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Welcome back from your self imposed, or life imposed absence. A Great story and now just waiting for "It Was Only a Blowjob" to get finished. Glad you're back writing again.

humor and sweetness.

I don't know how you do it. Well, I got an idea on how you do it, but still...I cannot replicate it! :-) We need to find a way to bottle your ability to combine humor and sweetness together. You could make a fortune in selling it to aspiring writers. You find a way to combine those two elements and you still mix in believeability. I am reading this story and it feels like it is something that happened in real life and not just the fertile imagination of the author. Kudos to you.
Sincerely. PB.

About that stabbing...

I too was very upset with that scene; for crying out loud, a CAKE knife?! If someone goes after my wife (and life!) I can guarantee at least a 9 inch Bowie. And what's with the poke and go. Obviously you didn't intend to kill him; so why didn't you at least take out a knee and mess up his face. I'll bet that motherfucker was after another man's wife inside of six months. Please please pay no attention to the meddling liberal do-gooders that are scared shitless of the idea that the people they're always fucking with would actually take responsiblity for their lives and defend their rights.

I don't think I have read a bad story of yours, in fact I know I haven't. You tapped into to some pain that I related to in many ways and were able to force me to abandon my dislike of a couple who kept tearing one another down and route for love. Well done, and I hope to continue to see more of your work

Not all games are fun.

Warning: My comments will tend to be harsher than complimentary. It is meant to help. I hope that by identifying what *didn't* work for me, the author might have some insight into areas of improvement, so far as one reader's opinion goes. I didn't read the other comments, until composing my own.

* First impression during and after the read. *

" . . . out of place in frugally furnished room." I think you're missing a 'the' between in and frugally.

Need to say this. Pet peeve of mine are first paragraphs with errors. You'll often lose me as a reader. If you can't get the first paragraph right . . . . In this case it's your first sentence. The other one was given to you.

" . . .low and surround by two large . . ." Surrounded, not surround.

Second sentence, second mistake. You definitely would have lost me as a reader.

"Once again he looked slowly taking in every little nuance." Awkward sentence, probably should have the word 'around' either before or after slowly.

" . . . sometimes like now; it drove him to distraction." - I think this would be better punctuated as: sometimes, like now, it drove him to distraction.

" . . . she ran away with mandolin player . . ." with 'a' mandolin player, perhaps?

Starting to wonder about this guy and this relationship. She leaves him for a month with another guy in a hippy colony, and he takes her back? WTF? And he calls it a flirtation? Buy the guy a dictionary.

" . . . held some cache but the . . ." I think the word you're looking for is cachet.

" . . . was barely with his means had had meant . . ." I think you meant within, not with, and you have one too many 'had's here.

Starting to understand a little of their issues. She's a flake. He loves her. They're from two different worlds.

Scary how weak-willed this guy is. She leaves, takes the child, has an affair, and it's just another day. Sad.

I'm getting pissed at the daughter. He's miserable, and they're laughing at him? What is the deal with the games.

So it's a game? Was it always a game? Honey is grown up, and the wife had an affair when she was a baby - is it 20 years later? Twenty years of this crap?! The man has the patience of Jonah, or the spine of a jellyfish.

Alright, where's the rest? I mean, seriously, that can't be the end. You must have forgotten to submit it or something. This isn't an open ending, it's a fail.

Too bad, despite a lot of editing issues, it was an interesting story, different, and engaging. You managed to make me feel and take sides, which is good. I wanted to know what was happening. Unfortunately just as you got me totally engaged, you dropped the ball.

As for the items, for all it means in this story they could have been a rock, a pickle and a dump truck. The hanky had some tie in, but a butter knife?

* Favorite Elements *

Interesting, different plot. Good character development on the part of the husband.

Engaging, and kept me wondering.

* Issues *

Need some editing. That and an ending. Ok editing, ending, and a spine for the husband. And maybe new locks for the house.

Frustrating. It could have been a very interesting, compelling and engaging story. It's a third of one.

Naughty Games

Warning: My comments will tend to be harsher than complimentary. It is meant to help. I hope that by identifying what *didn't* work for me, the author might have some insight into areas of improvement, so far as one reader's opinion goes. I didn't read the other comments, until composing my own.

* First impression during and after the read. *

Loved the guys initial reaction. "Crap! Did I miss something?" So real.

" . . . get EVRYWHERE clean," Missing an E in everywhere

" . . . she finished my giving me . . ." by, not my

" . . . and see where it lead." maybe 'led', not 'lead'.

' . . . note that read; "Use me."' Not sure, but I think that semi-colon should be a colon or gone.

mind/mind echoing twice now. Find another word or phrase and mix it up

Really enjoying the slow build up, and the teasing preparation. Seriously. This is great.

" . . .she had me rise and lead me from the bathroom." led vs lead again.

Appreciate the use of italics to indicate thoughts.

worked down // worked down // worked down. Three times in six sentences. Mix up the phrases, please.

Still loving the anticipation, the teasing. Good job.

Feeling a little nervous for the guy, awkward position, so much out of the norm, what's going on?"

"I couldn't wait to see shat her new grooming job . . ." I hope 'shat' wasn't the word you meant to use.

Warning claxons going off in my head. Deep throat like a pro first time? Shaved pussy? Safe word time.

"This time her mouth was warmer than usual; almost too hot. I figured she had spit the ice cube out, but I didn't understand how her mouth could heat up so quickly." This has been a fun ride - please don't make him stupid.

Never mind - he figured it out.

Definitely safe word time. New partner, first time anal play, and now a vibrator up the ass? Too much, too soon, after past history. I'd be distinctly uncomfortable.

"In my mind's eye I could see her leaning back ion ecstasy;" - in, not ion.

" . . . perfect c cup breasts . . ." convention has the 'C' writting in caps.

" . . . my face again wile suckling . . ." - your while is missing an 'h'

"I felt her jump and her a gasp between sucking . . ." - should 'her' be 'heard'?

Lots of little mistakes here, during the sex scene climax. Maybe you enjoyed writing it too much. One handed typing is killing you - ;-)

"AS I was sucking . . ." As doesn't need to be all caps.

" . . . all you could her was my grunting . . ." hear, not her.

" . . . and said 2 words." Most style guides recommend writing out 1 digit numbers. 'two' words.

" Moments later I felt the tingle beginning in my shaft. It spread over my balls and my ass clenched. Moments later I let . . ." Issue with phrase echoing. Moments later / moments later. Several times in this story. You should work on that.

"All I herd out of . . ." heard, not herd.

Won't tell him who it was? Non-starter. Major issues.

This was all about her getting pregnant? Still don't get it.

Overall, a simple stroker, with a nice anticipatory lead up, and questionable antics. I think most husbands would have some issues with what happened and/or why. The use of the items was minimal, and baby book seemed contrived. She's pregnant, so she brings her 'girlfriend' in, blindfolds him, ties him up, and does things they've never done before. Weird and awkward.

The sex was pretty good, just twisted.

* Favorite Elements *

Anticipatory lead in. Accurate portrayal of the guys initial reaction. All the stuff going around in his brain.

Pretty hot sex.

* Issues *

Trust. The woman just made a mess of that. He brings up a threesome and he's in the guest room for a week. Her way of bringing it up is tricking him into it, blindfolded and tied up. What is her relationship with the woman? The 'why' made no sense as to why it should be a secret. None.

Pulleys for his legs? What kind of bedroom setup do they have?

Lots of writing mistakes halfway through the sex scene. Need to edit that more carefully. Maybe read it backwards to keep the content out of context, and just read the words.

The ending seems wrong. Way wrong. Just my impression. Pregnant or not, we'd be having a serious discussion if there was a new player in our sex life, and not only was I not told about it before, but the person was kept secret afterward.

How to make a reader fall in love with one of your characters. Cynthia.

Warning: My comments will tend to be harsher than complimentary. It is meant to help. I hope that by identifying what *didn't* work for me, the author might have some insight into areas of improvement, so far as one reader's opinion goes. I didn't read the other comments, until composing my own.

* First impression during and after the read. *

Love the line '... wanted to surf her wake.'

Pet peeve, errors in dialogue punctuation, lots of them. Missing periods, commas, periods where there should be commas - half a dozen, at least in the first 1/3 page.

His infatuation comes through clearly, and the humor Cynthia finds in it just as clear. "Pathetic people sent a note. They don't want you in their club house." Almost laughed out loud.

"... wood-ish, if you can't manage anything harder." Glances at crotch. I'm beginning to love Cynthia.

"... she sai." ? We could kind of use a 'd' on the end of said.

REALLY need to work on dialogue punctuation. Getting distracted.

Cynthia. I want a Cynthia. Fun girl. Makes me smile.

"... with her fro awhile." Freudian? Do we still call it a 'fro?"

"I'll get it latter." Later, maybe? - still on the 1st half of first page.

NO! They BOTH play for the other team? Aargh. - Damn, Cynthia, you had me going too.

Love the explanation of how to vision the items before painting. Point to Cynthia.

Love the introspective, thoughtful, confident new painting process. Love it. Thanks, Cynthia. I can see the picture in my head. Well done.

God, I love a happy ending. I would love to know what she had painted. Really enjoyed the story.

* Favorite Elements *

His lame innocence, lack of confidence, turning around. Cynthia. Just a fun character. Even liked the teacher. Great credible characters.

Enjoyed the bar scene, imagining the teacher in her underwear. So visual, so easy to picture. Of course, his breakthrough painting was the perfect transition. Very well done.

Sparse details but fitting. Appropriate for such a short story.

Excellent use of dialogue. Believable, fitting. Easy to picture each scene.

* Issues *

Badly needed an edit. Dozens of errors. Way too many. Distracting.

Would have liked a little clearer conclusion, but it didn't detract from the story.

Other than that, I loved pretty much everything about the story.

This was the second story I read. It's one of the last for me to comment on. I've been letting it stew. I read it again just now. Now flavors, different textures, a different day. Same story.


I had a professor once, rather famous fellow with several acclaimed books under his belt, that once put forth that a story could be nearly anything, so long as that thing changed or adapted. I've always thought it was bullshit. Everything's a story. Everything. Not changing can be a very interesting story. Bartleby the Scrivener comes to mind. Melville aside, however, change is definitely as good a way as any to dictate what is and isn't a story.

This is certainly a story.

No work in this competition manages to showcase the kind of change that this one does. And it's not even close. There is a fullness in this tale that is lacking in the others. It's richer, deeper, more complete, than even "The True Oracle", which was almost an exercise in world-building. This story manages this with superior dynamic shifts in location and, more importantly, emotion.

Emotion is everything in writing--evoking it, conveying it. Without emotion, you're just a good describer, not a writer. In the beginning, this story is heart-wrenching, in a true, awful, bring-out-your-dead kind of way that anyone who has ever been divorced or fallen from love can immediately identify with. It's that scene from your life when you're looking at this stranger that was once your best friend and lover and their eyes are so foreign to you, and you want to kiss them, or shake them, or smash their fucking head in with a rock. You depicted that marvelously. It gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Of all the dark, wicked, stories in this competition, it was that scene that disquieted me the most. Real life is always more frightening than fiction. You conjured my ghosts. Kudos....bastard. :)

Then we shift gears. You let your fingers stretch a little bit, and show off the ole' writin' prowess. Great descriptions, clever sentences, top-shelf stuff, all of it handled with the kind of grace and pacing that only comes from being supremely comfortable with ones own ability. There are passages here, that just tumble along, shaped in just the right way, given just the right pressure, that most will never be able to ape, regardless of how much they try. No need to go on about that. You can write a sentence. I'm sure you're aware.

The middle portion is tension, conflict. The stabbing was easy, happened so fast we didn't even notice. This isn't man vs man. The struggle here is against ego, against self, the fight to love again, more exactly, to admit that one never stopped. It's an awful thing, to love someone you hate, to be hated by someone you love. Makes you stupid. Childish.

"Papa says that you are two foolish people. That you need to kiss and makeup, before it gets cold." Indeed, and not just dinner.

Then, when hope has inched along just enough, we get the reconciliation, and it's so satisfying because of what we have witnessed and what we have all been through. Haven't we all wished that? To start again, somewhere new, where our problems are a thousand miles away, a place where no one knows our past failures? For these two, that paradise exists. It is a land literally built for them. A new life, sectioned and labelled. And it's as warm and glorious as a Central American summer.

Now...what I didn't like.

Let's talk about the stabbing. I don't need lovable characters, or even likable ones. I want people, real and raw and unfiltered. Still, I couldn't help but feel like this reaction was..pathetic, especially after we learn everything. Combined with the fact that the onus for ever misstep is placed on the woman (granted, this is from the man's point of view, but she doesn't do a lot of arguing) gives the story, at times, a misogynistic vibe that I really didn't like. I know that this doesn't mean it expresses your feelings as an author, but it kind of turned me off. It made Dan seem not unlikable or unsympathetic, but uninteresting. Here was this complicated, fascinating man, who, every once in a while, would just seem like an ignorant, socially backward caveman. The story was so well-written that I was able to brush past it. But every time I came up against it, it gave me a bad taste in my mouth. And it comes up quite often.

Which brings me to my next issue: this story is probably a bit too long. As a lover of all things insightful, clever, introspective, and emotional, I have to say that there was likely a bit too much of that here. Too much thinking in spots, and God do I love thinking. And it's all good quality stuff, but ultimately unnecessary. With diligence, I bet you could have pruned out a page of understated, eyes-narrowed against the sun, Hemingway in Belize-esque contemplation. Having said that, I enjoyed every bit of it.

In closing, this was a damn good story. Does it deserve the ranking that it has? I'm not sure. It's damn good, and well above the vast majority of the others in so, so many ways--a different league, really--but it isn't without flaw. But with only a 1-5 rating, there is little choice but to give this a 5, for quality of the writing and scope alone.

It was a masterclass on how to handle emotion in an erotic story. Thank you for sharing it.

Very Good Quality

It's hard for me to take it all in and put it right here. It was quite a long tale. Looking back I have a lot of mixed feelings about the story, though to start I thought this was incredibly well written, a good concept, and a really plausible trip through the themes you presented.

I tasted that anger you used at the beginning of the story from Dan. That was really good. And honestly? This has nothing to do with any morbidity or anything like that, bit I loved that you had Dan stab Mr. Playboy. That was such an asshole move, such an irrational and impulsive thing for him to do. Sorta made you hate him a bit. That was actually awesome. To me, it set it apart from what otherwise woulda just been a mundane same ole start to a cheating story. It was kind of a shocker, but equally plausible. I also liked the little freak out Sandy had when that book started to burn. It was a simple but powerful little moment. She's frozen in shock from being confronted by Dan, then clawing at the flames for fear of losing it all. So for me, great opening.

I liked how you took the items from the sentence and used them. Very fitting. A guy thst carries a hanky, and even offered one to the guy he just stabbed. The decorative knife was one that looked so familiar. Most powerfully symbolic was that book. Seems like that burned book resembled the entire story, and the struggle of this family.

I do love how the story progressed. The slow build up with Sandy gently prodding her way back. Their struggle to forgive each other. I liked the touches with David and DeeDee. You really gave life to this setting. It really is a heartfelt love story full of revenge and reconciliation, rebuilding (literally too), and forgiveness. Everything was basically right in place.

Technically speaking the story is pretty perfect, so I guess the only issues I have are really just my issues. My personal preferences. I was enjoying the story, but as it went along it got a little bit predictable, just in where it was going. It also started to crawl for me. The pacing was right, even in those areas where Dan was building this or that or talking about expats or whatever was happening. The slow rebuild was actually symbolic of the family building themselves anew and putting the past behind. So it fit, but honestly it still kinda lost my interest a bit here and there. Like I already knew where things were going to go so it lost a bit of the... I dunno excitement? Like a lot of the time I was reading things and wanting it to get there already.

The sex was tender and sweet where needed (the end bit). Though I admit it didn't really "turn me on" or anything. Actually, the two of them made me want to blush and close my browser and let them have their privacy. So... take that as you will. :) But, aye, a little short in supply on the erotic for my tastes.

All in all, this was a good journey through this couple and family's hardships. Parts of this tale lost my interest or attention, or just weren't my thing. Even so, it was a great story of love, through every twist and spin and turn, every climb and fall. I liked yoir shocking and powerful start, and admired the slow emotional build to something new snd beautiful.

Great Job. Good Luck in the contest.


Oh my, oh my. Such a lovely story. Sexy, too.

Excellent use of dialogue to tease out character personalities and attractions. The story really came alive when Cynthia started talking, which is what happened with the narrator as well, so I thought it was fitting.

The title is VERY apt. Like Ellie, I'm hesitant to repeat what others have said. The knifing in particular. However, kudos for a full bodied story instead of a little snippet!

I think I will just ditto everyone else's comments its was a great story, very entertaining :)


I really enjoyed this one despite some of the quirks (the thought of yellow beer made me think of piss. Amber? Paint colors shouldn't be capitalized. I'm pretty sure you can have sex in a Prius). One of the best uses of the elements I've read--sustained and integrated, made important to the story. Smooth writing. Followed right along and enjoyed the ride. One of the best I've read.

I'm in agreement with others here, very well written, but...

I think it could use some smoothing out...she disappears and has affairs or not and he's worried she's at it again. But then we learn it's also fun and games as well and his family is in on some of them. So which is it and in what order? When she disappears these days should he be worried or anticipate some fun?

For awhile I felt like I was in the LW zone given the initial setup. I was irked at her for being so thoughtless and high maintenance and I was irked at him for putting up with it. So ya got me feeling...well done!

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