We have a winner! My protagnist has been named!

In a week, The Eagle & The Arrow will be released.  With review copies out already and with Amazon’s uncertain release dates, I cannot keep this secret any longer: the year-long naming contest has been ended and the nameless protagonist in Beware the Hawk has been named!

Who won? What’s the name already? Hold your horses, kids. First, let me dish out a little background:

About a year ago, when I first began to gather and organize my notes to write a sequel to Beware the Hawk, I realized that I had a story-telling problem. As I wrote on this blog at the time:

My book, Beware the Hawk, features an unnamed protagonist, because I really love not naming first-person narrators. Which works well sometimes but not always.  It worked well for the original novella, but what if the character were to appear in other stories? She won’t be able to get through another storyline unnamed. I’ve been calling her Pink in private, but that’s not a real name. You know, like Jane, or Bob, or Ponyboy.

I needed to start work on what would turn out to be but Pink was simply not going to get through a new story without a name. And so I called upon my readers last summer to give her one. The winner would get to name Pink and get a signed, free copy of the next installment of her book.

There were many very special entries (including Devon Sharktopus) but these were the three finalists, chosen by me because I liked all three:

Vanessa Pye, submitted by Daisy Abreu
Hendrikke Penelope Brackensfeld, submitted by Beth Callahan
Harleigh McManus, submitted by Karen Morrissey Covey

Then I asked readers to vote for their favorite names. And like Zarathusra, they spake thus:

The winner is…

Continue reading

Give it away, give it away, give it away now.

Beware The Hawk novellaWow. The Goodreads book giveaway is no joke.

Today I launched my very first giveaway with the site, the first of several giveaways of Beware the Hawk I’m doing to lead up to the release of The Eagle and the Arrow next month.

My giveaway has been for one morning and already it’s been requested by several people. I’ve been checking back every hour like the obsessive person that I am, and it’s been kind of a thrill to watch people participating. Some people have added my book to their shelves. Some people have requested the giveaway. This is totally worth all the research, hair-pulling and cursing at the Internet I did on Friday when I tried to set up this giveaway.

I decided to try a series of giveaways after being prompted by other writers, every how-to-be-an-author-in-2013 blog post ever written and Goodreads itself. It was something I avoided last year, when BTH came out, because at first BTH was an e-book only (you can only give away physical books over Goodreads) and later, despite the advice of publishing friends, I was wary of giving away anything.

You know what? I really wish I tried the giveaway earlier. It’s a way to reach readers who a) I don’t know and b) don’t live near me. Even if the winner doesn’t read the book, or doesn’t like it, I will have still connected with a lot of readers who would be otherwise unavailable to me.

I’m pretty excited about all these readers. In fact, I’m excited about the series of giveaways as well. I’ll be doing one this week, next week and the week after, and then I will do some with the new book as well.

In the meantime, I’m working on some other goodness and I hope to post about that soon.

Name my protagonist!

I’m looking for a little help from my readers. And as usual, it will take the form of a contest.

My book, Beware the Hawk, features an unnamed protagonist, because I really love not naming first-person narrators. Which works well sometimes but not always.  It worked well for the original novella, but what if the character were to appear in other stories? She won’t be able to get through another storyline unnamed. I’ve been calling her Pink in private, but that’s not a real name. You know, like Jane, or Bob, or Ponyboy.

That, dear readers, is where you come in.

I want you to name my protagonist.

I already have some suggestions on my Facebook page, and I got one via text message this morning, but I need so much more than three suggestions.

Here’s how it will work.

Beware The Hawk novella

Faceless and nameless. For now.

I will be taking name suggestions (I’m looking for both first name and last name) via email, comment section, tweet and the aforementioned Facebook page. Also,  if you happen to see me in person, you can slip me a note with a name written on it. The virtual suggestion box will be open until I appear on Enders Island in Mystic, Conn. to read from the book on Thursday, July 19.

I will then pick a handful of the best names and post them, along with the names of those who suggested them. There will follow a week of  voting both on Facebook and here. I will however, announce the winner in private to the finalists, because I want the general readership to be surprised. (Although anyone capable of basic math and reading of poll results will probably be able to figure it out.)

The winner will have named Pink. Any other stories she appears in, she will bear the name you gave her. And you will get a free, signed copy of the very first new work she appears in.

The fine print (You should definitely read this.)

Ahem… The winner will not be entitled to royalties or other earnings. Just naming rights. And I do get some creative wiggle room, such as spelling or adding a middle name if necessary, because I am the author. Also, I can’t promise that just because I write a new Beware the Hawk book/story/screeenplay/graphic novel that anyone will want to publish it or that they will publish it in what you or I would consider to be a timely fashion. (Read: pronto.)

UPDATE: One name per entrant please! Pink’s only one woman!

So, what are you waiting for?

Send me some names!

Guest blog on Word for Words, and the winners of the giveaway.

Alas, Spy Week has come to a close, but what a close! Today I did a guest post on Word for Words, the blog of fellow Fairfield University MFAer Adele Annesi. It touches on the worries I had about my first published book being genre fiction, especially right after my graduation from an MFA program which teaches the art of writing literary fiction.

Head on over and check it out, and then stick around to check out Adele’s blog. Also, take a peek at her short story “Last Kiss Before Customs,” recently published in Midway Journal. Adele writes quiet, poignant fiction, and it’s always satisfying for me to read what she writes.

Now – onto the winners of the giveway. Here’s the deal. I am off two copies of Beware the Hawk to people who told me yesterday about the most ridiculous thing they’ve had to do for work. I did the drawing this afternoon, throwing the names of the four entrants into the only hat I own that resembles a fedora. And here are the winners:Beware the Hawk giveaway winners.

That’s right! Dreampeddler, whose name is Jodie, and who once cleaned hotel rooms for a year and a half at an establishment where the other maids called her Katie (and the management made her clean the bathrooms with only the dirty towels) wins, as does Discourse in C Sharp Minor who spent her first day on the job filming a lecture on “nitrogen-pooping nematodes.” I love how excrement is a part of both the winners’ stories.

Our other two contestants were Cheese-borrowing Erin and Schnauzer-beard blow-drying Elizabeth.

Winners, please shoot me your emails and I will send you your prizes. And if one of you already has a copy and would like to cede your prize and give it to a contestant who doesn’t have the e-book, please let me know.

Thanks for playing!

 

Bearded ladies are all winners.

I have two contests going on this blog right now. This post will announce the winners of the Bearded Lady contest. The Spy Week giveaway winners will be announced later in the day. Promise.

Remember when you were in summer camp and there was a contest of some kind? And you got all nervous and excited because you thought you might win, but you were afraid you might lose? Then all that angst turned out to be for naught because everyone’s a winner.

Right. I’m about to pull a summer camp on you all. The free-the-Dwarven-ladies-of Middle-earth protest beards have been submitted. And, I can’t pick one winner, so everyone wins.

Now, if you’re an eye-clawing, hair-pulling, extremely competitive person, this refusal to judge may seem lame, but when you see the contestants, I know you’ll understand.

Now, for you who have just tuned in and have no idea what a protest beard is or what I’m blathering about, let me condense this contest into a few heavily hyperlinked sentences:A couple weeks ago I posted about the horrible gender inequality among Middle-earth dwarves. In that post I wore a couple of protest beards that I had made myself and Photohsopped into a grassrootsy PSA for dwarvish women’s lib. That got a lot of hits, so 10 days ago, I asked readers to submit photos of themselves wearing their own protest beards.  There. That should bring you up to speed.

Oh, and one more thing. If you missed the contest deadline and you still want to send a beard in, please do. If I get any more beards I will post them on the blog, because I love dwarvish freedom, and also because I love silly photos of people wearing  paper beards with slogans of protest on them. Who doesn’t?

Now – on to the contestants, who are also the winners: Continue reading

Ending Spy Week with a bang. And by “bang” I mean “giveaway.”

Beware The Hawk novellaOr more in keeping with my character’s dilemma, I’m ending Spy Week with a crunch.

Remember when I said I was having a hard time telling people what my book is about?  I’ve had to summarize my novella a lot of different ways since then, but if you get right down to it, it’s basically about a girl who is having a really bad day at work. A bad couple of days, actually.

So here’s the deal. If you’d like a copy of Beware the Hawk, leave a comment telling me about the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever had to do for work. And then ‘like’ my Facebook page, because I’m needy.

This contest will be active all Friday. Then I will put all your names into a fedora and pick two at random. I will send those winners copies of my e-book.

And if you’re not into all that? Click here to watch another spy with issues.

Also, I’m still hanging on for more beard submissions, folks. But I do have some awesome beard pictures that were sent in to me, so I will be posting about that later today.

Beard contest update.

Let me take a break from writing about my book and return to a topic of some importance: equality for Middle-Earth drwarven women.

Free the bearded ladiesSome of you might remember that I’m hosting a beard contest. I’m asking people to send me beards of protest (or solidarity.) Click here for more information.

The contest ends on Jan. 20, and I need more beards. The prize? A copy of my e-book. If you already have one, I will totally think of something else, and you will get a prize. I promise. Also, all contestants will have their photos posted here. That’s right. Instant fame. A showcase for your wit and your lovely faces! Who can resist that?

So make a beard, write a slogan on it that reflects your feelings about the dwarven ladies in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, put it on, take a picture and send that puppy to me at annjoconnell<at>gmail<dot>com.

You won’t regret it!