All posts tagged writing

13 January 2023

Published January 11, 2023 by rochellewisoff

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Genre: Narrative
Word Count: 100


            Another trip around the sun is complete. I’ve welcomed the new year. Resolutions? No. Like Christmas toys they’re, more-often-than-not, abandoned by February first. Goals? Yes. For one, I’m shooting for two-hundred swim miles by December.

            Other goals include releasing a new novel.

            Scrolling through a lengthy list of my publisher’s suggested edits, I fight the urge to turn off the computer and hide under my bed with the dust bunnies.

Steady girl. You’ve got this. There are paintings to be painted and an important story to tell.

A milestone birthday and new chapter of life loom large on my horizon.  


Published November 18, 2019 by rochellewisoff

“Our life together
Is so precious together
We have grown, we have grown
Although our love still is special
Let’s take a chance and fly away somewhere

Starting over (over and over and over)”

~~John Lennon

 My writing journey began  about 15 years ago with my historical fiction Please Say Kaddish for Me. Once I finished the manuscript all I had to do was find a publisher and watch it rise to the New York Times Best Sellers list. Right?

Oh if only it had been that easy. The truth is I had so much to learn. Each time I went to a writing workshop or critique group, I realized changes needed to be made, whether it was too much passive voice, too many gerunds or word repetition.

After years of writing and rewriting, I pitched to a few agents until one fell in love with my novel. Contract signed, the wait began. Three years later W & B Publishers took on my novel and its sequels. Click here for more info on those books. 

Two years ago (maybe three?) I went to work on a new historical novel I titled What the Heart Wants. Once I felt the manuscript was complete I sent it to my beta readers who took me to task on typos and made wonderful suggestions.

Since I don’t feel self-publishing is a viable option for me, my next step was the daunting task of finding an agent to represent it. The group I belong to, Ozarks Writers League, brought in some agents to hear pitches at the September conference. Since I wasn’t able to attend, I sent a packet to one of them through a fellow OWL member. Thank you, Ronda.

I have to *kvell a bit here. The September conference is when awards are given for the annual writing contest. “What the Heart Wants” took first place in the Unpublished Manuscript category. As my British friends would say, “I’m chuffed to bits.”

By mid-October I’d not heard back from the agent. Mind you, I wasn’t stressing over it.

One morning I saw my friend, award winning author and fellow military wife Kathleen M. Rodgers on Facebook. It occurred to me we hadn’t chatted in ages so I asked in a PM if she had time for a call.

Kathleen and me a few years ago at an OWL conference. The bonding was immediate. 😀

As usually happens when authors chat we talked about our current works in progress. When I told her about mine, she thought it sounded like a worthy story and suggested I email her agent, Diane Nine. Kathleen said she’d email her as well to tell her to expect to hear from me.

Before I had a chance to write, Kathleen informed me Diane agreed to take a look at my work. Diane also requested a book proposal along with the manuscript. You think writing a novel is tough? Try writing a book proposal which includes short summary, full synopsis, chapter by chapter summary, author bio etc. etc. I’m not really *kvetching. It was a learning experience that I kind of enjoyed.

The Author-Illustrator in her natural habitat.

After spending nearly a week on the proposal and having it proofread, I sent it to Diane along with the manuscript on 19 October. A mere ten days later I received an email from her saying she enjoyed the manuscript and asked me to give her a call the following Monday. I nearly fell off my elliptical trainer. (That’s what I get for reading emails on my phone while working out. It’s simply not possible to jump up and down at the same time.)

Monday, 4 November, came complete with a tummy full of butterflies. But they all flew away when she answered the phone with, “I loved your manuscript or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

The conversation lasted close to two hours and left me with a silly grin on my face.

The contract is signed and the waiting begins. It feels just like starting over.

*kvell – Yiddish for “I’m bursting at the seams so I have to shout it to the world.” 

*kvetching – Yiddish for “Oy, this is so awful, you shouldn’t ask.” 


When I made the announcement on Facebook author, beta reader and friend, Lonnie Whitaker posted this:

“I was privileged to read an early draft and can report it is solid, engaging, and in many ways transcends genres. It’s historical, gritty, romantic, with a hint of mystery. No doubt we will see it in print soon. Congratulations, Rochelle.”


Short Summary –What the Heart Wants

For Asher, growing up as a Jew in Ukraine in the 1800’s, life is a minefield. Eastern Europe is a hotbed of violence and antisemitism. He blames God for the murder of his young bride and the slaughter of his father. All hope is gone.  

In America, the home of the free and the brave, Bear Starfire is torn from her family and carried off to boarding school. Her teachers are determined to beat the heathen out of her. The principal lures her into a “special friendship”.   

A few years later, having left Russia, Asher answers the call to “go west, young man” via covered wagon.  When a blizzard delays his journey, Missouri farmers provide refuge. Their adopted daughter, a tall, bronze beauty captures his heart.

Can these two wounded souls from radically different backgrounds find healing in each other’s arms?


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. 


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Genre: Hysterical Faction

Word Count: 100


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

4 May 2018

Published May 2, 2018 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 © Karen Rawson

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


Benjamin shoved a notebook under his son’s nose. “What is this mishegoss?”

Although the boy had expected his father’s wrath, he trembled. “They’re my stories, Papa. I’ve decided to become a writer.”  

“A sixteen-year-old child decides?” Benjamin shook his fist and thundered. “For this we send you to yeshiva?”

“I make straight A’s in Talmud class. Why can’t a rabbi write fiction, too?” 

Benjamin flung the binder to the floor. “Frivolous nonsense!” Pages scattered like dry leaves.


In 1967, thirty-eight-year-old Chaim Potok marveled when his debut novel, The Chosen, became a NY Times best seller. “What would Papa say now?”




If you have 4 extra minutes and want to know more, CLICK HERE

15 December 2017

Published December 13, 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 © Sandra Crook

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Genre: Realistic Friction

Word Count: 100


Today my muse has taken a break, leaving my brain to slosh about my skull. Ideas float in bubbles and pop into nothingness, with no beginning, middle or end.

So, I’ll share a bit of nonfiction.

April 12, 2012 I joined Friday Fictioneers. Straightaway I became addicted in 100 words or less. Months later, Madison, FF creator, appointed me to be her successor as leader of this global community.   

I enjoy our various cultures and would love to comment on each and every story. With life’s busy-ness, am I wrong or unreasonable to only do so with those who reciprocate?

Interview: Meet Author, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Published March 18, 2017 by rochellewisoff

I had great fun this past week interviewing with fellow author Sarah Potter. The magic of the internet and Skype certainly shorten the distance between us. What interesting times we live in. Thank you, Sarah!

Sarah Potter Writes

I’m thrilled to welcome author, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields to my blog for a second time, on this happy occasion to interview her about her writing.  For those of you who missed her guest storyteller post back in November of last year, here’s a recap of her biography.

Kansas City native Rochelle Wisoff-Fields is a woman of Jewish descent and the granddaughter of Eastern European immigrants. She has a close personal connection to Jewish history, which has been a recurring theme throughout much of her writing. Growing up, she was heavily influenced by the Sholom Aleichem stories, the basis for Fiddler on the Roof. Her novels Please Say Kaddish for Me, From Silt and Ashes and As One Must, One Can were born of her desire to share the darker side of these beloved tales—the history that can be difficult to view, much less embrace.

She is also the author…

View original post 2,140 more words


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.


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.

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.
(Not Tweets or the Sports pages, but real books by decent writers.)
(All the time.)

Another Step Closer

Published February 24, 2015 by rochellewisoff

As much as I’ve always loved FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, I knew that it was a watered down version of the persecution the Jews in Eastern Europe before the turn of the last century. My family suffered at the hands of the Czars. The history of what happened to them has always haunted me.

Nine years ago I started my first novel, equipped only with the desire to tell the real story that few really know and a minimal amount of writing experience. In a matter of months I had written a one-hundred-and-fourteen thousand word manuscript. It was a beginning, the first manifestation of a dream. A dream that many told me was a pipe dream, but I felt compelled to keep going. I continued to work on the first manuscript and wrote a sequel.


Standing: Nettie Weinberg, my maternal grandmother. I don’t know the other woman’s name, but I’m pretty sure she was my great grandmother.

I had no idea where to go from there.  A fellow student in my Hebrew class, writer Annie Withers, read my first manuscript and told me it was a story that needed to be told but needed a lot of work. She invited me to a small critique group of experienced writers who met every other Monday night. I came to look forward to these meetings with happy anticipation and dread. It can be painful to hear that your baby has warts. For the most part these dear ladies encouraged me.

Annie introduced me to Kansas City Writers Group and to Ozarks Writers Group (OWL). Going to workshops and networking with other writers helped me hone my skills. It was also at OWL that I learned how to pitch to an agent.

The first agent turned me down with “This is just excellent, Rochelle, but…” he went on to say that he wasn’t working in a market where my book fit. I wasn’t surprised since I’d gone to his website and checked out his clients. Nonetheless, I framed that letter. It was the first of more than one rejection.

Meanwhile the novels have gone through many revisions.

Three years ago I pitched the first novel, PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME, to agent Jeanie Loiacono and she accepted it with enthusiasm and, this past week she took on the sequel, FROM SILT AND ASHES. I’m thrilled to have an agent who believes in my works and is committed to finding an publisher for them. 




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