Tag Archives: Stories

The Congress of Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 or Flash Fiction: My (Small) Part In Its The Journey. #Carrotranch #congressofroughwriters #anthology

Carrot ranch tour

I am so excited to be in the company of many wonderful writers in this first anthology of flash fiction by Rough Writers at the Carrot Ranch. Geoff Le Pard is one of those writers and kicks off the promotional Around the World Blog tour. Hop on board to meet others of the talented writers and find out to purchase your own copy of the book.

TanGental

In my fourth ever post I tried my hand at flash fiction for the first time. This…

Dogged

Harry dropped his gaze to avoid looking at Sally. No point; she didn’t know he existed. He looked at the dog.
Milton looked back; he scratched his ear before lowering himself into a squat.
“No. Christ. Not here.”
Milton held Harry’s gaze as he shat on the pavement.
“Great” Harry stared at the sticky turd. He patted his pocket. No bags.
Harry glanced up, wondering if he could leave it. To his horror, Sally was a few paces away. She held out her crisp packet. “Here.”
“What?”
“For that.”
As Harry cleared up, Sally rubbed Milton’s head. “Cute dog.”

99 words, inspired by Charli Mills over at her Carrot Ranch. When I look at it, I’m struck by the following:

  • there’s poo
  • there’s a certain attempt at humour
  • ditto cuteness
  • but it’s…

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poised on the edge of the future

Poised on the edge of the future

Every morning we wake up to a new day and step into the future. The past is gone, in memories of yesterday and soon to be forgotten. How we approach each day–with excitement, fear, anticipation, dread, joy or boredom, lulled by repetitious acceptance devoid of creativity–is our choice. We can accept the mundane or jump into the unknown, feet first.

This week Charli Mills of the Carrot Ranch challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that goes to the edge. Consider what the edge might be and how it informs the story. Go where the prompt leads.

I jumped straight in and wrote my 99-word response in one go. Normally I mull it over for days, struggling to find threads of meaning to tie together post and story.

Last week in response to Charli’s “boots” prompt, I wrote about Grandma’s sparkly storytelling boots. I was pleased so many of you confirmed it was a great idea for a story. I had already decided to work on it and submit it to my critique group this week. You could say, I jumped into that abyss–boots first. Wearing grandma’s sparkly boots, I’m sure to fly.

It’s funny when you write a post that connects with people in unexpected ways. I was surprised, delighted, honoured and extremely grateful this week when three of my favourite bloggers, whose work I admire shared my post on their blogs:

Jennie Fitzkee–an inspiring early childhood teacher who, like me, expounds the benefits of respect for children, story reading and telling–blogs at A Teacher’s Reflections. If you haven’t visited her blog yet, I recommend you do. Every post delights.

Dayne Sislen–an illustrator of children’s picture books who shares information about illustrating books and also writes about the importance of reading to children–blogs at Dayne Sislen Illustration. Her love of children’s picture books and illustration is obvious. In her post last week How to extend the attention span of your children, Dayne discussed the importance of reading to children. It was a wonderful match for mine about storytelling. You can find out more about Dayne on her blog or website.

Charles French–who I came to know through Jennie reposting his series of inspiring quotes–blogs at Charles French Words Reading and Writing. How delightful to know that he also enjoyed my post enough to share with his readers. This is just one of his posts of quotations that spoke to me: Quotations on teaching. 😊 I suggest you pop over to visit Charles as well to share in his words of wisdom.

children hold hands going into the future

Those of you who write YA or adults novels, memoir or non-fiction, may wonder what we early childhood teachers and writers and illustrators of children’s picture books have that could be of interest to you. Let me tell you, we have everything. We have the key. We are the ones who create the readers of tomorrow, the future readers of your books. We turn the children onto reading as we take their hands and lead them to the edge of tomorrow when they leap into the unknown worlds of books.

In case you haven’t yet read my response to Charli’s “edge” prompt, this is it. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with my previous statement but starting anything new can push us to the edge and we don’t really know just what will happen until we give it a try. I wish you all many joyous flights.

The edge

She stood at the edge of the abyss and wondered what would happen should she jump – would she fly, or would she plummet to the bottom and rest, fractured and alone, forgotten and abandoned, with all the others who dared to try but failed. It was fear that held her back, chained her to the ledge. But there was nowhere else to go. She’d tried all other paths. This was all that remained. Could she stay there forever. Would there be a point? What if she fell? But what if she flew? She inhaled, closed her eyes, and jumped…

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Winner of Flash Fiction Contest #8

And the results of the TUFFest Contest of all in the Carrot Ranch #FFRODEO are out. Congratulations Liz Husebye Hartman for TUFFing it out to win the contest!

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

TUFF Winner at Carrot Ranch @Charli_MillsTo many writers, 99 words may hardly seem enough to tell a story. And yet, week after week I witness writers achieve compelling, emotive and imaginitive stories in 99 words. Some are complete story arcs, some are snapshots of a moment, and some are character-driven. Much can be accomplished in flash fiction.

Contest #8 in the Flash Fiction Rodeo asked writers to show the bones of their story development, cut it to the strongest point, and build it back up into a complete story using TUFF: The Ultimate Flash Fiction. TUFF mimics what it takes to write a novel. It’s a process that begins with a 5-minute free write, reduces the draft to 99 words, 59 words, 9 words and then concludes with a 599-word flash fiction.

As a contest, TUFF asks entrants to be vulnerable. First drafts (free writes) are not often what any writer wants to share, especially…

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love of reading to young children in early childhood education

Readilearn: Wrapping up a year of books – the gift of reading

The love of reading is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child.

Reading is empowering, and a book is a gift that continues to give, long after the occasion has past. It’s effects cannot always be measured.

To help you decide which books to give to whom for Christmas, I thought I’d make your task a little easier by reminding you of the lovely books I shared throughout the year in interviews with their authors and illustrators.

Below you will find a list the books and their authors and illustrators. I also include links to

  • the interview on the blog
  • the interview in the Author or Illustrator Spotlight
  • the creative’s website
  • a place where the book may be purchased.

Many of these authors and illustrators have more than one book, some for readers in other age groups, including adult, so please check out their websites for additional information.

At the conclusion of the post, I list other books read and enjoyed. Sadly, there’s just not enough time for all the interviews I’d love to do.

Of course, the list is not exhaustive. These are just a few suggestions to get you started. Enjoy!

Continue reading at:  Readilearn: Wrapping up a year of books – the gift of reading

#WATWB The Teacher Helping Hurricane Harvey’s Youngest Victims – And How You Can Help / A Mighty Girl | A Mighty Girl

On the last Friday of each month in the We Are The World Blogfest, bloggers post positive news items that demonstrate that “love, humanity, and brotherhood” still exist in a world where negative news items seem to proliferate. They encourage as many bloggers as possible to join in and share good news stories.

I’m a bit late joining in this week, but I wanted to ensure you heard this wonderful news about teachers and children helping out those affected by the recent devastating hurricanes  – education of the heart.

Books, children, reading, children helping children, teachers, compassion, empathy. Great ingredients for a better world.

If you would like to join in, click Here to enter their link . As they say, “Bigger the #WATWB group each month, more the joy!”

The cohosts for this month are: Michelle Wallace , Shilpa GargAndrea MichaelsPeter NenaEmerald Barnes. Check out their posts, and others, for stories to warm your heart.

This is the story I share with you as part of the Blogfest this month:

When Hurricane Harvey struck this week, second grade teacher Kathryn Butler Mills of Katy, Texas quickly learned how many of her students were affected. In photos on social media, she saw “several of my students, past and present, sitting under staircases, in bathrooms, and in pantries, waiting out tornado watches and warnings.” She wanted to find a way to “bring a little normal to them in very not normal circumstances.” After seeing a number of kids pictured with books in hand, she hit on the idea of creating an online boo

Source: The Teacher Helping Hurricane Harvey’s Youngest Victims – And How You Can Help / A Mighty Girl | A Mighty Girl

Crystalline wonders

This week, Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Communications challenged writers to: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the word crystalline.

In her post, Charli wrote about hunting for agates. She also mentioned many other types of rock, including quartz, chert, silica, gneiss, granite, mica… She used terms like metamorphic and fossilised, and I was transported back to my high school science classes. Sadly, I wasn’t inspired to be a rock-hound like Charli, and needed to check my understanding of these words and terms.

My research uncovered both science facts and assorted beliefs about the seemingly magical properties of agate, some of which I’ll share with you.

#12 Science facts about agate (without getting too technical):

  • A type of quartz
  • Most commonly found in volcanic rock, sometimes metamorphic
  • Fine grains and bright colours, often in bands
  • Many are hollow geodes
  • Weather resistant
  • Often found in soil or on the shoreline of waterways
  • Many different types of agate
  • Found in many different countries
  • Many uses including art and jewellery
  • Polishing, often by tumbling, helps to expose their inner beauty of colours and patterns
  • Each agate is unique
  • Can vary in size and value

Sources: Wikipedia, Minerals.net, International Gem Society

Due to the bands of colour, agate is also known as Earth’s rainbow.

A collection of beliefs about the metaphysical properties and healing powers of agate

Can be used to create balance in emotional, physical and intellectual energy of an individual and of the universe.

Worn as an amulet, it provides protection.

Different colours and types of agate are considered to have different metaphysical properties, for example; some are thought to be calming, some uplifting, others bring abundance, some have healing powers, and others bestow strength. In fact, it seems agate can help with almost everything from marketing your writing and managing your overwhelming multitude of tasks to preventing traffic accidents.

Agate is a zodiac stone for my birth sign Gemini. While I may not dare agree with it (pass me the agate. I’m sure it will help me), I rather like the description. It tells me that Gemini is the sign of the inventor and that,

Those born under this sign can see both sides of an issue. They’re flexible and can go with the flow, and can be lively and talkative, or restless and nervous depending on their setting. Those born when the Sun is in Gemini are quick thinkers, quick-witted, and quick on their feet.

Disappointingly for me, I was not born in summer. I’m a Southern Hemisphere winter Gemini baby. Does that make me the opposite?

Sources: Crystal Vaults, Crystal Healing, Crystals and Jewellery

It seems that with a small collection of differently coloured agates one could conquer almost everything, be self-aware and self-confident, courageous and strong, peaceful and healthy.  Perhaps a collection in every home, on every corner, and in every classroom, could be the answer to humanity’s problems.

#12 Agates for a classroom collection?

  • Blue – creativity, problem solving, courage
  • Banded – creates a healthy environment, removes negativity, cuts ties to negative relationships, helps seek solutions and to try new things, offers protection, encourages creativity
  • Blue lace – healing and calming, nurturing and supportive, reduces anger, reduces fear of being judged, assists with verbal expression
  • Botswana – creativity, problem solving, quit smoking, energises the brain
  • Bull’s eye – focus
  • Colorin – helps accept changes associated with aging
  • Crackled fire – energy and protection, prevents burn-out
  • Crazy lace – focus, reduces negativity
  • Dendritic – abundance, peace
  • Green – enhances thinking, improves decision making, resolving disputes
  • Laguna – builds community, improves learning, especially in mathematics
  • Moss – self-esteem, friendship skills, try again

What do you think? Is it worth a try? I know of at least one teacher who thought so. I was employed to replace her when other teachers and parents became concerned that the children weren’t learning anything useful. She may have found a sense of calm and balance, but the children were disrupted, distracted, and disengaged. Like many things, the power is in the actions we take, and not manifested by the object itself.

Charli likens rock hunting to writing. She says,

the more you show up to the beach and the page, the better your chances of finding a crystalline wonder.

I think polishing the agates to reveal their inner beauty must be a little like writing, and teaching too.

That’s one reason why I keep showing up. I don’t know that I’ll ever find a crystalline wonder, but I’m prepared to put in some effort to find out.

This is my response to Charli’s challenge. It didn’t go quite where I intended and maybe not where you’d expect, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

Darling Crystalline

Her mother wanted Chrystal; father, Clementine. Calm registrar decided: Baby Crystalline.

Parental spats continued as Crystalline grew up. Never in agreement, it made her so messed-up.

Crystalline retreated, spent days all on her own, searching by the water, for brightly coloured stones.

She gathered a collection that healed her aching heart, ignited self-compassion and made a brand-new start.

Believing stones worked magic, curing each and every woe, she took the heart stones with her, wherever she would go.

She shared their healing powers, with any she could find, she told them “Pay it forward. She became their darling Crystalline.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Introducing illustrator Muza Ulasowski – Readilearn

This month I am delighted to introduce you to the very talented illustrator Muza Ulasowski. I’m certain you will find her illustrations to be quite remarkable.

Although Muza has illustrated many books, I first came across her work in the beautiful picture book Forest Wonder, written by Caroline Tuohey. It is Forest Wonder, a winner of international awards, that Muza and I are discussing today. Before we get started on the interview, first let me tell you a little about Muza.

 Muza Ulasowski is a graphic designer and children’s book illustrator based in the leafy western suburb of Brookfield in Brisbane, Queensland. Australia. She is inspired and surrounded by a vast array of local birds and animals who tend to make their appearances in her book illustrations. She shares her life with her wonderfully patient husband, their charismatic bulldog called Charlie and a black magic cat named Basil.

In 2010, she was invited to illustrate her first children’s picture book and enjoyed it so much, that

Continue reading: Introducing illustrator Muza Ulasowski – Readilearn