I’m very excited to enter Susanna Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie contest this year. I’ve been loving writing challenges lately. Thank you Susanna Hill for organizing this competition. Read more about Halloweensie here: https://susannahill.com/blog/

Prizes include PB MS Critiques from the talented Vivian Kirkfield, Parker Klostermann, Carrie FinisonTeresa Robeson, Lydia Lukidis, Kirsti Call, Ellen Leventhal, and Heather Gale.

The challenge:

  • Written for kids
  • No more than 100 words 
  • Contains the words skeleton, creep, and mask 
  • Tells a complete story

I really like how my story turned out. Limiting to 100 words was a challenge, but that’s good practice. A lot of great recent picture books are low on word count. I watched a wonderful 12X12 workshop called Mine the Gaps with Hannah Barnaby recently where she discusses the importance of allowing room for the illustrator. Let me know how you think I did.


One Halloween, after eating all their candy and the wrappers too, three billy goats decided to cross a troll bridge for more. 

“Our skeleton costumes will scare that troll,” said the two eldest.

“Boo!” The troll ran under the bridge.

But the youngest didn’t like being scary. “I’ll just creep across quietly.”

He tried to slink. He tried to crawl. He tried trotting on tiptoe. But the troll heard him every time.

“Wait!” he thought. “Everyone likes candy.”

“Want to come too?” he asked. “You don’t even need a mask.”

“Yes!” the troll replied. And they crossed the bridge together.


The 2020 Fall Writing Frenzy is on! #FallWritingFrenzy is an awesome contest hosted by Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez  and Lydia Lukidis to connect writers with each other and literary professionals. The contest runs from October 1, 2020 until October 3, 2020. Winners will be announced October 31, 2020. Contestants must choose one of the provided Fall Images and write about it in 200 words or less.
Contest rules

Image 2, courtesy of Unsplash

The image I chose made me think of costumes and fairy tales. My children practically live in costumes all year long. Two-year-old Oscar enjoys princess dresses as much as his 4-year-old sister does. Callisto called Oscar Cinderfella the other day, and now I have a new story.

Thank you Kaitlyn Sanchez, Lydia Lukidis, Callisto, and Oscar for the inspiration.

Here is my 200-word submission. I hope you enjoy it!

Cinderfella the Sculptor
By Dana Marie Miroballi

Once upon a time in a kingdom by the sea, there lived a builder named Sinclair. Because Sinclair crafted cinder blocks, everyone called him Cinderfella. But what they didn’t know, was that Sinclair was also a sculptor. He tried adding artistry to the buildings, but his creativity was always struck down. So, Sinclair sculpted in secret. 

One day, the princess announced a competition. Sinclair wanted to enter, but the artists laughed. “Stick to building, Cinderfella. Leave the art to us.” Sinclair sat amongst his sculptures and cried. As his tears mixed with cement dust, a fairy appeared. She transformed Sinclair’s hard hat and overalls into a cap and smock. A diamond chisel was in the pocket. “Create,” said the fairy. “But be back before midnight.”

Spectators gathered as Sinclair’s sculpture took shape. Just as Sinclair finished, the clock struck midnight. Sinclair dashed away, dropping his chisel. The princess searched every studio for the owner of the chisel, but no artist wielded it just right. Then Sinclair stepped out from the shadows. “I believe you’re looking for me,” he said. Sinclair took the chisel and transformed a boulder before the princess’s eyes. From that moment on, Sinclair created happily ever after.