Monday, September 5, 2011

Just Got Back from Illinois and News to Share

Last Friday I didn't mean to stir up so much drama with my post when I wrote that I'd have some exciting news to share this week when I got back from the Labor Day soccer tournament.

After reading all the comments and e-mails telling me I wasn't being fair keeping everyone in suspense, I was surprised and felt bad. So, sorry if I left anyone feeling left out or hanging with my last-minute post before I left to go out of town.

The drama and suspense weren't  intentional. I wanted last Friday's post to focus on the winner of the Cactus Country anthology--not on my news.  So, congratulations again Becky for winning the Cactus Country anthology, and thanks to everyone else who left comments about their favorite cowboys, western movies or series.

Since late last night when we "just got back from Illinois," the lyrics from the Creedence Clear Water Revival song, "Looking Out My Back Door," have been replaying in my mind. The Labor Day weekend soccer tournament in Bollingbrook, Illinois, (west of Chicago) was interesting--the thunderstorms there on Saturday were scary. Oh, and believe it or not, while it was raining outside I went to the hotel room and flipped TV channels and watched an episode of "Rawhide" with none other than my favorite cowboy actor--Clint Eastwood. What a coincidence! I hadn't seen an episode of "Rawhide" in a long, long time.

On to my exciting news:

Last Thursday I received a big brown envelope in the mail with the return address of Delois McGrew, co-editor of Voices Anthology. Inside were a check, a letter, and a contract. The letter informed me that my short story, "Under Grandma's Bottle Tree," won first place in the Voices Anthology contest. Wowser!

Seeing the check raised my eyebrows and put a smile on my face, but reading the letter brought tears of joy. I was shocked and thrilled when I learned that my short story is being nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the editors of Voices Anthology. Double Wowser!!

Thursday afternoon, when my husband -- who had just returned from having two new tires put on the van so I would have a safe trip -- noticed I was crying, he asked me why.  Speechless, I showed him the letter with the check attached. Always the practical one, his comment was, "Good. That will pay for about half of what it cost to get the van fixed."

Later that day I called Lou Turner, one of the Voices co-editors, and thanked her for picking my story. Being the insecure writer that I am, I wanted to make sure my story wasn't picked because we are friends. During our conversation Lou assured me that was not the case, and she gave me insight into how the contest selection process worked.

From more than 60 stories submitted, a panel of three judges independently selected their top three picks. My story was in the top three of all three judges. From those three top picks they then selected one story to win, and my short story was the winning entry.

"Under Grandma's Bottle Tree" is a short story I wrote this summer. It's edgier and darker than what I usually write, so I wasn't sure how it would be received. I'm grateful and happy it won, and I'm excited and humbled at the Pushcart Prize nomination.

The Voices Anthology will be published this fall, and I'm not sure how the Pushcart Prize nomination process works, but as has been said and written by others thousands of times before--and I sincerely mean this-- it is truly an honor to be nominated for the award.


  1. Yeh, Donna! Excellent news! I'm applauding for you all the way from Florida... :)

  2. Wonderful! Congratulations, I am sure you deserved it.

  3. I sent you an email, and then read this post, so the beans were not spilled too prematurely. Congratulations! I wish you would share your writing with others more frequently. We all benefit from hearing the work of other writers, and too infrequently, I get to brush against greatness.

    That is wonderful, incredible news, Donna!

  4. OH my gosh, news worth waiting for!!! Good for you. I have ordered copies of this anthology so I can't wait to read "the winner" happy for you,Donna!

    Your blog is the first one I ever read...and I stuck. You have helped me so much, to learn new things, to find new ops...thank you. There is a reason you are a winner...good luck on the Pushcart too!

  5. Hi Madeline,
    Thanks. Is that the noise I've been hearing--all the way from Florida.
    The short story is one of the pieces I completed as part of my Write1/Sub 1 goal to write a new short story each month.

    Hi Janet,

    Hi Sioux,
    You are so sweet to say that. Honestly, it wasn't that I was trying to keep it a secret. In fact that night I met with some writing friends, and that's how they found out. I just mentioned it in passing because I didn't want to detract from Friday's post announcing the winner of Cactus Country.

    Hi Claudia,
    You are so sweet. I hope you enjoy the story. It's something different for me.

    I am happy you have stuck with my blog. I've also discovered lots of interesting and helpful information on your blog.


  6. What great news! Congratulations. I look forward to reading your story.

  7. Congratulations Donna! You are a hard working writer. Have a great week. Mary Nida Smith

  8. I'm so delighted for you! That's a double doozy of good newsy!

  9. I'm late getting around to many blogs tonight, but so happy I noticed you had a New Post to read! Congratulations, Donna, on both items! Your story title doesn't sound familiar. Was it something you ever read at C&C?

    Besides being a wonderful writer, you've always been very kind and encouraging to me, from the first time we met at Sat Writers! Way to go!!

  10. Hi Buttercup,
    thank you so much. I read on your blog that you've been having some health issues. Hope your better soon.

    Hi Mary Nida,
    Thank you. Hope all is well with you in Arkansas.

    Hi Melissa,
    Awww. You are so kind.

    Hi Becky,
    It's a new story I wrote this summer. It's almost ten pages so I didn't bring it to critique group.

    And thanks for you kind words. Can you see me blushing?

    Can you see me blushing?

  11. Hey, congrats Donna! What an awesome honor!


  12. Hi Pat,
    Thanks. I'm still pinching myself, but not too hard.


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