Thursday, March 20, 2014

ABNA: My Pitch

So I entered my latest book in a contest hosted by amazon.com called the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. There are many reasons for entering, though the biggest is a search for validation. I think I write well; those who read my books say I write well; agents and editors say I write well; however, there's still this lingering doubt about my abilities. Entering the contest and, hopefully, tasting some success is my intended therapy for doubt.

The first round of the contest involved sending in a book pitch. I'll admit, this is my biggest weakness when it comes to writing. I cannot pitch or sell anything. I have worked, reworked, revised, and purchased help with queries and never truly found success with any of my methods. Ironically, the requests for full manuscripts have come from contests, not from querying. So . . . I wrote a pitch for this contest and entered. Here's what I wrote:

Ryan Moon is infected and dying. The virus that killed his family and his best friend now threatens to turn millions of people into flesh craving zombies. Too late for Ryan, though. Part of a government program to find a cure, he lives a captive existence between a hospital and high school. It bites. How’s a guy supposed to focus in class with this kind of life? But he tries. Because all Ryan has to live for is a chance to survive and graduate, and the affections of a mysterious girl he met online. Jessica Snow. She’s Ryan’s only friend these days. Pure and perfect, Jessica brings out the best in Ryan—though she’s exposing emotions that are making his condition worse.

And he’s getting worse. Every day brings Ryan closer to becoming a monster, closer to the end. Desperate to live, and for love, Ryan promises to take Jessica to prom. A promise made impossible after a violent attack at his school forces Ryan into a secret clinic run by Jessica’s father. There, Dr. Snow, who has a daring plan to use Ryan’s blood as a possible vaccine, tortures Ryan for the sake of science. But the drug won’t work on everyone, and if Ryan doesn’t act, he could start the apocalypse.

He is desperate to escape, to save the world and to be with Jessica. Ryan will take her to prom, if her father doesn’t kill him first. 

That's my pitch for Dead and Beloved. And guess what? It worked. The book made it to round two of the contest. I don't know what will happen from here, but it doesn't really matter. I have a bit of validation and a realization that I'm getting better. 

Happy reading. 

~ Jamie

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cheering for the Underdog

To celebrate the Superbowl, I'm re-posting a message I listed in 2012. Go team.

I hate predictable endings—can’t stand them. If I’m watching a movie or reading a book that feels predictable, I’m likely to find an excuse to not to finish. The book might be great; the movie might be an award winner. I don’t care. If it’s predictable, I don’t like it. That also applies to heroes. If the hero was already great, and success was expected, I’m not enthralled. It doesn’t mean I don’t like them, it just means I’ll be less impressed when they win.

On the other hand, I’m a sucker for underdogs. Show me an unheralded protagonist with everything against them and I’m likely to be interested. Give me a hero who was never meant to be and I’ll cheer for them every day. There’s a part of me that’s drawn to underdogs. I can’t get enough.
This is one reason why I love watching the Olympics. Anything can happen; anyone can be a winner; heroes rise from obscurity. There are champions and titans, winners and heroes. I’ll be cheering for every event, but chances are I’ll cheer loudest for the underdogs.

~ Jamie