Do you know what Thursday is perfect for?
Barely squeaking under the wire of Last Day of February to announce the winners of the 4th Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest for Children’s Writers!!!
. . .but first a few words from our sponsor (me) which I know shocks you (not!) 🙂
As always, I was thrilled to see so many wonderful stories! (Did I mention there were nearly 170?!) Really! It is amazing and inspiring, not to mention VERY entertaining! There is just so much talent out there amongst you all! The other judges and I are blown away anew each time!
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 last week 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. It is SO HARD! One of our very favorite entries – well written and full of guilt – never mentioned a thing about Valentine’s Day! Many other entries simply weren’t guilty enough, although they were fabulous in other ways!
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!)
Joy Pitcairn for I Didn’t Give Rufus A Valentine
Kalee Gwarjanski for Chocolates For Mom
Mary Vander Plas for Sasquatch: In Search Of A Valentine
Mia Geiger for All Wrapped Up
Lynn Katz for A Little Heart
2. For Great Kid Appeal: (not already mentioned in the finals or other categories)
Helen Ishmurzin for Mila’s Cookies (we could totally see a kid struggling with that temptation! )
Sherry Peace for The Case Of The Missing Valentine’s Candy (fun kid detective work 🙂 )
Jeannine Pao Brown for Change Of Heart (very believable boy behavior 🙂 )
Sarah Hetu-Radny for A Slippery Situation (no one wants to be in trouble 🙂 )
3. For Original/Unique/Entertaining POV:
Megan Hoffman for The Sucker (POV of a Valentine sucker! – well-written!)
Deborah Dolan Hunt for Hillary’s Heart (POV of an actual heart! – loved the health angle)
4. For Humor:
Sarah Tobias for A Valentine For Mom
Susie Sawyer for Who Will Be Mine? (also wins for shortest entry with only 36 words! 🙂 )
Lauri Meyers for Don’t Eat Your Valentine (dark humor! 🙂 )
5. For Great Depiction of Family:
Scott Kinder for Mom’s Valentine (we found all the characters believable and felt like we were there! 🙂 )
6. For Favorite Character:
Joy Pitcairn for I Ate It… (we LOVED Otto – such a believable guilty dog! 🙂 )
Rachel Hobbs for Valentine Cookie Surprise (we loved Carla – so exuberant! and we can imagine an expanded version of this as a picture book! 🙂 )
7. For We Loved It But Not Guilty Enough!:
Kelly Conroy for Glitter, Paint, and Glue
Lynn Baldwin for The Year Without Sweethearts
8. For Lovely Writing:
Kelly Hughes for Will You Be Mine?
Keely Leim for A Valentine For Papa
9. For So Cute!:
Amy Flynn for Tiny Crush
10. For More Appealing For Grown-ups But Well-Written And Enjoyable!
(These entries were terrific but either focused on content we felt was more appropriate for over age 12 or that had humor that we considered funnier for adults than kids)
Emma Wood for No Ordinary Thursday (very sweet, beautifully written, and a believable depiction of husbandly behavior! 🙂 )
(And although we’re not awarding prizes for these this time, we always enjoy seeing some of your familiar characters back from other contests for new adventures, including Candice’s Bean and Jilly, Nicole’s Alex and Apple, and Lucretia’s Marvin The Chipmunk 🙂 )
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!)
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, OR
The Ultimate Fiction Thesaurus by Sam Stone, 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
Just For Fun…
Magnetic Poetry – Little Box Of Awesome Kit – Words For Refrigerator (let me know your color choice if you care 🙂 )
…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
The announcement of the WINNERS OF THE 2018 VALENTINY CONTEST as voted on by you!!!
In First Place…
Winner of the whole shebang…
who gets first choice of all the prizes…
Love Bug At The Zoo!!!
Congratulations, Chambrae, on an imaginative, entertaining, well-written poem that made us feel the chaos ensuing from your MC’s guilty behavior! 🙂
In Second Place
Buffa-lonely Love Day
Congratulations, Jennifer, on an entry we loved for your MC’s very believable and understandable grumpiness leading to bad behavior and guilt! You get to pick your prize after Chambrae.
In Third Place
A Box Full Of Love
Congratulations, Anne! You had us laughing over your “chip off the old block” guilt 🙂 You get to pick your prize after Chambrae and Jennifer.
In Fourth Place…
Mother Knows Best
Congratulations, Colleen, on a delightfully believable story of guilt in perfect rhyme! You get to pick your prize after Chambrae, Jennifer, and Anne!
In Fifth Place…
Heart Socks For The Win
Congratulations, Tiffany, on your heart-warming story. We felt Alex’s guilt and appreciated her empathy! You get to pick after Chambrae, Jennifer, Anne, and Colleen!
In Sixth Place…
The Queen Of Hearts
Congratulations, Rose! You really made us feel Meg wrestling with her guilt! I’m sure you get the idea of how the prize picking goes by now 🙂
In Seventh Place…
Chadwick The Zombie Cooks Up A Valentine
Congratulations, Katrina! You won us over with your zombie sweet-maker the same way he won over his fellow zombies 🙂 You get to pick next 🙂
In Eighth Place…
Congratulations, Marty! You captured a child’s good intentions and not-so-good execution perfectly 🙂 You get to pick after Katrina 🙂
In Ninth Place… a tie!
Joyce Schriebman Jill Lambert
The Valentine’s Day Mess & Cure The Missing Pupcake
Congratulations to both of you on very humorous entries! You get to pick after Marty 🙂 (And since you tied, we’ll work it out…)
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. Jose and Beth, if you’d like to choose a prize from the Honorable Mention selection of prizes above you are most welcome to!
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 gigantic chocolate heart… or lots of little chocolate hearts… or both… really, you can never have too much 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 marvelous Monday, everyone! 🙂
The Prizes: Oh, the awesomeness! With thanks to all who donated!
– “Skip The Slushpile” AND get a Query Letter Critique from Charlotte Wenger, associate editor at Page Street Kids, the picture book division of Page Street Publishing. She earned her Master of Arts in Children’s Literature from Simmons University (then College) and is a board member of the Mazza Museum’s National Advisory Board of Visitors. She enjoys working with debut picture book authors and illustrators and is excited about the 19 Page Street Kids picture books pubbing in 2019.
Charlotte will read the winner’s picture book manuscript of choice, then send an email letting you know she’s read your story and including one thing you did well and one thing you might work on to improve the manuscript. In addition, she will give you a query letter critique. Like all editors, she has a hectic schedule, so she will aim to fulfill the prize within 2 months of receiving the manuscript.
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the incredibly talented, multi-published author/illustrator Iza Trapani!
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the Queen of KidLit411 herself, Elaine Kiely Kearns, author of Noah Noasaurus, forthcoming April 1, 2019 from Albert Whitman!
– Top Ten Reasons for Rejection – a 52 minute webinar from Alayne Kay Christian, author of Butterfly Kisses (picture book) and the Sienna The Cowgirl Fairy series (chapter books), and Content and Developmental Editor of Blue Whale Press.
Webinar Description: If you want tips on some corrective action that you might take to improve your chances of submission success, and/or if you would like to deepen your understanding of plot and arc, this webinar is for you.
(And if you’re interested in seeing what else Alayne has to offer, like her Writing For Children Webinars and Courses page on FB and keep an eye out for upcoming offerings!)
– 15-30 Minute Your Questions Answered Phone Call – with Ryan Sias, author/illustrator of Balloon Toons: Zoe And Robot, Let’s Pretend, Sniff Sniff!, and the Woof And Quack beginning reader series (Green Light Readers), and the Super Doodle Series. He has worked in animation, film, and television, including Sesame Street 🙂
Do you have questions about writing, revising, submitting, whether or not to try for an agent, what happens after the sale, or anything else publishing industry related? If so, this is your chance to ask away and get answers from a professional!
– Query Letter Critique by Heather Ayris Burnell, creator of the Sub It Club and author of Bedtime Monster, Kick! Jump! Chop! The Adventures Of The Ninjabread Man, and the Sparkly New Friends early chapter book series from Scholastic!
– 2-Pack of Personalized Signed Picture Books from amazing author Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush and Ready, Set, Gorilla!
– The Writer’s Tool Box: Creative Games And Exercises for Inspiring The “Write” Side Of Your BrainAND a $10 Amazon Gift Card
– Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market 2019 – by Robert Lee Brewer AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card (2 available)
I can’t thank these authors 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!