FLOWER AND WILLOW WORLD

Published February 19, 2017 by rochellewisoff

Today Pegman visits Tokyo.

ありがとうございました
Arigatōgozaimashita, 
thnk you to Karen Rawson for hosting this unique challenge. 

To enjoy other stories inspired by the What Pegman Saw prompt or to submit your own 150-word story, visit the inLinkz button:

For guidelines and rules for the What Pegman Saw weekly writing prompt, visit the home page.
My photo choice from stroll through Google

My photo choice from stroll through Google

Again, I’m late for the party, but couldn’t resist the challenge. Maybe it’s the extra 50 words or the fact that I’m merely a participant. 

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Word Count: 150

FLOWER AND WILLOW WORLD

A thousand butterflies swirl in my stomach as I peer out the window, watching for the car that will bring my Hoshi-chan, my shining star, for a brief visit.

After we left her at the Okiya in Kyoto, six months ago, I cried for a week.

“It’s all for the best, Fumiko-chan,” said my husband Ichiro. “She’s following her life’s path.”  

“What does she know of life? She’s only fifteen.”

“We’ve five more children and can hardly feed them.”

I cannot argue, but Hoshi is our only daughter, my ally in this man’s house.

At her Misedashi—formal presentation ceremony—my heart swelled with pride. In exquisite silk kimono, painted face and jeweled hair, Hoshi, renamed Kikuyu, was welcomed into the secret society of Geisha.

She glided to me on lacquered getas and uttered those words I will forever cherish. “Okaasan, when I come home, please cook me a hamburger.”

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geisha-doll-painting

Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

17 February 2017

Published February 15, 2017 by rochellewisoff

Condolences to Suzanne Joshi on the loss of her husband. https://patriciaruthsusan.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/break-from-blogging

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young

PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young

Please be considerate and do your best to keep your stories to 100 words. 


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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

SWEET LITTLE ALICE BLUE GOWN

            He bowed. “Shall we dance, my dear gadfly?”

            Alice took a final puff from her cigarette. “Certainly, Father.”

            “Despicable, unladylike habit.” He waltzed her across the ballroom. “Mother asked me to speak with you.”

            “Stepmother. Did Emily Spinach sneak into mumsy’s boudoir again?” 

            “It’s not about your snake. We’re disturbed by your public escapades such as gambling and jumping into swimming pools fully clothed. Must you insist on being the center of attention?”

            “Moi?” Alice Roosevelt bristled. “You’re the one who wants to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral, and the baby at every christening.”

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Theodore Roosevelt and Family 1903

Theodore Roosevelt and Family 1903

roosevelt-quote-about-alice

*CLICK*

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HERDING CATS

Published February 13, 2017 by rochellewisoff

HERDING CATS

The Joys of Hosting a Blog Challenge

A few weeks ago former Friday Fictioneer  Karen Nelson invited me to write an article about my experience for her new online magazine entitled

literary-citizen-cover

Click here to read the rest of the magazine.

To learn more about the editor click here to read an interview with another former fictioneer and fellow author Jan Morrill.

Karen Nelson

Karen Nelson

Following is the article as it appears in the magazine. Warning! It’s longer than a flash fiction. 😉 

HERDING CATS

            Four years ago, as a newly published author of a short story anthology, writing and rewriting my first novel, I didn’t have much of a direction for my blog. The few articles I posted were met with overwhelming disinterest.

One April day I noticed a Facebook post by someone named Madison Woods on the Ozarks Writers League page announcing the time had come for Friday Fictioneers. I found the title intriguing so I asked her about it.

She explained that every Wednesday she put up a photo and each participant was to insert it into his or her own blog page and write a short story to go with it. I decided to try my hand at it. From the first hundred words, I was hooked. I quickly learned that less really can be more. This revelation spilled over into my longer pieces.

Even more addicting than the writing was the interaction of an international group of writers. Although it took me a few weeks to catch onto comment protocol, I soon learned how to give and receive. I was fascinated by the variety of stories and poems one photograph can inspire. The themes range from light and funny to dark and sinister.

Soon, I developed close friendships with some of the other writers. I looked forward to my weekly serving of magic until one morning my friend, Doug, on the Big Island asked, “Are you going to take over Friday Fictioneers?”

“Why would I do that?”

“Didn’t you get Madison’s email?”

Sure enough, I found an email from Madison saying it was time for her to move on. She offered Friday Fictioneers to anyone who might be interested in taking over after October. I felt like I’d lost my best friend.

When I shared the news with my husband, Jan and cousin, Kent, they, too, encouraged me to bid for the facilitator role. Never one to take on leadership roles, I couldn’t see myself in that position.

“Why not you?” asked Kent. “You know the ropes and you have the chops. I think you should go for it.”

Jan agreed with Kent.

I bounced the idea around in my head for a few hours. Nothing will change. I haven’t missed a week in six months. I’ll still post my stories. The only difference will be that I’ll be choosing the photos.  

Apparently the impassioned plea I sent Madison convinced her, too, for she announced my adoption of her baby that very week. The photo prompt she chose was of a bus and I knew I was in for an exciting ride. Here’s the story I posted:

FRIDAY’S BUS

Apprehensions whelmed the new driver. How could she steer this behemoth? Her feet barely reached the gas pedal.

A lithe maiden with pointed ears and iridescent wings floated past her.  Next was an imposing man whose black silk cape skimmed the floor. One by one, diverse passengers stowed their baggage and found their seats.

“Welcome,” said the last in line. “I’m Russell.”

Warmed by his congenial smile she tried not to stare at his plastic clown nose and grasped his offered hand.

Zzzzzzt! His joy buzzer sent shockwaves to her shoulder.  

He chortled. “Are we there yet?” 

Here’s a link to that post complete with comments from my fellow fictioneers. https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/fridays-bus/

Russell Gayer, FF Class Clown

Russell Gayer, FF Class Clown 

***

            The first month or so went smoothly. I received a lot of support from other members and quite a few offers of photos for potential prompts.

As with any group, even those online, personality quirks and conflicts arose. One fictioneer I’d considered a friend, lashed out at me in a scathing email in which she accused me developing “an over- inflated Friday Fictioneers Ego.” Without going into detail about the situation, suffice it to say, her words stung like needles.

Another memorable time came when one member decided to use my page as a platform to preach her religion. This sent a flurry of complaints to my inbox.

I tried, via email, as diplomatically as possible, to persuade the would-be evangelist to confine her proselytizing to her own page. She never replied but, eventually disappeared from our midst.

Occasionally, a zealous blogger will link his unrelated blog to the Friday Fictioneers’ inLinkz in order to draw traffic to his site. In those instances, I will notify the person to let him know I’ve deleted his link and why. Most of the time there’s no response but in a few instances I’ve been called a control freak or worse.

For the most part, I enjoy the interaction and have learned from other writers. As a child I had a few pen –pals, one in Wales and another in South America. It was so much fun to get those letters and feel like I’d, in some way, traveled overseas. To me, Friday Fictioneers is akin to having pen-pals on steroids.

To my amazement, Friday Fictioneers has gained popularity and has been featured in three separate WordPress articles about blog writing challenges. Each time my following increased exponentially and participation has topped out as high as 100 writers in one week.

Pet Peeves

            In the beginning, I felt it my responsibility as facilitator to read and comment on each story. After a couple of years it occurred to me that I had neither the time nor the stamina. Perhaps it sounds selfish but I’ve come to the point where I mostly comment on stories of the writers who most often comment on mine. I understand we live in busy societies and not everyone has time to read every story. As I tell folks in the rules, reciprocation is half the fun. Some are great participants while others merely link their pages and neither comment nor reply. To those I return the favor.

And in the end, the love you send…

            An article about Friday Fictioneers wouldn’t be complete without a few examples. I’ll begin with the photo submitted by C. E. Ayr, who describes himself as a Scot who has discovered Paradise in a small town he calls Medville on the Côte d’Azur in France. The following five stories were inspired by this single photo.

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAYR

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAYR

 

HERO

By Himself, C.E. Ayr

Times change.
The floodlights still illuminate the night sky.
The crowd still roars as once it roared for me.
But no more.
The sound echoes across the water to where I sit, feet wet, in my little boat.
I think back to the good times when I was the city’s hero.
When everyone loved me.
When she loved me.
As the dampness reaches my knees I recall faces smiling, doors opening.
And I remember the mistakes that were made.
Followed by scowls, and impassable barriers.
And she said goodbye.
The lights go out abruptly.
The darkness closes over my head.

***

LONG DISTANCE CALL

by Margaret Leggatt – Lake Macquarie, NSW, Australia

‘Hello. Zack speaking.’

‘Hi, honey. It’s me. I’m going to be late.’

‘What’s happened?’

‘Well, I had such a long list of pickups. I travelled miles. The professor’s so particular about what he wants, but I did my best, and I’ve collected some great specimens. I’m sure he’ll be satisfied.’

‘So what’s the hold-up? You haven’t lost a specimen again, have you?’

‘Oh no – all sedated and secure. The problem is, these streets all look the same at night; I can’t remember where I parked, and now the portal’s closed and I’ve missed the last transporter beam out of here.’

***

THE MEET-UP

By Dale Rogerson – Boucherville, Quebec

It was supposed to be for a light lunch. Neither was hungry, so they had a drink: water for her, soda for him.

They sat at a table and exchanged pleasantries. He asked questions, his gaze intense and she felt like he was reading more than her words. She felt the tension build and squirmed in discomfort, feeling totally exposed, yet strangely excited.

Before she knew how, he made her feel things she never imagined.

As he left her, dazed, yet lit up, he said, “You’ll see, this will play out in your head all day.”

He was not kidding.

***

I SAW IT

By Kent Bonham – Olathe, KS. USA

My last trip to Spain won me a date with Alicia, an actress-model I had been trying to go out with a long time.

We walked arm in arm through the dark streets, like in the movies!

Pigeons flew from the ground, almost on cue.

I turned to kiss her lovely face.

A pigeon swooped down, pooped a nasty on my white pants.

Startled, I spun around, knocked Alicia into a fountain. Her skirt flew over her head … and “Victoria” shared ALL her “secrets!”

“C’est la vie,” I said.

She slapped me.

She thought I said, “Se la ví.”  

***

Lastly, another one from the author herself.

SWINGJUDEN

            In 1969 my mother packed me off to my aunt and uncle’s dairy farm in Wisconsin.

“But Mom, Uncle Otto’s weird. That eyepatch and those scars—ick.”

***

            One night he took my Jefferson Airplane record from the stereo and replaced it with his own 45.

“You tink das ist protest music? ‘It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing,’” He sang. “The SS ransacked our nightclub, but I danced all the way to Buchenwald.”

Uncle Otto taught me more than the jitterbug that summer.

***

            At his funeral last year I saluted my favorite uncle with, “Swing Heil!”
 

NO TENGO COCHE

Published February 12, 2017 by rochellewisoff

This week I’m late to the fiesta. I didn’t think I’d make it at all but this one just came to me.

To enjoy stories inspired by the What Pegman Saw prompt or to submit your own 150-word story, visit the inLinkz button:

For guidelines and rules for the What Pegman Saw weekly writing prompt, visit the home page.

¡Muchas gracias to Karen Rawson for hosting this challenge!

Mi fóto está aquí:

calle-4

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Word Count: 150

NO TENGO COCHE

            Kevin couldn’t resist las señoritas. While vacationing in Mexico City he met Alicia del Flores.

            “I adore men with blue eyes and yellow hair,” she said with a smile bright enough to light up an entire football field.

            Every night he took her to a new café or theater.

            “I wish you had a car,” she whispered in his ear, sending shivers through him. “My feet hurt from all this walking.”

            All too soon Kevin’s vacation ended. He embraced her. “Will you marry me?”

            “Sí.”

            He quit his job in Kansas, sold his house and bought a one way ticket to Mexico.

            Heart pounding, diamond in hand, he knocked on her door. Her brother opened it. “Kevin? ¿Por qué?

            “I’m here to claim Alicia.”

            “She married Roberto the taxi cab driver last Sunday.”

            “She promised to wait.” Tears streaming, Kevin sank down on the porch. “At least she has transportation.”

10 February 2017

Published February 8, 2017 by rochellewisoff

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Another HighwayThe next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

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Contrary to the familiar Thoreau quote, this week it’s what I’m looking at that matters in my story. 

Genre: Hysterical Fiction

World Count: 100

ETHEL AND CHERYL AND TED AND ALICE

              Ethel, Cheryl and Ted strolled along the banks of Egg Lake singing “Alice’s Restaurant” in three-part harmony.

            “Walk right in, it’s around the back…,” sang Ethel.

            Cheryl chimed in with, “…just a half a mile from the railroad track.”

            Ted stopped at the lake’s edge and raised his trusty Canon. “Whoa, what a great shot!”

            Ethel frowned. “With all this beautiful scenery why would you take a picture of an old chair in the water?”

            “To post on my blog.” Ted snapped another angle. “I never know when that purple-obsessed midget might snag one of my photos for Friday Fictioneers.”

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ted-strutz-and-psk

Ted and a familiar book. 😉

How writing flash fiction helped me write a novel

Published February 7, 2017 by rochellewisoff

If you think that Friday Fictioneers is just a diversion for those who have nothing better to do, read this by Louise Jensen. 

fabricating fiction

the-sisterWhen I started writing in earnest two years ago I created this blog and stumbled across a weekly flash fiction challenge called Friday Fictioneers. A photo would be posted each week and participants were invited to use the prompt to create a hundred word story.

It sounded fun and a good way to kick off my blog. Writing the first story was difficult. It took me ages to edit it down to 100 words. It was nerve wracking sending my first story out into the world but if I’m honest, I didn’t expect anyone to read it, but read it they did. I was enveloped into a supportive writing community who have critiqued with kindness, encouraged and soothed every step of the way on my journey to publication, commiserating with every rejection and celebrating my first two novels hitting No. 1 on Amazon. I am so grateful to those bloggers…

View original post 388 more words

AN AUTHOR IN PARADISE – AN INTERVIEW WITH C. E. AYR

Published February 6, 2017 by rochellewisoff
C. E. Ayr

C. E. Ayr

C.E. Ayr has always been somewhat nomadic, fairly irresponsible and, according to his darling daughter, a bit random.
His work history ranged from
selling programmes at his local football club to running his own company which supplied IT solutions to the retail sector.
He has now discovered Paradise in a small town he calls Medville on the Côte d’Azur.
Hence the title of his recently published book of Sound Bite Fiction, MEDVILLE MATTERS.

medville-matters

Your Bio was written a few years ago, has anything changed?

On the surface, not much.
I am still, to my surprise, in Medville.
I am, rather sadly, happier than I have ever been in my life.
I am relaxed and creative, I write Sound Bite Fiction of 100 words and novellas of 20,000 words.
I write poetry and, arguably, song lyrics.
I have heard very different versions of my stuff produced in very different ways by very different musicians.
Yep, Bluegrass to Heavy Metal.
I have seen Carolina Sartor, a Canadian artist of exceptional talent, translate a children’s poem into twenty-two breathtakingly beautiful images well beyond the scope of my imagination, culminating in the creation of The Famous Green Hunchback Turtle of Béthune, my latest book for children.

he can sky dive

he can sky dive

I have met some interesting guys and some beautiful ladies.
And, most amazingly, I have found the best friend I have ever had in my life.
I have grown up and become sensible.
Did I mention that I write fiction?

What made you decide to be a writer?

I grew up in South Africa at a time when there was no television and very little English-language radio, so I became a voracious, almost compulsive, reader.
So story-telling has always seemed natural to me.

What is your favorite genre? Why?

I read across-the-board fiction, enjoying anyone who can tell a story.
I would say I am not a big fan of horror, but I am a huge admirer of Stephen King, or of Westerns, but I love Elmore Leonard.
I am also not too keen on Science Fiction, but I am impressed by Wells, Asimov and Clarke, and the dystopian works of Orwell, Bradbury and Huxley.
I devour the crime stories of quality writers like Michael Connelly, John Connolly, Robert Crais, and Scotland’s Ian Rankin.

Who is the author who inspires you the most?

I guess that John Steinbeck is top of that list, his seemingly effortless prose creating works as diverse as The Grapes of Wrath and Cannery Row. His writing always seems to have a power unmatched by anyone else.
But I have to give honourable mentions to Franz Kafka and Hermann Hesse, along with more modern authors including Paul Auster, Sebastian Faulks and Iain Banks.
Apart from Rankin and Banks, I am also inspired by other compatriots, from Robert Louis Stevenson and Lewis Grassic Gibbon, through Alasdair Gray to Irvine Welsh and A L Kennedy.
And, of course, I pay homage to the genius who is Dr Seuss!
I apologise to other favourites who are temporarily hidden in strange dark corners of my mind.

How often do you write?

Pretty much every day, but times vary.
Typically the afternoon is my leisure time when, depending on season, I walk or swim. This is when I am most creative, and I constantly make notes of thoughts and ideas, no mean feat when I am up to my ears in my beloved Mediterranean Sea.
Then I draft stories on paper, longhand, while I relax at the Little Café in the Square or the Little Café  at the Port, both of which I feature in my tales.

'tis a hard life

’tis a hard life

The following morning I input these to my laptop, filling in the blanks and trimming the redundancies, before emailing them to my friend and first line editor Emmy L. Gant for her critical analysis. And as a backup in case of natural disaster, which I can be!

Do you have any major projects in the works?

Most importantly, I am currently looking for a publisher for The Famous Green Hunchback Turtle of Béthune, as mentioned above.
I have two novellas at the finishing stage, with no clear idea of what I will do with them.
I rarely write with a market in mind, I produce just what the muse says at the time.
Occupation tells of a small group of resistance fighters in a land occupied by The Creation, while Abduction is a tale of vengeance, where one man pursues the organisation who kidnapped his girl.
They are very different in content but, like my previously published e-book, The Second Request, are written in my trademark short line style.

the-second-request-image
I am, of course, thinking about a second book of Sound Bite Fiction, but living in a non-English speaking country makes marketing difficult at a personal level.
I certainly have enough material, in fact probably enough for three books, I am nothing if not prolific.
My recent stories are generally slightly longer and, I believe, even more personal than Medville Matters.

In what way is your writing becoming more personal?

Ah, good question!
I find it an interesting paradox that the more fiction I write, the more of myself I expose.
But we create using ideas from within ourselves, our imagination, our dreams, our memories.
And not just our successes but, more pertinently, our failures and losses.
Some stories are pure fantasy (I kill far fewer folk in real life), but in others I feel that I have stripped my soul naked.

You say you also write poetry and songs. Who are your inspirations here?

Again, they are many and varied but, as a Scot who did several years of schooling only a couple of miles from his Ayrshire birthplace, I have to say that Robert Burns stands alone.
Outwith his work, my favourite poem is probably The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde.
And I am in awe of Leonard Cohen.

What are your writing goals for the future?

I don’t make goals, I rarely make any plans, I tend to live in the moment.
A few years ago I sold, or otherwise disposed of, everything I owned.
With my worldly possessions in two suitcases (one summer, one winter) I took a coach 500 miles to the English Channel, crossed to Calais and rented a car.
Other than the offer of temporary accommodation at Emmy’s home a further 750 miles to the south, I had nothing fixed in my mind.
Every day is an adventure.
Or, as Robert Heinlein (I forgot him earlier!) said, life is short, live wide.

What advice would you give other writers?

As Shakespeare says, advice is free and that’s all it’s worth.
But I do make a plea to everyone who tries to write.
Please, learn some basic grammar, and use a spell checker.
Okay, two words of advice.
Read.
(Not Tweets or the Sports pages, but real books by decent writers.)
Write.
(All the time.)

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