Nancy: They Shoot Lounge Lizards, Don’t They? A Christmas(ish) Tale Part 2

Happy holidays once again! Last week, I presented part 1 of Cynthia and Derek’s prequel story. If you missed it, you can read it right here. And after today’s entry, you might want to read the story that started it all, They Shoot Flamingos, Don’t They? A Christmas(ish) Tale

As a reminder, to meet this year’s story challenge, my heroine received the unexpected Christmas Eve gift of an open bar tab in Vegas. Of the six random words I did not use last week, I used four this week: northern, knuckle, dove, and pure. Happy reading!

They Shoot Lounge Lizards, Don’t They? A Christmas(ish) Tale, Part 1

Shortly before 10 PM, after an excellent dinner and just a couple more shots of very fine whiskey, I walked two blocks to the fake volcano. It seemed absurdly early for the last show in Vegas, but it meant seeing tall, dark, and delectable that much sooner, so I hung on the edges of the crowd and waited for him. The volcano rumbled to life, spewing smoke and fake magma to the delighted oohs, aahs, and flash photography of the crowd. After a few unimpressive minutes—at least, if you’ve seen the real thing—the show was over.

And so was any hope I’d had of catching up with Mr. Right Now. Derek had stood me up. Second guy in one night. A girl could get a complex from less. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy Friday.  Whether you’re in the midst of holiday celebrations or enjoying the remaining days of 2019, I hope you’ve had a wonderful week.  Mine has been filled with family, good food, and maybe a jigsaw puzzle or two.

Here on the blog, we’re in the midst of our annual Christmas Week Short Story Challenge.  Several of the Eight Ladies have already posted their stories and there are a few more yet to come.  All of you blog-readers are welcome to participate as well (the story prompt and words are included below).  You can post your own story (or a link to your story) in the comments below on this post or on any of the upcoming Short Story posts.

The rules of the Challenge are simple – write a short story based on the specified prompt and include at least three of the random words on the list; extra points for including more than three words and extra points with sparkles for Holiday references.

What if:   Your character received an anonymous/mysterious/unexpected gift? Continue reading

Nancy: They Shoot Lounge Lizards, Don’t They? Part 1

Two years ago, I returned from a trip to LA shortly before we got our Christmas story prompt and challenge words. One of the words that year was flamingo, and somehow my trip and that word sparked a fun, steamy story I called They Shoot Flamingos, Don’t They? It was a blast to write that story, and I’ve always intended to revisit that world. So for this year’s challenge, I’m doing a prequel to Flamingos, flashing back to the previous Christmas when Cynthia and Derek met. In Las Vegas, because of course. Since this will be another long short story, I’m breaking it into two parts. I hope you enjoy it and come back next week for part 2!

Regarding the story prompt, our heroine receives an unexpected gift in the form of an open bar tab…you’ll see what I mean. And the challenge words I’ve used in part 1 are: blinking, warm, seed, bittersweet, bauble, invitation, coat, sticky, aversion, and challenge.

They Shoot Lounge Lizards, Don’t They? A Christmas(ish) Tale, Part 1

There had to be a better way to get a date.

I sucked down the last few bittersweet drops of my Jack Daniel’s Black Label—neat, thank you very much—and tapped my phone to consciousness to check the time. My could-be loverboy from LoveStruck was officially fifteen minutes late. That’ll teach me to swipe right on anyone willing to meet for a drink on Christmas Eve in Vegas. Continue reading

Elizabeth: 6th Annual Christmas Week Short Story Challenge!

© Eldridge Photography

Long-time readers of the blog may recall that around this time of year we tend to take a break from talking about writers and writing and do a little storytelling instead.  It’s like a multi-week version of our regular Friday Writing Sprints.

We’re kicking off this year’s Christmas Week Short Story Challenge today and several of the Eight Ladies will be posting their stories during the next week or so.  All of you blog-readers are welcome to participate as well.  You can post your own story (or a link to your story) in the comments below on this post or on any of the upcoming Short Story posts.

The rules of the Challenge are simple – write a short story based on the specified prompt and include at least three of the random words on the list; extra points for including more than three words and extra points with sparkles for Holiday references.

What if:   Your character received an anonymous/mysterious/unexpected gift?

As always, feel free to interpret the “What if” any way you choose (or ignore it completely) if your story-muse takes you in a different direction.

northern      blinking       warm             kingdom

seed             social            knuckle         bittersweet

dove            bauble          pure               invitation

coat             sticky            aversion        challenge

Whatever length story you want to write – that’s exactly the length we’re looking for.

While you wait for this year’s stories, feel free to get in the mood by checking out some of last year’s entries:

Even better, try your hand at today’s words and post your results in the comments for all to enjoy.

Let the challenge begin!

Elizabeth: 5th Annual Christmas Week Short Story Challenge!

© Eldridge Photography

Long-time readers of the blog may recall that around this time of year we tend to take a break from talking about writers and writing and do a little storytelling instead.  It’s like a multi-week version of our regular Friday Writing Sprints.

We’re kicking off this year’s Christmas Week Short Story Challenge today and several of the Eight Ladies will be posting their stories during the next week or so.  All of you blog-readers are welcome to participate as well.  You can post your own story (or a link to your story) in the comments below on this post or on any of the upcoming Short Story posts.

The rules of the Challenge are simple – write a short story based on the specified prompt and include at least three of the random words on the list; extra points for including more than three words and extra points with sparkles for Holiday references.

Prompt:  A December 31st Wedding

The wedding for your short story can be any kind of wedding, anywhere.  Whether it’s been planned for months or spur-of-the-moment; it’s between childhood sweethearts or mortal enemies; or it goes off without a hitch or crashes and burns – the details are completely up to you.

Oh, and here is a set of random words to give you some food for thought:

angel                 ambivalent         blaze              baffling

zipper                estate                 fiasco              honeymoon

blurt                   eruption            collision          diamond

mysterious        grizzly                naked              drunk 

Whatever length story you want to write – that’s exactly the length we’re looking for.

While you wait for this year’s stories, feel free to get in the mood by checking out some of last year’s entries:

Even better, try your hand at today’s words and post your results in the comments for all to enjoy.

Let the challenge begin!

Elizabeth: A Visit from “Saint” Nic

Time for another entry in our annual Short Story Challenge (you can see this year’s words here).

Kay got us off to a delicious start with her feel-good snowy tale Botticelli Pizza, followed by Michaeline’s Steampunk Christmas Story and part one of Jilly’s mysterious ghostly tale Midnight Reflections (you’ll have to wait for New Year’s Eve for the conclusion to that story).  If you haven’t read them yet, make sure to check them out; they’re each fun, entertaining takes on this year’s words.

My own entry features Detective Cassie McColl and Nicolai Papadopoulos, who readers of the blog might remember from a series of Friday Writing Sprints earlier this year (or was that last year?).  Hope you enjoy it.

***

A Visit from “Saint” Nic

I gave the zip-ties encircling the wrists of the latest felon to cross my path a tug to make sure they were secure before handing him off to the security guard for transport to the local jail.  That made eight, with four hours still to go on my shift.

If it was up to me I’d have made a public spectacle of walking him out the door as a warning to all of the other wanna-be criminals in the area, but the owners of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino preferred a more subtle approach.

Definitely a mistake on their part. Continue reading

Elizabeth: 4th Annual Christmas Week Short Story Challenge!

Long-time readers of the blog may recall that around this time of year we tend to take a break from talking about writers and writing and do a little storytelling instead.  It’s like a multi-week version of our regular Friday Writing Sprints.

I’m kicking off this year’s Christmas Week Short Story Challenge today and several of the Eight Ladies will be posting their stories during the next two weeks.  All of you blog-readers are welcome to participate as well.  You can post your own story (or a link to your story) in the comments below on this post or on any of the upcoming Short Story posts.

The rules of the Challenge are simple – write a short story based on the specified theme and include at least three of the random words on the list; extra points for including more than three words and extra points with sparkles for Holiday references.

The theme for this year’s challenge is: Continue reading

Elizabeth: Mistletoe Reboot – A Christmas Short Story

Couple embracing wrapped in Christmas lights

Happy Wednesday everyone.  Below is my contribution to the Annual Christmas Week Short Story Challenge that we kicked off last Friday.

If you’ve been away for a while, be sure to check out the entries we’ve had so far by Kay, Michaeline, Jilly, and Nancy.

Mistletoe Reboot

Maddie looked at the shards of broken glass and dried greenery at the bottom of the ornament box and wondered if the universe was trying to tell her something.

Dan had given her the mistletoe filled globe on their first anniversary; a reminder of when they first met at a holiday party thrown by mutual friends.

Back then they’d been full of plans and dreams for the future.  Continue reading

Elizabeth: 3rd Annual Christmas Week Short Story Challenge

Santa and his sleighWelcome to another edition of Friday Writing Sprints here on the blog.  It’s time to wrap up another week and, if you are so inclined, participate in your holiday celebration(s) of choice.  Whatever your plans, I hope you enjoy them.

Curling up under the blankets with a good book is my plan for at least part of the day but, in between that and some cookie baking, I think I’ll make time for a little Random Word Improv to make sure my creativity stays in top form for those New Year’s writing resolutions that are sure to be forthcoming.

Plus, it’s fun, and who doesn’t want that? Continue reading

Kay: Resetting Creativity

fairytale1

Illustration for “The Green Forest Fairy Book” by Loretta Ellen Brady, illustrated by Alice B. Preston, 1920

If I haven’t said it thirty thousand times already in this space, let me say it now: I hate the cold. (I also hate the heat. I’m an equal-opportunity hater of extreme weather.) However, for some inexplicable reason, this season, as chilly as it’s been in northern California (and it has been chilly!), I’ve been happily productive on my languishing WIP. It’s like the cold cleared out my brain or reset my creative thermostat, or something. I sit down every day and do something good on that manuscript. It really is a holiday miracle.

Consequently, I used today’s solid productivity gains as a warm-up for tomorrow’s Writing Sprint challenge that Elizabeth always posts on Fridays. She gave the Ladies the words in advance this year in case we wanted to get a head start on our holiday entries, and—although I’m jumping the gun by a day—if I don’t post this story today, I won’t be able to post it for another two weeks, by which time we’ll be into the new year and it will be too late.

That just seems wrong. So here’s my holiday story. Think of it as a sneak peak, and see if you can guess which words Elizabeth will post tomorrow for her writing sprint.  Continue reading