Hello friends in the blogosphere!
As many of you know, I entered my novel, Women Like Us, in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. So far, it’s been a hair-pulling, nerve-wracking ride as I
obsess over anticipate the next contest announcement. If you’re not familiar with ABNA, it works like this:
- Ten thousand people enter their novels with the hopes of winning one of five publishing contracts. The grand prize comes with a $50 K advance. Not too shabby.
- Judges scrutinize each contestant’s pitch letter. The top two thousand entries move on to the second round. The remaining eight thousand authors marvel at their terrible luck.
- Amazon vine reviewers read and critique an excerpt from each of those two thousand entries, and choose five hundred to move on to the quarterfinals. (This is where I am now! A quarterfinalist! And no, I didn’t sit by my computer refreshing the screen on the ABNA website every ten seconds on the day of the quarterfinals announcement. I was being a good mommy and taking my kids to a museum in DC. I refreshed my iPhone screen every ten seconds like a normal person.)
- Publisher’s Weekly reviewers read and score the full manuscripts for the remaining five hundred entries. The top twenty-five will move onto the semi-finals.
I’m not going to explain past this point because we’re not there yet. BUT, I have received my PW review, and I’m so happy with it! I sure hope this means I got a good score, maybe good enough to move on. The announcement for the semi-finalists is June 13, which also happens to be the day of Emma’s Kindergarten graduation. I’m going to have to ask my husband to hide my iPhone that morning, I think. (Kidding! Of course I wouldn’t let a silly novel contest distract me from such a tremendous milestone in my eldest daughter’s life. Probably. I will leave the iPhone in the car, just in case.)
I’m pasting my review here so you can all congratulate me. And if you’re interested in downloading a free excerpt of Women Like Us, you can find it here. If you do read it, pretty please, write me a review. I’d love to hear what you think! Here’s the PW review:
Lemon is a young, white, down-on-her-luck woman living in Alabama during the 80s and 90s. After leaving prison and living in a halfway house, Lemon breaks her parole. She is pregnant by her manipulative employer at K-Mart. Then she meets Rayline, an older, unhappily married black woman. Throughout her life, Rayline has been called retarded, but she is clearly not. The two lonely women instantly bond and decide to forge a new life together, evading their men and the law. Although many terrible things happen to Lemon and to Rayline as they continue on their adventure, the overall feel of the novel is upbeat. The fast-paced narrative addresses racism, murder, discrimination, loss, female friendship, and mothering. A charming and often funny feature is the colorful (sometimes off-color) dialect. Almost totally populated by strong, quirky female characters, this would most appeal to women readers or to those concerned with race and women’s status in late 20th-century America.
Not bad, huh?