• Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award ...

    Well, after much pushing and a lot of editorial work, I've successfully submitted Greyhound for the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, or ABNA for short as it's collectively referred to on the internet.

    Last year I was unable to submit Yellow Fever for the competition due to a few logistical problems with the manuscript, which have now been ironed out. Now, Yellow Fever has a life of its own and we've all moved forward. The new version is actually selling well and collecting more reviews everyday.

    So what does this mean for me? A publishing contract in the near future? Hopefully. More loneliness? The stress and pressure of having to write on spec or do adaptations on command? We hope not. An outlet to get my books into stores and in the hands of readers would be a start.

    I'm pretty happy with the state of things and the work that's been done in the last eight months since I completed the first draft of Greyhound. I'll be honest here and admit that I haven't yet sent it out to any agents, as I was sharpening it like a fine blade, trying to get it ready for something better. Maybe now, I can release into the world as it's better suited for survival. Those that have read it have liked it immensely.

    I do have my fingers crossed with this Amazon submission and hopefully those wonderful people at Penguin will say: 'Hey, Steffan ... where have you been?' But I'm not holding my breath either. It's an incredible long shot so my aim is just to make it to the semi-finals or even finals. Any recognition will be worth it. Maybe I'll finally be able to pay all my student loans at some point if it goes well.

    I have something new that I've been working on and getting ready to write now that Greyhound is off and running. I should hit paper in the next two weeks and hopefully wrap up by May 1. 

    There are two people in particular that I want to thank, but I won't out them here as I know they both prefer their privacy. Just know that if you're reading this -- your help meant a lot and was appreciated.


    Here's the 299 word pitch:

    Sebastien Ranes is taking a trip.  He doesn’t exactly understand why even though he accepts it.  His mother often seems too emotionally detached to care for him.  Her latest boyfriend Dick takes a cruel pleasure out of mimicking his stuttering, and wants to live his life without “somebody else’s kid” getting in the way.  So it’s no surprise when they pack his bags to send him away.  But it is a surprise when they send him alone. 

    Ushered out from his Stockton, California home, he must fend for himself and travel two thousand miles across the country.  He is on his way to live with his grandmother and sister in Pennsylvania.  Along the way, he will learn that sometimes caring, guidance and understanding can come from some unlikely people.  

    Marcus is a man who has been neglected more by society than his family.  As a young black ex-con, he is not the epitome of the person most would pick as a chaperone for their child’s cross country trip.  Yet rather than be held apart by their differences, Marcus and Sebastien are drawn together by the things that make us all alike.  Along the way, he acts as both guide and protector, as Virgil was to Dante and Jim to Huck Finn.  Imparting his own style of wisdom, he shows Sebastien that, despite the darker parts of the human condition, people can and do care for one another.  

    This is a modern day journey not just from one house to another.  This is a journey taken by a young boy into manhood, and by the reader into his world.  Like every trip, there are many stops along the way.  But this journey differs in the way young Sebastien arrives at his destination.  Greyhound is the story of this journey. 



    ... ...


    1. Nice pitch! Sounds like a "feel good" read.

    2. Thanks Laura, very much appreciated. Definitely a coming-of-age tale without doubt.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Steffan,

      I loved your pitch.

      I see you made it to quarterfinals...Congratulations!

      [I too had entered my first ever submission but somehow didn't cross the pitch barrier...
      hope for the next best..]


    5. Nirav,

      Good morning! I followed your comments in the forum and always enjoyed your posts. Very sorry to hear you didn't advance in the contest.

      I'm very appreciative of your kindness and good thoughts. Hopefully I can use them all to get further along. Now the wait for April 16th.

      All the best ...