The 2016 Holiday Contest Winners!!!


Well, hi there!

What brings you to this neck of the woods on a Monday?

Oh wait.  I bet I know…

You heard about my Snickerdoodle experiments and came to try some!

By all means, help yourselves!  I’ve got more Snickerdoodles at this point then I know what to do with!

I’ll put on some coffee.  Take a load off.  Have a little break from the holiday craziness 🙂


Ah, that’s better, isn’t it?  Nothing like hot coffee and buttery, cinnamon-sugary cookies to ease your cares.

But I won’t keep you.

I know you’ve still got:

12 square miles of paper a-wrapping
11 hundred yards of ribbon a-curling
10 hour days of baking
9 million cards a-mailing
8 light-up reindeer to set up artfully on your lawn a-grazing and a-looking nobly into the distance like they’re completely natural…next to the inflatable Santa on a motorcycle…
7 miles of Christmas lights a-stringing
6 -ty-seven Christmas movies a-watching (yes, Virginia, you CAN put up with Frosty The Snowman in it’s entirety 67 times in a row if it will keep the little darlings out of your hair long enough to get these other things done!)
5 tumblers of egg nog (with ALL the ingredients 🙂 )
4 thousand verses of Jingle Bells
3 days left to get a picture of the little darlings with Santa
2 hours of sleep if you’re lucky

And a lovely balsam fir tree to trim! (and keep the cat from climbing!)

Thanks ever so much for stopping by!  Have a happy, happy holiday and a terrific 2017!

Bye now.


So long.



Why aren’t you leaving?

We just went over that list of all manner of holiday busy-ness you have yet to get to…!

Off you go!


You want WHAT?

Well deck me out in tinsel and call me a Christmas tree!  I KNEW there was something else that had to go on that list!

Instead of trimming the fir tree I guess the last line should have been…


The 6th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!



As always, I was thrilled to see so many wonderful stories!  Really!  It is amazing and inspiring, not to mention VERY entertaining!  There is just so much talent out there amongst you all!

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

There were, however, many other entries that were outstanding in certain areas even though they might not have qualified all-around for one reason or another, or that the judges couldn’t reach a consensus on.

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: (entries we truly wrestled with not including in the finalists!)

Ingrid Boydston for A Child’s First 12 Days Of Christmas (which would make a terrific board book for youngest readers! and could also have won a prize for best entry in fewest words! 🙂 )

Jennifer Garthe for The 12 Mice Of Christmas (a sweet story, beautifully written!)

Karen Morgan for Bear’s Longest Twelve Days Ever (delightful 🙂 )

Mariah ??? for A FURever Home For Christmas (poignant with a lovely message!)


2. For Great Kid Appeal: (not already mentioned in the finals or other categories)

Rebekah Hoeft for Sneaky Snoop: A Cautionary Christmas Tale

Greg Bray for My Favorite Christmas So Far (also great kid voice)

Leslie Goodman for Santa’s Twelve High-Tech Days Of Christmas

KT for The Twelve Days of Vacay


3. For Excellence In Evoking Mood And Holiday Spirit And Tradition:

Melissa Stoller for The Eight Nights Of Chanukah (also lovely portrayal of family)


4. For Beautiful Rendition Of The Christmas Story:

Sue Frye for A Star Shown In The Sky

Carmen Castillo Gilbert for Burrito’s Epiphany Gift



5.  For Lovely Christmas Spirit:

Tracy Potash for Kindness Counts To Twelve


6. For Fun Educational Holiday Stories From Other Places:

Anne Lipton for The Twelve Days Of Canadian Winter

Marla LeSage for 12 Days Of Christmas In New Brunswick



7. For Wonderfully Woven Folk Tale/Fairy Tale Stories: (not already mentioned in the finals or other categories)

Jennifer Rugge for Twelve Crows At Christmas

Elizabeth Steffenson for The Partridge In-A-Pear-Tree



8. For Skillful Combination Of Multiple Holidays/Cultures/Traditions:

Erin Nowak for The Twelve Days Of Dishes

Ellen Leventhal for Happy Everything (also appealing kid voice)


9. For Favorite Character: (not already mentioned in the finals or other categories)

Mary Miller for Doug The Turtle in The Twelve Days Of Giftmas

Johnell DeWitt for the irascible Griselda in Griselda’s Christmas Witch List (which should also win a prize for humor 🙂 )


10.  For Humor And Fun:  (not already mentioned in the finals or other categories)

Carol Samuelson Woodson for The Glorious Tree

Shelley Kinder for A Cold And Clammy Christmas?

Deborah Boerema for The 12 Strays Of Christmas (also a great message 🙂 )


11. For Thinking-Outside-The-Box Creativity:

David McMullin for The Twelve Daisies Of Christmas

Jennifer Kaap for Christmas Clues (fun riddle format)

Amanda Sincavage for The Gift Of Reading: A Picture Book Riddle (fun riddle format)


12.  For More Appealing For Grown-ups But Well-Written And Enjoyable!
(These entries were terrific but either focused on the relationship between Santa and Mrs. C or had humor that we considered funnier for adults than kids)

Judy Sobanski for The Christmas Parade 

Vivian Kirkfield for Twelve Days Of Surprises For Santa

Kathryn Rammell for 12 Days After Christmas

Kristen Olsen for Doughnuts In The Fir Tree

Maggie Jeffrey for Grandma’s Christmas (fun entry for Grandmas 🙂 )






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) (and if you request a paperback, please include your snail mail address!)

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: A Children’s Writer’s Insider Guide From Mentors For Rent by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

Getting Published: How To Access Editors: A Children’s Writer’s Insider Guide From Mentors For Rent by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

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

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

The Postitive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Attributes by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, OR

The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Flaws by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, OR

The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To City Spaces by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, OR

The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Personal And Natural Places by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

The Ultimate Fiction Thesaurus by Sam Stone OR

In paperback:

The Six Senses In A Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions From Bleak To Bold Narrative by Jessica Bell OR

Adverbs And Cliches In A Nutshell: Demonstrated Subversions Of Adverbs & Cliches Into Gourmet Imagery by Jessica Bell OR

Creating Extraordinary Characters by Angela Hunt, OR

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

And now…

…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

The announcement of the WINNERS OF THE 2015 HOLIDAY CONTEST as voted on by you!!!



In First Place

Winner of the whole shebang…

who gets first choice of all the prizes…

Lucretia Schafroth

The Woodland Christmas Tree!!!

Congratulations, Lucretia, on a fun, kid-friendly entry that was clearly very popular!!! 🙂

In Second Place…a tie!

Susan Schade
The Christmas Cookie Crook

A Plane Ticket In A Rare Tree

Congratulations, Susan and Hermantor33 (sorry I don’t know your name – no byline!) on entries that were creative, kid-friendly and fun!!!  You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Lucretia makes her choice. (We’ll have to sort it out between us since you tied.)

In Fourth Place

Eileen Washburn
The Twelve Days Before Christmas

Congratulations, Eileen!  You get to pick your prize after Lucretia, Susan, and Hermantor33!

In Fifth Place

Lynne Marie
Let Witchmas Begin…

Congratulations, Lynne!  You get to pick after Lucretia, Susan, Hermanator33, and Eileen.

In Sixth Place

Jodi McKay
The Way We Celebrate Holidays: A Merry Mash-Up

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

In Seventh Place

Jen Bagan
The 12 Emotions Of Arbor Day

Congratulations, Jen!  You get to pick next 🙂

In Eighth Placeanother tie!

Monica Anderson
A Gift For The Princess

Jean James
The Evil Dr. Gerbil’s 12 Days Of Christmas

Congratulations, Monica and Jean!  You get to pick after Jen!  And again, we’ll just have to sort it out between us since you tied!

In Tenth Place…another tie!

David McMullin
The Twelve Daves Of Christmas Town

Joni Klein-Higger
Farmer Bubbe’s Chanukah

Congratulations, Dave and Joni!  You get to pick after Monica and Jean!  And again…! we’ll just have to sort it out between us since you tied!

And in Twelfth Place, rounding out the top dozen of these amazing finalists and the 82 Holiday Contest Entries for 2016…

Kim Ball
The Twelve Days Of Zoo Christmas

All the winners should email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com with the subject heading Prize Winner so we can work out details for you to receive your prizes!  And for your convenience, the whole prize list is included at the bottom of this post.

Congratulations again to all our winners – it was a stiff competition!! – and congratulations to EVERYONE who wrote and entered a story in the contest.  You all deserve a huge round of applause and a Holiday Treat (Snickerdoodles anyone? she asked hopefully 🙂 )

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

As I… hmm… maybe didn’t mention…?, I’m taking a little blogging break so I can spend time with my family – I’ve got children to fetch, cookies to bake, Christmas presents to shop for and wrap, and my sister and her family are arriving form Georgia on today! 🙂   So I will see you all in a couple weeks – most probably Wednesday January 4th for Would You Read It 🙂

So now, I want to wish you all a happy and healthy holiday filled with love, laughter, joy, and family, and a happy, healthy and successful new year!  It is a pleasure and a privilege to get to spend time with you all, and I’m happy and grateful to know each and every one of you!

Looking forward to all the things we’ll do in 2017!

Happy Holidays, and all best wishes for a wonderful New Year!!!



The Prizes!!!

A Picture Book Manuscript Critique and Chat with Sarah (Miller) Rockett of Sleeping Bear Press (ms due January 1st, chat in February) kindly donated by Jodell Sadler and KidLit College

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


– A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the fabulous Cori Doerffeld, author/illustrator of Penny Loves Pink, Little Bunny Foo Foo, and many more…!

penny_cover   bunny-foo-foo

– A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the awesome Vivian Kirkfield, author of Show Me How: Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting And Cooking, and the forthcoming picture book from Creston Books, Sweet Dreams, Sarah.

sweet-dreams-new-on-amazon            vivian-kirkfield

– A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by talented agent Jodell Sadler (or other staff of Kidlit College)


– Enrollment in Making Picture Book Magic (my online picture book writing class – in January or a later month to be mutually agreed upon by the winner and me)

 2017 Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market  and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.  (2 available)

Book Markets For Children’s Writers 2017 and Magazine Markets For Children’s Writers 2017 published by The Institute Of Children’s Literature.

– a pack of Susanna Leonard Hill’s amazing What’s The Story Cards  (scroll about 1/2 way down the page…) (2 available)

– winner’s choice of ANY 3 of the Kindle or Paperback books listed above in the prize offerings for Honorable Mention Categories


34 thoughts on “The 2016 Holiday Contest Winners!!!

  1. Wendy says:

    Congratulations everyone! I haven’t had a chance to read all the entries yet, but I enjoyed all the finalists. Really impressed at what people got done at this time of the year when everyone is so busy. Susanna, I don’t know how you do it all!

  2. ingridboydston says:

    My goodness! As if it weren’t already wonderful enough! Thank you for the surprise prize, the heartwarming encouragement and the joy of being part of this group! You really know how to make the holidays bright Susanna! Congratulations to everyone! 😃!

  3. ptnozell says:

    Congratulations & happy holidays to all of the winners – which truly is everyone who entered. And especially happy holidays & thanks to Susanna, the judges & the prize donors for making this such a wonderful holiday tradition.

  4. viviankirkfield says:

    Woo-hoo!!! Congratulations to all the winners and honorable mentions (may I mention a big thank you, Susanna…and I promise to pick a book this time…I forgot to do it for Halloweensie).

    The stories were amazing…the talent in this kid lit community is incredible…wishing EVERYONE the happiest of holidays. 😉

  5. csheer18 says:

    Congrats to all the winners, and best wishes to Susanna and her judging elves for a job well-done….and a well-deserved break-from-blogging!

    Happy Holidays to all!

  6. kimnball says:

    I haven’t had a chance to read all of the stories yet, but I read enough to be totally amazed at the creativity and quality of the stories that were whipped up in a few days against some fun but demanding specs. So I was floored and honored to see my story listed as one of the finalists. Thank you to Susanna and the generous donors and judges and especially to everyone who participated as authors or audience. Congratulations to all of the winners and honorees!

  7. Shelley Kinder (@KinderWrites) says:

    Congrats to all the winners AND participants who picked up a pencil (or pen or keyboard…well not actually PICKED UP…you know what I mean) and WROTE a story. While you may not have won a prize (this time), this could be the story that lands you a publishing deal….or an agent…in the future! My Christmas story last year didn’t win anything, but about a month ago, a revised version of it, won me an agent. For that, I am grateful. I just wanted to pass that on as a bit of encouragement to all 🙂 Happy holidays, and thank you again, Susanna, for all you do for us Kid Litters!

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