Monday, February 13, 2017

Writing contest final results

 Here are the final contest results from this weekend's Triple Threat Flash Fiction contest

Special recognition for using words I had to look up
Lucy Crow 2:39pm
Amy Schaefer 9:57am

Steve Forti Award for dexterity with prompt words
Steve Forti 9:05am
 low rents, fade at home, hombre wranglin

To be eligible for this award you have to underline the prompt words in your entry. 

Special recogniton for a great line
Cheryl 10:10am
The first Valentine’s party over, streamers dripped from the walls, the buffet, puddling on the floor like so much discarded happiness.

Just Jan 3:06pm
And a bottle of Jack Daniels reclines, soberly, on the bare floor.

A line that should be required in all future manuscripts
Steve Forti 9:05am
Embiggen the wall

Great metaphor
Michael Seese 9:10am
"a freshly brewed cup of happy"

Not quite a story but superlative writing
Timothy Lowe 9:50am

Lucy Crowe 2:39pm

Kimber 6:17am

Four line perfection
Claire Bobrow 10:05am
She stirred the non-dairy creamer. Nasty stuff.
“Covers the taste,” he said. “You trying to kill me?”
They both had a laugh,
As he clutched his throat.

Example of something that's very well written, but I don't quite understand
MeganV 8:36am
Death can throw a wrench into any man’s plans, but on days like today I swear the cowl-wearing creep has it in for me. Put it this way.
Death of a coffeemaker? No brew.
Death of a tranny? No truck.
Death of a digger? No crew.
Death of a Salesman? No fuck.
All in all a sucky day.
That’s about all I can say.
Or it’s all I would have said, and I could have let it go.
But when Death tries earning street cred with the Devil, the scythe drops hard.
Death of a proposal? No ring.

Here is the long list of finalists

Kitty 9:12am
“Father is threatening to shoot my low-rent brother, Benny,” said Mr. Brewster.

“Low-rent?” said the Sheriff.

“Father calls him a low-rent joyri
de athlete, because Benny is-- was-- a male prostitute. He says he’s retired.”

“Sounds like he has a problem with Benny’s lifestyle.”

“Father’s in
dignant about it, but that’s not the problem.”

“Then what is?”

“Benny has written a salacious memoir, pornographic yet surprisingly literate for him, and…”

“And your father doesn’t want it published.”

“Oh no, on the contrary. Father’s a publisher. Benny’s book would make a lot of money. But purely out of spite, Benny decided to self-publish.”

I love how Kitty used the prompt words here very deftly.
And of course, it's hilarious to touch on the theme of self-publishing.
This made me laugh out loud.

PAH 9:30am
She looked different in death. Was her hair always so red?
Of course, she wasn’t dead. Not really.
A bullet could stop her like a wrench could fix a broken heart.
She’d been my partner. And I loved her. Once.
That was before she was bit.

There’s a Hebrew phrase: gam zu l'tova.

The stake fit my hand. Or, perhaps, my hand had molded to fit the stake.
I raised it and plunged it into her heart, digging it into her chest.
There was no cry of agony. No hellish scream. No death-rattle.
Oops, I thought. Wrong funeral home.

Oops indeed. I really love this little twist at the end. 
And the "A bullet could stop her like a wrench could fix a broken heart." is pure James M. Cain
and that's saying something.

Amy Schaefer 9:57am
Our job: guard the gate. But our passion: helping people. Even today, with our guts a witches’ brew of expired burritos and cherry cheesecake, we succeeded.

“Let me pass,” she begged. “He’s in there.”

We squirmed, trying to avoid the in
dignity of shitting ourself. What a predicament. Her wrenching sobs tugged our heartstrings, but the rules stipulated: souls only.

The perfect idea.

We mauled her.

Her shade stared at the chunky mess oozing over the rocks.

“Welcome,” we said, moving aside. “Enjoy your

We trotted away and gratefully squatted over the Acheron. “Cerberus,” we chuckled, “you’re a good dog.”

It's a distinct pleasure to have an entry that is set in Hell. And one that involves my favorite doggie, Cerberus.  And this story is gruesome and hilarious, and that's a pretty good trick to accomplish in 100 words.

Susan 10:02am
“One last game?”

Lawrence looked up. At the bar sat a familiar face, flushed beneath the indigo light advertising a glowing deal on craft brew. He nodded towards the vacant poker table.

“You look tired,” Lawrence said. “More tired than the last time.”

“It’s been a while.” Death picked up his cards.

“Eighty-one years. You took my dog.”

“Saved you, didn’t I?”

“Not this time?”

Death threw a red poker chip into the mix. “Afraid not.”

Lawrence sighed. “Yeah, alright. Call it.”

“Not to worry, kid. It’s a full house by now.”

Lawrence grinned and took his hand. “Damn straight.”  
I love the clever play on words at the end.
And the story is both poignant and pointed.

Dena Pawling 12:50pm
Mildred finished digging and smoothed the dirt. Good riddance.

Back inside, her alarm chimed. They're almost here!

She grabbed a wrench. “This'll do,” she said, hammering.

Pictures hung, she shoved dirty clothes under the bed, dirty dishes in the oven.

To cover the deathly stench, she opened a window and brewed some coffee. That's better.

Social services arrived. “Where's Charlie?”

“At a friend's house today. Active boy,” Mildred said, laughing.

He scanned the house. “You've cleaned up quite a bit since last month.” He jotted notes, took photos. “I'll close your case. Congratulations.”

Mildred smiled. Free at last.
oh sweet mother of garamond, this made me reach for a restorative cup of cocoa. Emergency cocoa! Honestly this is Shirley Jackson stuff here, and I may never sleep again.
Brilliant writing, just brilliant.

katie 3:13pm
Digging in Joe's drawer for his utility knife I find diamond earrings. They look expensive and they aren't mine - my tastes run fake and ironic. I put them in my ears anyway because I'm not stupid; they might be useful where we're going. The storm's still brewing when I run out and I smell death, animal or marital, rising in the yard. Wren promised she'd fit me in the car but she takes one look at me and locks the doors. "Can't take you no more, Freddie, those are my earrings and you know it."
Oh how I love the twist to our expectations here! Very deft.

RosannaM 4:09pm
Washing machine came on again—the TV told it to.
I’m sure of it.

My phone brewed a pot of coffee at three a.m. and a Sousa march on repetitive loop kept me awake. I punch the digital display on the furnace but it remains frozen at sixty. As do I.

The appliances are taking over.
Can’t unplug them—they’re hard-wired.

Technology now renders us obsolete.

They said it would advance us, and it did for a while, but it has surpassed us and will cause the death of the human race.

I’m sure of it.
This is deeply disturbing and beautiful all at the same time.
The perfection of this entry is we the readers don't know what's real and what isn't.
This is sublime.

Scott G 11:44pm
We stood at the alter and my heart wrenched as I watched her walk down the aisle.

I’ve loved her since we were five, next door neighbors digging in the sandbox.

I loved her in high school, talking on the phone late at night until mom poked her head in my room and gave me the death-stare.

I loved her in college, bar hopping, drinking brews and throwing darts until last call.

The reverend turned to me. “The rings, please.”

My face reddened as I dug the symbols of faithfulness out of my pocket and gave them to my brother.

And speaking of twists on reader expectations!
I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry here.
Either emotion though; the writing makes you feel something intensely which is terrific.

John Davis (Manuscript) Frain 2:16pm
Whiskered postal worker reads the label on the package. Looks up. You get this a lot.

“Your name is …”

“Death. Rhymes with teeth.”

Whiskers nods. Indignant. “’Course it does. Noel. Rhymes with asshole.”

You don’t argue. He’s accurate.

“If I can just get my package…”

He shakes his head. And the box. “Sorry.”

Noel does rhyme with – you stop yourself.

“Says there’s a bomb inside.”

“Excuse me?” Category 5 headache begins brewing.

“Right here.” He points at lip balm.

You begin to understand the idiom
going postal. You leave. Find Wren at home. Tell her, “We’re joining Amazon Prime.”

This just plain cracked me up.

It took some serious contemplation but in the end I went for the entry that was utterly distinct:

RosannaM 4:09pm

It didn't sound like anything we've seen before, and it was highly imaginative. Gorgeous work.

RosannaM if you'll send me your preferred mailing address, I'll get Loretta's books in the mail to you!

And we have last week's caption contest too!

Bad bad contest manager for not announcing the winner in a more timely fashion.

Just a reminder, here are the finalists:

Melanie Sue Bowles 11:44am
Kiss me, you fool

Amy Schaefer 12:01pm
It's my turn with the new Otter book!

Michael Seese 1:02pm
Admit it.
Admit it.
OK. I kissed a dog once.

Kate Higgins 3:08pm
No, I say, I cannot let you go to that place! It's a dangerous place for newbie mewies and it is run by a demanding evil queen named DOY. Only a few kittas have been released!

"What's it called?"


Mark Ellis 4:01pm
Look, I've told you again and again. Funny is good, but not enough. It has to be a story.

Carolynnwith2Ns 5:46pm
Two's company three's a cattastrophy.

I loved all of these entries, but in the end, I had to surrender to Her Grace, The Duchess of Yowl's imperious demand that the entry in which she appears is CLEARLY superior to anything, particularly those that mention DOGS, so the winner is 
Kate Higgins 3:08pm

Kate if you'll email me with your preferred mailing address, and the kinds of books you like to read, we'll send you a prize!

Thanks again to all of you who took the time to write and enter. Your talent amazes me. It scares me too, but really, amazing is the best word here.



Amy Schaefer said...

Congratulations to the winners!

Theresa said...

Echoing Amy---congratulations everyone! It was fun reading all the entries.

Colin Smith said...

Congratulations, RosannaM! That's one heckuvah prize you've landed. As I mentioned yesterday, I read the first of these and enjoyed it, but haven't got around yet to the next two (so many books!), but I fully intend to.

And congrats to Kate for the caption win! :)

Kitty said...

Congrats to RosannaM. I loved your scary entry.

Finally, congrats to Kate Higgins for the winning cat caption.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

As always, there's a whole bunch of good stuff here and it's always a whole lot'ta fun. Thank you Janet.

Congratulations to Rosanna and Kate...!

AJ Blythe said...

Love these contests (although the quality of writing freaks me out a little - amazing). Well done to everyone, especially the winners!

Colin Smith said...

Oh, and thank you, Beth for the shout-out to my entry yesterday. That was very kind of you. :)

I'll update the contest spreadsheet in the Treasure Chest as soon as I can--probably this afternoon (US Eastern Time).

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Way to go Roseanna - great prize too. Enjoy.

Steve Forti said...

Congrats Roseanna and Kate!

Amy Johnson said...

Congratulations, Rosanna and Kate!

Dena Pawling said...

She called my writing brilliant, she called my writing brilliant, she called my writing brilliant!!!!

Okay now that I've awakened the entire neighborhood, congrats to RosannaM! Two of my appliances turned on me last week and broke, so I feel your story. Very accurate description lol. I've read the first two of Loretta Ross's books and loved them, so you're in for a real treat.

And congrats to Kate! It's always a good thing to keep DoY happy.

Colin Smith said...

Dena: I must confess, my heart smiled for you yesterday when you were picked, and then today reading Janet's comments. You have said in the past that you don't feel you can compete when it comes to flash fiction. Well, look at you! You competed, and wrote brilliantly. Well done! :)

Scott G said...

Congrats to Rosanna and Kate! And thank you Janet, as always. The time you spend providing all of us with these opportunities to practice our trade are very much appreciated.

Unknown said...

These are great -- poignant and hilarious. Congratulations, Rosanna and everyone else!

Kitty said...

Roseanna, your story was more prescient than you may realize!

Elon Musk: Humans must merge with machines or become irrelevant in AI age

Megan V said...

Congrats everyone! Lovely work.

I was pulled into Rosanna's right quick. It definitely messed with the head a bit. And it was beautifully written.

JD Horn said...

Congratulations to both!

Dena Pawling said...

Thanks Colin. I still don't understand many of the flash stories I read here, and I'll probably never have anyone say my writing is subtle. I'm pretty straight forward. Shirley Jackson tho? Yikes! Her stuff is creepy.

But a quote I've read seems appropriate here – an author is a writer who never gave up. I'm hoping that applies to me.

Lennon Faris said...

Congratulations, RosannaM and Kate!! Very well done! Creepy and funny.

Colin Smith said...

Dena: I can't tell you how many times I've submitted something to a contest that I've thought was subtle and thoughtful, only to read twenty other entries that make mine look as subtle as a gorilla at a tea party. But there's a place for both the subtle and the straight-forward. Some people like to ponder meaning, and some like more no-nonsense, straight-up, it-is-what-it-is fiction. And you can't always predict which Janet will be in the mood for from contest to contest. She certainly seems to enjoy both styles.

Susan said...

Wow, thanks for the mention! I've been having all sorts of self-doubt about my writing, so it's nice to have little pieces of validation.

Congrats to the winners! Well-deserved. All the entries were great this week.

PAH said...

Well done all! And congrats to RosannaM. Always a blast to create something so quickly. A few constraints are refreshingly freeing.

Thanks for hosting us, JR.


Karen McCoy said...

Colin!Yes! I've felt the exact same--and a gorilla at a tea party is the exact way to describe it! (Though now I want to see the Gorilla Tea Party. Write that, please!)

Many congrats to RosannaM.Your entry was inspired!

Julie Weathers said...

I am continually amazed at these little gems y'all churn out. I went over these more than once yesterday trying to pick out a favorite. I'd pick this one then that one. Then I decided I'd come back later and it would be more clear, but it was the same thing.


I just finished watching/listening-- Whatever I do to television series as the tv is behind me and I am normally trying to write or researching something. A scaffold holding several people who were there to watch the beheading of Lord Lovatt broke, killing several of them. Lord Lovatt was one of the clan lords who supported Bonnie Prince Charlie. He thought it was so funny he was still laughing when they chopped his head off and thus we get the phrase "laughing your head off".--That came from a Books and Writers conversation. Important stuff like that. Also Civil War court martial transcripts are a gold mine for information as the language of what happened had to be repeated verbatim. That will be an interesting rabbit hole.

Anyway, I finished watching the Person of Interest series, which was excellent, if scarey. It was all about being watching all the time by government agencies for good and evil. So, it kind of reminded me of Rosanna's story.

My youngest son is all about smart stuff. Smart phone, smart house. I on the other hand am, "Yeah, that's all well and good until the machines rise up against you."

"Yes, Mom, and as bad as you are with technology, they would."

Anyway, they were all great stories and congratulations to Rosanna.

RosannaM said...

Thank you, Janet! Wow. What an honor and I appreciate your feedback tremendously. These contests are such fun to participate in and watch the magic that 5 words can turn into at the hands of the amazing writers here.

All the smart technology does sort of creep me out. I am currently fighting with a Fitbit, trying to get it to sync to my computer. It's not working, but the concept of it being able to do that wirelessly and without me typing in commands and pushing buttons is weird.

Thank you all fellow writers for your kind words. You guys are the best cheerleaders and incredible writers. And congratulations to Kate. I think the caption contests are harder than the longer FF's.

Colin Smith said...

The young men strode into the clearing. There were six of them wearing identical Doc Marten boots, camo pants and jackets, black berets pulled across their heads, dark lines streaking their faces.

One marched forward and snapped a salute.

"Commander Pyke, sir!" he said, his voice firm, his eyes fixed with admiration and unfailing devotion on his superior officer, a man barely ten years his senior.

"At ease, soldier," Pyke replied. "Report?"

"The raid party has returned, sir."

"Was it a success?"

"Yes sir!" The soldier beamed. "We took out two enemy, but encountered no other resistance."

The soldier turned, took a large sack from one of the men behind him, and presented it to his commanding officer.

"Well?" said Pyke.

The soldier plunged his hand into the sack and pulled out a handful of dark leaves. Pyke leaned over, his nose hovering over the soldier's open hand. Pyke nodded.

"Very good. Very good," he said. "Clarkeson!" Pyke turned his head toward the tent behind him. "Put the kettle on. The party's a go!"

Karen: There you are. ;)

Claire Bobrow said...

Way to go RosannaM! And Kate! Your entries were, respectively, chilling and very funny. Keep an eye on your toaster, Rosanna - they can turn to the dark side...

(ps to John D. Frain - thanks for your kind words yesterday. Put a smile on my face so wide I needed some lip balm.)

Beth Carpenter said...

Congratulations, Rosanna and Kate. Well deserved.

John Davis Frain said...

Well done, Rosanna. I'm still happy your story didn't open with the phrase: "Based on actual events." But it probably could have. You're gonna love the books. Great stuff from Loretta Ross.

Now that we have James Cain and Shirley Jackson lookalikes entering these contests, I'm officially frightened. Until now, it was all unofficial.

And congrats to Kate on this celebratory day.

John Davis Frain said...

Careful applying the lip bomb, Claire. Typos, like incorrect punctuation, can be dangerous.

Colin, I got interrupted by my phone while typing and came back to see your flash (in a flash!) fiction response to Karen. That was most impressive.

If your day job doesn't work out, you could open up a booth next to the Guess Your Weight guy at the carnival and pump out flash fiction to customers.

Step right up ... Give him 5 words, and he'll spin them into your personal story.

Kate Larkindale said...

Congratulations to the winners and shortlisted writers. You are all so clever….

katie said...

Congrats to the winners and thanks for the finalist spot!

Unknown said...

Congrats all! Fun reads as usual!

OT back to the self-pub thread. (Janet, kick me out if this breaks rules). I'm still trying to finish pubbing my aunt's memoir before her 90th b'day. If you have a no-reservations recommendation for someone to do the "other stuff," cover, ISBN, etc., would you contact me off list?

Janice Grinyer said...

Congrats Winners! Each time JR dissects a piece, I learn more about what I am NOT doing in my own writing HAHHAHA... *sigh*

Okay, back to my writing, with some revisions to work on. :D

Colin Smith said...

John: What can I say? I couldn't resist the pun. :)

I've updated the contest in the Treasure Chest. RosannaM is now a two-time winner. Her last win was back in September, 2016. Congratulations, again, Rosanna! :)

Colin Smith said...

*contest spreadsheet. Sorry--I couldn't be bothered to delete, edit, and re-post my previous comment. :)

Karen McCoy said...

Yay! Day made. Thank you, Colin.

Kate Higgins said...

Thanks for all the congratulations! And more congrats to Rosanna - although I'm still looking askance at my microwave that seems to like beeping for no reason.
Colin: If you look back 6 years, I too have another win in 2011! Maybe the treasure chest spread sheet doesn't go back that far ;)

Colin Smith said...

Kate: 6/25/2011--yes, the spreadsheet goes back right the way to the beginning. However, the spreadsheet is only for contests that don't rely upon pictures or email, so it's pretty much for the flash fiction contests (with one or two poetry contests).

A win is a win, but sadly your caption win doesn't count on the spreadsheet. Maybe one day I'll make a super-duper spreadsheet that includes every single contest Janet has ever run, including pictures and stuff... one day... :)

Theresa said...

Rosanna, your story reminded me of the lesson learned in Battlestar Galactica. Never use a linked computer network. The Cylons will get you.

OT to mark a minor victory. I've been sweating for weeks--okay, months--over a book proposal. Sent the main body of it (sans chapter synopses)to wonderful agent yesterday, who read it, loved it, and returned it with only a very few minor comments. I'm still moving through the chapter synopses, hoping they will be met with the same enthusiasm.

Amy Johnson said...

OT Yay, Theresa! It's nice to hear about the victories. Thanks!

RosannaM said...

Thanks for all the congratulations, it means a lot. The encouragement around here is amazing.

Colin, thanks for all the details you take care of here. It should earn you a non-expiring Get Out of Carkoon Free card.

And to all of you with any appliance concerns--you are wise to be wary.

And Theresa? There are no such things as minor victories! Yay to your good news!

BJ Muntain said...

I know I'm probably behind the times, but I just discovered that Bouchercon is in Canada this year. Granted, Toronto is still quite a plane ride from here so I don't know if I'd be able to make it, but... I think that's just plain cool.

Kate Higgins said...

Thanks Colin .... I guess I just have to win "real" flash fiction contest. It will be a goal and keep me on my toes :)

I do agree with Rosanna; you have should a non-expiring Get Out of Carkoon Free card for all you keep track of for the lot of us.

Mark Ellis said...

Congrats to all winners, placers, showers and all who entered.