Olivia promises to fulfill her dying husband’s wish – to scatter his ashes around the world. Wading through grief and depression, she journeys to a remote orphanage in Uganda. Living amongst the children in their threadbare surroundings, she vows to fight for the children’s lives as she begins to fight for her own. While Olivia develops a passion for humanitarian work, the lonely director of the orphanage develops a simmering passion for her.
Just as time begins to heal the wounds of Olivia’s fragile heart, her world is shattered when she is involved in a violent encounter with an armed rebel group in the picturesque mountains of Uganda. Olivia flees to the safety of Rwanda, where she learns the truth of her husband’s unimaginable betrayal.
As Olivia hovers on the brink of an emotional collapse, her broken soul is reawakened with a startling new love – but her life is about to take another dramatic turn as she struggles to survive in a region left torn apart by civil war. It will take every ounce of Olivia’s courage to hang on to those she loves the most but it may come at a great cost to all of them.
Okay, okay, so I do like Sandra Bullock, and I’ve always enjoyed Bill Pullman… and Peter Gallagher has awesome eyebrows. I mean, sure, they’re super heavy and dark, but so were mine before I discovered the joys of wax. At least he has two of them, right?
However, even if this movie didn’t star Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows, I would love it.
Every year at Christmas, I make mashed potatoes. Every year, after his first bite, Husband says, “These mashed potatoes are so creamy.” And that gets us started on an entire Cesar Romero riff that lasts a good five minutes.
It also started the whole “leaning” conversation with the husband. And the snarky comments of “I know karate.” Because even though the kids haven’t seen this movie, both of them will randomly spout off, in a New York-style accent, “I know karate.” Boy child will even punctuate this with some sort of twirling jump-kick thing that looks pretty good if it’s not badly executed.
Alas, the last time he tried it, I thought he pulled his groin. There were tears and ice and Motrin. And maybe some wine for the old mom.
In any case, after the mashed potato comments, after the kids are in bed, and after we have put together all the things that need putting together, Husband and I will sit together and watch this movie on Christmas eve. It’s my favorite part of the entire day.
Kasey Blakely doesn’t know that her date is anything more than incredibly hot. It’s after things have moved past friendship, that she learns her new lover is also slated to be her partner in a corporate merger. He knew it all along withholding his identity to have her.
Self-assured, future CEO, Kasey Blakely stumbles into Joshua Crawford, leaving her breathless and momentarily senseless. Taken with her, he learns she’s more than just a beautiful woman, she’s slated to be his partner in a corporate merger. Never feeling as smitten or intrigued, he’ll do anything to have her, including, not revealing his last name. After a passionate exchange and the prospect he could lose her, does he come clean with his identity. Always confident, Kasey, struggles with her growing love for a man who has claimed her heart and changed her world, but should be forbidden. She’s all in…then all out. Despite the warnings not to mix business with pleasure, Kasey and Joshua risk it all. Committing to return to California with Joshua, Kasey’s world unravels. Were her fears right, or can they manage the MERGER of their hearts and their future partnership?
Ah, dessert, elusive dessert. Dessert has always been the bane of my existence. Mostly because I love it so, so much. I love baked goods, but I never really made them. Let’s just say that I learned to cook at a young age as a survival skill, but baking seemed beyond me (probably because, like Lemony Snicket, there was a series of unfortunate (baking) events. Though these incidents did fuel my love of firefighters. They’d all show up in their turnouts, and I would hide somewhere with a good view while someone explained about the rolls. Or the bread. Or the popcorn. Or how the back wall of the kitchen just happened to catch on fire. Twice. And I swear, by all that it good, that I wasn’t the one doing this. I have my own baking mishaps, but the fire department never came to those).
In any case, I was a box cake, buy it at the store, kind of girl.
And then I became allergic to eggs. My first baking episode post diagnosis looked like this:
Yes, that is an actual picture of a real cake I sort of made. I keep it because it’s both funny AND sad, which always makes for a great story. Apparently, without eggs (and using a baking soda egg replacer), a box cake will turn into, at the slightest touch, chocolate dust. This was five years ago, for my son’s second birthday. And yes, I squished it together with a mixture of willpower, upper air strength, and frosting. It held together long enough to take this picture, sing Happy Birthday, and look at it sideways. And then, it was frosting-covered chocolate dust.
It was horrible (tasted OK, as I recall, but it wasn’t pretty. Boy child didn’t seem to care, but then, he’s boy child. He’s not picky, unless it’s green).
In any case, shortly thereafter, I discovered that I also have celiac disease, so welcome to a wheat-free lifestyle. At the time, I thought I’d never eat dessert again. It was depressing.
I discovered, after a while, and reading many, many blogs, that I can bake. It’s just a matter of being creative. And using pumpkin. I’m an expert on using pumpkin these days.
So, here is my recipe (and yes, it’s pumpkin.). It’s an adapted version of one that I found in Sunset magazine. The original is a two layer cake, but it was too much, and everyone felt over-full and sugar comaed (yes, I just made up a word) afterward.
Gluten free praline pumpkin cake
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 c butter
3 tbsp plus 3/4 c whipping cream
1 c chopped pecans (this I kept, because, well, pecans are fabulous)
2 flax eggs (to make a flax egg, combine 1 tbsp flax with 2 tbsp water. Normally, recipes call for three, but I find that with pumpkin recipes, it needs to be thicker, or you’ll never get it cooked through)
1 c granulated sugar (because this cake is so stinking sweet)
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c flour (I had a mixture of 1/2 c gluten free all purpose baking mix, and 1/2 c sorghum flour. The all purpose tends to be made with garbanzo bean flour, which in baked goods isn’t awesome unless you really overdo the sugar. Sorghum is sweet and delicious, but doesn’t rise very well without some complicated mixture involving arrowroot and tapioca and xanthan gum–all of which I have, and have made before, but it’s complicated, and I didn’t want to have to think too hard on Thanksgiving. So here you go)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or you can make your own with ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Which I did this year because I ran out on THANKSGIVING DAY, but I added ground cloves because I like cloves. If you don’t, just leave it out).
1/2 baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 c powdered sugar
So… Now that you have all the ingredients, here’s what you do with them:
Preheat over to 350 degrees
Butter one 9 inch cake pan and line with parchment.
Over low heat, mix the butter, 3 tbsp whipping cream and brown sugar together until melted and blended. Pour the mixture into the pan and sprinkle with most of the pecans (reserve some for the topping)
In a bowl, mix the flax eggs, granulated sugar and oil until well blended. Stir in pumpkin and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients (omit the powdered sugar; that’s for the frosting)
Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet stuff (I’m being totally specific here… I harp on my students all day for using non-specific language, and here I go, doing the exact same thing). Pour the batter into the pan.
Bake 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. At higher elevations, decrease the heat and extend the cooking time. It just works better. i’m not at a high elevation, but I cook as though I am because it just seems to work better for me. I think I live at that funky “in-between” elevation. Let it cool in the pan for a bit, then invert onto racks and remove pans and paper. Let cool completely.
For the frosting (topping), take your remaining whipping cream and the powdered sugar and mix until soft peaks form. Once the cake is completely cooled, then you can put the cream on top. Top that with the remaining pecans.
It is a pretty cake, and it tastes fantastic, even for people who are accustomed to wheat cakes with eggs (which are admittedly a whole lot easier to bake). This cake came out super moist, and sure, my cakes don’t rise like a normal cake, but it was delicious. This is very, very rich, though, so you only need a small piece to be satisfied. I’ll admit, I wondered if Husband’s blood sugar would ever be normal again.
I wish I’d taken a picture. But since I don’t Instagram my successes (only my dismal failures), I didn’t take one.
Starting tomorrow, December 13, 2014, we will be having our 12 Days of Christmas blog hop and giveaway. There are some fabulous prizes (including a signed copy of The Marker from me, as well as a gift set of all four of my ebooks. If you’re really lucky, and I get my copies in time, I might even give away a signed copy of my best-selling book, Highland Deception. Because, honestly, I love the feel of paper books). There are a number of really fantastic writers among this group, so make sure to check it out. Enter often!
I think it is, anyway. I’m technologically challenged at the moment, so if any of you find an error, please kindly let me know. I’ve been pulling my hair out these last few weeks, and it’s left me feeling a little bit like this:
But hey, ’tis the Christmas season, and I promise to make everything into smiles and unicorns.
Who am I kidding? That’s not me at all. I’m not happy if I’m not a little bit stressed out.
So, in the spirit of the season, I say, Welcome! Check out the ridiculously fabulous line up of authors we have going over the next few days, and sign up to win prizes from… All of us!
Check out these prizes!
$10 Starbucks card from Cynthia Gail AND a Bark Less Wag More coffee mug and author swag from Rachel Lacey
$10 Amazon card from Jennifer Faye AND Author swag from Darcy Flynn
$10 Starbucks card from Jessica Jefferson AND Autographed PB copy of Marked by Jeanne Hardt
$5 Amazon card from Maureen Bonatch AND Bag of heart-shaped pasta from Abigail Sharpe
Bodycology Moroccan shower gel & lotion and author swag from Meda White
$5 Amazon card from Sophia Kimble AND Pair of hand-painted ceramic penguin holiday mugs from Ryan Jo Summers
Paris scented shower gel/lotion/mist set from Sloane B. Collins
$5 Amazon card and ecopy of Perfectly Honest from Linda O’Connor
PB copy of Sugarwater Ranch and keychain from Stephanie Berget
Complete ebook set of Aisle Bound series from Christi Barth
$5 Amazon card from Kim Hotzon AND ebook set and signed PB of The Marker from Meggan Connors
$25 Amazon card from Ann Lacey
$15 Amazon card and giant chocolate bar from Heather Miles
$10 B&N Card from Tracey Livesay
$10 Amazon card from Rebecca Neely
$10 Amazon card and curvy-love bracelets from Aidy Award
WInner, winner, chicken dinner!
How sweet is that? Check out all of those gifts! Woot!
Rachel Sharpe is the author of Cold Ambition and Lost Distinction, the first two novels in the Jordan James, PI series. Although born and raised in the South, “Yankee” relatives first led Rachel to historic New England, which she has come to consider her second home and is the setting for the series.
After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in English, Rachel began dedicating her free time to her childhood passion, writing, and in the fall of 2013, she signed with Soul Mate Publishing. An active member of Sisters In Crime, Rachel currently resides with her husband in the Greater New Orleans area.
Lost Distinction Blurb:
“It all started with a favor…”
When private investigator Jordan James agreed to search for the missing son of a U.S. Ambassador, she didn’t realize she was walking into a case one hundred years in the making. The deeper she delves into this unusual assignment, the more shocking, and the more dangerous, it becomes. With time running out and lives at stake, Jordan must race to identify the culprit of an elaborate plot while also uncovering a far more personal truth too intimate to ignore…
Also, be sure to check out Jordan’s first case in Cold Ambition, available now on Amazon!
“So, when was the last time you saw Arthur?” I asked as the guys cheered when one of Stuart’s sons scored a touchdown with George’s help.
Michelle stared past the men. “I guess the last time I saw him was at Easter. Since Mr. and Mrs. Cross couldn’t make it back from London in time, we went over to Stuart’s house in Falmouth. I was surprised to see him there.”
“Why? Does he usually avoid family holidays?”
She clapped when Rick carried one of the twins over the “goal line” for a touchdown. She looked back at me and shrugged. “To be honest, I haven’t seen Arthur many times in all the years I’ve been married to Eddie. He lives and works in Middletown but just always seems too busy to come around. Eddie never gave me specifics, but I think Arthur tries to stay away from his family for some reason.”
“He didn’t say why?”
“No,” she shook her head. “Can’t say I blame him…”
I found myself more confused every time I learned more about this situation. As I sat there, I considered all the things I knew as fact. First, Arthur Cross was missing and had been missing for several days. Second, his family was concerned enough about his disappearance that they felt it necessary for his parents to fly in from London, but they did not want to involve the police as it might generate unwanted publicity. Third, they were going to a lot of trouble pretending like nothing was wrong.
I looked across the yard and saw the Crosses watching their children and grandchildren with absolute enjoyment. The last thing I knew was by far the most troubling fact of all. As I sat there, it became crystal clear that this family was hiding a secret. What I didn’t know at the time was how great the secret was and how many lives its revelation would affect, including my own.
Welcome to Romance Weekly! If you’ve come from JJ Devine, then welcome. If you’re starting here with me, howdy! Let’s get to this!
1.) Was there a defining moment in your life when you knew you were going to become a writer? If so, what was it?
The short answer is no. I never knew I would become a writer. I’d wanted it since I was in the sixth grade, but I didn’t know if I’d be able to get published. I don’t think it was until I actually was published that I figured out I was going to become a writer. And even then, because I suffer from imposter syndrome, sometimes I still wonder if I’m going to become a writer, and that’s after four published books.
The long answer is that there was a moment when I decided I wanted to try. My son was two, and my husband decided he was going to start writing apps. And I remember looking at him and saying, out loud even, “I think I can write a romance novel.” I surprised even myself that day, because I never thought I would admit that out loud. That i wanted to be a writer, that I thought I could be a writer, and that I was actually going to try, despite my insane fear of rejection. It’s funny, because after I said the words out loud, I set out to doing just that: writing a romance novel.
2.) When you write a story do you see it unfold as one big picture, or do you add layering in subsequent drafts?
I layer in subsequent drafts. I’ve been known to change a story 70,000 words in, which is crazy, and don’t do that. I usually know where I’m going to end up, but how I get there changes with each draft.
3.) How many drafts do you usually write before you send your work to your editor?
Heh. It depends on the book. I usually edit as I go, and rewrite chapters as I write them (finish a chapter, then go back and re-read, edit a little, fix some more, etc). The bare minimum is three. The first one to get the story down, the second complete re-write to make sure that I don’t have any issues with continuity (though that happens anyway, when, in subsequent drafts, I change something and forget to fix a word. I’m still kicking myself over that one). The third draft is where I run the entire document through autocrit to catch over used words, make sure I’m not using too much passive voice (actually, my major failing is “it/there” and “that”.), and cut out all the damn sighing. Once I start looking for it, I start thinking, “OMG, my characters all have asthma or COPD!” It’s ridiculous.
Typically, the work you are reading is a third completed draft, followed by two rounds of edits, and another read through. And even then, errors get in. By that last round of edits, I don’t see them anymore. That’s what beta readers are for, I suppose, though it’s hard to ask when you’re on a deadline and you know you’ll have to tell someone, “Oh, hey, I need this back in four days. Can you do that kind of turn-around?”
Why not go see what the lovely Leslie Hachtel has to say on the subject?
Wealthy, arrogant Clayton Brandt knows well the costs of a woman. Not until Penelope (Penny) Jones comes into his life does he know the value of a woman.
Anger at Clayton, her new boss, causes Penny to snap out of the lethargy she’s experienced after seeing her husband killed. She puts to use all her innate abilities, learned skills, and intuitiveness to cope with the overbearing Clayton and the women in his life. Penny, in time, knows she loves him, but will not become one of his women—not on his terms.
On her terms, they marry only to be parted by federal agents before they leave their wedding reception. The ensuing intrigue, danger, and antics of Clayton’s ex-wife play a part in Penny being in eminent peril. Even after their love survives all this, it is once again threatened by a letter from a vindictive woman who is dead. The letter devastates Clayton and crushes his hopes for happiness.
How Clayton and Penny find their happy-ever-after is a breath-holding adventure at times and a breathtaking love story at other times.
Neva’s social media efforts still need work, but she can be found at:
Today, we are writing flash fiction based on a GIF. Click here to see it.
So anyway, if you’re here, hopefully you came from A.S. Fenichel. Welcome!
The Most Wanted
He brushed her hair back from her forehead. it felt so right holding her in his arms. Her body and his fit together like a key into a lock, like two pieces of the same puzzle.
“Ethan,” she whispered.
Her mouth was so close to his. So close he could almost taste her–she’d be sweet, like mint and honey. They shared the same space, and when he inhaled, instead of life-giving air, he took in her.
He breathed her breath, felt her invade his heart and his lungs. Knew the exact moment she became a permanent fixture inside of him, immutable and eternal.
He cupped her face in his hands. It would be so easy to kiss her, to claim her. He wanted to. He wanted her more than he’d ever wanted anything in his entire life. More than he wanted his titles, his lands, the air in his lungs.
She released a stuttered breath, a small sound that promised more than just a night of passion. She would give him her heart if he let her.
She already had his.
He tarried in their shared space, trying to live a lifetime in a few short breaths.
“Cat,” he whispered. He let the name slide off his tongue, the first time–and, almost certainly, the last–he would call her by her given name.
She pressed closer to him, and he nearly lost his resolve right then and there. But he didn’t. That one small sacrifice was, perhaps, the only honorable thing he’d done in a long time.
“I can’t do this.” He stepped away from her, away from the most powerful intimacy he’d ever had. Losing that was like losing a piece of his soul. Actually, it was worse than that, as if he had cut himself off from something that, once experienced, had become vital.
It would kill him to let her go. He’d do it anyway, for her sake.
“No. We–we cannot be. I–I’m sorry.” And with those words lingering in the air between them, he left her at the door.
This week’s questions are from Ronnie Allen! Let’s get to it.
1. When do you decide that you’ve done enough editing and changes would now be making it different, not better? So it’s the time to submit.
That’s a good question. I’m never certain it’s “done enough.” The only time I don’t feel the need to tinker with a project is after it’s been published, and even then, I find errors and things I should change. It’s one of the reasons why I have a problem with reading my stuff after it’s done. I can always think of something I could have done better, or done differently.
I guess what that means is that I’m a terrible person to ask this question of. I tinker until the darn thing is published, and then I generally wish I had tinkered a little bit more.
2. When and how do you accept change advice by rejection letters and critique partners?
It depends on the advice. When a publisher gives me advice–especially when they’re rejecting me–I generally take it unless it would change the overall tone of the story. After all, they’re saying they don’t want it, but they took the time to give me advice on what could be done to make it better. That sort of advice always deserves a second look. The only time I disregarded this advice was when I wrote an urban fantasy, and the publisher asked me to re-write the entire thing as a YA, focused around a single scene in the story (that didn’t even have the main characters in it, since they were both adults). That’s not asking for rewrites or giving me advice about how to make THIS story better; that’s asking me to write and submit something completely different. I ignored that advice, though I’ll admit, the story she wanted would make a nice, gritty NA.
As for changes suggested by critique partners? Well, it depends on the changes. Most of the time, I listen to what people tell me. If it would change the entire storyline, well, no, I won’t change that. But if it’s a change to make it flow more logically, then sure, I’ll look at reworking chapters or scenes or sentences to make it work. I think it’s important to listen to what everyone says with an open heart, but to remember that the work is yours. Take the advice that is useful, and disregard the rest. At the same time, I think it’s important to remember not to view your words as so precious you refuse to part with them or make changes. No one’s work is so good that they couldn’t use and editor, and no one’s story is so perfect it can’t use improvement.
3. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your day or do you create your day around your writing?
Gads, that’s a hard question. Work days generally look something like this:
6:00am: Wake up. Check Facebook. Try to think of something witty to say, something engaging and interesting and awesome. Usually fail. I might settle for silly.
6:30: Get out of bed and into the shower.
7:00: I’m READY! Oh wait, my hair’s still wet.
7:15: Ah, hell. That’s good enough. It looks the same regardless of the effort I put into it anyway.
7:30: Do dishes, throw something into the crock pot for dinner, make lunches, feed kids.
8:15: Leave for work. Hopefully, the homework was done and checked the night before, otherwise I’m checking it in my office at work. And none of us like that.
8:30-4:30: Work. If I’m lucky, and ate lunch sitting at my computer, I got it all done. If I’m unlucky, I’ll be writing IEPs at midnight. Again.
5:00: Arrive at outside client’s house or a kid activity. It depends on the day.
6:15-6:30. Home. Throw down backpacks and eat. Unless it’s Cub Scout night, in which case the boy and the hubs grab it to go, and head out the door. Or, the kids might have swimming after we see the outside client, in which case we go there instead, and get home around 7:00.
7:00: Check homework.
7:15: Tell the boy he has to do it over, because it’s super messy.
7:45: Tell him he can type it, because it’s just getting worse.
8:00: Everyone to bed. Husband and I chop the vegetables for the next day, if we’re on top of things. Afterwards, I’ll break out the laptop. Get distracted by the piles of laundry. Maybe start a load.
9:00: Girl child complains she can’t sleep.
9:10: I put in headphones and start to write.
9:45: Oh, look, the siren call of Facebook!
10:00: Just this one tweet, and then I’ll get to it.
10:15-12:00: I’m writing! If it’s going well, I might go until 2:00am. Which, by the way, is insane. Don’t do that.
Non-work days often look this:
6:00 Wake up. OH MY GOD, I’M SO TIRED! Oh wait, it’s Saturday. **Snore**
6:30: Boy child walks in, wearing (if I’m lucky) pajamas and a Darth Vader mask. “Mom, can I watch a show?”
Me: “Bananas are on the counter. Don’t forget to do your flamenco dancing. And beware the octopus.”
Boy child, breathing heavily: “Right on, my son. I’ll watch Star Wars. Oh, and Mom?”
Me: “I need to give the unicorn a bath.”
Boy Child, in his best Vader voice: “Uh huh. I am your father.”
Because I am asleep, I can’t explain the physical impossibility of this, but whatever. His father, who is awake during this whole exchange, thinks it’s hysterical, and won’t ruin the moment with things like logic.
7:00: Wake up again. Why am I singing The March of the Sith? Go back to sleep.
7:15: Children walk in: “Mom, we’re hungry. Can we eat chocolate for breakfast?”
Me: “The dog barks at midnight. Are you wearing underwear?”
Girl Child: “Chewey, that means yes. You are wearing underwear, aren’t you?”
Boy Child: “Mostly.”
Girl Child: “Good enough. Come on, let’s go before she wakes up.”
Me: “Wha?” **Snore**
8:00: I get up for real this time. Am miffed because all of my chocolate is missing, and Chewey looks like Poirot, with his giant chocolate mustache. I make breakfast anyway. I make pumpkin pancakes. Unfortunately, everyone wants eggs and toast.
8:30: Do dishes, and contemplate doing more chores.
I usually get the opportunity to write until about 11:00, when I have to take the Girl Child to Girl Scouts. But then I get to sit in the library at the university and write for two solid hours. It’s lovely.
2:30-6:00 Is family time.
6:30: Daddy time and a movie. I write while hanging on the couch with the children.
8:30-????: We all head upstairs to bed. I put in headphones and write until I fall asleep at the computer. The two pages of eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee will have to be rewritten, but hey, it works for now.
That’s it for me! (I say “that’s it!” like I wrote some short little ditty instead of the multi-page manifesto that is actually vaguely embarrassing. Or would be, if I had any sense of shame left)
Since you’ve had enough of me, why not head over and see what Josie Malone has to say?
Love hunkers down and hides but abides until Casey and Tres realize life without love is just existing not really living.
Just as accomplished horse trainer Casey Mason, PhD feels she’s earned her independence, disaster strikes and her life is forever changed. She must put her life back together bit by piece. The obstacles and her old beliefs seem insurmountable; making her wonder if love can conquer all.
Jordan Spencer III (Tres) inherits Spencer Ranch where Casey, the riding buddy of his youth, still lives. Casey, a beautiful, complex woman, slips into his mind and heart. Bitter experiences make him shy away from a serious relationship with a woman; yet he and Casey have a special connection. As she struggles with her rehabilitation, he micromanages her life with quiet efficiency until he pushes her past some invisible line. When Casey disappears from his life, he learns more about himself than makes him comfortable. Coming to terms with the past so he can move on to a future with Casey is a challenge that tests his mettle.
Neva Brown, a retired secondary teacher/administrator, now enjoys the challenge of writing romance novels and doing editing for other romance writers. She has even ventured into the social media world of Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as well as having a website; email@example.com . Her family accepts her eccentricities with equanimity. Neva spent most of her life on West Texas ranches and uses that culture and environment in many of her stories. She and her husband now live at Rio Concho West in San Angelo, Texas. They enjoy visits from their two sons and their families, are always delighted to hear from old friends, and are amazed at how well they have adjusted to ‘city’ living. Neva loves to hear from her readers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Welcome to this week’s Romance Weekly! If you’re here, I hope you came from Susan Scott Shelley’s blog. This is my first attempt at flash fiction. In fact, I had to look up what it actually is. I mean, given the terms “flash” and “fiction,” I could guess, but I wanted to make sure I was doing this right. I actually considered skipping this week, but decided to deviate from my comfort zone. The challenge is to write flash fiction (100-150 words) using the following words: chocolate, scarf and candle.
Sweet mother of God, what have I gotten myself into?
Penny’s from Heaven
I painted my lips cherry red, and styled my blonde curls around my favorite scarf. Smoothing my dress over my hips, I slipped on shiny black sling backs over my black silk stockings. I lit the candle on the nearby table, spiked the champagne with a tranquilizer, and turned down the lights. I always looked best in the soft glow of candlelight, and he’d only get the best from me, at least for a little while. This would be the best night of his life.
That is, until it suddenly wasn’t.
I’d been told this particular mark had a thing for Grace Kelly, and tonight, that was the character I would play.
No one knew the real me. I doubted anyone ever would. When I arrived at an event, I was, for one night, exactly who and what my client wanted me to be. I’d been everyone: I’d been the babysitter, the long-lost love, the teenage crush. I’d been a confidant, a lover, a mother and a friend. Half the time, my marks didn’t even notice they’d been robbed. I suspected some of them didn’t even care, once they’d spent time with me.
No one knew Penny, the name on my original birth certificate. I’d played so many characters that I sometimes wondered if I really even knew who Penny was. “Penny” was an intangible, a thing so distant and remote I wasn’t sure I believed in her existence.
A knock sounded at the door. I popped a chocolate in my mouth and allowed it to melt on my tongue, so when he kissed me, the taste would linger in his mouth. I wanted to be perfect.
I’d planned everything down to the last detail. I wouldn’t even need the stiletto strapped to my thigh; this night would be perfect.
Little did I know, perfection didn’t matter. Lady Luck–another intangible I wasn’t sure I believed in–had stopped believing in me, too.
Because this was the night I died.
Hmph. I went way over, so I guess my experiment with flash fiction was not as flash as I hoped. Ah, well. Why not travel on over to Katherine Givens’ blog and see what did with those same three words!
Welcome to Meggan Connors' website. Have a look around, stay awhile, and be sure to come back for updates and more!