November 6, 2014

Halloweensie Contest 2014 WINNERS!!!

Happy Thursday, Folks!

It was so nice of y'all to come visit me on a non-posting day!

Really, the fact that you would come all the way over here just to see me makes me feel all warm and fuzzy :)  You are all so sweet!

Can I offer you some refreshments?  Forgive me for being a little unprepared - I wasn't expecting company today - but please, help yourselves to coffee and donuts!

Everybody got something?  Good!  Let's get comfy and settle in for a nice chat!

I have a scintillating story to tell you about the smell in our bathroom wall.

No!  Not that kind of smell!

What happened was this:

On Saturday, we lit a fire in the fireplace for the first time this fall.  No sooner did the chimney heat up then a dreadful odor began to pervade the house!  We traced it to the upstairs bathroom wall which, oddly enough, does not touch the chimney.

You would really think that in order for a smell to be coaxed out of the wall it would have to be quite near the heat source, but apparently this is not the case, because the bathroom wall is not anywhere near the chimney, but there was no doubt about the smell.

Ah, the mysteries of architecture!

But wait.  Where was I?

Oh, yeah.  The dreadful odor...

So there we were, enjoying our first cozy fire of the season, when this ghastly smell nearly knocked us flat.  Obviously it was imperative that we discover the cause...


You don't care about the dreadful odor in my bathroom wall?

I think you should at least pretend, seeing as how you're my guests and I gave you donuts!

You're only here for the donuts and the what?

You want results?

What kind of results?

And who's to say I have them?  I may have been incapacitated by the decomposing bat (yes, that's what was causing the dreadful odor, since clearly I'm not going to get to finish telling my story...!)

But really, a decomposing bat is a pretty appropriate item to have found right before announcing. . .


(But wait!  Before I announce, do you want to see pictures of the decomposing bat?

No?  You're sure?

Alrighty then.  Don't say I never offered you anything :))

As you are all aware by now, we had a record turnout for the Halloweensie Contest - 132 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:
     Susan Halko for The Contest
     Mishka Jaeger for The Poag's Revenge
     Julie Abery for Orinda Owl's First Halloween
2.  For Great Kid Appeal: (not already in the finals)
     Marla Lesage for At Grandma's House Last Halloween (which was also delightfully spooky!)
     Marty McCormick for Winnie's Spell
     Christie Allred for Petie Pumpkin And The Stinky Halloween
     Teresa M.I. Schaefer for The Best Pumpkin
     Marlaina Gray for Lolly Is Scary
     Tracie Percival for The Misspelled Witch
     Vivian Kirkfield for A Night Of Friendship For Miss Witch

3.  For Best Descriptive/Mood Piece:
     Carol (whose last name I'm sorry I don't know!) for Halloween Night
     Mandy Yates for On This Night

4.  For Best Use of Poetic Language:
     Penny Klostermann for HG (Haunted and Ghostly) TV Ex-Scream Makeover Ghost Edition

5. For Spookiest Entry: (not already in the finals)
     Eric Hammond for The Scarecrow
     Michelle Valencia for The Halloween Sneer
     Jean James for Trick Or Treat?
     Alistair Lane for The Raven And The Pumpkin
6.  For Sweetest/Cutest Entry: (not already in the finals)
     Anne Bromley for The Pumpkin Patch Scarecrow (sweet)
     Jennifer Wesselink for Five Silly Monsters (cute)
     Ellen Leventhal for Emma's Evening Ride (cute)
     Linda Boyden for Pumpkin Moon (cute, and could have also won Best Entry in Fewest Words at 27! :))

7.  For Saddest Ending: (hehe :))
     Nancy Hatch for It's Time To Fly

8.  For Best Written Original Point of View:
     Victoria Aranda for Creaks (written from the POV of a haunted house)
9.  For Excellence In Depicting Sibling Relationships:
     Carrie Charley Brown for Prankenstein
     Kimberly Cowger for First Flight of Halloween
     Joanne Sher for Dumb Jack-'O-Lanterns

10.  For Originality/Creativity:
     Jen Garrett for How To Carve A Pumpkin

11.  For Favorite Character:
       Pat Tilton for her "gutsy witch" who "slammed the ghost with her sack of candy" in Little Ghost :)

12.  For Best Collaboration:
       Susanne Leach and her First Grade Class for Sweetsie's Jack-O-Lantern***

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

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

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

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

Creating Extraordinary Characters by Angela Hunt, OR

Evoking Emotion by Angela Hunt

*** The exception is Susanne Leach and her First Grade Class.  I wasn't sure they'd have much use for the aforementioned writing guides, so instead a group of lovely authors and I would like to present them with a gift pack of signed picture books for their classroom, including NINJA RED RIDING HOOD by Corey Rosen Schwartz, FARMER MCPEEPERS by Katy Duffield, COCK-A-DOODLE OOPS by Lori Degman, MARATHON MOUSE by Amy Dixon, and PUNXSUTAWNEY PHYLLIS by yours truly.

Great job, first graders!  You knocked our socks off! :)

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.  Since some of the winners may already have taken a class, or own a book, or have only rhyming mss or only non-rhyming mss for critique, etc, 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 nobody gets something they already have, and hopefully everyone gets something that's valuable to them.  All prizes are listed at the bottom of this post for your convenience in perusing the goodies :)



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

. . . the reason you got out of bed this morning. . . 

. . . to see a picture of my decomposing bat!

. . . THE WINNERS OF THE 2014 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...
Jodi McKay
Halloween Hide-and-Go-Seek

Congratulations, Jodi, on a delightful entry that was all around well done and clearly very popular!!!

In Second Place,

Nick Rowe
Halloween SMS (Short Messaging Scariness)

Congratulations, Nick, on a wonderfully spooky entry with very creative and original formatting!  Well done! You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Jodi chooses!

In Third Place,

Lauri Meyers
Sulky Spider's Spooky Webs

Congratulations, Lauri, on a well written, clever, and funny entry that we all loved!  You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Jodi and Nick choose!

In Fourth Place,

Nancy Tandon
Snip, Snap, Crack

Congratulations, Nancy, on a deliciously creepy entry!  You get to pick your prize after Jodi, Nick, and Lauri!

In Fifth Place,

Joanna Marple
Devious Dads And Halloween

Congratulations, Joanna, on a very clever and creatively formatted entry!  You get to pick your prize after Jodi, Nick, Lauri, and Nancy!

In Sixth Place,

Gina Silvester
Halloween Chase

Congratulations, Gina, on an entry that was tons of spooky fun!  You get to pick your prize after Jodi, Nick, Lauri, Nancy, and Joanna!

In Seventh Place, Carrie Finison for The Shadow!  Congratulations, Carrie!  Your rhyme was outstanding, and we loved your little cat :)  You get to pick next :)

In Eighth Place, Linda Schueler for Creaky Cackle!  Congratulations, Linda!  Your entry may have been the funniest one in the pack!  You get to pick after Carrie!

In Ninth Place, Michelle Barnes for This Year's Halloween Mascot!  Congratulations, Michelle!  Boy, do you know how to write believable kid behavior :)  You get the idea of the prize picking by now I'm sure :)

and in Tenth Place, Amelia West for Full Moon Rising!  Congratulations, Amelia! Nicely done!  You get the remaining prize! :)

And, I don't think I need to remind anyone that in addition to all these fabulous prizes, everyone mentioned on this page has bragging rights as having won or placed in the Pretty Much World Famous Halloweensie Contest!  Not just anyone can say that :)

All the winners should email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com with the subject heading Prize Winner so we can work out details for you to receive your prizes!  Finalists who did not finish in the top 10 (Michael, Mike, and Debbie) may also contact me for their choice of the Kindle or paperback prizes listed above.

Congratulations again to all our winners - it was a stiff competition!! - and congratulations to EVERYONE who wrote and entered a story in the contest.  You all deserve a huge round of applause, a confetti parade, and a large amount of chocolate cake :)

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

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

The 4th Annual Holiday Writing Contest will be coming up sometime in the neighborhood of December 8-12.  I'm running it a little bit earlier this year so we can all fully enjoy it and still have time for last minute holiday things.  And to whet your appetites and get your thinking caps on, I will tell you that first prize is something AWESOME!  A picture book manuscript read and critique by an actual editor at an actual highly regarded publishing house!!!  But that is all I'm saying for now :)  You will just have to stay tuned for more details as the Holiday Contest approaches.  And I will do my best to post the rules well in advance so you all have time to work on your stories!

Have a terrific Thursday everyone, and thanks again for making the Halloweensie Contest such a wonderful time for all! :)

The Prizes:  we've got some seriously amazing prizes! (words in color are links to more info)

Julie Hedlund's fantastic new course How To Make Money As An Author, interesting, educational and suitable for writers at any stage of their career

 - a 2015 membership to Children's Book Insider, an absolutely fabulous resource for kid lit writers of all kinds, generously offered by Jon Bard and Laura Backes

 - a picture book manuscript critique from the renowned Alayne Christian (prose only, 800 words or less)
Alayne Kay Christian is an award winning author of BUTTERFLY KISSES FOR GRANDMA AND GRANDPA. She is represented by Erzsi Deak of Hen&Ink Literary Studio. To read more about Alayne, her critique service, and her books visit her websites and blog.

- 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. 

 - a picture book manuscript critique by Tracey M. Cox!  Tracey offers a full critique on a fiction PB, 800 words or less, which will include overall impression and line-by-line on a prose only pb ms.  She will also include thoughts and marketing ideas that she thinks about and if she can think of references, she'll add them also.  Tracey M. Cox has been writing professionally since 2000 and is an author of 6 picture books.  She is an active member in the children's literature community and explores how to self-market on little to no budget.

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

 - a personalized signed copy of I WANNA GO HOME by Karen Kaufman Orloff, the latest in the brilliant PB series that began with I WANNA IGUANA. (Reviewed HERE for PPBF)

 - a personalized signed copy of I AM COW HEAR ME MOO by Jill Esbaum (reviewed for Perfect Picture Books HERE and HERE - yep, it's so popular it got reviewed for PPBF twice :))

 - a personalized signed copy of NINJA RED RIDING HOOD by Corey Rosen Schwartz, the riveting follow-up to THE THREE NINJA PIGS.  (Reviewed HERE for PPBF)

 - a PDF copy of Ryan Sias's A Spooky-Doodle E-Book"doodle pages, drawing lessons and writing prompts inspire kids to invent their own stories, characters and artwork."

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 :)


  1. Congratulations to all the prize winners! And thanks to everyone who voted for my scary text story - I almost didn't enter it! And humungous thanks to Susanna And The Judges (a cool band name if ever I heard one) and the prize contributors. I would also very much like to see the decomposing bat (keeping in the Halloween spirit).

  2. Congrats to all the winners! There was some serious competition this year. (Glad I wasn't a judge.)

  3. Congratulations to all the winners!!! What fabulous entries! Thanks for hosting another great contest, Susanna! :)

  4. Congrats to all the winners, participants and this entire kid lit community...we are so lucky to have Susanna who encourages us to stretch and grow. The finalists were stupendous! Hip Hip Hooray. :)

  5. Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you so much, Susanna, for hosting another year of Halloweensie! I had so much fun writing my story and reading all the entries. It really added to our Halloween fun this year!

  6. Congratulations to all the winners, runners-up, merit badges, and EVERYONE who wrote such wonderful stories. (and ewwwwwww to the bat-in-the-wall...) And WOOHOOOOOOO for Susanna! Thanks for all you do for the writing community, Susanna. (Even if we maybe drive you bats at times... ;) )

  7. Congratulations to all the winners. Thanks to Susanna for creating the fun and entertaining me with her engaging decomposing bat story ;-)

  8. I am excited to be in the top 10! Thank you so much for hosting the contest, Susanna. Thank you also to the generous writers who donated prizes. Congratulations to everyone who entered. Let's give ourselves a pat on the back for being brave enough to do so.

  9. Now that's a post full of happy! Congrats to everyone. (And we had a decomposing bat in our wall once, Susanna and agree the stink is terrible!- but a photo might be fun)

  10. Congratulations everyone and thank you, Susanna and Co for all the hard work that goes into running a competition like this. I am so glad the 1st grade class is receiving such a fab gift!

  11. Wow, you found a great way to spread the joy and prizes around. Great job, Susannah and team. Now who gets the decomposing bat? Does the trash get it? And I love, love the prize for the class. Hoot to the generous authors!

  12. Congratulations to all the winners!!! This was an awesome contest, Susanna!!! Thanks a bundle for all of your work. And thanks again to the judges! I'm just a tad disappointed that you didn't post a photo of the stench-producing creature...I REALLY wanted to see that decomposing bat!

  13. Congratulations, everyone! Thank you for all the spooky, funny, cute, and clever entries. It was so fun to read them. As for the decomposing bat, it reminds me of a church in Dublin where they have, ON DISPLAY, the mummified remains of a cat and mouse that they found in a church organ. Susanna! You could display your bat for all your guests to enjoy...with their donuts and coffee/hot chocolate.

  14. You know, some days I swear I love donuts more than chocolate! And OMG, a decomposing bat?? Poor thing and poor you having to deal with it.

    Congrats to all who won!! Great job and well done! :) But, kudos to everyone who even got something in for judging (unlike a certain slacker whose name I won't LOL!

  15. SHAZAM! What a great event this has been, with so much participation and fun, well-crafted entries! Congrats to all the winners and honorable mentions, and thanks again to Susanna and her well-fed team of judges (I am assuming judges eat all the pictured treats!).

  16. Yay!!! I'm so ridiculously excited! I'm guessing the picture of the decomposing bat has already been snatched up by someone, so I'll have to pick between the other fabulous prizes:) thank you susanna for the great contest and congrats to everyone.

  17. So many fun stories. Congratulations to everyone!

  18. Great Contest! and no contest for the bat!

    Congrats everyone who won. :) Happy Thursday! :)

  19. Wow, what fun this was! Congratulations to the top 10 stories. :D

  20. Congrats to all the winners!! And did I really read this right??? I was listed as an honorable mention and win a small prize??? No way!
    Woo hoo! Woo hoo! Woo hoo!

  21. Oh, this is just like trick or treat. So many goodies to hand out! Congrats to everyone! And thanks to Susanna (and friends/judges/prize donors/chocolate chefs) for running such a fun competition! Cheers!

  22. You scared up a lot of talent there, Susanna. Congrats to all!

  23. Congrats to YOU, Joanna, for a superb entry! And I'm glad you're glad :)

  24. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Jilanne! Thanks to you for writing a great entry and for reading and visiting and commenting and voting! :)

  25. I have a feeling maybe you have a sister :) (Or else a really good imagination :))


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