At last, the results are in for LJ's A Novel Competition!
Many thanks to our guest judge Mark Coker, who carefully read over the finalist entries and provided us with critical insight and feedback.
And a giant thank you to everyone who submitted a book jacket copy/story summary for the contest. LiveJournal is so proud and inspired by each of you!
Grand Prize Winner of the Amazon Kindle and a $20 Blurb.com gift certificate:
Entry: "From the top of the lighthouse Myf felt that she could see to the edge of the world."
A young woman suffers the loss of the only man she has ever loved and journeys into the mysterious afterlife beneath the ocean in order to save him. Once there she realises that all the stories she was told growing up about the peacefulness of what awaits those who die beyond the waves are fabrications and that it is a hostile, dangerous place, full of monsters and spectres. There are the Angers, terrible men who burn to the touch with their rage, and there are the spirit trees who can rip a man in two with their ghostly branches made of pale hair. These are just the beginning of her trials. Myfanwy must navigate a world she does not understand with little but her wits, those few she forms bonds with along the way, and the love she holds for her departed fiancé, Cainan. Along the way she passes through grief as tangible as anything in the real world and ghosts as alive with passion and intelligence as anyone in the realm of the living, and she finally may come to the realisation that perhaps not everyone could, or should, be saved.
Why no title? The quote at the beginning is a turn-off because “Myf” looks like a typo, and the quote alone tells me nothing about the story. However, as I read on, the description immediately grabs me in the first sentence. It does a great job of controlling context, and guiding the reader down the path to interest. The first sentence is the most important of any description. From the first sentence, I know this story is about an epic journey of a young woman trying to save the only man she has ever loved. I immediately care about the woman, because she’s in pain for a noble reason. I care about the man too, because she cares about him and is in need of saving. The idea of the afterlife in the ocean is also intriguing. The first sentence also gives me the context I need to help me understand what type of book this is, and that’s important because good descriptions help the reader self-identify themselves as the target reader for this book. The second sentence draws me in further. She’s going to uncover lies. That’s interesting. Danger is interesting. Mention of monsters and spectres further helps the reader understand what type of story this is. The description gives the reader a strong sense that the main character is embarking on an epic journey of adventure and discovery. Very cool. I love it.
Finalists: (each wins a $20 Blurb.com gift card)
Entry: Conspiracy's Doorstep
Zy’Lin and Zy’Soln were twins living a comfortable, but obscure existence as the adoptive children of Anzel and Etta Eiger. That is until they were framed for the murder of the Eiger’s daughter, Ashla. Chased across space by the authorities, they went in search of information that would clear their names. Along the way they found themselves wanted not only for their perceived crime, but for their powerful psychic powers. Now they must search out the elusive and all-powerful group known as The Syndicate in order to clear themselves and find out about their mysterious origins. Assistance comes in the form of family members they never knew existed, and Griel Marsil, an unwitting officer of the Protectorate who wants to use the twins’ powers for good. Misfortune and pain plague the twins on their journey, but together they find they can overcome the worst evil the universe has ever known; God.
Entry: The Snow Moon (Book Two of the Palatine Series)
Welcome to Palatine, California with a population of 500. This picturesque little town is hidden by the mammoth sequoias what that cloak the rugged Sierra Nevada mountain range. There is little crime or pollution in Palatine. It is the kind of town where people leave their doors unlocked and everybody knows your name. It is also the home of the Luperci: an ancient, Etruscan cult whose initiates are granted, among other things, the power to shift into wolves.
Things are not perfect in Palatine. Somewhere within the dark shadows of the trees lurk the Malformed; hideous abominations stuck in bodies that failed to complete the shift between forms. These tortured souls prey upon the Luperci, as well as their human kin. As if that were not enough, an ancient and long forgotten evil has been watching and waiting for her time to rise again. That time has come.
Lilian Reis has been living in Palatine for just over a month with her autistic and developmentally disabled brother Randy. She has just begun to settle comfortably into her life there; even adapting to her brother’s new role as Lupis or spiritual leader of the Luperci.
But one morning a strange messenger appears on her doorstep with a warning. On that same day, Lily’s best friend goes missing. Soon Lily realizes that it falls on her already overburdened shoulders to save Palatine and remind its pack of their old traditions before it’s too late.
Detective Richard Tracy isn't your average dick. He's a werewolf, but no one else on the force knows it, including his attractive partner, Virginia Sterling. When Tracy and Sterling respond to a homicide at the mansion of local wealthy entrepreneur and philanthropist on Halloween night, they think they might have a high-profile case on their hands. But it turns out the victim only looks like a celebrity. In fact, several guests at the party bear a striking resemblance to various actors and actresses; that’s why they were invited. The rest in the crowd have famous names like O. Henry and Dorothy Parker instead of famous faces.
And just like those famous faces and names, not everything in the case is as it seems either. Not only has the victim’s identification gone missing, but so has the millionaire’s assistant and the agent who booked the doppelgangers for the party. On top of that, Detective Tracy is attacked and seemingly inconsequential evidence taken from him. As the investigation proceeds, Tracy and Sterling uncover a second (earlier) murder across town.
Did the same person murder both victims? Are the cases even connected? Who took the evidence from Tracy, and why? Will Tracy’s special physiology help or hinder the case? Will he manage to keep his secret from his partner, the Department and the world? Find out in, “The Name’s The Same”.
Entry: Moonstrike! A Thunderbirds fan fiction. A “Tracy sister” story.
It is the 2060s, and a line of rogue asteroids has entered our solar system, headed for the moon's surface and the colonies that have been planted there. On Earth, a group of eco-terrorists calling themselves Tellus Prime is at work, blocking any attempt to rescue the colonists through misinformation, sabotage, and even murder.
The only people with the resources and nerve to save the colonies are Jeff Tracy and his five sons - Scott, John, Virgil, Gordon, and Alan - through their secret endeavor, International Rescue. It will take all the ingenuity International Rescue can muster to do the job, and they in turn will rely on the support of the family's corporation, Tracy Ventures, and of its CEO, Jeff Tracy's only daughter, Rhea.
Their involvement will put Tracy Ventures firmly in Tellus Prime's cross-hairs, while a terrible tragedy stands to cripple both the family and International Rescue. Will they rise above the catastrophe and save the lunar colonies? Or will they abandon the project, allowing the terrorists to triumph and leaving the colonists to their fate? What will this do to International Rescue's reputation and future? Will Tellus Prime be able to bring down Tracy Ventures? Watch as the Tracy family deals with betrayal, hardship, and the microscope of a skeptical and watching planet, all while trying to put the pieces of their lives back together.
* A note to finalists: Coker has comments for each of you that I will message you personally. :)