Friday, July 26, 2013

Twice Is Nice Writing Contest!

I bought a copy of LONG GONE by Alafair Burke last year at Murder by the Book in Houston while I was there for Stephanie Jaye Evans book launch.

It sat on my to-be-read pile until I desperately needed something I knew would be a delicious page turner (I tend to save my favorite authors for days when I REALLY need them!)   As it happens it was a day I was working from home:

(Ok, you got picts, never mind. . Let's just say then I was AT home.)  I went out for lunch, then stopped at the bodega, and when I got back LONG GONE was ...well...gone.  ARGH!

So I bought another copy.  This is not my usual practice.  I do this only if I absolutely positively cannot live without knowing how the book unfolds. 

I've now finished my second copy of LONG GONE and holy guacamole, this is a book you want to read.  I'm wise to Alafair's clever writer tricks (as a devoted fan I've been reading her for years) but she STILL managed to surprise me at the end.  I figured out one plot twist just as it was being revealed [aha! I was right!] but that was it.

So, let's celebrate with a writing contest!  Usual rules:

Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

Use these words in the story:


Each word must appear in its entirety but does not have to be the entirety of the word.

So: Lilypad but not lillies, redouble but not redoubtable

Post your entry in the comments column of this blog post.

If you need a mulligan (a do-over) delete your comment and re-post.

One entry will be considered per person.

Contest opens Saturday 7/27 at 9am and closes Sunday 7/28 at 9am. All dates and times are Eastern Shark Time.

Prize is a copy of LONG GONE by Alafair Burke.  This is her first stand alone so you don't need to have read her previous seven books (although, now that I think about it, why haven't you???) If you already have a copy, we'll figure out something else.

Judging will entirely non-objective  and subject to whims of sharkly humor.  

And if you get the connection all the prompt words have to Alafair and the book, you can list that too.


NOT YET! (contest opens at 9am on 9/27)

Write!  Contest now closed.


Unknown said...

Their hair blew violently in the wind as Carmine and Lily flew down the highway past a sign that said you are leaving New Jersey. Carmine and Lily were on their way to an Art exhibit on Philadelphia’s South Street to support Lily’s boyfriend, Rob. They arrive just in time as Rob and his friends were carrying in the showcase pieces. Lily skipped over to Rob and jumped in his arms as he twirled her around with the biggest kiss. The two met while on a double date three years ago and have been inseparable ever since.

Anonymous said...

The eyes remained open, peering upwards, visible still through the lily pads floating two feet above a swollen face. He’d come back to try and complete his collection. His art was important and the double exposure on the last photos he’d taken couldn’t be used. This time, he snapped pictures using a special underwater lens. When he was done, he kissed the tips of his fingers, reached down into the frigid water and placed them against the hardened lips, no longer warm and supple like he remembered.
Gratified, he decided he’d call his latest compilation, Missing In New Jersey.

Michael Seese said...

Art handed his wife a glass.

“This is Bordeaux. Do you remember the first time we had it?”

“No,” Lily said.

“Paris. On our honeymoon. That was some week. Not bad for a couple of Jersey kids. Do you remember it?”


“Now this,” he said, placing chocolate in her palm, “is from Belgium. We went there, too. Remember?”


“It’s OK, dear. I do.” He remembered it all. But, Alzheimer’s had not ravaged his brain.

“I miss you,” Art said. He kissed Lily, took her hand, double-checked to ensure the garage door was closed, and started the car.

Unknown said...

The gig was in Jersey. Fuckin’ Jersey. You can kiss your Bensonhurst self-respect goodbye and say hello to double-taxes.

Lily made me take the job- she was set to bail if I didn’t start bringing in some kind of cash.

Ain’t that just like these artist types? You give’em your fuckin’ heart and they ask for change back.

Scott G said...

Lily and I were madly in love.

I left art class early and thought I would surprise her with a bottle of wine and Chinese take-out.

I did a double-take when I parked across the street and saw that jersey-wearin’, jock-strap lovin’, steroid monger walk out of Lily’s apartment.

I look down at Lily’s tender body. I bend over and kiss her forehead, her skin cool and clammy on my lips.

I can only mutter one word. “Why?”

I shut her vacant eyes and hold my fingers on her eyelids until they stay closed on their own. Then I leave.

Unknown said...

“Give us a kiss, Lily,” Donny said, tossing the Beckham jersey on the floor.

She examined his gut, no longer understanding what she’d seen in him. His body had once been a priceless work of art but years of drinking had chipped away the value. Now he wasn’t worth a second glance.

“Say, what’s a matter, love?”

“You smell like a brewery,” Lily said.

“I’m seeing double. There are two of you. Let’s have a threesome.”

She grinned, pulled out the pistol she’d discovered in the closet.

“I want a separation,” Lily said, putting a bullet in his head.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

To kiss the brow of life in a burial ground is to be thankful for another day.

Jersey Cemetery is peaceful. Yesterday, as I walked among the stones I came upon a man, weeping at the grave of woman named Lily. He did not see me as I studied the art of his grief. Double both the disappointment and betrayal which burrowed into my heart, I knew I would never walk in that cemetery again, and I would not tell my mother, how I came upon my father, weeping for another women and a future lost to circumstance.

Patrick DiOrio said...

“I was ‘Mister Abs,’ on Jersey Shore.”

The casting director, Muffy, smiling. “Real art, that.”

“Yeah, doubled my Q, big time.” Sparkling grin. “Hey, check it.” Lifting his T. “Six pack’s still awesome, am I right?”

“Gilded lily, that, for sure.”

“So, whatchew say? I get the part?”

“Actually, we’re thinking younger.”


“Like twenty something. You’re like, what, pushing seventy?”

“Thirty, actually.”


“Jesus had nothin’ to do with it. Tanning beds, mostly.”

“Hmm. Well, you’d really have to kiss my ass.”

“For real?”


“So drop trow. I’m all puckered up.”

Heavy sigh. Dropping trow. “The truth, that.”

Colin Smith said...

I'm so sleepy, the bird crap on my lily pad is the double of a painting in a New Jersey art gallery—the one where I met the girl who changed me. How was I to know she was a witch? Now I dread French accents and the smell of garlic.

My stomach lurches as I'm whipped up in a small hand.

"Put that down!" a man says, and the hand does, but not before planting a kiss on my head.

"That’s my princess," I hear the voice say before I drop below the water's surface.

I can't breathe...

smoketree said...

Bud wore a football jersey to his mother’s funeral. On his way into the parlour, he snatched a mouldering lily from someone else’s mother’s grave. A tribute. But she preferred roses.

Inside, she was artfully painted to suggest sleep, not death. His father’s face bore the imprint of a final, cold kiss—the double of an earlier, more significant one. Bud had heard the stories. But this time she slept on.

Sheila JG said...

Superstition is an art form for some athletes, their pre-race routines a flowing work of intricate creativity meant to evoke confidence. Lily was no different. As she approached the starting line she greeted each hurdle in turn.

The moves were always the same. Double kiss the medallion. Tuck it under the jersey. Three jumps in the air. Not two, not four. Caress the track surface; absorbing the texture, the firmness, even the subtle colors of it. Kiss it for luck.

And then the inevitable hand on her shoulder. “Ma’am, step away please.”

And finally, her son, “Mom, you’re embarrassing me again!”

Valerie said...

Exhausted to the bone, Rebecca put the final Daylily in place. "This centerpiece is a work of art."

"Groom's late, stuck in traffic on the Jersey Turnpike," her assistant yelled.

"Mother of pearl!" Rebecca doubled back to her phone on the table. After a quick conversation and a couple of kinky promises, the groom was brought in on a motorcycle. "Thank God. Jerry, I could kiss you!" Rebecca pointed at the groom. "Get your ass ready, now!" She turned back to Jerry. "Thank you, so much."

The burly biker snatched her up, smirking expectantly. "I'll take that kiss now, baby."

Kate Outhwaite said...

“A Jersey Lily! Her favourite. However did you find one in flower in April, you clever thing?”

He takes the pot and kisses the air beside the mourner’s cheek. He has the art of meet and greet down pat, the smarmy git.

Only, that’s not her favourite. That’s an Amaryllis – blousy and buxom compared to the balletic fragility of the Nerines she truly loved. I hiss my displeasure.

He smiles. “Sheba – don’t you worry. You’ll be with her soon enough.”

I realise then that he’s aiming for the double and, dodging legs, I race for the cat-flap, freedom and life.

Steven D. said...

Another double deadlock on I-277. Exiting my steel and glass tomb, I amble through the apocalyptic scene. Ignoring the pain of arthritic knees, I follow the jersey barrier to the familiar spot that had claimed two souls and one body years ago.
Red beacons sear. Uniformed men toil to free a teen girl from a flaming Accord. I pray their skills have improved, but they scurry away, heads downcast.
Then I see her.
My heart pauses.
My Lily reaches in and effortlessly completes the task the strapping men could not.
Turning briefly, she blows a final kiss before the explosion.

Curt David said...

“Tell me about this book, or I press the button”
“I’m desperate to win this writing contest. Doesn’t matter. Shut up and tell me about it!”
“Okay okay!...Alice was hired at an ART gallery. Her friend LILY told her not to take the job. She does, shows up to job and the owner is dead! There’s even a picture of someone who looks just like her, like her DOUBLE, KISSing the dead guy!”
“Prove to me you read the book”
“Umm....there’s also a subplot about a missing teenager in New JERSEY...Please don’t press the button!”

Lance said...

Other assassins would call him fussy.

“Mr. Lindsey, come in.”

“What’s all this? Who’s that?”

“My life-size cutout of Hopalong Casssidy.”

“This is for marketing our hedge fund?”

“Just put this jersey on.”

“I hate hockey.”


“Why the cowboy?”

“He interrupts the blood splatter. A puzzle for forensics.”

“What blood?”

“Stand to the side of Hoppy. I don’t want any holes in him.”

“What’s that?”

“A .44 magnum.”

“I’ll double your fee!”

The flash and noise were muted.

He placed a lily in the chest wound and stepped back.

He kissed his fingers.

“It’s all about the art, Hoppy.”

CJKeats said...

Looking like a double for a jersey-shore wife, Lily bent over; pretending to simply kiss me, but I knew she was displaying her propped-up breasts to the male guests at the table, and one in particular.

“True art,” Frederick said with a chuckle.

“Her soup is a work of art too,” I said to the group.

To Frederick, I said, “We three should go for a walk. I can show you some real art … ”

I imagined delicately placing an ample slice of her jaundice-tan chest-skin over his white staring face, and smiled. “ … perhaps later this evening.”

Anonymous said...

“I’m sorry.”

She didn’t answer with words, but spoke eloquently in the artful silence of her tears. Her lily-white hands dangled like broken petals from the sleeves of the oversized jersey she wore to bed.

“It’s over.”

Avoiding the double-barreled accusation of her blue eyes, I stuffed the white shirt stained with a lipstick kiss inside the bag with my socks and shorts. I ignored the photos and memories scattered around the room.

“I have to go.”

Her shoulders slumped, weighted down by the loneliness of my leaving. The feathery light bag felt like nothing in my hands.


Cindy C said...

“It’s done.” I put him on speaker while I pulled the book out of my pocket and compared her face to the picture on the back. “Yeah, it’s her.”

I thumbed through the book while he yammered on about respect and honor and yada yada yada. Who would ever read this? No pictures, lots of words. Even the cover looked boring, just a black background with blood-red words splattered across the top. Kiss of Love, Kiss of Death: The True Story of a Double Life in New Jersey, by Lily Arthur.

I put the book beside her. “Yeah, it’s done.”

Craig F said...

It was so very hot. Hot enough to wilt the gilded lily. Hot as the Pine Barrens when the Jersey Devil was on the march. No touch will cool my fevered brow because you’re not here.

Being alone together was the plan we had for the long haul. We could sit and watch the world burn down. Now I must pursue the art of loneliness because you’re not here.

I long for the double kiss from your eyes and your lips. I must accept the kiss of a double because you’re not here.

Amy Schaefer said...

I didn’t plan to dive down the sewer. But when good guys loom, bad guys book.

Even bent double I could barely scuttle down the pipe. I paused to rub a kink in my neck and check the waterproof tube. Delivering shit-soaked artwork probably wouldn’t earn me a positive reference.

The persistent kiss of lily-sweet decay floated above the pleasant burble of refuse making its slow way to Jersey. Yuck. I might as well have kept my proctology practice. Same smells, steadier take-home.

A lot less fun, though.

Click. “Freeze, asshole.”

Lucky me.

Welcome to giving rectal exams in prison.

Mister Furkles said...

Artemis was different. He played football because he liked wearing the jersey. But he didn’t like getting it dirty and he hated contact. At the prom, he wore a double breasted blazer with a white lily on the lapel – what’d that mean? And old Ms. Robins was the only one he kissed – on the cheek.

Four years now passed, he returned from Afghanistan with a silver star and two purple hearts. Then the bodies began to appear. Vigilantes took him from us, and we let them. This spring the bodies began showing up again.

Now we miss Artemis.

french sojourn said...

Dear Pete Kotz;
Interim Editor @ Village Voice;

I attended Hans Schuler’s premier art exhibit "SELF- a portrait in radical introspective" last night…. believe me; it will be his…. "last night".

Someone compared him to some lily livered icon….and I answered;
"Darling he's more like HandyWhorehole…..Heavens!"

Appropriately held at the new “Highline” Gallery.

I chatted briefly with the creature running the exhibit, Alice Humphrey. You can double kiss her career goodbye.

Sandra Pak over at Ch.7said; and I quote “"Blood, Saliva, and nudity,"

Reminds me, make plans for tonight.

Miss this one kiddies;

Hated it!.....

Your favorite art critic;


joshingstern said...

At first I thought the art on the Pellat-Finet cashmere jersey was marijuana, but at second glance it was a lily...the double take was for it's owner, and the kiss was for selfish reasons

Unknown said...

I held my sweating cocktail glass to my face, then scrubbed my cheeks with a bar napkin.

“Delightful. The old double kiss. Is he Eurotrash or a gangster?”

“Neither. He plays artist so he doesn’t have to sully his lily hands with actual work.”

“He doesn’t want to whack me?”

“No, just couch-surf you. He’s kind of a rent boy. Scammer.”

“Any family?”

“Died in a fire in Jersey.”

“Hmm. My dungeon is short a slave. Won’t the artiste be surprised?”

We laughed and fixed our lipstick. I sent the poseur a drink. Patience. Patience. Sharks circling bait.

Joseph said...

Carmen maneuvered the scope to her right eye. She tried to squint, but her face refused to cooperate.

"Damn Botox," she grunted, blinking severely. "Damn doctor."

"You won't feel a thing," he'd said. "Just a pinch and a kiss."

'I'll show him a pinch and a kiss,' she thought. 'Then we'll see who's the real artist.'

She peered into the scope again. The target slouched on the sofa in a striped jersey. There was a lily over his left breast. A least, she thought it was a lily. Shrugging, she closed her eyes and pulled the trigger.

'One down...'

Calorie Bombshell said...

“All Chinese girls are named Lily.”

“No, they’re not.” My words echo numb from years of oxycodone and vodka doubles straight up. “Some are named Pearl. Anyway, what difference does it make?”

“Just got me thinking about our little Emma….”

“Don’t think.” The duffle bag beside me stirs. “Just drive.” I blink away the smoke from his cigarette. “Turn left on Jersey Street. They should be waiting for us outside.”

“With cash?”

“Yeah, enough until the next time.”

“Maybe we could keep it. Raise her.”

“Whatever you say, sweetheart.” I lie, then air kiss little Emma on her sleeping forehead.

Just Jan said...

"Look at her, Art. Big hair, big knockers--she's fabulous! Think she'll kiss me?"

"Nah. Jersey girls don't go for that fairy tale shit. Let's hunker down under a lily pad 'til she leaves."

"Remember the one that snatched Glen? This chick could be her double."

"I hate to break it to you, kid, but Glen didn't exactly get turned into a prince."

"He's still one lucky bug sucker."

"Ya think so? Know what they call Glen now? Dinner!"

"Not funny, Art."

"Wasn't trying to be. Your Miss Fabulous just took out a slingshot. Hit the deck!"

Unknown said...

Lily and Artie. Today’s contestants. My fault for letting the class choose. We all know how seventh graders can be.
Lily’s word: Massachusetts.
She offers the letters like alms to the poor. Correct, of course.
Artie’s word: Ohio. (how else could I give him a chance?)
Lily’s eyes round into pits of disbelief.
The class giggles.
Art tugs his Eagles jersey. He double-clutches. Rolls his shoulder. Straightens his back. He turns to Lily.
“Ohio. I-O-W-A. Ohio, bitch!”
He’s still trying to figure out what went wrong as Lily kisses her ribbon and I send him to the principal’s office.

Anonymous said...

My white lily corsage is stunning. No one will guess I had to buy it for myself.  
A couple dances past me, the guy bent double to kiss his petite partner. Maybe- no, pink roses on her wrist.
A self-proclaimed "artsy" guy starts discoing. I wrinkle my nose, but check his girlfriend's wrist. Orchids? I think not.
A guy, barely recognizable without his football jersey, bumps into me. "Sorry." His date mumbles. She sports carnations. 
"Me too." I say, but they're gone. 
"I'll find a replacement," I mutter.
I adjust my clutch to cover his blood stain.

Shirin Dubbin said...

He specialized in artisanal kisses. Custom, pre-ordered, perfectly packaged. His business phone system played Teenage Dream. Not quite subliminal but effective in its promise.

She’d rechristened herself Lily. A pretty little liar in morbidly goth guise—matte jersey garb and $400 indigo hair extensions.

Neither favored authenticity.

She’d set the terms. “Double the excitement, keep it dark.”

He’d set the meet. Her family crypt, dusk.

With his skin powdered pale, his stance petulant, their fingers intertwined. He kissed her throat. Then bit down, but failed to break the skin. Her slap rattled the night, dissatisfaction turned to sound.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

The Jersey shore Victorian had a sunrise date with the wrecking ball. Teetering on the top of the gazebo, I grabbed the Art Deco lily weathervane. Nobody will miss it. An easy kilo-buck.

The roof split without warning, tumbling me into the double-thick white roses with a snow shower of petals. Suspended in the fragrant cradle, every movement brought barbed agony.

First came the mosquitoes.

Then the ants.

Finally, the crows' sunset kiss.

In the pale dawn, the crew set to their work.

"Damn, sure a shame to tear this old lady down."

"Agreed. I've never seen such red roses"

Armiella said...

Art knew music was the surest way to Lily’s heart. She was a fanatic. Her walls, decorated with ragged posters, revealed to him the subject of her affection: Kiss. He booked a double date and called her up. “I have a surprise,” he said. She came to the door wearing her jersey knit sweater and softly singing Taylor Swift. It seems her affection was nothing but an affectation.

SalT said...

"Lily, you are glowing, darling."

Lorraine greeted us at the door, giving me a double air kiss. Her black artsy jersey dress flaunted her Pilates body and silicone enhancements. She gave Cliff an innocent hug. Too innocent.

"Glowing." Bitch. What sort of friend seduces your husband when you're eight months pregnant and feeling like a manatee? But then, what sort of husband cheats on his pregnant wife?

The detective submitted his report yesterday. To Hell with both of them.

The tears worked. Daddy said he'd take care of them. Before the baby arrived.

Pip said...

Zelda Devine lay draped across the threadbare couch, her pudgy fingers wrapped round a milky white lily, her double-chin tucked away in neat folds. A freshly-lit cigarette dangled precariously from her thick fleshy lips.

Leonardo wiped his brow and continued painting. But his fingers no longer danced across the canvas. They had become plump like pork sausages.

Zelda blew him a kiss. “Darling, hurry up,” she rasped, flicking the ash off her thin cashmere jersey. “Lunch is waiting.”

But Leonardo couldn’t hurry. Weighed down by expectation, and years of excess, his art was paying the price.

Unknown said...

It started with a double date. I was with her friend, she was with mine. We had nothing in common. She loved art; I played hockey. Her favorite flower was a lily; the only flour I liked was on fried chicken. Somehow by the end of that magical night her friend and mine were gone and she was in my jersey. I walked her home and we had our first kiss. Now she loves hockey; I appreciate art. Fried chicken is no longer on our menu but I still buy her lilies. She still has my jersey somewhere packed away.

Dor said...

The menu promised Jersey but the scones were too fresh and clotted cream oozed from the redoubled halves. She prised them apart.

‘I wonder if anybody’s ever sent it back for being from the wrong kind of cow. ’ He blinked again – myopic vanity.

At least he was cheerful now. The lily pollen at the hotel’s reception desk had set him to sneezing, the snot cascading from his nose. He’d leered towards her, as always: ‘Fancy a kiss, love?’

She should respond, she knew, but she could only have told him she couldn’t do this anymore.

Ali Trotta said...

“Lily,” he began, voice as frail as the wind kissing weeds. He was holding a match. “I swear, this whole place will burn.”

Calmly, she folded her hands, watching him. He was blinking furiously, as if seeing double. There’s an art to destruction, she knew, and he was a bumbling forger at best.

“Go ahead,” she said, shrugging. “Burn down your own house. Hell, burn the whole of New Jersey. That won’t change one simple fact.”

“What’s that?” he asked. Confusion had begun to hemorrhage in his thoughts. The match went out.

“You’re already dead, Seth. You’re a ghost, remember?”