I belong to Scribophile, a writers’ group which fosters peer review for writers seeking their best work. Alex Cabal, the group’s administrator, sponsors competitions to provide members both incentive and focus. I entered “Llorona” in the “Who’s Afraid of the Dark?” contest and just learned that it was awarded first place.
Here’s a link to the story provided by Bewildering Stories Editor Donald Webb: http://www.bewilderingstories.com/issue869/llorona.html
Here is what the contest judges had to say:
FIRST PLACE –
Llorona – by Robert Walton
We were quite simply enthralled by this spooky western featuring the imperturbable Joaquin Murrieta, a gray-shaded hero who faces evil and brings goodness where it’s needed. We absolutely loved that this piece, though short, went for the interplay of light and dark within humanity and succeeded in doing so with subtlety, charm, and adventure. Interesting, nuanced characters felt authentically real as they inhabited a near-tangible setting for an entertaining take on the classic ghost story, celebrating the light that empathy gives us, and how it can be used to both mitigate and snuff out darkness.
I thank Alex, the judges and all those who entered for helping me find my best story!