Throwback Thursday…in words

Hello all,

I finally gained access to some files from my old computer. I had backed them up properly but when I took the files from my external hard drive to my new computer, I didn’t have permission to access them. Sad day. After much hair pulling, googling, and trial and error, I have permission to view them again! Happy day!

And then I found all these old writing files with short stories, free writing, ramblings and such and I thought, maybe my blog is a place for these. I also found some old writings from high school, so that was fun 🙂

So to kick off what I hope might turn into a recurring event…here is my first Thursday Throwback to a story I wrote four or five years ago. I believe it was based off of a prompt I found online, and had to be under a certain word count, but I can’t say for certain. It’s not a piece I would normally write so it must have been a free writing exercise or something and I’m still conflicted about how I feel about it…anyhoo…here it is

Silence of the Rain

She expected no one to acknowledge her interruption. Feeble as it was. The assertion of a woman accustomed to being ignored. But however self-fulfilling this prophecy should have been, someone did notice.

“Do you have something to add, Mrs. Forsythe?”

She froze. A reply had not yet formed in her mind. So sure of her absolute insignificance, she had scarcely thought beyond her first tentative question. Slowly, heads turned and she was thrust to the forefront of everyone’s attentions. She felt a stirring in her breast, a jolt within her gut, and she was acutely aware of the sudden trembling in her hands. There was panic, but something more profound and unnerving alighted within her mind. She felt the blooming sensation of influence….of power.

The wave of anticipation swelled with each tortured second. Such a pressure she had never felt. Expectation…excitement that they believed she might provide something of interest and so opened themselves to her opinion.

These, who had gathered in support of women such as herself, were not only interested in her situation, or, more accurately, her previous situation, they seemed interested in her as an individual. To them, she was a person able to offer something of value, and with a voice worth hearing.

She had arrived in the darkest hour of night, when even nocturnal creatures dare not traipse about. Though haggard and lacking any physical possessions, save the dripping clothes on her tiny frame, they had welcomed her. The gentle smiles and engaging conversation appeared genuine, lacking the softened gaze of pity.

It was never called her new home or even a place for recovery. Always, it was the “Greenhouse,” a place to grow. A secluded haven and open forum with inspiring atmosphere and dialogue. And now, having lodged here for only ten nights and attending even fewer meetings, she was offered the floor.

Standing before them, she became more than a slight woman of thirty-five, disposed to averted gazes and mumbled apologies. She was not dull or lacking in capabilities envied in other women. For once she knew the curious looks were not appraising the fading bruise carefully concealed on her brow or the slow, shuffling way she walked.

Here was a chance to use her voice, so long silenced. And stand, though accustomed to crouching in shadow. A great weight settled upon her thin shoulders. It whispered in her ear of disillusioned dreams and a life of solitude. Surely these people knew more than she, women who had experienced far worse, women who were stronger, braver, and more eloquent. What could she offer that wasn’t already present in their minds?

But is that not why she had come here? As proof to herself that she was, in fact, capable of a life alone. And now, after only days, an audience sat at her disposal. They gazed at her with an interest he had never shown her…at least not in many years. Here an audience of strangers, or very nearly so, seemed enraptured by what she might profess.

Her tongue turned to stone. Her heart fluttered painfully, erratically within the cage of her defeated form. Words fought to tumble from her thinly set lips, but were not granted passage.

It would take but a shake of her head. Nothing more than a tremble, and the attention would shift. The meeting would continue.

She would be forgotten.

She could slip away and slink along the darkened streets. Following a path well known to her, she would cross beneath the white arbor and knock quietly at the door, clean and freshly painted. She would stand demurely, and gaze upon the daffodils she had planted last spring. She would not reach for her key. She would wait for him to grant her entrance…if he would take her back.

But no, she had fled that life, and no road she traveled this night would take her there by morning. Harshly she scolded herself for considering such an ill fated course. It was nothing more than a moment of doubt, fueled by her current uncharacteristic predicament, but extinguished by the room of understanding peers.

She flushed, embarrassed that her musings had caused an obvious pause while awaiting her reply. Only moments had passed, however, and none noticed her conflict.

In such unfamiliar surroundings, she knew not which would disappoint most, her words or her silence.

She breathed deeply, quieted the soft wavering of her form. And, with her gaze lifted, she spoke.

 

Halloweensie Contest Entry!

Writing Contest Time!

I’m so excited to participate in this year’s Halloweensie Writing Contest hosted by Susanna Hill!

If you’ve not been by her blog, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s a great resource for aspiring writers, and she runs awesome contests throughout the year!

This is my first time participating in the Halloween contest, and I have had so much fun reading some of the entries so far. Check out all the entries or write your own! Either way, you’re sure to have fun.

I had snippets of ideas bouncing around my head, but nothing that came together in 100 words or in any words at all haha. Finally, I had a bit of creativity hit me and this is the result.

It’s good to make my brain work, and I think that is the best part of these contests. I write things I wouldn’t normally think of writing or with restrictions I wouldn’t normally place on myself.

See the full rules at the link above, but here is a quick summary: Write a 100 word (or less) Halloween story suitable for children and including the words GHOST, MOON and SPIDER.

Here is my 100 word entry 🙂


Beneath Halloween Moon

On Halloween Night,

The moon sings a song.

I’ll tell you the words,

And we’ll all sing along.

“Whisper and whistle,

Witch, Ghoul, and Ghost.

Come Spider, come Specter,

More scary than most.

Come Beastlies, come boy,

Come Gremlin, come girl.

Dance for the moon,

Tap, twist and twirl.

Frantic and frightful,

A magical tune.

Dance Halloween beasts!

Beneath Halloween moon.”

On Halloween Night,

The moon sings a song.

All the beasts gather,

All the beasts sing along.

Whisper and whistle,

Boy beast and Girl beast.

We all sing along,

To the magical tune.

Dance Halloween beast!

Beneath Halloween moon.

A Song in the Shadows

A Song in the Shadows

A Tiny Tale by Kizzi

“She was Ren, a note dancing on the air.”


“Almost there. Try again.” Her grandmother was being exceptionally patient, but Ren knew she wasn’t almost there. Still, her grandmother looked so hopeful, she couldn’t help but try again.

She pursed her lips and placed her tongue just behind her teeth as her grandmother had taught her. Clearing her mind, she inhaled deeply only to exhale soft and slow letting the air pass through the small gap between teeth and tongue.

Her grandmother tilted her head, eyes sparkling as she strained to hear anything that would indicate Ren had learned to whistle. The faintest pitch would have been celebrated, but no, there was nothing.

Ren sighed and rubbed at her jaw. She was tired from so many hours spent with her lips taut and head lifted.

Her grandmother smiled gently and patted her hand. “Don’t worry dear, it will come in time.” Ren’s shoulders slumped as her grandmother pushed her toward the door. “Play for a while, I’ll call you when dinner is ready.”

She knew her grandmother would first pick up the phone to report on her progress. Despite her grandmother’s unwavering support and continued hope, Ren knew it was far past time that she should have been able to whistle.

She didn’t know about her father, but her mother had had the most beautiful whistle in all the land. Ren could remember few things of her mother, but her whistle would ring in her memories forever.

The high whistle of morning. The fast whistle of play. The soft whistle of night.

To whistle was to be part of everything. To communicate in a way beyond words, in a way that so far had eluded Ren.

The haunting whistles of her people filled the woods each dawn and dusk. It was tradition. It was necessary. It was protection.

Most children whistled as easily as they babbled as babies. Others when they formed their first words. Ren had to be taught such things. How to place her lips. How to hold her tongue. And still, she had never uttered anything near to a whistle.

Ren kicked at some rocks sending them scattering into the woods. Dusk was approaching. She would hear the night whistles any time now. Despite the ache in her jaw, she pursed her lips once more and attempted some slight sound.

Air passed soundlessly between her lips.

She watched the woods, so much darker here than nearer the town. Shadows danced along the ground beneath the trees where light played tricks on the eyes. She had always felt drawn to the woods, but without her whistle to protect her, she had always kept her distance.

Once, she had ventured in with her grandmother.

Their people avoided the woods at all cost, but once her grandmother had dared to walk the narrow path, Ren naught more than a toddler. Ren remembered clinging to her grandmother’s hand, stumbling along the dirt path, her face buried in her grandmother’s full skirts.

Ren also remembered a great sadness. The weight of the trees bore down on them. Their shadows leaping and twisting along the path. Her grandmother was frightened and such fear confused young Ren. She remembered even then, being fascinated with the gnarled branches, the mysteries of the dark woods. But their pace had been swift and Ren was a child, she was nothing more than a spectator in her grandmother’s frantic wake.

Her grandmother had whistled nearly the entire journey. Ren had thought her whistling beautiful, but so different from her own mother’s. Where her mother had rejoiced at whistling in the woods, her grandmother’s whistle faltered and trilled.

The woods were dangerous that is what their people said. Only a whistle, pure and clear and strong could keep the darkness away.

Or so their people said.

The sky was turning brilliant shades of orange and pink and purple as the sun dipped low beyond the woods. Ren listened for the first low note of the night whistle. Her grandmother would be calling her in soon, but she loved to watch the woods at dusk.

The gray light of coming night, softened the sharp edges of the trees. The shadows stretched and faded as if preparing for sleep. And then along the narrow path, that she had never dared to walk again, the Night Shade would open.

Delicate flowers in all shades of night dotted the edges of the winding trail. With leaves of deepest green, they only showed their true beauty at night.

Tonight as Ren waited for her grandmother’s call to dinner, she watched the Night Shade open and at last heard the first low note of the night whistle. The flowers seemed to sway with the notes, opening in time. Without realizing what she was doing, Ren had walked toward the edge of the woods. She only wanted to see the Night Shade up close. Curious if they smelled as wondrous as they looked.

Her foot touched the path and the woods seemed to hum around her.

“I should go back,”she whispered, but her feet moved from memory and the heady smell of Night Shade calmed her thoughts. The smell she remembered from that first journey years ago, but something felt different this time. Not just that she was older and alone, without her grandmother’s whistle to protect her, no it was something else.

She moved along the path that seemed oddly familiar for one she had only traversed once before.

But no, she had not made this journey into the woods, it had been a journey out of the woods with her grandmother. She gasped at the memory.

She walked for a long while, the woods now dark and still. The Night Shade glowing faintly along the path, lighting her way. At last, just as the last of the night whistles faded, she heard something new. A soft humming wove through the trees, teasing the edges of her senses. Stronger the sound came, dark and low and smooth. The deep notes thrumming in her chest so as to make her heart flutter.

The sound pulsed through the woods, until every tree, flower and leaf seemed to throb with it. She swayed and stepped in time, drawn ever deeper along the path.

At last when the hum had reached a point when she could scarcely remember a time before it began, it stopped. She felt the loss in her whole being as her body buzzed with the last vibrations of the sound. She stood before a great wall of rock. The cliff face stretched high above her, the peak lost to the night.

Shadows moved along the rocks. As spiders on a wall. She might have been frightened but the buzzing sound had left her empty and the Night Shade’s scent had filled her. A shell of a girl, without thought of the dangers of the wood.

Whispers echoed along the rock face, buzzed in her ears. The humming almost began again, but more muted this time. A different song, played with the same notes.

A shadow moved away from the wall, gaining size and substance as it moved toward her.

“Why have you come?” The figure stood before her, tall and broad of chest. A man, not so different from the men of her village, though larger. He towered over her, his face hidden in shadow. His voice was low and thick, and hoarse as if from disuse.

Ren didn’t know why she had come. She felt as though she were only now awakening from a dream. Mentioning the pretty Night Shade seemed a childish venture now, and the memory of her toddler self seemed fleeting. In the moonlit shadow of this man, she could think of no reason to be here.

More shadows moved behind him. Fluid figures, that pulsed in and out of the darkness.

The man hummed deep in his chest at her continued silence.

Without thought, Ren found herself responding in kind.

A hum built deep in her belly and worked its way out, sounding clear and soft and pure. A high sweet note of longing. A longing for the woods, the Night Shade, for her whistle that could never be.

The man stood still in the night. The figures behind him frozen at the sound of her song.

When her note faded away, Ren could scarcely believe such a sound had come from her. She clutched at her throat, wanting to feel the vibrations again.

The man stepped toward her and grasped her chin firmly. His hands were coarse, callused, and his fingers spanned her entire jaw. She trembled under his sharp gaze as he leaned in to peer into her eyes.

“Who are you?” He whispered and she felt his breath upon her face. Behind him the other figures shifted nervously, excited whispers running through them.

She was many things. A girl of eight. A Myra that could not whistle. An orphan. A child too deep in the woods. A trespasser.

“Ren.” She whispered, and found that her voice hummed high and fast as a bird in flight. She was Ren, a note dancing on the air. The excitement of a fawn’s first leap, a squirrel at play, a humming song more joyful than her whistle could ever have been.

“Ren.” He said and she recognized the sound. The hum of a song long forgotten. Deep and low and strong as a buck leaping through the woods. Warm as a wolf with his pack. Loving as a father with his child.

He hummed again and it was a song of loss and love. Of one who had been taken and thought never to return. A song of a forbidden love and wife lost years ago. The low sweet hum of a child born and the high cry of a child gone.

Ren did not need to ask him anything, she closed her eyes and listened. The song wove around and through her, telling of her mother, a whistling sprite dancing at the woods’ edge. And of the young man, strong and stubborn and brave, that matched his song with hers. A man of the woods, deep and dark and forbidden. Her mother, of the light, young and sweet and fair. With a lilting whistle that was the promise of her people, and he with a song so very different.

Now only half the song remained.

The woods had called to her mother as they had called to Ren.

His song faded and Ren regarded the man before her. Her father.

In the distance she heard the faintest of whistles. A long, high whistle calling her name. She felt a pull toward her grandmother, soft and warm and familiar, but then her father hummed and his sound was all she’d ever known.

“Welcome home.” He said and she took his hand as he led her into the shadows.

Free-Writing Friday: Whittled Whispers

Whittled Whispers

A Tiny Tale by Kizzi

“…they were not like him. They were not made of such wild and free wood.”


“The wee one slipped away.” The whittler eased onto his hands and knees to peer under his workbench. His joints crackled at the movement, and he squinted to see in the low light. He ran his hands, still large and strong even in his old age, along the dark corners and baseboard.

“Ah!” He exclaimed as his fingers felt the familiar edge of the wee one’s foot. Grasping the little figure firmly so it wouldn’t slip away again, he shuffled from under the bench and onto his stool.

Adjusting his work light, he peered at the little man who always seemed to be disappearing.

He was the whittler’s most recent project. At just three inches tall, he was the tiniest man the whittler had ever carved, and he wasn’t quite done yet, but as soon as the feet had been carved, the figure had been difficult to keep in one place.

A cobweb clung to the figure’s three-point hat. When the whittler gently blew the web away, he was surprised to find the figure watching him.

“I don’t remember giving you eyes.” The whittler murmured. The figure’s carved eyes, open and sightless, stared through the whittler. “Humph. Must be getting old.” He chuckled.

“Alright now, I’m going to put you right here and don’t move.” He set the figure gently but firmly upon his work bench and turned to gather his tools. On the shelves above, hundreds of little figures watched him work. The lion, forever prepared to pounce. The juggler, never catching his final ball. The footman with no coach. The girl with pigtails and pointed toes, always waiting for a crowd that would never applaud.

And now the wee one. The tiniest of men taking shape under the whittler’s expert hand. Lovingly whittled, shaved and sanded, to be placed on a shelf and forgotten. The whittler hummed as he worked and the figures seemed to lean in, remembering when they had been given such attention. When he had hummed over them. When they had felt his worn hands work the wood and bring them to life. When he had smiled and tutted and called them each ‘wee one’.

They watched, in silence as always. Some having a better view than others as they were stuck in whatever position they had been placed. Older ones shoved to the back to make room for the new. They wondered over this new wee one. So much smaller than them. The wood, rich and warm, more alive than any of them had ever been, or ever would be again.

The whittler rolled his shoulders and lifted his head. He held the wee figure up and turned him this way that, appraising him from all angles.

His boots, made to look like soft leather, slouched and folded over at the ankle. His breeches tight from ankle to waist, gave him a comely figure. The tiny buttons on his shirt numbered five, and his coat, double breasted had ten. His fingers, delicately made, were meant for courting and supping and perhaps, at times, dueling. His cheek bones, high and chiseled, complemented his square jaw and serious lips. His brow, sharp and straight, shadowed his wide eyes.

The whittler didn’t remember giving the man such eyes but surely he must have. He did not touch them again, even though he wished to smooth the right one a bit, for if the tiny man were real, the whittler feared he would be blind in that eye.

The wee one’s hat with three points, cocked slightly to the left gave him an air of importance. The whittler imagined he might have black hair beneath such a cap.

The whittler took out a soft cloth and a bit of oil and worked the wood over in his hands. The figures on the shelves knew the end was near now. Soon the whittler would whistle, soft and low, smile gently, and set the tiny creation next to one of them where it would stay forever and ever.

They loved the end. Not when it had been their turn, of course, but when it was the end for another, that meant the whittler would look up. He would reach toward the shelves where they waited so many years to be seen again. His hands might brush against one or grasp another to move it aside and, for a moment, the figure would remember what it had been like to be held in the whittler’s strong hands. The figures watched, and waited, each one hoping the new tiny man would be placed beside them.

The whittler whistled and the figures trembled in anticipation.

His eyes lifted and the shadow of the light might have been the horse arching its neck or the sailor puffing his chest. A flutter of air and the girl in the bonnet dipped her chin while the maiden on the rocks batted her eyes. The creak of the door and the goat might have bleated or the curly coated dog whined.

The old man blinked, his sight bleary with age, and felt along the shelves for a spot to place the tiny man. He moved the figures gently but without much thought. They had been projects, loved at one time, but now they were decoration, memories for his shelves. Things to be put up and remembered only when he needed to make room for new ones.

He cleared the tiniest of spaces between the mounted officer and the woman at the well.

“Up you go,” he said. He nestled the figure high on the shelf, his fingers lingering longer than usual. This one felt different, the wood wild and warm beneath his touch. The wood, small and so dark as to be nearly black, he had found along the sea. He had carved many pieces from drift wood but none had felt like this. None had held his attention once they were carved and at last placed upon the shelf.

He continued to grasp the little man. He thought of putting him in his pocket and it seemed as though the figure thrummed at the thought. But no, though he was old, he was not prone to such sentimentality. The work was finished, the tiny man in his three-point hat would stand on the shelf and wait for the courtier who would never come and the man who would never duel him for her hand.

When, at last, the whittler switched off his light and closed the shop door, the figures sighed and settled in to return to their long slumber. They understood the man was old, and it might be a very long time before he stepped into the shop again. It had been many, many months, perhaps even years, for the figures were not so good at gauging the passing of time, since the man had last carved a figure.

The man in the three-point hat was not content to slumber. He sensed the figures around him, like him but so unlike him in their sleepy acceptance of the way their world was. He felt them slip away, even before the whittler was completely gone from sight. The tiny man was more awake now than he had ever been, ever since the whittler had carved his feet, he had been determined to return to the sea.

He supposed it had been good luck in some ways to have washed up and been turned into a fine figure, but his home was the sea and he would not be collected and forgotten as these others were so inclined to be.

It was unfortunate about his eyes though. Pushing himself about when only his feet had been carved, proved less than useless and when he had rubbed his face into the whittler’s tools, he had carved less than ideal eyes for himself. In fact, the right one was very nearly useless. He might have used his fine hands to whittle himself a better set, but he was made of wood after all, and though his hands and arms were perfectly made, they were perfectly useless. His feet were slightly less useless. They didn’t move exactly, but he could rock himself a bit and move after a fashion.

He felt the mounted officer awaken when he bumped his horse. Then the woman at the well startled awake too. Curious as to the strange behavior of this tiny man, they whispered until all the other figures were awake once more and watching, as best they could, the progress of the man.

The tiny man, sensed the others watching him, but he cared little for them as they were not like him. They were not made of such wild and free wood. They did not know what it was to be real.

They whispered that they might go with him. They whispered that he might find the whittler, that he might make them seen.

“Silence!” The tiny man said, and he, as were the others, found himself shocked to hear his voice. “I seek the sea. I wish only to be free.” He thought it a cruel joke that his voice worked so well while the rest of him was nothing more than decoration.

The princess made of pine whispered that he might take her hand, but he did not answer her. He rocked on his tiny feet in his tiny boots until he was very near the edge.

The cat made of burnt oak hissed that he would shatter from such a height, but he did not heed the feline. He rocked ever closer until he could see the work bench far below and floor even farther.

The eagle made of walnut clacked that he might carry him, and this did interest him. He rocked and wobbled toward the eagle not thinking of how he would climb upon the eagle’s broad back or how the eagle might flap his wings, forever frozen in flight.

The tiny man rocked his way along the shelf but he was made of wood, wild and free, and his right eye did not work so well. He tried to watch his path, but he was thinking of the sea. He imagined soaring from this room and splashing deep, deep into the dark waters.

He did not see the bear, with fish caught in its claws, tall and wide on his right side. He rocked into the bear and then back into the bowing dog, forever ready to play.

The bear tipped slightly into the cowboy whose lasso fell upon the rearing horse. The dog pushed into the beaver whose dam was made of finest fir, and when it shattered, the limbs rolled into the tall toy soldiers. Ever at attention, the soldiers tipped like dominoes.

The tiny man of just three inches made scarcely a sound as he fell. The other figures, tall and stout, great and heavy, crashed and yelped and fell with great clamor.

Shuffling feet in the hall moved more quickly than they had in many years. Another set of feet moved too. Tiny feet. Fast feet. Young feet.

The light switched on and the whittler gasped at scene before him.

Figures lay upon the bench, sideways on the shelves, and many even on the floor. Squinting, he could just make out the tiny man lying all alone on the table. As he reached for him, the small footsteps caught up and a child pushed through the door.

“Grandpa!” The child said. “What was that noise? What are these toys?” The child scooped up the bear and held it tight to his tiny chest. Then he picked up the cowboy and held him under the light turning him around to see his tiny spurs.

“They’re not really toys.” The whittler said a bit gruffly. But then his hand closed over the tiny man and the wood, wild and warm, calmed his thoughts. He thought of the sea, gentle against the shore. He thought of his work and the hours he had spent carving each of the figures. He remembered the joy he had felt as a boy, stumbling into his father’s workshop. The joy he had thought never to pass on, but here was his grandson, setting the figures upright and gathering them into his arms.

The figures whispered to one another excitedly. They felt the old man’s eyes upon them but the hands were not his. These hands were new and soft and young. These hands were full of life and love. These hands had not made them, but they knew them in a way that brought great joy. The wooden figures preened and swelled and tittered at all the attention.

The whittler ran his fingers over the smooth figure in his hand. The tiny man stared up at him, one delicate hand cracked but otherwise unharmed from his fall. His three-point hat still sat perfectly cocked and his tiny feet seemed ready to slip away if given the chance again.

“The wee one slipped away.” The whittler surveyed his shop where his grandson had now gathered up all the figures and was having quite the play time.

“I think you should stay with me.” And he slipped the figure into his pocket.

The tiny man rocked on his tiny feet, but he could not move from the pocket. He could not see the world. He could not feel the sea, but he could hear the other figures whispering and laughing and merry as the tiny child helped them move and dance and play.


I’m thinking of sharing more free-writing exercises because what fun is a story if it’s not shared? I did clean up any typos in the above work, but otherwise it is unedited. I knew I’d get a text from my most astute friend if I had any typos 😉

Thanks for reading and I would love to hear your free-writing response to the following prompt:

“When the engine died at last, she knew they were well and truly stranded.”

Free-write for a set amount of time (try 5 or 10 minutes) and share your response in the comments. When you free-write, don’t worry about punctuation, typos, or grammar. Just write! Let your mind take you anywhere and see where the story goes. I would love to read your writing!

My Writing Prompt Response

I must thank a fellow blogger for this post. Trisha, over at trishajennreads posted a Wednesday writing prompt , and I felt particularly inspired. You can click through the link to visit her site or I have pasted the prompt as follows:

Write 250 to 500 words on this prompt:

Very little grows in the desert.

Go ahead–get writing! Write whatever comes into your head and just let the words fly. Don’t worry about editing. Just write. Share your scene or story in the comments of tomorrow’s post.

I have several writings in progress (WIPs) but one in particular I have been working on a lot recently. I’m not sure where the story is going and I don’t have all the details ironed out, but this prompt led me to write a scene.

This has been the method to my madness lately, scene by scene writing. The scenes are not necessarily related and I write them in no particular order. When the characters pop into my head doing something, I write it down. I’m letting the characters lead me and I’m hoping it will all come together in the end. And if not, well it’s still been fun 🙂

And now here is a portion of the scene which was inspired by this prompt. This is unedited and just for fun. It may or may not make it into the final version of my story but for now, my two adventurers are discovering very little grows in the desert…

“Very little grows in the desert.”

“I’m forgetful, not stupid Axel.”

“One can never be too sure,” He purred, pleased with himself. Andarra huffed and set off down the dune, slipping and sliding in the deep sand.

“Where are you going?” Axel called, not wanting to leave his perch aboard their ship.

“There.” She pointed, and in the distance Axel could just make out a glimmer of green against the backdrop of black sand. He sighed.

“It is likely a mirage.” He grumbled. “As I said before…”

“Very little grows in the desert.” She mimicked him, adding a growl at the end. He said nothing but leaped from the bow and padded gracefully down the steep slope.

“We shouldn’t be here. There are tales of this planet. True tales. Terrible tales.” He stepped gingerly next to her, the sand hot against his paws. She didn’t acknowledge his words and scarcely acknowledged his presence. “Do you know where we should be?” He growled at her silence and his burning paws. “If you insist on running away, there were other worlds to pick from. Why this world of all worlds?”

“I have a feeling.”

“Oh, a feeling! Your feelings got us into this mess. Maybe you should follow those feelings and return to the High City.” He hopped along the sand, hissing with each step.

“You have boots.”

“You are changing the subject.” He hissed. She shrugged.

“You should wear your boots.”

“Well, we don’t always do as we should.” He glared at her. She held his gaze but said nothing. “Boots are undignified for one such as myself.”

“Shall I carry you?” She smirked. “Or is that undignified for one such as yourself as well?”

He leaped to her shoulders and kneaded his aching paws into her thick shawl.

“A king is often carried by his servants.” He purred. “Quite dignified indeed.”

Technically we are supposed to share our responses to the prompt tomorrow, but I just loved this prompt for some reason and wanted to share it with all of you in the hopes that you might be inspired to write as well.

I would love to hear what you come up with, or head over to Trisha’s blog and share your response there. It’s always great to comment and build the blogging community!

Happy writing!

Three Show Saturday!

I have not been a diligent blogger lately.

My life has felt like a three show Saturday or maybe even a three ring circus as I attempt to get my shop ready for business.

I’m looking forward to having time to get back to my blog schedule once the shop is open 🙂 I’m still reading and reviewing books, just haven’t posted as often as I should.

So today is really a three show Saturday because I’m bringing you writing prompts, book reviews, and some quotes!

Too much?

Never!

Who wants writing inspiration?

I do! I do!

I’d love to hear some of your favorite quotes in the comments below or let me know what you’re reading this week 🙂

And now ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages…on with the show!

I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.
– Stephen King

I love thrillers. I don’t care for horror so much, but nail-biting, what’s inside the closet, don’t look under the bed, kind of stories are the best. I love to think about what might be lurking in the abandoned house at the end of the road.

This children’s book isn’t exactly creepy or a thriller, but it is strange.

Rosie the Raven

Written and Illustrated by Helga Bansch

rosie raven

Rosie hatches from an egg just like her brothers and sisters, but that is where the similarities end. Sure she’s a little different, but she’s still a raven….right?

“Rosie the Raven” written and illustrated by Helga Bansch is a bizarre, but enjoyable story. The illustrations are incredible and the book could be read over and over just to look at the pictures. The story itself may not be for everyone. Rosie is a tiny human hatched out of an egg and raised by Ravens. There is no explanation given for this, but that’s ok, it works. Rosie is precious and her raven family appears to love her very much. The family dynamics are cute and the message of being confident, even if you’re different, is a great one.

I read something recently that said sometimes as a writer, we are too nice to the main character. This was eye opening for me. In some of my favorite stories, the protagonist suffers greatly and has to overcome so many obstacles, but often in my own writing I didn’t want to cause my precious protagonist any undue stress or pain.

Make your character suffer.

It makes sense really, but it’s definitely hard to let bad things happen to your beloved characters. As a fun exercise, take your character and put him/her in a mundane situation, then think of all the things that could possibly go wrong. How does your character respond?

A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God.
– Sidney Sheldon

I am loving Zondervan publishing. They make such wonderful Biblical themed books for children. I also didn’t realize Christian/Biblical fiction was such a huge thing. I remember reading the Left Behind series years ago, but otherwise, I’m pretty unfamiliar with this genre.

The Adventure Bible: Great Stories of the Bible

Pictures by David Miles

great stories of bible

From the Adventure Bible series comes another great collection of I Can Read stories bound in one hardback volume. This great collection of six stories includes fully illustrated Old and New Testament stories. From the creation story to parables of Jesus, each story has been carefully summarized from the Bible in words beginning readers will easily grasp. Engaging, exciting and incredibly illustrated, this book will be treasured by parents and children alike.

In “The Adventure Bible: Great Stories of the Bible”, Zonderkidz delivers another great selection for beginning readers. Geared toward newly independent readers aged 6-8, this book may be enjoyed by children reading alone or with the help of an adult. Short, interesting sentences and beautiful illustrations will keep the attention of even younger children. Some stories include a short Biblical passage, but every story includes a summary page at the end with more information from the Bible. A great resource for churches and youth groups, this is truly a beautiful collection of stories that would make a lovely gift.

I love the idea of retelling old stories. Whether drawing inspiration from religion, or from other ancient tales, there are themes of love, loss, betrayal, deceit, faith, and forgiveness that resound across culture and time.

Think about your favorite parable from Jesus or another of your favorite stories. Think about the characters and their motivations. What if your character was in the same situation? How would your character respond? Does your character seek forgiveness from someone? Why? Did your character betray someone? Why?

In stories and in real life, I love attempting to understand what motivates people. We all react to situations in vastly different ways and our characters do to.

The wonderful world of writing! These are the reasons I love it 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and happy writing!

I review for BookLook BloggersReviews PublishedProfessional Reader

Thank you to BookLook Bloggers and Net Galley for copies of these books in exchange for my honest review.

(Three) Story Saturday

I just got back from Cincinnati, where I visited the circus and saw the elephants for what might be the last time. As many may or may not know, the elephants will be retired in May. It’s a sad time for my friends, and many others, who love the elephants more than anything and have devoted their lives to caring for these magnificent creatures.

There is so much I want to say on this topic and I wish people understood more about the amazing bond between the elephants and their handlers, but I will post more about that later.

I didn’t get my post up this week because of the trip, but I will have lots of elephant pictures for you in the next post.

I am back home, but my friends are in the midst of a three show Saturday!

I’ll be drawing from a couple writing inspirations today for this story Saturday.

  1. The circus
  2. This wonderful post from Linda Ashman about dialogue only stories.

I urge you to check out Linda Ashman’s post at Carrie Charley Brown’s blog where Reading for Research in going on this month. There are a ton of great posts about structuring picture books, along with tons of great recommendations for mentor texts. I am learning so much and getting inspired!

Today, these prompts are all about dialogue! Three prompts in three categories. Use as many, or as few, of the prompts from each category to craft your own “dialogue-only” story. If you want to write in true picture book form, give yourself a word limit…200 or 300 words or less.

Now, I present….inspiration for your Story Saturday 🙂

Scene

  1. The show’s about to start, your characters are backstage but they are missing an essential prop for their gag.
  2. Your characters are visiting a circus for the first time.
  3. Your characters have never seen an elephant before!

Characters

  1. The Ringmaster, and a clown
  2. Little girl and her grandpa
  3. The tiger trainer, the elephant trainer, and the camel trainer

Dilemma

  1. The clown’s shoes have been stolen.
  2. The tent isn’t up yet and the show will start soon.
  3. The camels don’t like their new costumes.

Hope these prompts spark some fun dialogue! As always, I would love to hear how your story turned out or your thoughts on “dialogue-only” stories.

May all your days be circus days!