Comments and Reviews

Here’s what people have had to say about my writing.

Homecoming (2017)

This is such a sad, but uplifting, story. The initial feeling that perhaps there is an element of estrangement between the children and their father changes as they dig through old memories and put them in perspective. It is the difference in the eyes of the younger, carefree footballer compared to the eyes of the soldier that reveals the truth, the effect that war can have on a person and subsequently their loved ones. The eyes have given Jace the understanding he needs to try and bridge the gap with his father, despite the latter’s dementia. Moving. – Steph Ellis

Miscalculation (2015)

This emotive piece made me think of two cultural references: the scene in The Godfather where Vito Corleone is frolicking with his grandson in the garden before dying the perfect death (oh, the injustice after he was the mastermind of so much violence) and Vultures by Chinua Achebe where “the Commandant at Belsen Camp going home for the day with fumes of human roast clinging rebelliously to his hairy nostrils will stop at the wayside sweet-shop and pick up a chocolate for his tender offspring waiting at home for Daddy’s return.” Yes, love can be found everywhere even in those “whose very name inspired fear.” The line “caskets were not supposed to be that small” had me reaching for the tissues. And the conclusion brings home the perpetual cycle of violence these people are involved in because you just know their families are going to want revenge… – David Borrowdale

Help Wanted (2015)

I am obviously a failed punster never having made the leap to Civil Serpent. This bit of witty commentary drew me right in, the balance of the job descriptions kept me going. – Bill Engleson

I, Tiger (2015)

Having made the beautiful animal extinct, man is reduced to creating a synthetic version and still learns nothing. What a sad state of affairs. – Steph Ellis

What Would Freud Say? (2015)

This story was a hilarious romp from beginning to end: the dry, lonely professor who thought he could isolate the composition of love (“attraction plus compatibility”) and was proven most spectacularly wrong. But the punchline, though funny, isn’t what sets this story apart. It’s the subtle character development and worldbuilding, painted with a powerfully understated and masterful hand. And let’s not forget the fourth-wall-breaking title. This story is clever and knows it, but it’s so clever, we buy the whole kit and caboodle anyway. Awesome. – Rebekah Postupak

Stages of Love (2015)

A hauntingly beautiful story with a less than obvious use of the bookends and an excellent use of the photo prompt. We have a life’s worth of passion and heartache between the bookends. Very well done. – Donald Jacob Uitvlugt

One Year, Five Months, Thirteen Days, and Seven Hours (2015)

KM submitted two fantastic entries this week. Sadly one was a tad over the word limit, as it would have been a real contender. Thankfully the other was strong enough to bag the golden ticket. I echo Jacki’s words of this being a complete story simply told. The repetition of the missing girl’s name really cranks up the tension. What a terrible situation for the boy: knowing that just being alive is a constant reminder to his parents of that tragic day. Great writing, KM. I know you’ll make a fantastic contribution to the FlashDogs anthology. – David Borrowdale

The Night He Became a Man (2015)

Unfortunately, this story fell two words outside the maximum word count, and was therefore out of the running. However I felt it deserved a mention for the freshness of the story. There is a lot of excellent flash about brutal goings on between people, but less about basic decent behavior. The story was well told and used the bookends seamlessly. Such a shame about those two words!! – Jacki Donnellan

Collateral Damage (2015)

A brilliant description of a difficult dilemma: sabotage the planes, kill the pilots, and be branded a traitor, or let them fly. Inactivity would be the easier choice, “but she couldn’t bear to see another dead child carried through the streets.” Great story. – David Borrowdale

Trophies (2014)

I liked the imagery of the dragon’s eyes here, and the power they still wield despite the fact the dragon has been killed. I felt a tug of horror at the revelation that the dragon had been a mother defending her young, and that her mission had been futile. I liked the mention of the villagers, and how the hunter sees himself as the balance between his people being the slayers or the slain, but I also liked the note of uncertainty at the end of the story, when the hunter begins to doubt himself and his worldview starts to shift. As well as the subtlety of the story, it was very well written and expertly paced. – Sinead O’Hart

This story highlights a hard-to-swallow truth, “kill or be killed.” How we wish it weren’t so. The most profound line, “They were the same, she and he.” highlights the dilemma of a tortured conscience. Even though of its philosophical bent, the story has the identifiable structure. – Pratibha Kelapure

Aftermath of Neptune (2014)

“Aftermath of Neptune.” “Aftermath of Neptune” is a piece of juxtapositions: happy beach versus nightmarish coastline, whimsical love versus nonsensical death, and the line “destroyed but free.” This line—and the story in general—paints a vivid picture of the cost of freedom. That cost is not only the broken bodies strewn across the beach, but also the main character’s innocence in her brutal, war-tainted coming of age.

We also like the clever reference to Neptune. In addition to being the Roman god of the sea, Neptune is known for his violent, tempestuous character, as well as his power-plays for Jupiter’s position as king of the gods. This is particularly fitting for a story that takes place on a beach but also comments on the ravages of war and tragic loss of innocence. Splickety

Word of Dog (2014)

Earlier in the week I’d read something written in 1944 that poked fun at a character who’d excitedly asked a companion “Did ya know d-o-g is g-o-d backwards?” So the title of this piece provoked a shallow inhale in preparation for a slow, lazy groan. I was sure whatever the coming groan lacked in energy would be made up for in a series of overly dramatic eye rolls. But neither groan nor eye rolls were to be. “Word of Dog” had all the technical elements of the best flash fiction and tapped into that most important and elusive non-technical element — it made me feel something. – Matt Lashley

Salvation (2014)

I like this one very much – a cautionary tale, a grown-up version of WALL-E. I loved the idea of the scout carrying an ancient crayon drawing of Earth that his ancestor had made as a child when the planet’s inhabitants departed. The last line makes for a fully rounded story. Excellent! – Geoff Holme

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