Wilde's Fire

The exciting first book of the Darkness Falls series!

Wilde's Army

The second installment of Darkness Falls.

Wilde's Meadow

The conclusion of Katriona and Arland's story.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Was I Thinking?

Christmas lights were tested and more were purchased. We had a sitter for Kid #3, and kid #2 was ready to help decorate the house for holidays. I ventured into our garage, past my car and the set of four-wheelers, and grabbed the tallest ladder I could find.

For whatever reason, all the aluminum death traps leaned against the wall in front of my Jetta. I took my time and maneuvered between my baby and my son’s four-wheeler—I’m sure he considers that his baby, too—so not to scratch any paint. When the top of the ladder bumped into the garage door, I realized I had to lay the stupid thing horizontally to get outside.

Turning the corner, I carried the ladder up the sidewalk, proud I’d done this myself—really, it’s the least someone with an insane fear of heights can do for her husband. After depositing the tool by the porch, I went through the garage and inside the house to let him know I was ready to support him, but he was nowhere to be found.

Sunlight beamed through the big window in the top story of our foyer as I entered. Through the narrow windows on either side of our front door, I saw him and his mother outside with another ladder.

I joined them on our porch and looked around, excited at the prospect of a beautifully lit house.

“You ready to go up?” my husband asked, holding a string of white and blue Christmas lights.

Is he nuts? When my husband and I discussed decorating, I didn’t think he wanted me to go on the roof with him. I cringe when the kids ask to go on a Ferris-Wheel. I plaster myself to the inside wall of imitation Eiffel Towers at theme parks. My hands sweat just thinking about climbing a tree. He knows I’m afraid of heights; we’ve known each other for over ten years.

“You want me up there with you?” I asked, trying to hide the fear in my tone; kid #2 was watching with big, I-will-act-however-you-act-Mom eyes.

He nodded.

“Okay,” I said, wishing like hell I could call one of his buddies and have them come over to help.

At our old house I never had to assist with decorations. It wasn’t nearly as tall, wasn’t nearly the large project our new home is. Before I had time to talk myself out of it, I was following my dear husband up the ladder, cold aluminum chilling my hands. Each rung climbed was another step closer to death—or at least some severely injured organs or broken bones.

Once I was on the first roof, I didn’t feel so bad . . . until I looked up and understood he had to climb yet another ladder to reach the highest peaks. I put some plastic hooks in my pocket, supported the additional ladder with all my body weight, gripping the damned thing for dear life. If he fell, I’d fall. And if he fell, he’d go all the way down. We’d both die. The kids would be orphans. What would happen to the dogs? Do we have a living will?

I pushed harder and harder, avoiding any eye contact with what he was doing above me, avoiding a glance at the ground, avoiding taking a breath. My fear must have rolled off me in waves and whimpers because my fearless husband kept giving me instructions in case he fell. He hollered for kid #2 to stay away from the portion of the roof we were on. Was he scared too?

“Got it,” he said, relief flooding his voice. “I’m coming down.”

I moved to the side, keeping my shoe propped against the foot of the ladder, and took a deep breath when he was safe on the first roof with me. Hands sweating profusely, my body shook with fear. There was no way I would be able to crawl down to the ground.

Whipping my cell phone out of my back pocket, I called my mother-in-law.


I sighed. “Can you open Clarissa’s window? I can’t go down a ladder right now.”

She laughed and said she’d be right there.

When that window opened, I practically ran to it.

“Don’t run on the roof,” my husband yelled.

Too late, I was already inside . . . on level, carpeted, safe flooring—yet only half the house was finished. Luckily the next part could be done from a ladder propped on the dirt. We managed to string up the lights in a matter of minutes, and I have to admit, they’re beautiful.

But next time he’s going to have to find someone else to help him.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Choosing this week's six was not easy, but with a little help from a friend (you know who you are) the decision has been made.


~What am I supposed to do here? This world may be where I came from, but it doesn’t feel like my own. Somehow I’m supposed to fight Darkness for these people and I’ve never so much as punched a person. I miss Brit. If she were here I’m sure she would love the opportunity to save the world. Scratch that, I’m glad she isn’t here.~

To discover other great authors who participate in Six Sunday, click here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Dress

I spotted my prize casually draped over an all-too-perfect-mannequin in the store window. My heart fluttered and my hands chilled. The dress with the scooped-neck had to be mine. I recognized the relentless desire the second we walked past NY&CO. Like the black and pink striped fabric was tethered to my soul. An all too familiar feeling I get when I see the one.

My husband spotted me staring as though the cutest puppy in the world was inside that store. “Go ahead. I’ll take the girls to the playground.”

Attempting to hide my enthusiasm, I bit my bottom lip and forced myself to walk—not run—through the doors. My mother-in-law trailed behind and browsed the racks, trying to find things I might not pick up on my own.

I refused to grab the dress just yet, refused to try it on. Consolation prizes must be picked out first; otherwise disappointment would be the only thing I left the store with. A pair of khaki slacks, a gray t-shirt, a purple blouse, a shrug—these are a few of the things I loaded my arms with, and then I ventured over to the dress. It looked so perfect on the mannequin, so me. Sifting through the hangars, I spotted one my size and ran back to the dressing room.

The slacks were nice, the shrug, the blouse . . . together they made a great ensemble.


Standing in the cold stall with the white tile floors and white walls, I removed the dress from the hangar then slid the silky material over my head.

It. Was. Horrible. Like I wouldn’t even come out of the dressing room horrible. Ugh. The one turned out to be a nightmare. Just like always. Shaking my head and feeling like I must have the worst body shape out of any woman in the world, I redressed and stomped out toward my mother-in-law.

“It didn’t fit, but the other outfit was nice,” I said, feeling as if someone cut my heartstrings.

She gave me a knowing smile, eyes radiating with kindness, and held up a tan little number with a v-neck and a professional, classy air to it. “What about this one?”

My shoulders slumped. “It’s . . . it’s just not . . . .”

“Just try it on. It would be a really nice dress for any author events you may have.” She pushed the dress into my arms and snagged the ill-fitted one from me.

Her faith in my writing career is unbelievable! “Okay.”

Back in the cold stall, I dropped my purse on the white corner bench and stared at myself in the mirror. This dress had no color, no vibrant hues expressing my happy interior. Actually the fabric matched my current state of mind perfectly. I wiggled out of my jeans and shirt then slipped the dress over my head.

A perfect fit. The tan accentuated the warm, chocolate and caramel hues in my hair. Made my brown eyes stand out against the paleness of my skin. It really made me stand out, rather than hide behind a bunch of bright colors.

But I didn’t have any author-y events. Didn’t have a need for a dress like this. No matter how beautiful it was. I took it off, replaced it on the hangar, adorned myself in my own plain clothes and ventured toward the rack.

“You didn’t like it?” my MIL asked.

“I loved it, but I don’t have author events. And this isn’t a dress I can wear all the time. I have kids to chase. Bending over to pick up a baby is not exactly something I can do while in something this short.” The metal hangar screeched as I returned it to the rack. “And it’s too much money to spend on something I’ll never wear.”

She sighed. “You know it’s not about the money. You will have author events, and this will be the perfect outfit for you. I’ll buy it.”

I stopped walking toward the register with my consolation prizes. “I can’t let you do that.”

“You deserve the dress. You like the dress. Something will come up someday soon where you’ll be able to wear it.”

Smiling and feeling like the luckiest girl alive, I said, “Thank you.”

I walked from the store, bag in hand, hoping she was right about someday soon, and hoping to God it was for author-y stuff.

~ As many of you know, my book was accepted by a publisher. Sunday I had professional head shots taken by my photographer friend, and that little tan number was one of my outfits. Thank God for wonderful mother-in-laws who never lose faith. ~

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Last week was a hit with Kate's honest expression of her feelings, but this week I wanted to share something with you all that shows a different side of her story. Pain.

I don't usually set-up my six, but this needs it. Kate has been told people recreate painful scenes from their lives on the walls . . . Enjoy.

~I walk over to the walls—running my hands across them as I did inside—inspecting some of the distressed art. One in particular stands out more than the others. A woman is impaled in her chest by a stake driven into the ground, a child with a sword in his hand curled at her feet. A dead monster lies next to them both. My hands shake. The person who experienced his mother’s tragic death in such a dreadful way is the one who must have drawn this.~

To see other contributors to the wonderful weekend reading site that is Six Sunday, click here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Funny

As many of you are aware it's been a happy week in my household. My book was accepted by the publisher, I created a new website (For those who missed the update . . . www.krystal-wade.com), there have been lots of other happy things, but those are the only ones you should be interseted in. That's right, folks, Wilde's Fire is going to be available for you to READ!

Now since I have so much FREE time on my hands (HA! HA, HA, HA!) I created this strip to commemorate my exciting moment in the spotlight. I hope you'll all help me make this book a best-seller! And I hope you'll all be drooling for Wilde's Army!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Snakes and Lakes

My best friend Michelle lived in a lakeside community where winding roads were made from white gravel. Tires kicked up dust as cars sped down the precarious lanes. Trees were sparse, anything green sparser. The grass was covered in a fine layer of gray, remnants of weeks worth of travelers. Only when the rains came did everything gleam anew.

And falling H2O was not present this day.

Michelle and I walked down these roads, passing boarded up homes, barking dogs, drunken neighbors, and the occasional dead animal. Blue skies stretched endless across the Texas sky. Our conversation ranged from simple schoolgirl gossip to more serious issues like our parents and siblings. We shared everything. We laughed. And then we met up with some friends.

“Who wants to go for a swim?” her boyfriend Chad asked, grin stretching ear to ear.

My partner in all things looked at me and winked. “We do!”

Chad glanced from Michelle to me to his buddy Randy. “Meet us at the boat ramp in half an hour.”

Randy was a cute kid with dark blond hair, dimples and a boyish look that made him appear off limits. He was a year younger than us, and when you’re twelve, one year makes a huge difference.

Locking arms with Michelle, we bounced back to her house and changed then ran for the boat ramp. We dropped our towels on the weathered brick seawall and stripped down to our bathing suits. The boys were already in the water, laughing and splashing about, and we wanted in on the fun.

Lake Tawakoni’s murky, rust colored waves lapped against the concrete ramp. Michelle and I ran into the water, ignoring the pain from the sharp rocks under our bare feet, and launched into a game of Marco Polo. We lost repeatedly to Chad and Randy who swore they weren’t peeking, but it was fun either way.

I climbed on Randy’s sun-kissed shoulders and Michelle climbed on Chad’s, then my best friend and I tried knocking each other down. We grabbed each other’s wrists and pushed and pulled . . . and both ended up in the water.

I stood up, laughing and gasping for air.

Randy flashed his cute little smile at me then looked at Michelle and Chad. “Time for a break?”

Everyone nodded in agreement and I just stood there for awhile, staring out toward the horizon, where the water appeared to meet the sky, skimming my fingers over the surface of the lake.

Nature has always amazed me.

Randy swam closer to where I waded, making my heart-that-knew-better-than-to-rush do just that. He was cute, but . . . .

My stomach jolted by the touch of something sliding around me. I looked down into the dark water and saw a snake wrapping itself around my waist. My heart stopped rushing, and skidded to an abrupt halt. I gasped and, without thinking, reached for the slithering creature, grabbed it, received a nice bite on my lower back, and flung it away from myself.

Screaming, I abandoned the water in search of safe, dry land. When I turned around to check for the others, I saw Chad flinging the snake away from Michelle—some friend I was, sending the snake right at her—then the two of them ran out of the lake as well.

She was mad, but her scowl faded when she reached me. “You’re bleeding.”

I sucked in a sharp breath, afraid to look, afraid to see just how much blood was on me. “Is it bad?” I asked, imagining a long ride to the hospital.

Randy knelt behind me and pressed his hand against my stinging flesh. “Not bad.”

Looking over my shoulder, I saw the spot on my back with two holes in it, saw the blood mixed with bacteria riddled water seeping down my body, and felt woozy. “W-Was it p-p-poisonous?”

Before anyone had a chance to respond, the world around me faded in and out, my head spun, my legs felt disconnected from the rest of me and I blacked out.

“Krystal? Oh my God, Krystal! Wake up.” Michelle shook my arms, repeating my name over and over.

Opening my eyes, I stared up into Michelle’s angelic face. “I’m okay.”

Really I felt fine. My heart was still beating. There wasn’t any pain coursing through me. My bite could be compared to a brush burn. The biggest problem I faced was embarrassment. I passed out from fear. Who could live that down?

Randy took my hand and helped me up. “We’ll walk you guys home.”

Michelle smiled and laced fingers with Chad, and I kept my head down while Randy kept my towel pressed to my back, and we all walked to Michelle’s house.

The boys departed once we got to her door, then my friend turned to me, wearing a huge grin. “He likes you.”

Embarrassment heated my face, chest, arms and legs, and I thought I’d pass out for the second time that day, but I took a deep breath, smiled then said, “I know.”

We plopped down on her couch, and I wondered if the guys would tell everyone at school about what happened or if they’d keep it a secret. Michelle spent hours trying to convince me age didn’t matter, but at the end of the day I was just me. A simple girl having a good time with her best friend, confused about boys, embarrassed about snakes and boys, and wondering if it all mattered.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

For those who ventured over here last week and found I hadn't updated anything, I'm sorry. I was out of town, but now I'm back and hopefully have provided you with some amazing six sentence content.

This isn't a continuation from the exact place we left off, but it is in the same chapter.


~“What did we do in these dreams?”

I stare at my hands, afraid to meet his eyes again—afraid he’ll laugh me out of the room, but I might as well lay it all on the line. If this is a dream it won’t matter, but if it’s real, well, he’ll know what he’s done to me. “We’ve fought side-by-side, worried for one another, laid in bed together for days, kissed passionately and loved each other deeper than could ever be true in reality. I’ve also seen you die dozens of different ways and found myself alone and broken each and every time. You are the only man I’ve ever loved with my whole heart.”~

To visit other Six Sunday participants, click here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Guest Blog: Kelly Gamble

Twitter should be considered an author's match making service. Not for dates (although I'm sure they occur, too), but for friendship with like minded people. Kelly and I met through the 140 character limit social networking site, and her friendship and writing expertise has helped me greatly. Hopefully she feels the same way about me. I asked Kelly to write a guest post and gave her creative freedom, and she wrote this, saying this is what my blog makes her think about. So enough about me, I give you Kelly....

'Home' is a Small Town in Kansas

Living in Las Vegas, where most of the people are 'imports' from somewhere else, a question that comes up a lot is 'Where are you from?' This has always been a difficult question for me, because I have lived in a lot of different places. I attended twenty-two different schools before I graduated from high school, and if I include college, I am currently enrolled in school number twenty-nine. Yes, it is amazing I have learned anything at all.

Moving so much as a child did have its advantages. When you are always the 'new kid' you have two choices: either live in a cocoon or learn to make friends quickly. My brothers and I were not much for cocoons, so we tended to follow the second path. As adults, we often joke that we can walk in a crowded room and between us, know everyone in a matter of minutes.

I'm not complaining about my childhood--it was what it was. But the thing I feel was most missing was that sense of 'home' we all develop. That sense of being 'from' a place in this world. The idea we 'belong' to a piece of land, or a community, and no matter how far we travel, there is always that place called Home.

I was born in a small town--Baxter Springs, Kansas. It sits in the southeast corner of the state, on the historic Route 66, just miles from the Missouri and Oklahoma state line. There is a large sign, just as you cross the Spring River leading into town that boasts 'the First Cowtown in Kansas'. I lived there until I was three and after moving, spent summers there at my grandparents house. I returned when I was twelve for three more years. It's quite a bit different from the other places I had lived as a child, being mostly a 'city' girl. And, as an adult, I have lived, again, in nothing but large cities. But it is this small town that I call home.


It is in this town that I lived the memories that most make me smile--and the ones that most haunt me. It is there I met friends that I have managed to keep my entire life--my 'childhood' friends. It is there I first swam in a creek, had my first crush and first learned to ride an old horse named 'Tex'. Although I am far from a country girl, I was comfortable there. It became 'my' place--the people, the schools, the river. And although I don't visit very often, I know it is the one place in this world I could go, cross that bridge and be welcomed.

I think in defining home, it isn't a matter of where you were born, or where you have lived the longest. I think it is the idea of where your mind goes when you are feeling sad--that comfort place. Where you are when you have a pleasant memory, where you have cried and laughed, loved and lost, made good choices and bad. It is where you have most lived, not based on time, but on experience. It is that place that may make you crazy at times, but you still know you can find your way to the Street Car Bridge and still know you can always find a friend.

So when someone I meet asks me 'Where are you from?', I have a standard response. I've been in Las Vegas for seventeen years, so I guess this is where I am now from. But 'home' is a small town in southeast Kansas.

Kelly Stone Gamble is a freelance writer and author of Ragtown, a historical novel set during the building of the Hoover Dam. Visit her blog or on twitter @KellySGamble

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What's That Smell?

I wanted to roll down the windows, spray Lysol, or better yet, kick the slug out of my car. (For information on what a slug is, click here.) My stomach is made of figurative steel. My gag reflex is almost non-existent. But body odor-coughing-bad breath scented with Halls-newspaper reading-cell phone ringing constantly-moaning when he fell asleep GUY nearly caused me to lose my lunch while driving down I-95 yesterday evening.

Compassion is one of my better qualities. I understand we all have bad days. Sometimes we wake up late and there’s no time for a shower. We can’t help getting sick. Bad breath is a disease some of us can’t control. Snoring or moaning while we sleep is involuntary. And for crying out loud, we all like to read and play with our cell phones. But somehow with all these things combined, the man had to know he was annoying.

I considered the window and the fresh cool air being wasted outside my car, but decided this overweight-dressed-in-sweats man might take offense. Scrunching my nose, I beared it—without the grin—dropped the car to fourth gear and punched the gas.

Getting home quickly was of the utmost importance.

Turning up the music, I tried drowning out my woes with thoughts of my novels, with images that usually have a calming effect on me. But another annoyance greeted my ears and the music faded away, the beautiful scenes of my book’s characters disappeared.

A sound much like someone rubbing their arms when they’re cold grew louder and more fervent.

Was there a bug? Was my jacket hanging from the bottom of the car door, dragging on the ground? Was someone listening to some crazy music on their iPod way too loud?

Sure the sound was coming from the back seat, I glanced over my shoulder. A well dressed, middle aged man was shaking his leg in the most anxious of ways. I have a feeling he must have been struggling to maintain composure.

I was struggling to maintain composure.

Front seat monster was now talking on his cell phone.

My partner in misery and I shared a look, a look that said we were in this together till the end and if we ever saw chubby again, he wasn’t getting a ride with either of us.

Clicking my volume control on the steering wheel, I said screw the slugging etiquette. No one else seemed to care.

Approaching the end of the HOV lanes, I cringed. There’s a dump just off the highway, and lately it’s smelled of rotting eggs. Honestly I’d like to know if the trash has gone toxic, but I figured it couldn’t be any worse than the man next to me.

Wrong. I was wrong. All the scents combined had my stomach turning in on itself. Worse yet, traffic stopped.

I turned the music up louder, legs shaking as rapidly as the man’s in the back seat, tried holding my breath, tried to think of home and the new Yankee candle plug-in I bought, tried to imagine my future rise to fame. Hah! None of that worked, but still, my stomach held its contents.

We inched along I-95. The sun was well below the horizon, leaving only a faint blue light at the edge of earth. The time change sucks, and this ride sucked more. Occasional whimpering moans had me staring at my slug and making funny faces at him. A couple times the man in the back snickered, but his finding humor didn’t work for me.

My attempt to quickly get home failed.

Another thirty minutes passed as we crawled the last five miles to our exit. Thirty miserable, breathless, uneasy minutes.

A bright-green rectangle outlined in white with Exit 143B marked on it relaxed my nerves. Almost there. We took the exit and managed to hit every light leading to the commuter lot, but once I pulled up to the drop off point and unlocked the doors, I didn’t care any more.

“Thanks,” they both muttered, opening their doors and stepping out of my insanely stank filled vehicle.

“Have a good one,” I said, rolling down the windows.

I drove off breathing non-toxic air for the first time in an hour and a half. The slugging system makes getting to and from work easier, faster paced, more bearable. But for just this once, I think I would have preferred being alone.

Faster is not always better.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Catching Up

We set out on our journey at five in the morning. The stars poked through the night sky so bright it was as though no darkness existed above. Our breath floated in white clouds around us until the truck warmed.

My three beautiful children closed their eyes and returned to sleep, leaving my husband and me with quiet time. A rare occasion. We chatted a bit about the drive, about where we’d like to stop, and what we’d like to do for fun before venturing onto the second part of our trip.

Then we passed through our favorite part of Virginia, a place which earns a scene or two in my book, a place that captured my attention even before the sun came up: Albermarle. A two-lane road winds through the rolling hills of the horse farms. Towering trees line the shoulders. Black and white estate fencing borders the countless acres of green pastures. Occasional white street lights provided the only clue of the Blue Ridge Mountains' existence in the background.

I daydreamed about the characters from my book and where their story is going, then I fell asleep, too.

I love my husband. Sometimes his endurance amazes me—okay, all the time he amazes me—and he chauffeured us all the way to Nashville, Tennessee without batting an eyelash. He grumbled a bit at the billion bathroom stops for the girls, at the recklessness of other drivers, at the fact I read three books while he drove, at our perpetual napping, and definitely at the fighting children in the backseat . . . but he got us there.


(So, honey, if you’re reading this. I love you. Thank you. And thank you again for doing the same thing the following day and for the two-legs of the trip on the way back. You don’t get enough credit. Today my blog is dedicated to you.)

Our time in Mt. Magazine, Arkansas was wonderful. We were surrounded by family and friends. My children spent some much needed time with their aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins, and I spent some time with the same people—they just have different names for me. Mom. Dad. Brother. Sister. Nephews….

Mt. Magazine is gorgeous. The highest point in the state overlooks valleys full of farm lands and lakes. The sun created a mirror out of the water and made the cow pastures and corn fields look like something only an artist could have painted. The sistering mountains added texture to the natural landscape, hazy-blue against a pale-blue sky, and as usual when I’m in the tall, rugged terrain, I felt at home.

The lodge was warm and cozy. Fires burned in many of the sitting rooms, leaving our clothes tainted with a light scent of the outdoors. My husband took two of our children hiking down the cliff and captured many breathtaking photos—thank God one of us isn’t afraid of heights—and afterward we hung out in the hot tub with my siblings and their families.

Kris’ wedding came and went and it was beautiful. He gained a wife, I gained a sister-in-law, and my children gained an aunt. She’s a fantastic woman, full of life, laughter, and happiness. She’s made my brother smile. Made him a better man than he already was, and for all those things I’m grateful.

We’re home now—again, thanks to my husband—and life is slowly returning to normal. Kids have to go to bed at reasonable hours. Homework must be made-up. Laundry . . . I hate laundry.

The scenery is gone, but the memories will live on forever, and I promise to get back to blogging, critiquing, tweeting, facebooking, and all that other social stuff I’m involved in as a writer.

Are you ready?

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