Author Feature: Barbara Becc

My author feature!

New Tales From Old Yarn

Today we feature Barbara Becc , author of Cinder and Blood, with “How to become a writer when you’ralready kind of old”:

When did you start writing?

Funny story that. I remember writing on an old, mechanical typewriter when I was young, possibly around 12 or 13 years old. My stories where the same kind of stories I played with my Barbie dolls and horses. There where horses that foaled, horses that ran away or got stolen, tournaments and in between all, these young girls in jeans, shirts and boots (do you know how difficult it was to find clothing for Barbie dolls that looked like that?).
The girls took care of everything and in my writing I always made a point of the characters having to go to the bathroom. Apparently it was a major pet peeve of mine that nobody ever had to pee in fiction.

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Tempting The Dragon — Chapter Two

Eventually, the house falls quiet. The police, the fire department and the neighbors leave; the tarp is secured over the broken window and Vib settles down on the couch with a sigh. Mary has taken Justin into her own bed to sleep and Vib decided to sleep on the couch to Mary’s relief. She said that she doesn’t want to leave them alone after such a shock but that’s only part of the truth.dragon cover2-200

Something holds her here. Something tells her to stay and find out what it is. She needs to take another look around, just her alone when all the other people are gone.

When everything is quiet, she tiptoes upstairs to check that Mary and Justin are asleep. Justin has his head on Mary’s arm and she holds him with her other arm wrapped protectively around him. Both are breathing deeply in their sleep and look so peaceful. Vib closes the door quietly.

She puts on her shoes and jacket and sneaks out through the backdoor. She makes sure to lock the door behind her. She has the key in her jacket and the alarm is off for the night because the system freaked out over the broken window. Mary admitted to her that she is a bit scared about unwanted guests in the house, even though this neighborhood is quite nice and the worst that ever happened here was some kid throwing a rock at a car’s windshield.

Outside, the air is cool and fresh and the crescent moon gives off a cold light. Vib takes a deep breath. Summer is almost over and the air smells of rain. She takes a few steps away from the house to look up to the broken window. What’s left of the split tree casts a strange shadow on the wall. It looks like the witch in a book from her childhood; a crooked nose with a wart, a pointy hat and fluttering rags. The witch bends over the tarp as if she tries to crawl under it and into the window.

Way to go, brain.

She shakes her head at her vivid imagination. Her mother had always scolded her for daydreaming but she never really stopped. Imagining things and letting scenes play out in her head is still her favorite pastime.

Something groans on the ground right next to her.

Vib freezes in her steps. The sound is not from any animal she knows and it is very close to her. She turns slowly and peers into the shadowy bushes at this end of the backyard. She almost doesn’t see it but she can make out the shape of someone curled up on the ground beneath a few giant ferns. The ferns are Mary’s pride and joy. If someone or something broke off leaves, Mary would be pissed.

“Hello?” she asks into the darkness, her voice embarrassingly squeaky.

Like in a stupid horror movie! Whatcha gonna do when a man with a hockey mask jumps out? Switch the channel?

She makes a mental list of things she can use to defend herself against whatever wild dog or drunken wife beater hides under there. She comes up with nothing. There is a shovel in the garden shed but it’s at least six steps away.

The figure on the ground groans and moves and Vib hurries to back away. Her eyes have adjusted to the darkness by now and she can see that he appears to be a human. He sits up and hold his head with another painful groan. She regards him in the pale moonlight and her eyes and mind fight to understand what she sees.

Blue scales on skin. He can’t have scales. Strong muscled wings. Wings? He can’t have wings!

She takes a tiny step close. “Can I help you? Oh shit, why am I even… you’re gonna kill me now,” she babbles, backing away again.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” the man says with a deep, rough voice.

“Yeah, that’s reassuring.”

“I swear, I have no intention to kill you but I would appreciate if you could… help me up?”

I’m so gonna regret this.

“Maybe you shouldn’t stand up; your spine could be hurt.” She looks over him more closely, especially his back where strange shapes seem to flicker in and out of existence. She tries to focus on what she sees but the more she concentrates the less real they seem. “Also your… I don’t know… on your back…” She turns to his face and her breath catches at the intensity of his yellow eyes looking at her.

Curiosity overcomes her. She reaches out at the wavering shapes that seem to retreat from her touch until suddenly, with a vacuuming sound of air sucked into another place, she sees and feels them. Leathery skin over muscles and bones and folded between long finger bones.


“I’m probably losing my mind but…” she traces her finger along the long bone that holds the top of the extensions, now folded down and bleeding, “your wings are hurt?”

She pulls her hand back and shakes her head. “Of the things I thought I’d never say to a guy… .” She looks at his face again and notices he’s still staring at her. His eyes seem to look directly into her soul. “I’m sorry, I’m unfamiliar with wings. Is there anything I can do?”

He doesn’t answer right away, just stares. Finally he coughs and murmurs, “You can see them?”

“Well, yes? They’re pretty big actually. Not as big as I thought they would be but still…”

The man looks at her as if she just insulted him. “Not as big? How big did you think they would be?” he growls.

“I saw a picture of how big wings are relative to the body size of an eagle, and, if the size for a human would be on the same scale, they would be huge! Longer than two cars and… I’m sorry I didn’t mean to insult you, I mean I have never seen those kinds of wings before. I’m not even sure I’m seeing them now — oh god,” she hides her face in her hands, “now I’ve lost it completely.”

“No you’re fine,” the man says and his wings fold themselves closer to his body. “You’re not supposed to see them anyway; that’s why they’re probably a bit unfocused.”

“But I do…”

His face turns softer and he looks like he wants to smile but it turns into a grimace as he moves. “Shit, krissasstekass,” he hisses.

“Yeah, I think I can guess what that means.” Vib kneels down beside him. “What can I do to help?”

“I heal pretty fast but it would help if these wounds got cleaned and a splint,” he moved his wing and hissed again, “Krissass! I never…”

“Never hurt your wing?”

For a moment he looks at her like Justin when he fell down and scraped his knee. “Never this bad,” he mumbles.

Vib grins, “I have bandaids with Superman on them in the house.”

The winged man smiles at her and Vib’s breath stays stuck in her throat. He looks so beautiful that she has to look away.

“I’ll help you get up,” she says and goes to the side where he’s not injured. She side-eyes his unharmed wing and puts her hand under his ‘real’ arm to pull him up. He groans as he stands and limps along with her to the backdoor.

“You better not be a murderer or I’ll kill you,” she says, knowing that the threat doesn’t sound very convincing.

She can barely make out his grin in the weak moonlight but she hears it in his voice. “I swear I will do you no harm. I’m here to protect.”

Over the backdoor is a single socket that used to have an old-fashioned lightbulb that gave off a gentle yellow light. But now it has one of those energy-saving bulbs with a cold, fluorescent glow. It may not look pretty but she can see him better now.

“You’re gonna have to wait out here. I’ll get the first-aid kit,” she says. “I can’t let you in; I mean I don’t know you and… fuck, Mary would kill me…”

“And you don’t want to end up on the news as the stupid woman who let her attacker into the house,” the winged man says weakly.. “I completely understand. I’ll wait here.”

“There is a chair…” she points to a piece of rickety lawn furniture leaning against the house and her eyes travel to his injured wing.. It hangs low and quivers with obvious pain. “Can you even sit with that?”

He looks over his shoulder. “I don’t think so. Usually I can fold them up but now… .” The wings move up a handwidth and he winces. “I’ll just stand here.”

“Okay.” Vib unlocks the back door and slips inside, closing it behind her. After a moment, she slides the bolt out. It disturbs her how easily she trusts him and she has to consciously remind herself to be more careful.

The box with all the first-aid things one needs for an active four-year old sits on the kitchen counter. Vib fills one of Justin’s sports bottles with water and shoves the box under her arm. Back outside, the winged man still stands where she left him and she’s weirdly relieved that he didn’t vanish.

She puts the box on the lawn chair and dampens a cloth with water. “I’m going to clean the cuts now, okay?”

He nods and hisses foreign words when she cleans the many scrapes and cuts. The scales feel soft under her fingers and not slimy as she had feared. There is a nasty cut on his actual arm that she decides to clean first. His wing right next to it looks worse but she hesitates to treat it the same way. Even though she already touched it, some part of her still wants to deny its existence. It’s even worse with his tail. When she looks down his back, it appears to be not there even though she knows that it is.

She shakes her head and lifts the bottle to squirt water on the wounds and stops. “I’m going to… you know with your wings. Is water okay on them?”

“Yes, why not?”

Vib shrugs. “Geez, I don’t know, maybe they’ll go up in flames? Magical wings that can never be touched by water! Could be a thing, I’m no expert.”

He chuckles and his eyes seem to glow at her. “What a great imagination you have. I know this is all very strange, you’re handling this quite well.”

“The wings? Well, they’re there, not much to argue about. I’d like to know what all that carnage in Justin’s room was about though,” she says, generously squirting water over the wounds. “I can’t promise I’ll handle that well too.”

“Did you see the other one too?”

“The other creature? Yeah.” She uses the wet cloth to wipe away the dried blood and plasma and he whimpers. “Sorry,” she says, looking at him.

“No, it’s okay; just go ahead, I’ll try to be all manly about it,” he says with a pained smile.

Vib smiles back and gets back to work, cleaning and drying the skin. Digging around in the box, she finds a few giant band-aids that Mary probably brought home as samples from her work at the drugstore. “These don’t have Superman on them I’m afraid,” she says to him.

“I was so looking forward to those. Life’s so unfair,” he says and pouts.

Vib snickers and begins to apply the band-aids to the cuts on his arm and shoulder. She hesitates for a moment, wondering if the band-aids even work on the soft scales. She also becomes increasingly aware that he is naked from the waist up because shimmering scales don’t count as a substitute for a shirt. His chest is muscular, probably to power the wings on his back. A shimmer runs over the scales like blue-green light whenever she touches him. It extends over to his wings but she can see patches of grey on them.

“Your wings have these grey patches, does that mean that they’re sick?”

“In a way, yes, but I can fix that when I’m back home.”

She pictures a den full of muscular winged men without shirts in her mind and she quickly shuts it down. “Home? And where is that?”

“Somewhere else,” he says after a long pause. “Difficult to explain.”

She takes a bandage from the box and holds it against the crooked wing. “I don’t have anything to make a splint and I’m not sure how… .”

He looks over his shoulder. “Could you fold it up and just wrap a bandage around it?”

She eyes the extend of the finger-like bone that hangs down with two sharp bends in the middle. “One won’t be enough I think. I’m going to have to buy new bandages for Mary.” She rips off two pieces of tape and sticks them to his arm. When she touches the wing, he swears again and balls his fists. But he holds still, swearing under his breath in the strange language until she has folded the wing like a curtain and begins wrapping it. She tapes a second bandage on when the first runs out and wraps it tightly.

When she finishes she steps back to look at her work. “I don’t know if you have hospitals where you’re from but that’s probably where you should be going.”

He turns around and looks at the white package on his back. “Yes, I will go to…” he pauses, and she wonders if he isn’t allowed to say the word or if it’s just too weird for her to hear. Who knows, he might have to go into a sarcophagus and be killed and reborn.

Vib looks him over. The wings stand out clearly now but his tail still tries to disappear whenever she looks at it. She hopes he doesn’t have any big wounds on his tail because her mind refuses to acknowledge that the person in front of her has such a thing. She lets her eyes rest on his muscular chest for a moment. There is another cut on it and she takes a small band-aid from the box. “Look, this one has Superman on it.”

He laughs out and watches her stick the band-aid on his chest. The greenish shimmer runs over his chest again where she touches him. Her fingers itch to follow the colorful wave. She looks away and feels her face heat up.

“So,” she starts, “care to tell me what this all was? What you are? And maybe your name?”

She looks back to him and sees how seems to ponder her questions, the smile gone from his face.

“Your name is such a difficult question?”

The smile is back. “No, my name is easy. I am called Leelan of Deschebel. The other questions… will take a little while.”

< Previous Chapter — Next Chapter >

Tempting The Dragon — Chapter One

A key scraping in the door startles her awake. The laptop on the tray on her lap tilts at a dangerous angle but she catches it before it falls to the ground and before her brain has quite registered what happens. It probably means something that the bag of chips has spilled out on the floor but her subconscious has protected her laptop from falling down.dragon cover2-200

Vibeke squints her eyes and wipes over the touchpad to make the screen light up. Some trailer for a new movie sits paused, the actor making a weird face. She closes the tab and looks up when Mary enters.

“Vib? Did you fall asleep?” Mary asks as she hangs up her coat.

Vibeke puts the laptop on the couch next to her and wipes her eyes. “I guess I did. Not that I intended to.”

“You should have turned on the TV,” Mary yells from the kitchen.

“I hate the TV, I hate the commercials,” Vib says and gets up to join Mary in the kitchen. Mary stuffs a leftover sandwich in her mouth. “Didn’t you just have dinner?”

Mary rolls her eyes and chews and swallows quickly to answer the question. “It was a really posh thing, that place,” she says between swallows.

“Tiny portions?” Vib asks, picking a tomato from the bowl.

Mary nods. “Very tiny. I think I got more nutrition from the decorations on my cocktail.”

Vib glances up to the clock on the kitchen wall. “You’re home early.”

Mary sighs and places a hand over her heart. “Can you believe that he’s a gentleman?” she says, a rosy blush on her cheeks. “He doesn’t want to rush things, brought me home and only kissed me on the cheek.”

“Why do you find all the nice guys and I always get those weirdos that want to me to wear a bunny costume and lick their feet?”

Mary laughs out loud. “That was one guy and at least he accepted your rejection without throwing a tantrum.”

Vib sighs. “That’s a fucking low standard.”

“I know,” Mary says, “we’ll find someone for you, I promise. How was the kid tonight?”

“Justin played some Mario game, ate his sandwich and tricked me into reading him two chapters instead of one,” Vib says. “He was asleep by eight.”

“He loves it when you babysit him, he wants you to come by every night.” Mary wipes her mouth with a napkin and places the plate in the sink.

“Well, it’s not like my dating life is keeping me away.”

“We’re going to change that,” Mary says and jams her finger in Vib’s chest. “Now I’m going to look at my sweet little boy and you should go home.”

Vib nods and steps over toy cars and super hero figures to get to the couch. Her laptop is still humming when she gets to it. She closes the browser and initiates shutdown. In the same moment that the laptop shuts down, all the lights in the house turn off. No flicker, no spark, just sudden darkness.

“Mary?” Vib calls out. She scrambles up from the couch and trips over the same toys she just stepped over. “Mary? The lights down here are all out, how… ?”

A bright flash lights up the house and Mary screams. Vib runs up the stairs. The banister rail is vibrating under her hand. The whole house seems to shake and the blinding light spills down the stairs. She turns at the top of the stairs and sees with horror that the blinding light comes out of Justin’s room. It spills out around the door and she almost can’t see the door knob.

As she approaches, there is an explosion and the door flies open, hitting her shoulder. It hurts like hell but she has to go forward; she has to get to Mary and Justin. The light is too bright, like floodlights made for illuminating a football field.

She storms in the room, shielding her eyes with her hand against the terrible light. She can only make out shadows moving too fast; giant shadows, far too big for the room and far too fast for their size. She sees Mary standing with Justin on her arm. They seem to be frozen, as if they don’t even notice the fight right next to them.

The creatures are crashing against each other again. They are taller than men and on their backs, leathery wings are beating. Vib stares at the wings and tries to understands what she sees. The one creature looks like a giant bat from a bad horror movie, dark grey with a distorted face.

The other creature is more colorful, the wings reflecting the light in green and blue. The colors extend over his shoulders and neck and down his back. He moves like a true predator and it is strange to notice that he is wearing pants. The whole scene of these two creatures fighting, grappling each other, scratching and biting looks so surreal that she almost laughs out.

This can’t be real.

The fighters throw each other around, furniture splinters, a shelf with toy cars comes crashing down. They snarl and yell at each other in a language she doesn’t understand. They move in a blur, caught up in each other like angry cats. And still Mary and Justin seem to be frozen, the violence around them unnoticed. Vib stares at them, wondering if she’s dreaming. But pain exploding in her face tells her that this is very real.

Dreams don’t hurt like that.

A tail has hit her in the face, a tail with green scales and blue thorns along the ridge. She cries out in pain. Her hand comes away bloody when she touches the gash across her cheek and nose. For a moment the blueish creature looks at her, a human-like face with yellow eyes. He seems shocked by her while the grey beast looks at her, too, and hisses. With a snarl they turn away and crash against the window.

A storm blows through the broken window and then the blinding light goes out with a flash. Vib stumbles forward and stares into the night. It looks like a hurricane came through and the tree in front of the window seems to be split in half.

Someone behind her screams.

“Oh my god, Vib, are you okay?” Mary stares at her with wide eyes. Her eyes drift away from her face and her eyes get even wider. She looks at the carnage around her. “My god, what happened here?”

Vib turns to her and almost falls over a huge tree branch sticking into the room through the broken window. It looks like it broke the window and part of her mind wants to accept that because it make so much more sense. Of course a tree branch flew through the window, the tree and the storm knocking down the shelf and breaking the nightstand instead of two monsters from a bad horror movie fighting.

“Must have been a freak storm…” she hears herself say and it sounds like it’s coming from a stranger. “Did you see the … creatures?”

“What creatures? What kind of storm was that? It split the tree!” Mary clutches Justin to her chest who seems strangely calm.

“My cars,” he whines quietly and strains to get down from Mary’s arms to pick them up.

“No honey, there’s broken glass everywhere, we’ll … not now. Oh god, I don’t know what to do.” Mary looks at Vib with pleading eyes and it finally wakes her from her confusion. They don’t have shoes on and there are shards everywhere. Vib pulls a blanket from the crib and throws it on the floor for Mary to step on. Picking their steps through the debris, they make it into the hallway.

Sirens are blaring outside, coming closer to the house. “That’s probably the fire department,” Vib says.

Mary snorts. “Knowing my neighbors, it’s probably the police and someone called them to say that my meth lab blew up.”

Vib opens her mouth to say something but stops herself. Everyone in the neighborhood was nice enough to Mary but racism is a hidden thing. They wouldn’t say anything to her face but Vib had seen how they whispered and rolled their eyes when Mary’s back was turned. It made you think differently of perfectly nice people.

They walk down the stairs and open the doors just as two police cars stop in front with screeching tires. There is whole lot of yelling at first but one of the younger policemen is from the neighborhood and assures his colleagues that Mary indeed lives in this house. The Fire Department and an ambulance turn up too eventually. They get checked over but except for the cut in Vib’s face, they are uninjured.

Vib lets her fingers run over the scabbed edges before the paramedic applies an ointment and covers it with bandages. She tries to picture the scene how she got the cut but it’s like her mind is fighting her. Everything is foggy; was it a twig from the tree? Was it glass from the window?

Some neighbors are pulling the tree branch from the window and another brought a piece of tarp to hang over the broken window. Sometimes, people can actually be nice to each other.

Vib wants to help but she suddenly feels too tired to stand so she sits down on a lawn chair and watches the neighbors saw through the half fallen tree and pull the branches out on the lawn. Justinn comes up to her and climbs in her lap. He is still so unusually quiet and he is watching her, not the tree recovery.

“Hey, are you okay?” Vib asks him. Mary looks over to them and she makes a sign to her that she is taking care of Justin. The boy has one of his toy cars in his fist, a bright yellow model of a muscle car. Vib remembers that it’s his favorite, he probably had it in his hand when he went to sleep.

Justin nods and looks at his car. “I’m fine.” He looks over to his mama once but then turns back to Vib and crawls up her arm to whisper in her ear, “I saw them too!”

“What did you see?”

Justin whispers, “The men with wings.”

And with that remark, as if a floodgate flies open, the memories come back.

A creature with a human face and green and blue scales and wings and a tail. And he had looked at her with yellow eyes.

Next Chapter >

SciFi-Romance, Valentine’s Day and sexy aliens

Are you tired of all the usual books for Valentine’s Day? Fed up with the flower shops? The romantic dinners in Italy? Always the same scenes and scenarios?

Do I have a book for you! Let’s leave Earth and have a romantic dinner and sexy shenanigans on a space station. You ever wondered about sex in Zero G and what kind of hilarious difficulties might come with that? I wrote a scifi-erotica short story just for you!



Get it on amazon for just 99 cents!

New Author Blog!

Instead of trying to keep my old blog for writing advice at up, I decided to start this new one as a real author blog.

I still have thousands of posts with writing advice reblogged and collected on my tumblr but I’m not going to be able to replicate that kind of resource on the wordpress blog.

I’m not going to keep halfassing it and eventually falling at that blog. None of us have time for that, right? If you’re interested in writing advice, look at my tag page. As I always say when I come across questions: “I have a tag for that!”

I’ll still link to all the projects I’m doing, like the fairytale anthology and the erotica short piece I wrote. And when I’m finally done with designing my plotting workshop, it will go up here too.

But for the most part, this will be the place where I post about the stories I write and publish some fiction. My story Tempting The Dragon will appear here soon.