Tag Archives: 1st place


I dread the lengthening of days, the long, lazy clambering of the sun, the way the space between each cricket’s chirp overflows its edges and bleeds the silences together. Another summer without you.

This post was made in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge weekend prompt, in which the editors asked us to describe summer in exactly 33 words.

This week’s challenge is community-judged! If you like my little piece, please visit the Trifecta site starting at 5:00 PM US Pacific (8:00 US PM Eastern) to vote for your three favorites. I highly encourage you to read the other entries – there are some remarkably talented writers over there.

Shade Redux

I was twelve when I chose my name: Shade. Shade, with all that it implies: the sheltering darkness of the forest in the heat of the summer; the shadow cast by a lone tree or a tall tower in the moonlight; the restless spirit of one whose time came too soon.

Before I named myself, my father called me Daughter, or in moments of tenderness, My Heart, and he called my brother simply Lad. Most of the townspeople knew us as Acorn and Little Oak. Lily – well, everyone called her Lily right from the start, and she never did choose a true-name of her own, but accepted the designation chosen for her and grew into it.

A hunter and a wanderer, my brother called himself Trace, and it is true that he never lost his way no matter how narrow the track or how faint the trail. He understood his path from childhood, and moved through life with the self-assurance that comes with such fundamental awareness of one’s self and one’s place in the world. I suspect that my brother chose his true-name deliberately, with careful forethought and exploration of hidden meanings. I am certain that if you were to go to North Forest today, his footsteps would still mark the trails he loved to walk.

If I had known then what I knew now – if I could have seen deep enough into the murky future – I wonder what name I might have chosen? A brighter true-name would surely have led me to a different place; a softer one may have brought me to a more serene, more comfortable life. But I chose Shade, and on the day I chose my name, my name chose me.

Confession: I posted this today in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge prompt, but it is not a new piece. Some of you may even have read it before (though not for Trifecta). I hemmed and hawed for a while, debating whether or not to use it, whether this was cheating, but I opted to post it because I think it really gets at the meaning of this week’s word:

1: a trodden way
2: a track specially constructed for a particular use
3a : course, route
b : a way of life, conduct, or thought

This time I would love some specific feedback, if you readers don’t mind. First of all, would you keep reading? Did anything in particular turn you on or off? I tend towards melodrama – was the language overblown? Any and all honest, constructive criticism is greatly appreciated. And if you really like it, I’d love to have your vote this week. Visit the Trifecta Writing Challenge site starting at 4pm Pacific (7pm Eastern) on Thursday to vote.


My memory of my father was full of ephemera: mental snapshots of his face, pages of promises kept and broken, all posted against the pillar of my mother’s refusal to speak of him.

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Image courtesy of Trifecta

This post is part of the Jade Dragon series. It follows A History of Silence, and was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge Trifextra weekend prompt:

Here are some photos to inspire you. Choose one  [I chose the one at the left – ch] and give us a metaphor or simile to help describe what you see.  Make your analogy 33 words or less, and make it clever or witty or unusual enough to grab our attention.

In case you have been following the Jade Dragon series through Trifecta, you may have missed the post before A History of Silence: Harp Strings. I’d much appreciate it if you gave it a look-see.

ETA: I fixed my punctuation/grammar issue, by the way, so if you were stopping by to help me out, I think I’m good. Unless, of course, it still has issues!


The dead man’s eyes stared.

“They want to kill you,” said Jax. “They want to frame you. Or they want to win you back.”

I shuddered. “I don’t know which frightens me more.”

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This post is part of the Jade Dragon series. It follows  Thorns, and was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge Trifextra weekend prompt:

The Rule of Three is a writing principle that asserts that, in writing, groups of three have the most impact. This week’s challenge is to write 33 words using the Rule of Three somewhere among them.  It is up to you to interpret the rule, just make sure to use exactly 33 words.

This weekend’s challenge is community-judged.

  • For the 12 hours following the close of the challenge, voting will be enabled on links. Voting starts on Sunday, September 16 at 5:00 PM Pacific (8:00 PM Eastern).
  • In order to vote, go to the Trifecta Writing Challenge website, where stars will appear next to each link. To vote, simply click the star that corresponds with your favorite post (mine, I hope!).
  • You can vote for your top three favorite posts.
  • You have 12 hours to vote.

The Rarity of Rain

I remember rain. Sheets of water running down the slanted street to pool by our garden wall. Fine droplets suspended in the air like a bated breath, waiting to condense enough to fall.

I was ten years old when we left Verdure, and my father had just been killed.

The absence of moisture made little impression on me at first. It was subtle, meat without salt, and I reveled in the warm winds and the clarity of the sky. I even loved the whirling dust and the implausible strata of colored sands. Eventually, though, the grit and palette of the desert began to wear me down. I longed for the taste of brine and the cool greens and blues of home.

My mother hated this place from the moment we arrived. She wilted under the hot sun, her vibrancy fading with each year. Once, wild to understand her, I asked why she chose this world over the endless possibilities.

She shrugged. “It’s the furthest from him I could get.”

Standing at the porthole, looking down on the dusty sea, I could almost understand my mother’s compulsion to replace her scars with open wounds. A bell clanged, and the deck shuddered: the Jade Dragon’s gangway, sliding back into the hull. I contemplated joining the other passengers in the lounge to watch her lift away from the platform, but my eyes were sore. Instead, I gestured to the steward and he opened the door to my stateroom.

The room was not large, but it would be comfortable enough for ten days. Jax slid from my shoulder and scampered around, exploring nooks and crannies like a child let loose in the Singing Canyons. The curtains were imported silk, if a little sun-bleached – a testament to the dirigible’s former glory. Under the window was a table, where a brass rose glittered in a porcelain vase.

“A lovely touch.” I smiled at the steward, who looked at me blankly. Roses, I remembered, were as rare as rain here.

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This post is part of the Jade Dragon series. It follows The Jade Dragon, and was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge prompt:

You should write a creative response using the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:

ABSENCE (noun)
1: the state of being absent
2: the period of time that one is absent
3: want, lack <an absence of detail>