Read “No Ice Cream,” “The Remnants,” and “Bring the Llama” in Ironology 2015


I am having a crazy week as a writer, because as of this morning, I’ve had four stories published this week!

Three of those stories are flash fiction pieces that I’ve written as a member of the Iron Writer community over the past year. I’ve written about Iron Writer before. It’s a concept and community that has challenged and changed my writing style and taught me how to craft quality flash fiction.

This week, The Iron Writer published a collection of flash fiction stories – and I’m in the anthology – three times! Here’s the blurb on the back of the book, which will explain and describe The Iron Writer and this collection better than I ever could:

“Atop the writer’s desk await the tools of the the craft. Four days and the deadline looms. Four elements must integrate the pieces into five hundred words. The pieces begin to fall into place. The competing writers will not relent and every word counts. The Iron Writer is a web-based flash fiction competition. It is about crafting short, element based stories in a competitive environment; winner take all. It was conceived out of the desire to help writers of all skill levels improve the writing through fast, fun skirmishes with other writers using elements common to each story. From around the world, writers have gathered and competed. Some are veterans of the craft; some are new to the game. Yet all of them were willing to do battle to discover if they were worthy of carrying the title of Iron Writer. Contained here are the winning stories by the current champions of… The Iron Writer Challenge.”

Ironology 2015 is a compilation of all the winners of the weekly challenges over the past year. And I am so proud to announce that three of my flash fiction stories, “No Ice Cream,” “The Remnants,” and “Bring the Llama,” appear in this volume.

If you’d like to take a flash fiction journey through a collection that is quirky, emotional, and crosses all genres of fiction, pick up a copy of Ironology 2015.

Me? I’ll just be over here eating cheesecake and sipping whiskey to celebrate!


Could I Be a Champion?

This is my champion baller stance. Word.

This is my champion baller stance. Word.

Last summer, I stumbled upon this cool little website/contest/community called The Iron Writer—and it completely changed and improved my writing.

Each week, The Iron Writer hosts a flash fiction smackdown. Four authors are pitted against each other to create a 500-word story that must incorporate four provided elements. And usually, these elements are completely oddball and unrelated. They often inspire terror and what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-do-with-these moments when they are revealed.

This format forces you to be wildly creative, word under a tight deadline (five days), and live for brevity. I’ve written some really cool stories that I wouldn’t have had I not been involved in this community. I’ve stretched and strengthened my craft while having a lot of fun, which is so awesome.

Each week, a challenge winner is determined by scores from a panel of judges combined with an open public vote. Winners of weekly challenges compete in solstice competitions four times a year. And then the final four advance to the annual championship.

Today, the 2015 championship stories are on the website—and one of them is MINE! That’s right, I could take home the title!

So now, I need a little something from you, dear readers. Go visit the championship page, read through the entries, and vote for the piece that you think is the most deserving.

I’m not going to tell you which one is mine—because in this circumstance, I’d rather people vote for the story than the author. (Now, those of you who are familiar with my writing…you just might recognize my style.)

In any case, take a moment to read some great (and weird, by virtue of the crazy elements we were assigned) flash fiction and vote for the story that impresses you the most.

Could I be this year’s champion? I certainly hope so.

See you all on the flipside of this competition next week. Here’s hoping the flipside involves assuming a victorious pose and singing Queen’s “We Are the Champions” at the top of my lungs directly into my computer screen.


Becoming an Iron Writer

Iron Writer Challenge

The circumstances surrounding my discovery of The Iron Writer are vague at best; I think I was researching places to submit my short stories for publication and a few web clicks later, I found this rad place to challenge my flash fiction writing skills and test my creativity.

Here’s how The Iron Writer challenge works. Each week, four writers are pitted against each other. They are given four elements, a 500-525 word limit, and four days to craft a flash fiction masterpiece. The submissions are posted to the website each week where the public can vote on their favorite piece. Behind the scenes, impartial judges rate the stories. The popular votes and the judges’ votes are combined and voila, a winner is selected.

A couple months after joining the Iron Writer community, I’m in the finals for the Iron Writer Summer Solstice Open. And I think that’s pretty dang cool.

To get to the finals, I’ve written two qualifying stories, one in which I had to combine the gods, dice, cocktails, and irrigation boots, and another in which I had to combine the point of view of Death, a chamber pot salesman, the Justice League v. Avengers, and a minion (a la Despicable Me). It hasn’t been easy, but I love the stories I’ve crafted from these crazy prompts. I’m better for it. They’ve stretched my brain in new ways, made me write differently. Growth in my craft, my friends.

For the finals, my elements are:

A lost key

A dessert topping

Travel brochures

A thermostat

And here’s my entry:

The Remnants

By Tiffany Michelle Brown

The body was starting to smell—sickly sweet like bruised plums abandoned in the trashcan for too long. Jocelyn imagined the internal sugars rebelling, turning to acid, attacking the flesh. She brought her cup of tea to her nose, inhaled steam and chrysanthemums, felt the comfort settle into her bones. She knew the solace would evaporate quickly. She needed to decide.

Jocelyn bent forward and surveyed the glossy brochures fanned out on the coffee table. India. Australia. Lebanon. Germany. Luxembourg.

“Where would you like to go?” the travel agent had asked.

Jocelyn took off her sunglasses and hat, returned the agent’s gaze, and said, “Far away.”

The agent’s accommodating smile dissipated like instant coffee granules in hot water.

“And I want options.”

Jocelyn had received a handful of brochures generally produced for couples researching honeymoon destinations or kids fresh out of high school ready to backpack the continents before heading to college. For Jocelyn, this wasn’t about adventure; it was about survival.

The old two-story house shifted and settled, startling Jocelyn. Tea sloshed over the rim of her mug. She sighed and pattered to the kitchen for a towel.

While dabbing her top, the house shifted again—louder this time. Jocelyn dropped the towel and grabbed a knife from the butcher block. Her heart hammered in her chest and her muscles tensed…TO BE CONTINUED!

Yeah, I’m teasing y’all. To read the full story, check out the Iron Writer website. And then vote! (Hopefully for me?)