Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Memories

“I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.”

Beryl Markham, West with the Night  (Good Reads)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACreated for: Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Memories

Speakeasy 107! The Night Before Christmas: Grandpa’s Story

My FireplaceThe Night Before Christmas: Grandpa’s Story

We all went to grandma and grandpa’s house that year for Christmas.  We’d arrived just in time before a blizzard hit and that was no mean feat, we were something like fifty people from all over Illinois.  Grandma had made lots of pallets for us to sleep on the floor.  Now, thinking back from my 60 some years, I guess it looked more like an emergency shelter than a house.  Except for the huge Christmas tree in the living room.

The pot belly coal stoves were blasting out their heat.  As well as the 50 some odd people, so it was really hot that Christmas eve, though outside it was very cold indeed.

Grandma distributed egg nog and hot chocolate as well as Christmas cookies and we all waited for Grandpa’s Christmas story.  Grandpa told the best stories.  Every time we visited he’d tell a story about “the olden days”.  This was the story he told us that night:

“Well now, in the olden days, seems that Santy Claus didn’t have no reindeer you know.  There weren’t so many places he had to go to give gifts back then.  America hadn’t been discovered yet, and the Christmas star hadn’t begun to shine…util…well now I’m going to tell you about that when!

Old Santy Claus lived in the dark woods of Germany…the Black Forest I think it was called.  He loved his forest and he loved little kids too.

One year, it came to his ears that the terrible snow storms had blocked everyone in their houses.  The Yule log, which you had to burn to welcome the new year, had gotten wet and wouldn’t burn.  All the proper cleaning had been done for the festivity, but without the burning of the log…well, the Sun wouldn’t come back bringing spring with Him.  The children of course couldn’t have their Yule gifts unless the log burnt.  It was a right terrible situation, I can tell you.

So old Santy, as he was more or less the king of his forest, chose a greatbig ash log that he’d put asides for a long winter’s night, and he pulled out his sled, hooked up his horse and put the log and a whole bunch of little wooden toys he’d made over the year into the sled and started off for the village which was pretty far from his home and it was still snowing too, by gum!

It took him no little while to get there and night began to fall.  It was very dark at first then, up high in the sky, he saw a brilliant star that seemed to sit right over where the village should have been.  The snow kept falling, and it was right cold.  His trusty horse though just kept moving along going towards the star.

It was close to 10:00 of the night, just like now, when he saw the first lights of the village.  The bells on his sled were a jingeling away, and the people looked out to see who’d come to visit them.  He pulled up to the great house, were all the people used to go to celebrate their feasts…it was nearly abandoned, but the Chief of the village was there.

“What have you come here for in this terrible night?” asked the Chief.

“I’ve come to bring you warmth and light…and a couple of gifts for the children too.” he replied as he pulled off the skins that protected the Yule log and the toys.

The Chief rang the bell that called all the people to the great house.  They came in droves, thinking maybe there was an emergency…in those days, there were quite a lot of barbarians around, like Romans and Huns you know…and when they saw it was Santy’s sled they were not a little surprised.  But very happy!

They took the log into the great hall, and the gifts too.  Everyone ran back home to bring food and drink…like grandma did a little while back.  And the people sat around the fire, singing songs for the Sun who would now surely return.  At midnight…the people went outside…the snow had stopped at last, and the star that shone in the sky was so bright, they were sure that it must have been the Suns’s own son who’d come to tell them that all was right in the world and spring would be early that year.  You know, I think that must have been the very first Christmas in the world, nows I come to think about it.”

We kids sat in awe, and then one of my older cousins said:  “Look, it’s stopped snowing!  Let’s go see if the star has come out too!”

(I’m afraid I went a little over the word count, this is 784 words)


Ready or not, here come the rules:

  • Your post must be dated December 8, 2013, or later.
  • Submissions must be 750 words or fewer.
  • Submissions must be fiction or poetry.
  • Your piece must include the following sentence ANYWHERE: “Grandpa told the best stories.”
  • The Speakeasy is for submissions written specifically for the grid. Please don’t submit an entry if you intend to showcase it to another blog link-up. Such posts are deleted without notice, like tossing re-gifted fruitcake.
  • Please don’t post long explanations before your post. We want your writing to be the star of the show. If you need to clarify anything, feel free to do so at the end.
  • The badge for your speakeasy #139 post is found in the sidebar. Add the code to the html view of your post before publishing.

Friday Fictioneers: 6 December 2013

Copyright -Randy Mazie

Copyright -Randy Mazie

Genre: Fiction


“Hey Bill!” I shouted at an old friend shambling down the sidewalk.

“Why if it isn’t May Lou, now when did you get here?” he replied as he walked over to my car.

“Let’s go over to the café!”

“Closed.” He replied laconically.

“Well hop in any way.”

We drove around.  All I could see were new fancy fast foods…and a huge warehouse like structure.

“Geez! What’s been happening here.”

“Well, first of all there was the Wal-Mart.  We thought it’d bring prosperity, so no one objected…when the Mom’s and Pop’s couldn’t compete…of course the franchises closed down the small cafés…”

Word count: 100

I wrote this prompted by the above photograph furnished by Friday Fictioneers.  On my last two visits to the United States after having been gone for about 40 years I was surprised to see how the small shops and cafés had all but become extinct in the area where my family originates. The Main streets were for the most part abandoned and many places like in the picture were boarded up. Small towns now often don’t even have a place where people can go and have a coffee and a chat. They’ve come isolated dormitories, no grocery stores either, everyone had to drive several miles just for a gallon of milk.  The above were a couple of the explanations given at the time, though things are probably more complicated. So, yes it’s fiction…but only just.

Trifecta: Week 105 A Power Short – The Auditors

Trifecta word Challenge is up!

This week the word is the third definition of pluck:
3: to move, remove, or separate forcibly or abruptly


Spread sheets on hand…account books opened, the two auditors in the Akashic Library looked at each other in amazement.

“Well, isn’t that interesting.  This company has also been plucked out of the abyss of  economic disaster by the economic crisis!”

“Yep, too bad the owners didn’t pass the moral auditing though, no one will pluck them from the flames of hell!”

word count: 61


Legends of Windemere: Allure of the Gypsies

Hello World!  Today is the big day!  The saga of the  Legends of Windemere continues with this third great adventure!

The epic adventures of Luke Callindor and Nyx continue after their journey down the L’Dandrin River in Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower.

Allure Final Cover

Cover Artist Info- Jason Pedersen

Reeling from his failures in their previous adventure, Luke leads his surviving friends to his hometown.  With his mind frayed and his confidence fractured, Luke must face the family and fiancée he left behind.  It is a brief homecoming when the vampire Kalam attacks the village, forcing Luke and Nyx to break into his lair for the key to resurrecting a fallen warrior.  It is a quest that will force both young heroes to reach new heights of strength and power that they never knew they had.

Can Luke and Nyx escape the lair of Kalam?  And, what role will the orphaned gypsy Sari play in their looming destiny?

Release Date–  December 1st, 2013

And Don’t forget to look up the previous books:

81l4g8Sbd8L._SL1500_Beginning of a Hero 

81jdPj-1oLL._SL1500_Prodigy of Rainbow Tower 

charlesCharles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Go and visit with the author at Legends of Windemere!

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We Drink Inspiration – Poetry Prompt #001: First Impressions

From Sahm King at WDBWP a new poetry prompt:  take a look at the two images provided and write a poem about your first impression…in Sahm’s words:

“What poetry, if any, do the images evoke?  Don’t confine yourselves to a particular theme based on the image.  Instead, write a piece based on your very first impression, regardless of what that impression is and even if it has nothing at all to do with the image.  Write what you feel right off the bat.”

The photos:


sharp autumn colors
cowled figure beyond the fence
contemplating life
summer’s sad passing
cold uncertainties abound
early snow this year


For: NaBloPoMo and PoBlaNo Day 19



Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge – Allure

Ese’s Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge this week is Allure!

Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.

William Moulton Marston

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Have fun!  Ciao!

Trifecta Word Challenge: Home Town

“The week’ s Trifecta Monday  prompt:  the third definition of the word – Phantom:

 a representation of something abstract, ideal, or incorporeal <she was a phantom of delight — William Wordsworth>


  • 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.
  • If your post doesn’t meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.


Home Town

It was a wonderful day as days go, just riding down the highway of delight.  I’d thought to visit my home town, but thenI discovered that home town was a phantom idea born in some dream that should have been my reality.  Memories and fantasies all mixed up in a deceitful blend to create what should have been my past.

Riding down Main street, I didn’t recognize a single shop or tree.  In my mind’s eye I remembered the courthouse in the centre of town, as well as Woolworth’s and the movie theatre, but now I couldn’t identify them.   The streets even seemed smaller, more congested.  There was a shabbiness that was disconcerting.  The streets were clean, but the buildings seemed older than even some of the older buildings one finds in Europe.

Someone once said, you can never return home.  I think that afternoon, driving through my home town, which I hadn’t seen in nearly 50 years, I came to understand this reality.  My home town doesn’t exist, except as a name on a map and a phantom of my memory; the reality is that it has nothing to do with me.

Word count:  194

Friday Fictioneers 18 October, 2013: Rain


The rain fell for days, and then fell some more.  The Missouri and Ohio as they met became fuller.  The army corps of civil engineers asked for volunteers to put sandbags along the levee raising it higher to protect the farm lands and small towns from their raging fury. Continue reading