Sunday, December 12, 2010

YA Flash Death Match Is Going On Hiatus

Due to time constraints with my job and writing and family, I'm going to have to put YA Flash Death Match on hiatus for the time being.  I would like to thank everyone who has been involved and participated either by reading or writing.  I appreciate you all and I hope you had as much fun as I've had.  With luck, perhaps we'll be able to return to YA Flash Death Match down the road.  I wish you all the best and very happy holidays as well.  Keep me posted on your writing and future successes on my other blog,

Monday, November 29, 2010

YA Flash Death Match November Winner!

This month, we sampled NaNoWriMo excerpts from three great authors!  This month's winner is Amber Polly for the excerpt of her story, Sleepwalking.  Thanks to everyone who participated, read, and voted! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Read and Vote for November's NaNo Death Match!

Okay everybody, National Novel Writing Month is well underway, and most of you, if you have not run out of time (like me), energy, or plot, you're probably still typity typing away.  Time to take a quick coffee break and read some of what your fellow NaNoers have to offer. 

This month, in honor of NaNoWriMo, our contestants will be competing with the first (roughly) 1,000 words of their YA NaNo piece.  These are raw and unedited, so be kind!  Read on and see which one grabs you!  Be sure to leave a comment and vote no later than Wednesday, November 24th at Noon CST. 

After I stuff myself with turkey on Thursday, I'll count up the votes for a Friday announcement of the winner!  You'll probably just be getting back from the Black Friday sales, so be sure to check in!

This month, we have three great contributors:

Stay Close, Don't Go by Candace Taylor




Ryan was late; and in the eight years I had known him, Ryan had never been late. I knew the old axiom—there’s a first time for everything; but my heart sped in time with my breathing and my muscles began to twitch with my nerves. If he wasn’t here already, there was a very good reason why.

My phone buzzed, making me jump like a paranoid criminal. I wasn’t a criminal, though; far from it, in fact. At fourteen years old, the most dangerous thing I had ever done involved a temporary tattoo in the shape of an orchid and a pair of clip-on earrings. Don’t ask.

The message on the screen was typical Ryan; short and to the point.

two minutes

Untitled NaNo Fantasy by Elaine Karnes

“There comes a point in everyone's life where they come to a crossroads, where the decision they make will take their life in one direction or another. Sometimes the direction you choose is to shorten your life by using evil ways. Magic that comes unbidden to you and through deliberate actions you use this evil to rob and harm those who support and care for you. The path to the gods you abandoned, you did not come to the temple when you felt the first stirrings of this power when you could have been saved, redeemed. Instead, you chose to revel in these powers, you chose to walk the path of evil and magic. Now, the end of the path is nigh and you find the reward that comes with your path choice.”

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November's Death Match

I've been scratching my head for the last couple weeks, trying to figure out how to get people to compete this month. It's November (which you probably know) and most of my writing friends are, like myself, wrapped up in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I'm thinking they're all so busy, they aren't going to be in any mood to write a new flash piece for this month's competition.

So I had an idea.

Compete with your novel.

Whether your a NaNo participant or just happen to have an awesome novel you'd like to throw into the ring, this is your chance! This month, submit the first 1,000 words (you may finish a sentence/paragraph if necessary) of your NaNo novel or non-NaNo novel. Any topic allowed, it must, however, be a true YA piece. No need to edit, keep it nice and raw, in it's original state. We'll all understand.

If you'd like to compete this month PLEASE read through the rules to make sure you've got it right.

IF you have a blog, post it to the blog by Wednesday, November 17th at Noon CST and send the link to Make sure to put FLASH LINK in the subject.

IF you DON'T have a blog, but would like to participate, email me your story by Wednesday, November 17th at Noon CST and I'll post it to the YA Flash site. Email it to with the subject FLASH STORY.

All stories will be posted for voting on Thursday, November 18 and will remain open until Wednesday, November 24th at Noon CST. Only votes that fall between those dates/times will count. No anonymous votes can count.

Prizes: If we get 10 or more entries, I will announce the top 3 as winners and they will be invited to join the YA Death Flash Anthology ebook. The Grand Prize Winner (the one with the top votes) will also get a signed copy of the paperback, Into the Shadows, my debut novel. I will announce the winners on Friday, November 26th.

Now's your chance to put your baby out there and see if your story and writing has what it takes! Tell your friends, family and followers to stop by from November 18-24 to cast their vote! Good luck!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October Death Match Winner

Congratulations to Amanda Heroman, and her winning story Cold Beauty!  Thanks to all of our contestants.  Stay tuned for the next YA Flash Death Match, in November!  Get your story ideas working now!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

October YA Flash Death Match! Voting is Open!

The time has come to read and vote for your favorites!  We have three stories for the month of October, three scary tales for your Halloween delight!

Be sure to read and comment, either on this page or on their pages in order for your vote to be counted.  The deadline for votes is Monday, October 25th at noon!  The winner will be invited to be in the YA Flash Death Match Anthology and get a nifty blog award!  Happy Haunting!

Cold Beauty by Amanda Heroman

Eyes in the Graveyard by Jack Sorenson

When Eibhlin was young lady she was held hostage in an old dark graveyard of Dusk Springs Wyoming, drawing a deep breath of the chilly autumn air to calm herself striving at one more attempted to chase the ghost with the key. She had been unable to leave the graveyard because of a ghost that will not allowed the gates to re-open. The ghost of the graveyard has kept Eibhlin as his hostage. She is angry for she asks the ghost for many months for the key he has held from her. Eibhlin spent time trying to out fox this ghost with common sense to playful games. This is Eibhlin's story.

The Vurugu by Samantha Rill

I walked the streets with confidence. Two nights ago, the Vurugu claimed twelve innocent lives. The murders wouldn’t stop until the Ambassador gave in to their claims, claims they began screaming for two years ago. Every six days, twelve civilians would be killed unless the Ambassador stepped down, allowing the Vurugu to rule.

Friday, October 8, 2010

October Death Match - Halloween Theme!

For October's Death Match (still a Brawl for All!), I've decided to set the theme myself.  Because I can, hehe.  Well, really, because October is my favorite month AND Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year, I wanted to challenge you to write the scariest YA Flash you can write this month!  Fill your story with all the vampires, ghosts, goblins, and demons you can think of!  The rules will stay the same (please read if you have not already here).

Here are the important dates for October:

Post/Email me your story/link (YA flash, 1000 words or less, info in the Details and Rules section) no later than Sunday, October 17th at noon, CST.  

*Please don't post your story prior to the October 17th date...if you do, I can't count any votes outside of the voting period!*

I'll post the stories on Monday, October 18th, voting is open from Monday, October 18th - Monday, October 25th at noon, CST.  Tell your friends, family, and readers to check out the stories and vote for their favorite!  

I will announce the winner on Wednesday, October 27th.  The winner gets an awesome blog award and an invitation to join the YA Flash Death Flash Anthology ebook.

I look forward to some awesome stories!

Monday, September 27, 2010

September's Death Match Winner!

Thanks to all those who read, enjoyed, and voted!  I saw that our contestants had lots of nice comments!  After counting up the votes on both the YA Flash Death Match site AND the contestants sites (remember, they had to be during our voting period), I can declare a winner!  Thanks so much to both contestants for contributing and I hope you will keep coming back and writing and sharing more!

Congratulations J.L. Jackson!

This month's winner will be invited to join our previous winners in the YA Flash Death Match anthology, coming in the Fall of 2011.  J.L. can also post the above award to her blog as well.  The October YA Flash Death Match will start next week, I'll post a schedule then! Hope you will join us again!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Below I will list our Death Matchers for September's YA Flash Death Match.  Your job is to stop by each site, read, and vote.  You can vote on their site or here at the bottom.  You have one week to read and vote for your favorites.  Tell your parents, tell your friends, tell everybody!  I will visit each site next Sunday, September 26th, some time after noon CST to count up the votes.  I will only count one vote per person and I will NOT count anonymous votes. And I can only count votes given during the voting period, to be fair.  Only votes from 9/19-9/26 can count.  If, by some chance, you voted before that time, you may vote again and I'll count it. 

The winner will win the awesome Death Match award for their blog, in addition to an invitation to see their work published in a YA Flash Death Match anthology ebook next year. 

Let's get it on...

J.L. Jackson:  By the Moonlight

Theresa MilsteinCamped and Confused 

Thanks to our challengers and thanks to our voters, who will decide who is champion of this month's YA Flash Death Match!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Game ON! Get Writing!

 Thanks to J.L. Jackson for coming up with this month's story idea!

You should now write 1,000 words or less on "CAMPING TRIP GONE WRONG."  Make sure it's for a YA audience!

 There are two ways to enter your story:

-If you have a personal blog, post the story there and email at ( me the title and the link. Be sure to write (FLASH LINK) in the subject.

-If you don't have a personal blog, email me at ( the entire story and I will post it here. Be sure to write (FLASH STORY) in the subject.

*To be eligible to participate as a YA Flash Death Match contestant, one must follow this blog in addition to following Karly Kirkpatrick and Michelle Sussman on either Facebook, Twitter, or our personal blogs. See the Details and Rules page for links! These rules will also be posted there for future reference.

stories/links are due to me no later than Sunday, September 19th at noon CST.

Voting will take place starting Monday, September 20th through Sunday, September 26th.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Interview with Author James Klise

I'm thrilled to have debut YA author, James Klise, join us this week. Welcome James!

1. When does Love Drugged come out and where can we buy it? Where can our readers find you on the web?

The official publication date for Love Drugged is September 1, 2010, and it’s available in bookstores and online. You can find out more by visiting my website, and by becoming a fan of “James Klise” on Facebook. (My fan count is a humiliation!)

2. How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

I began college fully intending to major in Architecture. But sophomore year I took a creative writing class, and that changed everything. The teacher pulled me aside and said, “Hey, just FYI, you are good at this.” I admired this teacher for a lot of reasons, and I really heard what she said. Nobody in the Architecture department had ever told me, “Wow, James, you clearly were put on this planet to design important buildings.” I took the lack of encouragement there as a sign to make the switch to English. Best of all, writing fiction hardly ever involves a measuring tape.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

YA Flash's New Format!

After some careful consideration, I've decided to make some changes to how YA Flash Death Match operates, as well as up the ante on the prize. The goal of this site was to give unpublished YA writers a chance to be seen and read by others. Our first two Death Matches provided us with some great fiction, but I feel like we can do more.

With the new YA Flash Death Match, each month instead of being a contest between two writers, I'm turning into a Brawl for All. All of you can compete, every month. You may be in a Death Match between 3 writers or 20. Each month, you will have a week to suggest topics, a week to write your 1000 word or less YA flash fiction piece, and a week to vote.  Please note, you do not need to suggest a topic to participate. 

There are two ways to enter your story:

-If you have a personal blog, post the story there and email at ( me the title and the link.  Be sure to write (FLASH LINK) in the subject.

-If you don't have a personal blog, email me at ( the entire story and I will post it here.  Be sure to write (FLASH STORY) in the subject.

Once the stories are posted, anyone can vote, once, for the best flash. The story with the most comments is the big winner! Anonymous voters will NOT be counted. You can compete every month if you like. There will be no limits.

The winner will receive an invitation to be published in the YA Flash Death Match Anthology, to be published in ebook format after we complete one year of competitions. The anthology will contain the winners from July 2010 - June 2011. We will also choose some of our favorites from throughout the year to round out the anthology.

Our first two winners, Genevieve Ching and Beth Ford already have their spot.  Are you ready to win yours?

*To be eligible to make a topic suggestion or participate as a YA Flash Death Match contestant, one must follow this blog in addition to following Karly Kirkpatrick and Michelle Sussman on either Facebook, Twitter, or our personal blogs.  See the Details and Rules page for links!  These rules will also be posted there for future reference.

And so, my friends, let the games begin.  Tell a friend, tell 10 friends.  Let's make this the best YA Flash Fiction site on the web.

Post your story/scene ideas below.

You have until Sunday, September 12th at noon CST to throw your idea into the ring.

The writing will commence Monday, September 13th and stories/links are due to me no later than Sunday, September 19th at noon CST.

Voting will take place starting Monday, September 20th through Sunday, September 26th.

Good luck and happy writing!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Brand New YA Flash Death Match Coming Tuesday!

Please stay tuned for a new and exciting format on YA Flash Death Match!  Details and information are coming Tuesday, followed by an awesome interview from debut author James Klise on Wednesday.  You will NOT want to miss this!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

August's Second Death Match

Due to low interest in the second YA Flash Death Match of the Month, we're going to put it on hold until September.  It was an experiment, and now we know two is too many for one month! The writer who entered this time will be entered in the next match automatically.  We'll put a new schedule together for September and keep you posted!  Stay tuned for the next YA Flash Death Match and thanks for making this site great!  Keep writing and keep churning out those story ideas!

Much love!  *hugs*

Monday, August 16, 2010

Contest Winner and Open for Topics!

Congratulations to Beth Fred for winning the 1st YA Flash Death Match in August! 

And thanks to both Beth and Samantha Rill for providing us with some great stories to work with!

That being said, topics are open again until Thursday, August 20th at noon CST for the second YA Flash Death Match in August!  Leave a comment on this post with your suggested topic and consider that your entry into the competition!  We'll notify the competitors on Thursday!  Good luck!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August Death Match I - Read and Vote!

Welcome to the first YA Flash Death Match of August!  We've got two great writers going up against each other and only you can determine the winner!  Beth Fred and Samantha Rill have produced some great stories on the following topic:  Getting lost on vacation leads you to an inter-dimensional portal to an entirely new world.

Click on the links below to read their stories.  Your comment is your vote!  You have until Friday, August 13th at midnight CST to vote!  Winner will get the awesome YA Flash Death Match badge for their blog and bragging rights!

Home by Beth Fred

Land of Warning by Samantha Rill

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Home by Beth Fred

We threw out backpacks in the back of my jeep and cruised into spring break with the top down. It was really still too cold for this.

Whatever. My taunters would see it and know that while I may never be cooler than them, my car was.

“I hate this place.” I mumbled.

Stephy looked at me. “You know, if it weren’t for the green lipstick around your eyes and the disco ball head band, they wouldn’t make fun of you.”

“Ah, but not for those things I could not be the Jeni, drama queen of all the Earth, or at least Las Vegas.”

Stephy laughed. “Then you can’t complain about the responses your actions elicit.”

I sighed. “I don’t make fun of the chess team and math nerds.”

“Dude, you walk around with green lipstick around your eyes in a variety of costumes.” Obviously, from the way she said it she had no idea if that was the right word. They weren’t really costumes, more fashion statements. “If you made fun of the nerds they would laugh at you.”

“This from my best friend.”

“Hey, I support all your freakishness. I’m just telling you our lives would be easier, if you chose to go main-stream."


“Uhh—I’m a freak by association, but I’m such a loyal friend, I endure.”

Now, I laughed. “I thought I’m supposed to be the drama queen?”

“I deal with you daily. I’m entitled to my moments.”

“Well, my melodramatic side-kick, what are we doing this week?”

We contemplated. Not being rich kids, there would be no South Padre, or Panama.

“We could go camping—Grand Canyon?” Stephy suggested.

“Like sleep on the ground?”

“In the jeep.”

I looked at her skeptically. Drama queens didn’t tend to do camping.

“Princess, can you fund a better idea? It’s either that or a week with the parents.”

It was settled. Stephy told her parents she was vacationing with us for the week and I sold the same lie in reverse to my parents. We left before they were awake and hid Stephy’s car.


“I don’t remember this stuff on the way to the Grand Canyon.” Stephy said.

“It’s what the directions said.”

“Check the GPS.”

“I forgot it.”

“You forgot the GPS. How did you think we would make it to Arizona?”

Lately, her melodramatics had me doubting my standing as the drama queen. But then a sign read, “Warning Entering a Military Installation.” Stephy was right.
We exchanged a disturbed look. You didn’t live two hours from Area 51 and not know the stories.

“I’ll turn around.” Before I could the car seemed to be falling. It had to be in my head since the road stretched out straight in front of us. Stephanie tensed in her seat, one hand grasping the bottom of her seat the other clinging to the “oh crap” handle just above the window.—She felt the freefall too. A brilliant burst of cloudy light surrounded the car. I tried to stir out of it--useless.

Praying, I closed my eyes. We dropped to a rocky bottom, where a crowd of green people (other than the color of their skin looking very much like us) surrounded the jeep.

Stephy nervously joked, “I hope they don’t find your eye make-up mocking.”

Me too. Really. The top was down; the vehicle offered no protection. We opened the doors and fearfully slid out.

Stephy creeped around the car to where I stood. Most of the crowd knelt before me now, oblivious to her.

“What are they doing?” She whispered.

I shrugged too scared to make any bolder movements, clueless as to what they were doing. An attractive green guy approached me. “I am Malakar.” His eyes were hazel, his hair a creamy brown, his facial features sharp and distinct, and his body muscular.

“I’m,” my voice squeaked. “I’m yours.”

His gentle laugh shone through his eyes. My heart flipped. “You are the Earthling we’ve been waiting for.”

“…Where am I?”

“You are on planet Malak. The force field around the teleportation device is to protect my people from your government since our visit many years ago. But it’s malfunctioning, which is how you landed here. I’m very sorry for your inconvenience but thankful for your presence. That being said, my people have been waiting for the Earthling, who could accept us and be cunning enough to gather the needed supplies from Earth.”

“Seriously, I’m nerd girl. What makes you think I’m your cunning Earthling, Malakar—whoa! Wait a minute. You like own the planet?”

He chuckled. “Princess,” I’d been called this before, usually with sarcasm. Now the word was genuine. “One cannot own a planet, but I lead the Malakans just as my father before me. You’re the Earthling we’ve been waiting for. The oracle told me I would know her when I saw her and legend says she’s mesmerizing.”

Malakar was completely into me! I looked around to the green people cloaked in renaissance attire, then back to Prince Charming complete with a sword hanging from his side, to the frightened face of my best friend.

I knew I belonged here. It wasn’t just Malakar. No one sneered at the green marks around my eyes, or at the fact that I wore a head band which threw iridescent light several yards every time I moved. No one cared about the large fluttering butterfly clippies clamping sporadically to my velvet dress for jewels.

I could be Jeni without criticism.

“I’ll stay. I’ll be your supply girl, just get Stephanie home safely. And if she would like to visit, she needs the option.”

“Princess, you can have any visitor you wish. They will be safe here. You are welcomed as long as you like and never required to stay.” He knelt. “But please, give me the opportunity to make you more than the overseer of supplies. In time, I hope to earn your affection.”

Stephy returned home promising to visit; I was home.

The Land of Warning by Samantha Rill

I sat on the flat top of the large boulder, looking out at the Pacific Ocean. The blue water rolled up on to the sandy beach as the sun began to set. Families were packing up their belongings to go home and eat dinner. Groups of younger adults and older teens wandered on to the beach with coolers and frisbees. They set themselves down on long towels, couples leaning on each other and watching the romantic setting unfold.

I wanted to gag.

My mother insisted on taking a vacation while my brother and step-dad stayed home in the middle-of-nowhere Kansas. Mom and I moved there four years ago, when she decided to pack up and leave our city life in Chicago for Matt Johnson, the good ol’ American country boy. We had lived with Ginny, our five year old cat, in Chicago. Life had been hard growing up, but by the time I had to enter high school, I had fought all of the bullying and backstabbing to be comfortable with myself. When Mom dropped the bomb, my life went with it.

Mom picked California for two reasons. One, Hollywood. Two, the beach. I’d been a fan of old black and white movies since I had first stayed home alone one summer and watched the classic movie channel from sun up to sun down. Hollywood seemed the perfect location. And I always loved the beach. Nothing is as perfect as the sand beneath your feet and the smell of ocean water.

I sighed and hugged my knees to my chest. Mom spent most of her time shopping, getting a massage, getting a facial, and calling back home to see if everything was okay. At first, it made sense, but by the third day of our week long vacation, I stopped expecting plans to be made and busied myself with the beach, free wi-fi, and classic movies.

I hopped down from my perch and walked the sloping sands to the water. After swimming for most of the day, I had changed into a pair of green khakis and a white shirt before coming back to watch the sunset. I left my phone in the hotel. It’s not like anyone would text or call and the less I carried around, the better. I walked past the huge group of jagged rocks that bordered the shoreline. The temperature had cooled in the shade of the large rocks and I shivered at the sudden change. I hadn’t packed any sweater or sweats because, well, it’s California and the summer. Enough said in my book.

I walked maybe three steps into the shaded area before the sand fell from underneath me and I went with it. I slammed painfully into the jagged, rough surface of the Earth over and over again. I tried grabbing a hold of the rocky surface, but my fingers only scrapped painfully against it, refusing to save my life.

And then I was in the middle of a field, surrounded by tall, green grass and wildflowers of all colors. Purple, pink, yellow, and white flowers surrounded me with their sweet smells. I felt no pain. I looked at my fingers and gaped. I vividly remembered scrapping them against the rocky surface, but they looked just as uninjured as they had before I fell. I tried thinking back to how I landed here. I had been falling and falling and then nothing. Just a flash of white light before I found myself sitting in the meadow with a bright blue, cloudless sky above my head.

I’ve had my fair share of fairy tales. I practically lived off Disney when I was a child and I felt a little too much like Alice for my liking, minus the white rabbit. I had no idea what to do, who to look for, and how to get back home. I just knew I wasn’t going to find any answer sitting on my butt.

I stood up and began walking North. The grass tickled the bare skin on my legs and the wild flower petals were soft to the touch. The sweet scents of the flowers mixed with the fresh air blown by the wind. For miles and miles, the grass and flowers stretched on and on. Not a tree nor building in sight. I kept walking, not giving up in finding some form of civilization. A girl like me could enjoy a long life here, wherever here was. In case I couldn’t get home. A girl needs a back-up plan.

“You’re here! You’re here!” A whiz flew past my ear and I ducked. The grass tickled my chin. “You’re here! You’re here!” came the high-pitched squeals.

Slowly, I lifted my head to see four colorful hummingbirds in front of me. Their wings flapped so fast there was a constant buzzing sound.

“You’re here!” squealed the yellow one in a high-pitched voice. It bounced up and down when it spoke. Talking animals...really? I thought I’d faint.

“She’s here! She’s here!” sang the other three.

“Where is here?” I asked, stepping a little closer to the quartet of birds.

“Hagan!” squealed the blue one. The purple and red ones zipped around before hiding in the tall grass next to my feet. The blue and yellow ones followed. I looked over my shoulder at the sound of movement. Sitting upright, a cat the size of a Golden Retriever blinked at me. I stared at it, taking in the large green eyes and the black and gray striped body. Black fur made the shape of an ‘M’ on it’s gray forehead, but it eerily resembled horns than a letter.

“Fiona Morgan,” it said in a smooth, masculine voice, “welcome. I am Hagan and I will guide you through Onyo. Follow me.” He turned and the striped tail twitched at the end. I frowned. I’d lived with Ginny long enough to know when a cat twitches it’s tail, nothing good ever happens.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Death Match #2

We have our competitors for this round of YA Flash Death Match!

(The topic as well as the competitors were chosen using a random numbers generator.)

The topic: Getting lost on vacation leads you to an inter-dimensional portal to an entirely new world, as contributed by J.L. Jackson.

The competitors:

Samantha Rill



Samantha and Beth are competing by writing a 1,000-word or less piece of flash fiction. The stories will be posted on August 11th and voting will continue through August 13th.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bring on the Topics!

Death Match #2 begins today!!!

Comment below to post a topic and to put your name in the hat for the competition. Remember, you can still offer a topic even if you don't want to compete, just type in "not competing" after your entry.

You have until Thursday - ready, set, go!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Shaking Up the Death Match!!!

Our first YA Flash Death Match was a great success - far beyond our expectations. In fact, so many people emailed us saying how bummed they were that they didn't get chosen to raise their pens and fight that we've decided to make the competition more about the writing and less about the hype.

While we will still be offering prizes from awesome authors and interviewing them on occasion, Karly & I want to know more about you guys and your writing! So, here's the new schedule - and it's all about you!

Monday, August 1st - open to suggestions for topics
Thursday, August 5th - NOON - topic & writers chosen
Wednesday, August 11th - flash fiction posted, voting opens
Friday, August 13th - MIDNIGHT - voting ends
Monday, August 16th - Winner announced and topics open AGAIN!
Thursday, August 19th - NOON - topic & writers chosen
Wednesday, August 25th - flash fiction posted, voting opens
Friday, August 27th - MIDNIGHT - voting ends

Yes, we are hosting two competitions in ONE MONTH! So start brainstorming and get ready for another round of YA Flash Death Match!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Winners for the First Death Match

Congrats to G.P. Ching - Winner of the First YA Flash Death Match!

As our grand prize winner, G.P. will receive a signed copy of Thief by Sarah-Jane LeHoux and a YA Flash Death Match blog award!!! She will also receive a critique of the first five pages of a manuscript and query letter! Congrats G.P.!

Our runner-up, James C. Wallace II, will receive a signed copy of Panthan's Crucible by Meredith Shea Woods. Congrats James!

We also have three lucky winners for a Mistwood prize pack. Our randomly chosen winners are:

All the winners need to contact Karly for information on how to receive their prizes!

Thanks again to everyone for participating and we'll be posting the schedule for the August edition of YA Flash Death Match this week!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July's Death Match - Read and Vote!

Welcome to the first official YA Flash Death Match.  Our two contestants, G.P. Ching and James C. Wallace II are going head-to-head today in our challenge.  They wrote 2 stories, each reflecting our theme, Urban Fantasy Coming-of-Age.

Click the links below to their stories.  Read.  Comment. Your comment counts as your vote, so only leave a comment on the story you are voting for.  Unfortunately we cannot allow any anonymous comments, being that we have prizes for voters, so we need to know who you are!  We have 3 Mistwood bookmark gift packs from Leah Cypess to give away to three randomly chosen voters. One vote per person, please!  But anyone and everyone can and should vote!  Tell your friends!

The Alley of Oz by James C. Wallace II
The Dwelling Race by G.P. Ching

You have until Friday, July 23 at midnight CST to vote for your favorite story.

As a reminder our two main prizes are:

Grand Prize for Winner of the Death Match:

Critique - of your query AND first 5 pages of manuscript
signed copy of Thief

from fantasy/horror author Sarah-Jane Lehoux
Available here.

....and this awesome blog award...

Runner-Up Prize:

Signed copy of Panthan's Crucible

from YA author Meredith Wood
Panthan's Crucible

The Dwelling Race by G.P. Ching

If I could change one thing about myself, it would be my birthday.  December 13th seems like an innocent enough date, but when you live in The Pod, it’s practically a death sentence.  It means I will be the last to turn fifteen this year and the others have eleven months to claim The Dwelling before me--unless I stop them. 

Heat radiates off the pavement as I leave my parents dwelling and head into the street.  Sabin jogs to catch up with me.  I can see Dante closing the door of the dwelling across from ours. It is midnight on September 20th.

“Nick turns fifteen today,” Sabin says to me.

I caress the hilt of my sword.  “I know.” Of course I know.  We’ve known each other’s birthdays since we could read a calendar.

“Will you kill him, Serena?” he asks.

“Of course I will!” I say, appalled.  “Haven’t I killed all of them?  Scarlet, Penny, Markus, Raven…Do I have to say their names?  One for every month of the year so far.”

“But, you don’t have to kill Nick.  He may choose you as his dwelling-mate and then you’d have a place to live.”

“Not likely.  Nick knows I’ve had his name on my kill list since January.”  I grin at Sabin.  “He could choose you,” I say.  “I think Nick might find it a welcome relief to not have the possibility of a wife and child.”

Sabin sticks his tongue out and makes a gagging noise.

“Anyway, I can’t take the chance.  The dwelling will be mine, which means I’ll have to kill you all.”  I jab my sword toward his face just to make the point.

“Just remember, it’s illegal to kill me on any day but my fifteenth birthday.  You’ll have to wait until November.” I notice he doesn’t mention it will be legal for him to kill me that day too, or that Nick could kill either of us today.

“November then,” I say, but inside I cringe.  I know Sabin better than any of them.  We’ve killed the first eight side by side, knowing that our chances for survival depended on keeping The Dwelling tenant free.  Will I be able to kill him when the time comes?  I’m not sure.

We pass the oxygen generators on our way to Nick’s dwelling and I look skyward toward the dome that shields us from Earth’s foul atmosphere.  It’s the reason for The Dwelling race.  Environmental control is essential for survival in The Pod.  Limited resources mean limited dwellings.

“Come out, come out wherever you are,” Sabin chants in the direction of Nick’s window.

We climb the stairs towards his parent’s door.  Dante nods in our direction, moving around the back of the dwelling, sword drawn. 

“Happy Birthday Nickolas!  Time to race.  The Dwelling is just waiting for you,” I taunt.

A voice rings out from behind us.  “You guys are so damned predictable,” Nick yells from the roof of the food dispenser.  “Do you think after killing with you for nine months, I would wait in my own house?”  He laughs.  I eyeball his location in comparison to ours.  The only rule is that we have to start the same distance from the dwelling.  Nick made a smart choice.  We’re even but his height is to his advantage. 

He takes a step toward The Dwelling and the race begins.

Nick takes off, jumping from rooftop to rooftop.  I follow but resheathing my sword slows me down.  I’m faster than he is but he’s able to put some space between us while I react.  Once I hit my stride, I grab the bow from my back.  I am closer than Sabin and have the best chance of taking Nick out. 

At a full out run I release my arrow.  Nick dives to the left and it skims his right shoulder.  There’s blood but it’s not enough to take him down.  I curse because we’re close, a few hundred yards from The Dwelling.  Dante has climbed to the roof and is firing at Nick with his slingshot.  He’s lost too much ground climbing the stairs and his stones drop far from their target.  Sabin is shooting arrows as well, but the height of the buildings make a clear shot nearly impossible.

The door to The Dwelling is on the second floor.  Sabin and I race up as Nick races down.  I release arrow after arrow but none do any more than bloody his ankles.  The only shots I can get are through the gaps between the stairs. 

Until we reach the landing. 

Nick dives for the doorknob of The Dwelling and I release my arrow aimed at his heart.  The door falls open and he hurls his body inside.  I narrowly miss my target. My arrow clips his flank, pinning his shirt to the door.

It’s too late.  He’s inside.  Nick rips his shirt from my arrow, raises his arms toward the dome and releases a howl of victory.

Sabin falls to his knees, weeping as the Pod Enforcers come.  Dante tries to run but they have him before he can make it to the stairs.  I make them force me to my knees.  I feel cold steel on my neck but no matter.  I am prepared to die.  I’ve been prepared since I found out about The Dwelling race and my inauspicious birthday.

Nick is still in the doorway.  Will he enjoy watching my fate? 

“I choose Serena as my dwelling-mate, “ he says and the look on his face is positively gloating.  I glance toward Sabin but dare not say his name as the Enforcers usher me into The Dwelling.

Nick closes the door behind me.  I drop to the floor, squeeze my eyes shut and place my hands over my ears.

I try not to think about the death outside.

The Alley of Oz by James C. Wallace II

The large leather shoe came down perilously close to the waving tail of the Queen of the Field Mice.
Her Majesty looked about and found something that would do nicely.
Picking up the nearby dime which was lying on top of the sewer grate, the diminutive, yet regal mouse heaved it with all her might.
The trajectory was perfect and the speed just about right.
Moments later, the dime found its mark and left a sharp mark on the back of the target’s ear.
“Outsiders!” screamed the little mouse, her voice barely reaching the now-throbbing ear of the target.
The Outsider walked away, rubbing her ear and wondering what just happened.
It had been one month since the Queen of the Field Mice had come looking for Dorothy.
For over a hundred years in Oz, Dorothy had been content to be a ten year old girl in a fantasy land. Then came time and biology and Dorothy yearned to “grow up a bit,” as she called it. 
“It’s not a matter of happy,” she had explained to the rodent ruler as she stepped through the green wooden doorway that Princess Ozma had created for just this purpose. “I just need to grow up a little.”
Now, four years after leaving Oz and one month after Dorothy’s plea for help had brought the royal rodent to the Great Outside, the Queen of the Field Mice had nearly completed her task.
The alley in which Dorothy had spent many an evening was as empty as ever. The human who had nearly crushed the Queen was the first one she had seen since sundown.
When Dorothy had explained to Her Majesty the facts about a young man who was causing a great deal of trouble for her and her friends, the royal rodent spent several weeks devising a plan to put the young man in his place.
The Queen of the Field Mice had found a box lid lying in an adjacent alleyway and it seemed to provide a blueprint for a perfect trap that a mouse could build.
Her Majesty found numerous rodents, cats, dogs and a snake or two living in the nearby urban landscape of the big city Dorothy had called home for nearly four years.
Each animal recognized that the diminutive mouse was royalty, even if she was from Oz and they all vowed to serve her needs. They knew instinctively who Dorothy was and that the mouse was here to help.
It took weeks to build the contraption of the box lid from all sorts of objects, scrap and trash that the animals scrounged wherever they could. It filled the entire alley but looked like it belonged there… even the bathtub.
Dorothy was impressed and decided the Queen of the Field Mice had done well.
On the night of the full moon, Dorothy knew the time had come to deal with the young man who had been causing trouble for everyone in the little alley.
Now, both Queen and Dorothy waited for trouble to arrive, and they didn’t have to wait long.
The young man of trouble sauntered into the alley, acting all cocky and rude. He was accompanied by another young man, very similar in appearance to him. Both looked around as though they owned the alley and the gathering of girls, including Dorothy were a nuisance to deal with.
In no time, the young man of trouble was in Dorothy’s face and grabbing hard on her arm. He threw her back into the three other girls that always hung out with Dorothy.
Dorothy backed away towards the large wooden thing by the fire escape ladder.
She grabbed the handle protruding from the wooden thing and turned the large pegged gear clockwise one full turn.
High above, the streetlight shook gently and a long metal rod with a shoe on one end swung down and kicked a bucket which was sitting on the top step of the fire escape.
Both young men watched in fascination as the bowling ball poured out of the bucket and rolled down the metal steps, one by one, turning the corner on each flight down until it found the rain guttering lining the side of the building. It came to rest hard inside another metal bucket, which swung around to the bathtub mounted above the fire escape on the other side of the alley and directly over the heads of the two young men.
The bowling ball came out of the small metal bucket, then rolled around the cast iron tub and fell through a hole down onto the head of the young man of trouble. He promptly fell over, knocked out by the perfect strike. His friend promptly ran away as the girls laughed loudly at the unconscious young man.
 Just then, a metal cage came crashing down, trapping the young man of trouble inside.
The gathering of girls cheered loudly, not noticing the diminutive rodent near their feet.
“How did you build all of this?” Dorothy asked her good friend from Oz while the other girls went to examine their catch.
The royal rodent whistled sharply and a dog appeared from the shadows with a box lid grasped firmly in its jaws.
“I think Princess Ozma sent this,” she said to Dorothy.
Dorothy took the box lid in hand.
“Are you ready to go?” inquired the royal rodent of Dorothy, now that her task was complete.
“No. I’m not done growing up just yet,” she declared.
“Very well,” the Queen said as she tried to understand. She clapped her paws and a doorway of green mist appeared, then opened slowly.
Her Majesty, the Queen of the Field Mice stepped into the doorway and back into Oz as Dorothy looked over the box lid the dog had given her.
Dorothy began laughing as she looked over at the strange contraption in the alley.
“Mousetrap!” she exclaimed as all four girls now examined their catch and wondered what to do with him. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Get to know the contestants: G.P. Ching

G.P. Ching is our second contestant for the July YA Flash Death Match!  Get to know her and stop by Wednesday to read her entry and vote vote vote!  There will be some prizes for voters as well!

G.P. Ching's past professions include ice skating instructor, flower salesperson, accountant, systems analyst, business architect, portfolio manager, and registered nurse.  Today, she's a writer who's work has appeared in Muse Literary Journal, Flashquake, Everyday Fiction and Western New York Family Magazines.  Muse granted her the Spring 2010 Award for Short Fiction.  She is currently seeking representation for her first YA novel titled "The Soulkeepers".  G.P. Ching lives in Bloomington, IL with her husband and two children.

Check out G.P. Ching's blog at:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Get to know the contestants: James C. Wallace II

Michelle and I are excited to introduce the first of our contestants to you! 

James C. Wallace II, originally a native of West Virginia, currently lives in Terre Haute, Indiana with his wife Amanda. They have been married more than 26 years, with a herd of 5 children and 12 grandchildren.

His background covers over 26 years in children's education, including experience working for the world's largest children's museum; The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, where he was the Planetarium Educator for SpaceQuest Planetarium.

In addition to children's books about Oz, he is recognized by NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF) as a leading developer of web-based educational games, educational exhibit design, curriculum development and implementation.

He is also involved in the DiscoverHover program, which is an educational program developing and utilizing hovercraft in a unique and fun way.

James C. Wallace II now serves as the Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma, Sovereign Ruler of Oz and endeavors to fulfill her royal command to tell the tale of her newest Royal Magician to the children of the Great Outside.

Be sure to check out James' website!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Competitors, Start Your Engines!

Karly & I are proud to announce our first two YA Flash Death Match competitors (chosen by a random numbers generator at!

James C. Wallace II
G.P. Ching

Topic: Urban Fantasy Coming of Age contributed by:
Amanda Heroman.Congrats on winning The Espressologist, Amanda!

Samantha Rill and Kathy Fenton White were also randomly chosen to receive a Mistwood gift pack just for participating. Congrats, Samantha and Kathy!

James and G.P. are competing for the top prizes by writing a 1,000-word or less piece of flash fiction. The stories will be posted on July 21st and voting will continue through July 23rd.

We'll be giving away two more Mistwood prize packs to random voters, so make sure you come back and vote for your favorite story!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Let the YA Flash Death Match begin!!!

We're thrilled today to bring you the very first YA Flash Death Match!  You will have until Tuesday, July 13th at 12 noon CST to post your name and topic here.  Every person who posts a topic will be automatically entered to compete in the first YA Flash Death Match.  If you would like to contribute a topic, but would NOT like to be considered for the competition,  please start your post with 'NOT COMPETING' so we know to exclude you.

Those of you not chosen for the competition or those that are just contributing a topic, will be eligible for the 3 bookmark gift packs from Author Leah Cypess.  These three prizes, plus the winning topic and prize winner, as well as the first 2 contestants will be announced on Wednesday, July 14th.  Contestants will have until July 20th to email us their completed Flash, a piece of writing of no more than 1,000 words.  It can be a complete story OR a scene, and please be sure it's for a YA audience.

As for topics, you can enter something like 'Paranormal Romance' or even be more specific, like 'zombies riding unicorns to the grocery store.'  We're looking forward to some extremely creative writing!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Interview with Fantasy and Horror Author Sarah-Jane Lehoux

This is our final author interview, with Fantasy and Horror author, Sarah-Jane Lehoux. She was kind enough to answer some questions about her book, Thief, which is featured as a prize for July's Death Match. She is also providing the Grand Prize winner with a critique of your query letter AND the first 5 pages of your manuscript. That's quite a prize!  Be sure to come back next week, on Wednesday, July 7th, when the contest kicks off!  We'll be picking our topic and two writers!  You could be the first to win YA Flash Death Match!

Who are some of your favourite authors?

I absolutely adore the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. I also enjoy Diane Setterfield, Emma Donoghue, Gregory Maguire, Jane Austen, and Lucy Maud Montgomery. That being said, most of what I read is non-fiction. I love books on cryptozoology, the paranormal, folklore and mythology.

What is the main thing you hope readers will gain from your book?

I’m not labouring under the assumption that Thief is going to change anyone’s lives or go down in history as a classic or anything like that, but I’m hoping I’ve created something that people can enjoy. If they need a bit of escapism, then I hope they’ll be able to use Thief for a bit of excitement and fun. And maybe if I’m really lucky, Thief will be memorable enough to make readers think about the nature of good and evil, and how the world isn’t nearly as black and white as we sometimes believe it is.

What inspired Thief?

The initial idea came to me in a dream. I often take singular elements of dreams and expand upon them. In Thief’s case, the image I used was that of a woman rushing to the scene of her lover’s murder. Having this little bit of a story-less character floating around my head prompted me to take part in an online writing exercise, where a group of people took turns telling a story. That initial story died out, but by then I had grown to love Sevy even more. I decided to tell her story from the beginning, never expecting to be able to write an entire novel (plus sequels!) about it.

Where can our readers find you on the web?

If you visit to my website at, there is a page for contacting me through email, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace. You can also check out my blog at

How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always enjoyed writing as a hobby. I used to write stories for my teachers to read to the class during free time, and English was always my favourite class. That being said, I never really considered myself a writer until after I had written the first draft of Thief. It was then that I realized that I could make a career out of something that I had always loved.

Where is your favorite place to write?

At my desk, with a pair of headphones on and music blaring.

Do you have any upcoming books or projects?

My debut novel, Thief, was just released by Mundania Press, and while I’m still in the process of promoting that, I’m also gearing up for the release of Thief’s sequel. Shades of War will be published in Nov/Dec of 2010. In addition, I’m working on Masquerade, the third in the series and a comedic fantasy novel called Red Rover.
What is your favorite book?

Next of Kin by Roger Fouts. It’s a sort of biography of Washoe, a chimpanzee capable of sign language. It’s a wonderful albeit heartbreaking book that really made me think about what it means to be human. I highly recommend it.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Treat writing like you would any other career. That means researching the market, constantly improving your skills, and maintaining an air of professionalism in all of your correspondence. Look into getting a website built and become an active blogger and social networker, even if you don’t have a single publishing credit to your name. These are all things that potential agents/publishers look for when they are considering your work.

Above all else, be patient and stay positive! Getting rejected is all a part of the process. If you believe in yourself and your stories, you will achieve your goals.

Many thanks to Sarah-Jane for participating in our very first YA Flash Death Match!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Guest Blog: YA Paranormal Author Meredith Shea Wood

Many thanks to Meredith for providing our Runner-Up prize of a signed copy of Panthan's Crucible and providing us with a wonderful Guest Blog. It's been great learning more about Meredith!  Enjoy!
Panthan's CruciblePanthan's Crucible
First of all, I wanted to say that I am so excited to have the chance to participate in this contest. I know some of you might be asking, “Who the heck is Meredith Wood?” Don’t be ashamed. I still wonder this every day. I thought I’d give away a few tidbits about myself and in doing so, I’ll feel like I know who I am for a day or two.

Hm, what are some things people like to know about authors?

Maybe some of their favorite authors?

Okay. I can do that. I love Charlaine Harris, though I loved her way before she became so famous with True Blood. When I first heard she’d signed over her Sookie books to Alan Ball I was ecstatic and figured I’d never survive the wait. But I did, and what’s worse, I realized I now had to share her world with others. After some careful thought, I realized I have jealousy issues with anything or anyone I hold dear to my heart. That’s probably not a good thing to reveal about yourself though, is it?

We should move on.

Maybe talk about my paranormal Panthan’s Crucible?

Sometimes life takes us for a ride where the good and the bad live in the same gray area. This makes it difficult to distinguish between the two. Maybe there is no right and wrong. Maybe it’s about choosing the best path for you. In Panthan’s Crucible Grayson and Laura learn this the hard way.

If you’d like to know a bit more about my world of Panthans, you can watch the book trailer here:

I’ve been asked a time or two how old I was when I made the decision to become a writer. I can’t remember. So I guess the answer to that question is: I’ve wanted to be a writer forever.

Now, I do know that I can’t write in coffee shops, bookstores, well, anywhere in public really. If I want to write, I have to do it at my computer desk with the door shut and my music blaring. Ah, music. That is the biggest inspiration for my writing. And I stress the word music, not style, because I listen to everything: classical, opera, rock, pop, country, and all the in-betweens.

Right now, I’m working on two projects. The first is Panthan’s Abyss, which is the second book in my Panthan Series. I’m also doing revisions on a contemporary young adult called Push. If that isn’t enough to keep me busy, I’m also waiting on the release date for my upcoming young adult Somewhere in Between. You can watch Somewhere in Between's book trailer here:

This probably brings us around to wondering why I choose to write for the young adult market. It’s really simple. Teens are complex creatures, but I get them. Completely get them. I also want them to know that I believe their problems are very important. I did the teen thing and I’m doing the adult thing now. Through the years, my opinion has stayed the same: Life is harder as a teen than as an adult.

Maybe you know me a little better now. Things could change though so if you’re interested you can always find me on Twitter here:, my Livejournal Blog here: or my fan page on Facebook here:

Oh, and before I hand this contest back over to Karly and Michelle I thought I’d say a few things to those aspiring authors out there.

Don’t ever, ever be ashamed to say, “I’m a writer.” Really. Because it doesn’t matter whether you’re published or not. It doesn’t matter if you have ten best sellers or one hundred out there. In the end, we’re all on equal ground. We’re all still pounding away on our keyboards hoping that last paragraph we wrote doesn’t read as badly as we think it does.

Also, download one of those memo apps for your cell phone. When the moment of inspiration strikes, they are so much easier to jot down notes on than scrounging around for scraps of paper and an ink pen.

Meredith Shea Wood