What I love about NaNoWriMo is the unexpected gifts born of desperation. That’s really the point of the month, isn’t it? Desperate to finish the word count of the day, we start making stuff up, and occasionally find gems within the cold mineshaft of fear and panic.

We do this for fun, too.

My most recent gem is Mrs. Mapleton. She’s the nosy neighbor. But she takes nosy a step beyond your typical octogenarian; she’s like a ninja-level interventionist and the proud nexus of town gossip.

I had written to the end of what I thought I needed to write for the day, checked my word count, and found that I was somewhere around 500 words short. I heard a “Yoohoo!” from stage left, and in walked Mrs. Mapleton.

Have a snippet or two:

He proudly returned to the porch with two steaming mugs.

“Aren’t you just the sweetest thing a girl ever spread on toast.”

“Uh,” Godric set the mug down on the table by Mrs. Mapleton. “Thank you?”

“But you aren’t the domesticated type, are you? I can see. These eyes might be a few decades older than yours, but that doesn’t mean I’m blind as a bat.” She sipped her tea. “There’s a bit of wildness about you.”

Godric had no idea what to say to that, but it sounded like a compliment to him. Nonetheless, the woman in her fluffy down coat, brown sweater, and flouncy floral blouse was just a pretty covering: silk over steel. How had Elizabeth not seen it before? “You don’t seem quite as tame as you let on, either.”


Godric wasn’t lonely, but… “You’re certainly not the only one keenly aware of the passing of years, Mrs. Mapleton.”

“Enough morbidity. Too much at my age is fatal, child.” Mrs. Mapleton took a long sip of tea. “Blueberry.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Blueberry, mocha chocolate chip, and a few vegan banana muffins.” She rolled her eyes. “Alice Pendleton went vegan last year, and the snacks at every event she attends have all been migrating toward cardboard.”


Mrs. Mapleton gave him a meaningful look. “People want the ability to choose a healthier option; they don’t actually want the healthy option most of the time.”