– Grand Prize Winners –
All Manner of Beasts by Rowena Leong Singer
Rowena Leong Singer is a graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars, where she was awarded the Barry Hannah Merit Scholarship in Fiction. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Narrative Magazine, and KQED’s Perspectives. She has also received an honorable mention in the Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers. In addition, she has been accepted into select workshops and conferences including the Sewanee Writers’ Conference; Tin House Summer Workshop; Hedgebrook Master Class; Community of Writers; ZYZZYVA Writers’ Workshop; and Rooted & Written, a workshop for writers of color, co-sponsored by the Writers Grotto.
Her debut novel, All Manner of Beasts, is a historical fiction set in Japanese-occupied Philippines during WWII. Ten hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese troops invade Manila, where a young Chinese couple, Grace and Deming, await the new year with a baby on the way. In this story, told in alternating points of view, a wife becomes the hero to the husband who had imagined her as the helpless one in their marriage, while soldiers hunt for guerrillas and their supporters, making this couple their target. From the city of Manila to the jungle of Mount Arayat, Grace and Deming discover that in a world where survival is the only rule, the choices they make could irrevocably change who they consider friend or foe—even when it comes to each other. Filled with complex characters and moral complications, this book grapples with identity, questions of humanity, and courage amid overwhelming odds.
Mystery / Thriller
Awful Necessary Things by Victoria Morsell
Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Victoria grew up on the west coast, and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, younger son, and their dog, Leaf. An actor for over ten years, she appeared in numerous TV shows and movies, including a starring role in the CD ROM game PHANTASMAGORIA, in which she was murdered endlessly (thankfully, only in the digital realm). She has an MFA from Antioch University and has had work published in Santa Monica Review and Shondaland. She is currently working on her third book.
AWFUL NECESSARY THINGS is a thriller set in a small town in southern Oregon. Told from multiple points of views, the novel follows a mysterious young arsonist whose search for her father draws her into the embers of a dysfunctional family, still smoldering from a firestorm of betrayals, secrets, and lies. Victoria is perplexed and fascinated by the recklessness of humanity, and how our frailty is juxtaposed with surprising resilience in the midst of disaster. The book also explores the importance of forgiveness, messy sibling dynamics and more. She is very honored to be a winner of the Book Pipeline Unpublished Contest.
Sci-Fi / Fantasy
They Called Her Wild by Claire Creely
Claire’s first manuscript, They Called Her Wild, re-imagines the selkie myth in contemporary Ireland.
They Called Her Wild is a story about a selkie, Fia, who loses her seal skin and a bartender, Hurley, who finds it. Unable to return to the sea without her seal skin, Fia must venture into the foreign human town and navigate its hidden secrets to reclaim her skin before a human finds it, or worse – realizes what it is and how to use it against her.
Originally from the US, Claire lives in Ireland with her partner, Cian, and their mischievous cat, Púca. She earned her Master’s in Creative Writing from University College Cork. Claire loves old stories told in new ways – the ones that blur the line between reality and fantasy, the ones that make her ask, what if it’s real?
The Only Thing We Have to Fear by Shannon Hembree
Shannon Hembree loves to explore different writing voices and styles and has written for a U.S. president, CEOs, celebrities, and more. Her blogs have won humor awards and been featured on national sites, and her work has won numerous communications and business awards.
Her young adult thriller, The Only Thing We Have to Fear, is her latest writing adventure. It features Casey, a seventeen-year-old kidnapping survivor who has decided to reclaim her life after eight years of self-imposed seclusion. With the help of a new friend, Casey summons the courage to journey back into the outside world, only to find that her kidnapper has been waiting in the shadows to collect what she owes him—a life in exchange for the one she cheated him out of by escaping all those years ago.
Shannon holds a BA and MA in political science—degrees she never quite put into practice—and is the proud mom of incredibly energetic twin boys, an amazing daughter, and a slightly devious cat named Simba.
The Odiferous Destiny of Alexander Sparks by Penny Berman
The Odiferous Destiny of Alexander Sparks follows thirteen-year-old Alexander who has an eerie ability: he smells death coming. After his dad dies and his family is forced to move, he must navigate the horror of a new school in a creepy town where his mom has taken a job in a coffin factory. His sniffer lets him know that the Grim Reaper is hunting his family once again. And this time, he vows to stop Death at any cost.
Penny Berman has always been fascinated by ghosts, the afterlife, and those big questions: Why am I here? Where do I end up? An avid reader of anything that pushes the boundaries of conventional thinking and reality, and a huge fan of stories well told, she naturally gravitated toward screenwriting. She studied through the UCLA Extension program as well as with private teachers, co-producing a few low budget horror films. After a move to Colorado, with the added benefit of having young readers at home, she found herself enamored with children’s fiction, where her heart has been firmly lodged ever since.
This is Penny’s debut novel although she has a closeted graveyard of screenplays and a few unpublished picture books to her credit. She is a longstanding member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature, and participates in three writing groups and attends as many writing conferences as she can.
Penny lives near Boulder, Colorado with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and her adored Papillion, Gizmo.
The Glory Whole by Melissa Duge Spiers
Melissa Duge Spiers is a screenwriter and memoirist, whose true-life saga, The Glory Whole, exposes hypocrisy, sexual scandal, misogyny and family secrets of Shakespearean proportions in the seamy underbelly of the biggest religion you’ve never heard of – the Seventh-Day Adventist church – and demonstrates the remarkable healing power of an intense and wildly unusual female bond.
Melissa’s debut feature screenplay, Brave Woman, placed in and/or won awards from Cinequest, Sundance, Cynosure, Athena Film Festival LA Lab, Final Draft Big Break, and Austin Film Festival. Her magazine and personal essay work have appeared in or been cited by Forbes.com, The Wall Street Journal online, MSN magazine, SF Gate, Bitch magazine, Vitamin W and many more.
Melissa is planning a follow-up memoir to The Glory Whole, exploring another unexpected and highly unconventional female bond – and some good old-fashioned detective work – that proves to be a lifeline out of a very dangerous and suffocating liaison.
A graduate of Andrews Academy, Melissa holds a B.A. in English Literature from Barnard College at Columbia University. She lives and works on the Central Coast of California.
– Runners-Up –
Annapurna by Meg Serino
Mystery / Thriller
The Unmaking by Anna Simoni
Call of the Gods by A. Gustafson
Things I Learned While I Was Dead by Kathryn Clark
Marina & the Science Club by Maria Sideris
Real, Unscripted: Happy Endings in Hollywood by Pam Suchman