Monday, June 18, 2012

1st EVER Follow My Lead Flash Fiction Contest


Welcome to the 1st Follow My Lead Flash Fiction Contest!

I will a hold a Follow My Lead contest, monthly, here at my blog. The contest will begin on the first Friday of the month (with the exception of this first contest.) and will run for two weeks. 

The contestant's entries will be judged on his or her ability to follow the prompt provided, and the writer's overall creative expression. Excited yet??

The contest piece may be merely a Sketch Story . Sketch Stories may contain little or no plot. Click on link to discover more about Sketch Stories and famous authors who wrote them. 

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Check out the deets! (Rules):

~ Entries must be original work of the writer.
~ Only one entry per contestant.
~ 300 words or less.
~ The piece must follow the prompt provided, but may sway in any direction.**See note below
~ The contest piece should be written about the image, in some form or fashion. 
~ The prompt should be used in the story and included in word ct.

Have a blast & be creative. :))

**Please copy and paste your entries directly into the comment section of the post. I prefer to keep my blog rated **PG-13, so if your contest piece is beyond this rating, you can post it on your own blog, and then leave the link in the comments section. If in the future, the monthly contest grows, I will incorporate a Linky list. 

**Clarification on PG-13: Some cursing and PDA is okay, IF it lends itself to story / character.  If the contest piece goes above / beyond on either, please leave a link, and I will visit & read. :)))

My main goal in hosting this contest, is to support other writers. YAY! With that in mind, the prizes will be books or ebooks written by fellow writers within the blogging community, purchased by me. If you'd like your book added to this list of prizes, please email me at *Also, if you'd like to donate your time with providing a manuscript critique, as a prize, email me as well.

Now, can anyone say, PRIZES for this first round?? Ooh, I can hear the buzzing of creative minds already. :)))

For this first contest, there will be three place winners, each receiving an ebook copy of End of Days by the fabulous Roland Yeomans . If you haven't checked out his blog, you must! It's filled with ghostly posts of authors passed, wit & humor galore, writer's tips & advice, and giveaways to the max. Roland is one of the most generous authors on this planet.

1st EVER Follow My Lead Contest dates: Begins today! 
June 18th - Ending June 30th, midnight EST.

In honor of my friend, the talented Roland Yeomans, the first prompt will begin with an amazing image from the streets of New Orleans. Drum roll please? Um, thanks!

Photo from

  Follow My Lead Flash Fiction Prompt:

The streets of this restless city never slept...


  1. Ooh sounds fun! I'll see if anything comes to mind over the next couple days. :)

  2. I'm with Cassie. It does sound like fun. Here is what I would post as a contest entry - just as an example:

    (250 words)

    The streets of this city never slept. Not for the living. Not for the undead. Nor for me. I stand halfway between the two.

    I am Captain Samuel McCord, cursed with the blood of the Angel of Death in my veins.

    New Orleans has been called a Twilight City, for it rises from civilized slumber to bustling life at night.

    Performers often line the streets, pushers sell their brands of death, prostitutes promise sex as if it were love, dancers weave through the partiers on the street, and music throbs through the veins of the French Quarter.

    The undead walk lazily down streets in front of buildings dating back hundreds of years. In that sense, they are at home. It is you, the living, that are intruders here.

    An odd feeling came over me as I looked at the people, living and undead, strolling the dark streets in search of ... entertainment. For a fleeting moment, I saw the overgrown square of trees and brush it once had been.

    I remembered when I had been young, when every moment had been crisp and fresh, where happiness and heartache had quickly changed positions, and life was full of hope and promise. Now, things were crowded, ugly, and the only hope was for a good death.

    What had Elu, my Apache blood brother, once told me? "When you were born, you cried and those around you rejoiced. Live your life, Dyami, so that when you die, those around you will cry, and you will rejoice."

    How was that, Candilynn?

  3. Okay! Sounds like I need to shake my mojo so I can participate in this :-) Thansk for putting this awesome contest together!

    1. I think I kept this PG-13 :-)

      And here is my flash fiction piece:
      296 words

      The streets of this restless city never slept. Drunken tourists shuffled along, not a care in the world, bumping elbows into strangers. Offered beer breath laughter instead of apologies. Such lack of courtesy demanded attention, but not from me. In a flash-vision, I saw the young men seal their fate in the next bar. A brawl, preventable were it not for hot heads and alcohol-strained livers. A night in a cell would do them good

      From my blue-lit balcony, I watched a couple walk arm-in-arm down the cobblestone lane, a woman who smiled mischievously up at a husband that was not hers. He leaned down to waiting lips and kissed her. An iridescent light cast a halo around his wedding band as he slipped it off his finger and into his pocket. Of the many, I chose the husband. His choice in the situation turned the tide. They parted from their kiss, no hint of remorse in his smile. I closed my eyes to let the consequences of my choice whir before me: A young brunette, veiled and saddened. Definitely not the blonde clutched in his arms before me. The widow rested her head upon the shoulder of a man with a straight back and heart pouring forth in pity and love. A little boy, too, fatherless, but not for long…and better off for it.

      A smile curled my lips. He will be mourned but something good would come of his death, especially for my wasting body. Curse that river woman and her poisons. Then again, I suppose I shouldn’t have slept with her husband. Now damned as the mistress of Death, taking life is how I must live. Though the streets of this restless city never sleep, it will no longer be so for one.

    2. Thanks for participating, Angela!!!

  4. Will promote it big time for you this Friday! Such a great idea and the perfect prize.

  5. The streets of this city never slept nor did he. Even in the rain he watched her. Casually acting as if he had no interest but never taking his eyes off her.

    So beautiful, he thought as he watched her talking to her friend in the doorway while they sheltered from the rain.

    He knew her name, her age, her home address and that she lived alone. And he watched for the perfect moment. The moment she could be his forever.

    Thanks, this was fun!

  6. Woot, Roland, thanks for stopping by to take a look and writing a fantastic example for the contestants! Or did you want to enter to win a copy of your book? Hee, hee!

    Look forward to your entries, Cassie and Angela!!

    Alex, you ROCK!!

    Gail, thanks!! Check back by on July 1st when I announce the 3 winners. :))

    1. LOL. Just an example. I couldn't resist putting Samuel onto the haunted streets of the French Quarter. :-)

  7. P.S. I've added a note regarding keeping it clean on the post above (in blue). Imagine seeing a PG-13 movie, there is some PDA / cursing, but it has limits. No biggie if the piece exceeds, just link it. :))

  8. An awesome idea, Candilynn :-) I will be lurking and reading everyone's entries.

  9. I found you from Angela Brown's blog. Sounds like fun - maybe I'll be able to join next month. New follower here, love your site:)

  10. This may or may not be based on real life :) haha

    The streets of this restless city never slept… and I really wanted to. But when you’re in the company of potential customers, you gotta do what you gotta do. And what I had to do was put on a good face, laugh at the not-so-funny jokes and pretend this street was the only place I wanted to be with the fifty-plus year old men I was there with.

    “Good evenin’ Miss? Care to donate some spare change for the poor? In return, you get your pick of hats.” The man lifted the baseball caps which held such sayings as ‘The Big Easy’ and the very original, ‘New Orleans, LA’.

    “Um, no thank you.” I gave him my best smile and lowered my head so he couldn’t see the guilt sliding across my face. But I couldn’t donate to everyone who asked. There’s got to be a line drawn somewhere.

    “Here, I’ve got some change.” Potential Customer A reached into his pockets and set about eighty-six cents into the pail.

    “Thank you, sir. Please choose a hat.”

    Customer A grabbed the hat which read ‘Big Easy’ and placed it on his head. “Nice?”

    “It looks great. Perfect style on you,” I lied through my teeth. His beaming grin said I’m the perfect actor.

    The rest of the potential customers had moved on, leaving just Customer A and myself standing next to the hat-seller.

    “So.” The man holding the hats looked me up and down, then took in the height, age and weight of the guy standing next to me. “What’s the occasion? Father-daughter night?”

    Potential Customer A’s eyes grew twice their original size and I thought for sure he would reach in the bucket and grab out his donated change. I managed to stifle my laughter until he walked away.

    Guess I’d have to work on Potential Customer B.

    1. Thanks for your entry, Kelley Lynn!! Nah, you've never been to N.O. :))

  11. Great idea, Candilynn! Why didn't I think of this? haha. I'll post mine next Friday...just making the cutoff. :)

  12. Sounds fun. We did some FF with Rachel's Platform Building Campaign and had a blast.

    I'm a little slow on the uptake. What is 'PDA'?

    1. I did Rachel's 3rd challenge. I had a blast with all the FF! Oh, P-public D-display of A-affection. :))

  13. Wow, can you pick pictures! I was blown away by the blog's header pic, and that prompt pic of NO is just gorgeous. I'm happy to see another Paranormal writer (although mine's very dark...more Horror really, but who's counting?), so I'm following you now. I hope you get good participation for your contest. :-)

    1. Lexa, I love reading dark & scary. I'll be popping in your blog today. :)

      Btw, the blog header above, is me. It may be a cool pic now, but if I wasn't standing in the shadows, you'd absolutely drop to your knees in laughter. My outfit, if I may call it one, was hideous!

      Picture this: hat, humidified=frizzy pony-tailed hair, t-shirt, athletic shorts, arm brace (left arm), and mud boots. Even the cows were laughing. ;)

      But, thanks for all the kudos about the pictures and my blog!!

  14. Thanks so much for championing my cause, yesterday! It was much appreciated. He has that same thing going on today, if you have the time and inclination :)

  15. Aloha Candace,

    Found you via Alex and I'm a new follower as you hang out with some cool peeps and this is a *great* contest idea.

    Will be back Monday with my sub 300 word entry :)

  16. I'm also visiting via Alex. He's the bomb and your blog is awesome too.

  17. This sounds like a great contest, but I think I'll have to wait until the next time.

    Taking a writing break for a few weeks. :-)

    1. Enjoy your break! Check back on the 1st Friday of July. :))

  18. I came across this contest via Alex J. Cavanaugh, and I'm really intrigued. I'm no good at flash fiction so I like to challenge myself to do it, and New Orleans has been on my "to visit" list ever since I feel in love with Anne Rice's books.

    I will be back soon with my entry. :D

    1. Clare, sounds great! I didn't think I was any good at Flash Fiction either, until Rach Harrie's campaign challenge (3rd). I had a blast with all the flash writing we did! I look forward to your entry. :)

  19. The Harvester
    The streets of this restless city never slept. And if they did, they will do so no longer. At least not while I’m around.
    I lie in wait. The voices tell me to. Gnawing at my thoughts until I concede. I wouldn’t want to disappoint them.
    Just out of sight, in the shadows. The darkness cools the hunger that grows within me. I salivate from afar, as you approach.
    Each step closer excites my very being.
    The bright lights, the happy faces of the streets behind you, they pain me. And no doubt your existence was safe, there.
    A laugh. A Cheer. Bottoms up. Rest assured you will meet your end.
    A short stroll down the lane, the sounds of revelry soften as they drift on the night air.
    The still silence of the night fades in. A wooden rhythm of footsteps echo in your wake.
    You stop to light a Marlboro Red, unaware of the eyes laid upon you.
    The rattle of an overturned can in the alley alerts you to something.
    Your heart races. Its abnormal beat shoots adrenaline coursing through your veins. Your senses are visibly heightened. And yet, ironically, you stare right through me, shrugging off your doom to what I can only assume is a rationalization of the rodentia variety.
    It is all very curious, but I digress.
    Shaking off the chill that took hold of your spine, you steady your hand to light that calming tobacco. A few puffs and you turn to face the park.
    With your back turned to the shadows, I can wait no more.
    How unfortunate. And here you were having such an uneventful evening.
    I pull you back. Initially you resist.
    We are locked in a dance—predator and prey.
    Your eyes gloss over.
    You are mine.

  20. Thanks a second time for stopping by and supporting me a second time! You're awesome!

    1. You're quite welcome, Andrew!! There was a lot of, how do I put it, competitiveness, going on over there! I was somewhat afraid to champion you. O_O

  21. Hi. This is my entry into this cool contest. And also my first comment on your blog which I've just discovered today. Should be about 290 words.

    The streets of this restless city never slept but the people in it did. That made it a near perfect hunting ground for him. The way the street was lined with shops on the ground floor and living quarters upstairs meant there were a lot of people living in an area where a stranger walking at night would not attract undue attention. And it allowed him to feast on the terror that sustained him. The young Drinkers might attack victims to drink the terror in their minds, but not Borgef. That way was fraught with too many dangers and the sustenance too fleeting and ordinary. No, he was an old hand at this and he knew that dreams were where the most terrifying things were. Sure, he could infiltrate the dreams of others and make them terrifying, but the best way was to sample the dreams first. The most terrifying nightmares were based on the things that frighten the dreamer already. After sampling the natural nightmares, he could then revisit and manipulate them to new and even more horrifying heights, using what he already knew terrified them. He could return night after night, and feast until the food grew old or stale, then move on. And that was what he was doing out tonight. Hunting. His samplings so far had been mixed, here and there a nightmare, which he had mentally filed away as possibles, but then he happened upon this one! What amazing terror in the natural nightmares of this one! A smile eased its way across his lips and he knew that here he had found a depth of terror that could sate him for a long while. Time to start looking for a place to stay nearby.

    1. Ed, if you happen back by, I need to be able to connect with you, in case. I don't Google +, can you leave me your blog link? Thanks!!!

  22. One more week of entries, folks!! Then the judging begins. :)

  23. Hi. New follower here. I don't know if I can get my act together enough to post something in time, but I look forward to participating in the future.

    1. The streets of this restless city never slept, and neither did I.

      Neon light falls on the wet pavement, and music spills into the street. I move, exhausted, down the narrow sidewalk, side-stepping tourists who walk without paying attention. They are too busy gawking at the nightlife.

      I used to enjoy the night life too, but I have grown tired of endless days and nights.

      I catch my own reflection in a window. I am disheveled. My curly black hair is wild. My eyes are yellow and blood shot. I look like a crack fiend. I'm so tired.

      I continue rambling down the street. There is a woman standing in a doorway, wearing a long skirt. Her eyes glint green in the harsh light. I realize that she notices me. No one ever notices me anymore. I wonder if she's real. It's so hard these days to tell what's real and what's not.

      “Hello, My Dear.” She greets me with a sly smile on red lips.

      My voice catches. It's been a long time since I've spoken to anyone. Finally, I manage.


      The red smile grows larger, her teeth are over-large in her mouth. I stare at them in awe. They're so white, so pointy. I want to laugh. She can't possibly be real.

      “You look exhausted, Dear. Would you like to rest?” I nod slowly. Hallucination or not, if she can let me sleep I would be forever grateful. “Come. I will let you rest. You can rest for as long as you want. Forever if it suits you.”

      I'm step closer. Sleeping forever sounds wonderful.

      She opens her arms and draws me in. It's cold in her embrace, and as her red lips press to my throat, she whispers, “Sleep, My Dear.”

  24. This looks like so much fun! I can't get something written in time for this round, but I'll be back this way next month! What a great idea! Thanks for following me - new follower back at ya!

  25. Great idea! This sounds like a ton of fun:)

  26. Interesting idea...I might steal it one day!

  27. I had such fun writing this! Thanks, Candilynn!

    Sydney limped out to the cab with a torn dress, tear-streaked face, and one shoe.

    “Where to, Cher?”

    Staring out the window, she gave the address. The fresh rain made the dirty streets glisten and the glaring lights twinkle.

    “Ah, Cher sounds not from here. And what happened? You have seen a rough night, no?”

    Sydney smiled and told him her story.

    “We’re here for a wedding. It was a fairy tale with a gazebo in a beautiful garden. Even the cemetery next door was mysterious and magical.

    “Friends of the groom made me feel welcome at the reception with their camaraderie. I was sad to say au revoir.

    “In my room, my phone was gone. One of the boys called, inviting me to dinner. I know what you think. The boy snatched it on purpose. But I was excited to see the streets of this restless city that never sleep.

    “We ate spicy crawdaddies to soothing live blues, then met his friends who were very drunk and entertaining. With hurricanes and banter flowing, I laughed until I cried.

    “But when Michelle’s beau touched my shoulder, she slapped him and they fought. Surprising us, she smashed a bottle over his head.

    “He slumped and she ran off. I followed. When he was okay, we looked at our smeared faces and burst out laughing.

    “As we left, my dress caught on something and ripped. We laughed again.”

    “Sounds like a good time. But what of your shoe and the prince, Cinderella?”

    “When we returned, he was gone, so I called for my pumpkin.”

    “No happy ending?”

    “It is enough. I left my shoe. He knows where to find me.”

    As they reached the hotel, Sydney gasped. There sat a horse-drawn carriage

    and her beau,

    with her shoe.

  28. Great contest! I'm over from Alex's blog, nice to meet you. :) Here's my entry of exactly 300 words.

    Fire and Ice

    The streets of this restless city never slept, even in winter when icicles clung to overhead cables. Many people gravitated towards the flaming nightclub, a few to offer assistance, but most for the spectacle and the warmth provided. They felt in little danger as the building was atop a platform and reached by an elevator, but a safe distance was kept due to the odd piece of falling masonry.

    The proprietor, Gary Hunter, had managed to escape before the fire spread too far. He was glad the club had been closed, but the ferocity of the blaze mirrored the burning anger in his soul as he waited for the fire brigade. It was the second time his establishment had fallen victim to such a fate. The first inferno had claimed one victim – his business partner, Ulysses. It had started in the office when a still-smouldering cigarette had dropped from the lip of an ashtray on the edge of his desk and hit the carpet. Gary had gone home after a long night shift and Ulysses had come in to go over some paperwork. He was trapped in the kitchen and never got out.

    Gary had gone cold turkey after that.

    He sighed and looked around at the rubbernecked onlookers, unsure if the insurance payout would be sufficient this time.

    As he turned back, an icy breeze blew across the back of his neck. That wasn’t unusual at this time of year. What was unusual was the voice: hissing and sibilant, he felt it with his entire soul.

    “You might have got away this time, but don’t think you’ll be so lucky again.”

    Gary spun around, but no one was there.

    In New Orleans, spirits who have died in violent circumstances hang around. They don’t care about excuses. They want vengeance.

  29. I'm so psyched! Lots of great entries. Looks like I'll be wonderfully busy come Sunday & Monday for the judging process. :)

  30. The streets of this restless city never slept. Two couples walking as one stumbled along the sidewalk, clinging to each other for support, prattling and pointing, spilling and sinking, drinking through the night’s festivities. Those standing in doorways watched as they passed; others laughed and flashed, reaching for necklaces falling from balconies.

    The street was filled with pedestrians instead of cars, the parties spilling out from the bars, creating a single group of hedonists. The couples finished their drinks and dove into the crowd to dance. Passing masqueraders and exhibitionists, they claimed a spot and let the music take them to the next level of ecstasy. The guys swayed and the girls twirled, reaching out and pulling back into each other’s arms.

    “May I have this dance?” a masked man asked, stepping out from the surrounding dancers—offering a painted hand.

    He bowed and the girl curtsied with a smitten giggle. Her partner stepped back and allowed the guest into their group’s intimate circle. She took the costumed man’s hand and stepped closer. He kept her at an elbow’s length as he led her through a classical waltz. They glided to the music like royalty amongst peasants.

    When the song they started with bled into another, the elegant stranger cupped the girl’s hand in his and held it out.

    “You are a lovely dancer, my dear. And so very beautiful,” he said and raised her hand to his lips and gave it a soft kiss. She blushed from his old-fashioned etiquette—and moaned when he sunk his teeth into the meat surrounding her thumb.

    The masquerader dropped her hand and met the gaze of the group with blood dripping from his chin. Before the screams, he bowed again and slipped inconspicuously into the restless city crowd.

  31. Thank you for hosting this contest! This was my first time following a picture prompt so thanks for that!


    The streets of this restless city never slept for long, if at all, and tonight was no exception. The street’s empty save for a small group at the pub on the corner refusing to go softly into that good night, or should I say morning in a bit. And I see someone having a smoke at the end of the alley.

    But that’s it. Everyone else has resolved to take their leave and let this city rest, to let the thick, cool early morning mist settle down on everything like a blanket so it can take respite in what little rest it can get.

    Listen to me. God am I tired.

    And my delivery is late.

    I don’t know why Chuck insists I get here at three when he is never here before three thirty. Hell, I don’t know why Chuck doesn’t drop it off himself. He’s got the truck and is already out here. Nobody’s dragging him out of his nice warm bed to stand here in the damp chill of the early morning to wait on a delivery man that’s always late.

    I chase the thought away. Why complain? It’s easy money. Two hundred bucks a delivery. Just have to sacrifice some early mornings to drop off a package a dozen blocks across town. Don’t know why I’m not allowed to drive, though I’m sure the exercise does me good.

    Sometimes I wonder just what I’m carrying. I chase that thought away too. Why let something stupid like curiosity ruin the good thing I got going on.

    I hear the engine of Chuck’s old Chevy turn the corner and I step up to the curb, expecting him to toss me the small box like every other day. Instead he rolls his window down and says, “Get in.”

  32. Hi. Thanks for this. Here's my effort, 266 words

    The streets of this restless city never slept.

    By day the rubberneckers strut the Moonwalk and Cathedral Square like pigeons, heads bobbing. And like pigeons they are easy to take and to pluck.

    ‘I bet I know where you got your shoes,’ Beau says.


    Beau repeats it. ‘Five bucks if I got it right.’
    The tourist fumbles then holds up the bill. ‘Go on.’

    ‘On your feet,’ Beau takes the bill; the tourist grins. It’s something to tell the folks back home.

    As the sun sinks behind the river bridge the streets change. The crowd is edgier, hip. They want to be part of the scene; they’re looking for hurricanes, wild music, partners. They roll like the tide, Up Canal, down Bourbon, raucous as gulls.

    Beau gulls them with the smile tax.

    ‘You ain’t smiling; I got to fine you for that.’

    ‘How much?’

    ‘Ten.’ A pause, then, ‘See you’re smiling now; that’s gotta be worth ten bucks.’

    Late in the evening he can play on their good nature. Drunk and happy, dazzled by the lights and and baffled by the shadows they are glad to share. Beau pulls out his harmonica, does a little jig, plays ‘It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.’ He charms the dollar bills out of purses and billfolds.

    It’s the early five o’clock. The moon is chasing the sun over the Huey Long Bridge. Beau needs to get his head down before the breakfast crowd turn out for coffee and beignets. He stumbles off to Washington Square.

    The streets of this restless city never slept but Beau isn’t that that tough yet.

  33. Hi Candy,

    Hate to write this in the middle of your contest, but I wanted you to know that I "renovated" my blog. I have a whole look and switched over to wordpress. Unfortunately, in the 'move' I lost some followers. I'd love if I could keep you as a follower. You can follow through email.

    Here's the new link:

  34. This sounds awesome. I missed the first one but I'll try to stay alert for the next.


  35. Hello! hopped over here from Roland's blog. Looks like we travel in some of the same writing circles.I've missed the first couple entries it looks like, but I'm looking forward to September! Flash Fiction is new for me, but I LOVE writing it. New follower!
    A2Z Mommy and What’s In Between