Accentuate Writers Short Story Anthology Contest Winners for the Theme: VENGEANCE

We didn’t get quite as many Vengeance stories as I had anticipated, but we still received a good lot of them. The final count was almost 30 stories, so it was difficult to judge. The hardest part for me in all of this is that, being a contest, I have to say no to some really good stories. Sadly, the #1 reason a really good story doesn’t get a place is usually because of grammar and language styling more than it is about the quality of the story. When competing with many writers, it’s bound that several good stories will make it into the top spots, and that means several good stories won’t, and the only thing that often separates them is the polishing, the editing, the perfecting of the story.

Remember, not just for our contests, Writers, but for all contests and submissions, you really should be submitting your best work, work that is as close to publish-ready as possible. The less work that is required to prepare your story for publication, coupled with a fantastic story idea, the more likely it is to be selected. Granted, that good story idea is important. I have seen some stories with perfect grammar and style and punctuation that simply fell flat on their figurative faces where the story was concerned. My point is, if you have a good story, a fantastic story, a great story, let it shine. Don’t let polishing and editing be your downfall.

Don’t forget, we do have the critiques and feedback forum that is behind a login and a separate password on the forum, as well as being behind a robots.txt file, so search engines can’t index it, and no one without a password and access can even view it, and you can get some help on that all-important editing and polishing.

Now, moving on. I want to start with a story that was not picked for this anthology, though the story and the writing were both well done. Unfortunately, the story failed in the theme. The judges just didn’t think it fit the theme well enough. However, this story fits quite perfectly for our Horror Anthology that is TBA, so I’d like to make an official offer for inclusion in the horror anthology to:

Dying to Live Again, Jenny Corvette

The horror anthology pays $50 upfront, plus royalties and free author copies of the book, plus a few other perks. If you’re not interested in that, we can always offer a digital download on this one too. Thanks for the great story!

Next, let’s announce the poetry winners. I really thought this theme would bring out the best of our poets, and it did. I only wish it would have brought out more. Seems our poets were not as inspired by this theme as our authors were, but that’s all right, because we still had some excellent selections from which to choose. So I’m proud to announce the


  • Showdown, Lisa Lee Smith
  • They Aren’t Like the Rest of Us, by Carol Ayer
  • Dinner with a Vengeance, Lisa Lee Smith


Now, here’s something I haven’t ever done before. This next story really grabbed me, it reeled me in, and it made me keep reading. The beginning of it was sooooo awesome, I would have been turning pages if I had a book in front of me. Unfortunately, about 3/4 of the way through, it fizzled. It’s almost like the author was in a hurry to finish it up, and just started typing ‘what happened’ in very much ‘tell’ mode and not ‘show’ mode, to get to the end of the story.

I was disappointed. Me, personally, I want to see more. So I’m making a strange offer – I want the author of this story to take it back and finish it the right way, making the ending every bit as enticing as the beginning, giving me the whole story, and not rushing through it, and if that author can satisfy this reader (who just happens to be the person who says what goes into the book too), I’ll include this author as an Editor’s Choice inclusion in the anthology. I KNOW this story is in the author somewhere, and I want her to pull it out and put it into the story. It is:

  • Namesake, by Nancy Smith Gibson


As you all probably know by now, the digital downloads offers are starting to be put up on the TTM website. You can find them here:

These stories are the ones we wanted to put into the anthology, but because of the nature of it being a contest, they were hedged out by stories that beat them in the competitive nature. These are fine stories, and talented authors, and I hope to read more from them! Congratulations to:

Missing Parts, by M. Lori Motley – I’d like to discuss changing this story slightly with the author. I think if we can add a horror story lore to this short story, and change it from only women having been killed to both men and woman (that’s where the judges said this one failed, the final one being a man when the others were all women), then I’d like to have this one for the horror anthology.

Bloody Sheets, by  Jenny Corvette – This one doesn’t work for vengeance, BUT I want this one for something. It’s not really horror, but it’s horrific. It’s not really love gone wrong, but boy did it. For now, I’ll say I want it for the digital downloads, but if I can find a place this really fits well, I want it for that. If there were a ‘guilt’ theme (and there just might be), boy would this fit. Great story!


For inclusion in the anthology, we have two exceptional stories written by authors who have entered and placed in our contests before, so we know to expect good writing from them. These stories did not fail to provide that. Vengeance is an interesting theme, and I was amazed at how each author handled it quite differently. Congratulations to our anthology inclusions:

Vengeance is Mine, by Camden Eastman – This story is both the protagonist’s metaphorical fantasy and nightmare, wrapped up in just a little bit of insanity. I love the way the definitions are littered through, almost like the dictionary, as she sort of insinuated, is her Bible, by which she lives her life, so that each choice of word has to be exact. If it’s not, it’s almost as though instead of just picking a new word, she tries to force life to conform to the definition, instead of the other way around. The constant referral to her ‘bible’ leaks the insanity throughout, until it becomes only abundantly too clear that there is no thread linking her to sanity. Boy, I would hate to be a man in her reality. Great job and congratulations on the win!

The Best Revenge, by Nancy Smith Gibson – It’s a good thing I’m not the one judging these contests, well, at least, not completely, because I’ve come to recognize Nancy Smith Gibson’s voice in her writing so much so that I can peg that it’s her story by reading it. She has a sense of humor that shines through, even in some of the darkest moments she’s written, and shines even more brightly in the lighter moments. It’s as though this is how she lives her life, with humor laced through everything, a spark or brightness even in the darkest moments. I love that she has a recognizable quality to her writing. I think when she finally gets her big break with a full-length work, it wil be that consistency in voice that will give her a very loyal readership, no matter what genre she attempts.

For this story, one middle-aged woman turns rage into revenge. Instead of taking matters into her own hands, directly, she sets things up in such a way that, though she doesn’t directly get to serve her just desserts, she gets to enjoy a new life, while watching someone else eat his just desserts; if only he knew she was the one who had figuratively set the table. Where Camden Eastman weaves a fantasy nightmare, Nancy Smith Gibson feeds us a daydream come true in The Best Revenge.

At this point, I’m afraid TTM is going to have to put a disclaimer on these books telling readers: Please don’t consider any of these stories advice on how to seek revenge!

Now, for our first place winner:

The Third Person, by Joan H. Young

I really want this one for the book, but I’m not sure I can make it work. Interesting concept for a story. Very unique, but… it works! I don’t know if we’re going to put this one in the book, because I’m not sure how to format it – IF we can make this work, I think I have a fantastic idea for how to format it and make it look like images, and if the proof copy looks good when printed, then we’ll totally go with it. If not, then I know we can make it looks awesome for digital download. I WANT it for the book, because the concept is really unique and yet tells a story, so we’ll do our best to make it happen for the book – whether it goes into the book or not, we’re considering this one a winner for prize consideration. I really think this could be a fascinating way to present a story.

And I’m going to be cruel and not tell you what the story is about or why the formatting of it is important, because… well, quite frankly, you’re going to have to see this one to get it, and when you do, I think you’re going to love it. Great job, Joan! Fantastic concept! We WILL make this work!

Thank you to all the winners and those who submitted to the Vengeance theme. You are all winners, in my book, so please keep writing, and keep entering contests and submitting!

Love and stuff,