Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Saturday Writers 8th Annual Short Fiction Contest - A Bittersweet Experience

Today in St. Peters, MO: Light snow, high 39 degrees. Let it snow!

On my blog today I'm posting the names of the winning entries in the Saturday Writers 8th Annual Short Story Contest. In the past I have served as a contest judge, but this year it was my honor to serve as contest chair.

Chairing this year's contest has been a bittersweet experience. The bitter part came after the death of our contest judge, Pushcare Prize nominated writer, Lynn Carney. When I asked Lynn to be our judge in the fall, she was so excited. We exchanged e-mails, especially after the contest deadline was extended. Lynn was anxious to receive the entries and finish judging before the holidays.

On Friday the week before Thanksgiving, I mailed the contest entries to Lynn. At suppertime the following Monday I received a tearful call from her husband Mark that he had received the entries, and he told me Lynn had passed away over the weekend. Lynn was only 56 years old. She was such a wonderful writer and generous spirit. Mark told me Lynn's passing was peaceful, and he was content that she was in the hands of the Lord. I told Mark Lynn was in our hearts and prayers and not to worry about mailing back the entries--he had enough to worry about.

The sweet part of the experience came when my dear friend Louella Turner, CEO and publisher of High Hill Press, and also a Pushcart Prize nominated writer, did not hesitate when I asked her to serve as judge in Lynn's place. Lou was thrilled to judge the entries, almost 90 of them. Fortunately, the rules asked for two copies of all entries. I delivered the second copies to Lou in late November, and she immediately got busy judging, which was blindly, so she did not know whose story she was reading. She not only judged the stories, she also provided comments about her experience. You can read Lou's comments on the Saturday Writers Contests page.

Here are the names of the winning entries:

And the winners are:
1st Place "To Touch the Moon" Lisa Tiffin; West Henrietta, New York
2nd Place "Myrtle" Pat Wahler; St. Peters, Missouri
3rd Place "Peligro" Wilma Gore; Sedona, Arizona
4th Place "The Baby" Evan Guilford-Blake; Stone Mountain, Georgia
5th Place "Firebreak" Doyle Suit; St. Charles, Missouri
6th Place "These Boots" Lisa Tiffin; West Henrietta, New York
7th Place "The Darkness of the Pines" Jerrel Swingle; O'Fallon, Missouri
8th Place "Marge" Charles King; Springfield, Missouri
9th Place "Streets of Gold" Nancy Peacock; Fort Smith, Arkansas
10 Place "Splashdown" Brenda Brinkley; Marshfield, MO

Honorable Mention
"Owen Bentley" Jean M. Emrick; Tuscon, Arizona
"Revelation at the Hacienda" Lonnie Whitaker; High Ridge, Missouri
"The Last Time I Saw Herbie" Charles King; Springfield, Missouri
"Misery and the 8N" Terry Alexander; Proum, Oklahoma
"Redneck GPS' Russell Gayer; Fayetteville, Arkansas
"A Grief Too Astray" Zac Walsh; Hayward, California
"Mingled Tears" Lilah Continue; St. Charles, Missouri
"Daddy" Cathy C. Hall; Lilburn, Georgia
"The Man Who Loved His Refrigerator" Dimetra Makris; Amherst, Massachusetts

Congratulations to all whose names are listed below, and thanks to everyone who entered the contest. Part of the contest fees help fund our children's contest and annual meeting. Submitters retain all rights to their stories.


  1. Donna, I am so sorry to hear of Lynn Carney's passing. She was such a sweet soul. Thank you for joining as one of my blog followers.

  2. Hi Mary Nida,
    Yes, it was quite a shock hearing about Lynn's passing.
    I enjoy visiting your blog. It's always uplifting.

  3. I'm still awed and thrilled by the second place win. Thanks so much, Donna & Lou for doing a wonderful job in a difficult situation.

  4. Hi Pat,
    Thanks for your kind words.
    It was such a sad experience to lose Lynn, not only because she was to be our judge, but even more because she was a wonderful person. Earlier in the fall, after I asked her to judge, she e-mailed to tell me how thrilled she was to be asked and how she was looking forward to reading all the entries.
    Lou definitely was a lifesaver for stepping forward to judge under the circumstances.
    And, congratulations for winning second place.


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