Flash Fiction is back on Romance Writers Weekly! Jenna Da Sie set the challenge this week:
Write a 500 word or less flash fiction using the words TURKEY, RAIN, and TRAMPOLINE.
If you joined me from A.S. Fenichel, welcome! Here’s my contribution. Enjoy!
Ella stepped back and surveyed the tiny kitchen. Everything was ready. A ham was in the oven, the potatoes were boiling, the broccoli casserole warmed up and waiting in the slow cooker. Serving bowls and platters were lined up with military precision on the counter, labeled with their purpose—devilled eggs, pickles, ham, potatoes, salad. She washed all her prep dishes and put them away, and the table was covered in a festive orange cloth and set with her favourite dishes.
The handprint turkey her nephew, Ethan, had given her hung in pride of place on the fridge. Soon he and her sister, Sara, would arrive. It would be their first Thanksgiving without Ian, and Ella’s emotions bounced like ping-pong balls on a trampoline. One moment she was glad the abusive jerk was finally out of Sara’s life, the next she was angry at how Sara was mourning his loss, an instant later guilty that she couldn’t sympathize with her sister’s grief. Too much to drink and a rain-slick road had taken that monster out of her life. It had seemed like providence to Ella. It was a nightmare for Sara.
The phone rang, indicating someone at the main door of her apartment building. She took a deep breath and went to let Sara and Ethan in.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Then, be sure to hop over to Leslie Hachtel to read her story!
It seemed like a good idea at the time…. It was my turn to set the topic for Romance Writers Weekly, and I chose this:
Pick a day or event in your life (ordinary or unusual) and describe it from a different point of view. This could be another person who was there, a stranger watching from a far, a pet - whatever you like.
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome.
It was a lot harder than I thought to figure out how to do this. It’s difficult to see yourself from the ‘outside!' But I had to give it a shot, of course.
She is not a tall woman. When she pushes the grocery cart her hands are at chest-level. In the produce section she weaves back and forth, wasting no time on choosing the lettuce and peppers and fruit from the bins. The list she consults every couple minutes is illegible to anyone else, but she has no problem deciphering it. In the international foods aisle, she takes her time selecting the soya sauce. You can hear her muttering to herself as she reads the labels closely and discards those with higher sodium. “As if any soya sauce is low in sodium,” she can be heard to say. She continues talking to herself as she strides up and down the aisles, filling her green bins methodically. In front of the shelves holding popcorn and popcorn toppings, she must stand on the bottom shelf, cling to one of the middle shelves, and strain to reach the Ketchup flavour. It’s always on the very highest shelf and always almost gone, so the last small containers are barely within fingertip reach. At the till she unloads quickly, and as the items are scanned through by the cashier she refills her bins, tapping her fingers impatiently as she waits for the conveyor belt to bring them to her. She is done loading before the till finishes compiling the final total and whisks out the door, not to be seen until the following Saturday.
I’m not sure how successful this experiment was, but there you go. I’d love to hear your comments – and then be sure to hop on over to A.S. Fenichel who is next in line!
This week on Romance Writers Weekly, Dani Jace set the challenge – and a true challenge it was, for me at least!
We’re one day away from Halloween. Have you ever seen a ghost or witnessed something paranormal? Received a sign from a loved one in the hereafter? If not, share the oddest thing that’s ever happened to you that you can’t explain.
My life must be very boring. I cannot think of one thing that fits this topic! And it’s not that I’m a complete skeptic, either. While I don’t 100% believe in ghosts or parapsychology, I don’t totally discount it, either. There is too much that cannot be fully explained by the knowledge the world holds at this moment.
So, because I can’t really participate in this blog hop, I’m offering a giveaway! After you’ve taken part, don’t forget to head over to A.S. Fenichel, whose next on our hop!
I will give you one of my books for FREE, simply by doing the following:
In the comments below, tell me about a time where you experienced something unexplainable. Or, if you’re like me and don’t have that story to share, tell me whether you believe in the supernatural or not. There are no wrong answers! Once you’ve told your story, let me know which one of my books you’d like to receive: Mountain Fire, Chef d’Amour, When Time Falls Still or No Life But This. I will send it to the email you use to comment with.
Then, I have only one more request. Today is my birthday – so while I’m giving you a gift, I’d love if you could give me one in return. Once you’ve read the book I send you, please leave an honest review at your ebook retailer or Goodreads – or better yet share it on Facebook or Twitter! I look forward to reading your comments!
Great villains are hard to find. It so easy to make them caricatures. But a great villain is flawed and human – someone you would root for, if only he wasn’t the nemesis of the hero. This week on Romance Writer’s Weekly, Dani Jace asks:
Villains: Literary, TV/Movie or even real life - Who do you love as a villain and why. Who do you despise and why.
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome!
The first villain that came to mind when I read this topic is Moriarty, from the Benedict Cumberbatch versions of Sherlock Holmes. Played by Andrew Scott, he is brilliantly creepy (I think it has something to do with the Jack Nicholson-esque eyebrows), and yet has a pathos to him that makes him vulnerable – until he does something so dastardly that you are reminded of what a villain he truly is.
In J. R. Ward’s The Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Xcor is a villain that flirts with heroism. He leads a band of soldiers who want to dethrone King Wrath. Raised by a vicious, cruel man, unable to read, and also born with a cleft palate, you do feel sympathy for him, except for the fact that he wants to assassinate the main good guy.
Women can be villains, too. They often go about their mayhem in more subtle ways. I can’t think of one by name right now, but you know who I mean – the ‘friend’ who constantly undermines the heroines confidence, or the mother who sabotages our heroines romance ‘for her own good.’
Whose your favourite villain? I’d love to read your comments. Then hop over to Jenna Da Sie to see who her favourite bad guy/girl is.
Fall is in full swing in Northern BC, and that’s what we’re celebrating in our special way on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop. Fiona Riplee asks:
Pumpkin Spice is in full swing right about now. It’s a crazy fall phenomenon that I look forward to every year. What are other crazy autumn activities that you look forward to?
First off, Fiona and I differ in our love of Pumpkin Spiced items. I can definitely take it or leave it. For one thing, why don’t they just call it what it is – cinnamon and nutmeg? 😊
As for crazy autumn activities, I’m not sure if there are any in my life. One thing I do love to do at this time of year - which is not crazy in the least - is sit in our backyard beside the small firepit we have. There's usually a chill in the air so I bundle up, but reading while the fire crackles and snaps at my feet is cozy. The last gasp of summer, I guess! In Northern BC, we often have snow by this time of year (although it usually melts the first few times) so it might as well be Winter. Not this year, though! We are having a lovely long Fall. Today it was 15 degrees Celsius, which is wonderfully warm for October.
Sorry – this has been pretty boring. Maybe you’d better hop on over to Jenna Da Sie for a pick me up. Hopefully she’s got some wild and crazy Autumn fun for you!
While we like to chat about any and all things on our blog, the Romance Writers Weekly group came together because we are all exactly that – romance writers. So this week, A.S. Fenichel asks:
Tell us about your latest novel and/or what you’re working on. Bonus points for sharing what you love about your genre.
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome!
In June of 2015 (yes, more than three years ago) I started to write a trilogy of romance novels. Because I had never done a set of stories that linked together, I decided not to publish the first in the series until I’d finished the last one, just in case I had to make changes to it because of new ideas that might come about later on. Well, I finally finished the third novel this past summer (no one every accuses me of writing too fast!). I am letting it sit for a bit while I do a copy-editing project, and then I will go back for the first round of revisions. It is my hope that I’ll be putting out all three stories next year. Fingers crossed!
The trilogy centres around the Bendixon sisters – in order of age, Camryn, Mattie and Jo.
Mattie’s story comes first in Allegro Court. She’s loved Marcus Temple almost all her life, but he had different dreams. Here’s what it’s all about:
As a teenager, Marcus Temple escapes his despised Northern British Columbia birthplace, driven by his passion for music. Now a sophisticated, world-class cellist, he must return when his mother suffers a severe stroke. Going back also means dealing with the one woman he'd most like to avoid, Mattie Bendixon. More comfortable in overalls than orchestra seats, Mattie's childhood dreams were simple—working for her grandfather's construction company and building a life with Marcus. His ambitions forced her to abandon one goal, and now her beloved company is also under threat. Mattie thinks she sees a way to save Bendixon and Sons—if she can convince Marcus to stay in his hated hometown for one month. But if he stays, will she be able to save her heart?
Jo’s story come next. It’s less loosely linked to the family’s construction company, but still has ties.
Jo is the butterfly of the Bendixon sisters, always flitting from project to project, excited about all but finishing none. Luke Donwell is a committed high-school teacher—who is considering the priesthood, encouraged by his devout parents. While Jo and Luke have known each other for years, it isn’t until Jo invites herself to help Luke produce a concert with his young students that they get to know each other. Her carefree, modern spirit is completely at odds with Luke’s sober, traditional attitude—and yet he can’t help being drawn to her. Is it possible the one woman that is completely wrong for him, is also the one woman that is perfectly right?
And then there’s Camryn Bendixon. As the eldest, she’s been the poster child for birth-order personality charts. And then it all falls apart.
Reeling from an embezzling boyfriend that put her in debt and caused her to lose her job, Camryn Bendixon is so desperate she agrees to join her grandfather’s ailing construction company. During her urgent quest to keep the business afloat and clear her own name, she finds herself attracted to Will Danson, the young, confident manager of an aggressive competitor. Their tentative relationship cracks when it turns out Camryn’s lawyer is Will’s ex and the estranged mother of his daughter—and that she’s decided she wants back into their lives. Beseiged on both a personal and business level, Camryn is devastated further when she learns Will has made an offer to buyout Bendixon and Sons, even though he knows she put her heart and soul into bringing it back to life. Building a home takes more than lumber and nails—it takes the courage to hope, even when nothing is going your way.
As you can probably tell, I’m still working on the blurbs for Books 1 and 2, but I hope you get an idea of what the series is all about. I’d love to here your comments! From the little inkling I’ve given you, what do you think of the Bendixon sisters?
Be sure to hop over to the instigator of this blog as A.S. Fenichel is next on your list!
This week on Romance Writers Weekly, Dani Jace asks:
Tis the season for craft fairs. Do you do any crafting, if so what? If not, what’s the favorite thing that you’ve purchased at a craft fair or just a fair.
Those who know me best will be giggling at this week’s topic. A crafter I am not. I have made a few things over the years, but if they’d had Pinterest Fails twenty years ago, I would have been a top contributor.
I’m capable of using a hot glue gun, and can stitch a reasonable straight seam on a sewing machine (I'm good at curtains). But I did not inherit the crafting gene from my mom.
Mom is the reason I love craft fairs. We wander the stalls, and while I gaze in awe at the amazing things people make with such seeming ease, my mom looks at them and goes, “I can do that.” It’s become a bit of a tradition. We go to craft fairs and I pick out what I like – and then my mom goes home and makes it for me as a Christmas gift.
Both my daughters are crafty, although in different ways. Eldest Daughter makes jams and pickles and refashions clothes she buys at thrift stores. Middle Child refinishes old furniture into something new and modern. She also creates lovely wooden signs and wall displays – you know, the ones that cost an arm and a leg in a home décor store.
The upside, of course, is I get all the benefits of homemade crafting, without having to do the work myself! To be honest, it really is a win-win.
That being said, I saw this Flannel Shirt Wreath project recently, and I’m considering giving it a go. It doesn’t require much more than a glue gun, so I think I might be able to handle it. And doesn’t it look perfect for a winter decoration?
How about you? Are you a crafty person? I’d love to see pics of your work – just drop them in the comments! Then hop on over to Leslie Hachtel as she’s your next stop in our blog this week.
he days are already noticeably shorter here in Northern British Columbia, so Fiona Riplee’s topic this week on Romance Writers Weekly is very timely:
I’ve started a new paranormal series that takes place by the beach. So far, in my current work in progress many events take place during the day and maybe I’ve neglected the evening hours. Makes me wonder: do you prefer day or evening outings? These could be for a fun date or just hanging out with family or friends. What’s your pleasure?
The time of day a scene occurs can really infuse that scene with its atmosphere. There’s a reason most horror movies happen at night – we’re just not as scared of things that go bump in the daylight!
When it comes to personal outings, I think I’m a little like Fiona and her WIP, in that I tend to neglect the evening hours. I’m not a night owl by any stretch of the imagination, and tend to start thinking of bed well before midnight (much to my family’s dismay!) But on the evenings we are out and about, I can recognize the magic that the night holds. Familiar places become new and interesting when seen in moonlight or lit up with coloured lanterns. I can think of one evening in particular. We were on a family vacation in the Azores, and had spent many, many daylight hours on the waterfront of the main city, Ponta Delgada. But one night we went back well after dark, and it was a totally different experience. The restaurants and bars were buzzing (Europeans eat a lot later than we do!) and the lights of the harbour gave a completely different perspective on what we’d see earlier. It was only a few hours, but it was an evening I’ll never forget.
What about you? Do you like to play in the daylight or dark? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Then be sure to travel onward to Leslie Hachtel, the next in our hop!
I took a couple weeks off, but it’s good to be back in the regular routine with the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop! This week, A.S. Fenichel says:
September 11 is my birthday. Yes, I know...it got messed up, but it’s still my birthday. I’m sure thousands of people were born on D-day and Pearl Harbor day. So, either tell me where you were on 9-11 or tell me what you do to celebrate your birthday... Hey, if you feel frisky, tell us both.
First off – happy birthday, A.S!
There are few dates seared into people's memory the way September 11, 2001 is. I can remember coming into our family room just as the TV showed the first tower collapsing. Since my children were very young at the time, I changed the channel, and had to learn the details later. At work, we were preparing for a huge sales presentation, and while we did so we were glued to the TV, learning along with the rest of the world the true devastation of that day. It didn’t matter that I was on the other side of the continent and in a different country – the World Trade Centre attacks were a tsunami that no one could escape.
As for birthdays, we keep things pretty low key around here. A dinner with family, a few smaller gifts. Well, that’s the usual way. For milestones we sometimes ramp things up. For example, for my 50th birthday last year, my husband arranged a bucket list trip for us – to see Billy Joel live at Madison Square Gardens. It was a truly amazing concert experience, one I’m so glad we shared!
Do you share your birthday with an historical event or special holiday? Let me know in the comments, then be sure to head over to Leslie Hachtel for the next step in the Blog Hop!
Oooh! Dani Jace has a great topic this week!
Love Letters: Have you received any or written any? Has any of your characters written or received any? Share if you dare or make up one to a special someone.
In this world of text messages and emails, I’m not sure if love letters are even a “thing” anymore. But if they aren’t, the younger generation is missing out on something very romantic.
I have written and received a few love letters in my life. I went away to school for a couple of years, and while there met someone. He got a job in a different part of the province and I went home when my school year was done, and for a few months we exchanged letters. That was also the summer I wrote my only “Dear John” letter (although in this case, it was “Dear Bill”).
The most mysterious letter I ever received happened this way:
My future husband and I had just started dating, and one day at work a bouquet of roses and a letter were delivered to me. The letter said (among other things that I can no longer remember) that he would be waiting for me at our special place at a certain date and time. The thing was, Mr. C denied sending the letter or the flowers, and continues to deny it to this day. Since I had no idea who else it could have been, I didn’t know where I was supposed to meet him, so the date and time passed and I never heard from him again.
I have a couple thoughts about this. One, that if it was Mr. C that sent it, he may have denied it when I admitted I didn’t know where our special place was (my bad). And, two, that even if I had known who had sent it and knew where to meet him, I wouldn’t have gone, because I knew Mr. C was the one already.
What about you? Any love letters in your past? Let me know in the comments, and then hop over to Jenna Da Sie to see what she has to say!