Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Stahl’

Happy Tuesday, writers! Thanks to everyone who wrote and submitted stories last weekend. I hope everyone enjoyed the free for all. Thanks also to David Shakes for judging the submissions. You’ll find his comments and top picks below.

Return of the Monster

“What’s on Your Coffee Table” would really make a genuinely decent show! Pitch it, Stephen, pitch it! The characters’ names hint at details unwritten and the playfully bizarre tone really appealed.

Man Toes

My first question would be – how did Rebekah come across this picture to begin with? A brilliantly woven tale, a slow reveal and expert writing as usual.

The Devil’s New Job

How cool of Carol to write a sequel to her fantastic THE INFERNAL CLOCK story and afford me the opportunity of plugging our new anthology! You don’t need to know the characters to enjoy this story – but it helps! Suitably creepy – loved the boxing up idea!

Overlooking The River

I remember writing a few years back that Patrick would be a writer to watch. This was wonderful in its imagery and the building tension, just to have the rug pulled. I so wish I could see that prompt. Nice one Patrick.

The Poet Goes to the Shops

Dirty carrots?! The poet’s lines, in isolation, contain some lovely phrases and ideas but in the context of the overall tale just add to the beautiful absurdity. A sketch waiting to be filmed I feel. Hilarious.

Big Richard

Where did those character names come from?! Great narrative voice and another (subtle) nod to our new anthology, THE INFERNAL CLOCK which is now available as a Kindle edition and a paperback. I really love this story – what more can I say? A great mix of genres, a strong narrative voice.


Is it wrong that I can follow Steph’s line of thought from brick house, to little pigs to evil child? Maybe we’ve worked to closely on THE INFERNAL CLOCK (have I mentioned our anthology?!) I loved where this went. Dark as ever, Steph, very dark indeed.

Confessions of a Portal Guardian

I do like this Voima! The narrative is so good and the last paragraph’s moment of suspense is a brilliant way to end. We both like a portal don’t we? Recurring theme for you and I. Deft storytelling and most satisfying.

Painting Your Troubles Away

I hope that Angelique’s paintballing experience was the only real-life inspiration here! I loved the line:

Revenge would not be sweet, but salty, like her sweat and his tears.’

I may have to steal that at some point! Great twist with the punchbag and the tough (but not life-threatening) paintball plan. Well done Angelique.


Oh unreliable narrator, what to make of you? Brian – you’ve written a good one here. The tone is perfect. I am still undecided – deluded nutter or fallen god? That’s what makes this a cracking tale. I know that Brian’s a marvel fan and this felt like Marvel movie humour – he knows that’s a compliment.

Wasn’t My Fault

I like the idea that Len from next door is the keeper of the lexicon for this salt of the earth narrator. The date of this little round did not escape Stella here and she used it to great comic effect. Obviously, this lot are from Coventry though – that sort of malarkey would never happen in Solihull darling!

Whenever I judge these things, commonalities begin to assert themselves. Great narrators and protagonists seemed to be a strong theme this week. Comedy in all its forms too. A great set of tales and impossible to judge on merit alone. I’ve gone from the gut:

2nd Runner Up:  Overlooking The River by Patrick Stahl for its imagery and poignant ending.

1st Runner Up: The Poet Goes to the Shops by Ewan Smith for the rhythm and juxtaposition in this one.

And our ROUND 133 FLASH MASTER is…


Rebekah Postupak


Man Toes

Rebekah is back with a show don’t tell tour de force!

Congratulations, Rebekah! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! Thanks again to everyone who wrote and to Shakes for judging. Next weekend, Jaime Burchard returns to judge round 134. Hope to see you all there.

Happy Tuesday, FlashDogs. Many thanks to those of you who wrote for Round 50, and many thanks to Voima Oy for volunteering to judge. You’ll find her generous comments below as well as her top picks. 

Greetings, everybody!  I am  awed and humbled by the talent on display here. The photo suggested so many things, and these stories really show the wonderful  possibilities and range of flash fiction.  Thank you all for these amazing tales.

Here are my comments–

“The Last photo of Humanity” by Patrick Stahl– What a  great take on the photo. It is so vivid and descriptive, and there’s a lot to tell, in so few words. I also applaud how you  used the blobs of light. And those last lines–bravo!

“You will See Some Magic” by Casey Rose Frank– The language and voice here is wonderful.  It sparkles and shimmers and snaps.  Science fiction, fantasy–magic, indeed.  This is a truly marvelous tale.

“The Soul Catcher” by Mark A. King–The story here is very old–and the voice is sublime–describing the feast of images–from water and mirrors  to technicolor and instamatic  (“watching a soul come to life”)  to the tech of today. The future implications are ominous with Google Glass. Yes, it scares me, too.

“Tipping” by Brett Milam–This is intense and visceral description.  I could  see and taste it. The last line is so full of despair. The last word, empty.  Such vivid and powerful writing.  Please consider sending this (or a version of this) to Synaesthesia Mag ‏@SynaesthesiaMag. Their current theme is “Eating.”

“Seeing things” by Brian Creek–The dialogue here is really well-done, and I could see this story so clearly. Very spooky atmosphere, like the opening of an X-Files episode, and I  mean that as the highest praise. Well-done.

“Black and White Pictures” by A.J. Walker—Really scary, like the best kind of horror movie–so vivid and descriptive. I like the play on black and white, light to dark and the final fade to black.  So good.

“The Battle” by Stella– The double, the other, who is this ghost  in the selfie?  This is really scary stuff.  A real Twilight Zone feel as well. Haunting, indeed.  “I did not want to kill again so soon.” More, please.

“The Companion” by Marie McKay–I very much like the premise of this story, and how much you can convey in so few words. The phone friend  is an uncanny  presence. “One last time” has a very ominous feel.  There is more to this story.

“Doubly Exposed” by Catherine Connolly–Here the dialogue is really effective, and reveals the relationship –the disconnect between the  two characters, and the triangle with the missing one. Is she trapped in the space between?   More to this story, too…

“Under the Same Moon”– I love the idea of the moon-sharing app and the possibilities of connection, both online and between the father and daughter. This is really a charming story. Wonderful writing.

Untitled by drmagoo– The title, or lack thereof,  also contributes to the anonymity of the spy– no face, no name. I like the almost offhand tone  here, describing his dangerous mission, the nondescript phone, the secret codes, his fabricated life.  And I really admire how he comes to his decision to toss the phone.  Well-done!

“Selfie” by Rebekah Postupak–The dialogue  reveals what’s going on, here–two friends sharing photos. Kate seems to be living vicariously through these family photos–but she’s not in the pictures–and we don’t  even find  out her name until far along in the story. Can her friend  help Kate come to terms with herself?   This is really a beautiful, haunting story.

Thank you again for such wonderful tales. Here are my picks—

 Special Mentions

“Under the Same Moon” Carlos –for a charming story of connection–and a great idea for an app.

“Seeing Things” Brian S. Creek–for a spooky story and excellent  dialogue. 

 “Untitled” drmagoo–for showing a character coming to life.

 “You Will See Some Magic” Casey Case Rose–for a marvelous story and magical writing.

Honorable Mentions–

“The Last Photo of Humanity”  Patrick Stahl–for a big story in so few words.

“Selfie” by Rebekah Postupak–for a haunting story of self and others, and life and death.

And our Round 50 FLASH MASTER is…


Mark A. King

with “The Soul Catcher” 

A beautifully  written  tale of possession that spans the ages, and invokes a frightening  future.  It’s truly sublime.

Congratulations, Mark! Your story will be featured as Wednesday’s 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 weekend, I will be stepping in to judge round 51. However, I am on call over the long holiday weekend and results may post late depending on how many times my pagers goes off—fair warning. I hope you all have a lovely week and we’ll see you again on Saturday! 

Greetings, friends. As I was perusing the interwebs last night, I came across the following quote:

“Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.” – Ray Bradbury

Because this is close to one of my 2015 writing goals, and because I was feeling a bit displeased with the story I had just finished, I posted the quote on Twitter and tagged my fellow #flashdogs. It wasn’t meant as a direct challenge, more of a reminder that there are good things ahead, but if it were meant as a challenge, at least 12 of us would be 1/52 of the way there! 😀

Many thanks to the writers who contributed stories this weekend, and thanks to Amy Wood for volunteering to judge this round of Flash Frenzy. You’ll find her comments and top picks below.

Thank you to everyone who wrote this week, as always it was an absolute pleasure to read your wonderfully varied tales.

You Don’t Need Wings to Fly – Patrick Stahl

Such a lovely, old-fashioned fairy tale. It gave me a warm glow to think that Alyssa – despite thinking she’s freak because of her lack of wings – finds someone who can see past that and appreciate her for who she is, not what she looks like.

Untitled – drmagoo

Beautiful and sad. A really good demonstration of how much can be crammed into 360 words, without going over the top. ‘She was beautiful in the night’ – lovely line.

Reflections – zevonesque

Ooh, ouch. Poor Terri. Love is never easy and unrequited love is maybe the worst of all. I really like this line ‘soothing chaotic kaleidoscope of reflections’ – it perfectly describes that moment of first seeing bright neon lights reflected on water. Great work.

The Time Traveller – Mark A King

Wow, what a story. This really packed a punch. I wasn’t expecting Bethany’s accident, masterful ‘twist in the tale’ writing there. Brilliant little story. I hope the father manages to find her alive this time.

Crazy Legs – Catherine Connolly

Fantastic descriptions! I can see that roller disco so clearly in my mind, all the faded paint on the skate wheels and the lurid legwarmers. You managed to make me feel like I was there in the middle of things, it’s amazing. Really lovely writing.

What’s In a Name? – Voimaoy

Lovely writing as always. I love the line ‘bruises are temporary tattoos’ – reminds me of my martial arts training, sometimes the bruises are as pride-inducing as actual tats. You evoke a wonderful sense of camaraderie between the girls, wild at night and incredibly normal during the day. Great story.

Roll Back – Brian S Creek

Time Skates! I want a pair! What a brilliantly original take on the prompt. I absolutely loved this story. ‘Time won’t even know I’ve been there’ – I like the idea that Time is almost a sentient being in itself. Fantastic writing.

…To Spite The Face – Foy

Wow, this was hard-hitting and no mistake. Teenage rebellion is a thing of wonder and Laci has taken it to the next level. Not an easy read and worryingly true-to-life but masterful storytelling. ‘The wind is spiteful’ – yes, that’s the perfect way to describe a cutting January wind, good line.

Skatey Katey – Stella KateT

Aw, poor Skatey Katey, trying to escape a family which is really no good for her. Wonderful story, it really proves how much can be said in a very small number of words.

Nemeses – Rebekah Postupak

Unicorns and dragons, oh my! I love a good fantasy tale and this ticked all the boxes. Excellent as always from you.

Works Every Time – necwrites

Even though this was just for fun and outside the deadline, it deserves a comment of its own. What a wonderful tale. I love the way you used Beatrice’s age as starting point for each paragraph, charting her life and the way it’s woven around her love of skating. I’m cheering for her as she pushes off at the end as well, go Beatrice, go! Had this been within the deadline, it would have made the podium for sure.

And now for the winners!

Second Runner up – You Don’t Need Wings to Fly by Patrick Stahl. This lovely feel-good story makes me smile each time I read it. Very nicely done.

First Runner up – Reflections by Zevonesque. Poor Terri. Waiting so long for Mal to make a move and then losing out in the end. Unrequited love, so damned painful. Great writing, lovely turns of phrase, well deserving a place on the podium.

Our First FlashMaster of 2015 is…


Brian S Creek

Roll Back


As soon as I read this I loved it. Such a brilliantly original take on the prompt, I’d love to read more about this world where roller skates can propel people back and forth in time. (Can I hold out hope for a longer story some day? Please?) Fabulous use of the prompt picture, thank you for sharing it with us, Brian!

Congratulations, Brian! Your story will be featured as Wednesday’s 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.

I’m still looking for volunteers to judge Flash Frenzy Rounds 50 and 51; so for now, that position remains TBA. Regardless of who finds themselves in the hot seat, a new prompt will be ready and waiting for hungry flashdogs this Saturday. Hope to see you there.

Hi friends. Here we are again, with a new batch of winners, and a brand new FLASH MASTER that I’m really excited about. First, I just wanted to say that this photo is one of my favorites, and you all did it justice. Thanks! And thanks, Karl, for judging. 😀

Here is what Karl had to say about this week’s entries:

Another great crop of stories this week, and a real honour to see so many of my favourite flash fictioners turning out to write for me. As usual, I’ve made some notes as I read through them all:

The Roar of The Fall by David Shakes
A nameless protagonist stands prepared for a final showdown, but Shakes wisely shows us how she got there instead and leaves her undoubtedly bloody ending to our imaginations. Using capitalization for groups of people and events, he elevates them to mythic status, suggesting an epic history, no mean feat in 360 words.

Morning Fog by Voimaoy
Voimaoy finds a crossing point between worlds, asking timeless questions about the nature of reality. Surely Greg from Archives is an all too familiar part of our “real” world, but through her off-hand references to patrolling the perimeter, repairing the breach and a life among the waterfalls, Voimaoy sketches a world no less concrete than our own.

Sir Prance-a-lot by Sal Page
Sal sets creeping tension against the chaos of life and a child’s recreation of soap opera in miniature. The smiles brought forth by bandy-legged dancing and birthday arrests pale before the final moment of quiet, inevitable horror.

Saviour on a Horse by AJ Walker
With sparkling descriptions, AJ perfectly captures the self pity and glorification of a terminal hangover. We’ve probably all been where his suffering protagonist finds himself, and Sarah’s no nonsense admonishment is all too familiar, giving the tale an uncomfortable honesty and a laugh out loud ending.

It’s Off To Work She Goes by TinmanDoneBadly
A jilted fiancée takes an idiosyncratic path to vengeance. As ever, Tinman’s style shines through, so unique as to make blind judging an irrelevance, and his work is singularly amusing.

Death Rattle by Brett Milam
Brett shows us a noble beast and his all too human master. Some wonderful phrasing illuminates the squalid realities of war.

A Fairy Tale Existence by C Connolly
Cath takes us behind the scenes in Fairyland and gives us a genre crossing prince, an ungrateful Cinderella and a (sadly offscreen) regenerating grandma. The dissolution of those childhood icons is a sad reminder that even stories need to evolve or die.

The Demolition of The Ugly by Bart Van Goethem
A prime slice of on-the-hoof surrealism, complete with a lisping horse, cathartic violence, jokes about windborne faeces and knowing asides to rival Tinman.

Fallen But Not Forgotten by Patrick Stahl
Another epic battle, but telling a very different tale beneath the surface. The Marquess’ willingness to make his stand and turn his men into a human shield around his wife, and her matter of fact acceptance of his unspoken devotion, shows a wonderful human moment that will be lost in the grand sweep of history.

The Waters of the Oasis by C.R. Jennings
A last ditch rescue attempt is almost scuppered by a weak and fallible human but completed at the last by another noble steed. We are almost wondering why we should care about this hapless wanderer, when the tale is flipped on its head by the final lines and the protagonist redeems himself through the ultimate sacrifice.

The Crystal Stones by Beth Deitchman
A tale of daring theft and headlong flight, propelled by pacey, economical storytelling. Beth wisely focuses on the chase rather than the whys and wherefores of the ongoing magical battle, and we are drawn headlong into her world.

I have three runners up this week, with stories which appealed for a lot of different reasons, and which I couldn’t really separate into 1st, 2nd etc. So, in no particular order, they are:

Brett Milam
Patrick Stahl

This week’s FLASH MASTER is…


Sal Page

with Sir Prance-a-lot

My winner by a nose, for that final haunting image.

Congratulations, Sal! Your story will be featured this Wednesday 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.

This weekend I’ve got something special planned, so watch for the announcement! Thanks again, everybody!