Thursday, July 25, 2013

Three Questions Blog Hop

My friend Christine Irvin asked me to join a Blog Hop. I have to answer three questions and then list three people who I would like to also answer the same three questions on their blog. The only problem is that I was worried about getting this blog written and forgot to find three people willing to join in! So at the end of this post, I will list three friends of mine who's blogs I think you will enjoy reading, and, hopefully, they will read this and be willing to answer the questions on their blogs too.

1) What are you working on?
I am working on a variety of writing projects right now. I am writing my Skinny Dreaming nonfiction book. I am revising and editing a YA paranormal novelette, revising and editing three NaNoWriMo novels (all urban fantasy), editing and revising two middle grade books, and currently working on perfecting three different picture books. It's frustrating to work on several projects at the same time, because sometimes I feel like I want to be done with at least one of them, and focusing solely on one would make that happen faster. But working on multiple projects also works for me in that, when I get blocked with one, I can move on to another one for a while.

2) How does your writing process work?
Basically, I take any spare minute I have and I sit down to write. Then I struggle for a while to not let Facebook distract me from my writing. Once I get into it, I can write quite a lot, but I don't do a lot of research in my first draft, and I completely pants the whole thing and let the story tell me where it wants to go. I start with a strong idea, and it helps if I know how I want it to end, but sometimes, I don't even know that much until I'm much further into the story. 

Once I get that first draft down, that's when my revising and editing should begin. But that's when I usually begin a new project instead and put off working on the one I have just finished. In fact, I'm terrible about procrastinating when it comes to perfecting my novels. It's a trait I am working through.

3) Who are the authors you most admire?
There are so many! I can't possibly name just one. I think I am going to say that I really admire my writing friends who have successfully self-published and Indie-published their books. They have not only finished some awesome books, but they have learned all about marketing themselves and using Amazon to their advantage. 
I have one friend who is a mother of three, and between her and her husband, they have written over 18 books and have achieved enough success to make writing their full-time jobs. They are supporting their family off of their writing. I've read the books they have written and they are so incredible that I am not surprised about their success.


 And now here for three four blogs I know you will enjoy reading:

Yearning for Wonderland (Anna Loy)

The Seal Island Trilogy (Sophie Moss)

Anonymous Legacy (Angela Goff)

Minstrels & Heroes (Missy Ames)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Lists, Timelines Goals & Submission Dates

Lately, I am finding it difficult to keep up with all of the submission dates and writing deadlines I either have committed to or would like to do. I seem to have built up a huge To-Do List when it comes to my writing and my writing goals, and it is not easy to keep track of it all.

So I am writing this post to help remind me of dates that are coming up (and then I am going to plug all of these dates into my Windows Calendar and set it to send me reminders). This will do two things: 1 - It will remind me of my own submission dates and timely goals. 2 - It will give my blog readers some idea of when some of my publications will be made available.

Anthology projects I am in charge of:

1 - The Chapter Book Challenge's fairy tale anthology is due to come out on August 1st, 2013. We are still choosing a name and voting on a cover for it, and I am putting it all together. (Anyone who has not gotten back to me with their revised stories - if you were sent the editor's comments  - please do so in the next week.)

2 - The Creating a Female Superhero Challenge is over and the anthology is being created. I still need a cover for it, and I am still deciding whether or not to crowdsource it in order to get some professional artwork done for the 27 stories and female superheroes. (I know of a fabulous artist who creates them for $50 per character, which would cost about $1,350 in order to have each female superhero represented, not including the cover art. Possibly I could ask for a discount since this is an anthology for charity. Still thinking this one through. We may only have cover art, in the end.) There is still a lot to do for the anthology and some things that are not decided yet, but I want it available for Christmas shopping. so although there is no hard and fast completion date yet, I am shooting for no later than November 1st, 2013 to make this anthology available for purchase. (Also, if anyone would still like to submit to this anthology, see this post to check out the details. The competition is closed, but I will take submissions for the anthology up until August 7th.) The winner of the competition is to be announced on August 7th, 2013.

3 - Amazing Pets: An anthology of short stories in memory of those special pets who stole our hearts - This one has not been officially announced yet. Proceeds will go to an animal shelter. It will be announced both here and on The Kitty's Corner. No set date yet. Publication will be sometime in 2014.


Anthology projects I have committed to writing for:

Crock of Charms - submission date of September 1st, 2013

Keepsakes - submission deadline of February 1st, 2014


Anthology projects I am thinking about submitting to:

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game - submission deadline of July 29th, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Multitsking Mom's Survival Guide - submission deadline of July 31st, 2013

Dreamspinner Press: Heartwarming - submission deadline of August 1st, 2013

Vampirical Lyrical Press' Vampire anthology (for charity): submission deadline of August 1st, 2013

Open Doors: Monstrous Myths and Legends anthology (for charity) - submission deadline of August 2nd, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen - submission deadline of August 15th, 2013

Xyler Publishing: Back to the Future (fantasy) Anthology: submission deadline of August 31st, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories about Cats - submission deadline of August 31st, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories about Dogs - submission deadline of August 31st, 2013

Shadows of a fading World: A Sword & Sorcery Anthology: submission deadline of October 31st, 2013

Hauntings: An Anthology - submission deadline of October 31st, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Overcoming Challenges - submission deadline of October 31st, 2013

A Crampus Antholgy by World Weaver Press - submission deadline of November 30th

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot your Life - submission deadline November 30th, 2013

Xyler Publishing: Around the World in 80 Days (steampunk) Anthology: submission deadline of November 30th, 2013

Deepwood Publishing: Ruined Cities, The Death God's Chosen, The Ways of Magic, and Splintered Lands - all four anthologies open until filled

Vamptasy Publishing: Cirque d'Obscure: A Dark Carnival Anthology - details soon


Picture Book Submissions:

Cheerio Spoonful of Stories - submission deadline of July 31st, 2013

Various 12 x 12 agents - submissions monthly from the 1st to the last day of each month in 2013


Other goals for 2013:

Finish editing and revising picture book "Jenny Dreams" and begin submitting - deadline of July 30th, 2013

Finish editing and revising picture book "Bluebell the Fairy"and begin submitting - deadline of August 15th, 2013

Finish editing and revising picture book "Princess Parade" and begin submitting- deadline of September 1st, 2013

Create Isabella's collection of short stories for her Tangle Fairies series (after getting Robert to complete the drawings) - tentative release date of November 1st, 2013 (author: Isabella Fyfe)

Create photo-picture book about Caspian (similar to the one I helped Kayla create when she was 5) - tentative release date of November 1st, 2013

Create collection of my own short stories and make available in print and ebook - tentative release date November 15th, 2013

Create poetry collection or very short story collection to accompany Robert's beautiful fairy photos - tentative release date of November 15th, 2013

Create poetry and photo collection book using my photos and poetry - tentative release date November 15th, 2013

Create Skinny Dreaming Recipes (healthy recipes) book - tentative release date of February 28th, 2014

Create Kids Creating Cakes: Cooking for Kids recipe book - tentative release date of March 31st, 2014

And I can't forget that I am part of the 12 x 12 community and need to write one first draft of a completed picture book every month.


Long-term writing goals (deadlines to be added soon):

Finish writing the Skinny Dreaming book

Finish editing and revising "Walking With the Dead"  YA novelette

Finish editing and revising "Prophecy Girl" urban fantasy novel

Finish editing and revising "The Magic Necklace" chapter book

Finish editing and revising "The Guardian" chapter book

Finish writing "Through the Veil" YA novel

Finish editing and revising three of my other picture books

Other goals and deadlines to be added later in all categories

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Moving Forward - Insecure Writer's Support Group for July 2013 #IWSG

This is my sixth monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group post. The IWSG is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the IWSG is:
 "to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!"

Moving Forward

No matter how often I try to be "good" and not let my fears take over, I still suffer from self-doubt on a regular basis, especially as it pertains to my writing. I am trying to behave in such a way as to suggest that it doesn't have an effect on me, but I don't always succeed.

I've been sharing more of my short stories and flash fiction writing on my blog. I don't get many comments on my blog posts, no matter what the topic is, but the few comments I get on my stories that compliment my stories make me feel better, if only for a short while, about my writing.

I think I am what might be called a "lazy writer." I love writing my stories, and I feel great when I have finished a longer novel. But the hard part, the nitty-gritty work that is involved in editing and revising, that part I put off, leaving my novels to languish forever in obscurity, never to be read by others. Naturally, I can't possibly share my novels with my critique groups or beta readers or even an editor until I have at least made a first pass-through at perfecting the writing.

I'm really good at proofreading. I can catch spelling errors, typos, grammatical errors and punctuation errors EASILY. But going through a piece of writing and making it go from writing that tells a story to writing that sucks you into another world and hangs on to you until you have emotion roiling through you and you never want to leave, THAT is something I need to work on. And I will not be happy with my novels until they can do that to a reader.

But, as a writer, I have to move forward. If I leave my writing as is, then it never changes. My writing will never raise from the level it is at unless I am willing to work at it and let it grow. So, to move forward with my writing and with my goals this year, I am determined to make ONE of the many novels I have written SHINE. And I will get it past the first edits and send it off to a professional in order to help it get to the shiny stage.

For those of you who don't know, the Chapter Book Challenge has a fairy tale anthology coming out, hopefully by August first, in both print and Kindle format. The title and cover are still being worked on,  but you can head on over the ChaBooCha to find out more about it.

The Creating a Female Superhero Challenge came up with 27 female superheroes for the anthology and 23 entries for the contest. The winner of the contest will be announced on August 7th, along with the charity that won the vote for the proceeds to go toward. The stories are all from 500 to 1,000 words long, and have varying lengths for each of the "about" sections for each superheroine. I think it is going to be a pretty decent little anthology. (I am open to new submissions for the anthology before its creation is complete, because it is for charity, so more stories can only be a good thing.)

I also am in the process of creating a story for the Crock of Charms project, which is a short story project where everyone will be writing interconnecting stories suitable for young children through teenagers. They have a new project out, for adults, called Keepsakes, that I am currently looking into. (I like challenging myself by writing short stories. It helps hone my writing.)

I love hearing from you, so let me know in the comments what you have been up to and what your plans and goals are through this year.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Kindle Fire #Giveaway

My friend Sophie Moss is participating in a joint author and blogger sponsored giveaway, hosted by Blkosiner's Book Blog. There are also a few books and additional prizes up for grabs, including an e-copy of The Selkie Spell!

Sponsoring Authors and Bloggers:
Mike Hartner
Trisha Wolfe
Chris Everheart
Ashley Lavering
Susan Kaye Quinn
Sophie Moss
Rebecca Ethington
Emma Michaels
Kelly Hashway

The giveaway is open to anyone who can use Amazon. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bella Blake - Creating a Female Superhero Challenge entry #CAFSC

This is an entry sent in by Jules Harley. It's being added in late, but she had it written on time; it's late because I posted it late, so it is being included in the competition.

photo courtesy of Fyfe Photography

Name - Jules Harley

 Word count - (Not including these details) 730

Anthology: Yes

Charity - Because I am a girl

Name of female superhero: Bella Blake

Name of human alter ego, if different: N/A

Superhero appearance: 15years old. Long straight chestnut hair with flame red streaks. Green eyes intense and burning. 5ft6 and slim build.

Human alter ego appearance (If she has an alter ego): N/A

Costume: Blue flared jeans, a white long sleeved shirt with the top two buttons undone, a black velvet waistcoat and a gold necklace with a small tear drop ruby. Black converse shoes.

Personality: She's a teenager and has the passion and attitude that you might expect from one. She is very caring and would do anything for her family and to protect her brother. It takes her a while to get on the right path with some ups and downs on the way. Fiery, protective and a braveness that almost goes to the point of stupidity. Direct and to the point.

Brief Description of how the super heroine gets her powers: She's born with them but they don't manifest until puberty. Her brother discovered his own ability age 14. Bella would probably have recognised hers at 13. No one else in their family have special abilities.

Powers: 'Extreme gardening'. Flowers grow beneath her feet as she walks. As she develops her talents she learns how to grow deadly plants, lethal thistles and even forests to lose people in.

Anything else important: Her ability is very mood based. I'm bi-polar and though I didn't want her to officially have any mental health issues, I have enjoyed her moodiness and exploring how her talents are effected by her feelings.

A walk in the woods
By Jules Harley

Bella walked along, looking at her feet as she did so. She loved what she could do and never tired of it. OK it wouldn't change peoples lives like her brothers ability did, but it was pleasing all the same. She liked to walk through the woods each day if she could. She found it relaxing and it kept her fit. She would take different routes. She knew many ways staying on the path and wander off it. When she'd had an emotional day, this was the only way she knew how to unwind. Of course anyone else walking the path after her would know her moods too. Blue bells and snap dragons if she's joyous. Roses in varying shades of red if she's in love. Daffodils and primroses when she's relaxed. Thistles and ragwort when she's angry, and snow drops if she's confused or anxious. Of course very few people knew what she could do to be able to make the link so she was safe.

Today the snowdrops appeared beneath her feet. She was indeed anxious. Her brothers ability had been found out by the authority’s and now they wanted to recruit him for the British Special Powers Army. They thought he would make a useful soldier and weren't giving him much of a choice. Bella's brother Stephen had the ability to share how he was feeling. If he touched your skin, then whatever emotion he was experiencing, you would enjoy or endure too. Right now, he was feeling sad and angry with the situation. Bella was avoiding his touch! She just wished there was something she could do.

She walked past the church yard. It was a mess. Weeds and debris and one lone man crouching in front of a new grave.

She glanced at the man and he glanced at her. Bella was surprised, it was the General from the BSPA. He looked distraught. Bella leaned down, grabbed a handful of Snowdrops and presented them to the General.
"Here," She said as she handed him the bunch, "The grave shouldn't be empty."

The General took a moment, then accepted the flowers with a smile and a small nod.

"You're Stephen Blake's younger sister, aren't you?"

Bella nodded her head.

"He's a good boy, your brother. He'll make a fantastic soldier."

"No he wouldn't." Her nod turned to a shake. "His ability, have you actually thought about it?"

"Well of course! We get any of our enemies to touch your brother and they'll be ours. Easy."

Bella sighed sadly.

"Depends what mood he's in though. If he's happy, then they'll feel happy. More to the point, if he's angry, maybe because he's being forced away from his family, then your enemies will feel that too and that could make things a whole lot worse."

She stopped talking, took a few more steps forward, picked a fresh bunch of snowdrops and put them on the grave next to the one the General stood by.

The General screwed his face up thoughtfully. A truth uncovered by a child. He said nothing.

Bella continued.

"For years the government tried to imprison those of us with special talents. Now we get forced into an army. We are just slaves to persons of normality. When are you going to learn that prejudice of people who are different in some way is wrong? Let us make up our own minds for these matters."

"Your saying, ask your brother to join us, and if he says no, then leave him be?"

Bella nodded and took another step towards the general.

"Leave him and take me instead!"

That took him by surprise.

"I'm sorry kid. Your talents nice and all, but I hardly think it will be useful in a battle!"

With that Bella closed her eyes in concentration. She took one more step, leaving her right beside the General. In front of them stood an 8ft thistle with razor sharp thorns.

"I can do that." She stated, "I can also grow a forest 20ft high, an impenetrable maze. You need me." She glared into his eyes, "My brother doesn't want to go, but I do. When are you going to let the minority have the right to choose?"

The General nodded, and Bella knew that now her life was really going to begin.

"Firestick" by Angelica Fyfe - Creating a Female Superhero Challenge #CAFSC

by Angelica Fyfe

Name of female superhero: Firestick

Name of human alter ego, if different: Jaseline Oranth

Superhero Appearance (hair, eyes, body type, etc.): Jaseline's ethnic origins are not entirely known – she has tanned skin, and gentle freckles peppering her cheekbones and nose. She has an unusual pale birthmark just below her hairline, in the middle of her forehead, which glows bright white when she is powered-up. Long, thick black curls, sapphire-blue eyes, heart-shaped face, petite frame, about 5ft 3in. She has tiny wrists, and cute little feet, but never likes to stay on them for long! When powered-up fully, she is coated in flames, deep red flames surrounding her coal-black hair, making them appear as fuel for the flames. Under abnormal circumstances she has blue flames, the kind that could almost burn you just by looking at them, which accentuate her eyes and make for a most foreboding persona. These are usually reserved for dire situations when her fire takes over and her conscious mind takes more of a backseat.

Human alter ego appearance (if she has an alter ego): Small and meek, Jaseline is an unassuming girl with bright eyes. Same physical features as above, but she covers her birthmark with make-up. She doesn't dress very outrageously, and usually lets her hair fall in front of her face when not tackling villains. She works as a waitress in a cute little café not far from her secret sanctum, and is often seen in her uniform - name-badge, apron, and all.

Costume: Firestick likes her colour-code for apparel to be white, like magnesium heated up to a blinding whiteness. She also sees it as a kind of symbol of the purifying powers of fire, and as a symbol of her good, pure flames. She has a couple of outfits, but her usual villain-foiling attire is a leather armour-style outfit, with fitted pants and corset top. Skirts are just far too impractical for her taste. For other superheroine matters (such as ceremonies or award-giving) she also has a long, flowy white dress, made of soft, silky material that moves like flames of a fire. She coats all her clothing – daytime work clothes or crime-fighting costume – with a special resin extracted and modified from a rare plant located where she was born, which prevents them from burning up in her flames.

Personality: Quick-witted, bubbly, and spry, she believes in always doing the right thing. She likes to think that even the dark of heart can be warmed up by a good soul, and if not, she will defend the innocent from those who would wish them harm. Her tendency to believe in everyone being inherently good, and only choosing to become bad, often leads her to make some poor judgement calls under pressure, and when others use her weakness against her and make her regret her mistakes, she comes back with a vengeance as fierce as the flames she bears. There's only enough oxygen for the world to stay warm, so any truly cold hearts she cannot abide by.

Brief description of how the superheroine gets her powers (i.e. born with them, radioactive accident, mad scientist experiments on her, etc.): Jaseline was a lab rat. She didn't know it when she was younger, but the truth came out eventually. Born during an intense tribal ritual somewhere in the dense forests of South America, and taken to an isolated military base along the coast of California, Jaseline never knew her birth parents. She didn't know why they took her to the military camp, or what they did there, but something about her made them come for her in the first place, and somehow she'd managed to escape at a very young age, being picked up by social services at a later date. She accepts the fact that she was born already different, and she accepts that she has her powers for a reason. So, it was this mysterious ritual birth and military intervention that lead to her unusual and unlikely abilities.

Powers: Firestick can fly - being a superhero, this is a pretty nifty skill to have. She can work the winds into shifting about to lift her where she needs to go, and this air-affinity also aids in her main power, for which she is so well known -  her flames. She can produce various amounts of flames from her body, through her hands, her breath, or her skin. She does not burn in it, but can manipulate it and direct it as she likes – again, using the wind to guide it.

Anything else important: She was marked at birth with a symbol on her forehead, high up near her hairline, consisting of three commas (or “flames”) swirling together, the outside of which forms a perfect circle. She has no notion of what it means, or why it is there, but the mark is easy enough for her to conceal with a little bit of make-up and a loose-laying hairstyle.

Her main adversary out of all her confrontations with evil is the lady Eris, a militant woman with a coarse, deep voice. Eris has unusual beliefs, and revels in causing chaos and disruption to the world. She works with a number of other overlords at the Facility, the military camp which Jaseline was brought to as an infant. There they imprison and experiment on various “unique beings”, like her. They use these powerful prisoners to do their bidding from time to time, whether they are willing or not. Jaseline has met a few of the others they keep there, and she pities them though she has to defend against them. Eris is their keeper whenever they are brought out of the Facility to be utilised by the government order in whatever way they choose. She is the only one of them to be put out in the field, which is likely due to her immense skill in wreaking havoc.

Firestick landed gracefully on the tarmac not far from one of the libraries of her city, where an entire portion of the street was ablaze with crisp, scorching flames. People were fleeing from the wreckage, some trapped behind walls of flames. With a twirl, she whipped the winds around her, forcing them to whisk away a portion of the unruly fires around her.

“Oh, good.” A low, raspy voice called over the sounds of the chaos. “I was wondering when my Little Flame would arrive.” A women in olive drab uniform emerged from between two overturned vehicles, hands behind her back. A dark liquid ran out from under them, and Firestick tried not to think about what it was. “Fortunately, I had fun in the meantime. Do you like my work, child?” She held her hands out, indicating the carnage surrounding them.

Keeping her eyes on the woman ahead of her, Jaseline did not move - The woman liked traps a little too much for that. “Eris, you always were a discordant being. Why do you create such destruction?”

Eris laughed, a harsh, low sound that traced a shiver down your spine. “Well, you know what they say – fight fire with fire, no? I thought you'd appreciate my efforts to be more like you... what a shame you aren’t impressed. Now, I must be on my way – got places to be, people to terrorize - the usual. I brought you an old acquaintance of yours, though,” she turned her back on the girl, heading for the Library entrance. “He ought to lift your spirits a bit.”

As Firestick made to pursue her, claws pierced into her arms, dragging her upwards. The sound of wings flapped around her as she was dragged into the sky.

Struggling against her captor's grip was painful, so the flaming heroine lit up her arms. The creature holding her howled and released her, skin sizzling. Firestick dropped from the sky fast and hit the ground hard. She peeled herself from the floor, feeling sore. She really needed to work on slowing down mid-fall. Carefully she stood, brushing herself off.

“Hello, Zachariel.” she said glumly, not at all pleased to see him again.

A winged boy landed several feet away from her, shaking his burnt hands feverishly in the air, pulling hot metal claws off as he did so. “Hey, Fire Chick. You know, I really hate it when you do that.” Grinning sarcastically, he applied a green tincture from his belt onto his palms, sighing with relief. “Ah, that's better. Now,” he said, taking a step towards her, “I believe you are supposed to accompany me back to a happy life of imprisonment and manipulation of the mind.” He held a green palm out to her. “It's not so bad, really – I mean, look how I've turned out! Have you ever seen such a magnificent specimen?”

Firestick watched him puff out his chest, preening like a bird. This was pretty amusing, given the wings. “No – you're the only freak of nature I've come across, Zach.”

His hands dropped to his sides. For a moment, she heard nothing but the crackling fires and the steady 'beep, beep' of her adversary's collar. She stared at it then, and felt guilt for her words. It soon passed.

“Look who's talking.” He retorted much too late, and shook his wings out, the feathers fluttering in the breeze. “Come with me now, or I'll scratch your pretty face up so badly you'll come willingly so that nobody has to see the scars.” His claws were reattached and he traced her face in the air.

Bristling, she held her ground as he advanced. His presence was not something she had counted on, and those talons frightened her.

When he was close enough, Zach reached out for her, but Firestick dropped to the floor, sweeping her leg out at his feet. He leapt in the air before she made contact, and stayed in the air, firing a beam of pure white light at her. She rolled away from it, leaving it to crack the ground instead.

Leaping up, she ran for the library where Eris had gone, ducking under another light shot from her flying adversary. Eris was her main problem - Zach was just a toy Eris favoured using.

Firestick burst through the library doors and into a cavernous hall lined with books, skidding to a stop in the centre. Eris stood on the base of a phoenix statue, hands on her hips. “Took you long enough.” she called.

A moment later, Firestick spun at the sound of running feet, watching as five charcoal-grey hooded figures swiftly surrounded her. They were the Ash Warriors, and they never seemed to voice any opinions. She was starting to think they had ash for brains, too. Three trained guns on her, and a pair unsheathed swords.

“Come with me, Firestick.” Eris cooed, “You're too unique to live out here, in this monotonous mess of a world. You belong with the others. They're like you, my beautiful flame. They're special.”

The superheroine shook her head and Eris's lips curled upwards as she glared. “Have it your way, but you will come with us!” Gesturing to her men, the swordsmen began to advance on the small girl in the centre of the room.

She held her ground, pulling a staff out from a strap on her back and preparing to fight. Zach grabbed her from behind, wings rustling, and she flared – literally. Flames coiled around her, licking across her staff and over her armour. She brought her staff around and down, cracking atop his head. He howled, backing off quickly. Parrying a sword swing, she focused on Eris, retreating from the conflict. Propelling herself forwards, she whipped fire from her hands, directing it at her.

A gunshot reverberated off the walls, followed by a disturbing silence. The superheroine's world dimmed as pain blossomed in her ribs. Putting a hand to her side, warm blood trickled across her skin. Her staff fell to the ground, and her flames died out. She staggered, but looked up at the glass dome above her. She shot upwards like the bullet in her side, and burst through the massive skylight, heading in any direction that would take her away.

Blood dripped from her wound, held tightly in her hands. She flew recklessly and far, her mind dulling with her energy. She faltered in the air, the world going black as she lost consciousness. Firestick fell from the sky.

Vision blurred by pain, an angel knelt over her, wings silhouetted against the bright sun. They spoke something with urgency and a warm light came from their hands as they were placed over her side. The pain intensified, making her cry out before all went dark again.

Zachariel removed his hands and dropped the bullet to the ground beside her. He scooped her unconscious self into his arms, and set off into the air.

Looking down at her, Zachariel flew back to his keeper. “It'll be alright, Fire Chick. The Facility isn't as bad as it seems.” But the steady beep-beep of his collar said otherwise.