Meet Your 2012 Writing Contest Judges

When it comes to the writing contest, I rely on volunteer judges to select the finalists and public opinion to choose the first, second and third place winners. Why? Because I’ve come to know a lot of the writers and bloggers who participate in the contest, and there is just no way I could ever impartially evaluate the entries by myself.

So today, I’ve asked the Writers’ Week Writing Contest Judges to introduce themselves to you.

Jenny Bones

I’m Jenny Bones and I have been writing since I was old enough to spell. While the quality of my writing has probably diminished significantly since that time, I’m still just as passionate about the written word. I believe words hold mystical, magical powers and when used correctly, can heal and soothe a world in pain.

Currently earning my daily bread as a copywriter and consultant, I am the resident Word Witch over at Up Your Impact Factor. You can Tweet with me, connect on Facebook or throw freshly-baked cookies at my head. Whatever floats your boat.

Dan Meadows

Hi, I’m Dan Meadows and I’ll be your judge. Over the past 15 years, I’ve been an editor, managing editor, publisher, etc (and I mean etc. They don’t make hat racks big enough for all the ones I’ve worn at one time or another). I signed up for this because I’d thought it’d be cool to judge a writing contest, and I think Emily does damn fine work, so here I am.

I’ve been thinking about what to say, but honestly, with all the hubbub about sockpuppets and reviewing whatnot, the last thing I feel like doing right now is self-promoting in any form. You could Google me, I suppose, I’ve got no way of stopping you, just don’t tell me about it, please. I cringe every time I hear that phrase, always being in reference some some grimy politician. No, thank you, I don’t want to Google Rick Santorum. Eww

I’m just here to read some stories and give my humble opinion. Beyond that, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. I’ll only be judging you.


Don’t forget to submit your blog entries by September 30, 2012!

#BLBC12 Judge: Sulekha Rawat

[stextbox id=”black”]With the Brave Little Blogger Contest (#BLBC12 on Twitter) less than a month away, it’s time to start introducing our volunteer judges. You can learn more about Sulekha in the next Writing Contest Newsletter. Sign Up Now.[/stextbox]

Meet Sulekha Rawat

I WRITE…My life is my Muse and my Muse is my life. I embrace friends and their pain becomes mine, their joys make me happy. I can’t detach myself from those I care about and that hurts me at times, but it’s all an integral part of who I am. I sing off-key, dance with two left feet. Life is interesting and challenging but I wouldn’t have it any other way because, “Life is for living”, is the best advice given by a dear friend.I greatly enjoy movies and music. Books are my passion.I love writing about the Sun, Moon, Sea, Love, Life, heartbreaks, food, clothes…etc. I tweak my writing with humour because a life without some laughs in it is a sad one. Hope to share my stories with you all for a long time to come.

Sulekha’s Website:

Sulekha’s Blog:

Sulekha on Twitter: @Sulekkha

Sulekha on Facebook:


For More Contest Information

  • View all posts tagged “Writing Contest”
  • Check out Contest Central
  • Advertise during #BLBC12

#BLBC12 Judge: Kiersi Burkhart

[stextbox id=”black”]With the Brave Little Blogger Contest (#BLBC12 on Twitter) less than a month away, it’s time to start introducing our volunteer judges. You can learn more about Kiersi in the next Writing Contest Newsletter. Sign Up Now.[/stextbox]

Meet Kiersi Burkhart

I’m a writer of young adult and middle-grade novels, children’s books, short stories, sci-fi epics, and a lot of other things in between. I also moonlight as a blogger/book reviewer and occasionally, as an illustrator.

With all that out of the way, the real thing you should know about me is that I love to read, but I’m a harsh critic. I guess those things go hand-in-hand: I’ll read everything put in front of me, and I can usually pack away a 400-page novel in a matter of hours, but as a writer–I know good writing and bad writing when I see it, and a poorly-placed adverb can really turn me off.

On the other hand, if I love your work, I’ll love it with every bone in my body.

Kiersi’s Blog:

Kiersi on Twitter: @Kiersi

Kiersi on Facebook:


For More Contest Information

  • View all posts tagged “Writing Contest”
  • Check out Contest Central
  • Advertise during #BLBC12

Writing Contest Prize Donations

Last September some very generous prize donors—including Small Business Bonfire, All Freelance Writing, Dreaming Iris Design, The Writers Den, and Inky Clean—partnered with me for Writers’ Week, offering more than $725 in prizes to the Writers’ Week Writing Contest Winners.

If your company would like to support the next writing contest, simply fill out the form below. You will receive an advertising slot on writing event posts through April 2012 and will be given full credit for your contribution on the rules page. (View this page for an example.)

[wufoo username=”emilysuess” formhash=”w7x2r7″ autoresize=”true” height=”1155″ header=”show” ssl=”true”]

Photo credit: ba1969


Sponsor the Next Writing Contest on Suess's Pieces

I’m getting some great info from the writing contest survey, and several readers expressed an interest in advertising their blog or business during the event. Basically, there will be two ways to do this: through the writing contest eNewsletter or in the Suess’s Pieces sidebar.

Purchase an eNewsletter or Sidebar Ad Now

Ad Prices

  • eNewsletter Text – $7
  • Sidebar Text – $10
  • eNewsletter Image (125 x 125) – $20
  • Sidebar Image (125 x 125) – $30

How to Purchase and Ad

  1. Click on the link above and fill out the form.
  2. You will be directed to PayPal to finish your transaction.
  3. That’s it!

Other Important Details

  • Ads will be displayed in a section titled “Sponsors.”
  • Image ads will appear above text ads and will be displayed in the order received.
  • Text ads will appear below any image ads and will be displayed in the order received.
  • The ad form closes on February 29, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. No purchases will be accepted after this time.
  • Suess’s Pieces sidebar ads will appear in the sidebar for all official event posts published in February, March and April 2012 and will remain on those pages indefinitely.
  • Ads in the eNewsletter will appear in all eNewsletters published in February, March and April 2012. (There will be a minimum of 5 issues)

Although I’ve made every attempt to ensure the form works properly, please let me know if you have trouble making a payment by contacting me at

Thanks for your support!


Image created using

March Writing Contest Survey

Did you miss the Writers’ Week Writing Contest? Never fear. I’ve got another contest in the works.

I promise it won’t take you any more than a few seconds to fill out this survey, and answering doesn’t obligate you to actually submit an entry in the contest or serve as a judge. I’m just using the numbers to help me plan.


[wufoo username=”emilysuess” formhash=”r7x3a7″ autoresize=”true” height=”811″ header=”show” ssl=”true” border=”1″]


Writing Contest Official Results

Writers’ Week and the writing contest were so much fun! More than 550 votes were cast during phase two of the contest!

I’m considering adding a second writing contest in March, so look for more information on that in the next few weeks. I’ll be doing a little market research to determine interest on the part of participants as well as sponsors and prize donors. (If you want to make sure you get this info, I suggest subscribing or following me on Twitter, FB or Google+.)

WINNERS: You will receive an email from me today asking for your contact information. Please reply to this email promptly, so we can get your prizes to you.

First Place

“Ghosts of Seniiti” takes first place. Jake Magee wins:

  • “Ghosts of Seniiti” will be published on
  • $100 Amazon Gift Card
  • Literary critique of his query letter and first 30 pages of his manuscript by Natalia Sylvester of Inky Clean.
  • Launching a Successful Freelance Web Writing Career, e-book by Jennifer Mattern of All Freelance Writing
  • T-shirt from Small Business Bonfire

Second Place

“Creative Writing” takes second place. Laurie Skelton wins:

  • $50 Gift Card
  • Professional business card design by KeriLynn Engel of Dreaming Iris Design.
  • 30 Day Marketing Boot Camp for Freelance Writers, e-book by Jennifer Mattern of All Freelance Writing
  • T-shirt from Small Business Bonfire

Third Place

“Business as Usual” takes third place. Stephanie wins:

  • $25 Gift Card
  • One month membership at The Writers Den
  • T-shirt from Small Business Bonfire

Some Votes Were Thrown Out

Now, I mentioned Saturday morning that a few late votes were counted in the displayed results. While it doesn’t really impact the contest overall, I didn’t want anyone to cry foul after seeing the numbers changing after the deadline.

The polling plug-in I used was set to close precisely at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, but collected a few results after that. I don’t understand how or why, but luckily the voting log includes a time stamp (see below), so I knew exactly which votes to cut.


Writers' Week Wrap-Up

I’m not going to lie, last week was exhausting. But it was also a lot of fun.

Because Writers’s Week was a first-time thing for me and an experiment of sorts, I confess to being slightly worried at the start that no one would want to participate. Thank God all of you came to show your support.

Before Writers’ Week had even ended, I was asked a few times if I planned to do it again. So I thought I’d state this for the record for any of you still out there wondering: Yes, I plan to make Writers’ Week an annual event on Suess’s Pieces.

I was particularly amazed by the number of pieces submitted to the writing contest. (If you haven’t already started, I highly recommend you make your way through the list and read each entry.)

Writing Contest: Next Steps

This week our esteemed judges will continue making their rounds and evaluating all of the submissions.

Then, next week on Monday, September 26, I will post the top ten finalists as chosen by the judges. At the same time, online polling will open so that you can vote for your favorite entry.

Voting will close at midnight on Friday, September 30.

Winners will be announced on Monday, October 3.

Writers’ Week Sponsors

I can’t say thank you enough to some very generous sponsors and prize donors. They not only supported me and Suess’s Pieces, but also supported and celebrated writing and creativity on a much larger scale. Please visit them and consider giving them a shout on Twitter or Facebook to help me say thanks.


Content by Smiling Tree Writing
All Freelance Writing

Prize Donors

Small Business Bonfire
Dreaming Iris Design
All Freelance Writing
Dear Dr. Freelance
The Freelance Writers Den

Writers' Week Writing Contest Rules

To kick off Writers’ Week 2011 here on Suess’s Pieces, we’re starting with a few weird writing prompts. Well, 50 to be exact. But be forewarned: these are not your typical, lame writing prompts. None of that “write about something that inspires you” junk here.

I mean, what’s with writing prompts that don’t actually give you a place to start anyway?

The goal here is for you to finish what I’ve started. At the same time, you’ll meet other writers and hopefully find some inspiration for future projects. The contest is open internationally to writers at any level. (Please note: if you live outside the US or Canada I reserve the right to substitute T-shirt prizes, due to shipping costs.)

Whether you’re a business writer, a blogger, a high school journalist, a poet or an aspiring novelist, you can and should participate in this writers’ community event.

Writing Contest Prizes

1st Place Prizes

Total Value: $380

  • Winning entry will be published on
  • Gift Card ($100 value)
  • Literary critique of your work by Natalia Sylvester of Inky Clean. Includes critique of query letter + first 30 pages of a book-length manuscript. This service is more of an evaluation than an edit. It’s an honest, critical analysis of the writing you’ve done and what can still be done to improve it. It includes: a read-through of your work, with comments and suggestions for changes along the margins of the page; a letter that takes a “bigger picture” approach to giving feedback on your characters, plot structure, voice, pacing, and all the other elements of storytelling; and a 30-minute phone call to further discuss your manuscript and the feedback provided. Learn more about Natalia’s editing services here. The winning writer must submit their manuscript for evaluation within 90 days of being notified that they won. ($225 value)
  • Launching a Successful Freelance Web Writing Career, e-book by Jennifer Mattern of All Freelance Writing ($37 value)
  • T-shirt from Small Business Bonfire ($18 value)

2nd Place Prizes

Total Value: $278

  • Gift Card ($50 value)
  • Professional business card design by KeriLynn Engel of Dreaming Iris Design. Standard US size (2 in x 3.5 in/51 mm x 89 mm). Includes initial design concept and two rounds of revisions. Completed design delivered as a hi-res, ready-to-print image file, along with backup Photoshop files for editing if desired. Does not include printing. ($200 value)
  • 30 Day Marketing Boot Camp for Freelance Writers, e-book by Jennifer Mattern of All Freelance Writing ($10 value)
  • T-shirt from Small Business Bonfire ($18 value)

3rd Place Prizes

Total Value: $68

  • Gift Card ($25 value)
  • One month membership at The Writers Den ($25 value)
  • T-shirt from Small Business Bonfire ($18 value)

How to Enter

  • Pick one of the 50 writing prompts below. Start your entry with the words in the prompt, and then just keep going. There is no word minimum or maximum. Works can be fiction or non-fiction, haikus, essays, technical manuals—whatever!
  • Publish your response to the prompt on your blog or website. (Must be your original work.)
  • Include the “official entry” button somewhere in your post by copying and pasting the code below. (Entries without the button do not qualify for prizes. To participate in the link-up without entering the actual contest, omit this step.)
  • Link your post using the form below. One official entry per person. (If you don’t link up your entry, the judges will have no way of knowing you’re participating.)
  • Deadline for entries is Friday, September 16, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.
  • The top 10 submissions will be selected by the Writers’ Week Judges and announced on September 26, 2011.
  • Online voting for the ten finalists will open on October 3 and end on October 7.
  • (Please note these dates have been updated, as we received more entries than expected!)

  • The top 3 writers at the end of voting will win 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes respectively.

writers' week

50 Weird Writing Prompts

  1.  I never did care much for…
  2. This is not a memoir, it’s a…
  3. You’d be much more attractive if you…
  4. When I was 13, I thought…
  5. Hot dogs are proof that…
  6. The difference between…
  7. It wouldn’t budge, so I…
  8. Poetry is for…
  9. I swear, if that…
  10. Another day, another…
  11. You’re a big, fat…
  12. You can learn a lot from a…
  13. I once shot a…
  14. Art taught me…
  15. If only I could find my…
  16. I’m not too* cool to admit that I…
  17. Hi, my name is ____, and I live in a…
  18. I’ll be honest…
  19. At 3:00 a.m. I turn into a…
  20. Life was easier when…
  21. College was supposed to…
  22. I once ate a…
  23. Tequila might be…
  24. In two weeks I have to…
  25. My unicorn…
  26. On Towel Day last year…
  27. I finally wrote my way out of a paper bag, but…
  28. Kevin Bacon once said…
  29. Elevators…
  30. If marijuana were legal…
  31. By now, the people of L.A. are…
  32. I can’t stop…
  33. Macaroni and cheese doesn’t…
  34. I used to believe that…
  35. I refuse to spend all of my time…
  36. There’s only one cure for…
  37. Now that I’m remarried…
  38. In high school I got detention for…
  39. For $10, I would…
  40. The first time I wore makeup…
  41. It hurts when I…
  42. I tried flushing…
  43. Addictions are like…
  44. Families that play Scrabble…
  45. The train doesn’t always…
  46. I just bought a new…
  47. Have you ever…
  48. Oh. My. God. I wasn’t going to say anything, but…
  49. I’m filing this one under…
  50. Please don’t make me…


Photo credit: christgr
* updated 9/13/2011 @ 10:44 to be grammatically correct

Meet the Writing Contest Judges

The writing contest starts on Monday. Official rules for entering the contest will be posted here on Suess’s Pieces at 12:01 a.m., September 12. In the meantime, I’d like to introduce you to your writing contest judges.

Austin, Melissa and Michelle will be selecting a group of ten finalists. After the finalists are announced, we’ll open up online voting. More on that next week. [stextbox id=”grey” caption=”Austin Briggs”]Austin Briggs has spent over 10 years researching the history of the Aztec Empire and the Spanish Conquest with a dream of creating a historical fiction series that would fascinate readers who like a good history-based tale. He even went so far as to experience some of the magical rites of the ancient Mexica myself. He’s always been obsessed with learning about other cultures; in addition to spending time in the lands that were once occupied by the Aztec peoples, he has also lived in Russia, Japan, England, Switzerland, Cambodia, Lithuania, and Uzbekistan.

Austin has been a soldier in the army, an officer in the United Nations, and a global manager in a Fortune 10 company. He’s been both a local and an outsider, a member of the majority and of a minority, which makes it possible for him to write from the perspective of multiple characters, all of whom have various levels of status and acceptance in their world.

Austin runs a Flash Fiction contest on his site where he decides on the winning entries monthly. You can find Austin on his website and on Twitter and Facebook.



[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”Melissa Breau”]Melissa Breau is a freelance writer, editor and a cheesy romantic who likes long walks on the beach and arguing about comma placement. Her resume includes time spent at Pet Business Magazine, Columbia University Press and the Manhattanville College Marketing Department. She has her Masters of Science in Publishing and is always willing to talk shop on twitter–@melissabreau. She is also blogging about her freelance journey over at Jargon Writer (–or learn more about the services she offers on her website, [/stextbox]


[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”Michelle Lowery”]Michelle Lowery is the Senior Content Manager at Outspoken Media. She started writing at the age of seven when she got hooked on Nancy Drew books, and decided to write her own mystery stories. Thankfully, her writing skills have improved immensely since then. Michelle has had several pieces published, both in print and online, including opinion columns, journalistic articles, and some fiction before she turned her attention fully to Web writing.

Since that time, Michelle has written numerous blog posts and articles for a diverse roster of clients including Microsoft, Visa, and Ghirardelli Chocolate. Her work has appeared on sites such as TechCrunch, Yahoo! News, and The Kitchn. While she still independently takes on clients from time to time, most of her writing is done as part of SEO, link building, and online reputation management strategies for Outspoken Media’s clients. And okay, she may still write some fiction here and there, but hasn’t yet shared it with the world. You can follow Michelle on Twitter, but she’s pretty quiet because when she’s not judging writing contests, she’s usually busy writing.




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