NovelNook Writing Contest – Sponsored by Bellakentuky

Ramblings and a Writing Contest

“When life gets busy, sometimes you just got to strip down to your tighty-whiteys and jump into the pond!” – Kent‘s Grandma

Life has been busy for me over the last few weeks. The result of that is this post – I’m titling…

Bellakentuky’s First Ever

Super Fabulicious Flash Fiction Writing Contest

But don’t let the ridiculous title fool you!

There is some really good food for thought in this article!

I hope it will inspire you!

Today’s post is going to be an exorcism (of sorts) from me, and a writing challenge for you!

Ramblings and Challenges

Photograph by Diana Robinson

In the past week, I had two, very distinct, and quite different, memorable moments occur in my daily life. One of them was a triumph and the other an utter defeat.

The Triumph

I have worked as a photographer for the same company for over ten years; first as the general manager at two of their locations and then later as a freelance photographer. The job has always entailed (among numerous other things) sales. When I was a younger man, I would have bet money that I would never be good at sales. But history has proven me wrong. As it turns out, I’m pretty darn good at sales. What we sell are family photographs (sometimes just their children) – portraits done on the beach here at Hilton Head Island. While this product definitely has intrinsic value, you would think that there would be a cap as to how much someone might spend on this particular product.

Bellakentuky

Photograph by Kent DuFault

Last week, I had the biggest sale of my career. It was the second largest sale in the company’s history. I’m not going to tell you how much it was, but I will tell you that it was in the five figures category. This client, and the ensuing sale came out of nowhere: they made their appointment late, had no lead time to prepare, and they almost made a decision to cancel.

But they bought, and they bought a lot. I kept waiting for the deal to fall apart, for them to change their mind, or for the credit card to be declined. These are all things that have happened to me in the past. But nothing happened. They made their decisions, their credit card went through, and when they left our office…

I was shaking, and I felt victorious!
Ramblings and Challenges

Photograph by Laura Gilmore

The Defeat

My defeat came the very same day. About six weeks ago, my wife and I adopted a puppy. She’s a cute little thing: part Chihuahua and part Boston Terrier. She’s smart. We worked with her constantly on the housebreaking, and she really seemed to be getting it. We slowly allowed her more and more leeway around the house.

Then we discovered it. She had been going in the house all along, but hiding it. What made this particularly defeating was the fact that I knew, that she knew, it was wrong. She was hiding it. Hiding it in part of the house that we rarely visit. It hurt me deep down because I’d had so much confidence in her.

Bellakentuky

The puppy is in jail. Photograph by Lisa Brandt Heckman.

Well, it’s back to square one with her.

She’s now once again confined to her pen where if she chooses to be sneaky, she has to live with it.

The Challenge

I challenge you to write a flash fiction story that incorporates the two above elements: a victory at work and a defeat at home.

These are the rules

  1. It must be 1000 words or less.
  2. It must incorporate a victory at work, and a defeat at home, into the plot.
  3. It must be edited to the best of your ability.
  4. It must be submitted by Midnight, July 15th, 2013.
  5. You must submit it to, kentdufault@yahoo.com.
  6. You must submit it in the body of the email – not an attachment.
  7. You must accept the results of the contest without complaining.

These are the prizes

  1. The winning author will receive a free cover from my graphic designer wife for the writing project of their choice.
  2. The winning story will also be published on the  NovelNook.com blog on August 19, 2013.
  3. The winning story will receive a critique and an explanation as to why I chose it as the winner when it is published on the blog.
  4. The winning author will receive an Amazon Gift Card valued at $20.00 USD (for USA Amazon only)
The Fine Print
  • The cover must be redeemed by December 31, 2013.
  • This is for an electronic Ebook cover only.
  • The book cover will be produced to the cover standards as dictated by Amazon.
  • The prize includes design and illustration. If photography is requested, you will be responsible for purchasing the usage rights.
  • You will get three consultations with the graphic designer via email: An initial interview to convey your ideas, an initial proof round, a second proof round. After that, she delivers, and you take what you get.
  • All rights to your entries remain with you!! We’re asking for nothing but a good (well edited) story and first publication rights for the blog.

Second Place! Will be published on the NovelNook.com blog on August 26, 2013 and will receive a critique by me.

Here is a sample cover that my wife produced for me. I will be publishing this book on Amazon in the near future.

Bellakentuky

Book cover by Clarisa Ponce deLeon

I look forward to reading your stories!

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “Unexplained Mysteries of World War II”, by William B. Breuer

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.

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It’s a Summer Vacation (or not)

Summer is here!

Summer is here

Photograph by Kent DuFault

and that means but one thing for me…

I have to work harder than ever!

I’ve tried to include details about myself here at NovelNook.com. I hope I’ve kept that balance of, just enough to seem interesting, but not so much that you feel like I’m telling you my life story.

Today, I’m going to start with a topic about myself, because it’s important as relates to the next couple of months.

I am a Photographer

This is what I do to pay the bills. Every summer for the last five years, I’ve worked a freelance job on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. I create beautiful portraits of families, decked-out in white and khaki, as they pose, and play, among the dunes and waves of the beach.

Summer is here

Photograph by Kent DuFault

When I tell most people what I do, they get this dreamy look in their eyes and tell me how lucky I am, and maybe I am  to some degree. It probably beats roofing a house or sitting in a tiny cubicle inputting data.

But the truth of the matter is it’s not all that romantic. It’s hard work. Most days, I have to work thirteen to fourteen hours. I have to deal with large groups of people in high heat and humidity, chase numerous small children up and down the beach, deal with drunken relatives that don’t really want to be there, keep a happy face and an upbeat spirit (no matter how I feel), and in the end convince them that they can’t live without the portraits so that they’ll part with large sums of money and hang them in their homes.

It’s exhausting and grueling.

But my point is this –

Over the next couple of months you might find my posts a bit more clipped and a little less detailed. I hope you’ll still enjoy them and find them useful. I’ve developed a few faithful followers,and I want you to stick with me here at NovelNook.com!

Here is my WRITING point for today

(I know you’ve been waiting breathlessly!)

My wife and I live in a single story condominium unit on the beach. There are only a handful of full-time residents; most of the units are short term rentals. The units rent out for a week at a time. We see a lot of people come and go.

The other day, I was leaving for work around 7:30 a.m. As my car rounded the corner of the building, I saw this woman (approximately thirty-five years old) crouched down right next to a car. She cradled a cigarette between two fingers and held a smart phone. She was furiously typing away. I was certain she was texting somebody.

What was odd about this moment was her positioning. She appeared to be hiding from someone. Instantly, I came to the realization that this woman was cheating on her husband. Sure, it might be my over active imagination; but I don’t think so.

summer vacation is here

Photograph by knownunsense.

I thought about what I had just witnessed as I drove to work and put it in the context of a story, (which is something I almost always do). I realized something.

If I were writing a story about a cheating wife, would I think to tell how she crouched by a car, while on vacation with her family, hiding, desperate to text her lover, even at the risk of being caught?

No. I don’t think I would have thought of that.

Observations of life around us is our richest gold mine: observe, remember, write it down.

I know that I’ve hammered away here about the concepts that will make your writing unique; there is a reason for that…

A lot of authors just aren’t doing it; the slush pile does not lie!

The cheating wife scene is in my idea book.

What’s in your idea book?

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “Unexplained Mysteries of World War II”, by William B. Breuer

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.