Reading Life


Friday, February 24, 2017

The Last Summer of Our Youth | Tin House

Early that June, some new neighbors moved in just up the road and built a house around their trailer. We spied on the old couple until their house was done. We watched them start to collect things like tires and rusty chairs in their yard. When the swampy area behind our own house dried out, we took our adventures out back and combed the still-soft ground for arrowheads and any other evidence that the Cherokee had lived on our land. Once, Jamie found a sharp rock that we all agreed was not flat enough to qualify as a real weapon. Michael collected antique rusted bottle caps that had really been tossed aside by folks at one of our parents’ own parties. I kept a tally of the crawdad burrows, which looked like mud chimneys or tiny volcanoes. The muskrat dens were worse because they made the ground collapse, but they were harder to see.

The Last Summer of Our Youth | Tin House

I really like the voice of this flash piece by Erin Harte. So electric! So alive!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Short Story Competitions to enter

American Short(er) Fiction Contest 15 February
Bath Short Story Award 1 May
Birds of a Feather Press Travel Writing Competition 2017 28 February
Bristol Short Story Prize 3 May
CDS Documentary Essay Prize in Writing 15 February
Commonwealth Short Story Prize Oct/Nov
Costa Short Story Award July
Curt Johnson Prose Award Submissions closed
Drue Heinz Literature Prize May-June
Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize 10 April
Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction Date to be announced
Gotham Writers Past-Year Memoir Contest 20 February
Hillerman Prize Deadline TBD
John Steinbeck Short Story Award June – November
Keats-Shelley Prize Date to be announced
Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest 31 March
Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition 16 May
Manchester Fiction Prize February 2017
Montreal International Poetry Prize May
Mslexia Women’s Short Fiction Competition 20 March
Nature and Place Poetry Competition 1 March
Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest 15 May
Raymond Carver Short Story Contest 15 May
Reader’s Digest 100-Word-Story Competition 20 February
SA Writer’s College 30 April
SFC Literary Prize 15 May
Short Sharp Stories Annual Competition deadline Nov
Spotlight First Novel Competition 14 February 2017
The Caine Prize for African Writing 31 January
The Henshaw Short Story Competition 31 March
The Sunday Times Short Story Prize Date to be announced
The White Review Short Story Prize 1 March
Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest 1 April
Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize 15 March
Write On-Site 25 February
Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition 5 May
Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Closed for 2017
Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook Short Story Competition 13 February
Writers’ Forum Fiction Competition Monthly
Zoetrope All-Story’s Annual Fiction Contest 1 July

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel

Recently promoted, Louise Rick, takes on a case that takes her back to her roots. She also has a new partner who irks her. The last thing Louise wants is to visit her past, yet she must delve into her former life in Hvalso to solve this case.

From the author known as the "Queen of Crime," this is a stunning novel.

In this multi-layered crime story, there are three primary mysteries. Why would Klaus kill himself, at the prime of his life, leaving Louise bereft? Why would an institution for the mentally disabled issue death certificates to the Anderson twins while they were still alive? Thirdly, and most importantly, who is killing and raping women in the woods near Hvalso? 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Girl With All The Gifts

If you liked the television series Stranger Things, you might like, The Girl With All The Gifts

Melanie lives in a military facility with other children where she is given minimum care. Each day she is taken at gunpoint to a schoolroom and tied to a chair. Unbeknownst to her, Melanie is infected with a zombie-producing virus. She is infected, yet remains half-immune.

She and a few other "hungries" as they are known maintain their ability to think and reason. Consequently, scientists like Dr. Caldwell. want to study and even dissect them. Melanie and the other children are treated as animals, as lab experiments. 

The only kindness Melanie receives is from her teacher, Miss Justineau.

Even if you've read a hundred other zombie books, this one is different. All of the characters, Sargeant Parks, Private Gallagher, Dr. Caldwell, Miss Justineau, want to survive. Melanie wants more than that; she wants a chance to be treated like a human being.  

Other books with similar themes:
Heller, Peter. The Dog Stars.
Gregory, Daryl. Raising Stony Mayhall. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

One of the best beginnings....

"Twelve years after Robin's death, no one knew any more about how he had ended up hanged from a tree in his own yard than they had on the day it happened."

The Little Friend by Donna Tart. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

Brunonia Barry says The Fifth Petal is the most "challenging" story she has discovered. 

In this complex novel, which is part mystery, part thriller, and part love story, she ties seventeenth century Salem with present day Salem.

Mostly, its Callie Cahill's story, a survivor, who witnesses a horrific crime when she is only five years old.

Rose, a historian, took descendants of the original women accused of witchcraft, all young girls, to Proctor's Ledge. She intends to sanctify the ground where their ancestors were hung. One of the young girls, however, is absent.

Tragically, more blood is shed that day. An unknown assailant massacres the women who have gone to honor their ancestors. Rose claimed a banshee killed the girls but many suspect Rose.

Rafferty, the detective, who married Towner from The Lace Reader tries to decipher who the 5th petal is or who the 5th descendant of the accused. The 5th petal is in all likelihood the killer.

In current day Salem many of the families are related to the accused or to the judges. A centuries old rivalry between the Hawthornes and the Whittings could cause a rift between Callie and her growing love for Paul Whitting.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Writing contest

Sadly, this contest is over (deadline Jan 31). There's always next year.

Nelson Algren Literary Awards: $3,500 Short Story Prize (Submission Guidelines)

The Nelson Algren Literary Awards is an annual short story contest open to all residents of the United States. It is hosted by the Chicago Tribune.
Stories should be 8,000 words or less.
The grand prize is $3,500. Four finalists receive $1,000. Five runners-up will win $500. The total prizes are worth $10,000. Not bad!
Writers are allowed to submit a maximum of 2 entries. There is no submission fee.
The deadline for submission is January 31st, 2017.
The grand prize winning story will be considered for publication in the Chicago Tribune.
Nelson Algren was a novelist famous for books such as A walk the Wild Side, and The Man with the Golden Arm.  According to Wikipedia, Algren portrayed the world of “drunks, pimps, prostitutes, freaks, drug addicts, prize fighters, corrupt politicians, and hoodlums.”
To learn more, and to submit, read visit their Submittable page.



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