• Part 41 of Queen of the Garden of Girls, inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 41

    Chapter Thirteen, continued Rose was not the most predictable person, but Robert knew her better than anyone else. It happened when you were cooped up with the same person for years on end. There were only a handful of people on staff, and Nigel. Well, he was technically a member of the staff, but Robert had grown up with him so he was really Robert’s best friend who happened to be paid by Rose to keep her son looking presentable. As he expected, Rose was in her favorite room, a little unassuming study in a corner of the Hall. It was sparsely furnished with a small writing desk, an uncomfortable…

  • Part 40 of Queen of the Garden of Girls, inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 40

    Chapter Thirteen, continued In hindsight, he should have checked the library first. It would have saved him a lot of walking around. He knew the Hall was massive, but wandering around it trying to find one young woman made it seem bigger. Of course, he should have remembered which young lady was in residence. It would have made things so much easier. Robert had expected to find Elaina’s nose buried in a book. Instead, she was seated, with her hands folded in her lap, her eyes fixed on the wall of books before her. He blinked in surprise, wondering how long she was going to sit there before she selected…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 38 - a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 38

    Chapter Thirteen Emily was sweet and young, a perfectly effusive young lady, but Mother constantly called her uncivilized and drove her from the Hall in tears. I never really got to know her since she was only my companion for three days before Mother had had enough. I planted the __ for her out of duty. Robert yanked hard at a weed. He wasn’t sure where they were all coming from. It felt like he spent every other day weeding the garden that grew more weeds than roses. He sat back on his heels, glaring at the green stalk that bobbed and wove and taunted him for not being able…

  • Why I Share My Fiction - why I post my writings to my blog for everyone to read

    Why I Share My Fiction

    Once upon a time, The Lily Cafe was a writing blog in 2013-2015. I shared my fiction and some poetry. Most of it’s still there if you’re curious; they’re too much a part of what this blog is for me to want to delete it. When I came back to blogging in 2018, I hoped to find the same writing community I had left. I was a little disappointed. Back then, I had found several writers doing as I was doing and posting their fiction. I “met” Jennifer M. Zeiger at that time, as well as some other writers who no longer blog here, or, at least, not under the…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 37 - a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 37

    Chapter Twelve continued Elaina’s hands automatically flew to her hair, which hung down around her shoulders in soft tangles, clearly not recently brushed. Her stomach turned over, the nibble of the cookie suddenly not sitting well. She really should have paid closer attention to the time. She couldn’t bring herself to look directly at Rose’s face, afraid of what she would see. “Well, uh, Robert thought a quiet afternoon in, um, the library would be good for me. You know, especially since he was busy this afternoon. He thought it might, er, help calm my nerves.” “And has it?” Elaina giggled a little. “Well, I did lose myself in a…

  • Book Review: Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim - a delightful women's fiction novel set partially in Paris

    Book Review: Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim

    Title: Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop Author: Roselle Lim Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group Publication date: August 4, 2020 Genre: General Fiction Summary: Just like her Aunt Evelyn, Vanessa can see people’s future just by looking at their drink. Believing herself to be cursed, especially since fortune tellers are destined to never marry, she has spent her life suppressing her abilities. Until one prediction rattles her and Evelyn whisks her away to Paris so she can teach her while she opens her new tea shop. Vanessa has never felt more cursed than when she meets charming Marc Santos, who shows her the city and the food. If only she can get her gift under control. Or…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 36 - a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 36

    Chapter Twelve continued Elaina had done as Robert had suggested: she’d lost herself in a book. She’d become so lost that, by the time her head had emerged, she’d had exactly five minutes to get to Rose’s study for tea. She’d gasped and flung herself from the plush armchair, hoping fervently her hair wasn’t too untidy and her green gown not too wrinkled. Rose was, of course, perfectly coiffed and attired. Elaina couldn’t help but feel like a scullery maid next to her. But Rose only glanced over her with her usual cool expression before silently indicating she should take the seat opposite her at the dainty round table. While…

  • Book Review: Something to Live For by Richard Roper - a cute women's fiction novel from a man's perspective

    Book Review: Something to Live For by Richard Roper

    Title: Something to Live For Author: Richard Roper Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Publication date: July 28, 2020 Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction Summary: Andrew works for the Death Department. His job is to pick through the homes of the recently deceased to try to find a next of kin, and any money that can be used to cover funeral expenses. His days follow a routine, though his imaginary life provides quite a bit of color to the mundane. Until Peggy starts working with him. More spontaneous and open than he, she brings a colorful streak into his life, one that has him wondering if he’s doing this whole life thing wrong, and maybe he should…

  • Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 35 - a story inspired by Beauty and the Beast

    Queen of the Garden of Girls, Part 35

    Chapter Twelve continued “Your mother is inviting me to tea this afternoon,” Elaina said as her eyes re-read the words for the third time. “My mother is what?” “Tea,” Elaina said, looking up at him. “Rose wants me to have tea with her. Just her and me. Should I be worried?” Robert scratched at his ear, an uncomfortable look on his face. “I don’t know, Elaina. I really don’t.” Elaina carefully laid the invitation alongside her plate. She pressed her fingers down firmly over it to stop them from shaking even a little. Rose hadn’t been particularly unpleasant, but neither had she been anything more than a frigid ice sculpture,…

  • Italy is a Lovely Place to Read About

    This thought came to me as I was reading a book that’s partially set in Firenze, Italy and partially in a fantasy setting based on Firenze. Whenever I picked it up, I couldn’t help but think back on the, apparently, many books I’ve read that have taken place in Italy. I guess I really like Italy? I’ve been once, a long time ago. My family took a tour through part of Europe and traveled through Venice, Milan, and Verona. I enjoyed most of it, but became mildly sea sick on the canals of Venice and almost drenched in Verona after baking in Venice and Milan. Since then, I’ve found myself…