In the Clouds with Friday Fictioneers

For the past several weeks, photo prompts for the Friday Fictioneers have come from among the Fictioneers themselves. As beautiful and challenging as Madison Woods’ photos have always been, I must say the other Fictioneers have challenged us as well.

Last week was my photo, and I thank everyone who wrote fascinating, lovely, thrilling, and engaging stories and poems inspired by it. There were lots of wonderful collaborations.

And we have an equally intriguing photo for today–an unusual cloud formation. I’m moved by clouds myself and have taken hundreds of pictures of them over the Blue Ridge Mountains, but today’s photo has a Jupiter-esque quality about it. I even spotted the equivalent of the great red spot in the lower right of the formation.

So, Jupiter. Space. Space travel. Science Fiction. The result is my story, “For the World is Hollow.” The title alone should tell you which old sci-fi show inspired it as well. (Or you can just look at the tags.)

To read other Friday Fictioneers’ stories, click on the frog-like icon after the story, and, as always, if you don’t see the link above, click on the Friday Fictioneers tab at the top of the page and select the story from the drop-down list.

A Little Departure

I know this is my writing blog, but one of my other creative pursuits is photography. I’ve shot everything from aerobatic aircraft to the Space Shuttle to landscapes and, of course, grandchildren.

I’m lucky to have an incredible view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from my back deck (at least until my new neighbor builds his McMansion–or as I call it, ten pounds of shit in a five-pound bag) and they’ve been a recent, favorite subject. So, indulge me, if you will, in a little picture blog. (All photos (c)Phyllis A. Duncan and were shot with a Nikon Coolpix L110 camera set for “Landscape.” A great little camera, by the way.)

The following photos I took on May 20, when severe thunderstorms were building and deluging counties east of the Blue Ridge. These storms brought severe flash flooding to DC and Maryland, but the Valley was beautifully sunny.

Here, I like the foreground scud clouds, which make such a great contrast with the cumulus clouds in the background. These were actually building over the Blue Ridge.

Then, a good-sized rain cloud came over the Valley to “join” the updraft over the Blue Ridge.














A good idea of exactly how a cumulus cloud builds.







And here, the cumulus clouds get a little color from the late afternoon sun.










I’ve had a fascination with cloud formations since I studied to become a weather observer for one of the first major articles I wrote for then FAA General Aviation News. These shots, taken early this morning, intrigued me because of the “cloud within a cloud” appearance.

About 0730 this morning, an amazing “churning” of the atmosphere.

This “column” of moister air was just such an interesting construction, I had to take several shots. This is the best.

And, just a few minutes after I started shooting, it brightened considerably.