Archive for April, 2010

Here is the review of The Sower done as part of the Amazon contest:

(This made me ridiculously excited because they talk about the thing as if it were a Real Book.)

From Publishers Weekly

Just one thing stands in the way of a crazed duke’s power grab in this successful YA fantasy: a peasant who bears the mark of the true king. There’s an exciting adventure to be sure, and even a chaste romance, but it’s the author’s thoughtful world-building that grabs and sustains the reader’s imagination. In a Dark/Middle Ages alternate reality, the Nordic lands were ruled by a succession of blessed kings until a jealous usurper misused and stole their magic, destroying natural harmony and breaking apart the kingdom. Now the evil Duke Thorvald plans to reunite the kingdom under his rule, using the magic of compulsion spells to raise an enormous army and easily conquer his neighbors. He can only be thwarted by an ancestor of the original kingly line. After years of searching, his priests locate a peasant family via the tax rolls and his henchmen murder all but one of them. 18-year-old Alek escapes, gravely injured, and Lady Annaka, a brave young woman at the Duke’s court, rescues him. Eventually Alek learns that his recently-discovered healing abilities are associated with his powers to restore harmony, but the unassuming young man remains reluctant to accept his birth-right until circumstances force his hand. The vivid imagery associated with the cruel Duke’s magic, the supernatural beings who aid Alek, and the story of the young peasant chosen to herald his rule add depth to the descriptive adventure. There are Christian tinges to the word-of-mouth growth of the young king’s following, his persecution by the Duke, and his nature as a humble messiah delivering his people out of darkness, but this is not a religious novel, what with the paganism inherent in the magic and nature-based religion that informs the story.

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I entered this contest a few months back. If you haven’t heard what this is, here’s a quick run-down: Amazon opens the contest until they receive 5,000 entries and then close it. To enter, you submit a pitch, a three-chapter excerpt, and the whole novel as three separate files.

Then the contest goes through several rounds. For the first round, judges looked at the pitch only. With just this information, the field was cut to 1000. I was happy to find out I’d made it through this round.

The second round has judges from Amazon read the excerpt only. They use that to trim the field to 250. Yay! I made it through. And, since my novel isn’t as refined past the third chapter, I truly expected that to be as far as it would go.

For the third round, editors from Publisher’s Weekly read the entire novel. And today I received the glorious news that I’d made that cut as well. Now there are only 50. So shocked! So shocked!

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