‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Final Prompt for 2020. Week #29 Entry by Mark Bierman #IARTG #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts #FlashFiction

Hello everyone, today I’m featuring my contribution to Author Suzanne Burkes’ “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week she features an image and invites writers to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of their choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words. Please head over to Suzanne’s wonderful blog site and have a look around! Click on this link: https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

Here is the photo prompt for today’s blog:

Mandy swished her bug net in the air as she raced down the board walk. The sound added to her excitement. First day of summer break from boring school and mean Mrs. Harris, the worst teacher, ever, and now this! A rainbow waited at the end of the boardwalk.

Her backpack was a snuggly fit and loaded with three mason jars, stolen from Mommy’s supply, air holes poked into the lids, of course. Her magnifying glass clinked against it. Strawberry yogurt tubes, pixie sticks from last Halloween, and granola bars were stuffed beside them. She should have brought grape juice, but that would have added weight. Boy, as she thirsty.

Her toe caught something, and she tumbled onto the planks, scraping her knees bloody. Mandy was no crybaby, but she winced as she wiped away sand and blood. She was wasting time, and the fairies would heal her. At least they’d better, or she’d never let them go.

Mandy suddenly felt bad. Last night, her family had watched a show about poachers who killed elephants for their tusks, and that had made her cry. Was trapping rainbow fairies the same? No! She wasn’t mean like them, or even like Mrs. Harris. The woman was probably in Africa right now, poaching elephants to make ivory pens to use when marking all the answers wrong on Mandy’s tests.

Angry, she launched herself up and ran cheetah speed towards the rainbow.

Mommy had started this. She’d looked out the dining room window and told Mandy and her rotten brother, Max, about the rainbow.

Max kept chomping his cereal like a cow, it was amazing that food stayed in his mouth. It wasn’t a video game, so he didn’t care.

Mandy loved movies about fairies and went to look.

“How do fairies create those beautiful colors?”

Mommy had smiled. She was about to answer, but Max spit out his breakfast and started to laugh like a hyena.

“You’re sooo dumb! Rainbows are caused by sunlight and water droplets.”

Mommy got mad and made him stop. She said that Mandy has a wonderful imagination. Max had to say sorry and clean up the mess.

He grumbled, and Mandy stuck out her tongue.

“She’s sticking out her tongue! Look!”

Her tongue was back in before Mommy could see.

Mommy rubbed her forehead and told Max to finish up. Neither of them should look at each other. She had to work, which meant going upstairs to her computer.

Mandy told her that she was going outside to play.

Mommy left and Max finished cleaning. As he left, he said that she was stupid.  

Mandy had quickly gone to work getting the things she needed and now here she was. The rainbow was close.   

A beautiful butterfly crossed her path. Its large wings were blue as Mommy’s eyes. Mandy had heard that fairies liked to ride butterflies when their own wings grew tired. If she caught them, a butterfly would cheer them up.

The butterfly had flown across the railing, to catch it, she would have to climb over. You weren’t supposed to do that, because it would interfere with the animals and plants that lived there. Mandy looked around and didn’t see anyone. She grabbed the railing and climbed over.

Her feet hit the ground and she ran after the butterfly. It turned out to be a very quick and smart insect. It would land on a piece of grass and wait for the net to come but at the last second, fly off. Mandy could almost hear its tiny laugh.  

The chase lasted a long time, but she finally caught it, put it in the jar, and closed the lid.

She looked towards the rainbow, but it was gone! Oh no! They must have seen her catch the butterfly and got scared.

Inside the jar, the blue wings flapped like crazy as the butterfly tried to escape. Mandy suddenly felt ashamed. She was like those poachers, and meaner than Mrs. Harris, ivory pen or not. The fairies probably hated her, and she would never get another chance to catch them, not that she wanted to, anymore.

There was only one thing to do, and she hoped that if they saw it, they would at least not hate her so much. She opened the jar and let the butterfly out.

Mandy turned away, sad and guilty. The next time she saw a rainbow, she’d just appreciate the fairies for the beautiful creatures they were

Review of ‘Between Slavery and Freedom, The Stella Trilogy Book One’ by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Happy Friday! The kids are home from school today, as it is a PA day here, and so I’m typing this up before heading off to meetings with their teachers.

I just finished reading this first of a series by a formerly unknown (to me) author Yecheilyah Ysrayl. I’m happy to say that I’m hooked and look forward to reading the next two.

What Amazon Says:

In book one, Cynthia McNair and her boyfriend, Alex, express some racists’ feelings toward blacks. They visit Cynthia’s Grandmother Sidney McNair, who recounts the story of her ancestor, a slave named Stella Mae. Cynthia has no idea of her African ancestry or how deep this rabbit hole goes.

My Turn:

Nineteen-year-old Cynthia McNair, from Chicago, doesn’t consider herself a racist, however she is quick to share her approval of racial segregation. The year is 1996, but she’s heard stories about the “glory days” of apartheid.  

She lives alone with her mother, her parents separated when she was younger, and she’s never met her father’s mother. Against her father’s will, she tracks Mama Sidney McNair down and together with boyfriend Alex, pays her a visit.

The shocking discovery at her grandmother’s house changes her self-image, and her opinion of her parents. To make things worse, Alex wants nothing more to do with Cynthia.

Enraged at living a lie, she confronts her mother and father. Her father tells her that his mother is trouble and that there are far more secrets to be revealed. He announces that he is flying in the next day. They are going to meet the extended family at his mother’s house where all will be revealed.

Cynthia is unwilling to go at first, but finally yields. She is ecstatic to meet formerly unknown cousins and aunts and uncles she’s not seen in years. Finally, there will be closure.

As with most of life, things do not go as planned and a tragedy unfolds that prevents Mama Sidney from disclosing the rest of the story. The book ends at this point.

I found myself engaged in the story, wanting to know more with every turn of the page. The character of Cynthia is well-formed and the historical and current issues of racism were accurate, in my opinion.

A solid background is created right from the start, and the reader will get a glimpse into the twisted ideology of a systemic racist culture, both past and present.

Yecheilyah has done an outstanding job of capturing my interest and I look forward to reading book number two of this trilogy.

Five stars!

Connect with Yecheilyah Ysrayl and purchase your copy:

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

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Website

Review of Guns Of Perdition, by Jessica Bakkers

Happy Sunday! We’ve just had a week of unseasonably warm weather up here in the Great “White” North. Many of us took advantage and hung out our Christmas lights, instead of waiting for the finger-numbing deep freeze.

On this chilled out Sunday, I wanted to share my experiences with a great book I just read by Jessica Bakkers, Guns of Perdition (The Armageddon Showdown Book 1) . It was both thrilling and chilling all and I loved it!

Heres what Amazon says:

IT TAKES GRACE TO HUNT WHEN IT’S DARKSOME

Jessie expects he’ll be forever cleaning up after the cowpokes of the Bad Hoss Saloon. That’s until the day a drifter strides through the doors, and blows away a blood-sucking demon, along with Jessie’s belief in an everyday world. Jessie is captivated by the enigmatic Grace, with her pearl-handled revolvers, and wolf companion. He throws in his normal life and follows her across the Wild West, as she hunts down and slays the evil creatures that roam the frontier.

Along the way, they seek the aid of a Native American warrior, cross paths with a Cajun Queen, and encounter a small-town tycoon with a deadly hunger for gold. Animosity and distrust plague Grace and Jessie, and their strange group of allies, but they must put their differences behind them if they’re to have any hope of finding and defeating the frontier’s true evil, the Darksome Gunman.

The Armageddon Showdown is a dark-fantasy, weird western series of epic proportions, focusing on the age-old battle between good and evil, though in the Wild West, it’s not always clear just who is good and who is evil.

Join Grace Dyer and her band of miscreants as they battle demons and demi-gods, in the frontier’s deadliest conflict…the Armageddon Showdown.

My Turn

I’m not a Western fan at heart, but this went far beyond my expectations. Bring six main characters together, each different in everyway, each one haunted by painful memories, Each guitly of their own seven deadly sin, yet completely unaware. Each one of them justifying their actions for revenge, lust, greed, and love.

I’m familiar with Revelations in the Bible, and this take on that book enticed my curiousity. Though I’m aware that it’s work of fiction, I couldn’t help but ask, “What if?”

There were more than ‘two scoops of action’ in this book, so my adrenaline junkie was satiated. There were plenty of well orchestrated plot twists, too. Not a dull moment hiding behind any page.

I must add that I enjoyed Grace’s dialogue. Her idioms and slang flowed smoothly and I chuckled more than a few times. That’s no easy feat, without getting repetitive. Well done, Jessica!

If you’re into gunfights, thrilling scenes, ‘end-of-days’ cliff hangers, spiritual battles . . . this is your book!

FIVE STARS from me!

Meet Jessica Bakkers:

I am a creative writer with over twenty years of writing experience. I am a speculative fiction writer, and have written in the genres of fantasy-romance and paranormal-romance, however my genre of choice when it comes to writing for myself is dark fantasy where I can allow myself to fully explore the anti-hero characters that pepper my stories. I dabble at poetry and have written professionally for clients locally and internationally.

My debut novel, Guns of Perdition, The Armageddon Showdown Book 1, is a dark fantasy stroll through a weird wild west setting, pitting bad heroes against worse villains.

My major love affair is with the written word; specifically creative writing. I allow myself to indulge and rendezvous with this secret lover whenever time allows… and then we make beautiful poetry together!

Purchase your copy:

Amazon.com

Connect with Jessica

Website

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‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #23 Entry by Mark Bierman #WritingPrompts #WritingCommunity #FlashFiction

Hello everyone, today I’m featuring my contribution to Author Suzanne Burkes’ “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week she features an image and invites writers to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of their choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words. Please head over to Suzanne’s wonderful blog site and have a look around! Click on this link: https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/

Here is the photo prompt for today’s blog:

“Forget it Talbot, we’ll never get down there! Not with the bullet hole in your paw! Never mind neither of us can swim a lick.”

“Hear that?”

“What?”

“Don’t sound like we’ve much choice, Earnest.”

“Hounds! Coppers are comin’! How close?”

“’bout the same as a grasshopper can shotput an elephant, be my guesstimate. We gotta’ skeedadle! ‘Less ya’ wanna go back to an eight by ten cage and floaty meat sauce suppers.”

“Heck no! Do ya’ think the chopper’s comin’?”

“Pshaw! Listen, Bekr—”

“Hate that nickname! Should a fed Billy a knuckle sandwich with a side a hand chop, right cross the neck! Long form is worser, Be Kind Rewind. Kinda’ morose comes up with such hogswallop?”

“Anyone gets five years for video piracy deserves it.”

“Comin’ from Mister Parkin’ Warriors? Ooh! Park here, there, in front of hydrants and driveways. Pretend you’re leadin’ a revelation ‘gainst the almighty arm of the Parkin’ Coppers. Torchin’ tickets, leave ‘em burnin’ in the street. Bad a**! ”    

“Revolushion is what ya’ meant. Pay no mind to that. Earnest, I say we jump. Rock, Paper, Scissors to see whose first?”

“You’re on! One, two, three, shoot! No! Ya’ can’t use your shot up hand, that’s cheatin’!”

“How?”

“Ya’ always use rock then, and I use . . . oh, I see! Wait! Let’s do that again.”

“What’s so funny?”

“Uh, nothin’, jus’ go. Lemme count. One, two, three . . . dang it! Ya’ can’t change paws! ‘gainst the rules!”

“Says the infamous Blue Ray Beard, captain of his momma’s basement couch? Ya’ think I’m stoopid ‘nough to use rock again? Sure ya’ didn’t eat the plastic T.V. Dinner trays?” 

“Shut up, Talbot! I’m warnin’ ya’, or I’ll stuff a tire boot in it!”

“I don’t think the FBI heard ya’. Those ‘Finders of Bumbling Inbreds’ they warn ya’ about jus’ before the movie.”    

“Shh! Coppers ain’t far behind. Them mutts are getting’ louder. One of us has to go and if he breathes, yells up.”

“What ‘bout if he croaks? Ouch! My hand!”

“’Enough of the smart walkie talkies. You’re thick as your ma’s toenails, how about ya’ pick a number between one and ten. I’ll say if ya guest it.”

“Yup, plastic and beavered on lead painted toys.”

“What do ya’ suggest then, genies?”

“Put your hands up! Turn around and walk slowly backwards, towards us!”

“Dang, Earnest, look what you done! Jawin’ till the feds caught us.”

“Me? Your lips were flappin’  like a dogs’ out a truck’s window.”  

“Get your hands up, turn around! Move to us!”

“Jus’ a moment. Need to hash out who’s done what.  Bekr thinks I done get us caught. But he don’t know when to beat feet out of an alley cats’ can. ”

“What’re you talking about? You’ve got until three to put—”

“We got your air mail, bud. Talbot was sayin’ we gotta’ butter our popcorn. Line our dragons with the startin’ gate. Ouch!”  

“Ain’t said that way! It’s churn butter for our popcorn and drag our horses to the startin’ gate. Ya’ gonna’ quote somethin’ get it right.”  

“Enough! Get them!”  

“Talbot, that an eagle flyin’ out there?”

“No, jus’ a haaaawwwwkkk!”

“I knnnnooooowwww!”

SPLASH!

“We’re alive! Earnest, good job! How’d you know we’d make it?”

“Huh? Jus’ knowed, is all.”  

“Look at ‘em coppers up there! Can’t get us! Look at ‘em shakin’ their fists and pointin’!”

“Uh, Talbot, they’s not pointin’ at us. Water up ahead is boilin’ like it’s got a hundred hippos passin’ wind all at once.”

“Yup, there’s a might racket comin’ from ahead. I’ll have a look see. Jumpin’ jiminy cats! What in the Sammy’s Hill you gotten’ us into? Ya’ toady brained pint-wit?”

“’Scuse me, the correct terms is Jumpin’ Jiminy Crackers and horse-brained half-wit. Some wise acre once settled me straight on quotes and their properly meanins’.”

“Hush! I jus’ had movement in the gray Jello in my attic.”

“Can’t wait for this Hershy squirt of  gospel truth.”

“This is serious stuffins’. Pull the ‘taters from your ears and listen up.”

“Be easier if they wasn’t fillin’ with water and the noise of those gassy hippos, but out with it.”

“Well, ‘member the coyote and road runner cartoons we watch? You know when the poor coyote is up in the air and realizes he can’t fly? ’member what happens next?”

“Talbot! You sayin’ what I’m thinkin’?  You side of beef butt you! Why’d ya’ hafta remind us that we can’t swim?”