Tuesday 24 June 2014

Write...Edit...Publish...my story, Love Locked in Paris - with photos.

Hello everyone!

I didn't get to post last week - was so busy, but I'm sure you coped!

Pont des Arts -
No wonder the locks
caused the wire to
It's time for Write...Edit...Publish again. On the third week of each month writers post to a prompt. June, is considered the most romantic month of the year, so deciding on a prompt was a no brainer. I haven't come up with a new story this time as I've been frantically editing my manuscript.

The lock system in Paris is under threat due to the recent collapse of a section at the Pont des Arts. I thought I'd resuscitate my story Love Locked in Paris which I wrote when I returned from a 2012 trip to Paris where our hotel was in view of the love-locked bridge beside Notre Dame. Perfect position to dream up stories...especially about the lovers who leave a token of their commitment on the bridges of Paris.

I hope you enjoy my story into which I've inserted some photographs I took at the time.

Sunset over Notre Dame

Love Locked in Paris

The  most romantic day of my life is here. Can I take it all in? Notre Dame's aged bricks and soaring buttresses being kissed by sunset – the lock-filled  bridge that joins the Left Bank and Right Bank – lovers sharing wine and baguettes beside the Seine. Ooh la la!

My candy pink dress with its French Poodle embroidery flares around my knees. Pink satin 4-inch heels complement my black net stockings. I still clutch the tiny posy of white roses which my darling Mitch handed to me on the steps of the *Mairie. Their scent envelopes me as I walk arm in arm with my beautiful man feeling oh so French.

Mitch, so handsome in his black suit, kisses the white gold and diamond ring on my finger – could this day get any better?

‘Let’s do it!’ he says.

We walk to our chosen spot midway across the bridge. Mitch reaches into his pocket and flips the copper lock in his hands.

We both gaze at the token as if it were made of solid gold.

‘I had it engraved,’ he says proudly.
I wrap my arms around his waist and read the inscription – ' Capt'nFlynn, Mastarata  25-June-2010’.

Yes, this day could get better after all. 'You used our special names!'

We loop the lock over the wire and click it shut. A passing tourist snaps our photo.

‘Let’s come back every year to celebrate our wedding anniversay,’ I say.

‘I can’t think of any better way to celebrate our love.’ 

We kiss to seal the deal.

As I cross the bridge to Notre Dame I think to myself how apt it is that the skies are all smudgy, not that brilliant Parisian grey-blue of four years ago.

I hold my breath as I search through the multitude of love locks. It's a wonder the bridge doesn't collapse under this weight of metal, I think to myself.

Finally, I find it - still bright and shiny in the gloom. I pick it up and rub my fingers over our pet names.


I attach the tiny plastic envelope to the lock handle, then I sob for our fractured love.

We were meant to be together, forever. 

Darling Mitch

I could have trusted you instead of showering you with jealousy.
I could have travelled with you instead of putting my job first.
I could have forgiven you for your indiscretion instead of throwing you out without listening to you.

Your Dearest Polly

I stroll along the Seine, then order mussels in garlic cream sauce at what was our favourite restaurant in the Latin Quarter. When the attentive waiter brings the bowl of dark, half open shells with their enticing pink flesh, pours my wine and places the bread basket before me, I cannot eat or drink. I come to the realisation that it is futile to retrace steps from the past; those steps have been obliterated with time.

The 17th Century hotel is not at all romantic without Mitch. Climbing the winding stairs is just a chore. Surely they could install a lift, I think sourly. 

The fifth floor at last. The Romantic Room with the etched carvings on the ancient door. I take a deep breath and study the ancient black key which seems as long as my arm. 

The door opens before I find the slot. I step back in fright, clasping my chest and breathing in jerky breaths.

‘Mitch! What are you doing here?’

‘Same as you, I imagine.’

‘But –‘.

‘I read your letter.’

‘Then you  -‘.

'I saw our photo album.

'I needed reminding of the happiest day of my life.'

‘I’m sorry sweetheart. It wasn’t you who needed reminding  – it was me. I’ll do better. What I did was despicable, but...will you take me back? I'm so sorry. I love you...I love you...’

I entwine my arms around his neck and soak his beautiful white shirt with my tears.
Paris, the golden city.

‘I love you Mitch. I don’t want a life without you. I've missed you so...’

It feels so right to be in his arms where I belong – could this day get any better? 

Yes, it is about to.

*Mairie (Town Hall, where secular wedding ceremonies take place)


WORDS: 700

I hope you enjoyed my story and photos. If you'd like to post an entry - story, poem, photos...to the ROMANCE prompt, you have until Friday. Sign up on the linky in my sidebar or visit WRITE...EDIT...PUBLISH. I'd love to have you join us!

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Blogging beats other social media...at least for my readers. And a little romance...

Hello everyone!

My post for IWSG (below) was about whether we preferred blogging over other social media. It seems (not surprisingly) those who visit me prefer blogging. That's good to know. Most commenters who prefer blogging stated, however, that they have changed the way they blog. Instead of daily, or thrice-weekly posts, most are posting once a week. Personally, I think once a week is enough to keep in touch and have your little soapbox/inspirational/crafty moment, but more importantly, it enables us to devote more time to our writing.

Apparently, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the prime blog post reading days, so if you post once a week, maybe you, like me, are posting around Wednesday.

Today I am giving a shout out to my monthly bloghop, WEP, which is there to give writers of any ilk the chance to participate in a writing prompt. It is a great way to get feedback, and some (including myself) have used the bloghop to write a serial that will evolve into a publishable novella. It's amazing how the prompt can shape the story.

Some of you know that WEP evolved from RomanticFridayWriters, but that shut out those who didn't write romance, or didn't think they did. But most of us agree that whatever the genre, often a romantic element gives the story that buzz, that tension, that isn't present if there's no hint of romance.

I saw The Fault in our Stars yesterday. For those of you who've read the book, I highly recommend the movie which stays very true to the book. Even though this is a story of living with a terminal illness, without the romance between Hazel and Gus the story would not have been nearly as engaging. Their romance gave readers/viewers a focus for their shattered emotions as they viewed teenage angst from another point of view.

So, on Wednesday 24th June - Friday 26th June, I invite you to dabble in romance if you haven't before, or post romantic photos, post a photo essay from a romantic city/place/time in your life, pen romantic poetry, get your vamp on...whatever you fancy! There's a $10 Amazon Gift Card for the most creative entry!

As a taster for the ROMANCE prompt, here is a romance with a twist I wrote a couple of years ago for #FridayFlash when I got my vamp on...I hope you enjoy it.

I remember when the sky stretched above me, high and blue. I remember it filtering through the branches in slivers of light.

You reached out your hand and took the picnic blanket, red and black, made of the softest wool. You shook it free from its folds, its tassels floating in the afternoon breeze, until it settled onto the thick grass.

Mesmerised, I watched the rise and fall of your arms, then you stepped forward, held those arms out to me.

There we lay, bathed in sunlight and joy, inhaling the sweet smell of the sea.

So wrapped were we in each other we didn't notice the air had become cool.

I turn and see the stranger who is no stranger.

The strength of him is like nothing I've seen. His powerful arms fling me aside as if I were a rag doll. My face is in the grass. I squirm to the side, my head thick and throbbing.

I hear my Adoni grunt. The stranger is a madman. The two men struggle, but Adoni is no match for those arms, muscles like steel ropes, squeezing. 

Adoni is failing.

I fling myself onto the madman's back. I feel helpless but Adoni needs me. 

Pulling, pulling, on the ropey arms. The stranger turns to me and I see eyes gleaming like underwater stones.

It is the moment of inattention Adoni needs.

"Rialdo!" he screams. "She's mine now. Let us be!"

The madman falls to his knees. I peer closer. It is Rialdo. I remember the sweetness of our love...but this is another Rialdo, a man undone by love, Adoni's and mine.

I drop to my knees and face him.

"Adoni speaks truly, Rialdo. Our love was of another time, another world."

"My world is bleak and black without you, my love. I have come for you."

"No!" I hear Adoni scream.

Rialdo's eyes burn red in the fading light.

"No!" I echo Adoni's scream, dread thrumming through me. "I must stay with Adoni. He is my life now! We have many years of earthly pleasure before us."

"I'm sorry my beloved, but I must take you with me this time. Now. You will be mine into eternity."

I remember the last earthly sound I heard. It was the rustling of the leaves in the trees at the edge of the forest and my name in the wind - "Elspeth! Elspeth! Stay!"

Over to you...

You can practise your short stories, flash fiction, poetry etc during the WEP challenge each month. Current prompt - ROMANCE. You can sign up right here in my sidebar or visit WRITE...EDIT..PUBLISH.Love to have you - you can request critique, suggestions...we may even help you get published!!

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Insecure Writers Support Group Post - What's your writing routine? Are you 'over' blogging?

Hello everyone!

I'm not actually feeling insecure this week, but I'm feeling somewhat overwhelmed. You know how it is, too much to do, too little time. So maybe I'm insecure in prioritizing. How about you? Is this a strength for you or a weakness?

Some writers work on one project at a time, keep at it until  it's finished, submitted and accepted for publication, then move on to their next project. Does that sound like you?

I, along with many of you, I suspect, work on projects as the spirit move me - from flash fiction pieces for the WEP monthly bloghop (which is turning into a novella set in Paris), short stories for competitions and magazines, and working on one particular novel that requires a re-write in many areas before submission. while other short stories and novels languish on my hard drive.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had the whole day to write? That happens very occasionally to me, but my daily routine includes teaching English for 20+ hours a week, plus prep. time, critiquing for my online critique group, occasional critiquing for writer's group members, reviewing books, attending book launches for friends who actually finish a book and publish it, not to mention the usual domestics.

Then there's social media, which as we all know, takes shameful amounts of time away from everything else if we don't control it. Lately I've been seeing blog posts about bloggers who are  'over' blogging in favour of facebook, twitter, tumblr, Google+ etc, all of which take less time than the drain of creating blog posts, the demands of visiting other blogs (if you want people to visit you, some of whom will actually read your posts) and an over all disenchantment with something that used to delight them.

I don't know about you, but I still find blogging the most satisfying of the social media, but its time commitment is a worry. Facebook, twitter etc don't require much commitment, just a quick in and out to show you're still alive and cooking.

Over to you...

  • Do you feel secure about your writing life/schedule?
  • Do you have social media sorted so that it enhances your writing rather than interferes with it?
  • Are you 'over' blogging in favour of other less-demanding social media?

Go here to find other posts for IWSG.

Before I go, one thing I'm not insecure about is creating a writing space for those bloggers who like writing prompts. Write...Edit...Publish has a ROMANCE prompt for June, acknowledged as the most romantic month of the year as it's when most brides marry (in Australia, it's September - the beginning of Spring). So why is Geo's and my wedding anniversary tomorrow, June 5?? 

For the WEP prompt, you can deal with romance however you wish - it doesn't have to be wine, chocolate and roses (but that is a nice thought) - it could be a photo essay set in romantic spots close to home or abroad - it could be a tale of romance gone cold - it could be an extra-terrestial romance. Any ideas? I would love it if you posted to the prompt. I am offering a prize of a $10 Amazon Gift Card  to the entry I consider the most creative use of the prompt. If I am overwhelmed with entries, I will offer a second prize of a $5 Amazon Gift Card.

Details for submitting at are Write...Edit...Publish, but basically you just add your link to the Submit List which will be posted in early June.