I try not to use current tragedies for a story. It’s hard enough for the families. But I can’t get one poor kid out of my thoughts. I can’t even begin to imagine what he must be going through. And can’t stand to see the same reaction and inaction when events like these occur with alarming regularity.

Photo Prompt – Jennifer Pendergast

It was supposed to be a quick trip to the mall—an unplanned fun family outing on a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon. Return an item and grab burgers and shakes on the way home.

Four people left the house that day. Only one lived to see another day. He wouldn’t ever go back to that home, would never see his parents or little brother again. There were too many memories. Too much pain. And too few willing to give up the “right” to a hunk of metal in order to keep the senseless killings from happening to another innocent family.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a 100-word story in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here.

A winner’s badge for completing Camp Nano for April 2023

So much has happened since I last posted here. I was promoted to a new store. Moved to a much smaller but MUCH BETTER apartment. My partner and I started an Etsy store. And I figured out quite by accident that I’m probably ADHD. Which explains so much of my childhood and some of the issues I still have with my executive functioning. It’s been so long that I can’t even remember what was before and what’s after. But this April I reached a goal I’ve failed to reach at least a dozen times before. I set a Camp NaNo goal on my Pagan cozy mystery and completed it with one hour to spare. 😁 I have a little over 20,000 words and plan to keep getting new words every day until I have a completed first draft. I didn’t want to share my win online until I actually won so as not to jinx it like every other time. If I can keep a similar or better pace going forward, I can have a first draft and start editing by the end of summer. 🤞🏻🙏🏻 that I’ve created a habit I can stick to.

Truth or Dare on an EPIC scale! This made me laugh out loud. 😀

The Green-Walled Tower

FF Rich Voza copyright Rich Voza

“We’re gonna get murdered.” I unlocked Donald Trump’s private jet with stolen keys.

“It was your choice,” Jack said. “You wanna switch?”

“No.” I climbed into the cockpit and consulted the WikiTheft page on flying a stolen jet.

Somehow we took off. Somehow we flew to Mexico City and crash-landed in the busiest airport in Central America.

Somehow we spray-painted “To Mexico, love Donny” on the side and escaped the authorities.

“It’s your turn,” I said as we sat on a sidewalk, trying to think how to get home.

Jack looked thoughtful. “I think I’d better pick Truth this time.”


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Wow! I can’t believe I’ve been gone since January. I’ve discovered a new artistic outlet in art journaling and neglected my words online. Okay, well I also finished my BLA in English and History. Now I’m working on my genealogy home study course through the NGS. It’s already been a VERY busy year. This week’s story for Friday Fictioneers was inspired by an episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” from the current season. The names are all from my family tree. Hope you like it and I hope to make this a regular habit again. For anyone who is finding this and hasn’t tried Friday Fictioneers (write 100 words for the weekly photo prompt), do it. It’s wonderful for getting the creative juices flowing and honest, constructive feedback.


Ellis Island

Albert paced nervously at the back of the room, wearing a groove in the tile floor, as he waited for her turn.


As an illiterate, she was denied official entrance twice before. He couldn’t bear to lose her for good. Their homeland was no longer safe. Deportation meant certain death.


Government bureaucracy didn’t understand the concepts of love and family.


It was bad enough losing his brother. He couldn’t lose Clara too. Albert would marry her, not simply for the obligation of yibbum, but for love.


He saw the answer in her tears. She was home.

Back for another installment of Friday Fictioneers! This one was inspired by the volatile weather that blew through here the day after Christmas. My roommate and I spent the long night watching storm track after storm track head our way gaining intensity, only to drift east. We were grateful to be spared, not knowing what was happening elsewhere. While I (tucked away safely in Fort Worth) was very lucky, eleven people in Dallas were not. Tornadoes ripped through neighborhoods, across a busy major freeway, and destroyed homes, businesses, and churches. The system moved across the United States adding to the death toll and damage. It still seems very surreal even though I live in prime tornado territory.

Whims of Fate

photo copyright - Jean L. Hays

Photo copyright – Jean L. Hays

Sherry surveyed the damage, trying not to burst into tears.

The diner had fallen on hard times. It was in the Boecker family for generations. She was in danger of losing it in the economic downturn. Sherry considered selling it. Then the tornado blew through leaving behind one wall and a pile of rubble where her business once stood. Now she couldn’t even sell.

Her son Ricky called out, “Look, Mom! Dad’s stained glass window made it.”

The real miracle came two days later when she found the insurance policy her husband took out on the diner before he passed.


Check out the rest of the great stories using this photo prompt by clicking on the little froggy below.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 380 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

sad-joyOkay, so the official NaNoWriMo was an epic fail. As usual. I’ve tried several times and have yet to win. So far. This year’s fail was a bit more stinging. It was the first time I pledged to write 50k since I realized that writing is what I want, what can make me happy no matter what I do to earn a paycheck. Though I do hope someday that my writing will bring that paycheck. But, as much as the loss felt worse, I also recognize that as long as I’m trying to work a full time job, take care of 5 kitties, and take college courses that the added pressure of a 50k word sprint was not conducive to sanity. Or happiness. Or sleep. And as the picture shows, I need to embrace the failure as a necessary part of the writing process.

Which is why I’m claiming December to be MyNoWriMo (my novel writing month) with a goal of 25k. January will also be MyNoWriMo. I’m going to set realistic goals to match my free time and finally set a writing routine. I think this will free up expectations and help me enjoy the process of pulling stories out of my head and on to “paper.”

My final papers for the semester are due on Saturday and Sunday so soon the words will flow and the nifty little word count meter will grow. More importantly, I’ll tell my cozy mysteries and have a fair trade with my writing buddy for the story she’s working on now. Coming soon…writing prompts to help me figure out my world building and character development.


00 / 25000 words. 0% done!

p.s. If you haven’t seen Inside Out yet, GO BUY IT NOW! It’s spectacular. It’s everything a good writer hopes they can achieve as well as a great vocabulary for expressing feelings. My roomie tells me I’m very much Joy, though I feel like I relate to Anger better. That might just be the genius of having Lewis Black as the voice of Anger though. Perfect. Or the retail job. 😉

Back for another Friday Fictioneers! I tend to use the photo prompt as literally as possible. This week’s photo immediately gave me an idea that is not of the place shown (West Bay, Dorset). It’s a bit silly and fan fiction-ish but I couldn’t resist the plot bunny that took up residence in my brain for this. 😀


Photo copyright – Sandra Crook


It had been a long journey but I finally made it.

First stop was freezing cold water, lots of ice, and an explosion. When I surfaced, four young men stared in astonishment. I inquired and they pointed me in the right direction. For some reason they seemed familiar.

After many wrong turns, my last mistake brought me to the Bahamas. Sandy beaches and warm water washed me up the shore. Again the four young men though now I realize why they looked familiar. They’re somewhat famous as musicians in England. One last time I ask directions, “White Cliffs of Dover?”


100 words exactly 🙂

I would’ve included a video clip instead of a still photo but YouTube and Universal Music Group have parked all Beatles videos behind the YouTube Red pay wall. Boo!

I never know where the Muse will take me when I start a Friday Fictioneers story. Mine tend to be less bleak. I guess this one is the product of a less than stellar summer. Or maybe it’s just a story my Muse really wanted to tell. 🙂 On with the words!

Photo prompt – © Jennifer Pendergast

The Last

As I maneuvered the rusty little boat onto the lake I looked back at the makeshift grave stacked with stones. We came so close to making it all the way. We got careless, sure of our invincibility. I’m the only one to see the dream come true. She is gone.

Darkness fell before I reached the shore, lights beckoning. I dug through dwindling supplies for my binoculars. I wanted a glimpse of the new world. All I saw was death. On the shore. In the windows. Bodies ravaged by the mutated flu virus. Only lights remained. I am the last.

How old are the modern Pagan religions? Probably not as old as you think. #thepaganexperience

Source: Pardon Me, Your Age is Showing

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