2017 Holiday Contest WINNERS!

Look at us!

Hanging out together on a Tuesday! 🙂

Now, normally I’d go through some kind of song and dance about why you’re here, since Tuesday isn’t a regular posting day in these parts, and I’d pretend I had no idea what was up.

But it’s Holiday time, and all of us are busy, and I am seriously SUPER-busy, so I won’t waste any of your valuable time with silly runarounds.

Nosirree bob!

Not today!

Today, it’s right to the point!

And the point is. . .

. . .is. . .

. . .what was the point?

Oh, no!

I’ve forgotten the point!

But knowing me, it probably had something to do with chocolate. . .

choc moose

That’s chocolate and it has points. . . looks like about 14 points 🙂

Yep.  That was probably it.

So, enjoy some solid dark chocolate moose wherever you are (or, if solid dark chocolate isn’t your thing, a decadent chocolate mousse will do just as well) and have a lovely day!

Thanks for stopping by!

Enjoy your Tuesday!

Only 5 more shopping days til Christmas, so go on!  Skedaddle!






Uh. . .

. . .why are you still here?

There’s shopping and baking and wrapping and freaking out because your mother-in-law showed up two days early and you’re out of eggnog to be getting on with!

What’s that?

You wanted to know about what?




Gosh!  I can tell you a thing or two about Twizzlers!

Oh, winners?

You want WINNERS???


You twisted my arm 🙂

Without further ado, the WINNERS of the


7th Annual Holiday Contest

Kangaroo sleigh



are . . .


A little ado.

Just a teensy bit because I have just a couple quick things to say first 🙂  But the winners are coming very soon, I promise!

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 Friday 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!)

Matthew Lasley for Midnight Delivery (an entry we loved for the writing and kid-friendliness)

Jonathan Merkel for mom and i on Christmas (a lump-in-your-throat bittersweet story)

Carolyn Leiloglou for Old MacDonald Had A Farm. Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! (well-written and fun!)

Delfina “Sugarplum” Salimbene 🙂 for Sparkle McSprinkle’s Surprise (lively and fun, great rhyme and meter!)

Ryan Roberts for Not Even A Mouse (a fun twist on the original with a great last line!)

Jennifer Prevost for Ginger’s Gift (a sweet story with an original POV – a Christmas tree ornament!)

Susan Schade for Favorite Day (an original story personifying the days of the week!)



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

Eleanor Peterson for A Surprise For Ava


Michelle de Freitas for Penelope Violet’s Christmas Surprise

Rose Cappelli for Christmas Chaos

Deborah Boerema for Christmas Eve DRAMA


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

Elaine D’Alessandro for Here Comes… (we felt like we were there in that kitchen 🙂 )


4. For Beautiful Rendition Of The Christmas Story:

Janie Reinart for Channah’s Star


5. For Lovely Depiction Of Treasured Family Tradition:

Kathy Halsey for Roger The Christmas Squirrel


6. For Favorite Character: (enjoying the continuing adventures 🙂 )

Lucretia Schafroth for Marvin The Chipmunk (The Animated Elf – Marvin Strikes Again!)

Christine Evans for Lulu and Betty (Lulu And Betty’s Christmas Surprise)

Candice Conner for Bean and Jilly (Bean And Jilly And The Holiday Surprise Visitor)



7.  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 Very Last Gift

Laura Bower for A New Day For Mrs. Claus


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!)  Lauri and Kaye, who were finalists with terrific stories but placed out of the top 10, please feel free to choose a prize from the list below if there’s something there you’d like!

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

Self-Publish Your Book: A Quick And Easy Step-By-Step Guide (Writing In A Nutshell Series Book 6) by Jessica Bell, OR

The Write Ideas Creative Writer’s Toolkit: A Genre-Spanning Box Set of Writing Prompts And Creative Exercises by Kate Krake

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, OR

The Ultimate Fiction Thesaurus by Sam Stone, OR

Writing In A Nutshell: Writing Workshops To Improve Your Craft (Writing In A Nutshell Series Book 4) by Jessica Bell, OR

In paperback:

Show And Tell In A Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions From Telling To Showing by Jessica Bell

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…

Elizabeth Curry

Waiting For The Winter Gift!!!

Congratulations, Elizabeth, on a beautifully written entry that had a nice element of suspense and a sweet ending and was clearly very popular!!! 🙂

In Second Place

Jennifer Broedel
The Just Desserts

Congratulations, Jennifer, on an entry we loved for your MC’s sneaky plan… and how it backfired 🙂  You get to pick your prize after Elizabeth.

In Third Place

Lucretia Schafroth

Santa’s Delivery Dilemma

Congratulations, Lucretia, on a delightfully fun, kid-friendly entry!  How can you not love pink unicorns? 🙂  Apparently you’re on a roll!  3rd in the Halloweensie Contest and now 3rd in the Holiday Contest!!!  You get to pick your prize after Elizabeth and Jennifer.

In Fourth Place

Mishka Jaeger

Binah’s Journey

Congratulations, Mishka, on a poignant entry with a nice feeling of history and family!  You get to pick your prize after Elizabeth, Jennifer, and Lucretia!

In Fifth Place

Megan Walvoord

Vegan Cut-Out Cookies

Congratulations, Megan, on an entry that had something for both our allergy-conscious young readers and our dinosaur-lovers!  Who knew Santa was a stegosaurus? 🙂  You get to pick after Elizabeth, Jennifer, Lucretia, and Mishka!

In Sixth Place

K. Callard

Lizard In A Blizzard

Congratulations, K!  We loved your clever and creative take on Christmas ornaments!  I’m sure you get the idea of how the prize picking goes by now 🙂

In Seventh Place…

Jen Bagan
Racing The Sun

Congratulations, Jen!  You managed an ending that was a REAL surprise! 🙂  You get to pick next 🙂

In Eighth Place…

Heather Kinser
Rigby and Tuttle: The Pinecone

Congratulations, Heather!  Adored your funny ending 🙂  You get to pick after Jen 🙂

In Ninth Place

Mona Pease
Family Is Home And Home Is Wherever It May Land

Congratulations, Mona, on your sweet, fun entry!  You get to pick after Heather 🙂

In Tenth Place

Rebekah Hoeft
Travelin’ Blues

Congratulations, Rebekah!  We so enjoyed your taste of Christmas in other countries!  You get to pick after Mona!

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!  (The sooner the better!)  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 (gingerbread chocolate truffle anyone?… not that I’m trying to get rid of them or anything… 🙂 )

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 from Georgia today! 🙂   And, I’ve been so busy I haven’t put up my holiday decorations or gotten a tree yet, can you believe it?!  So I will see you all in a couple weeks – most probably the first week of January 🙂

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 2018!

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

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 4.46.14 PM

The Prizes:

– a critique of a picture-book manuscript or dummy by agent Rachel Orr of Prospect Agency!!!


– a spot in Renee LaTulippe’s fantastic INTENSIVE RHYME AND METER SELF-STUDY COURSE!!!

Renee-LaTulippeScreen Shot 2017-10-28 at 8.37.39 AM

– a Picture Book Manuscript Critique from the FABULOUS Vivian Kirkfield, author of the forth coming Sweet Dreams, Sarah and experienced and much-loved critiquer!


– a Picture Book Manuscript Critique from the amazing Lori Degman (NORBERT’S BIG DREAM – Sleeping Bear Press 2016, COCK-A-DOODLE OOPS! – Creston Books 2014, 1 ZANY ZOO – Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers 2010) – a terrific choice for any rhymers out there!


– a Picture Book Manuscript Critique from the wonderful Amy Dixon (MAURICE THE UNBEASTLY – Sterling Children’s Books 2017, SOPHIE’S ANIMAL PARADE – Sky Pony Press 2015, MARATHON MOUSE – Sky Pony Press 2012)


– 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)

2018 Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market  and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.  (2 available)

– a bundle of (mostly) winter picture books!
We Wish For A Monster Christmas by Sue Fliess
Before Morning by Joyce Sidman
Ten On The Sled by Kim Norman
Someone Like Me by Patricia MacLachlan
The Gingerbread Man Loose At Christmas by Laura Murray

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

I can’t thank these authors and other industry professionals enough for their incredible generosity!  Please visit their sites, buy and recommend their books and services to your writer friends and/or friends with kids, write them nice reviews on Amazon, GoodReads etc if you’ve read and liked their books, and show your appreciation to them in any way you can!

25 thoughts on “2017 Holiday Contest WINNERS!

  1. Kaye Baillie says:

    Congratulations to all the winners and a HUGE thankyou to Susanna for bringing such fun for everyone. Your competitions are shining examples of this wonderful writing community. Have a lovely festive season, Susanna.

  2. Rebekah Hoeft says:

    Thanks for a fun week of writing and reading! Congrats to the finalists and to Elizabeth–well-done and deserved win!

  3. Deborah Boerema (@Deborah_Boerema) says:

    Congratulations to all the winners and honorable mentions and everyone else who took the time and summoned the courage to submit a story. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Susanna and your team of judges. (I’d love for you to introduce those helpful judges to us someday!) Always LOVE your writing contests. Happy Holidays to All!

  4. Nancy Riley says:

    Congratulations to all the winners and honorable mentions. Thanks Susanna and judges for your time, energy, and joy of working with other writers. That is true joy in my world. Oh, and chocolate, of course. Happy holidays, all of them!

  5. mona861 says:

    Thank you, Susanna, for offering us this holiday contest with wonderful prizes. And, thank you for nudging us to write withing the limits of your writing prompt. Congratulations to all the winners. Okay, enough of the formalities…I’m one of those winners. Dancing and singing around the Christmas tree….La la la la laaaaa, thump, stomp tromp!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  6. viviankirkfield says:

    So thrilled for all of the winners!!!! And congrats and thanks to all who participated…you’ve provided a bevy of wonderful holiday stories for parents to read with their kids this season…and who knows…maybe there will be some books that come from these entries!!! Thanks to Susanna and her wonderful assistants who worked so hard to put this all together!

  7. Jennifer Broedel (@JBroedelAuthor) says:

    What a DELIGHTFUL surprise- thank you, Susanna! Congratulations to Elizabeth, whose story was a favorite of mine, and congratulations to all of my co-entrants. Thank you to everyone who voted for my rhymer!

    Happy holidays to everyone, and I appreciate the fun of this contest- it really launched me into a merry, merry celebration! These pieces were all fun to read!

  8. chardixon47 says:

    Congratulations winners and honorable mentions! All the stories were terrific! Thank you, Susanna and team, for your hard work and inspiration.

  9. Rosie Pova says:

    Congrats to all the winners!!! Thank you, Susanna, and all the judges who make this possible — what a great way to come together and celebrate kidlit talents with these delightful stories!

    I didn’t participate, but really appreciate these contests 🙂

  10. curryelizabeth says:

    Congratulations everyone! And thank you to Susanna, the judges, and those who donated the prizes. There were so many great stories. I am honored to have been a part of this with so many great writers. Happy Holidays!

  11. yangmommy says:

    Well done, everyone!! And much thanks to Susanna for orchestrating another great contest & getting us all excited about the ho-ho-ho holidays!

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