December 18, 2015

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 - random)

Cinnamon Embercrystals
(generated by  - based on first and last name)

Elvis McJingle
(generated by 

Candy Sparklepants
(generated by 


Sugar Candykirk
(generated by 

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.!


You were expecting to discuss something else?

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



I knew there was something else. . .


                    The 5th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!
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!!!



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!!!


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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