"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris ... then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Ernest Hemingway

Friday, 26 August 2011

#RomanticFridayWriters 'Smooth Sailing' challenge for August 26 - an extract from my WIP, Ruby.

Romantic Friday Writers is a blogfest every Friday co-ordinated by myself and Francine Howarth. It is a fun event, showcasing the work of many fine writers who write romantic flash fiction or poetry under 400 words. Click on the icon in my sidebar or the link at the end of my post to check out others participating today or join the blogfest yourself. You will be most welcome. We are also found on twitter @RFWER. Each week we choose a runner up and a Featured Writer. 

About my extract from one of my WIPs (A Sweet Romance):

He's a Sea Captain. She's a French girl making a new life in Australia. He loves her. She loves him, but they've had a falling out. He's joined the Sea Shepherd on its mission to save whales in Antarctica, she is running her boutique hotel in Noosa on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. His name is Michael, hers is Ruby and they're in a world of pain...As this is from a WIP I am quite happy for you to offer any constructive criticism... 


No stars tonight. Michael leaned on the timber railing of the deck and scrunched his eyes skyward. 

Murky blackness.

Blackness. That fitted his mood perfectly.

He’d suffered days of homesickness on the trip south to the Antarctic, rolling in his bunk as the ship surged through the icy waters, all the time dreaming of Ruby. Was she missing him? Was she dreaming of him? Why did she send him away?

But at times he felt the astounding ice of Antarctica healing his wounds—he was surrounded by it, feasting on the sight every day. Icy mountains so enormous that by comparison the ship became just a speck in the mighty ocean. To Michael the most amazing concept was that the landscape he was seeing had never been trodden by human feet.

The ship had brought him to a wonderland of indescribable beauty. If only he was in a place to fully enjoy it. All the magnificence paled when his thoughts returned to Ruby.

He turned his back on the starless heavens and stumbled to his cabin.

He lay in the dark, alert to the sounds of the night – the ship’s groaning as it sailed smoothly through the freezing waters, the clanking of steel, the yells of the night crew.

What was he doing here? He was an interloper. He’d never belong.

Sleep was far away, even though his body was exhausted from the pure physicality of the day’s labour, the clambering up and down ladders, the nervous tension of spotting for the Japanese whalers.

He snatched his ipod from under his pillow. His favourite tunes began their soothing work. He was drifting, dreaming, the words to The Cure filling him:

You’re so perfect, you’re so right as rain
You make me, make me, make me hungry again…

He had never wanted Ruby more than he did at this moment, the urge flowing through him like the spiralling sweetness of incense, seductive and sweet. He drifted towards dreams...

He wanted to make love to her. He wanted to feel her silky skin against his, feel her body rise to meet him, hear her moan and whisper. He wanted to hear her say she loved him. He wanted to take a journey with her to that one place in life where you touch the stars. Just the thought made his body ache with need.

Ruby, I’m coming home to you


WORD COUNT - 398. FCA (Full Critique Acceptable)
Go here to read more stories. 



  1. Dear Denise,
    I lost my comment before I could save it, so this is a reconstruction:

    What a lovely story. There is something endearing about a man who not just misses, but longs for the woman he loves. 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder' seems to apply here with Michael and Ruby.

    I like the theme 'Smooth Sailing' because it can be interpreted both literally as well as metaphorically. Your descriptions of Michael's life on the ship feel real. You have captured the creaking sounds of sleeping in a cabin. Also, the enormous ice-landscape seems to have cleared the cob-webs from Michaels mind.

    I hope they are reunited and still love each other. This text makes me curious about what will happen next.

    Best wishes,

    Anna's RFW No. 16 'Smooth Sailing'

  2. Anna: Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. You may hear more of their story.


  3. Beautiful description and you can really feel how much he loves her!

  4. I loved the way the last line wraps up the whole piece. His yearning for, his journey to and his destination is Ruby.

  5. Great set up for the mood. The place, the night, the complete desolation of his heart. Wonderful imagery.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  6. I really like this. You really show his pain.

    I have two comments, and as they're coming from someone who still hasn't shared her work, gffeel free to discard :-)

    'When you say 'If only he was in a place to fully enjoy it', coming so soon after 'the ship had brought him...' it confused me for a second as I thought you were referring to a physical place.

    'the nervous tension of spotting for the Japanese whalers' Spotting is often used as a job term, and it made me think for a moment that he was spotting for the Japanese (as in, working for them) rather than searching for them.

    Just my thoughts, hope you don't mind. I do hope we get to read more of this.

  7. Love the descriptions of the ice mountains dwarfing the ship and how that grandeur was little compared to his love for Ruby. Those comparisons gave a nice flow to the piece.

  8. Denise, this is great! Just a fellow campaigner coming over to say hi. Love your blog. Thanks for stopping by mine!

  9. Thx for comments. Sarah Thx for yr suggestions. I'll take them on board, ha ha. And when r u going to share? Waiting...


  10. A very nice read. I could feel the cold of the icebergs, the roll of his bunk in the sea.
    Very image filled and great descriptions of his love for her.

  11. Denise, truly felt his longing. Great job. Finally found you on twitter. If you follow me back, we'll be able to DM.

  12. I just read your email, then came over here to read this excerpt (which is awesome), and am now copying it and will paste it in the email to make a few minor suggestions/comments on it....

    Keep going!!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

  13. Thanks Ann. I'll look forward to your suggestions for improvement.


  14. What a unique setting! Nice bit about the icy locale possibly having healing powers. On a personal note, glad you chose the Cure, a fave of mine :-) *Applause*

  15. Hey Li the song is perfect for him.


  16. Poor man! Please tell us this has a happy ending...

  17. Well, you have conveyed the romance theme, as well as his longing for Ruby. And yes, I guessed he'd be making things up with Ruby on his return home.

  18. I love the scenery; your descriptions really put me over his shoulder there, in place where human feet had never trod. Excellent. I love the element of music and his longing for Ruby, so beautifully worded and romantically expressed.


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