Judges Confirmed for 2023 FLASH SUITE Contest

September 26th, 2022

Judging Process:

Our contests are judged by our four Judge Panel, with two weeks of online Fan Voting counted as an additional Judge vote. 

One Grand Prize vote counts as two Runner-Up votes.

In the event of a draw, the fan-vote becomes the tie-breaker.

Meet the Judges:

Glenn A. Bruce, MFA, was associate fiction editor for The Lindenwood Review. He has published nine novels and two collections of short stories. He wrote Kickboxer, episodes of Walker: Texas Ranger and Baywatch, and was a sketch-writer for Cinemax’s Assaulted Nuts. His stories, poems, and essays have been published internationally. He won About That’s “Down and Dirty” short story contest and was a two-time finalist in the Defenstrationism annual short story contest. He has judged film contests, art shows, and short story contests. He was the final judge for Brilliant Flash Fictionin 2015 (which has included one of his stories in their first print collection) and currently for Defenstrationism (2016-2019). Glenn left 12.5 wonderful years of teaching Screenwriting at Appalachian State University to concentrate on fiction.

Lady Moet Beast, the Beast From Southeast. What can’t be said about this interesting lady? Godmother of D.C. Rap, multi-genre lyricist, producer, poet, musician, writer, singer, actress, and the list goes on. Performing live since the age of 5, determined to be heard, adored and admired, Lady Moet Beast has performed all over the U.S. for the past 25 years. Not your average HipHop Femcee she has grown along with her husband obtaining her own band The Cruddy Crankerz, Beast & Monster Ink,  Drama City Records/Draztick Measurez., Cruddy Rite Publishing, Cruddy Rite Radio, Monster Graphix, and Lioness Filmz. Lady Moet Beast has set a lot of trends from green dreadlocks to hardcore femcees in Washington, D.C. and abroad.

Cedar Danger Block (they/them) is currently a grad student of English literature, usually focusing on trans theory, comic book studies, and medieval lit. They love finding creative ways to mix the three topics and are more excited than they should be about going back to academia.

Aditya Gautam is a writer from India who believes very much in the power of fiction beyond entertaining—for instance, in throwing people out of windows. Among the many things he loves in this world are roasted peanuts, the sound of rain, thick books, toy trains, and weak sunlight. 
His short stories and poems have been published in Singapore, the USA, and the UK.  A speculative short story by him was included in the Best Asian Fiction Anthology, 2018 by Kitaab, Singapore. Most recently, he has been published in the June 2020 issue of The Bombay Review. 
His debut novel, A Dream of Duplicity, will also be published sometime later this year.

Go Straight to the Contest
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Concept Albums Explained

September 18th, 2022

by Paul-Newell Reaves

Emilie Autumn

Enter Ophelia [distracted]… (She sings.)
— Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5

It’s 2006: black is in, Industrial music is having a moment, and– 10 years after the Baz Lehrmann’s blockbuster film “Romeo+Juliet”– Shakespeare is still pretty cool. 

And child violin prodigy Emilie Autumn has a sickness.  She might be a hypochondriac, she might be an insomniac, she’s definitely a megalomaniac– as she proudly claims in the “Interview With EA” appearing at the end of the album.  However, for this album she has a more literary diagnosis in mind: Opheliac– a direct reference to the Ophelia character in the Shakespeare play Hamlet.

Just as a refresher, Ophelia is the love interest of the young Hamlet. They’re both going through some tough times, poor kids, and Ophelia goes mad, then drowns herself. So as we journey through Emilie Autumn’s masterwork– track by track, lyric by lyric– let us pay special attention to what Autumn does with her water imagery. [read more]

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Join us for our 2022 Autumnal Publication Schedule

September 11th, 2022

only on Defenestrationism.net

Posting Sundays,
usually around 3pm EST.

September 18th
Concept Albums Explained: Emilie Autumn’s “Opheliac”
by Paul-Newell Reaves

September 25th
Concept Albums Explained: Johnny Cash’s “The Rambler”
by Paul-Newell Reaves

October 2nd
Concept Albums Explained: Tom Waits’ “The Heart of Saturday Night”
by Paul-Newell Reaves

October 9th
Concept Albums Explained: 2pac (Makaveli)’s “The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory”
by Paul-Newell Reaves

October 16th
Concept Albums Explained: My Chemical Romance’s “The Black Parade”
by Paul-Newell Reaves

October 23rd
Concept Albums Explained: Iron Maiden’s “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”
by Paul-Newell Reaves

October 26th
Four Fools in a Marketplace Plaza
by Reverend Joe Kelly

October 30th
The Djinni’s Song
by Revered Joe Kelly

October 31st– Halloween Special
October Nights’ Lyrics (audio reading)

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2022 !Short Story Contest! Winners

September 5th, 2022

What a contest.

Every single story got a Judge Vote, and
our second runner up was decided by 2 FAN VOTES.

Never one to waste time:

Grand Prize Winner:
50 Miles South of Disney

Runner Ups:
If Anything Changes
Dream Valuation

View How the Judges Voted
but here’s the recap:

the Judge voting was extremely varied, none of them voted the same– and every story got at least one Judge Vote. That often doesn’t happen.

“50 Miles South of Disney” got votes from three Judges, including two Grand Prizes. A clear winner.

“If Anything Changes” ran off with the FAN VOTE– 1619 votes were cast for it, more than double that of any other story. Although only one of the Judging Panel gave it a vote, they selected it for the Grand Prize. “If Anything Changes” also has two Grand Prize votes, easily in as a Runner-Up.

As FAN VOTING came to its conclusion, the suspense quickly rose. By Judging Panel alone, there were three contenders: “The Advantage is Decadent and Depraved” had a Grand Prize vote, while “Dream Valuation” and “Batwoman on the Brink” each had two Runner-Up votes. All three were tied in contention for the final Runner-Up spot.

The voting closed. “Dream Valuation” had 667 votes, and “Batwoman on the Brink” had 665, while “The Advantage is Decadent and Depraved” had 127. “Dream Valuation” and “Batwoman on the Brink” were still tied, both with three equal Runner-Up votes.

But, in the case of a tie, FAN VOTING settles the draw. “Dream Valuation” was our second Runner-Up. By two votes. Wowweee.

Thanks for joining us, Lovers of Literature.

Keep surfing through for our Autumnal publication lineup, posting
every Sunday, usually around 3pm EST.

And remember us next time
— we do this every year.

How the Judges Voted
Read the Stories

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Concept Albums Explained

September 4th, 2022

by Paul-Newell Reaves

Transcontinental Drift
Lyricists’ Watch

Debut EP from jazz-punk band Lyricists’ Watch, “Transcontinental Drift” is a roadtrip concept album with an unusual destination, and much to ponder before it gets there.  The album title alone– playing as it does on an aimless drifter crossing the continent and the unstoppable surge of tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust– lets us know that we will be encountering some serious word smithery.

And with all 10 songs combined onto a single 28 minute track, listening to “Transcontinental Drift” becomes a journey unto itself. [read more]

Fan Voting for the 2022 !Short Story Contest! has closed.
Winners announced Labor Day (US), Monday, September 5th.

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But less than 60 hours for Fan Voting

September 1st, 2022

Fan Voting for the 2022 !Short Story Contest!
will close
Saturday, September 3rd
at the stroke before midnights

— that’s but less than 60 hours away!

Our distinguished panel of judges have all made their decisions,
and the competition is very close indeed.

Cast your votes now, for–
with over 1,000 votes already in–
the race is down to the wire.

Read the stories
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Concept Albums Explained

August 31st, 2022

by Paul-Newell Reaves

Lou Reed

A one-time Andy Warhol mentee, Lou Reed had a tough act to follow– his “Transformer” album of 1972 had broken him out into popular success, and its lead single, “Walk on the Wild Side”, was in the top twenty on the charts for both the US and the UK.  But Reed and David Bowie– who produced the “Transformer” album– fell out, and fell out hard. Reed needed a fresh direction for his new found stardom.  So for the follow-up album, “Berlin”, Reed junks the glam rock superhits and heads back to the moody, weird music of his 1960s group the Velvet Underground, the group so greatly championed by Warhol.  Yet for its lyrical content, “Berlin” remains on that wild side, that wild side of hustlers, derelicts, streetwalkers and prostitutes.  

Over heartbroken, tinkling piano, the first words of “Berlin” count to four in German, followed by the American “Happy Birthday To You” song in English.  30 seconds into the work, and Reed has developed a rounded character– an American growing up in Germany… [read more]

FAN VOTING will close Saturday, September 3rd
More Concept Albums Explained
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Like the stars, which you don’t always see, but you know that they are there!

August 28th, 2022

an excerpt from “Because of My Guardian Angels”
by Francesca Alicea

Just as every sunrise and sunset has its uniqueness, every runner has theirs. The remarkable Nelva, the “little” runner who I thought had given up on running, only to discover that she had been “secretly” training for her first Ultra race also has hers.

When I first met Nelva at ARC, she reminded me of my two children who are about the same age. Missing my two who were off exploring their horizons, I instantly felt a bond with Nelva as well as other young runners in the run club.  In my own way I guess I was trying to fill my “empty nest”.

Nelva did not make many of the Thursday runs so I thought she had lost interest in the sport. When I joined the GP Night Runners, I was ecstatic to see Nelva again.

On many occasions she’d run alongside me always pushing me to give it my all. I knew she just slowed down for me, but that did not matter much. It was breathtaking and I felt good running along with her, (pretending I could keep up with her) just to listen to her escapades and stories of all the mountains she had climbed.

Here I thought she’d given up on running, but she had moved on to greater distances.  She was training for her first 50-mile Ultra Race.  At first, I thought “don’t do it Nelva, that’s a lot of miles”.  Then I thought, “Wow I totally admire that tenacity and dedication in someone her age, or of any age for that matter”.

To my surprise she did it and finished with the biggest smile. Then “Fifty Mile Smile Nelva” totally took it to another level and soon became “One Hundred Mile Smile Nelva”.

I’ve not seen much of Nelva lately. I’m sure she’s training for even longer endurance runs.   But I can still feel her reassurance and the purist of friendship, which are irreplaceable and by far most important. 

She’s like the stars, which you don’t always see, but you know that they are there!

FAN VOTING is open until Friday the 3rd.
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Running With The Night Runners

August 24th, 2022

an excerpt from “Because of My Guardian Angels”
by Francesca Alicea

Running with the GP Night Runners came with many blessings as well as challenges. I’d only been running road races, before joining this group of trail night runners. So understandably  I was not familiar with the trails, safety or the rules of the trails.  All this was overwhelming and too much to try to master at one time.   Never mind the fact that I have a poor sense of direction.

I learned quickly that whenever I did veer off the given course all I had to do was to listen for Amber’s distinctive laugh. That laugh was very comforting to me. Once I heard it, I knew I was not far from the runners and it led me back to them.

Not only was she my guiding light, but she always made time to listen to my stories about the ups and downs of my running feats as well as my defeats.  She’s a very good listener, a quality worthy of admiration!

Known for the one who got easily lost, I recall her telling me, “Don’t go anywhere by yourself young lady”. I liked the part of “young lady”, so I might have gotten lost on purpose on occasion just to hear those words.

When I ran the Ridgecrest 30K, I got lost and did some extra mileage.  Amber’s exact words upon hearing that I got lost were, “I knew it”.

The runs and hikes to the top of Mount Baldy as training for “The Run to The Top” race will forever remain etched in my mind.  I recall once on the way up, we were trying to scramble for songs to sing to make the time go by as we inched our way to the Summit. For the life of me, I still think that the elevation just messed with me so badly, that I just could not think of one single song. Amber thought of many. She was leading the hike as well as the chorus. I was a little jealous.

I’m not quite sure if it was the elevation, exhaustion or hunger, but when we arrived at the Summit that day, we were all a little childish; we were blowing bubbles, posing for some silly photos, and just telling ridiculous stories. Truly great times with remarkable company.

We were having so much fun, that we lost track of time. So, despite Amber’s precarious choice of trails, “a short cut” as she deemed it, we arrived at the restaurant a little too late for Amber to have the French Toast she so badly wanted and talked about all the way up to the Summit.

Amber you are truly a Gemstone. I will always remember your serenity and support, but most of all your exclusive laughter. “Young Lady”, you are as special as the place that’s been set aside for you in my heart.

FAN VOTING is open
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An Open Letter to the Ballet Camp in Vermont I Went to in the Summer of ’96

August 23rd, 2022

by Chantelle Tibbs

Dear Ballet Camp somewhere in Vermont, 

When I was twelve years old you hurt me in a way that I’ll never forget. 

I was so excited when I found out I was going to ballet camp in Vermont that Summer. I remember when my mom, brother and late father dropped me off. We discovered the sandwiches in Burlington were nothing compared to the hoagies of our small town in New Jersey. But breakfast was and still is my favorite meal of the day. I fell in love with the syrup instantly. 

When I got to camp all seemed fine. It was my literal dream, full of ballet classes, talented dancers from all over the world came to teach us. One teacher I grew to have a crush on. I don’t remember his name. I had a big old crush on him and I told just about anyone who would listen to me about it. But I was naive. I was young. It didn’t hit me that I stood out like a sore thumb. I was one of maybe two black girls at camp and I had no idea that that would paint a target on my back. 

My roomies, I don’t remember their names,  seemed like so much fun. I was introduced to the Beastie Boys and I felt like I was making friends. I didn’t pay much attention to the sneers behind my back about not bringing sandals for the shower, or how my type of hair really didn’t fit into a bun so well.

And then, one day at camp I could feel everyone looking at me. I wondered why everyone was keeping their distance. As it turns out, some girl lied and said that I was going around saying I had sex with the ballet teacher I told everyone I had a crush on. The part I remember most vividly is that I was the monster. Not the teacher, by any means. No one ever thought to feel bad for me even if they did believe this rumor. I was instantly branded a trouble-making slut who was ruining this wonderful guy’s reputation. 

There was an investigation. The head of the camp, I don’t remember her name, made sure to interview me herself. She was seething and condescending. She put words in my mouth, she made me feel stupid and let me know my behavior was so bad that she was considering kicking me out of camp. I’ve never felt so scared. I remember sitting at a table with two girls whose names I don’t remember, who looked me in the face and said that I was talking about how much I liked the ballet teacher and that I brought this all on myself. I couldn’t help but defend myself saying, what’s wrong with having a crush? They ate in silence. They couldn’t think of an answer on the spot to justify the horrid way in which they were treating me. 

When I called my mom I could tell she knew something was wrong. I didn’t have the heart to tell her about anything. I knew she had saved up money for me to go to this camp and it took a lot for her to get me there. I never wanted my mother so badly in all my life and I had never felt so alone. But it got worse. 

A girl had put a used maxi pad on one of the window sills in the dorms. Everyone in the dorm was interviewed separately to see who had done it. I heard other girls talk about how at the end of their interviews the person giving the interview told them they knew they didn’t do it. At the end of my interview no one said that. I was blamed yet again for something I didn’t do, despite the fact that when this was discovered I was in ballet class.

My treatment got worse. People went on to outright scream at me for no reason. Where there were harsh whispers behind my back, now girls would say things loudly about me in front of my face speaking as if I wasn’t there. “She can’t afford black tights for the recital? How embarrassing.” I didn’t know how much longer I wanted to go on at that camp. But I still didn’t want to tell my mom what was going on and in my heart I knew I had done nothing wrong. I thought it best to see it through. 

At one of my lowest points, another male ballet teacher pulled me aside before a morning ballet class. He looked into my eyes and asked me point blankif I told everyone I had sex with the other male ballet teacher who he mentioned was his close friend. He explained to me that accusations like that were a very serious thing. I remember his name. It was Robert. I looked him in the eye and told him the truth. I told him that I told some of the girls that I had a crush on him but I never said I had sex with him. Robert took me in completely. He was the only person who actually held space for who I was and the only one who listened to me. He assured me he believed me. He said he could tell I was telling the truth. It meant everything. I felt like I could breathe again. 

The last day at camp we had our last ballet class. The head of the camp, the woman- if you can call her that- who interrogated and belittled me and put words in my mouth, was teaching the class. She had us all lay down on our backs. She went around the room saying that the perfect ballet body came from Europe. They had a flat rear end and thin legs and when they were on their back you couldn’t see their rear bleed out to the sides unlike women from other cultures such as Africa. She stood over me as an example and looked down on me in disdain. 

My family came to pick me up later that day. They had leased a new Acura Legend, it was dark green. The color of the Philadelphia Eagles. When I saw my mother, I ran up to her and gave her the kind of hug where she knew I was not OK. I still remember her eyes looking back at mine. The look a mother gives their kid when they know they are hurt. I know the look, I have a son of my own now. 

A lot of feelings run through me as I write this letter, but the one that has risen over all others is the quiet knowledge that in all my struggles in life I never stooped as low as the people who harmed me at camp, whose names not I or anyone else of real value will ever remember, in a place I’ll never visit again.

Today, I keep my syrup Canadian. I never cared much for the Beastie Boys. It turns out the man hungry monster I was made out to be was actually a lesbian. My round posterior is the envy or lust of young women I meet who wish they could be as thick. I found the right counselor for me, the right guidance and I healed enough in my life to find love. I see beautiful photos of Misty Copeland dancing ballet and I think to myself “Get it woman.” Through hard work and God’s will I landed myself quite the beautiful life. 

So I’ll leave you with yet another truth. You didn’t break me, ballet camp. You didn’t make me either. 

Chantelle Tibbs

FAN VOTING is open for the 2022 !Short Story Contest!

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