Paint

Some great writers painted pretty pictures this week at Carrot Ranch. If you want to participate in next week’s prompt, click here.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Color me something new, something bold. Color over the mistakes and past regrets. Pick up a brush and paint bold strokes, flashy colors. This is a time to refresh.

Writers met the challenge with colorful stories full of emotion, surprise, horror and humor. All the paint cans opened to reveal a rainbow collection.

The following are based on the June 27, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that involves paint.

PART I (10-minute read)

Charli’s Starlingsby Chelsea Owens

No one knew where the starlings came from. One day, the sidewalks and light posts and old brick buildings were bare; the next, they were scattered with flight.

Up and down Shelden Avenue elderly friends stopped their morning walk and children pointed and pulled at parents’ pants.

Winged, irridescent forms swooped up a wall. Yellow-beaked stills observed from flower pots. A proud male perched…

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Artist’s Statement ….Part Two

Most people write or draw or craft a billion things. Some of those glitter a bit. Some of them are promising enough to catch attention; make a little money or popularity.

And some of what we do is downright amazing enough that it explodes.

Such was my reaction to this work by The Pale Rook, one that I credit with planting the first seeds of confidence I needed to start showing the world my creativity as well.

Enjoy.

The Pale Rook

The Pale Rook

So remember that thing I applied for?

My application was successful.  I was selected to take part in a project at Scotland’s Craft Town,  the wonderful West Kilbride.   I’ve been a massive fan of the Craft Town since I first found out about it a few years ago, so I’m massively chuffed to be a part of it.  The project I’m involved in takes selected craft makers based in Scotland, at various stages of their careers and gives them specialist business mentoring and studio space for six months.   For the first time in over a decade I am being mentored rather than mentoring others, which has been quite a shock to the system.

The first meeting of the participants, organisers and business mentors involved an exercise where we had to think of things that limited our business or things that we were worried about and then we had to…

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Where the Wild Things Were

This is one of the most fantastic pieces I’ve ever read.

Lunch Break Fiction

I walk towards the exit, beneath the Homecoming decorations. Shoulders crash into me, feet tripping my steps. They call me ugly. Gross. A freak.

On good days I’m ignored by the monsters. By teachers, by girls, hopefully by Tate Spiller. In the locker room, I dodge spitballs and wads of toilet paper thrown at my back. Then I go outside, walk the track and wait for the whistle.

I want to go back. To sail for weeks and through a day. To leave this forsaken place, where they are all the same. The same wicked smiles and the same stupid faces. The world all around is the same.

The things warned me not to leave. And I should have listened. I told them to be still and they stilled. They were frightened, rapt with wonder. I should have stayed and been a great king. In the wild I was a…

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7 Tips From a Reticent Spymaster

When it comes to fantasy storytelling, Charles Yallowitz is your man. From why only some vampires can (and should) reproduce to the proper way of knowing the best mapper shop in town, he’s the expert.

He recently dragged one of the best spies from his Legends of Windemere series out to ask him for 7 Tips to Being an Effective Spymaster. The post is as follows:

(From a Yahoo image search)

So, I’ve asked Kai Stavros from War of Nytefall: Rivalry to give some tips on being a spymaster.  He doesn’t really want to share his secrets or be out in public, so he gave me a list.  It was written into my car with a warning that I should never ask him to do anything like this again.  Here we go:

  1. Never do public appearances unless they are on your terms . . . Just going to voice a complaint right away, huh?  You know, I could have asked another of my spy characters to do this.  Well, I don’t have any, but I know a few who would willing to make stuff up.
  2. Always double-check your information.  (That makes sense.)  Torture is a good way to confirm . . . Really!?  This is what I get for asking a vampire how this goes.  In his defense, vampires regeneration, so what would be a fatal wound for a mortal isn’t a big deal for them.  Still, there could be kids reading this, Stavros.
  3. Maintains some friendships with your coworkers, but remain distant.  You don’t want to get attached to those you might have to sacrifice for the sake of a mission.  The exceptions are your masters or employers depending on your personal employment position.  (That was bizarrely bureaucratic.)
  4. Never fall in love because that will inevitably be used against you.  If not your lover then children, so celibacy is a good idea as well.  (I know of one famous spy who would really disagree on that last one.  Why doesn’t that guy have kids on every continent?)
  5. When sending messages, you must write in code to protect your secrets.  It is best to have multiple code systems and randomly cycle through them.  Only one person should know the locations of the scrolls needed to decipher them.  It helps to put two spells on the messages as well.  One is to share the information with your employer if you and the translator are dead.  The other is to curse or kill anyone who manages to get even one word correct.  (Wow.  That’s actually a good one.)
  6. Never agree to appear on a blog to share secrets.  It doesn’t matter how much the author pathetically begs.  (And we’re back to the sass.)
  7. Uh . . . This one is in code and I don’t want to risk anything.  I mean, he did give me a warning in #5.  Oh, it’s just messy penmanship since I guess he was in a rush to get out of here.  The tip is: Don’t bring attention to yourself, but don’t try to hide from society.  You need to find something in the middle because blending in and understanding human nature are essential tools of the trade.  (I think that was cursed . . . No, just the Taco Bell I ate, which is basically the same thing.)

—–

See? Spies can be handy -you know, when they’re not stabbing you in the back or whatnot.

Be sure to check out Charles’ books for more adventures. He writes unique stories where vampires are the main characters, and not because they sparkle.

Help Us Hit 10K

My pal, Stephen, needs just 70 more followers. Personally, I think he ought to offer free honeycomb ice cream when he reaches that milestone; too bad he’s over in Ireland and can’t deliver.

Fractured Faith Blog

We are less than 70 followers now off the BIG 10K at Fractured Faith. It would be great if we could reach this milestone by 21 May which is the blog’s second birthday. So, while we normally seek to give as opposed to take, it would be much appreciated if as many of you as possible could hit us with a reblog in order to help us over the finishing line. We are always grateful for the love and support we receive from our WordPress tribe.

THANK YOU!

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(what if I hear them) whistle and cry

Always so apt at capturing The Song of Things: Frank Prem.

Frank Prem Poetry

pexels-photo-169406-6

I hear the dead
cry out
in the colours
of the burning night

even my shadow
bows down
before them

these
are the stranger days
with ghost silhouettes
that I
can see

this killing ground
is the shade
of dying fire

and I am
alive
I wonder
why

I am alive
perhaps
to play
the witness

and what if I
were hung
to drain and dry
suspended
from my toes

what if the sound
of the wind
in my throat
was
the only proof

of a lie

troubled days
troubled thoughts
troubled visions

trouble
everywhere I go

there is no sound
that is not
the dead

whistling

the wind blows
without care

whistling

and the creaking
of each rope
is a separate song

the creaking
of each soul
is a sigh

I have to turn
away
lest these images invade me
in my sleeping

I think
I may have known…

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Surviving Teaching and Finding Joy

Not surprising, the amazing schoolteacher, Jennie, writes of her attitude shift in teaching and her subsequent ascension to perfect preschool teacher. 🙂

A Teacher's Reflections

Times have changed.  Teaching has far more demands than it used to.  Required paperwork, overcrowded classes, and lack of support begins to take its toll.  At first it all seems manageable.  That fire of wanting to teach keeps the motor running.  Then bit by bit, as demands and expectations increase, it becomes more difficult to keep the fire burning.  The love becomes lost.

Teachers are quitting.

Children have changed, too.  Their lives have less (or little) room for play. Most of their waking hours are structured – from school to sports to after school activities.  Oh, and then the homework.  Frankly, homework in the early grades should be reading.  Period.

Children are often coming to school feeling everything from anger to being overwhelmed. They may not know why, they just know they aren’t feeling happy.

Is it any wonder that America’s children are ranked 26th in reading  among the world?

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Creativity Contest: The Time Machine Sewing Machine (Open)

A stitch in time? Yes, literally!

Visit Peregrine Arc’s latest prompt and take your imagination on a fun adventure!

Peregrine Arc

Last week you were told you were the new owner of an antique hotel. You’re hoping to rehabilitate the hotel back to its glory days and are doing what projects you can do to save money. In the middle of cleaning one day, you find a mysterious packet of letters, love letters, with no dust or grime on them, nestled in a cubby hole behind the front desk. And were those voices you heard from the pages as you ruffled through them? Check the comments of that entry to see what everyone did with those letters…

For this week’s prompt, we’re time traveling. Our ship? An antique sewing machine with one of those metal foot pedals.

You’re house sitting, you clever thing, and that means free food and free access to most rooms of the house. What a luxurious job. One day, a button falls off your shirt and rolls under…

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Oh, Guilty Heart! – The 4th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!

I told you it was coming, and here it is: Susanna Leonard Hill’s Valentiny Contest!

You have just a short time to enter, so check it out!

Susanna Leonard Hill

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Valentinies rock

And so do YOU!

Hang onto your chocolate everyone!  It’s time for . . .

The 4th Annual PrettyMuchWorldFamous ValentinyWritingContest!!!

valentiny writing contest 2019!

~ for children’s writers~

The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone feels guilty!  Your…

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