Archive | June 2013

Flash! Friday # 29 — WINNERS!

I KNEW IT! You all wrung tears and giggles and who knows what else out of poor Mona Lisa and her weighty travails. Thanks to all of you for giving the prompt a go, and history-sized thanks to judge Beth Peterson for her own weighty travails. I love the weeks when y’all make the judges sweat over their decision. Oh wait. That’s every week!


Judge Beth Peterson says, This was a great group of stories, and I really enjoyed the privilege of reading and studying each one! Thank you, writers all! Many of you made me think, many of you made me smile, several made me laugh or sigh in sheer enjoyment, and some of you made me smirk. Tar and feathers on the Master’s stool, indeed! EEP! 

NOW: a bit of a disclaimer, if you will. I am an artist. I am an artist who loves history and art history. I am the daughter of an artist and art professor who has actually seen the Mona Lisa in person, not once, but twice! So this week’s prompt has a great deal of added pleasure for me. *happiness dance* 



Craig Anderson, “Revealed.” Fun–you get the clear indication of the husband’s character as well as the lady’s, and having been caught in doing commission work, I sincerely feel for the painter! But you really got me with that last line: “And paint that stupid smirk off her face!” ROFL 

Marycritic13, “Lady of Ice.” A fun and well-done piece of fantasy! I love that you used the Mona Lisa’s background as part of your story–it is so often overlooked and yet so wonderfully painted. I am also totally intrigued with how and why Lady Liada’s eyes turned from brown to icy blue! (And I’m sure Rebekah will love that you have dragons, lol.) [[Editor’s note: ARE YOU A MINDREADER?!]] 

Kevin S. Julien, “Beauty is a Beast.” Kudos for that delightfully unexpected ending! You made me laugh with undiluted mischievousness! And a nice — if irreverent 😉 — nod to the pedestal the painting has been metaphorically placed upon, as well as all those Mona Lisa parodies, and including the ones with fangs. 😀


Ruth Long, “The Lady’s Secret.” Homey and inviting — a real treat to read and a love way to bring this larger-than-life icon down to the earthly realm we humans actually dwell within! I love the immediate sense of place and the characterizations. My one wish was that you had stayed true to the time frame… perhaps using the Italian for “grandma” and “ducky,” and using something other than pinky-swearing. Wonderful story otherwise.


Mary Decker, “A Secret Worth Keeping.” Magical, and reminiscent of so many myths and legends of artists/craftsmen and their works, from Pygmalion to Gepetto and onwards. Good beginning stretching into a lovely, strong climax-of-intent, followed by a very strong ending! The characters of painter and his lady are spare but come across so clearly – and I love the answer you gave for her secret smile.

And our Flash! Friday third-time gold medalist, but it’s-been-a-while



for “Eterno Sorriso.”  What can I say?? Masterful writing and a great merging of history, literature, and… not really a twist, because it fits so very well! And you certainly caught daVinci’s reputation for grouchy arrogance, LOL! Not just with the American tourist, but with the docent as well. Marvelous story — congratulations!

Congratulations, Maggie! Here are your Winner’s Page, your magnificently crafted eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. Please contact me asap (here) with your email address so I can interview you for Wednesday’s Sixty Seconds feature.

Eterno Sorriso

“And here we have possibly the most famous work in the Louvre, Da Vinci’s portrait of whom we believe is Lisa Gherardini, wife of the Florentine merchant, Francesco el Giocondo,” said the museum docent.

Under the careful eye of the guard, the tourists gathered around the portrait, held back by its protective enclosure.

“You probably know it as the ‘Mona Lisa,’ but we call it ‘La Gioconda,’” the docent continued.

“Is that the picture that was in that Da Vinci code movie?” asked one man. The guard looked him over. An American, of course.

“That was ‘The Last Supper,’” the docent replied, her smile indulgent.

“Can we see that?” the tourist asked.

No, you moron, the guard thought, because it’s in Milan.

The docent moved the group along, and the guard met the eyes of Lisa Gherardini. If only they knew, he heard her say inside his head. His smile echoed hers.

The real Da Vinci code was his formula for immortality, and who better to guard his masterpiece but Il Maestro himself?


Flash! Friday # 29

CLOSED! Thanks to everyone for coming out to help dear Mlle Mona with her tale. Judge’s results will post Saturday afternoon.

I just can’t stop myself.

It was such fun last week with all the stories reimagining the Lady of Shallot’s tragic tale, I wanted to see what you maniacs would do with the ultimate Queen of the Clandestine, La Gioconda herself. She knows something, right? What does she know? Why is she grinning in that maddening fashion? This week’s the time and place to spill her deepest secrets.

(Here are your contest guidelines).

This week’s covert assignment is judged by clever mastermind and SVW member Beth Peterson. (Be sure to check out her judge page to investigate what she looks for in a winning entry.)

Let’s synchronize our watches…. now GO!

Word limit: 150-word story (25-word leeway on either side) based on the photo prompt.

* How: Post your story here in the comments. Include your word count (between 125-175 words, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one.

* Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday’s on Langley time)

Winners: will post tomorrow (Saturday)

Prize: A black-market-worthy e-trophy e-dragon e-badge, a covertly personalized page here at FF, a dastardly ingenious 60-second interview feature next Wednesday, and YOUR NAME in glowing Kryptonite across the shoulders of the world (so to speak). NOTE: Winning and non-winning stories alike remain eligible for selection for Monday’s Flash Points. 

* Follow @FlashFridayFic on Twitter for up-to-date news/announcements/secret dragon decoder rings.  And now for your prompt:

"La Gioconda," by Leonardo da Vinci

“La Gioconda,” by Leonardo da Vinci

Sixty Seconds with: Sarah Cain

Ten answers to ten questions in 20 words or fewer. That’s less time than it takes to burn a match*.

(*Depending on the length of the match and your tolerance for burned fingers, obviously)


Our newest Flash! Friday winner is Sarah Cain.  Read her winning story here, then take one minute to get to know her better.

1) What about the prompt inspired you to write your winning piece? I’m starting a fantasy novel, and the painting tied in with one of my many storylines.

2) How long have you been writing flash? Just started writing flash fiction about three months ago.

3) What do you like about flash? Flash makes you boil a story down to its essence.

4) What flash advice would you give other writers? Read other flash writers, and practice.

5) Who is a writer we should follow, and why? I don’t have a favorite. I read at least twenty stories a day, and I’m always amazed at the talent.

6) Do you participate in other flash contests, and which? This is my first contest.

7) What other forms do you write (novels, poetry, articles, etc)? I just finished a suspense novel called The Eighth Circle; I write short stories and non-fiction

8) What is/are your favorite genre(s) to write, and why? I lean toward suspense because I like excitement, but only if it’s character-driven.  

9) Tell us about a WIP. I’m beginning a fantasy novel, which involves a lot of research and worldbuilding. Hard, but great fun.

10) How do you feel about dragons? I LOVE dragons. I’d like to hang out with them because I think they’ve gotten a bad reputation.