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Sunday, August 9, 2009

America's Next Best Celler Contest - and Me!

Hello everyone!

This Saturday, I finally (contest started back in June) took the plunge and entered the America’s Next Best Celler Contest, sponsored by Dorchester Publishing and The purpose of the contest is to find “the next new voice in romance,” according to Dorchester’s site.

The contest will run until November 1, 2009. By then all entrants should have posted twenty chapters of their novel or a total of 6,000 words and the top 20 semifinalists will be chosen. On November 15, 2009, the top 10 finalists will be chosen. Finally, on January 31, 2010, the overall winner of the contest will be announced.

And the prize?

A guaranteed contract with Dorchester Publishing and a $2,000 prize. Not too bad a deal. And with the success of other voting-based contests, such as’s First Chapters contests and Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel awards, it is certainly a positive step in the path toward publication for aspiring novelists. If nothing else, the contest will serve as a barometer for how viable a story is and will help the author build a following and readership.

What is my entry?

Here's the short description I wrote for the introduction on Textnovel:

Athena Willoughby is a cynical gossip columnist with a passion for Jane Austen novels. So what happens when she wakes up one morning in Regency England, in a scene that could have come straight from one of her idol's books? She learns how gossip was spread in a time without the internet, of course!

So how did I come up with that particular idea?

Like many of my ideas, it was inspired by a simple phrase I read on Twitter, “What would Perez Hilton think of Catherine?” The question was followed by a link that to the site for a new book about Catherine de Medici. Well, of course, that phrase inspired the inevitable “what if” questions in me and it wasn’t long before an idea began to formulate.

What would happen if a modern day gossip blogger found herself in a time before the Internet, or even the television and radio? How would she get her gossip and, more important, how would she report it?

Now, with idea in mind, I had to decide on a time to send her back to and since my favorite historical time period is the Regency, it was only natural that I would send her there. Why did I choose Jane Austen for the theme and Athena's inspiration? One, I've always been fascinated by Jane Austen and have seen each of her stories interpreted on film, some with more than one rendition; and Two, nobody else wrote so keenly of their world and society as did Jane. Plus, I am participating in a Jane Austen reading challenge, so it all sort of fell into place. The Jane Austen Society Pages was born. Whether or not Athena actually meets Jane...well, you're just going to have to read it to find out!

So, if you’d like to become a part of Athena’s misadventures in Austen’s world and follow me on my journey through the process, please check out my story and let me know how I’m doing. I would love to hear from you. For more on my reasons for entering the contest, you can read my post on Serializing the Novel. ~ Margay

11 Moonbeams (comments):

Molly Daniels said...

I love this! Good luck:)

Is that really 20 chapters? Or can a person simply submit the first 6K words?

Terry Kate said...

That sounds awesome!
It is a fabulous way to gain a following!
All the best and good luck!
Terry Kate
Romance in the backseat

Carrie said...

Great Post Margay!

Carrie said...

Hey, I forgot to ask - where have you been all week? I got used to seeing you on my posts!

Margay Leah Justice said...

Molly, thank you! As for your question, I think they give 20 chapters as a number because they want them to be done in smaller (preferably 500 words, but I keep going over that). I guess the idea is that it will be easier to read on a cell phone if the chapters are that small. I have no idea if they will remain that small when the book is published.

Margay Leah Justice said...

Thank you, Terry. That is a good reason for doing this. And since I love hearing from my readers - in whatever medium I undertake, blogging, for instance - I think it will be a great experience.

Margay Leah Justice said...

Thanks, Carrie! And thank you for your suggestions - you helped me more than you can know.

Sheila Deeth said...

Wow. I just went over there. I love it Margay!

Dellani Oakes said...

This sounds so cool, Margay! Good luck! By the way, I added Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem to all my friends lists. Dellani

Margay Leah Justice said...

Thanks, Sheila, I really appreciate that!

Margay Leah Justice said...

Thanks, Dellani, that's so sweet. I'm glad you like the site so much, too!