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Tales2Inspire is unique in that it is an “Authors Helping Authors” project as well as a contest. My goal is to encourage talented authors and help them grow. We work together to help one another polish our stories until they sparkle and shine.

Step one – The screening phase:

I screen each story as it is received and give my honest feedback. If I feel a story has good potential, but could use some fine tuning, I offer that author general suggestions for strengthening it. The author then has the option to edit and resubmit before the judging begins. .

Step two – The judging phase:

Each author whose story is accepted into the competition receives three other stories to judge, using a click, click, click automated form. Judging is done anonymously. Neither the names of the authors of the assigned stories nor the names of their judges are shared.

CLICK here to see a screenshot of the form.

Step three – The feedback phase:

I assign Winner, Finalist and Honorable Mention awards based on these scores. (Occasionally, a scoring discrepancy occurs, in which case I rely on input from outside editors.) I collate the judges’  comments/suggestions from part four of the form for each story and send them to that author.

Step four – The publishing phase:

Although the awards remained fixed, based on results from the feedback phase, if I believe a particular story has potential for inclusion in one of the Tales2Inspire books, I invite that author to edit it and lend my support to that effort.


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David Shwaiko – Machesney Park, Illinois

The peer critiques of my story were very helpful to me, but I found Ms. Stern’s initial input the most beneficial of all. I recommend this process to anyone who is seriously interested in getting a story published.