Becoming a Member of the (Liars’) League

Magic and Moonlight

On December 2, 2015, Sicily Rockmore read my short story “We Share Everything” to a live audience at KGB Bar in New York City as part of Liars’ League NYC’s Magic & Moonlight event—and I’ve never wanted a personal teleportation device more. At 3:59 PM in San Diego (6:59 PM in New York), I imagined walking into KGB Bar, sitting down with a glass of whisky, and feeling the warmth of a literary community wash over me. I wasn’t there and yet, my inclusion in a Liars’ League NYC program is one of the accomplishments of which I’m most proud as an author.

So, what is this Liars’ League thing? Liars’ League NYC is a live literary journal/event featuring professionally trained actors reading original short stories by emerging and well-established writers. Each month boasts a new theme. Selected stories are published on the Liars’ League NYC website, and an audio recording of the reading is available as well.

Imagining others quietly reading my work is thrilling enough. To have it performed in front of a live audience? Are you kidding me?

“We Share Everything” is a story about fraternal twins who share an uncanny psychic and physical connection, a bond that is seemingly unbreakable—but even the most revered and celebrated relationships have their points of fragility. “We Share Everything” explores the thin line between love and hate, and the potential disaster that can be borne from being just a little too…close.

You can read the story and listen to the live recording on Liars’ League NYC’s website. While you’re there, check out the other pieces from the Magic & Moonlight event. My story was in magnificent company! (And to that end, all the archived works are wonderful pieces of fiction by truly talented artists.)

As for me, I’m going to celebrate tonight with a glass of Yamazaki and the knowledge that I’m now a member of the League.

Buy a Book, Impact a Life

Layout 1

As the holidays near, it’s easy to get caught up in buying presents, visiting friends and family, and building the best snowman anyone has ever seen (out of snow if the climate permits and marshmallows if it doesn’t). It’s easy to forget that there are others out there who can’t get caught up in holiday cheer, because of, well, hard doses of life.

Today, my short story “Devour” is published in an anthology titled Christmas Lites V.

I know what you’re thinking. Another plug for your work, Tiffany? But what about all the feels in that intro paragraph? You sound all kinds of entitled right now.

While this blog post is a way for me to share the news of the publication of “Devour,” it’s also a call to action. Because every cent of the proceeds of Christmas Lites V goes to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).

According to their website, “NCADV is the voice of victims and survivors. We are the catalyst for changing society to have zero tolerance for domestic violence. We do this by effecting public policy, increasing understanding of the impact of domestic violence, and providing programs and education that drive change.”

The NCADV works with the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery to financially assist survivors of domestic violence who may not be able to afford reconstructive plastic surgery. They memorialize the victims of abuse through their Remember My Name project. They provide tool kits, in conjunction with The Feminist Women’s Health Center and the National Organization for Men Against Sexism, to help bridge the gap between the fields of reproductive health and domestic violence, educating others about reproductive coercion. They provide financial independence materials to survivors to help them rebuild and maintain financial stability. In short, they do really important work.

So Christmas Lites V is more than a book. It’s a way to support an incredibly worthwhile organization. While you read “A Tale of Two Urchins” by A.F. Stewart, “The Krampus Tree” by Douglas Wynne, or “Keeping Christmas” by Alana Lorens, know that you’re not only enjoying great fiction (donated by each and every author) but also helping to support NCADV’s important programs.

And I’m pretty sure there’s something for everyone in this anthology. All genres are represented – romance, fantasy, horror, action, children’s stories, stories written by children, and more.

Of course, I wrote a horror story. I tried to write something light and lovely for the holidays, but it simply didn’t work. Instead, I wrote about love that’s begun to fade, dark, foreboding woods, and the dangers of skepticism. Here’s a little excerpt from “Devour”:

“Through the Plexiglas of the phone booth, Melody Halliday peered into the dark of the wood – into its empty boughs and dead promises, beyond its gnarled, labyrinthine birch wood limbs, deep into the very heart of it – and felt nothing but utter skepticism. And pity, too. Pity that the provincial town of Einn in Iceland found debilitating fear in something so banal.

‘I’m surprised they haven’t burned the woods to the ground,’ Melody said into the receiver. ‘They say the mannaeta’s spirit lives in the bark of the trees, hibernating all year until Christmas Eve rolls around. Then, it take half-human, half-wood demon form for one night to feed on someone in Einn. Happy cannibal Christmas.’

‘How very jolly,’ Eddie Beckett, Melody’s boyfriend, said from across the Atlantic Ocean. His voice sounded honeyed. He’d been drinking. Pub drafts, no doubt, frothy ones laden with hops. Melody salivated at the thought of a crisp pint. There was no beer in Einn, not around this time of year.

‘It gets better. They systematically starve themselves here,’ Melody said. ‘Begins the first day of December. They eat as little as possible. They don’t want to entice the mannaeta with their wobbly bits.’

“Well, yours certainly entice me,’ Eddie said, humor in his voice.

Melody choked on an empty chuckle and cleared her throat, embarrassment and frustration warming her cheeks. Why was she so bloody uncomfortable? Her boyfriend of three years flirting openly with her should have sent her over the moon. Throttling through space with joy. But it didn’t. Instead, his frisky jest made her stomach twitch with nervousness.”

And you’ll have to purchase a copy of Christmas Lites V to see what happens to Melody, Eddie, the sleepy little town of Einn, and its resident wood-demon, the mannaeta.

If you want a hard copy, CLICK HERE!

If you want a Kindle copy, CLICK HERE!

Purchasing this book to support NCADV is the best Christmas/holiday gift anyone could give me. Thank you in advance for your generosity and support.

Happiest of holidays to you all!

Read “They Took Her” in the Desert Bus Anthology by Line by Lion Publications

Desert Bus

I enjoy taking seemingly mundane concepts and turning them into magical, mythical, weird things on paper. When Line by Lion Publications put a call out last year for stories for a Desert Bus anthology, and the only criteria was that it followed a character aboard a bus going through the desert, I was all in. My mind went crazy with ideas of who I would put on this bus, and why.

I decided early on I didn’t want to write a runaway story. And I didn’t want to put a serial killer on board who would cause the bus to crash (although that would be fun). I wanted to create a truly complex character that was haunted by something and traveling for a compelling reason. I wanted it to be eerie, but not full-out horror.

So, I decided to write an alien abduction story.

“They Took Her” is a tale about a little girl with a fascination for the cosmos, a startling disappearance, and a father’s obsession to discover the truth and piece his family back together. It’s creepy and devastating, and I wrote it while listening to an X-Files Pandora station. It includes unsettling imagery and an ending that I’m exceptionally proud to have written.

Of course, “They Took Her” isn’t the only passenger aboard. The Desert Bus anthology includes nine twisted tales of characters sharing space and hiding secrets:

“The bus trundled through the desert like a strange, steel beetle. Dusty and decrepit, rust holding its many parts together, it relentlessly chewed up the miles as it wound its way through the dunes. Once an hour it would stop, air brakes screeching with a sound emanating from Hell itself as the beast shuddered to a halt. Nothing much would happen other than the passengers glancing nervously around at one another, watching to see who would venture out into such a waste, the bus belching poisonous enveloping fumes into the hot, dry oven of a desert. Sometimes someone would dare to either climb aboard or disembark. Usually of their own accord. The bus was…unusual, but its passengers were stranger still. Male and female, young and old, each guarding a secret. A secret they would die for. A secret they would kill for. Do you have the courage to board the Desert Bus?”

Order your copy today – if you dare. Public transportation is always an adventure.

Read “French Kiss” In Romance Magazine

RomanceMagazineVol03No08

Today, my short story “French Kiss” is published in Romance Magazine. It’s a semi-autobiographical piece because it represents the one regret that I have about my experience studying abroad in Paris, France, between my freshman and sophomore year of college.

My summer in Paris was everything I dreamed it would be. I stayed with a lovely French family who were truly kind, drank the most sinful chocolat chaud of my life—twice, danced my way through La Fete de la Musique, spent my 19th birthday in Chartres at the most beautiful cathedral I’ve ever seen, shopped for Parisian couture, and took in exceptional architecture and art, all the while earning the foreign language credits I needed to pursue my degree.

But the thing about this adventure that made it truly unique and created so many memories is that this was before smart phones and international cell phones were the norm. I had no phone. Access to the internet? Nope. My French host family had a dial-up AOL connection that I felt guilty using, because they rarely used it themselves. There were internet cafes, but frankly, those creeped me out a bit. There was one TV in the house, and I think me and my friend, Kristen, who I was lucky enough to be paired with for the trip, watched it all of two times. Essentially, our trip was “unplugged.”

So, I wrote letters on rose-colored stationary and prayed they’d make it to Phoenix, Arizona, before I flew back. I read voraciously for entertainment. I finished ten books during the trip. And I invested in calling cards and became an expert at figuring out time differences between Arizona, Paris, and Thailand.

Why Thailand? Well, my first college boyfriend was vacationing there with his family, and I couldn’t imagine seven weeks without speaking to him. A few nights a week, I would walk down la rue from my host family’s flat and wait on a bench until a certain time. Then, I’d cross the street to a pay phone and make my calls.

A few weeks into my trip, an Italian boy (I say “boy,” but he was probably only a year or two younger than me) started sitting next to me. His uncle owned a pizza parlor not far from our flat that was too die for. And he unabashedly flirted with me all the time. It was flattering, but…my thoughts were in Thailand.

Fast forward to when I’m back in the States and I go to visit my boyfriend before the school year starts. He brings me roses at the airport…and then dumps me 24 hours later. And then he took me to meet his mother. I was a really rough week. Sigh…young love…

As I look back on our fledgling relationship, I realize we were all wrong for each other. The warning signs were there. Even still, I don’t regret the calling cards and the time I spent in a phone booth in Paris. I don’t regret the love letters I wrote to him. I don’t regret all the crazy feelings of first-time romance.

So, what’s my biggest regret?

I clearly should have kissed the Italian boy.

In “French Kiss,” armed with hindsight, I explore what would’ve happened if I’d thrown caution to the wind and allowed myself a little Parisian romance.

Download your copy today and let the love in. Gros bisous!

Read “Take Care” in Shooter Literary Magazine

Shooter magazine cover

Today, I can say that I am an internationally published author! Across the pond in the UK, Shooter Literary Magazine is celebrating the printing of their first issue while I celebrate the fact that my short story “Take Care” is included in the volume. Another cool milestone–this is my first printed publication. That means a bound book with a fancy cover and my name in print. I can’t wait to smell its hot-off-the-press pages!

A little about “Take Care.” This is one of those stories where art most definitely imitated life. When we first started hanging out, my boyfriend and I went to a Garbage concert. Naturally, I took the opportunity to channel my inner (and outer) Shirley Manson for the occasion since my then crush had shared he’d always had a thing for Shirley. So I was all red hair, heavy eyeliner, and punk clothing. I got us a couple of beers to drink during the opening act, and after a few sips, my crush got really sick. When all was said and done, we determined he’d been drugged–and it had probably been meant for me (fucked up, right?).

Luckily, we caught it early enough and after chugging two liters of water, my crush was feeling okay enough to go back into the concert. We wound up having a great night and when enough time had passed and we made our relationship official, we started joking about the experience, because clearly I’d drugged him to get his attention, right? (Because that tactic makes so much sense and this girl who’s never so much as smoked a cigarette would be all about drugging someone–I hope you all sense the sarcasm there.)

Another night, over drinks with my friend, Sara, I told her the account of the Garbage concert. And through the hazy cloud of IPA drunkenness, I mused about turning that whole debacle into a short story. I would write it in first person from the point of view of a truly single white female character who goes to desperate measures to get the attention of the object of her affection. The next day, my fingers couldn’t type fast enough. “Take Care” was born.

And now you can read it in Shooter’s first edition, aptly named Pulling the Trigger, a collection of stories about crucial moments and decisions. Alongside my story, you can read a personal account of a WWII officer’s critical order to fire, a comic take on martial relations as retirement looms, maternal perfectionism, devious pharmaceutical plots, a gangster with a fast food addiction, and a schoolboy with an embarrassing nun fetish.

Visit Shooter’s site, click Subscriptions, and order your copy today!