Hello everyone. This month I received 14 entries from 7 authors – a quiet month this time. One was disqualified for only being 94 words which was a shame as it was from a new author to this competition and this writer had submitted three entries but unfortunately the same disqualified story (with one word changed from the first to the second entry). As per the rules, the first version went through to the judging process but was disqualified because it was too short.
There was another story called ‘Red, White and Blue’ which I really liked, as much if not more than another of the author’s submissions but had to favour the other one as there was technically no reference to America in the first. Here in the UK we also refer to our flag as red, white and blue, and we refer to pavements (one mentioned in the story) as pavements rather than sidewalks as they are in the U.S. (This is why I’m also an editor!) So sadly, it had to be disqualified.
The winning stories of these competitions are ones that I reacted most favourably to. The are clever, surprising, eek-making (in a good way), or give me a warm fuzzy feeling. You may have chosen a different order or indeed not placed one or more of them so if you entered and didn’t find your story / stories here, don’t lose heart. You probably only just missed out so do enter new stories this month*, next month, whenever you like. It’s an ongoing competition and free, so you could win at any time. There were new and familiar names this month so anyone could win… it’s all dependent upon whether your story grabs me, for whatever reason, whether it be clever, funny, unusual, quirky, or sweet.
*The theme for December is ‘just what I never wanted’ and you can submit your entries at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Saturday 31st December.
So without further ado, below are the successful entries this month.
Steven James with ‘American Paradise’
Chico remembered that day well. It had been his fourteenth birthday. He had climbed on the lorry, crawled beneath some crates and hidden. He was leaving his family, the little village and his nowhere life behind. He was crossing the border to the land of milk and honey, to paradise, to America.
Today was his thirtieth birthday. Shuffling drug worn and poverty aged he knew that at the end of this line there was no candled cake. Hopefully soup still warm. This was the land of guns and crack, of gangs and sorrow. This was hell. This was his America.
Laura Besley with ‘Across the Ocean’
‘Where’ve you been?’ I ask, as Aiden rushes through the back door. ‘You’ve been gone ages.’
‘America.’ He is breathless with excitement.
I’m putting flour into a bowl. Keep the sieve nice and high, the recipe says, to create air in the mixture. ‘Really?’
‘Yeah, it was brilliant. I saw the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Grand Canyon, the San Francisco Bridge, the White House, casinos in Las Vegas. Had a chocolate milkshake and a massive hot dog-’
‘I hope you’ll still want your dinner.’
‘Did you remember the milk?’
‘Damn, I forgot. Sorry, Mum.’
Paul Isaac with ‘[Redacted]’
The report, said to have been leaked following an alleged ‘incident’ at the infamous Area 51, has since resurfaced.
‘Attention to all residents of [Redacted]. With immediate effect [Redacted]. Until further notice [Redacted]. If you suspect [Redacted]. If symptoms persist [Redacted]. Avoid the elderly. [Redacted]. Do not attempt [Redacted]. Serve your country, be vigilant, and remain indoors.’
In light of the outgoing American President’s directive, some of the following words have been recovered, though their order or placement within the document remains unknown:
Outbreak. Virus. Host. Candelabra. Execution. Global. Defenestration. Airborne.
The truth is out there. Have a [Redacted] day.
Jason Phillips with ‘The Men America Left Behind’
Land of the brave… home of the free?
That’s not quite right but he’s not a mind for details. The whiskey slurs and slops in his stomach like a bad dream. American flag shorts. Out-of-work, résumés with no experience littering his floor.
The men America left behind sit huddled in the truth of their own misery. While gold litters the streets of the coastal elites, there is nothing left for them in the Rust Belt. Torn asunder by progress and conservatism. Dust to dust, skin to skin, they watch their America quietly shatter under a God they don’t believe in.
- David A Jones with ‘The Journey of Life’
- Debra Fertig with ‘Orientation Day’
- Lestie Mulholland with ‘One-up-man-ship’
Congratulations, everyone. The entries for this month are already drifting in. Remember, you can send up to three per month so rather than miss out on a chance by sending one story, do submit more.
If you’ve enjoyed these stories and / or just want to leave a comment, please do so below and / or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org., although I won’t (can’t) discuss forthcoming entries unless it’s a general query.
I wrote a crime lad lit novella (48,000 words) called Hitman Sam in 2008 and over the years, edited it, left it to marinate, re-edited it, put it back, then finally this year (2016), I edited it again and sent it to my beta readers who were kind enough to give me their feedback which led to more alterations and finally, on November 2nd, it was published!
It is available for 99c / 99p (or the equivalent in your country) via http://mybook.to/HitmanSam (links to Amazon in your country) or directly via Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com etc. but before you rush over to purchase this quirky novella, do read on to find out more about it…
Blurb: Newly-redundant software designer Sam Simpson is looking for a new adventure – a cryptic advert in his local paper gives him that, and more. With two women vying for his affection, going behind their backs isn’t the smartest things he’s ever done.
This follows on just a month after my crime mystery novella, After Jessica, was published. Yay! Details below…
The second book I wrote, back in 2009, was After Jessica, a crime mystery novella published in October 2016. You can download this novella for just 99c / 99p via http://mybook.to/AfterJessica (which links to the Amazon page in your country) or directly from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com etc.
Tagline: Wind up his late sister’s affairs, Simon gets more than he bargains for.
Blurb: Jessica is an ordinary girl who comes across extraordinary circumstances and pays for them with her life. As well as identifying her body, her brother Simon then has to wind up her affairs but gets more than he bargains for. Who is Alexis, and why are Veronica and Daniel searching for her? Why is there a roll of cash in Jessica’s house, and what’s the connection between Simon’s sister and Alexis?