First Love Theme Contest Winners

I’m not feeling well at all. Got crud spewing from orifices and achy and a fever and chills and sweats and sleepies… ugh. I have a doctor’s appointment in a little while and so I’m going to have to make this super short. I’ll come back and add links and other info later, but I wanted to announce the winners really quick for those who have waited patiently for results.

We only had 21 entries this time, but the competition was super fierce. We had several new entries from folks who had never entered before and I was honored to read their work and impressed with the quality. I’ve removed all entry fees from the contests between now and the end of the year, so I do hope more of you will go here and consider entering a short story for one of the two remaining themes.

This is also last call for erotic submissions to the erotic short story anthology – must be received by Dec. 15th!

So here we go!

#300 – Killdeer Street – Lisa Lee Smith – First Place

With this fantastic story, we are taken through the past to the present, in a well-paced spinning of a tale of not just ‘first love’ but also parental love, which is the first love for most people experience and perhaps is the love relationship many build their future relationships upon. Then we end with unspoken ‘self love’ for the first time. When we come to that place in life that we realize we have to do what is best for us, that’s when we love ourselves enough to come full circle. This story takes us from first love romantic through to parental love and love for self–it weaves the theme well throughout the writing.

#8 – The Love Train – Tom Forthe, Second Place

This story really got me with the analogy and metaphor of the train. While I think the metaphor could have been slightly more subtle in the beginning, it worked well with the story. While some readers prefer writers to say what they mean and mean what they say and others prefer the metaphor, it is a rare story indeed that has both aspects, and The Love Train does that. Those who seek to find deeper meaning in the metaphor can and those who take things only at face value are still left with a solid story. It was a good use of the theme and a well-rounded story.

#2116 – Invisible – Joan Young – Third Place

One of the difficult things to do with a short story is to tell a complete story, to fully develop it and the characters in such a short space, and that’s when the story is about a short period of time. In this short story, though, we cover decades, staying with the main character and some of the subsidiary characters, throughout. The character development was a little bit weak, but the story development was fantastic. I, and two of the judges agreed, feel this one fizzles just a little bit at the end, and I hope to work with the author to really make it pop at the end instead. It is that ending that resulted in the third place finish, rather than a higher placing in the contest. For you writers out there, keep in mind, the best story in the world is going to be overlooked if the ending fails the reader. This story had fantastic build up, fantastic pacing, but then the ending just didn’t quite ring true. Anywhosy, we’ll be working with this awesome author to make that ending pop, and this is going to be an even more exceptional story.

#9901 – All That Sparkles – Jamie Miller – Third Place

Loved the title of the story; not sure why, but it really grabbed my attention. Being a ‘girl’ I distinctly remember junior high and high school (mostly jr. high, since I was a mom in high school – I know, I know), and if you’ve ever been a little girl in jr. high, you’re going to be able to relate to this story. It just rings true, both from my experiences and from watching my now 22 year old daughter grow up too. There was some confusion, because the ‘props’ used were two bracelets, so that caused a little confusion when one thing happened with one bracelet and something else happened to the other, but there was not a clear distinction between them. Probably would have been better to use a necklace and a bracelet, and the necklace could have been engraved (think like a locket) to clarify. The theme was pulled into good use by not only having it be a first ‘romantic’ love in that of a sort of ‘cheating’ first boyfriend but there was also the theme of self love her, that is, loving herself enough to stand up and say she deserved better. That’s a lesson many a young girl should learn. Though written about children, this story is timeless and is not a child’s story.

#4421 – Johnny Falls in Love – Nancy Smith Gibson – Editor’s Pick

What can I say about Shadow Grove? I know. Why isn’t Nancy Smith Gibson a published best-selling author? The humor found in her tales, her voice, her talent, shines clear through everything she writes. I think the reason this one didn’t score higher with the judges is that it’s a short story inside a longer story – I know bits and pieces of the longer story but they do not, so while a cute story, they aren’t getting the full picture. Still, I couldn’t resist an Editor’s Pick on this one if for no other reason than Johnny deciding that girls were entirely too much trouble. Aren’t we, though? LOL Great job, as always, Nancy. I’m very much looking forward to the day we see your name in bold on the cover of your very own best-selling book. That day is coming!

And a very special shout out to Padre Art, who wrote a winning story, but was instead offered a contract to be included in the Accentuate Erotic Anthology.

Congratulations to all the winners and all the writers!

Now, I’m off to get poked and prodded.

Love and stuff,