• Visit Indigo

    Sledgehammer is proudly presented by Indigo, which offers editing, design, and more to authors and publishers around the world.

    Visit us at www.indigoediting.com to learn more and to schedule a free sample edit and initial consultation.

    Indigo: editing, design,
    and more

    Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter.
  • Join Our Networks

  • Photo Gallery

    To view photos of Sledgehammers past, visit our Facebook photo albums!

    All photos property of Sledgehammer Writing Contest. Most photos copyright Doug Geisler.

News Face

2009 story submission by Dave Jarecki, Vinnie Kinsella, Arthur Smid, and Clint Williams

Candace Graham watched her face on the screen. The blue background contrasted nicely with her fair skin and gave her eyes a piercing, honest quality. She nodded in approval as the voiceover blasted, “K-O-N-G, the King of Northwest news!”

“Nice transition, Brian,” Candace said to the cameraman. Brian paused the video and swiveled in his chair.


“Is that all of them?”

“No, there’s one more…” he said reluctantly and hit play. A cartoon gorilla pounced on screen as the voiceover blared: “KONG News in the morning!” The gorilla climbed the KONG Tower with a rose between its teeth, hung from the side of the building, took the flower in one hand and sniffed deeply. The shot zoomed through a window to Candace on the set. “Wake up and smell the Rose City with Candace Graham,” the voiceover crowed.

Continue reading


One Stone Stands Out

2009 story submission by Lani Jo Leigh

Three o’clock on this Memorial Day afternoon, I’m having a beer in the Queen of Hearts. It’s a neighborhood bar across the street from the community center where Eugene and I used to go swimming three or four times a week. One time I even got him to take a yoga class with me, but since he was the only male in the class, he swore he’d never do it again. To be truthful, I used to think this bar was a strip club, and it’s certainly not the kind of place I would normally frequent, but today is my Red Letter Day so anything is possible for me.

I climb on one of the high stools to order. The bartender rambles off the usual list of American piss, but it would be a disservice to Eugene to drink anything like that. He used to make his own home brew, and many’s the time I’d come home from a day of teaching and the whole house would reek of hops and malt. Every Memorial Day, instead of fighting crowds at the shore, Eugene always liked to stay home and brew up a big batch of beer to have ready in time for July 4th and the BluesFest. I keep shaking my head until the bartender suggests Ten Barrel. He says it’s a new micro-brew out of Bend, an I.P.A. Sounds fine, I say. I’ll give it a shot. No, I don’t need a glass, I’ll sip it from the bottle.
Continue reading

The List

2009 story submission by “The Listmaker” (Amanda Robinson)


Official List A9: Things To Do This Summer

#1, Make a To Do List.
It wasn’t that Frank was neurotic.  While psychologists and his friends would call him OCD, he simply considered himself passionate about organization.  Not quite obsessive enough to disrupt his everyday life, and his quirks never seemed to interfere with his relationships.  Quite the opposite in fact, his dark handsome features and quiet intensity made him the brooding if not unwitting subject of many a sensitive conquest.  No, it wasn’t that Frank was neurotic.  He just liked making lists.  He liked the feeling of triumph that came with drawing that single meticulous line through that conquered ambition.  He was especially pleased with his Official List A9, with Item the First already close to being crossed off- his first accomplishment achieved so quickly!

#2, Set Realistic Goals.

#3, Discover a Paranormal Power.
Continue reading

The Sledgehammer, The Nightstick, The Raincoat and John

2009 story submission by “Portland Fiction Project” (Jeremy Benjamin and Doug Dean)

Our story begins in a darkened television studio in the Media Building on Pioneer Square. The intro theme plays for “Wake Up Portland! with Mitch Flayburn.”

MITCH FLAYBURN: Joining us on the show today is Corey Egelstein. Welcome, Corey.

COREY EGELSTEIN: Thank you for having me. I’m glad to be here, on this very sad occasion.

MITCH FLAYBURN: Now Corey, you covered John Fitchburg throughout his campaign efforts against the privatized Portland Correctional Facility in the post-bailout depression, when you were an anchor for KPTV.

COREY EGELSTEIN: That’s right; I followed his movement from 2015 to 2018, during the time that the media dubbed him John Nightstick Fitchburg

Continue reading

In Passing

2009 story submission by “Smarmy of One” (Alan Dubinsky)

The alarm chirps at 6:00am. Jack, the boy, the man, the stuck-in-between casualty of pubescence, gropes with a blind hand. He keeps his face buried in the pillow for as long as possible before lifting his head to silence the clock. The red “6:04” taunts him from the nightstand, the altar of slumber, the snooze bar just an inch or so beyond the tips of his fingers as they rest on the wooden surface. Jack slams his hand down on the off switch, and the chirping ceases. His eyes adjust to the dim dawn seeping into his room, gray light finding cracks in the blinds and leaking in thin streams like water through a failing dike, no little Dutch boy to plug the holes. He blinks, stretches. He feels around under his bed for the box, pulls it out—a beat shoebox with a rubber band wrapped around the lid. Jack sits up and turns on the brass lamp next to the alarm clock. He blinks for a moment as the reds and purples burn away from his retinas; his hand still rests on the lamp, a parting gift from his mother.

Continue reading