Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

Do you hear that?

It’s the sound of the phone not ringing and no one trying to tell me who or what to vote for; one of the many great things about our current election cycle finally being over.  Well, technically, it’s not completely over, there are still a few races that are too-close-to-call and lots of other drama still going on, but at least the ballot-casting part of the process is done.

The races are all decided here in my area of the country, which is good since the state seems to be on fire again (still?), so people have more immediate things to focus on.   I’m thinking a mass rain-dance might be helpful, or maybe we could tip the country just a bit so the rains from the east coast could drain over here.

The fires are nowhere near me, but the air is very smoky here.   It probably didn’t help that there was a car on fire on the side of the road when I was driving home this evening.  It definitely seems like a good time to stay inside and curl up on the couch with the cat, a cozy blanket, and some coffee and do a little writing.  Since I seem to have written myself into a corner in my current manuscript, I think I’ll try to shake some creativity loose by giving today’s story prompt a try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Michille: Romance Story Ideas

 

amazingstorygeneratorCreativity has abandoned me. I hope it’s temporary. I googled ‘romance writing prompts’ to jump start my creative mind and got some interesting results.

The Write Practice. 20 Romance Story Ideas.
These are interesting and a little twisty with a gender-bender thrown in. A cop and a jewelry store owner who it tripping his alarm on purpose. Humans and aliens communicating through a plant. There is only one tried and true – the hero who has sworn off love falls for the spunky rookie with a joie de vivre. Continue reading

Jilly: Sunday Short Story–Dr. Livingstone’s Redemption

Spring is here, at last! The snow has gone (sorry if, like 8Lady Michille, you’re still knee deep in the cold, white stuff), and every day gets a little brighter, a little longer. This is usually my most productive time of year, so I have high hopes that my right brain will emerge from hibernation some time soon.

To help things along, here’s a short story using Elizabeth’s most recent Friday writing cues. This week, she gave us the theme stuck in an airport, and these prompt words:

loudspeaker                seat                                smile                            chemical

contagious                   apparatus                     skyline                         robotic

pest                               cage                               memory                       limousine

cellular                          homicide                      plague                          fashionable

 

Dr. Livingstone’s Redemption

Dr. Jean-Xavier Livingstone, erstwhile homicide detective and current jack-of-all-trades, powered down his scanning apparatus. In the time it would once have taken him to wait for the elevator, he exchanged his lightweight suit for a pair of denim cutoffs, secured the old sugar mill that served as the terminal building, and headed for his boat.

There were worse places to be than stuck in an airport, if it happened to be on a private island owned by a reclusive photographer.

Minor downsides: the robotic announcements that issued from the single loudspeaker when a flight was expected; a faint chemical tang, courtesy of the recent pest control visit.

Minor upside: the fashionable women that emerged from the private jets, all designer-casual with their long legs, long hair and dark glasses as they undulated from ergonomically designed seat to dark-windowed limousine. Many of them offered him a smile as they passed, and their good humor was somehow contagious.

Better still: no cellular coverage, moody skies over mirror-smooth water that stretched unbroken to the skyline, and an old wooden cottage over the far side of the mountain, right on the shore. A shelf of books, half a bottle of old Clynelish, and some of the best fishing he’d ever enjoyed.

No rulebook to cage him.

No memory of past failures to plague him.

Best of all: nobody had died yet. And this time, he’d make sure nobody did.

Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints – Brr!

We’ve been talking about cold starts this week and Mother Nature has been doing her part to provide an appropriately chilly atmosphere.  My outdoor plants, which had been fooled into thinking it was springtime by the warm weather just a few weeks ago have been shivering their way through several nights of freezing temperatures – not something they are used to here on the West Coast.

I have been bundling up in my fuzziest blanket here at home and watching coverage of the Olympics, something that’s not particularly conducive to getting words on the page.  I have the day off work on Friday, however, so I’m going to throw off the blankets and make a serious attempt at getting some writing done.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Jilly: The Pirate’s Parrot–A Shapeshifting Short Story

It’s been a difficult start to the New Year, and I haven’t written or edited anything for the last few weeks, so I thought I’d try to get myself back in the swing by tackling Elizabeth’s writing prompts from last Friday.

I’m not sure what to make of this. It took me a while to get going, and the final result came out quite dark, but at least it got the wheels turning.

The prompts were:

Something floating in the swimming pool

Ripple                          flicker                          shade                           depth

Breeze                          killjoy                          parrot                         shadow

Moonbeam                 symbolic                     acrobat                       daredevil

Headphones               contestant                  cougar                        bludgeon

The Pirate’s Parrot

A persistent breeze shepherded fluffy clouds across the balmy North African night sky. Intermittently—too often—a moonbeam shone through, illuminating the battered body floating face down in Hizir Barbarossa’s white marble swimming pool.

I’d perched, frozen, on Hizir’s beefy shoulder as he’d lounged on his white marble throne while Oruc, his First Mate, fought a contestant for the coveted place at the pirate lord’s right hand. I’d witnessed Oruc humiliate the challenger, bludgeon him to a pulp, and then make him walk the plank along the antique wooden diving board as the assembled thugs cheered and jeered.

Apparently it was symbolic, like Hizir’s decision to adopt the name of a long-dead pirate and decorate his person with brocade coats, antique pistols and dangly ear-rings. There was nothing archaic, however, about his fast-growing empire of people smugglers, slavers, drug-dealers, money-launderers, and online scammers.

Unfortunately for Barbarossa, his sartorial preferences had made him the perfect target for the Powers-that-Be’s super-secret new shifter division. The Boss had figured that an ultra-rare Spix’s Macaw would make the perfect shoulder ornament for the discerning pirate-psychopath, so I’d exchanged my jeans, boots and smart remarks for brilliant blue feathers and a vocabulary of limited depth.

Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Story Time and Sprints

Friday already – how did that happen?  This week seems to have just raced by, but the number of things on my to-do list doesn’t seem to have decreased at all.  I’m pretty sure that two more things were added for every one that I crossed off.

Fortunately I have a little down time now, so I’m going to make some hot cocoa, cuddle up with my favorite quilt, and see if I can make some progress on the mess-in-the-middle of my current manuscript.

Sound like a plan? Continue reading

Michaeline: Gordon Ramsay Crossover Writing Lessons, Part One

Gordon Ramsay with a lamb around his neck and shoulders.

Gordon Ramsay took this little lamb to school. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

WARNING: Profanity. (It involves Gordon Ramsay. What did you fucking expect?)

To a certain extent, art is art is art. Still, I was surprised how applicable some of the lessons Gordon Ramsay taught his restauranteurs were to the art of writing.

Here’s the deal: I’ve avoided Kitchen Nightmares and that kind of reality show because I heard there’s a lot of yelling, and humiliation just isn’t my jam. But I was feeling depressed, spending entirely too much time on YouTube, and the only interesting thing in my recommended feed was a clip from such a show. I’d seen Gordon Ramsay on things like Jimmy Fallon, so I decided three minutes of my time was not too big of a loss.

Dear Readers, three minutes turned into hours and hours of binge-watching over the last couple of weeks. Thanks to the miracle of YouTube, I’ve seen British Kitchen Nightmares, American Kitchen Nightmares, clips and full episodes, and an assorted chocolate box of Gordon Ramsay all over the modern media. And I regret nothing.

Yes, there’s yelling and sometimes humiliation. But there’s also a combination of mystery Continue reading