Thursday, August 29, 2013

One Saturday Morning

by Tina Radcliffe from the September 2, 2013 issue

Tagline: Katy's handsome new neighbor needed help, so Katy, being the neighborly type, stepped in the lend a hand...

In a Nutshell: It's Saturday. Katy's neighbor is reluctantly, and only somewhat successfully, babysitting his infant niece. She converses with him about it. A week goes by. She sees him around but they don't talk. Saturday rolls around again and he's volunteered to babysit again. He also finds the courage to ask Katy out.

Observations: Woman's World often publishes romance stories that have a man or a woman coming to the rescue. This story looked to me to be one of those stories. You have the inept man trying to take care of a baby, and I assumed the woman would swoop in like a pro. But Radcliffe surprised me and made me laugh.

"I've fed her, changed her, sung to her. Nothing works." His dark eyes looked desperate. "I don't suppose you have any experience with babies?"

"I used to be one," I said with a shrug.


Nothing much happens after that. Rick works up the courage to ask her out. She says yes. End of story.  I'm not a big fan of the shy guy in romance. I don't mind him not being all assertive, but dude, grow a pair. Yes, I have a double standard. I don't mind if in a Woman's World story, the woman has to try hard to overcome shyness, maybe because I am that woman. But the guys...? I hold them to a different standard.

Photo by Paparutzi (cc)


Pat said...

I loved this story. Why? Because men are usually like a fish out of water with a baby. I thought the story was funny, the characters adorable, and I like how the author spread the time out. This type of story is why I read WW.

Mary Jo said...

At their second meeting, Katy is conversing with Rick or whatever his name is, but the baby is looking at her from over his shoulder, which means he has his back to her. So often in these WW stories the logistics are all out of whack, and I wonder if the editor is out to lunch.

What about that story last week? The guy bumped her car, evidently went over to park in Timbuktu, and then came back (why?) to find that in the intervening two minutes, she found she had a dead battery. That is so nuts!

Actually, I kinda related to this story because when I used to babysit one of my little nieces, the only way I could get her to stop crying was to sing the Star Spangled Banner to her over and over again. Now I will never forget the words.

Kate, at last, at last you have called a spade a spade. When I had a strong guy in a story WW printed, the editor changed his name to something wimpy and put him in short pants, so to speak. I just found that so unnecessary.

As the only market left in the U.S. for popular short-short fiction, WW has the opportunity to publish little gems. If only they would seize the moment.

Chris said...

This stood out for me. I love the storyline and personally think a shy guy is fine - cute, in fact. Usually there's more going on under the surface than the quiet demeanour implies and discovering what it is is all part of the fun.

Kate, I hate myself for being a div, but what the heck does LMAO mean? I had a stab at it and wonder if it's 'Laughed my ass off'... Close?

Betsi said...

Chris, now I'M "LMAO." You nailed it! I take it you Brits don't use this charming acronym? My daughter ends every statement with LOL, it annoys me more than the exclamation points in WW.

I thought the story was cute, but I also wondered why Rick would have his back to Katy.

Chris said...

Hey, I feel real cool now! (Sod it, there's another one of those pesky screamers). I am also not a fan of LOL, Betsi, seeing one makes me FLM.

As for the man's back being turned, we all know babies are contortionists, so he probably wasn't turned away at all :~)

Mary Jo said...

Acronyms and intialisms are among the most irritating elements of the smart phone age. If it is not appropriate to use the actual words, the short form is not acceptable either. Can you imagine any sane person littering their messages with "laughing out loud" after every inane remark? I am not fond of coarse language in everyday conversation either, initialed or otherwise.

Kate Willoughby said...


Hey, I couldn't resist! ;)

Betsi said...

My 10 year old granddaughter is just starting to text with her friends, and she has one friend who drives her crazy by making up her own acronyms!

And Chris, I've been unable to figure out what FLM stands for -- the only thing I could find when I googled it is Federal Land Manager. LOL.

Mary Hicks said...

I liked this story, and I can see the young man bouncing the baby gently to quieten it, and him looking back over the baby's head. I've talked 'over' baby's head more than once!:-) That was the 'picture' I got.

I hate LOL, but add smileys to everything. :-)

Mary Jo said...

Yeah, old Rick probably turned around to talk to Katy. No one said he was nailed to the floor. I have always wondered why people bounce babies. You would think it could give their little brains a concussion.

Very sweet baby picture you used, Kate.

Chris said...

I made up my own acronym too, Betsi. In my head it was Feel Like Murder - can't imagine what other people might've been thinking.

I prefer a smiley face too, Mary, or in emails an emoticon. But doesn't it bring us full circle to the reason exclamation marks are there - to demonstrate all those stronger emotions, surprise, shock, anger, that we try to express in words but which sometimes need a bit of extra punch? It's their overuse that gets my teeth clenching and makes me FLM! {:->

Jigging babies up and down - who knows why we do it but it seems to be an instinctive action. Put one in a baby bouncer and they do it themselves, so clearly they like it. It's when you see someone bouncing a baby up and down so fast their little face is a blur that I fear for their tiny brains (the baby's too, come to that).

I just read this story again and it's still a charmer, with its shy hero and contortionist baby. Little Gina is actually looking out at 'the world' over Rick's shoulder, not at Katy, so maybe no contortions were needed after all.

Mary Hicks said...

Anyone who'd bounce a baby so fast their face blurs should be stopped! :-D I saw Rick 'gently or softly' bouncing the baby.

It's hard to get much depth in characters at 800 words.

Mary Hicks said...

And for clarity, I meant blurring of the baby's face, not the bouncers face! :-D

Mary Jo said...

Hey, Chris and any others, an acronym is a series of initials that actually spell a word and represent other words. FLM is an initialism. If you put another letter in there, such as I, you could have FILM and it would be an acronym. Either way, I hate to see them used constantly in place of real language. How many phone texters can even spell words any more?

Mary Hicks said...

I agree Mary Jo... 100%, Make that 150%

I struggle with spelling and grammar—so when people abuse the English language on purpose, I cringe.

Jody E. Lebel said...

The only thing I can add to this conversation is that it's hard to convey your true intent when you write something as opposed to hearing a voice or seeing someone's face. You can't see that I'm smiling, teasing, and have a twinkle in my eye when I post a snarky comment, so I add a quick lol or a smiley face to tell you I'm not being a jerk. Unless I AM being mean...then no smiley face for you.

Mary Jo said...

I don't like LOL, but I like smiley faces. Go figure. A picture is worth a thousand words?

Mary Hicks said...

Me too, Mary Jo. :-) I scatter smileys in my writing like confetti at a birthday party!

They seem more friendly and gentle?

Tamara said...

I meant to put this in the mystery blog, Kate, but I guess it's mostly the same bloggers.