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Saturday, March 24, 2012

For this weeks Romantic Friday Writers prompt SHE WEARS MY RING, I was undecided whether to write something new for RFW, or poach from a WiP.  Oddly enough, I have several scenes with rings in my women's fiction novels.  Finally, I decided on a compromise, cuz editing an existing scene to fit a prompt criteria and writing a new 400 word excerpt seemed like the same amount of work.  The other more appealing option was not to post and just read everyone else's hard work this week.

My submission is from my second novel in the trilogy; the book is as yet untitled.  This is a scene that never happened in the novel, but embodies all Cal and Amy's characteristics, fears, and hopes for normal family life.

This weeks challenge is a song prompt to the phrase "she wears my ring," and the phrase must be included in the text.  I'm posting the Johnny O'Keefe video that our hostess L'Aussie Denise contributed to assist in the sentiment, and my 393 word excerpt is below that.  As always, constructive criticisms are welcome.  I'm still learning how to write romance.

Cal settled himself deeper into the crook of the sofa, feet propped up on the coffee table as he sipped his beer and watched Amy being pulled around the room. He smiled at Amy’s discomfort in being the spotlight at a party.

Amy turned around, her warm brown eyes entreating him to rescue her from Joy’s enthusiasm. Cal’s smile deepened, and instantly he wished to share his happiness with his best friend Robert. Of course if Robert were still alive, Cal wouldn’t be reveling in this happiness.

Cal put his beer between his knees, relit the joint, sucked in a lungful and imagined Robert’s ghost was sitting beside him.

“She wears my ring,” Cal told Robert’s ghost.

Cal imagined Robert lifting a brew of his own. “She was mine first, Bro.”

“I know,” Cal said, watching Amy through a haze of smoke and shifting bodies.

“She wouldn’t wear my ring,” Robert’s shade pouted.

Cal imagined Robert taking a long pull on the beer, then reaching for the joint. He missed Robert. There was an ache in Cal’s soul for his adopted brother that even Amy’s unexpected love couldn’t fill.

“I would have stood aside forever; to see you both happy.”

“Don’t hurt her Bro. Not like I did.”

Cal groaned, squeezing his fists around the beer and weed that had interfered so with Robert and Amy’s future together. Setting both on the table, Cal suddenly became aware of the noise of the room; the crowd, the buzz of conversations, the music. The Beetles, When I’m 64. Amy so far from his arms, too much distance between them.

He closed the gap with a few quick strides, people melting out of his way as if they knew the importance of his movement. He touched Amy’s elbow, and she jerked away. Cal’s heart sank with uncertainty. Then she glanced back at him, and rushed into his open arms, and he nuzzled his lips and nose in her hair, her neck.

Amy giggled and wrapped her slender arms around him. He swayed against her to the music. Their whole future played out in Cal’s mind; the kids, the home, the inevitable gray hairs and arguments and grand kids. He mentally picked out a set of rocking chairs and vowed to give up smoking.

“I love you Mrs. Mertz,” Cal shouted for the whole world to hear.

It is so past my sleepy time; thank goodness I don't have to work today and can sleep in a little.  To read other RFWer posts or to sign up on the linky and post your own excerpt, click here. You don't have to be a member of RFW to post an excerpt or comment on the participant's submissions.  Feel free to lurk until you feel comfortable with the site and the prompts.

This will be the last RFW posting until May 4, as many of the members are participating in the A-Z challenge through April.  This blog will be on holiday during that month.

Have a good weekend everyone, and I'll see you on Monday for Unicorn Bell's A Picture Paints 1000 words blogfest.


Madeleine Maddocks said...

Bravo Donna! Another great piece of Flash Fiction. I loved your different take on the theme with the ghost idea and the joint.

The romance and the sensual-affectionate way they greet one another on the dance floor really draws the reader in. Superb!

Weissdorn said...

You made this scene very plastic. It has just the right combination of description and dialogue. I admit I'm not attracted to your characters, but that's part of the fantastic reality. You made their interaction with each other believable, and not super-perfect. They are interesting characters telling own their story they way they would if you met them in real life. That's probably why I'm not attracted to your characters - because you made them so believeable. That means I admire your story-telling talent.

DEZMOND said...

oooh, Donnzie, you know I love me a bit of romance :)
And I'm glad you liked the song over at my place, it's the song which will represent Serbia at this year's Eurosong Contest, we always send elven music :)

Richard said...

I read your scene hoping to find something to criticize, but it seems to work well as is. Good writing.

Pat Hatt said...

Great piece, love the ending as all became clear and the future they could have was scene, very nicely done.

Arlee Bird said...

There was something in this story that I could relate to. Love can have so many ironies.

The Dog Lived (and So Did I)
Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog

Gossip_Grl said...

WOW I loved it and the video clips with the music added to it and made it believable. : ) Thanks for sharing

Donna Hole said...

Thanks Maddie; I don't usually write from Cal's POV, and I'm glad that sensuality came through.

Thank you for the feedback Celeste. I'm sure it was difficult to say you didn't like these two, and that's ok. Most people who read their story love them or hate them, for a lot of the same reasons you listed: too real. I've delved into subject matter usually read in the non-fiction section. If Jodi Piccoul would just stop by for a few years and teach me everything she knows . .

Well Dezzy, good luck to Serbia. I hadn't heard of this event, sounds like something I'd enjoy listening to.

Thanks Richard and Pat.

Yes it can Lee.

Glad you liked it Gossip Girl. The 64 song just sort of insinuated itself :)


Anna said...

Dear Donna,
I've been trying all day to leave a comment on your wonderful adjusted excerpt for 'She wears my ring'. (Went out to buy food, clothes and shoes for the children and am tired of carrying grocery bags on the street car.)

These characters, Cal and Amy, seem at first to be ordinary people, but there is a dark secret to their love. What happened to Robert? How did he die?

I like the conversation between Cal and Robert's ghost. The older I get the more 'ghosts' that I have with me. Sometimes I forget for a few seconds that my father is dead (since 2006) when I read something that I would like to share with him.

I don't think that I am the only one who does this; but I don't know. I dreamt about my grandmother a lot after she died too. So for me it is not necessary for Cal to drink beer and smoke a weed to imagine that he is sitting next to the ghost of his late 'friend', but since he is not me, he may need it.

After reading so many of Roland's texts with the ghosts of different writers, I have been toying with the idea of writing a story with some ghost-character(s). But I don't want it to be in a 'Halloweenish-way'. I like the way you have done this. It is clear that this ghost is a projection of Cal's imagination, but you could let him start doing things if you thought it helped the plot. I guess.

Is the ghost in the novel or is he just an invention for this special excerpt?

So, you have written a trilogy? Then I must read it when it is available!

Best wishes & hugs,

For the benefit of other readers:
Anna's RFW-challenge No. 34 'She wears my ring'

Donna Hole said...

No Anna, you are not the only one who speaks to the ghosts of loved ones :) Sometimes I have to remind myself that my older sister and a brother have passed on. I'll pick up the phone to call them, or see something in a store to buy for them. I am glad I keep them close in my heart.

Yes, there is a lot of secrets surrounding Robert's death - but its more of the guilt type. Robert is not a "ghost" in the actual novel, though his presence never leaves Cal thoughts for long. Cal carries a lot of unresolved issues regarding his love for Amy and the cause of Roberts death. So while Amy and Cal got what they wanted - to be together - it wasn't in a satisfactory manner.

You are so kind to want to read the trilogy :) The first novel is completed, and has been queried, and is all about Amy and Robert. The second is Cal and Amy's story and still needs extensive editing. The third is a monster that can't even be considered a rough draft, although it is around 118 thousand words. But, there is no fluff in any of the "romance" sections. It is dark womens fiction and includes sex and violence.

Once I get the first chapter revised - again - I'll ask if you are still interested in reading. Maybe you share some of your ghostly work in progress with me in exchange.

I hope all your chores are completed so you can have a relaxing weekend.


Michael Di Gesu said...

NICE work Donna.

I haven't read many of your romantic excerpts, but this one is memorable. You sucked me right into the scene. Terrific imagery and I loved finally reading about a sensitive guy, yet masculine guy.

You almost have me talked into writing one of these and I am seriously thinking of doing the picture painting. I haven't written anything new in AGES so maybe knows the time.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

Jemi Fraser said...

Your characters are always so well done! :)

DeniseCovey_L_Aussie said...

Hi Donna.Like 'em or not, you've created earthy, believable characters well demonstated in the line: 'Cal put his beer between his knees, relit the joint, sucked in a lungful and imagined Robert’s ghost was sitting beside him.'

So as I already know these characters, I'm looking forward to how they get to this point.

Your story moves along at a good pace, with enough intrigue to have the reader looking forward to seeing what's going to happen next. Great use of the prompt.

I must point out - Beatles, not Beetles, lol! Love the song, well, love most of the Beatles' songs actually.


Rek said...

Really well written...And you have created the right kind of atmosphere for the guilt that is still lingering. I also liked his realisation at the end, seemingly small sacrifices for the one you love.

Elaine AM Smith said...

Beautiful. I'd have said everything Rek just said. ;)

Sarah Pearson said...

'He mentally picked out a set of rocking chairs and vowed to give up smoking'.

What a perfect line. You make all the words count :-)

Old Kitty said...

Awwww how lovely - what a most romantic story for Amy and Cal!!

Thanks for sharing!

Take care

Scheherazade said...

Excellent. The right balance of dialog and description. The characters were realistically drawn yet romantic. It was very easy to slip into this story.


Adura Ojo said...

It's nice to see men fighting over a woman - and not women bitching against each other for a piece of him.

Donna, your imagination is just sublime...The way you find the right words for your description of the ghosts and their world is amazing. Refreshing as always.

Nas Dean said...

Loved it! Loved the dialogue and the characters! Well done!

Lydia Kang said...

I love the way that ended! Oh, and by the way, congrats on your publication in Variations! That is so cool. :)

Donna Hole said...

Oh Michael, I hope you do - RFS and the 1000 words prompt. I think you'd do great at romance.

Thank you Jemi.

Denise: doh *slaps forehead* that was an error I forgot to fix - Beatles. Their music still moves me too.

Rek; atmosphere is tough to write, so thank you.

Thank you Elaine and Sarah :)

Hello Kitty :)

These are two of favorite characters Linda; glad you liked them.

You're making me blush Adura.

Thanks Nas and Lydia.


Kiru Taye said...

Hi Donna, I liked the way you worked the ghost into the story and used it as a prop as well as a bouncing board for Cal. It's also good to see Cal make peace with his brother.

This certainly romantic and I'd say you're doing very well. And it was spot on for the theme too. Well done.

Andy David said...

Hello Donna.
This was an interesting and somewhat intriguing entry. I'm wondering what happened to Robert & how it is Cal & Amy ended up together? I loved how you described him closing the gap to get to her...like a man on a mission...made me smile because that's something I would do too (smile). Very enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing.

LOLOLOL...the first half of Adura's comment. She's a riot!

Sorry for my lateness in visiting. I started catching up on the entries very late last night & by the time I went to bed, it felt like it was already time to get up!

I'm really happy you've taken on the role of co-hostess with Denise. The two of you work very well together. Congratulations!

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Donna
A little late. Ghost and love. I can envision this scene even if it turns out the ghost is more related to his guilty conscious about winning the girl. I enjoyed the noisy bar scene that came alive for your character after his self reflection. Romance doesn't need to be gushing off the page. I much prefer subtle reflection than under the sheets desperation. LOL Not always possible.

A side note. You misspelled Beatles in your text.

So glad you signed on to help Denise. I wondered how she could handle it all.