In an completely unexpected and unprecedented turn of events, we have a tie for all three places this year, totalling six winners for Round 1. Each entry listed below scored full points and our judges voted for these as their favourites. We had so many quality entries this year that the deciding process has taken a little bit longer, but without further ado...
Story: Card Painter by Ereehu
Blurb: Essa paints cards that kill.
Known as Card Painter, she is a wish maker, someone with the ability to turn wishes into reality. But she is not just any wish maker - she is a death writer, a wish maker who can only grant wishes through death. She has a simple life, an easy life. In a quiet shop at the heart of the city, she sells her "cursed" cards to those who want someone dead. She watches the mad rush of city life from her store, but she never takes part in it. It all comes to an end when a boy named Jin enters her shop and claims she sold him a card that does not work, the very same card that's haunted her thoughts for the last three years. It's strange that he seems to know more about her than he wants to let on, stranger still that she does not recognize him - and she never forgets the face of someone she sold a card to. With more than a little resentment for the boy who claims her a fraud, she helps him unravel his questions. But the more she uncovers, the more she realizes she's gotten herself in deeper than she ever intended and now it's too late to back out. Jin is not what he seems and he's disrupted the peace among the death writers.Essa would rather do anything but help him, but she wants her simple, easy life back, and she will do whatever it takes to make that happen.~~For the Open Novella Contest.Prompt: Tarot
Story: The Delfe Treasure by ZonderZorg
Blurb: Aldrick Montford is obsessed with finding his grandfather's treasure. More than half a century and seventeen expeditions have failed to locate his three ships after they wrecked in Windward Passage, deeply-laden with pirate plunder and homeward-bound from the Caribbean in 1679.
Elizabeth, daughter of the third Baron Leigh, was raised in Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwickshire, about as far from the sea as is possible in Britain. Recently betrothed to Aldrick, she shows a concern he will sail out of her life. We begin the story as Aldrick escorts Elizabeth to meet his eighty-five-year-old grandfather. Written in response to the Open Novella Contest prompts, Thrilling Fiction 8: An archaeologist digs up a treasure... And also General Fiction 8: Continued crossing of paths with the same stranger.
Story: Ignorance by Yelverton
Blurb: The year is 2113, and almost all the world's problems have been single-handedly solved with a shocking breakthrough - of how to store and transfer souls. At a certain price, anybody can buy a prolonged life, or a never-hungering body, or eternal happiness.
However, despite the prosperity of the world as a whole, only a few rich enough can afford extra souls for themselves. And Owen Milano, left with nothing but a bare minimum of resources and his young daughter, can only dream of such things. Owen is stricken to discover that his daughter has fallen to a disease that will kill her in a short period of time. Not willing to lose anything more, Owen sees no other choice but to steal a soul to preserve his daughter's life. But it appears that the souls have a much darker truth behind it...[Submitted for ONC 2019][Prompt: SUSPENSE FICTION #7, Soul Sickness]
Story: Techno Fever by KatrinHollister
Blurb: Bod Mods are all the rage. From forearms equipped with blast cannons to telescopes implanted to irises to jet propellers as feet, there is no limit to the modification available that money can buy.
University student Chan Meiha witnesses a gruesome Bod Mod safety mechanic malfunction on campus, but that's only the beginning. It's one thing to switch off a glitching machine; it's quite another when it's literally neurally wired to your body and refusing to obey. With the safety measures of Bod Mods now defective, Meiha is tasked to help her stepfather, one of the creators of Bod Mods, fix this glitch. But there are people all too happy to misuse their Bod Mods without repercussion and restriction and Meiha has to sort this before chaos befalls her city.
Story: Ripple Effect by SallyMason
Blurb: During her first assignment as a time-correction officer, Rykar Deveraux gets into an accident. Casualty: One. That by itself wouldn't cause too much of a ripple effect, except the man who died is her grandfather.
Instead of vanishing into thin air, Rykar lives. Now hunting down the secrets of her own existence, she has to unravel her family's past before the future catches up to her. This is my entry for the open novella contest, based on category Speculative Fiction, Prompt 5, Time Travel.
Story: Turned by Moonloop
Blurb: The war against vampires and the disease that creates them is unlike any other humanity has ever faced. With one bite, people are transformed into enemy combatants. No matter how loyal, how well-trained, or how disciplined someone is, the result is always the same. Each person is plundered for information, then pleasure, and then fed back into the conflict to destroy everything they value.
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Open Novella Contest IIRandom
It's back! The second instalment of this highly anticipated writing event brings your favourite Ambassador profiles together to host a contest of truly epic proportions.