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And the Winner of the Halloween Flash Fiction Contest is…

Before I do a little name dropping, allow me to speak on this contest as a whole. Things went well, but… interesting for this little writing challenge. We took in more than 80 submissions – plenty from established and quality authors – which is a solid submission rate for a contest that went live 10 days prior to deadline. There were quite a few really, really enjoyable stories (far surpassing the quality of any contest we’ve run previously) that hit the email, but there were even more rushed, last minute entries that suffered from time constraints. It was a bit disheartening to see so many hastily crafted tales, but it’s got to be said that the strong efforts far outshined the weaker tales. And understand that not every short was fantastic or outright wretched. There were a number of solid but not stellar pieces (always tough to sort through) to manage, and it did indeed create a conundrum when attempting to select the winner of this contest.

But I’ve done quite a bit of reading over the last few days, and I’m confident in my selection. And to this authors’ credit, the top of the heap was rich with talent. Terry M. West, Chris Thorndycroft, V.E. Hunter, John Paul Davies, Ian McCain, Mark Allan Gunnells, Alexandra Corinth and Michelle Tvete are just a few (I say that in all sincerity) of the authors who turned in kick ass stories. Any one of those authors could have walked away with the prize. But in the end, it was J. T. Seate who left me really, really stunned. I’m not too familiar with Seate’s work, but I’ll be damned if the story I received, Cactus Berries, wasn’t wildly enjoyable. Of course, when you’re beating out authors like West, Gunnells and McCain, the quality of your writing doesn’t need a lot of hyperbole. It speaks for itself, and Cactus Berries left me pleasantly surprised and a little speechless to boot. It’s a story worthy of victory, and that’s why Seate is going to take home $50 and a bunch of cool horror treats.

Congrats J.T., I loved the story and you did one hell of a job in separating yourself from a very strong pack. Your payment will be processed on Thursday (if you didn’t include your paypal address in your email, please shoot me that info), and your package (I’m still waiting on a few mail arrivals) will head out the moment I’ve got the final piece of your hearty swag bundle in hand.

Stay tuned to the site for the remainder of the day. We’ve got some more awesome announcements regarding our first ebook exclusive release!

About The Overseer (1669 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

19 Comments on And the Winner of the Halloween Flash Fiction Contest is…

  1. J. T. Seate – Many congratulations, I can’t wait to read your story! Cheers


    • The perfect attitude. Each contest we’ve run I’ve seen a series of emails come through demanding to know why someone hadn’t won, or declaring their story superior to the winning story. I even had one fine young man call me a few nasty names. Pleasant stuff. This kind of attitude however, is a winning attitude and I love that. Entering the contest is going to prove to be a good move on your part. Given the audience we’re starting to reach, I’m confident we’ll pull plenty of traffic with the release of our first eBook, and I’m going to be pulling a few stories and running them as promotional features. I probably don’t need to tell you that you made the final cut, and any extra exposure is good exposure. 🙂 (details on the book are going up in a few here, btw!)


      • D.S.Ullery // October 28, 2013 at 10:13 pm //

        From the site post: “but there were even more rushed, last minute entries that suffered from time constraints. It was a bit disheartening to see so many hastily crafted tales, but it’s got to be said that the strong efforts far outshined the weaker tales.”

        To give you some insight into why this may have been the case, let me illuminate this contest from my perspective: Despite being fairly active in the online horror community, I personally didn’t even know about the contest (or this site) until I happened upon an ad on a Facebook page a few days prior to the deadline. I then came up with in idea, wrote, edited and submitted it within two days,working around my full time job. My point here is that there were probably a few people in the same boat. No need to be disheartened..they just didn’t hit the notes you were looking for. Look at this way, the opportunity now exists for these authors to revisit and work on the tales they created. Personally, I’m actually thrilled that I tried for this, because it motivated me to sit down and write The Open Grave, which I can now go back and expand beyond a thousand word limit by fleshing out the characters, adding more detail and making it creepier. As I posted on the other thread, it’s really a win-win scenario. So thanks for that.


      • Excellent stance. And, very understandable. As a site, we’re still really young. The hope is that these contests draw serious attention from horror freaks all over the globe. Each contest has been a bit stronger (in terms of content and submission numbers) than the prior, so I think it’s working. When someone like you weighs in with thoughts like those you’ve expressed, it makes me feel as though we’re slowly taking the right steps to get to be where we want to be. So, thank you for the insight, as well as the feedback and the story!


  2. Congratulations JT! I look forward to reading your story, and a big congrats to everybody who will be included in the anthology. Thanks for having the contest, Matt. It inspired me to come up with a tale that I’m fairly proud of.


  3. Right on, J.T. Seate – big congratulations! I can’t wait to read Cactus Berries… I’m hoping I may have some of these delicacies out behind my house – living out in the desert in New Mexico – or maybe not! 🙂


  4. Colin Bradley // October 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm // Reply

    Man, thanks so much for this contest, it was a blast trying to come up with a halfway decent tale in under 1000, so challenging!! You should have seen me on Saturday, I must have checked the sight 50 times lol. Congrats to JT Seate! I really look forward to reading your stuff!


  5. Great job, J.T.! Congratulations! Can’t wait to read your story.


  6. Congratulations to JT. can’t wait to read it.


  7. Congrats to JT, I look forward to reading this story and all the ones that will appear in the anthology.


  8. Thanks so much for the high praise. I’m respectfully appreciative. It’s these occasional successes that keep many of us burning the midnight oil at our computers. I hope all of you find some humor to accompany the horror. JTS


  9. Well done, JT! Congrats! Looking forward to reading your story.


  10. Congratulations J.T.I’m not surprised because he is one of our best authors over at MuseItUp Publishing. Troy has written a number of novellas and novels that will keep you looking behind you. If you want to read more of his work, please pop over to our publishing house and have a look. Can’t wait to read the story. V. L. Murray


  11. I. Clayton Reynolds // October 29, 2013 at 3:49 am // Reply

    Contratulations, JT. Seems like a great group of stories for this one.


  12. Congrats to J. T. Seate! The only time I’ve ever written anything under 1,000 words is … is … this comment, actually! Looking forward to reading it!


  13. Congrats to all the winners, I can’t wait to ready the finished product, which I just noticed is available today – I hadn’t seen the winning announcement yet (I guess I need to check here more often).

    After reading this notice to the winners I do feel that I need to say something – you post here that ‘there were even more rushed, last minute entries that suffered from time constraints’. You even use the word ‘Wretched’ to describe entries. It may be true – but why post that? That could be incredibly disheartening to anyone who didn’t win, and could even push people away from your site and this great brand you’re building. Obviously you can’t give individual criticisms to all of the entries, and nobody would expect that, but to say that there was any segment of the entries that were ‘wretched’ when you’re announcing the winners seems counter-productive and terribly negative.
    I am sure that some of those entries were first timers who have never entered a writing contest before – you can nurture them by saying ’all the entries were so good, I had a really hard time choosing who won – the winners chosen here are truly the best of the best’, but instead you’re basically saying ‘there were a bunch of really bad stories here I had to read through, ugh’. It comes across as a complaint, and if I were a first timer, this would put me off contests for a while, and if I really had a lack of confidence in my writing skills, this might put me off of writing altogether. Nobody wants that.

    So why do I feel I need to say this? It’s not because I didn’t win – I don’t care about that, I’m very happy with my entry and I’m sure that the stories you chose are better; I’ll still buy the book when it comes out. I’m saying this because I’ve run a popular gaming website for close to 4 years now, and I run contests monthly, sometimes two at a time. I have given away well over a thousand prizes in that time, and I have judged more web contest entries than I could ever hope to count – writing, artwork, jokes, you name it, I’ve had a contest asking for it. In all that time and in all of those contests, I have never said anything negative about a single contest entry, even though some were simply horrific. I’ve never complained about the glut of last-minute entries (because for web contests that ALWAYS happens) and the popularity of my website has grown dramatically both because of the contests I run as well as the content I provide. I think you have a cool site, I enjoy reading it, and I loved the idea for this contest – I’d just recommend that if you run contests like this again in the future, you think about how your response to it, how your announcement of the winners, etc.., might affect everyone who entered, especially that person who is choosing your contest to be the first one they ever enter. In your current position you have a tremendous amount of power to foster new writers – I encourage you to take full advantage of that.

    I hope this doesn’t come across as too negative, I intended it as friendly constructive criticism based on my own experience. Thank you again for the contest, and I look forward to more from the website.


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