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Monthly Short Story Contest > June 2016 - Rewritten Headlines Contest

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message 1: by Glenda (last edited Jun 27, 2016 10:18AM) (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 934 comments Mod
David Russell provided the theme for June:



Highlights: a hero or a villain, a coffee mug, and a passing storm.

Point of View: must be in First Person

Theme: Courage to do the Right Thing OR Courage to Beat the Odds

Setting – any

Plot – your choice

June 2016 Variations and Options

REWRITE A NEWS STORY in your area about someone or something that occurred and the report left a distinct impression on you. Change the names if need be.

Examples: Someone honored for an achievement, a crime committed, someone beating the odds of a challenge.

You can either be the reporter answering who? What? When? Why? And how? - Or you can be the person reading the article.

Length: 500 to 1,000 Words

Deadline: challenge is extended to July 30th.

Voting - there will be no voting since there was low submissions.

Challenge Guidelines

Genre: Fantasy, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Crime, Comedy, Romance, or a mixture (BASICALLY, anything but erotica)

Purpose -
Some fiction writers are looking to win a short story contest, keeping in touch with making deadlines, and/or simply sharpening the skill of writing fiction. The main purpose of this contest is to sharpen plot and character skills, collect your own short stories, receive good feedback, make a good connection with other writers, and take a short break from your current novel to get a fresh view when you return to it.

Rules and Directions -
* Type in English - a minimum of 500 words; a maximum of 1,000 words; no erotica, no profanity.

* Post your title, by line, and word count total in the first line of your story posting.


* ONE entry per person, must be writer's original work, a final revision, and a new piece of writing. Please do not delete and repost since this becomes confusing to the readers. Try to post your final revision.

Judging: The story will be judged on creativity, proper grammar, good punctuation, and overall good quality for story.

Voting: Please vote for first, second, and third place. You are not allowed to vote for yourself. If posting this month, you MUST vote, in order for your story to remain eligible.

message 2: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Hmmmm, I like it.

message 3: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hi writers,
A big thank you to the person who formatted this idea and set up the contest!!
I would like to suggest if anyone wants constructive feedback on their story, please make that known within the body of your submit just before the story. Something like, Feedback please, is enough. To those giving feedback, encourage the writing but kindly state one thing that may improve the particular story. An example, grammar, typo, narrative to wordy, or it knocked your socks off overall. Thanks!
David Russell

message 4: by Glenda (last edited Jun 02, 2016 06:39AM) (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 934 comments Mod
You're welcome, David. It wasn't easy coming up with the highlights and theme that went along with the idea of rewriting headlines. Since this is really your baby, I'm going to consider myself a writer this month and may contribute a story. It has been about 2 months now that I haven't written anything. I will aid you in the vote count if I am needed.

Mimi Angel of Love I might actually do this one guys do we post it here or do we email it out? This is my first time doing this type of thing.

message 6: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hi Michelle and others,
First, welcome to Writers 750 Michelle as a participant! Yes, post your story here, between 550-1000 words in length. Look at the guidelines, and you will be well informed. I want to emphasize, one time posts, no revisions. So, before you post your story make sure it is the way you want others to see it. Hope that helps.

message 7: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 934 comments Mod
Team Hoyt
By Glenda Reynolds 796 words

I am blessed to have a family who has loved me from the beginning, even after learning that I was severely handicapped with spastic quadriplegia and cerebral palsy. 'What is that?' You may ask. Fill your coffee mug and sit a spell while I tell you my story. My handicap means that I can’t move anything from the neck down, normally that is. I can’t speak either. I can spastically wave my arms and nod my head, but my muscles are constantly tensed. My illness was caused when the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck in the womb. The doctors tried to talk my parents into institutionalizing me for life since they saw me as a vegetable. My parents saw life and intelligence in my eyes. They refused to follow through with the doctor’s suggestion. Instead, they gave me a life of a normal child as much as possible.

It may seem strange to you to know that when I was a kid, I played hockey in the street with my friends, all the while unable to really move for myself. I was pushed around in my wheelchair in the street; my helper would guide the hockey stick. I would swim with my family, although it was more like I would sink to the bottom. When I was brought to the surface, I would laugh. My father was convinced more than ever that he had made the right decision for me and my quality of life.

When I was 12 year old, my parents discovered a machine that I could finally communicate with that they dubbed the “Hope Machine”. I used this by tapping letters on a console. I was now able to attend school with my peers. When I was 15, I used this machine to ask my father if we could participate in a charity race for a paralyzed teenager in a 5-mile race. At the time, my father wasn’t a runner. That soon changed. He loved it when I told him when we ran together, meaning when he pushed me in my wheelchair, it was as if my disability was gone.

My dad didn’t hesitate for a minute saying, “This is something you need to do, and I need to do it for you.”

For many years thereafter my father and I participated in the Boston Marathon as well as the Ironman Triathlon. He ran behind me, pushing my 3-wheeled custom racing wheelchair. The road was very rough and winding, but he endured it for my sake. He did this without complaining, forcing his body to go the distance. At the water’s edge, he secured a towing rope around his shoulder and arm while he swam with me as I lay in an inflatable boat. I know that things seem lighter in the water. Still, I did weigh 110 pounds; it must not have been easy for him to do. I inhaled the scent of the ocean as I watched seagulls beat the air with their wings above me. I felt the gentle rhythmic motions of my father’s strokes through the water for 2.4 miles. When we arrived at the shore, he picked me up, lovingly secured my helmet on my head, strapped me to the front of his bicycle, and he peddled for 112 miles. The last phase of the Ironman Triathlon was a marathon run of 26.2 miles in which he pushed my wheelchair. As we got closer to the finish line, hundreds of people lined the streets to cheer us on. I raised my arms the best that I could, urging us forward towards the finish and felt triumphant.

On April 22, 2014, the Boston Globe news piece read, “Dick and Rick Hoyt Run 32nd and Last Marathon”. That was our last Boston Marathon as a team. You see, my father was 73 at the time; I was 52. My dad’s body let him know that he couldn’t continue these races. The year before this was the terrorist bombing which stopped the marathon. Like a malevolent storm, this act of terrorism left victims in its ugly wake. My father was determined to come back and complete the race the next year which became our last race together. The article went on to credit Team Hoyt for running more than 1,000 races in marathons and triathlons 32 of those races were Boston marathons.

Although my father and I are no longer a running team, a close friend has taken his place as we continue to run in the Boston Marathons. I have lived a life that only few people dream about. I am forever thankful to the many people who loved and supported me throughout my life. I am looking forward to what life holds for me in the future.

message 8: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 934 comments Mod
I know my story reads as a biography, but it is told in first person, includes a headline, and the highlights that have been given. Believe me, it's better than a headline (just last month) I first had in mind of a woman in Alabama whose mother died. The daughter sat on a bale of hay while she made funeral arrangements for her mother. As she sat there, fire ants bit her causing her air passage to swell. She also died. The family had a double funeral.

message 9: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hi Glenda and others,
Nice story and you did well to tell it in the son's narrative. Moments into reading, I was hearing the son loud and clear.

One nit.

*"When I was 12 year old, my parents discovered,"

Something like 12-years-old, age 12, or maybe even just "was 12, would be good alternatives.

David Russell

message 10: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 934 comments Mod
I just saw that I left the "s" off of years. I agree. "When I was 12..." would've been ok.

message 11: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hello Writers,
I am submitting the following story and welcome comment or critique if so inclined. I know it may be ineligible for a vote and that's fine. More concerned about reader reaction. I plan to submit it to some short story venues. What would you change or polish up if this were your story?
Outside Safe Keeping

David Russell
1000 words

Note: Names are fictitious.

Kathy and Gerald were married for 30 years. They met during college and spent their post graduate years climbing the social ladder in their respective professions. Gerald worked for County Bank & Trust; Kathy owned and operated a temporary service whose staff, like her, dressed for success.

The time, Spring 2011, and the country was slowly pulling out of a three year recession. Raymond Rainstop and Gerald were meeting inside Gerald's private office at the bank.

"Gerald, have you thought of my proposal?"

"Sure Raymond. Sounds tempting." Rubbing his palms together Gerald added, "Give me another day."

"OK, but glad to hear things are favorable," Raymond stated. The two men met at the Boss Bar the next evening for serious happy hour discussion.

"Gonna invest; gotta hunch for me?"

"Just look at this as an alternative to Wall Street. You either hit the J-pot or you don't."

"I like this inside trade investment from Austria. Could score big," Raymond stated.

"You've covered all the bases?"

"Relax! My ass is in this too."

Over the next nine months, Gerald and Raymond enjoyed significant increase in their personal finances. Cathy enjoyed riding the coat tails of Gerald's financial windfall. They took a Christmas cruise to the Western Caribbean, bought a new Toyota Prias for her, and a Lamborghini for him. Raymond, and his mistress, his nurse practitioner by profession, enjoyed weekend trips to luxurious settings on both west and east coast.

Both men met again periodically over the next year or so.

"Glad the extra income has hit a plateau. The return on the Austrian investment was a shot of adrenalin, but a bit scary too."

Raymond added, "For a little while the sporadic nature worried me too."

In early 2013, Nancy Novakowski was in position for an upward move in the Federal Securities Exchange Commission. June Rae, her supervisor called her in the office, in mid-January. The day was wintry and snowy in Waterloo.

"I want you to have your team look into County Bank & Trust, and in particular, Gerald Bradshaw. We think he is doing insider trading."

"Big stuff! How do you know?"

"We got a tip from his friend's estranged wife who was rather irate," Nancy said.

"Like, hell have no fury kind of irate?"

"You got it, bingo!"

Over the next few months, Nancy kept a close watchful eye on the bank, its staff and Bradshaw. She compiled a detailed record of meetings between Gerald and Raymond Rainstop. Yes, both were doing insider trading.

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, Gerald and Kathy were having dinner with Kelly Boss and her husband Carl, they owned The Boss Bar.

"How do you account for your successful lifestyles?" Carl inquired.

"We sure as hell weren't born with silver spoons," Kathy stated with a broad smile.

"Just played the dice right I guess," Gerald added.

"I'd say so. You drive high-priced cars and dress to the nines," Kelly said.

The couples enjoyed their Cornish hen stuffed with rice, onion and mushroom. Lemon pepper and garlic added a gourmet touch.

Before dessert, there was a loud knock at the door.

"Open up, FBI here," said a commanding voice. It was Novakowski.

"What the hell?" asked Kathy. Looks of surprise were exchanged.

"Come in. What's this about?" asked Carl.

"About Gerald Bradshaw. Seems like you're in deep for suspicion of insider trading." Gerald began to show signs of discomfort.

"Come with me Bradshaw, you're under arrest," stated Novakowski.

"You're mistaken. My husband lives his life above board," Kathy said.

"I think in the end, you'll be mistaken, Ms. Bradshaw."

In February 2014 jury selection occurred and a one month trial ensued. Raymond's estranged wife, Lillian, had tipped officials to the likelihood of an ongoing scam. She and Raymond had separated as he was having an affair with his nurse practitioner.

In early March the jury rendered its verdict.

"Your Honor, we find the defendant, Gerald Bradshaw guilty on all charges of insider trading." The verdict was unanimous.

"Thank you ladies and gentlemen of the jury. You are dismissed. I will release the defendant on $1.5 million bond pending sentencing on April 2nd," the Judge declared.

Kathy immediately burst into tears. Minutes later, she was satisfying the terms of the bond. Both held hands throughout the trial, and held hands as they left the court, but were neutral in facial expression.

April 2nd arrived and so did the appointed time for sentencing. The Bradshaws appeared smiling before the press on entering the courthouse.

"Mr. Bradshaw, the judge began. Your behavior as a trusted official is regarded as morally and ethically circuitous. I sentence you to 20 years without parole to the state maximum security facility." Gerald remained neutral in expression as he was sentenced and then in custody of the justice system. Kathy left the courthouse as her husband was taken into custody. She was going to go visit her college roommate Pam, who lived in St Augustine, Florida. The next day, Pam greeted her warmly inside the airport terminal.

"Kathy, you've been through hell. Stay a few days and take your time," Pam said.

"Oh Pam, we have been around for each other since college. I need a friend like you." Both women embraced and Kathy released the tears unincumbered. That evening, they were enjoying live music and seafood at a outside cafe near the beach.

"I've been here four days and made some decisions."


"Yes. I'm filing for divorce, putting the damn home up for sale, moving to Alberta, Canada."

"Wow girl, when you make decisions, they are final!"
Kathy and pam exchanged a brief hug.

Returning to Waterloo early the next week, Kathy filed for divorce, which was granted within a month. Their home sold for asking price, $200,000.00 in six days, and within three weeks post sale, she moved to Alberta Canada where she bought an existing coffee shop. Kathy put the past behind her to assume a simpler lifestyle.

The story is based on a recent news event concerning conviction of a banker for insider training, The Daily Telegraph.
David Russell

message 12: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Oops, I meant "insider trading" not insider training - in my note at the end of the story. Freudian slip I guess. My apologies.
Hope to see more stories on recent headlines.
David Russell

message 13: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Good idea, David, on the critique idea. We used to do that in the beginning. Every month we would be broken into groups and would critique each others story. If the group is interested in doing again we can start again.

message 14: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (furyanhound) | 89 comments Hmm... 1st person, eh? Well, I've got a great idea for this month's contest! Now all I need to do is find time to write the story... losing my job and starting my own business has taken a bit of a toll on my writing these last couple of months!

message 15: by Shelly (new)

Shelly Harris | 6 comments Great story, David. I wondered about Kathy's swearing but it established her as a person who could take care of herself. My critique is in your first sentence.... they had been married

message 16: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hi Writers,
Lynette, thanks for the support for a critique aspect to our group. For this month anyhow, author wanting critique, and the rest of us leaving something in the reaction to their story will suffice. The goal is to encourage one another with continued writing and better writing. A member here does that well already from my experience!

*****Stephanie, sending empathy and best wishes to you for your transition time! I am still building a freelance business over 2 years after losing my transcription job. Be patient with yourself! Looking forward to reading your story when time permits.

message 17: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Shelly wrote: "Great story, David. I wondered about Kathy's swearing but it established her as a person who could take care of herself. My critique is in your first sentence.... they had been married"

Hi Shelly,
Thanks for the comment and critique! I may rework the first sentence to establish time, place and setting from what you read.

message 18: by Christene (new)

Christene Britton-Jones | 201 comments Thanks David I am still writing mine well written it briefly and will look at it in a couple of days and edit it... definitely with a hero, a coffee mug (well a cup), and a passing storm.

message 19: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Christene wrote: "Thanks David I am still writing mine well written it briefly and will look at it in a couple of days and edit it... definitely with a hero, a coffee mug (well a cup), and a passing storm."

Christine, thanks, looking forward to all these goodies!

message 20: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hi Writers,
Today is Flag Day and there are 13 days left for the June story contest. Tomorrow the month will be middle-aged, June 15. Three of you have indicated stories in progress, Please don't quit until posted!

message 21: by Mirta (new)

Mirta Oliva (mirtaoliva) | 170 comments David R.,
Severe food poisoning set me back about ten days in June. Then, unexpected home repairs continue to clutter the calendar. Maybe I'll be the last one to post this month - if I can find the time and the inspiration. Right now I could use a week at the beach. Sigh.

message 22: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Mirta wrote: "David R.,
Severe food poisoning set me back about ten days in June. Then, unexpected home repairs continue to clutter the calendar. Maybe I'll be the last one to post this month - if I can find the..."

-Mirta, How about doing a day or afternoon at the beach, or somewhere that gives you a break from all the clutter of the month?
Sounds like the food poisoning has abated, or sure hope so. Thoughts and prayers accompany my reply.

message 23: by Mirta (new)

Mirta Oliva (mirtaoliva) | 170 comments David,
Thanks for your prayers and excellent advice - one day at the beach. No can do for now since I have been busy buying parts and stuff for the home repair projects, all happening at once, requiring "supervision." Nothing major, but one problem leads to another and it is better to solve issues when they happen. The food poisoning is now behind me so I have been eating out occasionally. Umm...

message 24: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Sorry I have been a little scarce. Things have been really hectic the last couple of weeks. I had to move my son and family home. So for now it is 3 adults, 2 kids, and 2 cats in a one bedroom apt but we are making it work. Then to make it work I ended up really sick this week but thankfully on the mend.

My innate ability to zone people and things out will be to my favor as I put my story idea down in writing.

Welcome Michelle.

Mirta: Sounds like things have been a little hectic in your world also. Glad to hear you are doing better as well. Hope the home repair list continues to get shorter.

Stephanie: Best of wishes on your transition. You are a brave soul!

message 25: by Mirta (new)

Mirta Oliva (mirtaoliva) | 170 comments Lynette, I like the way you are adapting to new situations, above all staying in high spirits. I have progressed a bit on my to do list but still have a long way to go. Nothing major, but one thing leads to the other... Stay well and inspired!

message 26: by Lynette (last edited Jun 23, 2016 09:59PM) (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Thank you, Mirta, for your kind words. It has been a huge adjustment. I also wanted to share a bit of news. I will be a guest speaker on July 6 at a writer's group. I suggested we do a little exercise, the same thing we do here. They are all excited to participate. I will try to get some recruits to our group.

So with that said I would like to submit my story. Meet Greg Jackson, the hero who sees himself as anything but a hero.

Now I get to read your stories.

message 27: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments The Makings of a Hero (995 words)

The raindrops dripping on the window matched the tears rolling down my cheeks drop for drop. Still frozen in my one hand was the phone, and in the other was the nearly empty cup of coffee. Danny’s words still echoed in my ears.

“Hey coach, the news is going to announce it soon but I wanted to tell you first. I was just picked up in the draft by the Ravens. I will be a quarterback for the NFL! Can you believe it? I owe it all to you! You have always been and will forever be my hero.

“I have already checked and I can keep your number. May I have your permission to continue to wear the 99 in your honor?”

Choking back the tears I said the only thing I could. “Of course, Danny, I would be honored.”

The conversation ended with plans to take me out to dinner to celebrate when he got back to town. His final words were. “Love you coach.” And here I sit lost in time.

How do you react to someone else living your dream? That was suppose to be me playing for the NFL. I was the star athlete with the full scholarship to the college of my dreams, and I was cheated out of all of it in the blink of the eye because I decided to save Danny’s life.

Allow me to explain how my dreams became Danny’s reality. You see, twelve years ago I was not only the star quarterback at Hamilton High School, but I was on the state all-star team for the third year in a row. My entire life revolved around football and my high school sweetheart Susan Jenkins, the prom queen. Our life was perfectly planned out once we had both secured our full ride scholarships to Duke.

Danny Garcia lived two doors down from my family and was seven years younger than me. He idolized me and would light up whenever I talked to him. He would dang near explode when I put my fairy tale life on hold to throw a few passes with him.

One particular day it rained for hours before the sun finally started to peak through the receding clouds. Now that the storm was passing I decided I needed a break from the particularly hard calculus test I was studying for. Grabbing a jacket and the football, my intentions were to toss a few balls against the tramp to clear my head.

Within minutes Danny was silently standing a few feet away beaming with that fandom admiration of his. Looking back, it fed my ego to see that deep admiration on Danny‘s face. I remember looking at him and asking him if he wanted to play catch for a few minutes. He nearly jumped in excitement and rushed to the opposite side of the yard.

We both heard the car coming down the street as I passed the ball to Danny and it bounced off of his fingertips. The ball shot toward the street and without thinking Danny took off after it. The driver slammed on the brakes but got little help from the wet pavement. Before I calculated the risk I was dashing into the street after Danny.

The last thing I remembered I was pushing Danny into the grass on the other side of the street. I mis-calculated my own safety by inches, however. The head light clipped my back and flipped me up over the hood.

When I woke up in the hospital three days later I learned that my heroic action had landed me in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I will never forget the doctor’s words.

“I am sorry Greg, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. I wish I could tell you some good news but the tests are conclusive. Greg, your spinal cord was irreparably damaged. You will be paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of your life. I am so sorry.”

The next two years were a rollercoaster of anger, hurt, confusion, frustration, and devastation as my picture perfect life dissipated. For the first year I lashed out at everyone, especially Danny. That poor kid! Two years after the accident I finally realized that Danny was nearly as crippled by survivor’s guilt as I had been by that car.

The best thing to ever happen to me was my therapist insisting that I join a support group made up primarily of vets. These men and women came from every branch of the military; and they became my heroes, my inspiration, my example, my determination to rise above being a paraplegic.

I pulled myself together, obtained a Master‘s degree in Business, married the most amazing woman in the world, and have two beautiful children. My partners and I have three highly successful furniture businesses mostly staffed by vets.

By the time Danny was a sophomore in high school I was mentoring him and that was the first time he asked for my permission to wear my old number. He started calling me coach and by his senior year I was volunteering my time to help train the entire offensive line. I would continue to mentor Danny through college. And now he would be playing for the NFL.

I have never considered myself a hero for pushing Danny out of the way of that car. My wife Mary tells me that it is not that one act that made me Danny’s hero. It was the fact that in the process of healing myself I also healed him. She is such wise woman.

Putting down the coffee cup, I wiped away the tears. The storm has passed on and once again the sun is peaking out through the clouds. “No, Danny, you are my hero.” I said to the dark phone. “You will be a great NFL quarterback.”

I need to be sure to tell him that when we have dinner.

message 28: by Mirta (last edited Jun 23, 2016 10:03PM) (new)

Mirta Oliva (mirtaoliva) | 170 comments You are welcome, Lynette, and thanks for the news. All good. Hope you can bring new writers to 750. On that note, here is what I wrote on Glenda's post:
"One of the reasons I joined Writers 750 is that it forced me (and all members) to write a plot around the guidelines. Usually, there is no cohesion in the words provided, and then the theme...It takes me longer to polish the story than to think of a plot. Of course, some come out better than others, but they are all original. Although the essence of the stories may mimic others, the actual situations created with the convoluted word structure certainly make each story one of a kind. Over 90% of the time my story has been the first one posted - something I try to do so that there is no possibility that by chance my stories 'inherit' parts of others. And that can happen, unbeknownst to the writer, thanks to the subconscious mind..." My best to you in your endeavors.

message 29: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments OH SNAP! I just saw this going back through the thread.

REWRITE A NEWS STORY in your area about someone or something that occurred and the report left a distinct impression on you. Change the names if need be.

Examples: Someone honored for an achievement, a crime committed, someone beating the odds of a challenge.

You can either be the reporter answering who? What? When? Why? And how? - Or you can be the person reading the article.

EPIC FAIL!!! And no time to rewrite another story.

Well, I guess it could kinda fall under that because surely some reporter would have written a story about the all-star football player who suddenly ended up in a wheelchair because he saved a kid's life. Right?

message 30: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 934 comments Mod
Lynette wrote: "OH SNAP! I just saw this going back through the thread.

REWRITE A NEWS STORY in your area about someone or something that occurred and the report left a distinct impression on you. Change the nam..."

It can be a story based on facts / a headline. I haven't read your's yet, but I'm sure it's ok. I'm not even sure mine qualifies since they are real people and real events.

message 31: by F.F. (new)

F.F. Burwick | 155 comments Choosing to be Heroically Vigilant by F. Burwick (550 words)

With notice given of the approaching storm, my wife and I prepared for what was possible from that with having candles ready, and so we chose to have one lit already, and didn't need much else for light then still, and we had a romantic setting in place, which appealed to us even in what was now our later years. We had the nice coffee mugs set out, and with plenty of hot soup ready in a pot, we would also have hot coffee, and hot chocolate, ready, that any lack of power would not leave us miserable.

I watched out of our window occasionally, noticing the drops of rain and wondering if they would be coming heavier shortly. The view from there included buildings of neighbors across a wide plaza with abundant green vegetation occupying a good part of it. At one point I saw two unfamiliar figures approach the front of one of those homes. I called my wife over to see. "Do you recognize those people?" I asked her.

She might have known our neighbors rather better than I did, but she still couldn't recognize those two, as she might have even though the evening had come and with the gray skies and bit of rain there wasn't the best light conditions. Those two obscure figures, in long coats, stood before the front of that home for some time, and I said, "I guess they are visitors, and I wasn't noticing when they knocked."

I didn't watch much longer, as nothing seemed to be happening out there to watch, not even any change in the light rain. I went to the table with my wife, and we chatted a little bit about the sorts of things we like to talk about, as we do, while we had our coffee. Then just suddenly we heard the sound of breaking wood. I went to the window again, to look across that wide plaza, but it was rather darker, and I didn't see those two that had been there.

"Did those two people we saw break their way in?" I said aloud.

"It looks like it," my wife responded to me. "Go call the authorities about this!"

There is some uncertainty with doing this, as I could be misunderstanding a situation like this, but if what I was seeing and hearing was action harming our neighbors, I had to act to stop it if that was possible.

And so right away I did go notify them so that there was police action to intervene shortly. It turned out those two were suspicious characters that had a long history of trouble with the law, and they were taken in for breaking and entry and alleged attempted burglary.

Beyond these events I was given recognition, and soon after this a news reporter came to our home to interview me. I agreed to give a few details of this to the paper of our locality, for awareness about this issue among our community, but I see it was the case that I was doing my duty as any good neighbor should do, and I didn't need publicity for it for my name to be known, nor did I need my wife to be brought in to that.

message 32: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hi writers,
Comments to Lynette and Fred B.
Lynette, I was sort of holding my breath hoping you might identify whom Danny was. We watch several NFL games during the Fall, and would have listened out for his name as a Baltimore Ravens player. Good story, and well written. I think we can accept the "Oh snap." This story is superb in my opinion.. Internal and external conflict have been a popular topic on another forum where I participate of late. Is the goal to make either as seamless within the story as possible?
Also, congratulations on the forthcoming group presentation, and have been praying for your family situation. We are co-raising our 4-year-old granddaughter and so living like senior citizens occurs sporadically.

Fred, good submission. For what it's worth, I observed a lot of commas. I suggest you Go for the short complete sentence. That works too.
**** Consideration
I think we need at least 3-4 more stories to make voting worthwhile. So people have time to read, can we agree to have any extra stories on here by Sunday 12 noon, your time?
I will defer to the moderators, as I know the close date is June 27 at midnight.
David Russell

message 33: by Glenda (last edited Jun 25, 2016 11:09AM) (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 934 comments Mod
David, if you are suggesting extending the deadline for story submissions, this is your challenge and you can break the rules if you wish. We're here to have fun and practice our craft. So take the bull by the horns here. If need be, I'll edit the first post to state when the new deadline is. Heck we could make this ongoing indefinitely if you want to.

message 34: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 934 comments Mod
Lynette wrote: "The Makings of a Hero (995 words)

The raindrops dripping on the window matched the tears rolling down my cheeks drop for drop. Still frozen in my one hand was the phone, and in the other was the n..."

You devil you! You made me cry. I'm not even a fan of football either, but I know a great story when I read one. Good job!

message 35: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 934 comments Mod
F. wrote: "Choosing to be Heroically Vigilant by F. Burwick (550 words)

With notice given of the approaching storm, my wife and I prepared for what was possible from that with having candles ready, and so we..."

Fred, good story. It sounds like it really did happen to you & your neighbors. I would've wanted to stay anonymous too. You never know what people will do to you once they are out of jail.

message 36: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hi Writers,
Today is June 26, and by my calculations there are 30 hours and 55 minutes left in this challenge.

I would like to propose the following:
Extend the challenge to 11:55 p.m., on July 30 but have no votes. Glenda, Fred and Lynette are the only authors noted here with stories that can be voted on.

Furthermore, as of now this thread can be one where we help one another with writing deficits. Stories can still be posted until July 30. If you offer someone a critique, helpful observation, then please be prepared to receive the same. Be Kind!!

If a sentence was unclear for example, quote that sentence and suggest changes you might make.
"Today the weather was hot, it was over 94 degrees."

Change: "Today the weather was hot, over 94 degrees.

Or, Today the weather was hot; it was over 94 degrees.

If you want to post a news story that concerned or inspired you, do so in first person narrative and change names.

Again, this is no votes and good through July 30. Let's have fun and become better writers for it!

David Russell

message 37: by Shae (new)

Shae Hamrick | 284 comments Hi everyone. Sorry I've been missing this month... its been really hectic in the Hamrick household. NOT even going into it...

Glad to see several great posts... Really love the theme and wish I had checked in earlier. Man.

Anyway, thought I would post a list of upcoming host for everyone to see, (especially as I keep loosing the list).

So, Here goes...

2016 Hosts
Feb - Shae
Mar - Lynnette
Apr - Stephanie
May - Glenda
Jun - Randall

Jul - Rebecca
Aug - Lynnette
Sep - Stephanie
Oct - Shae
Nov - Glenda
Dec - Lynette

Let me know if you are on the list and need to change out.

Thanks, Shae

message 38: by Shae (new)

Shae Hamrick | 284 comments OOOO, Wait... 30 hours minus 4 already passed... I might have time.

Lets see if inspiration strikes.

Best wishes on finishing up your stories every one and no worries if you too have been overwhelmed this month. It is summer after all.

message 39: by Shae (new)

Shae Hamrick | 284 comments You can either be the reporter answering who? What? When? Why? And how? - Or you can be the person reading the article.

Interesting. that might be a cool way to write the story. First person huh? we'll see. Lots of things in the news lately. Hum.

message 40: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hi Shae and others,
I was going through my inbox earlier today. One of my online subscriptions is to "The Daily Telegraph" produced in the UK, Australia. Of course, Friday was about the British vote to leave the European Union. I imagined for one minute a blob of voters favoring Brexit (British exit), and might try a first-person story in a collective voice... Again, "might."

If folks want to extend this to July 30 just for fun and practice, if the moderators approve, let's go for it. (See post just before the ones by Shae).
I don't want this to detract from the planned July theme..

message 41: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 934 comments Mod
I like your idea, David of extending it to the 30th. If we were voting I guess I would've disqualified myself since I didn't use fake names. I also liked the examples of sentence structure that you posted. Since I've been editing stories for the anthology, I've seen many run on sentences. They are great stories, but people think it's ok to keep adding more and more sentences just by joining them with "and". And there is not a comma or a period in sight. Even when there are conjunctions and commas, the writer shouldn't make the sentence hard to read by being so lengthy. Sentences should be as long as a breath or two at the most. That is my 2 cents in the matter tonight.

message 42: by Christene (new)

Christene Britton-Jones | 201 comments “COURAGE COMES ON THE ARM OF A FRIEND”. By Christene Britton-Jones. 888 words.

constructive feedback appreciated...many thanks.

“Rain, rain, go away
Come again some other day.
Rain, rain, go away
Today is a holiday”… it is my birthday celebration…

This is a little song that I used to sing when I was a child on rainy days, and it is rainy days like today that always bring all of those memories flooding back into my mind once more.

For it was then that the blackness crept across my mind throwing the land and all beneath me into a dreadful dirge of mourning. The fast gathering grumbling, rumbling clouds cloaking and choking off all access to my joyful life. I couldn’t breathe properly, dread was upon me and I quivered and cowered crying beneath my bed covers.

Fear arose as a great wave that rapidly swept across my life contaminating everything and as this fear grew so did the tenacious grasping grip of winter for it fed on my fear and dread. The cold gripped at my heart in its death like vice and death embraced me with its icy fingers touching and clawing at me. Winter’s touch shriveled and killed all forms of life left exposed as her lacy shawl was flung slowly over the freezing earth outside my house.

The rain I didn’t mind much at all for I could run amidst it feeling the beating raindrops falling upon my upturned face my mouth open and my tongue chasing the droplets as they fell inside my warm steaming mouth. Drenched thus with all of my clothes clinging to my feverishly warm body arms askew I whirled around like a dervish, my feet stamping into puddles and adding more splashes that rose to meet those falling down from the sky above.

Later there was a realization that there were others such as myself out there in the world who also suffered such torture. Science has labeled this suffering as SAD, a syndrome that affects the minds of certain folk during those days when the sun refuses to show at all. Especially on those Arctic nights that go on for months with nary a glimmer of light save for an occasional glimpse of the Northern Lights in blackened skies that play across vast expanses like drifts of colorful clouds stretching out into swirls of smoke like live snakes moving over the covered canopy above.

Seasons of spring and summer seemed to never arrive they were such distant memories that faded in and out of my zombie like trance. I moved through my life as a wraith with nothing to anchor me to this world. Reaching out for contact with others was wearisome and a real chore so I slept away my life and the long nights like the fairy tale princess in the tale of Sleeping Beauty who probably was unfortunate to have suffered from the same malady.

I adore bookstores I could roam them for hours both the old ones and the new ones. The old ones have history and just to touch that history, smell that history, that delicious pure musty Vanilla perfume off an ancient yellowed parchment or page was heaven.

There are also some wonderful memories of visiting our Fuller’s Bookshop in Hobart, Tasmania. It was a two storied shop with wall to wall, ceiling to ceiling shelved books with the occasional antique chair, ottoman or chaise lounge to sprawl upon with your newly found treasures that you couldn’t possibly wait to get home to dive into.

This enchanting silence was intermittently broken by the rolling of tall wall ladders, respectful murmurings of patrons or the ancient Victorian Cash Register clanging away (much more romantic than the swish of that plastic card one next to it). However the most delightful sounds and smells of all was through the old oak railings from the mezzanine above where more shelves, piled with more books, steadfastly gazed down upon the small coffee shop and its half dozen tables (always full of appreciative book worms, writers, poets and visitors like me).

I was always taken there for a birthday treat by my dearest friend Richard whilst he was still alive and well. For we met many years ago in a coffee shop then shared many memories over our weekly luncheons or quick cups of coffee. Richard would always give me a card and book voucher for my birthday, then we would both look forward to my “treat” of visiting and spending my voucher at a later date…the planning was such delicious anticipation…always! For it always took us hours to chose just the right books with me racing up and down the sections and piling yet more books upon the ever patient Richard until his arms ached as much as our faces did from grinning. Most of my ‘finds’ were from the history or spiritual section of course and…

…“Many were chosen, though few were taken.”

Finally the chosen ones were purchased with the treasured Birthday Voucher and the celebration began anew. We would climb those old oak stairs to the coffee shop and there we would chose the perfect slice of birthday cake to enjoy with my birthday cup of coffee.

Aaaaaah! A delightful day to be sure thanks to my hero Richard rescuing me from that dreaded imprisonment in my castle.

Note: information on SAD ...

message 43: by Christene (new)

Christene Britton-Jones | 201 comments David wrote: "Oops, I meant "insider trading" not insider training - in my note at the end of the story. Freudian slip I guess. My apologies.
Hope to see more stories on recent headlines.
David Russell"

Grins....sounds like a Freudian slip there David.

message 44: by Christene (new)

Christene Britton-Jones | 201 comments Lynette wrote: "OH SNAP! I just saw this going back through the thread.

REWRITE A NEWS STORY in your area about someone or something that occurred and the report left a distinct impression on you. Change the nam..."

I thought that this was a 2016 variation or option? If that is not the case then I have also misread this?

message 45: by Christene (new)

Christene Britton-Jones | 201 comments Glenda wrote: "Lynette wrote: "The Makings of a Hero (995 words)

The raindrops dripping on the window matched the tears rolling down my cheeks drop for drop. Still frozen in my one hand was the phone, and in the..."

Tears flowing here also....pass the hanky.

message 46: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hi Christene,
I enjoyed reading this story! It appears to need a title. Citing "Rain Rain go away... is a pleasant beginning which you gently forward to the topic of Seasonal Affect Disorder.

This is written rather poetically.

I have confusion over the following:

"For it was then that the blackness crept across my mind throwing the land and all beneath me into a dreadful dirge of mourning."

I would rework the sentences,

"The rain I didnb't mind much at all; I could run admidst it feeling the beating of raindrops falling upon my upturned face. "My mouth opened...." No punctuation seen between "face and my."

"Seasons of spring and summer never seemed to arrive."

Change: The spring and summer season never seemed to arrive; they were such" Again, no punctuation between "arrive and they."

I like your word choice: "across vast expanses like drifts of colorful clouds stretching out into swirls of smoke like (do you mean smoke-like) snakes moving over the covered canopy above."

The biggest issue is the sentences that lack some punctuation.
David Russell

message 47: by Bijsmom (new)

Bijsmom | 18 comments Quick question. I just got my story done. Is there a single thread that has all the stories already posted? I need to put mine in and also get a chance to read the others. Please advise and thanks so much.

message 48: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Reynolds (glendareynolds) | 934 comments Mod
I just revised the story perimeters to say THERE WILL BE NO VOTING due to the low story submissions. This challenge will remain open until July 30th. critique and observations is optional.

message 49: by David (new)

David (drussell52) | 0 comments Hello Bigsmom,
All the stories for the June discussion are here, about five in total. They are interspersed with the comments.

You have until July 30 to submit a story to this discussion.. No votes due to low story count; critique or observations for your story are an option if wanted.
David Russell

message 50: by Lynette (new)

Lynette White (lynettewhite) | 309 comments Goodness, this thread has been hopping. First, David, I have a confession to make. The names are fictitious.That was the reason for the Oh Snap! I guess now that it is extended I can technically toss that one out and rewrite it.

Shea: Thank you for posting the schedule. Since we are extending this month I would be willing to abdicate August to Rebecca so she doesn't have to surrender her spot.

Thank you Glenda and Christine. I am glad you enjoyed it. I won't lie, I enjoy writing stories that make me tear up a little bit when I write them.

I will be reading the stories the next couple of days and leaving some notes. Any detailed critique, I will pm you separately. Since we are extending this maybe we can all jump in and help spread the word to encourage more entries and invite new writers.

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