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Sue Spitulnik

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Ranch Romances – 297 word flash

The three ruling hens sat atop their shed. Claudia, a Rhode Island Red, said, “I don’t know why we can’t have more than one rooster. I could use a little more romance.”

Matilda, a Bantam, scoffed, “Honey, that’s not romance, that’s that dang rooster pushin’ us around when he wants somethin’. Besides the rancher don’t care if our eggs are fertilized or not and two roosters would mean fightin’ between ’em.”

Beatrice, the Barred Plymouth Rock, replied, “Be glad we got us one rooster, the poor donkey over there thinks the llama is going to show ‘im some lovin’. Friendship yeah, but that’s it.”

Claudia answered, “Talk about unromantic, the horses and cows get a long gloved arm to make ’em pregnant, got nothin’ to do with romance at all; it’s got to do with blood lines and makin’ the rancher more money.”

Beatrice clucked, “Speakin’ of the rancher, he could use some romance. He’s been kinda’ crabby since his kids won’t help run the place and his wife ran off with that guy who shoed the horses.”

Matilda expounded, “I told ya that would happen first time the farrier jumped out of his truck and the missus got a good look at him, even at their age.”

Claudia speculated, “I heard the rancher talkin’ with the vet about some carrot ranch. Is that a new place nearby?”

Beatrice answered, “Na, that’s a place he sends his writin’ to.”

Matilda asked, “What-a-ya mean sends?”

Beatrice explained, “On the silver thing he calls a lap-top. He does his writin’ sittin’ on the porch, then hits the submit button with a big smile.”

Matilda looked thoughtful. “Well maybe those writers should all get together in one place. I’ll bet one or two of ’em would find some real romance.”

In response to prompt; ranch romance from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Literary

Let It Go – Flash Fiction

The cocky author had gone to the writing conference feeling he would come away with an agent; the pamphlet said he could pitch them. He listened, open minded, to the various panel discussions and realized he would have to rewrite his whole manuscript so it started and ended with a bang. He decided it wasn’t worth his time, and appreciated the writing he had done had gotten him through a rough patch in his life. All was not lost: the next time he read a book, he read for pleasure instead of learning the craft. He felt oddly free.

 

In response to Charli Mills June 21, 2018, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about “not all is lost.” It can include recovery from disaster, an unexpected insight after a fall, or however the phrase moves you. Go where the prompt leads.

 

June 21: Flash Fiction Challenge

Getting to Know Famous People

Where would we be without biographies of famous people, and more so without the people who write them? I think biographies are so popular because we like to know what makes other people tick, or what adversities they overcame to achieve their status in life. We like to have the back story of how a famous person started as just another little kid in a poor town in the Midwest, or any other location or learn how famous sports stars learn to deal with throngs of admirers and spend their money, or what foundations they start to help others. The list could go on to include famous scientists, politicians, historical figures, movie stars, artists, musicians and teachers. I’m sure I missed someone. Continue reading “Getting to Know Famous People”

The Mentor Behind My Flash

Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology

Charli Mills Interview

Charli Mills Interview

The Congress of Rough Writers is an anthology that showcases flash fiction from a diverse set of writers. What was your inspiration for putting this collection together?

Carrot Ranch started as a sandbox — an online place to invite other writers to play for the sheer joy of creating literary art. The weekly flash fiction challenges created a safe space for writers to explore and push into their craft 99 words at a time. Maybe it was Julia Cameron’s teaching that we can be creatively healthy as we gain experience. We created a literary community with diversity that blows my mind every week. It’s uncoached and has no expectations beyond meeting the constraint and boldly going where the prompt leads. The writers inspire me to work with their material in an artistic way, to show how individuals of different backgrounds, genres, and levels can collectively create a powerful vision.

I’m a little jealous because you got to work with so many talented writers on this project. What was the development process like in putting this work together?

Right? The Congress holds some amazing talent. That’s what made me think of calling them the Congress of Rough Writers in the first place because I felt like Wild Bill Cody gathering talented riders from around the world and getting to play with their feats. The development process included coordinating with Sarah Brentyn who developed the structure from my crazy ideas to pull together memorists and fictioneers and build from their original material. I’ve become enthralled by the challenge of putting together collections of 99-word stories, and it’s like a secondary artwork to me. Norah Colvin developed my ideas for building community and wrote a clear and compelling educational component. We had a great challenge throughout the process to uphold different styles of English from global writers. C. Jai Ferry line-edited the entire book and several other Rough Writers served as editorial advisors. It’s not easy melding world styles but we succeeded. It’s breath-taking to work with a large group of writers beyond submissions.

I enjoyed how this collection showcased stories that were only hundreds of words long but managed to inspire some thought-provoking ideas. What was your favorite story from the collection?

Just as any reader acknowledges, we often pick a favorite based on how it personally resonates. For me, that one story is Pete Fanning’s original 99-word “Normandy.” He manages to express what the combat veteran’s experience is like as he ages. The story gives me shivers every time I read that final line, “I was alone on that beach.” I’m a spouse of a combat veteran and we’ve had hard times. We are finally getting him VA care although it’s a fight every step of the way. As my spouse’s advocate, this is my battle. So, to read Pete’s story to a group of combat veterans and their spouses, there was not a dry eye in the room. This is the power of literary art in 99-words. Pete nailed it.

Do you plan to put another anthology together?

You bet! Right now, I’m working with 33 Rough Writers on seven new parts that will focus on what writers can do with serial material. We had several writers create returning characters or write follow-ups to interesting story developments in previous 99-word stories. I’ve invited these writers to craft complete three-act short stories up to three thousand words long. I’ve invited writers to write narrative essays to tell the real story behind a 99-word BOTS (based on a true story). Memoir expert, Irene Waters, will help me develop that section. Educator, Norah Colvin, returns to help craft a new educational component that encourages writers to use their material in clever ways beyond a single use. We are also playing with three acts by piecing together three 99-word serials. Instead of creating chapters from prompt-linked flash fiction, I’m arranging hundreds of 99-word stories into 10-minute reading collections and connecting the stories in surprising and compelling ways. And, because Carrot Ranch is about making literary art accessible, I’ve invited 26 more writers as Friends to respond to new prompts. Each writer will include a 99-word artist’s statement in the new collection. It will publish in November after a rigorous editing process. I’m so excited to be working with such talent and passion for literary art.

Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 (Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology) by [Mills, Charli, Amore, Anthony, Bell, Georgia, Black, Sacha, Colvin, Norah, Fanning, Pete, Ferry, C. Jai, Glaessner, Rebecca, Goodwin, Anne]

Witness great feats of literary art from daring writers around the world: stories crafted in 99 words.

Flash fiction is a literary prompt, form, and tool that unites writers in word play. This creative craft hones a writer’s skills to write tight stories and explore longer works. It’s literary art in thoughtful bites, and the collective stories in this anthology provide an entertaining read for busy modern readers.

Writers approach the prompts for their 99-word flash with creative diversity. Each of the twelve chapters in Part One features quick, thought-provoking flash fiction. Later sections include responses to a new flash fiction prompt, extended stories from the original 99-word format, and essays from memoir writers working in flash fiction. A final section includes tips on how to use flash fiction in classrooms, book clubs, and writers groups.

CarrotRanch.com is an online literary community where writers can practice craft the way musicians jam. Vol. 1 includes the earliest writings by these global literary artists at Carrot Ranch. Just as Buffalo Bill Cody once showcased the world’s most daring riding, this anthology highlights the best literary feats from The Congress of Rough Writers.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

 

From Fire to Fireweed

No fire had ever come close to our valley before. We could see the leaping yellow and red flames over the crest of the hill. We tied wet cloths over our faces to hand out water to firefighters in the dense smoke. They said we were safe. We weren’t, but we had lots of warning compared to others and left with full cars.

Months later we returned with a builder who agreed to work around the original stone fireplace. Vibrant purple fireweed greeted us. The irony of the plants name made us laugh aloud. There had been enough tears. Continue reading “From Fire to Fireweed”

When Dreaming

When I dream, I am young

Not naive young, like in high school

but thirty-something young

with enough experience to have a few smarts

 

When I am in public

I still notice the guy in the crowd

as if I were still young

dark hair, dark eyes, like my first childhood playmate

 

When I think of working

Now I have decided what I would like to do

I am young enough to do it

With energy, interest and no pain

 

When I hear a concert mentioned

I still want to go

Alas, the ears hate loud noise

And the thumping bass makes me nauseous

 

So here I sit at my computer

In a fine back support chair

Wondering if others imagine themselves

In an age they are not Continue reading “When Dreaming”

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