The Royal Academy of Bards Challenge #28

You Have Been Chopped


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January 29th, 2013

Added Part 15 of To Mend A Wild Heart by Mikaeli Hooper [Classic/Alt/Incomplete]

Added Part 5 and Part 6 - The Conclusion of A Fine Gray Dust by Geonn Cannon [Original/Alt/Complete]

The Long Trip by Phineas Redux [Uber/Alt/Complete]
This is an Uberfic set in Great Britain in 1943. Zena Mathews and Gabrielle Parker, both pilots and members of SOE—Special Operations Executive, find themselves transporting a Colonel Warden from the North Atlantic to Southern England.

January 27th, 2013

Added Part 4 of A Fine Gray Dust by Geonn Cannon [Original/Alt/Incomplete]

Added Part 19 of Hollywood Dreams by Fiur & Vlamme [Original/Alt/Incomplete]

January 25th, 2013

Added Part 2 and Part 3 of A Fine Gray Dust by Geonn Cannon [Original/Alt/Incomplete]

January 22nd, 2013

Added Part 18 of Hollywood Dreams by Fiur & Vlamme [Original/Alt/Incomplete]

Added Part 14 of To Mend A Wild Heart by Mikaeli Hooper [Classic/Alt/Incomplete]

Added Part 3 of Afterglow by Sten Willard [Original/Alt/Incomplete]

A Fine Gray Dust by Geonn Cannon [Original/Alt/Incomplete]
(Part 1 of 6) 1907. Roman, Oklahoma. Sheriff Anna Macy is still trying to emerge from her dead father's shadow when a group of criminals begin plaguing her town. Sarah Lucas, daughter of the gang's leader, is fighting to prove herself worthy to the men who swore loyalty to her father. When the Lucas gang robs the payroll of Macy's town, both women realize taking out the other is the key to ensuring their respective reputations. But law and vengeance is easier declared than carried out, and they soon discover that their destinies may be intwined in ways they never imagined possible.

January 18th, 2013

Alone (Once In An African Blue Moon) by Jennifer Alexander Robinson [PostFIN/Alt/Complete]
Still grieving over Xena's death in Japa, Gabrielle embarks on a voyage, which takes her to the land of Kush and a fateful meeting with Nubian Warrior Queen Utaria, ruler of Meroe.

Announcement from Blue Feather Books
Happy New Year to all our readers! We're kicking off the new year with Gato Timberlake's debut novel, an E. Taylor mystery, No Corpse is an Island :

How hard can it be for the outstanding Private Investigator Elizabeth Taylor to find the research papers of a man who killed himself? A man who was the fiancé of her housemate? Figuring it should be a breeze, Taylor (her preferred moniker) jumps at the job. Uh-oh. Turns out the police can't rule out foul play, and Taylor, being Taylor, can't rule out getting involved.

With high hopes of finding Stan McCormick's notes, she travels to Grafton Island in Chesapeake Bay, where Stan was in the middle of a land dispute. Upon her arrival, she meets the attractive and beguiling Priscilla Stewart. Could it be love at first sight? Leave it to Taylor to fall for a murder suspect! Priscilla got smashed the day Stan died, and she can't remember anything that did or didn't happen. Taylor's mission has expanded from locating Stan's notes to finding Stan's killer, thereby proving Priscilla's innocence.

Taylor noses around and asks questions that put her right in the middle of problems centered on Grafton Island: farmers against the watermen, newcomers against the old-time residents, and environmentalists against the questionable real estate dealings of developers.

The more investigating she does, the more people she finds with motives to have murdered Stan. She receives threatening notes and has several close calls that rattle her to the bone. She finds Stan's research papers, but can she find the killer before he makes fish bait out of her?
This witty, intriguing mystery will definitely keep you turning the pages, so don't wait, head to, or to Bella Books, and get your paperback or e-copy now!
And, as always, we have plenty of exciting titles planned for 2013, so make sure to check back often!

January 15th, 2013

Added Part 17 of Hollywood Dreams by Fiur & Vlamme [Original/Alt/Incomplete]
This extraordinary story about love and schemes is set in present Los Angeles, in the glamorous world of movie making, among the society of the "rich and the beautiful".

In the middle of it all are the Parkers and the Stuarts, two rival families. Torn between heart-wrenching romances and deadly hate, their feelings are whirling in a never-ending chaos of misunderstandings and coincidences. Mistakes and confusion add more trouble and problems to their daily lives until eventually they all might experience a happy ending... or won't they?

A Brush With the Enemy by Phineas Redux [Uber/Alt/Complete]
This is an Uberfiction set in Great Britain in 1942. Zena Mathews, a young New Zealand woman, and her navigator Gabrielle Parker work as pilots for a Department of SOE--Special Operations Executive, where all activity is top secret. On a flying mission in their Supermarine Walrus they meet an enemy aircraft.

Added Part 4 of Parcel of Trust by Kerry McNair [Original/Alt/Incomplete]

Announcement from Jenny Frame
I would like to announce my new ebook version of, The Lady of Dencotte House.

The Lady of Dencotte House as epub

The Lady of Dencotte House as PDF

The Lady of Dencotte House as mobi

A big thank to the cover designer, Lilien Hoffman. I f you are interested in Lilien's designs, you can contact her at Or check out Lilien's website here -!home/mainPage


January 13th, 2013

Lost and Found by Akiela Xal [Classic/Alt/Complete]
This is the third story in the "And They Were Gods" series (The first is Future's Past and the second is Family Tree).
Gabrielle confronts her father about the disturbing vision she saw in his Bowl of Divination which sends Xena and her on an unexpected journey.

Added Part 13 of To Mend A Wild Heart by Mikaeli Hooper [Classic/Alt/Incomplete]

Added Part 3 of Parcel of Trust by Kerry McNair [Original/Alt/Incomplete]

January 11th, 2013

Message from OZ:

I would like to announce the winners of Bard Challenge #28. This one was something. Each round was won by a different Bard, which I think is kinda awesome. The overall title was decided by where each Bard placed in the rounds they didn't win.

So in Bard Challenge #28: You've Been Chopped, the winners are:

Round 1: Appetizers-- Christmas on the Fourth of July by The Bard of New Mexico

Round 2: Entrée-- Fae Rye by Geonn Cannon

Round 3: Dessert-- The Breaking Point by Catrina Wolfe

The Chopped Bard Champion title goes to Geonn Cannon who finished first in Rd 2 and 2nd in Rds 1&3.

In our PunZle…we have a tie: Both Dawn Gerrets of Team Fly Big D and Claudia missed three. I had picked a couple of the pictures to be my (if necessary) tie-breakers. They both got the first one and missed the second one. LOL

So let's just call them both WINNERS.

BTW, I found it highly amusing that just about everyone missed the Cat Cora picture.


I will be contacting you individually to get shipping info for your prizes.

Now to the announcement I hoped I never had to make -

It started over a decade ago with the words:

"Steph, I have an idea. Can I...?"

And away we went. We started out primarily as an XWP writing challenge. My original purpose of the Challenges was to entice new wannabe writers to give writing/posting a try on a fun, safe, even playing field (anonymous competition). If you go back and look at the results of Challenges past, you'll see that not only did we hit that goal but that the new writers found much success as well. We quickly added ubers and originals into the mix and then more recently, other fandoms. The writers got a little more variety and leeway to show their stuff.

But alas, it didn't last. The BCs began slowly dwindling in popularity (to writers, not readers). Many established writers are now focusing strictly on publishing endeavors and newbies have infinitely more places for them to go to 'get their feet wet'.

In an effort to lure back a few of the past challenge competitors who were now published writers, we added a “participating but not competing” category to the Challenges. In this category, a writer could use their own readily identifiable characters and have it posted under their name, not anonymously, as the normal challenge Roools required. I had hoped that they would use the Challenges as a showcase to introduce new characters of their soon to be published books in a short story or give readers a reminder of their previous established characters (ie: a glimpse of what their characters had been up to since we last read them). To me it was a win-win situation. The readers would get more stories and a chance to meet characters before they bought the books. The writers got to hype their current or past books.

So much for that idea.

A few years back I set a goal of six entries. I said that if we ever dropped below that, I would end the challenges for lack of writer interest.

BC #28 received 3.

Now mind you - while the quantity faltered, the quality increased. Voting (the number of folks casting their votes) on the stories was at an all-time high. Each successive challenge generated new voting records.

BUT I guess the idea of Bard Challenges has run its course.

This is a sad day and it's ironically appropriate that it ends on this one. I've always looked at the Challenges as a bit of a cook off with the Bards taking on the Chef role and having to take all the mixed bits and pieces I throw at them and turn them into stories. On more than several occasions, they have managed to create masterpieces that have become stories that get saved and read again and again (see the Academy Hall of Fame).

I want to thank all the Bards, especially those who have turned out to be my stalwart regulars. You are the BEST OF THE BEST. Even though many of you have other priority writing projects, you still take the time to play in my Challenges. You gave my whacko premise ideas credibility every time you wholeheartedly took up the challenge. I am so, so grateful to you.

I want to thank my best buddy, D. The one I relentlessly bounced ideas off of and who always helped me tweak everything so that it made sense. The one who regardless of any number of on-going writing projects would still take the time to answer my request for a participatory story for the current Challenge. And she still hasn't killed me yet even though a few of those little “participatory” stories, much to her chagrin, turned into future epic writing projects for her. You ROCK, dear.

I want to thank our readers. I hope you enjoyed all the stories and will continue to support Bards no matter what their writing experience. Keep reading and please keep feeding. Take a few minutes to let them know you enjoyed their efforts and/or to offer constructive critiquing. If you liken yourself to be the “grammar police,” then offer your services as a beta for a writer. Encourage writers. The result is an endless supply of stories.

I want to thank all the hard working Munchkins who have kept the Challenges running so technically smooth over the years. I may have the ideas but they are the ones who do the work of coding/posting and making it look easy and the pages beautiful.

I have special thanks to my buddy in graphics, crime and PUNishment...EVIL J. Couldn't have done it without you. We share a similar sense of humor (I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing). You always dazzled me by being able to take a list and put a unique spin on it graphically. Doing these PunZles were the most fun for me.

Lastly, I have to thank Steph. For her faith in my ideas and giving me the free-reign to bring them to life.

Never say never or so I am told. The Bard Challenges may possibly return in the future. Who knows? It's really up to the Bards. For now though, our Bardic Kitchen Stadium is closed.

January 9th, 2013

Added Part 12 of To Mend A Wild Heart by Mikaeli Hooper [Classic/Alt/Incomplete]

January 6th, 2013

A new bard joins us today. Please welcome Catherine Burke!

America's Sweetheart by Catherine Burke [Original/Alt/Complete]

Opportunity Knocks by Catherine Burke [Original/Alt/Complete]

Rain Delay by Catherine Burke [Original/Alt/Complete]

Three Days by Catherine Burke [Original/Alt/Complete]

With All of My Heart by Catherine Burke [Original/Alt/Complete]

The Shetland Bus by Phineas Redux [Uber/Alt/Complete]
This is an Uberfic set in Great Britain in 1942. Zena Mathews, a young New Zealand woman, and her co-pilot & navigator Gabrielle Parker now work as pilots for a secret British Government organisation, part of SOE--Special Operations Executive. They fly on a mission involving fishing-boats, secret meetings out in the North Sea, spies, gun-running, and difficulties in piloting their Supermarine Walrus.

January 4th, 2013

Pride and Passion by Stein Willard [Original/Alt/Complete]

Added Part 11 of To Mend A Wild Heart by Mikaeli Hooper [Classic/Alt/Incomplete]
The Conqueror is fighting inner demons after Cleopatra's slave's betrayal. But with security problems, a royal wedding, plans to conquer Rome and a palace full of famous people, the Conqueror finds herself losing the battle with the beast inside of her. Until someone shows up at her palace for the Spring festival. This is the sequel to To Tame A Wild Heart .

Announcement from Bedazzled Ink
The Bedazzled Book Peddler will be at the Final Xena Con Part ll this January 10-13th at Burbank Marriott. This is an opportunity for authors to have their books sold while still enjoying the Convention. We encourage authors to stop by, sign books and entertain us. <g> We should have a selection of new releases from Bedazzled Ink and other publishers distributed by Bella Distribution. If your publisher is distributed by Bella Distribution and you will be attending the Con, please make sure you have an adequate number of books sent via Linda. Indie authors are welcome to contact us for more information. For any questions, please contact us at
Hope to see you there!

January 2nd , 2013

An Areal Taxi by Phineas Redux [Uber/Alt/Complete]
This is an Uberfic set in Great Britain in 1942. Zena Mathews, a young New Zealand woman, and her navigator Gabrielle Parker work as pilots in the British Air Transport Auxiliary. They are taken on as members of a secret Government organisation, part of SOE—Special Operations Executive, operating beyond the Civil Service radar where no records are kept.

Added Part 2 of Queens Tarranna and Chandral by Denise Ann [Uber/Alt/Incomplete]
(WARNING: This story involves slavery and a little semi-explicit sex. Please do not read if this will offend you.) This story takes place in an alternate universe where the twins Tarranna and Chandral were not taken from their mother and were raised at home. In this reality they became Queens of Georstrie but Queens who allowed slavery. Gardenya has been destroyed, the ruling family killed. Lili and Tashan are refugees fleeing to Georstrie when they are captured and made slaves of the Queens.

Guardians of the Mother (Book 3 of Tarranna series) by Denise Ann [Uber/Alt/Complete]
Book 3 carries on directly from the end of book 2, the Guardians have just been married and are enjoying a few days off. The dragon babies cause some trouble and of course their mums have to join in.

Announcement from Bedazzled Ink
It's always sad when a publishing company decides to close up shop. Sadly, we've lost two lesfic publishers this year.

Today was to be the last day for our open submissions for our Nuance imprint, but then we started receiving queries and submissions from authors whose works have been recently orphaned by PD Publishing closing its doors.

We've decided to retool our submission guidelines a bit and to keep open our call for submissions open. As always, we're interested in previously published books, as well as unpublished manuscripts.

f your book has been previously published and you want to re-publish it, we've made the first step simple for you. All you have to do is send a query . Tell us a bit about your book(s) and yourself.

If one of our staff, authors, or close associates has unmercifully twisted your arm (and bribed you with all kinds of sparkly and decadent things) and otherwise enticed you into submitting your previously published or unpublished book to us. Again, send a query to and don't forget to mention who did the arm twisting.

To read the the blog in it's has the rest of the submission guidelines... please follow this link:


Have a Prosperous and safe New Year!


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