Leader of the Band

Friday Fictioneers is a compilation of writers from around the world who gather online weekly, guided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The challenge? To write a story in 100 words or less based on a new photo prompt.

Click HERE for an online flash fiction anthology by the Friday Fictioneers!

Photo courtesy Sandra Cook

It didn’t occur to me until reading Rochelle’s comment that some may not “see” what I “saw” in Sandra’s photo, which goes to prove we all see things differently. For reasons I hope you’ll understand after reading my story, I “saw” a drum major’s mace. Here’s what a “real” mace looks like:


Leader of the Band

I stood at attention in the middle of the football field. Was it the wintry air or my fear of Mr. Lindsay and his dreaded megaphone that kept me frozen in place? After all, I’d been the victim of that evil bullhorn once and that was enough. Never again would I “left face” when I should have “right faced.”

Nothing like that feeling.

At last, the drum major raised his mace against the gray sky. His shrill whistle pierced the frigid air, and snare drums rolled as two hundred musicians moved forward, left foot first.

Nothing like that feeling.


AUTHOR NOTE:  This little story is dedicated to Mr. Lindsay and the Armijo Superband. True, there were times he instilled fear in all of us with that megaphone of his, but he remains to this day, one of my favorite teachers. 🙂


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One at a Time

Thank you, Rochelle Wisoff Fields for leading dozens and dozens of us from around the world in another round of Friday Fictioneers. This week’s photo prompt is by Dale Rogerson. Thank you for inspiring my memories that inspired this story, Dale!

To read a virtual anthology of this week’s Friday Fictioneers’ stories, click HERE.

Photo courtesty of Dale Rogerson

One at a Time

Its frozen tears inspire me to wonder what the tree might be thinking. But that’s not why I stare. No, memories brought by the word “icicle” hold me there.

When I was a little girl, Christmas tree decorating began with great enthusiasm–until it came time to place the icicles.

“One at a time,” Mom insisted.

But when she wasn’t looking, I’d toss a handful so I could finish and go watch TV.

“One at a time!” she reminded, as I swore she had eyes in back of her head.

What I’d give to hear her words again.

My Mom and Her Icicled Tree

Steve’s Story

Stems and Rests

Hands in his pockets, he walked home from the doctor’s office where once again, the news had not been good. He came upon the tree and thought:

beneath the silence, ice
beneath the ice, music
and in the music
stems and rests

“Tonight,” he said to himself in a state nourishing self pity, “I’ll rest.”

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Thinking Outside the Box

It’s probably been over three years since I last participated in the Friday Fictioneers, a group of hundreds of people from around the world who share their 100-word photo-prompted stories each week. Thank you, Rochelle Wisoff Fields, Friday Fictioneers’ Fearless Leader for her hard work in keeping this group thriving and growing over the years.

This week’s photo prompt is by Russell Gayer.

I must admit, when I first saw the prompt, I thought, “Maybe I’ll start next week. What do I write about a toilet?”

Then,  a memory came to mind . . .

Thinking Outside the Box

“Mommy! Mommy! When will you be finished?” whined my three-year old daughter as she pounded on the bathroom door.

The muffled slaps of tiny hands against the door followed. “Yeah, finish, Mama!”–My two-year old son’s attempt to mimic his sister.

I sat. I hung my head, face in my hands. Was there not one…single…place in the house where I could be…ALONE?

Then, the proverbial light bulb flashed on. It was, after all, where I did my best thinking—when I could think, that is.

In the house? How about OUTHOUSE?

That’s what I call thinking outside the box.

If you’d like to read other 100-word stories, click HERE.


For anyone who doesn’t know, my husband, Steve, is also a writer, though he doesn’t have a blog. Periodically, I’ll share his stories here, too. Here’s this week’s:

It sat on the porch, then on the sidewalk for three days, in the rain. On the third day, the rain turned to snow and someone draped a strand of battery-powered red twinkly lights over it.

At midnight Claire and her boyfriend Jonathan, both seniors at the town high school, walked together in the snow. She sat on the toilet seat, lit a cigarette, and put it to Jonathan’s lips as he leaned forward, hands in his pockets.

She crushed the butt in the snow. “Kiss me.”

There’s a stone shed behind this house,” he said. “Let’s go.”

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Audible Mirror

Have you ever caught your reflection in a mirror and thought, “Huh? Is that really what I look like?” I think we’ve all had that lovely experience.

But what about an “audio mirror?” Have you ever caught the “reflection” of your voice and been surprised, either pleasantly or . . . NOT?

I had the opportunity to experience that kind “reflection” yesterday, as I listened (with some trepidation, I might add) to my interview with Dr. Paul Reeves on Dr. Paul’s Family Talk Radio.

Dr. Paul’s radio show on ImpactRadioUSA.com is full of comments on current events, interesting interviews and funny jokes. Now that I’ve been introduced, I look forward to listening!

And, I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with him. We talked about writing, art, music, social media, and grandkids (we’re both “expecting”!) Of course, we also talked about The Red Kimono, the internment of Japanese Americans, and my upcoming releases. (See? Lots to listen to!)

So, don’t get me wrong. The conversation was great. It was listening to it that I dreaded. In fact, I must admit, I hesitated to share the links to the broadcast until I heard what I sounded like. But, courage persevered and I shared them on Facebook in time for yesterday’s broadcast. Here’s a link to the podcast:


Please click on the following link to find other interviews:

(click on LISTEN LIVE on left side of page)

As I listened yesterday, a voice in the back of my head battled to be heard above my voice on the radio:

You sound like a little girl!

Too many “uhs!”

Why did you say that?

Why didn’t you say this?

What happened to everything you learned at Toastmasters?

But, as my rowdy jitters settled down, I actually began to enjoy listening, and the self-critical messages were replaced by:

Sometimes you sound like Mom.

I’m glad you said that.

The smile on your face comes out in your voice.

Hey, you really are a writer . . . so why aren’t you writing?

Your laughter reminds me of Mom’s laugh.

What a blessed life you have.

So, not only did I have a nice conversation with someone I’d never met before, I had the chance to reflect on my audio “reflection.”

Have you listened to yourself speak? What were your thoughts?

P.S. Anyone want to comment on what word I use too often? I’ve got one picked out, but I want to see if you pick it out, too. Or, maybe you’ll hear one (or  more) I didn’t hear.

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Author Interview with Jan Morrill

I enjoyed answering the questions from Book ‘Em. Take a peek to learn something new about me or one of my books. 🙂

Book 'Em Book Club

Today we welcome author Jan Marler Vanek

Book ‘Em:  Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.

Jan Marler Vanek:  I am a wife, mom, grandma, sister, daughter, friend and writer. I love being all of those things, but the first six are my priority, which tells you a bit about why it’s taken me so long to finish the sequel to The Red Kimono. I also recently returned to work full-time at a commercial real estate company after my dreams of supporting myself as a writer metamorphized into the practicality of a regular paycheck. What I serendipitously discovered after I returned to an 8-5 job is that when my income didn’t depend on my writing, the joy of writing returned. So, though the quantity of time to write is less, the quality is so much better.

Book ‘Em:  Which books have you written? What are they…

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