All Fools Day . . . Prompt #58

The roots of All Fools Day date back to at least the 1500s as an occasion to perpetrate tomfoolery, possibly in reaction to spring’s mercurial weather. It’s observed on April 1 in many Western countries. In Italy, France, Belgium, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, pranksters cry “April fish” as they tape paper fish to people’s backs. In 1957, the BBC pulled a prank, known as the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest prank, where they broadcast a fake film of Swiss farmers picking freshly-grown spaghetti. The BBC were later flooded with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant, forcing them to declare the film a prank on the news the next day. Source:  Wikipedia  Prompt:  Write about pranks you used to play on April Fool’s Day, a prank pulled on you, or make up a story about how April Fool’s Day started.

Book Reviews

Pack Up The Moon by Rachael Herron

Pack Up The Moon by Rachael Herron packs a powerful punch. I was completely transported into the world of the characters who inhabit this story, who felt so real, as if I could reach out and touch them. During the last few pages, I was able to crawl back into my own skin. This deep and provocative story may be a difficult book for many people to read. Rachael writes powerfully and thoughtfully about sensitive subject matters with an expertise of juggling several characters and their emotions. She weaves in backstory seamlessly with smooth transitions. Because Pack Up The Moon is such a sensitive and deep book, I don’t want to give you just my opinion. I want to share what others think of this book. If you have read this many-faceted book and want to share your thoughts and reactions, I would love to hear from you. You can…

Places to submit

Hippocampus Magazine wants your story about All Kinds of Weather

Hippocampus Magazine enthusiastically accepts unsolicited submissions in the following categories: memoir excerpt – a self-contained portion (chapter or selection) of a larger, book-length work personal essay – a short narrative reflecting on a particular life experience or observation flash creative nonfiction or a work of creative nonfiction in an experimental format Here is an article that discusses the difference between memoir and essay. And here is another. 2014 Theme: Weather & Acts of Nature From storms and sprinkles to earthquakes and extreme heat, Mother Nature can pack a punch or paint a pretty picture. Weather can be wacky and wild. And weather can be calm. Weather often plays a character in our everyday—and not so everyday—lives. We’re seeking tales in which the weather or even a natural disaster played a significant or supporting role. To be clear, we’re not specifically looking for stories just about bad weather or destruction; instead,…

Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Meredith Bond – create historical fantasy

Guest Blogger Meredith Bond writes about creating beautiful history. I love history and reading about how people lived. And I love writing historical romance. But one doesn’t have anything to do with the other and rarely do I use very much of what I read in my novels. Historical novels—all, although romance is certainly the most guilty—takes history and makes it beautiful. That’s wonderful, except for one minor fact. History is not beautiful. Life before electricity and toilets was really not pretty or comfortable. And yet when was the last time you read a historical novel which actually made you aware of that?  Or mentioned it at all? There are, from time to time, mentions of some villains awful breath. But the scent of a hero or heroine is always something wonderful—flowers or leather. But is that accurate? Did people in the 18th century really smell that way. Highly unlikely….


Run your own race.

In an interview in the February 2014 issue of The Writer magazine, interviewer Alicia Anstead asked Monica Wood, “One of the nuns who taught you as a child said explorers should have courage, goals, imagination and, finally, humility. Which of these is most important for a writer, and why?” Monica answered: “I have a sign in my studio:  Run your own race. Some other writer will always write lovelier books, reach more readers, make more money, win more awards. the writing trade – which is full, full, full of rejections and failure – is a lifelong lesson in humility, and we are wise to take that lesson into the other arenas of our life. Writing is engaging, gratifying and often profoundly discouraging and difficult. But not as discouraging and difficult as coal mining or warfare.” Monica Wood is the author of When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico,…


Watershed moment . . . Prompt #57

This prompt is inspired by Ianthe Brautigan from her Writers Forum workshop. Draw a circle with radiating arms, ending in circles (see below). In the center circle, write a note about a watershed moment where nothing was the same after that: A pivotal moment. Write details on the radiating circles. Include as many circles as you want for details. Write into the questions  . . . how did this moment shape me? How did this affect the rest of my life? Use this prompt to spark a freewrite. When you are finished with freewriting on this prompt, if you keep a journal, use that for details to flesh out the story.

Just Write

See your story and tell it.

Tips to writing deeply and comfortably. Stretch – either standing or sitting in a chair. Do whatever whatever stretching feels good to you. Sit easily in a comfortable chair. Take a deep breath in through your nose, exhale out through your mouth, like you are blowing out a candle. Take several deep breaths and whoosh out on the exhalations. Relax into your chair.  Smile.  Escort your inner critic out the door. Shed your ideas about what perfect writing means. Give yourself permission to write the worst stuff possible. Writing isn’t about talent, it’s about practice and going into another dimension. Creative writing is an act of discovery. Take another deep breath. Relax into your breathing. Exhale with a satisfying sigh. Rather than write for an audience, write from an instinctual level. Immerse yourself in writing. Let go of your worries and write. Just write to a satisfying inner desire to…

Places to submit

SmokeLong publishes flash fiction up to 1000 words

SmokeLong Quarterly publishes flash fiction up to 1000 words. The SLQ aesthetic remains an ever-changing, ever-elusive set of principles, but it most likely has to do with these kinds of things:  language that surprises narratives that strive toward something other than a final punch line or twist pieces that add up to something, oftentimes (but not necessarily always) meaning or emotional resonance honest work that feels as if it has far more purpose than a writer wanting to write a story We have a special place in our hearts, more often than not, for narratives we haven’t seen before. For the more familiar stories—such as relationship break-ups, bar scenarios, terminal illnesses—we tend to need something original and urgent in the writer’s presentation. Click here for submission guidelines. Sonoma County author and writing teacher Stephanie Freele has been published in SLQ:   Breathing Oysters Have you, or someone you know, been published in…

Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Nina Amir and writing goals

The following is from Nina Amir’s Blog, Write Nonfiction Now. Nina posts writing prompts on Fridays.  I really enjoyed Prompt #10 and thought you might like it, too. Create Book Ideas to Support Your Goals: Nonfiction Writing Prompt #10 by Nina Amir. If you want to write and publish books, the first step involves developing ideas. You may be a nonfiction writer with just one book idea or with many. However, if you have nonfiction writing goals, your book ideas should support your goals. I have many book ideas. Despite the fact that some of them really excite me, I have put quite a few on hold. I have them queued up in a logical order, one following the other so they help move me toward my goals. Sometimes those goals could be simple, such as get a traditional publishing deal. That may not sound “simple,” but, for example, I…