Tag Archives: Fiction

The Great Speech Maker

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields

“We have reached the mountaintops, the first step on our way to the stars.  With much effort we have scaled these heights, overcome these obstacles.  We can turn and look back across the dusty plain of adversary, the desert of our past, and be proud of our accomplishments.  We have done it on our own, with our own two feet.  We…”

“Dad, do you have to do this every time we go hiking?”

“Quiet dear, he’s on a roll.  This one might even be more epic than his “Pit of Despair” speech he gave when we visited the Grand Canyon.”

— — —

Word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo provided by © Jan Wayne Fields.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.


What is It?


PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

It’s a torch, for occult ceremonies.  Skulls go in the tray

I say it’s exercise equipment for gnome children.

It’s a bird zapper.  Ten trillion volts and, pow! they’re vaporized.

I think it’s a beacon for space aliens.

It’s a ghost catcher.

No, a fairy playground.

Medieval torture device.  Looks wicked to me.

I think it’s a huge watch tower for ants.

No, it’s a… oops, here come some adults.

Hey kids, playing through.  Move aside.

Watcha doin’?

Playing Frisbee golf.  That’s sixth hole.

Frisbee Golf?  That’s weird.

Adults imagine the strangest things.

Yeah.  They’re funny that way.

Yep.  Odd.

— — —

Word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo provided by © Douglas M. MacIlroy.  Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

Midnight’s Flower


(Note – I wrote this in 2010.  You’ll see references to things from that era.  Back then I did not write poetry.  Ever.  So the poems in here are, well, they are supposed to be written by high school kids, so…  This is unedited, just as I “found” it.)

“What’s this?”  Zachary Wooldridge picked a spiral-bound notebook out of the weeds.  He was sitting on a rock in his favorite hiding spot, a small open area hidden from the main path that ran through the patch of woods behind his house.  Situated near the top of a hill the little private zone afforded a view out over town, though with the residential trees, the nearby river and more distant hills as a backdrop he often imagined he was a million miles from the nearest person instead of smack-dab in the middle of town.

Zack turned the notebook over in his hands a few times.  The front cover was an unadorned black.  The back was what drew his interest for a rose was inked in by hand, a rose all in black with the lines being created by un-inked areas of cardboard brown.  Care was taken to make every petal stand out, contrasting with the crudely drawn oversized thorns.  One thorn near the bottom had a large ink-black drop which Zack guessed was supposed to be blood.

Leafing through the notebook Zack found it to be full of poetry written with the same black ink.  The print was small and plain, but was tight, exact, somehow creating a sense of urgency or pain.  Because of the neatness Zack could only imagine a female hand creating the print, thinking of his own sloppy, spidery text.  In his mind he saw a tall, thin girl dressed all in black holding a black pen with a hand fringed with black fingernails gracefully sharing her innermost thoughts with the notebook, occasionally brushing raven black hair out of her eyes.

Zack read through a few poems at random.  He was amazed at some of the imagery and multidimensional facet of the poems.  For instance, “Forgotten Skin” seemed to be about walking around “dressed” only in bones – “When I went out today; I forgot my skin.”  The poet though, stays invisible – “Bony hand holds the door; he doesn’t see or care.”  And yet, to Zack, it seemed to say so much more, to cry out for attention. Continue reading

Shelter – #writephoto


Photo by Sue Vincent

Note – this is a continuation of the last two #write photo stories.  Part 1Part 2. Part 3.

I saw daylight in front of us and started to rush, but the little king held me back.  It wasn’t long before we could see the sky.  The butterfly flew out into the open and I watched it, half envious of its freedom.  Little hands grasped me.  Looking down at Silriend I realized that I was just one step away from a large drop.

“Follow me,” the little man said.

There was a hidden way chiseled into the stone.  After a very short passage, we found ourselves at the top of a stone ladder.

Silriend went first, then me, then the prince and Merla guarded the rear.

We stopped at the bottom to regather.  It didn’t take a genius to know that there would soon be Snow Demons crawling all over the land trying to find us.  We had to meet up with our people, with Thworn, and leave Slore as soon as possible.  But I hated to leave our little bit of shelter to search them out.

I shouldn’t have worried, for we walked for only five minutes before we saw our people.

“What did you find?” Thworn asked when he saw me enter the camp.  “Did you find a safe way into the stronghold?”

Prince Branfel pushed past me before I could answer.

“Ah, Thworn, my trusted lieutenant,” the prince said.  “I should have known that you would rescue me.  What a brave and daring plot you had.  I will make sure you are richly rewarded.” Continue reading

Looking for Beta-Readers!

The Halley Branch Cover - front

I’m looking for Beta-Readers for the Halley Branch.  You may have actually read this book!  Yes, I originally posted this as a serialized novel a few years back.  But it has changed a bit since then. Mostly some details have been filled in, characters made “real” and that type of stuff to make a bunch of blog posts become an actually book.

The Book

The book is a bit of a ghost story with “magic” and strange philosophy.  Paranormal?  I think of it as some place between contemporary fantasy and horror, perhaps closer to horror.  Not copying Stephen King, but in that vicinity.  I am posting the blurb at the bottom of the page.  The book is about 100K words.  There is some (not much) “bad” language and a few “adult situations”, though nothing in any graphic detail (if you make it past the first chapter, you are set).  Maybe one or two disturbing scenes, though these were posted on the blog without any complaints (as was most of the more sexual parts).

Where We Are

I finished the fourth draft of this two months ago.  Last week I read through it and made some minor tweaks.  After I get feedback I will do at least one more revision, perhaps a draft if called for.  After that it will go into editing mode, correcting all of those pesky mistakes that always show up. Continue reading

Valley – #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

Note – this is a continuation of the last two #write photo stories.  Part 1Part 2. 

As our captors lead us from the middle of the depression I studied them closely.  The Snow Demons were material for our worst nightmares.  Few have faced them and escaped unscathed, none who were captured were seen again.  The tales and legends where horrific.

The truth was far from the myth.  To all appearances the Snow Demon were normal people, just plain folk.  They did have unusually pale skin and blue eyes.  But those blue eyes showed all of the emotions that any other human would have.

We reached a higher ridge.  Looking to the west, across a low valley, I could make out the ridge we had followed all day before being captured by Silriend’s band of wee-folk. There seemed to be a sudden drop and half I remembered seeing the jagged cliffs on this side.  Our tunnel underground must have brought us by the cliffs.  Looking to the east was another valley.  I could make out a village near a river.  There were other smaller villages scattered around.  The valley was growing dark as the sun set behind the ridge we were on.

Where these villages all there was to the mighty fortress? Continue reading

The Halley Branch Cover Reveal Part 2

The Halley Branch Cover - front

Yesterday I posted the cover for The Halley Branch.  Today I want to say a few things about it.

Several months ago I asked some people how early they do a cover reveal.  i was very surprised that most said 4 to 6 months.  I had someone say their publishing company did the reveal before the book was even finished!  So now that it is out there, I can use the image when I talk about it.

Some of you read the rough draft of the book when I posted it as a serial.  Do you recognize this image? Continue reading

Cover Reveal – The Halley Branch!

The Halley Branch Cover - front

It is still several months out, but I thought you all might like to see what the cover for The Halley Branch will look like.

What do you think?  Like it?

Here is a rough draft of the front and back together.  This is subject to change.  (I will have a second post with some conversation about the cover later): Continue reading

Sisters – Season’s Version


(Note – This is a more finished version of two stories that I posted here several years ago.   It is in my book of short stories Seasons of Imagination.)

The bustle and buzz emanating from the hall announced the arrival of the kids long before they’d actually entered the classroom. They usually drove together from the high school, arriving en masse, a little gaggle on their own. The energy level of the room rose even though the small tribe was still in the hall.

Paul glanced over at the other students. He wasn’t sure if it was the early time of day or just the nature of the class, but all of the others were retirees. The five of them, Margret, George, Shelley, Ellen and Marilyn, though friendly enough, seemed to keep to themselves, their easels huddled to one side of the room as if afraid the high school kids had some type of contagious disease.

Paul, a young computer programmer and so a member of neither group, set up in the middle of the room, a firewall between the volatile youth and the more sedate retirees. Sarah Graudot, the drawing instructor, was Paul’s contemporary, give or take a few years, but was different. She had the ability to treat all equally and the instinct to understand who needed her help.

“Hey Mrs. G, guess what?” Paul turned to the door to see Shawna entering followed by her groupies. “The academy accepted me! I’ll be going to New York next year.” Continue reading

Ahead – #writephoto


Photo by Sue Vincent

“Let’s stop here,” Merla said.

We were slightly off of the well-worn path and hidden from most directions.  The trail had taken a high ridge, for visibility I was sure, but our path to the side was nearly invisible.  In ways it was risky.  If we couldn’t be seen, we ourselves wouldn’t be able to see those approaching.  But then we decided that, I, who by reputation could hear an ant walking from a kilometer away, would be able detect anyone who approached.  Where my ears left off, my nose picked up.  Friends and enemies both said I could smell danger, whether to face it head on or run from it depended on who was talking.

It was just a short rest to take a little food.  I knew Merla also wanted to plan our next step.  I watched her and let her think.  It was pleasant watching Merla, but I also had to think about how we were sitting in this most unlikely, and very dangerous, spot, just the two of us. Continue reading