First Page Challenge, 3rd place winner: "Stars and Roses"

Stars and Roses by Nicole Gonzales

By Nicole Gonzales 

It is only our nature to romanticize as a means of escaping truth, because no matter what any expert claims, we all stubbornly agree that our own delusions are far better than real life. War, for example. College, I’ve discovered. Summer, I’ve begun to realize.

Summer is a time of beach-drunk bonfires, insomniac road trips, deep-fried dares, and ice cream romances. Bullshit.

It took me twenty-one fucking years to finally realize the most obvious truth: summer is the worst and loneliest time of the year—especially for someone like me. All the years before this one, summer was best only in my head. And any other fakers who disagree with me are just idealizing something insignificant like a one-night stand at the back of a Denny’s parking lot.

I daydream nothing good anymore.

My twenty-first summer was one of bitterness, spite, and a pinch of whatever good remains in this doomed world. And that goodness isn’t me; it’s the opposite of me.

There are twelve important characters in this story: the princess, the blind, the lone wolf, the assassin, the vigilante, the criminal, the good, the silent, the sane, the insane, the wanderer, and the waitress.

For the purpose of protecting identities (undeservedly), their names will be: January, Marmalade, Champagne, Chronicle, Seafoam “Whiskey”, Classified, Evidence, Jeunesse, Daylit, Nightmare, and... two more who shall not be named right now.

I’ll let you decide who is which. I just thought they were my friends.

Spoiler alert: Apparently I’m the insane one. Nightmare.



Nicole Gonzales, author of Stars & Roses

Nicole Gonzales just recently graduated from San Diego State University summa cum laude, holding a BA in English with a minor in humanities. When writing, she enjoys experimenting with how her text looks on the page—playing around with formatting, spacing, and using strikethrough, just to name a few. She has only been published one other time in the 2017 This is Writing Short Story Contest which apparently displays the importance of respecting the original formatting of the text. Though just starting out working as a freelance editor, proofreader, and transcriptionist, she's an aspiring fiction author striving to finish writing her seven-year-old entity of a manuscript that refuses to leave her alone until satisfied.


About the Darling Axe

We are professional editors as well as award-winning writers. We understand the intense effort and emotional investment you have poured into your work. It's our job to help you take your manuscript to the next level.

Work with a professional fiction editor from the Darling Axe: manuscript development and book editing services

Darling Axe Academy – Query Quest: a self-paced querying course

Darling Axe Academy – Best-laid plans: a self-paced outlining course

Book a sample edit with a professional fiction editor from the Darling Axe: manuscript development and book editing services

Related Posts

Book Broker—an interview with Charlotte Wenger
Book Broker—an interview with Charlotte Wenger
What are the hooks? Does it fill a hole in the market? Has it been done before?
Read More
Story Skeleton: Cloud Cuckoo Land
Story Skeleton: Cloud Cuckoo Land
There's a certain allure to a novel that intertwines disparate storylines, tying together seemingly unrelated narratives
Read More
Book Broker—an interview with Max Sinsheimer
Book Broker—an interview with Max Sinsheimer
I'd really love more journalistic nonfiction that weaves in a personal narrative.
Read More

Leave a comment

Name .
Message .

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published