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“The Neighborhood,” #Haibun, #FlashFiction

The February 25 2021, Carrot Ranch flash fiction prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the word frozen. It can be descriptive, character focused, action driven. Go out onto the ice and find a frozen story. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by March 2, 2021.

“The Neighborhood,” Haibun (99 words)

My first walk in the new neighborhood turned up some surprises. Across the street, a fast-running stream bordered the edge of the forest along the walking path.

So, this is where the deer came from, I thought. We’d spotted deer tracks in the snow as they came right up to our front porch. A real Michigan welcoming committee!

Around the corner, I spotted a pond, frozen beneath the afternoon sun. I day-dreamed about the frogs and crickets serenading us in the stillness of a long summer night.

 frost-bound pond glistens
 cattails rattle in the wind
 mourning dove calls spring

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

Want to write syllabic poetry? Join me every Tuesday at Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry.

“Day Dreams,” #tanka

The Tanka Tuesday poetry challenge asked us to write about “dreams” this week.

I wrote a tanka poem:

Image by Michael Grey from Pixabay

Day Dreams

 blue sky, cloud watching
 under the green canopy,
 opaque day dreams build
 poetry and story plots,
 fashioning magical worlds

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

The tanka is one of the most popular forms in our challenge. Let’s review a few of the characteristics of the tanka.

The 5/7/5/7/7 syllabic form is written from the perspective of the poet. Japanese poetry has stricter rules than other poetry, although the tanka is the most forgiving of these forms.

The first three lines of your tanka should convey a specific theme. The last two lines of your tanka are usually where the pivot occurs. The pivot should change the course of your writing with an implied metaphor, or some kind of comparison. You want to link the two parts of your poetry so the reader can connect to your meaning in fresh ways.

Don’t end your lines with articles and prepositions. Always use precise language: verbs, adjectives, etc. Use your five senses when writing tanka poetry.

Compose, read, and write your tanka poems to be read forward and backward. Often, the meaning changes or becomes more impactful to the reader when read backward.

Have fun writing tanka poetry!

“Pu-Chai,” Flash Fiction

The Carrot Ranch February 18, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story where a character is in the right place at the right time. It may be a cause for celebration! Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by February 23, 2021, to be included in the compilation.

Pu-Chai

“How much is the black puppy?” I pointed to the fuzzy Pomeranian in the cage.

“That one? I’ll have to check. He’s been here for months.”

Dark, soulful eyes stared at me as if the pup understood the conversation.

“Pure black Pomeranians are rare. Is he papered?”

“Yup. Two champions in his line. Nobody wants him because he’s all black. You know, bad-luck.”

He nosed my hand through the cage.

“I’ll take him.”

“Looks like you are in the right place at the right time. He’s on sale, only $99.00.”

“Sold.”

In my arms, Pu-Chai found his new home.

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

**Note: This is a true story. The name Pu-Chai, means black in Thai. This little guy lived with our family for 14 years. We still miss him.

Pu-Chai (Age 13) taking care of Alexandria, my oldest granddaughter who is now almost 20 years old.

Colleen’s Book Reviews

Featuring Your Next Weekend Read!

Since our move, I’ve read a few books I’d like to share to get caught up on my reviews. I’ll post each one to Amazon, GoodReads, & BookBub.

MY RECOMMENDATION:

The Rise of Gadreel is the third and final book in Vashti Q. Vega’s Fantasy Angel Series.

Using the blackest of magic, Lucifer, a.k.a. Satan figures a way out of his earthly prison by infiltrating a corrupt priesthood. As expected, it isn’t long before a terrible new evil invades the world.

Tired of the fight, Gadreel only wants to repent her past sins and find peace. She seeks God’s forgiveness, regretting her decision to fight alongside Lilith and Lucifer and the other fallen angels. She knows it’s now up to her and Dracúl to fight this new terror and to save humanity.

Along with a trio of extraordinary allies—a man of air, a man of stone, and a woman of fire—at her side, Gadreel finds the courage to defy her past and create a new future for herself and the world.

I’ve loved each book in this series, but Gadreel’s story was the most soul satisfying for me. The writing is riveting, and I read long into the night. The author weaves her magic by combining historical facts from the Dark Ages, along with a few tales from the Bible to create a story like no other.

Written from both the protagonist and antagonist views, the reader glimpses the battle between good and evil first hand—but not for the faint of heart. There were a few parts that made me squirm. Yet, in the end, I was sad to let the characters go. A must read unforgettable series!


Amazon.com

My Recommendation:

I was thrilled to receive The Magician’s Soul: A Paranormal Romance (The Great Dagmaru Book 3) from Linda G. Hill as an advanced reader’s copy. I’ve enjoyed the entire series, and couldn’t wait to see what this third and final installment would bring.

Herman and Stephen have a wedding to plan—that is, if Herman’s recurring nightmares would go away. Her history of prophetic dreams takes the couple on a wild ride.

Herman also has to deal with her father’s alter ego, Mona Lisa, whose character definitely creeped me out. When her cousin Rudy shows up, the couple learns that she’s a succubus who vows to help Herman come to grips with her own bloodline. The only problem is, Rudy is used to taking what she wants and when she sets her sights on Stephen, the book takes off with a bang!

The author weaves in some serious magical aspects into this story that I never guessed or saw coming. Look for Herman’s dreams to connect her and Stephen in new ways. Besides the magic, the actual story is the love shared between Herman and Stephen.

Another book I couldn’t put down! This series is one of the most unusual I’ve read.

My Recommendation:

I received Diversion, Breaking the Pattern #2, as a gift from the author in a Facebook Group contest. P.D. Workman was a new author for me, and even though this is the second book in the series, I had no difficulty following the story line.

Meet Sandy, a teenage prostitute, junkie, and con-artist raised to a life of crime by her own father. Really, all Sandy wants is to be normal. As things continue to grow more dangerous for her, the young woman struggles to come to grips with her life choices.

I was impressed with the writing, and how smoothly Sandy’s tale flowed. The author had to go to great lengths to learn about life on the streets in order to make this story work like it did. The trials and tribulations of Sandy’s life kept me guessing until the end.

If you love stories with strong female protagonists who fail forward to become a better version of themselves, this story will capture your heart. Sandy was an unforgettable character. I lost hours in this book!

My Recommendation:

Since I enjoyed P.D. Workman’s writing from the crime drama above, I tried one of her cozy mysteries, called Gluten Free Murder (Auntie Clem’s Bakery Book 1).

Erin moves back to the small town of Eagle Falls to start up a gluten-free bakery in her aunt’s store after she passed away. Everything is going great until the grand opening when Angela Plaint, the owner of the rival bakery down the street, dies after eating one of Erin’s cupcakes.

Erin becomes the prime suspect in Angela’s death. To make matters worse, even Detective Terry Piper thinks she’s guilty until a series of break-ins at the bakery steer them in another direction.

Small towns are filled with gossip, and Eagle Falls is no different. Soon the rumors about treasure hunting, drug dealing, and a missing boy propel Erin into a mystery she must solve before the actual killer finds her!

If you find your life in turmoil, grab a cozy mystery to pass the time and to forget your woes. This book is FREE, and I found the mystery to be a good read as it remained true to its genre.

To be honest, I preferred the crime drama to the cozy mystery, but you be the judge.

My Recommendation:

This book explores the actual experiences of two friends through letters as they scrutinize the mysteries of ancient Britain’s (Albion) medieval churches. Sue Vincent and Stuart France are the co-authors.

Don and Wen are characters in The Initiate (Triad of Albion Book 1), the first of nine books that tell the full story of what became a true spiritual journey. This book stands alone as a practical guide of how to listen for and to interpret the voice of the living land and its history from a unique perspective.

I enjoyed the relationship between Don and Wen written in the epistolary format. These letters are an intimate glimpse into their friendship and their love for British history. They seek to understand the sacred sites by understanding their purpose.

Ancient symbols are powerful reminders of the ancients who came before us. What better way to seek wisdom than through the churches built during Anglo-Saxon times? The remnants of the Vikings, depicted through Odin’s thunderbolts, the images of the horse and the white horse are only a few of the symbols discussed. It is apparent that Christianity and Paganism crossed many paths.

Through their travels, the two friends open themselves to all that is magical, questioning and seeking wisdom. In their discussions of time, death, and rebirth I found solace. At times, their research led them to more questions which could only be resolved through further esoteric discussions which let to another road trip!

I found the book filled with information, sometimes more than I could digest in one sitting. But it is their knowledge that kept drawing me back to reread sections more than once. I look forward to the second book in Don and Wen’s spiritual quest.

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 If you have your book listed on BookBub, I will add my review there also! Click HERE to follow me! (Colleen M. Chesebro) Let me know in the comments if you follow me so I can follow you!

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I also share my reviews in the Literary Diva’s Library on Facebook. Click HERE to apply for membership.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a tiny amount from qualifying purchases. If you purchase from the Amazon.com link above, I earn a small commission to fund my reading habit. Amazon will not charge you extra, and you’ll keep me supplied in books that I can review. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

“Still Cold (Yokan)” haiku

Frank Tassone is buried in three feet of snow! For his Haikai challenge #177, this week he asks us to write our favorite haikai poem (haiku, senryu, haibun, tanka, haiga, renga, etc.) alluding to either:

  • Still Cold (yokan)/New Year (Shinnen)
  • Mardi Gras/Ash Wednesday

“Still Cold,” haiku

bright, blinding snowlight 
luminous snowflake crystals
crunching tires, still cold

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro
Photo by Egor Kamelev on Pexels.com

Want to write syllabic poetry? Join me every Tuesday at Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry.

“At the Precipice,” #BadgerHexastich, #PhotoPrompt

This week, the Tanka Tuesday Ekphrastic poetry challenge asked us to write our poetry using the psychology of color. We can take the image at face value, or choose a specific color in the rainbow umbrella to write about, or we can write about the lack of color. However, we interpret this image is up to us… we just have to make sure to incorporate the psychology of color.

Notice the “gray” bland coloring of the waterfall in the image. Gray is an interesting neutral, stuck between black and white, neither good nor evil. This color signifies distance, remoteness, almost a cold reckoning. I used the Badger Hexastich for this image because the short syllable structure helped to convey my word choice. The first stanza accentuates the gray.

The second stanza zeroes in on the symbolism of the rainbow umbrella – diversity found in the colors of the rainbow.

This Badger Hexastich deals with opposites: alone, and with you. Check out the cheatsheet to learn more about this form. It’s updated on wordcraftpoetry. com.

At the Precipice

Alone—
cold reticence
blending in with the crowd
playing it safe, balanced
turbulently
detached

With you— 
diversity
embracing life's choices
happy together in
our unity
as one

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

The first double ennead challenge is up at the Saddle Up Saloon at carrot ranch.com. Join in and learn a new form HERE.

Want to write syllabic poetry? Join me every Tuesday at Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry.

Saddle Up Saloon; Colleen’s Double Ennead Challenge

Who’s ready to join in the Carrot Ranch Double Ennead challenge? The form is 99 syllables, no more, no less!

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Welcome to the Saloon and the first Double Ennead Monthly Poetry Challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be over here at Carrot Ranch with another double ennead challenge. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. I hope to see you in the Saloon!

The wordEnneadmeans nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

Why write poetry?

When a writer embraces theability to convey complex images and emotions in just a few lines, they have learned to strengthen their writing. In the…

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The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic

Join us! In this Rodeo Classic, we’re here to celebrate a stalwart center of many blogging corners, Sue Vincent. Sue has variously contributed to the community here at the Carrot Ranch, through communication with many other bloggers, and run her own famous #writephoto weekly blog prompt. You can (and should!) follow her on her blogs, The Daily Echo and the shared blog France & Vincent. She has inspired us to become better writers and shown us the power of mystery and myth. We also suggest taking a perusal at her book corral and Amazon pages!

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

by H.R.R. Gorman

Here at the Carrot Ranch, we take the business of 99-word literary art seriously. Those who participate in the Ranch prompts or yearly Rodeo saddle up to TUFF (The Ultimate Flash Fiction) it out and train new Rough Riders as we go. Now, the Ranch is hosting a new event to sharpen minds, welcome new hands, and celebrate one of our own the best way we know how: our first ever Rodeo Classic.

In this Rodeo Classic, we’re here to celebrate a stalwart center of many blogging corners, Sue Vincent. Sue has variously contributed to the community here at the Carrot Ranch, through communication with many other bloggers, and run her own famous #writephoto weekly blog prompt. You can (and should!) follow her on her blogs, The Daily Echo and the shared blog France & Vincent. She has inspired us to become better writers and shown…

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“The River of Life,” #DoubleEnnead & #Flashfiction

This 99-word story prompt from Carrot Ranch will be posted and presented to Sue Vincent on February 17. If you want to be included in this special collection, respond through the form HERE.

The January 28, 2021, Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about life as a river of consciousness. Think about the possibilities of the prompt. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by February 11, 2021.

dawn reflections shimmer
a blood-red birthing
the new journey meanders in small ripples
searching for a known truth
testing the waters
a small stream traverses
the land, growth is key
consciousness actuates a forward passage
as water rushes fast,
over stones ahead
From the sun's dying light
the darkness succumbs
to the passage of time, the river still flows
in the celebration 
of a life well lived

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS!

The old gods had stood sentinel over the Grand River for as far back as I could remember. The water that cut through the forest of towering trees emptied into the icy depths of Lake Michigan downstream.

In winter, ice froze her glassy surface. In summer, the quiet drone of insects filled the air as they danced on her waves. Teeming with fish, the crystal waters surged with the pulse of life, never ending in an eternal circle of life and death.

For me, this ancient river had no beginning and no end, only the steadfast current of living.

©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro

THE SUE VINCENT RODEO CLASSIC BEGINS 2/1/2021 AT CARROT RANCH.COM

Sue Vincent is one of those special bloggers who inspire people from all around the world with her poetry and writing. Her posts about mythology, ancient ruins, medieval churches, and her daily #midnighthaiku have entertained me for years.

How many of us took part in her #writephoto prompts through the years? I know I have! Sue has been a participant and avid supporter of my Tanka Tuesday poetry challenge from the beginning!

On top of all her writing and prompts, Sue has faithfully supported other bloggers by sharing others’ responses to her 19,000 and counting followers. 

Recently, Sue has faced a new and difficult challenge: lung cancer. You can follow her blog to find out more directly from her. The Covid pandemic has served not only to pose a specific threat to a person with a severe respiratory illness, but it has caused the loss of human connection through self-imposed quarantine. 

Now it’s time for Sue to receive something back from the community she’s been a part of for over a decade. Let’s bring the Rodeo to Sue through her computer by coming together with hearts full of joy.

Join us for the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic at Carrot Ranch – a contest, parade, and celebration all in one!

There are many ways to take part.

One is to visit the prompt image, “Hidden” at Carrot Ranch.

The prompt image and entry form will go live on Monday, February 1st, 2021.

Enter a flash or a poem by Friday, February 19th, 2021, and you could win either $100 or a copy of one of Sue’s books.

The entry form will allow you to give a small donation to Sue and her family, and a link can be found on the contest page.

The winning entries will be announced at Carrot Ranch.com on March 22nd, 2021. 

If you’re not ready to rodeo, there’s always the “Parade.”

  • Reblog one of Sue’s posts from any of her sites (Daily Echo or France and Vincent) with a comment about why you found it special. These are the kinds of connections that bring us closer as a writing community.
  • Follow her blogs (See the links below).
  • Read one of her books, then leave reviews where you can.

Several people are already gearing up for the parade – so check out other people’s blogs for suggestions. 

Please share the news of this special rodeo with a reblog, tweet, a share to Facebook, or any other way you can help other people connect. 99 word literary art is a fantastic way to celebrate a blogging hero and very deserving person. 

Saddle up, everyone! It’s time for a Carrot Ranch Rodeo to celebrate one of our own! Mark your calendars…

The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic begins on Monday, February 1st, and it’ll be a TUFF prompt to fit within 99 words. 

See you at the Ranch, buckaroos!

I dug myself out of a Michigan snowdrift to include some other ways to connect to Sue Vincent: