Flash Fiction: Mythris and the Stone King

Mythris couldn’t understand how the stone had become their king in the first place, that is until hearing it decree his banishment.  Its voice rumbled forth from somewhere deep inside its craggy surface and there was little room to question its sincerity.

“FOR CRIMES AGAINST THE STONES WE DECLARE YE BANISHED!  IF IT IS IN THEE TO RETURN, YE WILL BE CAST INTO THE CHASM!  BEGONE YE TRAITOROUS STONE CUTTER!”

The guardsmen cowered under the blast of its voice but Mythris stood tall and said nothing.  One of his captors gave a hard pull at the chain around his neck, pulling him down to kneel on the stone outcropping that lead to the Royal Boulder.

“Show some respect, eh?  You know It coulda been a lot harder on you,” the guard snarled.

“It’s just a rock,” Mythris hissed under his breath.

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5 Strategies You Need to Win Any Writing Contest

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Welcome back, my inklings.  I hope you’re all doing well.  It’s Good Friday already and the contest deadlines we discussed last week are fast approaching.  There’s quite a lot of strategies you can employ to get a better chance of winning a writing contest, many of which are only applicable to certain types of competitions.

I was considering this while I narrowed down for you the five best strategies that have helped me win in the past.  I wanted to provide you with tips that should work for absolutely any writing competition you come across, strategies that without which you’re almost guaranteed to lose.  I can’t promise you victory, but I can certainly put you on the path that leads to it. Continue reading

Contest Alerts: April

Welcome back, my inklings!  Today I want to talk about competition.  As much as we don’t like to look at it, competition is inherent to the craft of writing.  We compete with each other in the market place and on the bookshelf.  We vie for space in the imaginations of our readers.

When you put something out there, even something free, you’re engaged in the battle to take some of that limited supply of attention for yourself.  At the outset of every story we write, we are asking our readers for the most valuable thing that anyone can give to us.  Their time.

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Think your ideas are pure gold?  Get out there and prove it to the world!

To find out where you stand in the marketplace of ideas, to get your name and work out there in front of people and to build an eye catching resume for yourself as an author you’ve got to prove you can win.  To yourself and to everyone else.
Contests are a great measuring stick and one of the most exciting challenges you can take on as a writer.

Knowing what competitions to enter can be difficult, most have reading fees which can become pricey if you enter a lot of them.  Some restrict your copyright so badly that they reserve the right to use your submission any way they please, edit it themselves without notice and not even credit you when they publish it (I excluded exactly such a contest from this list for its outrageously anti-author terms of service).

So, as a favor to you, my dear inklings, I have decided to share three upcoming free contests with deadlines in the next several weeks.

Full contest rules and submission guidelines are available at the following links

Source: Baen Books
Contest: 2016 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award
Entry Fee: None
Word Limit: 8,000 words
Call For: Short Stories in any Fantasy genre variant
Deadline: Started Jan 1st, closes April 1st

Prizes:
Grand Prize– Exposure!  Published as featured story on Baen Books main website and paid “industry-standard rates for professional story submittals” as well as $500 worth of books.

2nd Place- $500 of free books!

3rd Place- $300 of free books!

Source: DemiCon 27
Contest: DemiCon 27 Prose and Poetry Contest
Entry Fee: None
Word Limit: 7,500 for Short Stories, 100 Lines for Poetry
Call For: Short Stories and Poems in Sci-Fi or Fantasy genres, must contain the phrase “like a zombie” and the sentence “They always ring twice.”
Deadline: March 29th, 2016

Prizes:
1st Place– Bragging rights, of course!

Also, all entries will be published on the official website after judging is completed and will be available to the attendees in print form at the convention.

Source: City of Ventura, CA
Contest: Art Tales 8th Annual Writing Contest
Entry Fee: None
Word Limit: 500 words or less
Call For: Flash Fiction or Poetry inspired by selected artworks (see website for details)
Deadline: April 4th, 2016

Prizes:
“All winners receive a bound edition of the judges’ selection”

1st Place– $30

2nd Place– $15

I encourage all of you to enter and compete!  I’d love to hear from you if you win, place or even just entered.  Even if you don’t come in first you still have a new completed story and that’s a victory in itself.

Join me next week when I’ll give you some tips on writing winning entries to help guide you to the top.  Until next time, stay creative!

Robert JV Christensen

Short Story: Verser

Welcome back, my inklings!  Here is the science fiction adventure tale “Verser” which won first place in the Constellation 6 writing contest at the beginning of May.  I hope you enjoy it!

“Verser”
by Robert JV Christensen

Hail’s heart was pounding as he sprinted through the smoldering city streets while fire-arcs, like bolts of lightning, cascaded down around him slashing deep wounds into the ancient steel skyscrapers.  He held a toddler, in his arms as he ran, sheltering him as best as he could.
“Hold on, Harp,” Hail said to him.  The boy, shaking with fear, could only cry.  He winced and shrieked as a loud crash let Hail know that another building was coming down nearby.
Holding Harp tightly, Hail leapt from where he stood up a few stories to the roof of a nearby parking garage.  Casting a hasty glance up at the sky, he saw the sun eclipsed by an enormous flying metal structure.  It was the Iron Fortress of Ageless.
Hail and Ageless were Versers.  Once, there weren’t any Versers.  Life was better then.
The Iron Fortress cast another deadly strike of flame down upon the city and Hail frantically looked for a path of escape. Continue reading

Blue Ribbon Octopus

Boy do I have news for you, my inklings.

All I can say is wow.  I just got home last night from an impromptu trip to Lincoln, NE to the fabulous Constellation VI sci-fi convention.  Hosted by the charming and hilarious toastmistress Sabrina Sumsion.  If you are in the area come check it out, the people are fantastic and there’s a wonderful atmosphere of fun and community permeating the event.  “But why,” you might ask, “was the octopus at a sci-fi convention?”

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Fighting with a Project? Don’t Give Up!

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I’ll be absolutely honest.  I’ve been having a difficult time with my time travel piece.  It’s in part because I haven’t made the time to sit down with it, and also because the rest of my life has been running me down like I’m a tunnel digging prison escapee.

At the moment I’m hiding in a metaphorical ditch while life shines its spotlights across the marsh from only a few feet away.  The slightest breath and I might have to go be an adult and do life things.  So let’s make the most of this time together before life finds me and throws me back in the clink.
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