Scarlett: A 99-Word Flash Fiction


It was the end of Scarlett’s long day at her new job when she got a text from her mother:

“Take dinner to Gram.”

Grabbing some food from the establishment, Scarlett then plugged Gram’s new address into her GPS, and set off in her little red Bug towards The Woods Senior Living Complex.

Yet, despite this, she got lost, making a wrong turn. At a stop light, she saw a handsome young man. She asked for help. Sniffing the aroma, he smiled wolfishly, gave her directions, and then hoofed it to Gram’s for Domino’s deluxe pepperoni and sausage pizza.

Nancy Brady, 2018


The final Rodeo Event was to write a recognizable, but fractured fairy tale flash fiction with a twist in which food played a role in 99 words only (no more, no less). I must admit that I was reminded of “Fractured Fairy Tales” from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, and wondered how to write one in so few words. Nevertheless, I gave it a try. Now that the results have been posted, I share it here. All of the others can be read at and believe me, they are worth reading. Among the forty or so entries, there are takes on Goldilocks, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, and more.

Thanks to Charli Mills and the judges, Norah Colvin, Anne Goodwin, and Robbie Cheadle for reading all of the anonymously submitted entries as I am sure it was difficult to choose a winner from among them. I am thrilled to say that mine was chosen as the winner. I am not sure what it says about me exactly; maybe that I have a warped mind!









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Michael Seidel’s definition fits my cat Flash to a T! He’s never met my cat, but he is a long-distance floofwhisperer.

Michael Seidel, writer

Imfloofable(floofinition) – a housepet that refuses to change its personality or accomodate any others.

In use: “Although she tried introducing other pets into the household, Flash was imfloofable, refusing to accept any other creature in the home. Like the Highlander, there could be only one.”

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The Journey of a Thousand Miles…

starts with a single step, but this pedometer geek has been slacking. The thousand mile goal has been met for the year, but…

This slacking pedometer geek hasn’t posted statistics on books or walking for the past three months. Just when this pedometer geek finally got the use of my dominant hand back, it was both back to work at the local board of elections during Early Voting and therapy for my hand. Suffice it to say, my energy was sapped and early bedtimes became the rule.

With a return to more flexibility, more energy, and more time, here is the brief synopsis of the reads in September, October, and November.

In September, the following books were read:

Toucan Keep a Secret by Donna Andrews

Bring Her Home by David Bell *

Heaven in His Arms by Lisa Ann Verge

Glory in Death by J.D. Robb

Pleasures of the Night by Sylvia Day

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

But You Didn’t Come Back by Marceline Loridan-Ivens

Heat of the Night by Sylvia Day

Feels Like Home by Evelyn Adams

All but one book were fiction; the nonfiction book by Marceline Loridan-Ivens was a memoir. All but the mystery by Donna Andrews were read in an e-book format. Four romances, two suspense/thrillers, and a YA fantasy were among the books read. Three new authors were read, and David Bell’s novel was reviewed on

In October, the following books were read:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng *

 The Magicians by Lev Grossman *

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen *

Heiress Without a Cause by Sarah Ramsey

Immortal in Death by J.D. Robb *

Must Love Mistletoe by Christie Ridgway

What She Really Wants by Barbara Delinsky

Where There’s Smoke by Jodi Picoult

Love and Rumors by Jean Oram

All of the books and short stories were fiction, which broke down into various genres. A fantasy novel, two suspense/thrillers, two romances, and two short stories were in the mix. All but two were read in an e-book format, and several were written by new (to me) authors. The Wife Between Us and Must Love Mistletoe were also reviewed on the website mentioned above.

In November, the following books were read:

Lark! The Herald Angels Sing by Donna Andrews

A House Among the Trees by Julia Glass *

Rapture in Death by J.D. Robb

Dancing With the Enemy by Paul Glaser

The Silken Edge by Laci Paige

Girls’ Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke *

The Taker by Alma Katsu *

Only one of these books was nonfiction, which was the memoir by Paul Glaser. The books included a mystery, two suspense/thrillers, a romance, a YA paranormal fantasy, and a mainstream novel. Two novels were read in an e-book format, and three authors were new to this reader.

Step totals decreased through the months, too. From 244,636 steps in September to 217,458 in October to 212,784 in November, this pedometer geek was slacking. Miles walked decreased as well, but in the last three months nearly 300 miles has been logged over the 1000 mile goal. While it is doubtful that another 200 miles will be completed by the end of the year, the mileage is already more than 30% better than last year’s total mileage. By the way, in October held another event: Marathon in a Month. Only logging 92 miles found this pedometer geek short of the ultra-ultra-marathon goal of 100 miles.

Asterisked books are SIY books.




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Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction: Into the Dark

Snow Vacation

On that first weekend in December, our family decided to spend a few days at our mountain cabin. We were excited to spend a last weekend away before winter.

Flakes fell, becoming a blizzard, and soon we were plunged into the dark, the power knocked out. Our old oil lamp became our only light, but we made the best of it.

The following morning, with impassable roads, we hunkered down, knowing we weren’t going anywhere soon. Still, we had plenty of food, but not much lamp oil. One night followed another, but our lamp continued to shine, lasting eight days.

Nancy Brady, 2018

This week’s 99-word (no more, no less) flash fiction prompt at Carrot Ranch ( was “into the dark,” and it needed to be incorporated into the flash fiction. Here is my entry, but read them all at Carrot Ranch. It is surprising all the clever stories the writers over there present each week, and they are worth checking out.


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What-the-Tuck: Two New Trends

This pedometer geek reader has recently identified what could be new What-the-tuck trends in novels. Because of the predominance of repeated use of particular words and phrases, there are two that I have added to my growing list.

The first is the smirk, which I will credit to another blogger for mentioning the overuse of the word first. What-the-tuck trends is just my term for reoccurring trends in novels. Smirks do, however, appear frequently. One recent romance I read had no less than fifteen uses of the word, and that was after I started flagging them. Okay, I get that people smirk as defined by the dictionary: to smile in an affected, smug, or offensively familiar way. But not every smile has to be a smirk especially if the ‘smirker’ (actually smirk is the noun describing someone who smirks) has just met another person in whom they may be interested.

There are plenty of ways to describe smiles besides smirks, yet smiles and/or grins, pleasant, wry, or otherwise, seem to have disappeared from contemporary novels. Smirks, however, are routinely divvied out by handsome, uber-rich alpha males (Combining many previously identified WTTs here) and drop-dead gorgeous young women wearing pencil skirts in stiletto heels (Again, combining many previously identified WTTs) alike. In other words, it is not all one gender here who is smirking, but generally, the propensity is toward the male character. If the word is used correctly as defined by the dictionary, that is one thing, but more often than not, it isn’t. Frankly, if all I saw from a person were smirks, I would consider this person to be a jerk, and I certainly wouldn’t fall in love with them no matter what.

Of course, there are real people who smirk, and that facial expression is obviously different from a pleasant smile. There is one prominent person who often smirks (and is frequently photographed with a smirk on his face) when he makes snide comments or belittles an opponent, but I digress.

Enough about the smirking trend; the second possible What-the-tuck trend is the waggle of the eyebrows, usually made by the handsome, uber-rich alpha male, who is trying to convince the woman of his dreams into bed. While usually done in a comical manner (I guess just in case she turns him down, he can still retain his dignity by claiming it was a joke, of course), it is a weird turn of phrase. I still am trying to figure out just what a waggle is based on the dictionary definition of a side to side motion. Based on the context I think I know what it means, but authors use it randomly (and frequently) assuming the reader will understand. To me, it seems as if it is an up and down motion, not a side to side motion, but is it? Or is it one brow up while the other is down and then reversing them?

Regardless, several recent novels have had the main character waggling his eyebrows. Is it a new WTT trend? The jury is still out on this one, and this inquiring mind wants to know.




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BP–A Sense of Place: Hiking Trail

The Haiku Foundation has had a weekly column running for several months. It is moderated by K.J. Munro, a haiku poet from Canada. Called A Sense of Place, the column focuses upon haiku written about a particular place as seen through the various senses. The last five weeks the place was a hiking trail and the senses have been sight, hearing, sound, taste, and touch respectively.

This haiku poet has been fortunate enough to have had the following haiku chosen to be published in the column:

she hikes

the overlook trail

lotus in bloom


fall hike

our footsteps silenced

by pine needles


nature hike

the underlying scent

of moldy leaves


taking a break

they snack

on trail mix


leaves of three

he grabs

the wrong handhold

Nancy Brady, 2018

As an aside, the first haiku was based upon the overlook trail at Old Woman Creek National Estuary Research Center, one of two national research centers on the Great Lakes. The rest of them are located on the coasts including the newest one, which is located in Hawaii. The estuary is formed at the juncture where Old Woman Creek meets Lake Erie. The lotus blossom is the symbol of Old Woman Creek because the blossoms cover the creek in the summer.

Check out more haiku at The Haiku Foundation under A Sense of Place. Thank you, K.J., for selecting some of my haiku.

The series now shifts to city sidewalks.



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Carrot Ranch: Crafting Scraps

November 15, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that uses scraps. It can be scraps of dried flowers, paper, metal, fabric, food — any kind of scraps you can think of. Then write a story about those scraps and why they matter or what they make. Go where the prompt leads you.

Here is my take on the prompt.

Crafting Scraps

Scraps of paper with just the right word; a snippet of a line; a phrase or two…she crafted poems like she crafted collages.

She chose her words like she chose the bits and pieces of paper and string to make up her vision for her art piece. Rearranging the lines to fit the rhythm, to fit the idea of the poem was as complex as arranging and rearranging the papers into the completed collage.

Did the poem express her inner thoughts? Had she put the words together to craft the poem that she originally envisioned? Did the poem succeed?

Nancy Brady, 2018

Check out more 99 word (no more, no less) flash fictions at



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