Monday, April 13, 2015

Writing contest results, The Long Ride Home

To celebrate the publication of THE LONG RIDE HOME by Kari Dell, we had a writing contest. Herewith the results:

Special recognition for lovely lovely images

S.D.King 10:16am

A phrase I am determined to find many future uses for
“Go ride the baloney pony!” 
Kregger 10:17am

Special recogniton for excellent use of prompt words

dell/bordello Kitty 10:23am

ride/iridescent brianrschwarz 12:02pm

dell/yodelling Amy Schaefer 4:48pm

home/psychometry Steve Forti 5:42pm

long/Longfellow's Phyllis E 5:13pm

Grease is the word!

Colin Smith 10:36am

Not quite a story, but holy moly

CarolynWith2Ns 11:17am
Christine Seine 11:55am

It's says NOTHING good about me that I laughed like crazy reading this one 

Amanda Capper 11:17am
Lance 11:23am

And of course, Carkoon now appears in these stories!

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli 1:14pm

Special recognition for a story that would have been perfect if the last line got chopped.

Donnaeve 1:27pm

Dellwood Acres top child psychiatrist, Dr. Grate, glared at the young boy, “You ride him, you don’t converse with him. Keep that up and it’ll be a long time before you go home.”

The horse in the stall tossed its head.

Dr. Grate persisted, “Say it. Horses don’t talk.”

The boy, as usual, refused to speak directly to the doctor.

A voice came from the stall, “Of course, of course!”

Dr. Grate spun around, “Who said that?”

The boy, his face brightening, whispered, “See?”

Outside the barn, Doctor Grate’s assistant high-fived himself. His secret Mr. Ed routine worked every time.

And here are the nine finalists:

(1) Julie Weathers 11:34am

"I'll bring him home, little mama," I said. Then Dell and I rode off to war. She lost the baby while we were dealing death at Chicamauga. He was determined to go home to her, but I convinced him to stay. He'd be alive today if I'd let him. When he fell, she wrote and made me promise to bring him home. Like a fool, I did. Now I'm making that long ride home with his horse trailing behind that lead coffin. She'll have a husband to mourn, but be damned if I know whose he is.

(2) Geoff LaPard 4:40pm

Cruz stood back. The remodelling had worked perfectly. It had taken a long time, each brick, each joist requiring care. He allowed himself a small glow of pride.

He spent a few hours installing the furniture - the table his mother left him when she left; the horsehair sofa from his grandmother when his father disappeared; the bed in which his beloved Natalie had died.

He waited for Maisie to appear, as usual skipping - their secret, her daily cookie.

When he bolted the steel doors, designed to muffle her scream he whispered to the cold metal. ‘Quiet. You’re home now.’

(3) Amy Schaefer 4:48pm

Darla jolted awake like she had been unhorsed. She shuffled to the window and scowled. Damn neighbors and their strident yodelling. Waking an old woman in the dead of night.

Those hooligans needed a good scare, and no mistake. She fumbled her box of shotgun shells; they scattered with a sound like hail.

The door flew open. “Mama,” said Cliff. “I know the singalongs get rowdy, but this is summer camp. You can’t shoot buckshot at homesick nine-year-olds.”

She played contrite as he tucked the covers around her chin.

Then, alone in the dark, Darla grabbed the shell he’d missed.

(4) Lisa Bodenheim 6:42pm

The car tires hummed a strident refrain, ‘She’s seeing someone else, she’s seeing someone else.’ How ironic, now that gay marriage was legal. It felt like a knife to the heart.

In the backseat, the kids were zonked out after a frenetic day at the Wisconsin Dells Kalahari Waterpark. I focused on the freeway, steeling my nerves as I drove home.

That night, alone with her in the kitchen, my heart pattered like a mad hatter. “Sheila, let’s quit this horse—”

She knelt on her knees, tears of longing in her eyes, and a small box on her palm.

(5) Timothy Lowe 7:43pm

The bride threw up in her hands.

"It was a horse pill," the bride's mother whispered to an aunt.

"I can marry whomever I choose," she spat, wiping puke from her lips.

Not true. They'd found her yodelling in an alley the night before, drunk as a skunk. The pill had sobered her but made her sick.

"You belong with me," the groom said. He was a ratty little man in a monkey suit. He was also the only one who knew her sister's whereabouts.

"Shall we begin?" said the priest.

The bride swallowed her bile. She took his hand.

(6) Calorie Bombshell 8:26pm

Bride-to-be Ursula Langston Cordially Requests Your Presence.

Hand-delivered on linen paper. Name rings a bell but I can’t place her. Former co-worker? Googled address. Beverly Hills. “No gifts, please.” Classy.

I’m here. Gorgeous home. Which one’s Ursula? Face is familiar. Mannequin smile. But from where?
Headlong dash to buffet table. Mortadella and provolone pinwheels. Mouth stings of horseradish. Deathly allergic. Spit it out. Throat swelling. Mouths move as I stumble.

Remember now? Tenth grade. Ursula’s sister, Becca. Suicide. You tormented her. All of us.

I’ll tell them sorry. Beg their forgiveness. If I can just make it. to. the. door.

(7) Nadine 11:59pm

“He’s been gone a long time.” She held her handkerchief. “I think he’s met someone else. I heard he was seen in the woods with a girl.”
“Don’t think about that. You’re better off without him.”
She stood up. “Maybe he needs a ride back. I should go get him.”
“I wouldn’t bother if I were you.”
“He’s not coming home. He doesn’t love you.”
She glared at me. “Screw you and the horse you rode in on.”
“That’s just the thing,” I said. “He did. I was the girl in the dell.”

(8) A Velez 6:44am

She scrambles into the mill loft. The horse should be clear by now, she thinks. The children safe.

The loft is crammed with grain. No weapon. No escape. She shoves the barrels and they fall longwise like dominoes – flour explodes into air, denser than fog.

“It’s simple Della,” he emerges in the iridescence. “Sign over the homestead, you live.”

“No. I won’t.” And neither will you.

He raises the gun. A white apparition with a red, lying mouth.

He is already a ghost.

Flint to frizzen. A single spark. The glutted air ignites.

The explosion rages across the prairie.

(9) Pharosian 9:58am

"Howdy, ma'am," he said in perfect hayseed. He had that whole farmer-in-the-dell look going on, what with the overalls and straw hat.

"Let me show you where to bring the dining suite," I said, ushering him into my home.

He glanced around, presumably gauging dimensions. "Huh," he said, wiping his horsey face with a bandanna. "Never seen a chaise longue in a dining room before." He pronounced it "shayze lounge."

"It's 'shez long,' I said. I take pride in educating others.

"Smart lady." He nodded toward the wall. "So you know that Ver Meer is a fake?"

I stared.

I had to read all of these several times to make a final choice. I really loved what you all did with these prompt words.

The winner this week is Congratulations Calorie Bombshell.  A funny, yet twisted story with enough ambiguity at the end to really grab us!

Calorie Bombshell you'll email your mailing address to me, I'll send you a copy of The Long Ride Home by Kari Dell. If by some chance you have it already, let me know and we'll figure out something else.

Thanks to all of you who entered. As usual, I loved reading your work. Some of you are very very scary! (Just the way I like it!)


S.D.King said...

Congrats to Calorie Bombshell!

To do a story and still have room for the menu items was brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with SD King! Fantastic story and clever use of voice to smash in as many words as possible in those quick-hits!

Thank you Janet for posting the contest! It was great fun to read so many wonderful stories!

ProfeJMarie (Janet Rundquist) said...

Nicely done, all!

W.R. Gingell said...

Congrats, Calorie Bombshell! That was quite the finishing line!

Special mention, too: my fave line was from A. Velez

"Flint to frizzen. A single spark. The glutted air ignites."

Beautifully evocative :)

Kitty said...

Congrats to Calorie Bombshell! I had thought of mortadella, too, but I just couldn't make it work, not with bordello screaming at me.

Congrats to all the writers. It's always amazing to read the different stories people write using the same 5 prompts.

And brianrschwarz, you drove me crazy with your “Sixteen sodium atom’s walk into a bar" joke. Although I was a science major, I'm not a Batman fan so I honestly did not get the line about humming "the tune." It was this song that kept playing in my head. But did it fit with Batman? Only 8 sodium atoms in that refrain, so Na. So I googled, and I'm still laughing. The Big Bang guys would love it.

Donnaeve said...

Kitty - agree with your comment on brianschwarz's entry. I too, couldn't figure it out, and I just KNEW it was clever and now I can't get stop playing THE SONG from the link you included, (na na na na, hey hey hey goodbye!)even as I type this.

Congratulations to all the mentions, finalists and to the winner, Calorie Bombshell! Whoop! (if you know me, you know I like tossing out a whoop! now and then when it's called for)

And lastly, for my special recognition, first of all - thank you for that Ms. Janet, and, all I can say is DANG IT! That close? And the thing is..., I see it NOW. I waffled between reality and mystical. I should have stuck to the mystical.

And I'm on my second cup of coffee so bear with me, but I have to just say this. This is why these contests are so valuable, at least to me. Aside from being fun, I always learn something about the craft of writing by the getting an outside perspective of the stories via The Shark's comments, and her picks.

Anonymous said...

Haha thank you Kitty! That's easily one of my favorite bad jokes. Which probably says something about me... :)

And thank you for that Gary DeCarlo video. I blasted it by accident in the coffee shop I occupy most mornings, and now the barista's will surely have it stuck in their head for the next few hours. All right, I admit, I may have purposely blasted it...

Thank you for returning the favor by making me laugh this morning!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Love the winning pick, congrats Calorie Bombshell. I've never said it before but I love your name.
Thanks for the mention Janet. Great entries.

Question, I'd love to go back in and reread some of the entries you mentioned in part. Any way you can let us in to read or does this open one of those cans worm-lovers like to open.

AND, so tell us, what is your favorite movie?

E.Maree said...

Amazing entries! A Velez's entry gave me chills, beautiful writing all round.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Congratulations, everyone!

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Wonderful entries. Congrats Calorie Bombshell. Everytime I read your name I think of dark chocolate eaten in secret.

I loved Julie's image of the unknown in the coffin.

Getting mentioned made my day.

Colin Smith said...

YES! As soon as I read Calorie's entry I knew that was a winner. Fantastic take on the words, brilliantly executed. Not that the wins aren't usually well-deserved, but this one particularly so. If it hadn't been at least a finalist, Carkoon might have rebelled. OK, Carkoon might have grumbled a bit. Rebellion on this place is reserved for when the Dictator increases tax on kale. Which usually results in a state funeral and a new Dictator.

Well done!!

And thanks for the mention, Janet! I know, another homage, but I wanted to do something different with "dell" and Rydell was too good to pass up. :)

MB Owen said...

Congratulations to the Bombshell... but what is the Shark's Favorite Movie???

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Bombshell. As usual, a great bunch of entries.

Brian, I laughed. I got it right away, but that tune is seared in my brain. When my oldest son was born I wouldn't let him out of my sight, so when I was ironing, I'd put him in his little seat and turn on Batman. He was fascinated by the action and noises. He loved the song and would bounce right along to it.

Don and I had a fierce competition going to teach him his first word, "Mama" or Dada". It was, of course, "Batman".

Husband was not pleased with me for ruining his son.


kregger said...

Congrats to Calorie Bombshell!
I didn't get the sodium song at all, until it was explained. The way to get it out of your head is to sing outloud Johnny Carson's Tonight Show theme song over and over.
My worse joke is my contribution to why the chicken crossed the road...which was to move the deer crossing sign to a safer place.

Anonymous said...

HAHA! Julie this is fantastic! I hope someday my son or daughter's first word is also Batman.

And Donna, I appreciate your confidence in my cleverness, however I think your trust may be misplaced. (And if I don't keep preaching that from the rooftops, someday someone will be let down)

And Colin! I caught the Grease reference at Rydell High as well. I thought it was very clever. I read it more than once just from enjoying it. Yours and Amy's post with the shotgun shells had my head spinning. :)

Just Jan said...

Loved reading all the entries. Congrats to Calorie Bombshell for a well-deserved win.

John Frain said...

Congratulations, Calorie. I am humbled by the company here.

Calorie Bombshell said...

Wow! Thank you, Janet for selecting my entry. You made my day.

I knew when I saw the words "horse" and "dell," food and death had to be a part of my story.

Thank all of you for your kind comments. Colin - I'm so relieved Carkoon remains intact! P.S. - I always enjoy reading your superb entries.

A Velez said...

Thanks W.R. Gingell and E.Maree! And thanks for holding these contests Janet. They're so fun and it is such a boost to get a mention. I'm much more excited to sit down to some WIP this afternoon.

The winner was fantastic and I really liked Julie and Geoff's entries as well. I love hearing how people get from prompt words to story idea. I couldn't think how Colin got all the way to a Grease sequel - but Rydell! I see it now. And such a fun story too.

Dena Pawling said...

I love reading all the entries. I learn so much and am always blown away by how good they are. Some day when I'm all grown up, I want to write like that =)

Congrats to the winner and all the mentions!

Amy Schaefer said...

That was a great set of stories. Nice job, Calorie Bombshell!

Colin Smith said...

Dena: Me too. :)

BTW, I'm actually getting around to visiting people on that list I made last week. Woohoo! Sorry it's taken me so long. But better late than never, eh?

Christina Seine said...

Congratulations Calorie Bombshell in a much deserved win, and thank you Janet for the special mention! What an awesome way to start the week!

Karen McCoy said...

Such great entries! Calorie Bombshell never fails to blow me away.

I'd like to ditto A Velez with thanks for these contests. They always help me dig deeper into my creative space.

And yes--what is your favorite movie?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Calorie Bombshell, and to all the mentions! Great job!

Julie, love the story of your son's first word! Makes perfect sense to me. My nephew's first word was 'Sadie'. The dog's name. As well it should be.

Everyone knows the only way to get the Batman song out of your head is to sing the Spiderman song three times.

Carolynn... she doesn't close the entries to reading, just to comments. You can't go back to see the entries? Or am I missing something?

Colin Smith said...

Totally Off-Topic Public Service Announcement:

If you hadn't noticed, Janet has linked both the list of blog commenters and the Pinterest board on the top right of the blog. If you would like to have your name and preferred social media home added to the list, (e.g., your blog, FB page, Pinterest board, Twitter account, Instagram page, MySpace page...) either say so in a blog comment, or email me directly (my address is linked on my Blogger profile). Or if you wish to be removed, or you want to change or add to your listed "home" location, just let me know. I'm willing to maintain this list for as long as time and/or health allows. :)

Now back to your regular vommenting.

Calorie Bombshell said...

Karen McCoy - what kind words. Thank you!

Steve Forti said...

I'll echo congrats all around, as well. Pharosian - I loved the "in perfect hayseed" phrase.
Ready for the next one?

MB Owen said...

Colin, if you'd like to add another I'm on Twitter: @mbowords

(Couldn't find your email/blogger link--sorry)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

bjmuntain, I tried to click on the comments so the they would appear and I could reread them. It wouldn't let me in. NOW, it's working and I've reread some Janet mentioned, with a different eye.

Colin Smith said...

MB: I'll add it ASAP. If it's not up there in a few days, just keep nagging me about it. My kids seem to think this is effective... :)

And you couldn't see my email link when you clicked on my name? Right underneath my picture? Hmmm... well, my address is on my blog (the About page).

Lilac Shoshani said...

Congratulations, Calorie: amazingly written.

Janet, thank you for yet another fantastic contest.

Colin, good to know about the nagging. ;-)

Ginger Mollymarilyn said...

Congratulations to all the finalists and Calorie Bombshell! And, splendid writing, ALL! Thanks, Janet, for another fun contest.

AJ Blythe said...

Fabulous entries, again. Congratulations, Calorie Bombshell, for a great (but scary) entry :)

Missed this contest. Working out the time zone thingy is not a strong point.

MB Owen said...

COLIN - GOT IT! (I was on the wrong place--will email you).

Donnaeve said...

Hey Colin, if you're still around..., my Twitter is @wordstogobuy

I was in Raleigh today with Mom - which was a whole other adventure and am just now catching up on comments, etc. Thanks in advance!

Colin Smith said...


I'm still around! :)

And I forgot to mention, your story was great, but I think Janet was right: removing the last line makes it better. And I appreciate Janet pointing that out. How often do you get free editorial tips from an industry professional? Good job nevertheless! :)

Amanda Capper said...

Congratulations Calorie Bombshell!

That was fun.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I guess this didn't go through the first time.

Carolynn: I'm glad it's working now.

Colin: If you're adding Twitter accounts, mine is @BJMuntain. Thanks so much. And I think I said this before, but it bears repeating: You rock.

Colin Smith said...

bj: Done! Thanks. :)

Also, I have alphabetized the list to make it easier to find your favorite blog. (Spot the subliminal message...) :D

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Hey, Colin - I love being on the list and Pinterest but the photo linked with my blog on that board isn't me! Any way to fix that? Thanks!

Colin Smith said...

Madeline: Christina is the keeper of the Pinterest board, so you might want to shoot her an email, or tweet her--unless she sees this comment. :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Colin - I looked for an email in her blog but couldn't find it. Left a comment but it was a bit ago so probably got overlooked. I'm not on Pinterest or Twitter. Help! :)

Colin Smith said...

Madeline: I just left her a message on Twitter, and I spelled your name correctly without having to check back here! Woohoo! :D

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Congratulations Calorie Bombshell and all the other mentions. AND I was excited to see my name among the mentions! My first.

So many great stories. And I also appreciated Janet pointing out Donna's entry and the different effect of simply leaving off that last line.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thank you, Colin! :)

Sam Hawke said...

Thanks Colin! That list is great. My twitter handle is @samhawkewrites.

Colin Smith said...

Madeline: Christina thinks she fixed it, but can you check? She wasn't sure which picture to use.

french sojourn said...

Congrats Calorie Bombshell;
Such a mixture of really great entries.

Thanks as always to QOTKU for the time and effort she puts into her minions day.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Christina has added lots of photos to the Carkoon pinterest board. That snow shark is incredible.

W.R. Gingell said...

Julie: I forgot to say that I also loved yours! Went back and re-read it, and it was even better the second time (my litmus test).

Colin: my twitter handle is @WRGingell if this is the easiest place for me to add that :D

I look forward to meeting you all on twitter as well as the blogosphere

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

All fixed! That's the pic from my blog. :) Thanks, Colin and Christina!