Six Novel Writing Contests to Enter This Year – And Six Reasons You Should

Writing Contests--Six Writing Contests and Six Reasons to Enter

Remember all those book award contests that were occurring this time last year? Perhaps the book you finished for NaNoWriMo should be entered in one or more appropriate contests.

Here are six contests and six reasons to enter—but there are many more. Before publishing comes marketing. Start the buzz!  

I was recently contacted by Maria Inot of TCK Publishing.com regarding the possibility of running a post regarding their own 2021 Reader’s Choice Awards.

Here are a few of their details:

Reader's Choice AwardsTCK Publishing Reader’s Choice Book Awards Contest lets readers vote for their favorite books in sixteen different categories including Advice, Business and Investing, Self-Help, Health, General Nonfiction, Memoir, Romance, Fantasy, Thriller, Mystery, Children’s Book, YA and Middle Grade, General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, and Religion.

►►The Grand Prize winner receives a Kindle Fire HD 8 Tablet and a 1-Year Access Pass to Bestseller Ranking Pro.

►Who can win? Self-published authors, independent publishers, or traditionally published authors, in either ebook or paper book format.

►When can you submit? Annually; the timeframe is January 1, 2021 to November 13, 2021.

►Entry fee: The first entry is free, but additional entries after the first cost $25 each.

16 Winners, one in each category, will receive special badges and promotion
Winning a book award or badge is an effective method to help thrust your work in front of readers–or beyond that–to agents and publishers!

There are many book award contests and they will each be vying for your attention this time of the year. Most cost money—from inexpensive to hit the savings, but every contest is different. The above contest is free. (They also have a poetry contest, but this one has an entry fee of $5.)

Additional Contests, Deadlines, Links, and Rules

Writer’s Digest

Writer's Digest Writing Competition“ENTER NOW! DEADLINE: 5/7/21 Writer’s Digest’s oldest and most popular competition, the Annual Writing Competition, is open for entries. Winners of the 90th Annual competition will be announced in the Nov/Dec 2021 issue of Writer’s Digest.”

They will accept all genre’s and short fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and script writing. Their self-published book award deadline occurs in early May.  Entry fees vary. Read their website for details.

Chanticleer Writing Contest

CIBA Book Series AwardsTheir website lists all the genre’s open to contest and the submission deadlines in an easy to see “at a glance” format.

Independent Publisher Book Awards

IPPY Book Awards“IPPY AWARDS 2021 IS OPEN – RESCHEDULED DEADLINE IS MARCH 10 – BOOKS MUST ARRIVE FOR JUDGING BY MARCH 20.

“Calling all independent authors and publishers!  Enter the IPPY Awards for $95 per General category entry, and ‘add-on’ a Regional or Ebook category entry to a General category entry for the same title for just $55.  Due to pandemic-related delays, we are moving the final deadline to March 10, 2021. Thanks and best of luck!” 

Readers Favorite

Readers' FavoriteANNUAL BOOK AWARD CONTEST

CONTEST DEADLINE – APRIL 1, 2021

“Contestants range from first-time authors to New York Times bestsellers and celebrities!

“If you place in our contest you will be able to add your Readers’ Favorite award seal to your book and all other marketing materials as well as identify your book as an “award-winning book” and you as an “award-winning author.”’

The Independent Author Network

The Independent Author Network

“More than 40 million Books are available on Amazon.com. 
100,000 new titles are added to the Kindle Store every month.

 “How will you ensure your books stand out to readers in a market with millions of choices? The best way to move your book ahead of others in your genre(s) is to win an award contest. 

“The Independent Author Network presents the 2021 IAN Book of the Year Awards, an international contest open to all authors with 40 fiction and non-fiction categories. Winners are eligible to receive a share of cash prizes exceeding $6,000 USD.”

⇒⇒⇒⇓

The question remains; should you enter one or more book award contests and how will they benefit you? Here are six reasons you should enter:

1.      Discover if your book has merit
2.      Receive a critique of your book—not all contests write a critique, but constructive criticism is important
3.      Create a marketing buzz
4.      Win a cash award or other prizes
5.      Push you out of your comfort zone
6.      Paste your Award Badge on the cover of your award winning book!!
You’ll get more feedback, create more buzz, and have more opportunities to get your name and your title out there.

If your pulse quickens with a touch of excitement mixed with a hint of fear, you are not alone! It’s a soul searing journey to publish and get your work out there.

Each organization and contest publishes their own rules and entry fees—which vary greatly! Check their contest history prior to submitting any money and assure they are appropriate for your work.

There are many writers and book contests of a general nature geared to newbies as well as established authors, some specifically for children’s book or romance novel contests. While some contests don’t allow ebooks and/or PODs, others don’t let authors or publishers submit (the book has to be nominated–think Kirkus). Some let you enter a book published more than a year ago, while others require getting reviewed in their trade magazine first. Some are just plain flaky or out for the money. Research the one of your choice thoroughly.

I’d love to hear stories of a successful submission–have you won a contest? Which one and how was your experience?

©2021 V Williams

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Murder in the Bayou Boneyard: A Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron – a #BookReview Cozy Culinary Mystery

RosepointPub Crawl I thoroughly enjoy the sense of humor this author brings to her storytelling…with fully developed characters alive with Southern hospitality personality.

Rosepoint Publishing: Five StarsFive Stars

 Book Blurb:

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen ByronMaggie Crozat, proprietor of a historic Cajun Country B&B, prefers to let the good times roll. But hard times rock her hostelry when a new cell phone app makes it easy for locals to rent their spare rooms to tourists. With October–and Halloween–approaching, she conjures up a witch-crafty marketing scheme to draw visitors to Pelican, Louisiana.

Five local plantation B&Bs host “Pelican’s Spooky Past” packages, featuring regional crafts, unique menus, and a pet costume parade. Topping it off, the derelict Dupois cemetery is the suitably sepulchral setting for the spine-chilling play Resurrection of a Spirit. But all the witchcraft has inevitably conjured something: her B&B guests are being terrified out of town by sightings of the legendary rougarou, a cross between a werewolf and vampire.

When, in the Dupois cemetery, someone costumed as a rougarou stumbles onstage during the play–and promptly gives up the ghost, the rougarou mask having been poisoned with strychnine, Maggie is on the case. But as more murders stack up, Maggie fears that Pelican’s spooky past has nothing on its bloodcurdling present.

My Review:

It’s nearing Halloween and Maggie Crozat and her parents, owner of the Cajun Country B&B, are gearing up along with the other B&Bs in Pelican, Louisiana to provide holiday specials along with festivities appropriate to the spooky, ghouly, and darker time of year. Maggie and the B&B community is working hard against Gavin Grody, better known for an agenda he calls, “Rent My Digs” as his endeavor has impacted their normally successful seasons, being one hour from New Orleans.

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen ByronThey are promoting all manner of activities, including a play they are holding in an ancient graveyard, Cajun food in typical Louisiana amenities, and a pet parade. They will also have readings from a local VooDoo priestess, Helene, and Maggie has created a spa on her premises that she is hoping will be a major draw along with the masseuse she is bringing in–a remotely related cousin she has never met.

Her cousin, Susannah, brings her husband Doug and his twins. She outfitted her art studio in the old schoolhouse for the family and began to set appointments. Unfortunately, sightings been made of a rougarou, an old Cajun creature legend. Susannah announces her land runs through the schoolhouse making Maggie and the Crozat’s the obvious suspects of what is quickly assessed a murder.

Of course, her own Pelican PD doesn’t believe they would be involved. It is the neighboring jurisdiction that smells an easy solve and the murder happened there, so Maggie and clan will have to go looking to find the killer. In the meantime, her Grandmeré is becoming a bridezilla as she is planning a wedding with Maggie and her beau, Detective Bo Durand of their precinct. He has a young son, Xander who is looking forward to Halloween and planning his costume with the same fervor as her Gran the wedding.

I thoroughly enjoy the sense of humor this author brings to her storytelling, which is always well-plotted and easy paced, with fully developed characters alive with Southern hospitality personality. One of her guests has a parrot that often enlivens and entertains the others. The family melds easily as an enviable tight, happy clan, the occasion is atmospheric, and there are always tidbits of Louisiana Cajun folklore and culture, foods, descriptions of the land and people.

“In Louisiana…We only follow the rules we like.”

If I didn’t remember that humidity and those bugs so well, I’d be packing to head south.

The casual road to the conclusion sneaks up on you, as do the perps in the final reveal. I had my eye on one or two others, but was wrong and that doesn’t often happen. There is an explanation of particular custom or word origins and then the recipes. If I remember right it was after I read Fatal Cajun Festival that I ran out and bought ingredients for a Jambalaya. (I do love shrimp.) This novel includes more than one I’ll try (if I’m ever allowed to go grocery shopping again).

I received this digital download from the publisher through NetGalley and totally appreciated the opportunity to read and review Book 6. Engaging and entertaining, I greatly enjoy this author’s writing style, both this series and her new one, Catering Hall Mysteries (Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico). If you haven’t yet discovered her books, now is the time. Highly recommended!

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Culinary Mysteries, Cozy Craft and Hobby Mysteries
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
ASIN: B082H3BT6F
Print Length: 304 pages
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Murder in the Bayou Boneyard (Amazon)
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

+Add to Goodreads 

Rosepoint recommended

Maria DiRico - authorThe Author: [Ellen Byron] Author of MARDI GRAS MURDER, the 2018 AGATHA AWARD winner for Best Contemporary Novel. Also writes the Catering Hall Mysteries (HERE COMES THE BODY, #1) as Maria DiRico.

Ellen writes the USA Today bestselling Cajun Country Mysteries. MARDI GRAS MURDER won the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel and was nominated for a Best Humorous Mystery Lefty Award by Left Coast Crime. A CAJUN CHRISTMAS KILLING and BODY ON THE BAYOU, both won the Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery, and were nominated for Agatha Awards in the category of Best Contemporary Novel. PLANTATION SHUDDERS, the first book in the series, was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. Cajun Country Mysteries offer “everything a cozy reader could want,” according to Publishers Weekly, while Library Journal says, “Diane Mott Davidson and Lou Jane Temple fans will line up for this series.” HERE COMES THE BODY, the first book in her Catering Hall Mysteries, debuted under her pen name, Maria DiRico.

Ellen’s TV credits include Wings and Just Shoot Me; she’s written over 200 magazine articles; her published plays include the award-winning Graceland and Asleep on the Wind. She is a native New Yorker who lives in Los Angeles and attributes her fascination with Louisiana to her college years at New Orleans’ Tulane University. She also worked as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing. Have an early copy of Martha’s first book, ENTERTAINING? Ellen’s standing right next to her in the group shot.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

When All Is Said: A Novel by Anne Griffin – a #BookReview #readingirelandmonth20

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER & INDIE NEXT PICK”

One of Goodreads’ 43 Most Anticipated Reads of 2019

March

Book Blurb:

“I’m here to remember–all that I have been and all that I will never be again.”

If you had to pick five people to sum up your life, who would they be? If you were to raise a glass to each of them, what would you say? And what would you learn about yourself, when all is said?

At the bar of a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan. He’s alone, as usual ­- though tonight is anything but. Pull up a stool and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally ready to tell his story.

Over the course of this evening, he will raise five toasts to the five people who have meant the most to him. Through these stories – of unspoken joy and regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden, a fierce love that never found its voice – the life of one man will be powerful and poignantly laid bare.

Beautifully heart-warming and powerfully felt, the voice of Maurice Hannigan will stay with you long after all is said and done.

My Review:

When All Is Said by Anne GriffinOh, man, it’s painfully obvious I haven’t a literary appreciation bone in my body. There’s been hype galore, tons of five-star reviews, and really, it’s a rather remarkable novel–a debut–for heaven sake that’s stirred all the fuss. So what’s wrong with me that I had such a dreadful time getting through it? There were bouts of boredom, but still…if I was supposed to close the book and have a favorable impact hit me–that failed as all I felt was relief. I finished it. It was depressing. I don’t feel good. I feel relief.

You’ve read the blurb. You know it’s about an 80+ year old man, Maurice Hannigan, in a bar waxing poetic on the five greatest influences of his life. His wife, number one, whom he lost two years previous. But no, he doesn’t start the toasts with his wife. He does as so many octogenarians do–revert to his childhood–memories of how it all got started–and where it went off the rails. And why.

So there is

  1. Tony, his brother
  2. Molly, his daughter
  3. Doreen, his sister-in-law
  4. Kevin, his son
  5. Sadie, his wife

When All Is Said by Anne GriffinBecause of little then known dyslexia, he is forced to drop out of school at age ten to work on the same farm as his mother, owned by the Dollards. They are cruel and abusive but it is because of one small blip in time that the path of his life leaves him bitter and twisted and at this age, driven with regrets.

The author is an excellent storyteller–weaving the story of each component of his life with the stilted view of either his youth or the man he eventually becomes bent on retribution until he realizes it colored all his remaining relationships. It appears he is directing his thoughts to his son, although heaven knows his son isn’t there and I’ve no idea where, if any words were spoken aloud, that he might have found a sympathetic ear. Perhaps a stranger sitting close, but even then, the bar mate would have called for the next drink and found another seat.

I went hunting for Irish authors for Reading Ireland Month and saw this. It was available as a digital loan from my library and I was excited. I read a number of reviews and thought it sounded unique. It was. As with any authentically senior person, he tends to belabor the story, using a thousand words when a couple hundred would have done it. But you learn in some depth who each of the characters are and how they helped mold Maurice. Several were tragic. And the problem is–even at the beginning of the book–you know where this is going. There is to be only one ending. Gees, I’m too close to this whole thing and it’s a downer I don’t need or want to face yet.

Taken on merit, I understand why the acclaim, the interest, the success. The author’s writing style, while superfluous at times, wove a heart-rending story,  but too close for comfort. Although a powerful retrospective, because we know how it ends, the reader is rendered no hope for absolution from the beginning.

“…we were no different from our American cousins–the same things matter the world over: saving face and money.”
“I only ever wanted to belong to one person and she wasn’t in that room.”
“I didn’t need him to do anything other than just be alive. Is it the same for you?”

Mercy!

 Book Details:

Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction, British and Irish Literary Fiction, Romance Literary Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Dunn Books

  • ISBN-10:1250251338
  • ISBN-13:978-1250251336
  • ASIN: B07D2C31WC

Print Length: 324 pages
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Source: Local Library Digital Loan
Title Link: When All Is Said 

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4-stars

Anne Griffin - authorThe Author: Anne Griffin is an Irish novelist living in Ireland. Anne was awarded the John McGahern Award for Literature, recognising previous and current works. Amongst others, she has been shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award and the Sunday Business Post Short Story Award.

Anne’s debut novel ‘When All Is Said’ will be published by Sceptre in the UK and Ireland on 24th January, 2019 and by Thomas Dunne Books in the US and Canada on the 5th March, 2019. It will also be published by Rowohlt Verlag in Germany, Delcourt in France, by Harper Collins Holland in the Netherlands, by Wydawnictwo Czarna in Poland, and by Tyto Alba in Lithuania .

©2020 V Williams V Williams

The Plain of Jars by N. Lombardi Jr. – a #BookReview

The Plain of Jars by N. Lombardi Jr.

Five of Five Stars Five stars

Title: The Plain of Jars by N. Lombardi Jr.

Genre: Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, US Historical Fiction, Crime Action Fiction

Publisher: Roundfire Books

  • ISBN-10:1780996705
  • ISBN-13:978-1780996707
  • ASIN: B00CPL2P46

 Print Length: 670 pages

Publication Date: (Reprint edition) May 31, 2013

Source: Author request

Title Link: The Plain of Jars

Book Blurb:

What would you do if you found that the bones and ashes you were given by the Air Force were not the remains of your loved one? Dorothy Kozeny, a 64-year-old widow from a small town in Ohio, after getting no answers from the relevant authorities, decides the only thing to do is to go to Laos herself to search for the truth concerning her son’s fate. In 1990, accompanied by a trusted Laotian called Kampeng, Dorothy travels deep into the mountains of rural Laos, attempting to trace her son’s path through inhospitable terrain, an unforgettable trek that provides her with a rewarding, often humorous, and at times frustrating, cross-cultural experience. All clues lead her to a mysterious figure, an alleged CIA operative left over from the war, living in a remote and hostile area deep in the jungle. The second part of the book traces the life of this enigmatic character hiding in Laos, the two main characters linked through Dorothy’s son.

The Plain of Jars by N. Lombardi JrMy Review:

This is an extremely gripping saga about a young lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, well written, and difficult to put down. Those of us who were drafted during that time can relate to this tale. Why Vietnam? The question was on everyone’s mind at the time of the war and still mystifies me today. What did our country want in Vietnam that over 57,000 U.S. military died and hundreds of thousands were maimed and injured for life?

Hidden in the records of the military are many soldiers who could not return to this country for various infractions against the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  Dropping bombs from 35,000 feet makes the carnage and tedium of war seem far removed from the pilot, but when you are on the ground, the war and the effect of the bombing are all too real.

War was not declared against the Hmong, Laotians, Cambodians or others swept up in the melee. Lt. Andrew Kozeny was shot down in a bombing run in an F105. He experienced first-hand the devastation inflicted on the poor peasants trying to wrestle a living from the humid valleys. A young girl died in his arms, having no idea why the bombs were being dropped on their rural area nor why they were dying. Getting back to his unit he was re-assigned to fly the newer F111. This machine could drop many more bombs and rain destruction where ever it flew, but his memory of the young death was an ever-present confliction in the cockpit.

Lt. Kozeny could not let this vehicle of destruction kill more innocents. He scuttled the jet and wound up hiding in the jungle and evading capture. The Vietnamese would like to capture him but a C.I.A. death squad was sent to eliminate the young airman and his knowledge. This story is all too real and disappointing.

The report of his death was greatly exaggerated and some ashes were delivered home as “his remains.”  However, his mother discovers the ashes are not his and decides to fly to Southeast Asia to find out what happened to her son. This story is the result of that search. The U.S. government and C.I.A. are put into a very different light by this book. One can only be exasperated by the effect of a war none of our generation wanted or embraced. The pain caused thousands to pound home the mantra that “freedom isn’t free.”

Read this book and experience the frustration that affected an entire generation, the mood of the people and plan some time to complete the book because you will not want to put it down. Associate Reviewer - C E Williams

I received this digital download from the author in exchange for an unbiased opinion and in my opinion would garner 6 stars if that were available. Wholly recommended to anyone who enjoys intrigue, secrets, conspiracy, action, military history, emotional tension and turmoil, and redemption. Have I left anything out? C.E. Williams

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N. Lombardi Jr - authorThe Author: N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone, was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

©2019 C.E.Williams

#ThrowbackThursday – A View to Die For by Richard Houston

Throwback Thursday - featuring A View to DIE For

Renee began the #ThrowbackThursday meme on her blog, It’s Book Talk to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books published over a year ago. Hopefully, you’ll find either a story or author that interests you and you’ll check them out. And, if you’d like to join the fun, you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic from her website. Just provide the link back to her please).

This week I am highlighting Richard Houston, another terrific, prolific author who wrote A View to Die For, #1 in the series, which I reviewed on Goodreads. He has actually written a number of books in the Books To Die For series. I also read #2, A Book to Die For (also downloaded from BookBub). If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you know I’m a sucker for dog pics or doggy stories. Read this for the dog, Fred. (I hoped he lived more than two books. To see why, read the review that follows.) This novel was published on October 8, 2012. Houston consistently runs approximately four stars for any of his books sold on Amazon. Just look at that face!

Originally posted May 29, 2014

Continue reading “#ThrowbackThursday – A View to Die For by Richard Houston”

Rosepoint #Reviews – June Recap

Hello Summer!Holy Moses! Half of the year gone–poof! Waiting all this time for decent weather to grow my vegetable garden and see what survived or didn’t in the fairy garden, and now we’re into summer and spring blooms are dying. What is up with that? I’m not a fan of July heat, but with it may come more visitors and we had such fun showing our grandkids around the area, we may just do that again! (With proper heat protection this time of course.) If I suddenly go quiet, just picture the CE and I on our quaint senior deck enjoying the company of our old Navy buddies. We spent the last portion of dear hubby’s tour in Taiwan where I contracted amebic dysentery and the other wife worse. They now live in Texas where none of us have to wonder what we’re eating or whether the water was properly purified. Ahh, the good ole days!

Less you think I’m making excuses (again), I took part in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges and #ThrowbackThursdays, as well as spotlights and book tours during the month resulting in a net of seven book reviews for June.

A Steep PriceDark LavaAs the Christmas Cookie CrumblesConfound It

America on PurposeTail of the DragonI’ve Been Watching You

So the question is, do you start a favorites list from the beginning of the year, then of necessity keep rearranging, or tackle the task at the end of the year? No, I didn’t start an Excel spreadsheet, maybe I should have. Maybe Goodreads is a good place to start? How do you go about the mission? Any suggestions?

Indie Author DayI keep scanning my resources for any information on Indie Author Day set for Saturday, October 13, 2018. Registration is now open. So far, the closest library that appears to be participating is in Lafayette, some 90 miles away. Even my previous little town of Goodyear AZ is participating and this area is far larger. We have several gorgeous, new libraries within ten miles, so I find it difficult to believe no one is organizing a local (NWI) event. There are currently more than seventeen states involved as well as three locations in Canada.

A worldwide event, libraries and organizations will welcome local Indie authors and writers for a day of education, networking, panels and more. And according to their website–free registration to all participants! Anyone participating in this event? Have you been to one before? I’d love to hear about it!

A big thank to all my new followers and as always so appreciate you who continue to read and comment! Thank you!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle – a #BookReview

The Tortilla Curtain by T C Boyle-eBook coverTitle: The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle

Genre: Currently #27 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Satire, and #62 in Contemporary Fiction, Urban

Publisher: Penguin Books

Publication Date: September 1, 1996

Source: Free download BookBub

Title and Cover: The Tortilla CurtaineBook cover attracted my attention (prefer it to the paperback version below)–thought it would interest hubby–this is his review.

This book has been around more than twenty years and certainly long enough that there are more than sufficient synopses. So at this point, I must assume the literary crowd is familiar with the setting in the beautiful but fragile ecology of the Topanga Canyon of Southern California. This scenario situates two couples on a course designed to slap your senses into a new mindset. The classic style Greek pathos novel grasps the very soul of society and squeezes so tightly I came close to declaring a DNF more than once. No getting around it–this is a very difficult book. Continue reading “The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle – a #BookReview”