The Spot Writers: NEXT

spotsWelcome to the Spot Writers. The prompt for this month is “As the policeman pulled back the sheet she knew immediately that…”

Today’s contribution comes from Val Muller, author of The Scarred Letter, a novel celebrating the strength and truth embraced by Hawthorne’s original protagonist—in a modern setting. Find out more at


As the policeman pulled back the sheet, she knew immediately that she couldn’t do it. [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: The Bird War

spotsWelcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to write a story containing the following words: bird, war, hay, roof, egg. The following poem comes to us from Val Muller, author of The Scarred Letter, a reboot of Hawthorne’s original, which was just featured as one of Loudoun County’s Battle of the Books selections. You can learn more at


The Bird War

I saw the bird come out of the attic in the coldest part of March.

I said, “It just needs a place to rest while the snow covers grass and bark.” [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: Getting Down to Business

spotsWelcome to the Spot Writers. This week’s prompt is based on “he threw open the door…” Today’s story comes from Val Muller, author of The Scarred Letter, the young adult reboot being featured in next week’s Battle of the Books competition in Loudoun County, Virginia.


Getting Down to Business

By Val Muller

He threw open the front door.  The scent of home hit him in a wave of nausea. Not nostalgia. More like returning to the scene of torture endured too many years, a place repressed but not forgotten. And he was here to confront his oppressors. [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: Stealing Time

spotsThe following tale is told by Abigail, the main character in Val Muller’s work-in-progress. It’s a post-disaster sci-fi tale in which Abigail struggles to keep a barren earth from falling into a complete wasteland. You can learn more about Val at or, with holiday sales going on at


Stealing Time

I took it. No trade, no payment. I just took it and ran. But I had to.

The wire coil was in the best shape of any wire I’ve found. It’s just thick enough to do the job, and there’s enough of it. I’m one step closer to the desalinizer now. That is, I’ll be one step closer assuming I make it back. I’m sure Herrity will discover it’s missing soon, and of course he’ll know I took it. But I couldn’t pay him. Not in any of the ways he wanted. I’m hoping he sleeps through to the dawn. Then I’ll be long gone. [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: Magic Brew

spotsToday’s Halloween-inspired tale comes from multi-genre author Val Muller. Her two Halloween works, Faulkner’s Apprentice (adult horror) and The Sorceress of Stoney Brook (spooky middle-grade mystery) are available at

Look forward to next week’s tale, coming to us from Cathy MacKenzie, who you can stalk at


Magic Brew

Hilda Bingen plodded down the linoleum hallway. Persnickety High School never had a working elevator, and the stairs always made her joints ache. Today was even worse, though, because she had just gotten over a week of the gak.

She picked it up taking a short-term subbing job at Pine Hill Elementary. The kids that age always got sick before Halloween, and they insured she had the worst Halloween ever. Those damn kids made her miss her favorite tradition, sharing her special brew with the teachers at whatever school she subbed at on Halloween. It was the one day she didn’t have to dress up, the one day when sharing goodies and drinks and snacks didn’t seem out of place, the one day where everyone’s attitudes were well-groomed for magic hijinks—and she had missed it. [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: Back to School Night

spotsWelcome to the Spot Writers. This week the prompts are any three of the following words- tub, motorcycle, papers, hard.

This week’s post comes from Val Muller, who you can stalk at

Back to School Night

Barbara sat staring at the stack of papers. Period Four Literary Analysis. They leaned unevenly atop the ungraded journals from Intro to Comp. She thought about grading another set, but instead she doodled on the daily attendance memo—a dove emerging from a window. Then she slouched at her desk, kicking out her knees. Her foot hit the edge of the desk, and the stack of grading shifted.

It reminded her of the leaning Tower of Pisa and its awkward beauty—only this one was ready to collapse onto her at any moment. Just like the job threatened to collapse onto her life. She glanced up at the chalkboard. Ms. Levine, she had written, followed by the date and Welcome Parents with a cartoony smiley face. She was told to be as optimistic as possible during her first year of teaching. [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: Magic

spotsWelcome to the Spot Writers. This week the prompt is based on the following opening sentence, which every member of the Spot Writers used to begin their piece:   Every day of the week I…, but Sundays are different. On Sundays, I…

This week’s story comes to us from Val Muller, author of the Corgi Capers mystery series for kids, For Whom My Heart Beats Eternal, a sci-fi romance, and Faulkner’s Apprentice, a supernatural chiller for grown-ups. Find out more at


Every day of the week I toe the mark, but Sundays are different. On Sundays, I throw the book away and do my thing. A magician’s blood always flowed through my veins, after all; it took but several decades of frustration for me to admit that.

When I first started working for the government, I told myself it was just a temporary setback—something to keep my bank account afloat until the economy picked up and I could go into business for myself. Besides, my parents would have killed me—going to college, racking up four years of debt, all to become a magician? It wasn’t steady income. It wasn’t steady work. It involved travel and auditions, constant mental focus and worrying about the next gig, and did I want to live in my parents’ basement forever? Didn’t I ever want to get married? Have children of my own? [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: The Beginning

spotsToday’s post comes to us from Val Muller, author of the Corgi Capers mystery series and the supernatural chiller Faulkner’s Apprentice—just $2.99. Watch for the upcoming anthology Forging Freedom, which Val is editing.

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The Beginning

This was it. So very simple actually. Just the end. And no one could prevent it. Even as a kid I knew I wanted to live in that house. I often imagined how I’d rearrange the furniture—I always assumed the same upholstered couch and warm, worn carpeting. I thought of how the guest bedroom would make a great office, and how Grandmother’s bedroom would transition to a nursery, how the master bedroom would be something I’d share with a husband one day. Even as a young woman, I still picture the way that furniture looked when my mother sang to me on dark, scary nights. I even knew that I’d sing the same songs to my own children in front of those very pieces.

There’s just something about the house you grow up in. No matter what, it will always be home. And I was determined to keep it that way. I remembered the way a patch of sunlight warmed my back as I played on my carpet in the dead of winter. I remembered the creaking clicks of the radiator keeping the cold of autumn at bay. The way the air conditioner rumbled as it changed cycles, locking me in a cold, dark room on the most unbearable days of summer. [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: The Leak

spotsThis week’s post comes to us from Val Muller. The theme this month for the Spot Writers is “water.”

Val says: The  following poem, modeled after Poe’s “The Raven,” is based on an event that happened to me one cold, rainy night in January, when my (third-floor) washing machine decided to break and leak during the most rainy storm of the year. If you like creepy things like water demons, be sure to check out my newest book, Faulkner’s Apprentice, at .  


Once upon a midnight deluge, while I cuddled in bed for refuge

In the warm, deceptive comfort of the flannel that I wore,

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping–

Someone not-so-gently wrapping, wrapping at the bedroom door.

“Tis my husband,” I yawned and muttered, “tapping at my bedroom door— [Read more…]

The Spot Writers: Remy’s Story – Chapter 32

spotsThis week’s post comes to us from Val Muller, author of the Corgi Capersmystery series (for young detectives) and the sci-fi romance For Whom My Heart Beats Eternal. Check out for an upcoming anniversary celebration!

Next week’s post comes to us from RC Bonitz. RC’s latest book is A Little Bit of Baby which is available on a special offer from Silver Publishing.

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Chapter 32

Sam stood up from the wheelchair, using Remy’s arm for support. He rose to his feet, his arm around Remy’s shoulder to take the weight off his thigh. As the doctors warned him, the bullet wound would ache for months. But Remy’s body was warm against his, making him forget his pain. Sam smiled back graciously at the nurse who had wheeled him to the curb, hoping the gesture would dismiss her. He didn’t like being pampered even though he knew it was hospital policy. Remy handed him the crutch, and he stuck it under his arm and looked to Remy’s car, just a few steps away. He turned back, but the nurse was still standing there, smiling. He wanted her to leave. He wanted to be alone with Remy.

“Here you go,” Remy said, putting an arm around Sam’s waist to guide him toward the passenger seat. [Read more…]