Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Ink Stained Wench flash semi-fiction contest

Ok, I confess to having a bit of a shark crush on anyone named Ink Stained (anything), but now  it manifests with a touch of humble pie, since I called her Ink Stained WRETCH for a while!

The post on creating the bio section of your query prompted her comment:
InkStainedWench is an author and poet who leads a life of quiet anonymity until she hears the opening chords of "Mustang Sally."

Well!



But it gave me a new idea for how to torture you for my amusement!

This week's flash semi-fiction contest is to write a bio using 50 words or fewer (akin to the example above).

Does it have to be true? Well, sort of.
The standard: would you put it in your query letter? Yes? that works. No? that doesn't work.

In other words, this is supposed to be fun AND actually useful!

Do you have to use your real name? No, you can use your Twitter handle or any other name you want. 

Where do you post your entries? In the comment column of THIS blog post. Starting NOW!

Contest opens Wednesday (3/27)  at 11:35pm, and closes Friday (3/29) at 7am.

Of course there are prizes. 

Questions?
Tweet to me @Janet_Reid

77 comments:

Beth Carpenter said...

Dog-door Operator Beth Carpenter moonlights as a matchmaker for headstrong fictional characters. She splits time between Alaska and Arizona, where she sometimes encounters a moose in the yard or a scorpion in the basement. She prefers the moose.

BrendaLynn said...

I have published a humor column in a small craft magazine (Xyz). Jackson’s story is born out of my love for the wild mountains, where I’ve spent time with hunters and guide outfitters. I suspect that I would be the first of your clients to have eaten bear, although I may be misjudging them. While this book stands alone it could be the first of a three-part series. I have never self-published.

AJ Blythe said...

I’m an Aussie environmental scientist who has experience caring for native wildlife (the furry kind, not just my kids). Having previously owned a pooch with criminal tendencies, I am now shadowed by a schnoodle with separation anxiety.

Timothy Lowe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

Originally from Blue Grass, Iowa, Missyoga now lives in the Hudson Highlands where she tries to recreate Iowa farmland in her back yard.

When she's not writing or gardening, she can be found wandering in graveyards, searching for her elusive 18th century ancestors.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I make my living as a software engineer for a school district. I raised a daughter on my own. Taught her to dream and hers took her to New York. I now pursue my dearest ambition, a career writing books as dear as the ones I so love to read.

Steve Zippilli said...

Stuart Smith was a career Probation and Court officer in one of New Jersey’s most dangerous cities, Camden NJ. Joining his long-time friend, former corporate grunt and malcontent, Stephen Zippilli, they plumb the depths of that experience for use as fodder to set the stage on which their stories unfold.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...


I'm a writer, a reader, a beach-comber and a tortoise-owner. Many of my creepy little tales are out prowling in print and lurking online. My flash fiction collection, Garden of Lost Souls, will give you a taste of my work. Just be careful something doesn't taste you back.

Jenn Griffin said...

Jenn Griffin is an author and accountant who finds balance in life through conservative yoga, incautious reading and unprejudiced sarcasm.

Craig F said...

The author has been many things. This is mainly from tilting at windmills to find challenges. Environmental sciences almost caught him but his penchant for messing around with boats won, taking advantage of escapist sentiment in society.

Through that his writing has been developing and, finally, feels worthy of consideration.

Megan V said...

Megan V is an ace attorney with a dastardly plan to escape the Arizona heat. All she needs is a good book, a comfy chair, and a dog. The first two have been acquired. The third...well...the neighbor cat has the final say on that and Megan is still waiting on her paw of approval.

Steve Forti said...

(there's gotta be a better blurb I can use)

I am a writer and IT project manager whose mind bounces between novels and flash fiction. I live in Massachusetts with my wife and two kids (though she’ll insist she lives with three kids). My work can also be seen in (list).

Jessa said...

Jessa Kent is a bi-polar witch living in Virginia with the requisite cat. She lives in a house with one roommate (not the cat), and has a dark past including ren faires, horseback riding, studying acting in NYC, and a lamentably brief stint as a griffon trainer.

Heather Wardell said...

A natural 1200 wpm speed reader, Heather Wardell is the author of twenty self-published novels which she began writing after careers in software development and elementary school education. In her spare time, she reads, swims, crochets, changes her hair colour, and plays drums and clarinet.

Generally not all at once.

Scott Sloan said...

This is my first novel. Fifty years in the entertainment industry has done little to prepare me for a life of writing. Except, perhaps, for all those years spent in a practice room… alone… so terribly alone…

julie.weathers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
french sojourn said...


Hank Petterson writes Science Fiction and Police Procedural in Southwest France. He lives with his long-suffering wife, who he met while working as a stuntman in the adult film industry, and his daughter, five cats, and two dogs.

His pre-ordered gravestone (a gift) says simply….

“What are you lookin’ at?”

KariV said...

I grew up in the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea alongside a tribe of cannibals. To my knowledge, I’ve never eaten a human being. I have, however, been a ghost writer for bloodthirsty personal injury attorneys up and down the East Coast before switching to writing fiction.

Katelyn Yaeger said...

An introvert with a knack for lurking in plain sight, Katelyn Yaeger prefers using her powers of perception for storytelling rather than espionage. Not before her second cup of coffee though and only after she’s stopped one of her seven siblings from starting World War III.

Kregger said...

As a teen, Karl Rich applied to the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. A lifelong sailor, he envisioned piloting freighters. Remember the recession of the late 70’s? Dream dashed. Now, writing Great Lakes sailing lore, his humor and first drafts are as rough as the barnacle-laden hull of a salty.

NLiu said...

NLiu was cursed with adventure-lust by her tome-reading father. Said curse drove her around the world, where she inconveniently fell in love. She now sports two mini readers and an eccentric vocabulary. She professes undying gratitude to anyone who writes a story still funny on the thousandth retelling.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Jennifer R. Donohue is an Associate SFWA member and library clerk, who tries to use her psychology degree for good, though it is very hard. Dogs make it easier. She transplanted from her ocean home to central New York after college, where she got married, and wrote everything she’s published.

Cheryl said...

I have lived in twelve cities in three countries and have worked as a research assistant in computational linguistics, a stable hand, a special needs teacher, and a film extra, in that order. My SF story “A Gentle Flutter of Feathers” was published in The Changing Image in 2018.

Barbara Etlin said...

Although Barbara Etlin claims she was an owl in a previous life, there is no evidence to substantiate this. Her writing has appeared in enRoute, The Toronto Star, Free Zone Quarterly, and Danse Macabre. She awaits tulip season in Toronto, surrounded by two electronic cats and 300 owls.

Dee Garretson said...

After a research job toiling in the crumbling stacks of death certificate records, Dee Garretson now knows countless unique ways to kill people, so instead of setting up a boutique business to provide tips to assassins, she puts that knowledge to use writing mysteries.

Brent Salish said...

Strange visitor from another planet, she can change the course of mighty authors and bend editors with her bare hands. Disguised as a mild-mannered blogger for a great metropolitan website, she fights a never-ending battle for voice, backstory, and the American novel. Look! Up in the sky! It’s SuperShark!

Bruce Harrison said...

My speculative fiction story was scheduled for publication when the magazine folded due to the health of the owner. I was so crushed that I stopped writing for fifteen years, only, after starting again, to have QueryShark publicly humiliate me for my query that, in her words (paraphrased), broke new ground in mistakes made.

You'd think that would discourage me, correct? Nay! I just completed my second novel, and am now looking for any agent not named Janet to take me on. I'd ask you to wish me luck, but we all know that, as the sage says, "it's not who you know, but . . ."

Kathryn said...

Kathryn is a writer-illustrator who was raised in a science laboratory. Not as a science experiment, mind you, but rather as the daughter of an overzealous chemist who always took his daughter to work. Instead of cracking chemical equations, she prefers painting pictures of chemists and writing their stories.

shanepatrickwrites said...

Shane Patrick left a Wisconsin farm for the wilds of Alaska years ago. He’s been paid to climb mountains, float rivers, blow things up and fly helicopters. Shane chugs coffee and bangs on the keyboard every morning, excited to learn how the story ends.

Kristin Owens said...

After 20+ years in higher education, the only thing my PhD has in common with writing is my dissertation topic: persistence. I write magazine articles on topics from apples to zippers. I travel the world searching for a good $10 bottle of wine. I speak fluent German and crappy French.

Karl Henwood said...

I’m a former cop and soldier, now living in Boise Idaho with my wife and son. Iraq got me shot at the way mail is addressed to ‘occupant’ and revealed a peacefully Zen place beyond burnout. Now I’m working to monetize all the real weirdness I’ve lived through fiction.

Jennifer Mugrage said...

Jennifer Mugrage is more Velma than Daphne. She is a willing student of theology, history, and anthropology, and an unwilling student of the finer points of Minecraft, by the wishes of her offspring.

Kate Larkindale said...

After a lifetime travelling the globe, Kate settled in New Zealand. A writer, film marketing executive and mother to two sons and two cats, she’s surprised she finds time to write, but doesn’t sleep much. As a result, she can usually be found hanging out by the nearest espresso machine.

Kelly said...

As a person with narcolepsy, picture books are my favorite genre because I can read a whole one without falling … zzzzzz…. Oh, sorry. I dozed off there. Neurological disease aside, I’m currently a member of SCBWI, 12 x 12, and the NC Writers’ Network.

PAH said...

PAH travels chrono-synclastic infundibula in search of the perfect waffle and the Universe's best opening sentence. His resume looks like he was throwing darts at a job fair: door-to-door salesman, substitute teacher, sportswriter, video-game-tester, almost-reality-TV-star, and ad copywriter. He is the world’s leading expert on Boy Meets World trivia. Probably.

Andrew Arno said...

When not writing Andrew Arno spends most of his time trying to keep various helicopters from getting blown up and enacting dark rituals designed to ensure that the Buffalo Bills win the Super Bowl. So far, success in the former has counterbalanced abject failure in the latter.

Jacqueline H. said...

All the things your mother told you would never happen have already happened to Jacqueline, who sits in her loft, surrounded by cats, and writes about them.

Theresa said...

Theresa is a desk chair time traveler always on the lookout for the scrappiest women in American history.

The Noise In Space said...

Noise is a time traveller who absolutely, positively was not present at the the theft of the Hope Diamond, and no one can prove otherwise. She paints in the bathtub, gives culinary history lectures about the origin of cookies, and very much enjoys meeting other people's imaginary friends.

Laina said...

Laina Spencer an aspiring YA author who writes a lot of books about queerness, fatness, and murder. Only two of those she has personal experience with, she promises. She has an on-going project to analyze L. M. Montgomery’s library of work and co-runs Queer Summer Reading, an online book club that aims to promote reading queer literature. You can find her on twitter as @lainasparetime and online at lainaspencer.wordpress.com.

TS Rosenberg said...

Tracey S. Rosenberg is an avid traveler who’s visited Easter Island and North Korea (not on the same trip). Her muse is a Jane Austen bobble-head.* She lives in Scotland with a long-haired man and a short-tempered cat.

*https://austenprose.com/2011/06/20/mailbox-monday-the-elusive-jane-austen-bobble-head/

Pericula Ludus said...

Pericula Ludus researches disaster responses for a living. She is particularly interested in how people act in extremely stressful situations, but tries to hide such experiments from her students. Any similarities between distressed fictional characters and students on deadline day are purely accidental.

luralee kiesel said...

Luralee never wanted to be a writer when she grew up.

She once turned in a paper entitled WHY I HATE WRITING.
The teacher not only didn’t fail her, he suggested she take the AP English exam.
She declined.
20+ years later something finally clicked.

Kit Llwynog said...

An author by night and extremely tired parent by day, Kit enjoys writing about places they would fit better in and skills they wish they had. When not making sad vampire men sadder, they play video games, learn to speak languages for countries they can’t afford to visit and suffer their way toward a black belt in taekwondo. Also children and pets are involved.

Timothy Lowe said...

A high school English teacher and father or two, Timothy Lowe writes crime fiction. He swears he's not as homicidal as his characters, although thanks to his daughter's Netflix account, he does harbor a deep and disturbing desire to murder the "Fuller House" laugh track.

Diana said...

Diana is a silicon valley software engineer, an insect lab survivor, and a huge bird nerd. She's raised mealworms (for science), mice (for science), and endangered crane chicks (not for science). Fortunately for her, writing provides a respite from the bugs in labs, crane chick snacks, and code alike.

KDJames said...

KDJames is a nocturnal introvert and professional liar. She has raised two children, several pets, and a wild rumpus. A long-time RWA member, she'd cheerfully become a Crazy Cat Lady if not for the attendant litter boxes. Her favourite meme T-shirt reads: "Sorry I'm late, I didn't want to come."

Gabby said...

Gabby has been awful at office work, done pretty well in prop-making and now juggles writing and illustration with raising children and pot-plants. The children seem to be doing OK, the pot-plants… well, some haven’t died.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

MelanieSueBowles is the traditionally published author of three nonfiction books about horses taken in at her sanctuary, Proud Spirit. She is currently shopping a middle grade about a downtrodden donkey. Ironically, MelanieSue just took in a donkey who was dumped on a rural road and tragically hit by a car.

LynnRodz said...

Throughout Lynn's adventures living in 8 countries and traveling to more than 60, the worst happened when the boat she was on capsized in the Atlantic and she was caught underneath. A close second happened while busking throughout Europe she was told she'd be paid to stop singing. She stopped and was promptly paid. Now all her boating and singing happens in her bathroom.

T.C. Galvin said...

T.C. Galvin is an Australian writer/economist-in-training who is working on replacing sleep with coffee. She has a concern of heights, so naturally has taken up aerial acrobatics as a hobby. Her free time involves collecting books and raising plastic pot plants.

John Davis Frain said...

I’ve published six short stories (Flash Bang Mysteries, Detective Mystery Stories & others). I’m a member of Sisters in Crime and [City Redacted] Writer’s Guild. You can judge my unique style—suffice to say, I’m seven degrees separated from Kevin Bacon. When I’m not writing, I mostly wish I was writing. Balance Schmalance.

Karen McCoy said...

Karen McCoy is a writer, librarian, and part-time cat servant. She’s been known to correct grammar mistakes on chalk boards in coffee shops and delis, and hopes no one wants to spit in her food. She’s currently revising a story about a talking vole who solves crime in Victorian England.

Android Astronomer said...

Physicist-barista Brian Wells discusses quantum mechanics with customers when not making words and lattes. He's managed to give fictional characters the wherewithal to save the world, save the solar system, and even save the universe from malevolent and incompetent forces. (Salvation of the universe is still pending completion of WIP.)

Mallory Love said...

Mallory Love is a killer of her characters' hopes and dreams and of jokes. As a teacher, mother, and mystery writer, she knows context is everything and hopes anyone looking at her Google search history agrees. She currently resides in her own world (according to family) but Texas is home.

Judy Moore said...

After buying the rundown, gypsy-filled apartment building in France, I figured I’d better learn the language. I now speak French haltingly, with a Vietnamese accent, which is unusual for someone raised in Iowa.

Just Jan said...

A healer of creatures great and small, I spend my free time baking babkas for my mother-in-law and desperately planning my next vacation.

MaggieJ said...

When MaggieJ was eight, Toronto swallowed her village without even belching. Years later, she escaped to Eastern Ontario where her ancestors had put down roots long ago. She can often be found sojourning in the fictional nineteenth-century town of Houghton where she meddles shamelessly in the lives of its townsfolk.

julie.weathers said...

I was a Speedhorse Racing Report lead writer doing race and human-interest stories for twenty-five years. In another life, I had a prison ministry and wrote inspirational stories and personal letters to our 2,000 students. This has nothing do with writing, but I'm also a former lady bronc rider.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Her Grace, the Duchess of Kneale has written books to help you escape reality... if only for a little while. She learned the value of this as a young child and now pays forward the favour for others through Science Fiction, Fantasy and Romance. Her current refuge is Western Australia.

Chantal Giroux said...

Since before I could even read, I would tell stories to anyone that would listen. I’d always imagine my own hidden magical world. When I couldn’t find it in forests, I got a Masters in Biological Oceanography to find it in the sea. Until I find it, I’ll keep writing.

Branden Sampson said...

Big strong construction worker by day, geeky fanboy by night.When I first read Harry Potter my world shifted. Inspiring me to put pen to paper, writing quickly became a pass-time and flourished into a passion. Mixing the grim world we live in with fantasies that are somehow even darker.

Sherin Nicole said...

The CIA offered Sherin Nicole a scholarship to college but she’s too secretive for espionage, instead she writes paranormal comics, movies, and TV shows that no one suspects are true.

Dena Pawling said...


I passed the California Bar Examination way back in the last century, and practice real estate and probate law, heavy emphasis on the word practice, as a trial attorney in Southern California. Four wonderful adults call me mom, including one who the doctors said would never talk. I am a member of SCBWI. This is my first novel.

K said...

Before writing this novel, K chased her dreams via car (making three solo moves across the U.S.) and plane (taking jobs on three other continents). Yet each journey demonstrated that nothing offers new perspectives like a story. She's a member of Sisters in Crime who is powered by snacks.

Kat Waclawik said...

I'm a vet (both kinds) and a mom, which means I can expertly wrangle whiners of any rank, age, or species. (My secret weapon? Snacks!)

Sarahlynn said...

Sarahlynn has published short stories and essays in apt literary magazine, a romance anthology (Ravenous Romance, pseudonym), and Gifts: Mothers reflect on how children with Down syndrome enrich their lives (Woodbine House). She’s president of the St. Louis chapter of Sisters in Crime and an active member of RWA (PRO).

Gypmar said...

Gypsy Martin was born to hippie parents who did not foresee her name becoming politically incorrect over the course of her lifetime. She has worked as a receptionist at a siren factory and as a school lunch lady, and has raised two sons to their teenage years. She still retains her hearing, if not her sanity.

CED said...

CED writes about the magical and the horrific hidden just under the mundane. In his spare time, he wrangles bytes and warps young minds (not necessarily in that order) as a manager at an internet company. He once was a mathematician, so he’s got words and numbers both covered.

luciakaku said...

Luciakaku is an author owned by two cats, with an unhealthy love of metaphor. In her spare time, she lies around like a bum, dresses up in kimono, and rewrites witty comebacks to past conversations. She has lived in Texas and in Japan and nowhere else, because why not.

C. Dan Castro said...

When Dan isn’t reading about foreign cultures, studying languages, or traveling strange lands, he invents:
1. New cultures
2. Inhuman languages
3. Exotic worlds
Dan knows he’ll continue distinguishing reality from fantasy as long as he doesn’t start writing about himself in the third person.

Cyn said...

As a child, Cyn Hayes relished her Southern relatives’ tales of haunted graveyards in the woods. Then her family relocated to Los Angeles; land of swimming pools, sunbathing, and celebrity sightings. She would take a Dearly Departed over a Movie Star Homes tour any day. When not navigating traffic, she’s holed up in a tiny bungalow, perfecting her first paranormal mystery, which includes (of course) a haunted graveyard.

Panda in Chief said...

Anne Belov writes and draws panda satire. She believes in the healing power of pandas, panda videos, and cake. Living in the Pacific Northwest, she hopes one day to find pandas hiding in the woods behind her house. You can find her on Twitter @PandaChronicle and http://yourbrainonpandas.com

janet haigh said...

J. A. Haigh was raised in the wilds of Tasmania and her writing is full of magic and myth. Her work has been published in such places as ASIM, Gaia: Shadow and Breath, Syntax & Salt and Aurealis. She lives in Newcastle, with her two delightful rug-rats and their witty father.

Uncompliant said...

The universe -- yes, the entire universe -- is using Uncompliant to express itself.
A man, a zero-balance retirement plan,
some certificates of learning, no less than ten million words
squeezed from Uncompliant during a not relevant
career -- yes, not one word less. But worry not. This here -- is only fifty words.

Claire Bobrow said...

Claire is a driver on the road of life, elbow out the window, one hand on the wheel, stopping at roadside attractions, and still searching for a token to The Phantom Tollbooth.

Kitty said...

Kitty Myers is the most un-interesting person in the world who mines other people's lives for her stories. She does not drink Dos Equis, and she wears a t-shirt that warns people: CAREFUL, OR YOU'LL END UP IN MY NOVEL.