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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Once in a Blue Moon (01/06/11)

TITLE: The Encounter at the Counter
By Coleene VanTilburg


It was nearing 6:00 p.m. Hungry and driving for hours across the mountains of Colorado and now the plains of the Midwest, it was time to stop, eat and rest. On my own since I was sixteen, I made the decision that this was the time to venture out and pursue my dreams. A stage actress is what I want to be and although Hollywood had been my backyard, my past haunted me there and I scripted this “scenery change” into my own intermission. New York was my destination and off- off Broadway sounds like a good place to start. At twenty years old, I had scattered junior college classes behind me, and everything I owned fit snuggly in the back seat of my VW Rabbit. Growing up as a ward of the court, I was in and out of many foster care facilities and homes. I bonded more with the TV set than I had with any adult. I would sit watching soap operas and reruns of Law and Order, reality TV and Oprah, my idea of family, morality, relationships and spirituality in that order. The acting thing had always been a part of me; my coping skill I had meshed within myself many years ago. What better way to make a living than to do what I do best; pretend to be somebody else. After my last foster home, I ran away from abuse and managed to stay under the radar until I was eighteen. I was glad to be alive and relieved to have sense enough to stay away from danger. For the last two years, I was able to work three jobs, purchase this car, a laptop, and a few acting lessons at the junior college.

The neon light switched on just as I stopped at the only signal in this small town. “Beef Dips and the Best Lemon Meringue pie for miles,” the sign read. My mouth was already watering. Pulling into the side parking lot, I hoped I could get a room close by as well. After freshening up, I sat down at the counter and made my acquaintance with the waitress.

Sally re-poured my soda and like any small town, she was anxious to know my story before I scraped the last bite of lemon pie onto my fork. I obliged her but shared only the positive and exaggerated parts. She looked at me with an uncomfortable, lingering stare.

“My daughter would be just about your age,” Sally shared.

That comment only invited me to ask, “What happened to your daughter?”

“I was young, only fourteen…my parents insisted I give the baby up for adoption. Later, I learned that know one ever officially adopted her. She ended up in the foster system and I have not been able to get her records unsealed, “Sally reported.

My stomach did a loop-d-loop, but it wasn’t the lemon pie. What I knew about myself was that my mother was very young. I was supposed to be adopted, but after six months, these people ended up returning me like I was something that didn’t quiet fit. The only other thing I knew was the place and date of my birth.

“Where was your daughter born? What day?” I really wasn’t sure why I asked this question.

“St. Louis, Missouri on May 25, 1990,” Sally responded.

I picked up my soda and took a long drink, laughing inside at this hysterical coincidence of this timely stop. I suddenly noticed the name of the café and the additional print on the sign that had brought me in: “Welcome to Blue Moon, Missouri and to the Blue Moon Café. Only once in a Blue Moon, will you find what will truly satisfy your hunger.”

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This article has been read 353 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Terri Schroeder01/14/11
I liked your story and fit the topic very well. I liked how you tied the title in with the topic as well as how it really would be a rare occasion to meet up like that. I did notice a few little errors, but we all make them from time to time--I know I do, anyway.
diana kay01/17/11
great story... lots of lovely phrases.... and hopefully a happy ending. will the MC stop there now or carry on to persue her acting dreams?
Sarah Heywood01/19/11
Wow - what a story! I'd sure love to know what happens next!

You have a gift for writing. As such, you want to make it easy for your readers to follow your story. One thing that would help would be to put some "white space" between your paragraphs and dialogue. And watch your tenses, too, that they remain consistant throughout your piece.

I enjoyed this and look forward to seeing what you come up with next!