WOW: Raconteur

This post is in response to Heena Rathore P.’s Word of the Week (WOW). This weekly challenge is a great way of improving your vocabulary. If you wish to participate, simply create a post with your word and leave a link in a comment on Heena’s WOW post.

wow

Here’s my WOW for this week:

raconteur

Word
Raconteur

Pronunciation
Rac-on-teur (răk′ŏn-tûr′, rak-uh n-tur)

Part of Speech
Noun

Meaning
A person skilled in telling stories and anecdotes

Word Origin
First recorded use: C19th (1820-30) – French from raconter, meaning ‘to relate’; from Old French re- +aconter, ‘to count up’ or ‘reckon’.

Synonyms
anecdotist, narrator, recounter, relater, storyteller, spinner of yarns, teller, teller of stories,

Use in a Sentence
1. When asked to name her hero only one name was upon Rawiya’s lips: Scheherazade, the greatest raconteur to ever spin a tale.

A Story-teller reciting from the "Arabian Nights." (1911) - TIMEA

Image from Wikimedia – by Sladen, Douglas Brooke Wheelton, 1856-1947

2. Even as a child Nelson was a skilled raconteur, always able to keep his audience entertained.

Male student dramatizing story - NARA - 295168

Image from Wikimedia

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Friday Fictioneers: Elemental Inspiration

This is my entry for this week’s Friday Fictioneers Challenge run by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s picture prompt was provided by Douglas M. MacIlroy. The challenge is to write a story within 100 words.

Photo Prompt - © Douglas M. MacIlroy

Photo Prompt – © Douglas M. MacIlroy

Elemental Inspiration

People travelled miles to see the sculptures, lauding her imagination. Cass simply smiled and accepted their praise, shrugging when asked the source of her inspiration. They wouldn’t believe the truth, anyway.

The creatures were everywhere.

Some curled amidst tree roots, slow and lazy. Others danced lithely on the breeze or flitted among flames. Her favourites were those that leapt through the waves, sleek and deadly. She watched them from the cliff’s edge as she pretended to gaze at the ocean – no one ever reacted well to tales of creatures visible only to her.

The doctor’s pills remained in the cabinet, untouched.

Word Count: 100


Click the little blue frog to see other entries or to add your own.

FIC

FFfAW: Goddess Made Flesh

This post if for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s picture was provided by Ady. The challenge is that you write a story of 75-175 words inspired by the photo prompt below. Here’s my entry.  I hope you like it.

Photo prompt - © PricelessJoy

Photo prompt – © PricelessJoy

Goddess Made Flesh

Some days the longing to be reunited was all-consuming. His existence lacked vitality. Even the air felt thin. Grey. He lost himself in memories of when life had pulsed with youthful possibility, with May his shining light.

Her chiming laughter still echoed in his ears, a joyous trail to follow. She’d loved the wild places, the forests and hills; revelling in the chorus of birdsong, the caress of sunlight on her face. She’d always wondered how people could feel close to God enclosed within four walls. The towering trunks of mighty oaks were the pillars of her church. A lake’s reflection shared the perfection of a stained glass window, depicting eternity’s harmony.

He had just worshipped her – his own goddess made flesh.

He’d scattered her ashes on the hillside. Sometimes he could sense her presence as he climbed, a phantom touch soothing the ache of old bones. The years since he lost her had not been kind.

Soon his time would come. He’d follow her laughter and bathe in the light of her existence again.

Word Count: 175

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One-Four Challenge: May Week Four – The Lock

Here’s my May, week four edit for Robyn’s One-Four Challenge.

lock week 455

Week four edit

I spent most of this week playing around with an idea for this edit that I just could not get to work! I wanted to add a bright light coming through the crack in the door. Unfortunately I eventually had to abandon it as beyond my current skill set. I just couldn’t get the shadows and highlights in the correct places. Ah well. Maybe I can try something similar in a month or two…

After giving up on that idea I started thinking about the artistic filters. After trying out several dozen different combinations I eventually landed on this.

I began by creating a duplicate layer that I ran through the rough pastel filter, with medium stroke length and low detail. I then created another background duplicate that I layered over the first with a low opacity, allowing the previous one to show through. This layer I ran through the pen and ink filter, with medium detail and a slight fill of rusty red. I then lowered the overall saturation by a few notches, completely decreased the contrast and increased the levels of the shadows. I finished off by cropping.

As it’s week four its time to include a poll. I’d love to know which edit people liked best.

Here are all of the edits together for comparison:

onefourchallenge

MFtS: The Medium

Here’s this week’s entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.

2015-05-25-bw-beacham

Photo prompt – © 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

The Medium

The only residents remaining in the small town of Miners Hill are spirits.

David can sense them, frissons of chill on the edge of his awareness, but still they fail to approach. No voices echo through the veil. Silence reigns.

The spirits used to speak so clearly, passing on messages for their loved ones. He’d built a career on it – with their constant clamour he could do little else.

But then they’d stopped.

After several days without communication he’d attempted to regain contact: only to fail, no matter what he tried. Whispers of ‘guesswork’ and ‘fraud’ began circulating as he struggled to keep business running, touching nerves as never before – but then, such whispers had never before been true.

Visiting Miners Hill was a last resort. Previously the cacophony of voices vying for his attention in such a place might have driven him to madness. Now he just longed to hear them again.

It was hard to remember how he’d begged for quiet.

Word Count: 150

mondays-finish-the-story

To read other entries or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.

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New Growth

I thought I’d share another gallery of the flowers blooming around the garden and village with you today. The daffodils, tulips and fruit tree blossom of previous weeks are now all gone and we move on to lots of purple and pink flowers. We have alliums, aqualegia, clematis, irises and – newly opened over the last few days – the first of the roses. Our garden is full of rose bushes so there are likely to be many more galleries of them over the coming months! I also spotted the first poppies when I was out walking so I took a couple of snaps of them too. There are pictures of several other flowers as well, though I don’t know the names of all of them.

Most of the pictures were taken on my phone camera (Samsung Galaxy S4) as I’m currently having trouble with the sensors on my proper camera. I really need to send it off for repairs. (If anyone knows of a reliable company in the UK for this, please let me know!)

I hope you like them.

WOW: Querulous

This post is in response to Heena Rathore P.’s Word of the Week (WOW). This weekly challenge is a great way of improving your vocabulary. If you wish to participate, simply create a post with your word and leave a link in a comment on Heena’s WOW post.

wow

Here’s my WOW for this week:

querulous

Word
querulous

Pronunciation
quer-u-lous (kwĕr′ə-ləs)

Part of Speech
Adjective

Related Forms
Adverb: querulously
Noun: querulousness

Meaning
1. inclined to make whining, peevish complaints
2. characterised by or proceeding from a complaining, fretful attitude

Word Origin
15th Century: from Latin querulus from querī to complain

Synonyms
bearish, bemoaning, cantankerous, captious, carping, censorious, complaining, critical, cross, deploring, discontented, dissatisfied, fault-finding, fretful, grouchy, grousing, grumbling, hard to please, irascible, irritable, lamenting, out of sorts, peevish, petulant, plaintive, ratty, snappy, sour, testy, tetchy, touchy, uptight, whining, whiny, waspish

Antonyms
contented, easy to please, equable, placid, uncomplaining, uncritical, undemanding

Use in a Sentence
1. Maggie’s dreaded the times when her father came to stay – a querulous old man, his entire stay consisted of a litany of complaints.

SE - Stockholm - Old Man (4890412991)

Image from Wikimedia – uploaded by CGP Grey

2. Lily’s constant crying and querulous tones had long since worn Maria’s nerves to a frazzle and she counted the minutes until the child could be returned to her mother.

Grumpy gal (121506300)

Image from wikimedia – uploaded by istolethetv

Friday Fictioneers: The Origins of a Dream

This is my entry for this week’s Friday Fictioneers Challenge run by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s picture prompt was provided by Santoshwriter. The challenge is to write a story within 100 words.

Photo Prompt - © Santoshwriter

Photo Prompt – © Santoshwriter

The Origins of a Dream

“Maybe he’s mad,” Joey whispered, peering through the tangled branches where they crouched. He shivered, though he told himself it was because of the dew dripping down his neck.

The old groundsman’s voice droned continuously in meandering reminiscences, his movements  achingly slow as he snipped withered flowers from stems.

Charlie sniggered. “As a coot!”

“Maybe he chops people’s heads off.”

“Maybe he’ll chop your head off.”

“Or maybe,” the groundsman interrupted, “he’ll tell you boys to quit hiding under a shrub and to help an old man out.”

His tales of bygone days continued as they trailed him around the park.

Word Count: 100


Today’s story is a companion piece to yesterday’s FFfAW entry, The Price of a Dream. As I mentioned yesterday, that story was cut down from 400 to 175 words to fit the word limit. In order to do that I had to edit out several things – one of which was the character of the old groundsman. I was rather sad about losing him as it was he who inspired the twins to become groundsmen themselves and his stories that drove them to regenerate the park. Luckily I was able to reuse him, and the twins, today.

Click the little blue frog to see other entries or to add your own.

FIC

FFfAW: The Price of a Dream

This post if for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s picture was provided by Ady. The challenge is that you write a story of 75-175 words inspired by the photo prompt below. Here’s my entry.  I hope you like it.

Photo prompt - © dawn M. Miller

Photo prompt – © Dawn M. Miller

The Price of a Dream

“As children my brother and I played here,” Joseph began, remembering scrambling after Charlie through tangled undergrowth. “Back then it was so overgrown you could get lost, but we knew it as well as our own garden.

“At sixteen we got jobs as groundsmen. The pay was a pittance but we didn’t care – we dreamt of making the park great again.” He still recalled their early struggles but they’d persevered, driven by youthful passion. “We found funding and the regeneration began. We cleared, tamed and planted.

“The pavilion was our hideout as children: it was overgrown and decrepit, desperately requiring attention. We were determined to make it the heart of the park once more.”

Joseph gazed at the gathered faces, the bittersweet smiles and tear-stained cheeks. He struggled to keep his voice steady as grief clawed.

“Charlie died before the project was completed, killed protecting our dream from drunken vandals. Sadly I must stand here alone to announce: the Charlie Matthews Memorial Pavilion is now open to the public.”

Word Count: 175

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This story was nearly 400 words long a few hours ago – I’m really hoping I haven’t cut out so much in editing it that it doesn’t make sense.

One-Four Challenge: May Week Three – The Lock

Here’s my May, week three edit for Robyn’s One-Four Challenge.

Week Three Edit

Week three edit

I wasn’t really sure what to do with this week’s edit so I spent quite along time just playing around, seeing what I liked. Because of this there were a number of changes that I’m not entirely certain of. Eventually I decided that I wanted to focus on the lock. After this decision was made I reduced the vibrancy and saturation in Camera Raw, leaving only a few hints of rust to add colour to the image. I then opened it in Photoshop Elements 13 where I cropped it- a little tighter than week 1 but not as much as week 2. I then selected the background wood and reduced its contrast and brightness. I finished off by running the sharpen tool over a few areas of the lock and increasing the saturation a little to brighten the rust.

I currently have no idea what I’m going to do for week 4’s edit, so any suggestions would be very gratefully received.

Here’s the original and the two previous edits:

onefourchallenge