All posts tagged History

29 June 2018

Published June 27, 2018 by rochellewisoff

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PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


            When Nathaniel tickled the ivories, he mesmerized Chicago’s jazz club audiences. The talented sixteen-year-old played for hot dogs, soda pop and pure joy. In 1935, he and his band, the Rogues of Rhythm, challenged the great Earl Hines and his Orchestra to a musical duel—and won.

            Twenty-one years later, Capitol Records’ leading vocalist became the first African American to host his own television program. Performers from Sinatra to Ella Fitzgerald clamored to donate their services. Despite rave reviews, white sponsors refused to back him.

            Fighting tears, Nat King Cole cancelled his show saying, “Madison Avenue’s afraid of the dark.”



Buddy DeSylva, founder of Capitol Records, is quoted as having said, “If Nat Cole were white, he’d be bigger than Sinatra or Crosby.”

Here’s a clip from the ill-fated The Nat “King” Cole Show

21 April 2017

Published April 19, 2017 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 © Magaly Guerrero

PHOTO PROMPT © Magaly Guerrero

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


“Papa, how could you fire Joe?” Myra Cutler flung her dance shoes into her suitcase. “He was an asset to the show.”

“You’re only off by two letters.” Frank, head of the Cutler Comedy Club, embraced his seventeen-year-old daughter. “All that wastrel has on his mind is my talented baby girl. You’ve no future with him.”

 Pulling back, Myra clenched her teeth. “We’re going to be huge Vaudeville stars.”


A year later, in 1895, after a show in Piqua, Kansas, weary from performing, Myra gave birth to the third member of their act—Joseph Frank Keaton—better known as Buster.



Buster, Myra and Joe Keaton known in Vaudeville as “The Three Keatons”

For those unfamiliar with silent film star Buster Keaton, here’s a taste of his comedic genius. 

3 February 2017

Published February 1, 2017 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 © Roger Bultot

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


Not even a light breeze blew through the open window. As it did every night, sleep eluded Myrtle Reed. Sweat oozed from skin-folds under her ample arms.

“Why doesn’t this so-called windy city offer some relief from this fiendish heat?” She glared at the clock. “Eleven-thirty, August 17, 1911.”

She searched the street below for James. “He’s probably passed out drunk somewhere. I was so wrong. Love is not an orchid which thrives on hot air.”

Raising a bottle of sleeping powder to her lips, the young authoress swallowed disappointed dreams. “Insomnia be damned—forever. Happy anniversary my ‘model husband.’”







15 March 2013

Published March 13, 2013 by rochellewisoff


I dare you to write more than you see with your eyes. I double dog dare you!


March Birthdays Among Us (That I know about)

Bill “Zed Man” Webb – March 1

Janet “Sustainabilitea” Webb – March 15

If there are more out there let me know. 



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Copyright - Lora Mitchell

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Word Count – 100


            Just the right balance of tin foil on rabbit ears chased away the ghosts and the black and white Zenith’s fifteen- inch picture wouldn’t flip during my favorite show.

            “Hey, kids. What time is it?”  

            “It’s Howdy Doody time!”

            Mute clown Clarabell chased Buffalo Bob with a seltzer bottle. Antics of the puppet population of Doodyville delighted me.

            One horrible Saturday Howdy said, “There’s no more show. It’s time to go.”  

            Then Clarabell spoke for the first time.

            “Goodbye, kids.”

            I sobbed, inconsolable, crushed by my first real loss in seven years. Even now the memory brings me to tears.





Published September 28, 2012 by rochellewisoff

The lovely picture for Friday Fictioneers this week is from talented writer Sandra Crook. Here’s my offering for this week. Also, it would please this aspiring novelist if you’d also read my previous post. Comments welcome. 

Once a month twelve-year-old, American born Su-Yin spent the day with her grandmother. Before each time she groaned and protested.

“Nai-Nai doesn’t have a computer or even a TV.”

“Or one of these.” Mom snatched her daughter’s iPod.


Flushed, Mom murmured something in Chinese the girl didn’t understand.

Later, Su-Yin pouted in Nai-Nai’s garden and stirred her vegetable rice with chopsticks while she waited for her monthly portion of poetry and boredom.

Instead of ancient verse, Nai-Nai whispered, “When I was your age I watched communists behead my father and murder my brother by a thousand cuts.” 


Published September 24, 2012 by rochellewisoff

What is the working title of your book?

For the past seven years it’s been Please Say Kaddish for Me. Who knows if that will survive?

Where did the idea for the book come from?

Originally my thought was to write about my maternal grandfather’s immigration from Poland in 1903 at the age of 19. But I found that little was really known about his history. So instead of going to Poland I “went” to Kishinev, Moldavia, the site of the first internationally recognized pogrom in 1903.

What genre does your book fall under?

Historical Fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Part of the fun of writing and dreaming is picturing the characters in my head. Some of my players are too old or too dead to play the parts but I see them just the same. 

For Havah Cohen, the headstrong rabbi’s daughter, I see Sasha Cohen, Olympic figure skater turned actress. With her dark brown eyes and Eastern European heritage she certainly looks the part.

If  you’ve ever seen Adrien Brody in The Pianist  you might understand why I see him as Arel Gitterman, the rabbi’s son.  While he loves Havah with a passion, he’s also a man of his word and marries another to whom he’s been betrothed  since early adolescence.

Arel’s father, Yussel Gitterman, who has been blind since contracting encephalitis in his 4o’s is a man of great insight. No doddering, fragile old man this one. I see him portrayed by Michael Douglas.

 Denied her beloved,  Havah  moves to Kishinev where she is employed as housemaid for a German musician, Ulrich Dietrich. A man of strong moral fiber but often tripped up by his own temper he falls in love with Havah. I could see a young Gary Cooper in the role.

Ulrich’s best friend is Russian doctor, Nikolai Derevenko. A brooding loner, he detests the treatment of the Jews in Russia. David McCallum came to mind. Those of us who were Man from UNCLE fans will remember  him as Ilya Kuriyakin. Of course the actor’s in his 70’s now.

Theodore Roosevelt as himself.




What is a one-line synopsis of your book?

After losing her family in a brutal pogrom, a Czarist sanctioned massacre of Jews in turn of the 20th century Eastern Europe, 16 year old Havah Cohen faces insurmountable challenges and ultimately learns that in the deepest darkness one may find the greatest light.

Is your book self-published or do you have an agent?

Currently it’s under contract with Jeanie Pantelakis of Sullivann Maxx Literary Agency.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft only took a few months as a I recall, editing it is another story. In seven years I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve cut, pasted and rewritten.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

There might be similarities to Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter by Peter Manseau, Call it Sleep by Henry Roth and Tevye the Dairyman, a collection of short stories by Sholem Aleichem.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As the granddaughter of Eastern European immigrants I’ve always had a fascination with Jewish history. While much is known about Hitler’s Holocaust little is known about the atrocities foisted on the Jewish people in Russia’s Pale of Settlement beyond Fiddler on the Roof.  Although it’s entertaining  and one of my favorite plays/movies ever, it’s a watered down version of life in the Pale. 

 What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Romance. There are at least three threads of unrequited love running through the novel. While Havah and Arel, the rabbi’s son, fall deeply in love he’s betrothed to another.


Thanks for dropping by. I was tagged by janmorrill.wordpress.com

Bloggers I’m tagging

Douglas M. MacIlroy at ironwoodwind.wordpress.com 

Joyce Johnson at jemj47.wordpress.com



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