Hello everyone. This month I received 25 entries from 15 authors, including some new authors, which is fantastic. One was disqualified for not being to theme (there was no crime in it or hint at a crime) which was a shame as it was from a new entrant – which is why I recommend submitting three stories (the maximum) – but all were 100 words long / short. Yay.
When judging, the winning stories are ones that I reacted most favourably to. They were clever, surprising, eek-making (in a good way), or gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.
For the first time, we have two winners, three second placed, and two third placed, then three highly commended, all based on their scores they received. NB. If your story has been published, you’re still welcome to use it elsewhere providing they accept previously published stories. I’m not greedy in demanding exclusivity. 🙂
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 (as long as during the current month, not ahead of time).
It’s an ongoing competition and free, so you could win at any time, and I would recommend submitting three stories for a higher chance of being placed. 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 November is ‘America’ and you can submit your entries at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Wednesday 30th November.
So without further ado, below are the successful entries this month.
Joint first place… in alphabetical order (winning free access to three of my online creative writing courses (currently worth £60 / $60) or a free edit and critique of up to 2,000 words (worth £14 / $22):
Jen Hardy with ‘Meat’
Everyone loved his sausages. They were plump and meaty with just the right amount of herbs to enhance flavour. He won awards. Rosettes hung from his butcher shop like bunting. Everyone loved him. But not his wife: for twenty brutal years she was the meat he tenderised, pulverising bone and flesh until she broke.
When, in July, he left, the locals were stunned. And so, after closing down the shop, she invited all to a village barbecue. They came with pity in their eyes, scoffed sausage butties and furtively agreed they were his best ever.
Susan nibbled her cheese sandwich.
Laura Besley with ‘Murder, Suicide or Both’
If only we lived in America. I could wander into a supermarket, buy a gun and put a bullet through his skull. Bang.
What can I do here in good ol’ Blighty? Knife or poison. A knife would never work. I’d probably miss the major artery and he’d stab me to death instead. So, poison it is.
I dish up, one portion bigger than the other, and sprinkle sodium cyanide carefully and evenly over one. After putting the plates on the table, he takes one look at them, snorts, and swaps them around. My heart pounds.
We both start eating.
Joint second place… in alphabetical order (winning free access to two of my online creative writing courses (currently worth £40 / $40) or a free edit and critique of up to 1,500 words (worth £11 / $17):
Alyson Faye with ‘Treasure Hunt’
Our little gang of scavengers always take a vote before we head out. We’re democratic that way.
That January day, the waste ground behind the newly built skyscraper won.
It was Billy who found the doll, lying in the frosty tipped grass. Weak sunshine gleamed on her glassy eyes.
Shoving it at me, Billy rubbed his hands on his denims, ‘Yuk, it’s slimy. Here Jem. You have it.’
None of us had toys, so this was real treasure.
Instantly I recognised it. From the ‘Missing’ posters pinned up around town.
The lost girl was cuddling it.
I kick it away.
Barbara McHallam with ‘The Family Barbeque’
Yesterday had been the day of our family barbecue. Sizzled sausages, burnt burgers, and charcoaled chicken.
The next day, I saw the first body where I had left it. Then I saw another near the window; also dead. In the kitchen were more corpses.
It was their own fault. After the barbeque, they had followed me into the kitchen. Landing on my food with their dirty feet.
So, before going to bed, I had reached into the cupboard for my weapon of mass destruction. Now the bodies were there for all to see.
Murdered with a quick squirt of fly-spray.
David A Jones with ‘Murderous Intentions’
I’m going to kill him, but how should I do it?
It’s just a question of how.
A knife? Too visceral and I’d be bloody useless.
Poison? I don’t have a taste for it.
What about a garrotte? That’s too much of a stretch.
A bomb? They cost too much.
Push him down the stairs? That’s a step too far.
Electrocution? Too shocking.
Drowning? That would make too much of a splash.
I know, I’ll just stare at him. After all, they always say, ‘If looks could kill…’ and, if it works, I surely couldn’t be charged with a crime.
Joint third place… in alphabetical order (winning free access to one of my online creative writing courses (currently worth £20 / $20) or a free edit and critique of up to 1,000 words (worth £7 / $11):
Jason Phillips with ‘Black Eternity’
There is starlight in her eyes and wildness in her soul, and he loves her more than he loves himself.
“It should be a crime, to love someone this much,” he says.
“Because I would do anything for you.”
Snapshots: his blond hair, matted with blood and sweat, a rusty tin color spreading across the front of his Sunday suit. Fingers curved around black metal, index still on the trigger but he can’t take it back. Her long limbs spread poetically on the floor in a pool of scarlet dreams. Haunted eyes that fade to black eternities.
Lizzie Merrill with ‘Desperate Measures’
The pretty woman is clearly distressed. Her thin jacket is soaked from the storm, her bare hands red raw and she has no stockings. An emerald ring is her only possession.
The dishevelled young man wearing a battered raincoat hopes to pawn his handgun. They both need cash urgently.
The grizzled old pawnbroker behind the counter sneers while squinting at the perfect green stone through his eyeglass.
The young man makes a decision that’ll put them all on the evening news. He takes the gun out of his pocket, fingers the trigger and says, “What’s it worth now, old man?”
- J. A. Jennison with ‘Lover’s Quarrel’
- Paul with ‘That’s Criminal’
- Paul Isaac with ‘The Money Tree’
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?