All posts tagged ironwoodwind

7 November 2014

Published November 5, 2014 by rochellewisoff




The disc and the dragonfly

*IMPORTANT NOTE -Please use the photo prompt in some way shape or form. Printing “Friday Fictioneers” in your tags doesn’t necessarily make it so. 

FF copyright banner final

The next photo is the PHOTO PROMPT. Study it and let it speak to you. My story follows the blue inLinkz frog .



PHOTO PROMPT - Copyright - Jean L. Hays

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Jean L. Hays


get the InLinkz code

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


            “Too much studying will ruin you. Carpe Diem. Let’s play catch.” Ted grabbed Douglas’ notebook and pressed a pie tin into his hand.

            “Catch? With this?”

            “From the Frisbie Pie Company. It’s all the rage on campus.”

            For the next hour Douglas forgot about Yale, final examinations and commencement. Tension from late nights hunched over text books lifted off his shoulders and a sense of euphoria filled him as he and Ted flung the whirling dish back and forth.

            “This is bound to become a national sport,” cried Douglas.

            “Tin Tossing Tournaments?”

            “Why not?”

            “School’s finally driven you mad, MacIlroy.”

Frisbie Pie Tin


Have I gone too far off the beaten path with this one? 

Scout’s Honor, I started with the pictured Ford Edsels. In fact,  I spent a whole day researching Edsel Bryant Ford, the only son of Henry Ford. While I learned a lot, I just couldn’t eke out a story.

However, the Edsel made its debut on my fourth birthday, 4 September 1957. What else happened in 1957? An online timeline showed that before Buddy Holly and the Crickets went to the top of the charts with “That’ll be the Day” in February, Wham-O introduced the first Frisbee 13 January. For some reason, this piqued my interest.

If you’d like to know more now, click here for the History of the Frisbee.  

Doug and plastic



What Do You See?

Published July 1, 2013 by rochellewisoff

It’s been over a year since the beginning of my captivity by Friday Fictioneers. From the first I was hooked on the challenge of writing a complete story in one hundred words or less. Sometimes they came effortlessly. Other times I’d agonize for a day or so. And some photos presented bigger challenges than others.

As I recall the following photo posted by Friday Fictioneers originator, Madison Woods, put some people off. At first glance at this photo of grapevine ooze I also thought of sitting out that week. The thought passed after a minute or two.

WILD LIFEUltimately, this is the story I wrote:


Half naked Himba people in Nambia, a sweaty camera crew and millions of TV viewers witnessed our marriage vows.

I willingly followed Trevor up the Himalayas, drank sun-scorched canteen water instead of Cabernet and swatted mosquitos in the Amazon.

In Nepal he slipped on something and narrowly escaped being trampled by a choleric elephant.

“I’m done,” he whispered later. “Let’s go home.”

“You are my home.”

Back in the states, safe from cheetah attacks and hippo stampedes, Trevor’s mangled body lies on a cold steel table. The driver, texting on her cell phone, never saw him cross the street.


Do you see the glancing reference to the prompt? Hint: “In Nepal…”

Looks like something a person could slip in, doesn’t it? Perhaps one of the elephants left his load in the middle of the road. 😉

Another story that garnered a few questions (and a bit of controversy) was one of my favorites from the following photo.

Copyright-Scott L. Vannatter


            Like the anguished images that flashed across our television, Friday, November 22, 1963 will ever be etched into my memory in black and white.

Walter Cronkite wept on camera.

The nation mourned.

Dazed, Mom sorted Christmas ornaments at the kitchen table and mumbled empty phrases. Dad dropped to his knees, laid his head in her lap and sobbed.

“He was my hero!” I screamed.

My eleven-year-old world spun out and I kicked at the two faceless uniforms.

Their vacuous condolences pelted me like the bullets that killed my big brother in Vietnam.


            I’ll never forgive Mr. Kennedy.


“How on earth did you arrive at that story?” asked one of my fellow FF’rs.

My process went something like this:

The kitchen in the picture is quite dated. Looked like 1960’s to me.

What happened during that era? Kennedy assassination. How did this affect my protagonist? That part took a fair amount of research which is something I love, almost as much as the writing itself.

If you look closely, there is a passing reference to the Christmas ornaments on the table. (Sorry, Kitty, didn’t find you particularly interesting. 😉 )


A prime example of stepping outside the box,  inspired by the same photo, is from Doug MacIlroy. 

Or this one, also from Doug.


Included in my intro to Friday Fictioneers is a quote from Henry David Thoreau. It’s my motto. I hope it will inspire others. 

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”


Published January 20, 2013 by rochellewisoff

One of the things I love about writing is the process of finding my way to the finished product. At times it’s as hard as trying to bend iron with my bare hands. (Nope probably will never master that.) It’s a wrestling match with words. 

May 18,2012. when I was one of the new Friday Fictioneers on the block, I wrote my 6th flash fiction, MIRACLE. I was still pretty green when it came to writing a short-short with a beginning, middle and end.  Some of you may remember this picture and have your own stories to go with it.


Merciless rain pelted the Conestoga’s canvas roof. Tildy’s stomach swelled and roiled with each pitch and sway.

Three-year-old Jonas whimpered in her arms. Like periwinkle marbles, his eyes rolled in aimless delirium. She almost welcomed his fevered warmth in the penetrating damp.

The wagon lurched and stopped. Smelling of horses, leather and wet denim Noel slipped through the narrow opening. In silence, his vigilant eyes on his son, he nestled under the blanket beside her.

Tildy woke to hushed sunlight. Her baby was gone.

Outside, naked as dawn, Jonas hopped and pointed at the rainbow. “Ma! Pa! Angels came!”


Why rewrite?

Most of the comments were favorable and polite. But some of them have niggled at me for months:

“Dear Rochelle,

This was hard to work out and being the first to comment (I think) I don’t have the crutch of other’s opinions to help me out. When Jonas says the angels have come, was it that they’d come for anyone specific? Or just touched the earth and left their heavenly colored trails as a sign. Did Jonas’ fever break? No one died, did they?A lovely story, full of imagination and pathos. I loved the ‘Periwinkle marbles’. Great stuff.


And this one:

“Am I so wrong in hoping that he was actually still alive and just telling them excitedly of his fever-induced dream? My fingers are crossed.Poignant and sad.”

And another:

“I honestly thought that her baby had died (“gone”) and that he was dancing with the angels.”

By the end of the comment thread I’d recapped and explained at least five times. So to my obsessive perfectionist’s mind this is unacceptable. 



Merciless rain pelted the Conestoga’s canvas roof. Tildy’s stomach roiled with each pitch and sway.  

Three-year-old Jonas whimpered in her arms. Like periwinkle marbles, his eyes rolled in aimless delirium. She almost welcomed his fevered warmth in the penetrating damp.

The wagon lurched and stopped. Smelling of horses, leather and wet denim Noel slipped through the narrow opening. His vigilant eyes on his son, he nestled under the blanket beside her.


Tildy woke to hushed sunlight and empty arms. She bolted upright and searched.

Outside, naked as dawn, Jonas skipped and pointed at a rainbow.  “Ma! Pa! Angels came!”  

14 December 2012

Published December 12, 2012 by rochellewisoff


We are a growing global community of blogging writers founded by Madison Woods. Each week the challenge is to write a one hundred word flash fiction or a poem inspired by the photo prompt. The rules are as follows:

  • Please copy your URL to the Linkz collection. You’ll find the tab following the photo prompt. It’s the little white box to the left with the blue froggy guy. Click on it and follow directions. This is the best way to get the most reads and comments. 
  • Please make sure your link works. If you find that you’ve made an error you can delete by clicking the little red ‘x’ that should appear under your icon. Then re-enter your URL. (If there’s no red x email me at I can delete the wrong link for you).
  • If your blog requires multiple steps for visitors to leave comments, see if you can simplify it.  Please, for the sake or our writerly nerves, disable CAPTCHA –that wavy line of unreadable letters and numbers.  It’s frustrating to have to leave a DNA sample, your blood type and your shoe size  just to make a comment. (So I exaggerate. But hopefully you get the picture).
  • Challenge yourself to keep stories to 100 words. (There’s no penalty for going over or under).
  • Make note in your blog if you’d prefer not to have constructive criticism.
  • Be kind in your comments to others. Please, exercise discretion.
  • My story follows the photo prompt for those who would rather write before reading other stories. I appreciate your comments and critiques. 😉
  • *NOTE-If you’re not posting a flash fiction, please DO NOT use this site or anyone else’s page for political platforms or advertisements. 

Thanks to Doug MacIlroy for sharing the photo prompt this week. 

  • Copyright -Douglas M. MacIlroy

    Copyright -Douglas M. MacIlroy

get the InLinkz code

Submitted for your approval…or disapproval. Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Although when my husband read it this morning he reminded me that we’re out of Cheerios. Read on, you’ll understand.

Happy Hanukkah to those amongst us of the Jewish persuasion.  Good Yontiff or Hag Samayakh. 


            Somewhere between “I do” and diapers Gavin’s winsome bride turned into a nattering, self-centered shrew. Everything he said or did she took as either an affront or lack of caring.

            If he brought her flowers she accused him of seeing another woman. If he made overtures she accused him of treating her like a sex object.

            Eventually he gave up trying to fix their relationship and escaped to his garage sanctuary.  

            One afternoon Lois stood over him, their three-year-old son in tow. “I’m leaving.”

            “Pick up a quart of milk.”

            “For good.”

            He smiled. Peace at last!



Published November 18, 2012 by rochellewisoff

From left to right: Beth Carter, Jan Marler Morrill, Shirley McCann, Me, Madison Woods, Kent Bonham.

This weekend I attended the Ozarks Writers League, OWL for short, in Branson MO. There I had the pleasure of meeting some of our Fictioneers, including our founder Madison Woods. However I did miss Russell Gayer and Keli Wright who are both FF’rs and OWL members. (Congrats to both on being contest winners.)

Last week Ted Strutz took a trip to Hawaii and met Doug MacIlroy.

Both visits, one personal and one vicarious, thrill me. It makes me feel connected. I dream of a larger meeting one day, but for now we have the internet and shared stories.

Doug and Ted’s Most Excellent Adventure


Published October 5, 2012 by rochellewisoff

This week’s Friday Fictioneers picture is from Raina Ng. It looks like a nice place to come home to. So if you’re looking for gut wrenching and thought provoking look to my friend Doug MacIlroy. I promise you won’t be disappointed. 

Coffee and baking cookie aromas filled Gail’s kitchen. She wiped dust from a dog-eared yearbook, set it on the table and smiled at her high school chum. “So glad we found each other.”  

“We were darling, weren’t we?” Brenda flipped through the faded pages. “You’ve done well for yourself, Miss Homecoming Queen. Nice home. Handsome husband.”  

“Thirty-seven years next month.”

“Amazing.” Brenda pointed to a picture of a moon-faced boy with horn-rimmed glasses and buck teeth. “Hey remember him? What a geek! Wonder what ever happened to the little twerp.”

“I married him.” 


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

Bloggers I’m tagging

Douglas M. MacIlroy at 

Joyce Johnson at




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