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Topics - Laura

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Droplets, droplets everywhere
They’re on my clothes and in my hair!
The cause is all the plague deniers-
Their leader with his pants on fire,
he told them this would “disappear”,
So go to church! Go get a beer!

And now they laugh at common sense.
Are they, perhaps, simply too dense
to calculate that odds are greater
They’ll end up on a ventilator
Because they said “it’s just the flu”!
“I’ve got my rights, so forget you!”

So now I buy my food at dawn,
But even then, there’s always one-
They’ll come too close, no social distance,
A twinkle in their eyes that glistens,
Itching for a fight to pick.
These anti-maskers make me sick.


Word Play / Writing Prompts
« on: September 25, 2020, 12:13:20 PM »
No one wants a writing challenge (2020 is challenging enough), so how about a thread for prompts?

I've got one. Pick a short story you've written, or write a new one. For a twist, rewrite your story in a different genre. A chilling horror story? Rewrite it as a romance. A mystery can become fantasy. You get the idea. Alternately, you can choose a short by another author for this exercise. Keep the story line and characters, but change the slant.

Could be fun?

Word Play / New Writing Challenge for March 2020
« on: March 08, 2020, 02:41:44 AM »
Doggone it, Writers, we need a challenge.

Short and sweet-

1000 words max

setting - either another world, or a pre-2000 on planet Earth

Your story must include one of the following:

A mysterious letter

an unexpected encounter

a windfall

a stranger with a message

PM your entry by the end of the month, and let's make a go of restarting the writing challenges. The guidelines offer plenty of room for creative freedom.

Give it a go?

The Bar & Grill / Pandemic panic
« on: February 29, 2020, 12:55:05 AM »
First off, everything I've read indicates that 80% of Coronavirus cases result in mild symptoms. Even so, mild preliminary panic has set in where I'm located.

There are no reported cases of the virus in my city, but my employer put out two notices today about how to prepare. A co-worker's sibling sent a picture form his state of empty grocery shelves. People are stockpiling food. We're reading about school closings abroad and major sporting events without spectators. Tonight, for the first time ever, there was an empty house at our favorite pizza place. No waiting. Spooky.

What are you guys seeing in your neck of the woods?

The Bar & Grill / Cheers to our Bri H
« on: November 10, 2019, 01:15:30 PM »
If you've seen the sad News thread, you know our friend Bri is facing down some scary stuff. We're not in the bar, but I want to raise a glass to toast Brian H and offer a little tribute-

There once was a passel of writers
And among them a cheeky old fighter
With a humour so sly
There’s no one quite like Bri
He makes this ole world a bit brighter

I even added the U in Humor just for you, Bri.

Word Play / STICKY: FALL WRITING CHALLENGE- let's try this again
« on: September 09, 2019, 01:13:50 AM »
So, let's try a reset for the writing challenge. Rather than a flash challenge, this is short story with a 2000 word limit.

Your prompt:

Your MC has a vision, dream, or other inspiration to build something. What is it and what is the result? Or perhaps - who/what decides to move in?

Pm your entries.

Writer's Opportunities / Haiku contest for U.S. residents
« on: June 10, 2019, 01:31:31 PM »
PayPal has a haiku contest with a $1000 prize.

Haiku That Can Pay You

You booked the big family trip. Congrats!
Got concert tickets for you and your friends. Great!
Now comes the hard part:
dealing with all that cash (or worse, a check).
Luckily, big expenses don't have to be a hassle.

Share your funniest story or best idea about splitting a big expense in a haiku and you could win $1,000*! 

Thought Starters:

The resort's not as
All-inclusive as we thought!
Oh well, math can wait.

Front-row seats! Awesome!
I'll pay you back as soon as
I find my checkbook. 

The deadline is Tuesday, June 18th. Follow the link above for more details.

Word Play / May writing challenge
« on: May 11, 2019, 05:42:12 PM »

The two prompts for our May writing challenge have been chosen by popular vote. Put pen to paper and write a story 750 words or less based on one of the following:

Your story must end with the sentence "And that was how we finally got rid of King Harry"

 Write a story that is dialogue only.

Send your stories to me via PM . Once we have 2 stories, I'll put out a last call and post the next day. If we're still at 1 entry by May 31st, I'll survey the community to decide the next step.

Word Play / You choose the challenge!
« on: May 09, 2019, 01:08:26 AM »
Wow, we got some GREAT prompts! I've posted all the entries, including one received via PM.

Choose the two prompts that most inspire you to put pen to paper, and vote by end of day Friday. The top two vote getters will be the basis for the May challenge, which I will post Saturday morning.

Word Play / MAY WRITING CHALLENGE- submit your prompt
« on: May 05, 2019, 05:58:07 PM »
Do you have a great idea for a writing prompt? For the BWF May writing challenge, I want YOU to submit prompt ideas.

Either reply on this thread with your idea or PM me directly. I'll put all the story prompts received by Wednesday May 8th up for a vote to choose our May writing challenge.

Writer's Opportunities / Pentimento Magazine CLOSED
« on: March 07, 2019, 02:24:00 AM »
From the website:

We publish twice a year:  Summer and Winter.  The deadlines are March 15 for the Summer issue and September 15 for the Winter issue.

We accept essays, short stories, and interviews by individuals with a disability or a community member.  If you are an individual with a disability or part of the disability community as a family member, caregiver, special educator, or in any way connected to disability, we want to see your disability-related writing.

Word limit is 6,000, but we will consider a longer piece.

We are committed to publishing new writers as well as experienced ones.

Our first commitment is to unpublished works; but we will also consider works that have been published previously.  Please include the place of first publication at the bottom of the submission.  Simultaneous submissions are fine as long as you keep us informed of the publication status.

We will pay $25 – $250 for a published submission, and payment is determined by length and quality.  Payment for previously published work will be reduced.  A contract will be sent upon acceptance.

All rights revert to the author upon publication.

For more details, visit

Parhelion Literary Magazine is accepting submissions for the Summer 2019 issue.  They welcome submissions for fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art.

We are especially interested in strong voices, compelling stories, and innovative narrative technique. The same general thinking applies to visual art as well: thought provoking, innovative, eye-catching. Most importantly, we want to connect to your work emotionally. We want to feel something when we read or view it.

You'll find their submission guidelines here:

And you can check out their current issue here:

I could not find the deadline for summer issue submissions.

« on: February 23, 2019, 12:04:52 AM »
From all the fine entries in the 2019 Writing Challenge Number 1, I am pleased to announce the winning story and writer- drum-roll...

Table Seven
by Gyppo

Congratulations and thanks for entering, Gyppo!

As no good deed goes unpunished  ;) I'm passing you the hosting baton. Beat whomever you want with it, but do give us a new challenge when you're ready.

I encourage the other entrants to claim their stories. I personally enjoyed every single one. Why not take a bow?

The Bar & Grill / 2019 Writing Challenge #1 is open for tie breaking votes
« on: February 20, 2019, 11:40:44 PM »,954.0.html

Out of seven fun entries, we now have a three way tie.

Please support the participants by reading an voting. You have 48ish hours.

Happy reading!

« on: February 20, 2019, 11:37:58 PM »
Okay, BWF, due to a THREE WAY TIE, we have a second round of voting for the 2019 Writing Challenge #1. Please vote for your favorite of these three fine stories. You ahve ONE vote, and TWO days to choose. I'll tally the votes at 6 p.m. Memphis time.


Mortimer Hanley knew the Roman god of desire was a myth perpetuated by greetings card manufacturers. Cupid had no role to play in his life.

"Hello there, cariad." He recognised the voice. One of the under-achievers from 5NB who'd been in her final year when he first started teaching. He'd chosen Classics because that meant he'd only ever be dealing with the brighter, better behaved pupils.

This girl hadn't changed much since leaving Caerphilly Comprehensive. Yet he felt himself blushing as she weighed the pear drops into a paper bag and twisted the corners shut. It became a habit. Every Friday after school - two ounces of pineapple chunks, sherbet lemons or liquorice twirls.

But then she disappeared. Got herself a proper job according to the owner. And for some reason Mortimer's purchases never tasted as sweet again even though he maintained his weekly routine.

The liquorice twirls  were his undoing. He suffered five sleepless nights - the agonising pain making his skull feel like it was being pierced by burning arrows.

"Mr Hanley? The nurse will see you now."

His irrational fear of dentists almost made him change his mind and leave. Then he heard someone behind him. "This way, cariad."

The Wrong Arrow

"For the last time, who has number 7,299,354?"

"Sorry, Maxwell, that’s me. It's been a long day," said Cupid, waving his ticket in the air.

"You're up. There's an emergency in Paradise."

"We're in Paradise," said Cupid, yawing.

"Not here. Paradise, Michigan," said Maxwell, rolling his eyes. "Floyd and Bertha are in need of your services pronto. No time to waste!"

Cupid snapped his fingers and appeared on the rooftop next to Bertha’s home. The near-blizzard conditions coming from Lake Superior made it difficult to see the couple arguing on the front porch. Not to mention the threat of frost bite in his most private of places.

“What do you mean, no?” asked Floyd.

“You love that floozy, not me. Maybe you’ll understand this,” said Bertha, slapping him on the face.

After witnessing the smack down, Cupid knew time was short. He positioned his bow and reached into his quiver for an arrow. It was empty: Cupid had already shot his load. Undaunted, Cupid pulled a golden dagger from his pouch. This should work, he thought. He let the dagger fly. It struck its intended target, but had unexpected results.

Maxwell will not be pleased.

 Table Seven

   "Of all the restaurants in all the towns..."  I thought aloud as her group entered.

   "Booking for five.  Johnson."  Her hair was grey instead of rich chestnut, but I knew.

   A family table, six seats. 

   She moved her chair to sit at the head of the table.  A Matriarch's place.  The couples faced each other.  The middle-aged woman looked like her mother.  Lucky woman.  She could have looked like me if things had been different.

   The youngest couple were still bubbly.  Ostentatiously left handed, flashing her engagement ring.  Obviously a celebration dinner.

   I checked out the oldest one as I served.  She looked at me a few times with a slight frown.  Maybe she recognised me, or perhaps just didn't expect a man my age to still be working.  I noticed a few fiery red strands amongst her grey and smiled.

   "My Grandaughter's engagement dinner."  She announced, and the girl  flashed her ring under my nose.

   "Very nice, Miss."


   As they left she hesitated in the door, smiled, pressed a folded napkin into my hand.

   "My number, Jimmy.  If you've got over your shyness in the last fifty years, I'm still single."

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