🎄 ⭐️ ✡️ ❄️ 🕎 ☃️ 🎄
Well, hello there, my little cupcakes!
It’s Thursday, so you know what that means!
For starters, it means you’re a little confused!
This is the second time this week you’ve come to visit on a day I don’t post!
But that is delightful in every way because I am ALWAYS glad to see you!
And as it turns out, I kind of thought you might wander in, so I made you something.
Yes! I really did!
All by myself!
It IS the holiday baking season after all . . .
. . . which got me to thinking, wouldn’t we all like to know what kind of holiday cookie we are?
I mean, I know wondering about that keeps me up at night. . . !😊
The rest of the world may be busy figuring out their elf names or their reindeer names, but that is so last year.
You are so special that you are the ONLY people IN THE WOLRD who get to discover what kind of cookie you are! Check it out!
And now you know how I spend my time – thinking up cookie flavors and types, randomizing the lists, and employing canva to make festive charts. No wonder I haven’t vacuumed😊
Allow me to introduce myself: Chocolate Chip Crinkle Cookie!!! (which I think describes me to a T since I love chocolate and I am quite crinkly-looking now that I’m more than half a century old!😊)
So now that you all know what kind of cookie you are (please feel free to share in the comments!) you can all go off happily to your holiday whirlwind of shopping and wrapping and cooking and baking and traveling or tidying depending whether your visiting or hosting and etc, etc, etc!
See you next year!
You’re still here?
Not that I mind, but . . .
. . . was there something you wanted?
Besides your cookie name?
It’s almost as if you’re hanging around . . .
. . . waiting for something . . .
. . . like . . .
. . . maybe . . .
. . . to find out who won
THE 9TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY CONTEST!!!
~ for children’s writers ~
As always, I was thrilled to see so many wonderful stories! Really! It is amazing and inspiring, not to mention VERY entertaining! There is just so much talent out there amongst you all!
But as you well know by now, with large entry numbers, all of high quality, come hard choices. My assistant judges and I worked hard to winnow the total down to a manageable number of finalists that we felt were truly all-around deserving of that distinction, and those were the ones we presented to you on Monday for your vote.
There were, however, a few entries that barely missed being finalists, and many other entries that were outstanding in certain areas even though they might not have qualified all-around for one reason or another, or that the judges couldn’t reach a consensus on.
So my assistant judges and I would like to award recognition and a small prize to the following authors for the following merits:
1. For Honorable Mention In The Competition As A Whole: (entries we truly wrestled with not including in the finalists!)
Carmen Castillo Gilbert for Andres SAVES la Navidad (beautifully written with a natural interweaving of Spanish vocabulary and a lovely depiction of a grandmother/grandson relationship)
Colleen Murphy for The Recipe (beautifully written and poignant – a tug-on-the-heartstrings story with a hopeful ending)
Janet Smart for Ho! Ho! Ho! Yum! (fun and kid-friendly with a delightfully conscientious mouse 🙂 )
Sarah Meade for Claire’s Big Christmas Trip (we could imagine her special outing to New York City perfectly!)
Maria Antonia for Last Christmas Cookie (great portrayal of sibling interaction and a nicely executed twist ending!)
Lori Sheroan for Watch And Learn (an entry we loved for its beautiful setting and wonderful characterization done in very few words as well as its Appalachian folk tale flavor)
Deb Sullivan for A Great Treat (energetic, kid-friendly and fun!)
Kathy Halsey for Likin’ Lichen . . . Or Marshmallows? (fun and believably kid – favorite line: “Their eyes – how they twinkled. Their noses – So hairy. Their antlers – so tall and a teensy bit scary.” 🙂 )
Katrina Swenson for The Great Cookie Escape (original, creative and entertaining Point of View (the cookies!) very well written!)
Kelly Pope Adamson for Recipe For A Snowman (very creative – who knew you could make a snowman without snow?!)
2. For Fun, Well-Written Twists on Familiar Tales:
Brenda Covert for A Surprise For General Gingerbread (well written and fun, not exactly based on the tale, but the main character is technically a Gingerbread Man 🙂 )
Jill Lambert for Even Trolls Deserve A Treat (a kind-hearted twist on The Three Billy Goats Gruff)
Angela Verges for Cora’s Christmas Cookies (a cute twist on The Little Red Hen)
Stacey Miller for A Fairy Tale Treat (a twist on Hansel And Gretel with a touch of the The Three Little Pigs thrown in – favorite line: “A book of 101 Things To Make With A Turnip” 🙂 )
3. For Top Of The Naughty List:
Sarah Hetu-Radny for A Trickster’s Treat (that Ellery was up to every kind of no-good! – good job with character!)
4. For Poetic Writing and Original Format:
Tracy Curran for The Choice Of A Tree (lovely language, poignant story which she somehow wrote in the shape of a Christmas tree!)
5. For Excellence In Representing A Different Holiday Tradition: (not already in the Finals or All-Around HM)
Jyoti Rajan Gopal for Luscious Laddoos: A Sweet Story (wonderfully descriptive and mouth-watering!)
6. For Best Entry Based On A True Story:
Pat Finnegan for A Taste Of Peace (based on the Christmas Eve truce in hostilities on the Western Front)
Congratulations to all of you for fantastic elements of your stories! You may all email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com subject line Prize Winner to collect your award badge and prize, which is five dollars in a format that can be emailed for you to put toward something you’d like at a large online store (and I’m being cryptic because when I did this for Halloweensie I got a ton of problematic spam mail because of the way I worded the post, but hopefully you can figure it out. The store starts with the letter A 🙂 )
…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
The announcement of the WINNERS OF THE 2019 HOLIDAY CONTEST as voted on by you, our esteemed readers!!!
In First Place…
Winner of the whole shebang…
who gets first choice of all the prizes…
Rebecca Gardyn Levington
The Greatest Latke Topping!!!
Congratulations, Rebecca, on a fun, kid-friendly story written in spot-on rhyme with a delightfully humorous ending that was clearly very popular with a LOT of readers!!! It ain’t over til Ketchup comes to the table! 🙂
In Second Place
All I Want For Christmas
Congratulations, Laurie, on a fun, kid-friendly entry that made us laugh at yet another use for the poor. much-maligned fruit cake 🙂 You get to pick your prize after Rebecca.
In Third Place
Kelly Kandra Hughes
Christmas Peach Pie
Congratulations, Kelly, on an entry that made us long for peach pie and admire your little main character for being willing to embrace the naughty list to get that pie! 🙂 You get to pick your prize after Rebecca and Laurie.
In Fourth Place
Grandpa Ted’s Garden Shed
Congratulations, Sue, on a fun story about a holiday treat that wasn’t food!!! with a great ending that left us wondering what exactly Grandpa gets up to in his spare time… 🙂 You get to pick your prize after Rebecca, Laurie, and Kelly!
In Fifth Place… a tie! between
Kailei Pew Anne Lipton
A Christmas Treat For Mama Vinarterta With Amma
Congratulations, Kelly, on a sweet story that embraced the true spirit of the season, and Congratulations, Anne, on a beautifully-written story full of lovely language that introduced us to a different holiday tradition! Great job both of you! You get to pick your prizes after Rebecca, Laurie, Kelly, and Sue… and we may have to negotiate a little (which is why I try to avoid ties, but when they happen they happen!)
In Seventh Place…
Congratulations, Lara! We loved how Isabel found a way to make the best of things, not only saving the cookies but celebrating each member of the family for their uniqueness! I’m sure you get the idea of how the prize picking goes by now 🙂
In Eighth Place…
Biscuit’s Christmas Treat
Congratulations, Gabrielle! We loved that your story celebrated a dog’s POV of a Christmas walk through the neighborhood, and we felt like we knew Biscuit! You get to pick after Lara 🙂
In Ninth Place
The Gingerbread Sleigh
Congratulations, Tracy, on your mouth-watering entry written in excellent rhyme with a wonderful ending! You get to pick after Gabrielle 🙂
In Tenth Place
Christmas Eve Treats
Congratulations, Brenda, on a lovely entry that celebrated the love between a grandmother and granddaughter and came around to such a sweet ending where their roles were reversed. You get to pick your prize after Tracy!
In Eleventh Place
Deborah Bence Boerema
Christmas Kitchen Chaos
Congratulations, Deborah, on an entry that perfectly portrayed the way things seem to go in the kitchen this time of year with a lovely ending that showed it’s the who not the what that matters! You get to pick after Brenda!
All the winners should email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com with the subject heading Prize Winner so we can work out details for you to receive your prizes! (The sooner the better!) And for your convenience, the whole prize list is included at the bottom of this post.
Congratulations again to all our winners – it was a stiff competition!! – and congratulations to EVERYONE who wrote and entered a story in the contest. You all deserve a huge round of applause and a Holiday Treat (see what I did there? 🙂 )
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, or by donating a prize. It’s because of all of you that this contest was such a success, so many, many thanks from the bottom of my heart!
As I… hmm… maybe didn’t mention…? but seem to do every year so you’re probably not surprised, I’m taking a little blogging break so I can spend time with my family – I’ve got children to fetch, cookies to bake, Christmas presents to shop for and wrap, and my sister and her family arriving from Georgia! 🙂 So I will see you all in a couple weeks – most probably the first week of January 🙂
So now, I want to wish you all a happy and healthy holiday filled with love, laughter, joy, and family, and a happy, healthy and successful new year! It is a pleasure and a privilege to get to spend time with you all, and I’m happy and grateful to know each and every one of you!
Looking forward to all the things we’ll do in 2020!
Happy Holidays, and all best wishes for a wonderful New Year!!!
The Prizes!: OMG! So much awesomeness!!!
Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Children’s Literary Agent Melissa Richeson of Apokedak Literary!!! Melissa will read and give a written critique of your picture book manuscript plus a 10 minute phone call to talk!!!
MG/YA First 1500 Words Critique from Children’s Literary Agent Melissa Richeson of Apokedak Literary!!! Melissa will read and give a written critique of the first 1500 words of your MG or YA manuscript!!!
Melissa is currently looking to build her client list and is focusing on children’s book authors—picture books through young adult. She’s drawn to witty wording and whimsical design for picture books, humor and quick pacing for chapter books, charming mysteries or magic in middle grade, and fresh, character-driven stories in young adult. She’s not the best fit for horror, high fantasy, or graphic violence of any kind
Art of Arc Writing Course from writer and editor Alayne Kay Christian!
Art of Arc is an independent-study picture book writing course. Most stories have some sort of arc. Many successful picture books are built around an arc. Understanding story and character arcs will help give your story order and the tension that will energize it from the beginning to the end. This energy will not only drive your protagonist forward – it will also drive readers to turn pages and keep reading.
The purpose of this course is to deepen your understanding of picture books written with a classic arc and to introduce you to many other picture books structures. The course also addresses a number of common issues that weaken a story and common writing mistakes that authors make.
Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyming or non-rhyming) from Penny Parker Klostermann, talented author of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House 2015) and A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE (Random House 2017)
Rhyming Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Dawn Young, author of THE NIGHT BAAFORE CHRISTMAS (WorthyKids 2019)
Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Melissa Stoller, author of SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Spork 2018), READY, SET, GORILLA! (Spork 2018), and THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION (chapter books) (Spork 2017)
Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Julie Abery, author of LITTLE TIGER and LITTLE PANDA (Amicus Ink 2019) and the forthcoming YUSRA SWIMS (Creative Editions February 2020) and LITTLE MONKEY and LITTLE HIPPO (Amicus Ink February 2020)
Book Bundle #1 – Nonfiction
Signed Copies of multiple star- and award-winning picture books
SONNY’S BRIDGE: JAZZ LEGEND SONNY ROLLINS FINDS HIS GROOVE (Charlesbridge 2019) and A PLACE TO LAND (Charlesbridge 2019)
A PLACE TO LAND: MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. AND THE SPEECH THAT INSPIRED A NATION (Charlesbridge 2019) by Barry Wittenstein
and BIRTH OF THE COOL: HOW JAZZ GREAT MILES DAVIS FOUND HIS SOUND (Page Street Kids, 2019) by Kathy Cornell Berman
Book Bundle #2 – Two By Tara Plus One
Please join me 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, Amazone, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊