Monday, November 15, 2021

Flash Fiction Challenge with Shawn Reilly Simmons


First up in our Flash Fiction Challenge is Shawn Reilly Simmons, fearless leader of the fun-loving yet dubious RVA City Writers. She is one of the busiest people in the community as she serves on the Board of Malice Domestic and is co-owner/publisher/editor at Level Best Books. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers, and the Crime Writers’ Association in the UK. Shawn also hosts 5 Compelling Questions with Shawn, a fun and informative podcast featuring authors and industry professionals discussing the writing life aiming to entertain and motivate. She also keeps busy hosting live and virtual writers reading events and educational symposiums. 

And of course, there is Shawn’s extensive doings as an award-winning writer and editor. She is the author of seven novels in the Red-Carpet Catering mystery series featuring Penelope Sutherland, chef-owner of a movie set catering company. She’s also written several short stories which have been published in various anthologies, including “Burnt Orange” in Passport to Murder: the 2017 Bouchercon Anthology; “The Prodigy” in Mystery Tour, the Crime Writers’ Association Anthology; and “Now is the Hour” in Writers Crushing Covid-19.

Shawn’s story “The Last Word,” appearing in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible, won the Agatha Award for Best Short Story of 2019. Shawn also won the Anthony Award as editor of the Best Anthology or Collection for the same anthology. In addition, her tale “The Red Herrings at Killington Inn” received an Agatha Nomination in 2020 for Best Short Story.

We are fortunate to have Shawn’s involvement in this challenge. I hope you enjoy this tidbit.

What is the challenge?

Write a fifty-word flash. That’s it. However, the story must incorporate three randomly selected words and revolve around a single, overall theme. The words have been drawn and shared; letter, afford, and yard. The theme is despair.

Second Chance

by Shawn Reilly Simmons

Give a man an inch and he’ll take a yard, Tammi thought as she searched, pushing aside faded boxers and grabbing the gun. She couldn’t afford to miss this time. His love letter to her baby girl was proof he’d burned through his second chance, a gift from a fool.