My journey through the world of writing and everything that lies in between…

Posts tagged ‘contest’

Talking Sandals

I placed third in a writing contest.

The contest was held over at Natalie Whipple’s blog. She posted a Five Word challenge–you had to use the five words she chose in a story. And it had to be 333 words…or less.

The five words:


Some of those I had no clue what they meant. Thank you, internet dictionary, for clarification 😛 Anyway, I wrote a story about the mythical bakezori–otherwise known as a straw sandal that comes to life. 

The Talking Sandal

That creepy little thing helped get me 3rd place in the contest 🙂 Head on over to Natalie’s blog and read my entry The Talking Sandal if you’re curious. Also read the other two–they are awesome in their own right!


Technically found this out last night but it wasn’t going to be announced until today so I decided to wait.

I won The Enchanted Inkpot’s One Year Anniversary Giveaway (Part I). Look at all the books I won! Two of which I am really dying to read (Brightly Woven and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon). But all of those books look fantastic!Funny thing is I just got Brightly Woven from the library yesterday–I guess I can go return it now that I’m getting it in the mail 🙂

There’s still a chance to win though–they are having a second part to their giveaway. Go and check it out 🙂

Very Awesome Contest

 If you are a fan of YA, then listen up! An awesome contest is being held at deb author Alexandra Bracken’s blog for her upcoming release Brightly Woven.

Summary (courtesy of Amazon):

When Wayland North brings rain to a region that’s been dry for over ten years, he’s promised anything he’d like as a reward. He chooses the village elder’s daughter, sixteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabel, who is a skilled weaver and has an unusual knack for repairing his magical cloaks. Though Sydelle has dreamt of escaping her home, she’s hurt that her parents relinquish her so freely and finds herself awed and afraid of the slightly ragtag wizard who is unlike any of the men of magic in the tales she’s heard. Still, she is drawn to this mysterious man who is fiercely protective of her and so reluctant to share his own past.

The pair rushes toward the capital, intent to stop an imminent war, pursued by Reuel Dorwan (a dark wizard who has taken a keen interest in Sydelle) and plagued by unusually wild weather. But the sudden earthquakes and freak snowstorms may not be a coincidence. As Sydelle discovers North’s dark secret and the reason for his interest in her and learns to master her own mysterious power, it becomes increasingly clear that the fate of the kingdom rests in her fingertips. She will either be a savior, weaving together the frayed bonds between Saldorra and Auster, or the disastrous force that destroys both kingdoms forever.

She’s giving three prizes away–plus a free signed bookmark to anyone who emails her proof that you pre-ordered the book.

The grand prize: A signed, finished copy of Brightly Woven, a $50 gift card to any bookstore of your choice and a signed book mark.

Details about entering on on her site. I don’t know about you but this is one book I’ve been dying to read, especially after reading an excerpt. (I suggest you read that too!)

So what are you waiting for? Go and enter!

200th Post: Journey Through Time (Contest/Giveaway!)

So, it’s my 200th post! I guess I didn’t realize I was this far until well, now. And since I never celebrated the 100th post, this one will be extra special–complete with a little giveaway 🙂

It’s interesting to see how this blog has developed over the course of time. When I started it, I really had no intention of keeping it up 😛 But then I got drawn into the World of Blogging and the rest is history.

Anyway, in celebration, I’m going to giveaway a little “grab bag” of sorts to one lucky commenter, using a random number generator. The grab bag will consist most assuredly of some form of chocolate and candy AND I’ll be giving away a choice of one my favorite historical books, each from a distinctive time and place (click on the covers to see what each is about):

All you have to do is answer one question in the comments section. Are you ready?

If you could travel anywhere in the world, and in any time period, where and when would it be?

This is an especially hard question for me because I love history and choosing one time is hard. For me, it’s a tie between the first century A.D. in the Holy Land, where I’d see if I could hear Jesus preach, or early-mid Edo period Japan (sometime in the 1700s), where I could see traditional Japan, with the strict caste levels of society–from samurai to farmer, to artisan and merchant–it would be wonderful to see how each class lived.

Anyway, you all have until this Friday, the 11th, at 8PM Eastern Standard Time to answer in the comments below before I close them and choose a winner 🙂

Ramble and Babble

Since I can’t quite think of one thing to post about, I’m just gonna ramble 😛 Hence the title.

Anyway, I entered the first paragraph of LotS for agent Nathan Bransford’s 3rd Sort-of-Annual-Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge.  Considering there’s well over 2000 entries, I highly doubt mine will even come close to placing–especially after reading just a few of them. Of course there’s always a very *slim* chance…

 (BTW, if you wish to enter, the contest ends 4PM Pacific time. Tomorrow, readers will get to vote on the finalists).

Curious to see what I entered? It’s similar to what I had posted once before for Excerpt Monday a few months back, only I changed it a little to make flow better.

Yukionna floated along the wind, blending in with the whirling snow as she watched her prey. Two men in straw coats and wide-brimmed bamboo hats stumbled along the narrow mountain pass, piles of wood strapped to their backs. She held back her laughter as she watched them fight against the winter winds. Their last memory would be of her icy breath against their skin as she took their pitiful lives.

Not the greatest ever, but oh well. I am slightly comforted by the fact that I do think it is better than some of the entries…

On to another seemingly related though slightly off topic rambling…

NaNoWriMo is having a new project/contest/a bit of fun by doing 30 Covers in 30 Days. Basically, they will be perusing the Novel Info pages of each Wrimo and reading over the novel synopsis section and choosing one per day to make a spectacular “book cover”, courtesy of Chris Papasedero of the graphic design firm Fwis. Now I realize it’s another crapshoot having my novel-in-progress chosen, considering there’s nearly 40,000 participants signed up for NaNo this year, and that number will increase as November approaches. But that still didn’t stop me from making my little novel synopsis as catchy as possible. Here it is, in it’s as-close-to-perfect-for-now glory (also posted on my Current Projects tab):

She is the embodiment of winter: Cold, cruel, yet serene and beautiful. She revels in taking the lives of those who travel the narrow mountain roads in the harsh winter months.

Then one blustery night, she encounters a young carpenter, whose eyes seem to stare past her cruel exterior. Conflicting feelings of sorrow, remorse and passion assail her, transforming her from a phantom of the snow to an ordinary human.

Angry yet desperate, she embarks on a search for the reason why she became mortal–and why memories of a distant past ignite pain and longing within her cold heart. She is determined to gain the trust of Kazuhiro, the man who cursed her with human vulnerability, and make him ultimately regret surviving his encounter with her.

However, as she spends time with Kazuhiro and his family, she realizes that being human may have more power than she originally thought…and may not be such a curse after all. Yet there are those who are suspicious of her and seek to unveil the truth behind what she is, threatening to turn her back into the vengeful Lady of the Snow forever.

Bitterness, hatred, love and happiness war within her as she struggles to discover where she belongs. Can she become something other than a monster?

Ah, I’m having my little daydream now about how awesome the cover would look…

If anything, that little synopsis has helped boost my writing ego a tiny bit. I’ve gotten two or three messages via the NaNoMail thing telling me how fascinating it sounds. I’ve also had a few random people add me to their buddy list, so I’m assuming they read my novel synopsis and found it slightly interesting too.

OK, time to stop inflating my ego 😛

Another Contest Courtesy of The Swivet

A new contest held over at literary agent Colleen Lindsay’s blog challenges you to write your query in haiku format.

That’s right: the traditional five-seven-five syllable pattern.

I have to admit I love these contests even though my attempts are pretty poor at best. But it’s still fun to take part and strech the mind muscles a bit.

The winner gets a query critique. The deadline is Friday. More details are on her blog.

Anyway, just give it a try, even if your query isn’t really ready yet (mine is just a scattering of things put together, so if by God’s sense of humor I win, I’ll really have to work at editing it). It’s a fun exercise and really interesting to read all the other entries.

Here’s my poor attempt 😛

She of two cultures
Past shadowed in secrecy
True terror unknown

Query in 140 Characters or Less

There’s a little contest being held over at The Swivet’s blog until midnight tonight. The challenge is to convey your book in 140 characters or less–the amount that you could post on a Twitter update. Yes, that’s 140 characters–and spaces count.

I spent over a half an hour trying to pare mine down–I was always just over by two or three characters. This is the one I finally came up with, and it’s still not all that great:

Kaiyo despises her unknown father. But hate will change to fear when confronted with the truth behind his detachment.

I suppose that’s the essence of the story, even though there’s much more…like her struggling to find it in her heart to accept who her father really is, as well as overcoming being a young woman born from questionable circumstances in a time when such was frowned upon…especially when she is of two different ethnicities, which is definitely viewed with little favor back in Japan in 1890 (or anywhere in the world really). And then there’s the romance side to the story, which isn’t a major part, but a sidestory.

It all came down to what the story was about, and it’s really about Kaiyo overcoming the bitterness mixed with fear concerning her father. Eh, it’s not that great, I know, but it was a fun little exercise.

If you’re interested, head on over to The Swivet’s blog to read more details about the contest as well as some of the queries submitted.

Contest Time Again!

This contest comes from literary agent Rachelle Gardner. It’s very simple. Write a haiku (you know–the standard 5-7-5 syllable pattern) about the writing life or the holidays.

The deadline is Saturday, the 20th, 11:59 p.m.; finalists should be up on Monday for readers/voters.

I submitted mine, the horrible poet that I am 😛 I wrote this in ten minutes, as is probably obvious but it’s lack of poetic quality. Anyway, I decided to try in the limited amount of syllables to convey my passion for writing historical fiction, but that’s probably not that easy to see, lol. But hey I decided to try–who can turn down the oppportunity to have the first ten pages of a manuscript critiqued or a $20 Amazon gift card?

Characters find me
Voices from the distant past
Begging to be heard.

Go ahead and give it a try–it can’t hurt!

How to Improve

The contest winner over on Nathan’s blog has been chosen. Congrats to Natalie! I voted for hers because it was the most unique (in my opinion) and catchy.

I also discovered one of the likely reasons mine did not place (and I kind of thought this before I entered the contest too). 

It fell into a prevalent, and often predictable, pattern–the weather pattern 😛

Unfortunately, I tend to use this one way too often–I’ve even been told so by my critique group. One of the most difficult things for me is starting a scene. It always starts slow–either because I’m using the often cliched weather description or it just isn’t catchy enough. Of course, I’ve been told after the first paragraph or two, it jumps into action and gets pretty good, but I’ve got to work on the starting part.

So, when the book is finished and I start the revision process, I have to focus on (among other things) perfecting my beginning paragraph, whether it’s for the book or for the scene. I believe this may also fall on the outlying regions of setting the mood and description–the latter which I always have problems with too. If a book could be all dialogue, I’d do wonderful since I think it’s one of my stronger areas. But alas, that would make for a very dull book 😛

Writing Goals for 2009

I realize the time for a New Year’s resolution is a few weeks away, but it’s on my mind now so I figured I’d write while it’s on the forefront.

My goal for this year is to get my first draft researched, edited and completed enough that I can start sending out queries by the end of the year.

I’m this close to typing “the end” with the book. I wrote about 700 more words today, bringing me closer to the goal. I’m not sure exactly how much is left–guessing between 7-10 chapters–but I’m not entirely sure on that so I’ll just say that I’ll finish when I finish. 😛

Yesterday at my critique group organizational meeting, we made goals and changes for the year to help things move along better.  We used to submit our chapters or sections a week ahead of time, but the majority of the group was having a hard time getting things read and critiqued well in that time span since two people per week were normally critiqued (there are only seven of us). We decided to make submissions due two weeks ahead of our critique date, giving everyone plenty more time to do a thorough reading.

My first session is January 22nd, meaning I need to have something up by the end of the first week in January. So I really need to get this book done, so I can go back and focus on editing the chapter that’s up next–it generally takes me a week to do that 😛

We also decided that we should post a running synopsis of our book up to that point so that if we have to skip a week here and there, we aren’t lost. I found this great idea because a good chunk of my book is changing (at least from what they’ve already read) so instead of submitting new or redone chapters that take place a good deal before where they left off, they won’t be confused and I won’t get comments about continuity 😛 This should be fairly easy to do as I have a running chapter synopsis anyway.

That’s pretty much all we’ve changed for the year, but it should make things easier for all of us.

Anyway, I am wondering (and worrying slightly) about the monumental task of research waiting for me at the end of my first draft. It’s something I try not to dwell on too much now, but it’s hard not to, as it is a mountain I’m going to have to climb at some point. I am hoping that it won’t be as hard as I thought, but with a completely different culture, language and time period, I’ve got my work cut out for me. Not to mention the task of editing…cannot forget that important aspect.

Anyway, the contest I mentioned in the previous post has chosen finalists. The paragraphs were good–not my taste and most of them were too long in my opinion–but well written. I don’t think any of them are books I’d actually pick up and read by the paragraph alone, but it all comes down to a matter of taste.

Of course I hoped I’d be one of the finalists, but out of 1300+ entries, it was slim. Still, the hope was there as well as the slight disappointment that followed. I see it as practice for the mounds of rejection letters I will probably receive in the coming years for my book 😛

One good thing about it though is that if mine was chosen and a partial ms was requested, I’d be scrambling around, editing like mad. I may have over 3/4 of the book completed, but a very small portion of that (perhaps like two chapters) are good enough to even be looked at by an agent. So it was for a reason that I didn’t win at this time–but I will eventually succeed in landing an agent and a contract–I am determined to do such, even if the publishing industry becomes more and more selective and difficult to break through. I will not be deterred! 🙂

And on that note, I’m off to bed. This post was becoming a bit on the long and rambling side anyway.

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