An Eight Lady Serial–The Laird’s Legacy – Part 5

Welcome to another installment of our Eight Lady Serial, that started when Jilly wrote a short story about Jordy MacHugh, a Canadian music teacher who inherits a derelict estate in the Scottish Highlands and decides to build an outdoor opera house by the sea.  In yesterday’s installment, Jilly added some much-needed conflict to the story.

As I re-read the entire saga, I decided I wasn’t quite ready to leave Jordy and Jenny to their own devices, though they may not appreciate the direction of today’s installment.

Without further ado, read on to find out what happens next. Using the prompts from Friday’s writing sprint – character(s) face a challenge – and including (most of) the random words: equipment, belly, aimless, baffling, noise, bloke, fuzzy, clever, beekeeper, footwork, glass, dream, corduroy, setup, lump and artist.

The Unexpected

By unspoken agreement, Jenny and Jordy busied themselves with separate pursuits when they returned to their temporary cottage after their aborted picnic along the cliffs.

While nondescript from the front, the area behind the cottage was a wild tangle of riotous blooms and clinging vines.  Paths that seemed to be in danger of being swallowed up by the creeping foliage wended around and about the area and led to an overgrown folly in the back barely visible through the trees from mere paces away.

Jenny wandered the paths aimlessly, deaf to the noise of the bumbling bees, drunk on the abundant nectar and buzzing happily. Continue reading

An Eight Lady Serial–The Laird’s Legacy – Part 4

The MacHugh saga continues :-).

For those who are just joining us, we’re in the midst of a serial story that started with Jilly’s short story about Jordy MacHugh, the Canadian music teacher who inherited a derelict estate in the Scottish Highlands and decided to build an outdoor opera house by the sea.

Elizabeth continued the story and raised the stakes by introducing Jenny, a tourist from Kansas, who discovered twin babies in a basket, courtesy of the mysterious MacHugh Blessing Stone.

Maeve, the local seer, pronounced Jordy, Jenny and the twins a family, but as Jenny observed via Kay’s installment, the whole setup screamed Trouble with a capital T.

Read on to find out what happens next. Using the prompts from Friday’s writing sprint, our character(s) face a challenge, and including the words equipment, belly, aimless, baffling, noise, bloke, fuzzy, clever, beekeeper, footwork, glass, dream, corduroy, setup, lump and artist.

Challenge Accepted

They couldn’t go on this way. Somebody had to make this village of dreamers face reality, and apparently that someone was Jenny.

Sunday service was over, and she emerged from the small stone kirk into the sunlit, postage-stamp sized churchyard. She settled the oversized wicker basket at her feet and chatted politely with the villagers, all twenty of them. They were kind and friendly, but their warm welcome wasn’t for Jenny herself. Not really. Her true value to them was as companion-dash-housemate to the new laird, Jordy MacHugh, and as carer for his adopted twin daughters. Continue reading

An Eight Lady Serial–The Laird’s Legacy – Part 3

Welcome to today’s installment of our Eight Lady Serial, based on Jilly’s short story The Laird’s Legacy.

Kay was inspired to add to the story by this set of  Friday writing prompts: a character who faced a challenge, and the words equipment, belly, aimless, baffling, noise. bloke, fuzzy, clever, beekeeper, footwork, glass, dream, corduroy, setup, lump, artist.

Let’s see what’s next for Jenny and Jordy.

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And Now, Twins

Jenny handed the fuzzy bunny to the drowsy baby Elspeth and hoped to high heaven that the twins would fall asleep and dream the dreams of babies, whatever they were.

She was exhausted.

How had she ended up here? It was baffling. One minute she’d been walking along the Scottish cliffs admiring the view, and the next, evidently, she was mothering homeless twins.

Not that she had a clue how to do that.

But somehow Maeve, the village maven, seer, and chief beekeeper, had decided that they’d make a great family with Jordy MacHugh, Canadian ex-pat, budding opera house impresario, and all-round great bloke. Jordy did indeed seem to be a nice guy, not to mention cute, but this setup screamed trouble with a capital T, no matter how much fancy footwork you put into the dance. Continue reading

An Eight Lady Serial–The Laird’s Legacy – Part 2

Okay, technically these cliffs are in Ireland, not Scotland. Just pretend for now.
©Eldridge Photography

Welcome to today’s installment of our Eight Lady Serial, based on Jilly’s short story The Laird’s Legacy.

This installment was inspired by a picture from a trip I took to Ireland, though things did take a slightly different turn than I had expected when I started writing.  Still, I’m happy with the results and hope you are too.

Anyway, without further ado, here is a Jilly-inspired short story using these Friday’s prompts: a character who found something unexpected, incorporating the words basket, symbol, siren, bottle, freewill, baby, future, confusion, absurdly, little, grabbing, aroma, banana, vision, identical and robbery.

I hope you enjoy it.

Finding Home

Jenny stood at the edge of the cliff covered in a sea of undulating wild grasses and watched the waves crash over and around the rocks below.  She knew it probably carried an Arctic chill, but the sunlight glinting off the mesmerizing blue water made her think of warm summer days and soft caressing breezes.

She could feel her heartbeat slow and her breathing deepen.

She felt like she’d finally found home.

Daughter, sister, friend, co-worker; she’d been running so fast and for so long, filling those roles and more, that her current sense of calm confused her at first.  Then she thought of staying here forever; jettisoning all of the commitments weighing her down and starting over again by these beautiful blue waters.

The vision of a brand-new future took her breath away. Continue reading

An Eight Lady Serial–The Laird’s Legacy – Part 1

A few years back, one of our Friday writing prompts inspired Jilly to write a short story, which various Eight Ladies added to over a period of several weeks.  It was a great deal of fun to take a story in progress and, using a new set of random words, keep moving the action forward.  At one point we realized we had no conflict, and at another we seemed to have written ourselves into a corner, but creativity prevailed and we managed to reach a satisfying conclusion.

This week we’re revisiting the story–posting a segment every day–and hope you will enjoy watching it unfold again or for the first time.

So, without further ado, here is where it all started:  a Highland-based short story using  a character who found something unexpected, incorporating the words basket, symbol, siren, bottle, freewill, baby, future, confusion, absurdly, little, grabbing, aroma, banana, vision, identical and robbery.

Enjoy!

The Laird’s Legacy

“As you can see, we’re jam-packed…” Moira Douglas gestured to the dining room behind her. The But & Ben was rarely full in high summer, let alone in early October, but tonight every family in the village was there, trying to look casual and hoping Moira’s home cooking and smooth talking would persuade the visiting Canadian where Charlie the Solicitor Advocate’s carefully worded suggestions had failed.

Jordy MacHugh smiled politely. He had to duck his head to get through the doorway but now he stood tall, blocking the entrance. It was an assertive sort of politeness, worthy of his long-dead ancestors, masters of cattle raiding and border robbery. “The Pointing Dog had a kitchen fire. They had to close for the evening, so they sent me over here. They promised you’d feed me.”

Of course they did. There was a lot of him to feed, and while he’d reportedly made fast work of a full Highland breakfast complete with porridge and black pudding, that was eight hours ago. Since then Charlie had walked the incomer all the way round the boundaries of the McHugh property with little more to fuel them than a packet of oatcakes and a flask of coffee.

Right on cue, Jordy’s stomach rumbled. “I’m starving hungry, and it’s a twenty-mile drive to the next village. Can you please squeeze me in somehow?” Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Welcome to the last Friday in July.  Hard to imagine, isn’t it?  Seems like children just got out of school for summer vacation last week, but some are already going back in the next week or two.

I might have to break down and get a calendar so I can keep track.

Happy “National Cheesecake Day” (if you’re reading this on July 30th).  While a slice of cake won’t slow down time, it will make it pass in a tasty manner.  Frankly, I was rather hoping for National Ice Cream Day, but that was a couple of weeks ago.  Maybe I’ll just celebrate it again anyway, just in case I didn’t do a thorough job of it the first time.

Sounds like a plan, right?  

In the meantime it’s “Not My Day Off After All Day” for me today.  A big meeting has come up that I need to attend so, instead of puttering around the house today I’ll be in front of the computer with my headset on.  At least I’ll be able to enjoy a view of the flowers blooming in the yard while I do that.  Not quite the same as a day off, but it will have to do.

Once my meetings are over, I have some roses that are in desperate need of a trim.  Then I plan to turn my recent lemon-tree harvest into a refreshing pitcher of lemonade and take a shot at today’s writing prompt and random words.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Wednesday Story Short

1801- August-1801-morning

If this is Wednesday, then it must be time to share another story short.

I’ve been weeding through the Regency romance books on my bookshelves–well, maybe overflowing from my bookshelves would be a better description–so when I came across this little short story from a Regency-themed Friday Writing Sprint in my writing notebook, I thought it would be fun to share.

The story includes (most) of the following random words:  diaphanous, curricle, cravat, Viscount, pianoforte, waltz, chaperone, whist, rake, gambling, masquerade, classical, and soiree.

Challenge Accepted

Miss Danby, the Delightful Diaphanous Diane, managed to catch the eye of Baron Norwich not long after she arrived in town for the season. A proposal followed soon thereafter and her father, Lord Danby, breathed a sigh of relief.

The baron wasn’t a rake or a gambler and though his title wasn’t grand or his face much to look at, his mind was sound, and his pockets were deep. The Danby family finances were secure once again – or would be as soon as the couple said, “I do”. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Vanilla Ice Cream Day” (if you’re reading this on July 23th).  It’s also “National Peanut Butter and Chocolate Day”, which sounds like a pretty good combination for a milkshake. 

Personally, I’m holding out for “National Internet Service is Fully Restored Day”.  It has been a full week now of an internet that has been working for random 10-minute intervals here and there or just plain non-existent.  The “repair estimates” have alternated from “soon” to “sometime on Saturday.”

Thank goodness for my cell phone and for being able to work from the office instead of home–though that does mean I’ll have to actually wear shoes and something other than yoga pants.

Ah well, this too shall pass.

Other than wishing for internet service so I can go back to randomly Googling things, I plan to work on perfecting my mixed-drink skills and take a shot at today’s writing prompt and random words after work today–though possibly not in that order.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Wednesday Story Short

Hi there.  Welcome to Wednesday and another story short.

This week we’re continuing the story that started last week.  Detective Cassie is undercover at Barnacle Bob’s Bordello and Steakhouse trying to find out who is stirring up trouble in town. Just as she was about to get some information from Nicolai Papadopoulos, this happened:

Nicolai fell forward, crashing into her. She smacked her head into something as she landed on the ground, his dead-weight on top of her. Her last thought, as the darkness closed in was that this wasn’t quite the scenario she had in mind when she fantasized about getting closer to Nicolai.

And now for our next installment, which used the prompts from a Friday Writing Sprint that included the words from the following list:  harpoon, confetti,, bubblegum, dalliance, anvil, witness, contradiction, ticking, riddle, incinerate, decode, and bluff.

I hope you enjoy it.

# # #

The Saga Continues

“Get off me you big lug.” Cassie pushed at the beguiling testosterone based life-form currently pinning her to the ground. After a few tries she managed to shift him just enough to squirm free.

Once upright she tore off her dolphin mask, quickly regretting the sudden movement. Apparently Satan’s own blacksmith had been using her head for an anvil. “Ouch.” She gingerly felt her scalp. There was a sizable lump but, fortunately, no blood. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Spinach Day” (if you’re reading this on July 16th).  It’s also “National Corn Fritter Day”, which is not quite so healthy, but they definitely something I remember loving when we had them on “Fish Fridays” when I was a kid.   

It’s also both “World Snake Day” and “Guinea Pig Appreciation Day”.  I’m guessing it might be best to celebrate those separately, just to be on the safe side.  

Frankly, I’m holding out for “National Lay Around the House Reading and Watching Television Day,” but I haven’t been able to find that on any list.  Instead, what I’ve found is a ToDo list that never seems to get any shorter; probably because I keep ignoring it.

Today’s another regular work day for me, so there’s not likely to be a great deal of celebrating to do.  On the plus side, a number of my co-workers are off on vacation, so it is at least likely to be a relatively quiet day.  Our crazy weather has been quite chilly this week (the heater even kicked in one morning!), so whatever I do, I’m not likely to wind up sweaty.  Well, except during my time on the elliptical.  After that I plan to work on perfecting my Gin & Tonic skills and to take a shot at today’s writing prompt and random words.

Care to join me? Continue reading