Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hi. My Name is Lisa and I'm a Contest-a-holic

If you're looking for my entry for The Writer's Voice, you'll find it here.

Over the last few years I’ve discovered something. I’m a contest junkie.

I suppose I should have figured it out long before I did. Back when I was writing short fiction I would have days when I would scour the internet for short story contests, hoping to find just the right one to enter, maybe a themed contest to spark my imagination, or maybe the perfect contest venue for an old favorite that hadn’t yet found a home.

For a long time I was a regular in the Writers of the Future contest. I even made it to the semifinals once, the prize for which was a great critique by K.D. Wentworth.

For several years I took on the challenge of entering Family Circle’s short fiction contest despite mainstream fiction being pretty much outside my comfort zone. Much to my surprise, one year I got the call that I won.

After getting serious about writing novel-length fiction, much to my delight, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) was just getting rolling. I’ve entered every year it’s been open, for five years total, with four different books. Three times (including this year) I’ve made it to the semifinals. The other two times I didn’t made it out of the gate.

But no matter what, entering the contest has become a compulsion, a challenge to myself to have another manuscript written and polished come contest time. For me that's prize enough.

But here’s the thing. I never go into any of the contests expecting (or even hoping too hard) to win (though of course winning is always nice).

For me, it’s more the excitement of the competition, the anticipation of the results, the high of making it to the next round. It’s the communities that spring up around these contests. It’s the camaraderie that forms between contestants despite the competition. It’s the friendships I make, ones that remain long after the contest is over.

But even more more, it’s the potential that exists in each competition, especially now that I’m submitting novels rather than short stories. It’s the knowledge that each one that I enter could be THE contest, could be the door that opens, could be the thing that changes everything for me.

So of course I’m a contest junkie because how on earth could I pass that up?

So tell me…are you a contest junkie too? What contests have you entered? What have you gotten out of them?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Writer's Voice Submission

For The Writer's Voice contest

The Road of the Dead
Adult Science Fiction

Plot Summary from Query:

In a resource-starved future, most people view The Program as a godsend. A technology invented by reclusive scientist Gary Frantengelo, The Program converts energy from the souls of the dead into cheap and limitless power. But there are some who believe that it is an abomination.

Singer-songwriter Sheppard Lorren hasn’t given much thought to the Program until he collides with it head-on. Far from home on tour, he receives devastating news. Not only is his cancer-stricken daughter Lily close to death, but his estranged wife has promised Lily’s soul to The Program. Joined by Fratangelo’s sister, and Mako, a brilliant technophile whose biggest secret is his involvement in the Program, Sheppard embarks on a journey to the Sacred Lands, ground zero for the abomination that is the Program. To get there, the trio must survive a nightmare landscape where the earth is cracked and lifeless and ectoplasm falls from the sky in a deadly blue rain, and even if they make it, it may be too late to save Lily, and there may be no stopping The Program as it reaches critical mass.

First 250 words:

Energy may neither be created nor destroyed. Therefore the sum of all the energies in the system is a constant.

-- The Law of Conservation of Energy

Even with his head ducked low to avoid recognition, Sheppard Lorren saw the prophet hovering above the street corner adjacent to the hotel. With his arms spread wide to draw in the gathering crowd, the prophet floated nearly three feet up, his feet planted as if the air he stood on was as solid as the sidewalk below.

“Through our greed we have defied the natural order.” Evangelical in its cadence, the man’s amplified voice boomed out across the folks who’d stopped to listen. “No, not defied. We have defiled the natural order.”

Sheppard tugged the brim of his baseball cap down lower over his eyes, and then approached the edge of the gathering, glancing around to make sure he hadn’t been noticed. But with everyone’s eyes focused on the larger-than-life figure levitating there like a god come to earth, nobody so much as blinked in his direction.

The prophet shimmered, a rippling in the three-dimensional image, and Sheppard recognized the figure for what it was. A hologram.

He’d seen prophets before. In some cities they were on practically every street, their clothes tattered, their hair dirty. As plentiful as robins had once been in springtime, they perched atop shipping crates or the bases of statues, preaching God’s wrath and the end of the world. But he’d never seen a manifestation like this.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sweeping Away the Blogwebs

Well it’s sure dusty in here.

So truth be known, I’ve been wanting to come back to blogging for a while now. But I guess it’s like returning a phone call to an old friend. The longer you put it off, the more awkward it feels to pick up the phone…and yet when you finally do make the call, you can’t believe you waited so long.

Anyway, I stumbled upon a blog contest recently that’s given me the incentive I needed to come back to blogging. So here I am tonight sweeping out the blogwebs in preparation.

I’m looking forward to catching up on all my favorite blogs and reconnecting with all my favorite bloggers!

More tomorrow.