Elizabeth: A Change of Plans – A Christmas Short Story

This year’s Christmas Short Story Challenge is well underway.  If you’ve been busy with holiday preparations and haven’t had a chance to check out Michaeline, Jilly, or Jeanne’s entries, you can find them here, here, and here.

I’ll have to confess that, although I’ve had the words and writing prompt sitting on my desk for a while now, I dawdled a bit and didn’t sit down and turn them into a story until the Christmas festivities were completed, the prime rib and Yorkshire pudding eaten, and the guests sent on their merry way.  The story was initially going to be a pair of spies working undercover who had been trapped into getting married, so as  not to blow their cover.  Unfortunately, the bride just could not seem to keep the look of loathing off of her face during the ceremony, which made me think it was going to take more than a short story for me to get them to any semblance of a happy ending.

Fortunately, another idea came to mind.  I hope you enjoy it. Continue reading

Elizabeth: 5th Annual Christmas Week Short Story Challenge!

© Eldridge Photography

Long-time readers of the blog may recall that around this time of year we tend to take a break from talking about writers and writing and do a little storytelling instead.  It’s like a multi-week version of our regular Friday Writing Sprints.

We’re kicking off this year’s Christmas Week Short Story Challenge today and several of the Eight Ladies will be posting their stories during the next week or so.  All of you blog-readers are welcome to participate as well.  You can post your own story (or a link to your story) in the comments below on this post or on any of the upcoming Short Story posts.

The rules of the Challenge are simple – write a short story based on the specified prompt and include at least three of the random words on the list; extra points for including more than three words and extra points with sparkles for Holiday references.

Prompt:  A December 31st Wedding

The wedding for your short story can be any kind of wedding, anywhere.  Whether it’s been planned for months or spur-of-the-moment; it’s between childhood sweethearts or mortal enemies; or it goes off without a hitch or crashes and burns – the details are completely up to you.

Oh, and here is a set of random words to give you some food for thought:

angel                 ambivalent         blaze              baffling

zipper                estate                 fiasco              honeymoon

blurt                   eruption            collision          diamond

mysterious        grizzly                naked              drunk 

Whatever length story you want to write – that’s exactly the length we’re looking for.

While you wait for this year’s stories, feel free to get in the mood by checking out some of last year’s entries:

Even better, try your hand at today’s words and post your results in the comments for all to enjoy.

Let the challenge begin!

Elizabeth: Author Squee – Louise Penny

It seems people are constantly giving me book and author recommendations – friends, magazines, random people on the internet – they are all responsible for the truly staggering depth and breadth of my TBR pile.  Some of my more persistent friends have recommended particular authors many times, sure that I would enjoy them immensely, yet I’ve never quite gotten around of them.

I blame GoodReads giveaways, RWA conferences, and my (possibly) regrettable tendency to read books I enjoy over and over again, rather than moving on to something new.  I’ve been trying to be better about that.

No, really, I have.

Since I instituted the “at least every other book has to be a new book” rule, I’ve read many, many new stories/authors and found some real keepers.

My current “find” is Louise Penny. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

If you’re reading this on Friday, then congratulations for making it through another week.  Only a few more and then it will be time to start a whole new year (ack!).

My Friday will include lots of Day Job stuff, but at least no Day Job Commute.  I’ll be comfortably working from home – probably in my new flannel jammies – with the Christmas tree twinkling over in the corner and a delightful warm beverage close at hand.  I should be spending the afternoon at a Christmas party, but it’s being held quite a distance away and would entail a 3 hour commute back home afterwards, mostl likely in the rain.  It would take a pretty great party to make that worthwhile.

I have lots of other things on my Friday ToDo list, including a visit to the dental hygienist, but I’m going to do my best to make sure “writing” is one of the things that I check off as successfully done.  I’ll have plenty of time while I’m at the dentist, so I think I’ll use it to warm up my creativity with a little brainstorming about today’s story prompt.

Care to join me? (For the writing, not the dentist). Continue reading

Elizabeth: A Turn of Phrase

agents, editors, agent, editor, pitch, pitching, manuscriptIt’s probably no surprise to anyone, but I’m a big fan of words.  When writing, I love it when I find just the right one, with just the right nuanced meaning to get an idea across.  I like words that are slightly old fashioned or not commonly used; words that are whimsical; and words that are evocative.  I’d give you some examples but naturally, all the words in my head went into hiding as soon as I tried to find them.

I’ve been doing more of my reading on my Kindle app recently and one of the things I’ve really enjoyed is being able to click on a word and instantly get a definition while I’m reading along.   Sure, I could pull out the dictionary when reading a physical book, but that’s not nearly as instantaneous.   I’m finding that I’m looking up words fairly frequently – even words I’m pretty familiar with – just to be sure I’ve got their meaning correct.  I’ll admit there have been a few occasions where my understanding of the meaning of a word was not quite as precise as I’d thought.

Looking up a word when you are not completely sure of the meaning is one thing, but what happens when you encounter a phrase that leaves you puzzled?

I’m thinking about a book I read a while back that had the line: Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

Are you in the holiday mood yet?  I can hardly help it myself, having been watching the Hallmark Channel holiday movie marathon for weeks now.  I figure it’s better for my piece of mind than watching the nightly news.

My house is definitely getting in the holiday spirit, though not very quickly. There is a holiday tree in the corner, but it’s still awaiting lights and ornaments.  Guess I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.

Maybe.

Right now I’m just focusing on making it through one final day of work before calling this week done.  I was off at a conference for a few days, so that made the week fly by.  As a bonus, the conference was near a favorite New Orleans style restaurant, so my week included Jambalaya and Beignets – a definite win.

Now that the leftovers are gone, it’s time to turn my mind back to writing, which has been on the back burner lately.  I have some revisions to do, but first I think I’ll flex my creativity a little by giving today’s story prompt a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Gifts for Writers

I was at the local craft store this weekend  to pick up something for a project I was working on.  They didn’t have what I was looking for, but it all turned out okay since once I got home I found that I actually already had what I needed, it had just gotten put away in the wrong place.

Perhaps there is such a thing as too tidy.

It’s lucky that I wasn’t planning to stock up on holiday items at the store, however, since deep-discounts on all things Christmas were well underway on the day I was there.  The shelves made me think of the food dish after the puppy has eaten – licked clean and knocked over to make sure there was nothing left underneath.

Fortunately, if you’re looking for gift ideas for that special writer on your list you don’t have to brave the craft store, or even leave the house.  Instead, why not consider one of the non-traditional items listed below? Continue reading