Archive for September, 2011

22nd September
2011
written by amber

“Stolen Children” is now out! Amber will be touring with the book starting September 27.  Check back for updates to this schedule.

September 27, Tuesday – Round Street Cafe – 427 – 5th St S, Lethbridge – 6:30 PM

– October 13, Thursday – The Old Grind – 175 Pembina Ave, Hinton – 6:30 PM

– October 20, Thursday – Pages Books on Kensington – 1135 Kensington Road NW, Calgary – Evening

21st September
2011
written by amber

In the Woods

Something was coming, shaking the distant trees and roaring like a freight train. She knew it was probably the wind, but being alone in this cabin was making her paranoid. It sounded like her doom on its way toward her.

She didn’t understand why Greg hadn’t returned. She’d been half awake when he left this morning, but she was sure he’d said, “I’m going to get some parts for the generator. I’ll be back before dinner.”

The dinner had been waiting in the wood stove for several hours, while she tried to put only enough wood in to keep it warm, not burned, which was allowing the cabin to cool down too much. She’d gone through so many stages today – wistful when she woke up alone, relishing her freedom to laze around and watch birds and deer from the window, mildly annoyed later that he hadn’t given any indication of what he wanted for dinner or even asked if she needed anything from town, slightly more annoyed when she finally decided to eat dinner by herself, very annoyed by 7 p.m., fuming about spending so much time alone on this ‘for the two of us’ holiday. And now she was frightened.

Frightened for him. Frightened for herself. She’d been asleep when they drove here, exhausted from her job. If he didn’t return and she had to get back to civilization on her own, she didn’t even know which way to go, or how far it was.

She stood in the open doorway, allowing the harsh wind to blow her hair back from her face. The cabin was surrounded by nothing but darkness. And within that darkness, something large crashed to the earth.

She closed and barred the door.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

20th September
2011
written by amber

The third novel of my trilogy is out this month from Edge Press. The launch will be held at the Round Street Cafe in Lethbridge on September 27, at 6:30 p.m. 427 5th St. S. The event will also feature glass artist Shauna Hayward, fibre artist Jory Kohn, musician John Greenshields and photographer Devynn Bohn.

I’ll be reading at Pages on Kensington in Calgary, Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m.

Keep watching this blog for news of readings in Calgary, Edmonton, Hinton, Canmore and Pincher Creek.

20th September
2011
written by amber

Fairy Tale

Once upon a time a lovely young princess wandered away from the castle, through the woods in springtime, and before long, she became lost.

She wandered for hours, she wandered for days, but she became more and more lost. And she despaired of ever finding her way home.

At last, she came to a humble log cabin deep in the forest. Smoke came from the chimney and she heard the sound of wood being chopped. Behind the house, she found a young man with an axe, splitting fire wood for his hearth.

By that time, her clothing was ragged, her face and hands were scratched by thorns, she was dirty and hungry. But when the young man saw her, he fell to his knees saying, “What has happened to you, my princess?”

She was overcome with relief and she fainted. When she woke, she was tucked into a snug bed beneath warm blankets made of fur, next to a roaring fire. The young man was stirring a pot of gruel over the fire.

“How did you know I am a princess?” she asked him.

“I saw you in the village, at the May parade. I never forgot your beauty.”

She ran her fingers through her tangled hair, she felt the dirt and rough skin of her cheeks and hands. “I am no longer beautiful,” she said.

He said, “You eat now, and then I’ll heat water so that you can wash. Tomorrow I’ll take you out of the forest and back to your castle. Nothing that has happened to you could ever mar your beauty.”

The princess ate the gruel and it tasted better than the finest meal she’d ever eaten. The young man waited outside the cabin while she washed herself with a rag and no soap, using only a small pot of water, but it was better than any bubble bath she’d ever enjoyed.

And the next morning, before the young man could guide her out of the forest, her father arrived and smote him as a kidnapper, and carried the princess home on a snow white horse.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

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19th September
2011
written by amber

The Audit

“We’re here to audit your books.”

Until that moment, it had been a good day. My office was small and dark, but the autumn sun was seeping into the window, illuminating the papers on my desk. I had anticipated finishing my work quickly, without interruptions, leaving early.

The two men wore identical suits, charcoal grey, generic. “Who are you?” I was annoyed to hear how shrill, how frightened, my voice was.

The younger one identified himself as a member of the RCMP, the other he introduced as a forensic accountant. I’d never known there was such a profession. They explained that the name of our organisation’s treasurer had raised a warning flag.

“Ralph? He’s been our treasurer since the spring. He saved our bacon after our other treasurer resigned. He’s been fantastic.” The financial report of the festival we ran every summer, our single biggest project of the year, lay prominently on my desk, ready for our Annual General Meeting. “See, everything’s in order.”

“Ma’am, you’ve been misled.” The forensic guy seemed to know more about our accounts than I did. He pointed at the expenditures column. “We’ve been hearing from many of these artists and other suppliers. None of them have been paid.”

“But…” Now I was sputtering. “Why haven’t they contacted me? This is crazy.”

“They contacted the treasurer. He was the one they were dealing with. His name was on the cheques that bounced. He kept them dangling until he had safely transferred the money out of the country. Now he’s gone too.”

“Out of the country? You mean, we can’t get it back?”

They talked to me for a long time, ascertaining that it had been Ralph’s idea that only one signature be required for the cheques, that I didn’t suspect that anyone else on the board was involved, showing me a copy of our bank account and that shocking balance. We’d had an approved overdraft, another of Ralph’s ideas. The account was sucked to the bottom and below. I agreed to testify against him, if they caught him. I agreed to show up the next day at the station to make a formal statement.

Afterward, there didn’t seem to be any reason to finish my preparations for the Annual General Meeting. I left the office, locking it carefully. I took the bus home, and sat staring at nothing for more than an hour. Then I called for a taxi. It took me to a small motel at the edge of town.

Ralph had parked our new motor home in the parking lot. I ran toward it.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

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