The winners up to sixth place are now out and online for the Arkansas Writers’ Conference contests at Little Rock, Arkansas.
I placed second in contest 25. Look What The Cat Dragged In. Title of my short story was The Unexpected Visitor. Guidelines for this entry - a short story and no word limit which is great for me. I know 2500 words is about the top limit for an entry, but I like it when I don’t have to watch the count close.
I’ve been entering this set of contests since 2003 and have many awards from first to sixth place. For the $10 entry fee participants can enter as many contests as they want. I have entered up to a dozen each year, but this year I found only four that I wanted to do. Several of the themes had vampire or ghost subjects. Vampires aren’t something that I can write about, but I did come up with a ghost story. I’ll share that one with you around Halloween.
The $15.00 prize money paid my entry fee and expenses of ink, paper, envelope and postage. Plus, I am listed online in the list of winners for anyone that wants to look up the website.
Every year the contest rules come out in January. The entries have to be in by the last of April which is plenty of time to work on a short story. After all these years, I’ve become familiar with the different contest themes. When I get an idea in the months before the contest starts, I write a story and wait to see if it will fit the guidelines. Sometimes, the story only takes a little reworking.
The first four contests entered, the writers have to present at the conference the first weekend of June. Contests 5 - 28 are open to all writers. Contests 29-36 are for residents of Arkansas only.
Now my entries to White River Writers Conference Contest, Searcy, Arkansas, have been sent in. Another Arkansas based conference with a July 26 deadline. More on that later in September if I place in the contests. Sometimes I submit the short stories I’ve used for the Arkansas Writers’ Conference. I’ve found with a different set of judges I place this time when I didn’t in the other contest.
Over the years, I complied quite a few essays and short stories. When I published my books back in 2008, three of those books were made up of these contest entries. Wild West Tales, Butterfly And Angel Wings and A Teapot, Ghosts, Bats & More.
The books didn’t cost much to publish. I use them as give aways at book signings. The winner has a choice of the three books. Also, I gave a copy of A Teapot, Ghosts, Bats & More to my family doctor to put in the magazine rack in the waiting room. It took the longest time for that book to get placed in the rack. I finally figured out all the staff read the book before they gave it up to the patients. In the back of each book is my contact information and list of other books I’ve written if anyone reading this book wants another from me. I’ve sold the doctor two of my Amish books and the staff has bought four of my Alzheimer’s caregiver books Open A Window.
Three of the short story entries became books. I make sure to list that I was a contest winner with the short story. Right now I have a western book, second in my Stringbean Hooper Westerns, to be published soon. I entered my western in a Western Three Chapter contest. Dusty Richards, well known western author, is the judge. He gave me second place for my first Stringbean Hooper book, The Dark Wind Howls Over Mary. Contest winners are announced in September at the conference. If I am awarded anything I can use that acknowledgment in my next book.