Write Life: What it means to be an ABNA Quarter-Finalist

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51BpdhlGzQL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX318_SY318_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA318_AA300_SH20_OU01_As my alter-ego Inkster reported to you all, I made the quarter finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in the Young Adult category, for my novel, WILDERNESS RIM. I was excited, of course.


Then I was sitting around with my writing pals the other day and they were all congratulating me and one of them, my dear friend, Vicky Bastedo, said, “Did you get your reviews yet?”


“Reviews?” and I tilted my head like a confused puppy.


Vicky and the rest of the table began to school me on exactly what this quarter-finalist title brought with it.






From Publisher Weekly folks.




Alex, another of the writers, laughed out loud and said, “I wished I’d had a camera to capture your face just then.”


Apparently I looked as horrified as I felt. Let this be a lesson to me to actually read stuff and not just go into happy-dance mode.


Then there was about 24 hours of gnashing of teeth, and had a flogging switch, I likely would have subjected myself to some self-pain, just so that I had physical wounds to go with the lamenting in my heart, while we all waited for the PW reviews to be posted.


The full reviews were not bad. In fact, they were pretty good. The points they made on where I need improvement, I can totally see and will definitely do. I would link them to you, but it’s not shareable, because it’s connected to my private createspace account. Bottom line, they enjoyed the book and seemed to give me some credibility to calling myself a writer.


Then today I learned that my entire an excerpt of the manuscript*  (typos and grammatical errors included) is available for a free download and up for review by Joe Q. Public.


Cue perusing Amazon for that self-flogging switch…


Yet, I thought on it further. I know to be a writer is to be bold and to be vulnerable. Normally it’s between me and an agent, or editor, or another writer. Rarely, save the stuff I post on my blog here, has someone opened up my work for public comment. I give props all the time to folks who put their work out there. It’s hard to do. Entering ABNA meant I would be putting my work, myself, out there. I made some progress (we all have to wait until June 13 to see if I make the next round). That’s something. I’ll take it.


After some thought, I calmed myself down (no self-flagellation necessary), and decided that it might be a good growth experience for me as a writer.


So, here’s an excerpt of the manuscript. Amazon is offering it free as an ebook edocument on Kindle. I downloaded it to the Kindle app on my phone with ease. As embarrassingly admitted, it has some typos and misspellings. I haven’t had it professionally edited yet. But if the reviews seem like people really dig the story, I might just do that and try to shop it around, or author publish it.


You will see excerpts of the PW reviews I got in the listing.  I’d love to see what others say about it. Be honest, but be nice, please.


What are you waiting for? Download an excerpt from WILDERNESS RIM today off of Amazon. Read; leave your review. I promise to use it as a learning opportunity. Joe Q. Public, you are now my writing mentor.


*Edit:  So, I learned later that it’s not the entire manuscript, but rather an excerpt. Somehow, my Kindle app pulled up my entire manuscript for me (maybe from a former Google Docs download? I don’t know), but just an excerpt for several others that contacted me and said they had done it. Sorry about the confusion. 

Lois Buhalis

Done! Of course, now I’ll have to brave computer reading, which I hate. I won’t let that stop me from enjoying the manuscript, though.


As edited above, it’s just an excerpt. And I’m fairly certain you’ve read this already Lois. Not sure…but, thanks for downloading it. I think every download helps my standings. I don’t know. The rules, as I noted in my post, aren’t as clear as I’d like.

Darian Carson

I liked:
“Let this be a lesson to me to actually read stuff and not just go into happy-dance mode.”

Because I need to remember to do it myself! 🙂

About the self-flogging switch: both sets of grandparents of my husband would make him go pick his own “switch”. Isn’t that a horrifying thought! I was *always* on my best behavior around my grandparents so I was never threatened with a switching. Then again, I didn’t see my grandparents as often as he saw his!

All of this is to say: No need to buy a switch–they’re free! 😉

I am enjoying _Wilderness_Rim_ so far. Love all the PNW references like “Vedder”! I’ll get back to you soon! So far so good!

Your novel has a tough act to follow–I just finished Annihilation (WOW!–can’t wait for the next book!!!). What did you think of Annihilation? It is a quick read if you haven’t read it already! Thanks for that recommendation!



Yes, take note I made some changes to the blog post above. Sorry about the confusion. Like I said if the reviews are good, then maybe I’ll push for publishing.

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