Tag Archives: short stories

In The Tree’s Shadow – Deadline

I am honored to welcome celebrated author D.L. Finn to my blog today. Please make her welcome as we learn more about her collection of short stories: In The Tree’s Shadow.

Thank you for having me here today, Annette,  to share my collection of short stories, In the Tree’s Shadow.

“Deadline” was a short story that almost didn’t make it into the collection. I struggled with a direction and ending until one night, and I woke up with an idea. It all came together.

It has a Halloween feel with a haunted house and dreams. Sadie and her husband bought the place they had always wanted, and she quit her job to write full-time. Everything was perfect until the nightmares started. Sadie was compelled to find the house she saw in her sleep. She may have located it, but it was more than expected.

The truth needs to be exposed. Can she find out what that is?


A collection of short stories where dreams and nightmares coexist.

Nestled inside these pages, you’ll meet a couple in their golden years who take a trip with an unexpected detour, a boy desperate to give his brother the Christmas gift he asked for, a girl with a small glass dragon who is at the mercy of her cruel uncles, and a young mother who has a recurring dream about murder. You’ll be introduced to worlds where people get second chances and monsters might be allowed their desires, while angels and dragons try to help. Happy endings occur, but perspective can blur the line between good and evil in these twenty-seven tales. Since the stories vary between 99 and 12,000 words, whether you have only five minutes or an entire evening to settle into reading, there is something that will suit your time and taste.



The night’s hand slowly gripped the forest. The house was unnervingly quiet after the winds stopped roaring through the trees. I sat at the computer, willing my fingers to fill a blank screen with clever words. A deadline loomed, but my cat, Max, demanded my attention, his claws firmly kneading my blanket-covered lap. I stroked his silky black fur as I ran through each idea and quickly rejected it.

My self-help blog had gone viral, and I needed a post for tomorrow. Although the blog helped me quit my banking job of twenty years and focus on writing and remodeling our newly purchased old farmhouse, it also provided a good deal of stress. Developing fresh and exciting material took a lot of work. With little time left over, I slowly increased the word count of my first romance novel. Being able to make a living by writing was a dream come true, but tonight I was in no mood to offer advice or even attempt to work on a love story—all because of a recurring dream. At first, the dream was tame and flowed into my writing. It inspired my historical fiction romance until it took a dark turn.

“It’s a nightmare now, Max.” The cat closed his eyes and settled into slumber.





  1. We used to have chickens and a good supply of eggs. But the forest had other ideas. A bear tore off the door to the coup; raccoons found a way to reach through the chicken wire, and foxes dug under the building and through the wire. If we let them out during the day, the hawks would think it was dinner time. Everything likes chicken, apparently.
  2. When house shopping, I pay attention to what I feel. I will not live in a house that feels wrong like our first one did.


  1. D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include children’s books, adult fiction, a unique autobiography, and poetry. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.


D.L. Finn Links:






D.L. Finn blog

Amazon Page

Firebird Book Award Winner Tell Me a Story in 99 words

I am pleased to announce…

Speak Up Talk Radio (author & podcast services with a charitable twist) which sponsors the International Firebird Book Awards, has honored my latest release, Tell Me a Story in 99 words, with 1st place in the Short Stories – Flash Fiction category for the 2nd quarter contest of 2022.

This contest is special because the entry fee is a tax-deductible donation that benefits Enchanted Makeovers a 501 (c)3 organization serving women and children.

Speak Up Talk Radio is where you will find all the details to learn more about Enchanted Makeovers, the promotional opportunities for authors and their books, as well as upcoming contests!

My Guardian Angel

Charli Mills enticed us with the prompt of PIGS HAVING WINGS for this week’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Have fun with the fine folks at the Carrot Ranch every week!

Roxanne’s daughter, Tiffany, made a bed in the hay, next to her pet. Angel. The young sow was ill and the Vet said they had done all they could. Kneeling down next to Tiffany, Roxanne covered the crying child with a warm blanket. It seemed like the only comfort she could offer.

“Mama, tell me something. Will Angel go to Heaven when she dies?”

“Honey, I believe she will always be with you because she found Heaven in your heart.”

“So, she’ll be like an Angel, I mean one who watches over me, right?”


“Will she have wings?”

©2021 Annette Rochelle Aben

A Beginning at the End

Charli Mills gave us rainbows and cats and the outdoors as parts of this week’s 99-word Flash Fiction challenge.

Please consider participating at the Carrot Ranch.

Joni drew her knees up under her chin and closed her eyes. If only she had a friend with whom she could share moments like this. There was a gentle rain falling, but she was protected by the thick foliage of her favorite tree.

Outside was where Joni went to think and dream. Lately, she’d been dreaming of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So, she always tried to be under the tree during gentle rains.

She opened her eyes to see the sun shining, and walking out of the rainbow was a golden-haired cat.

©2021 Annette Rochelle Aben

I Do

 Chari Mills challenged us to write about dressing up this week. I chose to use my actual wedding day as my 99-word tale. Check out more writing fun at the Carrot Ranch.

Weddings are generally fancy-dress occasions. Even the venues are decorated beautifully with that which symbolizes the excitement of the happy couple.

Her mother’s home was no exception, as there were flowers in every room. From the massive spray of gladiolas on the piano to the dozens of carnations in the family room. So pretty!

The bride sat crossed-legged on the kitchen counter in jeans, a tee-shirt, and bare feet. Caught up in the beauty around her, she bolted when the Minister inquired if she had a pretty dress to wear since the ceremony was to begin in five minutes.

©2021 Annette Rochelle Aben