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"Every story needs a book"

Let's Talk Authors

 

1) Write 250 words or less about a character on the Fourth of July. The character can be one you have already or one you create on the fly. Your 250 word story must be FICTION and must include a dandelion AND the American flag. However, your 250 words may NOT include fireworks in any form, because that's too easy!

 

Winner: Bev Clay Freeman, Silence of the Bones and Where Ladies Slippers Grow

 

“NEWS”

Rex Ransom's car passed a line of people observing the 4th of July American flags display at the Smokey Mountains’ Visitor Center. He exceeded posted speeds and raced toward Dandelion Cove, ignoring the Patriotism of the day. He always had to be first to get the breaking story. Today, it was Native American Artifacts discovered in the cove, where previously white settlers were thought to be first. But the latest unearthed items might change that belief.

 

The car slid into a curve as he caught the Channel 5 News Van. Rex floored the accelerator and whisked past them. "Not today, Ms. Sarah. This one is my story." He shook his fist, calling out the window, and passed on double yellow lines.

 

Torrential rain all day and night brought creeks out of their banks. The steel bridge where Dandelion Creek joined Roaring Fork was inches from flooding.

 

As Rex drove onto the wood planking, he saw a wall of water bearing down on the structure. Determined to cross, he continued, but a fifteen-foot wash engulfed the bridge, crushing it like a soda can.

 

Rex thought, if only I hadn’t gone back for extra camera batteries, or stopped for coffee, I’d be there now. How will I get the news on time? It is my story; damn that water!

 

Rex struggled to catch his last breath as the car rolled, when it dawned on him, “Tonight, I AM the NEWS.”

 

2) Write 250 words about a summertime experience you've had. Your story must be based in your hometown, must be NON-FICTION, and must be set in either July or August.

 

Winner: Victoria Ann Fletcher, Fletcher’s Fables and Fletcher’s Fables Too

 

“Beatle-Mania”

My birthday is in July. When I was getting ready to turn 10 years old, my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday. Before I tell you what I said, I need to give you some background.

 

I stayed with my grandparents while my dad taught school and my mom worked at the power company. My uncle still lived at home since he was the baby at 18 years old. He was the coolest guy I knew. He loved The Beatles' music. Since he did, so did I. He told me they were from Liverpool, England which was a long way from Damascus. They came to America to be on the Ed Sullivan show. Needless to say, Tom and I were in front of the TV for that. I think my grandparents were glad when that was over. Now, back to my answer.

 

"Mom, more than anything I want a Beatle shirt," I said.

 

"Okay, I will go shopping during my lunch breaks this week," Mom said.

 

I couldn't wait until after birthday cake and ice-cream to open my gift. First, I looked at it disappointed. Then, I became hysterical.

 

"What is wrong," my Mom asked.

 

"Nothing, Mom. I got what I asked for," I said with tears streaming down my face. It was a shirt with a beetle on it.

 

3) Write 250 Words about the changing of the seasons. Your 250 words must be FICTIONAL and must either discuss the change from summer to autumn OR fall autumn to winter. Your story must include a PICKUP TRUCK and a STAINED GLASS WINDOW.

 

Winner: Amber D. Tran, Moon River

 

“Vitae”

She sees the figure of Jesus in the stained-glass window of a passing church. Flesh-colored shards contrast with the sharp green pieces that orchestrate his crown of thorns. Red lines run down his paper-thin face, blood at his feet. She returns her glance between her sneakers as they dangle in the passenger seat.

 

Her father clears his throat. “You okay, baby?”

 

She sighs through her nose. “Uhh, yeah, I’m fine.”

 

“Talk to me if you need to,” he whispers, shifting the old Chevy S10 into a lower gear to migrate one of the many hills of the Appalachia. The truck lurches forward. She bites her tongue.

 

After a few minutes, the vehicle eases into the crumbling parking lot of an old gray building with bunker-style windows. Her throat is dry as she swallows, her stomach somersaulting at the sight of protesters holding picket signs of ultrasounds, unborn fetuses, and the faces of saved children. Her small hands curl on the hard curves of her knees.

As she opens the truck door, dead leaves crunch beneath her boots. She realizes the camouflage of her outfit—oranges and reds that bleed with the oncoming autumn season—but not even the warmth of her clothes can hide her from the eyes that find her.

 

Her father kills the engine. “You don’t have to do this, baby girl.”

 

“I know, but—” The young girl walks inside.

 

She is stained glass. She crawls on a path of thorn. She can’t have her rapist’s baby.

 

4) Write 250 words about the best experience you've ever had while doing a stereotypically mundane activity. For example, the best experience you've ever had getting gas, doing chores, grocery shopping, walking the dog, driving to work, etc. Your 250 words must be NON-FICTION.

 

Winner: Charlotte S. Snead, A Place to Live and Always My Son

 

I was on the phone praying with a friend who called, while battling a severe bout of flu. Trying to be upbeat, I couldn't stand up and sank to the floor. Our three-year old sank down beside me.

 

"Are you OK, Mom?"

 

I whispered that I felt really sick. He ran back to our bedroom, coming back with my Bible in his hand.

He threw it on the floor at my feet, hollering: "Do you see that, debil? We believe every word in this book. Get your filthy hands off my mama!"

 

Instant healing! The faith of a child! I hugged him, got up, and did a full day's work.

 

5) Write 250 words about the family of polar bears on an icy landscape in our photo. Did the photographer stumble upon them or track them down? Do you want to include the photographer at all, or are the bears looking at something more interesting? Your 250 words must be FICTION.

 

 

Winner: Susanna Connelly Holstein, Anthologies Easter Lilies and These Haunted Hills

 

Ice hung from his eyebrows and beard as he trudged across the expanse of frozen white and blue. Beside and below him stretched the lake, frozen twenty feet deep. It made for good walking.

 

He had planned this hike for years, determined to test his endurance against the wilderness that had killed his grandfather and driven his grandmother south, to the beaches of Florida. There he had grown up, but always he dreamed of snow, of Northern Lights and polar bears.

 

All this way, and not a bear to be seen, he thought. He dropped the pack from his back and sank to his haunches. Time to make tea, warm up.

 

It was a sound as soft as rain. There, so close he could see their breath fog, a mother and her white cubs stood immobile. He froze, one hand on the stove. The mother took a step, nose in the air as she caught his scent. The cubs gamboled behind her, innocently uncaring about this stranger in their land.

 

The mother came closer, her wild blue eyes locked on his. He didn’t blink, didn’t twitch, paralyzed by her gaze. A cub ran up and chewed on his mother’s leg; she batted him with her huge paw, turned and lumbered across the ice. The spell was broken.

 

He watched the bears until they disappeared from sight. Then he made his tea and drank it as he looked back at the way he had come. It was time to go home.

 

6) Write 250 words about the emotions that the date September 11th evokes for you. Where were you on that day in 2001? Have you been to the memorial or would you go if given the chance? The goal of this prompt is to be descriptive in your emotions. Your 250 words must be NON-FICTION.

 

Winner: Kathleen M. Jacobs, Honeysuckle Holiday, Marble Town, and Collected Curiosities

 

“9/11”

“Oh, my God. Oh, my God,” my husband’s assistant, Barbara, repeated in a tone that was unidentifiable. A tone unlike any other I had ever heard, as if it had just been introduced – a mix of trepidation and incredulity, one that I would never hear again.

 

I had not yet turned on the television that morning, instead calling my husband at his office first, to remind him of a dinner party that we had been invited to attend that evening. I put the speaker phone on to spread a more than generous amount of Land O Lakes butter on my cinnamon toast.

 

Barbara was a lady of deep faith and a spiritual awareness that was so genuine that she seemed to glow from within so powerfully that she appeared to walk with not just grace, but a shining light that let everyone around her yearn to spend time with her. She was not the type of person to use those three words lightly, but in an invocation of God’s mercy.

 

“Turn on the television, Kathy,” she instructed in a near-whisper. “I’ll put John on the phone.”

The images that appeared were as foreign and unidentifiable as Barbara’s plea to God. And my husband’s certain and familiar tone had been shaken to its core. And all I could emit, next to the tears that fell without provocation, were the words, “Oh, my God. Oh, my God.” And the only sounds from the other end were deafening, childlike sniffles.

 

7) Write a 250 word detailed description of an object without explicitly saying what the object is. The goal of this prompt is to practice descriptive language and imagery. If you really want to say what your object is you may do so ONLY in the last line of your entry.

 

Winner: Bev Clay Freeman, Silence of the Bones and Where Ladies Slippers Grow

 

You stand alone, grounded yet surrounded by gold and green. They bow as if to touch the hem of your garment, a wrap, rough in texture, life sustaining, encasing your core, your soul. Concealing rings in time are a memory of your life.

 

Lift your arms toward heaven’s light by day, and shelter those who rest in safety at night. Your grace be honored by all who kneel next to you. You bring forth fruit to those who hunger. Carved by sharp edge, you bleed. Scars heal, leaving deep-cut letters, such a shame. You are old, majestic, and strong but wither at the touch of flames. Your enemy is fire, from which you cannot run.

 

Spring brings life in sprouts of green and delicate bloom. In summer, you cool the world and replenish cleansing oxygen into the air. With autumn, your color blushes shades of red and orange. Winter’s wind rips through your limbs, leaving you naked. Snow blankets you against the cold. You stand alone.

 

8) Write a 250 short story that involves a count down. Start the story at FIVE and end at ZERO. The story may be either fiction OR non-fiction, but must include SNOW and HIDDEN TREASURE.

 

Winner: Susanna Connelly Holstein, Anthologies Easter Lilies and These Haunted Hills

 

“Treasure Mountain”

Five of them. Out of the settlers huddled at the fort during the Shawnee raid, only five were taken prisoner. Nancy struggled through the deep snow, gripping her son’s hand. She, her son, and three men were shoved along the trail by their captors. She tried not to think why only these few were selected.

 

Behind her two Indians struggled with a large iron kettle they’d taken from the fort. She had seen them throwing things into the pot and now knives, silver and other items clanked in the kettle. The two men looked like they were having trouble; they soon dropped behind the others. The group stopped, and the two Indians who had dropped behind reappeared, empty-handed. No one mentioned the kettle. They seemed to be arguing about what to do with their captives. Nancy’s heart thumped with fear for her little son.

 

At that moment gunfire burst from the trees. Men rushed from the forest, yelling and whooping. The Shawnee ran swiftly into the gathering dark as soldiers appeared like avenging angels. Tears coursed down Nancy’s cheeks. “We are saved! Hallelujah! We are saved!”

 

This story is based on a Shawnee raid on a small settlement in Pendleton County, West Virginia, in 1758. For years, people have searched for the lost kettle and its treasure. At the annual Treasure Mountain Festival, there is a treasure hunt as part of the activities. But of the kettle and its contents, the number of items found to date: zero.

 

9) Write 250 words about overcoming a fear. It can be fiction or non-fiction, your fear or someone else's. Describe the fear, why it is frightening, and how it was or will be overcome.

 

Winner: Victoria Ann Fletcher, Fletcher’s Fables and Fletcher’s Fables Too

 

Some people are afraid of spiders, snakes, or other animals. Not me. Some people are afraid of dark or closed spaces. Not me. Some people are afraid of doctors and dentists. Not... okay, maybe the dentist a little bit.

My main fear is of heights. I even have trouble getting on the 2nd step of a step stool. It is a little frustrating not being able to change a light bulb because I am so short that I can’t reach it without the before mentioned 2nd step.

 

I won’t live in a 2-story house. I don’t even like to visit my friend’s house with a deck off her 2nd story. Once she saw me clinging to the wall and we went back inside. I admire people who can sky dive, take chairlifts, stand on overlooks, or just enjoy their deck. I am just not one of them!!!

 

There was a brief time that I became comfortable with climbing a step stool. However, after falling head first off the church steps, that was short lived.

 

Since I am old as the hills, I doubt the fear will be conquered in this life. I bet it will be cured when I am walking on golden streets way up high. That doesn’t scare me a bit.

 

10) "It makes me seem whimsical."

"Your definition of whimsical is stunningly different from my definition of whimsical."

These lines were said by two different characters. Write no more than 250 words, no less than 200 words, about these quotes. You do NOT have to include the quotes in your story or word count, but continue the conversation. Who is speaking and what about?

 

Winner: April Ford Hensley, Anthology These Haunted Hills

 

“Tallulah! We are going to be late to the Christmas Eve service!” I pounded on her bedroom door.

 

“I’m coming Mary! Hold your horses!”

 

Tallulah had been late to everything except our birth 82 years ago. She was the first-born. We were identical twins in looks but opposites in many ways. It was one of the reasons I adored her. I was reminded of our extreme differences as I turned towards the click of her door.

 

“Tallulah Belle! No! Just no!”

 

“What?” She grinned merrily.

 

‘You cannot wear that hat!” Was that a pear? And a bird?

 

“Why not? It makes me seem whimsical.” Tallulah adjusted the extra wide brim of crimson felt covering her halo of hair.

 

"Your definition of whimsical is stunningly different from my definition of whimsical."

 

Tallulah huffed. “It’s for someone special.”

 

There was no time to debate her. We had less than 15 minutes to get to the church. We rushed to my compact and peeled out the drive. When I swung a hard left at the intersection, Tallulah’s hat knocked me sideways.

We made it with moments to spare. Scanning the crowd, Tallulah spotted a crying baby chewing his soggy fingers. When he saw Tallulah, his face broke into a gurgling grin. Beaming, Tallulah lifted her great-grandson as he raised his arms to her. Tallulah’s hat worked its magic on him. He spent the entire evening cooing peacefully, staring at it in innocent wonder.

 

11) Write 200-250 words about an "Alien Thanksgiving." Is the holiday called the same thing? How did it come about? When does it take place on this foreign planet?

 

Winner: Victoria Ann Fletcher, Fletcher’s Fables and Fletcher’s Fables Too

 

“Alien Thanksgiving”

On the tiny planet of Zircon, all the beings were blessed to be free from their enemies, the Gargantuans, after years of battles. King Zark announced a day of celebration to show thanks for their freedom. He decided to name the special day Free Feast Day. He invited all 1000 beings of Zircon to attend.

 

On the day of the feast, all the beings came with food to share and the day was enjoyed by all. The tiny beings sang to the adults. The king arranged rides to the nearby galaxy, Xavier, and back. They used the planet’s moons, which were a perfect diamond shape, to play baseball using their jet-ski boots to run bases.

 

It was a great day of fun, food, and fellowship. During the feast, the king asked each being to share why they were thankful. I think tiny Zubidia said it best. She said I am thankful for freedom, my family and friends, and most of all to have a God of the Universe watching over me.

 

At the end of the day, King Zark told the Zirconias that he was declaring Free Feast Day to be an annual event. We will hold it on the 20th if Zeldathan to commemorate the day we became free. All the beings of Zircon cheered.

 

12)    Write 200-250 words about a winter love affair. This story can be true or fictional, but MUST include snow like all truly great winter love stories do.

 

Winner: Willie Dalton, Three Witches in a Small Town and The Dark Side of the Woods

 

“A Love Like Winter”

I had missed him. I hadn’t seen his face since spring, but that’s how it went every year. When the air started to chill and the sky started to gray, that’s when he called. And when the snow began to melt and flowers started to bloom we would inevitably part ways, even though neither of us really wanted to. He was my winter lover and the only thing that warmed my cold heart in those dreary days.

 

We met at our spot just off the highway at the head of a hiking trail that led through a tunnel. We weren’t supposed to be there this late but no one would be coming to close the gate in this weather. The roads were icy and we were crazy to be out in it ourselves but seeing each other was worth it. He took my arm and smiled at me, reminding me of everything I had been missing for so many months.

 

We walked arm in arm through the glittering snow with the street lamps casting a dreamlike glow across the ground and our faces. And that’s what it was really, a dream that lasted from December to March. He kissed me there in the cold with snowflakes in our hair and I knew there was no other love like my winter love.

 

13) Write 200-250 words about the New Year. What are your goals? What steps have you taken in the short time we've been in 2018 to reach them? What adventures are you planning?

 

Winner: Stacey Lynn Schlegl, Little Frog; Tiny Learns to Listen; and MerMountain

 

“Finding peace one minute at a time.”

My goal for 2018 is to shed the weight of my past and live for my future. Many years ago, twenty-three years, two months, and twenty-six days to be exact, I was attacked in my very dorm room in college. Despite this tragedy, I went on with my life to finish college at the top of my class, to have four beautiful girls and twenty-two years of marriage. I fooled myself in believing I was a survivor and that I had overcome. I was one of the strong ones. However, I was not one of the strong ones. I tricked myself into believing I was. I got my strength from food. I deserved that donut. I need that extra helping of spaghetti. I went from 130 pounds to 300 pounds.

 

This year, 2018, I decided to take my life back and find inner peace. On Jan 1, I worked out twenty minutes and everyday since I have added one minute to my workout. Today, I reached forty- eight minutes. In my mind, it is forty-eight minutes that I have taken back from the clutches of darkness in which time stood still without me realizing it. I was slowing dying and unaware of my slow departure. It will not be easy to find my peace back under one hundred and seventy pounds of pain, but I know that I have no choice. I will not let my past define me. I will not let evil take my future away. My girls need a mom to help them pick out wedding dresses, to hold and rock their children and to love them. This is a battle I will win by losing.

 

14) Write 200-250 words about the last stranger you took notice of for some reason. Who was the last random person to catch your eye? What did they look like? Where do you think they were headed? Could you create a story around them?

 

Winner: Linda Hudson Hoagland, the Lindsay Harris Murder Mystery series; Onward & Upward; Missing Sammy; and The Best Darn Secret

 

"Homeless"

Left Turn Linda, should be my new name because of my insatiable desire to drive off into the wrong direction. I did exactly that when I went in search of the Harvest Table where I could set up and sell my books.

 

Having finally found the establishment. I exited my car and went in search of the person I needed to talk with to get myself set up and ready to sell.

I started to walk to the front of the building and I spotted a walking, raggedy clothed man who was disheveled to the point of needing a good scrubbing. He was no more than five-two with long, straggly gray hair, a dirty beard, and mustache. From his shoulders he had tied on cloth bags that appeared to be empty and waiting to be filled with whatever.

 

Initially I was frightened of this little man but when he said “hello” in a bright, cheerful tone my first impression changed.

 

He appeared to be homeless but not unhappy. He didn’t ask me for anything, for which I was relieved because that would have caused my opinion of him to be drastically different.

 

I believed he was on his way to collect cans and other paraphernalia that would earn his some eating or drinking money.

 

If I hadn’t been running late for my commitment to set up and sell my books, I would have loved to have talked with him. I might have contributed some funds to help him survive.

 

15) Write 200-250 words (submissions outside of these limitations will not be considered) about an unusual Valentine’s Day love story. Do NOT include flowers, chocolates, cards, or typical V-Day gifts, such as stuffed animals. Create a love story around something more unique! Keep in mind that, while your submission can feature two people 'in love,' love stories don't always have to be between significant others or even between humans!

 

Winner: Rosie Hartwig-Benson, Petals of Distinction

 

“Whispers of Love”

The first time we met was in the tranquility of a mountainside park. A majestic sunrise peeked over the horizon. A warm breeze drifted over the flowing river bank. I inhaled deeply. My senses elevated with the divine perfume of pure fresh air. Daily concerns dissipated.

 

A well-worn hiking path had unexpected turns with winding brick pavers under tall pines. A piercing vocalization surrounded me. A Renaissance-inspired water fountain stood stately in the center of the 7 acres. Water cascaded gently from the three-tiered fountain while I listened to his endearing whistles. His song resonated with vibrancy.

 

My heart skipped a beat when I finally caught a glimpse of him. It was love at first sight. He appeared to be playing hide and seek while peering through the leaves of the nearby shrub. The striking jewel was wearing a red-coat. It was a stunning crimson that I couldn’t take my eyes off. He had a distinctive crest on his head and a black mask on his face. His sweet melody transported my mind and body into a blissful and meditative state.

 

Nature’s healing wonders of awe-inspiring sights and soothing sounds made for an enchanted setting for this Valentine love story to unfold. A wrought iron bench provided a place for us to rest with him perched on the back bar. I embraced the gift of being alive. A reservoir of peace and love encased me in harmony.

 

16) Use 200-250 words to describe the best book you've ever read. However, do NOT give that book a name. You can use character names if you feel the need to, but try to describe the story without blatantly telling your readers what it is!

 

 Winner: Linda Hudson Hoagland, the Lindsay Harris Murder Mystery series; Onward & Upward; Missing Sammy; and The Best Darn Secret

 

"The Right Thing"

 

My lawyer daddy was raising my brother and me in Alabama during the depression. Things were different then because not all people were treated the same. If your skin was darker, you weren’t treated like the white folks.

 

We had playmates with that darker skin and the only thing I could see that was different about them was skin color. My friends weren’t allowed to go to the same school I went to or they didn’t go at all.

 

My daddy, the lawyer, decided to take a case defending a man of color. That seemed to be a mistake as far as our neighbors were concerned. It was thought that the black man shouldn’t be defended; instead, he should be taken out to the nearest tall tree and hung by the neck until dead.

 

My daddy said the black man didn’t rape the white girl and it was my daddy’s job to prove that the accused black man was innocent.

 

People were really angry with my daddy and decided the best way to get back at him was to kill us, my brother and me.

 

One of the people with the darker skin saved my brother and me from being murdered by a crazy man.

 

Even though things did not work out like my daddy wanted it to go, he felt he had done the right thing.

 

17) Go over to your bookshelf, close your eyes, and pick up the first book you touch. Open the book to a random page, read the first full sentence on that page, and use it as the inspiration for a story or scene. Please include the original line at the beginning or end of your response and stay within the 200-250 word limit!

 

Winner: April Ford Hensley

 

“It could only have happened to you,” the chef snapped, almost dancing with anger.

“Look at me when I’m talking to you.”

 

I lifted my eyes and wiped my hands nervously on my apron. Chef Marconi had his beefy hands clenched at his sides. I tried hard to keep a straight face but when I noticed his eyes were still running, I felt my bottom lip quiver.

 

“Do you think this is funny Maria?” He dabbed his eyes with a napkin. “Those apple pies were the dessert of the day. We have a dining room full of people begging for water. The Smith’s rehearsal dinner is ruined.”

 

I quickly covered my face and turned away, my shoulders shaking with laughter. The big Italian, thinking I was overcome with emotion, patted me awkwardly on the shoulder.

 

“There, there. I’m sorry I yelled at you. Mistakes happen with new employees. From now on though, let’s not mix up the cinnamon with the chili powder. Capiche?”

I nodded silently. “Take a little break then get rid of those disgusting pies.”

 

Marconi shuffled out to the dining room to apologize again. I scurried over to peer through the gap in the swinging door.

 

There sat my ex-fiancé and my ex-best friend. Jeremy and Brittany were fanning their faces while clutching glasses of water along with both of their families. Today ended up being the happiest day of my life after all.

 

First sentence from The Mystery of the Ghostly Galleon by Kathryn Kenny

 

18) Write 250 words about a place where it is always winter, a place where the residents haven't seen the ground under the snow in 50 years. Then, make all the snow melt. What's under it? What do people do?

 

Winner: Teresa Jewell, author of the upcoming My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It

 

"The Glacier"

 

The glacier had been there since before any historical mapping. As a scientist, I had studied its recession for years, but now since the seasons have changed, it is gone. Something just kept me coming back here. The rocks and dirt are exposed now, and the ice and snow are almost gone. The Inuit tribe gave me permission to invite my fellow scientists. The research group camped on the outcrop and immediately started mineral samples. In the first samples, we found gold and precious and semiprecious stones. But the best thing uncovered under the last bit of snow was a perfectly preserved mummy.

 

The mummy was believed to be a hunter that fell into a crevasse and broke his leg during a storm. We took DNA samples from the specimen and dated him back to 175,000 years. The strangest thing was a unique “Y” chromosome he carried. Our scientific team searched the data banks for a match. One man matched the “Y” chromosome. I was the only match in the whole modern world.

 

I now wear the talisman the mummy carried, after all, this was a family heirloom. The Mummy rests now at the Smithsonian, in Washington, DC.

 

Because of this incredible discovery, this desolate place will now be studied for years and excavated for studying early man and the stories left behind in the rock and soil. All the gold unearthed will go to the tribe and the rest we will be utilized to supplement the dig.

 

19) Write 200 - 250 words about the wildest, most unique 'egg hunt' you can imagine. The crazier the better! Who's involved? Where does the hunt take place? Is it for Easter or another holiday? Are there prizes?

 

Winner: Stacey Lynn Schlegl, Little Frog; Tiny Learns to Listen; and MerMountain

 

“Mom!” Tiffany rolled her eyes. “It is Halloween. I can’t believe you would embarrass me like this.”

 

“There is nothing wrong with me dressing as the Easter Bunny giving eggs with candy inside-recycling at its finest.”

 

“What if my friends see you? What if Drew finds out? He will never ask me to the dance!”

The doorbell rang. Lisa hopped over. Two pirates stood holding their bags open.

 

Lisa gave them eggs and sang, “HOPPY Halloween!”

She hopped back to her daughter, “I thought it was a cute idea. You’re always telling me to wear more makeup. I am wearing plenty of mascara and lipstick.”

 

Tiffany rolled her eyes, “I meant mascara on your eyes and not on your cheeks as whiskers and lipstick on your lips and not your NOSE!”

 

“I guess you should’ve been more clear,” Lisa hopped back over to answer the bell.

In the doorway stood two guys dressed as football players. She plopped two eggs into their pillowcases and said, “Is that you Drew Smith and Bill Jones?”

 

“Hi, Mrs. C.” Drew smiled, “I promise to go home and do my science homework.”

 

Tiffany came to the door with an embarrassed look.

 

Lisa Cunningham smiled and said, “Open your eggs.”

 

Drew and Bill opened their eggs and inside was a ‘No Homework Pass.’

 

“Your mom is the best teacher ever!” Drew grinned.

 

Bill poked Drew, “Ask her.”

 

Drew blushed and asked, “Tiffany, do you have a date to the dance yet?”

 

20) Write 200 – 250 words about your DREAM SUMMER VACATION. Now, when we say dream, we mean go all out. Nothing can stop you. Make it as realistic or fantasy inspired as you like!

 

Winner: Bev Clay Freeman, Silence of the Bones and Where Ladies Slippers Grow

 

"IF"

 

You look at the numbers on the TV screen, shake your head and look again. “No way!”

You pick up a pen and rewrite the numbers. “I got ‘um all! Oh shit!”

 

The next day you listen to the news; “One winner!” was all you heard. “And I’m it!”

 

Two weeks later you’re standing on an island beach, alone. Your island, fifty three acres of Sub tropical beauty, one beach house, no roads, protected harbor with your seventy foot yacht, and no one to tell you what to do.

 

“I must be dreaming.” You kick a shell with your bare foot. “Ouch!” Not dreaming, are you?

The temperature is a breezy seventy-two degrees. You feel hunger nagging, so you return to your dwelling. Up the stairs, onto natural wood flooring of your covered deck, through the open door, and into the dining area. Your 360-degree view offers distant mountains, miles of aquamarine water, and sailboats in vibrant colors, dot the surface like tiny floating birds.

 

You take a bowl of fresh fruit, cheese tray with crackers, and a bottle of your favorite wine to the hammock. Each swing in the breeze brings you close enough to the rail to pick up another bite of lunch. Who needs a glass? You sip the wine from the bottle, the way you’ve always wanted to. No guilt, no rules, just you, your imagination, and your laptop. Today you will finish your fifth novel. Janie patiently waits for another best seller.

 

21) Write 200-300 word story that involves confusion over homonyms (words that have the same spelling but different meanings) or homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently). Need help? A quick google search will give you a long list of both!

 

Winner: Stacey Lynn Schlegl, Little Frog; Tiny Learns to Listen; and MerMountain

 

“WHAT A ZOO!”

“Duck!”

 

Ben ducked and put his hands over his head.

 

“No, Silly! There is a duck!” Betsy laughed, pointing too a duck flying overhead.

 

“You no you really shouldn’t scare me like that.”

 

“Sorry,” she chewed her gum.

 

“You no mom says knot two chew the inside of you’re mouth like that. Don’t let her sea ewe dew that. She says it will ruin you’re gums,” Ben warned.

 

“Really? Does mom no you still pick you’re nose?”

 

“What I due with my nose is my own business…such a big boar.”

 

“I am not a bore! That is plane rude,” Betsy put her hands on her hips.

 

Ben rolled his iii, “Know, their is a boar over there. Its really big.”

 

“I am thinking we need to keep moving. We are supposed to meat mom.”

 

“I am fifteen. I don’t need to check-in.”

 

“Well, I due. I am only ten.”

 

“Yak!” Ben shouted.

 

“We are at the ZOO. Their are yaks,” Betsy said with sarcasm. Her foot slipped and she landed smack on her butt in a smelly mess.

 

“No, I meant they’re is yak on the ground,” Ben chuckled. “I think mom isn’t going to bee two concerned with me picking my nose when ewe are covered in puke.”

 

Betsy was horrified.

 

Ben switched the bare’s nose he was wearing to a pig’s nose and made an oinking noise, “You stink!”

 

“I might stink, but mom is write behind ewe.”

 

Ben stumbled and fell.

 

“I thought I told ewe know more silly costume noses at you’re age. And Betsy, how in the world did ewe fall into vomit??!”

 

They’re mom stepped backwards with her hand on her nose. “Oh Crap!”

 

“Mom!” Both kids reprimanded.

 

There mom pointed. Sure enough, Ben had fallen into crap.

 

WHAT A ZOO!

 

22) It's time for WPC 22! For this prompt, simply answer the question below:

What if you could travel though time? Explain your adventure in 200 – 250 words.

 

Winner: Linda Hudson Hoagland, the Lindsay Harris Murder Mystery series; Onward & Upward; Missing Sammy; and The Best Darn Secret

 

GOLDEN YEARS

 

Time travel would take me twenty to thirty years ahead so I could watch my sons mature into old gentlemen soaking in the good that life has to offer until the very end of their days.

 

Both sons endured a difficult youth; one son was hit by a car when he was a teenager where he sustained a devastating skull fracture, a broken leg, and many cuts and abrasions while the other son had to survive the neglect that was dealt him when his mother and stepfather had to tend to the needs of his seriously damaged brother.

 

I want to gaze into the future so I can see how old age has treated my boys because I believe they have earned their share of the golden years.

 

It has been a struggle for me to arrive at this point in my life. I lived through two bad marriages until I finally got the marriage thing right with my third husband. Number three, Sonny, lasted for twenty-five years until his death.

 

I had to care for my mother during her declining years at which time she was losing her mental capacity.

 

While married to Sonny, I cared for him as he survived back surgeries, heart surgeries, diabetes, and his final heart attack; but, I can’t complain.

 

I played the hand I was dealt and I am content with my life at this point. I hope my boys feel that way when they each reach my age and beyond."

 

 

 

 

JCP holds a bi-weekly contest, exclusively for our authors, on our JCP Authors Facebook Forum.

 

On this page, we list all of our writing prompts and winners. Check back on Monday, January 22nd to read our 13th Writing Prompt Contest and the winning submission!

 

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