Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Contest-Winning Christmas to ME!

I'm having deja vu. :)

Last year, on Dec 20 or so, I was very happy and honored to win The Sword Review's first annual fiction contest with "Voices from the Void"--a horribly titled but rather good tale. (I was happy with it.)

Well, this year, a couple days after the anniversary mark of that win, I have gotten lovely news. I won this year's TSR fiction contest, too.

Funny thing is, I had totally intended to skip the contest this year. But I woke up with a fully-formed story idea in my head, complete with visuals of the colony planet and the sound of the narrator's voice and the ending. I even saw the river, its color and path. I heard the sound of the creatures under the soil, destroying the colonists's dreams and peace of mind and eroding their ethics. When you wake up with a clear fictional idea in your head, you have no choice: You go into a writing frenzy to get it down. And so I wrote "Waiting for Appa" in a five-hour blitz.

I looked at it and realized, "Huh. It's about hope. How about that?"

"Hope" was the theme for this year's contest, as "self-realizaton" was last year's theme. So... I entered the contest with about a half-hour to spare on the deadline.

When TSR publishes "Waiting for Appa" come January, I will provide a link.

I'd like to congratulate my online pal and fellow Christian SF lover, Jane Lebak for placing second with the evocatively titled "Winter Branches." Donald Jacob Uitvlugt and mike simon earned honorable mentions. Good work, gentlemen. I look forward to reading all these stories.

I will say up front, as I discussed with His Snarkiness, Chris M. (aka Anonymous), that I can see flaws in the story. (I am a very tough critic, not just on others, but on myself. And I tend to smack myself silly when I realize I did a stupid thing here, got a grammatical usage wrong there, and totally missed a plot twist opportunity yonder.) I had already compiled revision notes in case I didn't place. I loved the story that came to me, and intended to make it work, one way or another, and see it in print.

Having won, I will only hope that the flaws will not impede your enjoyment of the tale once it's published at TSR. I hope you will catch a bit of the vision and emotion and empathy that I had when I woke up with these people and this place and this situation in my mind.

What a nice Christmas present. It's just as whoopalicious winning the second-time around. More, actually, because I was up against people whom I admire, respect, and for whom I have much affection: Becky Miller, Jane Lebak, Rachel Marks, to name a few.

Excuse me. I'm gonna do the happy dance.


I doubt this sort of thing EVER "gets old".

To the contest judges and Bill Snodgrass, our fearless and apparently tireless leader at DEP Publishing: THANKS A HEAP. You made my end-of-year.


Anonymous said...

Congrats Mir,

I'm sure they'll fix the typo. And yeah, I didn't think it was as strong as Voices, but it had and still has great potential (what, you're gonna stick a fork in it cos you won TSW?) and, like I said, it had a shot.

Nice to see TSW is open to the idea of alien life forms once again... snark snark snark.

Mirtika said...

Yeah, the typos are fixable. They let you proof before final publishing. I just thought I'd lose points for stupid mistakes I should have caught.

I actually sent Bill my ideas for what I would have rewritten to improve structure and add that layer to the "father returning" theme. I don't think it's necessarily a good thing to go altering what has already been judged to that extent. Doesn't mean that I can't write another version--or use the idea in a different story. Seems to me lots of authors do revisions to earlier, published work. :)

I like alien life forms. Heck, that's part of what's fun about sci-fi, imagining different appearances and societies for creatures not quite like us. I have never written a "totally alien" story. My aliens tend to be "in the image of God...and man" to some extent. But I think one day I'd like to do that, imagine sentiences very unlike us, puzzling, but with something where we could connect beyond mere "intelligences".


Jane Lebak said...

Congrats, Mir! Very exciting!

Mirtika said...

Thanks, Jane. Oh, and you need to update that page so it shows links to Even a Stone, Damage and, soon Winter Branches. :D


Rachel said...

I just have to say, "YEAH!" one more time. :)


I read it when you sent it over to me and was really bummed, cause I knew you'd win. :D You earned it, Girly!

And congrats to Jane, too! Man you two are a vicious teem.

Jane Lebak said...

It's a content-free webzone, Mir. I haven't paid for webspace yet, so I can't link out. :)

Mirtika said...

Aw, thanks, Rachel. Sorry I bummed ya.

Jane, oh. Well, then I guess it's just update...story titles out?


Mir<--dealing with drippy a/c issues, which is not fun when one's gotta do holiday things

carmen said...

congratulations, mir!

Shannon said...

Congratulations again, dearie! I'm thrilled for both of you!

Mirtika said...

Thanks Miz Carmen and Miz Shannon. :D

Mir--who needs to practice writing Lebak some more cause I was in the habit of capitalizing the B...

Matt Mikalatos said...