I failed to mention that I was a semi-finalist of the Writers of the Future Contest last year, fourth quarter, 2012. That means I made it within the top 16 stories and, considering there were as many as 2,000 submissions, that's pretty neat! Though officially it still counts as losing, I did get a personal critique from award winning, NY Times best selling writer, David Farland. This was what he had to say:
"First, congratulations on being a semi-finalist this quarter. The competition was tough, and this [story] came very close to being a finalist ... [The] sense of humor that you displayed got me hooked in paragraph one, and I read it to the end and found that it was quite touching. So this is publishable as it stands ... [It] was quite effective. Congratulations on a fine story."
I was very flattered by his comments, and very appreciative of his and Joni Labaqui's time. Still looking for a publisher for this story, but I'm confident I'll find someone soon. If you're interested, the results have been posted: here.