My story won the 2012 SnoValley Writes! contest

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.


  1. Chantel Rhondeau on April 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Oh my goodness! That is so terrific, Kimberly! I’m so happy for you! You are truly a very beautifully gifted writer, and now more people know that. How exciting! I’m off to read the submission now, but like everything else your write, I’m sure it is wonderful! Congratulations!!

  2. Travis Casey on April 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Many, many congratulations!! I read the story and what a relief to read something without trying to pick it apart. I mean, it won so it doesn’t need improving, right? I’m very envious and also very pleased for you. You can certainly put that on your resume and it was a brilliant story to boot. Well done, my friend. Keep up the good work and I hope many more awards come your way.


  3. Melinda Dozier on April 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Congratulations Kimberly! I look forward to reading the story!

  4. ledrakenoir on April 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Congratulations Kimberly – it’s sounds great… 😉

  5. zannyro on April 16, 2012 at 5:10 am

    Congratulations!! You should be SO proud 🙂

  6. kimberlysullivan on April 16, 2012 at 6:40 am

    Thanks, everyone! One of the great things I’ve learned about writing is all the wonderful support and encouragement you receive from other writers. Thank you!!

  7. Novel Girl on April 19, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Congrats! How exciting.

    • kimberlysullivan on April 20, 2012 at 6:48 am

      Thanks, Rebecca! And I loved the great post on your site pointing new and emerging writers to literary magazines seeking their work. Writers, take a look here for Rebecca’s post.

  8. Claire 'Word by Word' on April 29, 2012 at 5:35 am

    Fantastic, what an excellent affirmation. I’m a convert to themes for kickstarting stories now, after subscribing to Mslexia magazine (do you know it – a magazine for women who write) they do a quarterly theme and although I don’t always submit the result, I find the challenge of the theme great if I’m looking for a new story prompt.

  9. kimberlysullivan on April 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Thanks, Claire! I’ll definitely take a look at Mslexia – a quarterly theme sounds interesting! I used to be a little scared of prompts or themes, but like you, I now find them a great way to get the imagination flowing.

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