The Blogiversary Giveaway — THE FINALE

good morning, cyberspace!!!

I am so, so, so, SO impossibly excited for today’s post, you guys! For the past three months, I’ve been taunting and teasing and poking you all with this smol little giveaway of mine, and finally–FINALLY!!!–I’m able to announce the winner!!!

And YES, I didn’t get all of the blogiversary things done like I wanted to (like that missing short story that I FINALLY FOUND only to throw in the garbage because it was a dumpster fire, or that blog post that revisits my very first smudge. [the beginning is finicky and I am #done with it at this point.]), but we’re just going to ignore all of my procrastinations and failures and focus on the CELEBRATION! On the prizes!! On the one lucky winner who will be selected to be the happy recipient of a glorious pen and notebook combo!

And since even I don’t know who the winner’s going to be at this point, this is bound to be a roller coaster of excitement for us all.

But before we get into the whole “who’s the winner???” bit of this, we first have some short stories to look at! Because HOLY GUACAMOLE, folks! You wrote some killer shorts for this giveaway!

and also I was going to write something, too, but then that completely failed, so whatever. we’re ignoring my failures right now, remember?

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— THE BLOGIVERSARY FINALE! —

PART ONE . . . STATS AND STUFFS

First thing’s first, let’s talk statistics. I’m not really sure what I was expecting for this giveaway. With the whole “writing contest” bit of it, I was kind of worried that with NaNo coming up and Life being the monster that it is, no one would actually write anything for it.

Which would have been fine, of course. I wouldn’t have died of embarrassment or anything. Aha.

embarrassed hide away GIF

BUT. It turns out I had nothing to worry about, because you guys–as always–really stepped up to the plate and swung. Before the giveaway’s deadline ended, I received a grand total of 10 giveaway entries, with 6 of those being entries for the writing portion of the contest.

SIX WRITING ENTRIES!! And you might be thinking — “Okay, Kenzie, that’s nothing to get excited over. That’s a pretty scrappy number.” — but I must assure you that you are wrong. Six is way more than I could have ever hoped for, and the fact that those entries all came from bloggers and friends who I love and cherish and absolutely ADORE here on the blogosphere?????? I could not be happier, folks. You could smash a cherry cheesecake in my face and I could not be happier*. This is the most glorious thing in the existence of all the things.

And since no one threatened to stab me with a rusty pitchfork for sharing your work here on the blog, I’m allowed to share each and every one of these glorious entries with you all today!!!

* I would like to point out that getting creamed with a cherry cheesecake would be something I’d be EXCITED about, because cherry cheesecake is actually one of my favorite desserts. So.

PART TWO . . . SHORT STORIES

STORY #1 . . . (beckythemothling)

First up, we have beckythemothling’s story! (I call her Becky. IS YOUR REAL NAME BECKY??? . . .moving on. . .) Now, this one in particular is one of my favorites, because Becky wrote about a MAGICAL!!!!! PITCHFORK!!!!!!!! and I just!! You can’t get much better than a magical pitchfork, folks. And also her writing style is incredibly immersive, which I’m sure you’ll all see for yourself here in a moment!

. . .

I’d been settling down for bed when I heard a loud crashing noise outside and the front door was torn from the hinges. I sighed and put my fingers to my red headscarf. Not again. Thought I’d have a peaceful night for once. Both the fey and the humans had been leaving me to myself for the most part this past week. Well, peace never lasted for long, especially not with my neighbors. I grabbed the pitchfork leaning against the wall and went outside.

The door lay halfway across the yard, the splinters scattered across the front pathway. Leaves blew across the yard, whipping themselves into a fervor, and my oak tree had a branch mangled and torn from it. The rest of the tree’s limbs thrashed together, moaning and whispering. There was no wind.

I walked toward the tree, my shoulders a bit tense. Knocking down my door wasn’t such an unusual thing to happen. But not many could damage that oak tree. There were more protective enchantments around that tree than my house; my house was no help with my magic.

I leaned my weight into the pitchfork, eyeing around me lazily. “Well?” I asked. I spread my arm out to the yard. “I hope you didn’t knock down my door for no reason.”

“I’ve been looking for you, Brigitte,” a voice behind me hissed. I turned slowly to see a hag with withered white hands and sharp teeth set in a crescent-moon smile. She was in my doorway. Oh, I should have known it was her. “Been a while, hasn’t it? And here I thought we were close.” She tossed her white hair out of her eyes. “Close enough where I didn’t have to worry about you scaling my fortress to steal my magic harp. Close enough where you wouldn’t smear my name.” She licked her lips. “I taught you to use magic, and you repay me like this?”

I remembered when I found this part of her funny. She was so conceited, and she could never see what was under her nose. She could never understand a basic human reaction, really. But that was all part of what came with the Old Hag of Toulouse. She was a charismatic, outrageous, incredibly funny woman. People always told strange tales of those involved with magic, so why should I have listened to my father when he told me all the stories about her?

A smile played on my lips as I took off my headscarf, letting my many braids fall to my waist. I let the red cloth float to the ground. What a fool I had been. “I have never heard that it was slander to say something true,” I pointed out. I held my dark hand out to the moon and leaned the pitchfork into the ground, centering myself. “I gave them proof of what they all suspect—” I broke off. If I talked in circles, she’d take advantage. I wasn’t really concentrating on what I was saying, anyway. Just the moon. “I gave them proof that you killed and ate a man, I took the harp and goose, and I ran.”

“They burned my home and tried to kill me,” she snarled. “I’m sure you acted in the name of justice.” Her hair began to blow about as if she were standing in a great wind. She was coiling to attack, I could feel it.

“People have tried to kill me before,” I said. “They have failed each time. But if you think you stand a better chance, then go right ahead.” I slammed the pitchfork into the ground and transformed into a hawk right before she jumped for me. My wings beat against the air as I climbed toward the sky. I could hear her behind me as she transformed into a bird herself, chasing after me.

Let her try.



STORY #2 . . . (loverofwriting2)

This next story belongs to loverofwriting2 (a.k.a. Anna), and is yet another one that I loved very, very much. (who am I kidding? I loved all of these. prepare yourself for immense squealing, folks.) Now, the thing that really struck me with this story is that even though it’s short, it has quite a few sharp twists that I did not see coming at all. Which is obviously what makes a story great, right? Right. AND ALSO!! WE HAVE ANOTHER PITCHFORK!!! I’m dying of happiness over here, guys. . .

. . .

There he was, standing in front of me. The only thing standing between me and freedom. If it had been anybody else, anybody—the cook who had whacked me over the head once with his wooden spoon for sneaking a lick of his cookie batter, the maid with the wart on her nose, even the dog who lived in the farthest kennel and always barked at me whenever I was within a mile radius from him—I could have gotten past them.

I had counted on meeting him. I figured he was going to be here, and I had thought I had made enough plans for how to combat him. But even with all that training, preparing, and precaution, here I was, powerless before him.

I licked my lips once, twice, and ventured a look towards his face, but then realized what he held in his hand, and the sight was so terrifying I quickly ducked my head again. It was a pitchfork, glinting stark, white light off its four, sharp points. It was dirty from fresh use, little bits of straw hanging off here and there stuck in place with the help of a few clumps of soft soil.

I drew closer into my bush of refuge, shivering and hoping he hadn’t noticed me. Why was he standing there for so long? Had he seen me, or was he just taking in the night air? I suddenly began to wish I had thrown my dark hood on before taking off. I felt certain he could see my bright red dress. Well it’s no use wishing for time you didn’t have, I chided myself miserably, wrapping my arms closer around my body.
Then I bolted upright. He was moving! His feet—they were—good, they were moving away from me. He—had he just turned his back to me? He seemed to be facing away, looking at the horizon opposite, engrossed in thought. Maybe—maybe I could make my escape! I bundled my feet underneath me, ready to spring at a moment’s notice.
That was when I heard his voice, like a thunderbolt before the storm. “What are you doing out so late, Your Highness?”

I froze. How did—I sighed miserably. Never, in all my life, had I ever been able to pull something over on this man. It was getting frustrating. I rose to my feet slowly as the reaper turned around. “I’m—well, I guess it’s not really any of your business,” I ventured, putting on a haughty air as only a princess can.

He looked steadily at me, and I reluctantly shifted my feet. “What do you think your father would say if he saw you right now?”

I swallowed hard. I hated it when he brought up Father.

He paused and looked down, almost as if he knew that he had touched on a delicate subject. When he spoke again there was something else in his tone that hadn’t been there before. “Your father loved you, Princess Adelia. He wanted what was best for you. It may seem like I’m overstepping boundaries sometimes, but he expressly asked me to look out for you.”

“I know.” I nodded reluctantly. “Father made me promise that I obey you. I can’t resist you, which is why I can’t tell you what I’m doing. Please don’t make me tell, Heinrich. I promise I’m doing this for a reason.”

Heinrich looked at me for a long time, silent. “I’m sorry, Your Highness, but if I don’t know where you’re going and why, I am not living up to the promise I made your father. I will not and cannot break my word to someone I esteem so highly.”

I sighed despondently, knowing there was no way out of this situation. Finally I burst out, “What else can I do? They’re going to crown me tomorrow, Heinrich! I—I’m not ready for this, I’m not prepared! This is not my place, to rule a whole country by myself. I can’t do it! So I’m—running away. It can’t be so horribly bad of me to do, can it?”

Heinrich stood still for a long time. Then he turned back to me with that piercing glance of his I never could withstand, and said quietly, “This is your decision. Do you think your father would want you to do this?”



STORY #3 . . . The Smell of Cookies (Gail)

I’ve gotta tell you, folks, this next story made my jaw drop. The minute I read it, I knew that I had been severely missing out on some serious writing skill. Gail, if you’re reading this, you are an incredible writer, and I bow to your insane excellence. The descriptions you write blow my mind, my friend. Don’t you even dare stop writing. Ever.

. . .

The cement was cold. It was also hard and damp, and the wind wafted the familiar aroma of beer, rotting table scraps, and vomit-soaked rags, along with whatever other ingredients made up that signature blend of dumpster cologne that haunted the back alley behind Greg’s Bar & Grill. Russell wasn’t in the back alley behind Greg’s Bar & Grill, but he always did say the wind had it out for him and it seemed he was right, for it must have taken a particularly determined air current to waft the stench over the Glamour Nails Salon, around the corner of Granny’s Cafe, and down the stairwell to the basement of the abandoned liquor shop. It was supposed to shield him from the wind, that stairwell, but then again, the wind had a mind of its own and it hated him with all of it. The feeling was mutual. He lit a cigarette. Most people hated it, he noticed, the smell of tobacco smoke. But it was better than the dumpster smell. Dumpster smell was for the scum of the earth, vagabonds, those rejected like the table scraps and the beer cans. Trash. Russell contemplated the parallels. But tobacco smell wasn’t the smell of trash. It was the smell of the working man. The struggling man, but surviving. Didn’t he say that you just always had to keep strugglin’, keep going? Not that he seemed to be going anywhere much of late. He coughed. Coulda been the cold, or the smoke. Maybe both.

Russell thought about smell a fair bit. Especially now that he couldn’t anymore. Couldn’t smell. You just don’t realize how rich in fragrance this world is. The earthy cleanness of a fresh rain. The familiar bad-but-not-bad smell of your own armpits. Fresh baked cookies on the stove of your childhood home. You miss it, when you can’t have it anymore – miss the memories, the comfortable oldness of it all, the little reminders that you’re alive and human and that the world is real. And you miss the taste. You start to lose some and then it all goes, don’t it? All that’s left is the tobacco smoke and dumpster stench. 

It’s five in the morning. Angie, the middle-aged spinster who now owns Granny’s Cafe pulls up in her ‘92 Volvo. Russell knows because the breaks have a distinctive squeal. It was probably worn out shims. He smiles. He likes Angie. Couldn’t tell you why, after all she’s an ugly one, as women go, with thin graying hair and eyes too small for her face. But she’s a nice lady all the same. She says hello now and then, and she’s given him leftover donuts and muffins when he’s on the curb with his sign and she’s on her drive home. More rejects maybe, but he doesn’t complain. She probably doesn’t know his name. Doesn’t matter, there’s still part of him that wants to stop her sometime and say, “I could fix your brakes if you wanted, you know.”

He smiles again. There it is at last – what he’s been waiting for, his favorite time of day. Perhaps the wind has a little kindness left in it after all. It’s picked up the first of Angie’s baking and carried it to him – scones and bread and fresh-baked cookies. It was one of the few smells left him. And, bless ‘em, they were good. The way they brought you back, made you feel at home. Maybe that was why he stayed here and didn’t keep moving. Why he put up with the trash smells that haunted him. Maybe it was all worth it. Worth it for a few happy feelings and the smell of cookies. 



STORY #4 . . . (Jem)

This next story has multiple things I love about it. 1) the fact that Jem wrote this in the middle of the night SIMPLY so that she could meet the deadline. If that does not scream “writer aesthetic” to you, then clearly there is something wrong. 2) THE INNER THOUGHT PROCESS. I just!!!! I love this so much. I need a book simply filled to the brim with this writing style, because holy guacamole is it perfection. . . And also 3) IT HAS A SMOL THIEF AND I LIVE FOR SMOL THIEVES, OKAY. I would let this smol thief steal my heart, that’s how much I love her.

. . .

“I… wasn’t… expecting you to be here tonight.”

Paused in the eighth step of her second half-speed kata, still balanced on one leg, Carmen (Queen of Lestria and Morristown, heir to the wisdom of Beren, acknowledged under the Mountains and the Sea of Mists) lifted an eyebrow. “Clearly.”

The girl perched on her window ledge winced and didn’t respond.

Carmen tipped her head and let the silence stretch. (Silence unsettled people. It worked on diplomats, councils and—when applied with extreme precision—parliament. It would work on one bright-eyed, frizzy-haired thirteen-year-old.)

“What are you going to do about it?” the girl burst out.

(Success.)

She let her left leg lower to the floor and relaxed her muscles. Her voice was steady, with just a hint of stern. “I have not yet decided. Why don’t you explain what you’re doing?”

The girl looked at the soft cloth bag in her hands, blinked, and abruptly dropped it.
Again, Carmen let the silence work for her.

“It’s not a big deal! I mean I sneaked into your room but I didn’t know you’d be here and I didn’t touch anything.” She nudged the bag away from her with the toe of one slippered foot. “I mean I did touch one or two things and I maybe put one in a bag. But it wasn’t a big thing! I didn’t touch your jewellery!”

Carmen picked up the bag and tipped it into her hand. A hair pin. A simple one, with a cluster of flowers at one end, no precious stones or gold.
“It’s not like that. It’s not what you think.”

“Since your subjects have not yet stormed the castle with pitchforks, Jessamy-Lee, I assume they are unaware of their princess’s… habits. This is a habit, is it not? Do you often pilfer the rooms of your parents’ guests?”

“No! Not often—occasionally—I don’t pilfer—”

(Perhaps ease up on the child before she explodes with anxiety.)
“Why this pin?

“It’s not secretly valuable, is it? I only take things that aren’t valuable. Things that people won’t miss. I’m sorry if that’s your favourite pin, I didn’t know.”

(Curious child.) “You enter my room through the window—which is higher than I would be comfortable exiting—with the aim of taking something with no value.” Carmen twirled the pin between her fingers. “Your parents are similarly unaware of what you are doing?”

An expression that bordered on sulky appeared, but was abruptly wiped away with a rueful shrug. “I’m the youngest. I’m visible as a princess, but not as a person. No one has noticed me.”

“You do it because you feel overlooked and… bored?”

Jessamy-Lee glanced over her shoulder, out the window. “I do it for the challenge.”

“That isn’t a good reason.” (There was no good reason for what she was about to say, either. Except that she liked the child.) “Besides, what challenge is there in finding a pin in my dresser? Come morning, it’s going to be hidden. You’ll have to try a bit harder.”

“I had to climb all the way up to your window, that was a challenge,” the girl protested. Then she paused. “Are you—inviting me back?”

(Was she? Who was she fooling. She absolutely was.) “I wouldn’t want your next target to have guards that would shoot you on sight. And when I need a new ambassador I expect you to turn up to Lestria.”

The princess squinted at her. “…why?”

“I always wondered what a younger sister would be like.”
(It surprised her, both her answer and how honest it was.)



STORY #5 (Phoebe)

Okay. I might be a little prejudiced on this one. Phoebe has been one of my closest writing friends/actual friends for what feels like forever now (when in all actuality I’ve only known her like two years? what is this madness?), so when I saw she’d sent me a story in my inbox, I was appropriately excited. (read: thrashing around and screaming hoarsely like an excited de-legged flamingo) And then, of course, like any good person would, I read her story.

And then I started fangirling.

See, I’ve read Phoebe’s work before. It’s one of the benefits of being her CP. But I was definitely not prepared for the level of epicness that was about to seize my eyeballs, and I can assure you, my friends . . . you are not prepared for this level of epicness, either.

. . .

I should be dead.

For a while there, I was. I definitely died. Don’t ask me how I know. That’s not something I ever want to say out loud.

And then I wasn’t. Dead, that is.

I’d been ready to die. And, let’s be honest, it was about as powerful a sacrifice as most of us have ever seen. Heck of a way to go, you know?

So why? Why did they bring me back? I’m pretty sure that nullifies the terms of the agreement sealed with my blood and guts. One life for many and all of that. What could possibly be worth breaking that?

I know who did it. Not many people can bring a ripe corpse back to life, and fewer’d care to bring me round again. I was problematic. Death had been chasing me for a long time before I let it catch up. I’m not offended by the knowledge that plenty of folk breathed easier when I was no longer breathing at all. Much longer and they were bound to break out the pitchforks and start rioting.

I told him not to bring me back. I made him promise. I thought for sure we’d both come to terms with the whole affair.

The how of it is also troubling. Pretty sure there’s a fairly high price to be paid out for necromancy.

And why, after all that trouble, did they leave me here, in the literal dark, in my grave clothes, in a prison with no doors?

I can’t help but feel there’s some great and terrible destiny awaiting me; that I’m bound for a worse fate than the first one to kill me.

And yet.

The weight is gone. I’d been carting it around for so many years that I’d grown accustomed to it: the heavy burden of fate, like a yolk about my neck, or a millstone choking off my breath. I’d dodged it long enough to make my death, when it finally came, worth something. The girl who never should have been born finally going out in a blaze of glory.

Death isn’t nipping at my heels any longer. You’d think it would be practically gnawing at said heels, what with having caught me only to lose hold so quickly.

Come to think of it, I don’t feel much of anything. No thirst, no hunger, no warmth or cold. Nothing—

Something clanks nearby. Light carves out a square in the darkness in front of me. A door, where one hadn’t been before. With the light, my senses come alive.

I can hear everything. Not just the breath of whoever stands on the other side of that door, but their heartbeat. I can smell them. In an instant I’m on my feet, driven by a sudden mad and monstrous hunger. And at last there is a weight holding me back: chains, at ankles and wrists and neck, chains I hadn’t noticed before.

A groan escapes me, gravelly through my withered throat. I need.

The door slips open. I recoil from the light, hissing in pain.

Boots thump on the packed earth floor of my cell. His breathing is louder now, wheezing in his chest. There’s an overwhelming scent of salt and something akin to fear.

“Daya,” he whispers. “I’m sorry. I had to try.”

I can’t speak. Literally. All that comes out is slavering nonsense. I’m less coherent than a rabid dog. And I don’t have to pause for breath. Hunger overrides everything else. I want…

I want to kill him. I want to devour him.

I crack open one eye and see my own wounds, open and oozing and completely incapable of supporting proper life.

My eyes shift to him, my sight so hazy and reddened I can barely make out his face.

A face I would dearly love to maul.

He’s crying, the idiot. I would be too, if my tear ducts still worked.

“I have to try,” he says again. “You don’t…. You have no idea what’s happened. We needed…. I thought you would understand.”

I have no idea what he’s talking about. There isn’t room enough in my soupy brain for more than one thought, squeezing in around the edges of a hunger I’m sure will never go away. Not until I rot, good and proper, and maybe not even then.

I always knew he’d make a lousy necromancer, but really? A zombie?!? Come on.



STORY #6 . . . The Rest Of The Beanstalk (evaschon)

Two things in particular struck me about this next story, and honestly? I haven’t been able to get them out of my head since.

First is the voice. Somehow, within the span of less than 700 words, this girl was able to fill her sentences with a voice that literally reaches through the page and grips you. I sat here for a good long while just trying to figure out how in the world she did it, and I still don’t really know. Voice is something that comes naturally, so I’ve heard, and, Eva, you’ve got it.

Second is the twist she did on a rather well-known fairytale. I’m always a sucker for fairytale retellings (you all should know this by now), so when I caught on to the fact that this was a retelling…

. . .

By the light of a midnight moon, I plant the other half of the magic beans and wait for whatever might come of it. My left hand clenches around Ma’s pitchfork. My toes curl into the dark earth of our garden.

The first time I planted magic beans…well, you know what happened. The castle. The giant. The treasures. And me, Jack, in the middle of it all.

Only trouble is, the story’s gotten twisted over time. Yes, there were all those treasures. And the giant. But it’d been Ma’s pitchfork and not an axe that I’d killed the giant with. The pitchfork was messier than an axe would’ve been, which was why people changed it, I think.

And I wasn’t a bratty little boy. I was Jack, short for Jacqueline. I guess it was also too messy to have a girl at the center of a tale. So people switched the story *again* and suddenly I was a selfish, snot-nosed boy.

Me? I’d rather die than be selfish or disrespectful to Ma.

But she’s the one dying tonight.

I have my fingers crossed, praying the beans do their magic again.

*Give me something to help Ma stop coughing up blood. To cut through the fever that scorches her. Please, please, please.*

No sprouts appear. I know I need to be patient. But Ma doesn’t have the time.

She’s going to-

The pitchfork slips from my hand. I don’t want to use it on anything else anyway. I’m so worried about Ma, so sick of her being sick that I start crying into the dirt. Like a baby. I’m not proud of it, but I’m only fourteen.

And then, suddenly, the beans shoot up and there’s a hundred feet of greenery staring me in the face. Blocking the moon. Now I can climb the stalk and see if I can steal something to help Ma.

But when my hand touches the stalk, it begins to shake.

I step back, shaking too.

A giant thumps to the ground.

Even with half the moon blocked, I can guess who it is.

“Mrs. Giant?” I say. My voice shakes too.

The figure swings around. Mrs. Giant, sure enough. She squints down at Ma’s pitchfork that has to look like a toothpick to her.

“Ye the girl?” she bellows. “Jack?”

I nod.

She bends her face down to me. I raise my pitchfork.

Now she’ll eat my bones for bread because of what I did.

She reaches out-

-and takes my free hand and shakes it gently. As gently as she can, at least. “Thank ye.”

I blink. “Thank…you? For-for what?”

“For killin’ me husband of course!” she says. Her laughter shatters my worry. “He was a brute, as ye know. Allus gettin’ me to cook his disgustin’ meals. Allus bein’ cruel to everyone – includin’ me!

“I was hopin’ I’d get a chance to thank ye, girl,” she adds. “And now I have!”

“You’re welcome?” I stammer.

She smiles but is already turning to go back the way she came. “If ye ever need a helpin’ hand, tell me.”

“Wait!” I shout. “Please! My Ma-” I sniffle back some leftover tears. “She’s very sick. Can you help her?”

“A human disease?” The giantess nods. “Easy as anythin’. I’ll be down in a jiffy, then.” And she dashes up the beanstalk, fast as I came down it when I stole the gold and all. My conscience pricks me. I shouldn’t have turned thief. The giantess’d probably gotten in trouble for what I did.

So when she comes back down, I apologize. Then she gives Ma some medicine and you know what happens? Ma really does get better and both of us can’t thank Mrs. Giant (whose name, it turns out, is Hegla) enough.

Before Hegla can go up the beanstalk again, plague breaks out across the countryside. Her medicines are the only ones able to cure it. I broker the first few doctor-patient relationships between my neighbours and Hegla. Things take off from there.

From Jack the giant slayer to Jacqueline, Hegla’s friend…it’s a good change.
I couldn’t be happier.

THE END



And those, my friends, are the entries for the writing portion of the giveaway!** I was going to write a short story for this, as well–not to enter, of course, but just to feel like I’m participating–but then I remembered that I still have to write a short story for my NaNoWriMo Dare Squad Dare, and I figured that requires a little bit more attention.

Because November is just around the corner and I’ve officially started panicking.

SO. Instead of writing about pitchforks and beans and cookies, I’m going to be writing a wedding(thanks, Kate. I really owe you one, here. . . aha. hahahahaha. ha. *deadpan stare*)

But anyway, I just want to say a giant THANK YOU!!! to each and every one of you who entered this giveaway, whether by writing a short story or by commenting or whatever. All of you mean so so much to me, and I could not be happier than I am in this moment. You guys truly made this giveaway something special, and even though it feels like it’s been FOREVER in coming, I’m so thankful that you guys stuck by me through all the awkward transitions these past few months have held. You all are the absolute best, and I am truly blessed to have you all in my life. *initiates group hug*

But!!! Y’all didn’t click on this post for mushy gushiness! You came here for answers, and now that we’ve read all the writing portion entries, it’s finally time for the part of this post that you’ve all been patiently waiting for. . .

Friends, family, and that awkward man sitting in the corner . . . it is finally time for–

** sidenote: if any of your short stories look like they’re formatted funky, PLEASE feel free to contact me so I can fix it! The form kind of did something wonky with the entries, and I had to try and go in and fix them myself, so that was . . . interesting. XD

PART THREE . . . THE GIVEAWAY WINNER!!!

All right, folks. Before we begin, I must come clean: I had some help choosing the winner for this giveaway.

I mean, yes, it was completely random and fair and all that good stuff, but since I am an indecisive potato and my mom is a genius when it comes to ideas, we decided it might be best if my co-writer/partner-in-crime helped pick the winner for this giveaway! So with a little bit of prompting, a TON of paper cutting, and an awkward amount of talking on my part, it is my greatest pleasure to give you all a behind-the-scenes look at how this difficult and challenging decision was made. . .

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, marshmallows and bean fronds, the winner of Smudged Thoughts’ Three-Year Blogiversary Giveaway is. . . . . . . !!!!!!

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BECKY THE MOTHLING!!!!

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Congratulations, Becky!!!! You are the winner of not only the handcrafted pen/notebook duo pictured to the side, but also of my very first ever smol giveaway!!! (which is truly an honor in itself. XD) I’ll be contacting you via email later today for a shipping address, and I’ll be shipping it out to you as soon as possible! <33 Thank you SO much for entering my little giveaway, and for sticking around my weird little corner of cyberspace! *flings cookies in your face happily*

And as for the rest of my beautiful entrants, thank you so, so, SO impossibly much for all of your support and kind words and constant friendship!! I seriously wish I had something I could give each and every one of you, but all I have is a virtual hug, and unfortunately that doesn’t feel like enough. BUT YOU’RE GETTING THE HUG, ANYWAY! *hugs*

I know this blogiversary thing has been all over the place for the past few months, and I’m truly sorry about that (and also RELIEVED because this means it’s over!!!! it’s finally over!!!!), but I can’t even begin to express how much I appreciate all of your support through these awkward months. NaNoWriMo is coming now, and I’m sure we can all agree that this means the random sporadicness is not going to go away any time soon here on Smudged Thoughts, but rest assured that I am inwardly panicking every single time Tuesday rolls around.

It’s great. A true adventure. XD

If all goes according to plan, however, I’ll see you all again soon with a brand new post, in which I announce what, exactly, I’m going to be writing for NaNoWriMo! But until then, have a beautiful day, and thank you so much again! <333



TALK TO ME, PEASANTS!

Did you enjoy my smol giveaway? Are you as upset as I am that I didn’t get all of my giveaway posts finished before NOVEMBER??? (how on earth is it already the end of October??? what have I been doing with my life??? WHY DID NONE OF MY BLOGIVERSARY POSTS WRITE THEMSELVES WHILE I WAS AT WORK?? clearly something went wrong at Smudged Thoughts headquarters, and my monkey assistant shall be promptly fired…) DID YOU THINK THE VIDEO WITH MY SMOL BIRD BEAN WAS ADORABLE, OR WAS IT ADORABLE??? (clearly the answer here is that it was adorable.) and most important of all. . .

ARE YOU PARTICIPATING IN NANOWRIMO NEXT MONTH???

My next post is going to be ALL ABOUT NANO, so definitely go and friend me over on the site if you haven’t already! I love finding new writing buddies, and will absolutely scream with you over pesky plot points, if you so desire.

As always, until next time. . .

_flings cookies in the air and disappears_

12 thoughts on “The Blogiversary Giveaway — THE FINALE

    • Oh my goodness!!! That is absolutely magical, and I am SO HAPPY you won!!! Now that you’ve seen the results (I didn’t want to spoil the surprise. XD) I’m gonna send you an email asking for a shipping address. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ENTERING, BECKY!!! And congratulations!!! <3333

      Liked by 1 person

      • I finally read all the stories, and someone else did a Jack and the Beanstalk story too?! That makes me really happy. I LOVE ALL OF THE STORIES SO MUCH.
        Although I guess mine is more loosely-inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk, but I meant for it to be a Jack and the Beanstalk story. ;-)

        Liked by 1 person

        • I KNOW!!!! I was so excited that there were so many fairytale retellings in here!!! I mean, I don’t think I put that as a requirement?? AND YET THEY STILL HAPPENED AND I AM SO SO HAPPY. Clearly I have found my people. XD

          I could definitely tell yours was Jack and the Beanstalk! The mention of the harp and the goose tipped me off to it. XD

          Like

  1. AAAAHHHHHH!!!! WE HAVE COME TO AN END TO ALL THIS FABULOUSNESS. AND THIS POST IS EVERYTHING!!!

    First of all, I totally failed to write a story too even though I really, really wanted to. But Time doesn’t seem to exist anymore. >.> So nooo worries about not being able to get to everything you wanted to. I 100% understand. But GIRL. This was all sooo much fun! I had a blast with all your posts. You know how to throw a party! AND THOSE SIX STORIES. :O SO. MUCH. GOODNESS!!! I was devouring each and every one of them. You have such talented frens! I love how they were all so different from each other, yet equally fascinating. I don’t even know if I could choose a favorite. They were all amazing! (If any of you writers are reading this, I LOVED YOUR STORY! Such goodness!)

    Secondly, YOUR VIDEO WAS ADORABLE. Your “writing buddy” is so utterly precioussss!!! That was a BRILLIANT way to choose the winner. I loved it so, so much! AND CONGRATS TO BECKY!!! So happy for you, girl!

    I’m honestly sad the celebrations are over. This was such a blast! Thank you for doing so much for us readers and showering us with love. It was fantastic! And one more big HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY!!!!! *all the confetti and glitter and cookies and fanfare of ever*

    Liked by 2 people

    • I believe you mean we have come to the end of all this blogiversary NONSENSE because oh my goodness this was so long-winded and depressing. XD But MEEP! THANK YOU!!! *tackle hugs*

      Okay, but same??? Did Time just waltz off and leave us on our own, because I’m pretty sure we’ve been abandoned… I need Hermione’s time-turner, I swear. BUT ASDFGHJKLASDFGHJKL YOU ARE SO IMPOSSIBLY SWEET I DO NOT DESERVE YOU. <33 You are my favorite sunflower and I adore you and all of these absolutely wonderful comments you write… You have no clue how much I appreciate you… AND OH MY GOODNESS I KNOW!!! All of these entries were so so good, and I could not be more in awe of the level of talent that exists here on the blogosphere… (and I THINK I MIGHT HAVE SEEN A SHORT STORY ON YOUR BLOG???? [which seems to be a continuation of something you've been writing for Fairy Tale Central] so I am going to try and devour those like as soon as I possibly can…)

      Okay, but IS HE NOT THE SMOLLEST CUTEST THING??? I love him more than anything, and he was SO proud that he got to choose the winner. He's so precious, I can't even…

      Lol, I wish I could say I was sad it's all over but I'm honestly relieved??? Although it feels like I kind of just let this whole thing flop and die… BUT IT'S OVER AND IT'S DONE AND I'M SO SO HAPPY YOU ENJOYED IT!! And thank you!!!! Thank you so impossibly much… You are the most wonderful bean in the whole wide world!! <333 *noms all of the cookies and confetti and glitter happily*

      Like

  2. I would like to point out that I wrote my story in a mad rush (and then submitted it as soon as I got on my lunch break at work) in an attempt to outrun the ORIGINAL deadline. And then Kenzie extended it. xD

    These stories are all AMAZING!! Congratulations to you all – you’re all winners, with writing like that! (except for that weird one with too many parentheses, I’m not sure about that one).

    Liked by 1 person

    • ^^^ THIS IS VERY TRUE. And also I think I tried conveying this in the original post, but I think I might have either forgotten or failed, because it clearly does not sound like this… BUT YOU DEFINITELY MADE IT ON THE ORIGINAL DEADLINE. SO. (and also I’m horrible for extending it, oops.)

      AHEM??? THE WEIRD ONE WITH TOO MANY PARENTHESES WAS DEFINITELY ONE OF MY FAVORITES, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT???????

      Like

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