Rebelling against the theme

So, because I ended up spending my weekend running around like the chicken version of Nearly Headless Nick (hat tip to Harry Potter), I’m rebelling against our rebel theme and going with something completely different today.

I want you to tell me a story in the comments.

I’ve been working my butt off this weekend reading submissions for Brenda Drake’s yearly Pitch Wars contest (and baking things for my kids, going to a baby shower, running 16 miles and hosting a dinner party). I’m a mentor for the third year in a row (after scoring an agent during the contest’s first year). Being a mentor means sorting through dozens upon dozens of submissions to find a manuscript I want to help polish. Which is difficult, because I want to hug and squeeze ALL the manuscripts in my inbox (I have a major Millions of Cats complex).

SO, because I have a contest state of mind, I want to hear from you: What contest have you won and how did you do it? The funnier the answer, the better.

Alas, I’d lose this contest because I’m pretty sure the only contest I won before “winning” the adult category of Pitch Wars with the most agent requests was when I took home a tub of brownies at my elementary school’s cake walk in fifth grade. All I got out of that was a stomach ache and the enduring belief that eleven is the luckiest of numbers (take that, 7!).



16 thoughts on “Rebelling against the theme”

  1. Oh no, Sarah. I’d lose this one — because I have NO stories of winning. I have tons of stories of ALMOST winning (my favorite is the one where I made to the last five numbers to be pulled for a raffle worth $10,000 – I think I missed out on the final two by one number). I’m just not lucky when it comes to contests!


  2. LOL – what a great story – no good deed goes unpunished, Sarah! Like Mary, I too am an also ran, but in grade school through college, I won every contest I entered. Even best camper at the age of 5! Go figure.


  3. I won the Capital Crime Writers contest for best short story in 2014. I submitted when A Friendship Fails. So here’s the funny part, if it wasn’t for my friends I wouldn’t have won. They critiqued the story, over and over, until I got it right. What started as one story became another. So I’m thinking When A Friendship Fails ended up being a life story about When A Friendship Succeeds.


  4. I feel like I’m incredibly unlucky when it comes to contests because I usually am. I did win a whole bunch of books the middle of last month. I won the Summer Bonanza package here, an ARC of Hank Phillippi Ryan’s What You See and Lucy Burdette’s Fatal Reservations from a blog I didn’t remember commenting on. Oops. ( If I click a blog link, especially for a free book, and no one’s commented I feel bad, leave a note a promptly forget.)

    But, since I’m used to being unlucky, I’ve spent the whole rest of the summer convinced the balance of the universe is off because of my winning. I’m thinking a trip to the bookstore, right? 😀


  5. Before the William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic grant, I hadn’t won anything. I enter Goodreads giveaways until my clicking hand aches. I comment on all the blogs for ARCs. Nothing. One day, Hank Phillippi Ryan posted on FB about the grant. Previously I had asked Louise Penney to read my book (what gall I have!). She graciously declined in an e-mailed but advised me to enter every contest I saw. So I entered for the grant. This year, Cynthia Kuhn and I won! I have a swell picture of Harriette Sackler, Cynthia and me on my computer wallpaper just to prove it to myself every morning when I sit down to write. With the money award, I went to the Book Passages Mystery Writers conference. Bar none, its the best writing conference I’ve been to and I’ve been to a lot. I met Harriette, Cynthia and Ellen and the Mysteristas and with any luck at all, the rest will be history.


  6. Sarah, I love everything about this post (well, except for your imitation of nearly headless Nick—hope there’s downtime coming your way). And these comments! Love them.

    Congrats to Kristina and Catherine and Keenan! I, too, felt like I never won anything, and then I won two Gerry Boyle giveaways in a row. His note to me on the second one said, “You can’t say you never win anymore!” If you haven’t read his books, I HIGHLY recommend them.

    Lately, I’ve won a stream of ARCs for review. Its not quite as much fun now that most are digital, but I love writing the reviews to help an author. Other contests? Definitely a never win.


  7. I won the Get Your Stiletto in the Door contest with what eventually became DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY. It’s so perfect, I mean, if I were to win a contest, that’s the one I should win! The night I got the email, I remember being so absolutely over the moon excited and a little stunned. It was the first positive endorsement I’d received, and it served to keep me energized and slashed through a lot of the soul crushing rejection of this business.


  8. OK, I have won lots of contests that I LOVE, especially the ones where the prizes are books, but I did win one as a child that would fit in here.

    I was preparing to go back to school, and shopping with my mom. We lived rather “out in the country” in a VERY small town, so going to the “big city” shopping was really an adventure. In addition to new clothes and assorted school supplies, I was getting A (single) new pair of shoes for school. I agonized over these shoes, because I would be wearing them for some time to come. The shoe store was having a contest, and the prize was a tent with a giant (well it seemed giant to me) fold out Keds tennis shoe on the side, obviously a promotional piece from Keds shoes. The best part was that they were also giving out several “second place” prizes (I don’t remember how many, maybe 6 or 8) a pair of new Keds shoes. Well, I thought that another pair of shoes would be a fabulous prize, so I entered. Weeks later, a notification came in the mail along with my prize certificate. To my amazement — I WON THE TENT.

    It was an odd tent, blue and white striped like a circus tent with that huge Keds shoe on the side, but guess what — I still have it.


  9. What Keenan said. Such an honor.

    Also, I won Ellen Byron’s book release contest, and she sent the most incredible envelope of swag (for example, I now am the proud owner of an alligator-shaped cookie cutter–woohoo), along with the best part: her book!


  10. I won the best fiction category in the Indie Spiritual Book Awards. Or I should say, THE STAR FAMILY won. I had a poem picked for a national high school publication ages ago. I won a coupon for clothes in junior high. That’s all.

    What a story 3 no 7. Is you name inspired by 7 of 9 from Star Trek?


  11. I enter a lot of the contests on the paper crafting and the book blogs.
    I win quite often and enjoy waiting for the mailman to come so I can rip open the package and see my loot.
    I like to play bingo and attend several church picnics (Catholic churches) during the summer. I’ve won two quilts this summer. Love to snuggle under a quilt at night. All of the beds have quilts so these will be loved too.
    take care.


  12. LOL! Great stories! I once won a bottle of champagne. Sadly, I was only 6 years old at the time. I won it on an airplane (yes, flying was different in those days), and when I held up my hand to claim my prize, I was too little to be seen. But my parents made sure the flight attendants found me, and then they took away my bottle of champagne and drank it themselves.


  13. Well, Theresa Crater, I post as 3 no 7 because it is the answer I get back to the question “how many times have told you _________?” I think I’ll go put up my tent and read by myself in the back yard. Oh wait, no air-conditioning, I’ll send everyone else into the tent.


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