Thanks to everyone who bravely embraced the challenge of this competition! We received a wide variety of entries, and this year we have the privilege of showcasing stories in two genres we’ve never published before. Our judging rounds were also more intense than usual because a few of our top picks were nearly head-to-head. So please join us in showering the victors with accolades and confetti! They’ve earned it.

 

First Place: “Something Green” (Historical Fiction) by Bethany Fehr

A prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp finds a tiny plant that might abate his ever-present hunger, but after a fellow inmate urges him not to uproot it, the identity and hope he lost begins to regrow. The layers of poignant symbolism in this story impressed us, and we made new discoveries about the characters and setting with each reading. We’re eager to share it next Thursday!

 

Meet the Author

Bethany Fehr has been a student of story since she learned to read. She writes historical fiction, often infused with a gentle touch of fantasy. Storytelling is her space to explore difficult questions and discover the character of God, and she hopes her stories will encourage others to think deeply about their faith. Classic authors George MacDonald, C. S. Lewis, and Harold Bell Wright are a few of her favorite sources of inspiration. Bethany lives in Alberta, Canada, where she sings with her family’s bluegrass/gospel band, teaches English to adult learners, and trains for a future career as a developmental editor.

 

Second Place: “Skeleton” (Mystery) by Darlene N. Böcek

When a jaded detective investigates the murder of a presumed prostitute, his search leads him to an old woman whose cryptic answers to his questions reveal that a different kind of death happened on her porch years ago. The distinct narrative voice, unexpected plot twists, and gut-wrenching theme all caught our attention. Read this story on October 15th!

 

Meet the Author

Darlene N. Böcek lives amidst an olive orchard in the land of old Byzantium: Izmir, Turkey. A pastor’s wife, former public school teacher, and California native, she homeschools her teenage son while her three adult daughters study dentistry.

 

Darlene uses a variety of genres to emphasize mystery, grace, and the pursuit of truth. Trunk of Scrolls, her historical fiction novel taking place in Byzantine Turkey, delves into the reason behind suffering. And her contemporary speculative series (Return to Me) and sci-fi series (Pogland/The Immortals, which is currently being considered for publication) likewise weigh in on the big questions. “Skeleton” is her foray into the detective genre and short fiction.

 

Alongside truth-wrangling fiction, Darlene teaches Bible and apologetics in online and church venues. In her cross-genre writing, new people, strange places, and old ideas compel readers to consider and treasure the deep truths of the Christian faith.

 

Honorable Mention: “Emma” (Contemporary) by Anne of Lothlorien

Meet the Author

The summer she turned eight, Anne made two very important decisions. The first was to become a Christian, and the second was to become a writer. She has never regretted either decision and doubts she ever will.

 

Besides many short stories and poems, she has managed to finish one novel that she is currently editing, and she’s working on two others. When she’s not writing, Anne enjoys reading (of course), quilling, bike riding, talking with friends about anything, and graphic design. She loves roller coasters, ice cream, Disney World, green and blue things, getting mail, and short bios.

 

Honorable Mention: “My Brother” (Contemporary) by Sydney Dragovich

Meet the Author

Sydney Dragovich is a high school sophomore from Colorado. From a young age, writing has always been one of her passions, and she is constantly gathering inspiration for stories around her. Short stories is one of her favorite ways to write about social issues with underlying themes of faith in Christ. When she isn’t writing, you can find her running track, visiting close friends in Ethiopia, hiking in the Rocky Mountains, watering her plants, or behind a good book.

 

Honorable Mention: “The Phantom of Chess” (Fantasy) by Amie Woleslagle

Meet the Author

What started as a coping mechanism quickly became a burning passion and a desire to help others who are experiencing the same challenges she faces. Battling with physical and mental health issues, she is passionate about showing through her stories and poetry that stars shine the brightest in the darkest night.

 

Amie loves to run barefoot through southern fields, grow corn, blog, act, film YouTube videos, play music filled with dynamics, and sing at the top of her lungs when no one’s listening. All the while, she babies her dog and rabbit and gasps whenever a new idea floats into her head.

 

If you would like to connect with Amie, you can find her pouring out her heart on her blog, fangirling about books on her Instagram, or diving into story and goofing off on her YouTube.

 

 

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!

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