Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Spring!

My lovely blog followers, 'tis Spring. I lived in the South my whole life before coming to NYC. We never really got all that excited about Spring, because it was...not that different from any other season.

But here, Spring is a huge deal. HUGE. Let's celebrate. Writing contest.

Write a story using 100 words or fewer. Include the following words in the story:


Winners are eligible for one of the following:

  • A reduced-price ebook conversion ($250)

  • A query critique (

  • First 5 pages "when would I stop reading evaluation" (

Contest closes in 24 hours. Please note, at the end of your entry, which prize you're interested in.

I'm not sure how many winners there'll be. :) It's Spring, after all.


  1. I splash my face with cold water from the tap and sink to the green tiles. The audition was brutal.

    Outside, the sky is darkening with a spring storm. Jeté, pirouette, again, plié, jump!

    Tucked in my legwarmer is my secret ingredient, my snowy dynamite. It clings to my fingers like pollen. I lick it off, savoring the bitter taste, electric jolt, and get up to do the dance again.

    Thanks for the contest! :)

  2. During March, spring was a hopeful dance partner waiting for an opportunity to cut in. Now green exploded from trees and lawns, an impossible neon that made Zarabeth squint. Her car was coated with pollen, giving the sky blue paint an ochre tinge. She fought back a sneeze.

    Today her credit card would suffer. She didn’t need an expensive haircut, but Andre’s herb-infused spa water made it feel worth every penny.

    “Jump your bones, mama!”

    From the balcony, a male co-ed eyed the expanse of leg revealed by her shorts.

    Oh, right. That came part and parcel with spring, too.


    Best I could do on a dime. :)

  3. I had been looking at the sky so long, the pollen from the tree next to me began to cake on my face like bad concealer.

    I heard a sound behind me, and jumped. “Oh, it’s just you.”

    “He’s not coming,” Jarrett said pointedly.

    My eyes watered. “Of course he is. What boyfriend rents a skywriter and doesn’t propose?”

    He ran his hand down my cheek and looked at his dusty finger. “Green isn’t your color,” he remarked.

    A motor roared above us.

    “It’s him!” I shouted, craning my neck.

    The writing read, “It’s over.”

    Then continued. “I’m gay.”

    I'd like the 5 page critique.

  4. In honor of spring, a spring story:

    He’d lived his whole life inside the water, its green whispers cushioning him like a dimly dappled nest. It was a boring world, or it had been until he’d learned to swim. Then he’d explored everything from the sucking mud to the upper layers, pale with sky. Dots of pollen floated at the surface the day he clambered onto the rock, dry air rasping crisp through his lungs. It was half joy and half fear that made the frog take his first wild jump. He didn’t notice his tail falling free, back into the water.

    Woot, contest! I'd be interested in the first 5 pages eval. Thanks!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Great contest, Mer! Here's my attempt:

    I stood at the edge of the plane, guts in my throat. The instructor grinned, eyes crinkling behind aviator sunglasses.


    I nodded, closed my eyes, and let the sky swallow me.

    Falling falling falling

    Fields, lake, road spread below me. Would it be a water landing? I hadn't trained for that. I pulled my chute. The impact jerked me upwards.

    Falling falling falling

    I let my body go limp as I hit the meadow. Pollen exploded around me, settling on my blue jumpsuit, tinting it pukey green.

    I leaned over and wretched.

    I'd survived my first jump.

    Since I'll begin querying in the next few weeks, I'd LOVE a query critique!

  8. Carla needs a drink from my pollen infused water or she will die. Her condition is rare. But I'm not sharing. "Sorry," I say, but I'm green with envy over her winning the writing contest. I tell her, "Go jump to the sky." She's like, "Does that even make sense?" I'm like, "How should I know. You're the smart head contest winner around here." This makes her laugh. When she laughs I waver and think she might be worth saving. So she laughs again. It's springtime. The weather's warm. Reminds me of August upcoming. So I hand her the glass.

    Thank you, and I would be interested in a critique (umm . .. free) of query - or maybe 5 pages, can't really decide right now.

  9. Running, running, running, but the freaking song followed. Caleb’s eyes watered. Too much pollen in the air. The idiots at school giggled about spring fever. For him, that meant sinus pressure, sneezing, and –well, fever. Caleb was certain seasonal allergies had been one of the punishments given the Egyptians leading to the exodus.

    And if that wasn’t bad enough, while out walking, that DAMNED song had started. Lifting a fist to the sky, Caleb jumped. The pursuit took him to the pond, and to one startled, banjo-totting amphibian.

    Dinner was green, but at least Caleb wasn’t allergic to frog legs.

    Thanks for inspired a bit of a respite. I'd totally dig a 5-page look-see.

  10. I've come to realize that it's a boring planet, all water and sky and such. Just look at the thing. I mean look at it. My boat's creaky, my skin's burned. I think I lost that damn harmonica. Or no, I guess I chucked it overboard yesterday is what I did. Sure I used to drop a foot over starboard! Dunk it in to the ankle and wiggle a toe down there, splash around a bit. Now this foot needs something solid, something green to stand on! To jump on. 'Where's the pollen!' you know? Point me in THAT direction!

    The 5 page eval is just what I need! Thanks for hosting.

  11. One look at the lime green water and Maisy knew she wasn’t in Kansas anymore. Yet she had to jump in—of that she was certain. The blue sky and the green water met at a line, somewhere far south of where Maisy popped up.

    The poppy pollen washed off easily, and Maisy emerged, clean and fresh, ready to take on the day—whatever that meant here in the Great Land of Oz. Bring on the flying monkeys, the Tin Man, and—yes—even the Wizard of Oz. Maisy wasn’t about to go down the same yellow brick road as her pathetic cousin Dorothy.

    (If I win, I'd be interested in the 5 page "when would I stop reading." Thanks!)

  12. “Come on, baby. You can do it.”

    His lips part, barely. Half the water dribbles down his chin. His peach fuzz hair is just starting to grow back.

    I lean in and play our favorite game. “When you get out of here, we’ll go right to the river. Jump off those mossy green banks. Lie out under the sky. Remember the flowers growing out of the rocks?”

    That’s us, baby, surviving anything.

    But I don’t say it. Instead I touch the sunflower on the bedside table. I brush the pollen over his eyelids. “Can you smell them?”

    He smiles.

    * * *

    First 5 pages. Thanks for the opportunity!

  13. She gripped the magnifying glass, peering at the transparent wings with their iridescent green shine, careful to keep it in shadow, so the pinpoint of sky did not land on the honey bee.
    The insect lifted with an effortless jump to the next blossom, though its legs were heavy with pollen, and foraged in the center.
    “Burning ants again?”
    “No!” she said, turning from the boy, her face red with shame.
    She hadn’t meant to harm the ant, and had run for water when it smoked.
    “Why do you like bugs so much?” he asked.
    “They don’t pick on me.”


    I'd love the 5 page critique!

  14. “Cain’t hold yer water? Bes’ watch out fo’ dem gaters, boy.”

    A snicker floated over my shoulder, uncomfortably close. I let the lids of my pollen-reddened eyes close and slowly turned my face to the sky, while the hot stream of urine disappeared into the muddy bank at my feet.

    Goosebumps broke out over my arms as heat flowed from my body, leaving me shivering in the heavy, humid air. I breathed deeply, the smell of the stagnant river and soft green moss invading my senses.

    “Jump to it, boy!”

    I sighed, shook, and zipped, resigned to my fate.
    The 5 page evaluation please.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. “James Pollen?”


    Her green eyes turn sky-blue. “Are you here to Jump?”

    “No.” Jumping is how dragon-riders time travel. “I’m a water-bender.”

    Her eyes turn black and she reaches for the hilt of her sword. Her dragon is a Jarc, a fire-wolf, and for centuries Jarcs and water-benders have been at war.

    She’s not as tall as most riders and I can see my reflection in her breastplate. I look nervous.

    “Do you want to have dinner with me?”

    Her dragon stands up. I try again, “Coffee?”

    Her eyes turn golden.
    Ebook conversion

  17. I sneeze.
    Next to me, Aras freezes. Despite the delayed reaction of the bulky suit I know his head has snapped around. The green sky reflects in his faceplate, covered as it is with water-like condensation.
    I hold my breath, attempting to stifle another sneeze. Too late.
    Aras steps back. One, two. His beloved eyes widen with horror. Then he turns and runs. To the ship.
    “Wait.” The word is lost as another death-pollen sneeze wracks my body. Heavy now, I sink to my knees. My suit is compromised. I won’t be making the jump off this planet.
    5 pages please.

  18. Winter was a stranger to me. Weather that could metamorphose the water of whole lakes into ice overnight, no more than a fairytale.

    We jumped around a lot for Dad’s job, switching hemispheres just in time to outrun winter.

    We always arrived just in time for green buds on trees and pollen whipping through the streets on a crisp breeze. We stayed for endless hot days of cool lemonade, mowed grass and barbecues. And when the sky collapsed on itself, shrinking the world to a few grim hours of daylight, we were already one step ahead, chasing another spring.


    I'd love a 5 page evaluation if I were lucky enough to be successful!

  19. The sky over Emerald Pond brooded dark and angry. A spring thunderstorm was building to the west as Beth idly dipped her toes in the water, drawing patterns in the green pollen floating around the pier. A streak of blue fire flashed over the lake with an instant explosion of sound making her jump. She loved evening storms, but that was a little too close. She picked up her fishing rod and ran into the house. That bigmouth would have to wait until tomorrow.

  20. I watched Joe jump from his tractor and braced myself for rejection. It had been a week since I left and I wouldn’t blame him if he didn’t forgive me. His eyes were as stormy as the sky behind him as he approached.
    I looked into his green eyes and spoke the truth. “I’m sorry.”
    I tried convincing myself it was only the pollen making my eyes water as I waited for him to say something.
    He yanked me into his arms. “I’m sorry too.”
    There, in the spring wheat, we made love as if it were the first time.

    What a fun contest! Thanks so much. I'd be interested in the 5 page evaluation.

  21. “Call me The Pollen-ator.”

    I stared at Justin, trying not to snigger at his stupid, action figure pose. All he needed was a green lantern and a sky blue cape. And a water pick or something – a dollop of spinach lay wedged between his two front teeth, showcased by his cheesy grin.

    “And why would I do that?”

    “Because,” he answered, his hips doing this weird swiveling-pulsing thing, “my sperm are so awesome I’m gonna knock you up.”

    The power of my shriek sent him jumping back, a scared jackrabbit – appropriate given what he’d just proposed.

    “Dude, I’m your cousin!”

    Thanks! That was fun (if not a little odd). I'd love the 5 page eval.

  22. I heard the noise again. Chris jumped. I whipped around, finger on my mouth. Even the slightest rustling would lead them to us. I watched the pollen swirl in the light peeking through the green leaves.

    Oh no.

    I reached for Chris’ face, but he had already sneezed. We held our breath. Footsteps pounded the ground. I grabbed Chris’ hand. We had to jump. Below the cliff, water lapped at the jagged rocks. The army was getting closer. We pushed off. The last thing I remember before hitting the water was that the sky was the prettiest shade of violet.

    Thank you for this great contest! I would LOVE the first five pages evaluation.

  23. Yet another blank sheet heckles me as I scratch out my ninety-ninth attempt.

    The gentle scent tickles her nose. Her eyelids jump, her nostrils flare. Pollen! Springtime is nigh! A lone tendril of sky squeaks through her cave’s slitted entry…

    I ball up the offender, and pray that one-hundred is my lucky number.

    The greenish water pulses against her. Its unusually high temperature awakens a primal instinct, and she bursts through the ocean floor's murky sand…

    I crumple it up, then knock on her door. “Okay, you win, Ms. Barnes. Just where does a mer-bear hibernate, anyway?”

    I would love a five-page critique!

    Thank you,

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Julian swung until green oozed onto the ground. I watched the metal bat jump on contact.

    “Enough! It’s gone!” The bat stopped mid-air, hovering over the decimated skull.

    “That one came out of nowhere!”

    “I think you have brains on your shoe.”

    “Nasty.” Julian scraped the side of his boot across the cement. “That makes eighteen.”

    “I know. Sixty more zombies and you'll beat me.”

    Like magic, the sky opened up and he held his gut-splattered hands to the soaking rain. “It’s like spring back home when pollen coats the cars. Who needs a shower?”

    Apparently, not Julian.

    five page critique please!

  26. Spring doesn’t make me jump for joy.
    For with leafy green she does employ
    Pollen in colorful decoys.

    My nose will run, my eyes water,
    There is no cure for such a matter.

    If that weren’t enough to fear,
    One must also be aware
    Of the hungry, waking (mer)bear.

    With the sky so blue and blooms so pretty,
    I think I’ll sit inside and pity
    My sad state with this little ditty.

    (This is why I don't rhyme :) I'd love a 5-page critique!

  27. Jenny sneezed again. Damn this pollen she cursed to herself. She took a sip from her water bottle hoping it would ease the scratchiness in her throat.

    Maya tugged at her arm dragging her to the jungle gym. She clambered up to the very top. She looked adorable in her pigtails and green overalls.

    “Jump sweetheart,” I encouraged holding my arms out to her.

    She paused for a moment then tumbled into my arms with a giggle.

    I tossed her into the air and caught her on the way down.

    “Higher Mommy,” she squealed.

    “How high?”

    “Up to the sky!”

    Thanks for a great contest. It was fun! I would love a five page critique if I am lucky enough to win :)

  28. “The pollen is carried to the flower…”

    “God Mom, this is embarrassing. No one still uses the birds and the bees.” Her daughter rolled her green eyes to the sky and huffed.

    The wide-eyed awe and admiration were long gone. She knew she’d jumped the shark at the Justin Bieber concert when she pretended to like it. It was all downhill from there.

    A glass of water pressed against her lips while thinking of a better way. A deep inhale filled her lungs with years of wisdom ready to be released.

    “Just don’t do it.”

    Prize choice: 5 pages.

  29. Here, the pollen of flowers was merely a faint perfume on the breeze dallying through dancing tree branches and green, swaying grass.

    Here, the water is temperate, cooling to swollen feet, and warming to chilled bones.

    Here, Elise did not jump, sailing through invisible sky to her death, accused.

    Here, it is Heaven.


    great contest! would love a 5-page critique :)

  30. The sneeze jolted me awake, like cold water down my shirt. I had been lulled into a thin stupor by the A train's lurching route from 59th to 125th. It happened more often than it should.

    A guy wearing a stained Green Day shirt wiped his glistening nose on his bare hand.
    "Goddamn pollen," he said, with a viscous inhale.

    There was a jump in the track and his hand sprung up to the pole, his pinky intimately laying on my thumb. I knew it wasn't on purpose but I hated him just the same. I adjusted my grip, closed my eyes, and waited for the sky.

    --I'll take the 5 pg critique if I'm so lucky.

  31. Oh, I love prompts!

    My wings fluttered through the bright sky, carrying me over the emerald green grass, to where a perfect lily called to me. My feet slipped into its fluffy sacs as I drank my fill of golden nectar. Pollen stuck to my tender places and it wasn’t until I jumped to a rose, that it fell off.

    I wish I could bathe in the crystal water of the birdbath, but that would mean my death and this buzzy bee has too much work to do this spring.

    --first 5 crit!

  32. Dan drew the dingy up. The rain made it hard to tell where the sky started and the water began. It had been that way with him and Jane. Hard to tell where one stopped and the other started.

    He coughed as he jumped onto the dock and tied up. Pollen had made Jane cough. Dust and cold weather had too. Mostly two packs a day had made her cough, but at the time it seemed churlish to say so.

    He should have been churlish, Dan thought, as he lifted the empty green jar out of the dingy.

    I would love either of the critiques.

  33. We’d spent many days at the lake, floating on pollen-coated water until stars graced the evening sky. Isobel would talk about exploring the world, but I knew my life wouldn’t take me far from the farm. She'd left for college that summer, and I’d remained, wishing I’d had the guts to kiss her.
    Ten years passed before she ran through my green fields again. I’d reached the dock in time to see her jump, and we’d spent the afternoon floating; our fingertips touching.
    We’d parted with a kiss, and the next day I’d discovered Isobel had died a week earlier.


    I'd choose a first five pages evaluation! Thanks so much for this contest!

  34. Stuck alongside an empty Texas road on a blazing afternoon with only three water bottles and a granola bar was not my idea of vacation.

    “Try your phone,” said Jack.

    “No service.” I'd checked hours ago when the sun was still overhead in the sky.

    “Somebody's gotta drive by. Jump-start us or something.”

    My husband, the not-so-automotively-inclined. “Won't fix an overheated engine, babe. Needs coolant.”

    But we got lucky. A truck green with pollen pulled up beside us, rolled down the window. “Y'all know there's a town across that ridge, right?”



    Query critique or first five? Hm. Both are excellent, but I think I'd go with a first five eval.

    Thanks for doing the contest!

  35. The soft green pollen floats into my room, breaking through the feeble screen. It’s springtime in Virginia and the pollen is alive here. It coats everything in a powdery bile green film.

    I want to drive down the highway. Past the water marshes that line it, over the bridge. Over the bridge and under the clear blue sky, cloudless. Hot already, although it isn’t noon yet. It’s so much hotter here than it is at home.

    I want to drive down the highway. But alas, my car needs a jump.

    Thanks for doing the contest! I would like the 5 page read.

  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. The green liquid in the bottom of the can should’ve been water. I peered inside, past the reflection of my face and the sky as I decided how to figure out what the stuff was. A fluff of pollen floated down and landed on the surface, and I wondered if it would be dissolved like tissue in acid. A few seconds passed where nothing happened, then a loud pop made me jump. The pollen burst into flames and the ashes sunk to the bottom. Damn Merlin forgot to put his stuff away again.

    I would like the query critique please. Thanks for hosting this contest!

  38. To make the poison, Alexis reached her long fingers into the dirt. She plucked at the wild mushrooms and pulled the ramps carefully by their roots. The sky above was the cold gray of April and a light rain fell. She gathered quickly, shaking the water and tree pollen from the spring-green leaves, and placing the white orbs gently in her satchel. He had betrayed her, but was it his fault? Or the other’s? Did she jump to the wrong conclusion? It no longer mattered. Tonight, she would make a meal like he had never tasted. A dinner to die for.

    I'd love the query critique

  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. I water my lawn under the blue sky to keep it green. A bee, in search of pollen, buzzes looking for flowers. There are none for I grow no flowers; just a green lush lawn.

    I think to myself as I spray water toward the bee chasing it off, “Buy your honey at the grocery store like I do.“

    The water brings out worms, racing for the sidewalk and safety. I squash them beneath my sandals.

    I reflect upon this Earth Day and past ones as I plant my “keep of the grass” sign. I love the earth.

  42. It had been too long since I’d seen the sky: blue, and bright, hanging like a canopy of hope over a green field heady daisies bursting with pollen. I shivered in the evil gale and torrential rain that had tossed our ship for days. I looked down in the eerie light cast on the raging waters by the ships’ last, stubborn lanterns. If I didn’t escape now, I might never make it home. I cast one last look back at the drowning ship and then, not without much trepidation, I jumped.

    Anything! :D

  43. OK! You guys, thanks so much for entering; the contest is now closed!! Please feel free to post more if you want, but judged entries stop here.

  44. The Berkeley Marina baked in the sun. The Bay was army green, pollen from the nearby trees adding a mustard tinge, and as I lay on my stomach, hunkered over the pier’s edge, I watched its waters lap at the wooden pylons below.


    An oily patch. None of the “regular” folks who’d come out to fish or enjoy the rare dark blue of the sky would give it a passing glance. But I knew what it meant, what lay beneath. I willed it to jump, to show itself. My hand crept to my side.


    I’d forgotten my gun.

    5pp critique would be great!

  45. "Drink in the pollen, children! Quickly, before it's too late!"

    It was quite a jump from water to sky, and the tribe of gatherers needed the coffers full of pollen to make it happen. These barbarians, these humans! the zenith sneered to herself, sucking up all the pollen and complaining all the while. Why don't they just leave it out there for us. WE NEED IT! We have to get back to the green!

    "Drink up, children, QUICKLY! It's coming!"


    Such fun! :)

  46. The center of the flower was filled with water, its pollen inaccessible.


    With each day that passed, I hated this job more and more.

    I made the jump, the petal I stood on acted as a springboard. I tucked in my wings and landed with a splash.

    As I floated on my back, I looked at the clear night sky through thin blades of green grass. I contemplated drowning myself. I couldn’t do this anymore.

    Right then, I made the decision to apply for another position when I got back to the hive.

    Maybe accounting had something open.

    5 PAGES PLEASE : )
    TWITTER: thansenwrites

  47. His eyes held the sea. They roared with a green that ebbed in the light, like water — catching a glint and changing shades with the angle of his laugh lines. I watched them as they tracked the clouds.

    We were huddled under an old white quilt, already stained with yellow pollen from a wind that had left my hair in tangles too. I brushed the strands off to keep my view — the one in which I could jump from him to the sky and back again.

    He smiled when he caught me watching him.

    “I love you, Mommy.”


    Oooooh, I would love a 5-page critique from you! :)

  48. I cursed the pollen as I dunked my face into a sink full of water. My eyes were itchy, swollen and red. It was either take a face bath or jump from the Brooklyn Bridge. I loved the blue skies and green grass but I would never be a fan of allergy season.

  49. Manny Manchester was a stumpy punk with a fake English accent to impress – she didn’t know who. His green water eyes, the color of dead cesspools, rolled from Lauren’s ass up to her breasts. She preferred to stare at the sky which wasn’t much of a strain on her neck given his general lack of height.

    “Lookin’ lovely today, Miss Lauren. As always.” Manny wheezed to her breasts.

    She forced herself not to jump away.

    ‘Lookin’ like a rotund, irritating piece of pollen.’ Lauren thought.

    “Today’s newspaper please.” She kept her gaze fixed on the vast blue above his head.

  50. Ha ha! I was HOPING the contest would close so I could post this one:

    “Oh, Suzie! I love New York in the spring! The world’s turning green.”
    “It’s not spring, MerBear. That’s just the gutter. Jump over that stagnant water or you’ll ruin your sandals.”
    “But look at that springtime sky! It’s everywhere.”
    “Too much smog. Nothing to see. But, wait… there’s something!”
    “Oh my gosh, it’s Kesha, covered in glitter!”
    “No, it’s not Kesha. People make that mistake all the time. It’s Joanna Volpe. But, hey! You’re right. It *is* spring.”
    “Why do you say that?”
    “That’s not glitter all over Jo; it’s pollen.”

  51. "Of course, my favorite color is green," she said. Henry prayed for patience. "Not that horrible green your car turns when it's covered in pollen – you really should wash it – sage green, or blue-green like Caribbean water."

    Henry turned up the radio to drown out her yapping, phlegmy voice. She turned it back down.


    "I was speaking," she said. "Don't be rude. As I was saying, you don't want too much blue – we don't want sky. But perhaps a small jump into blue territory wouldn't hurt."

    Henry squeezed the steering wheel and remembered why his favorite color was red.


    Terrific contest! I'd love the query critique.

  52. Bummer, I missed that Contest Closed post and I still had time by my clock. :( Oh well, maybe next time. (Please that there's a next time?)

  53. Or I would have had time if I hadn't read the date incorrectly. My sincerest apologies.

  54. I missed it too, Delia. Guess we both need s lesson in scrolling. Total bummer.