Shortly after Bob came home from the hospital, I found out that the Amazon contest was open for entries again. This is a contest held every year by Amazon.com. So, I quickly (and I mean quickly) uploaded a manuscript, hashed together a "pitch", etc. and entered one of my novels. Most of you know that I have two books published (one nonfiction, the other a collection of short stories) but have been trying for years to publish a novel to no avail. (I've written eleven novels, no less.) Last year, I secured a wonderful agent, Melissa Sarver at The Elizabeth Kaplan Agency in New York. Melissa fell in love with Little Flowers and helped me edit it, then pitched it to about 30 publishers, all of whom nixed it--usually because the novel did not fall into a concrete "category" and editors thought it would be difficult to market. I found out that Melissa "gave up" on it shortly before Bob's stroke and since his stroke, I've really done zilch about my writing. I mean, I've got my hands full here.
So, anyway, I entered Little Flowers in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. I found out yesterday that the novel made it to the "second round". The contest works thus: 5,000 entries were accepted in January. Yesterday, those 5,000 entries were whittled down to 1,000 left standing (including mine, yay!) This first round was judged solely on the "pitch" (i.e. describe your novel in less that 300 words, yikes) and the next round will be judged on the first 5,000 words of the novel. 500 Quarter-Finalists will be announced March 22nd, and from there, those finalists will be judged on the complete manuscript and whittled again to a mere 250 semi-finalists, which then will be judged by voting on Amazon.com. The winner (announced in June) receives $15,000 plus a publishing contract from Penquin. The contest is open only to unpublished novelists, hence the "breakthrough" part.
My pitch (if you are interested) went thus:
"It’s the Summer of Dead Girls in St. Petersburg, Florida. Beneath the palm trees and behind the tropical blooms, lurks a serial killer who calls himself The Butcher and preys on young girls.
When the remains of his latest two victims wash ashore in the bayou behind this quiet cul de sac, the residents find themselves cast into a grim spotlight. When the FBI focuses their investigation on the neighbors themselves, suspicions arise. Could there be a serial killer in their midst?
LITTLE FLOWERS is an 76,000 word psychological suspense novel told from the point of view of the neighbors, in three distinct voices: Fern Wilder, a terrified single mother with her own young daughter to protect; Rosie Rhodes, neighborhood matriarch, whose morbid fascination of the case leads her on her own amateur investigation; and 15-year-old Ellie Schmidt, who longs to be The Butcher’s next victim because everyone loves a dead girl.
Can they unmask The Butcher before he strikes again?
How well do you know your neighbors?"
So! Wish me luck!
Other than that, it's been a crappy week. Three exhausting trips to three different doctors and Bob has been having a lot of "accidents" and I am up to my nose in laundry and haven't gotten much sleep. So, it was nice to have a little good news.