We received over 80 stories for this year's Creative Loafing Fiction Contest, all related directly or peripherally to the contest theme, "Heat." Thank you to all who entered; the judges (University of Tampa's Jeff Parker, CL columnist Catherine Durkin Robinson and myself) had to make some tough choices. Here are our selections for the top ten stories, listed in alphabetical order by title:
"Bag Boy"; "The Curling Iron"; "Death by Bebop"; "The Guns and Queens of Rocky Point"; "Hot Air Cadillac"; "Looking in the Wrong Direction"; "Reap What You Sow, or Sing"; "Teenage Wasteland"; "Twilight and Brimstone"; "Volcano Kicking."
Now it's the readers' turn to weigh in.
Go to cltampa.com/fictioncontest; register (if you aren't already a member of CL's website); read the stories (you'll be able to download each one as a PDF); then check the box next to the title of your favorite. Of course, if you already know which story you want to vote for — because the author was, say, a friend, or a spouse, or maybe even yourself — you won't have to read it first. But remember, you get just one vote, and voting closes Fri. Dec. 30 at 12 noon.
The winners of the judges' and the readers' top prizes will be published in CL online and in print on Thurs. Jan. 5, and winners and judges will read from their work at CL Space on Sun., Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m.