WOW! Women On Writing Flash Fiction Contest Winners!


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Winter 2015 Flash Fiction Contest Winners!


Writing a Strong Story - Beginnings, Middles, Ends - Debbie Dadey, Jodi Picoult - by Kerrie Flanagan

Fall 2014 Flash Fiction Contest Winners!

Using Setting and Description in Creative, yet Crucial Ways - by Darcy Pattison

Writers on the Road - Financing Your Trip, Packing Essentials, Couchsurfing

Summer 2014 Flash Fiction Contest Winners!

Take A Break For Creativity - How time without distractions can help you get back into the zone - Bridgid Gallagher


Impressing the Gatekeepers - What Agents and Editors Look For - Stephany Evans, Jessica Faust, Heather Osborn - by Devon Ellington

Spring 2014 Flash Fiction Contest Winners!

How to Sell Your Manuscript Without an Agent - Rachel Eddey, Christine Clifford, Janice Booth, Erin Lale


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Fall 2013 Flash Fiction Contest Winners!

Spring 2013 Flash Fiction Contest Winners!



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WOW! Spring 2015 Flash Fiction Contest Winners

   
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We had an open prompt this season. Our only guidelines were that the entries be fiction with a minimum of 250 words, and a maximum of 750 words. So, enjoy the creativity and diversity!

   

Thanks to our Guest Judge:

Literary Agent Vicki Selvaggio

Literary Agent Vicki Selvaggio

WOW! was honored to have guest judge literary agent Vicki Selvaggio choose the spring season’s top winners. Thank you, Vicki, for sharing your time and efforts to make these contestants’ dreams come true!

With a strong background in business ownership, Victoria A. Selvaggio comes to The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as an Associate Agent with over 6 years of actively working as a volunteer and Regional Advisor for SCBWI Northern Ohio. Drawn to the publishing scene first as an author writing all genres, with her most recent publication in the 2015 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, Vicki’s passion for honing the craft carried over into reading manuscripts for the agency. Currently, she is excited to read compelling manuscripts that will resonate with her long after she’s done.

Vicki is currently looking for lyrical picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, new adult, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, narrative nonfiction, adult fiction, but finds she’s especially drawn to middle grade and young adult. She loves thrillers and all the elements of weird, creepy stuff. If it’s out of the box, and it makes her think and think long after she’s done reading, send it to her! On the flip side, she yearns for books that make her laugh, cry and wonder about the world.

Find out more about what Vicki is seeking by visiting The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency: http://www.jdlit.com.

Visit her website at http://www.victoriaselvaggio.com, and connect with her on Twitter at @vselvaggio1.

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Letter from Vicki to Contestants:

Dear Writer:

Entering contests, and putting one’s work out there, let alone to be judged by an agent, can be a daunting thing. Each writer that entered this contest should feel proud! I encourage all of you to continue honing your craft. Writing is a skill, and like all skills, the more you practice, the better you will become.

With limited words, I was amazed at the descriptions and flow of the manuscripts. Not to mention the tension/suspense...and those twists at the end—awesome!

As an overall suggestion, work a tad more on building scenes and humanizing your main character—so often writers forget to use “our” wonderful five senses—hearing, sight, smell, touch, taste. Adding this element alone can make the reader connect all the more to the main character. And connection is key! If we, as readers, connect, we feel every experience, every emotion...we are there, in the story, engaged, captivated...and not willing to leave until we get to the end.

Thank you, again, Angela and to the team that organized this contest, and invited me to participate! Being a prior Regional Advisor for SCBWI: Northern Ohio, I know firsthand how much work goes into these sort of events!

And thank you, writers, for inviting me into your stories!

Not only do I wish all of you the best, but I hope to read more from all of you in the future!


Vicki Selvaggio
Associate Agent
The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

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Note to Contestants:

We want to thank each and every one of you for sharing your wonderful stories with our guest judges this season. We know it takes a lot to hit the send button! While we’d love to give every contestant a prize, just for your writing efforts, that wouldn’t be much of a competition. One of the hardest things we do after a contest ends is to confirm that someone didn’t place in the winners’ circle. But, believe it when we say that every one of you is a true winner.

Every writer has been a gracious participant through the whole process, from the beginning of one season to the next. We’ve written emails to authors, agents, and publicists who have donated books to our contest, and we’ve shared our delight regarding the true sportsmanship among our contestants. It doesn’t matter if it’s one writer who placed or another who tried but didn’t; all writers are courteous, professional, and wonderful extensions of WOW! Women On Writing’s team. Writers’ stories and e-mails fill us with enthusiasm.

Kudos to all writers who entered, whether you won or not, you’re still a winner for participating.

***

To recap our current process, we have a roundtable of 4-7 judges who blindly score equally formatted submissions based on: Subject, Content, Technical, and Overall Impression (Style). That’s the first step of the process. If a contestant scores well on the first round, she (or he) receives an e-mail notification that she passed the initial judging phase. The second round judging averages out scores and narrows down the top 20 entries. From this point, our guest judge helps to determine the First, Second, and Third Place Winners, followed by the Runners Up.

As with any contest, judging so many talented writers is not a simple process. With blind judging, all contestants start from the same point, no matter the skill level, experience, or writing credentials. It’s the writer’s story and voice that shines through, along with the originality, powerful and clear writing, and the writer’s heart.

***

We’ve enjoyed reading your stories, each and every one of them. The WOW! Women On Writing judges take time to read them all. We recognize names of previous contestants, writers familiar with our style. We enjoy getting to know you through your writing and e-mailing. Remember that each one of you is a champion in our book. We hope that you continue to enter so we can watch you grow as writers and storytellers, because each season is a rebirth of opportunity.

Now on to the winners!

Drum roll please....

1st Place:  K.C. Lowe
Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
Congratulations K.C.!
K.C. Lowe

K.C.’s Bio:

Born in Canada, Kathryn was bitten by the travel bug at an early age and has been lucky enough to live in places like the Middle East and England. As of right now, she’s living and working in South Korea as an ESL teacher, and acting as the volunteer coordinator for The Lotus Centre for Children with Autism.

Kathryn currently spends her free time writing flash fiction, updating her travel & wellness blog, doing yoga, visiting cat cafes, and drinking as many cups of tea as she can.

Though she will soon be returning to Canada to pursue her Masters of Teaching, Kathryn will continue to travel and write, working primarily on her current project: a fantasy novel geared toward young adults that she aims to turn into a trilogy in the next few months.

To keep up with Kathryn's travels and writing, visit her blog at http://printsontheglobe.com, and follow her on Instagram @katc14.

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The Wedding March

 

The dirty window pane in front of me seems at odds with the brightness it’s leaking, a brightness that forms wrinkles on my delicately made up face. I sit precariously on the white, wooden chair and fidget with the folds of my skirt. I glance up to look in the mirror, patting my hair to make sure it’s still in place; my hand pauses on my head as I see you reflected in the glass of the vanity mirror. Your lips are curved in that crooked smile I love to trace with my fingertips, your eyes sparkle where refracted light pouring through the stained glass windows of the altar room hits them.

“You shouldn’t be here,” I whisper, talking to your reflection instead of turning in the chair to face you.

You shrug in your dark suit, a strand of your otherwise perfect chestnut hair falling into your green eyes.

“Are you going to tell on me?” Your teasing smirk forces me to swallow past a lump in my throat, and I know you’re right. I’m so happy to see you that I’m not going to whisper a word about your visit.

“So,” you say, leaning against the door, “are you going to tell me what’s going on?”

I glance at my hands folded in my lap, my manicure perfect except for where I’ve nervously bitten down the cuticles of my ring finger.

“Babe?” I hear your voice from somewhere close behind me, and I look up to see you walking toward me in the mirror, the swish of your pants drowned out by my fast beating heart.

“I don’t know if I can do this,” I say, the words pouring out of me; my doubts and fears spill out along with them.

You place your warm hand on my shoulder, and I lean my cheek into it, sighing at its familiar comfort.

“I know you’re scared,” you say, the deep timbre of your voice reassuring, “I’m scared too.”

I meet your eyes in the mirror, my face betraying my surprise. You nod with a small smile at my unspoken question.

“We just have to get through the next thirty minutes, and then the whole ceremony and public display will be over.”

“You’re forgetting about the after party,” I quip, voice laced with traces of my usual sarcasm.

You laugh, a rich sound that resonates through my core, and I begin to relax for the first time in days.

“There’s my girl,” you say, warmth colouring your voice and lending me the strength I’ll need to walk down that aisle in front of our family and friends.

I reach up to grip your hand, and nod my head firmly. Your calloused fingers squeeze my small ones back, and I watch your reflection as you bend to kiss the top of my head; I see your lips just brush the top of my hair, leaving it undisturbed.

“I love you,” I hear you say softly.

Before I can respond, there’s a quiet knock on the door. Your hand lets go of mine, and I stand to greet the visitor.

My father walks in, the worry lines around his eyes showing. You disappear, leaving me alone with him.

“Are you ready?” he asks gently. I nod, and he slips my arm through his as we walk out the door.

There’s soft music playing, beautiful notes that fill the church with happy memories. People are already filling the seats; their outfits match like a wedding colour scheme gone wrong. My father squeezes my hand reassuringly as we near the front of the aisle; he kisses my cheek and steps back to give us room.

The black fabric of my skirt rustles around my legs, and I tug the matching blazer down as I walk slowly up to your white coffin. I look down at your still face, your cheeks made lifelike with makeup and chemicals, and a single tear slips down my cheek.

“I love you too,” I whisper, pressing my lips to your cold forehead before turning to look at the sea of black before me. I walk away from you for the last time, my fingers nervously playing with your wedding ring where it sits, heavy, on the ring finger of my right hand.

 

***

What K.C. Won:

  • $350.00 Cash Prize
  • The Complete Publishing Package from BookBaby ($579 value), which includes: Print-On-Demand + worldwide distribution; eBook conversion + worldwide distribution; 25 Custom-printed books.
  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • Publication of winning story on WOW-WomenOnWriting.com website
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin
2nd Place:  Maggie Veness
Coffs Harbour, NSW, AUSTRALIA
Congratulations Maggie!
Maggie Veness

Maggie’s Bio:

Maggie Veness was born in Sydney, Australia, and lives in a small harbour-side city on the sunny north coast of NSW, Australia. Coming from a nursing and community welfare background, she began writing as a hobby in 2007 and hasn’t stopped. Intrigued by an idiosyncrasy or peccadillo, her stories are often quirky or unpredictable. While Maggie has flash through to novella length fiction published, she has always enjoyed the challenge of writing compelling flash fiction. She has received several awards for her stories, and was a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee. While she’s thrilled to say her fiction has been published (mostly in print) in literary journals and anthologies in seven countries to date, she would love to see a collection of her own published some day. Maggie works part-time, has two regular volunteer positions, and cycles many miles each week so she can keep enjoying chocolate and red wine. She has dozens of literary idols, including Miranda July, Sam Lypsyte, Cate Kennedy, Raymond Carver, Tim Winton, Kurt Vonnegut, and Helen Garner.

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GLASS: Heat Sand to 1,700°

 

We stood side-by-side at the admin counter that day. You were dressed in a green, low-necked, cotton dress, thin straps over sun-pinked shoulders. It was mid-semester and we were both new to the campus. At first I was intrigued by your ascetic demeanour, but the moment I saw the camber of your chest—imagined my tongue dipping into the vague cleft between your small breasts—I knew I was gone.

There were things I wanted to say that day, but at the time I wasn’t single enough.

Entering that hushed auditorium we received an icy reception. We were two late-comers. A pair of something. The experience connected us. And if we weren’t destined to share anything else? I knew the concept of that connection might have to sustain me. As elusive as a soap bubble, a concept was a harmless thing to carry home; something easily concealed from my girlfriend.

There were some empty rows in the back so I trailed after you up the aisle. When your eyes fleetingly met mine I felt the addictive sting and burn of adrenaline. Wrestling a powerful attraction, I took a seat behind you and soaked up your silent mysteries. Your presence was stark. Inaccessible. Hungering for clues, my eyes scrolled over every inch of you like a starving newborn searching out milk. I imagined you could be the spoilt only child of an eccentric musician, or that you’d been orphaned by two lovers who’d made headlines for their shocking suicide pact.

While others tapped keys I watched you making notes in a small book, your long, capable hand gathering momentum, driving your pen across the page—your inky marks etching into my psyche like the tattooed name of a lost lover. Now and then you’d pause to smooth a palm over an unruly dark curl or caress an earlobe with cool fingertips. I imagined those fingertips sliding through the damp trench between my shoulder-blades.

You revealed nothing. Your aloofness mesmerised me; seduced me.

I followed you that afternoon as you wove through the noisy throng, down fifty-three steps then along the zig-zagging path descending into the car-park. When that ebony-skinned guy waved from his silver convertible and you waved back, a blade of jealousy rose up through my spleen and pierced my lungs. I felt my chest deflating during the long walk back to my car. There was only one thing left to do. I drove to the mall and rode up and down the escalator calculating the minutes left until 9:00 a.m.

Next morning as I waited near the top step my pulse was everywhere. Even my eyes and ears and teeth were throbbing. When you didn’t show I asked around. No one knew you.

I never saw you again.

The hollowness lingered, grew like a gloomy mass within my chest until I was forced to place you somewhere, construct a life for you, give you a name ...

Amelia.

I pictured you arriving home alone that day, Amelia, imagined you gazing out across the ocean from a freshly painted veranda, gusts of warm wind pressing that pretty green dress against your thighs. You began to sing—the poignant melody was familiar, although I couldn’t quite catch the words. When you walked inside I saw a house filled with sunlight and aqua furnishings. With the salty evening breeze yet to arrive the air was thick and smelled like hot sand. I imagined you entering your uncluttered bedroom; heard coins jangling in the bottom of your calico bag as it landed on the dresser; watched you place your notebook on a narrow desk by the window. Kicking off your sandals, you slid across a four-poster bed and spread your warm limbs, one flushed cheek resting against a cool, satin pillowcase.

It’s been two months. With my suitcase unpacked inside a hotel room I’m single enough now to tell you all the things I couldn’t say that day.

You linger in my mind like that haunting, wordless melody. Some nights I walk in circles and the circles feel like endless ripples on a pond. I see your dark curls; bare shoulders; undulating chest; slender fingers. Even if I could I wouldn’t cast away such exquisite memories. They hang next to my breath when I sleep. They spring the clench around my groin, the sudden swelling, the warm jets of obsession that fly across my belly to congeal in globs over my resolute heart.

My Amelia. In a world made of sand, you are glass.

 

***

What Maggie Won:

  • $250.00 Cash Prize
  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • Publication of winning story on WOW-WomenOnWriting.com website
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin
3rd Place: Carrie Hatland
Winnipeg, Manitoba, CANADA
Congratulations Carrie!
Carrie Hatland

Carrie’s Bio:

Carrie Hatland lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada with her husband, two sons, foster sons, and a menagerie of family pets. Carrie’s passion for reading and writing was instilled in her by her grandmother, Ina, who exposed her to the classics at a very young age. Her short story, The MS Lord Selkirk, earned an honourable mention in the 2015 Soul-Making Keats literary competition and placed as a runner up in the WOW! Winter 2015 Flash Fiction Contest.

This summer, Carrie was accepted into Yale’s sixteen-day writer’s conference and attended the Writer’s Digest conference in New York. She looks forward to completing her historical fiction novel, Byzantine Dusk.

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The Statue of Laocoön

 

Italy beckoned. Before booking her ticket, Tess researched every location she wanted to see and planned every move with the greatest of care. Every dollar represented the opportunity to fulfill another possibility.

Carerra, Rome, the Amalfi coast, and the Cingue Terre whispered her name. David’s statue, Lorenzo Ghiberti’s doors on the baptistery in Florence, and the Triumphal Quadriga made her breath catch in delicious anticipation.

Few people understood her need to retrace the footsteps of the masters. To stand before Caravaggio’s paintings, seeking the illumination of light in the darkest of shadows, was a deep intrinsic need that she could not explain.

Tess craved the simple pleasure of eating an apple in St. Mark’s square and tasting pistachio gelato outside of the duomo in Florence. She wanted to taste, touch, feel, and hear the enchantment of another world.

She arrived in Rome, haggard and tired, after the long flight overseas. Somehow, she found her hotel and made her way straight to the window. She opened the shutters and leaned out the window, the city spread out before her. The sound of beeping horns and scooters reached her ears as she surveyed the bustle of people.

Tess’s eyes landed on the dome of the Vatican. She swallowed painkillers for her headache, grabbed her purse, and headed out the door. The words from Good Will Hunting rang in her ears and she could almost hear Robin William’s voice.

“If I asked you about women you’d probably give me a syllabus of your personal favourites. You may even have been laid a few times. But you can’t tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy.” Except for the fact that the speech had been aimed at a boy, it was completely fitting. Tess had never loved; not like that. She never would.

Once in the Vatican, the statue of Laocoön inspired her to stop. Michelangelo had been present at the statue’s unearthing in 1506, when it was discovered in a vineyard near Santa Maria Maggiore. He had studied the ancient Greek statue and credited it as a profound influence on his work.

Tess pulled out her sketch pad and pencil and began to draw. She refused to be rushed, queasy at the thought that she had only one chance to get it right. She felt the layers of history peel back, bringing her to the battle of Troy. She could almost hear the crash of the surf and the distant sounds of battle from the doomed city.

A sea serpent coiled around the carved figures of Laocoön and his sons, and Tess was touched by the agony on his face. She could relate.

Troy had fallen, as foretold by the priestess Cassandra, despite Laocoön’s best attempt to warn the city about the wooden horse. Some things could not be prevented. Sometimes life wasn’t fair and there was nothing anybody could do to help. Laocoön had been a fool to try and meddle with the verdict of the Gods.

“If I asked you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right? But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap as he gasped his last breath, looking to you for help.” The words had resounded in her heart and demanded a response.

Tess made her way into the Sistine Chapel.

“If I asked you about art you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo? You know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientation, the whole works, right? But I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling.”

The doctors had told her she had stage four metastatic brain cancer and only six months to live. Six months. When she went home she would have to tell her family and friends. She would have to hold her mother and let her cry. Her dad would never get to walk her down the aisle. They would never have grandbabies.

She wasn’t ready to shatter their dreams for the future. Not yet.

Tess opened her arms and looked up at Michelangelo’s frescoes. They were faded; beautiful, as only those things that do not last forever, can be. Dust hung suspended, sparkling, in the air under the vaulted ceiling and Tess smiled through her tears.

The Sistine Chapel smelled wonderful.

 

***

What Carrie Won:

  • $150.00 Cash Prize
  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • Publication of winning story on WOW-WomenOnWriting.com website
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin

THANK YOU TO OUR CONTEST SPONSOR:

BookBaby Sponsor

BookBaby makes it easy for independent authors to publish and sell eBooks in the biggest bookstores in the world, including Amazon’s Kindle, iBooks, Nook by Barnes & Noble, and more. Best of all, BookBaby authors keep up to 100% of their net royalties. BookBaby also offers premium quality book printing, cover design, and binding services to the independent author and small publisher.

The End. Now What?

Take your novel from manuscript to marketplace.

Get a FREE copy of BookBaby’s eBook, The End. Now What?!, and learn how to get your manuscript published in just six weeks.

BookBaby outlines a simple 6-week strategy to help you create a book that will catch readers’ attention, get reviewers talking, and take you to the next level in your writing career.

Get your free copy here: http://bit.ly/17jv31z.

RUNNERS UP:

Congratulations to the runners-up! It was very close, and these stories are excellent in every way. Enjoy each one’s story!

Click on their entries to read:

Best Friends by Chaynna Campbell, Orange, Massachusetts

Waiting Out the War by Cheryl Eichar Jett, Edwardsville, Illinois

What Is Your Emergency? by Julie Kent, Salisbury, Maryland

Smoke and Mirrors by Vera Constantineau, Copper Cliff, Ontario, CANADA

Fragile by Nancy Wade, Gansevoort, New York

The Water Nymph’s Metamorphosis by Sally Hogue, Farmersville, Texas

Taken for a Ride by Michelle Dwyer, Round Rock, Texas

What the Runners Up Won:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • Publication of winning story on WOW-WomenOnWriting.com website
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin

HONORABLE MENTIONS (In no particular order):

Congratulations to our Spring Contest Honorable Mentions! Your stories stood out and are excellent in every way.

The Wedding Planner’s Dilemma by Marty Barnes, Savannah, Georgia

Foxy Lady by Susan Remson, Kenosha, Wisconsin

Maura by Cathy Graham, Vernon, Ontario, CANADA

Free Advice by Katherine Fast, Weston, Massachusetts

Idiophones by Chantelle Rideout, Sackville, Nova Scotia, CANADA

Yellow by J.L. Greger, Bernalillo, New Mexico

Lifelines by Mary Moore, Charlotte, North Carolina

Holding On To Enough by Susan Basham, Folsom, California

Peruvian Ghosts by Nancy Scott Hanway, Saint Paul, Minnesota

What Scattered in the Wind by Rebecca Gomez Farrell, Oakland, California

What the Honorable Mentions Won:

  • $20 Amazon Gift Card

IN CLOSING:

This brings our Spring 2015 Flash Fiction Contest officially to a close. Although we’re not able to send a special prize to every contestant, we will always give our heartfelt thanks for your participation and contribution, and for your part in making WOW! all that it can be. Each one of you has found the courage to enter, and that is a remarkable accomplishment in itself. We’re looking forward to receiving your entries for our next contest. Best of luck, and write on!

Check out the latest Contest:

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


 

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