Saturday, July 7, 2012

July Follow My Lead Fiction Contest

Thank you to all the participants in  June's Follow My Lead Flash Fiction Contest!! You can read the winning stories by clicking on the link.

I'm still waiting to hear back from one of the winners. Prizes will be delivered to the winner's emails when I hear back from the last winner.

In light of July's fabulous 4th celebration, I thought it would be fun to use an image relating to the holiday. This doesn't mean the story has to be about the 4th of July.

To be honest, when I chose this particular image, celebrating was the furthest thing from my mind. In honor of each participant's creativity, there will be no prompt. Have fun!

Follow My Lead Rules:
~Flash or sketch piece must relate to image in some fashion.
~Piece must be 300 words or less.
~Any genre acceptable within the PG-13 rating, unless you'd like to leave a blog link w/story. *Must specify in comment*
~Please leave your contest piece in the comment section of this post.
~Be creative. :)))

Contest deadline is July 20th!

*Prize information below image.

There will be one winner for the July FMLFF contest! I'm thrilled to gift the winner a copy of Catherine Stine's  Fireseed One YA w/cross over appeal Sci-Fi novel!! Read all about it...

"Fireseed One is so full of startling ideas that I couldn't stop reading! Recommended for fans of science fiction, thrillers, or for anyone looking for a story full of big surprises."
-Amy Kathleen Ryan, author of Glow, the first novel in The Sky Chasers series

"Action, adventure, love, and loss plus superb world building all adds up to an incredibly imaginative story – one that should not be missed."

-Carolyn MacCullough, author of Once a Witch and Always a Witch

"Extraordinary thriller with a fascinating setting and rich, engaging characters who feel recognizable and human."

-Katia Lief, international bestselling author of You Are Next and Soul Catcher

"Fully imagined, fast-paced, and thoroughly captivating, Catherine Stine's Fireseed One sucks you into its fascinating world on page one and doesn't let go until the very end."

-Dale Peck, award-winning author of Sprout and The Drift House series

Set in a near-future world with soaring heat, toxic waters, tricked-out gadgets, and fish that grow up on vines, Varik Teitur inherits a vast sea farm after the mysterious death of his marine biologist father. When Marisa Baron, a beautiful and shrewd intruder, who knows way too much about Varik's father's work, tries to steal seed disks from the world's food bank, Varik is forced to put his dreams of becoming a doctor on hold and venture with her, into a hot zone teeming with treacherous nomads and a cult who worships his dead father, in order to search for a magical hybrid plant that may not even exist. Illustrated by the author. This YA novel has crossover appeal.


  1. Glad the first one was such a success! I'll mention this one on Monday in the Ninja News.

  2. Happy 7th, Candy! Here's my flash fiction (299 words) entitled, FREE:

    The fireworks were spectacular.

    That was my word for the day. Spectacular. I had another word picked for tonight.


    Mama told me sitting on this sil was dangerous. I could fall off and kill myself. That was funny and sad at the same time.

    Funny in that my window being so high above the other apartment buildings made for a … spectacular view of these fiery (that had been last night’s word) comets going off so bright in the darkness.

    Sad in that there were worse things than dying. I flinched as I heard Mama’s boyfriend yell louder just beyond my door where Mama stood.

    Yeah, there was living.

    At first, she just cried when Dr. Doom, as I called her boyfriend, started … visiting my room late at night. When I started to walk funny, she seemed to find courage from somewhere and tried to stop him.

    Not that it worked. He was bigger and meaner than Mama.

    Oooh! That was a big cloud of fireworks. It seemed to just spread out across the whole dark night … like the fear in my chest was spreading as I heard Dr. Doom yell even louder.

    I studied the fireworks leaping and flaring like some ballet of fiery angels. I jerked as I heard Mama yelp and hit the floor hard.

    The exploding stars of green, red, and gold seemed to call out to me. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw her boyfriend lumber into the room like some mean bear.

    I smiled and sighed. Time for my word of the night. I tumbled off the sil into the darkness.

    I spread my arms wide as if I were flying. The wind caressed my hair, my face. I smiled bigger.

    I was free. Free! Fre ….

    1. Crikey, Roland - I was gulping and swallowing the lump in my throat at every sentence. How sad that she thought there was only that one alternative to freedom.

    2. Holy Dooley Roland this is a doozy! D.

  3. Fireseed One sounds like a good read. Good picture to write to as well.

  4. Hiya! Really cool contest idea. I love the idea of seeing how different people perceive the same image.

    So here's my flashfic, it's 302 words, hope that's okay?

    Every Saturday night ran like clockwork. They came, they bombed. Twelve ruined cities remained, and the death toll rose.

    As Flick looked out the window of her coven’s safehouse, a feeling of dread pulled at her stomach, she noticed something wasn't right. Gone were the distant cries of a mother finding the lifeless body of a child. In its place, was the sound of cheering.

    Flick squinted her eyes to peer through the cold night sky to see what the commotion was. To her amazement, she saw people holding long planks of wood above their heads, surrounded by others waving their arms as if a victory had just been claimed.

    Her gaze slowly moved upward and there, illuminating the night sky, were falling shards of red, yellow, and orange.

    “We got 'em!” Lief called out as he burst into the room, perching himself next to Flick.

    “What?” Flick responded, with confusion in her voice.

    “We got 'em! We actually got 'em!”

    “Yeah, I got that the first time. Got who exactly?”

    “Them! We got them!”

    Flick turned her head back towards City: 5 of 12 and squinted once more. The people danced as before, but the closer Flick looked, the more apparent the scene became.

    “They're not waving planks of wood are they?”


    Suddenly everything became clear. Each week the higher-ups claimed to have some way of fighting the airships. Flick always knew it was just to keep moral up, and stop people fleeing the city to seeking refuge with them.

    “So we finally found the rocket launchers,” Flick said, beaming with adoration. “Thank you,” she whispered to the heavens.

    That night wasn't like every other Saturday, nor did it run like clockwork. On this night, the people won their first battle.

    I'm still really new to the fiction side of writng so any feedback would be greatly appreciated. ^_^

    1. Great flash - could be the start of a bigger story.

    2. Love this. I'm impressed with all you've managed to convey in just 300 words. I'm also agreeing with those who've said this could be part of a bigger story.

    3. Wesley 302 is fine. After the contest is complete on July 20th, I'd be happy to give you feedback. :) Thanks for the entry!

  5. How fun, and thanks for offering my novel as a prize.

  6. I agree the flash could be a part of a bigger story! Off you go! :

  7. You watch the fireworks, as I watch you. Everyone else is caught up in the excitement of a New Year dawning, but not you. Your long dark hair is untied as you quietly contemplate the future ahead of you. You're framed by the open window, as you perch on the sill, caught in the night breeze and unaware of those around you. For you, it doesn't matter if Natasha Phillips is kissing Ryan Brierly, or if Nathan Fellows is throwing up in the plant pot. All that matters to you is the dark night sky, illuminated by showers of green, red, and gold.

    At the calls of "Happy New Year, " you turn your head as the light reflects in your bright blue eyes. You smile, an action that highlights your whole face, and repeat the greeting.

    Your bare legs dangle inches above the floor, your glossy red toe nails just brushing the wooden boards. You're always barefoot, I don't think I've ever seen you with shoes on, even outside.

    You accept a drink from Hayley, some florescent green concoction that's probably highly alcoholic. You purse your lips as you take a sip, your, usually undefined, Adam's apple bobbing as the cocktail makes it way down. Then you scrunch your face up, your nose wrinkling and your eyes closing, as I've seen them do when you eat a jalapeño.

    You catch my eye, and smile again. "Happy New Year, Jason," you say brightly, noticing me for the first time all night, and never knowing how much you mean to me.

    1. Aah, perhaps he will get his chance sometime in the future.

  8. Here is my attempt at flash fiction - word count 300

    The sun shone down through the open windows warming the air inside the room. She looked at her surroundings with a smile on her face as she took in the furnishings. Everything was in place and all she could do now was to wait for the phone to ring.

    The time was set for the call. She watched the big hand move slowly around the black and white clock face. The time zones were so different she would be able to take in all the celebrations this evening but she wanted to be alone until she had spoken to him.

    The secret she hugged to herself felt as though it was Pandora waiting to jump out of the box and set the world alight with her bag of tricks. This was such big news she felt herself fit to bursting with the news.

    The day’s shadows gradually grew longer as the time drew nearer and nearer. She had heard the telephone ringing in her imagination so many times that when the bell actually began to ring she didn't believe it at first.

    There was so much static on the line it was difficult to hear properly but she heard the love in his voice as it came through the satellite connection from ship to shore. His opening words set her heart quivering. She drew breath and started to speak.

    As she told him the results of the tests she could hear him yelling and whooping with joy.

    She mulled over their short conversation as she sat in the window ledge, knees drawn to her chest, as she looked up she saw two fireworks bursting into radiant colour simultaneously above her.

    These twin girls she was expecting were going to set their whole world alight with joy and delight.

  9. Found your site from last month's winner , Gail. Thought I'd give it a go. Here's my entry:

    The Runner…

    Meredith could hear the music and laughter below as thoughts of last year’s race flooded the night. Alone, she watched the fireworks explode in the distance, knowing that someone else had taken her victory. It had been a slow and painful recuperation from the nightmarish fall. She replayed it over and over, an obsession of sorts, that only a real competitor could understand. Even after a year, her feet still ached at night, seemingly attached to limbs that were left to sunbathing and mindless shopping instead of the rigor of training.

    In the yard below, Kellie beamed as her admirers fingered the shiny medal around her neck. Above, tears clouded Meredith’s vision as the emotion of seeming defeat closed in around her. She had wanted to run today, but another July would pass without a victory. Her victory. Her medal. Her running shoes lay quietly beside the dresser across the room, as she scooted from the solitary perch to join in the celebration below. Be a good sport, girl. A final gasp from the fireworks over the fairgrounds gave her new resolve, as she hobbled down the stairs.
    Next year, she thought. I will be ready next year.

    1. A lovely positive spin at the end.

  10. Wow! Already several entries, woot!!! Keep em' coming. :))

  11. what great entries! i'll try again in sept...

  12. Glad June worked out! I'll have to think something up :)

  13. Here is my entry. I don't know if it really counts as flash fiction. There's not much of a plot. 295 words:

    The fireworks flashed silently in the night sky.
    Daria watched from her window, the air hot and sticky on her bare arms and legs. Calvin had once asked if she ever got bored watching the same show every night. She never did. She couldn't even begin to remember how many times she had watched these lights bursting outside her window.

    Calvin crept into her room. He always seemed to think he could sneak up on her, but she knew when he was there."

    Hey,” she said softly.

    “Hello.” He approached the window on silent feet, his movements smooth and fluid. “Are you watching the show?”

    Daria responded with a shrug as a new flash of silent light burst across the sky

    “The Guardians are debating whether to remove the time lock.” He said.

    “Why?” Daria straightened up, no longer focused on sky. “I thought the lock protected us.”

    “It does. The question is how much protection do you need?” Calvin was watching the sky, his unnaturally smooth brown face lighting up in the flashes. Even in the dim light it was obvious he wasn't human. The Guardians had stopped far short of creating a convincing likeness of a man.

    “Some have decided that a thousand years is enough time. If the lock is removed, you and your people will be returned to your home. You will rebuild and live on.”

    Daria tried to imagine returning to a world where days moved on to weeks and years, where she would finally grow old, and eventually die. She didn't know how she felt about the prospect.

    She turned back to the world outside her window. The fireworks were over, the sky still and black. A new day had begun.

  14. Interesting with the Guardians not being able to create a convincing likeness of a man - could go several ways. The second to last paragraph gave me a little shiver down my spine. I enjoyed reading this.

  15. Jennifer, "sketch" stories do not necessarily need / have plots, they're more emotion-packed and evoke feeling, usually different for each reader. :))

  16. Hey, Candilynn! Happy almost Friday. Here's my entry:


    The explosions in the distance look like fireworks. Lindi is perched upon her window sill, overlooking the violent festivities. She calmly combs the knots in her wavy, chestnut hair with her callused fingers and makes a wish.

    Marcus is out there somewhere, fighting to hold them back, and her wish is that she’ll be able to see him again. He’s been gone for three days, but she has faith in her brother’s skills. He’s taught her everything he knows—like an older brother should. At least he left her in Sally’s protective hands.

    The quakes from crashing buildings shake her high-rise apartment tower. The panic of hopeless pedestrians fills the street below. But she has no intention of running. The sweat across her brow and beading along her forearms is from the summer evening heat, and nothing else. In her favorite dark tank top and faded shorts, she waits like an owl scanning for mice, eager to swoop down at the perfect moment and extend her experienced talons.

    When the first soldiers reach the street below, she knows it is time to step away from the window. Lindi hops down from the sill, the wooden floor slippery under her bare feet. She snatches the Savage 110 BA sniper rifle leaning against the wall, kneels before the window, and takes aim. Gazing intently into the telescopic sight, Lindi finds her first target. He is young, probably on his first tour, in way over his head.

    “Steady, Sally,” she says, exhaling slowly while grazing the trigger.

    Lindi fires one shot and he goes down with an arch of blood outstretching before him. Thinking of how Marcus is out there somewhere, she scans the street for her next target.

  17. Marie curled up on the windowsill to watch the Bastille Day fireworks lighting up the Béziers night sky in a panoply of beautiful, shimmering lights.

    “How come you’re not outside with everyone else?” Artur asked. “This is your holiday, not theirs. And you haven’t properly celebrated since probably before the war.”

    “You know I hate crowds.” Marie hugged her knees to her chest and gazed out the open window. “And I hate hot, muggy nights. How come you’re not out there with the others?”

    “I can’t leave my beautiful fiancée all by herself on this big farm.”

    Marie reached for his hand and tenderly caressed it. “Next Bastille Day, we’ll be husband and wife. And last year, I had more important things to think about than my national holidays. Isn’t it amazing how much things can change in only one year?”

    Artur took a seat opposite her on the windowsill and squeezed her hands. “Maybe next year at this time, we’ll not only be husband and wife, but expecting our first child too.”

    “Bite your tongue! I’ll only be sixteen, and you’ll only be eighteen! Just because we have to get married as soon as I’m of age doesn’t mean we have to immediately have children. We’ll have plenty of time to make a small contribution towards replacing all those who were lost. Let’s just enjoy what remains of our youth first.” Marie scurried onto Artur’s lap at the sound of a very loud firework and wrapped her arms around him.

    “I thought it too. It reminded you of a bomb.”

    “The train we started to leave Buchenwald on was torn apart by bombs. I was on the right side of that wagon in more ways than one.”

    “Don’t think about that now. We’re alive, and that’s what matters.”

    1. That sent shivers up my arms. Well written.

  18. Squeaking in under the wire with this. Here's my entry of exactly 300 words.

    Remember, Remember

    Molly shifted on the windowsill and looked down at the ground, then back at the fireworks which continued to boom and flaunt their colours above her. Remember, remember, the 5th of November. She wasn’t going to forget last year’s. That’s when she’d gone to the big display on the common, like she had every year since she was little – except, instead of her parents, she’d gone with Neil. Of course she’d replayed that night an infinitesimal number of times, but tonight, it was showing in 3D.

    “Come on,” he’d said. “They’ve got millions, they’re not going to miss one or two.” She didn’t mind helping him steal. She always used to be up for a laugh and a thrill. Used to be.

    No one could explain what had made the box blow up in her hands. Just a freak accident. Neil had disappeared, rather than get into trouble or – God forbid – try to help. The skin on her face had been melted so that she hardly resembled the girl she used to be, and a year later she still had hospital appointments each week and still felt the agonising tightness.

    She knew some people were disgusted at the sight of her. They thought she’d brought it on herself by helping a loser like him in the first place. She used to love a bad boy. That had changed too.

    He was there tonight, trying to impress a new girl who didn’t know his reputation. But they were just there to watch.

    Molly looked at the ground again. She pictured it rushing up to meet her as those exploding fireworks had rushed to singe her skin and ruin her life. But that wouldn’t change Neil’s. How could it when he had no conscience? Sighing, she lowered herself down into her bedroom.

  19. Great writing, Nick, full of feeling.

  20. OMG!! I'm so psyched about the entries. Woot!! Tweet it, FB it, blog it. :)) Girls are night-spending, hubby has to work, so I have all evening tonight to read entries. :)))))

  21. Looks like the last story to come in was Nick's. Way to go on the entries!! Now, back to judging. Winner will be announced on my Sunday post. :))))))

  22. Wowzers, I do have my work cut out for me. Just checking by to do a second read of the entries. They're all so fabulous. Thank you so much for all your entries!! I'm going to put on my big girl judging pants and read them a few more times before selecting a winner.

    Also, I wanted to send out a huge THANK YOU to all the bloggers who checked in to offer comments and remarks on the stories.

    Y'all rock. :))

  23. OMG! I want to announce the winner right now! I hope the winner emails me soon...