Be Still My Heart! The 1st Annual Valentiny Writing Contest Is Here!!!

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Valentinies rock

And so do YOU!

Hang onto your chocolate everyone!  It’s time for . . .

The First Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

valentiny logo

Valen-tiny because the stories are not very long and are written for little people 🙂

The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is grumpy!  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone grumpy (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words max (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 🙂  You can go under the word count but not over! Title is not included in the word count.  No illustration notes please!

Post your story on your blog between right now this very second and Friday February 12th by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list below.  I apologize that I’m still experimenting with how to use link lists on wordpress – please forgive me for any glitches and I thank you in advance for your patience!  There will be no Would You Read It or Perfect Picture Book Friday this week, so the post and the list of links will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy.  If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section of this post. (Or, if you have difficulty with the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you!  If you email it to me, please put “Valentiny Contest Entry” in the subject line and copy and paste your story, including your title, byline and word count, into the body of the email.  NO ATTACHMENTS PLEASE!)  I’m not sure how posting in the comments is going to work on wordpress… whether there will be room for enough responses to each entry and whether there’s a way to link to specific comments so they’re easy to locate as I did on blogger… so we shall all have to learn together.  Pantsing.  It’s what life’s all about 🙂

The Judging: over the weekend, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 or maybe 6 or possibly 10 top choices (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have winnowing, so we’ll see…) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Tuesday February 16th or Wednesday February 17th (depending on how many entries we get and because I will be out of office all day Monday.)  The winners will be announced on Friday February 19th. (And there will be no WYRI or PPBF the week of Feb. 15-19 either so that everyone will have time to read and vote and so that we don’t confuse PPBF with announcing winners.)  If we get more than 20 entries, I will post 6 finalists, if we get more than 30 or 40, well, all bets are off.  I never know what to expect from a new contest.  Remember, you’re witnessing pantsing in action 🙂  But I’m hoping we’ll get enough entries to make giving out the 10 AWESOME prizes worthwhile!

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using grumpiness, and success in making us feel the grumpiness!
  3. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  4. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics
  5. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

The Prizes:  Oh. My. Goodness! do we have fabulous prizes!  If these don’t motivate you to write your best, I don’t know what will! 🙂

– A Picture Book Read and Critique from literary agent Christa Heschke at McIntosh & Otis who is actively building her picture book list!

ChristaCHRISTA HESCHKE graduated from Binghamton University with a major in English and a minor in Anthropology. She started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of publishing. Christa has been at McIntosh and Otis, Inc. in the Children’s Literature Department since 2009 where she is actively acquiring for all age groups in children’s. For YA, she is especially interested in contemporary fiction, thriller/mystery, and horror. She is always on the lookout for a compelling voice combined with a strong, specific hook that will set a YA novel apart in its genre and the flooded market. She is open to all types of middle grade and especially enjoys adventure, mystery, and magical realism, whether in a voice that is more light and humorous or one with more of a timeless, literary feel. For both YA and MG, she is particularly interested in unique settings and cultural influences, interesting storytelling structure, complicated romances, diverse characters, sister or friendship-centric stories, and stories that feature artists of any kind. In picture books she is drawn to cute, funny stories (as opposed to sweet and quiet) with strong hooks that will grab both kids and their parents as well as the occasional nonfiction biography on a unique subject whose story has yet to be told.


Please feel free to follow her on twitter and enjoy her blog! Twitter: @ChristaHeschke
Blog: Neverending Stories

– Enrollment in Julie Hedlund and Emma Walton Hamilton‘s Complete Picture Book Submissions System!

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 12.57.56 PM

– Enrollment in literary agent Jodell Sadler‘s Pacing Picture Books 2 WOW picture book writing class in March 2016!


– A spot in an upcoming Ariel Richardson webinar, Rule Breaking In Picture Books: The Chronicle Books Edition offered by Jodell Sadler

Twitter bird announce

– Winner’s choice of free enrollment in ART OF ARC: HOW TO ANALYZE YOUR PICTURE BOOK MANUSCRIPT OR a deep analysis critique from Alayne.

ART OF ARC is a self-study course that will deepen your understanding of picture books written with a classic arc and introduce you to other picture book structures. The course gives you tools to analyze your work prior to investing in professional critiques. It shows you how to avoid common writing errors and how apply writing elements that will enhance your stories to take them to a higher level. It includes 217 pages with ten lessons, seventeen supplements, and eighteen worksheets. Plus bonus materials and resources.

– A Picture Book Critique/Developmental Edit (non-rhyming picture book manuscript) from Beth Stilborn. (Beth does  developmental editing and copy editing through her Flubs2Fixes Editing, Consulting and Writers’ Resources service for writers. )

– A Picture Book Critique from the fabulous Robin Newman, author of The Case Of The Missing Carrot Cake and the forthcoming, eagerly awaited Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep (please don’t miss the fantastic trailer! 🙂 )

– personalized signed copies of The Case Of The Missing Carrot Cake and Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep by Robin Newman

– a personalized signed copy of The Night Before Valentines Day by Natasha Wing!  Natasha Wing loves Valentine’s Day because it’s a week after her birthday. Natasha is the bestselling author of The Night Before series (Grosset & Dunlap). To find out more:

Night Before V Day

– personalized signed copies of Clara Bowman-Jahn‘s delightful picture books Annie’s Special Day and Edmund Pickle Chin

– I Heart Picture Books – a 5-pack of Valentine picture books including A Crankenstein Valentine by Samantha Berger, Love, Ruby Valentine by Laurie B. Friedman,  Zombie In Love by Kelly DiPucchio, Love, Splat by Rob Scotton, and Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood PLUS 3 Endangered Species Chocolate Bars!

Once again, please join me in thanking Christa, Jodell, Julie & Emma, Alayne, Beth, Robin, and Natasha for their incredible generosity, and show your appreciation by visiting their sites, buying and recommending their books and services to your writer friends and/or friends with kids, writing them nice reviews on Amazon, GoodReads etc if you’ve read and liked their books, and showing your appreciation to them in any way you can!  I truly can’t thank them all enough!

So now it’s time for me to post my little sample.  Prepare yourselves 🙂


Who’s A Grumpy Valentine? 214 words


Boris and Irma were making Valentines.

Boris frowned with concentration as he cut hearts from red paper.

“Boris is grumpy,” Irma announced. “His hearts aren’t as good as mine.”

“Don’t be grumpy, Boris,” Mom said. “Your hearts look good to me.”

Boris wasn’t grumpy.

His hearts looked good to him too.

Boris laid his hearts in a row.

He grunted trying to squeeze glue from the bottle that Irma had left nearly empty.

“Boris is grumpy,” Irma declared. “He can’t squeeze glue as neatly as me.”

But Boris wasn’t grumpy.

His glue lines were exactly the way he wanted them.

Boris banged the glitter jar against his hand to break up the clump at the bottom.

“Boris is grumpy,” Irma sang out. “He’s making a mess with his glitter!”

EVERYone makes a mess with glitter,” said Mom with a meaningful glance at Irma’s mess.

Boris was carefully writing the letters L-O-V-E-B-O-R-I-S when suddenly…

“My VALENTINES!” Irma shrieked.

She had spilled her juice!

“They’re RUINED!”

Boris snatched his Valentines from the spreading puddle.

Mom swooped in with paper towel.

Irma’s Valentines were saved but soggy.

Irma stamped her foot and made a noise like a hive of angry bees.

Boris looked at Mom. “I think Irma’s grumpy!”

But he shared his Valentines with her anyway.

❤     ❤     ❤     ❤     ❤     ❤     ❤     ❤     ❤


Everyone feeling better about their stories now?  I should certainly HOPE so! 🙂

I can’t wait to read all of yours!  I’m so looking forward to them!  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.  Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well.  And your reading friends – parents, teachers, etc.  The more people who read and enjoy your stories, the better!!!


Contest Entrants, remember to add your post-specific link to the linky list below so we can all come read your awesome stories!  (Post-specific means not your main blog url, but the actual url of the post that has your story in it – otherwise if you post again before the contest ends, your link will take readers… and judges!… to the wrong place!)

Eager Readers – you ALSO need to click the “click here” to add your entry button on the linky list just to see the list of links.  I apologize profusely for the inconvenience of not having the list visible right here on my site.  If I can find a way around it before the contest ends I’ll change it.

Fingers crossed this thingamajig can fly! 🙂

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And don’t miss the 78 fabulous entries posted in the comment section!

1. Grizzly Grump – Sharon G.

2. Mommy Bunny’s Slightly Grumpy Valentine – Eric

3. My Little Buddy Boy – Tracy

4. A Heart In The Sand – Sharon C

5. Sulky Sky – Cate

6. No Valentines For Porcupines – Jess

7. Treasured Lumps Of Pickled Grumps – Maria O

8. A Groundhog’s Valentine – Jill Proctor

9. Valentines Gifts – Cindy

10. (Un)Lovely Leonard – Lauren

11. I Hate Valentine’s Day – Joni

12. NUTS! – Juli

13. My Heart Thumped – Jim

14. Roman’s Lousy Valentine – Lindsay

15. The Lonely Hearts Club – Samantha

16. The Grizzly Who Couldn’t Bear Valentines – Julie

17. Grumpy Badger’s Valentine – Ann

18. The Stinky Valentine – Judy

19. Mr. Mean – Diana

20. The Chocolate Heart – Kris

21. Porchy And Emma – Valerie

22. Replacement Valentine – Melissa B

23. Violet’s Valentines – Beth

24. My Grumpy Valentine – Gabrielle

25. KEEP OUT! A Love Story – Jen

26. Remembering Hammie – Meagan

27. The Right Angles – Meredith

28. Jim’s Valentine’s Day – Maria M

29. The Valentine’s Day Witch – Lesley

30. Lola In Love – Melissa di T

31. Happy Valentine’s Day, Bear! – Carol

32. The Unexpected Kiss – Mindy

33. Millie Mouse, Will You Be My Valentine? – Laura

34. “I Hate Valentine’s Day!” – Carleen

35. Shape Up – Jill Purtee

36. Valentine Sleepover – Caroline

37. Box Of Secrets – Lisa

38. Jim – Polly

39. Puppy Love – Ellen

40. The Favorite Donut – Helen

41. Cupid’s Sea Shanty – Alice

42. Valentine Birthday Boy – Sara

43. Mr. Grumpy’s Birds – Anne S

44. Grumpy Is Blue – Anita

45. Chomper’s Valentine’s Day Road Trip – Michele

46. Squirrel’s Valentine Surprise – Debbie

47. That’s Not A Valentine! – Anne B

48. Grump Truck, Love Truck – Amy G

49. Matty’s Angel Picture – Jane

50. George The Baker – Jennifer A

51. Every Dog Has His Valentine’s Day – Cynthia P

52. Olivia’s Gloomy Valentine’s Day – Carolyn

53. Cantankerous Claudius: The Grouch Behind The Valentine – Suzanne

54. Valentine Surprises – Kathleen

55. Badger’s Valentine – Lori

56. Roman’s Handmade Valentines – Julie R

57. Grumpy’s New Name – Amanda

58. An Unlikely Friendship – Sandy

59. Shoo Fly Valentine – Kristen

60. XOXO, Your Secret Admirer (Larry) – Christine

61. Rather Take A hike – Pamela

62. Valentine’s Rock – Dina

63. Old Grumpentine – Kirsten

64. No Snacks For Mx – Shelley K

65. Billy Goat Grump – Angela

66. The Valentine Phantom – Heather

67. Chocolate Surprise – JC Kelly

68. Grumps And The Valentine’s Day Dance – Janet

69. My Grumpy Funny Valentine – Ashley

70. The Case Of The Missing Valentine Party Supplies – Robin

71. Valentine’s Day At Sweet Pig’s – Patricia

72. The Grumps – Ingrid

73. Leprechaun Love – Patti

74. A Colorful Valentine’s Day – Susan

75. Valentine Magic – Charlotte

76. Special Valentines – Sara

[77. You Had Me At Oink – Shelley M]

78. Flicker’s Valentine – Jenifer




404 thoughts on “Be Still My Heart! The 1st Annual Valentiny Writing Contest Is Here!!!

  1. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Badger’s Valentine
    by Lori Lehman

    Badger was a grump. He did not like glitter. He did not like glue. And most of all, he did NOT like Valentine’s Day. Instead of cutting up paper and making cards like his classmates, he banged on some books like they were drums. “I’m a one-man band,” he thought as he watched everyone get into the holiday spirit.
    When school was almost over, Duck came over to Badger and handed him a card: “This doesn’t have glitter, It doesn’t have glue, But I made this card, Just for YOU!” Badger was so surprised that he blushed. In fact, he actually smiled. Then he panicked. He didn’t have anything to give to Duck. He had been too busy drumming all day. That’s it! Badger rat-a-tat-tatted his heart out. ”This song is just for YOU, Duck!” Badger kept playing and the whole class started to dance.
    Badger still doesn’t like glitter. He still doesn’t like glue. But Valentine’s Day? He decided it was not half bad!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      I love that Duck noticed the things Badger didn’t like and made him the perfect Valentine! And how quick-thinking of Badger to turn his drum solo into a return gift 🙂 Thanks so much for joining in the Valentiny fun, Lori!

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Roman’s Handmade Valentines

    By Julie Rand

    250 Words

    Mrs. Right’s instructions were specific.

    “Class, this year we will only exchange handmade Valentines cards, no store bought.”

    Everyone cheered, except Roman.

    After class Roman begged “Please, can I bring store bought?”

    “I’m sorry. It’s a school wide decision.”

    Roman stomped home,

    slammed the door,

    and tossed his back pack across the floor.

    “Hi Mr. Grumpy, what’s going on?” asked his mom.

    “We have to hand make our valentines. I’m not creative and my writing’s horrible.”

    “Let’s get some supplies, you can trace hearts. It will be fine.”

    No it won’t

    Later that day he traced hearts, but his marker slipped.

    He painted with a stencil, his brush slopped.

    He glued hearts, but again, disaster.

    I give up.

    “I’m going outside.”

    Roman sloshed his skateboard through every puddle.

    “Everyone will laugh. My valentines look like puddles!”

    “I can’t do it. I’ll just be sick that day.”

    At the top of the hill he pushed extra hard with a huff.

    Roman’s skateboard wiggled, wobbled then whooshed out from under him and smacked him in the stomach.

    He crash landed on his back in mud.

    “Ouch,” he grabbed his stomach with both hands.

    After catching his breath he trudged home.

    “Are you ok?” said his mom.


    “Nice mud heart.”

    Roman inspected his shirt. His hand prints made a heart shape.

    “I have a great idea.” He went straight to work.

    Roman’s hand-made hearts were a hit.

    “What gave you this idea?” asked Mrs. Right.

    “I mixed grumpy with mud,” he laughed.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Cute story, Julie! You did an excellent job of showing grumpy! And what an inspired solution to Roman’s problem! Loved the ending! Favorite line: “I mixed grumpy with mud,”! 🙂 Thanks so much for joining in the Valentiny fun!

  3. City Sights for Kids says:

    by Amanda Sincavage

    Snow White settled down with her adoring prince,
    and hadn’t been to visit the dwarfs cottage since.
    The dwarfs knew she lived happily ever after.
    And heard the castle was filled with baby laughter.
    The dwarfs went back to whistling while they worked,
    But in the darkness, a lonely feeling lurked.
    At the end of the day as they approached their door,
    They secretly wished to find their princess once more.
    One dwarf especially couldn’t shake his funk.
    Grumpy just got grumpier every month.
    He missed their fair princess, it had been quite a while.
    She was the only one who could make this grump smile.
    And as the special day of hearts and love grew near,
    Grumpy got grumpier from loneliness and fear.
    Would flowers and hearts decorate a valentine?
    Would anyone ask him, “Grumpy, will you be mine?”
    Did anyone have love for this grumpy rascal?
    …wait, a royal delivery from the castle!
    The dwarfs ran inside and found six cards with their names.
    Poor Grumpy’s was missing; he fled to bed in shame.
    But something wasn’t right; his bed was too lumpy.
    Then the covers flew off and a girl yelled “Grampy!”
    From under the bed, Snow White and the Prince appeared,
    “Be Our Valentine Grampy!” and everyone cheered!

  4. Sandy Powell says:

    An Unlikely Friendship
    By, Sandy Powell
    212 words

    One day, as Truman the penguin skated on the frozen sea he saw an old leopard seal.
    “Hello,” Truman said.
    “Go away!” the seal said.
    “Why aren’t you swimming?” Truman asked.
    “I don’t want to,” the seal said. “Mind your own business.”
    “That’s silly!” Truman said. “I bet you’re an excellent swimmer. Will you teach me how to swim?”
    “Seals don’t teach penguins,” the seal said. “Quit bothering me!”
    “That’s silly. I’ll visit you tomorrow,” Truman said and skated off.
    Truman visited day after day and always asked, “Will you teach me how to swim?”
    The old leopard seal always replied, “No! Go away!”
    One day, Truman said, “Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and I’m going to make you a
    “No! I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day,” the seal said.
    “That’s silly,” Truman said and waddled off to make the Valentine.
    Truman scooped snow and made several balls into a heart. To make it extra sweet
    he topped it with a fish. The next day, Truman presented the Valentine. The
    old leopard seal opened his mouth to grumble, but instead ate the Valentine. Afterwards, he said, “Let’s go kid.”
    “Really?” Truman asked. The old leopard seal nodded. “Yippee!”
    The two new friends dove into the icy water, and Truman became an excellent swimmer.

  5. kjfoote says:

    Kristen Foote
    162 words

    This day for love does not apply
    when you are born and raised a fly.
    I buzz, “I love you!” but hear, “DIE!”
    I swoop away and cry.

    I’ll never get a Valentine.
    A candy box on which to dine.
    A candle-lit “I LOVE YOU” shrine.
    I mean, I hate to whine…

    But people slap you, try to trap you.
    Grab a tissue, just to squish you.
    It’s depressing. Here’s my issue:
    I have feelings, too!

    So what’s a lonely fly to do
    when all I hear is, “SHOO FLY, SHOO!”
    THE WORST DAY EVER! Yes, it’s true,
    this day, it makes me blue.

    I think I’ll fly far, far away,
    and cross my wings, and hope and pray,
    that this will be my first V-Day
    I’ll find a love to stay.

    Around the pond, I make a friend!
    A frog on which I can depend.
    He acts so shy, but that’s pretend.
    I think I’ll kiss him! EEEK


  6. Christine Rodenbour says:

    by Christine Rodenbour
    WC: 176

    Dear Petunia,
    I like your hair. You smell like chocolate. Will you be my Valentine?
    Love, Larry

    You smell like chocolate?

    Sweet P,
    How do I love thee? Let me count the sand in the sandbox.

    One, two…thirty-seven….eh.

    Dearest Petunia,
    Your face is nice. Like ice cream in the summer. Or hot dogs.
    Yours truly, Larry

    Not bad.

    Pretty Petunia,
    I’m hungry.
    Be mine?


    To: Petunia,
    I love you. Do you love me?
    Xoxo, Your Secret Admirer (Larry)

    Too much?

    To: Petunia,
    I like you. Do you like me?
    Lots of love!


    Larry is a great guy.


    Miss Petunia Picklebottom,
    You’re the rainbow to my dark day.
    With all the colors of the world and love in my heart, Larry

    Almost there.

    Hey Petunia,
    What’s up? I was just thinking, maybe, you’d be mine? You know, if that’s cool with you and all.
    Laters baby, Lar-dawg

    I quit.

    You smell like enchiladas and sour cream.
    Meet me at the swings.

  7. Pamela Wight (@pamelawight) says:

    Pamela Wight
    101 words

    More than twenty cards I have to write
    for a chubby cupid with bow’n arrow
    “One for each student, it’s only right,”
    my teacher claims, but she doesn’t know.

    My fingers ache holding the marker so tight
    ‘cause my friends will make fun, ‘specially Joe.
    We boys would rather skateboard or take a hike
    or write to the other fat guy, Santa Ho Ho Ho.

    But I’m coloring this special card pink and bright
    since it’s for Becky, who always says “Hello!”
    as if I’m nice, and she knows I won’t bite.
    Maybe she’ll like my heart; I certainly hope so.

  8. Dina Ticas says:

    Dina Ticas
    Valentine’s Rock

    The lonely old otter of the sea swam about on his own, day after day. With a rock in hand, he swam with the kelp, but not a buddy in sight. He wasn’t a friendly otter, but held a hand from time to time to keep him from drifting away.
    “Friends? I don’t have time to play”, and out he went with the tide and came back at the end of the day.
    As he swam near the shore, while others held hands, his reply always remained, a sigh and a “Bleh”.When all at once, he encountered a pup. 

    “I present to you a Valentine’s Rock.”
    “A Valentine’s Rock?”, the old otter growled.
    “Why, yes, it’s a thing” the pup said.
    “Amongst otters, you see, we have no need for cards or treats. Paper doesn’t hold well and turns into mush. And chocolate makes our tummies ache. But what has the power to unlock a yummy treat? A tool so dear we keep it safe in our pouch. The beloved rock! A lovely gift from my wonderful romp; my mom, pop, brother and sis. Will you receive this precious rock as a Valentine gift?”

    The once grumpy old otter, happily replied, “A Valentine’s Rock and new friends are welcome indeed”.

  9. kpbock says:

    The people of Loveville were feeling quite bright,
    while settling into their heart-beds that night.
    Sweet thoughts filled their heads as they drifted away,
    excited to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
    One grim, grayish creature did not feel the same.
    Old Grumpentine hated their silly love game.
    He waited as nighttime gulped up each heart-house.
    Then snuck into town like an overgrown mouse.
    He stuffed an old sack with their cakes and red flowers,
    their greeting cards, jewelry, chocolatey towers.
    When all was collected, he grinned as he slunk,
    “Without their sweet tokens, this day will be sunk.”
    He giggled and hid as the Lovevilles awoke
    and noticed: no Valentines! Nobody spoke.
    Instead, they all wandered along Sweetheart Street.
    They offered up hugs and forgot about treats.
    The Grumpentine furrowed his gray, grisly brow.
    “But why aren’t they crying? Not even a scowl!”
    The people of Loveville walked straight to old Grump.
    Who shrunk behind heart-trees, a fuzzy gray lump.
    Before he could flee, they had crowded his space
    and trapped him inside of a loving embrace.
    The Grumpentine struggled but simply too late,
    he felt the warm glow of his rosy red fate.
    His heart beat tip-tapped like a fancy ballet,
    as he shouted to all, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

  10. Shelley Kinder says:

    No Snacks for Max, by Shelley Kinder (203 Words)

    Once upon a Valentine,
    A grumpy dog began to whine.

    He yelped and barked for heart-shaped snacks.
    His owners said, “Calm down, dear Max.”

    They rubbed his ears. And tummy too.
    Then, out the door, the couple flew.

    “They’re buying yum yums!” Max was certain.
    He sat for hours by the curtain.


    Hope deflating…

    Max was angry. Lonely too.
    He ate a rose. He chewed a shoe.

    He knocked a vase onto the floor.
    And that was when he heard the DOOR!

    Uncle Harry stepped inside.
    “Happy Valentine’s!” he cried.

    He plopped his suitcase in the den.
    Max’s fit began AGAIN.

    He ripped apart a Teddy Bear.
    Fuzzy stuffing everywhere!

    Harry yelled, “NO TREATS FOR YOU!”
    Max went to bed. His dreams were blue.

    Harry stayed for one more night.
    Max did his best to be polite.

    But Max was still a canine grump.
    A car door made him jump!

    Max’s tail wagged. They were back!
    Did they bring his favorite snack?!?

    They had a bag. And something blue.
    A blanket moved and said, “AH-CHOO!”

    “Meet our little sweet bambino!
    Also known as Valentino!”

    Max was grumpy. Max was glum.
    But soon enough, he had a chum.

  11. Angela Turner says:

    Angela Turner

    Billy Goat Grump
    208 Words

    Billy Goat Grump grazed in the meadow.

    “This grass is too dry,” he complained. “The sun is so hot. My brothers left me,” he grumped. Nothing ever went right for old Billy Goat Grump.

    Well, he thought, things weren’t getting any better around here, so he might as well head down to the lower meadows. Getting there required crossing Troll’s bridge. To cross, he had to butt him off the bridge. What a headache.

    Quietly, he tip, tapped onto the bridge.

    “Yoo hoo. Who is that lovely tip, tapping over my bridge?”

    Bill Goat Grump stopped. That did not sound like Troll.

    A tiny man with wings, holding a bow and arrow flew over the side of the bridge.

    “Who are you?”

    “I am Troll’s cousin, Cupid. You are not allowed to cross . . .”

    “Oh yes I will.” Grump lowered his head, running toward Cupid.

    Just before his head made contact, Cupid planted a big kiss on the goat’s forehead.

    “You are not allowed to pass UNTIL I give you a big kiss.”

    Lightness and joy filled Billy Goat Grump. He even smiled.

    Hopping off the bridge, he heard, “Come join us!” Under the bridge, his brothers happily munched on heart shaped cookies and bon bons.

  12. heatherpreusser says:

    By Heather Preusser
    (213 words)

    Ava crept into the dark evening, ready to track the Valentine Phantom.
    Every year on Valentine’s Eve, the holiday hero secretly decorated downtown with red hearts, spreading love as if by magic. Ava wanted to catch him in the act. Then he would haunt her house and make her mom less grumpy.
    Ava turned the corner and spotted paper hearts up and down the street. She was on the right track!
    The wind whooshed.
    “The love is blowing away!” Ava darted around, picking up nuggets of niceness. The taped hearts became entwined.
    “Let me help,” a voice echoed.
    “Are you—” Ava gazed up, but the Phantom was already papering the library, city hall, and the fire station.
    “Wait!” Ava ran to catch up. “Can we visit…my house…next? Mom could use a heart.”
    The Phantom had vanished.
    “Now I’ll never be able to cheer up Mom.”
    The snow twirled Ava around and…around until…she was back at home.
    “Where have you been?” asked Mom. “I was worried.”
    “Hunting the Valentine Phantom. I wanted him to pin a heart on our door to make you happy again.”
    Mom hugged Ava. “Who needs a paper heart when I have you?”
    Something crinkled.
    Mom pointed to the red heart on Ava’s coat. “He was here after all.”

  13. Jean Kelly says:

    Chocolate Surprise
    214 Words
    JC Kelly

    Patty Porcupine’s mood was as prickly as her quills. “I know I won’t get any hugs today, but a valentine would be nice. Even smelly Sarah Skunk got a box of chocolates,” she grumbled. “Hmmm, how can I get those candies?”

    “Oh Sarah,” said Patty in her sweetest voice. “I heard that a candy company accidently made chocolates with disgusting fillings like sardines and dirt. I’d better check those for you.”

    Patty grabbed the box and started eating them. “This one looks like it’s full of dirt. Oops, no, it’s fudge, but this one looks suspicious…”

    Before Sarah knew it, Patty ate all her candy. Sarah took the empty box home, made some ‘special’ chocolates especially for Patty and refilled the box.

    Patty was surprised when Sarah asked her to test a new box of chocolates. They actually looked a little suspicious, but Patty greedily popped one into her mouth — and spit it right out. It was filled with liverwurst!

    “Well, it looks like you were right about those yucky chocolates,” said Sarah. “Why don’t you come to my house, and we can make our own valentine’s candies. I have lots of chocolate and tons of yummy fillings.”

    Together, they made a box of delicious chocolates that they shared. All fudge. No liverwurst.

  14. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Grumps and The Valentine’s Day Dance

    By: Janet Webb

    Word Count: 214

    My grandpa, Grumps, sent me an invitation to the Grandfather-Granddaughter Valentine Dance.

    The note attached said:

    Roses are red.
    Violets are blue.
    I hate bed head.
    Get dressed Millie Moo!

    So I did.

    I heard 2 buzzers and 14 knocks!

    “I am looking for a rotten little girl who dresses like a ragamuffin. She is suppose to be my tiny Valentiny.”

    I twirled.

    “A dancing princess? You can’t be her! Well, your coach is waiting. Let’s get crackin, cuz dances are for fools.”

    So we did.

    There was pink everywhere.

    “I hate flowers. They make me sneeze! You better wear it!”

    So I did.

    “The music is terribly loud. I hate to dance, but you can do that twirly thing.”

    So I did.

    “Watch where you are going, Joe!. There is a lady on the floor!
    This is how it is done, you old dancing dummy.”

    “Take Silly pictures with dumb hats and glasses.? I hate pictures!”

    So we did.

    “Stinking punch, I wouldn’t drink it! Cake is bad for you! Don’t eat it!”

    So we did.

    “Don’t Valentine people know when to leave?”

    So we did.

    “Did you wheely like my coach and dance?”

    Roses are red.
    Violets are blue.
    Don’t kiss my head.
    I hate kisses from you.

    So I did.

  15. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Love the determination to un-grump the grump – drinking punch, eating cake, dancing and kissing him on the head in spite of the grumpiness! 🙂 I bet the Grumps was more cheerful by the end of the evening… even if grudgingly 🙂 Thanks so much for joining in the contest fun, Janet!

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    My Grumpy Funny Valentine
    By Ashley Pierson
    213 words

    “Class, we will be making Valentine’s. Kate, Patrick may be your partner,” said Mrs. Hall.
    Kate looked at Patrick. Patrick rolled his eyes.
    Kate thought about earlier when she said Good Morning to Patrick.
    Patrick replied, ‘What’s so good about it?’
    She thought about the lunch line when she turned to Patrick and said, ‘Awesome, pepperoni pizza!’
    Patrick said, ‘Pepperoni pizza is boring.’
    He still ate a slice.
    Kate hoped the pizza would wiggle his funny bone.
    Kate spread out supplies, tiny hearts, glitter, glue, and scissors. Kate cut out a big, red heart.
    Patrick slumped in his chair.
    Kate said, ‘Do you want me to cut out a heart for you?’
    ‘No”, mumbled Patrick.
    Kate squirted glue onto a piece of paper. She dipped small hearts in the glue and pasted them to her cut out heart.
    Soon she couldn’t get the small hearts onto the big heart; they stuck to her fingers, they were all gluey.
    Kate started shaking her hands around wildly.
    Patrick’s eyes bugged out.
    Kate’s hand hit the glitter bottle, sending it into the air and onto her head.
    She shook the glitter onto her cut out heart.
    “Awesome, Kate,” snorted Patrick
    Kate’s mom always said laughter can fix anything.
    Kate didn’t tell Patrick what her mom said.

  17. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    The Case of the Missing Valentine Party Supplies
    by Robin Brett Wechsler

    (wc: 214)

    Mrs. Hazelnut had been prepared for the Valentine’s Day party. But two days beforehand, the streamers went missing.

    “Did anyone take the streamers?” she inquired.

    The children shook their heads. The only noise in the room was from Strawberry, the hamster, rustling about.

    “If you know where they are, please return them,” said Mrs. Hazelnut.

    While the children read, Mrs. Hazelnut feverishly checked in desks and cubbies, but to no avail.

    Before dismissal Mrs. Hazelnut asked, “Class, where could the streamers be?”

    “Your purse?” wondered Rose.

    “The garbage?” suggested Heath.

    “They aren’t,” grumbled Mrs. Hazelnut. “I’ll bring in some extra from home.”

    The next day during recess, Mrs. Hazelnut double checked the party supplies. Now the festive napkins were gone. “Not again!”

    When the children came in, Mrs. Hazelnut asked, “Has anyone seen the napkins?”

    They shook their heads.

    Dulcie raised her hand.


    “It seems the items go missing at night.”

    “We should ask Mr. Heart what he knows!” shouted Chip.

    “Excellent thinking!” said Mrs. Hazelnut. I’ll check with the custodian. You work on math problems.”

    Mrs. Hazelnut returned in a sour mood. “Nope.”

    “Somebody else is in our room at night …” said Coco.

    Everyone looked at Coco. Coco ran over to Strawberry’s tank. He was asleep in his cozy, colorful, new bed.

  18. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Valentine’s Day at Sweet Pig’s
    by Patricia Corcoran

    “Delicious!” Sweet Pig squealed as he took a bite of a cherry-berry cupcake. “No wonder everyone waits all year for these.” He put on an apron and opened his bakery.
    “Hurry up! We have to get to school!” cried Miss Mellowhog’s students. “Where are our teacher’s cherry-berry cupcakes?”
    “Wait your turn!” grunted Harvey Hippopot. He was hungry for a cherry-berry.
    “What would you like, Francine?” asked Sweet Pig. Francine St. Bernard always had a hard time deciding.
    “Two cookies.” She shook her head. “No, I’ll take a chocolate muffin.”
    When Sweet Pig handed it to her, she pointed to the cherry-berries. “I’ll take two instead. Or maybe a raspberry cream?”
    “I’m hungry,” growled Harvey Hippopot.
    Sweet Pig put in two cookies, a muffin, two cherry-berries and a raspberry cream. “Here,” he said to Francine. “Take them all.”
    On the phone was Clementine Squirrel. “I’m on my way to pick up my 40 cherry-berries for my party.”
    Sweet Pig gulped. He’d forgotten her order.
    I’m sorry,” Sweet Pig told Harvey. “I don’t have enough.”
    “No cherry-berries!” Some Valentine’s Day!”
    Just then Francine returned. “I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided I don’t want the cherry-berries!”
    Sweet Pig smiled. He turned to Harvey and handed them to him. “Happy hearts day, my friend!”

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Ooh! Now I’m hungry for cherry-berry cupcakes! 🙂 How lucky that the indecisive Francine decided to stick with cookies so Harvey could satisfy his Valentine sweet tooth 🙂 Thanks so much for joining in the Valentiny fun, Patricia!

  19. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    A 214 word Valentiny
    By Ingrid Boydston

    Valentine’s Day!
    It always puts me in the dumps.
    My friend took one quick look and said,
    “Oh dear, you have the Grumps.”
    “I do NOT have the Grumps!” I growled
    and curled up on the couch
    My friend just sighed and said “Ok,
    I’ll join you, you big grouch.”
    She scrunched her shoulders way up tight,
    her smile become a frown,
    she turned to me and said with glee,
    “Let’s take these Grumps to town!”
    Together we went wandering,
    went looking for a fight.
    I was just about to start one
    when she yelled, “Look to your right!”
    And while I looked, she tapped my left!
    Then turned to skip away.
    I knew what she was up to;
    she was tricking me to play!
    I hollered “Hey you sneaky friend, I know what you just did!
    You’ll have to do much better if you’re gonna fool this kid!”
    I snuck up right behind her and yelled “TAG! This means you’re IT!”
    “Oh no you don’t!” she laughed and said “Here comes the tickle fit!”
    Quite suddenly I realized,
    the day was nearly done,
    and despite myself and grumpiness,
    Ol’ happiness had won.
    “You’re terrible at Grumping” I said at the days end,
    “But will you be my Valentine? You’re such an awesome friend.”

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Love this, Ingrid! So nice that the cheerful friend is such a miserable (and probably intentional!) failure at grumping that she jollies her grumpy friend out of the grumps and they both have a happy Valentines Day! Thanks so much for joining in the first ever Valentiny fun!

  20. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Leprechaun Love by Patti Pruitt

    “Don’t have yer ornery Uncle Shamus barreling down the lane with a wheelbarrow of flowers again this year, Jamey. I would’ve rather had nothing than to hear how long it took him to cut the red tulips that ye begged him to bring to me. And it wasn’t me fault that leprechaun law wouldn’t let him use magic on nature, now was it? Just because ye forgot ‘Twas Valentine’s Day and ye were off celebrating with yer buddies was no excuse,” Katherine gently scolded.

    “Aye, ye may be right about that, Lass. And don’t be hiding me gift under me pillow the day after because ye also forgot ‘twas Valentine’s Day last year,” he laughed.

    “Jamey McLaughlin! Would it be that ye were spying on me?”

    “Could be that I saw it in a vision the next morn. Or, could be that we were so enamored with the gift of our wee babe that nothing else mattered,” Jamey answered. “And by the way, how was it possible that our little lass stole me heart the second I saw her?”

    “Tis called love, Jamey. And now’s a good time to tell ye about this year’s Valentine surprise. “

    “Sure and begorra, I love surprises.”

    We’ll be having triplets in five months!”


  21. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    A Colorful Valentine’s Day
    by Susan Schade
    212 words

    The crayons were crazy.
    The box was a buzz.
    Pink and Red wrestled to the front.
    Purple pushed past Periwinkle.
    Yellow yodeled , “You are my sunshine.”
    February 14th was THE day to make Valentines.
    Every color was eager.
    All except one.
    Black was on the bottom when he was bumped.
    “OUCH! Watch it or I’ll give you something to be blue about!” He grumbled.
    Blue bellowed, “It’s Azul to you! What’s got your wrapper in a bunch?”
    Black’s voice was thick with the grumps, “Valentines are covered in color. No one draws black hearts. No one sketches black flowers. I wish there was NO VALENTINE’S DAY!”
    His dark words shook the box.
    The crayons cringed!
    Green gasped!
    Fuchsia fainted!
    The box went silent.
    Black slouched back to the bottom.
    But others wanted to brighten his day.
    The colors put their sharpened tips together and thought carefully.
    They quietly started a special valentine with all the right words.
    They finished just before the children arrived.
    Black was baffled when tiny fingers searched just for him.
    His wrapper was warm by the time he was finished.
    His valentine was hung up for all to admire.
    The title read “I’m batty for you.”
    “Happy Valoween!” Cried the crayons.
    The grumpy crayon cracked a smile.

  22. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Valentine Magic
    By Charlotte Sheer

    Assignment from Miss Kitty Kline
    said, “Make a special Valentine.
    Design your greeting carefully,
    For someone other than just me!”

    All started right away, but Gus,
    who thought it was ridiculous.
    “I’d rather buy, than make, a card.”
    For him, the task just seemed too hard!

    He tried to draw and paint a heart,
    His scissors sliced the shape apart.
    No markers would write anymore.
    He spilled the glitter on the floor.

    “I cannot do this!” Gus grrrr-umped.
    He flailed his arms, the crayons dumped!
    That’s when Penelope, a friend,
    Showed him some poems she had penned.

    “I’ve got an extra one or two,
    I’ll gladly share my rhymes with you.”
    Frustration melted to a smile,
    Gus whispered, “Sit with me awhile?”

    As if by magic, with her there,
    Gus suddenly became aware
    of paper pieces, red and pink-
    The random scrap heap helped him think.

    “Okay,” he said, “Maybe I see
    a valentine in front of me!
    Torn pieces I can organize
    into the shapes of butterflies.”

    Imagination and some glue
    helped Gus do what he wanted to.
    Although assigned to make just one,
    completed two when he was done.

    He handed in one valentine,
    It had the message, “Please be mine!”
    The other for Penelope,
    said, “Happy that you sat me.”

  23. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Special Valentines
    By Sara Dean
    ` 213 words

    “We will pass out our valentines after recess,” Mrs. Ryan told the class.
    Lacey put her head on her desk. She didn’t have any valentines to
    pass out. Her dad had lost his job and they couldn’t buy any. She was
    going to be the only kid in class who didn’t bring them.
    “Valentine’s Day is dumb,” her classmate, Mark, grumbled, crossing
    his arms across his chest, and slumping low in his chair. But this was
    nothing new; he was always grumpy.
    Just then, the bell rang and Lacy started toward the door, but Mrs.
    Ryan stopped her. “Are you alright? I saw you put your head down.”
    Lacey shuffled her feet and stared at the floor. “We didn’t have
    money to buy Valentine’s Day cards,” she said softly.
    “When I was a kid we made homemade valentines,” Mrs. Ryan
    said. “Why don’t you eat lunch in here and we’ll make some together.”
    Lacey’s frown turned upside down. With Mrs. Ryan’s help, she cut
    paper hearts out of construction paper and wrote a special message on
    each one.
    When she passed them out, everyone wanted to make their own. Mrs.
    Ryan agreed to teach them how. And even Mark had so much fun he forgot
    to be grumpy the rest of the day.

  24. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR SHELLEY (which sadly came in at 12:03 AM 2/13/16 so missed the deadline, but wanted everyone to enjoy it anyway!)

    You Had Me At Oink

    By Shelley Marshall

    Word Count: 202

    Most days I’m a scrap-happy piglet

    But today’s even better I’ll bet.

    So I’m rolling in mud and slop

    Cause I hope for a Valentine swap.

    I have my snout on the lookout

    Pretty piggies are out and about

    One looks my way – I collapse!

    Can I get past my fears? Perhaps!

    Then I spot her across the barnyard

    Doing twirls in her leotard.

    I savor her graceful girth.

    Never seen one like her on earth.

    My vision blurs when she’s near.

    I mumble and stumble – it’s severe.

    I feel a bit dizzy whizzy

    And all in a blizzard-like tizzy.

    So I send a valentine messenger –

    Lovebirds drop trash on top of her,

    Then a cool hog-wash and dry spin.

    I pray she’ll respond. Amen.

    This grumpy Miss ignores my gift.

    Her cold stares are like a snowdrift.

    She tosses my heart in the brig,

    Like my gift was a thingamajig.

    I clean off nasty cooties.

    Dress up in my hoof booties.

    Write poems of her big beauty.

    And sign them “Cute Patootie.”

    This pig is a crabby crank

    Who says my pranks all stank.

    But she’ll be my pink swank tank

    If I’ll be her piggy bank.

  25. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Flicker’s Valentine bu Jenifer McNamara

    Flicker ran, opened her large silver wings, and flew to her mailbox. She opened the mailbox. It was empty

    She put her large silver paw in the mailbox, and banged on all four sides.

    “No valentine! No friend to be mine!,” she cried.

    She blew a big fiery breath, and sat next to her mailbox. In another fiery breath she spouted, “No colored

    paper hearts with frilly lacy edges,” and sighed.

    All after she sat next to the mailbox. The scent of peonies, pansies, and posies filled the air. The flowery

    smells made her feel dream and sleepy.

    Clitter! Clatter! Flicker’s long silver ears rose. The clatter stopped. Flicker sat smelling the sugary-sweet

    scent of the flowers. The silky soft shimmering flowers danced. They glided and slided in front of Flicker’s eyes.

    The petals wiggled, waggled, and waved on their long green stems sweeping Flicker away.

    Wwwhhmmm! Wwwhhmmm! Flicker’s long silver ears rose. Her skin prickled and tickled with fear. She

    took a deep breath, and faced her fears. Among the peonies, pansies, and posies she spotted ten red


    The ten dragonflies lie shaped like a heart. Flicker’s heart swelled. She yelled, “Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy Valentine’s Day!”

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Your entry was on the linky tools list. It is still there and still #78. The judges have all read it, and I have commented on it. The stories listed on the blog post are all from people who don’t have blogs to post on so they posted their entries in the comment section of my post (or I posted it for them). Only a couple ended up on both lists.

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