Let’s share barbecue recipes! #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop

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Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Jenna Da Sie’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!

This week the authors of Romance Writers’ Weekly are sharing recipes. We’re posting our favourite barbecue food – just in time for the sun to come out 🙂

Before I start, can I just say that I LOVE barbecues. There’s something about lighting that grill that makes me smile every time. We have a gas grill, the pride and joy of Mr Elks, and it’s a thing of beauty. So whenever I get the chance I’ll shove some food in the fridge to marinade, toss a salad together and we’ll eat al-fresco. If I can pour a cheeky glass of Prosecco to go with it, I’m pretty much in heaven. And this recipe is one of my faves. It’s loved by all the family – the kids included. Hopefully I don’t have to put a huge disclaimer, but obviously if you, or anybody you’re cooking for, has a nut allergy, then SKIP THIS ONE!

Without further ado, I present my recipe for Chicken Satay Skewers. Hope you enjoy it!

BARBECUE CHICKEN SATAY SKEWERS (feeds 4)

Ingredients

1 tbsp peanut butter (smooth or crunchy – I use both)

4 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tsp brown sugar

1 tbsp Curry powder

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp hot sauce

4 chicken breasts cut into 1 inch chunks

8 Wooden skewers (pre-soaked)

 

Method

Mix the first 6 ingedients together into a satay sauce. Add the chicken pieces, and stir until all are covered with sauce. Cover with cling film and marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours. I find the longer you marinate them, the better they taste. About 10 minutes before you’re ready to cook, thread the chicken pieces onto the pre-soaked skewers. Warm the barbecue up and then grill for around 5 minutes on each side, until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

I like to serve with some boiled rice and an asian salad, but you can also eat these with wraps, grilled vegetables, or just on their own.

Now let’s hop over to Xio Axelrod’s blog to get some more mouthwatering recipes. And after that, be sure to check out some of her books!

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 Until next time,

Carrie Pink

Where I write… #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop

Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Victoria Barbour’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!

This week’s topic comes from author Brenda Margriet – and we’re talking about our perfect writing space.

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One of the best things about being a writer is the versatility of it all. Unlike my previous jobs which involved being tied into a location — whether that be an office, a factory or a shop — when you’re a writer, the world really is your oyster. I’ve written in so many places it’s hard to keep track. In the kitchen, the dining room, in bed, in the garden; and that’s just in my own home. As long as I have a pen and paper (or in my case a Macbook) I can pretty much write wherever I go.

Last year on vacation I spent an hour a day writing on our beautiful patio overlooking the pool. That was pretty memorable, and I have to admit that it may be my ideal place.

I also spent a day last year writing at Hampton Court Palace. Once the home of Henry VIII (and many of his wives!) writing in the beautiful gardens gave me a sense of history and longevity that made me feel energised.

On a normal (!) day, I’ll mostly write in my dining room. Here’s a picture of my space here:

Carrie

One of the things I love about writing in my dining room is the sense of light and space it gives me. I have a lovely view of the garden here, and can watch the birds, the cats, and my dog chasing around on the grass. I’m also within easy reach of the kitchen, which means coffee on tap – a must for writing days!

I also like the fact that I have a big table to spread out on. The wooden surface is usually covered in sheets of paper — character bios, locations, story plots etc. And then at the end of the day I’ll gather it all together and put on the shelf behind me, ready to serve up dinner to the masses, a real one-stop shop.

Of course, the real question is, where would my ideal writing spot be. For me there’s no question. It has to be hot, needs a good view, and most of all it needs to be comfortable. A cabana on a tropical beach springs to mind. Preferably one that has waiter service (with cocktails on tap in the afternoon). Now I just need to win the lottery!

Beach Cabana on a maldivian island

Now let’s hop over to S.C. Mitchell’s blog to see where he likes to write. And when you’re done there, don’t forget to check out some of his books!

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 Until next time,

Carrie Pink

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Photo credits: Depositphotos & authors own.

Feeling Rejected… #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop

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Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Jenna Da Sie’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!

This week’s topic comes from author Leslie Hachtel – and we’re talking rejection letters (boo!!)

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Credit: Depositphotos

When I saw this topic I jumped at the chance to answer it. It coincided with going out to lunch with a lovely group of writers from my local RNA chapter where we talked about writing for magazines in the old days. I’d completely forgotten about this stage in my writing career (blame old age) but boy did it bring back memories. At that time I was working around the clock (it was in my pre-mummy days) and dashing home every evening to write short stories on a very old, clunky laptop which sounded as if it had little men inside, stoking the engines.
This was back in the days when the internet was a wild west frontier, and companies put you on a training course to work out how to use it. Dial up connections at home were rare, and broadband just a dream. On the plus side, I seemed to have a lot more time on my hands back then.
Anyway, so back to rejections. As I said, I wrote a lot of short stories back then, which I submitted to magazines. They were well-paid gigs, around £350 for 1500 words, which wasn’t something to sniff at. So I wrote, I printed, and I sent off sheafs of paper (pre-internet, remember?), and waited for an offer letter to come back through the door.
Instead, what I got was these:
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A few of my rejection letters, ’90s style!

So these were my first rejection letters. And thank goodness they came, because I re-read some of those short stories yesterday and they were truly terrible. They’ve been filed away in a box under my bed for the last seventeen years, and that’s where they’ll be staying!
I can laugh about it now, of course, because time is happiness’ friend, and it can give you a perspective like no other. But the first time I got a rejection letter it really hurt. I think it’s because I had been writing alone for so long, I thought I was really good. I thought I was going to take the world by storm. These are pretty much the same feelings I always get whenever I launch a new book. This time, everybody’s going to see inside to my real genius.
And yeah, that feeling usually lasts for five minutes, until I double over and laugh at myself uproariously. But that’s the thing about writing. You put yourself out there for rejection over and over again, in small hope that somebody — anybody — might find something they like about your words. It doesn’t have to be a lot of people, it doesn’t have to be an agent or publisher, you just want your story to touch somebody’s heart. And when they do, it’s as though all your Christmases have come at once, and it spurs you on to write more.
So I’m happy to keep on getting the rejection letters (or emails are they more often are nowadays), because the communication I can’t live without is from my readers. A Facebook message, a comment on an Instagram post, or like yesterday, a tweet where somebody says they loved my book. These are the things that make my day.
Long may they last!
Now let’s hop over to the lady herself, Brenda Margriet’s blog to see what she thinks about rejection. And don’t forget to check out her fabulous new release, When Time Falls Still.

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 Until next time,

Carrie Pink

Watching X Files with no lights on… #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop

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Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Jenna Da Sie’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!
This week we’re talking TV and movies:

Fiona Riplee wants to find out some insights into the psyche of our minds by learning about what movie or Network series that we LOVE to watch. What do we think the show says about our creative personalities?

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Credit: Depositphotos

From the first moment I saw this question, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind about the answer. Some of that comes from the fact that I’ve been watching the latest series of the X-Files (and being simultaneously horrified and gratified that Mulder and Scully have aged in the same way I have since the ’90s). But it also comes from the special place that the X-Files holds in my heart. I started watching it as a 21-year-old young woman, working in my first professional job. It was back in the days before the internet, before ebooks, and before all those other things like kids and family took my energy and attention. I was living in a shared house in Liverpool with other young professionals, and when the X-Files came on we’d all gather around the TV and keep quiet for a full hour. That in itself was a minor miracle!
So what was it (or is it) about the X Files that made me fall in love with it? I guess first of all it was the subject matter. I’ve always been crazy about the unexplained, and the fact there was a whole TV series about these types of phenomena stole my attention from the start. It was like watching Charles Fort but on the small screen.
But it wasn’t simply the science-fiction storylines that kept me glued to my seat every Tuesday night. It was the characterisation that made me come back for more. Mulder — like me — wanted to believe, and every time his theories were proved right I found myself giving him a silent cheer. Through the series arc we learned why it was he needed to believe – about his sister’s disappearance, about his father’s involvement in the conspiracy. It made the viewer both empathetic and understanding of his sometimes-wild suppositions.
On the other side of the sceptical fence, Scully viewed Mulder’s enthusiasms with a scientific eye, pulling him back when he was getting too fantastical, raising a single eyebrow when he went too far. But then something happened — or rather lots of things — and we saw Scully’s eyes slowly being opened to the reality of the phenomena they were investigating. She came to believe, too.
Of course the romantic in me also loved the dynamic between the two. I was desperate for them to get together, but also desperate for the UST to remain. In the end I think the writers did an amazing job of skating that line, giving us just enough to fill our desires, while leaving us questioning ‘will they or won’t they’. If I could replicate that in my books I’d be a very happy romance writer.
So to answer Fiona’s final question – what does this love of the X-Files say about my creative personality – I guess it’s that I want to believe. I want to believe in Love, in Happily Ever After and in two souls scouring the world until they come together. And I can’t see much wrong with that 🙂
Now let’s hop over to the lady herself, Fiona Riplee’s blog to discover her TV poison. And don’t forget to check out her story, Love’s Light, in the anthology The Hope Chest.

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 Until next time,

Carrie Pink

Let’s Talk Location #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop

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Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Teresa Keefer’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!
This week I got to set the question:

How do you choose the location for you books? Do you pick somewhere you’ve already been, or do you research creatively, using Google and other methods to find the perfect spot?

Attractive brunette young woman in futuristic interface sitting in front of world map with glowing hot points location and connection lines.

Oh, the power!

In some of the best books I’ve read, the location is like an extra character, adding a flavour and edge to a scene that allows the reader to close their eyes and picture the scene, allowing it to play out in their mind as if it’s a movie. Without really having to think hard about it, I can remember my favorite books that do this — including Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Cornwall), Wuthering Heights (Yorkshire) by Emily Bronte, and of course, Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkein (The magnificently made up Middle Earth).
When I try to imagine any of these books taking place in a different location, it’s almost impossible to do. The setting is woven through the narrative like a silken thread. To pull it out would unravel the whole tapestry.
When it came to my own books, I chose the location very carefully. At first I stuck to what I knew well. Fix You takes place (for the most part) in London and New York, two cities I had spent a lot of time in. Of course I still needed to do research, to find the best part of the city for some of the action to take place, or to find the perfect restaurant or bar for a scene to be set in. But for the most part, luckily for me, I could use my own memory.
With my Love in London series, for the majority of the stories they take part in that city. London is a big place, however, and runs the gamut from very rich locations to extremely poor ones. In this respect I tended to choose the exact location to suit the characters. It would seem very strange for a poor character to be living in Mayfair, but equally weird for a wealthy one to be living in one of the poorer parts of East London.

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Varenna, Italy

It’s only recently that I’ve started choosing locations that I haven’t had the chance to visit. I’m writing a new series (more information on this soon), and the first book is set in a fictional small town in West Virginia, USA. The second book is set in Italy, in a small village called Varenna on the banks of Lake Como. Researching these locations was a really enjoyable part of the whole process. In fact I loved researching about Italy so much that we’ve now booked our summer vacation there. Which means I’ll get to visit the real Varenna, and see if it matches up to the village I’ve created from my research.
We now have a joke in my family that wherever I set the next book, we will have to visit. I’m currently deciding between Mauritius and Koh Samui. Not a bad choice to make, huh?
So that’s pretty much how I choose the location. Now let’s hop over to Leslie Hachtel’s blog to find out why she chooses the locations she does. And don’t forget to check out her fabulous books, The Defiant Bride, The Dream Dancer, Captain Captive and Texas Summer.
 Until next time,

Carrie Pink

Why I *LOVE* to write romance! #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop

Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Jenna Da Sie’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!
This week the fabulous Leslie Hachtel asks us this question:

How did you pick the genre you write? Or did it pick you?

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Photo Credit: Depositphotos

It’s no secret that I love being a romance author. I can’t think of a better way to spend my day than writing about two flawed characters who fight against the attraction, trying to resist, yet find that the draw of love is too powerful to ignore. Even better when they hit bumps and dead-ends, leading to bigger problems that they have to overcome.
I didn’t always want to be a romance author, though.
Hard to believe, isn’t it?
Back when I was younger, I pretty much wanted to be Enid Blyton, and write about boarding schools and midnight feasts, and magic far away trees. Then as I got older I wanted to be JRR Tolkein, and write about rings and hobbits and epic journeys that became fights between good and evil.
It was only when I was in my 20s that I discovered romance, and even that was in a roundabout way. Being a voracious reader, I’d pretty much grab anything in my local library, devouring the pages like a starving man would grab hold of food.
I’d read thrillers and historical fiction, contemporary fiction and horror. As I said, pretty much anything I could find. But as I read them, I found myself looking for the same thing over and over again. Some kind of romantic pull between the main characters.
That was when I started to read romance, and I’ve never really stopped. From there it was a no-brainer to start to write the kind of stories I loved, and today I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I chose romance, and romance chose me; it was pretty much a mutual attraction! And neither of us are ready to let go of each other any time soon.
So that’s why I write romance. Now let’s hop over to Xio Axelrod’s blog to find out why she writes the things she does. And while you’re there, check out her book, Falling Stars – the first in her new series!

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 Until next time,

Carrie Pink

What do you Google? #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop – November 3 2015

Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Jeanne McDonald’s blog, don’t forget to check out her fabulous book, Compass.

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This week we are answering the question: What did you Google?

The internet is an invaluable research tool for writers, but sometimes we google some searches that would raise more than a few eyebrows if seen out of context. We’ve all heard the tales of the thriller writer whose Google history has led to a visit from law enforcement, and the erotica writer whose searches have raised more than a few eyebrows. I bet if anybody (including non-writers) looked at their history they’d see a huge range of eclectic sites that are a mixture of the mundane and the embarrassing.

Nowadays it’s not only interesting facts that we Google, but anything and everything. I’d lay my hat on the fact that anybody going on a first date has almost certainly googled the other person before they meet them, and probably knows far more about them than is their date would want them to!

So what’s the last thing I Googled? Well I’m sad to say I can’t think of a single thing I’ve searched for that would either alarm the police, or my husband. So instead, let’s have a bit of fun.

What comes up if I Google “why is”…

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Um, I have no answer to that one. And I don’t think I want to see what Google has to say on this!

 

What comes up if I Google “can i m”…

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Great Advert for the UK there. By the way the answer is no!

Finally, what comes up if I Google “do q”…

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So there you have it. Google has an answer for everything, and it pretty much looks as though everything has been searched for. If you ever find yourself wanting to marry your cousin, but your poop turns green, perhaps a duck can help you.

Carrie Pink

Now we’ve sorted that out, let’s hop over to  Leslie Hachtel’s blog and find out her Google secrets. 

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What’s Your Secret? #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop -13th October 2015

Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Kristi Rose’s blog, don’t forget to check out her fabulous book, The Girl He Knows

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This week it’s Sarah Hegger’s chance to ask us a question: What’s your secret passion? I have a thing for shoes and B-grade fantasy movies, what are some of your guilty pleasures?

 

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Photo Credit: Depositphotos

Okay, so I thought long and hard about this one. Maybe I should come clean that I am a gym bunny, constantly working out my iron-hard abs. Or that I’m a secret artist, creating installations that people pay millions for. But anybody who knows me (and that means most of you) would laugh loudly, poke me in my squashy stomach and remind me that I can’t even colour inside the lines.
So yeah, I won’t bother with those then!
Instead I’m going to come clean about an honest-to-god secret that I try to hide from everybody. A skeleton in the cupboard that I’ve tried to keep there for the past nine years. It won’t be pretty, and it won’t be pleasant, but maybe it’s my chance to get it out in the open.
Deep breath, rolling drums…

I’m a Real Housewives addict.

Wow, that was hard! It’s also the truth. I’ve been a fan since the first series of the Real Housewives of Orange County (or RHOC for those of us in the know) back in 2006. From the very first episode I was hooked, my mouth agape by the antics of Kimberley, Jeanna, Laurie, Vicki and Jo. Not to mention the ever-so-aptly named Slade Smiley. If any of you recognise the names above, you need as much help as I do.
2 years after RHOC first aired (see, you know what I’m talking about – it’s only a few more steps until you’re hooked, too), my addiction was fanned by the first series of the Real Housewives of New York (RHONY – see what they did there?) It was like the Orange County series but without the sun, plus a whole lot more crazy. With an ex-model turned French duchess, a cosmopolitan-sipping entrepreneur, and the amazing, social climbing couple of Alex and Simon, RHONY was like a little piece of heaven for a people watcher like me.
I think that’s why I like the episodes so much. They’re made up of a mixture of real-life action and commentary, and each one is like being at a party, watching the guests mix together and then talk about each other behind each others’ backs. It’s intensely fascinating, and a gift for those who want to find out what makes people tick.
Since 2010, more franchises have been added. Now Atlanta, Washington DC, New Jersey, Beverley Hills and so many more have been added. They’ve even spread abroad, including Vancouver, Melbourne and Cheshire in the UK. But it’s the earlier ones (the originals) that still hold my heart. I’ve grown up with these guys. They’re like friends you love to hate, yet compulsively stalk on Facebook to see what they’re up to now.
In short, they’re a guilty pleasure. And I’m (almost) not afraid to admit it.

Carrie Pink

Now I’ve got that off my chest, let’s hop over to  Dani Jace’s blog and read her secret passion. 

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What Would You Do? – Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop – October 6th 2015

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Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Tracey Gee’s blog, hi, and thanks for clicking!

This week author Kristi Rose has asked us to answer four simple questions. Easy, right? Well let’s see how I get on!

Describe your life in 20 words or less

A crazy book-filled world full of imaginary people and my very real family. I’m blessed!

If your life was like Seinfeld, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Golden girls. What character would you be?

james (15)I’d be Spike from Buffy. I can already do the accent, and I’d love to be bad-ass yet full of humour. I always think playing the villains would be so much more fun than being the good guys, especially in a series like Buffy written by the amazing Joss Whedon.
In fact, can I be him now?

Who would win a fight between Chuck Norris and MacGyver?

MacGyver every time. Chuck Norris wouldn’t even know he was there because Mac would have made a secret bomb out of toilet paper and kool aid. Never go up against the guy who can find use for a cardboard tube.

Would you rather be bald or have a hug mullet for the rest of your life?

images-5I had to google what a hug mullet was. I’m still not sure if it’s different to a normal mullet. Business at the front, party at the back, as they say. Anyway, I think I’d go for bald. In a very cute, Sinead O’Connor kind of way. Think of the extra time I could spend in bed because I don’t have to wash and dry my hair. Now that’s appealing!
I had a lot of fun with those questions – thanks Kristi for the grins.
Now let’s hop over to  Brenda Magriet’s blog and read her answers!


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Fanfiction Rules – Romance Weekly #LoveChatWrite Blog Hop – 29th September 2015

Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Jo Richardson’s blog, hi, and thanks for clicking! Don’t forget to check out her fabulous book, Cookie Cutter.

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This week Jo has set us the following task –

FanFiction is getting a lot of attention these days. Certain books have opened up the “pull to publish” flood gates, as it were – whether people like it or not. What fandom do you have a thing for? I want the title and opening scene (short or long) that you would give to a FanFiction you might write, if you were so inclined to, that is. 😀

Definition of FAN FICTION : stories involving popular fictional characters that are written by fans and often posted on the Internet —called also fanfic, \-ˈfik\

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 It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of fan fiction. The opportunity to change an ending, to continue a story, to make your favourite hero do exactly what you were rooting for him to do? Who wouldn’t want to do that. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a world and characters only to have them snatched away from you when a series ends. Even harder is waiting for that next book–what on earth do you do for a year while your favourite writer is squirrelling away in their den, and you’re twiddling  your thumbs waiting for their next release.
In 2012 I discovered Twilight Fanfiction. I was late to the party (some of my favourite fanfics were written in 2009 / 10) but nontheless I threw myself into reading the stories. One of the most interesting things about Twilight Fanfiction is that it has moved away from the original source, using Edward Cullen and Bella Swan as mere archetypes for all-human fan fiction, in fact the majority of stories I have read don’t have any vampires at all. What they do have is an overarching love story, with plenty of angst, humour and bathos. They also laid the way for the (then) up and coming genre of New Adult Romance, as well as creating a sensation for E.L. James with the release of her story, Masters of the Universe, renamed as Fifty Shades of Grey.
By the end of 2012 I wasn’t content with simply reading fics. So I picked up my keyboard and began to write my own story. That reignited my love of writing (that I’d put aside for 10 years when bringing up my family) and opened me up to a new world of friends, readers, and authors. It’s through fan fiction that I found my muse, and through fan fiction that I found the support to become a published writer. I owe a lot to that 107 year old vampire and his girlfriend, and am more grateful than I can say.
Some of my fan fiction is still available to read. I published under the name chocaholic123. Some of it is terrible, some of it is good, but through all of it I learned a hell of a lot about the process of crafting a story, of responding to readers, and of creating characters that shine through despite their hardships.
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One of the reasons I love writing fan fiction is that I can experiment, push the boundaries, and do things I wouldn’t necessarily do with a story I intend to publish. That’s how the story below grew. It’s half-written (and has been for some time) and is a all-human fan fiction based on Edward Cullen and Bella Swan.

 

I NEED YOU NOW

CHAPTER 1

 

01:15 Again. My eyes flicker. Take in the time. I throw a hand over my face to block out the light. It doesn’t work.

03:19 I turn in the bed, the cotton blanket twisting around my restless legs, and reach out for warmth that isn’t there. You haven’t been there for a long time. And in the daytime I can process that thought, ignore it, pretend it doesn’t taste of stale regret. But now it’s the only thing on my mind.

04:20 Do you remember the way we’d talk into the early hours? Your fingers pressing patterns into my hips. Insistent swirls that marked me as yours long before I let my heart recognise the fact. Inch by inch, you took me until my flesh seemed to develop it’s own memory. One that knew nothing except your lips, your hands, the way your fingertips felt. It heard promises where there were none. Made assumptions about a future that was never ours. It’s so easy to lie to yourself when the one you love is helping you along, whispering sweet nothings in your ear.

05:31 I reach out for a glass that’s already drained. My mouth is dry, breathing in air that seems to catch in my throat. The dying moon lends an eerie quality to the light in here, mixing with the green of the clock, casting shadows that seem to take on a life of their own. But I’m not afraid. When you’ve had the worst happen, everything else pales in it’s wake.

I laugh in the face of night time fears. The dark can hold nothing worse than the bright sunlight of your goodbye. The cool of the night is a balm for the memory. The dust kicked up by spinning wheels, clouds lingering long after you’d disappeared over the horizon. I cried that day. Angry tears that burned my skin. My eyes red, my chest hitched. And that night I promised myself I wouldn’t cry over you again.

What’s another broken promise between lovers?

06:07 Maggie always wakes with the dawn. I’ve tried blackout blinds, heavy curtains. Even changed the clock that she can barely read. Yet still she shuffles into my room, carrying Posy in one hand, the other curled into a fist that rubs at her half-sleepy eyes. Her face is adorable and rumpled, criss crossed with lines from sleeping on a wrinkled pillow. She clambers into bed, pressing her warm cheek against mine. Posy lies between us, her skin threadbare from too much love. She was mine once. Do you remember when you found her in my bed, and laughed at the remnant of my childhood? It wasn’t a mocking laugh. Back then your chuckles only held desire. Need. Love.

I miss those times.

“Is it a school day?” Maggie mumbles around her thumb. We tried everything to stop her doing that, remember? Pacifiers, tiny white gloves. You even dipped her thumb in vinegar. But she just cried until we washed it clean. She needs that thumb more than anything. Can’t live without the taste of it in her mouth.

I know the feeling.

“It is, sweet pea,” I whisper. “But it’s two hours until the bus is due. Snuggle time.” I wince as I say the word. You were the one who coined that phrase. Back when we would do anything to claw another moment’s rest. Your voice would be thick with sleep as you let her clamber all over you, but I could still hear the humor there. The love. Your patience was always astounding, until it dried up like an over used well. But that was my fault. I know that. I was always the stubborn one. The realist. Once upon a time you loved that about me. Until it became the thing that tore us apart.

07:33 “Can you pass me the spatula?” Maggie always helps with breakfast. She sits on the side and passes me things while I sing out orders. She’s like a nurse assisting a delicate operation. It’s a routine born out of need. After you left she became clingy. Wouldn’t let me out of her sight. So I let her follow, trying to reassure her I’d always be there. That I wouldn’t desert her like everybody else had. She’s lost so many people in the last few years. We both have. But it cuts through me every time she cries when I run outside to throw out the trash. So now I take her, too. I like having her with me anyhow. We ground each other.

She’s all I have left.

8:07 We pass the mailbox on our way to the bus stop. Maggie pulls the door down, a grin splitting her face as she sees the card inside. You send her one from each city, just like you promised. And though she can’t read the words very well, the pretty photos make her eyes light up like it’s Christmas morning. She passes it to me, and I glance at the caption. Gaitlinburg, TN. I guess you’ve found a gig there. I try not to think of the way your fingers would curl around the guitar. How your sweet voice would make my heart ache.

I fail.

“What’s it say, what’s it say?”

I take a deep breath. This is always the hardest part. The reason why I’ve been trying so hard to teach her to read. One day I won’t have to be your go between, to read about the way you’ve moved on. One day you won’t break my heart with every word that you write.

“It says, Dear Cuteness…”

My voice cracks as I say your simple lines. Tell her of your bus journey, of the bar you’re singing in. Tell her that you miss her every day. Her bottom lip wobbles when I say your name. My tongue lingers on it long after my voice has stopped. They say it gets better with time. That life goes on whether you want it to or not. But your final words are like a knife to my soul. A reminder of everything we lost.

When I told you to leave I never thought you would. But I couldn’t take it back, no matter how much I wanted to. I watched you throw your clothes in a battered bag, your actions angry and hurt. I watched you hold Maggie with tears in your eyes.

You always end the card the same way. Simple. Effective. You break me everytime, just like I broke you. They cut right through my black heart. I think you know that, too.

Love, Edward.

Two words that sum up my life

They used to mean everything.

They still do.

 

THE END… for now!!
Now let’s hop over to  Tracy Gee’s blog and read her thoughts on fan fiction. It’s her birthday so let’s make sure to wish her a fabulous day!

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