Thursday, July 31, 2014


Thanks to everyone for coming out this week! We only had three entries, but that means it'll take less time for you to go read them all! Go here to get up to date before we announce the winners. Now, here's what the judge had to say:

Erica:  The impending danger to the mother and son was very real in your writing.  I felt the tension rise and fall with the ending eliciting a fear all mothers have.  My heart sank for her.  The medical event was very creative and added to the very real feeling of being selfless as a mother.

Casey:  Your story was very descriptive and slightly sad.  The boy had love for his mother but her mental health had caused him to hate her a bit.  I may be reading too much into the story but mental disorders are very real.  At the end, I wondered if the boy is also suffering from the same mental disorder, or do we have evil fairies living among us!  Thank you for your story!

Michael:  Good job making the deadline!!!  Great story that is very descriptive.  The details in your writing bring it alive in my imagination.  I enjoy your storyline and the images it elicits.   Good work!

Special Challenge Champion: Erica

Grand Champion: Michael

Monday, July 28, 2014


Welcome back! 

*Pause for shameless plug* If you're reading this and it's still considered Monday night Eastern time (you have two hours tops from when this goes live), PLEASE go vote for me in the Dog Days of Summer Contest HERE. (It'll take less than 10 seconds. Seriously. Scroll down to the poll and click my name (Alissa Leonard) and then the vote button. That's it.) Thanks a million! *Returns to business at hand*

AHEM! Where were we? Ah, yes, our flash fiction writing contest! It's gonna be another amazing week of writing. So get to it! (I've already taken up enough of your time with the shameless plug that most of you won't even read in time to vote, so no more words from me this week!) ;)

If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Start with the given first sentence.
2. Up to 500 words
3. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST

Oh, and feel free to change pronounspunctuationtense, 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 Billie Jauss
. Also known as @billiejauss. Read her winning tale from last week here! Billi is in the process of writing her first novel. She typically writes Christian Women's Literature. Check out her blog here.

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-4 is:

[The mother and her son] ran hand-in-hand through the drenching rain, seeking refuge [in an abandoned fishing shack] hidden just beyond the [dunes].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include a medical emergency.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dog Days Contest Entry

Hey all! I wrote this piece too quickly last week for the Dog Days of Summer Contest over at Rebekah Postupak's Flash!Friday blog. This is a special contest with a cash prize! I made it through the first round of judging and into the final ten! Now the rest is up to you, the readers. The winner will be chosen by popular vote. ...I've never been one of the popular kids, but if you like the story, I'd appreciate your vote. It's extremely easy and fast: just follow this LINK TO VOTE, click on my name in the poll (Alissa Leonard - third from the bottom), and click vote. (And the counters will show you how pathetically far behind I am, so spread the word!) Or you can go here to read all ten entries, and vote for your favorite.

Anyway, whether you vote or not, you can read my story. I like to think outside the box a bit. The theme was Childhood Summer Mischief (Tom Sawyer-esque), and I didn't want to do the same thing as everyone else. It took me nearly the full two weeks to come up with my idea. There are things I would change if I had more time, but this is the entry as I submitted it. I hope you enjoy! :)

by Alissa Leonard

The vibrations from Mrs. Cockle’s scream sends a school of snapper scattering and makes my teeth throb, but I keep swimming. Her scream has nothing on Momma’s. Besides, I only put a tiny shark among her clambeds…

I glance to make sure she isn’t following, then speed ahead to catch the current that will take me to my secret cave. She certainly got a good look at me; I’m hard to miss. My algae, skin, scales, and gills are red, orange, yellow, and gold respectively instead of normal greens and blues or at least browns. But I read the rules carefully, and being seen isn’t grounds for disqualification.
Being caught is.

I curse my parents and ancestors for their ‘artistic sensibilities’ and the breeding plan that culminated in me: a freak. However, those same sensibilities will cause them to completely forget Mrs. Cockle’s complaint by the time I get home, so it could be worse.

I dive out of the current and approach my favorite patch of coral. The colors and variation attracted me at first – bright yellows next to deep pinks and pale purples in all shapes and sizes. I noticed my cave only after hours spent inspecting the diversity. The coral grew up and around it, blocking it from view, but I followed a clownfish down into the reef, under the green shelf next to the blue spikes.

I dart there now, thankful I haven’t grown too big yet. Several twists and turns later, I enter the cave and swim straight to the two shells on the shelf. I lift the clamshell out of the first one and move it to the second, already filled with symbols of my initiation tasks. I have only a single sun-cycle to complete all eight tasks, which gives me until shortly after sunset to do this last one.

I lift the stone from the shell, wishing its form was something other than human.

Humans should be avoided.

I have to take a human thing and replace it with something I made.

I place the stone back in the shell, and slip the shell bracelet I made onto my wrist. I need to breathe before I start this. I swim to a tunnel at the back of the cave and follow it up to a secluded pool.

I lay on my back and just float, my gills swaying in the water beneath me, my lungs breathing in long and deep, and my skin absorbing all it can. I need every bit of energy to pull this off. My coloring will make stealth practically impossible, but I have to try. Going at sunset is my only chance. Hopefully it’s colorful tonight.

I take a deep breath and return through the cave and out into the open water toward shore. My nerves make me hyper-sensitive to the movement of the water and the tastes and vibrations and songs. I approach the cove I’ve chosen, and the crashing of the waves drowns out a lot of the other sounds.

There’s a long pier jutting into the water; which is my reason for choosing this cove. I need cover. A group of humans have a fire on the beach. Three. Too many. I consider leaving to find another, but then I see the sea turtle.

It’s tied down, pinned to the beach with rope and staked into the sand. A pile of things lie close to the surf. I could easily grab one and go… But the turtle starts grunting and pulling at the restraints. I have to do 

Slowly, I glide under the pier, navigating around the logs until I’m close enough to shore to place my hands on the sand. The turtle is several body-lengths from the edge of the water. I see no way to get there fast enough to avoid being seen.

The humans are on the opposite side of the fire. Behind me, the setting sun sprays reds and golds across the water. It may be enough cover. They’re not looking this way.

Now’s my chance.

I follow a wave as far as I can, then fold my gills flat along my back and roll to the turtle. I hide myself behind her, and reach up to her neck to comfort her and tell her to stay still.

I pull up the spikes imbedded in the sand one by one, and lay them with my bracelet on top. As I do, a plan forms. The turtle will need time to make its way to the water. I can do that.

I coil the rope around my arm, and glance to make sure they’re not looking. I tell the turtle to wait for my signal, and roll back into the water. I swim just past the pier and across the cove from the turtle and splash my tail wildly on the surface.

The humans run into the surf at the same time as the turtle pulls itself toward the water. Now to get the humans far enough out that I can teach them a lesson…

I unwind the rope as I splash about. Once the humans pass the breakers, I dive to the bottom and dart to the first, slipping the rope around his leg, tying a knot. I move to the next, making sure not to pull the first, and tie a knot around the second. Then hurry to the last and tie his leg as well. Let them feel what it’s like to be tied up.

I tie the end to the pier and pull hard on the rope. All three get a dunking.

The human screams as they reach the surface and pull against each other are music to my ears.

I catch up to the turtle and ask her to accompany me. How else will I prove that she totally counts as a human thing?

Again, if you liked it, I'd appreciate your vote. Thanks so much! (Here's the VOTING LINK again.)

Thursday, July 24, 2014


SO SORRY!!! I had this in my email late last night, and decided to put it up this morning... Yeah. I just realized that thinking about putting it up is not the same as actually putting it up. Doh! Thanks for your patience (and forgiveness!). If you missed any of the stories, go check them out here. Without any further ado, here's what the judge had to say:

Five really strong pieces for this week makes judging difficult. Thank you all for taking on the prompt and running with it.
As anyone who knows me will attest, I am a softie and too nice. So I will take it easy on the exclamation points, adverbs, and other little things that distract from a piece and focus on the story.

Emily Karn

What a great idea with the vampire/zombie honeymoon suite. I love how our introduction to him is the spike being removed from his eye. You had a great twist on the trope to have the father-in-law be the one to kidnap the bride and to stake the son. There’s so much going on a mere 498 words here. With a little rewording this could be a fantastic piece.

Erica Rahaman

                First, I completely understand Tanner’s rage over serving turkey at a wedding. What’s next — tofu? That is almost as bad as having an ellipses at the end of the opening sentences.
                This is a very stark look at why you shouldn’t invite anyone to weddings. I’d love to know why our nameless killer needs an invitation to the wedding. The last line has me suspecting that Tanner’s little sis has shown up to berate him. It’s rough to be the killer when mom will find out. Your visual elements are superb.
         Such a great piece to be 511 words — or 11 over. I may be judging, but even I must abide by the rules. A fantastic first run in the flash contest.

Billie Jauss

What a great job of showing what kind of ladies that Elise and Sally are. I snickered at seeing how you changed out decay for cheap perfume (some may argue that those are one and the same). I do believe you may be obsessed with the word obsession, but then it works.  A little sad to see decay switched out with cheap perfume — but who am I to judge. Wait, I am to judge.


What a fun little story you’ve provided. I love how you kept it all in one charming scene. Percival and Wilfred remind me of the old bald men in early cartoons. They sound like Pride and Prejudice meets Wedding Crashers. It’s very nice to see how non-violent your story went. And now I want canap├ęs, thanks for that.


What a delightful psycho-killer tale. Martha is sweet other than that little killing thing. I’m not sure if this is a horror story or a cautionary tale about not using female justices of the peace / ministers, but either way well done. I love the twist on Martha killing her husband over a mistake. And she is pretty spry for someone of her age (50 years of loving him, plus twenty in the mental health ward).
If this is your “not best” then I can’t wait to see what you are able to bring out for future challenges. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.


Alas, the matron in charge of this contest demands we have a winner:

Special Challenge Champion:  Billie Jauss
    Your deception element was awesome. I love how Elise tried to pull a fast one on Sally, but that Sally turned the tables on her. This was made all the better because we know that cheated on her boyfriend, so we knew to keep an eye on her.

Grand Champion: Billie Jauss
                Strong story, relatable characters, and a delicious bit of cattiness to win. Perhaps an odd obsession on obsessions which borders on inception obsession. 2Become1 is a wonderful name for their new business. This is a wonderful piece (and well played using the [] around decay to change up the prompt.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Welcome back!!!! Before we move on, if you haven't seen Weird Al's "Word Crimes" video yet, it's worth a look. I LOVED it! Here's a link to it on Grammarly's website, if you need it. You're welcome. :) Laughter is the best medicine, right? Anyway, you may now go and read the prompt for the week and get writing! Yes, I just gave you permission... No you didn't need my permission... I gave it anyway. I like to go above and beyond what is required of me. ;)

If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Start with the given first sentence.
2. Up to 500 words
3. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST

Oh, and feel free to change pronounspunctuationtense, 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 Michael Simko
. Also known as @michaelsimko1. Read his winning tale from last week here! Michael writes Adult & New Adult Thrillers and Mysteries. He is just beginning querying his storm-chasers-on-a-mission novel. He can be reached at @michaelsimko1 where he tweets about writing, technology, and tornados.

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-3 is:

The scent of wedding cake, flowers, and [decay] assail [me] as [I] approach the table.

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include a deception that backfires.


Thursday, July 17, 2014


WooHoo! I finally made it to the computer to post the judges comments! :) Sorry for the wait. If you missed the entries, go here to read them all. Otherwise, let's read what the judge had to say:

Charles— Proofreading is tough, especially when on the clock. Something always slips through the cracks. That being said, your secondary characters were awesome. They really helped push the feeling of a rock climber brotherhood. It was a nice reveal when it turned out they weren't mean, like I thought, but teaching him an important lesson.


Emily— Your first paragraph was perfect. I was drawn in immediately. Your descriptive language was amazing. I feel a little cheated though. I have no idea who your characters are or where they were exploring. It feels like a small excerpt to a longer story. Maybe something you can build on. You definitely have something here.


Mary— Great story. You took the special challenge and used it to your advantage. I loved the line where your character was counting dead flies. It made me chuckle. I also enjoyed the trippy passage of time. You were doing everything right, but, and I hate that I didn't mention it before, you managed to use one of my biggest pet peeves in flash fiction—the “it was all a dream” twist. You could have taken the story in any other direction and I would have eaten it up. Still a great story though.


Michael—The setting you crafted was amazing. I felt like I was in those mountains, and I swear I could smell the rain (and it’s 105 degrees here). I loved your ending. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but the husband’s last words paired with the oncoming rainfall makes it seem like his wish will come true. Beautiful tragic ending to go along with the beautiful world you created.


Amy— I like the way you played off of Hansel and Gretel. Most people don’t realize how sick that fairytale villain is (a cannibalistic, child abducting old lady), but your take brings it from fairytale to reality. I hope they managed to escape.


Special Challenge Champion -- JM MacF (Mary)


Grand Champion -- Michael Simko



Monday, July 14, 2014


Welcome! I'm so glad you could join us again this week. I'm currently on vacation in Colorado, so if you can spread the word this week, that'd be great. I'll try to get online to remind people, but I may be away from internet for at least part of the day. Thanks for helping out! Now go check out the prompt for the week and get writing! :)

If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Start with the given first sentence.
2. Up to 500 words
3. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST

Oh, and feel free to change pronounspunctuationtense, 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 Carlos Orozco
. Also known as @goldzco21. Read his winning tale from last week here! This is what he has to say about himself: I live in the Yakima Valley and work at a library with the community engagement team. I love me a good short story of any genre (I’m reading collections from Raymond Carver and Phillip K. Dick right now). No blog, but you can tweet me @goldzco21. I am currently on a flash fiction contest binge so feel free to drop a comment on my stuff if you see it. I love feedback.

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-2 is:

[Many days had] gone by, and [he] remained [enslaved] in the [small cabin].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Change the weather as the story progresses. One weather change minimum.


Thursday, July 10, 2014


Thank you all for participating! I had a lot of fun reading the entries. I'm completely exhausted now (packing for a cross country trip the day you're supposed to judge wasn't great planning on my part...), but I think I have everything done... Hopefully. If you missed reading any of the offerings, go check them out here. Otherwise, here are my comments and decisions:

Michael: I loved how you took the question in the beginning of ‘can you help me bake a cake’ and made it harder than asking her to marry him at the end. That was fun. I also enjoyed how the instruments used in baking a cake are MacGyver-like to someone unfamiliar with them (props for that). My favorite line, though, was when she asks him when he thinks he’ll get good at this parenting thing… “Probably about the time [she] leaves home,” is perfect. I feel like that all the time.

Emily: So much fun! I loved how you mixed the MacGyver I know with an older man struggling with arthritis and no time constraints. Nostalgia smiles all over the place! I really enjoyed the idea of his having a muse – it’s such a common idea for artists that it makes so much sense. My favorite line: “…that’s the problem with this younger generation, no imagination.” Loved it.

Charles: Moving can be so difficult. I never moved as a child, but I’ve done so several times as an adult and it’s never easy. I loved how your story showed that there are good thing and bad things and all our attitude needs is a little perspective. I loved the line “…a little bit more than ridiculous dusted in flour.” The picture was perfect.

Casey: Party planning competition at its finest. I loved the description of Cromwell Clutterbuck and all that you conveyed in two short paragraphs – the details were great. Also, you use of language flowed very nicely and you had some very evocative words! (Seriously, where can you use the words soiree, macerated, and sumptuous in the same story? Well, lots of places probably, but they were super fun!) By the end I was slow clapping along with him. “Honestly,” fireworks and dogs? Shoulda thought that one through.

Mary: He’s like a child! The little stinker. I loved how you painted their relationship so clearly. When he’d put five pages in the box and she’d fill four boxes, I laughed hysterically when she told him, “You’re going to keep at this until you have your mess cleaned up.” Also, I love the line, “A slow smirk seeped across Jamison’s lips…” Very nice.

Carlos: So much fun! I loved the situation you created, and all the doubt as to who knew what and when that might change. Their situation certainly was dire if ten MacGyver’s couldn’t fix it! Sheesh! Or the criminal hugely underestimates MacGyver. I’m seriously interested to know if he just happened to carry around a portable hologram thing-y or if he MacGyvered his own way out of the situation…

Rebekah: You can paint a picture with words like no one else I know. Such a hard subject matter. I winced in all the places. I was shocked at her unexpected, but totally should’ve been expected, getting knocked unconscious. And I willed her to run – far and fast and forever. But I was confused at the end. Was she sending a daughter off? Without her? Or was she living a fantasy? You needed a few more words.

Festive Challenge Champion: Casey Rose

Special Challenge Champion: Emily Karn

Grand Champion: Carlos Orozco

Monday, July 7, 2014


WELCOME, WELCOME!!! I'm here to kick off year two! Thanks so much to everyone who's joined me over the past year. I've had a good time, and I hope you have too! I'm not one for fanfare, so we're just going to get on with the party. We're open longer than usual to celebrate the milestone and allow everyone who wants to participate an opportunity. So put those thinking caps on and INSPIRE me!!! :)

And just to make everything MORE EXCITING, we're going to have a SPECIAL FESTIVE CHALLENGE (again, since no one took me up on it last week...)! We're having a party! Include one or more party items (including, but not limited to: streamers, noisemakers, cake, ice cream, pinata, fireworks, etc)

If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Start with the given first sentence.
2. Up to 500 words
3. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST (Special times for THIS WEEK ONLY!!! Prompt goes live Monday, Noon EST and ends Wednesday 7am EST (or later, as long as you get it posted before the judge looks at the blog Wed morning!) If you're close and would like me to postpone looking at the blog until 8 or 9, just message me and I can probably find something else pressing to do until then. ;) ) Winners will be posted before I go to bed Wednesday night (I'm leaving for vacation Thursday morning!).

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... ME!!! Alissa Leonard
. Also known as @lissajean7. You already know where my blog lives (hint: you're here). If you would like to read one of my very favorite flash pieces I've written, you can go here. Or here. Or here. (Okay, I have too many! I'll stop now.) Our winner from last week, Eric Martell, graciously allowed me to judge on this first week of year two. You should go read his winning tale from last week (here) if you missed it though!

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #2-1 is:

[He] paused and said, "[Fine], [inspire] me," arms crossed and eyebrows raised in disbelief [that I could do any such thing].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Macgyver[ism] (use it as a noun, a verb, a person, a reference, whatever - if you aren't familiar with Macgyver *hangs head and sheds a tear for you*, here's a link to the wiki page)


Thursday, July 3, 2014


I love how each entry was completely different from the others. It's so much fun to see the unique ways a prompt will influence different people. Thank you all for sharing your stories with us! If you missed any of them, go here before reading the judges comments. So without further ado, let's read what the judge had to say:

Sonja: Regretfully this story must be disqualified for failing to start with the mandatory first sentence. Kudos for the reference to my favorite hero/vilian Vlad the Empaler. Favorite line: "The light from the fire made the colors glitter and made them look even more out of this world."

dr.magoo: Delightful story. Enjoyed your twist: the scientist they hired to catch the dinosaurs being responsible for releasing them. Favorite line: I mean, sure, the transformer which supplied the power to the safety fence had blown up, but the Apatosauruses were kind of slow, and it should be hours before they started causing problems.

mysoulsters: Like the way you turned the song lyrics into part of your story. Favorite line: "And I know, not one of them went to heaven when they died."

Anonymous: I loved your twist of making the dinosaurs old retired people. Your imagery of the vets using their scooters to cause havoc in the town was hilarious. Favorite line: "So I can just leave when the dinosaurs go on a rampage."

Grand Champion AND Special Challenge Champion:  dr.maggo

A delightful story with an interesting twist. Loved your details.