Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No Agent Required: Del Rey / Spectra Launches Contest for Novelists

n the footsteps of Angry Robot, the editorial staff of Del Rey / Spectra (imprints of Random House) have announced the Suvudu Writing Contest for aspiring novelists of “science fiction, fantasy, horror, or paranormal romance” with a completed manuscript but no literary agent.

Most New York publishers do not accept submissions except from literary agents so they don’t have to staff for the arduous work of delving through roomfuls of slush.  The Del Rey/Spectra staff will accept submissions from now through March 18, 2011.  Entries must be previously unpublished manuscripts of 50,000 to no more than 150,000 words.  If you have self-published your novel via Smashwords or other online site, those works do not qualify.

Submissions will be judged on the basis of originality, creativity, and writing style.  Judging period is described as several months.  The winning submission will receive a full edit by Betsy Mitchell, Editor-in-Chief of Del Rey Publishing, and the novel will be considered for publication.  So not a guarantee, but it’s likely that Ms. Mitchell isn’t going to do all that work and reject the final book.  No details are given regarding advances and pay for an accepted novel, but the fine print of the rules lists the grand prize "value" at $2,250.  It is not clear whether that is the estimated value of the full edit by Ms. Mitchell or the Del Rey advance if the novel is published.  Three runners-up will be awarded sets of books from the Del Rey/Spectra line.

Submissions are to be sent electronically – see the first website link below.

Winners will be announced on May 18, 2011.

The contest is open only to legal residents of the United States (a little odd since there are lots of talented new writers in Canada and around the world), excluding Puerto Rico, who are age 18 and over as of January 18, 2011.


Full Contest Rules:


Monday, February 21, 2011

THE ZOMBIE FEED Available for Pre-Order (and a Signing Offer)

hat would you do if a zombie plague were unleashed upon the world while you were on vacation, a passenger on one of those mammoth new mega-cruiseships James Bond would have felt at home aboard?

That was the thought I had last summer while my wife and I sailed through the Caribbean on our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.  How would the crew and passengers survive?  Could order be preserved?  What new social dynamics would emerge?  What threats?  If given a choice to remain on the ship -- a new ark of sorts -- would you stay, or disembark to take your chances?

Late last year I wrote the story, “Lifeboat,” and happily it will be appearing soon in a new anthology by Bram Stoker Award nominee and writer/editor Jason Sizemore, THE ZOMBIE FEED Volume 1.  I saw an announcement today that they are taking preorders now, and those who order early will receive a signed copy from Jason.

My signature’s not about to get the folks at Christie’s Auctions excited, but anyone who buys this book and would like my autograph, I will be glad to oblige (it would be my honor).  Contact me via email or Facebook, and mail me your copy.  I will sign and pay for the return shipping as a thank-you for supporting my work and Apex Books / TZF.

There are a lot of zombie novels and short story collections available right now, so the trick is coming up with new interesting settings, characters and twists.  Besides an isolated life on the high seas, I had been thinking about the source of the infection.  I decided that for this story, a runaway bloodstream nano-machine swarm coupled with a bioengineered virus intended to fight dementia and Alzheimer’s disease might be interesting.  I plugged that concept into “Lifeboat” but didn’t really delve into the details.  But I am working on a novel, “Wildfire,” where this concept is central and I delve into the science and physiological impacts pretty extensively.

When the book is completed I will hopefully find an interested publisher!