The 7th Annual Halloweensie Contest aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!

My sincere apologies that the finalists are not going to be listed for your votes until at least Wednesday!  Editorial deadlines… enough said.  I’m so sorry for the delay and will do my very best to get the finalists posted as soon as possible!  Thank you for your patience and understanding ❤ 

Ear of bat and toe of worm!  It’s finally time for. . .

The 7th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!

~ for children’s writers ~

aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!!!!!

halloweensie-pumpkin

The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words candy corn, monster, and shadow. (Candy corn will be counted as 1 word.)  Your story can be scary, funny, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂  (And yes, I know 100 words is short, but that’s part of the fun and the challenge!  We got nearly 150 fantastic entries last year, so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. monsters, monstrous, shadowy, shadowed, whathaveyou 🙂  NO ILLUSTRATION NOTES PLEASE! (And yes, you may submit more than one entry if you’re so inclined 🙂 )

Post: your story on your blog between right now this very second and Tuesday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list below.  There will be no Perfect Picture Book or Would You Read It posts for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and 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 below (please include your byline if your posting handle is something like AwesomeWriter92 so I can identify you.)  If you have difficulty posting in the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post it for you.  Please place your entry in the body of the email including your title and byline at the top – NO ATTACHMENTS!
Please Note: although you are welcome to submit more than one entry, please only post each entry ONCE!  If you post it on your blog (preferred method) everyone will come visit you and you’ll make new friends! 🙂  If you don’t have a blog, post it in the comment section below.  If you’re unable to post, please email me with your entry and byline in the body of the email.  Please DO NOT post on your blog, and in the comments, and send me an email to post.  It makes things confusing!
P.S.  Although I try to stay glued to my computer 24/7 I am sometimes forced to leave my desk.  If you haven’t commented on my blog before, your comment won’t show up until I approve it.  It may take a little while if I’m away from my desk.  Likewise, if you send me an entry to post, I promise I will do it as soon as I can!

The Judging: in a grueling marathon over the following days, my devoted assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 top choices (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 6th (sooner if possible, although I’m warning you ahead of time I have a deadline for something else and if time gets dicey the finalists may get posted later.)  The winner will be announced on Thursday November 9th, good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise 🙂  If we get more than 25 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st – 3rd.  If by some chance we get the kind of turnout we’ve had the past couple years, I may post as many as 10-12 finalists and I’ll probably end up giving everyone a prize 🙂  But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!

Judging criteria will be as follows:

  • 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
  • 2.  Halloweeniness – the rules state a Halloween story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Halloween, not just some random spooky night.
  • 3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny 🙂  Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
  • 4. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 🙂  Overall writing quality and use of language are also important.
  • 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.

The Prizes:

– a read and Skype critique of a picture book manuscript by the fabulous editor Callie Metler-Smith of Clear Fork/Spork Publishing!!!

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 10.55.48 PM

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

 

– a 30 minute Skype conversation/critique of a picture book manuscript with the amazingly wonderful and talented author Penny Klostermann!!! (THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT – Random House 2015, A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE – Random House 2017)

Penny Klostermann

–  a webinar of your choice from among the selection offered by Julie Hedlund on her Teachable site (details of selection choice to be discussed with Julie)

julie h

Julie Hedlund

– a picture book manuscript critique from accomplished author/illustrator Cori Doerrfeld (PENNY LOVES PINK – Little Brown 2011, LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO: THE REAL STORY – Dial 2012 and the forthcoming THE RABBIT LISTENED – Dial 2018 and THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF ESTHER THE WONDER PIG – Little Brown 2018, and many, many more!)

0c24b-cori_bio_pic

Cori Doerrfeld

– a picture book manuscript critique from talented author Lynne Marie (HEDGEHOG GOES TO KINDERGARTEN – Scholastic 2011)

lynne marie

Lynne Marie

– a query letter critique from SubIt Club Founder and fabulous author Heather Burnell (BEDTIME MONSTER – Raven Tree Press 2010, KICK! JUMP! CHOP!: The Adventures of the Ninjabread Man – Sterling 2017)

heather burnell

Heather Burnell

– an e-pub or PDF copy (winner’s choice) of Linda Ashman‘s Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books. OR a paperback copy of Ann Whitford Paul’s Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation To Publication (on the off chance you don’t already have it 🙂 )

–  a Bundle Of Books from KidLit411 (must be selected by someone in the USA due to postage) which will include picture books and middle grade book, about 7 in total, details still to come.  (Totally awesome for writers, readers, parents, teachers, or gift-givers!!!)

– a personalized signed copy of GRIMELDA AND THE SPOOKTACULAR PET SHOW by Diana Murray PLUS a personalized signed copy of BIG SISTER, LITTLE MONSTER by Andria Rosenbaum
Grimelda 2big sis little monster

 

 

 

 

 

 

– a personalized signed copy of MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN by Nancy Churnin

Manjhi

– a copy of MEET WOOF & QUACK by Jamie Swenson and donated by the illustrator, Ryan Sias

woof and quack

Please join me again in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N or anywhere else if you like them, or supporting them in any other way you can dream up 🙂

Now then.  Time for my sample entry which I provide because I would never ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.  Also, in case anyone is worried about the quality of their entry they have only to read my truly horrific attempt to be filled with confidence that their’s is MUCH better!  I have to confess, I was really down to the wire this year (my schedule is a lot nuts!), I have some looming deadlines for various things… which is why I may be a little behind getting started reading entries and why the judging may be slightly delayed… just so you know… but I digress!

So, here goes nothing…!

Sneak Attack! (95 words)

Minnie Monster feels forlorn.
How she craves some candy corn!
Why do children have no clue
That monsters covet candy too?
Min peers out the closet door.
Plastic pumpkin on Jen’s floor
Brimming full of trick-or-treat
Surely more than Jen can eat!
What’s a monster girl to do
But help herself to just a few?
Min darts left, then tiptoes right.
Silent, stealthy, out of sight.
Candy corn within her reach,
Min emits a fearful screech!
Hurtles underneath Jen’s bed.
Hides her hairy monster head
From the THING that scared her so –
Nothing but her own shadow!

[And the two lines I had to cut from the end because they took the word count to 105:
Moral of this monster tale?
Don’t filch from another’s pail!  🙂 ]

Now then, darlings!  Is everyone feeling better about their way-better-than-that! stories?  I certainly HOPE so! 🙂

I can’t wait to read all of your entries!  I’m so looking forward to them!  I hope there will be a lot – the more the merrier!  And there are still nearly 5 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!!!

Contest Entrants, remember to add your post-specific link to the google form 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 – just go along the list of links, click on them, and enjoy the stories!

Happy Writing and Happy Halloween!!! 🙂  🎃

And don’t miss the 135!!! fabulous entries that are posted in the comments below!  (Unfortunately I can’t make links to them, but please scroll through and read and comment for the talented authors!!!)
1.   Scaredy-Crow Joe – Ingrid
2.   The Bone Spider – Shelemur
3.   The Best In The Bowl – Susan S
4.   Fall Forest Stew At Edora Park – Kristen
5.   Scary To Someone – Vanessa
6.   The Trick In The Treat – Corine
7.   Vampette’s Visions – Katie
8.   Pumpkin Patch – Ryan
9.   The Spooky Night Of Halloween – Nina
10. Screamoween – Lindsay
11. The Baddies’ Curse – Cindy
12. Fangsmith’s Missing Fangs – Ann
13. Shadow Play – Jessica
14. Candy Corn: Sweet Or Scary – Jodi
15. Little Monster’s First Halloween – Kathy M
16. Halloween Blizzard – Marilyn U
17. The Scary Sweet – Megan W
18. The Shadow – Megan W
19. The Neighbor Kid – Viji
20. Dancing In The Moonlight – Kathy E
21. “Knock, Knock” – Jerry
22. Gobblewolly’s Halloweensie Treasure – Jennifer B
23. Raven’s Trick – Sydney
24. Sugar Monster’s Revenge – Sydney
25. Corny Smile Costume – Sheri
26. Unveiled Terror – Deborah
27. Trick Or Treat – Claire
28. Halloween With My Sister – Hilda
29. Sharkcula – Katherine
30. Monster Ball – Marilyn G
31. Happy Halloween Volcano – Barbara
32. Boogley’s Halloween – Chambrae
33. Pumpkin Patch – Summer
34. Victor Frank Bakes A Monster – Chambrae
35. Harry’s Favorite Night – Karen
36. The Monster – Judy V
37. The Candy Corn Monster – Gail
38. The Chilling Search For Candy Corn – Laurie
39. The Candy Corn-Eating Contest – Robin
40.  Witchy – Terri
41. The Purple Monster And The Candy Corn – Janet
42. The Purple Monster – Janet
43. Vampire Has A Sweet Tooth – Judy S
44. Candy Monster – Jennifer G
45. Nitro’s Halloween Surprise – Jenifer
46. Beware The Candy Snatch – Jennifer B
47. The Five Houses On Halloween – Cindy
48. Only Around Halloween – Janie
49. Broomstick Sale – Nina
50. The Candy Corn Monster – Marje
51. The Rumor – Judy V
52. Trick Or Treats For Monster? – Sandy
53. Witch Hiccups – B.L.
54. Manny’s Perfect Costume – Anne
55. Shadows Of The Candy Corn Monster – Sarah
56. A Real Witch – Brook
57. Fright Night – Marty
58. Beware The Great Candy Corn – Jenna
59. In The Ginger House Of Licorice Flax – Megan H
60. Do You Know About… – Robyn
61. I’m Not A Candy Corn – Kristen D
62. Halloween – Bah Humbug! – Susan R
63. Shhh – Michael
64. My Favorite Holiday – Jenna
65. Monster’s Shadow – Marcia
66. A Terrible Monster – Anne L
67. Candy Corn Meadow – Megan H
68. Monster’s Brave Halloween – Dee
69. Halloween – Best Day Ever! – Kathy B
70. The Scariest Monster – Dina
71. Marvin…The Monster – Lucretia
72. A Halloween Feast – Elaine
73. Monster Manners – Cheryl
74. Halloween Goodies – Tiffany
75. Pumpkin P.I. – Heather
76. Who Killed Candy Corn? – Beth
77. Sweet Halloween – Tasha
79. The Candy Corn Trap – Nancy R
80. Halloween Raid – Laura
81. Tricky Nicknames – Valerie
82. Shadow Monster – Jen
83. Monster Shadow – Erin
84. Charlotte’s Colorful Night And The Unstuck Candy – Barbara
85. Monster Had A Little Ghost – Nancy
86. The Quest – Linda
87. Watch Out! – Meryl
88. Monster Mayhem – Mary
89. Monster’s Treat – Bridget
90. The Watcher – Mare
91. Spooky Old House – Sherry F
92. Untitled – Katie S
93. The Monster Ball – Anne S
94. Bathilda’s Scary Surprise – Jennifer J
95. House Hates Halloween – Kaye
96. Not So Scary – Judy C
97. Monster’s Pay Day – Sherri
98. The Scary House – Lauren
99. The History Of Candy Corn – Ashley
100. Jimmy’s Nighttime Guest – Sara
101. Trick Or Treat – Kathy S
102. Freaky Pet – Mandy
103. The Shadow Of The Candy Corn Monster – Jim
104. Lonely Halloween – Sparkle
105. The Truth About Halloween – Keatley
106. Sweet Dreams – Risa
107. Call Backs – Risa
108. Sendak Admirer – Risa
109. Ghosts and Goblins and Gremlins, Oh, My! – Mia
110. Monster’s Woe – Nancy R
111. The Great Candy Corn Debate – Mary M
112. Trick Or Be My Treat – Corine
113. It’s All About The Treats – Sharon E
114. Hildy – Sharon E
115. Monster Imposter – Jeanette
116. Even Ghosts Get Scared – JC
117. Witchie On Her Toes – Kathleen
118. Candy Corn’s Big Night – Sharon W
119. Where Is Lilu? – Veronica
120. Which Witch? – Mary W
121. Oh My! – Judy V
122. No Candy Corn! – Grace
123. Monster Suprise – Mona
124. Shadowy Footsteps – Midge
125. Halloween No Fear – Deborah A
126. Scary Mary’s Halloween Harvest – Amy B
127. Me And My Shadow – Laura G
128. Boycott Halloween – Laura G
129. The Walk Home – JC
130. Candy Corn Mystery – Charlotte S
131. Needed: Halloween Partner – Marjorie
132. Mrs. Smith’s Halloween – Marjorie
133. Monster Jr.’s Halloween – Edna
134. Max’s Halloween Costume – Donna
135. The Scariest House On The Block – Susie

BIC Folks! – Announcing The 7th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest Guidelines!!!

What with all that’s been going on lately, I have totally lost track of this month!

This is probably the Monday I should be posting a Short & Sweet or an Oh, Susanna! or something. . .

. . .but instead. . .

EVEN BETTER!. . .

. . .I’m announcing. . .

. . .get ready for it. . . !

The 7th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!

halloweensie-pumpkin

~ for children’s writers ~

The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words candy corn, monster, and shadow. (Candy corn will be counted as 1 word.)  Your story can be scary, funny, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂  (And yes, I know 100 words is short, but that’s part of the fun and the challenge!  We got nearly 150 fantastic entries last year, so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. monsters, monstrous, shadowy, shadowed, whathaveyou 🙂  NO ILLUSTRATION NOTES PLEASE! (And yes, you may submit more than one entry if you’re so inclined 🙂 )

Post: your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Friday October 27th and Tuesday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my special October 27th post.  There will be no Perfect Picture Book or Would You Read It posts for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and 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 my October 27th post once it’s up (please include your byline if your posting handle is something like AwesomeWriter92 so I can identify you.)  If you have difficulty posting in the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post it for you.  Please place your entry in the body of the email including your title and byline at the top – NO ATTACHMENTS!  And please do not submit entries before the start of the contest!

The Judging: in a grueling marathon over the following days, my devoted assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 top choices (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 6th (sooner if possible, although I’m warning you ahead of time I have a deadline for something else and if time gets dicey the finalists may get posted later.)  The winner will be announced on Thursday November 9th, good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise 🙂  If we get more than 25 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st – 3rd.  If by some chance we get the kind of turnout we’ve had the past couple years, I may post as many as 10-12 finalists and I’ll probably end up giving everyone a prize 🙂  But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!

Judging criteria will be as follows:

  • 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
  • 2.  Halloweeniness – the rules state a Halloween story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Halloween, not just some random spooky night.
  • 3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny 🙂  Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
  • 4. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 🙂  Overall writing quality and use of language are also important.
  • 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.

The Prizes:  yeah… I’m still working on the prizes 🙂  Feel free to chime in in the comments if there’s something you’d particularly like to win! 🙂  Or if you have something awesome to offer!  But for starters, prizes will include:

– a read and Skype critique of a picture book manuscript by the fabulous editor Callie Metler-Smith of Clear Fork/Spork Publishing!!!

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 10.55.48 PM

–  a webinar of your choice from among the selection offered by Julie Hedlund on her Teachable site (details of selection choice to follow)

julie h

– picture book manuscript critiques (several amazing and highly qualified people are stepping up for this – details to come)

– an e-pub or PDF copy (winner’s choice) of Linda Ashman‘s Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books.

– a whole bunch of fantastic books, some signed, some offered in packages of 3 or more (details to come)

Plus stay tuned because other great stuff is coming! 🙂

I hope those fantabulous prizes will at least whet your appetite for the contest!

Many, many thanks to Callie, Julie, and the PB MS critiquers for their very generous prize offerings!

So sharpen your pencils!

Get your butt in that chair!

See what amazing, knock-your-socks-off story you can dream up!

It’s a chance to hone your writing skills, practice your craft, write to specifications and a deadline, win amazing prizes, AND get to read and enjoy the wonderful stories written by all your fellows 🙂

I am SO looking forward to seeing what you all come up with!!!

Have a Marvelous Monday everyone! 🙂

The 2016 Halloweensie Contest WINNERS!!!

As you all know, I do not normally post on Thursdays.

That is because Thursday is my day for lying on the couch eating bonbons.

I am making an exception today because I have something VERY important to discuss with you.

Something that I know has been weighing as heavily on your minds as it has on mine.

Something very crucial!

Something so earth-shatteringly important that it probably kept you up all night!

So let’s just lay it out on the table, shall we?

What is the deal with that 5th dentist???

I’m serious!  4 out of 5 dentists recommend Trident for their patients who chew gum.  But the 5th dentist won’t step up!

Obviously s/he is holding out for something!

A vacation in the Caribbean?  A fancy car?  A nice fat donation to his/her bank account?

Or maybe s/he is just a nonconformist – bucking the establishment – refusing to follow the rest of the herd sheep-like!

But, whatever!  Cave already!  Give us the confidence to know that ALL 5 dentists are on board with Trident!  How can we chew it if the non-recommending 5th dentist is right?  If s/he knows something s/he’s not telling us???!!!

Ah!  I feel better now that I’ve gotten that out in the open!

What do you guys think?  Should we track down that 5th dentist and get a straight answer?

What?

You don’t CARE?

Why?  Were you expecting a discussion on another topic?

I’m not sure anything needs our attention as much as that 5th dentist…

…except maybe…

THE WINNERS OF

The 6th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!

WA-HOOOOOOO!!!!!

 

As you are all aware by now, we had a record turnout for the Halloweensie Contest – 150 entries!  Holy Halloweensie!  Who’d-a-thunk it?

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: (all-arond well-written stories we loved that just missed the finals for one small reason or another!)

Ann Kelly for BooBoo Ghostie Caught A Sneezy!

Wendy Greenley for Halloween Costume Countdown

Marla LeSage for Where The Candy Went

Jen Garrett for Too Old For Halloween

Patricia Nozell for Another Halloweensie Tale

Shelley Kinder for Four Finicky Ghosties

Jessica Dunnagan for Ghost Saves Halloween

Kristen Foote for The Spiders Who Stole Halloween

 

 

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

Laura Gutman for Untitled

Kelly Darke for Spider-Ghost

 

3.  For Best Descriptive/Mood Piece:

Jill Proctor for A Headless Halloween

Johnell DeWitt for Spiders, Spiders, Everywhere

Alistair Lane for Halloween Haiku

Kirsten Bock for Into The Forest

 

4.  For Best Use of Poetic Language:

Susie Sawyer for The Ghost Of The Moon Spider

 

5. For Spookiest Entry: (not already in the finals)

David McMullin for BUZZZZZ!

Merriweather Kane for Dare

 

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

Matthew Lasley for The Haunted Outhouse

Gabi Snyder for Zombie Mommy

Michele Blood for Hesper’s Revenge (dark humor 🙂 )

 

 

7.  For Best Written Original Point of View: (not already in the finals)

Vivian Kirkfield for The Trick Or Treat Bag (POV of… you got it!…the trick or treat bag!)

Lindsay Leslie for Cornered (POV of Halloween candy)

 

8.  For Originality/Creativity:

Hilary S for Entry #2 (mom’s a dentist!)

Kristy Rachal for Monster Chef (a monster halloween food network style 🙂 )

 

9.  For Favorite Character:

Julie Abery for her Teensy-Weensy Witch

Angela Hawkins for her Gertude The Hornless Unicorn

Patricia Tilton for her Matilda in All Hallows Eve

 

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

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

In 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 🙂

Now.

Finally!

Onto the moment you’ve all been waiting for. . .

. . . the reason you got out of bed this morning. . .

. . .  in spite of your bleary eyes and rumpled hair. . .

. . . to once and for all get a straight answer about chewing gum out of that stubborn 5th dentist!!!

. . . THE WINNERS OF THE 2016 HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST as chosen by you, our esteemed voters!!!!!

In First Place, winner of the whole entire contest and top of the heap who gets first choice of all the prizes…

Judy Sobanski

for

The Witch’s Broom

Congratulations, Judy, on a delightful and humorous entry that was all around well done and clearly very popular!!!

In Second Place,

Meagan Friedman

for

Night Fright

Congratulations, Meagan, on a wonderfully written fun entry! You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Judy chooses!

In Third Place,

Jen Bagan
 for
Little Witch’s Holiday

 

Congratulations, Jen, on an entertaining entry with a great surprise ending that we all loved!  You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Judy and Meagan choose!

In Fourth Place,

Ingrid Boydston
for
Little Miss Zombie

Congratulations, Ingrid, on a beautifully written version of the classic rhyme with a fun twist!  You get

In Fifth Place,

Linda Hofke
for
Tree’s Halloween Costume

 

Congratulations, Linda, on your cleverly written entry with a perfectly fitting ending!  You get to pick your prize after Judy, Meagan, Jen, and Ingrid!

In Sixth Place,

Sandy Perlic

for

The Dare

Congratulations, Sandy, on your deliciously just-the-right-amount-of-spooky entry! You get to pick your prize after Judy, Meagan, Jen, Ingrid, and Linda!

In Seventh Place,

Jim Chaize
for
Spider And Ghost

Congratulations, Jim, on a fun story with believably competitive characters and a great ending!  I’m sure you get the idea of the prize picking by now! 🙂

In Eighth Place, a tie! between

Karen LaSalvia for Candy Korn and Sara Gentry for Spider’s Trick Or Treat

Congratulations, Karen and Sara for clever, delightfully-written stories, Karen’s with a very original POV, Sara’s a masterpiece of perfect brevity!  You get to pick your prizes after Jim.

In Tenth Place,

Stefanie Tatalias
for
Moon’s Halloween Surprise

Congratulations, Stefanie, on a sweet and wistful entry that we all loved!  You get the prize that’s left… hopefully still something good that you want! 🙂

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 Pretty Much World Famous Halloweensie 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 (Leslie and Becky) 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 huge round of applause, a confetti parade, and a large amount of chocolate cake 🙂

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!

And before we go, I will give you all advance warning so you can start planning a little time into your December schedule…

The 6th Annual Holiday Writing Contest will be coming up sometime in the neighborhood of December 8-12 so we can all fully enjoy it and still have time for last minute holiday things.  I will do my best to post the rules well in advance so you all have time to work on your stories!

Have a terrific Thursday everyone, and thanks again for making the Halloweensie Contest such a wonderful time for all! 🙂

The Prizes:

–  a Picture Book Manuscript Critique by wonderful editor Marilyn Brigham of Two Lions!!!

marilyn-brigham

Marilyn Brigham

Marilyn Brigham edits picture books, chapter books, and middle grade for Two Lions, the children’s imprint at Amazon Publishing. Her recent titles include Go to School, Little Monster by Helen Ketteman, illustrated by Bonnie Leick and The Secret Knock Club: The Great Sleep-Under, by Louise Bonnett-Rampersaud, illustrated by Adam McHeffey. She is looking for commercial, character-driven picture books and chapter books; holiday picture books; and widely appealing, high-concept middle grade. She is not currently acquiring board books or nonfiction.

– a Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the fabulous agent Jodell Sadler of Sadler Children’s Literary Agency!!!

jodell-sadler

Jodell Sadler

– winner’s choice of a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a 15-minute phone call for all your writerly questions from fantastic author Katy Duffield (LOUD LULA – Two Lions 2015, FARMER MCPEEPERS AND HIS MISSING MILK COWS – Cooper Square Publishing 2003, ALIENS GET THE SNIFFLES TOO – forthcoming from Candlewick, and many other titles)

katy-duffield

Katy Duffield

–  winner’s choice of a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a Query Letter Critique from amazing author Dori Kleber (MORE-IGAMI, Candlewick  2016)

dori-kleber

Dori Kleber

– a Picture Book Manuscript Critique from the awesome Vivian Kirkfield, author of the forthcoming SWEET DREAMS, SARAH – Creston Books, 2017) AND personalized signed copies of her wonderful books SHOW ME HOW and the LUCKY DRAW ANTHOLOGY.

vivian-kirkfield

Vivian Kirkfield

–  a Bundle Of Books from KidLit411 (must be selected by someone in the USA due to postage) including:
Picture Books:

THEY ALL SAW A CAT by Brendan Wenzel
GOODNIGHT GOODNIGHT CONSTRUCTION SITE by Sherri Duskey Rinker
THE LITTLE MOUSE, THE RED RIPE STRAWBERRY AND THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR by Don and Audrey Wood
A MORNING WITH GRANDPA- Sylvia Liu

Middle Grade Books:

THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME- Jennifer E. Smith
SUNNY SIDE UP Jennifer and Matthew Holm
IF YOU’RE READING THIS Trent Reedy
AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS Gennifer Choldenko

(What a totally awesome book bundle for writers, readers, parents, teachers, or gift-givers!!!)

– a 6 month subscription to One Stop For Writers (value $50)

– an e-pub or PDF copy (winner’s choice) of Linda Ashman‘s Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books.

– a personalized signed copy of THE PEDDLER’S BED by Lauri Fortino

the-peddlers-bed

– a personalized signed copy of GRIMELDA THE VERY MESSY WITCH by Diana Murray

c361c-grimelda

Please join me again in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N or anywhere else if you like them, or supporting them in any other way you can dream up 🙂

The 2016 Halloweensie Contest Finalists!

Monday.

Yawn.

Snooze button.

It’s Monday.

WHAAAT???

Wait!  It’s Monday?!

Oh my gosh!

Get out of bed!

CRASH!

Stupid bed covers!

Oh my goodness!  What time is it?

Good gracious!  Is it late?

Wait.  If the clocks turned back yesterday does that mean it’s an hour earlier than it was? or an hour later?  Whose idea was daylight savings time anyway?  All it does is confuse things!  Where are my pants?!  I’m moving to Arizona (where they are intelligent enough NOT to go on daylight savings!) as soon as I get untangled from the bed covers and stop tripping over my own feet!

This is what happens!!!  Long days and late nights of poring over entries, reading and re-reading, analyzing, weighing, comparing, contrasting, gnashing teeth, rending garments, and consuming large amounts of chocolate TAKE THEIR TOLL!

And now, here we are, very possibly both late and pant-less but who can tell because we don’t live in Arizona?!

On the off chance, however, that you’re interested in the results regardless of the time or the pants, get ready for the 2016 Halloweensie Writing Contest Finalists!

We had the biggest turn out we’ve ever had in terms of number of entries – 150! – and the overall quality of the entries was fantastic.  Every contest I am thrilled to see that the quality of the entries has gone up yet another notch.  This means there are fewer obvious standouts, almost none that are easy to cut, and there a LOT of very good ones that we have to get very nit-picky over!  It is agony, I tell you!

Before we get to the actual list of finalists, I have a couple things to say.  (I know you’re shocked :))

First of all, I want to thank EVERYONE who took the time and care to write an entry for this contest.  You all did a fabulous job and provided great enjoyment for many!

Second, I’d also like to thank EVERYONE – writer, reader, or both – who took the time to go around and read as many entries as you could and leave supportive comments.  This means so much to the writers who worked hard on their stories.  It helps them see what they did well, as well as giving them the joy of knowing that their stories were read and enjoyed.  I hope you all got as much delight  and entertainment out of the reading as I did!  Plus, we got to meet quite a few new people which was a wonderful added bonus! 🙂

Third, before I list the finalists, I want to say again how difficult it was too choose!  There were so many amazing entries.  Really.  I could find at least something terrific about every single one.  The sheer volume of entries meant that many good ones had to be cut.  So if yours didn’t make the final cut please don’t feel bad.  There was a huge amount of competition.  Judging, no matter how hard we try to be objective, is always subjective at a certain point – we all have our own preferences for what makes a great story.  And the fact that you didn’t make the final cut DOES NOT mean you didn’t write a great story.  Everyone who plonked their butt in a chair and worked hard to write a story for this contest is a winner!  You showed up.  You did your best work.  You practiced your craft.  You wrote to specifications and a deadline.  You bravely shared your writing with the world.  And you have a brand new story that is now yours to expand beyond 100 words if you like and maybe submit at some point to a magazine or as a PB manuscript.  So bravo to everyone who entered!

Now.  Onto the judging criteria which were as follows:

1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience, so entries that were well-written but lacked child-friendliness did not make the cut.

2.  Halloweeniness – the rules stated a Halloween story, so entries that failed to mention anything Halloween-y did not make the cut even if they were well-written.

3. Quality of story – the rules stated that entries were to tell a story, so if they appeared to be more of a description or mood piece, they didn’t make the cut.  We looked for a character and a true story arc.

4. Quality of Writing: we took note of spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  In addition, for the rhymers, we looked at rhyme and meter (for which we are sticklers!)  We also looked at overall writing quality and use of language.

5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.

A surprising number of this year’s entries were amazingly written… but in spite of the warning, still failed to really tell a story.  They were more descriptions, lists, or mood pieces.  So as awesome as they were, we had to make some very hard calls.  A couple were too adult.  Some, because of the cruelly limiting word count were a little hard to follow.  Some of the rhyming ones we really liked were too off-meter to make the cut.  Some entries were just so close, but missed out because of one relatively small thing!

But, without further ado, I present to you the 2016 Halloweensie Contest Finalists.  A mix of poetry and prose, stories for younger readers and slightly older (but still kid) readers, funny, spooky, and cute.  Please read through them carefully, take your time, think it over, and vote for your favorite.  To help with objectivity, finalists are listed by title only, not by author.

And I’d like to be very clear about the voting process.  You are MOST welcome to share a link to this post on FB, twitter, or wherever you like to hang out, and encourage people to come read ALL the finalists and vote for the one they think is best.  Please do that.  The more people who read and enjoy these stories the better, and the more objective votes we get the better.  HOWEVER (and I want to be very clear on this) please do not ask people to vote for a specific number or title, or for the story about the pumpkin ballerina or whatever.  Trolling for votes or trying to influence the outcome is counter to the spirit of this competition which is supposed to be based on merit.  I thank you in advance for respecting this.

So here we go!

#1  Night Fright

“Ah, perfect,” Webster the spider said as he put on his vampire costume. “This will scare everyone.”

Unfortunately, he didn’t scare anyone at all.

“Not a single scream,” he complained.

Luckily, he had backup costumes.

Now he’d be a ghost!

“Not a single scream.”

How about a mummy?

“Not a single scream.”

Monster?

“Not a single scream!”

Webster gave up and went home. If you couldn’t be scary on Halloween, what’s the point?

As Webster sat in the moonlight, everything started to shake.

“AAAAH! A SPIDER!” someone yelled as they walked through his web.

Webster smiled.

#2  Tree’s Halloween Costume

Halloween’s here. Kids trick-or-treat.
Witches, monsters, and ghosts fill the street.
Gnarly tree watches jealously,
wishing it could dress up. But tree’s a tree.

A Princess parades in satiny gown.
Gracing her head is a sparkly crown.
Tree has a crown but will never be
a Halloween princess. Tree’s a tree.

Two dressed as dogs bark and chase
one costume cat all over the place.
Tree has bark but, unfortunately,
can’t dress as a dog. Tree’s a tree.

Clouds disperse, revealing the moon.
Light shines down and very soon
tree’s shadow creeps, bigger and wider,
forming a black Halloween spider.

#3  The Dare

Jake paused before the ramshackle house. No ghosts or spiders decorated the porch. No light shone for trick-or-treaters. But there was no way he could back out now.

Breathing raggedly, he followed his shadow to the door and knocked.

The door opened. A stooped old woman stood in the moonlight. Witch? Or not? His heart beat witchwitchwitchwitchwitch…

“I’m afraid I haven’t any candy, young man.”

Not witch! He knew it!

Jake thought fast. “I have lots.” He held out his bag. “Would you like some of mine?”

“I’d love some,” she cackled, her gnarled hand tangling with his. “Come in.”

#4  The Witch’s Broom

The wicked witch she had an itch
to ride upon her broom.
She gazed into her crystal ball
and searched through every room.
She questioned “Boney” skeleton,
each spider, ghost and goon.
She even quizzed an alien
whose homeland was the moon.
Her broom was nowhere to be found.
The witch began to cry,
“With such a snag, seems this old hag
is never going to fly!”
Then wily witch, she improvised,
you really should have seen her.
That wicked witch, she pulled a switch
and rode the vacuum cleaner!

#5  Candy Korn

“Now this is more like it,” said Rolo. “A bowl with a view!”
“No, it’s bad! I heard about this,” said Twizzler. “They call it… Halloween.”
“Sounds fun!” said Airhead.
“It’s a once-a-year candy MASSACRE, Airhead!” said Twizzler. “First, we’re moved to a bowl under the moon, then a bag decorated with ghosts and spiders, then there’s jiggling and jostling…”
“See? Sounds fun!” insisted Airhead.
“Shh!” said Rolo.
“One by one we disappear,” said Twizzler. “With only our clothes left behind!”
“Spooky!” said Rolo.
Twizzler continued, “It’ll be okay unless we hear…”
TRICK OR TREAT!

#6  Spider and Ghost

On a moonless Halloween night,
Spider and Ghost clashed in a fight.
“My loudest boo,” Ghost declared.
“Causes thousands to be scared.”
“I’m clearly the scariest!” Spider screamed.
“A nightmare children have often dreamed.
Ghost boos flew with yowls and bangs.
Spider showed her venomous fangs.
Behind a tombstone, a monster rose,
with a bolted neck and ghoulish nose.
“You’re the scariest?” the creature chuckled.
As he stepped forward, their bravery buckled.
Spider’s legs shook, while Ghost shivered.
Feeling a fear they never delivered.
Spider and Ghost raced off in fright,
Knowing neither of them was right.

#7   Moon’s Halloween Surprise

In the middle of the night, Spider and Ghost prepared for Halloween.
Moon dropped down to join them.
“I’m going to make the biggest web ever,” Spider said.
“I’ll make the scariest sounds ever,” bragged Ghost.
Moon stayed silent. What could she do except hang in the sky?
The next day, while the children got ready,
Spider weaved.
Ghost practiced.
The sun went down, shadows lengthened, and Moon got an idea.
Halloween night,
Spider’s web was amazing.
Ghost’s sounds frightened.
But when Moon slid behind earth’s shadow,
Turning the night dark,
Everyone agreed, it was the best Halloween surprise ever.

#8  Little Miss Zombie

Little Miss Zombie
said “What a quandary!”
Eating her full-moon stew.
Along came ghost spider,
who sat down beside her,
hollering, “What will we do?!”

“Stay calm and be cool.
Don’t slobber or drool.
Remember they think it’s a game.
They wear costumes for fun;
take them off when they’re done.
They don’t know we are always the same.”

“We don’t have a choice
So lower your voice.
We’ll just give them candy to eat.
We can’t make a scene
for tonight’s Halloween!”
“Here they come! Open up…”
“Trick-or-Treat!”

#9  Little Witch’s Holiday

Little Witch loved this time of year.
She loved the bright glow of the moon over the swirling leaves.
And how the air smelled like smoke.
“My favorite holiday is tomorrow! I have much to do!”
Little Witch’s friends knew not to interfere.
Spider watched her gather pumpkins.
Ghost watched her unload sweet treats.
Cat watched her sweep her front steps.
Finally, Little Witch was ready.
The doorbell rang and she peeked out the window.
Her friends were dressed up and waiting on her doorstep.
She smiled. It was time.
Little Witch threw open her door and shouted,
“Happy Thanksgiving!”

#10  Spider’s Trick or Treat

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider walked up the moonlit street,
knocked on a door and hoped for something sweet.
Out popped a ghost, scared Spider off her feet.
Guess the Itsy-Bitsy Spider forgot it’s TRICK or Treat!

#11  Itsy and Bitsy’s Halloween Treat

Itsy and Bitsy scurried down the path and scuttled up separate trees. Working together, they spun a giant web that shimmered in the moonlight.
“I think it’s our best yet,” said Itsy.
“Quick! They’re coming!” said Bitsy.
They lowered themselves into position as doorbells dinged in the distance. Soon, they spied three little ghosts skipping toward them.
“Boo!” yelled Itsy.
“Trick or Treat!” yelled Bitsy.
“Spider!” yelled the ghosts.
The buckets flew up, the candy fell down, and all three ghosts raced back to town.
“Happy Halloween!” said the spiders as they climbed on their web to feast.

#12  The Spider’s Treat

Samuel scanned the starry night.
He spied the silver moon,
lighting bright the ghostly night.
Halloween comes soon!

With all his spider heart he wished
to stop the trick-or-treaters
from tramping up his quiet street.
Those noisy candy eaters!

On Halloween, one giddy witch
swung wild her candy bucket.
Sweet treats flew straight for Samuel’s web.
Three pieces neatly struck it!

While tidying up his tangled web,
one foot touched chocolate candy.
With one sweet lick, the spider said,
“This holiday tastes dandy!

*                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *                     *

Now that you’ve had a chance to read through the finalists, please vote for the entry you feel deserves to win in the poll below by 5PM EST Wednesday November 9.

Tune in Thursday November 10 to see THE WINNERS!!!

Thank you all so much for taking the time to write (if you did), read, and vote!  These contests simply wouldn’t be what they are without all of you!

I can’t wait to see who the winners will be!

Tune in Thursday… same bat time, same bat station 🙂

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to lie on the couch and eat bonbons all day.

Okay.

Not really.

I have to catch up with students, critique work, and stuff with a deadline!

But there might still be chocolate involved 🙂

Have a marvelous Monday everyone!!!  And make sure you VOTE!  It will warm you up for that other vote tomorrow 🙂

 

The 6th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest – aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!!!

Ear of frog and toe of newt!  It’s finally time for . . .

The 6th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!
aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!!!!!


halloweensie-pumpkin

The Contest:  write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words, children here defined as 12 and under), using the words spider, ghost, and moon.   Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂  (And yes, I know 100 words is short but that’s part of the fun and the challenge!  We got nearly 150 fantastic entries last year so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. moon, moons, mooned, spidery, ghostly, whathaveyou 🙂  No illustration notes please!

Post your story on your blog between right now this very second and Monday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list below.  There will be no Perfect Picture Book post on Friday Oct. 28 so the post and the list of links will stay up all weekend 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 below. (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! Please place your entry in the body of the email – NO ATTACHMENTS!)  P.S.  Although I try to stay glued to my computer 24/7 I am sometimes forced to leave my desk.  If you haven’t commented on my blog before, your comment won’t show up until I approve it.  It may take a little while if I’m away from my desk.  Likewise, if you send me an entry to post, I promise I will do it as soon as I can!

The Judging: in a grueling marathon over the following days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 top choices (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 7th.  The winner will be announced on either Wednesday November 9 or Thursday November 10.  If we get more than 20 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st through 3rd.  If by some chance we get the kind of turn out we did last year, all bets are off.  I may post as many as 10 finalists and I’ll probably end up giving everyone a prize 🙂  But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it 🙂

Judging criteria will be as follows:

  • 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
  • 2.  Halloweeniness – the rules state a Halloween story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Halloween, not just some random spooky night.
  • 3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny 🙂  Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
  • 4. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 🙂  Overall writing quality and use of language are also important.
  • 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.

The Prizes:

–  a Picture Book Manuscript Critique by wonderful editor Marilyn Brigham of Two Lions!!!

marilyn-brigham

Marilyn Brigham

Marilyn Brigham edits picture books, chapter books, and middle grade for Two Lions, the children’s imprint at Amazon Publishing. Her recent titles include Go to School, Little Monster by Helen Ketteman, illustrated by Bonnie Leick and The Secret Knock Club: The Great Sleep-Under, by Louise Bonnett-Rampersaud, illustrated by Adam McHeffey. She is looking for commercial, character-driven picture books and chapter books; holiday picture books; and widely appealing, high-concept middle grade. She is not currently acquiring board books or nonfiction.

– a Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the fabulous agent Jodell Sadler of Sadler Children’s Literary Agency!!!

jodell-sadler

Jodell Sadler

– winner’s choice of a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a 15-minute phone call for all your writerly questions from fantastic author Katy Duffield (LOUD LULA – Two Lions 2015, FARMER MCPEEPERS AND HIS MISSING MILK COWS – Cooper Square Publishing 2003, ALIENS GET THE SNIFFLES TOO – forthcoming from Candlewick, and many other titles)

katy-duffield

Katy Duffield

–  winner’s choice of a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a Query Letter Critique from amazing author Dori Kleber (MORE-IGAMI, Candlewick  2016)

dori-kleber

Dori Kleber

– a Picture Book Manuscript Critique from the awesome Vivian Kirkfield, author of the forthcoming SWEET DREAMS, SARAH – Creston Books, 2017) AND personalized signed copies of her wonderful books SHOW ME HOW and the LUCKY DRAW ANTHOLOGY.

vivian-kirkfield

Vivian Kirkfield

–  a Bundle Of Books from KidLit411 (must be selected by someone in the USA due to postage) including:
Picture Books:

THEY ALL SAW A CAT by Brendan Wenzel
GOODNIGHT GOODNIGHT CONSTRUCTION SITE by Sherri Duskey Rinker
THE LITTLE MOUSE, THE RED RIPE STRAWBERRY AND THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR by Don and Audrey Wood
A MORNING WITH GRANDPA- Sylvia Liu

Middle Grade Books:

THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME- Jennifer E. Smith
SUNNY SIDE UP Jennifer and Matthew Holm
IF YOU’RE READING THIS Trent Reedy
AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS Gennifer Choldenko

(What a totally awesome book bundle for writers, readers, parents, teachers, or gift-givers!!!)

– a 6 month subscription to One Stop For Writers (value $50)

– an e-pub or PDF copy (winner’s choice) of Linda Ashman‘s Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books.

– a personalized signed copy of THE PEDDLER’S BED by Lauri Fortino

the-peddlers-bed

– a personalized signed copy of GRIMELDA THE VERY MESSY WITCH by Diana Murray

c361c-grimelda

Please join me again in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N or anywhere else if you like them, or supporting them in any other way you can dream up 🙂

Now then.  Time for my sample entry which I provide because I would never ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.  Also, in case anyone is worried about the quality of their entry they have only to read my truly horrific attempt to be filled with confidence that their’s is MUCH better!  I have to confess, I was really down to the wire this year (my schedule is a little bit nuts!), I have a deadline for tomorrow… which also means I may be a little behind getting started reading entries… just so you know… but I digress!

So, here goes nothing…!

Won’t You Come Into My Parlor…? (100 words)

The Halloweensie Spider was lonesome as could be.
“Nobody ever comes to visit me.
“I know!” she said.  “I’ll plan a big to-do!”
So she sent out invitations to everyone she knew.

The Halloweensie Spider got ready for her guests.
Hot apple cider and candy treasure chests.
Games organized for lots of friendly fun
Like Pumpkin Golf, a Witch Ring Toss, and Find The Skeleton.

The Halloweensie Spider stood at her moonlit door
Greeting the witches, goblins, ghosts, and more.
“So glad you came!” she told them with a smile.
“Forgive my sticky floors, but I hoped you’d stay awhile!”

Everyone feeling better about their stories now?  I should certainly HOPE so! 🙂

Also, this is so weird I just have to share it.  I realized belatedly that totally by chance, my sample entry from last year also included the 3 words from this year.  Look!

Halloween Surprise! (100 words)

Halloween.  Trick-or-treat.
Spooky shadows.  Darkened street.
Suddenly my brother, Jay,
Tugs my arm.  “Let’s go this way!”
He pulls me off the beaten track,
Passes Old Man Clancy’s shack.
Creeping fog licks at our heels.
I don’t like the way this feels.
Something glides in silent flight,
Ghostly shapes against the night.
“Witches!  Let’s go home!” I say.
“Owls.  Let’s go on,” says Jay.
Spidered moonlight through the trees.
Heartbeat pounding.  Shaky knees.
Up ahead this haunted night
Monsters dance by bonfire light!
Turning!  Running!
Then, “SURPRISE!”
Costumed monsters end disguise.
Cake and presents, friends who say,
“Happy Halloween Birthday!”

How weird is that?!  But I figured it would be cheating to use it again 🙂

I can’t wait to read all of your entries!  I’m so looking forward to them!  I hope there will be a lot – the more the merrier!  And there are still nearly 5 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!  I don’t love this link system, but it’s all I have, so my apologies and do your best with it, and let’s hope it works!

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.  But this, apparently, is wordpress…

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Happy Writing and Happy Halloween!!! 🙂

 And don’t miss the 90 fabulous entries in the comments below!
Trick Or Treat – Lesley/Maggie
Untitled – Sherry
Teensy-Weensy Witch Strikes Back – Julie
Candy Korn – Karen
Haunt The Vote –
Moon Spell – Rebecca
Hesper’s Revenge – Michele
Entry #1 – Dave
Entry #2 – Dave
Sylvia’s Best Halloween – Susan
A Little Erie Gift – Kathy
Untitled – Eleanor
What Should Witch Be For Halloween – Robin
The Treat Escape – Maria
Mordecai Moon – Kathryn
Spider’s Halloween Treat – Lisa
Spider And Ghost At Halloween – Polly
Spider’s Scary Night – Claire
Gregor The Ghost – Joan
Spider-Ghost – Kelly
Into The Forest – Kirsten
Spencer Spider: Master Spinner – Lorraine
Halloween Toast – Elizabeth
Goober The Ghost And The Scariest Night Of The Year – Joni
The Sun’s Halloween Party – Alice
The Spiders Who Stole Halloween – Kristen
The Broom Of All Brooms – Tracy
Spiderling’s Ghost Moon – Kathleen
Boo You’re It – Anne
What Owl Didn’t Know – Charlotte
Halloween Dog – Barbara
Itsy And Bitsy’s Halloween Treat – Becky
Monster Chef – Kristy
Sarah Spider’s Curse – Jennifer
Halloween Surprise – Jessica
The Spider Ghost’s Curse – Anne
Little Witch’s Holiday – Jen
Trick Or Treat – Melissa
Little Ghost Lost – Anne
Spider’s Trick Or Treat – Sara
Booboo Ghostie Caught A Sneezy – Ann
BooBoo Finds A Friend – Sydney
Spider And Moon – Jennifer
Entry #1 – Hilary
Entry #2 – Hilary 
The Ghost Of The Moon Spider – Susie
Little Spider’s Magic Halloween – Marty
Gilford’s Halloween – Sarah
Crinkle-Snap – Jill
The Dare – Sandy
On Halloween Night – Rocio
Untitled – Laura
What Spiders Dream – Mike
Sick Or Treat – Candy
The Ghoulie-Gold Fairy – Emily
Little Miss Zombie – Ingrid
Kali And Asha – Jessica & Noah
Trick Or Treat – Marie
Ghost And Spiders – Jerry
Halloween For Real – Mary
The Halloween Moon – Lisa
Everyone’s Afraid Of Something – Debbie
Let’s Trick-Or-Treat! – Katherine
Spider And Ghost – Jim
Ghosts Say Boo – Danielle
Moon’s Halloween – Marilyn
Frankie’s Fabrication – Amanda
The Witch’s Broom – Judy
A Headless Halloween – Jill
Aunt Claire’s Soul Cake – Corinne
Tree’s Halloween Costume – Linda
Beware The Full Moon Halloween – Sharon
Itty Boo Ghost – Monica
Woody Sings On Halloween – Bev
The Spider And The Fly – Gabrielle
Webster’s Spin – Carol
Spider’s Halloween Hunt – Kristen
Scaredy-Cat-Pat – Sara
Ding Dong – Elaine
Ghost Saves Halloween – Jessica
Spiderella – Sam
After Trick-Or-Treat – Kate
Untitled – Heather Elizabeth
Dare – Merriweather
Sticky Candy Bag – Nancy
Moon’s Halloween Surprise – Stefanie
A Halloween Story – Tonya
Pup’s First Halloween – Ellen
One Good Trick Deserves Another – Marc
Four Finicky Ghosties – Shelley
Ready, set, GO!  aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!!!!! 🙂

And Now…The Moment You’ve All Been Waiting For…!

Happy Columbus Day everyone!

Ah, Columbus Day!  That wondrous day on which we all get to skip school and work because old Chris happened to bump into the Bahamas and thereby be forever remembered and credited as having discovered America which he did not remotely accomplish! 🙂  (Poor Chris.  If only he’d had Sat Nav  on the Santa Maria!)

But we don’t mind, do we?!  We get the day off!  And as I always say, what better way to spend that Columbus Day off than by thinking happy thoughts of Halloween?

And what happier Halloween thoughts to dwell upon than anything else (besides the delightful abundance of chocolate it will be your duty to collect – you know, the Mom Tax (or Dad Tax) – the percentage you discreetly skim from those heavy-laden plastic pumpkins to make sure your little darlings don’t overdo it 🙂 ) than…


The 6th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!


halloweensie-pumpkin

The Contest:  write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words spider, ghost, and moon.   Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂  (And yes, I know 100 words is short but that’s part of the fun and the challenge!  We got nearly 150 fantastic entries last year so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. moon, moons, mooned, spidery, ghostly, whathaveyou 🙂  No illustration notes please!

Post your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Thursday October 27th and Monday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my special October 27th post.  There will be no Perfect Picture Book post on Friday Oct. 28 so the post and the list of links will stay up all weekend 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 that post once it’s up. (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! Please place your entry in the body of the email – NO ATTACHMENTS!)

The Judging: in a grueling marathon over the following days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 top choices (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 7th.  The winner will be announced on either Wednesday November 9 or Thursday November 10.  If we get more than 20 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st through 3rd.  If by some chance we get the kind of turn out we did last year, all bets are off.  I may post as many as 10 finalists and I’ll probably end up giving everyone a prize 🙂  But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it 🙂

Judging criteria will be as follows:

  • 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
  • 2.  Halloweeniness – the rules state a Halloween story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Halloween, not just some random spooky night.
  • 3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny 🙂  Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
  • 4. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 🙂  Overall writing quality and use of language are also important.
  • 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.

The Prizes:  yeah… I’m still working on the prizes 🙂  Feel free to chime in in the comments if there’s something you’d particularly like to win! 🙂  But prizes will include:

okay… I admit it… this part isn’t quite together yet since I’m still waiting to hear back from some people 🙂  but for starters…

– a read and comments on a picture book manuscript by the fabulous agent Jodell Sadler!!!

– a 6 month subscription to One Stop For Writers (value $50)

– an e-pub or PDF copy (winner’s choice) of Linda Ashman‘s Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books.

Plus stay tuned because other great stuff is coming including more PB critiques, signed books, etc! 🙂

I hope those fantabulous prizes will at least whet your appetite for the contest!

So sharpen your pencils!

Get your butt in that chair!

See what amazing, knock-your-socks-off story you can dream up!

It’s a chance to hone your writing skills, practice your craft, write to specifications and a deadline, win amazing prizes, AND get to read and enjoy the wonderful stories written by all your fellows 🙂

Many, many thanks to Jodell for her very generous prize offering!

I literally cannot wait to read your stories!!! 🙂

Have a Marvelous Monday everyone! 🙂

Halloweensie Contest 2013 WINNERS!!!

Hey!

What are you all doing here?

Don’t you know it’s Thursday?

I don’t post on Thursdays.

Go home.

I’ll see you tomorrow for Perfect Picture Books.

Oh!

You’re here for a reason?

Well, I’ll be darned!

You must have all come over to hear about my hangnail!

Aren’t you just the sweetest to be so concerned!

Let me tell you, it’s a doozy.  It started on Monday when I was washing the dishes.  It was just that little tiny painful beginning, you know?  And I noticed it when I went to dry my hands and that painful little poinky end got caught on the dish towel and I was like, “Oh, man!  Not a hangnail!”….

Wait a minute.

You’re all managing to look very patient.

But I heard yawning…

…and I see some eye-rolling in the back over there….

You didn’t really come over to hear about my hangnail, DID you!

I KNEW it!

So why are you here on a Thursday?

Go home, I tell you!

Jeez Louise!  You’d think I had nothing better to do than to entertain you lot with the

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST WINNERS!!!!!

Heeheehee!  I’m sorry!  I just can’t help myself.  Heeheehee.  I don’t even HAVE a hangnail!  Heeheeheeheehee!

Okay, really.  I’m sorry for tormenting you with my juvenile behavior.  Let’s start with a few surprises, shall we?

As you are all aware by now, we had a record turnout for the Halloweensie Contest – 79 entries!

I was thrilled beyond measure to see so many wonderful stories!

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.

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:
     Vivian Kirkfield for Halloween Dance Party Countdown
     Carrie Finison for Callie’s Prize-Winning Potion
     Lauri Meyers for White Cat’s Halloween
     Suzy Levinson for Black Cat Goes To Spooky School

2.  For Best Use of Poetic Language:
     Kathy Moncrief for Halloween Night!
     Heather Greene for Untitled (Hallowed Eve)
     Julie Rowan-Zoch for Halloween Comes To The Farm
     Bradin Farnworth for The Witches’ Song
     Kimberley Moran for Black Glass Cat

3. For Spookiest Entry: (not already in the finals)
     Teresa M.I. Schaefer for Grim Concoction
     Laura Shovan for The Old Hotel
     Jackie Wellington for A Disappearing Act
     Deirdre Sheridan Englehart for The Spookiest Night!

4.  For Funniest Entry: (not already in the finals)
     Mike Allegra for Spooky Piggy
     Janet Johnson for Brewster’s Trick
     Sheila Renfro for Helga’s Black Cat Search

5.  For Sweetest/Cutest Entry: (not already in the finals)
     Deb for Boo: The Scaredy Halloweenie Cat

6.  For Great Kid Appeal: (not already in the finals)
     Michelle Barnes for The Witching Hour
     Meg Miller for The Halloween CAW Ball
     Kirsten Bock for Scare D-Cat

7.  For Most Original Format:
     Nancy Hatch for Cackle… The Spooky Black Cat – in rap! 🙂

8.  For Best All-Around Entry By A Newcomer To The Blog: (not already in the finals)
     Juliana Lee for Sleepless Hallow’s Eve
     Doris K. Stone for The Fat Black Cat Sat

9.  For Favorite Character:
     Stacy Couch for her Ninja Ballerina in Olivia vs. The Witch 🙂

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:
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

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

And now…

…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

…a picture of my hangnail!

… THE WINNERS OF THE 2013 HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST ACCORDING TO THE POPULAR VOTE!!! (which did not have the consideration to work out very neatly as you will see…)

In First Place, winner of a picture book manuscript critique from Corey Rosen Schwartz (celebrated author of The Three Ninja Pigs and other wonderful picture books) AND a copy of Linda Ashman’s brand new Nuts & Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books

DDDDDRRRRRUUUUUMMMMMRRRRROOOOOLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!

Nata Romeo
for Drusella, The Black Spooky Cat

Congratulations, Nata!!!

In Second Place, winner of a picture book manuscript critique AND a query letter critique from Heather Ayris Burnell, author of Bedtime Monster,

Marcie Rinka Wessels
for Miss Sadie

Congratulations, Marcie!!!

In Third Place, we have a tie between

Eric Weibel          and          Margaret Greenias
      for The Dare                  for One Ghostly Halloween

One of them will win the signed copies of Halloween Hustle by Charlotte Gunnufson, The Monster Who Lost His Mean by Tiffany Haber, and Marathon Mouse by Amy Dixon, which was the original 3rd prize.  The other will win The Writer’s Workout: 366 Tips, Task andTechniques From Your Writing Coach by Christina Katz AND Rip The Page: Adventures In Creative Writing by Karen Benke – they will have to fight amongst themselves and/or come up with a way to split and share the spoils 🙂

Congratulations, Erik and Margaret!!!

In Fifth Place, we have another tie! between

Laura Renauld          and          Cheryl Secomb
for Foe or Friend?                     for On Halloween

Since I didn’t previously announce prizes past 3rd, I’m going to keep this tie fair by awarding both Laura and Cheryl a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate – that way they won’t have to fight like Erik and Margaret 🙂

Congratulations, Laura and Cheryl!!!

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 6 (Joanna, Nancy, Katie, Donna and Buffy) 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 huge round of applause, a confetti parade, and a large amount of chocolate cake 🙂

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!

And before we go, I will give you all advance warning so you can start planning a little time into your December schedule…

The 3rd Annual Holiday Writing Contest will be coming up sometime in the neighborhood of December 11-18.  I’m running it a little bit earlier this year so we can all fully enjoy it and still have time for last minute holiday things.  And to whet your appetites and get your thinking caps on, I will tell you that first prize is something AWESOME!  A picture book manuscript read and critique by an actual editor at an actual highly regarded publishing house!!!  But that is all I’m saying for now 🙂  You will just have to stay tuned for more details as the Holiday Contest approaches.  And I will do my best to post the rules well in advance so you all have time to work on your stories!

Have a terrific Thursday everyone, and thanks again for making the Halloweensie Contest such a wonderful time for all! 🙂

The 2013 Halloweensie Contest Finalists! – Vote For Your Favorite!

Holy Halloweensie!

You guys sure know how to give a judge a run for her money!

Gone are the days of the first Halloweensie Contest when we got 7 or 8 entries!

My assistant judges (yes, I called in reinforcements!) and I agonized over winnowing this amazing field of entries down to a manageable number for you to vote on.

And I have a few comments.  (Don’t I always :))

First of all, I want to thank EVERYONE who took the time and care to write an entry for this contest.  It was far and away the most well-subscribed contest we’ve ever had.  79 entries at the final count (because yes, I counted wrong on Friday :)) and the quality of the entries across the board was fantastic.  There were no easy cuts.  (Except, sadly, for one that went over the word count to 114 and had to be disqualified.)

Second, I’d also like to thank EVERYONE – writer, reader, or both – who took the time to go around and read as many entries as you could and leave supportive comments.  This means so much to the writers who worked hard on their stories.  It helps them see what they did well, as well as giving them the joy of knowing that their stories were read and enjoyed.  I hope you all got as much delight  and entertainment out of the reading as I did!  Plus, we got to meet quite a few new people which was a wonderful added bonus! 🙂

Third – SURPRISE! – as a result of the quality and quantity of entries, I have decided to give prizes through 6th place instead of only through 3rd.  I have also decided that you might need a little extra time to vote and that the post that announces the winners should be exclusively devoted to that celebration.  So the post with the winners will go up on THURSDAY November 7 (not with WYRI on Wednesday as I originally planned.)

Before I list the finalists, I want to say once again how difficult it was too choose!  There were so many fabulous entries.  Really.  I could find at least something terrific about every single one.  There were so many good ones that in the end some got cut on the basis of a word or phrase that we felt was a little off, or a concept we weren’t quite sure a child would get.  So if yours didn’t make the final cut please don’t feel bad.  There was a huge amount of competition.  Judging, no matter how hard we try to be objective, is always subjective at a certain point – we all have our own preferences for what makes a great story.  And the fact that you didn’t make the final cut DOES NOT mean you didn’t write a great story.  Everyone who plonked their butt in a chair and worked hard to write a story for this contest is a winner!  You showed up.  You did your best work.  You practiced your craft.  You wrote to specifications.  You bravely shared your writing with the world.  And you have a brand new story that is now yours to expand beyond 100 words if you like and maybe submit at some point to a magazine or as a PB manuscript.  So bravo to everyone who entered!

Now, without further ado, here are your finalists.  There is a mix of poetry and prose, stories for youngest readers and stories for older kids, funny, cute, and spooky – quite a spread!  We really tried to keep it to 10… but we couldn’t… though we came close 🙂

Remember that the judging criteria were:

1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience, so entries that were well-written but lacked child-friendliness did not make the cut.
2. Quality of story – the rules stated that entries were to tell a story, so if they appeared to be more of a description or mood piece, they didn’t make the cut.
3.  Halloweeniness – the rules stated a Halloween story, so entries that failed to mention anything Halloween-y did not make the cut even if they were well-written.
4. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.

Finalists will be listed by title and without author for now in case that helps you be more objective 🙂

#1 Are You Scared Yet?

“I’m ready, ” said the little black cat.

“Let’s hear it,” said the big black cat.

“Booooooo,” said Little Cat.

Big Cat curled up. “Not spooky enough.”

“Ah ha ha ha,” she cackled, wrinkling her nose.

Big Cat yawned. “Not creepy enough.”

Little Cat bared her teeth. “Mwah ha ha,” she said.

“I’m still not scared,” said Big Cat, closing his eyes.

Little Cat took a deep breath and growled from her belly, getting louder until her body vibrated.

“Rawr!” she bellowed, and Big Cat jumped straight into the air.

“Not bad,” Big Cat said.


Little Cat smiled. I’m ready.

#2 Treat Or Trick

Headstone Hill’s a spooky place.
Wanda Witch lives there.
It’s said she steals small children.
Little ones beware!
Dared to go on Halloween,
Rip approached her house.
He tiptoed past the black cat.
Quiet as a mouse.
Wanda pulled the creaky door,
Stretching a sly smile.
“My, a sweet young child is here!”
EWWW, they’re all so vile!
Shaking, Rip held out his bag,
Waiting for some stuff.
Wanda gave a sugared snake.
“This was not so tough!
I don’t need to be afraid.
You gave me a sweet.”
Then she yanked Rip in, cackling,
“BEAST, come get your treat!”

#3 Miss Sadie

A bumbling witch named Miss Sadie
yearned to be wicked and mean.
When she tried to be spooky,
she came off quite kooky,
the clumsiest witch ever seen.
“Perhaps what I need to be scary
is something eerie and dark!”
So she found a black cat,
and a tall pointy hat,
and hid in a tree in the park.
“Trick or treaters, beware,” cackled Sadie,
“I’m here to give you a fright!”
Sadie laughed with such glee,
she fell out of the tree,
and “boo hoo-ed” on Halloween night.

#4 Drusella, The Black Spooky Cat

Drusella, the Black Spooky  Cat waited all year for this day…HALLOWEEN!
KNOCK KNOCK
 “BOO!” she screamed.
“Cute nose!” the goblin said.
“I’m SCARY not CUTE!” Drusella cried.
KNOCK KNOCK
“BOOO!” Drusella yelled.
“Beautiful eyes!” the dragon said.
“I’m SCARY not BEAUTIFUL!” Drusella hollered.
KNOCK KNOCK
“BOOOO!” Drusella screamed.
 “Pretty nails!” the Witch said.
“I’m SCARY not PRETTY”
KNOCK KNOCK
“BOOOO!” Drusella shouted.
 “Perfect ears,” the Witch cackled.
“I’m SCARY not PERFECT!”

“I give up!” Drusella sighed, “Next year I’m gonna be a Princess!”

#5 Black Cat, Black Cat

Black Cat, Black Cat

where are you going

this Halloweensie night,

a foul wind blowing?

Off to join the witchesfor their spooky spree.

Every Hallows Eve – a creepy jamboree.

Black Cat, Black Cat

who’s that on the broom

sat twixt the witch and you,

spewing words of doom?

That’s my bud, Ghoul One,

he plans his hex all year.

Ghouls Two, Three & Four

join in to up the fear.

Black Cat, Black Cat

what’s that in the pot,

cackling & bubbling,

oozing smoking hot?

Tis my Haloweensie meal –

tuna bake with spice.

Me and the neighbor kits

we like it with fried lice.

#6 The Dare

Joseph walked out in the dark of night.
The thought of his quest gave him a fright.
Shouldn’t have taken that dare.
The street was damp and empty as well.
The cold breeze blew up in a big swell.
Shouldn’t have taken that dare.
The air filled with a spooky thick mist.
Joseph jumped back when a black-cat hissed.
Shouldn’t have taken that dare.
The full moon shone in a bloody red.
The cemetery gate was ahead.
Why did I take this dare?
Tombstones and graves abruptly appear.
A dead voice cackled in Joseph’s ear.
“Shouldn’t have taken that dare.”

#7 Foe Or Friend?

October chill.
Argyle night.
Spooky shadows.
Black Cat’s delight.
Panther-like.
Freeze in a crouch.
Whiskers twitch.
Ready to pounce.
Leaves crunch.
Beginning to doubt.
About to bolt…
A cackle rings out.
A pointed hat.
A wide, black brim.
Gnarled hands.
A sharp, warty chin.
A hiss. An arch.
Fur stands on end.
A reach. A pat.
A new-found friend?
“It’s only me.”
A whisper is heard.
“Do you like my costume?”
Black Cat just purred.

#8 One Ghostly Halloween

Halloween was Billy’s favorite holiday. “I’m gonna scare someone good!”
But Billy was a ghost in the spookiest ghost town west of Texas. And ghosts don’t scare easy. She tested costumes:
black cat,
“Ain’t you adorable,” said Sheriff.
A witch with a mean cackle,
“Ooooh…spooky,” said the cowboys guffawing.
A tarantula, a headless cowboy, a were-coyote. But nope, nada, not even a whimper.
Billy frowned. A ghost who couldn’t scare wasn’t worth a penny – especially on Halloween.
She thought and thought until…
“AIYEEE! Float for your lives!” cried the town-ghosts.
“Trick or treat!” said Billy, the ghost hunter.

#9 Witch And Ghost

Witch and Ghost walk hand in hand.
They pass Black Cat, sleek and grand.
A tree branch rattles.  Cold winds blow.
But Witch and Ghost have far to go.
Their shoes clip clop on long, dark roads.
Their backs are bent with heavy loads.
Witch climbs the steps.  She pulls the gate.
Ghost slips through.  They can’t be late.
They hear a cackle!  A spooky shriek!
A dark door opens with a creak.
Witch grips her broomstick.  In Ghost glides.
What frightful sights await inside?

#10 The Scary Spell

“Harrison!” cackled Leona. “Time to get scary for the witches’ ball.”
Harrison flicked his pointy ears. Oh no. Leona’s wand broke after the wart-away spell.
She waved it over him. “Abracadarey, big and scary!”
What? Now he was a boring, black cow.
“Mooo!” said Harrison, wishing he still had claws.
Leona waved again. “Abracaglarey, mean and hairy!”
Stamping tiny goat hooves, Harrison growled. “Naaa!”
Leona tried one more time. “Abracadat, spooky black cat!”
Sparks flew. Harrison’s fur crackled. He bared his teeth.
“You’re scarier than me!” Leona said. “You’d better stay home.”
Perfect. He could have a monstrous cat nap.

#11 On Halloween

On Halloween,

The moon was full,

And the night was still.

Raccoon and Badger crept up the lonely path.

A cackle echoed from the trees,

And Raccoon froze. “A witch?”

“A bird,” said Badger.

A dark streak dashed across their path,

And Raccoon jumped. “A monster?”

Badger shook his head. “A black cat.”

Up ahead, glowing eyes flickered,

And Raccoon trembled. “A goblin?”

“A Jack O’ Lantern.”

They approached a spooky old house.

The door slowly opened.

Creeeaaak

Raccoon stuttered. “A g…g…ghost?”

Badger laughed. “My Grandma!”

And Raccoon giggled.

Raccoon and Badger raced to the door.

“Trick or Treat!”

#12 Hallowontsie

Halloween colors are orange and black,
but Spooky Black Cat was tired of that.
“Why can’t I be pink? Or salmon? Or bronze?”
she said as she stepped in the beauty salon.
Before you could cackle, that cat was festooned
with sparkly fur that left all in a swoon.
“You’re not going to scare anyone, pretty as that!”
“That’s what I want,” said the former Black Cat.
“Halloween is for goblins, monsters and ghosts,
but also for princesses, which I like most.”
She found an angel that night with wings of foam
who petted her till she purred all the way home.
So ready?  Get set… VOTE!  And PLEASE!  We will need all the votes we can get even though I know the choice is very, very hard!  Please cast your vote by Wednesday November 6 at 5 PM EST.
Thank you all again!  For writing, reading, commenting, and voting, and generally participating to make this such a fun contest!

I can’t wait to see who the winners will be!  And I have some more surprises planned for Thrusday’s Special Halloweensie Contest Winners post, so stay tuned!!!  (And don’t forget WYRI on Wednesday :))

The 3rd Annual Halloweensie Contest – aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!!

Eye of newt and toe of frog!  It’s finally time for

The 3rd Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!

courtesy google images

The Contest:  write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words spookyblack cat, and cackle.   Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words (you can count black cat as one word) and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂  [Note: of you choose to use cackle as a verb, any form is acceptable – cackles, cackled, cackling…]

Post your story on your blog between now and Thursday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list below.  There will be no Would You Read It or Perfect Picture Books this week, so the post and the list of links will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy.  I hope everyone will visit everyone and you’ll all get your friends and relations to visit, read and enjoy too!  If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section below.  (If you have trouble, and alas, people sometimes do, just email your entry to susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post it in the comments for you!)

The Judging: my lovely assistant and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we’ll see) top choices which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 4th.  The winner will be announced with Would You Read It on Wednesday November 6th.  If we get more than 20 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st through 3rd.

The Prizes:

First Prize is a PB Critique from the amazing Corey Rosen Schwartz, author of The Three Ninja PigsHop! Plop!, and the forthcoming Goldirocks, Ninja Red, and What About Moose? AND a copy of Linda Ashman’s new Nuts And Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books (your choice of e-book or PDF)!  The winner will also be incredibly famous and able to boast that he or she won The Halloweensie Contest… and that is not something most people can say! 🙂

Second Prize is a PB manuscript and query letter critique from talented author Heather Ayris Burnell, author of Bedtime Monster.

Third Prize is a set of personalized signed picture books just in time for the holidays – Charlotte Gunnufson‘s Halloween HustleTiffany Haber’s The Monster Who Lost His Mean, and Amy Dixon’s Marathon Mouse (perfect timing because NYC Marathon Sunday is next weekend!)

Please join me again in thanking these very generous authors for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books for holiday purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N or anywhere else if you like them, or supporting them in any other way you can dream up 🙂

I’m actually a little amazed (and worried) because the inaugural Halloweensie Contest, won by Cathy with Untitled was postponed due to 2 feet of snow – which around here is unusual for the end of October.  The 2nd Annual Halloweensie Contest, won by Julie with Hallow’s Eve was delayed and interfered with by Hurricane Sandy!  So fingers crossed we don’t get any wild weather this year!

Now then.  Time for my sample entry which I provide both because I wouldn’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself, and because in case anyone is worried about the quality of their entry they have only to read my abysmal attempts to be filled with confidence that their’s is MUCH better!

So without further ado:

A Witch For Spooky (100 words)

Spooky was a black cat with no witch.
Things just never worked out.
Grimelda’s potions were too stinky for his delicate nose.
“Scram!” said Grimelda when he kept sneezing.
Hauntabelle flew her broomstick like a maniac.
“Scat!” said Hauntabelle when he got broomsick.
Armathystle’s cackle made Spooky run and hide!
Spooky had almost given up when he found Serena.  She was very small, but she didn’t smell bad or fly fast or cackle.
“You can be my Pookie,” she crooned (which was close enough!), and she carried him home in a candy-filled plastic pumpkin.
Spooky had a witch at last!

and, to provide one in rhyme (kinda storta :))

Spooked! (100 words)

A pirate, a witch, and a gypsy queen
Went trick-or-treating one Halloween.
Away past the farthest edge of town
To the ramshackle home of Farmer Brown.
Up the dark lane where no one dared.
The gyspsy queen said, “We’re not scared!”
A spooky shadow loomed ahead!
“Relax,” said the pirate.  “It’s just a shed.”
“Eeeek!” shrieked the witch as she danced about.
“Something touched my leg!  Look out!”
“It’s just a black cat.  Come on, let’s go.”
But then came a sound they didn’t know.
Cackle-cackle!  “It’s witches on the loose!”
And they ran helter-skelter from the Farmer’s goose!

Everyone feeling better about their stories now?  I HOPE so! 🙂

I can’t wait to read all of yours!  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.

Remember to put your post-specific link (not your general blog link or people will find the wrong page if you post again before the contest is over) in the list below!

Happy Writing and Happy Halloween!!! 🙂

Don’t miss 19 entries in the comments section from Megan, Pia, Linda, Michele, Stacy, Laurie, Kathy, Patricia, Eileen, Nancy, Pam, Pat, Kristen, Teresa R., Teresa S., Suzy, Tracy, Heather, and Karen!  (Marcie is now on the link list at #15, Jackie is now on the link list at #33 – she has a brand new blog!, Laura S is on the list at #40, and Deirdre is on the link list at #52.  I hope I’ve caught all the doubles, but there may be a couple more.)

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Marathon Mouse AND Giveaway Winner AND Hallloweensie Contest Winner!!!

It’s finally Friday!  Hooray!  That means I finally get to show you Marathon Mouse!  Also, I will be announcing the winner of Monday’s giveaway signed copy of Marathon Mouse at the end of the post (I know – so much excitement!) so stay tuned!

Oh, and there is one other thing… halloween related… 🙂

But first things first, and you know the Perfect Picture Book always has to go at the top of Friday’s post.  Those are the rules.  And the person in charge around here made the rules so I really have to follow them 🙂

Marathon Mouse
Written By: Amy Dixon
Illustrated By: Sam Denlinger
Sky Pony Press, October 2012, Fiction

Suitable For: ages 3-8

Themes/Topics: Running, Marathons, Goals, Believing In Yourself, Determination

Opening: “Every New York City mouse dreamed of living under the bridge bewteen Brooklyn and Staten Island.  There, they didn’t have to dodge taxi cabs or escape hungry sewer cats.  And when they wanted to visit, the bustling city was just a hop, skip, and a scamper away.  But there was one day each year that their life under the bridge was not dreamy…

Brief Synopsis: Preston Mouse lives beneath the Verrazano Bridge and dreams of running the New York City Marathon.  “Mice were not made to run,” says Papa.  “A mouse could get crushed,” says Mama.  “You? Run 26.2 miles?” his sisters tease. With this lack of faith, Preston trains secretly, but train he does because he believes he can do it.  At least, he wants to try.

Links To Resources: Teacher’s Guide from author’s website.  Also I think reading this story gives an excellent opportunity to discuss with kids what they dream about – what do they think they can do?  what do they hope to accomplish?  Younger kids can draw pictures of themselves working toward or achieving something that matters to them.  Older kids can write a story about it.  Discover Marathon Kids.  And a little about the first marathon and some related activities HERE.

Why I Like This Book:  Ah, so many reasons 🙂  First, it’s really well written, a captivating story told with gentle humor and warmth.  Second, this is the only picture book I’ve ever seen about running/marathoning, so it’s a new, fresh topic and one I think kids will love.  Third, I don’t think there can ever be too many books that encourage kids to work hard toward something that’s important to them, believe in themselves, and follow their dreams.  Finally, when Preston gets out there to run, I dare you not to cheer him on, and I think you’ll be surprised and touched by how the story ends 🙂  And seriously, how cute is this little guy? 🙂

Preston Mouse from Marathon Mouse by Amy Dixon & Sam Denlinger

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

And now that you’re all just desperate to own a copy, I’ll tell you who won Monday’s giveaway 🙂  And I would just like to say that I so enjoyed reading about all the things you guys have accomplished (which was what you had to tell us to qualify for the drawing) – what an amazing group!  If you didn’t happen to read the comments from Monday’s post, hop over and have a look – you’re in impressive company over here!  But I digress… 🙂

Cue the trumpets!

The winner of a signed copy of Marathon Mouse is…

JARM!!!
(who it just so happens rode a camel to the top of Mt. Sinai and after sunrise walked all the way down! which is not why she won the book – that was just random.org – but I really thought you should know! :))

Please email me (by using the handy button on the side or by actually, physically, manually typing in susanna[AT]susannahill[DOT]com) and tell me your address and (never mind, Jarm – I have it from the PPB book mark mailing!) how you’d like Amy to sign it, and we’ll get it straight out to you!

So, have a nice weekend everyone!

What?

Oh, you think I forgot something?

Tee hee 🙂

Okay.  You twisted my arm.  I’ll tell you who won the Halloweensie Contest.  And let me just say – it was quite the nail biter!  But the voters have spoken!

And the winner is…

Oh.  I guess we better have trumpets AND a drum roll this time.

Okay.  The winner is…

Wait!  Maybe we should also throw some confetti, wouldn’t that be nice?

Okay, really.  The winner is…

Cake, anyone?  Something festive and Halloween-y?

Okay, really and truly.  The winner is…

Julie with Hallow‘s Eve!!!

Congratulations, Julie, for a fun story that even included the term halloweensie!!! and was artistically presented in the shape of a cat 🙂  (At least, it looks like a cat to me, but I suppose it could be a halloweensie mouse :))  Julie, you are the lucky recipient of the 5 signed picture books from our generous and talented fellow authors.  You will receive Marathon Mouse by Amy Dixon, The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz, Puzzled By Pink by Sarah Frances Hardy, Flap! by Alison Hertz, and The Monster Who Lost His Mean by Tiffany Strelitz Haber!  Please email me and let me know how you’d like them signed and we’ll all get on the case 🙂  You are also the distinguished recipient of the incredible fame that comes with winning a contest of this caliber.  You can now hold your head high and proudly tell everyone you see that you won the Halloweensie Contest!  Not just anyone can say that!  (In fact, at the moment, only one other person in the world can say that – Cathy who won last year :))  Fame, I tell you! 🙂

Second place and a $25 Amazon gift card goes to Laura R for Jack O’Lantern!

Third place and a $15 Amazon gift card goes to Nancy for Halloween Drives Me Batty!

Congratulations to all the winners!

But I’d like to say again how fabulous ALL the entries were, and congratulate everyone who entered.  You all did a great job, and I know how hard it is to put your work out there, so BRAVO!!!  I know I speak for everyone when I say how much we all enjoyed reading ALL the entries!

And here’s a little heads up.  I’m not running the Thanksgiving Contest this year.  I think it’s just too much with everything else going on in November and having just finished the Halloweensie Contest.  But I WILL be running the Holiday Contest during the week of December 19-24.  And I’ll tell you right now that there are 5 (that’s FIVE!) Picture Book Manuscript Critiques up for grabs to the winners of that contest!!!  And maybe some other good stuff too!  So start thinking holiday thoughts.  Make some notes.  And be sure to keep your calendar open enough to participate!  The reason there are 5 fabulous prizes is because we got so many entries for that contest last year, which gave me the impression (possibly misguided :)) that it was popular.  So I hope people will enter, and please spread the word to anyone you know who might be interested.  I will post the contest rules in the first week of December… hopefully… 🙂

Okay.  Now for real, go have a nice weekend 🙂  PPBF bloggers, please remember to add your post-specific link to the list below!