Here's your chance to help a friend get published. Gerri Russell, who is in the Romance Writers of America Seattle chapter (where my spouse is also a member -- and former president), is a finalist in Dorchester Publishing's American Title competition. It's like American Idol for unpublished writers -- every few weeks there's a vote and some of the finalists are sent packing. Each vote is based on a different aspect of the book. Gerri has already survived the "Best Opening Line" competition, but this round the battle is "Best Hero and Heroine."
At the end of the competition, the winner will receive a publishing contract with Dorchester and a publicity boost from RT BOOKclub.
Gerri is in the final nine, but three more get eliminated by New Year's Day.
To vote, just e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with THE WARRIOR TRAINER in the subject line. (One vote per person please). Voting ends January 1, 2006. Results will be posted online on January 23, 2006. The winner will be announced during the Awards Luncheon on May 19, 2006, at the RT Booklovers Convention in Daytona Beach, FL. Your e-mail address will be kept confidential.
Just so you know what you're voting for, here are the particulars from the contest website (which you can also visit here):
THE WARRIOR TRAINER
Scotia of Glencarron, a devoted swordswoman descended from a line of women warriors, must guard herself against those who challenge her title and seek the Stone of Destiny, an artifact important to the preservation of Scotland and coveted by her enemies, who wish to take control of the country. Trained by her demanding mother to be a warrior in the ancient ways at the cost of her femininity, Scotia feels unworthy of love and wrestles with the responsibility of continuing her lineage.
Ian MacKinnon, a bastard by birth, yearns for the chance to become his clan's champion when a group of renegade Englishmen march through Scotland demolishing clans and villages as they search for the Stone of Destiny. Ian vows to defend his clan from this new terror, but to succeed, he must learn to fight in the ways of the ancients from Scotia, the legendary Warrior Trainer.
Flavia Knightsbridge -- Now this is more like it! A sword-handy warrior who's ready to do a little schooling on her man. I already like Scotia.
Leslie Kazanjian -- A woman warrior and the proud Scots bastard who must humble himself to learn her martial arts -- this pair promises more sparks than the swords that will surely clash.
To vote for THE WARRIOR TRAINER e-mail email@example.com with "THE WARRIOR TRAINER" in the subject line.
In addition to voting, if you're feeling really beneficent, let other folks know about Gerri and the contest. (Send them this whole page.) The more votes, the merrier!
By the way, if you let Gerri know you voted for her, she'll toss your name in a hat and draw a winner. If yours is the name drawn, you could be the rougish Scots bastard or nubile sword-wielder (or their equivalents, more accurately) in her next novel (and, while not yet published, she's won national awards for her work and clearly will be). I'm hoping for stable boy who turns out to be a warrior prince, myself.