Some of you may know that I am a writer. I love to write (as you have all witnessed with my very, very long blog posts). I remember winning awards in eighth grade because of my writing. Ever since then I've just been enamoured by the power of the written word.
When I went to college I HAD to read. I read so much my eyes bled. Ok, not really. But sometimes I felt like they were going to bleed. I had to read so much boring stuff that I swore once I got out of college I'd never read again! Unless of course it was the scriptures. Or if I found a really good book. But that was it. No more reading.
And writing? Don't even talk about writing. With all my business writing classes (apparently when you major in business they want you to actually sound intelligent when you send out media to employees, co-workers and bosses. Who knew?) and English assignments (that the teacher never liked because I usually wrote about stuff that no one writes about...like eating disorders or how to avoid car wrecks when travelling home) and business plans (yes, actual business plans. I think I wrote five altogether) and estate plans and lessons for church (I was a RS teacher 3 out of my 4 years of college), I vowed to throw my laptop out the window and laugh at it.
But Tyler wouldn't let my throw the laptop out the window because we spent too much money on it. So I relented and kept it.
Graduation came and went. I was working at a bank when I graduated. My branch was half an hour away, so I had to stay there for lunches. And what is there to do when you're eating lunch trying not to dwell on this job that you hate?
Wouldn't you know it? I started taking books to work. ONLY because there was nothing else to do besides complain about my hostile work environment. (It wasn't really hostile. I just really disliked it from the depths of my soul.)
And then a funny thing happened. I started reading at home on the weekends. And Tyler and I started reading books before bed. And I got hooked.
I bought books from DI just so I had something to read. I got a library card!
And then I got a new job that I loved, but I still read. I read so much that Tyler started to feel neglected. So I cut back on the reading.
And then (there are a lot of and then's. Sorry.) something really funny happened. I suddenly had an overwhelming surge of creativity flow through me that I absolutely had to release it or else I would positively explode!
So I took a painting class. Though that helped, it wasn't quite enough. It was like a pin prick in a swimming pool. The pressure was building and I was going to burst.
Soon after I had a dream. It was such a crazy dream that when I woke up I had to write it down. (For those of you who didn't know this already, that's how Stephenie Meyer started Twilight. She dreamt the scene where Bella and Edward are in the meadow and he's "in the sun." And now look at her. She's the next J.K. Rowling. Don't ever discredit your dreams. They are very liberating to your creativity.)
Before I left for work that morning, I had fifteen pages of this fantastic gibberish written down. It was essentially two completely different chapters in someone's life. I knew I had to write the story to bind them together. So I did. Several months later Desert Snow was born.
Aaahhh. That hit the spot. I felt much better. But I wasn't done! I had to keep doing it; I had to keep writing.
Two months later, The Journey Home was born. A few months after that, The Dream Weaver was kind of born. It's about 2/3rds of the way done with the promise that I will go back someday and finish it.
And in November I took on the NaNoWriMo challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I did it. I did it and have never been more proud of any other writing. In the month of November, The Gifted was born.
And do you want to know something funny? Every single one of my books started with a dream. I can tell you the exact scene or exact line from every book that came from my dream. In The Dream Weaver it was a single line that scared me to death. So when I woke up I had to write it into a book.
So. Here it is, February 1st and you are probably wondering why I'm babbling. That happens a lot, doesn't it? But you still love me anyway, and that's the point.
Tonight, at 12:01am EST (10:01 my time), submissions for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest will officially be accepted. That means that tonight, I will enter The Gifted into a contest against 9,999 other manuscripts.
The prize? A publishing contract with Penguin Group. Am I excited? Yes. Am I nervous? Not really. I don't have anything to lose. Do I hope I'll win? Yes, but I'm not completely naive. I know I'm up against some stiff competition (my dad and aunt are also entering). So even though I probably won't win the contest, I'm still grateful because now I have a polished manuscript to submit to publishers.
Here is the contest outline:
February 2 Contest submission period opens (That's tonight). 10,000 entries are slimmed down to 2,000 based on a "pitch." A 300 word summary of the book, it's strengths and character development, the intended audience and how readers identify with my book.
March 16 Quarter finalists announced on Amazon.com. The 2,000 submissions are cut to 500 based on an excerpt from the beginning of the book.
April 15 Semifinalists announced and Publishers Weekly reviews posted. The 500 semifinalists books are read by a panel of judges and given reviews.
May 15 - May 21 Three Finalists chosen by Penguin; Amazon.com customers vote for the Grand Prize Winner. Anyone with an Amazon.com account can get online, download excerpts from the top three and vote on the winner.
May 22 Grand Prize is announced on Amazon.com.
So, as you can see, it'll be at least a few weeks before I hear anything. I've been rushing for 20 days to get things ready, and then I'll have to sit and wait. I'll keep you posted and let you know anything as soon as I do. Because I know you're all dying to hear about my contest results. But you'll all have to have patience; it'll be a while.
It's ok though. While I wait, I'll probably read a book...or five.