2016 Valentiny Contest WINNERS!

Happy Friday, Folks!

There’s something so delicious about Fridays, isn’t there?  That knowledge that the whole weekend stretches out before you – yours to do whatever you want with… sleep late (if you don’t have young children 🙂 … or dogs with very specific ideas of what time breakfast should be served 🙂 )… read a good book by the fire… go to the movies…  fill out financial aid forms… you know, whatever blows your hair back 🙂

And there’s something especially delicious about this Friday!  Something I know you’ve all been anticipating with great intensity!

Unfortunately, I’m having trouble remembering what it is.

I blame avocado deprivation.

They say avocados improve brain and memory function and I cannot remember the last time I had an avocado.  But that may be because I haven’t had any avocados to boost my memory of when I last had an avocado!

As you can see, it’s a knotty conundrum.

It is quite possible that I may wander in a fog for days unless someone arrives to rescue me with guacamole.

Should anyone feel so inclined, I shall be in my tower…

…very damsel in distress…

…with a bag of tortilla chips… 🙂

But wait.

What were we talking about?


Something important…



I bet you don’t give a flying fig about avocados OR guacamole!

I know you’re really here to…

…seek my fashion advice on what you should wear on that hot date this weekend…


You would be more likely to ask a potato for fashion advice?

Well, you’re probably wise in that regard 🙂

Nah.  I’m just foolin’ with you 🙂

I know you’ve been climbing the walls waiting to find out who won the First Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

Am I right or am I right or am I right???

Well…I’ll tell you!

In a minute… 🙂



valentiny logo

As you are all aware by now, we had a record turnout for the Valentiny Contest – 154 entries!

I was thrilled beyond measure to see so many wonderful stories and meet so many new writers!

But with large entry numbers come hard choices.  My assistant judges and I worked hard to winnow the total down to a manageable number of finalists that we felt were truly all-around deserving of that distinction, and those were the ones we presented to you on Monday for your vote.

There were, however, many other entries that were outstanding in certain areas even though they might not have qualified all-around for one reason or another (one reason being that, at a certain point, we just had to stop adding finalists to the list! :))

So my assistant judges and I would like to award recognition and a small prize to the following authors for the following merits:

1.  For Honorable Mention In The Competition As A Whole:

Christie Allred for Gumshoe Goose

Linda Schueler for Witch Walenda’s Grumpy Valentine’s Day

Ingrid Boydston for The Grumps

Gabi Snyder for The Bookstore Cat’s Valentine


2.  For Great Kid Appeal: (not already in the finals)

Marlaina Gray for Cupcake Party

Robin Brett Wechsler  for The Case Of The Missing Valentine Party Supplies (also the only Valentine Mystery! :))


3. For Great Kid Voice: (not already in the finals)

Terry Turner for The Stupid Valentine

Tammi Truax for How To Ungrump A Bad Day


4. For Funniest Entry: (not already in the finals)

Kristen Foote for Shoo Fly, Valentine (funny and dark! :))

Cathy Hookey- for The Problem With Love Potions

Robyn Campbell for Romeo Duck


5. For Sweetest/Most Touching Entry:

Molly Felder for Dog And Pup


6.  For Best Written Original Point of View:

Meredith Palmer for The Right Angles (POV of scrap paper!)


7.  For Originality/Creativity:

Judith Roth for Dragon Hearts (because Valentine’s and dragons aren’t an obvious match-up 🙂 and for creative and beautiful use of language)

Katie Gast for No More, Said The Door (love story between a door and a door mat :))


Congratulations to all of you for fantastic elements of your stories!  You may all email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com to collect your prize, which is your choice of one of the following: (the titles are all links so you can go see what they’re about)

For Kindle:

Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

Rhyming Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

How To Query An Agent Or Editor by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

Getting Published: How To Access Editors by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

The Easy Way To Write Picture Books That Sell by Robyn Opie Parnell, OR

How To Write A GREAT Children’s Book (The Easy Way To Write) by Robyn Opie Parnell, OR

How To Write A Children’s Picture Book by Darcy Pattison, OR

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi


In paperback: (if you choose paperback please include your snail mail address in your email!)

Show & Tell In A Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions From Telling To Showing by Jessica Bell, OR

Creating Extraordinary Characters by Angela Hunt, OR

Evoking Emotion by Angela Hunt, OR

Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

Rhyming Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard


Now then.  A word about the prizes before I announce the winners.


We have 10 fabulous prizes, generously donated by authors and various professionals in the writing field.  My policy is to let the first place winner have first pick of all the prizes, the second place winner have second choice, etc.  That way hopefully nobody gets something they already have, and hopefully everyone gets something that’s valuable to them.  All prizes are listed at the bottom of this post for your convenience in perusing the goodies 🙂

And now…

…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

…THE WINNERS OF THE 2016 VALENTINY CONTEST as chosen by you, our esteemed voters!!!!!

In First Place

Winner of the whole shebang…

who gets first choice of all the prizes…

Dawn Young

for Grumpy Bear’s Valentine!!!

Congratulations, Dawn, on a fabulous entry that was all around well done and clearly very popular!!! 🙂

In Second Place

Cathey Graham Nickell

for Kandie’s Kiss

Congratulations, Cathey!!  You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Dawn makes her choice.

In Third Place

Shelley Kinder

for No Snacks For Max

Congratulations, Shelley!  You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Dawn and Cathey choose theirs.

In Fourth Place

Mishka Jaeger

for Come In For The Cold

Congratulations, Mishka!  You get to pick after Dawn, Cathey, and Shelley.

In Fifth Place

Christine Rodenbour

for XOXO, Your Secret Admirer (Larry)

Congratulations, Christine!  You get to pick after Dawn, Cathey, Shelley, and Mishka.

In Sixth Place

Ann Magee

for Grumpy Badger’s Valentine

Congratulations, Ann!  I’m sure you get the idea of how the prize picking goes by now 🙂

In Seventh Place

Marla LeSage

for Pirate Gets A Valentine

Congratulations, Marla!  You get to pick next 🙂

In Eighth Place,

Cheryl Secomb

for Jasper And Abigail

Congratulations, Cheryl, on a delightful entry!  You get to pick your prize after Marla.

In Ninth Place,

Sam Altmann

for The Lonely Hearts Club!

Congratulations, Sam!  You get to pick a prize after Cheryl!

And in Tenth Place,

Susan Schade

for A Colorful Valentine’s Day

Congratulations, Susan!  You get to pick a prize after Sam!

And, I don’t think I need to remind anyone that in addition to all these fabulous prizes, everyone mentioned on this page has bragging rights as having won or placed in the 1st Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Contest!  Not just anyone can say that 🙂


All the winners should email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com with the subject heading Prize Winner so we can work out details for you to receive your prizes!  Finalists who did not finish in the top 10 (Jess, Anne) may also contact me for their choice of the Kindle or paperback prizes listed above.

Congratulations again to all our winners – it was a stiff competition!! – and congratulations to EVERYONE who wrote and entered a story in the contest.  You all deserve a standing ovation, a glitter heart confetti parade, and a large amount of Valentine chocolate 🙂

Thank you to everyone who helped make this contest SO MUCH FUN, whether by writing an entry, reading people’s stories, leaving comments for the authors, and/or voting in the finals.  It’s because of all of you that this contest was such a success, so many, many thanks from the bottom of my heart!

Have a terrific weekend everyone, and thanks again for making the 1st Annual Valentiny Contest such a smashing success and a wonderful time for all! 🙂


The Prizes:

– 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. 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!

33 thoughts on “2016 Valentiny Contest WINNERS!

  1. cherylsec says:

    Thanks so much, Susanna! And thank you to all of the wonderful judges. I can only imagine how much time went into hosting and judging this contest. We so appreciate all you do. Congratulations to all the winners and honorable mention winners! These contests are always so much fun. 🙂

  2. ptnozell says:

    Congratulations to all of the winners & heartfelt thanks to you, Susanna, & to the judges & prize donors for another wonderful contest & opportunity to stretch our storytelling muscles (and read so many amazing entries).

  3. Robyn Campbell says:

    Sus, I voted the other day but couldn’t comment because I was at my sister’s (sketchy internet, dial-up). *hangs head* Yes, she has dial-up. Anyway, I’m at home. I wanted to congratulate the winners. You guys rocked it. In my opinion, you all won first place. Everyone who entered won first place. And a special shout out to CHERYL SECOMB. WOOOT TOOOT. (You know I had to do that, Sus.) Oh, and thanks for including Quacker. He quacked that you are one swell human. He wished you were a duck but being a person is okay too. 😉

    P.S. Thanks for paying it back. You deserve an award. I shall think on this. Maybe Mr. Ed will have some thoughts.

  4. Jess Townes says:

    Congratulations to all the story-tellers and thank you SO MUCH to you Susanna for hosting such a fun contest and to all the judges for taking such care with all of the stories!

  5. viviankirkfield says:

    Hurray! Congratulations to all of the winners, honorable mentions, and participants…what an absolutely fabulous contest!
    Thank you so much, Susanna, judges, and generous prize donors…we appreciate all you do!

  6. Shelley Kinder says:

    It’s not easy finding writing contests with no entry fee, so THANK YOU Susanna for offering your awesome contests! Congrats to everyone for taking the time out of your busy schedules to write, even if it didn’t make it to the finals. And good luck to ALL in submitting to publishers.

  7. writestuff99 says:

    Congrats to all the winners. Thanks Susanna for this wonderful contest & to everyone who participated and commented! This is just what a lazy, wanna-be-writer needs to get started.

  8. Angela Brown says:

    Three cheers to all those who participated and Congratulations to the winners. There was so much stiff competition, as always, I don’t know how you managed to cull one grand prize winner from all this great talent.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s