Word Weaver Writing Contest! Have YOU entered yet?

Have YOU entered yet?

I’ve gotten a few entries (you writer types always wait until the last minute) and so far we are on track to have our BEST contest EVER!

DON’T MISS OUT!Word Weaver logi FINAL trimmed 2The July 2018

Word Weaver Writing Contest!

Enter your amazing piece of writing! We have over $400 of valuable prize packages!

and a special bonus

ALL entries will be critiqued by ME!

Yep, I’m going to personally critique your submission.

Wow, I’m gonna be busy. But you’re worth it. Probably.


Enter your amazing piece of writing! Or two! Or more! I will decide the winners and award a HUGE prize package plus some other amazing goodies. (Last time, contestants entering multiple pieces allowed me to find a story I liked. Smart move.) 

YOU will have the month of July to (what’s left of it now, anyway) enter an amazing piece of your own writing to our contest.

Here’s what you do:

Yep, you guessed it: enter a piece of your writing in the contest. (Nothing gets by you, Smarty McSmarterson!)

The contest “theme” is intentionally broad:


Get the idea? The contest entries will be used to assembled and publish the second book in The Box Under The Bed series, called VOODOO (along with stories I solicit from some bestselling author friends). Your story does not have to deal with voodoo.


What qualifies as horror/scary, etc? That’s up to you. I’m pretty loose with these things.

What can you win?

Scroll down a little, impatient one.

1stThe FIRST PLACE Winner will receive THIS prize package:

Darkwater 1

The publishing company with a defense contractor’s name, Darkwater Syndicate is a full-service publisher founded in 2008 and headquartered in Miami Lakes, Florida.

Darkwater Syndicate is seeking to publish titles in the genre of fantasy, comedy, horror (novels and short stories for this one particularly), sci-fi, and thrillers.

That’s perfect for us, gang.

    • This insanely great package includes

      • A publishing option, whereby my friends at Darkwater Syndicate will consider a novel or short story by the winner for publication.

      • Prioritize the winning story so it gets bumped up to the top of an editor’s reading list.

      • If Darkwater Syndicate does sign the author on, they’ll give the work their full treatment of:

      • EDITING

      • COVER ART



      • PLUS, Darkwater Syndicate pays sales royalties better than prevailing rates.

The winner ALSO receives:

  • PUBLICATION of their winning piece on this website

  • AUTOMATIC ENTRY into our next published scary anthology, VOODOO, expected to be released on October 1, 2018.

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


  • You’ll get to refer to yourself as an award-winning author. Because you’ll be one.

The winning short story (or chapter from the winner’s bigger piece/book) gets featured here on the blog AND will be invited to join the next scary anthology, AND it can go to Darkwater, OR Darkwater will look at the winner’s whole book or a different book.

How awesome is that!

That’s a pretty good first prize package!

IMG_2111Do I have your attention now?

We plan to publish Book 2 in our scary/horror anthology series on October 1, 2018, combining bestselling authors and established writers with first timers again. (Our October 2017 “scary anthology” called The Box Under The Bed, topped the charts at #1.)

EVERYONE who enters the contest will be considered for this anthology.


My edit and critique process, collaboration with other published authors in a private Facebook group created for the anthology, showing the creative process behind designing a winning book cover, getting beta readers, and marketing strategies discussed with other bestselling authors.

That’s kind of a big deal.

You’ll have the whole month of July to create your masterpiece, OR EVEN BETTER – USE PART OF AN EXISTING BOOK.



Catch your breath. There’s more.

Now… there are critiques?

Yep. We’ll get to that in a second. Check out the other top prizes first.

2The SECOND PLACE Winner will receive THIS prize package:


2 Months admission to my Private Critique Group

My Private Critique Group is a way for me to work one-on-one with writers and give them critiques just like the ones I do for my bestselling author friends.

(If you entered one of my Word Weaver Writing Contests before, you got a sample of the process, but you can check out the cool testimonials HERE. You know you want to.)

In my Private Critique Group, I will guide you towards achieving the dream of publishing your story.

You can submit approximately 3000 words, twice a month, for me to critique. Additionally, we can have one-on-one Messenger conversations or YouTube Live video chats as needed. We will discuss your plans for the story, plus keep you focused and motivated to achieve your goals.

The 2nd place winner will also receive:

  • 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, really)

  • FRIENDSHIP WITH ME, PROBABLY, because I wanna keep good writers close.

  • Yes, they get to refer to themselves as an AWARD-WINNING author, too. Second place is totally an award.

3The THIRD PLACE Winner will receive THIS prize package:

square Total stickcast logo

AUDIO INTERVIEW on The Total Stickcast show!

These guys are great. Each week Paul Johnson (writer, author, vlogger) and Shane Hoopfer (former athlete, parent) get together to discuss what’s new in the world and their own lives, all while working to create an animated webseries called The Total Stick Show.

This will be an opportunity to sit and share your book, your process and anything else you wish, with their audience, all in a relaxed and casual format. I have been interviewewed by these guys, and they are terrific.

The 3rd place winner will also receive:

  • PUBLICATION of their winning piece on this website

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

  • also bragging rights. Bragging rights are big.

  • And still, I think they’re an award-winning author, too. A little less so than 1st and 2nd, but it still counts. And who’s gonna look it up and give you crap, anyway?

Oh, and I may award additional places like Fourth Place and Honorable Mention, etc. Don’t worry, this isn’t the fine print your mom said to worry about.




Yep, I’ll critique your work (up to 3,000 words), whether you win or not.

I will spend an hour of my time giving you the Dan Treatment of your 3,000 word piece, just like I do in my private critique groupDon’t worry, I’m pretty nice and very encouraging. Most people like my crits. Not all, though. Some people are just babies.

I might spend more than an hour if it’s really good, and you can send more than 3,000 words, but I’m only human and I’m not gonna be able to wade through 10k from you for this contest, okay? Doing critiques is a LOT of freaking work.


DOOR PRIZES just for entering!

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

How awesome is that? Lots of stuff for you to win!

  • eBook copies of the #1 bestseller that started it all, The Box Under The Bed(The eBooks are not autographed, but some of the other prizes are.)

  • An audio book prize from an Amazon Bestselling author. (Audio books are not autographed either, you know. Just sayin’.)

  • Other stuff, possibly

HERE are some of the AMAZING AUTHORS whose books you could win!

allisons books

Your choice of a signed paperback from bestselling author Allison Maruska

Allison’s runaway bestseller, The Fourth Descendant, sold more than 20,000 copies in its first 12 twelve months and has garnered 600 reviews on Amazon.  Her Project Renovatio series and the postapocalyptic Drake and the Fliers are amazing stories readers everywhere enjoy, and The Seventh Seed, the brilliant follow up to Descendant, is a gripping, fast-paced adventure. Winner will receive a signed copy of a book if they live in the U. S.; otherwise, an eBook will be substituted as per our contest rules.


PorterGirl – First Lady Of The Keys is Lucy Brazier’s hilarious glimpse into a world usually reserved for the upper echelons of society. The newly-hired Deputy Head Porter struggles with the eccentricities of staid and stoic Old College, far removed from her everyday life. She finds herself chasing after naked students, drinking copious amounts of tea – and getting embroiled in quaint, polite murders.

Lucy’s PorterGirl has gone on to become a well-loved series. Her third PorterGirl book, Sinister Dexter, was recently released to critical acclaim, and the second in the series, The Vanishing Lord, is a personal favorite of mine.



Fledgling nurse Sorcha Alden knew she had the skills to save lives, but she never dreamed that her own life would be the one in danger.

Anne Marie Andrus brings Monsters & Angels, a dark tale from New Orleans where vampire roam a cutthroat underworld of devilry and decadence. Complicated politics, bitter rivals and jealous ancestors clash a realm where the boundary between good and evil is as murky as the Mississippi River and immortal does not mean invincible.

heather hackett

Heather Hackett’s brilliant book Restless is a bestselling travel memoir of a young woman traveling with just a backpack and without the convenience of modern technology, who sets out to learn how the rest of the world lives – and along the way gets groped on an Indian train, fights off wild beasts while trying to use “bathroom facilities” in Goa, trekked the Everest trails while pregnant, unwittingly participated in a people smuggling operation, and was mobbed by fans of a lookalike Indian movie star.




NO LIMIT ON ENTRIES BY ANY ONE PERSON. You wanna enter 10 stories? Pay 10 fees. I’m totally okay with that.

You must enter an original piece of your own writing and pay the entry fee. Please don’t exceed 3,000 words (but if you’re a little over, fine. If you go 10k, I know you aren’t even trying. Shoot for 3k. You can do that, but don’t ruin your story chopping it to 3k, okay?Entries can be as short as you want. FEEL FREE  TO USE A CHAPTER OF YOUR UNRELEASED BOOK. (That’s what I’d do.)


That can be scary, eerie, macabre, a ghost story, unsettling, spooky… maybe even stuff about spiders. In some way, your story must fit into that relatively broad category. Don’t feel limited; I’m pretty loose with this aspect in the contest.

All entries must be submitted on or before midnight eastern time on July 31, 2018. I’d enter early, but that’s me. You should really consider entering early, though.

There is NO restriction on genre other than horror, scary, eerie, macabre, a ghost story, unsettling – and I’m pretty loose on that anyway. Go crazy. You can have your killer clown fall in love. I’m sure it happens all the time.

You may submit a chapter or passage from your book if you so desire (I would – this is great publicity), but it should be an unpublished work. Many of our prior contest winners have gone on to successfully publish the book their contest entry came from. Thousands view the winning announcement and the subsequent posts of the stories. Think about that. It’s a lot of eyeballs on your writing.


You MUST submit your entry via the Contact Me button and pay your $20.00 entry fee (USD) via PayPal to dalatorr@verizon.net .  PLEASE SEND A WORD DOCUMENT (WordPress text and PDFs mess up the formatting). Simply send me a message using the Contact Me button saying you want to enter and I’ll email you back; from there you’ll be able to attach your piece. IF YOU DO NOT GET A REPLY WITHING 24 HOURS, ASSUME AN EMAIL SCREW UP AND EMAIL ME AGAIN. (Not using Word? Attach it in whatever you used. If there’s a problem, I’ll let you know. But please try to use Word, okay?)


Void where prohibited. ALL entries will be subscribed to my email list. Don’t worry, I won’t spam you. (I don’t know how.) A lot of the entries’ email addresses don’t get on the list because it’s a lot of work, so… maybe you’d like to just go ahead and sign up yourself? Please? Winners will be notified here on the blog in a big announcement, and they will be contacted by email, either by me or by the sponsor donating the prize, to make arrangements to get their prize – that might include a mailing address to deliver a paperback to. Winners who live outside of the country of the sponsor whose prize they won may be limited to a prize that can be emailed or sent electronically, like an eBook, audio book, PDF, or Amazon gift card. You still get your work published here, and the profile, etc., if you win those things, but sorry; mailing a paperback from here to Canada and other places is super expensive, so we’re letting you guys into the contest but we have to limit the costs that way. I’m sure you understand. NO LIMIT ON ENTRIES BY ANY ONE PERSON. You wanna enter 10 stories? Pay 10 fees. By entering you agree to all this stuff and that I pretty much get free reign in selecting the winners, but it’s probably gonna be stuff that appealed to me. Typos matter but content matters more. The door prize winners will mostly be by random drawing, and I’m not above awarding stuff to a really great fourth place story. Or not.


unless I get an overwhelming amount of entries, and then I’ll delay that part but trust me you’ll know way in advance because I’ll be whining about it here on the blog.

You are probably a better writer than you think, and this is a terrific opportunity!

Tick tock. July 31, 2018, will be here before you know it.


img_2351-2PLEASE REBLOG this and SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! Your friends need to know about this contest, too.

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazing paranormal thriller “An Angel On Her Shoulder.”  Click HERE to get your copy of Angel – FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

 Available in paperback format, too!

22 thoughts on “Word Weaver Writing Contest! Have YOU entered yet?

    • Nope! You should send it!

      The CONTEST is very lenient about what we’ll accept. GOOD WRITING is the key there.

      The resulting ANTHOLOGY will also have a wide margin for stories we accept, but the majority I choose will be in the scary realm. Once I feel we have enough scary/strict horror stories for the anthology, I will allow people to join who have other stories that might be sentimental or even funny, but that aren’t strictly scary and still fall under the general banner of Horror. The rationale there (in the anthology) is, while we want to serve the target in the genre, once 50% or 75% of the stories have done that (say 15 or 16) then why not open the doors to other stuff that’s generally in the genre but not scary?

      The contest serves as a vehicle for writer types to try something new or send in something they want considered, possibly to get a lot of eyeballs and publicity, but also to generate stories for an anthology – because we have so many talented writers out there!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Dan, we crossed paths briefly 5-6 months ago. We talked about Ghostwriting, and I started reading one of your books for an editorial/reader’s review, which I have not finished because 3-1/2 months ago, my life fell apart in all aspects. Now, I’m attempting to carry on … alone. It’s hard. But I see your contest and want to reach out and be the writer/editor I have been for my whole life. I want to be the person I once was. I am submitting one story. Perhaps another … I do, however, want to offer my assistance from a editorial perspective should you need such. A second opinion, if you’re overwhelmed. My bio and credentials are on my blog, of course. Busy hands are happy hands, and even though I still have many personal challenges ahead of me, getting back to my roots as a writer, first, and publishing agent, second, calls to me. Your blog called to me. I humbly offer my assistance, gratis, as well as submit a short story or two. Blessings to you and your daughter. –Deborah

    Liked by 1 person

    • One thing you will find on this blog: you are never alone. My blog followers are very interactive at times. I’m sorry to hear a tragedy has occurred, and I’m glad you are moving forward as we all must.

      Of course, I’m extra happy the blog called to you!

      You can submit as many stories as you want, and i’d suggest writing one from the perspective of a character in a situation similar to yours. Have a character voice the pain and emotion you are experiencing, if for no other reason than to vent it. No one needs to know which parts are real.

      And as far as editing and the rest, I always seem to have a book in the works that needs another pair of eyes on it! Use the contact me button and we’ll see about keeping you busy.

      Thanks for reaching out. Can’t wait to read you stories.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan, may a submit a “true” horror story? It is a different kind of horror. It is a story of loss and tragedy. Let me know. My poems sum up my horror too. From death to losing my sight. I will be putting together a grieving anthology to help other widows probably about a year from now. I am still transitioning. Let me know about the true “horror” of life story. I never considered sending that anywhere. I thought no one would read it, and then 100’s of people did. With blessings, Debbie

        Liked by 1 person

        • Absolutely! True horror would be great.

          (Last time we had some poems, too. So you can send any type of story to the contest. A poem really isn’t going to work there but it would certainly be something I would consider for the anthology if you want to send it over.)

          Like I said, once we have enough good horror stories, I will open the gates to some stuff that’s a little different.


          • Thank you, Dan. My anthology is still in the making, but I will send the true story. You may not think of it as horror, but many people have expressed it as such. There is also honor in it, I guess. The poems, songs, other writings are still an ongoing process. Thank you for your support and guidance.

            Liked by 1 person

            • It’s my pleasure. Send it over. If you looked at the last horror anthology, we had a very wide spectrum and I think it helped. People who came to read one author would read other stories and find other authors they liked and became fans of them. So variety is a good thing in an anthology.


  2. Hi Dan,
    I sent a request and also an entry fee, but have not received a reply from you. Did I misunderstand the instructions? My understanding was to send you my intent and an entry fee and you would contact me about the process of sending my entry story. If I’m wrong, please assist me in moving forward. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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