Archives for the month of: March, 2018

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To compete or not to compete?

Does entering writing competitions achieve anything other than deplete your bank account and inflate others?

Maybe – for the few who win, place or show.

Last year I researched contests, this year I’m entering them.

Why?

My writing career is going nowhere and doing the same things and expecting different results is a definition of insanity, right? So to delay that diagnosis last year I sent East Van Saturday Night – five short stories and a novella to maybe a dozen traditional Canadian publishers hoping they could take some of that grant money they get from the federal government and publish my book. Indie authors get no respect, and in most cases don’t deserve any, but traditionally published authors get it whether they deserve it or not.

Most didn’t even bother to reply, a few sent generic rejections and one, Thistledown Press, actually wrote a letter saying “while your writing is fresh, visceral and intuitively captures the rawness of youth and the dark energy of East Van, we do not have an audience presently to support such work.”

Nice, but no cigar.

This year I’m thinking some recognition from a notable contest might generate some interest among readers and publishers. At the very least I could use the phrase “award winning” or “shortlisted” to stimulate my webpage and social media sites.

I began by submitting The Death You Choose, a story about a senior who realizes he has dementia and decides to take his own life rather than be relegated to the living dead, to Writer’s Digests’ Short Short Story contest in January.

The fee was $30 and the submission was an online so no additional costs were incurred.

I can’t find out who won, but obviously it wasn’t me, however, the fee might have been worth the exercise in editing a story about four times too long down to the required 1500 words.

Next I entered The Jacob Zilber Prize for Short Fiction sponsored by Prism, a literary publication put out by The Creative Writing Program of the University of British Columbia.

I was ambivalent about this submission because I feel there’s an inherent bias in favour of submissions from fellow academics, and that’s not me. I mean how would it look if someone without a degree in Creative Writing won a contest sponsored by a Creative Writing Department?

However, they kept extending the deadline which I interpreted as they were light on submissions, which means my work might have a better chance. Publication in literary magazines can fast track a career. I know it’s hard to believe, but in Canada it’s true.

So I sent in East Van Saturday Night and the Paper Shack, two short stories from the anthology that traditional publishers have all but given up on.

Why two? The entry fee for one was $35, and only an additional five bucks for a second one. Again, an online submission so no additional costs.

Results are pending.

I chose my novel Abandoned Dreams to submit to the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards in the category of literary fiction. Here’s where it starts to get expensive and that question about sanity begins to arise again.

Submission fee is $99.00 CA plus you have to send a paperback so add $20 for the cost of the book and shipping.

The submission process was the same for The National Indie Excellence Awards to which I submitted a paperback edition of Mad Maggie.

By the middle of April I plan to submit Forest to The Book Pipeline Competition which seeks material for film or television adaptation. They want approximately the first 5,000 words and full synopsis (1-3 pages). I think a good movie about Sasquatches is long overdue, don’t you?

And once I finish this blog I’m going to submit The Big Picture to the 2018 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest to get their early bird discount of $89 USD. I going in this competition primarily because I like that “all entrants receive a mini-critique which will provide ratings on five key literary areas: appearance, plot, development, formatting and marketability.”

If you lose, at least they tell you why?

As the year progresses I might even enter more contests – until I run out of money, or go back on my meds.

Want to preview the books I’ve entered? Go to my Amazon Author Page at

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Readers’ Favorite Annual Book Award Contest

https://readersfavorite.com/annual-book-award-contest.htm

The 5th Annual Book Pipeline Competition

https://bookpipeline.com/

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs

 

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Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1652832/book-awards-to-compete-or-not-to-compete

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The second book in The Mattie Saunders Series, Cold-Blooded, has just been released and you can enter to win one of 100  free E-Book editions on BookLikes until April 15, 2018.

In Book 1, The Rocker and the Bird Girl, you’ll meet the heroine, Mattie Saunders, a twenty-something, slightly eccentric loner who loves birds and so far has devoted her relatively short life to the rescue, care and re-homing of exotic ones people keep as pets, like parrots.

The sanctuary her grandfather left her is out of funds and in an effort to raise some money so her birds won’t be homeless yet again, she reaches out the Bodine, the lead guitarist of the bad-boy rock band Seditious. She’s learned Bodine has a pet Macaw and since she assumes he’s fabulously wealthy hopes he’ll by sympathetic and use some of that wealth to help these precious creatures.

Telling you more would be like shooting myself in the foot since I want you to buy the book.

In Book 2, Cold Blooded, Mattie receives a call from Liz, an old friend from high school, asking if it’s possible to temporarily board some reptiles at Saunders Bird Sanctuary. The Reptile Refuge where Liz volunteers has been closed be police while they investigate a suspicious death that took place on the premises.

Mattie’s not concerned with the circumstances and sees it as an opportunity to reconnect with Liz as well as help some animals in distress, but she soon discovers it’s not just the displaced inhabitants of The Reptile Refuge that are cold blooded.

Cold-Blooded also addresses contemporary issues including love, friendship, family, the rescue and rehabilitation of exotic pets including birds and reptiles, and the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic.

Links associated with this post;

Link to BookLikes Giveaway http://booklikes.com/giveaways

To purchase The Rocker and the Bird Girl, Book 1 in The Mattie Saunders Series as either an E-Book or Paperback go to my Amazon Author Page at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

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Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1651507/win-one-of-100-copies-of-cold-blooded-the-mattie-saunders-series-book-2

 

Jared is a fifteen year-old First Nations youth living with his mother, Maggie and her boyfriend in a small town in northern British Columbia.

 

To say Jared’s family is dysfunctional would be an understatement. His mother has a homicidal temper and has been jailed for assault and mandated to take anger management programs. His home is a party house from which his mother and her boyfriend sell drugs and partake in other criminal activity.

 

Jared’s a smart kid with a smarter mouth and struggles to maintain some normalcy in his life despite his role models. This becomes increasingly difficult since it’s not only his family but all his peers who indulge in similar destructive lifestyles.

 

Indeed, author Eden Robinson has included almost every type of self-destructive and anti-social behavior you can imagine including domestic violence, bullying, promiscuity, self-mutilation, S&M and, of course drugs, more drugs all topped off with binge drinking.

 

As Jared’s life lurches from crisis to crisis he copes by staying stoned or inebriated or both. Soon he can’t tell what is real and what isn’t. When he reaches out to some elders for help, including his paternal grandmother, he discovers they have an entirely different agenda for him.

 

Yet despite the magical power of the cultural mythic creatures that align themselves with Jared in his time of need his salvation comes in a very conventional form, which unfortunately makes for an anti-climatic ending.

 

Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson is a page turner for sure. The author does a remarkable job of defining her characters through authentic dialogue and dramatic action. The story in some places is laugh out loud funny and in others almost too painful to read. Her portrayal of Jared’s young life as a First Nations youth is brutal and honest though never didactic.

 

In this era of “Idle No More”, mainstream media has come under criticism for it’s coverage of First Nations people and their issues suggesting they are always depicted by the three “Ds” – drumming, drunk or dead.

 

As a journalist and an author I agree with the criticism and am attempting to understand more about the issues and the people so it can be reflected with honest and empathy in my writing.

 

Though an entertaining book, Son of a Trickster is an extremely negative representation of First Nations people. It’s a good thing Robinson is a First Nations person herself, otherwise it’s unlikely her book would have been short-listed for the Giller Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards in Canada.

 

 

 

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1646289/an-entertaining-story-about-a-disturbing-problem-growing-up-first-nations-in-canada

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