Red’s Latest Adventure!

One of my first professional sales was a duet of short stories about a mischievous faery who had been imprisoned by the faery queen in a pane of ancient Irish glass. Red, the scoundrel in question, has remained one of my favorite characters, and now he’s back! This time, his pane of glass has moved from Flynn’s Bed and Breakfast in Colorado to an Irish pub in Portland, Oregon! Stop by for a visit…

SEEING REDSeeing Red
by Debbie Mumford
Audience: Fantasy Romance | General Audience | Short Story

Katie O’Malley needs to feel safe and welcomed somewhere in the world, but Evan Flynn’s pub—with its unusual inhabitants—is the last place she expects to find refuge.

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|Buy Now: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Be sure to check out Red’s other adventures in Red’s Magick, a collection of three rather, uhm, spicy romantic fantasy stories!

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Prompt Openings: Ghosts!

Lilah-2.12-2x3This week we’re moving from gambling to ghost stories. After all, it is almost Halloween!

Twelve-year-old Hannah Barnes is just like all the other girls in her small town, except for one little detail: Hannah’s best friend is a ghost. When the annual Sweet Pea Festival arrives, Hannah discovers the secret to freeing Lilah from her earthly bondage. Hannah has a big decision. Will she help Lilah move on, or will she cling to her best friend?

I hope you enjoy this opening to Deb Logan’s kid-friendly version of a ghost story: Lilah’s Ghost 😀

My best friend is a ghost, but sometimes I forget she’s dead.

I discovered Lilah at the end of June when my family moved into this old mansion on the remains of a Georgia cotton plantation. It’s not as grand as it sounds. The house is practically falling down around us and the live oaks, lining the drive, drip with grey-green moss. Very creepy.

The owner, Bill Richardson, lives in Oklahoma. He hadn’t been able to keep a tenant for more than a month in the ten years he’d owned it. I bet that’s because of Lilah.

I keep trying to guess when Lilah lived, but it’s hard to tell. She looks like a pretty normal girl, except she’s all silvery-white, so I have to guess at colors. Her hair is dark, like frosted coal, and she wears it in two long braids, the kind where each braid starts right at her forehead and ends in a little ribbon bow. She wears loose fitting jeans and a short-sleeve plaid shirt. My jeans aren’t baggy and rolled up at the ankles, but I have a shirt that looks just like hers. Her shoes are the biggest clue. I described them to Mom who said they were called saddle shoes, because the darker piece of leather that runs across the middle looks like a saddle. I don’t know anyone who wears shoes like that.

She’s really a very nice girl, but most folks aren’t too keen on chatting with the dead. Me, I’m used to it. Mom says I’m psychic and, since not every twelve-year-old talks to dead people, that I should keep this stuff to myself.

My name is Hannah Barnes and my family’s been here in Fraser, Georgia about six weeks. Before that, we lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Dad met Mr. Richardson when he did some repairs on the guy’s office. Richardson liked Dad’s work and offered him this gig. A free place to live if Dad would make the needed repairs to keep the place standing. He forgot to mention the ghost.

Dad’s making good progress restoring the mansion to its former glory while Mom works in town as a legal secretary. She tried helping Dad with the restoration, but the mansion makes her jumpy. She says the only way she can live here is to escape for forty hours each week.

Lilah and I try to help Dad as much as possible, but he gets jittery whenever Lilah hands him a tool. I guess it’s ‘cause he can’t see her. Maybe flying nail guns would freak me, too. Anyway, he asked me to keep her away from his work area, said it wasn’t safe for little girls to play with power tools. Right. He never had a problem with me helping him in Tulsa.

So, until school starts, I’ve got nothing to do but shoot the breeze with Lilah. Killing time with a ghost has its ups and downs. Lilah’s shown me all the house’s secrets from the priest hole behind the cellar wall to the loose floor board in the attic where an ancestor kept her diary. She’s even shown me cool stuff on the grounds, like the secret spot under the roots of the huge, live oak by the river. The only thing she won’t do is go beyond the big iron gate that separates the driveway from the road.

That’s a real bummer, because the Sweet Pea Festival is next week and I really want to go. I know, just because Lilah can’t go doesn’t mean I have to stay home. But what fun is a Sweet Pea Festival if you can’t share it with your best friend?

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Prompt Openings: Gambling

spinning-cover-2x3I am not a gambler … in any sense of the word. BUT I was asked to write a short story dealing with games of chance. While SPINNING failed to make the cut for the anthology I wrote it for, I was pleased with the resulting tale. I hope you enjoy the opening 😀

BRETT D’AGOSTINO LEANED AGAINST the roulette table, hands clasped, eyes haunted, as he watched his life careen around a wheel of blurred red and black in the form of a little white ball. How had this happened? How could his entire existence be riding on a wheel of fortune?

He’d always been a solid citizen. The man who rose every morning with the dawn, dressed in a white shirt, dark pants, well-shined shoes, knotted on a conservative tie and, after a sensible breakfast of oatmeal and orange juice, made the commute to his office.

Numbers were his expertise. Accounting his profession. He knew the odds, probably better than anyone at the table other than the croupier, but that hadn’t stopped him from placing his chips and calling his bet, “Seventeen to the maximum, with approved override.”

Now all he could do was wait. With his heart in his throat, sweat beading his brow, his hands clasped to keep them from shaking. He’d signed his home over to the bank, scraped together every penny he could and then told management he wanted to place one make-or-break wager. Two hundred thousand dollars rode that wheel. When the ball dropped, he’d either be able to book passage to Arcturus Prime, or he’d be penniless, his family homeless.

How could he have been so stupid as to bet his family’s future on a spinning ball?

How could he allow his son to die?

He’d cast his lot with the Fates. He would live or die on the vagary of chance … and so would Jeremy.

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Prompt Openings: The Right to Vote

suffrage-2x3Writing this story was a departure for me since straight historical — no time travel or paranormal themes — is not my genre of choice.

I had written a blog post several years ago encouraging women voters to exercise the rights that our foremothers suffered to earn for us. I knew when I began my research for that post that my right to vote hadn’t come freely, but I hadn’t realized the extent to which “suffrage” and “suffering” were related when it came to women in the early 20th century. When I remembered that research, “Sisters in Suffrage” was born.

I hope readers will agree that this fictional tale of women’s suffrage in the United States is particularly apropos in this election year.

Here then is the opening to Sisters in Suffrage:

I WAS NINETEEN YEARS old that cold November night in 1917. Even though the world was at war, a pretty girl of good family such as myself should have been attending dances and being wooed by handsome young men. I should have been accepting my place in society as a wealthy man’s decorative bride. Never should I have been subjected to the humiliations of prison nor beatings at the hands of brutal guards.

Never should I have had the audacity to stand sentinel to my beliefs with a banner in hand in front of the White House.

I had made my choices and they had led me to a night of terror.

*~*~*

THOUGH MY HEART POUNDED with excitement and my mind buzzed with nervous questions, I strode confidently along the street, my navy skirt and linen petticoats swishing around my ankles, the lace of my starched white mutton-sleeved blouse brushed my chin, and a little feathered hat perched jauntily on my upswept dark hair. The air was redolent with flowers from Lafayette Park and birdsong lilted in the breeze. In short, it was a beautiful summer day in Washington, D.C.

I stopped before the stately three-story home that housed my destination, Alice Paul’s newly formed National Women’s Party. Had I done the right thing in coming here? I’d defied my father, who was even now assiduously seeking an advantageous marriage for his only daughter. I’d left his home and protection without permission. Had I made a wise choice? My heart hammered in my chest and my throat constricted. Panic near to choked me.

I closed my eyes and willed myself to calm. Too late for misgivings now. I had arrived. Opening my eyes and breathing in the sweet summer air, I studied the women who moved purposefully across the lawn and porch, who threaded in and out the ornately carved front door. Young women barely old enough to be out of short skirts, matrons who would look at home with children round their knees, and dignified matriarchs who might be holding court over large family gatherings. A full range of the feminine spectrum. My panic eased. This was where I belonged, these were my equals, my sex, but more than that, my sisters in suffrage. For we were all here for one purpose: to join Alice Paul in demanding that our government, as represented by the man who resided across

the park in the White House, hear and respect our voices.
I settled my face in what I hoped was a pleasant expression, lifted the latch on the

front gate, and stepped onto the stone pavers that led to the porch. A young woman separated herself from a group gathered around a long table and approached, her golden hair shining in the afternoon sun.

“Hello,” she said with a smile. “Are you new? I don’t believe I’ve seen you here before.”

I licked my lips and straightened my shoulders. “Yes, I’ve only just arrived from New York.” I glanced again at the women who chatted and laughed as they worked around me. “Is this the NWP?”

Her beautiful, liquid-brown eyes widened and filled with a fervent light. “Oh, yes. Have you come to join us?”

I held out my gloved hand, which she immediately clasped with paint-stained fingers. “I have. My name is Emily Tuttle, and I’ve come to stand sentinel with Alice Paul.”

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Prompt Openings: Family Expectations

familydaze-cover-2x3And another tale about Dani Erickson, a perfectly normal teenage girl who just happens to be a hereditary demon hunter.

Dani is the answer to her grandfather’s cherished dream – a seventh seventh. Unfortunately, since his dream was of a seventh son of a seventh son, he’s unaware that he accomplished his goal…and Dani’s not about to fess up.

Here’s the opening to Family Daze, Dani Erickson’s third published adventure!

I SEE DEMONS and they’re not pretty. Take the goblin hovering behind Ms. Hockinson’s chair for example: scaly, maroon skin; long filthy claws; sharp, protruding teeth; only vaguely humanoid. The nasty creature stood erect, clothed in a torn, brown tunic. His eyes, black and malevolent, glittered with intelligence, and something else, something truly disturbing … dark amusement.

A shiver of anticipation zinged along my spine. I was born to battle demons. Me. Not one of my six older brothers. I might be the youngest child and only girl, but I was also the one heredity had chosen—and this idiot had wandered onto my turf. He had no clue how dead he was. Yet.

I weighed my options while I sized up my opponent. A glance at the institutional clock clinging to the wall above the chalkboard behind Ms. Hockinson’s desk informed me that the school day would end in five minutes. Classmates squirmed in their desks, surreptitiously gathering their belongings in anticipation of the longed-for final bell.

The demon examined the class, his gaze moving from student to student while one clawed hand encircled my teacher’s throat. He smacked his lips and a long thin tongue darted between his teeth to lick Ms. Hockinson’s ear.

She cleared her throat and flicked a hand toward his face as if warding off a pesky fly.

The clock ticked nearer the hour, and then the unthinkable happened. The second hand stopped, suspending time.

Every person in the room stiffened, frozen in mid-action just like the clock. Everyone, except the demon and me. No way was I going to be stuck in Ms. Hockinson’s social studies class until the end of time! That demon was going down.

The demon grinned, and I launched my attack. Sliding out of my chair, I jumped to the top of my desk, flipped over Jeremy Brody’s head and landed in a crouch before Ms. Hockinson’s desk. On the way to standing I yanked twin stiletto blades from the concealed sheaths sewn artfully into my favorite high-top boots.

“Well, well,” said the demon. “What have we here? A human immune to the ravages of time?” He licked Ms. Hockinson’s ear again and stroked her neck. “You must wait a bit, my tasty morsel. One of your students needs my attention.”

He released my teacher and hurtled across her desk.

I skipped sideways, letting one stiletto trail across his midsection.

The stroke surprised him. He glanced at his bloodied belly, roared, and lunged.

I danced away, using my knives as I’d been trained — like a picador with a bull. Wounding him with small, precise cuts designed to sap his strength and enrage his ego.

We scuffled briefly, but silver blades and sacramental preparation gave me the edge. I leapt and rolled, bounced and twirled, and each time a hand passed his flesh, my blade left a mark.

At last, he staggered toward Cynthia Larrabee, intending to take a hostage to shield his escape. He had waited too long.

I raced past my desk, exchanged stilettos for backpack and withdrew the sword from the concealed scabbard running down its back. With an aerial leap that would’ve done a ninja proud, I landed between the demon and his target, momentum carrying my sword arm through a perfectly timed arc. The demon’s head flew to the opposite side of the room while his body crumpled at my feet.

I leaned over the remains, cleaned my blade on his tunic and, pulling a vial from my pocket, sprinkled holy water over the body. Moving quickly, but carefully, I made my way back to my desk, stowed my stilettos, sheathed the sword, straightened my hair and resumed my seat. I looked up just in time to see the demon fizzle out of existence, along with all traces of his blood. The second hand resumed its circuit around the clock face and the final bell of the day rang.

Ms. Hockinson dabbed her handkerchief across her neck, looked up with a frazzled sigh, and called, “Class dismissed!”

I smiled to myself, stood and shouldered my backpack. Sometimes, being a hereditary demon hunter rocked. Too bad Grandpa would never know that his self-imposed breeding program had worked. He hadn’t attained his goal of a seventh son of a seventh son, but he’d gotten his ultimate desire: me.

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