One-Four Challenge: July Week Three

It’s time for week three of Robyn’s One-Four Challenge for July.

Week Three Edit

Week Three Edit

For this week’s edit I began with last week’s black and white image and using Photoshop Elements 13 added a pen and ink filter. I shifted the levels slightly to bring out more detail in the boat but then found I was left with a very flat and bright area of sky. To counter this I added a slight sepia filter and then opened the image in FotoSketcher where I added texture and old paper defects using the vintage photo settings. I had to be quite careful here in the positioning of the sliders so as not to change anything else in the picture! I then opened the image in Camera Raw where I increased the clarity. To finish off I reopened it in Photoshop where I used the clone tool on a very low opacity in order to lighten the area of the vignette in the top left hand corner which had become incredibly dark through all of the previous changes.

Hopefully I’ve created a picture that looks like an old pen and ink sketch.

Here’s the original image and week one edit for comparison:




MFtS: Etched in Stone

This is an entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. I haven’t joined in with this one for a while but with a photo prompt like this, how could I not? 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.

Photo Prompt : © Barbara Beacham

Photo Prompt : © Barbara Beacham

Etched in Stone

The petroglyphs told the story of an unusual event, an event so horrific that, in the space of moments, Oræftan’s life changed forever.

Five left to follow the herd. Only he returned – a mangled remnant of himself.

He jolted awake from troubled sleep with a pounding heart, the memories that haunted his dreams pursuing him into the waking world. Each breath grated harshly against his throat; tears stung the raw skin of his cheeks.

With a trembling hand Oræftan reached for the stone wall of his shelter, his fingers trailing over the roughly etched images. Soon he’d be finished. Only one last section remained to complete his telling of events: the great wyrm that attacked them upon the cliff’s edge.

The burning substance expelled from the beast’s gaping jaws had left him blind, deaf and mute. There was only one way he could warn the rest of his tribe of the danger.

With touch his only guide, he carved.

Word Count: 150

This is actually the second version of this story I’ve written today. I’d practically finished it earlier – just had some edits still to do – when the laptop I was using (my new laptop!) decided it was time to do a restart. As I wasn’t in the room at the time I couldn’t even delay it until later as I usually would! This wouldn’t really have been a problem except it decided to freeze midway through ‘installing updates’. An hour later I decided to start again on my old laptop, which I’m still using now… Hopefully my new laptop will decide to work again soon.

If I’d had a few more words I would have liked to write a little about exactly how Oræftan managed to find his way back to his tribe after the wyrm’s attack. I doubt it was an easy trip in the state he was in…

The name Oræftan, by the way, is from the Old English for ‘artist’ or ‘craftsman’.


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


Cee’s Black and White Challenge: Older Than 50 Years

ossington b&w

The Lady of the Ossington

Stairs creak, footsteps of a ghostly presence creeping ever closer. She watches through the veil as workmen transform her dream into her direst nightmare. As alcohol swirls in glasses, voices rising in drunken excitement, her ire grows. This was not what she wanted! How dare they defy her will? Fury crackles like static in the air. They may not be able to see her but she can still make her presence known.

Bottles shatter. Wine spreads like blood across the floor.

ossington b&w full

This post is for Cee’s Black and White Challenge. I couldn’t resist joining in again when I saw the theme for the next few weeks is ‘older than 50 years’! Old places and things are some of my favourite things to photograph.

The building pictured is ‘The Ossington’, formerly known as ‘The Ossington Coffee Palace’, and was built in Newark on Trent in 1881 by Charlotte, Viscountess Ossington. Her main aim was to promote temperance. She wished to draw as many of the local farmers and labourers away from the public houses as she possibly could.

For many years the Coffee Palace was run as the Viscountess intended, despite being requisitioned during both world wars. It was finally sold away from her heirs in 1978 and it was after this time that alcohol was first served in the building. Local legend holds that the spirit of the Viscountess was so disgusted that she returned to haunt the place. Her portrait was tossed off the wall, wine crates thrown off shelves and kegs of alcohol mysteriously bled dry with no signs of leakage. When workmen entered the building for renovations they complained of ghostly interference causing the job to take far longer than expected. They heard footsteps on the stairs, tools moved inexplicably and one morning they found the words ‘Get out of my house’ carved into new plaster as if by a ghostly finger…


FFfAW: Melting Ice

This post is for the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) Challenge, run by Priceless Joy. This week’s photo prompt was provided by Sonya from Only 100 Words. The challenge is that you write a story of 75-175 words inspired by the photo prompt below. I hope you like it.

Photo Prompt: © Sonya O.

Photo Prompt: © Sonya O.

Melting Ice
Genre: fantasy

Seldren, High King of Ilreia, watched with a resentful gaze as the revellers danced and chatted carelessly in the evergreen festooned hall. His own enjoyment of the Midwinter celebrations was soured by churning suspicion. Any one of them might be plotting against him. Any one of them might be in league with the rebels tearing his kingdom apart.

He knew he should be mingling with his nobility, consolidating their support. He downed another drink. All he wanted to do was forget.

She glided through the gathering with effortless poise and elegance, as cold as the ice sculptures decorating the palace grounds, drawing his attention as she always did. His eyes traced the curves of her body and he imagined her sprawled naked beneath him. Surging lust drove him to her side.

“Sire.” She curtseyed.

“Lady Phaenel. Join me.” It wasn’t a request.

Tonight he’d melt her ice, forgetting his worries in her flesh. Later, when his spies found evidence of her treachery, proving his suspicions correct, then… then he’d enjoy making her ice shatter.

Word Count: 174



One-Four Challenge: July Week Two

It’s time for week two of Robyn’s One-Four Challenge for July.

Week Two Edit

Week Two Edit

For this second edit I decided to go black and white. I began by opening the week one edit in Photoshop where I removed the filter from the sky and the adjustment levels, keeping the crop and clean up. I then added a black and white gradient map. I then opened in Camera Raw where I reduced the contrast, increased the clarity and tweaked the shadows and highlights. I finished off by opening the image in PicMonkey where I added a vignette.

Here’s the original image and week one edit for comparison:



Sunday Photo Fiction: Runaway

This story is in response to the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge, hosted by Alistair Forbes, that asks that you write a story in 100-200 words.

Photo Prompt

Photo Prompt


Jacob fiddled nervously with his hood as the train pulled into King’s Cross, excitement and apprehension warring in his chest. It was over seven years since he’d last visited London: then a child of eight, secure in his parent’s loving care.

Memories from that day could still bring a smile.

He remembered his mum’s laughter, light and carefree, as Dad clowned before Buckingham Palace’s straight-faced guards. They’d ridden on the London Eye, marvelling at the city sprawled below, and later watched in amazement as Tower Bridge opened for the passage of a tall-masted ship.

A week later his world had disintegrated in a cacophony of screeching metal and agonised cries. Only he was pulled free from their vehicle’s tangled wreckage.

He left the station carried in the crowd’s wake – keeping his head down, avoiding curious gazes. He wanted, needed, the anonymity offered by the city. For too long he’d been the problem child with the scarred face, shunted from home to home, recipient of derisive words and cruel blows.

As dusk settled over the city he took shelter in a doorway, hugging the rucksack containing every treasured possession close to his chest.

No one would be looking for him.

Word Count: 200

If you want to read other entries or upload you own, click on the little blue frog.



Old Wizard Woo Colouring Picture

old wizard wooHere’s another colouring picture that I’ve been working on – being without internet the other week gave me lots of time to draw! Old Wizard Woo is a character who appears in two of my Enchanted Forest stories: Sidney the Scaredy Spider and The Pixie Party. He’s also in several stories that have not yet made their way onto paper!

Feel free to print it out for the kids to colour in. I hope they enjoy doing so.