Tag Archives: Army

Free Fiction Friday: Lucky

For week two, I offer up a different take on sibling love.

“You’re lucky you didn’t bleed out.”

He says this as if I’m the one who built the explosive, dug the hole, ran the wires, and then—after all of that—pulled the trigger myself.

“Lucky,” he says, again, in case I didn’t hear him the first time.

I did, of course, through the haze of whatever is running through my veins. Morphine, maybe? I don’t know. Do they still use morphine? Whatever it is, whatever opiate fogs my thoughts, it is lovely and seductive. It tastes like temptation and blood. I’m glad—no, lucky—I don’t know its name.

I won’t be able to ask for it on the outside.

He sits at my bedside, easing back the sheet that covers me, the stethoscope barely there against my skin. He’s warmed it, I realize, warmed it against his palm. He probes, and while I’m naked, I’m also bandaged clear up to my armpits. Not that there’s any modesty in an Army hospital. Not that there’s any modesty in the Army.

My breasts are bound, like those of women warriors of old. Through the fog, I can see these women. They are fierce, with hair like coiled snakes. Their armor shines in the sun. Their weapons glint in the moonlight.

Were they lucky as well? Did they ever bleed out?

My gaze flitters down. The bandages are white and pure. They are armor in their own right.

“They didn’t have to amputate,” he says.

At first, I think he means my breasts. I blink, the fog of morphine, of war, of my own thoughts too thick for me to make sense of his words. Then I understand.

“I know.” What I don’t mention is I can see my reflection in the window. I can count the number of legs I currently have.

“An infection, though.”

“Try not to sound so hopeful.”

He grimaces. “Katy-bird—”

“Don’t ‘Katy-bird’ me.”

“You shouldn’t be here.”

You shouldn’t be here.”

He’s not my doctor. He’s not even assigned to this ward. He’s breaking all the rules—Army rules, medical rules. But he’s my brother, which is why everyone glances away when he does.

“I could send you home.” He delivers the threat in the way only a big brother can.

I stare at the window. There is no view. Even my reflection has faded. All I see is the glint on the glass that looks like the blade of a sword.

“I don’t want to leave them.”

“Them,” he says. “Your platoon?”

I want to nod; I want to shake my head. It’s my platoon—yes, of course, it is—but it’s so much more than that.

“I don’t want to leave me.”

Now he stares at the window as if he, too, can see the images of warrior women in its reflection. His nod is thoughtful, the sigh heavy—the sound only an older brother can make.

He threads the stethoscope through his fingers and then pockets it. He touches my cheek.

“You’re sure?”

Something shifts in his tone. All at once, he is not a doctor, not my older brother. He is simply Scott, and he looks as confused as the morphine is making me feel.

“I can’t leave.”

He nods as if I’ve explained my entire self in those three words. People leave all the time—wounded or killed in action or by their own hand. I don’t want to leave, not now, not ever. Here is where I can see the warrior women.

He kisses my forehead. It’s tender and filled with the warmth of absolution. At the doorway, he pauses, one last time.

“You’re still damn lucky you didn’t bleed out.”

For a moment, everything else fades—the war, the morphine, the glint of swords on the glass.

Yes, I want to tell him. I know.

I’m lucky.

Lucky may be my story that has racked up the most personal rejections, ever. It even snagged an honorable mention in Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction contest. Sometimes those stories everyone seems to love (but nevertheless declines) can be the hardest to sell.

Miss a story? Check out the titles here.

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(Almost) Free Fiction Friday: The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath

And the military-themed streak continues! This week, you can download my young adult novel, The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath, for just 99 cents.

But hurry! It’s only going to be 99 cents for a few more days.

Secrets—like war—have their own casualties.

MacKenna’s mother died when MacKenna was a baby, a casualty of the first Gulf War. Now seventeen, MacKenna has spent her life navigating the minefield of her dad’s moods, certain of one thing: she is destined to follow in her mother’s combat boots. But when she pursues an ROTC scholarship, she finds herself at war before even enlisting.

Her father forbids her from joining the military, inexplicable considering he’d raised her to be a “warrior princess.” MacKenna turns to her grandmother—who arms her with an ammo crate containing her mother’s personal effects from the war. Hidden in the crate’s false bottom is a journal, one her mom stashed there hours before her death.

While MacKenna untangles the secrets of her parents’ tragic love story, her own life unravels. Dad’s behavior becomes erratic, her best friend grows distant and even hostile, and a boy from her past returns—with a life-threatening secret of his own.

If ever a girl needed her mother, it’s now.

The pen might be mightier than the sword, but are a mother’s words strong enough to slice through years of hidden pain? Can those words reach through the battlefields of the past to change MacKenna’s future?

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Memorial Day 2015 Charity Challenge: Gone, but Not Forgotten!

Memorial Day 2015 Charity Challenge: Gone, but Not Forgotten!

During Memorial Day week, from the 22nd to 29th of May, more than 70 veteran authors will pledge 100% of their book royalties to their favorite charities.

Once again, I will be participating in the Vets Give Back charity challenge, this time for Memorial Day. My organization of choice is Helping Paws, a local organization that has a pilot program to provide veterans with service dogs. I am pledging $100 as a baseline PLUS all royalties I earn for the week.

While I will donate all royalties, my pledge book is The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath because of its military theme.

Fine Art_blue

MacKenna’s mother died when she was a baby, a casualty of the first Gulf War. Now seventeen, MacKenna has spent her life navigating the minefield of her dad’s moods, certain of one thing: she is destined to follow in her mother’s combat boots. But when she pursues an ROTC scholarship, she finds herself at war before even enlisting.

Her father forbids her from joining the military, inexplicable considering he’d raised her to be a “warrior princess.” MacKenna turns to her grandmother—who arms her with an ammo crate containing her mother’s personal effects from the war. Hidden in the crate’s false bottom is a journal, one her mom stashed there hours before her death.

While MacKenna untangles the secrets of her parents’ tragic love story, her own life unravels. Dad’s behavior becomes erratic, her best friend grows distant and even hostile, and a boy from her past returns—with a life-threatening secret of his own.

If ever a girl needed her mother, it’s now.

The pen might be mightier than the sword, but are a mother’s words strong enough to slice through years of hidden pain? Can those words reach through the battlefields of the past to change MacKenna’s future?

KindleNook, iBooks, Kobo, Print

Be sure to check out all the books on the challenge site. There is something for everyone. And if you’re a subscriber to Kindle Unlimited, you can even give for free by borrowing many of the authors’ books. So you can donate and grow your to-be-read pile all at once!

Happy reading and thank you!

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Revealed: The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath

So, now it’s here, or rather, now it’s official. It’s in the wild and will do whatever it is that it’s going to do out there.

Currently, it’s available in Kindle and Print (and if you buy the print version, you can get the Kindle one for free).
Fine Art

Secrets–like war–have their own casualties

MacKenna’s mother died when she was a baby, a casualty of the first Gulf War. Now seventeen, MacKenna has spent her life navigating the minefield of her dad’s moods, certain of one thing: she is destined to follow in her mother’s combat boots. But when she pursues an ROTC scholarship, she finds herself at war before even enlisting.

Her father forbids her from joining the military, inexplicable considering he’d raised her to be a “warrior princess.” MacKenna turns to her grandmother–who arms her with an ammo crate containing her mother’s personal effects from the war. Hidden in the crate’s false bottom is a journal, one her mom stashed there hours before her death.

While MacKenna untangles the secrets of her parents’ tragic love story, her own life unravels. Dad’s behavior becomes erratic, her best friend grows distant and even hostile, and a boy from her past returns–with a life-threatening secret of his own.

If ever a girl needed her mother, it’s now.

The pen might be mightier than the sword, but are a mother’s words strong enough to slice through years of hidden pain? Can those words reach through the battlefields of the past to change MacKenna’s future?

Save the date

I’ll be running a Kindle Countdown Deal starting on January 27th, when you can get the Kindle version for 99 cents. In the meantime, you can hop on over to Goodreads and enter the giveaway for a signed paperback copy:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath by Charity Tahmaseb

The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath

by Charity Tahmaseb

Giveaway ends January 28, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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Weekly writing check-in: the one with a stretch goal

ProudtobeVol3

Oh, but it’s cold out there, what we call real writing weather. Because what else are you going to do but stay inside and write? (Or read–that’s acceptable.)

My submission tracker is looking mighty thin these days. That being said, I have made fifty submissions so far this year, so that’s not exactly slacking. As I mentioned in last week’s post, I concentrating more on longer works or ones that don’t quite fit with the short story market, and I will find other ways to send them off into the world.

Still, I’d love to get a few more submissions out this year, and I have a couple of stories that need a once-over before I send them out the door.

In other news, Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 3 is out. It’s in paperback only. I wish they’d publish an electronic version as well (I bet they’d sell more copies that way).

Looking at my writing this week, I realized that I’m 14,000 words away from 250,000 words written this year. New goal! Dare I add a stretch goal of 300,000 words? Maybe … maybe I will.

Writing Work:

  • Writing ~ 8,500 words

Submissions:

  • None

Rejections:

  • Abandonment Issues

Acceptances:

  • None

Publications:

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Veteran’s Day 2014 Charity Challenge: Gone, but Not Forgotten!

Keeping QuietToday’s the day! You can read more about the challenge below and follow the link to see all the books available. Get a jump on your holiday shopping!

Below are the links for The Fine Art of Keeping Quiet. I’m donating royalties from all sales, print, e-book, and audio, so buy early, buy often. I will be donating to Veterans in the Arts, a local organization.

Plus, if you buy the print version via Amazon, you can pick up the Kindle version for 99 cents.

PrintKindleNookiBooksKobo

Audio: Amazon, Audible, iTunes

Veterans Day 2014 Charity Challenge: Gone, but Not Forgotten!

On Veterans Day 2014, 50 veteran authors will pledge 100% of their print, e-book and audio book royalties to their favorite veteran’s charity. In most cases, these are organizations that assisted the authors personally and they are trying their best to give back.

Veterans from each service branch and every conflict period, from Vietnam to even one author deployed to Afghanistan at this moment, are pledging. This diverse collection of works includes New York Times and USA Today Bestsellers and covers most genres. From romance to action-adventure and everything in between, there’s something for every taste here!

The ultimate goal of this event is to raise at least $10,000 for the 15+ veterans charities they’re supporting. If you aren’t interested in any of the books available, they have a page set up ranking the money raised for each charity and spotlighting bonus donations here. Whether you contribute to the best performing or the least performing, either way your donation will be put to good use!

The complete collection of participating books and charities can be found here:

Veteran’s Day 2014: Gone, but Not Forgotten!

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Weekly writing check-in: the one with an upcoming charity drive challenge

14poster_lowresIt was one of those weeks where, when I sat down to write this check-in, I had to think to myself:

Did I get a rejection this week?

Maybe I did.

As it turns out, I didn’t. But I had to check. This is the beauty part about keeping your head down and writing and submitting–you end up forgetting about the rejections. Really. I mean it. True, I haven’t submitted as much this year, mainly because I’m writing longer works that aren’t suitable for the short story market.

I do have a couple of things I’d like to get out before the end of the year. Then, of course, finish up my Coffee & Ghosts serial.

So many stories. Not enough time.

Be sure to stop back on Tuesday. I’m taking part in a charity drive challenge (more details below).

Writing Work:

  • Writing ~ 7,900 words

Submissions:

  • None

Rejections:

  • None

Acceptances:

  • None

Publications:

None, but! Stay tuned. On November 11th (Veterans’ Day), I will be participating in the Veteran’s Day 2014: Gone, but Not Forgotten! charity drive challenge.

I will be donating all royalties from The Fine Art of Keeping Quiet (print, e-book, audio) to Veterans in the Arts, a local organization that helps veterans to express themselves in a variety of art forms through a progressive program of supportive instruction and collaboration.

Stop back on Tuesday for links (because I don’t want you to buy anything now, naturally). Or bookmark Veteran’s Day 2014: Gone, but Not Forgotten! for even more books to buy and organizations to support.

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