The 2020 Rodeo Contest #1: Folk Tales and Fables Winners are in…

2020 Rodeo

The results of the 2020 Flash Fiction Rodeo are riding in week by week in the order of each contest. We hope writers had as much fun as the Rodeo Leaders and Judges. We got to play within the western theme this year and had plenty of challenges!

In Rodeo Contest #1: Folk Tales and Fables, Kerry E.B. Black asked participants to spin a yarn as long as the Rio Grande in 99 words.

This year’s winner is Colleen Chesebro!

Honorable Mention goes to Norah Colvin, Liz Husebye Hartmann, and Mike Vreeland. Congratulations!

Each Rodeo has different independent judges. Judging is done blind. Thank you to Kerry E.B. Black for managing this contest and to her judges, Debra R. Sanchez and Beverly V. Blickenderfer!

WINNING ENTRY: FOLK TALES & FABLES

Why Wolf Howls at the Moon by Colleen Chesebro

Long ago, the Moon Spirit danced upon the waters of the lake. When she met the spirit of the Wolf, they danced together on the shoreline.

One night, Moon Spirit said, “I must return to the ebony sky and take my place alongside the stars.”

Bereft, Wolf gobbled up Moon Spirit’s reflection as it floated on the waves. “I wish I could keep Moon Spirit’s magic with me forever,” he cried.

To this day, whenever wolf drinks from the lake, he cries to the Moon Spirit, hoping she will return so they can dance upon the shore once more.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Snow White and the Seven Gunslingers by Norah Colvin

The huntsman made the all-too-common mistake of revealing everything before enacting the deed. Snow White kicked him in the shins and escaped into the forest.

Exhausted, she chanced upon a cottage. It appeared abandoned, so she went inside and soon fell asleep on one of the seven beds. She was startled awake by a septet of menacing, heavily-armed gunslingers.

When she explained her predicament, the gunslingers were outraged. “He’s a bad one, and she’s the worst. Stay here. We’re onto it.”

She heard them say as they rode out of sight, “Hi ho! We’ve got a job to do.”

Sky Rider’s Happily Ever After by Liz Husebye Hartman

Rapunzel was a rodeo champ by day, a sky watcher by night. Nobody could beat her barrel riding and calf roping. Stormy nights, she’d climb the Tower Mesa, hear thunder roll, knowing someday she’d join that rodeo.

It got so she spent both nights and days on the Mesa, losing interest in regular rodeos. Family couldn’t call her home, but took comfort, watching her lengthening golden hair glinting in the sunlight.

Along came Pepe LeGume, with his offer of magic beans for her golden tresses. She took the offer, cut her braid, and rosed her lasso to that magic vine.

Flem and the Rattlesnake by Mike Vreeland

Flem, Unlike most cowhands, was toothpick thin, bow-legged, and always smiling. Never once did he lose his cool, even when he found a large rattler in his bedroll. Instead, he cajoled the snake, letting it sleep next to him for warmth. 

Their bond grew.

One day, cutthroat robbers were after Flem. With nowhere to hide, the snake swallowed Flem whole, shook its rattles, and frightened off the thieves. 

After a bit, Flem crawled back out.

“Thank you immensely, Snake,” he said, sharing his hearty meal.

The moral of the story: Sometimes it’s okay to have Flem in your throat.

***

Please join me in wishing congratulations to all of us! Please visit the post below:

Source: https://carrotranch.com/rodeo-contests/2020-rodeo/

“The Blessings of Ziva,” #FlashFiction

October 30, 2020, Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about life savers on any body of water. It can be a formal Coast Guard, historical or contemporary. It could be an individual who unexpectedly takes on the role. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by November 3, 2020.

The Blessings of Ziva

“Hurry or we’ll be late, Bisera. We have to be there before sunrise,” called Emika.

Bisera balanced the jug on her hip without spilling a drop. “I’m right behind you, Emika. Did you remember to bring the apple?”

“I found the last red apple in the bin. The apple and the water are our offerings to Ziva, the ancient goddess of water.”

Bisera reached the river and tumbled toward the icy depths. “Help me.”

Emika grabbed the girl’s scarf and saved her from harm.

“Thank you, Emika. The goddess put you in the right place at the right time.”

On the eve of the New Year, in ancient Slavic countries, the young maidens took offerings of water and apples to the local river to honor the goddess Ziva. Read more about Ziva, the Slavic Goddess of Water, whose name itself means life.

First Flight, #flashfiction

The August 13, 2020, Carrot Ranch Literary Community Flash Fiction prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a first flight. It can be anything or anyone that flies. What is significant about the first? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by August 25, 2020.

The wings were brand new. The two small buds on her back had blossomed into full-fledged wings covered with white feathers. She stretched these new extensions as far as she could, flexing the newly formed muscles taut.

She was sure that they made these new appendages for flying. How long had she wished to fly free like the eagle and the hawk?

She sniffed the air and pawed the ground. From a canter to a dead run, she was ready to spread her wings. At the cliff, the ground fell away, and she flew. It was unicorn’s first flight.

Who is Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry?

I’ve been missing my friends at Carrot Ranch, so when D. Avery, suggested we define our blog’s purpose, I considered it a worthy goal. What a brilliant idea! Okay, here we go:

“Yep. Folks, try defining yer blog’s purpose in 99 words; focus that statement even more in 59 words; then hook us with 9 words. Ya might even post these versions at yer own site. Tell us who ya are or what yer about here in the comments, 9 words, no more no less.”

Saddle Up Saloon; Blog Blusterin’

Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry

99 words:

Word Craft – Prose & Poetry is an uplifting community where poets can learn the basics of writing Japanese and American syllabic poetry by sharing their own poetic inspiration within a weekly poetry challenge called Tanka Tuesday. Participants submit their poetry written in one of the eleven forms: Haiku, Senryu, Haiga, Tanka, Gogyohka, Haibun, Tanka Prose, Cinquain, and its variations, Etheree, Nonet, and/or Shadorma. Poets receive positive feedback from peers who inspire each other to stretch their creativity. Participants and readers return each week to celebrate the weekly poetry stars and to buy books from the Tanka Tuesday Book Store.

59 words:

Word Craft – Prose & Poetry is a poetic community encouraged by Colleen Chesebro where poets learn the basics of writing Japanese and American syllabic poetry through a weekly challenge called Tanka Tuesday. Participants submit their poetry written in one of the eleven forms: Haiku, Senryu, Haiga, Tanka, Gogyohka, Haibun, Tanka Prose, Cinquain, and its variations, Etheree, Nonet, and/or Shadorma.

9 words:

A weekly challenge featuring American and Japanese syllabic poetry.

Interested? Click the link below to learn more about Tanka Tuesday

“Green Faeries,” Speculative Fiction Challenge

Hugo swung his legs to the floor and sat up. What a night! The party lasted into the wee hours and by the time he’d stumbled home; he passed out on the couch, never making it into his bed. His head ached, and thirst clogged his throat.

He belched. The stench of alcohol and the pong of a dirty ashtray perfumed the air. He fumbled for his cigarettes, rifling through his pockets, on the hunt for his lighter. He retrieved a pack from his shirt pocket and found it empty. His anger erupted. He balled up the packet and threw it across the room.

“Hey, quit throwing stuff at me!”

“What?” Hugo’s bleary eyes tried to focus, but he couldn’t see straight.

He staggered toward the open window and gasped. Like an old-timey movie reel, grainy images flickered on a silver screen. After his bloodshot eyes cleared, he observed what looked to be his house, precariously perched in the crook of a massive tree. A glaring of cats roamed across the roof, and an elephant stared him in the face.

“Yeah, I’m talking to you.”

With eyes the size of saucers, Hugo shook his head. “Elephants don’t talk,” he wheezed out.

“Well, this one does. I’m your conscious. Wikipedia says:

“Conscience is an aptitude, faculty, intuition or judgment that assists in distinguishing right from wrong. Moral judgment may derive from values or norms. In psychological terms conscience is often described as leading to feelings of remorse when a human commits actions that go against his/her moral values and to feelings of rectitude or integrity when actions conform to such norms.”

Wikipedia

“Did you just define my conscious?” Hugo ran his hands nervously through his hair.

“Sure. How many did you have last night? Do you feel any remorse?”

“Too many to count. And, no, I don’t feel any guilt at my having had a good time. Now, leave me alone!”

“I bet you drank “Green Faeries,” again last night,” said the elephant. A grin stretched across his face.

Hugo closed his eyes and swayed in place. Damn absinthe! No wonder I can’t focus.

“Now do you feel guilty?” The elephant extended his long trunk toward the window. He nosed Hugo’s shoulder.

Hugo raised his shaking hand to his damp forehead. His heartbeat raced, and he shivered as if the heat of the day chilled him to the bone.

“What have you done with my house? What’s the deal with the cats?” asked Hugo.

The elephant’s nasal voice dissolved into laughter. “It’s the delirium tremors, my friend. Stick around, we’ve got a big show planned for you.”

***

This story was created from two sources. One, D. Wallace Peach’s monthly writing challenge, and two; this post from The Dark Netizen. I laughed the entire time I wrote this story. Thanks for the inspiration, you guys! 😀

Don’t drink them!
Learn more about the Green Faery HERE.

Diana’s February Story: The Elephant Child

D. Wallace Peach reads a poem she created for her monthly writing challenge. It’s fabulous! Have a listen and read along!

Myths of the Mirror

I actually recorded this if you want to listen along.

The Elephant Child

by D. Wallace Peach

An elephant child, carefree and wild
Walked into the wintry woods
He followed fox tails and jackrabbit trails
Ignoring his mother’s “shoulds”

Of course, he got lost and chilled by the frost
As night began to fall
To his rump he sunk and tooted his trunk
But no one answered his call

Oh, that cold night, to the elephant fright
The clouds began to snow
He sniffled and shivered, shook and quivered
His nose he needed to blow

The blizzard swirled and snowflakes twirled
He plodded on wobbly knees
His head grew stuffy, the snow so fluffy
He blew out a honking sneeze

Losing hope, he started to mope
When in an evergreen tree
He spied a house, just right for a mouse
And he let go a trumpet of glee

Alas the…

View original post 440 more words

January Photo-prompt Round-up

D. Wallace Peach has created a monthly writing challenge that is tons of fun. If you’re looking for something to read, this is the place to come! ❤

Myths of the Mirror

Thank you to everyone who participated! I felt warm all over reading your responses despite the image’s wintry chill. Below is the round-up of all the January poems, flashes, short stories, and some artwork too! If I missed yours for some reason, please add a link in the comments and I’ll happily reblog. I invite everyone to enjoy some unique stories and meet some wonderful writers. I’ll post February’s prompt tomorrow!

 January Round-Up

Jerry Packard – Ice Dragon

Dawn – Frozen Giant

Balroop Singh – A Craving

Jomz Odeja – The Sacrifice  

Teagan Geneviene – Ice Dragon

Sue Vincent – Even Mountains Mourn

Geoff Le Pard – Little Helpers

Pensivity – Untitled

Dorinda Duclos – Frozen in Time

Carol Forrester – This Terrible Thing Called Hope

Fandango – The End of the Gods

Robbie Cheadle – Glass Mountain

Trent McDonald – Cold War

Anita Dawes – Ancient Evil

Anneberly Andrews…

View original post 212 more words

#CarrotRanchRocks – “Shooting Stars”

carrot ranch rocks

Charli Mills from CarrotRanch.com has come up with a fun challenge called “Carrot Ranch Rocks. I love rocks. There is a certain energy I feel radiating from them. They have stories to tell and Charli picked up on that energy.

Here’s what she has to say:

“Here is a place where we can spin stories around the beach fire after a day of hunting rocks along the Keweenaw shores of Lake Superior. Here is where literary art meets geology.

We use rocks as prompts to write fiction stories of 99 words, no more, no less. Our writers are from a global community called Carrot Ranch, and their bylines include where they live.
If by serendipity, you have found a rock that reads #CarrotRanchRocks, you can look it up in our feed by its serial number. Your rock will have a photo, place of origin, date found, and a possible identity. Best of all, your rock will feature in its own story.
Please let us know in the comments if you have found the rock and where (general area, no personal details). Tell us if you plan to keep it, gift it, or hide it for someone else to find.
If you are a writer interested in participating, read the note Writer Guidelines and email Charli Mills at wordsforpeople@gmail.com. Be sure to read Our Story.
My first rock is MSP-09–17-07. It was found at McLain State Park in September 2017. This is a large sparkly quartz with large garnets present.
IMG_1731 IMG_1732
The garnets have a bronze color!
“Shooting Stars”

At the top of the hill, Leandra gazed in awe at the stars sprinkled across the January sky. She shivered as bright streaks of light trailed behind the shooting stars. If only one of those falling stars would land nearby. She’d pick it up and put it in her pocket knowing her birthday wish had come true.

As if the heavens heard her plea, a tiny meteor hurled toward the earth landing at her feet. She switched on her flashlight seeing quartz and copper garnets sparkling in the beam. Garnets were her birthstone, now a gift from the universe.

© 2018 Colleen M. Chesebro

Perserverance Keep writing! ❤

“The Dream Rock” – Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction

smile at carrot ranch

March 22, 2018, Carrot Ranch Literary Community prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the theme “follow your dreams.” Bonus points for throwing a badge into the tale. Go where the prompt leads.

  • Respond by March 27, 2018, by leaving a link, pingback or story in the comments.
  • If you want your story published in the weekly collection, also post it at Carrot Ranch on Facebook in the post newsfeed (this is the second posting of your story).
  • Follow the style of the flash fiction that follows.
  • Leave a short link on FB with your story if you want one included in the title.
  • Rules are here.

 

follow your dreams

Abby followed her dream to the edge of a field filled with thorny weeds that twisted like ivy. Dead animals lay scattered, their bloated carcasses rotting beneath the blistering sun. An apocalyptic scent of death hung in the air. A boulder filled with glittery quartz striations moved closer.

beautiful-1868551_1920

“This is our world without the bees,” said the rock. “The effects of climate change ravage the earth, disrupting the growth patterns. Animals die because their forage can’t mature without pollination.”

Abby swallowed the hard knot of truth. “What can I do?”

“You must save the bees.”

bee-colonies

Image Credit: “Mural Artivist Paints London In Bees To Save Them – 16 Photos”

This has been a sneak peek into “The Meadow Fairy,” book II in my YA paranormal fantasy series, The Heart Stone Chronicles. 16-year-old Abby Forester accepts her legacy to her mother and the fairy nymphs by attempting to find a cure to stop the bees from dying. Can she do it? Stay tuned…

IMG_1697

My dream boulder inspiration

Like Charli Mills, I LOVE rocks and yes, they do talk to my characters. I was so excited to figure out a talking dream rock sequence which was the perfect opportunity to earn my first Carrot Ranch Rocks badge.

carrotranchrocks

GiddyUPand write some flash fiction at CarrotRanch.com

A Halloween Encounter

horse-hole

The yellow smudge of a setting sun slipped behind the trees leaving a warm glow to the field.  Nightbirds scattered, roosting in the trees while insects droned on in a constant monotony. The air felt cooler after the heat of the day. Ground fog swirled around the grasses casting eerie shadows on the ground. The evening gloom was rapidly approaching. I shivered in anticipation.

Not far off in the field, our two neighbor horses steadily crunched grass, their teeth reflecting bone-white in the rays of the setting sun.  It was Halloween night – All Hallows Eve.  Children would soon fill the neighborhood with the sounds of laughter, as they went from house to house showing off their costumes and collecting treats.

2014-12-25-13-30-03

My eyes drifted toward the horse hole which was visible in the fading light.  The horses visited me daily looking for handouts of carrots or even an occasional apple. They hung their necks through the opening, all the while munching, as I rubbed their velvety noses.  They were the best neighbors.

I was ready this time. Last Halloween I ran out of candy early. This year I made sure I had plenty of treats to hand out to the kids. My pumpkins were lit, and the decorations spread around the front porch were inviting – not too scary for the little kids. I made myself comfortable in a chair and sipped a glass of wine, enjoying the descending darkness.

The kids came from every corner of the neighborhood, dressed as fairy princesses with dainty shoes, green colored Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, skeletons, Count Dracula’s, monsters of every variety you could imagine. Babies were dressed up as bugs, teddy bears, and even a vampire baby stopped at my door to receive a treat.

The darkness filled the neighborhood. The street lights were lit, and a warm glow cast long shadows on the road. The children ran ahead of their parents, filled with excitement.  Parents milled about in small groups watching their kids, always near. I smiled at the sounds of laughter which completed the friendly Halloween atmosphere. I couldn’t help but marvel at how cute the kids were, enjoying the banter they exchanged with their friends.

By late evening, most of the children and parents were finished with Trick or Treat and were heading home. A few crying fairies stomped their way behind their parents, mad because the great adventure was over for another year.

I cleaned up the porch and put away the decorations in the storage bin.  It was a lovely Monday night, unusual for this time of year. I refilled my glass and walked out back to the patio which overlooked the field where the neighbor horses grazed.

scotland-1719084_1920

The view was amazing. Stars lightly sprinkled the sky spread out like a mantle overhead. The warmth of the day had dissipated, and I could feel the coolness creep in between the folds of my sweater. I sipped my wine and appreciated the spectacular beauty of the night sky.

Suddenly, the most obnoxious odor seemed to waft, thick like a fog, drifting in the air around the horse hole. Far in the distance, I could hear the neighbor horses running as their thundering hooves hit the ground. They ran hard, and their frightened cries filled the field. I was rooted to the spot, unable to move. My heart leaped into my throat, and I couldn’t breathe.

It was then, in the inky blackness of the field that I saw him – the Headless Horseman! His profile glowed in the shimmery darkness of the horse hole! A large orange head burned with an intensity that scared me deep into my bones. I felt the wine glass fall from my hand and shatter on the ground. Shards of glass flew into the air, spraying bits of glass into my hair.

headless-horseman

(Image Credit: Telltale Games)

The horseman’s black steed snorted flashes of lightning through his muzzle, and his blood-red eyes glared at me.  The creature balanced a glowing Jack-o-lantern in his right hand. I could see him clearly, and there was NO head. The apparition was so lifelike that I could make out the buttons on his coat which were visible in the light from the glowing pumpkin.

I swallowed hard and felt my eyes popping out of my head. I stared transfixed at the horse hole for what seemed like hours but was only, in reality, a few seconds. The Headless Horseman whirled about on his black steed and disappeared into the blackness. The fog churned in great billows and drifted about the field in his wake.

Slowly, the smell faded. The fog grew thicker, and moisture dripped from the leaves on the trees. I trembled uncontrollably. All around me, I heard no sounds. My breaths came in great gasps. I whirled around, trying to catch my breath. I stopped to gaze once again at the horse hole. It was dark – just swirling fog and an eerie quiet which lingered, jangling my nerves.

He was gone. I felt my heart pound a quick staccato in my chest. With great effort, I relaxed my tightened muscles and walked toward the horse hole for one last look. My shoes crunched in the ruins of the wine glass beneath my feet. Behind me, inside the house, a light came on in the kitchen which illuminated the patio outside.

“Colleen, it’s getting late. Come inside,” my husband, Ron called out to me.

“On my way.” I surveyed the area one last time. I took my time walking toward the back door. My thoughts milled about in my head. How could I tell him what had just happened without him laughing at me?

Maybe I better keep this encounter to myself, I thought. Too much wine and a tad too much chocolate could be the answer to my vision. I shook my head at the broken wine glass on the patio, realizing that red wine would stain the concrete. The stain had already spread, and a dark patch of discoloration was visible beneath my feet. With a shrug, I turned and walked away.

I traipsed into the house, locked the door, and turned off the light.That was enough Halloween for this year.

 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed my scary encounter from when we lived in Florida! ❤ True story! 😀

happy-halloween