Monday, June 01, 2015

Writing contest results!

I love these contests! It's always such a treat to see you guyz in full writerly mode.

I asked if you could guess the connection of all five prompt words, and Colin Smith (12:26pm) was the only one right on the money.

What connects the words? North Carolina. "wife" "balloon" and "heart" could refer to our hospital adventure (see this past Sunday's WiR), and my family and I live in Eastern North Carolina. Dare County is in Eastern North Carolina. And the Plott is North Carolina's State Dog. Yes, we have a State dog. :)

I had thought of Dare for Virginia Dare, but Dare County works too.

Special recognition for exquisite use of prompt word
Megan V 12:33pm "complotting"
Gabby Gilliam 11:05pm "Plott Balsams"

Special recognition for a great first line
Ashes 12:33pm
"Perfecting invisibility had been difficult, but plotting to steal the serum? Surprisingly easy."

Eileen 7:53am
"Dying balloons littered the gym floor like deflated testicles"

Special recognition for a great turn of phrase:
DeadSpiderEye, 12:58pm " I hate Christmas, without the wife and 2.4"

Maurine Schou 6:00pm "oblong caskets of latex"

Special recognition for a great line
Peggy Rothschild 1:17pm
"Where would he find purpose or meaning now that the years of plotting her murder were at an end?"

Terri Lynn Coop 9:34pm
"When you make deals with death, there's always Hell to pay."

I'm always a fan of entries in poetic form

Kitty, 12:21pm
A Brief Acrostic For Divorce

Undeterred by my wife's
Nightly cold shoulder, I foolishly
Dared to think that
Even she
wouldn't be able to
Resist my carefully
Plotted seduction. Shiny heart-shaped balloons
And roses and silky lingerie,
Not to mention a bottle of her favorite
Taittinger Brut La Fran├žaise Champagne. And
She loved it all, Your Honor, oh yes!
All except me.

Dena Pawling 12:38pm
One Writer's Journey

There once was a writer, mid-June
Whose wife sent him off by balloon
He dared sail up high
Way up into the sky
And ended up crashed on Carkoon

There once was a writer, in exile
Whose heart wanted out of the slush pile
There were no distractions
Like problems with fractions
On Carkoon, he hoped would be worthwhile

There once was a writer, fair stuck
Mind blocked and all out of luck
His pantsing had failed
Tried plotting and wailed
“I'll never type The End, oh WTF!”

I'm always a sucker for a good use of the second person
Stephen Parks 2:16pm

I'm always a sucker for an interesting POV
KC 3:22pm

A great start for a novel
Michael J. Craft 4:44pm

And here are the ten, count 'em ten finalists!

(1) Julie.M.Weathers at 12:19pm
The ceramic top stove I loved went out six months ago. I've been a dutiful wife for years, but I was tired of being without one. My heart soared like a balloon when Bob said he'd replace it.

They delivered a gas one like his mama had yesterday. He wanted that though he never cooks. I hate gas. It's dangerous. How
dare he!

Bob says I'm simple, not a
plotter. His stove is on. The pilot isn't. He'll walk in soon with that damnable cigarette dangling from his lips.

I'm outside watching the sunset.

I told him gas is dangerous.

(2) Michael Seese 12:23pm
I'd plotted for months. For our tenth anniversary, we were going on a balloon ride. Sort of...

She'd always wanted to skydive. So I contrived with the balloon operator. I had her wear a harness, "for safety purposes." Under my windbreaker I'd concealed a parachute. At 5,000 feet, I hugged her and latched us together.

"Trust me," I said before jumping.

She didn't
dare open her eyes. "We're flying!" she gushed.

We touched earth. She lay there, smiling and still.

She remained that way.

Ten years of marriage, and my
wife had never told me she had a bad heart.

(3) Quirky Elf 1:33pm
At Comic Con, my sister squeed, “Omg, Day9’s here!”

Meh, the queue trailed into next year. She double dog dared me to photobomb his fanmeet but I wanted the best selfie ever.

My Starcraft cosplay boobs and swag persuaded the bellhop I was Day9’s
wife. I posed on the bed with a helium ‘I heart u’ balloon hiding my painted–ahem.

The door burst open. “And this is my room with a view!”

I released the balloon, baring all. “Surprise!

The red light on his camcorder stared back. Uh huh, Sean ‘Day9’
Plott was live vlogging to 191k followers.

(4) Steve Forti 1:40pm
She stepped away from the hearth. The crackling logs often lulled her customers.

The spae
wife caressed her faux crystal ball. “I see children.”

“How many?” The man perked up.

“Three. Playing in the yard. The
plottage is ample for a swing set, you know.” That one landed. Just a little more.

“I dunno. Isn’t the market still down?”

Reel him in. “The spirits say it’s a great investment. Do you dare tempt fate?”

A pause. “Okay, I’m buying this house!”

After he signed, she shed the gypsy robes and dialed the bank. “Got another sucker with a balloon mortgage, boss!”

(5) Timothy Lowe 2:51pm
His wife lay cold on the hearth.

Billy sat stunned. The dare had ballooned, mushroomed like a poison cloud. Even after all his plotting it had come to this.

“Damn if I told you,” said his brother. He’d once loved her too, but his tears had dried. He could take losing her again.

“Damn if you didn’t.” Shock covered Billy like a fire blanket. His anger could only smolder.

“Go ahead and do it. Gun’s empty anyway.”

Billy glared at his brother. Only he knew that Redneck Roulette called for two rounds in the cylinder.

He picked up the revolver.

(6) Calorie Bombshell 8:52pm
Number Two warned the next heart attack would be my last.

Get off your ass and quit stuffing your face. She never was one to coat words.

I took up exercise and tilled the neglected vegetable garden out back.

Soon I had lost eighty pounds.

Then told her I wanted a German Shepard as a jogging companion.

Over my dead body, she

So I
plotted her deep in the turnips, beside Number One.

Puppy and I lived the good life. Married
wife Number Three for her southern cooking.

Got lazy. Stopped exercising. Weight

Guess old habits die hard.

(7) Donnaeve 10:44pm
I watch the sun rise, a red balloon in the eastern sky. Haint limps at the river’s edge while Banner runs nearby sniffing traces of yesterday.

Never had much
heart for anything other than these old Plott hounds, God love’em. Last year when that water moccasin bit Lloyd, then Haint, it tested that very fact.

Lloyd had hollered, “
Wife! Move your ass, I’m bit!”

Forty years. Never once called me by my name.

daresay my decision came then.

Is puttin’ a dog ahead of a human a sin?


I wipe spittle off Lloyd’s chin and watch the dogs.

(8) Pharosian 12:07am
"I'll see you when you wake up," his wife says as they wheel him away to fix his heart. She waits and waits, eight long hours until at last they call her name.

"There were complications," the surgeon says. Three words, and she knows her life has changed.

Now she strokes his clammy brow while the machines hum and hiss and beep. She stares at the monitor whose colorful squiggles are plotting the course of their future. Tiny balloons of hope explode with each new lab result, until she dares not hope again.

And then he opens his eyes.

(9) Ashland 12:31am
Midwife. Housewife. Oldwife. Which am I today?

In a ga
darene blitz we fell into marriage.

He was black
hearted. I was coldhearted.

But the calendared block sheds sheets like a snake's skin. Down, down, down.

Now we've become disheartened.

Our contrived design to rule the world left us merely
plotters in a field of stone.

Balloonists floating astray as clouds blocked our way.

A child to fill our home would never find us, though I carried innumerable into life.

Now we sit, home as barren as my womb, and I wonder:

Midwife. Housewife. Oldwife. Which will be etched on my tomb?

(10) flashfriday 8:47am
He’d thought of everything.

Plottery won him the girl: years of watching from shadows, weeks of trailing her routes, then finally, darefully, asking her out.

Balloonery won him the yes: fifty inflated blowfish lining a sandy path to the frangipani-blanketed water plane, painfully, heartfully arranged to speak in place of his cursed, impedimented lips.

Yes; it had all required brainery. Patiencery. Sacrificery.

But she was with him now on the remote desert island, they’d burned the plane, and their days blossomed with delightery.

How could they not? He really had thought of everything.

Except, it turns out, mid

And the winner for an absolute unique style and daring to invent words, flashfriday at 8:47am.  Rebekah, if you'll email me with your mailing address and the kinds of books you like to read, I'll send you your prize.

Congratulations to all the finalists, this was superb work.  Every entry was a pleasure to read, and I'm grateful to all of you who took the time to enter.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to all. That's a great list of finalists. I confess, I laughed at the winning entry.

Good job all. Thanks to QOTKU for the contest and not being kidnapped or anything as I feared.

Kitty said...

Congrats to the finalists and especially to flashfriday for the winning story!

And boy am I relieved QOTKU is okay. Like Julie, I was beginning to worry if something horrible had happened to her.

Julie said...

Congratulations everyone.

Donnaeve said...

When I tweeted about the late opening, I worried perhaps QOTKU had somehow diverted off course and had joined Mary Lee on her excursion along the eastern seaboard.

Or slept in.

Congratulations to flashfriday (Rebekah!) I personally love adding "ery" to words, except mine are more of the expletive sort. I.e. No f***ery. Stop acting a**ery, therefore when I started reading the entry, it made me laugh. Brilliant.

Congrats to all the special mentions and finalists! I'm tickled pink to be among the finalist crowd - such a competitive field! No fool*ery*!!!

french sojourn said...

A highlight for all us vommentors is to see the Flash fiction prompts appear on this site. The contests are really notching up on the intensity scale. Congrats to the finalists and Flashfriday...For the Win!

Beside learning things reading the regular blog posts it was fun to learn that spiders do indeed "balloon on spun filaments..or gossamer wings". I never knew the origin.

Thanks again to QOTKU...bows and backs out silently.

Cheers Hank.

AJ Blythe said...

Congratulations to everyone who got a mention, and particularly flashfriday (Rebekah) for the win. Glad I didn't have to pick a winner!

Just Jan said...

Congratulations flashfriday for a very creative entry and to all the finalists and mentions! I loved reading these.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Congradulationsery. Love it.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Well done, everyone!

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Congrats to all mentioned. Really appreciated the rhythm of flashfriday's. And so many great stories to read.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Wonderful entries. Congrats to Flashfriday.

Unknown said...

Rats. I thought the words were probably linked to a book QOTKU was promoting and I hadn't read. It was about Colin! I'm thick.

Congrats, flashfriday!

Susan Bonifant said...

Flashfriday, very impressive! Great story scope in only 100 words. Congrats!

Steve said...

And french sojourn, if you found the spider ballooning interesting, just read this:
It's a whole lot of "NOPE!" and more reason to never go to Australia, at least without a flamethrower.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm just sad I gave someone my third born and my novel to ransom QOTKU. Of course, this may be a Ransom of Red Chief affair and I get third born back with some boot. This may work out all right.

I hope the kidnappers finish revising Far Rider.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I posted Harley's story on my 2Ns blog. I miss him.

Colin Smith said...

Congratulations, Rebekah, for a cleverly creative and well-deserved win. For those who enjoy flash fiction, Rebekah hosts a blog, Flash! Friday, that runs a flash fiction contest every Friday (hence the name). The winner from the Friday contest is announced the following Monday, and there's a "warm-up" challenge every Wednesday. The competition is usually quite fierce. As with Janet's contests, a lot of talented writers show up so you really have to be on your game to stand out. They're a lot of fun, though, and really good writing practice. Here's the link for those interested:

Congratulations again, Rebekah, and to all the mentions and runners-up!

Janet: Do I get to house-sit Paradise in Amy's absence as a prize for guessing the correct connection? :D

french sojourn said...

Steve Forti;
thanks for the link.
Not with a bang, but a wimper.

Cheers Hank

Cindy C said...

Another great contest with lots of great entries! Congrats to flashfriday--loved the quick shift from humor to sorrow.

Gabby said...

Congrats flashfriday! Love your creative use of the words :)

Anonymous said...

And Janet Reid got mentioned at Writer Unboxed. One of my favorite writer sites.

Unknown said...

Congratulations flashfriday! Dena, I loved your poem! Julie M. Weathers- The Ransom of Red Chief is one of my favorite short stories.

Have a great week, everyone!

Dallas said...

Dare county is named for Virginia Dare, so... same thing.

Calorie Bombshell said...

Loved this contest! Congrats to flashfriday - read it and just knew it was a winner! Thanks for the mention, Janet! So many talented writers!

Dena Pawling said...

I'm horrible at writing poetry but I thought for once I'd try it. It was fun, altho I'm not quitting my day job just yet................. [Congrats to AJ!]

All the entries were fun to read. So much creativity here. Like previously mentioned, I'm so glad I didn't have to select the winner. Congrats to all the wonderful finalists!

Stephen G Parks said...

Congrats flashfriday and everyone.

I love seeing all the different stories that grew from five simple words.

Pharosian said...

Bittersweet to make the top 10. The only part of my entry that is fiction, though, is the last line. All the rest was my life this past week.

Congrats to flashfriday--that was fun.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Way to go flashfriday with the clevery win! Well done to all the finalists and shout-outs.

One of the best bloggery days is when the contest results are posted. It's like reading a pint-sized anthology of world class flash fic. I read entries, but always miss a few gems. Reading them together, as "edited and curated" by Her Sharkiness, the finalists shine like gold.

Thanks for the shout-out, that line is the closing of my very first short story that was pubbed for pay.

Can't wait for the next contest! Terri

Unknown said...

A great start to a novel you say? Well . . . ahem . . .

Dear Mr. Reeed,

I am seeking representation for my Contemporary Historical Scifi fiction novel the Plott Hound Drones. I only have 100 words completed, but I'm sure that together we can create an amazing novel . . .

In all seriousness, wow Pharosian, that's deep.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, finalists and flashfriday!

Carolynn: I read Harvey's story. I wept. (((hugs)))

Pharosian: I'm so sorry about your last week. You need (((hugs))) too.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

bjmuntain, after not reading the opening about Harley in a long was hard. ((Hugs back at-cha))

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Pharosian, I'm so, so sorry.
All I know is that tonight I'm praying for everybody. We need it. But only after I eat the half gallon of Vanilla Bean and Brownie ice cream I have in the freezer. You're all invited to share. BYOS, bring your own spoon.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Congratulations, Rebekah!

Dare County is named for Virginia Dare, so you're both right?

Kate Larkindale said...

What a great bunch of stories! Congratulations to finalists and winner!

Gingermollymarilyn said...

Congratulations, Rebekah, on a lovely, beautifully written story. And props to the runner-ups; great reads.

S.D.King said...

Here is the link to the map. I put the settings so that anyone with the link can drop a pin - hope it works.

Janet may want to add this to the upper right corner resources for commenters.

Gingermollymarilyn said...

2N's = So sorry about Harley. May he rest in peace and watch over you.

Anonymous said...

SD - I can't seem to add anything to the map. I can see four pins (I think Carkoon may have a problem, as it's in a different dimension, I understand), but I can't add to the map.

Is there a trick to it?

ReCaptcha told me to choose food. Along with some food, it gave what looked like parfaits in glasses - I didn't choose those, and it didn't make me choose them. It must have decided that was as difficult as I could handle today, because most of the other non-food items were things like paper and ... candles, I think...

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Rebekah! Your story was definitely one that made me smile. Good job!

They were all so good. I also liked the one that ended by saying, "she'd always wanted to travel." But good grief, some of you are really bloodthirsty.

Pharosian, I'm sorry to hear that wasn't fiction. Horribly wrenching to re-read it, knowing that.

S.D.King said...

Bj, you should be able to tap the pin and then drop it.

Most pinmaps require an email invitation. I hope the settings I used will allow each person to drop their own pin. If now I will issues invites.

Anonymous said...

I didn't get the pin to tap. Could you send me an invitation at bjmuntain @ sasktel . net?


This time, 'select all the food' was easier - everything else was booze...

Maurine Schou said...

Congratulations to flashfriday and all the finalists!

And thank you for the special recognition!

Lance said...

Congratulations to Rebekah! The flash fiction stories on this blog are fireflies among the lumbering June bugs.

Stephen G Parks said...

re: Carkoon on a world map

Maybe we could place it based on the ecological equivalent?

Can any of our residents offer insights? Is it desolate and arid, like southern Ethiopia/Sudan? Is it hellish rainforest with crocs, like northern Australia/PNG (Although that would put it near Amy's paradise)? Is it mountainous and lacking in arable land like Afghanistan? Right now near it's near Delhi; populous, somewhat dysfunctional, and hot.

If it's to be exceedingly isolated, may I suggest we adopt Heard Island in the Southern Indian Ocean?

I'm still not allowed to make href links, so:,73.5136616,11z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0xb301524b88922bfd:0x261ddac2e5b3767e

[x] I am not a robot (although after watching ex Machina, I'm not so sure).

Anonymous said...

ABSOLUTELY FLOORED. Thanks to Her Majestic Sharkfulness, and to all of you for your kind words. Thanks, III, to Colin for the shout-out (though while we're shouting, I'd like to point out clever Colin just nabbed 2nd runner up at FF this week! hats off to you, Colin!) --Thanks again, y'all. I'm off to ogle this here glass slipper a bit more; rather chuffed that all my scaly talons actually smushed into the thing this round.


Megan V said...

Congratulations Rebekah. Job well done!

LynnRodz said...

Congrats, to all the mentions. Eileen, I loved your story!

Congrats to all the finalists.

And a big congrats to the winner!

Pharosian, so sorry for what you've gone through.

Pharosian said...

Thanks for the hugs and well wishes. It's appreciated.

Karen McCoy said...

Late to the party again--must blame jet lag this time.

I loved these entries--such unique voices and word choices!

S.D.: I tried to pin myself to the map, but was unable. Wondering if there's something I'm missing?

Thanks for these contests--I learn something new every time I do them.

DeadSpiderEye said...

It was an eye opener for me, what can be done with a 100 word narrative and that winner was my favourite. That word list though: 'plott' with two t's, that was just that a brilliant method of baiting entries.

Unknown said...

Super late with my comments, but congratulations to one and all. This was my first time participating. Such a great challenge and a whole lot of fun! (funnery?)