Archive for December, 2016

I would like to think everyone who entered the Green River Writers 2016 Writing Contest. We had 16 categories and awarded over $1600 to people in 17 states and 1 Canadian province.


2016 Winners


1 President’s Prize–Fiction

First Place: “Phantom Plane” C. G. Thompson, Greenville NC

Second Place: “One Lady’s Camellia” Rebecca Crouse, Rathdrum ID

Third Place: “Brainstorm” Barbara Blanks, Garland TX

First HM: “The Burden of Heritage” Karen Powers Liebhaber, Pocahontas AR

Second HM: “Shadow of the Saints” Charles K. Firmage, Boise ID

Third HM: “We Were Not Alone” Gail Denham, Sunriver OR


2 Green River Grande–Poetry

First Place: “Late Tomatoes” Jessica  Thompson, New Harmony In

Second Place: “One-Year Anniversary” JessicaThompson, New Harmony In

Third Place: “Los Compadres” Sally Clark, Fredericksburg TX

First HM: “Jew as Noun” Ellaraine Lockie, Sunnyvale CA

Second HM: “Downtown Brown” Alan O’Koon, Cincinnati OH

Third HM: “The Lost Well” Betty Stuedle, Louisville KY


3 Green River Lean—Short-Short Fiction

First Place: “I Can Never Move” Sally Clark, Fredericksburg TX

Second Place: “The Forgotten Lunch” Linda Hoagland, North Tazewell VA

Third Place: “Death From the Sky” Jim Miller, Louisville KY

First HM: “Bessie Sanctuary” Beecher Smith, Memphis TN


4 Novel: First Chapter—Fiction

First Place: Running at Sea Level Rebecca Bailey, Grangeville ID

Second Place: Backstory: Murder in Oceanview Nancy L. Brown, Bethel, ME

Third Place: Blessed Are the Meek Becky Lindsay, Crestview Hills KY

First HM: Ministers for Breakfast Beth Staas, Lagrange Park IL

Second HM: Years the Locusts Have Eaten Anna Wiker, Richmond KY


5 Rubye Fowler Memorial Prize in Creative Nonfiction

First Place: “One More Day ” Rebecca Crouse, Rathdrum ID

Second Place: “On the Trail of Little Cardboard Signs ” Gary Hoffman, Okeechobee FL

Third Place: “Grandmother Tree ” Rebecca Bailey, Grangeville, ID

First HM: “Snake Eradicator” Nancy L. Brown, ME

Second HM: “The Sun at Noon ” Betty Stuedle, Louisville KY

Third HM: “My Introduction to Janis Joplin ” Linda Hoagland, North Tazewell VA


6 Suzanne Suddeth Memorial Prize—Children’s Prose

First Place: “The Big Bad Wolf’s Side of the Story” Beecher Smith Memphis TN

Second Place: “Harry and Margaret” Randa Sansing, Bessemer, Alabama

Third Place: “The Thing in the Fog” Mary Bertolini, Cincinnati OH

First HM: “Dragons” Betty Stuedle, Louisville KY


7 Jim O’Dell Memorial–Poetry

First Place: “Blair” Jerri Hardesty, Brierfield AL

Second Place: “A Cow that could Fly” M. Ray Allen, Clifton Forge VA

Third Place: “Heads Up!” Barbara Blanks, Garland TX

First HM: “Limerick (A Republic Son of the Gun)” Becky Alexander, S. Cambridge,        Ontario

Second HM: “Gossip Has It” Caroline J. Walton, Crystal River FL

Third HM: “Creamy Whip” Don Fleming, Crescent Springs KY


8 Sometimes You Can’t Be Saved from Yourself—Poetry

First Place: “The Beacon” Barbara Blanks, Garland TX

Second Place: “Fish Fry” Wendy Visser, Cambridge ON

Third Place: “Fiat Lux” M. Ray Allen, VA

First HM: “The Peter Principle” Beth Staas, Lagrange Park, IL

Second HM: “Monday Morning Falling Down” Wendy Visser, Cambridge ON

Third HM: “Alter Eden” Becky Alexander, S. Cambridge, Ontario


9 I Heard It on the Radio—Poetry

First Place: “Blast from the Past” Nick Sweet, Shepherd TX

Second Place: “Hurting the Ones I Love” Charles K. Firmage, Boise ID

Third Place: “Parody to ‘Ain’t Misbehaving’” Joan Terry, Dallas GA

First HM: “Yesterday” Barbara Blanks, Garland TX

Second HM: “Saturday Night Dancing” Nancy Phillips, Murray KY

Third HM: “On the News, March 4, 2005” Becky Alexander, S. Cambridge, Ontario


10 Flaunt Your Images—Poetry

First Place: “Toes” Sally Clark, Fredericksburg TX

Second Place: “Mama’s Face” Barbara Blanks, Garland TX

Third Place: “Taking Issue with Marcelino” Ellaraine Lockie, Sunnyvale CA

First HM: “False Security” M. Ray Allen, Clifton Forge VA

Second HM: “Conceiving God” Beth Staas, Lagrange Park IL


11 The Thing Under the Bed—Poetry

First Place: “Lost and Mounds” Barbara Blanks, Garland TX

Second Place: “Hide and Seek” Wendy Visser, Cambridge ON

Third Place: “The Cobbler” Nick Sweet, Shepherd TX

First HM: “It Must Have Been a Full Moon,” Sally Clark, Fredericksburg TX


12 Small-Town Observations—Poetry

First Place: “Transport in a Farm Town” Ellaraine Lockie, Sunnyvale CA

Second Place: “Howard’s” Kathi Whalen, Washington, D.C.

Third Place: “Near Graduation from Radford” M. Ray Allen, Clifton Forge VA

First HM: “Late Harvest” Ellaraine Lockie, Sunnyvale CA

Second HM: “No Right Way of Crying” M. Ray Allen, Clifton Forge VA

Third HM: “Time Passed, Clouds Floated By” C. G. Thompson, Greenville NC


13 Waste not, want not—Poetry

First Place: “Love on Ice” Charles K. Firmage, Boise ID

Second Place: “Sorghum” M. Ray Allen, Clifton Forge VA

Third Place: “Vacancy: Apply Within” Barbara Blanks, Garland TX

First HM: “Daddy’s Little Man” Charles K. Firmage, Boise ID

Second HM: “Phantom Fish” M. Ray Allen, Clifton Forge VA


14 Strange Duck, in Honor of Sue Bayes—Poetry

First Place: “It’s Part of the Trick: Always Leave Them Wanting More” C. G. Thompson,            Greenville, NC

Second Place: “Tomorrow: A Love Song” Beth Staas, Lagrange Park IL

Third Place: “Mother May I” Ellaraine Lockie, Sunnyvale CA

First HM: “At a Country ReadingBecky Alexander, S. Cambridge, Ontario

Second HM: “Chardonnay-moi” Barbara Blanks, Garland TX

Third HM: “How to Make It Rain,” Sally Clark, Fredericksburg TX



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I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Monday, December 26, Kwanzaa starts, so a Joyous Kwanzaa to everyone.

Old Fashioned Hillbilly Christmas 2016


Hello All,


The family is once again hanging around the old home place, though the sheriff ran us out last year. We tossed the No Trespassing and Condemned signs in the fireplace. It turned cold so the kids borrowed the neighbor’s firewood. The kids are always so cute. The sheriff posted guards on the town Christmas tree, but they fell asleep, so Uncle Bob and Grandpa took it home.

Cousin Al snuck out of jail and took the kids to see Santa, but Santa saw them first and ran away. The kids brought home eight reindeer, and venison roast sounds good for Christmas dinner. Can Santa pull the sleigh with seven reindeer? Six? Even less?

Uncle Bob passed out, so the kids turned him into a live snowman. When he comes to, he’s going to be too cold to do anything. (except he has lots of antifreeze) The cute kids found chickens and a goat in a neighbor’s backyard, so Cousin Cindy has milk and eggs to add to Uncle Bob’s bourbon to make her famous eggnog.

Grandma can’t read so she can’t use cookbooks. She baked a grasshopper pie without a recipe, and everyone is afraid to eat it, except the baby just dug into it. Now a couple elves are snooping around, asking about reindeer. Nosy elves. The baby just got sick on Cousin Al, somebody clean the stink up.

Uncle Joe is playing Christmas carols on a fiddle missing 2 strings. He sings offkey, out-of-tune, and off-pitch, making the hounds howl and the baby wail. Cousin Al couldn’t stand anymore, and the sheriff won’t answer the phone, so Cousin Al is hitchhiking back to the jail. Cousin Ralph wrapped the presents, but he forgot tags. We get to wrestle over who gets what, but Grandma is so mean we give her whatever presents she wants.

The kids tied the elves up and made Christmas ornaments out of them. Uncle Joe is still singing carols, Santa showed up and asked for his things back, the baby spit up all over me, and the reindeer ran away before we got any steaks. Grandpa found Uncle Bob’s bourbon stash. Now Grandpa’s on the roof, and Cousin Ralph can’t get him down. Did I mention that my head hurts from too much eggnog? Yes, just more Christmas fun just like last year.


Merry Christmas,

You know who


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I want to wish everyone a Christmas eve filled with peace and a Happy Hanukkah.

A Visit from Old Krampus

Charles Suddeth

(with profound apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)


‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through our house

Not a critter was stirring, not even my spouse;

The stockings were tacked by the fireplace so bare,

In hopes that Krampus would never be there;

The children were all hiding under their beds;

While visions of oak switches tortured their heads;

And mamma in her snuggy, and I with my booze,

Had just settled ourselves for a long winter’s snooze,

When out on the street there arose such a clatter,

I leaped from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew right quickly,

Tore open the shutters and felt mighty sickly.

The moon glittered on the edge of the new-fallen snow,

Giving a daylight-luster to the objects below,

When what to my red, aching eyes did show,

But a miniature wagon and eight tiny goats to go,

With a mean old driver who raised such a rumpus,

I knew in a moment he just had to be Krampus.

Speedier than vultures his billy goats came,

And he cursed, and yelled, and called them by name:

“Now Pokey! Now, Porky! Now Antsy and Blunder!

On, Demon! On, Devil! On, Dummy and Wonder!

On the top of the roof! On the top of that wall!

Now rush away! Rush away! Rush away yall!”

As shingles before wild tornadoes do fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, jump to the sky;

So over the housetop the eight goats they flew

With the wagon full of switches, and mean, old Krampus too—

And then, in an instant, I heard on the roof

The dancing and dinging of each cloven hoof.

As I ducked down my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney old Krampus fell with a bound.

He was dressed in leather, from his head to his toe,

And his clothes were dirty and greasy to show,

A bundle of whips he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a thief who was opening his sack.

His eyes—how red they glowed! His head, how hairy!

His cheeks were like leather, his nose like a berry!

His scowling, blistered mouth was frightful to see,

And the beard on his chin was as black as could be;

The stinky cigar he held clamped in his teeth,

And smoke circled his head like a funeral wreath;

He had an ornery face and a hard-bound belly

That quivered when he cackled, like reindeer jelly.

He was thin and bony, like a wicked old elf,

And I wept when I saw him, and tried to hide myself;

A blink of his evil eye, a shake of his head

Soon let me know I had everything to dread;

He uttered no words, but went straight to his work,

Filled the stockings with coal; then swiveled with a jerk,

And laying his claws beside his hairy snout,

And giving a smirk, the back door he went out;

He shot to his wagon, to his team gave a clap,

And away they all soared with thunder and zap.

But I heard him exclaim as he dashed out of sight—

“Nightmares to all, and to all a bad night!”



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Krampus Christmas

Twisted Christmas

Charles Suddeth

He is hairy, his beard down to his waist,

He has billy goat’s horns and cloven hooves.

His forked tongue pokes through wolf fangs,

He is nonother than Hillbilly Krampus.



He drags long chains, flicks his whip,

Clangs the devil’s dingy dinner bell,

Carries a burlap poke on his back,

Fills it with bad, little boys and girls.


He drives a rickety old wagon,

Pulled by eight ornery mules,

All splay-footed and flop-eared,

Braying and bawling and belching.


He has his certain little helpers,

Trolls and ogres and gnomes,

If you see any of them coming,

You had better start running.


If you’re a good, little boy or girl,

You really have nothing at all to fear.

But if you’ve been naughty and bad,

Old Saint Nick will never find you.


Krampus is trickier than a moonshiner,

The lucky ones, he drowns in the creek,

Still others get grilled and barbecued,

The unlucky ones get hauled off to Hell.


Now I believe in Santa Claus,

Always have, and always will.

Now of Krampus I have my doubts,

But I’m not taking any chances.


St. Nick, I’ve been good. Very, very good.



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The Longest Night

Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and the beginning of Winter. It was once called Yule, Night of the Wild Hunt. pluto (the photo is Pluto, named after the God of the dead)

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Charles Suddeth:

You can find a multitude of articles about the nuts and bolts of revising and editing. I want to give you some ideas that will improve your fiction writing as a whole, as a work of art and entertainment.

Make your writing active: This not only includes the action, but the narrative, dialogue, and the POV character’s thoughts. The usual advice is: Show, don’t tell. I suggest making the reader feel a part of the story. Begin and end your story in an active mode. Descriptions? Slip them in as you tell the story so that the reader isn’t aware that you have done so.

POV: The usual discussion is the discussion about the merits of First Person versus Third Person. I suggest that you go deeper, either POV will work. Go as deep as you can into the character’s mind, feelings, and body until the reader feels that they are the character. First Person is more personal, but Third Person is more flexible, allowing you to approach the conflict from multiple POV’s and display different facets of the story.

Chapters: I consider chapters to be a chain, each link securely fastened to the preceding and following links.  End the chapter with a teaser or a cliffhanger so the reader turns to the next chapter. Begin that chapter with a hook. This applies to all types of fiction: Character-driven, plot-driven, and even literary.

Tension: Ramp up the tension, make the main character miserable goes the advice. I agree to a certain point. Find the Dark Moment, the point where the main character gives up, all is lost. Make that moment so dark the reader can’t stand it. The tension goes to zero, similar to when a rollercoaster car reaches the summit and seems to quit moving before plunging to the bottom.

Eights Mask2

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My picture book, Spearfinger, has been delayed for translating. It will be released by 4RV Publishing in February 2017 as a bilingual English/Cherokee edition. I believe it will be the first Cherokee picture book.  A Cherokee boy battles Spearfinger, the evil witch.

Author: Charles Suddeth

English Editor: Wayne Harris-Wyrick

Illustrator: Carrie Salazar

Art Director: Aidana WillowRaven

Translator: Tim Nuttle

Cherokee Editor: Lawrence Panther

Children’s Corner Imprint Editor: Renee’ La Viness



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