Canoes and Cupcakes

A note before you read a sample of CANOES AND CUPCAKES.

I’m joining Kindle Vella and hope you’ll read my stories there. Vella is a serialized story-telling app on Amazon that lets readers read stories one episode at a time. The first three episodes will always be free, then it’ll cost a pittance to read the rest of the episodes.

My first foray into Vella is “THE SPACE BETWEEN THE STARS.” It’s science fiction, the first-person stories of women who joined the multi-generational starship Nova One on a one-way voyage to a new home on a planet across the galaxy. The stories will all be different. Different kinds of stories, different characters, all HEA. Some funny, some heart-warming, some sad, some hard science fiction.

Hope you read THE SPACE BETWEEN THE STARS. Kindle Vella is due to go live in mid to late July. Don’t yet know how to access it other than what Amazon says, that it’ll be available on the Amazon Kindle Vella Store. Whatever that means. Hope you find it and hope you like all the stories you find there.

Here’s the June story. A romance because it’s June. Of course!



Florence Witkop

“Cupcakes are a thing.” John examined the sky. “And you always did enjoy baking.”

It took a moment for me to realize what he’d said, after which all I could manage was, “Where’d that come from?” My brother checked the sky again to make sure it was still there as a way of not looking at me so I knew the comment wasn’t random. He had something on his mind.

“There’s money in cupcakes.” His attention slowly, carefully, moved from the sky to me and pleading was evident in his pitiful expression. He’s good at pitiful expressions. I used to fall for them. I don’t anymore. “A cupcake business would be a chance to make money and, since you like to bake, you’d have fun at the same time.”

“I don’t have time. I have my studies.”

The pitiful pleading increased. “Ancient history? That’s about dead people.” A flick of his hand sent fluff from the nearby milkweeds into the air. There was a patch in our yard that we didn’t cut because Monarch butterflies lived there. I still lived at home, being a student, so I loved watching them. John had an apartment but visited often. Like now. Today. Because  he wanted something. From me. “Don’t you have enough degrees? Do you truly need another one?”

I wanted to tell him that I found dead people fascinating. That jobs in history pretty much require a PhD. That I wasn’t interested in his idea, whatever it was. That I was happy with my life. Instead I foolishly asked, “What’s behind this sudden interest in cupcakes?”

A Monarch butterfly landed on the picnic table and we both went quiet and watched until it flew away. We followed its path through the air until it disappeared around the corner of the house. Then he answered my question. “Canoes.”

“Huh?” He managed not to look away but it was hard and he cleared his throat as I asked a second question. “What do cupcakes and canoes have in common?”

“Evan and I want to go canoeing.” My brother loves the outdoors. Always has, from watching butterflies in the summer to snowshoeing in the winter and everything in between. If it was out of doors, he and Evan, his best friend, knew about it, had tried it, and loved it.

“You don’t have a canoe.”

“That’s the problem. Can’t go canoeing without a canoe.”

“So a cupcake business is to fund the purchase of a canoe?”

“Yep.” He looked away. Then back at me. Then away again but I’d seen his face during that brief moment and found myself wilting. The nearby river was gorgeous and flowed peacefully through graceful twists and curves for miles. Almost every time we crossed the bridge on our way to town we saw at least one canoe floating down the lovely waterway. “We couldn’t think of another way to get enough money.”

They both had jobs but were paying off steep school loans plus rent, and entry jobs don’t pay a lot. The thing is, they are both nice people. And I am a fairly decent baker. “You think cupcakes will do it.” My tone of voice said what I thought of such a ridiculous idea. I said it in that specific tone of voice to make him understand that it was impossible.

He wiggled. Found a comfortable position. Opened his mouth. Wiggled a bit more and sat up straight again which meant this was truly important. “We stopped at a bakery in the mall for some donuts and there were people lined up buying cupcakes.”



This story and eleven more are in THE WOMEN OF FLY-OVER COUNTRY and is available now at Amazon.

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