WOW! Women On Writing Flash Fiction Contest Winners!

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WOW! Summer 2021 Flash Fiction Contest Winners


We had an open prompt this season. Our only guidelines were that the entries be fiction with a minimum of 250 words, and a maximum of 750 words. So, enjoy the creativity and diversity!


Thanks to our Guest Judge:

Literary Agent Amy Giuffrida

Literary Agent Amy Giuffrida

WOW was honored to have guest judge literary agent Amy Giuffrida choose this season’s top winners. Thank you, Amy, for sharing your time and efforts to make these contestants’ dreams come true!

Amy’s bio:

Amy’s life is consumed with all things bookish. When she’s not working on books, she’s talking about stories with her classes as an 8th grade ELA (English/Language Arts) teacher. In her spare time, you can find her renovating her house, binge-watching TV shows on Hulu, or reading something scary—all while snuggling with her three rescue dogs.

Amy’s page at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency:

Follow her on Twitter: @kissedbyink



Note to Contestants:

We want to thank each and every one of you for sharing your wonderful stories with our guest judges this season. We know it takes a lot to hit the send button! While we’d love to give every contestant a prize, just for your writing efforts, that wouldn’t be much of a competition. One of the hardest things we do after a contest ends is to confirm that someone didn’t place in the winners’ circle. But, believe it when we say that every one of you is a true winner.

Every writer has been a gracious participant through the whole process, from the beginning of one season to the next. We’ve written emails to authors, agents, and publicists who have donated books to our contest, and we’ve shared our delight regarding the true sportsmanship among our contestants. It doesn’t matter if it’s one writer who placed or another who tried but didn’t; all writers are courteous, professional, and wonderful extensions of WOW! Women On Writing’s team. Writers’ stories and e-mails fill us with enthusiasm.

Kudos to all writers who entered, whether you won or not, you’re still a winner for participating.


To recap our current process, we have a roundtable of 12+ judges who blindly score equally formatted submissions based on: Subject, Content, Technical, and Overall Impression (Style). That’s the first step of the process. If a contestant scores well on the first round, they receive an e-mail notification that she passed the initial judging phase. The second round judging averages out scores and narrows down the top 20 entries. From this point, our guest judge helps to determine the First, Second, and Third Place Winners, followed by the Runners Up.

As with any contest, judging so many talented writers is not a simple process. With blind judging, all contestants start from the same point, no matter the skill level, experience, or writing credentials. It’s the writer’s story and voice that shines through, along with the originality, powerful and clear writing, and the writer’s heart.


We’ve enjoyed reading your stories, each and every one of them. The WOW! Women On Writing judges take time to read them all. We recognize names of previous contestants, writers familiar with our style. We enjoy getting to know you through your writing and e-mailing. Remember that each one of you is a champion in our book. We hope that you continue to enter so we can watch you grow as writers and storytellers, because each season is a rebirth of opportunity.

Now on to the winners!

Drum roll please....

1st Place Winner
1st Place:  Kaylie Hatch
Dallas, Texas
Congratulations, Kaylie!
Kaylie Hatch

Kaylie’s Bio:

Writing has been Kaylie’s passion ever since first grade, when she realized she didn’t just have to tell a story; she could let her imagination run wild, and fall in love with her characters. She especially loves fantasy and science fiction—genres where she can really let her imagination play. She is currently working her way to making a career of writing. She writes short stories, flash fiction, poems, and novels, but this is her first time actually being published. She also loves reading aloud, be it her stories, or those written by others. She was born in Seattle, and still misses the Pacific Northwest, but now lives in Dallas. You can connect with her @i-prefer-the-term-antihero on tumblr, @antiherowriting on twitter, and/or @i_prefer_the_term_antihero on Instagram. She loves chatting with fellow writers, and receiving feedback on her work, as well as prompts!


Printable View


The Dressing Room


“You get thirty minutes in the dressing room, hun!”

“Thanks!” I called, taking a deep breath and a step forward, pushing the door open.

True to its name, it did look like a dressing room, except there were no hangers or benches, and I’d brought no clothes. It was a hexagonal room with the walls and door as six mirrors. Due to their placement, the reflections multiplied inside themselves.

Who do you want to be?” The question washed over me like I was a sailor hearing voices at sea.

“Beautiful?” Asked the first reflection—the one at twelve o’clock.

She was me, yes, but... not quite. My features were altered, either accentuated or softened, to make me more beautiful. She was wearing that dress I’d seen the other day: the one I knew I’d look good in, but also knew I couldn’t afford.

Smart?” Muttered the one to the right—three o’clock.

She didn’t look altogether different from me, but had a more thoughtful gleam in her eye.


Five was wearing a pencil skirt and a blazer. She looked well-put-together and ready to get things done.

The seventh mirror panel held me, and she may not be particularly beautiful or hold herself particularly high, but even when she frowned it looked like she was smiling, and she danced a little in her place.

Happy?” She twittered.

A crown wouldn’t look out of place on Nine’s head. She stood taller, held herself higher, like she knew what she was doing, and why, and that she would accomplish far more before this day was done. She had waited patiently for me to arrive at her feet and had no qualms about being greeted at the end. She knew the sayings.

Powerful?” Even her nod was regal.

Everything you aren’t?

When I looked directly behind me, I saw not myself—that is to say, not “herself”—rather himself.

Such were the six mirrors, the six reflections, the six best versions of myself. And the corners and crevices of the mirrors held hybrids of these six, which were endless.

I’d paid a lot of money to get here, to crawl out of my skin and be what I wanted to be. I wondered if I entered into the cracks if I could be one of those spin-offs: both happy and beautiful, or both powerful and successful and if I dug far enough if I could be everything at once.

We’ll give you anything you want.” Nine’s voice was rich, crystalline.

You just have to choose.” Seven giggled the words.

The man was charming enough, but when he spoke “Everything you aren’t” the words “Better than everything you are” were laced in the cracks, and I wasn’t sure I liked that.

It’s a well-documented phenomenon that when one holds their head high, they look down their nose at anything beneath them.

But you are, my dear,” Nine laughed. “If you only join me...” She held out her hand. “You won’t have to look up my way.

Everything about the beautiful one shined.

“Is everything... real?” I whispered her way.

Twelve laughed. “Is anything?

Sure, choose Beauty,” Three snorted, “Paris did. Look where that got him.

“Is war not a fair price for love?” I asked.

Oh certainly.” When Five smiled, her mouth ticked like a bug had landed on it. “The question is, is love too small a spoil of war?

“And what do you think of all this?” I asked Seven.

Oh, I don’t really bother myself with such things.” She twirled around.

I began to observe the infinities between the six, and when I looked far enough, I noticed not all of them were glamorous hybrids.

At one point, I saw a me with the wrong features accentuated, and others hardened, making me look less attractive. I thought I’d met this version of myself in the mirror before.

I looked into the eyes of the six, shimmering silver.

Just make your choice.

Beautiful. Smart. Successful. Powerful. Happy.

What if I already am those things?

Once I made my way out, the too-pretty hostess pranced over to me. “Let’s see the new you!”

Her bright demeanor shifted as she cocked her head to the side.

“Forgive me, dear. I don’t mean this as an insult, or to pry, but... which did you choose?”

“Forgive me, dear,” I lowered my gaze, smiling back, “but I didn’t change a thing.”

As I turned to leave, I brushed glass shards off my coat.



What Kaylie Won:

  • $400.00 Cash Prize
  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • Publication of winning story on website
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin
2nd Place Winner
2nd Place:  Alaina Grimm
Alexandria, Virginia
Congratulations, Alaina!
Alaina Grimm

Alaina’s Bio:

Alaina Grimm began writing as a child. Her first full length story (Historical YA) never made it beyond a laptop and a large three ring binder. However, she still keeps a copy of it and the plethora of fractured fairy tales she wrote as a teenager in one of her many bookcases. She has written two other unpublished fantasy novels and is working on outlining her third. She works for a software development company by day and delves into writing stories in her fantasy worlds at night. Alaina and her husband have 2 wonderfully spoiled rescue dogs. She can be found on Twitter @alainagrimm or learn more at

Printable View




The last time she stood on the weathered planks of this rickety pier, the crickets were singing their evensong. As she’d knelt to touch the water, she’d felt a shove. A short fall. A splash. Cold water. Hard hands pushing her down. Throat burning. Thrashing. Then the world had faded away, leaving her floating.

Tonight, the crickets were silent. The only sound came from the cool breeze dancing through the pine trees of the nearby forest. She remembered that wind; it came as spring settled into the countryside and carried the sweet scent of wisteria.

From beneath the lake’s wind-rippled surface, she stared at the glimmering stars and waited. The muffled bells of a distant clocktower chimed, signaling fifteen minutes to midnight. The wind stilled, and the ripples calmed before disappearing completely. As if summoned by the approaching hour, a man stepped from the nearby tree line and knelt at the lake’s edge.

Distorted by the filter of water between them, she saw his familiar face as he stared beyond his reflection into the depths of the lake. He reached out and touched the water’s surface, right hand skimming across the liquid. The ripples began their dance once more and then eased back to a glassy calm.

Ripples building on ripples, she thought.

This was the third year he had visited her. The first time, on the anniversary of her death, she had listened to the story told by his tears falling into the lake. The second time, on a night lit by a moon the color of the wedding band he once placed on her finger, fewer tears fell. Still, each drop told its own story of another year of his grief.

This year, he stared at the lake which had once pulled life from her body. She saw his tears, but they barely touched his cheeks and never flowed hard enough to kiss her liquid grave. A few moments passed as he reached out with his other hand. Stopped. Reached again. Finally, his fingers glided over the watery surface, his eyes moving from the new golden band on his finger to the lake.

Breath caught in her water-filled lungs as she instinctively reached for the hand that proclaimed him no longer hers, no longer tied. And now she was alone. So alone. Trapped. Tears threatened but, in the water, they gave no relief, and her gasp of pain only caused more ripples. Each one a reminder of what might have been. Of what had been taken from her.

Ripples from the wind. Ripples from love. Ripples of hate... despair... forgiveness. So lonely. Always alone. Stay, she wanted to beg. Instead, she just stared from beneath the water. Helpless to change what was.

She knew, as he gazed past his reflection without seeing her, this was his last visit. Life moves on without the dead.

These are our last moments, she thought.

The midnight bells tolled, and he pulled from his pocket a ring she had once slid down his finger. He kissed it, and she felt the barest whisper of his lips on her cheek. Then he placed the band, their pledge of forever, into the water.

“Goodbye,” he murmured.

“Goodbye,” she replied, but all he heard were the ripples of water gently washing against the shore.



What Alaina Won:

  • $300.00 Cash Prize
  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • Publication of winning story on website
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin
3rd Place Winner
3rd Place: Taria Karillion
United Kingdom
Congratulations, Taria!
Taria Karillion

Taria’s Bio:

As the daughter of an antiquarian book dealer, Taria Karillion grew up surrounded by far more books than is probably healthy for one person. A Literature degree, a journalism course and some gratuitous vocabulary overuse later, her stories have appeared in a Hagrid-sized handful of anthologies and have won enough literary prizes to fill his other hand. Despite this, she has no need—as yet—for larger millinery.

Printable View

Blossom of Faith, Hope and Unity


‘Where humanity sowed faith, hope and unity, joy’s garden blossomed.’ (Aberjhani)


The first time you proposed, I laughed. But then, we were all of eight years old. The cherry blossom fell like confetti and my dress was lacy and white, save for grass-scuffed knees and the missing bow that we’d tied to the top of our maple tree fort.

The second time you proposed, we both wept. Beneath ‘our’ cherry tree, with salty kisses and breathless vows that we would wait; that, after the war was over and you came back home, we’d get married, right there, amid the swirling, dancing drifts of palest pink and white.

The next time you proposed, my love, was seven summers later, when they finally, finally found you; rescued your squadron from that unspeakable place and brought the shell-shocked, living ghost of you back to me. They were the only words you spoke—you didn’t even know you were home, or that I was really there. Your family chose a convalescent home, and again I promised I’d wait. There were as many tears as petals that Spring.

Therapy, countless prayers and visits spanned a youth missed, a chance of children fading, and a heartache as heavy as the tanks that had caused it. Time passed, but my love for you did not.

Then, the last time you proposed, I squealed so loudly that the medics had to hush me. You were holding the slender, budding twigs that I’d left in your room, in the lumpy, clay vase we’d made in kindergarten; its finger paint colours as joyful as the smile on your face. Your eyes had lost their catatonic glaze, and you saw me—really saw me. The years dissolved in moments and it was as if your soul had at last re-inhabited your body and you had, finally, truly, come home.

So, this time, my love, I’m proposing. Right here, beneath our tree and the wind-whipped confetti of tiny, dancing blooms on this glorious spring day. We may be much older than we’d planned, but one is never too old for love, and it is cherry blossom time.



What Taria Won:

  • $200.00 Cash Prize
  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • Publication of winning story on website
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin

RUNNERS UP (In no particular order):

Congratulations to the runners-up! It was very close, and these stories are excellent in every way.

Click on their entries to read:

A Haunted Girl Meets Her Fate by Kiara Almanzar, Orlando, Florida

Chola by Ainhoa Palacios, Shenzhen, China

Slither by Kelli Short Borges, Phoenix, Arizona

Kitchen Help by Leontine Hartzell, Glouchester, Massachusetts

The Last Word by Tracy Maxwell, Seattle, Washington

Almost by Linda Davis, Northbrook, Illinois

Black Man Running by Dr Jo Skinner, Brisbane Australia

What the Runners Up Won:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • Publication of winning story on website
  • Interview on WOW!’s blog The Muffin

HONORABLE MENTIONS (In no particular order):

Congratulations to our Summer 2021 Contest Honorable Mentions! Your stories stood out and are excellent in every way.

Below by Bryanna Botham, Tucson, Arizona

Girl Interrupted by Sue Moffson, Boulder, Colorado

People Shaping by Elizabeth Morin, North Andover, Massachusetts

Last Breath by Jo Skinner, Brisbane Australia

Election Day by Molly Menickelly, Herndon, Virginia

Plastic Flowers by Amy Stanley, Maine

The Witch’s Apprentice by Ekta Garg, Champaign, Illinois

Family Photo by Jen Knox, Columbus, Ohio

Rich’s Wife is Dead by Jennifer Theoret, Vermont

Their Man by Anne Henry, Mountain Top, Pennsylvania


What the Honorable Mentions Won:

  • $20 Amazon Gift Card


This brings the Summer 2021 Flash Fiction Contest officially to a close. Although we’re not able to provide a prize to every contestant, we will always give our heartfelt thanks for your participation and contribution, and for your part in making WOW! all that it can be. We hope to read more of your work. Write on!

Check out the latest Contest:


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