Posts Tagged ‘CaseyCaseRose’

 

246477_10150189102384984_1001235366_n

Six months and twenty-six rounds of Flash Frenzy? Where does the time go? You have all been amazing participants and I think it’s time to celebrate your awesomeness.

So, this week I’m launching the first Flash Master Face Off. 

What’s a Flash Master Face Off? I’m glad you asked. Each of the winning stories from the past 26 weeks will go head-to-head in a battle of popularity with the best story to be decided upon by readers. The winner will receive (in addition to ultimate bragging rights) a $50 Amazon gift card.

Voting will be open until Tuesday evening. You (and your friends) can vote once every 12 hours. So return and enjoy your favorite stories again and stay tuned for the winners. 😀

GOOD LUCK!

 

Greetings, Friends!

I’m so pleased to have seen so many of you again this past weekend. As usual your stories were wonderful. Our guest judge this week, Voima Oy, faced a difficult decision. She not only rose to the challenge and provided us with her top picks, but thoughtful comments for everybody who submitted as well. Thank you, writers, for sharing your imagination here every week, and thank you, Voima, for stepping up and making the tough call this round.

Judges Notes:

I have the honor to act as judge this time around.  What an amazing challenge!

First, let me thank everyone who took the time and care to send a story.  This photo prompt is quite evocative–what does it suggest,  a simple cross on a hill with flowers?
There could be many  possible interpretations. These stories are all very  different and  each one is excellent in its own way.  I have learned so much from all of you. Well-done, everyone!

Let me offer some comments on the stories in the order they were submitted—

Karl A. Russell has written a tale of undying love, and a hill covered with forget me nots.  It has a kind of magical realism, as well as  the realities of banks and mortgage payments. There is a timeless quality to the story,
like a fable or a folk tale.

Stella’s story takes a less-is-more approach, told in understatement and vivid details. Relatives gather at a  funeral, and confusion ensues. Even the eulogy could be for someone else. Poor Auntie Sheila!

C Connoly takes a very different turn.  This time, there are  psychic elements, a hurried getaway in the heat and sun. There are suggestions of something dark and mysterious. What happened to Tess and Dan?
Who are Helen and Maddie?  And what about  the missing? This story is haunting, and lingers.

Cathy Lennon offers us a  tale of bad love, tragic loss, and moving on. “She walked until the streets finished, then the footpaths.”  The scene where she buries the box on the hill. She has a different life, now,
yet the past returns. Too late? This is powerful stuff.

Bart’s story suggests the precariousness of appearances,  and how quickly things can change.  I will admit I thought at first Toby was  a person, but the family’s reaction to the dog falling off the cliff is just as shocking–
and well-told.  In time, there is  a new dog, and the girl heads for the cliffs again.  Suddenly, everything changes.  Was  it an accident the first time? Will the story repeat itself?

zevonesque depicts a bleak world with little hope, or possibility. But offering the flowers is a gesture of beauty, not despair. Amid the harshness, this is a story of how fragile and precious all life is–and how persistent.
Head west, and go on.

Beth tells a story of secrets, and  years of things unsaid. This is a vivid moment of clarity, and one is left with a feeling of hope for the future. Moving and powerful.

Image Ronin’s  tale is vividly surreal. This is an astonishing science-fiction story of an experiment gone horribly wrong. The language is as lush as the vegetation, words twining like the vengeful vines of Byrony.

CaseyRose Frank has quite a surprising twist, and what a name for a cat–Prunella Fluffens.  I found this story quite delightful, refreshing  and weird.

Every one of these stories is wonderful, and I’m really impressed by them all.  So much talent here. Thank you, writers!  Do I need to tell you it’s more fun to read or write  stories than it is to judge them? All could stand on their own, without the photo prompt.  But with the photo? You have given me quite a challenge!  Here are my choices—

Honorable mention–Cathy Lennon–for a stark and powerful story. Beautifully written.
Honorable mention–CaseyRoseFrank–for a perverse tale, dark as chocolate in the sun.  And she made the flowers look so cheerfully macabre.

3rd place– Karl A. Russell–for magical realism and careful details.  I can see the hill, covered with a profusion of  colorful blooms.  Poetic writing, but not too flowery, this is a marvelous story.

2nd place–C. Connolly–for gritty detail, suggestions of supernatural, and haunting mystery. I keep seeing Maddie’s  final vision of the crosses on the hill. In spite of the heat, the feeling is chilling.

Your Round 25 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Stella

with The Final Resting Place

Stella wins for saying so much in so few words.  This story is less than 300 words! The narrator’s perspective, the vivid detail and family dynamic is just perfect.  The power of things unsaid. In a way, this is a classic take on the photo–the marker on a hill–a life, a funeral, the awful relatives,  etc.  but there is so much more!  The flowers are even more poignant. This hill on the moor is not Auntie Sheila’s  final resting place–or is this where her true spirit lingers?

 

Congratulations, Stella! Your story will be featured this Wednesday as the HumpDay Quickie!

Thanks again, everyone. Next weekend, Flash Master extraordinaire Karl A Russel is back again to judge your stories. If you can’t wait till Saturday, check out the brand new FLASH MASTERS challenge hosted by Grey Matter Press, and don’t forget the Friday Flash Challenge, Flash! Friday. 😀

Hope to see you all Saturday.

Hello again, Friends!

What a turn out this week! You guys are amazing. Special thanks to Casey Rose Frank for judging this round. She has comments for everyone, so let’s get to the goods. 🙂

 

What a tremendous collection of tales!  So many that touch upon the heartbreakingly elusive moments of life.
C Connolly does a great job of showing how something like a clean white dress can come to represent so much, especially once it is sullied. The reader can feel the agony of hindsight and how little that does to help.

Stella offers a wonderful chance to reevaluate the freedoms of childhood that should be enjoyed while they can. The examples of the bits of childhood the elderly character still wishes to have captured are sweet and vivid.

Karl A Russel paints a full color picture of a man alone with his pain, physical and mental. “If” is a mighty powerful word, one that has all the power of regret to haunt both the character and the readers.

Image Ronin’s “dark bluish clouds” are such a evocative description of the literal aftermath of abuse and the hovering feeling of misery left afterward.

Sal Page touches upon a personal fear of mine, I do have some window-related fears but I too would have wanted to spend more time with a fairy. The idea of listing instead the things that are not to be feared is a beautiful idea and the list is delightful.

Voima Oy has created such a unique world, drawing on the very real concerning question of what draws a cat’s attention to the walls, and the fantastical trades one might receive the real life disappointments. The gifts left behind and the tricks she performs are such great details.

David Shakes has created an interesting traveling conundrum that is made all the more terrifying when the reader discovers that the other hellish place may in fact be our own world. What is a scarier idea, that our world is bombed or that this poor girl comes back carrying the same radiation?

Wisp of Smoke captures the difficulty of time in making you feel like you’ve gained something while losing so much else at the same time. Living in a state of always wondering is timeless and the reader feels the pain of wanting to find the answers to a life unknown even as we understand the futility of it.

Jacki Donnellan captures the many people one person can be throughout a lifetime in a beautifully bittersweet way. One can only hope that these many selves can have such a joyful ending in real life.

Beth Deitchman uses the classical chilling sound of giggling. Is there ever a time you hear giggling at night and smile instead of cringe? Despite the vividly scary description of the winged beast the unseen giggler is still scarier.

Milambc paints a vivid world through the eyes of a child. The description of the attack of the cookie sheet, still baring cookies is particularly captivating. I too would have eaten one anyway…

Patrick Stahl shows a child’s worldview as her world begins to unravel. The reader is as concerned as Miranda and as grateful that at least physically she’ll be okay.

Zevonesque creates a unique world that initially reads like agoraphobia but instead turns out to be related to a haunting, whether literal or strictly of the mind. It’s intriguing to be left wondering who Jessica really is.

DrMagoo captures in such a sweet and simple way the joys of having a child. Any child running around may make a person smile, but describing what it means to see your own child run, especially one that carries a part of something you’ve lost is a unique beauty.

Second Runner up goes to David Shakes for his fascinating glimpse at the atrocities of our world through an outside perspective and the haunting idea that our mistakes may carry on in such terrible ways.

First Runner up goes to Voima Oy for the vivid descriptions of the fairy girl and what she leaves behind. She feels like pure joy, a welcome balm of “girl found” against “girl lost”.

 

This week’s winner and FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Karl A Russell

If

“If” is such a weighty word, one that all of us examine from time to time. “If” has a way of burrowing under the skin. Russel’s portrayal of not only the severe lingering question of what might of been, but of the hope that still remains despite all else is incredibly powerful.

Congratulations Karl! Your story will be featured tomorrow as the HumpDay Quickie!

Thanks much to everybody who posted stories this week. Next weekend, Jacki Donnellan steps up to the plate to offer her services as judge.  Hope to see you all again. 😀

Farmer’s Market

by Casey Rose Frank

“This exquisite blue cheese is only made in small batches. If Cary Grant were a cheese…”
“The bees have such great lives, and it really shows in the quality of their honey. It’s like we’re bottling up the happiness…”
The chatter of the vendors around me was eye roll inducing. Their descriptions of their edible wares sounding like dating profiles the way they gushed about everything.

A woman stopped by booth and glanced down.
“Is your salmon farm raised?”
I consulted my notes.
“Yes.”
She looked at me, waiting for me to give some elaborate spiel. When I didn’t she frowned and walked away.

I wasn’t here to actually sell fish. There was a rumor that one of the stalls was selling some additional homegrown goods of a less legal nature. I was assigned here to scope out the situation as insider. I would be unobtrusive. Under the radar.

Suddenly a little whirlwind stopped at the front of the booth. She stood on tiptoe and pushed crazy brown curls out of her face.
“What are those?” she asked as she pointed her tiny finger, hand still smushed against her cheek.
“Those are crabs.”
“Crabs?”
Her eyes got wide and she fell back onto her heels.
“Are they dead?”
“Yes,” I answered with a scowl. I really wanted her to just go away.
She sucked in a deep breath and began yelling.
“You killed Sebastian! You killed Sebastian and all his friends! Ariel hates you! She hates you!”

Fancy Cheese Guy and Happy Bee Lady were staring at me.
I put my hands up, trying to demonstrate I wasn’t doing anything to this child.
“Sebastian!” she wailed.
A man ran up and scooped up the girl.
“Are you okay, what’s wrong?” he asked her before turning to me, “What happened?”
“I don’t know, she just…”
“He’s a sea witch!” she yelled pointing at me.
I kept my hands up and shrugged in confused surrender.
He apologized and carried the girl away as she sang in a sobbing voice, “Under the sea, under the sea, darling it’s better…”

People kept giving me the stink eye.

So much for being unobtrusive.

Happy Tuesday, Friends!

Sorry for the late post, today was crazy. Crazy enough that I’m seriously considering taking Judge Jaime up on his offer to… well.  You’ll have to read the judge’s comments to find out.

From the moment I saw the pic, I just couldn’t help but laugh. I thought to myself, “if these guys don’t have fun with this entry then we all might need to talk as a group with vanilla wafers.” Fortunately most of the entries got to that point, even without going the funny route. All of you got creative and while it sucks that I have to pick just three, please know that I found evey single one of these stories entertaining, and that says a lot about the people who participate for the Angry Hourglass. We should all just pitch in to open up a pub with that name, with our fearless leader.

3rd Place: Karl A. Russell – The Needs of the Many

In the exact word limit, Russell blended together the concerns of starting a distant future for Earth’s survivors while simultaneously throwing well-placed jabs. “Says she doesn’t want to live in a world without cats” made me spit up my water a little bit. I’d love to see a film version of this, even if it’s a short.

2nd Place: Sal Page – Some Insane Someone

You know how there’s that rare instance when you hear elevator music that’s actually good? Especially the kind that can mask doom & gloom? That kept looping through my brain as I read this. A young family making ends meet but still keeping a positive vibe. It’s deceitful in its execution, which is why I loved it. But what can be deceitful about a family trying to start out ne—OH MY GOD.

This week’s FLASH MASTER is… 

FLASH MASTER

 Casey Rose Frank

with: Farmer’s Market

We had some excellent entries, but this might have just captured the true spirit of the photo. Either that or it created the spirit tenfold. It feels like the story’s intent is to be amused with the smashing of a kid’s world. There isn’t any foreshadowing or hints of something darker to come; it’s just really really funny. It’s also a keen example of packing a punch in a limited word set. We’ve all done and seen it before, but with pure comedy? That’s even harder to do. So congrats to Frank. And when she starts singing that song…lost it.

Congratulations to all our winners, and especially back-to-back champion Casey! Your story will be featured at tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie!

As always, thank you so much EVERYBODY for taking time from your busy schedules to indulge me and my little pet project. I hope to see you all again this weekend, and if I do ever open a pub, first round is on me!

CHEERS!

Communing With Nature

by Casey Rose Frank

Harold felt that he had found the perfect tree in which to climb. He could wedge himself into one of the crooks of these strong tree arms and commune with the woods, as required by all wizards from time to time.

He began to climb.

“Ah, hullo? This tree is taken, sir,” called a voice from above.

Harold looked up. He could see wiry grey eyebrows and a long nose pointing down at him from beneath a bouffant purple hat.

“Oh. I see,” Harold answered.

He stood still for a moment. He really did think that this was the very finest tree in the whole forest. And he was a first rate wizard worthy of this clearly superior tree.

“Here’s the thing, ya? This tree is really prime, so maybe you wouldn’t mind sharing,” he said, making it a statement rather than a question as he climbed up the trunk to the first limb.

“I do mind! I do,” called the other man. Or wizard.

“Yes, well…” Harold began, climbing still with no intent of stopping.

“I was here first you ass! Here, have a cat,” he yelled and with a snick-pop kiss of sound a cat suddenly appeared and dropped onto Harold’s head.

Definitely another wizard.

Harold almost fell but peeled the terrified cat off of his head and placed it on a limb.

“Here’s a panther for you,” Harold called up, pointing into the tree and snick-pop there was a velvety jungle cat sitting next to the other wizard.

“Here’s a lion,” he called back.

Back and forth the two accelerated, yelling over each other as they attempted to overwhelm the other into giving up the tree.

“Here’s a rhino!”

“Here’s a hippo!”

“Here’s twin moose!”

“Here’s a god damn grand piano!” yelled Harold.

As it slammed onto the tree, atop the animals and two wizards there was a hideous cracking sound and the entire tree began to snap and splinter.

Both men landed on the ground and the animals scattered, panicked and confused into the woods.

“Well.”

“Yeah.”

“Best find another tree, yeah?”

The men shook hands and walked away in opposite directions.

Greetings friends. It’s time for another edition of Flash Frenzy Winners, brought to you this week by the generous Image Ronin. As always, thank you to everyone who submitted stories. I’m always happy to provide a place for you to share your craft, but this endeavor is only as successful as you make it. Without further ado, here are your judge’s comments.

So this week was typically one of those that intrigues the writer within me. A woodland prompt, the visual echo of a Freudian metaphor, is always one that will lead some of us into darker waters. As always I wasn’t disappointed, in particular the world-building of Tanglewood, Passed with Flying Levin and Matters led me to wanting to know more of the characters and their differing plights. Whilst some tales took me into unexpected realms, yes I mean you Jacki Donnellan, with a wonderfully rich parody of the iconic Teddy Bear Picnic in Today’s the Day.

Sadly, as always, there can be only three, so here comes the shortlist.

Second Runner Up:

Unearthing by Karl A Russell

The narrative impetus of a husband worried over the potential discovery of his murdered wife was adeptly set up. As a reader I found myself wondering what was going to happen. Were the police en-route as Sam suspected? Was someone else lying in wait? What was Sam going to now do with the remains. 
The gearshift into a more horrific outcome was slick and I found myself reeling at the thought of undead offspring rising from the grave. An excellent example of the power of flash fiction to blend genre and the darkness that lingers in the woods. 

First Runner Up:

The choice between runner up and winner was ridiculously hard as both stories deserved to win. Yet a choice had to be made so runner-up goes to …

The Foundling Tree by Beth Deitchman

A wonderful and rich tale that hints at a greater story to be told. The tropes of a mysterious child, connected to an unknown culture and civilization, the presence of magic and the sense of a returning threat to this realm of safety were artfully set out. The description of the tree at the start was incredibly atmospheric and set up the tale perfectly. Quite a wonderful piece of writing.

Your Week 19 Flash Master is…

FLASH MASTER
Casey Rose Frank

with Communing with Nature

Whereas most tales lurked within the darker recesses of our imagination, this tale took the reader into the realms of Pratchett and Adams. I found myself laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of both men, the desire to have status without consideration of the impact that such motivation has on the wider world. A genuinely funny tale that expertly implemented satire to take the prompt off into an unexpected direction, and left me wanting more. 
And any tale that ends with a grand piano settling an argument is always going to win.

Congratulations, Casey! Your story will be featured tomorrow as the HumpDay Quickie. Please contact me here with any bio information, publications, links to personal sites, or any other information you would like to appear on your winner’s page.

Next week we have a new photo by Ashwin Rao (no excuses for round 20 Shakes!) and Jaime Burchardt will be acting as judge. Hope to see you all Saturday!

This week’s winners post will be short and sweet as there are no judge’s comments. Thanks to all for participating in both the writing and judging this week.

We have 2 HMs :

@triffic_tinika with her story: The One That Got Away

and

@CaseyCaseRose with her story: The Breakup

 

your elected FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Beth Deitchman

with Flight

Congratulations Beth on your second win and as our first reader-chosen Flash Master. Your story will be featured tomorrow as the HumpDay Quickie.

Next week drmagoo will be our acting judge. Hope to see you all then!  😀

Happy Tuesday, Friends!

Thanks much for your patience. We had eleven great entries this week, including a bold 16 word entry from Bart Van Goethem, Jamie Burchard has chosen his top three from the mix. So, without further ado, let’s get this party started.

2nd Runner Up: Casey Rose FrankThe Writer’s Mill

From start to finish, this story had me smiling. The range of my smile just happened to change, drastically. Frank did a fantastic job of creating this build-up of pleasantry and then BAM. Literally. And I couldn’t stop laughing my ass off.

1st Runner Up:  Karl A RussellThe Watermill

To be honest, the beginning of this story had pulled in but I wasn’t quite sure how it was doing it. Russell’s words wove through and through, and then it built up to something so extraordinarily macabre, it became its own charming monster. I hated that it ended.

And this week’s FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Beth Deitchman

Le Moulin

This is the first time I’ve read the works of Beth Deitchman, and now I’m hooked. It’s a flash story that felt like it came to life right before my eyes. Like the runner-ups, the last words grabbed me, but the combined touch of desperation and loveliness had me breathing heavily. Limited words, but this author just showed me that her potential is the opposite.

Congratulations, Beth! Your story will be featured tomorrow as the HumpDay Quickie. Please contact me here with any bio information, publications, links to personal sites, or any other information you would like to appear on your winner’s page.

That’s it for this week, folks. Next week we have another great photo prompt and two-time Flash Master TinMan acting as judge. Hope to see you all then!

Hello Flash Frenzy Friends!

Another tough prompt this week, but as expected, you all rose to the challenge, creating some wonderful pieces of art. Karl has comments for every tale this week, so I’ll stop blathering and let you get to them. 🙂

 

One of the most satisfying aspects of flash fiction for me is the myriad ways in which authors can interpret the same prompt. The very talented folk at The Angry Hourglass not only told me what that was in Shakes’ photo, they knew where it came from, how it was made and what it was meant to represent. It would be remiss of me to jump straight in to HM, Runner Up and Winner without recognizing the sterling work of all our authors, so in no particular order, here are my thoughts on the stories this week.

Happiness by Jacki Donnellan skirts around the question of what the structure might be by placing it, matter-of-factly, as something it so clearly isn’t. The sales pitch does a great job of combining high-end art gallery talk with the obscurely aspirational yearnings of an Apple advert. Questions abound – Who (or what?) are the father and daughter, and what sort of world is this where happiness can be commoditised in such a way? – but most of all though, I just wonder where I can buy some.

Drones by Shakes is a dark, troubling tale which suggests a more sinister use for the insect’s eye viewer, allowing Dave’s larval offspring to see, at least temporarily, the truly horrifying nature of existence. The fact that Shakes actually saw this structure in the steely flesh makes me worry for him, and for all of us who follow him.

Yoghurt by Stella. Once again, we are reminded not to underestimate Stella, or any of her protagonists. The title skillfully misdirects the reader to expect some pro-biotic resolution, when in fact our narrator builds her strength and her secret life off-page. So easily dismissed by her offhandedly cruel husband, she hangs around the park until a “chance” collision leaves her free to start over with her new man, dog and all.

The Boy With A Thorn in His Side by Image Ronin This leads off with a witty reframing of friendly, familiar banter as a primate shit flinging match, before taking an abrupt swerve into more uncertain territory. Glossing over the night itself with just enough detail, Image Ronin captures a morning of cotton wool distance, with one last childish game warding off the inevitable confrontation with adulthood and mortality.

Mortality also plays a part in What It Means To Make Something by CaseyCaseRose, but here we see the flip-side, with the nameless artist creating that deeply surreal structure as the only possible representation of a life full of the usual contradictions and gaps. In concentrating on the dreamlike act of creation, Casey turns a mirror on all of our attempts to interpret the prompt, and throws in some pure poetry for good measure.

Birdie Attempt is another classic off-beat tale by Tinman, here channelling Douglas Adams at his most playful and surreal. From the spot on approximation of David Attenborough’s halting intonation to the gleeful “wheeee!” and the troubling mention of Dalek sex, Tinman fills his stories with so many jokes, puns and comedic images that I’m convinced he’s somehow doubled or tripled the word count without anyone noticing.

In All Seeing Eye, James Brinsford gives us the most tangential appearance of the prompt, concentrating instead on a family’s breakup, as overheard by a young girl’s soft toy. There is no explanation of how a normally inanimate object is able to narrate for us, but that’s one of the delights of flash fiction, and what we have instead is a sweetly sketched relationship, with the narrator’s love for his young charge shining through.

Lady Hazmat – Our exalted leader weighs in with an out-of-competition guest appearance that reminds us that she too has serious form as an author. Her untitled piece is a well-reasoned tale of eco apocalypse, torn from today’s Neonicotinoid – soaked newspapers. The girls’ trip to the greenhouse seems like a dream come true, with the final reveal that it is just too good to be true.

With Rx, Tinika gives us a cautionary tale of drugs and sunshine, with the age old adage of be careful what you wish for. The mid point of the tale is so swollen with flowery, psychedelic language that it comes closer than any other this week to replicating the saturated hues of Shakes’ source photo.

No Ordinary Morning by RA Smith gives us another sculptor, but our protagonist here is a jaded, cynical success, presumably in some non-creative field, in it for the money long after the original impetus is gone. The sculpture both taunts and admonishes him, reminding him of what might have been, and in a brief spark of hope, what might still be.

So, my winners then:

HM – Casey, for the image of a shed dress like an oil stain on the floor.

Runner Up – Shakes, for his unsettlingly mundane psychopath.

And this week’s winner and FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Tinman

with Birdie Attempt

for hitting it out of the park (or off the green) once again.

Much thanks, Karl for your thoughts and congratulations for your second win, Tinman! Your story will be posted tomorrow as the HumpDay Quickie and you winner’s page will be updated to reflect your shiny new triumph!  Next week, for lucky round #13, I, moi, LadyHazmat, will be acting as judge. Tell your friends and we’ll see you all back here next weekend!