2017 Valentiny Contest Winners!!!

Hurray!

It’s Friday!

And you know what THAT means! . . .

. . .

It’s National Tortilla Chip Day!

It is!  I would not tease you by making something like that up!  If you don’t believe me, you can go check!

It is also the 178th anniversary of Mr. William S. Otis receiving a patent for the steam shovel!

And as I’m sure you all know, the invention of the steam shovel is of EXTREME historical import not because of stuff like the Panama Canal but because without it we would never would have had MIKE MULLIGAN AND HIS STEAM SHOVEL! 🙂

(And did you know that William’s cousin Elisha thought up the elevator ?- those Otises were clever boys!)

 

Today is also featherweight boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s 40th birthday, so we should probably have cupcakes 🙂

cupcakes

All around great day, wouldn’t you say?

Ok!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Hope you all have a great weekend!

 

 

Oh wait.

 

I have this nagging feeling I may have forgotten something . . .

 

think.  Think!  THINK!!!

 

OHHHHH yeahhhhhhhh!!!!!

valentinywriting-contest2017

WINNERS!!!

Seems like maybe we have a few winners to announce, and prizes to give away! 🙂

We had a great turnout for the 2nd Annual Valentiny Contest – 117 entries!

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 well-written, entertaining and very enjoyable even though they might not have made the finalists 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 the terrific entries on this longer-than-usual list were well-written and within a hair’s breadth of being chosen for the finalist list and were cut for the nit-pickiest of details and judges’ inability to reach a unanimous consensus!

Meagan Friedman for Bob’s Valentine Dilemma

Jill Proctor for Val N. Tine’s Day

Kimberly Delude for The Shape Of Love (also original POV – shapes!)

Leslie Liebhart Goodman for Showing Love

Anne Sawan for What Is Love?

Cathy Ballou Mealey for Something’s Fishy – A Valentiny Tale (also clever and funny!)

Molly Golden McDonough for Fiona’s Day (also likable/relatable character!)

Jim Jones for Balingtine Day Mix Up

Congratulations to the All-Around Honorable Mention Winners!  Because of the outstanding quality of your entries, you are eligible for one of the 3 following special prizes should you prefer one of them to the regular honorable mention prize options below.

The Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman (for Kindle), OR

Writing For Children And Teens by Cynthea Liu (paperback), OR

$10 Amazon gift card

2.  For Fabulously Written Entry That Didn’t Seem Quite Confusing Enough But We Otherwise Loved:

Linda Evans Hofke for Punny Bunny’s Valentine Dilemma 

Vivian Kirkfield for A Valentine’s Day Cake For The Queen (also great use of language!)

Ingrid Boydston for Oh My Darling Valentine

Kimberly Delude for Ways To Say I Love You (also very sweet for younger readers!)

Allison Alley for Inseparable (also original POV – 2 halves of friendship necklace!)

Penelope Aaron for Abuelita’s Valentine’s Day Surprise (also lovely incorporation of Spanish!)

Jana Locke for Vampy’s Val-o-ween

Christyne Elizabeth for Love Makes Me Sick

 

3. For Stories That Had Us Until The Ending (for one reason or another):

Terri Ross for Mr. Zombie’s Undying Love (also great character!)

Christine Evans for A Martian Valentine (also humorous!)

Although in other contests here prizes are often awarded for best character or humor or kid appeal etc, in this particular contest the entries that would have qualified were chosen for overall good writing, so we did not feel the need for the extra smaller categories.

 

Congratulations to all of you for your wonderful stories!  You may all email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com, subject line Prize Winner 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)

Please email your HM prize choice within 2 weeks so we can wrap up the contest in a timely fashion 🙂

For Kindle:

Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

Rhyming Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

How To Query An Agent Or Editor: A Children’s Writer’s Insider Guide From Mentors For Rent by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ultimate Fiction Thesaurus by Sam Stone OR

In paperback:
if you choose an item that has to be mailed, please include your snail mail address 🙂

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

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

Creating Extraordinary Characters by Angela Hunt, OR

Evoking Emotion by Angela Hunt, OR

Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

Rhyming Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard

 

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 🙂  Since we had a problem with follow-through in the last contest, I’d like to ask that winners who choose a critique please be sure to use it within a month so that the professionals who are generously donating their time and expertise are not left hanging! 🙂

And now…

…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

…THE WINNERS OF THE 2017 VALENTINY CONTEST as chosen by you, our esteemed voters!!!!!

In First Place

Winner of the whole shebang…

who gets first choice of all the prizes…

Kayla Prochnow

for
Love Bug

Congratulations, Kayla, on a fabulous entry that was all around well done, and clearly very popular!!! 🙂

In Second Place

Ryan Roberts
for
Banana In Love: A Valentiny Knock-Knock Story!!!

Congratulations, Ryan!!  You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Kayla makes her choice.

In Third Place

Heather Kinser
for
Valentine Crush

Congratulations, Heather!  You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Kayla and Ryan choose theirs.

In Fourth Place

Geoffrey Hyatt
for
Misaki’s First Valentine

Congratulations, Geoffrey!  You get to pick after Kayla, Ryan, and Heather.

In Fifth Place

Jilanne Hoffman
for
Cupid’s Heart Finds A Home

Congratulations, Jilanne!  You get to pick after Kayla, Ryan, Heather, and Geoffrey.

In Sixth Place

Katie Frawley
for
Valen-Rhymes

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

In Seventh Placea tie!!! between

          Colleen Murphy                       and                                      Katelyn Aronson
                     for                                                                                              for
    Sebastian, Say Something                                          Lilla, Not Just Vanilla (A Tiny Self-Love Story)

Congratulations, Colleen and Katelyn!  You get to pick next – we’ll negotiate 🙂

In Ninth Place,

Jen Garrett
for
Never Text A Valentine

Congratulations, Jen, on a humorous entry!  You get to pick your prize after Colleen and Katelyn.

In Tenth Place,

Aileen Stewart
for
A Mixed Up Valentine

Congratulations, Aileen!  You get to pick a prize after Jen!

 

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 2nd Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny 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 (David, Joanne) 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 standing ovation, a glitter heart confetti parade, and a large amount of Valentine chocolate 🙂

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

Have a terrific weekend everyone, and thanks again for making the 2nd Annual Valentiny Contest such a smashing success and a wonderful time for all! 🙂

 

The Prizes:

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from “Dear Editor” Deborah Halverson!!!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from children’s literary agent Jodell Sadler!!!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from Andria Rosenbaum, author of the forthcoming Trains Don’t Sleep (May 2017) and Big Sister, Little Monster (September 2017) as well as others!!!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from children’s author Jodi McKay!!!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from Amy Dixon, author of Marathon Mouse, Sophie’s Animal Parade, and the forthcoming Maurice The Unbeastly!!!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from children’s author Jason Kirschner!!!

–  A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from Children’s Author Vivian Kirkfield!!!

– A Query Letter Read and Critique from SubIt Club founder Heather Ayris Burnell!!!

– a personalized signed copy of Jodi McKay’s delightful Where Are The Words?

– a personalized signed copy of Diana Murray‘s wonderful (and very seasonally appropriate!) Groggle’s Monster Valentine

Once again, please join me in thanking Deborah, Jodell, Andria, Jodi, Amy, Jason, Vivian, Heather, and Diana for their incredible generosity, and show your appreciation by visiting their sites, buying and recommending their books and services to your writer friends and/or friends with kids, writing them nice reviews on Amazon, GoodReads etc if you’ve read and liked their books, and showing your appreciation to them in any way you can!  I truly can’t thank them all enough!

PoP Goes My Heart! The Second Annual Valentiny Writing Contest Is Here!!!

2/19/17 PM Note to Contestants: Sorry! Due to various circumstances finalists will not be posted by 3 AM Monday as hoped.  Judges are trying for late day Monday 2/20 or Tuesday 2/21!  Apologies for keeping you waiting!

(Hope everyone enjoys the blog title nod to Music & Lyric’s fictional band PoP 🙂 )

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Valentinies rock

And so do YOU!

Hang onto your chocolate everyone!  It’s time for . . .

The Second Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

valentinywriting-contest2017

Valen-tiny because the stories are not very long and are written for little people 🙂

The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is confused!  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone confused (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 🙂  You can go under the word count but not over! (Title is not included in the word count.)  If you are so inclined, you are welcome to submit more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself 🙂  No illustration notes please!

Post your story on your blog between right now this very second and Tuesday February 14th 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 Book Friday until the contest is over, so the post and the list of links will stay up all week 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 copy and paste your entry into the body of the email – no attachments!)  Please only post your entry ONCE! Either on your blog and the associated link list, or in the comment section of my post!  Otherwise it gets confusing 🙂  Oh, and please, everyone, DO give yourself credit for your work and put your names on your entries so I know who wrote it (fun as it is to try to guess who pokypig379 or harrassedmomof7 is 🙂 )

The Judging: over the next several days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 6-10 top choices depending on number and quality of entries (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with the narrowing, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday February 20th.   The winner will be announced by Friday February 24th. (And there will be no WYRI or PPBF that week either so that everyone will have time to read and vote and so that we don’t confuse PPBF with announcing winners.)  The dates of the judging/voting/winner announcements are subject to finagling depending on how much time the judges actually end up needing!

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using confusion and success in making us feel the confusion!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

The Prizes:  Oh. My. Goodness! do we have fabulous prizes!  If these don’t motivate you to write your best, I don’t know what will! 🙂  It’s a complete critiquefest!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from “Dear Editor” Deborah Halverson!!!

author-photo-halverson_green_closeup_3x4-450x321

“Dear Editor” Deborah Halverson

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from children’s literary agent Jodell Sadler!!!

jodell-sadler

Agent Jodell Sadler

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from Andria Rosenbaum, author of the forthcoming Trains Don’t Sleep (May 2017) and Big Sister, Little Monster (September 2017) as well as others!!!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from children’s author Jodi McKay!!!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from Amy Dixon, author of Marathon Mouse, Sophie’s Animal Parade, and the forthcoming Maurice The Unbeastly!!!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from children’s author Jason Kirschner!!!

mr-particular

–  A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from Children’s Author Vivian Kirkfield!!!

– A Query Letter Read and Critique from SubIt Club founder Heather Ayris Burnell!!!

– a personalized signed copy of Jodi McKay’s delightful Where Are The Words?

where-are-the-words

– a personalized signed copy of Diana Murray‘s wonderful (and very seasonally appropriate!) Groggle’s Monster Valentine

Once again, please join me in thanking Deborah, Jodell, Andria, Jodi, Amy, Jason, Vivian, Heather, and Diana for their incredible generosity, and show your appreciation by visiting their sites, buying and recommending their books and services to your writer friends and/or friends with kids, writing them nice reviews on Amazon, GoodReads etc if you’ve read and liked their books, and showing your appreciation to them in any way you can!  I truly can’t thank them all enough!

So now it’s time for me to post my little sample.  Prepare yourselves 🙂

A Valentiny Mistake (214 words)

The Monday before Valentines, Tilly found a heart-shaped note on her desk. You’re sweet. W
“I think it’s from Wendell,” she told Millie.
Tilly batted her eyelashes at Wendell.
Wendell stuck his tongue out at her.
“Maybe not,” said Millie.
On Tuesday another note said You smell delicious. W
Do I smell delicious?” Tilly asked Millie doubtfully.
Millie sniffed. “I think so,” she said loyally. “You smell like glue and crayons.”
“I’m making a Valentine for Walter,” explained Tilly, tossing her hair in Walter’s direction. “Maybe it’s him.”
Walter scowled.
“Maybe not,” said Millie.
On Wednesday, a third note said You sound scrumptious. W
“How can anyone sound scrumptious?” asked Tilly, bewildered. She wrinkled her nose thoughtfully. “Maybe Wilbur thinks I have a beautiful voice.” She blew him a kiss.
Wilbur pretended to gag.
“Maybe not,” said Millie.
Thursday, Tilly found the fourth note. I love you like ice cream. W
“Hmm….” Tilly frowned, puzzled. “Maybe it’s Werner?”
Werner was burping the alphabet.
“Hopefully not,” said Millie.
On Valentines, Tilly’s desk bore a beautiful sparkly pink heart. Be my bestie. W
“I don’t get it,” said Tilly. “They’re all signed W, but it’s not Wendell, Walter, Wilbur or Werner!”
“Silly Tilly,” said Millie. “That’s an M!”
“It’s YOU!” squealed Tilly.
“It’s me.”  Millie smiled.
And they were best friends forever.

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

I can’t wait to read all of yours!  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!

Contest Entrants, remember to add your post-specific link to the 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 – click on the links in the list to visit the blogs and read the stories.  And be sure to read the 57 fabulous entries posted in the comment section below!!!

Happy Valentines Week, Everyone! ❤

Scroll through the comments to find these wonderful stories!

  1. Surprise, Surprise! – Rebekah
  2. Valentine Peas – Susan
  3. Banana In Love: A Valentiny Knock Knock Story – Ryan
  4. Bear In Mine, It’s For The Love Of Honey – Nina
  5. Love Makes Me Sick – Christyne
  6. Think Think Think – Betsy
  7. Two Hearts – Dr. Anne
  8. Cupid Claus – Christyne
  9. A Day For…Love? – Karen
  10. Peanut Butter Valentine – Sandra
  11. Little Frank N. Stein’s Valentine – Tracie
  12. What Is Love? – Anne
  13. A Valentine’s Day With Rain And Shine – Maria
  14. Brian & Katy Hare Find Something New – Marie
  15. Candy Cows – Jennifer
  16. Valentine’s Guy – Tasha
  17. Balentine’s For Bailey – Tasha
  18. Sophie And Nana – Jim
  19. Fiona’s Day – Molly
  20. Cupid’s Very Long Valentine’s Day – Robin
  21. Candy’s Hearts – Tracie
  22. Spider Legs – Carolyn
  23. The True Story Behind The Queen Of Heart’s Tarts – Kathleen
  24. Hungry For You – Rosie
  25. The Great A Mistake – Lauren
  26. Child Of Mine – Sandy
  27. V Day Is Here – Lorraine
  28. Myrtle, where are you going? – Cecile
  29. The Tiny Valentine – Lauren
  30. Liliana From Havana – Corine
  31. The Pirate’s Valentine – Judy
  32. The Cow That Was A  Little Hoarse – Elizabeth
  33. Gary Grossberger’s Valentine – Dina
  34. A Valentine’s Day Gift For Mami – Carmen
  35. November Is Scary, But Marriage Is Bliss (A Love Story) – Carol
  36. Hearts And Beans – Cammie
  37. Mister Zombie’s Undying Love – Terri
  38. Valentine Homework – Tracie
  39. Misaki’s First Valentine – Geoffrey
  40. Lion Hearts Mouse – Kim
  41. Did You Know THAT I Love You – Margaret
  42. Marry Me Mommy! – Michele
  43. A One-of-a-kind Valentine For Mama Mouse – JC
  44. Vampy’s Val-o-ween – Jana
  45. Valen-Rhymes – Katie
  46. Balingtine Day Mix Up – Jim
  47. Misunderstood At The Dance – Merriweather
  48. Valentine Blush – Sandy
  49. Happy Porcupine Day – Sara
  50. Punny Bunny’s Valentine Dilemma – Linda
  51. My Veggie Valentine – Deborah
  52. A Sweet Treat? – Samantha
  53. Oh My Darling Valentine – Ingrid
  54. Special Delivery! – Gina
  55. Love Bugs – Katherine
  56. A Surprise For Mr. Timms – Carol
  57. Word For Word Valentine – Deborah

Announcing The 2nd Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

Last year, a bunch of folks asked for a contest to cheer them out of the winter doldrums!

The result?

The First Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!

(Valentiny because, like the Halloweensie Contest, it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂 )

We had so much fun that it seemed a good idea to go ahead with the 2nd Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!  I mean, winter doldrums are winter doldrums and must be conquered 🙂

So here we are!

Announcing . . .

The 2nd Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

valentinywriting-contest2017

The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is confused!  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone confused (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 🙂  You can go under the word count but not over! (Title is not included in the word count.)  If you are so inclined, you are welcome to enter more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself 🙂  No illustration notes please!

Post your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Friday February 10th and Tuesday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my February 10th post.  There will be no Would You Read It that week, and no PPBF, so the post and the list of links will stay up all week 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 copy and paste your entry into the body of the email – no attachments! And please do not submit emailed entries until the contest begins on Feb. 10!)  Please only post your entry ONCE! Either on your blog and the associated link list, or in the comment section of my post!  Otherwise it gets confusing 🙂

The Judging: over the next several days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 6-10 top choices depending on number and quality of entries (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with the narrowing, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday February 20th.   The winner will be announced by Friday February 24th. (And there will be no WYRI or PPBF that week either so that everyone will have time to read and vote and so that we don’t confuse PPBF with announcing winners.)  The dates of the judging/voting/winner announcements are subject to finagling depending on how much time the judges actually end up needing!

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using confusion and success in making us feel the confusion!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

The Prizes:  yeah… as usual 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 clout with anyone who could offer a good prize please contact me at once! 🙂  So far prizes will include:

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from “Dear Editor” Deborah Halverson!!!

author-photo-halverson_green_closeup_3x4-450x321

“Dear Editor” Deborah Halverson

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from children’s literary agent Jodell Sadler!!!

jodell-sadler

Agent Jodell Sadler

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from Andria Rosenbaum, author of the forthcoming Trains Don’t Sleep (May 2017) and Big Sister, Little Monster (September 2017) as well as others!!!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from children’s author Jodi McKay!!!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from Amy Dixon, author of Marathon Mouse, Sophie’s Animal Parade, and the forthcoming Maurice The Unbeastly!!!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from children’s author Jason Kirschner!!!

mr-particular

– A Query Letter Read and Critique from SubIt Club founder Heather Ayris Burnell!!!

– a personalized signed copy of Jodi McKay’s delightful Where Are The Words?

where-are-the-words

– a personalized signed copy of Diana Murray‘s wonderful (and very seasonally appropriate!) Groggle’s Monster Valentine

. . . and more to be added . . .

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 Deborah, Jodell, Andria, Jodi, Heather, and Diana for their very generous prize offerings!  Please help me to thank them by visiting their websites, buying their books and recommending them to friends who might be interested, suggesting them for school visits, hiring them for critiques, writing book reviews on Amazon, GoodReads and other sites, following them on social media, or anything else you can think of to support them!

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

Have a Wonderful Weekend everyone! 🙂

The 2016 Holiday Contest Winners!!!

 

Well, hi there!

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

Oh wait.  I bet I know…

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

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

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

img_2319

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

But I won’t keep you.

I know you’ve still got:

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

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

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

Bye now.

Buh-bye.

So long.

 

 

Why aren’t you leaving?

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

Off you go!

Scoot!

You want WHAT?

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

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

AND TO FIND OUT WHO THE WINNERS OF THE HOLIDAY CONTEST ARE!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

The 6th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!

12-days-1

WINNERS!!!

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

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

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

So my assistant judges and I would like to award recognition and a small prize to the following authors for the following merits:

1.  For Honorable Mention In The Competition As A Whole: (entries we truly wrestled with not including in the finalists!)

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

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

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

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

 

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

Rebekah Hoeft for Sneaky Snoop: A Cautionary Christmas Tale

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

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

KT for The Twelve Days of Vacay

 

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

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

 

4. For Beautiful Rendition Of The Christmas Story:

Sue Frye for A Star Shown In The Sky

Carmen Castillo Gilbert for Burrito’s Epiphany Gift

 

 

5.  For Lovely Christmas Spirit:

Tracy Potash for Kindness Counts To Twelve

 

6. For Fun Educational Holiday Stories From Other Places:

Anne Lipton for The Twelve Days Of Canadian Winter

Marla LeSage for 12 Days Of Christmas In New Brunswick

 

 

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

Jennifer Rugge for Twelve Crows At Christmas

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

 

 

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

Erin Nowak for The Twelve Days Of Dishes

Ellen Leventhal for Happy Everything (also appealing kid voice)

 

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

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

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

 

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

Carol Samuelson Woodson for The Glorious Tree

Shelley Kinder for A Cold And Clammy Christmas?

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

 

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

David McMullin for The Twelve Daisies Of Christmas

Jennifer Kaap for Christmas Clues (fun riddle format)

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

 

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

Judy Sobanski for The Christmas Parade 

Vivian Kirkfield for Twelve Days Of Surprises For Santa

Kathryn Rammell for 12 Days After Christmas

Kristen Olsen for Doughnuts In The Fir Tree

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

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to all of you for fantastic elements of your stories!  You may all email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com to collect your prize, which is your choice of one of the following: (the titles are all links so you can go see what they’re about) (and if you request a paperback, please include your snail mail address!)

For Kindle:

Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

Rhyming Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

How To Query An Agent Or Editor: A Children’s Writer’s Insider Guide From Mentors For Rent by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ultimate Fiction Thesaurus by Sam Stone OR

In paperback:

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

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

Creating Extraordinary Characters by Angela Hunt, OR

Evoking Emotion by Angela Hunt, OR

Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

Rhyming Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard

And now…

…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

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

rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat

DDDRRRUUUMMM RRROOOLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!

In First Place

Winner of the whole shebang…

who gets first choice of all the prizes…

Lucretia Schafroth

for
The Woodland Christmas Tree!!!

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

In Second Place…a tie!

Susan Schade
for
The Christmas Cookie Crook

Hermanator33
for
A Plane Ticket In A Rare Tree

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

In Fourth Place

Eileen Washburn
for
The Twelve Days Before Christmas

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

In Fifth Place

Lynne Marie
for
Let Witchmas Begin…

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

In Sixth Place

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

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

In Seventh Place

Jen Bagan
for
The 12 Emotions Of Arbor Day

Congratulations, Jen!  You get to pick next 🙂

In Eighth Placeanother tie!

Monica Anderson
for
A Gift For The Princess

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

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

In Tenth Place…another tie!

David McMullin
for
The Twelve Daves Of Christmas Town

Joni Klein-Higger
for
Farmer Bubbe’s Chanukah

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

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

Kim Ball
for
The Twelve Days Of Zoo Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love,

Susanna

The Prizes!!!

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

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

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

penny_cover   bunny-foo-foo

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

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

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

jodell-sadler

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

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

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

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

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

 

The 6th Annual Holiday Contest Finalists – Vote For Your Favorite!!!

The 6th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!

12-days-1

FINALISTS!!!

In case any of you are wondering, it is actually Thursday evening.

I can tell that it’s Thursday evening because I’m writing this post.  And that was my job for Thursday evening.

Ergo, it is Thursday evening.

Phew!

I’m glad we’re all clear on that.

I’m pretty sure it all works out with a time zone thing… you know, if it’s 10 PM on the east coast on the day after Thursday that we’re humoring me by agreeing is still Thursday, what time is it in Wales?  Or in Australia or Japan where it’s never the same day?

Plus I’m pretty sure that if your internet totally dies for 12 hours due to sub-zero weather and frigid wind chills preventing you from posting, those 12 hours don’t count… it’s like they didn’t happen yet… and because it was so cold they multiply like dog years.  So.  Still Thursday 🙂

These situations, hauntingly reminiscent of 6th grade word problems in math, are very taxing to the tired and over-stressed, under-caffeinated, chocolate-deprived brain.

Or maybe I’m in a time warp… 🙂

Anyway, here on Thursday evening, my fellow judges and I have crawled out from under our rock hollow-eyed and haggard from the torment of having to choose a handful of finalists out of all these fabulous entries, and the time has nearly come for you to vote for your favorite!

But first a few words from the people in charge around here who always have to put their two cents in.  (Apparently we’ve become the Royal We, referring to ourselves in the plural 🙂 )

First, I want to thank EVERYONE who found time in their busy holiday season schedule to write an entry for this contest – all 82 of you!  The overall quality of the entries was amazing!  There were no easy cuts.  My assistant judges and I found something to like in every story and hated having to cut anyone!  And this was a challenging prompt.  You guys did an amazing job and really rose to the occasion.  So much creativity and great writing!  You should all pat yourselves on the back and have a celebratory bonbon!

Second, I want to thank EVERYONE who took the time to go around to as many of the 41 different blogs as you could, as well as the 41 entries posted in the comments here, and read and leave supportive comments for the writers who worked so hard on these stories, and especially those who took the time to share many of those entries on social media to draw in other readers.  In this business where rejection is a common and unavoidable part of the process, it means a great deal to writers to know that their work was read and enjoyed, and to receive a few kind words about their writing.  It is one of the best things about this community – that people are so generous and kind to each other.

Third, before I list the finalists, I want to say again how really difficult it was to choose.  There were so many fabulous entries.  The sheer volume meant that many great stories 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.  You bravely shared your writing with the world.  And you have a brand new story that is now yours to hone and tweak if you like and maybe submit at some point to a magazine or as a PB manuscript.  So bravo to everyone who entered!

Finally, I’d like to be very clear about the voting process.  Due to the large number of entries, there are 12 finalists listed below.  I have deliberately listed them by title only, so as to help with objectivity.  Please read through them and choose the one you feel is best and vote.  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 Mrs. Claus dancing the makaraina with Rudolph 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.

Now, without further ado, here are your finalists.  There is a mix of poetry and prose, funny, cute, and poignant, stories for younger and older child readers – quite a spread!


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 or whose humor or content felt more appropriate for an older or adult audience did not make the cut.  Sadly there were several GREAT entries where the judges felt the emphasis was too much on the relationship between Santa and Mrs. Claus (too adult to be appreciated by kids) or where the humor was directed at things adults would find funny but were less applicable to kids.  At least one of our favorites fell into this category 😦 

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.  We looked for a true story arc, and unfortunately there were quite a few lovely, entertaining, well-written entries that failed to meet this criteria.  Quite a few entries started out very promisingly but fell flat at the end – casualties of the strict word count, I’m sure.

3. Quality of writing – use of language, correctness of tense, spelling and grammar, quality of rhyme and meter for the poetry entries, and overall impression of writing were factored in.

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

5.  Following the contest rules… which happily I don’t really have to mention this time because no one submitted after the deadline, and no one exceeded the word count, and no one wrote a story that wasn’t about the holidays!  Hurray!  But one of our favorite entries, which was beautifully written and told a lovely story did not stick to the 12 Days format, structure or pattern as well as it needed to to make the finals, so that was too bad 😦


We cut 70 entries to leave you with these 12.  It was very hard!  We did the best we could. We chose some poetry, some prose; some for younger readers, some for older; some funny, some quieter; and a mix of holidays.  
I hope you’ll all find at least one of your favorites on the list below.

#1 – THE TWELVE DAYS OF ZOO CHRISTMAS

On the first day of Christmas, Elephant gave McGee the bark of a cinnamon tree.

On the second day of Christmas, Tortoise gave McGee two ginger roots.

On the third day of Christmas, Penguin gave McGee three clove buds.

On the fourth day of Christmas, Rhinoceros gave McGee four vanilla beans.

On the fifth day of Christmas, Owl gave McGee five nutmeg seeds.

On the sixth day of Christmas, Gorilla gave McGee six juicy lemons.

On the seventh day of Christmas, Lion gave McGee seven tubs of butter.

On the eighth day of Christmas, Hyena gave McGee eight jars of molasses.

On the ninth day of Christmas, Giraffe gave McGee nine scoops of raisins.

On the tenth day of Christmas, Armadillo gave McGee ten bags of sugar.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Chameleon gave McGee eleven sacks of flour.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Ostrich gave McGee twelve fresh laid eggs.

“Spread the word, Ostrich,” said McGee. “Party tonight!”

At closing time the zoo filled with delicious, spicy scents. Every nose quivered as the animals gathered.

Then McGee arrived with a wagon full of gingerbread cookies and a barrel of lemonade.
“My dearest friends, you showered me gifts and love. Now I’m sharing them with you.”

The animals trumpeted, hooted, roared and laughed.

“Before you dig in, here’s something I wrote for you.”

McGee sang. Soon the animals joined in. They finished like this:

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my best friends gave to me:
Twelve fresh laid eggs
Eleven sacks of flour
Ten bags of sugar
Nine scoops of raisins
Eight jars of molasses
Seven pounds of butter
Six juicy lemons
Five nutmeg seeds
Four vanilla beans
Three clove buds
Two ginger roots
And the bark of a cinnamon tree!

#2 – A Plane Ticket in a Rare Tree

I get to visit my Grandfather in Florida for Christmas but there’s a catch. My ticket is somewhere on a scavenger hunt, to be found in clues I assume.
The first clue of Christmas my Pop-Pop sent to me….
“Look for it in a in a rare tree. “
I start at the park, but there’s no a rare tree, just two turtle loves walking s-l-o-w-l-y and holding hands.
“Excuse me, have you seen a rare tree?”
“No. Check. the. lobby. of the French Inn.”
Ugh Turtles. I run toward the lobby. Am I holiday hallucinating? Is that four birds making phone calls? I skip a bird conversation and head for the Lost and Found.
No luck, all I see are five gold earrings! Who has five ears? Six dolls that look like geishas lying are in there too, but no rare tree.
I walk back to the park to plant myself on a bench. Is that my friend Swansa going swimming?
“Hi Swansa! Is your maid still making you drink those Smart Milk Smoothies?
“Daily. Why?” Swansa asks looking a rare case of confused.
“I’m looking for a rare tree. Want to help?”
“Look out! This delivery guy is not slowing down, ” Swansa says as she pushes me to the grass.
“Sorry, I have to get these late t-shirts to the Lord of the Dance gift shop before the show ends.”
I’m wobbly from my fall and walking like a piping sandpiper. My head feels like twelve drummers are pounding on my brain.
I take out my phone to listen to the message again. This time I laugh and laugh. Swansa looks concerned about my head.
“What is it?” She asks.
Well…… It turns out Pop-pop actually said,
“The ticket has been mailed to me.” Bad signal, sorry.

#3 – THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CROOK

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
Detective Danish was called in to find the Christmas Cookie Crook.
“Start at the beginning,” he told the cookies still on the plate.
Fig Newton began,
“On the eleventh day of Christmas, before the Platter Party…
Eleven Linzers left,
Ten Truffles split,
Nine nonexistent Nut Balls,
Eight absent Anises,
Seven vanished Stars,
Six no-show Shortbreads,
Five Spritz disappeared,
Four missing Macaroons,
Three lost Thumbprints,
Two AWOL Tarts,
And one misplaced Biscotti.”
Detective Danish smacked his lips, “Hmmm, interesting, and appetizing.”
“Did you see anything suspicious, Fruitcake?”
“No, I didn’t. I’m very busy. Everyone loves me.”
He questioned the milk.
The milk was sour and tight lipped so the Detective moved on.
“Paper towel, did you see anything during clean up?”
“Why am I only invited to clean up?” She sobbed.
Detective Danish knew in his filling that something wasn’t right.
“NO ONE LOVES FRUITCAKE! He’s the Christmas Cookie Crook!”
Detective Danish freed the missing cookies from the fruitcake box.
The cookies cried, “Detective Danish cracked the case!”
and presented him with an invitation to the Platter Party.
Fruitcake was sent to the fridge with no parole.

 

#4 – THE WAYS WE CELEBRATE HOLIDAYS: A MERRY MASH-UP

Twas’ the time for the holidays and my friends had me thinking,
How do they celebrate? I don’t have an inkling.
I wanted to learn, understand, and to see
What folks ‘round the world honor and believe.

And to my surprise on my doorstep appeared
All of my friends, singing holiday cheer.

“On this very merry holiday we give these gifts to thee…”

Twelve star pinatas,
Eleven glowing crowns,
Ten bowls of noodles,
Nine toy-filled stockings,
Eight spinning dreidels,
Seven honored candles,
Six prayerful sticks,
FIVE LAMPS FOR LAKSHMI!
Four Fiscus trees,
Three sweet Klaicha,
Two golden lamps,
and a box of gratuity.

Such beautiful gifts from the friends I adore,
“Come in! Please, come in! I need to know more!”
So we sang and we danced, we shared stories of ways,
To celebrate each of these twelve holidays:

Las Posadas
St. Lucy’s Day
Omisoka
Christmas
Hanukkah
Kwanzaa
Winter Solstice
Diwali
Bodhi Day
Eid
Chinese New Year
Boxing Day

And as snow sprinkled down from the heavens above
Our group became quite as we soaked in the love.
We learned what’s important, it’s really quite clear,
Now we’re paying it forward with this holiday cheer.

“On this very merry holiday, we give these gifts to thee…”

Twelve caring carolers
Eleven well wishes
Ten heartfelt hugs
Nine words of wisdom
Eight great memories
Seven crafty keepsakes
Six hands for holding
FIVE BLISSFUL BLESSINGS!
Four miracles
Three peace doves
Two gifts of hope
And love of diversity.

#5 – The 12 Emotions of Arbor Day

On the first day of Christmas, Arbor Day was mad.

“Christmas always gets the sparkle. The glitz. The Falala. Where are the Arbor Day decorations?”

On the second day of Christmas, Arbor Day was disgusted.

“Are these countdowns really necessary? We get it. It’s big. Nobody even knows when Arbor Day is!”

On the third day of Christmas, Arbor Day was annoyed.

“If I hear Jingle Bells one more time, I’m going to lose it!”

On the fourth day of Christmas, Arbor Day was defensive.

“Why don’t the other holidays get this hoopla? We’re pretty great too! Looking at you Static Electricity Day.”

On the fifth day of Christmas, Arbor Day was jealous.

”Santa!? Who can compete with that?”

On the sixth day of Christmas, Arbor Day was depressed.

“It’s no use. Christmas will always be the best. I’ll never be important.”

On the seventh day of Christmas, Arbor Day was surprised.

“A package? Ooooh … lights and beautiful baubles!”

On the eighth day of Christmas, Arbor Day was cheerful.

“I feel so lovely all dressed up. I wonder who was so kind to me?”

On the ninth day of Christmas, Arbor Day was amazed.

“I’ve never seen the forest glitter and sparkle so magically.”

On the tenth day of Christmas, Arbor Day was peaceful.

“It really is a wonderful time of year.”

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Arbor Day was touched.

“Another package? Ooooh … what a perfect star. It fits right on top. And a note: For Arbor Day. You are a star to me. Love, Christmas.”

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Arbor Day was happy.

“I love that I’m Arbor Day and Christmas is Christmas. We’re all special and I want to enjoy every one … even Static Electricity Day.”

#6 – A GIFT FOR THE PRINCESS

On the day after Christmas, Marek left the small shack he shared with his mother, holding tightly to a treasure his father had carved before he died. He joined a line of people waiting to enter the palace courtyard, each hoping his gift would please the princess enough to invite the giver and his family to celebrate the twelve days of Christmas in the palace.
“A partridge? A pear tree?” scoffed Princess Celina. “I have no use of these. Next!”
“Two turtledoves? Three French hens? Four calling birds? This is a palace, not an aviary.” Princess Celina dismissed the three men.
The jeweler offered the princess five gold rings. Princess Celina waved him away. “I have much finer things.”
The next man in line shooed in six geese.
“More birds?” Princess Celina said with a sigh.
“But any one of these could be the goose who lays the golden eggs,” the man told her.
“Or not,” she replied. “Next!”
Princess Celina yawned through seven mechanical swans swimming in a circle, and eight maids milking eight cows. Nine ladies danced in the courtyard. Ten Lords leapt. Eleven pipers played, and twelve drummers marched. Nothing captured Princess Celina’s attention.
“Is that all there is?” Princess Celina demanded. “Is no one worthy of celebrating the twelve days of Christmas here at the palace?”
Marek stepped forward. “I bring you an angel, carved by my father for the top of a Christmas tree. My mother and I are too poor to have a tree, but the angel deserves to be seen. Perhaps she may have a home here.”
Princess Celina looked at the angel, and into Marek’s hopeful eyes.
“Yes,” she agreed. “She may have a home here. Bring your mother to the palace and we will celebrate the twelve days of Christmas together.”

#7 – The Woodland Christmas Tree

On the first day of winter the critters did agree,
to make a special woodland Christmas tree.

On the second day of winter the critters did agree,
Fox found the perfect pine
to make a special woodland Christmas tree.

On the third day of winter the critters did agree,
Beaver cut it down, after Fox found the perfect pine
to make a special woodland Christmas tree.

On the fourth day of winter the critters did agree,
Bear brought it home, once Beaver cut it down, after Fox found the perfect pine
to make a special woodland Christmas tree.

On the fifth day of winter the critters did agree,
Gopher dug a hole, where Bear brought it home, once Beaver cut it down,
after Fox found the perfect pine to make a special woodland Christmas tree.

On the sixth day of winter the critters did agree,
Deer made a clearing, since Gopher dug a hole, where Bear carried it home,
once Beaver cut it down, after Fox found the perfect pine
to make a special woodland Christmas tree.

On the seventh day of winter the critters did agree,
Raccoon strung the garland, after Deer made a clearing, since Gopher dug a hole,
where Bear carried it home, once Beaver cut it down, after Fox found the perfect pine
to make a special woodland Christmas tree.

On the eighth day of winter the critters did agree,
Crow placed the topper, once Raccoon strung the garland, after Deer made a clearing,
since Gopher dug a hole, where Bear carried it home,
once Beaver cut it down, after Fox found the perfect pine
to make a special woodland Christmas tree.

By working in unity the critters did agree,
they were a model of efficiency!
(—four whole days ahead of schedule!)

#8 – LET WITCHMAS BEGIN…

“Christmas is more snow than glow,” Octavia observed. “It needs a makeover. Santa’s

lucky I traded holidays with him!”

With a flick of her wand, Christmas became “Witchmas”

Elves turned from merry to scary,

Colors from bright to just right and

Carols to scare-alls!

A tear ran down Octavia’s nose as she sang along…

On the twelfth day of Witchmas
my Crypt-mate sent to me:
12 Demons Dribbling
11 Pookas Primping
10 Mummies Mumming
9 Vampires Vamping

8 Monsters Mashing
7 Souls a-Swirling
6 Toads a-Croaking
5 Black Batwings
4 Carrion Birds
3 Ravens
2 Cawing Crows
and a Vulture in a dead tree.

“It’s a nightmare come true,” she murmured. And it was, until…

Octavia knocked at house #1.

“Scary Christmas!”

A door slammed in her face.

She’d forgotten to use the chimney.

After bandaging her nose, she entered house #2 from the roof.

“Ouch!”

She’d forgotten about the Yule Log.

After applying burn cream, she entered house #3 through the window.

“Crash!”

She’d forgotten about the Christmas tree.

She picked ornaments and pine needles from her hair.

“This holiday is more unbearable than scareable. I’m exhausted.”  She threw up her hands. “I should be moon-tanning right now…”

With a flick of her wand, she brought back Christmas AND Santa.

“Glad you’re here,” said Octavia. “I quit!”

“Not until you’ve visited EVERY home on my list. A deal’s a deal,” Santa reminded her. “Besides, I have ideas for cheering up Halloween.”

“But Halloween’s a perfectly frightful holiday,” Octavia protested.

“Not for long.” Santa grabbed Octavia’s wand.  “Ho Ho Ho, Merry Witchmas to all and to all a good night. See you on Holly-ween!”He pointed the wand at himself. “POOF!”

“I should be careful what I wish for,” said Octavia. “Where’s the cocoa? It’s going to be a long night.”

#9 – FARMER BUBBE’S CHANUKAH

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

On the first night of Chanukah, what did Farmer Bubbe see?
One sack of meal.
“Oh, my. Who could have left this for me?”
(“Neigh”)

TAP TAP TAP

On the second night of Chanukah, what did Farmer Bubbe see?
Two cups of oil.
“Oh, my. Who could have left this for me?”
(“Oink “)

RAP RAP RAP

On the third night of Chanukah, what did Farmer Bubbe see?
Three yellow onions.
“Oh, my. Who could have left this for me?”
(“Meh”)

CLICK CLICK CLICK

On the fourth night of Chanukah, what did Farmer Bubbe see?
Four fresh eggs.
“Oh, my. Who could have left this for me?”
(“Bawk”)

THUMP THUMP THUMP

On the fifth night of Chanukah, what did Farmer Bubbe see?
Five shakes of salt.
“Oh, my. Who could have left this for me?”
(“Moo”)

RAT TAT TAT

On the sixth night of Chanukah, what did Farmer Bubbe see?
Six white potatoes.
“Oh, my. Who could have left this for me?”
(“Woof”)

SCRATCH SCRATCH SCRATCH

On the seventh night of Chanukah, what did Farmer Bubbe see?
Seven juicy apples.
“Oh my. Who could have left this for me?”
(“Meow”)
On the eighth night of Chanukah, what did Farmer Bubbe do?
She took…
One sack of meal.
Two cups of oil.
Three yellow onions.
Four fresh eggs.
Five shakes of salt.
Six white potatoes.
Seven juicy apples.
And made eight latkes…
One just for you!

(“Neigh” “Oink” “Meh” “Bawk” “Moo” “Woof” “Meow”)

# 10 – THE DAVES OF CHRISTMAS TOWN

Twelve elves named Dave in Christmas Town

perform a simple task –

which every year saves Christmas time.

“But how?” I hear you ask.

Dave One puts sugar in a bowl,

Dave Two, he adds some more.

Dave Three pours milk and cracks the eggs.

The flour comes from Four.

Number Five then stirs the dough,

Six plops it in a pan.

Eight helps Seven bake it to

a lovely golden tan.

Nine spreads frosting, Ten shakes sprinkles,

Eleven sneaks a lick.

The cake is fetched by number Twelve

and given to St. Nick.

It has

Twelve shakes of cocoa,

Eleven juicy berries,

Ten curls of chocolate,

Nine crumbled cookies,

Eight small marshmallows,

Seven toasted almonds,

Six candied gingers,

Fiiiiive – jel – ly – beeeeeans,

Four toffee bits,

Three gum drops,

Two candy canes,

Leaving one huge smile on Santa’s face.

See, Santa never stops to rest,

he works till he’s run down.

Poor Santa Claus would starve without

the Daves of Christmas Town.

#11 – The Evil Dr. Gerbil’s 12 Days Of Christmas

Fox Breaking News: 1st day of Christmas

After being sentenced to a life of spinning for crimes committed against the animal kingdom, The Evil Dr. Gerbil managed to escape from his prison wheel today. Traces of pear were found at the scene, leading investigators to believe The Evil Dr. Gerbil’s on-again, off-again girlfriend Patty Partridge might have been involved.

Story at 11…

Fox Breaking News: 5th day of Christmas

At a press conference today Inspector Wallaby announced that the 5 Golden Ring Avian Gang comprised of 4 Calling Birds, 3 French Hens, and 2 Turtle doves sang fowl, giving up crucial information about Dr. Gerbil’s escape. They’ve had it out for Dr. Gerbil ever since the catastrophic avian flu vaccine incident.

Update at 11…

Fox Breaking News: 7th day of Christmas

While The Evil Dr. Gerbil remains at large, pressure in the Avian community persists.   6 Geese a laying believe they spotted Dr. Gerbil at the 7 Swans a Swimming indoor pool.

News at 11…

Fox Breaking News: 12th day of Christmas

It’s been 12 days since The Evil Dr. Gerbil’s escape from prison. Police are no closer to his whereabouts. Inspector Wallaby received numerous, revengeful tips from the community. Dr. Gerbil’s history includes: stealing 100 gallons of whole milk from the 8 Maids a Milking organic dairy farm, failing to pay 9 Ladies Dance studio for 40 hours of tango lessons, and leaving 10 Lords a Leaping hopping mad after he swindled them out their inheritance.

Once caught, Dr. Gerbil will be placed in solitary confinement, and subjected to the 11 pipers piping/12 drummers drumming prison band.

Fox News Update:

After an embarrassing 12-day failure to capture The Evil Dr. Gerbil, Inspector Wallaby has called on Dr. Gerbil’s archenemy Wonder Weasel to assist in the investigation.

Stay tuned…

#12 – The Twelve Days Before Christmas

Twelve days before Christmas, mom bought me a sparkly, bright light-up necklace that blinked red, silver and green – just like real holiday lights.

Eleven days before Christmas, Luis said my necklace wasn’t quite as cool as his talking Christmas tie. The new girl, Lucy, said it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.

Ten days before Christmas, Mr. Silver said I should put the necklace in my desk until the end of the day.

Nine days before Christmas, mom and I brought cookies to the neighbors who give us coconut cake on Kwanzaa.

Eight days before Christmas, my necklace stopped blinking.

Seven days before Christmas, mom replaced the batteries and told me not to sparkle quite as much.

Six days before Christmas, I asked Lucy what she wanted for Christmas. She looked down at her feet and said snow boots would keep her dry.

Five days before Christmas, we sang in the holiday concert. I wore my necklace forRockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, but not for the Native American Winter Song.

Four days before Christmas, Mr. Silver found five shiny, gold chocolate coins for Hanukkah on his desk.

Three days before Christmas, Ms. Pam had to remind me not to leave my necklace on the bus.

Two days before Christmas, I gave Lucy the necklace. She smiled and twirled and said the colors glowed – like friendship.

On the day before Christmas, I asked Santa to bring Lucy the most sparkly pair of snow boots he could find. And more batteries.

Having read (and probably re-read and re-read!) through these 12 fabulous finalists, please VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE in the poll below by Sunday December 18 at 6 PM EST.  I’m hoping the full weekend will give you enough time!  That way, I can post the winners on Monday and we can celebrate and then all get on with our busy holiday schedules!

 

 

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 Monday… same bat time, same bat station 🙂

 

Ho! Ho! Ho! The 6th Annual Holiday Contest Is Here!!!

Deck the halls!

Light the menorah!

Fill the Kikombe cha Umoja!

It’s time for…

The 6th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!

12-days-1

WA-HOOO!!!! 🙂

The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) using the basic format/concept of The Twelve Days Of Christmas!  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 300 words (I know!  So much freedom after the Halloweensie Contest 🙂 )  (It can be as short as you like (the judges will be grateful 🙂 , you are welcome and encouraged to write shorter, but no more than 300!  Title not included in word count.)  The field is wide open!  Have fun!  The more creative the better!  No illustration notes please. (And yes, if you feel compelled to submit more than one entry you may, just remember you’re competing against yourself!)

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between right now this very second and Monday December 12 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below.  We’re trying a new system for this contest – the one I use for Perfect Picture Book Friday – fingers crossed it works better than the other one for everyone!  This post and the list will remain up through Thursday December 15 for your reading pleasure (no WYRI or PPBF.)  If you don’t have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments on my December 8th post.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I’ll post your entry for you! But please don’t send attachments!  Just copy and paste your story into the email.)  Also, please only post your entry once – either in the comment section of my blog or on the link list.

The Judging:  My lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 10-12 finalists (depending on the number of entries) which will be posted here on Friday December 16 (or, if we’re desperate for a little extra time, Saturday December 17) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Monday December 19 at 5 PM EST and the winners will be announced on Tuesday December 20.  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to tenth place.  Judging criteria will be kid appeal/kid-friendliness, creativity, quality of story, quality of writing, and originality.  If we can post the finalists sooner and move everything up a bit we will, but with 300 word entries it takes longer…

The Prizes!:  And oh, my! there are some good ones!

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

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

s149388948426827116_p1_i8_w450

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

penny_cover   bunny-foo-foo

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

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

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

jodell-sadler

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

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

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

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

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

Now.

The time has come for my sample.  And I think I can say unequivocally that this is the worst sample I have ever written 🙂  Are you ready?  You’re going to have to grit your teeth to get through this one 🙂  But that should be very comforting to all of you because you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that ANYthing you wrote is better than this! 🙂

Noel’s 12 Days Of Christmas (209 words)

On the First Day of Christmas Noel sighed miserably
Alone by her little fir tree.
“It’s not Christmas without company.”

But the mice in the walls overheard…
And they made sure to pass on the word…

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas the door chimed merrily.
Noel answered curiously.
And what in the world should she see?
But…
Twelve moose a-munching
Eleven bears a-lunching
Ten reindeer shedding
Nine otters sledding
Eight foxes yapping
Seven possums napping
Six cats with kittens

Five singing wolves

Four flying squirrels
Three loud crows
Two playful mice
And they said, “We will be company!”
So Noel let them in joyfully.

But before long these hairy, loud guests
Made the house a bewildering mess!
And Noel’s thoughts turned back longingly
To the quiet and peace by her tree!

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas Noel said graciously,
“I thank you for your company.”
And then…
Twelve moose a-munching
Eleven bears a-lunching
Ten reindeer shedding
Nine otters sledding
Eight foxes yapping
Seven possums napping
Six cats with kittens

Five singing wolves

Four flying squirrels
Three loud crows
Two playful mice
Headed off to another party.

On the Twelfth Night of Christmas Noel sighed happily
Alone by her little fir tree…
With one kitten for sweet company.

So now!  Is everyone filled with confidence about their entries?  I certainly hope so after that display!  Never let it be said that I’m not willing to make a fool of myself for you guys 🙂  It just proves how much I love you 🙂

I can’t wait to read all of your (much better!) stories!  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 and want to join the fun.  Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well.  If you just want to enjoy reading, that’s great too!  We need all the readers we can get, so feel free to spread the word to parents and teachers!  And what better way to entertain yourself and your kids while waiting for the holiday goodies to bake?  Or get someone to read aloud while everyone else wraps presents 🙂

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!  OR copy and paste your entry into the comment section if you don’t have a blog!  (I am truly hoping this form and spread sheet will work, but I made them without help at midnight and it’s entirely possible I screwed up!  If that is the case, I will get help to fix them ASAP!!! I experimented with mine and it worked so…fingers crossed!  Please allow several minutes for the list to update and refresh your browser before panicking and thinking your entry didn’t load!)

Rejoice! and let the festivities begin!!! 🙂

And don’t miss the additional 41 fabulous entries in the comment section below!
(Scroll through comments to view)

1.  Sneaky Snoop: A Cautionary Christmas Tale – Rebekah
2.  Bear’s Longest Twelve Days Ever – Karen
3.  The Seven Days Before Hanukkah – Robin
4.  A Woodland Christmas Countdown – Jane
5.  Grandma’s Christmas – Maggie
6.  The Twelve Days Of Zoo Christmas – Kim
7.  The Eight Nights Of Chanukah – Melissa
8.  The Twelve Puppy-Days Of Christmas -Tilly The Spaniel
9.  The Twelve Days Of Giftmas – Mary
10. The Twelve Days Of Christmas – Anita
11. 12 Days After Christmas – Kathryn
12. The 8 Days Of Hanukkah – Leah
13. A Plane Ticket In A Rare Tree – Hermanator
14. Twelve Days Til Christmas – Kathy
15. The Twelve Days Of Petmas – Anne
16. The Christmas Cookie Crook  – Susan
17. Kindness Counts To Twelve! – Tracy
18. A Child’s First 12 Days Of Christmas – Ingrid
19. Sweet Hopeful Hymns We Sing – Rebekah
20. Farmer Bubbe’s Chanukah – Joni
21. Twelve Surprises For Sally – Lorraine
22. The Ways We Celebrate Holidays: A Merry Mash-Up – Jodi
23. The Twelve Days Of Santa’s Surprise – Ann
24. The Twelve Days Of Canadian Winter – Anne
25. The Twelve Days After Christmas – Sam
26. The Christmas Parade – Judy
27. The Twelve Days Of Kittymess -Kristin
28. Chocolate For Santa – Katherine
29. The Sweetest Treat – Lauren
30. A FURever Home For Christmas – Mariah
31. The Twelve Nights Of Christmas – Marie
32. Twelve Crows At Christmas – Jennifer
33. The 12 Emotions Of Arbor Day – Jen
34. Raindrop’s Gift – Robyn
35. A Gift For The Princess – Monica
36. The Woodland Christmas Tree – Lucretia
37. Burrito’s Epiphany Gift – Carmen
38. The Partridge In-A-Pear-Tree – Elizabeth
39. Tis Flu Season – Mona
40. The 12 Gifts Of The Holidays – Liza
41. A Cold And Clammy Christmas? – Shelley

Coming From The Back Of Beyond And Taking You By Complete Surprise…!

Happy Monday, Folks!

Ooh!  Startled you, did I?

Sly as a fox!  Silent as a snake!  Stealthy as a panther!

And you didn’t think I could be stealthy! 🙂

Admit it.

You doubted my ability to sneak up and take you by surprise!

But, by George!, I believe I may have pulled it off today!

Because guess what?

It’s Monday and I’m unexpectedly posting.

And the thing I’m unexpectedly posting about is the upcoming, eagerly awaited, highly anticipated and yet still managing to come barreling at you sideways from out of left field announcement of the. . .

The 6th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!

12-days-1

WA-HOOO!!!! 🙂

The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) using the basic format/concept of The Twelve Days Of Christmas!  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 300 words (I know!  So much freedom after the Halloweensie Contest 🙂 )  (It can be as short as you like (the judges will be grateful 🙂 , you are welcome and encouraged to write shorter, but no more than 300!  Title not included in word count.)  The field is wide open!  Have fun!  The more creative the better!  No illustration notes please. (And yes, if you feel compelled to submit more than one entry you may, just remember you’re competing against yourself!)

 

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between 12:01 AM EST Thursday December 8 and Monday December 12 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on the official holiday contest post which will go up on my blog on Thursday December 8 and remain up through Thursday December 15 for your reading pleasure (no WYRI or PPBF during that week.)  If you don’t have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments on my December 8th post.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I’ll post your entry for you! But please don’t send attachments!  Just copy and paste your story into the email.)  Also, please only post your entry once – either in the comment section of my blog or on the link list.  Also please do NOT send me entries before December 8!

 

The Judging:  My lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 10-12 finalists (depending on the number of entries) which will be posted here on Friday December 16 (or, if we’re desperate for a little extra time, Saturday December 17) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Sunday December 18 at 5 PM EST and the winners will be announced on Monday December 19.  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to tenth place.  Judging criteria will be kid appeal/kid-friendliness, creativity, quality of story, quality of writing, and originality.

 

The Prizes!:  Ok, so as usual I’m still working on the prize list and will have to update, but here are some of the prizes that will be offered, and I think we’re going to have some additional awesomeness to add!:

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

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

s149388948426827116_p1_i8_w450

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

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

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

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

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

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

– . . . and more to come . . .!

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

And now!  Sharpen those pencils!  Top off those coffee mugs!  Get those derrieres in your chairs!  And start writing those prize-winning entries!!!  You’ve got 2 1/2 – 3 weeks (depending on if you post on the first or last day of the contest 🙂 )

I can’t wait for the festivities to begin! 🙂

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 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! 🙂