Happy Thursday, Folks!
It was so nice of y’all to come visit me on a non-posting day!
Really, the fact that you would come all the way over here just to see me makes me feel all warm and fuzzy 🙂 You are all so sweet!
Can I offer you some refreshments? Forgive me for being a little unprepared – I wasn’t expecting company today – but please, help yourselves to coffee and donuts!
Everybody got something? Good! Let’s get comfy and settle in for a nice chat!
I have a scintillating story to tell you about the smell in our bathroom wall.
No! Not that kind of smell!
What happened was this:
On Saturday, we lit a fire in the fireplace for the first time this fall. No sooner did the chimney heat up then a dreadful odor began to pervade the house! We traced it to the upstairs bathroom wall which, oddly enough, does not touch the chimney.
You would really think that in order for a smell to be coaxed out of the wall it would have to be quite near the heat source, but apparently this is not the case, because the bathroom wall is not anywhere near the chimney, but there was no doubt about the smell.
Ah, the mysteries of architecture!
But wait. Where was I?
Oh, yeah. The dreadful odor…
So there we were, enjoying our first cozy fire of the season, when this ghastly smell nearly knocked us flat. Obviously it was imperative that we discover the cause…
You don’t care about the dreadful odor in my bathroom wall?
I think you should at least pretend, seeing as how you’re my guests and I gave you donuts!
You’re only here for the donuts and the what?
You want results?
What kind of results?
And who’s to say I have them? I may have been incapacitated by the decomposing bat (yes, that’s what was causing the dreadful odor, since clearly I’m not going to get to finish telling my story…!)
But really, a decomposing bat is a pretty appropriate item to have found right before announcing. . .
(But wait! Before I announce, do you want to see pictures of the decomposing bat?
No? You’re sure?
Alrighty then. Don’t say I never offered you anything :))
As you are all aware by now, we had a record turnout for the Halloweensie Contest – 132 entries! Holy Halloweensie! Who’d-a-thunk it?
I was thrilled beyond measure to see so many wonderful stories and meet so many new writers!
But with large entry numbers come hard choices. My assistant judges and I worked hard to winnow the total down to a manageable number of finalists that we felt were truly all-around deserving of that distinction, and those were the ones we presented to you on Monday for your vote.
There were, however, many other entries that were outstanding in certain areas even though they might not have qualified all-around for one reason or another (one reason being that, at a certain point, we just had to stop adding finalists to the list! :))
So my assistant judges and I would like to award recognition and a small prize to the following authors for the following merits:
1. For Honorable Mention In The Competition As A Whole:
Susan Halko for The Contest
Mishka Jaeger for The Poag’s Revenge
Julie Abery for Orinda Owl’s First Halloween
2. For Great Kid Appeal: (not already in the finals)
Marla Lesage for At Grandma’s House Last Halloween (which was also delightfully spooky!)
Marty McCormick for Winnie’s Spell
Christie Allred for Petie Pumpkin And The Stinky Halloween
Teresa M.I. Schaefer for The Best Pumpkin
Marlaina Gray for Lolly Is Scary
Tracie Percival for The Misspelled Witch
Vivian Kirkfield for A Night Of Friendship For Miss Witch
3. For Best Descriptive/Mood Piece:
Carol (whose last name I’m sorry I don’t know!) for Halloween Night
Mandy Yates for On This Night
4. For Best Use of Poetic Language:
Penny Klostermann for HG (Haunted and Ghostly) TV Ex-Scream Makeover Ghost Edition
5. For Spookiest Entry: (not already in the finals)
Eric Hammond for The Scarecrow
Michelle Valencia for The Halloween Sneer
Jean James for Trick Or Treat?
Alistair Lane for The Raven And The Pumpkin
6. For Sweetest/Cutest Entry: (not already in the finals)
Anne Bromley for The Pumpkin Patch Scarecrow (sweet)
Jennifer Wesselink for Five Silly Monsters (cute)
Ellen Leventhal for Emma’s Evening Ride (cute)
Linda Boyden for Pumpkin Moon (cute, and could have also won Best Entry in Fewest Words at 27! :))
7. For Saddest Ending: (hehe :))
Nancy Hatch for It’s Time To Fly
8. For Best Written Original Point of View:
Victoria Aranda for Creaks (written from the POV of a haunted house)
9. For Excellence In Depicting Sibling Relationships:
Carrie Charley Brown for Prankenstein
Kimberly Cowger for First Flight of Halloween
Joanne Sher for Dumb Jack-‘O-Lanterns
10. For Originality/Creativity:
Jen Garrett for How To Carve A Pumpkin
11. For Favorite Character:
Pat Tilton for her “gutsy witch” who “slammed the ghost with her sack of candy” in Little Ghost 🙂
12. For Best Collaboration:
Susanne Leach and her First Grade Class for Sweetsie’s Jack-O-Lantern***
Congratulations to all of you for fantastic elements of your stories! You may all email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com to collect your prize, which is your choice of one of the following: (the titles are all links so you can go see what they’re about)
Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard OR
The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi , OR
The Postitive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Attributes by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, OR
The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Flaws by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, OR
Show & Tell In A Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions From Telling To Showing by Jessica Bell, OR
Creating Extraordinary Characters by Angela Hunt, OR
Evoking Emotion by Angela Hunt
Congratulations again to all our winners – it was a stiff competition!! – and congratulations to EVERYONE who wrote and entered a story in the contest. You all deserve a huge round of applause, a confetti parade, and a large amount of chocolate cake 🙂
Thank you to everyone who helped make this contest SO MUCH FUN, whether by writing an entry, reading people’s stories, leaving comments for the authors, and/or voting in the finals. It’s because of all of you that this contest was such a success, so many, many thanks from the bottom of my heart!
And before we go, I will give you all advance warning so you can start planning a little time into your December schedule…
The 4th Annual Holiday Writing Contest will be coming up sometime in the neighborhood of December 8-12. I’m running it a little bit earlier this year so we can all fully enjoy it and still have time for last minute holiday things. And to whet your appetites and get your thinking caps on, I will tell you that first prize is something AWESOME! A picture book manuscript read and critique by an actual editor at an actual highly regarded publishing house!!! But that is all I’m saying for now 🙂 You will just have to stay tuned for more details as the Holiday Contest approaches. And I will do my best to post the rules well in advance so you all have time to work on your stories!
Have a terrific Thursday everyone, and thanks again for making the Halloweensie Contest such a wonderful time for all! 🙂
– Julie Hedlund‘s fantastic new course How To Make Money As An Author, interesting, educational and suitable for writers at any stage of their career
– a 2015 membership to Children’s Book Insider, an absolutely fabulous resource for kid lit writers of all kinds, generously offered by Jon Bard and Laura Backes
– a picture book manuscript critique from the renowned Alayne Christian (prose only, 800 words or less)
Alayne Kay Christian is an award winning author of BUTTERFLY KISSES FOR GRANDMA AND GRANDPA. She is represented by Erzsi Deak of Hen&Ink Literary Studio. To read more about Alayne, her critique service, and her books visit her websites and blog.
– a picture book manuscript critique (rhyme or prose) from Penny Parker Klostermann who, after extensive experience critiquing for writing partners, members of various kid lit groups, and clients of Erin Murphy Literary Agency, is opening her own critique service!!!
– an e-pub or PDF copy (winner’s choice) of Linda Ashman‘s Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books
– a PDF copy of Ryan Sias’s A Spooky-Doodle E-Book, “doodle pages, drawing lessons and writing prompts inspire kids to invent their own stories, characters and artwork.”