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Mon Jan 23, 2012, 04:34 PM

I'm entered in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel competition

Last edited Mon Jan 23, 2012, 05:07 PM - Edit history (1)

and I have a few more days to edit the "Pitch" segment of my entry. One is already in the machine but if you are willing, I'd appreciate your feedback on my rewrite.


In Cherokee legend it is said that at the beginning of the world people and animals spoke and understood each other’s languages. While on a walk through Central Park, Nikki Twig has a magical encounter with a carriage horse that sends her back to Oklahoma where she meets her biological father, Weep, and is welcomed into the Cherokee family she never knew she had.

Nikki grew up unloved and abused by her family until Wally, a Cherokee social worker with a big heart and lots of courage, removed her from a criminally abusive situation. At Wally’s funeral, Nikki learns that she is not the person she thinks she is and that she and her best friend and sister-cousin, Bee, are related not only to each other but also to Wally through a Cherokee bloodline.

The secrets of Nikki’s past become unlocked when she meets Weep. On a trail ride through Osage County, Weep surprises Nikki by giving her the carriage horse that he rescued from New York as a birthday present. On the second day of the trail ride, a band of wild horses cuts through the middle of the riders and Nikki hears her mare’s unmistakable plea to join the black stallion leading the herd and sets her free. This act of letting go forms an unbreakable bond Weep and Nikki and helps her life come together on many levels when the final link in her genealogy that relates her to Bee is revealed.

WEEP is a general fiction novel set in present day Oklahoma (75,111 words) that will appeal to readers interested in Native American lore or in Cherokee culture and history

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply I'm entered in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel competition (Original post)
yellerpup Jan 2012 OP
Shagman Jan 2012 #1
yellerpup Jan 2012 #2
yellerpup Jan 2012 #3
nuxvomica Jan 2012 #4
yellerpup Jan 2012 #5
nolabear Feb 2012 #6
yellerpup Feb 2012 #7
valerief Feb 2012 #8
yellerpup Feb 2012 #9
valerief Feb 2012 #10
yellerpup Feb 2012 #11
valerief Feb 2012 #12
yellerpup Feb 2012 #13
yellerpup Feb 2012 #14
valerief Feb 2012 #15
yellerpup Feb 2012 #16
valerief Feb 2012 #17
yellerpup Feb 2012 #18
valerief Feb 2012 #19
yellerpup Feb 2012 #20
valerief Feb 2012 #21
yellerpup Feb 2012 #22

Response to yellerpup (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 04:05 PM

1. sounds good

I like the basic idea. This pitch is a bit confusing as to the sequence of events, but maybe that's the idea.

One little nit--needs a word between "bond" and "Weep" in the last sentence, maybe "between"?

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Response to Shagman (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 05:25 PM

2. Good catch!

Thanks. I actually changed the whole pitch after I posted it here on the advice of folks on the Amazon board. Thanks so much for commenting. I truly appreciate your response.

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Response to Shagman (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 06:00 PM

3. I went back to check that 'between' reference.

And it's not in the final pitch. This is the one I went with (for better or worse).


Nikki Twig grew up unloved and abused by her mother's husband until Wally, a Cherokee neighbor with lots of courage and a hidden agenda, rescued her from that criminally abusive situation. Years later, Nikki learns that she is not who she thinks she is.

The secrets of Nikki's past become unlocked when she meets Weep, the Cherokee man who is her biological father. With the truth in the open Nikki begins to understand why Wally fought so fought so hard to save her from the man who raped her when she was twelve in retaliation for her mother's affair with Weep.

On a trail ride through the Oklahoma countryside, Weep and Nikki form an unbreakable bond and she is welcomed into the loving family she always wished for but never knew she had. The puzzle of Nikki's life comes together when the final link in her genealogy is revealed.

WEEP is a mainstream fiction novel set in present day Oklahoma (75,111 words) about a woman’s spiritual quest for identity and belonging with a special emphasis on Cherokee history and culture.

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Response to yellerpup (Original post)

Sat Jan 28, 2012, 11:59 PM

4. Thanks for posting this

I forgot to add the last sentence to my pitch, the one that gives the title, word-count, etc. Your post reminded me so I added it.

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Response to nuxvomica (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 07:56 AM

5. Yay! I'm glad you're in.

I was wondering how many DUers entered. I am not good at writing pitches or synopses so just dunno... Mine is already published and I got my first review on Amazon from someone I don't know. It was the best one yet! Good luck to you!

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Response to yellerpup (Original post)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 11:01 PM

6. Best of luck! I thought I'd enter but changed my mind.

I have entered a number of other awards but I decided Amazon wanted a little too much without talking to me first. And I'm not ready to have the novel pulled for a year to be republished. I'm excited about some of the others though.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 11:11 PM

7. I was going to pull mine anyway.

Not that I expect to win, but I thought I'd take a chance. Thanks for your good wishes, nolabear. I wish you the best with your entries, too.

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Response to yellerpup (Original post)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 09:54 PM

8. Good luck. I've entered, too. I've entered every year since the start, but I can't get past

the pitch stage. Oh, well. At least, I have a goal every year.

I spend way too much time on the ABNA forum. Politics is so depressing now. All GOP clown car crap. I like the escape to ABNA.

My entry is this.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/1202260

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Response to valerief (Reply #8)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:04 AM

9. The Pitch has always been the hardest thing for me, too.

I have no idea if I'll make the first cut, but I'm in it and I'm glad you are too. Your book sounds delightful! Is it only on Kindle? I don't have an e-reader or I'd order one today.

This is my entry: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1220182#post3

Best of luck to you, valerief!

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #9)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 08:15 AM

10. Thanks. Your book sounds fascinating. I'm only on Kindle, but it'll be free Saturday and Sunday.

I'm not pushing my book, but you can read ebooks in your browser or in the free apps. Some people hate to read electronically though, so I understand if you're a paper reader. I waited a long time before getting a Kindle. I never use it, because I have a stack of paper books in my reading queue to get to first! And I'm such a sloooooow reader.

On edit:
I read your bio on your book's ammy page. You've got quite a history as a writer! Impressive.

On edit edit:
I just looked at your first paragraph. I've seen it in the ABNA forum. It's the best first paragraph I've read there! I'm sure the rest of the book is just as great. One of these days, I'll get to reading it.

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Response to valerief (Reply #10)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 09:23 AM

11. Thanks!

I'm not good a loading apps (never done it) but Mr. Pup can surely guide me through the process and I'll try to read your book over the weekend. You're not the least bit pushy; I love to support other writers. Grateful thanks for your comment about the first paragraph! Although, I am not confident at all that I'll make it out of the pitch phase, but here's to hoping for the best for both of us!

I'm actually getting more notice for my latest play, "Broken Heart Land" and interest in that ramped up big-time yesterday. It's so cool to have hope again!

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #11)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 05:26 PM

12. I figure after trying all these years, if I make it out of the pitch stage, I'll have won.

I don't have any grand ambitions. Ha!

Good luck!

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Response to valerief (Reply #12)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 06:26 PM

13. Same here.

When talking about the book, the most attention getting phrase is: "Weep was the name of my great-grandfather." Then, they will settle in to hear the story. Couldn't find a way to get that into the pitch, of course, because it has nothing to do with the book except for the man named Weep. I'm with you. No grand ambitions, we'll just see what happens!

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Response to yellerpup (Original post)

Thu Feb 23, 2012, 02:15 PM

14. Wipe Out.

I didn't make it past the pitch phase. If I could tell a story in 300 words or fewer (The Pitch) I wouldn't be writing novels.

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #14)

Thu Feb 23, 2012, 06:30 PM

15. I didn't make it either. This is my 5th year entering. But I never give up!

Maybe next year.

One guy who got through posted on 3 different threads (Feedback, Consistency, and Announcing the 2012 Second Round Entries) that he entered two novels and one got through. I don't know if he was serious or not, but multiple entries, although against the rules, seems to be a recipe for success. Rules. Pffft! They're for losers. Ha!

Did you see the Irrelevancy of Literature Competitions thread? There's always someone each year!

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Response to valerief (Reply #15)

Thu Feb 23, 2012, 07:39 PM

16. That thread wasn't up the last time I visited

but it sounds like fun. I'll have to go check it out. I didn't expect to get through the pitch. So, what I promised myself was a wee celebration with my friend and neighbor no matter what the result this afternoon. She's a server with days off in the middle of the week, so this is a regular thing on thursdays for us. I made an exquisite coconut mojito and we just hung out and laughed about our cats.

That is a disturbing rumor about the guy who submitted two entries, but if it turns out to be true and he wins anyway, that just sounds like launch party advance pr. Especially if he makes a two-book deal.

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #16)

Thu Feb 23, 2012, 09:33 PM

17. I'm not sure if he entered under two different accounts. Sounds like it. Glad you had fun.

In the Irrelevancy thread, there was a big brouhaha. I mean, he called ABNA irrelevant. He entered, lost, and called it irrelevant. His name calling was exquisite. Here's what the OP wrote across several posts. (I was calling him Mr. Classy.)

(This was his original post.) I should have known better than to submit "China Basin" to this contest. Collective minds cannot judge value, only decide on the least controversial or on the most mediocre. Howard Roark would't have won the Cosmo-Slotnik architectural contest, either. I was just curious to see how far my novel went, which was apparently nowhere. (Oh, yes, you read that right. Ayn Rand. He's an Objectivist. Bwah!)
and
Entering this contest was a disinterested experiment, with no expectation of making the second rung. I would have been quite astonished it my novel had made it that far. It would have been evidence of other sentient life in the field. As for rummaging through five years of past posts, that isn't going to happen.
and
(This was where he started the heavy name calling. No one did it but him.) And it took you this long to dig up that dirt? Is this your profession? Sneers, smears, and shoveling dung? Rand, by the way, disowned that story. As for your last remarks, what philosophy have you created lately? How many people are quoting you? It seems you're the orangutan tossing turds at your betters. This discussion is attracting all manner of "creative" nihilists. Its title, which was no accident, is drawing in all the moths. And cockroaches, and silverfish.
and
Jeff Davis: Thanks for your words here. But I don't think it's bitterness that is causing many of the snide and smarmy remarks here. I made an innocuous observation about the pointlessness of literary contests and a band of hooligans and mental graffiti artists jumped on it. Believe me, this is the last contest I'll ever enter, even for the curiosity. At least I've learned the stature of some of these people. Nice company. Like the Taliban. Thanks again. There are some civil tongues out there.
and
P.S. Wright: I think you overestimate the character of most of your colleagues. Yes, they are mean-spirited, and a more debauched crew I haven't encountered in a long time. No, I wasn't "venting," pardon me, but making a cogent observation about literary contests. And look at the caliber of responses I got. But, it is all educational, and probably reflective of the caliber of their fiction.

A couple people actually defended him. They're probably Gingrich supporters.

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Response to valerief (Reply #17)

Fri Feb 24, 2012, 10:00 AM

18. I looked for the thread this morning, but didn't find it.

Thanks for posting the highlights for me! What a jerk! If the contest is irrelevant to him, I wonder why he is squealing like a pig about not getting past the pitch round. He's probably a critic IRL. LOL!

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #18)

Fri Feb 24, 2012, 01:39 PM

19. It's there as Irrelevancy of Literary Competitions. When it falls below other posts,

you have to go to the next page.

It doesn't matter. Ayn Rand crazies are the worst!

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Response to valerief (Reply #19)

Fri Feb 24, 2012, 11:23 PM

20. Yes, our local Ayn devotee moved away

and no one ever mentions Nicky "Trousers" anymore except to giggle how he used to try to teach us "jazz hands."

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #20)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 11:46 AM

21. Bwah!

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Response to valerief (Reply #21)

Sat Feb 25, 2012, 08:34 PM

22. One of my friends goofed and called him Nicky Pants once!

(armpit beltline even though we wasn't quite 30) That was his first hint that he wasn't being taken seriously. I would have felt sorry for him if he hadn't been such a Randite.

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