Category Archives: Figment

Query Élan Vital: Nightmares from an Unbleached Soul, AtoZ Blog Challenge






What's the substance of consciousness? 
The public face that's worn; the other unknown.
Locked in & secure is the hypothesis
Of surviving another day all alone.

The nature of the world that is shown
Demanding expectations that aren't you
Comes in conflict with your moral tone
Become other than yourself, unglued. 

Qu'est-ce qui ne va pas?
                                       What's wrong with you? 
Chaque jour, vous endommagez votre âme!
                                       Every day you damage your soul! 
Défaillance fabriquée Hors de contrôle.
                                       Fabricated failure Is out of control. 
Aveugle pour le bien intérieur.
                                       Blind to the good inside. 
Pourquoi es-tu ici?
                                       Why are you here? 

The mind is such a chaotic thing
Taking on more as it melts away
Dripping out as they pluck your strings
Life is a burden on tilted display. 

Numbness finds it's way into despair. 
Tightness in the heart beyond belief
Finding yourself balancing on a chair
Looking for answers, some relief.

¿Qué sucede contigo? 
                                          What's wrong with you? 
¡Cada día dañas tu alma! 
                                          Every day you damage your soul!
La falla fabricada está fuera de control. 
                                         Fabricated failure Is out of control.
Ciego a lo bueno por dentro. 
                                          Blind to the good inside.
¿Por qué estás aquí? 
                                          Why are you here?
¿Por qué?

Nani ka mondaidesu ka?
                                          What's wrong with you?
yeder tog ir shedikn deyn nshmh!
                                          Every day you damage your soul!
Echèk fabrike Èske soti nan kontwòl.
                                          Fabricated failure Is out of control.
Cieco per il buono dentro.
                                          Blind to the good inside.
Limadha 'ant huna?
                                          Why are you here?
Why?                                      Why?


Author’s Note:

For those that will ask:

The first chorus is in French.

The second one is in Spanish.

The third section has six languages. In order:
Japanese; Yiddish; Haitian Creole; Italian; Arabic; English.

Yes, I had music in my head as I did for every AtoZ entry.

I hope you liked it/were moved by it.

Comments are always welcome.

Nyctophilia: #defythedark contest


Well, I’ve been away for over a month. During that time, I’ve started writing a number of things, but all of it was working towards story ideas I’ve had rolling around for a bit. All of them are in different stages…and almost every piece is for a future novel, or novella. Hence, not for Tale Spinning.

My SO brought a Figment contest to my attention that actually intrigued the two of us: the Defy the Dark New Author Contest. I had given up on submitting anything to Figment because of the usual  “heart (like) my story & I’ll like yours” mentality, which rarely ever translated into the merit of the story. Yes, I did that last year with Birdsongs: The Virtuous War. I learned my lesson and stayed clear of that type of “whoring” for votes.

What’s different about Defy the Dark New Author Contest? The likes/hearts don’t mean a thing: there is an actual YA editor (Ms. Saundra Mitchell)  who will read and judge the work on its merits. This is for eventual publication in an anthology by HarperCollins. Combined, the two things got me writing a just under 4,000 word short story entitled Nyctophilia.

FYI: Nyctophilia, as defined by, is: a love or preference for night, darkness.

My description/”blurb”:

On the coast of the British Isles lies beautiful Bournemouth. At the turn of the 20th Century, it is a quiet, peaceful destination. A retired London Chief Inspector makes his home there with his wife, their house cared for by a local towns girl, Miranda. By day, most agree that the views of Bournemouth are spectacular. By night, the Spectacular views Bournemouth in an unsavory way…an old “friend” of the inspector comes to visit, and he  very much prefers all that the night has to offer.

Please CLICK HERE to take you to my newest story, Nyctophilia. If you with to leave comments, you can do so either at Figment or here on Tale Spinning.

Lisa Vooght entered the same contest with an extremely compelling tale called Rain’s Gonna Come.  Very powerful, a story you will be glad you read.

Thanks one and all for sticking with Tale Spinning. I hope I’m not gone another month before posting something new.

Announcing: The Rule of Three Blog Challenge!!! (*Amended Posting Days)


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Grab this code for the badge created by the wonderful Portia Burton, Concept by the equally wonderful Lisa Vooght

The Rule of Three Fiction Writing Blog Challenge

Once upon a time, four  Writers Who Blog (WWB) got together to create a shared world, the Town of Renaissance, where they invite writers to come and take up residence and explore it’s environ and citizens. During the month of October 2011, one a week, a story will emerge, linking three characters into one final cumulative story.  It’s up to you, the writer, to choose the way they interact, or not, and how the final story in the fourth week ends is the journey’s end.  Damyanti Biswas, Lisa Vooght, and JC Martin and I are the WWB, and we welcome you to Renaissance. Enjoy your stay. Oh…one last thing…

Everyone Has A Secret!!

All The Guidelines You Could Want, Prizes (yes, PRIZES) and Linky List Below

(There is a lot to take in but, trust me, it will be worth it)

A. What is the Rule of Three?

The “rule of three” is a principle in writing that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The reader/audience of this form of text is also more likely to consume information if it is written in groups of threes. A series of three is often used to create a progression in which the tension is created, then built up, built up even more, and finally released. –Wikipedia

B. How does the Rule of Three work in this blogfest?

The Rule of Three is a month-long fiction blogfest, where we’ve created a ‘world’, the town of Renaissance, and challenged you to create a story within it. The story will feature 3 characters of your creation, who will be showcased on your blog on 3 different Wednesdays, following the Rule of Three. The 4th Wednesday, we’ll have the culminating scene.

C. What is the Shared World of Rule of Three? Welcome to Renaissance

Renaissance is an outpost town in the middle of nowhere, but many routes pass through or beside it. The desert is encroaching on one side (to the West), a once-lush forest lies to the East and South. A large river runs through the forest, but it is not close to the town. Mountains are to the North, far, far away, and when you look towards them you don’t know if they are an illusion or real. Closer by are the smaller hill chains that fed the mining, creating caverns and passages underground.
The town has had a number of identities throughout its history: A trading post; a mining town; a ghost town until it was rediscovered; a thriving community; the scene of a number of great battles; the scene of one great tragedy (that led to its Ghost Town standing); a town of great joys and celebrations, and so much more.
At this point in time, there is a general population of 333. A mixture of a community. It boasts families that have lived there for generations upon generations, but they are in the minority, and are not in positions of power. There are traders who have come back here, at the end of their many travails, to settle in. The new families and power-players have taken this as a last refuge for themselves, hoping to rebuild lives torn apart on the way here.
Everyone has a secret. Welcome to Renaissance. Enjoy your stay.

D. Writing Guidelines for the Rule of Three Blogfest:

  1. Your overall story can be in any genre, time period, or style you choose.
  1. You must have three characters (Rule of Three), but the relation between them is up to you.
  1. Every Wednesday or Thursday (48 Hour Window), post a narrative fiction: story, poem, song lyric, play, monologue, soliloquy– any style you choose to work in.
  1. Each Friday you will be given a broad writing prompt that will escalate the inner happenings of your story.
  1. Choose one of your characters to showcase that given week as the main protagonist for that posting. Of course, you can weave in your other characters as you see fit, but the main action/conflict or point of view should be the showcased character of the week.
  1. In the fourth week, give us your tour de force, a culmination of the story that will make us weep, weak at the knees, jump for joy, whatever…and know a writer’s job was done well.
  1. Each post should be between 500-600 words. Please try to keep to the limit. Thank you.
    1. Narrative Poetry should be at least 20 lines.

E. We have Prizes!!!!!!

We as hosts would read all the posts and put up a shortlist of possible winners, and then hold a poll for votes on the shortlist to decide the winners and honorable mentions.

The prizes are:

1st prize: $ 50USD Amazon voucher

2nd prize: $ 10 USD and Guest posts or Interviews on the host blogs:
3rd prize: A bundle of the following e-books:
1.Michael Hicks,     “In Her Name: Empire”
2. Marcus Clearspring, “Walkabout Gnomes”
3. Alex J Cavanaugh, “Cassa Star”
4. S.L. Pierce, “The Hate”, “The Devil’s Game”, “Secrets”
5. Faith Mortimer, “Echoes Of Life and Love”
6. Talli Roland, “Watching Willow Watts”
Honorable mentions will receive 1 e-book from among these 3
1. Damyanti Biswas, “A To Z Stories Of Life and Death”
2. J.C. Martin and Michelle Davidson Argyle, “Stories For Sendai”,
3. Stuart Nager, “Dawn Of Indie Romance”,

(For full information on all authors and books, click on the Featured Authors tab at top of blog.)

F. How to Sign up:
  1. Sign up at the Linky list below by the 3rd of October. Please do so only if you intend to write a story, and participate in the writers’ community, not because you want to promote a soap, a website, or a random electronic gadget. We promise to remove all spam and advertisements.
  1. Leave us a comment after you sign in. For instance, talk about which genre you want to write in, whether your Rule of Three story would feature characters from your current WIP or you would introduce us to new ones…anything at all about your plans for the blogfest
  1. Visit this blog or those of the other hosts tomorrow, or any time during the next week to find the first Rule of Three prompt.
  1. Please let us know if you’ve signed up but find yourself unable to write for the blogfest for some reason, so we can remove your link as a courtesy to everyone using the Linky list to visit the participants. Most visitors find it annoying to reach an irrelevant post by clicking a name on the Linky list.
  1. Schedule for prompts and posting: save these dates on your calendar!
  • Rule of Three 1st prompt 1st September
  • Rule of Three Part 1 (post) 5th/6th October
  • Rule of Three 2nd prompt 7th October
  • Rule of Three Part 2 (post) 12th/13th October
  • Rule of Three 3rd prompt 14th October
  • Rule of Three Part 3 (post) 19th.  /20th October
  • Rule of Three 4th prompt 21st October
  • Rule of Three Part 4 (final post) 26th/27th October
  1. Poll for shortlists will be up on 2nd November, and winners will be declared on the 11th of November.
  2. All the hosts would take part, but they will not win any prizes.
F. How to become part of The Rule of Three Blogfest Success:
    1. Place the Rule of Three badge on your sidebar.
  1. Post and/or tweet about the challenge in the weeks leading up to the Rule of Three. Spread the word on twitter with the Hashtag #REN3 .
  2. Throughout the blogfest, visit as many other entries as you can and give the entrants some comment love and suggestions.
We now declare the Rule of Three Blogfest open! Please visit us tomorrow for the first prompt, so you can plot the beginning of your Renaissance story following the Rule of Three!

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Interview With The Writer: JC Martin, of Fighter Writer


Why An Interview on Tale Spinning?

I will be co-hosting, in October 2011, a month long Fiction Writers Blog Fest called The Rule of Three. We created a shared world set in the town of Renaissance, gave it it’s setting, some of it’s history, the potential for it’s future…but the stories of the inhabitants of Renaissance, ah…those we’ll find out together. (For my teaser story, click HERE).

All the information will be unleashed on Wednesday, August 31st. Plenty of time to sign into the project. The Basics: create a 3 person story arc, one posting per week for three weeks (with prompts provided if you need them), each posting dealing with the story you are building towards through the POV of one of your three characters. There will be one more posting, the culmination of the story you’ve been telling week by week, one final burst into the story you’ve set in Renaissance.  Yes, very Rashomon.

As to the interviews…I’d like you to meet my c0-hosts.

Interview With The Writer: J.C. Martin

I was recently introduced to JC Martin the person though a shared acquaintance, Damyanti Biswas. I had been familiar with her through her blog, J.C. Martin, Fighter Writer, and I know she is very well known and well liked in the blog universe.

JC is joining Damyanti Biswas, Lisa Vooght and myself as we embark on a fiction writers blogfest that we created. The full announcement will be going up on August 31st, but you can get a sneak peak here (story and link to some of the information). JC brings a lot of writing and blog fest experience to our small but humble group, and we are lucky to have her aboard.

Can you tell the readers about JC Martin the author?

I’m kind of new to the writing world. In the past, I’ve dabbled a bit in writing fan fiction and other bits and bobs, but the last year was my first as a serious writer. To free up more time for writing, I had a career change, leaving school-teaching to become a full time martial arts instructor. So far, I’ve had some short stories published in various anthologies, plus I set up and co-edited the charity anthology Stories for Sendai. I begin querying my novel right about…now! *eep*

Oh, and you can find me blogging at J.C. Martin, Fighter Writer. I’m also on Facebook and on Twitter.

How would you describe your writing style?

Feedback from a couple of agents described my style as “very commercial”, so it looks like I’m not going to be the next Toni Morrison. 😉 Doesn’t bother me, though, as I write stories that are heavy on the action. I like to think of my style as the lovechild of Stephen King and old-school James Patterson: simple, straightforward language, with a heavy-hitting story.

Are you a writer who blogs or a blogger who writes? Is there a difference?

I believe the difference lies behind your intentions of starting a blog. If your blog is there to establish a platform, then you’re a writer who blogs. If you’ve just been keeping an online journal and decided to pursue a career in writing, then you’re a blogger who writes. I’m one of the former. Blogging’s still pretty new to me.

What writer(s) have inspired you, and why?

Stephen King’s perseverance through hardships and his wicked imagination. His part-memoir, part-how-to book On Writing has been one of the most useful books on the craft I’ve read.

What are your thoughts about self publishing? Have you already or do you plan to?

I think it can work if you have marketing savvy and an established fan base, but there is a lot of work involved that will take time away from writing. Apart from Stories for Sendai, and perhaps another short story collection I’m working on, I’m planning on going the traditional route with my novels, just for that extra little bit of guidance along the way. Plus, I believe traditional publishing will expose my book to a wider audience.

I know you like Blogfests. Can you tell us what draws you to them? What was your favorite one?

They can be fantastic writing prompts that really get the creative juices flowing. Plus they are excellent places to meet fellow writers and to discover new talent. I enjoy reading all the different takes on the same theme, and to learn more about my writer pals. I’m not sure if it counts as a blogfest, but I enjoyed Rachael Harrie’s 2nd Writers’ Platform-Building Crusade. The writing challenges were tough but fun, and very useful. Also, any blogfest on writing queries, pitches, or involving an agent is a win in my books!

You are one of the co-hosts of The Rule of Three Fiction Writers Blog Fest. What excites you about this, to take this on?

Damyanti @ amloki approached me about the blogfest, and because she’s a good friend, I knew she must be onto something. I’m excited to read all the fascinating takes on the town of Renaissance by participants that will incorporate the rule of three, plus I’m intrigued by the additional mystery prompts. This sounds like the most challenging blogfest ever! It’s definitely the biggest I’ve helped organize, but I’m in great company!

Anything else you’d like the reader to know?

Can I do a shameless plug here for Stories for Sendai? 100% of profits go towards aid efforts in the earthquake and tsunami hit regions of Japan. There are 19 short stories and a poem written by wonderful writers who contributed their works free for the good of the cause. By purchasing a copy, you’ll not only be doing your bit for charity, you’ll be helping these writers gain some exposure! E-book version available on Amazon and print versions available here and here.

If you could have a summit with world leaders, and they HAD to answer your questions, what two or three questions would you want answered most?

Uh-oh…I’m not a politics/world events kind of gal. Maybe…how they plan on preserving the wildlife in the world’s oceans, rainforests and natural habitats, without compromising the livelihood of the peoples living within or near these habitats? Oh, and it would be awesome if some sort of international writing grant could be set up so writers can concentrate on writing, and not have to get a full time job!  😉


Thank you very much Jin. 

Please come back the next two days, as Lisa (8/29) and Damyanti (8/30)  explore the same questions, and continue to meet the three amazing women I am working with.

Be HERE on August 31st for the full disclosure of The Rule of Three: Renaissance, where everyone has a secret!

The Obsidian Journal


The Morning Star closed the Obsidian Journal that Lilith had given to him after their last tryst. She  had announced it with the O and J in a very capitalized way, and now he could not think of it otherwise. Lily was off doing what she did wickedly well, being the Mother of Demons, and he was  glad she was gone. “Great in the sack (well, we did it everywhere but in the sack; but who’s counting?), she was also a primal headache, second only to YOU KNOW WHO,” he thought.

Lucifer let out a great heavy sigh, a sigh that was burthen down with the weight of the world upon his winged shoulders. He touched the corners of the journal, the volcanic glass from Hell’s Half Acre rhyolitic lava field, letting the high viscosity and polymerization crystal play underneath his talons. If he would ever to admit to such a thing, the Lord of the Underworld was…happy.

The Obsidian Journal was the first one that he was able to write his thoughts in private, and keep them there. Yes, he had tried other bound annals: moleskin, calf skin, human skin. They all burst into hell’s cinders, and once aflame words would find their ways into the ears of demons (if they had had ears), and oh…what terrible pleasure they had in quoting the Lord of Flies. The petty gossips, jealousies and fears he so relished from others was poison to him when it was about him, and his wrath only grew, but it did not stop the quips.

“Did you hear the one about Lucifer and…” was often heard around the nine levels, with a different subject matter about who or what the “and” was depending on the level.

Ahh, but the Obsidian Journal, this was different. His reflections of the days’ damned deeds burned obscenely into the dark glass, the letters of flame dancing from the pain and shame of those he enticed. Lucifer chuckled, which caused many lesser demons to flee for their essence, as life is not what you would say they had.

“Time well spent at NYU,” he thought.” So many there, to be easily swayed my way. So many mine already before they entered.”

The dark glass echoed the Lord of Lie’s black smile. “It’s…ugh… good…to be a reflective practitioner!”

His laughter caused a moaning across Hell, and an exodus for the gates.

Heaven did not wait.


This is for Tom, for making an obsidian out of a moleskin.

SPECIAL NOTE: A Guest Blog Story by Yours Truly!

I was asked by Damyanti of Daily (W)rite for a guest blog story for her while she undertook a long trip during August. It’s one thing to write a guest blog, and it’s another to have someone ask you to write a guest blog STORY for them. I was doubly honored this way by a writer I respect.

She gave me a photo prompt, two words I must use (hourglass; pencil), and a 250 word limit. I did it, and called it “Under Pig and Duck.”  Leave a comment on her blog. I’ll respond there.

Also, just to keep you on tether hooks, the details for  The Rule of Three Fiction Writers Blogfest is coming soon. If you write fiction and write a blog, I hope you’ll join us on this very exciting journey. My first “teaser” story can be found here: Renaissance: Prissy’s Story

Thanks, Damyanti.

Renaissance: Prissy’s Story


Day broke over the town of Renaissance, but it wasn’t the only thing that was broken that day. Not by a long shot. Three hearts were broken, one heirloom dish shattered into 789 pieces, a few legs, arms and toes, some more things…and one life. Not a life that was soon forgotten. Broken way too early.

Josh Dunning was only 24 years old when Prissy Sykes killed him. People in Renaissance who came across young Josh liked him, admired him, lusted after him (a good many), trusted him, looked up to him, wanted to be like him, and just plain out loved him. Some, more than others. Prissy Sykes loved him so much, it hurt her. It eventually hurt him, too.

How people thought about Prissy was just about the opposite. Josh was good people, did for others before he thought of himself and had been like that since he was young. He was always there to help and be a friend. Not so Prissy. She was tied up in her own little Prissy world, thinking Prissy this and Prissy that, and thinking “Why aren’t you paying attention to ME?” thoughts. Except…except… the one thing outside of PrissyWorld that she thought about most of all, when at all, was Josh Dunning.

It started out as a young girls like, then a crush, then a need, then grew into a burning want as she went into puberty overdrive. Her want became her. “How dare he love Cara! How. Dare. He!” she wailed to herself, at night, under her covers, as her hands were Josh’s hands in the dark of night, the hands she wished were there. It was on August 3oth, her twenty-second birthday, alone in bed for her 8030 days of life, and Prissy determined it was going to be her last night alone.

Day 8031, and Prissy had invited Cara out for a picnic. Cara Fleming was surprised by the invitation and was reluctant to go (she  knew Prissy was jealous of her over Josh), but it was Josh who insisted she accept. Reluctantly, she went. Josh said he’d be along later to meet up with her and then go to the End of Summer party Renaissance threw every year since the reformation of the town after The Crisis so many generations ago.

Prissy was kind, for Prissy, in the walking to the picnic grounds with Cara. By the end of the next hour, Prissy had unloaded unto Cara all of her bile, her loathing, her desire to have Josh for herself. To hell with her parents, she said. To hell with everyone in Renaissance. Josh should be hers and hers alone. The only reason Cara stayed through all of this was simple: Prissy had brought out a gun and leveled it at Cara’s heart for over a half hour.

Prissy enjoyed the power she had in her hands. This was real life power, and she relished it.

She turned her head when she heard Josh call out to them, being true to his word to come for Cara. He yelled at her when he saw the gun. “Yelling at me?”, thought Prissy. “NO!”

She turned back to Cara, gritting her teeth, and began to lift the gun as Cara had gotten up to run to Josh. Taking aim, or so she thought, she fired.

Josh dropped to the ground, blood pouring out of the bullet hole in his neck.

Cara screamed and dropped to the ground by Josh, trying to staunch the wound. She babbled and cried and yelled for help. None came. Josh died in her arms.

Prissy, watching all this unfold, lifted the gun one more time, squeezed the trigger, and the noise turned Cara around.

Prissy was true to her thoughts. Last night had been her last night in bed alone.

**********************  ********************  ****************

Welcome to the first story in the Shared World/Town of Renaissance and the Rule of Three Writers Blog Fest.  Created with fiction writers in mind, October 2011 will see a month long blog fest/hop. The rules are being finalized now and Damyanti Biswas at  Amloki and Lisa Vooght of Flash Fiction and I (with hopefully the addition of one or two more administrators) will be posting the rules soon. Right now, click on the link above for the Rule of Three  and you will get the shared world info for the town of Renaissance.

Where the writers who join us go with the stories is their own thing. They have to have THREE main characters; we have supplied the world and will supply some prompts. Once a week the writers who sign up will add their tale-ONE main character at a time-for three weeks. On the Fourth Week: the story culminates: the three characters  lives intersect, or not, into one last tale.

If this interests you, let me know. We’ll be posting more rule info soon. Real soon. This was a tease. Hope you were, and are, intrigued.

ANY genre style. ANY time period.

Sonnet: Standing on the Edge


This is what I want; Standing on the edge

Not a dare, not a challenge, not a lark

Arms akimbo, memories I will dredge,

I will face the vast unknown, light or dark.

Somehow, you have wasted away my time

And I, in allowing it, hold little;

I perceive that I walk always sublime

While inside I am nothing but brittle.

But, if alone I go along my way

Nothing can interrupt, nor interfere

My days will be what I thus do so lay

And my nights I will cherish and hold dear.

Chest thrust out, head looking up to the sky

I take  many steps so that I can fly.



The Kitsune-Mochi and Red Helen


Drinking in the nectar of the kabosu, Red Helen sat and savored the sour orange taste. Chiyoko had chosen the best fruits of the flowering plant, intending to add their citrus flavor to the sashimi once the raw fish had been sliced. She had pricked her finger on one of the sharp thorns, giving tribute to Keikyoku, the Bara Oni. This assured her that the kabosu she picked were the ripest.

Fox was eager to feast on the masu, the Kingfish, that his Kitsune-Mochi had bartered for.  Fox smiled at the memory of that very morning.

Hungry, as always, Fox had persuaded Chiyoko for something other than salmon. Coming to the small fishing village, his Kitsune-Mochi found a fisherman unloading a catch of fresh Sea Trout. Having no money to purchase it, she did as Kamehameha the fisherman had begged, divining that his first two sons were not really his. Fox had laughed and laughed at this, reveling in the sharpness of the fisherman’s intake of breath, and the tears that formed in his eyes. Chiyoko chided him for this behavior as they left the beach.

“He was sad. He loved his wife and children so much, Fox. To find out he was betrayed..aie.”

“Obviously,” Fox said, swishing his tail,”he could not have been so surprised, otherwise why ask at all? Those boys looked nothing like him. His tears were untrue and smelled of self deceit.”

“It is easy to deny what your heart does not want to believe.” Chiyoko stopped walking. “Did you summon Red Helen as I asked?”

Fox smiled and started to groom himself. “Red Helen will meet us at the kabosu plant we passed on the way into the village.”

Red Helen had been true. The Kitsune-Mochi noticed Red Helen forming from the hundred-hundreds of Oni butterflies that surrounded the plant as they approached. Becoming the nude beauty of the Chou Chou Oni.  Chiyoko bowed deeply, the flapping of all those wings creating a current of wind and soft sound. The wind was refreshing. The sound…not so much. It tore into Chiyoko’s mind, sending slivers of thought drifting away faster than she could recapture their moments. Calling on the powers imbued through Fox, Chiyoko righted herself.

“Stop that now!” she commanded of Red Helen. “I am in no mood for your testing me. We have played this out before. Enough.” The sound abated to silence, with only one last cacophonous bleat as the Oni stood fully formed. Fox inwardly was pleased for that last show of defiance. His Kistune-Mochi needed some humbling.

Chide me, will you?” he thought, and planned.

“Tell me what you want, O powerful Kitsune-Mochi,” the words from Red Helen flew about. “I have other places to be.”

Chiyoko sighed but continued the meal preparation.  “There is a woman in that village-there,” she pointed, “who has been unfaithful, a deceiver and hurtful to the man who loved her. I have seen into his heart, and besides being a simple soul, there is no reason to have been so betrayed. I did not tell him that although she bore two to other men, her legs have parted for many, many more. I answered only of what he asked.”

“This woman’s name?” asked Red Helen.

“Rin, wife of Kamehameha the fisherman.”

The Chou Chou Oni broke apart into a hundred-hundred Swallowtails, it’s white patched wings tinged in red. The sound of flapping died down quickly, leaving Chiyoko to finish the sashimi and serve Fox and herself. They ate in silence, until the many voiced screams came to their ears.

Chiyoko dropped her meal and ran towards the village. Fox did not follow until he finished eating (and devouring his Witch’s portion as well, feeling a truly great meal of Masu should not go to waste). He crested the ridge that slightly hid the village as it wandered down to the sea and sat back on his haunch, taking in the sights before him.

The ground of the small fishing community was littered with the shredded bodies of men and women. 128 in all lay dead, or dying, as Red Helen, en masse, sliced through them, taking in their souls as they died. The red tinged wings became a deeper red.

“No! NO! NONONO!” screamed Chiyoko. The Red Helen laughed a hundred-hundred laughs in response.

The backdrop of crying and anguish surrounded the Kitsune-Mochi as Red Helen formed again, taking a stance too close for Chiyoko’s comfort. Glaring into the witch’s eyes, Red Helen smiled a blood smile.

“Rin was not the only who deceived and hurt in their lust, known or unknown, in this ‘lovely’ little squat. I just saved YOU the trouble of calling upon me again. Thank you for all the delicious souls,” Red Helen bowed her head.

Floating over to stand even closer to Chiyoko, the Chou Chou Oni lowered her voice. “We are done, you and I. Call upon me again, and there will be one soul I will be more than happy to feast on.” With that, an explosion of wings passed around, and Red Helen was gone.

Fox sauntered up to find Chiyoko sitting on the ground. He had passed the fisherman standing amidst what was left of his unfaithful wife and unfaithful friends. Kamehameha was there in body only, hands outstretched in pleading form. Fox chuckled as he saw the empty minded husk. For once, he kept information like this to himself. His Kitsune-Mochi did serve up a truly fine meal, and he was pleased in many ways.

Head bowed, Chiyoko knew Fox approached. “She went too far. She went…too far. Fox,” she said, glaring at him, “we must take action.”

“Against Red Helen? You are madder than normal, witch. I am just one to her hundreds. Forget it. Done is done, and, in truth, you got what you asked for. It just was a larger wish of retribution then you envisioned.”

Chiyoko stood and let the sand on her clothing stay. She stared down at Fox.

“I will not forget this. Done is not done. You say you are one, she is hundreds. You, Fox, are wrong. WE are two, and we are only beginning our journey. Allies await us. Red Helen will regret what she did in my name.” Chiyoko turned away from Fox and went to find the fisherman. She took him by his hand and guided him to his home, where his children, and the ones he brought up as his, waited.

Fox stayed where he was. “You truck with Oni, you get what you deserve, witch!” he thought. He stayed where he was until night fell, and then went off to find his Kitsune-Mochi. After all, it was dinner time.

Part One: The Kitsune-Mochi and Tora Baku

Part Two: He Does Not Dream

Part Three: Kitsune-Mochi and The Bara Oni

Part Four: She Unfolds

Dog & Elephant, With Long Country Nights

Dog and Elephant, with long country nights,
Counted the stars as they wandered away
Into the meadows, into the fields,
Searching for the stardust that comets yield.

“Oh, my friend,”said Dog, “look to the sky,
Another wonderful comet is passing us by;
It’s tail all a glitter, the rays it does glow,
Let’s follow it together, where ever it goes.”

Elephant counted up to eleven
Speeding comets diving through the heavens
She wondered at their leavings
Thinking “Did any have misgivings?”

One came around it’s speeding course
And in a fit of complete remorse
Dog turned to Elephant, and did disclaim
“When comets go, nothing is the same.”
But then a brilliant flash of light
Colored the sky; lit up the night!
A comet had turned itself around
And all it’s details were seen by those on the ground.
The comet burst apart in an astounding array
Taking the breaths of Dog and Elephant away!
The blue burst, the pinprick of light
Filled the night skies; filled their sight.
And settling then, their minds all ablaze
They knew they would talk about this beauty for days.
All night long they’d sit and gaze about
Searching for comets and stardust..until, tired, they gave out.
Dog and Elephant, with long country nights,
Slept in the meadow, and dreamt of the sights
Of the comet dance for the two in the field
The stardust and happiness, for them it did yield.
*****************************          ****************    **************          ****************************
So…my second attempt at a Children’s book/picture book. Again, this is for the Bluebell Books Short Story Slam. We were given the task to write a short story or poem..and the rest is here for your enjoyment. I hope you like it.

A Challenge From Damyanti


I have mentioned, in the past, a writer who I have “met” online who I feel is amazing: Damyanti of Daily (W)rite.  Just about the same time I became incensed over Indiana’s decision to essentially eliminate cursive writing in their schools, Curse(ives), Foiled Again (their making Cursive Writing an elective only), Damyanti had an epiphany with writing: What happened to just plain paper and pen, and sending a letter through the mail? Some young-in’s may be confused by all this, but I jumped at the chance to do this with her.

Set with three Herculean Challenges of Writing, I will do what I normally don’t do here: make this about the process of, instead of the product of, writing. This is what I got in the mail from Singapore, where Damyanti lives:

Challenge #1:

Answer all the questions on this card [enclosed] the day you get this letter and if you want, later, on random days. Keep the answers, and if you would like to, send me a copy.

  1. What Do I Need Now? I feel that what I need, now, is something that I have squandered a bit in the past: Time. I find that working full time, and investing so much into the campers in my charge, I’m not giving myself time to really flex myself creatively for ME. It is that Catch 22 that I have often felt: I AM doing something I’m really enjoying (directing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” finally); it’s just it’s Monday-Friday, 6am to 7pm (with travel, getting dressed, etc)…and I often rebel against holding these hours job wise.
    1. How Can I Give it? Being more creative with my time, and not procrastinating, would give me more time that I do have. I don’t have to play word games/Bejeweled on FaceBook, and I should not get lost online when I need to write.
  2. What Does My Work Need Now? Full commitment to what I said I would do: two hours of writing a day.
    1. How Can I Give It? Stop being afraid of all the positive comments I get on my writing. Yes. I back off a bit, sometimes, in the fear of not holding up my “end of the bargain” to the readers/fans; a good part of my procrastination comes from sometimes not seeing what I write, my skill as a writer, being as good as the expectations from the readers about my work.
  3. What Does This Moment Need Now?  Realize, no matter what it is, my fiction is reaching people in a way I never believed it would. Or could. Same with my poetry. I’m not even sure why I fight it so much.
    1. How Can I Give It? For me to get over myself, my insecurities &/or in-credulousness, and just write.
  • Observe the elements with all of your senses inside and outside.
  • Look Down (detail); Look Up (big picture); Look Out (vision); Create, reflect, re-energize.
  • Bring what you need back to your work; your creative best.

Challenge #2:

Go to the website and read a few of the stories, Write interesting facts and vignettes about your city, the city you call home. (The site calls for stories, of no more than 1,600 words). This is my FICTION story:

Driving down the hilly streets of Yonkers, in search of a bakery run by a religious order (the cake she had ordered for her husband’s birthday, from his favorite bakery that delivered to his job, was waiting for her), Susanna made a right turn…and came across an enclave of prostitutes. There was no mistaking the scantily clad females for the craft they plied. Men in cars lined up, some just looked and sped away. Some stopped to haggle with this girl or that as they bent over, shoving ample near naked tits in the drivers faces. Many of the trolling trolls would  then whisk them away for the gratification that money could buy.

Susanna had at first driven by, incredulous at the discovery she made. Shocked, she drove to the corner, make another right, and pulled the car over. Her heart was beating fast, and Susanna found herself with her mouth gaping open wide as she took short but sharp breaths. The scene she had hastened to pass was only a few blocks away from a school and a local museum. Controlling herself, she pulled away from the curb, went to the light…and made a right turn, followed by one more that took her again to the run of street walkers.

This time, Susanna pulled over at the beginning of the block, under the late afternoon shade of one of the few trees in the area. She sat, and watched. The working girls ignored her while paying very close attention. All sizes and shapes prowled the line of cars. Curses rang out with raised middle fingers that mixed with the music from the cars and the few who laughed their situation.

She was as curious as she was saddened by the spectacle. This was the first time that she had ever seen prostitution in action, in real In-Your-Face action, and at forty-two years Susanna had not thought she could really be shocked by much. 

That is, until a familiar looking car, with an all too familiar man driving that car, turned the corner, slowed down, and beckoned to one of the women. She was young, looking almost as young as their High School aged Annie. The girl bent down, laughed, and nodded, and walked around to the passenger side door of the car and got in. They drove away.

Susanna opened up her car door, and she just made it out of the car as she bent over and puked.

Challenge #3:

Before opening my letter [there is a sealed envelope now waiting for me], describe the sort of stationary, ink and hand writing you expect to find inside. After opening the letter, describe your impressions of what you see and read.

  • Before: This one is tough. With all the care that has gone into the writing/thinking challenges I expect the paper to be crisp and clean, not flowery stationary. Knowing Damyanti’s site, that is how I envision this. The words, the language, seem important, not the trappings. ( I find this funny to say as I JUST changed, a few days ago, Tale Spinning’s paper & background to have a little more style. No one has mentioned it, but it’s a big thing for me.) I expect cursive writing, in the style of the original note of the challenge, and I’m not sure at this moment if Damyanti will keep the red pen she used for the challenge note or the black on the inside and outside envelope. If it goes with the thoughts from earlier, it’ll be the black.
  • After: Well, right and wrong. Right that the paper was crisp and clean (folding of non-withstanding). The language and style was what I expected: beautiful, and if I said it out loud it would have an exquisite mouth feel to it. I think I will read it out loud, just for that as well. Wrong, in that it was in the red pen. Not a big deal, but… when you look at what things mean…RED. Passion leaps to mind. Passion of writing, of inquiry, of language, of the hand written word as opposed to this flat typing of fonts.The long missive was a pleasure to read, but since this was a private letter, I’ll save my private thoughts for…

My goal, now, is to hand write a missive back (for it’s now after midnight and I have to get to bed for a full day of rehearsal). I have a lot to ponder, and besides my return writing, I have the return volley of a Challenge to Damyanti.

I hope you enjoyed this, are inspired by this, and you pick up a pen/pencil/quill, and write to someone for the sheer pleasure of expression. Let me know what you think.

Is This Not Art? Is This Not Beauty?