The Writers’ Police Academy is pleased to continue the Golden Donut short story contest in 2013. The rules are simple—write a story about the photograph above using exactly 200 words, including the title (each story must include an original title). The image in the photograph MUST be the main subject of the story. We will not provide clues as to the subject matter of the image, or where the shot was taken. That is for you and your imagination to decide. Remember, though, what you see in the image absolutely MUST be the main subject of your tale.

All stories are to be polished and complete, meaning they must have a beginning, middle, and a twisted surprise ending. Again, all stories must be exactly 200 words. Not 201 or 199! So read the word count rules carefully.

The contest winner will receive the prestigious Golden Donut Award.

All entries will be screened by a panel of authors who will select their ten favorite stories and then forward their picks to the contest judge, editor Kristen Weber. Ms. Weber’s decisions are final and may not be contested or appealed. After reviewing each of the entries, she will present the winning story title to the appropriate Writers’ Police Academy staff member and the winner’s name will be announced and award presented at the WPA banquet. The contest is open to everyone, not just attendees of the academy, and the winner need not be present to win.

Submission Guidelines:

Submissions are a two part process. Please read carefully!

1. All submissions MUST be submitted electronically via email to >[email protected]< (You’ll need to copy and paste the address, omitting the >< symbols). Each entry will receive a confirmation email. If you do not receive a confirmation within two business days, please feel free to contact Lee Lofland at the above email address.

2. Write: Golden Donut Entry in the subject line of the email.

3. Please include your story within the body of the email. Attachments will not be opened.

4. Additionally, a twenty dollar ($20) entry fee and a hard copy of the story/entry must be mailed to:

Writers’ Police Academy

P.O. Box 60091

Savannah, Ga. 31420

– Contest opens at 12 noon on Monday April 1, 2013 (Please do not send any entries before this date).

Submission Deadline: Midnight Monday August 19, 2013 (the precise point in time between 11:59 pm 8-19 and 12:01 am 8-20)

– Any entry not meeting the exact 200 word requirement will be disqualified. Please count and re-count before submitting your entries. A few excellent stories have been rejected due to word counts.

– Hyphenated words, for the purpose of this contest, will be counted as two words, or three, etc., depending upon how many words make up the hyphenated phrase/word.

– Entries submitted after the deadline will NOT be judged. No refunds!

All entry fees must be received on or prior to August 19, 2013. No exceptions. There is normally a mountain of entries, therefore, it is a time-consuming process for the judges. We need time to process the entries and to have the award properly engraved.

– Every single word will be counted as a word – this includes: “a,” “and,” and “the.” To be very clear…if it’s a word, count it. If it’s part of dialog and you think it may be a word, count it. If it’s a stand-alone letter or group of letters, count it as a word. If it’s a number, count it as a word. If the number would include a hyphen when written out as a word, then count it as a hyphenated word. If it’s a smudge on the page, count it as a word.

– Be sure to include your name, address, email address, telephone number(s), and title of your story in an opening paragraph above your story (in both the email and snail mail entries). Then, please include your story, headed by the title.

– There is a $20 entry fee. You may submit the fee by money order or check. There is no Paypal option for the contest. Entries received without the appropriate entry fee will be excluded from the contest.

Please submit the entry fee and your story(s) in the same envelope. It is far too confusing to receive an entry one day and the entry fee weeks later. Entries received without the proper entry fee will not be considered. Also, you must submit the electronic submission to be considered.

– There is no limit on the number of entries by any author. But each individual entry must be accompanied by its own $20 entry fee. ( One entry = $20. Four entries = $80, etc.)

– Any entry not meeting the exact 200 word requirement will be disqualified.

– By submitting an entry to this contest authors agree to allow The Graveyard Shift/Lee Lofland/the Writers’ Police Academy, Sisters in Crime, and affiliates to publish/reprint the story as a part of The Graveyard Shift blog and/or as advertisement for the Writers’ Police Academy or Sisters in Crime, or in other publications and media, including, but not limited to, books, magazines, newspaper, blogs, ebooks, online outlets, etc. *Sisters in Crime is not a part of the Writers’ Police Academy.

*All rights to all work/short story shall remain the property of the author. The Writers’ Police Academy reserves the right to exclude or delete any entry without cause, reason, or explanation.

– No refunds. Proceeds go to the Writers’ Police Academy fund to benefit the GTCC criminal justice foundation.

So there you have it. Now get busy and take us on a journey that’d scare the pants off Poe himself. Is that a drop of blood on the stairs? Has someone been murdered? Or, was it merely a speck of red paint? Perhaps a colony of zombies lurk behind the concrete and steel. Maybe this is the wall that separates purgatory from eternal paradise. Who knows?

Good luck!