Thursday, July 30, 2015


This is a Friday Fictioneers Flash Fiction Challenge. Hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields  and all based off a photo. This weeks prompt is provided by and copyright to G. L. MacMillan.

Rochelle requires participants, in 100 words or less write about the picture provided. You can read this week’s stories by clicking on the Blue Links and the blue frog on Rochelle's page.

© G. L. MacMillan

Moonlight Ballet

The light that filtered through the hundreds of colorful bottles in my uncle's house created unusual ballets on the dull surfaces. Sometimes I could swear I heard whispers.

The purple bottle intrigued me the most. One moonlit night I spied a dancing beam. Against orders, I touched the bottle. An electrical charge shot through me and light filled the room.

Instantaneously my missing parents stood before me.

My uncle thundered into the room, his demonic form revealed.

Safely cocooned in my parent's luminosity, I saw a ray of fire emanating from the remaining bottles hold him spellbound until he disintegrated.

100 words
Yolanda Renee © 2015


The WEP-Write…Edit…Publish August Challenge – Spectacular Settings is coming up on the 19th
Today Denise Covey is talking all about the skill of writing amazing settings. Check out the

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Google that question and you'll find a plethora of how to's. has a numbered response with pictures for that answer. Since the answer is readily available, I thought I'd tell you exactly how I do it. 

I'm no expert but if you've been reading my blogs lately you know I participate in two weekly flash fiction challenges – Mondays Finish the Story – and Friday Fictioneers.

With Mondays Finish the Story – Barbara W. Beachman gives us a picture and a first sentence prompt. For Friday Fictioneers, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields gives only a photo prompt. She expects 100 words while Barbara gives us a challenge of 150 words. I enjoy both and if you're interested, please click the links to find out more.

As soon as the prompt is posted, I save the photograph to my desktop. I make it my desktop background until the story is finished simmering in my head.

However, the first thing I do is put myself into the scene – no matter what or where it is. Then I start to detail my story through the questions I ask. 

For a recent Mondays Finish The Story, the picture was of a black cat hiding behind a curtain, his paws clearly visible, and his bright green eyes shining through the thin material. Barbara posted the sentence "He thought he had found the perfect hiding place."

I became the cat. Why would a black cat hide? Whom would he hide from? What was happening that made him hide? From that, I fashioned my story Spells & Potions. See, it's that simple. I also try to find a way to end the story with something fun, unexpected, and surprising. It's not necessary, just fun.

You can read Spells & Potions HERE!

For a recent Friday Fictioneers, the photo prompt was a winter scene with a pavilion. I placed myself at the scene and then asked the question, why was I there? I decided for a first date. Moreover, while I made it a lovely first date, with the possibility of more for this young couple, and could have ended it that way, but I like a twist.

You can read First Date HERE!

I read First Date to my husband and son, and they immediately said, no one proposes on a first date. However, I had personal experience as proof they were wrong. I've had such a proposal, not once, not even twice, but three times – thank God, my dates didn't carry knives. :)

I hope this gives you some insight into how I write flash fiction, and an excuse to try one yourself. Once I see the prompt, I can usually get the story written in a very short time. I always write, edit, edit, edit, and then publish. The first draft is never good enough. Still the entire process takes very little time, I'd say from beginning to end, one hour, and it's fun!

And now you have my secret to flash fiction prompts:


It's a technique I learned when my son was young, and we had a long ride in the car. He'd get anxious and cranky. So we created stories. I'd ask a question. He'd give me an answer and then I'd embellish his answer and add another question. On one such trip, we fashioned a story of how he and his trusty best friend, his dog Peanut, saved the moon from a cheese eating alligator. He had fun, and a long ride became much shorter.

I use the same technique of asking questions during all my writing, especially when the story falters. Ask the right question, because there's always an answer!

While it might seem easy to put yourself into a photo prompt to get your story, you can do the same with a title, a list of words, or a sentence. What image do the words conjure? You're a writer, use that imagination and paint our story.

Speaking of painting a scene, today on WEP-Write…Edit…Publish Denise is detailing settings on a blog titled Spectacular Settings Mean Spectacular Reads, please check out her advice; she is the master of amazing scenery and atmosphere.

Detailed scenic writing is almost a lost art in the modern day of quick stories – get to the action – and short attention spans. Denise's scenic writing takes you to a destination without a photograph because she creates the scene fully through her writing. So check out the WEP blog and learn how add atmosphere to your writing.                        CLICK HERE!


Do you have any secrets to writing you can share? 

Do prompts do it for you? Is it a title, a few words, or a complete sentence that gets your flash fiction writing juices started?

Come on share – it's just between you and me!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


This is a unique flash fiction challenge where Barbara W. Beachman provides you with a new photo each week, and the first sentence of a story. Your challenge is to finish the story using 100-150 words, not including the sentence provided. Don’t forget to use the opening sentence… This challenge runs from Monday to Sunday! Get creative and have fun finishing the story!

Please include the photo with your bit of flash and a link back to this post. Do not forget to click on the blue frog and add your link so that others can enjoy your story too! Now let’s have some fun!


“He thought he found the perfect hiding spot.”

Rufus watched from safety as Hazel went on a real tear. Potions went flying; even the flames under the caldron pulled themselves into a tight ball to avoid her wrath. But nothing she did could bring her favorite snack back into being.

Hazel could not be consoled. She even tried to create her own version, but her yellow cakes all tasted like dirt and the cream became so hard it broke the only tooth she had left.

Ranting and raving for days with no respite, Rufus waited for her to retire, and tried his own spell. After adding tail of newt, frog's eyes, and a little three spice to his concoction, Rufus knew he had the perfect potion to make Hazel the Twinkie baker she so desired to be.

Rufus was wrong; his potion turned Hazel into her favorite snack.

Rufus wasn't sad, Twinkies, he'd been told would last forever.

150 words
Yolanda Renee © 2015



"A Twinkie is an American snack cake, marketed as a "Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling." It was formerly made and distributed by Hostess Brands and is again being sold under the Hostess Brands name. The brand is currently owned by private equity firms Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos and Company. During bankruptcy proceedings, Twinkie production in the United States ended on November 21, 2012, and resumed after an absence on American store shelves, becoming available again nationwide on July 15, 2013." Wikipedia

Consider joining the WEP - a 1000 word flash fiction challenge held every other month. The first challenge is called Spectacular Settings - scheduled for August 19th. Join us.

Monday, July 27, 2015


It's my pleasure to introduce author Ricardo Sanchez. He's here answering questions and presenting his book Bigfoot Blues.
Take it away Ricardo.
Hi, my name is Ricardo Sanchez. I’m a comic book and fiction writer (I still have a hard time calling myself a writer. When I think “writer” I tend to think of names like Asimov, Christie and Zelazney.) I’ve worked in comics for a little over a decade now and written for books like Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Resident Evil and Teen Titans Go! I’ve also written kid’s comics. But fiction writing is relatively new for me.

My first novel, Elvis Sightings, just came out in September of last year. It’s about Floyd, a private eye who is also a Lifestyle Elvis – he lives his life the way he thinks Elvis would want him to. He’s got a tip that Elvis is still alive and well, living in a small town in Wyoming. When he gets there, he finds lots of “dead” celebrities, a cold war era government conspiracy, and a group of ex-circus performers in a cold war with the Dutch town founders. And then things get interesting. In the sequel, Bigfoot Blues (which I’m promoting now,) Floyd goes to a small town in Oregon looking for a woman who may have eloped with Bigfoot. Then he gets roped into a search for some missing crypto-taxidermy (creation of critters that never existed, like jackalopes) and is asked by the local PD to help nab a wild mountain lion that might actually be a chupacabra. The novels fall into the cozy mystery category, although that isn’t quite right. They’re mysteries, for sure, complete with a private detective and cases to solve, but they’re also quirky, funny character pieces. I know most writers pick a genre and are known for that type of writing, but I don’t seem to be able to contain myself to any one genre.

How many years have you been writing, what was the catalyst, and what are your long-term goals?
I’ve been writing something since I was seven. Most of it hasn’t been worth reading until recently though. (I went through a Lord of the Rings knock-off kick between the ages of 9 and 11 that was pretty dreadful.) I’ve always just had a compulsion to tell stories. When I was a kid, that sometimes manifested itself as what I will generously call tall tales, but the adults around me would call fibs. Or maybe just lies. I’ve done much better by channeling that energy into writing.
What is your current W. I. P. about?
I wrote two mystery novels in very quick succession, Elvis Sightings and then Bigfoot Blues, the sequel. Start to finish, Bigfoot Blues was completed in less than 8 months. So after tramping around in the world of my Lifestyle Elvis private detective, I wanted to do something different and started work on a story about a zombie. He’s not your typical brain gobbling groaner though. He has thoughts and feelings, just like you and me, but because he’s a zombie, he can’t get things like a social security number. Or a job. Or an apartment. So he gets by as best he can. The name of the book is Odd Jobs for the Undead and that gives you a pretty good insight into his life. Jobs the living can’t or won’t do are just right for him, and things are going well! He’s got a great new gig at a chemical company (although the staff tends to pack a lot of heat) and he has a necrophiliac girlfriend (with a personality that would make pacifists violent.) It’s quite a departure from Elvis Sightings, but it was a nice way to reset the creative impulse so that when I go to work on the third book, a traditional manor mystery in the spirit of an Agatha Christie story, I can approach the character with fresh eyes.
What was your inspiration for this project?
A couple years ago there was a call for submissions for a paranormal romance anthology. I wrote about a blind date that a zombie goes on. It was sort of a joke story. It didn’t get picked up, but I liked the idea a lot and when I finished Bigfoot Blues, I started turning it into a full novel.
If zombies attacked, what would you do, and why?
I’d steal a boat and head to sea. Or maybe just the middle of a big lake. I haven’t seen a zombie movie yet where they could swim. They always sink to the bottom.
If you could be any horror character, or superhero, which would it be and why?
There is a character in the DC Comics Legion of Super Heroes called Matter Eater Lad. His super power is that he can eat anything. Brick walls. Cars. Anything. With no ill effects. His role in a story is usually to eat an escape route. But if I could eat like that, I would go on a food tour of Africa and South America and try every local dish without worrying about dysentery or parasites. I can taste the half cooked pork now…
Are you self-published or traditionally published? Was that always your goal?
I’m quasi-traditionally published. My publisher is a digital one, Carina Press. I went with them over some other companies because I couldn’t remember the last physical book I bought (that wasn’t out of print.) I wanted the experience of having an editor go through the manuscript with me, show me where my prose could be improved and where I might have bad or sloppy writing habits. I will say that my editor, Kerri Buckley, is AMAZING. Absolutely spectacular. She made both of my Elvis Sightings Mystery books so much better than they would have been otherwise. I love working with editors. A lot. That said, I’m interested in self publishing too. With the new book, I may try that route to market.
Where can readers find your work?
Elvis Sightings and Bigfoot Blues are available everywhere digital books are sold, so you can find them at your favorite ebook shop. You can also find a lot of my work, either as a few free chapters or entire projects on Wattpad at
What types of books do you read?
Everything. Although mostly vintage science fiction and crime these days. I actually just finished a male/male romance from a fellow Carina Press writer. Not my usual thing, to be honest, but it was good. But I read a lot of non-fiction to get ideas. There is a book called The Big Necessity (it’s about human waste) that gave me an idea for a novel that I really, really love.
Do you have any advice for novice writers?
I have two pieces of advice for people who want to write. The first one is don’t do it. Unless you have to. I would have a lot more time to do fun things with family and friends if I weren’t writing. It’s hard work and I need a day job too. But the truth is I couldn’t NOT write. So if you feel the same way, that it’s something you must do, then my advice is never give up, listen to feedback openly (especially when someone tells you your work sucks) to see what you can do to improve your work, and never listen to anyone who tells you your work sucks or isn’t publishable. There are lots of famous writers who were told their books would go nowhere, then did. But it happens to not-so-famous writers too. I was told no publisher would ever pick up Elvis Sightings, but I kept knocking on doors until I found someone who loved my book. Although by then I had also started working on a new project just in case I couldn’t find that person.
Tell us about your writing habits.
I’m lazy. I have to force myself to write (even though I love doing it.) So I try to isolate myself from anything that might be a distraction, which could be the cat, games on my computer, the internet, everything. I’ve done my best work on oversees airline flights. But I’ve found that when I turn it into a process, I do better. I start with a pretty extensive outline that I do in a spreadsheet. It makes it easier to cut and paste parts, move them around, and create multiple plot paths. Then I do chapter by chapter bullets and finally, I start typing at least 500 words every day until I get to the end. I also use an application called Scrivener. I don’t think I could have finished a novel without it. It’s quite different from something like MS Word, in that it is a collection of text documents, rather than one document. So I can combine my outline, all my reference material, even images, into one super document, then turn off wifi, and stay in that one app while I write. It’s really an amazing app. I’ve been waiting about two years for it to come to iPad. When it does I think that will become my primary writing platform.
If you could live and write anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I actually love Northern California a lot. It’s a wonderful part of the world. But if not right where I am, I think Barcelona. I’m a night person and everything in Barcelona is open really, really late. So I could get up at noon, have breakfast. Goof off for a few hours, then do some writing and have dinner at 10. And all the food would be awesome.
If you could change anything about your writing journey, what would it be?
Instant fame and fortune. Seriously. I find it much easier to write when I know there is an audience for it. It’s part of the reason I was able to finish my second novel so much more quickly than the first. I knew someone would read it. I find it really difficult to write without knowing whether anyone besides my immediate circle of friends and family will know it exists. This is probably an indicator of some sort of narcissistic personality disorder, but I find audiences very motivating.
What is the one book you would want if it were all you could have?
I’m going to cheat a little and say the complete works of William Shakespeare. I have that book on my shelf. Whenever I need inspiration, I will read one of his lesser-known plays. Not so much because I want to crib from them, but because it is remarkable how even his duds are spectacular works of story telling. I lose myself in his characters and plots and when I’m done, I feel energized and look forward to staring at my word processor.

She eloped with Bigfoot. Or maybe Bigfoot kidnapped her. Either way, I've been hired to uncover the truth behind Cindy Funk's disappearance. Me? I'm Floyd, and I'm a PI living my life as Elvis would have wanted. Not just in sequined jumpsuits. With character.

Cindy's trail leads me to River City, Oregon—aka the Mythical Creature Capital of the World—where I catch Case #2. This one from an eccentric billionaire who's lost a priceless piece of "art." Enter one dead body and I end up deputized to solve Case #3, tracking down a man-eating mountain lion. Or maybe it's a chupacabra. Or just an ordinary murderer. Hard to say.

I've handled my fair share of crazy, but River City's secrets have me spooked. With an influx of tourists arriving for the town's annual Elvis tribute contest—what are the chances?—I've got to save the girl, solve the rich guy's problem and leash that chupacabra before a second body is discovered. It might just be mine.
Read more about Floyd's adventures in Elvis Sightings, available now!

For More Information

Book Excerpt:
It was ten past two on a Wednesday and I was sitting behind my desk in the office I share with Franklin, a chiropractor. His wife had sent me looking for him almost four years ago, but she was such a harridan that once I’d found him, I couldn’t bring myself to turn over his location. He’d let me use his place as an office, rent-free, ever since.

I checked my watch again.

Wanda was flying back to Kresge today. I resented being dragged away from her, even for just an hour, but the man on the phone had insisted. It had been more than a month since my last case, so while Wanda packed, I came into the office to meet Peter Funk. And he was late.

The clock hit 2:15. I was about to leave when a very lost-looking man in his fifties opened the door.

“You must be Floyd,” he said, taking off his well-worn Caterpillar cap. His bald head had the baked look of someone who spent a lot of time under the hot Idaho sun. “Your Elvis outfit kinda gives it away,” he added.

“You’re Mr. Funk?”

He smiled weakly and bobbed his head up and down in the affirmative.
I pointed him to a seat and sat back down at my desk.

“So what can I do for you?” I asked.

Funk looked down at the cap in his hands and worried at a loose thread with his callused fingers.

“I need you to find my daughter,” he said and looked up at me. “You’ve got to help me. I don’t know who else to turn to.”

“I’d be happy to help, Mr. Funk, but with missing children you’re much better off going to the police.”

Funk stood up and slapped his hat against his thigh. A small cloud of dirt erupted from the dull blue denim of his pants.

“Oh, the cops won’t help me. Cindy’s eighteen. They said they can’t go looking for her if she’s just run off,” he said. “Besides…”

“Besides what, Mr. Funk?”

He took his seat again before finally blurting out, “She ran off to elope with Bigfoot.”

I would have laughed if Funk hadn’t looked so worried.

“Bigfoot?” I said. “That’s a nickname?”

“No, sir.”

Funk pulled a postcard out of his jeans pocket and handed it to me.

On one side was a teenage boy holding up a plaster casting of a giant footprint nearly three feet long. Across the bottom it read “River City—The Home of Bigfoot.” I turned it over. The postmark was three weeks ago in River City, Oregon. The note on the card read:

Dear Daddy,
I’ve fallen in love with Bigfoot and we’ve decided to elope. I won’t be coming back to Pocatello. I’ll write again soon.

She’d put a little heart in place of the dot above the is in both Bigfoot and Cindy.

River City… The name was familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it.

“My girl, she’s a willful one she is, but Cindy’s never lied to me. Not once,” Funk said. “If Cindy says she’s eloped with Bigfoot, that’s exactly what she’s done.”

Why did I get all the weirdos? Was it the suit? Or the Lifestyle Elvis thing? Or maybe this was some sort of elaborate practical joke. I let out a low sigh.

A case is a case, I told myself. And this one was just too absurd to be someone shining me on.

Ricardo Sanchez is a writer, toy buff, and lifelong comic book fan.

Elvis Sightings, the first novel in his Elvis Sightings Mysteries series, was released in September , 2014. Bigfoot Blues, the follow up, was released in May, 2015.

Ricardo has written several books for DC Comics, including Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Teen Titans Go! and Resident Evil among many others. His original project, A Hero’s Death, was a successful Kickstarter released in May, 2015.

In addition to writing, Ricardo is an Emmy award winning video and animation producer. When he’s not writing, Ricardo maintains a vintage toy blog, drives 70's muscle cars, and shops year round for Halloween decorations for his home in California.

You can hang out with me at the following places:
Visit Ricardo Sanchez’s website.
Connect with Ricardo on Facebook and Twitter.
Find out more about Ricardo at Goodreads.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Friday Fictioneers is a weekly 100 word flash fiction challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The following photo is this weeks PHOTO PROMPT, a cool picture for hot days, depending on your side of the globe. Rochelle asks where does it take you? Tell us in a hundred words or less.


Chocolate World's winter holiday display of lights, hot cocoa and fresh kettle corn, was a date that rivaled all previous first dates. I never felt the cold, not with my hand in yours, or your arms holding me close during the monorail ride.

Then, before the date ended and with a crowd around us, you got down on one knee and pulled out an engagement ring.

I shook my head, tried to stop the madness, but you persisted.

I whispered, "No! Not on our first date," and pleaded for understanding, right before your knife pierced my heart. 

97 words
Yolanda Renée © 2015


I'm thrilled to be part of the WEP - a 1000 word flash fiction challenge held every other month. The first challenge is called Spectacular Settings - scheduled for August 19th. Join us.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


My entry titled Choices for the WOW! Women on Writing FlashFiction Challenge won – Honorable Mention for Winter 2015 Challenge. I'm thrilled because my post was an original post for the WEP-Write Edit Publish Halloween Flash Fiction Challenge in 2014. After reworking the story, I cut it from 1000 words to 750 words and submitted it to WOW!

For today's WEP post, I wrote about What Flash Fiction is and Why it's an excellent writing exercise. Please check it out. There's also a list of links that will give you access to dozens of other flash fiction sites. Some of those sites pay for work and some do not, but it's a great list to have handy if you're looking for a great challenge or publication. Don't forget the WEP's first challenge is in August on Spectacular Settings. Read more about it on the site, as well as the October, and December challenge.

For your edification, here is the story that won honorable mention.


Haley looked into the abyss. Between the sheer marble and granite walls, lava flowed with the blinding brilliance of the sun. Pops of flame exploded in whirlpools of unfathomable appetite, and the heat kissed her porcelain skin with desire. She used a suspension bridge during her last escape, but Kaden recaptured her and wrenched her link to safety from its moorings. Despite her betrothal to his twin brother, King Zane, Kaden wanted her for himself and was willing to go to war to achieve his goal. She stared at the magma, a death that assured no resurrection, while her reason for flight replayed.

Recuperating from pneumonia, Haley curled up on a large chair in front of the fire. The lock on the door clicked, and without looking, she knew Kaden had entered the room. The atmosphere felt heavy, airless, but she did not move.
"Feeling better?" Kaden asked with faux concern.

Despite forehand knowledge, Haley's heart jumped in her chest, and her body stiffened at the sound of his caustic voice. The warmth radiating from the fire turned to waves of ice that girdled her bones and captured her heart in a glacial chill.

"You’ll never convince Zane that I was behind your kidnapping. Be careful, or you'll be the cause of his death." Kaden's voice sounded bored, as though he were tired of playing games.

"I broke the engagement. Zane left without me."

"But you didn't tell him you were staying."

"I prefer an eternity in hell to a minute with you. You have my word. I will not marry Zane, but touch him, and I’ll kill myself. No one wins."

"You’re wrong. I always win. I will have you. Dr. Zheng has a way to make even the dead live. I brought proof."

The sound of a clattering chain intensified the cold and tightened her gut into a knot. He had locked her in; was he now going to chain her to her prison? Haley did not move, but Kaden stepped closer, and the fear that he would touch her had her jumping to her feet. She kept the chair between them but gauged her chance for escape. She noticed the open door. Her illness caused her to sway, but she fought her weakness.

"Don’t test me, Haley. You’ll marry me. You’ll even love me. If you don’t believe me, believe this."

Nothing in life had prepared her for the vision before her. Screams formed in the deepest part of her, but she held them inside as one hand covered her mouth and the other held tightly to the chair. She wanted to close her eyes but could not because an abomination of nature lumbered toward her.

The man she knew as Goren, her kidnapper, the same man she had witnessed being fed to wild dogs, slowly moved into the light. His death was a truth she could not doubt because she'd witnessed the horror, and yet he stood before her, held on a chain by two large men as his handlers.

He barely had clothes, or skin, and yet he moved forward on his own two feet. His skin, what was left of it, black, blue, and green, hung loose where the voracious beasts had ripped him open with their teeth. His remaining muscle hung in purple shreds, and bones, some broken, protruded in ugly bloody angles. The smell of death wafted off him like a putrid fog. A dead man lived.

Kaden's next statement jabbed Haley like a blade through the heart.

"I will have you—even in death."

The proof of his words stood before her, decomposing. Goren's eyes held her gaze, solid blue, rimmed in red, and clouded by tears. His eyes pleaded with her because his mouth and his throat were missing. This horrendously deformed, half-consumed body understood, knew his condition. Goren was fully aware of his own miscreation.

Haley saw the horror of her future.

Kaden laughed. "The doctor is a genius."

Kaden had underestimated her strength and the loyalty of their undead pet. The monster attacked Kaden, and Haley bolted from the room. She made it through the mountain tunnel and stood above the Gulf of Fire, but her pursuer found her.
Kaden approached and bellowed, "There's nowhere to go, Haley. Accept your fate."

She turned, her heels on the edge of the precipice, and smiled. "I've chosen my destiny." Haley felt the arms of angels catch her as the fires of hell opened to swallow her.
The End

749 Words
Yolanda Renee (c) 2015


The WEP-Write...Edit...Publish is all about preparing your work for publication. Write your story, edit your story, and get feedback and constructive criticism for your story, plus you'll have fun doing it!