Archive | October 2013

Sixty Seconds with: Laura Carroll Butler

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)

Matchlight

Our newest Flash! Friday winner is Laura Carroll Butler.  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? The coldness and isolation of the picture just seemed like a personal hell to me.

2) How long have you been writing flash? About two months.

3) What do you like about flash? I tend to be wordy, so this forces me to tighten my writing.

4) What flash advice would you give other writers? Write honestly and for yourself first.  Remember that you’re the only one who has to like what you write.

5) Who is a writer we should follow, and why? I’m new to flash writing, but I have enjoyed the submissions by Ben Miller and Craig Anderson on Flash! Friday.

6) Do you participate in other flash contests, and which? Not yet.  Flash! Friday is a hard act to follow!

7) What other forms do you write (novels, poetry, articles, etc)? Poetry for myself and my husband; and I’ve been working on a historical novel for two years.

8) What is/are your favorite genre(s) to write, and why? Historical fiction; I like the idea of taking ordinary people and telling their stories of extraordinary times.

9) Tell us about a WIP. The Price of a Pearl is about three women in England and Virginia before, during and after the American Revolution.

10) How do you feel about dragons? I think they would like me because I’m soft and tender!

Flash! Friday # 46 — WINNERS!

It’s fitting, I suppose, that I’m posting these results in my own personal subterranean ice chamber, a tortuous place my husband calls the “basement.” I’m thinking my mother’s belief that most ills can be cured by donning socks may be more right than I’d guessed. –Thanks to everyone who braved the prompt’s freezing temps and wrote stories. I hope you realize (a) how amazing you are, and (b) just how many people are reading your work. THANK YOU for leaping with such gusto into the Flash! Friday community. 

DON’T FORGET! We are accepting applications to join rotating judge panels for Flash! Friday’s Year 2. Details here! To be considered for the first panel (Dec 14 – March 14), please have your applications in by October 31. Thanks! 

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Judge Maggie Duncan says, I wanted an extra blanket or the heat on high as I read these stories. In a lot of cases, though, the writers didn’t let the photo stand on its own—there were way too many modifiers, which basically meant, “It’s cold!” I’d rather they had delved deeper into the stories behind the façade that was so obviously freezing-your-butt-off cold. There were a lot of interesting takes on the prompt—a good balance among the elements in the photo. Whether it was the flags, the red light, the aurora, or just the cold, the stories led us down some unique paths. Excuse me now while I go wrap up in a blankie with a cup of hot cocoa. 

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

M.T. Decker, “Unbearable Solitude.” Although I doubt a “not-too-bright” guy would be sent to a research station in Antarctica, this is a well-plotted story with the kind of twist I like, and the title is a great pun.

Aria Glazki, “Treasure Hunt.” There was a good build-up of tension and suspense in this story, and the last line was a grabber

THIRD RUNNER UP

Jacki Donnellan,Aurora Borealis.” This is one of those stories which resonate for a long while after reading it. This is a well-told tale with a open ending, but one you can put your own meaning to. The dialogue is crisp yet says volumes.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Maven Alysse, “Dark Matter.” This was a good combination of sci-fi and horror, rather like the old B-movie, “The Thing.” A very unusual take on the prompt but one which leaves you wanting more.

***SPECIAL NOTE FROM JUDGE MAGGIE*** You tried to make me choose, and I couldn’t. I couldn’t even take the Solomonic way out because there were two great stories. These were very well-done tales, and when I went to my fall-back tie-breaker—my gut reaction—both left an indelible impact. So (GASP!) our Dragon Host is forced to break the tie herself. (The comments, however, belong to the judge.)

FIRST RUNNER UP

Lady Hazmat,Halcyon Skies.” This story is both harrowing and ironic, but pulled off with a few words which communicate first joy at escaping everyone’s fate because of a minor affliction and then utter desolation at realizing you may be the last one alive. This was the story which made me want to sit before a fire while I pondered which genetic flaw might ultimately save mankind. At the end, you understand all too well the protagonist’s decision, and you know, given the same circumstances, you’d do the same thing. Great job.

And appearing on the Flash! Friday dais for the first time as 

 DRAGON WINNER IS….

LAURA CARROLL BUTLER!

for “Ice” 

 This one-word title says it all, and you’ll never use the phrase “until Hell freezes over” again without thinking about this woman’s Hell, perhaps of her own making but certainly daunting, knowing she has to face it for eternity. It reminded me of one of my favorite original Star Trek™ episodes, one which stays with me to this day in the form of a nightmare, “The Alternative Factor.” Well done.

Congratulations, Laura! Here is your Winner’s Page, a cool (in a good way), dazzlingly clever dragon eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. Please contact me asap here so I can interview you for Wednesday’s Sixty Seconds feature.

Ice

Sadie picked up the card on the flowers. “Welcome to your new home.” She tossed it back on the table, bare but for the silver roses. The room was as austere as the table, all steel and sharp edges. She checked the thermostat. It was set at 80 and she could feel the air moving through the vents, but the room was as cold as the frigid outside. She couldn’t remember the last time she was warm.

Outside in the glow of the orange light, she saw an image of her daughter, Caroline, her biggest disappointment. She insisted on following her own path straight into a low paying job, working with juvenile delinquents. The twit, Sadie thought, believing she could save the world one child at a time. Well, she hoped those losers could help keep Caroline’s heat on. From the corner of her eye, Sadie noted Caroline’s husband, whatshisname, as he gently brushed a strand of hair from Caroline and put his arm around her.

Further off, where the light was swallowed by the icy darkness, she saw Jared, the man she left her husband for, the man who had once been married to her best friend. She’d suspected there was a mistress. He didn’t even have the good sense to wait until Sadie was buried before he took her out in public. The mistress was wrapped in a blue fox fur. Her blue fox fur.

Sadie checked the thermostat again and rubbed her chapped hands briskly. Nobody had ever suggested that Hell could be so cold.

FFWinnerBadgeSmall

Flash! Friday # 46

CLOSED! Thank you, as ever, for writing. Results lateish Sunday night!

** Looking for a few good judges! You have made this community the astounding, supportive thing it is. So let’s turn judging on its head: apply now to take a turn as judge in Year 2! Details here. The application deadline for the first panel is October 31.

WELCOME TO FLASH! FRIDAY!  No doubt it’s the onset of cold autumn days that makes this photo feel particularly timely. Well, that or my recent hankering for a bowl of chili. I thought it’d be fun to go a little sci-fi this week. Or, obviously, mermaid/noir/mystery/dystopian/Downton Abbeyan, wherever your crazy Muse leads you.

(Find the ethereal contest rules here.)

This week’s moody festivities are judged by the Empress of Chameleonery, SVW member Maggie Duncan, whose own writings glow stunningly prismatically at times . Be sure to check out her judge page to find out what sorts of angles she hopes to see in a winning piece.

And now:

Word limit: 250 word story (10 words’ leeway; doesn’t it feel roomy??) based on the photo prompt. Yep, keeping it short ‘n’ sweet again. (PS. Don’t get comfy there.)

* How: Post your story here in the comments. Include your word count (240 – 260 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 is on Washington, DC time and, thankfully, does not rely on government funding)

Winners: will post SUNDAY 

Prize: A multifaceted e-trophy e-dragon e-badge, a shockingly clear yet unsurprisingly ambiguous winner’s page here at FF, a multi-directional 60-second interview feature next Wednesday, and YOUR NAME shot in laser beams/rainbow scales/cynicism/smoking guns/desperation/snotty tea parties across the alien starships orbiting 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/Dragonlady Grantham quotes (No guest should be admitted without the date of their departure being known; Episode 3.2).  And now for your prompt:

Ice Cube Aurora. Photo by Carlos Pobes.

Ice Cube Aurora. Photo by Carlos Pobes.