Monday, February 17, 2014


For anyone clueless at this, there are two repeating themes I will be discussing today:

My FOMS (Fear of Missing Something)


ABNA (The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award)

I seem to be unable to step away from this particular activity... It is still OPEN by the way... will be for a couple weeks for any category that doesn't fill up early...

So what IS the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award?

Every year Amazon has a contest for novels—they let in 10,000 entrants: 2000 each in the categories of Young Adult, General Fiction, Romance, Fantasy/Sci Fi, and my own category this year, Mystery/Thriller.

Every month the list gets narrowed, first, based on the 300 word pitch which cuts the playing field from 2000 per area to 500 per... Second month narrows the 500 to 100 based on the first 3000-5000 words (these are quarterfinals). And then the NEXT narrows it from 100 to 25 (semifinalists)... Then finally, there are the finals.

So see, this stress fest drags all the way out for 5 months... Who WOULDN'T want to be part of it?

But seriously, the WE-ness of it is awesome. It is one of those things like bootcamp or initiation or nursing school—you know—create forever bonds between people who share the experience.

My History with this Contest:

I entered for the first time with Confluence (my first novel) and got knocked out at pitch round.
I entered the next year with Kahlotus Disposal Site (my 6th) and made it to the semifinals.
I entered the third year with Legacy (my 2nd, substantially revised) and made quarterfinals.
Last year I entered Medium Wrong (my 11th?) and got knocked out at pitch...

So this is my 5th year and I am entering the first set of A Shot in the Light.... Here is the pitch.

A beach covered in dead seagulls brings Sidney Knight's quest for quiet to a halt. She's come to the Oregon coast to hammer out a few freelance deadlines but this breaks her concentration. According to her brother, a scientist at the Centers for Disease Control, the avian flu has reached epidemic classification. His warning not to get the flu shot, contrary to authority recommendations, scares her.

Back in Portland she begins to dig and notices a disturbing trend: the shot, rather than reducing risk, is increasing deaths. Health departments, hospitals, and news sources are silent and care providers have been warned not to “scare people”. Sidney, young and green, doubts she can handle a story this big, but what if she's the only one looking? When the CDC is locked down with her brother inside and one of her closest friends dies from the vaccine, Sidney's mind is made up. Green or not, she has to figure out how this happened, who is responsible, and who can set it right.

A Shot in the Light is a new adult epidemic conspiracy thriller and will appeal to people who like a complex plot, powerful relationships and an emotional roller coaster.

Who else is entering?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Maybe this is your year, Hart? I say go for it!

ViolaNut said...

I'd add "journalist" before the first mention of her name. Just makes it super-clear straight off the bat. Good luck!

Old Kitty said...

Lovely Tart!!! GOOD LUCK!! Yay! Take care

Sarah Ahiers said...

I was JUST coming over here to ask if you were entering!
I'm not, for agent reasons and because i never do, but man, i would pick up your book in an instant based on your pitch!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Hope this is your year, Hart! Congrats to you for fitting it do such a great job juggling everything and always manage to make good progress with your projects.

Love the pitch!

Jennifer Kreft said...

I'm glad you can't not. ABNA wouldn't be the same without you, Hart! Good luck with it.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Wishing you lots of luck and fingers crossed that this is your year!

Anonymous said...

Good luck! Sounds like a cool contest. I hope to be part of it one day.

Andrew Leon said...

I am not entering this year. Mostly, that's due to the arbitrariness of the whole thing. A contest like this should have some type of objective measure, and this one just doesn't.

erica and christy said...

I love ABNA!! I'm not entering but for personal reasons (ie no eligible book to enter)! Good luck, Hart!!!!!

Teresa Coltrin said...

I'm so glad you're entering this baby. It's a great book. I like your pitch too.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

With that kind of track record, you have to enter.

Helena said...

I want to see you win ABNA, and A Shot in the Dark could do it! And since I'm reading the series (gad, I'm so behind in everything) and enjoying it immensely, I know what I'm talking about. So go for it, and vaya con Dios.

Misha Gericke said...

I might actually enter next year. Before, I was already querying the book I had. This year, I'm still editing or writing all the ones I want to publish this and next year.

Sigh. My timing sucks epically.