Gather ‘round, my friends.
Plump up your pillows.
Burrow into your blankets.
Wrap your hands around a gently steaming mug of sweet hot chocolate.
All comfy and cozy?
Lovely! It’s time for a heartwarming story.
Are you ready?
It’s called. . .
Suszelda And Stupid Stupid Optimum
On a dark and stormy night, Suszelda composed furiously by witchlight.
“I’ve a deadline to meet
but this weather’s no TREAT!” she fumed.
Rain lashed. Lightning slashed. Wind howled.
Normally, wild was Suszelda’s favorite weather, but tonight it had sent the mystical power she required to meet her deadline SLITHERING away into the darkness from whence it refused to return.
“Get back here and do your job!” Suszelda shrilled.
But Optimum, recalcitrant snake that it was, stayed sulkily silent.
“You’ll be sorry,” Suszelda shrieked. “Christmas is just around the corner and there will be nothing but Figgy Pudding in your stocking!”
But Optimum would not be threatened and remained annoyingly absent.
“If you come back I’ll give you a pony,” Suszelda sweetly promised.
But Optimum was too clever to take the word of an angry witch.
So Suszelda did the only thing she could.
“EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” she screamed at her high-pitched witchly worst.
And Optimum was scared into submission.
Which is how this post is finally going up! Late, but at long last!
(Because yes, my internet was down from mid-afternoon yesterday until this morning due to a storm!)
But now it is finally time for Suszelda’s big announcement!
Get ready for the. . .
2022 12th Annual Pretty Much World Famous Halloweensie Contest WINNERS!
As you are all well aware, we had another great turnout this year. So many wonderful stories! For me (and I hope for you!), Halloween is far better with a towering stack of Halloweensie stories to read by witchlight (as long as our friend Optimum is feeling cooperative 😊)
With large entry numbers come hard choices, though. 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 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-around well-written stories we loved that just missed the finals for one small reason or another!)
Helen Lai for Halloween Nightmare (fabulous rhyme with a great ending)
Marla Yablon for The Follower (fabulous rhyme, delightfully creepy!)
Melissa Chupp for A Batty Halloween (cute, kid-friendly and funny with a funny ending)
Marianna Sacra for Going As Myself (brave self-acceptance)
Mia Geiger for Truck-or-Treat (kid-friendly truck Halloween with a clever ending)
Sharon Dalgliesh for Little Vampire’s First Halloween (nice play on We’re Going On A Bear Hunt)
Sue Lancaster for Moldy Mayhem (fabulous rhyme, clever premise, delightfully gross)
Mary Ann Cortez for My Teacher Is A Creature (kids aren’t the only ones who can’t handle sweets!)
Judy Caldwell Hughes for Portia Pumpkin Proclaims (an education in pumpkins with poetic use of language)
2. For Great Humor:
Lisa Lowe Stauffer for Tricky Treats (poor, unappreciated peppermints! 😊)
Abigail Mumford for How To Trick-or-Treat If You’re A Snake (nice how-to format, low doorbells indeed 😊)
Kira Barrett for Snake’s Stealthy Solution (tribulations of snake trick-or-treating 😊)
Keatley Eastman for Costume Crisis (when going naked is scarier than most costumes 😊)
3. For Spookiest/Creepy Entry:
Amy Chini for Something Wriggling This Way Comes (so spookily told!)
Trista Herring Baughman for Enter If You Dare (creepy with a shivery ending)
Jessica Milo for Samira’s Potion (a creepy read for 9-12s)
Susan Twiggs for My Dreadfully Dangerous Walk (suspenseful, great tension)
Liz Kehrli for Candi Corn (a Halloween scare for 7s and 8s)
4. For Great Read For Younger Readers:
JC Kelly for Costume Not Required (Little Bat is already ready for Halloween)
Laura Seely-Pollack for Trick Or Treat (nice spook for younger readers)
Annette Bethers for Dad’s First Trick Or Treat (nice twist on who’s helping who)
5. For Creatively Different:
Sarah Hetu for Sense The Way (Halloween with a cane and a service dog)
CJ Penko for The Spiderweb House (a clever way to win Scariest House)
6. For Very Punny 😊:
David Cobb for Costume Drama
7. For Great Use of Language:
Royal Baysinger for Apparition Preparation For A Scary Halloween
Russell Wolff for The Rattlesloth
Kathleen Mazurowski for What Did You See?
8. For Creatively Informative:
Heather Kinser for On Snail-O-Ween (snails)
Corine Timmer for Get Your Glow On (undersea creatures)
Brittany Richman for Jackie Saves Halloween (Jacqueline Kennedy true story)
Helen Ishmurzin for Scarecrows Of Halloween (history of scarecrows)
Congratulations to all of you for fantastic elements of your stories! You may all email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com or use the handy contact form in the menu bar above, subject line Prize Winner to collect your prize, which is (and I have to be cryptic here because when I said it right out last year I got a LO-HO-HOT! of spam email!) a gift of a number of dollars that is between 4 and 6, for a large and well-known online store that begins with A, which will be presented to you in an email 😊 You can spend it on one of the many Kindle choices listed in previous contests here, or add it to your account for a gift for yourself or someone else, or whatever else you might choose to do! In addition, you will receive a beautiful badge of achievement that you may display on your blog or print out and frame or turn into a banner to stream off the back of your broomstick for all the world to marvel at 😊
A word about the prizes before I announce the winners.
We have 14 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 😊
Onto the moment you’ve all been waiting for. . .
. . . THE WINNERS OF THE 2022 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…
Congratulations, Lori! What an absolutely lovely story, well written and very original! We loved it!
In Second Place,
Halloween Night Light
Congratulations, Daniella! Your story was so beautifully written from the very original POV of the candle inside a pumpkin. You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Lori chooses!
In Third Place,
Congratulations, Anne! You hit the nail on the head for 9-12s and delivered a perfect and surprising last line! You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Lori and Daniella choose!
In Fourth Place,
Halloween Is Magic
Congratulations, Kristen! You made us laugh out loud! 😊 You get to pick a prize after Lori, Daniella, and Anne!
In Fifth Place,
The Sweetest Treat
Congratulations, Christina! You spooked us to the core! You get to pick your prize after Lori, Daniella, Anne, and Kristen!
In Sixth Place,
A Shady Halloween
Congratulations, Jennifer! Not only did you manage to work an eclipse into a Halloween story (points for originality), you taught us a little something while you were at it! You get to pick your prize after Lori, Daniella, Anne, Kristen, and Christina!
In Seventh Place,
Trick-orTreat, Shoes To Eat
Congratulations, Ashley! You told a fun story from the POV of a dog that showed us how all the little party-goers were costumed! You get to pick your prize after Jennifer!
In Eighth Place,
Congratulations, Heather! You’ve gotta love a chameleon who scares himself 😊 Funny story, and points for unusual Halloween setting. You get to pick your prize after Ashley!
In Ninth Place,
Scary Goat Scam
Congratulations, Elenore! You made us laugh! Points for unexpected characters in a Halloween story. Isn’t it just like a goat to like the bag even more than the candy! You get to pick a prize after Heather!
In Tenth Place
The Frightful Fugitive
Congratulations, Anne! You delighted us with just the right amount of spook grossness 😊 Very well written! You get to prize pick after Elenore!
In Eleventh Place
Congratulations, Jen! Your funny, kid-friendly story was cleverly told with a promise for scares that made us laugh instead at your snake dressed as a ghost in a sock! You get to pick a prize after Anne!
In Twelfth Place
Congratulations, Deborah! Fantastic job at misleading us and delivering a surprise ending! Well done! You get to pick your prize after Jen!
In Thirteenth Place
A Martian’s Halloween
Congratulations, Angela! Such a sweet story of kindness, and what a clever last line! You get to pick your prize after Deborah!
In Fourteenth Place
Congratulations, Pat! You wrote a kid-friendly, entertaining, Halloween-y story that also taught us something about pumpkins! You get to pick your prize after Angela!
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 or use the handy contact form in the menu above with the subject heading Prize Winner so we can work out details for you to receive your prizes! If you choose a prize that requires snail mailing, PLEASE include your snail mail address so we don’t have to email back and forth too many times 😊 If you would like a beautiful badge to celebrate your accomplishment, you are most welcome to one! Since everyone’s prize depends on everyone else’s choices, please get in touch as soon as you can.
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 truckload of leftover fun-sized chocolate. . . if there is any 😊
Thank you to everyone who helped make this contest SO MUCH FUN, whether by writing an entry, reading people’s stories, leaving comments for the authors, and/or voting in the finals, or by donating a prize! It’s because of all of you that this contest was such a success, so many, many thanks from the bottom of my heart!
And now, you can gear up for the 2022 12th Annual Holiday Contest which opens December 9th!
Woo-hoo! Jingle all the way! 😊
And here are
The Prizes: SO AMAZING! What a generous community we have to donate so much awesomeness!!! 😊
⭐️ Rhyme & Meter Self Study Course – Renee LaTulippe Renée M. LaTulippe is the author of The Crab Ballet (Cameron Kids/Abrams, 2022) and Limelight: Theater Poems to Perform (Charlesbridge, 2024) and has poems published in many anthologies including No World Too Big, Night Wishes, School People, National Geographic’s The Poetry of US, One Minute Till Bedtime, Poems Are Teachers, ThankU: Poems of Gratitude, and A World Full of Poems.
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming or Non-rhyming, Fiction or Nonfiction) with written feedback AND a 30-minute Zoom Chat with children’s author Vivian Kirkfield, author of PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN (Pomegranate, 2019), MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, 2020), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES (Clarion Books, 2021), and SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING (MoneyPenny Press Ltd, 2010)
⭐️ 30 Minute Zoom Ask Me Anything with Rosie Pova author of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU (Spork, April 2017), SARAH’S SONG (Spork, September 2017), SUNDAY RAIN (Lantana Publishing, March 2021), THE SCHOOL OF FAILURE: A STORY ABOUT SUCCESS (Yehoo Press, May 2022), and for Middle Grade readers, HAILEY QUEEN PRANKING MAKES PERFECT: THE ALIEN ENCOUNTER (Spork, April 2017) Rosie does a lot of school visits and presentations, should that happen to be of interest for your Ask Me Anything.
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyming preferred) with Andrea Denish, author of EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE (Astra Young Readers, March 2020), and THE WAY WE SAY HELLO forthcoming from Starry Forest Books February 7, 2023
⭐️ Connecting With School Librarians! Fabulous Opportunity for published or soon to be published authors! Winner’s Choice of either a Zoom or phone chat about how to connect with school librarians and get their ear or an Ask Me Anything Zoom or phone chat about K-8th grade author visits from a librarian’s POV from Kathy Halsey. Kathy Halsey is Storyteller Academy’s Community Manager and Ambassador. She enjoys writing picture books, humor, and nonfiction. Kathy’s active in SCBWI and blogs with other kid lit writers on the GROG. She serves on the Choose to Read Ohio Advisory Council and speaks at educational and literary conferences. Kathy’s a former K-12 school librarian and children’s bookseller. She writes monthly author studies for the Reading for Research Month along with Keila Dawson.
⭐️ 30 Minute Ask Me Anything Zoom Chat (anything relating to writing/publishing) with Penny Parker Klostermann, talented author of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House 2015) and A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE (Random House 2017) as well as the forthcoming SPIDER LADY: Nan Songer and Her Arachnid WWII Army (Astra/Calkins Creek 2025) and another as yet unannounced 😊
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming) PLUS Zoom Chat from developmental editor Lou Piccolo! Lou studied English Literature, creative writing and teaching at university in South Africa. After working as an EFL teacher in France for twenty years, she studied proofreading and editing before becoming a developmental editor of children’s and young adult’s literature for independent authors. She is a graduate of Renee LaTulippe’s Lyrical Language Lab – Punching Up Prose With Poetry course and Making Picture Book Magic, the in-house writer for Editions Entrefilet’s language-learning magazine ‘Go English Kids’ for children of 8-12 in France, and a traditionally published author of MG and YA fiction with Burlington Books.
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique PLUS Zoom Chat with Ellen Leventhal! Ellen is the author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork, 2017), LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork, 2018), HAYFEST: A HOLIDAY QUEST (ABCs Press, 2010), and A FLOOD OF KINDNESS (WorthyKids, 2021)
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyming or non-rhyming) with Kelly Conroy whose poems have been published in 5 anthologies (10.10, wee words for wee ones, October 2021; BETTER THAN STARBUCKS, January 2022; THINGS WE EAT, Pomelo Books, March 2022; THINGS WE FEEL, Pomelo Books, July 2022; WHAT IS A FRIEND, Pomelo Books, October 2022) and also the author of a rhyming board book due out in 2025.
⭐️ 30 Minute Picture Book Zoom Critique Session with Lynne Marie
Lynne Marie is the accomplished author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten – art by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic 2011), Hedgehog’s 100th Day of School – art by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play — art by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares — art by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling 2019 and Scholastic 2019), Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World — art by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books 2019) and The Three Little Pigs And The Rocket Project — art by Wendy Fedan (Mac and Cheese Press 2022) and American Pie — art by Dea Lenihan (Dancing Flamingo Press, April 12, 2022)
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming or Non-rhyming, Fiction or Nonfiction) with a recording of first read-through by children’s author and poet Sarah Meade, contributor to HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING (Pomelo Books, 2020!)
⭐️ 20 Minute Zoom Ask Me Anything with Darshana Khiani, author of HOW TO WEAR A SARI (Versify, June 2021), I’M AN AMERICAN (Viking Books for Young Readers, May 2023), and THE BOYS OF KOH PANYEE (coming Fall 2023)
⭐️ Rate Your Story Speed Pass from Lynne Marie
Please join me in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for birthday, holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, recommending them for school and library visits, recommending their books for school and library purchases, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊