Col. Mustard in the Study with a Revolver – 2019 NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge

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Okay, not quite the same thing…but close! The 2019 NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge kicked off Midnight Friday January 18th. We have 8ish days to submit our short stories for the first round of the competition. Each writer was sent an email with their 3 story stipulations: GENRE/SUBJECT/CHARACTER. The fun has begun. Here’s just a few samples of the first round heats:

Genre                                  Subject                             Character

  • Suspense                       Impossible                            a witness
  • Thriller                         Witnessing a crime             a hypochondriac
  • Comedy                         A raffle                                  a princess
  • Political Satire               Lying                                    a fruiterer
  • Action/Adventure         A standoff                            an engineer
  • Sci-Fi                                an exotic pet                       an interior designer
  • Fairy tale                        repetition                             a gunslinger
  • Suspense                        a secret club                          an intern
  • Drama                             photo shoot                          a composer
  • Crime Caper                    a backup plan                      a fixer
  • Fairy tale                           superhuman                        a cheesemaker
  • Spy                                     mountain climbing            a reporter
  • Romantic Comedy          comfort food                       an x-ray technician
  • Romance                           procrastination                    a social climber
  • Comedy                              a labyrinth                           a meter maid

 

You get the picture. That’s just a few of the heats in the first round. If it was easy, it wouldn’t push us to become better writers, now would it? I purposely did NOT mention my heat in the sampling above. I have a few days left to come up with my story. I’m panicked but it’s a relatively calm panic for now. I’m exploring options, stopping and starting…attempting to find a groove that takes me to a finish line. False starts and retracing of steps are to be expected. I’m leaving myself breadcrumbs so I don’t get completely lost. I’m not worried about having something submission ready by the deadline. I just don’t know if it will be something on solid ground or not.

Good luck to all my fellow contestants! There are A LOT OF YOU! Don’t forget the part of the contest opener email that shared a hashtag for writers to use and connect. It’s a huge community. I’m sure we can commiserate and egg each other on along the way…see you in hashtag land…

#ShortStoryChallenge2019
If you plan on updating your progress in the competition on social media, make sure to use the hashtag #ShortStoryChallenge2019 so you can follow other writers and they can follow you!

 

NYC Midnight & Me

Here we go. I am entered into the 2019 NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. It begins at Midnight tonight and it is my first foray into all this NYC Midnight business. This is the 13th annual challenge and I’m pumped for it but certain I’ll fair poorly. I’ll come back and let you know, once I get the boot…but for now, here’s how it works:

KNOCKOUT ROUND ONE:

(January 18-26, 2019), writers are placed randomly in heats and are assigned a genre, subject, and character assignment.  Writers have 8 days to write an original story no longer than 2,500 words

The contest judges will choose the TOP 5 STORIES in each heat and those writers will move on to Round #2. All other writers are given the boot.

KNOCKOUT ROUND TWO:

(April 4-7, 2019)where writers receive new assignments, only this time they have just 3 days to write a 2,000word (maximum) short story.

Whoa. The time between rounds?! I wonder if this is set up this way to mess with the writers’ psyches. I’d much rather prefer to jump right back into the ring, myself. Listen to me…as if I’d make it to round two! Judges pick finalist from this round, as well. And they get to move on to the third and final round. LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THIRD & FINAL ROUND:

Remaining writers are challenged to write a 1,500 word (maximum) story in just 24 hours (May 17-18, 2019) in the third and final round of the competition.

Begins in January and ends in May. Yikes! The prizes for the winners are QUITE SUBSTANTIAL. First Prize is $5,000.00USD + almost $1,500.00USD value in other writer-related prizes. You can see the whole list of prizes HERE.

The biggest benefit for all writers who enter is FEEDBACK. From the site, here’s the statement in regards to feedback. It can come not only from the judges, but also fellow contestants on the group forum:

Not only does every writer receive feedback from the judges for every story submitted, but a special review forum is available for the participants to submit their stories for review from fellow writers throughout the competition.  During the Short Story Challenge 2018, there were over 9,500 comments made on the 700+ stories submitted on the forum.  Click here to visit the forums.

Oh, just so you know…as of this blog post there are still a few hours before the registration deadline. Sound like a great idea? Then CLICK THIS LINK TO GET YOURSELF IN ON THE GAME (Scroll down to the CLICK HERE TO REGISTER button—but registration closes at 9:00pm EST today — Friday January 18th).

The first challenge will be emailed to contestants tonight at Midnight. I guess that’s where the name comes from!

GOOD LUCK, SHORT STORY WRITERS! May the words be with you!

(I’ll be back with my results at a later date—good or bad/head high or tail between my legs. You can’t win if you don’t try.)

Click image below for NYC MIDNIGHT on Instagram:

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A Few Recent Reads & Recommendations!

Lock & WestLock & West by Alexander C. Eberhart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lock & West FTW

This is but exactly the messy, chaotic, sweet gay teen romance I didn’t know I needed so badly. So tumultuous and endearing. Every emotion. All the feels.

View all my reviews

Love, Hate and Other FiltersLove, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Heartbreaking and Heart-bursting Story of Love and Hate We All NEED

Such a beautiful story. How can a story be so traumatic and traumatizing and yet still have a beautiful thread of love and hope weaved through it? I loved the love story in this book and we need the rest of the story that unfolded now more than ever. Just beautiful! Such a ride of emotions, too, with such a lovely denouement at the end of the ride. And the author’s note was such a lovely signature to end on. We need this book. We need the love and hope it exudes.

View all my reviews

The DisastersThe Disasters by M.K. England

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazing!

I loved this book! From the heart-stopping chapter cliffhangers to the brother relationship between Nax and Malik to the sweet relationship between Nax and Rion to the awesomeness of the heroines… Case, Zee and Asra! The Swift Kick team is Kick Ass! I forgot how exciting and fulfilling this genre could be. Great read!

View all my reviews

SadieSadie by Courtney Summers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was one of the hardest books I’ve read in a long time. I attempt to police myself on trigger stories, but my desire to read this one was stronger than my need for self-care at the time. As a survivor, I can definitely say this was TRUE. It was a roller-coaster of a story. I was beside Sadie every step of the way. The more I feared the reveals, the faster I read to discover them. Such a fast-paced exciting read. The word that comes to mind the most, for me, is AUTHENTIC. It’s very true to the survivor mindset. Great read.

View all my reviews

We Are The AntsWe Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heartbreaking and Hopeful, Such a Fine Balance!

Took me long enough to get to this beautiful book. So glad I found it. I thoroughly enjoyed Henry’s story. Coming out of such a devastating story filled with hope and happiness feels almost like alchemy. Definitely my favorite read of 2018. Exquisite.

View all my reviews

Darius the Great Is Not OkayDarius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Darius is Actually Quite Amazing

I loved this story. I loved Darius and his fears and his inability to see his own strengths. I loved his friendship in Iran and his complicated relationship with his father. Yazd sounds beautiful and I want to visit now. Such a touching and subtle story. I’d recommend it to anyone.

View all my reviews

Getting it Right the 2nd Time Around – Half Dead & Fully Broken, the Re-Release

Time to admit that I made some grave errors while writing my novel Half Dead & Fully Broken. I couldn’t even see at the time that I crossed a line. Anyway, re-releasing a novel after leaving a publisher behind… is a great opportunity to fix issues with that novel. Half Dead is now available for pre-order on Amazon. This one is getting an overhaul prior to its release, right or wrong. The story is about Carter and Marcus Colby, twins who are in a motorcycle accident. Only Carter survives, but the ghost of Marcus is featured throughout the story. The relationship between Carter and Marcus’s girlfriend, so soon after Marcus’s death, did NOT sit well with some readers. Frankly, it didn’t really sit well with me, either. The thing about rebirths is you can do it right the second time around…at least as far as it pertains to novels and updated editions. So, be forewarned…the second edition of Half Dead & Fully Broken will contain less EW. It will also be greatly updated as far as technology is concerned. (-:

The new and improved HALF DEAD lands in your Kindle on FEBRUARY 21st, 2019. See the pre-order links below the cover…

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Pre-Order Half Dead & Fully Broken on Amazon USA today!

Pre-Order Half Dead & Fully Broken on Amazon Canada today!

This Is Me In Grade Nine – Love Is Love

Look for an announcement regarding my latest anthology inclusion. My short story THIS IS ME IN GRADE NINE will be published this month in the LOVE IS LOVE  anthology. All proceeds from this anthology will go directly to the TREVOR PROJECT. Full details to follow. (-:

love is love

In the meantime, I will be re-releasing the 2nd of my novels that was once with Curiosity Quills Press. Half Dead & Fully Broken will re-release in February, 2019. Details to follow.

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love is love

Further details on LOVE IS LOVE will be forthcoming. Stay tuned!

Burn Baby Burn Baby’s RE-Release

I recently separated from the publisher that released both BURN BABY BURN BABY and HALF DEAD & FULLY BROKEN. I won’t discuss this, but I am announcing that I will eventually be RE-releasing both books. They are no longer with Curiosity Quills Press.

First up for the return to the land of the living will be BURN BABY BURN BABY, complete with a new cover. Please note that this is a RE-RELEASE and if you have already read Burn Baby, there are no major changes in the story. I’ve made a few minor edits, but it remains mostly intact from the original. If you haven’t read it, there will be links at the bottom of this post for PRE-ORDERing a copy!

Burn Baby Burn Baby made it onto the 2016 IN THE MARGINS BOOK AWARD LIST at LIBRARY SERVICES FOR YOUTH IN CUSTODY.

Burn Baby Burn Baby has 108 ratings on Goodreads with an overall rating of over 4-stars!

burn

 

Synopsis for Burn Baby Burn Baby:

Seventeen-year-old Francis Fripp’s confidence is practically non-existent since his abusive father drenched him in accelerant and threw a match at him eight years ago. Now badly scarred, Francis relies on his best friend Trig to protect him from the constant bullying doled out at the hands of his nemesis, Brandon Hayley-the unrelenting boy who gave him the dreaded nickname of Burn Baby. The new girl at school, Rachel Higgins, is the first to see past Francis’s pariah-inducing scars. If Brandon’s bullying doesn’t destroy him, Francis might experience life as a normal teenager for the first time in his life. He just has to avoid Brandon and convince himself he’s worthy of Rachel’s attentions. Sounds easy enough, but Francis himself has a hard time seeing past his scars. And Brandon is getting violently frustrated, as his attempts to bully Francis are constantly thwarted. Francis is in turmoil as he simultaneously rushes toward his first kiss and a possible violent end.

Burn Baby will drop onto Kindle on January 31st, 2019. You can PRE-ORDER now.

PRE-ORDER LINK FOR BURN BABY BURN BABY ON AMAZON.COM

PRE-ORDER LINK FOR BURN BABY BURN BABY ON AMAZON.CA

In the meantime, you can always pick up a copy of PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE while you’re waiting for Burn Baby to drop! (-;