August 24, 2012

Summer Short And Sweets - Week 8 The Final Week!

I can't believe it.  Didn't we just start Summer Short & Sweets?  And here we are, August 24th, purple loosestrife blooming, lots of kids already back in school - although not mine - and this is our last official day of SS&S!
badge created by Loni Edwards
Before you get too sad, though, let me tell you that, due to popular demand, we will be continuing Short & Sweets in some incarnation on alternate Mondays henceforth... or once school starts, anyway :)  I'm thinking around September 10...

Meanwhile, we have today.  And today is SO exciting!  I've been planning it for 2 whole months and trying to keep it a secret and let me tell you, it's been excruciating!!!

For today's Short & Sweet we have a picture prompt, and not just any picture prompt.  This one was painted specially for the occasion by the incredibly talented Heather Newman, whom many of you know from 12x12 and/or her blog, Heather Newman Illustrations.  Heather is an amazing artist, writer, homeschooler, cowherd, and Phyllis hostess.  She also just opened her Etsy Shop and I encourage everyone to go have a look at all her wonderful offerings.  Please also feel free to leave compliments on her painting in the comments once you've seen the prompt if you are not left completely speechless with awe :)

Are you ready???


Your challenge for today is to take a good look at the picture below.
Image copyright Heather Newman 2012

Woweekazowee!  That is some picture isn't it?

Now, in the comments, you may write your choice of the following:

1.  A pitch for a children's story, any level (please specify PB (picture book), ER (early reader), CB (chapter book), MG (middle grade), or YA (young adult)) based on the picture, in the manner of Short & Sweet Week 6

2.  The first 50-100 words (or more or less - whatever gets the creative juices flowing) of a children's story, any level, (please specify PB, ER, CB, MG, YA) based on the picture.

3.  The last 50-100 words (again, more or less is fine - whatever works for you :)) of a children's story, any level (please specify PB, ER, CB, MG, YA) based on the picture.

4.  Choose a character (there are at least 10 possibilities!) from the picture and introduce us to him or her - who he/she is, where he/she came from, how he/she got into this situation - a character sketch of sorts.

5.  Choose a character and give us a one paragraph synopsis of the story told by the picture from his/her point of view.

6.  The title of the story told by this picture - give us a good one! :) (and again please specify level)

7.  A poem following the rules from Short & Sweet Week 3 based in some way on this picture.

One added thing for you to think about:  next Friday, August 31, will be our Summer Writing Contest!!!  (I know!  The mind reels at the excitement!!!)  And guess what?  It will be based on this picture!  So any of you who would like to enter the contest can get a head start on your thinking this week by participating in the Short & Sweet.  Just so you know, the contest will be for a children's story of 250 words or less based on the picture and incorporating the some special key words, but I'm not telling those yet :)  Full details of the contest will be posted Monday.

Now then, back to the matter at hand - today's Short & Sweet.  Pick whichever of the 7 options above inspires you most.  I'm hoping with 7 options and that amazing picture you will find something inspiring :)

Here is a small sample from moi (and when I say small, I mean what with all the traveling I totally ran out of time, so talk about off the top of your head! :)):

#1 (a pitch for MG)
Grenadier, who would carry his knight anywhere, must cross the moat to save Cythrigg, the last dragon of Cyfarr, but finds he is unable to penetrate the magical fire surrounding Castlewellyn.

#6  (a possible title for a PB)
Bathtime For Balkazar

#7 (a poem)
I am a raven
Black as moonless night
With powerful secrets
Watching, waiting
For the prophesied moment
Spying on the forbidden castle
Holding the truth close
Keeping safe the golden key until,
As from the mists of Avalon, a new prince rises.
I am a raven.

Happy Writing, everyone!  I can't wait to see what you all come up with!  As usual I'm sure we'll all have story ideas coming faster then we can write them down sparked by our own responses to the exercise as well as everyone else's.

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday for Oh Susanna and the contest announcement!



  1. Okay, I'm not sure I can even do this picture true justice. It is AMAZING. Beautiful job, Heather!

    For a PB title, I'd try THE DRAGON THAT SMILED

    Really, this is so stunning I could stare at it all day :-)

  2. delores @ thefeatherednestAugust 24, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    in days of old
    when knights were bold
    dragons roamed the earth
    I'm told
    and maidens fair
    in towers rare
    did weep and moan
    in dire despair
    but there was magic in the air
    and princes charming with a care
    and those who would befriend the fair
    and lead her off to safety

  3. Isn't Heather amazing? And I love your title!

  4. WOW Delores! This is amazing! I love it! Thanks for another wonderful creative entry!

  5. Alayne Kay ChristianAugust 24, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    I have kept my eye on your Summer Short and Sweets. Each one made my writer's wheels turn. Yet, I did not find the time to do anything with them. I have saved them all for the future. So, thank you for the inspiration. I am excited to see that you plan to continue Short and Sweets. This artwork for #8 is beautiful and inspiring. My wheels are turning once again. Let's see if this weekend will be kind enough to give me time to do something with it. Thanks again, Susanna.

  6. Holy pink dragon, Heather! THAT is what I call a picture prompt! Wow!

    #5 - I’ve been in a LOT of competitions before.  I’ve hopped hurdles and taken timber fences, danced over ditches, cantered cross country, and boogied like a ballerina.  I’m here to tell you, this is the WORST equestrian contest I have ever experienced! I’m a horse, not a knight in shining armor! Clearly, Little Bobby on my back hasn’t got a clue, either.  Do I jump into the burning crevasse?   Have the maid call my agent?  Ask the spirit to mix me up a magic potion? There’s one thing I know for sure.  I am NOT getting anywhere near the dreaded dragon.  Bobby, we’re not in Kentucky anymore…  Maybe the crow has the key to getting me out of this mess.

  7. I'm so glad you've enjoyed them, Alayne, even if you haven't had the time to participate. They will stay up in the archives, so you can always go back and use them, and we will have more. Thanks for reading along and taking the time to let me know you found them worthwhile even though you couldn't join in... this time... :)

  8. I love this, Genevieve! And as someone who has been acquainted with many horses, I think you've pegged his possible attitude spot on! :) Excellent! Thanks for joining the fun :)

  9. Beautiful picture Heather. Love your use of color
    CB Title: A Dragon's Love

  10. Sidney Schuhmann LevesqueAugust 24, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Great picture! So much action going on. So many little details to look at and think about.
    ER title: "The Dragon and the Secret of Castlefyre"

  11. Love this, Delores!

  12. PB titile - Fox and Raven Plan for Dragon Potage

    Brilliant scene, Heather!

  13. Heather! Oh my gracious goodness! Oh my gracious goodness! That is STUNNINGLY BODACIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You rock woman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I'm sick. If I wasn't sick, I'd jump in someone's lap and have them tell me a story about this pic.

    Hmmm. There are lotsa things churning inside of me as I gaze at this lovely picture. This is for the PB readers who need some fantasy in their lives and for boys who need more stories all their own.

    WHOOSH! Edwin and his constant companion, the steed he called Charger, jogged in from their palace to the west. "Hellooo, fair maiden, Halo. I've come to rescue you from the dastardly dragon, Dashing." He drew his sword and threatened Dashing. Puffs of fire fell at Charger's hoofs. He stomped and squashed the dastardly dragon's flames.

    Remember. I'm very sick. So don't count off for crappiness.

  14. Aw! I like that title, Pat! I can imagine a very sweet story :) Thanks for joining in!

  15. Ooh! I like the sound of that, Sidney! I know a lot of boys who would snatch up that early reader! Thanks for joining in :)

  16. Well, I'm going to have to go look up "potage", Joanna! But your title sounds good :) Thanks for playing along :)

  17. I think this is divine, Robyn! I love it :) But seriously! You have got to go to a doctor. I know you don't like going where the sick people are, but you are one of them and this has been dragging on for 2 weeks! Get thee to a medical facility - I mean it! I'm worried about you :(

  18. I've been absent for most of the short and sweets--sorry!! But I had to pop in and mention that is a beautiful picture!!

  19. Thank you, Angela!

  20. Genevieve, this made me laugh out loud! Thank you for the lovely compliment :)

  21. Thank you, Pat!

  22. I had to look up "potage", too, Susanna :)

    Thank you, Joanna and I think you have the start of a very funny picture book!

  23. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Robyn! Now go take care of yourself!

  24. Thank you, Coleen!

  25. Would you believe that I forgot that it was Friday until 30 minutes ago? It has been a week here! I'm glad that I remembered as our CSA pick up is today :)

    I love your ideas, Susanna!

    PB Title- Misunderstood Fergus (Fergus being the dragon, of course)


  26. Smarmy, the
    Dragon’s reluctant, but enslaved groom, longs to be free of scorched eyebrows
    and the never-ending scrubbing required to keep a three-story dragon clean, but
    until Dragon takes Princess Alia hostage, Smarmy didn’t dare hope his freedom
    was possible. (CB)

  27. I'm sure Heather will appreciate your comment :) And you can always join in with the ongoing Short and Sweets that will )hopefully) start on alternate Mondays Sept. 10 :)

  28. Gosh I'm glad you remembered! After all our talk back and forth, I didn't think to remind you. And I just realized I never posted this on FB or anything! Too much to do :) Love your title - can't wait to see the book :)

  29. This is GREAT Laura! I hope you write it! And Smarmy - what an excellent name!!! :) Thanks for joining in!

  30. Heather, I'm speechless. Your image is gorgeous. I'll have to think about it and come up with something later!

  31. Our Heather is something else, isn't she? :)

  32. I'm surprised and impressed that you've kept up with your posting schedule this summer, Susanna, never mind reminding me to keep my days straight ;)

  33. I can't wait to see what you come up with, Hannah! And thank you :)

  34. As the split in the ground widened, Pestya stretched her long fox legs and look around in disbelief. It worked! For once in her life, she had remembered the words correctly. Would anyone suspect her?

  35. Spectacular illustration Heather. Dragons are my weakness.

    Where do you live in Maine? I live there too.

  36. Ooh! Excellent Kimberley! I love this! Keep going! :)

  37. Heather, the illustration is beautiful. I'm off to write a poem to match this cool illustration.

  38. YAY! In that case, Heather and I will both be looking forward to it :) Have fun!

  39. That was beautiful, Delores.

  40. Thank you, Rena :)

  41. Even though this has my name on it, it's from Diane who had trouble posting:

    "I love, love Heather's beautiful picture and in awe of such talent.
    Having just got back from holiday and still getting into the swing of
    writing again, mesmerised by the picture as I was, I could only whip up
    a title: possible CB "Askook, the Dragon of Ladon."

  42. (MG) Title: To Train a Prince

    (MG) Pitch: In Beastly Academy, dragon, fox and crow must learn how to train a prince to rescue a damsel in distress. After class they make a bet to see who's prince will save the beautiful Princess Lurella, damsel in distress. But things go awry when no one plays fair.

  43. This sounds terrific, Saba! I hope you're going to write it :) It could be tons of fun!!! Thanks for joining in!

  44. Love it, Genevieve! Very funny!

  45. #6 Title: The Dragon Prince and The Firey Moat (MG)

    #1 Pitch: This is a story about Prince Nogard- a dragon who thinks he is a prince until a young knight threatens to take away his princess and his castle. This causes Prince Nogard to question his identity and his relationship with his faithful young servant, Alder.

  46. Delores...this is awesome...I want to

  47. Heather...thank you so much for sharing your wonderful talent with us...what an amazing illustration!

    Susanna...My vision is a rhyming PB...Boot Camp at Old Dragons-Lair...that maybe plays on color words The white witch is the headmistress of Old Dragons-lair Boot Camp...and she has her hands full of her charges...what trouble will they get into as she tries to teach them Elementary Magic 101.

    The first day of boot camp at Old Dragons-lair,
    The white witch decided to color her hair.
    So tired she was of her ebony locks,
    She lifted the white from the tail of her fox.

    I don't know...maybe very silly...but I loved the name of the camp: Old Dragons-lair.

  48. This sounds very interesting, Romelle! I've so enjoyed seeing what people come up with. Form the titles and pitches, there are a whole lot of dragon books I want to read that haven't been written yet :) Thanks for joining in! :)

  49. I LOVE this Vivian! What a great idea, and so fun, and written in rhyme! Keep going... I want to read it for the contest on Friday :)

  50. Beautiful picture, Heather!

    I would like to do a character sketch on Giselle, the White Wizard.

    As the new ruler of Endoria, Giselle is trying to keep control of her world. The eternal ruby necklace was bequeathed to her by her grandmother, thereby giving her ruling power over all wizards of the land. Red Fox was chosen as her protector and chief advisor. Giselle and Red Fox grew up together in the valley and dreamed of the day they could rule. Unfortunately they must deal with the King of the Dragons and remove him from Endoria forever.

    Thanks for Short and Sweets, Susanna. They were a lot of fun!

  51. Title...'My Pet Dragon'...'ER'...

    I am coming back later with a story...G willing...

  52. Ah! Going for 2, eh? Can't wait to see the story :) Great title!

  53. What a great idea for a character, Jennifer! I would like to read this story - it sounds like a good one! Thanks so much for joining the fun every week! :)

  54. It took me a while, but here it is!
    #6: Dragon!
    #1: Prince Timothy just doesn't get that Princess Violet doesn't need rescuing. Cuddles, Violet's pet is a bit unusual, but he is completely harmless! Timothy thinks differently. Will he ever realize that a princess in a tower doesn't always have to be saved?
    (Beginning Chapter Book)

    I am sad that SS&S is over. It was so fun... Goodbye good friend... :(

  55. First off...Heather!!! You! Are! One! Talented! Artist! The picture is amazing!

    There are so many possibilities!!! I'm going with a title for a poem or PB.

    Tangled Tales of the Twisted Tree

    By the way, Susanna, do we have to stick with what we chose today for the Summer Writing Contest or if we are further inspired by Heather's exceptional artwork, (which I know I will be), can we go in a completely different direction? She has such wonderful details that it has inspired several thoughts....several ideas!!!

  56. These are great, Erik! i hope you're going to write this beginning chapter book - it sounds like something lots of kids would like to read! Thanks for being such a valiant participant in SS&S, and don't be too sad... summer may be ending, but Short & Sweets will be back :)

  57. I know! Isn't she amazing??? LOVE your title - so many possibilities! And NO, you certainly don't have to stick with anything. This was just to get the creative juices flowing. You can write whatever you want. The contest rules are going up in tomorrow's post and there are other requirements (evil cackle :)) so they may take you a different direction anyway :)

  58. Posted by me but actually from Cathy!

    I am a firefox.Wiser than a parliment of owlsWith world-weary soul and infinite patienceWatching, waitingFor the foolish, careless humans,Taunting the hungry dragonStalking the sulfur smokeLike a smoldering fuse, I am a firefox.

  59. I persevered and crossed the finish line. Phew!

    #6 – The title

    Hot-headed Harold And His Hissy Fits (PB)

    #1 – The picture book pitch

    When a hot-headed lad finds his older sister locked in a
    tower, he has a hissy fit. Now Harold must steal the golden key from the
    ornery hag’s raven, slay the dragon, and rescue distressed Rampina
    before the dark knight claims her for his bride.

    Thank you, Susanna. The challenges were fun, intriguing, and tough. I look forward to participating in future ones.
    Heather your artwork is lovely!

  60. This is fantastic, Cathy! I love it! Thanks for going the distance and managing all 8 weeks! :)

  61. Excellent title, Karen. Glad to see you're still participating!

  62. I love this Tracy! It sounds like a great story... although you're a better woman than I am if you can fit all that into a picture book :) Thanks for another great entry and congrats on finishing all 8 :)

  63. Oh Vivian, you made me laugh! Awesome

  64. Now, I didn't say I could write the story. LOL

  65. Then I guess the challenge is on! :)

    Tracy Campbell wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Now, I didn't say I could write the story. LOL

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  66. Lovely, Cathy. Great word, "firefox." :)

  67. My pitch:

    Princess Philomena is caught in the clutches of the evil dragon Dyra, who hates anyone with a pure and innocent heart.  Many courageous young men have failed to rescue the virtuous girl from the dragon, because underneath their armor lies an ungrateful and proud heart.  Will Phillip the Brave and Benevolent cross the chasm and slay the ugly beast, rescuing the princess from a life of adversity?

  68. This was the fastest summer EVER. My kids school start next week. I'm a little happy and a little sad. Oh well...onto the prompt. I LOVE this picture. I'm so in awe of illustrators. Great job, Heather!

    Why is it that every prince in the kingdom thinks all he has to do to find his princess is rescue some beautiful maiden in a castle? It’s, like, so typical. The whiny girl with the lovely, long locks cries out, boo hoo, from a third-story window and every one of those silly princes trots up on his trusty horse to figure out how to cross the fiery moat and slay the demonic dragon preventing him from reaching his beloved.

    Puh-lease. Beauty is only skin deep, people. These girls in the castle? Materialistic, miserable, morons!

    Of course the princes never notice me. Why would they? I'm an old hag with a frightening fox by my side. Completely unapproachable! And that’s exactly how that dim-witted dragon wants it.

    Well, I’ve got to get these princes to notice me. I’m the princess, people! Only problem is I have this stinkin' one-hundred year spell to deal with. But, listen, I’m not about to walk around looking like warmed over oatmeal for another century. No way. No how. I’m going to get my prince and live happily ever after.

    Or die trying.

  69. I made it! I feel so honored to be among the "regulars." :)

    Heather - LOVE. IT. The colors, the characters, the fiery pit of hell. Good stuff, lady! And you know I've been wanting to do a dragon poem based on your work, but it has NEVER come to me. I have three drafts about a dragon named Ida, all icky. Perhaps I can use the tidbit below as a starting point and finally bring this baby home. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Susanna, thanks for keeping us on our toes this summer, and I'm so glad our devious plot worked to keep the series going. If you're ever at a loss for a prompt, let me know - I'd be pleased to help you out with a nudge if I can!

    Since my poem doesn't fall into any of the above categories, let's say I'm in with my title (which could be poem or PB). :)


    Bubba has

    a bulbous snout

    from which he


    his fire out

    and out it goes

    a roar, a hiss

    that startles sweet

    picnicking Miss

    who stares alarmed

    at her singed hair

    ’fore Bubba binges...


    medium rare.

  70. I am honored to have you among the "regulars"! Thanks for being such a devoted participant! :) I do actually want to ask you about that book you mentioned... emailing soon :) And I LOVE your title and that is SOME POEM! Fantastic ending! :) Thanks so much for another terrific entry!

  71. Kim! This is fantastic! I seriously hope you're going to write this, because I want to read it! I love the voice of your princess. Thanks so much for another terrific entry. It's been such fun reading your work this summer. I hope you'll keep visiting, and I hope to see a contest entry from you! :)

  72. Ooh! I like it! I am so impressed and amazed by everyone's creativity. So many fantastic ideas here and I want to read all the books that people's titles, beginnings, and synopses have suggested! Thanks for playing along for all 8 weeks, Jarm!

  73. Thank you Tracy...loved yours...

  74. Thank You Heather for giving us such a beautiful painting and sparking our imaginations...
    With that being said, here is a little tidbit of a story...a pitch (PB)...
    'A Day in the Life of a Wizard'...
    As Gertrude simmered her pot over the fire, she warned Freddy, (her friend the raven),( because wizards do not have enemies), that this concoction may not sit well in his tummy...'It might change you'...Please, she said, do not be tempted by the beautiful smell to taste this...You will be sorry...

  75. Love this Tracy...Way to go!!! You did the 8 weeks!!! Congratulations!! And thanks for helping me to do it too!!!

  76. Thank you Susanna for helping me stretch myself into new area's and inspiring new idea's...Much appreciated...Also, Thank You Heather for giving us such a beautiful painting and sparking our imaginations...
    With that being said, here is a little tidbit of a story...a pitch (PB)...
    'A Day in the Life of Gertrude'... 'a Wizard'...
    As Gertrude simmered her pot over the fire, she warned Freddy, (her friend the raven), ( because wizards do not have enemies), that this concoction may not sit well in his tummy...'It might change you'...Please, she said, do not be tempted by the beautiful smell and taste this...You will be sorry...

  77. Oh, gosh! Why do I feel certain that something untoward is going to befall Freddy?! I'm definitely hooked and wanting to know what happens! :) Thanks for another great entry, Karen, and for being such an enthusiastic participant in SS&S! :)

  78. Thanks Susanna...was fun after the initial uncomfortableness wore off...

  79. Pressure, pressure, pressure. LOL

  80. Thanks, kind Karen. I'm so glad you joined in the fun

  81. So glad you ended up enjoying it :)

    Karen Lee wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Thanks Susanna...was fun after the initial uncomfortableness wore off...

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  82. Title ... "Sortex the Dragon oh Ladon".

  83. I'm sure the S & S for the summer is over. Nevertheless I still wanted to play. Heather, this is an amazing illustration. Oh how it stimulates the imagination. Ooh how amazing would this be for a group of After-schoolers?! Here's my pb pitch:

    Sir SuRupee, a sweet, gentle Knight, is no match for the fierce Piquant, the red dragon charged with guarding McCormick Castle. Guided by Cynomon a well-meaning, but clumsy enchanter, with astigmatism, Sir SuRupee and his phobic steed (who has a fear of fire) brave treacherous obstacles to rescue Princess ParS Lee SayAge, her hand maiden RowsMare E. and RowsMare's son, Tiehym. Savor the flavor of this spicy tale as this motley crew battle the fiery forces of evil. haha, an extremely long and over the top pitch.

  84. Very entertaining! My favorite part is the astigmatism! :) And not too late! Today is the deadline and you made it. Woo-hoo! Prizes for Pam :)


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