Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – The Cuddly Puppy Edition

Echo ©Scott Eldridge photography

Today is National Puppy Day.  For those who prefer kittens, your day is October 29th, while human babies get May 2nd.  I love the fact that someone (or many someone(s)) have found something to celebrate for every day.    In addition to being National Puppy Day, today is also apparently National Chip & Dip Day, National Melba Toast Day, and World Meteorological Day.  That’s a lot to fit in a single day 🙂

I think I’ll stick with the puppies.

For those who are curious:

“Puppy Day was established [in 2006] to bring awareness to the world about puppy mills and how to go about adopting.

Sadly, my house is currently devoid of puppies (something the cat totally approves of), so I’ll have to find something else to occupy my time.  Sounds like a little Random Word Improv is in order.

Who’s with me? 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: Friday Writing Sprints – St. Patrick’s Edition

Welcome to another Friday or, as I like to think of it, the participatory portion of our blog.

As you may have noticed by the preponderance of shamrock decorations, parades, “Kiss Me I’m Irish” buttons, and grocery store ads for corned beef and cabbage, it’s time for another St. Patrick’s Day.  Although the day began as a religious and cultural holiday celebrating Saint Patrick on the anniversary of his death, it has evolved into a day of revelry that includes copious amounts of food, drink, and goodwill (hopefully).

My own celebration will include the traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner though, frugal Irish girl that I am, I’ll be waiting until Saturday so I can buy my ingredients at post-holiday sale prices.    In the meantime, I think I’ll do a little baking.  What better addition to a St. Patrick’s Day dinner than a Guinness Chocolate Cake.  As a bonus, those 50 minutes while the cake is baking will be just perfect for a little Random Word Improv.

Who’s with me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Celebrating Women

Another week is coming to a close, bringing with it the start of Daylight Savings Time in many parts of the US this Sunday.  Fortunately I’m kicking off a 3-day weekend, so I’ll have plenty of time to make up for the hour of sleep I’ll lose when the time “springs forward” early Sunday morning.

With dry weather and sunny skies predicted for the next week or so, my 3-day weekend is likely to include a fair amount of yard-work as I attempt to reclaim my backyard from the jungle of weeds that are attempting to take over, thanks to all of the recent rains.   Regardless of whatever else I have planned, my weekend is also going to include plenty of writing time.

The last few weeks have been crazy busy with the day-job, which means I’ve had very little time or inspiration available for writing.  Watching the news coverage and reading posts about this week’s International Women’s Day marches and celebrations, however, has sparked lots of ideas that I can’t wait to get on paper, so I’ll be starting off my day with a little Random Word Improv.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Let the Good Times Roll!

mardi_grasWhether you are religious or not, you’re probably aware of the Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”) celebrations that wrapped up this week.

“Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

 I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans, where Mardi Gras is celebrated all the way from Twelfth Night to Ash Wednesday.  It looks like such fun.  Plus, there are strings of beads.  As my family can tell you, I’m a sucker for brightly colored beads.

Unfortunately, “New Orleans Square” in Disneyland is about as close as I’ve come to New Orleans, so for now I’ll have to watch the festivities from a distance.  Thanks to the internet, I’ve been able to enjoy the parades, musicians, and colorful costumes vicariously.  This year, as always, I was amazed by the creativity and the joy and excitement.  Having read a number of cozy-mysteries lately, I also couldn’t help but think that it would be a great setting for a murder mystery (I’ve probably even read a few).

Though I’d don’t have any plans to write a murder mystery just now, I’m sure I can fit in a little Mardi Gras inspired Random Word Improv.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Accentuate the Positive

accentuate_the_positiveI’ve got a box of old ’78 records in the garage that belonged to my mother years ago when she was accordion playing young mom.  As you might guess, there are a number of polka songs in the mix.  There were also a couple of the records that I used to play over and over when I was a kid.

One was Frank Sinatra singing Five Minutes More.

“Give me five minutes more,
only five minutes more
Let me stay, let me stay in your arms
Here am I, begging for
only five minutes more
Only five minutes more of your charms”

The other was Bing Crosby singing Accentuate the Positive.

“You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between”

I recently came across the box of records and wound up the old Victrola to give them a listen (yes, I really do still have one).  They were a little scratchier sounding than then used to be, but they were just as much fun as I remembered.  I thought Accentuate the Positive was especially fitting, given all that’s going on in the world these days. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – The Hot Sweaty Sex Edition

love_holding_handsWhat better way to wrap up Valentine’s week than with a little hot, sweaty sex?

Right?

For the last few weeks we’ve been talking about writing (or not writing, as the case may be) sex scenes.  If you missed the posts, you can check them out here, here, here, here, and here.  It’s an interesting topic and one that has no real right or wrong answers.  What works for one reader may leave another cold, bored, dissatisfied, or skipping ahead.

I did a little research via my own bookshelves and found that, as a reader, I’m not even consistent about which scenes work for me and which don’t.  One of the “didn’t work for me” scenes was 27 pages long.   I’m still not entirely certain exactly what happened and I’m pretty sure some things were anatomically impossible.  Conversely, a scene that “did work for me” was almost as long, but had great pacing, a dash of humor, advanced the plot, and left a nice tingly feeling at the end.

What’s a writer to do? Continue reading