Archive for March, 2012
Read Chapter 3 before you continue…
“Now what the hell are you doing here?”
Elaina watched as Matthew’s eyebrows shot up until they were halfway lost behind the dark flop of hair falling rakishly over his forehead. “Is that how you greet everyone who is a guest at your house or are you just not a morning person?”
“Don’t get cheeky with me. Why are you here?” Elaina had a fretful night of sleep. She had stayed up half the time with the memory of Matthew’s deep blue-green eyes staring down at her swimming in her head and suffered recurring waves of that headiness she had felt in the bar when he had stood too close. The last thing she needed was to find him in her house this early in the morning, looking for the entire world as though he was a king in his own palace. Was there no getting away from him even during daylight?
Matthew whistled low in appreciation of her dark mood. “Definitely not a morning person, then. I’m not ‘trespassing’ again, if that’s what you’re thinking. I came to pick up Jonny, and your mother was kind enough to invite me in for a glass of refreshment. Glad to see not all Corey women are inhospitable.”
“You came to pick Jonny up,” asked Elaina, ignoring his jibe.
“Yep. I’m taking him along on my project so he can show me around the country while I teach him a bit of the old tricks with the equipment. He showed quite a bit of interest in photography and I never say no to a kid with an aspiration. I thought we struck a win-win deal last night.”
“Last night?” she choked.
“I bumped into him at the bar after you’d left.”
The fact that her teenage brother was at the bar was of no consequence. A number of the local kids were allowed in but both the bartenders and the patrons knew never to pass them anything more potent than Dr. Pepper. The topic at hand, however, was creating a jittery feeling in the pit of her stomach. “You moved in right fast, didn’t you? Only a day and already you’re making friends left and right.”
“Well, I only have a week here so I need to make the most of it while I can. But if you ask me, I don’t think things are going fast enough at all. I still have a way to go before I procure what I’m targeting for.”
There was that look again. Those eyes that were usually as obscure as topazes engulfed in mist except at a time like now when he had set his focus on something. Now they were clear and dark pools of abyss. And if she stared at them any longer she was going to fall right in. Read the rest of this entry »
Read Chapter 2 before you continue…
The sun had set an hour ago and Elaina felt settled in her skin for the first time during the day, lounging in her regular booth near the back of Stone’s Waterhole with Tyler and his fiancée, Ahyoka Gelderman. Apart from her family and people at their ranch, Ahyoka was one of the few persons in the world with who she was completely at ease.
Part Cherokee from her mother’s side, Ahyoka was the only child of a local banker and Tyler’s childhood sweetheart. And after Brooke had left Lainie’s Creek, the girl’s friendship, which was easily accessible due to her relationship with Tyler, had been somewhat a solace to the suddenly lonely Elaina. The fact that Ahyoka never questioned the lack of correspondence from Brooke made her friendship all the more welcome. Ahyoka was as sweet tempered and politic as Tyler, and the Coreys could not have been happier with the bond the couple shared.
Even when Ahyoka was away pursuing undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Texas in Austin, Tyler and Ahyoka’s love for each other remained lasting. They always seemed sure that once her studies were over, Ahyoka would return and take reign of her father’s business and a ring from Tyler. Tyler had only to wait until the beautiful raven-haired brown-eyed girl graduated from her MBA program. No later than Ahyoka had finished with her graduation ceremony and Tyler was waiting outside the hall where the commencement had taken place with that promised ring. It was to the relief of the entire population of Lainie’s Creek, who had been expecting their impending wedding for the past twelve years, Ahyoka had accepted it that day.
And right now, the couple was sitting across from Elaina, planning their wedding, which was due in the coming autumn. Elaina was more than happy to sit back and relax with her bottle of chilled beer, occasionally lending her opinion when asked as to what color the runners on the banquet tables should be. She had, after all, agreed to be the maid of honor. But for some reason she could not get as hyped about the fancy dress Ahyoka was planning to put her in in less than four months as she could about the new organic supplement feeds she read about in a magazine earlier in the week.
To calm the mild pangs of guilt compelled by her lack of enthusiasm, she allowed her eyes to roam over the crowd gathered in the bar and, before she could make a full round of observation, she had clapped them on the new arrival at the entrance. Matthew Halls in the flesh once again. And that had to mean Brooke McKenna was nearby. Read the rest of this entry »
Dear Valued Readers,
This might be a bit of an inconvenience but I’ve changed my blog address. Please don’t be annoyed but I felt this name just made so much more sense for what I’m attempting to accomplish here.
So I present to you The Romantic Quill !
Let’s face it – while Phenomenal Demonstrative alluded to two poems that mark two major aspects of my life, it does not hold any connotation to what I hope to attain through my blog site, which is to become published as a romance novelist with a progressive affiliation to the Women’s Literature industry.
While it may be a hassle to anyone who visits my old site first to reach me and my work, the excuse I give you is that that site was only about a month old when I decided to make the transfer so not many of you actually had become too acquainted with it. I really did not want to inconvenience too many of you.
Even better is the fact that The Romantic Quill is so much more self-explanatory and less profound. Fewer syllables and softer diction!
Also, I just like quills – Mr. Darcy wrote his letter to Elizabeth using a quill!
Everything is just as they always were, just the first 16 characters of my URL has changed. And I think they have changed for the better. I now give you the floor to tell me whether you think so too.
I promise you, I welcome the “vehemence of [your] disapprobation” as much as the “raptures of [your] joy”…
Read Chapter 1 before you continue…
“So did our visitor get back safely?” All three of her brothers had just filed into the kitchen, where Elaina was standing beside the counter, drinking the freshly squeezed lemonade their housekeeper, Ethel, had handed to her. She had been telling Ethel and her mother, who was also present, about meeting the McKennas’ new house guest, having just gotten in from the stable herself. Her brothers’ entrances had saved her from her mother’s tirades as to why it was unnecessary to carry a gun just because someone had recently received a license.
Tyler had whipped off his hat and was now flapping it before his face to cool down. “Yeah. Man it’s hot out there! To think, it’s still a week from Fourth of July,” he complained, sitting down at the breakfast table.
“So he got on the horse okay then,” asked Elaina casually as she took another swig at her lemonade. She had not liked Mr. Matthew Halls one bit, coming off all smart aleck, walking on other people’s land.
Hayden snorted. “Not likely, seeing as he’s from New York City, is he? Fell twice on his backside before he got on that horse.”
Both the twins and their sister hooted with mirth but Jonny refrained. “It ain’t right making fun of a man not present enough to defend his dignity,” he stated quietly, stopping his siblings’ merriment short.
“Quite right,” added June Corey, stroking her youngest son’s hair lovingly for his wisdom. All four of her children had her looks, blond as corn silk with oceanic blue eyes and fine Aryan noses, though only Jonny had inherited her deep quiet outlook on life. Perhaps it was because, being her last born and having his father die even before his tenth birthday, Jonny had had the most opportunity of spending time with her. Her older children, having been brought up as much a part of the ranch as the horses and the cows themselves by their father, were louder and less obliging than she would have preferred. Fortunately, they usually did not fail to humor their mother’s strong stance on upholding propriety. “What’s this about you three taunting a man before a day getting old? Elaina’s been telling me, Hayden, that you let your baby sister shoot a man today.”
Hayden scowled at his sister before turning to answer his mother. “Aw, Ma. You know how she’s like. She never gave me time to stop her before her gun was out. Thanks, Ethel,” he added as the housekeeper placed a glass of lemonade before each of the newcomers.
“Well, I say he had it coming,” interjected Elaina, petulantly. “Strutting about my papa’s land with his camera out, shooting pictures of us uninvited.”
“That’s what he does,” Jonny came to the out-of-towner’s defense, before explaining to his mother and Ethel. “Matthew is a freelance photographer from New York City. He gave me his card, look.”
“Oh? On first name basis already, are we,” taunted Elaina while June looked over the visiting card of the man over whom her children were debating. “It’s obvious you’ve taken a liking to that big shot city boy.”
“Nothing wrong with being a big shot if you’ve got something to be proud of. He’s good at what he does. We saw the pictures he took this morning on his camera while we waited for Brooke to come out of the McKennas’ house. Tell her, Tyler.”
But before Tyler could make a reply, Elaina cut in. “Brooke’s here? She’s back?”
“Yeah,” Hayden answered gruffly, busying himself with drinking his lemonade.
“Brooke McKenna?” jumped in June. “Hillary and Andrew’s girl? She’s come home, is she?” Elaina noticed that her mother’s perceptive eyes flickered towards her before resuming on her elder sons.
“I say she is,” informed Tyler, whistling impressively. “And boy is she a looker. Even more than before, in all her hoity-toity city clothes and makeup. She just sort of floated down that porch step when she came out to meet us, didn’t she, Hayden?” His twin grunted noncommittally and Tyler continued. “Anyway, that’s who our visitor is come down to Lainie’s Creek with. Apparently they’re old friends, met when she modeled for one of his picture-taking classes or something. That reminds me, Elaina – you went and shot at a New York City professor because the man teaches photography in some university, too. Ain’t that a hoot?”
“You think shooting at strangers who never asked for it a hoot, do you, boy?” admonished June, sobering Tyler up instantly.
Elaina pushed off the counter she had been leaning against and set her glass down harder than she meant to. “Well, this one had asked for it,” she said with finality. “I’ll go wash up before lunch,” she added as she marched out of the kitchen, knowing all the while that her mother’s and Hayden’s eyes followed her retreat.
“Well, what’s got her all riled up,” she heard Tyler ask before the door swung shut behind her.
She did not stop her stride as she ran up the back stairs of the house and down the second floor corridor until she had herself locked in her room. Then she went straight to the small antique chest she kept under her bed and dragged it out to the center of the room. Curling into a cross-legged position, she sat down on the rug beside her bed and opened the lid. She shuffled through the old handmade doll and other trinkets of her childhood that she kept in there until she found what she was looking for at the very bottom. Read the rest of this entry »
Recently, I found a blog on eHarlequin titled “10 Reasons Why I Love Romance Novels” and felt that that was as good a topic as any to pursue on a blog site dedicated to writing – and, especially, about writing romance novels. I have included “Chick Literatures” in my title because there is, indeed, a difference in my mind between the two, albeit by a very fine line. But that is a topic requiring its own post. For the time being, let’s move on to what this post is about. Where was I? Oh, yes, 5 VERY GOOD reasons (equivalent to 10 satisfactory reasons) why I love romance novels and chick-literatures, henceforth, generally referred to as romance novels:
1. My parents. My grandparents.
No, my parents did not enter into a love marriage. And yes, despite conventions and the era, my grandparents (here, I speak of my maternal side) did fall in love and convince their parents to let them marry. (I am about to tell their stories and, hereby, claim all proprietorship to any scenes as materials that may be used to propagate any romance novel unless written by me.)
Let me begin with my parents. It was an arranged marriage, where my parents met only a couple of times and always in the presence of minimum three chaperons with never the opportunity to say more than a few sentences to each other until their wedding. And then, once they were married, it took them only a week to fall in love. Much of which was probably nourished by their acceptance of this conventional way of acquiring partners – but also because, to Dad, Mom was beautiful and, to Mom, Dad was absolutely charming. And they must’ve been extremely sweet together because my grandmother (maternal again) often repeats the story about the first time Mom went to her parents’ house after the wedding. Apparently Dad had gone over to collect her after work and wouldn’t listen to the pleadings of her sisters to allow her to stay back the night. When Grandma tried to cajole him into acquiescing, his exact words were, “Ma, if I could, I’d fit her in my pocket and take her to work with me and set her down on my desk and get no work done all day! One day of separation is too much; one night would be the end of me.” Now my mother is what they call the petite waiflike woman, but really! I applaud my father his romantic genius.
Now my grandparents’ story is not to be out-shined. Theirs was a love at first sight. Yes, you read correctly. But never mind what sceptics you all are – I wager I’ll have you all converted by the end of this tale. Bangladesh, c. 1956 and Grandpa, a tall dark and handsome young gent of all his 17 years of life, is visiting with an out-of-state friend. He and his friend spend the holidays in theaters, parties and race courses. And during one of these days, at the race course, Grandpa notices a beautiful young maiden of cheerful and witty disposition, laughing and making her friends laugh along with her, just a few rows down in the stadium. He has to know who she is. He has to be able to engage her notice. He sees a flower vendor and instantly calls him over. He is going to send her a rose – no! he is going to send her the petal of a rose. With his name on it, literally. The vendor reaches the girl (yes, readers, you’ve guessed right – my then to-be-grandmother) and hands her the petal. She is intrigued as she reads the name penned into its delicate form, “Shahjahan”. She searches the aisles for the sender until her eyes rest on him and he taps the brim of his bowler in greetings. And oh! He is just so handsome! She shouldn’t reply – all decorum forbids it. But she must, she must! She does. And sends back the vendor with the rose petal, now bearing her name on the opposite side. He is ecstatic, he is triumphant. He reads her name, “Mumtaz”, and finds it amusing. He thinks she’s being humorous. [For those of you who aren’t aware of the history, Shahjahan was the emperor who had the shrine Taj Mahal built as an ode to his love for his empress, Mumtaz] He finds her witticism charming but propriety dictated that their correspondence must cease for the time being. They part, accepting the probability that they may never meet again.
But as Grandpa returns to his home at the end of the holidays, he cannot forget her. And another week passes as he grows more and more restless. And he confesses all to his father. Yes he realizes that he is too young and that he has his exams (for crying out loud!) were ahead of him and that she is probably more than too young, but he must marry and he must marry her! And they inform his out-of-state friend about the dismal state of his mind and they search high and low for a nameless maiden until Alas! they learn her identity. She comes from a respectable family of reasonably high rank and her name is, indeed, Mumtaz! It is fate, they were meant to be together. And despite the hesitation among all adults present, marry they did because even Grandma was in love by that time with the handsome stranger who went to so much trouble to propose to her. And though it was a decision made in youth (and would’ve been illegal in this era), Grandpa and Grandma never regretted it. Even today, after Grandpa has long since passed away, Grandma’s eyes shine with joy and pride as she speaks of the man who stole her heart and guarded it with all that he had. Sighs…
Matthew Halls heard the blast of the gunshot only a nanosecond before he felt the bullet disturb the air above his head. So it was a belated and pointless action when he dived to the hard earth where he had already been crouching before the discharge. Even as the adrenaline rushed through his veins and his heart thudded against his ribs, he discovered miserably that the lens of his SLR was now crushed to kingdom come, slammed as it had been with the full force of his body weight. He supposed he was more preoccupied with his ruined lens than he ought to be, given that he had nearly just died. But escaping his death only aided him the opportunity to be furious with his attacker instead.
He heard the thuds of a thousand hooves as the horses charged at him and felt their vibration in the earth even after they came to a sudden stop mere feet away. “That was the warning shot. Get up and identify yourself before I decide something worse for your trespassing.”
It was the girl. The cowgirl to be exact. Read the rest of this entry »