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!

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

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– 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. http://www.flubs2fixes.com )

– 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: www.natashawing.com

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!!!

So!

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! 🙂

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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. Meredith Palmer says:

    The Right Angles

    They held a pow-wow in the wastebasket.

    “Tossed out like a common scrap,” grumbled Red.

    “They cut around us and throw us away, no one cares about us corner triangles,” added White.

    “Just because we don’t have two humps doesn’t mean we are worthless,” huffed Red.

    “Hearts, farts. This holiday stinks,” groaned Pink.

    “What do we do?” asked White.

    “What CAN we do?” replied Red.

    “Complain,” muttered Pink.

    Just then, a voice broke through.

    “It is time for a Valentine’s Day math project,” said Mrs. Applebaum, “Today, we will be making a shape collage.”

    Pink, Red, and White perked up.

    “Everyone will need triangles and squares,” she continued.

    “But…we only have HEARTS!” cried the kids, “We used up all the paper! What do we do?”

    The corners climbed to the top of the trashcan, one point after another.

    Then, Red, Pink, and White led the others down the outside and hit the floor.

    “We’re here!” they cried.

    “Look at that,” said Mrs. Applebaum, “There are a bunch of triangles sitting right next to the wastebasket.”

    “We saved the day!” cheered Pink.

    “Corners to the rescue!” hollered Red.

    “Take that hearts!” called White.

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR MARIA

    Word count 193

    JIM’S VALENTINE’S DAY
    by Maria Marshall

    Everyone loved Valentine’s Day. Everyone except Jim.
    For Jim, Valentine’s Day meant more work; miles of crafting messes, piles of cookie crumbs, and wads of candy wrappers.
    And every year it got worse. Jim dreamed of being swallowed by a stinky, crumbly, sticky mountain of left-over candies & crumbs.
    All week, Jim growled in the halls, snarled in the bathrooms, and grumped in the library.
    On Valentine’s Day, watching everyone get containers of cards, Jim growled at the globs of glitters.
    When everyone got homemade honey cookies, Jim snarled at the stacks of scraps.
    As everyone got towers of tasty treats, Jim grumped at the grimy gunk.
    After lunch, little Lou tiptoed up to Jim as he wrestled with a sticky, gooey, crinkly mess.
    “Excuse me,” she whispered. “Uhhem, EXCUSE ME!”
    Jim turned. He looked around. Then, he looked WAY down, to a tiny echidna.
    “This is for you,” Lou said, with a grin.
    He unwrapped the rumpled package and discovered a candy kiss and the most perfect, lopsided heart –
    Happy Valentine’s Day
    Janitor Jim

    Jim scooped Lou up in one paw and gently hugged her. “Thanks.”
    Everyone loved Valentine’s Day, especially Jim.

  3. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR LESLEY

    The Valentine’s Day Witch – Lesley Hershman – 204 words

    Witch Peg opened her crooked door to give a quick scare
    When her nose itched at something pleasant blowing in the air.
    Shouts of “Happy Valentine’s Day!” found their way to her dusty ear
    She saw kids passing out paper hearts, which made her grumble and sneer.
    “All that pink and smiling faces make me cross,” she warned with a glare,
    Except none of the children seemed to really care.
    Peg raised her hand to bring forth a raging storm
    “A sure way to ruin your day,” she snarled, true to form.
    But to her dismay, the sky didn’t darken nor did the wind blow
    Her spell had not worked, so no one’s spirits were brought down low.
    Witch Peg became even more of a grouch,
    For a moment she needed to go sulk on her lumpy couch.
    “I’ll double my work to stop this all this sweetness,” she vowed
    Lifting both her arms, she now chanted twice as loud:
    “Come along thunder, lightning and drops, plus a hefty slop of hail!”
    Yet again her gloomy magic was set to fail.
    For on this February day, soft white clouds dotted the sky above
    And instead of rain, showered down little red hearts of love.

  4. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR MELISSA

    Lola In Love by Melissa Di Teresa

    Meet Lola.
    (she’s a T-Rex)
    Lola is fierce.
    Lola is strong.
    Lola is scary.

    Lola is lonely.
    Lola is shy.
    Lola is sad.

    Lola is hungry.
    Oh no, she can’t reach the bananas!
    Her arms are too short.

    Now Lola is grumpy.
    She can’t reach the coconuts either.
    Look out, Lola is furious.

    Lola feels faint.
    She takes a nap.

    When she wakes up she finds an egg.
    Where did it come from?
    Why is it here?
    It is perfect.
    She loves it.

    She tries something new.
    Can she be gentle?
    She sits still.
    Yes, she can.
    Oh, how waiting is hard.

    What will happen?
    Lola sits.
    Lola wonders.
    Lola worries.

    Waiting takes so long.
    Lola hopes for change.
    Lola watches the stars.

    Then the stars disappear.
    A new dawn breaks.

    Uh oh.
    The shiny, perfect shell cracks.

    Voila.
    Lola meets someone brand new.
    Her new friend is a baby Brontosaurus.
    Suddenly there’s a big bang.
    (Don’t worry no one gets hurt)

    It’s just Lola’s heart growing bigger.
    True love is sweet.
    True love is wonderful.

    True love is one of the best sorts of feelings.
    It’s what I felt for you the first time we met.
    And ever since.

    Happy Valentine’s Day

  5. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR CAROL

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Bear!
    Carol Lescinski
    208 Words

    It started out low–he could hardly hear it. Then the sound grew into a rumbling that seemed to shake the forest floor.

    “Oh no!” muttered Squirrel. “He’s done it again.”

    Every year Badger woke Bear from his winter sleep. Yes, EVERY year on Valentine’s Day! Sure enough, there stood Badger at the entrance to Bear’s cave, looking rather sheepish.

    “Why oh why?” moaned Squirrel, as he shook his head at Badger. “You KNOW how cranky he gets if he wakes up before spring!”

    “But he DOES love chocolate-covered berries in a heart shaped box. He eats EVERY one!” smiled Badger.

    Two dark eyes peered from the cave. “What’s the meaning of this?” snarled Bear. “I was having a wonderful dream……who woke me up?”

    Badger stepped forward, holding up the box of chocolate-covered berries. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Bear.”

    “Grrrrr” growled Bear.

    “You KNOW you love these.” Badger waved the open box under Bear’s nose. Bear could smell the ripe, juicy berries.

    “Ok, ok, don’t just stand there, come in,” grumped Bear. As Bear and his friends enjoyed the berries together, Bear suddenly thought, “I’m glad I have friends, even if they wake me before spring. Friends are special ALL the time.”

    “Happy Valentine’s Day, Badger and Squirrel!”

  6. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR MINDY

    The Unexpected Kiss
    By Mindy Hudon
    211 words

    “Mom stop!” Frankie screeched.

    “Oh Frankie, it’s Valentine’s Day,” said Mom. “Can’t your mother give you a kiss on Valentine’s?”

    “No! Not at school,” Frankie grumbled.

    Frankie quickly jumped out of the car and scanned the playground to make sure no one had witnessed his moms unnecessary show of affection. Frankie walked towards the monkey bars mumbling as he thought about the kiss. His face felt hot with embarrassment.

    “I can’t believe she kissed me in public,” Frankie thought. I’m never gonna live this down.”

    “Hey Frankie,” Frankie heard as he passed the swing set.

    Frankie begrudgingly looked up expecting to see his friends laughing at him.

    “Oh no, they saw the whole thing,” Frankie thought. “I will be the laughing stock of Memorial Middle School.”

    As Frankie slowly glanced upward, he saw Mia Sanders walking towards him. For a moment he forgot all about the incident. All of his thoughts, like everyday, were on Mia.

    “Oh no! Frankie suddenly feared, “Did she see the kiss? She’s gonna think I’m some kind of momma’s boy!”

    “Hey Mia,” Frankie said in his best, I’m cool, way.

    “Happy Valentine’s Day,” Mia said sweetly.

    Then it happened…again! Right there, in front of the whole school!
    The kiss…but this time, it wasn’t from his mother!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Hahahahaha! Lucky Frankie! 🙂 Isn’t it nice when things work out! You did a great job of showing his embarrassment with his mother – I hope I haven’t done that to my kids too often, but I’m sure I’m guilty 🙂 Thanks so much for joining in the first ever Valentiny fun, Mindy!

  7. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR LAURA
    (the notes from Baxter in all caps are meant to have strike-throughs except for the last one)

    MILLIE MOUSE, WILL YOU BE MY VALENTINE?

    By Laura Hedberg

    DEAR VALENTINE,

    I HOPE YOU LIKE THE CHOCOLATES.

    BAXTER

    “NO, NO, NO,” sighed Baxter.

    Down the road, Millie was having her own troubles. “I HATE Valentine’s Day,” Millie moaned to herself. “I NEVER get a valentine. It’s a DUMB holiday, anyway.”

    “Heart boxes filled with chocolates, CAVITY CITY,” grumbled Millie. “They’re messy times a million!! And who knows WHAT lurks inside the middle??!! Humpf, never liked ‘em.”

    DEAR VALENTINE,

    I HOPE YOU LIKE THE FLOWERS.

    BAXTER

    “Still not right,” murmured Baxter.

    “And flowers! What if I’m allergic?” huffed Millie. “I could topple trees with my UNCONTROLLABLE sneezes! Be covered head to toe in itchy hives! And my eyes so swollen I couldn’t see! Humpf, never liked ‘em.”

    DEAR VALENTINE,

    YOUR PINK EYES GLISTEN,

    YOUR EARS ARE CUTE TOO.

    ALTHOUGH I’M A CAT,

    I LIKE YOU.

    BAXTER

    “Too corny,” bemoaned Baxter.

    “Valentine cards with mushy words, EMBARASSING!” lamented Millie. “I could blush redder than a tomato! Joyous tears could FLOOD from my eyes! Mushy words could FLY from my mouth! Humpf, never liked ‘em.”

    Millie slumped in her chair. The doorbell rang. It was Baxter. Baxter handed Millie the chocolates, flowers and valentine card.

    DEAR MILLIE,

    WOULD YOU BE MY VALENTINE?

    BAXTER

    “YES, YES, YES!” squealed Millie. Maybe Valentine’s Day wasn’t so bad after all.

  8. Carleen M. Tjader says:

    “I Hate Valentine’s Day!”
    Word count 207
    Peter was grumpy.
    Tomorrow was Valentine’s Day.
    And Peter didn’t like Valentine’s Day, not one little bit.
    Last year, his class had a contest for Coolest Valentine Box…Brian won.
    Last year, he had to make his own cards …it was hard.
    And last year, he got mushy cards from girls.
    “Ugh, I hate mushy cards,” he shouted.
    “And I hate girls.”
    No one heard him.
    When he got home from school, Peter slammed the door, bumped the cat, and made a face at his little brother.
    “Finish your Valentine Box,” said Mother.
    “I hate Valentine’s Day.”
    It didn’t matter.
    Peter twisted and turned the paper.
    He colored and cut.
    He pounded and pasted.
    “There, good enough,” he said.
    “Now” said Mother, “print nicely on the cards.”
    Peter frowned and fussed.
    It didn’t matter.
    So he scribbled and scratched.
    “There, good enough.”
    The next morning, he slammed the door…on his finger.
    “Ouch.”
    He bumped the cat…who scratched his arm.
    He made a face at his little brother…who cried and told Mom.
    But…at the party, he kind of liked the treats.
    He kind of liked the games.
    He didn’t win a prize, but neither did Brian.
    He kind of liked Amy’s card…”You’re Cute.”
    He even kind of liked Amy.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Such a perfect sentiment for many boys (and girls :)) but sometimes things don’t turn out to be as bad as expected! Thanks so much for a very believable grumpy story, Carleen, and for joining in the contest fun!

  9. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR JILL

    SHAPE UP – 149 words
    by Jill Purtee

    It’s Valentines Day.
    Twins spring from the bed.

    She is elated.
    He’s filled with dread.

    She makes some hearts:
    pink and red.
    So meticulous.

    He makes a pumpkin.
    Then scowls,
    “How ridiculous.”

    She cuts more hearts.
    Shapes them up.
    Puts them down.

    He pouts
    and sulks.
    Then he says with a frown,

    “I suppose you’ll make sacks
    and fill them with candy.”

    “Of course.
    You should, too.
    Kids’ll think that it’s dandy.”

    “And what about me?”
    he snaps with a grumble.

    “I have one for you,”
    she says with a mumble.

    “Where is it?”
    She says as she digs in the sack.

    “Your heart is missing.
    Wait here.
    I’ll be back.”

    She returns with a heart
    as big as the moon.

    “Here Valentine;
    please be happy soon.”

    He gives her
    his pumpkin.
    He winks.
    Then he said,

    “I will.
    I got up
    on the wrong
    side of the bed.

  10. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR CAROLINE

    Valentine’s Sleepover by Caroline Twomey

    What would you do if Mommy was going away for a WHOLE NIGHT?

    You’d say, “Have fun Mommy!”

    What if Brody shook his head and said firmly, “But Mommy can’t go. Mommy would miss Brody too much.”

    You’d say, “That’s okay Brody, Daddy will mind Mommy.”

    What if Brody swung his Buddy around his shoulders and said, “But Brody has to kiss Mommy goodnight. Mommy can’t sleep without a kiss.”

    You’d say, “Just kiss her before she leaves.”

    What if Brody blinked his blue eyes and asked in a worried voice, “But who’ll tuck me in?”

    You’d say, “Nana B will tuck you in.”

    What if Brody curled up and said in a grumpy voice, “But what about breakfast? My pancakes!”

    You’d give Brody a hug and say, “Nana makes awesome pancakes!”

    What if you were hugging Mommy goodbye and Brody cried, “I’ve lost my Buddy!”

    You’d laugh and say, “It’s on your shoulders, silly!”

    I bet Brody would smile too.

    Then he’d play with Nana…watch cartoons…eat chocolate…before yawning really loudly!

    When Nana brings Brody to bed, I bet he cuddles Buddy and kisses her goodnight.

    What if you were snuggled up and Brody whispered, “I think Mommy should have a sleepover next Valentine’s, too!”

    I bet you’d say, “That’s a great idea, Bro!”

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR LISA

    Box of Secrets (214 words)

    by Lisa Billa

    “Danny, take your valentine box!”

    “I don’t even care about Valentine’s Day!” Danny walked to school, kicking the shoebox- gently, to not make dents. Dumb. box.

    I. hate. red! I. hate. glitter! Party treats are good, but not. valentine. boxes! Cut a hole in an old box, paint it, glue on sparkly hearts- ugh!

    Later, making valentine cards for his class is even worse. Writing everyone’s name, AND “from Danny” 25 times, will take FOREVER. Danny frowned. His cards would be no good. Would they even be ready tomorrow? Maybe he could be sick. But the party. Maybe he could forget them. Maybe not.

    Mom said, “It’s getting late. Want some help?”

    “NO!” He folded a paper, cut out a heart, and ripped it up. He cut a new one, added a sticker and lollipop, and threw it in the pile.

    Dad came in, carrying red tulips. “Shh. We’ll surprise Mom.” Danny stopped. He knew what to do. He drew something on one card, then another.

    In the morning, mom loved her flowers. “Look! I wonder who they’re from!” Danny smiled, and didn’t say anything. Mom made heart-shaped pancakes. He cut them into diamonds.

    In class, Danny passed out his cards without showing them.

    “Hey! I got a secret valentine!”

    “Me too,” said Danny.

  12. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR POLLY

    Jim – By Polly Owen – 214 words

    Jim was lonely, Jim was sad.
    A dog, the only friend he had.
    Christmas was spent all alone,
    He longed to hear a ringing phone.

    But postman Jim was grumpy too,
    Each lonesome day his anger grew.
    Delivering letters down Happy-Lane,
    He wished he had a love again.

    With Valentine’s day, drawing near,
    He posted letters, spreading cheer.
    From little Maisie, sweet 16,
    To glamorous grans, like granny Jean.

    Even dogs and cats got some,
    But Jim, the postman, he got none.
    And people even had the cheek,
    To give him more along the street!

    Mr Morris, ran to his gate.
    “Give to Vera, No.8!”
    Chocolates, gifts and other stuff,
    Postman Jim, had had enough.

    His final stop was 27,
    Beautiful Bailey, sent from heaven.
    But even Bailey wanted more,
    As she glided to the door.

    “Could you take my valentine?
    I was too late to post in time.
    It is quite close, not far away.”
    Grumpy Jim said, “huh! okay.”

    He walked and walked
    in pouring rain
    Heading southwards,
    home again.

    He kept the card all safe and dry,
    “What lucky man had caught her eye?
    What number was it? where to now?”
    He reached inside and pulled it out.
    The card read “number 63”
    “Hang on a minute! That card’s for me!”

  13. Laura Boeck Hedberg says:

    Laura Hedberg Word Count: 214

    MILLIE MOUSE, WILL YOU BE MY VALENTINE?

    DEAR VALENTINE,

    I HOPE YOU LIKE THE CHOCOLATES.

    BAXTER

    “NO, NO, NO,” sighed Baxter.

    Down the road, Millie was having her own troubles. “I HATE Valentine’s Day,” Millie moaned to herself. “I NEVER get a valentine. It’s a DUMB holiday, anyway.”

    “Heart boxes filled with chocolates, CAVITY CITY,” grumbled Millie. “They’re messy times a million!! And who knows WHAT lurks inside the middle??!! Humpf, never liked ‘em.”

    DEAR VALENTINE,

    I HOPE YOU LIKE THE FLOWERS.

    BAXTER

    “Still not right,” murmured Baxter.

    “And flowers! What if I’m allergic?” huffed Millie. “I could topple trees with my UNCONTROLLABLE sneezes! Be covered head to toe in itchy hives! And my eyes so swollen I couldn’t see! Humpf, never liked ‘em.”

    DEAR VALENTINE,

    YOUR PINK EYES GLISTEN,

    YOUR EARS ARE CUTE TOO.

    ALTHOUGH I’M A CAT,

    I LIKE YOU.

    BAXTER

    “Too corny,” bemoaned Baxter.

    “Valentine cards with mushy words, EMBARASSING!” lamented Millie. “I could blush redder than a tomato! Joyous tears could FLOOD from my eyes! Mushy words could FLY from my mouth! Humpf, never liked ‘em.”

    Millie slumped in her chair. The doorbell rang. It was Baxter. Baxter handed Millie the chocolates, flowers and valentine card.

    DEAR MILLIE,

    WOULD YOU BE MY VALENTINE?

    BAXTER

    “YES, YES, YES!” squealed Millie. Maybe Valentine’s Day wasn’t so bad after all.

    NOTE: I couldn’t get the strike-throughs to show when I transferred the document here. But, there are supposed to be strike-throughs over the first 3 valentine notes that Baxter wrote. But not the last not that he gives to Millie. Thank you!

  14. jdewdropsofink says:

    How fun. I wanted to pull something together, but alas, I’m still mired in other pressing things to participate with one of my own. I can, however, enjoy everyone else’s entries.

  15. Cathey Graham Nickell says:

    KANDIE’S KISS (214 words) – by Cathey Graham Nickell

    Kandie buried herself as deep as possible. She wiggled and squirmed until she was hidden by her heart-shaped friends.

    What kind of Valentine’s Day surprise am I? Kandie scowled from the bottom of the bowl. She peeked out. That just made her even crankier.

    “I’m all wrong!” she wailed, eyeing the other sweets. “How can you smile and feel sugary at a time like this?!”

    Old Man Tart chuckled from across the way, “What’s yer bellyaching about?”

    “You all have such beautiful words. I’m a fructose failure,” Kandie sulked.

    She had a point. Old Man Tart’s tummy boldly stated: HUG ME! Pinky’s bragged: TOO CUTE! Why, Honey’s phrase even proposed: MARRY ME!

    Kandie glanced down irritably at her own letters. “HISS ME? Seriously. HISS ME?” she pouted. “Someone at the factory cannot spell! Whoever heard of a candy heart that says HISS ME? I’ll never find a Valentine! No one will want me!”

    Old Man Tart waited for her to finish complaining. He cleared his throat and said, “A wise person once said there is someone for everyone. Kandie, I’m sure you’ll find your match.”

    I should try to be optimistic, Kandie thought, scooting back to the top of the bowl. And the first person she spotted was Gummy Snake smiling shyly at her.

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR ELLEN

    Puppy Love
    By Ellen Leventhal WC: 214

    Barnaby barked, blustered, and howled at the moon. He missed Matilda.

    It was Valentine’s Day. The snow was glistening, and the stars shone brightly. But Barnaby didn’t care. He was sad, pouty, and downright grumpy.

    “Cheer up, old Chap!” barked the old English Setter.

    Barnaby grumbled.

    “Hey Barnaby, come on! It’s time for the Valentine Puppy Hop,” squealed Lulu.

    Barnaby turned in three circles, tucked his tail, and flopped down in the soft snow. “Growlll!”

    “I was just trying to cheer you up!” said Lulu. Off she went throwing streamers of red ribbon.

    Barnaby didn’t have a friend. He was a doggie down in the dumps.

    The other dogs romped and made hearts in the snow.

    But Barnaby barked, blustered, and howled at the moon.

    “Aroo!” yelped Augie.

    “Aroo!” answered Tessie.

    They hooked tails, and skedaddled down the road.

    “I miss Matilda,” Barnaby thought.

    “Hey Barnaby!” barked Rusty. “Cheer up!”

    “Growlll!”

    “I was just trying to help,” said Rusty.

    Barnaby turned in three circles, tucked his tail, and sat in the snow.

    He looked up and saw Bella.

    She didn’t try to cheer him up.

    She sat down in the snow with him. She shared her kibble.

    And they howled at the moon. Together.

    Barnaby found a friend.

    It was a perfect Valentine’s Day.

  17. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR HELEN

    THE FAVORITE DONUT
    206 Words
    Helen Dening

    Amos grabbed the bowl and squirted in chocolate sauce. The more he squirted, the more he muttered. “Chocolate, yuck!”

    Owen was coming to his Valentine’s Day Donut Party, an all-you can-eat donut feast.

    Owen asked, “Will you have chocolate donuts?”

    Amos remembered mumbling and stumbling over his words. “We’re having everyone’s favorite.”

    Amos still grumbled. He muttered out loud to himself, “I do have everyone’s favorite—mac and cheesy donuts, peanut butter – horseradish donuts, pizza – banana flavored donuts, and my favorite, coconut-cabbage. Yum! But no chocolate donuts. Owen just moved here. He’s my friend, and he wants chocolate donuts.”

    Amos squeezed the bottle hard. “Chocolate dipping sauce is all I have.”

    Chocolate splattered on the table. It sloshed on his shirt and slopped on the floor.

    Amos mopped chocolate.

    It smeared, dribbled, and dripped.

    Amos grumbled and mumbled.

    He wiped and griped. “Chocolate’s everywhere. Now what’ll I do? Yuck, yuck, yuck!”

    Knock. Knock.

    Chocolate-covered Amos peeked out the door. “Owen?”

    “Amos, is that you? What happened?

    “It splattered.”

    “I came early to help you get ready for your donut party. I’ll help you clean it up. And I brought my favorite donuts, coconut-cabbage. Yum!”

    “Not chocolate?”

    “No, I don’t like chocolate.”

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Hahaha, Helen! Isn’t funny how a passing comment can lead to a misunderstanding! I’m glad Amos and Owen have the same taste – I think it bodes well for their friendship! Thanks so much for joining in the Valentiny fun!

  18. Alice Caldwell (@MrsBlueLobster) says:

    Cupid’s Sea Shanty
    214 word count
    Alice Caldwell

    Most ships have are happy at sea,
    
but this little ship was miserable as could be.

    Her captain was a cantankerous sort,
    
stomping on deck and drinking too much port.

    He left fish guts out, getting rather smelly,
    
and never cleaned off the barnacles that scratched the ships belly.

    Her paint was peeling which was a shame,
    
and her crabby captain didn’t give her a name.

    While watching a gull and his mate, the ship thought,
    
this salty sea dog might be happy if he had a date.

    There was the laundress who washed the sails clean,
    
but she got seasick, turning seaweed green.

    Or the cook who bought their muscles, and squids,
    
but she was married with seven kids.

    The mermaid with hair like golden sand, nah,
    
the captain needed a girl on dry land.

    The perfect girl appeared on shore,
    
the painter from the hardware store.

    For the painter and captain it was love at first sight,
    
and the ships heart filled with delight.

    The painter scrubbed the ship till she looked new,
    
and painted her sapphire blue.

    The captain gave up port for tea,
    
and they lived happily on the sea.

    And before the ship was nameless, making her feel stupid,
    
but now on her side was painted a name, Cupid.

  19. Sara Gentry says:

    VALENTINE BIRTHDAY BOY
    By Sara Gentry
    Word Count: 214

    Cooper hated that his birthday was on Valentine’s Day. He hated glittery hearts and pink roses. He hated that Great-Aunt Ida always bought him a cutesy birthday gift, like a teddy bear holding a heart that said, “unBEARably cute.”

    “Mom, my birthday is now February 15th.”

    Mom shrugged. “Okay, sweetie.”

    Valentine’s Day morning, Cooper waited for breakfast. Mom always made his favorite pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream for Valentine’s Day.

    “Mom, no pancakes?”

    “No, sweetheart. Just cereal.”

    At school, Cooper didn’t receive any special treatment. No extra gifts or cards. He couldn’t even go first in the lunch line. When he finally got his food, butterscotch pudding was the only dessert left. Yech!

    As he trudged home, Cooper thought, “At least Mom always makes my favorite cake on Valentine’s Day.”

    But when he walked in the door, there was no cake.

    “THIS IS THE WORST VALENTINE’S DAY EVER!” he shouted.

    “Why?” Mom asked.

    “No pancakes. No gifts. No cake!”

    “Sweetie, those things aren’t for Valentine’s Day. We do them for you – for YOUR special day.”

    “Mom, is it too late to celebrate my birthday today?”

    After dinner, Cooper opened the latest gift from Great-Aunt Ida – a stuffed dinosaur wearing the shirt “Dino-mite Valentine!”

    Eating his favorite red velvet cake, Cooper didn’t even mind.

  20. agsawan says:

    Johnny loved to play baseball: summer, spring, fall and winter.
    One cold February day Jenny pitched a fastball and Johnny swung his bat.
    SMACK!
    The ball flew over the fence striking Mr. Grumpy’s birdfeeder then landing with a plop on his front lawn.
    All the birds flew away.
    “Oh no,” whispered Jenny.
    Mr. Grumpy shuffled out of his house.
    He poured some more seed into the birdfeeder and then slipped the baseball into his pocket.

    “All he cares about are those stupid birds,” thought Johnny.

    The next day it snowed.
    Johnny and Jenny made a snowman.
    Mr. Grumpy sat across the street staring out his window.
    “What is he doing?” Said Jenny
    “Looking for birds,” said Johnny.

    Later that evening, before he went to bed, Johnny looked outside and saw Mr. Grumpy still sitting by his window.

    Johnny thought for a moment; then he pulled on his boots and grabbed a shovel.
    Johnny dug a path through the snow to Mr. Grumpy’s birdfeeder and then all the way back to Mr. Grumpy’s front door.

    The next morning Johnny opened his door to go outside and there on the steps was a basket full of old baseballs with a note attached that said,
    Happy Valentines Day from The Birds and Mr. Grumpy (aka Mr. Olsen).

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Aw. One good turn deserves another! How nice of Johnny to help Mr. Grumpy get to his birds, even though he was grumpy! The true meaning of Valentines Day – kindness 🙂 Thanks for joining in the Valentiny fun, Anne!

      • viviankirkfield says:

        This one is great, Anne. I LOVE that Johnny helps Mr. Grumpy and the birds…and what a great reward to get his baseballs back. 😉 Maybe it will be the start of a new friendship and Johnny will learn all about birding. 😉

  21. Anita Banks (@anitambanks) says:

    GRUMPY IS BLUE
    81 Words
    Anita Banks

    Roses are Red,
    Grumpy is Blue.

    NO, NO, NO.
    You can’t say that.

    My cat is a tabby,
    Grumpy is crabby.

    NO, NO, NO.
    You can’t say that.

    Potatoes are lumpy,
    Grumpy is grouchy.

    NO, NO, NO.
    You can’t say that.

    This is a Valentine.
    You must be nice, Grumpy.

    With a cranky growl,
    And a wrinkly scowl,
    Grumpy began again,
    A Valentine to his friend.

    Some roses are pink,
    Grumpy can’t think.
    Sugar is sweet,
    Wishing it were the fifteenth.

  22. Michele Blood says:

    Chompers’ Valentine’s Day Road Trip by Michele Blood (212 Words)

    Chompers thrumped his claws on the window a little louder.

    “Can’t you drive any faster?”

    Jayme shook her head.

    Chompers frowned, rolled his eyes, and growled. The GPS estimated two hours until they reached the Everglades. Chompers took that as the time to beat. Jayme did not.

    He looked sidelong at Jayme, willing her to step on the gas. He counted to ten, did deep-breathing exercises, and visualized presenting his valentine to his mama.

    Nothing worked.

    When Jayme pulled in to a restaurant, Chompers perked up. But not for long.

    Through the open drive-thru window, he saw employees wading knee-deep in ice cream. The machine had gone berserk and was spewing the cold, thick treat nonstop. Every second, the sugary mess deepened.

    Without a thought for his own safety, the wiry alligator leapt into action. He latched his jaws onto the ice cream machine’s dual spigots and held on tight, giving the restaurant manager just enough time to pull the plug.

    Soon, a news crew arrived. After interviewing Chompers and Jayme, the reporter said she had a surprise. Out waddled Chompers’ mother!

    “I’m so proud of you, my resourceful, remarkable reptile! Seeing my baby save the day on live television is the best Valentine’s Day present a mama gator could ever receive.”

  23. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR DEBBIE

    Squirrel’s Valentine Surprise

    By Debbie Lee
    214 words

    Valentine’s Day was almost here and Mr. Squirrel was jumpy.
    Frilly cards with big pink bows always made him grumpy.

    The candy hearts, the pretty flowers, he thought a waste of time,
    for Mr. Squirrel would rather work than get a Valentine.

    Climbing trees to look for nuts was all that made him happy.
    “Why all this talk of love,” he snapped, “is silly and just sappy!”

    “Come play with us” his friends all said,
    dressed in pink and red.
    Squirrel just scowled and shut his door-then hopped back in his bed.

    “I have my tree, I have my nuts, they’re all I ever need.
    I have no time for silly games-they bother me indeed!”

    His friends knew just the thing, to make him change his mind.
    They searched the woods for the perfect nut-the biggest they could find.

    They wrapped it in a big red bow and placed it in his tree.
    And waited at the bottom for their friend to come and see.

    “What’s all the fuss and all the noise?” he shouted with a frown.
    But when he saw the tasty nut he quickly scurried down.

    Mr. Squirrel looked at the gift and the smile his friends wore.
    And that’s how on one Valentine’s Day, Squirrel was grumpy never more.

  24. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR ANNE

    THAT’S NOT A VALENTINE!

    by Anne Bromley (214 words)

    Drawing time was almost over. Marco sat with his head down on his desk.

    “I hate Valentine’s Day!” he grumbled.

    His friend Asha leaned over. “You’d better draw something fast. You’re running out of

    time.”

    “I know that!” He scowled. “I just can’t draw a silly heart. . . or much else.”

    He stabbed his red paper with a black crayon and drew circles.

    Asha giggled. “I’ll make one for you.” In a snap, she drew a perfect heart.

    “It’s really good,” he said. “But it’s not big enough.”

    He mumbled the words for his mama’s Valentine.

    Mrs. Ling clapped. “OK, everyone! Time to clean up!”

    Everyone had made a gazillion Valentines. Except Marco. Not even one.

    On the way home Asha offered him one of hers.

    “No thanks.” He imagined where the words would go.

    When they got to his house, he asked Asha, “May I borrow your chalk?”

    Mama would be home from work soon.

    He drew a huge circle in the middle of the sidewalk.

    Standing back, he was pleased.

    Asha stared. “That’s not a Valentine!”

    “Yes, it is,” said Marco.

    Then he wrote words around the circle in a different color:

    “MY LOVE FOR YOU IS BIGGER THAN THE WORLD.”

    Asha smiled. “Your mama will love it!”

    And she did.

  25. amywnk says:

    Grump Truck, Love Truck (209 words) by Amy G.

    Grump Truck rumbles down the street.
    The roughest, muddiest truck you’ll meet.
    Looking for dirt to fill his load.
    Spilling, dripping and messing up roads.

    Spotting a patch of fresh green ground,
    He sees Miss Fire Truck hanging around.
    “Let’s muck this up. We’ll make it brown.”

    Fire Truck says, “That’s not what we should do.
    Let’s make a garden, and a playground too.
    We’ll spread some love. It’s Valentine’s Day!
    Making a mess is not okay.”

    Grump Truck belches a puff of smoke,
    And says to Fire Truck with a croak:
    “Let’s make the lawn into a lump.
    I’ll take it to the garbage dump.”

    Just then Fire Truck has a thought,
    She says, “Grump Truck, you look hot!”
    With a splash and a spray,
    She swooshes his mud away.

    The frown on Grump Truck wilts.
    Then twists and tilts.
    It started to spin.
    When it stops…

    A GRIN!

    The Dump Truck beams.
    “Let’s make this the best playground we’ve ever seen.”

    “Fill the garden with soil and hugs,
    Happy thoughts bring flowers and bugs.”

    “Plant some smooches, toss some seeds.
    Sprinkle smiles, and pull the weeds!”

    Dump Truck, Love Truck heads back to town,
    To turn more frownies upside down.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Oh, I love this, Amy! I thought about doing a construction vehicle Valentine myself, and I was hoping someone would and here you’ve done a great job with the idea! Love that Miss Fire Truck saw how to improve Dump Truck’s day and turn his Valentine attitude around! 🙂 Thanks so much for joining in the first ever Valentiny fun! 🙂

      • janebuttery says:

        I have tried to find mine that i sent in( from wordpress) a few days ago. I will post it now myself from https://wordpress.com/post/janebuttery.com/618
        Matty’s Angel Picture

        “Where have you been Matty?”said my mother as I came in, late for supper. “Oh, I was just over at Mr. Grantwell’s house.”

        “Why go there?”

        “Mommy, he was outside and looked sad. I tried to talk to him but he was so grumpy that I left. I decided to make him a pretty picture. Then I went across our lawn and knocked on his door.

        “When he saw me, he said, ‘What do you want pestering me again?’

        “I said, ‘I just want to give you this picture.’ And I handed it to him. As he looked at it, his face changed. He asked me in.”

        “Well, go on .What happened next?”

        “After wiping his eyes, he said, ‘ I’ll get you a drink.’ He gave me a glass of juice.

        “I said, ‘Thank you. I am sorry my picture made you sad.’

        “‘No. It’s just that your angel drawing reminded me of my own little girl. She died about your age. She loved angels. Now my wife’s gone, I’ve no one.’

        “I put the glass down and said, ‘ I’m here.’ Then I climbed onto his lap, gave him a hug and cried with him. He hugged me back. That’s all I did this afternoon. He needed someone to love him.”

        212 words

      • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

        Sorry, Jane, you were supposed to post it yourself if you could and I didn’t realize you hadn’t added yours to the linky list. I’m SWAMPED with email! Thanks so much for joining in the Valentiny Contest fun with this sweet story!

  26. Jennifer Ali (@HeyJali) says:

    George the Baker
    by Jennifer Ali
    214 words

    George was an unusually good baker for a giant. He would visit the village bakery now

    and then, and return home inspired. He’d try to share his baked goodies afterwards, but

    everyone was in a hurry to be someplace else. Only the birds seemed interested enough to

    keep him company as he ate his treats.

    George’s favorite was crunch-filled seed cake—a gift he gave to himself every

    Valentine’s Day. This year it was especially warm, so the cake cooled outside while George

    searched for some honey. When he came back the seed cake was a scattering of

    crumbs. “Someone finally likes my baking, but can’t be bothered to say ‘HAPPY VALENTINE’S

    DAY’? It’s an OUTRAGE!” he bellowed, then went off to bed.

    In the morning, George stepped outside to breathe fresh air and somehow forget about

    the day before. Where the cake had been, was a pile of rubbish—shiny wrappers, broken bits

    and pieces, and a lot of string. George wanted to ignore the pile, but instead picked up one of

    the shinier bits. “This is nice,” he murmured. He pulled on the piece, but all the rest came with

    it, tied together. He stared: “IT’S MAGNIFICENT!” he shouted, and wrapped himself in the most

    wonderful (and first) valentine he’d ever received.

  27. Cynthia Port (@CynthiaPortbook) says:

    Here’s mine! This was fun, thanks.

    EVERY DOG HAS HIS VALENTINE’S DAY (213 words) by Cynthia Port

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Dinky!

    But I’m a dog.

    So?

    So every day is Valentine’s Day.

    It is?

    Sure. We dogs love everybody all the time. The tail wagging, the licking, the adoring looks— we’re talking year round, twenty-four-seven, professional grade devotion!

    Wow! Valentine’s Day must be your favorite day, then, huh?

    LEAST favorite.

    Why?

    How does the crystal clear raindrop feel when it’s raining? How does the perfect yellow leaf feel in the fall?

    Like… nobody notices them?

    Exactly. Like the other 364 days of the year don’t even count.

    I’m sorry.

    Whatever. I’ll just go sit in the corner. Come get me on February 15th.

    Okay, but first eat this cat food cake I made for you.

    What?

    And try on this doggy sweater I knitted for you.

    For ME?

    After that, we’ll take a walk and you can sniff and roll in anything you want to for as long as you want.

    Unlimited rollover sniffing?? No way!

    Way. See, you’ve got this thing all backwards. Valentine’s Day isn’t when everyday love doesn’t count. It’s the day to thank the ones who love us every day.

    Then it’s my FAVORITE DAY OF ALL!

    Oh, good.

    There is one teensy weensy problem though.

    What’s that?

    We are never going to finish that walk.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Hahaha! Love this, Cynthia! Love the dog’s POV and the neat turn-around of the idea that rather than being unnoticed on Valentine’s Day he’s extra special and celebrated! Nicely done! (And from one dog-lover to another, what is WITH all that rollover sniffing? :)) Thanks so much for joining in the contest fun!

  28. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR CAROLYN

    Olivia’s Gloomy Valentine’s Day (210 words) by Carolyn Donovan

    “Another gloomy day in Gloomy-ville,” Octavia thought. “First it snowed, then it rained and turned all the snow into slippery ice. This is no kind of Valentine’s Day at all.”

    She didn’t want to color, she didn’t want to read, she didn’t want to craft. She just wanted to, gloom.

    She heard a thud outside. She ran to the window. Mrs. Winch, the old, old, old lady who lived next door, had slipped on the ice and fallen down. Her grocery bag had fallen too.

    Olivia saw her Mom fly down their front walk. She helped Mrs. Winch up, and gathered everything that had fallen out of the bag. She brought Mrs. Winch into Olivia’s house.

    “I know what it’s like to fall down. It hurts!” Olivia said. She had an idea. She colored, she read, she crafted, and in 10 minutes ran down the stairs.

    “Mrs. Winch, this is for you,” Olivia said, putting a card on the table.

    Mrs. Winch opened the card. Olivia’s hand-made card read “To Mrs. Winch: I’m glad you’re my neighbor. Happy Valentine’s Day. Olivia.”

    Mrs. Winch smiled at Olivia. “I’m glad I’m your neighbor too, Olivia. Thank you.”

    Magically, the gloomy day disappeared, and a happy Valentine’s Day took its place.

  29. suzannepoulterharris says:

    CANTANKEROUS CLAUDIUS – THE GROUCH BEHIND THE VALENTINE
    214 words by Suzanne Poulter Harris

    Emperor Claudius was ambitious, cruel and strong. He could knock a horse’s teeth out with one punch. He could conquer the world … if he had a mighty army.

    But Claudius learned that married men despised leaving their families to join the Roman legions. And young men preferred to stay with their sweethearts than wage wars.

    Boy, was Claudius cantankerous! So he did what any grumpy emperor would do. He banned marriage … and built a stronger army.

    Meanwhile one priest considered the new rule unfair. He continued to perform marriage ceremonies in secret. His name was Valentine.

    One day the news of Valentine reached the emperor. Boy, was Claudius cantankerous! So he did what any cruel emperor would do. He ordered Valentine to be arrested and put to death.

    On February 14 in the year 270, Valentine lost his head. But before he died, he left behind a piece of his heart in a note to the jailer’s daughter. It was signed, “From your Valentine.”

    Before long this martyr became a saint. And almost 2000 years later, February 14 is celebrated throughout the world by sending messages of love. These cards are Valentines.

    Emperor Claudius was cantankerous, cruel and strong. He won many battles. But it was Valentine’s love that conquered the world.

  30. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR KATHLEEN

    Valentine Surprises (200 words)

    by Kathy Mazurowski

    It was Valentine’s Day and Petey’s surprise was not ready. His plan: first, make cookies. Next, find roses. Finally, make a big, sparkly card.

    Petey pulled out cookbooks. He got the mixing bowls and flour. Before long, flour was everywhere.

    “What are you doing?” frowned Mom.

    “It’s a surprise!”

    “Out of the kitchen! Your making a huge mess that now I will have to clean,” yelled Mom.

    “But Mom. . .”

    “No Butts-OUT!” said Mom.

    Petey was disappointed, but decided to go check out the roses in Mrs. Tricklebark’s garden. But no roses in her garden- wrong season.

    Petey had an idea.

    “Now what are you up to?” grumbled Mom.

    “A surprise,” said Petey.

    “Ok. Don’t make a mess in here,” said Mom.

    “I’ll be in my room,” said Petey.

    Inside Petey’s room, he was busy snipping, cutting, gluing, coloring, glittering, and writing until the surprise was perfect.

    Mom knocked on his door. “How’s is it going in here?”

    “Happy Valentine’s Day! Mom!”

    “Oh, thank you, Petey! I love you, and this sparkly card! The picture of the cookie looks yummy. The roses look like they smell so sweet.”

    “How about we make those cookies now,” said Mom.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      How resourceful and good-natured of Petey to bounce back from Mom’s rebuke and still surprise her with a lovely Valentine… that didn’t make any more mess! I bet those cookies were delicious when they made them 🙂 Thanks so much for joining in the first ever Valentiny fun, Kathy!

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