Tag Archives: fiction

P is for Pickles [A2Z]

Okay, okay… the romcom is called Crossing Delancey, and it stars Amy Irving (also Peter Riegert, which is a P too, but I haven’t been putting male names in these titles because honestly don’t men get enough attention already? Geez!), but pickles are an important part of this movie.

What we have here is a snooty New Yorker, Isabelle, who thinks she is a bit too upscale for pickle seller Sam, even though he is undeniably sexy, witty, charming, and kind. He’s overtly religious, and though Isabelle is Jewish too, she’s more attracted to a narcissistic writer who she thinks is a better match. Complications ensue!

What makes this romcom different is that the heroine is flawed and needs to see the error of her ways to actually become worthy of the good guy. Most romances are the opposite, with a noble female lead and an imperfect dude who has to change to win her lurrrrve. Plus, he must go on quests and solve crimes and do other cool things, while she just needs to be pretty and breathe. Or, depending on the genre, maybe not breathe, but I digress. It’s why we call them fantasies, amirite?

In real life, everyone is flawed and it’s a miracle any two people can stand to be with each other for more than five minutes. Or maybe that’s just me, huh? Probably me. ðŸĪĢ😂ðŸĪŠ

Commute [fiction 270]

It was a day like any other day. Greg took the express ferry from the city across the bay to where his car waited in the lot. Then he’d drive home around the winding mountain roads. But tonight the sky swirled with dark clouds, and the water churned like a bubbling sauce. Most people moved away from the rails and huddled under the shelter of the tarp.

It wasn’t raining though, and Greg disliked being in a crowd. He stayed at the rails, watching the heaving waves. They were a deep, mysterious forest green right below him, and he glimpsed a twisting darker shape within. He tilted forward to get a closer look, and the wind whipped his baseball cap off his head. Greg saw it drop into the water around 20 feet away, gone for good.

Suddenly, an enormous creature surged out of the water. It had the head of an octopus but the spotted coloring of a big cat. Two of its thick, rubbery tentacles grasped the railing in front of Greg, and he leaped back, slipped, and fell on his butt.

One of the ferry workers approached and bopped the creature on the head with a pole. It let go of the railing and slipped back into the sea. “You okay?” the man said to Greg, helping him up.

“Yeah. Thanks.” Greg stared out at the water. “What the hell was that?”

Lynx squid. They get enormous. It’s their prime mating season right now so they’re really active. They usually don’t come in the bay though.”

Greg stayed under the tarp for the rest of the ride.

~*~

Elemental writing challenge: water/mysterious

Skirts [flash 127]

“Frank, I’m concerned about the amount of turnover we’re experiencing in the skirt department,” Jane said, frowning at the first quarter report. “It costs a lot of money to train new employees.”

Frank tried to soothe the VP’s concerns. “We’re trying to get these new employees to participate more in social events. That way we’ll feel more like one big happy family.”

Jane glared at him. “Frank, your job is to sell skirts, not teach the world to sing like in some sappy ad. I want results! And I don’t want to wait until fourth quarter.”

“You’ll get them,” Frank said confidently. “In fact, we’re having a fun modeling show next week to show off our summer skirts. You should join in, Jane. You’ve got great legs.”

~*~

Song Lyric Sunday: Cold

I love songs that tell a story, and I especially appreciate songs that are based on novels. For Jim’s prompt this week, I’m sharing the tragedy of “Wuthering Heights” in lyrics and music. Kate Bush wrote this wonderful song in 1977 for her debut album The Kick Inside. It’s her most successful single.

Out on the wiley, windy moors
We’d roll and fall in green
You had a temper like my jealousy
Too hot, too greedy
How could you leave me
When I needed to possess you?
I hated you, I loved you, too

Bad dreams in the night
They told me I was going to lose the fight
Leave behind my wuthering, wuthering
Wuthering Heights

Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy
I’ve come home, I’m so cold
Let me in through your window

Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy
I’ve come home, I’m so cold
Let me in through your window

Ooh, it gets dark, it gets lonely
On the other side from you
I pine a lot, I find the lot
Falls through without you
I’m coming back, love
Cruel Heathcliff, my one dream
My only master

Too long I roam in the night
I’m coming back to his side, to put it right
I’m coming home to wuthering, wuthering
Wuthering Heights

Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy
I’ve come home, I’m so cold
Let me in through your window

Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy
I’ve come home, I’m so cold
Let me in through your window

Ooh, let me have it
Let me grab your soul away
Ooh, let me have it
Let me grab your soul away
You know it’s me, Cathy

Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy
I’ve come home, I’m so cold
Let me in through your window

Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy
I’ve come home, I’m so cold
Let me in through your window

Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy
I’ve come home, I’m so cold

Omg this video… ðŸ˜ĒðŸ˜ĒðŸ˜Ē

Red Flag [flash 200]

Olivia felt happy about her date tonight so far. Andy seemed like a perfect gentleman. He’d brought her a lovely red rose and was a wonderful conversationalist throughout dinner.

As they left the table, Olivia made sure to notice how generous Andy was to their waiter, so unlike the miserly man she’d dated previously.

“So, Olivia,” Andy said as he drove her home. “It’s neat that you like to sketch and hike, but I should tell you I’m a storm chaser.”

Olivia was eager to learn something new and participate too. “What’s that? It sounds fun!”

He laughed. “Well, I certainly think it’s fun! Exhilarating might be a better word. My group and I watch for upcoming weather events, the bigger the better. Hurricanes, tsunamis, cyclones, you name it. And we try to get to the vicinity if we can.”

“Ookay.” Olivia felt puzzled. “But why?”

“To feel alive!” Andy moved his hands around his head, pantomiming the swirling motion of a tornado.

“I see,” she said, though she didn’t really. “But isn’t it dangerous?”

Andy nodded, his dark eyes glittering. “Sure. Last year one of our group died in a brutal blizzard. He got a great video first though.”

~*~

J is for Jennifer [A2Z]

Jennifer Crusie, that is! There are so many good romance novels by Ms. Crusie, and I believe I’ve mentioned a few times that the first one I read, Welcome to Temptation, is the book that inspired me to write my first romance novel. I dabbled as a teenager, but WTT made me realize I didn’t have to be afraid of letting my humor shine through my writing.

However! My favorite Crusie romance novel is one of her spin-offs to WTT called Faking It. This book is just so much fun, with so many great characters, not just the hero and heroine, who are marvelous, but all the side characters as well. We even get a 50-something mom who loves word games and is still sexy enough that two (two!) age-appropriate studs fight over her. Is it any wonder I love this book? 😂

If you haven’t read any Jenny, or for some reason have missed out on this one, I highly recommend Faking It… loads of laughs, delicious muffins, and larceny too.

Side note: I panicked when I realized I must have donated all my old hardcover books, and I gulped at paying full retail price for new Jenny. She is not on Kindle Unlimited. But then I remembered this big building full of books near the park where I walk sometimes… I wandered in there, renewed my expired card, and found Faking It on the library shelf. Amazing! 😀

Take Me With You [fiction 300]

For seven years, Kiara had toiled at Wolf Castle. She’d been grateful they took her in of course, that night she’d arrived, sick and bloody, with a broken hand. They had fixed her. Then they’d put her to work.

“Don’t think you’re here to learn secrets for petty revenge,” Lady Wolf had warned her repeatedly. “We have important tasks to fulfill. You’ll do as you’re told.”

But Kiara had learned the secrets and spells. She burned for revenge against the cruel man who had hurt her back at the pretty cottage by the sea, where she’d felt safe surrounded by flowers and lovely things, until that night. Here, all was dark and cold and ugly, but no one hurt her. Not in that way, not like her stepfather had.

Now, seven years later, Kiara was ready to return. Quietly, she packed a small bag with poisons she’d concocted from ancient books and a sharp knife she’d pilfered. She crept down the stairs and went around to the back door, the one they used to exit to the graveyard.

As she began walking past the crumbling stones, Kiara heard a noise, a breath. She stopped. Something brushed past her and she half-screamed.

“Quiet!” he hissed, moving his hood back so she could see his face. “They’ll find us.”

Kiara recognized Thorn, Lady Wolf’s strange son, who up until now seemed to communicate only with animals. His eyes glinted in the moonlight like a cat’s, and she shivered. “Why are you here?”

“I’ve been watching you,” he said. “I know you’re going back to the sea.”

Kiara couldn’t deny it. “I need to settle with someone.”

“I’ll help you.”

Kiara’s fury rose up. “He’s mine!”

“I want to watch.” Thorn smiled and white teeth glittered like jewels. “Take me with you.”

~*~

Genre Challenge: Dark Fantasy

Green [fiction 500]

Finally, all the pesky environmental protection laws had been defeated and steel drilling rigs covered the coastline. One by one, native species of flora and fauna died off, except for the Pacific greenworm. The greenworm flourished without its former predators and swiftly mutated into a new creature that could absorb nutrients from steel. There was a lot of steel around, and the worms were hungry.

*

At the university laboratory, the brilliant microbiology team studied the mutant worms in an attempt to understand how to kill them and protect the oil industry.

“Shouldn’t we be wearing full protective gear?” Ashley Adams asked, her voice wavering, since she was new on the team, yet worried they weren’t following proper procedure.

Team leader Brock Butler shook his head. “No need for that expense,” he said decisively. “These little worms are only harmful in water. Plus we aren’t made of steel!”

Chris Campbell sneezed and said, “Hey guys, I’m leaving early for break. I haven’t been feeling well today.”

*

Cantankerous old Grandpa Campbell knocked on the bedroom door. “Ain’t you up yet, Chrissy? I got sumthin to show you.”

Chris slipped her arms into her bathrobe, shivering and shaking. Her chest felt crushed, and she knew she was much sicker than a week ago when she went on Spring Break. She shuffled over to the front door where Grandpa was pointing. “Oh, my God.”

A bright green film covered everything: the porch, the walkway, the cars, the trees. It was as if the sky had dumped green snow as a belated St. Patrick’s joke. “What is that?”

“Worms,” Grandpa said. “They’s eating up the world. And they started in your school stuff. I threw your backpack on the porch when I first saw them, and the next day there were a million. Now a hundred million. A billion!”

“That can’t be,” Chris said. “They only live in the ocean and eat steel!”

Grandpa waved his hands. “You got eyes same as me. Look! That ain’t the ocean out there. And those worms are eating my trees.”

“I have to call my team.”

“School’s gone,” Grandpa said. “Was on the news. Worms ate everyone. From the inside out. They ate the buildings too. And the computers.”

Chris had a coughing fit. Worms. Ate people. From the inside out. “Grandpa,” she gasped. “I have them.”

“No doubt. And it’s too late for me.” He nodded. “I handled your bags.”

“What are we going to do?” Chris stared out at the bright green cars that used to be a white Corolla and a black Ford pickup.

“How about a martini?” Grandpa suggested. “We have time for maybe two each.”

Chris frowned. “Time? Before what?”

“Russia and China are about to nuke us, to stop the worms from spreading over there.” Grandpa walked into the kitchen and opened the liquor cabinet.

“But doesn’t our government have something to say about that? Can’t they protect us?”

“Naw, honey.” Grandpa took down two glasses. “They’ve all fled the country.”

~*~

Genre Writing Challenge: Eco-Thriller

Opposites Attract Challenge: April 9

Three Things Challenge: PL54

H is for Heart [A2Z]

Heart of Fire by Linda Howard is one of my all-time favorite romance novels. My copy is so ancient it is literally crumbling! I figured for my review I’d just skim a bit, since I read it a couple times decades ago, and who wants to reread old books when there are so many new ones in the queue, amirite?

Wrong! I avidly reread the entire book at the beginning of April, not skipping a single sentence. It’s so good. From the carefully constructed protagonists with their cross-motivations to the lush descriptions of the Amazon to the exciting plot developments, it really is an interesting book. It reminds me a little of the movie Romancing the Stone, but not a lot, since the heroines are so different. But we do have a U.S. citizen gallivanting down to South America to search for something, and she does end up having to fight for her life against bad guys.

Oh, and she also meets her soul mate of course! 💖

Just a note about Mr. Wonderful. I gave the book 5 stars, but some peeps might find him a bit too aggressive for their tastes and blah blah consent blah blah. Hey, he’s too aggressive for my tastes! But I’m not the one matched with him, so it’s all good. There are explicit sex scenes in this book.

F is for Forbidden [A2Z]

Forbidden Planet by Rinelle Grey was a stretch for me, but I wanted to do some sub-genres reviews this month, not just Regencies and contemporaries. Those are the novels I choose when I don’t make a “mindful” pick. FP is a science fiction romance, with a setting on distant planets.

First, there are environmental issues of overpopulation on one planet, and the dying out of a society on another. One group of people is trying to control their fertility, while the other is trying to have babies desperately.

Second, we have our hero Tyris, who, on his home planet, is considered an outlaw because of an old minor arrest and forbidden from reproducing. When the official notice arrives, his wife dumps him. With nothing to lose, he goes exploring into space.

Third, on the planet where Tyris crashes, he meets Marlee, a young woman who has already failed to get pregnant with other men. She feels despondent over this, even though she is kind and helps him recover. Tyris tries to persuade the people on this planet to let him use their crashed ship’s parts to fix his, but some are reluctant. They seem resigned to their doom.

There is a “gift of the magi” type dilemma happening overall, where a substance named “anysogen” is the key to fueling ships and finding new food sources, which in turn will ease the overpopulation burden; however, exposure to anysogen is fatal at worst and leaves one infertile at best, such infertility extending to animals, livestock and otherwise. Marlee’s planet is (1) full of anysogen, and (2) mysteriously wiped off the starmaps. Hmm.

Be that as it may, FP is a romance novel, so the focus is mainly upon the development of the relationship between Tyris and Marlee, and how they overcome their fears and doubts in order to trust each other. It’s also the first book in a series, so despite the HEA, we are left with many unanswered questions.