Wednesday 16 August 2023

#WEP August Challenge - my #flashfiction using the movie, Chocolat as the prompt.

Hello there! I'm glad you came by to read my #flashfiction based on the movie prompt - Chocolat. Those who have read my novel, Paris Dreams, will recognise the restaurant where I set the two main characters' first break up. My follow up book, still in the works, is also set in Paris, and is based on a traditional French cookery school. I've incorporated some ideas from that as well. And even the service overseas is in my new book, so I had several ideas to play with for this story. 

Please enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing this.

Tastes of Love


The restaurant, with its silky red walls and black chandeliers, wrapped its dark arms around me, welcomed me home to Paris after a long absence. As a war correspondent in the Middle East, food, any food was a bonus eaten on the run, but I can’t recall the taste, but I recall much else I’d rather forget.

“Concentrate on the joys you’ve experienced, not the tragedies,” my therapist, Celeste, advised during  our session today.

“What do you know of tragedy?” I couldn’t help saying, raw from my latest loss.

“Pardon. You’re right of course.” She smoothed her perfect chignon, freshened her bright red lipstick then cooed to her pet birds in the covered courtyard of her luxurious apartment. “But try.”

I’m trying. 

Immersing myself in what has always brought me joy – traditional French food. Traditional French food never changes and tonight I relished that. I’ve had enough change for now. The meals at Le Chocolat (pronounced show-ko-lah, don’t you love it!) are typically French – plain, tasty, inexpensive peasant's food which is what I love best. It’s never fussy with modern twists and miniscule servings which don’t work for me. I rarely choose my restaurants by Michelin stars – I choose those with hearty, old-fashioned meals like Maman and Grand’Mere used to cook.

Waiters here are as traditional as the food. My favorite, Maurice, caught my eye, hurried to my table, pulled out my chair, flicked a crisp white napkin and placed it on my lap. “Shall I bring the mussels, Cara?” He scanned the room. “But where is your friend?”

Oh my heart. “He couldn’t make it, désolé. Mais oui to the mussels, s’il te plait, Maurice.”

I dealt with those rattly little mouthfuls of joy quickly, relishing the white wine and cream sauce, nectar of the gods. I struggled to stay in the moment, sorry Celeste; I shake my head and instead anticipate the rich onion soup, Le Chocolat's signature dish.

Maurice was already whipping away my plate and placing a huge white bowl before me. Ooh la la. What could beat the shot of sweet onion fragrance on a bitter winter's night?  Hmm. Concentrate, Cara. That soaked garlicky bread and long, stringy toasted cheese always sticks to my chin. Let’s face it; there is no elegant way to eat this dense soup, but tonight no one dabs my messy face with a napkin. But the soup; I wanted to live in the bowl, be revived by the nourishing juices, build myself up for my next assignment, Ukraine. Where will I find food over there?

Maurice offered me a free cocktail. I held the tiny, jeweled glass against the light, mesmerized by the play of diamonds and rich red liquid. I held it close to my nose, hesitated, sipped. It tasted of rose perfume, a sweet flavor that clashed with my morbid thoughts. Guilt crept over me; I try to push it away, but it refuses to leave. Why should I survive to live another day, eat another joyous meal, while my fellow correspondent, Benoit, ate his last meal then stepped onto an IB outside the restaurant? 

I will visit his parents in Montmartre after dinner which is why my stomach is taut and I’m forcing myself to enjoy every mouthful. For Benoit. Benoit. We shared so many meals at Le Chocolat and Maurice always gave us that tiny cocktail. He was performing an act of kindness, but memories turned my taste to dust.

I pushed it aside and ordered a rich red to accompany the Beef Bourguignon which Maurice has delivered to my table. The sharp aromas of tiny roasted onions, carrot, and rich, red, melt-in-your-mouth stomach danced, relaxed a little. How Benoit loved this dish and always reached across the table to finish mine! 

I lifted my fork, speared a cube of tender meat. The flavor of red wine mixed with onion and herbs revealed to me, if the mussels and onion soup hadn't already convinced me, that I was back in Paris.

It was pleasant beyond words to be drinking good wine and eating excellent food - a bottle of wine and a plate of comforting food is always good company, tonight, my only company.

Maurice saw I was immersed in my food and drink and left me to my joys and sorrows, only coming by to top up my wine at regular intervals. I saw in his doleful eyes that he’d realized Benoit wasn’t coming back, and he offered succor in the way he knew best. 

He raised his eyebrows.

I nodded. Yes, please.


We always finished our meal with a platter of perfectly-created chocolat in all shapes, sizes and colors.

I reached for a dark star-shaped chocolate with golden hearts and placed it on my tongue.

“Au revoir, Benoit,” I whispered. “I hope you’re somewhere enjoying plentiful food, my love.”

TAGLINE: Food is a memory trigger extraordinaire!


WORDS: 817



Mock up cover only created on Canva

If you enjoy writing flash fiction, please go HERE to read about WEP's upcoming Anthology. If you've ever written to a WEP challenge, or do so before December '23, you are invited to submit.

If you like the idea of writing to prompts, October is our next, run by our very own thriller queen, Yolanda Renee. Please think about what you could do with the Phantom of the Opera prompt. Go HERE for ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Thanks again for reading! I'll visit as soon as I can.


Wednesday 2 August 2023

#IWSG August '23, #amwriting, #amediting

 Hello readers!

CLICK to read more IWSG posts!

The awesome co-hosts for the August 2 posting of the IWSG are Kate Larkinsdale, Diane Burton, Janet Alcorn, and Shannon Lawrence!

Down to business!

Hope the month of July was a success! Thank you for those who left helpful comments on my last month's IWSG post asking for your writing schedules. Was great. 

I've been writing up a storm. How about you? So much happening - WEP challenge prepared for August 1 with Sonia Dogra, I've extended my Book Funnel sub for another year, so have been preparing book samples for a women's fiction promo which included making mock-up covers on Canva, self-editing said two novels, and sent the Fijian Princess novel to Nas Dean in Fiji. So glad. She found a few bloopers re Fijian bures. Brilliant!

Can Stock Photo of Navala Village where my two main characters sort themselves out.
 CSP is brilliant for images - you pay, but no sign ups etc.

And one reason I've written so much is I head off on a caravan trip to North Queensland, Townsville, to spend 3 weeks with family. Writing is pretty much off the agenda up there!


Lots of sunrises and sunsets

Lots of this!

Hopefully some of this!

So above discussion segues into this month's question -

 Have you ever written something that afterwards you felt conflicted about? If so, did you let it stay how it was, take it out, or rewrite it?

Of course. I find it excruciating to let go of my darlings. My leaning is more toward - oh I could have written that better! More pace? Did I really need that chapter? My cover could have been better...etc etc. I'm no stranger to re-writing, buying a new cover...etc, but there's only so much that is useful. When I publish my next two books, I'll have 8 books published. Then...I will go back to the beginning and pay for new covers on my vampire series and jump into promotion again. (Had a hiatus on that while hubs needed more attention). I've proved - no promo, few sales. 

So, have a great August, everyone!

And if you'd like to stretch yourself, here's a sweet idea. Join WEP for the August challenge!

Who's got the sweetest story?

Did you know that WEP is publishing an Anthology in May 2024? Now open for submissions for flash fiction of under 1,000 words. CLICK to learn more.

Another mock up cover made on Canva until we find the main genre in the submissions. Then Olga Godim will put her talents to work!

Have a great month.