I want to write something funny for this post but I got nothing even though I just wrote something very funny. It started at the restaurant. While I waited for my salad, I had the Super Secret Project on my brain. I was not going to write tonight. I've had about two hours sleep, which these days is a lot, so I was just going to have a dinner and head home. But as I waited for the side salad and then later for my steak, I saw my way through murky waters.
I've been working on the Super Secrete Project for years because humor is hard to write. The jokes aren't at my beck and call, so when I get a notion, I have to see it through, migraine or not. Tonight, solving problem X transitioned to writing scene Y. I laughed and wrote and got a lot of funny looks from people in he restaurant. Because the restaurant closed, I moved to a coffee shop. I had to write it down NOW so I spent four bucks on a coup of tea. All the while my head has been pounding, pounding, pounding.
Anyway, I had planned to do a writing contest this December but with the move back to the states imminent, I forgot.
Here are the rules
Any Genre. 3500 words or fewer. I'll pick three stories to put on my blog but there is only one cash prize of $50.00. I'll pay second and third place winners a token flat rate of $5.00 for first world rights, non-exclusive. Send your story in standard manuscript format in .doc or .docx to firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, I'm not a business. My blog is not a magazine. However, I do get a couple hundred visitors a month so the exposure is pretty good. Also, the contest is free. Submissions close on January 5th. You got one month to submit.
While a few typos won't hurt you, spelling and grammar will count in my final decision. If you dash of a story and don't edit it, I will be able to tell and unless it's all-caps-AMAZING you won't win. Anyone who wants a critique the first page of the story, may ask for one but you're agreeing to let me publish the first page ( approximately 250 words) on my blog along with my critique. Other writers can leave comments as well.
If you don't specifically request a critique, you won't get one. I'd never publishing anything of another writer's without expressed permission. I just thought some critique might be fun. If I get a lot of requests for critiques, I'll select stories at random. If I don't get any requests there won't be any critiques. I'm good either way.
*** Reprints: If you published the story on your blog, I don't really consider that published unless you've got like 10,000 reprints. But if you sold the story to
Q: How long have you been writing? What things inspire you?
I have always loved to write and had a great imagination as a child, but it was only in the last few years that I was able to hold onto an idea, research it, and watch it come to fruition. I'm inspired by all the wonderful people I have met, all the fabulous books I've read, and particularly stories that transport us to another world.
Q: What's the most played song on your iPod or MP3 player?
Right now??? I listen to music most often when I run, Linkin Park, Muse, Prince, Tom Petty, just a lot of different things.
Q: A little birdie told me you're working on your first novel, care to share a little about this project?
The Energy Crusades takes place after the Great Oil Wars have destroyed the majority of civilization on Earth. An alien race has taken over, creating a government based on the currency- energy. All children are required to join an Energy Crusade by the time they are 18 years old. Kaia has lived her whole life as a dedicated Athlete for the Reformation Republic. Her ability to generate energy for her Grid affords her a life of privilege and celebrity. But when the Resistance attempts to capture her in the ruined city, she begins to understand that she has a bigger part to play in the struggle between the Reformation and the Resistance. She thought she knew who the good guys were, but now she's not so sure. Discovering the truth may be the key to her own identity.
Q: Who are your favorite authors? What was your favorite book as a child?
Wow, I have so many. I absolutely LOVED Mark Twain and Huckleberry Finn is my all time favorite book. I loved the Harry Potter Series, the Percy Jackson Series, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and so much more. I just finished a book called The Orphan Master's Son, by Adam Johnson, which was fantastic. I love George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series too, but darn it, I wish he would finish already!
Q: This next question is going to be a bit personal-- feel free not to answer-- but everybody is dying to know, do you prefer pop-tarts or cereal? Why?
Cereal!! I don't think I've ever eaten a whole pop-tart. We weren't allowed to have them when I was a kid.
Valerie has a background in property management and an education in food science. While studying chemistry, an idea for a story began to take root, and she has recently completed her first novel. It's a science fiction story for young adults called The Energy Crusades.
Because Valerie is both awesome and a great writer she was hired to ghost write a non-fiction project, an endeavor she's still working on. (Hopefully Valerie will come back for a second interview about ghost writing when the project is finished. I know that would interest a lot of writers.) She has a new a blog, www.noblevalerie.com which she says was inspired by my contest. (I'm blushing!) She recently attended the The Big Sur Writing Conference hosted by The Andrea Brown Literary Agency. ( In other words, the creme de la creme.)
She says, "There isn't much there yet, but I plan to work on it."
You can connect with Valerie on twitter @noblevalerie .
It's officially March 1st in Korea so here are the contest results.
Possibly my favorite line ever goes to Jeremy
"Life wasn't a contest with Jesus, and money was better than salvation."
Funniest use of hullabaloo goes to Matt.
"A man riding an invalid carriage asked why he looked like he'd done a hullabaloo in his pants..."
Tie for deadliest use of Kimchi goes to
Marva Dasef :" Rangle used the neck of the empty beer bottle to force the last of the kimchi down Cord's throat."
Noortje de Graa: "The kimchi chopped up and hidden in Adam’s food. The allergic reaction that would follow. The inevitable tragic death."
I loved every story for different reasons. Choosing one wasn't easy. I wish I could give you each a prize but my pockets don't run that deep. I honestly wish they were=(
The prize goes to Valarie! She somehow she managed to capture the essence of two cultures clashing in her very short tale and had me feeling pretty bad for Mr. Choi. It's a popular misconception, but on cannot subsist on beer and kimchi alone. You need 밥! (bap=rice)
Mr. Choi was crying again. I could hear him through the paper thin walls of my apartment, lamenting about how his wife had left him. He spent his days drinking beer and eating kimchi, until the reek of it was embedded in his very being. I could smell him from a mile away.
“You know Mr. Choi, it’s not a contest,” I yelled through the walls, meanly. “Nobody cares how much kimchi you can eat.”
“Hurry up and wait!” he yelled back at me in his heavy Korean accent. I laughed and banged on the wall. He didn’t know how to insult me properly in English.
“Hullabaloo!” I shouted, knowing he’d be more confused than ever. Was that even a word? He wouldn’t know, but he would sit and wonder if I was insulting him. Before I left, I shoved a five dollar bill under his door.
Valarie, please email me and let me know whether you want $25.00 Paypal or an Amazon gift card.
Also, if anyone who entered is interested in doing an interview for my blog, let me know. Don't worry if you haven't been published. You still can share your thoughts and experiences.
Edited for clarification:
Sometimes I have very complex reasons for doing things, but I don't say them very well. I want to thank my friend Dorie for pointing it out.
As you may or may not know, I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest. They'll announce first round winners on February 28th. I have my book of short stories coming out, but that's a hurry up and wait kind of thing. I also have a story that made it through two rounds of readers with Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. They actually only accept 1/20 of the finalists but its hard not be a little excited and a lot of hopeful. Selling a story to Andromeda would bring me one step closer to SFWA membership.
Part of writing is waiting. Hurry up, get this done... Now wait. So what are you waiting on? Does an agent have a full? Or maybe your just waiting to have something to submit. There's a boat load of frustration in that.
So, I've decided to host a contest. In 150 words or less, write a story using the five words below. Leave your story in the comments. Also feel free to share what you're waiting on. Enter as often as you want between now and February 29th. The author of my favorite will win their choice of a $25.00 Amazon gift card or $25.00 in cash paid via Paypal.
The economy sucks and I happen to be in a position where I haven't been effected by it. This may not always be the case, but while it is, I don't mind buying someone dinner.
hurry up and wait
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and 17 chickens.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018