Congratulations to Briant Laslo who became the Iron Writer Champion for July 2021 with his story “The Descent.” Briant will move up to compete in the quarterly competition, and then the quarterly winners will compete for the title of Iron Writer 2021. Winners are decided by reader vote.

Want to try for the August championships? The new competition just opened today. Visit to see the new prompts and enter your story. Congratulations again to Briant Laslo, our champion for July!

An excerpt from “

Cobalt sat alone in this now dark realm. The only light was that which was given off by the souls he had harvested during the Descent. He could feel the warmth from their fear and anger. It nourished him and gave him those few moments of contentment that he lived for.

If this was living. He wasn’t sure anymore if he qualified as something that was living.

He wasn’t even entirely sure who or what he was. From time to time some being would scream “it’s Cobalt! Run!” Or something similar, as if they had heard of him before but never expected to actually encounter him. But in the end, whether there was some vague recognition of him or not, the result was always the same: a civilization brought to its knees and the last bits of energy from every life form drained away. History erased.

He had done this across thousands of planets. Or maybe entire universes. And while there were nearly infinite variables in each one of them, there was always one commonality: a belief that, somewhere, there was a “higher life form” or “enlightened society” which was much more advanced and had evolved past the concept of hatred and war.

Cobalt had never found such a thing… To continue

edited 8/2: Don’t you hate it when you post something too fast and THEN you see your typo? o.O The error in the graphic below is excellent proof on the importance of self-editing. And as my penance for NOT self-editing, Mark My Words: Read the Submission Guidelines and other Self-editing Tips by Lee Murray and myself is free on Kindle Aug. 3-7. Pick up your free e-copy and don’t do as I did.

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About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Shimanchu-American and award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years of experience as a professional writer in nonfiction. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), a two-time Bram Stoker Awards® Winner, a 2nd place winner of the Elgin and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020.

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