Greetings, loyal blog followers. I hope those who have been experiencing the polar vortex in recent weeks have hit a relative warm spell. Unfortunately, that's not happening here in Toronto, as the forecasted temperature for the today is supposed to be -17 Celsius. (That's roughly +1 Fahrenheit.)
I'm writing this entry to announce some changes on this blog. The first ones you will notice is the change of the URL and blog name has changed. For the past couple of years, I've been trying (and failing) to maintain this little cubbyhole known as Gary Celdom.com. However, as some of my loyal followers have noticed, I have branched out from the mystery/thriller/detective genre, and dipped my toe into the realm of romance novels. I wanted to differentiate between the two genres, so I adopted a pen name for the latter. After much consideration, I decided upon my pen name, C.D. Melley. The name is meant as a way to honour the memory of my late Great Aunt, Patricia Maxine Lorraine Melley-Coolahan. (The C.D. comes from one of my middle names -- I have three -- and my first name's initials.)
Over the past eight months, I have been working on the first book under the C.D. Melley banner, The Prairie Fire Within. At the time of this posting, I am proud to announce that this book has been released for Kindle devices and applications, and I'm currently in the process of having it released on paperback. I would post the links to where you could buy it on the right side; however, I am forbidden to do so. There is a reason for that: I have entered C.D. Melley's debut creation into the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.
The annual contest only allows 10,000 entries across five different categories: Romance (the category I'm entered in), Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction, Young Adult, and General Fiction. With the submissions, participants are not only judged on their entire manuscript, but an excerpt from the beginning of their novel, and their pitch. This proved to be a challenge for me since while I may be an independent author, I'm not the best when it comes to advertising. The lackluster sales for the re-released Scarlet Siege and Barbadian Backlash e-books, and the harmonized paperback, Gary Celdom Case Journals: Volume One are a testament to that. So, attempting to sell a 58,000-word novel on a summary of 300 words or less was a challenge. Nevertheless, after a few revisions, I was able to create a reasonable 213-word pitch to include with my entry. Now, it's all in the hands of the judges.
The first round of judging is based on the aforementioned pitch. The judges will then cull the initial field of 10,000 down to 2,000 entries (400 in each category). Subsequent rounds will be based on the survivors' excerpts and manuscripts, with a sprinkling of reviews thrown in. Eventually, the field will be whittled down to one winner in each of the five categories/genres. Each of those five will receive a publishing contract from Amazon, and a $15,000 US advance. However, of those five, one will be declared the overall winner, and have their advance bumped up to $50,000 US. Needless to say, there are some big stakes involved. Unfortunately, they won't announce those "Final Five" until July. Until then, I'll be on pins and needless until March 18th when they will announce who have made it to the Second Round.
Regardless of what happens, in the upcoming weeks, I'm already plotting the second book in "The Prairie Fire Trilogy", and I've been getting a couple ideas for how to conclude the series. Gary Celdom may be put on the back burner for now, but C. D. Melley has some big plans ahead.