Elizabeth: Wednesday Story Short

1801- August-1801-morning

If this is Wednesday, then it must be time to share another story short.

I’ve been weeding through the Regency romance books on my bookshelves–well, maybe overflowing from my bookshelves would be a better description–so when I came across this little short story from a Regency-themed Friday Writing Sprint in my writing notebook, I thought it would be fun to share.

The story includes (most) of the following random words:  diaphanous, curricle, cravat, Viscount, pianoforte, waltz, chaperone, whist, rake, gambling, masquerade, classical, and soiree.

Challenge Accepted

Miss Danby, the Delightful Diaphanous Diane, managed to catch the eye of Baron Norwich not long after she arrived in town for the season. A proposal followed soon thereafter and her father, Lord Danby, breathed a sigh of relief.

The baron wasn’t a rake or a gambler and though his title wasn’t grand or his face much to look at, his mind was sound, and his pockets were deep. The Danby family finances were secure once again – or would be as soon as the couple said, “I do”.

While she was relieved to have secured her future so quickly, Miss Danby was also, quite frankly, a bit disappointed. She had been looking forward to curricle rides in the park and waltzing at Almack’s. Instead, her father intended to cut their time in London short and return to the country at the end of the week. “No need to continue spending money when we’ve got a fish on the line,” he’d joked a few days earlier. Diane had immediately resolved to pack as much in her remaining days as possible.

Diane’s determination had, as always, led to impending disaster.

While her younger sister Caroline had been dutifully showing off her skills on the pianoforte at Lady Richford’s classical musicale the previous afternoon, Diane snuck away from the chaperones to walk with Viscount Lansing along the garden paths. The Viscount, with his title, good looks, and intricately tied cravat, was the current darling of London. The walk led to a kiss – the Viscount was well-known for his skills in that area – and the loss of the bracelet Baron Norwich had given Diane as a “symbol of his intentions.”

Viscount Lansing, thinking it a great joke, had refused to return the bracelet. Diane was beside herself, desperate to get the bracelet back before the Baron noticed it was gone and called off the engagement, considering her ruined goods.

All of which explained why the Danby ladies chose to attend Lady Lansing’s masquerade this evening instead of Lady Hamilton’s soiree. Once the evening was in full swing and her mother was fully engrossed at the whist table, Diane’s sister Caroline slipped off to search Lord Lansing’s study for the aforementioned bracelet.

Caroline was Irritated at having to, once again, save her sister from her own foolishness, but with the future of the family at stake she had little choice. A search of the desk turned up nothing and there did not appear to be any other logical hiding places in the room. As she was debating what to do next the door opened and a figure in a black domino entered the room.

Thankful that her mask hid her features, Caroline pretended to be engrossed in the nearby bookshelf, hoping to remain unnoticed.

“Looking for something, Miss Danby?” The deep amused voice belonged to none other than the Lord Lansing himself.

So much for remaining unnoticed. Deciding she had nothing to lose (no one would ever believe Lansing had designs on her), she straightened and turned toward him. “Yes, I am. My sister’s bracelet. Please return it immediately.” She held out her open hand and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Just as she was beginning to lose hope, he reached into his waistcoat pocket, fished out the bracelet, and dropped it into her hand. “Ah, who could resist such determination? Lady Diane is lucky to have a sister like you on her side.”

Relieved to have the bracelet back, Caroline turned to leave the room, then turned back to ask, “Why did you take the bracelet?”

Lord Lansing shrugged. “Perhaps I just wanted to meet you.”

Caroline’s brow rose in disbelief. “There are much easier ways to meet someone.”

“I thought it would be more fun this way.” He smiled. “And you definitely strike me as someone who could use a little fun in your life.”

Caroline narrowed her gaze at him. “You might be the darling of the ton, Lord Lansing, but I have higher standards. Good evening.”

As she turned and quit the room his parting words followed her. “Challenge accepted.”

# # #

I hope you enjoyed that.

Now, I can’t help wondering exactly what Lord Lansing might do next and what kind of obstacles Caroline will put in his path.

If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them.

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Vanilla Ice Cream Day” (if you’re reading this on July 23th).  It’s also “National Peanut Butter and Chocolate Day”, which sounds like a pretty good combination for a milkshake. 

Personally, I’m holding out for “National Internet Service is Fully Restored Day”.  It has been a full week now of an internet that has been working for random 10-minute intervals here and there or just plain non-existent.  The “repair estimates” have alternated from “soon” to “sometime on Saturday.”

Thank goodness for my cell phone and for being able to work from the office instead of home–though that does mean I’ll have to actually wear shoes and something other than yoga pants.

Ah well, this too shall pass.

Other than wishing for internet service so I can go back to randomly Googling things, I plan to work on perfecting my mixed-drink skills and take a shot at today’s writing prompt and random words after work today–though possibly not in that order.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Wednesday Story Short

Hi there.  Welcome to Wednesday and another story short.

This week we’re continuing the story that started last week.  Detective Cassie is undercover at Barnacle Bob’s Bordello and Steakhouse trying to find out who is stirring up trouble in town. Just as she was about to get some information from Nicolai Papadopoulos, this happened:

Nicolai fell forward, crashing into her. She smacked her head into something as she landed on the ground, his dead-weight on top of her. Her last thought, as the darkness closed in was that this wasn’t quite the scenario she had in mind when she fantasized about getting closer to Nicolai.

And now for our next installment, which used the prompts from a Friday Writing Sprint that included the words from the following list:  harpoon, confetti,, bubblegum, dalliance, anvil, witness, contradiction, ticking, riddle, incinerate, decode, and bluff.

I hope you enjoy it.

# # #

The Saga Continues

“Get off me you big lug.” Cassie pushed at the beguiling testosterone based life-form currently pinning her to the ground. After a few tries she managed to shift him just enough to squirm free.

Once upright she tore off her dolphin mask, quickly regretting the sudden movement. Apparently Satan’s own blacksmith had been using her head for an anvil. “Ouch.” She gingerly felt her scalp. There was a sizable lump but, fortunately, no blood. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Spinach Day” (if you’re reading this on July 16th).  It’s also “National Corn Fritter Day”, which is not quite so healthy, but they definitely something I remember loving when we had them on “Fish Fridays” when I was a kid.   

It’s also both “World Snake Day” and “Guinea Pig Appreciation Day”.  I’m guessing it might be best to celebrate those separately, just to be on the safe side.  

Frankly, I’m holding out for “National Lay Around the House Reading and Watching Television Day,” but I haven’t been able to find that on any list.  Instead, what I’ve found is a ToDo list that never seems to get any shorter; probably because I keep ignoring it.

Today’s another regular work day for me, so there’s not likely to be a great deal of celebrating to do.  On the plus side, a number of my co-workers are off on vacation, so it is at least likely to be a relatively quiet day.  Our crazy weather has been quite chilly this week (the heater even kicked in one morning!), so whatever I do, I’m not likely to wind up sweaty.  Well, except during my time on the elliptical.  After that I plan to work on perfecting my Gin & Tonic skills and to take a shot at today’s writing prompt and random words.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Wednesday Story Short

Hi there.  Welcome to Wednesday and another story short.

Today’s offering, which eventually evolved into a book, all started with a Friday Writing Sprint.  I’m now attempting to revise that book into some sort of reasonable shape, but it’s a challenge since the mystery can’t decide if it’s tongue-in-cheek or serious.  As you will see from the snippet below, there was nothing serious about how it all started.

So, without further ado, here is how Cassie and Nicoli first met at Barnacle Bob’s, based on the prompts from a Friday Writing Sprint, which included the words from the following list: salubrious, mythical, high-class, antique, glow, cosmic, costume, wholesome, photograph, barnacle, delightful, legendary, dolphin.

I hope you enjoy it.

# # #

Barnacle Bob’s Bordello and Steakhouse

Cassie dug through the pile of shoes on the floor, searching for the just the right pair for tonight’s undercover assignment as the Dolphin Lady at Barnacle Bob’s Bordello and Steakhouse.

“Perfect,” she said, fishing a pair of green and blue sequined stilettos out from beneath a flip-flop and her old hiking boots. The shoes were just what she needed to complete her costume. She had fond memories of the last time she wore them, though her informer Snake would probably disagree since, in a pinch, the stilettos were detachable and lethal.

Though hardly a wholesome enterprise, Barnacle Bob’s was far from the least salubrious case Cassie had been on recently. She hadn’t exactly volunteered for tonight’s assignment. The costume fit, so the job was hers, simple as that. Better than being back at the precinct dealing with paperwork. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “World Kebab Day” (if you’re reading this on July 9th) as well as “National Sugar Cookie Day.”  Now if only there was something beverage-related on the list, you’d almost have a meal.  

Looking outside, it appears to be “Summer is Definitely Here” day.   After a few weeks of very temperate weather, Mother Nature has slowly been during up the heat these past few days.  Nothing like the blast-furnace temperatures that other places have been experiencing, but just enough to mark the end of some of the less hardy flowering potted plants that sit on my back deck. 

Apparently those “likes full sun” indicators on the pot labels were not completely accurate.  Time to move the remaining pots into the shade out under the trees for a bit and see how that goes.  I won’t be able to see them from my desk as I’m working (which is why they were on the deck), but at least they’ll still be alive.

Today’s a regular work day for me, with a dentist appointment this afternoon (ugh!), but somewhere along the line I definitely plan to spend some time on the elliptical and to take a shot at today’s writing prompt and random words.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Wednesday Story Short

If this is Wednesday, then it must be time to share another story short.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m reading my way through a folder full of story shorts, written during the Friday Writing sprints–looking for laughs and also possible ideas for new projects.  Some of the sprint results were definite misses, but a few still manage to make me chuckle.

Today’s offering features an enterprising nanny and some troublesome employers.

So, without further ado, here is my short story based on the prompts from a Friday Writing Sprint, which included the prompt “Having poisoned the soup, a disgruntled nanny thwarts an assassination attempt“, and words from the following list:  corruption, severe, healer, aftermath, subsonic, photograph, memory, chamber, brainwash, furious, festival, autopsy, innocent, battle, zebra, panic.

I hope you enjoy it.

# # #

The Perfect Nanny Handbook

Rule #14: Always leave a room in better condition than you found it. A messy room is the sign incompetence.

Frances tossed the handbook down on the table, successfully battling the urge to send it flying out the window, or better yet, directly into the shredder.

Obviously, the handbook author had never met the Smith Family, if that was in fact their real name. In the two months Frances had been acting as the combination housekeeper, cook, nanny, and Jane-of-all-trades, she had far bigger concerns than tidiness. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Anisette Day” (if you’re reading this on July 2nd), which seems like a pretty odd thing to have a national day for.  On the other hand, yesterday was “National Gingersnap Day,” so the bar isn’t that high.

According to Wikiedia, July 2nd is also”

“. . . the first day of the second half of the year, as well as the midpoint of a common year because there are 182 days before and 182 days after it in common years. . . “

So there you go; stuck in the middle.  If the first half of the year hasn’t been quite what you planned, you have the whole second half to straighten things out.

As for me, I’ll be enjoying 5 whole days off of work and doing my best to make them all “Don’t Check Work Email” days.  Although other parts of the country seem to be close to bursting into flame, I am lucky enough to be in an area that has been beautiful and temperate for the past week.  I’m hoping that continues, since my plans include repotting a few plants and removing some “volunteer” shrubs before they take over the back hillside.

Whatever I wind up doing with my time off work, I definitely plan to spend some time on the elliptical (ugh!) and to take a shot at today’s writing prompt and random words.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprint

Happy “National Strawberry Parfait Day” (if you’re reading this on June 25th).  It’s also “National Catfish Day,” so if you fry up some catfish and have a strawberry parfait for dessert, you can celebrate two things at once.

If you’re looking to celebrate something non-food related, it’s also “National Take Your Dog to Work Day.”

“A celebration of the companionship between canine and human, National Take Your Dog to Work Day hopes to inspire others to adopt from shelters and humane societies.”

Those dog owners who are currently working from home, especially those who adopted a dog during the pandemic, should be able to celebrate with no trouble.

Personally, I’ll be celebrating “Ignoring the Things I Should Do and Reading Instead Day.”  I feel like I’ve earned the right to do that, after suffering through both a phone and a computer upgrade this week at work, and making it through with two fully functionally devices and only a small amount of angst.  

The garden may also have some demands on my time–how can those weeds grow so fast?  I swear the bamboo-shoot from the neighbors yard grew six-feet this week alone.  Rounding things off with some time on the elliptical and a shot at today’s writing prompt and random words sounds like a good plan.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Wednesday Story Short

As I mentioned last Wednesday, I’ve been looking back at the past a bit lately, digging out old stories and seeing if they can be resuscitated or reimagined.  This week, those “digging in the past efforts’ were a direct result of a spate of technology upgrades.  There’s noting like having gigabytes of files to move around to make a person think “what is all this stuff and do I really need it?”

One of the things I found, misfiled in a folder entitled “receipts,” was a number of story shorts, written during the Friday Writing sprints.  Some of the shorts weren’t worth saving and took a one-way trip to the recycling folder, but a few others were amusing enough to keep.

I thought I’d share one of my favorites today.

So, without further ado, here is my short story based on the prompts from a Friday Writing Sprint, in which the main character has to deal with a difficult client, including the words: moonbeam, undersea, bulldog, entertain , lonesome, miserable, façade, ambush, bluntness, cynical, wealthy, detox, grill , chain, audience, injury

I hope you enjoy it. Continue reading