The Sully Award Winner!

First things first: I owe everyone an apology.

I was supposed to announce the winner of The Sully Award for Excellence in Writerishness last week, but the days got away from me.

The reason: Easter Week.

For many, many years I have avoided hosting holiday family gatherings. This is primarily because my home is “Entertaining Hostile.” That is to say the rooms are small and have no flow, there isn’t enough seating, and I own only one, small TV.

Another reason for never hosting  family gatherings is because, well, I didn’t wanna.

Things tend to break and get messy when people come over. And the more people who come over, the messier and break-ier things get.

Allegra holiday family gatherings average about 13 people. That’s a potentially huge amount of messiness and breakiness.

Normally the Easter Saturday gathering is the responsibility of my aunt and uncle (who owned a huge house and approximately 92 TVs). But this year they decided to move to Florida (because “get attacked by an alligator” was apparently on their Bucket List).

So the Easter celebration needed a new host.

I kept my mouth shut and avoided eye contact. My lovely wife, Ellen, on the other hand, cheerily volunteered.

And that was that.

The result was a week of endless preparation. The gathering was three days ago and I’m still pooped. On the plus side, nobody broke anything. And it was fun, too! So good job, family!


Alright. Enough stories.

Let’s get on with it.

Here it is!

Today’s the day!

The moment you have all been waiting for!

The announcement of the winner of
The First Annual Sully Award for Excellence in Writerishness!

As I’ve mentioned before, I received a lot of Sully Award submissions. According to my panel of esteemed judges, the quality of the entries made choosing a winner especially difficult.

But choose they did.

Before I announce the winner, however, I’d like to take a moment to introduce the judges and thank them for their service.


Lisa Gillard Hanson

The great Lisa Gillard Hanson is the publicist at The Lawrenceville School. That means she has the godlike ability to write and edit stories that make Lawrenceville’s good news sound super good. (And then she gets that super good news in The New York Times, which is super great.) Prior to Lawrenceville, she was an editor at Rutgers University Press. She also has an unhealthy obsession with Derek Jeeter.

Cathy Ballou Mealy

You’ll soon be hearing a lot about Cathy when her debut picture book, When a Tree Grows, hits shelves next year. Cathy is an incredible writer. And she’s every bit as good at critiquing. In fact, she critiques my stuff all the time. Her expert analysis of my manuscripts has made me a better writer. Period. She also believes in Fluff Monkeys.

Laurel Leigh

Well, I had to put Laurel on the panel, didn’t I? She’s the force of nature who made Sully the Salamander a thing. She and I also came up with The Sully Award. And she’d probably pester me into oblivion if I didn’t ask her to be a judge. (Lord, is she pesty!) But Laurel is also a writer of great distinction. She’s been published in The Sun, is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and has done about a jillion other writerish things. So, yeah, she’s awesome.

Thank you, judges! You kicked booty.


Even though there is only one prize winner, I asked each of the judges to give me their top three choices in order to better determine a winner in the event of a three-way tie for first place.

The following individuals appeared on at least one judge’s top-three list. I would highly recommend scooting over to The Sully Award page to read their entries. These people are going places, believe me.

Katie Bennett

Andrew Joyce

Jennifer Ali

Jilanne Hoffmann

EDC Writing

Frank Hubeny

But in a competition like this, there needs to be only one winner. And we have a good one.

The individual who will take home this year’s Sully Award earned the No. 1 spot on two top-three lists.

Even though the judges were not required to comment on their selections, one judge couldn’t help herself. She praised the story’s

“outstanding use of dialogue to engage readers with rich backstory and compelling characters. I want to know more about all of them and how they are connected.”

Intrigued eh? Well, don’t worry, I’ll post the winning story at the bottom of the post.

And the winner is…

Kate Loveton!

Congratualtions, Kate! You are the winner of the First Annual Sully Award for Excellence in Writerishness!

Along with your certificate, your will receive a $20 gift card to Starbucks, a $10 gift card to iTunes and a $20 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

All you have to do is head on up to the “Hire Me” menu bar and send me an email.

Thanks for entering, everyone! And thanks for making The Sully Award happen!


G is for George

By Kate Loveton

“What’s with the dog?” asked James, settling into the folding chair near his brother.

Stuart brushed the lapel of his Brooks Brothers coat before answering. “I haven’t a clue. He was lying next to the casket when I arrived. Fitting, though – just the sort of mutt George might have latched onto. Since when are dogs allowed in funeral homes?”

The dog stared at the brothers. His milky, tea-colored eyes were sorrowful.

“Speaking of mutts,” said James, “did you notice the character in the back of the room?”

“Rather hard to miss since he’s the only one here besides you, me and the dog.”

“Think he’s one of George’s converts?”

“More likely one of his AA pals. Those people do hang on.”

The brothers were silent, thinking of George’s plunge from businessman to drunk and then sidewalk preacher.

“Wonder what Father would make of this,” mused James.

“He’d give thanks that the old boy’s death ends a sorry family chapter.”

“George was a good man,” muttered the man from the back of the room.

James rose. “Let’s go, Stuart. We’ve stayed long enough to pay our respects.”

The dog never raised his head as they walked past the casket.

©2017 All Rights Reserved Kate Loveton, Odyssey of a Novice Writer

71 Replies to “The Sully Award Winner!”

  1. Congrats to Kate for her winning story and to all the runners-up! A fun contest. 🙂 Glad you survived Easter without much messiness and no breakiness, Mike. I think it’s your house from now on.

  2. Reblogged this on Odyssey of a Novice Writer and commented:
    I won an award! I am shocked, humbled and thrilled! I have never competed in a contest before and this was such a boost to me. This is the first Annual Sully Award.

    Please check out the other fine writers who participated. I think you will enjoy their entries! 😃

  3. Congratulations, Mike, on two events well-executed: the Easter family shindig and the Sully Awards. Yayyy!!!
    What find assistants you had for this difficult choice! 😉 xoxoM

  4. Congratulations, Kate! ❤

    This is so thoroughly well deserved! I am so excited and happy for you! ❤ ❤ ❤

  5. HUGE congrats to Kate. Loved the story. Loved the mutt, Would like to kick the seat of the pants of James and Stuart. I hope some other loving being takes the sweet doggy home. Not Mike though – he prefers mice. Hey, that would be a neat title of a story: “Of Mice and Men and Easter Tribulations.” Glad you made it through, Mike, and hopefully you are now eating up those left-over chocolate eggs. The ones that didn’t get smooshed on the floor.

    1. Mice are adorable, yes, but I think only an Easter Capybara has the temperament and generous spirit befitting an Easter Bunny. Dibs on the title “The Easter Capy”!

      Fortunately, no Easter candy got smooshed on the floor. I would never allow such a tragedy to happen. I gave up candy for Lent; ever since I have been guarding every morsel of chocolate with the pathological overprotectiveness of a helicopter parent.

  6. Well done, Kate! I love your your story and want to know more about this group of characters! Congrats! Congrats! Congrats! I’m so pleased that Mike came out of his pre- and post-Easter cleaning-induced haze to announce the winner!

    1. One more thing: thanks for the shout out! And thank you to the judges for taking the time to read so many entries and then argue with each other (hope no bones were broken) until a winner was selected.

      1. The judges, I’m pleased to report, were all professional and respectful. Laurel’s mysterious disappearance, I assume, is completely unrelated to any conflicts that took place during the selection process.

      1. Ha ha, so far so good. I had myself pretty stressed out on my own. I just have to say that judging someone else’s writing is agony. Loved it, but agony.

  7. Congratulations Kate! 😀 Fab writing. And well done Mike for getting through Easter. I’m not one for entertaining, I just find it all rather stressful – I cooked for six of us on Easter Sunday lunch and found that stressful enough!

    1. I’m with you. I much prefer small gatherings. (Give me some wine, cheese, and two or three interesting people and I am truly in my Social Happy Place.)

      But, I’m lucky; my family wasn’t (and usually isn’t) much trouble at all. They’re a fun, lively, and helpful crew.

  8. Congrats, Kate! And well done to all the honourable mentions. There were some truly great entries in the contest, an exceptionally high standard of work, and I loved reading them.

    And now for the best part: Jade Wong and I will share a commiseratory pizza—with extra olives! 😀

    *stuffs food in face-hole*

  9. Good job and congrats to Kate !!!
    Definitely want to hear more from her.
    As for you and your entertaining, bwah ha ha ha ha.
    You sound like me. I’m a better guest than I am a hostess. I’m helpful, attentive, and can fend for myself if need be. But as a hostess, I am always wishing people would leave after a couple hours. When I’m a guest, I can leave after a couple hours and we’re all happy.
    And yeah, it’s a lot of work.

  10. I have just had a chance to read all the kind congrats from the folks above. You are a generous bunch, and I am grateful.

    I also went back and read all the submissions. Gosh, the judges sure had their work cut out for them. There were so many fine entries! I enjoyed them all and I am so pleased and humbled to be part of such a group of talented writers. 👍💜

    1. Ah, Cathy, thank you so much! You know how much I admire your Southern Gothic style of writing (you can really creep me out – and that is said with great admiration!) – so your words mean a lot to me. Thanks again!

  11. Endless congratulations to Kate, the six honorees, and all of the wildly talented writers who submitted to this contest. It was incredibly fun to read everyone’s entries and equally humbling to have to judge them. After this I feel like the literary future of the world is in capable hands. It’s so awesome that all the zaniness with Sully the Salamander led to such a fabulous contest. Mike, thanks for making it all happen!

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