[Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Point of No Return]

Tweaked my pitch a little more, the window for entries ends tomorrow. After that just two-ish weeks of nailbiting to find out whether I made the cut.

I am at peace with my place in the cosmos.

Bubbling Brew of Malaise

Grump grump grump.

I have entered into a period of vague dissatisfaction.

There are many exciting things on the horizon for Spell/Sword: final edits are almost done, designer is lined up for my cover, cover illustration is complete, entered into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest, should be ready to self-publish in February or March.

I’m very excited about these things. Every time I look at the cover art, my body begins to emit a

Artist - Rachelm
Artist – Rachelm

pearlescent light and strains of violin music can be heard by passersby.

But, you know, meh.

Nerd Concerns are also going well. I’m running two tabletop campaigns. Titan’s Wake, in Pathfinder, and Ocean of Not, in Legend of the Five Rings. Got a shiny new 3DS for Christmas from my beloved and have been playing with it more than I should. Beat the sublime Virtue’s Last Reward and am currently scratching the nostalgia itch with Legend of Zelda:OoT.

But still — grumble.

I even have ample TV fodder at the moment. Twin Peaks for my brain, and Bones for my stomach. We have a new dog that we’re fostering/becoming permanently attached to. My beloved is wonderful if over-busy.

Lately, I’ve been feeling the old, familiar desire to escape — to slip out of this reality for a while. An MMO would fit the bill nicely, but all of my computers are old clunkers that can’t handle it. Actually playing some tabletop would be nice as well, but I’m kind of booked with DM duties.

I guess it boils down to this: I just feel too damn ‘adult’ of late.

I’m ready for the book to be done and people to shower me with riches, so I can sit quietly in my apartment and play video games and work on the sequel. Buy a big house with a yard for the dogs, with a gigantic craft room for my beloved, and plenty of hammock space for all the burlesques. A swank kitchen for the Yellow Devil/Ladle to play in and a ton of guest rooms, so my family can come and stay whenever they want.



I did it.

I’ve entered Spell/Sword into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest and Breakfast Buffet.

Fortunately, I still have right at a week to tweak my pitch, and fuss with the various parts of the entry forms. But I have officially entered, so I’ve got a slot, and I’ve got a chance.

If nothing else, the massive amount of editing I’ve done this week are suitable prize enough.

But I would not mind the $50,000 grand prize.

Or that plate of yum pictured above.

It’ll be nearly a month before I know if I even made it through the first round. So keep your fingers crossed for at least 5 weeks.

Deadline Magic


Running against the clock always galvanizes me. Just the idea that the entry window for the Amazon contest might close before I get done editing, is pushing me to untold heights of GONZO EDITING.

“Oh, I really like this section. Too bad it’s boring.” CUT.

“You know, my Beta Readers were right, this chapter has all the exposition and it’s buried 50 pages in.” CHAPTER MOVE.

“Why’s Jonas so freaking emo in Chapter One?” INSERT JOKES.

“Huh, I never did really explain why Cotton hates wild mages so much.” BACKSTORY INFUSION ACTIVATE.

“Hmm, these two chapters are kinda thin now that they’ve been trimmed.” CHAPTER FUSION DANCE.

It’s liberating, at the very least. Only a couple more days of anxiety about it, before I have to bite the bullet and send my entry to Amazon. All of these changes needed to happen, nothing like a little bit of panic to spur me to make them.

Blech. This is why I like theatre. There’s a built in deadline:Opening Night. You can work and agonize on a novel FOR ALL OF TIME.

Spell/Sword in 300 Words or Less

[ I’m entering into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, for my chance at fortune and glory. I’m frantically making some reckless edits to the manuscript and getting it ready to upload, but the hardest part has been the 300 word Pitch that I have to include.  I gave up trying to write a respectable pitch a few hours ago, what do you think of this one? Comments and suggestions are very much solicited, but on the hustle people! I’ve got to get this thing submitted before the entry window closes. Would you want to read this book if you read the description below on Amazon.com?]

Two lonely kids learn that they can be friends. That they are better together than apart. Isn’t that what all great tales are really about?

Oh, you need some sizzle do you?

There are wizards in this book. And a witch. And swords. And a minotaur, and frogs on roller skates, and bad dwarven singing. And a dinosaur. And a girl and a boy. Loss and death and sorrow and joy. A couple of kick-ass fight scenes and some witty banter.

What, you need more than that? That’s all fourteen-year-old-me would have needed.spellsword

An airship explodes. A giant robot disrupts the sale of a garish urn. The concept of a box social is thoroughly interrogated.

The Magic Wild burns and the White Sword bites and the Gray Witch laughs.

An assassin. A seer. A knight. A squire. A coward. A girl with the power of sun and winter and death held lightly in her hands.

An improbable mailbox. Poor dental hygiene. Hangovers.

And friendship. That’s what it’s really about.

Rime is the girl, a wild mage. She can bend the very fabric of reality, but at a cost – a cost to her health and her sanity. Her power is unstoppable but it leaves her empty, weak, and often unconscious.  Jonas is the boy, a squire on the run – running away from the shadow of murder. They travel together to find the one person that can save Rime from the wild magic, from the inexorable madness and death that comes to those who are born to ignore the rules of the universe. The Gray Witch of the Wheelbrake Marsh, a creature out of a fairy tale.

The anti-epic fantasy, the nascent genre of Swordpunk: Fantasy Action A La Carte. Earnestly written in the shadow of Lieber and Moorcock.

[It’s actually only 299 words, so if you see where I can squeeze in one more, I’d love to hear it.]