Friday, August 30, 2013

The Petitioner

This is my entry for Rebekah Postupak's Flash! Friday #39. We were allowed between 290-310 words to put a story to the picture below. I absolutely LOVE the picture below. It is called Unicornio by Salvador Nunez. I would TOTALLY own this picture and REALLY want to now... I need to look into this. It's mesmerizing and breathtaking and gorgeous! Anyway, enough with me fawning over the painting, read my story! I love it, too! :)

Unicornio, by Salvador Nunez, shared as part of the Peru Arte Valor effort.


“A petitioner approaches.” Rayan intoned.

Curtis rolled his eyes as he covered the time capsule. He dusted off his hands, placed the shovel on the ground, and slumped in his chair at the table.

“Are you not even going to put on shoes?” Rayan pursed his lips.

“Why bother? It’s not like she’ll even get the door open. I’m surprised she made it past Fierma, not many can claim that.” Curtis tucked his feet under the table.

“She bound Fierma to a lower altitude. Aren’t you forgetting something?” Rayan raised an eyebrow.

“Huh. Clever.” Curtis looked around. The clifftop was covered in brush. The winter pixie gave him a thumbs-up as she flitted past. He glanced at the table and smacked himself on the forehead. Raising his hand over the cup, he filled it with elderberry wine.  “Happy now?”

Rayan huffed, the air fluttering his moustache. “Do you not wish to be rescued?”

“Of course I do!” Curtis glanced at the mounds of dirt behind him, row upon row reminding him how long he’d been stuck at the top of the world. “There are just so few who earn their wings anymore, let alone their wands – the door’s never going to open.”

“But what if-”

“Even if she opened it, like Glenda managed to, she’d have to have a unicorn to unlock the winter tree and release us all from eternal night. A unicorn! Absurd, mythical creatures that don’t exist!” Curtis stood, throwing his hands in the air and knocking over the chair.

“But what if-”

“Then, even assuming a miracle, why would she ever choose ME over all the riches of the world.” A tear spilled down his cheek. “I lost all hope a hundred years ago, Rayan.” He bent to pick up the chair, resigned.

“The door opens!” Rayan intoned.

Curtis hastily sat and smoothed his shirt.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Thanks to all who came out for week 8! You guys are awesome and your stories are so fun! You didn't make it easy for Eric. Go read the entries (here) and judge for yourself - leave some comments and encouragement. THEN come back here and see what Eric had to say. Without further ado...

Thanks to Alissa for letting me judge this week - it was fun getting a chance to really read everyone's stories and think about them in some depth. (Yay! You're welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed the judging experience!)

This was an amusing take on the world of Oz. My wife is currently reading the entire series, and she’s passed me bits of stories from time to time. It’s a rich world with lots of new avenues to explore. Why does there only get to be one sentient scarecrow, for example?

Laura James
I was nicely distracted by the sentence “She studied each pupil carefully, watching for the comedian, the swot, the mummy's boy, wondering if the one she sought was amongst them.” I really thought that she was looking for that troublemaker, and when she found Sunbeam, I was pleasantly surprised.

Dr. Mike Reddy
I always like puns. If this one had a 500 word setup for the punchline…

A nice slice of life scene, well-imaged. There was room for it to be more, to get to know more about Jennifer and her school, and I found that I was missing that.
 Runner Up
As someone who had a difficult time staying in the woodwork because people thought I was smart, I empathized strongly with Graham. It was a glimpse into an interesting family – what is it about their mother that drives them? What was Drew like before she was hospitalized? I almost picked this as the winner, but the story felt too incomplete – I really wanted to know more about Graham and where he was and have a better sense of his surroundings.

Week 8 Grand Champion AND Special Challenge Champion

Rebekah Postupak The List

I was intrigued right away with the list that started at 3 – I originally assumed that we’d come in and interrupted her as she was making her list, but adding items 1 and 2 later were a lot of fun. I wanted to know more about Eva, her background, how she got married, and what kind of being she was that was having so much trouble living her life with her new (and short-lived) husband.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


WooHoo! We're back for another round! I'm sure you will take this sentence and roll with it, as usual! If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted

Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Eric Martell also known as @drmagoo. Go check out his blog here. Read his winning tale from last week here!

Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #8 is:

It was [his] first day at [his] new [school], and [he] was determined to make this time different.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include the words:


Monday, August 26, 2013

You Call This an Upgrade?

This is my entry for Monday Mixer over at Jeffrey Hollar's blog. The prompt is 150 words exactly using at least 3 of the 9 words given. I've used 8 this week (I threw in the 9th, but as it's a different part of speech than the one he called for, it doesn't count...chirrup just wouldn't be a verb for me!) Ah well. I had fun. For some reason the two characters have British accents in my head as I was writing... Go figure. :) Enjoy!

You Call This an Upgrade?

“Welcome to the Greatest Library In The World! How may I assist your search for knowledge?”

“Thank you. I was looking for something from Joseph Favre.”

“Yes, yes! A true luminary in gustatory delights. We have an entire compendium of work here for your perusal.”


“Unfortunately, our entire collection is in flux at the moment. We’ve just changed over to a new networking system predicated on the very latest models of-”

“Excuse me. But I’m in a bit of a hurry.”

“Of course! So sorry! Let me just actuate the search engine…”

“What is that ethereal chirruping? Do you allow birds in here?”

“No, no. That’s just the pleasant loading sound chosen to enhance your experience. Your results are in! And… Erm… This can’t be right. STUPID SLAPDASH SYSTEM!”

“There’s no need to kick the-”

“HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO MY JOB- Ah, yes. Ahem. Follow me please.”

Friday, August 23, 2013

Lost Without You

Here is my entry for Rebekah Postupak's Flash!Friday competition! This week we get 240-260 words to work with. My entry came in at 257 words. Here's the photo prompt:

"Where Next," painting by Edward Frederick Brewtnall (1846 - 1902). Public domain.

I had tons of fun writing it! Enjoy! :)

Lost Without You


“Charles, you’ve dropped a little dollop of butter on your trousers, just there.” Catherine leaned toward him and pointed.

“Caty dear, you’re not even looking at the map! I was thinking of following the river to here.” Charles reached around and hugged her shoulder closer to him as he flipped the large map in half and pulled it toward them.

“But, Charles, you can’t go anywhere in such a state.” Catherine pulled out her handkerchief and wiped gently on his thigh. “Oh, dear. It’s left a stain.”

“Then follow this valley north to-”

“Charles,” Catherine interrupted. “Did you hear me?”

“Confound it all, Caty, no one will notice a small grease stain on my trouser leg. Especially where we are going.” He batted her hand away.

Catherine pulled her hand back, lower lip quivering, eyes pained.

“Now, Caty, there’s no need to cry. We’re going to make history today!”

“In stained trousers? Is that the impression you want to make?” She stood and turned from him, clutching the handkerchief to her breast.

Charles stood and rested his hands on her shoulders, “Catherine, Dearest, I shall put on new trousers. Please don’t be upset. You’re right, details matter. I should’ve remembered that.” He turned her around to face him. “Is that all?”

She looked down at the handkerchief in her hands. “It’s just that- Well- Sometimes I wonder if you even need me anymore. You always have your head in one of your maps.”

“Oh, Catherine, maps help me find my way, but I’d be lost without you.”

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A-Z Book Survey

Hey All! I have a bunch of writing friends who are filling out this survey. I decided to spend way too much time doing this, so I HAVE to put it up... Otherwise it was a waste of time. Hopefully now I won't beat myself up for not getting anything done today!

(NOTE: I'm having a very frustrating time with the formatting of this post, and I've reached the point of not caring anymore. Sorry it's not evenly spaced and whatnot, but I just didn't want to fight it anymore!)

Author(s) you’ve read the most books from: This question favors prolific authors. That said, I’ll answer the question anyway. Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Shannon Hale, Gail Carson Levine, Elizabeth Moon, CJ Cherryh… You know, this is SO MUCH HARDER when all your books are in boxes from a move across the country…

Best sequel ever: This survey is going to be impossible for me. I can’t choose favorites… I like to think that’s because I’m so passionate about everything that it’s impossible to choose, but I think it may just have to do with my inability to make decisions…about stuff…ever… I can think of MOVIES this applies to… The Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite Harry Potter book…that will have to do for now.
Currently reading: Um… I’m beta reading an awesome book right at the moment called Kingsdaughter. I’m in the middle of The Shadow Rising in my re-read of the Wheel of Time series before I read the end. And I’m planning on reading The Princess Bride just as soon as I can.
Drink of choice while reading: Water? Tea? I don’t really think about drinking when I’m reading…
E-reader or physical book: Yes. I love physical books. A lot. I love turning the pages and being able to flip back to that one scene really quickly to refresh my memory (I really miss that in ebooks)… Now that I have young children I find that my reading time is made possible by one-handed reading on my Kindle. The ability to push a button to turn the page, not have to hold it open, and set it down mid-sentence and not lose my page when disaster happens and I come back to it an hour later (I don’t know why my children like bookmarks so much…) is the only way I read anything. Plus, I love that it’s typically cheaper.
Fictional character you probably would have liked to date in high school: I didn’t date in High School… I did have a crush on most fictional characters, but I had very high standards in real life. I’m not sure any of them would’ve passed muster. Perhaps Dirk from Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey, but I think he was older…
Glad you gave this book a chance: Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray. I read this as a part of my book club (that I joined for the sole purpose of reading out of my comfort zone of fantasy/scifi/YA).
Hidden Gem book: Graceling by Kristin Cashore is one of my very favorite YA novels of all time. Don’t know if it’s hidden though (as I believe they may be making a movie now?), I didn’t know about it when I came across it in the library several years ago. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (and the rest of the series) is brilliant ‘Jane Austen with Magic’. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.
Important moment in your reading life: 5th grade: The year I became a reader. All thanks to Natalie Babbitt and Tuck Everlasting (and my 5th grade language arts teacher Mrs. Zeisloft – and the unremembered name of the student teacher who actually read it with us). I love this book. It has fantasy and mystery and love. It made me cry and it made me think. I never stopped reading after that.
Just finished: The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
Kind of books you won’t read: Won’t is too strong a word. It feels like never. And while I can say definitively that I will never read erotica, there are so many other criteria that go into what I choose to read. I usually won’t read a book I don’t think I will like. I usually won’t read graphic violence or sex or language so I tend to stay away from horror and most romance and certain fantasy/scifi authors/sub-genres.
Longest book you’ve ever read: Other than The Holy Bible, I think it’s The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan. (Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevski took me the longest amount of time to read, though – 3 months!)
Major book hangover because of: I’m defining hangover as a negative term (makes you sick and won’t go away), although I suppose it could be interpreted as a positive I-love-this-book-so-much-I-can’t-stop-thinking-about-it kind of way. Many books have given me the positive response. The negative is reserved for books I hate (which are few and far between, thankfully) and those in one of those horrid series that DOESN’T ACTUALLY FINISH THE STORY!!! I can’t get it out of my head and it makes me angry. I won’t read those either (at least not until the series is COMPLETELY finished).
Number of bookcases you own: Less than I did before the move. They broke some of them. And we always owned less than half of what we needed… (I feel like Bilbo all of a sudden…) I think I need to buy bookshelves.
One book you have read multiple times: Queen’s Own by Mercedes Lackey (It’s cheating only a little bit that it’s a trilogy including Arrow’s of the Queen, Arrow’s Flight, and Arrow’s Fall).
Preferred place to read: Anywhere. I’ve read walking around…seriously. I guess I would prefer a place that’s quiet and comfy, but I’m not sure that counts as I don’t have many of those moments! How about: on a comfy couch (or, even better, on the hanging porch swing) in a screened-in porch on a cool summer evening? But I suppose that’s only hypothetical since I’ve never done it… (I’m thinking of my Mamom’s porch from the house she lived in when I was growing up, but that was before I was a reader…)
Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: “Child, child, do you not see? For each of us comes a time when we must be more than what we are.” Lloyd Alexander, The Black Cauldron

Reading regret: Not having enough time to read all the books I want to???

Series you started and need to finish: Sigh. Wheel of Time.

Three of your all-time favorite books:
THREE?!?!?! Are you kidding??? You remember my thing about favorites, right??? Arrow’s of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey, Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, Foreigner by CJ Cherryh, Once a Hero by Elizabeth Moon, The Wide-Awake Princess by ED Baker, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynn Jones, Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, Little Women and Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott, Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, Harry Potter by JK Rowling. I’ll stop there. Oh. My. They’re all female authors except Brandon! Doh! I’m sure I have favorite male authors as well…
Unapologetic fan for: Isn’t that redundant? Fans are always unapologetic. I’m not sure how to answer this one: Books? Fantasy? Superheroes? Doctor Who (oops, this isn’t a book…at least, not that I’ve read)?

Very excited for this release more than all others: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (really there are SO MANY…this one comes out soon.)

Worst bookish habit: Reading during inappropriate times/places/ etc. Oh, no, not being able to put a book down! The need to KEEP READING until it’s finished. That’s way worse (and typically causes the first!). 

X marks the spot: Start at the top left of your bookcase, and name book 27: This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti (since they’re all in boxes at the moment, I just picked one out randomly)

Your latest book purchase: No idea. I think it was some random free book for my Kindle about learning how to de-clutter…I haven’t read it yet and I don’t feel like looking it up.

ZZZZZ… The last book that kept you up way too late: Um, see “Worst bookish habit”. The one I’m reading right now (Kingsdaughter), and the one I read before that and the one I read before that… You get the point.


Yay! That was so fun! Thanks to all who participated! You guys are really bringing your A-game! You didn't make it easy for Nick. (heehee, good job!) Go read the entries (here) and judge for yourself - leave some comments and encouragement. THEN come back here and see what the judge had to say. Without further ado...

This week's challenge was a delight to judge - thanks Alissa. (You're welcome!) It has something for everyone; murder, mystery, and mayhem sit alongside a genre range featuring fairy tales, SF, thriller, horror, steampunk and contemporary writing - twists galore, wonderful vocabulary and great story telling. I have commented on every story and tried, when thoughts occurred to me, to make comments that would be constructive, rather than just making 'You've all done very well' noises. I've added these in the comments section of Alissa's blog (here). Please accept these comments as I offer them, but remember that it is just one reader's opinion, take it or leave it, it's a writers choice. I hope to see you all again soon in this and other challenges.

The Verdict (drum roll...) (da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da... I like to be helpful! :) )

Special Challenge Runner Up

DoctorMikeReddy Eye of the Beholder

Mike, I loved the humour in this piece, particularly the puns & word play ' stone un-Turnered'. The war between the artistic styles lit the tale up. The final line ties the story up beautifully. Using the challenge prompts in one sentence is just showing off!

Special Challenge Champion

Rebekah Postupak The Most Beautiful Woman

Rebekah, a wonderful, whimsical tale that leaves the reader wondering up which particular garden path they are being led; before depositing them deftly on solid, familiar, but unexpected ground with a smile on their face. A sharp sense of character that both uses the reader's background assumptions to good effect, and provides additional personality and depth. Great use of the challenge prompts (again all in one sentence!)

Runner Up to the Grand Champion

Jeffrey Hollar A Joy Forever

Wow Jeff! This one takes the reader on a journey. Exquisite description, so real I felt that I could reach out and touch her. But then you make the sharp left turn into a sudden 'car crash' of a denouncement, beautiful as much for its abruptness as for its execution. The sense of closure in the protagonist's reflective comments about the technical aspects of his trade, tie up the beauty theme in a neat package. Good stuff!

Week 7 Finish That Thought Grand Champion

drmagoo untitled

This is a powerful, moving, poignant 'slice of life' flash fiction. All elements of the story are strong. Plot, character, location, conflict, resolution, theme and a sense of change are all present in abundance. You truly made the unseen girl a very real presence - a character in the story. The final paragraph not only resolves the tale brilliantly, but it takes it to a different place and adds real resonance and depth. I had to award this piece the prize as I kept thinking about it long after I finished reading it. The mark of fine flash fiction! Thank you.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Welcome back to another week of super fun stories! I'm so excited to see what you all come up with! If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted

Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Nick Johns also known as @nickjohns999. Go check out his blog here. Read his winning tale from last week here!

Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #7 is:

[She] was the most beautiful [woman] I had never met.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include the words:


Monday, August 19, 2013

Chewing Out - An Excerpt

(OR - What I Want To Say When I'm Angry)

I'm not sure I can call this a story. It's really just a portion of an argument, but this is what came out of me when I read the words for Jeffrey Hollar's Monday Mixer (150 words exactly using at least three of the nine words, one in each category - I've used all nine (go over-achiever me!)).

I can tell you I was extraordinarily mad at the time I wrote it. I had just read a part of a story where a character did something awful to a character I adored for no good reason and I was livid. I wanted said character to die a horrible death. I wanted to rip the book up and throw it across the room (but seeing as it was on my computer, that would have been difficult). And I didn't have the rest of the story, as the excerpt ended on that scene...which only exacerbated the problem.

Anyway, I guess this is the type of thing that comes out of me when I'm really angry. It amuses me now. Enjoy!

“Your peculation is the reason you’re in this mess! There you were, swanking around and rubbing the fact that you stole their money in their faces. You’ve caused a schism - not your side against ours, but two sides fighting about what to do with you. I’ll also posit that your draconian leadership hasn’t garnered you many friends because there’s no one arguing for you. This organization is supposed to be sportive and you’ve turned it into a competitive, backbiting mess! What do you have to say for yourself?”

“It’s not my fault! Jimmy said-”

“I don’t want to hear excuses! Let me play a mawkish tune for you while you cry over a gallon of milk you dumped on your own head!”

“But it’s not like I meant to hurt anyone!”

“Oh, go drink a slurry of kool-aid mixed with the crushed bones of those you’ve walked all over.”

Friday, August 16, 2013

Letting Go

Here's my entry into Rebekah's Flash! Friday #37. I had a lot of fun with it and have SO MUCH MORE that wouldn't fit into the allotted 95-105 words! Here's the picture prompt:

Baby Glenn. Photo used with permission.

I came in at 105 words exactly. Enjoy!

Tagon gripped Glenn’s clothes and leaned his face into the boy’s back, tears falling freely. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be, he thought, we were supposed to be safe on this backwater planet.

But they weren’t safe. A Klystocene raiding party tracked them here somehow. The yellow-green ‘meteor’ landed early this morning.

They didn’t know about Glenn; he could still be safe. The goat would take him to the next village; someone would take the boy in, care for him. He’d grow up as human. He could evade eradication, survive.

Then why is it so hard to let go?

Tagon forced his fingers open.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Great job everyone! Go read the entries here if you haven't yet (WHAT?!?!?! You haven't read them? Whyever not?!?! Get to it!) You certainly know how to make it difficult for judge Jeffrey Hollar! Here's what he had to say:

I knew when my muse crammed this opening line in my head along with the special challenge words, it would make for some…intriguing stories. Those stalwart souls who took up the challenge certainly did NOT disappoint me.

Penname brought us a poignant and hard-fought battle back to salvation when all seems lost. I could identify with this story on soo many levels. Jessica West reminded me what it was like to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time on the streets of a city you have seriously underestimated the hazards of. I’m glad the ending worked out better for me than for this poor woman. Michelle raised the imposing question of which would be worse, that the end of the world is fast-approaching or that you have already seen just exactly what that end will entail? I’m not sure which it would be but this was a scary tale. And, as always, I truly enjoyed Rebekah Postupak’s signature blend of fantasy and whimsy. It’s gratifying to know that, for every unusual otherworldly creature there is a place they truly belong.

After far too much deliberation here are my top picks:

Special Challenge Runner Up: Megha Nayar for her story The Return. This was a thoroughly-disturbing example of children, in our day and age, growing up far too quickly and knowing far too much that no child should ever have to know. The special challenge words fit well in the tale told and didn’t seem at all out of place. I did find the phrasing of this story could have been arranged differently to create more of a flow to the tale. That is, in most all cases, a subjective thing and only time and experience will keep you on the mark with such things. Megha is certainly in the ballpark here.

Special Challenge Champion: Dr. Mike Reddy for his story For Better Or Worse. Who doesn’t enjoy a great tale of duplicity, deception and dirty dealing? In this case, the special challenge words were so subtly blended in I had to double-check myself to make sure they were there. (they were) I especially LOVED the ending when dear old mum gets to find out first hand exactly how Karma works. Outstanding work!

Grand Champion: Nick Johns for his story Win Some, Lose Some. This was such a gritty, brutal nasty look at what it’s like to be down and out with no prospects. Having spent a bit of time, as George Thorogood put it “livin’ outdoors”, I could appreciate the descriptive phrasing and imagery nick wove in. I rather suspected when Millie found the bag that things seemed to good to be true that…well…they probably were. Kudos to Nick for ending things on a high(?) note by letting Millie get just a little bit of the pot of gold at the end of the nightmare. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


SO SORRY!!! I thought I had scheduled this to start at midnight...yeah, apparently not! Oops! NOTE: I will keep this open until 9am Eastern Wednesday morning so everyone has a chance to get something in. If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted

Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Jeff Hollar also known as @klingorengi. Go check out his blog here (where he has a flash fiction contest called Monday Mixer!). Read his winning tale from last week here!

Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #6 is:

Her mind was seized with a sense of [terror] so intense she [wept].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include the words:

 AAAAAAAND WE'RE OFF (...finally)!!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Power Play

Here's my entry for this weeks 55 word challenge! Below is the photo prompt I used (there are 3 options). I had fun with this one!

The clouds swirled and writhed, coalescing into darkness. A darkness so deep and heavy it robbed color from the world.

I felt a pull. First a light breeze, then a whipping wind. I grabbed hold of a tree before my feet were pulled toward the sky.

A rumble overhead, “Let go!”

“Say please.”

Sigh. “Please?”

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pre-Programmed Children

I wrote this piece for the 55 Word Challenge last week. I never thought I would WIN!!! :) As you know, 55 words is HARD for me, but I love a good challenge. Enjoy!

“They look so real! They even fidget!”

“Of course. Our scientists were very detailed in their design.”

“So they act like other kids?”

“In all appearances, yes – minus the hassle of training and discipline. They come pre-programmed.”

“Doesn’t that defeat the point?”

“Parents want good children with little effort.”

“You’re sure?”

“Our studies were conclusive.”

Right as Rain...Unfortunately.

I wrote this story for Rebekah Postupak's Flash Friday last week! Below is the picture prompt and we had 100-200 words in which to tell our story. Mine came in at 192 (that is scandalously under limit for me!) Enjoy!

Photo by Bild Bundesarchiv, WikiCommons

“You’re sure the dial’s readin’ right?” Clive flicked his finger on the gauge, hoping it would show there was some error.

“Yes, Sir! I’ve gone through the checklist twice.” Wilson wrung his hands together, wishing there were something he could do.

Clive turned to Mark, “We got a procedure for this?”

Mark snorted. “You kiddin’? This isn’t s’posed to happen. This here’s full proof. When those Coats left us here, they said it’d hold forever so long as we kept puttin’ coal in it.”

“Yeah, well, it almost ain’t holding now, and we’ve on’y been here six years!” Clive chewed on his tongue, trying to think of something they could’ve missed. The pressure hadn’t changed, but the door had started moving.

“Um, excuse me?” Wilson interrupted his thought. “Is it broken?”

Mark looked at him solemn-like. “No. It’s right as rain.”

Wilson glanced from one to the other. “I don’t understand.”

“Our meter on the door’s gone haywire. This pump’s not holdin’ that door in place any longer.”

“So it is broken.”

“No. It just ain’t winnin’ anymore.”

“What do we do?” Wilson asked, earnest and a bit fearful.

“Pray, son. Pray.”


WooHoo! Yesterday's competition was fierce! You made it tough for Dr. Mike Reddy (well done)! Here are the judges comments and decisions (cross your fingers!):

Judge's notes: Thank you for a diverse set of stories, all dealing with the deliberately vague use of pronoun in their own way: some modified them to suit their tales, while others played on the ambiguity. A few of the stories were led by the special challenge words, but none were overburdened. 

Each of the stories captured my interest, from Jessica's capable spy, action adventure to Roger's search for his father in which Prathiba (@needanidplease) reminds us of having faith. 

RockChick's second-hand account, dealing with mental illness, and LurchMonster's rather visceral, spectral retribution both addressed some difficult topics; not everyone feels that comfortable stepping into the darkness, but some of the best horror writers come from such beginnings (or is that endings?).

Alan's "Taken" gave us a fishy tale that reminded us we can just be lucky some times. Rebecca and Jeffrey start us on unlikely quests that I for one would like to see concluded! 

So, the diverse range of stories made comparison hard for me. However, I looked for either coherent tales in their own right, or complete narratives that kept popping into my head, making me regret there wasn't another chapter. 

Judge's Special Challenge Champion:

Jessica West "The Capture"

Especially the use of 'curtain' in the opening paragraph added to the building of character. It suggested a caring mother who had trained her son as a precaution against her dangerous work. While I hadn't anticipated 'hot water' - so obvious now, of course - I think the fact that I feel the kidnappers, whoever the are, Trinity Guard or some new menace, have really bitten off more than they can chew here. So, hot water seems justified.

Judge's Special Challenge Runner Up:

Jeffrey Hollar "The Void Collector's Son"

Again the use of 'curtain', this time in a metaphorical way, persuaded me.

Grand Champion:

Jeffrey Hollar "The Void Collector's Son"

Using the title to solve the problem of the opening line's vagueness, straight away wove a complex fantasy setting with mystery and magic and an unlikable, but pragmatic hero. 

Grand Champion Runner Up:

Rebekah Postupak "The Carpenter's Daughter"

Firstly, no dragons :-) Well, not yet anyway. The story itself was intriguing because it has many of the qualities of a fairytale. I liked this because I could see the Blind Prince in future adventures.

Monday, August 5, 2013


Welcome back to our fifth week of competition! This week is going to be so much fun! If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted

Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Dr. Mike Reddy also known as @doctormikereddy. Go check out his blog here (where he has a 30 second flash fiction contest called #TicckleTuesday!). Read his winning tale from last week here!

And now for your super-duper sparkly prompt to start us off!

Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #5 is:

[His] son watched as [he] was snatched away.

Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include the words: