Saturday, December 28, 2013

Short Story Saturday (Dec. 28, 2013)

This short story is a follow-up on the list of 25 words that I posted yesterday. No, I didn't write the story overnight. The list of words and the story is actually from a writing exercise I did in 2010. Being the over-achiever that I tend to be, I used all of the words on the list in my short story, not just the requisite 20. They're underscored here so you can see them.

Here's my effort in a piece I called "Let the Festival Begin."

"Let the Festival Begin"
The view from Nashville carried the economist through a long night. His election to the United Association meant the end of frugality. He would get to plan the conferences and conventions for the next two years. Larry had no intention of working with a budget.  And unlike the previous United Association vice president in charge of customer satisfaction, he had no intention of being an absentee elector. That chap’s term could best be described with an eraser – none of his austerity policies were taken seriously.
“Let the festival begin,” he declared at the airport.
The view from the first-class passengers’ lounge was spectacular and the layout of the hors’ doerves unrivaled. Larry had had his fill of the sugar-free lemonade and stale cookies usually served at gatherings of economists. The United Association executive board members knew how to live it up, and it began in first class.
“Let the sugar rush begin,” he declared as he cut into a generous slice of decadent cheesecake.
With an eye on the monitor so he wouldn’t miss his flight out of Nashville, Larry sampled all of the delights of the buffet, then settled in a leather massage chair to peruse the complimentary magazines.
An ad for a red Dodge Viper appealed to him. As vice president in charge of customer satisfaction, the first customer who had to be satisfied was Larry himself. As soon as the votes were tallied and his election declared official he’d begun the benefits of the position. His healthcare plan was now on par with those of U.S. senators. Other perks included generous clothing and expense accounts, a liberal cosmetics and accessories allowance for his spouse or partner and his pick of a luxury vehicle that would be leased in his name and paid for by the United Association during his full term of office.
Larry the economist figured it was his time to enjoy the fruits of his labor, nevermind the non-sequitur situation. He had to block a few votes to ensure his victory and it had been worth it.
Mouse no more,” he said.
He glanced at the digital display on the wall. When he stepped onto that plane, he would be entering a new frontier. The boulevard of dreams and the land of excess awaited him.
He closed the magazine, then grinned when he saw the ad on the back cover. “What happens in Vegas…”
“Vegas baby,” he said to himself as he left the first-class lounge. “Let the play begin.”

Friday, December 27, 2013

Writing Prompt Friday (#8)

Today's Writing Prompt Friday will be a little different than the others. Instead of just five prompts, I'm providing a list of 25 words. The idea is to write a complete short story using at least 20 of the 25 words.

Are you up to the challenge? I hope so. Post your story in comments or comment on what you did.

Have fun! Here's the word list -- and no, the words aren't related in any way!

election                   budget              customer                 economist

non-sequitor          absentee           eraser                      free

united                     frontier            airport                    lemonade

block                       layout               view                        Nashville

sugar                       boulevard         monitor                 festival

healthcare              cosmetics          mouse                    digital


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

 Merry Christmas from my house to yours.

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

Luke 2:10-11

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The stockings were hung by the chimney....

Well, maybe not for the stockings being hung by the chimney with care. But it is Christmas Eve, a most beautiful kind of day. It's filled with both anticipation and wonder. Do you have cookies out for Santa?

I've eaten far more cookies this year than I baked. This photo is actually from last year when I fell into something of a baking frenzy. It was fun. These are Peanut Butter Blossoms, very easy to make. A basic peanut butter cookie recipe (or the pre-made cookie dough from Pillsbury!) and Hershey's Kisses. The chocolate gets put on right when they come out of the oven and before cooling. Yummy.

But Christmas Eve is about more than just getting ready for the frenzy of gift and package opening that will come in the morning. For me, Christmas Eve is a time of reflection.

One of my Christmas Eve traditions is Midnight Mass from St. Peter's Basilica. I've tuned in every year for as long as I can remember. I get both a peace and hope along with the true Christmas spirit by watching each year.

What Christmas Eve traditions do you have?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Discussion: Generate your own motivation

I was rhapsodizing about Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson on Sunday, so I thought it appropriate to start a discussion about something he said.

Here's a quote from him. Read it, then post in the comments below one thing that you know more about today than you knew yesterday. What else did you take away from his quote?

“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you. ”
Neil deGrasse Tyson,

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Looking for a good holiday read?

It's the Christmas season and here in HOLIDAY DREAM are three novellas about the holidays that will surely brighten your day with a little romance. I'm in the collection with two fabulous writers, Gwynne Forster and Carmen Green.

Here's a little preview of what you'll find in HOLIDAY DREAM:

Along with the scent of evergreen, romance is in the air this joyous holiday season, as three authors bring you heartwarming classic tales that are the perfect way to celebrate this special time of sharing, caring and falling in love.

Christopher's Gifts by Gwynne Forster

High-profile New York interior designer Nadine Carpenter advertises for a chauffeur and gets a handsome, overqualified divorcé named Wade Malloy. He has just two Christmas wishes: to win custody of his son and a certain career woman's love.

Whisper To Me by Carmen Green

When teacher Iman Parrish meets widower Cedric Hamilton, a self-made businessman and father of two who prizes his possessions, they celebrate Kwanzaa and find that the tradition opens their minds and joins their hearts.

The First Noël by Felicia Mason

Master woodworker Franklin Williams is determined to show an overworked Kia Simmons that the true wonder of the holiday season lies in a love that shines as brightly as the Christmas star.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Writing Prompt Friday #7

This week for Writing Prompt Friday, we're continuing the same theme that we began last Friday. The prompts here are all ones that can be used for your daily or weekly journaling. If you don't keep a journal, consider giving the scenarios to the characters in your work in progress.

Addressing these questions and statements can deepen characterization, tell you more about either yourself or about the imaginary people you keep company with!

There is, however, a theme: Wishing. What is it that you wish for? What do the characters in your novel or short story or screenplay wish for?



I wish I had one more chance to …

I wish I had enough money to …

I wish I never …

I wish I didn’t have to …

I wish you wouldn’t …