The time has come to announce the winners. This year, rather than first, second, and third places, we have three FIRST place winners in three separate categories. The first of those categories is . . .
And the winning poet of 2015 is: Sarah Grace with, "All My Love."
This beautiful poem--depicting the heart and heartbreak of Queen Anahid of Arpiar, mother of Rose Red, wife of Vahe, and tragic heroine after her own sad fashion--is well deserving of this prize. The lyrical verses left readers with the sense of a classic style mingled with very present emotion. A lovely depiction of a mother's love.
Well done, Sarah Grace! The Bard of Rudiobus himself would be proud to write verses such as these.
And now moving on to our second category, which is . . .
Short Stories and Novellas
The winning author of prose for 2015 is: Melanie J. Morgan with, "Seabreeze."
The voting was very close in this category, but Melanie's novella, "Seabreeze," won by a nose, ultimately impressing readers with its epic scope, its heartbreaking climax, its romantic enchantment . . . not to mention Melanie's stunning illustrations, which so perfectly depicted the scenes and characters she described with her words. A labor of love which left an unmistakable mark upon the eager Imps.
And now for the final category, which is . . .
MY PERSONAL FAVORITE OF THE YEAR
This new category is a tough one, and I took my job seriously. I read first for pure enjoyment--How caught up was I in the tale being told? I read second for proficiency--How polished was each writer, how confident in her way with words and narrative construction? I read thirdly with an eye for series understanding--How well did the author demonstrate comprehension of Goldstone Wood's world and characters, and how did she blend her knowledge into an appealing tale? While there was much talent and passion demonstrated in this year's contest among all of the competing authors, I felt there was one author who really stood out in the crowd, combining great storytelling, skill, and understanding of my world.
So it is my great pleasure to announce the winner of My Personal Favorite of the Year Award: Meredith Burton with, "Black Powder."
I was so impressed by Meredith's exploration of themes from my most recent novel, Golden Daughter, providing interesting narrative background to various characters and story elements. And I absolutely loved how she expanded my use of the story of Joseph to explore the story of Dinah as well, connecting that part of the Biblical narrative to the world of Goldstone Wood. The results were impressive and engrossing.
All three of our winners have earned their gorgeous prizes--hardbound "Goldstone Wood Imp" journals with the titles of their winning stories/poems and their names engraved upon the back. So, Sarah Grace, Melanie, and Meredith, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let me know your mailing addresses!
I cannot thank you enough, contenders, for your wonderful submissions and all of your creative efforts. You have no idea how close the voting was in each of these categories. And I feel safe to tell you that EVERY ONE of the authors who submitted had several votes on her or his work.
But in the end, I feel these three winners truly deserved their places on the top, and I hope all of you will join me in offering them heartfelt congratulations!