I was very happy to receive the good news that my short story, Caves, won the 2012 SnoValley Writes! writing contest

This week, the peer writing group located in Snoqualmie Valley, Washington held their annual writing and jazz event and I was invited to attend to read my story to participants. If I weren’t living nine time zones away, I would have loved to have been there to have the opportunity to meet the members of this writing community.

Still, I was so honored to receive the news and to learn that the judges selected my story as the winner for the adult category. There was also a young adult category for writers 17 and under and Natalie Smith won that competition with her story The Battle.

Submissions could be up to 1500 words and needed to include at least three words from the following terms in a themed prompt:  Three, Magic, Number, Valley, Anniversary, Coffee, Friends, Ashes, Determination, or Quest.

I’d never written with a themed prompt before and I found it a lot of fun to work specific words into my story.

Since I’m often inspired by places and settings tend to factor heavily into my writing, I chose to write a story set in a town in southern Italy that I absolutely love: Matera. There is something magical – and mystical – about that ancient city of caves and its stunning rupestrian churches.  I was there for the second time last September to attend my first-ever writer’s conference, the amazing Matera Women’s Fiction Festival that I wrote about in an earlier post.

While I was in Matera, sitting on the terrace of my cave hotel and watching the sun cast a golden glow on the town, I came up with a character whose fiancé leaves her while they are there on holiday. Yet, instead of being distraught, my protagonist is thrilled to be on her own and allows the ancient cave town to work its magic on her.

If you are interested in reading my entry, Caves , it’s available on the SnoValley Writes! web site.

I am so grateful to the judges for having chosen my story as the winner of this year’s competition. Short story writers – mark your calendars. The next contest will be announced in October 2012 on the SnoValley Writes! web site.