Sunday, February 10, 2019

Back to Brooklyn Writing Contest results/FINAL

I needed this contest today! I'm furrless for the first time in almost a month. Neither yowls nor purrs!
No sleek regal beast, no cool orange cat. I'm reduced to cat gifs on Twitter.

The contest was indeed a good way to perk up. Some ferociously talented writers out there of course, and a few of you were in top form!

Kitty's entry made me laugh. The only thing she got wrong? I had gin with me, not whisky. (Sacrilege, I know)

Dan Castro's "TEN HOURS LATER" cracked me up! I always promise myself I'll ONLY spend a few minutes on the NYT Crossword. (Ten hours later!) Not quite done!

Dena Pawling just wrenched my heart.

Things I had to look up:
Eustace Clarence Scrubb (Timothy Lowe)

words I had to look up
Lucy Crowe

Special designation of She Who Shall Never Be Spoken of Again in the Presence of Her Grace, the Duchess of Yowl (and all she survey, and what you survey as well) given to:
Luralee Kiesel

Great word
Luralee Kiesel

Great line
he wanted the world - it did not want him back.

Not quite a story, but what great writing!

Not quite a story but hilarious

Not quite a story, but honestly, I'm never leaving my apartment again EVER
K (11:54pm)

I don't know why I even try. Honestly.

Steve Forti
Approaching footsteps in sync. LA waterfront at night. Dangerous territory.

My pulse quickens as he seizes me. Hunger. I can feel it. I’m ready. Eyes close as his teeth bite my neck…


“Yeeeooowwwmmmffffpphh!” The vampire reels, fangs blunted and broken against my titanium cybernetic skeleton. I turn, purring at his terrified face.

This is what I was made for. I raise the stake and bury it in his undead heart. Catch or kill is no debate. There is no remorse.

I am Bionic Undead Fighter, model E (BUF-E). This is my America. LA. Mi tyrannis. I slay the night.

Forti slays the shark ....again.

Here's the long list
I am a cat who wants the thing that smells good . The lady is snoring on the couch. It is my time.
I have one claw hooked, but it makes sound that wakes the lady.
"Finn. Get out of the cabinet."
I ignore her, and pull. Things fall. The stuff the dogs like scatters across over the floor. I do the work. They eat for free.
"Finn. Oh, Finn. Another cat-calamity?" The lady picks me up. I don't mind.
If I purr she may give me the thing that smells good. I will hork on the dogs bed later.

"Cats," she wailed. "Why cats?"

The seventh cat, most recent to appear, purred.

"I've tried half these conjuring spells, but all I get are CATS!"

The largest cat pushed the spellbook off the counter. Pawing, turning pages.


"It's a catastrophe. FURRY CALAMITY!"

The cat calmly clawed a gash under a word in the glossary's F section and gave a slow blink. Then horked up his dinner, curled into a chair near the hearth, and began to snore.

The would-be witch peered at the underlined word, understanding dawning as she re-read the book's title: "Beginning Witchcraft: Easy Familiar Spells."

Kolin Mofield
“Thank you for calling Robyn’s Intimates. This is Mity, how may I assist you?”
“Will the Cat’s Claw thong support my boys, if you know what I mean?”
She muted, stood up and yelled, “I got Frank!” She grabbed some paperclips and tossed them over the cubicle walls & her coworkers jumped up like a game of whack-a-mole; just another day.
She unmuted. “They do have sizes up to 3XL, would that work?” She purred, and sipped her tea. Sheila laughed, someone snored.
“Oh Calamity, you’ll know soon enough.”
She horked out her drink. He knew her name.

Here's the short list:

When I read this by French Sojourn I really wondered if anyone could top it:
“It’s that finishing school that finished her…Calamity College and that starch lipped Headmistress.”

“Honey, it’s Amity College, London.”

“I just about horked, every time I wrote those fucking clowns a check.”

“She met that nice boy there…”

“Nice boy? Looks like he spent his developmental years trapped in a mayonnaise jar.”

“Don’t be catty George, she loves him.”

“He’s a walking snore fest.”

“They want to set a date”, she purred.


“It’s true George, he loves her,” she sensed George retracting his claws.”

“Does he?”

“He adores Carrie.”

“So, now she’ll be Mrs. Carrie Oakey of Old Brokenote, Sangloudlieshire.”

Well, ok Aphra Pell is going to give Hank a run for his money
I am cousin to the serval, not a servile beast.

I want to be a leopard in Udaipur, roaming the lakes.
Or the sacred pet of King Neferkahor.

odkods stalking the Chilean hills,
Or an iriomote, laying down pacific law.

I yearn to be an ocelot, margay or manul.
A jaguarondi, lynx, or hunting caracal.

Am I ty

For I am not a Pallas, nor Egyptian god.
Not a ball of demonic atoms, ruling star-lit paths.

I am a creature of pink collars, fancy bows and bells.
Brushes and dry kibble. Clean bowls.

Did they have to call me Snookums?

And we can pretty much always count on Marie McKay to some terrifyingly good story:

She'd had a breakthrough. Orkney was the birthplace of her great-grandma.The archivist confirmed it, along with details of Innes N. Ore's life.
After clawing around for information for months- her dad no help at all- she'd positively purred with happiness when the email dropped in.
She began reading:
Innes was a fisherwoman which had been frowned upon by the menfolk.
"Go Innes!"
She'd been a poet.
She'd had one child.
"This is it."
But catastrophe: Innes was murdered.
The perpetrator, her only grandchild, was released from incarceration at age 25 having spent 15 years in prison.
Jeannette Leopold
Ironic that a guy named Thor would work in carpentry, but there it was. The others spurred each other to the height of hammer humor. Thor had clawed his way to the top, but there’s no respect anymore.

Back to them, he worked late. He was building a masterpiece, curled wood and straight edges. Catherine waited by the window for him to come home, one hand in the pickle jar. She sniffed him when he came in, trailing moonlight.

Thor knew what she thought, so he showed her the crib.

She showed him the baby. “I’ve named him John Henry.”

I love the understated subtlety here. Elegant precise writing makes me so very happy.

And Nate Wilson just makes it all look so easy
"What is THIS?"
"Oh, hi boss. Sorry. It's MSN. Or... ESPN?"
"Don't care. Your job's to watch Ork, Jerry. That's it."
"Sorry, boss."
"And where's Na?"
"Nanette? Dunno, she hasn't been in."
"For how long?"
"Two... three days."
"Three days. Yet you've said nothing?"
"Sorry, boss."
"Sorry? Old broadcasts will reach Ork any day now!"
"...and when they see how they've been depicted, it might spur retaliation, I know."
"Retaliation completely justified under cosmic law. That'd be a calamity of global proportions. Check her logs."
"Locating them now. And... shit. They've seen. Warships arriving... tonight."
"Damn. Na knew."
"Na knew."

This left me gasping.

Of course it's John Davis (manuscript) Frain
The guys at Mensa snore me to death, so I never mention my brain cancer. I don’t mention my brilliance either, but these cats see it.

“Daniel,” some genius purrs. “How’s the book selling?”

“Only the Bible has sold more.”

“You should pen your memoir. Call it the Man in the Window.”

“My life? Nobody would believe it.”

He nods agreement with a grin that makes me hork. I claw my way out of the room and hear the geezer complain to someone. “Where’s the current New Yorker?”

He won’t find it. I canceled the club’s subscription to that rag.

“You look deliciously clever,” said the dragon. “Harvard educated?”
“Naww, pretty much just YouTube.”
“Ah, comic law,” she said. “Thor knows just how to trap them, hilarious boy.”
“Speaking metaphorically, dear. More mead?”
“You bet.”
“And you’ve touched neither macarons nor ├ęclairs. May I tempt you?”
“I love temptations.”
“And I love eating local! --Am I tyrannical? So tyrannical, nattering on when you came for business.”
“That’s right, I solved your contest riddle!’”
“Did you? Share the solution, darling.”
“Dragon tired of hoard seeks horde. I won, right?? ‘Prizes to die for.’”
“Clever, clever knight,” purred the dragon.

 I just love this so much.
Plus hoard and horde, used to perfection.

With seven on the short list I need some time to think and reflect.
Let me know who you think should take home the prize! 


Well, it took a while, but this week's winner is Nate Wilson.
Evoking the miracle that was Robin Williams reminded me how glad I was to be alive when he was, and that I got the chance to see his amazing body of work. True genius is so rare. It's always good to be reminded that it takes many forms.

Thanks Nate.


Craig F said...

I do, truly, love FlashFriday, when she speaks dragon. It is, however, Sunday Night, and I, in my half drunk Sunday state of mind, am having a hard time time finding hork or claw in there.

Perhaps the morning will show a new light to it. Otherwise, I am still a fan of Hank.

OT: I am going to pull the pin on a query and toss it into the trenches tomorrow. Ashes of a New Dawn is hitting the wind, it is also in the Query Tracker forum, if you are bored.

Janet Reid said...

I boldedthem for you.
I miss a bunch of these clever ones on the first read through. The trick is to search for the least common letter in the word (K, W) and then see what surrounds it.

Aphra Pell said...

Oh wow, I was not expecting that - I was just being silly with words and wildcats on a Saturday night.

I guess I shouldn't be picking a winner, but I would love to see Marie's worked into a longer story or novel - so much there to unravel.

John Davis Frain said...

Sometimes I adore the writing, so I read it again, and I just know I'm missing something in the story. Then, it (okay, they--who am I kidding?!) show up on Janet's short list and I'm positive I'm missing something.

So I read it again (okay, twice--who am I kidding?!), and I'm still stumped. Do I need to start watching TV again so I understand pop culture? Please, say it ain't so!

Also, I think Forti is gonna need some kinda Lifetime Achievement Award or something. I don't know if he writes horror, but he's scary good.

AJ Blythe said...

Ditto what John said. I've had barely a twinkle of sleep in the last few days so I will blame sleep deprivation and not a lack of grey matter.

Steve Forti, I bow at your brilliance. Perhaps for the next one you will need to include the Forti prompt words both forwards and backwards to give everyone else a sporting chance at it.

Amazing writing everyone. I can't wait to see who Janet picks because I think they are all fab. Sorry, Janet, I don't think I can help choose.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

No freaking idea who should win. Wow, so much goodness here. Almost makes me glad my internet decided to get all wonky this weekend so I couldn't post mine. I always love a good dragon so that's in flashfriday's favor. But Mary McKay's ...give me a creepy kid any day.

Whoever the queen picks will be worthy.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

A winner among so much brilliance? I've no clue.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the entries this morning. The various uses of the word 'hork' really brightened my Monday!

Steve Forti said...

While I always appreciate a good groan (thanks Nate), I probably vote for Hank this time, as I got the best laugh from Carrie Oakey.

Aphra Pell said...

I'm going to confess to initially only getting Nate's entry as a slice of sci-fi. Then I read it out loud... A tip of the hat for such quality punning.

Kregger said...

As an aficionado of obscure Americana,

I horked coffee out my nose at, "Na Knew, Na Knew."

Beyond that, my guess is not as good as yours.

french sojourn said...

Thank you for including me in such a talented pool. Aphra Pell had me at caracal, but her writing was sublime and gets my vote.

And as usual Mr. Manuscript kicked ass, flash friday was killer, and the other usual suspects did not disappoint. Congrats to all that entered, it is obvious a lot of work went into them.

Cheers, Hank.

Megan V said...

Flashfriday for the win for me.

I could just picture a modern-day Smaug-like denizen putting this riddle on the web lol.

Nate Wilson said...

See, my wife would never admit there's such a thing as "quality punning." That's why I come here. Thanks, Aphra. (And Kregger, sorry about your coffee--and your nose.)

As for who should win, I'm torn between the dragon and some wildcats.

Karen McCoy said...

Flashfriday gets my vote! I'd also like to give a shout out to Colin and his story. Gave me chills.

Stacy said...

I gotta go with Forti. Made me laugh and creeped me out at the same time.

Just Jan said...

Aphra Pell for the win...loved it!

cjohs said...

Let my start by saying: I have no clue as to who should win, they are all good in their very different ways.
I am a tad sorry, though, that the one that touched me most is not included in the short list (Christina Lynn Raymond), but hey that's just me.
It was great fun being part of this game of words, though.

Theresa said...

I know: Na knew.

KDJames said...

As usual, I like several of these but for different reasons. And yes, I'm also stumped by a couple and know I'm missing something. So glad I'm not judging.

Dena, you made me cry, dammit. (that's a compliment)

Thanks for the mention, Janet. That's two contests in a row that I've made the long list-- which was shorter than the short list, testifying to the talent around here. Maybe I should quit while I'm ahead. :)

Steve Forti said...

Congrats Nate!
Mr {manuscript), could you please enlighten a dummy like me? I'm afraid I didn't understand your entry this week. Thanks.

french sojourn said...

Congrats Nate Wilson, that was such an enjoyable entry, nice win.

( Craig and Steve, thanks for the kind nods.)

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Congrats, Nate. Wonderful story although it took hints from the other commenters here to help me get it.

Colin Smith said...

Congrats, Nate! And thanks, Karen, for the shout-out. :D

I have updated the Contest Spreadsheet in the Treasure Chest.

flashfriday said...

Nate's the winner, eh? Clever, clever Nate... :) Congrats to all, and thanks once again to Her Majesty for hosting such a smashing showdown.

Karen McCoy said...

Hooray, Nate! I love Robin Williams too. I even passed through the "Robin Williams Tunnel" on the way to work this morning.

Amy Johnson said...

Congratulations, Nate! Way to go! I've got your winner's party all set up. Went with an outer space theme. Nana nano. (I can almost do Mork's salute. Almost.)

Amy Johnson said...

Shazbot! That should say Na-Nu Na-Nu. :)

Timothy Lowe said...

Congrats, Nate. You may be the Jonathan Winters of these competitions. Yes, that's a compliment.

John Davis Frain said...

Way to hit one outta the park, Nathaniel. I'm going all formal this evening because, Robin Williams.

Steve, my entry played with A.J. Finn (aka Dan Mallory), who wrote the twisted tale, The Woman in the Window. Despite that being his debut novel, it appears he's had a long history of writing fiction in his own background. (Fortunately for his mother and brother, the tales of their deaths were greatly exaggerated.) It's all captured in the current New Yorker.

KDJames said...

Congrats, Nate! When I first read your entry, I wondered whether you were going for a sodium joke. The twist at the end was such a delightful surprise. I agree with Janet, good memories. Well done.

John, thank you for explaining that! I read that article (wow) and still didn't get the reference. Of course, I'd completely forgotten that was the name of his book.

Dena Pawling said...

Apologies to Janet and KDJames for the tears. But thanks Janet for the mention. And congrats to Nate!

Craig F said...

Congrats Nate, and all the other ships that sailed the tide of this contest.

Thank you, my Queen for bolding those two words. I knew they were there somewhere but my eyes said no, and it was staying that way.

Nate Wilson said...

Wow. Thank you, Janet! I'm glad I could bring you joy during this trying time of furlessness (albeit with some help from Robin Williams).

And thank you everyone for your kind words, and your fantastic stories!

Well, I'm off to the reef to collect my prize. If you don't hear from me again, the shark may have learned a trick or two from a certain dragon...

Marie McKay said...

Well done, Nate. An amazing use of the prompts and a great story. Thanks Janet for the comment on my own. Congrats to everyone.

AJ Blythe said...

Congrats, Nate. Close race so well done. I got the reference so rather chuffed (sometimes I feel like a doofus because I don't get the entries).

Kitty said...

I'm late here. Congrats to Nate for a very clever story. "Na knew. Na knew." Perfect!

Deborah McGovern said...

Nate did a great job. Well deserved. I had a great big laugh at Na knew.