A Bite of the Apple – Ballroom Dancing


Ball gown and tailcoat are always worn when da...

Ball gown and tailcoat are always worn when dancing competitively. This couple are dancing an international standard tango. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Regan got back to her room she found it full of mannequins, each one dressed in a gorgeous gown. “What are these?”

“These are for you, for tonight,” replied the maid. “Which one do you prefer?”

“Oh, they are all so beautiful!” She went from one to another, feeling the smooth silk on this one, the exquisite lacework on that, elaborate embroidery here, wonderful prints there.

“Would you like to try them on?”

“Do we have time?”

“Certainly, milady. They wouldn’t dream of starting the ball without you, so take all the time you need.”

She spent an hour trying them all on, finally settling on one with a simple, elegant line that flattered her figure best. “Excellent choice, Milady. Now it’s time for your bath, and then the hairdresser will be in, and your makeup artist. And while you’re doing all that the Crown Jeweler will be along to help you with your jewelry selection.”

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A Bite of the Apple – Carriage Ride


“Let me show you the kingdom.” They followed King Julien out into the courtyard where a handsome open carriage waited, with four white horses and a driver and footman dressed in livery. Julien and Regan sat in the front facing seats while Renee and Amanda sat opposite them. The horses set off at a walk into the village.

“Our village isn’t terribly large, but then again neither is the kingdom,” said the King as they passed between the quaint buildings. The streets were nicely paved, but quite narrow.

“Where do people park?” asked Renee.

“We have few private cars,” said the King. “Those we have are kept in the stables on the edge of the village, alongside the horses. The kingdom is so small that such transportation isn’t really necessary, any more than it would be in New York or Paris.” He grinned. “All the walking helps keep us healthy.”

The road quickly left the village and wound along the shore of the lake. Little side roads, some not much more than tracks, ran away from the lake into the hills. “About half the population lives in the village. The rest live in scattered hamlets or individual farmsteads up in the hills.”

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A Bite of the Apple – At Castle Rubintal


castle2Regan turned to Julien. “When were you going to tell me?!”

“Just as soon as we got home. By the way, my home is over there.” He led her around the front of the bus. In front of her appeared a modest little castle — maybe six or eight stories high, a couple hundred rooms, nothing much — out in the middle of a lake surrounded by mountains. A stone bridge about a hundred meters long connected the road where they stood to the castle. It was barely wide enough for the bus and covered with even more people, who let out their own cheer when Julien came into view.

He held his arm out for Regan. “Shall we?”

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A Bite of the Apple – A Trip to the Kingdom


“I’ll be going home Monday. Would you like to come for a visit?”

The previous three weeks had been enchanting, to say the least. Julien and Regan had seen each other nearly every day, most often just the two of them (plus a bodyguard or two), but occasionally accompanied by Genevieve (usually with the nurse hovering somewhere in the background). Julien had shown Regan many of the New York tourist sights, and had encouraged Regan to show him the New York she knew — some of the little gems that long-time residents know, but tourists rarely discover. It was a marvelous time.

Regan had been dreading the inevitable end, the day when Julien would be forced to return home. Now it was here, and he was asking her to come with him! Did she dare?

“Normally I’d be asking your father, but since your parents are dead I’m offering you the opportunity to bring one or two chaperones as well. Will you come? Can you?”

Her mind was racing. How could she make this work? Who could she …

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A Bite of the Apple – At the Playground


The sun was finally starting to warm things up on the park bench where Regan sat, drinking coffee and watching the townhouse across the street. A friend had helped her access a reverse phone directory, and the number she’d gotten from Freddy led her here.

She felt like a fool, sitting in the little park and watching the house for signs of Julien. Why was she doing this? What if he did appear? What would she say?

She wrapped her fashionable peacoat tighter at the doubts flashing through her mind, and took another sip from her cup. Her free hand was tempted to fidget with the necklace like she’d been doing all weekend, but she restrained herself. Instead she got angry with herself for letting a guy she barely knew worm his way so deep into her thoughts. This is ridiculous! I’m acting like a schoolgirl with a crush!

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A Bite of the Apple – The Pawn Shop


A rude buzzer could be heard from the back as Regan stepped into the pawn shop, and a man looked up from his table behind the counter where he was cleaning something. “Mornin’, love! Whatcha got fer me this mornin’?”

“Hi, Freddy. I’m not sure I have anything for you. I’d just like you to look at something and tell me what it’s worth.”

“For you, love? No problemo! Let’s take a look at it.” Regan handed over the necklace, and Freddy flipped down his magnifying glasses and peered at it.

“Oh, lovely! That’s worth a couple a bucks, that’s fer sure. Just don’t ask me to take it.”

“Why’s that, Freddy?”

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A Bite of the Apple – Gallery Opening


A Bite of the Apple Cover[At the last minute I decided to participate in the July Camp Nano. With no time for advance planning I set my goal at only 25,000 words and let the Brothers Grimm do a plot outline for me – I’m doing a retelling of Snow White. Hopefully I’ll be able to introduce enough novelty to make this classic tale uniquely my own!

And so, without further adieu, here is the first scene I’ve written for this story!]

“Are you sure you’re old enough to be drinking that?”

Regan slowly turned and appraised the speaker. Male, mid-thirties, muscular, outdoors in a tux (and pulling it off very well!) with that undeniable whiff of old money. Definitely worth a flirt.

She flashed him a smile that photographers loved. “Don’t worry, you won’t be stealing any candy from this baby! Care to freshen my drink?” She took a quick swallow then offered him the empty glass.

“Trying to get rid of me so soon? We’ve hardly even met!” He kept his gaze on hers, steely blue peering into deep brown pools, while he took her glass and placed it on a passing tray, grabbing a full champagne flute in return.

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Context is Everything


Wheelbarrow. Photo by sannse.

Wheelbarrow. Photo by sannse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[I confess I love the writing challenges being posted on the RocNaNo blog. They have quite the variety and stimulate me to all sorts of different types of writing, but just as importantly, my commitment to respond to every challenge through the end of June has kept me writing even when I haven’t otherwise been motivated. Thanks guys!

This piece is inspired by their Writing Challenge: Rat Poison and Red Solo Cups. I hope you enjoy it!]

Going out with Lisa could be dangerous.

There was this one time we went to an amusement park together. She decided to have fun while we were standing in line waiting to get on the roller coaster. The line slowly wound back and forth, and every time this one older couple came within earshot of us she’d get all lovey-dovey and start talking about how she was going to make love to me on the ride, or elsewhere in the park. You know, like we were having a private conversation that no-one was supposed to overhear, as if she thought no-one could, except, of course, that that one couple could!

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Perfect Vision


Pointillist self-portrait

Pointillist self-portrait (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[The excuse for writing this scene is the Four Random Words challenge on RocNaNo. I was at the R-SPEC meeting when the challenge was issued, and I offered my name tag which said “Will Work For Pie” as the default choice if someone was having difficulty coming up with four words. Those are the four words I chose for my inspiration. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

There’s a good chance this scene will make it into one of my books. Stay tuned!]

“Almost done.”

The procedure had been a complete blur, from the moment the drops were placed in my eyes. At first there were vague shapes, indistinct blurs and shadows seeming to fill my view at random, but those changed to psychedelic pulses of color that seemed to be coming more from my head than my eyes. They would pulse and change with the throbbing of my low-grade headache.

The colors eventually washed out to cottony whiteness, then faded to a gray-black that was more indicative of a lack of sight than a lack of light. I could feel bandages being wrapped around my head, across my eyes.

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Antagonist Job Interview #2: Magic


[As I was writing the Antagonist Job Interview for Martin Caldwell I realized that, at least for the first story, the Bad Guy in the novel wasn’t the main antagonist – Magic was. This is what I came up with when I wrote that interview.]

The author was just closing up his computer when the door to his office opened and in walked a fox wearing a hat. “Excuse me, but this is a private office and I’m leaving now. Come back tomorrow.” The fox ignored him and took a seat in the visitor’s chair.

“Are you still looking to fill that antagonist job?” it asked.

“Yes, I might be, and no, you’re not it. You are much too high maintenance for the position. One or two scenes of your ‘he answered my questions with questions’ dialog is about all I can handle in a novel. No way am I going to write you in as a main character.”

The creature transformed itself from Reynard, the hat-wearing fox, to Elaine, the blonde haired, blue eyed eldest sister-witch of the Gruff coven. “Is this better?” she asked.

“Well, you’re prettier to look at, but I know Elaine can’t change shapes, so the question is: Who are you?”

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