Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ahem: A Little Groveling Is In Order


You like my words, right?

I mean, they don't make you physically and/or mentally wretch or want to suddenly speak in tongues, right?

Like if you were forced, at gunpoint (or something), to read 5,000 of them, all right in a row and without stopping, you wouldn't choose death instead, right?


And if you were compelled, by the ardor of my affection for all of you, to write a short review after reading these 5,000 words, this responsibility wouldn't make you crack and weep and bellow, "WHY? OH, DEAR LORD, WHY DOES SHE TORMENT ME THUSLY?" toward the heavens, even if you were, in all honesty, an agnostic/atheist/polytheist/Wiccan/other not inclined toward dramatic God appeals or using words like, "thusly"?

Okay. Good to know.

I entered my novel, Plum Blossoms in Paris, into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest a few months ago. The ultimate winner (to be announced in April) receives a publishing contract and a healthy advance. They have winnowed the 5,000 entries down to 800 or so semifinalists. And I'm one of them (whee!).

Amazon has posted the excerpts for their customers to read and review. I'm not sure how critical these reviews are to advancing toward the next level (in late February, they'll cut the pool down to 100), but I assume they'll matter.

So please, if you have the time, or desire, during the next few weeks to stop by and read my first couple of chapters, I would be very grateful. If you like what you read, and want to pen a review, that would be great. If you don't like what you read, and don't want to review, that would be equally great.

My excerpt is here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0012658UI

It's a pdf, which is a little awkward to read, so if you want to print it out, that might be helpful. The powers-that-be were supposed to cut if off at a chapter break, but they went too long, and chopped it off mid-sentence. I can live with this.

Thank you so much to those who are willing to do this for me. And please only do so if you are genuinely interested in the synopsis. In all seriousness, I welcome your honest reviews, so don't feel an obligation to pad the rating. There's certainly room for improvement here.

Thanks again!


Anonymous said...

I will be reading in the next few days.

Anonymous said...

It would be an honor to read it! :) I'm there.

Sarah Hina said...

Thank you, guys! I really appreciate it. :)

Ello said...

OMG! How awesome is that!!!!! I thought about entering but never got the guts to do so. Good for you for doing it! I will do this for you. In fact I would love to do this for you!!!

Ello said...

I loved it! I want to read the whole thing!!! And I posted my review. I am Echo.

Sarah Hina said...

Oh, Ello and Jaye, thank you so much. You were both way too generous, but I'll take it. ;)

It's funny, because I wrote this part of the novel over two years ago, and I see so much I would do differently now. Backstory is a tricky matter. And sometimes in writing, less really is more. Blogging has helped me understand this.

Yet there it all is. Just waiting to be judged. *gulp*

Can you tell I'm going to have a heart attack before the end of this? ;)


Hotwire said...

i'm in - can't wait!!!

Hotwire said...

“Yeah. It's like the one spot in the world where I could lay all my dreams.”

excuse me, but holy sh*t that is great!!

Sarah Hina said...

Hotwire, you are too kind. I really appreciate your support, and the stellar review.

You guys are just awesome.

Someone get me a tissue...


Anonymous said...

I will catch up soon and congratulations!

Shameless said...

Wow! Congratulations! I will certainly stop by and have a read. I might even pen something. :-) Especially if Paris is talked about.

Jo said...

I'm amazed! You now find another eager reader, and I hope that this book is merely a precursor to the many other, thrilling, inspiring, beautiful novels you will bless the world with.

Sarah Hina said...

Ruth, please don't hate me for the somewhat snide portrayal of Daisy's Canadian seatmate on the plane. I meant to demonstrate the typically arrogant, insulated mindset of Americans traveling abroad in that scene. By the end of that chapter, it's Daisy who's been knocked back on her heels a little.

And yes, she grows. :)

Thank you, Seamus, Jo, and Ruth! I really appreciate the support and good wishes. You guys are great. :)

Abhinav said...

I've gotten a copy of the excerpt. Have just started, but may I say that it is fabulous. If God is in the details, it is a holy piece of work. *thumbs up*

It's a deja vu because a close friend of mine has just broken up with her boyfriend of 3 years on the issue of college.

Though the detail is mesmerizing, don't you think a third person account would have given more space for observation of anguish? Just wondering.

Church Lady said...

Oh, that is wonderful news!!!!
I can't wait to read it!

I'm doing a bit of catching up on the blogosphere, but I hope to get to it tonight.


Sarah Hina said...

Thanks, Abhinav! I'm glad you're enjoying it so far. :)

I have to admit that I'm very nervous when anyone reads my novel. There's always a profound fear of opening myself up to judgment. But I sure asked for it here. ;) And people have been very kind so far.

As far as the 1st person POV goes, that's just the way it unfolded. I realize that sounds kind of dense, but I simply heard Daisy's voice in my head, I heard that first sentence, and that sent me on my way. There was little premeditation. I find 1st person to be somewhat limiting, but also extremely intimate for me as a reader and writer. I enjoy it. :)

Take your time, CL! Seriously. It will be up there for weeks.

Thank you, and I'm so happy to hear from you again. Even if it was just a couple of days, we missed you. :)

SzélsőFa said...

I'm loaded with work, so I can't promise you anything, but above all, getting into the final is worthy of applause. Congratulations!

Sarah Hina said...

I appreciate that, Szelsofa!

Please don't worry about checking it out for yourself. I've already been lucky enough to have several people give it a review, and I'm not going to sweat the promotion too much.

I have a feeling that the Publisher's Weekly review will be the critical element in advancing from here, anyway.

Thanks again for the good wishes!

Church Lady said...

I just read it. Simply beautiful.
I'm off to give it a way-up High Five!!!
(the part about the Canadians was funny. Love Canada, but still wicked funny!)

Bernita said...

Let me add my congratulations.
You are a fabulous writer.
We already knew that, but it is lovely to see it acknowledged.

Sarah Hina said...

Chris, thank you so much for your generous spirit. You are such a sweetheart. :)

Bernita, I really appreciate that. You're someone I really look up to, so it means a lot. Thank you!!!

Abhinav said...

Ahem!!! I downloaded and read the wonderful excerpt and thought of writing a wonderful review. *jumping up and down* But the blasted Amazonians say I can't post a review until I've bought something from them first. So you'll have to make do with my best wishes, Sarah. I'll post a review on my blog in a couple of days so others who visit it can write a review even if I cannot. :-(
P.S.: I've to say that you deserve all the applause I and the others can afford.

Sarah Hina said...

Abhinav, I thank you! I forgot about Amazon's insistence that reviewers be customers, too. How mercenary of them! ;)

Thank you for your kind words, too. I'm feeling incredibly insecure about the excerpt now, and think I should have changed a lot to make it a smoother, more palpable read. But I appreciate your applause more than I can say, and am deeply honored that you found something to admire there.

I started that book two and a half years ago, and in a way, I can see my progress as a writer in its pages, and the pages of this blog. All I can say is that writing is an incredible journey.

Thanks again!!! :)

Sustenance Scout said...

Just stopped by via Ello's blog, Sarah! Congratulations and good luck from Denver! K.