This week we are talking about The Librarie. This is the fictional bookstore and Cafe that Ailee Creed and Marlowe Lark manage in the Short Story Saturday series Port Shadeau. I kind of hope you guys love it as much as I do.
Many years ago I read a series by Nora Roberts about these women who live on an island and it still is one of my favorite series. My mom loaned it to me and I remember looking at her and telling her that I wanted the bookstore from the story. It had a cafe upstairs and it was also a metaphysical shop and I wanted to live there. So, when I was gathering inspiration for Port Shadeau, I found this picture of a bookstore somewhere and I knew that I wanted a cafe bookstore combination.
Now, to prevent copywrite and all of that, I changed it up. A cafe/bookstore isn’t a new idea so that wasn’t the problem, but making sure it didn’t resemble the one I read about a long time ago was essential. So, I set about creating the perfect environment.
It’s two stories, with the Cafe on the first floor near the back of the shop, and there are bookshelves that line the walls. There are new books, used books, a spiral staircase to get to the second floor where there are a few scattered chairs and small couches where you can read and sip your latte. It’s got brick walls and gorgeous windows for plenty of natural light. There’s a wonderful mixture of used books, and new releases, and several wonderful gifts for book lovers and coffee lovers alike.
Marlowe takes great pride in keeping the bookstore easy to navigate but also giving off the vibe of an old forgotten bookstore that you’d find down some alley in Europe, with books piled high not just on the shelves, but scattered on tables, placed carefully on carts, and any bibliophile would love to enter here. I want to go and it doesn’t exist. The smell of old books mixing pleasantly with the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans. It sounds like a sanctuary to me. There’s even a section of the store that’s more like a little library, you can check out the book rather than buy it. It’s wonderful. I kind of want to open this place now.
Can you imagine it? Spending hours wandering the aisles, looking for a long forgotten story that calls out to you. sinking into a comfortable couch and losing time while you read and drink a delicious cup of coffee or tea? I can. And I want to go there, like now.
What does your dream bookstore look like? Have a great week guys!
This week I wanted to tell you guys all about Marlowe Lark.
Marlowe Lark is the manager at the bookstore, the Librarie, and makes friends with Ailee Creed on her first day. It doesn’t take long for the two of them to become good friends.
Marlowe married a Diffuser, or Arkane fire fighter, named Wilder Lark when she was twenty two. They were high school sweethearts and didn’t let anything stand in their way. They moved to Port Shadeau about five years prior to the start of this story because of Wilder being transferred there. She started working at the bookstore shortly after and about a year later, they bought the larger of the two studio apartments above the Librarie itself. While they have no children, Marlowe and Wilder live a full life.
Marlowe loves to travel, and when their schedules align, they tend to go somewhere new. It averages out to one vacation a month. Although sometimes they prefer to stay at home and never leave their bed.
Marlowe spends a lot of time on her own because of her husband’s work schedule. Since she doesn’t work weekends, she usually spends her time reading and drinking tea. She also likes to wander around Port Shadeau and Seattle trying to find things no one else has. She hikes sometimes out to remote locations so she can play a little with the air discipline that she can’t use as much inside the city. Normally, she will sit on rooftops in the summer with a book and let herself play with the wind around her.
She takes great pride in the way she runs the Librarie. She likes to do special themes every couple of weeks to try and bring people into the shop. Ailee, once she hears about the plan, does her best to create special drinks to match the theme as well.
I don’t know if there are going to be too many surprises with Marlowe. So far she seems like the steady, kind of crazy, force you’d want as a best friend. This week’s Short Story Saturday features heavily on Ailee and Marlowe’s budding friendship as they hang out after work one day. I can’t wait for you guys to read it!
Let me know what you guys think of Marlowe, I’m excited to hear your thoughts!
As you have probably figured out by the last couple of posts, I am always working on Short Story Saturday, however, I am also writing something else as well.
Just before my world blew up, I started working on the sequel for Noctivagus, tentatively titled Paroxysm. So far, I’m about twenty chapters in and already I know it needs some structuring. I am really excited about it actually.
Then just before the holidays, I got the manuscript evaluation back from my editor Erika, over at The Werd Nerd. You guys should check her out, she’s amazing! She sent me such a detailed report, that the work that needs to be done doesn’t seem all that daunting really. I am actually excited about the changes that have to be made for Noctivagus.
So how do I keep writing the sequel if I’m still making changes on the first story? Good question. I just know I have a lot to make happen, and the worst thing I could do is to stop writing. I took the last couple of weeks off to spend time with my family that visited for the holidays. Well, they left yesterday, so I am excited to get together with Erika and talk over the list she sent.
I have plans to keep writing the sequel, as it stands, Reid is facing a couple of challenges at the moment, and some of them are personal while some of them are a bit bigger than that. He’s having a bit of trouble working through some of these challenges and it’s starting to show in his stress levels. In addition to all of that he’s continuing to work. He’s still on Penelope’s protection detail, but he has his work to do for Atlas still.
I’m excited to see how this year shapes up as a writing year. I wrote three novel length stories last year, and a couple of short stories. Due to personal setbacks, I have been negligent in writing as much as I wanted to, but this year, I’m going to work as hard as I can to keep not only my writing on track as well as my writing platform running as well.
Today we are going to talk about Ailee’s apartment. I mentioned before that she lives above the bookstore and cafe that she works at. It’s a little 500 sq ft studio space. I actually took inspiration for the entire thing from a post on Pinterest. I saw it an immediately knew it was the look I was hoping for for Ailee.
I don’t know what it was about it, but everything about it screamed that character’s name in my head. Back when I knew almost nothing about her but her name and her basic look, it made me latch onto it quickly. I followed the link and read all about the awesome lady that lived in this studio in Seattle. It seemed to be kismet.
So I gathered up the pictures, and then started making a few changes here and there, and I probably will continue to do so as the story goes on. I just loved the jewel toned colors and wood floors. It seems like the sort of space I would love, even though there isn’t enough room for me to craft. It seemed perfect for a person just starting out. Which of course, meant that it was perfect for Ailee.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief look into Ailee’s apartment. I hope that you’ve enjoyed seeing what I’m thinking of as I describe the apartment more in future stories. Have a great day guys!
Hello all! Happy New Year! For at least the next three months, I will be writing about a set of characters from Port Shadeau Washington. They are a settlement of Arkane people that blend into the Seattle cityscape seamlessly. Ailee Creed is the main character, at least for the next three months. Come join me on this ride and welcome to the 2021 version of Short Story Saturday!
Ailee sat down on her couch and stared at the list in front of her. She had a few days before she started work, and she planned to make the most of it. It was a brand new year and she wasn’t going to waste it wondering why Gideon had gone silent just before Christmas. He wasn’t returning her phone calls, or her texts, and now that the new year had rung, and his gifts still sat under the tree. She shook her head to clear the thoughts of the past from her mind and focused on her list. She wanted to go hiking, see the city a little more, and relax before Monday. The long holiday weekend would lend nicely to being able to get lost in a couple of crowds, blend in with the Jejune and get lost in Port Shadeau.
Port Shadeau was one of the oldest Arkane settlements on the West Coast. It was built around Jejune and was now the oldest part of Seattle. It had been like that forever, the Jejune and the Arkane blending seamlessly with the Jejune none the wiser. It worked out for everyone involved and Ailee was happy to finally be here. After her father had died, she’d had to get out of Cheveaux. Gideon hadn’t understood, they’d argued about it, but in the end, she’d moved anyway.
Just before Christmas she’d moved into a small studio apartment above a bookstore named the Librarie. Ailee had felt at home there immediately. A few days after moving in, she’d found out that the little cafe in the bookstore was hiring, and she’d jumped at the chance to work there.
Her life was finally falling into place. As best as it could at least. She’d stayed up late the night before to ring in the new year with a glass of plum wine and then gone to bed. Now it was time for adventure. Ailee grabbed her list and shoved it into the pocket of her bag before setting off into the city.
She spent hours exploring the city and when she fell into bed that night, she was excited to go hiking the next day. She was planning to take her camera and was hoping to get some good shots she could frame and put on her wall behind her table. Before she fell asleep she texted Gideon, just on the off chance that he’d respond.
Ailee: I hope that you had a good day. Just wanted to tell you that I love you and I miss you.
She waited a few minutes and when there was no response, she plugged her phone in and rolled over to go to sleep. She woke up the next morning and drank her cup of coffee before she left to go hiking. She drove a little outside the city and the recent snowfall made the couple hour hike beautiful. She got some good shots and was able, thanks to her tripod, to get some really good pictures of herself while playing in the snow. She went back into town as the sun was setting. She found a great place to eat dinner and managed to catch a couple of shots on her camera of herself watching snowflakes fall under a streetlight. One of the things she hoped to find was a competent person to help with her amateur photography.
When she got home that night, she took a hot shower and then made herself a cup of hot cocoa. While she waited for the milk to boil, she sent another text to Gideon, just to see if he’d respond. She curled up on the couch and read for a little while. Once her cocoa was gone, she carried the cup to the kitchen just to have an excuse to stretch her legs. She was irritated that she still hadn’t heard from Gideon. She wanted to believe that she’d given up on the whole idea of their relationship, but it wasn’t so easy to let the last couple of years go. They’d been fine, everything was great up until her dad had died unexpectedly. Things had been rough and when she felt like she wanted a change of scenery, she’d asked him to come with her. He hadn’t wanted anything to change. Ailee had needed nothing but change.
Walking back toward the couch, she passed the Christmas tree she planned to take down the next morning. She stopped and looked down at the gifts still sitting under the tree. She had spent so much time shopping for the right gifts. Carefully wrapping them with tags and ribbon. Making sure that they conveyed every bit of love and devotion she had for him. She paced away from the tree and toward the couch and tossed her phone down onto it. She turned back around and looked at the tree again. She bit her lip and considered what to do.
All at once the overwhelming anger she thought she was over consumed her again. She took a couple of steps and snatched the largest gift from under the tree. In a couple of steps she stood before the small fireplace in her apartment and tossed the gift into it. She felt satisfaction in watching it burn. She turned around and grabbed the two smaller gifts and tossed them into the fire as well before she sat down on the couch and watched them burn. Once they had burned out, she stared at the fire a little longer. Then she went over and did her best to put the fire out for the night.
Once it was done, she crawled into bed and slept better than she had since Gideon had stopped responding to her. The next morning, over coffee, she planned out how she was going to pack up her Christmas decorations. She spent most of the morning doing just that and once she was finished she was ready to relax. Needing a change of scenery, she went downstairs to the bookstore to wander around a little bit. She ended up picking up a couple of new books and felt like wandering a bit more. She liked the atmosphere in the bookstore and couldn’t wait to start working.
When she got to the counter she smiled and had a great interaction with the girl behind the counter. She seemed to be about her age and she hoped maybe they’d get along once she actually started working. With her new purchases in hand, she went back upstairs. Later that evening she went out for a walk. She had located the four closest Drift points in case she wanted to go anywhere, and she enjoyed walking around the back alleys and places off the main streets. It might seem a little dangerous to some, but this was Port Shadeau, crime was dealt with differently here. There wasn’t much of it, as you never quite knew what you were going to walk into. Once it was fully dark, she wandered back to her apartment.
Work the next day was a crash course in managing the small, but busy cafe. By lunch time she wasn’t sure she was going to remember everything, but the customers were friendly and the other employees were great too. The former manager had been Jejune, and the mostly Arkane staff was happy to finally have an Arkane manager who would understand their unique circumstances a little better. One of the employees had just completed her Initiate the spring before and was still a little jumpy if something got dropped. Another of the part-time barista’s had a sister getting ready for Initiate in a couple of weeks. She was a nervous wreck and Ailee knew she’d have to see how she was feeling closer to the time to know if she could handle the counter or if she needed to just be wiping off the small tables and helping out with the bookstore cleanup as well.
Around lunch time she was introduced to the young dark haired woman from the bookstore that had rang her up the day before. Marlowe Lark was about her age and lived upstairs in the other loft apartment with her husband, Wilder. Marlowe managed the bookstore and loved her job. After they both left for the day, Marlowe invited her to go out and get some dinner, apparently her husband was working late.
“So how do you like Port Shadeau so far?” Marlowe asked her as they walked down the street toward Marlowe’s favorite little restaurant.
“I like it so far. It’s been just me for a couple of weeks so it’s kind of nice to have someone else to talk to.” Ailee told her with a small smile.
“I wish I’d known sooner, we could have hung out for New Years. Wild had to work that night so it was just me and a couple of friends. I could have introduced you.” She said with a smile, as she tucked her dark hair behind her ear.
“That would have been nice. So how long have you lived here?”
“A couple of years. We like it here. We moved a bit after Initiate, while Wilder was climbing through the ranks. But we’ve been here long enough that we think we might stay.”
“What does he do?”
“He’s a Diffuser. Only, they don’t have a Diffuser station here, so they work with the regular fire fighters. The local house is mostly Arkane, but there is at least two in every house in the city.”
“That’s cool. Port Shadeau is so different from almost every other place. It’s so weird to mix so easily with the Jejune, it almost makes me wonder why we have to hide at all.”
“I get that, but look what happened to the Vampires when they came out a hundred years ago. There are so many restrictions for them, I’m surprised there isn’t a national registry for them.”
“For all we know there might be one, but it’s so tightly controlled by the Crones and Sages that the Jejune will never hear about it.”
“True. It’s probably for the best. I knew a Vampire once, I can’t imagine having to go through that stuff.”
“Yeah, me neither. What if we had to register every time we moved? It would get taxing.”
“True.” Marlowe nodded as she held the door open for Ailee.
They had a nice meal and the conversation flowed easily between them as they walked back toward home. They said goodnight and Ailee was excited to see her again the next day. It might seem insignificant, but she finally felt like she’d made a friend. For the first time since she’d moved there, she felt justified in the decision. She had made a friend and was hopeful to make more.
So, this is something that I wrote seven years ago, and if you follow my personal blog at all, you’ll recognize it from there. I’m cross-posting it here because at this moment in time I just do not have the time to write something new for Short Story Saturday. So, for the next few weeks, I will be cross-posting the short stories I’ve already written here. That will give me a little bit of time to get something new to you guys. What with figuring out online school for the kiddos, the launch of my whole writer platform, editing Noctivagus, writing No Ordinary Love, and did I mention that we’re getting ready for Christmas already at work? Yeah, so that’s a thing. I’m just swamped. So please enjoy this short story and tune in next week for another one! Thanks!
I took my order from the clerk at the counter and looked around for somewhere to sit while I waited. I finally found a small table nestled against the windows and surrounded by writers and college students typing furiously on their laptops. Worry creased their brows as impending deadlines loomed in the future.
I unwrapped my scarf and sipped my tea while I gazed out at the bustling street. People rushing to their next destination, not bothering to see the beauty around them. The leaves on the well-manicured trees were aflame with autumn oranges, yellows, and reds. They had only begun to turn and the colors were still vivid. Soon they’d turn brown, die, and fall off, and then the snows would come. I mentally shook myself and took another drink, I needed to keep the dark thoughts away.
The familiar sounds of espresso machines, milk being steamed, and the smell of coffee beans being roasted permeated the small shop and brought comfort to the warmth. The consistent clacking of keys on keyboards added to overall ambiance which helped to ease my apprehension. I let it wrap around me like a cocoon of warmth. Only then did I allow myself to think of him.
It had been three weeks since I’d seen him, and so much had happened in that time. Absently I sipped my tea while I thought of his smile, his eyes, his sense of humor, and mostly how much I missed him. A brief glance at the clock on the wall told me that he was late. Maybe he wouldn’t come at all. He had only reluctantly agreed to meet me here.
With each passing minute, the sound of the ticking clock grew louder. It was like an intrusion on the brief moment of peace I’d found. After a few more minutes, or was it seconds, the clacking keyboards joined the clock in sounding the panic that I’d been stood up. Everywhere I looked, people were staring at me. The pompous writers peering over their screens. The college students thinking how old and washed up I must be, sitting here on my own. The clock was getting louder. My anxiety pushing my heart to an accelerated pace. My pulse echoing the ticking, and accentuating the conversations in the far corners of the shop. Why was everyone staring? Maybe I should go, make it seem as though I was only settling down a moment before I went off again. Save myself the humiliation of him not…
“Sorry I’m late.” he said. His voice breaking into my once warm cocoon that had become a prison.
At that moment everything stopped. All I could hear was the rush of blood in my ears and my shallow breaths. He was standing beside the table, smiling down at me. In his hand he held a bouquet of sunflowers and his own cup.
Well, I hope you enjoyed that. I remember when I wrote it, I wasn’t sure who the characters were, what was happening in their lives or anything else. I’m still not certain I know seven years on. Oh well, they pop up from time to time in my Short Story Saturday submissions, so maybe we can find out together. Well, I’m off, please enjoy what’s left of your weekend my dears!
So, idea time. What say we talk a little about the book I’m currently working on. Sound good? Okay then.
Currently, I’m working on a story called No Ordinary Love. I absolutely love this story. It’s one of my oldest ideas, only this time it’s been remixed. When I came up with the idea, I was maybe seventeen, and still fully engrossed in writing nothing but fan fiction. I had original ideas, but an entire cast of original characters was a bit scary at that time.
I’d already written four mediocre excuses for fan fiction by the time this idea came to me. Honestly, it was one of the most beautiful things I had written to date. I was so proud of it. I worked incredibly hard on it as well, filled notebook after notebook with ramblings. I’m pretty sure I did more writing for that story in English class my senior year than I did actual homework.
Sadly, before I left for the Navy, I was sorting through old stories and got rid of a lot of things. Something someone had said to me made me angry and I threw everything away. Well, almost everything, I saved one or two of the really bad stories, but not this one. I hadn’t finished it, but I knew what was going to happen. It went into the garbage bag with the rest and then to the trash.
Flash forward fifteen years. I still thought about this story a lot. I thought about it with increasing frequency to the point that I just knew I had to get it out again. This time it was going to be all original characters. This time I was going to do it right, and finish it and to hell with anyone who thought it was garbage.
The name for the story came from something I remember very vividly writing in the margins of the notebooks I had written it in originally. I like to listen to music while I write, and when I hit a block I used to doodle in the margin while I thought. It didn’t occur to me until I was re-reading it one day, way back when, and saw the same three words in the margins of about twenty pages in a row. It must be a sign right? Well, seventeen year old me thought so. So you can credit the Backstreet Boys for the title of this one.
The story itself didn’t change, at least not the overall premise. Girl has best friend when they’re little. Girl moves away just before seventh grade and they never see one another again. That is, until one of them starts showing up on posters and the radio. Well, it’s been years since they’ve seen each other, she has to go and see him, and hopefully he’ll remember her. Good news (Spoiler!) he does!
So what happens between them, now that they’ve reunited and been as strong as they always had even a decade later? How will he react when her newest boyfriend happens to be one of his friends? What happens then?
No Ordinary Love follows Ember and Mason and the ways that their friendship is tested and changes due to the every day stressors of life. I can’t wait to finish it so that I can get it out for everyone to enjoy! I’ll keep you posted.
I just wanted to pen a short thing and let you know that I’m glad you’re here! I, as you may have guessed, am Amber Marie. I like to write a lot of different things, mostly fiction. I always have a bunch of stuff that I’m working on. There’s a list of about fifteen different stories that I need to write right now. It’s a list. I’m working on it, I swear. Right now, I’m working on one story, while editing another and tracking one that’s been recently published. I’m also getting ready for the next story that I’m going to be writing, and then, there’s always NaNoWriMo that I have to prepare for as well and Preptober begins soon.
So come along with me on this journey and hear about my writing! Follow me on Insta and Facebook to stay up to date on all things Amber Marie Writes! See you guys soon!