“Girls” Night In

promptly penned

Welcome! If you’ve never seen read Promptly Penned before, we’re given a . . . wait for it . . . prompt and we have to use it to write a short piece. Easy peasy! The prompt this time is dialogue and it will be in bold so you know what it was. Enjoy!!

 

Maggie settled back on the couch with her feet kicked up. She hadn’t been sure she could swing hanging out with her two best friends, but, once Mrs. Hutchinson had convinced her she would take the kids Maggie had agreed. It was tough being solely responsible for her two younger siblings, but Maggie couldn’t do anything else. She loved them.

Grace pranced out of the kitchen followed by Joey. Both were carrying bottles and glasses as they sang off key at the top of their lungs. Good thing Grace’s apartment had solid walls or else the party would end before it got started.

“Have we missed anything?” Joey asked, handing Maggie a champagne flute.

“No, the Grammy’s aren’t on yet and I can’t drink this.”

“Oh yes you can, it’s sparkling grape juice. What do you take me for? I know very well pregnant ladies can’t have alcohol”

“Yeah, he’s way smart,” Grace said with a smile. “He graduated from Yale and is a lawyer.”

Maggie laughed since that was Joey’s pat line for explaining why he was always right. Grace had taken to tossing it in before he could. It always made the three of them laugh.

“That’s right,” Joey said. “Yale. Lawyer. That’s me.”

“Joseph P. DeMarco, Esquire,” Grace said, putting on what she called her haughty rich lady accent, which really consisted of her attempts at a bad British accent.

Maggie sipped at her drink and shrugged. It wasn’t bad for sparkling grape juice, of course, to her, anything was better than champagne. She couldn’t stand the stuff while her friends guzzled it like water.

“Here’s to our first official Girls Night In,” Grace declared, holding her glass up.

“I love this,” Joey said. “Thanks for inviting me.”

“Dude, you’re one of the girls,” Grace replied.

“It wouldn’t be the same without you,” Maggie told him.

“Ah, thanks girls. So, let’s dish. Grace, how’s it going with Calvin?”

“He’s old news. I haven’t talked to him in ages.”

Maggie rolled her eyes. “Ages? You saw him last week.”

“Whatever, it’s been so long I’m probably not interested in him anymore.”

I’ve seen his Instagram,” Joey shot back, “you’re definitely still interested.”

Maggie nodded. “You’re liking and commenting on his feed all over the place. Not that there’s really much to like. The man isn’t the brightest bulb in the pack.”

Joey nodded. “Sharpest pencil in the case.”

“Brightest crayon in the box,” Maggie continued.

“You two are mean,” Grace declared.

“She only says that when we’re right,” Joey told Maggie.

“The Grammy’s are on,” Grace pronounced primly. “We should watch it.”

“Avoidance,” Maggie said, “that means we’re really, really right. And she knows we’re right, but he’s called her and she’s going to go out with him.”

Grace ignored them by turning the TV up and Joey sighed dramatically.

“Yep, she’s going out with old dim bulb. He must have a big peen since he really can’t carry on a conversation.”

Maggie burst out laughing and finally Grace broke and began to laugh too. Yep, Maggie decided, Girls Night In was a success.

 

Now head over and see what my amazing friend Siobhan did with the prompt.

 

Best lesson I’ve learned . . .

 

learning-lessons

This week our topic is the best lesson we’ve learned from a work of fiction. Truthfully, the very first book that popped into my head was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. My lesson: don’t be all sweet and self-sacrificing because you’ll die early, just like Beth. You laugh, but I remember reading this book at maybe 9 or so and I just didn’t like Beth. She was just too goody-goody for me. Then, like that, she died. So, yeah, no being good for me.

That was only reinforced with The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The main girl, Mary, was a total brat and I loved her. First, she didn’t die. Then, she got to go live in a huge house, make friends, and hang out in a secret garden. Bam! Being a brat totally paid off for her. To this day, TSG is still my favorite book of all time.

Another book was Jane Eyre. Lesson: don’t fall for some brooding man who lives in a crumbling house because he’ll have a mad wife locked in the attic. So, yeah that one saved me from heartache and the possibility of dying tragically.

Truly, the real lesson is don’t believe everything someone tells you. Rochester totally lied to her about his wife. Jerk. Oh then he had the nerve to ask her to run away with him and pretend to be his wife. Assface. In the end, he’s blind and sad and she goes back to him. Uhhh, no. Once a liar always a liar.

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In the midst of reading the classics I was also reading romance novels. Romance novels written in the 70s. Yeah if you don’t know what special little snowflakes these books were, you so have to check them out. Young virgin heroine, much older “hero” who treats her horrible and often rapes her then proclaims in the end that he’d always loved her. Bleck!!  From reading these books, I learned my most valuable lesson and it was:

I can write better than this!

Yep, that was it. Even at 12 I realized I could write way better than what I was reading. In fact, as I read, I was rewriting the book in my head to the way it should have been. Strong, older heroines. Alpha males who loved and cherished their partners. Action and adventure they took on as a team.

Now go visit Bronwyn and see what big lesson(s) she learned.

Top 10: Changes I Need to Make

top 10

As soon as I saw this topic I thought, “Huh, this is either going to be super easy with me having to pick through the thousands of things I want to change or hard. Of course, this is depending on how I feel.” Right now, I’m not feeling too bad so let’s jump into this and see what happens. As always, this list is in no particular order except for #1. Number One is one for a reason.

Number 1 – Stop Procrastinating!!!! I was going to say I’m the Queen, but really, let’s be honest, I’m the Goddess of Procrastination. If I have something I should be doing I can find a million other things to do instead. Am I proud of this fact? No, but see below as a case in point.

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Oh wait, found another and it has Viggo Mortenson in it! Woo hoo!

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Number 2 – I need to exercise. I walk, but not nearly enough. There’s always something else . .  aaaaand we’re back to procrastination. See, how that works??

Number 3 – Writing needs to happen more. Much much more. Like everyday more.

Number 4 – I need to start saving money. Yep, I’ll just leave that right there.

Number 5 – I need to start taking better care of myself. I can say that I’m doing way better, since I named this the Year of Self-Care. I’ve caught up on almost all my doctor’s appointments and even went for the dreaded colonoscopy.

Number 6 – I need to get back to De-Cluttering or Marie Kondo-ing if you will. I was doing pretty good for a while, but dropped off. I need to get back to it so I can finally take the bags of clothes to Good Will.

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Number 7 – I need to get myself more organized at work. I have a ton of different events I go to and schools to visit so I need to begin to create a To-Do list at the beginning of every day.  I think this might also keep me focused, since I seem to have a problem with that.

Number 8 – I need to get out more. I always joke that I’m anti-social, but I pretty much am. I’m an introvert and after talking to people all day long I just want to go home and hide. I think it would be better for me to get out at least one evening and one time during the weekend. Probably mentally healthier too.

Number 9 – Have I mentioned I need to stop procrastinating?? Yeah, that. I need to stop that.

Number 10 – Now I’m going to pivot away from me personally. I need to make changes to my Promises Series. I’ve gotten them all back and so many ideas are swimming in my head I can’t wait to jump in and get started. I’ve already rewritten the entire beginning of Dark Promise in my head so I need to sit and put it down.

That’s it for me. Now go over and see what changes Bronwyn thinks she should make. 

Top Ten: Best Purchases Evah!!

top 10

Okay, so, as the header states, this is all about the best ten things we’ve ever purchased. Usually, I say that the list isn’t in any order, but this time it is . . . sort of. The top two purchases are where they need to be because, of the best purchases, these are the best of the best. EVAH!

In the #1 spot is my baby kitten Maeve! She just turned 4, if you can believe it. And I can honestly say I do not know what I’d do without her.

IMG_0871Even when she stands in front of the computer and rubs her face on me so I can’t work, I still love her to pieces. I’m kind of iffy when she knocks her water bowl over, but I still love even though I think about kicking her fuzzy butt.

Number 2 is the antibiotics I purchased last night. *face palm* I have a wicked UTI heading into a kidney infection and the pills are amazing. I didn’t care how much I had to pay, I felt that bad. Thankfully, they were only 14.00 and I’m feeling so much better, but, believe me, I would have paid way more.

Number 3 is my laptop. I can’t imagine what I’d do without it. I remember when I began to write on a computer and I thought it was sooooo hard. I needed to write it down first blah blah blah. Oh hell no. Putting pen to paper totally slows me down. Typing is the way to go and my laptop(s) have never failed me. Which leads me to:

Number 4 – Carbonite! If you don’t have it, you need to get it. The software automatically backs up my computer to a mysterious cloud. I will never lose stuff again, which I have done before. I think three laptops ago my computer crashed and it was all gone. All of it. That won’t happen to me now.

Number 5 is my Nook. I love books and have tons of them. Now I can have hundreds at my fingertips. When I go on vacation my luggage isn’t filled with ten to twelve physical books (I have done this before) but I just take my Nook and have hundreds and the ability to buy more right there with me. Magic!!

Number 6 is tickets for Colonial Williamsburg. I love this place! I’ve been three times and could go again tomorrow. I love history and the amazing stories of every day people and this is Williamsburg. The programming is great and the museum is fantastic. If you’ve never been, you should go.

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Number 7 is my very first cross stitch pattern. I got it because I thought it would make a great gift for a friend. Oh, and I kind of wanted to teach myself cross stitch. Yeah, see I truly didn’t know what I was doing. Anyway, once I started on the project I loved it. It’s very meditative. Following the pattern, find the color floss required, and making the stitches. I think I’ve made 5 or 6 thing so far and love it so much.

Number 8 are the first books in JD Robb’s In Death series, Nalini Singh’s Archangel and Psy/Changeling series, and Shelly Laurenston’s Pride series. I love these books!! No matter how crummy of a day, all I need to do is pick one of them up and I feel instantly better. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to them all.  Shelly’s especially still make me laugh out loud.

Number 9 is Scott Cunningham’s book Wicca: Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

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I believe the book was published in 1988 and was the first book I purchased about paganism. I had been interested before this and looked at the library and read books on the sly at the bookstore. I know I had Tarot cards while in high school since my Mom got them for me for my birthday, but this book truly opened my eyes to a practice I could truly believe in. Though I do not follow Wicca, this was the introduction to who I am today, and almost gave me permission to dive into this religion I felt so connected to.

Number 10 is my home. I love this place. It’s my shelter and my hide away. Sis and I have worked to make it cozy and it never fails to lift me up when I get here. Stepping through the door, it’s as if a weight lifts from my shoulder.

That’s all for me, now go and see what Bronwyn says are her best purchases.

Promptly Penned March 2019

promptly penned

I love the prompt this month and as soon as I read it I instantly thought of my two favorite people Shay and Josie. It’s short, but I had a fun time dropping in one them. As always, the prompt given to us is in bold. Hope you enjoy!

 

Shay tossed her backpack down just a tad harder than needed. Was she pissed the summoning spell didn’t work? You betcha, but there wasn’t a hell of a lot she could do about it. It didn’t work. So, get over it and move on and think of something else. She wasn’t sure what yet. There was so much they didn’t know. It was almost overwhelming.

Josie pulled a soda out of their small refrigerator and slouched in their one comfortable chair. The living room of the apartment they shared was tiny and had room for a love seat, that might grow up to be a sofa, and the chair. That’s it. No artwork. No dust catchers. Nothing else. Just the tiny sofa and the chair.

“You know why we live like this?” she asked Josie.

 

“Live like what?” Josie looked up from the mystery gadget she’d pulled from one of her million pockets.

“Like this.” Shay waved her hands around. “Every one in the agency does it, but no one talks about it. It’s because when we die, which we all will, usually way sooner than we should, we won’t leave anyone with a mess to clean up. How fucked up is that?”

“I can understand you’re frustrated by everything that’s happened.”

Shay rolled her eyes. “Whatever. I don’t give a fuck.”

Josie burst out laughing. “Who are you kidding? You give so many fucks they’re visible from space. You can pretend all you want that you don’t care. But I know you do. Hell, so do I. Don’t you think I’m freaked out about this whole situation? We have an unknown entity, or, probably, entities out there munching down on our people and there’s not one good goddamn thing we can do about it.”

Shay ran a hand wearily through her hair. “Fine. I care. I give a fuck, but what does that get me? Telling you I care doesn’t change anything.”

“Bullshit. It changes everything. We know what’s at stake. So, we need to calm down and think. Up until now, we’ve been running from one fire to the next. Throwing shit at these things willy-nilly. No thought. No planning. It’s not just us doing this. It’s everyone. The entire agency. And what is it getting us?”

“More dead agents.” Shay sat on the couch that wasn’t a couch and took a breath. “You’re right. We have no plan. So, that means, we need to stop and think.”

“Not just us,” Josie said, sitting beside her. “We need to gather what’s left of the teams and come up with a cohesive plan. And, dude, you’re like freaking magic. You need to work on what kinds of things you can do.”

“Just because I said you were right, doesn’t mean you can call me dude.”

Josie smiled. “Whatever. You know you like it.”

“Like a punch in the head. So, yeah, let’s make some calls and see what we can come up with.”

 

Jess      Bronwyn    Kris    Siobhan

 

 

First Argument

first time

We’re back to our brand new feature called “First Time” and this month we’re posting a first argument between characters. The piece is from a not-yet-published book called Entangled and it’s between Rowan Haggerty and Sergei Bukolov. They are speaking on the phone and he’s assuming all kinds of things that aren’t true. I’ll leave you all to read how Rowan handles it.  Hope you all enjoy!

 

“May I speak with Sergei Bukolov, then?”

“I’m sure the Voyevoda does not have time—”

She cut him off. “He needs to make time. This is about an extremely delicate matter, which your Knyaz will be furious about if you don’t let me speak to someone in authority.”

“Hold on one moment.”

Rowan heard clicking on the line. The fucker had better not have hung up on her.

“This is Bukolov.” A deep raspy male voice said. “Who is this?”

Rowan shivered. She was sure she knew the voice and it disturbed her now, just as it had nearly four years ago. Unless there was another man named Sergei with the same voice, this had to be the same man. Unless she was imaging it. That had to be it. There was no way the man she spoke with was the same man she’d worked with. The world wasn’t that small.

“Hello?”

Shit, get yourself together Haggerty.

“My name is Rowan Haggerty. I have a small child with me named Mikhail. He says his father is Vladimir Rodzianko.”

“What? This is impossible.”

“Mr. Bukolov, I pulled Mikhail out of a dangerous situation. He told me he was supposed to go to his grandparent’s house, but now he obviously wants to come home.”

“What do you want?”

“I want to get Mikhail back to his father safely.” She hoped the duh wasn’t too obvious in her voice.

“How much? How much do you want?”

Rowan tried not to get angry, but after everything that had happened, she was tired and pissed. She looked at the kid’s anxious face and forced a smile. “Hon, would you like to talk to Sergei?”

“Oh yes,” he nodded.

Rowan heard a quick intake of breath through the phone line as she handed it to Misha. “Here he is.”

Misha eagerly took the phone. “Sergei, it is me, Misha. I want to come home now.” He paused, obviously listening to the man on the phone. “Rowan saved me from the bad men. Aleksandr is dead. The bad men killed him. Olik, and Jaska were alive. I do not know if they are any longer. I think Jaska was a bad man too.” His eyes filled with tears and Rowan took his hand. “Rowan is like you and papa, she is a warrior. She got me away from the bad men.” He listened, shaking his head. “I don’t know.” He held the phone out to Rowan and crawled into her lap. She took the phone and held him close as he cried.

“I want this baby to come home. Are you going to help us or not?”

“Yes, I still do not understand how any of this happened but tell me where you are. I will come.”

“We can’t stay here and wait. I don’t want to take the chance. Where should we meet?”

“What do you mean?”

“People may be hunting us and I can’t stay here.”

“Fuck, I need to speak to Vlad. Give me your number so I can reach you.”

“Right now, I don’t know who to trust. So, give me your number and I’ll call you.”

He gave her a number and she memorized it. She hoped like hell this man could be trusted, but she was running out of options if she wanted to reach Rodzianko. If it came down to it, she’d kill Bukolov. She’d do whatever was necessary to protect Mikhail.

“As soon as we get some miles behind us, I’ll call.”

“By then, I will have spoken to Vlad.”

“Bukolov, don’t double cross us. If you make any move to hurt this child I’ll kill you.”

 

Ahhh, can’t you just feel the love?? Anyway go check out the other bloggers’ first arguments.

Jess      Bronwyn    Kris     Kayleigh     Siobhan