Battle Tales Update


Listen to Ryan’s Story on the PEIWG YouTube channel here:  

Image: Ryan Gallan

Member Bio

Ryan Gallant is a multi-genre author and screenwriter from Charlottetown. He has one novel published Crimson Zero, contributed to two short story anthologies GIFt Horse and GIFt Horse Vol. 2: ReGIFted and is on the verge of publishing his second novel, a  sequel to his first , Die  Today,   Live Tomorrow.

Follow Ryan on TwitterInstagram, and on Facebook 

Did you submit to Battle Tales? If so, Judge Patti Larsen has a few encouraging words for you!

Thanks to all our brave writers for taking part in Battle Tales, 2020!

PEIWB Board of D’s

Battle Tales V: Battle Harder! The prompts are here…

This is it! The moment you have been waiting for. The runners have taken their marks…the starter’s pistol is raised high and straight…AND we are off!

Your THREE prompts for Battle Tales V: Battle Harder:

  1. A familiar song heard in an unexpected place
  2. A piece of advice from a stranger
  3. A traveller departing

And now it’s up to you. Maybe you’ve already plotted a narrative and can integrate the prompts effortlessly.  Maybe you’re starting from scratch, following an unidentified protagonist (or antagonist, it’s your choice) until the story starts. Maybe you’re starting with a song, or some wisdom passed along, or a destination.  Your story must incorporate all THREE prompts but after that, it’s all you.  Use them as a jumping off point, use them as a conclusion, use them in passing or use them as your primary proposition.  Use them creatively or use them passively, but be sure to use them in a way that blow our judge’s mind.

Perhaps Ray is at the airport, waiting in line at the café for a coffee before his flight.  The woman behind him, someone’s grandmother based on a barely overheard conversation at security, was humming Kendirck Lamar’s “Alright.” She tugged at his sleeve to catch his attention.  “Try the French roast,” she said, “it’s delicious”

Or something more tense, like Mal’s first job.  Fixer Joe, his prison connection who thought he had the makings of a great second story man, recommended him.  It was a four-man crew and the wiry guy with too much nervous energy was doing all the talking.  The mark was going out of town, leaving tonight.  Mal leaned back in his chair and could hear the big guy behind him, a boxer by the look of him, saying something under his breath.  Mal tuned the talker out as much as he could until he heard the big man mumbling the lyrics to “You’re So Vain.” He saw Mal and stopped, raised his shades and told him straight up “Don’t trust this fool.”

Or maybe it was the three days and four connecting flights that finally brought them all here.  The kids were on their bests for the entire trip in anticipation of this moment.  She saved for more than a year since she first took the children to see the movie, splurging only on the soundtrack and DVD.  It was all worth it.  They were primed to explode.  The kid at the ticket booth told her the first show of the day was always the best.  The snowman, two princesses and twenty dancers were bounding onto stage.  Jamie, five, was squirming like she had to pee.  Henrietta, who goes by Hank and had turned 4 last month, was holding her breath like a deep-sea diver.  The lights dimmed and the silent expectancy was broken immediately as Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” exploded from the speakers.

And these…are not good.  YOU can do much better.  We exit the arena and leave it to you, THE WORTHY, to battle harder.  But it must be a fair fight, so the rules, the regulations and the glory can be found HERE!  GOOD LUCK, MIGHTY BATTLERS!!!

Announcing the Winner of Battle Tales IV: We Battle On!

The PEI Writers’ Guild is pleased to announce that this year, Battle Tales IV: We Battle On! received so many excellent submissions that we broke with tradition and named two runners up and four honourable mentions in addition to naming a winner.

Honourable Mentions

  • Rite by Ryan Gallant
  • In a Strange Room You Must Empty Yourself For Sleep by Michelle Barton
  • Chicken or Go by Kevin Yarr
  • Nameless Neighbours by Sharon Lucy Robson

Runners Up

  • Foursight by Daniel Brown
  • A Murder Most Foal by John Robertson

Runners up receive judge’s notes and gift certificates to Bookmark.

Runners up Daniel Brown and John Robertson receive prizes from PEIWG president Mo Duffy Cobb and Battle Tales coordinator Keith Burgoyne.

Winner of Battle Tales IV: We Battle On!

The winner of Battle Tales IV: We Battle On!  is Matthew MacKay for his outstanding battle tale Paradise Found.

Paradise Found, the story of Orson Welles holed up in a swanky Parisian hotel room, ordering copious amounts of food and drink as the hotel manager pesters him to pay his bill, is both witty and delightful.

The pop culture references fly thick and fast as Orson watches, via theAmerican TV feed, William F. Buckley debate a drunken Jack Kerouac on Firing Line and then a terrible Elvis movie, Harum Scarum, with Mary Anne Mobley, all the while searching for an idea for his next project.

It was striking how much enjoyment was taken in rendering Welles’ larger than life personality and old Hollywood excess. The embedding of the prompts into the story was also seamless and used great humour.

The winner of Battle Tales IV: We Battle On!  receives one year free membership with the PEI Writers’ Guild, a gift certificate to Bookmark, judge’s notes, and the highly-coveted Battle Tales trophy.

We here at the PEIWG wish to thank everyone who took part in Battle Tales this year. We hope you enjoyed the contest, and most importantly, that you had fun putting words to page. Thank you all for making it a huge success!

The PEI Writers’ Guild thanks the many generous sponsors of Battle Tales IV: We Battle On!, including Upstreet Craft Brewing, Bookmark, Manley Mann Media, and GIFt Horse.


Greetings all you smart and super-talented writers of Prince Edward Island! Are you ready to partake in the fourth-ever Battle Tales short story contest? If so, you’ve come to the right place. If not, you’ve clearly made a wrong turn somewhere, but we sure would love it if you stayed anyway.

Behold your writing prompts:

  1. A secret told in confidence.
  2. An old memory triggered by a familiar touch.
  3. A telephone ringing in the night.

Now remember: your story must be based on all three of these prompts. Beyond that, it’s up to you. Be creative. Take these prompts and build something lovely— or terrifying— with them. However you do it, really try to give our judge a run for his money.

Just imagine the possibilities. Maybe Little Sally Pipsqueak made you swear you won’t tell her mom about the time she kissed Jimmy Droopy Drawers out behind the school house at last summer’s strawberry social. Or maybe a local politician has just let his wife know about the body resting on the bottom of the Saint Lawrence River. Secrets may not be healthy in a relationship, but in a story, well, they’re almost magical.

What about that late-night telephone call? Could it be an old boyfriend using up his scant payphone privileges from the county jailhouse? And that touch— is it coarse, like the stubble on your groom’s face that time you slapped him for kissing your maid of honour? Or could it be that sense of strong arms holding you, like how it felt when your grandmother hugged your for helping her roll out dough for biscuits? Who knows. It’s up to you to tell us.

Oh, don’t forget to checkout out the contest rules before you get started. We want a good, clean battle, after all. None of that sneaky ninja-in-the-shadows stuff.

And while you’re here, check out this excellent advice to help guide your writing, prepared by our judge Steven Mayoff.

Good luck, everyone. May the best literary gladiator win!

Battle Tales IV: Free Advice From Our Judge

What makes a good Battle Tale? We asked Steven Mayoff, our wise and very cool Battle Tales judge, to share a few things he’s looking for in a submission. Here’s what he said:

“I will be judging the stories using the usual criteria of story and character development, language, etc. I will also be looking to see how creatively the three prompt words are integrated into the story, rather than just embedded so the story qualifies for the contest. Writers should also think about why this story is important to them. Give me a sense of it, not as an overt statement, but more imaginatively. Condense it to a single image or a situation or maybe as a bit of dialogue. Challenge yourselves and challenge me.”


Greetings all you heroic (and decidedly nice-looking) writers of PEI! Are you ready to partake in the third-ever Battle Tales short story contest? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Behold your writing prompts:

  1. An urgent message left in haste.
  2. A vivid memory evoked by a familiar scent.
  3. A conversation only partially heard.

Now remember: your story must include all three of these prompts. Beyond that, it’s up to you. Be creative. Take these prompts and build something lovely with them. Really give our judge the run for his money.

Maybe that urgent message was scrawled in lipstick on the back of a napkin, or perhaps those few words of conversation you heard had something to do with an old, jealous flame. And what was that smell? Did it remind you of your grandmother’s oatmeal bread? Or was it the aroma of old fish down by the docks? Who knows. It’s up to you to tell us.

Oh, don’t forget to checkout out the contest rules before you get started. We want a good, clean battle, after all. None of that guerrilla warfare stuff.

And while you’re here, check out this excellent advice to help guide your writing, prepared by our judge, Steven Mayoff.

Good luck, everyone. May the best literary gladiator win!

Battle Tales III: Meet Your Judge!

Curious about who will be judging your totally-awesome, perfectly-standout submissions once the Battle Tales contest closes? Why, it’s none other than our Island-proud author and poet Steven Mayoff!

Steven Mayoff was born and raised in Montreal and moved to Prince Edward Island in 2001. His fiction and poetry have appeared in literary journals across Canada and the U.S. as well as in Ireland, Algeria, France, Wales, England and Croatia. He has written two books of fiction: the story collection Fatted Calf Blues (Turnstone Press, 2009) and the novel Our Lady Of Steerage (Bunim & Bannigan, 2015). Upcoming is a poetry collection Swinging Between Water And Stone to be published by Guernica Editions in 2019.