Penguin and Amazon

You know the old question, 'If you only had one xxxx to drink / go to / listen to / or etc for the rest of your life what would it be?' Well, if I only had one activity to undertake for the rest of my life it would be the writing of fiction, and this morning came a great big morale boost on this novel-writing front.

The mighty Amazon (web-site not river) and the mighty Penguin (publisher not emperor) every year combine forces to find their best new novelist. Big dollar prize, big publishing contract. No, it isn't me - not yet anyway!  Entries are restricted to the first five thousand, each of whom have to submit in January a 300 word 'pitch' for their novel plus a first 5000 word extract plus the whole typescript, bio etc. The 300 word pitch eliminates 4000 of the 5000. In February I was included in the 1000 left standing. The 5000 word extract is then read and eliminates a further 750 of the 1000. Yesterday I was included in the 250 'quarter-finalists'. Now my whole book - actually my first novel More Deaths Than One - will be read in full along with the other 249 and the best judged 50 will become semi-finalists. I dare not look beyond that, but to get this far is for me a major boost. April 22 is when I get to hear whether or not I am still in the running so in the meantime am doing my well practiced best not to get too excited or too, too over-hopeful.

Cross your fingers for me. Please!

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