Tag Archive | Stephen Lock

Flashversary: Top 10 Finalists

Welcome to Day Two of careening madly toward the grand and glorious and very, very noisy finish line! It’s a tremendous pleasure to be able to introduce to you these ten stories and their writers. These tales stood out for us for their originality, their punch, their fresh takes on the prompt–and–just wow.

In the top ten we have a grim office worker dreaming of dragons but defeated by ennui (A Story); a hardened pilot seizing an extraordinary opportunity to work peace (Anything With Wings); a child whose dragon-wrangling ultimately works her own salvation (Clara’s Dragon); a dragon-slayer whose greatest triumph goes (for now) unnoticed (Here); an oppressed girl freed by a long-dead soldier (Richard Thornton); a boy who tirelessly fights his love’s demons (Summoning); a man who escaped from dragons only to face true horror through his son (The Craftsman); an adventurer’s singleminded mission for notoriety (The Dragon’s Fire); an old soldier’s confrontation with his past (The Dragon’s Gaze); and the hidden world of the magnificent Queen of Dragons (To Dream of Legend). 

Here. Be. Dragons. AND HOW. Congratulations to these ten writers for their extraordinary work.

Join us tomorrow for the unveiling of the champions, the Haunted Waters’ Press award (have you followed them yet?), and Flash! Friday’s brand new, sparkly outfit for Year Two. The first Flash! Friday contest of Year Two will follow this Friday, Dec 13, with the first judge of Year Two, M.T. Decker (if you love her stories, you’re gonna adore her judgery!).


Here are the #Flashversary Top 10 finalists, in alphabetical order by story title, followed by the stories themselves (posted in the comments section, so you can leave feedback on the individual tales; they are numbered here only to make it easier to navigate their stories in the comments).

# 1 – A Story, Jonathon Ryan

# 2 – Anything With Wings, Ruth Long

# 3 – Clara’s Dragon, Von Rupert

# 4 – Here, Dragonsflypoppy (aka Elizabeth Savory)

# 5 – Richard Thornton, Kristen AFC

# 6 – Summoning, Karl A. Russell

# 7 – The Craftsman, Stephen James Lock

# 8 – The Dragon’s Fire, AJ Walker

# 9 – The Dragon’s Gaze, Dan Radmacher

# 10 – To Dream of Legend, Jacki Donnellan

Flash! Friday # 41 — WINNERS!

If you give a writer a storm…. well, no question: hijinx ensue! You all continue to shake the foundations of the global flash community with your creativity. Thank you for coming out to play–it’s always my hope that you have a blast and find your writing challenged and sharpened (mine always is!). I also hope you realize how significant a part of the Flash! Friday community you are. Thank you!

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Flash! Points (looks like there’ll actually be one this week, hurrah!), AND remember to look here to see the loads of other flash contests happening this week.  Contests, contests, everywhere. Hop to it!


Judge Patricia McCommas says, Well, the writers did it again: they done went and made my job very hard. 🙂 Many of the stories were so good that I read them two and three times. Narrowing the winners list down was a difficult task. So many of the entries were not only original with creative twists, they were unique and well-written. Loved the stories this week.



Stephen Wilds, “Scientific Method.” Very unique with an unexpected end. Definitely original. I started out thinking the story was one thing until I got to the end. I was compelled to read it again…twice. Was this a computer animation? Nice job.

Mary Cain, “The End.” Eerie, haunting, emotional and then letting go and embracing the inevitable. This was a well-written original piece told as a complete story

Allison K. Garcia, “Cover.” Well-written, creative, drew me in. Love the honeymoon ending. 

Stephen James Lock, “Just A Boy.” Very unique story. Original. It was full of depth and meaning. I read this one three times. Love it. There is a mystical element present from beginning to end.


Josette Keelor, “Storm’s Coming.” This was really good, with a nice pace and clear imagery. Love the voice, which was consistent throughout. I had to remind myself this was a contest when reading this one–it drew me in. I love the matter-of-fact attitude of the character speaking and his down-to-earthiness. This story reminds us that if you pay attention to nature, nature will warn you of what’s coming. The power and gift of observation come to those who listen, no college degree required. I also liked that the narrator was a writer there to do a story about one thing and it morphs into something completely different. This has a great message for any writer about keeping an open mind and allow the story to unfold naturally.


Amy Wood,Return of the Old Gods.” This piece was a complete story, one that left me wanting to read more, to know what came after for Essie. Original, eerie, haunting, imaginative, hopeful, full of faith, emotional, happy that things turned out well for Essie. Well written. Drew me in. The story flowed at a nice pace.

And returning to the Flash! Friday podium for the second time as 



for “I Wandered”  

Original. Love the POV told by the developing tornado from birth to death and everything in between. This story flowed like a bubbling creek racing to the rapids. Poetic, lyrical. Some of my favorite lines are: “With the gentlest of whispers I was born.” “I learned to dance, twisting and twirling across the prairie.”  “I absorbed them all with merciless hunger” and the last line, “I did not see the other until it was too late, and just like that, I was gone.” Excellent. Well-written and creative. 

Congratulations, Craig! Here are your updated Winner’s Page, a familiar and yet still impressive dragon eBadge (below), and your winning Tale. Please watch your inbox for brand new interview questions for Wednesday’s Sixty Seconds feature.

I Wandered

With the gentlest of whispers I was born. At first I was nothing but dust drifting in the faintest of breezes. I was young, full of energy and eager to travel. I wandered. I learned to dance, twisting and twirling across the prairie. Creatures would sometimes stop to take my picture, laughing and joking when I swirled around them. I was powerless, insignificant, afraid. I needed to try harder. I zigged and zagged, scooping up leaves, then branches, then entire trees, growing bigger and stronger with every passing moment.

I met another. It was smaller, an infant. I tried to protect it, to nurture it, but it came too close. In a moment it was gone, a part of me now. I did not understand my power until it was too late.

There were several more, but I understood my purpose now. I absorbed them all with merciless hunger. All I knew was the urge to grow. It consumed me, like I consumed all that stood in my path.

The sirens started far on the horizon. I had earned their attention now. The creatures that had once seemed impossibly huge appeared so insignificant. They were the powerless ones now, there was no more laughter, only screams. I swallowed their homes one by one, tearing off roofs, smashing down walls, anything to add to my mass. I felt like I could swallow the world.

It happened so gradually I barely noticed. I grew tired, weary, my hunger sated. I could not sustain the energy, the will to increase. I convinced myself I could spare that house, avoid that school. Soon I could no longer lift them. The creatures stopped running, they hid in their homes. I swatted at them ineffectively.

I accelerated, outrunning myself. There was no escape, only deterioration. It brought relief. As I shrank I became lighter, faster, young again. I was reborn. I no longer feared the creatures. I danced once more.

I did not see the other until it was too late, and just like that, I was gone.


Flash! Friday # 39 — WINNERS!

I went waaaay out on a surrealist limb this week and worried whether many of you could be crazy enough to take on such a fantastically marvelous but challenging painting. SILLY ME! You all showed up in force and spun tales as madly spectacular as the original work itself (note: you can find more of Salvador Nunez’s work here).  Thank you, as ever, dear friends, for sharing your writing skills and for encouraging each other so magnificently. I can’t wait to see what you do with next week’s prompt… 

A reminder all stories remain eligible for further plotting on by Monday’s Flash Points feature, right here most Mondays.   


Judge Jaz Draper says, I liked this week’s prompt so much that I am going to buy a copy, frame it, hang it in our house, and then decorate a room around it. Seriously entertaining.  —As much as Rebekah loves dragons, I love wizards, elves, fairies, leprechauns, and most especially, the legend of King Arthur. I read, re-read, read aloud, shared the stories with my husband and finally had to get serious about picking this week’s winners. So with the help of a good sprinkling of fairy dust, here we go.




Tim Agin, “Immigrants.” Nice take on an other-worldly “Ellis Island.”

James Mender, “Desk Duty.” Love the types of amusing complaints about the DUST travelers.


Stephen James Lock, Untitled. I really liked the interpersonal relationship between the court jester and the frustrated next door fairy. His absentmindedness and her frustration and annoyance were clearly illustrated through their dialogue. Love the phrases “anger management fairy” and “melodic, sociopathically polite voice” among others.


Margaret Locke, “Return to Sender.” Having been a lifelong student of the Arturian legend, I think Margaret’s connection between Arthur and Elvis was brilliant. I like the depiction of a tired, grieving Merlin, spending a lifetime looking for his friend and king. A little tighter writing would have edged this one to First for me. Still, this story made me laugh out loud at the very clever connection between not one, but TWO Once and Future Kings. Great job! 

And the Flash! Friday first time 



for “Second Living”  

A wizard, a beautiful fairy and a bawdy story. Erin’s choice of words give nothing away overtly and she gives us a multi-layered tale ripe with clever double entendres. Perfect set-up, great twist and a loud guffaw at the end for which a King would richly reward the court jester. Congratulations, Erin!

Congratulations, Erin! 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.

Second Living

He was sitting in front of a table; a tall man with strong angular shoulders; atop his head was a magnificent wizard’s hat, curled and gnarled at the corners. In front of him was a mystical door which seemed to be suspended in mid-air, although his view was somewhat obscured by a dead tree. A beautiful woman stepped through the door; wildly vibrant butterfly wings were sprouting from her back and she was accompanied by a dazzling white unicorn.

“My Liege,” she stated, performing a somewhat unnatural looking curtsy. “What shall we do today, Sire?”

He was confused by this form of address as clearly his hat signified his Wizard status, but he decided it best not to complain. What followed was a thoroughly frustrating half-hour spent attempting to satisfy her requirements; he had taken her to the bog moors of Alierain, but she had been unimpressed. He had then transported them to the hot spring glaciers of Macembree, but again she expressed only boredom and annoyance. She had initiated a conversation about her favourite “toys,” but had disappeared quickly after he had started talking about his.

“Christopher, are you busy?” shouted a voice from the kitchen.

“Just playing with a friend,” he replied.

“Having fun?”

“Not really. She wanted to go somewhere dirty, so I took her to the bog moors, but then she wanted somewhere steamy, so I took her to the hot springs; she didn’t seem very happy about either.”

“What was her name?” The tone of the question seemed cold and considered.

“S.X.Y Fairy 69,” he replied. “Although I think she must be one of Daddy’s friends, as I was using his online account.”

The clatter of dishes which erupted from the kitchen, accompanied by a string of swear words from his Mother made Christopher wonder if all woman hated bogs moors and hot springs.