Ho! Ho! Ho! The 7th Annual Holiday Contest is HERE!

 

Deck the halls!

Light the menorah!

Fill the Kikombe cha Umoja!

It’s time for…

7TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY CONTEST!!!

Kangaroo sleigh

 WOO HOO!!!

The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) about A Holiday Surprise!  Any kind of surprise – anything at all! – the more unexpected the better! 🙂  Squirrel in the Christmas Tree?  Snowstorm in Jamaica?  Santa delivering toys from an excavator pulled by a herd of worms?  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 250 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 250!  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 Sunday December 10 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below.  This post will remain up through Friday December 15 for your reading pleasure.  There will be no Perfect Picture Book or Would You Read It posts for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and enjoy.  If you would like to enter but don’t have a blog you are welcome to paste your entry in the comment section below (please be sure to include your byline so that if your posting handle is staysuplate2write or something I’ll be able to tell who you are!)  If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com 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 or by emailing me and asking me to post it.  Multiple postings of the same entry get confusing.

 

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 15 (or, if we’re desperate for a little extra time, Saturday December 16) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Sunday December 17 at 5 PM EST (or Monday December 18th if we need that extra time.)  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to tenth place, and the winners will be announced on Monday December 18 (or Tuesday December 19).

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.  Holiday Surprise! – the rules state a Holiday Surprise story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever you celebrate, and it must contain a surprise! 🙂
  • 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!:  Ok.  This is the moment where I officially admit to probably having bitten off more than I can chew! 🙂   I’ve been in Brazil for the past week, and upon my return was met with some deadlines I have to add into the time equation, in addition to a couple of school visits and getting ready for the holidays and family coming etc.  I wrote my sample entry at the literal 11th hour just before midnight last night.  (That will be extremely obvious when you read it below 🙂 )  So.  I will add to the prizes today and probably have to update them.  My sincere apologies for having over-scheduled my time – it was not intentional! – but I figured you guys would rather have the contest even on a slightly loosey-goosey schedule than not! 🙂

– a critique of a picture-book manuscript or dummy by agent Rachel Orr of Prospect Agency!!!

rachel-orr-2

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

Renee-LaTulippeScreen Shot 2017-10-28 at 8.37.39 AM

– a Picture Book Manuscript Critique from the FABULOUS Vivian Kirkfield, author of the forth coming Sweet Dreams, Sarah and experienced and much-loved critiquer!

vivian-kirkfieldsweet-dreams-new-on-amazon

– a Picture Book Manuscript Critique from the amazing Lori Degman (NORBERT’S BIG DREAM – Sleeping Bear Press 2016, COCK-A-DOODLE OOPS! – Creston Books 2014, 1 ZANY ZOO – Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers 2010) – a terrific choice for any rhymers out there!

Lori Norbert

– a Picture Book Manuscript Critique from the wonderful Amy Dixon (MAURICE THE UNBEASTLY – Sterling Children’s Books 2017, SOPHIE’S ANIMAL PARADE – Sky Pony Press 2015, MARATHON MOUSE – Sky Pony Press 2012)

amy-dixon Maurice

– 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)

2018 Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market  and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.  (2 available)

– a bundle of books! (itemized list forthcoming, good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise)

– 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 that I have really outdone myself this time in the Worst Ever Sample department! 🙂  Are you ready?  Have some chocolate to get you in a good mood! 🙂  But this 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! 🙂

(And as I told you, I wrote it in a jet-lagged stupor at nearly midnight last night and I openly admit that it is 39 words over the word limit because I didn’t have time to make it shorter!)

So really.  Are you ready? 🙂

The Christmas Plan
(289 words because I ran out of time and also am not actually in the contest! 🙂 )

Christmas Eve in Santa’s barnyard,
Secret meeting underway.
Said the cow, “We’d better hurry –
Any time they’ll hitch the sleigh!”

Duck looked ‘round. “Are you all ready?
Everyone know what to do?”
All the others nodded gravely.
“Okay, then, let’s move out, crew!”

Each went in their own direction
Silently through dark and snow.
Pulled their parts off to perfection,
Met up in the workshop’s glow.

Quietly, they filed inside
Where elves were loading up the sleigh.
Santa called, “Let’s hitch the reindeer!
Time we headed on our way!”

Eight elves hurried to the stable
With intent to fetch the deer.
Soon came running back in panic.
“Sir! The team has disappeared!”

Santa bellowed, “Were they stolen?
Kidnapped? Hidden? Just set loose?”
“If you need a quick replacement,
I’ll step in,” said Christmas Goose.

Santa muttered, disbelieving,
“Why’d my team go on the lam?”
“Never mind, Sir, we can help you,”
Kindly offered Christmas Ham.

Moments later, in the harness,
Ham and Goose were joined by Hare,
Christmas Roast Beef, Duck, and Turkey.
Plan still working – almost there!

Santa, looking quite bemused, said,
“I can’t drive this motley crew!”
“Sorry, Sir, we’re out of options.
There is nothing else to do!”

So it was that not much later,
Waiting hidden in the night,
Josie, hoping to see Santa,
Saw a most surprising sight!

Santa’s sleigh with bells a-jingling
Flying high above her head,
Being pulled by. . . Christmas Dinner?!
“This must be a dream!” she said.

But all around the world next day
When fam-i-lies sat down to eat,
Christmas fowl and roasts were absent.
Served instead? Tofurkey feast!

Back inside the North Pole barnyard
Secret meeting once again,
Cow and Duck high-fived the others.
“Here’s to vegetarians!”

 

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 over 3 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 🙂

Rejoice! and let the festivities begin!!! 🙂

Happy Holidays to All! 🙂

And don’t miss the additional 31 fabulous entries in the comment section below!
(Scroll through comments to view)

  1. Santa’s Switches – Nina
  2. Sneak A Peek At Santa – Jennifer B
  3. Just Desserts – Jennifer B
  4. The Christmas Pageant – Carol
  5. A Magpie Holiday – Karen
  6. Foxy, Mr. Fox – Dianne
  7. A Timely Arrival – Beverly
  8. Not Even A Mouse – Ryan
  9. Waiting For The Winter Gift – Elizabeth
  10. Santa’s Christmas SSS-Surprise – Jenny
  11. Santa Patrol – Megan
  12. Vegan Cut-Out Cookies – Megan
  13. Essie The Hen And Her Christmas Surprise – Kaye
  14. La Navidad I’ll Never Forget – Carmen
  15. Santa’s Bad Day – Anne
  16. Tootsie The Wonder Dog’s Best Day Ever – Kathy B
  17. Holiday Mix-Up – Barbara
  18. The Very Last Gift – Judy S
  19. Family Is Home And Home Is Wherever It May Land – Mona
  20. Christmas With Aliens – Brian
  21. Here Comes… – Elaine
  22. The Ballad Of Bella La Frost – Nancy
  23. The Animated Elf – Marvin Strikes Again – Lucretia
  24. Santa’s Delivery Dilemma – Lucretia
  25. Christmas Eve DRAMA – Deborah
  26. Racing The Sun – Jen
  27. A New Day For Mrs. Claus – Laura
  28. The Given Gift – Sarah
  29. Surprise Guests! – Mary
  30. Christmas Eve Surprises – Jim
  31. A Visit From Santa – Judy V

A Special Saturday Surprise For YOU!

YOO HOO!

May I have your attention for one second please?

I know it’s Black Friday Weekend, and also the Official Kick Off of Holiday Decorating, so you are all no doubt charging through the aisles of Target and Home Depot at this very moment draped in tinsel and brandishing menorahs with multicolored bulbs at anything that threatens your forward progress, your wallet significantly lighter and your thoughts single-mindedly focused on the left-over pumpkin pie that’s going to sustain you through seven hours of blowing up inflatable Santas and hanging from the roof edge by your fingernails whilst you string lights when you get home, and heaven knows I do not want to interfere with any of THAT!

But it occurred to me that you might want something helpfully distracting to think about whilst you were trying desperately not to think about what airspeed velocity you might attain should your fingernails lose their grip on that roof edge and send you hurtling toward the ground, and whether all that pie you ate would be enough to cushion your landing or simply act as ballast to speed your descent . . .

And you know how much I like to be helpful to you. . . 🙂

So. . .

. . . how about we get the old noggin on the job of thinking up your story entry for the

7TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY CONTEST!!!

Kangaroo sleigh

Isn’t that a great idea???!!! 🙂

Here are the Official Contest Rules! 🙂

The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) about A Holiday Surprise!  Any kind of surprise – anything at all! – the more unexpected the better! 🙂  Squirrel in the Christmas Tree?  Snowstorm in Jamaica?  Santa delivering toys from an excavator pulled by a herd of worms?  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 250 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 250!  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 7 and Sunday December 10 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 7 and remain up through Friday December 15 for your reading pleasure.  There will be no Perfect Picture Book or Would You Read It posts for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and enjoy.  If you would like to enter but don’t have a blog you are welcome to paste your entry in the comment section of my December 7th post when it goes up.  If you have trouble commenting, you can email me.  (We’ll go over this part in more detail on the December 7th post! 🙂 )

 

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 15 (or, if we’re desperate for a little extra time, Saturday December 16) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Sunday December 17 at 5 PM EST (or Monday December 18th if we need that extra time.)  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to tenth place, and the winners will be announced on Monday December 18 (or Tuesday December 19).

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.  Holiday Surprise! – the rules state a Holiday Surprise story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever you celebrate, and it must contain a surprise! 🙂
  • 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!:  Ok, I’m leaving the country Monday (seriously! – the day after tomorrow! – I am not making that up! 🙂 ) and have yet to finish getting the prizes organized, so I apologize for not including them in today’s post.  But I wanted to get the guidelines up so you guys would have as much time as possible to work on your stories!  Stay tuned for the prizes.  I promise they will be as good as I can make them! 🙂

So there you have it!  Fire up those brain cells!  After you hopefully don’t fall off the roof stringing lights or sprain your ankle barreling through Target with your shopping cart, grab a cup of hot chocolate, plonk your tiny hiney into a comfy chair, and get to writing your potentially prize-winning Holiday Surprise story!!!

On your mark…

…get set…

…GO!

I am SO looking forward to getting to read all your stories!!!

Have a great rest of the weekend and really try not to fall off the roof! 🙂

 

The 2017 Halloweensie Contest WINNERS!!!

Golly, would you look at us?!

We are something else, aren’t we?

Masters of accomplishment!

All the way to Friday already!

Which of course means Perfect Picture Books.

Except for today.

Today it does not mean Perfect Picture Books.

This is because the people in charge around here have had a scheduling foul-up of monstrous proportions which clearly took place in the shadowy underbelly of the administration and left us all in a rut as sticky as candy corn!

There is no other explanation.

Although, now that I think about it, it may have been that, due to budget cuts, the lighting was extremely dim, making it very difficult to discern what was written on the calendar amongst the long shadows cast by the one remaining light bulb, and the PICOS (Person In Charge Of Scheduling…er… which would be me) was so hopped up on candy corn that she was trying to make sense of the schedule whilst dancing the monster mash and thus failed to realize that today – Friday – was supposed to be for Perfect Picture Books.

I think it must have been that.

Unless…

It’s just possible that an army of candy corn led by General Sugarshadow rumbled into my office in orange camo monster trucks and staged a coups, and the new regime insists that every day is National Tri-Colored Undigestible Candy Day and to heck with perfect picture books because they are not made out of sugar nor can they be used as a traction aid in inclement weather.

Be that as it may, according to my sources it is Friday.  And that means, it’s time for Perfect Picture Books.  So let’s get to it, shall we?

Oh.

Wait a minute.

Didn’t some monstrously candy-corn-headed nitwit just say something shadowy about a scheduling conflict?

I’ll have my people get in touch with your people and sort this whole scheduling conundrum out!

Meanwhile, perhaps you’d like to engage in the age-old debate over pop-tarts: toast them? or eat them cold?  Where do you weigh in on this critical issue?

Or maybe we should discuss the qualifications one should look for in a scheduling assistant… because clearly I could use some advice…

Or maybe…

…just maybe…

you’d like to hear about

THE WINNERS
OF
The 7th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!

WA-HOOOOOOO!!!!!

 

As you are all aware by now, we had a record turnout for the Halloweensie Contest – 244 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!)

Vanessa Marcus for Scary To Someone

Ryan Roberts for Pumpkin Patch

Jennifer Buchet for Gobblewolly’s Halloweensie Treasure

Katherine Rothstein for Sharkcula

Joni Klein-Higger for Ten Dancing Monsters

Jen Bagan for Shadow Monster

Nancy Granberry for Monster Had A Little Ghost

Nancy Riley for Monster’s Woe

Jill Proctor for Monster Marathon

Delfina Salimbene for The Sweet Tooth Trick Or Treat

Jennifer Raudenbush for Montgomery Monster

 

 

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

Greg Bray for Killer Candy Corn Costume

Ann Martin for Who Scared Who? (also very cute story!)

Diana (Peach?) for Monster Under The Bed

 

3.  For Best Descriptive/Mood Piece:

Terri Ross for Witchy (delightfully Halloweensie mood)

Meryl Cullom for Watch Out! (spooky)

 

4.  For Best Use of Poetic Language: (not already in the finals)

Maria Marshall for A Halloween Treasure (lovely mood)

Janie Reinart for Parade Of Horribles (spooky mood)

 

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

Brianna Zamborsky for The Lock

Lynley Stace for Sweetie

 

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

Nina Q. Haines for Broomstick Sale

Sandy Perlic for Trick Or Treats For Monster?

 

7. For Sweetest Entry: (not already in the finals)

Jennifer Prevost for Candie’s Monster Shadows

Candace Kubinec for No Costume Required

 

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

Kaye Baillie for House Hates Halloween (POV of a haunted house)

 

9. For Fun Concept With Great Potential:

B.L. Bachman for Witch Hiccups

 

10.  For Favorite Character:

Julie Abery for her Teensy-Weensy Witch

Jean James for her Evil Dr. Gerbil 🙂

 

11.  For Best Entry In 12 Words! 🙂 :

Danielle Hammelef for A Shadow’s Secret

 

12. For Cleverest Parody Close To Judge #1’s Heart 🙂 :

Julie LaCombe for When Your Monster Has The Sneazles

 

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

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

In paperback: (PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR SNAIL MAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR EMAIL!)

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

OR

If you already have all these, or can’t decide, or want to build up your wish list fund:

A $5 Amazon Email Gift Certificate

Now then.  A word about the prizes before I announce the winners.

We have 12 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 shadows under your bleary eyes. . .

. . . and the candy corn that is stuck in your monsterly bed head!!!

. . . THE WINNERS OF THE 2017 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…

Dawn Young

for

Clomp, Stomp, Chomp!

Congratulations, Dawn, on a delightful and humorous entry with good tension that was all around well done and clearly very popular!!!

In Second Place,

Debbie Day

for

Attack Of The Vampire Cookie

Congratulations, Debbie, on a creative, wonderfully written entry with a great title! You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Dawn chooses!

In Third Place,

Lucretia Schafroth
 for

Marvin…The Monster

 

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

In Fourth Place,

Jennifer Broedel
for
Beware The Candysnatch

Congratulations, Jennifer, on a fun version of the classic rhyme with a great ending!  You get to pick a prize after Dawn, Debbie, and Lucretia!

In Fifth Place,

Judy Sobanski
for
Vampire Has A Sweet Tooth

Congratulations, Judy, on your well written entry with a resourceful MC!  You get to pick your prize after Dawn, Debbie, Lucretia, and Jennifer!

In Sixth Place,

Kelly Conroy

for

Werewolf Trick Or Treat

Congratulations, Kelly, on your well written just-the-right-amount-of-scary entry! You get to pick your prize after Dawn, Debbie, Lucretia, Jennifer, and Judy!

In Seventh Place,

Jessica Bennett
for
Shadow Play

Congratulations, Jessica, on your delightfully spooky story!  I’m sure you get the idea of the prize picking by now! 🙂

In Eighth Place,

Chambrae Griffith
for
Boogley’s Halloween

Congratulations, Chambrae, for a wonderful character and well written story with a nice surprise ending!  You get to pick your prize after Jessica.

In Ninth Place

Susie Sawyer
for
The Scariest House On The Block

Congratulations, Susie, on your humorous depiction of every kid’s worst Halloween nightmare 🙂  You get to prize pick after Chambrae.

In Tenth Place,

Katie Frawley
for
Vampette’s Visions

Congratulations, Katie, on a fun backward twist of an entry that we all loved!  You get to pick a prize after Susie…!

In Eleventh Place, a tie between

Jennifer Cole Judd                        and                  Sara Gentry
for                                                                         for
Bathilda’s Scary Surprise                                Jimmy’s Nighttime Guest

Congratulations Jen and Sara on your wonderful, kid-friendly, fun-spooky entries!  You two will have to fight over the last two prizes, but I’ll give priority to whoever emails me first 🙂

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 12 (Christine and Deborah) may also contact me for their choice of the Kindle or paperback prizes listed above.  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 🙂

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

The 7th 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 (maybe the Saturday after Thanksgiving, good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise! 🙂 ) so you all have time to work on your stories!

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

The Prizes:

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

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 10.55.48 PM

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

 

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

Penny Klostermann

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

julie h

Julie Hedlund

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

0c24b-cori_bio_pic

Cori Doerrfeld

– a picture book manuscript critique from talented author Lynne Marie (HEDGEHOG GOES TO KINDERGARTEN – Scholastic 2011, HEDGEHOG’S 100th DAY OF SCHOOL –  Scholastic 2017, THE STAR OF THE CHRISTMAS PLAY – Sparkhouse Family 2018 and MOLDILOCKS AND THE 3 SCARES – Sterling, TBA. Her stories, articles and poems have appeared in many magazines, including Family Fun, Highlights, High Five, Spider and Baby Bug. She’s a Feature Columnist/On-staff writer for Children’s Book Insider, a book reviewer and a 2016/17 Cybils Picture Book Panelist. She’s a former New Yorker who now lives a simpler life on a lake in South Florida with her daughter and several resident water birds.

lynne marie

Lynne Marie

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

heather burnell

Heather Burnell

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Manjhi

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

woof and quack

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

The 2017 Halloweensie Contest FINALISTS! (at long last…!)

Hello, Everybodeeee!

SO nice of you to drop by for a Monday morning visit!

Pull your chair up to the kitchen table and pour yourselves a cup of tea or coffee while I rummage about and see what kind of second breakfast goodies I have around here…

Hmmm…..

Ah!

How about this?

assorted breakfast pastries             breakfast pastries 2

Luckily I always keep a few plates of assorted pastries on hand just in case someone should drop by.  My motto is: be prepared!  Also: breakfast is the most important meal of the day… and should therefore be eaten at least twice! (Clearly I could have been a girl scout…if I had been so inclined…! 🙂 )

So, how’re things?  What’s new?

I think there’s something important we need to talk about…

Yes….

I’m referring to that most critical of topics!

Are you ready?

Well then…

How early is too early to put up your Holiday Decorations?

And while we’re at it, when is it really okay to start listening to Holiday Music?

Now, I know some people never take their decorations down.  That certainly saves time and work!

And I, personally, have been known to get Holly Jolly Christmas stuck in my head in July, for no reason I can ever seem to pinpoint!

But I think most people would argue that…

What?

You couldn’t care less?

Really?!

About something as VERY CRUCIAL as the appropriate putting up of decorations and belting out of holiday tunes?!

So what brought you over for coffee hour, then?

Halloween?

Halloween is over!

Why on earth would we want to talk about that?

Oohhhh….

Halloweensie!

Right!

You want to know who the 2017 Halloweensie Writing Contest Finalists are!!!

(And here I thought you just came for the pleasure of my company… and maybe the chocolate croissants…! 🙂 )

All righty, then!  If that’s what you want, Here. We. Go!

We had the biggest turn out we’ve ever had in terms of number of entries – 244! – and the overall quality of the entries was fantastic.  Every contest I am thrilled to see that the quality of the entries has gone up yet another notch.  This means there are fewer obvious standouts, almost none that are easy to cut, and there are a LOT of very good ones that we have to get very nit-picky over!  It is agony, I tell you!

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

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

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

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

Now.  Onto the judging criteria which were as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

A surprising number of this year’s entries were amazingly written… but in spite of the warning, still failed to really tell a story.  This is SO TOUGH in 100 words – I totally get it.  But some people managed better than others.  There were any number of entries that were superbly written that we wanted to choose, but when we got right down to it, there really just wasn’t much story… not compared to some of the other entries that really managed to tell one.  They were more descriptions, lists, or mood pieces.  So as awesome as they were, we had to make some very hard calls.  A couple were too adult.  Some, because of the cruelly limiting word count were a little hard to follow.  Some of the rhyming ones we really liked were too off-meter to make the cut.  Some entries were just so close, but missed out because of one relatively small thing!  One of our favorites – a clever, fun story we all enjoyed – switched verb tenses repeatedly from present to past and we had to let it go!  Another of our favorites was written in rhyme, and while the 2nd-4th stanzas were okay, the first one never found its rhythm and didn’t flow or match the other stanzas. So we had to cut that one 😦  A couple of others were interesting and educational in a nonfiction-y way, but didn’t feel as much like stories to us as we wanted them to.   GAH!  So hard!

So, without further ado, I present to you the 2017 Halloweensie Contest Finalists.  A mix of poetry and prose, stories for younger readers and slightly older (but still kid) readers, funny, spooky, and cute.  Please read through them carefully, take your time, think it over, and vote for your favorite.  To help with objectivity, finalists are listed by title only, not by author.

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

So here we go!

#1 Attack Of The Vampire Cookie
On Halloween morning, a cookie is baked,
frosted in crimson and black.
With candy corn fangs and peppermint eyes,
it’s finished –  a vampire bat.

On Halloween midday, the party guests come,
craving a Halloween treat.
Before they can reach the desserts on the shelf,
a cookie escapes to the street.

On Halloween evening, up in the sky
Something bizarre is in flight.
A shadowy monster with candy corn fangs
is looking for children to bite.

On Halloween night, while kids trick-or-treat,
a creature descends, mean and vicious.
“Look!” says a child, “caught in this branch,
a bat cookie. Mmmm, tastes delicious!”

#2 Vampette’s Visions
Little Vampette snuggled into her coffin.
When I wake, it will be Halloween Night!
But soon…
SNIFFLE,
SNUFFLE,
SMOOCH!
“Bunnies!” Vampette shrieked.
She tossed them some candy-corn to satisfy their hunger and slammed the coffin lid.
Vampette peeped out. All was quiet, until…
FLITTER,
FLUTTER,
FLY!
“Butterflies!”
She flung death lilies at the swarm and ducked back into her coffin.
Vampette settle down once more, until…
SQUEAK,
CREAK,
CRACK!
Vampette lifted her lid and peeked out.
A shadow fell across her coffin.
“Wake up, little monster. It’s Halloween Night!”
“Mummy?”
“You were having a daymare!”
Vampette sighed. “Phew. Happy Halloween!”

#3 Boogley’s Halloween
Boogley brewed up something sweet,
a candy-corny scrumptious treat.
But when the shadows crept around,
no trick-or-treaters could be found.
“I wish they’d knock upon my door.
Don’t be frightened, I won’t roar.”
He brushed his fangs, shined up his horns,
cleared the webs and trimmed the thorns.
He heard a creak, “Is ss-someone there?”
He grabbed his tasty treat to share.
The breeze howled in, lights flickered low,
then Boogley saw an eerie glow.
A monster with a crown and wand,
gleaming eyes and curls of blond.
He backed up slow, in full retreat,
that’s when she shouted…
“TRICK-OR-TREAT!”

#4 Shadow Play
House creaks.
Witch-hand branches scratch.
Moon sails in ghostly clouds on Halloween night.
Big sister, so grown up, hands out candy.
She looks bored.
I’ll fix that.
Flashlight: check.
Dracula cape: check.
Candy corn fangs: check.
The shadow creeps down the staircase ahead of me.
Vampire wings flap, teeth bare.
The monstrous shape crosses the door,
touches her shoulder.
“Marcellllaaa…” it hisses.
Shrieks and screams!
M&M’s everywhere!
Mini candy bars fly like shotgun shells.
Marcella sprawls among the rubble.
“You almost scared me to death!”
But now I crouch beside her,
staring at the shadow
still
looming
over
us.

#5 Vampire Has A Sweet Tooth
Young Victor Vampire moped because he’d lost his second fang.
“A toothless ghoul just isn’t cool!” he told his monster gang.
“I feel ya, dude, said Skelton. “Last year I broke a bone.”
“My throat was sore,” said Frankie Stein. “I couldn’t growl or moan.”
Vic huddled in the shadows while he sucked on candy corn.
“This is the ONLY Halloween I’ve missed since I was born!”
Then suddenly Vic smiled wide, as happy as could be.
The candy corn became his fangs,
“Hey monsters…wait for me!

#6 Marvin…The Monster
Marvin tucked himself into the corner. He couldn’t risk anyone seeing him lurking…watching…
waiting…
for the Trick-or-Treaters.
He’d prepared for months, laser-focused on tonight’s mission…
finding the perfect spot…
mastering a flawless special effect…
to thoroughly spook the costumed kids.
As children swarmed onto the porch, Marvin jumped in front of the light…
striking his ninja pose…
casting a huge, creepy shadow…
and screeched, “BOOO!”
“MONSTER! RUN!” shrieked the kids.
Dropping their Halloween loot, they careened off the porch.
Tasting a piece while carrying the bounty to his lair, …
Marvin, the chipmunk, thought…
‘OPERATION CANDY CORN’…
SUCCESS!

#7 Bathilda’s Scary Surprise
Bathilda haunts the shadowed streets,
watching kids munch trick-or-treats.
She moans: “There are no treats for me,
when those monsters all run free!
Candy corn and gummi bears–
I get nothing for my scares!
On Halloween, I’m always bored,
but this year, I won’t be ignored.”
Into the moonlight, thin and pale,
she leaps and groans a ghastly wail.
The startled children flee in fright.
Bathilda cackles with delight.
She gathers up forgotten snacks
from all of the abandoned sacks.
Then moans again, “It all looks sweet,
but I forgot that ghosts can’t eat!”

#8 Beware The Candysnatch
It’s Halloween night, and I’m snug in my bed,
as visions of candy corn dance in my head.
The night’s trick-or-treating brought in quite the haul
of candy bars, lollipops, bubble gum all
hidden, tucked carefully under my covers.
And yet, I feel certain a monster still hovers.
It’s not the dark shadows that trouble me most.
I fear no rogue werewolf, aged mummy, or ghost.
The sinister phantom I worry about
is lurking beside me now, snatching claws out.
A theft-proof alarm bell just might come in handy…
My sister wants ALL of my Halloween candy.

#9 Unveiled Terror
Fear of Halloween monsters has kept Jack hiding since nightfall. He’s had nothing to eat but stale candy corn. His rumbling stomach and aching muscles now coax him from his cramped refuge.

With his first cautious movement, chaos erupts! Jack’s body is bound. His legs tangle. A hood envelops his head. Something grabs Jack and whips him into the air.

Jack gasps in horror when he glimpses a ghostly shadow through his veil. The cover is torn from his face, thrusting him into brightness. He trembles as a voice cackles,

“Jack, you silly dog! Stop dragging the sheets off my bed.”

#10 CLOMP, STOMP, CHOMP!
CLOMP CLOMP
There’s a noise and I’m no longer sleeping
and Yikes! there’s a shadow that’s crawling and creeping.
It’s hairy and scary and has a huge horn.
monster that’ s growling, “Me want candy corn!”
It grunts and it groans and it’s down on all fours.
I toss my whole bag to the creature, “It’s yours!”
I’m under the covers and scared half to death.
I quietly peek out while holding my breath.
It enters. STOMP STOMP
Comes closer. CHOMP CHOMP
Hey wait!
That big beast with the horrible horn?
Is my sister, still dressed as a pink unicorn!

#11 Lulu And Betty’s World Record
Lulu’s pumpkin overshadowed the vegetable patch.
“Time for the World Record weigh-in!” Lulu told Betty, her chicken.
Betty tilted her head… and went back to chomping candy corn.
Lulu embraced her pumpkin and heeeeaaaved….
THUMP!
Lulu scratched her head, “Why are you so light?”
Lulu tapped: hollow! And monster teeth marks blighted the squash’s skin.
“Noooo! I won’t win now.”
Betty pecked the deflated pumpkin.
“Perfect!” said Lulu, clapping.
Lulu carved for hours following Betty’s pecks.
On Halloween night Lulu and Betty’s pumpkin illuminated the town. And smashed the biggest jack-o’-lantern world record.

#12 Werewolf Trick Or Treat
The werewolf wore his costume.
His sack jam-packed with treats,
Like candy corn and Snickers,
He couldn’t wait to eat.

But lurking in the forest,
There was a gruesome pack,
Who shot out from the shadows,
To steal the werewolf’s sack.

The werewolf chased the trio,
Down sidewalks and through lawns,
But when he caught up to them,
The candy was all gone.

“You monsters ate my candy!”
His rage began to brew.
“The candy’s in your bellies…
So now I must eat you.”

#13 The Scariest House On The Block
“Brace yourself, Bobby,” Penelope said.
Anxiety’s shadow enveloped his head.
“Why me?” Bobby whimpered, his voice growing thin.
“Because it’s your turn,” she replied with a grin.
He knocked on the door, and its monstrous feet
approached with a rhythmic, unwavering beat.
It opened the door and met Bobby’s eye.
“Trick or Treat,” Bobby mumbled and tried not to cry.
With a candy corn smile and breath just as gross,
it grabbed Bobby’s head and pulled him in close.
Then … SMACK!—its red lips planted square on his face.
Bobby suffered a kiss from his Aunt Mary Grace.

#14 Jimmy’s Nighttime Guest
Jimmy lay awake in bed,
quaking, shaking, filled with dread.
Shadows cast upon the wall
must mean monsters came to call.

One stood like a triangle,
pointy, tall, and terrible.
Jimmy wondered if this beast
hunted for its dinner feast.

Peeking out behind his sheet,
bracing for a sure defeat,
waiting for a monster raid,
Jimmy felt his courage fade.

Trembling in his bed with fright,
Jimmy reached out for the light,
never to expect this sight.

Resting on the radio,
something blocked his night-light’s glow.
Not a monster’s tooth or horn –
one small piece of candy corn!

 

Now that you’ve had a chance to read through the finalists, please vote for the entry you feel deserves to win in the poll below by 12PM EST (Noon) Thursday November 16.

We will have a regularly scheduled Would You Read It on Wednesday, but I want to make sure everyone gets a chance to read and vote on Halloweensie.

Tune in Friday November 17 to see THE WINNERS!!!  (yeah… we’re going to have to skip PPBF because of the timing getting messed up by the judging taking so long – sorry about that!)

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 Friday… same bat time, same bat station 🙂

(Although don’t forget WYRI on Wednesday!)

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

Okay.

Not really.

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

But there might still be chocolate involved 🙂

Have a marvelous Monday everyone!!!  And please make sure you VOTE!  With this many finalists, we will need A LOT of votes!

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

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

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

. . .but instead. . .

EVEN BETTER!. . .

. . .I’m announcing. . .

. . .get ready for it. . . !

The 7th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!

halloweensie-pumpkin

~ for children’s writers ~

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

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

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

Judging criteria will be as follows:

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

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

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

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 10.55.48 PM

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

julie h

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

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

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

Plus stay tuned because other great stuff is coming! 🙂

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

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

So sharpen your pencils!

Get your butt in that chair!

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

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

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

Have a Marvelous Monday everyone! 🙂

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!

The 2nd Annual Valentiny Contest FINALISTS!!!

Okay.  So this is the part where we pretend it’s Monday morning instead of Monday fashionably late evening 🙂

(Don’t look at the clock!  You’re only imaging that it’s nearly midnight and basically Tuesday for all intents and purposes!)

You have only yourselves to blame!

There we were. . .

Three innocent judges minding our own business, confident in our ability to choose a group of finalists for this contest, happily gobbling heart-shaped chocolates whilst sipping delicious coffee from writerly-themed mugs, glasses perched, pens in hand, ready to make informed decisions, and . . .

. . . WHAM!!!

We were blind-sided by such a landslide of unrivaled entries that we quickly found ourselves overwhelmed by awesomeness to the point where we had to drag in an extra judge to help settle disputes that threatened to become physically violent!

A certain amount of knock-down-drag-out-fighting confusion ensued over what, exactly, constituted “confusion” as opposed to frustration, indecision, lack of knowledge,  coordination and/or ability, or just plain ole mystery!  Someone, (ahem!), should have thought more carefully before choosing confusion as the emotion.  It will NOT happen again! 🙂

If it weren’t for the quick thinking of Judge #1 (moi) who cleverly thought to break up the fight with a box of glazed chocolate Munchkins (no comment on exactly how those Munchkins were used to break up said fight, but let’s just say some of us grew up with brothers and have experience with sling shots and very precise aim… 🙂 ), or it might have ended in injury!

Luckily for all involved, a little Munchkin magic was worked, we all simmered down, and by some miracle we managed to come to some kind of contentious consensus.

May I present to you . . .

The 2nd Annual Valentiny Writing Contest

valentinywriting-contest2017

FINALISTS!!!

 

And may I just say, once again, that the quality of entries in these contests is improving every time.  This means there are fewer obvious standouts, almost none that are easy to cut, and there a LOT of very good ones that we have to get very nit-picky over!  It is agony, I tell you!  Hence the Munchkin mayhem!

Before we get to the actual list of finalists, I have a couple things to say.  (I know you’re shocked as I’m normally such a girl of few words :))

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

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

Third, before I list the finalists, I want to say again how difficult it was too choose!  There were so many amazing entries.  Really.  I could find at least something terrific about every single one.  The sheer volume of entries meant that many good ones had to be cut.  So if yours didn’t make the final cut please don’t feel bad.  There was a huge amount of competition.  Judging, no matter how hard we try to be objective, is always subjective at a certain point – we all have our own preferences for what makes a great story.  And the fact that you didn’t make the final cut DOES NOT mean you didn’t write a great story.  Everyone who plonked their butt in a chair and worked hard to write a story for this contest is a winner!  You showed up.  You did your best work.  You practiced your craft.  You wrote to specifications and a deadline.  You bravely shared your writing with the world.  And you have a brand new story that is now yours to expand beyond 214 words if you like and maybe submit at some point to a magazine or as a PB manuscript.  So bravo to everyone who entered!

Now.  Onto the judging criteria which were as follows:

  1. Kid-appeal/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! 🙂

We really tried to choose stories that did the best job of fulfilling ALL the judging criteria.  There were some truly wonderful stories that didn’t have much to do with Valentines Day (remember – it was supposed to be a Valentines Day Story for kids), or didn’t seem to really showcase confusion, or didn’t seem particularly kid-oriented even though they were very creative and well-written, or that really had us…until the last line or two when things sadly fell apart.  We tried our best to select finalists that checked all the boxes.

So without further ado, I present to you the finalists in the 2017 Second Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!  Please read through them carefully, take your time, think it over, and vote for your favorite in the poll below by Thursday February 23 at 12 PM (noon) Eastern time.

To help with objectivity, finalists are listed by title only, not by author.

And I’d like to be very clear about the voting process.  You are MOST welcome to share a link to this post on FB, twitter, or wherever you like to hang out, and encourage people to come read ALL the finalists and vote for the one they think is best.  Please do that.  The more people who read and enjoy these stories the better, and the more objective votes we get the better.  HOWEVER (and I want to be very clear on this) please do not ask people to vote for a specific number or title, or for the story about the most confused baby in the playpen 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.

#1 Banana In Love: A Valentiny Knock-Knock Story

Banana gathered his courage. Flowers in hand, he stepped up to Orange’s door.
Knock! Knock!
“Who’s there?”
“Banana.”
“Banana who?”
“Banana who?!? I live next door!”
“Are you the red, shiny, popular guy who brought me flowers last week?”
“No…” Banana sighed and glanced at his flowers. “That’s Apple.”
“Oh. Are you the short, funny, fuzzy guy who brought me chocolates?”
“No!” Banana rolled his eyes. “That’s Kiwi!”
“Aw. So, you’re the squishy guy, who wrote me that poem, ‘What It Means to Be a Fruit’?”
“No, no, no! That’s Tomato! Look, never mind. I’m gonna split.”
“Wait!” shouted Orange. “If you’re not them… By chance, are you the tall, yellow, handsome guy that I find so….”
Orange flung open the door.
“….appealing?!”
Banana and Orange looked into each other’s eyes.
Banana cleared his throat. “Orange, you going to be my Valentine?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”

#2 A Mixed Up Valentine

Charlie Thomas carefully cut and pasted, glittered and glued, wrote and colored. Then, he sat back and admired the valentine he’d made for Rose. Charlie had adored Rose since Kindergarten, and every year he created a special card just for her.

When he finished admiring the card, he carefully placed it on her desk and returned to his seat. Just then, Sam passed down that aisle. The breeze he created when passing caused the card to float to the floor next to Jenny’s desk.

Jenny entered the class shortly afterwards and noticed what she thought was a note. She picked it up, looked around, and decided it was for her. Carefully she unfolded the heart shaped card and began to read. She smiled at the signature that said__ Love Charlie.

Jenny had adored Charlie Smith since kindergarten. She walked to Charlie’s desk, bent down so they were eye to eye, and hugged him around his neck. Charlie turned bright red. He wasn’t sure why Jenny had hugged him, but he had admired her since kindergarten, so he didn’t mind at all.

#3 Lilla, Not Just Vanilla (A Tiny Self-Love Story)

Lilla was a plain, ol’, donut hole.
Whenever a fancier donut rolled by, her tummy ached.
Strawberry icing…chocolate coating…snazzy sprinkles…nut topping…coconut flakes…
“I don’t even have a sugar glaze,” she sniffed.
“Cheer up, lil’ lump!” said Mini Muffin. “You’re just…vanilla. Vanilla is exotic! Vanilla comes from Madagascar.”
“But I don’t wanna be ‘just vanilla’!’” said Lilla.
She wanted to be a little something extra. But extra what?
On Valentine’s Day, Lilla decided a makeover was just the treat she needed.
She took the Rainbow Sprinkle Plunge.
The sprinkles wouldn’t stick.
She showered in powdered sugar.
COUGH-COUGH! COUGH-COUGH!
She even went cinny-dipping.
Aaaaaaaaaaaah-AACHOOO!
Lilla lolled about, lost. Her tummy only ached more.
She rolled, roly-poly-slowly, to the doctor’s.
“Flavor?” said Dr. Cruller.
“Plain,” said Lilla.
“Hmm…”  Flummoxed, Dr. Cruller ran one final test.
“Well, well, well. You aren’t so ‘plain’ after all, Lilla.”
Lilla peered at the x-ray. She saw a secret kiss of raspberry jelly, baked right inside her.
“I’m a surprise-inside kind of cake?!” she cried.
“No one will ever know unless you smile,” he said.
Lilla’s tummy ache faded.
BOING! She bounced out of the doctor’s, beaming.
“MINI! I’m not JUST vanilla!”
And from then on, everybody knew it.

#4 Never Text A Valentine

Happy V-Day to my BESTIE! Won’t you bovine?

Bovine?

No, I mean pea vine.
Beeline
Benign!
Stupid auto car wreck.

What???!!!
Are you OK?
What happened?

BFF? Are you there?
Hey! Why don’t you answer???

Sorry, phone died.

How did the car get wrecked?

What are you talking about?

You said your auto got in a car wreck.

What? No!  The car’s fine.

Whew!

It’s my phone. Keeps autocorrecting my worms.
words.

Oh, gotcha.

I was trying to say
Be
Mine

TY! Slime to you!

Um gist going to call.

K

 

#5 Sebastian, Say Something

Nell held in her hands three Valentine’s cards
She made in her class during Art.
Miss Polly, her teacher, had helped her to trace,
Then carefully cut out each heart.

Nell glued them on paper she’d folded in half.
Miss Polly had said they looked good.
She wrote on each inside, “I love you so much!”
As well as an eight-year old could.

But now as she held them, while perched on the bed
She slept in the end of each week,
Nell said to Sebastian, her step-mother’s cat,
“Sebastian, I wish you could speak!”

“I know I have known you for only two years.
And clearly, at first I was mad.
I wanted my parents to stay as they were,
But your mommy married my dad.

“I hated to come here; I hated you all.
Leaving my mother was hard,
But your mommy, Susan’s, been ever so nice.
Now, I want to give her this card.

“Sebastian, the problem’s my mother still cries.
I’m worried what harm I might do
By giving to Susan this Valentine’s card
And telling her I love her too.

“So, give me some signal, a simple meow
Or purr to convince me I’m right,
But hurry Sebastian; she’s coming in soon
To hug me and kiss me goodnight!”

#6 Too Many Mannys

“Look,” said Manny Mooney. “I found a valentine on Penny Pepper’s desk. It says, ‘For my marvelous Manny. You do the funniest things!’”

“It must be for me,” said Manny Mackey. “I mimic messy monkeys.”

“Or, it could be for me,” said Manny Meany. “I march through muddy muck.”

“No, it’s for me,” said Manny Murphy. “I make myself milkshake mustaches.”

“You forget about me,” said Manny Mitty. “I moo to mixed-up music.”

“And what about me,” said Manny Moony. “I mumble with a mouthful of mini-marshmallows.”

All five Mannys held onto the valentine and performed their funny feats.

Penny Pepper pranced in and was perfectly perplexed.

“What are you doing with my valentine?” She asked.

All of the Mannys answered at once, “I’m proving this valentine was meant for me.”

“Oh,” said Penny Pepper, “this valentine is not for Manny Mackey, Manny Meany, Manny Murphy, Manny Mitty, OR Manny Mooney.”

“But there are no more Mannys” said the many Mannys.

“If you look closer,” said Penny Pepper, “this valentine says, ‘For my marvelous Mommy.’ I’m bringing this one home.”

#7 A Picture-Perfect Valentine

Moose eyed the pile of valentines. On top was a handmade card from Maya. Honestly, he was surprised to see any valentines, let alone one from Maya.

On the card, she’d drawn a doughnut with sprinkles. “Sweet?” Moose whispered. “Sweetie? Sweet Thing?”

Next was a picture of something with wings. “A bee,” thought Moose.

Below that, a drawing of Maya herself. Moose stared, confused.

Why would Maya give him a valentine? He broke her crayons and stole her snacks. Well, not every day. “Sweetie, be mine.”

Moose grinned.

“Thanks for the valentine,” he told Maya. Now Maya looked confused. “I figured it out. See? Something sweet…”

“A doughnut,” Maya corrected.

“And a bee.”

“Actually…”

“And that’s you,” Moose continued.

“Well, sure, but…”

“So the message is, ‘Sweetie, be mine!'”

“Actually,” said Maya, her nose wrinkling, “that’s just a bug. Get it? ‘Donut bug me,’ like, leave me alone and don’t steal my candy today.” Maya walked away, shaking her head.

Moose blushed. He sank into a chair. Then he noticed another valentine on his desk, two candy hearts glued to construction paper. One said, “PUPPY LOVE.” The other said, “NO WAY.”  Signed, Chloe.

“No way,” he repeated. “Not puppy love? Then it must be true love.”

“Hey, Chloe,” he shouted “thanks for the valentine!”

#8 Cupid’s Heart Finds A Home

Dear Stupid Cupid,

Last year, you gave me a green candy cane. I barfed. Please don’t do that again.

Disgustedly Yours,

Gertie

*****************

Dear Hurty Gertie,

You hurt my feelings. It’s not nice to call someone stupid.

Sorry you’ve been sick. I know nothing about candy canes or the color green. I only know about chocolate, the color red, and hearts. Maybe you have me confused with someone else?

Cluelessly,

Cupid

******************

Dear Clueless and Confused Cupid,

Sorry to hurt your feelings, but I’m sure it was you. Speaking of red, you wear a red suit, don’t you?

Sincerely,

Gertie

******************

Dear Gertie,

No, I wear my birthday suit.

Warmly,

Bare-bunned Cupid

******************

Dear Birthday Suit Cupid,

Now I’m confused. My birthday’s in June, but I got the candy cane in December, along with a bunch of toys. Does your mom really let you go outside naked?

Flabbergasted,

Gertie

*******************

Dear Gertie,

I have no family, no home. I’m just a lonely cherub, spreading love and chocolate around the world, not toys.

Sadly,

Cupid

*******************

Dear Sad and Homeless Cupid,

Please come live with me! You can sleep in my room, and I’ll give you clothes to wear. We’ll hide the chocolates under my bed.

Your friend,

Gertie

********************

Dearest Gertie,

On my way! Happy Valentine’s Day!

All my love,

Cupid

#9 Misaki’s First Valentine

Misaki hugged her mother goodbye, went into school, and hung her coat. She was surprised to find many little envelopes and papers waiting in her locker. They were pink and red and white, and many were cut in the shape of hearts. On each there was writing — English letters that Misaki could not read yet.

Holding these pretty papers, Misaki walked into her classroom. She saw her friends were holding their own pink and red and white papers. She watched as Rosa handed a red heart to Sophia, and Caroline gave a pink note to Ramin.

Misaki looked at the papers in her hand. She wanted to keep them all, but she picked a white heart with red writing and gave it to Oskar.

Oskar smiled and gave it back. “This is your Valentine, Misaki. You don’t give it away. Ramin made this one for you. We give cards to our special friends on Valentine’s Day.”

Misaki looked again at her friends giving cards to each other. She smiled at Oskar, and took a red paper from the art tray. Misaki made 14 quick folds, just as her grandmother had taught her, and the paper became a delicate red heart. Misaki placed it in Oskar’s hand and said, “You are a special friend.”

#10 Valen-Rhymes

Hi, Didi!
Hi, Gogo! Want to help make valentines?
Sure! What do I do?
You draw a little picture, and write a little poem. Like this:
Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Sugar is sweet,
And so are you!

Neat! Let me try.
Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Sugar is sweet.
So brush your teeth later!
No, no, no. That doesn’t rhyme.
It doesn’t?
No. It has to rhyme.
It does?
Of course! Like BLUE – YOU – SHOE – TRUE. Those words rhyme!
If you say so.
Let’s try again.
Violets are blue.
Roses are red.
I dream of our friendship
Each night in my…

SLEEP!
No, not sleep. Bed! Like RED – BED – HEAD – FRED.
Who’s Fred?
Fred is no one.
Then why are you writing him a valentine?
Jiminy Cupids, Gogo! Pay attention.
Okay. I’m ready.
Are you sure?
Shoot.
Daises are white.
Some roses are too.
If I were a cow
I would stand here and…

STARE!
Forget it! I give up! You CANNOT rhyme!
Didi?
What is it, Gogo?
I made this for you.
Didi, you’re special.
You are my best friend.
I know I’m no poet.
But I love you a lot.
Oh, Gogo. Thank you.
Did I do it right?
You did it perfectly.

#11 Valentine Crush

I hope you’ll be my valentine.
You’re not so sure? I see.
You wonder why the card I gave
is crushed and crumpled?

Gee…

I fashioned it with you in mind–
with paper, sequins, glue–
then gently walked it to your house.
The next part’s strange, but true…

I tried to place it in your box.
(Yes, that’s what I had planned.)
Just then, a sentimental ape
removed it from my hand!

She lumbered down the street so fast
(your note crushed in her fist).
She seemed to think she’d won my heart
but in a crazy twist

a magpie spied your valentine
as ruby sequins flashed.
It stole her heart! She stole your card,
flew far away…

then crashed.

A smitten chipmunk found your note
and stuffed it down a hole.
It would have stayed there–disappeared–
except a lovelorn mole

insisted it was in his way
and swept it from his floor.
It popped up at my feet. What luck!
I bolted to your door.

Remember, it’s the thought that counts,
so don’t look so confused.
This valentine’s a fine design
it’s just a little…used.

And anyhow, it demonstrates
the kind of love I feel.
This crushed-up valentine is proof–
my crush on you is real!

#12 Love Bug

My sister Anna has been acting funny all day, working on some top secret card.
She’s been humming to herself, giggling, and was nice to me!
Anna even shared her Valentine’s chocolate with me.
Something must be wrong.

“Anna was bit by the love bug,” Mom said.
“Gross!” I said. I HATE bugs.
“Is she going to the doctor?” I asked. My Mom just giggled. Maybe she was bit too.

I wanted to find this bug.

I went outside with my butterfly net and a jar of leaves. This bug was mine.

I swished and I swooshed the net around until it was crawling with critters to fill up my jar.

Caterpillar, no.
Cricket, no.
Beetle, no.
Dragonfly, no.
Lady bug, no—Wait! The lady bug has a heart shaped spot on its wing! Love bug!

I was so excited that I ran inside to show Anna the love bug that bit her.

There was a boy sitting at the kitchen table with her eating cookies. Anna handed him the secret Valentine’s card, and he gave her one back. They were both giggling. She must be contagious!

“Who’s that???” I asked.

“That’s the love bug, sweetie,” Mom said smiling.

“Gross!”, I said. The only thing worse than bugs are boys!

 

Now that you’ve had a chance to read through the finalists, please vote for the entry you feel deserves to win in the poll below by 12PM EST Thursday February 23.

Tune in Friday February 24 to see THE WINNERS!!!

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

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

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to a tropical island paradise to recover from all that reading and agonizing and negotiating.

Okay.

Not really.

I will actually be frantically trying to catch up on things I shoved to the back burner whilst reading Valentiny stories… right after I meet a dear writer friend for lunch and spend a good portion of the day gabbing since we have a LOT to catch up on and we have been waiting WEEKS to get together!  But after that, yes, definitely back to work! 🙂

Have a marvelous Monday everyone!!! . . . now that it’s Tuesday 🙂

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!!!

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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!!!

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“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!!!

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– 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! 🙂

EXTRA! EXTRA! THIS JUST IN! Opportunity For Writers and Illustrators!

Hi Everyone!

I know I signed off and wished you all well for the holidays and new year, saying we’d pick up on January 4th.

But I got wind of a contest I thought you’d all like to know about: Writing With The Stars!

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Writing with the Stars is a new picture book contest where writers and illustrators apply to win a mentorship from published authors and illustrators. The mentors will evaluate the applications and pick a winner to work with for three months. The contest is open to unpublished and un-agented picture book writers and illustrators. All the details can be found at http://beckytarabooks.com/contest/

Doesn’t that sound amazing?!  And you could win a mentorship with Lori Richmond, Andrea Zuill, Camille Andros, DJ Steinberg, Stacy McAnulty, Peter McCleery, Beth Ferry, Penny Parker Klostermann, Paul Czajak, Laura Gehl, Katy Duffield, and many more!

Such an incredible opportunity!

Please share with anyone you know who might be interested!

Full details are at this link: http://beckytarabooks.com/contest/

Consider it a little holiday gift to you! 🙂  Good luck!!! and may the force be with you! (er, why yes I went to see Rogue One yesterday… how could you tell?! 🙂 )

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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 🙂

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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!!!!

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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!!!

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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…!

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– 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)

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– 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