Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Announcing the Rule Of Three Blogfest October 2011 (now closed)

Grab your badge! The Rule Of Three Blogfest is here! Brought to you in conjunction with fellow writers/bloggers Damyanti Biswas, Stuart Nager, and J.C. Martin , we hope this will be a fun and creative writing project. Details and linky are below. It's a lot of information, I know; there will tabs at the top of my blog for dedicated pages containing this information, updates, and a list of featured authors who have donated e-books for one of the prizes. Now, on to the nitty gritty.


The Rule of Three Blogfest:
A. What is the Rule of Three?
The "rule of three" is a principle in writing that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The reader/audience of this form of text is also more likely to consume information if it is written in groups of threes. A series of three is often used to create a progression in which the tension is created, then built up, built up even more, and finally released. –Wikipedia

B. How does the Rule of Three work in this blogfest?

The Rule of Three is a month-long fiction blogfest, where we’ve created a ‘world’, the town of Renaissance, and challenged you to create a story within it. The story will feature 3 characters of your creation, who will be showcased on your blog on 3 different Wednesdays, following the Rule of Three. The 4th Wednesday, we’ll have the culminating scene.
C. What is the Shared World of Rule of Three?
This is the town of Renaissance, where all of our stories will take place.
An outpost town in the middle of nowhere, but many routes (the TARGE, KRIS, and VILLEIN are the largest of routes, but not the only ones) pass through or by the town. The CHIAVONA desert is encroaching on one side (to the West), a once lush forest (the CULDEES) lies to the East and South. A large river, the ESPADON, runs through the forest of ASSART to the north, but it is not close by. The ROUNDELI Mountains are to the North, far, far away, and when you look towards them you don’t know if they are an illusion or not. Closer by are the smaller hill chain, the MAIN GAUCHE and the MINOR GAUCHE, that fed the mining, creating caverns (the KASTANES) and passages (one particular passage is known as HERIOT'S PASS) which lie underground.
At this point in time, there is a general population of 333. A mixture of a community. It boasts families that have lived there for generations upon generations, but they are in the minority, and are not in positions of power. There are traders who have come back here, at the end of their many travails, to settle in. The new families and power players have taken this as a last refuge for themselves, hoping to rebuild lives torn apart on the way here.
The town has had a number of identities throughout it’s history: A trading post; a mining town; a ghost town until it was rediscovered; a thriving community; the scene of a number of great battles; the scene of one great tragedy (that led to it’s Ghost Town standing); a town of great joys and celebrations, and so much more.
Welcome to Renaissance.
D. Writing Guidelines for the Rule of Three Blogfest:
  1. Your overall story can be in any genre, time period, or style you choose.
  1. You must have three characters (Rule of Three), but the relation between them is up to you.
  1. Every Wednesday, post a narrative fiction: story, poem, song lyric, play, monologue, soliloquy-- any style you choose to work in.
  1. Each Friday you will be given a broad writing prompt that will escalate the inner happenings of your story.
  1. Choose one of your characters to showcase that given week as the main protagonist for that posting. Of course, you can weave in your other characters as you see fit, but the main action/conflict or point of view should be the showcased character of the week.
  1. In the fourth week, give us your tour de force, a culmination of the story that will make us weep, weak at the knees, jump for joy, whatever...and know a writer’s job was done well.
  1. Upper limit for each post is 500-600 words max. 
D. We have Prizes!!!!!!

We as hosts will read all the posts and put up a shortlist of possible winners, and then hold a poll for votes on the shortlist to decide the winners and honorable mentions.

The prizes are:
1st prize: $ 50USD Amazon voucher
2nd prize: $ 10 USD and Guest posts or Interviews on the host blogs:
Stuart Nager@Tale Spinning            J.C. Martin@Fighter Writer

Lisa Vooght@Flash Fiction                Damyanti@Daily (w)rite

3rd prize: A bundle of the following e-books:

1.Michael Hicks,     "In Her Name: Empire"

2. Marcus Clearspring, "Walkabout Gnomes"
3. Alex J Cavanaugh, "Cassa Star"

4. S.L. Pierce, "The Hate", "The Devil's Game", "Secrets"

5. Faith Mortimer, "Echoes Of Life and Love"

6. Talli Roland, "Watching Willow Watts"

Honorable mentions will receive 1 e-book from among these 3

1. Damyanti Biswas, "A To Z Stories Of Life and Death"

2. J.C. Martin and Michelle Davidson Argyle, "Stories For Sendai",

3. Stuart Nager, "Dawn Of Indie Romance",

(For full information on all authors and books, click on the Featured Authors tab at top of blog.)

E. How to Sign up:
  1. Sign up at the Linky list below by the 3rd of October. Please do so only if you intend to write a story, and participate in the writers’ community, not because you want to promote a soap, a website, or a random electronic gadget. We promise to remove all spam and advertisements.
  1. Leave us a comment after you sign in. For instance, talk about which genre you want to write in, whether your Rule of Three story would feature characters from your current WIP or you would introduce us to new ones…anything at all about your plans for the blogfest

  1. Visit this blog or those of the other hosts tomorrow, or any time during the next week to find the first Rule of Three prompt.
  1. Please let us know if you’ve signed up but find yourself unable to write for the blogfest for some reason, so we can remove your link as a courtesy to everyone using the Linky list to visit the participants. Most visitors find it annoying to reach an irrelevant post by clicking a name on the Linky list.

  1. Schedule for prompts and posting: save these dates on your calendar!

Rule of Three 1st prompt 1st September

Rule of Three Part 1 (post) 5th October

Rule of Three 2nd prompt 7th October

Rule of Three Part 2 (post) 12th October

Rule of Three 3rd prompt 14th October

Rule of Three Part 3 (post) 19th October

Rule of Three 4th prompt 21st October

Rule of Three Part 4 (final post) 26th October

  1. Poll for shortlists will be up on 2nd November, and winners will be declared on the 11th of November.
  2. All the hosts would take part, but they will not win any prizes.

F. How to become part of The Rule of Three Blogfest Success:
    1. Place the Rule of Three badge on your sidebar.
  1. Post and/or tweet about the challenge in the weeks leading up to the Rule of Three. Spread the word on twitter with the Hashtag #REN3 .
  2. Throughout the blogfest, visit as many other entries as you can and give the entrants some comment love and suggestions.
We now declare the Rule of Three Blogfest open! Please visit us tomorrow for the first prompt, so you can plot the beginning of your Renaissance story following the Rule of Three!

9/7/11  Update: everyone who signs up for the Rule Of Three Blogfest will receive a copy of host J.C. Martin's horror novelette The Doll !

Monday, August 29, 2011

Look! Video Trailer & Meet Your Hosts #2 Rule Of Three

A huge thank you to Stuart Nager for putting together a video trailer for our upcoming Rule Of Three Blogfest. We hope that this will both intrigue and inspire you, as well as give you a few ideas for stories to create around the fictional town of Renaissance. Enjoy! The formal announcement is slated for Aug. 31.

Stuart has also been interviewing each of the hosts on his Born Storyteller site. If you'd like to find out more about me, you're in luck; today's featured host is moi. You can read it here.

On an unrelated note, for those of you who follow Stephen Tremp (author of Breakthrough); due to tech problems, he has had to start a new blog. Please go here , follow the link, and re-follow on the new blog. And if you don't already follow, now would be a good time to start. Breakthrough: a thriller featuring assassins and wormholes. What's not to like?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Open Water - Flash Fiction

Copyright Lisa Vooght 2011
Taken aboard the schooner Sultana.

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Open Water
I watch her, high in the rigging, dancing among the lines, framed by a sky so blue that it hurts, about to unleash the canvas which will capture the wind. She is agile and sure; there is no need for me to fear. The one thing I know is that she will not fall unless she chooses to.

“That girl's crazy,” remarks the guy next to me, redolent of fried onions and sunscreen. I know that he is willing her to fall, he's one of those people who watches Nascar hoping for a fiery collision and discusses a hometown tragedy with just the right note of sadness to disguise his vicarious enjoyment of public mourning.

No, crazy is chasing invisible rats with a broom while she crouches in a corner of the bedroom in terror. Crazy is taking a hammer to the stereo receiver because it is sending her messages in the dead of night.

I say nothing, and leave my eyes turned skyward.

Sometimes we climb the old coastal lookout tower, and I watch as she stands on the railing and sways above the sand, arms stretched toward the sea. I don't know why, but the only time she feels secure, whole, happy, is when her ties to this world are as fragile as possible. And nearby the sea, always the sea, it's saline pulse echoing her own.

I feel that same throb when she is next to me, a tender quivering creature who slips in and out of my grasp with fluid grace as the mood takes her.

My parents and friends express the same thoughts and fears. They want to know why I continue to care for her myself, why I don't send her away “for her own good”. It is just a matter of time before she leaves. I should spare myself the pain, the worry, the unpleasantness of catering to her fears and visions, her tempers and her meltdowns, changing soiled clothes and shampooing her hair because she's afraid it's full of snakes.

I watch her, high above me.

The ocean is dark, and deep, and full of mystery. It hides creatures both loathsome and sublime. Stretching to the point where sky meets earth and future meets past, it can lift us to incredible heights and stomach churning lows. It gives life and it takes life; it is life.

And so it is with love.

Word count: 402
Definition: Open Water – water that is unprotected, well-exposed, and influenced by a variety of often dangerous environmental conditions. At quite a distance from shore.

Offered as both a Friday Flash and Romantic Friday Writers post. Comment code is always FCA. Thanks.
To join or read other entries, click here.

Don't forget to check out my Rule Of Three Blogfest page for a sneak preview of the writer's project coming this fall.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Walter Farley and the Great Dane Thor - Photo

Yes, I am still yammering on about Walter Farley, author of the Black Stallion series of books. I knew there was a picture somewhere, and Mom graciously hauled out the family albums and found it. (To read the original post about Mr. Farley, click here.

Copyright:  Lisa Vooght, 2011
Thor, Walter Farley, me, and my big sister at Mr. Farley's, Florida, 1975.
*Note that I am sporting my brand new jeans for the occasion.
Now, back to our original programming. (For information on the upcoming Rule Of Three Blogfest, please click here

Monday, August 22, 2011

When Dreams Come True - A Post For the Sparkfest

What book or author supplied the spark
for your love of writing, WIP, changed
your world view, or otherwise inspired
you? To join or read other entries,
click the icon above, or here , which
will take you to Christine Tyler's The
Writer Coaster.

I held on to his mane, feeling the power of his body under me. He fought the ocean with all of his might, buoying us both with that incredible force of will, that spirit which could never be broken. By the time we reached the island's shore, I was almost insensible; and when I could finally stagger to my feet, he was gone. But I would find him.

For I was the one saved by The Black Stallion and destined to become his cherished and trusted friend, not Alec. At least it was so in my dreams.

Books were a large part of my childhood, but the ones which I read most avidly were the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. I read them until they fell apart, until I could recite whole passages. They fueled my passion for horses, for writing, for adventure. They taught me history, horse racing, and about overcoming odds.

My grandfather and his wife had retired to Florida when I was small, but we kept in touch and I sent him letters, many of which contained drawings of the Black Stallion and his offspring. One Christmas he had a very special gift for me - a signed copy of The Black Stallion's Ghost. It said "for Lisa - Merry Christmas from your friend Walter Farley 1971".

I was eight years old and nearly beside myself. The great man had chosen a book especially for me, and not only signed it but called me "his friend". It was almost as good as my cherished dream of having him adopt me. (I was convinced that he lived somewhere with a gigantic herd of beautiful horses freely roaming the grounds.)

My grandfather kept in touch with Mr. Farley, and in 1975 when we visited, he arranged for us to meet the author at his house. There were no horses, but the Great Dane Thor (star of a book by the same title) was on hand.

I was 12, and my social awkwardness was in full bloom. Add to that my worship of Mr. Farley, and you can imagine the state I was in. (My older sister, a very mature 15, was less than impressed with the proceedings. I think she resented giving up beach time.)

I wish that I could say that he had profound words and insights to offer. He probably did, but I was so tongue-tied and twiddle-brained that I don't remember. I know I wished that I could tell him how much I loved his books and the horses he imagined, but I was too embarrassed. And yet I felt like he understood. I imagined that we were communicating just as Alec and The Black did, without words.

The actual conversation doesn't matter.

What does matter is that he was kind. His love of writing and animals shone in his face. He had taken the time to sign a book, to invite us to his home, to make a child - as well as a fan - feel special. When I got home a week later, there was a letter for me; gentleman that he was, HE thanked ME for visiting him.

I can't say that the visit inspired me to be a writer; at that time, I was still underweight and determined that I would be the first female professional jockey.

It has, however, inspired me through my later years.

Write what you know, and what you love.

If you ever become a writer of any renown, be gracious. Be kind. Be patient with your fans.

Words are powerful things, but sometimes the unspoken can be more so.

You live on, Mr.Farley, through your books and in my heart. I have never forgotten you.

I miss you, Pappy; you searched out someone who was important to me and made it happen.

Wonderful men, both of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

For information on The Renaissance Rule of Three blogfest coming soon, click here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Those Awkward Moments - Flash Fiction

This week's prompt from Romantic Friday Writers.
To join or read more, click here.

I thought I'd been doing well at my new job. My coworkers were a great bunch, the hours suited me, and I felt like I was fitting in. So when Kevin, the supervisor, called me into his office I had every reason to believe it would be for a great evaluation. I couldn't help thinking to myself what gorgeous eyes he had, and that physique...

After a few pleasantries, he came around the desk and seated himself beside me.

"You know, you're really a lovely girl with a great personality."

He's making a pass at me. Or is he just being nice? Maybe he's going to fire me. He has a girlfriend. Do I follow through? Is he interested? Does he think I'm easy? Is it my dress? Great personality...wait, what? Does that mean he thinks I'm fat? The smug bas**rd. He's hot though.

He reached out and gently touched my shoulder.

"It was a nice gesture, but you really shouldn't be sending me flowers. I'm sure you mean well, and I'm flattered, but - well, it just isn't appropriate."

I cleared my throat.

"I guess you saw me putting them on your desk this morning. They're from your girlfriend; she was running late because of traffic and didn't have time to wait for you to get through checking in deliveries. Didn't you read the card?"

Complete and utter silence.

His face reddened. "No, I didn't see one. I guess it must have fallen out somewhere."

We both made a half-hearted attempt to search the floor.

He met my eyes as we stood up, blushed, and looked away. "Well, anyway, how about we just let this whole thing slide and make it business as usual? I apologize for my confusion and making you uncomfortable, and I hope you can forgive me."

I smiled at him with all of my heart.

"Of course, Kevin. I think a great deal of you, too. It's no wonder your girlfriend sends you flowers; you're very sweet and understanding." I lowered my eyes demurely and smoothed my dress.

Was that a flicker of interest I saw in his eyes?

He ushered me out of the office, gave me a warm smile and headed out onto the sales floor as I fingered the missing gift card in my pocket.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Help Out A Victim Of the London Riots - Personal Post

Hi all -
I have never done this, but I found this story touching. It's just one of hundreds, maybe even thousands of stories about people who suffered losses in the riots. Many are apparently uninsured, and there seems to be some debate about about whether they will be compensated. Since I live in the US, I can't weigh in on that.

Aaron Biber is an 89 year old widower who lives in Tottenham, UK. He lost his wife last year, and now his shop has been wrecked in the riots. If you can't donate, maybe you could please tweet the link, link the post, or go to the Keep Aaron Cutting blog and leave a message of support? It'll just take a minute.

Thanks for visiting, reading, and any support you can give :-))

The link to the blog where you can read about Aaron and/or donate is here

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Press 5 For Excellent - Flash Fiction

Marta pushed open the heavy door with breathless anticipation. It was the first day of the month; another opportunity to enter the pantheon of greasy spoons. She looked back at the sham marble floors, the counterfeit jukebox who's coin mouth was sealed, anywhere but at the names and portraits lining the hallway to the restrooms. Nevertheless, she had to raise her eyes at some point; had to know if she would be allowed to display the demure smile cultivated for months in front of the cracked and spotted mirror. Had to see if her name, for all to see and think to themselves yes, she deserves to be here, wonderful woman was there. 

But it was Logan's name emblazoned in gold letters and who's grinning countenance would eventually occupy the slot marked EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH.  Logan with the movie star name and varsity jacket who would spend his $50 reward on iTune downloads and carelessly hand his paper certificate to his mother. He would take his place next to January's Mitzi the blond goddess of the senior class. They would look wonderful together. Marta made wet kissing noises in her head. 

She pushed open the restroom door and looked around, out of habit. There was someone assigned to check it and clean it hourly, but Marta was the type of employee who did what needed to be done without having to be mercilessly prodded. Part of it was simply the way she had been raised; the other part, which she hated to admit, was wanting others to see her as responsible, dutiful, helpful, pleasant. These were the categories on the little surveys printed on the back of customer receipts. She smiled, chatted and flattered her customers, raced to provide what they asked for, humbly apologized for wrong orders, too much gravy, a draft from the window and the national debt. But Marta was no match for her coworkers, the young, the beautiful with their careless grace and straight white teeth. A dumpy middle-aged woman, alone and friendless in a town at the backside of nowhere does not have the security of a pack. The clientele were either regulars who had watched those kids trade their full and hanging diapers for nearly empty hanging jeans, or the kids themselves with handfuls of money and enough wires and gadgets to make them look they were on permanent life support. They took their grease smeared receipts home, called the number, pressed endless buttons, recorded the name of the server who had provided excellent service. It seemed that no one cared to include Marta in their liturgy.

March rolled around, marked by a new Blue Plate Special and Featured Sundae. The first of the month again, and Marta warmed herself with the quilted knowledge that this time she would be The One.  Walking in from the pouring rain, her heart skipped a beat as she saw the two men by the kitchen door.
Bill, the general manager, in his earnest apron, and a stranger crisply dressed and dangling a briefcase both turned to look at her. They gestured as one;  Marta followed, faint with both dread and anticipation.

The office was really just a closet, permeated with the same fried meat and onion smell as the rest of the place, unrelieved by natural light and furnished with third hand office goods. Bill leaned up against a tower of filing cabinets; the stranger, whom Marta could now identify by his name badge George Scott, District Manager sat down on the single chair and unbuttoned his cuffs.

And then Marta knew.

Because men do not roll up their sleeves to bestow gifts and honor.

The terms "disloyalty" and "trust issues" were bandied about. There was buzz of policy, presumption, perversion. Violations. Attempted theft by deception.

George assumed a stern, yet pained expression as he laid forth the simple details of the case. The customer survey logs were maintained at the head office. Phone call origins were available in case a rapid response was called for in the case of a customer complaint. Computer analysis had alerted the internal security division that an anomoly had been red flagged. Further situational forensics had determined that in all probability an ethical violation had occurred.

Marta would be given an opportunity to explain, of course, but under the doctrine of at-will employment it was perfectly permissible for the company to ask Marta to clear out her things and turn in her time card without another word. She did not have to admit that she was phoning in other people's receipt surveys from her home and giving herself rave reviews in order to snatch award money and recognition from truly hard working, deserving employees. In fact, it would be better if she left without saying anything at all. He and Bill were simply too disappointed and heart sick to continue the conversation.

As she closed the office door behind her, the conversation segued into a discussion of last night's Mets game.

The other employees watched, some with hooded eyes and vague smirks, a few with faces partly averted, as she gathered her things. There wasn't much; a jacket, a denim purse made out of a pair of cut-offs, a half-melted tube of lip balm. She had a vague wish for vengeance, for the place to burn down, for food poisoning to lay out the whole damned town and leave them puking their self-righteousness into the dust. But then, any good priest would tell her that it was her own fault. She was a little foggy on the commandments, but she was sure that pride goeth before a fall was in there and thou shalt have a bonfire of thy vanity as well as thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's...what was it...spouse? property? ass? customer service award?

She would pack up her belongings in the dusty Plymouth with more metal showing than paint and move on. There would no longer be a place for her in this town, not that there ever was one. She would go elsewhere and work harder, longer, with a bigger smile and humbler spirit.  That was the great thing about America; one could wander forever, town to town, making mistakes, and seeking redemption.  Waiting for that moment of recognition.  To be, even for a short time, a little above average.

A name, and a place, on a wall.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Different Kind Of Art - Personal Post

I started out with garden stones.

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Yeah, writing is art but so far it hasn't paid much; a lifetime grand total of about $250. On the other hand, I do folk art painting on the side which brings in some cash. (Hopefully) I have a new order coming in next week, so I'm not sure how much I'll be posting. But I'll be around.

Moved on to painting river stones as paperweights and such

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Most of what I do now is folk art for a local wood craftsman

Have a great week!

You can now

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Historic Aircraft Identification - Test Your Knowledge!

Weekends, I usually take a break from fiction writing.

If you don't already know, I love aircraft, heavy machinery and history. So, for Snapshot Sunday, here are a few personal photos of historic aircraft. (Obviously, some of the older ones are of poorer quality.) How many can you identify? (The first one is a gimme.) Sorry, there are no prizes, just the satisfaction of being awesome if you know them. And if you're not an expert - well, they are pretty cool, aren't they?

Ready for the answers?
I'm unsure of 1 or 2, so any experts checking in are welcome to comment.

  1. Messerschmitt Bf 109E
  2. Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
  3. North American P-51 Mustang
  4. Aichi D3A Val  (this may be a cunning replica built from a BT-13)
  5. DeHavilland Chipmunk (an early model, as it has glasshouse canopy, no anti-spin strakes)
  6. North American T-28 Trojan
  7. Supermarine Spitfire
  8. Hawker Hurricane
  9. Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
  10. Lockheed C-121 Constellation (this one is done up in the old TWA livery)
  11. North American B-25 Mitchell
  12. North American Harvard (AT-6 variant)
  13. Antonov AN2 Colt

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Semaphore - Poetry

Challenge No. 13 - 5th August
This week's prompt for
Romantic Friday Writers


speak to me
somnolent murmurs
exultant cries
ravishing prose
and sighs
wetly entwined

speak to me
with flesh on flesh
telegraphed intent
delicate tracery
eyes neck lips

speak to me
by tender missive
notes scrawled
laundry lists
or epistles
on my skin

speak to me
with cherished scent
old jokes

speak to me
one thousand ways
never a word
if you like
be silent
just not still