Between the Lines

SYNOPSIS: A goblin clerk and a store of bored books keep a sweet book shopper on her toes.
Submission for NYCMidnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge 2014 Challenge #1
Group 8 
Genre: Fairy Tale
Location: A Book Store
Include: A Chocolate Rabbit

Between the Lines by Tiffany A. Robbins

Long ago, a lonely young woman named Annabelle stepped delicately through the entrance to a book store to look for a gift of a book-a special book. As she entered, she had to sidestep a bit to simultaneously keep her white, lace dress from being caught in the oily door hinge and dodge the large, elven man fleeing the store with a look of panic upon his face.

Odd, she thought, it’s not easy rattle an elf.

The book store was a new place for the woman, and upon entering, she let out a gasp of awe at the architecturally decorative piles of books. Very few shelves were to be seen in the store. Instead, the books grew from the floor in stacks of helixes, tunnels, and domes. All in all, it was a very impractical use of the dewy decimal system, but she found the effect striking. She thought that surely this would be the place to find that special book she needed.

Only one customer occupied the store. It was an elderly fairy that giggled to herself as she hovered two feet from the books and perused. Upon a messy desk, a shiny brass bell sat. To get the attention of the clerk, Annabelle reached to ding the bell.

Suddenly, a goblin leapt from where he’d been crouching behind the desk, and, upsetting a pile of books, put a

protective, clawed hand over the bell, effectually stopping her from her summons and rendering it unnecessary at the same time.

“Don’t ring the bell,” he said and made a hissing noise, “Your story hasn’t been chosen yet.”

“Oh, I’m looking for a book for my husband. A gift. He’s a voracious reader.”

“A gift. No. We’ll find a story for you.” He then said more congenially while analyzing Annabelle. “I’m certain we’ll find something suited to your…” he looked her up and down, “character.”

“No, really. I need a book for my husband. It’s our anniversary, and he needs a book that has children in it. you see, I’d like to have a baby, and this will be my way of telling him.”

The bookkeep waved off her comments. “You look boring. I can’t imagine you’d last long…” He muttered the last part, and then he perked up. “I recommend you to the horror section. They never stay on the shelves long.” He grabbed the bell in one hand, and the fair skin of her arm in the other as he began to tow her to where the books loomed overhead as though they were a cresting wave about to dash the store to pieces.

“No. I’m looking more for something with a happy ending than horror. He needs to want a child, not be scared of one.”

“Oh, those are over there.” He waved across the room to where the books grew as a tree from the side of a wrought iron staircase.

A thought struck the woman, “How am I to buy a book without messing up the beautiful book designs that, no doubt, you’ve labored over building.

“Labored? No, that’s not their work. They’re just bored.”


“The books.” he said casually.

She reached to run her hand along a spine, and he snatched her hand away in the same manner as he’d guarded the bell from her touch. He whispered, “Don’t get too close unless you’re certain it’s the story for you.” Then he continued with his salesman voice, “Anyway, you don’t buy these books. Why would you want to buy a book when there’s so many stories left unfinished.”

She looked at him, speechless, and decided he must be a lunatic. He began muttering to himself as they passed deeper and

deeper into the stacks. Annabelle decided it best not to pay the crazy bookkeep any attention, so she browsed as his muttering grew and took on the tone and nature of an auctioneer. Occasionally, he’d yell at a book for being ridiculous or unreasonable.

As they approached where the fairy patron hovered, he said to her, “Ah, Beatrice, back for another adventure I see.”

She smiled and nodded. Then, she looked at Annabelle with her elderly, knowing gaze and said, “Have fun, dear.”

The bookkeep nudged Annabelle along toward the back of the store. She began to wonder how she could politely excuse herself when the bookkeep stopped her and eyed a particular book sternly. He turned back to the woman and gave her the same look.

Then, he hit the brass bell he’d been cradling, and hollered, “Sold!”

Abruptly, a young, troll girl tumbled from the book and looked around dazedly. “Thank, god,” she cried out.

As the atmosphere reverberated louder and louder with the continuing ring of the bell, the air began to shatter and cyclone around Annabelle and into the book.

“What’s happening?” she screamed.

“You see, young lady,” he said to her as she reached and grasped desperately to keep from being sucked into the pages of the book, “You don’t buy books. They buy you. I hope you find your happy ending.”

When the world finally came to make sense to the woman once again, she was sitting upon a layer of plastic greenery next to a person-size, chocolate bunny. All around her sat painted eggs that were three feet tall surround by a wall of wicker.

A shadow passed over the sun, and she looked up to see the gigantic, pudgy hand of a three-year-old child coming toward her as she heard his booming voice say, “Yummy.”



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Smashwords Interview

Go and check out my interview on Smashwords! Where I discuss the following topics:

  • Who are your favorite authors?
  • What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
  • When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
  • How do you discover the ebooks you read?
  • Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
  • What is your writing process?
  • Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
  • How do you approach cover design?
  • What are your five favorite books, and why?
  • What do you read for pleasure?
  • What is your e-reading device of choice?
  • Describe your desk
  • Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
  • What’s the story behind your latest book?
After you check that out, check out my latest book, Something With Cigarettes. It’s available in paperback and Kindle. Other e-book formats will come in November.

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Poem: “My Words”

My Words by Tiffany A. Robbins

The words aren’t pretty.

They don’t have to be.

The quirkier, the more they sound like me.

Ugly or not, the voice is all mine.

Ink and paper create the divine.



Check out my new novel “Something With Cigarettes” on Amazon.


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Poem: “Just Small”

Just Small by Tiffany A. Robbins

I search for a soul, I beg for a gift. But to be touched would suffice or even a small glimpse by a rare kind of special not even that big.

A hand could reach out for just a light touch, but a scratch or a brush, a flick would rush my jade heart to come up with wonderful light the kind that would break you or part of the world in a way not much common, but comfortable-like.

My flaw is divine, and I seek it with rough, intangible drive that offends but a few that matter too much and inflict on my soul the guilt that pummels and drives to the dark the light that could pulse.

Too much to ask, but not really a lot, in such quantities to make the bearded man laugh and the small children wonder at the point of asking for so little when the sun and rain ought to be plenty to satisfy the need.

Yet it’s there in my heart, yearning for something, trying to connect with a smidgen of kindred to feel just the once that ray of sun that quenches the thirst of the bodiless tongue.



Check out my new novel “Something With Cigarettes” on Amazon.


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“Something With Cigarettes” by ME!

My first published piece is now listed on Kindle and will soon be listed in paperback. Go check it out!

1 Comment

Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Authors, Books, Recommendations, Writing


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Yup, Still Kicking

There’s been a lot of emotion and change in my life lately. I spent a week with JC Towim at a music camp playing my cello and her playing viola. It was very intense and a great learning opportunity for those of us learning to play a new instrument as an adult. I’ll tell you a secret. My brain is getting old and inflexible. I found that it was very hard to re-imagine old concepts, especially when surrounded by kids who find the same concepts a piece of cake. The instructors were amazing and extremely patient though. There was so much talent at that camp. My favorite part was composition where the lovely Maria Newman led us in constructing our own piece of music over the week. At the final concert she and Paula Hochhalter performed my Cello and Viola duet. It was so beautiful! I cried a lot that day from all the feelings that had accumulated over the exhausting and inspiring week. I still am tending to tear up a bit even after the passing of nearly two weeks.

I picked up a new hobby at ConQuest this year: Stained Glass. I’m kind of addicted to it. Right now I’m working on a piece that’ll go in my kitchen window. It’s modeled after some antique Southern Railway glasses that have been family treasures in my household since my grandfather was a Southern Railway guy. I can’t wait to see all those beautiful green pieces of glass come together.

My mind has been on my Dad a lot this summer, as is typical. Growing up I spent all the summers with him. There was always a lot of fighting with the step family, but I wouldn’t give up those times for anything. He always meant so well, and wanted to give all of us kids all the opportunities he could think of. I really miss the times spent on his boat with the hot Georgia sun beating down on me and the sound of the water lapping against the fiber glass hull. I miss the days he skipped out of an afternoon of work to take me and my sister to bbq lunch and a scary movie that would have made Mom gasp in horror if she’d known we went to see it. It felt like stolen time. We’re coming up on another anniversary of his death. There are so many things I’d like to tell him, but his grave is so far away, and I feel like just talking out loud to him is a little too much like praying. I think I need to write another blog post to him. It seems like the best way to communicate, but I still struggle with the public nature of doing that. Though I do love that it’s public. It makes my words feel more real, and I have to remind myself that there’s nothing I have to hide from the world.

I met recently with my school friend Jaylyn. She makes time seem like it stood still to wait for the times we’re together. We both experience so much life in between meetings, but when we’re together, it all suddenly catalizes and becomes more as we relive those experiences together over a few drinks.

Time is screwing with me. Today feels so rushed, like there’s not enough time, but I’m at work, and would love the time to go more quickly.

I’m just about ready to finalize my release of my novella, “Something with Cigarettes.” I promise to make as much hype about it as possible so that I can convince you to read it. It will be my first work that I consider finished, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you. I thought it would be out sooner, but there was a shipping snafu that carried on far too long. I’m really proud of the end product, and I can’t stop staring at my cover art. I agonized over it for so long, and now I couldn’t be more pleased with it. Tease, tease, tease.


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“How I Spent the Apocalypse” by Selina Rosen


“How I Spent the Apocalypse” by Selina Rosen is a book I typically wouldn’t pick up. Not that I would sneer at it menacingly for any reason, it just would not generally grab my attention and force my hand to pull cash from my wallet. With that being said, I’m super glad that I did.

If you’ve been following my blog since the end of May, you’ll realize that I have fallen in love with this woman. After meeting her at ConQuest in Kansas City, and listening to her speak for three days, I sought out her book. She had quite a few there at the con, but I love tiny living and off grid concepts, so I went with this particular one. It was a very quick read for me (slow reader), which I greatly enjoyed. The main character Katy is a logical, soap-box-speaking kind of woman that makes enough sense that you keep listening to her rants, especially when you realized that under her tough exterior is a very warm, large heart.

I greatly recommend this book. It’s fun and makes me want to hoard water.


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