“Flight Training,” #Flash #Fiction

The November 28, 2019, Carrot Ranch Prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about winners. Who are they, what’s the mood, and what did they win? Express emotion or subdue it. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by December 3, 2019.

Tina balled up the award notice and threw it on the floor. She stomped out of the room.

A chorus of voices questioned, “Miss Henshaw, didn’t she win?”

“Yes,” she answered. “Remember, this challenge wasn’t about winning. It was about determination and whether you gave up or kept trying.”

“Yet, she still won,” whispered Mary.

“Ah, but you gave up, Mary,” Miss Henshaw quipped. “Look outside.”

A crowd gathered at the window. Outside, Tina attempted to mount her broom. Her magic fizzled, and she landed face first in the mud. Yet she kept trying. At long last, she flew.

©2019 Colleen M. Chesebro

Come fly with me! Write some flash fiction this week!

2019 Rodeo « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

I’m thrilled to have taken part in this year’s contest. I managed to win second-place for the Three Act Story category, with my piece called “The Game.”

I love flash fiction and have learned so much from the weekly challenges. Many thanks to the judges and to Charli Mills for her support of our writing community in sponsoring this challenge.

Click the LINK to read the winning pieces.

The results of the 2019 Flash Fiction Rodeo are in and we thank our judges: Paula Sahin, Donna Armistead, Tammy Toj Gajewski, Bonnie, T. Marie Bertineau, and Cynthia May Drake. Charli Mills, lead buckaroo at Carrot Ranch, selected ten top finalists in each category. Judges selected the top three places. The top prize winner in each category wins $25. All finalists receive a story critique. To leave comments or congratulations, visit the November 28: Flash Fiction Challenge.

Source: 2019 Rodeo « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 155 #SynonymsOnly or #Theme-Thanksgiving

WELCOME TO TANKA TUESDAY!

Hi! I’m glad to see you here. Are you ready to write some syllabic poetry?

This week you have a choice. You can write about the #Theme of Thanksgiving (thankful, grateful, family, etc. whatever that word means to you)

OR

here are your two words for this week:

“End & Hurry”

HERE’S THE CATCH: You can’t use the prompt words! SYNONYMS ONLY! 

PLEASE support the other poets by visiting their blogs and leaving comments. Sharing each other’s work on social media is always nice too.

For Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge, you can write your poem in one of the forms defined below. Click on the links to learn about each form:

HAIKU IN ENGLISH 

SENRYU IN ENGLISH

HAIGA

TANKA IN ENGLISH 

HAIBUN IN ENGLISH 

CINQUAIN & the variations on Cinquain-Wikipedia 

ETHEREE

NONET

SHADORMA

Here are some great sites that will help you write your poetry and count syllables

synonyms.com 

This site even has a link so you can install the extension on Google Chrome.

thesaurus.com

For Synonyms and Antonyms. When your word has too many syllables, find one that works.

howmanysyllables.com

Find out how many syllables each word has. I use this site to compose my poems. Click on the “Workshop” tab, then cut and paste your poetry into the box. Click the Count Syllables button on the button. This site does the hard work for you.

I don't get it

THE RULES

I will publish the Tuesday prompt post at 12: 03 A.M. Mountain Standard Time (Phoenix, AZ).  That should give everyone time to see the prompt from around the world. The RECAP is published on Monday and will contain the poetry from the Poet of the Month and any Honorable Mentions.

You have one week to complete the Challenge with a deadline of Sunday, at 12:00 P.M. (Noon) Phoenix, AZ, U. S. A.

Follow the schedule listed below:

Let’s try something different. It would be great to see everyone’s poetry on one post. I’m trying to find a plugin that will help us with this issue. Stay tuned.

In the meantime…

Instead of a link-back, copy and paste your poem in the comments. This will work except for Haiga poetry. In that case, copy the link of your poem in the comments and let us know that it’s a Haiga.

 

Don't forget

As time allows, I will visit your blog, comment, and TWEET your POETRY. I have also been sharing some of your poetry on Facebook.

If you add these hashtags to your post TITLE on your blog (depending on which poetry form you use) your poetry may be viewed more often:

#Haiku, #Senryu, #Haiga, #Tanka, #micropoetry, #poetry, #5lines, #Haibun, #Prose, #CinquainPoetry, #Etheree, #Nonet, #Shadorma

You may copy the badge I have created to go with the Weekly Poetry Challenge Post and place it in your post. It’s not mandatory:

Have fun and write some poetry! Don’t forget to copy and paste your poem in the comments!

 

Colleen’s 2019 #Tanka Tuesday #Poet of the Week & Honorable Mention, No. 154, #PhotoPrompt

Welcome to the Tanka Tuesday Poetry Recap featuring the Poet of the Week and the honorable mention poetry that spoke to me. If you would like to participate in this challenge, you can learn the rules in the menu item called Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Guidelines.

This is the perfect time to thank each of you for your participation in this challenge. Whoever thought we would have so much fun writing syllabic poetry? I’m grateful for your friendship and for sharing my love of poetry! Happy Thanksgiving.

Remember, I approve all comments and link backs to my blog. If you are a regular visitor, your link shows up, even if I haven’t approved it.

If you are new to my blog, your comment will have to wait to be approved. Depending on where you live, that could be an eight hour or more time difference from my location in Arizona. I schedule my posts around midnight so my followers from around the world have an opportunity to see them in a timely fashion. Don’t panic. I’ll get to all of you.

Congratulations, and many thanks to all the participants! I loved all your hard work this week! The photo prompt speaks differently to each of us and I enjoy seeing what you come up with.

After you’ve posted your poem on your blog, please copy your poem in the comments section of the challenge post. This way, we can find all the poetry in one place.

Please visit the challenge post comments HERE, where you’ll find the links to everyone’s poetry. If you can, please visit the poet’s blogs.

I will publish the Poet of the Week and Honorable Mention Poets in the 2019 Poet of the Week Anthology, which everyone can grab as a FREE PDF in January 2020.

Each week, I like to highlight a poet who I call the Poet of the Week who has shared an exceptional message or shown impassioned creativity through words or form. Poetry is all about perception. You may not feel the same way about my choice. That’s okay. Perception is different for all of us.

The Poet of the Week

I had a hard time choosing only one or two poems. You’ve all gotten so darn good! So, here goes… This week, I’ve chosen Merril D. Smith, as the Poet of the Week.

You’re it, Merril Smith! You get to select the photo for the January 2020 photo prompt! Please email me with your selection at least a week before the middle of the month challenge. Thanks.

There’s nothing wrong with describing what you see in the image when you write your poetry… but, it’s often what is not seen that proves to be the most interesting. Think about how the image conveys a theme to you. Poetry’s focus on language and form should elicit critical thought, reflection, or emotion. 

Merril’s Shadorma trio sequence steps away from a totally literal interpretation. To her, the birds represent “the black-winged dreamers carrying all the befores and afters.” I like how open-ended that phrase is. There’s a magical quality to her words.

The sequence of threes is a favorite of mine because it allows the poet a beginning, a middle, and an ending for their poem.

With a Bang Comes Possibility

with a bang
comes the birth of worlds
and star songs
drift, falling
to papaya glow, rising
over barren rocks

then soaring
above burnished crags
the black-winged
dreamers fly,
carrying all the befores
and all the afters

landing here
where light and shadows
together
dance, holding
possibility aloft
for millennia.

©2019 Merril D. Smith

Honorable Mention(s)

Sue Vincent gets an honorable mention this week for her double Etheree. There is such great wordplay, here: “Of Light – Into Light,” “Being becoming,” and “A multiverse in human form…” Her words read like a prayer celebrating life. Also, notice which words she capitalizes. That technique adds another layer of meaning.

An Etheree is unrhymed but should display rhythm, meaning, imagery, and sometimes an underlying second meaning.

Return

Born
Of Light
Into light
Endless cycle
Being becoming
Opened to greet the dawn
Each heart a virgin landscape
Enduring and embracing life
Knowing the freedom of pure spirit
Assimilating the gifts of constraint
Each soul a mirror reflecting its Self
Garnering the fruits of existence
A multiverse in human form
Chiselled by experience
Sharing a pilgrimage
Enriches the Source
From light to Light
Returning
Reborn
Home

©2019 Sue Vincent

See you tomorrow for the new challenge post. I promise it will be something special!

Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 154 #PhotoPrompt

WELCOME TO TANKA TUESDAY!

Hi! I’m glad to see you here. Are you ready to write some syllabic poetry? I’ve updated my landing page to provide the challenge rules and links to all the poetry forms to make it easier for you to find. Check it out HERE!

It’s the middle of the month challenge ~ time for a photo prompt!

This month we will use a photo chosen by last month’s “Photo-Prompt” Poet of the Week ~ Linda Lee Lyberg.

Use the above photo as the inspiration for your poem. Ask yourself questions. Be creative! What emotions does this photo stir in you?

You can use Pixabay or any other creative commons photos – just give attribution to the photographer. If you would like to use your own photos, just let me know that bit of information. Please email the photo NLT 3 days before the next month’s photo challenge.

After you’ve posted your poem on your blog, please copy your poem in the comments section of the challenge post. This way, we can find all the poetry in one place.

This challenge is for Haiku, Senryu, Haiga, Tanka, Haibun, Etheree, Nonet, Shadorma, and Cinquain poetry forms. Freestyle rhyming poetry is not part of this challenge. Thank you. ❤

For Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge, you can write your poem in one of the forms defined below. Click on the links to learn about each form:

HAIKU IN ENGLISH 

SENRYU IN ENGLISH

HAIGA

TANKA IN ENGLISH 

HAIBUN IN ENGLISH 

CINQUAIN & the variations on Cinquain-Wikipedia 

ETHEREE

NONET

SHADORMA

Here are some great sites that will help you write your poetry and count syllables.

synonyms.com 

This site even has a link so you can install the extension on Google Chrome.

thesaurus.com

For Synonyms and Antonyms. When your word has too many syllables, find one that works.

howmanysyllables.com

Find out how many syllables each word has. I use this site to compose my poems. Click on the “Workshop” tab, then cut and paste your poetry into the box. Click the Count Syllables button on the button. This site does the hard work for you.

I don't get it

THE RULES

I will publish the Tuesday prompt post at 12: 03 A.M. Mountain Standard Time (Phoenix, AZ Time).  That should give everyone time to see the prompt from around the world. I publish the RECAP on Monday. It will contain the Poet of the Week and any Honorable Mention poetry.

You have one week to complete the Challenge with a deadline of Sunday, at 12:00 P.M. (Noon) Mountain Standard time – Phoenix, AZ, U. S. A.

The rules are simple…

As time allows, I will visit your blog, comment, and TWEET your POETRY. I have also been sharing some of your poetry on my Facebook page.

Click HERE to find Colleen M. Chesebro’s Facebook page. Please share the challenge poetry on your social media. Thanks.

If you add these hashtags to your post TITLE on your blog (depending on which poetry form you use) your poetry may be viewed more often:

#Haiku, #Senryu, #Haiga, #Tanka, #micropoetry, #poetry, #5lines, #Haibun, #Prose, #CinquainPoetry, #Etheree, #Nonet, #Shadorma #PhotoPromptPoetry

You may copy the badge I have created to go with the Weekly Poetry Challenge Post and place it in your post. It’s not mandatory:

Have fun and write some poetry!


Colleen’s 2019 #Tanka Tuesday #Poet of the Week & Honorable Mention, No. 153, “Grace & Style,” #SynonymsOnly

Gobble, Gobble… It’s time to read some fabulous poetry!

Welcome to the Tanka Tuesday Poetry Recap featuring the Poet of the Week and the honorable mention poetry that deserved another read. If you would like to participate in this challenge, you can learn the rules in the menu item called Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Guidelines.

Hi everyone. I’m really thrilled about how easy it was for us to see everyone’s poetry in the comments. It’s an extra step again, but it allows everyone to see each other’s poetry in one place – attached to the challenge post. Thanks to Sally Cronin for such a great idea!!

Let’s continue to add our poetry to the comments. Remember… as of January 2020 I won’t be doing a weekly recap. I’ve got lots of fun heading our way, so keep taking part in the challenges. ❤

I approve all comments and linkbacks to my blog. If you are a regular visitor to my blog, your link shows up, even if I haven’t approved it.

If you are new to my blog, your comment will have to wait to be approved. Depending on where you live, that could be an eight hour or more time difference from my location in Arizona. I schedule my posts around midnight so my followers from around the world have an opportunity to see them in a timely fashion. Don’t panic.

Congratulations, and many thanks to all the participants! I gave you all some tough

Please visit the challenge post comments HERE, where you’ll find the links to everyone’s poetry. Stop by and say hello! ❤

I will publish the Poet of the Week and Honorable Mention Poets in the 2019 Poet of the Week Anthology, which everyone can grab as a FREE PDF in January 2020.

Each week, I like to highlight a poet who I call the Poet of the Week who has shared an exceptional message or shown impassioned creativity through words or form. Poetry is all about perception. You may not feel the same way about my choice. That’s okay. Perception is different for all of us.

The Poet of the Week

This week, I’ve chosen H. R. R. Gorman for his double Etheree, “Mama Grace,” to be the Poet of the Week.

The Etheree is a wonderful choice for when you want to tell a tell a story using a syllabic form. Combine two together (Etheree & reversed Etheree) for more impact.

H.R.R. tells us the story of Mama Grace, using synonyms for the challenge words. I feel the fragility of humanity through his choice of words (deaf, dumb, poor, barren, etc.). He grabs the raw and gritty realities of life and splashes them on the page like secrets released in whispers.

There’s a cultural element to his words that show us more than tell us that Mama Grace lives in the south. This adds an old world charm to the theme of the poem.

Mama Grace

She
Lived
With aplomb
Despite trouble
With her sister’s son.
Her sister was deaf, dumb,
And didn’t want pregnancy.
But poor thing didn’t have a choice,
So barren sister Grace took in the boy.
She raised him with joy, with love, with honor.
But he lived in the vein of his father,
Took the mantle of rapist himself,
Then was carted off to prison.
“You spoilt him,” cried folks at church.
“It’s your fault,” they accused.
She couldn’t fight back.
She made some pink
Lemonade,
Sipped,
Cried.

©2019 H.R.R. Gorman

Honorable Mention(s)

Kerfe gets the honorable mention this week for her triple Shadorma, called “Blessings.”

There is something powerful about combining more than one form at a time. I like three verses or poems because it gives you a beginning, a middle, and an end. However many stanzas you decide to choose, make them count!

Kerfe says this poem is about birth and her words reflect that theme. I especially like how each stanza flows into the next until answering the eternal question, “what creates these seas of hope?”

Blessings

consider
the reckless places
hidden in
hearts, shining
like newborn constellations
exploding the dark–

pulled apart
by merciless force,
undefined
gravities–
adrift in the orbits
of recurrent night—

what creates
these seas of hope?–light
ships sailing
on longing–
circumnavigations of
storms searching for ports

©2019 Kerfe Roig

See you tomorrow for the new challenge!

Conversations with Colleen: Meet Author, Darlene Foster, @supermegawoman

Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you one of my favorite award-winning children’s authors, Darlene Foster. I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE. This is Darlene’s second visit to my blog. We had so much fun last time, she couldn’t wait to stop around again!

Darlene Foster writes the kind of children’s books that I would have loved to read as a child. Pull up a seat and stay awhile. Let’s talk writing!

Darlene Foster and “Amanda in Holland”

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme.”

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble.

Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

Amazon Author Page

What kind of research do you do for a children’s book, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I do a lot of research for each book. I start my research during my visit to the country the story will eventually take place in. While there, I take many pictures and make copious notes, as well as collect brochures and articles of interest. I also talk to local people, taste local food and attend cultural events if possible to get the feel of the country.

Once home, I start writing the story and research as I go along. I use the information I gathered as well as check facts on the internet using several sources to be sure I get it right.

For instance, while working on Amanda in Holland, I found some YouTube videos on making wooden shoes which were very helpful when describing the process. If the writing is going well and I don’t want to stop to do research, I highlight the area and go back to it later. I do more fact-checking and research during the revision process.

I enjoy doing research and learn a lot in the process. I have to be careful that I don’t get carried away with my research as young readers don’t want too much detail.

Do all authors have to be grammar Nazis?

You don’t have to be a grammar Nazi to be a successful author, but you need to know some. I have grammar Nazis on my team and they find many things I miss.

You need more than one, as different people find different things. Some are good at finding missing or misplaced punctuation while others find spelling mistakes, sentence structure issues or tense changes etc. It is also worth hiring a professional editor, even if your grammar is quite good. A writer gets too close to the story to find mistakes. Those mistakes can be distracting and take the reader out of the story.

What do you think about the idea that people think being a published author is glamorous? How has that worked out for you?

I don’t believe being a published author is glamorous but it certainly is rewarding. One of my favourite things to do as an author is to visit schools where I read from my books and talk about writing.

I recently visited some schools in Canada. When I walked into one grade four class, a young man shouted, “She’s here! She’s here! I can’t believe she’s here!” For a moment I felt like I a rock star.

Most established writers I meet are very down-to-earth people. I recently chatted with Diana Gabaldon, author of the widely popular Outlander series, at a writer’s conference. I found her to be very pleasant and unpretentious. I just don’t think glamorous describes an author.

What does the word ‘retirement’ mean to you? Do writers ever retire?

Five years ago I retired from my day job so I could write more. I wrote the first four books in the Amanda Travels series while I was working full time and it was difficult. Having said that, I don’t feel I have much more time to write than when I worked!

The difference is I am in charge of my own time. I have managed to write and publish three more books since I “retired” and have the first draft of anther completed.

I don’t think writers ever retire. We are always on the lookout for ideas whether at home, walking the dog, socializing with friends or on holidays. I recently went on a book tour in Canada, promoting my latest release, Amanda in Holland – Missing in Action. I visited many schools, libraries, book stores and cafes. It was fun but exhausting. So much for being retired!

I follow your travels on Facebook, Darlene. You’re amazing. Please share your current projects.

Amanda continues to travel. Amanda in Holland – Missing in Action has just been released. In this book, intrepid traveller Amanda Ross is in Holland to see the tulips with her best friend, Leah. They travel the canals of Amsterdam, visit Anne Frank House, check out windmills, tour a wooden shoe factory, and take pictures of the amazing flowers of Keukenhof Gardens.  But, things are missing in Holland – rare tulip bulbs, a gardener, a home for an abandoned puppy and Amanda’s great-uncle who didn’t return from the war. Is Amanda capable of finding these missing things without putting herself in danger?

The first draft of book number eight, Amanda in Malta – The Sleeping Lady is completed and I’m about to start the first revision. Amanda’s best friend, Leah, is in trouble, in Malta. Amanda rushes to her aid, not knowing what she will encounter in this ancient and mysterious island country.

Ideas for other Amanda Travels adventures are bouncing around in my head. One reader asked me during a recent school visit, “How long do you plan on writing these books?” I answered without hesitating, “Until I die.” Or at least until I run out of steam.

Thanks so much for once again featuring me and Amanda on your wonderful blog.

How to Connect with Darlene Foster

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/darlene6490/

Website: http://www.darlenefoster.ca/

Blog: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Thank you for stopping by to meet Darlene Foster!

Conversations with Colleen: Meet the Poet, Tallis Steelyard, & Author, Jim Webster @JimWebster

Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you a special guest. Today’s interview is with the poet, Tallis Steelyard. I asked him to pick a few questions from my huge list HERE, which he did.

Now, for those of you who don’t know Tallis, he is the creation of British author, Jim Webster. I’m convinced the two of them are one in the same, but you should be the judge of whether that is true or not.

Tallis Steelyard

I asked for a drawing of Tallis and Jim Webster shares,

“Tallis was born some time ago. Just exactly how long ago is disputed by a man who claims that whilst he is over thirty, age is mere assumption and nugatory in the great scheme of things.

Be that as it may he has been married to Shena for many of those years and she too insists that age sits lightly on her. As a matter of practical courtesy, age appears to agree.”

Hello, Tallis! Welcome. Would you mind sharing the first book that made you cry?

I can remember it as if it was only yesterday. I sat staring at a ledger in the office of Miser Mumster. The columns were just so, the hand elegant, and all the totals balanced. I realised that I had achieved perfection in my craft. Even the Miser, passing behind me, commented favourably on my achievement.

But the sudden realisation that I could not improve devastated me. I sat there and wept. I could go no further. So at an unfeasibly young age I left the counting house and swore to earn my living as a poet.

As a retired bookkeeper, I totally understand how you feel. So, does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing should be done in one of two ways. With my verses I feel that my best work is done resting in a hammock on the deck of the barge where I live with my wife, Shena. For my words to flow there ought to be a glass of white wine within easy reach and a scrap of paper and my trusty indelible pencil also close at hand.

Then there are other occasions where I face a blank sheet of paper and need to write prose. Here I write swiftly, my words pouring from me. Hunger and an empty store cupboard is the finest cure for the writer’s block.

Tallis, what do think are some common traps for aspiring writers?

Let us be honest here. If I wanted to attract aspiring writers I merely have to place a small advertisement in one of the literary periodicals proclaiming I am seeking contributions for a new journal and I will be swamped with writers offering me their work. Indeed I have often thought I would get plenty of takers if I insisted they pay to be included.

I would tell writers not to give their work away. Yes read a few of your verses at a friend’s wedding. That is a gift, a generous gesture. But to pour your heart and soul into work and then just give it away to readers who are in all probability better remunerated than you are is pure folly. It is like offering free shoe-shine to patrons of the best seats in a theatre and refusing to take money because, ‘you’re doing it for the exposure.’ If you don’t value your work, why should anybody else?

Excellent advice! So, if you could write a letter to your younger writing self, what would you say?

Do not, under any circumstances whatsoever, agree to any plan suggested by Lancet Foredeck, even if he is pouring wine with a generous hand.

That sounds like logical advice. In that case, what was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

This is a difficult question to answer. I’m torn between the time I paid Dorfut Tongle to look the other way when I had to enter the Sinecurist’s summer ball without a ticket; or perhaps the third bottle of wine I purchased when I was talking to Cil Martgold, and was trying to get to the bottom of her part in the unlikely success of Lancet’s novel.

Tallis, I’ve read some of your poetry. Do you view your writing as a spiritual practice?

No. It is a craft.  I am a jobbing poet, my skill with words is the tool of my trade. To me they are the equivalent of the hard won dexterity of a dancer, or the way a cabinet maker can see the potential in a piece of wood. If my work is spiritual, then so is theirs.

As an accomplished writer, what’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

I tend to write about individual people. Therefore I merely try and understand that person rather than trying to understand a complete gender. I find it easier that way.

That’s brilliant! Tallis, don’t hold back, now. If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

I would run away to sea as a deckhand, work for a bookie as a runner, attempt to pass myself off as a dealer in exotic spices, and fight two campaigns in Partann as a condottiere. If I lived through the experience I would probably have reached, at the age of twenty, the level of experience and cynicism I struggled to achieve in my forties.

You are quite the character, I must say. So, do you have any sage advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?

Always keep writing. Master your craft. If in doubt, write some more. If possible always write for publication, even if it’s only in small hobby magazines. That way you’re being constantly edited.

Tell me, have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?

I do it all the time.

You do? Then, how do you chose what gets written?

Now this is the crux of the issue. One has to be very careful, especially when, like me, one merely writes about the world as one observes it. I have seen a number of people bring all sorts of trouble down upon themselves by doing this.

Take the sad case of Tiffany Mealwight. She wasn’t initially a writer, but after a troubled dalliance with Macken Twir, a leading figure in Port Naain, a usurer and a lawyer, she decided to tell her story.

She gave some thought to how much detail she would include in her account and decided that she would hold nothing back. Personally, I am always wary about this approach. For example I assume that my readers are adults and can be expected to know what happens on the other side of the bedroom door. If they don’t, is it really my duty to explain it to them?

But still, others disagree with me. I know one very fine novelist who writes erotica. His income far exceeds mine, but alas I couldn’t go down that route. It is not moral scruples which hold me back, more my sense of the ridiculous.

Image by Jaesung An from Pixabay

But still, Tiffany in her writing bared all.

Her troubles came not because of her honesty but from her coyness. Whilst she described their amatory exchanges in almost painful detail, she decided not to mention the name of Macken Twir. Instead she referred to her lover as Master M.

Had she used Macken’s name, he would doubtless have been somewhat irritated. He might even have snubbed her when they met at social functions. But by referring to him by a single letter, her readers went on a quest to ascertain who her lover was by going through her book with a nit comb. Every piece of otherwise irrelevant detail was seized upon and discussed in prurient detail. Soon any gentleman in Port Naain with an ‘M’ in his name had been accused of being her paramour. Not only that but should that gentleman have a wife, she too would go through the book, checking on times and dates. And have mercy on any husband who couldn’t provide three witnesses of absolute rectitude who would vouch for his alibi.

Things got so bad that even I was suggested, on the grounds that the name Tallis Steelyard doesn’t contain the letter ‘M’ at all, thus proving how cunning Tiffany had been in naming her Innamorato.

Eventually matters escalated to the extent that Tiffany could no longer attend social functions without an aggrieved wife berating her! Eventually, unable to cope, she fled the city and settled in Avitas. There she managed, in a small way, to capitalise upon her reputation, and proceeded to write a number of scurrilous novels which claimed to give an insight into Port Naain society. They sold poorly to the worthy citizens of Avitas, but were imported into Port Naain in considerable numbers, normally smuggled past the customs officials in bales of wool.

So in all candour when I tell my stories I just name the names. Far better to offend one influential person on purpose than a score of influential people by accident.

That being said, given that a fair proportion of my tales are about people who are unlettered, dead, fled, or so hardened to disparagement they no longer care, it is rare that I get complaints.

Well, that leads me to my next question. How realistic are your books?

I have always attempted to ensure that my books cling with a passion to the absolute truth. After all, if truth is beauty and beauty is truth, surely the most literary satisfying version of a tale has to be the most truthful?

Tallis, do you like traveling or do you prefer staying close to home?

Image by ArtTower from Pixabay

To be fair, I do travel, but normally it is an activity I embark upon with a degree of reluctance. Most of my journeys are made at short notice and in considerable haste because I have somehow managed to offend somebody who lacks the self-awareness to accept the implied castigation inherent within the story in which they were mentioned.

I have to know… Do you keep a diary?

Good Aea no! Can you imagine what would happen if somebody found it and read it!

Tallis Steelyard & Author, Jim Webster

“Jim Webster is probably still fifty something, his tastes in music are eclectic, and his dress sense is rarely discussed in polite society. In spite of this he has a wife and three daughters.

He has managed to make a living from a mixture of agriculture, consultancy, and freelance writing. Previously he has restricted himself to writing about agricultural and rural issues but including enough Ancient Military history to maintain his own sanity. But seemingly he has felt it necessary to branch out into writing fantasy and Sci-Fi novels.”

Amazon Author Page

Thanks so much for stopping by to get acquainted with Tallis Steelyard. The reason that we have managed to cozen Tallis Steelyard into answering our questions is he, or rather his amanuensis, Jim Webster, has three novellas he is promoting.

It was ever thus, but still, Jim insists that they are works of great moral edification which can be read to their advantage by any intelligent person.

The first is, ‘Tallis Steelyard and the Rustic Idyll.’

When he is asked to oversee the performance of the celebrated ‘Ten Speeches’, Tallis Steelyard realises that his unique gifts as a poet have finally been recognised. He may now truly call himself the leading poet of his generation.

Then the past comes back to haunt him, and his immediate future involves too much time in the saddle, being asked to die in a blue silk dress, blackmail and the abuse of unregulated intoxicants. All this is set in delightful countryside as he is invited to be poet in residence at a lichen festival.

The second, also narrated by Tallis Steelyard is, ‘Maljie, the episodic memoirs of a lady.’

In his own well-chosen words, Tallis Steelyard reveals to us the life of Maljie, a lady of his acquaintance. In no particular order we hear about her bathing with clog dancers, her time as a usurer, pirate, and the difficulties encountered when one tries to sell on a kidnapped orchestra. We enter a world of fish, pet pigs, steam launches, theological disputation, and the use of water under pressure to dispose of foul smelling birds. Oh yes, and we learn how the donkey ended up on the roof.

The third, in which Tallis appears and plays a no doubt stalwart, but secondary part, ‘On the Mud. The Port Naain Intelligencer.’

When mages and their suppliers fall out, people tend to die. This becomes a problem when somebody dies before they manage to pass on the important artefact they had stolen. Now a lot of dangerous, violent or merely amoral people are searching, and Benor has got caught up in it all. There are times when you discover that being forced to rely upon a poet for back-up isn’t as reassuring as you might hope.

All are available, for the discerning and undiscerning alike, for the princely sum of £0.99 or around $1.27 U. S.

How to Connect with Jim Webster

Blog: Jim Webster: https://jandbvwebster.wordpress.com

Twitter: @JimWebster6

MeWe: @JimWebster

Facebook: Jim Webster

Thank you for stopping by to learn more about Tallis Steelyard and Jim Webster.

“Trite Tales for Little People,” Tallis Steelyard: Bringing the Joys of Civilization Blog Tour

For whatever reason, it appears to be Jim Webster Week on my blog. He has three separate features 1) this blog hop, 2) an exciting Conversations with Colleen where Tallis Steelyard, the Poet, fills us in on his deepest writing secrets, and 3) my book review of “Tallis Steelyard: A Guide for Writers.”

That’s a lot of Jim Webster in one week. Somehow, I know Tallis Steelyard and Jim Webster will entertain you with a fine selection of tales to make you smile.

What is this blog hop all about?

British novelist, Jim Webster has written three new novellas for your reading enjoyment. He’s also written a story to share with you now:

Trite Tales for Little People

by Jim Webster

I knew Desli Barqueal reasonably well. She was somebody I would say ‘Hello’ to when passing. Occasionally I would buy a pie from her, as she was one of the city’s wandering pie-men. In point of fact, in Port Naain the pie-men don’t really wander. There are places set aside for them along the side of the roads. These have a large stone post set into the ground, and may often have an awning or even a small roof, so the pie-man can sell his or her wares from undercover. Also, it means that if you want a pie, you merely head for the nearest post. Before anybody comments; the Port Naain Guild of Pie-men and associated vendors has always admitted women to its ranks. Indeed it appears that the majority of its membership are at any given time female. Still, they have stuck with the old name, if only because it was carved deep into the posts when they were first set up and nobody can be bothered going to the expense of re-carving.

Still, as I said, Desli was a pie-man but the pies were baked by her sister Misli. The two sisters still lived with their aged mother, Bronia. There was a younger brother but he had disappeared into Partann. He was a member of one of those ephemeral and makeshift infantry companies which are raised in Port Naain, travel south and then largely disappear. Still, the family did occasionally get letters from him. Also to be fair, the letters normally included a draft upon a bank in Prae Ducis, and this money helped to tide them over.

The family’s straitened circumstances were partially due to the ill health of the mother. It was a rare month that went by without another doctor’s bill. For the last few years she had been virtually blind and bedridden. But Misli also had problems. Her legs had never really worked properly. She cooked all the pies from a sitting position and would shuffle backwards and forwards along a long bench when she needed to put the pies in the oven and take them out again. The one healthy member of the family was Desli. Even she was to some extent handicapped by family issues. Whilst she had her admirers, each was very firmly told that if they wanted to marry her, they would have to take on responsibility for her mother and sister as well. So Desli was courted, if only tentatively, by a number of admirers. The consensus seemed to be that the wise admirer would wait for old Bronia to pass away before popping the question. Desli and Misli working together were at least an economic asset. In case this sounds overly cynical on their part, in their defence it must be said that the admirers were ordinary working men of limited means. They were not gentlemen of leisure. Still it was not unknown for them to drop round occasionally with ‘a little something nice for your mother.’ This ‘something nice’ could range from some horrocks broth through to a bottle of tonic wine.

But eventually the inevitable happened and Bronia died. It was then that Desli sent a note asking Shena and me to visit her and her sister. There, over a supper that was centred upon some of Misli’s finest pies, Desli produced a bundle of papers. These, she explained, had been her mother’s, and she wondered if I could do something with them. As I flicked through, it was obvious that Bronia was one of those ladies who had been taught, in her youth, to write with a very formal hand. Not only that, but over the years since, she had written comparatively little so had kept that elegant style until blindness and ill-health had made her lay her pen down for the last time. On closer inspection it appeared that over a considerable period of years, she had written a collection of children’s stories. I promised to read them and to see what I could do.

Next day was wet and whilst I still had a lot to do, I had a free hour in the morning. Thus I could afford to give that time to the manuscript. The stories were set in a minor netherworld. It was obviously not one of the less pleasant hells, and the characters were minor imps and demons. Given that Bronia was a lady who had lived in Port Naain all her life, the hell she chronicled was a large dark city. Reading through the stories I could see the old lady had displayed true mastery of her genre. The stories were such as would amuse children. But there was a depth and subtlety to them which meant that the adult reading the story would also enjoy them. Indeed she had been clever enough to ensure that both the child and the adult would laugh at the same time. By the time I had read through half the material I realised I had vastly more than enough for a book.

I did the obvious thing, after a hasty lunch consisting mainly of coffee, I bundled up the first half of the stories and on my way to my patron’s I dropped into Glicken’s Printers. I showed them what I had found, indeed I let them look at the manuscript. Like me they thought it was worth printing. Indeed when I explained the reduced circumstances of the family, they decided they would print it without expecting a contribution from the author. When it was printed, under the unimaginative title of ‘Trite tales for little people,’ I took a couple of copies with me to show patrons. Given that a lot of them were grandmothers, or soon hoped to be, they too showed considerable interest and on the strength of this interest I managed to sell quite a few. (It is a source of constant wonder to me that I can successfully sell anybody’s works but my own.) All in all, I felt I had done my bit for Desli and Misli and thought no more about it.

Imagine my surprise when, perhaps eighteen months later, I saw this self-same book of children’s stories discussed in The Port Naain Literary Review.

As I read the article I wondered if it was a burlesque, a parody, written to mock the writing of some third party. Apparently the stories were, and here I quote, ‘A searing critique of the moral standards of leading figures here in Port Naain.’ The author of the article even went to the lengths of showing how each happy little imp or frolicking minor demon was obviously based on somebody who was influential within the city. I shook my head in bemusement at this. I assumed that this article was a joke and as I was not one of the inner circle, I didn’t understand it. After wracking my brains over what the author was trying to prove, I metaphorically shrugged and moved on to read the next article.

But I wasn’t the only person who read the article and pondered. When I was next in Glicken’s Printers they mentioned they’d had to do another printing as there had been an increase in sales. Then at one or two of the functions I attended, I was present as people discussed the book, arguing fiercely over which character represented which person. Indeed I soon saw articles in various places where the writers were pointing out how the delightful antics of the imp, Pugglewood, matched exactly the latest machinations of Radsel Oeltang, chair of the Council of Sinecurists. Indeed it was claimed that his latest schemes were examined in forensic detail in one of the stories.

At this point I genuinely did wonder what was going on. I went to my copy of ‘Trite tales for little people,’ and read it again.   The printers had merely printed them in the order they’d appeared in the pile. I even checked the original handwritten sheets. The story that had been seen as a comment on the antics of a current politician had been written thirty or more years ago. Either Bronia had been a prophetess, (in which case was it worth combing her work for the names of racehorses?) or people were reading far more into the work than was there. I even visited her daughters, but they assured me that their mother had not touched a pen in the last five years of her life.

Still I was getting nervous. When one irate Sinecurist read out one of the stories at a council meeting, to ensure that the whole council knew what his opponent was planning, it struck me that things had gone too far. When a number of the council took to addressing Radsel Oeltang as ‘Pugglewood,’ I grew nervous. After all, Bronia was safely dead and Desli and Misli were unknowns. But if asked I had no doubt that Glicken’s Printers would mention my part in the process.

It was the following evening. I was at the Misanthropes and was merely at table with friends. The conversation was centred on my forthcoming trip to Slipshade. We had just finished dining, (but fortunately had not yet been presented with the bill) when a group of comparatively anonymous thugs burst into the room demanding to ‘speak’ to one Steelyard. Lancet as ever rose to the occasion. He stood up and shouted to those sitting by the door, “Run Tallis, run.”

Obvious the bullies turned back to the door and prepared to intercept a fleeing poet. I silently left my seat, stepped behind the bar, and the barman lifted the trapdoor he normally stands on. I climbed as quietly as I could down the ladder, and the barman resumed his usual place on top of the trapdoor. The ladder led me down into the upper cellar, and the cellar-man opened the loading door onto the back street. From here I walked briskly to the Partann wharf and boarded steam packet, the Unrivalled. Well, we were due to leave on the next morning’s tide anyway.

And now we’d better hear from Jim Webster…

So, here I am again with another blog tour. Not one book but three.

The first is another of the Port Naain Intelligencer collection. These stories are a bit like the Sherlock Holmes stories. You can read them in any order.

On the Mud. The Port Naain Intelligencer

When mages and their suppliers fall out, people tend to die. This becomes a problem when somebody dies before they manage to pass on the important artefact they had stolen. Now a lot of dangerous, violent or merely amoral people are searching, and Benor has got caught up in it all. There are times when you discover that being forced to rely upon a poet for back-up isn’t as reassuring as you might hope.

Then we have a Tallis Steelyard novella.

Tallis Steelyard and the Rustic Idyll

When he is asked to oversee the performance of the celebrated ‘Ten Speeches’, Tallis Steelyard realises that his unique gifts as a poet have finally been recognised. He may now truly call himself the leading poet of his generation.

Then the past comes back to haunt him, and his immediate future involves too much time in the saddle, being asked to die in a blue silk dress, blackmail and the abuse of unregulated intoxicants. All this is set in delightful countryside as he is invited to be poet in residence at a lichen festival.

And finally, for the first time in print we proudly present,

Maljie, the episodic memoirs of a lady

All a mere 99p each in the UK and around $1.27 each in the U. S.

For stopping by… What are you waiting for? Grab your book today!

Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 153 #SynonymsOnly

WELCOME TO TANKA TUESDAY!

Hi! I’m glad to see you here. Are you ready to write some syllabic poetry?

Here are your two words for this week:

Grace & Style

HERE’S THE CATCH: You can’t use the prompt words! SYNONYMS ONLY! 

PLEASE support the other poets by visiting their blogs and leaving comments. Sharing each other’s work on social media is always nice too.

This challenge is for Haiku, Senryu, Haiga, Tanka, Haibun, Etheree, Nonet, Shadorma, and Cinquain poetry forms. Freestyle rhyming poetry is not part of this challenge. Thank you. ❤

For Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge, you can write your poem in one of the forms defined below. Click on the links to learn about each form:

HAIKU IN ENGLISH 

SENRYU IN ENGLISH

HAIGA

TANKA IN ENGLISH 

HAIBUN IN ENGLISH 

CINQUAIN & the variations on Cinquain-Wikipedia 

ETHEREE

NONET

SHADORMA

Here are some great sites that will help you write your poetry and count syllables

synonyms.com 

This site even has a link so you can install the extension on Google Chrome.

thesaurus.com

For Synonyms and Antonyms. When your word has too many syllables, find one that works.

howmanysyllables.com

Find out how many syllables each word has. I use this site to compose my poems. Click on the “Workshop” tab, then cut and paste your poetry into the box. Click the Count Syllables button on the button. This site does the hard work for you.

I don't get it

THE RULES

I will publish the Tuesday prompt post at 12: 03 A.M. Mountain Standard Time (Phoenix, AZ).  That should give everyone time to see the prompt from around the world. The RECAP is published on Monday and will contain the poetry from the Poet of the Month and any Honorable Mentions.

You have one week to complete the Challenge with a deadline of Sunday, at 12:00 P.M. (Noon) Phoenix, AZ, U. S. A.

Follow the schedule listed below:

Let’s try something different. It would be great to see everyone’s poetry on one post. I’m trying to find a plugin that will help us with this issue. Stay tuned.

In the meantime…

Instead of a link-back, copy and paste your poem in the comments. This will work except for Haiga poetry. In that case, copy the link of your poem in the comments and let us know that it’s a Haiga.

 

Don't forget

As time allows, I will visit your blog, comment, and TWEET your POETRY. I have also been sharing some of your poetry on Facebook.

If you add these hashtags to your post TITLE on your blog (depending on which poetry form you use) your poetry may be viewed more often:

#Haiku, #Senryu, #Haiga, #Tanka, #micropoetry, #poetry, #5lines, #Haibun, #Prose, #CinquainPoetry, #Etheree, #Nonet, #Shadorma

You may copy the badge I have created to go with the Weekly Poetry Challenge Post and place it in your post. It’s not mandatory:

Have fun and write some poetry! Don’t forget to copy and paste your poem in the comments!