Elizabeth: Short Story Play Along

I didn’t get a chance to give Friday’s story prompt and random words a try until this afternoon, but I figured that it’s never too late.

My sprint-timer went off before I finished, so I’m hoping maybe someone else will feel inspired to add a little more to the story, like we did with the Scottish story a few months ago.

If not, I may have to see if this Friday’s words inspire some further action.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the start of the story of a character in week 2 of quarantine, including most of the words flavor, terror, meat, daffodil, deceit, doctor, captivity, playtime, crystal, graffiti, boredom, boast, hiss, casino, ammonia, and applause.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong

Daffodil Masters McWhorter blew an errant curl of auburn hair out of her eyes for the millionth time and dealt two more cards in her latest game of Casino.  It was week two of the nation-wide quarantine and she was miles beyond boredom.  No shopping.  No bars.  No friends.

Ugh! Continue reading

Jeanne: Cover Me

Old wooden gate with lianasI’ve just finished drafting a short story titled “Original Sin.” It’s the origin story of Lilith, the demon who has been a minor character in every Touched by a Demon story so far. I’m planning to offer it as a freebie to all the subscribers to my newsletter.

Because I don’t plan to receive any revenue from this story, it’s really tempting to cheap out on the cover. (Likewise, to skip paying an editor.) But if the story’s purpose is to attract and keep readers, it needs to be shiny and polished—my best stuff.

Ergo, professional cover (and copy editor).

I was thinking about doing a cover depicting the Garden of Eden beneath the arc of fiery angel wings that are the hallmark of my first two covers but Eight Lady Jilly thought that was a mistake.

“I’m convinced,” she said, “that the most effective covers for romance depict the main character.” Her cover for The Seeds of Power, you may recall, features Princess Christal Hollin of Larrochar and it’s worked well for her. Continue reading

Jilly: Life, But Not As We Know It

Yesterday Michaeline reported that Hokkaido is no longer in a state of emergency, so she and her family are free to socialize and celebrate the spring equinox. Yay, Hokkaido!

In my corner of London things are…strange. In true British fashion we’re not ordered to stay home, just strongly requested to do so. Pubs, clubs and bars are closed, ditto theaters and cinemas. Public transport is running a reduced service, and consumer stockpiling has stripped the supermarket shelves. We’ve been strongly requested not to panic buy food and toiletries, but so far that request has been more honored in the breach than the observance.

So far I don’t know anyone who’s had the illness, but I know lots of people who’re suffering the financial consequences of avoiding it. Friends who’ve lost their jobs or fear they may be about to; business owners who’ve lost everything almost overnight; pensioners who’ve seen their retirement savings devastated. The government is undertaking a massive program of financial intervention, and we have to hope that will mitigate the effects for the worst-hit people. Continue reading

Michaeline: Random Quarantine Thoughts

I just want to get a little writing done. Well, and about a hundred other things. (Image via Wikimedia Commons) Inu no Koku by Utamaro Kitagawa (1753-1806), translated The Hour of a Dog, a print of a traditional Japanese woman writing on a long scroll and talking to a servant or an apprentice behind her. Digitally enhanced from our own original edition.

Brian Eno News Twitter (not the real Brian Eno, apparently) posts a random artistic strategy* nearly every day, and the one I saw today was: Disciplined self-indulgence. Well, I don’t do “disciplined” very well, but when I make an effort, my self-indulgence is off the charts, so here it goes.

So, first: a bit of news. Hokkaido’s state of emergency ran from February 28 until March 19, which means that as of Friday (a public holiday celebrating the equinox), we are free from government requests to stay inside.

 To tell the truth, though, I didn’t feel very much of a difference, because despite my best efforts, I’ve managed to get a sore throat. So, aside from work and a trip to the grocery store to stock up for the three-day weekend, I wasn’t out and about to feel the celebratory mood.

I’d say the crowd at the grocery store was slightly busier than usual, and I saw more Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Captain’s Starlog, Day 3 . . . wait, that’s not right.

Welcome to the end of a crazy week. It started slow and has ended up with the entire state of California in “time-out.”  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard people reference the 1918 influenza pandemic (formerly known as the “Spanish Flu”).

Fans of numbers and charts are undoubtedly having a field day dealing with all of the data points floating around.  I must admit even I had a bit of fun (relative term) playing with one of the interactive “what if” scenario charts in one New York Times article.

When I haven’t been busy tracking the news, I’ve been busy trying to maintain a semblance of normal as my day job department has transitioned to “work at home.”  It’s not much of a change for me, since I periodically work at home, although there have been some drawbacks, like the fact that I looked up at 8:30 this evening and realized I should have stopped working hours ago.

Tomorrow I plan to do a better job of managing my work at home time.  If nothing else, I’d like to avoid another 8:35 dinner time.  Since it appears we’ll be trapped at home for the duration, I’m busy thinking about home improvement projects I can tackle.  If things go on long enough I’m pretty sure I’ll wind up painting the walls; that’s far better than climbing them.  I can’t help but think how ironic it is to be trapped at home during the one time when calling in all of the various repairmen I’ve been waiting to schedule is not an option.

For a treat, I think I’ll give today’s writing prompt and random words a try after work.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Kay: There’s a Bug Out There

Like Elizabeth, who posted yesterday about things to do while you’re at home, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are “sheltering in place,” so we’re not leaving the house except to go to the grocery store, doctor’s office, or a job that’s described as “essential.” As grim as this might sound, it’s not that much different than my regular life, since I’m a writer and a natural homebody. And when I talk to friends and family around the country, our situation doesn’t sound that much different than what they’re doing. So we’re really all in the same boat, at least those of us who are serious about not spreading the corona virus.

Continue reading

Elizabeth: While you Shelter in Place

Are you having a little trouble focusing on your writing these days with all that is going on in the world?

I know I am.

Where I live, about three-million people have essentially been grounded and sent to their room (separately).  I work in an “essential” industry, so I’m still going into work, which has its advantages:  my 20-minute commute, which typically takes an hour, is back to 20-minutes, and there is no trouble finding a place to park.  As an added bonus, the Starbucks drive-thru window is also apparently “essential” so I don’t have to worry about caffeine-withdrawal.

Though I don’t have to worry (unlike many others) about my job (and paycheck) disappearing as a result of business shutdowns, this kind of worldwide health crisis is still disturbing, especially when there are so many unknowns.

Thankfully, there is always the internet for a little needed distraction. Continue reading