IMAGINE THIS: Sidekicks

Lexie-WebLast week I introduced you to Claire from FAERY UNEXPECTED. This week, I’d like you to meet Claire’s best friend, Lexie! Yep. It’s true. Sidekicks have lives and loves too, and LEXIE’S CHOICE gives us a glimpse into Lexie’s world … heavily influenced though it may be by Claire😀

Hope you enjoy this opening to Lexie’s moment in the spotlight😀

MY BEST FRIEND is a faery princess. No. Really. Claire is the descendent of a long-ago faery princess who defied her father and married a mortal. And Claire, lucky girl, is the end of the line, so to speak. Hard as it is to believe, on her fifteenth birthday, she inherited a dragon and began her transformation. It took a couple of months and a lot of drama, but when it was over, she was a real, live faery princess…with an attitude.

Claire has never been a pushover, and the mere fact that her blood had betrayed her didn’t mean she was going to meekly accept the king of Faery’s authority over her. Just because the guy was a king and her many-times-removed-great-grandfather did not mean she would be an obedient little princess. No sir. Not my best bud, Claire!

Since she’s not a docile little faery, she worked a deal to stay in the mortal realm during the school year and broke the unexpected news to me and her parents. Can you believe that king guy’s nerve? He actually thought he could just steal Claire away with no explanation and give her parents a booby prize in return…twins!

I’ve already got twin brothers. I can tell you, they’re no prize.

But, this story isn’t about Claire. Not really. It’s about me. The Best Friend. The Sidekick. Yeah. Sidekicks have lives too, and I like mine just fine, thank you very much. At least, most of the time…

I leaned my forehead against the cool metal of my locker and sighed. “I still can’t believe Brent asked me to prom.” Brent Rodgers, my boyfriend, was so much more in Claire’s league than mine, but early on he’d chosen me. After we discovered Claire’s faery princess status, he’d been relieved, but I still wondered from time to time if Claire’s erstwhile dragon, Roddy, hadn’t put a hex on him. I mean seriously, who in their right mind would choose me over Claire? Especially a hunky, captain-of-the-football team, straight-A kinda guy like Brent?

Claire slammed her locker shut and rolled her eyes at me. “Like he was going to ask anyone else. Honestly, Lexie. You two have been an item forever!”

She grabbed my arm and pulled me toward the front door and freedom from high school drudgery. “This is so cool. You and Brent. Me and Roddy. The four of us going to prom together.” She squeezed my arm and beamed an angelic smile. “Just like we dreamed when we were kids!”

I smiled back at her; I couldn’t help it. Her excitement was infectious. But that didn’t cure the gnawing in the pit of my stomach. We’d almost reached her car before she noticed my silent brooding.

“What?” she asked. “You’re not seriously worried about Brent. The guy’s been crazy about you for years. So spill. Why so depressed?”

I leaned against her cherry red Mustang convertible and expelled a long sigh. “It’s the same old story. I can’t afford a nice dress. Boring, I know.”

The economy, in general, sucked in our little southwest Washington town, but my family’s finances were in the crapper. Dad had been laid off two years ago and hadn’t found another job. Mom had snagged a part-time secretarial position, but it paid peanuts. By some miracle, Dad was still collecting unemployment and since he was home, my preschool sister, Candy, had managed to avoid day-care. My fifteen-year-old twin brothers and I all had after-school jobs to help with clothes and food money, but there was no way our limited budget would stretch to pay for the kind of prom dress I drooled over.

IMAGINE THIS: Faeries and Dragons!

FaeryUn-2x3One of the first stories I ever wrote was based on the idea of a family curse (?) passed from grandmother to granddaughter down through the ages. It skipped every other generation, so the mother of the next to inherit had no idea about what was happening, but her mother did! I sold that very first story (Deirdre’s Dragon) to an online magazine…my first sale! But that initial story didn’t quench my thirst for the idea. I needed a larger format. A novel! And so, my first novel FAERY UNEXPECTED was born😀

I still love these characters and may eventually find my way back to Claire’s world and discover just exactly what happened next. But in the meantime, I hope you enjoy meeting Claire in these opening pages…

FAMILIES ARE GREAT, but there are times when they stink. I mean, I love my mom and dad, but wouldn’t you think they’d at least have asked me if I wanted to spend a month on the French Riviera with them? Honestly! I could’ve made arrangements to go, even studied while sunning in the south of France. The first few weeks of high school aren’t that important. But the parents refused to listen to reason. Instead, they arranged for Gran — Mom’s decidedly weird mother who never went anywhere without her even weirder toy dragon — to stay with me while Mom and Dad defected to Europe to laze in the sun. I figured by the time I survived the first week, I’d have earned a vacation of my own.

What a rip. I’d been searching for a solution to my high school dilemma, and they’d handed me the answer and then snatched it away, all in the space of a two minute conversation. Man! My first day at Jefferson High was racing down on me and I still didn’t have a concrete plan for leaving the middle school nerd behind. I didn’t need to be the most popular girl at school, but I definitely wanted to improve my social standing.

In middle school I’d been a dork, and Danielle, the cheerleader-from-hell, teased me mercilessly about my good grades, happy family, and that stupid book report on fairies I’d done in seventh grade. Hello, I’d done my Shakespearean research, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, anyone? But that didn’t matter. She called me ‘Fairy Clairey’ for the rest of middle school. Even got her friends in on it. Made me sound like a complete idiot.

For a whole, shining minute I’d had my answer — before my parents ripped it away by uninviting me on their little European jaunt — but if I closed my eyes I could still picture the beautiful vision: me swaggering through the front doors of Jefferson High three weeks into the first term; my usually pallid skin crisp from a month of sun and sea; my unruly mop of short, curly black hair fashionably styled in the latest Paris do; my outfit straight off a tres chic fashion runway… Danielle would have a cow, and I’d be the reigning queen of the class. I might even have a chance at getting a boyfriend.

But no. Instead I got stuck with crazy Gran and her bizarre stories of dragons and centaurs and the magical adventures of her childhood. Gag!

So here I sat on the first day of September at Portland International Airport with my parents, waiting for Gran to show up. I stared out the window, watching her jet unload. I leaned my forehead against the glass and listened to my parents’ quiet conversation.

“Relax, Emily,” said Dad, a tall square man sporting thick glasses and a warm smile. “She can’t get lost. Everyone from the concourse channels past this waiting area. We won’t miss her.”

I glanced at my parents, but kept my forehead against the cool glass. Mom was dressed in creased gray wool slacks, ice blue blouse and a gray cardigan embroidered with small birds and vining leaves. She smiled and tucked a strand of dark brown hair behind her ear. “I know, but it’s hard not to worry. I just can’t get over feeling like I should’ve gone to get her. She’s so helpless without Daddy. He did everything for her when he was alive…she never even had to fill the car with gas.”

“Yes, he was old-school to the core,” Dad agreed. “But I think he underestimated your mother. Don’t make the same mistake, Em. Deirdre is tougher than you give her credit for.”

A flash of golden light out of the corner of my eye made me glance back at Gran’s jet. For a moment, I swear I saw something hovering over the plane. More than simple heat haze rising from the tarmac, something shimmered in the air above the airplane, like a window into another world. I blinked, and it disappeared. But the green-blue after image burned behind my eyelids…a castle in the sky.

Great. Just the thought of Gran’s stories and I was already getting all stressed out and weird. Give her a month and my elevator wouldn’t go all the way to the top.

I used to love having Gran visit, but that was before I grew up and realized she was a few sandwiches short of a picnic. What little kid wouldn’t love a grandmother who told them dragons were real and made them believe they could ride the wind on the back of an awesome, intelligent beast? Every kid wants to believe in magic.

I scootched lower in my seat, found a cooler bit of window for my cheek, and tried to convince myself that it wouldn’t be so bad having Gran around for a month. I’d be at school all day during the week. I’d just have to make sure I had plenty of invitations for sleep-overs on the weekends. My birthday might pose a problem, though. What if she decided to throw me a party?

Oh. My. Gawd. I could just imagine what my friends would say if Gran started telling dragon stories. I’d have to head her off. Maybe let it slip that my heart’s desire would be dinner and a movie…just us girls!

I didn’t have time to hatch a better plan because Gran came striding purposefully around the corner. My heart thumped, and I jumped to my feet. She might be weird, but she was family.

“Gran,” I shouted above the general din of other sons and daughters, grandkids and friends calling to their loved ones.

“Here, Mother,” called Mom. “We’re over here!”

“Deirdre,” boomed Dad, visibly restraining himself. I knew he itched to grab her carry-on luggage out of her hands, but couldn’t do anything until she moved past the security barrier.

And then she sailed through the gate and we hugged and tugged, a mass of flailing arms and clutching fingers, until we managed to bob out of the stream of excited humanity into our own quiet pool of reunion.

“Claire! Look at you,” cried Gran, breaking from the jubilant tangle to hold me at arm’s length. “You’re practically a grown woman.

“You’ve blossomed, my dear,” she said with a wink. “But I’m pleased to see you haven’t overblown.”

Well! Nice to know my understated cleavage pleased someone.

“You look wonderful, too, Gran,” I said with a forced smile. She did. If you liked the psychedelic look of the sixties crossed with demented dandelion. Gran sported a cheese orange rain poncho, lime green rubber boots, short, wiry gray hair that sprang from her head with no discernible style or direction, and Roddy, the ever-present two-foot long toy dragon attached to her shoulder on his Velcro perch. But her eyes sparkled merrily and her smile illuminated the dreary waiting area.

My frosty welcome melted and I hugged her with genuine appreciation. After all, blood is blood. She might be a dingbat, but she was my dingbat, and I loved her.

“We’re going to have the best month of your life,” she whispered in my ear. “Just you wait and see!”

“Peter, if you’ll get my bag,” Gran said, taking charge. “Claire, bring Roddy, please, and Emily, tell me all your news!” She disentangled herself from me, dropped the toy dragon in my abruptly empty arms, grabbed Mom by the elbow and headed for baggage claim, her head close to Mom’s.

Dad and I exchanged glances, shrugged, and carried out our assigned tasks. I held the toy dragon up to my face and stared into his beady green eyes. “Okay, Roddy,” I said, only half teasing. “Here’s the deal. You stay out of my way and I won’t accidentally knock you into the trash compactor.”

Dad laughed, grabbed Gran’s rolling duffle in one hand and dropped the other on my shoulder.

“You’re going to be fine, Claire. Just fine.”

IMAGINE THIS: Terrors!

Terrors-2x3This week I’m featuring one of my more successful stories: TERRORS. This one is included in Fiction River: Sparks, an anthology edited by the fabulous Rebecca Moesta, as well as being published by WDM Publishing as a stand-alone, Spun Yarns tale.

TERRORS came to me full-blown. The first draft of the story flowed effortlessly from subconscious to screen, introducing me to two amazing teens. Artie, a misfit girl who knows too much, and Jed, a surprisingly stable and open-hearted boy with an indomitable desire to protect the innocent. I’m pretty sure the world hasn’t heard the last of these young heroes.

|A TERROR APPROACHED.

I cast my eyes down, fixing my gaze on the worn institutional tile beneath my feet, counting my heartbeats until it would be safe to look up again. The count was ingrained. A long practiced skill that no longer required my attention. Instead, my mind wandered, wondering what it would be like to unknow these denizens of the unseen world? To be a normal teen, with normal perceptions; a girl who walked this earth with no realization of what stalked her every step?

Unfortunately, that was not my life.

The count ended. I raised my eyes and glanced around quickly to reorient myself. High-ceilinged hallway, walls lined with lockers and classroom doors. Students milled around, chatted with friends, complained about their schedules. Everyone studiously avoided noticing me.

Yep. Same old invisible girl. The building might have changed, but the experience remained the same. I stepped away from the wall, pushed into the throng, and made my way to class without making eye contact with any of my peers.

I’d hoped high school would be different from middle school, that somehow, miraculously, the halls of McKinley High would be full of kids anxious to be my friends, and gloriously free of the beings that haunted my waking nightmares.

I’d been stupid of course. No such place existed.

Every single person I’d ever met considered me a freak. If truth be told, that even included my parents. And the others? The terrors? They ruled our world from the shadows, influencing our thoughts with whispered commands that were no more noticeable than the sigh of mosquito wings. Veiled suggestions of disease and despair, murmurs of treachery and disloyalty. Human souls rotted at the whim of foul creatures who fed from our life-force and lapped up our baser emotions like ice cream. No one knew of their existence, so no one guarded against their intrusions.

No one but me — and I’d learned early to hide my knowledge.

Mom and Dad had worried when my imaginary friends terrified me instead of entertaining. Other kids feared the boogieman in the closet or the monster under the bed, but were easily appeased by a nightlight or an extra bedtime story. Not me. Never me. I knew my monsters personally, recognized their reality with a sharp twist of terror in my gut.

Other kids embraced pacification, accepted that the monsters they perceived lived only in their imaginations. Not me. I learned to close my eyes, duck my head, and count the beats of my heart until the unholy creatures tired of watching me and moved on.

My parents noted my odd moments of seeming paralysis and sought psychological counseling. I developed yet another necessary life skill: I learned to lie. The doctor couldn’t explain away my certain knowledge of monsters, but I could explain away my parents’ concerns. Eventually, the adults in my life were appeased and I continued my uneasy existence, camouflaging myself from both my parents’ concern and the notice of the creatures that stalk humanity.

I wished I understood why I could see my terrors and others couldn’t. Why was I singled out to endure this curse? More than anything, I longed for a companion in this surreal world, someone to share my fears and woes … but then, would I truly wish this ungodly knowledge on another human being? Especially a person I might learn to consider a friend? I don’t know. Misery — at least mine, really would love some company.

IMAGINE THIS: Challenging Daze

We’ve reached the end of my July event celebrating Dani Erickson, a perfectly normal teenage girl who just happens to be a seventh seventh, and therefore a hereditary demon hunter.

Dani’s first three adventures are published and readily available at most electronic bookstores, but this tale is just getting started😀 Here’s the opening to Dani’s most recent escapade. Brothers. They can be a challenge…

High school. It’s a totally different world than what I expected when I first stepped through the glass-paned front doors last year. Back then I’d just discovered my destiny as a demon hunter and was still focused on the mundane issues I’d always anticipated when entering the big-leagues of public education. You know what I’m talking about: bullying upper classmen; cute boys who didn’t know I existed; cliques of mean girls; cute boys who would break my heart; teachers intent on writing tests filled with the most tedious details imaginable; cute boys who wouldn’t return my affection. The normal problems of a teenage girl’s life.

What I hadn’t expected to find were kids just like my six older brothers who were demon-ridden. Literally. Teens with small, rat-faced demons riding their backs, claws firmly embedded in necks and scalps, draining their victims’ life force while whispering evil suggestions into their psyches.

That was then.

Now, my high school was a much happier place. I’d defeated hundreds of personal demons and enough of the larger, humanoid demons that the vermin were wary of stepping foot on my territory, and Longmont High was very definitely my territory. Consequently, kids were kinder, more gentle than the national average. Teachers — many of whom were also demon-ridden when I arrived — were more inclined to be helpful, more willing to explain difficult concepts multiple times, seeking alternate examples to get their points across.

Now, I’m not claiming that my school was a utopia once I’d exterminated the demon pests, but it was, on the whole, a calmer, more civilized environment than anyone had a right to expect … and that was largely due to me.

Even my youngest older brother said so. Jamie had been at Longmont High for a year or two before I arrived. He definitely noticed the difference. Of course, he also knew all about my demon-hunting abilities. He’d learned my secret when I rescued him from a horde of demons who were using him as bait last spring. And to my eternal surprise, he’d kept my secret.

For a price.

“You want what?” I asked, my eyes bulging and my face heating. “Wick doesn’t do charity work.”

“That’s my price.” Jamie folded his arms across his chest and stared at me with familiar belligerence. “You want me to keep your secret. Fine. I’ll risk the Wrath of Mom, but I expect something in return. I want Wick to teach me how to fight. If you can do it, so can I.”

I shook my head and stomped onto the little bridge in the center of Loomiller Park. We’d needed privacy for this conversation, so we’d headed to the park where we could see anyone approaching long before they could hear what we were saying.

“And just what are you going to do with said fighting skills,” I asked, not bothering to keep the sarcastic tone out of my voice. This was Jamie, after all. The closest brother to my age. We were rarely civil to each other, even without the excuse of personal demons.

He frowned, but his jaw jutted out at a stubborn angle. “Once I’m trained,” he said, “I’ll help you fight demons. Make sure you don’t get yourself killed, ‘cause if you did and Mom found out I’d known anything, I’d follow you to the grave in about a heartbeat.”

I laughed out loud. “Help me fight demons?” I said. “When you can’t even see them? How’s that going to work?”

New Release: TERRORS

I’m thrilled to announce that WDM Publishing has released TERRORS as a SPUN YARNS short story!

TERRORS Terrors-6x9
By Deb Logan
Audience: Juvenile | Paranormal | Short Story

Artie Woodward sees the invisible beings that haunt our world. She recognizes their evil but doesn’t know what to do about it, so she’s learned to hide from their notice. Until Jed Kendrick moves to town. Suddenly, Artie has an ally, a friend, someone else who sees the unseen. Only Jed doesn’t hide. Jed fights back!

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

IMAGINE THIS: Family Daze

FamilyDaze-Cover-2x3And now back to our regularly scheduled July event – introducing you to 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.

CINNAMON CHOU to appear in 2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide

I’m excited to announce that my science fiction adventure story CINNAMON CHOU: Space Station Detective will be published in Dreaming Robot Press’s upcoming 2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide.

Yes. I know. That’s NEXT YEAR, but it’s going to be a fabulous anthology…just take a peek at the 2016 version!

I’m thrilled to be included and can’t wait to read the finished book!