PWC Third Annual Marge Elza 55 Word Contest


And the winners of The Phoenix Writers Club Third Annual Marge Elza* Fifty-five Word Story Contest are….

1st Place: “Breaking News” by Lois Kiely

Ann’s Father died in “The Great War.”  Her husband passed at 48.  Jason, her son, flies a helicopter in Iraq.  Suddenly Ann’s television cuts to breaking news. “Middle East update:  two Marine choppers down, all servicemen dead.  The phone rings.  “No,” she screams as she picks up the receiver.  She listens, “Mom, I’m okay.”

2nd Place: “Camping with Granny” by Elizabeth Sullivan

Granny took me camping.
She drew an imaginary line around us. “You’re safe in this magic circle.”
Exhausted, I quickly fell asleep.
A loud growl awakened me.
A drooling bear towered over us.
I didn’t dare move.
One blast from Granny’s keychain whistle frightened it away.
She hugged me close and whispered, “Goodnight.”

3rd Place: “Ronin” by Rachel Gianni

“I slaughtered an army to liberate a brother; murdered a friend to save my son. No more,” I cried, kneeling before my commander.
“You must.”
I envied the villain and his freedom to choose. Heroes must always serve justice. “Spare the boy,” I begged.
“I don’t want to be a monster.”
“Warriors never do.”

Honorable Mentions:

“A New Flame” by John Sullivan

Driving down the highway, I smelled smoke from the distant fire in my rearview mirror. My former girlfriend and I’d been fighting about whether to sell the house. I finally told Julie it was hers. But when her chain-smoking lawyer, Gary moved in with her, I accidentally left the gas on. He did the rest.

“Sundown” by Susan McNabb

He went up to the roof for privacy.
“You told your wife?” she texted.
“Not yet.” He replied.
Nor would he, he had decided.
The sun was settling behind the skyline. Time to take a stand.
“I’m sorry, it’s over,” he wrote. “And there’s no money.”
“I’m sorry too, Senator.”
He stepped off the ledge.

“55” by Mary LaMagna

I’m driving 55 in a 45 zone hurrying to meet a deadline for a 55-word story. Traffic jam, maybe 55 cars ahead, and though only age 55, feeling 95. Finally, to my home:

 55 West 55th Street. Exactly 55 seconds in the loo and… now at my reliable, cheap $55 computer.

Whew, made it!  55.


Announcing the Phoenix Writers Club

Third Annual Marge Elza* Fifty-five Word Story Contest!

Flash writing at its finest!


This story needs to be 55 words or less, excluding the title words, and it must be a story (fiction or non-fiction). The story submitted must have a beginning, middle and an end.

PWC has a 3-judge panel: Eileen Birin, Judith Humbert, and Lark LaTroy.

All three judges have met at least 2 of the 3 following criteria:

  • Current or past board member
  • Has written and published (self or traditional) at least one article, poem, short story, and/or book.
  • Has experience with writing, editing, and/or publishing.

For the contest PWC is looking for the following:

  1. Interesting story
  2. Good conflict
  3. Satisfying resolution

We’ll be accepting both electronic and mail-in submissions. For mail in entries, please forward to: Rodney Cobb, 8180 E. Highpoint Dr., Scottsdale, AZ 85266, for email submission, please send them to:

Only two submissions per contestant.

Contestants by way of entry, grant permission for PWC to use the submission(s) in any reasonable fashion without claiming any copyright infringements against PWC, its Board, and/or PWC members.

Please mail two copies of your submission, one with your personal information and one without. Rodney Cobb, who’s the individual coordinating the event (and will not be a judge in the contest) will circulate entries without personal information.

Contest will run August 1 – August 31 with last submission date Wednesday, August 31. All entries must be received by August 31, snail mail or otherwise.  PWC is not responsible for delay in any delivery method.  Any questions, please direct them to:

Entries will be judged between September 1 – September 10. Winners will be announced at the PWC 9/17 meeting. Although all entrants are encouraged to attend, one need not be present to win.

1st Prize $100 and a paid membership to PWC until June 1, 2017;

2nd prize $70 and a paid membership to PWC until June 1, 2017;

3rd prize $50 and a paid membership to PWC until June 1, 2017;

Three honorable mentions for $10 gift cards.

Note: If winners (1st/2nd/3rd place) are not PWC members he/she will NOT receive the equivalent of the PWC membership in cash. PWC membership will be granted to winners who live within commutable distance of the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The PWC Fifty-five Word Story Contest Judges:

Eileen Birin
Eileen is a writer, editor, independent publisher, and consultant for new writers and self-publishers, teacher and frequent speaker at writer’s groups, schools, libraries, and organizations on topics related to writing, alternative publishing, and memoir writing.

Eileen holds a Master’s Degree in Education-English from Loyola University and is an honored member in the Cambridge Who’s Who. Eileen has ten published books.

Judith Humbert 
Judith Humbert, now known and feared as “Judge Judith” among her friends, began her career teaching English Composition and Literature to students at the University of Kansas at Lawrence and later at Mackenzie University in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“JJ.” then progressed to a serious career of editing the scholarly publication The Luso-Brazilian Review at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and then writing and/or editing General Accountability Office reports and Federal Aviation Administration reports in Washington, DC.

Here in Phoenix she served as the first Membership Secretary of the Phoenix Writers Club.

Lark LaTroy
Lark is an author/photographer, and member of the Phoenix Writers Club.

He has had two of his NeoDruids book series published originally with Silver Publishing, and is now wholly independent.

Married to the club historian, Sharon Taylor, Lark works as a computer systems engineer by day, and novella writer by night.

*Who is Marge Elza?

Marge Elza is a long time member of Phoenix Writers Club (so long we’re not counting anymore!). She’s been an important part of the club throughout the years, having held the position of president multiple times.

During her most recent stint as our formidable commander-in-chief, Marge proposed the 55 word contest, and we’ve stuck to this annual event since.

After stepping down in May, Marge remains active in the club as our president emeritus. Feeling grateful for all she’s done for the club, we wanted to thank her by officially naming the contest after her.

Thank you, Marge, for everything!