Winner, Winner! #LoveBites2020

Life has been hard the last couple weeks. The world has gone crazy over the COVID-19 virus and stress is high. Amongst it though there are still moments of brightness, calm, and smiles. Like last week — which I definitely meant to blog about last week — when the winners of the #LoveBites2020 flash fiction blog hop challenge were released.

I woke up last Tuesday, during a glorious three day weekend for the first time in months, to an announcement that put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. I’m very much a dark writer, and Valentine’s Day is very much a light and happy holiday. So when I turned my chosen prompt of the Love Bites challenge into something darker that kills the mood I had no expectations of winning anything.

As it turned out, the judges loved my twist on the prompt and I took second place with a prize of a $5 Amazon gift card! If you want to reread my entry tale “Masks and Kisses” you can find it in my last blog post. Here’s what the judges said about my second place win, courtesy of Katheryn J. Avila’s (the host of Love Bites) blog…

Cara says: This is another entry that took the prompt and gave it a twist, though a much darker one. The public face created to endure abuse is the heartbreaking core of this “fake relationship,” and you root for the MC to find her way free. She does… bringing me to my only disappointment in this story. Though vague understanding that something has happened is there, the ending just doesn’t quite pack the punch of the rest of the story. Guess that just means you have to write more!

Siobhan says: This story was well crafted and gave all the warnings from the beginning, but how often do we ignore them in order to fit in and make others happy? A chilling tale with a rather final solution at the end that left me satisfied if not happy. Great story.

Ever says: You took the Fake Relationship trope and ran into a dark alley with it. I was blown away by how much you packed into the snapshots of time you showed us. And I genuinely cheered when what I thought was Amanda’s last moments turned out to be her Fight For Freedom! W00t w00t!

Miranda says: I loved Daelyn’s maybe due to it being closer to home for me (I witnessed that stuff as a child). I liked how she worked up to the ending, slow and steady making you read faster and faster. Great execution and never saying too much, just enough for you to know and pique your interest until the end.

Katheryn says: A great take on the prompt. The story was tense and kept me on edge until the very end. You can really feel for the narrator – her pain, her stress, and her dread. For such a brief piece, its intensity lingers long after you’ve finished reading it.

It feels a bit like a small win being as there were only five eligible tales in the running, but it is still a confidence boost for my writing. It tells me that despite my prolonged hiatus for more than a year now I haven’t completely destroyed my writing muscles. I consider that something to smile about, and something to help rekindle that fire before the Camp NaNoWriMo madness of April comes screaming around the corner.

If you want to check out who took first place you can see the winning tale and the judges’ feedback here. Quite the sweet, innocent tale took first place. A welcome change from the true love and lust of Valentine’s Day.

Many thanks to Katheryn for hosting the blog hop challenge, as well as to Cara Michaels, Siobhan Muir, Miranda Kate, and Ever Addams for their judgery! I can’t wait for the next seasonal challenge. Until then I’m going to go use that five dollars to buy myself a book and start focusing on the current contest before me.

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