Summer Flash Showdown: On-Ramps and Off-Scripts

Downtown Springfield, IL. Photo by Lauren Leone-Cross
Downtown Springfield, IL. Photo by Lauren Leone-Cross

Whoah! It’s already round three of the Summer Flash Showdown, and what a ride it has been. Judges and Sundress staff alike have been impressed and humbled by the creativity evidenced by the first two submissions calls alone. We thank all the participants and readers thus far, and all the new ones to come. But let’s be real: this is only the beginning of the literary hurdles and envy evoking prizes hiding here in the Wardrobe! This week could be your chance to win a copy of Amorak Huey’s debut, full-length collection, Ha Ha Ha Thump! But let’s not forget the Grand Prize Round just around the corner. A crowned champion will walk away with the publication of their story on the blog, and FIVE FREE SUNDRESS TITLES OF YOUR CHOOSING!!! The winners of this round will have the chance to write for this finale of internet epicness. This week’s judge is none other than… B. Rose Huber!!!


B. Rose Huber is the flash fiction editor of Pretty Owl Poetry. She spends her days writing about research at Princeton University. She received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cobalt, Pear Noir!, The New Yinzer, the Light Ekphrastic, BE Literary, and Weave, among others. She also binds books for those who ask.

The Challenge: On-Ramps and Off-Scripts

Photo by Lauren-Leone Cross.
Photo by Lauren-Leone Cross.

A character takes a step out his front door. A stranger comes to town. A family stuffs a station wagon full of sunscreen and packed lunches. A young writer hitchhikes across a bygone country. All these have been ingrained into our conceptualization of storytelling in one way or another, but its time to go against the grain with this prompt. The open-road archetype, especially in its American form, is arguably as celebrated as it is re-branded and reused. We want you to mold a new kind of summer road trip story. But to keep you out of the muck of stereotypes, we are locking down the word “vacation” completely. No vacations allowed for these asphalt adventures! Encourage your characters to kick the back of each other’s seats and get lost, but make sure to leave out the punchlines or the “Are we there yet?” adolescents. They can be fun, but we’d rather you surprise us with honest detours away from predictable paths between plot point A and point B. Limit 450 words for round three. Please include a concise, publishable third person bio with your submission.  Send all stories to RTF or DOCX file format preferred. Stories must be submitted by Monday, August 3rd at midnight EST! Best of luck, and thank you for submitting!

Summer Flash Showdown: Attack of the Picnic Ants!

Photo courtesy of  Artwork by Evelyn Bracklow.
Photo courtesy of Artwork by Evelyn Bracklow.
Sundress Publications is proud to announce the first installment of the Summer Flash Showdown. We hope to evoke your spontaneity, bend your imagination, and test your craft chops with the following five weeks of fiction. Tune in every Friday as we post the winning and runner-up stories respectively, decided by an all-star cast of judges from around the country. All finalists will have the opportunity to write for the Grand Prize Round, in which the supreme victor could walk away with endless boasting privileges, publication of their story on The Wardrobe, and FIVE FREE SUNDRESS TITLES OF YOUR CHOOSING!!!The prizes don’t begin and end there however. The first All-Star to write the most compelling interpretation of the following prompt will receive a free Sundress book, also of their choosing.This week’s honored judge will be…


Meagan Cass is the author of Range of Motion (Magic Helicopter Press). Her fiction has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Pinch, DIAGRAM, Washington Square, and Puerto del Sol, among other places. Meagan is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Illinois Springfield, where she teaches courses in creative writing, publishing, literature, and composition. She founded and is a curator of the Shelterbelt Reading Series at UIS and serves as an assistant editor at Sundress Publications, coordinating fiction for the Best of the Net anthology. Over the last ten years, she has done editorial work for a range of national literary journals, including Stirring, Harpur Palate, and Rougarou, of which she is a founding editor.

THE CHALLENGE: Attack of the Picnic Ants!


The fine china pictured above is the work of German innovator and artist Eveyln Bracklow. One may be quick to assume the china has some tiny arthropod companions. Look closer.

Like the meticulously drawn bugs on the serving ware, we want you to defamiliarize and thereby revitalize the dilemma of ants at a picnic. In as many ways as a colony has legs, the ants of the story can be the kick-starters for a plot gone awry. Or maybe the ants could serve as a collective pivot into a flashback? Who knows?

What can you do with such an old issue? Will you skirt it and/or use it to add tension in subtext? How will you evolve the cute old problem and surprise us? Will you offer up magical realism or just the same old, pissed off couples on red checkerboard blankets? Don’t bore us with missing butter and carrion crumbs. Give us the goods. Give us characters to take back to our underground queen and cherish.

And in honor of the world’s smallest, yet mightiest heroes, all submitted stories should be no longer than 350 words. Make the microscopic details resonate in macroscopic ways.

Send all stories to RTF or DOCX file format preferred.  Stories must be submitted by Friday, July 17th at midnight EST!

Best of luck, and may the hungriest stories win.