Friday, May 22, 2009

Pinching Myself

I found out last night, in a weird way, that my novel, Beautiful Wreck, was a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. I explained it this way to my nine year old daughter: Making it to the semi finalist is like being one of the last six couples in Dancing With The Stars before I got voted to go home. There were originally 10,000 entries. As a semi-finalist I did receive a review from Publishers Weekly that was favorable but pointed out the reasons they didn't pick my novel as a finalist. I'm on cloud nine. Beautiful Wreck going this far in the contest gives me a better chance of attracting a publisher in these hard times.

Now here's the weird part: I was under the impression that Amazon would contact me through my email if I went any further than the first two thousand chose from the original ten thousand entries. I never got an email, so I figured the book was lost in the shuffle of so many fine pieces of work.

Yesterday I was searching for a link to one of my essays online and ran across a link to my first three chapters published by Amazon. Now, I knew that only quarter finalists had their first three chapters published on Amazon. So, I started freaking out because yes, quarter finalists was great. I went back to the original site where I submitted my novel for the contest. There were two messages on my page. One informing me that I had made it into the quarter finalist round. The other telling me my Publishers Weekly review was ready, and my novel had made it to the semi finalist before it went down.

Because I never knew until last night, a day after they announced the three finalists, I couldn't view this as anything but a huge success. There was no disappointment involved.

Writers have to search those moments in their earlier careers that help them shine. This is one of mine!

If you would like to read the first three chapters published by Amazon just click on the link and download the pdf.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Documentary Film Festival On DVD

I watched a haunting short film documentary today. It is called Album and was made by Barbara Bird. The film chronicles a family with old 8mm home movies 1943-1975. Family members narrate in the background. When I first began watching, the documentary seemed nice and sweet. As the movie progresses, little bits and pieces pull together. It is a moving story of a family that falls apart through drug abuse, mental illness, and adultery. The results are staggering.

One brother ends up in a long care facility until he dies alone one night in 2001. Another brother dies in a construction accident ten years after the family breaks up. The remaining three siblings carry with them a legacy of addictive personalities.

Barbara Bird came to filmmaking later in in life. She was a nurse for a number of years. Further proof that women have so much to give!

The Album is feature on a DVD call Full Frame (Documentary Film Festival).

Friday, May 15, 2009

Listening Is Part Of Writing

I just finished listening to a podcast on Writers On Writing hosted by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett. This show was an interview with Elizabeth Strout. Her book Olive Kitteridge just won the Pulitzer for fiction. It is an amazing book of short stories. The voice rings so true. Let me tell you folks: you know Olive Kitteridge. I'm providing a link to Writers on Writing so you can download and listen to the podcast.

Scroll down the page and click on the download for Elizabeth Strout, or go to the I-tunes store and subscribe to Writers on Writing. Then you can listen to all the great interviews they do on this show. It is well worth the effort.

Also remember my ebook Life on Black Mountain is still avialable for a free download. I'm not sure how much longer it will be available. I'd love to hear what you think.

click on download the pdf file.