YAFF Muse: Breaking Free of the Forum

23 Jun

Well hold onto your pants for our new blog series. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read.

Without further delay, this weeks YAFF Muse pic was provided by YAFF Memeber: Cambria. Don’t forget to check out the other ladies stories, I’ve linked their sites at the end the post. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: valyeszter

The Trouble with Tea

–R.M. Gilbert

It’s totally lame when Mom says I have to stay with my grandma over the summer. I’m sixteen for shits sake. Definitely beyond pampers and bottle feeding. Smart enough not to allow some strange door-to-door salesmen in the house while Mom’s at work. And I’ve always hated helping in the kitchen, so I’m not about to burn the house down using the oven. Why then, am I going to be stuck spending my summer with some old lady who I only see at Christmas?

Here’s why:

“She’s starved for company, you know.” Mom parks the car out front of a tiny shoebox house.

“Why don’t you stay with her then, and I’ll pick you up in a few weeks?” I say.

She scowls. “Out of the car, now.”

Okay, not to be a jerk, but really, what a pain. I push out of the car muttering about injustice while Mom heads to the front door.

She sucks air and pulls a note that’s been taped to the window. “Oh shoot?”

“Now what?” I grumble.

“She’s out back for tea.”

“What am I suppose to do?”

Here’s what:

Mom says, “At the back of the house there’s a path, remember? You played there,” she pauses. “Goodness, over ten years ago, I think.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me. I was like five and you expect me to remember that? Why don’t you walk me back? She’s your mom.”

“Can’t, I’m wearing Jimmy Choo’s.” She points at her newest pair of heels.

“Fine.” I take off for the side of the house when she calls after me.

“I’ll set your bag inside. See you in a couple weeks.”

Whatever, I think moving on. Mom’s high maintenance. I don’t know if Dad was. He’s gone. He died when I was about six. Mom doesn’t talk about it much.

On the path, I work my way through the winding maze of trees until I come to a small clearing.

“I wondered when you’d come.” Grandma sits on one of two wicker settees, under the cover of a rundown gazebo.

The steps creak under my weight as I join her, a small wooden table between us.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” She lifts her thin arm–skin and bones–and gestures at the nearly dried up swamp and dying timbers.

“Are you feeling okay?” I ask.

“Tea?” She offers without responding to my question.

I stare down at the dainty cup about to refuse, but she pours me a drink regardless of what I want.

She says, “Sit. Drink.”

Um, no. I look over my shoulder, back up the path and wonder if I hurry, if I can catch Mom before she leaves. But I sit down, pick up the cup and take a sip of the bitter liquid. Squinting out into the tree line I spot a teacup dangling from a small branch. A pattern of blue flowers delicately painted on its side. Then I spot another. And another. Like ornaments on a Christmas tree.

“Hey, what are all those cups for?”

“Those who’ve come for tea.” Her voice rasps. “The white one with the blue flowers was your fathers. We had a drink years ago, such a sweet man.” She sets her cup down. “You know the trouble with tea? It makes me hungry.”

“What?” I turn. Catching a glimpse of her crimson stained teeth and black eyes.

She lunges at me…

Here’s lunch.


©2010, June 21, rmg.

So here’s where I’m suppose to say what gave inspiration to the story. Well, I have to admit at first I was like ‘eh’ over the picture but after about five minutes of staring at the pic I knew exactly what I wanted to write. There were two things that inspired me to write The Trouble with Tea. The first, obviously the picture. The second, my hubby’s grandma.No she’s never eaten anyone who’s come for tea. (At least not that I know of).

Seriously though, Grandma is a blessing and every time we spend a morning chatting she’s put the tea on. A cup, saucer, milk…the whole shi-bang. So it didn’t take long to incorporate Grandma into the story. But then, I needed a twist. Let’s face it, I write Fiction. So while Grandma never lunges over the table to take a bite out of her Grandchildren, the one in my story does.

So tell me, did you see the end coming? How do you take your tea?

After commenting be sure to stop by other YAFFER sites to see how the picture inspired them:

Cambria Dillon

Mindy Buchanan

R.L. Purdy

Traci Kenworth

Vanessa Barger


21 Responses to “YAFF Muse: Breaking Free of the Forum”

  1. Rebekah June 23, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    Love the bit you added in about her teeth being stained! Woohoo, great story. And I think it’s hilarious that we both put grandmas in our stories (I think we’re warped).

    Awesome job!

  2. Jennifer Shirk June 23, 2010 at 9:25 am #

    Oooh, great twist! I wasn’t expecting that.
    Loved your descriptions and set-up!

  3. Cambria Dillon June 23, 2010 at 9:32 am #

    I loved it Rachel — especially the lines about the xmas tree ornaments and the one about her dad’s cup. (And have you noticed most of our stories have had a creep factor? Makes me think twice about tea cups. Or maybe it’s just us!) Great job.

  4. Tricia June 23, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    So…. did mom totally throw her under the bus???? I’m really creeped out now – good job!

  5. Kara Lee Critzer June 23, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    Nice twist at the end there, Rachel. Didn’t see it coming!

    Poor Mom. She can thank her Jimmy Choos for saving her life. But I suppose she’s the next victim. Unless she was in on it all along. Bwa ha ha ha!


  6. Clarissa Yip June 23, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    That was truly awesome. I totally enjoyed that. Thanks so much for sharing. Love the twist at the end and all because of one picture. ❤

  7. R.M.Gilbert June 23, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    Rebekah, thanks, I’m glad you like the added line in their. And yes, we might be a bit warped. 😉

    Jennifer, It’s great you stopped in. I was hoping the end would surprise.

    Cam, I wouldn’t have tea with our characters…evah! 🙂

    Tracia and Kara, Great job thinking on the mom. She was definitely involved. I tried to give little hints: her dialogue-“she’s starved for company”. The whole never talking about dad and not walking her back.

    Clarissa, aww thanks for stopping. I hope you have time to drop in on some of the other ladies. And awesome that you loved the twist.

    ***Thanks all.

  8. Nicola June 23, 2010 at 10:42 am #

    Great story, Rachel-you have a wonderful YA voice (doesn’t mean you can stop writing romance though!). I sort of felt as though that might not be the end of the story – I definitely feel that she should fight off Grandma.

  9. Traci Kenworth June 23, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    @ Nicola:

    Rachel, you told me your story was “light” fare. Lol. Not at all. That creepy grandmother and the teacups made me shudder. I DO think the mom was in on it, maybe all her relationships ended up fodder for the grandmother… Anyway, just wanted to say what a fantastic twist that was!!

  10. Bethanne June 23, 2010 at 11:12 am #

    Ha! Love that twist. 😀 Love the descriptions, too. Well done, Rachel.

  11. Min June 23, 2010 at 11:59 am #

    Hey lady!

    Loved it! Oh man, I SO did not expect that ending. Great job. I loved the bit about the Jimmy Choo’s. Ha ha. And now I’m wondering what kind of mother feeds her daughter to, well, her mother! Great job! 🙂

  12. Susie Kline June 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    OK, I didn’t see it coming! Yikes! Off to read the others!

  13. R.M.Gilbert June 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    Thanks Bethanne. Appreciate you stopping by and I’m glad you liked it.

    Min, to answer your question, I think she’s a BAD mother. lol.

    Hi, Susie, welcome. I love the Yikes-as it’s one of my favorite reactions. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading.

  14. Vanessa June 23, 2010 at 12:46 pm #


    That was freakin’ awesome! I love the twist at the end. Really creepy andvery sweet idea. Almost a take on little red riding hood. Looking forward to the next one!

  15. Gina Ardito June 23, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    Here I was all mellow, reading about sweet ol’ granny. Great surprise! 😮

  16. Dawn June 23, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    Loved it, Rachel. The twist at the end was fantastic. Really well done!

  17. Hannah Katy June 23, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    Certainly was not expecting that ending but I loved it. Great little story! I always admire those who can take dialogue with stride and really move me along without any effort at all. You have a knack for story telling. I am so glad I stopped by.. Thank you!

  18. Chelle Sandell June 24, 2010 at 12:17 am #

    Holy crapola!! I did NOT see that coming! 😯 Great twist, girl!! I really love your YA voice. But I have to agree with Nicola and hope you split your time with romance. 😉

  19. Susie @ A Slice of My Life June 24, 2010 at 3:01 am #

    Oooh, what a delicious little shudder you gave me! It would completely fit in with those old Goosebumps tales that my kids used to read.

  20. R.M.Gilbert June 24, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    Vanessa, My daughter read your comment about Little Red Riding Hood and said: “Oh no Mom, Red Riding Hood never got eaten by anything.” lol. But I see your point, that would be a neat riding hood twist, to find out her grandma was a wolf. 😉

    Hi Gina, thanks so much for stopping by and ya, I was hoping for that whole unexpected POW! Because, of course we all know Grandma’s are supposed to be nice and sugary sweet. 😉

    Hannah, what a wonderful thing to say, thank you. It’s been quite the road one that’s just beginning. I’m praying for a time to come when I can share my full-length stories. Thanks so much for stopping.

    Lol. Chelle, that was the reaction I was hoping for. Congratulations on your 4 book proposal with the editor at desire. I’m really excited for you. And yes, I plan on continue with the adult romances as well. I’ve just got to get an ‘in’ with my characters again.

    Susie, oh how I love those delicious shudders. As a writer that means I’ve done something right. And I never thought about the goosebumps series, but I think you might be onto something.

    **Thanks again ladies for your wonderful and supportive comments. I’m thrilled the writing has managed to provoke a reaction and I hope you’ll all stop in next week Wednesday when we post the next bit of shorts. Don’t forget to drop in on the fellow blog round writers linked at the bottom of the post. (((hugs))) thanks again.

  21. Gina June 25, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    What a great twist. At first I was expecting that the mother was abandoning the girl. Then I expected that the girl would warm up to gramma and some sweet sentimental epiphany would take place. I was totally in the yard with you and gramma and then…the sick twist.

    I loved, loved, loved it! Great job and great descriptions.

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