Saturday, June 25, 2011

That was so much fun, let's do it again!

The writing contest was so much fun, and enough people asked for more that I figured why the heck not! It's summer, let's frolic!

The contest opens at 9:00pm EDT tonight 6/25.  It will close 24 hours later (ie 9:00pm Sunday 6/26). Comments are closed until the contest opens.

Contest rules: Write a story in 100 or fewer words.  Post the story in the comments section of this blog post.  Use the following words in the story:


Yes the words are related. Be the first to tell me how and you win the bonus round.  (Don't assume the answers posted are correct! I'm not moderating comments during the contest!)

Enter only once. If you need a mulligan, delete your first answer and post again. If you can't delete your comment, I'll take ONLY the last one.

I'm not sure what the prize will be but I've got some terrific books in the stack that need new homes!


...oops, too late. Contest closed.


Becky Mushko said...

The woman was tempted to enter Janet Reid’s latest contest. But might her time be better spent reading The Firestorm Conspiracy (Lyrical Press, 2011) by Cheryl Angst, a former winner of one of Reid’s contests, because it involved not one—but two— reluctant heroes, her favorite kind? Perhaps she could do both at one fell swoop. Momentarily wondering what the heck a “fell swoop” was, she entered the contest. Having done so, she decided to read the book. But, alas, she didn’t own a copy. Yet

Terri Coop said...

The State wouldn't give me what I wanted. I ran from the cops, but they were reluctant to shoot me. Obviously, it’s a conspiracy to keep me alive.

Instead they put me in a cell.

However, they did give me this blanket. A cheap one with threads easily pulled from the weave. Three threads make a braid. Three braids make a strand. Three strands make a rope.

Tie off on the upper bunk and swoop down. A lyrical end to my angst.

The State wouldn't give me death. However, they gave me a blanket. For a determined man, that's enough.

The bonus round!

“The Firestorm Conspiracy” by Cheryl Angst (who in her blog hoped the Sharky One might choose words from her book) is published by Lyrical Press. The words are in the blurb on the Lyrical Press listing page. “One conspiracy. Two reluctant heroes. . . . Fleet Commander John Thompson is driving through life until an old war buddy-turned-politician swoops in and shatters his carefully constructed illusion of contentment.”

M.A. Leslie said...

Angst filled the song as it echoed through the wind. Like lyrical genius, without a single phrase, the din melodically rang.
His heart was now hollow and his mind was numb.
Just earlier that day, the conspiracy of life had taken his true love and brood.
While he was reluctant to go on, he allowed the notes to flow, blind to fear but driven in sorrow.
And, as the ferial cat did swoop, the final note did sound, thankfully in death his pain did drown.

Sunny Insomniac said...

(The words are from: The Firestorm Conspiracy by Cheryl Angst)

A lone dust particle twirled in a lazy, pirouetting swoop through the intrusive morning light at my bedroom window. I rolled away, reluctant to crawl out of my cozy cocoon.

“Do you always have to write such lyrical crap?”

I twisted my head around to glare at Heath, my roommate who was currently staring over my shoulder at my computer screen. “Do you mind? It’s for a contest.”

“It seems more like a conspiracy to force your reader into taking a nap.”

“I suppose to be on your level it needs more angst, hand jobs and cowbells?”

“Definitely more cowbell.”

Barry Evans said...

‘Grandpa Reid!’ young Janet shouted as she ran through the room and

jumped up onto his lap, holding out a card for him. He read it’s lyrical words of

congratulations for achieving his first book deal at 80 years old.

‘But why did it take so long Grandpa?’

‘It’s a conspiracy child, I tried for years without success, your mother

encouraged me not to give up, but I was reluctant to face more angst.’

‘So what made them swoop for the story about a little girl eventually

becoming a top literary agent?’

‘Invaluable advice from the Query Shark my dear!’

The Original Drama Mama said...

I'm going to say the 5 word connection is Cheryl ANGST's book: The Firestorm CONSPIRACY published by LYRICAL Press. It's a tale of two RELUCTANT heroes, and how when one SWOOPS in on the other they need to save the human race...again.

According to her blog, Ms Angst entered the last 5 word contest and did a very creative job playing with the words, she also expressed the hope that one day Janet Reid would pick 5 words from one of her books...and tah-dah! I believe this list is that wish granted.

Amy Parker said...

Jimmy slipped into the shadows, lit his cigarette, and tried to swallow his angst. He watched this week's spotlight dancer swoop across the floor, one arm hooked to the silver pole and both legs swinging wide. Lyrical she wasn't, but he kept his eyes on her anyway. Better on her than on the bartender and his shark tattoo swimming just above the collar of his shirt. He was part of the conspiracy. And now Jimmy was reluctant to move. But the bartender was coming his way. Jimmy tapped the gun in his pocket, waited for the shark to strike.

Tofu2 said...

It’s a conspiracy, I thought, glowering at my plate, pissed off that my mother was treating me like a child. Punishing me for my sudden social life by swooping in and declaring my movie date with Jake a no-go without a family dinner first.

Arms crossed, I waited out her inquisition, wondering if Grandma tortured her like this at 16. Probably. I eyed her fork as it reluctantly hovered over her pasta. We weren’t eating — I was dismissing her questions rapid-fire while she waved off my angst with a chiding lyrical laugh.

Finally, the doorbell rang. Jake. Thank God.


What the words have in common is Cheryl Angst’s “The Firestorm Conspiracy” :)

Mia K Rose said...

“And in one elegant swoop the Raven ended his life.” Josie finished reading her poem to a polite round of applause. With a little thankful nod to the crowd Josie left the platform to sit back down beside her good friend Amelia.

“That poem was really lyrical,” Amelia said and clapped Josie on the knee. “Much better than all the lame angst filled ones.”

It was the poetry contest finals, and Josie hoped to win. Third place was announced, then second: “Josie.” She was reluctant to go stand up there and concede to second; to her it was a conspiracy.

Sarah B said...

“Don’t you think this note is a tad too lyrical?” I ask.
Scott’s nose is in his Calc book. Why does my best friend have to be so conspiracy-reluctant?
“Come on,” I say, full of my untapped detective teenage angst. “Fact one: it was left inside your locker when you don’t share your combo with anyone, even me. Fact two: you’re so not cool enough to warrant this, so they’re looking for someone else. Fact three…”
“What’s fact three?”
My throat is dry. “Fact three: four guys with guns are about to swoop us.”
I finally have his attention.
Cheryl Angst "The Firestorm Conspiracy"

wry wryter said...

I was reluctant to sell myself to Mr. Swoop but the money was good and so was I. He paid me well before the deed, and after, as we rested he paid me more. But when the deepest part of night enveloped us in a lyrical conspiracy of black so dark I shuddered from the angst of it I took out my blade and Mr. Swoop was dead. I searched his pockets. There was nothing left for him to give. Tomorrow I will find another and he will pay as well. For now I sleep. Departed sun I wait for.

Patrick DiOrio said...

A hawk rides a thermal in a reluctant spire high above Sir Arthur Hadden-Stowe. In the breakers, Langurs, witness to the hunt, chatter a conspiracy.

Rifle at ready, the hunter ignores the niggling angst squirming a warning at his nape. Intent on the maneater’s spoor, the bloody drag marks of the village woman taken at water’s edge.

He misses the subtle movement, the telltale tiger stripes flashing in dense brush. A single, almost lyrical swoop.

Langur cries fill the air. The circling hawk’s answering scree plays counterpoint.

The maneater feeds.

Eric said...

“Why are you so reluctant to write lyrical poems about angst?” said the agent. “Go on, read me one. What’s the worst that could happen?

“All right, all right,” said the poet. “‘The tears from my broken heart drop like rose petals on a—’”

Just then a giant pterodactyl swooped down on the poet and tore him to pieces. The agent cackled and smiled an evil grin. Training pterodactyls to kill bad poets was the best conspiracy ever.

Nicole Nelson said...

The reluctant toddler pulled on his mother’s thigh, in the opposite direction of the sunny yellow door. With wishful angst, Allison pictured Greg swooping down and lifting the boy, comforting him, making the tears stop. But Greg had chosen the night before their son’s first day of preschool to tell her that he was leaving, that he never loved her. The rehearsed tone of his lyrical words belied their deep sting.

His cruelty, Spencer's searing cries, and the nausea of early pregnancy combined in a tragic conspiracy, causing her to collapse against the doorway for support.

gregkshipman said...

Death Done Lyrical

There are wars generating
while peace has no name
nor face recognizable
and most around the Globe,
caught in this web,
stir angst in their pots.

Blue skies or dark
there is death in the air;
manufactured from hate,
destroying sanity and reason
until madness prevails.

Whose conspiracy bubbles
and which lies sound like truth—
always this against that
while deceit, that camouflaged enemy,
is clearly in the eye of the beholder.

Will the mongers ever be reluctant
to march the innocent into war?
And will it be before death takes us all
in one fell swoop?

Callie Kingston said...

Haley observed the girls stretching at the barre. A conspiracy hatched between Mother and Madam had brought her here. Shopping was the ruse – a trick to counter her angst and force her back to this place where both her spine and her world had been broken.
Wheeled into the studio, she was flooded with fear. The lyrical strains of Tchaikovsky began. Behind her closed eyes she watched herself sway and swoop, a reluctant dancer no more, and felt her chair gliding across the floor. The final note was struck and applause filled the room.

Matthew said...

After the angst of not being able to write a lyrical composition the conductor was reluctant to go out and perform. He thought he would be booed for going out on the stage, but the orchestra revealed the conspiracy that they had actually written the lyrical symphony. So the conductor made a swoop down from the balcony to the stage to perform. The swoop made the conductor forget that he was reluctant, and the angst about the lyrical composition. He also rejoiced in the conspiracy of the orchestra. The conductor performed the symphony, and they received a standing ovation.

Bonus - Cheryl Angst "The Firestorm Conspiracy" Published by Lyrical Press. The book is about one conspiracy with two reluctant heros. The Commander swoops in.

Steven said...

I’m reluctant to swoop in and save Courtney’s valedictorian speech, which she peppered with lyrical litter to bait me. It’s definitely part of a conspiracy she and her inventive mother concocted to extract me from my writer’s funk.

My fingers haven’t touched a keyboard or even grasped a pen since receiving my twelfth manuscript rejection. Still, I couldn’t let my own daughter instruct her graduating class peers to spend half their college tuition on a summer long party and the other half on a psychiatrist in order to bypass ten years of angst and still arrive at the same location.

Anonymous said...

Vlad slammed the book closed and flung it across the room in disgust "Nothing!" he said, his fangs flashing. "Not a jot of lyrical prose. Just angst, angst, angst."

"Those so-called authors must be reluctant to show you in your true glory, my Lord, for fear of inciting a panic," Igor said as he arranged the evening meal on a velvet couch.

"Nonsense! It's a conspiracy designed to make me look weak and ineffective," Vlad said, stalking across to his prey. "Now hand me that rabbit. I'm hardly going to swoop down and get it myself, am I?"

Joanna said...

“Warum hast Du immer Angst?” my grandmother demanded - a holocaust survivor, with no patience for my childhood fear. I replied in my best sing-song, lyrical English to bate her and resist those harsh Teutonic utterances.

“It’s a conspiracy against all German grandmothers, who are so reluctant to let little girls be scared of the dark, Grandmamma.” My tone belied my bitterness towards her.

Since my parents’ death, it had been this back and forth sparring and resistance, when really I longed for her to swoop me up into her arms and reassure me that I too would survive.

Joanna said...

Words are from Cheryl Angst "The Firestorm Conspiracy"

Kate Higgins said...

The old sideboard was painted with stories. Minutely detailed life marched up drawers and across shelves. A tiny war folded around the doors, a carefully wrought conspiracy hid in the corners and a love affair gone wrong erupted over the intricately carved headpiece. Rendered mostly in browns and greens, a fragile swoop of red would brightly proclaim a birth…or a death.
This furniture was too precious to sell, too detailed to interpret, too disturbing to keep as is.
I dipped my brush in generic beige and reluctantly began to extinguish 87 years of lyrical angst.

David said...

“Damn lyrical!” the Superagent rallied against her lesser conspiracy of agents. “We shall not swoop for purple prose!”

“But Superagent,” a junior associate cried. “If it’s not overwritten, there is so much angst! Angst is bad, isn’t it?”

“Angst?” she reluctantly acknowledged. “Only if it bores me, or if they do it wrong, or if their last names are not Collins or Myer. But I’d rather have an author in a Carhart jacket posing in a railyard any day. Para-fucking-normal is dead, bitches!”

The associates looked at her. “But that’s kinda the point. Who doesn’t fantasize about cold, sexy men?”

shtrum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sir John said...

The lyrical notes, arranged to a tarantella translation of an Italian ballad flowed across the stage while angst muttered against her chin—this stranger must be a ringer, one with such magniloquence intent on ruining her career. The talent score would make the difference. She sensed a conspiracy, a chance to make her fatuous in front of her peers. While reluctant to offer her own animadversion she accepted the challenge and swoop the last of her courage into a tight inner strength and walked forward.

Katt said...

The boy had been given an assignment. Five words to be used, a story told. He closed his eyes while they rolled around in his head, shifted, moved, settled. He felt a hum as the picture formed. Dozens of tiny birds as one. Exquisitely choreographed. And the words fell into place. Reluctant yet lyrical, conspiracy without angst, the swoop and dive captured in feathered black and white.

Michael G-G said...

Rachel glanced at Sarah and Anton’s top three. Identical. Not one of hers had made it.

“You both picked A Conspiracy of Dunces? Why? It’s trite, facile. Simply horrible."

Sarah smirked. “Thought so, didn’t we, Anton? Too gritty for our Rachel.”

“And you both chose Chutney’s Complaint? Reasons?”

Anton’s turn. “Um, the angst for one. The whole reluctant ethos. Chutney’s an incredible homage.”

“This is the one I can’t believe.” Rachel crumpled the paper. “Go the Swoop to Sleep?”

Her glare was incendiary, a pyre for their doltish smiles. “At least Fuck makes sense,” she said. “Lyrical enough for you?”

(Jumping on the Cheryl Angst bandwagon)

shtrum said...

Angst was a reluctant emotion to Grit. The poppies were pregnant with a milky ripeness, reminding him of breasts. Jocie’s breasts. ‘Ain’t no conspiracy, Shug,’ she’d said nervously. ‘Honest. Them seeds shoulda been pure. Some Normans musta got mixed in with ‘em.’

Normans. Worthless. Their brown sap was impotent. Which meant one of his crew had made a switch. He rubbed the stump below his left elbow and stared over the bluish-green field. The swoop of a swallowtail snatching a dragonfly in midflight was soon followed by its lyrical melody.

‘I have a dragonfly in my midst,’ he thought darkly.

CherylAnne Ham said...

My door opens and the candles flicker. Melanie moves like music. Even her voice is lyrical as she chastises my dark clothes and dark demeanor, as if my angst could infect her. I’m sick of her judgments and her conspiracy to change me.

“What?” I say.

She extends a hand toward me. Something in her palm catches the light and glints.

I take a reluctant step forward.

“You don’t belong here.” She lunges, her arm curved in a graceful swoop. Pain explodes through my side. I crumple. “It’s not personal,” she says, smiling down at me. “I just hate you.”

Kate Outhwaite said...

Henry returned to his apartment surprised but pleased with how the evening had turned out. Awkwardness in childhood and teenage angst about what his mother called his “lyrical build” had made him a reluctant socialiser.

The conspiracy of the postal service and his neighbours ensured the misdirection of his mail most days now, but the hand-delivered invitation to the Residents’ Social had been waiting when he made his 3am mail-swoop to the lobby the previous Thursday.

By Friday lunchtime he had made his preparations for the event although, in retrospect, he probably should have predicted the sheer volume of blood.

Sasha Barin said...

"I figured it out. It's a conspiracy. There's no government. No politicians. Fox hires actors."

The President swoops down on the final donut. "And the normal people at rallies?"

"Also actors."

"Who governs the world then?"
I hesitate. "Media. It's obvious. You don't need government anymore. Just media to provide lyrical distraction and to suppress angst."

"So I'm not a President?" President clarifies.

"Nah," I fidget.

"Cut!" Director points at me. "You're trying to destroy the world with your big reveal. Act dramatically, fucksakes. Eight billion people gonna be watching. Convince them: you're a reluctant hero. And a complete nut."

GKJeyasingham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GKJeyasingham said...

The sailor peers through his telescope at a lone maiden whose lyrical voice perks his ears. When he brings his boat closer, he finds her lounging on a rock, crooning her angst-ridden tune. He licks his lips and reaches for her misty skin. Then her eyes flash and her jaw lowers to reveal a series of fangs that point towards his arm. He jerks back - alas, a conspiracy of nature! He and she were never meant to be. The sailor shuts his eyes. He raises his telescope and, in one reluctant swoop, crashes it down onto the maiden's skull.

Ted Bergeron said...

"Lyrical," says Robin.

"Brilliant. Bravo," says Beaver but he doesn't mean it. Grinding his teeth - sure sign of angst.

"A reluctant superstar you are," says Fox.

They're kissing my ass. I know it. I lick my paw and drag it across my brow. Howling tussles my fur.

It's a conspiracy. I know that too. But why?

A sob from behind Beaver. Shit. An intervention.

"I'm not coughing him up. Swoop in here like a bunch of do-gooders. I ate him because I have a self-esteem problem? He was good. That's why I ate him. Tasty."

Silence. That's it then. Shit.

Rina said...

Charlie smacked my shoulder with his rolled up betting sheets. “I’m going with the dark horse today— Lyrical Pace.”

I raised an eyebrow. “You’re my bookie, Charlie. Is it a conspiracy, you always betting against my horses?” Nodding toward the gate I said, “I went with Solid Swoop.”

He laughed at me. “Can’t blame a guy for being reluctant to share every tip, huh?” Charlie pulled a cigar from his coat pocket, tapping it against his palm. “Save yourself some angst, little girl. Stick with betting on the Final Four— anyone can pick basketball.”

--words from Cheryl Angst, "The Firestorm Conspiracy"

Kandice said...

The ropes slashed my wrists as I twisted around in the trunk, trying to find the tail lights with my feet. I was reluctant to make noise, but my kidnapper’s car was ancient. I was certain the growl of the engine would mask the sound of my kicks.

To say I was angst-ridden was an understatement of monumental proportions. Caught up in a conspiracy, I knew I was in trouble.

I kicked once. Nothing. On my third attempt, the sound of Mozart swooped in and filled my prison.

“Trying to keep the beat to the music? It’s quite lyrical, no?”

Melinda said...

So like I said, it was the type of day that spun almost lyrical, pushing up against my angst like a conspiracy theory shot to hell. I’m reluctant to admit it now, but at the time I felt the sun swoop down and carry me away. It explains how I wound up in the dumpster, naked, with burn marks on my back. But it doesn’t explain the bite marks on my arm.

Kelly S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
abuckley23 said...

Arturos the vampire awoke to the lyrical hell of popular music blasting from Club Swoop and Die three blocks away. The ancient creature of the night, wrought with the angst of his own creation, slid the gravestone aside and emerged from his reluctant slumber stepping out of the graveyard and onto the road to wait for someone to eat.

Ralph the truck driver, conspiracy theorist and cat lover, was in a foul mood. He watched a dark shape step in front of his truck and promptly splatter itself against his windshield. ‘Bloody vampires!’ thought Ralph and turned on his wipers.

Kelly S said...

I wasn't prepared for her. Zona's voice was light, fragrant, and lyrical. My heart swooped, constricted, and dropped reluctantly into an abyss. The conspiracy of my thoughts fought against the angst of what I knew to be true.

She was no friend. The violence fighting to escape me withered and died in my throat. I turned aside as she chose another, though her eyes were cast upon mine. "Go to hell, Zona."

A tear floated listlessly against her fair cheek. But I no longer cared if more followed it's wet trail.

jbarville said...

I’m a reluctant pianist, meeting the one year prerequisite to audition for drum line.

“You’ll learn to read, understand theory,” the director says, as if my mom is paying him. “Piano is a percussive instrument.”

Eye roll. Drum roll. Light and easy to show how elementary, like late-night television preceding the punch-line. He doesn’t budge. “Nice. Take piano. Then we’ll talk.”

Mom’s piano is lyrical, all swoop and swoon and lullaby, though her manicured fingers don’t curve over the keys. It’s her conspiracy to make me melodic when I’d rather bang paradiddle.

“Angst,” she calls it. I call it music.

Heather G. Davis said...

My girlfriends hatched a conspiracy to drag me to a “naked birthday party.” We were supposed to attend a swimwear party where the hostess channels Amway with lyrical exhortations to buy, buy, buy. It’s a stretch. I get angst about the cellulite on my thighs.

Despite my reluctant steps, we arrive. The guest of honor opens the door holding an oversized birthday candle over his, well, you get the idea. He swoops down on me and I am caught in the stampede to the hot tub. My friends disrobe and jump into the steaming water. Me? Why do you ask?

Anonymous said...

The crows swooped low across the field, all lyrical motion and focused intent. I've never been so reluctant to walk through those grasses.

Tall, repetitive wheat surrounded me. I thought I was alone but the crows said otherwise. They cawed, loud and angry. I knew they were fighting each other off but I felt scolded, that they mocked my overblown angst.

The sun caused sweat to run down my limbs and pool in the small of my back. The smell reached me then, sweet and noxious.

No conspiracy, no great game played out, just death, I told myself. Just death.

Jennifer Welborn said...

Detective O’Hare stared at the note pinned to the front of the snitch’s bloated body. Dead men tell no tales! O’Hare snorted. The corpse’s tongue has been cut out. The killer’s note was neither lyrical nor clever, but it got the point across. The detective shook his head. Nicki Swoop was just a drug addicted teen filled with angst and conspiracy theories—he was at the wrong place at the wrong time and he’d been reluctant to turn nark. Now he was dead and O’Hare was to blame. “Your sister’s gonna pay for this Nick,” O’Hare said.

Scribbling Scarlet said...

Billie smoothed her hair with a nervous hand reluctant to hold the microphone. It was happening; someone was finally giving her lyrical prose a shot.

She’d entered a contest at the local night club only to find it was all a conspiracy arranged in favor of the owner’s daughter.

Billie took a deep breath trying to suppress the angst inside. She leaned into the microphone and let her sweet song flow. She’d done it but she would be out done. She wouldn’t win the contest but in one fell swoop she’d won the crowds hearts.

Bonus: The Firestorm Conspiracy (Lyrical Press 2011) by Cheryl Angst