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:

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

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

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

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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)

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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 🙂

Writing Prompt #196: February WIP Challenge – “Out to Sea”

WIP Character Challenge February Out to Sea

Image Credit: Didi Oviatt

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


After Camp ended in early August, Kristin and Brennan felt adrift. Kristin went home to Kansas, and Brennan headed back to Texas. Although their time at Camp hadn’t always been sunshine and roses, the two knew they had a connection. Neither of them quite knew what to make of their experiences, but they’d promised to stay in touch via text.

On August 12th, Kristin’s phone buzzed early.

Good morning, K. I hope there’s sunshine in Kansas today. It’s raining here in Corpus Christi. I wish you were here to brighten my day. Love, B

Kristin smiled, and rolled over on her stomach. She waited a few minutes to text him back. After Camp, and the nasty fight they had at the end, she was more cautious with her words.

Hey, B. Good morning. There’s a beautiful sunrise outside my window. I’m sorry it’s raining. I hope it clears up soon. Any plans for today? I think I’ll be going back-to-school shopping soon. Junior year! Love, K

Brennan smiled. Despite wanting to stay in touch with Kristin, what happened at the end of Camp was hard to stomach. They’d fallen head over heels for each other, or that’s what Brennan had thought. He could tell Kristin was less impulsive now, more careful with her words and actions. Still, that fight was a looming dark cloud over them. Being states away certainly didn’t help, either.

Brennan longed to be with her again. Not necessarily physically, but be in her presence. He wanted to push that dark cloud away, calm the stormy sea. But, he felt like a ship passing in the night. He needed an anchor, or else he felt he would just drift along, aimlessly.

His phone buzzed a few minutes later, getting him out of his funk.

Hey, dude. Wanna catch some waves later?

Brennan laughed aloud. His best friend, Adam, was up for surfing any time, no matter the weather. Adam was the only person that Brennan had told about his experiences at Camp.

Sure, Adam. That sounds great. What time?

Brennan exchanged a few more texts with Adam, and then invited Rafael and Mike to tag along. Mike had a Jeep Wrangler, which was the popular beach vehicle of the group.

About two hours later, the rain lessened, and the sun was a muted orb behind the clouds. Brennan heard Mike honk as he grabbed his board and a few essentials. Brennan’s mom caught him at the door.

“I love you, Brennan. Be safe. I want you back home before dinner. Text me when you’re on your way home. Got it?”

Brennan looped an arm around his mom. “No worries, Mom. I love you, too.”

Kristin was distracted by back-to-school shopping for several hours, and missed Brennan’s photo with his surfing buddies.

At 4:45 p.m., a sudden storm exploded off-shore. Brennan knew he needed to be heading home soon, but Mike convinced him to stay in the water for 15 more minutes.

The lifeguards blew their whistles in unison. Rafael and Adam headed in. Brennan caught one more wave. As he turned, Brennan saw a flash of lightning, and Mike’s head.

“Mike! Get out of the water! Now!”

All three guys cupped their hands around their mouths and yelled the same command, over and over. It started to rain. Thunder followed, and the rain began coming down in sheets. The head lifeguard jumped off his station and dashed toward them.

“Hey! You guys need to get to shelter. Now.”

Brennan protested. “But – Our friend! Mike! He’s still out there. Alone.”

“I’ll find him. You guys get under cover. This is my job.”

The three guys scrambled to the safety of the beach bathrooms, a solid concrete block building about 500 yards from the shoreline.

Brennan was terrified. He knew the lifeguard was fully capable of rescuing Mike, but it was still scary. They huddled in the bathroom, where Rafael said a quick prayer. Adam tried to calm their nerves, to no avail.

As the thunder roared and lightning flashed, Brennan needed a distraction. He finally saw Kristin’s text, the response to his photo.

So cool! I hope you have fun. Wish I was there! Do you want to FaceTime later? Love, K

Brennan smiled, then re-focused. “I hope they find Mike.”

Adam wrapped his arms around his friends’ shoulders. “I know they will.”

“We need EMS!”

They jumped. Rafael scrambled up toward the windows near the ceiling. “Hey, guys! Mike’s alive!”

Brennan slumped to the floor. Adam squeezes his shoulder. “It’s good news. Mike’s gonna be okay. He’s getting help.”

Brennan shook his head. “All four of us could have been out there. It’s weird. It feels surreal.”

Rafael nodded. “We’re lucky. Mike, especially.” He whispered another prayer, this time it was one of thanks.

Adam helped Brennan off the floor. “Come on. Let’s see where Mike went. And you should call your mom.”

Brennan nodded, relief washing over him. Before dialing home, he texted Kristin.

Hey, K. Boy, do I have a story for you. FaceTime at 7:30? Love, B

With shaking hands, he dialed home. He stuttered as he told his mom what happened. He asked to go to the hospital. Mom said yes and that she would meet them there.

“I’m so glad you’re okay. Be safe. See you soon. I love you.”

“I love you, too, Mom. Thank you. You’re my anchor.”


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #18: Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen Quote

Image Credit: Quotefancy

I’m long overdue for an Awesome Authors post.

I inhaled Sarah Dessen’s books when I was in high school and college.


Dessen was born in June 1970 in Evanston, Illinois. Her parents, Alan and Cynthia, taught classicism and Shakespearean literature at the University of North Carolina.

When she was 15, Dessen became involved with a 21-year-old man. She realized it was a bad idea, and cut ties shortly thereafter. In an interview, she said she took the blame for the situation and relationship for years afterward. When she herself turned 21, she made a point to look at teens and ask herself whether or not she wanted to hang out with them, or even date one. The answer, she said, “was always a flat, immediate no. They were kids. I was an adult. End of story.”

She first attended Greensboro College in Greensboro, North Carolina. She dropped out quickly to enroll in the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She graduated with the highest honors in Creative Writing.

While launching her writing career, Dessen worked as a waitress at a restaurant called Flying Burrito. Her first book, That Summer, was published in 1996.

The 2003 movie How to Deal, starring Mandy Moore and Allison Janney, was based on Dessen’s books That Summer and Someone Like You.

Several of her novels have been named the American Library Association’s (ALA) “Best Fiction for Young Adults” selection. Along for the Ride (2010) made the New York Times Best Sellers List.

In 2017, Dessen received the Margaret A. Edwards Award as a result of seven of her novels, published between 2000 and 2011. Her newest book is Once and for All (2017).


Just Listen (2006)

Just Listen (novel).jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I’m pretty sure this is the first book of Dessen’s I remember reading, although I’m not 100 percent sure.

Lock and Key (2008)

Lock and Key (novel).jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

As someone who has struggled all her life to ask for help, this one cut deep.

That Summer (1996)

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Image Credit: Goodreads

I think I’ve read this? I’m not sure. This is Dessen’s first novel.

Dreamland (2000)

Dreamland (Dessen novel).jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I passed by this book so many times at the library, and then once I finished either Just Listen or Lock and Key, I knew I needed to read it.

This Lullaby (2002)

This Lullaby.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I remember this one, since having faith and learning to leap is something I’ve worked on for years. The cover also caught my eye at the library.

Along for the Ride (2009)

Image result for along for the ride book

Image Credit: Goodreads

I don’t remember reading this one, but I know I want to.

Keeping The Moon (1999)

Keeping the Moon.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

If I have read this, it was early on. I distinctly remember the cover, and I know I saw it on the library shelves. Regardless, I do want to pick it up and re-read it.

Saint Anything (2015)

Image result for saint anything book

Image Credit: Goodreads

This is one I definitely haven’t read. I’m pretty sure the last new release I read was Lock and Key.


What about you? Have you read any of Sarah Dessen’s works? Have you seen How to Deal?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth  🙂

Writing Prompt #157: “‘Celebration Party’ January WIP Writing Challenge!”

celebration party

Image found on Didi Oviatt’s blog.

If you haven’t checked out Didi Oviatt’s AWESOME, and, frankly, kick-ass blog, do it!

Here’s the link to her challenge post:


Before I got to the end of Didi’s post, I knew which characters I wanted to use!

So, without further ado, please enjoy my “Celebration Party” scene!


Fireworks weren’t illegal to purchase in Maine. Every summer, like clockwork, the camp counselors were able to fill their cars and SUVs at the ready. The closest firework stand to Camp was only ten minutes away.

Not everyone approved of the idea, however. Emily, the Camp nurse, was naturally uneasy. Belinda Barnes, the Camp director, never thought it was the best idea. But, as long as everything was done safely, that’s all she cared about.

The counselors wanted the fireworks to be a complete surprise. Most summers, the Bangor fireworks spectacular could be witnessed in full from certain areas of Camp. Sadly, this year’s spectacular had been cancelled due to severe thunderstorms in the area – The first cancellation in quite a few summers. Camp’s atmosphere on Independence Day was just as stormy, with disappointed and grumpy campers. It had rained and stormed five out of the last six days, and rainy-day activities were running out of steam. So was a lot of people’s patience.

July 6th dawned sunny and beautiful, and everyone’s spirits naturally lifted. The day was full of lake activities, nature hikes, and a bit of mischief. Kristin and Brennan bent the rules a little, and stole away to their secluded picnic table spot for some hanky-panky. Counselors Andy and Melissa almost went skinny-dipping in the lake. And Ashley and Stephanie enjoyed their first true romantic moment together, which felt like fireworks to both of them.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, one of the most spectacular sunsets stretched out across the sky. Everyone was in awe, which gave Andy, Melissa, and a few other counselors enough time to set up the surprise.

The crickets started chirping, and everyone tuned in to the bullfrogs along the lake. They knew a surprise was being revealed, and everyone waited with bated breath.

Andy and Melissa shared another kiss right before the fireworks show was about to begin. All safety measures were reviewed and checked. The spot along the lake shore was perfect, and they couldn’t wait to see the camper’s faces light up.

Andy, the oldest counselor, was in charge. The first three fireworks were disappointing duds. But, Emily, of all people, kept the crowd hyped. The fourth firework finally shot off with a brilliant burst, and hearing the crowd’s cheers and whistles made it all worth it.

Melissa, right by Andy’s side, winked. “Let’s give them the best show ever.”

Andy nodded. The next 30 minutes felt like Camp had their own fireworks spectacular. Fireworks of every shape, size, and color were shot off in rapid succession. The noise across the lake only increased, and the counselors felt incredible. It was a great celebration all its own.

Minutes after the grand finale, through the hazy smoke the counselors could still hear the cheers and whistles. Kristin and Brennan were dancing in ankle-deep water of the lake, and so were Andy and Melissa. Ashley and Stephanie shared a kiss, not caring who saw. Everyone was celebrating in their own way, and it felt great. The atmosphere of Camp that night turned completely around. All thanks to roughly $1,000 of fireworks.


So, there you have it!

Thanks, Didi! Looking forward to February’s challenge!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂