A Final January Friday Fictioneers

January is a month which has always dragged for me. I suppose the lead-up to the holidays is always so frantic that the “January let-down” seems prolonged. Add in some of the coldest weather we’ve seen in a while, and this January has felt unending. Yet, here we are, at the last day with the year’s shortest month ready to arrive. I’m telling you, if February ends up being as cold and depressing as January, I’m going someplace warm.

However, the end of February is AWP, that small gathering of 12,000 or so writers, this year in Seattle, WA. I just hope Seattle won’t be having sub-zero temperatures.

The beginning of February is the start of a writing contest I signed up for back in December. It’s the 8th Annual Short Story Challenge, a creative writing competition which could run for weeks, if my story is selected in the first round. There are three rounds, and in the first writers are put in random heats and assigned a genre, subject, and a character. I will have eight days to produce a 2,500-word short story to submit. Judges select the top five stories from each heat to advance to the second round, which is March 27 – 30. Again, you get an assignment but only have three days to produce and submit a 2,000-word story. Judges choose the finalists for the third and final round on May 2-3 where you have twenty-four hours to write and submit a 1,500-word story. Judges select the overall winners from that round.

The interesting aspect of this is every story submitted gets feedback, quite the accomplishment since I’m sure hundreds, if not thousands, of stories get submitted. A writer friend of mine did this last year and made it to the third round but unfortunately didn’t win. So, I’m giving it a try, and it will get me back on track in writing stories longer than 100- or 150-words. Wish me luck.

Skyline2014OSCPrintcoverM.inddAnd in other news, a short story (which is actually a chapter from a novel in progress) of mine, “Meeting the Enemy,” will appear in an anthology entitled Skyline 2014: Prose and Poetry by Central Virginia Writers. This story features one of my pair of globe-trotting spies put in an untenable situation and what she does to address it. I’ll post purchase information as soon as I receive it. The cover is to the left.

The seemingly faded aspect of today’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt reminded me of a Friday Fictioneers Logobox of family photos I have in my keeping. There aren’t many of us left on my father’s side, and I’ve often wondered what some distant cousin will make of these photos if he or she gets them some day. And that led to the story, “Family Ties.” As usual if you don’t see the link on the title in the line above, scroll to the top of the page, click on the Friday Fictioneers tab, then select the story from the drop-down list.

And keep your fingers crossed that Sunday is cloudy so that bloody groundhog won’t see his shadow, and spring will come early.

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