More than 50 authors—55 to be exact—submitted entries to the Texas Bar Journal Short Story Contest, proving that a one-year hiatus was long enough. Numerous writers—and readers—evidently have been clamoring for creative prose.

To keep the contest fair and impartial, author names were removed from each entry and replaced with numbers. Two panels of judges faced the challenging task of selecting the winners, and for each round, the same evaluation form was used for consistency. Eleven entries advanced to the final round, which was judged by Mike Farris of Dallas, DeDe Church of Austin, and John G. Browning of Dallas. The winner, “Final Descent,” by Stephanie S. Tillman, earned the highest number of points.

Please congratulate these attorney-authors for making it through the competitive first round of judging to the finals.

“Final Descent,” by Stephanie S. Tillman, 1st place
“Closing Argument,” by Kimberly Simpson, 2nd place
“My Generation,” by Jason Steed, 3rd place
“The Bottom Drawer,” by Gerald G. Francisco
“Lilac Surprise,” by Marvin E. Sprouse III
“The Duel,” by Drew Crownover
“Paying His Bar Dues,” by Tim Sralla
“Crowley’s New Client,” by Gregg Mayer
“Viable,” by Charles R. McBeth
“Driving Through,” by Kevin M. Faulkner
“The Swamp,” by Gene L. Jameson

Here’s an excerpt from “Final Descent”:

When Grammy winners give speeches, or footballers score touchdowns, they point upward, as if paying homage to someone or someplace holy. But if they knew what I know about upward, they’d know that heaven couldn’t be in that direction . . .

The entire story, along with the second and third place winning entries, will be published in the June issue of the Texas Bar Journal