“The Pilgrimage” in Ripening: 2018 National Flash-Fiction Day Anthology

The Pilgrimage

by Nancy Stohlman

After the rapture, the people began a strange pilgrimage. They traveled from the broken cities, through streets littered with expired business cards, past billboards that had long ago stopped promising anything.

They walked over the Rocky Mountains and across the desert towards Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Very First Kentucky Fried Chicken, the one started by the actual Colonel Sanders when “fried” was still part of the name. It seemed pointless to care about things like cholesterol now; those who had been vegetarians and those who didn’t eat fried foods journeyed side by side.

The route to the Very First Kentucky Fried Chicken was marked by cairns and amulets. People who were interviewed along the way said they felt a certain calm on the months-long journey, that it was good to be away from the normal pressures of daily life and just be one with the scorching 100-degree temps of the high Utah desert, where understandably a certain number of pilgrims would not make it and their bodies would be left as they fell, adorned by the pilgrims to follow like roadside altars.

For those who made it, a large yet modest daily buffet awaited so pilgrims would not be forced to choose between original and extra crispy chicken, and there was both brown and white gravy and some even claimed to find a real lump in the mashed potatoes. And the fountain drinks ran freely and people shared their sporks under the grinning life-sized Colonel Sanders, decorated with beads and sunglasses and candles and smudge sticks and good luck fortunes left in thanks for a safe journey.

And then the people, desperate to avoid what came next, took their chicken bones and kept walking. They walked west for many days towards the setting sun until they reached the edge of a vast hole. But no matter how many bones they threw over the edge, they couldn’t fill the great, yawning silence that followed them back to the remains of their ruined lives.

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Get the anthology now! Click here

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Editors Santino Prinzi and Alison Powell

This seventh annual and established flash fiction writers. The authors have cooked up a smorgasbord of entertaining, moving and tantalising flashes for your reading delight. From fudge to oysters, apples to mangoes, gingerbread to (of course!) cake, there’s something in this anthology for everyone to sink their teeth into. Authors include: Alison Powell, A. E. Weisgerber, Abi Hynes, Alan Beard, Alicia Bakewell, Amanda O’Callaghan, Angela Readman, Anita Goveas, Anna Rymer, Anne Summerfield, Calum Kerr, Catherine Edmunds, Charlotte Wührer, Charmaine Wilkerson, Christopher Allen, Christopher M Drew, Claire Polders, Damhnait Monaghan, David Cook, Deborah Meltvedt, Diane Simmons, E. P. Chiew, Elaine Dillon, Emily Devane, Emma Harding, Erica Plouffe Lazure, Fiona J. Mackintosh, FJ Morris, Frankie McMillan, Gay Degani, Gemma Govier, H Anthony Hildebrand, Helen Rye, Ingrid Jendrzejewski, Ioanna Mavrou, J. E. Kennedy, Jacqueline Saville, Jan Kaneen, Jennifer Harvey, Joanna Campbell, Jude Higgins, Judy Darley, Kevlin Henney, KM Elkes, Kymm Coveny, Laura Pearson, Leonora Desar, Lisa Ferranti, Meg Pokrass, Megan Giddings, Nadia Stone, Nan Wigington, Nancy Stohlman, Nuala O’Connor, Olga Wojtas, Philip Charter, Poppy O’Neill, Rachael Dunlop, Rebecca Field, Robert Scotellaro, Ros Woolner, Sal Page, Santino Prinzi, Sara Chansarkar, Sarah Evans, Sharon Telfer, Sophie van Llewyn, Stephanie Hutton, Sylvia Petter, Tara Laskowski, Tim Stevenson, and TM Upchurch.

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Guest Judge for 9th Annual Dialogue Only Contest (2018)

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The Dialogue Only Contest is back! Contest officially opens on June 1, 2018.

Enter Now:

9th Annual Dialogue Only Rules and Guidelines

The Rules: Compose a short story entirely of dialogue. You may use as many characters as you want. Your entry must be under 2000 words. Your entry does not have to follow standard rules for writing dialogue. Your entry cannot use any narration (this includes tag lines such as he said, she said, etc.). These are the only rules. Manipulate them however you see fit. Check out past winners and read our tips for writing good dialogue before submitting your entry.

The Winner: The winning entry will be the story that most effectively uses dialogue to deliver a powerful and engaging story as determined by our panel of judges.

Prizes: A minimum of $500 will be awarded, with at least $300 going to the grand prize winner. Our five finalists will also be published on the website. To date we’ve awarded over $10,000 to our contest finalists including over $2800 during our 8th Annual Contest. For every entry over 50, an additional $5 will be added to the total prize money.

2018 Prize Structure:

1st Prize: $300 minimum + $3 for every entry over 50
2nd Prize: $100 minimum + $1 for every entry over 50
3rd Prize: $50 minimum + $1 for every two entries over 50
4th Prize: $30 minimum + $1 for every 4 entries over 50
5th Prize: $20 minimum + $1 for every 4 entries over 50All prizes will be paid in USD via PayPal within 30 days of the announcement of winners.

Judges: All finalists will be chosen by the Staff of Bartleby Snopes. Five finalists will be submitted to the final round of voting. The order of winners will be determined by the staff of Bartleby Snopes and our two guest judges. All decisions regarding contest winners are final. Meet our guest judges below.

About Our Guest Judges:

Nancy Stohlman is the author of many books, including the forthcoming Madam Velvet’s Cabaret of Oddities (Oct 2018), The Vixen Scream and Other Bible StoriesThe Monster Opera, and Fast Forward: The Mix Tape, which was a finalist for a 2011 Colorado Book Award. She is the creator and curator of The Fbomb Flash Fiction Reading Series, the creator of FlashNano in November, and the co-founder of Flash Fiction Retreats. Her work has been published in over 100 journals and anthologies including the Norton anthology New Micro: Very Short Stories and had been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Denver and teaches at the University of Colorado Boulder. Find out more about her at www.nancystohlman.com

Caleb Echterling’s New Year’s resolution is to write more stories in the 4th person, as soon as he figures out how to break the 5th wall into the 6th dimension. His work has appeared in Jersey Devil Press and Twisted Sister Lit Mag, among others. He tweets funny fiction using the highly original handle @CalebEchterling. You can find more of his writing at www.calebechterling.com.

Join me at the Flash Fiction Festival UK this July!

Read original article on the Festival blog  here:

Sculpting Flash Fiction & Flash Books

with Nancy Stohlman

I’m so excited to be part of the second annual Flash Fiction Festival!

I’m going to be teaching two classes that both come primarily out of my 15 years as an editor. The Sculpting Flash Fiction class is my love letter to the art of editing—for me this is where the real magic happens. My own first drafts are fast and uncensored, but the sculpting of those ideas is the real dance and my favorite part. I hope to not only give some concrete tools for editing flash fiction but also to inspire an appreciate for this part of the process, which I fondly call the “puberty” of our work, where everything changes and starts to find itself.

The Flash Fiction Books class also comes out of my work as an editor. I’ve worked with authors on all sorts of books from novels and memoirs and nonfiction books, but it wasn’t until 2007 that flash fiction appeared in my world. Over the last decade flash writers have become more sophisticated in their storytelling but are often lost when they go from the individual story to the book length concept. My intention with this class is to help writers pan out and see the big picture—and embrace the creativity involved in generating a completely different artifact.

Both of these classes are usually taught as 3 or 4-week online workshops, so we’ll be compressing a lot of information into a small space in Bristol, but I hope it will flood you (as the whole weekend will!) with new ideas and a new direction.

Fun fact: I spent my early childhood in both Germany and Spain as a military brat, so travelling to Europe is always very nostalgic for me. But the last time I visited the UK it was 1981 and I was a little girl—I remember the year clearly because Charles and Diana had just gotten married and Charles and Diana memorabilia was everywhere: from Christmas ornaments and t-shirts to life-sized wax figures. It’s ironic that I’m finally returning the same year as another royal wedding!

I’m really looking forward to communing with fellow flash fiction lovers this July. Feel free to contact me ahead of time for questions about my classes or even to join me on one of my upcoming Flash Fiction Retreats with writer Kathy Fish in Costa Rica and in Italy. I can’t wait to meet so many of you in person finally! It will be like a big flashy reunion!

Find out more about the Flash Fiction Festival here.

November is FLASH-NANO!

Flash fiction’s answer to National Novel Writing Month: 30 Stories in 30 Days

It’s November again! This will be the 4th year running for
Flash-Nano: flash fiction’s answer to National Novel Writing Month.
Your mission, should you choose to accept:
30 stories in 30 days.

I offer daily prompts for those who like them but you can use them or not. This is really just between you and your god.

It doesn’t matter how you get there–just get there.

Now go sharpen your pencils!

Follow here to get daily prompts or

join us on the Facebook Event Page

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