Tag Archives: Valentiny

A Valentiny Story: Stella & Sparky and the Last Valentine

Today’s a very special day. It’s the day when we celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birth and Lunar New Year 2021. It’s the Friday before the long-awaited Presidents’ Day Weekend, and it’s one day closer to spring. But most especially, it’s the day when children’s writers around the world submit a story to…  

The 6th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest

Now for those very few of you who may not be familiar with this special contest, you’re in for a real treat. Each and every one of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of the maximum 214-word stories for children (ages 12 and under) features a character who is feeling BRAVE!

To read these fabulous stories, hop on over to Susanna Hill’s blog. It’s free and pairs perfectly with hot cocoa, cookies, candy from your sweetheart, or your treat of choice. And if you leave a comment on a story you enjoy, you’ll warm the heart of its creator.

As to my entry, I’ve taken this opportunity to feature two characters who have been roaming around in my brain for quite some time: Stella, a miniature horse, and Sparky, a small but spirited pup. They’re based on real therapy animals who live and train at a ranch in Montana. Without further ado, may I present…

Stella & Sparky and the Last Valentine

(213 words)

Stella and Sparky delivered Valentines to the library Ready Readers, to young patients at Cancer Care, and to wounded soldiers at the Veterans Hospital. When they finished, one card remained.

“Let’s give it to Mrs. Stinkenblum.”

“That grump never smiles!”

“That’s why she needs it!”

“But she lives on the other side of the valley.”

“Easy-peasy! I’ll nudge the paddock gate open. You sniff out the trail. We’ll cross the snowy fields, tiptoe past the wolf’s den, and be there in no time!”


“What’s that noise, like the snorting of…”


“Whew! That was close! But the rest should be easy-peasy.”

“Once I dig out of this snowbank.”

“What’s that noise, like the rumbling of…”


“Whew! That was close! But the rest should be easy-peasy.”

“Once we scale these boulders.”

“What’s that noise, like the growling of…”


“Whew! That was too close!”

“I. Give. Up!”

“But we’re so close. Be brave!”

“Look! Mrs. Stinkenblum’s house!”

“Happy Valentine’s Day!”

“What’s that noise?”

“Snorting? Rumbling? Growling?”

“With hairy arms!”

“Slimy red nose!”

 “Gaping mouth!”


“Stella! Sparky! It’s me, Mrs. Stinkenblum, in my furry robe, with such a bad cold. Ahhh-choo!

But this lovely Valentine is the perfect medicine. Thank you!”

Wide smiles spread across everyone’s faces.

Valentiny Contest: The Snurrple

It’s that time of year again when I and many other children’s writers (perhaps we’ll top 214 this year?) sharpen our pencils to share our love & creativity for…



valentiny writing contest 2019!


The Contest (copied from Susanna’s site):  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone feels guilty!  Your someone can feel guilty themselves or make someone else feel guilty.  They may feel guilty for good reason, or just because they think they should!  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone guilty (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 🙂  You can go under the word count but not over! (Title is not included in the word count.)

And so, I present, my humble but heart-felt entry, at 204 words (including the poem in the self-made “illustration”)…


“Ta da! Finished! Fifteen shimmering, glimmering Valentines! Oh no! I forgot that pesky new boy, José! What’ll I do? I know. I’ll write a quick poem and scribble a picture. He should be happy I’m even making him a Valentine.”

“Brilliant! He’ll think Snurrple’s a real thing, some English word he hasn’t heard. Should keep him wondering for hours. Maybe he’ll stop pestering me, stop asking “what’s this” and “how do you say that in English….’”


Guess I wasn’t the only one to forget about José. His pile’s SO small. He’s holding my Valentine. He’s smiling. Grinning. Looking right at me. He’s turning it around. Staring at the words. Looking confused. Spelling it out:


“Hey, José! You don’t know the mighty Snurrple? Why everyone knows that.”

“Right, everybody?”

Everyone’s laughing! Except José. At José! His eyes look so big. His face is bright red. He’s blinking. Is that a tear?

“Hey! José! It’s a joke.”

“I made up the Snurrple to…”


“I thought…”


“Hey, José! Want to come to my house after school? We can draw Snurrples and create other crazy creatures. Together.”

“Hey, José! Amigos?”


Text of the POEM, for those who couldn’t read it:

Roses are red,

Violets are purple,

I hope you like

This bright blue Snurrple.

Happy Valentine’s Day! And check out the other entries – a great way to bring smiles to the faces of your loved ones & spread love to those who shared their creativity.