Short Story Contest Winners: "Puppy Love" Theme

The ‘love’ themes, for some reason, both for Elements of Love and Expressions of Love, have been the worst themes for our contests in the sense of participation and number of entries submitted. I would have thought with all the fantastic romance authors out there, I could have seen more romance stories to fill the pages of the Love books, or even better, perhaps, some unusual twists on ‘love’ themes, but that wasn’t to be the case. Because of this, I might be adjusting my themes for the next year, since these ‘love’ themes did horrible in drawing in writers the past two years. Live and learn, but color me surprised by the lack of interest.

The people who did submit stories to the ‘love’ themes did a decent job with them, but even then, the stories don’t have the same ‘wow’ factor that some of their other themed counterparts have. Again, surprised me.

Because of this, I’m sad to say today, we do not have a first place winner for the Puppy Love contest. We have selected three winners, and all three will be share equal footing. The judges scored these stories nearly identically, and they were by far the strongest of the mere 12 entries we received, which is very low for our recent contests that have garnered more than 30 or 40 entries and some of our future themes have already received submissions that are more than that and they aren’t even due for months!

While this excites me for future themes, very much!, it was a little disappointing for the Puppy Love theme. Now, Unrequited Love is our next theme, and part of my decision to only pick these three stories is because the other two themes for this anthology had some stronger entries. I’d rather choose fewer this round and more in other rounds or later when we’re putting the book together than to put a weaker entry into this one.

Another problem this time around was that many of the authors didn’t adhere to the submission guidelines. I didn’t disqualify anyone for this, so don’t think you weren’t included, because you were – I didn’t disqualify anyone this time, mostly because we had so few entries. One of the things many writers need to do is, if you have the new versions of Word (’07 or ’10) you need to change your settings so that two things happen – first, get it off that horrible Calibri font. Whomever picked that… (shaking head) and second, change it so there are no spaces between your paragraphs. You can do this by going to the ‘home’ tab on the ribbon, then clicking the little tiny box in the bottom left-hand corner of ‘paragraph’ to open the paragraph dialogue box. Once that’s open, click on ‘indents and spacing’. In that dialogue box, you’ll see: Spacing: before and after. You want to set the before and after spacing on both of those to: 0 pt

This is the single most annoying part of formatting for me when I buy a story. Everything else I can change pretty quickly and easily, but this one, when I merge stories, can mess up all my formatting. Please, check this, because others will want it set this way too, and it’s never wrong to remove the extra spacing between paragraphs. If you work with online content, this will help you with the templates you cut and paste into as well. I really have no clue why MicroSoft did it this way, but it makes zero logical sense.

All right, without any further hubbub, let’s announce the Puppy Love Theme Winners:

POETRY:

First, we will announce or poetry winner, for the Puppy Love theme, is Laurie Darroch-Meekis,with her poem: Love in C Major Giggles. Congratulations on a cute poem, Laurie.It was visually emotive. Made me think of slumber parties where teen girls put their heads together and blush and giggle. Good show!

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD CONTRACTS:

As many of you know, and for those of you who don’t know, we will begin selling digital downloadable short stories on the Twin Trinity Media website beginning May 1st. We will be offering contracts to those who had good stories that, for whatever reason, didn’t get included in the anthologies. Sometimes we get awesome stories that just don’t fit with the theme, or sometimes we get great stories that need more developmental editing or work so they didn’t win in a competition, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t worthy stories in their own right when not competing. We’ll take these worthy stories and help the authors tweak them and then share royalties with the authors on the website, where we will sell inexpensive bite-sized nuggets of reading. For the Puppy Love theme, we have two stories we have selected to offer digital download contract to, though the authors are under no obligation to accept the contract. Congratulations to:

  • Lucinda Gunnin, Day Dreams
  • Leigh Richards, Walter Bebbington’s Best Friend

WINNERS:

It’s pretty evident you know your genre when you enter two stories into one contest and both stories win! Congratulations to Stacie Moyle for both of her winning entries:

  • Stacie Moyle, I’ll Be Your Girlfriend – this story uses the theme in multiple ways, and two of the judges and myself commented on the use of the theme being strong, and uniquely creative. This has both the young puppy love of youth and the literally puppy love of a puppy. What a cute story.
  • Stacie Moyle, Caught in the Rain – this one will take you back to your youth, remind you of jr. high and high school, when nothing made sense, but everything was so wonderfully new.

I believe this was Stacie’s first time to enter one of our contests, so it’s a pleasure to see her do so well out of the gate. With some minor grammatical and mechanical issues, these two stories of puppy love are told in a cute, heart touching and endearing way, a trip into the past for many of us.

Or next winner is one I’m pleased to see, because I’ve watched him struggle to constantly improve his writing, especially knowing English is not this writers primary language.

  • DK (who still needs a full pen name!), Games at Lunch

This story will make an excellent addition to the anthology for this theme, and with a little tweaking for minor grammatical and mechanical issues, this is a solid story.

It seems when people think Puppy Love, we are brought back to our youth, so most of the stories, in fact, almost all of them, centered around children, youthful love, inexperience and excitement. They were all very cute stories, but none really stood out as being heads above the others, so we do apologize for not selecting a first place winner this round, but we want to reserve that coveted position of having your name on the front cover for a story that just wows us, and while these stories touched us, the judges and myself didn’t find a ‘wow’ factor among them.

And that’s okay. Sometimes, we just need to be touched… these stories did that, and I am honored to include them in the anthology.

Thank you to everyone who submitted to this theme! Onward and Upward to the next them, which is Unrequited Love! I know I said I’d have the results of that one today, but the judges scores were tough, and there were more entries than I remembered! I’ll have them up around 1pm tomorrow afternoon. I’m very pleased with the Unrequited Love stories, so I think you guys will be too.

See ya tomorrow!

Love and stuff,
Michy