“I loved every page. I’ve seldom read a short story that filled out it’s characters, gave me their history, gave me a few days in their lives that I treasured and left me with no questions about what now for their future.” 5 Stars from Foothills of the Cascades
By The Fire is set in Aspen, Colorado.
I thought I’d share ten fun things to do in Aspen in December.
1. Ski. Obviously.
2. Take a sleigh ride.
3. Enjoy the festivities of Aspen’s 12 Days of Christmas celebration.
4. Have a burger at The White House Tavern.
5. Check out the John Denver Sanctuary.
6. Enjoy the view from the Silver Queen Gondola ride.
7. Snowshoe through some of the trails.
8. Visit the Wheeler Opera House.
9. See the exhibits at the Aspen Art Museum.
10. Have a drink at the Aspen Brewing Company.
(Image by skeeze from Pixabay)
When I start a story, nine times out of ten, I’ve already figured out the title. Every once in a while, I end up having to change it midway through. (Forged in Flood, for example, was The Blacksmith even after I’d finished it then I had to change the title. The Misguided Confession also went through a name change midway.)
My latest holiday short story definitely fit into the one time out of ten.
It went through several different titles.
First, it was Screw You Santa Clause, but the story changed enough the title didn’t fit.
Then came a few different ideas I bounced around with my beta readers: Dim The Lights, Broken Baubles, Holiday Heartbreak. None of those fit the story that was developing. I find it really difficult to write without a title. Almost every time, I have a title beforehand.
So, three chapters into By The Fire, I just hated Broken Baubles as a holiday title. It wasn’t working. Every time I pulled up the word document, the title annoyed me so much.
I spent an entire day looking through holiday phrases, listening to songs, etc.
And then, By The Fire hit me.
It was perfect.
It said what I wanted to say. I wanted this holiday novella to be about romance and comfort. What’s more comforting than sitting beside a fireplace?
If you’re an author, do you start your story with or without a title already decided?
I thought it would be fun to think about the theme songs for some of the main characters in my various books. I picked out a few favourites. And, in some cases, songs jumped out at me for those particular characters.
In completely random order.
– Woody (Pure Dumb Luck) – A tie between ‘Humble and Kind’ and ‘Real Good Man’ by Tim McGraw
– Francis (After the Scrum) – ‘All I Want’ by Kodaline
– Elaine (Misguided Confession) – ‘This Is Me’ from The Greatest Showman
– Mac (One Last Heist) – ‘Let Your Heart Hold Fast’ by Fort Atlantic
– Bishan (The Grasmere Trilogy) – ‘Ode to Joy’
– Iggy (Here Come The Son) – ‘Sympathy for The Devil’ by Guns & Roses
– Fie (At War With A Broken Heart) ‘Ring of Fire’ by Johnny Cash
– Ivan (Forged in Flood) – ‘Killing in the Name’ by Rage Against The Machine
– Ivy (Ivy/Blackbird Anthology) – 93 Million Miles’ by Jason Mraz
– Dusk (Found You) – ‘Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude’ by Jimmy Buffett
This was fun.
I might have to do it for other characters.
The one word that epitomizes Pure Dumb Luck is fun. Definitely. 100%. Fun.
And I definitely made that decision consciously.
The first two novels I wrote in 2019 were emotionally heavy. One was a nightmare to write from conception to the last word. I desperately wanted/needed to enjoy the process of writing again.
Woody and Eddie are the epitome of a Rom-Com. While writing, I definitely visualized the entire story as a movie. Pure Dumb Luck—coming to a theatre near you—I wish.
Sadly, we’ll have to settle for the written word.
It was lines like this that had me laughing constantly.
“What’s a blowjob on the baseball scale of sex?” Woody followed Eddie down the trail. They had four more miles to go before they hit their first campsite of the hike. “Third?”
“Two balls and a strike .”
There are so many moments in the novella that had me chuckling (and wondering if my editor would make me rewrite them.)
She didn’t, thankfully.
I might’ve had to fight her to keep my precious moments of silly humour together.
Do you love a good Rom-Com?
When I’m writing, I generally have a music playlist (or two), but I’ll also have one for movies and TV shows. Not for every novel, it’s just for certain stories I need a little help getting into the vibe. Pure Dumb Luck was definitely one of those.
I thought I’d share ten of the TV shows that I watched while writing my fun travel rom-com.
And they’re not in any particular order.
- Travel Man (So damn funny)
- World’s Most Dangerous Roads
- Amazing Hotels
- Parts Unknown
- Kindness Diaries
- Stephen Fry in America
- Ugly Delicious
- The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan
- The Layover
How about you? What are your favourite travel-themed TV shows?
This is not even close to the hardest part of your day.
Except it had definitely become the most difficult daily event. Woody had never considered himself a coward, yet every single morning, he walked into the gas station to see his best friend, the person he’d been in love with for years, and said nothing beyond small talk.
He never told the truth of the ache in his heart growing too painful to ignore. He couldn’t. What if Eddie rejected him?
Woody grinned at Eddie, who ran the family-owned gas station in their little country town nestled in the middle of a national forest in the southern Appalachian Mountains. “You know me. Boring as shit. I’m consistent, at least.”
“One large coffee, one pack of powdered donuts, and three lottery tickets. Two for you, one for me.” Eddie rolled his dark brown eyes and held out a large hand for the card Woody held out to him. “You never change, dude. You’ve been doing this for twenty years—since high school. I know Coach said you were full of dumb luck, but I don’t think he meant with the Mega Millions.”
“Have a little faith, Eddie.” He grabbed both his breakfast and the lottery tickets, winking at his oldest friend, who hadn’t changed much in the thirty years since they’d known each other. Still as fucking hot as the day I first saw him in the shower at the gym. His warm brown skin had glistened under the shower. Maybe stop thinking about Eddie naked in the middle of the gas station. “We still on for fishing this weekend?”
“Unless you get lucky with your numbers. If you do, we’ll go fishing on a yacht instead of your granddaddy’s rickety old boat.” He tapped a finger against the ticket stub in Woody’s hand. “Go on. Get your ass out of here. You’re ruining the atmosphere. Plus, I like watching you leave.”