Alternate Realities

No new original fiction, this week. Instead, an older 100-word post I did on my own, for my Songbirds.

“Alternate Realities”

Armed with an arsenal of books, pamphlets, and websites, Larry thought himself ready for anything Katie might throw at him: from the logistics of gender possibilities and a tidy explanation of where babies come from, to gentle assurances that nothing or no one could ever usurp the love and devotion he and Sally felt for their soon-to-be elder child.

Throughout his entire rambling explanation, Katie sat quietly in his lap, until he paused, smiled, and asked, “Do you have any questions, about the new baby?”

To which his daughter thought, and blinked, and said, “Can I have a puppy, instead?”

Smiling Dog Face

By Sam, [CC-BY-2.0 (]

I adore the relationship between parents Larry and Sally…but I also really enjoy examining the relationship between their girls, Katie and Billie. I think because the Nightingale family gives me an opportunity to reflect on and remember my own life, while still keeping a touch of fantastic silliness and adventure so integral to their universe.

I’ve been lax with picking up prompts these last few weeks. I think they must be designed more for writers who want to write but don’t necessarily have any larger projects on which they need to concentrate. But, I’ve got two Works in Progress which I want to complete/edit/perfect. I don’t necessarily feel bad neglecting the prompts to work on my larger projects, but I do want to keep some semblance of regularity to this blog.

So, for any of you out there looking for a writing challenge, below are a few good ones I follow. I’m sure there are more out there, too, if you just poke around a bit.

And, for those of you busy concentrating on your own long projects, here’s to a good wordy weekend!

100-Word Challenge: A Deeper Reflection

100 Word Challenge for Grown-UpsOnly one prompt this time, for 100-Word Challenge for Grown-Ups. This week (76), Julia’s prompt is:

…beneath the surface…
We are to “keep to the 100 words plus the 3 above,” giving us a total of 103 words to tell the story.

This one came pretty easily to me, as I cranked it out in about an hour. But, then, I think this is likely a situation close to many of our hearts, not just my own….

“A Deeper Reflection”


Doodling the bod

Fixing her gaze on her disrobed reflection, Sally sighed.

What lay beneath the surface was more important, she knew…but, what had happened to that surface? The flat belly, high breasts, slim hips – where had they gone?

The creak and click of the bedroom door, signalling Larry’s return, made her scramble for pants and bra.

His warm, damp embrace stopped her. “Just a mo’.”

Cringing from his tickling hair, she laughed, despite herself. “You’re wet!”

“You’re gorgeous,” he replied, nuzzling her neck.

She hummed. “You think?”

He plucked her clothes from her hand; they fell to the floor with his towel. “I know.”

I have some writerly friends who can use this short form of storytelling to weave tales of excitement, danger, whimsy, and mystery. I can manage that, on occasion. Mostly, though, these prompts tend to lead me to more mundane places, such as Sally’s fretting over her aging, motherly body…and Larry’s still-full love of the same.

Writing for these Songbirds often feels like writing my own life (sans the fantastic timey-wimey stuff, of course). Maybe that’s why I keep coming back to them. I suppose I should feel blessed that my life and loves are basically happy. And, I certainly am. It doesn’t exactly make for riveting storytelling, though.

How did you look beneath the surface, this week? Let me know!

100-Word Challenge: Shattered Silence

It’s Week 69 for the 100-Word Challenge for Grown-Ups!

This week, Julia is being particularly timely, with the prompt of …Bah Humbug!….

I’ve been writing plenty of 100-word stories for the Nightingales, but this one struck a familiar chord in me, as it’s based on a true story. I hope you enjoy!

“Shattered Silence”

Despite the danger of discovery, Sally let herself whine. For so much sweeter than any cinder toffee was the taste of his shoulder, so much more warming than any port was his breath against her neck. Even all the wrapped, ribboned prizes tucked beneath the tree in the parlour – she’d trade them all for just a few more minutes clutched in his strong, stolen embrace…!

But Katie’s shriek – “It’s Christmas!” – followed by Billie’s less articulate echo after, shattered the moment like a delicate glass ornament.

Larry groaned. “First thing tomorrow,” he muttered, “I’m arranging for a vasectomy.”

Happy, safe, restful holidays to you all!

100WCGU: Fade to Grey

It’s Week 68 for Julia’s 100-Word Challenge for Grown-Ups! This week, Julia gives us the prompt of:

We’ve got 100 words to use to interpret the prompt, so, here’s mine:

“Fade to Grey”

“I made this,” Billie declared, as she sorted through ornaments. “And this-”

I made that,” Katie corrected, snatching at the yarn doll.

Chuckling, Sally turned, to catch Larry’s reaction. He wasn’t watching the girls, though, but staring at his reflection in a tiny glass ball.

“What’s wrong?” she asked softly.

He ran his fingers through his fringe, frowning. “I’m going grey.”

Sally hummed. Growing old didn’t appeal to her, either. Although, the idea of growing old with him charmed. So, pulling at one pale strand with a grin, she teased, “I made this.”

Larry blinked, then laughed. “You certainly did!”


Let’s admit it: no one really wants to get older, see those lines and fading colors in the mirror. But, when you find someone worth the time and effort, it makes the changes seem not quite so terrible as they might otherwise be.

George Clooney and Helen Mirren: proof you can go grey and still be awesome.

This story is one rather close to my heart, as today marks the fifteen-year anniversary of when my husband and I met. (Fifteen years! Oftentimes, it feels more like fifteen minutes. …underwater. No, no; just kidding!)

Personally, I see more grey in the mirror every day. But, like my Songbirds above, I’ve managed to find someone with whom the prospect of growing older doesn’t seem so scary.

What does “GREY” mean to you?

Five Sentence Fiction: "In a Word"

DETOUR” was the prompt for this week’s Five Sentence Fiction challenge, from Lillie McFerrin. We don’t have to use the word itself, just write a five sentence story using that word as inspiration. (I’m cheating a bit this week, as I originally wrote this one for another prompt. But, I think it fits better, here.)

This one is for all the people out there who don’t always go where they want to go, but get taken to where – and with whom – they need to be.

“In a Word”

There had been other men, of course, before him: the deliriously brilliant swashbuckler who’d spoken of strange and ancient mysteries; the handsome, charming defender who’d nearly swept her off her feet with flattering want; even the wise but wicked gentleman who’d wondered with her what could have been.

He wasn’t as brilliant, handsome, or as wise as them, nor delirious, charming, nor wicked.

But, he was strong and warm when they held each other, tenderly passionate when they kissed, and he filled her with such joy when he made her laugh. And, sometimes, when she least expected, he could be stately, like a gentleman, and as courageous as any knight, and even as exciting as a daredevil…in his own sometimes silly, sweet way.

He was, simply and in a word, her husband.

Yes, yes, I know: I’m a sap. But, I write what I know, which makes me a happy sap.

What DETOUR did your characters take, with this prompt?

Log in here!