Short Story Award-Winning Stories

We are very please to bring you the 2nd- and 3rd-place winning stories from the
2017 Short Story Award competition.

The first-place winner, Suzanne Purvis's story "Casting Off," will appear in our upcoming anthology
Untethered: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Tales of the Paranormal.

We know you will enjoy these stories from some very talented authors.

Second-place Winner:

The Last First Time
Leigh Saunders

Sally scoots toward the back of the cozy booth, tossing her macramé purse onto the vinyl bench seat ahead of her, the jingle of her bangle bracelets echoing softly in the stillness of the bar. She has arrived early tonight, trying to beat the rush of after-hours drinkers so she could be sure to get this seat.

She smiles. Freddy had proposed to her right here, in this very booth, the day before his unit shipped out to Vietnam – she runs her fingers over the spot where he’d carved their initials into the edge of the wooden tabletop. It seems so long ago! But he is home now, and she can’t think of a better spot for their first meeting than in this very special place. . . .

Leigh Saunders grew up as a "military brat." And while she's long since settled in her Rocky Mountain home, her life-long wanderlust regularly inspires her to read and write about the people and places that spark her imagination – often from a speculative viewpoint. In her day job, Leigh works as a freelance technical writer – an endeavor that is often not all that far from writing fantasy and science fiction. You can find more of her work on her Amazon Author Central page at or on her blog at

Third-Place Winner:

1977--The Bronx
Eleanor Ingbretson

The bus dropped me at nine A.M. in an untidy section of the Bronx ten hours after the week-long city trash collectors strike had been resolved. There was already a palpable miasma of rot and decaying what-not presenting and I sincerely hoped to conclude my unhappy business before the day grew any warmer. A passing dog lifted his leg at a nearby mound of garbage and woke a somnolent swarm of feral flies.

I found the address on busy Tremont Ave. Over the door an ancient wooden sign lolled in the fetid air. The words "Tremont Avenue Small Embalmers to the King, est. 1774," were carved into it in Old English script. Beneath that, H. Grustatorian, Prop., by appt. only, had been added in small gold lettering. I didn't have an appointment. Would he take a walk-in? I sweated in the foul air for about five minutes and decided to try. . . .

Read more here . . .

Eleanor Ingbretson, a transplanted New Yorker now living in the woods of New Hampshire, is relatively new to the writing world. She has had two short stories published in Toasted Cheese (, an online literary journal, and has written a story for an award-winning film in a 48 Hour Film Slam competition (in which she also acted). Spikes can be found on Youtube ( She blogs regularly on Thursday Night Writes (, with fellow members of her writing group.

Fantasy became her favorite genre after discovering Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, and she has never turned back, except to finish her cozy mystery tentatively titled “Poughke.” She is working on a collection of short, short short and flash fantasy, to be called “A Little Light Fantasy.”

Addictions include, but are not limited to, writing, Mah Jongg, dark chocolate, and Iceland. She is supported in all the above by her husband, Paul, and children, Whittaker and Chloe. (Except maybe the dark chocolate part.)