Monday, October 26, 2015

The So Long Colin, it was good to meet you writing contest Results!

Wow, what GREAT entries!
Colin's exile from exile, Carkoon and beyond, really brought out the best in you.

(And a lot of toilets! Yeesh!)


Not quite a story,  but really grabs your heart
french sojourn 10:01am

Not quite a story but made me laugh out loud at the imagery!
Dena Pawling 10:11am


Not quite a story, but I love anything with math in it!
Calorie Bombshell 11:27am

Not quite a story, but I really love the idea behind this
Kae Ridwyn 3:18pm

Not quite a story, but Santa! And puppies!
Jennifer Vaughn 4:40pm


Not quite a story, but fonts!
Eileen 4:51am


Not quite a story, but not a dry eye in the house after reading this one!
Kitty 6:49am


Not quite a story, but holy moly!
JD Paradise 2:17am
"Burning up to
Burn this city down."




I love these two lines very much:
Donnaeve 3:39pm
"Your suffering is done, you’ve gone beyond the earthbound.
Because you are no more does not mean you are less."

Michael Seese 9:57am
"You pray your parachute opens. Otherwise you're about to go Jackson Pollack on a bunch of people who paid to see an air show, not an art show."


Ah, poor Colin, destined for someplace Else!
CarolynnWith2Ns: Washington
Lisa Bodenheim 10:43am somewhere in the cosmos, but where?
BJ Muntain 12:23pm limbo!

Kelsie Kasandria 4:38pm "The dark side of Carkoon!"
kdjames 4:54pm "The Island of Typos"
Poof! "Oh!-blivion"



Talk about wishful thinking!
Colin Smith 11:17am





Great line: 
Craig 12:50pm
"He surfed the currents of space once around Venus and twice around Mars."


Angie Gregory 2:54pm
"Yet, nothing is as loud as your eternal truancy."


Semi-finalist:
Peggy Rothschild 11:28am
The last line of that entry " If those damn ‘E’s weren’t silent before, they are now." is exquisite.

Kregger: 12:21pm
The first two lines here, and particularly the second are amazing!
"I gaped at the luscious, red-skinned vegetables at the controls in the cockpit. A thought came to mind, well…two actually…when did killer-tomatoes learn to fly and aren’t they fruits?"

Lance 1:45pm
Eject! Eject! Eject!

I must take the plunge.

Please open, oh 'chute. Oh 'chute!

My heart pounds; my mouth's agape.

I flutter downward, no tights, no cape.

Unless ...

Not a story but oh so lovely.
 Kim Batchelor 4:52pm
This entry isn't quite a story, but honestly alt-klezmer? The imagery here and the vivid writing makes me very very happy.


Michael Rigg 10:19pm
“And you, sir, died as you lived—without a Clue.”



Here's the longlist:
(1) Timothy Lowe 9:51am
Spelled differently it would have killed her. But her new late husband was a rotten speller, and as Evelyn drifted down, she smiled. Without an E it was worthless.

“Hell’s this?” the mechanic had said.

She looked. A crumpled note. NEED A SHOOT.

“He meant a parachute. And put it under my seat.”

The world would be better off one cheater less. Since Jack and Marlene had discovered their agapeic transcendence, he hadn’t been able to get it up.

As the plane plunged into flames, Evelyn pictured him groping for release.

Time to discover the true price of ejectile dysfunction.


How could you not love ejectile dysfunction. And agapeic transendence. 

 


(2) jmaggard 10:06am
Silent Partner

“Shoot,” he says. “Sometimes you’re the plunger; sometimes you’re the poop.”

I can’t respond. I rejected his command to talk, so he shoved a .357 into my mouth.

He talked enough for us both.

A silent partner in the money chute scheme, he couldn’t resist gloating now. He beat me with a simple karate chop lunge, then bound me, dejected, to this chair.

Then he carelessly spilled secrets.
My secrets.

He’s the gap.

Lesson time.

He removes the gun, thumbing the hammer.

“Shoot,” I say. Quietly.

My partners’ bullets slam into him. He falls, mouth agape.

Gap eliminated.

I like how it's up to the reader to try to figure out what's happened here.



93) Claire 10:10am
The blonde’s proximity was making him edgy. Too many years of having to watch his back. She was surely no threat; nevertheless...

A passing waitress leaned in.

“Need an escape chute?”

“Maybe an ejector seat.”

She laughed.

“There’s a balcony off the kitchen, you might get some peace out there.”

It was cold outside, but blessedly empty. He breathed deeply.

A footstep behind him. The waitress again. He started to smile, and then saw the look on her face. The outstretched hands, small but strong.

He plunged. Below him the mouth of the city gaped wide, ready to swallow him.

I like the twist in the story.


(4) Steve Forti 10:37am
Love lesson #1: When ready to take the plunge, find a romantic spot.

A private single-engine plane at sunrise was a good call. I lay down some sweet talk. Build the excitement.

Love lesson #2: Always go to one knee. Remember to smile.

She stares at the box, mouth agape. And not in a good way.

Missed lesson #1: Let her choose the ring.

Ten minutes of complaining about the ugly ring reveal an even uglier character. Glad she rejected the offer. Time for a dramatic exit.

Missed lesson #2: Make sure you grab the parachute, not the backpack.


You think the story is about one thing, but it's really about something else.
And I'm a sucker for those matched number asides.

 

(5) Ashes 12:32
Petsitting is disgusting, but I’m not in a position to reject cash. The hapless dog chews everything and runs in-and-out the doggie door like it’s an escape chute. Whatever.

Until I noticed the beast gnawing something furry and a suspiciously empty rabbit cage.

But no biggie. I retrieved the carcass, plunged it into a soapy bath, put old Hoppy back in his cage, and prepared to tell the owners it was natural causes.

The wife faints before I get a word out, for a minute the husband stands with his mouth agape.

Turns out they'd buried Hoppy last week.

It says nothing good about me that I laughed out loud when reading this.
Zombie bunny!



(6) Susan 7:37pm
I never expected to make it out alive.

At the recruiting office, they wouldn’t look us in the eye, thin lips set in a grim line. War’s almost over, Kid, they said. Your odds of surviving are good.

They wore the lie well.

First came the parachute jump.

Then the tireless jungle where we plunged into a darkness that left us praying for the Son.

Letters from home, leave me the hell alone. Rejections never go over well.

Wide-eyed stares, mouths agape, right before-

Welcome home, Kid, they said. Looks like you made it.

We all wore that lie well.


holy fuckamoli, this is brilliant. The pairings that work on two levels:
darkness/son
Letters from home/leave me the hell alone.
wore that lie well.

This is gorgeous, layered writing that took my breath away the first time I read it.
And the fifth time too.



(7) Eve Messenger 8:14pm
A half hour ago I was Lion, cat burglar king, with plans A to C for robbing Gadsby’s mansion. Now I’m Dad watching my grown kid go waxy from a gunshot.

Cops buzzing around don't know about Gadsby's top floor laundry chute. Junior and I plunge through it soundlessly, ejecting onto a ground floor mound of swanky shirts and slacks.

“Grab my arm, you big ape,” I hiss, but Junior's grip’s worthless.

Plan D: Lay out my dying son on Gadsby's ritzy duds now spoilt with blood.

And slip out solo

from Junior's first burglary.

And both of our last.

It took two shots at this to grasp why it is amazing. Do you know what it is?



(8) Terri Lynn Coop 8:18pm
“Guilty.”
My career as a serial killer ended with the drop of a gavel.

The DNA analysis machine ejected the card. The judge fished it out of the chute and gaped before reading my death sentence. Those two words plunged the courtroom into chaos: OLD AGE.

Cackling, I relished in beating the odds. I’d shanked karma. I’d taken that bitch to school.

The prison room was nice even without bars or windows.

At first, the silence was a blessing. Then, it became less so.

A click and the 24-hour clock turned over. For the 16425th time, the shank turned.


I love how TLC turned this around on the reader. Did you do the math?


(9) Amy Schaefer 10:34pm
It’s quiet in the closet.

My head gets so noisy with all of us jibber-jabbering in here. But everyone has agreed to shush, hush, finger-to-the-lips while we wait.

Because it’s our turn.

There he is.

I eject from my hideout and I’m on him, crushing his windpipe, squeezing until the tiny bones in my hands threaten to crack. His foolish mouth gapes as he claws at me.

We all sing: leave him airless, heirless, peaceful and scareless.

A syringe plunges into my thigh. Our voices fade. We ride the drug-cocktail-parachute down-down-down.

I shed a tear.

Not our turn, after all.

I love how we end up seeing what's happening from a completely different perspective at the end.


(10) A Velez 10:45pm
I clutch my artless little sign—unfamiliar name sharpied in clumsy handwriting.

A mass of passengers pulses around me. Expanding and contracting in tempo with the creaking carousels, the thwump of ejected bags.

Until he sees me—plunges through the crowd.

He seizes my hand. Presses it to his chest. My sign wafts to the floor, a tiny parachute.

I stand, hand nestled in the gape of this stranger’s chest. And I feel it.

The hiccupping rhythm.

The gentle beat beneath the laddered scar.

The heart that once belonged to my daughter.


Notice the rhythm of this story. The rhythm makes us feel, not just read, this story.
 


(11) Just Jan 6:43am
Less was more at the singles club, where necklines plunged, hemlines retreated, and my mouth hung open like a turkey with gapeworm. I felt like a steer fresh out of the chute--unsure which way to turn.

An older reject, her breath whiskey-sour, offered to show me the ropes. As we cuddled in the afterglow, she told me about the son she'd abandoned as a toddler.

"He had a birthmark right here," she said, stroking my tattoo. "A perfect half-moon."

Bile rose in my throat. I crept away before dawn and had the tattoo--and the birthmark it covered--expunged.


holy moly, this is probably the creepiest story we've had here. And we've had some real yowzers!
This is brilliant for leading us right into the story with not a clue we're in some sort of Greek tragedy till the last paragraph.


Short list:


Susan 7:37pm
I never expected to make it out alive.

At the recruiting office, they wouldn’t look us in the eye, thin lips set in a grim line. War’s almost over, Kid, they said. Your odds of surviving are good.

They wore the lie well.

First came the parachute jump.

Then the tireless jungle where we plunged into a darkness that left us praying for the Son.

Letters from home, leave me the hell alone. Rejections never go over well.

Wide-eyed stares, mouths agape, right before-

Welcome home, Kid, they said. Looks like you made it.

We all wore that lie well.


Amy Schaefer 10:34pm
It’s quiet in the closet.

My head gets so noisy with all of us jibber-jabbering in here. But everyone has agreed to shush, hush, finger-to-the-lips while we wait.

Because it’s our turn.

There he is.

I eject from my hideout and I’m on him, crushing his windpipe, squeezing until the tiny bones in my hands threaten to crack. His foolish mouth gapes as he claws at me.

We all sing: leave him airless, heirless, peaceful and scareless.

A syringe plunges into my thigh. Our voices fade. We ride the drug-cocktail-parachute down-down-down.

I shed a tear.

Not our turn, after all.



A Velez 10:45pm
I clutch my artless little sign—unfamiliar name sharpied in clumsy handwriting.

A mass of passengers pulses around me. Expanding and contracting in tempo with the creaking carousels, the thwump of ejected bags.

Until he sees me—plunges through the crowd.

He seizes my hand. Presses it to his chest. My sign wafts to the floor, a tiny parachute.

I stand, hand nestled in the gape of this stranger’s chest. And I feel it.

The hiccupping rhythm.

The gentle beat beneath the laddered scar.

The heart that once belonged to my daughter.





The winner of the contest is Susan 7:37am. When I read this entry the first time it stopped me cold. Subsequent readings revealed even more to love.

This is really brilliant work.

Susan, if you'll email me with your mailing address and what you like to read, I'll get you a prize.

Congratulations to all the writers here. This was far and away the best slate of entries I've ever seen.

73 comments:

AJ Blythe said...

Some brilliant entries here, so well done Susan for topping the list. You guys all amaze me with your brilliance!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

This time we stand before the greatness of many.
Wow is all I can say.
To all, you outdid yourselves .
Congrats Susan you sure as hell deserve the win.

Steve Forti said...

Congrats Susan, and all the other finalists. Well done.
Ashes - you had my favorite. Good luck to all in the next one.

CynthiaMc said...

Congratulations to Susan and all the mentions. Happy Monday!

Amanda Capper said...

So many great entries, so much to learn.
Congratulations Susan!

I didn't do the math, too much to read, but I did it now. Clever writing.

Didn't notice the flow because I skim. So many entries. Must slow down.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Wow, Susan! Beautifully rendered. Congratulations.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Christina, congratulations on sub-header. I meant to say earlier, but I am pre-caffeinated and it's Monday.

Also, great entries everyone. They were fun to read and I rather enjoyed the plethora of toilet centric entries. Reiders provide a talent rich environment. I hope some rubs off on me.

Kitty said...

Congratulations to all and especially to Susan!

Kastie, I really liked your entry. Love this line: She might as well dress like veal.

Donnaeve said...

Congratulations Susan!

As has been said many times, these contests really show the talent in this crowd!


OFF TOPIC - I'd like to let folks know - for those who might remember my running buddy David with ALS - he passed early Friday morning. I found out in WalMart. Meanwhile Blaine was trying to call me to tell me as he made his way back from MS. So, my entry was about that, and, not a story, just a simple expression of what I'm feeling/thinking. Last night we attended the wake. Today is the funeral, and the weather has turned to match our mood.

Colin Smith said...

Great entries, and congrats, Susan! :)

I'm not quite sure what to make of the fact that my exile from Carkoon inspired these stories, but wow! Great work everyone.

Wishful thinking... well, I need some of that sitting here in loading bay waiting to board the shuttle. I'm presuming this doesn't happen often. It's a small craft, barely enough room for me and my luggage. And I don't see LynnRodz--was she given a reprieve? Anyhow, last I heard, the pilot was looking at the finalist entries. I think he's trying to figure out my destination. I can't say that fills me with a lot of hope... 8-O

BTW, did you notice that both LynnRodz and I rose to our own challenge and wrote stories with no Es (except for the 5 given words)? Well done Eve for doing the same. :D

Brian Schwarz said...

Fantastic writing Susan!

I can't believe I missed this! Dang life getting busy all the time! I've gotta remember to take my daily writing vitamins and read this blog! :)

Susan said...

HOLY SH! Now I know parallel universes exist--I could have sworn I was exiled after last week's comments!

Thanks, Janet, and thanks all. Everyone here is so talented, not to mention supportive, and that kind of community makes all the difference in even the smallest ways.

Ash and A Velez: I loved your entries, especially. One made me snort; the other made my heart ache.

Donna: I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. May you and your friends find peace in his passing.

Steve Forti said...

Donna, sorry to hear about your loss. You have a whole community here offering virtual hugs.

Janet Reid said...

Luggage?
Colin, that' NOT luggage.
That's LynnRodz.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Congratulations, Susan. And so many wonderful entries to read.

And Donnaeve. Peace be with you.

Her Grace, the Duchess of Kneale said...

1. I was happy I caught a writing contest.
2. Thought I'd have some fun writing an entry that, other than the prompt words, didn't use the letter E.
3. Sometimes I don't see the genius of some of these stories until Her Sharkness points them out. Then I see it.

Colin Smith said...

Hmm... I thought the guy who offered to pack my suitcase had shifty eyes. Lynn's probably asleep or unconscious at the moment--I don't see any movement or hear any noise from the case. Probably just as well. It looks like the pilot's called in a literary critic to look over Susan's entry. Still trying to discern my--I mean our--destination, I think. And knowing Carkoonian literary skills, I'm not at all hopeful... :\

LynnRodz said...

Congrats to Susan, the finalists, and all mentioned.

I honestly think a great opportunity was missed because writing a story without Es was a damn good exercise. It forces you to think outside the box, especially if you use past tense and can't use -ed. I see there were a few of us who decided to try this exercise besides Colin Smith and myself:

Eve Messenger
Cel Kersenboom
Her Grace, the Duchess of Kneale
JD Paradise

Great job guys, party at my cave!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin, there is hope for you. At last check, Lynn had a blender. Not sure what there will be to blend in the Carkoon Nether regions. Do let us know when you and Lynn are settled. If that is still possible...

Colin Smith said...

OK... now I'm getting worried. The literary critic is pointing to Susan's first line. He seems quite insistent. The pilot's making a call. Oh my--he's put on a tie and is kneeling down to talk on the phone. That only means one thing on Carkoon. He's talking to QOTKU.

I think I should wake Lynn, but she sounds so peaceful. Just now she was murmuring something about a party in her cave. Must be a great dream.

Janice L. Grinyer said...

Absolutely breathtaking - once again - wonderful selections and oh so fun to read! Congrats Susan, everyone, finalists ans semi finalists and of course mentionables!

Colin Smith said...

Wait... sorry... just wiping saliva--or whatever it is Carkoonians eject from their mouths--from the lens of my binoculars. Well, I say my binoculars. They were in my luggage next to a blender... oh... heh... it all makes sense now. Well, I'm sure she won't mind. :)

OK... the pilot just threw a book at the literary critic. GOLD IN THE DAYS OF SUMMER. Doesn't look like a big book, but it will take the critic a while to read it. Looks like it might be a quality read, and Carkoonians aren't used to reading worthwhile books. Hang in there folks--we'll be here for a while... :)

JD Paradise said...

@Lynn: e-less was HARD!

It was an interesting challenge for two reasons - first, the inherent level of difficulty. (That's what led me into a poem form instead, actually - it felt righter writing this stuff in that form rather than prose.) But even more interesting was what the lack of Es combined with the wordcount restrictions did to the story itself. (I do think it's a story, FWIW, but obviously not my contest :) .)

Originally the italicized lines were a slam poet onstage interacting with the crowd, but as I had to work to get the wordcount down and swap out words for e-less words, the story itself started to change. Chunks got moved around, the interstitials were rewritten, and the narrative form of the thing, such that it is, took place.

Other folks, do you find your own stories changing significantly as you struggle with the contest restrictions?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

JD- I am amazed how well folks do despite restrictions and some of ya'll without the letter E. I stink at this so far, but the exercise is great discipline. I write epic fantasy so trying to tell a story in 100 words or less is super tough. But it actually helps me with cutting my manuscript down to 125,000 words from 150k. It forces you to be succinct - but yeah, I do find it super hard. I am in awe of these folks in their ability to express themselves so beautifully in so few words.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

And yes, JD, my stories change due to restrictions. I can't speak for anyone else. Ah well.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin, how big is that suitcase that Lynn is stuffed into?

MEMO

TO: Carkoon Border Patrol and Loading Bay Union

FROM: Carkoon Ministry of Immigration

All borders are closed effective immediately. Someone has been smuggling blenders, kittens, high quality scotch, rum, and tequila, and great works of off world literature into Carkoon disguised as outdated encyclopedias. This must stop. All violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and stuffed into Colin’s suitcase. Thank you for your cooperation in this trying time. The borders will be re-open once all previously mentioned articles have been safely removed.

LynnRodz said...

I just woke up from a wonderful dream! I was having a party in my cave and some of the greats were vying for the stage:

Santana: Move over Miles, we're going to livin' up this place.

Miles: Sit this one out Carlos, I'm jivin' here with my man, Keith.

Jarrett: While you two are jabbering about who's up next, Metheny just took center stage.

Stevie: Wonder where those drinks are that they promised?

Me: Right here, Stevie, the best margarita on Carkoon!

Stevie: Cartoon? No one said anything about cartoons. They told me I was headlining an HBO special.

Then I wake up and a damn pilot (not a good looking one either) calls me a piece of heavy luggage and slams me into a vessel smaller than a Smart car. If this isn't a sorry Monday, I don't know what is!

Colin Smith said...

EM: My suitcase? Well, I call it a suitcase. Carpet bag more like. Bought it off this strange lady in a black hat. Umbrella with a bird's beak handle. Said "Spit spot" instead of "goodbye." Mind, you get all kinds of weird here...

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin, was there a spoonful of sugar involved? You don't want to mess with that. I mean you are already in deep as it is, and sprouting a broom out of the top of your head isn't nearly as fun as it looks.

If you have already taken said spoonful of sugar, and some tap-dancing Carkoonian chimney sweep is using you as a dance partner, and shoving your head down various chimneys, try screaming off key.

Colin Smith said...

EM: Oh, no. I learned my lesson about taking anything that looks like sugar from a stranger on Carkoon. By the time it wore off, I had a pounding headache, and a trophy for the best belly dance at some beach contest.

Kregger said...

Congrats to Susan and to all story writers.
Now I can ask.
What's up with rule #9?
Who wants anything they've written removed from this blog?
I was sweating about writing an entry without "E's."
That would have been tough, at least for me.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin, that was you? No wonder the locals are trying to delay your departure. You are legend on these kale filled shores.

LynnRodz said...

Donna, so sorry for your loss. You do have a support system here on Janet's blog. This is a great community for that.

JD, it was a challenge, but I found getting the story down to 100 words tougher than trying to replace the E words. I took Her Grace's advice and wrote the first draft without worrying about it too much. It was replacing the -ed verbs I found hardest.

Hmm, Janet calling me luggage...well, at least she didn't call me baggage.

Susan said...

I feel like sometimes I read the comments here, and I don't know what's happening--like when you're at a party and one guy's doing the conga by himself while another is stroking the bronze statue of the St. Bernard and a third is by the refreshments, still trying to blow out the trick candles on the cake. All you can do is get swept up in it all and laugh and think "yep, I know these people."

Colin: Whoa! THANK YOU! Ironically, the "character" in my entry is the same Vietnam vet in my book, who is getting his own novella. The contest helped me get back in his head again--so bonus! :) I don't know if the linkage is allowed or if Janet will have your hide, but I appreciate it! Although, at this point, I think your course is set. Forget the dark side of the moon--you're Pluto-bound ;) Maybe if you're good, she'll let you and Lynn off on Mars. I hear they have water there. It's practically perfect.

JD: I enjoyed your entry, and I'm especially impressed that people managed to create stories without the "e." I have a hard time writing succinctly, so the restrictions are a challenge that definitely changes the story. I started out writing my entry using survival odds, but that changed due to the length. Also realizing I don't understand anything about statistics had something to do with it ;)

SiSi said...

Congratulations to Susan, the finalists, and everyone mentioned. This really was a great set of entries and as always I'm awed and humbled by the writing here.

Eve Messenger said...

Susan: Congratulations on your well-deserved win. What a powerful story you told; every word was perfect.

Ashes: I loved your story, too. What a great twist.

JD Paradise: Once I find it, the core story idea doesn’t change too much, but the words sure do.

Kudos to –v-ryon- who took on the add-d challeng- of writing a story without using th- l-tt-r that com-s after d.

LynnRodz: Count me in for the cave party, especially if you'll be offering group therap-E afterward.

Bonnie Shaljean said...

The winning story was absolutely, simply terrific. Very strong competitors too. What a joy to read these.

And special thanks to Janet, without whom they would not have been written. Well done, everybody -

Karen McCoy said...

Congrats to Susan! So subtly brilliant!

Hugs to Donna. Our hearts are with you.

High fives to everyone else! I always learn something with each contest, especially new and fun words to play with.

(#9 has me a bit befuddled too--did someone want to publish their entry? Or publish it as part of a larger piece? Okay with not knowing, but am definitely intrigued!)

Colin Smith said...

Rule #9--I can only imagine either, a) Someone asked Janet to remove a flash story they wrote from the relevant blog article, or b) it occurred to Janet (maybe as a result of something she read, or advice from a colleague/friend, or the cogitations of her own genius) that, for the sake of posterity, and in the unlikelihood of these entries ever making it to some kind of paper format, this would be a good idea.

What intrigues me more is why John Lennon was fixated with the number 9 (Revolution 9, #9 Dream...)?

Ha. Wouldn't you know. We're waiting in hanger 9. Pass another kale chip, please Lynn. What's taking them so long...?

Ashes said...

Congrats, Susan!

Thanks Steve and Eve.

In the interest of passing the buck, a favourite of mine was A Velez's entry.

I played with the idea of using only words that contained 'e' but dropped it in favor of trying to pace the story just right to hit the punchline. I'll take eliciting a laugh from a shark as my consolation prize.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin, I don't think you're in Carkoon anymore. There is no Hanger 9 on Carkoon. I suspect you are in the Limbo Weigh Station. You could be there a while depending on how many cabbages and chickens are on your person.

Colin Smith said...

EM: Definitely Hanger 9 on Carkoon. Waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Sometimes the pilot comes out and looks like he might be doing something. We get excited for a moment. But no. This sort of reminds me of querying...

I wonder what our post-exile punishment could be? Where it might be..?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Are you sure, Colin? I been looking in hopes of procuring the last blender on Carkoon. They must be using Carkoonian numbering where 9 comes after 63. Or was it 72 or 351? I can never keep that straight.

Could you just start shouting or belly dancing? You won't need that blender where you are going or so I am told. The regurgitating teradactyle does all the blending in the Carkoon nether reaches. Or so the rumors say. No one has actually ever returned from where you and Lynn are headed. :/

Colin Smith said...

Someone walked by and said, "You all packed and ready to go?" Lynn and I both got up saying, "Yes--where...?" But the guy walked off. Smiling. Whistling. Saliva running down the back of his neck.

Back to waiting, I suppose...

Dena Pawling said...


My entry made the Shark laugh! I'm happy.

Congrats to Susan and everyone mentioned. This was fun.

And Donna, I'm sorry to learn about your friend.

debradorris said...

Congratulations Susan for the win! Congrats to all the finalists and mentions as well.
Great job everyone.

Donnaeve, I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

BJ Muntain said...

Congrats to Susan, the short list, the long list, and everyone who entered. Great work, everyone!

The two I laughed out loud over:

Ashes' Hoppy and Michael Rigg's Clue

And yep, I figured out what Eve Messenger did there right off - it was the clue 'Gadsby's' that did it. Very nice!

Donnaeve: That's what I'd thought, when I read your story. I wanted to say I'm so, so sorry about your friend. I know his whole illness had been a trial for your heart. Take care, and remember that, as you said in your story, he's now healthy and whole. (((hugs)))

Colin: Waiting. And waiting. And waiting.... you don't call that limbo?

I am so far behind here, on posts and comments. Totally missed the great WiR yesterday, being at a birthday party all afternoon and evening. Thanks for that, Janet!

John Frain said...

Susan, fantastic story. Wow, so many good stories. This is an intimidating bunch.

Lessons I'm still learning...

Time spent thinking is just as important as time spent writing.
After you edit your story from 189 words to 100, you have to set it aside and see if it makes sense to fresh eyes.
Cutting your darlings is a sliver shy of a paper cut on the pain meter.

I can't show the entire list of things I'm still NOT learning.

Amy Schaefer said...

Way to go, Susan! Ashes, I enjoyed your dug-up bunny, too. Reading the entries is always the most fun part of these contests,

Donnaeve, I'm so sorry about your friend.

There are some very strange green lights shooting through the portal from Carkoon. What are you doing over there, guys? Don't make me shut it down.

Kae Ridwyn said...

Thank you, Janet! And congratulations, Susan, long-listers, and mentionable writers! Especially to -v-ryon- who wrot- th-ir story without th- l-tt-r "E"! Youz guyz rock!
For the record, my favourite line of all the stories was @AmySchaefer's "Not our turn, after all". It gave me chills.
@Donna, sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
@Colin and @LynnRodz, it sounds like Limbo to me.

And now: (Happy dancing crazy woodland creature alert) THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU JANET! Because - although I am about to head off into my work week - I'm grinning like an idiot because the QOTKU "really loved" the idea behind my story!!! Yay! Yay! and hip hip hooray! I got me a mention! I got me a mention! *crazy happy dancing* (First timer, can you tell?)
Thank you!

Colin Smith said...

Limbo? No, this isn't limbo. We're just waiting to go somewhere. Not sure where yet. But just because we're waiting, and waiting, and waiting, that doesn't mean this is... limbo...

Oh look! *nudges Lynn* Someone just gave us a thumbs up! Maybe... oh. No. That wasn't a thumb. *sigh*

BJ Muntain said...

Limbo with just the tiniest piece of hope ("We'll get moving soon, I know it") is the worst kind of limbo...

Colin Smith said...

Just had a strange conversation with a man in overalls. He had a piece of paper in his "hand" and he pointed to one of the contest entries.
"What's this place?" he said.
"Washington," I replied following his "finger." "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."
"You Mister Smith?" he said, grunted, gargled through phlegm (*sigh* Carkoonian speech--I'll miss it, I'm sure!).
"Yes," I said, trying not to look too excited.
"Goes to Washington?" he grunted, gargled, etc.
"Yes," I said again. "It's funny. Humorous. 2Ns was making a joke about me possibly going to Washington. It's the name of a movie. Jimmy Stewart..."
"Oh," he said. "Joke. Funny. Not serious."
Then he huffed and walked away.
Did I say the wrong thing?

BJ Muntain said...

I think you just lost your chance to go to Washington, Mr. Smith.

Claire said...

Gadzooks, a place on the longlist?! How lovely. I'm a newbie here, but have been devouring the blog archives hungrily. Great to find such a convivial little spot here on the Interwebs.

John Frain said...

Why you should always enter:

Just typing... As long as you come into these contests with a good attitude, there is only positive outcomes.

We’re a community here. Everyone, including our Leader, wants one thing for each member. To improve as a writer.

When you enter these contests, you put yourself through a rigorous process of creating a draft. An even more rigorous process of editing that draft. And for some, the most rigorous part of the process is putting yourself out there. Your writing, with your name on it. Then comes the anxiety of the results and the Monday thrills of victory or agonies of defeat. But thrill or agony, come Monday you’re ahead of where you were on Friday because of the process you put yourself through. That’s a victory.

Don’t worry if your entry wasn’t on the shortlist this time. It happens that way in every business. Great actors have movies that flop. The best hitters in baseball strike out more often than they homer. Your favorite singer gives a poor performance. We’re all human. I tried to write a romance once. Ugh! Fail. But I guarantee nobody remembers it, and I learned something I thought would be easier is something I have to work on.

So keep entering every contest you can. They’re a joy to read and to see how different people attack the same challenge.

Angie Gregory said...

Congrats Susan! Good stuff here this week. And thanks, Janet for the line mention. That was fun!

Amy Schaefer said...

This talk of limbo gives me a great excuse to post one of my favourite passages from Dr Seuss.

THE WAITING PLACE
by Dr. Seuss

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
or a plane to go or the mail to come,
or the rain to go or the phone to ring,
or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.

Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night

or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.

Everyone is just waiting.

--from Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

kdjames.com said...

Susan, congrats on some might fine writing! All three of the stories on the short list made me stop and think and re-read. And the zombie bunny and the Clue stories made me laugh. Good work, everyone.

Donna, I'm sorry for your loss. May all your memories be fond ones.

Colin and Lynn, I tried to write you into a more physically appealing place! You would only have had to deal with mental anguish. Sort of figured between the two of you, you'd clean up the place and get rid of most of the typos, if not the bad ideas. I even added a SpecOps team to escort you, so you'd have a grand adventure getting there. Oh well. I tried. Let us know where you . . . land. If you ever take off.

A Velez said...

I'm so impressed by the e-less entries! Love the winner and the twist in Amy's entry. Also the zombie bunny. So fun, as always.

E.Maree said...

Oh wow, loved these! I actually forgot there were missing letters in them at all.

(6) Susan really drew me in with those double meanings. So much wonderful depth.

(7) Eve Messenger , I enjoyed it but I'm curious what the hidden meaning I'm missing is.

Enjoyed the math in (8) Terri Lynn Coop. Very clever! 45 years, for anyone feeling maths averse down here in the comments.


(11) Just Jan was WOW. What an unexpectedly dark turn! Lvoed it.

Craig said...

Congrats Susan, the long-listers, short-listers, special mentionables and unmentionables. Great stuff in those entries

Just in case any of you were wondering I did reference Jimmy Buffet and Issac Asimov in the sentence.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Superb Susan! The entirety of PTSD in a nutshell. Superbly done. Superb.

To the other short and long-listers, what a great bunch of reads!

Thank you for the shout out and kind words - justice is served when the time indeed fits the crime.

My entry was the flash version of "Life Sentence" which will drop on the "13 Stories 'Til Halloween" blog anthology. I'm not up yet, but will be sometime before the 31st. I twisted the twist a bit more for the long form.

For some fun spooky short stories, check out:

https://13storiestilhalloween.wordpress.com/

Thank you so much for this random act of contest! (And go Susan!) It was a blast.

Terri Lynn Coop

Eve Messenger said...

E. Maree: Thank you for asking. No hidden meaning; I think Janet just meant that, other than the prompt words, my story was written without using the letter 'e.' :)

Lance said...

Congratulations to Susan. Great story. Also congratulations to all the mentionables and e-less writers in particular. What a great contest. Thank you, Ms. Janet, for taking your time for another of these fantastic exercises. Wonderful. Lynn and Colin, go with the shark.

Kastie said...

Kitty, thanks so much! That made my day; almost as good as getting called out by the Shark herself. After all, you did--I bask in reflected glory. :D

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Congratulations Susan and all the mentioned.
When you know your entry sucketh royally (not yours, mine) at least you can appreciate the amazing other entries. Great laughs this week.

Just Jan said...

Susan: Congratulations!

Everyone who went "e"-less: Impressive!

Everyone who got a mention: Great job!

Everyone who entered: Reading your entries kept me entertained for an entire weekend. Thank you!

E.Maree: Thanks for the wow!

Janet: I don't mind being the creepiest creep as long as it makes your longlist--and doesn't get me exiled to Carkoon! Thanks again for the fun.

Colin Smith said...

*yawn* seems the shuttle will leave tomorrow morning... maybe...

...need to camp out for the night here in hanger 9... wait area 9 more like...

...maybe here by these boxes... paper inside... mmm... interesting...

"Dear Ms. Reid, My fiction novel VAMPIRES ON KALE ISLAND is a 200,000 word epic saga..."

wait... what the date on this? September 19, 2003. Huh... box says "Slush Pile"... okay... time to sleep. nite...

french sojourn said...


Congrats to all entries. And I can't echo strong enough John Frain's sentiments above. Spot on.

Thank you QOTKU for hosting and reviewing these fun contests. We all really appreciate it.

Donnaeve, sorry for your loss.

Cheers all, Hank

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

John Frain,
"...and to see how different people attack the same challenge".

A hell-of-an outlook on life too.
Love it.

Poof! said...

Susan - Well deserved win! Fantastic entry!

Ashes - I loved Hoppy's story. Fun!

Calorie Bombshell said...

I'm a little late to the party but congrats Susan - stellar piece! Such high quality writing!