• I loved this story! The only thing I’d add is I’d mention earlier that the pixie is dressed in rags. I don’t know if it would give it away too much for Santa to think that Trixie was so nice it was too bad she didn’t have something nicer to wear, or if you feel like that would be covered with illustrations for the story. Lovely though. Thanks…[Read more]

  • Yes, I agree, this was masterful in riding our assumptions to reveal that the man is being abused. I agree with Amrita that we don’t know if it’s a woman hurting a man or a man hurting a man. Also, I wonder if the touching hinted at at the end is more of a possessive/control thing misinterpreted as affection. Definitely worth the praise you’ve…[Read more]

  • Hello Iola… I didn’t think it had too many metaphors in the opening either. I could see magical creatures dancing in the moonlight in my mind’s eye. I am reading the court of thorns and roses series by Sarah Maas and it reminds me of the first book where the world of fae is so intriguing but unpredictable and dangerous. By the time you…[Read more]

  • Dionne, this definitely sucked me in. I so much wanted to know about this cursed girl. I am curious if this is a real human boy who came into her life by coincidence or some sort of ethereal creature who comes into ones’ life to banish the dark. Poor thing. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ah, the different Moms we can be all at once! I probably could be the healthy food mom a little more often. Anyway. You said this hilarious debacle of wildlife herding was nonfiction, but what if you added like a fictionalized layer or element, like the sexy new single dad who moved in next door shows up to help where the ex never would have?…[Read more]

  • Hey Barbara, I definitely loved the end, and the love story across the veil. I am going to temper this comment with the fact that none of the other readers seemed to get a little stuck in places like I did. So he comes in and smells his mom cleaning, but it was in response to his disclosure over the phone that he’d seen Tara in the street, but…[Read more]

  • Hilary! I loved the title and it meant the dissolution of the marriage! I’m so curious as to the backstory and why dearest hubs was conspicuously absent from the whole thing. You could make the inner monologue a little off the rails to add interest. Or maybe comment in some backstory. What if the Voice wasn’t her inner monologue but a…[Read more]

  • Jodie, thank you for making a nice, surprising ending with this. I definitely thought after the vacation she was going to discover that she had fallen pregnant, which is a nice story, but your ending was better for sure. I would like it if the exchange with her husband’s ex lover was more of the story. Yes, the lead up definitely had me going…[Read more]

  • You know Barb I had the same thought as I was posting it. I definitely need to have them make a sound or something!

  • The Head Girl’s Keys by Beth Stillman Blaha


    Maude should have known that not having Gemma underfoot for the last few days was a bad omen more than it was a reprieve.  She may be Head Girl at school, but she […]

    • Such a lovely light hearted fantasy read. Enjoyed it thoroughly.

    • Jodie said exactly what I was going to say – light hearted and enjoyable. I loved the mischief and magic.

    • What a great use of your imagination! I too loved Gemma’s impishness. I wonder how Maude managed to talk her way out of that one. Just one thing – it jarred for me a little that Maude was aware of the keys swinging on the other side of the door. Maybe she pictured them swaying or heard them jangling. Sorry to be pedantic! I guess it mattered for me because it was otherwise such a neat ending. I really enjoyed the story. Thanks for sharing.

  • Hey Kathy, Fascinating details of an interesting life. I didn’t think it was too tell-y, especially in the parts where you discuss contrast between lives. I thought that demonstrated your point well, especially from someone who has always had an “office job” (Clinical Psychologist) and probably my most physically active jobs were cake decorating…[Read more]

  • welcome to the community, Isabella! I always try to comment on anyone who comments on my story, so thanks for stopping by mine. Very fun twist at the end. I love a surprise ending and guessing all along. I agree with Melissa’s comments about avoiding repetition with descriptors but I enjoyed the story overall. Thanks for sharing and for…[Read more]

  • Hey Megan, fascinating story about a dissolving situation. I agree with Seyi’s feedback, especially the part about the ending having some ambiguity because we don’t know if he’s really gone or not. He could be leaving to prepare for something sinister. I’m wondering what made the narrator really decide she’s done. Is it the smashed food…[Read more]

  • Hey Barbara: I really like this idea of Harrison falling in love with his captive in a hostile world. Maybe it is ambitious for the count, and I only really realized that from reading the comments (Seyi tends to be good at letting me know when I was a little too ambitious with the word count) but its a really cool idea, so I can see where you…[Read more]

  • I echo Lauren’s welcome to this lovely writing community. I always make a point of commenting on people who have taken the time with my story and thanks for that! This was an intense story, so heartwrenching, and I agree with Lauren that the part where she realizes the soldiers won’t take care of her kittens is particularly poignant. So much…[Read more]

  • Hey Anthony, You added so many layers to just 1200 words, a family coming together again after a lot of adversity, but then, everyone has changed too, so it’s all new again. I think this story could be a bit sharper with knowing the narrator’s age. I thought he was older, but then he wasn’t old enough to really share a lot of memories of Mom…[Read more]

  • Hello Arlene! I saw your comment about being unhappy about this story after I read it and I’m wondering what you don’t like about it? This group is good for suggestions if we know what you don’t like. Anyway, in the beginning when the house is silent, I assumed Dad was dead, and then at the end it sounds like he’s still alive? And do you want…[Read more]

  • So this makes me morbid but I definitely wanted an added twist to the owner coming for her dog. It ended just how I wanted it to. I wanted it to be different than his just being found by a new family or something, so I appreciate that. I like how you talked about his appearance through dialog too and not just telling. Do you want to talk…[Read more]

  • Ooh, this was fun. I listened to Brokeback Mountain when it was just a short story by Annie Proulx and it was complete artistry, so I definitely went to see it when it came out. I’m wondering if the marriages should be a little more arranged maybe to make them more feasible, and have a reason why these women have stayed with these guys despite…[Read more]

  • A Visit to Mrs. Arsenov by Beth Stillman Blaha


    Mrs. Arsenov knew that Tiffani had to have a good soul if Roman allowed her to clutch him like that, the both of them soaked in the downpour as they waited for […]

    • Absolutely stunning writing. I was pulled in from the start. You are really very gifted. Couple of things though. You use the name Mrs Romanov in one place and I think that was an error. Some of the sentences and paragraphs are long and change character mid-line. I am not sure but I think when a new person speaks you start a new line. I had to read slowly to put things in order. Other than that I loved it and the beautiful images in conjured in my head. Well done.

    • Nikky replied 1 month ago

      An amazing view of the prompt. At fifteen every teen dreams of freedom and of knowing what will happen. Very enjoyable to read as well, although there is a bit of an overload of adjectives in the beginning of the story that detracts from the vivid imagery that your writing evokes, when this settles down (from her entering into the trailer) the fewer adjectives actually show a clearer picture and the story really takes off from there.

    • Good writing. But when you have a new person talking you should begin a new paragraph. Keeps things aligned.
      Keep writing.

    • I enjoyed this story – it had all the right ingredients, a unusual setting, a mysterious character, a relatable teenager. The descriptions were really beautiful in places. And the ending was deftly handled. My feedback would be 1) maybe bring the cat back into the ending to book end the imagery (eg, the cat comes to sit on Tiff’s belly etc), 2) Yes, some of the adjectives could be pared down. Overall, it was a great piece to get your writing year off to a cracking start! Good luck.

    • I was pulled in from the start at the mention of a cat. However, your descriptive writing and honest approach to Tifanni’s character, got me hooked. The story flowed better after the first paragraph because then you showed more, told less and the dialogue animated the plot. Well written!

    • Admittedly, I was drawn in at the mention of a cat! But the well written story and honest approach to Tiffani’s vulnerable character got me hooked. The story flowed better after the first paragraph because you tell less and show more. The dialogue also brought animation to the story. You indicated the difference between the two characters through their respective speech very eloquently. Well done!

    • I love the way you started this with Mrs A making her first judgement of Tiffani based on the cat’s reaction. The idea of him almost being her familiar. The way you build up the personalities and situations of both characters is powerful and engaging, but as others have mentioned I got confused by the way you kept changing point of view. I think it’s okay to have an omniscient narrator but I suggest you try and be clearer about who “she” refers to each time if you choose to do this. On the first paragraph, I wonder if you need the second sentence about the youngsters, the one starting: Some inner lights were blown out like Christmas bulbs …… If it’s not there, it gives more emphasis to the instincts of the cat. One typo I noticed, I think you’ve got and extra “if” in the sentence: and if you’ll regret it if you tell your stepfather anything about this. You did a great job of leading us gradually to the real purpose of Tiffani’s visit. This is a very original take on the prompt and I enjoyed it although I was left with a sense of concern that Tiffani might find herself in the same situation again.

    • Megan replied 1 month ago

      This story is my cup of tea. I love the characters, the dialogue, the descriptions. It is a deeply familiar and delicious story, told with edgy precision and warmth. I love the storm and the cat too.

    • I was (like some others who commented) also drawn in by the cat and agree that the cat could have made another appearance at the end. But the story held me, the characterisation was strong and the development smooth.

    • What an entrancing story. I really don’t have anything to add to what others have said. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. The characters are well developed and the scene superbly evoked.

    • Great story. I was intrigued the whole time. Some of the descriptions were overdone or “fluffy” but nonetheless, I loved reading it.

    • Hey Beth, and how goes it this fresh New Year? Great storyline. I liked Roman, he almost deserves a tale all of his own. I think I get that you needed to let your readers know the kids in the estate had issues they were struggling with, with a hint that Tiffani had more than most. I got this from your second sentence after I’d finished reading the piece. However, I’d suggest you have a look at the repetition of the word ‘light’ in that first paragraph. The tightness of Tiffani’s jeans seemed a bit random at first, but I like how you made this seemingly small detail so central to the storyline. I did wonder if it was Tim or the ominous-sounding stepfather that was the father of the baby? Plenty to think about with this piece. Great characters, dialogue, and very topical issues. Well done, and best regards. Seyi

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Beth Stillman Blaha

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