Elizabeth: September Short Story

It’s been a while, but now that summer is coming to a close and I’m back from vacation, it’s time to get back to my monthly short stories.

The initial kernel of this story was an actual incident from my past.  That, coupled with an article I read not long ago about the Capital Vices, percolated along for a few days and the story below is the result.

I leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide what the past inciting incident was.

Enjoy.

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Taking Care of Business

Madeline Cooper looked around the table in the banquet area of Lucifer’s Landing at the sea of arrogant, vain, greedy suits and couldn’t wait for the results of her carefully laid plans to unfold.  She savored a bite of her lemon tart, the tangy sweetness a nice contrast to the slightly bitter taste of her cappuccino, then stabbed her fork into the hand that persisted in groping her thigh under the table.

“Next time I’ll use the knife,” she murmured to Mr Lucent, owner of the aforementioned hand, as she dropped both it and the fork back into his own lap.  He glowered at her then, his wits scrambled by the vast quantity of alcohol he’d consumed during dinner, apparently decided she was just flirting with him and flashed a lecherous smile instead.

“Tonight’s going to be your lucky night, little lady,” he said with a wink.

You have no idea, she thought. Continue reading

Elizabeth: June Short Story

Time to wrap up another month, which means it’s time for another short story as part of my plan to consistently get some words on the page each month.  This month’s brief story grew out of last Friday’s random words and was influenced a bit, in terms of character, by the old English-set mystery books I’ve recently been reading (not that this is a mystery).  The story turned out a bit different from the version that ran through my head on my drive home from work, but then that always seems to happen.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s this month’s story.

Enjoy.

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Nigel vs. the Nephews

“No charades.”  Oh, kill me now.  Nigel Weatherby did his best to ignore the whine of disappointed voices and remained on the couch with his eyes closed against the midday sun, doing an excellent imitation of a boneless mass.

It was just an illusion though.  When he wasn’t draped over the sofa thwarting his nephews, Nigel was a championship swimmer, as well as a black belt and who knows what else.  He merely preferred to conserve energy for when it was absolutely necessary.

Charades in no way qualified as necessary. Continue reading

Elizabeth: April Short Story

Has it been another month already?  Seems like the year just started and it’s already a third of the way done.  Where’s that ‘slow down’ lever?”

This month’s short story was inspired by a recent parade I attended.  I was trying to keep an eye on my son (who was playing in the parade) and I kept losing him as the band members marched and moved in various patterns.  I couldn’t help but think how (theoretically) easy it would be for someone to slip out of formation, commit a crime, and return to his position with no one being the wiser.  One idea led to another, and the result is the short story below.

Enjoy. Continue reading

Elizabeth: March Regency Story Snippet

A Receipt for Courtship, 1805

Normally, this would be the day that I post a new monthly short story, but Jilly and Nancy both posted story snippets in their recent posts, so I thought I’d continue that trend this month instead.

My Writing Exercises post last Wednesday featured a couple, stuck together in a cramped closet.  Coincidentally, I’ve been working on my Regency romance, which just so happens to include a couple trapped together in close quarters, so I thought that might be a fun scene to share.

As a little set-up, Michael (Wallingford) is searching for the source of some treason accusations.  He and Abigail are married, but it was a marriage of convenience and they are in the process of getting to know one another.    Abigail is, as you will notice, not your typical, demure Regency miss.

Would love to hear what you think (what works and/or what doesn’t).

Enjoy. Continue reading

Nancy: Murder Clues Part 2

Last week, I shared a snippet of a scene from the world of Nicky O, that Nordic Noir that I swear I’m going to write in 2018 (she says while safely ensconced in the first quarter of 2017). If you missed it, you can check it out here.

As promised, I spent some time this past week finishing the scene not only so I could share it with you, but so I could continue the discovery process with this character. One thing that emerged was that Nick might not completely trust his married lover. Quelle suprise, right? So, without further ado, I give you the conclusion of the Murder Clues vignette.

***

Pernilla reached into her pocket and pulled out a packet, which she tossed to me. I pulled out a Tyvek cap and booties.

“I don’t need the techs finding your DNA when they come out here.”

I finished adjusting the cap over my hair, then touched her arm. “If you’re going to treat this like a crime scene, what are you waiting for? Why bring me here first?”

I tried to keep my tone light, but something didn’t compute. Maybe Pernilla wanted to see my reaction to the place, to assess whether I’d been here before. Maybe she was still suspicious of me. Maybe the only person in all of Denmark who seemed to have any faith left in me didn’t believe me after all.

“I’m sure this will break your heart, but I want you for your mind. Your weird, hyper-logical, beautiful mind.” She shot me one of those half-grins that made her look like the fifteen-year-old girl who had, in fact, broken my heart into a million thirteen-year-old pieces. “You see things differently. I’m hoping you’ll pick up on something my techs won’t. But don’t touch anything. Not one thing, understand?”

I held my hands up in front of me. “Touch nothing. Got it.”

“And put on your gloves, just in case.”

“Not that you don’t trust me, right?” Continue reading

Nancy: Spring Cleaning and a Vignette

Danish Christmas Hearts

A few days ago, Michaeline told us about her ambitious plans for spring equinox cleaning and decluttering, both physically and mentally. There does tend to be something about the changing season that makes us crave restored order (or maybe it’s just a Virgo thing).

I tend to keep my physical spaces neat and orderly, but even the most stereotypical Virgo can have a mess somewhere that could benefit from some springtime TLC. Mine happens to be virtual. So while Michaeline focuses on her office and brain spaces, I’m focusing on my computer. One of the virtual folders pinned to my desktop I’ve neglected for quite a while is labeled Vignettes. Turns out, that’s where I’ve saved flash fiction pieces inspired by, among other things, Elizabeth’s Friday writing sprints. I haven’t had the time and writing bandwidth to participate in those lately, so it was fun to see what I’d written in the past.

Some of you might recall I have a plan for a mystery series set in Copenhagen, with protagonist Nicholai Olesen, or Nicky O as I often call him. One of the stories in my neglected Vignettes folder is about Nicky O, and while I’m pretty sure this showed up in the comments section at some point in time, I thought I’d post it here just to remind any Nick fans that he still exists somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain and he really will get his own book(s) one of these days. In this partial scene, Nick and his married lover/police detective Pernilla (who is often angry at him for so many reasons) are looking for clues to help track the killer who tried to frame Nick and…well, you can get caught up on how Nick got himself into this mess in the first place by first reading Parapluie (previously titled Copenhagen Blues) and Lost Hearts in Copenhagen. Then come back here to read Murder Clues (yeah, that title needs work, but hey, free fiction!). I’ll finish the scene and let you in on what Nick and Pernilla find in a second installment next week.

And to kick off our writing week in style, how about sharing a scene/vignette/opening paragraph of something of your own in the comments?

Murder Clues

When I slid into the passenger’s seat of Pernilla’s tiny black Puegot a little after nine that night, she didn’t spare me a glance or a word. Just floored the gas pedal and sent us zooming down the side streets of Vesterbro before I could even click my seatbelt into place. I took her dark mood to mean she’d neither forgiven nor forgotten the sins I’d committed against her over the past 72 hours. Continue reading

Elizabeth: February Short Story

Unexpected street signAs we’ve talked about on the blog before, it’s important to keep creating (whatever your art), even when things are challenging; maybe especially when things are challenging.

This month I’ve been continuing to try and make sure my daily writing time doesn’t get completely swept away by deep dives into the internet news vortex or extra hours at work, though my success has been varied.  I looked up at work this evening and realized everyone had gone home long before me and then got distracted by the evening news when I got home.  Obviously, I my “focusing on writing” still need some practice.

Anyway, as I mentioned last month, I’m posting a short-short story once a month as a way to make sure I keep writing.  Today’s story is based on an idea from an old writing journal, along with a set of random words.

Enjoy. Continue reading