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

Nancy: Christmas Story Redux

Danish Christmas Hearts

Danish Christmas Hearts

 

As I’ve been processing and applying lessons learned about story theme here, origin scenes here, and ways to use backstory well here, the world and some of the ladies here at 8LW have shifted into holiday mode. As Jilly reminded us yesterday, there are only three weeks left in December. With shorter days, colder weather, and festive Christmas lights everywhere I turn in my little corner of the world, I finally got my story brain out of springtime in Kentucky (the newest WIP) and turned my thoughts to Glogg (thanks, Michaeline for making me think of this!) and Christmas traditions. Which of course led me to thoughts about Nicky O, the protagonist of my future Nordic Noir mystery series. When I’m ready to write Nick’s book, I plan to write some great origin scenes for him. In the meantime, I thought I’d share some holiday spirit with all of you in the form of a story you might remember from last year of Nick’s not-so-merry Danish Christmas. And next week, there might just be a new Christmas story to enjoy. I hope you enjoy the Nick’s story, and have a wonderful and productive week with your own projects! Any snippets you want to share, holiday-related or otherwise, are welcome in the comments.

Lost Hearts in Copenhagen: A Christmas Vignette

The sun was setting over a misty Copenhagen on Christmas Eve. Smoldering streetlamps and twinkling Christmas lights cast equally eerie glows over the deserted streets on this high holy day of family celebrations. The rhythmic rocking of the nearly-empty mass transit bus made Nick Olesen’s eyes drift shut.

He’d spent a long, sleepless night in a police station cell and had only been released two hours earlier, after the seemingly airtight case against him for murder had fallen apart. Continue reading

Jilly: Short Story – Cinderella’s Big Night

I was too busy celebrating on Friday to join in Elizabeth’s New Year Writing Sprints, so here’s a belated contribution using her prompt words: resolution, bubble, wish, plan, cloud, confetti, sequin, neon, heist, fairy tale, riot, kissing and castle.

Cinderella's Big NightCinderella inched open her dressing-room door and paused seductively on the threshold of the bridal chamber. Her wedding dress had been a demure cloud of white silk and tulle, but there was nothing virginal about her nightgown. If the populace could see their fairy-tale princess now, there’d be a riot.

Her outfit was a scanty mix of midnight-blue satin and lace, with a few strategically placed ribbons and buttons to make life interesting for Prince Charlemagne. Continue reading

Nancy: Lost Hearts in Copenhagen – A Christmas Vignette

Danish Christmas Hearts

Danish Christmas Hearts

Happy holidays, all! This is my contribution to the Eight Ladies 2015 Christmas canon featuring words from Elizabeth’s writing sprints holiday edition. I’m picking up Nicky O’s story, the day after his arrest in Copenhagen Blues, which you can read here. It just so happens that this day is Christmas Eve, the main day of celebration in Denmark, and things are looking up for Nick. Or are they? (And sorry about the dead body, Elizabeth.)

The sun was setting over a misty Copenhagen on Christmas Eve. Smoldering streetlamps and twinkling Christmas lights cast equally eerie glows over the deserted streets on this high holy day of family celebrations. The rhythmic rocking of the nearly-empty mass transit bus made Nick Olesen’s eyes drift shut.

He’d spent a long, sleepless night in a police station cell and had only been released two hours earlier, after the seemingly airtight case against him for murder had fallen apart. The lead detective, who also happened to be Nick’s married lover, had whispered to him on the way out the door that she’d explain it all later. He hated himself for hanging not on her promise to explain how he’d just beaten a murder rap, but on her word that she’d sneak away from her husband to meet with him sometime over the holiday. Continue reading