Write Romance Fiction: Valentines Writing Competition 2018
Last month, Write Romance Fiction decided to share the love of valentines, and asked you to put your new found writing skills to the test in their flash fiction competition.
Entries were limited to no more than 350 words and were to be based on the prompt by Nora Roberts:
“Nothing worthwhile is ever without complications.”
We were astounded by the quality and number of submissions! Truly impressive.
Thank you to all those of you that got involved and who entered. We were overwhelmed with the responses, comments and standard of stories. It was particularly exciting to see such varied stories having opened up the competition to all 3 of our writing sites: Write Storybooks for Children, Write Fiction Books and Write Romance Fiction
You have obviously all been very busy putting your writing into practice; it is fantastic to witness you developing your own unique styles and expanding your individual knowledge and creative writing.
Announcing Our 2018 Valentines Winners…
The winners were shortlisted by our team of tutors, writers and editors. It was no easy feat choosing one overall winner, but eventually…
Congratulations Jemma Sykes!
You won with your story ‘The Promise’. To read Jemma’s winning tale please scroll down:
“We’re finally here. I can’t believe it. All these years I’ve waited. I knew you’d leave her one day. I knew we’d be together.”
As I squeeze his hand, I stare out to a beautiful calm, clear, blue sea. Everything is as perfect as I always imagined it would be.
We always spoke of coming here, sitting here on a night like this, holding hands. It was our fantasy. He gave me a picture of this place twenty five years ago. I’ve looked at that picture last thing every night. Next to it is the note that he wrote with it ‘One day we’ll go there together and stay there forever. I promise.’
It was his wife that stopped us seeing each other. She found out about us and threatened to leave him if he ever saw me again.
“Why didn’t you leave her then? We could have been sitting here together for the past twenty five years. We could have had an amazing life,” I say.
I turn to look at him and lightly kiss him on the forehead. He looks so peaceful, it makes me smile. I could never stay mad at him.
I’m sure he had his reasons for staying with her although I never understood what they were. For years and years he wrote, saying it was me that he wanted, not her, but he never came to see me. He said we loved each other so much it would be dangerous.
Right here, this was all I wanted. To hold his hand, kiss his lips and know that I have his heart. Right now, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been since I met him. But I know it can’t last, the sun is setting further and soon it will be dark.
I pick up his head, his heart and his hand from next to me and put them in the hole I dug earlier. I take one last look at that beautiful face before picking up the knife next to me and dragging it across my wrist.
Comment from the Write Romance Fiction Team
“Congratulations Jemma – we certainly didn’t see that ending coming!
Slipping between points in time is a really difficult task with so few words, but you seamlessly balanced the past and present without ever losing the tension of the moment.
We also loved your individual writing style. Every single beat is clear and confident, drawing the reader in further and further, right up to the final gut-punch at its close.
We loved how you created a romance with such dramatic twist and turns, keeping us hooked with all the questions we wanted to ask.
‘Did they really have an affair? Was she delusional? Where is the wife? Is there a bunny boiling in the pot somewhere, à la Fatal Attraction?’”
Jemma has won herself an amazon kindle paperwhite and an e-gift voucher to Write Romance Fiction. Congratulations!
Special Mention to our Runners up…
The standard was extremely high and all the stories were so different, that we had a real job selecting one winner. Therefore, we also wanted to say a huge congratulations to our runners up.
'I put a spell on you' by Charise de Becker
Da be wrong.
My Fabien had a wicked side to ‘im and a’ even wickeder sense of humour. We met under de full, glass marble-moon practising Voodoo.
He and me saw it for what it really is; just the magic of moder nature, squeezed down so it fit neatly into yer palm.
We were regular sort of folk during the day, he a tram driver and me a cook, but in the night time we ruled over nature and man.
Most of de people around town wanted the same ol’, same ol’. A charm to get a job, a chant to get rich quick or a potion for love.
We did our best and mixed herbs, feathers, claws to ol’ family recipes, but what people don’t know is dat de magic of Voodoo happen in yer heart.
You don’t believe and it don’t work.
Me and Fabien, we never needed no potions to make de love grow between us.
We were petals on de same flower, connected by love in de middle.
Until his petal got crumpled by dat damn tram accident.
And those ‘cooyon’ doctors didn’t know how to fix him, so ten day later I got a permit to bury him in our yard.
Laying his battered body out under the full moon, I did the ritual my mémère warned me against.
I thought I needed him back.
I wanted him back.
It took ‘bout two months, but it worked.
I ran, bare feet slippin’ in the mud by his grave and held on to him, but I didn’t smell no sharp, clean aftershave, I just got a nose full o’ rot and when I squeezed his waist it gave way like a’ okra gone bad.
Now every night, from that night, he wake up under de moon and come to our back door.
I don’t let him in no more, ‘cos he just track mud and maggots over the floor.
Remember chil’, if you wanna fool with Voodoo; true love don’t last forever, but zombies do.
'Two Loves, One Heart' by Michel Smith
He adored such tender moments. In their solitude, he could allow his heart to feel the intense love he had for her. Sometimes his eyes would fill with tears of joy, even though ungratefully instilled upon him from a harsh youth, the reminder it was weak for a man to cry. How could such a love be weak, he thought and yet such thoughts were confined to his own being.
His friends, all builders like him, were more akin to meeting in the local every weekend, sharing jokes, dreams of fast cars, Ibiza bound holidays and of loose women, each becoming more beautiful with every pint quaffed. What would they know of love. An undying love. A love so deep, so profound that he would willingly give his life to keep hers safe and secure. This was the depth of his love.
He wiped the tear from his face which had escaped his left eye, as once more he caressed her cheek. He had never experienced such intense feelings, feelings that even his wife could not inspire within him, yet guilt never entered his thoughts, knowing such a love was different to the love he shared with her. The blue light from the muted television danced upon her face as he held her gently in his arm, sharing the warmth of his body with hers, as they lay together on the sofa. Time had long ceased to be relevant.
The door to the living room slowly swung open. Looking up from his utopia, his wife, silhouetted in the intense light from the hallway beyond, stood open mouthed on discovering them together.
‘How on earth do you manage to get her to sleep so easily’, she enquired of her husband, as she placed the two cups of tea she carried onto the side table, then smiled at their new born baby at his side.
'She Danced' by Sue Ross
The heat in the cantina was fierce, made more intense by the ferocity of her dancing.
Mike stared. They had been coming here every night of the holiday; how had he not noticed her before?
Hypnotised, he began to move to the music. His foot picked out the quickening beat. He pushed his chair outwards, staring, entranced, unable to tear his eyes away.
He watched her pound out the fiery rhythm, her stilettoes clipping violently against the scuffed wooden floor. His heart raced. A pulse in his neck throbbed, jumping in time with the music.
She moved closer.
Now he could see the swirl of her crimson dress as a wisp of flimsy fabric momentarily clung to her thigh before being pulled away by the violence of her movements.
Her dark head tossed back, she swayed.
Her arms were bare, satin smooth skin glowing in the cantina’s candle lit interior.
A tiny bead of perspiration dripped from her temple. Mike watched as it slid slowly down toward suntanned shoulders.
He wished he were that tiny droplet.
He thought about Anna. She’d been the love of his life, his soulmate. Lately though things had been difficult. Seven years together and no children. The jibes from his mates had stung. “Firing blanks mate?”
He and Anna had drifted apart, lost sight of what really mattered.
The woman was watching him as she danced. Her eyes dared him to approach. He tossed tequila down his throat. The fiery liquid heated him; he jumped to his feet.
She moved towards him as she kept the rhythm. The music swelled. Mike could feel its pull through his legs; it pounded inside his chest. He could see her almond eyes flashing. Her body heat carried the scent of musk, a smell he always associated with her, and he knew in a flash that he would always love this woman, always be with her for better, for worse.
As Anna pulled him towards her, he felt whole, complete.
“I love you,” he murmured against her neck.
“I know,” she whispered back. “I love you too.”
'Dedicated to the Job' by Lydia Saward
“I can take” I puffed out my cheeks as I pulled the curtain around my last patient and her gentleman friend . Seventy-two years old, mild cardiac arrest and her fifty-eight year old toy boy, still holding a rose and still wearing very little under his coat.
Valentine’s day or not, there was going to be no such romance when I got home. I was already dead on my feet with four hours left of my shift. Tomorrow though, that would be another story. I was on a promise of a homemade pasta dinner, wine, and the kind of dirty sex that us married types reserve for hotels and special occasions.
“Patient one here!”
“Ok, what have we got?”
“This is Owen, thirty-four, male, lacerations to his lower abdomen, right thigh and shoulder. Lost consciousness on the way here. Seems to be the result of an ang…”
But the words faded out. All I could hear was my own blood rushing to my head, beating in my ears.
“Owen…” it was almost a whisper.
“Dr James? Doctor? Doc…oh, this isn’t your Owen? ”
‘Doctor’ was all I needed to hear. That’s who I am, that’s what I do. I instructed my team calmly, giving the directions that would save my husband’s life.
“Patient two here!” the second paramedic wheeled in a dark haired beauty, her tanned skin covered in blood.
“Tell me what we have.”
“Female. Twenty-six. Rebecca. Deep laceration to the abdomen and left shoulder. Unconscious upon our arrival, lost a lot of blood. Name and age presumed correct as told by patient one.”
I froze. “Patient one?”
“The guy they just brought in. Double stabbing, husband came home early to find them in bed together. Police caught up with him while we were still there.”
I looked from her bed to Owen’s as he was rushed past me for a scan. In that instant my heart, my world, my reality came crashing down. I took a deep breath in.
“Right, let’s save some lives.”
'Tell Me a Story' by Leslie DuVal
“When you’re done, Little One”, Teri replied, gazing down at her toddler with love. “Quit stalling. It’s bedtime” she playfully scolded.
“All clean!” Lacy boasted, skipping out of the bathroom and into her bedroom. Teri heard a dull thud as Lacy jumped onto the bed. “Ready! Daddy fixed my night light, so make it a scary story!”
“It’s Valentine’s Day. How about a love story?”
Lacy scrunched her face in thought.
“Maybe a scary love story? Teri offered and dramatically cleared her throat. “Ah-hem…”
“It was a dark and stormy night” she said in a mysterious and foreboding tone. Teri paused for effect, then said in her regular voice, “Well, misty and foggy anyway, not really stormy.”
Lacy giggled “Mommy. Tell it right!”
“Ok, ok. It was a dank and dreary evening. A beautiful young lady was craving ice cream, so she braved the weather and drove to the corner store. She looked in freezer after freezer, but guess what?”
“What, Mommy? What?”
“They were sold out of ice cream!” Teri gasped and placed her hands on either side of her face in mock horror.
“Really, Mommy?” Lacy laughed.
“‘This is SERIOUS’ the woman thought. “Where do I go now?” She was distraught and not focused on the road, so she didn’t see the man until it was too late. THUMP.” Teri clapped her hands for effect. “Her car struck the man and he fell to the ground with a broken leg. The woman jumped out of the car to make sure he was OK and called 9-1-1. She stayed by his side all night in the hospital, wanting to apologize. When he woke, the man said he saw an angel.”
“What then, Mommy?” Lacy asked.
“The man walked with a limp the rest of his life, but fell in love with the woman” James stood in the doorway, beaming at his wife and daughter. He limped over to the bed and kissed them both on the cheek. “And they lived happily ever after.”
'Lemon Drops' by Tamsin Grace
Reaching her best friend’s house, softly knocking on the red door with a beam, Alice swung open the entrance looking furious.
‘I bought you these, your favourite!’ Matilda offered Alice the lemon drops which she snatched ‘We can’t be friends anymore-’ Alice spat ‘I know how you feel about me’ she threw the sweets on the floor, the scattering echoing in Matilda’s ears. Her chest growing tight with a sting and her eyes furrowing in confusion. Alice looked uncomfortable and her grip tightened around the door handle, leaving her knuckles white.
Stepping back slightly with shock, Matilda’s mouth gaped open ‘Don’t you feel the same?’ She whispered almost inaudibly, avoiding eye contact. Alice bitterly chuckled, throwing her head back theatrically ‘I’m not that way inclined’ She jeered, looking disgusted.
Matilda hadn’t realised until recently that she was “that way inclined” and she had thought that Alice showed her all the signs of loving her in return. Matilda shuffled on her spot ‘Nothing worthwhile is ever without complications’ she mumbled, finally looking up into Alice’s squinting eyes. Her heart thumped in her chest, as if someone was striking her with each beat. A sweat formed a slippery layer across her hands and tears began to threaten her nerve riddled eyes ‘I will never like you like that Matilda-’ Alice sighed, running her hand through her silky looking hair ‘I will never love you-’ She whispered harshly ‘It’s kinder for me just to say goodbye’ she rolled her eyes at the sight of Matilda, quivering her lip, trying to hold back the acid-like tears ‘This doesn’t feel kind’ A loud sob erupted from the devastated girls mouth. Alice was closing the door slowly ‘Just go before someone sees you’ She said before slamming the entrance securely shut.
'Bonfire' by Tatia Ghviiashvili
He was no ordinary man. He lacked a brain, he lacked a heart, he was made out of pure wood-some called him the Pinocchio of the West. No one knows how the wooden man came to be, all we know is how he wonders through the forests of Freetown, Massachusetts, never speaking a single word, just only looking up at the sky and listening to the songs of the birds. On this particular day, the wooden man discovered a cave on his usual track through the forest, a small opening nestled within an array of bushes and shrubs, with a faint white light flickering from within the cave. The wooden man entered the cave, and discovered the light he saw flickering was actually a woman- a woman made out of flames. Nothing more beautiful has ever met his eyes; her hair long, made from flames as restless as the day itself. Lips-perfect, as if God himself sculpted them from the flames. Every feature of her burning body was eloquent, with glowing flames of color radiating from her complexion. The wooden man was taken aback, never seeing anything as bold and beautiful as this daring creature.
The woman looked at the wooden man and to his surprise, blushed, the softest tint of red came over the apples of her cheeks. With a gentle raise of her hand, she motioned for the wooden man to come closer, to feel the warmth of her body as it radiated in front of him. Without hesitation, being lost in the woman’s eyes, the man drew closer to the flames, until all that could be seen was fire, and all that could be heard was the slow crackling of his wooden body as it was welcomed by a fiery embrace of the woman’s body.
Months have passed, and people are forgetting about the wooden man. No one seems to question his sudden disappearance. Few know that if you were to venture into the forest, to the small cave located behind bushes and shrubs, you would see a small flicker of light, a crackling bonfire that never seems to die out.
Each of our runners-up will receive an e-gift voucher for Write Romance Fiction – we hope this will give them an extra burst of mesmerising inspiration to assist on their journey ahead.
Many of you have already taken your first giant steps and are on your way… We can’t wait to see how you all develop throughout 2018!
We hope this writing competition gave everyone an extra burst of confidence and inspiration to assist on the journey ahead. Following all this raunchy reading, our office has an extra flutter in the office – let’s hope spring is on the way…
We look forward to joining you all again soon for more competitions.