Cheers: ABNA 2011 and East of Denver

I really love being a participant in the yearly Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. I've been a judge now for two years in a row -- 2010 and 2011 -- and I heartily hope that I'll be asked to judge again from here until I'm too dead to realistically continue on in that capacity. A girl can dream.

Although the competition seems to provide a lot more benefits for Amazon and Penguin than for the author entrants and although I think the judging could be tightened up a little more after some unfortunate incidents this year, I am still very glad that authors continue to participate and I'm sure it must be extremely gratifying to be judged to be the best in your category at the end of the year. There's a lot of luck involved, but there's also just as much skill necessary.

I always like to peruse the ABNA excerpts when they come available to read after the second judging round, and I try to leave reviews on my favorites in order to help provide the authors with feedback. I never make my stated goal of reading and reviewing ALL of them -- I'm afraid I just don't have the time -- but I *do* manage to read quite a few gems and it's always a delight to me when I see them do well.

I was especially shocked and surprised to see that one of this year's winners is one that I read and reviewed earlier in the year: East of Denver. (You can pre-order the hardcover here, and boy do I hope it comes out in eBook form as well. Start poking that publisher now, fellow eReaders!) You can still read the excerpt free of charge here with either a Kindle or the Kindle for PC app, so you can figure out well in advance whether or not you need this lovely new author in your home collection.

What's most amusing to me about all this -- beside the ecstasy of being involved in something really awesome like ABNA -- is that part of this process illustrates just how tricky it is for the Vine judges to rate the excerpts according to the first 20,000 words or so. Based on the East of Denver excerpt, I thought the story was going to be an incredible, introspective read about coming to terms with an aging parent and putting fond memories to rest in order to deal with the painful realities of the now. Instead, according to the description on the pre-order hardcover copy, it's about a bank heist. And that's good too. *grins*

Hearty and heart-felt congratulations go out to Gregory Hill, wherever he is right now. I hope he enjoys his new ABNA-induced fame, because goodness knows he's earned it! *cheers*


Charleen Merced said...

LOL That's sooo random and quite different in terms of direction.

paulinemalley said...

Hi Ana,
I was enamoured with East of Denver. I was a fellow entrant and was sent packing after round 2. Sigh......  But I was keen to look at what calibre of writing was being presented to this competition. Greg Hill's witty/quaint style of writing captured me from the beginning. I was one who voted for his piece.

A Heist! No way? You're kidding right? Well I never saw that coming. Good luck to Greg. And better luck to me next year.

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