Masks and Kisses #LoveBites2020

Sometimes love just bites… A group of author friends I know has a system of flash challenges associated with seasons of the year. I missed out on Monster Mash, hosted by Siobhan Muir, in October and Tipsy Santa, hosted by Ever Addams, in December of last year. This New Year I managed to make it out to the New Year Revolution hosted by Cara Michaels. Now I’ve somehow also managed to make it out to the Love Bites flash fiction blog hop of the series, hosted by Katheryn J. Avila, with a chance at one of two prizes! The challenge ran from the 10th of February until tonight. I’m coming in just under the wire here again to submit my piece of flash.

So without further ado, here is my addition to the Love Bites blog hop using the prompt “the fake relationship”! Be sure to share and/or comment across Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere using the #LoveBites2020 hashtag. Don’t forget to check out the other tales under the tag, too!

Masks and Kisses

“Happy Valentine’s Day, my love.”

I turned around in my desk chair, the office hum droning around me, to find Eric poised with that signature charming grin and dashing twinkle in his eyes. From behind his back he presented a dozen red roses and an enormous box of chocolates that would give anyone diabetes if eaten all in one sitting.

“Eric… I thought we agreed to wait until we both got off work and were home,” I said quietly, flashing an apologetic ‘oopsie’ kind of smile at the nearest coworker that looked our way. They just scowled and looked back to their computer screen.

“I know we did, but I wanted to surprise you. Can’t I surprise my beautiful babe?” The innocence in his voice always made my heart melt. Eric leaned over to kiss my cheek, setting the flowers and chocolates on the corner of my desk.

A smile genuinely tugged at my lips. Heat slowly flooded my cheeks, turning them about as rosy as the roses I guessed. “Yes. You can. Just not here.” I gave him a playful shove and he chuckled. “Now go home. I’ll see you tonight, and thank you. It’s very sweet of you.”

Eric gave me a wink and one last kiss before turning and striding off through the cubicles so I could return to my work.

“You’re so lucky,” Nancy, my nearest coworker breathed as she leaned toward me. “I bet he’s the perfect guy.”


“Amanda Christine, will you marry me?”

I turned around in my chair from the shocked gasp of my mother and the jaw-drop of my father to find Eric down on one knee, presenting a stunningly gorgeous, and quite pricey based on its size, rock. Shock rattled my frame. Followed by confusion and then settling dread. My mother’s eyes burned into the back of my head, eagerly awaiting my answer.

I knew what she expected me to say.

I knew what Eric expected me to say.

And I knew what I really wanted to say.

“Well?” Eric pressed. The twinkle in his eyes not so dashing and innocent anymore. “Will you do the honor of making me the happiest man alive and marry me?”

I tugged at the sleeve of my sweater, rubbed a thumb over the bruises. Casting a fidgety glance aside I whispered, “Yes.” The shakiness to my voice went unheard, drowned out by my mother’s enthusiastic cheering that garnered attention from the whole restaurant.

What else could I really have said? No? We were the perfect couple.


The wadded ball of toilet paper in my hand did little to stem the blood flow. Pristine, crimson drops splashed at the porcelain white sink of our bathroom- No. His bathroom. I would have to make sure all those spots of blood left no trace to mar his perfect household.

Glancing in the mirror I caught sight of my state for the first time since I locked myself in against Eric’s pounding fists. My eye was swollen and turning a sickly blue-purple already. Fresh blood flowed down my cheek, mixing with tears that left a bitter, salty taste in my mouth each time I sobbed. The toilet paper in my hand soaked up the blood with the pace of a plague.

What felt like hours could have simply been minutes. The crashing outside the bathroom door had quit finally. Eric no longer yelled and body-slammed the door, which I had jammed shut by a broken towel rack. His voice still resounded in my head though, pounding just like the budding headache. My eyes kept hitting replay every time I blinked.

“Why do you have to make me so angry?! I asked you to do one simple thing! One!”

“I’m sorry. I just ran out of time. I’ve been up since five for work and-”

“Excuses! All of them! You couldn’t even do something as small as clean up the kitchen from dinner before I came home. You worthless bitch!”

Another crash startled me back, followed by a lazy thud at the door. “Amanda… Come on, baby. I’m sorry. Come out of there, dollface.”

I could only stare at my broken reflection.


The stillness of the night struck me first. So quiet my ears rang. I could have heard the blood hit to the ground. The high shrill in the distance broke the peace. Hues of red and blue came to dance across my front window in numbers.

For the first time in years, I smiled.

750 words / © 2020 Daelyn Morgana

Forgiveness is Not Goodbye #NYR2020

New Year, new flash! A group of author friends I know has a system of flash challenges associated with seasons of the year. I missed out on Monster Mash, hosted by Siobhan Muir, in October and Tipsy Santa, hosted by Ever Addams, in December. This New Year Cara Michaels is hosting the New Year Revolution flash fiction blog hop, with a chance at one of two prizes! The challenge ran from the 13th of January until tonight. I’m coming in just under the wire here to submit my piece of flash.

So without further ado, here is my addition to the New Year Revolution blog hop! Be sure to share and/or comment across Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere using the #NYR2020 hashtag. Don’t forget to check out the other tales under the tag, too!

Forgiveness is Not Goodbye

It started with accidents.

Accidents that we mostly thought nothing of at the start.

‘It doesn’t happen if I’m up before 8am,’ my mother said.

At what point though are accidents not true accidents?

Devolving came quickly after that. First the lethargic nature. Then the sickness and pain.

‘He’s getting old,’ we said. ‘It’s probably just his age showing,’ we said.

How could we have been so right, and so wrong at the same time?


The car ride to the emergency vet’s seemed like one of the longest rides I have ever taken. We got the call this morning. The needed surgery that may, or may not, have given him a few more years of his life was getting riskier. Complications could run rampart. Odds of full recovery were getting slimmer.  He’s getting worse. He’s suffering.

‘Do you still wish to go through with the surgery?’

This car ride is our answer.

I’ve never liked hospitals. They make me uneasy, they make me tense. The stench of chemicals and unnatural life. The essence of death and birth that hangs in the air in constant war with each other. The silence that is only interrupted by the sounds of Death’s scythe tapping across pristine tiles in a rhythmic approach to rooms.

Veterinary hospitals are almost no different.

Stepping into the white-tiled reception hall and waiting room made my heart clench and climb into my throat. It was taking all my will to not dissolve into a sniveling mess, and now was no different. An adorable black Labrador, Shepherd cross puppy before me both managed to distract me from my pain and also make it hurt more.

I remember when Snowball used to be that small and that cute. Well, he’s still that small, but he’s only that cute now when he’s freshly groomed.

Guess we won’t be making those appointments anymore. . .

Time seems to stand still as we wait to be seen. I can’t keep my eyes from roaming over the animals and people there, reading their faces, feeling their own emotions mingling with mine. My mother’s voice is meek when she talks to the receptionist. I hardly remember myself speaking up, explaining why we came, pet-less as we were. Somehow I know I kept my voice level, kept my composure unlike my mother’s unraveling state. The sympathy in her eyes hurts as much as what I know I will have to endure soon.

From there the wait is eternally short. The exam room we are led into is bare in comparison to what I expected. The paperwork is damning when the receptionist comes back in. I again find myself speaking for my mother. Small talk, mostly observational and immaterial, is all that keeps me centered when she leaves until that door opens again.

The nurse brings in a small bundle, swaddled in blankets. Only a white, scraggly head pokes out from the soft indigo. I can hear the heavy, ragged draw of breaths as Snowball’s set down. Small legs stumble when he takes the start of his last steps. Disoriented. Weak.


Warm brown eyes have lost their wild lust for life when they see me. Pain clouds them. A Soul tired look. It’s as if he’s looking right through me, already gone.

 Does he even recognize me?

I can’t allow myself to think those things right now.

So I sit myself on the floor, numb to the fact my stillness causes my legs to eventually go to sleep, and leave my hand outstretched. Waiting, again. My poor baby boy will hardly come near me. How can I blame him? We left him alone in this big, scary place overnight. We are his whole world, and to him we abandoned him.

Trust must be rebuilt.

I know not how much time passes before Snowball allows me to be close, to comfort him, to murmur sweet nothings. To love him one last time with tears in my eyes.

“Are we doing the right thing?” I ask in a shaky voice when the time comes.

The vet pauses just long enough to look up, but my eyes are on the cloudy white liquid seeping through my dog’s IV, and the syringe of pink now hooked up to it. Out of my peripheral I see her nod. “You are.”

I am the last thing he sees.

Deep down I know with complete confidence she is right, but how do I give my broken heart that absolution?

746 words / © 2020 Daelyn Morgana

In loving memory. . .

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What is Camp NaNoWriMo?

Goodbye, March. Hello, April and insanity! For those that already know what Camp NaNoWriMo is, welcome to another month of the madness. For those that don’t know or are new to the world that is NaNoWriMo I’m going to give you a crash course.

I know I’ve talked briefly about Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo before on this blog, but those times have mainly been discussing my own successes, failures, or bouts of insanity among writing for these month long challenges. I’ve never talked too much about the challenge in general though.

So today I’m going to paint you the journey of Camp NaNo and all its perks.

camp nano banner

Camp NaNo is affiliated with the non-profit organization called NaNoWriMo — an acronym that stands for National Novel Writing Month. Perhaps many of you have heard of it, but I’m not here to talk about the big NaNo show perks. Not today at least.

Consider Camp NaNoWriMo a trial run of the big and bad NaNoWriMo. Whereas NaNo is a more cookie cutter challenge with a set goal and fewer options of what you’re writing, the Camp version allows you more flexibility on numerous levels. And is more fun in my opinion.

Camp happens twice a year — once in April, and then also in July. Unlike NaNoWriMo, you don’t have a set number goal of 50k, and you can choose from more than just a word count goal. You can make your own goal to fit your own lifestyle. Within Camp you have all these options to choose from in creating your goal: word count goal, page goal, line goal, hour goal, or minutes goal.

From there you choose any goal count from thirty to one million. (I’m not sure I’d suggest trying one million. That sounds impossibly hard.)

One of the best things about choosing your own goal that can be more than just a word count is it allows you to do more than just write. Take this for example:

Last year for July’s Camp NaNo session I choose a page count instead of word count. Wanna know why? Because I had finished writing the first draft of my novel in April’s session and needed some more motivation to edit. You heard me. Edit.

Camp NaNo is flexible enough that you can use your goal for editing instead of writing if you wish.

I choose a page count equivalent to so many chapters of my novel that I had to read through, edit, and make notes on for what needed changed or fixed. That month was the furthest progress, and most accurate progress, I have ever made on editing because it kept me moving without losing my focus. It worked out really well.

If you’re ever lacking motivation to get started the forces that run this month long retreat send out a Camp Care Package every day in your account mailbox (not your email). These Camp Care Packages range from pep talks, to writerly advice, daily challenges, and invites to word sprints, write-ins, and other goodies hosted on their YouTube and Twitter account.

And if you ever need more than those daily packages, their site has an awesome Writing Resources tab full of events, information on the Camp counselors, and lots and lots of Q&A’s for planning, characters, beginnings, scenes, and so much more.

On the side of great resources, since NaNoWriMo and its affiliated sessions are part of a non-profit organization you can win some great goodies from their sponsors by meeting your goal. Sponsors that include (but are not always limited to): Scrivener, Dabble, Scribophile, Storyist Software, She Writes University, and Litographs. Scrivener I know is a big sponsor of NaNoWriMo and its affiliations, and they offer a great discount on their software if you verify you met your goal. Though I’ve not tried the software myself I’ve heard it’s a great tool for writers.

Another great thing about Camp sessions, you don’t have to work on just a novel or novella for Camp NaNoWriMo. You can be writing a screen play, poetry, a short story, multiple short stories or poetry pieces, revisions, essays even. As long as you can fit a goal of hours, minutes, words, pages, or lines to what you want to work on, you can make it work for Camp sessions. That’s the true beauty of Camp NaNo.

However, there is one more perk to Camp that happens to be my favorite.

The cabins.

Cabins are Camp’s version of a small writing group full of buddies you can chat with about anything during your month long journey. You can have up to twenty people in a cabin, and there’s three different options for joining. There are two types of cabins: public and private.

Within the public cabins you have two options. In your cabin preferences you can select to be tossed into a random cabin with mates you don’t know anything about. Or you can choose to be filed into a cabin that meets a certain criteria of similar interests. Whether that interest is by age group, the same genre writing as you, and/or with similar goals as you. That part is totally up to you.

Private cabins are a little bit different. Any member can create their own private cabin, give it a name, and invite campers they know by their username. If you have friends who join you on this mad challenge private cabins are a perfect option to chat along with them and nag — or congratulate — them about their progress.

If you don’t want to be in a cabin that’s okay too. Camp does offer an option to elect out of being placed in a cabin so that you can hole yourself up on your own to write if that works best for you.

So there you have it! Camp NaNoWriMo’s perks and workings crash coursed in all its brilliant madness. Of course, there’s much more I could talk about for Camp NaNo, and their other affiliations — like NaPoWriMo and the Young Writer’s Program — but those are topics for another day.

Here’s to writing like mad for the month. If you’ve taken the plunge into the challenge, share how it’s going and what you’re working on in the comments below.