Accentuate Writers Short Story Contest REGRET Theme Winners

Lots of good entries for the regret theme this time, so judging took a long time. We narrowed it down to finalists and I wanted to let everyone who entered know who the finalists were before we post the winners. The reason I’m doing this is, there were soooo many entries this time that, because it was a contest format, means there were some good stories that were not able to win but that might have been considered had it been straight submissions.

Digital Download Winners:

Unfortunately, I don’t have the digital download announcement ready at the time of this post. I will be announcing the digital download winners next week, so if your story is not selected here for the book, you might still be included for a digital download contract, and I will email you next week and post the winners here on the blog then. Sorry for the delay!

The judging on this group was hard. A lot of painful, gut and heart-wrenching stories in this batch for regret. I’m running really late tonight, so we’ll just jump right into the winners for the book!

Poem Winners:

Only One Regret, by W. Ned Livingston

My Regrets, by Camden Eastman

My Son, by Camden Eastman

After the Fact, by Lisa Lee Smith

Home Videos, by Carol Ayer

Shadow Keepers, by Laurie Darroch-Meekis

Eternal Heartache, by Pamela Caves

My Regretful Life, by Camden Eastman

Congratulations to all the poets. We are getting more poetry than ever before, and with limited slots, it’s so hard to pick the best ones. Thank you to everyone for your submissions. I’ve enjoyed reading each of them, even if they didn’t win, and don’t forget — some of the ones who didn’t win are still being considered for our poetry compilation later in the year!


A Friend of the Family, by Helen Haught Fanick – Classic love story theme here for regret. Sometimes, the fear of rejection keeps us from the things we truly want and love, only to find those objects of affection shared those same regrets. A good lesson here to trust your heart, lest you regret that which you have not said more than you’d regret having said it. This will make a fine addition to your regret theme in the anthology! Congratulations.

Secret Love, by Terri Elders – This story is sweet and sad at the same time, and while it definitely shows regrets, it’s also not shoved in the reader’s face. We see the lead character regret, and then we see her secret love with his regret too. The last line of this story made me snort out laughter, and that doesn’t happen too much. I loved the way we were expecting, “Ah! Finally!” but then only to find out, nope, can’t happen. LOL Great job!

Victorious Tragedy, by Derek Odom – The only thing that would have made this story better would have been more ‘story’. It’s short, not so sweet, with a tragically sad ending, but it feels more like a man sitting in a rocking chair telling a short snapshot of an event in his life. I would have liked more story, like action, characters interacting, more characterization. However, even without that, the basic story was still worthy of placing, and I plan to work with Derek to flesh this out a bit more. Sadly tragic ending, but the story touches the reader.

Snow Globe, by Robert Arend – As far as just the storyline goes, this one really got to me. I could almost see it like a Twilight Zone movie type thing. But it does have a meta message to it that stands out without being in your face. Every decision we make, no matter how small it might seem, makes a difference–both in our lives and those around us too. This story shows that very clearly, while still giving our main character a ‘second chance’. A very worthy entry to our contest.

Congratulations to each of you for an excellent story written, and for submitting it. I personally know how hard it is to let one go and let it fly, and each of you did this successfully.


One story did stand out amongst the others as good enough to grab that sought after first place spot though. The one that secured the win had a creative use of the theme in which regret, while running through the story, isn’t ever really specifically referred to, and yet, we see so many regrets in the final scenes of this ‘love never given a chance’ story. I loved the ending line about the husband, because that just cinched it right up. The first place winner whose name will appear on the front cover of the book:

Elliot & June, by Elizabeth Grace

Probably the best line of any of the stories came from this story. The line reads: “These past few years have been wearisome, I will say that, with sadness and hope doing a tango, each taking their turn leading.” I really like that line, a lot. But it wasn’t that line alone that made this one win. One of the things I like about this is that the lead character, our narrator in the story, is insisting she made the right choice, but we, the readers, can see her regret so clearly, even while she misses it completely. It’s seen in how she considers her lack of desire for these things others expected from her is considered a weakness or a flaw in herself, and even in the very end of the story, she’s still trying to convince herself she has no regrets. We clearly see otherwise. Great job on a very poignant story!

Thank you to everyone who entered and special congratulations to those who won.

Love and stuff,