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It happened on a Sunday, a day I never would have expected to receive such news.  It had been my dream for a while; in fact, I wrote on my last blog entry that one of my writing goals was to win a contest.  Although I didn’t win first prize, winning second prize was thrilling, especially knowing I had won $1,000.

The best part of winning the Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story, Essay, and Prose Contest was the way the contest was run.  The rules were plain from the start, and the John Reid kept me informed of the progress of the contest.  He e-mailed receipt confirmation when I submitted the essay, when I made the short list, and he informed me of when the final decisions would be made.  I felt connected throughout the process, unlike some contests that don’t even bother with any notification.

Reading John’s e-mail that informed me of my win brought tears to my eyes.  It wasn’t just a simple, “Congratulations, you won second place,” but words that really touched me deeply.  Here’s John Reid’s e-mail, which just shows the integrity of this contest, the judges, and those affiliated with Winning Writers.  My only question after I had read the good news—“What’s a fortnight?”  Thank goodness for a thesaurus.

Dear Debbie,

It gives me the greatest pleasure to inform you that your entry, “Attachments,” has won Second Prize of $1,000 in the 2009 Tom Howard Short Story, Essay and Prose Contest.

Please accept my heartiest congratulations on your splendid achievement.

From the around 2,000 entries received, the judges, after much effort on their part, finally ended up with a Short List of twenty-two entries and twenty names. (One contestant had three entries on the Final Short List).

You’ll be interested to know that your entry was always listed among the top three. Some entries did not stand up to constant re-reading. At this stage, the judges are looking for even the most minor flaws. But your entry always shone with utter perfection. A beautiful story, superbly told, with not a word out of place. 

Adam will post your story on the Winning Writers website when the Results are formally announced on September 15. Adam would also appreciate your photo and a short bio (four or five sentences will do). There is no rush for these. If you email them to him in a fortnight or so, that will be fine.

Once again, my sincerest congratulations!


You can read more comments by the judges and the essay at

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing Contests.

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4 Responses

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  1. Marcia Moore says

    Debbie, Congratulations on your 2nd place. I read your story. It was really sad. I knew about your daughter but never knew the details. How traumatic. Way to go on your WIN.


  2. Sue Sommer says

    Congratulations on your award. Your essay brought me to tears. Wonderful writing!

  3. Laurie Gough says

    Congratulations Debbie! I actually just tried to email you from the contact page of your website but got an error message. Anyway, your story was so inspiring and powerful. I especially loved your wisdom at the end about how you came to cherish even small moment like buttering bread. You’re so right. We have to live in the moment because we never know what tomorrow will bring. That’s such a profound and difficult lesson. I’m also a writer and I relate to your blues about queries and rejections. Hang in there! When you’re 80 you’ll look back and realize it was the writing that was important and life-affirming, not getting published.
    Laurie Gough

  4. Debbie Fox says

    Thank you so much for your encouragement! I admire your work, so your kind review of my piece meant a lot to me. Thanks for taking time to read my work. And, I’ll check on that link, probably is rusty from disuse!

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