Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest: the first of FOUR Honorable Mentions, “Interlock” by Barbara Anne Helberg

Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest

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the first of four honorable mention awards

* Honorable Mention *


by Barbara Anne Helberg

THIS was gripping. Reading somebody else’s journal? Maybe it’s a diary? Totally intriguing because it’s usually frowned upon to read such a thing – so right away we’re thinking we are up to no good. Nice job.

Then, intrigue! I must read on!

A fun story that starts fast and kept me reading. Good job.

This story and the other Honorable Mentions, along with a profile of each of their authors, will be featured on the blog. They are really good.

DON’T FORGET: ALL contestants not winning first, second, or third place will be put into a drawing for other prizes!

HERE are some of the AMAZING AUTHORS whose books will awarded:


Allison MaruskaProject Renovatio. Author of the runaway bestseller The Fourth Descendant, Allison Maruska offers an audio book version of her latest hitProject Renovatio.

With over 550 reviews on Amazon, The Fourth Descendant established Allison as an amazing breakout author. I read Project Renovatio. It is a brilliant, thrilling YA novel that grabs the attention of readers and holds them until the very end.



Hugh RobertsGlimpses

28 short stories that will take your mind on a rollercoaster of a ride into worlds that conceal unexpected twists and turns. You REALLY wanna win that!

dana wayne

Dana WayneMail Order Groom, Secrets of the Heart

Dana Wayne is all about the romance! Mail Order Groom is a historical western romance. Secrets of The Heart is a contemporary romance. Both are amazing!

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Curtis BaussePerfume Island, One Green Bottle

One Green Bottle, set in Provence, is the first in a series of Magali Rousseau detective stories. Perfume Island is the second book in the amazing series. You’ll love it!


T. A. HenryScripting The Truth

Any story that takes place in post-WWII Britain and has the phrase “She’ll try to do it all while trying to keep the seams on her stockings straight” has to be read. You’ll agree.


Joanne R LarnerDicken’s Diaries, Richard Liveth Yet

One reviewer called Dicken’s Diaries “a ‘diary’ with lots of amusing stories and indeed it is a cleverly written, humorous book.” Richard Liveth Yet is Richard III as you have never seen him before! Great stories from a great writer.

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Yecheilyah YsraylRenaissance: The Nora White Story

In 1922 Mississippi, Nora White has graduated high school and is college bound, but she is fascinated by the prospect of being a famous writer in The Harlem Renaissance – and decides on a change of plans. Techeilyah will amaze you with this one!

Poggi cover FINAL

and of course, ME

A few folks will be selected to receive a copy of Poggibonsi: an Italian misadventure,my hilarious sexy romp through Italy (definitely a hot commodity, so to speak) as a signed paperback or as an eBook. Don’t even ask me if I’ll sign the eBook. Just. Don’t.

And now, the first of four Honorable Mention winners in Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest

Word Weaver logi FINAL trimmed

* Honorable Mention *


by Barbara Anne Helberg


I found Mira’s journal and I read about Mira and Jimy L. And Thomas was there. I read of Mira and Thomas, too. I learned everything.


Mira told me all.


On the night my beloved Thomas was shot, Mira was hoping to accomplish something quite different. Her journal told me that, and I remember it all. I can tell it without rereading Mira’s words.


* * *


It wasn’t him. It wasn’t him! Mira’s flashlight told her. Its beam revealed the bloodied face of Thomas Poppopolis. The darkness in the log cabin closed around Mira, possessing her, choking her. Fright thrilled her. Where was he? She couldn’t will herself to move. There was no sound, no movement, no light beyond her flashlight. There was only Poppopolis lying dead at her fingertips and the enveloping darkness lighted in the tiny, narrow yellow streak of her pointing flashlight. There was no time and no meaning in her existence.


The pendulum was not there to instruct her. Thomas could not speak to her, reassure her as he had many times, even though she frequently had questioned his intelligence in these things. When the pendulum had not spoken, Thomas had. In his own unenlightened way, he had guided her. Mira had clung to his words when she had had nothing else. At this dark, despairing moment of utter failure, Mira would have welcomed one of Thomas’ long-winded explanations of her motivations. Right, or wrong, Thomas many times had grounded her floating energies.


He would do it now.


But Thomas was dead.


And “he” wasn’t here.


Abruptly, Mira removed her hand from Poppopolis’ cheek. “I’m sorry, Thomas,” she whispered nonsensically. “I don’t know why you were here.”


A small scraping sound occurred somewhere near Mira. She started and snapped off the flashlight. Total darkness fell around her. Inside the forest-surrounded cabin, she could see nothing, not even the nearby window she knew was there. From where she squatted on the kitchen’s linoleum floor, she could distinguish nothing other than suppressing blackness. She couldn’t even see Poppopolis’ still body, but she knew it was there, lying dead beside her, dead from the bullets from the small revolver she still clutched in her left hand. How easy it had been to kill him, she thought suddenly. It had been easy with Craig, too. But this time the wrong man had fallen and died.


Where was he! Her mind clutched the thought and her right hand clutched the flashlight. With her left hand she slid the revolver into her sweater pocket.


The scrape came again. Downstairs! In the wood cellar, she thought. Below me! She glanced through the dark in the direction of the dining area window, seeing nothing. She knew where the window was, exactly. On her hands and knees, she crawled toward it.


Getting through the window was a clamoring struggle, not the soundless, burglar-like escape she had imagined. She applied all the strength she could find to lift the window open: it stuck; and it slid up a little; it stuck and slid again. It was noisy, and she began to perspire with the effort and the thought that he would hear her struggle and be alerted. For the first time, fear of the apparent failure of her finely planned episode gripped her. She fought the paralyzing effect of fear and lifted one leg over the sill and pulled mightily with her thin arms. Her aching hands turned white in their desperate grip on the sill frame. She didn’t let go. Her right knee banged on the log that had stuck out always unevenly from the others below the sill. The stinging pain of the blow lurched her. She wanted to scream. She couldn’t. And she didn’t dare. Then she wanted to cry. She wouldn’t. She grunted and managed to negotiate the final lift over the sill.


She was through the window and safely touching the ground two feet below it before she remembered the cellar’s wood window at ground level. He had come through the wood window ahead of her and there he stood in a phantomy outline in front of her. She barely could see all of him in the black of the night. A little chill caught her.


He reached forward and clamped his hand over the outline of the revolver in her sweater pocket. In a low, quiet voice, he said, “You didn’t want to use this, did you, darlin’?” He used his same hand to pull her toward him.


She was shaking when she said, “Thomas. He’s… he’s — ”


“Shhh — I know. You didn’t mean to do it, Annabelle. It will be all right. It’s that demonic Judith Lea. She made you do it.”


Mira was genuinely frightened. He was mad, she thought. The pendulum had been trying to tell her all along. It couldn’t answer “yes” to her inquiries of his love for her. Because it wasn’t she he loved. He loved the fictional Annabelle. That had been the unanswerable question all along.


“Shhh,” he said, tightening his grip around her. Then he drew very close to her and whispered, “Let’s go back into the cabin.”


He was close enough for her to fee his warm breath breeze down across her face, but Mira was chilled. His grip was unrelenting, her mind guide in the darkness. Not able to see his face, nor the glow from his bluest of blue marble eyes, she let his charged hold on her be her thermometer of his thoughts. She rallied through her cold fright to smile pleasedly at him. “Yes,” she agreed, fondling his arm, faking the tone and the touch.


He moaned. “Oh, Annabelle, how long I’ve loved you. Can you love me, too? Say you can. I couldn’t bear it any other way.”


“Yes,” Mira answered. It was not a time to argue. His lips brushed across her cheek, pressed tenderly on her mouth. She didn’t resist. She helped him. He moaned again, and she touched him for confirmation. He wanted her — Annabelle. Mira shuddered just before he pulled her hard against him.


Embracing and pausing to kiss several times, they found their way around to the cabin door and careened across the threshold. His grip on her was urgent and trembling. His sense of singular demand rattled Mira, and she was frightened again but she remained determined.


* * *




FBI Inspector Mariano Stonebreaker balanced the journal in his lap as he reached forward for the cup of coffee he had placed on the small square end table he always moved in front of the sofa for the purpose of holding coffee for a long evening’s study. He knew this would be one of those long evenings because Mira Jenkins’ journal had promised it with Mira’s first haunting paragraph


Mira’s first entry said:

“He’s evil; he’s delicious. Is he the Devil, or my long-awaited God? The pendulum says naught. But I am seduced, body and soul.”


Stonebreaker’s nerves responded to Mira’s words in that detective’s electrical charge that told him there was more than met the eye.


* * *


I knew only one of them had been able to stumble to the cabin porch and to slip away into the quiet Vermont night. I had gone back to find out.


I never for a moment thought Mira Jenkins was anything less than a man-eater and a murderess. She had intended to kill both of them. She was crazy. The police were fooled about that from the beginning. Except for Mar. Mar was good. He was good because he approached the entire episode from the heart, from a lover’s point of view. I knew that about Mariano Stonebreaker. How he could use his own emotions to work for him. Because I investigated Mar.


And he, indeed, did hone in right on the target.


I soon learned he wouldn’t stop.


Your humble host.
your humble contest host

It has been my pleasure to showcase these amazing writers. Look for interviews and more on them in the upcoming weeks.

Why did it win? What spoke to me?

Did you love that? Isn’t it fun how so many different stories have so many different feels to them?

What talent we have here.

The ending: Dun dun DUNNN!!

Good job!

I was going along with pretty much everything she did. It moves pretty fast and I wanted to read on – so it achieved its goal.

A nice set up and interesting characters. Good job!

Join me in celebrating this moment with a very talented author, Barbara Anne Helberg

If you liked this story, please share it on StumbleUpon and other social media so our winners can get the recognition they deserve.

Tomorrow, the second of our honorable mentions in the Word Weaver Writing Contest:

Sparkles In Time by Carrie Ann Alexis

If you would like to sponsor our October 2017 Word Weaver Writing Contest and get this kind of exposure for your product or service, please contact me.

7 thoughts on “Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest: the first of FOUR Honorable Mentions, “Interlock” by Barbara Anne Helberg

  1. I said I would have another look at this, after making the mistake of comparing it with another story. That was a mistake because stories ought not to be compared, they should be judged on their merits. On that basis, forgive me if I say I found the whole thing confusing. Certainly the quality of the writing was good, but it seemed like a section of a longer work taken out of context. Whilst the evocation of place and the protagonist’s emotions was excellent, it was hard to understand who was who and how they came to be where they were.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, FP!
      Yes, in my original response to you, I said it was actually Chapter One from my novelette titled “Interlock”, as I took Dan’s suggestion that some authors might want to submit a part of something from a longer work. After your comment, I asked Dan — also seen in the same thread — if he thought it was confusing and needed tweaking. The main problem with my submitting this was I told Dan it was a partial, and I thought it would be introduced as such, but he didn’t actually have that in mind.
      However, if one reads the story with the multiple viewpoints in mind, as they are separated, he and I thought the story flies alone. As there is next to no discussion, or opinion, on the story, I suspect you’re not alone in your review. But Dan “got it” very well, so I gave him my okay to use it in the upcoming anthology. (I didn’t, at first, have that in mind, but Dan invited me to make it available for the anthology.)
      I agree that your initial “comparison” review should not have been offered, but I appreciate your second look, even if you didn’t like it as a stand alone. Thank you for your other appreciative remarks on “evocation” and “protagonist’s emotions”; that means you probably would like the entire novelette ! Maybe… 🙂 And exploring that was my main goal in submitting the piece to this contest.
      Thank you for your honest discussion, FP!!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Certain pieces just read differently, like the difference between blues and jazz and a marching band.

        This one just grabbed me me right away because of the narrative voice, and figuring things out by reading a journal or diary. And the way it had a mysterious element throughout.

        It was storytelling the way pulp fiction or three days in the valley is done. You are able to jump into a scene in very quickly and figure out who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. You don’t need the preamble and the grand finale; you can appreciate it for the segment that it is. By doing so, I obviously would alienate a portion of potential readers, but I think most of them would have been just as his treat intrigued as I was and I think we will find that once appears in the anthology, it’s going to be one of the more popular stories. I believe it will also have a tremendous click-through rate from people wanting to read more of the story.

        Liked by 2 people

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