Book Publisher | Vasz Books

October 2011 Writing Contest Winner Announced!

In Contests on October 26, 2011 at 11:59 am

I have to say, I tried to throw a curve ball at ya’ll by giving you a particularly challenging writing prompt, and what do you do? You knocked my socks off.

Seriously, hats off to all of our entrants for this month. We received some really great stories, which of course, made judging very difficult. I’d really like to encourage you guys to continue submitting stories every month, because so many of you have awesome talent. In fact, I might crumble later this week and post our runner-up story because I enjoyed it so much. Keep your eyes peeled.

In the end, we chose the winner for this month based on its authenticity and ability to relate to an audience. To put it shortly, it’s “real.” I’m a sucker for a simple concept that speaks volumes, and this story really did it.

The winner for the October 2011 Writing Contest is:

Dana Bartley from Peekskill, NY!

Dana Bartley, 32 years old, wears many hats. She is a home care aide, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, horseback riding and trying new activities. In the future, she hopes to start her own blog for empowering women.

On behalf of Vasz Books, we hope that you love this story.

Tales from the Kitchen

I’m in the kitchen, where you always jokingly say I belong. You should be home any minute now, and my anticipation is growing.

In our home, I’ve painted a picture-perfect representation of paradise. There’s a cherry pie resting in the windowsill. When you step out of your car, I want you to know—with all of your senses—that I’ve been home thinking of you. I’ve tidied up the room, and laid out the sports section on the table at your seat. Next to the paper, I place a glass of water. You’re always thirsty when you get home.

Click, click, click. I turn the stove on to prepare our dinner. Fatty, marbled, seared Ribeye: your favorite. Mine too. I start the pan with a dash of red wine to create a glaze. Today is a special day, even though you think it’s any old day. Unfortunately, I ruin the moment as soon as you step into the house by burning my finger on the pan. You tell me to run it under the water, and it will make me feel better.

Masking my pain, I still greet you with a smile. “What’s all this?” you ask me. I tell you I made your favorite. Uninterested, you say “no thanks. I’ll just take the water.” No thanks? It wasn’t really an option. It was a statement. You grab the glass of water and head for the living room, unappreciative and unaffected. I’m stunned.

I eat my special dinner alone at the table, still wanting your approval. I approach meekly, “Baby, do you want me to fix you a plate?” You ignore me and walk through me into the kitchen. You turn on the faucet and pour more water.

I made you a pan-seared, red wine glazed, perfect cut of Ribeye, and you choose tap water. I can’t help but to stand by while you stray onto other paths, other women, and water. You’ll drink any old water, but you demand perfection of me.

 Now I know. Over a simple meal of steak and us, you’ve chosen water and told me everything I needed to know.

Maybe someday I’ll cook for another. For now, I’ll cook for me. Not you.
By the way, the steak was delicious. I hope you enjoyed your water.

Disney’s The Lion King: October 2011 Writing Contest

In Contests on October 5, 2011 at 9:00 am

With the re-release of Disney’s The Lion King yesterday, I thought that it would be fun to take something from the movie and incorporate it into our writing contest for this month.

I found this really interesting commentary about The Lion King, and it gave me an idea that I think will challenge us all to dive deep into writing:

Water is a strong motif throughout [The Lion King].  Scar consistently tries to place Simba in waterless places to kill him.  Instead of going to the watering hole, Simba goes to the Elephant Graveyard and is nearly eaten by hyenas.  When he goes to the gorge, a place that once held water but no longer does, he is nearly killed by the stampede.  At last Simba collapses in a wasteland where the earth is hard and cracked from the arid climate.  Water is a symbol of life, a vital component of any creature’s survival.

October 2011 Writing Contest

Theme: Using water as a symbol

Goal: Write a flash nonfiction story (500 words or less) that incorporates water as a symbol. Common symbolism for water includes: new life, regeneration, washing away of guilt, and cleansing. You can use one of these or come up with your own interpretation. Also, submit a flash bio (50 words or less) about yourself.

Deadline: All entries must be received by Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 11:59 EST.

Prize: Your bio and story will be featured on our WordPress as our winner for the month. Our winner will also receive a personal critique and an official letter of recognition. Plus, it’s just awesome to tell people about.

Rules: One entry per person, per month. Must subscribe to the Vasz Books WordPress to be eligible.

After last month’s contest’s success, this will definitely be an ongoing part of Vasz Books.  We will follow this format:

New contest posted on the first Wednesday of the month
Deadline on the third Wednesday of the month
Winner posted on the fourth Wednesday of the month

There is no entry fee, and absolutely no risk in getting involved. It’s great exposure and a great way to encourage ourselves to write. This is an excellent opportunity to try something new or keep up with your writing.

Use the following format to submit:

Subject: October 2011 – (your story title here)
WordPress username

Please send entries to
I’ll be getting an official email soon, so keep an eye out for a change of submission email address next month.
Also, feel free to send me ideas of themes you would like to see in upcoming contests.
As always, happy reading and writing!

Vasz Books Writing Contest Winner: September 2011

In Contests on September 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Today is the day! We want to extend a big thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a piece to our contest.  With over 30 entries, our decision was not an easy one.  However, one entrant in particular stood out to us with his unique writing style and ability to captivate us from start to finish.

The Vasz Books writing contest winner for September is:

Michael Hanton, of Barrie, Ontario!

Michael Hanton, 19 years old, is currently working toward his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications with a minor in Philosophy.  He attends Niagara University, where he also participates in the Men’s Soccer Team.  In the future, Michael wishes to pursue a career in personal injury law.

On behalf of Vasz Books, we hope that you all enjoy this story as much as we do.

Opinion of Life

“There’s no point in dwelling on what we can’t change. There comes a time when you just have to accept life for what it is, and make the most out of it.”

-Patricia Hanton

Life is what we make it.  It always has been, and always will be—this I have learned to be true.
My mom is one of the strongest people I know. She’s been dealt a bad card for the majority of her life, but she doesn’t let it get the best of her.

Growing up, she was always an active person.

sports—she played them all
an active social butterfly—
not much of a drinker but one helluva dancer
and always a diligent worker—
either as a flight attendant flying overseas
or working as a dental hygienist
firmly planted on the ground.

Realistically, she was the worst person to suffer 9 car accidents in as many years—never being in the wrong with any of them. The once energetic go-getter is now confined to the restrictions of walking with a cane—

“I’m already limited enough, there’s no way in hell I’m being pushed around in a chair all day, too,”

she insisted as she turned down the option for a wheelchair.

Not only was her life turned upside down, but our entire family’s dynamic was, as well. As much as she tried to keep things normal for my two brothers and myself, there was an obvious change in the way we functioned. Family ski nights no longer included the whole family. Out of necessity, dad started working two jobs. The chores and responsibilities of two adults were then placed on three kids, in order to pick up the slack around the house.

Despite her warranted inability to maintain the household we once had, my mom did everything in her power to keep things normal.

“No, I can do the laundry, it’s one of the only things I still can do,”

she would say as we attempted to help out. Normal, everyday tasks became a struggle for her. Still, we never heard a complaint.

The way I see it, my mom could have accepted her disability and permanent handicap one of two ways: She could give up, become a vegetable on the couch and be waited on by my brothers and myself. Or she could fight.

Fight through the handicap.

Fight through recurring night terrors of the accidents.

Fight through the exhausting appointments all across hell’s half-acre.

She chose to fight.

She chose not to accept what she had become, but to maintain what she was with a slight difference.

Unknowingly, my mom has taught me a lesson of life, courage and success. I have learned that life is what we make it. It always has been, and it always will be.

My mom is a fighter, and she doesn’t let circumstances change that.
She still does all of our laundry, even though it’s a struggle.
She has, after years of rehab and mental improvement, started driving again.
She is still one of the most socially active people I have ever met.


And she’s still the first one on the dance floor.


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