Please join me in welcoming the ever-fabulous Ofelia Gränd to Stories That Make You Smile. Ofelia has a new short story out and has popped in to share her inspiration and an intriguing excerpt:
Hello, everyone! Thank you, Addison, for allowing me to drop by again.
I have another book out, a short story. JMS Books had a call titled Sugar or Spice. It was for short stories where the story should be connected either to Sugar or Spice – however you chose to interpret it.
I had a brilliant idea! I made up this trading place in space where people from all possible and impossible alien races could come to trade for products that weren’t available on their home planets. Humans would be near extinct since we’re such a crappy race compared to other cool aliens, and one of my main characters would be human.
He’d be sent there for his knowledge about different alien cultures but would be betrayed by his boss or the government or whatever. He’d been handpicked because of his knowledge of this dangerous race’s culture and goes there, reluctantly, believing he’s to deliver something that would help keep the peace between this super dangerous alien race and the humans. But it’s all a setup, and he was the one who was being delivered – a small price to pay for peace according to the government or his boss or whoever it is who calls the shots LOL. It was to be a fated mate story, and the badass alien would take one whiff of him, find his scent spicy and know that they were meant to be. There would be communication problems since they don’t speak each other’s languages and cultural misunderstandings, but in the end, they’d make it all work.
Aaaand that was about how far I came in my head before I put a stop to it all. It would be really fun to write a story like that, but… The Sugar or Spice stories were to be 5-12k, and there is no way I could’ve fit that story in on 12k.
Now, I have to admit, I didn’t succeed in keeping the story I wrote under 12k either, but I was allowed to keep my words since it’s really close – it’s 12,121 words.
So, I had to rethink. My scary but obviously hot aliens will be tucked away in the back of my mind until I either forget about them or write them, only time will tell which it’ll be, and I had to come up with something else instead.
Back in 2019, I wrote Cup o’ Sugar, it’s a hot flash, which is 2-5k long stories that JMS Books releases. It’s about a werewolf who has formed a super small pack right in the middle of the city. I always thought that maybe I’ll do something more with that and decided it was time now.
Zev Nighfall, is the beta in the pack, but he has a secret. He’s not a full-blooded werewolf. He’s part fae, and in most packs that would be a death sentence, so he keeps to himself. When he needs to relax, he goes to The Drunken Dog, a small bar in their territory.
One night when Zev goes to grab a drink, there is a vampire playing in the bar. Vampires and shifters aren’t friends, but Otis, the vampire, is intrigued by Zev’s spicy scent – see there it is, the spicy scent!
It might not be aliens, but it was fun to revisit the Halfhide pack, so much fun that I’ve written a story for another short story call – Rain or Shine – featuring another member of the pack that will be out in April.
When Holly Day was here last, she mentioned it and said it was named The Memory Vault. That’s been changed. It’s now called The Cake Shop because cakes! LOL
These stories are about members of the same werewolf pack, but they’re only loosely linked so you don’t have to have read one to be able to read the other.
Zev looked at Otis, and for a moment he was curious. He had long dark hair, was short and slim, and his face… he could almost have been mistaken for a woman with his androgynous looks. Vampires couldn’t change their appearances. Sure, they could cut their hair or shave if they had a beard, but when they woke for the night, they looked the same as they had when they died. What had Otis been doing? Where had he been living looking like that?
“Where were you born then?” Otis fiddled with his glass.
“North.” He smiled as he pictured the green hills bathing in sunshine. In the winter, those hills were covered in snow, glistening in the sun. The sun was always shining when he pictured the hills—it hadn’t in reality.
When had Otis last seen the sun? Zev couldn’t imagine life without sunshine. He needed to be surrounded by sunshine and lush green leaves. A frown chased away the smile. It was the fae in him needing the sun, needing life. He hated it.
“Lovely, but I can’t go back.” They’d kill him if they saw him again.
“You want me to kill someone for you, darling? I’m getting hungry, and I wouldn’t mind a sip of shifter.”
Zev barked a laugh. “I can do my own killing, thank you very much.”
A woman gasped, and Zev cursed his carelessness. Otis sought out her gaze, and without speaking to her, her eyes glazed over. A second later, she walked away with a small frown between her brows as if she couldn’t remember why she was walking toward the bar.
Otis shrugged. “It can be.”
“So, back to the killing. Are you in trouble?” Gone was the ridiculous flirting, and Zev was surprised to find himself intrigued.
“No more than we always are.”
Otis scrunched his nose. “Oh, the pack.” His tone was mocking. “And where is your land?”
“It’s part of the problem.”
Otis’s gaze met his again, and Zev almost smiled. When he got to be several hundred years old, not that he had any idea how old Otis was, he feared he would have lost interest in the world. Otis didn’t appear to have that problem.
“Oh, do tell.” He spun his glass on the table, and Zev studied him for several seconds.
“You want to know about pack business? Shouldn’t you be back onstage?”
“I can’t stand. I have an erectile problem.”
Zev froze. “What?”
“You smell too damn good.”
“Oh…” Vampires reacted to shifters, but he’d believed it made them hungry, not horny. “Maybe I should leave.”
“No, no, no… or it would be for the best, but I haven’t had this much fun in ages.”
Fun? Zev didn’t know if he’d call this fun, but… He allowed his gaze to sweep over Otis. Was his skin as soft as it looked? Part of him wanted to reach across the table and touch him, but instead he took a sip of his whiskey. There wasn’t much left in the glass now.
“Come on, tell me about the pack problem.”
Zev took a deep breath and relaxed against the backrest. Otis’s eyes glowed when he looked at him, and Zev smiled. He’d never been close to a vampire for this long.
“We have no money, we’re all more or less in hiding, and the surrounding packs don’t like us.”
Otis cocked an eyebrow. “How intriguing.”
Zev chuckled. “I don’t know. We were all lone wolves, but wolves don’t do well on their own. We’re not tightly knit now either, but we have each other’s backs.”
“More or less.”
Otis sat straighter. “Really? Oh my God, that’s awesome.”
Zev looked at him. “I fail to see what’s awesome about it.”
Otis pursed his lips. “It sounds cool.”
“How old are you?”
Otis glared. “It’s rude to ask.”
He shrugged. “No. I was turned in 1647.”
“You were?” Zev didn’t know if he believed him. The year 1647 was a long time ago, and yet Otis came across as juvenile somehow.
“Yeah. It wasn’t as fun back then, though now there are cameras everywhere. Fucking cell phones.”
Zev grinned. “Yeah… I can see that being a problem.”
A mic sounded up on the stage, then the bass player spoke. “All right, people, we’re ready to start again as soon as we’ve located our singer.”
People cheered and clapped their hands, but Otis groaned. “It hasn’t been half an hour.”
“Bad Moon Rising.”
Otis scowled but stood. There was more clapping when people spotted him, and he made his way through the crowd. With a far too agile leap, he landed on the stage. Gripping the mic, he gave the crowd a sensual gaze which had Zev snorting. They ate it up, though. Vampire glamour. He didn’t think it had any effect on him, but he should be careful around Otis.
Zev Nightfall has a secret. For two years, he’s been the beta in a loosely knitted werewolf pack, but he’s not a werewolf. He’s a crossbreed, part wolf, part fae, which is a death sentence in most packs. That’s not his only problem. One night he meets Otis, a vampire. Shifters and vampires aren’t friends, yet fighting is the last thing on Zev’s mind.
Otis Miller is in the middle of rebuilding his rockstar persona. Again. A hundred years ago, all he had to do was to move when people started noticing him not ageing. With cameras and social media, it doesn’t work anymore, and he isn’t sure he has the energy to start over. Then there is the shifter coming to the bar where he’s singing. He makes Otis want to jump off the stage and never look back.
Zev knows he shouldn’t get involved with a vampire; he has enough problems as it is. But Otis is alone and vulnerable, and it tugs at Zev’s heartstrings. Normally, Otis stays away from other supernatural beings, but something about Zev makes him want to curl up on his lap and forget about the world around them. But how would two people from enemy species make things work, and will Zev’s pack ever accept not only a crossbreed but a vampire as well?
Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes romance, contemporary, paranormal, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy.
Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.
When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from her husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods…if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again.