The popular Rehoboth Beach Reads Short Story Contest began accepting submissions March 1.
The contest, now in its fourth year, invites writers to submit short (500-3,500 word) “beach reads,” the kinds of stories people enjoy reading while on vacation. Each story must incorporate the year’s theme and also have a connection to Rehoboth Beach (the writer does not have to live in Rehoboth). This year’s theme is “Beach Nights.”
Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach is the sponsor for the contest, which offers a $500 cash prize for first place, $250 for second place, and $100 for third place. The top 25 or so stories chosen by a panel of judges will be included in the book Beach Nights, which will be published by Cat & Mouse Press by the end of the year. Contest guidelines and entry information are available at www.catandmousepress.com.
“The theme ‘Beach Nights’ was a natural follow-up to last year’s theme of ‘Beach Days,’” says contest organizer Nancy Sakaduski of Lewes-based Cat & Mouse Press. “It’s a wide-open theme that could evoke romance, mystery, humor, family intrigue, or just about anything,” she says, clarifying that the only genres that are off limits are poetry, erotica, religious material, and stories for children.
The book containing last year’s winners, Beach Days, featured an eclectic selection of stories, including the first-place winner, which was a tale of two elderly ladies breaking out of an old-age facility for one last romp in Rehoboth.
Stories can take place in any time period, include any location (although there should be a connection to Rehoboth), and be fiction or nonfiction. “The contest is a great way for beginning writers to get published,” says Sakaduski. “It’s a relatively small pool of contestants and the judges don’t know whether the entrant has a long list of published books or has never published before, so it’s a level playing field. And for published writers, it’s great visibility and an additional writing credential.”
“The Rehoboth Beach Reads books are hugely popular,” says Susan Kehoe, manager of Browseabout Books, the contest’s sponsor. “Residents and visitors alike love the clever stories, high-quality writing, and local settings. The books just fly off the shelves from the moment they are published— and are among our top-selling books each year. It’s a great project and we always have lots of fun at the launch events—I can certainly see why writers want to be part of it.”
A panel of judges selects the stories for the top prizes and also choose stories they feel deserve special merit for individual judge’s awards. This year, judges include Denise Camacho, Laurel Marshfield, John Nieves, Mary-Margaret Pauer, Judith Reveal, and Billie Travalini.
Denise Camacho is the president of Intrigue Publishing, LLC., in Upper Marlboro, MD. She has been in the publishing business for over 12 years. Her experience includes vanity presses, print-on-demand, and self-publishing. She ultimately settled on partnering with her husband Austin S. Camacho and Sandra Bowman to start their own small publishing company in 2012 and has worked diligently to find great books worthy of Intrigue. Ms. Camacho is also committed to helping authors navigate the publishing industry. She regularly attends seminars on what is new in publishing as well as attending writer conferences sharing her experiences.
Laurel Marshfield is a professional writer, ghostwriter, developmental editor, and book coach who assists authors of nonfiction, fiction, memoir, and biography in preparing their book manuscripts for publication. She has helped more than 400 authors shape, develop, and refine their book manuscripts—by offering manuscript evaluation, developmental editing, book coaching, ghostwriting, and co-authorship—through her editorial services for authors business, Blue Horizon Communications.
John A. Nieves is an Assistant Professor of English at Salisbury University. He has poems forthcoming or recently published in journals such as: Southern Review, Pleiades, Crazyhorse, The Literary Review, and Verse Daily. Dr. Nieves won the Indiana Review Poetry Contest and his first book, Curio (2014), won the Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award Judge’s Prize. He received his MA from University of South Florida and his PhD from the University of Missouri.
Mary-Margaret Pauer received her MFA in creative writing in 2010 from Stonecoast, at the University of Southern Maine. In 2011 she was awarded the Delaware Division of the Arts Emerging Fellow in Literature (fiction) and in 2014, the Established Fellow in Literature (fiction). Her short fiction work has received awards from the Delaware Press Association and the National Federation of Press Women. Ms. Pauer’s work has been published in Southern Women’s Review, The Broadkill Review, On the Rusk, Delaware Beach Life, Delaware Today, Avocet Quarterly, Avocet Weekly, and Wanderings, and she is the author of two collections of short fiction. Ms. Pauer is on staff at New Rivers Press and reads for the American Fiction Prize. She has judged writing contests in Maine and Delaware and works with private writing clients from varied disciplines.
Judith Reveal is a freelance editor, book indexer, book reviewer, and author. She works with writers as an editor and coach and has edited nearly 100 manuscripts, many of which have gone on to publication. Judy has taught creative writing classes at Chesapeake College as well as at arts councils across the Delmarva Peninsula. Ms. Reveal presents workshops at the Bay To Ocean (BTO) Writers Conference, Harford County Library Writers Conference, Creative Writers Conference (Lewes, DE), and Dover Library. She has published short stories in local, regional, and national magazines and has five books published, including The Four Elements of Fiction. She is a book reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.
Billie Travalini, a recipient of a 2014 Governor’s Award for the Arts, has received Delaware Division of the Arts Fellowships, professional, in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She will be a guest writer and panelist at the 14th International Conference of the Short Story, July, 2016, Shanghai, China. Her recent publications include Blood Sisters and “On Hearing My Son is Socrates and my Husband Frank Sinatra.” Ms. Travalini’s edited works include On the Mason Dixon Line: an Anthology of Contemporary Delaware Writers, Teaching Troubled Youth: a Practical Pedagogical Approach, and No Place Like Here: An Anthology of Southern Delaware Poetry and Prose. She co-founded and coordinates the Lewes Creative Writers Conference and teaches creative writing at Wilmington University. A graduate of the University of Delaware and Temple, she is busy at work on Rush Limbaugh and the French Apple Pie and Other Stories and Rules to Survive Childhood, a sequel to Blood Sisters.
The contest deadline is July 1.The fee to enter is $10, and each writer can submit up to three stories. Entries are judged on creativity, quality of writing, suitability as a beach read, and fit with the theme. Potential entrants are encouraged to read How to Write Winning Short Stories (available at local bookstores and online) and look at the previous books in the series to see the kinds of stories that were selected in previous years. Contest information is posted on the Cat & Mouse Press website (www.catandmousepress.com) and on the contest Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RehobothBeachReads.
Cat & Mouse Press was established to produce books and other materials that are fun, entertaining, and of particular interest to residents and visitors to the Delmarva region. The company publishes a free weekly newspaper for writers, Writing is a Shore Thing (www.writingisashorething.com). For more information, visit the company’s website at www.catandmousepress.com or its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/catandmousepress.