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Romance? No, thank you.

When I first began submitting flash fiction for Splickety Magazine, I was pumped to write for two out of their three imprints: Splickety Magazine is focused on general fiction. My Wild West story was first on that list. Havok Magazine was my bread and butter: science fiction and fantasy. I sent in a barbarian vs. ice dragon battle to the death! But Spark? Romance? No, thank you.

My wife was the first person to call me on that one. She told me if I was going to nitpick and de-cheese-ify her Hallmark movie choices, then I had better be able to write something better. I’ve never read a romance novel, but hey, I had to prove her wrong.

Special Valentine’s Day bonus at the end of today’s blog.

I grew up as the youngest child in a house of a girls. Single mother. Two older sisters. Even the cats were girls. Needless to say, I’m well versed in the ways of Sense and Sensibility, Much Ado About Nothing, and Pride and Prejudice. Even as a young teen, I knew I would use the torment my sisters put me through to bring some type of good to the world. So I sat down, checked out what theme Spark was accepting next, and wrote about a girl on a blind date, but all she wanted was to go home and play World of Warcraft.

My story was accepted and published in a romance magazine.

All good fiction needs some type of romance. Whether you’re writing fantasy, science fiction, or Amish vampires in space, there is bound to be some form of relationship. We as humans crave relationship, as we were formed in the Image of God, and the Trinity is the first relationship. Take a look at Pixar, or Disney. They practically own the “orphan rises to find their family” trope.

Relationships are unpredictable, and drive good story telling. I’ll probably never write (or read) a book that is solely in the romance genre, but I will continue to tell stories about love, and friendship, truth, and forgiveness.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m sharing a story that I wrote about a super hero looking for love. I’d love to hear your thoughts on romance in fiction, and what’s your favorite pairing in fiction? Mine is and will forever be Colonel Jack O’Neil and Samantha Carter from Stargate SG-1.

 

Here is:

A Villainous Engagement

Heels in hand, Sharon dashed up the stairs of her office building. The final minutes of her day job always seemed to take the longest, but knowing she was having dinner with Paul tonight made it even worse. She burst through the door, slowed just enough to be sure she was alone, and sprinted towards the edge of the roof. Her amber hair flowed behind her in the breeze as she leaped off the building.

Wind rushed by as Sharon flew among the skyscrapers. Gone was her yellow blouse and navy pencil skirt. Instead, she wore the black and yellow mask and uniform that Metroville knew as the Yellow Finch. Rumors of an engagement ring at dinner had her stressed, but fighting crime calmed her nerves. There was still an hour before dinner, so she tapped her com-link and placed a call to Mayor Davis.

“Mr. Mayor, this is the Yellow Finch. What can I do for the city today?”

“Ah, Ms. Finch. One second.” The mayor seemed distracted. Sharon was pretty sure someone shouted “fore” in the background. “There’s an armed robbery in progress at First National, and a tip places the Dark Lemur near Aero Labs, possibly going back for the meteor fragment. There’s also a fire at Ninth and State. I told my men you’d take the Lemur case. We can’t have another incident.”

Sharon thought about the first time the Lemur went after the meteor. The explosion at Aero Labs nearly blew a hole in… “Mayor Davis, did you say Ninth and State?”

“Yes, I did. Ladder Four is on the way. Should be there momentarily. Do you know the place, Ms. Finch?”

Sharon dipped a little in the air as panic began to swell. “Uh, no, sir. It’s nothing. I’m on the Lemur situation. Bye.” Sharon dialed another number and tried to breathe. “Pick up. Come on, Paul. Pick up your phone.”

“Hi, you’ve reached Paul. Leave a message!”

“Darn it, Paul. I’m coming.”

She pushed back her fear and tore through the sky. Paul’s apartment complex soon came into view. Firefighters were already on the scene hosing down the inferno. Smoke poured from the building as flames covered Paul’s entire floor. Suppressing her anxiety, Sharon scanned the crowd. Paul wasn’t there.

She rocketed toward his window, dove through the glass, and landed in the middle of the kitchen. Black smoke filled the apartment. Desperation built as she moved into the living room where flames covered the walls.

“Paul!” On a normal crime-fighting day, her amplified voice stopped lawbreakers. Today, her super-powered vocal chords shrieked in panic as she searched for her boyfriend. “Where are you?”

Sharon searched the rest of the apartment in seconds. There was no sign of Paul. Tears began to trickle down her cheeks. Was he really gone? She turned to join the rescue crew outside and froze, staring at the dark, black lettering that covered the exterior wall. Four simple words. “Meet on the roof.” She hadn’t seen writing like that since last month’s incident at Aero Labs.

She smashed into the ceiling and burst through the upper eight floors to the roof. Dust shook from her black and yellow suit as she trembled with rage. A figure stood on the roof, his body covered in a dark cloak, a striped tail jutting from underneath.

“Lemur.” The word tasted bitter as Sharon said his name. He started this fire. She didn’t care why. He’d pay for what happened to Paul. Letting loose her trademark shriek, the Yellow Finch rushed towards her foe.

“Sharon.” The Dark Lemur’s voice was surprisingly calm.

That voice. It couldn’t be.

“I accidentally burned your cake,” he continued.

Sharon froze inches from her enemy as he pulled down his hood and removed his mask. She stared into Paul’s deep green eyes. “How is this possible?” Sharon wondered. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

“I’m sure you have loads of questions,” he began. “I’d like to ask one first.” Brushing aside his tail, the Dark Lemur dropped to one knee, and produced a ring set with a bright yellow stone – the meteor from Aero Labs. “Sharon Porter, a.k.a. the Yellow Finch,” he said with his trademark grin. “Will you marry me?”

 

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9 comments on “Romance? No, thank you.

  1. Best superhero proposal ever. 😀

  2. Very nice! Loved the twist! (And BTW, kudos to your wife — who made you check out the romance genre) 🙂

  3. Oh, my gosh! Totally got me.

  4. What fun! Nice twist. Now, you have to write the sequel!

  5. Did someone call my name? I feel like someone called my name. Weird.

    Nice post, Josh. Keep writing!

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