Writing Prompt #239: August WIP Writing Challenge BIRTHDAY BASH

August WIP Writing Challenge Birthday Bash

Image Credit: Didi Oviatt

I love Didi’s WIP writing challenges!

Here’s the link to her August challenge:


Hunter was feeling low. He really didn’t like birthdays.

As he wallowed, his phone buzzed.

Happy Birthday!

Hunter managed a small smile. Bethany was so kind. And, unfortunately, Hunter had the hots for her.

As he composed his reply, more texts came in. Hunter’s heart rose out of his stomach, ever so slightly.

People really do care, he thought.

I do have friends.

Then, a puzzling text from Lizzie came in.

Hey baby, wanna meet me at the arcade tonight? It’s half-price!

Hunter shook his head. He loved how Lizzie tried, but sometimes, she tried too hard. And she knew full well how much he hated his birthday. But, she wanted to pull him out of his misery, in whatever way she felt like could work.

Hunter smiled slightly, contemplating his response.

From Lizzie: Baby? Are you okay?

From Belle: Happy Birthday, Hunter! Hope you’re doing something fun tonight!

From Bill: Enjoy your birthday, dude! Can’t wait to celebrate soon!

Irritated, Hunter nearly threw his phone against the wall. That’s how the last two got broken.

He thought better of it. Pacing the room, he only texted Lizzie back.

Sure, sweetie. The arcade sounds like fun. What time?

Lizzie responded within seconds.

6:00. And don’t be late! 

Hunter drove the 10 miles to the arcade, lost in the music. He smiled a bit wider, excited to see Lizzie.

At 6:02, he walked into the arcade. Lizzie greeted him with a long kiss, a flick of the tongue, and then she took his hand and rounded the corner.

“SURPRISE!! Happy Birthday, Hunter!”

Hunter’s eyes went wide, and then filled with tears. Everyone was there – Lizzie, Bethany, Will, Belle, Bill, Robert, Adam, and a few others.

“I’m definitely surprised. Thank you.”

A man of few words, Hunter felt his heart lift higher. He hugged Lizzie tightly, whispered his thanks, and was simply overwhelmed.

As Bill raised the toast of soft drinks to another trip around the sun, Hunter’s smile grew wider.

“Well, friends, this is the first birthday where I haven’t felt miserable. Thank you, Lizzie. Thanks, everyone. Now, let’s shut up and play some games!”


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #238: “Imagination Plantation: European Vacation”

I was nominated for this writing challenge by Kristian, the lovely author of Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table. Thanks, Kristian, for nominating me!

Here’s the link to Kristian’s post, where I was nominated:

The challenge, Imagination Plantation, was originally created by Nova, the amazing author of Nova’s Namaste 365 Online.


4 Simple Rules:

Write me a short paragraph about what’s happening in this image.

Create a pingback to this image.

Tag three bloggers.

Reuse this same image 🙂 Let’s see how many stories can come from the same one.


Kristin shivered as the plane landed. As she turned off her iPod and listened to the final announcements of the flight attendants, she felt her right hand being gently squeezed. It was comforting.

“K? Are you okay?”

She smiled, squeezing his hand back.

“Yeah. I think so. My stomach always drops when planes land.”

Brennan smiled, hardly believing they had just landed in Germany. Their first time overseas.

As Brennan stroked her hand, Kristin’s thoughts drifted toward the cities and towns they would be exploring for the next 10 days. She was always nervous during plane trips, but for some reason, she was incredibly nervous about this trip. It was odd – She hadn’t felt this nervous around Brennan since the very beginning of their Camp experience. That was years ago.

She started to relax as their Uber left the Munich airport and headed toward the German countryside. The weather was absolutely beautiful, very unseasonable for the middle of August.

Brennan noticed Kristin had drifted off, her head laying on his shoulder. He smiled as his lips grazed her forehead. He caught a glimpse of a sleepy smile.

He took in the sights. It was about a 30-mile drive from the airport. There were so many trees – Far more than he’d ever seen in Texas. The amount of foliage and nature was rivaling Camp in Maine, and that was hard to top. He was in awe the entire drive. There were rivers, bridges, cathedrals, and stunning architecture. It was almost overwhelming. He was a little sad Kristin was missing this, but he thought it better she sleep. They had the next 10 days to take in everything. Germany was just the beginning.

The Uber driver easily navigated the steep, gravel-lined hill toward their first stop. Brennan’s smile grew wider. He remembered how excited, positively giddy Kristin was when she’d found it on Airbnb. It looked like a castle in the photos. And, in real life, unfolding before Brennan’s eyes, it was true.

“Hey, Kristin … Sweetheart?”

She groaned slightly, yawned, and opened her eyes.

“Yes, Brennan? What is it?”

He kissed her forehead, and then brushed her lips.

“Welcome to your castle, darling. Let’s start our European vacation.”


Nominations


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #171: “My Grandma, the PUBLISHED AUTHOR!!!” (Reblogged)

Full disclosure: This is not about my grandma!

I wanted to spread this exciting news!

I’ve been following Didi and her blog for quite a while. I remember her telling us about her amazing grandmother, who was in the process of writing a novel. Well, this week, her grandma’s dream became a reality! Check out Didi’s post, Doris’s book, and share away! I’m definitely buying it in the near future.

Congratulations, Doris!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Didi Oviatt

My Grandma published her western romance novel today! I couldn’t be any more thrilled! Not only to have a grandma of my very own, that’s a writer like me, but to have her step up and publish her work, is absolutely amazing! I’ve mentioned her project before, even wrote a bit ofdescription andreview as she pushed through the process of it all. Writing a novel is no small task, and she’s been working on it for quite some time. As a long time poet, she’s had the itch to write for years, and I am so proud of her. The book is a delight! The characters are phenomenal! Even in her 80s, my Grandma is a confident, beautiful, and extremely talented woman! SO GO READ THIS BOOK!

DESCRIPTION:

Terry is an independent woman who stems from a prominent family that founded Paradise. She’s humble yet fierce, and she…

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Tag #86: Traveling Blog Journal

I was tagged by the amazing, talented Kristian for this post. Thank you, Kristian! Check out her blog at Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table.

Here’s the link to Kristian’s post where I was tagged:


This post was created by Nova. Her blog is Nova’s Namaste 365 Online.

Here’s the link to the original post:

This is what Nova has asked:

“I would love to pass a blog post, as if a journal, around. For the person tagged, I’d like you to just introduce yourself and tell us from what STATE/COUNTRY you reside. I’d like you to write something interesting about where you live once you’ve identified that. Then you can add a couple of your own details, if you’d like.

Each person who is tagged, please tag someone at the end of your post, and create a pingback to this post

Most of all,

Have Fun! 💖💚🌼

Thank you!!”


This is me:

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, eyeglasses, stripes and closeup

One of my all-time favorite photos. This was taken by my husband, Al, on Christmas Day 2012.

Image may contain: Laura Beth Vardaro, smiling, closeup

This was taken after a fresh haircut in September 2016. I’m debating going back to this length.

Image may contain: Laura Beth Vardaro and Al Vardaro, people smiling

One of my favorite photos from our engagement shoot, July 2015. Credit: Stellar Exposures

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting

One of my favorites from our wedding day – November 14, 2015. Credit: Drew Brink

Image may contain: Laura Beth Vardaro and Al Vardaro, people smiling, people standing

Dancing at Nick and Savy’s wedding – October 14, 2017.

Image may contain: Al Vardaro and Laura Beth Vardaro, people smiling, dog, eyeglasses, beard and outdoor

The day we adopted our two furbabies – December 2, 2018. Al is holding Phineas and I’m holding Ferb. They are our goobers!

I love so many things.

God, and my relationship with Christ.

My parents, Jim and Karen.

My wonderful, amazing husband, Al.

My in-laws, Bruce and Debbie.

Our miniature pinschers, Phineas and Ferb.

So many family, friends, family friends, and church members.

Nature – Flowers, trees, dogs, cats, turtles, frogs, rainbows, sunshine, thunderstorms.


Where I Live – Virginia, U.S.A.

I currently live in Portsmouth, Virginia, in the United States. I’ve called the Hampton Roads area my home for the better part of 26 years. This is the southeastern part of the state. We are also known as the “Seven Cities” – Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, and Suffolk.

I’ve only lived in five other cities in my whole life – New York City (Governors Island), Alexandria in Northern Virginia, Chesapeake (where my parents still have the same house they purchased in 1992), Farmville in central Virginia to attend Longwood University (2007-2011), and a small apartment in Newport News (2013-2014).

My corner of Virginia gets a “taste” of all four seasons every year, but every year is different. There are years where we’ve had blizzards and nearly a foot of snow, multiple hurricanes, and brief hints of spring and autumn. Hampton Roads is surrounded by water on two sides – The Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean – plus multiple swamps, rivers, and creeks. To get most places, you have to cross at least one bridge or use a tunnel. We are about 45 minutes from the northeastern North Carolina border.

I enjoy living here for many reasons. One of the best is the rich history we have. Jamestown, Portsmouth, and Williamsburg are all part of the early settlers and colonial eras. Yorktown became famous during the Revolutionary War. Norfolk and Portsmouth have significant shipyards. All five branches of the military have bases or installations here – Air Force (Langley), Army (Fort Eustis), Coast Guard (Portsmouth), Marines (MAGTF), and Navy (Craney Island, Naval Station Norfolk, Oceana). NASA Langley is located in Hampton, and it recently celebrated its 100th Anniversary. I could go on for days and days. It’s a pretty cool place to live!


Thanks for this awesome opportunity, Nova and Kristian!

I invite Jenna, who is the author of Bookmark Your Thoughts, to continue this journal!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #237: “April WIP Writing Challenge: ‘Road Trip'”

Road Trip

Found through Didi Oviatt

Here’s the link to Didi’s challenge post:


As John finishing packing the Bel Air, Evelyn sat back in the passenger seat. She pressed her hands to my stomach, and sighed. She lost herself in her thoughts.

This is a good thing. I think. We both need to get away for a few days. Think about us. Think about the future. Our future child.

I know John’s been stressed about work. So have I. But, everyone needs a vacation now and then, right?

Evelyn’s thoughts were interrupted by the slam of the trunk.

John smiled at his beautiful fiancee as he opened the car door. Although he was an admitted workaholic, and recovering alcoholic, Evelyn’s idea to take a few days off felt good.

“Are you ready to hit the road, my dear?”

He leaned over to kiss Evelyn on the cheek. She smiled, and grabbed his hand. She moved it around her growing belly. The slightest butterfly kick startled them both.

“Oh, Evelyn! Wow. This is so neat. When did this start?”

She smiled.

“Last night. But you were sound asleep. I think this vacation is going to do some good. You haven’t slept well in months.”

John started the engine, and hung his head.

“Running a construction company is challenging. And we have lots of deadlines. But, for the next few days, we don’t have to worry about anything. Come on, darlin’, Let’s get out of the city!”

John carefully navigated the Bel Air out of Chicago. They didn’t really have a destination, just driving along Route 66 to see the sights. They both were long-overdue for some fresh air and R & R.

They played the radio for a while, but eventually encountered mostly static. Evelyn didn’t mind. She could see the stress slowly melting away from John, and that made her happier more than anything.

They both worked hard at John’s company, and they fell hard for each other shortly after Evelyn was hired. Several months ago, through a co-worker, Evelyn figured out she was pregnant.

Thankfully, John was a good man. He not only stuck around, but he’d proposed at the groundbreaking of their biggest project – A new, innovative, revolutionary neighborhood designed for everyone.

Evelyn was lost in thought again when the radio went from static to music again. She smiled, and reached for John’s hand. Her beautiful engagement ring sparkled in the spring sunshine.

“Do you have the map, dear?”

Evelyn leaned forward and pulled out the road map. It was well-worn. John had used it many times on his travels back and forth from Chicago to other architectural sights. His biggest “hero” was Frank Lloyd Wright.

However, taking this trip on Route 66 was different. And in the best way. John smiled, stealing glances at his pregnant bride-to-be. This trip would be legendary. A few days away on the surface, but one of the first trips with Evelyn, out of the city, and not on business.

As the sun started to set, she started to notice the colorful, painted billboards for a diner and a motel next door. Evelyn laughed, putting a hand on her stomach again.

“Our child is signaling they’re hungry, dear. And I am, too.”

John smiled and took her hand.

“We’re in for the adventure of our lives, dear. Let’s eat. And celebrate.”


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

 

 

Writing Prompt #232: “March WIP Character Writing Challenge: ‘MOONLIT ROMANCE'”

Moonlit Romance

Here’s the link to Didi’s challenge post:


It was Brennan’s idea to rent the beach house. He wanted to gather the friends he’d made at Camp the summer before. Selfishly, he wanted the whole house to himself and Kristin. But, he made do with ten friends.

On her flight from Kansas to Texas, Kristin felt a swarm of butterflies. She wasn’t quite sure what had compelled her to accept Brennan’s invitations. Yes, plural. He’d created a general Facebook invite for all ten friends, for planning purposes. But, just for Kristin, he’d asked her while talking to her on the phone, and then again via FaceTime. He wanted to be sure.

Her phone was off for the flight, but she thought about the last text she’d sent to Brennan before boarding.

Hey, B. See you in about three hours. I’ll text you when I land. Can’t wait to see you!

She felt her words were genuine. She was trying so hard to move on from the end of Camp last summer. But, it wasn’t easy.

A bit of sudden turbulence turned her stomach. Trying to relax, she scrolled through her iPad for good music. Taylor Swift gave her comfort, for a while. She didn’t dare listen to Chris Young or Ed Sheeran. Not yet. It still stung.

Brennan was busy at the Corpus Christi airport, fielding texts and calls from all ten friends. Thankfully, the beach house was only 20 minutes from the airport. With Mom graciously lending him the minivan for the week, Brennan could take up to five people at one time. He figured it wouldn’t be more than three trips back and forth.

Amidst the droll of flight announcements and airport security warnings, he sighed, finding his way back to Kristin’s texts.

Reading her last text, he wanted to believe her. He could sense she had been hesitant about this trip. Her flight alone ate up a good chunk of the money she’d earned over the summer. But, Brennan reassured himself.

If she didn’t want to come, she would have said no.

The first wave of friends – Stephen, Ace, Stephanie, Gabe, and Sheila – arrived smoothly. Brennan had Stephen man his phone while he drove to the beach house. Everyone was in awe – Brennan had picked a great place. Less than a quarter mile from the beach, a in-ground pool, a hot tub, a hammock, and more. Everyone chattered away as they took turns unloading suitcases, sleeping bags, food, and fun pool floats. The bedrooms were supposed to be girls only and boys only.

As the first five were unpacking, Brennan’s phone buzzed. His heart sank with Kristin’s text.

Hey, B. Bad news. We had to make an emergency landing in Oklahoma City. I won’t be there for another two hours. Everyone’s OK, we’re just switching planes. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks! Love, K

Brennan’s heart fluttered at the sight of “Love, K.” Had the spark reignited?

As quickly as Kristin’s text came through, an incoming call from Angie made Brennan almost drop his phone.

“Hey, Angie! Okay, great. I’ll be there to get you and Tina in about 20 minutes. Awesome! Bye.”

Brennan tried not to worry as he headed back to the airport. As Angie and Tina rolled their suitcases out to the van, Kristin was FaceTiming him.

“Hey, K!”

“Hi, B. How’s it going?”

“Good. Angie and Tina just got here. Are you taking off soon?”

Kristin turned her phone to show the interior of the plane. “Yep. About 20 more minutes. I just wanted to see your smiling face before having to turn this off again.”

Brennan swallowed, feeling excited in more ways than one. “Awesome. I’m excited! Text me when you land, okay?”

Kristin flashed her signature smile. “You got it. See you soon!”

“Bye!” Brennan waved before ending the call. Angie and Tina gave him grief, but he didn’t care one bit.

Dinner time approached as the nine got settled. Brennan was finally able to unpack, and it was quickly decided to have hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. Brennan was three bites into his cheeseburger when his phone buzzed.

I’m here! Finally. Can’t wait to stand up and stretch my legs! Can’t wait to see you. Love, K

Brennan’s heart thudded. He wolfed down the rest of his burger, and grabbed the keys before anyone else noticed. He texted Angie on the way out, not caring any more. He was on his way to reunite with the girl of his dreams.

It was warm enough to roll down the windows outside baggage claim. Corpus Christi was notoriously slow with baggage. Brennan started to grow impatient. Finally, he spotted Kristin with her zebra-print bags. Brennan nearly collided with another car, he threw open the door so fast.

Kristin giggled, watching Brennan’s face. He popped the back door open, took her bag, and then hugged her. Her lips grazed his forehead. Brennan sighed, a bit too audibly.

“It’s so nice to see you, B. I’ve missed you.”

Brennan carefully let go, and Kristin let him hold her hand for a few minutes. “Hi, K. I’m so glad you could come. Thanks. It’s going to be fun.”

Kristin gently kissed his cheek. “Me, too. Let’s go!”

They hardly spoke during the 20-minute drive, but both were excited. They both found each other blushing. Brennan offered music, but Kristin politely declined.

Brennan unloaded Kristin’s bags, and showed her the bedroom on the third floor. Brennan was directly below her. How he longed to be in the same room. He could barely stand it.

Famished, Kristin eagerly accepted a hot dog and hamburger. Brennan tried hard not to stare, but it was nearly impossible. He felt goosebumps as the sun set, and a full moon started to rise.

Everyone else decided on a moonlight swim and dip in the hot tub, but Kristin surprised everyone by declining.

“None of you went through an emergency landing today, haha. I’ll veg out tonight. We have the whole week!”

Everyone laughed, giving side eye to Brennan. While Kristin was changing her clothes, Brennan stayed busy, cleaning the kitchen and texting his mom, thanking her again for letting him use the van for the whole week.

At long last, Brennan heard Kristin pad down the stairs. He thought she looked amazing in the faded county fair T-shirt and butterfly-print boxer sleep shorts. He moved his gaze before she noticed, but not before he blushed.

As he wiped down the counter, Kristin offered to help. Brennan laughed. “No thanks, all done now. But, your company is nice. I’m surprised we’re alone this quickly, haha.”

Kristin smiled. “Everyone in the backyard knows our history. Come on. How could anyone not?”

Brennan winced slightly. “Are you … still mad about the end of Camp?”

Kristin turned to face him. “A little … but I figured being here with you is a good way to make up for it. I’m sorry … for everything. Will you accept my apology?”

Brennan felt sweet relief. “Yes, I do. Thank you for apologizing. And, I’m sorry, too.”

Kristin slipped her hand into his. “Thank you. I think the couch may be more comfortable than standing here on the cold tile floor.” Brennan looked down at their bare feet and laughed.

For a good while, they held hands and talked. It felt like the beginning of Camp all over again – Nervous, but electric energy. They caught up on their lives in their respective states. As Kristin talked about that year’s county fair, which had ended the week prior, Brennan noticed she wasn’t wearing a bra.

She scooted closer to him, cross-legged. She gently took his hand and let him put it on her knee. Both had instant goosebumps. He gently stroked it before moving down to her feet. She giggled as his hand tickled her toes and the soles.

She looked up, catching her breath from giggling, and melted at Brennan’s gaze. He had that slightly goofy, charming look on his face – The exact same one when they were on the dock the first night at Camp, where it all started. She held her breath slightly as he moved in to kiss her. It was amazing, just like the fireworks spectacular.

“Brennan, I think …”

“What’s that, Kristin … What do you think?”

“I think I want you to take me to my bedroom. Is … that okay?”

Brennan clumsily stood up, offering his hand. “As you wish.”

They kissed all the way up the stairs, secretly thrilled no one else was in the house. Brennan caught a glimpse of the gorgeous full moon as they made their way to Kristin’s room. Hearing Kristin’s sigh knew everything was going to be all right.

The light of the full moon filled the bedroom as Brennan carefully shut the door, as Kristin’s fingers itched for the hem of his shirt. They took their time undressing each other, enjoying every second. Both of them wanted this to last as long as possible.

Brennan was struck by Kristin’s beauty as the full moon illuminated her creamy skin. Her hair fanned out as she let Brennan explore her for the first time in nearly a year. She felt beautiful. Brennan certainly thought she was beautiful, relishing every second.

Before he entered her, Kristin kissed him. “Brennan, I have to say something.”

“What’s that, Kristin?”

“I’m so happy I’m with you. Right here, right now.

She paused, watching Brennan’s goofy smile fill his face. “I love you, Brennan. Thank you for this – Everything.”

Brennan smiled, and whispered, “I love you, too, Kristin. Thank you for being here. You’ve made my year.”

They kissed over and over. Her moans and whispers were like music to Brennan’s ears. She kept repeating, “This is amazing.”

As they finished, Kristin opened her arms. Brennan nestled in next to her, gently stroking various parts of her. Her skin was still bathed in moonlight. Brennan was fully taken, wanting to freeze-frame every second.

Kristin kissed his forehead, and then his lips. “Can we break the rules? I want you to spend every night right here with me.”

Brennan smiled, slightly shaking his hand at her impulsive streak. “Tonight, yes. The rest of the week – We’ll see.”

Kristin smiled. “Even if it’s just tonight, that’s okay with me.”

Brennan kissed her deeply. “I don’t want to forget a single second. But, do you want to do that all over again?”

Kristin smiled, her hand ambling below his waist. “Yes, Brennan, I do. I love you.”

“I love you, too, Kristin.”

Brennan and Kristin ended up breaking all the rules that week. And they enjoyed every minute of it.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #199: Romantic Movies (Day 1)

I was inspired to do this challenge by Kristian! Kristian is the wonderful author of Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table.

Here’s the link to Kristian’s first post:

Thanks, Kristian, for the inspiration!

Let’s get started!


Casablanca (1942)

Image result for casablanca poster

Confession: I didn’t see this movie in full until I was a junior in high school. As part of our history class, our teacher, Mrs. Cofield, showed it to all of her classes when we started studying World War II. And what a movie to show!

This is truly a classic film. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman are fabulous on screen.

Based on a unproduced stage play called Everybody Comes to Rick’s, it had its world premiere in New York City on November 26, 1942. It exceeded expectations. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and went on to win Oscars for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture.

I love “As Time Goes By.” And the classic quotes!


Come back tomorrow for a new movie!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂