It’s been a while since we did flash fiction, but it’s back today!
Write a story (500 words or less) about the worst Valentine's Day ever but give it a happy ending.
Here we go!
Note to self: attending a speed dating event on Valentine’s Day was stupid. More than stupid. Pathetic.
But she hadn’t wanted to spend the holiday alone, not again. So when Lynda had suggested they sign up for the evening at a local hotel’s ballroom she’d agreed. Not without reservations—Lynda wasn’t known for having the brightest ideas—but it had sounded better than spending the most romantic night of the year bingeing Seinfeld and eating ice cream from the bucket.
She should have stayed home.
Lynda had assured her that a speed dating event wasn’t for losers. Everyone was busy these days, especially professionals like themselves who had spent their twenties and thirties climbing the corporate ladder and were just hitting their stride in their forties. These get-togethers were simply more efficient than trolling bars and restaurants every week hoping for lightning to strike.
She hoped lightning would strike now, just to put her out of her misery. Maybe other speed dating nights had a better crop of possibilities, but this one on Valentine’s Day seemed to be scraping the bottom of the barrel.
And, yes, she knew what that said about herself. How depressing.
The bell rang and her current visitor—a retired dentist who talked way too much about teeth—moved on with no apparent regret. It was obvious she wasn’t the only one finding the pickings slim. And she was one of the “slim pickings.”
Suddenly she couldn’t take it any longer. Without a glance at her next “date” she jerked to her feet, raced through the scattered tables, and fled to the wide outer hallway. With no regard for the snow lashing the windows, she opened the door and stepped outside, taking huge, gulping breaths of frigid air.
She’d left her coat in the ballroom. Clutching her bare arms, she huddled into herself and let self-pity flood her. Moisture filled her eyes, not just from the bitter, biting breeze.
Suddenly her shoulders were enveloped in warmth and softness and a deep voice said, “You must be freezing.”
Startled, she spun around, automatically gripping the open edges of the coat to keep it in place. “Ryan! You scared me. What are you doing here?”
The skin around his warm brown eyes crinkled and her belly fluttered. “I had a business meeting. But isn’t a better question what are you doing without a coat in a blizzard?”
He had just transferred from head office two months ago and set her department buzzing with his acumen, intelligence, and energy. She’d done her best to focus on that, and not the silver threads at his temples lending him gravitas and his trim, wide-shouldered body filling out his suits just fine.
His eyebrow quirked. “So? What are you doing out here?”
She contemplated lying, but what the hell. It would be a funny story one day. Might as well start now. “I was at a speed dating event. It was not going well so I escaped.”
“Why do you need a speed dating event? Are the men around here that blind?”
His open admiration warmed her almost as much as his coat around her shoulders. A light on the wall of the hotel spangled on the snowflakes in his hair and sharpened the shadows in his cheeks.
“Do you want to have coffee?” She bit her lip. “I know we work together but—”
“I would love to have coffee.” He pulled the collar of his coat higher up on her neck. His smile held a hint of shyness she’d never noticed before. “I’ve been wanting to ask you, in fact.” He pulled open the door and waved her in. “Lead the way.”
I hope you enjoyed my Valentine’s flash fiction! Now hop over to Leslie Hachtel for another quick read!
Leslie and I, as well as A. S. Fenichel (another member of Romance Writers Weekly) all contributed to Love in the Mix: A Cookbook for Romance Readers. It's a unique Valentines' Day gift...and even better, proceeds support the ProLiteracy charity. More than 70 of your favorite romance authors shared recipes and anecdotes to this great collection. Find it at all major retail sites.
Well, we made it through January. It can be the longest month of the year for me, with the holidays behind us and spring months away yet. In the pre-COVID days we always tried to schedule a getaway in February, but we’re not quite confident enough to travel yet. So this week’s Blog Hop is a welcome escape!
Is there a place that takes your breath away? Does any particular landscape give you a feeling of joy and inspiration that no other place can? Do you have pictures?
I know people who thrive on the bustle and energy of the big city. But for me, inspiration comes with water. I love to sit on the beach of a lake or the ocean and listen to the waves, or watch a stream or river tumbling past. My other place for inspiration comes from long drives. There’s something about a landscape that is constantly changing that gets my creativity flowing.
Here are a couple photos from places I’ve found writing inspiration.
What about you? What landscapes set you dreaming? Let me know, then hop on to Jenna Da Sie!
This week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly topic is both super easy and super hard.
Create a bucket list of the places you want to visit, the new experiences you want to try, or the goals you want to achieve before reaching a certain age or before you kick the bucket.
The easy part is there are so many. The hard part is where to start! Therefore, in no particular order, here are ten things on my Bucket List (though you can assume there are many, many more!)
Obviously travelling is high on my list and experiences slightly lower. But as I said, there are so MANY things I want to do I couldn’t list them all, and these are just the ones that were top of mind this morning.
How about you? What’s on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below, then hop over to Leslie Hachtel for the next stop on the RWW Blog Hop.
My next release will be featured in the anthology A SEASON FOR LOVE featuring contemporary romances with characters in their forties, fifties, and beyond. Pre Order now to have it arrive on your e-reader March 1.
Check out Leslie's romantic suspense, Murder Most Notorious.
A beautiful homicide detective and a sexy cold case guy have to team up to find a vicious axe-wielding killer. Brutal murders have shocked the city and all the evidence points to a twin sister once thought dead. So many twists and turns in this action packed romantic thriller. And so much passion!
Get it now!
Last week we looked ahead at what a shiny new year might bring. This week we’re looking back. Our topic is:
How did you get to where you are today? Share the story of your professional journey, the roadblocks you encountered along the way, and your strategy for overcoming those obstacles.
When I first read this challenge, I was a little deflated. To me, it was directed at someone who had already achieved their goals, had already become a success (as defined by them, not others). But upon reflection, I realized it is also directed at someone like me who is still on the journey.
I have what I think is a reasonable goal for my writing career – that each book I publish pays for its own hard costs within a month of release. It is a little disheartening to admit I haven’t achieved that yet. But when I look at where I started, I can see how much I have achieved, and that dollars aren’t the only gauge of success.
I’d always wanted to write a book. I was 44 years old when my first romance was released…and now I have 10 published books with 3 waiting in the wings. That is definitely a win! It's amazing what writing 500 words a day can do!
I have made wonderful author friends along the way, authors who are generous with their time and talent and advice. I’m not in this crazy business alone.
I have learned craft and studied structure and discovered that writing is as much an art as it is a skill.
And from day one I’ve had the support of my family. My children tell their friends their mom is a writer, which makes my heart burst. My parents read every single book. My husband bought me my first laptop, reads early drafts of each of my stories, and is a constant source of encouragement. I have cousins and in-laws and friends who read my stories and tell me how much they like them (admittedly, sometimes with surprise in their tone, but I’m okay with that LOL!)
I don’t think I’ve experienced any true roadblocks on my journey. I’ve certainly taken detours and occasionally had to backtrack and try again, but I don’t consider those events roadblocks. They are just part of the journey, like take a shortcut that ends up in a totally different place than you’d expect. My strategy from the start has been simple:
Write the best book I can. Publish it. Repeat.
I’m still enjoying the journey. And I’m so glad you’ve come along for the ride.
Be sure to hop over to A.S. Fenichel to learn more of her story.
I am thrilled to be included in this upcoming box set. A SEASON FOR LOVE is available to pre order now!
Sometimes forever begins after forty.
A collection of fiery and passionate contemporary romances featuring characters in their 40’s, 50’s and beyond. These authors don’t close the bedroom door on the good stuff, so be prepared to get hot and bothered in the best of ways. After all, lust has no age limit!
From billionaires and alpha military heroes to nerds and single dads, this limited-edition collection of sensual and sexy stories will keep you up all night and daydreaming all day!
The one thing they have in common? They’re about to discover it’s never too late to fall in love.
Including Stories from:
USA Today bestselling authors Stephanie Morris, Phoebe Alexander, Krista Ames, Debra Elise, Dawn Brower, Melonie Johnson
As well as:
Simone Leigh, Jami Denise, PE Kavanagh, Judy Kentrus, Karen Nappa, Brenda Margriet, Shai August, Lisa Wood, Jordan Elizabeth, PG Forte
Jennie Kew, Allyson R Abbott, Mellanie Szereto
Congratulations, A.S. Fenichel! Today is VENGEANCE release day! The final book of the Demon Hunter series if finally here.
The demon master is out for revenge, and the gates of hell are flung wide. Only the purest love can force him back…
After a debilitating injury leaves Brice Lambert in agony, he's relegated to teaching others to hunt demons. He knows all the secrets of the demon war and plans to die for the cause. Never did he expect his dreams of a loving wife and big family to come true, but the very witch who healed his leg is capturing his heart.
Abigail Higginbotham's extraordinary power elicits fear and mistrust from the very people who should love her. Instead, they shuffled her around, depriving her of family and coven alike. Joining the Company of demon hunters brings her the closest thing to a family she has ever had. Forbidden to love, she risks losing everything for the man who has loved her for many lifetimes.
Together, they must find the key to seal the gates of Hell and lock out the demon master forever. Fail, and mankind is doomed. Succeed, and face death in the pit of Hell. A small price to pay for eternal love.
Get it now!
Welcome to 2022 and a brand-new year on the RWW Blog Hop. As is traditional, we start the new year with this topic, assigned by Andie Fenichel:
Happy New Year! Do you have big plans for 2022? Did you make any resolutions, set goals, or map out a schedule? Tell us all about it.
Oh, I have plans all right. 😊 But if the last two years have taught me anything, it’s that plans are merely guidelines, and you have to be flexible.
Also, I’m a realist - some may say cynic. I understand with my heart how setting a goal is the first step to achieving it, but my brain has a nasty habit of whispering all my plans will end in failure. Which is why I tend to set small, achievable goals like daily word counts, number of promos joined, social media posts made. Asserting “I’m going to make the New York Times Bestsellers List” just seems like setting myself up for crushing disappointment.
That being said, big goals are always in the back of my mind, and all the little goals I set are hopefully leading to that achievement. I just don’t spend all my time staring at the huge, shiny star all the time, preferring to concentrate on the sun peaking out from the clouds as I journey along the road.
What about you? What are your dreams for 2022? Comment below, then continue your hop with Caro Kinkead!
Caro is celebrating the book birthday of ACCIDENTAL VISCOUNTESS - it is on sale for a limited time!
Miss Dorothea Hindley counts herself lucky, as helping with her cousin’s launch into society allows her to enjoy the Season, if only from the sidelines. The re-emergence of an old feud, though, has her managing the damage. She realizes only one person can help lower the temperature.
Viscount Abernathy finds himself as eager as Dorothea to end the gossip surrounding the quarrel. Together, they navigate the treacherous waters of London’s Ton, but they become interested in more than solving their mutual dilemma.
Being caught in a compromising position was not part of the plan.
The families present a united front, but the fires still rage below the surface. Will the truce brokered by Dorothea and Abernathy’s wedding hold? Or flare to life once more, destroying their chance of happiness?
Discover contemporary romance books that bring the heat while keeping the sweet!
Includes my own ALLEGRO COURT (Free on all platforms)!
Click here to see the entire collection.
It’s our last Romance Writers Weekly Hop of the year. We always take a break for the last half of December and will start up again January 4, 2022.
A.S. Fenichel says:
Post a picture of the best happening in 2021 and tell us a story about it. (Doesn’t have to be true.) LOL
Well, I’m going for non-fiction this week. Because the best happening in 2021 was being a gramma! Our first grandchild (on the right) turns one this week, so while she was technically a 2020 gift, due to the pandemic we didn’t really get to know her until 2021. It has been such a joy to see our daughters become loving mommies, our son-in-laws become wonderful daddies, and to explore all the fun of being grandparents. Both babies are on the move which will make this Christmas extra exciting LOL!
I hope you had a chance to make cherished memories in 2021 as well, and I look forward to connecting with everyone in 2022!
Next on your hop…Clair Brett.
Gratefulness. There’s never a bad time to reflect on everything we have to be thankful for in our lives. This week on the Blog Hop, Andie Fenichel asks:
It’s Thanksgiving week in the US. What are you most thankful for this year? I know it’s been a tough one for many people, but there’s always something to feel blessed about.
Sometimes feeling thankful is all in the perspective. While I would never consider a pandemic a good thing, and know that many families have been hit by tragedy during these months, it has taught me to appreciate the little things. Big family meals, playing cards and games, dropping in unannounced for a drink…all of sudden, those events became precious. Now we are able to do all that again, I do not take it for granted.
Family has always been important, of course. But now that it includes two beautiful new grandbabies, it has become even more blessed. While there have been some health issues with our loved ones over the year, those grandbabies still have all their great-grandparents, and all four generations are able to visit each other as often as we like.
While it’s going to be some time before I’m comfortable enough to get on a plane and travel internationally, we live in a beautiful province and country and have the freedom to explore it. I am so grateful we had the chance to visit many wonderful places before, and look forward to more adventures in the future.
On a writing note, I am grateful for the readers that took a chance on my books this year, and especially to those who took the time to leave a review. I appreciate that more than I can say!
What about you? What are you thankful for? Then hop over to Jenna Da Sie to discover what she's thankful for.
As I write this, I’m looking at the first snowfall of the season blanketing our lawn and trees. That certainly isn’t a surprise, since it is mid-November, but Clair Brett’s question on the Blog Hop got me thinking…
Have you ever had one of your own characters surprise you as you were writing your book? How and did it change the story?
My characters are constantly growing and changing as we work our way together through their story. I don’t know if I’ve ever been shocked by something they did, but I am constantly discovering new things about them. I think that’s a good thing. If I’m learning new things about my characters, then the reader must be, too. So it becomes an interactive, spontaneous experience for both of us.
I think the biggest surprise a character ever gave me, though, was Red Cat from an upcoming release. He is a stray that pops unexpectedly into a scene. I thought he was just going to be a bit player, but he insisted on reappearing. Turns out, my heroine needed a cat in her life, and Red Cat decided he was it. By the end of the book he’s a sleek, satisfied house pet. I guess he’d just had enough of living on the streets!
As a reader, do you like it when a character surprises you? Let me know in the comments, the hop over to A. S. Fenichel to see what her characters are up to.
I’ve been MIA for a couple of weeks, frantically getting ready for the launch of my Christmas novella, The Promise of Frost. But I am back this week with a topic that I will never get tired of talking about. A.S. Fenichel asks:
I love romance books, movies, and fairy tales. If I can have an HEA I’m happy. Is romance your number one read, why and what else do you read?
I’ll read the back of the cereal box if there’s nothing else available. That would never happen, of course, because I have shelves of books (I only buy print copies of those I will reread over and over) and a KOBO full of others. I love a great private eye story – Nero and Archie, Spenser – and police procedurals like Ian Rankin’s Rebus or Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse. Then there’s the action thrillers by Dick Francis, one of my all time favourite authors.
Romance is always my go to read, though, and there’s an easy explanation for it. I can trust there will be a happily ever after. That holds true for all the books and authors I mention above, too. Even though they’re not romances, they promise that, at the end, good will prevail. At least for now.
I know there are people who want a good cry when they read a romance. They want to feel the angst and anxiety while knowing it’s all going to end well. I’d rather read a comedy, where the main characters work their way to love while laughing at each other’s foibles and learning to work with each other’s faults.
When I read, I need as story I can connect to, and I want the characters I grow to love as I read have enjoyable, satisfying lives. I tend to avoid books that are labelled “thought-provoking” and “a must read for those who want to see the world as it truly is.” I get enough of that by watching the news. I read to escape, and I want that escape to be uplifting and life-affirming.
How about you? What is your go to read and why?
This is a great time of year if you’re a sports fan. Pretty much every major league is playing. So this week on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop, this is our topic:
NHL, NBA, NFL, WNBA, FIFA - Do these acronyms mean anything to you? Are you a sports fan, and if so, of what team/sport?
I love to watch sports while I’m doing something else. Does that mean I’m a fan or just using it for white noise? LOL! When it comes to teams, I like to keep in touch with the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Blue Jays. (Don’t get me started on why a country as big as Canada can’t have more than one MLB or NBA team. As a westerner, it can be hard to cheer for a team from Toronto!). My husband is a big Seattle Seahawks fan (he’s greatly disappointed in them this season) and so I usually have an idea what’s going on in the NFL, too.
Canada has some great young tennis players, and it was so much fun watching Layla Fernandez at the US Open. And I love watching the big golf tournaments, too. Of course, then there’s the Olympics. I prefer the Winter to the Summer, so am looking forward to 2022!
Want to know a secret - the hero in my current work in progress is a coach for a junior hockey team, so I'll be living and breathing hockey while I write it to get the correct feel.
How about you? Do you follow sports? Are you an avid fan or just recreational, like me? Let me know in the comments below! Then hop over to A. S. Fenichel