“Everybody loved it,” said Kathleen, over the phone. If she said more, I didn’t hear her—I was still relishing her initial compliment. Those are words a writer lives for: “Everybody loved it.” Validation for a story written well.

Kathleen Strecker, editor of the Coast Weekend newspaper supplement serving Clatsop and Pacific counties, was the bearer of great news when she called last week to tell me my “Chapter 7” submission had won this month’s contest. The chapter came out today!

The newspaper serial, “Love and Murder in Astoria,” began last June, with Muriel Jensen, well-known Astoria writer, penning the first chapter. I was real busy last summer, but by September I was able to submit a Chapter 4. And it won!

Humble pie arrived the following month, when my Chapter 5 didn’t win. Ah, well, life is what it is, and I was too busy to attempt Chapter 6, but sent in a submission for Chapter 7 a few weeks ago. As it turned out, it was the winning chapter! Hooray for perseverance!

The serial mystery has just three more chapters till it concludes… And yes, I’m debating writing and entering another chapter. You just never know—lightning could strike thrice!