October 2013 Flash Contest Winners

Hi folks,


It’s time to announce the winners for our October contest. I’ve had some time to think, and to change my mind several times over. Nothing new here, haha. I loved every single story selected for posting, and choosing the winner was pretty difficult this month.


So, let’s get to it, then :)


1. The overall winner ($55) — for the best story in Austin’s opinion — is “Pragmatic” by Michael Seese. It’s a tense, dramatic and pretty brutal story told with laconic mastery.


2. The most shared story ($33 each)… traditionally, this prize goes to Salvatore who out-shares everyone else by a wide margin. Of course he did it again, and I’m grateful to him for spreading the word. But I thought that this time, I can recognize two stories in this category: both the top one and the runner-up :) So, we have two winners:

Stop me by Salvatore Buttaci. This story, of course, is truly powerful in its own right.

For my Broken Heart by Rebecca Barray. It’s a wonderful story that blends sadness and hope, and I believe it thoroughly deserves all the positive and supportive comments it got.


3. Most helpful commenter ($33). This was, probably, the most active month in terms of comments yet. As always, I’ve read every single one, and as always I’ve been torn. I believe Diana Feltner more than deserves the prize for her frequent, insightful and supportive comments to the other authors.


Congrats to the winners :) I’ll wire you the prize cash via Paypal over the next few days.


Now… I have two more points to make. One is optimistic, and one’s rather not.


FIRST, I’m looking for a kind person who could go back through the entire history of the contest entries and select the best ones for publication in an almanac. We’re talking about 681 stories out of which we should probably select a fair amount, maybe 200-300 truly good ones which we could publish in 2-3 books.


I’ll happily compensate you for your time. If you’d like to take part, could you please get in touch using the contact form down in the footer, and let me know how much you’d charge for this? :) Maybe we can agree.


SECOND, after much thinking, I’ve decided to put the contest on hold for now.


It’s a difficult decision to make after meeting so many wonderful, talented and supportive authors here and investing countless pleasant hours and quite a few thousand dollars into running the contest, which I consider money very well spent.


My reason is simple: I’m burnt out.


I can no longer run it with any quality on top of the long hours in my day job, writing books in the evenings (I’m now juggling 4 active series) and having a family.


On average, it takes me 30 minutes to publish one story — after pre-selection, proof-reading, commenting, and corresponding with the author if edits are required. Also, not all stories come with images, and image search takes a looong time :)


So there we go. I’ve come to love the interaction with you, wonderful authors, the daily inspiration of reading your powerful and beautiful stories, and the anticipation of what gems of writing could end up in my inbox in the morning.


Also, I know I can make the contest way, way bigger, if only I have the time. But I can’t afford the time. Maybe later when I can transition to full-time writing which is my dream, I’ll reopen the contest again.


Thank you, and best of luck in your writing endeavors. I’m sending you all my goodwill vibes :)

  • r.j.saxon

    Thank you Austin, for your time running this great competition, writing my 55’s was always a great help with my writers block. Feedback and comments were also a great help, giving me the will to write better. I hope everything go’s well with you. It will be missed. Thanks R.j. :)

  • O.D. Trebor

    Thanks for hosting the contest, Austin. It was fun. Good luck with your writing.

  • Rebecca Barray

    I’m sorry to see the contest go, but completely understand. It’s tough when there are so many wonderful things vying for your attention. Good luck with your writing, and I look forward to the day you start the contest up again. Thanks for the inspiration, and I can’t wait to see the almanac full of the fantastic stories I’ve read here.

    Becca 😉

  • Luke Reynolds

    Brother, there’s no shame is admitting you are burnt out. It happens and it takes more wisdom to pull the pin when you have to than it does strength the push through the pain. God Bless!

  • Michael Seese

    Austin, first, a pox on me for not noticing until today that you had chosen my story. (In my defense, I kept going to the contest itself, rather than the blog.) Second, thank you for choosing it. Third, as the other commenters said, thank you for providing a wonderful service to the author community.

  • Janet Reid

    Smart to recognize burnout and take steps.

  • Salvatore Buttaci

    First of all, thank you for selecting me as one of your winners. This is the one site I most enjoyed submitting flashes to and I will miss it tremendously. Of course, I do understand. There is just so many hours in the day, hardly ever enough for those who love writing. I wish you much success in your current and future ventures.

  • Cloesmom

    Austin, apparently Michael wasn’t the only one who kept going to the contest itself to check on the progress of the contest. I did the same. First, thank you for your kind words, I try very hard to lift others rather than push them down. More successful people only makes for a more successful world. Second, although I came upon your site late in the game, in time for the last contest, I enjoyed the experience completely, and learned a bit in the process. I do understand time constraints, been there…done that. Have you considered an assistant? Someone to do a bit of filtering before the final decison.
    Finally, thank you so much for what you do and have done. Good luck to you!

    • Diana Feltner

      I’m sorry, I don’t know why this post used my personal Facebook name.