100 Word Wednesday: Setting the Scene #amwriting #flashfiction #100WordWednesday


Thanks to Bikurgirl for hosting #100WordWednesdays.

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Credit: Bikurgirl

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The high school drama teacher, Mr. Elf, decided the school would peform a modern English version of “The Canturbury Tales.” Vernon was recruited to help paint the set and he would’ve been pleased to paint the entire set alone; however, he had to share creative control with Stacy who was also a ‘so-called’ gifted artist. Much fighting occurred.

The day before the performance the extras hung the scenery. Mr. Elf was shocked to see exactly half of the set painted in a superb realistic manner while the other half was rendered using fantastic painterly strokes in the style of impressionist painters. The set was discussed enormously by the audience at all three performances and neither Vernon or Stacy will speak to each other to this day.

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Sunday Photo Fiction: The Exception #amwriting #flashfiction 


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF.

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Credit: A Mixed Bag

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In their years of friendship, Alise and Janelle never fought except over Chaz Monroe. He dated Alise in high school causing a huge argument between the girls. 

“I liked him first you know that Alise,” Janelle had said. “Why are you still seeing him?” 

“We’ve been going out three-years Janelle. We’re planning a life together.” They’d been drinking vodka and Janelle threw hers on Alise. 

Then Chaz left for university and broke up with Alise. He dated another girl and Alise and Janelle reconciled over their disgust of Chaz’s tart

Ten- years later, Chaz came back to town. He was still handsome and Alise and Janelle had both secretly been in contact with him.

 Chaz visited Janelle first but when he came to Alise’s he told her, “I missed you so much, Alise. I’m sorry I ever broke up with you. Would you consider giving us a second chance?” 

Alise agreed, she loved Chaz. But when Janelle found out about Alice and Chaz she invited her friend over under false pretences of congratulating her. 

Janelle mixed neat vodka’s for them both and threw candied cherries in their drinks. Alise took a few sips, choking on the weird tasting cherry. She was shocked to see Janelle slumped over dead as she too succumbed; Janelle had poisoned them both. 

They had always been bestfriends except when it came to Chaz Monroe. 

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©Mandibell16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Interview With Michele Vecchitto


Hi everyone! Wonderful to see you again for this biweekly interview with Michele Vecchitto. Michele is a friendly and kind woman who has a talent for writing wonderful poetry and engaging stories. I have been following her for a couple of years now, so I hope you will like her writing as much as I do. You can visit her blog here: Steps Times Two – Love and Life . . . The Second Time Around.


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Credit: Michele Vicchetto

1. Hi Michele, Please Tell Us About Where You’re From?

I live in Niantic. It’s a lovely town on the Connecticut shoreline that somehow manages to hold on to the charm of days gone by while still offering all the conveniences I might need.

One of the many treasures in Niantic is a used bookstore called The Book Barn.It now has four or five satellite locations, but the main store is a complex which includes a large barn and several quirky, smaller buildings, each overflowing with books devoted to a particular genre. The few resident cats and some goats, add to its unique vibe. It’s a place to spend the day and get lost in books. Niantic also recently opened a new boardwalk along the beach that offers fantastic views and a place to meet neighbors.


2. Can You Tell Us More About Yourself, Your Everyday Life?

I’m the second of four sisters. My family is especially close and the fifteen children my sisters and I have between behave more like siblings than cousins. My parents are definitely the foundation of our lives. I love everything about belonging to a large family – the support, the laughter, the chaos, and the history we create.

My three children are young adults, busy finding their place in the world. In some ways, they could not be more different from one another, but they remain close. I’m enjoying watching them evolve into the adults they will become. I’m proud of the choices they’ve made and the direction each of them is following in life.

I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life. My husband and I have been married just over five years. Mark is an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.

Our personalities are different but we complement each other well. We are each other’s top priority and do everything we can to support each other in our many endeavors. We’ve intertwined our families and I feel blessed to have his three strong, caring, and talented children in my life as well. They, along with their families, are a vital part of my life.

On a professional level, I teach middle school Literature and Language Arts. I love working with students of this age. It’s my favorite age group of kids. I’ve taught math and science and enjoy teaching each subject, but I’m most thrilled to spend my days sharing Literature with my classes. Preteens and teens this age are discovering their voice and it’s exciting to see the world through their eyes.

Additionally, I work as a freelance editor. I’m working with an audio book company and enjoy the exposure to books I might not otherwise read.


“I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life. My husband and I have been married just over five years. Mark is an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.” – Michele Vecchitto


3. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging? 

I started my blog in 2014 as a way of keeping myself disciplined about writing, but I’ve always been a writer. I kept journals as a teenager and still have poems I wrote for a memorable class in high school.

My teacher, Ms. Jordan, helped me discover my voice and probably inspired me to become a teacher. I was a stay at home mom for fifteen-years, and when my children were in school, I’d spend eight or more hours a day writing. I took writing classes and completed two novels and a few children’s books.

When I divorced in 2007 and returned to work full time, I lost some of my dedication to the craft. Steps Times Two is my blog and remedy to not being able to write all day anymore.


4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean To You? Why Do You Write?

I’ve always been a writer as mentioned earlier. I many of my stories and poems from younger days and used to write tales for my kids, nieces, and nephews.

I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.

Beyond these meanings, I love the way writing connects people. I am so excited to be able to talk with people from all over the world about subjects I have brought up or someone else has written about. It sounds sappy, but I believe people are more alike than different and we all have something to share. I am a big fan of the community writing fosters between writers and readers (etc).


“I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.” – Michelle Vecchitto


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Credit: Michele Vecchitto

5.  Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?

Sometimes motivation comes from pure emotion. I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of it’s own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.

Inspiration for me can come from anywhere: a look between two people; a snippet of conversation I overhear; the expression on someone’s face when they don’t notice I’m looking; and/or an unexpected situation or some mundane activity we all experience. Music also inspires me. My playlist has a bit of everything on it and I love to hit play and let my mind drift. Sometimes I’ll find something to write about immediately and other times, I have to file an idea away and let it resurface when it’s ready.

As well, I’m a huge fan of writing prompts and blogging events. It’s a terrific way to stay involved in the writing community and interact with other people. I love to follow and read what other people are writing because each piece leaves me with something to think about and offers a varied perspective to consider. Prompts for me are similar to a puzzle. Each of us figures out how to put the pieces together in a different way to create authentic images. It’s fun when someone has a completely unique take on the same prompt.


6. Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer to Write?

I prefer to write in the mornings, although, it’s not always possible. During the week, I will write when I come home from teaching school. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I’d write from the time the kids went to school until they came home. I miss those days! I’m hoping to stay home next year and write full time.


“I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of its own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.” – Michele Vecchitto


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Credit: Michele Vecchtto

7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? 

I have my blog which I try to work on each day. I also post on Poet’s Corner on WordPress and do my best to keep up. I am working on a historical fiction novel based on my husband’s grandfather who escaped from Poland in the early 1900’s. I’m enjoying the research portion of this novel greatly. In addition, I recently cleaned up a YA novel I wrote about ten-years ago. My romance novel also needs editing and I have two short stories to finish.

My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!


8. Can You Tell Us About What Your Publishing Process Has Been for Some of Your Writing?

I’ve had poems published in anthologies and in places like The Reverie Journal. I have self-published two volumes of poetry which can be found on Amazon. I’m considering adding a third volume but I think my next push will be seeking a publisher for a novel.

Years ago, when I had more time, I was organized about sending my work out. I had a contract with Blue Mountain Arts and several ‘good rejections’ from publishing houses. I took classes and attended conferences. I think networking is a huge part of the publishing process and hope to get back to it in the next year.

I’ve been invited to participate in the Austin International Poetry Festival next April. Eight of my poems will be included in their anthology and I plan to travel to the event to do some readings.


“My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!” – Michele Vecchitto


9. Are You Able to Describe Your Writing Process To Us?

My writing process varies, depending on the type of project I’m working on, but it always includes music. I have a million playlists and a great pair of headphones.

The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me. If I’m working on a poem, I jot ideas or prompts on post-it notes and arrange them around my writing space.

If I’m working on a formal piece, I’ll have notes on rhyme schemes and various types of poetry. After I write, I’ll look for photos to accompany what I’ve written and then decide on a title. My titles always happen last.

If I’m working on a novel or short story, the music part is the same, but I’ll have notes on my bulletin board or in folders which I can flip through. I also send rough drafts to my sister Maureen. She’s read everything I’ve ever written and offers me honest feedback. She’ll tell me what works for her as a reader and what doesn’t, then I go back and edit.

I set my larger pieces aside, sometimes for days but often for months, and then return to them so I can see them with fresh eyes. My YA book has been through three major revisions already and I think it’s almost ready to send out.


11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading? Any Genres In Particular?

 I’m not sure you can be a writer without being a reader. I love both equally and will read almost anything. I like to balance my writing with quick, light reads and books which require more concentration. I’m  a big non-fiction reader. It must be the teacher in me, but there’s never too much knowledge to learn. I always want to discover new things.

My own writing style has surprised me at times. My YA book is a fantasy novel which is something I’ve never followed, however; a fantasy story was the tale waiting to be told when I tackled the YA book project.

I must confess, I do enjoy writing darker, more provocative pieces. There’s such power there. I enjoy  inspirational pieces as well. Both of these kinds of writing have their place.


“The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.” – Michele Vecchitto


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Credit: Michele Vecchitto

12. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers or Anything Else You Would Like To Add?

I find the more I write, the better I get. It’s a commitment and like any other craft, needs to be nurtured so, keep writing.

I’ve also started a Facebook page and hope to add more writing related posts in addition to my own poems. Twitter has been a great resource for finding writing communities and sharing information for me as well.


13. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs?

I’m not sure I have favorites. I love to read blogs of all styles and content. A friend of mine started a blog in which she combines book reviews and running called Belle of the Book. It’s fun to follow a blog when you know the writer personally. If the writing is good I want to read it.


14. Here is A Piece of Michele’s Writing She Has Shared:

“Deerfield’s Ghosts”

By Michele Vecchitto

deerfield
photo: Atlas Obscura

Wandered into a cemetery

surrounded by a stone wall

hidden in the deep wood

The cold winter’s wind

calling the shadows and

whispering my name

Air weighted with sadness

as tombs of sorrow beckoned

like a house so empty

I stood alone, waiting

as voices of the lost

washed me in time’s tempest

My hands embraced each soul

as I traced those crumbling stones

placed long ago with care

Overcome with tears

as I read of Martha. loving daughter

a life lived five short years

And her mother, wife of John

who shared the same last day

in another time, another place

Night fell and mockingbirds

resumed their evening song, playing chords

that matched a funeral march

Chilled to the bone and wearied

I sank to my knees beside a family plot, crying

Tell me where hope lives

Awareness that each stone was marked

with that date, February 29, 1704,

came slowly, deliberately

Echoes of war drums rang

through the silence as fear

electrified the hallowed space

The massacre of yesterday

forgotten as time moved on

still hosts ghosts of the innocent

Every once and awhile

the lost invite someone back

to share their story

And so I did


Michele says about “Deerfield’s Ghost:” “I love this one because it almost wrote itself. When I came to the point when I narrowed in on a subject, I googled “massacre” to find a specific date to use and came across a list of victims from the Deerfield massacre of 1704. The funny thing is, it included the names and ages of people I had included in my poem.”


More Links To Michele’s Blog Pieces:

  • Ray holds special meaning for me because it was written for a dear friend who passed away. Reading it at his funeral was the first time I’d read my poetry in public and I feel grateful I had a chance to honor him in this way.
  • Small Town Hens is an example of a poem I wrote after I witnessed a situation that made my blood boil. It makes me chuckle now because it captured my disgust at poor behavior.
  •  Light of Love was written after the nightclub attack in Orlando. I will sometimes respond to current events in poetry. This incident demanded a response.
  •  The Choice and Metamorphosis are two old ones that I wrote during very difficult times.  I try to live my life as described in “The Choice” and “Metamorphosis” speaks to the ability to persevere in even the darkest of times.

Thanks to Michele for thoroughly and thoughtfully answering the interview questions. I wish her much luck with her writing and future endeavours. Here is the link to her blog one more time: Steps Times Two.


I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview. If you would like to share and answer interview questions on writing and blogging of any kind, feel free to reach-out to me on my contact page. See you in two-weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

Interview With Jade M. Wong


Welcome back to my biweekly interview series. I hope you all had an amazing holiday and I would like to start the New Year off right with an interview from the sweet and gifted Jade M. Wong. Her blog is called: Jade M. Wong – Writer At Heart. Fangirl by DNA. Struggling Human Until Further Notice.


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Jade M. Wong

1. Jade, Please Tell Us About Yourself?

I’m a New York City girl named Jade M. Wong. In short, I’m a writer in my heart, a fan-girl by DNA, and a struggling human until further notice. I’m often up until 4:00 am at night battling inconvenient words and fantastical stories. If  I were a gazillionaire, I wouldn’t buy a mansion, but a cozy apartment in every city I love. In the meantime, I make do with cozy corners across the internet-sphere.


2. When Did You Start Writing and Blogging and What Does It Mean To You? Why Do You Write?

I’ve been writing and blogging on and off for as long as I can remember. But life has a way of kicking my butt. It’s only this year that I’ve finally been writing and blogging regularly. I’d like to think that ‘life’ and I are now reluctant dance partners and not bitter enemies.

I write because its a way to put myself onto the the page with words. This helps me when I’m trying to revise my writing. I learn where in a particular piece, I am writing badly and where I am writing well. This is a kind of therapy for me and medicine for whatever I’m dealing with in life at the moment.


“I’m often up until 4:00 am at night battling inconvenient words and fantastical stories.” – Jade M.Wong


3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Is There a Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?

Figuratively speaking, I have a muse. She’s a little fairy with thin arms, tiny hands, a sarcastic sense of humor, and a brilliant mind. She’s been with me as long as I can remember, always sending me bits of inspiration at inconvenient times. As a result, I find inspiration in every moment of every day. Not writing, well, it’s simply unthinkable.

My favorite time to write is after the sun sets, when the world is asleep except for me and my muse, and I don’t have to worry about what tomorrow brings.


4. Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects? Can You Tell Us A Little About Them?

I’m currently working on a collection of poetry, as well as playing around with a novel idea (or two). I’ve noticed, the more I write, the more excited my muse becomes and the more ideas flow into my mind. Uncanny how this works, isn’t it?

My published works include a short story titled: Glow In The Dark Stars, which can be seen in The Ghouls’ Review, along with anything I may publish in the future.


:Figuratively speaking, I have a muse. She’s a little fairy with thin arms, tiny hands, a sarcastic sense of humor, and a brilliant mind. She’s been with me as long as I can remember . . .” – Jade M. Wong


5. Can You Briefly Describe The Process You Have Gone Through To Publish Your Writing? What Is Your Writing Process Like?

*Disclaimer: I am definitely not an expert in the world of publishing.*When it comes to publishing, I’ve found it most important to follow the guidelines for each individual magazine I submit to, and to keep my fingers crossed.

My writing process is one part on-the-go and one part wrapped up under my covers like a burrito. During the day as I’m commuting, I write a lot on my phone. When I get home at night, I grab my laptop, get comfortable on my bed with a cup of tea, and write until my muse falls asleep. 


6. Do You Have a Preference For Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Styles or Genres?

My favorite genres to write and read are fantasy, romantic-comedy, young adult fiction, and cozy mysteries, but I’m always willing to try new genres. For example, I recently fell in love with a memoir, Lucky by Alice Sebold, despite the fact my whole life up until then, I tended to steer away from nonfiction.


“When I get home at night, I grab my laptop, get comfortable on my bed with a cup of tea, and write until my muse falls asleep.” – Jade M. Wong


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http://www.pinterest.com

7. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice to Give to Other Writers?

The advice I have to pass along comes originally from a writers more successful than myself. Who better to learn from, right?

J.K. Rowling, the author of the iconic Harry Potter series says: “Sometimes, you have to get your writing done in spare moments here and there.”

Many of us dream of having long days filled with nothing but writing. Perhaps one day, our dreams can be a reality. Right now, however, most of us have jobs we need to pay the bills but we also realize words don’t write themselves. Sometimes, the best time for a writer to write is in the small seconds we have between responsibilities.


8. Is There Anything Else You Want To Share With Us, Pertinent to Your Writing or Yourself?

To everyone trying to be writers, artists, doctors, or architects (etc.) I hope we never give up trying to achieve our dreams.

To everyone trying to change the world, one moment of bravery at a time, I hope we remember love will always trump hate. The world will always needs dreamers as much as it needs doers.

To everyone trying to be themselves, I hope we remember that we are always worth it.


“Many of us dream of having long days filled with nothing but writing. Perhaps one day, our dreams can be a reality. Right now, however, most of us have jobs we need to pay the bills but we also realize words don’t write themselves. Sometimes, the best time for a writer to write is in the small seconds we have between responsibilities.” – Jade M. Won


9. Please Share With Us Your Top Three Favorite Blogs?

In no particular order:

  1. Cooking With A Wallflower – This is a cooking blog, hosted by a lady named Andrea. I love her recipes and all her wallflower finds!
  2. Terrible Minds – This is the blog of Chuck Wendig. He’s a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He blogs about everything from writing to pop culture, and he always makes me laugh. He also uses a lot of swear words and other not-safe-for-kids language, so that may deter you, but I hope it doesn’t.
  3. I’ve also ‘met’ several bloggers on WordPress whom I consider friends, even if I have yet to meet any of them. Their blogs are my favorites, because they are so dear to me. A few of them include: A Reading Writer, Doodles and Scribbles, and Melinda Kucsera, but there are many others!

10. Please Share With Us Some Writing From Your Blog Which You Most Love:

orchid
Credit: http://www.pinterest.com

[Poetry] Everything To Lose

By Jade M. Wong

What was it like to love him?
To answer that question, you need to ask me another,
What was it like to know him?
The man I knew was not known to any other.
He was shy and he was kind,
And he struggled relentlessly with a broken mind.
He showed the world a face that was empty
And he saved his shattered soul for me.
Loving him was loving those pieces
It was taking his soul and smoothing out the creases
It was loving a man so in tune with my needs
He’d rather my heart be whole while his own bleeds.
Why did you love him if it was so hard?
Hard? Loving him was easy, as easy as breathing,
As easy as letting the light in, healing,
Because loving him was embracing both the light and the dark,
It flowed like a stream and like hot fire, it sparked.
Why did you love him?
I loved him because I loved myself
Because I deserved a love like nothing else
I loved him because I had the right to choose
And together with him, we had everything to lose.

© Jade M. Wong 2016


10. Here Are Some Additional Works By Jade You Can Read:

  • A Single Teardrop –  By Jade M. Wong – If you’re a lover of rain…or secret stories.
  • Between The Lines – By Jade M. Wong – If you ever need to know, you are not alone.
  • Stuck – By Jade M. Wong – If you’ve ever felt trapped.

Thank you to Jade for agreeing to be interviewed and answering the interview questions with such personality and care. Jade is an amazing writer and here is her blog link again, in case you’ve missed it: Jade M. Wong


Every two-weeks I feature a writer and/or blogger interview. Some writers are published, some are only starting out, some are only in high school and some are more mature adults. Whoever you are or wherever you are in life, I would love to interview you and feature you on my biweekly blog series. If you’re interested in this please send me a message on my Contact Page. See you in two-weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Flash Fiction for The Purposeful Practitioner: Fiction – Her One #fiction #amwriting 


Thanks to Roger Shipp for hosting FFftPP. 

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Credit: http://www.pixebay.com

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(I truly meant for this to be Flash Fiction, but the story just developed. Sorry about the way – over word count.) 

Grandma June huffed at Natalie, her granddaughter visiting her at home.”You’re not getting any younger, you’re thirty-eight. You can’t barely have babies anymore!” 

Natalie rolled her eyes at Grandma June,”Gran, I’m an elementary school teacher. I like going home and not having to worry about kids.” 

June sighed,”It was that man, you were supposed to marry. He’s a thief and stole your heart; I’m right aren’t I?” 

Natalie ignored June’s question. She hated when her Grandma or anyone, talked about Christopher. She’d never admit he was her one. 

He had been since she was in grade ten and Christopher an attractive senior in high school. It was when he had first asked Natalie out. They’d broken-up, having had incompatible lives with Christopher away at university soon after. 

Then, seven-years-ago, they’d ran into each other and started talking and dating again. Natalie had convinced herself this was finally it. Sadly, a few weeks before the wedding, Christopher had disappeared; the memories were agony for her. 

—–

Two-week’s later, Grandma June called Natalie up to invite her to a wine and cheese night she was hosting for her neighbours. She had tried to decline but June was adamant Natalie attend. 

She arrived at her Grandma June’s surprisingly lively wine party, in jeans and a white t-shirt. She had barely bothered to apply makeup as Natalie had come from the gym and was worn out. 

“Oh you came,” Grandma June said excitedly, approaching Natalie as she let herself inside. She hugged June and kissed her cheek, as June poured Natalie a large glass of red wine and filled her plate with bread and cheese. She winked at Natalie and left her alone in a small sitting room to rest before joining the other guests. 

“Natalie?” A deep voice said. She turned on the sofa towards the sitting room door. Christopher’s voice shocked her, she had almost doused herself in red wine. His familiar timber filled Natalie with great pain. She peered up at him feeling raw, as if he’d only left her yesterday without explanation. 

Tears began dripping down Natalie’s cheeks; she was crying and couldn’t stop herself. Christopher immediately sat down on the sofa beside Natalie and pulled her close; he wiped her tears away with his thumb. She tried to jerk out of his arms, but he wouldn’t let her move. 

“I’m not letting you go, ever again,” Christopher swore.”I can’t explain much about why I had to leave you, only that I didn’t have a choice.” 

Natalie shoved him hard, “You have nothing more to say, nothing at all?” 

Christopher was noticeably upset, “I told you I worked as an IT consultant. But I could never tell you or anyone who I worked for until recently. I worked for Special Forces in the army and I was called out to a job. It’s the only thing I can’t about. The job lasted years, and I wasn’t allowed to contact anyone. We saved countless lives, but it was awful what I did to you and being without you. I’m sorry.” 

Natalie rubbed her swollen eyes, “You’re a liar Christopher. You could’ve mentioned something, anything. What do you want now? To stay for a while and then leave?To rip me apart again?” 

Christopher buried his face in his hand, before gazing up at her: “I’m out now Natalie. I swear to you I work for regular businesses now, nothing to do with Special Forces or the army. I’ve no more secrets other than experiences of war and blood. I came back here for you, I even moved into a house on your Grandma June’s street. I hoped somehow, you and I could be together again. I love you.” 

Natalie made a sound of frustration. Emotions of both anger and feeling relieved assaulted her. Despite her anger at Christopher, Natalie knew inside, there would never be another man for her but him. 

To Christopher’ surprise, Natalie moved to sit in Christopher’s lap and be closer to him, to breathe in how delicious he smelt. 

“Marry me now and we can do whatever celebration our families want later. I’m still mad at you Christopher but you’re it for me. I’ve always loved you and always will. If you can be with me and never leave me like that again, I can forgive you.” 

Christopher nodded at Natalie, saying: “I promise.” He held Natalie tightly and kissed her lips hungrily

Suddenly, there was a loud knock on the sitting room door and Grandma June walked in, a smile on her face. June’s boyfriend Nigel was with her and so was the local United Church minister. 

Natalie looked at Christopher, “Did you do all this?” 

Christopher shook his head, squeezing Natalie tight and kissing her cheek. He pulled out a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring set from his pocket. He slid the engagement ring on Natalie’s finger, and Grandma June handed Natalie a ring which had been her Grandfather’s wedding ring. 

June smiled at Natalie and Christopher, a gleam in her clever blue-eyes. All was at it should be, she thought as her and Nigel witnessed her granddaughter’s wedding ceremony. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Interview with Ryan Stone


Welcome to another interview in my interview series. Originally, I was going to make this a monthly feature, but I had a great response from other bloggers and writers who wish to be interviewed, so I will try it as a series which occurs every two-weeks.
Today, I’m excited and pleased to share with you the talented writer and blogger Ryan Stone of ‘Days of Stone’. Please visit the link provided to read more about Ryan and read his superb poetry.

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Ryan Stone

1. Please Tell Us About Yourself.
The blood of the Irish runs deep in my veins but I’m an Australian born and bred. I was raised in a ‘man’s land’ of karate, fast motorbikes, heavy metal guitars, and football with Aussie rules. My love of reading and writing was not readily accepted. Instead, I was forced to indulge my interests under my bed covers by torchlight. But the poets Seamus Heaney, Kenneth Slessor, Walt Whitman, and Maya Angelou  — all have a way of asserting themselves in my writing.
Although I have no real love of uniforms, I’ve worn a few in my life so far: the combat fatigues of a soldier in the field and driving a battle tank; the torn black denim of a metal guitarist; and the turnout gear of a fire-fighter. I’ve been a rank-and-file cop, a detective, and a member of a plain-clothes special duties team. When all the uniforms are stripped off, I like to think it is the writer who remains.
I have no formal credentials, only an observer’s eye and an insatiable appetite for books. I’m rough around the edges, but the right turn of phrase will stop me dead in my tracks every time. I love MetallicaTed Kooser, and with equal passion, my closest friend in the world, my German Shepherd (don’t tell my wife).

 “When all the uniforms are stripped off, I like to think it is the writer who remains . . . the right turn of a phrase will stop me dead in my tracks every time.” – Ryan Stone 

 2.  When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?
The first time I considered my writing to be writing, was towards the end of high school. I was blessed with an incredibly passionate English teacher who managed to channel a teenage boy’s angst and anger into something less destructive. When one of my poems earned me a kiss from a pretty girl I had a crush on, I knew writing was something I’d stick with.
I’ve never been much of a social media fan. But I reached a point where I became sick of waiting several months for editors to respond to my poetry submissions; I turned instead to WordPress. Along with all the great writing and posts I’m able to read from other writers, I’ve developed a wonderful, supportive group of friends, and readers, who offer feedback and advice in a much shorter time frame than editors. While I still submit to poetry journals, my year of blogging has given me a huge amount of enjoyment and satisfaction.

 3. What Does Poetry Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
To borrow from my favourite quote by Anton Chekhov: Poetry isn’t being told the moon is shining – for me, it is being shown the glint of light on broken glass.
 
I love the way a poem can capture more than a photograph, can carry an image or emotion over time and space, and let me experience someone else’s worldview for a moment. I also like the way reading one of my own poems years after it was written can transport me back to a previous ‘headspace,’ for a moment.

” . . .Poetry isn’t being told the moon is shining – for me, it is being shown the glint of light on broken glass.” – Ryan Stone (borrowing from Anton Chekhov)

4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation To Write?
Nearly all of my poetry begins while I’m running with my dog through the rain forest beside my house. Usually, a thought, a memory, or an observation takes root and nags at me until I jot it down. Sometimes, an unusual word or phrase will catch me the same way. My dog has developed his very own here we go again’ face which he pulls each time I pause during a run, so I can tap out a note or two on my phone.

 5. Do You Find There Is a Time of Day You Most Like To Write?
Predominantly, I write at night, when my boys are asleep, and the house is quiet. I am frequently awake into the small hours of the morning and find my 2:00 am mind is quite adept at slipping out of the shackles my daytime mind imposes. During these hours, I can most effectively explore and develop the notes I jot down during the day.

” I am frequently awake in the small hours of the morning and find my 2:00 am mind is quite adept at slipping out of the shackles my daytime mind imposes.” – Ryan  Stone

6. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects? 
I have two fantasy novels I’m working on at present. One is about a princess who becomes a pirate queen after her parents are murdered, the other is about an orphan boy who becomes a magician and later, a king. Both novels began as short stories which expanded and grew during a couple of National Novel Writing Months (NaNoWriMo). Both novels are over a hundred-thousand words and in need of serious revision. As with everything, time is a killer.
Poetry wise, I’m writing a chapbook with one of my closest internet mates (Ajay) who lives in India. It is loosely based around flowers and cultural differences. I’m currently editing a collection of my Senryu (5-7-5) poems, with the intention of self-publishing a small e-book of one-hundred Senryu poems, in the next few months…unless a publisher comes along sooner.

 7. Have You Published Any Writing or Are You Planning To Publish Works Of Writing In The Future?
I’m fortunate enough to have had many poems published in a number of online journals, print anthologies, and poetry magazines. I never thought anyone other than my mum would enjoy my writing and rarely submitted my writing anywhere until recently.
A few years ago, I wrote a poem called “Unburied Hatchet,” which I thought had a chance of being published, so I submitted it to a couple of places…and was rejected each time. On a whim, I sent it into the monthly competition in Writers’ Forum Magazine (a magazine in the UK to which I subscribe), and was blown away when it won first prize and £100 (quite a lot of money with the Australian exchange rate being what it is). That first win, gave my confidence a much-needed boost and I’ve been submitting ever since.

” I wrote a poem called “Unburied Hatchet” . . .I sent it into the monthly competition in Writers’ Forum Magazine . . .and was blown away when it won first prize and £100.” – Ryan Stone

8. Can You Briefly Describe The Process You Went Through To Publish or Are Going Through To Have Your Writing Published?
 
All my publishing to date has been by submission, so I’ll talk about publishing by submission. Whether it’s a print journal, online review, magazine, blog, or something else, the rules are always the same.
  • Read the publication first, to gain an idea of what style of writing they publish. While it doesn’t hurt to offer something fresh, I usually have a fair idea of an editor’s likes and dislikes before I submit.

 

  •  Read and re-read the submission guidelines before you hit sendAn improperly worded subject line can be enough for an editor to discount the submission without even reading the poem. Some publications request everything in the body of an email, others prefer attachments. Decent editors are inundated with submissions which meet their specific requirements and most, won’t waste their time with sub-standard submissions.

 

  • Take rejections gracefully. Analyze any critiques subjectively and apply critiques if you think they are warranted. BUT DON’T GIVE UP – submit, submit, submit. There are a million homes for poems out there and because a poem isn’t right for one editor or magazine certainly doesn’t mean it won’t be a prize winner for another editor or magazine. While I’m realistic about my own writing, I generally look at rejections as a case of a bad fit, not a bad poem.

 9. What Is Your Writing Process Like?
Almost exclusively, my writing begins as a note or two on my iPhone (often while I’m running) and later develops on my iPad. My writing environment is incredibly vital to me and the Mac/iPad writing program — Ulysses — puts me in an excellent creative ‘headspace.’ I tend to write a first draft quickly once an idea forms and then I’ll put it aside for a week or two, before returning and revising a poem over and over and over…
I am incredibly fortunate to have found a brilliant first reader. She’s an amazingly talented poet in her own right as well as possessing editing skills second to none. For some reason, I’ve yet to understand, she seems to enjoy my writing and conversation and has nurtured and developed my poetry to no end. My first reader’s input is a huge part of my process in developing a poem from initial idea to finished piece.

” I tend to write a first draft quickly once an idea forms and then I’ll put it aside for a week or two, before returning and revising a poem over and over and over . . .” – Ryan Stone

10. Do You Prefer Certain areas of Writing or Reading Styles or Genres?
When I’m reading a novel, it is usually fantasy and almost always a series. Stephen King’s Dark Tower collection is a favourite, as are Game of Thrones, Magician, The Belgariad, Lord of the Rings, and Bernard Cornwell’s Arthurian books.  I play a great deal of electric guitar which draws me to music biographies as well, anything rock or metal is fair game. Additionally, I love short story collections: Italo Calvino takes first prize there, and I read as much modern poetry as I can get my hands on.
Originally, my love of poetry was nurtured by Maya Angelou, Kenneth Slessor, Jim Morrison (The Doors), and Jewel Kilcher. When I first discovered Ted Kooser a few years ago, my own poetry made a huge leap. Kooser’s book, The Poetry Home Repair Manual, was full of ‘Aha!’ moments for me. Most recently, I’ve lost myself in the brilliant Buddy Wakefield and Richard Hugo’s: The Triggering Town.

 11. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice For Other Writers?
I’m not really big on dishing out advice, as everyone writes uniquely. What works for one person, won’t always help another person; but I can certainly share what works for me.
  •  The important thing is to write, write, write and keep writing. It doesn’t have to be good. I have loads of writing which will probably never see the light of day; however, once the first jumble is out of my head, the writing that follows is  much better.

 

  •  I don’t edit my first draft as I write. I write it all down and worry about cleaning it up later. If I’m only editing a word or two, then I’ll delete and replace. If I’m editing a whole line or large section, I cut and paste in a new version – v1, v2, v3, (etc .) and keep each version in the same document. I find it’s much easier to revise without the fear of losing words or ideas I may want to later reinstate.

 

  •  Once I’m happy with a version of my work, I put it aside for a few days and return to it later with ‘fresh eyes.’ I find it much easier to spot weak points, sticky spots, doubled up words, bad rhythm, (etc.), when I’m reading it fresh.

 

  • The poem is more important than the truth. When I’m writing a poem based on an actual event, I find it easy to place value on a thing because its memory is significant to me. Often, I don’t want to let the thing go from the poem. This can become a weak point as the particular thing doesn’t make the poem better and doesn’t hold the same value for the reader. Once I let the poem dictate what to keep and what to cut, rather than trying to stay one-hundred-percent true to my memory, my poetry comes together far tighter.

“Once I let the poem dictate what to keep and what to cut, rather than trying to stay one-hundred-percent true to my memory, my poetry comes together far tighter.” – Ryan Stone


12. Is There Anything Else You Would Like The Share With Us Which You Think Is Pertinent To Writing or Yourself?
An honest first reader who will tell me what works and what sucks without worrying about my feelings, is worth her weight in gold.

 13. Can You Please Share With Us Few Links Of Your Favourite or Most Loved Pieces?  
“Unburied Hatchet”
Until I saw those wasted hands,
brittle as chalk, I hadn’t thought
how fast the years make ghosts.
I heard them once called brawler’s paws.
For me, they were always more:
cobras, poised to strike.
But his brawling days are gone now;
I could kill him with a pillow,
if I cared enough to try.
Thin sheets press tightly to a bed
more empty than full, his body broken
like the promises of childhood.
Haunted eyes betray last thoughts
of a dim path, spiralling down.
He hopes to make amends.
“Forgiven?” he croaks,
barely there, as always,
and I’m wishing that I wasn’t.
With the last rays of day as witness,
I turn my back with purpose
and hear the silence roar.
In a late-night bar I catch my reflection
swimming in a glass of bourbon;
but I’m staring at a ghost.
– Ryan Stone
First published in Writers’ Forum Magazine issue 163, April 2015 – first place

Please Find More Links to Ryan’s Writing Below:


Thank you so much to Ryan Stone for doing an interview for me. I appreciate his time answering the interview questions a great deal.

I would love to interview you too. Please let me know if you’re interested in sharing yourself and your writing on my blog. You can reach me on my Contact Page.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: Graduation Mishap


Thank you to Roger Shipp for hosting FFftPP.


Ghost Girl
http://www.pixebay.com

Michelle and Nadine had rented a limo with their respective dates, for their graduation reception.

“Here,” Michelle’s Mom said ” champagne for you to enjoy with your friends on the ride around town. We’ll see you at your graduation reception.”

“Thanks Mom,” Michelle hugged her Mom tight.

“Don’t drink too much now.”


 

Brian and Marcus watched their dates inhale the champagne.

“I’m pretty sure you’ve each had half the bottle,” Brain said to Michelle grinning.

Marcus laughed his arm around Nadine, ” Yeah, Nadine’s had the other half.”

Both girls squeezed out of the sun roof , dancing and singing to the loud dance music the limo driver played.

“We’re going to hit the bottom of the bridge Michelle, we have to get down.” Nadine said suddenly.

“I’m stuck Michelle come on move, so I can go back inside.”

Michelle wiggled and Nadine was back inside the limo. She yanked at Michelle, desperately trying to pull her in.

When she heard Michelle hit the bridge Nadine screamed.


Michelle awoke feeling pleasantly weightless.

With surprise, she spotted a ghostly hand reaching out to her from a window. Michelle reached out and instantly, her body felt painful and broken.

“I don’t know how, but you’re alive,” a paramedic said to Michelle.

Michelle heard her mother crying. “We’ve been waiting what feels like forever, to hear those words.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

3Lines Tales: I Hate You Piano


Thank you so much to the lovely Sonya from 100 words or Less for hosting this prompt.

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Jessie Orrico

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1. Dear Piano, I have mixed feelings about you; in fact, I still kind of hate you because my parents made me play and practice you until I was seventeen-years-old and at times you sounded decent when I played you but mostly I was terrible at playing piano and my D refused to understand that I detested playing you.  
—-

2. Some people are extremely talented at playing you piano but I have never been one of them even though I spent ten long years playing you; how D never understood I was awful at playing piano I don’t know, maybe he had this illusion of my talent;what’s worse, my brothers were done playing you by early Junior High, but I had to continue playing you through high school and my only consolation is I can read music well and I’m good at figuring out how to sing the harmony line in a country song.

—–

3. I was done with you piano when D made me play piano along with his singing group; I can’t play without being able to practice even once or twice but he put me on the spot and I stumbled through trying to play this hymn D’s group was singing; I kept hitting the wrong notes and the other members of D’s group kept giving me dirty looks as if to say, ‘why are you still screwing up;’ for me that was the end of any love I had for you piano because I was humiliated and I didn’t want to pretend I could play you for church anymore or for any of D’s future singing groups; I suck okay, I’m not a piano player and I’m not one bit ashamed that I have lost what small skill I had playing piano; I’ve decided it’s better when I listen to someone with talent playing piano and appreciate you piano, that way. 

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Wanted to pop this in hear. Music isn’t all bad. In fact listening and playing to music can have great Benefits please check-out this link: https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10156767582695655&id=762335654

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Story Comtinuation Prompt: Fiction – Remembering Helen


Thank you to Wandering Soul who hosts this prompt challenge each week. You can complete the prompt sentence by writing up to two-additional sentences in her comments section in the link above or you can link to her blog page. Also, if you choose to write a longer story from the prompt, link the story to her page as well.

Today’s prompt sentence is: “The old man stared at the droopy white lilies.”

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http://www.thelilygarden.com
  

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The old man stared at the droopy white lilies. Memories flooded back to him as he smelt the strong scent that lingered. He felt the edge of one of the petals, still baby soft but crisp and dry on the edges. Helen had always hated lilies; that was why he had them placed on her grave every Sunday.

You might think this a mean thing for an old man to do but Ernest (the old man) had had a complicated relationship with Helen. Though it might not appear so, he had adored her and thought she had always been a magnificent woman.

——

Ernest remembered the first time he had seen Helen in his senior year in high school. She had her abundant curly brown hair styled in a forties-bob. Her blue eyes sparkled when she saw him. He felt their two souls collide in that moment and Ernest knew their souls would always be connected.

Ernest and Helen dated until Ernest was twenty-three years-old. Helen hadn’t liked that they had dated five-years without getting married. In hindsight, Ernest realized he should’ve married Helen long before he did.

Helen became pregnant and the whole town turned against her. The women called her a hussy and advised Helen to marry Ernest immediately. His old man had took Ernest aside and told him that everything would be fine if he married Helen quickly and quietly.

But Helen was feisty and didn’t like being told what to do. She was hurt that her best girlfriends looked down on her and that the town’s people whispered and gossiped about her behind her back. It was then Helen changed her mind about marriage to Ernest.

One day Ernest and Helen were swinging on the porch swing at Helen’s parent’s house, Ernest trying his hardest to convince Helen marriage was an excellent choice since they both loved each other.The following day Helen and two suitcases full of her clothes and baby items she had been collecting, had disappeared.

Ernest searched for Helen. He wrote letters and searched various small towns. He went to big cities, remembering what Helen liked to do and where she would likely be found. He remembered the places she dreamed about visiting. Ernest also feared a young pregnant woman alone, wouldn’t find much friendliness from strangers. He was frightened for Helen and his unborn child.

——

Twenty-years later Helen appeared at Ernest’s house in Pittsburg. Ernest’s wife Lilian, was battling Cancer. To both their regret, Lilian and Ernest had never been able to have children. But behind Helen was an enchanting young woman whose green eyes he recognized as his own. 

The three of them sat outside and talked. Ernest had felt guilty about not seeing his wife at the hospital that day as afternoon turned to evening. His daughter’s name was Grace and to Ernest she was indeed a ‘grace.’ 

In the morning Helen was gone but Grace remained. His daughter stood by him, even when his wife Lilian passed away a week later. Despite the fact Grace had never known her father, she stayed with Ernest as he grieved and she began working in the woman’s section of a department store.

Grace told Ernest that her mother Helen detested Lilies and that was why she left. But Lilian’s favourite flower was of course a Lily; they covered Ernest’s home while Lilian lived. He was always greeted by their pungent fragrance when he came home from work. Ernest knew better the reason Helen hadn’t stayed: She didn’t want to make Ernest’s life difficult. Grace had chosen to stay with Ernest on her own.

——-

Twenty-years later, Ernest was a happy Grandfather of four teenage grandchildren. Grace had married a man in Pittsburg and lived close by his house. She visited Helen and spoke to her mother often, but clammed up whenever Ernest asked about Helen. 

One day, Ernest was home alone doing yard work and Helen appeared out of no where. It gave him such a shock that Ernest’s green eyes started to tear up not believing what he saw. Helen aged, but still magnificent, embraced Ernest and they both cried for the lost years they hadn’t been with each other. The love between them was still strong, even after forty-years mostly apart.

Helen remained with Ernest. The happy couple had a small wedding and Grace was delighted her parents were together at last. 

Ernest and Helen were driving to the airport for their honeymoon in Paris. Helen was complaining about the orange lily the florist had slipped in her bouquet. Ernest had thought Helen’s complaints funny. They both started laughing and Ernest in his bliss, missed the red light. He hadn’t seen the pick-up truck before it crushed his car where Helen sat, graceful in a white suit; she died instantly.

—–

Years passed and Ernest religiously had lilies deliveried to Helen’s grave each Sunday. He always thought about how much Helen hated lilies. But lilies made Ernest, the old man, remember his beloved Helen. So that even after Ernest’s own death, their darling daughter Grace, continued to have lilies deliveried to Ernest’s and Helen’s shared grave.

Grace wiped a tear away from her eye. Both her parents were sorely missed.

—–

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.