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HURRY! The Deadline is Almost Here: Golden Donut 200-Word Short Story Contest

Have you sent your story? Well, you’d better hurry because Tami Hoag—THE Tami Hoag—is anxious to read them.

Oh, you didn’t know?

Yes, she truly is the contest judge for this fun and challenging contest, with fantastic prizes for the winner.

Definitely. Having Tami Hoag read your work is super cool!

Okay, here are the details …

Golden Donut Short Story Contest

The Writers’ Police Academy is pleased to continue this fun contest in 2018. The rules are simple—write a story about the photograph above using exactly 200 words, including the title (each story must include an original title). The image in the photograph MUST be the main subject of the story. We will not provide clues as to the subject matter of the image, or where the shot was taken. That is for you and your imagination to decide. Remember, though, what you see in the image absolutely MUST be the MAIN subject of your tale.

*Again, the photo above absolutely MUST be the main focus of the story, not just a mere mention within the text.

All stories are to be polished and complete, meaning they must have a beginning, middle, and a twisted surprise ending. Again, all stories must be exactly 200 words. Not 201 or 199! So read the word count rules carefully. Over the years, we’ve seen some excellent tales disqualified due to an incorrect word count.

The Golden Donut contest is judged blindly, meaning each entry is assigned a number prior to sending it to the judges. Therefore, judges do not see the writers’ names.

All entries will be screened by a panel of readers who will select their twelve favorite stories and then forward their picks to the 2018 contest judge. All decisions are final and may not be contested or appealed. After reviewing each of the entries, the judge will notify the Writers’ Police Academy of the winning entry. While the winner will be announced at the WPA banquet, the winner need not be present to win. The contest is open to everyone, not just WPA attendees.

The contest winner receives the prestigious Golden Donut Award AND free registration to a 2019 WPA event!

Submission Guidelines:

Please read carefully!

All submissions MUST be submitted electronically via email to 2018goldendonut@gmail.com. Write Golden Donut 2018 in the subject line.

 ** Click the link below to enter **

Golden Donut Short Story Contest

Please include your story within the body of the email. Attachments will not be opened.

 Additionally, a twenty-five dollar ($25) entry fee must be submitted via Paypal PRIOR TO emailing the entry. In other words, click the link to register your entry and then follow the directions listed. Next, submit your payment (Paypal link is on the entry form), and THEN email your story(s). You do not need a Paypal account to enter.

Contest opens on February 18, 2018 (Please do not send any entries before this date).

Submission Deadline: Midnight (EST) July 1, 2018

Any entry not meeting the exact 200 word requirement will be disqualified. You will not receive notice of disqualification. Please be sure your word count is accurate and that all words are counted.

Hyphenated words, for the purpose of this contest, will be counted as two words, or three, etc., depending upon how many words make up the hyphenated phrase/word. Contractions will be counted as two words (it’s, don’t, etc.).

Every single word will be counted as a word. This includes: “a,” “and,” and “the.” To be very clear…if it’s a word, count it. If it’s part of dialog and you think it may be a word, count it. If it’s a stand-alone letter or group of letters, count it as a word. If it’s a number, count it as a word. If the number would include a hyphen if written out as a word, then count it as a hyphenated word. Social media and texting abbreviations will be counted as individual words. For example: OMG = three words. LMAO = four words. 2Nite = one word (tonight). AIAMU = five words (Am I a monkeys uncle). TCIC = 4 words (This contest is cool).

– Entries submitted after the July 1, 2018 (midnight EST) deadline will NOT be judged.

– Any entry not meeting the exact 200 word requirement will be disqualified.

No refunds for any reason!

Again, all entry fees and stories must be received on or prior to July 1, 2018. No exceptions. There is normally a mountain of entries, therefore, it is a time-consuming process for the judges. We need time to process the entries and to have the award properly engraved and shipped to the WPA.

  • Be sure to include your name, address, email address, telephone number(s), and title of your story in an opening paragraph above your story. Then, please include your story, headed by the title.
  • There is a $25 entry fee, payable via Paypal. Entries received without the appropriate entry fee will be excluded from the contest. No refunds.
  • Each author may submit up to three entries. Each entry must be accompanied by the corresponding entry fee ($25 per story).
  •  Each author may enter up to three stories. But each individual entry must be accompanied by its own $25 entry fee. (One entry = $25. Three entries = $75, etc.) You must indicate how many stories you plan to submit when you register.

By submitting an entry to this contest authors agree to allow The Graveyard Shift/Lee Lofland, the Writers’ Police Academy and/or affiliates to publish/reprint the story as a part of The Graveyard Shift blog and/or as advertisement for the Writers’ Police Academy or in other publications and media, including, but not limited to, Writers’ Police Academy books, magazines, newspaper, blogs, ebooks, online outlets, etc.

*The Writers’ Police Academy reserves the right to exclude or delete any entry without cause, reason, or explanation.

– ABSOLUTELY NO profanity, erotica, or the promotion of a specific hot-button agenda, including but not limited to politics of any type and/or racial issues. 

Please send questions to Lee Lofland at lofland32@msn(dot)com

So there you have it. Now get busy and take us on a journey that’d scare the pants off Poe himself.

Good luck!

WritersPoliceAcademy.com

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Want Superstar Author Tami Hoag to Read Your Story? Well …

Okay writers, it’s time to sharpen the pencils and get busy studying the above image and then assembling a grouping of words that’ll knock the socks off our mega-famous judge, Tami Hoag.

Yes, you heard me, Tami Hoag—THE Tami Hoag—will read the top twelve entries and then select the winning story. The contest winner, of course, receives a slew of cool prizes including the coveted Golden Donut Award!

Here’s what you need to do to get your writing in front of one of the world’s top authors (sorry for the small font—the graphic is a photo).

This is a fun contest!

Since the graphic above is a photo, the embedded links are not active. Here are the links listed within the newsletter, in their order of appearance in the piece.

  1. Click HERE for a link to more details and contest rules.
  2. If you’d like to be a first-round judge, email us at 2018goldendonut@gmail.com.
  3. Don’t forget to tell your friends who are figuring out how to budget for conferences this year that Sisters in Crime is once again offering a $150 registration scholarship to all SinC members attending the Writers’ Police Academy for the first time.
  4. If you need help with your travel arrangements, feel free to contact Darek Jarmola, the agent who handles arrangements for our guest speakers and experts. Derek is well versed in transportation options for Green Bay, Wisconsin. He can be reached at Darek@authenticeurope.com or by phoning 918-214-4582.

Tami Hoag – Writers’ Police Academy firing range

 

Tami after performing a PIT maneuver at the driving track. Intense action, and FUN! – Writers’ Police Academy

TamiHoag.com


There is still time to sign up for the 2018 Writers’ Police Academy. HURRY!

Again, If you’ve ever wanted to attend the WPA, I STRONGLY and WHOLEHEARTEDLY urge you to do so this year. Openings are available … this year. Could be your last chance. I’m just saying …

WritersPoliceAcademy.com

 

Imaginary Man’s Bad Luck Prompts Short Story and a Popular Writing Contest

Each year the Writers’ Police Academy features a fun writing contest called The Golden Donut Short Story contest. We provide a photo prompt and writers must use it as the theme of their stories. The catch? Each tale must be exactly 200 words.

The concept of flash fiction is not new, of course, but the way this contest came about was, well, here’s how I arrived at the decision to include the contest as part of the thrilling WPA.

This was the time before cellphones, social media, and TV remotes

As a child, I read everything and anything I could get my hands on, from Superman comics to Poe. And, as a result, I often wrote silly little stories and even made a few attempts at poetry. But, as time passed, writing faded out of the picture as my focus turned to police work. I never stopped reading, though. Book after book after book. I loved libraries and book stores. I loved the smell of both new and old books. And I was never very far away from something to read. Running radar … sure, there was a book nearby for the slow times. Working graveyard shift … I had to have something to keep me awake during the times when drunks and robbers slept. Fishing … well, those sly rascals aren’t always biting.

Fast Forward to Shortly After Leaving Police Work (Retirement is Boring)

I wanted to write because I had so many stories to tell. And then I saw it … a writers group for beginners. No experience needed. So I signed up (this was 10 years ago, or more) and it wasn’t long before we were hard at work writing short stories. The instructor, though, added a twist to our assignments. He wanted us to write a complete story in exactly 200 words (now you know where I got the idea for the WPA 200 word story contest).

To write a complete story in 200 words was a tough task, especially for someone like me who’d never written anything worthwhile with the exception of a few hundred traffic tickets and thousands of police reports. The assignment was indeed challenging, and fun. And, later, we had to do the same in just 50 words.

I kept my first story as a reminder of the beginning. And, for fun, I thought I’d post it here today. What about you? How early in life did you know you wanted to write? Do you ever re-visit your early work?

Anyway, here you go … my first official attempt at writing. It’s called Economic Downturn. Remember, it’s an unedited first attempt/draft written 10 years ago. So a bit of pity for me is fine … 🙂

Economic Downturn

Moments ago, the palette of reds, oranges and purples streaking the horizon gave way to night’s inky blackness. The sun had surrendered its position to a heavy and swollen harvest moon. Milky light pushed its way through the tired oak’s twisted and knobby branches.

A cold puff of wind shoved and swirled ribbon-like waves of dried leaves along the cracked asphalt street. They made clicking, ticking sounds as they tumbled and danced along the cold and lonely tarmac.

As he looked towards the sounds, an icy chill swept over his jacket-less frame. Turning toward the house where his wife lay sleeping, he saw the once toothy Halloween jack-o-lantern. It had begun to rot and its sagging, twisted grin mocked him.

Time was slowing and sounds were disappearing as the big limb groaned from the stress of the foreign weight. The thick rope tightened still more as the massive tree pulled him upward against gravity.

His feet came to rest two inches above the cool earth, and the crumpled lay-off notice he had clutched so tightly fluttered to the ground.

His last breath gently floated skyward to mingle with the autumn air.

He wondered if she would miss him.

And The Winner of the 2014 Golden Donut Short Story Contest Is…

golden donut short story contest

2011-09-24_09-40-42_246

The rules were simple. Write a complete story based on the photo above. The trick? The story must be exactly 200 words. Not 201. Not 199.

The Golden Donut contest attracts writers from all across the world, and to win is a true accomplishment.

This year we were extremely pleased and honored to have Michael Cudlitz, star of The Walking Dead, Southland, and Band of Brothers, join us to announce the winner of the 2014 contest. So, without further adieu, here’s Michael…

 

photo_1

Rick McMahan

PRACTICE

One

Jill strode down the darkened hall, her hollow footfalls in sync with the words drifting to her.

Two.

The training room door was open, a weak light escaping.

Three.

Every CPR mannequin was strewn across the floor like he had tried each one before settling on the smallest.

Breathe.

Kneeling, Ray was pushing on the dummy’s chest. His t-shirt was soaked through with sweat.

“Partner,” she said.

He looked up at her, but she knew he was looking through her at the memory. Dispatch sent them to a nice neighborhood with manicured yards and kids playing. A worried employer called when a female employee never showed for work. Jill found the woman’s body on the bed. A baby was never mentioned. Ray found one floating in the tub.

“Roll call’s in ten, partner.”

More than sweat glistened on his face. Standing, he turned away to pull on his uniform shirt.

Post-partum depression. A fancy word for a mother drowning her kid before suiciding herself.  It took Jill and three EMTs to pull Ray away from the baby’s blue lips.

“Next time if I try harder, Maybe I can save him.” Ray’s voice tight. “I was just practicing.”

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So Many Names For A Single Author: ARRGGHHHH!!!

So many names

Well, day one of the 2014 Writers’ Police Academy has finally arrived, and the excitement that comes along with this event has already begun filling the hotel hallways.

WPA staff arrived yesterday and hit the ground running at full speed. We met with the hotel staff to be sure we were all on the same page, and then we rolled up our sleeves to begin the dirty work.

First came the mind-numbing task of figuring out the true identities of our attending “recruits” so we could match name tags with t-shirts, meals, and workshops. Believe me, it was like sorting through a list of names at an undercover cop convention. So many pen names that don’t match payment receipts that don’t match registration records…and on it went.

Do you, the reader, realize that some of your favorite authors have three or four names?

Sally Jones is really Mary Smith, but she writes as Barbara Barbaro for series “A”, and she writes cozies as Queenie O’Berry. And she uses Rebecca Reuben for her romantic suspense books. However, Sally/Barbara/Queenie/Rebecca’s birth name is actually William Jenkins.

Yes, your favorite romance author, Sally Jones is a MAN. A man who’s WPA payment receipts don’t match the name on the registration form, and neither match the…well, you get the idea.

Anyway, we finally sorted it all out last night, working until midnight.

But, if you, Sally Jones/William Jenkins, discover the t-shirt in your event bag is sewn to fit someone with curves a bit different than your own, well, don’t blame us. Blame one of your secret identities.

2013-09-06_20-33-06_432

It’s going to be a fantastic weekend. See you there!

2014 Golden Donut Short Story Contest Is OPEN!

golden donut short story contest

2011-09-24_09-40-42_246

The Writers’ Police Academy is pleased to continue the Golden Donut short story contest in 2014. The rules are simple—write a story about the photograph above using exactly 200 words, including the title (each story must include an original title). The image in the photograph MUST be the main subject of the story. We will not provide clues as to the subject matter of the image, or where the shot was taken. That is for you and your imagination to decide. Remember, though, what you see in the image absolutely MUST be the main subject of your tale.

*Again, the photo above absolutely MUST be the main focus of the story, not just a mere mention within the text.

All stories are to be polished and complete, meaning they must have a beginning, middle, and a twisted surprise ending. Again, all stories must be exactly 200 words. Not 201 or 199! So read the word count rules carefully. Over the years, we’ve seen some excellent tales disqualified due to an incorrect word count.

All entries will be screened by a panel of readers who will select their twelve favorite stories and then forward their picks to the contest judge, Sara Gruen (author of Water For Elephants). All decisions are final and may not be contested or appealed. After reviewing each of the entries, the judge will notify the Writers’ Police Academy of the winner’s name. While the winner will be announced at the WPA banquet, the winner need not be present to win. The contest is open to everyone, not just WPA attendees.

The contest winner will receive the prestigious Golden Donut Award.

Submission Guidelines:

Please read carefully!

All submissions MUST be submitted electronically via email to 2014golddonut@gmail.com. Write Golden Donut 2014 in the subject line.

Click the link below to complete the entry registration form and follow the posted instructions. Entry fee details are there as well.

Golden Donut Short Story Contest

Please include your story within the body of the email. Attachments will not be opened.

 Additionally, a twenty-five dollar ($25) entry fee must be submitted via Paypal BEFORE the entry is emailed.

Contest opens on Sunday June 1, 2014 (Please do not send any entries before this date).

Submission Deadline: Midnight Friday August 1, 2014 (the precise point in time between 11:59 pm 8-1 and 12:01 am 8-2).

– Any entry not meeting the exact 200 word requirement will be disqualified. You will not receive notice of disqualification. Please be sure your word count is accurate and that all words are counted.

– Hyphenated words, for the purpose of this contest, will be counted as two words, or three, etc., depending upon how many words make up the hyphenated phrase/word. Contractions will be counted as two words (it’s, don’t, etc.).

– Every single word will be counted as a word. This includes: “a,” “and,” and “the.” To be very clear…if it’s a word, count it. If it’s part of dialog and you think it may be a word, count it. If it’s a stand-alone letter or group of letters, count it as a word. If it’s a number, count it as a word. If the number would include a hyphen if written out as a word, then count it as a hyphenated word.

– Entries submitted after the August 1st deadline will NOT be judged.

– Any entry not meeting the exact 200 word requirement will be disqualified.

No refunds for any reason!

Again, all entry fees and stories must be received on or prior to August 1, 2014. No exceptions. There is normally a mountain of entries, therefore, it is a time-consuming process for the judges. We need time to process the entries and to have the award properly engraved and shipped to the WPA.

– Be sure to include your name, address, email address, telephone number(s), and title of your story in an opening paragraph above your story. Then, please include your story, headed by the title.

– There is a $25 entry fee, payable via Paypal. Entries received without the appropriate entry fee will be excluded from the contest. No refunds.

– Each author may submit up to three entries. Each entry must be accompanied by the corresponding entry fee ($25 per story).

– Each author can enter up to three stories. But each individual entry must be accompanied by its own $25 entry fee. (One entry = $25. Three entries = $75, etc.) You must indicate how many stories you plan to submit when you register.

– By submitting an entry to this contest authors agree to allow The Graveyard Shift/Lee Lofland, the Writers’ Police Academy, Sisters in Crime, and affiliates to publish/reprint the story as a part of The Graveyard Shift blog and/or as advertisement for the Writers’ Police Academy or Sisters in Crime, or in other publications and media, including, but not limited to, books, magazines, newspaper, blogs, ebooks, online outlets, etc. *Sisters in Crime is not a part of the Writers’ Police Academy.

*All rights to all work/short story shall remain the property of the author. The Writers’ Police Academy reserves the right to exclude or delete any entry without cause, reason, or explanation.

– ABSOLUTELY NO profanity or erotica.

– No refunds. Proceeds go to the Writers’ Police Academy fund to benefit the GTCC criminal justice foundation.

Please send questions to Lee Lofland at lofland32@msn(dot)com

So there you have it. Now get busy and take us on a journey that’d scare the pants off Poe himself. Did Gepetto create an army of zombie-kid robots? Has Chucky assembled his cousins to take over the planet? Only you know, and you have only 200 words to tell the entire twisted story.

Good luck!

*     *     *

We are extremely pleased to announce that the judge for the 2014 Golden Donut Short Story Contest is one of the great storytellers of our time, Sara Gruen.

Sara’s works include Water for Elephants, Ape House, and Riding Lessons.

New Picture (2)

 Sara Gruen