5000 Words Fall Flash Contest Winners!

Who doesn’t love a contest? AND…awesome writerly judges?! We have both. I would like to introduce Kathleen Joyce and Cynthia Hilston, local authors who, between the two of them, have published a whole shelf of books.

Cynthia Hilston is a thirty-something-year-old stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she finally stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, watches Doctor Who and Game of Thrones, pets her orange kitty, looks at the stars, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell. Find her on Amazon here.


Kathleen Joyce is the author of three published books. A wife, mother, grandmother, and avid reader of fiction. She has widely traveled and lived in many states which give her rich fodder for the people, places, and experiences that enhance the characters in her books. When she isn’t writing, she loves digging in the dirt, reading, pottery, and sewing–when she can find the time! She owned a home furnishings store, worked for twenty-plus years as an interior decorator. She has also lived in the middle of an avocado grove in California. Kathleen’s mother introduced her to Agatha Christie when she was young, and she was hooked on whodunits. Find her on Amazon here.

Each judge independently read the entries and picked a favorite. Without further ado, the results.

Cynthia Hilston: I am happy to say I enjoyed Caroline Lewis’s piece the best. She used a lot of fun dialogue, created a wicked villain who I loved to hate and hated to love, used some great description, and actually had a climax (revenge). Best of luck to all who entered!

Kathleen Joyce: My choice for the best story is (drum roll please) from Ella and her story The Unknowns. I like this story because she shows the strength to face the unknown. We are all happy to live in our safe little worlds but to step into the abyss takes courage and with that can come great rewards. The heroine of this story is willing to finally put herself out there to face moans and screeches and perhaps slings and arrows. I like and admire that.

Kelly Griffiths: My choice for winner was Ella’s “The Unknowns.” The use of first-person POV and present tense made it stand out from the rest and gave me immediate access into the mind of the narrator. The author’s words and phrases did triple duty, establishing tone, helping me empathize with the narrator, and communicating theme (doing hard things/facing fear). This flash could be considered allegory for that reason, which makes it rise to the top. The end of “The Unknowns” is also a beginning, and since so much of flash should be “off the page,” this story accomplishes that feat as well. Congratulations!

But wait. We have an…

Honorable Mention!

Shout-out to fellow author, Keith Kenel, whose flash was entertaining and ear-smokingly complex. I never knew how much I didn’t know until I read his story “Al-Hujarat.” Who knew one could incorporate a reference to Hitler, to Nelson Mandela (not to be confused with the Buddhist shape, Mandala!), and the Holy Qur’an—disguised as a little manifesto on how (not?) to treat a leader. Which, for me, alludes to The Prince. But I feel woefully ignorant when I try to fully grasp all the gems in the story. Still, it delights me. Thank you for entering, Keith!

And congratulations to all who entered. You created a story where before there was none!

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