Follow my journey toward publication. Laugh, cry, point and stare-- it's all good. I'll leave a trail so that you, my fellow author, may have a straighter path to finding your own elusive publishing contract. Adventure awaits. Let's travel together...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

COTT's Fiction Flash Clash Winner

*guest post by Michelle Massaro and April Gardner

Last week, COTT posted a "Flash Clash" in which readers had just 2 days to cast their votes between two 100-word excerpts. It was a fast one! But not so fast that voters didn't have time for their say.

To add to the tension, the winner took the clash by a margin of one vote. That’s right. ONE vote difference. Both excerpts were so good, readers were split almost exactly down the middle. I love clashes that are this close!

The winner of our Flash Clash First Hundred is…

Rebecca Carey Lyle’s Winds of Wyoming.

Winds of Wyoming clashed against Tom Blubaugh’s Night of the Cossack. It was a pleasure getting to know both authors during this fun, super-speedy clash. We wish many blessings on their writing paths!

Here's what readers had to say about both books:

*Great excerpts...both caught my interest immediately!
*Wow - two really great flashes that sound like amazing stories! Love it!
*Keep writing and don't give up!
*Both excerpts were great, especially given the short time to convey what was happening in the story. Keep up the good work!

COTT is taking a spring break starting immediately. We will begin clashing again on April 2, 2012 when hostess Gail Pallotta brings us a brand new clash--Comparable Covers!

In the meantime, check out these other Splashdown Books…

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spec Fic Champ Wins Submission Request

Guest blogger: Jennifer Slattery

Sometimes Clash of the Titles highlights great talent. Other times we get to "discover it." This is exactly what happened with our speculative fiction unpub'bed clash.

Join me in welcoming Chawna Schroeder to the COTT family!

There's nothing like discovering great talent before it goes to print! And I have a feeling we're going to see our latest COTT champion's books on bookshelves very soon. When we do, we can all say, "We saw her on COTT first!" And this clash--a battle for best speculative fiction unpub'bed--was even more exciting because the winner has been invited to submit a full proposal to Asraea Press for immediate review!

Her winning excerpt was pulled from the pages of Metamorphosis, a gripping tale of a Beast and her master:

Once upon a time there lived a Beast…
Not in a shining castle, but among a pack of dogs.

For as long as Beast can remember she has lived among her master’s dogs. With them she sleeps. With them she eats. With them she fights and struggles to survive. But through hunger and cold, she dreams of one day becoming Master’s favorite, earning bones with meat and a place beside the fire.

Then strangers attack. Her pack scatters. Fire eats the village. And Beast knows: Master is no more.

Alone and unprotected, Beast tries to defend herself against slavers scavenging for any leftovers. But she is only one, and they are strong.

Tracked by men, sold as a monster, is Beast only prey to be hunted…
…or something more?

A few comments from readers:

"I enjoyed both excerpts! I am curious about the world created in A, but B really got me in the gut."

"Great job! Keep writing!"

"God has given you a gift. Your TRUE fans will always be there for you!! Never give up and follow your dreams!!! I am sending up a prayer for you and your family!!!"
Join us March 19-23 for a fun Flash Clash!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spotlight on Gail Pallotta

*guest post by COTT Sr. Editor, April W Gardner

This week, it was my privilege to spend a few extra minutes with author Gail. Gail is one of the blog alliance correspondents at Clash of the Titles.

Her husband, Rick, says she’s the only person he knows who can go in the grocery for a loaf of bread and come out with someone’s life story. That’s probably because she inherited her mother’s love of people and enjoys talking to them. Working as an editor and freelance writer, Gail published a couple hundred articles. While some of them are in anthologies, two ended up in museums. In 2004, the American Christian Writers Association named Gail a regional writer of the year. She recently published her first romance, Love Turns the Tide. When she isn’t writing she likes reading, swimming, and getting together with friends and family. Gail wants to write books of faith that show God’s love. She and Rick live in Georgia. Just a couple hours north of me, actually! We’re practically neighbors. :-)

Every COTT staff member is a professed child of God. Gail, can you tell us about your relationship with Christ?

I can’t remember when I didn’t love Jesus. My father’s father was a minister, so I grew up listening to Bible verses and references to Jesus. But my mother played a huge part in helping me establish a relationship with Christ. At bedtime she said prayers with me and told me stories from the Bible. First, she taught me “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep,” but even then I had a copy of “The Lord’s Prayer” hanging on the wall above the headboard of my bed. She taught it to me a few lines at a time. We soon started saying it instead of “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.” She also told me about the Crucifixion in her own words, explaining how much Jesus had to love me to die for me. She taught me to talk to Jesus, to say the things I was thankful for, to praise Him, and ask for things I needed. I did the same with my daughter. I’m so grateful for the many blessings Jesus has given me and that He’s always there for me. I don’t always get the answers I want to my prayers, but I get the answers I need to fulfill God’s plan for my life. Whenever I’ve needed a miracle, Jesus has supplied one. There are several hymns that touch on how I feel about my relationship with Christ. “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” and “He Leadeth Me” are two. My daughter recently gave me a CD, Elvis, An Evening Prayer. The first song on it, “His Hand in Mine,” conveys how I feel about my relationship with Christ. It’s an old gospel song written by Mossie Lister. It’s on YouTube. The URL is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulTtL_YaC-w

Beautiful testimony! A mother’s faith is essential in a child’s life, and you’re proof of that!

None of us are perfect though, so what’s the craziest thing you did as a teenager? 

Gail Pallotta

I grew up at the foothills of the mountains. At a reunion a few years ago, many of us told our beloved biology teacher how much she meant to us. She replied, “Well, I had to teach biology. There was no one else in town that could.” Teachers were scarce. We had a very old algebra teacher. He couldn’t stay awake during class. Nope. He took the roll and told us to turn to the next chapter and work the problems. Then he pushed back his seat and propped his feet on the trash can. We’d give him about ten minutes, and he was out like a light. His classroom was in the basement with a window level to the ground. In the spring as soon as he started snoring, we went out the window, got in my friend’s convertible (she had the only car) and went to the lake.

No way! That’s so funny!! How long were you gone? What is something else people would be surprised to know about you? 

At age twenty-two when I graduated from college, I packed my clothes in a medium-sized suitcase and moved to a large city with eighty dollars in my pocket. Had no car, no job, and nowhere to live. 

Wow! You can’t leave us hanging, lol! How did that work out for you?

On a slightly more serious note, what is the nearest book to where you’re sitting? 

I love to read anything, non-fiction, fiction, any genre, Christian and many secular. But the book closest to me, probably because I also write as well as read, is Essentials of English.

I’d imagine that covers grammar? Forms of writing? Sounds like a must-have for every writer! What are three things you can’t live without?   

Faith, family, fun

Three very important f’s! Makes me wonder though, when I say the word “fun,” what’s the first thing to pop into your mind?

What is the message you most want to convey to readers with your writing? God loves you. Accept His love and let the greatness of it overcome the imperfections of this world. 

That brings to mind. John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." NAS (©1995)

Anything else you’d like to add? 

I was honored when asked to be part of the Clash of the Titles Staff. I love helping to promote Christian books and writers.

And we love having you!!


Get to know Gail better by visiting her website or her blog.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Unpublished Champ Wins Submission to Astraea

*Guest post by--COTT Sr. Editor, April W Gardner
*This clash sponsored by WhiteFire Publishing

The first five hundred words of any story are usually enough to clue us is as to the author's style, the tone the book will take, and whether or not the story will hold our interest. It's those five hundred from two different unpublished novels that Clash of the Titles presented to you last week. 

Will Ramirez's Soul Yearning
Nancy Kimball's Chasing the Lion


We asked our readers which they would be most likely to continue reading and this is how they voted:

by Nancy Kimball

In addition to a hearty welcome to the COTT family, as announced yesterday, Nancy was invited by Astraea Press to submit a complete proposal for immediate review.

Maybe one day very soon, we'll see Chasing the Lion come back to Clash of the Titles to compete as a published novel!

This is what our readers had to say about Chasing the Lion:

*The first excerpt really grabbed my attention- especially since it stirred my emotions... and my love of mystery. 
*What was the answer his mother gave that caused this strong boy to run away? Very well done!
* Who's the dad?!?! I'm hanging off a cliff wondering!

About the novel

Author Nancy Kimball

From the blood-soaked sand of the Roman arena, a divine destiny will rise.
For as long as Jonathan Tarquinius can remember, everyone has wanted something from him. His brothers want him dead. His master’s wife wants his innocence. The gladiator dealers want him to fight, and die, for their greed. The humble slave girl who tends the wounds on his body and the hidden ones on his soul yearns for him to return to his faith in God.
God wants something from Jonathan, too. Something more than anyone could ever imagine.
What Jonathan wants is simple—freedom.
The young warrior’s journey will push him to the very limits of human endurance and teach him the only true freedom is found in Christ. The greatest battle Jonathan ever fights will not come in the arena, but deep within himself, when he is forced to choose between vengeance and forgiveness, knowing the fate of all he holds dear hangs in the balance.


Monday, March 5, COTT will see the start of yet another unpublished clash. This one however, carries the theme of speculative fiction, a newer genre that's taken the market by storm. Come on by for another opportunity to vote and win a copy of previous COTT Champ Diane M Graham's new novel, I Am Ocilla!