First off I want to thank all of you who entered this years contest. The stories were all good and I'm sure the judges had a hard time making their final decisions.
I would also like to give my personal thank you to this years judges who helped make this possible by reading through all the entries and making those tough decisions.
Scroll down to meet this years judges. Continue scrolling to read the winning stories.
Jared is a former, Rodeo rider, Rodeo clown, SAG Actor and Screen writer, He's an award winning author and Storyteller. Jared lives in the northwest where he continues to write.
Elisabeth Grace Foley (that's Elisabeth spelled with an S, mind you) has been an insatiable reader and eager history buff ever since she learned to read, and has been scribbling stories ever since she learned to write. She now combines those interests in writing historical fiction. Her short Western novel Left-Hand Kelly was a nominee for the 2015 Peacemaker Award for Best Independently-Published Western Novel, and her work has appeared online at Rope and Wire and The Western Online. Her latest Westerns are The Mountain of the Wolf, is a Western re-imagining of 'Little Red Riding Hood' which originally appeared in the multi-author anthology Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales; and the screwball comedy A Sidekick's Tale. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, crocheting, spending time outdoors, and watching sports and classic film. She lives in upstate New York with her family and the world's best German Shepherd. Visit her online at www.elisabethgracefoley.com.
A retired newspaper editor, J. R. Lindermuth lives and writes in a house built by a man who rode with Buffalo Bill--which may have helped inspire his interest in the West. His 15 published novels are a mix of mystery and historical fiction. Since retiring, he's served as librarian for his county historical society, assisting patrons with genealogy and research. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and a past vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.
In the Smile of God by Eowyn Peterson
The first line of a short story should make you want to know more. The
first line of In The Smile of God does that. The reader instantly
wants to know more about this character. The writer gives us a
character we care about. We want to know more about him and what,
ultimately, is going to happen to him. The dialogue, the imagery and
the narrative proceed in a satisfying manner to a realistic
conclusion. An altogether professional story and my choice for first
The Bastard of the Black Hills by Alfred Stifsim
Genie Oaks faces a dilemma in The Bastard of the Black Hills. It takes
three paragraphs to learn the cause, though that isn't too late. We've
already learned enough about this character to care what she does
about the problem. For a time I hoped Clarence would make amends, but
his weakness held true and the noir ending seemed accurate. A few
minor spelling errors should have been corrected before submission.
But I'll still give this one second place.
Farewell by Jon Mark Hogg
Story trumps all in Farewell, which is my choice for third place. It's
a good story built on a shaky foundation with more "tell" than "show."
There's enough evidence of ability to convince me this writer will
improve with experience.
Old Man Dying by Charlie Steel
Character is everything in Old Man Dying. We discover Doc is more than
the selfish, greedy old man he's painted at the start of the story.
It's a nice surprise for the drifter who's earned his charity as well
as for the reader. Fourth place.
The Wrong End Of A Bullet by Sharon Gay
A case of mistaken identity puts a man in dire straits. Though he
didn't commit the crime of which he's accused, he isn't an innocent
lamb either. Still, we might sympathize with his plight and hope when
the real perpetrator is discovered for his relief. Not so. The writer
surprises us and earns my applause. Fifth place.