Saturday, April 4, 2009

Contests and Such

Well, I guess I'm going to self-indulge for a moment and write a few words (or a lot more, as I seldom write just a few!) about my latest project - a mystery novel, Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes. Quite by accident I stumbled upon a contest given by Amazon and Penguin Books. They first started this project a few years ago. In any case, I felt it wouldn't hurt to give my work a bit of exposure. So, I entered the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2009 Contest. Besides, it was free. And I'm all about saving a dollar. The number of entrants could be no more than 10,000. I don't know if that's what they came up with, but authors had only a small window of time to get their work entered -- one week -- and then the doors closed so to speak. The first cut would be dwindled down to 2,000. This was based on the pitch. I made it over that hurdle. Then, those 2,000 had their excerpts read by reviewers who would write comments and rate the excerpts. These scores would then reduce the numbers down to 500. Well, I didn't make it to that next level, but I did get a couple of encouraging reviews. At least encouraging enough to make me trudge onward in the pursuit of getting it published :-) So, for those who are interested in reading what they had to say, and to comment if you wish, here they are:

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Reviews

ABNA Expert Reviewer #1:

Wonderful title and suspenseful opening. Nice transition between childhood hide-and-seek games into the present action. Original twist: a mystery writer who does her own research, literally, even when telling herself that she won't get involved. Excellent way to show mom's priorities: her sister's missing and she's concentrating on Lilly's single status. I like that the protagonist isn't a flawless super-hero type but someone who has real emotions.

Hilarious in places, the humor keeps the action moving right along and makes the reader want to know what will happen next.

ABNA Expert Reviewer #2:

The excerpt certainly starts with a bang and catches the reader's attention. The beginning paragraphs of the flashback though are a little drawn out and might be tempting to skim over.

However, the novel seems to gather steam again and, by the time dialogue between the protagonist and her mother is introduced, the dialogue is, for the most part, smooth and informative without being too obvious.

The Paranormal ability does make one curious and the humorous tone promises to be entertaining. However, none of this promises great literature or a deep examination of the human condition.

I'm guessing that this is a romance novel with an erotic hint to it and the scene is set by the time the excerpt ends - The heroine is a feisty, paranormally gifted, single female with a love interest and a mystery to solve. It seems to predict a novel which will provide an entertaining afternoon of reading even if it won't reveal any earth shattering truths.

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