Make Every Word Count

All posts in the Make Every Word Count category

POETIC INJUSTICE

Published January 22, 2017 by rochellewisoff

This week Pegman has gone to Moscow. Many thanks to K Lawson for graciously hosting. To choose your own photo click here. Write your own flash fiction of 150 words or less. Click the blue frog to add your own link.

Here’s the photo I chose:

moscow-street

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 150

POETIC INJUSTICE

           “I adored the stage,” said Bubbe Gittel of her time in the Moscow State Jewish Theater. “I had a crush on the director, Shlomo Mikhoels. What a performer he was!”  

            I switched off the TV. My grandmother’s stories beat summer reruns. Even in her 80’s she could still recite Shakespeare—in Yiddish.

            “During the war Mr. Stalin kept us safe from Hitler and made Shlomo the head of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. The show would always go on. So I thought.”

            Bubbe’s smile faded. “The war ended and with it, Stalin’s favor.”

            “What happened, Bubbeh?”

            “They called it an accident, but I saw it with my own eyes. A KGB monster shoved Shlomo in the path of a speeding truck. Other members of the committee were arrested for treason—poets and writers they were. Four years later, they were executed. Their real crime? We know what that was, don’t we?”

.

.

Click for Encore

solomon-mikhoels

 

20 January 2017

Published January 18, 2017 by rochellewisoff

Erie Canal

Like us on Facebook

Our Mantra

South KC Sky Banner

The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

get the InLinkz code

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

I’ve gone ‘there’ again. When the muse leads, I follow. But as EagleEye so aptly coined last week, “It’s a time too horrible to remember, too vile to forget.”

THE SONG’S STILL HEARD IN SELVINO

            “It’s almost sundown,” said “Uncle” Moshe Ze’iri.  

            Clenching his fists, David followed the others to the huge Sciesopoli dining room. The familiar aroma of chicken soup filled his nostrils. It stirred memories of home and his parents, slaughtered before his eyes. After three years of lice and torture, why should he trust this smiling stranger or the Italians who had allied themselves with the monster?

            “Shalom aleynu,” sang Uncle Moshe, his face aglow in the Sabbath candles, his voice tender and melodious. “Peace upon us…”

            In that sweet moment the stone in David’s chest softened and beat once more.

.

.

.

moshe-zeiri2CLICK

ARMED WITH PAINTBRUSH AND KEYBOARD

Published January 17, 2017 by rochellewisoff

burning-shul-complete

Chapter One

NATALYA, MOLDAVIA, THE PALE OF SETTLEMENT, EASTERN EUROPE, NOVEMBER 1899

 Gunshots and screaming woke sixteen-year-old Havah Cohen from a sound and dreamless sleep. She ran to her window and saw flames shooting through the roof of the synagogue. Dense clouds of black smoke poured through the windows as men with shovels and rocks smashed the stained glass. By moonlight she could see her older brother lying beside the road in a bloodstained night shirt. Her other brother, a few feet away, lay face down.

“Papa!” She screamed when she saw him run from the inferno clutching the sacred scrolls.

                                           ~~From PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields 

Published by Argus Publishing

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency

***

burning-shul-step-2Above is the opening paragraph to my first novel PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME. To my knowledge, a shetl called Natalya, Moldavia never existed. On the other hand, the 1930 census lists my grandfather Sam Weiner’s birthplace as Rosinia, Poland which doesn’t seem to have existed either. I’ve searched the internet for every imaginable spelling. Then  last year a Holocaust survivor from Poland confirmed what I’ve suspected for some time. Rosinia was probably one of those villages destroyed by pogromists. 

I’ve often wondered how close to Havah’s story Grandpa’s came. All I know of his background came from my mother and a cousin. According to Mom, he came burning-shul-step-6over from a part of the country that went from being part of Poland to being part of Russia. It was part of the Pale of  Settlement in any case, the Jewish ghetto of Eastern Europe. Grandpa came to America at the age of 19 “with nothing but the shirt on his back.” He didn’t know his own birthday because those records that were kept in the synagogue had been destroyed. He taught himself to be a tailor. 

Sam Weiner circa 1940-Something

History tells many stories of rabbis who sacrificed their lives to save the Torah scrolls. Havah’s father, Rabbi Shimon Cohen does just that as PLEASE  SAY KADDISH FOR ME opens.

At that moment Havah’s idyllic childhood ends and her journey begins. PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME, FROM SILT AND ASHES and recently released, AS ONE MUST, ONE CAN follow Havah, her friends and family from that night in 1899 to 1908. 

havahs-triplets

Amazon  Amazon AU  Amazon UK  Amazon CA  Amazon DE  Amazon IT  Amazon FR  Amazon ES  Amazon IN  Amazon JP  B&N   Smashwords  KOBO  Scribd  Goodreads

Before the completion of AS ONE MUST, ONE CAN, my publisher asked if I would be interested in compiling a coffee table companion book that would include the character studies I’ve posted. It took a split second to answer that one! Presently I’m hard at work on this book which is due out this spring to be entitled: 

a-stone-for-the-journey-cover-idea

VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS

Published January 14, 2017 by rochellewisoff

To enjoy stories inspired by the What Pegman Saw prompt or to submit your own 150-word story, visit the inLinkz button:


For guidelines and rules for the What Pegman Saw weekly writing prompt, visit the home page.

landers-california

I wish I could call my story for this week Flash Fiction. It’s 150 words of what I’m feeling this morning. 

VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS

Three young people lie on steel morgue tables while a toddler fights for his brief life.

There’s nothing new under the sun, is there? Newscast after newscast has broadcast similar incidents as I’ve tossed back a glass of wine, shook my head and said, “How awful.”

That changed when I saw the Facebook post that said, “Last night I lost the love of my life.” A couple’s obvious devotion shone from their photos.

My heart plummeted. “That’s my friend, my coworker.”

“Daddy loves you,” said his next post.

Under his words was the picture of a happy father with a smiling boy riding piggyback on his shoulders.

No words in the unabridged dictionary can express the depths of despair, rage and helplessness that drill my soul.

I want to embrace him and say something meaningful to ease his pain, but all I can do is spout clichés through my tears.

 

 

13 January 2017

Published January 11, 2017 by rochellewisoff

 

Friday Fictioneers Farm Path

Like us on Facebook

Our Mantra

Flowers from the Hill Thoreau

The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E. Ayr

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E. Ayr

get the InLinkz code

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

THE HEAVIEST WHEEL ROLLS ACROSS OUR FOREHEADS

            When I was a little girl in the 1950’s, Mom used to take me to visit my aunt in St. Louis. I looked forward to those train rides. Sunlight dazzled through the trees as they whizzed by and the rhythm of the wheels clicking along the track soothed me.

            Dad, on the other hand, hated trains, but would never tell me why. Only once did he accompany us.

            As we left Union Station, tears trickled from the corners of his faraway eyes.   

            “Daddy, what’s wrong?”

            “The stench was unbearable. Fifty of us crammed into a cattle car. I alone escaped.”

.

.

death-train

INSIDE THE QUIRKY MIND OF SARAH POTTER

Published January 9, 2017 by rochellewisoff

 

sarah-potter

It’s my great pleasure to start the year off by interviewing Friday Fictioneers regular, Sarah Potter who lives in a house on a hill, with panoramic views over the English Channel in SE England. Sharing the house are her husband, son and chocolate Labrador, all three of whom are great supporters of her literary endeavours. When not writing novels, she pens haiku and tanka poems, takes nature photographs, grapples with bindweed and snails in the garden, invents recipes, and sings mezzo-soprano.

What made you decide to be a writer?

My love affair with writing fiction and poetry blossomed at the age of eight. I could read before I went to school, which gave me a head-start with vocabulary. My mother read me lots of books as well; ones that were too advanced for me to read myself, such as The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White. Also, she made up stories off the top of her head. I remember in particular her tales about The Eccentric Man who liked to do things such as having operations without anesthetic (wince). At senior school, I wrote exercise-book length novellas: popstar or sci-fi romances mostly. These proved a great hit with my classmates, as well as my piano teacher, who showed one of my literary creations to her English teacher boyfriend. He responded with the words “That girl will be famous one day”. …Still waiting, although I do have the line of fame on my palm, so maybe there’s still time for his prophecy to come true. In my 20s, I was too busy making ends meet to have time to write much, apart from poems that moved almost imperceptibly between depressed rambles and black comedies. At the age of 36, I decided to go to evening class and study for an AS Level in English, which I passed with a straight A, with full marks for the creative writing module. The same year, I watched Kevin Costner’s movie, A Field of Dreams, in which he said something along the lines of “I’m 36 and if I don’t fulfill my dreams now, I never will”. That’s when I decided to write my first novel, a time travel romance set in a psychiatric hospital.       

What is your favorite genre? Why?

This is a difficult question, as I read quite widely. My choice of fiction at any one time depends upon my mood. I’m not good with high literary, as it’s too exhausting. On the other hand, I can’t deal with pulp fiction that has two-dimensional characters and unadventurous vocabulary. There’s nothing that’s more of a delight to me than discovering a brilliant trilogy and reading all the volumes back-to-back. In particular, I love apocalyptic science fiction, with Justin Cronin’s “The Passage trilogy” at the top of my list. This genre fascinates me, not out of a sense of morbidity, but because of its epic scale. Throughout history people have demonstrated an amazing spirit of survival against a backcloth of good and evil, and the apocalyptic scenario takes them right to the point of extinction, yet there’s a core group with the vision and determination to fight back, using a combination of practical skills and a profound sense of community.

I enjoy Nordic Noir, too, especially Karin Fossum, and Scandinavian authors in general, my favourite being the quirky Danish author, Peter Hoeg, who writes in an accessible literary style. The novel for which he’s the most famous is Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, but my personal favourite is his less well known satirical anthropological novel The Woman and the Ape.

“Desiccation” is mesmerizing. How did you come up with the idea? How long did it take you to write it?

desiccationDesiccation is number three out of five novels, and was originally titled “Spaced-out”. They say write about what you know, so I based the setting for the story on the boarding school I attended in the latter part of the 1960s. The school never came under attack by body-snatching interdimensional aliens, although I seem to remember daydreaming about such things when I should have been concentrating on lessons. I did three months of research, which included reading a fascinating natural history book all about woodlice/pillbugs, followed by three months of writing the first draft. I sent the second draft out to a literary agent who said “I applaud your imagination and your writing skills, but it would be very hard to convince a publisher to take on a mix of science fiction, fantasy, and humour written by a first-time author”.  After this, I cast Desiccation aside and left it to marinade for ages, then rewrote it, then left it to marinade again, until in 2015 my family persuaded me to have a go at indie publishing one of my novels. My son voted for Desiccation, on the grounds that he’d found the first draft so exciting that he’d stayed up all night reading it and spent all the following day falling asleep at school.

I’m reading “Noah Padgett and the Dog-People” which, so far, is a rare treat. What can you tell us about it?

This is my fourth novel. I’m marketing it as a middle-grade children’s novel, although I suspect that most of my readers are aged 40 plus (much the noah-padgett-and-the-dog-peoplesame as with Desiccation). I like to think of Noah Padgett and the Dog-People as a multi-layered crossover novel that children and adults can enjoy at different levels. For instance, there’s Sergeant Salt and his Mercenary Lurcher Band, which is my joke on The Beatles’ album, Sergeant Pepper and his Lonely Hearts Club Band. Children possibly won’t pick up on this, but they will still find the characters entertaining. The book is available as an audiobook, as well on kindle and in paperback. For me, hearing my book read by talented actress Mil Nicholson, who’s brilliant with the characters’ voices and accents, is almost as exciting as having it made into a movie.

The inspiration behind the story is my chocolate Labrador, who was a puppy at the time of writing. I kept having anxiety dreams in which I turned around for a moment and she disappeared, and the more I thought about it, the more the kidnapping of a beloved dog seemed like a disturbing central theme to a novel. Added to this, my mother used to breed and show dogs and my first job after leaving school was as a kennel maid, so again, it was writing about what I knew.  Here’s my novel’s three sentence hook…

When Noah Padgett and his chocolate Labrador puppy disappear through a computer screen, they find themselves in the Zyx-dimension, where the main species is Canis sapiens. Bluebell soon falls into the paw-hands of deranged entrepreneur Monsieur Percival Poodle, who likes to collect alien specimens and believes himself above the law. Meanwhile, Noah ends up in a high security hospital for criminally insane Canis sapiens, with no apparent means of escape and terrified for his beloved puppy’s safety.

Bluebell in the furry flesh. © Sarah Potter

Bluebell in the furry flesh. © Sarah Potter

Who is the author who inspires you the most?

Apart from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, you mean? ( 😉 ) This is a hard question to answer, as different authors have inspired me at different times in my life. These days I’m looking for five things in a book.

  • I find it so engaging that it compels me to sneak read it at breakfast time.
  • I care passionately about the fate of its characters.
  • The writing is crafted so beautifully that it gives me profound “wow” moments.
  • It teaches me something new, including techniques to improve my own writing.
  • When I’ve finished reading it, I suffer withdrawal symptoms and can’t settle to read anything else for a week or two.

I’ve already mentioned some of the authors who fit this bill, but who to choose above all others?  Here are the three authors who’ve taught me the most about writing as a craft: Donna Tartt, Rose Tremain, and Stephen King, and of those three, I would say that Donna Tartt triumphs over all.

How often do you write?

When I’m writing the first draft of a novel, I write for about five hours a day from Monday to Friday. For rewriting or editing, it’s around about three hours a day. Most weeks I write a haiku poem for the regular “Monday Morning Haiku” feature on my blog. Time permitting, I also participate in Friday Fictioneers, which I love. Any other writing is done at random times and scribbled on scraps of paper, which I scatter about the house or stuff in my coat pockets. Then I have to go on a hunt for them, having forgotten where I’ve put them, rather like a squirrel with its winter food hoard.  

Do you have any other major projects in the works?

I’ve an idea for a new work, which I’m researching at the moment. This is for a “genre bending” novel, better known as mashup fiction. This involves taking a literary classic that’s in the public domain and melding it with a genre. An example of this is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. At the moment, I’m reading the original Pride and Prejudice, and then I’m going to compare it to the mashup version and its sequel, Pride and Prejudice: Dreadfully Ever After. If I decide this type of novel is for me, I will go ahead writing it, with a view to submitting it to a traditional publisher or two. I’m keeping it close to my chest about which public domain work I intend to slaughter or enhance!

What are your writing goals for the future?

Ultimately, I would like to write a novel that literary agents and traditional publishers are willing to take a punt on. On the other hand, I don’t want to end up stuck with churning out novel after novel of the same ilk, unless I adore that ilk; otherwise, it will give me literary indigestion and a writer’s ulcer. If I can achieve recognition for my brand, namely “quirky fiction”, rather than for a particular genre, I will die happy.

Meanwhile, in the latter part of 2017, I might indie publish a third novel, most likely my medieval-style sword and sorcery fantasy adventure. This will be my experiment into whether it’s easier to market a novel that fits into a recognised subgenre, while still allowing for quirkiness. So far, my experience of marketing sucks.          

What advice would you give other writers?

  • Read widely.
  • Learn techniques and pick up skills from other authors, but develop your own voice.
  • Put your work under the microscopes of trusted beta readers who write well themselves and/or have editing experience. Don’t make changes immediately, but put the critiques aside for a week or two, especially if they annoy you! When you’ve calmed down and left your manuscript to marinade, compare the reader reports. If all of the readers pick up on a particular problem, then this problem needs addressing.
  • Don’t rely solely on your computer’s spellchecker.
  • Keep your writing muscles exercised, but don’t push it on days when you’re not in the mood. Go out for a walk or to the gym, meditate, have a sleep, clean the house, brush the dog, sing, dance, whatever. Anything other than writing total rubbish and beating yourself up about it.
  • Observe life closely, through all of your senses.
  • Give yourself plenty of thinking time.
  • Eat regular meals and don’t prop yourself up on strong coffee and donuts.
  • Don’t give up your day job and end up starving in your garret.

<><><>

Connect with Sarah: 

Blog
Facebook
Goodreads
Twitter
Linkedin
Independent Author Network 

Sarah’s Books on Amazon:
Desiccation
Noah Padgett & the Dog-People

 

NOBLESSE OBLIGE

Published January 8, 2017 by rochellewisoff

This is my fourth week taking the challenge. Perhaps it’s the lure of 50 extra words or the fun of choosing from a smorgasbord of photos. In any event, I’m back for more. Many thanks the Karen Rawson for hosting. Below are the instructions to join in:

Google Street View of Burhhanpur

Feel free to stroll around using the Google street view and grab any picture you choose to include in your post.

To enjoy stories inspired by the What Pegman Saw prompt or to submit your own 150-word story, visit the inLinkz button:

For guidelines and rules for the What Pegman Saw weekly writing prompt, visit the home page.

I must confess that I’ve taken a former Friday Fictioneers flash fiction and tweaked it. Originally it was called ROYAL CONCESSION.  It was fun to have the luxury of expanding it and changing it up a bit. 

capture

Word Count: 150

Genre: Realistic Fiction

NOBLESSE OBLIGE

            Ellen grabbed the remote, turned off the television and climbed onto Jeff’s lap. “Tell me a story, Daddy.”

            After countless life-or-death decisions and run-ins with EMT coworkers, his back and shoulders throbbed. The last fatality was Ellen’s age, a boy who breathed his last in Jeff’s arms.

            He took back the remote.  “Later, Doodle-bug.”

            With five-year-old persistence, Ellen settled against his chest. “Once upon a time, in a castle in faraway India, lived a maharaja and his bee-yoo-tee-ful little princess. Your turn, Daddy.”

            Her dark eyes held him prisoner. The remote slipped from his fingers. “Okay. The castle was called Shahi Qila. They rode jeweled elephants and swam in the Tapti River. Your turn, Doodles. What happened next?”

            “They…” her voice faded into a yawn and her eyelids drooped.

            Jeff’s taut muscles eased. He stroked her silken curls, kissed the top of her head and whispered, “…lived happily ever after.”

WHAT PEGMAN SAW

a weekly flash fiction prompt inspired by google maps

Lori Ericson, Author

An author's perspective of mystery and more.

anelephantcant

Random thoughts and images, some serious, some humorous, some pointless

Honie Briggs

SERIOUSLY!

ALYSSAADAVIES

Writing About Whatever Comes to Mind, Whenever it Comes to Mind...

Flights of Fancy

The Totally Unambitious Blog

The Off Key Of Life

Or….Identifying The Harmless Unhinged Among Us.

What's So Funny?

A WordPress.com humor blog

The Write Melony

Renowned Writer Extraordinaire - in my mind!

unbuttoned or undone

Hang on, Hang on

A Delectable Life

The little and large things making my life delicious!

Hoxton Spanish Tutor Info

This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas

Sound Bite Fiction

where nothing is quite what it seems

yadadarcyyada

Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure

mezzojan

a libretto for the comic opera of my life

elmowrites

Writing about writing

What's for dinner, Doc?

Exploring Human Connections, Health and Wellness

Claire Fuller

Writing and art

Green Writing Room

Hilary Custance Green's reading and writing notepad

Oldentimes's Blog

a little old, a little new, life in the slow land of country living

Caely in the making

- one day, they'll say "because of you, I didn't give up" -

wmqcolby

A great WordPress.com site

Being MG

Flash fiction, poetry and other written works that make me who I am.

SightsnBytes

A.K.A. Ted White

Musings of a Random Mind

Fiction based on reality. Any similarities to the characters and events in the life of the author are purely intentional.

draliman on life

Because sometimes life just makes you stop and think

onethousandandtwo

Looking at Infinity

the EXCESSIVE GARDENER

adventures in defensive gardening

%d bloggers like this: