Posts Tagged ‘Catherine Connolly’

Happy Tuesday! Thanks to everyone who wrote for Round 120, and thanks also to Catherine Connolly for judging the last challenge of 2016. You’ll find her comments and top picks below.

So, there were several stories touched by the Christmas – or a slightly more serious spirit, in instances 😉 – this week, given the photo prompt involved a shopping mall or centre, for the Brit based.  By turns hopeful or somewhat ominous in tone, they made me laugh or pause for thought, depending on the subject matter.  I even travelled the eras, along with geographical boundaries, whilst trying to make a decision as to a winner – and, along with that, pick my favourite lines and phrases from them all.

It bears repeating that, as ever, the standard for stories was high, making my decision a tough one.  I enjoyed all of entries on their merits – and big thanks to all of you who found time to put together an entry at a very busy time of the year for most.  That said, I’ve had to come to conclusions, so below I’ve flagged my favourite lines from them all and my winners for this week:-

Favourite Lines

Yet Another Era

‘Lord George shook his head.  “Not even a postcard.”’

Peace On Earth

‘”This place—secular!?” said a young man.  “Look around you, mate.  Every shop in the mall is full of Christmas goods.”’

Views In Ashes

‘Everywhere I look I see young lovers walking hand in hand, their expectations of an engagement proposal high.’

Christmas Shopping

‘The same events of conditioning and control were being repeated in shopping malls across the city.’

Sanderson Filibuster’s Amazing Shopping Emporium (somewhere off the beaten track)

‘The silence rang through the store like a truth told in Parliament.’


‘”Oh, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s the wild-eyed stare…possibly the gaping mouth…perhaps the drained complexion.’

Runner Up

‘Christmas Shopping’ by Steph Ellis for its sinister imagery of the inhabitants below stirring to life – even for a little while – and imaginative use of phrasing, with runs involving ‘sleepmode’ and ‘wraptime’, amongst others.  The emphasis on language and technology amidst an apparent festive season scented with cinnamon and pine leads cleverly to the image of city-wide conditioning and control and areas devoid of humans.  The bleak last line wraps the story up – with a not so festive bow.  Nicely done!


And our Round 120 FLASH MASTER is…


A.J. Walker


‘Sanderson Filibuster’s Amazing Shopping Emporium (somewhere off the beaten track)’

Aside from a nicely formulated title, which sets the tone for this story from the outset and got me on ‘track’ (as opposed to off!) for the rest, the back and forth of the dialogue in this piece is brilliantly tongue in cheek and got me laughing, as well as creating a great sense of character.  Phrases such as ‘on the top of the pile..and the bottom’ stack up, until the suggestion of the ‘man with a can’.  (The can do man? 😉 ) Ho ho ho indeed – and fab to boot too!  Thoroughly enjoyed it, gifting this one my winning vote for the week.  Well done!

Conratulations, AJ! Your story will be features as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie!

In observance of the upcoming holidays, The Angry Hourglass will take a brief break until the first full week in January. Whatever holidays you’re celebrating this year, I hope everyone has a wonderful love-filled season and that I’ll see you all back in 2017.






Hello again. Welcome to Flash Frenzy Round 120! This is our last writing prompt for 2016, and Catherine Connolly is this weekend’s judge.

Before we get started, here’s a brief reminder of the rules.

Deadline: Sunday at 6:00pm MST. You all have 36 hours to create your best work of up to 360 words (exclusive of title) and post it into the comments below. Please include your word count (required) and Twitter handle if applicable. For complete rules, click here. 

The winning author and their story will be featured as Wednesday’s Hump-Day Quickie and be crowned Flash Master of the Week.

Here is your prompt.

round 120

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

Happy Tuesday, friends. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to write and comment on this week’s stories. Thanks also to A.J. Walker who, despite being under the weather, did an admirable job of judging the entries. You’ll find his comments and top picks below.

First off, I was glad there were only seven entries this week, I’ve been off sick struggling with painkillers and anti-inflams. So a big thank you to all of you who didn’t enter this week. It is appreciated.

Secondly, to those that did thanks – I suppose – as ever the standard in Angry Hourglass is always so high. I know you guys realise a joke or two always gets a thumbs up from me. I like a laugh. With that in mind… what the heck happened this week?! How could a photo of a nice looking lady doing yoga outside end up with so much death and threatening behaviour? It’s a mystery to me. And not funny. All the stories were strong and had their merits, but I’ve had to choose my top 3 and I have.

So, without further ado my favourite lines and my picks of the week…

Fave Lines:

All Daddy’s Rules

Last month I’d realised, in all Daddy’s rules there wasn’t one about not killing him.


I’ve never seen his thighs from that angle – interesting, although a little hidden by buxom-butt herself.

When I Was Young

She felt touched for an instant by a long-forgotten warmth.

Dancerella’s Dream

It was just me, dancing my heart out for the city.

Through Icarus, Kisen And Beyond

His knees crumpled as he hit the paved floor of the balcony, his gasps making way for sudden silence.

The Last Summer

While the city burned, we danced in the spray like kids.

Praying Mantis

If they did, they would be running to that fat little priest of theirs as fast as their legs could carry them and he would have them on their knees.


When I Was Young by Ewan Smith- A lovely story illustrating a slightly testy relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter. Nice interaction between the characters with a grandmother being made to be thoughtful about her past but sharp enough not to let the young girl take the mick.

Runner Up

Through Icarus, Kisen and Beyond by Catherine Connolly – Nice world building with the always scary mind control and subterfuge thing (I watched the Ipcress File last week again funnily enough; or did I?). Both the speech of the characters and the descriptions of them set the story up brilliantly. All things considered very, very good.

And our Round 119 FLASH MASTER is…


Steph Ellis


Praying Mantis

A scarily confident slightly peckish “woman” into bondage with unusual eating habits and a dislike of second dates. Loved it.  Nicely paced with good scene setting and a smart if unhappy end (for the bloke anyway). I for one will be keeping away from those who Yoga (it doesn’t help that they always look like they could do with a good meal too).

Conratulations, Steph! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! We’ve got one more weekend before we break for the holidays, and our last judge of 2016 is Catherine Connolly. 😀

I’ll be sending out Twitter requests for 2017’s first crop of judges in the next few weeks, but if you don’t use Twitter, especially if you’re a former FLASH MASTER (Helena, Angelique), and you want to try your hand at judging, please send me a message through the contact tab and we’ll get you signed up. Thanks again, everybody. See you next weekend!

Hello all, and welcome to this week’s winners post. Thanks to everyone who wrote for prompt 101 and to AV Laidlaw for taking on the task of judging. You’ll find his comments and top picks below.

Oh my fur and whiskers! Plenty of rabbits in this week’s entries (and a few hares but I shan’t talk about them, not in polite company). Plenty of transformations and a fair smattering of horror too, but alas nothing about nice things like carrots.  Anyway I mustn’t be late so, without further ado or twitch of the nose, here we go down the rabbit hole.

The Chase: Now we start with a dark one. The old rituals bubbling away in the bucolic, the green man, the sacrifice of an innocent, the wildness let loose when we put on masks.  The way the story circles back on itself with as Inspector puts on the mask gives a great sense of something old, and something very, very nasty.

The Ritual: Did something happen, or was something only dreamt? Does it matter? I like the language – “jagged splinters of sunlight” and the physicality of the details – “mud on her knees, scratches on her arms and dried blood on her face”.

Mad March Hares: Lots of sensory detail right from the start – “Damp earth clogged her nostrils”- puts us right into a story of tables turned. The mystery is created – what is happening to the girl? What are the treasures? – and resolved with a bold leap, switching from past to present tense, showing you don’t always have to spell out everything.

Petrichor: A mythological tale with a myth’s dream logic. The story is made from images – a white bird among black crows, a fox skull, a glass heart, a forest cat (does he come from Cheshire, I wonder) – all told with matter-of-fact language to keep it grounded. One to come back to, over and over.

White Rabbit, White Rabbit, Black Rabbit: A boy strikes a bargain for good luck but meets something darker… The sinister atmosphere is invoked by the Black Rabbit’s speech patterns, archaic, almost poetical. It’s also a good example of how to strip away excess from a story – we are never told why the boy wants to strike the bargain, for example – to find its core.

Seagull: Jonathan Livingstone Seagull with a ‘tude, I like that. The story is carried by the narrator’s gleeful voice as they revenge themselves on everyone who’s given them a hard time in the past. The seagull may be a thieving git, but you can’t help but side with them.

We’re Different Now, You And I: The horror of loss brought out in the details – “Where once was a cheek as soft as silk, now bares only cold, hard bone.” The little flashes of the past – meeting on the pier, the coat given as a Christmas present- helps give depth to the relationship between these two people, necessary for the sense of loss to come through.

If Two Go Down To The Woods Today: Written entirely as dialogue, but the two characters come across vividly and delightfully as real (you know what I mean) children.  A real tour-de-force best read aloud to the young kits.

Walking On Water – A User’s Manual: How can you not love a tale that begins “The resurrection was a reflection of a perfect light onto the chrome of God’s Daytona Coupe Cobra”. What follows is a great contrast between the dialogue and the extracts from the book.

Blessed Spring: And we end on a happier note. I like how Elizabeth’s problem – her childlessness – is slowly introduced through concrete images: the house with room for more, the birds laying eggs.  It really helps us to empathise with her.

Oh my paws! Apparently I have to choose a winner, or the duchess will have me executed, as sure as ferrets is ferrets!

HM – White Rabbit, White Rabbit, Black Rabbit by C Connelly for its atmosphere.

Second Runner Up – If Two Go Down To The Woods Today by mariemck1 for great dialogue.

First Runner Up – Petrichor by Voima Oy for its images and Wonderland feel.

And by the thinnest whisker of a new born rabbit…

Our Round 101 FLASH MASTER is…


 Richard Edenfield

with Walking On Water – A User’s Manual

He nudges it for that first line.

Congratulation, Richard! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! Please contact me here if you are interested in judging next month. Next weekend, CR Smith returns to judge Round 102. See you all then.

Happy Tuesday. I’m not sure how the weather is shaking out where you all are, but Utah didn’t get the memo about spring (rain and snow). I didn’t see very many bikers on my way to work this morning, that is certain. Thanks to everyone who wrote for last weekend’s prompt, and thanks to Catherine Connolly for judging. You’ll find her comments and top picks below.

A really interesting photo prompt this week – one that I knew would be taken in many diverse directions – and you didn’t disappoint in that regard!  Unsurprisingly, given the warning to cyclists there was a tendency towards darker tales this week, which I’m normally never averse to 😉 . That aside, though, there was crime (and pointed punishment), a trip towards Wonderland, sci-fi style slants, friendship and betrayal.  As ever, my task was a pretty tough one, so thank you everyone for making my deliberations so difficult.

Seeing as Sal seems to have created, as they say, A Thing, I’m following recent Hourglass tradition and running through my favourite lines whilst I was reading before confirming my winners.


Run Rabbit

“Run, my little Rabbit.”


“Children left warm beds, gifting only their small, cold shapes in rumpled blankets to those they left behind.”

When You Go To Tulgey Wood, Beware

“There is no signal in the labyrinth of shadows at the heart of the forest.”

Breaking The Cycle

“It has come to our attention that a movement has been formed amongst rebels, to square the circles and break the cycles.”

Alleys In Bloom

“The tangled wires of radios and cracked screens of TVs proliferate among the blue mirrors in the alleys, silently reflecting the empty sky.”

Refreshment Break

“He had battered and shattered that.”


“Arms flailing I tried to grab at anything as the forest turned upside down.”

Bermuda Triangle Squared

“I climbed over the warning sign and took down its metal carcass.”

Double Trouble

“They look like Popeye’s biceps but in the wrong place.”

 The Tree In The Dust

“The stabilisers are off.”


Second Runner Up

The Tree In The Dust – AJ Walker

A powerful, hard hitting and emotive piece – all within less than two hundred words.  I loved the original take on the photo prompt here, with the literal stabilisers becoming figurative in the concluding sentence.  The reference reversal at the end packs a powerful punch.  Plus, the somewhat chilling suggestion of the tree nourished by the dead stays with the reader beyond the words themselves.  Nice work.


First Runner Up

Untitled – Marie McKay

A great title generally works wonders for me when judging – but this piece of flash genuinely speaks for itself.  In less than 150 words(!) we are transported into a world where children are summonsed towards the seam of space above, leaving the mere suggestion of themselves behind them.  Great world building and imagery, with poetic, spare language.  A haunting tale.


and our Round 99 Flash Master is…


A.V. Laidlaw


When You Go To Tulgey Wood, Beware

The repeated refrain style paragraphs drew me deep into this story, similarly to our protagonist drawn into the heart of the forest.  Alice references aside, the use of language in this piece is wonderfully effective, with bicycles “twisted in the trees” and a “labyrinth” of shadows hidden at the centre of the “thorny brambles”.  The continued contrast between myth, magic and trespassing technology are well developed and sustained throughout.  Ultimately, the suggestion of a meeting with the Jabberwocky clinched it for me!  A lovely, imaginative piece.  Well done – and congrats!

Congratulations, AV! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie!

I’ll be soliciting judges for April this week, so keep an eye on your inboxes, writers. Next weekend, Stephen Lodge will make his judging debut. Hope to see you all there.

Hello again, writers. Welcome to Flash Frenzy Round 99. With spring just around the corner, you may be thinking about hiking and biking, but after this week’s prompt and stories, you may wish to reconsider…  This week’s judge is Catherine Connolly.

Before we get started, here’s a brief reminder of the rules.

Deadline: Sunday at 6:00pm MST. You all have 36 hours to create your best work of up to 360 words (exclusive of title) and post it into the comments below. Please include your word count (required) and Twitter handle if applicable. For complete rules, click here. 

The winning author and their story will be featured as Wednesday’s Hump-Day Quickie, receive a winner’s page, and be crowned Flash Master of the Week.

Here is your prompt.


photo courtesy Sean Igo

Hello again, writers. Since this is a late post, I’ll keep my introduction short. Many thanks to everyone who wrote this weekend and to Fae Fielding for judging the stories. You’ll find her comments and top picks below.

Definitely out of my comfort zone judging, especially as I have known, for over a year, how good the writing is with AH flash. This week was no exception.
It was difficult to choose, as they were all so different.

The Writing’s on the Wall

Favourite lines:
‘He slaps her on the bottom with his greasy sausage fingers.’
‘He’ll brush my words off. They’ll be smudged away to nonsense.’
I like the idea of the blind sax player rubbing away the chalked words, and my heart sinks too. Oh no!

Rush Hour

Favourite lines;
‘- probably another suicide – these people just didn’t think about others.’
‘He shouldn’t run, not in shoes from Church’s, same as the boss wore.’
These two lines sum him up straight away.


Favourite Lines;
‘When the saxophonist played them back into the present and returned them to the world,’
‘Where the noise is too great, that is where I go. And I give them that which they have forgotten … I play them an intermission.’

Expressing Myself

Favourite Lines;
‘These essays certainly do not flow from my pen. I labour over my opening sentence, writing, crossing out, rewriting.’
‘hoping for inspiration or some kind of divine intervention,’
As a person who entered Uni later in life, I acknowledge these observations of essays writing.

Like Breathing Into a Saxophone

Favourite Lines;
‘A glorious ensemble of hints with no answers but some ass kicking show stopping questions.’ I liked the Jazz description very much.
‘But a smile crept into a note that swam through the air and ended at her doorstep.’ Lovely line.

The Pied Piper of the Cloud

Favourite Lines;
‘She exists in the etherscope of automatic downloads.’
‘She’s nestled in the three hundredth scroll down of the T’s and C’s.’
I loved the way the title is linked to the last line.
The Soul Club

Favourite lines;
‘As I play my saxophone, the red dots blink along the skyline, seemingly flashing in-time to the music.’
‘turning my final breath into music,’

A Sure Bet

Favourite lines;
‘It was embarrassing to hear her boss say “Saw Ray last week outside Lidl”.
‘who didn’t like enterprise unless it was wrapped in an Armani suit.’
We get the flavour of Emma coming through strongly in these lines.

It took most of the afternoon to decide between three for placings…

2nd Runner up

Life Breathing Into A Saxophone by Richard Edenfield

The first line repeated three times drew me in. I love music, and play different music genres for my different moods. I hate Jazz, but loved the description (it was one of my favourite lines). I almost felt as though I was watching one of those late night films, or listening to late night radio. Descriptive and atmospheric.

1st Runner up

Intermission by Steph Ellis

I felt that this piece was written as a musical score rather than a typed story. It was lyrical and meditative. They seemed to be in a state of mindfulness too. We could all do with a bit of silence to pause and recharge. I really liked the idea and message coming through. There wasn’t a lot to separate this story from the winner

and our Round 98 FLASH MASTER is…


CR Smith

with The Soul Club

Lovely description to open the story. Plenty of contrasts; bright night life, laughter and then the cold, nobody noticing and not enough cash. The contrast in going from the freezing cold, down to the hotter club. The odd assortment of Souls, linking the musical soul with putting his soul into the music and having his soul ‘rescued’ by the man collecting souls.

Congratulations CR! Your story is this week’s HumpDay Quickie! Next weekend, Catherine Connolly returns to the judge’s seat. Hope to see you there.