Welcome to a late edition of The #fridayflash Report. I hope all our friends out on the the East Coast survived the latest onslaught of snow. I know several of you lost power, and were on high alert for polar bears. Remember, spring is on the way. Also remember, no matter how cute they look, never play with a polar bear. Also, congrats to the Canadian Olympic hockey team on the gold. A real nail bitter that, but a great game and well earned win. We’ll get you next time.

This week we had 78 stories reported in at the Collector, and as always a wide variety of genres and styles to choose from. We had four debuts. Please welcome Leah Saylor-Abney, Julie Jordan Scott, Jason Henry McCormick, and Lyn Thorne-Alder to the ranks of the #fridayflash. It’s always nice to see new people join in on the fun. As always, if I’ve missed your story in the report please visit the Collector and add the details. I’ll then update the list.

The Best of 2009 Friday Flash Anthology is moving forward, albeit a bit slower than I’d like. Authors have been notified of acceptances, some edits have gone back and forth. I hope to have all the stories out to editors within the next couple of days. It’s a slow process but rest assured progress is being made. I can’t give you a date yet, but I hope to have it out by the end of March, which technically is still the first quarter of 2010, which was my goal. Fingers crossed.

The Stories

A Change of Possibilities by Donald Conrad @NoddlaNocdar ~ Horror/Suspense ~

A TRUCK STOP BOY MEETS A TRUCK STOP GIRL by Anthony Venutolo @bukowskisbaseme ~ Literary ~

Absolution of an Abomination by Elizabeth Ditty @ditty1013 ~ Unspecified ~

Act Normal by Lily Mulholland @CascadeLily ~ Literary ~

Aftermath by Jared Branch @JaredsFiction ~ Horror/Suspense ~

All our tomorrows are gone by KjM @kevinjmackey ~ Slice of Life ~

Ana-Asef by Annie Evett @AnnieEvett ~ Science Fiction ~

Another Tuesday by CJ Hodges MacFarlane @h0jp0j ~ Slice of Life ~

At 4am by Virginia Moffatt @VirginiaMoffatt ~ Unspecified ~

Audience by Maria Protopapadaki-Smith @mazzz_in_Leeds ~ Slice of Life ~

Bad Poetry by Aaron Polson @aaronpolson ~ Horror/Suspense ~

Barrel Roll by Dan Powell @danpowfiction ~ Literary ~

Blue Veins by Melissa D. Johnston @melissa_djohnst ~ Slice of Life ~

Chapter 30 by P.J. Kaiser @doublelattemama ~ Humor ~

Cusp by Skycycler @skycycler ~ Literary ~

Deborah Dilemma by Jim Dempsey @jimdempsey ~ Humor ~

Digging For Australia by Marc Nash @ExisleMoll ~ Literary ~

Dishes by Amy Taylor @adastrapoetry ~ Slice of Life ~

Explorer by Jessica Rosen @jessrosenbooks ~ Science Fiction ~

Express Yourself by Leigh Barlow @LeighBarlow ~ Science Fiction ~

First Day – Stephanie by Michelle Dennis Evans @michelledevans ~ Slice of Life ~

Fresh Air by Cathy Olliffe @Matthiasville ~ Unspecified ~

Good by Jen Brubacher @jen_b ~ Mystery/Thriller ~

Good Clean Fun by Karen Schindler @karenfrommentor ~ Cross Genre ~

Grandmother’s Stories by Deirdre M. Murphy @wyld_dandelyon ~ Unspecified ~

Harvest by Joyce @jolantru ~ Science Fiction ~

Hindsight by Leah Saylor-Abney @leahabney ~ Horror/Suspense ~ Debut

How to Cook a Salmon by Barb Relyea @brelyea ~ Humor ~

Hungry by Heather Lloyd @heatherlloyd83 ~ Cross Genre ~

If photographs… by Estrella Azul @EstrellaAzul ~ Unspecified ~

In The Attic by A. M. Harte @am_harte ~ Horror/Suspense ~

Life’s A Game by Chris Chartrand @ChrisChartrand ~ Unspecified ~

Little Red Riding hoodie by Anton Gully @antongully ~ Humor ~

Love’s Labour Something, Something by Dana @ywgdana ~ Slice of Life ~

Mario’s Goddess by Shannon Esposito @soesposito ~ Unspecified ~

Miss Amanda by Jodi Cleghorn @jodicleghorn ~ Cross Genre ~

Morton’s Blues by Mark Champion @marksmansisland ~ Slice of Life ~

Ms. Liwaller by brookelyn @lilskeen ~ Slice of Life ~

Nothing by Julie Jordan Scott @juliejordanscot ~ Slice of Life ~ Debut

Of God, Of Death, Of Man by Timothy P. Remp @TIm_Remp_Writer ~ Horror/Suspense ~

Planet of Delights by Laura Eno @LauraEno ~ Fantasy ~

Secrets Revealed by Lauren Cude @NA ~ Unspecified ~

Shakespeare Redux by Trevor Mcpherson @3S_stories ~ Humor ~

SHOTS OF HELL AT THE END OF A LONELY STREET by Jason Henry McCormick @jasonhmccormick ~ Humor ~ Debut

Side Effects by Kim Batchelor @Kim_Batchelor ~ Humor ~

Silverfish by Kil Conor @kilconor ~ Experimental ~

Smile, Look Away by Jim Wisneski @wisneski ~ Horror/Suspense ~

So, You Want To Know by Chance @Chance4321 ~ Unspecified ~

Sorry by Benjamin Solah @benjaminsolah ~ Horror/Suspense ~

Spice of Life by Tim VanSant @TimVanSant ~ Mystery/Thriller ~

Storm by Lyn Thorne-Alder @LynThorneAlder ~ Fantasy ~ Debut

Strange Context by Thom Gabrukiewicz @tgabrukiewicz ~ Unspecified ~

Strange Kind of Friend by David Masters @davidmasters ~ Slice of Life ~

The Alpha Chronicles / Part 2 A Clean Sheet by M. Patrick Mitchell @M_P_Mitchell ~ Science Fiction ~

The Body by Carrie Clevenger @carrieclevenger ~ Horror/Suspense ~

The Botticelli Babe by Jennifer Derfoldy @jenni_fleur ~ Cross Genre ~

The Chess Game by Christina Vincent @stina8753 ~ Unspecified ~

The Diagnosis by Deanna Schrayer @deannaschrayer ~ Literary ~

The Duel by Emma Newman @EmApocalyptic ~ Magical Realism ~

The Green Fields of Home by Tony Noland @TonyNoland ~ Literary ~

The Hunt, Part One by Dan Faust @danfaust ~ Fantasy ~

The iPhone iKnew by Cole Bitting @colebitting ~ Literary ~

The Long Road by Angie C. @techtigger ~ Fantasy ~

The Old College Try by J. M. Strother @jmstro ~ Unspecified ~

The Only Color by David G Shrock @dracotorre ~ Unspecified ~

The Personal Injury Attorneys to the Stars by Alex Carrick @Alex_Carrick ~ Humor ~

The Snakehandler’s Wife by G. P. Ching @gpching ~ Magical Realism ~

Tombs Of The Blonde Dead Part 4: Resurrection In Pink by Al Bruno III @albruno3 ~ Horror/Suspense ~

Tourist by Michael J. Solender @mjsolender ~ Literary ~

Traffic Jam and Tears by Clive Martyn @clivem ~ Slice of Life ~

Transgender Underwear by John Wiswell @Wiswell ~ Humor ~

Trump Card by Marisa Birns @marisabirns ~ Science Fiction ~

Unscheduled Stops by davidbdale @davidbdale ~ Literary ~

Writer’s Block by Eric J. Krause @ericjkrause ~ Humor ~

Yearning by Linda Simoni-Wastila @drwasy ~ Literary ~

You Get What You Pay For by Peggy McFarland @peggywriter ~ Unspecified ~

You Still Need to Eat by Jack Roth @jack_roth ~ Horror/Suspense ~

Zinfandel by Christian Bell @christianbell37 ~ Unspecified ~

The wrap

Thanks to all our readers. We love you. And please, if you enjoy a story leave comments when you visit. Writers love feedback almost as much as chocolate. Maybe more! Then go tell your friends to read it too. Help these writers grow.

You can subscribe to the #fridayflash hashtag (external link) on Twitter every week for more great flash fiction.

We’re on Facebook (external link) too.


We have a great mix of stories, 68 in all, including a poem. This week we had two debuts, by Kelly Lynn Thomas, and A. M. Harte. Please welcome them to the fold. Be sure to check back again in a day or two, as we’ll likely get a few late arrivals. If you did a #fridayflash, and it’s not in the list, please go to the Collector, add the details, and we’ll get it added. Again, thanks to Susan for generating the list for me, and to Olivia, for notifying the Facebook gang. And a huge thank you to our wonderful readers and to you, the terrific writers, who continue to make #fridayflash a great success. ~jon

The Stories

Within a Box by Timothy P. Remp @Tim_Remp_writer ~ Horror/Suspense

We Die ‘Em, You Fry ‘Em by Cathy Olliffe @Matthiasville ~ Unspecified

Vardoger by Annie Evett @AnnieEvett ~ Cross Genre

Twisted Family Bonds: Two Bosses in Bed by Anne Tyler Lord @AnneTylerLord ~ Humor

Truth Lies Beneath by Tony Noland @TonyNoland ~ Literary

Tortured Silence by David Masters @davidmasters ~ Slice of Life

Tombs Of The Blonde Dead Part 3: Caged Exotics by Al Bruno III @albruno3 ~ Horror/Suspense

The Winner by GP Ching @gpching ~ Horror/Suspense

The Wanting Sea by davidbdale @davidbdale ~ Literary

The Strange Things In Me by Jared Branch @JaredsFiction ~ Literary

The Strange Case of East Parish by John Wiswell @Wiswell ~ Fantasy

The Recently Departed by Thom Gabrukiewicz @tgabrukiewicz ~ Unspecified

The Package by Jim Wisneski @wisneski ~ Horror/Suspense

The Nail by J. M. Strother @jmstro ~ Science Fiction

The Mirror’s Eyes by Louise Dragon @WeezelWords ~ Horror/Suspense

The Happening by Lindsay Oberst @lindzsmile ~ Literary

the great tree from obscuring fog arose – a sonnet by Matt Marko @litrock ~ Unspecified

The Bonfire by Jessica Rosen @jessrosenbooks ~ Horror/Suspense

The Bank Job by Bill Dowis @billdowis ~ Unspecified

Standing Guard by Leigh Barlow @LeighBarlow ~ Science Fiction

Splat by Chris Chartrand @ChrisChartrand ~ Humor

Special… (poem) by Estrella Azul @EstrellaAzul ~ Unspecified

Small Victories by Alan W. Davidson @NA ~ Literary

Slim Pickings by Maria Kelly @mkelly317 ~ Fantasy

Shepherd’s Daughter by Maria Protopapadaki-Smith @mazzz_in_Leeds ~ Unspecified

She Doesn’t Understand by Melissa D. Johnston @melissa_djohnst ~ Unspecified

September by Amy Taylor @adastrapoetry ~ Unspecified

Seeming is Believing by Elizabeth Ditty @ditty1013 ~ Magical Realism

Satisfaction by Emma Newman @EmApocalyptic ~ Magical Realism

Ruby and the Moon: The Dog Who Didn’t Yet Have a Tail by Kelly Lynn Thomas @kellylynnthomas ~ Fantasy ~ Debut

Ravine by Lily Mulholland @CascadeLily ~ Mystery/Thriller

Paradise Air Tours by Jeremy Warach @jwarach ~ Unspecified

One Voice by E. D. Johnson @geektreasure ~ Unspecified

Night Swimming by Lauren Cude @NA ~ Fantasy

Morning Assembly by Marc Nash @ExisleMoll ~ Literary

Marriage is Forever by Susan Cross @susanjcross ~ Slice of Life

Luck by Aaron Polson @aaronpolson ~ Humor

Love Is Complicated by Dana @ywgdana ~ Humor

LOVE IN PINE VALLEY by Anthony Venutolo @bukowskisbaseme ~ Literary

Little Ghost by Eric J. Krause @ericjkrause ~ Horror/Suspense

Lines by Stephen Parolini @noveldoctor ~ Literary

In Between Sound by Peggy McFarland @peggywriter ~ Literary

Hunger Strike by Tim VanSant @TimVanSant ~ Humor

He Doesn’t Even Know My Name by Mark Kerstetter @markerstetter ~ Slice of Life

Gravity’s Rainbow by Christian Bell @christianbell37 ~ Unspecified

Gina, I’ve got your number by Karen Schindler @karenfrommentor ~ Humor

Frater by Marisa Birns @marisabirns ~ Horror/Suspense

Final Contract by Carrie Clevenger @carrieclevenger ~ Horror/Suspense

Feather Dreams by Deirdre M. Murphy @wyld_dandelyon ~ Fantasy

Falling Leaves by Joyce @jolantru ~ Science Fiction

Eye of the Storm by Virginia Moffatt @VirginiaMoffatt ~ Unspecified

Dirk Hartog in “The Whore House” by Jodi Cleghorn @JodiCleghorn ~ Cross Genre

Different Strokes by Laura Eno @LauraEno ~ Fantasy

Dark Angel by Linda Simoni-Wastila @drwasy ~ Literary

Crossed Swords by Angie C. @techtigger ~ Fantasy

Core Pod Deficit by Michael J. Solender @mjsolender ~ Science Fiction

Clean Now, No Women by Tom B. Reeves @colebitting ~ Literary

Claws That Catch, Blood That Burns by Dan Faust @danfaust ~ Science Fiction

Bottom of the 9th by Olivia Tejeda @SimplyOlivia ~ Slice of Life

An Imaginary Friend of an Imaginary Friend of Mine by Alex Carrick @Alex_Carrick ~ Humor

Ambulance chasers by Heather lloyd @Heatherlloyd83 ~ Horror/Suspense

Alchemist’s Apprentice by Alyssa Tompkins @xAChels ~ Fantasy

Across a Crowded Room by Laurita Miller @lauritamiller ~ Romance

A Simple Prayer by A. M. Harte @am_harte ~ Fantasy ~ Debut

A New Home by Michelle Dennis Evans @michelledevans ~ Slice of Life

A good listener by Jim Dempsey @jimdempsey ~ Unspecified

A Gem of a Friend by Donald Conrad @NoddlaNocdar ~ Mystery/Thriller

A Forest of Ice and Blood by Clive Martyn @clivem ~ Fantasy

The wrap

Thanks to all our readers. We love you. And please, if you enjoy a story leave comments when you visit. Writers love feedback almost as much as chocolate. Maybe more! Then go tell your friends to read it too. Help these writers grow.

You can subscribe to the #fridayflash hashtag (external link) on Twitter every week for more great flash fiction.

We’re on Facebook (external link) too.


Today I bring you a guest post and a challenge from fellow #fridayflash aficionado, E. D. Johnson. He has challenged himself to a writing exercise that just might be crazy enough to succeed. And that’s what Mad Utopia is all about, folks, finding new and exciting ways to approach writing in the new era.

Please welcome, E. D. Johnson.

The #FridayFlash February Challenge

First and foremost, I would like to thank Jon Strother for allowing me this avenue of insanity, via a guest post on Mad Utopia. We’ve become pretty good virtual friends over the past several months, and I appreciate his support. We even had a genuine mystery that needed to be solved. It may one day become a topic for #FridayFlash.

Speaking of #FridayFlash, that is why I am here today. First a little background.

I waffle on and off of #FridayFlash, so some people may know me and some may not. I have been involved since the early days, when we were still picking the name in fact. Over the course of time we have discussed lots of ways to innovate and improve the event so that more people can be involved in a less chaotic fashion.

I took a little break in November and December (work related, not disgruntled or anything) and came back around the middle of January. I thought I was doing good with my little Parrant stories, because I wrote them basically back to back, though still stand alone in the tradition of #FridayFlash. When I mentioned that on Twitter, Deanna Schrayer (@deannaschrayer) told me that David Shrock (@dracotorre) had already posted to the middle of March. I grumbled a little bit, and in the course of that conversation, broached the idea of having a whole year’s worth of #FridayFlash. Deanna and others called me crazy, but I took it as a personal challenge.

The challenge is simple. Create enough #FridayFlash stories between February 1st and February 28th to cover from February 1st to December 31st! That’s right, one year’s worth of #FridayFlash in twenty-eight days.

Thus begins the #FridayFlash February Challenge. It is similar to NaNoWriMo in scope, so finishing should be possible. I am a big fan of alliteration, therefore, for February, I propose fabricating fifty-two #FridayFlash fiction stories for everyone to follow throughout the year. Is that enough alliteration? I invite anyone who wants to play along or give encouragement to do so. Wish me luck!

Editor's note: Luck!

Bio: E.D. Johnson is a new author with a BA in English. He is the creative spark behind Geek Treasure, and an early adopter of #fridayflash. You can follow him as @geektreasure on Twitter.


Lots of news this week. I have the regular listing of stories, thanks to my personal tech guru and all around angel, Susan, who put it together for me while I was tied up with personal matters. She is the hidden talent that keeps this site humming. Thank you Susan.

In the report this week we have 79 stories for your reading pleasure, 7 from debut contributors. Please welcome Anke Wehner, Mel Morton, Annie Evett, Anthony Venutolo, Cathy Olliffe, Jen Brubacher, and Calvin Seen to the ranks of #FridayFalsh. We look forward to your continuing participation.

Now for a little news

All the stories for the Best Of 2009 #fridayflash Anthology have gone through first round judging. In most cases I concurred with the findings of the judges, which mean they need no further evaluation. Editing, yes, evaluation, no. There are still several that need final determinations, and those will be done soon. In the mean time, I have started notifying some authors as to their status. So watch your email. I’m afraid not everyone made it, but am glad everyone participated. You all have been a joy to work with.

The Reader’ Choice Award has been decided by popular vote. Congratulations to Maria Protopapadaki-Smith for her story, Puma and Jaguar Save the Planet. With Maria’s consent, Puma and Jaguar will grace the pages of Best Of.

The editing phase of Best Of will start this week. It is my intention to use local variant English in the anthology to reflect the global nature of FridayFlash. Look for an author’s packet in the mail soon which will ask for more information from you, including your variety of English.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Ladies and gents, I give you this week’s #fridayflash.

The Stories

1234 by Jim Dempsey @jimdempsey ~ Mystery/Thriller ~

A Clash of Genres by Dan Powell @danpowfiction ~ Slice of Life ~

A Curious Case of Bottled-up Passion by Alex Carrick @Alex_Carrick ~ Cross Genre ~

A Day in the Life by Virginia Moffatt @VirginiaMoffatt ~ Unspecified ~

A Northern SwanSong by Chance @Chance4321 ~ Humor ~

A Tale of Love, Misfortune and Nasty Wee Dogs by Alan W. Davidson @NA ~ Humor ~

All-night Diner by CJ Hodges MacFarlane @h0jp0j ~ Mystery/Thriller ~

Alma by Louise Dragon @WeezelWords ~ Horror/Suspense ~

Almonds by April L. Hamilton @@indieauthor ~ Slice of Life ~

Always a Bridesmaid, Part II by Cecilia Dominic @RandomOenophile ~ Mystery/Thriller ~

Bad Smile by J.C. Towler @n/a ~ Horror/Suspense ~

Beware the Tigress by Susan Cross @@susanjcross ~ Humor ~

Breakaway by Anke Wehner @Anke ~ Romance ~

Breaking Limits by Anke Wehner @Anke ~ Fantasy ~ Debut

Cain and Annabelle by Amy Taylor @adastrapoetry ~ Horror/Suspense ~

Chimera by Maria Protopapadaki-Smith @mazzz_in_Leeds ~ Unspecified ~

City Meets Country by Lauren Cude @NA ~ Slice of Life ~

Coffee Break by Angie C. @techtigger ~ Fantasy ~

Cravings of a Kraken by Katirra @katirra ~ Unspecified ~

Crossroads by Deanna Schrayer @deannaschrayer ~ Slice of Life ~

Dickless by Lily Mulholland @CascadeLily ~ Mystery/Thriller ~

Drop-Dead Date by Mel Morton @Mel_Morton ~ Slice of Life ~ Debut

Dunston Monster: Sinners by David G Shrock @dracotorre ~ Fantasy ~

Forgytan by Annie Evett @AnnieEvett ~ Magical Realism ~ Debut

Goldi-locks Part 2 by ganymeder @ganymeder ~ Humor ~

Graveside by Thom Gabrukiewicz @tgabrukiewicz ~ Unspecified ~

I Tell You The Truth by Melissa D. Johnston @melissa_djohnst ~ Experimental ~

I Want an iPad! by AJ Campos @AJ_Campos ~ Slice of Life ~

I’ve Got Bills in All the Right Places by Elizabeth Ditty @ditty1013 ~ Slice of Life ~

I, Zombie by Olivia Tejeda @SimplyOlivia ~ Cross Genre ~

Inheritance by Aaron Polson @aaronpolson ~ Unspecified ~

Lament by Karen Schindler @karenfrommentor ~ Literary ~

Mafia Rehab (pt.4): Ouch! by Anne Tyler Lord @AnneTylerLord ~ Humor ~

Merrick Tree by Donald Conrad @NoddlaNocdar ~ Horror/Suspense ~

Miss by Hannah Bisson @MoxieMouth ~ Slice of Life ~

Moonlight Madness by J. M. Strother @jmstro ~ Unspecified ~

No Child of Mine by Tim VanSant @TimVanSant ~ Humor ~

Opportunity Knocking by E. D. Johnson @geektreasure ~ Fantasy ~

Paris in the Offing by Michael J. Solender @mjsolender ~ Slice of Life ~

Parting Scene by Laurita Miller @LauritaMiller ~ Unspecified ~

Pearls of Wisdom by Jodi Cleghorn @JodiCleghorn ~ Slice of Life ~

Prince’s Survival by Alyssa Tompkins @xAChels ~ Fantasy ~

Rainbow Ends by Peggy McFarland @peggywriter ~ Fantasy ~

Reconciliation by Tony Noland @tonyNoland ~ Unspecified ~

She Needed a Job by Anthony Venutolo @bukowskisbaseme ~ Literary ~ Debut

Sixteen More Quarterly Reports by P.J. Kaiser @doublelattemama ~ Slice of Life ~

Sore Loser by Laura Eno @LauraEno ~ Fantasy ~

Staring At The Moon by Ryan Harron @rharron ~ Horror/Suspense ~

Statutory Statuary by Marc Nash @ExisleMoll ~ Literary ~

Stephanie by Michelle Dennis Evans @michelledevans ~ Slice of Life ~

Stolen Child by Yaara Naor-Elman @n/a ~ Magical Realism ~

Super 16 by Christian Bell @christianbell37 ~ Unspecified ~

The Bus Driver by Cathy Olliffe @NA ~ Unspecified ~ Debut

The Clog by Iapetus999 @Iapetus999 ~ Science Fiction ~

The Crab by Jen Brubacher @jen_b ~ Horror/Suspense ~ Debut

The Delivery by Emma Newman @EmApocalyptic ~ Magical Realism ~

The Dive by G.P. Ching @gpching ~ Magical Realism ~

The Fable of the Pigeon by Barry J. Northern @BarryNorthern ~ Fantasy ~

The Foal Watcher by Deborah Bundy @DeborahKBundy ~ Literary ~

The Horizon by Eric J. Krause @ericjkrause ~ Horror/Suspense ~

The Impala by Calvin Seen @calseen ~ Cross Genre ~ Debut

The Impala by Calvin Seen @calseen ~ Cross Genre ~

The Local Heroes: 4-Color Cookout by Al Bruno III @albruno3 ~ ~

The photo in her wallet by Estrella Azul @EstrellaAzul ~ Slice of Life ~

The Priest by M. Patrick Mitchell @M_P_Mitchell ~ Mystery/Thriller ~

The Tiger by David Masters @davidmasters ~ Horror/Suspense ~

The Vanquishing by Chris Chartrand @ChrisChartrand ~ Fantasy ~

The Wall Artist by Mark Kerstetter @markerstetter ~ Unspecified ~

The Woman Who Rusted by Shannon Esposito @soesposito ~ Unspecified ~

The Woods by Marisa Birns @marisabirns ~ Mystery/Thriller ~

Thick With Memory by Linda Simoni-Wastila @drwasy ~ Literary ~

Three Story Statement by John Wiswell @Wiswell ~ Humor ~

To Be Read by EllenO @n/a ~ Unspecified ~

Trolls Suck by Dan Faust @danfaust ~ Unspecified ~

UCF #2: A Midnight Meeting by Sam @FutureNostalgic ~ Fantasy ~

Unwanted by Carrie Clevenger @carrieclevenger ~ Slice of Life ~

Who Dreams? by Peter Etherington @petherin ~ Science Fiction ~

Will Power by Lou Freshwater @lfreshwater ~ Unspecified ~

Wizards have no sense of humour by Anke Wehner @Anke ~ Fantasy ~

If your story is not in the list be sure to go to the Collector and add it. Once I have the details I’ll add it to this posting.

The wrap

Thanks to all our readers. We love you. And please, if you enjoy a story leave comments when you visit. Writers love feedback almost as much as chocolate. Maybe more! Then go tell your friends to read it too. Help these writers grow.

You can subscribe to the #fridayflash hashtag (external link) on Twitter every week for more great flash fiction.

We’re on Facebook (external link) too.


Another fantastic week for #fridayflash. We had 75 stories this week, plus I’m listing two from last which I missed. That brings us up to 77 in all. My apologies to long time contributor, Tony Noland, and debut participant, D. Paul Angel, for failing to update last week’s listing as promised. If you missed them last week, be sure to drop by and read these two. I feel particularly bad for missing a welcome for a debut story. So sorry.

Speaking of debuts, we had five new ones this week. Please welcome brookelyn, Aaron Polson, Yaara Naor-Elman, EllenO, and AJ Campos to the fold. We are very happy to have you join us and hope that you find participating in #fridayflash a fun weekly challenge.

As always, I’m sure a few people missed adding their stories into the Collector. If you know someone who posted a #fridayflash, and their story does not show up in the list, please visit them and suggest they add the details to the Collector. I promise I’ll add them to the listing. Honest! And if you notice any broken links or misdirections in the list please let me know via email, a comment, or a tweet, and I’ll patch things up.

Enough of this. Now, on to the stories. ~jon

The Stories

Last week’s orphans:

The Light Around the Doorframe by D. Paul Angel @D_PaulAngel ~ Horror/Suspense ~ Debut

Pot of Gold by Tony Noland @TonyNoland ~ Science Fiction

New this week:

Your dad’s a dick by Jim Dempsey @jimdempsey ~ Slice of Life

Winter and All by Linda Simoni-Wastila @drwasy ~ Unspecified

well done by brookelyn @NA ~ Slice of Life ~ Debut

Way Down by Shawn Main @shawnmain ~ Slice of Life

Waves by Katherine Sippel @AntiSocBtrfly ~ Slice of Life

Virus by Maria Protopapadaki-Smith @mazzz_in_Leeds ~ Unspecified

Verklempt by CJ Hodges MacFarlane @h0jp0j ~ Cross Genre

Unchecked Expansion by Aaron Polson @aaronpolson ~ Horror/Suspense ~ Debut

Turned Off by Michelle Dennis Evans @michelledevans ~ Slice of Life

Trade Marks by Peggy McFarland @peggywriter ~ Slice of Life

Too Quiet by J. M. Strother @jmstro ~ Action/Adventure

Time’s Faux Pas by Laura Eno @LauraEno ~ Humor

The Wizard and the Rose by Alex Carrick @Alex_Carrick ~ Literary

The Snow Queen by Virginia Moffatt @VirginiaMoffatt ~ Unspecified

The Off Season by Trevor Mcpherson @3S_stories ~ Literary

The Nth Page of Henry Lamberton’s Journal by Chance @Chance4321 ~ Steampunk

The Home Fires by Sarah Snell-Pym @Saffy ~ Science Fiction

The Ginger Legend by katirra @katirra ~ Unspecified

The Fire of the Gods by KjM @kevinjmackey ~ Fantasy

The Fable of the Elephant by Barry J. Northern @BarryNorthern ~ Fantasy

The Distance Between Things by Peter Etherington @petherin ~ Fantasy

The Boy with Two Brains by Dan Powell @danpowfiction ~ Cross Genre

The Black Cat by Mark Kerstetter @markerstetter ~ Unspecified

Tambourine Girl: a Farewell by Deanna Schrayer @deannaschrayer ~ Slice of Life

Tadpoles by Deirdre M. Murphy @wyld_dandelyon ~ Unspecified

Sympathy, in Three Parts by Elizabeth Ditty @ditty1013 ~ Literary

Status by Dana @ywgdana ~ Slice of Life

Splat! by Barb Relyea @BRelyea ~ Humor

Special Circumstances by Amanda Scotney @rasplemjelly ~ Science Fiction

Sparkle by Jessica Rosen @jessrosenbooks ~ Unspecified

Slaying Dragons by E. D. Johnson @geektreasure ~ Fantasy

Seeing Is Believing by Leigh Barlow @LeighBarlow ~ Science Fiction

Sale or Return by Emma Newman @EmApocalyptic ~ Magical Realism

Red Scarf by Yaara Naor-Elman @n/a ~ Magical Realism ~ Debut

Real Monsters Don’t Take Time Off by Eric J. Krause @ericjkrause ~ Unspecified

Plastic Flowers by EllenO @NA ~ Literary ~ Debut

Philly’s in the house by Tony Noland @TonyNoland ~ Literary

Nothing but a tree in January by Estrella Azul @EstrellaAzul ~ Unspecified

Night Work by David Masters @davidmasters ~ Slice of Life

My Name is Bill Franklin by Lou Freshwater @lfreshwater ~ Literary

Mother’s Little Luchador by AJ Campos @AJ_Campos ~ Unspecified ~ Debut

Monte Cristo by Christian Bell @christianbell37 ~ Unspecified

Kudzu Prayers by Melissa D. Johnston @melissa_djohnst ~ Cross Genre

Impression by Laurita Miller @LauritaMiller ~ Literary

Hush, baby, hush by Amy Taylor @adastrapoetry ~ Cross Genre

Horse Lover by Deborah Bundy @DeborahKBundy ~ Unspecified

Headlines by ganymeder @ganymeder ~ Experimental

Head by Carrie Clevenger @carrieclevenger ~ Cross Genre

Grise by Marc Nash @ExisleMoll ~ Literary

Germs on the Playground by Chrys @Chrys_anthymum ~ Literary

Friending the Dead by P.J. Kaiser @doublelattemama ~ Horror/Suspense

Falling Star by Olivia Tejeda @SimplyOlivia ~ Literary

Dunston Monster: Crossroads by David G Shrock @dracotorre ~ Fantasy

Doomsday by Sarah Snell-Pym @Saffy ~ Science Fiction

Dammit Janet by Michael J. Solender @mjsolender ~ Slice of Life

Combustion by Lily Mulholland @CascadeLily ~ Mystery/Thriller

Checkered Treasure by John Wiswell @Wiswell ~ Fantasy

Changling by Thom Gabrukiewicz @tgabrukiewicz ~ Humor

Cassandra’s Story by Lauren Cude @NA ~ Cross Genre

Breakout by Hannah Bisson @MoxieMouth ~ Mystery/Thriller

Box of What You Need by davidbdale @davidbdale ~ Literary

Blue-Eyed Wink by Lindsay Oberst @lindzsmile ~ Fantasy

Behavioral Therapy Session 6 by G.P. Ching @gpching ~ Unspecified

Aurora Borealis by Skycycler @skycycler ~ Magical Realism

Audra DiMico And The Curse Of The Cartwrights by Al Bruno III @albruno3 ~ Horror/Suspense

Ancient History by Angie C. @techtigger ~ Fantasy

An Uncle by Marisa Birns @marisabirns ~ Mystery/Thriller

Always a Bridesmaid by Cecilia Dominic @RandomOenophile ~ Mystery/Thriller

Addicted by Jim Wisneski @wisneski ~ Horror/Suspense

A Precious Stone by Louise Dragon @WeezelWords ~ Horror/Suspense

A Helping Hand by R Canepa @roncanepa ~ Unspecified

A Grand Day with Dad by M Patrick Mitchell @praetoriv ~ Humor

A Good Book for School by Tim VanSant @TimVanSant ~ Humor

A Change of Heart by Shannon Esposito @soesposito ~ Unspecified

A bat for Mr. Roxby by Karen Schindler @karenfrommentor ~ Horror/Suspense

The wrap

Thanks to all our readers. We love you. And please, if you enjoy a story leave comments when you visit. Writers love feedback almost as much as chocolate. Maybe more!

Then go tell your friends to read it too. Help these writers grow.

You can subscribe to the #fridayflash hashtag (external link) on Twitter every week for more great flash fiction.

We’re on Facebook (external link) too.


Wow, we had a banner week with an astounding 67 stories posted under the #fridayflash banner this week. I believe that is a new record. The #fridayflash community continues to grow. We had six debut pieces. Please extend a hearty welcome to our new participants: Chrys, Ron Canep, David B. Dale, Jessica Rosen, The Cheshire Scribe, and Katirra. Be sure to visit their sites and leave a comment. Welcome aboard, all.

This is later than usual this week. I apologize for keeping you hanging. I have many excuses, both of the lame and solid varieties. The chief reason is, I have been collecting and reviewing judging packets for The Best of 2009 #fridayflash Anthology. Two key points here:

  1. The judges have been doing an outstanding job. All have taken their responsibilities seriously and have been a pleasure to work with.
  2. Based on the judging results so far the anthology is shaping up nicely. We are going to have one fine collection of flash when all is said and done.

Just one quick reminder before I turn you over to the list of stories for this week. The polls are still open for the Reader’s Choice Award for the Best Of anthology. If you have not yet voted for your favorite, tool on over to the links page, read the stories, and cast your vote.

As always, if your story is not in the list go over to the Collector and add the details. I’ll then be able to add it here. And if you notice anything wonky with the links, shoot me an email or DM on Twitter to let me know. I’ll do my best to path things up.

Enough chit-chat for now. Here are this week’s offerings. Enjoy. ~jon

The Stories

All the Way to the Top by Michael J. Solender @mjsolender ~ Fantasy

Armageddon Cookie by Iapetus999 @Iapetus999 ~ Horror/Suspense

At a loss for life by Kaolin Fire @kaolinfire ~ Literary

Before Dark by Virginia Moffatt @VirginiaMoffatt ~ Unspecified

Black Sheep by Deanna Schrayer @deannaschrayer ~ Unspecified

Black to Blue by Eric J. Krause @ericjkrause ~ Horror/Suspense

Blue Ribbon by Marisa Birns @marisabirns ~ Slice of Life

By the Dragon’s Tail by Kaolin Fire @kaolinfire ~ Fantasy

Chicken Dance by Skycycler @skycycler ~ Literary

Constant Eclipse – Flash One by Chrys @N/A ~ Literary ~ Debut

Doomed by ganymeder @ganymeder ~ Cross Genre

Ending by Kim Batchelor @Kim_Batchelor ~ Literary

FACE – THE BROKEN MIRROR by Jim Wisneski @Wisneski ~ Horror/Suspense

Garden Fresh by Laura Eno @LauraEno ~ Unspecified

He Woke Up by Melissa D. Johnst @melissa_djohnst ~ Slice of Life

Help Yourself by Louise Dragon @WeezelWords ~ Mystery/Thriller

Helping the Nice Guy by John Wiswell @Wiswell ~ Mystery/Thriller

Herb Green Discusses his Finances in Four-letter Words by Alex Carrick @Alex_Carrick ~ Humor

His Due by Chris Chartrand @ChrisChartrand ~ Experimental

Homecoming by Peggy McFarland @peggywriter ~ Literary

Intimacy by G.P. Ching @gpching ~ Romance

Mafia Rehab (pt.3): Gratitude by Anne Tyler Lord @AnneTylerLord ~ Humor

Main Street Competition by Anton Gully @antongully ~ Fantasy

Meow by Michelle Dennis Evans @michelledevans ~ Unspecified

Messrs Swazzle, Pogmorten and the U.C.F. by Sam @FutureNostalgic ~ Fantasy

Narcoleptic Princess by R Canepa @roncanepa ~ Unspecified ~ Debut

Nature/Nurture by Maria Protopapadaki-Smith @mazzz_in_Leeds ~ Unspecified

Negative by Christian Bell @christianbell37 ~ Unspecified

Nice Shirt by Susan Cross @susanjcross ~ Slice of Life

No Surprise by Emma Newman @EmApocalyptic ~ Slice of Life

Observatory by Matt @litrock ~ Science Fiction

Peggy by Amy Taylor @adastrapoetry ~ Magical Realism

Porridge-Chops by Peter Etherington @petherin ~ Humor

Proof of Purchase by Dan Powell @danpowfiction ~ Magical Realism

Proof’s Hammer by davidbdale @davidbdale ~ Literary ~ Debut

Rejection Letters by Marc Nash @ExisleMoll ~ Fantasy

Riddle on the Ridge by David G Shrock @dracotorre ~ Fantasy

Root Baby by Shannon Esposito @soesposito ~ Cross Genre

Shadow Of A Chance by Al Bruno III @albruno3 ~ Action/Adventure

Shaken by J. M. Strother @jmstro ~ Literary

Skycat and Woodpecker Make a Bet by Deirdre M. Murphy @wyld_dandelyon ~ Unspecified

Small White Pill by Linda Simoni-Wastila @drwasy ~ Literary

Something Simple by Karen Schindler @karenfrommentor ~ Horror/Suspense

Soul Collector by Alyssa Tompkins @xAChels ~ Fantasy

Space by Thom Gabrukiewicz @tgabrukiewicz ~ Unspecified

Stealing Memories by Leigh Barlow @LeighBarlow ~ Fantasy

Suicidal Pine Tree by Estrella Azul @EstrellaAzul ~ Humor

The Bubble by Jessica Rosen @jessrosenbooks ~ Unspecified ~ Debut

The Complexing Conundrum by Chance @chance4321 ~ Humor

The End of Fred and Ginger by Tim VanSant @TimVanSant ~ Humor

The Fable of the Swallow by Barry J. Northern @BarryNorthern ~ Fantasy

The Fridge by Richard Gardner @ric03 ~ Slice of Life

The Great Escape by The Cheshire Scribe @cheshirescribe ~ ~ Debut

The Hunt by Deborah Bundy @DeborahKBundy ~ Humor

The Missing Piece by Carrie Clevenger @carrieclevenger ~ Horror/Suspense

The Neighbours by Laurita Miller @LauritaMiller ~ Horror/Suspense

The Right Thing to Say by CJ Hodges-MacFarlane @h0jp0j ~ Slice of Life

The Stand-off by Angie C. @techtigger ~ Fantasy

The Street Philosopher by David Masters @davidmasters ~ Slice of Life

The Tear-Gatherer God by Hannah Bisson @MoxieMouth ~ Fantasy

The underbelly of the beast. by Jenni Dérföldy @jenni_fleur ~ Historical

The World Still Shakes by Elizabeth Ditty @ditty1013 ~ Unspecified

Thomas & the Good Folk’s War by Katirra @katirra ~ Fantasy ~ Debut

What the Kookaburra Saw by Lauren Cude @NA ~ Fantasy

Wiccan Rivalry by Timothy P. Remp @Tim_Remp_writer ~ Horror/Suspense

Willpower by Lily Mulholland @CascadeLily ~ Literary

You Can’t Trust Adults by Dana @ywgdana ~ Slice of Life

The wrap

Thanks to all our readers. We love you. And please, if you enjoy a story leave comments when you visit. Writers love feedback almost as much as chocolate. Maybe more! Then go

tell your friends to read it too. Help these writers grow.

You can subscribe to the #fridayflash hashtag (external link) on Twitter every week for more great flash fiction.

We’re on Facebook (external link) too.


It was quite a week for #fridayflash. We have sixty-two stories in the round-up, including six from debut authors. Please welcome Lindsay Oberst, Gregory VanWagenen, Jesse Groppi, Virginia Moffatt, ThomG, and Deborah Bundy to our amazing writing community. I am sure I speak for all when I say we are all very happy to have you join us. As always there is a broad range of styles and genre, so there should be something for everyone. If you wrote a #fridayflash, and story is not in this listing, please visit the Collector to add your details. Once you’ve put it in the Collector I can harvest it, and add it to the report.

I apologize for getting this up a little late. This has been a very busy week for me here at Mad Utopia. On Friday I hosted a guest post from Tina Moreau, Manager of Absolute Xpress. She discussed their upcoming Thieves and Scoundrels Anthology. Submissions don’t close until Junary 15th, so if you have something in your hip pocket, or write well under pressure, there is still time to submit. It should be right up the alley of many #fridayflash writers, and is a chance at a paying market.

I also had to write my own #fridayflash, and get it posted in time, as well as work out the mechanics of distributing Best Of stories to first round judges. I’ve sent out 12 stories so far to two judges, just to get the process down. If you are a Best of 2009 first round judge watch your email. I’ll be sending out more packets today. I still need to get the Reader’s Choice poll up. Hope to do that today as well. As I said, it’s been a little busy here at Mad Utopia, but all your wonderful stories make it all worth while. Thanks again everyone, for participating in the writing, the reading, and the word-of-mouth marketing you do for #fridayflash. It would be nothing without you. ~jon

The Stories

Word Smells by Lindsay Oberst @lindzsmile ~ Slice of Life ~ Debut

Wisdom From The Chorus Line by Chance @chance4321 ~ Humor

Vaultkeeper by Maria Protopapadaki-Smith @mazzz_in_Leeds ~ Fantasy

Variations of the Truth by Lauren Cude via Facebook ~ Slice of Life

Truly, Deeply, Endlessly by Tony Noland @tonyNoland ~ Horror/Suspense

To Have Not by Richard Gardner @ric03 ~ Action/Adventure

Through their eyes by Estrella Azul @EstrellaAzul ~ Slice of Life

The Voice Of A Child by Leigh Barlow @LeighBarlow ~ Science Fiction

The Next Great Adventure by Eric J. Krause @ericjkrause ~ Science Fiction

The Next Best Thing by Gregory VanWagenen @gvanwagenen ~ Romance ~ Debut

The Madame Lazonga Defense by Alex Carrick @Alex_Carrick ~ Humor

The Literary Inheritance by P.J. Kaiser @doublelattemama ~ Slice of Life

The Lie by Rachel Blackbirdsong @RBlackbirdsong ~ Literary

The Fable of the Rhino and the Oxpecker by Barry J. Northern @BarryNorthern ~ Fantasy

The Eye Candy Also Flies by Chris Chartrand @ChrisChartrand ~ Science Fiction

The Day of the Wedding by Tim VanSant @TimVanSant ~ Unspecified

Sunday Lunch by Emma Newman @EmApocalyptic ~ Slice of Life

Sun Belt by John Wiswell @Wiswell ~ Science Fiction

Stoplight by G.P.Ching @GPChing ~ Slice of Life

Solarium by Hannah Bisson @MoxieMouth ~ Mystery/Thriller

Sleep Little Child by J. M. Strother @jmstro ~ Unspecified

Sisyphus and the Salesman by Ryan Harron @rharron ~ Fantasy

ShadowGlass: Prologue by Donald Conrad @NoddlaNocdar ~ Unspecified

Rapunzel by Amy Taylor @adastrapoetry ~ Unspecified

Raging Life by Christian Bell @christianbell37 ~ Unspecified

Post-Invasion Christmas by Jesse Groppi @jessegroppi ~ Cross Genre ~ Debut

Portal 7298 by Louise Dragon @WeezelWords ~ Cross Genre

Papa Szorny by Anton Gully @antongully ~ Horror/Suspense

Omega Rising by Carrie Clevenger @CarrieClevenger ~ Science Fiction

Offspring by Marisa Birns @marisabirns ~ Fantasy

Nurses at the bedside of Mr. Eller by Chad Redden @chadredden ~ Literary

Night Raid by Angie C. @techtigger ~ Fantasy

micro by Dan Powell @danpowfiction ~ Literary

Magwier A-Go-Go by Al Bruno III @albruno3 ~ Experimental

Mafia Rehab (pt.2): Inna Is In the House by Anne Tyler Lord @AnneTylerLord ~ Humor

Lady of Ice by Alyssa Tompkins @xAChels ~ Fantasy

Instructions: Parent Teacher Conference for a Retarded Child by Lou @lfreshwater ~ Literary

Infamy by Lily Mulholland @CascadeLily ~ Unspecified

Homeless by Michelle Dennis Evans @michelledevans ~ Slice of Life

Homecoming by Gary Harmon @Gary_Harmon ~ Literary

Happy New Year by Virginia Moffatt @VirginiaMoffatt ~ Slice of Life ~ Debut

Flicker by Clive Martyn @clivem ~ Horror/Suspense

Finding My Fix by Linda Simoni-Wastila @drwasy ~ Mystery/Thriller

Final Solution by Barb Relyea @brelyea ~ Literary

Escape Velocity by Skycycler @skycycler ~ Literary

Easy Prey by Laurita Miller @LauritaMiller ~ Horror/Suspense

Dunston Monster: Tabitha by David G Shrock @dracotorre ~ Unspecified

Drain by ThomG @tgabrukiewicz ~ Humor ~ Debut

Critiques by Tim Remp @Tim_Remp_writer ~ Humor

Chronology of Murder by Dana @ywgdana ~ Cross Genre

Calista’s Mirror of Truth by Melissa D. Johnston @melissa_djohnst ~ Cross Genre

Breaking the Mold by Shannon Esposito @soesposito ~ Literary

Blue Skies by Peter Etherington @petherin ~ Slice of Life

Bits and Pieces by Laura Eno @lauraeno ~ Unspecified

Banditties by Peggy McFarland @peggywriter ~ Horror/Suspense

Anyone Can Draw a Saltpot by David Masters @davidmasters ~ Slice of Life

Amelie, The One Minute Version by April L. Hamilton @indieauthor ~ Humor

All in the Soil by Michael J. Solender @mjsolender ~ Mystery/Thriller

Alive, alive-o by Virginia Moffatt @VirginiaMoffatt ~ Unspecified

A Rude Awakening by Sam @FutureNostalgic ~ Horror/Suspense

A Puppy in Need by Deborah Bundy @DeborahKBundy ~ Slice of Life ~ Debut

A Different Kind of Heavy Metal by Karen Schindler @karenfrommentor ~ Humor

The wrap

Thanks to all our readers. We love you. And please, if you enjoy a story leave comments when you visit. Writers love feedback almost as much as chocolate. Maybe more! Then go tell your friends to read it too. Help these writers grow.

You can subscribe to the #fridayflash hashtag (external link) on Twitter every week for more great flash fiction.

We’re on Facebook (external link) too.

Absolute Xpress logo

Please welcome Tina Moreau, Manager of Absolute Xpress, to Mad Utopia. Absolute XPress (AXP) is a Direct-To-Reader publisher of e-Books and paper-Books with a focus on Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. AXP is an imprint of Hades Publications. Tina comes to us today to explain AXP’s Flash Fiction Challenge, a quarterly anthology of flash fiction open to emerging as well as established authors. I’ve tweeted about the Flash Fiction Challenge several times over the last few weeks. Here is your opportunity to learn more about it, directly from the source.

What is the Flash Fiction Challenge?

The Flash Fiction Challenge started almost a year ago with its pilot anthology, Seven Deadly Sins. As social media and electronic reading grow, we find a lot of people mentioning that they would like to read shorter stories than what you normally find in anthologies. We thought Flash Fiction was the answer and it’s been a success for us.

After working out the process bugs with a second anthology, Creatures of the Night, the Flash Fiction Challenge has become a quarterly anthology. Each challenge has a specific theme that becomes the title of that book. The first quarterly anthology of 2010 is called Thieves and Scoundrels and AXP will be accepting submissions on this topic until January 15th.

How does the Challenge fit into the overall philosophy of AXP?

As stated on our website: Our goal is to publish quality books in both the electronic and traditional print formats, and work with both emerging as well as established authors, to give you (the reader) “great titles when you want them.”

To fit with that goal, each anthology is published as both a print book and an e-book (in various formats). Our books can be found on various online book stores, as well as a few select brick and mortar stores, and our distribution continues to expand everyday.

AXP also has another goal, one we take great pride in. Since we are smaller and newer we can take more chances. We want to help new authors get their foot in the door of the publishing industry, but not just by publishing them. We do what we can to help and encourage our authors to build their platforms, learn to market themselves and use technology to get readers interested their works. Of course, in order to achieve this level of author attention we can’t publish as many titles as larger publishers.

What do the authors get out of being published in the challenge?

As a small press our payment structures are varied. At present we have a pool of money we set aside for each Flash Fiction Challenge and the payments for authors is divided out of that pool by the number of stories selected for each anthology. It ranges between 1¢ and 2¢ per word for world-wide rights in all formats, but as we grow we anticipate our payments will increase as well.

Authors published in the Flash Fiction Challenge can expect AXP to get them involved in the marketing efforts for the anthology. We also try to establish relationships with our flash fiction authors so they will consider AXP when they finish that novella or novel they’ve been working on.

So what can an author do to make sure they get selected?

As with any publisher, we plead with authors to read the guidelines. We only accept submissions that are pasted into the body of an email, and they have to include the author’s name, story title, word count and genre at the top of that email.

Aside from the guidelines though, I’ll give you a sneak peak at the things we are looking for:

  • Does it fit within the theme, accepted genres & word count?
  • Is the writing easy to read? Correct use of spelling/grammar?
  • Is the story idea original? Does the idea capture the reader’s attention/ imagination? Is the story complete?

That’s it. If you can say yes to these questions then you have an excellent chance of being accepted.

If you want more information about the Flash Fiction Challenge, check out its official home on the web: http://absolute-x-press.com/flash-fiction-challenge

Tina Moreau is the Manager of Absolute Xpress. She runs the office, takes care of the authors, liaises with artists and editors, does some marketing and manages the Flash Fiction Challenge. Her goal is to help Absolute Xpress become an imprint that publishes well written and compelling stories from fresh voices in the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror genres.

Writing In a New Era

This is the third installment in my series, Writing In a New Era. Look for a follow-up post from Tina which will explore that theme, and how Absolute Xpress approaches the challenges of today’s publishing environment, in the not too distant future.


I want to thank everyone who submitted stories for consideration in The Best of 2009 #fridayflash Anthology. We had a great turn out. Sixty-five people submit a total of 167 stories. As usual for #fridayflash, we have a nice mix of genres, so there should be something for everyone in the final collection. I think I contacted everyone who submitted with a reply email to let you know I received your entries. If you did not get a reply from me, ping me at the Mad Utopia email address and I’ll be sure to confirm your submissions.

Submitter’s remorse

I had some people contact me privately after they made their submissions, to ask if they could swap out one of their stories for another one. Being a nice guy, I said sure. So it only seems fair to me to extend that offer to everyone. If you submitted one or more stories for Best Of, and now would like to change your mind on one of them, simply contact me via the Mad Utopia email (the same one you made your original submissions with) to make the switch. Those of you who have already done this, please refrain or I’ll end up in an infinite fairness loop. We wouldn’t want that.

Please note, this is not an offer to add an additional story, just to swap one for another. And please don’t beat yourselves up second guessing. Your submissions were great. But, if you submitted early you may have posted a later story for #fridayflash you liked even better. This is your chance to remedy that.

The deadline for this offer is 11:59pm this coming Friday, January 8 – firm.

The work begins

Thanks to all the folks who volunteered to be first round judges and/or editors. As it stands now the judging load is about ten stories per judge. I think that’s a bit much. I’d like to see it closer to five or six so it is not such a burden on each judge. Yep, I’m looking for more volunteers.

If you would like to volunteer to be a first round judge please email me at jstro AT swbell DOT net and I’ll add you to the list. I’ve already emailed all my earlier first round volunteers, so if you have not gotten an email, and thought you had volunteered, you slipped through the cracks. You can either breathe a huge sigh or relieve, or shoot me a new email revolunteering. You do not need to be a #fridayflash Best Of story contributor to be a judge.

Reader’s Choice Award

Entries are now closed for Reader’s Choice nominations. The Random Number Fairy dropped by and selected post #2 as the winning reader. Congratulations J. C. Towler, the fairy dust settled on you! Please contact me at the above email address and I’ll arrange to get you the $25 prize. How’s that for a nice start to the New Year?

Look for a poll later this week where we will actually choose the Reader’s Choice. The nominees are:
Bathroom Monologue: Succubyebye, by John Wiswell
First Foot by Sam, aka, @FutureNostalgic
Puma and Jaguar Save the Planet, by Maria Protopapadaki-Smith
Slide Into Satin & Gold, by Michelle D. Evans
Silver Bullet, by Linda Simoni-Wastila
The Fable of the Great Horned Owl, by Barry J. Northern, and
The Touchstone, by Lily Mulholland

Once again, thanks to everyone who participates in #fridayflash in any way, shape, or form. Readers, writers, tweeters, judges, editors, and artists: you are all the best. I value each and every one of you.

Have a terrific New Year!


Two days before Christmas and I was still looking for cheer. Not much going around. Jenny was nothing but a bittersweet memory. Though her name was still on the office door, the partnership dissolved months ago. She was tired of waiting on me, she said. She needed someone who could commit. Then two weeks ago I had to lay off Stephanie, my secretary. All part of the ebb and flow of the PI business. Merry Christmas, Steph.

Calling it a day, I locked up and headed down the hallway for the elevator. A man stepped on just before I got to the door. He avoided eye contact, let the doors close in my face. Nice. I stifled a curse and turned toward the stairs. There was some small satisfaction when I arrived at the lobby and saw the elevator was still up on two.

I could hear Gail Rover out on the sidewalk greeting everyone who passed with her perpetual, “God bless!” Pushing through the old revolving door deposited me into a cold drizzle, doing nothing to improve my mood.

Mrs. Rover turned toward the sound of the door, a smile on her face. “God bless, Mister Mann. God Bless!”

“Merry Christmas, Mrs. Rover.” Despite my mood I smiled back, her indomitable attitude irresistible. I took a few steps away, then turned back to her. “You have someplace warm to stay tonight, Gail?”

She beamed. “Yes sir, Mister Mann. I got a bed down at New Covenant.” That would be the New Covenant Shelter, four blocks away.

I fished a ten out of my wallet and handed it to her. “Get something warm to eat, Gail.”

“God bless, Mister Mann!” She accepted it with a smile and stuffed it into an old sock which she then jammed deep within her canvas bag. Judging by the slight bulge of the sock, she had not made much panhandling today.

I was but steps away when I heard her shout in dismay. Turning, I saw her on the ground. A young punk ran in the opposite direction, her bag in hand. I yelled and ran after him. At that he tossed the bag out into traffic. I gave up on him and dashed out to grab the bag before it was obliterated by the oncoming cars. Brakes screeched. Someone honked and flipped me off as I jumped back to the curb.

A passerby was helping her up as I returned. She flashed him a big smile and gave him a hearty, “God bless!”

“You know her?” the man asked.

“Gail Rover. She sort of works here.”

“She took a nasty fall.” He brushed off a bit of the sidewalk grime from her coat. “I’m glad you got her bag back.”

She took it back with an abundance of blessings, and began rooting through it. Her search became more and more agitated. “Oh Lordy, he got my purse!” At that, the passerby took his leave, evidently wanting no more involvement. I helped Gail search through the bag. She was right. The sock was gone.

“I’m so sorry. Come on, Gail, I’ll take you to dinner.”

She gave me an odd look, but took my proffered arm.

I headed to Mable’s, my standard diner. Gail rocked slightly in the passenger seat, hugging her bag. I turned the heater up to an uncomfortable level. Her blue jeans were soaked up to the knees, and the ragged coat she wore fairly dripped. She shot sideways glances toward me and began humming Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. By the time we got to Mable’s I was dying from the heat.

“New girlfriend?” Maude quipped when I asked for a table for two.

“Very funny.”

She showed us to a table in the far back corner and slapped the menus down. “Something to drink?”

“I’ll have coffee. Gail?” She was off in her own little world. “She’ll have coffee too.” I figured she could use something hot.

Maude came back in her own good time and put the coffee cups down with a clatter. “What do you want?” Good old Maude. The rudest waitress in town. It amazes me people tip her.

“I’ll have the burger and fries.” I looked up at Gail. She was staring at me, smiling. “What would you like, Mrs. Rover?” She blinked and smiled. Maude shifted from foot to foot, obviously annoyed at the waste of her time. “She’ll have the breaded pork chops, with a side of green beans and a baked potato.” I tried to pick something that would stick with her.

As Maude took up the menus Gail reached across the table and patted my hand. She looked up at Maude, face full of pride. “My son came down for Christmas with me.” Maude smirked and raised an eyebrow, clearly enjoying my uncomfortable situation.

Gail began humming along with the piped in music while we waited for the food to arrive, loud enough to attract glances from other patrons. I tried to engage her in conversation, but to no avail. Good King Wenceslas started to play. She informed me that it was always my favorite. Then to my mortification she began to sing.

She started out almost at a whisper, but her volume went up with each line. By the time she reached “Gath’ring winter fuel” she was in full throated glory. To my amazement she had the voice of an angel. The entire diner fell quite. People stood up to get a look at her. When she finished everyone in the diner broke out in unreserved applause.

It was glorious.

She was suddenly back in the real world, huddled down, embarrassed at her outburst. With tears in her eyes she looked over to me, tried to smile. “That was my boy’s favorite, Mister Mann. It was always his favorite.”

©2009 by J. M. Strother, all rights reserved.

Good King Wenceslas” performed by Loreena McKennitt on YouTube.

Please remember those less fortunate than you this holiday season.

© 2012 Mad Utopia Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha