Day 2: “The Christmas Wager”

Welcome to the 8LW 25 Days of Stories.  Today we’re continuing with another story, based on the rules from the first year of our annual “Christmas Week Short Story Challenge” — a holiday version of our Friday Writing Sprints — featuring a short story of no more than 500 words including ‘Derbyshire’ and at least three of the following:  Darcy, Rhinoceros, Woolly, Admire, Love, Mine, Villain, Volcano, Ghost.  Extra kudos for including more than three, and kudos with sparkles for Christmas references.

So here, courtesy of 8L Elizabeth, is today’s story.

The Christmas Wager

“Oh, Papa, what have you done now?” Charlotte asked her father as he sat at the table calmly eating his Christmas pudding.

He raised his head and peered at her over the top of his spectacles with a frown. “What have I done?”

Charlotte pointed to the man standing in the doorway. “Lord Bickershaw has your note of hand for this house. He claims he won it from you.”

“Oh. That.” Lord Atherton sighed. “Meant to tell you about that, my dear.   I was testing my new mathematical theory–“

“By gambling?” she interrupted.

He rubbed his forehead as if trying to erase a bad memory. “I don’t know where I went wrong. Things were going splendidly all evening, then all of the sudden they took turn for the worse.”

“About the time Lord Bickershaw joined your table, was it?” she asked, with a glare toward the doorway. “Everyone knows he cheats.”

“How dare besmirch my honor,” Lord Bickershaw interrupted. “If you were a man I would call you out.”

“Don’t let my sex dissuade you. I must warn you however, I’m equally skilled with both pistol and rapier.”

“A little spitfire, aren’t you.” Lord Bickershaw looked her up and down. “Perhaps you’d care to make a wager of your own.” Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy final Friday of November or “43,333 Words Day” for those who are participating in NaNoWriMo.  If you have been able to consistently get words on the page each day this month and are on track to hit 50,00 words–that’s great!  Frankly, if you got any words on the page this month, that’s great too. The NaNoWriMo is a sprint, but being a writer is more of a marathon.

For those not busily writing today it’s also “Black Friday”–the day when some feel compelled to rush out to stores offering “bargains” and begin their holiday shopping.  I’m not in that camp, but fortunately it’s also “Buy Nothing Day”, so I can celebrate that instead.

Buy Nothing Day is observed annually on the day after Thanksgiving. This day is part of a movement against consumerism, urging the world to change their purchasing habits, to consume and produce less. Instead of shopping, stay home and relax or clean out your closet and donate the results to a local charity shop.

Whatever you are doing today, I hope it is something enjoyable.  I began transitioning the holiday decorations in the house from autumn to Christmas yesterday, so I’ll be finishing that up today.  It looks beautiful outside this morning, so a nice walk may be in the offing too.  Whatever else I decide to do (or not do), I’ll definitely set aside some time to give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy Friday, or “Day 19” for those who are participating in NaNoWriMo.  Hard to believe that November is almost 2/3 over already.  If you are right on target with 31,666 words on the page–Congratulations!  This is the part of NaNoWriMo where 50,000 words starts to seem like a very definite possibility, right?

Occasionally it may also be the time when you may start to wonder why you thought writing 50,000 words was a good idea.

For those who need a break or who just don’t feel like writing, it is “National Play Monopoly Day”.  I’m not sure how Monopoly got it’s own day; I always preferred Life, though it was a pain getting those little family member pegs to stay in the car as you moved around the board.

“Known as one of the most popular board games in the world, Monopoly was originally based on a board game designed by Elizabeth Magie in 1902. Since then, the game has been played by an estimated 500 million people since 1935.”

Whatever board game you prefer, it sounds like a fun way to spend an evening.   Unless you’re the ultra-competitive type.  In which case, maybe NaNoWriMo is a better option.

I’ll be busy today with Ye Olde Day Job–where there are more and more things that need to get done as the year-end continues its rapid approach.  I may not have enough time for board games, but I’ll definitely set aside some time to give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Welcome to the end of another week.  For those of you participating in NaNoWriMo this year, it’s day #12 and–if you are on target–you now have about 20,000 words on the page.


This can be the part of NaNoWriMo when things get a bit more challenging.  That initial burst of excitement has passed, the ideas you may have started with are now on the page, and your story may have taken a turn you weren’t expecting.  Hopefully the momentum and consistent writing practice you’ve built these first weeks will carry you through to the end.  Good luck to all, regardless of how many words you wind up with.

For those not participating in NaNoWriMo, or for those who are wondering “what’s for dinner?”, today (November 12th) is also “National  Pizza with the Works (except anchovies) Day” and “National French Dip Day”–take your choice.  I do have to wonder what anchovies did to get themselves specifically excluded from the pizza–perhaps they have their own day.

I don’t know if pizza and French dip are on the agenda for me today, but I do know getting words on the page is.  Today’s writing prompt and random words will be a great way to kick things off.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy first Friday in November!  For those of you participating in NaNoWriMo this year, it’s day #5 and–if all is going well–you probably have a bit over 8,000 new words to show for it.  Awesome!  Regardless of how many words you may or may not have, if these past 5 days have motivated you to put any words on the page, that sounds like success.

For those not participating in NaNoWriMo, or for those who are and need a treat, today (November 5th) is also “National  Donut Day”–an observance after my own heart (though not my waistline).

National Donut Day (also known as National Doughnut Day) on November 5th is one of two observed by donut lovers across the nation. The first Friday in June is the other day donuts steal the bakery case spotlight ready to tease their way into white bakery box and go home!  A commonly cited first written recording of the word donut is Washington Irving’s reference to donuts in 1809 in his History of New York. He described balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat. The author called them donuts. Today, these nuts of fried dough are called donut holes.

Whether you call them donuts or doughnuts, they are equally delicious.

I don’t know if I’ll break down and stop by my local bakery for a treat or try to avoid the temptation, but I definitely plan to get some more words on the page.  Today’s writing prompt and random words are a great way to kick things off.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Frankenstein Day” (if you’re reading this on October 29th)–though that really seems like a more appropriate day for October 31st, but maybe it was already full.

I’ve always liked Frankenstein, the story that is.  Not just for the story itself but because it was written by eighteen-year old Mary Shelley as part of a competition with Percy Shelley and Lord Byron to see who could write the best horror story.  She certainly showed them.  Her story, a combination allegory, fable, epistolary novel, and autobiography, continues to be more successful than she likely ever dreamed.

The novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) tells the story of a young scientist, Victor Frankenstein. While she published the first edition of Frankenstein in 1818 anonymously, the first 500 copies sold out. However, the public believed her husband, Percy Shelley, to be the author. Then in 1823, Mary Shelley published a new edition under her name. Another edition in 1831 included Shelley’s explanation about how the story came to be. This version is the one modern readers are the most familiar with today.

Perhaps I’ll pull out my copy and give Frankenstein a a re-read.  It will be a nice distraction from the painters who will be busily working (I hope) outside.  I can’t wait until they are done, everything is put back where it belongs, and I can get on to the next project. 

NaNoWriMo starts in just a few days, so as a warm up I’ll definitely be giving today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Make a Dog’s Day” (if you’re reading this on October 22nd).

National Make A Dog’s Day on October 22nd provides an opportunity to give all dogs the best day of their lives. The day not only encourages visits to shelters, but it is also a reminder to animal lovers everywhere to adopt instead of shop for a new pet.

For those who already have a dog, almost anything can make their day a “best day ever.”  A walk in the park.  A new toy.  Some quality time together.  It doesn’t take much–and you’ll likely get a big slobbery face lick in return.

If dogs aren’t your cup of tea, it’s also “National Color Day”–a chance to focus on the impact color has on our lives and to engage in a little creativity.  As a life-long fan of crayons and coloring books, I can totally get behind this celebration.

For now though, I’ll be celebrating “Thank goodness it’s raining day”, although that does mean that my house painters will be delayed until next week.  Things have been so dry in my area, that rain is a very welcome change.  Thank goodness I cleaned out those rain gutters this past weekend.

Whatever else I do today, plan to grab a warm beverage and my notebook and give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

It’s been very quiet here on the blog in recent weeks and and it’s blessedly quiet here at the Writing Castle right now.  I had some construction going on for the past couple of weeks, which means the daylight hours have been filled with the sounds of sawing, hammering, and workers talking back and forth.  The results have been worth it, but I’m definitely enjoying the sounds of silence for now.

The other Eight Ladies have been busily writing away during the blog’s quiet period and you can see the results of those efforts on their author pages out on Amazon.   I just picked up Kay’s latest book–Ms. Trust (A Venus and Mars Affair)–the other day and am looking forward to reading it this weekend.  If the cover is any indication, it will be a fun story.

If you are reading this on October 15th, it’s “National Mammography Day”.  Consider this a friendly reminder to make sure to get your regularly scheduled mammograms.  Early detection can truly be a life saver.

Every year on the third Friday in October, National Mammography Day joins in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This day serves as a reminder to all women that the best defense is early detection. A mammogram can often detect a problem before there is any outward physical sign. Visit your doctor and set up a mammogram.

Encourage loved ones in your life to also schedule a mammogram. Know your family history and share it with your physician. Some with high risk will need to have their first mammography sooner. Use #NationalMammographyDay to post on social media.

For the next few days I’ll be celebrating a few days off of work.  With no on-going construction distractions and some lovely weather in the forecast, I’ll be heading outside for a little mental and physical recharging.  And then there are those new books just clamoring for my attention.  Decisions, decisions.

Whatever I wind up doing with my time off, I plan to pour myself a glass of homemade lemonade and give today’s writing prompt and random words a try after work.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

If you are reading this on October 8th, can you believe there are only 84 days left in the year?

That has to be a mistake, because I’ve got a 2021 ToDo list that has far too many unfinished items remaining for it to be anything other than June . . . or maybe March.

I think I’ll distract myself with “National Fluffernutter Day”.  Although I can’t say I’ve ever tried a marshmallow and peanut butter sandwich, I guess there is always a first time.  Right?

In 1917, Archibald Query of Somerville, Massachusetts invented a sweet marshmallow-like spread called Marshmallow Creme. Before that, in 1913 during World War I, Emma and Amory Curtis of Melrose, Massachusetts invented Snowflake Marshmallow Creme. And then they published a recipe for a peanut butter and marshmallow creme sandwich, the earliest known example of a Fluffernutter.  Where did the term “Fluffernutter” come from? Well, the advertising agency for Durkee-Mower created it in 1960 in an attempt to effectively market the peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich.

Now that I think about it, perhaps I’ll just celebrate regular old peanut butter and jelly sandwich day.  I’m not sure I’m adventurous enough for the addition of Marshmallow Creme.

Whatever I wind up celebrating today, I plan to make myself a warm beverage (it’s gotten quite chilly here) and give today’s writing prompt and random words a try after work.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy Friday and “National Homemade Cookies Day” (if you’re reading this on October 1st).

Can you smell them now?  Will it be peanut butter, chocolate chip, or snickerdoodle? Whatever the recipe you mix up, enjoying them fresh from the oven with a cold glass of milk and family will make National Homemade Cookies Day even better.  Experiment by trying a new recipe or maybe an old one to share fond memories with the next generation.  If you are looking for an excuse to bake some homemade cookies, look no further. Package them up and share them with neighbors, co-workers, and friends!  

I’ve always been a fan of cookies though I generally only bake them around the holidays.  If I baked more often then that there wouldn’t be enough hours in the day for me to work them off on the elliptical machine.  Peanut butter cookies are my favorites.  Or maybe thumbprints with jam.  Shortbread is right up there too.

Perhaps it would be better for me to celebrate “World Smile Day.”  I’m pretty sure that is calorie-free.

Currently I’m celebrating “The Sound of Silence” — I’m having some house repair work done and it seems to involve a lot of loud pounding as well as a plethora of power tools.  The end result will no doubt be delightful, but the path to get there is quite distracting.

Perhaps after my work day is over and the crew has gone home, I’ll pour myself a refreshing G&T and give today’s writing prompt and random words a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading