Monday, August 16, 2010

The County Fair Week Contest!

Welcome one and all to County Fair Week here at "Seasons of Humility!" I'm so excited for all this week has in store, and I hope you are, too!

As many of you know, county fairs are filled with contests--with quilts, livestock, poetry, and so much more being judged. So in honor of County Fair Week, I'm going to host a fun contest for all you writers out there! Before I get into the rules, let me tell you about the prize package:

The winner will receive my gently used copies of Love Finds You in Romeo, Colorado and A Name of Her Own, along with some fair goodies I'm hoping to pick up at my own county fair this week. =) Here are the descriptions of the two books:

From Summerside Press: "Can one woman's tragedy turn into happily ever after? Claire Caspian is a first-rate professor, teaching even the most cynical student to find beauty in literature. But with her own personal story, she isn’t as successful. Having recently lost her husband, Claire returns with her young son to the tiny desert town of Romeo, Colorado, where she grew up. There she settles in with her feisty old Abuelita, the richest woman in the county, and attempts to rebuild her life. But love comes searching for Claire in the form of attractive local doctor Stephen Reyes. Will another tragedy prevent her from accepting love the second time around? Or will she embrace her new Romeo and finally find a happy ending?"

From WaterBrook Multnomah: "Based on the life of Marie Dorion, the first mother to cross the Rocky Mountains and remain in the Northwest, A Name of Her Own is the fictionalized adventure account of a real woman’s fight to settle in a new landscape, survive in a nation at war, protect her sons and raise them well and, despite an abusive, alcoholic husband, keep her marriage together.

With two rambunctious young sons to raise, Marie Dorion refuses to be left behind in St. Louis when her husband heads West with the Wilson Hunt Astoria expedition of 1811. Faced with hostile landscapes, an untried expedition leader, and her volatile husband, Marie finds that the daring act she hoped would bind her family together may in the end tear them apart.

On the journey, Marie meets up with the famous Lewis and Clark interpreter, Sacagawea. Both are Indian women married to mixed-blood men of French Canadian and Indian descent, both are pregnant, both traveled with expeditions led by white men, and both are raising sons in a white world.

Together, the women forge a friendship that will strengthen and uphold Marie long after they part, even as she faces the greatest crisis of her life, and as she fights for her family’s very survival with the courage and gritty determination that can only be fueled by a mother’s love."

Also, Ashley from After All....... Tomorrow is Another Day has offered to give away a personalized, homemade bookmark like the one pictured left to the winner! (And if she enters and wins, then the bookmark will go to the second place winner!) ;)

So what do you need to do to enter this contest? Here are the rules:
  • Write a clean and appropriate romantic scene that involves some fair attraction, such as a ride or contest of some sort.
  • Please keep the scene under 300 words if possible. I will still consider longer entries, but it would probably be easier on Blogger if we could keep the entries short and sweet. ;)
  • Leave your e-mail address in your comment along with your entry, so I have a way to contact you if you win!
  • If Blogger will not let you leave a long comment or if you would like me to check your scene's content to see if it works for this contest, feel free to e-mail your entry to me at: stokes[dot]a[at]suddenlink[dot]net.
  • Entries will be accepted through Friday, August 20. The winner will be announced on Saturday, August 21.
  • You must have a U.S. mailing address. (I apologize to any of my friends from other countries; this is due to higher costs. But feel free to share a scene with us anyway if you'd like!)
  • Entries will be judged by me and one or two other people of my choosing.
Thank you to Tina from Seekerville for letting me "borrow" her contest idea! A couple of weeks ago they had a similar contest for "Slacker Tuesday," and Tina gave me permission to use a similar idea.

And I told you last week that I would give you my own example. I used the same characters from my entry for the "Slacker Tuesday" contest, so feel free to click HERE and read my entry for that contest in the comments section, if you're interested. Now, here's my example:

“What do you see?”

Looking into the multiple mirrors around her, all Christine saw were accusations and disappointment. Why did they call this place a “fun house”? Her dreams of being published were as unreal as the image she had seen in that wavy mirror a ways back.

“Would you like me to tell you what I see?”

She nodded. Let Rich try to put into words what she couldn’t bring herself to say.
“I see a girl who doubts God.”

The images in the mirrors blurred, and Christine whirled around to face him. “What on earth do you mean?”

“I mean that you’re so worried about getting published that you’ve forgotten it’s all in God’s hands. If it’s His will, it will happen. If not, then maybe He’s just using this time to prepare you for something else that will be even better for you in the end. Why are you so worried, Christine?”

A tear fell, but Christine didn’t look up. She didn’t want to see the rainstorm brewing around her in her reflections.
Rich placed both of his hands gently on her face, forcing her gaze to him. A rush of warmth shocked her. Those blue eyes…

Suddenly, a bunch of giggling kids ran past, practically thudding into the mirrors as they searched for the way out. Rich and Christine parted, glanced at each other, and laughed.

“Come with me?” Rich offered his hand, and Christine took it. Slowly, he guided her through the mirrors and out into the painful but beautiful light of daytime at the fair.

According to Microsoft Word, my example is 261 words long, and the scene takes place at a "fun house" (or "house of mirrors") at a fair. Hope you enjoyed the scene!

Now it's your turn! I can't wait to read your entries! And remember to tune in every day this week for some fun interviews and fair stories. (It's quite possible there will be a separate giveaway going on this week sometime, so this is my hint that you should keep checking in on a regular basis!)


Kav said...

Hmmmm...I've been having trouble commenting on your site lately. Sometimes it goes through and sometimes it doesn't, though I think initially it did.

Love your story. Very clever use of the fun house mirrors and angsting over being an unpublished author!!! I think we can all relate to that!

So if we want to write a story we post it here, right? On Sunday's blog, right?

Ashley (Ibreath2read) said...

LOVE the scene, Amber! Far better than anything I could write.;)
I've never been a fan of the fun house, but I love the way you used it in your scene.
And I can't wait to see what our fellow blogger got up their writer sleeves.LOL:)And I know this is going to be a fun week. Can't wait!
Love Ya,

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Wow Amber! I loved that scene! Are you writing a book? You totally should, I'd read it! ;-)

XOXO~ Renee

Susan Anne Mason said...


You have a gift, girl. I predict you will have a long and lucrative writing career.

Excellent writing!


Ariel said...

Well mine ended up as 422 words... But it's still fairly short! :P Here it is:

Yeesha walked alone and lost through the hustle and bustle of the booths and barns of her county fair. She didn’t come alone; she came with her best friend Lily and her best friend’s boyfriend Curtis. Those two did everything together, and not having a boyfriend or anyone that liked her made Yeesha lonely. She had slipped away while they weren’t looking and began exploring on her own.

Unfortunately for her, Yeesha had never been to the county fair before and didn’t know her way around the grounds. She passed tons of people, all laughing and smiling and having a great time, while she just wanted to leave. Suddenly she heard her name.


She expected it to be Lily calling her back, so she turned slowly. To her surprise, it was David! David and Yeesha had a small history: He had asked her to her senior prom, and at the time it was obvious they both liked each other. However, nothing had happened beyond that. Seeing him now brought a flood of thoughts and emotions back, and Yeesha stood there shocked as he ran up.

“Yeesha! I haven’t seen you in a while. What are you doing here, and all alone?”

She smiled slightly and explained the whole situation. As they walked, they caught up on everything that had happened in each other’s lives. After a while Yeesha realized she still had feelings for David. Was it possible he still had feelings for her?

Eventually they found themselves in the pig barn. Yeesha wrinkled her nose.

“Yuck, they don’t smell so great!”

David smiled. “They are very smart though! You should pet one!”

“Pet one?! Why on earth would I want to do that?” Yeesha cried.

“What are you chicken? “ David teased.

Pouting, Yeesha gave in. “Oh, alright.” Gingerly she reached through the bars and patted one curious pig on his nose. Surprised, the pig pushed her back and she fell right into David’s arms!

As she looked up at him, it was as if the rest of the world had melted away. Right there, she knew he felt the same way. As he leaned to give her a kiss, the pig snorted rather loudly and rammed the bars. Laughing, David picked her up and gave her a real kiss.

“I really missed you, Yeesha.”

Smiling, Yeesha realized she was glad to have come to the fair. While it started terribly, it had ended with her dreams realized by the help of a very noisy pig. Who would have thought?


Sara said...

What a neat contest and what a great scene! When is your book coming out? ;)

Amber S. said...

Wow! Thank you so much for your encouragement, everyone! :D

KAV: I'm sorry Blogger's been giving you trouble. :( But yes, if you want to enter the contest, you can just leave your entry in the comments section of this post. :) If Blogger continues to give you trouble, feel free to e-mail it to me at:


And thank you for the kind words! After what I wrote for the "Slacker Tuesday" contest, I just kind of tried to keep the same feelings going. I can really relate to Christine's worries, so I hope I take Rich's advice to heart! ;)

ASHLEY: You're so sweet. :) But I do hope you will consider entering the contest, as well--don't sell yourself short! Please read my last e-mail I sent you, because I think it might clarify some things. ;)

I'm really excited about this week, too!

RENEE: Who could ask for a more uplifting comment? :D Yes, I am actually writing a book, so I'm glad to know you would be willing to read it! If I ever get published, I'll have to be sure to send you a review copy. ;) It's not about Christine and Rich, though--but you'll have to wait to find out more!

SUE: Thank you so, so much! Your comment is such an encouragement. :) Thank you again and again for being so supportive of me and my blog! It means so much to me.

ARIEL: That's a sweet scene! :) As your last line says, who would have thought...that you could incorporate pigs into a romance scene? ;) Nice job!

Even though it's a bit longer, I'll still accept the entry. ;) Thank you!


Amber S. said...


Awww, thank you! ;) I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And even though my book is completely different from this scene, it will hopefully come out someday! Of course, I need to actually finish writing it...


Bluerose said...

I love your story! You are a natural! (Although I know lots of hard work has went into making your talent even better)!
I just wanted to let you know I do plan on entering. I'm still doing touch-up work, though. :)

Amber S. said...


Thank you for your kind words! I'm hoping that I've become a better writer over the years, and that if it's God's will I'll become a published author someday. :)

I'm so glad to hear you're entering, and I'm looking forward to reading your entry! Good luck with the touch-up process! ;)


Ashley (Ibreath2read) said...

You're writing a book? Amber, you gotta send me a copy too, promise? you really have a God-given talent for writing. Can you give us a teeny little teaser of your WIP? Or at least maybe the title? Pretty please!!!

And I'm writing my replying to your e-mail right now, so be it should be in your inbox soon.
Love Ya,

Amber S. said...


Have I already told you how sweet you are? ;) Thank you so much for the encouraging words, and for your enthusiasm! You will definitely be on the free review copy list if I ever get it published. ;) (And if I ever forget that, remind me!)

For now I'll just say that my book is an historical romance set in the late 19th century. :)

I'll be looking for your e-mail!


Michelle said...

That's truly a wonderful scene, Amber. I enjoyed it! I pray you do have a long writing career ahead of you!

Both of the books sound great! I admit I'm especially intrigued by the second one.

I've been working a little on my scene today. I thought it was a good idea to figure out who my characters are first. ;)

lindsayw said...

I love what I've read so far, from Amber and Ariel! Can't wait to hear more!

I can't wait to hear about your book, Amber! Glad to hear you are pursuing your dream. I'm sure it will be an amazing story, you are so creative!


Amanda said...

Oh Amber! WOW!!! Your example was SO WONDERFUL that I'm wishing I could read the rest of Rich & Christine's story!! And when he said, "I see a girl who doubts God."- that powerful sentence just crashed right through me and touched my heart to tears. It was a story we could all identify with and even in just 261 words you conveyed so much. Not to mention that Rich has all the marks of a swoon worthy hero ;) THANK YOU for sharing it with us!!!

And I'm really excited about this week, too! I've never been to a fair before so I can't wait to see what you and others have to say about them :)

And your book sounds fabulous, my friend!! Can't wait to get my hands on a copy someday :D Praying the Lord will continue to guide and inspire you on your writing journey!!!

Amanda Stanley

Amber S. said...


Thank you so much! I especially appreciate the prayers. :)

I'm glad the books look good to you! Kirkpatrick's writing reads like fine literature--beautiful, but sometimes a bit slow. So some of her books have been harder for me to get into or even finish. Of the books of hers that I've actually read, though, my favorites are her Kinship and Courage Series (All Together in One Place, No Eye Can See, and What Once We Loved). Oh, I just LOVE that series! It starts out on the Oregon Trail, and the stories are all so unique. I highly recommend them!!!

Hope all goes well with writing your scene, and I'm excited to meet your characters! ;)


Amber S. said...


Thank you! I'm happy to be doing this contest, and I can't wait to hear what others come up with, too! :)

And thank you for the encouragement and support! You're such a wonderful friend. :)


Amber S. said...


Wow! Thank you so much for the encouragement! I'm so glad you liked Rich and Christine, and if you would like to read another scene of their story, you can find it here:

It's my second comment to that post. :)

I'm so sorry that you've never been to a fair! :( I hope you get a chance to go to one sometime. Either way, I hope you enjoy this week!

Thank you for the enthusiasm for my book! If it's God's will, I'll hope you'll be reading it really soon. ;) I'm having an author look at what I have so far right now, so I'm curious to hear what she thinks!

Oh, and I hope you can stop by for Mystery Week in September! I have this idea going around in my head that could include another "story" that will be on my we'll see where that goes! ;)

Thank you for the sweet comment!


Michelle said...

Well, here's my entry. I had a very good time, meeting my characters!

She stared up at the ferris wheel. Never in a million years, had she believed she'd be here again. Back in her hometown, at the county fair. The city, and all of its problems and worries, seemed a million miles away. But there she was, back in Justice, and who was standing next to her? Her high school sweetheart.

“Penny for your thoughts?” She heard a soft voice say in her ear. She glanced up, meeting the blue eyes of Donovan Carter. They'd been inseperable in high school. The cowboy and the valedictorian. They had been a bit of an odd couple.

Rachel laughed softly. “Are you certain they are worth that much?”

“I would say your thoughts are worth considerably more than a penny, Rachel.”

She blushed, looking down, perhaps feeling just a little embarrassed. But this was Donovan, who had always cheered her on, no matter what. The one person who had helped her believe anything was possible. She hadn't realized how much she'd missed that. How much she'd missed him in the last fifteen years.

“Being back here, it seems very strange.” She said softly. “Honestly, I'm not certain I ever imagined I would be back.”

He looked straight into her eyes. “Fifteen years ago, you left to chase your dreams. I don't believe there was a person, in this town, who wasn't proud of you when you won that scholarship to Yale. But it is very good to have you home.”

She took his hand, as they stepped onto the platform. “It's good to be home.” She said softly. As they set down in the car, she couldn't help but wonder what, if anything, would happen when they reached the top.

mchapman (at) windstream (dot) net

Bluerose said...

I'm not technically entering, because I already have A Name of Her Own that my sweet grandmother gave me, and I've already won one of the bookmarks from Ashley. I keep it in my Bible. :) Everyone's stories has been awesome!!

I wanted to enter to force myself to write a little. I had been working on a book with my best friend, but have neglected it for awhile.
So, keep in mind I'm out of practice!! But here goes. (oh, and it is so hard trying to edit a story down to 300 Words! I think mine ended up at 291, but started out a lot more). :)

"My Cinderella Story"

The County Fair sign loomed above me as I wandered through the entrance. I didn’t know why I was there. My boyfriend, Blaine, had been AWOL for the past week, without even a phone call. Not only that, but I lost one of my favorite shoes. They had only cost a small fortune! As I was drowning in self-pity, I heard my name.
Blaine was jogging toward me, looking as gorgeous as ever! Reminding myself to breath, I forced a hesitant smile. He gently took my hand and raised it to his lips. I was fearing the worst, and the tears were threatening to break free.
Brett, still holding my hand, led me to the ferris wheel. As I was taking my seat, he kneeled in front of me, and pulled a shoe from behind his back. My beautiful shoe! Blaine pulled off my ragged flip-flop and slid the red Jimmy Choo onto my foot.
“You’ll always be my princess, Ava. I want us to serve God together for the rest of our lives. Will you be my wife?
The tears erupted and I couldn’t talk, so nodding my head, I wrapped my arms around him, relishing in the warmth of his arms. I had missed him so much!
Pulling from my embrace, he lifted my shaking hand to slide the ring onto my finger. The moment I realized I was wearing my great-grandmother’s ring, I almost fainted! Oh, how could he have known about that ring! It had been stolen years ago.
“This is why I haven’t been around this past week. I’ve been trying to track down this ring. I wanted you to know you’re my Cinderella.”
I have such a sweet boyfriend! No! Make that fiance.

Amber S. said...


Lovely scene! :D It certainly makes me want to know more of their story--they sound like great characters! And I love the way you ended the scene, too. A Ferris wheel can be a very romantic setting, I think! ;)

Thank you for your entry!


Amber S. said...


Thank you so much for sharing your scene! You can still enter to win if you wish; it's completely up to you! I hope you didn't feel like you had to condense a whole story into 300 words--just one scene is fine. ;) But it sounds like an intriguing (and very romantic!) story, and I really appreciate you sharing it with us! Definitely makes me curious to know more of their backstory. Great job!