I believe in a future where I
will be able to write full-time, a picture I already hold vividly in my
mind. It all starts with my debut young adult novel, Provex City. I love
Harry Potter & The Marbury Lens, Tool & Elliott Smith, Dexter
& Donnie Darko, bold coffee & amber ale. I also love dabbling
with writing music and recording, with no illusions of ever making it a
career. I am ecstatically married and the lucky father to a beautiful
I learned about this competition from an email I received a week or so ago and thought it would be fun to enter. It is sponsored by Writer's Digest and Book Marketing Works, LLC, and open to bound self-published novels published/republished between 2009 and 2014. There are cash awards, national exposure, reviews, consultations to help get your book in front of major publishers, and numerous other prizes. Take a look at the official completion page for all the information and submission rules HERE.
The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) had a similar self-published completion (their first) last fall, but it had to be a self-published book released that year. And for that reason I didn't enter because I would have had to enter SUSY Asylum and I didn't know how well received submitting a 2nd book in a series would be or how that would be judged. With Writer's Digest's completion, I can submit Provex City, which I think is a much better plan.
So if you too are interested in entering one or more of your self-published books, the early bird entry deadline is April 1st ($99 first entry, $75 each additional entry) and the regular entry deadline is May 1st ($110 first entry, $85 each additional entry). The other nice thing about this competition is that "all entrants will receive a brief commentary from one of the judges." I welcome all feedback, but I'm especially interested in professional feedback. I want to know what the agents and editors think, but it isn't easy to get their feedback. As frustrating as it is, form letter responses are the norm. Well, if you decide to enter, I wish you the best of luck. Now it's time to get back to work. :)
Starcrossed, a Starstruck novel by Brenda Hiatt, is out now! To celebrate the release we are happy to share an interview with Princess Emileia and Rigel Stuart as well as an excerpt from the book. Be sure to stay tuned to the end where there's a giveaway as well!
The Starstruck adventure continues…
spent the first fifteen years of her life as a nerdy nobody before
discovering her true identity as the long lost princess of a secret
civilization. Now M is dodging extraterrestrial paparazzi while trying
to keep the truth from her adoptive aunt and uncle and everyone at
school. At least she can be herself with her boyfriend and literal
soulmate, Rigel. Whenever they’re together, it’s easy to forget the
responsibilities that will eventually come with her new status. But when
a new boy arrives at Jewel High, everything M thought she knew about
herself and her future is turned upside down. Now the very destiny that
lifted her from obscurity threatens to tear her away from Rigel and
their happy ever after. But when two planets conspire against you, where
is there to run?
sitting here in a charming little ice cream shop in Jewel, Indiana, to chat
with our newfound Princess Emileia and Rigel Stuart, the boy who recently saved
her life when she was attacked by the dictator Faxon’s minions here on Earth.
Tell me, Princess, how did it feel to
discover your true identity after being raises as a Duchas?
great presence of mind, the Princess immediately shushes me. “Not so loud! And
please, stick to English. I don’t want everyone in Dream Cream to freak out the
way I did when Rigel first told me there are . . . people like us…living on
the pains our Nuathan Ministry of Terran Obfuscation has taken to keep that
secret, I suppose she has a point. I lower my voice as I continue.
Is that true, Rigel? Did the Princess
for a day or so,” he replies. “Really, she handled the news like a champ—way
better than I did when my parents first told me.”
So you were raised Duch— I catch myself. Like a regular Earthling, too?
I was ten, yeah.”
Back to my original question, Princess—
“Please don’t call me that!” she
interrupts me. “Not here. Just Marsha is fine, or M—that’s what my friends call
it seems terribly disrespectful, far be it from me to disobey. M, then. How has your life changed since
learning the truth?
you don’t count people trying to kill me, mostly for the better. I mean, back
in August I was a complete nobody on the very bottom rung of the social ladder.
Now I hardly get picked on at all—well, except by Trina, but that’ll never
change. I even get invited to parties and stuff. Not that my aunt ever lets me
go, but it’s still cool to be invited. But that’s not because of being, you
know, who I am. Nobody at school knows about that.”
this coincides with the rumors of her being mistreated by her adoptive Duchas family and the surrounding
Then why the change?
because of Rigel. He’s pretty popular, what with being quarterback of our
football team and just generally awesome. I’m just kind of along for the ride.”
true!” Rigel interjects. “You’re the awesome one. It just took people a while
to figure it out.”
Princess laughs at this and claims, “Nobody would ever have called me awesome
before—” She breaks off when Rigel raises his eyebrows at her.
wishing to pry, I move on. You must be
dying to tell everyone the truth about yourself. Is it hard living with such a
she confesses, “but when I think about what could happen if people found out, I’m
a lot less tempted to say anything.”
And what was your life like, growing up as
a—you used the word ‘nobody’ in a non-Echtran
household? Was it difficult living in such primitive conditions?
laughs again. “Since I never knew anything else, I never thought of my
conditions as primitive. And it’s not like my aunt was ever actually cruel or
anything, even if she isn’t always easy to get along with.”
All right, then, next question. Once a
certain dictator falls, how do you see your future unfolding? Are you excited
at the prospect of someday returning to the place you were born?
Princess shrugs. “I guess so, though I have an awful lot to learn before I’ll
be ready for that! All the stuff people will expect of me, I mean. Besides, I’m
pretty happy right here in Jewel for now. For instance, I went to my very first
Homecoming dance last week and it was amazing.”
Oh? With Rigel here as your date?
yes. He and I—”
with a bunch of our friends,” Rigel butts in, cutting her off for the second
time, something he’d never dare to do in Nuath, I’m sure.
makes me very curious. You two have
shared a few harrowing experiences since meeting and I’m sure that’s created a
bond of sorts. (I notice they exchange a glance when I say that.) Tell me, just how close have you two become?
this point, Rigel stands up, then the Princess stands, too. “We said we’d give
you five minutes,” Rigel says, “and we’ve been here longer than that. You have
your story. And please tell your readers she’s tired of being stalked, okay?”
Princess is much more polite, but it’s clear she’s ready to leave, too, so I
don’t detain them.
Overall, I’d say our Princess
seems surprisingly content with her new identity and especially with her knight
in shining armor, Rigel Stuart. It will be interesting to see how things
progress there once she’s called upon to take up the position she was born
to—but I’ll leave that story to my colleagues in Nuath, who will be on the spot
to witness it firsthand.
did you hear there’s a new transfer?” Debbi Andrews asked the moment I sat next
to her in Geometry class.
Petite and blond, Deb was my second-best
friend after Brianna Morrison, though lately it seemed like the two of them
were closer to each other than to me. Not that I could blame them, between the
time I spent with Rigel and all the secrets I couldn’t tell them.
“Really? Two in one semester must be a
record.” I grinned over at Rigel, who’d been the new kid at the start of the
school year. “Boy or girl?”
“Boy. I haven’t seen him yet. I think he’s a
junior or senior. Natalie said—”
The teacher cleared his throat then and Deb
had to shut up. I was sure I’d hear more later, from Bri if not from Deb. New
students were a huge deal at our little rural school.
Sure enough, the new guy was the first thing
Bri talked about when we met up with her in the lunchroom a couple hours later.
“Hey, Rigel, looks like you’re off the hook
for the basketball team.” Bri had been pestering Rigel for days to try out,
egged on by her father, who was on the coaching staff. “This new guy, Sean, is
just what our sucky team needs, according to my dad.”
“Sean?” Deb asked eagerly. “So that’s his
I glanced at Rigel, who looked more relieved
than curious. I, meanwhile, was having a mild deja vu moment,
remembering when Bri had been all excited about the wonderful new quarterback
we were getting—Rigel.
“Yeah, Sean O’Gara,” Bri told Deb.
“So, is it true he’s from Ireland? That’s
what Natalie told me this morning.”
Bri nodded, her long, dark curls bouncing.
“That’s what Dad said, too. I didn’t even know they played basketball in
Ireland! But apparently it’s huge there.”
“Ireland? Really?” I glanced at Rigel again,
remembering something he’d told me a while back, and saw he looked a little
“Yeah, he and his family just moved here
last— Ooh, that must be him!” Bri broke off to point.
Of course, we all looked. The new guy was
definitely tall enough to play basketball, maybe three or four inches taller
than Rigel. He was fair bordering on pale, with bright, copper-colored hair.
Very good looking, though of course he couldn’t compete with Rigel in that
department. Who could?
“Let’s go say hi,” Bri suggested, already
heading his way. “You know, welcome him to Jewel.”
It looked to me like plenty of people—mainly
girls—were already doing just that. Again I was reminded of Rigel’s first day,
especially when I saw Trina Squires—cheerleader, flirt and bitch
extraordinaire—saunter up to to the newcomer. Rigel and I followed Bri and Deb,
since it seemed the nice thing to do. We were maybe halfway across the
lunchroom when both of us stopped cold to stare at each other.
“Do you—?” Rigel asked.
I nodded. “I feel it, too.” It was the brath—the
weird, almost electric vibe Martians sense when other Martians are nearby. Like
what I’d felt from those two tourist women yesterday.
Sean O’Gara was one of us.
Don't miss the first book, Starstruck, only .99 cents for a limited time!
Brenda Hiatt is the author of nearly twenty novels (so far),
including traditional Regency romance, time travel romance, historical romance,
and humorous mystery. She is as excited about her new STARSTRUCK series as
she's ever been about any of her books. In addition to writing, Brenda is
passionate about embracing life to the fullest, to include scuba diving (she
has over 60 dives to her credit), Taekwondo (where she recently achieved her
2nd degree black belt), hiking, traveling, and pursuing new experiences and
skills. She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, the Society of
Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and Novelists, Inc, an international
organization of multipublished novelists, where she served as President in
2006. For the past dozen years, Brenda has also collected data on writers'
earnings, which she shares at her website, http://brendahiatt.com
You can also find Brenda on Facebook, Twitter (@Brenda_Hiatt), Tumblr,
Goodreads and Wattpad.
Well, it's been two months since my last post. It was not my intention to be absent for so long, but I had a situation at home that needed my undivided attention. All of my writing and writing related activities pretty much came to a halt during this time. I was ready to start the new year off right, but I ended up starting off the year sicker than I've been in years. It's frustrating because they feel like back-to-back setbacks, but what's two months in the grand scheme of things? A drop in the bucket. And now I'm feeling energized and excited to get back to work.
Happy 2014, everyone! Last year, I got myself off caffeine, and have remained caffeine-free all year. I think that was the first resolution I actually successfully kept. This year, I want to be more active for better health and more energy. I've started by walking for 30 minutes before work or during lunch and taking longer walks on the weekend. I'm not confining myself to a specific schedule, but just doing something regularly. I'm walking for now, but I'd like to work myself up to running. As for my writing, I will finish and release my third book, at the least (hopefully, this summer). But I'd also like to have a draft of my fourth and final book of the series written by the end of the year.
I hope 2014 is off to a good start for you. What is your number one resolution you're committed to keeping for the year? Have you written it down and placed it somewhere you can review regularly? If you have, then great job! If not, then it may be something you want to consider. The regular reinforcement can help keep you on track. Thank you for sticking with me. It feels good to finally be getting back into my routine.