Holiday Story Contest

And now, for something completely different!

My writer friends probably know, and the rest of you should, that author and blogger Susanna Leonard Hill runs several story-writing contests every year. I haven’t participated before, since I don’t usually write well “to theme” or on short notice. However, I listened to John Cleese AND my marvelous online picture book critique group (Critters, you are the best!) and decided to give it a whirl. Since one of my favorite parts of the holidays is decorating with my children, I let that get my creative process started.

The rules of this year’s Holiday Story Contest are that the story must be no more than 350 words (so hard for me!), aimed at children, and be impacted by wild weather! (Plus, no illustration notes or artwork allowed).


You can find more about the contest – plus links to lots of other entries by talented kidlit writers – by visiting

What a fun way to discover lots of great holiday stories to share!

Please, take the time to read my entry here and leave a comment! Happy Reading, everyone!

Snow Swirls

by Katey Howes

A narrow ribbon of light jolted Snowbear out of a deep sleep.

“Penny!” he called in an urgent whisper. “Wake up! It’s almost time.”

Penny Penguin’s dazzling green eyes snapped open. The light spread further, sparkling brightly on the thick layer of white crystals at her feet.

“I’m so excited,” she giggled. “Hang on!”

Suddenly, all light disappeared. Trees shuddered. Snow slid. Penny and Snowbear braced themselves as their entire world began to shift.




The animals felt as much as heard the sounds as their forest, pond, earth and sky



and at last came to a stop.

“Wheeee!” Penny squealed in delight. “Nothing beats the annual earthquake!”

“I don’t know, Penny,” Snowbear answered. “I think the snow swirls are even more fun.”

“You could be right,” Penny cheerfully agreed. “I think we’re about to find out!”

This time, daylight broke all at once, almost blinding the two friends. It reflected from sparkling snow over, under, around and even on them.

Two shadows in the shape of giant hands cut across the shimmering sky. Penguin and polar bear laughed with joy as their world tipped and rose, snow sliding into deep piles.

A familiar voice rang out, loud as thunder across the sky. “Mommy! Daddy! I found them! I found the box with Penny and Snowbear! Here they are! Here they are!”

“Well, what are you waiting for?” another voice answered. “Give them a snow storm, honey!”

“A snow SWIRL, Mommy,” the first voice insisted. “They like when I call it a snow swirl.”

With that, the child lifted his snowglobe high and whirled it round and round. Penny and Snowbear watched the glistening flakes spin and dance in ever-faster spirals. They felt earth and sky tip and twirl, delighting in movement and light after a long season of darkness and stillness.

As the snow settled and the world grew still, Penny and Snowbear looked far out into the sky, beyond the edge of their world. Multicolored stars twinkled, distant bells rang, laughter filled the heavens.

It was the most wonderful time of the year.


37 thoughts on “Holiday Story Contest

  1. Loved it! I always like stories where the point of view is from something or someone unexpected. Such a fun little story 🙂 Good luck girl!


    • You should certainly give it a try. I wasn’t sure if I had the time or focus to do it – but ended up really enjoying making the space for “something completely different” from my usual routine. (Blog, revisions, research, housework, blah blah). I pot of coffe and a box of Archway cookies later, here we are! And it was fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Katey! So imaginative! You had me guessing for a while – I didn’t catch on until half way through that they were in a snow globe! And I never would have thought to tell a story from the POV of critters inside of one! Beautifully written and very original! I’m glad you decided to join in the holiday fun! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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