Announcing the Winners of Our Second Annual Short Story Contest

October 3, 2019

Thanks to everyone who bravely embraced the challenge of this competition! We received entries spanning a multitude of genres—from historical fiction to romance to suspense—but fantasy was by far the most popular. After many hours of reading, sorting, and discussing, Josiah and I chose our finalists. The results were close, because we saw promise in several of the stories, and we hope that will encourage you to participate in future contests. For the moment, however, please join us in showering the victors with accolades and confetti! They’ve earned it.


First Place: “Ella” by Kate Flournoy

A dystopian tale about a father who must decide whether his protectiveness is saving his daughter from the unbreathable atmosphere outside—or depriving her of a chance at living. This entry instantly landed atop our pile of favorites and never slipped downward during the judging rounds. The subtle character arc and poignant ending captured us. We’re eager to share it next Thursday!


Meet the Author

Kate Flournoy is a die-hard country girl raised on Tolkien, Dickens, and Lewis, and she’s determined to change the world. She’s a shy drama queen, timid idealist, hopeful cynic, melodramatic logician, and intellectual poet who believes that simplicity is best and everything is possible…except her ever coming to like cheesecake. Let’s not get too wild here.


Since deciding that she wants to change the world, she’s channeled her energy into two different methods—writing and helping other writers. You can join her list of permanently awesome people by picking up her free fantasy novelette, The World Turned Upside Down.


Second Place: “The Will of the Sky” by Cassandra Hamm

A fantasy story about a man who is preparing to become an elder of his tribe but is burdened by his son’s apostasy. The protagonist’s compelling struggle, the detailed worldbuilding, and the tightly crafted narrative caught our attention. Read it on October 17th!


Meet the Author

Cassandra Hamm is a writer who has always been fascinated by the inner workings of the human mind. She received her B.S. in psychology and continues to apply her knowledge to her characters. In case the reader is wondering, no, she does not psychoanalyze everyone she meets. One of her passions is helping other writers, and she does so through her work as a community assistant for the Young Writers Workshop and as a teacher for Young Writer Lessons, both of which are affiliated with The Young Writer. She can be found online at CassandraHamm.com, where she posts prompt-based stories meant to entertain, encourage, and inspire, and on Instagram @cassandrahammwrites.


Honorable Mention: “The Besouler” by Zachary Holbrook

Meet the Author

Zachary Holbrook is an aspiring Christian author from Southern California who has been published in Havok magazine. He seeks to craft above-average stories with deep themes, compelling characters, and innovative plots. His work as an author will never be done, because he constantly reads new stories that flood his brain with vibrant ideas. Although he writes fantasy, he prefers to read nonfiction and classics, as most modern fantasy novels make him think of what he would do differently were he the author. Visit him on his website at AuthorZacharyHolbrook.weebly.com.


Honorable Mention: “Filling the Silence” by Rachel Svendsen

Meet the Author

Rachel Svendsen is a poet and writer from Milford, PA, where she lives with her husband and daughter. She is a stay-at-home mom and voracious reader who is revising her first novel. She blogs about books and her life at RachelSvendsen.com.

Honorable Mention: “Blessed Is the Broken Moonlight” by K. M. Small

Meet the Author

K. M. Small is a storyteller at heart, inspired by her favorite Author to send back echoes of love through her writing. She strives to weave tales that speak of both the ocean of mercy and the sweetness of grace offered to us. Formerly writing under the name of Audrey Caylin, she is the author of For Felicity and a contributor to Project Canvas. K. M. splits her time between pursuing a great books liberal arts education and balancing other creative endeavors, including photography, calligraphy, watercolor, and graphic design. She makes her home near both the Pacific coast beaches and the western mountains, where outdoor adventures abound and fuel her dream of soaring the skies on the back of a phoenix. To read K. M.’s musings on God and story, subscribe to her mailing list.


Congratulations to all, and be sure to return to our blog to view the first and second place stories that will be published in the coming weeks!


  1. Emma Flournoy

    CONGRATULATIONS KATE. *pumps your hand wildly up and down* *crushes you*

    And congratulations ALL OF YOU! *showers of accolades and confetti*

    • Buddy J.

      Emma… Your sister needs not be crushed at this moment.

    • Cassandra Hamm

      Thank you, Emma!! 😀 you should definitely be proud of your sister! She is awesome! I can’t wait to read her story.

    • Emma Flournoy

      Nooo? Too late… :'( Crushing hug, to be precise. XD

    • Emma Flournoy

      You’re so welcome! 😀 Your story sounds really neat. And yes! I’m extremely happy for her. ;D

    • Cassandra Hamm

      Aww, thanks! I hope you enjoy it! 😀 good. 😉

  2. Shannon Voeller

    Yayyyyyy so happy for all of you!!! 🥳🥳🥳

    • Cassandra Hamm

      Thank you, Shannon! 😀

  3. I, David

    Congratulations, all! I’m very excited to read the stories once they’re posted!

    • Cassandra Hamm

      Thank you! Can’t wait for you to read! 😀

  4. Buddy J.

    Congratulations! Well done, well done, everyone! *eyes twinkle* And I can’t wait ’till ya’ll get to read Ella. And I’m ready to read the others.

  5. eden anderson

    This is so awesome! 😀 Great job, everyone!

    CASSANDRA. You got second place?!! *runs around screaming* You are amazing! *showers you in chocolate and hedge-hugs* Agghhh, I’m so happy and you totally deserve this!! ❤️❤️❤️

    • Cassandra Hamm

      *squeals and hugs you and eats the chocolate* Ahhhhh thank you so much 😀 😀 😀 <3 <3 YOU'RE amazing!! <3

    • eden anderson

      I can’t wait to read the story!!

    • Cassandra Hamm

      I can’t wait for you to read it 😀 <3

  6. Holly Anne

    WOW CONGRATS!!! Kate, I can’t wait to read Ella!! And all the others of course!! Well done to all of you!!!

  7. Abigail Rebekah

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I can’t wait to read the stories.

    • Cassandra Hamm

      Thanks, Abigail!! 😀 I hope you enjoy! I can’t wait to read Kate’s!

  8. K.M. Small

    CONGRATULATIONS, Kate and Cassandra! I was so excited to see two familiar faces at the top of this post. I can’t wait to read your stories! And congrats to the other honorable mentions!

    Also, thank you, Josiah and Brianna, for putting on and judging this contest! Participating has been such a blast these two couple years and has helped me gauge my growth as a writer. I’m so grateful to be an honorable mention! 😀

    • Cassandra Hamm

      Thank you!! 😀 and congrats on the honorable mention!!

  9. Sarah Baran

    KATE! I told you Ella made me tear up, and now you’ve gone and won 1ST PLACE WITH IT?!? *so much confetti and happiness* Oh, this is glorious.

    And hey, congratulations to everyone — I can’t wait to read all the other stories!

    • Piper Bee

      Congrats to everyone who won or got mentioned! A great accomplishment!

    • Cassandra Hamm

      Thanks, Sarah and Piper! 😀

  10. Jane Maree


    • Cassandra Hamm

      *squeals* thank you, Jane 😀 <3

  11. Maya

    Yay! Congrats! I can’t wait to read these.

  12. Kate Lamb

    Thanks to everyone and thanks to Story Embers for hosting this! Congrats to every single one of you who participated and congratulations Cassie! Can’t wait to read your story. 😀

    • Cassandra Hamm

      I second this!! 🙂 and thank you, Kate! The same goes to you 😀 <3

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