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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: contest, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Carousel Coloring Contest!

I had someone ask me for another Mary Poppins coloring page…and it reminded me that we haven’t had a coloring contest in a while!  Well it’s high time!!  Mary Poppins is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

MaryPoppinsCarouselColoring

Here are the rules:

  1. Save the image above, or you can click here to download it from my DeviantArt page.
  2. Color it!
  3. When you are finished, take a photo or scan it in, then email it to me at [email protected], with the words “Coloring Contest” in the subject line
  4. Deadline is Sunday, April 13th
  5. Sit back and wait for the prize money to come rolling in!

The entries will be sorted by ages 0-11, 12-19, and 20+, and won’t be judged by me, but by other artists who will see which ones stand out the most.  Each category will have a main winner ($10 Amazon gift card prize), and two honorable mentions ($5 Amazon gift card prize).

Entries are open to international submissions.  I can’t wait to see all the beautiful pages!

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The post Carousel Coloring Contest! appeared first on Story Monster.

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2. 8th Annual Blog Bracket Challenge!


It's mid-March, and you know what that means. Our 8th! Annual! Blog bracket challenge!!

Who is the greatest literary bracket prognosticator of them all?

We'll see. It's probably not me. In fact it's probably you.

As always, the winner of the Blog Bracket challenge will win a query critique or other agreed-upon prize.

Will it be you??

Here's how to enter:

1. Go to the front page of the ESPN tournament challenge: http://games.espn.go.com/tcmen/frontpage

2. Make your picks.

3. If you have an ESPN username and password from last year you can log in when you submit your picks, and you can also just click to rejoin the Bransford Blog Challenge. Otherwise you may need to create a new user ID and password. But don't worry, it's not onerous and you can decline to receive updates in case you're spam conscious.

4. Hover over the link that says "My Groups" and then click "Create or Join a Group"

5. Search for "Bransford Blog Challenge." Enter the password, which is "rhetorical" and then click Join Group.

Then you're all set! You can make changes to your bracket by clicking on it until it locks on Thursday (and yes, there are play-in games before then, but the bracket still doesn't lock until Thursday).

Good luck!!

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3. Movie Theater to Be Given to Essay Contest Winner

Temple (GalleyCat)Michael D. Hurley, the owner of the Temple Theatre, is hosting an essay contest. This Maine-based businessman will award his 98-year-old movie theater to the winner.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, each participant must send in a 250-word piece and a $100 submission fee. The deadline has been set for Jan. 31. Click here to read all the rules.

Here’s more from Mashable: “Hurley is accepting a minimum of 3500 entries, so he’ll collect the theater’s asking price. But don’t worry—he’s offering refunds to all participants if he doesn’t receive enough submissions. The competition will be stiff, so start drafting your entry now so you’ll have time to edit and polish a winning piece before the end of January.”

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4. The 2015 Holiday Contest WINNERS!!!

Hi there!

I'm so glad you're here!

I have something of great import to discuss with you, and it really cannot wait another minute.

No, not the questionable decision to place Holiday Inflatables in your front yard... although if you do that we should probably talk... :)

And no, not the age old question of what that stuff in fruit cake really is... because darn tootin' it's no kind of fruit I could identify!

I think you can guess what it is. . .

. . . the thing that is first and foremost on all of our minds today. . .

. . . and that is. . .

. . .

. . .what our Official Holiday Elf Names should be!!!

Seriously!  We're running out of time to decide!

Apparently I've got a choice of 5:

Cupcake Gingersocks
(generated by http://christmas.namegeneratorfun.com/ - random)

Cinnamon Embercrystals
(generated by http://christmas.namegeneratorfun.com/  - based on first and last name)

Elvis McJingle
(generated by http://mix108.com/if-you-were-an-elf-what-would-your-name-be-find-out-now/ 

Candy Sparklepants
(generated by http://965kvki.com/whats-your-elf-name-generator/ 

or

Sugar Candykirk
(generated by http://www.elfontheshelf.com/content/elf-name-generator 

I'm torn!

I really am!

I think I have to go with either Cupcake Gingersocks or Candy Sparklepants, though... although Elvis McJingle is very appealing too!  Which one do you think I should pick?

And you should go get yours!  Right now!  And share it in the comments!  You know you want to... :)  I'm all about the giving over here - I went and researched these helpful links just for you, so that you could waste a little time spend the holidays being called by your official Elf Name :)  Think of it as my little holiday gift to you :)

So now, happy holidays!  See you in 2016!  May the force be with you etc.!


What?


You were expecting to discuss something else?


Something more important than official Elf Names? (as if there could be anything more important...!)

Oh!

Right!

I knew there was something else. . .

:)


                    The 5th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!

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.

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:
     David McMullin for Christmas In Discomfort (also so original and creative)
     Jaclyn Kruzie for A Rockin' Christmas Wish
     Sam Steinfels for Unsilent Night
     Melissa Bulls for Santa's Stain (also a fun-for-kids mystery)
     Heather ??? for A Real Christmas Tree

2. For Great Kid Appeal: (not already mentioned in the finals or other categories)
     Wendy Greenley for Cookin' Up The Holiday Kid-Style
     Kirsten Bock Mel The Marshmallow's Cocoa Catastrophe (also great ending!)
     Gabi Snyder Christmas With Kevin The Nanny Bot

3. For Excellence In Evoking Mood And Holiday Spirit And Tradition:
     Joni Klein-Higger for Happy Festival Of Lights
     Shelly Bond for Christmas Story Time!
     Tracey Cox for Zippin' Around On Christmas Eve

4. For Beautiful Rendition Of The Christmas Story:
     Kristi Veitenheimer for A Christmas Birth
     Aileen Stewart for Huddled Around The Stable Door

5. For Most Original Setting:
     Anne Sawan for The Outback Christmas Hop
     Lorraine Nelson for A Very Spacey Christmas

6. For Favorite Character:
     Marla LeSage for spunky, resourceful, entertaining Sheila in Holiday Heist

7. For Best-Written Original Point Of View:
     Julie Bergman for The Little Burnt Latke (POV of a latke!)
     Joanne Sher for Precious Cargo (POV of the donkey who carried Mary)

8. For Fun Story In Fewest Words:
     Miranda Ireland for Christmas Party Hop (4 lines, 44 words - the overworked judges love you :))

9. For Best Entry For Parents :)
     Shari Schwarz for Rocking Beside The Christmas Tree (so sweet :))

10. For Best Entry For Writers :)
     Debbie Austin for What Happened When I First Sat Down To Write This Story (so clever and entertainingly done! - writers you will not want to miss this one!)

11. For Fun Well-Written Animal Entries:
     Ashley Franklin for Picture Perfect (dog)
     Catherine Flynn for Pouncing Around The Christmas Tree (cat)
     Carol Lescinski for Rockin' Reindeer
     Jo Hart for Jungle Bell Rock (a whole menagerie :))

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

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 Ultimate Fiction Thesaurus by Sam Stone OR

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

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

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

Creating Extraordinary Characters by Angela Hunt, OR

Evoking Emotion by Angela Hunt, OR

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

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


And now...

...the moment you've all been waiting for...

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

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

DDDRRRUUUMMM RRROOOLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!

In First Place...

Winner of the whole shebang...

who gets first choice of all the prizes...

Jennifer Reinharz
for The Hanukkah Elf!!!

Congratulations, Jennifer, on a fabulous entry that was clearly very popular!!! :)

In Second Place...

Vivian Kirkfield
for The Christmas Seed

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

In Third Place...

Suzy Levinson
for City Critter Christmas

Congratulations, Suzy!  You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Jennifer and Vivian choose theirs.

In Fourth Place...

Cindy Williams Schrauben
for Jugglin' High For Pumpkin Pie

Congratulations, Cindy!  You get to pick after Jennifer, Vivian, and Suzy.

In Fifth Place...

Kris Allen
for The Incident

Congratulations, Kris!  You get to pick after Jennifer, Vivian, Suzy, and Cindy.

In Sixth Place...

Lisa Connors
for The Gift Of The Magpie (And Friends)

Congratulations, Lisa!  I'm sure you get the idea of how the prize picking goes by now :)

In Seventh Place...

Sandy Jones
for Red Berries In The Snow

Congratulations, Sandy!  You get to pick next :)

In Eighth Place... a 4-way tie!

Linda Schueler
for Randolph, Not A Reindeer
Nancy Tandon
for No Peeking!
Sheila Lynch-Afryl
for Clucking Christmas
Jen Bagan
for Ned's Christmas Wish

Congratulations, Linda, Nancy, Sheila and Jen!  You get to pick after Sandy!  And 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 97 Holiday Contest Entries for 2015...

Deborah Boerema
for A New Classic?

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 which is not fruitcake! (unless you happen to like it :))

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 Monday! :) -  Oh, and we're going to see the new Star Wars movie on Wednesday!  So I will see you all in a couple weeks - most probably Wednesday January 6th 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 2016!

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

Love,
Susanna

The Prizes!!!  (items in color are links for more info!):

A Picture Book Manuscript read and critique (winner's choice of in-person, on the phone, or via email) by Claire Dorsett, Editorial Assistant, Roaring Brook Press!!!
   A bibliophile and outdoor enthusiast, Claire spent her childhood summers road-tripping across the United States, reading constantly on the long car rides between parks and museums. Her love of literature led her to pursue a BA in English from Cornell University, where she was involved with campus publications The Daily Sun and Rainy Day literary magazine. Claire then completed the six-week intensive Columbia Publishing Course before finding a home at Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, assisting VP and Publisher Simon Boughton. She has worked on a range of projects during her time at Roaring Brook, including Lane Smith's middle-grade debut Return to Augie Hobble, Steve Sheinkin's National Book Award finalist Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War, and picture books The SkunkThere is a Tribe of Kids, and Ned The Knitting Pirate
- a brand new Picture Book Webinar Bundle including one webinar on Concept Books and the other on Rhyme, Verse and Lyricism in Picture Books, generously donated by Emma Walton Hamilton, author, editor, writing coach, and teacher of the fabulous Just Write For Kids courses.
- a 2016 Membership to Children's Book Insider, including their Children's Writing Knowledge Base, an absolutely fabulous resource for kid lit writers of all kinds, generously offered by Jon Bard and Laura Backes
 - A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by talented author/illustrator Iza Trapani, author of JINGLE BELLS, OLD KING COLE, ITSY BITSY SPIDER, and many, many more!
 - A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the fabulous Lori Degman, author of 1 ZANY ZOO and COCK-A-DOODLE OOPS!
 - an e-copy of the fantastic How To Promote Your Children's Book generously donated by Katie Davis!

 - 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)
 - A 6-Month Membership to the new and fabulous One Stop For Writers Site!
 2016 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market  and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
- another 2016 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market  and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
- a pack of Susanna Leonard Hill's amazing What's The Story Cards (hitherto un-introduced to the world!) - writing prompts for every occasion :)
 - another pack of Susanna Leonard Hill's amazing What's The Story Cards

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!

The Contest Winner gets first choice of the prizes.  2nd place gets next choice of what's left and so on.  I do it this way in the hopes that no one will get something they already have and also because I think all the prizes are fabulous and I wouldn't want to make anyone feel less valued by giving them as 6th place as opposed to 1st. :)

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5. Little, Brown and Company Hosts an Infinite Jest Cover Design Contest

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6. Sex Crims #12 Delayed, but Chip Zdarsky Might Have a Morrisonian Tryst with Howard the Duck

So there’s good news and there’s bad news. Sex Criminals #12 has been delayed, now releasing on September 16th.  Happily, however, the delay isn’t due to writer Matt Fraction ending up in a MPreg fantasy become reality or artist Chip Zdarsky deciding he’s more of a Hemingway than a Singer Sargent, but rather because of “high […]

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7. Nerdy Chicks Rule Art Contest

Over at Kidlit Summer School, they are having a little art contest: to draw a new nerdy chick. Here is my entry. Look up #NerdyChicksDraw on Twitter or FB to see all the super cute chickies.


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8. National Coloring Day is August 2nd! GIVEAWAY time!

Tomorrow is NATIONAL COLORING BOOK DAY so to celebrate, I am having a GIVEAWAY! To win 3 of my Coloring Books just released a month ago...Be sure to follow all the steps below.

1. LIKE my Phyllis Harris Designs Facebook page and

2. SHARE this post and be sure you share from this post directly so I can document the shares.

3. I will pick a random winner on Sunday, August 9th at NOON, EST!

4. Double your chances by following and re-posting my Instagram post as well over at https://instagram.com/phyllisharrisdesigns/

Be sure to get your copy with FREE US SHIPPING by using the coupon code USShipFree at: http://phyllisharrisdesigns.com/collections/top-sellers/products/coloring-book-for-adults-and-children-the-heart-of-childhood-by-phyllis-harris


https://www.facebook.com/PhyllisHarrisDesigns/photos/a.395728017135129.84738.392779124096685/924782264229699/?type=1&theater

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9. The Writer's Voice

Wahoo! I'm happy dancing that I made it into The Writer's Voice and could have the opportunity to work with the amazingly talented coaches Brenda Drake, Mónica Bustamante Wagner, Elizabeth Briggs, and Krista Van Dolzer. Thank you all for putting this contest together, and a huge congrats to all participants. Fingers crossed that this contest will lead to many agent requests!

Here's my entry:

QUERY PITCH:


Eleven year-old Ruby Bella Brown creates comics to cope with her wacky family, bullying ex-best friend, bra-tastrophes, and a special needs little sister she’s determined to protect, even though she says the most embarrassing things. Still stinging from the day her best friend ditched her and killed all her friendships and beloved comics, Ruby keeps secrets from her new best friend, Julia. But when Julia discovers the truth about her crush, bra-tastrophes, and other humiliations, it looks like Ruby might lose her, too. The only thing Ruby wants as much as a forever friend is to go to art camp so her favorite cartoonist can help make her comics so amazing, even her ex-best friend can’t destroy them. Just as her dream is about to come true, she’s forced to choose between working with her favorite cartoonist or helping Julia. She needs to summon her inner superhero to help her sister and Julia—and finally find the strength to stand up to her evil ex-best friend.

The Comic Adventures of Ruby Bella Brown is a 35,000 word contemporary middle grade novel—Dork Diaries meets Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.


THE COMIC ADVENTURES OF RUBY BELLA BROWN

First 250 words:

I’d eat worms or kiss Stinky Gorman to make sure my eleventh birthday won’t be another suck-a-rama. Good thing I won’t have to do anything that awful. Now that Julia is my friend, this will be my best birthday ever. There’s only one thing that could ruin it...

Daisy smirks at me from across the room, making me cringe. There’s no way I’ll let my evil ex-best friend destroy another birthday. As the bell rings, I zigzag through the cafeteria and bolt into the hallway.

Wahoo, I did it. I head toward my first class.

“Ruby! I found you just in time.” Julia runs over and hands me a bag of jellybeans tied with a sparkly silver bow. “It’s 7:52. Happy birthday.”

“Aw, that’s so sweet.” I pop a cotton candy jellybean in my mouth, then tip the bag toward Julia. She eats a handful, and a blue chunk gets wedged in her braces. I point at the same tooth in my mouth and scrunch my nose twice. Our secret signal. A second later, the blue blob is gone.

Julia smiles and jumps around. “I got a letter from camp saying they changed the musical to Wicked. I can't wait! Did your parents sign you up for comic-drawing classes yet?”

I twirl a piece of hair tighter. And tighter.

“You’re going, right?”

“Well…my parents said it’s really expensive, but they know I want to go more than anything in the world. I’m pretty sure it’ll be my birthday present.”

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10. Caterpillar Shoes Book Blast $50 GC Giveaway

Caterpiller-cover_AM

We’ve teamed up with Mother Daughter Book Reviews again for our latest release Caterpillar Shoes.  You can enter through May 6th for a chance at winning a $50 gift card by clicking the Rafflecopter link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can download our latest children’s picture book for only $.99 for a limited time or it is available FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited.  Start your free trial of Kindle Unlimited HERE.

Patches is an energetic caterpillar who is trying to decide what activities to do. In the end, she doesn’t put any limits on herself and lives her life to the full.

Also check out our other kidlit stories:

Lil Glimmer

The Nutt Family: An Acorny Adventure

The Pig Princess

The Bee Bully **AMAZON BEST SELLER**

Eager Eaglets: Birds of Play

Cactus Charlie

Suzy Snowflake

Monsters Have Mommies **AMAZON BEST SELLER**

The Cat Who Lost His Meow

The Christmas Owl **AMAZON BEST SELLER**

Ten Thankful Turkeys **AMAZON BEST SELLER**.


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11. Penguin Young Readers Group & Ruta Sepetys Host the Out of the Easy Essay Contest

Out of the EasyYoung adult author Ruta Sepetys and her publisher, Penguin Young Readers Group, will host the 3rd annual Out of the Easy essay content. The winner will receive $5,000 in prize money towards the college of his or her choice.

Eligibility is limited to high school students in the 11th and 12th grade. Participants must write a three-page piece in response to this Charles Dickens quote: “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”

Follow this link to learn more about all the rules. A submission deadline has been set for May 30th.

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12. The Kidtastic Giveaway

More April surprises have arrived.  We have joined forces with some other great children’s book authors for a big giveaway.  During April 5th – April 9th you can download the kindle version of our book, The Pig Princess from Amazon for FREE.

Pig cover

And since we think pigs rule we want to let you know about Scott Gordon’s children’s book, Pigtastic which is also FREE on Amazon during this period.

Pigtastic

We saved the best for last.  You can enter to win a 3DS XL and a game of your choice.

ENTER HERE.: a Rafflecopter giveaway


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13. 7th Annual Blog Bracket Challenge!!



It's mid-March, and you know what that means. Our 7th blog bracket challenge!!

Who is the greatest literary bracket prognosticator of them all?

We'll see. I didn't watch a single game of basketball this year, so you'd better watch out for my picks.

As always, the winner of the Blog Bracket challenge will win a query critique or other agreed-upon prize.

Will it be you?

Here's how to enter:

1. Go to the front page of the ESPN tournament challenge: http://games.espn.go.com/tcmen/frontpage

2. Make your picks.

3. If you have an ESPN username and password from last year you can log in when you submit your picks, and you can also just click to rejoin the Bransford Blog Challenge. Otherwise you may need to create a new user ID and password. But don't worry, it's not onerous and you can decline to receive updates in case you're spam conscious.

4. Hover over the link that says "My Groups" and then click "Create or Join a Group"

5. Search for "Bransford Blog Challenge." Enter the password, which is "rhetorical" and then click Join Group.

Then you're all set! You can make changes to your bracket by clicking on it until it locks on Thursday (and yes, there are play-in games before then, but the bracket still doesn't lock until Thursday).

Good luck!!

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14. Maine Innkeeper Hosts Essay Contest

innJanice Sage, the owner of Center Lovell Inn and Restaurant, is hosting an essay contest. This Maine-based innkeeper won this 12-acre property after participating in a similar competition back in 1993.

According to BuzzFeed, writers should send in a 200-word piece and a $125 entry fee. The submission should be postmarked by May 7th and must arrive  at the Center Lovell Post Office by May 17th; Sage intends to announce the winner on May 21st. Follow this link to read all the rules.

Here’s more from The Portland Press Herald: “She hopes to receive 7,500 responses, or about $900,000, about what local real estate agents suggested as a listing price for the 210-year-old inn and two outbuildings overlooking Kezar Lake in Lovell. It is also an amount that would allow Sage to transition smoothly into retirement, her ultimate goal. She also hopes the novel approach will ensure that the inn will land in worthy hands.”

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15. Tracing Inspiration

Most writers will get the “where do you get your ideas?” question at least once in their careers. Probably many, many times. Short of tossing out a snarky response like “J.C. Penney” or “the Idea catalog,” I usually reply, “From everything around me.” Helpful, right?

acceleradeI’m not kidding though. I’m actually not the most observant of people and I have a terrible memory, which is why I became a writer instead of a consulting detective. (I know, these aren’t good qualities for a writer either, but I figure in the digital age everyone is going to carry their memories in their pockets or on their wrists one day, so I’m just ahead of the curve.) Truth is, I get ideas from all sorts of places: overheard conversations, misread words, images, other books, TV shows, etc.

My short story “All the Lonely People” (Shimmer #13, 2011), came from a billboard for a sports drink with the slogan “Don’t Fade,” which inspired a story about a woman who can see people who are literally fading from life and can either help them stick around or disappear entirely. The “Eleanor Rigby” references came in later.

supernaturalI heard a friend refer to winter as “the time when everything dies,” which inspired me to write a story called “The Dying Time” (forthcoming) about a village where everyone becomes temporarily undead and hibernates during the winter, which is bad news for the guy who stumbles into town just as autumn is ending. Meanwhile, a fantasy short story mashup of Gilmore Girls and Supernatural began life as a Tweeted pun which led to “The Grimoire Girls” (also forthcoming). You get the idea. This is why I carry a notebook and pen everywhere; I write down anything that triggers inspiration in my brain, because you never know what it can turn into.

Naturally, the internet is also fertile ground for ideas. Online research (and books!) inspired and informed a lot of the hacking that appears in The Silence of Six, because I was striving for authenticity and plausibility. But one big plot point originated from a web article I read years ago — probably back in 2010, well before I started working on the book — about USB flash drives embedded in walls. These “dead drops” were in public so anyone could transfer files to them or copy files off with their laptop, as long as they knew about them. (Not really a good idea when you think about it, but still.)

deaddrops1I was fascinated with the concept, so much so that when (mild spoiler) my characters needed a way to hide files out in the open, I remembered it; however, I had thought these were mysterious installations that were propagating everywhere. But it turns out that they originated from a Berlin-based artist named Aram Bartholl. Unfortunately, when I stole the idea for The Silence of Six, I didn’t think to look up the articles again, so I failed to properly credit them. (Sorry, Aram! You’re a genius.) Kids, do your research. (Here’s another recent article about Dead Drops in The Guardian.)

An interesting thing about inspiration is you often can’t trace it back to the source. Minds are complex and ideas have a way of taking over and growing, so it’s difficult to untangle where it all came from. Everything I’ve ever written has essentially grown out of the books I’ve read, the films I’ve seen, my favorite TV shows, and so on. How can I acknowledge all of those influences? It’s one reason why some copyright theft and plagiarism accusations can be difficult to prove, because it’s possible for someone to unconsciously copy someone else’s work or ideas — to a degree. Again, do your research!

Where do you get your ideas?

By the way, if you’re fascinated by dead drops too, you can win a special The Silence of Six USB drive this week (through March 15, 2015) in Adaptive’s #ChallengeofSix digital scavenger hunt, with online puzzles and clues inspired by the book. Grand prize is an Xbox One! Watch this video for more info and to get the first clue.

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16. In Which Phyllis Bestows Prizes For Her Birthday Bonanza Winners!

Although it is neither George Washington's nor Abraham Lincoln's birthday today, we are nonetheless celebrating President's Day.

I'm sure this makes sense to someone.

Possibly the person who thought up the plan to celebrate the birthdays of two presidents on a day that was no one's birthday.

We don't care though, because around here we're just always glad of an excuse for a day off from school and/or work, and also of an excuse for cake!

Because I think George and Abe would like us to have some cake in their honor, don't you?  Phyllis picked this one, very Abe and George!

[okay, so my internet is being very persnickety and won't upload a photo tonight, so imagine, if you will, a luscious lemon layer cake with blueberry lavender buttercream icing in a vivid shade of purple that would definitely be right up George and Abe's alley - and if you follow the link below you can see it!  Phyllis and I are thinking Spring!]


Lemon Layer Cake with Blueberry Lavender Buttercream http://thewholesomepursuit.com/2014/04/23/lemon-layer-cake-with-blueberry-lavender-buttercream/

Go ahead!  Dig in!

It is not Phyllis's birthday either, although she is hoping that when she becomes President her birthday, which is also not on this day, will be included with George's and Abe's.  Phyllis feels that a little marmot in the White House would be a good thing, and I can't disagree :)

So even though it is no one's birthday today, we are having cake and celebrating the selection of the prize winners from Phyllis's Birthday Bonanza!

Are you ready?

Let me start by saying that it was not easy to choose winners.

For starters, all the entries were amazing and marvelous and enrapturing.  In addition, Phyllis felt strongly that all 19 should receive 1st Prize.

"You can't give 19 people first prize," I said.

"Maybe YOU can't," said Phyllis, "but I can!"

"No, what I mean is that if you make a 19-way tie for first place then it's like no one won!"

"No, it's like 19 people won."

"19 people can't win!"

"Yes they CAN!"

"No they CAN'T!"

"I say they can and I'm giving them all the Punxsutawney Phyllis Pancake of Awesomeness!"

"Oh, well who wouldn't want to win a Pancake of Awesomeness?!"

"No one," said Phyllis smugly.  "That's why it's the perfect prize."

Therefore let it be known on this 16th Day of February 2015 (which is not anyone's birthday) that Julie A, Karen, Sarah C, Jilanne, Kathy, Stacy, Catherine, Julie R-Z, Wendy, Michelle, Heather, Erik & Josie, Donna, the Hoeft Family, Linda, Vivian, Suzy, Robyn, Sarah M, and Christie all get a pancake from Phyllis.

I'm not really sure what to say about that.

I hope you like it?!

"Now that we've got that pancake business out of the way," I said to Phyllis, "who were really your favorites?  There must have been some among that talented pack that really stood out to you."

"Well, now that you mention it," said Phyllis, "there were a few!"

So, without further ado, here are Phyllis's selections for top placement in her Birthday Bonanza!  She is uncomfortable labeling them 1st, 2nd, etc. because she loved them all so much!

The Hoeft Family - for their beautifully written, illustrated, performed, and videoed Happy Birthday Wish.

Stacy - for her amazing quilling which Phyllis had never heard of before but thinks made her look beautiful and also was fabulously videoed.

Robyn - because Mr. Ed said, "you mean the world to me Phyll" in such an endearing way and had a whole Phyllis wall of wonder in his stall - what's not to love about a video with a horse in it?!

Julie A - for her amazing poem that included not only Phyllis but all her literary brothers and sisters... and trains and airplanes.

Erik & Josie - for their awesome video which included singing AND costumes and was just an all-out funkadellic performance - and Phyllis wants it to be known that she is Super Funky!

So Bekah, Stacy, Robyn, Julie A, and Erik & Josie, please Email Me to sort out your prizes.

Up for grabs are:

 - a generously donated signed copy of SUBSTITUTE GROUNDHOG by Pat Miller along with an audio recording!

 - a signed copy of PUNXSUTAWNEY PHYLLIS (should there happen to be anyone among you who wants one and doesn't already have one)

 - any picture book of your choice (recent titles I have enjoyed and would recommend include Blue On Blue, The Most Magnificent Thing, and Gaston.)

 - any MG or YA book of your choice should you happen to be a winner who would find something more at your reading and interest level more to your liking :)

Congratulations to all our entrants!  You all did such a wonderful job, and Phyllis and I enjoyed your efforts SO MUCH!!!  Thank you ALL for making Phyllis's birthday and 10th Anniversary SO MUCH FUN!!!

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone!  And those of you who have the day off - celebrate like no one's watching! :)




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17. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards: A Golden Key

What do Ezra Jack Keats, Sylvia Plath, Stephen King, Richard Avedon, Truman Capote, Robert McClosky, and Andy Warhol have in common, besides being incredibly creative? Ding. Time’s up. Each won a Scholastic Art & Writing Award when they were in their teens. Of this experience Richard Avedon, among others, said winning was “the defining moment […]

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18. Punxsutawney Phyllis's 10th Anniversary Birthday Bonanza!!!

WOO HOO!

It's Groundhog Day!

And you know what that means, right?

First of all, it means we have an announcement to make!

And that is that Punxsutawney Phyllis, Sage of Sages, Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinaire did set forth from her burrow on Blueberry Hill this Monday February 2, 2015 at 7:25 AM and declare [I'll have to add this in at 7:25 AM on 2/2/15 assuming I have internet... which is questionable due to our forecast... otherwise we'll have to let you know what happened on Tuesday or Wednesday :)]

Second, that means it's my little Phyllis's 10th Anniversary Birthday Bonanza!!!

"We're having a party!  We're having a party!" [That's Phyllis.  She's a little excited.]  "We need CAKE!!!" [She's a girl after my own heart :)]

I said, "How about cupcakes?"


Phyllis said, "Something BIGGER!"

So I said, "How about this?"


Phyllis said, "But there's no ICING!"

So we settled on this:
and in case you are wondering, those little brown things are
groundhog graham crackers... which makes this a Groundhog Day Cake :)

"Now we need festive balloons!" said Phyllis.

"Here!" said I.

 "You're kidding, of course," said Phyllis.

"What?  It's blue!  It's pretty!"

"It's only ONE!" said Phyllis.  "ONE is not festive!"

"Fine," I said, ever accommodating.


"I'm going to pretend I didn't see that," said Phyllis.  "Otherwise I might regurgitate my recently ingested natal day pancakes.  What do the words GROUNDHOG and BIRTHDAY mean to you?"

"You're being just a tad demanding, Phyllis," I said patiently.  "But I'll humor you.  Will these do?"


"At last!" said Phyllis.  "And now, for the most important part...  my POEM!"

"Uh, yeah, about that... I'm not quite done yet."

"WHAT???!!!"

"I want it to be perfect," I explained.  "After all, it's for you.  It can't be just any old thrown together thing!"

"That's true," agreed Phyllis.

"But I've got to finish it quick.  Everyone's going to be here soon."

"Also true," said Phyllis.

"So it would be helpful," I said pointedly, "if you would be quiet and let me concentrate."

"Okay," whispered Phyllis.

I tapped my pen against the table top.

AN ODE TO PHYLLIS

I wrote across the top of the paper.

"Good start!" said Phyllis.

"Thank you."

I tapped some more.

There once was a groundhog named Phyllis

"Stop," said Phyllis.

"What do you mean, stop?"

"Nothing rhymes with Phyllis.  Believe me.  I know.  That's a nonstarter."

"How about There once was a groundhog named Phyllis/Who made so much noise that her poem will never get written?"

"That doesn't rhyme," sniffed Phyllis.  But she stopped talking.

tap tap tap tap tap

In the hollow of old Punxsutawney
Lived Phyllis, whose fur was so . . .

"STOP!" said Phyllis.

"What now?"

"What is it with you and these impossible words?  NOTHING rhymes with Punxsutawney!  You're supposed to be writing me a poem!  Poems are supposed to RHYME!"

"For your information, Miss Smarty Pants, I was going to say 'whose fur was so tawny', but forget it."

"Yeah, well, that's pretty much cheating.  Punxsutawney and tawny - it's practically rhyming the same word with itself."

"Aren't you supposed to be outside looking for your shadow or something?"

"It's too early," said Phyllis.

I sighed.

tap tap tap tap tap tap tap

Oh, Phyllis, you forecasting marmot

"Er.  Ahem.  I don't mean to interrupt, but seriously, marmot?  Where can you possibly go with that?"

"Harm it?!" I suggested.

"No..." said Phyllis, oblivious.  "I don't think so.  And I don't think you're quite getting the sense of an ode.  You're supposed to be praising me.  You have to set the mood."

"I'll set a mood all right."

Phyllis ignored me and gazed out the window.  "Maybe something like:

Phyllis, your fur is so fine
Your eyes sparkle like finest wine..."

"Hacksputtercough! I'm sorry.  I just had to gag a little there."

"It's better than yours!"

"How do you know?  You won't let me get past the first line!"

"Here's what we'll do," said Phyllis.  "I'LL write a poem and YOU write a poem and then we'll see whose is better."

"Fine!"

"Fine!"

tap tap tap tap tap tap tap

"Stop tapping your pen!"

"Stop talking!"

Hmmpphh!

*     *     *     *     *     denotes passage of time     *     *     *     *     *

"I've got one," said Phyllis.  She cleared her throat and read,

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I can write poems
Way better than you!

"Well in that case," I shot back,

Two poems diverged in a snowy wood
And I,
I chose the better one...
Which was not yours!

"Hmm..." Phyllis said primly.  "I don't think we're there yet.  Ready, set, write another one!"

*     *     *     *     *     denotes passage of time     *     *     *     *     *

"How about this?" said Phyllis.

So much depends
upon
a brown groundhog
Seeking shadows
Beside a green
pine tree

"Hey, that's not bad!" I said.

"Let's hear yours," said Phyllis.

Phyllis is the thing without feathers (I began)

"What kind of thing is that to say?" demanded Phyllis.  "I'm a groundhog!  Of COURSE I don't have FEATHERS!"

"You're interrupting!" I grumped.  "Are you going to let me read it or not?"

"Fine.  Read. But I don't think there's much hope for this one."  She snickered.

I glared, and started again:

Phyllis is the thing without feathers
That perches in the burrow
And searches the air with her nose
for signs of spring.

Phyllis patted my hand.  "It's okay that you're not very good at this.  You're trying.  That's what's important."  She stuffed a strawberry in my mouth.  "Let's keep practicing.  Maybe you'll get better."

*     *     *     *     *     denotes passage of time     *     *     *     *     *


"Done!" I said.

"I was done first three times in a row," said Phyllis.  "That means you have to read first."

Really, it is hard to follow groundhog logic.  Actually, groundhog logic is probably an oxymoron.

I sighed.  "Okay.  But let me read the whole thing.  Don't interrupt."

"I would never do that," said Phyllis sweetly.  She sat up on her haunches and prepared to listen attentively.

AN ODE TO PHYLLIS
by Susanna

Beauty, wit, charm, grace
Fuzzy little marmot face
Unsurpassed intelligence
Never-equaled weather sense
Even though you're not a boy
You're Punxsutawney's pride and joy
My furry friend, you know it's true
There's no one else on earth like you!

Phyllis jumped in my lap and gave me a hug.  "See?  I KNEW you could do it!  Now I'll read mine."

ODE TO PHYLLIS
by Phyllis

Lavender's blue dilly dilly lavender's green
It's really true dilly dilly I should be queen
Lavender's green dilly dilly lavender's blue
I'm a Punxsutawney dream-come-true.

"Yeah," I said.  "You should have quite while you were ahead."

"Yeah, probably," said Phyllis.  "But never mind.  Happy birthday to me!"

Happy Birthday, dear Phyllis,
Happy Birthday to you!!!


And now, Phyllis and I are looking forward with GREAT anticipation to reading YOUR poems for Phyllis, and hopefully seeing some videos too (no pressure, Erik) since we totally failed on that score!

If you wrote a poem for Phyllis, and or have photographs, drawings, videos, or other fun feature accompaniments, please add your post-specific blog link to the list below, or post your poem etc in the comments, or Email it to me and I'll post it for you so that we can all enjoy everyone's creativity!

Maybe Phyllis and I will pick some top finishers, or maybe we'll have a vote later in the week, but either way, some people will win a signed copy of PUNXSUTAWNEY PHYLLIS (if there's anyone left on earth who doesn't already have one or who wants another for someone), a signed copy of Pat Miller's wonderful SUBSTITUTE GROUNDHOG along with audio CD!, and there will be some other non-groundhog-day-related picture books up for grabs too.

Happy Groundhog Day to everyone!  May spring come early in your hearts, even if the weather outside fails to comply! :)

Have a marvelous Monday! :)



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19. Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest

The 23rd Annual Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest Now Open For Submissions

The Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest

Submit Your Manuscript To:

Short Story Contest, PO Box 49066, Austin, TX 78765

Deadline for Submissions

Submissions must be postmarked by December 12, 2014.

Prize Money

$1,500 to be divided among the five winners. Manuscript to be published in early winter in The Austin Chronicle.

Rules

1. Your work must be unpublished, typewritten, and must be no more than 2,500 words.
2. Include the title of the story on the first page of the manuscript. All entries must also be accompanied by a separate cover letter, which contains the name, address, email address, and phone number of the author, as well as the title of the story.
3. The author’s name must not appear anywhere in the manuscript.
4. Only one entry per person.

Regulations

Manuscripts must be the original work of the contestant, unpublished (and not under consideration of being published), typed, and double-spaced on one side of 8.5-by-11-inch paper, and no longer than 2,500 words.

Contestants must submit one copy of the manuscript and a cover sheet containing the name, address, email address, and phone number of the author and the title of the work. Names and copyright markings must be omitted from the manuscript, which will go to screeners and judges anonymously. Do not send originals – no entries will be returned. Staff members of The Austin Chronicle, freelancers who have contributed more than one article since October 2013, and first- through fifth-place winners from the 2013 Short Story Contest are not eligible to enter. Copyright remains in the name of the author, but The Austin Chronicle reserves the right to publish the winning entries and any honorable mentions in The Austin Chronicle and to reproduce them electronically on our online edition.

All entries must be postmarked to The Austin Chronicle by December 12, 2014. NO ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS. Finalists will be notified in late January, 2015. Questions should be directed to [email protected] No phone calls, please. Please read all rules and regulations thoroughly.

Contest is open to Texans and non-Texans alike.

Need inspiration? Last year’s winners can be read here.

Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Contest, inspiration, opportunity, Places to Submit, writing Tagged: No fee Writing Contest, No state restrictions, Short Story contest, The Austin Chronicle

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20. Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest

The 23rd Annual Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest Now Open For Submissions

The Austin Chronicle Short Story Contest

Submit Your Manuscript To:

Short Story Contest, PO Box 49066, Austin, TX 78765

Deadline for Submissions

Submissions must be postmarked by December 12, 2014.

Prize Money

$1,500 to be divided among the five winners. Manuscript to be published in early winter in The Austin Chronicle.

Rules

1. Your work must be unpublished, typewritten, and must be no more than 2,500 words.
2. Include the title of the story on the first page of the manuscript. All entries must also be accompanied by a separate cover letter, which contains the name, address, email address, and phone number of the author, as well as the title of the story.
3. The author’s name must not appear anywhere in the manuscript.
4. Only one entry per person.

Regulations

Manuscripts must be the original work of the contestant, unpublished (and not under consideration of being published), typed, and double-spaced on one side of 8.5-by-11-inch paper, and no longer than 2,500 words.

Contestants must submit one copy of the manuscript and a cover sheet containing the name, address, email address, and phone number of the author and the title of the work. Names and copyright markings must be omitted from the manuscript, which will go to screeners and judges anonymously. Do not send originals – no entries will be returned. Staff members of The Austin Chronicle, freelancers who have contributed more than one article since October 2013, and first- through fifth-place winners from the 2013 Short Story Contest are not eligible to enter. Copyright remains in the name of the author, but The Austin Chronicle reserves the right to publish the winning entries and any honorable mentions in The Austin Chronicle and to reproduce them electronically on our online edition.

All entries must be postmarked to The Austin Chronicle by December 12, 2014. NO ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS. Finalists will be notified in late January, 2015. Questions should be directed to [email protected] No phone calls, please. Please read all rules and regulations thoroughly.

Contest is open to Texans and non-Texans alike.

Need inspiration? Last year’s winners can be read here.

Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Contest, inspiration, opportunity, Places to Submit, writing Tagged: No fee Writing Contest, No state restrictions, Short Story contest, The Austin Chronicle

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21. 2015 Short Story Challenge

short Story banner

Carol MacAllister copied me on this contest, yesterday. I don’t usually bring you contests with more than a $10 entry fee, but this one sounds like fun, is giving feedback on all submissions, cash prizes, and has gotten a lot of buzz, so I thought I would let you know about it for you to decide.

The Short Story Challenge 2015 Early Entry Deadline is Today!

The 9th Annual Short Story Challenge is a creative writing competition open to writers around the world.  There are 3 rounds of competition.  In the 1st Round (January 16-24, 2015), writers are placed randomly in heats and are assigned a genre, subject, and character assignment.  They have 8 days to write an original story no longer than 2,500 words.  The top 5 in each heat advance to the 2nd Round (March 12-15, 2015) where they receive new assignments, only this time they have just 3 days to write a 2,000 word (maximum) short story.  Judges choose finalists to advance to the 3rd and final round of the competition where writers are challenged to write a 1,500 word (maximum) story in just 24 hours (April 24-25, 2015).  The top writers receive thousands in cash and prizes and feedback from the judges is provided for every entered story.  Sound like fun?  Make sure to register by the early entry deadline of December 11th before the entry fee goes up!

OFFICAL RULES and PARTICIPATION AGREEMENT

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

EARLY ENTRY FEE: $45 – Get $5 off if you tweet or post on facebook
EARLY ENTRY DEADLINE: Today – December 11th.

SHORTSTORYDEADLINE

shortstoryfeedback

Click Here to Visit the Forums.

In addition to the cash prizes listed below, we will be announcing many more great prizes for the 2015 competition soon!

1st Place • USD$2,000 Cash

2nd Place • USD$750 Cash

3rd Place • USD$500 Cash

4th Place • USD$250 Cash

5th Place • USD$100 Cash

Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Competition, Contest, inspiration, opportunity, Places to Submit, Win, writing Tagged: 2015 Short Story Contest, Cash Prizes, Story Feedback

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22. No Fee Poetry Contest

RDPoetryContest

NO FEE WRITING CONTEST

Contest is open to residents of the U.S., its territories and possessions, including Puerto Rico who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: January 31, 2015

Tell us your original poem, in 15 lines or fewer. The entry must not be lewd, obscene, sexually explicit, pornographic, disparaging, defamatory, libelous or otherwise inappropriate or objectionable, as determined by the Judges and/or Sponsor in their sole and absolute discretion.

Prize(s): One grand-prize winner will receive $500 and his/her story will be published in Reader’s Digest Magazine. Reader’s Digest will also select three (3) runner-up winners to receive $100.

Winners and finalists will be notified by email and regular mail within two months of the closing date.

SUBMISSION LINK: http://www.rd.com/poetry

Read Rules: http://www.rd.com/magazine/poetry-contest-rules/#ixzz3MaCPeJpR

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Contest, inspiration, magazine, opportunity, Places to Submit, poetry Tagged: Andreja Peklar, Christine Brallier, No fee Writing Contest, Poetry Contest, Reader's Digest

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23. The 2014 Holiday Contest WINNERS!!!

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Yes, yes!  I know what day it is!

Normally, I would tease you for a while and pretend I didn't know what brought you to this neck of the woods or what you were after, but not today.

Nope.

Today I'm going to get straight to the point.

No beating around the bush.

Nosirree Bob!

I'm going to give you what you came for . . .

. . .  just as soon as we come up with an answer to that eternal burning question: whose idea was tinsel anyway and does anyone actually use it?

Because seriously, that stuff is as bad as Easter grass!  It gets everywhere!

In your hair!  In the carpet!  On the dogs...

And who has the patience to separate it out into single strands to drape artfully over the limbs of your Christmas tree?  (And let's face it, it does not have the same effect if you just glob it on in clumps...!)

And we're not even going to TALK about if you have cats!  By golly!  That's just a disaster waiting to happen!

You're all writers!  Let your imagination run amok with the idea of cats, tinsel, Christmas trees...

Yikes!  Truly, I shudder to think!

So anyway, where was I?

Oh, yes!

I was not beating around the bush.

I wonder what bush it is that I'm not beating around?

Is it the same as the bush in "Here we go 'round the mulberry bush?"

Or maybe the bush that a bird in the hand is worth two birds in?

I'm guessing if there are two birds they are turtle doves, because that's how the song goes.  You know, "On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two turtle doves..."  Yeah.  Like that.

Except not a partridge, because he was in a pear tree and we are certainly not beating around the pear tree!

Boy!  All this not beating around things is making me a little dizzy!

So maybe I'll stop and just tell you about

The 4th Annual Holiday Contest!!!


WINNERS!!!

:)

I was once again 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.

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:
     Leslie Tribble for The Perfect Christmas Tree
     Anne Bromley for Christmas Eve At Gate 25   
     Lauri Meyers for Jimmy Cantore Steals Christmas

2. For Fabulous Fun Kid-Friendly Stories (That Sadly Fell Short On The Weather Element But Were Too Good Not To Recognize!):
     Stacy Jensen for How Do I Fix This?
     Bridget Magee for Dear Santa
     Margaret Greanias for A Little Christmas Wish
     Pam Vaughan for My Snowman Is Sick
     Jim Jones for Snowflake...A Christmas Tail

3. For We-Loved-It-But-Thought-The Humor-Was-A-Little-Too-Grown-Up :)
      (and seriously, these were terrific entries, well written and funny!)
     Mike Allegra for Carbon Christmas
     Heather Preusser for Dreaming Of A White Christmas  
     Kristen Foote for Polar Warming
     Hilary (Swann?) for No Sweat Santa
   
4. For Sweet Stories That Exemplified Christmas Spirit:
     Sharon Wilson for A Little Christmas Miracle
     Patricia Corcoran for The Christmas Miracle
     Sally Suehler for Just Ice And Snow
   
5. For Fantastic Word Play:
     Amy Ozay for Rain, dear

6.  For Best First Line:
     James Lloyd for Pablo's First Christmas
   
7. For Best-Written Original Point Of View:
     Carol Lescinski for The Best Christmas (excellent stuffed dog POV!)
     Summer Hinderer for The Snow Miracle (POV of gingerbread people in Gingerbreadville!)

and

8.  The Keep Up The Great Writing Award goes to:
     Ms. Leach's First Grade for Hopeful Christmas Eve
     And first graders, your special prize will be Happily Ever Madlibs and Once Upon A Madlibs, which we hope you will enjoy doing as a class on days when you can't go out for recess or something :) as well as 2 StoryWorld Create-A-Story Kits: Quests And Adventures and Fairy Magic which can be used in lots of fun ways to inspire writing and storytelling (and for even more fun you can pull cards from both decks to expand possibilities!)  Thank you for writing another wonderful story for all of us to enjoy!

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

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 Ultimate Fiction Thesaurus by Sam Stone OR

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

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


And now...

...the moment you've all been waiting for...

The announcement of the WINNERS OF THE 2014 HOLIDAY CONTEST as voted on by you!!!

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

DDDRRRUUUMMM RRROOOLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!

In First Place...

Winner of the whole shebang...

who gets first choice of all the prizes...

Randy Sonenshine
for The Rumbledy Jumbledy Holiday Feast!!!

Congratulations, Randy, on a fabulous and fun entry that was clearly very popular!!! :)

In Second Place...

Elaine Kiely Kearns
for 'Twas The Stormy Night Before Christmas

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

In Third Place...

Katey Howes
for Snow Swirls

Congratulations, Katey!  You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Randy and Elaine choose theirs.

In Fourth Place...

Julie Abery
for Santa's Satnav

Congratulations, Julie!  You get to pick after Randy, Elaine and Katey.

In Fifth Place...

Anika Denise
for Little Christmas, BIG SNOW

Congratulations, Anika!  You get to pick after Randy, Elaine, Katey, and Julie.

In Sixth Place...

Bronwyn Deaver
for Jack Quits

Congratulations, Bronwyn!  I'm sure you get the idea of how the prize picking goes by now :)

In Seventh Place...

Sylvia Liu
for Polar Woes

Congratulations, Sylvia!  You get to pick next :)

In Eighth Place...

Amelia Shearer
for The Night The Sun Stayed Up

Congratulations, Amelia!  You get to pick a prize after Sylvia!

In Ninth Place, we have a tie! between

Johnell DeWitt                      and                      Teresa Robeson
for A Djiboutian Christmas                              Sandstorm Santa

Congratulations, Johnell and Teresa!  You get to pick next!

In Eleventh Place...

Kirsten Bock
for Hurricane Coal

And in Twelfth Place, rounding out the top dozen of these amazing finalists and the 100 Holiday Contest Entries for 2014...

Carol Ann Martin
for Wish You'd Been Here

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, a tinsel parade (clumpy or stringy, however you like it :)), and a large amount of Figgy Pudding (which truthfully I don't know what that is, but apparently it's something we all want some of :))

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 cookies to bake, Christmas presents to shop for and wrap, and my sister and her family are arriving form Georgia on Monday! :) -  so I will see you all in a couple weeks - most probably Wednesday January 7th for Would You Read It unless I have something really important to impart on Monday the 5th... but I'm not really foreseeing that :)

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 2015!

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

Love,
Susanna



The Prizes!!!

- A picture book manuscript read and critique by Shari Dash Greenspan, Editor of the multi-award winning Flashlight Press!  I encourage you to sign up for their newsletter HERE!
 - A picture book manuscript read and critique by Jennifer Mattson, Agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency!
 - Enrollment in Renee LaTulippe's highly praised and recommended Lyrical Language Lab Course (in a month to be mutually agreed upon by the winner and Renee) ($249 value!)
 - Enrollment in Jon Bard and Laura Backes's fantastic Kindle Kids Mastery Course ($197 value!)
 - A website or blog design or redesign by Arturo Alviar.  Arturo will design (or redesign if you already have one that needs updating or a new look) a website or blog for the winner of this prize. The site will be built on Wordpress so that after he is done designing it, the winner can manage it themselves with ease. Arturo will include a Home/Welcome page, an About Me/Bio page, a Works/Books/Gallery section, and a Contact section (4 pages total), as well as a blog section if the winner would like to have that integrated with the new site. Different organizations can also be made, for example if the winner would like a "Services" section with separate "School Visits" and "Critiques" pages, or a "Works" section divided into "Black and White" and "Color" illustration galleries. The winner can choose any of the Wordpress themes (if they choose one that isn't free, the cost of the theme will be covered by them), or have Arturo choose a theme based on their vision, and Arturo will modify it based on their color and layout preferences (some themes will have more constraints than others). Arturo can also design a personalized banner or header image to customize the website.  If you already have a website and/or blog and prefer a redesign to update, refresh, or just redecorate, Arturo is willing to work with Blogger, Wix, Drupal, and Wordpress.
 - Enrollment in Making Picture Book Magic (my online picture book writing class - in March or a later month to be mutually agreed upon by the winner and me)
 - A picture book manuscript critique by fabulous author Amy Dixon, author of MARATHON MOUSE and the forthcoming SOPHIE'S ANIMAL PARADE.
- A picture book manuscript critique from Katy Duffield, author of more than 20 books for children including Farmer McPeepers And His Missing Milk Cows (Cooper Square Publishing 2003) and upcoming titles Loud Lula (Two Lions) illustrated by Mike Boldt and Aliens Get the Sniffles, Too (Candlewick) illustrated by K.G. Campbell.
 - A picture book manuscript critique (rhyme or prose) from Penny Parker Klostermann who, after extensive experience critiquing for writing partners, members of various kid lit groups, and clients of Erin Murphy Literary Agency, is opening her own critique service!!!
Penny Parker Klostermann writes picture books and poetry. Her debut book, THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT, is coming from Random House Children’s, August 2015. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Click HERE to learn more about her critique service. 
 2015 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market, a signed copy of Boy And Poi Poi Puppy by Linda Boyden, and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
 - a pack of Deb Lund's amazing Fiction Magic Cards
 - another pack of Deb Lund's amazing Fiction Magic Cards

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24. Holiday Poem Vote

christmaschristinebral

Santa is kicking back and enjoying himself the day after Christmas in this stain glass illustration sent in by Christine Brallier. It is from her children’s book, The Night Before Christmas. The illustrations were created by Christine using stained glass mosaics. http://www.cbmosaics.com/book/

Take Our Poll

 

Hope you will participate with picking out the winner and wishing that you will have a day to rest after all the work of the holiday.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Contest, Poems Tagged: Carol Murray, Christine Brallier, Hally Franz, Holiday Poems Voting, Marie Wagner, Michelle Kogan, Rob Zammarchi, Robin Jordan

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25. Highlights 2015 Fiction Contest

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HIGHLIGHTS 2015 FICTION CONTEST GUIDELINES

CATEGORY:

Mystery stories

PRIZES:

Three prizes of $1,000 or tuition for any Highlights Foundation Founders Workshop. (For a complete list of workshops, visit http://www.highlightsfoundation.org.)

ENTRY DATES:

All entries must be postmarked between January 1 and January 31, 2015.

RULES:

No entry form or fee is required.

*Entrants must be at least 16 years old at the time of submission.

We welcome work from both published and unpublished authors. All submissions must be previously unpublished and not found online.

Stories may be any length up to 750 words. Indicate the word count in the upper right-hand corner of the first page of your manuscript.

No crime, violence, or derogatory humor.

Entries not accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope will not be returned.

Manuscripts or envelopes should be clearly marked FICTION CONTEST. Those not marked in this way will be considered as regular submissions to Highlights.

SEND ENTRIES TO:

FICTION CONTEST
Highlights for Children
803 Church Street
Honesdale, PA 18431

WINNERS:

The three winning entries will be purchased by Highlights and announced on Highlights.com in June 2015. All other entries will be considered for purchase by Highlights. For details about our purchase policies, please see our contributor guidelines: https://www.highlights.com/contributor-guidelines

Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Filed under: Contest, magazine, opportunity, Places to Submit, publishers, writing Tagged: Highlights Fiction Contest, No fee Contest, No more than 750 words, Three $1000 Prizes

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