Monday, June 10, 2019

June 8 writing contest results-FINAL

Some really outstanding work here this week!

Words I had to look up

 theblondepi: nugatory

People who are going to receive an audio sound track of groaning
Scott Sloan

The day started with murder…
Specifically, my murder…
It went downhill from there…
Like a watermelon precariously perched on Pikes Peak…
If you’re looking to get off-ed in Colorado…
I’m thinking getting plunked on the melon with a melon ain’t the way I’d want to go…
Looks like I’m gonna be way out in front at any seed-spitting contest…
My girlfriend wanted to get married, but I cantaloupe…
Honeydew quickly became honey don’t…
Murder is usually involved when things get puny around here…
Looks like the time’s ripe for forensics…
Speaking of Fiber…I got Fiber coming out my ears… literally…

Outstanding opening line
Beth Carpenter
The day started with murder and ended with cosmetology.

Outstanding second line:
Blue Sage
Chad brought a live chicken to his dorm at four in the morning two hours after a drunken fight with Abby about the difference between vegans and douchbags.
Joh Davis Frain
Ashes keep secrets better than I ever could.

Outstanding final lines
Steph Ellis
Monday is murder. Tuesday is robbery.

Outstanding line for all seasons and reasons
“Ma’am, there’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich stuck to your head.”
At 2 am the target walked out of the bar into a bullet

A descriptive phrase for the ages

Where There's a Quill
(the marching band) dominos to a halt

Steve Forti is now just toying with me for his own amusement.
“Theda, y?” started W. “I th-“

M, Ur derisive attitude towards us true starlets has gone on long enough!

Martin turned to studio boss W. Caldwell. “See? This is what I’m talking about.
Talking. I can’t have a conversation when all her responses are on title cards.”

“I thought you two worked this out,” W finished.

This vamp will not acquiesce to your silly Talkies!.

Martin sighed, frowning at his broken director’s chair. “Get with the times, Ms. Bara. The silent era is over.” He pointed. “You don’t want to speak, quit the picture. But stop breaking my chairs!”

The fact that he's involved Theda Bara in his shenanigans ...perfect.

Here's the semi-final list.

Jennifer Delozier
Writer of Wrongs

Beth Carpenter
Nate Wilson

Timothy Lowe
Marie McKay
Sandra Schmidtke

Stack Attack

Here's the list of stories I think deserve special notice

The day started with murder! Two bodies this time. Was I Shocked? Repulsed? No. I’m a “cleaner.” My job is cleaning up messes like this—wiping up bloody evidence, leaving no trace, visible or otherwise. I am the best there is.

Until today.

A kidney.

Left behind.

Under the pea green armchair.

I had gone back to the scene to check one more time when I spotted the remaining body part.

I no sooner cleaned up this bit when people started arriving to dinner. And I spotted the murderer behind the chair with yet another mouse in his mouth.

When I first read this, I thought it was a cleaner like Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction.
Then the twist!
I love stories with twists!

Aphra Pell
The day started with murder. 24 points.

Mike plays croze straight onto a triple letter score. Smug git.

Grandma’s in the background. “Your sister always loved Christmas”

Ha! At least 6 ft under, she’s free from Boxing Day games.

Qualms. Double word and 40 points for me.” Vi, all marshmallow smiles and acrid eyes.

Qualms – what I lack.

Jester. That’s how they see me. But it gives me murders as well. Puts me in control.

Mike plays jounce; showing off.

“Tripe word score – exit!” Yes Vi, and soon you’ll meet yours.

Time for my favourite word, tontine.

Very very subtle.
Do you get it? 

Dena Pawling
An extensive vocabulary is absolutely required. A man can't simply walk down the street. He must walk quickly or carefully or slowly or hesitantly. The street must be wide or narrow or busy or eerie or picturesque.

Adjectives and adverbs are the guaranteed most important. They make tremendously exciting an otherwise dreadfully boring noun or verb.

Today's unfortunate clueless authors don't understand that.

I copiously drooled over my new behemoth doorstopper dictionary and extensive comprehensive thesaurus. I'm serious about my craft. Agents will be desperately fighting over my groundbreaking life-changing manuscript.

I lovingly opened the dictionary.

Today started with murder.
this is a poke at my beloved Thesaurus and Dictionary.
The only thing you missed Dena, is my beloved RandMcNally Road Atlas.
I use it to find  places mentioned in the news.

I love the stories that are insider info!

Barbara Lund
The day started with murder, and went downhill from there.

Recalcitrant neighbors, uncooperative suspects, media circus.

Ninth murder and likely more to come.

Suspicious partner, side-eye sergeant, disavowing chief.

When they brought me in, accusations flew like crows, but I followed my own advice: deny, deny, deny, and if you can’t do that, shut ya mouth.

Didn’t help. I had no alibi and plenty of motive.

I tell ya, the only thing a cop hates more than going bad is being sent up for the one murder she didn’t do.

Love that last line!

The day started with murder—an impromptu performance.

“I say!” she muttered. “Rather unfortunate affair.”

The blood-spattered shovel scooped up another heap of soil and scattered it onto the leaking body below. Luckily her mother never minded her playing in the backyard before breakfast. The girl hadn’t planned on bloodshed this early in the morning, but sometimes death demands action.

“The day started with murder,” she mused. “Darling book title, that. Perhaps I shall write it someday.” She was the creative type.

“Breakfast, dear!” Mrs. Miller called from the kitchen.

“Right there, mother!” young Agatha replied. “Just washing my hands.”
 Delightful story, even more delightful reveal at the end!

The day started with murder. It was Jorge’s idea. Last week, he renamed Monday “Murderday” on the office calendar because, you know, Mondays are murder. Maybe he thought no one would notice.

But everyone did.

Some thought it was funny. Stupid Jorge and his stupid sense of humor. Others called it “highly unprofessional.” We had to apologize to them because, you know, that’s what we do. We apologize for Stupid Jorge and his stupid sense of humor. One person -- just one -- took it literally. There’s always that one, isn’t there? The one who didn’t get the joke?
This really isn't a story, as much as it is a description, but I love love love it.

Katelyn Y
The day started with murders.

The first victim was expecting me and died easily. Typical mob boss. Too calm when facing Death.

The second was frantic. Most people are, particularly the guilty ones. “Please. My family... I need more time –”

I ushered him into eternity anyway. Justice is elusive, but occasionally mine.

A stray bullet sent the third. Young, stubborn. A born negotiator. “Surely there’s someone worse you’d rather meet,” she said. “Give me the name and I’ll arrange the meeting.”

A word for the dying: they say you can’t cheat Death, but I assure you I take bribes.
I Bribed Death--great title for something!

Megan V
The day started with murder wrapped in a bow. Well, wrapped in a manila folder. Even as coffee bubbled in a battered percolator, Dee thumbed through reports, photographs, and ruined lives.

All around her, the room hummed. The walls breathed. Whispers echoed. Footsteps clicked, clacked, and faded down the hall.

Had she missed something? Forgotten to write something—something important—down?

Not that she could see. It was all pretty straightforward, from the witness statements to the shitty surveillance. And yet, she stared at the eleven raised hands in disbelief.

“Well?” Someone said.

Dee swallowed. Then raised her own.
 I love the ambiguity here.
My take is Dee is the murderer, and is now serving on the jury.
Is that what all yall saw? Or what Megan V meant??

The day started with murder, Rufus chuckled as he looked down at the yellow goldfish gasping on the floor amongst the shards of glass. He watched its gills heave back and forth desperate for oxygen. It was his first time inside Mary Conroy’s house and he hadn’t seen the bookcase with the small globe of water perched on top in the dim light. All those months of watching her, studying her, and yet he never knew she had a pet. There was always so much more to learn, and he was finally here. Rufus sat on the couch, and waited.

 This entry reminded me of one of the creepiest books I've ever read: A Pleasure and a Calling, by Phil Hogan. I loved it.

The day started with murder. Not mine of course, though given how my day’s going it would’ve proved—convenient.

“Jessa, for hells sake.”


“Help me pick it up.”

“It’s still moving.”

We stared down at the jittering wings. Fairies.

Slender. Horrible. Murderously glittery.

I nudged the shimmering scaled-body with my heel. Word to the wise. Don’t trust anything that sparkles. And don’t trust books.

Fairy godmothers my ass. Unless you liked getting dusted with flesh-eating green acid, Tinkerbell wasn’t for you. Or apparently, as the fairy dissolved in a plume of rancid smoke, was just riding the Tube in peace.
I love things that are Murderously glittery. 
Don't trust anything that sparkles is my new motto.

And I love the ideat that this all takes place on the uptown IRT.

As usual, I'm dithering about which entries to select
Let me know your thoughts on the  matter here in the comment column.

This was a REALLY strong field. There were a lot of entries that were really good that didn't get a shout out.

I hope you all enjoyed my pain.
I agonized over this, but in the end I went with the one that was clever and made me laugh.

This week's winner is Casual-T.

T if you'll send me your preferred mailing address I'll send you your prize.
It's a puppy.

No, it's really a book. 

Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and enter.
This was an amazing turn out, and amazing work from all y'all.

I like this prompt phrase stuff!

Next one: "What's this handbasket doing here?" sounds good to me! What do y'all think?


Steve Forti said...

Janet - If not for my own amusement, then what's the point? :)

My vote goes to Katelyn Y. That and Beth Carpenter's were my favorites on initial read.

Dena Pawling said...

I made the short list!! Thank you!

I thought for sure when I read the category "audio sound track of groaning" I'd find my entry there LOL.

My vote goes to MeganV, Jeff, and Cipher. But the one that struck me yesterday when I read them, Teri Lynn Coop.

Megan V said...

My favorites of the stories mentioned are Aprha Pells and Rios.

But I also really loved Tammy's story, which wasn't mentioned.

Writer of Wrongs said...

*gasp* I made the semifinals! Thank you!

I loved the twist at the end of Miles O’Neal’s entry, and Casual T’s young Agatha was a delight. I always like stories about people who cross the line in their quest for justice, so Terri Lynn Coop was another favorite. I don’t envy your job of choosing - wonderful stories (as usual).

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Awesome list. I made the final lean to StackAttack because of this line:

“Considering how clumsy you are at the former, dear, let’s hope you never attempt quiche.”

(And thanks for the comments shout-outs. In a moment of shameless self-promotion, the long form of that story appears in the anthology "Just to Watch Them Die - Crime Stories Inspired by the Music of Johnny Cash." My song was "Man in Black.")

Janet Reid said...

Shameless self-promotion encouraged.

LynnRodz said...


StackAttack said...

Amazing entries, and honored to be mentioned as a semi-finalist! I cannot imagine choosing one. I liked Katelyn Y's out of the special notices, Beth Carpenter's entry out of the semi-finalists, and I enjoyed both Tamara Marnell's and Terri Lynn Coop's unmentioned entries. Both felt like snippets of a much larger story that I'd love to read.

Marie McKay said...

Delighted to be on the semi-finalist list. Thank you.
I think my pick would be Jeff's story. However, they are all excellent.

Katelyn Y. said...

I really enjoyed Jeff's story... so creepy! Also, I loved Lennon Faris'. It definitely reminded me of conversations I've had with other writers... and of the looks everyone else gave us :)

Casual-T said...

I’m exhilarated to see that young Agatha made it onto the list of special note. Small acknowledgments like this, are like sweet butter on the dry toast of the writer’s soul... Or, more simply put: Thank you very much! ;)

Out of the many wonderful entries, I particularly enjoyed the humor of Aphra Pell, Lennon Faris, and French Sojourn. As of late I find myself in dire need of giggle-inducing literature, so as to offset the less than exuberant state in which life seems to insist on presenting itself. As my great-great-great-grandfather, Mr. Smith, cryptically said to me on his deathbed: “Giggling is good for the liver.”

Beth Carpenter said...

So excited to make the semi-finals. Thank you! And thanks for the shout-outs in the comments.

This was an incredible collection. I read them all, with each one I thought "Oh this could be the winner." I think my favorite of the finalists was Em-musing's because of the twist, but Aphra Pell's and Dena Pawlings are fabulous, too. And Megan V's--I loved it before but now with your double meaning it's even better.

Lennon Faris said...

This was such a good one. They all are, but all the entries were creative, or horrifying, in a nice sort of way.

I might? vote for Jeff's but dang I really can't decide. These are all excellent. I was just reading back through the unmentioned ones and they are all excellent, too.

Sheesh! And thank you, Katelyn (your entry was intriguing, I want to meet that last character in a story) and Casual T (hilariously dark).

Congrats, everyone!

Karen McCoy said...

What a great list of entries! I couldn't participate this time--the nephew had a birthday party (he turned 2). I am a fan of Cipher's entry, especially the first line.

Barbara Lund said...

Thanks for the shout-out!

I loved Rio's missed joke and Cipher's murderous glitter... cause murderous glitter!

As always, so many amazing stories...

Aphra Pell said...

I am honoured to be mentioned in dispatches.

I don't know who I love most from the finalists. Possibly cipher and the glittery fairy murder, or Casual-T and the early training of Miss A Miller. Or Dena and her utterly, completely and totally, fabulous, magnificent and most excellent entry.

And a shout-out to Timothy Lowe, who had me at "kettle of falcons".

shanepatrickwrites said...

Does "Semi-finalist" warrant a mention in a query letter?

julie.weathers said...

Kettle of falcons indeed. As usual, this is an embarrassment of riches. I couldn't choose.

Well done to all.

Megan V said...

I'd definitely read a book titled I Bribed Death!

Thanks everyone for the shout-outs. BTW, QOTKU you're spot on with my intentions. Dee is the murderer and is now serving on the jury--for a death penalty eligible case.

Selerial said...

So much talent in such a small space! I think Katelyn Y would get my vote, though it’s definitely not easy to choose. Congrats everybody!

Timothy Lowe said...

Real tough competition this time. Thanks for the shout-out, Aphra. Only in reading contest entries do you discover neat words like tontine (my guess is some sort of poutine.) Only in researching an entry do you discover such weird facts -- I never knew a group of Cardinals was sometimes referred to as "a Vatican". Yup, a Vatican of Cardinals. And I thought I was weird...

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

So many awesome entries! Among the finalists, I loved the ones by Aphra, Meg and Katelyn.

Janet Reid said...

I know you're all enjoying my pain.
I can NOT decide.
At this point, I'm enjoying the artist building his canvasses in the apartment above. The hammering is exactly the right rhythm section for my brain.

Where There's A Quill said...

Congratulations to all the semis and mentions! This is a tough call. I think Megan V's is my favourite... I think (you're all so dang good).

That was a fun flash round. Glad I participated in this one! Thank you for the line mention, Janet :).

Jennifer Delozier said...

Wow - I'm honored to have made the semi-finals. Of the others, I enjoyed Timothy Lowe's a lot. Of those not on the list, I liked RosannaM's. But to pick just one...I don't envy you, Janet.

Timothy Lowe said...

Congrats Casual!

Lennon Faris said...

Congratulations, Casual T!! Sweet butter indeed!

Colin Smith said...

Congrats, Casual-T! The Contest spreadsheet in the Treasure Chest is up-to-date.

Casual-T said...

Holy shock therapy, Batman!! It’s about 9:30 PM and I’m on my way to work (I’m a drummer by night). Figured I’d check right quick to see who won, not in the least expecting to see a combination of letters which—rather suspiciously—looked like my name... After vigorously checking the spelling, and making sure there were no other Casual-Ts who had entered this week, I let the news settle in. I’m flabbergasted... Thank you ever so much, Janet! As well as all you fine folks in this wonderful little corner of the interwebs.

PS: My wife says she’d prefer the puppy! ;)

Katelyn Y. said...

Congrats Casual-T! Also, thanks for the kind words and mentions everyone :)

Timothy Lowe said...

Casual is a drummer. The case gets curioser and curioser ...

Megan V said...

Way to go Casual-T! Congrats on the win. That's some fantastic writing :)

Jennifer Mugrage said...

The peanut butter sandwich was the best. Oh, the humiliating moment when you are told by a stranger that there is a PBJ stuck to your head! Surely we can all relate ... even if we can't.

I don't know what a handbasket is, so will have to sit the next one out.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Congrats, Casual-T!

Beth Carpenter said...

Congratulations, Casual T. Well deserved!

Marie McKay said...

Congratulations, Casual T.

John Davis Frain said...

I pity the fool that don't congratulate you, Mr. T. Even if ya are all casual and what not. Or are you causal? My momma didn't raise anyone who'd waste their time as a spelling champeen.

Now let's see what you do with The Handbasket's Tale.

Casual-T said...

@John - Haha!! Don't make me mad... Arghh! As for casual vs. causal, here's a sordid tale for ya: I once participated in a Howard Stern TV show (as a drummer), and whoever typed up the names of the band members must have had a particularly dyslexic day, since my name appeared on-screen (for millions upon millions of adoring fans to see) as CAUSAL-T...

Aphra Pell said...

Congrats Mr T. Well earned.

For anyone wondering what a tontine is, I heartily recommend the former Agatha Miller's excellent "4.50 from Paddington"

And Jennifer - when you are the author a handbasket can be whatever you want it to be.

Karen Baldwin said...

Congrats to CASUAL-T and all the other winners, and a humble Muchas Gracias for the Special Notice on my entry. My Mexican jungle kitty gives a paws up.

Amy Johnson said...

Congratulations, Casual-T! For your winner's party, let's all have a backyard cookout!

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Hell, you win for the Howard Stern story. And, of course, the AWESOME flash fic. Well done Casual-T (which I originally typed as Causal . . . )


PS: LOVE the prompt phrase.

Writer of Wrongs said...

Congrats, Casual-T, on that well-deserved win!

So much potential with a hand basket (which I shall assume sits in the middle of the path to Hades). Steve Forti might even have to use the actual words, instead of slicing and dicing them... although I wouldn’t bet against him.

Casual-T said...

I don’t mean to take up more than my allotted 3 posts per day, but I didn’t want to let all of your kind words go unacknowledged... Thanks to one and all! This is only the second time in my life, that I have won anything. The first being the Mega-Millions Triple Jackpot last year, but this one is way better!! :D

PS: @Amy Johnson... For reasons I will not divulge here, it will be impossible to do the cookout in my backyard—cough! dead bodies cough!—but I’ll bring the steaks if you provide the location... :)

Barbara Lund said...

Congrats, Casual-T!

french sojourn said...

Congrats Mr. T. Well done, sorry to be late to the awards. Thanks for the shout out as well. cheers ! Hank.