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Nature Photography and a Flash Fiction Contest

I’m entering a photo contest this weekend, and I wanted to submit some pictures of a beautiful place I know. Unfortunately, the photos I had were all quite dark because they were taken on a gloomy fall day. When I told my husband I wanted to visit our special place to take some current pictures in the full spring sunshine, he volunteered to go with me. Spending a beautiful day together in the woods sounded like a great idea, so I happily accepted his offer.

I had forgotten how treacherous the hike to our secret spot is, and I was more than grateful for his company as I attempted to make my way down a steep ravine while wading through vegetation that was past my knees. My bad foot was not happy with my hike and let me know about it during each step. It threatened rebellion every time I stepped on a hidden rock, downed tree limb, or exposed root. There were too many hidden obstacles to count, and I found most of them.

By the time we arrived at our favorite honey hole, the sun was high overhead and perfect for taking pictures. The place was magical with butterflies and ladybugs flitting around. The river flowed casually, as if it was in no hurry to embrace the rocks and logs visible from our vantage point. Thankfully, I didn’t see any snakes. I’m not fooling myself; I know they were there. I’m just happy they chose to leave me alone.

I took some amazing photos that day. I’m sharing a few of them with you today, but I’m saving the special ones for the contest. The judge’s identity is secret, as are the entries. I don’t want to do anything that would compromise the blind judging. I may share them with you later. I was thrilled with my accomplishments and the opportunity to spend some time with my main squeeze.

Once home, I immediately jumped into the shower to remove ticks and anything else that may have hitched a ride on me while my husband left to do some mowing. Once clean and smelling good, I settled down in my recliner with no intention of moving the rest of the day. It was around 3:00 p.m., and I was enjoying some iced tea and peace.

I had just gotten comfortable when I realized it was the last day of the entry period for Always Buying Books’ flash fiction contest. It was for 150 words, no more, no less. I had planned to enter the competition, but time had gotten away from me. After glancing at my watch, I determined to give it a go. I had two hours, so why not?

I opened up my computer and set to work. I had a basic skeleton of a story, which I fleshed out to the point where I had double the word limit. Undeterred, I deleted and tightened. I finished with exactly 150 words and enough time to print my story and drive it to my favorite bookstore.

I entered the contest at 4:30 p.m. with a half hour to spare before the store closed. Alyse was so funny. She asked me if she could read it, and I told her that she was welcome to read my piece, but this story was dark. I excused myself for some quality time in the fiction room while she helped some customers.

I was in the romance section when I heard her holler, “Margarite, I can’t believe you wrote that! It’s good, but it isn’t something I’d expect from you.”

Her reaction lifted my spirits and validated my frantic writing that afternoon.

On Monday morning, Bob, Always Buying Books’ proprietor, called me. He gave me the best news of the day when he told me I had won 2nd Place in the contest. He said that he really enjoyed my story, and the judges liked it, too. They liked another story a little better and chose that one as the winner.

I’m thrilled to have placed at all. While 1st Place is always the goal, I will happily accept 2nd place any day of the week. I am pretty competitive, but I don’t always have to win or be the best at something to be happy.

I would like to thank Always Buying Books for hosting the flash fiction contest and all of the others they have hosted and will host in the future. They are great friends to local authors, donate to various charities, and a great place to shop.

Thank you, Bob and Alyse, for all you do for local authors, our community, and book lovers far and wide.

Speaking of books, don’t forget you can read my paranormal romantic suspense, Sally’s Secret Legacy, on Kindle Vella. A new episode should release today. Here’s a link to check it out. Remember, you can read the first three episodes for free.

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