Aug 302015
 
Photo Credit: David Elwood via CC.

Photo Credit: David Elwood via CC.

It’s Sunday. That can mean only one thing! Tomorrow is Monday. Oh, and Micro Bookends results of course. First a huge thanks to Steph Ellis for picking the winners. Here’s what she thought of your suped-up stories:

To find myself judging at MB, or anywhere else for that matter, is a daunting process. I’m well aware of the high standard of those who contribute week in, week out; I know what it takes to keep submitting, hoping for kind comments and, even better, a placing. I know how it feels if you don’t receive any of these. So to all those who entered this week, I would like to say thank you for giving me the privilege of reading your stories, all 41 of them! It was a difficult task and one which I hope I have done justice to. I read all the stories more than once and even when I sorted out my winning order there were many others which just bubbled under and which I wish I could have included.

Honourable Mentions

Eve of Creation by A V Laidlaw

And God created man in his own image but when he stood up, he looked ‘a little unfortunate’, a phrase that made me chuckle. Then he made Eve, he did better.

I, Tiger by KM Zafari

Having made the beautiful animal extinct, man is reduced to creating a synthetic version and still learns nothing. What a sad state of affairs.

What Immortal Hand or Eye? by Karl A Russell

A humorous take on the Creation story, over-worked Azrael misses date with a dragoness, so gets his own back on God and modifies the tiger’s brain.

Sun Flag by Richard Edenfield

A story of the perennial clash of man with nature, perfectly described as his ‘midnight mass of blind ambition’. Even when extinction occurs, violence is still the weapon of first resort. Another lesson not learned.

4th Place

Body of Evidence by Rebekah Postupak

Powerful little story of triumph over adversity. A daughter born with spina bifida, survives against the odds and has a normal life proving the experts wrong time and again. Touchingly told with the pride and love of a mother who turns the experts own words on themselves, they were the ones who needed modification, not her daughter.

3rd Place

lunch by Jack Koebnig

One of the most seamless uses of bookends this week. A lovely dark (but humorous) monologue by a food critic of another kind delivered in such a matter-of-fact tone to make it seem completely normal. You can almost see him drooling as he discusses his favourite cuts … until his little bubble of satisfaction is burst when he bites into some delicious human morsel and finds a repair made out of metal. Wonder what he would have thought of silicone enhancements?

2nd Place

Broken by Marie McKay

A beautifully crafted chunk of darkness. The juxtaposition of the evilness of his deed in the setting of what is normally a haven – the family table where his innocent daughter does her homework, where the family take meals together, the place often described as the centre of family life – was particularly clever. But then again isn’t this the perfect place to make his creation, a mother for the child, albeit one made from the body parts of others, for isn’t she the heart, the centre of the family? Very little is described, there is a reference to a body, drilling, the table becomes a mortuary slab, eyes, apron, there is no need for anything else, we can already see what is going on. Yet this erstwhile Frankenstein is also protective, sensitive; he covers the body and takes his apron off when his daughter’s ‘midnight feet’ approach even as he hints that his daughter is aware of what he is up to, ‘Mommy will be ready by Christmas’. It makes you wonder, did he also create his daughter?

Winner

A Hungry Business by dazmb

I have been considering taking up yoga again but after this I think I will stick to the gym! As soon as I started to read this, the words just fell away and became a movie in my head. The immediacy of this effect, brought about by clever and sparing use of dialogue and narrative is a sign of a truly skilled writer. I was there, in that exercise studio. I could see the women posing (the ones who give you an inferiority complex as you struggle whilst they maintain their air of annoying perfection); Durga manifesting the power of her Goddess namesake to become the tiger, the creature of destruction; the screaming, the killing, the aftermath. I was there and I could see it all. I also enjoyed the subtle touches of humour, the slip-of-the-tongue reference to devouring instead of taking the lesson, the use of the last bookend to ‘yoga, with some minor modifications …’. All done with so little telling. This writer made it look deceptively easy. A gem of a story, a potted perfection.

A Hungry Business

dazmb

“…body and mind aligned; push back into downward dog”.

The blond, skinny decaf lattes who took this class meant nothing to Durga.

Her attention returned to the class instructor. ‘Yogi’ she insisted on being called, as if she understood the deeper rituals.

Durga channelled her energy into the tiger’s eyes taped to her chakras.

“…and forward on all fours, left leg raised, into tiger pose.”

Summoning the power of her namesake Deity, she willed the transformation.

Padding forward, amidst the screams of fear, she growled deeply “I’ve come to devour…I mean take this lesson.”

She calmly pawed her whiskers. ‘Think of it as yoga, with some minor modifications…”

Aug 272015
 

Welcome to Micro Bookends 1.45. Ready to write? Here we go:

Body modification is the intentional alteration of the human physical appearance. In some cultures, body modification is associated with rites of passage, religious beliefs, or for cultural identity such as the neck rings worn by the women of the Burmese Kayan people, or the lip plates worn by women of some groups in Africa and Amazonia. In Western cultures body modification is more likely to be for aesthetic reasons such as body art, or piercings, or for shock value and self-expression. Body modification can range from a single ear piercing to extraocular implants (eyeball jewellery) and includes surgical procedures such as breast augmentation.

Dennis Avner was born on this day in 1958. Who’s that, you ask? Perhaps you know him by his Native American name, Stalking Cat. No? Then perhaps you will recognise his face. He was best known for his extensive body modifications intended to make him look like a female tiger, his totem animal. His modifications included extensive tattooing, facial subdermal implants, septum relocation, silicone injections, splitting of the upper lip, filing and capping of the teeth, ear shaping, hairline modification, and piercing of the upper lip and transdermal implants on his forehead for wearing whiskers. He also wore a mechanical tail and green, cat’s eye contact lenses. Avner took his own life on the 5th of November 2012. Shannon Larratt, founder of Body Modification Ezine, described him as,

A wonderful and complex person, he was at times as troubled as he was remarkable.

Here is this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: David Elwood via CC.

Photo Credit: David Elwood via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is Steph Ellis, winner of MB1.44. Read her winning story and what she has to say about flash fiction here.

What?

A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with BODY and ending with MODIFICATIONS [singular MODIFICATION is also fine] and incorporating the photo prompt.

Who?

Anyone, but especially you!

Why?

Why not! Because it’s fun. Because it’s a challenge. Because the winner will receive their own winner’s page, their story on the winning stories list, a ‘Who is the author?’ feature to be posted next week, entry into the ‘Micro Bookend of the Year’ competition, and a copy of this year’s winning stories compilation.

When?

Now! Get your entry in BEFORE 5:00 am Friday (UK time: http://time.is/London).

Where?

Here!

How?

Post your story in the comments section. Include the word count and your Twitter username (if you’re Twitterized). Don’t forget to read the full rules before submitting your story.

Anything else?

Please give your story a title. It will not be included in the word count.

Please try to leave comments on a couple of other stories. It’s all part of the fun, and everyone likes feedback!

Remember, only stories that use the bookends exactly as supplied (punctuation, including hyphens and apostrophes, is allowed) will be eligible to win.

Aug 252015
 

Steph EllisOur most recent winner is Steph Ellis. Follow her on Twitter and check out her website. If you enjoyed Steph’s MB1.44winning story, and want to read more of her work, take a look at Terror Tree Pun Book of Horror Stories, which she co-edited.

Steph has very kindly agreed to judge this week’s contest so pay attention as she tells us a bit about herself and her writing:

Steph lives with her husband and 3 children in sunny Hampshire. To earn a living, she works as a TA supporting teenagers with SEN; to live, she writes. Her speculative fiction stories have appeared in anthologies and magazines and she has also co-edited a collection of horror stories. She has recently completed (sort-of) a gothic horror novel which now lurks with hundreds of others on Hodderscape’s virtual desk. When not writing, she is usually to be found reading or watching something on TV with subtitles (by which I mean foreign, I’m not deaf!). She also surprises people with her love of heavy metal … proving appearances can be deceptive.

So, great story. How did you get there from the prompt and bookends? Hmm. Could I say haven’t a clue?! Is that allowed? The picture showed a lonely road on a dark night and so immediately I’m off on a journey. Lovecraft’s voice is already in my head (his works are on my shelf) and it is as though he is actually reciting it to me. Many of his stories deal with madness and obsession and that led me to consider the obsessiveness of writers, when their need to tell a story becomes all and everything. (Thankfully I have a tolerant family). And the title? It can be taken two ways, the submission of a story, or the submission of the writer to their obsession.

100 words ain’t many. How do you fit a story into so few words? I usually write two or three times the word count and then just cut and cut. Anything flowery, anything not vital goes.

Why do you like flash fiction? The sheer challenge of trying to tell a complete story in so few words. It forces you to consider your words carefully and to slaughter your darlings mercilessly. It has also brought me into contact with some wonderful writers in the Flash community and I love reading their work to see what I can learn from them.

Been writing long? For a few years on and off, mainly poetry at first with some local and national publication. Nothing serious fiction wise though until a couple of years back. I discovered an anthology call for a short horror story and thought I’d give it a go – I’d NEVER written horror before – and they accepted it! After that I just kept writing and submitting … and learning to take rejection.

You write anything else? I have a blog that I never seem to update regularly even though it’s on my to-do list. I have almost completed an alternative Nursery Rhyme book – you know, Mother Hubbard flaying the children, Mary, Mary as a mass murderer that sort of thing; all for fun and I intend to self-publish that some time this year. I’ve just recently submitted a novel for the first time. That was a big step in itself – just completing it, I kept putting it off all the time. Oh and the other big step forward was being invited to write for an anthology instead of having to submit in the usual way. I’ve also got a few stories due for publication this year and I’m waiting on decisions for other short stories and a novella (that was another first). It sounds a lot when I look at it like that but it never feels it. Flash fiction takes over the rest of my time Thursday – Sundays(!) I enter most of the comps on the schedule over at www.flashdogs.com

Any advice for other flash writers? Just dive in. Write the story and don’t worry about the word count, that can come in the edit. First and last lines seem to be quite critical in flash and again I would say don’t spend hours trying to get these lines perfect until you’ve got your story arc.

If I’m writing for one of the Flash competitions, I try not to read what others have written until I’ve submitted. I get depressed because I immediately start judging myself by what’s already been posted and thinking I’ll never match their standard. The drawback to that is when you find someone else has had the same idea and done it better, posted earlier than you. Writers are their own worst enemies.

Any interesting writerly projects in the pipeline? I’ve had an idea for some time now for another novel but would never allow myself to start it until I’d actually finished the one I sent out recently. It’s a horror story based on the world’s diminishing resources and how far man would go to maintain his power supply.

I have also started sketching out ideas for a crime story. I love the noir element of a lot of Scandinavian and European crime novels and TV programmes and would really like to have a go at writing a novel in that genre.

As you can see I’m a cheerful type of writer.

I just finished reading a book. Can you recommend another? The one I recommend to anyone and everyone is Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, a dark gothic tale with one of the scariest carnivals ever, and also any Discworld novel by the late, great Terry Pratchett.

Aug 232015
 
Photo Credit: Xenja Santarelli via CC.

Photo Credit: Xenja Santarelli via CC.

Welcome to the results show. We had 44 entries for MB1.44. Spooky? Not as spooky as some of your flashes. A huge thank you to this week’s judge, Rebekah Postupak, for sorting it all out. Here’s what she thought:

You fabulous flashers never fail to surprise me. Where most weeks we exclaim over the myriad directions writers take a single prompt, this week you seem to have collided in one bone-chilling mass of shadows that quite set my teeth chattering. This week story was shoved aside by étude; you paused in creepy alleyways (including a most unusual iteration by [Chris and] Mike) and creepy cellars, watched silently in creepy forests and one extremely creepy library (or at least a library with a not-to-be-messed-with librarian).  Thank you once more for entrusting your writing to us and allowing me to share my flimsy thoughts. Love this Craft? Oh yes. Oh, dear creepers in the night, yes.

Honourable Mentions

Daughter of the Crafty One by Stella Turner

Holy worldbuilding, er, Beelzebub. This story is stark, as though told by a creature in chains and blinders: the narrator weaves his portrait of this world and his own passivity in a terrifying ignorance. We are given a single tiny scene, and in that scene we see (hear?) only hints of the violent overlords. Head down, mind your own business, needle in and out. This is a tapestry of life no one would wish for, beautifully and horrifyingly sketched. Great job.

Lovestruck by Firdaus Parvez

From the opening line (“Love is the most evil person”), we were set down a glorious path of angry opposites. This dark Cupid carries poisoned arrows and bares fangs, and though he still dutifully loathes hatred, as the tale progresses, we’re shown a unexpectedly creepy exhumation of his actions and motivations. The concept was fun, the voice fantastic, and the execution here really well done as we watch him work, from the tongue-in-cheek opening to the gleeful, hand-rubbing end.

500 Miles For Freedom by Ed Broom

One of the few takes personifying the closing bookend, I loved seeing Ellen & William Craft recognized. “Craft” is a name perfectly suited to this courageous couple who made their own way in a world set against them, and it was wonderful seeing their story so well executed here, from the title to Billy’s name to their flight to Philadelphia. This modern interpretation, echoed in today’s headlines, shows that over 150 years later, we still have a long way to go. Thank you for this story—and here’s to the fight for freedom everywhere. May it continue.

4th Place

What Would Freud Say? by KM Zafari

This story was a hilarious romp from beginning to end: the dry, lonely professor who thought he could isolate the composition of love (“attraction plus compatibility”) and was proven most spectacularly wrong. But the punchline, though funny, isn’t what sets this story apart. It’s the subtle character development and worldbuilding, painted with a powerfully understated and masterful hand. And let’s not forget the fourth-wall-breaking title. This story is clever and knows it, but it’s so clever, we buy the whole kit and caboodle anyway. Awesome.

3rd Place

Strange Love by Marie McKay

Like “What Would Freud Say,” this story pairs a non-romantic human with an alien, only this time our would-be hero is following a romantic how-to book. The book’s instructions enable a fun story structure as the protagonist struggles to demonstrate a love he doesn’t feel to begin with. We follow the progress of the bumbling lover, and at a perfect calculated midpoint, suddenly his rattling tray meets the beloved’s monotone. “I cannot process tea,” she says, and in a hysterical downward spiral the lover’s efforts crumble and crash into failure. The really fantastic worldbuilding and the sophisticated pacing are what knocked me off my feet. So good.

2nd Place

First Day on the Job by Sonya

Capping a very impressive trio of runners up is this dark vignette with its chilling shades of Screwtape. The world is unveiled line by line as blacklight shines first on the humans, then on the apprentice and mentor, and then, finally, on the nature of the grim (haha) work being done. It’s dark labor set in shadowed irony against the story’s faceless title, and the unveiling is done with surgical precision. I love this piece’s intelligent voice and its arrogantly apathetic dismissal of its prey. Beautifully constructed and so very, very well crafted. Beware indeed.

Winner

Submission by Steph Ellis

“Submission” is so delicious, I could go on about it for a good full page or two: its layered storytelling, the sandwiched question structure, the portrayal of a forward-moving, lonely journey down dark roads to the “gates of perdition” (did anybody else picture the Black Gate??), the conscious, Poe-like unraveling of the narrator’s rational thought, and the double entendre of its flawless title. On one hand the story reads like a play to the judge (surely not!); on the other, for us flash fiction writers, this story speaks to the overpowering obsession we share. And therein lies the methodical genius behind this piece, because it’s specifically targeted AND simultaneously reaches past that target to a shared universal experience: that of sacrificing for something badly wanted. This story paints for us the cruel prison of the artist, the athlete, the addict. We recognize the character’s self-incrimination because those words fall from our lips at the same moment we ourselves are yielding. The character here is so well-drawn, we look deeply into the darkly lined face only to discover it’s a mirror. Powerfully, ironically, magnificently done, dear winner. And now—laptops to sleep, but only for a moment: tomorrow the flash week begins all over again, and, may God have mercy, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Submission

Steph Ellis

Love is a light that has faded from my life. The roads I have taken, dark and lonely. My journey, as I cast off friends like worn-out clothes, is one they cannot follow. It is obsession that has brought me here, to this place.

Will my words gain my admittance, my acceptance? Or will I be rejected and be sent back into the void?

I cling to my sanity, now wafer thin and leave my offering at these gates of perdition, my words, my other self. And wonder again at how I have been consumed by this craft.

Aug 202015
 

Welcome to Micro Bookends 1.44. This week we pay homage to one of the most influential writers in the horror genre, H.P. Lovecraft.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born on this day in 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. He had a troubled childhood; his father was committed to a mental institution when Lovecraft was just three years old and remained there until his death five years later. After his father’s death, he lived with his mother and extended family of two aunts and grandfather. His grandfather in particular encouraged his interest in reading by providing him with books and telling him his own tales of gothic horror. He also had trouble with classmates in school and was often kept at home by his overbearing mother. By the time he reached high school he was better able to connect with his peers and form friendships, but preferred a ‘nightbird’ lifestyle, rarely leaving the house before nightfall.

In 1916 Lovecraft’s first published story, The Alchemist, appeared in United Amateur. His first commercially published work came six years later when he was thirty-one. It was also around this time that he started to build a huge network of correspondents. It is estimated that he sent nearly 100,000 letters during his lifetime. Many aspiring writers later paid tribute to the coaching and encouragement they received by mail. Lovecraft was virtually unknown during his life and his work was published exclusively in pulp magazines such as Weird Tales. Stephen King, who acknowledges Lovecraft as being responsible for his own fascination with horror, has described him as “the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.”

Join me in a celebration of all things Lovecraftian with this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: Xenja Santarelli via CC.

Photo Credit: Xenja Santarelli via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is Rebekah Postupak, winner of MB1.13MB1.15MB1.30 and MB1.43 (phew!). Read her winning stories and what she has to say about flash fiction here.

What?

A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with LOVE and ending with CRAFT and incorporating the photo prompt.

Who?

Anyone, but especially you!

Why?

Why not! Because it’s fun. Because it’s a challenge. Because the winner will receive their own winner’s page, their story on the winning stories list, a ‘Who is the author?’ feature to be posted next week, entry into the ‘Micro Bookend of the Year’ competition, and a copy of this year’s winning stories compilation.

When?

Now! Get your entry in BEFORE 5:00 am Friday (UK time: http://time.is/London).

Where?

Here!

How?

Post your story in the comments section. Include the word count and your Twitter username (if you’re Twitterized). Don’t forget to read the full rules before submitting your story.

Anything else?

Please give your story a title. It will not be included in the word count.

Please try to leave comments on a couple of other stories. It’s all part of the fun, and everyone likes feedback!

Remember, only stories that use the bookends exactly as supplied (punctuation, including hyphens and apostrophes, is allowed) will be eligible to win.

Micro Bookends 1.43 – Results

 Results  Comments Off on Micro Bookends 1.43 – Results
Aug 162015
 
Photo Credit: coia.nac via CC.

Photo Credit: coia.nac via CC.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend. Ready for the results? First a big thank you to judge, juror and executioner, Karl A. Russell. Thanks Karl! Here’s what he thought:

Wow! 39 entries! What a bumper crop of awesome tales! I read them all on the trip into London yesterday, and despite engineering works, rail replacement buses and unseasonably warm weather for the UK, they made the journey fly by. With a pair of bookends like Plot – Twist, it was a given that there would be murders aplenty, cunning plans and last-sentence flips, but there were also meta tales of the writing life, Scrabble battles and one or two wonderfully quieter moments. As ever, the variety of styles and stories on display are a testament to the wealth of talent I’m lucky enough to know.

But there have to be winners, so here goes:

Honourable Mentions

Make The Kill by Brian S Creek

This drew me straight in with the short, sharp sentences and incorporates an actual twist – setting up the protagonist as the assassin before skilfully revealing their actual objective – and makes seamless use of the bookends.

A Home Is A Safe Place by A V Laidlaw

Another great twist here, albeit far more subtle. While the protagonist’s friends are saddled with abusive drunks for fathers, the man here seems completely oblivious to the damage he has wrought. The horror is muted and implied by the protagonist’s obvious fear, and that last line is dynamite.

Chris And Mike Vs The Strangler In Paradise by Geoff Holme

It’s worth pointing out that I’ve judged these blind, and won’t even look at the authors until I’ve sent in my results, so at this point I really don’t know if this is by Brian or by one of the many Chris & Mike fans he’s building up with his unhinged tales of supernatural hokum. Either way, the genderswap is a wonderful conceit, playing on our familiarity with the characters to surprise us while still working as an actual Chris & Mike tale, all of which earns it an HM.

3rd Place

Loving More Not Less by @dazmb

A series of beautiful images elevate this to the truly poetic. It is one of the quietest tales this week, and I almost dismissed it on first reading, but those soft psalms and spiralling leaves remained with me, and with every reading the impact grew greater.

2nd Place

Family Obligations by Emily Livingstone

Another quiet piece, but with a sense of unease and isolation which builds extremely well in such a short space. The nervous tic makes for great use of the closing bookend, suggesting an ellipsis rather than a full stop, a brief, thoughtful pause before the story continues. With Aunt Vera being such a sensible (and rather crotchety sounding) character, I’d love to see where else this goes.

Winner

In Memoriam by Rebekah Postupak

Probably the funniest piece this week. I wavered between loving and hating the protagonist as they added their snide remarks to the list of funerary expenses. The writer made clever use of the format, contrasting the matter of fact shopping list with the pretty scandalous private thoughts to create a recognizable and believable character in very few words. Extremely well done and great use of the bookends (although the cheeky little note about the photo almost cost you a few points…).

In Memoriam

Rebekah Postupak

Plot (single): $2,000

Grave liner: $1,800 (seriously?)

Opening/closing of grave: $1,475 (note—Saturday surcharge because they can, the vultures)

Maintenance fee: $250

Headstone (includes installation): $3,200 (note: sappy text still needed for engraver)

Coffin (“solid cherry”?? as if. What a ripoff): $3,490

Flowers for funeral service & gravesite: donated by friends and family (awesome!!!!!!!! <– write thank you notes)

Funeral home fees (incl embalming & death certificate): $3,800 (Q: tip for (smarmy) director??)

Post-funeral dinner: covered by in-laws (TELL SOPHIA TO NOT LET M-I-L COOK!! BLECH!!!!!!!!!!)

Anticipated total: $16,015

Anticipated life insurance payout: $2,000,000

Whoops, hahaha! Almost forgot!

Dead body: kiss (disgusting! HELLO BREATHMINT) + $5 martini with a twist.

Aug 132015
 

Welcome to Micro Bookends 1.43. I’m throwing in a wild card this week, so feel free to open your story with anything beginning with PLOT (PLOTS, PLOTTING, PLOTINUS…). Have fun:

A plot twist is an unexpected change in the direction of the plot of a movie, novel, television series or other narrative form. When a plot twist comes at the end of the movie, it is known as a surprise ending, and often completely changes the audience’s interpretation of earlier events. Revealing a twist to someone who has not seen the movie or read the book can ruin the experience for them. The movie 50 First Dates reveals the plot twist from The Sixth Sense.

According to Taste of Cinema, the top seven movie plot twists are (don’t worry; no spoilers here):

  1. Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back
  2. The Usual Suspects
  3. Planet of the Apes
  4. Les Diaboliques
  5. The Sixth Sense
  6. Psycho
  7. Citizen Kane

Sir Alfred Hitchcock, director of Psycho and master of the plot twist, was born on this day in Essex, England, in 1899. He made cameo appearances in 39 of his 52 movies, such as leaving the pet shop with his own dogs in the opening scene of the The Birds, and throwing away litter in The 39 Steps. Hitchcock was nominated for five Academy Awards for Best Director, but never won. In 1968 he was awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which is awarded by the Academy to ‘creative producers, whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production.’ His acceptance speech is the shortest in the history of the Academy Awards:

Thank you… very much indeed.

Join me in a celebration of all things Hitchcockian with this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: coia.nac via CC.

Photo Credit: coia.nac via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is Karl A. Russell, winner of MB1.42. Read his winning story and what he has to say about flash fiction here.

What?

A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with PLOT* and ending with TWIST and incorporating the photo prompt.

Who?

Anyone, but especially you!

Why?

Why not! Because it’s fun. Because it’s a challenge. Because the winner will receive their own winner’s page, their story on the winning stories list, a ‘Who is the author?’ feature to be posted next week, entry into the ‘Micro Bookend of the Year’ competition, and a copy of this year’s winning stories compilation.

When?

Now! Get your entry in BEFORE 5:00 am Friday (UK time: http://time.is/London).

Where?

Here!

How?

Post your story in the comments section. Include the word count and your Twitter username (if you’re Twitterized). Don’t forget to read the full rules before submitting your story.

Anything else?

Please give your story a title. It will not be included in the word count.

Please try to leave comments on a couple of other stories. It’s all part of the fun, and everyone likes feedback!

Remember, only stories that use the bookends exactly as supplied (punctuation, including hyphens and apostrophes, is allowed) will be eligible to win.