Happy Friday, Everyone!
Yes, yes! I know what day it is!
Normally, I would tease you for a while and pretend I didn’t know what brought you to this neck of the woods or what you were after, but not today.
Today I’m going to get straight to the point.
No beating around the bush.
I’m going to give you what you came for . . .
. . . just as soon as we come up with an answer to that eternal burning question: whose idea was tinsel anyway and does anyone actually use it?
Because seriously, that stuff is as bad as Easter grass! It gets everywhere!
In your hair! In the carpet! On the dogs…
And who has the patience to separate it out into single strands to drape artfully over the limbs of your Christmas tree? (And let’s face it, it does not have the same effect if you just glob it on in clumps…!)
And we’re not even going to TALK about if you have cats! By golly! That’s just a disaster waiting to happen!
You’re all writers! Let your imagination run amok with the idea of cats, tinsel, Christmas trees…
Yikes! Truly, I shudder to think!
So anyway, where was I?
I was not beating around the bush.
I wonder what bush it is that I’m not beating around?
Is it the same as the bush in “Here we go ’round the mulberry bush?”
Or maybe the bush that a bird in the hand is worth two birds in?
I’m guessing if there are two birds they are turtle doves, because that’s how the song goes. You know, “On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two turtle doves…” Yeah. Like that.
Except not a partridge, because he was in a pear tree and we are certainly not beating around the pear tree!
Boy! All this not beating around things is making me a little dizzy!
So maybe I’ll stop and just tell you about
The 4th Annual Holiday Contest!!!
I was once again thrilled to see so many wonderful stories! Really! It is amazing and inspiring, not to mention VERY entertaining! There is just so much talent out there amongst you all!
But with large entry numbers, all of high quality, 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 Tuesday 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.
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:
Leslie Tribble for The Perfect Christmas Tree
Anne Bromley for Christmas Eve At Gate 25
Lauri Meyers for Jimmy Cantore Steals Christmas
2. For Fabulous Fun Kid-Friendly Stories (That Sadly Fell Short On The Weather Element But Were Too Good Not To Recognize!):
Stacy Jensen for How Do I Fix This?
Bridget Magee for Dear Santa
Margaret Greanias for A Little Christmas Wish
Pam Vaughan for My Snowman Is Sick
Jim Jones for Snowflake…A Christmas Tail
3. For We-Loved-It-But-Thought-The Humor-Was-A-Little-Too-Grown-Up 🙂
(and seriously, these were terrific entries, well written and funny!)
Mike Allegra for Carbon Christmas
Heather Preusser for Dreaming Of A White Christmas
Kristen Foote for Polar Warming
Hilary (Swann?) for No Sweat Santa
Kathy Halsey for Whether Or Not To Ho-Ho-Ho
4. For Sweet Stories That Exemplified Christmas Spirit:
Sharon Wilson for A Little Christmas Miracle
Patricia Corcoran for The Christmas Miracle
Sally Suehler for Just Ice And Snow
5. For Fantastic Word Play:
Amy Ozay for Rain, dear
6. For Best First Line:
James Lloyd for Pablo’s First Christmas
7. For Best-Written Original Point Of View:
Carol Lescinski for The Best Christmas (excellent stuffed dog POV!)
Summer Hinderer for The Snow Miracle (POV of gingerbread people in Gingerbreadville!)
8. For Best Action Story:
Caren Cantrell for Northern Exposure
9. The Keep Up The Great Writing Award goes to:
Ms. Leach’s First Grade for Hopeful Christmas Eve
And first graders, your special prize will be Happily Ever Madlibs and Once Upon A Madlibs, which we hope you will enjoy doing as a class on days when you can’t go out for recess or something 🙂 as well as 2 StoryWorld Create-A-Story Kits: Quests And Adventures and Fairy Magic which can be used in lots of fun ways to inspire writing and storytelling (and for even more fun you can pull cards from both decks to expand possibilities!) Thank you for writing another wonderful story for all of us to enjoy!
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 Easy Way To Write Picture Books That Sell by Robyn Parnell 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
The Ultimate Fiction Thesaurus by Sam Stone OR
Show & Tell In A Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions From Telling To Showing by Jessica Bell OR
The Six Senses In A Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions From Bleak To Bold Narrative by Jessica Bell OR
Adverbs And Cliches In A Nutshell: Demonstrated Subversions Of Adverbs & Cliches Into Gourmet Imagery by Jessica Bell OR
Creating Extraordinary Characters by Angela Hunt, OR
…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
The announcement of the WINNERS OF THE 2014 HOLIDAY CONTEST as voted on by you!!!
In First Place…
Winner of the whole shebang…
who gets first choice of all the prizes…
for The Rumbledy Jumbledy Holiday Feast!!!
Congratulations, Randi, on a fabulous and fun entry that was clearly very popular!!! 🙂
In Second Place…
Elaine Kiely Kearns
for ‘Twas The Stormy Night Before Christmas
Congratulations, Elaine!! You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Randy makes her choice.
In Third Place…
for Snow Swirls
Congratulations, Katey! You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Randy and Elaine choose theirs.
In Fourth Place…
for Santa’s Satnav
Congratulations, Julie! You get to pick after Randy, Elaine and Katey.
In Fifth Place…
for Little Christmas, BIG SNOW
Congratulations, Anika! You get to pick after Randy, Elaine, Katey, and Julie.
In Sixth Place…
for Jack Quits
Congratulations, Bronwyn! I’m sure you get the idea of how the prize picking goes by now 🙂
In Seventh Place…
for Polar Woes
Congratulations, Sylvia! You get to pick next 🙂
In Eighth Place…
for The Night The Sun Stayed Up
Congratulations, Amelia! You get to pick a prize after Sylvia!
In Ninth Place, we have a tie! between
Johnell DeWitt and Teresa Robeson
for A Djiboutian Christmas Sandstorm Santa
Congratulations, Johnell and Teresa! You get to pick next!
In Eleventh Place…
for Hurricane Coal
And in Twelfth Place, rounding out the top dozen of these amazing finalists and the 100 Holiday Contest Entries for 2014…
Carol Ann Martin
for Wish You’d Been Here
All the winners should email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com with the subject heading Prize Winner so we can work out details for you to receive your prizes! And for your convenience, the whole prize list is included at the bottom of this post.
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 tinsel parade (clumpy or stringy, however you like it :)), and a large amount of Figgy Pudding (which truthfully I don’t know what that is, but apparently it’s something we all want some of :))
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!
As I… hmm… maybe didn’t mention…?, I’m taking a little blogging break so I can spend time with my family – I’ve got cookies to bake, Christmas presents to shop for and wrap, and my sister and her family are arriving form Georgia on Monday! 🙂 – so I will see you all in a couple weeks – most probably Wednesday January 7th for Would You Read It unless I have something really important to impart on Monday the 5th… but I’m not really foreseeing that 🙂
So now, I want to wish you all a happy and healthy holiday filled with love, laughter, joy, and family, and a happy, healthy and successful new year! It is a pleasure and a privilege to get to spend time with you all, and I’m happy and grateful to know each and every one of you!
Looking forward to all the things we’ll do in 2015!
Happy Holidays, and all best wishes for a wonderful New Year!!!
– 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 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.