Historical Fiction

All posts in the Historical Fiction category

22 February 2019

Published February 20, 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 © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

AWAKENED AND STIRRED

“You admit to helping to spread leaflets for those subversives calling themselves The White Rose?”

            “What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did. And I would do it again.”

            Swastika flag draped behind him, the judge stood and shook his fist. “For your crimes you’ve been sentenced this 22nd day of February 1943.”

            “As you will be judged for yours.”

            Schubert’s “Andantino” played in twenty-one-year-old Sophie Scholl’s mind. Birds sang and the whole of creation called joyfully to her as she trembled before the guillotine, head held high.

 

*Note: This Friday is February 22, 2019 …76 years to the day Sophie, her brother Hans and his friend Christof were executed for standing up to Nazi barbarism. May their memories be blessed. 

Sophie Scholl

***

The following video I add “just because.” The fact is the Nazis often forced Jewish musicians to accompany the condemned to the gas chambers. It’s long and not directly related to the story. To me it seemed to fit. Listen or not.

 

THE GOLDEN LOTUS

Published February 16, 2019 by rochellewisoff

This week Pegman is in the Jaingxi province of China. There are a few more photosheres available than the last time I went searching in this area. Hopefully you can find something that inspires you. I had trouble getting to this area through the main Google maps, but you are free to try for yourself.

Your mission is to write up to 150 words inspired by the prompt. Whether you write fiction, poetry, sonnet, limerick or essay is completely up to you. Once your piece is polished, share it with others using the linkup below. Reading and commenting is part of the fun!

Thanks to Karen and Josh for hosting this weekly cruise.

During China’s Song Dynasty (970 – 1260), seen as property,  a woman’s sole purpose was to please her husband.  Officially sanctioned, foot-binding became the essence of feminine beauty. The smaller a woman’s foot, the better her chances of marrying well. The practice continued into the 20th century until China came under Communist rule.

To learn more CLICK HERE

It’s always fun to take on oldie out of mothballs and give it a fresh look. I first posted a version of this story in January 2013 for Friday Fictioneers.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150

THE GOLDEN LOTUS

Bones bound and crushed in childhood, Zhen Xi’s feet fit a man’s palm. Such prized feet represented wealth and social status. Although the pain was often unbearable, she enjoyed the attention she garnered from the young men.

            It came as no surprise when her youthful beauty caught wizened warlord Han Donhai’s eye.

            She begged her father. “Please don’t make me marry him. Chan Ho is my true love.”

            “We are poor. It is not for you to love.”

            Every night she endured beatings following Han Donhai’s inadequacy. She feared she would ultimately suffer the same fate as three past wives who died under his sword for their failure to conceive.   

            Seven months after the wedding, fireworks spangled the sky in celebration of Donhai’s nine pound heir.

            Hours later he wielded his blade over her head. “You faithless whore!”                  

            She smiled. Her child would live while her unbound spirit ran free.

1 February 2019

Published January 30, 2019 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 © Renee Heath

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Once more I’m ‘cheating’ and posting a tweaked version of an excerpt from my WIP “What the Heart Wants.” Many thanks to the real Bear Starfire for her input. 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

BENEATH STARS OF BROKEN GLASS

Her brother’s music transported Ruth to the time before the Indian agents spirited her away from her parents’ wigwam and forced her to attend boarding school. She was still Bear Starfire and Josiah was still Soaring Eagle. Neega laughed at their brother, Wolf Child’s antics. Ko’tha danced with Soaring Eagle around the fire while Bear Starfire and Moon Glow shared corncakes and laughter under the great expanse of sky.

            Like shooting stars their lights burned out too soon. Wolf Child had been taken to a boarding school with other children of the tribe. Only she and her Josiah were left.

 

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR RICHARD D. SMALL

Published January 14, 2019 by rochellewisoff
Two and a half years ago I received an email from a man in Israel named Rich Small who had submitted his manuscript to my agent entitled “Elisheva’s Diary.” He had found PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME on my agent’s website and ordered a copy. Over the course of a few emails we found much in common, including Eastern European Jewish backgrounds. Meanwhile, my agent rejected his manuscript, saying it needed too much work. So my newfound friend asked if I might take a look at it. 
As it turned out, I took many, many looks at it and had the privilege of watching the work grow and progress. Rich has been gracious about accepting my suggestions and putting up with my kvetching and nagging. 😉 Between emails, hangouts and Skype we’ve become friends. And the proverbial icing on the cake is that ELISHEVA’S DIARY has been published by Touch Point Press
Feeling a little like the book’s auntie, I interviewed Rich for my blog. I hope you will enjoy both our conversation and his book which is a unique little gem that blends past and present, as I did. 
Richard D. Small lives in Metula, the northernmost point of Israel, not far from Tel Dan and Tel Kedesh.  He received  PhD from Rutgers University in Aerospace Engineering. He taught at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology before joining a California Think Tank as Director for Thermal Sciences, founded Eastwind Research Corporation, and served in the Israeli Army.  Biographical sketches have included Who’s Who in America, and various scientific Who’s Who listings.  His work in science has been internationally recognized and featured on TV and radio including 60 Minutes, newscasts, and in magazines.  He is an avid student of history.  His passions include cooking, opera, reading, building cabinets, and gardening.  Elisheva’s Diary is his first novel.
***

 

  • Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.

Nature and its mysteries fascinated and motivated me to study science and pursue a career solving problems. I was fortunate to work on several problems of national interest.

I live in Metula overlooking the Hula or as it was known in biblical times the Merom Valley. From my living room, I see ancient locations that carry the long history of the Jewish people. In front of my house is a Tel, Evel Beit Maacah, that is now being excavated. Maacah was King David’s fourth wife and the mother of Tamar and Avshalom. Many of the great leaders of the ancient world passed through the valley.

The valley, aside from being spectacularly beautiful in all seasons, has several ancient sites: Tel Dan, Tel Anafa, Hazor, Banias, and Tel Kedesh. The streams flowing through the valley water a fertile soil that provides a rich bounty. It is a peaceful valley replete with protected wildlife and dotted with national parks celebrating and preserving the beauty of nature.

It is special to live in a place where recorded events date from the beginnings of western civilization. It is a land that beckons the history and civilization buried in us all.

 

  • After a career as a renowned scientist, why did you decide to write a novel? What inspired you?

I had always wanted to write a novel. From a very young age, I enjoyed reading and greatly admired authors that could transport you to another world and portray love, hate, tragedy, triumph, the beauty of nature and the magnificence of the human spirit.

 

  • What was the most difficult scene in Elisheva’s Diary? What made it difficult?

The death of Elisheva’s husband. For me, death is difficult to describe. It is definitive that leaves surviving family injured, saddened and takes a little of life from them.

 

  • What sort of research did you do for your work?

I read several books about the history of the Mediterranean focusing on the Galilee region of Israel. I picked the period about 50 BC for several reasons. Momentous events such as the clash of empires, the emergence of Rome as the predominant power, and a political atmosphere not unlike today were shaping the world at that time.

 

  • Which books and authors do you read for pleasure? Is there an author that inspires you?

I have quite an eclectic taste in books. I enjoy novels, history, cook books, science fiction occasionally, and books that make me think. At different periods, I have enjoyed John Steinbeck, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Bruce Catton, Barbara Tuchman, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Francis Fukuyama, Mark Helprin, and a long list of others including RW-F. 😉

 

  • Was there a person who encouraged you to write?
  • I wanted to write, but found I had a lot to learn about writing and crafting a story. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields guided, taught, encouraged and without her, Elisheva’s Diary would never have been completed.
  • What would you say are your strengths as an author?

I cite two: empathy and a great appreciation for nature which I can translate to words.

 

  • Do you have another work in progress? If so, how often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?

I have started research for a new book. It will relate a story from the time of King Solomon. The research will take another half year or so before I start to write.

 

  • Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?

Hopefully having published a second novel.

 

  • If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?

Don’t quit. Keep writing until your story is complete.

  • What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?

“I liked Elisheva.”

  • Would you provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with my readers?

Chapter Four

My City—April 3675 (85 BC)

I was born in paradise three thousand six hundred sixty-five years after the creation of the world. Dan was well known when Abraham and Sara arrived from Ur. In the beginning, the city was named Laish, and only hundreds of years later did the Israelite tribe of Dan cross the Jordan, after 40 years in the desert, to settle in the city. Legend says Dan first arose a thousand years after Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden. I am proud of my city; it has a grand history filled with triumphs as well as much sorrow and anguish.

I cannot imagine a more beautiful place on Earth than the Merom Valley. To the east, the Golan Heights rise to a high plateau. Across the valley, the hills, home to the tribe of Naphtali, frame the Merom Valley in the west. Every evening, I delight in the breathtaking harmony and beauty as the Golan glows a soft pink in the setting sun, while the hills of Naphtali darken to a deep purple. The valley floor accents the surrounding hills with a rainbow of colors from the orchards, fields, vineyards, and forests.

Twice a year, countless numbers of storks, cranes, egrets, pelicans, and herons fill the sky heralding a change of season. Vast flocks, tired from their journey, seek safety and respite in the fields around the small sea. In the morning, I watch amazed as they face the warm sun, capture its energy, and spiral upwards to continue their journey.

I have always taken the beauty of my city and its surroundings as normal. Aba often told me of his travels across Israel to the Great Salt Sea in the west, to magnificent cities along the coast, to inland valleys, and to the desert in the south. He said the desert holds a special beauty—siren colors at sunset and the tranquility of a seducing wind at night under a sky filled with countless stars. Often shooting stars, traversing the heavens in seconds, punctuate the night panorama. But surely, nothing compares with Dan.

From my home, I look east to Mount Hermon. Like a giant shielding us from a hostile world, it stands over Dan dominating the hills to the north and the plateau to the south. Clouds sometimes hide the peak’s majesty, and swirling storms mask it in a threatening atmosphere. On clear days, sunlight reflects from the forests and valleys on the lower elevations and projects magnificence, breathtaking to behold. During much of the year, a blanket of snow covers the upper reaches of the mountain. It is the source of the icy pure water flowing through Dan. In the winter, the blinding white peak often mirrors the sunset’s rainbow of pastel colors.

I am lucky to live in the most beautiful part of the most beautiful kingdom in the whole world.

I have listened to travelers talk about the Galilee. They describe marvelous towns and villages built in beautiful settings: sculpted valleys with plentiful water and rich soil. Their descriptions of Kedesh are so vivid I can almost feel the excitement of the big market. Farmers send produce from the fields around Dan, and our artisans send goods from our ceramic and metal workshops through Kedesh to the coastal cities of Lebanon in return for rare woods, glass, cloth, dyes, and manufactured goods that arrive in Tyre and Sidon from Greece, Egypt, and Rome. Kedesh itself is built on a large hilltop surrounded by a rich valley famous for well-kept vineyards and exquisite wines.

They speak of olive groves on the road leading to the Great Sea. The trees twisted and gnarled as generation after generation of growth is added to life drawn from the soil.

Travelers from distant lands tell me the Great Sea is a wonder. Salty to the taste, it contains strange fish and exotic creatures not found in the Merom or the Kinneret seas. They say, sometimes, like the tempests blanketing Mount Hermon, storms rage over the Great Sea, with relentless waters swirling in an angry rhythm and pounding the shore; sometimes the sea turns a deep blue hiding a mysterious depth, and sometimes it is tranquil.

They speak of a beautiful land beyond the Galilee: villages located across a varied geography, ranging from mountains rich in forests, tranquil deserts producing fine wines, a coastal plain with thick forests, abundant agriculture, and rich fishing: all with a well-developed ethical and cultural life.

And towering above everything, the crown jewel of Israel and the world, the magnificent city of David and Solomon, the location of our Temple, Jerusalem.

 

 

11 January 2019

Published January 9, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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As always, please be considerate of your fellow Fictioneers and keep your stories to 100 words. (Title is not included in the word count.)  Many thanks. 

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 © Priya Bajpal

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The following is an excerpt, cut down to size, from my WIP “What the Heart Wants.” The year is 1881. Aggie, a former nun who worked at the Indian boarding school, has fled, taking Ruth Bear Starfire with her for her own protection.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

NEGOTIATIONS

            “Pretty li’l Injun,” said the general store clerk. “What tribe?”

            Ruth’s cheeks blazed. 

            “She’s my daughter,” said Aggie.

            “Uh-huh.” He eyed Aggie’s blonde hair. “Strong resemblance.”  

            “How much for the Winchester?”

   “$40. Firm.”

            “I’ll give ya $25.”

            “$35.” 

            “Please, sir. My baby ain’t et no meat in a coon’s age.” Aggie crossed herself. “I’m a-prayin to the Blessed Virgin my Ruthie don’t perish from starvation.”

            “$25 it is.” With a bucktoothed grin he laid sacks of sugar and flour on the counter. “I can’t have your deaths on my conscience.” 

            “Would you mind tossing in some sorghum and cornmeal, too?”

*Note to those who feel they can’t cut their stories down to 100 words. The excerpt I started with was 383 words. Certainly, cutting it lost the original intent of the chapter. However it turned it into another aspect of the same story and, I think, stands alone. 

*Note 2, for those wondering how the photo prompt inspired my offering. This takes place in an old fashion general story where candy was kept in large jars. In the original chapter the store clerk offer little Ruth a candy stick. 

 

 

4 January 2019

Published January 2, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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As always, please be considerate of your fellow Fictioneers and keep your stories to 100 words. (Title is not included in the word count.)  Many thanks. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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 © Russell Gayer

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Genre: Historical Friction

Word Count: 100

PILLAR OF FAITH

“Hurry, wife. The city’s crumbling around us.” The aged patriarch bent to fasten his sandals, and straightened with a groan. “Oy. I’m too old for this.”

            “Do you prefer the blue tunic or the beige?” She held them up. “I think the blue brings out my eyes.”

            “Woman! Are you meshuga? An angel warns us of the incoming wrath of God and you’re concerned with clothes?”

            “No fashion sense.” She rolled her eyes. “You really believe this judgement mishegoss, don’t you?”

            “Don’t you?”

            “Angel shmangel.” She shrugged. “Lot, my love. I take everything you say with a grain of salt.”  

*For those unfamiliar with Old Testament Bible stories, when God delivered Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the angel had instructed them not to look back. Lot’s wife did and turned into a pillar of salt. 

***

ANNOUNCING:

My Coffee Table book A STONE FOR THE JOURNEY is now available on Amazon KINDLE, Paperback or Hardcover.  Hardcover is also available at Barnes & Noble.com

I’m not crazy about the formatting job they did on the Kindle, but it’s all there. 😉 I’ve yet to see the paperback version so I reserve opinion. Nor do I understand why the paperback and hardcover are the same price. 

 

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NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM?

Published December 30, 2018 by rochellewisoff

After being MIA from Pegman for a while, the muse struck. 😉 Now that the dust is settling a bit from the holidays. In any event, the Google trail took to an irresistible place in Zimbabwe History.  The year is 1894 and Zimbabwe was known as Rhodesia. The following year a small band of Jewish refugees would build a synagogue in Harare.

As always, thank yous to Karen and Josh for hosting. Follow the link below to read other stories or to add your own. Remember reciprocation is half the fun. 

 

Harare Synagogue

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150

NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM?

“An adventure he says,” whispered Fayga to her three-month-old Yankel. “Your papa is a meshuggeneh vants.”

            She missed the synagogue in Lithuania, with its beautiful woodwork and intricate carvings on the Holy Ark.

            More than anything, she missed her family. But, if she were back at home she would still miss them. Murdered. What difference did it make from where she mourned?

            Yankel sneezed and squirmed on her lap. She waved a fly away from his nose. “Such a shayna punim.

            The tent juddered. A warm breeze wafted over her as the cantor sang, “Here oh Israel, Adonoi our God, Adoni is one.”   

            “Don’t you see? We’re no longer safe here, my beloved?” He packed his books into a trunk next to her Sabbath candlesticks. “The Messiah will find us no matter where we go.”

            Who knew their journey would take them from Eastern Europe to Bulawayo in faraway Africa?  

*meshuggeneh vantz – crazy bedbug

*shayna punim – pretty face (It was one of my mother’s nicknames for me 🙂 )

 

 

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