The results of Motivation Monday: Week 9 are in.  We sent this year out with a bang with fifteen phenomenal entries.  Make sure to come back and visit us on January 9th when we pick up again.  I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah and whatever other way you choose to celebrate the winter solstice. 

Now on to the judging.  David A Ludwig may just be my favorite judge ever.  I just had to share his whole critique list with you.  He had great things to say about everyone!  So without further ado:

_Honorable Mentions:

_
SEAdamsKY @SEAdamsKY “Exactly like the Rudolph situation.” You got a real laugh from me at the end of this one. I love Rudolph as the authoritative and composed voice of experience and the struggles of the elves really resonate as the sort of thing you can get wrong but then feel stupid for afterward.
Perfectly in season and a fun read besides.

Siobhan Muir @SiobhanMuir “Do you see the problem, Rain?” Wow, that’s just creepy. Chilling and creepy. I love that you took from another of your stories for this prompt and I felt an instant connection to Rain and Jozsef—and Heath frightens me. All very well written.
I think this one gets extra points on the unexpected genre, because I at least tend to associate technology failing with the supernatural taking over—and yet in this case the amount we saw played pretty much like a real-world crime drama.

Charles W Jones @ChuckWesJ “Nah, You’re really a sucker sometimes.” A very fun and compelling ride, starting in the mundane and veering toward the supernatural before returning to the start. A very complete story with a strong nod to the Christmas Carol.
This one makes the honorable mention list because I love how you were able to pull us around with two sharp turns of direction in so short a story.

Other Entries We Liked:

_
TheGlitterlady @theglitterlady “My consciousness was fading and my fate was unkown.” Very apt way to end, as there’s a pervading air of mystery to the whole piece. Who’s speaking? How’d she end up in the forest? And is that a werewolf rescuing her?

Ryan Strohman @rastrohman “Mom, Dad, Mackenzie just saved Christmas!” Awesome line to a very tense and compelling story. I feel like the mother’s dismissal of the childrens’ excitement robs the piece of some of its power and it might better end with Hunter’s quote and leave the parents’ reaction to the audience, still a very strong story.

R Brox @etcet “Which, if I thought about it, was a near approximation of our sex life.” I love the comparison of his manhood to a broken flashlight and then the rest just runs with it beautifully. Naughty and good fun throughout.

Super Happy Jen @superhappyjen “I used to dream about being stranded alone with Atticus.” First, awesome naming there. The future setting with a character who’s into antiques is fun, as is the relationship between the characters. Left a little confused about the nebula and why they were dead at the end, and sort of not wanting to believe it. That is definitely a scary toilet situation though. Haunting even.

Nellie @solimond “Do what her brain was telling her to do and run screaming from the house like a little girl.” Excellent, a nice redirection of tension at the end. I was expecting some supernatural horror, and Bennie was definitely on guard for something, and then it all turned out to be a surprise party. Awesome. I’m also just fond of the phrase ‘scream like a little girl’.

Rebecca Clare Smith @jocastalizzbeth “Eating had become superfluous and drinking a tainted pleasure.” The senses of both longing and loss are palpable in this one. Images like the sea foam are rich throughout and I’m left with a feeling of hollowness that I’m sure echoes the speaker’s. I am left to wonder whether his water queen is some mystical being, a deceased love, or just a figment of his imagination.

Cara Michaels @caramichaels “No. It’s not supposed to be this way. I’m the soldier.” Powerful line, and I admit I was excited to see the name Bryant at the beginning… This is the grandmother of Gemma? Or something like that? Either way I loved the sister being named Marley, and that was a chilling turn-around for the “before it’s too late” to not be talking about the parents—necessarily? The tragedy is heightened by the fact that it seems Circe did everything she could and things still went completely against her.

ML Gammella @MLGammella “A good cup of coffee could make any crappy morning better.” So elegantly expressed frustration here, and I can totally relate to it. When even little things can make you happy but even said little things can’t seem to go your way that’s the making of a REALLY bad day there. It’s funny because the tire not blowing while driving is something to be thankful for, but in the context of the rest of the day really does feel like a sad concession of “not even my coffee was any good, but at least things weren’t worse.”

Lupus Anthropos @LupusAnthropos “What are the beasts that, in my closet, lurk?” I’m afraid your poetry is wasted on me. It’s a beautiful and bold construction—very ambitious I think to compose a villanelle on short notice. The flow and rhythm are very compelling and a fun way to take a familiar tale, but since I didn’t even remember what a villanelle was until I looked it up again I’m sure I don’t appreciate all the intricacies that must have gone into this one.

Wakefield Mahon @WakefieldMahon “Camp Duct Tape. You can call me Siobhan from now on. What do you think about that?” I think you just got me to laugh from the outside of an inside joke. Nice job. I love the poking at the fourth wall referencing the technology and culture behind these blog challenges from the perspective of ones unfamiliar with them and trying to figure them out.

J. Whitworth Hazzard @zombiemechanics “Just underneath the pine, was the smell of something foul.” Christmas zombies. Very nice. Great feel of terror to the piece though I have to admit I’ve always been partial to the idea of Santa being a bad-ass in the face of evil and I think that could have contrasted nicely with Buddy’s terror. Very curious about the scene, but it’s a well constructed vignette.

The Winner:

_J.P. Sloan @J_P_Sloan “Crap. Umbra-cyrilic. Haven’t read Umbra since grad school.” Pure awesome, I love fantasy but the flashlight, nine-millimeter and collegiate mage school provide a refreshing spin that you integrate perfectly with your narrative. Admitting a fair level of bias here, but I loved this one. Sorcery and cynicism in an awesome pairing between Estella and Marley.
This one definitely got the bonus points for the unexpected genre thanks to high-fantasy from a prompt about a flashlight—which gets turned into a torch no-less.

The Winning Story

_"That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!"

Marley tapped the useless flashlight against a stalactite as a spate of half-mumbled profanity dribbled from his mouth.

Estella stepped over a puddle of algae and touched the flashlight with the tip of her staff. A vigorous yellow flame crackled to life atop the flashlight's lens.
 

The Judge

Picture
Lets give a warm welcome to last week's winner and first time judge David A Ludwig.
Find out more about this great storyteller and the Lost Girls Society on his website:
http://by.davidaludwig.com
Friend him on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001411117396
Check out is artwork on DeviantArt
http://lunken666.deviantart.com/
And of course you can follow him on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/#!/DavidALudwig

The Prompt

This week's prompt is inspired by the great Charles Dickens.  As always, we're looking for surprises,  You don't have to talk about Marley, you don't even have to write a horror story, but you do have to start from this prompt:
"That's just great. Now my flashlight doesn't work!"

The Rules

_
  1. Story must continue from the prompt. (This means the prompt is the first sentence of the story.)
  2. No more than 500 words (not including the prompt).  No less than 100 words.
  3. Any genre (in fact an unexpected genre will get you more points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday Noon EST
  5. The winner of each week's competition will be invited to judge the following week.
  6. Have fun!
 

This Week's Contenders

We had 7 participants this week.  Thank you both to all of those who joined this week and to you diehards who show up each week.  As always we enjoyed every story!

Honorable Mentions

_
Siobhan Muir – Cliffhanger dead ahead! Who else is after her??

Nellie Batz – Total WTF factor. Is she crazy? Captive? Both?

J.P. Sloan – Haunting story, especially the end moments when she spots her daughter but Death gives her the peace of forgetting.

The Winner

_This week's winner is David A. Ludwig.  David will be invited to judge next week's contest.

Our judge says I absolutely love this story. A woman confused by obvious teases of preternatural abilities, a silver-eyed man with wings… then this line grabbed me and just would not let go: “Today you are less than nothing, wielding crude and noisome weapons yet ‘gifted’ with the ability to unerringly aim them at things they cannot harm.” Brilliantly executed, with a solid ending that does not need to go further, but easily could. Great story!

Without further ado, the winning story. 

Untitled by David A. Ludwig
_Tears streamed down her face as the gun clattered on the ground. "I just wanted to know who I was."

“Who you are?” The silver-eyed man rolled the still hot bullets around in his palm, “You’re no one.”

She fell to her knees next to her gun, “That can’t be true! I, I see things! You, you have wings.”
 

The Judge

_This week's Judge is the talented Cara Michaels, she describes herself as a left-handed, right-brained Gemini with stories to tell who has been writing since childhood.  She's the author of Gaea's Chosen: The Mayday Directive available at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, iTunes and Diesel.
_Cara is also the host of Ménage Monday an exciting three prompt challenge of 100 to 200 words.  Visit her website to find out more about her!

The Prompt

_This week's prompt is inspired by the "Girls with Guns" series (Noir, Madlax, El Cazador del la Bruja) that I have absolutely fallen in love with.  The stories have different styles and locales, but the underlying theme ties them together.  Good luck with this one! ;)
The Prompt is:  Tears streamed down her face as the gun clattered on the ground. "I just wanted to know who I was." _

The Rules

_
  1. Story must continue from the prompt. (This means the prompt is the first sentence of the story.)
  2. No more than 500 words (not including the prompt).  No less than 100 words.
  3. Any genre (in fact an unexpected genre will get you more points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday Noon EST
  5. The winner of each week's competition will be invited to judge the following week.
  6. Have fun!
 

This Week's Contenders

Congratulations to this week's contenders for submitting fantastic stories!  (Although a few of you forgot the rules about starting with the prompt.)
@SiobhanMuir
@SweetSheil
@caramichaels
@solimond

And another huge thanks to this week's judge @redshirt6

The Winner

This week's winner is @caramichaels!  Congratulations, you win this (ahem) lovely badge and the opportunity to judge next week's contest!
Picture

_“I’m not sure how to tell you this,” she said. “Marc, something’s happened.”
 

The Prompt

Picture
_ "I'm not sure how to tell you this," she said.


The Judge

This week's judge is @redshirt6.  Please be sure to support them and check out their website at http://redshirt6.weebly.com/

The Rules

Picture
_
  1. Story must continue from the prompt. (This means the prompt is the first sentence of the story.)
  2. No more than 500 words (not including the prompt).  No less than 100 words.
  3. Any genre (in fact an unexpected genre will get you more points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted by Tuesday Noon EST
  5. The winner of each week's competition will be invited to judge the following week and post the winner's badge similar to the one on the right.
  6. Have fun!