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

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

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

In alphabetical order:

Kimberly Gould
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
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
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
A monster dating service slayed me. Keep honing your banter and timing.

The Winner

Jeff Tsuruoka
    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.”

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