December 19, 2014

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.


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!!!



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
     Kathy Halsey for Whether Or Not To Ho-Ho-Ho
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!)

8. For Best Action Story:
     Caren Cantrell for Northern Exposure


9.  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!!!



In First Place...

Winner of the whole shebang...

who gets first choice of all the prizes...

Randi Sonenshine
for The Rumbledy Jumbledy Holiday Feast!!!

Congratulations, Randi, 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!!!


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


  1. Woo-hoo! Congrats to all the winners.

  2. Three Cheers to all the winners! *throw confetti*

    And may your Christmas be Merry and your New Year Joyous :-)

  3. They all did an amazing job, didn't they?!! Happy Holidays, Robin! :)

  4. Congratulations to all the winners!! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  5. WTG, to all the winners and to Susanna and her band of elves for all the work they did and do to promote writing for kiddies. Peace and love to you all at this wonderful time of the year!

  6. Congratulations to everyone!!! Susanna, you are just a total riot! :D I enjoy reading your preludes as much as anything in these contests. ;)

  7. Congratulations to all the winners each and everyone of you!! The stories were fantastic and I loved reading them.

    Merry Christmas to all!

  8. Wow...just wow! What an amazing Hanukkah surprise! There were so many incredible entries, and I'm honored to be in with the other finalists! Thanks for the love and thanks to Susanna and her magical helpers for making the contest such a fun event! Congrats to all the other winners and Happy Holidays to all!

  9. Terrific Hooray to all the winners and what amazing prizes Susanna has gathered for this. May your eggnog be boggy and your feasting filled with fun this Christmas, dear friend. You deserve it.

  10. Have I ever mentioned that your beating around the bush is GREAT fun? (Hmmm... what bush IS that?) Anyway, without further ado or adon't, CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners and merit-badge people, and to you, Susanna, for hosting yet another amazing contest. Have a wonderful holiday season, and a good blog break (I was going to say restful, but at this time of year, restful isn't really an option. Make that "filled to the brim with delight" instead.) *HUGS* to you!!!!

  11. Congrats to all the winners! And have a happy holiday, Susanna. Thanks for all you do.

  12. Oh. My. HollyJolly. Word. Not only did I not find time to write a story, but I also didn't get 'round to reading 'em all. Except that I happened up on Randy's--totally unconnected to the contest--and thought, goodness, that's a sweet story. And look! She won! (But I DO have time for sending wishes--Happy holidays to all y'all! May your writing dreams come true in 2015!)

  13. Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to Susanna for doing this! It was fun reading all these great stories. Merry Christmas!

  14. Congratulations everyone and all the best to each of you this holiday season.

  15. Congratulations, everyone! This has been such a fun and wonderful experience. Thanks to Susanna and all the guest judges for your hard work at this busy time of year.

  16. Congrats, everyone! :) Enjoy your well deserved break, Susanna!

  17. Congratulations one and all!!!! Now...Merry Christmas to all...and to all a good night...especially you, Susanna...time to rest. ;)

  18. Thank you so much! I am really honored to be a part of such a talented crew. Happy Holidays everyone! I am wishing you all book deals in the New Year!

  19. Congrats and kudos to the winners -- and congrats to you, Susanna, for yet another amazing contest!

  20. Congratulations to all the winners! This was a fun contest and I continue to read through the list. Another great contest Susanna. Thanks for doing this!

  21. Congratulations to you, too, Stacy, for a story we loved :) I'm so glad you enjoyed the contest. Happy holidays! :)

  22. And congrats to you, Mike, on a fantastic fun story that made us all laugh :) Thanks so much for joining in. Happy Holidays!

  23. Thank you for entering with your very clever story, Amy - it was such fun! Happy Holidays to you too!

  24. Congratulations to you too, Vivian - everyone who wrote was a winner in my book! No rest for the wicked, but I'm looking forward to baking and wrapping and spending time with my kiddos :) Merry Christmas to you!

  25. Congratulations to you too, Carrie, for a fun entry. As I said to Vivian, everyone who wrote is a winner to me! Happy Holidays!

  26. Congratulations to you, too, Katey! Wonderful story - very creative and nicely written! :) Happy Holidays! :)

  27. Thank you, Teresa, and to you too! Ah ah ah-ah ah ah-ah ah ah-ah :)

  28. Hahaha! That is so funny, Sylvia :) But thank you for the sentiment! Congratulations on a wonderful story, and Happy Holidays!

  29. Congratulations to you, Rachel, on a great story. I really do wish everyone could get prizes, but you're all winners in my book just for writing! Merry Christmas to you and yours! :)

  30. Well we all missed you, Cathy, but we soldiered on :) Thank you for joining in as much as you did! Happy Holidays to you, and I hope you're writing dreams come true in 2015! :)

  31. It's my pleasure, Kirsten. I always feel so lucky to belong to such a wonderful community! Happy Holidays! :)

  32. I'm glad you enjoy beating around the bush, Beth :) And I'm glad you enjoyed the contest! You are right about no rest, so I truly appreciate your "filled to the brim with delight" wishes - that is just perfect, and all the same to you! :)

  33. Aw, thanks, Joanna :) You are so sweet. I don't know what it means for eggnog to be boggy but it sounds lovely :) Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and may all your writing dreams come true in 2015 :)

  34. Congratulations, Randy! :) You are the top of the heap! Happy, happy Holidays, and please email me at your convenience to claim your prize so I can pass what's left to pick from onto the winners below you :)

  35. Thanks for all the reading, commenting, voting, and general support of the contest Clar! Merry Christmas to you too! :)

  36. Well, I live to entertain :) Congratulations to you, Teresa! And Happy Happy Holidays! :)

  37. Thank you so much, Linda, and congratulations to you too on a wonderful family story which we so enjoyed. Happy Holidays and much writing success for 2015! :)

  38. Congratulations to you, too, Tina, for a lovely story which we all enjoyed. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, and all the best for 2015!

  39. Thank you, dear Angela, and all the same to you and your Chipmunk! :)

  40. Congratulations everyone! Wonderful contest Susanna! Don't forget 'best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear'!!! Have a great Christmas to all and looking forward to next year!

  41. Congratulations to all the winners!

  42. Congratulations to all the winners!!! :-)

  43. Woohoo! Congratulations to all the winners! Thanks, Susanna!

  44. Congratulations to all the winners. Such great entries this year that it must have been hard to choose. Thank yo Susanna for hosting the contest. Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

  45. Have a wonderful holiday season, Susanna. Congrats to all the winners. It was quite a contest!

  46. I know a lot of the winners. Congrads to everyone. Squee Elaine, Teresa, Stacy, and Sylvia. .

  47. Congrats to the winners--and everyone who participated. TON of talent on this blog.
    And Susanna, I once knew a horse named Tinsel. :)

  48. Thank you so much Susanna, for running this contest again this year! I had a great time! Congratulations to all the winners!

  49. I think this is the first time in my life I can honestly say that I have never been happier to get the leftovers!!! Congratulations, Randi! It was a great story that deserved to win!! Happy Hanukkah!!

  50. You guys are so sweet! Another Honorable Mention? My kiddos and I are thrilled! (and that's NOT because we have two weeks off for Christmas break) Thank you so much!

  51. I replied so early (before my caffeine IV drip...hah) that I 1) forgot to wish you a lovely weekend (it's like saying, "goodnight, John-Boy"), and 2) forgot to email you (though I suspect you know how to hunt me actually scares me...hahaha!).

    So, thank you and have a great weekend!

  52. Elaine, congratulations to you, too! I loved your story, as well. Happy holidays to you!

  53. Wow, Congratulations to ALL the winners and honorees! Great stuff, everyone :) Stay safe through the season, people :) Thanks for another fantastic year of fun and frolicking, Susanna. See you all on the other side! :D

  54. Oh, so much fun! Thanks to all the wonderfully talented writers...I enjoyed and admired all your work. (Honestly...wonderful entries!) And thanks for hosting Susanna. I bet Santa will put extra chocolate in your stocking this year!

  55. Oh how cool. Thank you all and Susanna especially. We're traveling now, but I had to check in. Congrats everyone--and I do mean everyone who participated. So many great stories.

  56. Wow! I got an honorable mention! I am so surprised! Thank you! And congrats to all the winners!

  57. Your gingerbread village was very creative, Summer! We loved it :) Congratulations and happy holidays! :)

  58. Congratulations on a wonderful story, Johnell! Safe travels and happy holidays! :)

  59. You're very welcome! We like to encourage the next generation of writers around here :) Happy holidays to you and your first grade!

  60. You are famous by association, Rob. They couldn't have done it without you, I'm sure! And I'm sorry you and Blueberry didn't squee(ze) in there with them :( Yours was still a wonderful story!

  61. I'm so glad! Thank you! Happy holidays to you too!

  62. There were so many great ones, Barbara - there always are with so many talented writers out there! I hope you'll join us for the next one :) Happy Holidays, and I hope Santa puts extra chocolate in both our stockings! :)

  63. Thank you, Donna! I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with everything you love, and best wishes for all your writing and illustrating dreams to come true in 2015 :)

  64. I'm so glad you had fun, Elaine! We certainly all had fun reading your story! Congratulations and happy holidays to you! :)

  65. Thank you, Rosi! Have a joyous holiday as well!

  66. Thank you, Pat, for a wonderful entry and for reading and commenting and voting and generally supporting the contest! We loved your story about Owl - I wish everyone could get a prize! - but everyone who writes is a winner in my book! :) Merry Christmas!

  67. Congratulations to you, too, Cheryl, on a lovely, sweet story!

  68. Thanks, Linda! Congratulations to you to for writing an entry and sharing it for all of us to enjoy!

  69. Congratulations to you too, Julie, for a terrific entry! :) And how's this?:


    How am I doing so far? Loud enough? :)

    Merry Christmas! :)

  70. Oh, yes, Teresa! I will hunt you down - never fear! I don't have ruthless tracking dogs for nothing (okay, maybe they're worthless tracking dogs but let's not split hairs... :)) Have a great weekend too! :)

  71. Congrats to all. . . Well done! Lots of talent all around.

  72. Thanks so much, Susanna :D And as the old saying goes: from your lips to God's ears :) He's got SOME plan---just wish I knew what it was ;)

  73. Merry family baking and love, see you in the new year <3 Congratulations everyone.

  74. FANTASTIC! I can hear you all the way over here! Little Jack would be so proud!
    Merry cookie-mas to you too! 😄

  75. Congratulations to the winners! Thanks again, Susanna, for a fun contest! Your enthusiasm and energy are contageous! :)
    Happy December Holidays to everyone and best wishes for a fantastic and productive 2015! I'm off to finish one last competition (if you remember my Halloweensie character...) and then, see you in January!

  76. Thank you, Susanna! Merry Christmas! :)

  77. So true, Jarm - you included! Merry Christmas and happy new year! :)

  78. I'm so glad you enjoyed the contest, Mishka, and we really loved your story! Good luck with the Poag! :) and all best for 2015!

  79. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikDecember 21, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    Ms. Hill - you are a master of not beating around the bush! ;)
    Congrats to everyone! WOOO!!!

  80. Why thank you, Erik! That is such high praise :)

  81. Congratulations to all the winners! Happy Holidays everyone!

  82. Happiest of holidays to you too, dear Iza! :)


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