Alastairs Photo Fiction: The Writer’s Box of Inspiration

This weeks prompt for Alastair’s Photo Fiction presents many opportunities for interpretation and variety in the pursuit of crafting creative words. If you enjoy writing, do give Alastair’s writing challenge a try. Just click on the link to participate. With his photo prompt for this week, it seemed a natural thing to write about writers.

We are an interesting group of people aren’t we? The creative desire, no it’s stronger than that, the “need” to express ourselves through the use of the written word. But where does that muse come from anyway?



Photo by Alastair Forbes © copyright 2013


The box had arrived by mail from the law firm of Charles’ deceased great great grandfather. A hugely successful writer, his grandfather was known to have had an amazing gift with the written word. The accompanying letter said the box was to be passed on to the next true writer in the family.

“Ha,” Charles laughed. “Yeah, right”. He held the box in his hands. It seemed to vibrate. Well he did have quite a vivid imagination. Too bad his imagination wasn’t helping with his story. He laid his manuscript in the box and closed the lid. Perhaps he’d try again in a few days.

Meanwhile in another dimension and time,

“Look, look, more sheets with symbols have arrived in the box today, Gatto,” his assistant cried out.

Gatto peered into the sacred box of knowledge, located in the place of honor within the temple for longer than anyone knew. His job to care for, if not understand its purpose.

He pulled the sheets of paper out of the box and stared at the strange symbols that lay upon them. He knew there must be much meaning here.

He shook his head as to the mysteries of life. Time to deliver this magic to the elders. They would be very excited. It had been a long time since they had communicated with the Gods.

 ~ * ~

Yes, I did exceed 150 words. But the story line was so much fun to explore, I just couldn’t help myself here. Hoping you still enjoyed a slightly longer flash fiction! And thank you Alastair for providing such an excellent photo to work with this week. Okay so time to put my latest offerings into my own box of inspiration (my pc connecting me to other amazing bloggers)!

Have a great day today!

~ Penny


The Conversation

Said the sky to the clouds
“Why do you not rain?”
Said the clouds to the skytree
“It’s just not the same.”


Said the sky to the winds
“why do you not blow?”
said the winds to the sky
“I’m not sure where to go.”


Said the sky to the trees
“Where is your shade?”
Said the trees to the sky
“I fear that I fade”.


Said the sun to the Earth
“what has changed, I can’t see?”
Said the Earth to the sun
“I’m no longer free.”


“I’m caught in between
man’s derision and strife,
From those I provide
I struggle for their lives.”green tree


Said the Sun to the Earth
“Please say it’s not so”,
Said the Earth to the sun
“Yes, I’m afraid so”.


“Very few listen
to that which I say,
They must all work together
There’s no other way”.


“But what can we do
To change what will be”,
“There’s naught”, said the Earth
“for the blind who won’t see!”

* * *

Penny L Howe, 2013
Written on behalf of the Planet we all live upon!

Muse, Muse thy destiny is calling … where for art thou?


Oh what a tangle web we weave when first we practice to … write something that is publishable!

This is me after many hours of slaving over a hot personal computer, for days without end – okay a slight exaggeration, but my PC is telling me to give it a rest, so warm to the touch is he (yes my pc is a he, okay?) My eyes look a little glazed over, don’t you think!

And I, lost amidst the variable vowels and controversial consonants tempting to temper my volume of voluminous words into a most practical piece of literature (see … you can tell I’ve been writing a smidgen too much here!)

So I ponder on the whole “writing experience” Why do we write? Why do we blog, I mean really? Right now as it turns out creatively writing “posts” a few hundred words on different subjects is mind diverting and gives me the needed break from the book I’m working madly to complete (passed the deadlines already, twice!) Why you ask do I not just devote all my writing towards the book? Well simply because …

… my muse won’t let me. Won’t cooperate at all, going hither and thither, even yon … just won’t settle anywhere that I want it to. Actually I’m close to done, the tightening up on key elements is what’s straining my muse. To include or not to include seems to be the question.

And so it goes. Hopefully will finish up directly and off will go the requested submission for (shuddering here, but still anticipatious – yes I know that’s not a real word) review and editing!

Thanks for being there you guys, I really appreciate your support,

~ Penny


Friday Fictioneers – Twin Monuments

Have fun, take the writing challenge this week. Flash Fiction (100 words or less from a photo prompt). Rochelle will guide your way.

Friday Fictioneers

Just click on the link above.

Photo prompt this week by Sarah Ann Hall, copyright 2013





“Oh, I like the single edifice you’ve added, darling!”

He looked at Amy, the spitting image of Debra.

The twin Amy had secretly helped him bury days before.

She smiled at him, squeezing his hand, “a perfect monument to a miscalculation.”

“What do you mean Amy?”

“John, you two were so transparent. I switched the poisoned glass. Its Amy buried down there, my love. I keep what’s mine, and now … there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Her laughter burning his soul, he stared at Debra in horror while mentally making arrangements for a second edifice to be delivered.


(100 words – yes I actually can do it!)


Thanks for stopping by, have a great day and better tomorrow!

~ Penny


On a lighter note for Tuesday …

Sneak preview – Children of the Orbs Series: 5 years ago floating “Orbs” the size of a grapefruit had shown up everywhere on the planet Earth, one per person. For years humanity struggled to understand the purpose of the glowing globes, hovering nearby. Orbs that followed them everywhere. Orbs that could not be disposed of. Orbs that bonded with some and rejected others.


Wars were fought as men and women struggled to comprehend what was inconceivable. Children understood. They were the future of the Universe. The Orbs communicated their need. They had come to show human children the way. The future of the Universe depended on the Children of the Orbs.

… Suddenly awake, sixteen year old Paige kept her eyes closed, her basic survival training lessons taking over.

First … listen. Nothing. Smell the air. Nothing. What, then? Motion? Yes, the entire “floating house” was swaying slightly.

She opened her eyes just enough to see. Her Orb floating slightly above her, softly glowing a crimson color – a danger warning.

Moonlight filled the small room she had been sleeping in. The room, one of a grouping of others in the single story house, currently moored one hundred meters up in the air, over a medium size lake.

The room seemed empty except for herself and Dal, still asleep in the bed next to hers.

Paige’s hand slide to the edge of the bed and down the side of the air inflated mattress. Her fingers made contact with the weapon she had learned to depend on. The always ready gun – it wasn’t really a gun as it didn’t fire bullets and it couldn’t seriously injure anyone, but it could freeze them in their tracks; stopping any physical movement from a few seconds to a few hours depending on the setting.

This would give Paige enough time, with the Orb’s assistance to come up with a solution to the situation. Dal (Dalgor) wasn’t trained yet, he wouldn’t be of much value to her. She’d come to rescue him from this planet, his life was in danger. Now, both their lives were in danger.

Again, the floating house moved, a small movement but she was aware. Someone was climbing up one of the mooring cables. In one fluid movement, Paige was out of bed, crouched on the floor in a position ready to fight if necessary…

© Copyright 2013 by Penny L Howe
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright conventions


Stay tuned, more sneak previews coming up soon!

~ Penny

Penny L Howe


Photography: contemplation, reflection and Wow!

There are occasions when photography seems to fill my creative needs. Below are three photographs taken recently each to produce different reactions. The first was taken of a young preteen, preoccupied in the moment with her own contemplation. I was struck by the pose and felt the need to render the photograph in black and white for full effect!



Lost in Contemplation


This photo was taken by the Columbia River. I was fascinated here with the clear reflections in the water, both the structures and the clouds. I also liked the mixing of the clean lines of the metal structure amid the natural bluing effect of nature’s sky and water (also reflected in the water).





giant strawberry


Wow, yep, that’s one huge strawberry, the wow is self explanatory, and it was delicious too!

Thank you,

~ Penny


Words, lay ’em on me.

Words have the power to lift one to the greatest of heights,
or cast one down to the lowest – just by the presentation of them.
Do you realize the potential your words carry?
As a writer … what will your words accomplish today?

Pen Mightier than Sword


“Words—so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne


“All books are either dreams or swords. You cut, or you can drug with words.” – Amy Lowell


 “Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.”

– Margaret Chittenden


“No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery, and thought is viscous.”

– Henry Brooks Adam


“Grant me some wild experiences, Heavens … words, words or I shall burst.” – George Farquhur

~ * ~

words, one

So ends the quota of quotes for writers for the day, I hope a few inspired, thanks for stopping by,

~ Penny


Life’s total immersion!

Fantasy, mystery, imagination, the unknown. Each of these elements fascinate me allowing my mind to visit so many wonderful places.


But if one isn’t careful it can be difficult to leave this world of “otherness” and come back as the person you once were. But who were you? Or better yet what are you? Both good questions for the questing mind. The true uniqueness of what being a human is all about! Unraveling the mysteries of life!




Today is not the I of yesterday,
Yesterday, I was other than.

Today I AM.

I will be
more than
can know,
And all
I can dream!

Penny L Howe, 2013


Thanks for the visit,


Friday Fictioneers – It’s melting!

Once again it’s time for Friday Fictioneers. A delightful way of sharpening skills by writing a short piece of fiction (100 words or less). The theme based on a photo prompt. For more information and to join in the fun just click on the link. As always a big thank you to Rochelle for providing this weekly opportunity for us to practice our writing skills. The photo prompt below courtesy of Kent Bonham.


copyright kent bonham


A new formula? A new building formula?” The man screamed. “You tried a new formula on my building? The man rushed around, arms waving in a frenzied fit. “This was to be the showcase of showcases and now look …

…My beautiful building is melting!”

The other man in the room stood by mutely while the red faced owner continued his tirade. “What do I do now? All my time and money spent creating a one of a kind building.”

“What good is a building that melts?” He screamed.

“Well,” his associate said quietly, “It will leave a very small ecological footprint!


Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!

~ Penny

Penny L Howe