Rodeo #5: Sound and Fury

Here it is, the final Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo contest. Check it out and ride. Also, the Bonus Rodeo: Old Time Radio contest continues. Air your talent!

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

A Flash Fiction contest by D. Avery
Co Judges: Bonnie Sheila and the Amazing Educator


Sometimes fear, respect, and awe are the braids of one rope. Sometimes that one rope is all a buckaroo has to hang onto. Your flash should never let go of that rope.

Think of a dangerous situation that people willingly engage in. It need not be heroic with a heroic outcome for it is ill-advised to sit down on a bull or to run with them charging down the same narrow street. But people do. Why? Explore the motivation for the character; how did they come to be in this situation?

A high scoring bull rider stays on an athletic bucking spinning bull for eight seconds after exploding out of the chute. They are dance partners, with a grace that is gritty and brutal. The rider holds that braided rope for dear life…

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This Six Sentence Story, hosted by Denise of  GirlieOnTheEdge, is a continuation of an earlier Six Sentence story entitled “Crunch“. Do go to GirlieOntheEdge’s Blog to read the other stories and to link up and enter your own. The prompt word this week is “up”. 

When our mom finally rose from her seat to take a break from her bedside vigil, I expected my brother’s trickery to be revealed by a crooked smile.

“Ok, she’s gone, you can knock it off now; you got me. Just say something already, tell me how you won the match because I’m such a dumbass.” I sat up in my chair in the corner of the cramped hospital room, watchful for any sign of deception, but his waxen face remained inscrutable and still, attached yet separate from the steady heaving drone of the ventilator.

Mom returned and told me that decisions would have to be made and that she didn’t have the strength to make them, that I would have to be the one to tell the doctors when to remove the tubes and wires. While she wept inconsolably I pleaded with my brother to just get up, told him he’d won; he’d won again.

The Fire Escape


Here is my final recycled 297 word response to the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo’s TUFF Contest prompts, this one “scars from climbing” posted on September 1st. To see the  winners  of the TUFF competition go to Carrot RanchCatch up  on this month’s weekly rodeo contests .



“Shouldn’t you be heading home? It’s a school night.”

The bartender was only half joking. Dan the Man was starting to get into form, transforming from mild mannered English teacher into righteous undiscovered literary genius.

“Take this bottle here,” he said. “A perfect metaphor, is it not? A container. Holding the distillations and fermentations of dreamers and schemers alike. Now watch.”

He swilled the contents, draining the bottle.

“The action is in the bottleneck, all that lovely liquid swirling, backing up on itself, wanting to be free, rushing to escape.”

All of Dan’s swilling gave him the confidence to extend his metaphor in an inappropriate direction, causing another patron some discomfort.

“Go home Dan.”

Complying, Dan left the bar and navigated the walk to his apartment building. Dan the Man though, was not quite ready to turn in, school night or not. On this half-moonlit night he would climb the fire escape to his apartment, where he would have another beer outside his third story window, a place Dan imagined to be inhabited by his muse.

He managed the leap up to catch the first platform, scraping his palms on the rusty metal, banging his knee as he pulled himself up. When further in the ascent he stumbled, his hand coming down on the jagged edge of a bottleneck, Dan sobered up enough to laugh at the irony and enough to feel badly about his behavior in the bar. He clambered through his window, dripping blood to the sink where he washed up. That gash would leave a scar. What story would he tell about this wounding tomorrow?

Maybe he’d stumbled onto his novel; a sad tale about a wanna be who was nobody, a pitiful character destined to bear the scars from climbing and getting nowhere.

Bonus Rodeo: Old Time Radio

From rodeo to radio, for a good olde tyme go to Carrot Ranch. The contests are never easy but always free.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Waves surged relentlessly against the craggy rocks of Eagle Harbor where I went to write for a few days as a guest of Keweenaw historian, Barb Koski. It was mid-October, and the gales of November had come even earlier than when the Edmond’s Fitzgerald went down. Barb’s expertise in maritime history focuses on the heroics of the surfmen — those who went out into the wind-driven swells in small boats to rescue the crews of large ships.

Like Barb, many who live, work or attend secondary education on the Keweenaw Peninsula fall in love with the area’s natural beauty and endless outdoor activities. Barb showed me many natural wonders and historic structures during our getaway. If you spend any time outdoors on the Keweenaw, you can’t escape the area’s bold history of industrial copper mining.

In 1885, Michigan Tech University founded Michigan Mining School. From 1886 to 1889…

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Graphic Litter-a-ture

“Are those crates of comic books in the back of the El Camino?”

“Those aren’t comic books Ernest, those are Illustrated Classics, all the books a person should’ve read, but in a way you can expect them to actually read. Marge just hauled these up out of my mother’s basement for me; she’s had these since I was a kid.”

“Yeah Ernest, Ilene feels like she needs to brush up on her litter-a-ture now that she’s dancing with the literati himself, good old Mumble-mouth Lloyd.’

“Ilene, is being well read part of Lloyd’s requirements, or yours?”

“Mine alone Ernest; Lloyd reads me well, but he doesn’t write me.”

***   ***   ***

six sentence story copy

By now we all recognize these characters but for a refresher go to their page HERE for their full story. We also recognize the iconic book cover to the left, indicating another Six Sentence Story prompt from Denise at girlieontheedge . This week’s prompt is “classic“. I also included last week’s prompt, “requirements” to make up for missing last week.


Rodeo #4: Fractured Fairy Tales

Norah Colvin is leading an enchanting rodeo event at Carrot Ranch. Try your hand at a fractured fairy tale. No entry fees, a chance at winning and guaranteed fun.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

A Flash Fiction contest by Norah Colvin
Co Judges: Anne Goodwin and Robbie Cheadle

Do you love fairy tales? Chances are, unless you are a parent or grandparent of young children or an early childhood educator as I am, you may not have encountered a fairy tale for a while. Well, I am about to change that by asking you to fracture a fairy tale for the fourth Carrot Ranch rodeo contest. [READ MORE…]

For insights and tips from the contest creator, read Norah’s Post, “Once Upon a Rodeo Time.” For word count, use Microsoft Word or Be aware that punctuation and word-hyphens can change your word count so run it through one of those two counters.

Norah Colvin is an Australian educator, passionate about learning and early childhood education especially. She has many years’ experience in a variety of educational roles. She currently blogs about education…

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Here’s yet another 297 word response to the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo’s TUFF Contest prompt “papa’s bar” posted on September 7th. To see the  winners  of that competition, the Fab Five, go to Carrot Ranch. The Fab Five continue to duke it out with further TUFF challenges even as the weekly rodeo contests continue all this month. 


They found Farm Boy, a teetotaler, at a bar.

When Wally had finished- weighed his scallops, emptied his barrels, washed down his bench- he got in his truck and shone his lights on Farm Boy’s mooring. His boat still wasn’t in.

“Are ya sure, Wally? He mighta tied up on someone else’s mooring. They all look alike to him.” Earl tried to reassure Wally, even as he climbed into his truck, going with him back to the pier where his boat was tied up.

Farm Boy had fished with Wally season before. Learned scalloping pretty quick for someone not raised on the water. Farm Boy had picked up a wooden hulled outfit with an old sixty-horse outboard, figured he was ready to go on his own this season. And he was doing all right, applied what he’d learned from Wally. Wally was glad he hadn’t shown him all the good spots. The competition was a little less friendly at the end of the season when it was harder and harder to fill a limit.

Earl and Wally searched, slowly made their way up harbor.

“I saw him towing here mid-day.”

“Bastard musta gone up through the Bends.”

They came upon his boat first.

“That’s impressive,” Earl remarked.

“That smashed bow?”

“The five crowned bushel on board. He got his limit.”

“Musta hit some hard to get thrown. We should be okay, tides comin’ now… There he is! Water up to his waist. Hey, Farm Boy! No man is an island.”

Earl laughed as they pulled along the shivering young man. “Come on, get in, Farm Boy. Looks like you found Papa’s Bar the hard way.”

“Papa’s Bar? I thought that was some bar you two go to.”

“Our favorite sand bar. Come on, let’s get you home.”

Outing After Ever

The book is out.

That is, a book is out, my latest, and my first public display of fiction. My struggles with publishing this collection have been as much with myself as with formatting and editing. I won the struggle, but not easily.

Earlier I wrote about vacillating between “pride and paranoia, delight and dread”. The self-questioning continued when a friend asked me what it was I wanted from publishing. I didn’t have a ready answer. Other friends were encouraging and reminded me that my words had “a right to breathe and populate the page”. Agreed, but why publish, why make my words public when I treasure my privacy? Is publishing an act of bravery or of vanity? Maybe it is more an issue of identity.

Because I am private and respect the privacy of those I serve, I haven’t posted much about being a teacher. That word, Teacher, used to be round with meaning for me. I identified as Teacher, it was a true vocation; I had been called to do it. Now the edges of that word are rougher and sharper. As Teacher I want my students to learn and grow. But I keep picking up the word Writer. Through writing I have learned and grown. I want to be Writer. My words, my characters, need to breathe and populate the page. I am publishing my words because writing is my art. This is what I do; it is who I am.

This book is out. What do I want? I want my writing to be read. And I want to take what I have learned about writing and about myself as a writer and do it again.



See my publications here or visit my Amazon author’s page.AFTER EVER EBOOK COVER


For the Girls          Chicken Shift

silent echoes

Words spoken

are heard;

written words are visible- those connected lines-

but let’s say words are unseen

silent to the eye.


Echoes are unseen

and words then

must be echoes spiraling

from a pool soft swirling,

deep within the spoken word.


The intent of words


molds the unseen


worn round the throat

that would speak

unheard lying cool

against the listening heart.


My friend, now you are seen

only in memory yet

I speak unheard

and finger the string of pearls

of our unspoken words.


It’s open link night at D’Verse  Pub for poets.  Go there to sample fine poetry.


Rodeo #3: Travel with a Twist

Hit the road, take to the trail- travel along with the third Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest, Travel with a Twist.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

By Sherri Matthews

In July, I had the good fortune to spend a week’s holiday with my husband on the Italian Amalfi Coast. I say good fortune, because hubby won it, thanks to a random prize draw. We couldn’t believe it. Who wins those things anyway? Surely it’s a scam? But I can report back that it’s no scam because I’ve got the pics to prove it. [READ MORE…]

Welcome to Travel With A Twist, the third contest at Rodeo 2018.  Packed and ready for the off? Then let’s ride. But first, just like any essential safety demonstrations, a few simple rules before take-off:

  1. Entry must be 99 words, no more, no less (not including the title).
  2. Use the form below to enter, including your name (judging is blind).  All entries will receive a confirmation email. If you do not receive an acknowledgment by email, contact us at

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