Finalists for the November Writing Contest!

It is time to announce the finalists for this month’s writing contest.  We had some nice story submissions including one from an underage contestant who wanted to participate!  I thought all the tales were entertaining and enjoyed reading them.  Of course, it had to be narrowed down to three. The following contestant’s stories are the ones who are up for voting.  Please do congratulate them!

* Kira Zidar
* Edwin Stark
* J.E. Lowder

Below will be a review of the contest stipulations, followed by the three finalist’s stories. At the bottom will be the instructions and poll for voting. Anyone may vote for the tale they believe is best, but you should take the time to read all three before making your decision. Remember, you may vote only once.  Contestants, also note that you cannot use blogs, twitter, Facebook, or any other site to ask for votes.  You are allowed to announce you are a finalist on those sites and link this page, but you should only tell people to vote for the best story, not yours specifically.


1) The setting should be a family/friend gathering (doesn’t matter where) centered around food.  There are no requirements as to the species of the characters, but there must be at least three of them.  You can choose to call it Thanksgiving or not.

2) Word-count must be between 450-750 words.  I will allow no more than a five word variance from this. Titles are required, though they do not count toward the total.

3) The word “cranberry” should be mentioned at least eight times but never in the same sentence.  Part of the judging will be based on how well you integrate the word so it doesn’t seem overused.

4) At least one of the following must happen in the story:

a) A food item is burned or ruined.

b) An argument occurs due to an unexpected guest.

c) A food fight breaks out.

d) The turkey turns out to be not quite dead (interpret that how you will).


Where’s The Fish?

by Kira Zidar


It was a fine day, I was preparing for the guests to come. I had a list of things I needed fish, butter, bread, plus cranberries, and loads of other ingredients, I was getting ready for a fine dining dinner party many things had to be done. I raced into the car and I was off to the local market. I walked quickly into the market to buy all the things I needed.

When I was finished I had a shopping trolley and a shopping basket swaying side to side on my arm, full of ingredients, as I was driving home to prepare the cranberry sauce with dipping bread and a big roast for all the guests plus a beautiful cooked fish I realised I forgot the cranberries. The key ingredients for cranberry sauce but I had no time to go back and buy them.

I was very flustered by the time I got home I had to prepare everything. I was trying to find another ingredient instead of cranberry but there was no use. Then I looked in the back of the cupboard I found a mysterious unlabelled jar it looked like cranberry sauce!!!! I decided to use it in my dinner.

I still had heaps to do I was so busy I hadn’t noticed a cat jumped in from the kitchen window. I didn’t notice that the cat was there when I put the cloche on top of the fish cat while it was eating the fish! What a disaster.

When cars started turning up I still had to put out the “cranberry sauce” and put out all the food so I rushed around the house to put everything in its place. When I picked up the fish cloche it was surprisingly heavy but I had no time to see why. I carefully put it on the big dining table when there was a knock on the door. I walked across the room to the front door thinking to myself my cranberry sauce should be alright. I let my guests in. I was really excited they stared to talk each other.

When everyone arrived they started to eat the food I was so happy that I finally hosted a dinner party. Other times it was a big failure, and everyone left.

When everyone gathered around the dinner table, it fell quiet as I took of the lids off all the cloches. When I took the cloche off the fish, all that was left was the fish bones, it looked very uninviting everyone started staring at me. The cat had eaten all of the fish and it was lying there looking quite satisfied.

An unexpected guest!

But my disastrous party went on.

I plated up the roast and I put a tablespoon of the cranberry sauce on the plates hoping that everything will be alright. I sat down and everyone started eating a few seconds later I saw everyone reaching for their glasses. What was happening?

Then I thought maybe it was the cranberry sauce!

So I decided to try the sauce hoping it was just them. IT BLEW MY HEAD OFF!! It was so spicy the dinner was ruined!! What will I do? When my guest where able to talk some wanted to go to the hospital but some just wanted to get home

Couple of minutes later I was left to clean the house.

What a messed up party!!


Strange White Meat

by Edwin Stark

Charlie Miller was pretty excited tonight. His girlfriend, Lorena Dumont had invited him for Thanksgiving dinner in her parent’s house, and he was eagerly looking towards it. Especially since she told him that her mom’s forte was cranberry sauce. Charlie’s weakness since he was a kid was cranberry sauce; he could literally eat anything, as long as it was slathered with that delightful sweet-sour stuff. Curiously, this was the main reason over which he felt attracted to Lorena, when he first saw her at the Cranberry Nightclub, the one that was located in Nosfort’s Main Street. She looked really pale then and her lips were the color of a rich cranberry sauce, and sometimes, when she pouted, they certainly resembled the fruit. Later, he found out that was their natural coloration; she didn’t need to use lipstick to achieve that look. Tonight, she was going to introduce him to her parents.
“Come along, Chuck!” she said playfully as she pulled his arm. They were walking toward the front porch of the Dumont’s residence, and he was glad to realize that the smell of thick cranberry sauce was pervading the entire air around it. Charlie felt his stomach grumble in eager anticipation.
Oddly, Lorena rang to the bell. After a short while the main door opened and a tall, gaunt looking showed up. Lorena practically jumped into the older man’s arm.
“Daddy” she cried. Then, she turned towards Charlie and introduced him to her dad. He was also very pale, and shared with his daughter the same curious cranberry-colored lips.
Nevertheless, there was an odd burnt odor underlying the tasty cranberry sauce smell. Charlie heard a disgusted female shout coming from beyond the living hall, and he worriedly looked into that direction.
“Never mind, Charlie,” Lorena’s dad reassured him. “Nothing to worry about; it’s just that the missus was temporarily woolgathering, and the mailman burned a little while in the oven. Dinner is almost ready, anyhow.”
Mailman? thought Charlie, a little nonplused. Did he her right? He merely nodded dumbly, while smiling.
Lorena’s dad led them to the dining room, and there he introduced Charlie to a rebellious looking, teenaged kids; this boy also had the same cranberry-like lips, and the same odd paleness. He was staring back, quite intently, at Charles.
“Charlie, do you mind to sit next to Donny?” Lorena’s dad asked. Charlie didn’t mind.
The door that led to the kitchen swung open, and the rich smell of cranberry sauce wafted in. A stout looking but pale woman walked in, carrying an enormous lidded tray.
“Uh-hello, there,” the middle-aged woman said, a bit startled by Charlie’s presence. He was promptly introduced to Lorena’s mom. She walked towards the enormous dining table, and placed the serving tray upon it. Man, it was huge!
“I’m a bit ashamed, Charlie… I was on the phone; cousin Fred and the rest of the family are stuck with a flat tire in the Pinewood Mall…” the woman said, softly placing her right hand on Charlie’s shoulder as she led him to his seat. “And I got so distracted by the call that the food in the oven got a bit burned. I hope you don’t mind your mailman a little crisp around the edges.” Again, that disturbingly misplaced word.
The matron turned towards her husband. “Fred said we can start without him, as long as we keep for him some brains and the right tight.” Her husband nodded in assent.
The woman slowly removed the big lid from the serving tray, and the sweet sour-sweet smell of cranberry sauce filled the dining room. Charlie’s eyes nearly popped out from their sockets when he finally saw what emerged from beneath that lid.
Hot and steaming, there was the cooked torso of a man. Charlie immediately recognized him as Frank Vasquez, the mailman who had so mysteriously disappeared a few days ago.
Noting Charlie’s troubled looks, Mrs. Dumont said, “Didn’t Lorie tell you that we’re ghouls?” She turned to her daughter, frowning. “Naughty girl, Lorie!” She was cutting a big chunk from Frank’s upper arm and serving it in a china dish with a generous dose of cranberry sauce. Charlie looked around and realized that everyone was looking at him with eager expectation.
Well, he liked Lorena a lot… and this was going to eventually be his family… so he just shrugged and started to dig in with hearty appetite.
It was covered with cranberry sauce, after all.


Cranberry Coup

by J.E. Lowder

Revolution paves the road with blood.
Or in the case of my family’s Thanksgiving dinner, it was drizzled with cranberry juice.

I was home from college, and like most forward thinking young scholars, I had come to the following conclusions:
1) My family is phony.
2) I must have been adopted.

We celebrate Thanksgiving with much tradition, pomp, and flare. Lavishly prepared dishes are set upon a tablecloth of white, plastic smiles are extended to relatives one detests, and false promises to join the gym arise while devouring mountainous calories. Maybe it was my travels to impoverished regions, or maybe it was the fact that my family is pretentious, but whatever the reason, I vowed to instigate a Cranberry Coup for authenticity!

Now don’t panic, I wasn’t about to grab a turkey leg and clobber Uncle Stu, although he deserves it for teasing me about my earring and calling me gay, which I’m not. Nor will I shove mashed potatoes down my sister’s throat when she bemoans her country club lifestyle. And I most certainly won’t cram cranberries into Aunt Edna’s orifices when she unleashes her cackle, which is aroused by one-to-many glasses of chardonnay. What I needed was to create a moment that would draw them into a revolution of change.

Gathering at the long table, we went to our seats. Although not assigned, we each knew where to sit, and more importantly, where NOT to sit, for there was indeed a seating order that could never be breached. I considered sitting in another spot, using this to press out the cranberry juice of revolt, but I knew this would not bring about genuine uprising and could be squashed with a flippant wave of the hand. No, I needed to wait; I needed their full cooperation in my coup d’état.

Upon sitting, Mother brought in the turkey. Steam whisked off the golden bird and a collective “Ahhh!” rose from the group. Except for me. I was steadying my nerves, waiting for the perfect moment to launch my attack.

Dad tapped reverently upon his crystal wine goblet, the pings announcing his traditional Thanksgiving speech. And before the bell-like tings faded, I launched up from my seat.

“Posers!” I boldly declared. “Everyone is as phony as the cranberry sauce!”

Shocked by my outburst, all eyes stared at Aunt Edna’s wiggling concoction. Surrounded by the opulent display of silver, china and succulent dishes, the blob of red was truly out of its league, displaying its can lines like a trailer tramp would stretch marks.

Mother righted her shoulders in a genteel manner and was no doubt preparing a rebuttal. But before she could open her mouth, Uncle Stu muttered, “Little queer!”

Dad’s face turned cranberry red. His brow furrowed then relaxed; eyes sharpened then became placid. I feared my revolution would die beneath his resolve to maintain social etiquette.

And then victory! Years of suppressed emotions for Uncle Stu spewed out of my father. Vulgarities and gestures he hadn’t used since college were revived with gusto. Uncle Stu returned fire, spraying expletives like machine gun fire, declaring Dad was the reason America was in decline.

Mother tried comforting Aunt Edna, but my retort about her cranberry sauce had sobered her up. She began listing Mom’s failures over the years, equating these to my liberalism and obvious “gender confusion.” Mother’s smile faded and her head turned like the turret of a tank. Unleashing a volley of pure fury, she declared she too would be a drunk if married to a tyrant like Stu. My sister, who hated confrontation, donned her country club smile as her head nodded this way and that, following the war of accusations, curses, and threats.

Suddenly, Mom shouted above the din, “You call THIS cranberry sauce?” She held the plate up for all to behold and for a moment, there was a truce. And then, with eyes blazing mad, she declared, “This looks more like your cellulite!”

With that, she launched the shimmering gelatin at Auntie. But Mother was never one for athleticism, so I watched the crimson orb soar past my ear and splatter on our wallpaper. Juice dripped like blood upon the chair rail, christening it with my Cranberry Coup.

And as they continued to fight, I quietly sat and wiped some of the juice off with my finger. Cranberry sauce had never tasted so good!


Congratulations to the three finalists.  You did a wonderful job and I wish you all the best of luck during voting.   I will keep the poll open until midnight (EST) Saturday, December 3rd.  That is approximately three days for voting.  Sunday morning, I will announce the winner/runner up and email them to coordinate getting them their Amazon gift cards.

Thanks to everyone for their participation! Once again, the contestants are welcome to announce their story being up for vote on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. but I require you DO NOT tell people to vote for you specifically.  Ask them to simply visit and select the story they think is best.  Please make this a fair contest.  I really do not want to disqualify anyone.

~ by Suzie on November 30, 2011.

5 Responses to “Finalists for the November Writing Contest!”

  1. Congrats, finalists! Now, I have to go back up, read, and vote.

  2. […] November Writing Contest GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_bg", "333333"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_border", "444444"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_text", "111111"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_link", "00adef"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_url", "00adef"); GA_googleAddAttr("LangId", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "books"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "politics"); GA_googleFillSlot("wpcom_sharethrough"); Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  3. Clever, humorous, and imaginative. It reads like a winner!

  4. Good job guys. I had such a hard time deciding which one to vote for 🙂

  5. Ha ha ha…. 🙂 another great clutch of stories! Well done all – very entertaining… and now, for some reason, I’m feeling fruity…?? Goodness knows why? Maybe it’s the weather?

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