The 2019 July Short Story Challenge – Day by Day

For starters, Smashwords is currently having its annual summer sale, where you can get plenty of e-books at reduced prices, including several of mine.

In other news, blogging will be light for the next month, because I’m currently doing the July Short Story Challenge again.

What is the July Short Story Challenge, you ask? Well, in July 2015, Dean Wesley Smith announced that he was planning to write a brand new short story every day during the month of July. The original post seems to be gone now, but the Wayback Machine has a copy here. At the time, several people announced that they would play along, so I decided to give it a try as well. And then I did it again the following year. And the next. And the next. If you want to read my post-mortems of the previous July short story challenges, here are the posts for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Because I’ve already done the July short story challenge four years in a row now and always found the experience very rewarding, I’m aiming for a repeat this year. At first, I’m only committing to doing this for a week (which is almost half over) and if things are going well, I’ll keep going.

In previous years, I’ve always done a post-mortem post about the July Short Story Challenge in August. I’ll probably be doing one this year as well, but in order to hold myself accountable, I’ll also be doing something else. I will keep a running tally of all stories written to date and update this post accordingly. This tally will be very basic, listing just the date, title, word count, genre, series, if any, and maybe a one or two sentence summary/comment.

If you want to follow along with the challenge, bookmark this post. And if you want to cheer me on, feel free to do so in the comments.

And now, let’s take a look at the stories:

July 1, 2019:  Coffee Shop AU, fantasy, 3576 words

The characters of a cop show suddenly find themselves whisked into a universe, where all those coffee shops from a certain kind of fanfiction are coexisting in the same neighbourhood.

July 2, 2019:  Terminal 2G (The Culinary Assassin), crime fiction, 1515 words

The Culinary Assassin will eventually be a collection of short crime stories about an assassin who only kills people restaurants – after first sampling the food. In this one, the culinary assassin finds himself in an airport and has to deal with overpriced airport food as well as the target, all without shooting.

July 3, 2019:  Poffertjes (The Culinary Assassin), crime fiction, 1440 words

Another Culinary Assassin tale, wherein the world’s only gourmet hitperson eats Dutch pancakes and kills a real estate developer.

July 4, 2019: Unwanted Rescue, epic fantasy, 1055 words

Sir Clarenbald the Bold comes to slay a dragon and rescue a princess. But the princess doesn’t want to be rescued…

July 5, 2019: Green Thumb (Helen Shepherd Mysteries), crime fiction, 4419 words

Detective Constable Kevin Walker and his girlfriend, Scene of the Crime Officer Charlotte Wong, have a solo adventure and hunt down a flower thief in South London.

July 6, 2019: Patient X-5, science fiction, 1357 words

A robot consults a psychologist.

July 7, 2019: The Day the Mechas Came to Eureka Creek, post-apocalyptic, 2168 words

In an America besieged by giant robots, three kids find an inert mecha in a wheat field. This is one of those post-apocalyptic slice-of-life stories that this challenge frequently seems to yield for me.

July 8, 2019: Stalked, post-apocalyptic, 1428 words

A scavenger is stalked by a giant killer robot through a ruined city. Yup, it’s another robocalypse story and also the third robot story in a row. Hmm, I’m sensing a theme here.

July 9, 2019: The Cryptozoological Invasion, post-apocalyptic, 1080 words

The Loch Ness monster, the Yeti, the Sasquatch, dinosaurs surviving in inaccessible parts of the Amazon and the Congo basin, the Thing from another world and the unspeakable Lovecraftian monsters in the Antarctic – they’re all real and climate change is driving them from their ancient habitats and into contact with humans.

July 10, 2019: The Secret Nightlife of the Lawn Flamingos, horror, 705 words

They’re alive and they’re evil. The title says it all basically.

July 11, 2019: Prison Moon (Raygun Romances), space opera, 6260 words

Ray Cassidy was an officer of the Space Patrol, until he turned against them, when ordered to brutally squash a miners’ strike. Now Ray has been sentenced to life imprisonment on the prison moon of Paradine, from where there is no escape but death. But Juanita Deveron, a young rebel fighter whose life Ray saved, is not willing to let him languish in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Raygun Romances is the proposed title for a series of retro style science fiction adventures – think Planet Stories or Startling Stories in the 1940s and 1950s.

July 12, 2019: The Great Dinosaur Derby, science fiction, 1177 words

Humans manage to clone dinosaurs and decide to hold t-rex races. What could go wrong? The title says it all, really.

July 13, 2019: The Tentacled Terror (Thurvok), sword and sorcery, 3148 words

Thurvok, Meldom, Sharenna and Lysha set sail for the lost city of Nhom’zonac, looking for treasure. But they have to get past the Lovecraftian horror guarding the city first.

July 14, 2019: Harlequin (The Culinary Assassin), crime fiction, 1181 words

The world’s only gourmet hitperson eats an ice cream sundae and kills a gangster who escaped the hangman.

July 15, 2019: The Beast from the Sea of Blood (Thurvok), sword and sorcery, 2500 words

Thurvok, Meldom, Sharenna and Lysha search for a pirate treasure, enjoy a seafood boil and fight off a giant crab.

July 16, 2019: Tiki Tack (The Culinary Assassin), crime fiction, 1586 words

The world’s only gourmet hitperson visits a tiki bar and shoots a mob boss.

July 17, 2019: Crawfish Creole (The Culinary Assassin), crime fiction, 1678 words

The world’s only gourmet hitperson has dinner in New Orleans and shoots a vulture capitalist.

I’d been planning to write something else today, but because I have to get up early tomorrow morning, I wrote a Culinary Assassin story instead, because those are fairly short and fast to write.

July 18, 2019: Unwanted Hostages, science fiction, 830 words

Aliens kidnap the leaders of the biggest and most important countries on Earth and hold them hostage, until the Earth surrenders. Unfortunately, no one wants the politicians back.

Another very short one, but it’s been a tough week for me.

July 19, 2019: Tribute, epic fantasy, 2126 words

For the good of the realm, Princess Calyssa is about to be sacrificed to the dragon Gruvrom the Fearsome. But Gruvrom has other ideas.

July 20, 2019: Currywurst (The Culinary Assassin), crime fiction, 1287 words

The world’s only gourmet hitperson enjoys a currywurst and shoots a violent pimp.

I’d been planning to write something else today, but I didn’t feel well and so I wrote another culinary assassin story instead.

July 21, 2019: The Ghosts of Doodenbos, historical horror, 2682 words

Never go into the woods alone. Ann, a young widow in 16th century Netherlands, has been hearing those words all her life. But when her little son goes missing, Ann has to venture into the woods to confront the ghosts of Doodenbos.

July 22, 2019: The Thing from the Dread Swamp (Thurvok), sword and sorcery, 3283 words

Thurvok, Meldom, Sharenna and Lysha rescue a kidnapped girl from the clutches of a swamp monster.

July 23, 2019: Legacy, epic fantasy, 2251 words

A farmboy inherits a magic sword from his grandfather and years later uses it to save the village.

July 24, 2019: Ingredients for a New Life (In Love and War), cozy space opera, 4355 words

It’s very early in Anjali and Mikhail’s relationship and they are still trying to navigate their new life together. Food can certainly help and so Anjali makes curry and has some trouble finding the right ingredients.

This is another quiet In Love and War story along the lines of The Taste of Home. And once more, there is food.

July 25, 2019: Puncture Wounds, urban fantasy, 1946 words

One day, Brett wakes up and finds blood on his sheet and a puncture wound in his calf. At first, he dismisses it, but then it happens again and again. So Brett sets out to entrap the person he calls “the night pricker”.

July 26, 2019: The Temple of the Snake God (Thurvok), sword and sorcery, 3002 words

Thurvok, Meldom, Sharenna and Lysha are hired to steal the eye of the idol of the snake god Tseghirun. But the Temple of Tseghirun is not as deserted as it should be and soon our quartet of adventurers are fighting fanatical cultists and vicious snakes.

July 27, 2019: Spelunkers, science fiction, 2628 words

Three spelunkers find an alien portal in a cave in Belgium.

July 28, 2019: Family Picnic on Perasi, science fiction, 2008 words

On the supposedly uninhabited planet of Perasi, a family are enjoying a hiking trip and a picnic in an uncharted alien valley. But Perasi is not as uninhabited as the galactic survey board believes…

July 29, 2019: The Night Court (Thurvok), sword and sorcery, 5533 words

Meldom finds himself accused of a murder he hasn’t committed and Thurvok, Sharenna and Lysha have to race to save him. And they only have until sunrise, otherwise Meldom will be hanged.

July 30, 2019: Hyperbolic, science fantasy, 2577 words

In a universe where spaceship are propelled by sympathetic needlecraft magic: Gem’s twin brother Aran snags one of the coverted slots in the Space Academy. Gem accompanies him as an attendant to cook and clean, do household chores and mend clothes. But one day, Gem’s skill with a needle catches the eye of Professor Pennyworth, who offers Gem a place in her class on needlecraft and advanced mathematics.

Spaceships, magic and crochet, what’s not to love?

July 31, 2019: Mementos and Memories (In Love and War), cozy space opera, 6134 words

During a stroll across the Floating Market of the rim world Sentosa, Anjali and Mikhail come across a Shakyri dagger for sale and track down its owner.

This is another quieter In Love and War story with a sweet elderly gay couple, too.


And that’s it. 31 stories written in 31 days. The post-mortem will come sometime in the next few days.

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6 Responses to The 2019 July Short Story Challenge – Day by Day

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