My Passion Project, The Contest Is Completed!

My passion project is realized, completed and a success! Wow what an exciting day to say, I DID IT! Holla.

I developed and produced (with the help of my esteemed Judges and my awesome hubby) the inaugural eBook Me Up Short Story Contest.  This project came about as an outlet to give back to the writing community.  I had been thinking on this for two years while I participated in blog prompts and other contest outlets myself.  I took the K30 challenge with Kristen Eckstein, aka The Book Ninja, earlier this year and put the call into action (great course definitely recommend).

The output of this contest includes our compilation eBook entitled, Rise Above, which features the short stories of our Top Ten winners.  Top prizes for our contest included cash awards to 1st and 2nd places with author biographies in the eBook for 1st-3rd place.  We have published Rise Above on Amazon today – Get your copy HERE! The funds from those who purchase, Rise Above, support the annual contest and future contests.

SHORT STORY COMPLIATION 2 0 1 5 WINNERS-6

Each story is < 3000 words.  The category for the short story entries was open, so there is a little bit of everything in this book.  Our first place winner, Moroni by Robert Walton, inspired our cover for the compilation eBook.  It’s a well-crafted story that is sure to entertain you.

It was great fun and a wonderful learning experience.  I was able to connect with talented writers and learned that my financial investment in this project did not outweigh the value I gained.  I didn’t have outside sponsors for this contest, which I hope to gain in the future because it can start to add up budget wise.  However, I learned that I can do a decent job on a book cover, as well as, formatting for ePublication.  I was hands on and had great judges who were hands on as well.  A special shout out to Rene Averett, who put in time editing with me.

I hope you can support my project, by the purchase of Rise Above and honor the winners of the contest.  If you have an interest in joining upcoming contests, please join the eBook Me Up’s mailing list.  I hate spam, so you only get notices when something ‘real’ is going on.

Congratulations to our Top Ten Winners, in random order:
Robert Walton, Alan D Harris, Joao Cerqueria, Julia Church, Patricia Crandall, Michael Wettengel, Crystal LeFevre, Mary H Fox, Christina Loy and Matt Micheli.

Flash Fiction Short Story: A Situation

I’m participating in Mel’s Midweek Writing Menagerie #7 and chose to use the first sentence starter.  Enjoy!

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A Situation

The first time I died, I was nineteen years old and resigned to my fate; the second time was a different story. Life with it’s strange plot twists, I think back, and my fate of dying with cancer was more dignified than where I am now. I fought the fight. I freaking kicked its ass! Let’s be clear here, it was no walk in the park. I had many conversations with the Almighty and my doctor’s who thought they were the almighty, about my situation. It was just that, a situation. One last option – surgery.

I died on the operating table…coded, flat lined. Sayonara everyone, that’s all she wrote. Okay, well she put the pen back down but dang if she didn’t wait a good thirty seconds before she jumps starts my heart.

Clear! Pow!

Clear! Pow!

In case you’re wondering, that shocking back to life f*cking hurts! So yeah. I was technically dead at nineteen, well at least three whole minutes. When I came to, life was ahead of me. Cancer was kicked to the curb, although it’s headline stayed with me for a year until I was given the all clear sign from the almightys.

So here I am ten years later, trying to shield some innocent girl during a freaking convenience store robbery and who gets shot? Nope, not me. Oh no, that’s not what happened. That would have been better, a hero’s death.

The innocent girl gets shot. I pull her out of the way. She was in her early twenties, who was weathered from life at a young age, not all that different from me. Although I was bald at her age – thanks, chemo, she had a headful of rainbow colored hair. She was crying and clutching her side that was soaked red.

Squeal of tires and the rev of the car engine sent the message the robbers were outta here.

“Hey? You back there?”

I looked around the corner and saw it was the owner behind the register.

“You okay?”

“I’m good, the girls been shot.”

Me, the owner, and another bystander rallied and had the girl, Mandy, bandaged up when the ambulance and medics arrived and took over. She asked I grab her backpack and ride with her. Okay, so I might have thought we might have a moment here. So the good guy I am, I did exactly that. She wasn’t typically my type, but you don’t mess with fate, right? Wrong.

I should have known better when she claimed I was her boyfriend to the medics so that they would allow this request. Let’s just say I was flattered and went with the flow. Why not, she looked like she needed me.

Nope. It was the backpack she needed, not the chemo surviving IT guy over here.

How do I know this while she is in surgery? It’s because I’ve been in the waiting room for three hours, and I decide to invade her privacy. Seriously, don’t judge me – you know you would do it too. Well, any guy would right, gotta figure out who this Mandy chick is?

Backpack contents:
1 – semi-automatic handgun
5 – bundles of $10,000 cash
2 – tee shirts
1 – small toiletry bag with makeup and a toothbrush and,
the piece de resistance 1 – picture of me sitting at my desk at work.

What the- Sh*t!

There is a mother and father sitting in the left corner holding hands waiting for news on their daughter in OR 2. On the right of me, is an elderly man who keeps nodding off and waking up most likely waiting on someone in OR 1. I’m there waiting on OR 3 or was about two minutes ago until I looked into that backpack. I shrugged it over my shoulder and headed for the elevator. Self-preservation is kicking in; she targeted me for something. There is money in here. Okay, I can’t ignore the gun either, was that convenience story robbery just my lucky day or a plan gone wrong?

I’m a nobody. The average looking decent guy who is good with computers, but not like super computer guy. When I step out of the elevator, I leave the backpack there. I look to the left and the right and realize I’m not in the lobby, strange that was the floor button that I hit. This area was a part of the hospital they are doing construction on, wires are hanging down, plastic sheeting is everywhere.

I get tackled from behind; a bag placed over my head, my hands are zip tied behind me. Not a big struggle from me, because the obvious muscle throwing me around like a rag doll has got to be Dwayne Johnson’s twin brother or something. Finally, I’m knocked out cold.

When I come to, I’m in a box of some kind. No, longer head bagged and hands-free of the zip tie. Feeling around it feels like a coffin, it’s dark, and there is little air, it smells like salt water. I also feel wet, did I pee myself?

Yes, this isn’t how I thought I would die. How do I get in these situations?

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Sure was fun participating in this week in the prompt, it’s been awhile since I participated.  You can participate and check out Mel’s Midweek Writing Menagerie.  Loads of fun and some good entertaining stories to boot.

mels-midweek-writing-menagerie

If you enjoyed my flash fiction/short story, click like below and let me know.  If you have a critique of the above I welcome that too.

Cheers.

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All rights reserved by the author.

June – Write a Page a Day Challenge

I came across and interesting challenge, in which you write a page a day for the month of June. Sounds a little crazy, right? So I said heck yea, I’m in!

Author. Old School Writer

Nothing to verbose in the details mind you, on the ‘how to’s’ of one page a day. Doesn’t mean you have to stop at one page, but at a minimum you’re putting in the effort of at least a page. Now, if your one of those types that need a bit of direction as to what one page equals here you go:

One page will equal the US standard of 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper or computer screen, double spaced and typed is equal to about 500 words. Granted depending on word use and font selected it could be less or a few more.

How I will go about this challenge isn’t some long winded novel exercise, that will stress me out. I will tackle a few blogs, poetry, and short stories. Write some non-fiction along the way as well. My only rule, it’s not for my day job it’s got to be outside of it (i.e., non-fiction catergory).

What will I get out of it? Besides pure joy that I did it. The plan is a compilation of short stories to either further develop or tune up for ePublication. I have this idea a few shorts on a particular topic would be fun since I’ve been reading those lately. Also, I’m getting in the habit of more writing versus weekend flights of fancy. The day job has been a killer on my time lately along with other priorities of life.

So are you crazy enough to join me? What would you want to accomplish a page a day?

FF#35 Never the Twin Shall Meet

Secrets never stay buried for long. Sometimes they die unnoticed. What is lost isn’t known, so how can you find it? My mother must have lived by that Winner stampcode, because the skeleton’s in her closet were hollywood style. Her death didn’t take me by surprise, she had cancer for a while and the second relapse spread, treatment was limited.

Death, knowing it’s coming is never quite the preparation of going through the ‘stuff’ that is long forgotten. Here I sat in the attic a month after the funeral, looking through a box of documents and pictures not believing what I was seeing. A picture of me, but it wasn’t me because I was in the picture too. At first I thought it was double exposure on the first picture, it was taken in the 70’s. Camera and film then are not quite the same as in our digital age. The next picture was clear, there I was sitting on my father’s right knee and my look-alike sitting on the left knee. Turning the photo over it only showed the year.the-grady-twins

Manic, I went through the photos in a hurry, the main difference in my look-alike was the eyes. It was seriousness and vacancy in those eyes, strange. Did I have a twin? In a whispered tone, “Find me and complete you.” The dormer rattled and a whistled, giving me a shiver. I was hearing things in my head. I shook it off, it was only the wind.

In a stained box near the corner seemingly part of the roof structure. It seemed out-of-place and separated from the rest of the boxes. Maybe it was a sign of more information.

Ding Dong, knock knock.

Hurrying down the ladder and rushing to the front door, out of breath I opened it to find a Ironman, a Vampire, a Princess and Harry Potter.

“Trick-or-Treat.” They all said in unison.

Smiling, I placed candy in their bags. “Happy Halloween.” Waving to their parents on the sidewalk, I shut the door. No sooner had I gotten back upstairs did the door bell ring again. Once the candy was distributed yet again, I decided to place the bowl outside for the kids to take what they wanted. I had to see what was in the stained box in the attic.

When I tugged on the stained box it rubbed on my shirt giving off a tint of color. The box held tight, it was like the house didn’t want to let it go. I took the box out of the attic to view it in proper light.

In my mother’s wing backed chair, I sat down and saw the red stains more clearly. Stains usually dry over time, even blood, but this had a wetness to them. Wiping my hands on my jeans, I opened the box eagerly. It was full of documents and pictures along with some clothes that where those of a young girls, mine? There were no stains on anything inside the box, which was unreal most cardboard boxes soaked up wetness and carried it throughout.

The first picture I picked up was of my father and my look-alike. They looked happy and were dressed up for a holiday or church. I missed my father, he died when I was a young teen in a car accident. My mother was so distraught that, she wouldn’t allow me to see him at the funeral home. At his grave staring at the coffin, doubting he was in there, I never really said goodbye. My mother became more strict if that was even possible after his death. It was just me and her, until now.

Next I pulled out a file folder with several official looking certificates. One was my father’s death certificate, and one for Brianna O’Malley on the 31st of October 1977. Birth date was same as mine. My heart racing, tears at the edge of my eyes threatening to spill. Had I lost something I wasn’t aware I had? My sister? Died at the age of five.

How could I not remember? How could my mother not talk about her to me, my twin, her daughter? I pushed aside the file folder of death and settled on a medical chart. I opened the chart and read diagnosis of mental instability. Scanning the handwriting I saw mentally delayed in social skills, exaggerated temper. I dug further in the box and found a doll, Raggedy Ann, it mirrored one I had except it had lots of repairs of holes and re-attachment of limbs. It had seen better days, a sign of Brianna’s instability from the medical chart?

Putting all the pieces from the box into a new box to preserve them. The door bell startled me from my thoughts. Grabbing a new candy bowl I opened the door, to an apparition in the darkness resembling a little girl.

My voice shaking, “Brianna?”

Nodding, she rushed through me and yelled, “Your fault!”

I dropped the candy bowl and spilled the contents everywhere. I shut the door, and heard near my ear “Find me and complete you.” Blackness consumed me.

The morning light urged my eyes open and I found myself in the wing backed chair. My neck strained and my lower back smarting in the position I slept. I stood and rubbed my eyes to clear my vision. Halloween certainly played a trick on me, my mother’s haunted house.

I heard the creak of the stairs, before I saw my look-alike come into the living room and walk past me to the chair. It was the stained box. This felt like deja vu.

“Brianna?”

She didn’t answer me, it was like she didn’t hear me. Looking over her shoulder she pulled out the file folder with my father’s and my death certificate? That was my name!

Looking down at my dress, I straightened my eyelet ruffles of my skirt hem and flipped my long hair behind my shoulders. My black patent leather Mary Jane’s where in perfect condition. I skipped toward the front door and rang the door bell. Sometimes nightmares needed to be relived.

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I hope you enjoyed my flash fiction/short story.  It’s written from featured fiction prompt #35 for horror.  My first time attempting this genre, not sure I accomplished it?  I had fun and was inspired by the prompt – tis the season 🙂

All comments welcome, likes adored and sharing is caring. Check out the other Feature Fiction entries and vote this weekend!

All creative rights reserved to the author.