A Few Days of Fantasy Flash Judge Comments and Winner!

Mark A. King did a stellar job judging our mini-contest, and the results are here. Mark has left a bit of commentary on every story, so take a look below to see what he had to say about yours and others’ efforts. Thank you all for participating. It was truly a joy to see names old and new offering up stories here at LCP. The dragony theme especially made us miss the days of Flash Friday!

Here are Mark’s lovely words about judging:

I want to pass on my sincere thanks for being given the privilege of reading and judging your stories. As you undoubtedly know, both Emily and Tamara are masters of their craft. Such fine authors deserve mighty fine flash fiction and, wow, did you deliver.

It was a tough, but highly enjoyable task. Your words are truly a gift. You are talented. Believe it. Keep writing.

1.) Seamus and Declan on a Welsh Beach by Maggie Duncan

MK: The land of dragons, and leprechauns on a beach, what’s not to love? Wonderful use of dialect. 


2.) Here Be No Stones Or Dragons But I Wrote A Story Anyway, by Margaret Locke

MK: “The earth’s rich belly swelled above the sand like a ripe melon, water flowing over her, waves baptizing her anew.” aka – how to completely nail an opening.


3.) The Unmarked Grave by Taryn Noelle Kloeden

MK: It’s incredibly hard to draw emotion in such a short word-count. It takes great skill. In the first few lines, I pondered if the subject was a lost love, a child, or parent. Touching, well-crafted and one to savour.


4.) [Untitled] by David Kleeman

MK: Wonderful language. With these sort of word-counts it’s about leaving much unsaid and letting the reader fill the gaps. Knowing what to leave and what to write is the hard part. Job well done.


5.) What Is Lost Can Be Found by @carolrosalind

MK: What do I like about this? “So much” is the answer. A simple concept, but crafted so well that it’s wonderfully mysterious. I love the suspense and the thought of the snakes pulling the narrator in. 


6.) Sapphire Spellstone by @davejamesashton

MK: I enjoyed the masking of the setting. I had somewhere else in mind, until I discovered it was a pawnshop (I loved this idea). A phylactery, possibly containing the spirit of a magical creature? Fabulous.


7.) Draconic Destruction by @davejamesashton

MK: “She had awakened, eager to mate.” This scared me. Adored the word “wyrm”. Wonderful ending.


8.) The Black Stone by Voima Oy

MK: This story is how to craft perfect flash fiction. Superb use of big and small stones. Swapping jewelry boxes for peanut butter amid a post-apocalyptic world. Hungry waves. Brilliant!


9.) Dragon Mountain by Craig McGeady

MK: Gentle, subtle and heartwarming. Using the picture to show not tell a wonderful moment between generations.


10.) Dark Waters by David Kleeman

MK: Great sense of mystery and intrigue. As a reader, I’m curious and want to know more.


11.) Imprisoned by @el_Stevie

MK: Splendid use of setting, mythology and legend. So good, it felt like I was sitting in Stonehenge, enthralled as a great fire-side story-teller recounted daring adventures of ancestors.


12.) Salvage by Nancy Chenier

MK: Breathtakingly good. Inventive and deep. Sumptuous words and images. Excellent work.


13.) Happy Anniversary by Nancy Chenier

MK: Majestic opening. Delicate yet intense piece that crosses time, space and species.


14.) [Untitled] by Jennifer Faust

MK: This felt like watching the pivotal scene in a sweeping fantasy movie. Lovely build-up and enjoyable ending.


15.) They Themselves by Josh Bertetta

MK: I love that the author has taken the image and crafted not only a different world/s, but cross genres and built a fantastic back-story. Fabulous imagination.


16.) Dragoncall by Dave Lankshear

MK: And so the real story begins. Even in a micro story it’s possible to use pace to engage the reader, and the author of this story has done just that, building up to the finale (or beginning, as I like to think of it).


17.) [Untitled] by Rebekah Postupak (Crash Site)

MK: So many reasons to adore this. The personification of the stones (each with distinct personality). The partners discussing the merits of asking for directions (just brilliant). The crash site itself. Thoroughly enjoyable.


18.) Sea Shells by Allison K. Garcia

MK: Yes. This is how to mix fabulous dialogue, humour, and first-class words such as ‘eep’, ‘sizzle’, ‘chomp’. Loved it—thank you for making me smile.


19.) The Reluctant Dragon-keeper of Drabenvord by Geoff Holme

MK: I’m a big fan of experimenting with structure in flash/micro fiction. Here the author has included both authors, Street & Shoemaker and their respective novels, Embrace the Fire and Sterling. Clever.


20.) [Untitled] by Rebekah Postupak (Touch my Stuff)

MK: And let that be a lesson to you! Never. Ever. Touch a dragon’s stuff. See anything like that on the beach – just leave it there. Trust me.


21.) Stone Quarry by Brady Koch

MK: This is like a great movie trailer. It condenses a huge plot and backstory into a tiny space. Good craft.


MK: There can be only one winner (sadly).

It was a close call but I have chosen Salvage, by Nancy Chenier. I hope you agree it is a worthy winner in a field of incredible stories.

The words are beautifully written. The images sublime. But it’s much more than that. It is emotion in its highest form, squashed under the weight of intense gravity and condensed into the space of 100 words. It’s a sense of the unknown. It’s a ride on the wave of fear, loss and injury. It’s the complex relationships between ourselves and our families. It’s the intricate struggles with ourselves, who we are, who we were, how we came to be and who we can become. Stunning. Congratulations.

Congratulations to Nancy Chenier, the winner of A Few Days of Fantasy Flash 2016! Nancy, please contact Emily (emily (@) luminouscreaturespress (dot) com) to collect your winnings of copies of Sterling and Embrace the Fire!

LCP, Emily, and Tamara extend a huge THANK YOU to Mark for his detailed and careful judging.

Thanks to everyone for coming out and submitting stories!

A Few Days of Fantasy Flash Fiction

Welcome to LCP’s Summer 2016 Flash Fiction Contest.

In this round, we are celebrating the release of two books, Tamara Shoemaker’s Embrace the Fire, and Emily June Street’s Sterling. Both are fantasy stories set in worlds with magic, royalty, power struggles, and love. One involves dragons, the other, magic stones.

Below we have an image to inspire your stories. Your story must contain either a DRAGON or a MAGIC STONE, or both. You have until midnight on June 30th, 2016 (PDT) to submit a story of 100 words or fewer. Titles are not included in word count. You may submit multiple stories if you wish.

Post your stories in the reply section to this post. Be sure to include your name, Twitter handle or other contact information, and a word count at the top of your story. See the complete rules here.

One winner will receive copies of Embrace the Fire and Sterling! Our illustrious judge is veteran flash fictioneer and Alpha FlashDog Mark A. King. Winner will be announced Monday, July 4th.

We look forward to reading your stories!

Your photo prompt:

Contest 4

Sterling is Here!

Today marks the official publication date of Tales of Blood & Light, Book 3, STERLING, by Emily June Street. This is LCP’s latest offering, and we hope you will enjoy a lighter fantasy romance read for summer!

Get it now in print or ebook at Amazon.


Life can change in an instant.
Shy, shunned Sterling Ricknagel never expected to become High Princess of Lethemia—or to be betrothed to the handsomest lord in the land. Though she fears rejection, she dutifully represents her House.

Every privilege comes with a cost.
When an unexpected tragedy throws the country back into civil war, Sterling flees for her life. Anchorless and alone, she knows she must restore her family’s crumbling honor.

Love can prevail over any obstacle.
Sterling’s only possible ally is the one man she cannot trust: her former fiancé, a notorious rake who harbors his own secrets.

Seeking redemption, Sterling sets out on an epic journey, facing despair, deceits, and danger to discover the truth about her family—and herself.

“Romantic and riveting!” Tamara Shoemaker, author, Guardian of the Vale and Heart of a Dragon series

Sterling is here in PRINT


Sterling print copies came early, so those of you who prefer paperback versions can get an early copy at Flow Studio in Fairfax or you can order a print version now from Amazon.

If you’d like a signed copy to pick up at Flow–-or mailed to you–-please contact Emily directly. emily (at) luminouscreaturespress (dot) com

Ebooks will still be out on June 27. You can pre-order an ebook here.

And don’t forget! Starting on June 28th, LCP will be hosting a mini fantasy flash fiction contest. A print version of Sterling will be one of the prizes. We’re also planning a Goodreads giveaway starting Monday 6/13. Happy summer reading!

Sterling Cover Reveal & Pre-Order


Tales of Blood & Light, Book Three, STERLING, is on its way! The official publication date is June 27th, 2016, one year after THE GANTEAN (Book One).

Sterling is a lighter, romantic story that tracks events in Lethemia after the conclusions of THE GANTEAN and THE CEDNA (Book Two). Readers of the series may recognize Sterling for her supporting roles in both earlier books–she is the younger daughter of House Ricknagel who has been shunned by most of Lethemian high society because of a sprawling birthmark covering half her face. Learn more about the book here or here.

You may be interested to know this tidbit about all the ToB&L covers: each one has a dominant color, which is the color of the narrator’s aetherlight. Readers will know that aetherlight is sort of like one’s aura, the essential energy that feeds a person in the layer of magic. Each print edition of the book also has a tag line on its back cover that reveals an element or substance that was a guiding principle in the creation of the lead character.

You can pre-order the ebook now from Amazon. If you want to pre-order a print edition (to know what Sterling’s guiding element is!) please contact LCP or Emily directly.

Also, adding the book to your “want to read shelf” on Goodreads is a great, no-commitment way to help it get a little visibility before it is out.

Tir na nÒg, the Land of the Young

1848, Liverpool

The Erin’s Queen was moored in the seething port of Liverpool. Cargo of every shape and vibrant colour heaved from vessel to quay. Sounds assaulted the senses. It was easy to be lost in the cacophony of barked orders from old-men to young-boys, creaking ropes on overworked pulleys and the persistent famished screeching of circling gulls.

The mass migration from Éire had brought news of exploitation, death and unseaworthy coffin ships. Of course I’d heard such things, but there were no choices. Our farm had been seized and notice had been served. Prison awaited, unless our landlord paid for our deportation, which he did in a manner that implied we should be grateful to him.

We had little time to gather belongings and we were told the hold of the ship didn’t have space, yet Aoife insisted on changing into what passed for her Sunday best. “We might have nothing in Quebec, but we don’t need family, or money, or even a job,” she said, lit by the struggling morning rise. “We have each other. We have faith. When we first set foot on new soil we will have excitement and pride and hope. We’ll be reborn. We’ll learn. We’ll thrive, my love.”

When she said such things, I forgot the hardships of toiling the lands and remembered why I married her. I could look into her eyes of blue hope and allow myself to dream, even with my ragged clothes and blooded hands.

Before sail, I held Padraig tightly. My precious boy, my gossoon. Although he was five, he looked like a toddler. Sometimes I feared I would crush him in my embrace. “The journey will be hard, son. You mustn’t cry, whatever you see. It is a long way and we would do best not to upset anyone. Can you do that for me, Padraig, my little man?” To this he grinned and nodded.

The dockland skies were gunmetal grey and clouds pregnant with overdue rain. The moon hung in the morning heavens, a caught trespasser in the dawn. It was only as the ship set sail that I realised the vastness of the anthracite sea. Approaching the harbour walls, a solitary tree jutted out of the stonework, all twisted convex and concave limbs, black and very dead—it stood like a guardian between the worlds.

Before twenty days had passed, we were no longer repulsed by stench of spilled stomachs, other smells filled the air—sickness, disease, the stink of humanity turning on itself to fight for scraps of mouldy bread.

We lost the first one on day twenty-five. An old woman, Josephine. She started the journey with eyes of empathy and wisdom. In my great shame, I was relieved when I no longer had to look at her unfocused and lifeless stare. Once the rattle of the death in her lungs had left her, I could once again hear the churn and crack of the angry ocean. Her family pushed her up, through the square of blinding light. We heard the splash a moment later. No prayer was said.

By day thirty, sharks followed the boat, they say.

On day thirty-three, it was a jumble of bodies, insects and madness. Departed relatives were pushed aside, survivors refused to touch them and the captain paid one sovereign for each body recovered and jettisoned. We watched the boat-hooks descend into darkness and grab what they could—hoisting, dragging—it mattered not, the treatment the dead.

By day forty, Padraig had succumbed. His fever not tempered by his mother’s touch, his discomfort barely eased by the tales of Tír na nÓg, the land of the young. I did not tell him the tales of Oisín and Niamh, but of a forever-gossoon named Padraig.

When he passed, no tears left his eyes.

We would not allow him to be touched, or hooked. When others talked of the disease he would bring, Aoife made inhuman screams and I threatened consequences.

Weeks passed. No words. No mourning.

Stepping ashore the new lands, she straightened her dress and held her head high, carrying our rag-doll gossoon in her arms.

I recall these events for you, my precious girl, for there is hope in everything. Even when enduring a day, minute or second feels impossible, there is a fragment of hope. For you were the first born in these lands and the world is yours. With your first breath, we found purpose.

Follow Mark A. King on Twitter: @Making_Fiction