Tag Archive | Marissa Ames

Flash! Friday # 42 — WINNERS!

Thank you once again for coming out to play a round of flash fiction with me. It was another crazy week of crazy tales, wasn’t it!? And we had TWO competitions going on this week, with Maggie’s extra “Best Title” challenge. With so much winningosity this week, let’s get right to it! 

(Don’t forget to stop back by tomorrow for Flash! Points, where one of your stories will be investigated VERY closely.)

Judge Maggie Duncan‘s overall comments first, followed by Best Title awards and then the overall winners. She says: The stories this week went between funny and dark, and it was a trip to read them. There were several from the building’s point of view, and each was unique and completely believable. The ghost stories were chilling, and I’ll go to sleep tonight seeing eyes peering from inside the fountain’s cage. There were aliens and all too human evil. All in all, reading them was a great way to spend a rainy Saturday.

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Maggie says, I’ve been frustrated in past weeks when I’ve judged a delightful story which has no title. Leaving a title off a work tells me the writer didn’t think enough of it to name it, and it really isn’t a story without a title. So, I’m glad Rebekah came up with the idea of having a separate Title Contest—however, everyone (with a couple of exceptions wherein the stories remained untitled) rose to the challenge and made me work hard to come up with the winner, runner ups, and honorable mentions. Only apt, I suppose.

BEST TITLE HONORABLE MENTIONS

Marissa Ames, “Nocturnal.” Though I personally would have used the first line of the story as the title, I liked how this nondescript, almost innocent title was juxtaposed with a terrifying story. Marie McKay, “Spacious Accommodations.” This was a pun title, and I loved it a lot. At first it seemed disconnected from the story; then, you get to the end and go, “Ah, ha!” Laura Butler, “Treasure.” The word treasure is never mentioned in the story, which is what makes it a noteworthy title. But when you finish you understand, with a great deal of poignancy, exactly what the treasure was; and it’s not what you think. WriteMomWrite, “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary.” A story with an apt title—the Mary in this story reminded me of my rambunctious granddaughter.

BEST TITLE RUNNERS UP

Janet Wood, “Frozen in Time, Waiting for Life.” The title is absolutely lyrical and echoes the touching story perfectly. Karl A. Russell, “The House on the Borders Land.”  The title itself is quintessentially British, just like the story. VB Holmes, “An Afternoon Chat at the Insane Asylum.” This is a wonderfully understated title, which may make you think what’s to follow is comical. It isn’t, and that’s what makes the title great.

BEST TITLE WINNERS

It’s pretty tough when you have four, count ‘em, four, titles which scored the maximum points, so I’m going to discuss all four then tell you the top winner and explain why. 

Erin McCabe, “Everthere.” What, you say, I’m highlighting a title which is a non-existent word? Yes, because it’s the perfect title for this story.

Quackzalcoatl, “Palindromic Rage.” This is an excellent example of using an odd title to draw you into a story. Sometimes it’s a risk to make a title obvious, but this works perfectly.

Allison K. Garcia, “High Noon and a Generous Helping of Mashed Potatoes.” How could you not read a story with that title? However, it’s also a perfect title for this story.

M.T. Decker, “Madame Bartholomew’s Bed and Breakfast for the Criminally Insane.” This was the first title I saw which really drew me in, and it makes you laugh and yet makes you wonder what’s to come. 

Pretty tough to pick from, I’d say, so since all four met my criteria for a title (Originality, Reflects the Story, Grammar/Spelling), I had to rely on the emotional impact of the title within the story to select the overall winner.

The best, most evocative title was

{{ “Everthere” by Erin McCabe }}

After the first few paragraphs, I was thoroughly confused; then, the author spins you down to the very end before you realize the cause of the confusion. If you have a relative with Alzheimer’s, this story and its title will put you inside the head of an Alzheimer’s patient and helps you understand how the sufferer is forever in a completely different “there.” Beautifully fitting title.

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OVERALL HONORABLE MENTIONS

M. T. Decker, “Madame Bartholomew’s Bed and Breakfast for the Criminally Insane.” The first two-thirds of this story you think you’re in Marie Bartholomew’s head as she contemplates a purchase of real estate; then, the twist comes in, and you laugh and cry a little

Sarah Cain, “Wait in Peace.” I’ll take this story with me for a long time. This is another example where the author skillfully leads you down one path only you make you lurch down another. The ending will make you all goose-bumpy.

Dorothy-Jean Chapman, “POV Panes.” This was a unique take on the building as POV theme. The next time you’re in a large, old building, after you read this, you’ll know what’s whispering.

OVERALL RUNNER UP

Karl A. Russell, “The House on the Borders Lands.” This story had perfect dialogue (I could so easily “hear” the speakers.) and a delightful premise. A perfectly logical story and a great laugh.

And familiar near the top but first time to summit, Flash! Friday  

 DRAGON WINNER IS….

Margaret Locke!

for “Kindred Spirits”  

I didn’t deduct a single point from this story, and that’s unusual for me, stickler as I am for all things grammatical and punctuation. From the POV of the building, this was a work of art. We’ve all seen old, empty houses and wondered, and this story fills in the blanks with near-perfection. A delightful read and a well-crafted story, it will make you feel a bit more kindly toward buildings past their prime. 

Congratulations, Margaret! Here are your stunning Winner’s Page, your own magically fabulous dragon eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. Please email me as soon as possible so I can interview you for Wednesday’s Sixty Seconds feature.

Kindred Spirits

You should have seen me in my prime. I was the feather in the duke’s cap, his prized possession. The beau monde, princes, even foreign dignitaries flocked to me in grand carriages, eager to seek out my many hidden pleasures: the sumptuous banquets, the illustrious balls, the secret trysts, the endless pleasure seeking.

Ah, those were the days.

Now look at me. The Odd Fellows Home for Orphans, Indigent, and Aged. A setting for a horror film if I’ve ever seen one. Mewling infants cry for parents they’ll never have. The older ones are no better, shuffling along my hallways, eyes vacant as if focused on days gone by. All reeking of poverty and loss, nothing like the blithe beauties and dashing rogues of yesteryear.

Even my magnificent fountain, once the welcoming centerpiece of my masterful estate, lies dormant, covered in hideous netting in order to keep these idiots out. “For their own protection,” I hear.

How did it come to this? I am a shell of my former self. An eyesore, some say. A visual reminder of all that society wants to ignore, to obscure, to forget.

My cement eye sees the fear in their faces as they are led through my doors, doors that used to signify One Had Arrived. Doors that now open only to lost opportunities, lost selves, lost lives.

I listen to the young girl whispering confidences to me from her bed, telling of tragedies I can only imagine. I smell the fear on the sick and the dying, who know they have already come to their final resting place. I feel the pain of those abandoned, clinging to the meager comforts I offer because I am all they have in the world.

Now they are all that I have.

We are the things that nobody wants.

Perhaps these are my glory days after all.

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Flash! Friday # 38 — WINNERS!

A map. A gentle ocean breeze. A loving couple chatting together over a pleasant afternoon snack.

And then:

You writers threw them off cliffs, drowned them, poisoned them, betrayed them, sent them to hell and/or the depths of the sea. And while yes, all of that would be a bit of a downer for a vacationer, your tales of plots and avarice and murder (with a hint of romance) demonstrate to the reading world yet again the depth and breadth of your imaginations and writing abilities. Have I mentioned recently how awesome y’all are?? 

Don’t forget all stories remain eligible for further plotting on by Monday’s Flash Points feature, right here most Mondays.   

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Judge Dan Radmacher says, Wow. I’m not sure why this photo prompted so much treachery and deceit, but it certainly did, along with a heaping of great imagery, characters and storytelling.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

Margaret Locke, “The Honeymoon is Over.” Great visuals and humor in this one.

Pratibha Kelapure, “Lady Lucky.” Never has “It’s peaceful here” been filled with such emotional weight.

SECOND RUNNER UP

Dieter Rogiers, “To Boldly Go.” Even before the unexpected and magical reveal at the end, this story was captivating in its description of a man’s brooding need for broader horizons and adventures. Great, economical characterization, even of the wife who gets only a few lines.

FIRST RUNNER UP

Marissa Ames, “Saucy Jacky.” The writer here does an excellent job of telling a complete tale with a few bold strokes. The characters are vivid and intriguing, and the twist is revealed with dexterity. Excellent job. 

And the Flash! Friday first time 

 DRAGON WINNER IS….

CHARLES W. SHORT!

for “Where Next?”  

What a wonderful tale — subtle, witty, charming … and just a little bit frisky. There’s not much plot here, but the emotion and attraction between these two lovers is tangible, sealed with the sweet final line.

Congratulations, Charles! Here are your Winner’s Page, a glorious dragon 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.

Where Next?

She studied the map; he studied her. Red hair, green eyes, and a bright intelligence had captured him from their first meeting. He felt blessed.

“Where next?” She said it in a soft, thoughtful voice with her hand marking their location.

He noticed his hand on her shoulder and thought to himself, “Where next, indeed.”

“Jack, where are you thinking?”

“Perhaps, down under?” He kept his voice from revealing his mischievous thoughts, but his hand betrayed him as it made a slight movement down her back. He corrected himself and hoped she had not noticed.

She raised her head and spoke gently, “Husband, are you thinking of our trip, or are you thinking of your hand?”

He glanced around. He felt a slight panic, trying to avoid her perceptive eyes. He had been caught. “Maybe a little of both.”

He was embarrassed. Rightly so. “Well, my bride, I told you when we got married I would let you go anywhere you desired.”

She turned and faced him. His hand stayed on her shoulder so that it wrapped around her in a loose hug. He was not accustomed to this closeness. It made him dizzy. But it was a most delightful dizzy.

She stared at him. He settled down and returned the gaze. Then she intentionally glanced at his hand on her shoulder and said, “And I told you, my dear husband, I would let you go anywhere you desired.”

They both thought they had the better half of the deal.

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Flash! Friday # 26 — WINNERS!

Many thanks for your deep patience, dear ones, while I suffered (and I do mean suffered) a three-day long Internet outage (in some places such an event would carry criminal charges). This week’s schedule will be a bit topsy-turvy while we dig our way through the backlog. In the meantime, thank you again for writing at Flash! Friday; thanks to judge Anthony Marchese; and now, straight to results!

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Judge Anthony Marchese says, There is so much emotion tied up in this image and so much it could spark. I thought our Dragony Hosts must have it in for me with a 500 word max, but you all kept even my ADD brain engaged. This poor child landed in the middle of many different stories: some funny, many tear-jerking, but all thought-provoking. Thank you all again for the opportunity to judge your works.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

Betsy Streeter, Untitled. Most wrote about the boy as a victim; Betsy turned this on its head. The thought of sociopathic children always sends a chill down my spine.

M.T. Decker, “Not A Potato.” When all seems lost, a man finds new hope in his children. Very touching. 

Maggie Duncan, “Our Finest Hour.” I sympathized not only with the character’s grief, but also the awkwardness of wanting to help this child without trying to “replace” his son.

RUNNER UP

Marissa Ames“Tattoo.” Marissa painted an interesting scene. We find even the old man who appears out of place has a tattoo, but not what the others are thinking. We’re left wishing we could see the look on the Rebel’s face when he figures it out. 

And our Flash! Friday first-time trophy-taking, it’s-about-time-she-won

 DRAGON WINNER IS….

MARIE MCKAY!

for “Brave.”  Marie gives us a few paragraphs of a boy speaking to his toy, who attempts to comfort the animal while he himself is lost and confused. It was heart-wrenching to hear him project his emotions onto his stuffed friend. Kudos for such a stirring, powerful tale.

Congratulations, Marie! Here are your Winner’s Page, your marvelous 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.

Brave

‘It’s okay, Humphrey. You can open your eyes. The airplanes are definitely away. They won’t be back for a while. Sure, I’m sure. Try not to shiver so much. I’ll wrap you up in my coat, see? That’s better. Mother wouldn’t want you to be so scared. She’d want you to be her Brave Little Man.

We’ll be all right. I am sure I have an Aunt Ethel somewhere mother talked of. She’ll look after us. Of course there will be room for you! My aunt will love stuffed toys, I just know she will. She lives out in the countryside. That’ll make a nice change, now, won’t it? It’s bound to be quiet out there, and there’ll be plenty of space to run around in. A Hippo like you needs a lot of space.
There now, try not to cry, Humphrey. It will be okay. You can be a brave Hippo, can’t you?

I am going to miss Albert too. There, there. It’s all right if you had a fall out with him before we left today. Of course it is. I know he was like a brother to you too. He wouldn’t want you to feel bad, now. Try not to think about it, Humphs, it will only make you sad. You don’t want tears coming down your face when we talk to the Warden, do you? You don’t want them to think you’re a baby? Aunt Ethel might not want us if we look like we’re going to cause her trouble.

There’s Mr. Leonard, from the corner shop. Let’s see if he can help us. He’s sitting down, now. But I think he might be crying. Maybe we can wait a few minutes before we go over.

You know, I can be brave for the both of us, Humphrey. Just you wait and see what good care I can take of you.

I really don’t think Mother is coming for us. I think we really do need to go to Aunt Ethel’s. We need to find the Warden, now. But we’ll be okay. I’ll look after you.

Promise – you see if I don’t. Look, Humphs: cross my heart and hope to die.’

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