I won a short story contest!

I got exciting news a few weeks ago. I won first place in a short story contest, which was held by RiverRun Bookstore, an independent bookstore in Portsmouth, NH.

To top it off, Piscataqua Press, an independent publisher through RiverRun, printed an anthology of the winning short stories plus a selection of mentionable favorites, called Compass Points: Stories from Seacoast Authors.

Compass Points: Stories from Seacoast Authors

RiverRun hosted a release party this past Sunday, where all the winners read a section of their stories. I was a little intimidated by this prospect. Yeah, yeah. I know I should have been focusing on the fact I won first place, and that my story is in actual print, because, well, you know.

But still. I just don’t do this kind of thing. Public speaking, much less reading my work in front of strangers, is exceedingly out of my comfort zone.

But when it came down to it, I couldn’t let my fear stop me from experiencing what would be one of the most incredible moments of my life.

Create outside your comfort zone.

So, I read the first half of my story, and guess what…?

I survived. Imagine that.

The only give-away to my nerves was my shaking left hand. But, eventually, it settled down and I was able to get through the reading without passing out.  Or rushing to the refreshments table for a beer.

My short story is called “Shattered,” and it’s about a teenage girl who, on the night of her prom, discovers a life-changing secret of her mother’s. It’s a little bit drama, magical realism, and suspense all in one winning story! I won some cashola, a gift certificate to the bookstore, and a 1935 Royal typewriter (photo to come soon).

There is a wide variety of stories in the anthology, all written by local authors (local being southern NH and Maine seacoast), and well-worth the read. There’s even a story by a 10-year-old girl, who won 2nd place in the 17 and under category. I am privileged to be part of such a talented group of authors.

I am still reeling, but it has been a rather busy few weeks when I consider the fact I also self-published the first handbook of my non-fiction series, Writer…Uninterrupted. To everyone who has already purchased a copy, thank you so much. Your support is everything to me.

If you’re interested in purchasing Compass Points: Stories from Seacoast Authors, you can find it through major booksellers Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Or, if you’d like to show your support for independent booksellers, please contact RiverRun Bookstore.  You can order the book directly from them, and it’ll be shipped to you.

PS — once again, a heartfelt thanks goes out to JM McDowell, who was one of my readers and helped me make the story even better!


Have a writerly day!




67 thoughts on “I won a short story contest!

  1. Congratulations, Kate—I knew this was a great story when I read a draft for you! 🙂 I can’t wait to see the final version now in print, so I’ll be ordering it today! Kudos to you for stepping out of your comfort zone—it was great practice for when your first novel will be published!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, JM.

      I don’t know what happened to this post. I had originally written a shout-out to you for being a reader, but it wasn’t there when the post went live. So, I edited it to include a mention of you, which is absolutely necessary. Without your help, I wouldn’t have won first place, I’m sure.

      So kind of you to buy the book. That’s a big deal not just to me, but to all the authors who have stories printed inside. I am really glad that I didn’t allow my fear of public speaking to overwhelm my joy.

      Ha ha — right –great practice, indeed!

      Liked by 1 person

      • WordPress is usually reliable, but every once in a while, it reminds us it’s still technology. 😉 Thanks so much for the shout out—even though your story was already amazing when I read it! I was completely not surprised to hear it won a contest! 🙂

        Keep celebrating the win while promoting Writer … Uninterrupted and working on the next novel!


  2. This is wonderful news! Congratulations! Should help you combat those days of self-doubt all writers have. And great job on the reading. Now that you’ve got one under the belt, you’ll be ready for the next one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Carrie. Writers need wins in order to keep going, and this win was long overdue. 🙂 The flip side to that, of course, is that if don’t keep going, we’ll never earn a win. Nasty, vicious circle.

      The reading was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. And you’re right, the more I do, the easier they’ll get. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Paul, I’ll certainly keep this in the back of my mind when another public speaking opportunity arises. Maybe it’ll get easier, maybe not. Regardless, it’s helpful to know I can do it, despite the fear.


    • Darren,

      I think my jaw dropped when it was announced that I won the typewriter. I was beside myself. It comes in an old beat-up case and everything. 🙂 I’ll post a picture in my next post.


    • Hey Robert,

      I stumbled across that image in another blog a while back, and it struck a nerve immediately. It was all I needed to realize I don’t take enough risks and that I let my fears get the best of me. It’s been some doing to teach myself how to put myself out there more, but I’m getting better at it.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Sheila,

      If you do order the book, I hope you enjoy. I think stories from unknown authors are quite cool, because you’re going into them completely objective. There aren’t marketing gimmicks to urge you into thinking you should like a certain story just because it’s written by Mr. Popular Author.

      Thanks for your cheers! 🙂


  3. Fabbo, congrats! It’s a good writing year for you isn’t it 🙂 I haven’t yet done the things I said I would do with your other book (i.e. buy it, tweet about it, add it to my books by bloggers), I seem to be promising things all over the place at the moment and then not having time to actually do them! But I will, and I’ll add this one to it all too! Woo hoo! Go Kate!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Vanessa,

      Don’t worry about the tweeting, buying, doing cartwheels with my book in one hand — I’m just happy to have you in my corner.

      Interestingly, this is the short story I originally wrote for our Limebird short story anthology. After we decided we weren’t going to follow through on the project, I had this blasted story just sitting here. So, I started shopping it around. I’m glad it finally found a home. 🙂


  4. Absolutely fantastic, Kate! I’ve had to read my stories to groups and it’s certainly not fun. Whenever I can I usually get someone else to read for me (I’m such a chicken). Good on you for winning AND reading 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you understand. I’ve always had troubles, even in school when teachers called on me to read a passage from a textbook. I think the worst is when my voice shakes like an old lady’s. The sweating isn’t cool, either.

      Haha, I did consider saying I had a sore throat and couldn’t read and would someone else do the honors, but I knew I’d be regretting it later. I figured this was going to be a big deal if I could get through it, mainly because it’s such an old, insistent fear. It’s time I gave it a kick in the rear! So I did. 🙂


  5. You go, girl! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–if this blog is any indication of your writing skills (and of course, it is), then there is no doubt you are a talented writer who is receiving the credit and acknowledgement you deserve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jagoda. You’re so sweet! My blog is where I practice and hone my skills, and I’m pleased that I’ve built an audience here. I need to get myself out more though, so that I can grow. These experiences with the short story and the e-books are a good start — though quite stressful! 🙂


  6. Kate! Congratulations! I can’t wait to read it. What a huge boost to a writer. Very proud of you! (was in Portsmouth today at ocean…fabulous place to live.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Amy,

      If you read it, I certainly hope you enjoy! Winning the contest is a huge boost. I really needed this.

      You should have emailed me — we would have met up with you! Although, we had some big thunderstorms yesterday. Hope you didn’t get caught in the downpour.


  7. This is so cool, Kate! Doesn’t it feel great to share this kind of news? That’s what sharing your work – like “Writer…Uninterrupted” – should feel like, to you. It’s not pimping yourself. It’s telling the world and all of us in it that you’ve jumped a hurdle and done something wonderful! The sales and publicity are nice, too, of course, but when we get to say, “Hey, I conquered some fears and made a thing, and I want to share it with all of you,” that’s a great feeling. I hope you embrace it more and more with everything you publish or have published for you. Because why would you want to downplay or even hide something so joyous as this? 🙂

    Congratulations! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does feel good to share the news, but it’s still tough for me to do it. I was never the kid who crowed about my good grades in school, or if I hit a homerun in softball — I just couldn’t do it. But then, I will admit that, at times, I felt so stupid about my shyness because no one else thought to mention my successes on my behalf, and so my accomplishments faded away without recognition. After a while, that starts to become bothersome!

      Everyone needs a pat on the back, everyone needs to hear that she did a good job when it counts. Eventually, I realized that if I want people to know the things I’m doing, I have to announce it myself. The funny thing I’m learning, is that once I start announcing my accomplishments, friends and family have taken the cue and helped spread the word. It’s a neat feeling.


    • Thank you! I hope you’re right that it gets easier. I’m kind of doing it without thinking about it too much, so that helps. But being numb in the process means I’m numb in the outcome, and that’s no good! I will figure out a way to be in the moment, as it were, and really soak it all in. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Letizia,

      It’s been a whirlwind for sure. I think that might be what makes it easier to deal with — not a lot of time to overthink anything. I’m really glad I did the reading. I’d suggest to anyone that facing a fear is the best and likely the only way to grow. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You are a very talented writer and you’ve been helping so many writers struggling with their own art so it is well deserved. Mathair and I are ecstatic for you. Congratulations. I’m also very afraid of public speaking and we do a lot of readings in our area. Given most of our local authors are all nonfiction, I get pretty nervous when it comes time to introduce Kevin to the world. Luckily. I have Mathair to give me a pep talk and my love for our stories pushes me through. Hope you have a great weekend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you ladies! 🙂 I’m glad that you two do a lot of readings in your area. You need to get Kevin out there! Other commenters have said that the more we do things like this, the easier it gets. That makes sense to me. And you are very lucky to have each other — that makes a big difference.

      Thanks for swinging by!


  9. Dear Kate,
    I am cleaning out my mailbox, and catching up on messages, and just found this one. I am so happy for you! Congratulations on first place! Isn’t it nice to get some positive reinforcement for what you are doing, like most of us, on faith and chutzpah? Best wishes for many more happy endings!


Give me your thoughts. Or your pizza. I'm not picky.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s