From Silt and Ashes

All posts in the From Silt and Ashes category

Half-Year Rehash

Published June 22, 2020 by rochellewisoff

I’m certainly not the first to say it’s been quite a year thus far. Can you say understatement?

My adventure truly began in October of 2019…pardon the rerun…when my award-winning author friend, Kathleen M. Rodgers introduced me to her agent Diane Nine, president of Nine Speakers Entertainment Agency  

No matter what your political leanings, it’s a compelling book about a longstanding relationship between two women. I loved it from cover to cover.

I must read this book soon!

Kathleen M. Rodgers, one of the most generous people I know.

With fear and trembling I sent my manuscript of my latest novel with working title WHAT THE HEART WANTS and a book proposal to her. When we spoke November 4, Diane opened the conversation with what every author dreams of hearing from a potential agent, “I loved your manuscript or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”  

So far the book has been turned down a few times but, knowing Diane loves it, assures me she’ll find the right home for Bear Starfire and Asher Gorovich. 

Here is short summary. (Yes, I’ve posted this before and might post it again. 😉 )

In 1879, Eastern Europe is a hotbed of Antisemitism. In the midst of a pogrom, a government sanctioned massacre against the Jews, sixteen-year old Asher Gorovich witnesses the slaughter of his father, the blacksmith in his Polish village. Life doesn’t improve for him as he endures more persecution and loss of other loved ones.

Meanwhile, in America, eleven-year-old Bear Starfire is torn from her family and forced to attend St. Salvinus Indian boarding school. There she is stripped of her culture and endures both emotional and physical cruelty at the hands of staff members.

When these two wounded hearts meet will they find more conflict or the answer to their prayers?

Bear Starfire on the Wings of the Wind

Enter the Quarantine. Yeah, as much as I’ve avoided writing about it, it is the proverbial elephant in the room (and all over the media). For those of you who remember elephant jokes, you can tell he’s there by the peanuts on his breath. 

As per Diane’s strong suggestion, I’ve worked on my Twitter presence. You can follow me @RochelleFields 😉 At any rate, that’s how I met Jimmy Leonard, a young man with a podcast entitled “World on Fire”. In April he emailed saying I fit the profile of someone with a passion and asked if I’d be willing to do an interview on Zoom. Although we did the interview on April 22, it didn’t go “live” until mid June. 

We spoke for at least 45 minutes. Please excuse my cluttered background. That’s my environment. Unfortunately, the above portion about meeting Diane and WHAT THE HEART WANTS didn’t make the final edit.

Disclaimer: I had no idea what his intro would be. Although, I think Mr. Leonard makes some good points and it is his podcast.

Keep in mind, we spoke in April. Our topics were my artwork, Friday Fictioneers and the novel I’m currently working on and am three-fourths of the way through. My interview begins about 11:36 into it. 

***

CLICK HERE

or

HERE

to learn more about ordering art or books.

Re his “off the wall” question, “If you could paint a portrait of any person, living or dead, who would it be?” This took me by surprise, because I’ve done quite a few portraits. For whatever reason, the first person who popped into my overloaded mind was Maya Angelou, a woman I greatly admire. What’s not to admire?

Nu? I had to put my paintbrush where my mouth was, right? Of course right! 

Weekend Writing Prompt – Abysmal

Published February 22, 2020 by rochellewisoff

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in Sammi’s Comment Section

Once more the word prompt took me to a personal place. I’ve used this very word to describe the following story. 93 words, not counting the title. Dedicated to a very dear friend who had a hand in my being alive to write this story.

HIS SUCCESS STORY

One would think a book signing at Barnes and Noble would be a guaranteed success. Right? Of course, right!

Or not.

Few patrons stopped to chat. I signed some of my three-hundred-page masterpieces with “Shalom, Rochelle.”

Then my former therapist, who saw me through my darkest days, showed up.

I threw my arms around him. “Wayne, you came!”

He beamed like a proud father. “How could I not?”

Four months later I learned of his passing.

In a single moment, my perception of that Saturday evening went from “abysmal failure” to “cherished memory”.

Wayne’s the one in the Hawaiian shirt.

 

2019 Attitude of Gratitude Challenge!

Published January 6, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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Spreading positive vibes throughout the internet.

Four years ago Dawn Q. Laundau of Tales from the Motherland (Click for more details) presented other bloggers with the challenge to spread gratitude throughout the internet. It’s very simple. Take 10 minutes to list 50 or more things you are thankful for. I managed to type 52 before the chicken went off on my iPhone timer. 

  1. My husband of 48 years
  2. My children – 3 grown sons
  3. My granddaughters- 2 adorable little girls.
  4. A contract with Diane Nine, ninespeakers.com for my latest manuscript What the Heart Wants (She said she loves it! Who can ask for better than that?)
  5. I can still do a cartwheel
  6. My regular mile swim and a pool less than a mile from home
  7. Being able to work out regularly
  8. Good health
  9. Painting-love me some watercolors 
  10. Good friends
  11. Art shows
  12. Finding my books on display in a local library
  13. Goat cheese omelets
  14. Reconnecting with my brother Jeff and making the 2nd annual trip to see him in NC
  15. Getting my furry fix with his dogs there
  16. Strong black coffee every morning
  17. A trip to Israel in May
  18. The gift of the trip financed by my cousin Kent
  19. Reconnecting with my first cousin Wendy who moved to Tel Aviv years ago
  20. My brand new, wonderful HP Pavillion desktop.
  21. My HP laptop so I can travel and still write. 
  22. My latest WIP a novel based on my experience with anorexia
  23. My continued recovery from the same
  24. A cozy office
  25. Book club-the opportunity to discuss a book with others
  26. The dance team at my synagogue
  27. KC BBQ none like it on the planet
  28. Blogging friends
  29. Friday Fictioneers – Try it, you’ll like it!
  30. Other blog challenges
  31. Facetime with friends around the world
  32. My printer, Alexis (a person and an artist in her own right) \ who makes my artwork look even better
  33. Good art and book sales in 2019 (not as good as 2018 – but good)
  34. Folk music
  35. Classical music
  36. My little Chevy Cruz, a standard transmission (dying breed that one)
  37. Nieces and Nephews
  38. Typing skills my mother taught me when I refused to take it in school (why did I need to know how to type?-what foresight she had!)
  39. A slightly warped sense of humor or humour, depending on which side of the pond you’re on 😉 
  40. Being able to flip turn in the pool (ecstasy)
  41. Spring and Autumn
  42. Lilacs and daffodils
  43. Eyes to see
  44. A tongue to taste a good Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Sauvignon
  45. Indian food
  46. Israeli food
  47. Fresh vegetables and fruits
  48. A woman doctor who understands and supports me
  49. A mother of blessed memory who was a grammar patrolwoman
  50. A muse who shares stories with me.
  51. Being young enough to enjoy life and old enough to remember the 50’s and 60’s…black & white TV’s, rotary phones…good times those.
  52. A blog friend like Dawn who facilitates a Gratitude Challenge.

CLICK THE FROG TO JOIN THE FUN!

WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT – COMPLEX

Published December 29, 2019 by rochellewisoff

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to Sammi’s Comment Section.

As always with this prompt, I wrote the first thing that popped into my head. 

When I first began my writer’s journey, someone told me the characters write themselves. I gaffed it off as existential hogwash and hooey until Nikolai Derevenko, intended sidekick, evolved into the most complex character in my trilogy without asking my permission.

Check out my books HERE

11 October 2019

Published October 9, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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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 © Ted Strutz

 

Frog Delightfully rendered by Keith Hillman.

CLICK THE FROG AND HOP ALONG

Genre: Non-Fiction

Word Count: 100

OF BLESSED MEMORY

זיכרונו לברכה

“I wish I’d known you better, Grandpa.”

My grandfather smiles at me from a black and white photo.

The few memories I have are shadowy and vague. The words ‘austere’ and ‘distant’ best describe him. My mother’s father—an enigma.

I regret never asking him about his life as a Jewish boy in Czarist Russia.

“Why did you flee to America?”

“Oy, don’t ask. You should never know such tzuris,” might he have answered? What horrors lurked behind those faded eyes?

 I smile back at his monochrome image. “I hope you’re proud of my writing, Grandpa. You are my inspiration.” 

 

 

THUMBNAIL SKETCH

Published June 8, 2019 by rochellewisoff

 This week Pegman takes us to the capital of England, a modern city with a history going back to Roman times.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to write up to 150 words inspired by the week’s location. You can use the photo supplied with the prompt, or find your own view from the virtually endless supply of streetview or photospheres throughout the city.

Once your piece is polished, share it with others at the link up below. Reading and commenting is part of the fun!

Thanks to Karen and Josh for facilitating the challenge. 

Purple inLinkz Frog

Click the Frog to Join the Fun!

The following is an excerpt from two of my books FROM SILT AND ASHES, the second novel in my Havah Cohen Trilogy and from A STONE FOR THE JOURNEY, the coffee table companion book. The art store was established in London in 1855 and still is a successful business today.

I couldn’t decide between the two photos so I’m including them both. 😉 The second is lifted from a film shot in 1903. I used it as a visual to write the scene.

Genre: Historical Fiction Excerpt

Word Count: 150 

THUMBNAIL SKETCH

With a leather portfolio under his arm and his medical bag in his hand, Nikolai wandered London’s streets. Since his chief errand was accomplished, he had no particular destination, so he seized the opportunity for an afternoon of sightseeing.

Passengers crowded themselves into square compartments atop coaches whose side and back banners advertised such necessities as Lipton’s Teas and Nestlé’s Milk. Above all else, London’s churches fascinated him with their clock towers. A man never needed to ask the time in Britain.

Now and then, he paused to read shop signs. One particular shop caught his interest with its display of paints and drawing papers. He read the sign aloud, “L. Cornelisson and Son. Artist Colourman.”

Suddenly, a flagrant dervish of henna hair and purple feathers in chartreuse skirts swirled past him. Curious to know what a woman of her ilk would want in an artist’s shop, he followed her.

 

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Going for a Read

Published November 29, 2018 by rochellewisoff

Although I’ve never met Dr. Paul Reeves face to face, I come to see us as old friends. Other authors who have interviewed with him say the same thing. He has a knack for making a person feel at home. A month ago, after the release of my long awaited coffee table book, A STONE FOR THE JOURNEY, he invited me back for a second go around on Dr. Paul’s Family Talk. 

 

After we signed off, he invited me to return to his show in a month to talk some more about the new book and to read a few of the stories. Again, we had much to talk and laugh about. Below is the week’s interview. The other two interviews can be found in the side bar to your right. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

Here are the stories I shared:

9 November 2018

Published November 7, 2018 by rochellewisoff

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Please be considerate of 70 or more participants and keep your story to 100 words. Thank you. 

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 © J.S. Brand

get the InLinkz code

Genre: Hysterical Faction

Word Count: 100

ILLEGITIMI NON CARBORUNDUM*

At the beginning of my writing career, one of my mentors warned me. “The greatest thing an author can develop, besides a good story, is a thick skin.”

            The reviews of my novels on Amazon have been mostly favorable—until yesterday.  

            “Amateurish,” the reviewer spewed. “Clunky. No story arc. The characters are caricatures.”

            Paralyzed by the scathing words, I doubted everything I ever wrote.

            “Pffft,” said my friend. “Every author’s received bad reviews and haters are gonna hate. You can’t take it personally.”

            This morning I found two 5-Star reviews. Did my writing change? Guess I won’t quit just yet.

 

*Don’t let the bastards grind you down. 

Here’s a page from my latest book A STONE FOR THE JOURNEY- the companion to Havah’s Trilogy

Click here to hear my new interview with Paul Reeves

Purple Prose and Passion on the Airwaves

Published November 2, 2018 by rochellewisoff

PURPLE PROSE AND PASSION ON THE AIRWAVES

Wow! Where does the time go? Nearly a year ago I did a radio interview with Dr. Paul Reeves on his Family Talk program. At the time we chatted about writing, Friday Fictioneers and the coffee table companion book I was working on.

A STONE FOR THE JOURNEY debuted the first week in September so Dr. Paul invited me back to discuss my opus. 😉 

He has a way of putting the interviewee at ease. I think that particular morning the conversation could’ve continued well into the afternoon. We spoke of the joys of aging while staying young. As we did last year, we talked about Friday Fictioneers which is so much a part of my life. I hope you enjoy listening to the interview as much as I enjoyed doing it. 

Stay Tuned for Part 2 as Dr. Paul invited me back to read a few selections from A STONE FOR THE JOURNEY. It’s tentatively set to air Monday, November 26. 

Shalom, 

Rochelle

IT’S WINE O’CLOCK

Published June 25, 2018 by rochellewisoff

This past Saturday, the town of Blue Springs, Missouri, hosted the annual event known as “Corks & Canvas.” Artists, musicians and wine vendors set up their tents up and down the street and hawk their wares. 

After a month of August weather in May and June, the heatwave broke and we were grateful for cool morning breezes and clouds. Although sunshine prevailed as the day progressed, it was still cooler than the past few weeks have been.

This is our second year to participate. When I say “our” I include my husband Jan who takes charge of the heavy lifting and set up. I don’t know what I’d do without my Chief. 😉 (You should hear his sales pitches for my art and books. Makes me want to buy them.) Things went smoother with set up this year since it was no longer our first rodeo. Last year we spent months shopping for display supplies such as tent, tables and walls. This year the only thing I needed to do ahead of time was paint, frame and have a few more prints made.

Although it seems that fewer people showed up this year, it was an enjoyable time, nonetheless. A few friends I hadn’t seen for a while showed up to visit and lend their support. Did I think to take pictures of them?

One thing I appreciate about signings is the way my books, informed by my Eastern European family, often inspire others to share their histories with me. No exceptions here. I sold out of PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME and sold a few of the sequels FROM SILT AND ASHES and AS ONE MUST ONE CAN. 

The wine glass note cards were also a hit. Many thanks to Alexis at Print Graphics for her diligence to details. 

We received an invitation to participate in another wine fest in September in Independence, Missouri. It looks promising. I’d better order more books and do a few more wineglass paintings. 😉

Note to self: Bring a change of shoes next time.

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