Roadside Diner - Flash Fiction

I love to start with a writing prompt and let my imagination run wild.

Today’s writing prompt from Wake Up Your Muse: “Don’t order the Blue Plate Special,” whispered the waitress.

2:00 AM, somewhere in the middle of Oklahoma. I pulled into Henry's 24-hour Eatin' Hole, praying hard that Henry served high-octane coffee. Two days on the road had left me red-eyed and worn out. Still, I wasn’t ready to stop for the night. I wanted to put as many miles between me and that conniving snake, Luke Amari as I could.

How is it possible that two entirely different men could occupy one body? One was my sweet and considerate fiancee and the other…I shuddered to think of it…a member of the infamous New Jersey crime family. I can’t believe that Luke and I had sat together every week watching The Sopranos-me unaware that the series was based on his real life mafia relatives.

The diner was nearly deserted except for one guy, sitting on a stool at the counter, shoveling what looked like a pile of slop, smothered in gravy into his mouth.

I grabbed a seat several stools from him and ordered a cup of black coffee from the gum-chewing waitress wearing a stained, uniform. Her name tag read Mitzi.  “Anything else, sweetie?” she asked, “We have a couple pieces of Boston cream pie left. It’ll go great with your coff…”

A strange gurgling sound interrupted her sales pitch. I looked over in time to see the guy to my left face down in his plate of slop.

“Henry, call 911,” the waitress yelled through window behind her that served as a pass through for orders.

“Now, what?” called a husky voice from the kitchen.

“Well, I don’t know, Henry. I’m not a doctor, but from the looks of this guy passed out in his plate, I'd say it's an emergency, so for pity’s sake, would you please dial 911 and tell them to get out here?”

She turned to me again, order pad poised in her hand and said, “Now, what would you like to go with your coffee, dearie?”  Then she leaned over and whispered, “Don’t order the Blue Plate Special.”

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it with your friends using the Facebook, Twitter and other share buttons below. Thanks!

Free on Kindle: The Wedding Caper

Welcome author Janice Thompson. Janice is the author of over 100 books for the Christian market, (mostly inspirational romantic comedies). She’s joining us today to share about her mother-of-the-bride cozy mysteries, “The Bridal Mayhem” series.

Janice, can you tell us a little about this series?

Sure! The Bridal Mayhem series was birthed (partly) out of my own experience! I have four daughters and they all got married within four years of each other. The first two weddings (in 2004) were only four and a half months apart! What a crazy period! Shortly after that one of my editors approached me and asked if I’d ever written cozy mysteries. I had not, but was perfectly willing to give it a try! In the writing biz they tell us to “write what you know” and I knew weddings! I’d been mother of the bride twice in a row, after all. So, I mapped out my story ideas with Annie Peterson, mother-of-the-bride, as the reluctant sleuth, solving crimes on her way to the wedding(s).

Sounds like fun! So, these books released a few years back? If so, why are you just now talking about them?

They released in print form between 2005 and 2007 and then released in eBook form with Spyglass Lane. Recently, the rights reverted back to me (the author) and I was given the opportunity to create new covers and upload them to kindle. I’m offering the first book free for a week to stir up interest in the whole series.

Can you tell us about the first book? 

Of course! The first book is The Wedding Caper. It’s free on kindle this week (September 9th – 13th). In that story, both of Annie’s daughters get engaged, one right after the other. So, it’s weddings times two! At about that same time, $25,000 goes missing at the bank where Annie’s husband, Warren, works. She begins to suspect him of stealing the money to pay for their daughters’ weddings! Of course, she knows nothing about crime solving, but sets out to figure out whodunit before daughter #1’s big day. Did Warren take the money to pay for the weddings? Read The Wedding Caper to find out:!

So, this is a series? What are the other books about?

Book two (Gone with the Groom) offers readers a rollicking good time! In this story, Annie’s future son-in-law goes missing two weeks before the big day. Does he have cold feet, or are there more sinister forces at work? In book three (Pushing up Daisies) a local florist passes away shortly before daughter Candy’s big day. Can Annie figure out who would want to murder a florist before her daughter’s wedding day? In book four (The Perfect Match) the local dating service goes up in flames. Annie’s in the thick of it, trying to figure out whodunit. In book five (Catering to Disaster) over 120 wedding guests end up with food poisoning after a wedding. Did the caterer slip up have they all been sabotaged?

There are five books in the series?

So far! Book six (Don’t Rock the Boat) is currently being written. In this story, Annie and her best friend Sheila are on a Caribbean cruise. An onboard bride goes missing just before her big day. Does she have cold feet? Has someone thrown her overboard? Did she re-board the ship after a recent excursion ashore? Annie has to figure this out so that the bride can have her big day!

You used your personal life experiences for this story?

In part! As I said, I was mother of the bride four times over, so I know what it is to be in that frenzied state of mind in the weeks leading up to your daughter’s wedding day. And though I’ve never solved a crime (to my knowledge) I enjoyed doing so through my characters. And speaking of characters: Annie’s best friend Sheila (wacky, crazy, colorful, fun) was based on my own BFF, Kay Malone. My sweet Kay passed away in May of 2013 from pancreatic cancer. The Wedding Caper is dedicated to her memory. As I mentioned above, The Wedding Caper was written in 2005, long before Kay’s cancer diagnosis. I was stunned—when reading back through the story—to see that one of the characters is battling pancreatic cancer. I’d forgotten all about that. Ironic and bittersweet, for sure.

Thanks for being with us, Janice. Any last thoughts?

Don’t forget to laugh. Life is hard, but laughter brings healing. I try to remember that when I’m having a tough day: there’s always something to laugh at, even if it’s through the tears.

Facebook: Janice Hanna Thompson
Twitter: @booksbyjanice

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it with your friends using the Facebook, Twitter and other share buttons below. Thanks!