Elizabeth: March Short Story

After reading Nancy and Jeanne’s posts this week I was feeling like quite the slacker and felt compelled to buckle down and finish writing something.  Here then, better late than never, is the short story I started based on the story prompt from a few weeks ago.


Stuck With You

“What do you mean it’s stuck?”

The teenaged attendant who had been manning the front desk at Lakeville’s new Escape Room Adventure when we first arrived said something on the other side of the massive oaken door that sounded like ‘the lock is jammed.’  He seemed panicked, so I made sure my response was calm and sure.  Yelling, no matter how tempting, would not be helpful. Continue reading

Michaeline: Olivia, Jack and the Stupid Cupid

A male skater, a woman on a swan-shaped sled, and a small cupid playing the flute beside them.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

It was one of those beautiful February days – the sky was blue and the ice on the rink was rock hard. Olivia took another leisurely turn around the pond, idly wondering if Jack was ready to go inside yet. Jack zoomed past her, a vision of gracefulness in black leggings and a black turtleneck, his black hair in winter spikes and roses in his pale cheeks. At the far end of the pond, just where she could best appreciate his athleticism, he jumped and spun, drew a heart in the ice, then zoomed around again in long, lazy strokes. He was like a Mercedes on ice – he didn’t seem to be putting in any effort, but in two heartbeats, he was behind her, slowing down in a spray of ice crystals, then gently taking her hand.

“Cold, darling?” he said.

“Not yet,” Olivia said. “But maybe we can go in about 15 minutes?”

“All right. Skater’s waltz?” He kissed her nose, and pushed off, pulling her behind him while humming a ridiculously resonant version of “The Blue Danube”. It had been almost an entire year since they met, and Olivia was as crazy about him as she was when he first showed up on her doorstep. Always the showoff, he turned and skated backwards, now holding both her hands, dazzling her with his smile. And that was the reason neither of them saw the snowfairy in her tiny sled drawn by a floppy Shih Tzu, barrelling across the pond and right into their skating path.

Everyone went down in a tumble of arms and legs, with the snowfairy winding up on top, her sled underneath, and her doggy spinning around on the ice like a furry Roomba, barking furiously at the outrage. Continue reading

Michaeline: My Steampunk Christmas Story

Christmas postcard with Santa Claus and bag of toys in a basket suspended by greenery from an airship, with "Greetings to one and all - Merry Christmas." Color postcard, ca. 1916. Missouri History Museum Photographs and Prints Collections. N39376.

Christmas goes so well with an airship or two! (Image via Missouri History)

It was Christmas Eve, 1897, and Joey Lunardi had invited us all up for a party on his airship, but he was anxious, because he wanted the party to end so he could make it in time for midnight mass. The plan was to land in Central Park’s airstrip at 11 o’clock and we’d all get in electric taxis to the church. Best laid plans of mice and airmen, often go a-gley – in this case, the turning point was when the flamingos went missing at 10:35.

Claire LeMaire, star of stage, screen and Edison cylinders, had just won the diamond prize for guessing the most mystery dishes at the buffet. And Joey, he didn’t do anything small – it was a flawless 10-carat rock, hanging from a pretty hefty gold chain. Claire was waving the thing under the nose of her “patron”, Eddie the Rat, taunting him. “How come you never get me anything this nice, Eddie?” she said, while casting a flirtatious glance at Joey.

Eddie was turning red – only a dozen of us at this party, because let’s face it, an airship is still limited capacity, especially when you are filling it up with buffets and Christmas trees and a fake ice pond, but still, at least ten of us who are not that impressed with Eddie – when he said, “What are you talking about, honey? I got you dem flamingos, didn’t I?” And we all turned to the fake ice pond, where the flamingos had been delicately Continue reading

Elizabeth: September Short Story

It’s been a while, but now that summer is coming to a close and I’m back from vacation, it’s time to get back to my monthly short stories.

The initial kernel of this story was an actual incident from my past.  That, coupled with an article I read not long ago about the Capital Vices, percolated along for a few days and the story below is the result.

I leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide what the past inciting incident was.


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Taking Care of Business

Madeline Cooper looked around the table in the banquet area of Lucifer’s Landing at the sea of arrogant, vain, greedy suits and couldn’t wait for the results of her carefully laid plans to unfold.  She savored a bite of her lemon tart, the tangy sweetness a nice contrast to the slightly bitter taste of her cappuccino, then stabbed her fork into the hand that persisted in groping her thigh under the table.

“Next time I’ll use the knife,” she murmured to Mr Lucent, owner of the aforementioned hand, as she dropped both it and the fork back into his own lap.  He glowered at her then, his wits scrambled by the vast quantity of alcohol he’d consumed during dinner, apparently decided she was just flirting with him and flashed a lecherous smile instead.

“Tonight’s going to be your lucky night, little lady,” he said with a wink.

You have no idea, she thought. Continue reading

Elizabeth: June Short Story

Time to wrap up another month, which means it’s time for another short story as part of my plan to consistently get some words on the page each month.  This month’s brief story grew out of last Friday’s random words and was influenced a bit, in terms of character, by the old English-set mystery books I’ve recently been reading (not that this is a mystery).  The story turned out a bit different from the version that ran through my head on my drive home from work, but then that always seems to happen.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s this month’s story.


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Nigel vs. the Nephews

“No charades.”  Oh, kill me now.  Nigel Weatherby did his best to ignore the whine of disappointed voices and remained on the couch with his eyes closed against the midday sun, doing an excellent imitation of a boneless mass.

It was just an illusion though.  When he wasn’t draped over the sofa thwarting his nephews, Nigel was a championship swimmer, as well as a black belt and who knows what else.  He merely preferred to conserve energy for when it was absolutely necessary.

Charades in no way qualified as necessary. Continue reading

Elizabeth: May Short Story

Time to wrap up another month, which means it’s time for a short story, or in this case, a scene that I’ve been working on from a longer story.    This scene came about in a rather convoluted way.  I was scanning through my news-feed the other day when I came across this article:  Female Dragonflies Fake Their Deaths to Avoid Annoying Males.

The article got me to thinking about what tactics a Regency heroine might employ in order to avoid an annoying male (other than faking her death, of course).  After a little trial and error, I came up with a solution that just might fit the bill.  As a plus, the scene fits nicely into my WIP and fills a gap that had been plaguing me for quite  a while.

Hope you enjoy the scene.  As always, feedback and comments are welcome.

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The Incident at the House Party Continue reading

Jilly: A Snippet and a Question

How likeable do you like your main characters? Will you take strong, interesting and flawed, especially if they grow and change during the story, or do you prefer them sympathetic from the start?

And do you think readers set the bar higher for heroines than heroes?

In the recent Duke University romance forum, Ilona Andrews said that in her experience, romance readers are more forgiving of male characters than female ones. A male character can do appalling things but with the careful application of a little tragic backstory, he can still become a hero. A heroine, not so much.

That set me to wondering about one of my favorite contemporary characters, a super-rich bitch called Sasha Montgomery. She’s on ice for now, but not forgotten. She’s not a nice woman, but I love her a lot and I’d always planned to turn her into a heroine one day. Now I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.

Below is a snippet from the life of Unredeemed Sasha. She definitely has a challenging backstory. I’d be very curious to know whether you think she could be turned around.

Continue reading