The way this annual contest works is that participants are given ten words and about a week (Feb 3-9) to write a story up to 250 words. In this case: EVENING-QUARRY-ACCENT-ROSE-TEAR-MINUTE-GRAVE-CLOSE-ENTRANCE-BOW. Each submission must incorporate at least four of those words. I used evening, accent, rose, close, and bow. There is also an optional quote you can use as your theme, but I didn't use it. This year's quote was Steve Jobs' "I want to put a ding in the universe." Contest entries are judged blind.
Last year I submitted for the first time and received Honorable Mention for my short, "Pompeii is for Lovers," so I am especially honored to have placed this time.
About my third-place story, the Guest Judge, Kathy Fish, writes: "What I admired about Folly Blaine’s 'Before the Fireworks' was how simply she allowed the scene to unfold. The prose is clear and uncluttered. Blaine gives us a gentle exchange between two characters, co-workers and friends, and the small kindnesses they show each other, in a quiet moment on the cusp of big change for one of them. This story could so easily have been overplayed but it wasn't."
Congratulations to the first and second place winners, Linda Simoni-Wastila and Robert Vaughan, and to all of the honorable mentions and finalists! Thank you, Kathy Fish, for your kind words about my story, and Flash Fiction Chronicles for sponsoring the contest.
I'll post the link to my published story sometime in April.