Slow the Pace - Scribes Valley 2015 Contest Winners

Slow the Pace

2015 Short Story Writing Contest Winning Stories

They call it the Rat Race. The hustle, bustle, slam-bang pace of the world in which we live. Rush, rush, rush seems to be our motto, our credo, our way of life.
It can’t be good for us. What is this hurry-up lifestyle doing to our bodies and minds? Sure, we may be getting ahead and “living the dream,” but what is the cost? Shorter lifespans, ulcers, a general feeling of being worn out and frazzled? Aren’t we supposed to like what we pay for?
Take the time to consider how you are journeying through this life. Are you part of the Rat Race? If so, we implore you to avoid the haste. You should take time out to enjoy the slower side of things. To be calm while surrounded by a world of chaos. To slow the pace of life and relish every second.
Please, step out of the Rat Race, and let everything just whiz on by. Allow yourself to sink into other worlds. Allow yourself to forget, to be carried away, to enjoy the power and splendor of the written word.

ISBN: 978-0-9851833-5-6
174 pages
Warning: some adult language
Paperback edition: $9.99 + shipping
Kindle edition: $2.99 

Meet the winning authors:

Ronna L. Edelstein, author of Forever and Always

***  FIRST PLACE  ***
   As a part-time faculty member of the University of Pittsburgh’s English Department, Ronna L. Edelstein works as a consultant at the school’s Writing Center. She also teaches Freshman Programs, a course that introduces students to the University and the city. Her work, both fiction and nonfiction, has appeared in the following: “New Slang” A New Literary Voice by the Women and Girls of Pittsburgh” (online); Quality Women’s Fiction; Ghoti Online Literary Magazine; First Line Anthology; SLAB: Sound and Literary Artbook; Pulse: Voices from the Heart of Medicine (online and print); AARP Bulletin (online and print); Healthy Roots (Forbes Health Foundation and Hospice); The Jet Fuel Review (Lewis University’s online literary journal); Writer’s Relief (online); Seasons of Caring; Tales of Our Lives: Fork in the Road (online e-book); Signature (Carnegie Mellon University Osher publication); Verse Envisioned: the Poetry and Art of Pittsburgh; the Washington Post; and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Forever and Always” is Ms. Edelstein’s eighth Vera story to be honored by Scribes Valley Publishing.
   Ronna dedicates "Forever and Always" to the memory of her beloved father, Morton M. Edelstein.

Ronna L. Edelstein
Jeff Spitzer, author of Survival

***  SECOND PLACE  ***
  Jeff Spitzer lives in Columbus, Ohio near his two grown children and four grandchildren. His story "The Last Ordeal of James Willoughby" won 3rd prize in the 2014 Scribes Valley contest. Besides that, his short stories have appeared in several small-press and college magazines such as The Sun, Cimarron Review, and Louisiana Literature.

Jeff Spitzer
Dorene O'Brien, author of Interior Designs

   Dorene O’Brien is a Detroit writer whose work has earned the Red Rock Review’s Mark Twain Award for Short Fiction, the New Millennium Writings Fiction Award, the Chicago Tribune Nelson Algren Award and the international Bridport Prize. She was also awarded a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and her stories have been published in special Kindle editions. O’Brien’s fiction and poetry have appeared in the Connecticut Review, The Best of Carve Magazine, Short Story Review, Passages North, the Baltimore Review, The Republic of Letters, the Montreal Review, Detroit Noir and others. Her short story collection, Voices of the Lost and Found, won the National Best Book Award in short fiction. Visit her web site at

Dorene O'Brien
Phillip Frey, author of The Hero of Lost Causes

   Phillip Frey grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where he performed as a child actor at The Cleveland Playhouse. He later moved to New York, where he performed with Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival. This was followed by performing for one season as a member of The Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center.
   With a change of interest Phillip wrote, directed and edited three short films, all of which had international showings, including the New York Film Festival.
   With yet another change of interest, Phillip moved to Los Angeles where he became a produced screenwriter. Now more recently, he has turned to prose with the books "Dangerous Times" and "Hym and Hur."
   "The Hero of Lost Causes" is Phillip Frey's first publication of a short story. He wholeheartedly thanks Scribes Valley for this distinction. 

Phillip Frey
William D. County, author of Apprentice and Moth

  W. D. County (Dave) enjoys writing speculative fiction, often with a touch of irony. He has a keen appreciation for technology, drawing on experience as a nuclear reactor operator aboard the ballistic missile submarine USS Sam Houston (SSBN 609), more than a decade as a quality assurance manager at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, and nearly two decades as a custom software developer for the federal government and several major companies. His publication credits include the techno-thrillers Sammi and Oasis at the Bottom of the Sea, as well as short stories in the e-zine Spinetingler and anthologies Speedloader, Pulp Ink 2, and the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual 2014. His nonfiction includes articles in Lotus Advisor and Contact magazines. Dave holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Lindenwood University and currently teaches composition at Brown Mackie College in Kansas City, Missouri.

William D. County
Michelle Wotowiec, author of Waves

    Michelle has always been a fan of realistic fiction and continuously finds herself in awe of the undeniable power of language. You know when you read that paragraph or sentence that causes you to stop and breath? Or that collection of words that takes you back to your grandma's living room, sitting on an old brown and white pleated couch, wrapped up in Grandma's quilt, and while you don't remember what you were doing on that couch, it doesn't matter? The words have brought you back to a specific moment and you acknowledge there is power in that.
   Michelle first noticed the phenomenon as a young child in Spencer, Ohio when she was subject to meeting a few of her father's employees who did not know how to read. She fondly remembers these kind men asking her, a young child, to read warning labels and automobile pamphlets out loud and how important that made her feel. Looking back, she remembers the look in their eyes not as one of envy, but as one of astonishment. She noticed the phenomenon a second time when she was in junior high school and found herself with a gift of words. She had the ability to write a clear sentence that held her voice within the letters. This was around the time when she was introduced to James Hurst's "The Scarlett Ibis" and found herself crying uncontrollably for Doodle. They weren't simply tears, they were an emotion. A connection brought about through the author's words.
   Most recently, though, Michelle has acknowledged the phenomenon in her Phoenix, Arizona classrooms. She places a strong focus on getting to know her students and teaching them how to place their own individual voice on the page. She works with students who have found themselves in a corner and are trying their hardest to reinvent. Michelle finds the ultimate power of language to be its ability to help these students re-enter the world and claim a new place within it. . Language is a belief just as much as it is a skill.
   "Waves" examines a time in Michelle's life when she had no idea what else the world had to hold. It examines what is going on in the "inside" during the madness of the outside. Michelle hopes that it leaves you with a sense of hope, but she will be happy and feel accomplished if it leaves you with a sense of anything at all.
   Michelle wants to thank all of her friends and customers back at the restaurant in Lakewood, Ohio. Today, three years later, that world feels like a lifetime ago. She learned a lot of about herself and the person she wanted to become those few years taking orders and running food. She also wants to thank her fiancé, Brian, who joined her at a later time in her life but reminds her everyday why the struggle of leaving the service industry and entering the world of academia has been worth it. She is looking very forward to seeing how language will play in the next stage of her journey: New York City! 

Michelle Wotowiec
Jennifer A. Powers, author of Saturday Night in Winter

  Jennifer A. Powers resides in New England. She earned a BA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing. She has short stories published or forthcoming in The MacGuffin, Folio, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Grasslimb, Hawai'i Pacific Review, among others. She is at work on a book and she loves hiking, art, and coffee. Please visit

Jennifer A. Powers
S. Baer Ledermen, author of The Monster Inside Me

  S. Baer Lederman hails from Rhode Island, but his years at University of Michigan taught him that he is a Midwesterner at heart. After completing ROTC and his Navy service, Baer has focused on writing. His fiction has appeared in Dapper Press and Nebo. He was also named a finalist in Slippery Elm's 2015 Prose Contest, the Scribes Valley 2015 short story contest, and the Providence Journal's H.P. Lovecraft short story contest. Baer is currently an MFA candidate at Roosevelt University in downtown Chicago.

S. Baer Lederman


Catharine Leggett, author of Continuum

   Catharine Leggett's short stories have appeared in the anthologies Law & Disorder, Best New Writing 2014, The Reading Place, as well as in the journals Room, Event, The New Quarterly, Canadian Author, The Antigonish Review. Other stories have appeared in the online journal paperbytes and on CBC Radio. She is a two-time finalist in the Columbus Creative Cooperative Great Novel Contest and the winner of the Okanagan Fiction Award. New stories are forthcoming in KY Story and Per Contra. She taught creative writing in the continuing studies program for Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.

Catharine Leggett


Joe Dornich, author of The Reluctant Son of a Fake Hero

  Joe Dornich is a PhD candidate in Texas Tech's creative writing program, where he also serves as Managing Editor for Iron Horse Literary Review. Joe's work has won contests with SCMLA, Master's Review, and Fresher Writing. In addition to writing, Joe is also taking a mail-order course in veterinary medicine. His mailbox is often filled with sick kittens.

Joe Dornich


Robin Hostetter, author of Emer Rald's Jewel

Robin Hostetter lives in San Antonio where he works as a psychiatrist using the new media of telemedicine. He is a retired Army colonel and full time writer. A member of the San Antonio Writer's Guild, he has authored three novels which await discovery.
2015 Placements:
"Horror- Like Ice" Detectives of the Fantastic Anthology from Horrified Press – (Fantasy Horror)
"Call of Cthulu" Tales of Unseen Terror Anthology from Twit Publishing [summer 2016 release] – (Fantasy Horror)
"Rodney's Secret" Saturday Evening Post Ezine Jan 2016—(contemporary creepy)
Clown William (first chapter) Arizona Literary Magazine 2016 - (Western) 

Robin Hostetter
JoAllen Bradham, author of Colorcide

My debut novel, Some Personal Papers, won the 1994 Breakthrough Award in Southern and Southwestern Fiction with publication by the Texas Review Press. This edition won the 1996 Townsend Award, Georgia's top fiction prize. Black Belt Press (now River City Publishing) then issued both paperback and hardback editions. The Black Belt edition won for me the 2000 Georgia Writer of the Year Award in Fiction.

JoAllen Bradham
Tom Stock-Hendel, author of Camarillo

Tom Stock-Hendel has had stories published in Superstition Review and Siren, and holds an MFA from Antioch University-Los Angeles. He lives with his wife and son in the Southern California area.

Tom Stock-Hendel
Mary Smith, author of The Ashes

I am currently working in property management, but have done many other jobs over the years. I was born and raised in a small Texas town, and remain a country girl at heart, (although the girl part is long gone). I enjoy writing about my birthplace and some of the stories I have heard to which I add my own little twists. The Ashes, is a vision that I had when I went with my daughter to visit the home place in the country a few years ago. It was then I informed her that I wanted my ashes scattered there, where I was happiest as a child. Thus, the tale was born...

Mary Smith
Mike Tuohy, author of Stamping His Get

Born in New Jersey in Eisenhower times, Mike moved to Georgia in 1965, witnessing much history there. A professional geologist working the environmental consulting rackets in the southeast U.S., he finds time to make friends, family and co-workers nervous as he chronicles the preposterous through short stories and novellas. He is currently working on a novel. His work has been recognized in numerous writing competitions. Fifteen of his stories, including a Pushcart nominee, have been published. A two-time finalist in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest, he has a total of nine words in that prestigious publication.

Mike Tuohy

Designed with ‌

Landing Page Creator