Time for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group. Join us at Alex Cavanaugh’s blog.
This month finds me still tinkering with my new site/blog. I’m grateful to Kassiah Faul for helping me choose a WordPress theme called Dara, which allows a larger cover image but still maintains the two columns that I like.
This month’s question: Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your writing?
My family enjoys competition in many forms. My older sisters started competitive swimming and recruited me to join the team at age eight. When they were in 9th grade, they both left the sport to pursue theater and other interests, but I was the sucker who stayed with swimming through college (and added in volleyball for good measure.) My writing has featured many different athletic pursuits that began in my family.
But sports aren’t the only games my family and friends play. We love euchre, a popular Midwest card game. My best friend, Gwynn, and I took on two older football players in college, and when we emerged victorious, one guy told Gwynn that she was “the worst winner ever.” She tends to gloat. 😉
Here’s an excerpt from my sports romance, Blocked, featuring a euchre game between Dane/Lucia and two female Secret Service agents, China and Allison:
Lucia and I were up six-five when it was my turn to deal. I hid my grimace as I looked at the hand I’d dealt myself. Total crap. To my left, China passed, and I waited to see if Lucia would pass or instruct me to pick up the top card of the blind.
She frowned at her cards for a long moment from across the table. “Pass?”
“You don’t want to order me up?”
“Table talk’s beneath you, Dane,” China said.
She thought I’d hinted that I wanted the card in my crapola hand? No way. “I’m just making sure Lucia knows what she’s doing.”
Lucia nodded, and this time her voice was stronger. “I do want to pass.”
Allison passed too, meaning it was my decision if I wanted to call trump. I slapped the card face down on the blind. Now China had the option of naming trump, but she passed again. I looked at Lucia, who smiled deviously. “I want to go alone. Trump is hearts.”
My mouth dropped open. “Are you sure?”
“I’m not trying to table talk.” I held out my hands. “But Luz, you know that means I don’t play this hand, right? You’re on your own.”
“That is implied with the term ‘alone’, yes.” Her eyes glimmered.
Whoa. Her sudden confidence stoked a fire in my belly. I set my cards face down on the table and crossed my arms over my chest, grinning like an idiota.
China led with an ace of clubs, which Lucia promptly trumped with a ten of hearts. That put her in the lead, and she won the next three tricks. My heart pulsed with excitement as she held her last card in her hand, her eyes darting back and forth from China to Allison. If Lucia won the last trick, we earned four points and won the game. If she lost, we only earned one point.
Lucia closed her eyes, and I heard a muttered prayer in Spanish. Then she set down her king of spades. Allison frowned as she played her king of diamonds—Lucia’s card beat hers. China’s eyes narrowed. Her queen of spades wasn’t good enough to beat Lucia’s king.
Lucia gasped as she looked up at me, her mouth open wide with joy.
“Hell, yeah!” I bolted out of my chair and initiated a victory dance. “We got a loner! We win ten-five, baby!” I sloped and shimmied my right shoulder, then my left, and snapped my fingers, mixing in some hip-hop moves Josh had taught me.
Lucia’s giggle drew my attention back to the table. I ignored China’s murderous scowl and grabbed Lucia’s hand, yanking her up to dance with me.
“You got a loner your first time playing?” I marveled. “You’re even better than Josh!” I jabbed my finger at the agents. “Eat that, Secret Service!”
Lucia’s cheeks flushed as she laughed at my moves. “You’re the worst winner, ever.”
“Isn’t it awesome?”
Her smile was so bright, so pretty. “I guess.”