HERE ARE YOUR WINNERS! Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest (July 2017)

Are you excited to see who won our July 2017 writing contest? You should be. It was CRAZY hard to determine the best story out of so many amazing entries.

Word Weaver logi FINAL trimmed 2


These were GOOD stories, gang.

Really good.

And the fact is, on a different day or in a different contest, ANY of these finalists stories could have taken the top slot.

I know you wanna get right to who won, and some of you are gonna scroll down to peek (I would), so I’ll go ahead and say the stuff that ought to be said – for when you scroll back up.

your humble (and very tired) host

How difficult is it to look at tons of stories and figure out which one is THE BEST?

I spent hours and hours looking over the stories, seeing which one stuck out from the crowd, which one took the #1 spot – until a better one came along… and critiquing quite a few, to help you guys get to the next level.

And guess what?

  • TWO of our contestants from the prior contest have published their stories!

  • Some of the contestants from this contest were invited to be in our “scary anthology.”

  • One contestant was so good I asked to find a way for us to work together on a project down the road.

Yep, they are living the dream. And  LOT of people who got critiques replied to tell me how helpful the information was.


If you don’t enter, you are missing out.

Can you afford to miss out? I don’t think so. Lesson learned, you non-enterers.


A big THANK YOU to our sponsors. Gang, writing is a business but it doesn’t have to be a solitary one. Great partners make the work easier.

  • The fine folks at Moyhill are stepping up to fulfill a dream for somebody today – seeing their writing baby become a real live published book.

  • Russell J. Fellows Editing will be helping a lucky winner take their story to the next level.

  • WriteMind is gonna help you stay organized.

  • Molli Nickoll, The Publishing Wizard and former Time-Life acquisitions editor, is offering you discounts to her “land an agent” consultation.

And a bunch of amazing author types are gonna give away their books to people.

This is the kind of help you asked for, so I delivered. Contests are a lot of work, but terrific sponsors make it a lot of fun, too.

Once again, the feedback I gave on the stories was extremely helpful to our contestants!

“Wow, thank you so much for the critique. Amazing job, thank you.”

“Hey Dan, you really know how to make my day! I’m so grateful for your detailed critique of my story. It’s wonderful to get this kind of feedback, and totally validates all the hours we put in, alone at our desks, writing our hearts out. To be honest, I jumped up and down and cheered so much, my dog thought I had gone completely berserk…

“I want to thank you for the effort you have put in and let you know that I found this feedback very valuable.

“Hi Dan, thank you for all of the helpful critiques on my writing.” 
“Your critique was spot on and helpful.”
“Dan- thank you for taking the time to give me so much feedback- I will have a great time studying the comments and learning from them.” 

To all of your: I am humbled by your praise. Thank you.

IF YOU DID NOT WIN: Please consider this like the Olympics. The winning stories simply spoke to me that particular day. Many of the entries could have won on a different day with a different judge. If I said your story was good in my note to you, it was. Work hard and come back – and win next time. We’ll be here cheering for all of you.

Have I rambled on long enough?

I have? Okay.

So now

without further ado

rising to the challenge with a theme of “family,”


downloadIn 5th place, created just because we had so many darned good entries

  • One Last Goodbye by Juliet Nubel

I’m gonna have to think up a better prize for the 5th place winner. Right now it’s a $10 gift card, bragging rights and being showcased later in the week on the blog. CONGRATULATIONS!!

This was an amazing story. You’re gonna wanna read it, trust me. It’ll be featured soon.

Juliet will receive a $10 gift card, compliments of author and sponsor Annette Robinson, who donated this prize to our contest. Also, Juliet gets serious bragging rights.

Honorable Mentions:

also because these stories just spoke to me and needed to be recognized. They’re reeeeeeally good.

  • Interlock by Barbara Anne Helberg

  • Sparkles In Time by Carrie Ann Alexis*

  • The Stainless Steel Coffin by Scott Skipper

These stories and their authors will be featured on the blog. The are really good, and you’ll see why I selected them.


* Yeah, Carrie Ann is thinking, hey, I got an honorable mention last time, too. This sucks. Well, it really means your writing is so consistently good that I always find myself putting it near the top. Somebody else might edge you out but you are always a contender – and that means your stories need to be seen by the world, lady. Soon.

Special Honorable Mention:

I loved this story.

  • An Encounter With A Suit Of Armour by Robbie Cheadle

It didn’t take the top spot but it’s cute as hell and you’ll see why it deserves special notice. Can’t give too much away right now, though. Be sure to come back and read it when we feature it soon here on the blog.

downloadIn 4th place, a TIE

Two brilliant pieces

  • Last Time She Saw Her Brother by Maribel C. Pagan

  • Dancing To The Silence by Leta McCurry

You might assume by the title that Maribel’s story is a bit on the sad side. You’d be right. I’m a sucker for a well-written tearjerker. Leta’s piece is extraordinary, too. You’ll see why when we showcase it later in the week on the blog. CONGRATULATIONS to both of you!!

Maribel and Leta will each receive a $10 gift card, compliments of author and sponsor Annette Robinson, who donated this prize to our contest. Also, both 4th place winners get serious bragging rights.

3In 3rd place, a really amazing story

  • Mind Games by Heather Hackett

A terrific story you’re gonna love. It’s intense.

Heather will receive THIS prize package valued at over $50:


  • WriteMind author’s idea management and project organizing system ($19.99 Digital Printable Version) from Perry Elisabeth Design

  • PUBLICATION of their winning piece on this website

  • An author profile to appear on this site

Plus she gets major league bragging rights.

2In 2nd place,

and if the first place winner is unable to carry out the duties, the second place winner will step in and assume the role…

  • Cobalt Point by Anne Marie Hilse

Anne Marie will receive THIS prize package valued at over $150:


russell j fellows

  • EDITING PACKAGE from Russel J. Fellows Author Services for YOUR book! (

  • PUBLICATION of their winning piece on this website

  • A guest blog post or author profile to appear on this site

  • slightly less massive bragging rights than first place (because that’s only fair)

And now…

drumroll please…


Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest


1st Place

Ruby Slips and Poker Chips

by Heather Kindt


Heather will receive THIS valuable prize package:

Moyhill publishing image

  • Cover Design & Publishing Package from Award Winning Moyhill Publishing (

    • This insanely great package includes

      • COVER DESIGN and EBOOK FORMATTING for your edited book

      • PROOFREADING and up to two electronic proofs with changes if needed

      • MARKETING COVERS (larger formats) for Amazon and Smashwords.

      • PROMOTION for the book placement on the shelves of the Moyhill virtual bookstore.

      • YOUR BOOK GETS FOUR WEEKS AS A PINNED TWEET to over 20,000 followers from Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstoreaccount.

      A first time author will also be guided through the setting up of social media, author page and other marketing strategies, plus Moyhill can upload the manuscript to Amazon and Smashwords for you!


  • PUBLICATION of Heather’s winning piece on this website TOMORROW

  • A GUEST BLOG POST or AUTHOR PROFILE to appear on this site soon (that’s priceless, really)

  • a video interview with me, should they so choose, also to appear on this site**


** requires a quality high speed internet connection and a good camera on your computer or phone. Maybe other stuff. I’m not doing this at 3 A. M., okay?

THANK YOU ALL. Today, we celebrate writing.

A round of applause for our winners.

REMEMBER: ALL contestants not winning first, second, or third place will be put into a drawing for other prizes!

How awesome is that? And we have more stuff for you! For example…

EACH OF THE FIRST 50 ENTRANTS will save $60 (20% discount) on a “land an agent” consultation with author, publisher, and former Time-Life acquisitions editor, MOLLI NICKELL!


MOLLI survived 35 years in the publishing biz as a publisher, motivational speaker, acquisitions editor, UCLA writing instructor, and eight-times published author. She mentors writers as a story doc and helps them prepare submission documents (query, synopsis, and first pages) that grab and hold agent attention. Molli’s expertise helps writers achieve the ultimate goals of agent/publisher/shelf space at Barnes and Noble.


I will notify the first 50 entrants of my October 2017 by email later this week/early next week. They will each receive a 20% discount ($60) on a $300 written evaluation and consultation with Molli. She’ll evaluate (in writing) your query, synopsis, or first page, then schedule a 30-minute phone or video consultation to respond to your questions.

Molli is the real deal, gang. This huge.


“DOOR” PRIZES just for entering!

ALL contestants not winning first, second, or third place will be put into a drawing for other prizes!

More awesome stuff. You really get your money’s worth in this contest.

  • IMG_2351 (1)Several contestants will receive ONE month FREE membership in my PRIVATE CRITIQUE GROUP.

    Receive up to 3,000 words of your story per week critiqued BY ME in my private critique group. Get The Dan Treatment. This $50.00 value will be awarded to several contestants.

  • 3 audio book copies of Project Renovatio will be awarded from Amazon Bestselling author Allison Maruska (audio books are not autographed)

  • autographed books from one of several generous authors listed below, in your choice of paperback or eBook (but the e-Books aren’t signed, either, okay?)

  • a few signed copies of Poggibonsi: an Italian misadventure, my funny and sexy romantic comedy (unless you choose an eBook, right? Let that signed eBook thing go. Just let it go!)

  • Amazon gift cards, compliments of author and sponsor Annette Robinson. Check out Annette’s entry in our last Word Weaver contest HERE, and her website HERE.

  • Starbucks $10 gift card, compliments of me. Even though I personally HATE Starbucks, you might like it.

HERE are some of the AMAZING AUTHORS whose books will awarded:


Allison MaruskaProject Renovatio. Author of the runaway bestseller The Fourth Descendant, Allison Maruska offers an audio book version of her latest hitProject Renovatio.

With over 550 reviews on Amazon, The Fourth Descendant established Allison as an amazing breakout author. I read Project Renovatio. It is a brilliant, thrilling YA novel that grabs the attention of readers and holds them until the very end.



Hugh RobertsGlimpses

28 short stories that will take your mind on a rollercoaster of a ride into worlds that conceal unexpected twists and turns. You REALLY wanna win that!

dana wayne

Dana WayneMail Order Groom, Secrets of the Heart

Dana Wayne is all about the romance! Mail Order Groom is a historical western romance. Secrets of The Heart is a contemporary romance. Both are amazing!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000448_00052]

Curtis BaussePerfume Island, One Green Bottle

One Green Bottle, set in Provence, is the first in a series of Magali Rousseau detective stories. Perfume Island is the second book in the amazing series. You’ll love it!


T. A. HenryScripting The Truth

Any story that takes place in post-WWII Britain and has the phrase “She’ll try to do it all while trying to keep the seams on her stockings straight” has to be read. You’ll agree.


Joanne R LarnerDicken’s Diaries, Richard Liveth Yet

One reviewer called Dicken’s Diaries “a ‘diary’ with lots of amusing stories and indeed it is a cleverly written, humorous book.” Richard Liveth Yet is Richard III as you have never seen him before! Great stories from a great writer.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00014]

Yecheilyah YsraylRenaissance: The Nora White Story

In 1922 Mississippi, Nora White has graduated high school and is college bound, but she is fascinated by the prospect of being a famous writer in The Harlem Renaissance – and decides on a change of plans. Techeilyah will amaze you with this one!

Poggi cover FINAL

and of course, ME

A few folks will be selected to receive a copy of Poggibonsi: an Italian misadventure,my hilarious sexy romp through Italy (definitely a hot commodity, so to speak) as a signed paperback or as an eBook. Don’t even ask me if I’ll sign the eBook. Just. Don’t.

When I post the winning stories, I will tell you a little about why they won, and more about how tough the decision process was.


AL of the above-named winning selections will be featured here on the blog every day starting Wednesday:

  • 1st place winner Ruby Slips And poker Chips by Heather Kindt will run WEDNESDAY

  • 2nd place winner Cobalt Point by Anne Marie Hilse will run Thursday

  • 3rd place winner Mind Games by Heather Hackett will run Friday

  • The tying 4th place winners, Last Time She Saw Her Brother by Maribel C. Pagan, and Dancing To The Silence by Leta McCurry, will run Saturday and Sunday, respectively

  • 5th place winner, One Last Goodbye by Juliet Nubel, will run Monday

  • ALL the Honorable Mention stories will run daily starting Tuesday the 22nd:

    • Interlock by Barbara Anne Helberg, Tuesday August 22nd

    • Sparkles In Time by Carrie Ann Alexis, Wednesday August 23rd

    • The Stainless Steel Coffin by Scott Skipper, Thursday August 24th

    • An Encounter With A Suit Of Armour by Robbie Cheadle, Friday August 25th

The winners have not yet been notified (other than this post) so after contacting them we will arrange for their prizes to be sent and their interviews/profiles/etc., to be scheduled here on the blog. If you won and are reading this, you have my email so feel free to contact me. I’ll be in a coma for the next few days, so no rush.


You will get an email tomorrow or Wednesday letting you know how to deliver your prizes to the winners.


The next Word Weaver Writing Contest is tentatively scheduled for October 2017, so if you have ideas for it, post them below in the comments section.

What will the next grand prize be? Who knows. But there’ll be

MORE prizes

MORE feedback



I can’t express my appreciation to all of you for trusting me with your amazing stories. You are amazing talents, each and every one, and you inspire me.


my Word Weaver Writing Contest is a big step towards fulfilling that dream.

Look at the number of people who published a book after entering the contest. This is where you wanna be.

If you would like to congratulate our winners, please do so now and also when their post runs in a few days.

If you would like to be a sponsoring author for the next Word Weaver Writing Contest, contact meThis was great exposure for our major advertisers as well as getting authors’ books in front of tens of thousands of eyeballs.

This thing was a blast.


Your humble host.
your humble host

You guys ROCK!

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the paranromal thriller “An Angel On Her Shoulder.”

Get your copy HERE.

Free on Kindle unlimited!


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