Michille: Love in the Time of COVID-19, Part II

Heart

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Jeanne blogged about Love in the Time of Coronavirus. Specifically, she said this: Forced proximity is a romance trope wherein the couple in question is forced by circumstance (blizzard, long-haul truck run, bodyguard, work assignment, etc.) to spend time together. I agree that the stuck together trope will be very popular in the near future, there’s got to be others. I’ve blogged about romance during a disaster before. Jeanne is right again that blizzards are very common ways to get two people stuck together. Linda Howard has a good one in Ice.

But let’s think up some others. How about: Continue reading

Elizabeth: A Pirate’s Life?

I had no idea what today’s post would be when I woke up this morning; thankfully, the internet had my back.  While eating my morning pancakes, I read this post by writer Chuck Wendig and then saw this link, courtesy of a Facebook post by author Loretta Chase.  Both were in reference to the Internet Archive’s recent launch of a “National Emergency Library”, making 1.4 million books available free online with no waiting to address “our unprecedented global and immediate need for access to reading and research material” during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Sounds good, right?

If you are unfamiliar with the Internet Archive, here is a brief explanation from their website: Continue reading

Jeanne: Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Magnolia blossom

Magnolia blossoms, seen in my neighborhood on Sunday

Forced proximity is a romance trope wherein the couple in question is forced by circumstance (blizzard, long-haul truck run, bodyguard, work assignment, etc.) to spend time together. I suspect there will be an influx of these stories in the coming months but I have to tell you: I’m already tire of this trope.

Because we’re older and fairly sensible by nature, Old Dog and I started self-isolating a couple of weeks ago. We are doing better cooped up together than I would have expected. Under normal circumstances we have a tendency to snipe at each other when we’re feeling irritable, but we’ve managed to curtail that almost completely, at least for the duration.

For now, I’m able to get out and walk in my neighborhood or head to the nature preserve about 10 miles north of my house when cabin fever threatens to get out of control. If you don’t have that option, here’s a video from my walk earlier this week that may give you a little vicarious out-of-doors time.

 

Jilly: Silver Linings

So how was your week?

According to the news briefings, London is the coronavirus hotspot of the UK, but so far, touch wood, we’ve been fine chez Jilly. We’re doing as instructed, staying quietly home, washing our hands, waving to the neighbors from a safe distance, watching the news, and checking up on friends and family. I’ve been having lovely long chats with friends I normally only catch up with at Christmas.

I didn’t do any new writing, but I did put together a brief for Daire’s novella, now officially called The Seeds of Exile. I had a good discussion with my cover designers about the stock photo I found for Daire, crown prince and ruler of Caldermor. The guy’s expression and pose are perfect. Unfortunately, his clothes aren’t. He’s a cool urban dude and I need a fantasy prince. I had some ideas about how he could be transformed, and I was thrilled when Deranged Doctor Design said they can make him work. Those people are a breath of fresh air, somehow managing to work with their usual upbeat professionalism even though their patch of Eastern Europe is under martial law and they’re expecting to go to full corona-lockdown soon. I really admire their attitude.

The other task that’s been occupying much of my time is chasing grocery orders. The Prime Minister suggested we should have our food and necessities delivered if at all possible. That’s turning out to be easier said than done, as the online delivery companies crumble under the sudden weight of demand. They’re beyond overwhelmed. The one I use has seen a ten-fold increase in activity, combined with a decision to prioritize ‘key workers’ and vulnerable people, which is making it basically inaccessible to ordinary customers, even longstanding ones like me.

I wasted more than seven hours trying to wrangle that online supermarket on Friday, to no avail, and now I’m done. I realized today that I’ve been approaching this challenge all wrong. Even as the big grocery chains adapt their model to help the government, this country is full of smaller independent businesses—farmers and wholesalers—who were dependent on the restaurant trade and who are now desperately trying to adapt and survive. They have families to feed, stock they can’t sell, and for the foreseeable future they’re looking to private customers to keep them afloat. From now on, until this pandemic shutdown is over, my new plan is to use my time and money to find and buy from those businesses. I’ve placed two orders with an organic farm in Devon, for delivery in May, and I have a couple of other referrals in London that might be able to tide us over for April. Those are on my list to contact tomorrow. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Oh—and our friendly indie wine merchant (also reeling from the closure of the restaurant trade) agreed with us that it would be a good idea to withdraw as much of our paid wine reserve as we could manage while the bonded warehouse is still making deliveries and the merchant is still there to liaise with them. So we did. We’ve always kept our wine in storage because we have a small house and no cellar. Now there’s wine under the stairs. Under the coffee table. Under the dining table. Wherever we could find a shady space. After all, nobody’s coming to visit. And even if we have to dine on corned beef and microwave rice every night, at least now we know it will be accompanied by a glass of something nice 🙂 .

And best of all, last Friday the Eight Ladies had a virtual get-together courtesy of Zoom. We span the East and West coasts of the US, plus the UK and Japan, and in normal times the chance of finding a time where we could all sit in front of a screen is slim to none. Right now everyone’s home, which means it’s tricky but do-able, and we did. It was great!

So how was your week? It’s been another tough one around the world. I hope you managed to find some silver linings.

Michaeline: Death in the Family

Mourning sampler with a man and woman under a weeping willow tree; other flowers.

Mourning sampler; 1838. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

My father-in-law passed away this morning. He had aspirational pneumonia, not coronavirus, or so they think. I’m re-running a piece I wrote at the end of 2016. It’s a bit morbid, a bit hopeful. They say the Covid-19 mortality rate is running around 1 percent; if we each know about 300 people, that means all of us may know one or two people who die from that alone this year. I hope this doesn’t hit too close to home — please practice self-care if you want to continue reading.

https://eightladieswriting.com/2016/11/19/michaeline-the-japanese-coffin-experience/

Stay safe, all, and let your loved ones know you love them.

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Just checking – everyone okay out there?

Things here at the Writing Castle are going well, except for the fact that I have been ingesting far more coffee than any one person should.  I might have to social isolate myself from the refrigerator or at least from the container of cold brewed coffee.

The (stale) fortune cookie I scavenged from the snack cupboard today said, “Now is a good time to explore.”  Obviously not a Covid-approved fortune, unless it is suggesting further exploration the snack cupboard for other forgotten treats.

For now, I’m alternating work (luckily I have a day-job I can do from anywhere), walking around the block (without coming in contact with anyone), and baking.  Right now there is a pan of sticky pecan rolls doing it’s thing in the oven.  Hardly health food, but definitely necessary for mental health.

Rather than continuing to refresh the Worldometers site for up-to-date virus statistics, I think I’ll take a break, enjoy a stick pecan roll (no coffee though), and give today’s writing prompt and random words a try after work.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Short Story Play Along

I didn’t get a chance to give Friday’s story prompt and random words a try until this afternoon, but I figured that it’s never too late.

My sprint-timer went off before I finished, so I’m hoping maybe someone else will feel inspired to add a little more to the story, like we did with the Scottish story a few months ago.

If not, I may have to see if this Friday’s words inspire some further action.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the start of the story of a character in week 2 of quarantine, including most of the words flavor, terror, meat, daffodil, deceit, doctor, captivity, playtime, crystal, graffiti, boredom, boast, hiss, casino, ammonia, and applause.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong

Daffodil Masters McWhorter blew an errant curl of auburn hair out of her eyes for the millionth time and dealt two more cards in her latest game of Casino.  It was week two of the nation-wide quarantine and she was miles beyond boredom.  No shopping.  No bars.  No friends.

Ugh! Continue reading