Contests, Contests, Contests

The voting for the first ever Readers’ Choice – Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction is over. All that’s left is the counting. Meanwhile, two other contests are still underway. One is the November CSFF Top Tour Blogger Award I’ve mentioned already.

The other is a contest run by Jeff Gerke and Marcher Lord Press to select a book that will be published in the Spring 2010 Marcher Lord Press line.

I received a press release announcing this contest and calling for entries some time ago. The problem is, I never got word that the actual voting had started. Come to find out, the first two phases of the contest are over. Happily, however, anyone can still participate in phases three and four.

The contest was structured to be a kind of American Idol of Christian speculative fiction, with the winner receiving a publishing contract from Marcher Lord Press. Well, actually there are two contests. It is the “Main Contest” that will bring the winner a contract. The other, the “Premise Contest,” will earn the winner an invitation to submit a complete manuscript to Marcher Lord Press.

In Phase One of the Main Contest, voters were presented with the title, subgenre, word count, premise, backcover blurb, and synopsis of 36 entries. Each voter was required to vote for at least three entries. After the votes were in, 18 entries advanced to Phase Two.

At this juncture, potential voters could download the first 500 words of each novel. Voters were instructed to choose between 3 and 6 entries based primarily on whether or not they would want to keep reading the book or perhaps buy it. In many respects this reminds me of the Miss Snark’s First Victim’s Secret Agent contest except the entries receiving the most votes were the ones to advance (rather than a Secret Agent making the determination).

Voting in Phase Two ended Monday. The entries that are advancing to Phase Three, in alphabetical order, are

  • Altar
  • Chase the Shadows
  • H2O
  • The Last Apostle
  • The Sending
  • The Sword of the Patron
  • This Side of Eden
  • Vinnie’s Diner

Apparently there will be a poll once Phase Three goes live. I couldn’t find the information just now, but I read that this phase will be based on a number of pages (found it—first thirty pages) with three finalists being chosen. Phase Four will be sixty pages, I believe, with the winner being the selection with the most votes.

Sounds like fun. I wish I would have known when the contest part actually started. I also wish the instructions were clearer. I found it hard to uncover the information I needed to become a participant. At the Marcher Lord Press site, there’s only a small announcement about the contest, with a link, in the upper right hand corner of the home page, under Latest News.

First, it’s helpful to know that the contest is called Marcher Lord Select. Second, the contest is being conducted at the WhereTheMapEnds forums, called The Anomaly , which is where the link in the announcement takes you. This is the part I found off-putting. I expected to go to a site telling me about the contest but found myself at a forum with threads that did not refer to “Contest.” Third, participation requires registration in the forum, a simple, five minute procedure.

I still haven’t found the polls, but I’m guessing the phase one and two polls were taken down once the deadline passed. In the next few days I’ll look for a Sub-Board called Phase 3—Main Contest (I don’t have time to participate in that and in the Premise Contest).

At any rate, Jeff is trying to decide if there will be a two or three week period before the next vote. I’m guessing he soon will post the link to the download that allows access to the Phase Three entries. I went ahead and downloaded the Phase Two selections and will read the winning entries so I’ll be ready when Phase Three goes live.

Why not jump in and participate? Contests are fun!

Fantasy Friday – Tidbits

Lo and behold, the latter part of this week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance featured Donita Paul and DragonLight. How cool is that! Back-to-back tours. Now that’s the way to keep the buzz going.

My name isn’t listed at the CFBA blog as one participating on the tour because I didn’t order a book through them. Nevertheless I want to mention Donita and her work again—partly because she is one of the pioneers in the Christian fantasy resurgence, partly because I enjoy her writing, partly because I think she has a wonderful Web site with lots to explore, including some games to play and art to enjoy, and partly because she has a new blog.

Then there’s the upcoming Motiv8 Fantasy Tour coming to the West Coast in a few short months when I’ll actually get to meet Donita and several others I’ve only had the pleasure of corresponding with on line.

Lastly, there is the t-shirt I just received—a very cool blue on gray that says, “Look wise, say nothing, and eat only those who annoy you.” 😉 In small print below it says, “I read DragonKeeper Chronicles,” which I do. 😀

Turning the corner to another piece of fantasy news some of you may be interested in, Michael Warden, author of Gideon’s Dawn, a … substantial first volume of the Pearlsong Refounding series, has self-published the second book, Waymaker.

The first volume was an echo of Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant trilogy. Since I credit those novels with providing me the impetus to write fantasy, I have followed Warden somewhat, and am pleased that he’s making an effort to finish what he started.

No doubt about it, epic fantasy is a challenge. Happily, it appears he has every intention of seeing the story through to the end. Good for him. Good for Christian fantasy.

Then the third piece of news. Jeff Gerke of posted an interview with me which you can read here. He also posted one of my short stories, a piece entitled “Swallow and Beyond” which I wrote for a Writer’s Digest contest. I hope you take a moment or two to stop by either pages some time this weekend.

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