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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Winning Awards for Writing

There is probably nothing like the feeling you get for receiving accolades from your peers and writing professionals for your work. I know how I felt in reading the words of praise I have sent in the form of reviews from fellow writers and from my fans. Some of the best I received where actually from people that I do not personally know. It was the reception granted me my these online reviewers that prompted me to look for ways to further promote my novel, Blood on His Hands, by finding contests that I could enter to find out if others would also view my work in a similar light.

This past November 92009) I attended the Red Dirt Book Festival in Shawnee OK. I had a vendor table and met some friends from Facebook, notably author Sharon Sala, and met a couple of presenters and authors like Connie Bookout and Susan Miller, and generally had a fine time, not to mention I sold thirteen copies of my book during my weekend trip. I was thrilled to find a competition sponsored by Oklahoma Center for the Book for the Annual Oklahoma Book Award. To be eligible the author had to have lived in Oklahoma or wrote about Oklahoma and I passed both criteria and so I sent off my novel for consideration.

Then I learned about the IPPY Awards. This is an annual award handed out by the independent publisher industry  to recognize the best indie-published book of the year. Since I have self-published this first time out, again I qualified and sent of my entry.

Since my novel is a suspense/ thriller genre novel I wondered what competition I could find for this type of storyline and stumbled over the CWA Dagger competition, a British award that is handed out to debut novels, sponsored by the Crime Writers Association. There is a lot of crime in my debut novel and I am originally from England so again, I entered the fray.

Now all three of these had an entry fee and in two cases required that I mail one of more copies of the book for consideration too so it was with some fondness that I heard about this fourth, and so far, final competition that I have just entered this week. The fondness part comes from the 'no fee required' part. It is probably of the four the most prestigous of them and carries the biggest reward, however it is also the most competitive too, and rightly so. It is the Amazon Breakthrough Novel competition and only accepts the first five thousand entries. Along with the entry you are required to submit a pitch of less than 300 words. Within the first thirty days four thousand entries are eliminated on the pitch alone. A few guide lines are given but you really have no idea what the three judges are looking for in the initial stages so I sent mine off and am now hoping for the best.

Here is my final pitch entry. See what you think.

"The last thing on Mike Renton’s mind is blowing his wife away but then he discovers her wrapped in the arms of Ian Walker, a sexy New Zealand private-eye, the ensuing shotgun blast delivered into their writhing bodies spoils any chance of a happy ending.

Renton's grief initially brings on a suicide attempt and then the realization to flee. On the lam, his flight spirals from rural Oklahoma to the glitzy streets of Las Vegas, where fateful chance provides a ride on a Greyhound bus headed for Atlanta. In Georgia, freedom promises cover from the prying eyes of the law, in the form of the 1,700 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

Mike’s liberty proves to be short-lived as Walker, unbeknownst to Renton, is recovering from the gunshot wounds, used his skills as a private investigator to track Mike down, culminating in a chase to the death on the Appalachian Trail in Northern Georgia.

The bear attacks changes everything for one man.  Does Mike get to use his new found redemption and repentance to build a new life or will Ian’s murderous rampage be cut short by the intervention of Mother Nature?

BLOOD ON HIS HANDS is a contemporary thriller that uses a compelling gradual build-up after a shocking opening to take the reader on a fast-paced psychological crescendo. Tramping in the woods to escape real life seems to be a storyline that is timely and current. Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild has made a recent impact as did Stephen King's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and Jonathon King's The Blue Edge of Midnight. Having discovered my own ultimate atonement on the Appalachian Trail, I was compelled to out-wit and outlast Appalachian lore written previously."

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