand with her own and gave it a little squeeze.

The young biker looked up and down the boardwalk and then dropped into the lawn chair.

Katrina paced around them as Maldoc put his hands out for Derek. She gave a little gasp when she circled around the fortune teller but the biker did not notice.

Maldoc could feel her standing behind him. He knew she was staring at the tattoo on his back, staring at her own sweet face.

“I must show you something,” he said. “Are you ready, Derek?”

“Ready as I'll ever be, man.”

He grunted as the visions began to take hold. His jaw was clenched and his skin was soon coated in a sheen of cold sweat.

“What's wrong, baby?” asked Katrina. She hurried to his side.

Maldoc understood too well what the boy was feeling. He was seeing it along with him, reliving those events.

He saw himself as a younger man, bursting into a house just a minute too late. It was an old house, a cozy house, decorated with all the trappings of a bohemian lifestyle. It was their home. His and Katrina's.

He saw himself cradling her, trying to staunch the flow of blood with his hands. He heard his howls of grief and rage.

He showed Derek the open back door, made him hear the retreating footsteps on the path leading away from the house.

He made him feel the loss.

And then he broke the contact. He and the boy both stood up and he put his hands on his shoulders.

Derek looked like he was going to be sick.

“Do you understand?” asked Maldoc. “Do you understand what I've shown you?”

Derek said nothing but after several long seconds he nodded.

“I did eventually track down the man who murdered my Katrina. I often wondered if she would return to me. We do return, you know. Things have a way of repeating themselves. I prayed that she would return to me some day, that we would be reunited. And she has indeed returned. But not for me. Not for me.”

Katrina stood by Derek's side. He acknowledged her presence with a weak smile.

“You must protect her, Derek. My love could not save her and where I failed you must not. You must not.”

The young biker snapped out of it and took both of Katrina's hands in his. The torpor was gone and his eyes blazed with both light and heat as he looked into Katrina's eyes.

“I won't let you down, man,” he said. He raised Katrina's hand to his lips. “You either.”

Maldoc stood up and let his mind flow back to the life he once knew as he watched them walk away.

When they were halfway down the boardwalk Katrina turned her head and looked back.

Maldoc the All-Seeing was gone.


Jeff Tsuruoka is an author in search of a writing career. He has found a home in the Flash Fiction circuit and is grateful to the blog hosts that give him the opportunity to get his work out there. You can follow him on Twitter @JTsuruoka and be sure to keep tabs on his weekly contributions to Daily Picspiration.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Michela Walters Week 1: Dichotomy of a Boy

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Michela Walters’s Picture Choice: Both

Title: Dichotomy of a Boy

Jax’s appearance was rough and forbidding. When he was young, he rebelled against his strict upbringing by littering his skin with artful designs and rings meant to serve as a warning for others to keep away. Yet this pretty girl with tawny hair and plump lips didn’t shy away. Instead she twisted and snuck inside the walled fortress of his heart, splintering it and allowing the sun and warmth of her love to commandeer it.

Every day her presence acted like a soothing balm, pulling him further and further from his defiant youth, easing him into the adult he never imagined he could be. Jax had planned for months, creating the perfect fairytale setting, a bed strung high up in a tree where only the birds would be able to serenade his proposal to the woman who changed him irrevocably.

When his love asked where they were headed with only a large backpack between them, he kept silent. Hoping the visual would show her how much she meant to him instead. He wasn’t much for romance, but when he’d read one of her creative writing pieces, he couldn’t shake the beautiful imagery held within and vowed to create a real live masterpiece that would stand up to her fictional one.

Beneath the canopy of hundred year oaks, her steps faltered when she saw the lanterns casting a dim glow, lighting their path.

“What is this?” she asked, but continued walking not waiting for his reply.

She stopped beneath a rope ladder, peering up at a large object that she couldn’t quite make out from the ground. Jax nodded his head towards the ladder, urging her to climb.

Following close behind, Jax waited patiently, hoping he would hear her gasp or mutter some expletive when she saw the antique bed waiting for her perched among the limbs. He wasn’t disappointed when she screeched loudly and clamored onto the quilt covered mattress smiling with glee.

“This is my story!” she cried, “How in the world did you do this?”

Never one for taking a compliment, Jax only shrugged and climbed onto the bed beside her. “It was your dream world. I wanted you to be able to live it, even if it was for just one night.”

They contentedly sat together, opened up a bottle of champagne and drank to their love. And once Jax had finally asked her to love him forever, they drank to their future.


Michela Walters is a wife, mother and book enthusiast. She is currently attempting her hand at writing her first romantic fiction novella. You can read her other stories on her blog:


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kimberly Gould Week 1: Haiku - Sleet

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Kimberly Gould’s Picture Choice: 1

Title: Haiku - Sleet

Snow, ice, rain as one
Cold and wet dripping down spine
Never warm again.


Kimberly Gould is the author of Cargon: Honour and Privilege and the upcoming Thickness of Blood. She can be found most places as Kimmydonn, including

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

J.M. Blackman Week 1: Dreams Do Come True

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J.M. Blackman’s Picture Choice: Both

Title: Dreams Do Come True

She took a pull of her cigarette as Jared clambered up the tree. He looked back at her with a huge smile before swinging out and dropping into the water with a shout. Cheyenne took another pull. He had thought a little fresh air would help her, but it hadn’t.

Now, instead of letting her misery drown in the drone of honking horns and screaming crowds, she was free to inspect it minutely in a quiet of nature. And it sucked.

Jared came out of the water like a GQ model, still smiling as sun hit his brown skin just right. That was the only thing that really took her mind off of herself. When his hands were on her, when she felt the warmth of his skin--she could ignore her head.

He plopped down by her on the blanket and tugged at the long cover over her bathing suit. “What is this? How you will you ever tan that vampire skin if you leave that on?”

She blew smoke into the air out of her nose. “I don’t tan, babe. I burn. We’re not all so lucky to have so much...”

“Melanin,” he finished.

“Melanin,” she repeated, like it was the name of an old friend.

“You promised you’d get in,” he said, his smile wilting.

“Lesson number one,” she blew. “People make promises and break them. Learn that now, young one.”

“I don’t,” he said stubbornly. “Especially not to my girlfriend.”

She looked at him for a long time and then put her cigarette out in the wet grass. “How about this? If you make me a promise and you swear you’ll keep it, I’ll get in.”

“What is it?” he asked eagerly, brushing the tattoo under her collarbone.

“It actually has to do with this,” she said, tapping the tattoo.

“What, do you want me to get one? I will.”

“No,” she laughed. “Though, you’d look hot in ink. No, that’s not what I meant.”

“You refuse to sink, huh? Like an anchor. You know anchors are useful, though. Necessary.”

“I don’t give a fuck,” she said, tossing her hair. “I don’t want to be necessary or useful. I want to be a boat.”

He laughed and she glared at him, so he stopped. “I’m sorry,” he repeated. “A boat. Why?”

“They have no masters.”

“They do,” he laughed. “They have captains and owners and...”

She held her hand up. “They sail the open sea. They see miles and miles of ocean and shore and sky. Just free.”

“But you don’t even like the water.”

“I do. But not as a person. We’re not equipped for water like boats.” She looked at him from under her hair. “You think that’s dumb?”

“Nothing you say is dumb,” he said very seriously.

“Then, here’s your promise. Promise me you’ll make me a boat.” She smiled, because she thought it was either a promise he couldn’t keep or one he’d try to keep by making her sail and strapping it to her, something silly that would make her laugh.

But he didn’t laugh. “Is that what you really want?”

She nodded. “You don’t think it’s weird?”

“I think everyone has different wishes and I think if that’s what will make you happy, I’ll do it.” And his eyes began to glow. Right there under the tree, right on Lake Lanier, his eyes glowed. They cast shadows all around them.

It didn’t scare Cheyenne. “What are you?”

“Jared,” he smiled.

“Not, who are you, what are you,” she repeated. “I mean, I’m Cheyenne, by the terrible luck of my mom who thought that was a good name. But what I am is a person. A human. Are you?”

He shrugged. “Still want to be a boat?”

She looked at Jared and his GQ body and sincere smile. And glowing eyes. And she still wanted to be a boat. “I do.”

“Then, you will be. I promise.” He leaned in and kissed her. One moment she was kissing him and the next, she was not there. Jared packed up their blanket and picnic basket. He rolled her empty cover and bathing suit up in a towel and dumped it into his car with everything else.

* * *

She took a pull of her clove cigarette as Jared clambered up the tree. He looked back at her with a huge smile before swinging out and dropping into the water with a shout. Anaise took another pull. He had thought a little fresh air would help her, but it hadn’t.

And he had promised, too.


J.M. Blackman is a Language Arts teacher, author rep'd by Gina Panettieri and a feminist. She endeavors to review nearly everything she reads and is a happy wife. She's a SFF enthusiast, loves dark humor, and has an unhealthy need to protect the image of Batman.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Jen DeSantis Week 1: Confessions

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Jen DeSantis’s Picture Choice: 2

Title: Confessions

An ice cube cracked and floated to the top, displacing the others as the straw bobbed in the soda. A pregnant drop of condensation trailed lazily down the side, collecting in a pool at the base of the glass.

“Are you going to drink it?” Ron asked.


He drummed his fingers on the table in annoyance. Waste of any food or drink made him angry; now I understood why. He couldn’t enjoy it himself, being what he was, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat or drink anything. My brain raced with all of the new information.

“Look, this doesn’t change anything,” he insisted.


Ron sat back in the booth, his long, jean-clad legs sprawled out in front of him, encroaching on my personal space. He looked the same as he had yesterday when we’d had a leaf fight in my dad’s backyard. It seemed impossible, but nothing about him had changed since he told me the truth. Except everything had changed, at least in my head.

“How can you even say that with a straight face?” I pressed. “What you told me … what you are … how do I even get past that?”

“You either do or you don’t. There’s nothing more I can say.”

I pushed the plate of fried food away from myself and crossed my arms. Ron sighed, pursing his lips.

“You didn’t have to tell me,” I whispered.

His strange, blue eyes faltered for a moment and he sat up. His hand snaked through the litter of plates on our table, navigating its way to my side. I stared at it, resting palm up in surrender. The lines I loved to trace when he slept – pretended to sleep, I reminded myself – were the same. My eyes traveled up his arm, noting the fine golden hairs and the deceiving blue veins below the surface. Not human, my mind whispered harshly.

“No. I didn’t.”

“Then why?”

Despite my fear, my fingers sought out his. The thrill of his touch rushed up my arm, making the hair on my arm stand on end. He curled his powerful hand around mine and pulled me closer, until our noses were almost touching.

“Because even a demon like me desires to be known by the one he loves.”


Jen DeSantis is a Horror and Paranormal Author and host of the #FridayPictureShow. She lives near Philly with her family. In her spare time, she is an aspiring ninja.

WELCOME to the Daily Picspiration blog! Here you will find a new story every day by a different author. Check out the schedule to the right for when a particular author will be featured.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Official GO LIVE Date!

Daily Picspiration will go live on MONDAY, JUNE 25TH, 2012!

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's Almost Time!

It's almost time for the beginning of a new adventure!

The DAILY PICSPIRATION blog will be starting soon, featuring brand new stories by some of your favorite authors and some new favorite authors you haven't met yet. Check out their bios by clicking on their name above or their picture to the right. Some aren't in yet, so make sure to check again soon.

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