They Do Exist! - Scribes Valley 2005 Contest Winners

They Do Exist!

2005 Short Story Writing Contest Winning Stories

    What makes a great story? A great story grabs you by the throat and won’t let go, taking you away from the everyday world and giving you new worlds to explore. Many people think good stories have gone the way of the dinosaurs. They doubt their existence. Please don’t be one of those people. Allow the stories in this anthology to prove the naysayers wrong, allow these stories to prove They Do Exist!

ISBN: 978-0-9742652-4-7
147 pages
Warning: some adult language

Paperback edition: $9.99 + shipping
Kindle edition: $2.99

Meet the winning authors:

Claire Grasse, author of Nona

***  FIRST PLACE  ***
   Claire Grasse is thirty-something and lives in Central Texas with her husband of fifteen years, her four children, two dogs and a cat. Besides writing, her hobbies include soap making, hiking, and playing the Irish Pennywhistle. Her short story Nona reflects her fascination with the old-fashioned rhythms of life and speech in generations past.

Claire Grasse
Lia Lazarewicz, author of What We Are Made Of

***  SECOND PLACE  ***
   Hi! I am a 21 year old senior at Tulane University, lifelong gymnast, and avid Red Sox fan. I'm a brilliant decision maker, as long as I never have to choose between a stiff drink and a hearty meal. I idolize John Steinbeck and judge people who've never read a Harry Potter novel. I'm good at heating microwave dinners, sarcasm, and ruining pictures. I can beat below average Scrabble players and will never shy from a good debate. I strongly believe that everyone should speak several languages. I'm obsessed with good grammar, though I refuse to use the word "whom" because I don't know how. I have never had any writing published, unless you count the tests my mother hung on the refrigerator. I start every sentence with I. I hope to inspire people to think for themselves, fight worthwhile battles, and read all they can find.

Mia Lazarewicz
John M. Bourne, author of A Lake in the Park

   John Bourne lives on the south coast of England with his wife Sandra. He has led a varied life; working in London for the New Zealand High Commission, then spending 18 years in Kent Police, leaving as a sergeant to train for the Christian Ministry in the Church of England. He was ordained at Canterbury Cathedral in 1991. After a curacy in Maidstone, Kent, he became Vicar of Marden, Kent, and Chaplain of Her Majesty’s Prison Blantyre House in 1994.
   After 9 happy years at Marden, ill health forced early retirement in 2003. By then he had 2 grown up children, and last year became a Grandfather for the first time, another child is due shortly.
   In retirement he was able to write his first book. Coppering The Cannon was written under the pseudonym of James Cannon. In it we meet murder, violence, terrorism, rape, industrial disputes, robbery and public order, and everything else you can think of. Mixing humour and pathos, life and death, success and failure we are taken on a fascinating journey through the eyes of a young policeman in the 1970’s.
   His second book is a novel, The Death of Innocence published as an e-book by Digital Pulp Publishing and available on their web site
   He is currently working on another novel, and plans a further book on his police service and one about the change from the Police to the Church. 

John M. Bourne
A Lake in the Park
Kristen Tsetsi, author of But For Gloria

   Kristen Tsetsi holds an MFA from Minnesota State University Moorhead, where several of her short stories have been published in the school's literary journal, Red Weather Magazine. Two additional short stories, "The Nature of Things" and "In the Wheatfield," have been published in online journals Against the Grain and Expository Magazine (respectively). She pushes herself to experiment with several genres and has experienced moderate success with both stage and screen plays. Two of her one-act plays, "The Girl on the Swing" and "Gun in the Corner," saw production, and her story-to-screen adaptation of her short story "The Fittest" was screened at the annual Fargo Film Festival. "Like Cockatoos," an original full-length screenplay, earned her the Robert Carothers Distinguished Writers Award. Kristen currently lives in Rochester, NY with her husband, three cats, and two ecosphere shrimp, and is working on her first novel.

Kristen Tsetsi
Ryan Bennett, author of Take This Job and Love It

   While slowly pursuing a teaching degree, Ryan Bennett has found himself stuck in the draining void of the restaurant industry. In his free time, when he's not discussing feminism with his wife Lindsay, or chasing his two dogs and two cats around the house, his intense introspection and determination for a creative outlet have resulted into writing his first novel.
   He's currently in the midst of searching for a publisher and does not in any way shape or form agree with the comedy, purpose, or ideas presented by popular college prop comic Carrot Top. For those of you that liked Ryan's story or would like to wax philosophic with him concerning your disdain for Carrot Top, you can reach him at "".

Ryan Bennett
Tricia Spencer, author of NOSES, TOES, AND ELBOWS

   Tricia Spencer has been nationally recognized for her work in songwriting, vocal performance, and merchandising, as well as nonfiction and fiction writing.
   As an author, she received the Best Nonfiction Book award for “Tips, The Server’s Guide To Bringing Home The Bacon – The Customer Speaks!” from the prestigious Southwest Writers International Manuscript Competition. “Tips…” was published in 2002 and has become a training manual for restaurants around the country. Her short story, “Deviled Eggs” was a winner in both the L. Ron Hubbard Writers Of The Future Competition for Science Fiction and CrossQuarter Publishing’s Paul B. Duquette Memorial Short Science Fiction Contest. “Deviled Eggs” is published in “CrossTime”, the 2002 science fiction anthology featuring the winners of the CrossQuarter competition. Her short story, “Miracle Man” was a winner in the 2005 Cloak and Dagger Mystery Writing Contest where the finalists were judged by renowned mystery author Jeremiah Healy. She is listed in "Who's Who of American Women", "Who's Who of Emerging Leaders", “Who’s Who in The West”, and “Who’s Who in The World”.
   Tricia’s life pursuits reflect her philosophy that variety is truly the spice of life. From food service, to touring with the International Company of Up With People, to creating and marketing her own line of wedding accessories, to author, with a world of diverse creative pursuits in between, Tricia has reveled in the highs and lows of self evolution and in the myriad of endeavors life has to offer.
   Born and raised in Central Illinois, she and her husband, Mark, now live in Southern California where they share their home with all manner of furry and feathered creatures. They also share a passion for the simple pleasures of life, like sharing a romantic dinner or reading a good book.

Tricia Spencer
Bill Westhead, author of ROMEO AND SIERRA'S LAST MISSION

   Born in Clitheroe, England and educated at Rossall School, the author graduated from Leeds University with an honors degree in Textile Engineering. He is the fourth generation of his family to work in the textile industry.
   After service in the British Army, he worked in the synthetic fiber industry in Wales, England and Northern Ireland. In 1973 he and his family emigrated to Waycross, Georgia where as Vice President/Company Director, he was primarily responsible for the design and development of heavy industrial fabrics for use in the manufacture of paper.
   A member of Southeastern Writers Association and Coastal Writers Group he has published four histotical novels, 'Once in Old Frederica Town' (1993), 'Clogs' (1999), Confederate Gold' (2002) and 'The Mill', a sequel to 'Clogs' (2005). All four novels continue to be available on He is also the author of several short stories published in 'Cricket', 'Animal Tales' and 'Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul' as well as non-fiction articles in 'Crafts 'n Things' and a number of trade magazines.
   Currently he is working on his fifth novel while, at the same time, writing a monthly theater column 'Footlights' for the Waycross Journal Herald.
   When not writing, he divides his time between working on his Bonsai collection and the Waycross Area Community Theatre where, over a number of years, he has undertaken every aspect of local theater from acting and directing to sweeping out the house.

Bill Westhead
Julia Halprin Jackson, author of Mother's Day

   Julia Halprin Jackson is a senior literature major and Spanish minor at the College of Creative Studies (CCS) at the University of California in Santa Barbara. She works as a writing tutor at UCSB's Campus Learning Assisted Services program and as a teaching assistant at CCS' Art Institute for kids. She believes in quality books, quality music, quality people, and quality thought.

Julia Halprin Jackson

Mother's Day  

Lou Dischler, author of Hemingway at the Ritz

   Once you’ve found a couple of bodies in the park, just a few steps from your front doorstep, once the police ask for a sample of your DNA, saying they can’t rule out anyone as a suspect, it’s inevitable you’ll write a murder mystery. For me it was anyway.
   I’d just finished reading Stephen King’s On Writing. I’d never written fiction of any length, although I’d written plenty of technical stuff, like patent applications. (I’ve 58 patents from a prior life.) But King made writing a novel sound so simple. Just start with a situation, he said, and delete adverbs until it hurts. Or something like that. There were hundreds of pages in his book, but situation and adverbs, that’s all I remembered.
   With those simple ideas, I was primed, and woke the next morning with the vivid dream of having murdered a woman, crushing her head with a pipe. So I’m a murderer, I thought in the dream. And I believed it. It seemed like something I’d always known, but had forgotten. As morning dawned, the dream faded, and with it that strange belief. But by evening, an even stranger belief had taken hold.
    The belief that I was a novelist.
   Thanks to King’s book, I had the situation—a person who maybe was a murderer. Or maybe just remembered being a murderer. Okay, I’ll admit it didn’t sound all that specific. But, I had found bodies in the park, and I was committed to murdering adverbs.
   And, on that first day as a novelist, it seemed like enough.
   Alas, I was so naive!
   Three years and six novels later I finally realized I needed something more. Something to complete me as a novelist. Something like...a publisher.

Lou Dischler


Catharine Lev, author of Operation Mickey Mouse

   I was born in Russia and came to America at age 13. I went to college and law school in New York City and served as JAG attorney in Germany, Texas and Iraq. This is my first day in Iraq. I am hanging out under the belly of a Humvee because there was no shade to be found anywhere else.

Catharine Lev


Karin B. Schlenker author of What Could Have Been

   Karin B. Schlenker lives in Hancock, Michigan with her husband and four cats and a dog. She is a German--and occasionally French--lecturer at Michigan Technological University. Karin has always enjoyed writing, originally starting with poetry when she was twelve. She has only been writing short stories for the past four years and hopes to eventually publish a book of short stories. The story "What Could Have Been" is dedicated to the memory of a dear friend: Barry Ross Walden (11/26/58 -- 1/8/97).

Karin B. Schlenker
Qing Yang, author of Dreaming of Danny

  Qing Yang, Ph.D. resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina USA. Her recent foray into creative writing has proven an exciting digression from her lengthy portfolio of scientific publications. Graduate work in Molecular Biology brought her to the United States from her native China.
   One of several short stories, White Lily of Easter, written through her multicultural lens, tells an inspirational story of a small white flower that represented hope for many WWII POWs and then adds love and death together to create a heartbreaking saga. It has won an Honorable Mention in the “Beauty of Aging Unveiled Competition”, an Honorable Mention in the “Annual Hidden Talents Short Story Contest”, and has been published in Tall Tales and Short Stories (Tall Tales press Book Publishing Inc.)
   "Dreaming of Danny" reflects her own struggles and feelings in life and her hope for finding the love she has been searching for.
   Besides writing, her hobbies include dancing, flying, hiking, traveling, skydiving, scuba diving, music and art.

Qing Yang
Marla Martin, author of Emily's Plan

  Marla Martin was born in Canada, and moved to Southern California in 1993. Her stories often reflect her love of the lakes and snow in Canada. She was a certified nursing assistant and worked in nursing homes for about 18 months before becoming a classroom assistant, working with Developmentally Delayed students. She has been working in the same classroom for approximately eight years. She loves to write as a pastime. Some stories reflect things she has seen in daily life and work. The short story, "Emily's plan" was inspired in part by real life happenings. Marla has written a fiction/fantasy book called "Creators," and writes short stories and poems.

Marla Martin - Marla chose to not participate in the anthology

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