Category Archives: creative writing

Trifexra Writing Challenge: 33 WORDS BY CARLOS RUIZ ZAFON

shadow of the wind


I still remember the day my father took me to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books for the first time.  It was the early summer of 1945, we walked through the streets of Barcelona…


This my 33 word selection for the Trifextra Challenge this week.  Here’s the challenge:

This Trifextra isn’t so much a writing challenge; it’s more of a reading challenge.  We want you to scour through your favorite pieces of literature and give us the best 33 words you can find. 

I choose to the two opening lines from one of my favorite books, “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon


Trifecta Writing Challenge # 62 …………………….. THE BOTTLE ROCKET… A Cautionary Tale in 333 Words


The Meyers were having a great Fourth. Setting off bottle rockets was a family tradition, and this year was going to be their greatest display ever.

The Bottle Rocket is considered China’s first ‘modern’ weapon of warfare. Fired at advancing sword wielding hordes from the mouth of a Ming vase, this early explosive device coined the phrase ‘Shock and Awe’. A simple projectile, consisting of propellent on a stick lit with a primitive opium lighter, would strike fear in the hearts of the invaders, causing a massive retreat… or so that’s how it was supposed to work. Today, the Bottle Rocket is relegated to New Year’s and Fourth of July celebrations. Wait a minute! That’s not exactly true… Wikipedia says: A bottle rocket is a very small skyrocket, consisting of a rocket engine attached to a stabilizing stick. The user can place the stick in an empty bottle (hence the name), and ignite; the mouth of the bottle guides the stick, stabilizing the rocket in its first seconds of flight. They’ve been made since the early decades of the 20th century. In India, bottle rockets are set off during the Hindu festival of Diwali, and are sold in the millions.

So, on this particular Fourth, the Meyers boys put their mouths to the mouth of many a beer bottle, in order to prepare for the big event. Bottles lined the railing on the deck of their second floor apartment, a skyrocket inserted in each, they were ready and waiting for darkness to descend.

It can be assumed, that in their excitement to light as many rockets at once, one bottle was knocked off and fell to the Gutmann’s deck below, sending the rocket into their living room. The Gutmanns saved their cat.

Sifting thru the charred remains of the Meyers’ apartment, investigators were amazed at the amount of ‘launching pads’ they found. The Meyers brothers are currently residing in the Sacramento County Jail, since bottle rockets are illegal in California, except for certain Hindu celebrations.


For this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge,  we were asked to use the third definition of Mouth.

3: something that resembles a mouth especially in affording entrance or exit: as

As always, I invite criticism …

Trifextra: The Writer

The word prompt for this week’s Trifextra Challenge is: Personification

The tricycle groaned and rolled two more inches forward. “Who picks a word like ‘personification’ for a prompt, anyway?” Schwinn thought.

The pen skipped across the page, scratching and trying to leave a trail of something to answer the prompt. “I don’t know what to write, everyone knows that doesn’t really happen right?” Bic asked.

The Writer moves the trike out of the way and looks for his pen.


Apparently… I did not read the instructions very well, apparently I didn’t read them at all, assuming this was a Trifecta Challenge… but no, this is the TrifEXtra!  Which limits the word count to 33 exactly.  So… I’m a little over.  I would not have known, except for the kind and gentle suggestions calling this to my attention… see comments by my new friends Cobbie and Dawn below, gaining my undying gratitude.  I will be more careful next week.  

Herewith my edited version:

The tricycle groaned and rolled two more inches forward.

The pen skipped across the page to answer the prompt.

The Writer moves the trike out of the way and looks for his pen.

Trifecta Writing Challenge: The Cruciverbalist


the cruciverbalist

knew it was going to be a bitch, even before starting.  no numbers.  but had to do it, do it every week.  always had numbers.  usual black and white boxes, no numbers in the white ones this time. don’t like new.  these things are hard enough… damn constructors!


I’ve seen the Trifecta Challenge, and always wanted to try it… the first time on THE MUSE UNLEASHED… my pal Carrie Rogozinski’s blog.  She has been on a book reviewing jag lately,  but is a talented writer who has never met a prompt she could pass up… usually incorporating 3 or 4 in the same story.  I’ll stick to one, thank you very much.  Here it is:

The word prompt for this week’s Trifecta Challenge is:BITCH (noun)

1: the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals

2 a : a lewd or immoral woman
b : a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman —sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse
3: something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant

If you want to enter the Trifecta Challenge… please remember:

  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone.  Please join.

A poem written by KC. I was impressed.

I’ve always liked Alice in Wonderland, and thought KC’s poem to be quite Wonderful… and ought to be shared.


aliceliddellThe Original Alice…


Alice in Underland

alice, from the depths of madness,
can you see the light of day?
can you, dearest, hear my sadness,
know the words i cannot say?

Liddell, Alice; not so little,
little alice in the middle,
alice you must run away,
and live to play another day.

dream of hatters, dream of rabbits,
duchesses with nasty habits,
playing cards with double faces,
frantic dodos running races.

lift your glasses, raise a toast,
roast meet alice, alice meet roast.
guest at the table, new-made queen,
in circumstances unforeseen.

if life is Chess, then this is Life,
chaos strewn with pain and strife,
moving her from square to square,
pretending she was never there.

see her hiding from old fears,
or drowning in her own salt tears,
or running panicked through the wood,
where names (and minds) are gone for good.

through the mirror, racing past,
a stranger in my…

View original post 110 more words

Fiction Relay – 4

I was recently invited to take part in a Fiction Relay, by The Reclining Gentleman.  I had come across a chapter on my friend Chantel C’s  blog, and liking these sorts of things… (One of my favorite books is Naked Came the Manatee.  The first chapter was written by Dave Barry and the last by Carl Hiaasen, with eleven mystery writers in  between, each inserting their own hero into the story.  It was pretty wild.  But I digress)… CC had written part 2, so I clicked on part 1 to see how it started.  I had seen The Reclining Gentleman’s avatar (silhouette of a reclining gentleman) before, maybe you have too, and even read a few of his posts, first on Madison Woods’ Friday Fictioneers, I think.  I complimented him on the relay idea, and his story, which brought about an invite to take part.  After the usual “I’m not really a writer” BS, I decided to try it… and accepted.  While I patiently waited, Delilah finished part 3.  Here is my part of the ongoing story.  You might want to first read the 3 chapters before mine, links at the bottom of the page… feel free to join in… I don’t think TRG will mind, drop him a line.


“What the Hell!” Startled from his rumination, the cigarette flew from Gino’s lips, creating an arc of sparks and ash across the stained tile. He ground it out, sending a glare at the new waitress.

Melissa caught Suzi, to save herself, wondering how Sam had rattled her so quickly.

“Who is this guy?” hissed Suzi.

Melissa uncoiled herself with pats and straightens. “Oh Hon, you’ll get to know him soon enough.”

“But, he knows me, he knows all about me. What does he want?” With hardening face, Melissa told her to fill another cup and finish her tables.

The booth by the window was empty.

After wiping the tables and refilling her station, Suzi got to experience the highlight of servers everywhere… counting tips. ‘This might not be such a bad job after all’ she thought, pocketing her day’s take. For a coffee shop, they added up. ‘Too bad Sam took up a booth all day. What was his deal, anyway?’

Melissa gave her a good-bye peck, “See you in the morning, and don’t you worry about Sam.” Gino just shot a black look, from behind the pass thru.

It was gray out, rain threatening, as Suzi scurried thru the early after work crowd, heading to her subway. It had been a busy day, she should have been exhausted, but her mind was full of questions, fueling an epinephrine release. Wanting to be home in her apartment behind a locked door, Suzi didn’t mind admitting, she was shaken by this Sam guy. Thoughts pounded her brain. ‘They told her she’d be safe coming to a big city, blend in, disappear. So, how does he know her, and what is her special ability? There is no possible way he could know about the Gold Club.’

She picked up a ‘Lean Cuisine’… Butternut Squash Ravioli… for later. Not as good as Gino’s cooking, but it will do, her Microwave du Jour. On top of the ‘Sam Thing’, Suzi could not figure out what she had done to offend the cook. She had been pleasant, complimenting him on his dishes, even tried to flirt a little. Maybe that’s how he treats the new girls. Another question for Melissa.  And, after the Sam one, and The Gino one, comes The Uniform One. Thank God she didn’t have to wear it home. She knew it was a diner, but it wasn’t Mel’s Diner for Christ’s sake.  Rocky Road ice cream for dessert… she deserved a  treat tonight.

A guy, in a battered Panama hat outside the market, seemed to be staring at her. She thought she had seen him on the other side of the street, walking even with her, and thought, ‘you don’t see that kind of hat too much in the big city’. He looked away quickly, and when she exited, he was gone. Laughing it off, ‘I must be getting paranoid, Sam’s henchmen are everywhere’.

The entrance to the subway couldn’t come soon enough… to disappear in the depths with the crowd. Descending the stairs to the platforms below, she scanned her pass and pushed thru the turnstile. Her red hair slapping her face as a train whooshed into the station. Still a thrill, taking the train, nothing like that in Florida. It was then that she saw him.

To be continued…

Fiction Relay -Part One        by The Reclining Gentleman

Fiction Relay- Part Two        by Discovery

Fiction Relay- Part Three     by Woman Who Writes Stuff

Dawn will write Part Five

AS THE LOCKET TURNS… by Carrie Rogozinski

As the Locket Turns.

In remembrance of the event 100 years ago, I have a guest author.  I thought  you might enjoy a nice short story by my neighbor to the North in Vancouver, B.C.,  Carrie Rogozinski.  It seems she may have uncovered some new clues…


                                                      JUST AN EMPTY SPACE

Well… She’s Gone For Good!   After my last lament regarding the missing truck, so many readers wondered, like I, what the hell had happened to her. One, was my son-in-law Steve. He didn’t just wonder… he called his friend Kevin.

Now, there is a show on the History Channel called ‘American Pickers’… kind of the poor man’s ‘Antique Roadshow’… where two guys go around the country combing  junkyards, garages and people’s ‘collections’ finding hidden treasures, just as worthy. They would have a ‘field day’ at Kevin’s. He is San Juan Island’s Premier Collector. Island Stage Left needed a rusty old-fashioned radiator for their latest play… Steve called Kevin… they have a rusty old-fashioned radiator for their latest play. At our County Fair each year, one of the highlights is ‘Trash to Treasures’ hosted by Kevin. So, who better to ask about a missing roadside attraction.  Kevin knew all about my truck.

She is a 1946 Ford Flatbed, with a flathead V8 engine. In fact, he had offered to buy her at one time and was told the owners of the property just liked having it sit there… they enjoyed looking at her while passing by on the way to their ranch. It seems a neighbor did not share the same affection and deemed her an eyesore. Word has it, that a scrapper had permission from the non property owner, and took her in the middle of the night. As Kevin says… “These guys scrap first and ask questions later”. The goods are carted off the island to be sold for scrap metal to one of the mainland salvage yards.

They call these guys Tweekers… as most are methheads, trying to score their next ‘eight ball’, so they can make it a few more days. So, that’s what my truck became… 1/8 ounce of Methamphetamine. Steve, Kevin, their friends in the collecting community and the Sheriff knows who they are… but, you can’t do much if you can’t catch them in the act. And you can’t station someone to watch the ferry lines night and day. Unfortunately, the problem has spread to outright theft of property, not just abandoned vehicles.

I have never shed a tear upon hearing of some mainland fool being electrocuted while attempting to steal the power company’s transmission wires to sell. I hope that does not start happening here… or maybe…

Island Stage Left’s latest Production ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’ plays at the County Fairgrounds Theater from April 5 – 29…

This post was not prompted by Madison Wood’s Flash Fiction Friday, but certainly qualifies… to see talented writers prompted to create by this week’s photo…

俳句… HAIKU BOMBERS #3… Watchmaker’s Car

                                                      young Watchmaker’s girls,

                                                      home from school patiently pose,

                                                      in clothes neatly pressed.

                                                       so long ago watches cleaned,

                                                       only buck fifty the fee,

                                                       but, gassed up the car.

                                                        little black Austin Bantam,

                                                        family of six fit inside,

                                                        they must have been squished.

Once again, it’s Haiku Time.  This week’s prompt from Quill Shiv, was to find a photo of children and be inspired…

I chose this family photo, from I would guess circa 1930.  My Grand father was a watchmaker, jeweler, optician, and railroad watch inspector in Sacramento.  This was the family car and I’ve quite a few photos of it.  My grandparents had 5 kids, and my father would drive all the kids to school in it.  As you can see, it is quite small.  When he was in high school, as a prank, his friends carried it up to the stage before an assembly, and left it there.  My aunts Laura and Emily pose above with the Austin Bantam auto, and my grandfather Theodore is below, probably repairing a watch or two.


She was just a girl, but she had managed to break the magician’s code. As she entered the cinderblock building, Pan almost choked on the bile produced, not only by the smell, but the fear that was beading the sweat on her forehead. She knew her job, now she just needed to find the container. They had said it was in the shape of a bucket, that she should not open it. Barely seeing, more like feeling, Pan searched. It would have been nice to have had a torch, but then batteries cost a lot these days.

It was hard to concentrate, with one ear looking toward the door, the other searching the room for any sense of movement. The floor was greasy and made for slippery going, but at last she found a stack of what felt like buckets. Just one was needed, she was surprised at how easily it lifted.

Once outside, after adjusting for sunlight and checking for any eyes that might be about, she examined her catch. Yes, a dirty blue, as described, with just a swish of liquid inside. The others had been as easy to heft, so she had assumed they were all the same… this wasn’t just an empty bucket.

But then, her little-girlness got the better of her, and Pan had to look. Carefully prying the lid, she was almost knocked over by the giant spider shooting up through the crack at the edge. Like a Whirling Dervish, it started rising in the air, trailing a thick web behind. The web grew so fast it finally was like a huge blimp tethered to the ground, and when the screaming inside started, she ran as fast as she could… wondering what she would tell her bosses.  

Another photo prompt… this one for Flash Fiction Faction, by Quill Shiv.   Thought I’d at least give some fiction a try.  This is what I made up after looking at the photo.  I can’t think of a title.  I now have a title… thanks to a kind comment by Quill… it helps to know a real writer, and I am shamelessly using her quote.
And this is what started this fiction madness… maybe you would like to try…
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