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!