Well, this was the hardest contest to judge so far.

Special thanks to Patricia W. Hunter and Lisa Burgess, the winners of our two previous contests, for their help as judges. They were amazing, and if you haven’t read their stories, The Worst Christmas Ever and The Driver, you need to.

Huge thanks to everyone who entered. Judging this contest is a painful thing because you have to say no to so many wonderful stories. I don’t know what else to say but thank you for trusting us with your words.

Now, to the results.

Love Story Valentines Day

Photo by Zabara Alexander

First Honorable Mention: The Postcard by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez

This was simply the best writing in the lot. Zara’s words are beautiful, like velvet, like strawberries and champagne at midnight on the beach. I was captivated by them.

Second Honorable Mention: Worth A Thousand Words by Sammy Bennett

Sammy’s basic story was so much fun: a somewhat jaded man discovers the girl he fell in love with when he was thirteen has been right next to him all along. Sammy’s trick with the picture reminded me of all the tricks Shakespeare played on his audiences.

Runner Up: A Hidden Love by Becca Gambill

What a breathtaking story! Becca’s story spoke about love in such a real, honest, and yet beautiful way I couldn’t help but be touched by it.

The Winner: On Behalf of Love by Tara Boyce

Tara Boyce’s On Behalf of Love completely surprised all of us. I don’t know if I ever actively chose it (until the end). I just couldn’t delete it from my list! As I whittled my list down more and more, there it was, refusing to be left out. Slowly I began to realize what is so remarkable about it: Tara’s tone is so grounded in the details of life, but there are these moments of effervescence where it’s as if she flies up to sky enraptured.  Then she comes back down and continues as if nothing has happened. It’s incredible.

Besides that, I loved her exploration of love through little vignettes that together paint a raw, honest picture about what love is and isn’t.

Congratulations Tara, and congratulations to all those who were mentioned and all those who were not. It’s so fun to be part of this amazing writing community, and I hope we have many opportunities to celebrate each other’s writing in the future!

Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).