WIP and Short Stories

Works in Progress

With Raptured Kiss, a Historical Christian Romance based in 1557, England, during the reign of Bloody Mary. With heretics burning at the stake, Beth must hide her faith amidst Protestant persecution. Nefarious plans to sell her as wife to The Duke of Surrey, land her in his dungeon where she falls for her guard Nicholas. Can they escape the clutches of the Duke? Will her family survive the Queen’s edict? 

Your Sweet Melody, a contemporary romance. Rosalind and Antonio, vocalists from different points on the globe, sing their first duet on New Year’s Eve in Venice. Their instant captivation with one another and vocal connection propel them to find their way back to each other over and over. Will murder, obsession, and secrets keep them apart? Will their love survive from shore to shore?

Psalm 139: A 10-day Devotional: NOW AVAILABLE! With a deep look into my favorite psalm, Psalm 139, we find how much God loves us.

Like That Poetry Chapbooks 
A compilation of hundreds of poems written within the last four decades, the Like That series are theme-related poetry chapbooks. 
* Christian Poetry Like That * Christian Journey Like That
* Worship Like That * Seasons Like That * Formal Poetry Like That
* Lyrics of Love & Poems of Love Like That * Like That for Kids
* Christmas and Easter Like That (AVAILABLE NOW)
* Music & Books Like That * Sometimes Like That
* Haiku & other Japanese Poetry Like That * Irish & Welsh Poetry Like That

A Poetic Journey: A how-to-write poetry series
Are you interested in learning how to write poetry? If so, this is the series for you. Each of the following books dives into thirty poetic forms with instructions and examples from simple to complex. (Seeking an agent and publisher.)

Book 1: Come Along & Write with Me
Book 2: Grab Your Trusty Notebook
Book 3: Help! I Have too Many Feet!
Book 4: The Journey is the Gift
Book 5: More Joy for the Journey

No Greater Purpose: a 31-day devotional which includes original photos and worship lyrics.

SHORT STORIES

Short Stories are a blast to write. I think I have about ten now, three of which are written below. Enjoy! Perhaps The Decision will be the first chapter in a book someday.

The Decision
Kaci Rigney
 
LISSA PACED her front room, awaiting the lawyer who called. What could he want? He said not to worry, but—she stopped and chewed on her thumbnail. Oh, no, don’t start that nasty habit again! She stuck her hand in her jacket pocket. Hmmm. She paced again. The doorbell rang.
     “Good evening, Miss Harding.”
     “Come in. Please excuse me. I feel a bit frazzled about this whole thing. Have a seat. I’ve made tea. Honey? Sugar? Cream?”
     “Tea sounds great—just black, please.”
     Lissa hurried to the kitchen, brought back the cups, and sat opposite the lawyer.
     “Now, what’s this all about? Am I in trouble?”
     “Oh, no, Miss Harding.”
     Lissa sighed with relief. “Lissa, please.”
     “Very well, Lissa. I am here on account of your cousin Hugh Parker.”
     “Who?”
     “Yes.”
     She laughed, the tension fading some. “No. Who?”
     “Oh.” He chuckled. “Your Uncle Jack’s son, Hugh.”
     She cocked her head. “Wait? Uncle Jack had a son?”
     “Hugh is from Jack’s first wife, Karyn Moore.”
     “I didn’t know he married before Auntie Mindy. They had three daughters.”
     “I see.” He took a sip and looked at her quizzically. “You are quite young, Miss—uh, Lissa. Hugh turned 70 last month.”
     “Well, if Uncle Jack had a wife before Aunt Mindy, that would make Hugh the first of the grandchildren. There were twenty years between Uncle Jack and my mom, and I am the last of the grandkids. They must have married young. What does Cousin Hugh want?”
     “He doesn’t want anything, Lissa. He’s dead.”
     “He is? Then, what’s this all about?”
     “His will. He’s left you his fortune.”
     “This must be a joke, Mr. . . .”
     “Smythe. And no, this isn’t a joke. There’s a sizable fortune, including a villa in France. Hugh researched the family to find someone suitable. He has chosen you, Lissa.”
     “Why me?”
     “I’m sorry, he didn’t tell me. But he left you a letter and a ticket to France.”
     “France? I don’t even have a current passport.”
     “One can be expedited.”
     “This is difficult to wrap my head around. When would I have to leave?”
     “Well, first things first, Lissa, there are two stipulations. Monday is January 1st; you must be at the villa by February 1st, or you will not receive the inheritance. Secondly, you may only keep two hundred personal items—the rest must be given away. You may not sell anything.”
     “What? Give it all away?”
     “Yes. The fortune is more than you will ever need. You must leave everything, only taking what is necessary. I’ll return Sunday evening at eight if that meets with your schedule.” Lissa nodded absently. “You’ll have the weekend to decide,” he concluded.
     “Goodness, this is crazy. That’s not much time to decide something like this.”
     “Yes, I understand. But that is the stipulation. If you decide to receive the inheritance, there are papers to sign, your passport to renew, your apartment lease to break, and of course, your possessions to give away. You need to make this decision this weekend. Here’s the letter from Hugh and my card.” Mr. Smythe set the items on the coffee table.
     “Thank you, Mr. Smythe. I guess I’ll see you Sunday.”
     In a daze, Lissa walked Mr. Smythe to the door. She lingered there and watched him leave.
     Feeling as if dreaming, Lissa carried the cups to the kitchen and retraced her steps to the coffee table. The letter lay there, maybe her destiny with it. Her heart quickened as she picked it up.
     Dearest Cousin Lissa,
     You do not know me, but I am your Cousin Hugh, your Uncle Jack’s son. My half-siblings and I have never shared a relationship, much to my sorrow. But since my siblings do not recognize me as their brother, I have researched my extended family to find a suitable person to inherit what I hold dear. After much prayer, I have chosen you to receive my fortune.
     My villa is well-appointed and will need little to make it your home. I do hope you will receive this gift and adhere to the stipulations placed before you. I have come to know you through social media and wish to meet you personally, but, I believe, I have days, at most, to live. I will strive to leave a letter or two at the villa for you before I perish. I feel I have chosen wisely, and I hope you will enjoy your new home.
     With love and blessings,
     Cousin Hugh
     Worry gnawed at her stomach. She hated her dead-end job, and since her brother moved, Christmas came and went without Loren’s amusing antics. Searching for a new church occupied her Sundays for the past few months after her boyfriend left her for her next-door neighbor. Huh! Nice friend, she turned out to be. They all went to the same church, so Lissa decided to find a different one. When Ryan’s car pulled up to their apartment building, it broke her heart to see him knocking on Tina’s door and not her own. She had another two months before the end of her lease. So she was stuck there running into them all the time. They kept trying to apologize. Lissa wanted to forgive them, but she often cried herself to sleep.
     Before Loren moved, he tried to get her to break the lease and move back in with their parents, but she feared she might have to continue paying the lease until the landlord found another tenant. Plus, her parents didn’t have room for all her stuff. Loren once called Lissa a hoarder wannabe.
     “Don’t get me wrong. It’s all neat and organized, but Liss, something’s gotta give,” he once said with a wry grin.
     Bookshelves lined the walls, and they were overflowing with books and other odds and ends. She had more art than wall space, and she loved shoes and purses. Darn it! She knew Loren was right.
     Anxious, Lissa stopped and prayed. “Lord, I pray that Cousin Hugh rests in your arms now and that we’ll meet in heaven one day. What should I do?”
     As Lissa waited for peace, she entered each room, viewing her things with a critical eye. She looked at the purses hanging on her wall and the pile of shoes in her closet. Ugh! What am I gonna do with all this? Grabbing her cell, she called her brother.
     “Hey, are you asleep?”
     “Not anymore. What’s up?”
     “Oh, sorry. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
     “I won’t go back to sleep, so out with it.”
     “Okay.” Lissa relayed what transpired while Loren looked up Mr. Smythe and Cousin Hugh on his tablet.
     “It’s all here. Seems Cousin Hugh’s family is outraged they didn’t inherit, so looks like you’re the lucky one.”
     “Well, at least I know it’s legit. What should I do?”
     “Make up your mind. If you decide to go, I’ll bring my truck and help you.”
     “You will?”
     “Sure.”
     “Okay, but I’m scared.”
     “About what?”
     “What about all my things?”
     “It’s stuff, Liss. You have a month. Get rid of one hundred things a day. Start there.”
     “Hmm. I guess you’re right. Thanks, Loren. Go back to sleep.”
     “Can’t. I’m wide awake now.”
     “Sorry. Pray through the alphabet. It always helps me.”
     “Good idea. Better than counting sheep. Talk to you tomorrow.”
     “Okay. Thanks, Loren. Loves.”
     “Back atcha! Sweet dreams of a lovely villa.”
     She laughed and hung up.
     One hundred items a day. Maybe I can do this. Back in the living room, Lissa snatched up Mr. Smythe’s card and dialed the number.
     “Mr. Smythe? I’m in.”

The Fire
A short story – Kaci Rigney

Kathleen stirred and snuggled deeper under the comforter. She reached across the empty bed and opened her eyes. Why is he up so early?  Sliding out of bed she shivered and grabbed her robe. What the heck?! Why is it so cold? It was a hundred degrees yesterday. She turned on the bathroom light, instinctively covering her eyes from its glare. She quickly arranged a ponytail, brushed her teeth, and washed the sleep from her eyes. Glancing at the clock on her way to find her husband, she stopped. Eight o’clock? Good grief, why is it so dark? As she pulled aside the curtain, an orange hue penetrated the room covering the white comforter. What planet am I on? Kathleen closed the curtains and opened the bedroom door to a dark hall. Turning on the light, she headed to her husband’s office on the other side of the house—the glowing dark orange peering through the living room blinds.
     “Alan?”
     “Back here.”
     “Why’s it so dark?”
     “Check outside.”
     Opening the back door, she stepped out. Ash floated down like snow, the patio furniture, and the grass, covered in grey. Kathleen faced the eastern skies but couldn’t see the morning sun. Her heart lurched at the eerie sight. Coughing, she covered her mouth with the collar of her robe. 
     “Where’s the fire?” she asked, entering the house.
     “Close. We need to get our go-bags ready. I’m emailing my boss right now.”
     Our house. Our things. What will we take? What if we lose everything?
     He turned in his desk chair. “Kath, did you hear me?” he asked urgently.
     She stared at him blankly. “Yes, sorry. I’m gonna take a quick shower. Do you think I have time?” she asked.
     “Yeah, but hurry. I want to load as much as we can in both cars. We have boxes of family heirlooms in the garage, I’ll grab them while you get ready.”
     Kathleen’s hand covered her mouth. “Oh, God.”
     Alan stood and pulled her into his arms, kissing the top of her head. “Kath, we’ll be okay. Come on, get ready.”
     She hurried into the bedroom and put on the news, turning up the volume while she laid out clothes. She grabbed her suitcase and filled it with her favorite outfits. Grabbing a second suitcase, she continued the process adding her jewelry and a few other items she refused to leave behind, like her mother’s Bible.
     “A feeling of foreboding falls across the land as fire spreads its blazing path across the state. First responders airlift frightened people trapped in its wake. Animals of the wild roam towns with no place else to go. Ancient oaks and giant sequoias, amongst other flora and fauna, are lost in the aftermath. The whole west coast is full of smoke and ash, as the many fires mercilessly sweep through the land.
     “Gale force winds fuel the fire’s spread as firefighters from all across the country come to our aid, battling the blazes. Scorched hills and treelines on the highways and byways, of our great state, are evidence of some fires contained. But, acres upon acres of smoldering and scarred land from Washington to Mexico continue to burn with no end in sight. Whole communities are forced to evacuate as the infernos threaten entire cities.”
     In a mere two hours, the cars were full. Clothes, laptops, family photos, rare books, favorite collectible items, a few instruments, and Kathleen’s original music were among the precious few boxes. For the next hour, they raced through the house, taking photos of everything they could.
     “So many boxes in the rafters. There’s no time. The sirens—” Alan said, his face ashen.
     Panic greeted them as they hurried to their vehicles—neighbors shouted—a child cried, searching frantically for Fluffy, her cat. Alan and Kathleen took a final look at their home.
     Alan turned on the walkie-talkies and handed one to Kathleen. “Listen up, I don’t want to lose you.”
     Tears flowed down her cheeks. “I will. I love you, Alan.”
     He gently kissed his wife. “I love you, too, Kathleen.”
     They got into their cars and weaved their way through the horrible traffic. Friends, opening their home to them, waited fifty miles north.
     As they neared the crest of a hill that overlooked their neighborhood, Alan checked the rearview mirror. “Dear God!” Alan said through the walkie-talkie.
The rear-view mirror confirmed Kathleen’s worst nightmare. A wall of flames followed in their wake, burning, one by one, every home on their street.
     The walkie-talkie beeped again. “Don’t look, Kath, just stay with me. We’ll be OK.”
     Her hands gripped the wheel, her aching hands turning white. Her heart beat a mile a minute. “Alan, our home!”
     “I know, babe. But we got out in time. We’re alive, and we have each other.”
     Kathleen wiped her face with her sleeve and followed her husband in a daze, his voice pleading through the walkie-talkie. “Oh, God, we ask for mercy, in Jesus’ name. Send rain. Help the firefighters. Please, protect us. Sovereign God, heal our land,” Alan prayed, thankful to be alive.

The Door
Kaci Rigney


What a day! Slouching on the couch, the stress of the day burns in your temples and blurs your vision as you focus on a familiar sound. Laughter echoes in the hall outside the apartment door.

Scratching outside the door, like your favorite dog, they call to you, “Let us in.”

You love them and hate them at the same time. You want to; the desire is there. The fun, the excitement, the thrill calls. But you know the guilt, the anguish, the self-loathing that results. It would be best if you did something else to get your mind off of the luring scratching at the door, the niggling at the senses, the whispered enticements.

“It’s just what you need.”

“It’ll feel good.”

“Come on, who could it hurt?”

Before you know it, you’re at the door and staring at the dingy white paint, listening, wavering. Turning, you sit with your back against it. The pull is strong.

“Should I?”

“Yes!” they say. The excitement in their voices makes you look at the doorknob.

“No,” a compassionate voice says.

You sit there, waffling.

“Come on, let us in. You know you want to.”

The desire feels like it’s consuming you. You get up and put your hand on the knob.

“Yes, yes.”

Softly, you hear your name. Then, the kind voice says, “Read it.”

“No, don’t read it! You want to play,” urgently, they call out. “Don’t listen to him. You need us.”

You walk to the table and pick up the book. You know where to find it—near the beginning.

“Did he really say that? Come with us,” they say in persuasive tones.

You open it to the beginning and turn the first page and the second.

“Please, read it,” he says again.

You glance at the door, book in hand. The struggle is great. You look down at the book—the words stare you in the face.

“…sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

What will you do?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s