Free book from Amazon

I love finding free books on Amazon, especially ones that appear to be worthwhile.
A quick glance at the book reveals a number of quirky, innovative prompts that would make great blogposts or just good writing practice fodder.

I like the way this book starts off with simple, easy prompts and moves towards those that are more difficult. Many of these prompts would be suitable for teachers to use for free writing classes.

Some examples:

98. [WC: 100] You cut yourself, but no blood comes out.
15. You are forced to have a roommate. (If you have a roommate, pretend that they have just been introduced to you and are being forced upon you.) Create a list of rules designed to drive them crazy and make them move out. What happens as a result of the list?
82. [WC: 75] The dying words of your character’s father changes his life forever.
61. [Duration: 10 minutes] Your character discovers they are immortal. This happens when they are at the detonation site of an atomic bomb and everything else is laid to waste. Describe before, during and after of the explosion.
147. One more drabble. 100 words precisely: That’s the reason why Uncle Fred is never allowed to babysit again.

And I enjoyed the conversational tone:

Section 5: Writing Prompts #150-200   Yes, normal everyday write as much as you want prompts. The previous stuff was just for building muscles. The following prompts you can write as little or as much as you want. Heck, if you write a full novel out of it you have my blessing to go out there and get that thing published. Just give me thanks in the liner notes. Or don’t, I’m fine with either. You wouldn’t do that to me though, would you?

If you like the sound of these, zip over to Amazon for the book.

1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts[Kindle Edition]Ryan Andrew Kinder (Author)

Amazon is giving away this book for a limited period so check that it’s still free before clicking the buy button

I’m off to peruse for a perfect prompt.

Fifty Story

This week’s Dp challenge: Write a story of exactly fifty words. No more and no less.

Meet up

Facebook message: you might not remember me, but we were at school together. Now I live nearby. Wanna meet?
Nerves tingle. Hair perfect. Makeup gorgeous. Tight skirt and even tighter blouse.
Eyes flash and lashes flutter. My place?
Cresting the wave, his eyes open for a second. Bright flash, then oblivion.

Power of Names

Embed from Getty Images

Come, dear children, let us away.

Down and away below.

Now my brothers call from the bay;

Now the great winds shorewards blow;

Now the salt tides seawards flow;

Now the wild white horses play,

Champ and chafe and toss in the spray.

Children dear, let us away.

This way, this way

Call her once before you go.

Call once yet.

In a voice that she will know:

‘Margaret! Margaret!’

Children’s voices should be dear

(Call once more) to a mother’s ear:

Children’s voices wild with pain.

Surely she will come again.

Call her once and come away.

This way, this way.

‘Mother dear, we cannot stay.’

The wild white horses foam and fret.

Margaret! Margaret!

Extract from The Forsaken Merman by Matthew Arnold.

Can you hear the children’s voices crying out in pain, the howl of the great winds and the crash of the waves?  Every time I hear the lines

“Margaret! Margaret!

Children’s voices should be dear

(Call once more) to a mother’s ear”

I hear my mother’s voice as she quoted them from memory, adding that my name was inspired by her love for this poem. There have been a number of times over the years when I was afraid I would be like the fickle Margaret of the poem. She loved her home and the land and the sun more than she loved the merman and her own children, and left them, never to return. But I battled my demons and stayed. And now I’m glad I did.

I remember Mom telling me about the poem, but Dad doesn’t remember any such tale and Mom is no longer here to ask. He says I was named after his Aunt. Aunt Mag was a distant figure in a distant land whom I never met nor even wanted to meet until it was too late. When she died, I was a teenager, and she left me a ring (which I lost) and a bee brooch (which I treasure to this day). She never married and Dad says she was awarded an OBE or some such award for work that she did during the Second World War. I would rather be like her than the Margaret of the poem.

I have another name: Anne with an E. I was always careful to mention the E when I was a child lest the person I was speaking to leave me without that all important letter. It seemed to me to make my little Anne a touch better than the commoners without it. I don’t know where that name came from, but I discovered recently that my mother’s younger sister has the same second name and with the same spelling. Perhaps they wanted to honour her when I was born. Or they just liked the name Anne.

Written in response to the Daily Post challenge: Power of Names

Weekly writing challenge: Threes

Written in response to the weekly writing challenge Threes.

Three haikus based on the three photos posted by Jessie




Long trudge up the hill
Breath steams, feet freeze, almost there
Quick! My turn! Go again!



Woosh! Pounding, bumping,
Clouds, trees, hurtle by white hills
Coasting, slowing, stop.



Stepping together
Sun and Joy light up your face
Look mom, dragon breath!

Posted from WordPress for Android

Silver leaves

Written for the weekly writing challenge.

I turn the ring over in my hand. Enclosed by thin bands of gold, tiny silver leaves twirl around in the space between. It weighs almost nothing. Was this the measure of her love? I look closely, see how the inner gold is worn and moulded by her hands, see the patina of wear on the minute leaves. Hard work, love and caring have left their mark.

It’s so small! Were her fingers really that small? I don’t remember. All I can see is her face, lined and soft as she leaned in to kiss me. I can feel her soft cheek, smell her perfume. I can hear her laugh as she told a funny story and her voice as she told me to stay safe and be brave.

I feel a pain in my hand and look down, finding that I’m clutching the ring so hard, it hurts. The leaves blur as warm tears slide down my face. I slip the ring onto my little finger, taking one last look at the grave.

“Goodbye Granny,” I whisper. “I miss you already.”

Copyright M Brizzolari

Posted from WordPress for Android

Lunch Post 1- written for the Dp challenge.


Lunch eaten
Dishes stacked
You at your computer
I on the couch
Blanket covered
Dog at my feet.

Winter light
Bathes the room
And on the radio
Someone croons
A half-remembered tune

I catch your eye
You smile
And sway
To those
Songs they play.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Phoneography Challenge: My Neighborhood

I love this challenge! I picked it up last night, just before going out, so here’s my start. I’m going to add more photos later. I’m using a Nokia N97 phone camera.

The main street of my little village. I was going to pilates classes in the evening.
Looking in the opposite direction. I love the way the shop lights shine on the wet cobbles!
Looking in the opposite direction. I love the way the shop lights shine on the wet cobbles!
The boccio field where the old men play in the summer. Deserted in the winter.
The boccio field where the old men play in the summer. Deserted in the winter.
My coffee bar. Best brioche in town!
My coffee bar. Best brioche in town!
I never wear my watch. The church tower bongs the hour and adds a tone up bing to mark the half hour. Heavenly!
I never wear my watch. The church tower bongs the hour and adds a tone-up bing to mark the half hour. Heavenly!
And I can see it from my window.
And I can see it from my window.
wispy clouds curl through the valley
wispy clouds curl through the valley


Marco kindly agreed that I could show you inside his bar. He also makes the best cappuccinos
Marco kindly agreed that I could show you inside his bar. He also makes the best cappuccinos

Well, I hope you enjoyed your stroll through the little village of Montalto Dora in Piemonte, Italy. I’m looking forward to seeing what other people have posted.



Weekly Writing Challenge – Aunty Pat

This week’s writing challengeTell us about a character in your life. It could be your best friend, your partner, your child, or even your third grade teacher. With as much detail as possible, make this person real for us. Tell us more than what they look like or how you met. Let us know what their laugh sounds like, or that oddball quirk that makes this person so unique.


She sweeps up the driveway in her red scenic and swings into her favourite parking spot. I’m waiting to greet her. I haven’t seen her for a few years and I’m afraid of what the years may have done to her. No fear. Her face lights up in a warm smile, wrinkling the skin around her eyes and on her cheeks.

“Hello my darling!” Her voice is deep and loving. Sturdy arms reach out to hug me and I hug her back hard. My dearest Aunty Pat is still strong and well. I breathe a sigh of relief and throw myself into an afternoon of catching up, drinking in the faces of my family, especially Aunty Pat.

Today she’s wearing flowing pants and top, gracefully covering her full shape. A long handmade necklace finishes the look. She has always battled to keep her weight down, but I notice that she’s lost some weight. Then, with a little shock, I notice her flat chest. It’s typical of pragmatic Pat, that when she was diagnosed with cancer in one breast, she told them to take both breasts as at her age (78) she didn’t need them.

” So what have you been doing with yourself while I’ve been away?” I ask.

“Well, Muriel (her older sister-in-law) and I have just got back from Cape Town,” she replies. ” I drove and we did the trip over a couple of days, staying overnight in hotels. We stayed with Aunt Felicity in Cape Town for a week and had a whale of a time!” She chuckles at the memories of that trip. I am amazed. I would hesitate to drive from Johannesburg to Cape Town, but Aunty Pat does it without batting an eyelid! That’s so typical of her! Nothing phases her!

She’s the rock of the family, the glue that keeps them together. She doesn’t interfere, but she’s always there when any of her four children, their spouses and her grandchildren need a sympathetic ear. She adores all of them equally and worries over the future of each of them.

She is so many things – a mother, a teacher, a friend, an artist. I have one of her paintings, a basket of flowers on a paved patio, done in oil, in pride of place on my bedroom wall. I remember when my uncle died, she painted a landscape with my him in it. When she passes, she told me, her daughter Jenny will paint her into the picture next to him. Her love for him was deep and true, standing the test of time and many trials, the worst being his death from cancer.

I look at her again, memorize the sparkling eyes, her soft, white hair in a short bob cut. Her face is soft to the touch as well, making you want to touch and stroke her cheek. She laughs again, a warm chuckle. I see the way my cousins look at her, adoration and indulgence in their eyes.

A whirlwind rushes into the room with long legs and flowing blond hair. “Grannyyyyy!” Aunty Pat opens her arms wide to hug her, beaming and chuckling.

“Hello my sweetheart,” she murmurs,and another grandchild basks in her love.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap. E-books or paperback?

This week’s Mind the Gap: How do you prefer to read, with an eReader like a Kindle or Nook, or with an old school paperback in hand? Take the poll (below) and then explain your opinion by blogging about it on your site. Tag your post “DP challenge,” so that we can be sure to find your contribution to the challenge.

Oh, the agony! Why does it have to be one or the other? If you had asked me this three years ago, I would have answered unequivocally “PAPER”. Nothing could equal the smell of a new book or the feel of the spine bending and opening for the first time, reluctantly revealing its secret soul. My favourite Christmas gift as a child was a new book in the Enid Blyton “Adventure” series. I was glued to the pages for at least a couple of days until the adventure was resolved and the crooks had been caught. More than once, my mother had to confiscate my book in the morning as I was in a half-clothed state and it was almost time to catch the bus to school. I spent my teenage years sprawled on my bed, the lawn, across the couch, anywhere I could read. And my world expanded every time I opened a book. So how could I not choose to open a paperback and travel to new vistas every time I want to scape the world?

Well, someone gave me a Kindle three years ago. Let’s be honest. I saw a friend’s and coveted it immediately. The print is so similar to reading a page! You can enlarge the print with the click of a button (I’d like to see you do that with a paper book!). It’s so light and easy to hold! It can contain a whole library of books! I can get new books anywhere and anytime! And they’re cheaper than print books! And best of all, I can get free books! I love a bargain, and a free book is my kind of bargain.I knew I was hooked when I tried to turn the page on my Kindle as I would on a paper book, by turning the top right hand corner. No, I don’t have a touch screen Kindle.

There are down sides to Kindle books, and that’s why this question can never be an either-or. On my simple Kindle, at least, photographs and diagrams don’t show up well. Charts often need to be read in smaller print for them to fit on the page. I need larger print. Some poetry books that have been converted to Kindle have lost their formatting. There is nothing more frustrating than looking forward to reading Elizabeth Barret Browning‘s poetry and finding a page of unformatted lines. Ugh!

In the final analysis then, I say you need both paper and e-books. Each has something the other doesn’t, and each can supplement and complement the other.Don’t make me choose!


Doompocalyptic resolutions

Here’s the backstory for this week’s challenge: The tin-foil hat, Mayan apocalypse conspiracy people were wrong about the world ending in 2012. Hooray. Time for them to go back to watching grassy knoll footage in slow motion. BUT!

They were only half wrong. There’s a gigantic meteor hurtling toward earth at an alarming rate, and a 97.3% probability that we’re all going the way of the dodos and dinosaurs within three months. So, this year you aren’t going to make resolutions about losing a notch on your belt. You aren’t going to concern yourself about polishing off Remembrance of Things Past once and for all. You don’t even care a jot about emptying your email inbox. In three months, doompocalpyse is going to be upon us. So what are you going to do?




I have a confession to make. I’ve just deleted my first attempt at this challenge. I’d got on my high horse about the state of the world today and the difference I could make when I was stopped in my tracks. I was torn. It sounded so good! It was inspiring!  It was …Who am I kidding? It was all a lie!

If I really had only three months to live, I wouldn’t be out there changing the world, I’d be in here with my loved ones, storing up memories. I’d spend more time with my kids and their kids. I’d jump into more puddles with my grandson. I’d lie on the grass and watch the clouds. I’d try to listen more and talk less. I’d shelve judgement and believe people more. I’d read more and watch TV less. I’d try to travel a little – not far, just to those nearby places I’ve been meaning to visit again or for the first time. Venice, Rome, Paris…so many beautiful places come to mind.

And most of all, I’d try to be a better lover and friend, to welcome the warm embrace in the dead of night. To lie “spoon” until the heat drives us apart, gasping for air. I’d reach out more and risk more.

So there they are, my REAL resolutions.