Picture It and Write – Druid Path

Here is my contribution to this week’s Picture It and Write Challenge. This is a weekly writing challenge, posted every Sunday, by the author of Ermiliablog. The challenge is to write a piece of fiction or a poem in response to the photo prompt given. I’m rather late with this one, as the next one will be out tomorrow!

Here is this week’s photo prompt . . .

tumblr_nfo8bfz2kd1r51oypo8_1280 (1)…. and here is my piece of fiction:

In the sombre grey light before sunrise, the column of white-clad priests moved along the leaf-strewn path in respectful silence. Behind his father at the head of the train, Gueiridd kept his hooded head bowed, focusing on the swirling mists enveloping his feet. Passing through each elaborately twisted spiral of willow, he feared his tormented screams would erupt. For like the great stone circles of his forbears, the spirals symbolized the all-powerful Sun-god, the source of all beings.

Gueiridd dared not glance behind, could not watch his beloved being dragged to her fate. Her only crime was that of loving him; loving the son of the merciless Arch Druid, Morcar. Once they reached the sacred grove, Brietta would be sacrificed to the Sun-god.

Chanting now, the column streamed through the ring of ancient oaks to a clearing within, slowly circling the granite altar at its centre. As Brietta was laid upon it, the Sun-god rose from the Otherworld, casting golden rays through the sacred grove.

Morcar raised the sacrificial knife…

‘No . . .’ Restraint abandoned, Gueiridd hurled himself at his father. Prepared for this likelihood, two dagger-wielding priests leapt to restrain him. Gueiridd’s howl rang through the grove as Morcar plunged the sacrificial blade deep into Brietta’s chest.

The thought that he would be next came as relief to Gueiridd. He would meet his Brietta in the next life. And the Sun-god would be doubly appeased this day.

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Radcliffe Hall

Friday’s the day for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s, Friday Fictioneers flash fiction challenge. This requires us to produce a piece of writing in no more than 100 words from the photo-prompt provided. Although it’s quite a challenge to write a mini-story in so few words, I really enjoy doing it!

Here’s this week’s photo, provided by Ted Strutz . . .

on-on-off
Copyright: Ted Strutz

. . . and here is my offering:

‘Mr. Digby.’ The elderly widow’s arrogant tone cut through the estate agent’s spiel. ‘I’m well aware that the celebrated Radcliffe’s once owned this house – and of the property’s value. I’m also aware of its scandalously high asking price. Undoubtedly you could sell it to someone prepared to overlook its dilapidated state in view of the prestigious address … although it also needs completely rewiring.’

Mr. Digby followed her censorious gaze to the antiquated socket, reconsidering his options. ‘Make me an offer?’

Sarah Drummond née Radcliffe smiled, her eyes sweeping the elegant room.  ‘Mummy will soon be home,’ she whispered.

100 words

 

Click on the blue frog to view other entries.

Word of the Week (WOW) – Androgynous

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Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly meme created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link to your post as a comment on Heena’s WOW post.

Here is my WOW for this week:

androgynous

Word: Androgynous

Part of Speech:  Adjective

(Adverb:  Androgynously.  Noun: Androgyny )

 Pronunciation:  an-drog-y-nous  (an-droj’e-nes;  ænˈdrɒdʒ ə nəs)

 Meaning:

1. being both male and female; hermaphroditic.

2. having both masculine and feminine characteristics.

3. having an ambiguous sexual identity.

4. neither clearly masculine nor clearly feminine in appearance:

5. (biology) an individual animal or flower that has both male and female reproductive organs

Synonyms:  

cross-sexual, bisexual, unisexual, epicine, hermaphroditic

Antonyms:

 gendered 

(near antonyms: masculine, feminine)

Word Origin:  

Early 17th century from the Latin androgynus and the Greek androgynos

Use in a sentence: 

1. Rockin’ Reggie had the androgynous look of many rock stars.

2. He was a stunningly adgrogynous dancer.

Androgynous is an interesting word. I can appreciate how well it could be used in Sci-Fi novels and such like, to describe genderless beings.

In botany, androgynous is sometimes used instead of one of its synonyms, hermaphroditic. Examples of plants bearing both male and female reproductve organs include trees like birch, walnut oak and chestnut. The common plant, cuckoo pint, is often chosen as an example of a an androgynous flowering plant.  Here are a couple of pictures of it:

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Cuckoo Pint (Arum maculatum) before flowering. Oliver Pichard: Creative Commons
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Cuckoo Pint (Arum maculatum) bearing fruits. Jeffdelange: Creative Commons

If you would like to check out more interesting words then visit Heena’s page:

Word Treasure

She-Wolf: Mondays Finish the Story

This is my second story written for this week’s Mondays Finish the Story. This is a flash fiction writing challenge which asks that we write a story of 100-150 words from the photo and writing prompt provided by the host, Barbara Beacham.

Here is this week’s photo . . .

2015-01-26-bw-beacham

. . . and this is my second story, including the writing prompt:

She was unaware that she was being watched. 

Jake kept the she-wolf in focus through the rifle’s telescopic lens. She was a beauty, and he hated what he had to do. But she’d been taking his livestock for the past week. At first just the odd chicken, but now she was trying her luck with his calves. She was a loner, he guessed; no nightly howls of a pack. But he’d lay bets she had cubs to feed at this time of year: mid May they’d likely be needing their first meat.

Her eyes fixed on the calf staggering at the edge of the herd, just twenty yards away, the she-wolf sank on her haunches. Jake’s finger curled round the trigger.

The she-wolf leapt forward, her powerful jaws closing round the calf’s neck; sharp canines sinking deep into tender flesh.

Jake watched in admiration as she dragged the carcass into the bushes. Back to her hungry cubs.

Words: 149

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El Lobo – Mondays Finish the Story

This is my third week of taking part in the flash fiction writing challenge, Mondays Finish the Story, hosted by Barbara Beacham. The challenge involves writing a story of 100-150 words from the photo and first line prompt kindly provided by the host.

Here is this week’s photo . . .

2015-01-26-bw-beacham

. . . and this is my story, incuding the first line prompt:

She was unaware that she was being watched as she focused on the mail coach careering down the narrow valley. The rockfall would soon be within their sights and the screeching of wheels and whinnying horses would be her cue to move out. She grinned, anticipating the payrolls soon to be hers.

Townsfolk called her El Lobo. The Wolf. She liked that. It amused her that the fools assumed her to be a man. They knew her as Kitty, the pretty, young schoolteacher, all dimples and smiles. She’d honed her skills well over the years, knew exactly how to stalk her prey, target the weakest amongst them. They deserved no better, after all, for hanging her father. The first El Lobo

She adjusted her mask and spurred her restless stallion into motion. Then the shot rang out and she dropped like a felled beast.

The sheriff smiled. El Lobo had been unaware that she was being watched.

Word Count: 149

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Mapping The Story

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The trilogy I’m working on is historical fiction. I now have the first two books on Amazon and have just started writing the third.

I’ve made too many mistakes along the road to publishing, promoting and marketing my books to talk about – and I still have a long way to go to do things effectively. I won’t go on about my bungled start because I did a post about it earlier on: here

One of the things I didn’t do regarding the actual books was to add a couple of much-needed maps to the beginning of each. And it’s not that I didn’t know they were needed! I just didn’t know how to do them, and I didn’t have Photoshop. When a couple of reviewers said that maps would have been useful, I knew it was time to so something about it.

Readers of both fantasy and historical fiction novels rely on maps to allow them to visualise the areas in which the story is set. In historical fiction, we may be dealing with no longer existent territories or kingdoms, such as the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in my books. In fantasy, there may be entirely new worlds created.

With more than a little help from one of my daughters, my two books now have two maps apiece. In Book 1, much of the action takes place in the various Norse/Viking lands, and I knew that few readers would know where most of the places were.

I chose to keep them as simple as possible and just pinpoint the key places visited in the stories.

These two maps are from Book One, Shadow of the Raven:

Anglo Saxon mapMap of norse lands 

The next two are from Book Two, Pit of Vipers:

book 2 map 1
book 2 map 2I’ve deliberately made these maps very large to make them readable. On the Kindle they’re much smaller but, of course, they can easily be enlarged. Any comments or suggestions about them (preferably constructive!) would be gratefully received.

Friday Fictioneers – Rosie

It’s the day for Rochelle Risoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers flash fiction challenge. This asks that we produce a piece of writing in 100 words. It’s definitely a challenge to write a story in so few words – but also great fun.

Well, here is this Friday’s photo . . .

boatpilxr_-antiqued
Copyright Georgia Koch

 

. . . and this is my offering:

The customer moseyed alongside the old barge, eyeing her with disdain. ‘Yer sure this tub still floats?’ He scratched his head, mumbling. ‘It’s nowt but a pile of old junk.  ’Ow much?’

‘Had an offer, ‘alf hour ago. Twenty grand.’

The expletives meant little to Archie. He’d rather keep Rosie than sell her to someone like that. A lick of red paint and she’d look good again. Young. They’d sail the Canals and remember the first Rosie, the Gypsy girl he’d loved for so long. She’d still be waiting for him; up there. A year, tops, the doctors said.

Word count: 100

Forgive me

Here is my second contribution to Ermilia’s Picture It And Write Challenge. This is a weekly writing challenge, posted every Sunday, by the author of Emiliablog. The challenge asks that we write a paragraph of fiction, or a poem, in response to the photoprompt given.

Here is the photo prompt for this week . . .

one-tree-hill

… and here is my response to it:

It was not a night for driving, especially with the atmosphere in the Lexus like ice. Stephanie just sat there, her eyes following the sweep of the windscreen wipers as he told her about Marcelle.

He had desperately wanted her forgiveness, her understanding. It had been a one-night stand after all, not some long-lasting affair! A few too many drinks with the lads, some licentious talk.  Then those girls had come in, all short skirts and plunging necklines . . .

‘But I love you,’ Jonathan stressed, catching the glint of her tears in the headlights of oncoming cars. Her continued silence, combined with the frenzied sweeping of the wipers, was fraying his nerves. As they neared the junction with the busy road, the winking indicator displayed his intention to turn right. At a slight break in the traffic, he pulled out.

He didn’t notice Stephanie unclipping her seat belt, or reaching for the door. The first thing he knew, she had flung herself out. A passing car hit her . . .

‘Forgive me,’ he sobbed as the paramedics headed towards them in the glare of overhead lights.

‘And . . . cut.’ The director’s voice boomed across the set. ‘Take twenty. Then we roll on the scene in the morgue.’

Word Of The Week (WOW) – Perspicacious

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Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly meme created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link to your post as a comment on Heena’s WOW post.

Here is my WOW for this week:

perspicacious

Word: Perspicacious

Part of Speech: Adjective

(Adverb: Perspicaciously; Noun: Perspicaciousness)

Pronunciation: Per-spi –ca -cious (pur – spi -key – shuhs)

Meaning:   Acutely insightful or wise.

Quick in noticing, understanding or judging things accurately

Synonyms:

Perceptive, aware, sharp, keen, acute, alert, penetrating, shrewd, discerning, astute, observant, clear-sighted, percipient, sharp-witted, sagacious

Antonyms:

dull, stupid

Word Origin: 1630’s, formed as an adjective to the Latin perspicax, from perspicere: sharp sighted, having the power to see through

Use in a sentence: 

1. The lawyer was much too perspicacious to be taken in by the spurious document.

2. The event offered a number of interesting facts to the perspicacious reporter.

I rather like this word.  It adds a little more interest to a sentence than just saying smart or sharp, or even wise – in the right setting of course. It wouldn’t suit on every occasion.

If you want to check out more words like this, then visit Heena’s page: Word Treasure.

Have a fun day.

Versatile Blogger Award

versatile-blogger-award

I am ‘chuffed to bits’ to be nominated for this award and extremely grateful to Joycelin Leahy, the author of Tribalmysticstories, for doing so.  I have followed Joycelin for a few months now and am so glad I found her. Her amazing blog is the most versatile one I’ve seen on WordPress so far. Such a variety of posts! I particularly love her memoirs of her life as a child and young woman, growing up in Papua New Guinea. She did a wonderful post about the importance of varying the type of blog posts you present, entitled ‘The Diet of Content’. It’s really interesting and informative – and definitely worth the read. Thank you so much, Tribalmystic!

Joycelin nominated me for this award a few weeks ago now and I’m seriously guilty of prevaricating over my response. As with many of us, its a question of, ‘so much to do but so little time to do it in’! Now, I think I’m ready to

So here are the Versatile Bloggers Award rules:

  1. Show the award on your blog.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 blogs.
  5. Link your nominee’s blogs & let them know. You can click on each one mentioned to get to their blogs.

 Here are seven facts (in my case, they’ve turned out to be paragraphs) about myself:

  1. I’m not in the least bit photogenic. I seriously hate every photo of me ever taken and growing older has just added to my dislike of them – especially close-ups. One of my daughters is a keen photographer, who spends a lot of the time snapping anything in sight. I hate going for walks with her when she’s armed with her blessed camera! She took my photo for Amazon – and what a palaver that was! She took well over a hundred snaps just to get one that was remotely suitable. I don’t like it one bit, but it was all I had to use at the time. The problem (so she tells me) is that I ‘pull a face like an alien’ when I pose for a photograph. I don’t smile nicely, it seems. I grimace. I keep telling her to move further back, but does she listen . . . ?  She takes awesome pictures of everything else, though.
  2. I was a fitness / exercise freak for years. I jogged, went to the gym and swimming pool, and walked everywhere whenever possible. When the children were little I moderated accordingly, going jogging or swimming once my husband got back from school (yes, another teacher). Nowadays I just rely on long walks and swimming a few times a week.
  3. I love physical geography / geomorphology. The study of landforms, river systems, tectonic and sedimentary processes and so on fascinates me. I taught it for years and enjoyed every minute of it. I also love geology, particularly the palaeontology side of it. I have a large rock and fossil specimen collection, all nicely labelled. My husband made a really big wooden box, with a hinged lid, for me to house them and it’s really quite impressive.
  4. Although I write historical fiction, I adore crime novels and read a lot of them. I’d like to have a go at writing one myself some time. It would probably have a historical setting, although in which period I’ve yet to decide. Perhaps a little later than the 9th Century, this time!
  5. I do (or rather, used to do) a lot knitting and have made dozens of sweaters and other items over the years. I know it sounds like a ‘granny’ thing to do (and I am a granny!) but I was knitting away happily even when I was a child. My grandma taught me, and when we had lessons in Junior School (if you’re snorting derision at that, I just want to add that it is the 1950’s I’m talking about!) I could probably knit as well as the teacher. I find knitting a very relaxing thing to do, although I haven’t done any for a couple of years now. My writing has to come first. But I do still get the urge to ‘create’ something on my knitting needles now and then.
  6. I love children. That might sound obvious in view of the fact that I’ve got six of them and was a teacher for umpteen years. Although I taught older students (11-18) I love little ones, and I adore babies. Yes, I’m soppy, I know. I tried primary teaching for two years once, but realised it wasn’t for me. I love my teaching subjects – always science and geography, with history most years as well – and loved the depths to which I could explore them with the older ones, particularly the GCSE and ‘A’ level students. I miss teaching a lot, sometimes. I have lots of happy memories, though.
  7. My husband and I, and our children, are great bird lovers. We live in a tiny village, surrounded by farmland and woods and our house is next to a farm, with barns and other outbuildings. We have so many different bird species coming into our garden, or the ‘bullock field’ at the back of it. I won’t list them all, but they range from tiny wrens, tits and finches to different species of owls and woodpeckers and a pair of sparrowhawks. The latter (not together) sometimes fly in to attack the hundreds of sparrows nesting in our back hedge. My particular favourites are the blackbirds. They are so territorial, just watching the antics of the most dominant ones has me in stitches. But even the pretty little male robins can be little brutes with each other! Of course, we encourage the garden birds to visit us with nut and seed feeders, and fat-balls hanging from every possible place. We’re well rewarded in the spring by being woken at 2.30 a.m. by the most amazing dawn chorus.  So much for  trying sleep . . .

These are the blogs I’m nominating for this award:

Note: Amongst them are a couple that have already had this award but who, I noticed, have responded to nominations for the same award more than once.

1.  faburlifekhloe

2. Pocketful of Joy

3.  The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

4.  Tony A Smith

5.  PlumTreeDreamer

6.  Heena Rathore P.

7.  Random Musings

8.  Something to Ponder About

9. Couple’s Chronicle

1o. Mariella Hunt

11. Kindness Blog

12. Scribbley14