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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Water of Life


The following is my 297 word response to the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo’s TUFF Contest prompt “cool water” posted on September 13th. To see the  winners  of that competition go to Carrot RanchJoin in the weekly rodeo contests all this month.



They traveled at night when the relentless sun did not blaze bright in the raw blue sky. The stars that trickled overhead reminded her of the stories Leena told, stories about a time when cool water fell from a softer sky.

Leena told other stories; stories about when the far flung salty lakes were connected, were one vast lake filled with fish and sea creatures, a lake so immense it floated large boats that took days to go from one edge to another.

She’d hesitated only a moment when Leena and Ahden invited her to leave the salt scorched Lake Lands with them, to get away from the crowded and dangerous camps where drinking water was distilled from the brackish saltwater, then sold, traded and fought over. It was not uncommon for family groups to form among migrants and refugees and she wanted to be a daughter to this couple. She also knew that children were often traded in exchange for fresh drinking water. But when Ahden and Leena told stories of their first daughter, water gathered in their eyes. She trusted them.

She found it more difficult to believe their stories. Ahden’s stories were as fantastic as Leena’s. Ahden told of the color green, told stories of trees, all kinds of trees, trees that cooled and soothed the land. Ahden carried a forked stick he claimed was a piece of a tree branch that had once borne a round red fruit that held water within its flesh. Ahden also told stories of cool water that lay like treasure underground. He said he would find water with his tree branch or die trying. In case they did die trying, Ahden and Leena told her their stories and taught her what they knew. They lived for her now.


  IGWRT button.jpgHaving never heard of a  tritina before  I thought I would try the the fussy little form challenge put out by imaginary gardens with real toads. Here is their definition of tritina: It is a ten-line poem with three tercets and a final line, featuring three repeating, non-rhyming line-end words, like this:  

The final line contains all 3 words as 1-2-3

I am also using this form to respond to Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing prompt # 76 in which she asks for 63 words in response to “unlock”.



****    ***   ****   ***   ****

Mute angers pace within their pen

the locked gate a stubborn silence

the key misplaced like blame.


Picking through strewn blame

together searching for the key to open

themselves up and end the smothering silence.


On rusty hinges slowly swings the creaky silence

unshackled blame

is let go, anger leaves the unlocked pen.


Repentant apologies break the silence as two shoulder their blame.




“What the hell, Lloyd, you’re like a damn pogo stick, can’t you just get me a beer without shaking it up?”

Lloyd stopped hopping, pausing to get his balance with one leg still bent at the knee, then continued back to the poker game hopping more slowly, a can of beer in each seesawing hand. When Marge received her can she pointed it at him as she popped the top, spraying Lloyd before slurping the foam that bubbled out, glaring over the can as Lloyd dropped clumsily into his chair.

“I’d love to finish the game, Lloyd, but do tell, what the hell are you doing going around on one leg all night?”

“Ha,” Nard snorted, “What he’s doing is Ilene and he wants to lean too, ‘cause he’s a sensitive dumbass.”

“Oh yeah… that is so sweet, Lloyd,” Marge smiled under her beer foam mustache.


This evening started with him reciting Japanese poetry for her and now Ilene and Lloyd, dressed in kimonos, stood stretching and swaying together in his small living room. They hardly noticed when Lloyd, his leg bent awkwardly behind him, swiped Ilene’s prosthetic leg off the stack of books where it had lain. They hardly noticed because they were dancing cranes.

Maybe the two-legged crane should have danced using both his legs. They ended up toppling over, ending in a tangle on the couch. But their dance wasn’t finished.


six sentence story copy.jpg


Here are not one but two more six sentence stories for this week’s prompt word “finish”. Hop over to Denise’s GirlieOntheEdge to read others’  or to write your own.


Sort of Out

six sentence story copy.jpg


Six Sentence Stories is being used for shameless self promotion! Read more honorable writers at Denise’s GirlieOntheEdge. Hop over there to write your own six sentence response to the prompt word “finish”.


Ernest was out of sorts.

At first he had tried playing poker with Marge and her friends; then had tried going out to the pub on Wednesdays; had finally become comfortable with a Wednesday night routine of watching television with Ilene in the singlewide while Marge and the guys played cards in the two bay garage out front. But tonight Ilene wasn’t at all interested in Duck Dynasty and Ernest found he did not enjoy the show half as much without her chattering through it, commenting on the dynamics and inherent good looks of their favorite TV family.

“Jeez, Ilene, Marge told me about all Lloyd’s books, so I get if you think you gotta read them too, but, well, I mean, it’s Wednesday, you know?”

Ilene looked up from her book only long enough to tell Ernest that it wasn’t one of Lloyd’s books, it was a new release by D. Avery called  After Ever and she was captivated by the collection of short stories and that Lloyd was going to read it next but when Lloyd was finished he should read it.

“Maybe Ilene… think I’d identify with any of the characters in it?”


AFTER EVER EBOOK COVER.jpg The print version will be available soon. (I forgot to cross my I’s.)

Rodeo #2: Memoir

She did it! Memoirist Irene Waters has posted the second Flash Fiction Rodeo contest event at Carrot Ranch. This one is for those who can handle the truth, or at least a story based in factual events. No entry fees, cash prizes! Try it; all the other kids are doing it.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

By Irene Waters, Rodeo Leader

Memoir is a passion, so I’m thrilled to once again host the memoir section of the Carrot Ranch Rodeo Contest. Hoping you’ll tighten your saddles and put on your spurs and join in. [READ MORE…]

Last year we had Scars – this year?

“She Did It.”

Three little words can hold so much meaning and have so many stories that come to mind. For the memoir prompt “She Did It” write a true story or a BOTS (based on a true story) keeping in mind the tips on writing memoir.


  1. Every entry must be 99 words, no more, no less. You can have a title outside that limit. Check your word count using the net as this will be the one I use to check the entries. Entries that aren’t 99 words will be disqualified.
  2. The genre is memoir although BOTS (based on…

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