HERE ARE YOUR WINNERS! Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest (March 2018)

Are you excited to see who won our March 2018 writing contest? I know I am. (Or was, I guess, because I know who won – and in a moment you will, too.)


Word Weaver logi FINAL trimmed 2

As always, it was CRAZY hard to determine the best story out of so many amazing entries. So I called on a few author friends to serve as celebrity judges.


Top: J. A. Alen and Lucy Brazier

Bottom: John Winston, Allison Maruska, and Jenifer Ruff

I read and critiqued ALL the entries, then selected the finalists.

The celebrity judges agreed to read the finalists, then each celebrity judge would independently rank the stories and vote for the winning story accordingly. (As did I, but they had no idea what story I liked best.)

So I sent them the stories, in alphabetical order by title, with no author names attached… and held my breath.

Then, we waited.

and waited

…and …WAITED…

I know it seemed like a long time. It WAS! Turns out Canadians use the metric system so I guess Wednesday in America is really Friday the Great White North or something. But Jenny eventually sent me her rankings.

Just kidding. Jenny did a great job, as always.

These were GOOD stories, gang.

Reeeeeally good.

Maybe some of the best stories we’ve had so far.

And it’s important to say: on a different day with a different judge, or in a different contest, ANY of these finalists’ stories could have taken the top slot.


I know, I know. You wanna get right to the winners. Fine. Scroll down to peek (I would have already), and I’ll be here when you come back, saying the stuff that needs to be said.


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

Hmm… I spent hours and hours looking over the stories, critiquing them, seeing which ones stuck out from the crowd… I award a preliminary #1 to a good story that I think could win – until a better one comes along. I’m constantly re-ordering them as I read. And I’m critiquing them as I go, to help you guys get to the next level.

Cool stuff about our Word Weaver Writing Contests

  • EACH of our winners in the prior contests have published their stories!

  • So have a few other top-placing contestants!

  • Some of the contestants were invited to be in our first “scary anthology.” (There will be another one of those coming up soon.)

  • We build GREAT relationships!

  • OTHER contests have given us contributors for another anthology (which needs to happen pretty soon but hey I’ve been busy).

  • One contestant was so good I asked to find a way for us to work together on a project down the road. And we have. (And still are. And hopefully will be for the foreseeable future.)

  • Contributors did not have to win or place, etc., in the contest to get invited to be in an anthology. I looked at other stuff of theirs, and selected from there – and I will again.

Yep, we are living the dream on this blog – ALL of us. And  LOT of people who got critiques replied to tell me how helpful the information was. Love that. You guys write good stuff, and it’s time somebody told you so.


If you don’t enter the next Word Weaver Writing Contest, 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.

  • RUSSELL J. FELLOWS EDITING, our generous first place sponsor, will be helping a lucky winner take their story to the next level. (


And a bunch of amazing author sponsors are gonna give away their books to people, plus some cool stuff from ME.

Editing. Critiques. 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 you:

I am truly 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 MURDER/MYSTERY/SUSPENSE, to coincide with a book I’m supposed to be writing.


Honorable Mention

Don’t think somebody gets Honorable Mention as a sympathy vote. They don’t. It’s my way of saying, out of the all the entries, yours was way up there. Not quite enough to take the top spot, but you need to know it was in the running because it’s a good story. You’ll see what I mean when I post these stories over the next week or so. (Some prior Honorable Mention winners were invited to be in the scary anthology. Expect these Honorable Mention winners to be in an upcoming anthology of mine, too. It’s good stuff.)

The Honorable Mentions are:

  • Andy by Laura Holian

  • Autistic Girl and the Killer Lawn Gnome by Dabney Farmer

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


downloadIn 4th PLACE…  a THREE-WAY TIE!

Hey, that’s the way the judges scored them, so that’s the way I award them.

And yes, they each get the prize for 4th; I don’t split it. Darn it.

THREE Truly Great Stories

  • Dark Skies by Adele Marie Park

  • Normal Things by Barbara Anne Helberg

  • Where The Power Hides by Anne Marie Andrus

Ooh, are you gonna love these stories. These ladies have been honing their craft, and it shows!

I have had a chance to read them – of course I did; I was a judge – and each one has something very special for you. THAT’s why they were finalists, THAT’s why the judges liked the stories, and THAT’s why YOU will, too.

Our 4th place winners will receive:

  • PUBLICATION of their story on this blog

  • An author profile, also on the blog


  • Consideration for other works of theirs to be used in an anthology to be produced by me later this year.


3In 3rd place, ANOTHER TIE!

No kidding. That’s how close the scoring was, and how GOOD each of these stories is!

  • Excavation Murder by Victoria Clapton

  • Dreamers by Heather Kindt

A couple of terrific stories you’re gonna love. They’re intense.

These THIRD PLACE Winners will BOTH receive THIS prize package:

  • PUBLICATION of their winning piece on this website and consideration for publication in the anthology

  • $10 Amazon gift card. Each. Dammit.

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

  • MAJOR BRAGGING RIGHTS (but try not to outbrag the first and second place winners, okay?)

  • No gold medal. That’s really just for the #1 winner.

  • Consideration for this and other works of theirs to be used in an anthology to be produced by me later this year. I’ll be contacting you soon about that, but you can contact me, too.


Anything else on this one? I think that’s about it. Not bad, though.

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…

  • Dark Corners by Anne Clare

Now, here’s what you need to know about this story.

We had five celebrity judges and me. I read the stories first, decide on the finalists, and send the stories to the judges. Meanwhile, I privately decide my vote for who I think did the best this time. As I read the judges’ rankings coming back, day after day, we were in a TIE FOR FIRST PLACE with one judge remaining to report! Jenny didn’t know it, but her vote – the one we waited and waited and waited for – would decide the winner. THAT’S HOW CLOSE THIS WAS! Not taking anything away from the #1 spot, but it was CLOSE!

TWO judges thought this story was the best one, giving it their #1 rank out of all the entries we received – and when you read it, you will see why.

Anne Clare will receive THIS prize package:

  • PUBLICATION of her award winning story on this website, and an invitation to publish it in our next anthology.

  • $25 Amazon gift card

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

  • slightly less massive bragging rights than first place (because that’s only fair) but more than the third place people

  • Again, not a gold medal. Sorry.
  • FRIENDSHIP WITH ME, PROBABLY, because I wanna keep good writers close, and this is a very good writer. I was gripped by the openoing and it kept me glued to the story right through the end.
  • Anne now gets to refer to herself as an AWARD-WINNING author, because second place is an award, right? Yep. Totally counts.

  • Anne is also invited to become part of my inner circle, a sacred and occasionally scary place where I and a few other bestselling author types dwell and share the secrets of the temple. Or just whine on Facebook. It goes back and forth, really.



and now – drum roll, please

the moment you’ve all been waiting for (except for the people who already scrolled down here right when they clicked on the post), our grand prize winner…


 Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest


1st Place

“What If?”

by Geoff Le Pard


This amazing story will captivate you the way it captivated me and the other judges. Geoff’s story received THREE votes for first place, and one vote for second place, making it the most popular story we received in this contest.

Tomorrow, you’ll see why.

Geoff created a terrific story that you are going to love.


Geoff will receive THIS prize package valued at over $150:


russell j fellows


  • manuscript edit 

  • collaboration with other published authors in a private Facebook group created for the anthology

  • anthology book cover, showing the creative process

  • get beta readers for anthology, showing that process


  • That’s kind of a big deal

The FIRST PLACE winner will also receive:

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

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


  • this cool picture of a gold coin that has a 1 on itIMG_1303

THANK YOU ALL. Today, we celebrate writing.

A round of applause for our winners.


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

How awesome is that? More awesome stuff. You really get your money’s worth in this contest.

Door prize winners will be notified later this week (-ish) as to which prize they won, and the sponsor will send the prize to them; then I follow up to make sure it all happened.

Allison Maruska

– Winner’s choice of 1 signed paperback, eBook, or audio book!

(Not all of her books are available in audio book format.)


allison books

Quite the selection!

Joanne R. Larner

– a set of the Richard Liveth Yet (trilogy);

Dickon’s Diaries (single book).

joanne r larner author pic

joanne r larner books

Heather Kindt

– 1 signed copy of Ruby Slips and Poker Chips

Anne Marie Andrus

– signed copies of Monsters & Angels

Russell Fellows

– A copy of both my books (electronic formats only)

russell author pic

russells books

Sarah Brentyn

– signed paperback copies of flash fiction collections

Sara Bretyn author bio
author Sarah Brentyn

Sara Bretyn books

and stuff from me!


  • Several audio books of The Box Under The Bed (audio books are not autographed) will be awarded

  • Several autographed paperback copies of my bestselling books will be awarded

  • Several not-autographed copies of my eBooks will be awarded

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.


ALL of the above-named winning selections will be featured here on the blog every day starting TOMORROW, so come back to read the stories!

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 on Wednesday or so, letting you know how to deliver your prizes to the winners. (Did I say Wednesday? Maybe make that Friday.)


The next Word Weaver Writing Contest is being kicked around right now, so if you have ideas, let me know!

In the next Word Weaver, you can expect:

MORE prizes

MORE feedback


I can’t express my appreciation to all of you for trusting me with your amazing stories. You are wonderful 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 by making a comment belowand then do it again  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 lots of eyeballs.

It’s a lot of work, but I want you all to know – this thing is a blast.



You guys ROCK!

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the paranromal thriller “An Angel On Her Shoulder.” Get your copy HEREFree on Kindle unlimited!

Get ready for another anthology!

And get ready for our NEXT Word Weaver Writing Contest, COMING SOON!

94 thoughts on “HERE ARE YOUR WINNERS! Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver Writing Contest (March 2018)

  1. wow, wow, wow. Thank you guys, you are all awesome. Congratulations to everyone who entered and those who secured a place. A huge congratulations to the winner, Geof Le Pard, look forward to reading everyone’s story. This competition is a massive help to authors, thank you to all of you who judged, helped behind the scenes and made coffee. lol And a huge, massive thank you to Dan, this wouldn’t be happening without him and his critique is always spot on and really helpful. wow, got tummy wobbles, my first ever murder mystery story came 4th. woo hoo. xxx

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Whoa…looks like you got a lot of great writing. Excellent. Congratulations to ALL the winners! 🎉 And congrats to first place winner, Geoff Le Pard. Not surprised to see his name here—he’s a fantastic writer. But, still, huge congrats!

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Congratulations, Geoff (1); Anne (2); Victoria and Heather (3), and to my fellow 4th Place winners, Adele Marie and Anne Marie! Congratulations to Laura and Dabney, our Honorable Mention winners!
    Thank you, Dan, and the judging panelists — J.A., Lucy, John, Allison, and Jenifer — for sharing with us, reading with us, confiding with us, and nurturing us! Each contest is a new and worthwhile experience!
    I highly recommend them to those of you who’ve yet to venture into the submission process!

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Dan, what can I say? I’m humbled, delighted – no, scratch that, I’m rock ‘n’ rolled with delight; it’s like being told I have to bath in chocolate or something – and grateful. As you’ll have realised your suggestions led to a significant redirection and refining of my story, giving me the chance to get so much more out of the word count. It’s such a pleasure to get thoughtful guidance on ones writing – someone giving of their time like this makes it so much easier to pen the next story and so on.
    And to the judges, an enormous thank you for the efforts involved in judging. Obviously you are people of taste and discernment and if you’d let me know where to send the cheques, I’ll dispatch them forthwith.
    And you my fellow contestants, winners and those whose turn will be next time, thank you for participating. And for such kind thoughts here too.
    I think it’s time I told my wife… she’ll be anxious about the screams and hoots…

    Liked by 7 people

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