Thursday, December 6, 2012

FIRST FRIDAY! Alexander, Graff, Milchman!

This is the exercise where I give three great authors the same photo, and each writes whatever comes to them in 150 words or less. Their different views are terrific!
Marla pushed back the guilt at draping over a stranger's crypt and pretending to be overcome with grief. Luring her stalker into the cemetery provided the privacy needed for a showdown. Footsteps rustled the dry leaves, indicating his nearness. Each crackle sent icy shards of fear up and down her spine. She tightened her grip on the carnation, wishing she held a weapon instead of the limp flower. The desire to whirl and confront him was almost overwhelming. But she waited until she sensed him standing behind her.
Focusing on the sound of his heavy breathing and the rapid thump of her heart, she gathered all her strength and prepared to strike out. She straightened, whirled, and delivered a crippling blow to his Adam's apple.
Staggering backward, the old caretaker's gnarled fingers clutched his throat. Marla's jaw dropped. Oh. My. God. What had she done?

It was supposed to be a bit of a thrill, meeting up after dark in Kensal Green cemetery, having sex on top of a crypt. Creepy to some, but it fit my wild side and would show Kev I was up for anything.
Kev wanted to do it on Harold Pinter, but I insisted on Wilkie Collins, the king of gothic novels. That had a kind of resonance to it. Instead of The Woman in White I was always The Goth in Black.
He surprised me with the red carnation, I’ll give him that. “To match the red streaks in your hair,” he said, caressing my face with one hand. I turned into it and licked his palm as it passed over my mouth.
He groaned and threw me up on the hard cement, then roughly yanked up my skirt. “Not like this,” I whispered, as the coldness seeped into my spine.

The heroine of my forthcoming debut novel is coping with grief. The story starts with Nora waking to find her policeman husband dead. So when I look at this photo, I see Nora. My book is set during an Adirondack winter, but there is grass in this picture. The ground is not green in the Adirondacks until May, so it must be five months after my story opens, and spring has come to the fictional town of Wedeskyull. Nora is at Brendan’s gravesite. In some ways she’s moved on, but is temporarily overcome by all she has lost. In other ways though, she is shorn. Literally: the woman in this photo has short hair, while Nora’s long locks present a revelation in the mystery. Maybe Nora cuts her hair after laying rest to the secrets and danger that took Brendan’s life. Until I saw this photo, I didn’t know that. 

Amazon Print

A student of creative writing in her youth, Jerrie set aside her passion when life presented her with a John Wayne husband, and two wonderful children.
But the characters went with her, insisting she share their dark, sexy stories with others.  She writes alpha males and kick-ass women who weave their way through death and fear to emerge stronger because of, and on occasion in spite of, their love for each other.  If they’re strong enough, they live happily ever after.
Jerrie lives in Texas, loves sunshine, children’s laughter, sugar (human and granulated), and researching for her heroes and heroines. 

Bridlepath Press
Marni Graff is the author of The Nora Tierney Mysteries, set in the UK. The Blue Virgin (Oxford) introduces the American children’s book writer, preparing to move from Oxford to the Lake District, when Nora swings into action to clear her best friend, Val Rogan, of murdering her partner. In The Green Remains (Cumbria) Nora’s morning walk takes an unexpected turn when she stumbles over the body of the heir to Clarendon Hall. She finds herself snooping again when her illustrator, Simon Ramsey, is implicated as a murder suspect. Available:, and Kindle.

Amazon Kindle and Print
Jenny Milchman is a suspense novelist from New Jersey whose short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Adirondack Mysteries II, and in an e-published volume called Lunch Reads. Her first novel, Cover of Snow, will be released by Ballantine in January.

Join in! Leave your description in a comment--just remember, 150 words or less. 


Jerrie Alexander said...

Ellis, this was a fun exercise! Thanks for including me.

Ellis Vidler said...

Jerrie, thanks for being part of it. I love your story. And I'm so excited that The Green-Eyed Doll is being released today! I hopped right over and got it. Hooray!

Lilly Gayle said...

What a clever, clever idea for a blog post. Creative and reminds me of those high school writing projects my geeky self loved that others in my class loathed.

Congrats Jerrie on your release today. I give all three writers an A, but Jerrie gets an A+. Love the suspense element.

Maggie Toussaint said...

These are all great responses. So different and powerful.

I lost my sister this year, and I totally empathized with the young woman in the photo. Grief can slay your heart, make you break down at the oddest times and in the oddest places. With that weighing on my mind, I would have written about a grieving mother.

Ellis Vidler said...

Maggie, write one here. We'd love to read it.
I understand your grief. Yesterday was my sister's birthday. She left us way too young.

Kaye George said...

As usual, I love these! It's a great concept and today's are especially good. Thanks, all!

Sandy Cody said...

Three more great entries, three more books to add to my TBR list. Not sure where you find your photos, Ellis, but they DO inspire.

jenny milchman said...

Thank you to Ellis for having me to this interesting round up. Such great writers--and great commenters, too.

Maggie, I am so very sorry for your loss.

Jerrie Alexander said...

Lillie, Maggie,Kaye and Sandy! Thanks for stopping by today. I love this concept and wish I'd thought of it myself!

Ellis, are the pictures hard to find?

Ellis Vidler said...

Jerrie, Most are stock photos, but I look through hundreds till I find something I can see a story in. I'm sure others see them differently, but if they don't speak to me, I don't use them.

I like reading the different things people see in them. You can do it too. Try it. It's fun!

Marsha said...

What a creative post, Ellis. Loved reading these. Isn't it how interesting how different the responses are.
I saw an actress trying to get in touch with the fear we find in some cemetaries, preparing for her role in a thriller movie. Wierd, huh? LOL thanks for having these talented woman. I put Doll on my Nook this morning. It's a killer read!

Marni said...

Ellis this was a great exercise, thanks for including me. Jenny, my protagonist is named Nora, too!

Polly Iyer said...

Terrific exercise again, with three terrific writers. I've read Marni's first book. Now I must read the others. Congrats to you all on your books.

Jackie P said...

What an awesome idea, Ellis! This was an entertaining post, for sure. The picture conjures up tons of ideas but these ladies have put wonderful words on paper. Bravo, ladies. Bravo.
Congratulations on the release of The Green-eyed Doll, Jerrie. My copy should be arriving any day :)

Jerrie Alexander said...

Thanks Marsha and Polly! Marni, it was great fun wasn't it!!

Jerrie Alexander said...

Thank you, Jackie! I appreciate your support!

LisaRayns said...

How fun. Loved it!