Final Contest Winners of 2013

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It’s that time again … time to announce the latest contest winners here at Novel Novice. These will be the last contest winners of 2013, actually … but look for more chances to win some great books and other prizes starting in January! (I’ll have contests both to celebrate Novel Novice’s 4th blog-o-versary, but also to celebrate my January 25th wedding … because, why not?)

In the meantime, here are the latest winners:

The Dark Between Haunted Flash Fiction Contest

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For this contest, we asked you to write a 150-300 word “flash fiction” style short story that was spooky, scary or about ghosts. The winner is … Stephanie Parke. Here is her story:

The candles flickered accusingly, as if they knew she was a fake. The faces of those gathered around her table studied hers intently, looking for signs of the otherworld. She cringed and squeezed her eyes shut praying that nothing real would happen, because damn she was terrified.

The images that slid in and out of her mind haunted her everywhere. She couldn’t remember when it had started to be more than just a con. She didn’t know if it was after Chase died or way before, but his death had been a catalyst. They’d been in this together, both gifted, neither of them knowing it until it was too late.

She shook herself and closed her eyes opening herself. She trembled as she called forth the spirits as she’d been taught. She didn’t want this, but couldn’t get out. The lights in the room flickered and gutted as the presence swirled around the room like a tornado.

The hair on the back of her neck stood up when the candles flared and relit. She trembled as the dark shadow began to circle the group hungrily, as if looking for a victim. She tried to scream, but her throat was frozen. The spirit stopped and turned it’s glowing red eyes on her, and sped toward her.

The spirit stretched its hands out for her and she cringed back in horror. The spirit’s face closed in and It opened it’s mouth to speak, or to steal her soul, when suddenly it was ripped away. Her eyes grew wide at the grey figure holding the spirit. It turned toward her and she felt her heart stutter as Chase’s blue eyes met hers.

“Run” he whispered roughly as he struggled with the dark spirit. Her throat opened and she was finally able to scream.

The Theory of Everything Playlist Contest


For this contest, we asked you to submit your ultimate playlist, complete with a thematic title. The winner is Natalie Richards, with her playlist “Keep Calm & Carry On.” Check it out:

  • Be Calm by fun.
  • Come Sail Away by Styx
  • Take a Walk by Passion Pit
  • Simple Song by The Shins
  • Round and Round by Imagine Dragons
  • Hopeless Wanderer by Mumford and Sons
  • Tight Rope by Alex Clare
  • No Doubling Back by Jason Mraz
  • Heartbeat by The Fray
  • Carry On by fun.

Unbreakable Ghostly Writing Contest

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For this contest, we asked you to write a 250-500 word story about ghosts. The winner is (again) Natalie Richards:

I look at myself in the mirror. My face is a wrinkled map of my past years with tired eyes peering dimly into the future. There’s not much future left, with eighty years behind me. I’m a little scared, a little sad, but mostly curious. What will it be like, to leave my aching body and this troubled world behind?

A flicker of movement draws my attention back to the mirror, where a face looks over my shoulder. It’s a familiar face, round and freckled with laugh lines around her mouth. It’s a ghostly reflection of what I once was, not so very long ago, bringing memories of my children getting married, of crying with bittersweet joy when the last one left home. I smile at her, this younger me, and she smiles back.

Fingers curl around my arm, and I turn to see bright eyes, full of mischief and youth. Her clear face is framed by spiky, blue-streaked hair, and I laugh as I remember how my mother shrieked when she first saw what I had done. I’d just met Lane and had already made up my mind that I would marry him one day. I remember the eager naivete with which I walked right up to him and asked him out. I share a look with this girl, this wild teenager whose life I lived, a look full of secrets and fun.

Childish arms clutch at my leg, and I look down. Wide-eyed innocence looks back, but I know better. I was a hellion with the face of an angel. Summer days were spent climbing trees. I never bothered climbing down; jumping was quicker, though it made Mama yell. Winter nights were full of scary stories that gave my sister nightmares and made Papa laugh. I squeeze her hand and my infant fingers squeeze back.

I look back at the mirror and see myself, all of me, past and present, a life well lived, and I am content. “Well,” I say to my ghosts, “I think it’s time to go.”

Congrats to all the winners — and don’t forget to check back for more contests in January, along with other great features!

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