Career Highlights

Our hero.
Our hero.

I love to take part in flash fiction contests because they force me to push my mind in new and unexpected directions. So last year, when Susanna Leonard Hill announced a “Fourth of July Mystery” writing competition, I was eager to give it a go.

The timing of the contest also turned out to be excellent. I was in-between projects and was stumbling around trying to figure what to work on next. So, a Fourth of July Mystery it was! Even though I was less than eager to tackle another holiday story, I figured that, at the very least, it would be a fun writing exercise.

My first instinct for a Fourth of July Mystery was, The Mystery of The Missing Fingers (Spoiler Alert: The Cherry Bomb did it!), but I came to my senses. Instead, I submitted a story titled Harold’s Hat. Want an elevator pitch? Here ya go:

“Mwah-ha-ha!” This year the ever-inventive Harold is definitely going to beat Betsy Lominzer in the Fourth of July Patriotic Hat Contest. His creation has it all: flashing lights, a siren, megaphone, music, battery-powered flag waving action and shooting sparks. How could Harold possibly lose with something that awesome? Here’s one way: He could lose his hat! With only minutes before the competition begins, can Harold find his creation and get to the town square in time to square off against his hat-making nemesis?

I was pretty happy with the result, so I decided to revise the story and attempt to sell it somewhere.

About three seconds after finishing said rewrite, I stumbled upon the theme of the 2014 Highlights Fiction Contest: “Holiday Stories.” This, I figured, was too big a coincidence to ignore. So I didn’t.

And I won!

When the Highlights editor wrote to tell me, she said that she was “eager to announce my win to the world.” She followed up this statement with a “Mwah-ha-ha,” which I found pretty hilarious.

Needless to say, I am so very grateful to Susanna — who is the very definition of wonderful. Just one look Susanna’s blog proves it; every post – every single freakin’ post – is designed to help her fellow writers succeed. That was certainly true in my case. If it wasn’t for her contest, I never would have come up with this story.

When I rewrote Harold, I asked several talented bloggers for feedback. Cathy Ballou Mealey, however, deserves to be singled out for special praise. Her thoughtful critiques inspired me to push Harold in new and considerably more exciting directions. I believe that if it wasn’t for Cathy’s comments, Harold’s Hat wouldn’t have won a darn thing.

What I’m trying to say is that my writing is so much richer now that I am a part of a blogging community. This win proves it. Thanks, everybody. I am so very grateful.

 

Goldielockup Love

About a month ago, I entered a fractured fairy tale writing contest over at Susanna Leonard Hill’s place. My entry, Golidilockup, won second place, which made me giddy.

Now Susanna has another contest, this time for illustrators. Their assignment — if they choose to accept it — is to design a book cover for any of the winning entries.

The lovely Catherine Constance threw down the gauntlet and illustrated two of the winning stories: The Princess and the Stinky Cheese by my pal, Lauri Meyers, and — you guessed it — Goldilockup!

Woo!

So head on over and give Catherine some love, why don’cha?

Oh, and if you haven’t read Goldilockup yet, head over here.

UPDATE: Jumping Jehoshaphat! Other fine artists are giving Goldielockup love, too! Check out my Facebook page to see some other contest entries!

 

Win My Book! Woo! Part Two: Thankful Boogaloo

"Is it true that Mike's book was given a star by Kirkus, Mama?" "It is true Sarah dear."
“Is it true that Mike’s book was given a starred review by Kirkus, Mama?”
It’s true, Sarah dear.”

Yep, for the third week in a row, I’m asking you to visit another blog.

I’d feel a little guilty about doing this if the blogs weren’t fantastic – but they ARE!

Susanna Leonard Hill, perhaps the most selfless person on the planet, has interviewed me! If you leave a comment over at her place by Wednesday, you will be entered in a random drawing to win a free copy of SARAH GIVES THANKS!

The Grand (and only) Prize!
The Grand (and only) Prize!

So get going and good luck!

Oh, but you probably want extra copies for your family and friends, right? So while you’re waiting for Susanna’s contest results, feel free to buy the book here!

I’ll stop shilling the book now.