What do you do when there’s nothing left but the Author’s Note and a couple of contests you’re afraid to enter and you didn’t expect to be here for another six months?

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My first instinct is that I am not, in fact, really “here,” by which I mean that I am only fooling myself that what I’ve written is anything even close to a completed manuscript, that actually I’ve been delusional all along as I’ve published–with a publisher and by myself–these 250-300 page books and told myself they are really books, that is, Books. I know what I think when I wander sneeringly down the aisles of the few remaining bookstores (the ones that actually have books, not the new Amazon Book Stores for People Who Don’t Read Books) and compare the Thin (200-300 page) books with the Real (400+ page) books.  I taught English for over thirty years and I can tell the difference between Kurt Vonnegut and Dickens.

Then there are the Contests.

I have just spent over two hours looking at novel contests.  I have not, mind you, read any of the details for any of these contests. I have merely scrolled through several of those All Purpose Lists of Contests, weeded out the ones that are clearly not for me (Young Adult Vampires in Space, for example), typed the names of some likely prospects in ALL CAPS, and bookmarked them.  Two hours and counting. It’s almost my bedtime. I have just observed another birthday and note that for every year I add to my age, I seem to subtract an hour from my bedtime. It won’t be long before I hit the sack right after lunch.

I have sent the manuscript off to my cousin who will proofread and ask questions when she can get to it.  She is several years younger than I am, but still she and her husband now keep their two year old granddaughter five days a week.  That would be All Day Five Days a Week.

Next week, if a couple of health problems clear up, I am scheduled to meet with my friend, editor, and co-author, Alison Daniels, to begin the process of reading my novel out loud.

After that, I will be forced to look at a few of those contests in earnest.  I’ve never had much luck with contests of any sort, although I can’t say I’ve ever entered a literary contest.

In seventy-two years, I have never won one single stuffed item at the Fair.

I am on the third title for this novel. Who knows how many more are possible.  And I have covers. Unfortunately, none of the contests accepts covers.











It’s obvious that what you do, having reached this point, is write a blog post.








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6 Responses to "What do you do when there’s nothing left but the Author’s Note and a couple of contests you’re afraid to enter and you didn’t expect to be here for another six months?"
  1. Mitzy says:

    Length shouldn’t matter. Mantra / haiku sized works for many. You are blessed and affirming well as wise, there will be a take away. There is so much to discern (in our communications and lack of them today) that shorter can be pithy and brilliant.

  2. Kat Varn says:

    You keep giving us gifts and messages that are missed so often by those that don’t stop and smell the flowers. They are not paper and bindings, but a voice for the souls who could not tell their story. Fortunately, they fell under the spell of your hand. Kisses, Dean! Happy birthday… another new chapter to write on.

  3. Ellen Lee Bunton says:

    Haven’t you ever heard of the “sequel”? The story goes on with the next generation! OR you time travel back to the time before the Queen’s. I”d leave a longer reply but I read somewhere about a contest “YOUNG ADULT VAMPIRES IN SPACE” and I want to get my entry in today. I wonder if see Bela Lugosi’s grave would help my chances?

  4. MJC says:

    I like A Bustle in the House, or simply Cade. The third one doesn’t ring true, although you talk about the Queens, it’s more about Cade.

  5. Sheila Dinwiddie says:

    You have undertaken major memory therapy..Gift From the Sea was pretty short as I recall–no “your book is bigger than my book”. Looking forward to hearing the book that has no name..love you. Feel better.

  6. Debbie Lass says:

    Hey, what you need is a good cup of joy. Where’s the joyfulness in your life? Reflect upon this: OK so you feel what you feel. That’s your right to own what is yours. The thing is to now flip that frown upside down and feel that smile. Also, if you put your focus on what you love then you have no time to sneer at those authors who have written wonderful books and use the avenue that works for them. I have a friend whose recently published book is available thru Amazon and also in actual book stores and while I don’t shop on Amazon, I do not begrudge him his pathway in fulfilling his dream.
    Anyhow I am happy for you to have another book coming along. Because you are doing the writing. Call me. I live you, Debbie

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