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THANKS:

Thank you so much for the wonderful ingathering of entries! One prompt, so many creative ideas and a lot of courage, gave a great kick-off to our WOW! Flash Fiction Contest.

One of our main goals in setting up the contest was to encourage writers. We are very proud and pleased to announce that we aren't the only ones that want to support writers. When authors, agents and others in the publishing world heard what we wanted to do, they sent books that we could pass onto our first, second, third prize winners, seven honorable mentions and to each remaining contestant. Each of you is important, and it took all the entries to make this contest so special.

As difficult as it was, our judge, Teresa S. Trujillo, came up with the first, second and third place winners. Read and enjoy!

Drum Roll...

1st Place goes to:
Mandy Vicsai

Melbourne, Australia

Congratulations, Mandy!

Mandy's Bio:

Mandy lives in Melbourne, Australia, with husband Peter and feline friend, Pussycat. She takes inspiration from the people around her and wrote this story in memory of her Californian father-in-law, Al Boothby who died recently. Al was a great conspiracy theorist who wrote a political story called Strange Doin's. He was also a squirrel lover and fed the neighbourhood fluffies each day. Mandy hones her writing skills crafting promotional copy for small to medium businesses and in her spare time enjoys reading and sailing on other people's yachts.

Strange Doin's
By Mandy Vicsai

"It's an omen."

Judy stares at the mangy ball of tangled wool and then at me.

"Well," I concede, "I suppose it does look like something the cat dragged in."

Judy raises an uncharitable eyebrow and asks, "What is it anyway?"

"Believe it or not, it's the pom-pom from the beanie that Joe got me. I thought I'd lost it skiing at Lake Tahoe."

"Joe? Your host father? From your year in California? But that was ten years ago." 

It is.  A decade ago, at only fifteen I left my small hometown in rural Australia to spend an exchange year in Sacramento, California. The Bartons, Joe, Sarah and their daughter Milly, were my host family. Joe was an amazing father. He taught Milly and me how to develop black and white photos in a light-proofed cupboard off his kitchen. He took us to baseball games and showed us how to make plaster-of-Paris handprints in Santa Cruz 's white sands. The things I remember most though, were Joe's deep wisdom and his description of anything mildly unusual as a strange doin'.   Surely the sudden arrival of my lost pom-pom is the strangest of all doin's. 

The timing is eerie. I've been on the cusp of accepting yet another relocation; my eighth in as many years. When the postman handed me the weather-beaten box with US stamps from a decade earlier and no return address, I rethought my plans. The box was crowded with address labels chronicling a nomadic life that was supposed to be adventurous. Instead, it meant never really connecting with anywhere - or anyone. Now I want to connect. To find that special someone who makes my heart sing; someone to plan a future with; maybe share a house, buy a dog, settle down.

"You know," I tell Judy, "Joe used to say, Squirrel that move from tree to tree forget where nuts are stored."

"Is that Native American wisdom?" Judy asks, clearly impressed.

I smile.  "Irish Catholic, actually - after a bit too much altar wine." 

I juggle the prodigal pom-pom.  "I know it sounds weird but this strange doin' has made me think.  I'm turning down the transfer.  I'm going to stay here in Melbourne; see if I can't find some of those nuts."

Judy hugs me.  "No complaints here," she says.

A knock at the door startles us.  I'm not expecting anyone.  I open the door.

"I'm Steve from 3A," says the most gorgeous man I've ever seen. My eyes connect with his azure pools. A score of butterflies flit through my stomach as my soul greets its mate. 

He smiles and says, "I'm baking a cake and I forgot to get sugar.  Could I borrow some?"

"Sure," I say.  "Come on in."  I usher him into my apartment.  "Judy, this is Steve from 3A.  He's just borrowing some sugar."

As I pass Judy on the way to the kitchen, I wink and whisper, "Joe also said, Sometimes squirrel find best nuts at base of own tree."

***

What Mandy Won:

  • $200.00 Cash Prize
  • Publication of winning story on WOW-WomenOnWriting.com website
  • A Prize Pack including author-signed books and a surprise gift bag of goodies totaling over $100.00
  • $50.00 certificate to spend at the WOW! Boutique

2nd Place goes to:
Diana J. Ewing

Laguna Niguel, California

Congratulations, Diana!

Diana's Bio:

Diana J. Ewing is an award-winning freelance copywriter and public relations consultant who has worked with clients ranging from architects and residential developers to restaurants and financial institutions.

Recently, she has expanded her writing endeavors to include short stories and nonfiction humor. Diana lives in Laguna Niguel, California, with her husband, David, and their dog, Bogie.

The Gift of the Mac Guy
By Diana J. Ewing

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way," I sang, driving my old Taurus home from Goodwill.  "Oh, what fun it is to know I'll go home and get la-aid."

Glancing at the Santa gift bag in the passenger seat, I still couldn't believe I'd discovered a silver and blue Sterling High football jersey in a thrift shop on Christmas Eve.  Henry had discarded his tattered number thirty-seven jersey last summer.

We were the quarterback and the cheerleader who had eloped the day after graduation ten years ago.  In a few months, we would pay off our college loans, put a down payment on a house, and leave our pauper days behind.  The ten-dollar Christmas gift budget had been worth it, and this year I'd found the best gift ever.

As I parked in front of our rented yellow bungalow, I spotted a Federal Express box on the porch.  I grabbed my purse and the gift bag, reaching the porch just as Henry opened the door.

"What's this?" I asked when Henry handed me the box.  It had my name and address but no return address.

"Looks like something special for my sexy cheerleader," Henry offered.

Inside the house, I sat cross-legged on the rug by the Christmas tree and pulled Henry down beside me.  Tearing open the FedEx box, I glimpsed shiny silver and blue and felt my heart do a flip-flop.  I pulled out the pom-pom and quickly located its plastic handle, running my finger across the roughly carved "HENRY AND LINDSAY FOREVER."

"My old pom-pom," I shrieked, shaking it and watching the metallic strands dance in the light of the tree.  "I haven't seen it since the homecoming game.  But, how...where did it come from?"

"Remember Rupert Kendall?"

"You mean that nerdy guy who had a crush on me senior year?"

"Yeah, he's got this great job with Apple Computer now.  I always suspected he took your pom-pom, so last month I finally got in touch with him and he found it in a box in his garage.  He'd forgotten all about it.  Now, get into your cheerleader outfit, and let's start the holiday foreplay."

Henry leaned in to kiss me, but I pushed him away.

"Oh, Henry," I sighed, "I sold my outfit to get the money for your gift.  Here, open it."

I handed him the gift bag, and he laughed as he pulled out the jersey.

"What's so funny?" I asked.  "Don't you want another jersey?  I can't wait to see my favorite quarterback wearing nothing but a jersey and knee pads again."

"That's just it," he said.  "I sold my knee pads and sent the money to Rupert to ship your pom-pom."

We sat by the tree, laughing, kissing, and fondling each other, slowly taking off our clothes.  Henry put on the jersey, and I flung my pom-pom into the air.  It landed on top of the tree, from where it showered silver and blue sparkles onto our intertwined quarterback and cheerleader bodies.

***

What Diana Won:

  • $150.00 Cash Prize
  • Publication of winning story on WOW-WomenOnWriting.com website
  • A Prize Pack including author-signed books and a surprise gift bag of goodies totaling over $100.00
  • $50.00 certificate to spend at the WOW! Boutique

3rd Place goes to:
Melissa S. Herman

Enterprise, Alabama

Congratulations, Melissa!

Melissa's Bio:

Melissa Herman is a freelance writer currently living in Enterprise, Alabama with her husband, her yellow lab, and two cats. Some of her work has appeared on NPR, MSNBC.com, The Chicago Tribune, various regional publications in Colorado and a short story anthology Bardic Tales & Sage Advice. She is also a contributing writer for a fun and inspirational book for women, A Girl's Guide to Conquering the Galaxy, that is still in production.

In the Name of Love
By Melissa S. Herman

Randi ran through the woods desperate to escape her pursuer. She tripped and the last thing she saw was the glint of steel in the moonlight as the blade arched down towards her. She screamed and woke up- scared and disoriented. It took a minute for her to remember she was in a hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina.

"I can't believe I'm doing this," she said as she splashed cold water on her face.

Eight days ago, Randi was a struggling journalist just hoping for a front page by-line. Now, the pompom she lost ten years had been returned, she was on the other side of the country and was hours away from interviewing a serial killer. His note said he'd taken the pompom to feel close to her. She still couldn't place him as a classmate, but he knew all about her- even her current life. It gave her the creeps and she was glad he was locked up.

************************************************************

Randi had never been in a prison before and the maximum security facility was intimidating with its high cement walls, concertina wire, guard towers and guns. Her heels clicked on the dull tiles and the slamming doors echoed through the corridor.

She didn't know what to expect when the guard opened the door to the interview room. Walt looked like his yearbook picture- just a little older and haggard. He sat with his hands clasped on the table; his face lit up when he saw Randi. She noticed his wrists and ankles were shackled and a guard was posted on each side of him.

"You came."

"It was an offer I couldn't refuse." Randi tried to appear cool and collected. "Thanks for returning my pompom."

"Well, I obviously won't need it anymore." Walt spoke politely and with a smile; it made Randi's stomach churn.

"Why didn't you kill me?" Randi blurted out. She held her breath as Walt answered.

"Because I love you." 

"Then why did you kill all those girls? They looked like me."

"Because they weren't you and they never would be."

Randi gathered her strength and let the questions fly. She only had one hour with Walt but she got plenty of material for a book.  

As the guards led him out, Walt reminded her, "See you tomorrow night."

From the front row, Randi watched each liquid of the lethal cocktail flow into his arm. Walt's eyes never left her face and she thought she saw a tear roll down his cheek.

As she left the prison, a book title came to her- His Secret Obsession: The Life and Death of Walt McGarrity, the East Coast Killer." She already had a publisher who wanted the story and Randi planned to use the advance to establish a scholarship in honor of Walt's victims. Since she couldn't help them in life, this was the least she could do. Her heart felt a little lighter and she managed a smile on the way back to the hotel.

***

What Melissa Won:

  • $100.00 Cash Prize
  • Publication of winning story on WOW-WomenOnWriting.com website
  • A Prize Pack including author-signed books and a surprise gift bag of goodies totaling over $100.00
  • $50.00 certificate to spend at the WOW! Boutique

DONATIONS & PRIZES:

It is the sincere desire of the contributors, listed below, that each writer will keep his or her focus. Be wholesouled, never give up. Because here's your proof that there are many, many people who want to see you succeed.

As much as we all value words, the right ones, we acknowledge that actions speak louder than words. So, as each of you receives your gift, listen carefully to the encouragement and write, write, write.

We all thank the following: 

Amy Tan, Ellen Moore, Charlotte Powell (Random House)

Brent Hartinger (Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency)

Cynthia Kadohata

Diana Abu-Jaber

Diane Mott Davidson, Maxine Hong Kingston, Whitney Lyles, Beverly Brandt, Cathie Linz, Pamela Clare, Sandra Dijkstra and Elise Capron (Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency)

Jennifer Apodaca, Sulay Hernandez (Kensington Publishing)

Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Lissa Warren, Peter Barrett (Avalon Publishing)

M. Apostolina, Jennifer DeChiara (Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency)

Maralys Wills

Margo Candela, Sulay Hernandez (Kensington Publishing)

RUNNERS UP (In no particular order):

Since the contest was filled with so many great entries, we've decided to publish the 7 runners up!

Click on their entries to read:

Game Over by Deb Kincaid, Vancouver, WA

The Cat Toy by Sarah Jane Stratford, Brooklyn, NY

500 Words about Sally Rincker by Andrea Uptmor, Chicago, IL

Rolling Along by Valerie Maczak, Gaithersburg, MD

Pom and Circumstance by JeanMarie Olivieri, Durham, NC

Death by PomPom by Jeri Rafter, Santa Monica, CA

Pom-Poms and Promises by Colleen O'Brien, Villa Park, IL

 

What the Runners Up Won:

  • Publication of winning story on WOW-WomenOnWriting.com website
  • A Prize Pack including author-signed books and a surprise gift bag of goodies totaling over $100.00

HONORABLE MENTIONS (In no particular order):

Give me an H, Give me an I by Laura Parisi, Portland, OR

Give me an "O"! by Deborah Brock, Happy Valley, OR

Revenge by Elaine Little, Calhoun, GA

Near Perfect Split by Jodi Thompson

A Day That Began Like Any Other by Shayna Hefner, Huntington Beach, CA

Past Tense Morphs into Future Tense by Margo D. Sedgwick, Granite Falls, NC

The Mystery of the Lone Pom-Pom by Lisa Bahr, Gainesville, FL

Happy, Now? by Marlo C. Lupulio, Bridgeport, CT

Cheery-eyed by Rebecca Ridinger, Ligonier, PA

Knowing Grace by Brenda Franklin, Colorado Springs, CO

The Return by Ubong-Abasi Jonathan, Ontario, Canada

OhMyGod it's Like My Pom-Pom by Barbara Altamirano, Watertown, CT

Memory Cheers by Dana Perry, Chicago, IL

All Grown Up by Allie Boniface, Otisville, NY

I Don't Want It, Wait, Yes, I Do! by Suzanne Lilly, Dixon, CA

The Seagulls Flew Away by Michelle Storm, Fort Worth, TX

Glorified Handle, With Ribbons by AnnMarie Kolakowski, Anaheim, CA

The Big Bang Theory by Trudy L. Duhon, Houston, TX

The Coffee Is Best On A Settled Stomach by Trish Mink, Phoenix, AZ

The Pom Pom by Kennette Canary, Newport Beach, CA

Hot Shot Power-Mite by Tracy Horan, Waukesha, WI

The Mystery Of The Pom-Pom And The Pittman Parrot by Chelsea Carpenter, Portland, OR

Clarity Comes in Unmarked Packages by Melissa Rath, Portland, OR

 

What the Honorable Mentions Won:

  • A Prize Pack including a book and a surprise gift bag of goodies!

IN CLOSING:

This brings our Fall, and inaugural, Flash Fiction Contest to a close. While we may not always be able to send something to every contestant, we will always send our heartfelt thanks for your contribution and for your part in making WOW! all that it can be. We're looking forward to receiving your entries for our/your Winter Contest. Thanks again.

 

CHECK OUT OUR NEW CONTEST PROMPT:

http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/contest.php


 

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