Ho! Ho! Ho! The 4th Annual Holiday Contest Is Here!

WOO HOO!!!  Let the joyous news be spread!  It’s time for. . .

The 4th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

The Contest:  Write a children’s story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) in which wild weather impacts the holidays!  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words (I know!  So much freedom after the Halloweensie Contest :))  (It can be as short as you like, but no more than 350!  Title not included in word count.)  Any kind of weather will do: sun, rain, sleet, heatwave, blizzard, tsunami, monsoon, hurricane, hail, tornado, etc!  Weather may be atypical for your setting (rain in Maine, frost in Florida), it may be extreme (blizzard instead of regular snow, drought instead of lush greenery), or it may be unheard of (spring flowers in Antarctica, snow in the Sahara, bathing suit weather at the North Pole), but whatever you choose, make us feel the impact on the holidays!  The wild weather may be a hindrance, a wish-come-true, a threat, a pleasant surprise, etc.  The field is wide open!  Have fun!  The wilder and wackier the better!  No illustration notes please. (And yes, if you feel compelled to submit more than one entry you may, just remember you’re competing against yourself!)
Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between right now this very second and Friday December 12 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below.  This post will remain up through Sunday December 14 (no WYRI or PPBF this week) so there will be plenty of time for everyone to post their entries and visit each other and enjoy all the other entries.  If you don’t have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comment section below.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I’ll post your entry for you!)
The Judging:  My lovely assistant(s) and I will narrow down the entrants to 10-12 finalists (depending on the number of entries) which will be posted here on either Monday December 15 or Tuesday December 16 (depending on the number of entries :)) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Thursday December 18 at 5 PM EST and the winners will be announced on Friday December 19.  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to tenth place.  Judging criteria will be kid appeal/kid-friendliness, creativity of weather use in plot, quality of story, quality of writing, and originality.
The Prizes!:  In the spirit of the holidays, winners will be named for 1st – 10th place.  In addition to the incredible fame of being able to say you won (or placed in) the Pretty Much World Famous 4th Annual Holiday Contest, the following AMAZING prizes will be awarded: (items in color are links for more info!)

 – A picture book manuscript read and critique by Shari Dash Greenspan, Editor of the multi-award winning Flashlight Press!  I encourage you to sign up for their newsletter HERE!
 – A picture book manuscript read and critique by Jennifer Mattson, Agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency!
 – Enrollment in Renee LaTulippe‘s highly praised and recommended Lyrical Language Lab Course (in a month to be mutually agreed upon by the winner and Renee) ($249 value!)
 – Enrollment in Jon Bard and Laura Backes’s fantastic Kindle Kids Mastery Course ($197 value!)
 – A website or blog design or redesign by Arturo Alviar.  Arturo will design (or redesign if you already have one that needs updating or a new look) a website or blog for the winner of this prize. The site will be built on WordPress so that after he is done designing it, the winner can manage it themselves with ease. Arturo will include a Home/Welcome page, an About Me/Bio page, a Works/Books/Gallery section, and a Contact section (4 pages total), as well as a blog section if the winner would like to have that integrated with the new site. Different organizations can also be made, for example if the winner would like a “Services” section with separate “School Visits” and “Critiques” pages, or a “Works” section divided into “Black and White” and “Color” illustration galleries. The winner can choose any of the WordPress themes (if they choose one that isn’t free, the cost of the theme will be covered by them), or have Arturo choose a theme based on their vision, and Arturo will modify it based on their color and layout preferences (some themes will have more constraints than others). Arturo can also design a personalized banner or header image to customize the website.  If you already have a website and/or blog and prefer a redesign to update, refresh, or just redecorate, Arturo is willing to work with Blogger, Wix, Drupal, and WordPress.
 – Enrollment in Making Picture Book Magic (my online picture book writing class – in March or a later month to be mutually agreed upon by the winner and me)
 – A picture book manuscript critique by fabulous author Amy Dixon, author of MARATHON MOUSE and the forthcoming SOPHIE’S ANIMAL PARADE.

– A picture book manuscript critique from Katy Duffield, author of more than 20 books for children including Farmer McPeepers And His Missing Milk Cows (Cooper Square Publishing 2003) and upcoming titles Loud Lula (Two Lions) illustrated by Mike Boldt and Aliens Get the Sniffles, Too (Candlewick) illustrated by K.G. Campbell.
 – 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!!!
Penny Parker Klostermann writes picture books and poetry. Her debut book, THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT, is coming from Random House Children’s, August 2015. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Click HERE to learn more about her critique service. 

 – 2015 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market, a signed copy of Boy And Poi Poi Puppy by Linda Boyden, and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
 – a pack of Deb Lund’s amazing Fiction Magic Cards
 – another pack of Deb Lund’s amazing Fiction Magic Cards

The Contest Winner will have first choice of the prizes.  2nd place will have next choice of what’s left and so on.  (I’m doing it this way in the hopes that no one will get something they already have and also because I think all the prizes are fabulous and I wouldn’t want to make anyone feel less valued by giving them as 6th place as opposed to 1st.)

So let’s get the Holiday Party started! 🙂

I want to warn you in advance that this may actually be the worst story I’ve ever written – embarrassing for me, but very comforting for anyone who is worried about the quality of their story – I can say with complete confidence that ANYTHING you write will be better than this sample! 🙂

Almost Not Christmas
(332 words)

Three days before Christmas a southerly breeze
Heated the earth to one hundred degrees!
“My goodness!” said Santa.  “This just isn’t cool!”
And he sent all his reindeer to chill in the pool.

The heat wave refused to let go of its grip
In time for his once-a-year Christmas Eve trip.
So as Santa took off for his round-the-world flight
He clucked to his team and sang into the night:
“Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet! On Cupid! On Donder and Blitzen!
Let’s hope we can get all our Christmas chores done
Without melting like popsicles left in the sun!”

But HEAT didn’t trouble St. Nick as he drove.
As his journey continued, the temperature dove.
And YOU know what happens when warm and cold meet –
— Fog tiptoes in on its little cat feet!

At dawn Christmas morning young children stopped short
When they heard this unthinkable Special Report:
“This just in! Here’s the hot-off-the-presses news scoop!
Santa is lost in that murky pea soup!”

Santa lost? When he’d battled that wild weather night
To ensure each child’s Christmas was merry and bright?
From North Pole to South, from New York to Japan
Christmas morn was abandoned to think up a plan.

In pajamas or nightgowns, in socks or bare feet,
Kids spilled from warm houses and met in the street.
“Santa comes through for us year after year.
It’s our turn to give him some Christmastime cheer!”

Puerto Toro* to Nunavuk* in a straight line
They climbed to their roofs with whatever would shine.
They lit up a beacon as bright as could be
With candles and glowsticks and lights from their tree.
An arrow of light that would gleam through the gloam
So Santa could finally find his way home.

“It’s official!” the newsfolk were happy to say.
“St. Nick made it back with his reindeer and sleigh!”
At last, filled with joy, kids began to unwrap
And Santa? He took a long afternoon nap!

*In case you’re wondering, Puerto Toro, Chile is the nearest settlement to the South Pole, and Alert, Nunavuk is the nearest to the North Pole 🙂

I have another equally bad half-finished story in prose that I might swap out for this one at some point during the week if I just can’t stand it any more 🙂

So now!  Is everyone filled with confidence about their entries?  I certainly hope so after that display!  Never let it be said that I’m not willing to make a fool of myself for you guys 🙂  It just proves how much I love you 🙂

I can’t wait to read all of your (much better!) stories!  I hope there will be a lot – the more the merrier!  And there are still 4+ days to write, so you have time if you haven’t written yet and want to join the fun.  Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well.

Remember to put your post-specific link (not your general blog link or people will find the wrong page if you post again before the contest is over) in the list below!

Don’t miss the 37 fabulous entries in the comment section! Click on the names or titles to go to the story.  Please note that it takes a minute to load.  And please also note that clicking on these links will allow you to read the story and leave your own comment, but not see previous comments left on that story… I don’t know why… so if you want to see all the comments left on the story, you’ll have to scroll through the whole comment section.

Melissa – On Top Of Hot Cocoa
Suzannah – The Christmas Storm
Kimberly – We Knit You A Merry Christmas
Anne – Christmas Eve At Gate 25
Rosa – My Unicorns Fought The Mean Storm
Gina – A Christmas Prayer
Kristen – Maple Syrup Meltdown
Zainab – Abe’s Cloud
Bronwyn – Jack Quits
Julie – Santa’s Satnav
Kristen – Polar Warming
Jim – Snowflake: A Christmas Tail
Laura – Mordecai’s Hanukkah Miracle
Sharon – Boomer’s First White Christmas
Rachel – A Christmas Miracle
Carol – The Best Christmas
Hilary – No Sweat Santa
Amy – Rain, dear
Tracie – The Under The Weather Weatherman
Kirsten – Hurricane Coal
Anne – What Will Santa Do?
Pam – My Snowman Is Sick
Carol Ann – Wish You’d Been Here
Nina – Only Mermaids Can Find A Christmas Tree In The Sea
Sharon – A Little Christmas Miracle
Ruth – Harry And Genie
Marty – Countdown To Midnight
Rene – Best Christmas Ever!
Angela – A Snowy Night
Patricia – The Christmas Miracle
Susan – Libby’s Blizzard Gift
Charlotte – Hanukkah At Gramma Golda’s House
Kim – The Great Sleigh Ride
Heather – Dreaming Of A White Christmas
Summer – The Snow Miracle
Amelia – The Night The Sun Stayed Up
Sally – Just Ice And Snow

467 thoughts on “Ho! Ho! Ho! The 4th Annual Holiday Contest Is Here!

  1. Zainab says:

    Thanks Lynn. I'm glad you liked it. It was written when I had so many other things going on so I don't think its my best work but I had to enter. 🙂

  2. JillSF1959 says:

    Is anyone else having trouble posting comments on Blogger? I write out my comment, set it to post with my WordPress ID and then his submit. Instead of giving me time to type in the “anti-robot/spam” numbers, it flashes the numbers for a moment and then goes back to the screen where I typed my comment without recording it. Frustrating. Clearly, Blogger doesn't like me or my comments.

  3. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Wait a minute, Jilanne! Are you telling me my blog comments have a capcha on them? I HATE capchas! If they do, I must remove them immediately. As to your difficulties, I'm not sure what could be causing them, although I do know IE is notoriously bad at playing nice with my blog…

  4. JillSF1959 says:

    I don't have trouble with yours, Susanna. Some of the entries on on Blogger. Usually, they wait for me to enter whatever code is presented, but for every story I've tried to comment on in Blogger, the code flashes for a second and then returns to my comment so I can never actually get it submitted. This isn't your problem, but I wanted others to be aware that they may not be getting comments from everyone if their stories are posted on their blogs in Blogger. I'm on a Mac, and I use Google Chrome. It's very frustrating, but it's definitely NOT your problem. 😀

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