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

Elizabeth: January Short Story

fireball_whiskeyAs Nancy wrote in her Writers Resist post on Monday and Kay reiterated in her Art in Turbulent Times post last Thursday, it’s important to keep creating (whatever your art), even when things are challenging; maybe especially when things are challenging.

I’ve been making a concerted effort these past weeks to make sure my daily writing time doesn’t get swept away by deep dives into the internet news vortex or extra hours at work.  My success has been varied (my boss did have to tell me to go home this evening), but I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.

To help keep myself honest and on track, I’ll be posting a short-short story once a month in my Wednesday post.  Today’s story is based on the last few Friday Writing Sprint word-sets.

Enjoy. Continue reading

Jilly: Mistletoe and Ivy – A Christmas Short Story

mistletoe-and-ivyHappy holidays, everyone! Here’s my contribution to this year’s 8 Ladies Christmas Short Story Challenge.

Check out Elizabeth’s post on Friday for the rules, prompt words, and a magical snippet from Michaeline. And click here for Kay’s delightfully tweaked fairytale.

Mistletoe and Ivy

Rob Smith (not his real name) fixed a large spray of mistletoe to the deer antlers that branched conveniently over the sheepskin rug in front of the log fire. Saving the free world from the bad guys was what he did, three hundred and sixty four days a year. Accepting personal thanks from a single representative of those he saved was his annual gift to himself on the three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth.

This year he had the Ambassador’s daughter to snuggle with. When he’d returned the gorgeous Gina safe and sound to her famous, wealthy and relieved father, she’d made it clear, in scandalous detail, that she wished to reward him in person.

Gina hadn’t been happy he’d made her wait so long, but really, what better time than Christmas to turn that fantasy into reality?

His pager buzzed. Oh, no, you don’t. Not today.

He turned it off.

It turned itself back on and buzzed louder.

He threw it out of the cabin door and into a snowdrift where it vibrated loudly for a third time before falling silent.

Three times? Whatever it was, it was bad.

He fished carefully into the breast pocket of his woolen shirt as though his satphone was an IED. It might as well have been. He turned it on and waited for his boss’s PA to ruin his holiday. Ivy McPherson, probably not her real name. Known as The Icicle, which should have been. Continue reading