Tuesday, March 18, 2014

#JIHADI has made the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (#ABNA) contest. #Alhamdulillah

Well, THIS made my day.

When that post showed up this morning on Amazon.com, I got confirmation that my novel +JIHADI (novel by Brandon Toropov) had successfully jumped through the first and scariest of the hoops in the big ABNA contest. Alhamdulillah. Cue the theme from ROCKY, please!

JIHADI: A LOVE STORY is a novel about an American Muslim accused of terrorism.

Today has been a wild and happy day, the most wonderful day in some time. I get the sense deep in my bones now that the book is on its way to finding a big audience. That may be wishful thinking, but given the nice reviews I've gotten recently from my council of beta readers, I don't think so.

In a future post, I'll thank all of the gifted and patient beta readers who midwifed this novel (there were over a dozen) ... but one gifted, patient beta reader in particular stands out here and must be recognized today. +Mary Cain not only read and critiqued the book multiple times, but also accepted the daunting professional challenge of writing a synopsis for this sprawling, complex story. Without her clear eye and her gift for concise summary, the book would not have made it this far. That's just reality. The first thank-you of all, then, must go to Miss Riley Akers ( +Mary Cain's pen name). Watch for Riley's novels PAPER CUTS and SOMETHING LIKE THAT, both of which will, I predict, rock their genre.

This first round of ABNA was based solely on the synopsis. That was pretty scary, given my inborn inability to summarize my own work. For the record, my own first attempt at a synopsis for this 116,000-word novel read as follows: "I've been working on the (expletive) thing for six years. So read it."

Not quite up to par, according to Riley. Glad I followed her lead: This book is now one of 2,000 left standing, out of an initial field of 10,000. You could do worse than to ask her to help you craft a query letter.

Stay tuned for updates on how the novel fares in the next rounds. To see me reading an excerpt from Chapter One of JIHADI: A LOVE STORY, click here.