Count them, seventeen amazing stories this week!  It is so wonderful to see so much new and veteran talent gathered together.  With the field thickening, some of you may feel neglected, but I appreciate every single one of your entries.  I'm still formulating the best way to show that, in the meantime here are the seventeen entries:

Stacey Jaine McIntosh ~ @StaceyJMcIntosh
Cara Michaels ~ @caramichaels
S Jayanth ~ @sankarajayanth
Sheilagh Lee ~ @SweetSheil
Dee ~ @dee_768
Chessny Silth ~ @ChessnySilth
Charles W. Jones ~ @ChuckWesJ
Miranda Kate ~ @PurpleQueenNL
Jeffrey Hollar ~ @klingorengi
Michelle Smith ~ @msmithbooks
Bullish ~ @bullishink
Aaron Beyer ~ @agbeyer
Rebekah Postupak ~ @postupak
Nellie ~ @solimond
Lisa McCourt Hollar ~ jezri1
Phoenix Lavan ~ @PhoenixLavan
Jeff Tsuruoka ~ @JTsuruoka

Judges Comments

I had a lot of fun and all the submissions were promising. With 17 submissions, I cannot comment on every one. If you would like my thoughts (for what they are worth), please feel free to email me at threeworldsproductions@gmail.com

I would rather be locked on a glass cage and forced to write a novel with a hundred Walmart shoppers watching than have to pick a winner in Motivation Monday.  This was beyond difficult. Each writer brought their own twist and voice to the prompt, but I had to pick so…

Honorable Mentions

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We had 17 submissions, so I have 3 regular and 1 special category.

In alphabetical order:

Kimberly Gould
@kimmydonn
For a highly imaginative take on the gryphon myth. One suggestion would be to watch the speech patterns in the humans. They do not need to grunt, but they sound too modern.

Lisa McCourt Hollar
@jerzi1
With my interest in paganism, this revenge of the forest had me. Richly described. Had me rooting for the vines.  Shorten some of the sentences and use active verbs a little more to increase tension.

Cara Michaels
@caramichaels 
What can I say… nicely written, tight scene of paranormal cop. Take it to the next level and you will “kill” it.

Special Honorable Mention Category:

I don’t know if Wakefield does this, but what the heck.

Honorable Mention in Humor: 
Rebekah Postupak
@postupak 
A monster dating service slayed me. Keep honing your banter and timing.


The Winner

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Jeff Tsuruoka
@JTsuruoka
    I was impressed by the tightly written scene, the highly visual setting and his ability to establish character voices in such a short space. I’ll stick with take-out Starbucks, thank you.

Gingham Death Song
By Jeff Tsuruoka
“You'll find monsters where you least expect them,” said Mrs. Petry. “Wouldn't you agree, Sheriff Barton?”
The sheriff put his teacup down on the end table, next to his hat.
“I'll always be Rollie to you, ma'am.”
The old woman patted the back of his hand and sat down next to him on the settee.
“I know it, but I believe when a man's earned the right to be addressed by a title folks ought to go ahead and use it.”
“Fair enough,” said Rollie.
He looked around Mrs. Petry's parlor.
It was a room he'd been in dozens of times over the years and it never seemed to change.
The furniture -the old settee and end tables, a sideboard, table, and chairs- was the same. Gingham was everywhere from window treatments to tablecloth to Mrs. Petry's dress.
He tried to think of the last time he visited the house.
“It was right after my Wilson passed, Sheriff Barton. You came over with your ma and pa and brought me a chicken pot pie.”
“I do believe you're right.”
He took a sip of tea.
“Maggie radioed you wanted to see me?”
Mrs. Petry put her teacup down and cracked her knuckles.
She was a still a strong woman, wiry strong and as tough as they come. She raised seven sons, lost three of them to the VC in '71. Her husband, Wilson, was gone almost six years.
“Your pa was a good man. Good sheriff too.”
“That he was, ma'am. Thank you for saying so.”
“It's a damned shame, him up and vanishing like that. Must've been tough on you and your ma.”
It was.
In all the years since there'd been nothing new. Rollie worked the case some but the trail took him nowhere.
“Well, I called you out here today on account of the Wilkes and Thompson case.”
Rollie just about choked on his tea.
Donna Wilkes and Jimmy Thompson were a couple of hitchhikers who disappeared back in the late '70s. The case confounded Rollie's father. It ate at him right up to the day he disappeared himself.
“It has to do with your pa and the time he came to see Wilson and me about it.”
“I didn't know he questioned you. Isn't in the file.”
“Drink your tea, dear. I'll tell you about it.”
He took a gulp and winced. “I was gonna ask, what kind of tea is this? Kinda gamey.”
“Hemlock,” said Mrs. Petry. “Don't you like it?”
Rollie wanted to answer but couldn't form the words.
“It's all right, Rollie. I've never yet had one that cared for the taste of it.”
She got up and locked the front door.
“I'll be back to check on you in a spell. Then, if you're ready, I'll take you on down to the cellar to see your pa.”



 
I wanted to change things up a bit for Motivation Monday and start bringing in "special" judges once in a while.

This week's judge is a good friend and beta reader who I met in the last year through the #pubwrite group on Twitter.  She's offered to judge this week and offer a free copy of her book as this week's prize!

The Judge

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Karen Victoria Smith grew up with an Irish grandmother who tried to teach her the old ways and watched horror movies with her in the dark. KV lives in New Jersey with her family who patiently allow her to believe that in a 24-hour world the monsters are real.

Follow her on Facebook at K. Victoria Smith and on Twitter at @kvictoriasmith


The Prompt

You'll find monsters where you least expect them.

The Prize

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Wall Street has fangs. When international power brokers, creatures hiding in plain sight, threaten  Micaela and those she loves, will this heiress of a Druid legacy deny her power again and let others die?  A thrill ride of money, magic and murder across the globe.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I read this book last week and I can honestly recommend it for your library.  Imagine Sookie Stackhouse and company in the world of old money and ancient traditions. 

The story is fast-paced imaginative and full of multicultural flavor.

The Rules

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Thank you to all of our participants especially the many newcomers and to those who provided comments.  Some of you poured your hearts out with your own stories of loss.  Some of you made me laugh.  All of you continued to impress me with your writing talent.  This week's contestants were:

Sheilagh Lee ~ @SweetSheil
David A Ludwig ~ @DavidALudwig
Charles W Jones ~ @ChuckWesJ
Miranda Kate ~ @PurpleQueenNL
Anthony ~ @unfoldingmyth
Jeffrey Hollar ~ @klingorengi
Cara Michaels ~ @caramichaels
Stacey Jaine McIntosh ~ @StaceyJMcIntosh
Jeff Tsuruoka ~ @JTsuruoka
Phoenix Lavan ~ @PhoenixLavan
Chessny Silth ~ @ChessnySilth
Ryan Strohman ~ @rastrohman
Bob Mahone ~ @Computilizer
Rebekah Postupak ~ @postupak
and a straggler but still a lovely story from
S Jayanth ~ @sankarajayanth

Judge's Comments

Thaks to all who participated and to Wakefield for providing the challenge - especially during this time of loss.

As if making choices from among these great stories weren't difficult enough, the power went out a few times as I was working on this.  Ah, the joys of living in a third-world country!

Finally, after having read each story at least a half a dozen times, I managed to reach the following decisions:

Special, Tom Lehrer, "I Hold Your Hand in Mine" Award:

Charles W Jones (@ChuckWesJ):

Not exactly the same situations, but the story certainly triggered the memory.

Honourable Mentions:

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Jeff Tsuruoka (@JTsuruoka):
Death before (or, perhaps, because of) dishonour among thieves.

Chessny Silth (@ChessnySilth):
Finals week can be such a killer.

Ryan Strohman (@rastrohman):
Nothing comes between the MC and her sister.

Winner:

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Rebekah Postupak (@postupak)) :
Loved the concept.  It was kind of a combination of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" along with "Logan's Run" but all wrapped inside of a world created by Philip K. Dick.  Well done!

“The List”
By Rebekah Postupak

I can’t believe she’s gone. By all the rules, she shouldn’t be: according to the List, Dena was owed another fifty-two years, eight months, seventeen days. She’d paid in full, too—I witnessed her making the final cash transfer, and signed my government-approved name to it, all legal and everything. Even your grease-dripping lawyers will have to agree the contract was valid.

You developed the List to do away with this exact situation, the “hideous wrenching of unpredictability,” your brochure says. The List “provides peace, happiness, security.” Right there on the front of your brochure, in big, glowing letters.

Well, Dena’s gone, you fatheads, and now her husband is fighting in court over her bank account, and her kids are crying and confused, and our dunderheaded government took her house back, and if you did even ONE stinking thing you promised in the contract, I’d like to know what it is.

“Calm down,” my wife says.

She can say this because she’s still got thirty years left, plenty of time for calm. She knows I’ve only got another month left myself, and she’s got her eye on Ted next door. A month, blast it all, a MONTH, and the way I see it, your company should go right down the toilet where I’ve just flushed my contract codes.

Nobody at your office would talk to me on the phone about it. Cowards. I tried in person, but your guy at the front desk said, “Read the small print, mister, there’s an exception for car wrecks.”

He didn’t need to call security like that, just did it to show off. Probably has a hundred years left, I’d bet. And anyway, it was a lie. I read that contract fifty times, me and Dena did together, read it line by line, and we could read every word just fine. Wasn’t any words any different size than the rest of them.

You can flush your small print, you crummy floozies. Flush it with my contract, with the government, with the whole world.

You owe Dena. You owe her big.

And I want my little girl back.




 
On Sunday night, I learned that one of my best high school friends recently passed away.  This week's contest is dedicated to her memory.

I can't believe she's gone.
It was only yesterday when we were playing around and flirting like teenagers do.  She was one of my three best friends, the ones I called my angels.
She was the quietest of us, her voice a gentle trickle of a mountain stream, but her smile lit up an entire room like a lighthouse beacon slicing through the tumult of a hurricane.
Twenty years have come and gone but I always said to myself "It's okay.  I'll go visit her next year.  I'm so busy, there's so much to do."
Now I'm sitting out on my front porch.  My cigarette burns away while I drop gentle wishes on the wind.  I listen on the wind for her response, but there is only silence.
Still, in my heart, I hear her.  She speaks to me in that same gentle voice. Now my angel has gone to be with her kin, in the bosom of Abraham, in the loving arms of the Father.
Good-bye my angel.

The Judge

Our special guest judge will be here next week.  I apologize for the miscommunication.
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This week's judge is, once again, my favorite lycan, Lupus Anthropus, a regular on the Flash Fiction scene.  Check out his work at http://fulmoj.wordpress.com/
Lupus has a challenge of their own called #TitleTwisters.  Stop by and check it out!

The Prompt

I can't believe she's gone.

The Rules

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Thank you to all of this week's contestants and readers.  Once again we have some brand new authors to showcase.  Check out all of the stories here.  Remember to come back next week and tell all of your friends because we will have a special judge and a special prize.  (and no the judge isn't me trying to sell you one of my books)  This week's contestants were:

ML Gammella ~ @MLGammella
Nellie ~ @solimond
Chessny Silth ~ @ChessnySilth
Lupus Anthropos ~ @LupusAnthropos
Michelle Smith ~ @msmithbooks
Warren Danbar ~ @warrendanbar
David A Ludwig ~ @DavidALudwig
Kimmydonn ~ @Kimmydonn
Miranda Kate ~ @PurpleQueenNL
Charles W Jones ~ @ChuckWesJ
Sheilagh Lee ~ @SweetSheil
SJI Holliday ~ @SJIHolliday

Judges Comments

Sheesh, you all really shoved me through the wringer this week. I feel like I've been tortured, threatened, abandoned, blackmailed and am now in desperate need of a nap in a safe room somewhere (padding preferred). Thanks to everyone for taking the time to share your fantastic skills here at #MotivationMonday. Oh, and thanks for making me crave toad warts. -Rebekah

Special “Please Don’t Kill Me” Award:

Sheilagh Lee. This award should be self-evident.

Honorable Mentions:

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David Ludwig.
The characterization of the awkward (but passionate) kid and the annoyed (but vulnerable) shopkeeper is spot on. The pacing of the plot via dialogue is great, capped by the shopkeeper’s wonderfully resentful defense at the end. Nicely executed.  

Michelle Smith.
Creepy sandwich! The scene feels rushed in the right kind of way, an effective parallel of Laura’s panic and her sister’s consternation. I’m a little resentful of the cliffhanger, though. Please feel free to PM me to let me know if Laura gets away.  

Nellie.
I love this well-designed scene with the verbal battle between the demonkin and the Thorn Prince. The dialogue and details are richly painted, and hint of a much larger world and conflict. Though complete as is, it reads like a piece of an epic fantasy—and one that people would like to read.

Winner:

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Lupus Anthropos.
Cleverly written and action-packed, this concise story jerks the reader into the unexpected in almost every sentence. The storyteller’s skepticism and humor perfectly balance the utterly incomprehensible events. I felt like I was at Cheers. Except with aliens. 

Week 27 Entry
By Lupus Anthropos

"I can't wait that long."

He looked nervous and sounded earnest, but how could we believe what he had told us? Bar patrons weren't known for being the most credible people.

Wheels shrieked as they came to a sudden stop just outside the tavern. One, two, three doors opened then closed. The bartender, complying with our guest's request, plugged in an extension cord and tossed him the other end.

In a single motion that demonstrated dexterity and desperation, he caught the cord, cut off the end, split the two wires apart and plunged one into each eye socket.

The lights dimmed briefly and, just as the front door opened, the nervous man burst into a brilliant ball of light that expanded to fill the room and then vanished, leaving the extension cord to fall to the floor.

The three newcomers didn't bother to say, "Hello." They just turned around, ran back to their car and sped away. We still don't know what happened to that visitor or his pursuers and we never saw any of them again.

You should have seen what the bar's electric bill for that month was, though.

 
We're changing up the rules just a bit this week.  The winner will earn the badge and judge the week after next because we have a guest judge and special prize for next week.  This week's prompt was inspired by the change.

The Judge

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This week's judge is one of my favorite new writers.  I was very happy to see her picked last week.

Rebekah Postupak is a writer, teacher, executive assistant, and believer that coffee is a moral imperative.

The Prompt

I can't wait that long.

The Rules

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We've made it to the half-year mark.  My thanks to all of you faithful readers, writers and supporters who keep this going.  This week's entrants were:

Kimberly Gould ~ @KimmyDonn
Charles W Jones ~ @Chuckwesj
Siobhan Muir ~ @SiobhanMuir
Sheilagh Lee ~ @SweetSheil
David A Ludwig ~ @DavidALudwig
Jeffrey Hollar ~ @klingorengi
Cara Michaels ~ @caramichaels
Lisa McCourt Hollar ~ @jezri1
Warren Danbar ~ @warrendanbar
Rebekah Postupak ~ @postupak
Nellie ~ @solimond
Ryan Strohman ~ @rastrohman
M L Gammella ~@MLGammella

Judges Comments

There were so many fun and interesting stories to choose from this week.  From zombies to investigations...from fantasy tales to rest stop restroom faux pas and sci fi westerns.  With much difficulty my choices for this week's Motivation Monday are:

Honorable Mentions

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David Ludwig
You told a fun and complete fantasy tale with great characters.  I loved the use of the term and concept of the berserker.  I haven't read that term in any format in a long time.  It shows a great attention to cultural detail for the depth and development of a character even in such a short venue.  Nice job.  @DavidALudwig

Siobhan Muir
You created a story that allows us to intuit and assume a rich back story for the relationship of the characters while wanting to know the outcome and leaving us on the edge of our seats.  As a result you told an almost episodic a tale of a few hundred words that  seemed much longer...all by stimulating our imagination. Very cool story. I'd like to read more.   @Siobhan Muir

The Winner

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Rebekah Postupak
Everyone who has has lost a loved one or a family member to Alzheimer's or some similar fate can understand the frustration of the situation for all involved as well as their fixation on certain objects or concepts as they try to hold on.  But you also capture the kindness that often is exhibited by family and friends during their loved one's slow descent making the simple trip to buy the mustard a labor of love and an honoring of the affected person's dignity by allowing them relevance.  This story affected me and was a simple and subtle slice of life that we can all imagine being played out in thousands of similar real life stories every day. Very well done.      @postupak 



Mustard
By Rebekah Postupak

I’m out of mustard.

My husband, a ketchup man, laughed at me when I pointed this out, kissed the top of my head and headed out the door to work, whistling. If only I could be so cavalier.

 
I'm just kidding.  I've got plenty of prompts left.  This week's prompt was inspired my new favorite web series, "The Guild" but I didn't want to limit the writers with an RPG prompt. 
(I think I have a crush on Felicia Day, I hope Natalie Merchant doesn't get jealous.)
In other news we will have a guest judge on May 28th with a special prize for the winner.   The winner of the May 21st competition will be the judge the following Monday.

The Judge

This week's returning judge is Jake Wilkins, A little bit about him in his own words:

I’m a humorist, comedy writer and entertainer with a day job.  I live outside Fort Worth, TX with a mean ole’ yellow eyed cat named Mango.  I’m more story teller than author and probably the last person you’d expect me to be.

Current WIPs include a comedy romance about a writer with a wicked twist on the classic Cyrano De Bergerac tale and the early stages of a sitcom pilot being developed and written with a partner.  I enjoy writing in a variety of genres and am drawn to works with strong female characters (yes, I have a bad girl fixation) and to wickedly clever subtlety in subplots.

The Prompt

I'm out of

The Rules

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Another great week with 18 stories and more new voices.

Warren Dunbar brought us a young boy's view of the Apocalypse. Kardin Kaye brought us a mysterious face from the past.  And Jessa Russo debuted with a story about the worst work day ever.

Here is a complete list of our entrants and where you can find them on Twitter:

Robby Hilliard ~ redshirt6
Ryan Strohman ~ @rastrohman
Jessa Russo ~ @JessaRusso
Rebekah Postupak ~ @postupak (2 entries)
Nellie ~ @solimond
Kardin Kaye
Jake Wilkins ~ @JakeWilkins3
Dryadsgarden ~ @dryadsgarden
Cara Michaels ~ @caramichaels
Warren Danbar ~ @warrendanbar
Bob Mahone ~ @Computilizer
Charles W Jones ~ @ChuckWesJ
David A Ludwig ~ @DavidALudwig
SJI Holliday ~ @SJIHolliday
Rafe B ~ @etcet
Sheilagh Lee ~ @SweetSheil
Wakefield Mahon ~ @WakefieldMahon (your humble host)

Honorable Mentions

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@caramichaels :
I loved the dialogue. It brought me into the story and I felt as though I was there.
@solimond:
The sense of dread that built up during the story was great and the ending, with the books being the priceless treasure was a fun twist.
@redshirt6:
I am really hoping they don’t succeed in exorcising her. This was a ghost story that I would love to see written into a longer piece.

The Winner

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@JakeWilkins3
This story stayed with me long after reading it the first time. I was really hoping he would be able to get back in time to rescue the old man.


The Rescue
By Jake Wilkins

“I don’t want to die!” the man screamed.

Nick tightened the harness straps as the hoist pulled them toward the chopper.

“Be still and we’ll get you strapped in!” Nick shouted, exasperated.