WomensMemoirs First Paragraph Contest: Announcement of Honorable Mention Winners

by Pamela Jane on September 15, 2014

catnav-news-active-3Post #107 – Memoir Writing News – Matilda Butler




memoir writing contest Honorable Mentions

Pamela Jane Bell Announces the First of the Women’s Memoirs First Paragraph Winners





Who Would Have Known
On August 5, Pamela announced a new contest for the Women’s Memoirs community. It was a “send-us-your-first-paragraph-and-let’s-see-how-you-have-opened-your-book.” Consider this:

–The contest was open for less than a month.
–Most of the open time was during August, a month notorious for everyone being on vacation (just try to get a publisher to respond in those days)

I told Pamela that she had such a great idea for a contest that we should announce it. But I didn’t really expect all that many entries for the two reasons stated above.

Suddenly, the entries started rolling in, well I suppose I should say emailing in. Pamela has judged a number of contests and so quickly organized all the entries. After the initial set arrived, we thought it would calm down and we’d just get a few more. But day after day after day, the entries continued to come–filling our email inboxes in a fun and exciting way with intriguing entries.

We loved all the comments that came along with the entries. It seemed that everyone appreciated this contest. Many had never shared their writing before but decided to do so this time. We are truly honored that all of these entrants wanted to see what we thought about their opening, wanted to see if they would be winners.

And speaking of winners — because we had so many great entries, we expanded our categories for winners:

Honorable Mention
Bronze
Silver
Gold
Grand Winner

Prizes Galore

The fabulous entries caused us to rethink our prizes as well as our categories. Here’s our new, expanded list of prizes:

memoir award1. HONORABLE MENTION
a. Name and book title published on our website
b. Honorable Mention Certificate will be emailed to each Honorable Mention winner
c. $10 off coupon for the three-time award-winning Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep, which retails for $24.95 — that makes it $14.95, which includes free shipping (Details for using coupon will be emailed to each Honorable Mention winner)

2. BRONZE
a. Name and book title published on our website
b. First paragraph published and noteworthy sentences bolded and/or a comment by Pamela Jane
c. Bronze Certificate will be emailed to each Bronze winner
d. $40 off coupon for The [Essential] Women’s Mention Writing Workshop: 21 Online Video Lessons with 8 hours of instruction and more than 40 exercises. The video lessons sell for $109 but we have them on special right now for $79. With the $40 off, the lessons are just $39 or just $1.86 each. (Details for using coupon will be emailed to each Bronze winner)

3. SILVER
a. Name and book title published on our website
b. First paragraph published and noteworthy sentences bolded and/or a comment by Pamela Jane
c. Silver Certificate will be emailed to each Silver winner
d. Free Kindle version of one of the four ten-time award-winning anthologies in the SEASONS OF OUR LIVES (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) series

4. GOLD
a. Name and book title published on our website
b. First paragraph published and individual comments by Pamela Jane
c. Gold Certificate will be emailed to each Gold winner
d. Choice of free copy of either Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep — or — The [Essential] Women’s Mention Writing Workshop: 21 Online Video Lessons

5. GRAND WINNER
a. Name and book title published on our website
b. First paragraph published and individual comments by Pamela Jane on the paragraph
c. Grand Winner Certificate will be emailed to each Grand Winner
d. Free Kindle version of one of the four anthologies in the SEASONS OF OUR LIVES (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) series
e. Choice of free copy of either Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep — or — The [Essential] Women’s Mention Writing Workshop: 21 Online Video Lessons

A Word About the Kindle eBooks
Silver and Grand Winners will receive one of our four award-winning, best-selling Kindle ebooks:

Seasons of Our Lives: Spring
Seasons of Our Lives: Summer
Seasons of Our Lives: Autumn
Seasons of Our Lives: Winter

And, Finally I Turn This Over to Pamela Jane

Pamela Jane BellBy Pamela Jane Bell
Regular guest blogger, children’s book author and coach. Pamela is currently seeking an agent her memoir.

What Does It Take?

Not long ago I was talking to an aspiring writer about her dreams of publication.

“I want more than anything in the world to break in,” Sophie told me, her eyes shining.

I was quiet, studying her face.

“I predict you will break in within six months,” I said after a moment.

Almost exactly six months later, Sophie called to tell me she had received her first book contract.

“I can’t believe it!” she cried.  “You must be clairvoyant!”

“Not really,” I said, smiling to myself.

“But how did you know?” she asked.  “You hadn’t even read any of my writing.”

“I didn’t have to,” I replied.  “I knew by the look in your eyes.”

I was telling the truth.  I had seen an intensity in her gaze; a single-minded determination to succeed.  The six-months timeline was just a guess, but with that kind of resolve I knew it wouldn’t take long.

I didn’t have the chance to meet face-to-face with those of you who submitted first paragraphs, but I saw in every single entry the same determination and passion I saw in Sophie’s eyes that day. And so whether you are one of our winners or not, I believe that your determination and passion will carry you forward.

Author Stephen King said, “Stories are found things, like fossils in the ground … [they]  are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world.”pottery

I hope that excavating your stories continues to be as deeply satisfying as the joy of sharing them with others.  We thank you for sharing them with us.

Today, we are announcing the Honorable Mention winners. In future posts, we will be announcing the other winning entries, as follows:

September 23, 2014:  Announcement of the first half of the Bronze winners along with their first paragraphs.

September 30, 2014:  Accouncement of the second half of the Bronze winners including their first paragraphs.

October 7, 2014:  Announcement of Silver winners and publication of their first paragraphs

October 14, 2014:  Announcement of Gold winners and publication of their first paragraphs along with a brief discussion of facets of these entries that brought them to the Gold level.

October 21, 2014:  Announcement of Grand-prize winners and publication of their first paragraphs accompanied with a discussions of what made these entries rise to the top.

We think you will find much of interest in the paragraphs — that’s why we have split the winning entries into multiple weeks. We hope you will use them to compare and contrast with what you are writing — to see what you like and what you don’t like — to find inspiration.

A WORD ABOUT OUR PROCEDURE

Every First Paragraph entry was read and rated when we received it.  When the final day arrived and the last contestant submitted, all first paragraphs were read and scored a second time.  At this time cutoff scores were established for the Honorable Mentions, Bronzes, Silvers, Golds, and Grand Winners.

Of course, even frequently used rating systems are applied by just “regular folks.”  And, although we have insights and knowledge based on years of writing, teaching, coaching, mentoring, and judging writing contests, this doesn’t mean we are always right.  So, if you won at any level we offer our congratulations. We feel confident about the progress you are making and we want you to know that we appreciated your unique premise or fresh approach.

And if you didn’t win one of the prizes?  We think you are a winner because you were willing to share your writing with others.  We saw your passion and are confident that as you work on your opening, you’ll find just the right introduction for your story. We urge you to enter other contests we’ll be holding. Keep writing!

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

(Please note “m” is memoir, “f” is fiction.)

Carole Battaglia m. “Coming Into the Light”

Dorothy Black Crow m. “Belonging to the Black Crows”

Clara Bowman-Jahn m. “Spiraling: My Journey With Bipolar Disorder”

Valerie Byron m. “No Ordinary Wife”

Bobbie Carducci m. “Girl in the Wind”

Edwina Cowgill m. “The Announcement”

Anush Dawidjan m. “Around the World with Anush”

Larry Dunlap m. “Things We Lost in the Night”

Bobbie Edwards m. “Fork in the Road”

Cindy Fox m. “Betting Against the Odds”

Amy Mull Fremgen  f. “Invitation to Destiny”

Linda Greeley m.”Woven From Many Threads: Our Family Tapestry”

Colleen Grimes m. “Sacrifice”

Wayne Groner m. “Groner Family History”

Kathy Haaga m. “Not In The Mainstream, A Memoir”

Patti M. Hall m. “Giants Among Us”

Alma Jones m. “Momma and the Rent Man”

Ruth Kear m. “Getting a Free Education”

Lorrie Kelley m. “My Post-Traumatic Life”

Malky Kertis m. “Running with the Locas”

Barbara K. Kincaid m. “Cookies in Her Pants: A Family Saga and Alzheimer’s  Odyssey”

Truthful Kindness m. “Bits ‘n Pieces of Me: Memoirs to Retain Identity in the Face of Growing dementia”

Kathleen Kline m. “The Second Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Had To Do”

Amyah Labrèche-Docq  f. “Back to Life”

Pat LaPointe f.  “She is Me, I am She”

Christine Larsen m. “Old McLarsen had some Farms”

Tracey Lee m. “Tsunami 2004″

Constance Lieber m. “Escape to the East”

Pamela Little m. “The Resting Place, a Graveside Diary”

Ruth Littner m. “Living with Ghosts”

Carol Marrone f. “Urban Explorers and Shopping Carts”

Maddy McGuire m. “Expelled from Grace”

Darlene Mueller Morse m. “I’m No Longer Afraid”

Sheree Nielsen m.  “Ocean Spirit – The Journey of a Women’s Soul”

Cheryl O’Connor m. “Condemned”

Rita Pomade m.  ”Finding Ithaka:  A Sea Story”

SueAnn Porter f.  “Ambassador”

Carol Reeves m. “All the Little Miracles”

Betty Robinson m.  “A Country Girl’s Diary”

Barbara Rogers f.  “The Werewolf’s Daughter”

Tammy Roth m.  “New Bottom”

Johnine  M. Simpson m. “Vignettes from My Life”

Cindy Small m. “Family Sequins”

Jennifer Sugden f.  “An Ancient Series”

Leslie Sussan m.  “Nuclear Legacy:  From Hollywood to Hiroshima”

Sonia Usatch-Kuhn f.   “Dance the Steps”

J.H. Waldrep m. “In The Beginning”

Debi Wandrey m. “Champagne Taste and a Beer Pocket Book”

Bette Waters m. “Say My Name”

Jude Walsh Whelley m. “Intersection Lesson”

Raven White m. “Bad Can Be Broken”

Mary K. Williams m. “Driving Home from Boston: 12 Ways to Navigate Crisis”

Congratulations to you all!

Womens Memoirs Logo, memoir writing

Pamela Jane is the author of thirty children’s books published by Houghton Mifflin, Atheneum, Simon & Schuster, Penguin-Putnam, Harper, and others. Her newest book for adults, Pride and Prejudice and Kitties: A Cat-Lover’s Romp through Jane Austen’s Classic was featured in The Wall Street JournalThe Huffington Post, and BBC America, among other places. She recently finished her memoir Shout!  How I Lost Everything and Found My Voice: A Writer’s Journey.

Just in time for Halloween! Pamela’s recent Halloween picture book, Little Goblins Ten, illustrated by NY Times best-selling llustrator, Jane Manning, is based on the old country rhyme, “Over in the Meadow.” Here’s what’s being said about it:

“…trust the team of Jane and Manning to conjure up an impressive new vision in time for Halloween —Kirkus starred review

The classic counting rhyme ‘Over in the Meadow’ goes spooky in this Halloween riff, which should endure well past Oct. 31 —New York Times Book Review

Jane has fun playing within the nursery rhyme’s parameters…Manning’s quirky and expressive monster families are 10 kinds of cute.” —Publishers Weekly

[A NOTE FROM MATILDA] Fortunately, I have grandchildren just the perfect age for Pamela’s Little Goblins Ten and will be getting them copies as my Halloween gift to them…so much better than candy. If you have a child or grandchildren, I hope you will consider this great gift.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather September 16, 2014 at

All of those titles are intriguing. I wish there was a way we could read all of those first paragraphs. Just the titles caught my attention. Is there any way these could eventually be published? Congrats to all of you on this list – and those of you not on the list that had the courage to send it in. I can’t wait to read the rest!

Matilda Butler September 16, 2014 at

Hi Heather: Thanks for your comment. Beginning next week, we will be publishing the First Paragraph entries — Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Grand Winners.

But you raise an interesting point. We will consider putting all of them in a PDF and making it available. What do you think?

Pamela Jane September 16, 2014 at

Hi, Heather: We appreciate your comment, and I agree – the titles are very intriguing! I like Matilda’s idea of putting the first paragraphs in a PDF and making it available; certainly something to consider!

SueAnn Porter @My Embellished Memoir September 16, 2014 at

Yes, I agree, I would LOVE to read everyone’s first paragraph!

Cindy September 16, 2014 at

Congratulations to everyone who made the list. The contest was a great exercise in creating the perfect hook to capture the reader. I’d love to read all first paragraphs in a PDF; would be very helpful to all fellow writers.

Pamela Jane September 16, 2014 at

Hi, SueAnn: thanks so much for your comment. It’s great to hear you’re interested in reading the first paragraphs; it was a great experience for Matilda and me as well, with lots of surprises!

Jeanette Bishop September 16, 2014 at

I’m with them. I thought the same thing. The titles are grabbing, and I’d love to read their first paragraphs.

Raven White September 17, 2014 at

Congratulations to all the honorable mentions. I can’t believe I’m actually one of them. Thank you Pamela and Matilda for doing this contest. The first of any kind of award I’ve won for my book, which will hopefully be out in October. If you love memoirs, you’ll probably love this one. :) Thank you!

Pamela Jane September 17, 2014 at

Raven: Congratulations! We’re so pleased for everyone on the Honorable Mention list. Do you have a publisher for your book?

Robin Botie September 17, 2014 at

Yow. I had no idea there would be so many entrees. Seeing the titles is so exciting and I can hardly wait to start hearing some of the first paragraphs. I’m so pleased that I entered even though I didn’t win. Thanks for the opportunity to practice submitting work. Cheers to all.

Raven White September 17, 2014 at

I’ve begun the self-publishing process with iUniverse. It’s taking a little longer than expected, but I am very excited as I am now in the design phase and it shouldn’t be too much longer.

Matilda Butler September 17, 2014 at

Hi Robin: I love your expression “Yow.” We also had no idea that there was so much interest in First Paragraphs. Pamela and I are definitely going to see what more we might do with these entries to create a publication that will both give all of you more exposure and can be a learning tool for everyone interested in writing. Stay tuned.
ALSO, the list above is just the Honorable Mention winners. Still to come are Bronze winners (to be published in each of the next two weeks), then Silver, Gold, and Grand Winners. So stay tuned everyone. There are more winners to come.

Matilda Butler September 17, 2014 at

Raven: Congratulations on completing your memoir and now being engaged in the publication process. I love it — another strong woman.

Pamela Jane September 18, 2014 at

Raven: I second Matilda’s congratulations! Please keep us updated as your book nears publication.

Raven White September 18, 2014 at

Pamela & Matilda: I certainly will keep you posted. Thanks again for this contest. I can’t wait to receive my award, frame and hang it by my desk. One happy woman. :)

Ruth Littner September 20, 2014 at

Congratulations to everyone who won an Honorable Mention and to the grand prize winners. Thank you Matilda and Pamela for including me as one of the winners. You are offering exposure to many women who might not otherwise be able to eloquently share their personal journeys.

Alma Jones September 20, 2014 at

A big congratulations is in order for all of you, winners! Keep the passion that you have and do what my mother always told me, “Reach for the stars and you are bound to land among the treetops!” That is why you reached a winning level! It does not matter that you did not place where you wanted to just yes; you placed! Keep going until it fair flies out through your pores, your speech, etc. You will make it all the way to the top!

Jennifer Sugden September 20, 2014 at

This is the first rock solid moment I have felt in all the desires to bring words to meaning for others. I am so grateful to be gathered in among such amazing writers, authors and winners. I will continue to learn from the best. Thank you so much for the information regarding the self publishing. I am paying attention. Kudos to all that have the courage to write, please keep going. There are so many crowns for all of these stars. Best Regards.

Sonia Usatch-Kuhn September 21, 2014 at

Congratulations to everyone who entered and the winners. I am thrilled to be among those receiving honorable mention and a part of this fabulous opportunity to share the words that have traveled brain, heart, and hand to the page. Thank you Matilda and Pamela for dreaming this up. I hope you do publish all the first paragraphs so they may serve as inspiration.

Pamela Jane September 21, 2014 at

Jennifer: Thank you for your comment; we look forward to hearing from you as you move ahead on your writing journey!

Pamela Jane September 21, 2014 at

Sonia: Thank you; Matilda and I are definitely looking into publishing the first paragraphs!

Rita Pomade September 21, 2014 at

Thank you Matilda and Pamela for giving me this opportunity to share some of my work in progress. I am thrilled that you considered my opening paragraphs worthy of honorable mention. Writing is a solitary commitment. It helps so much to feel part of a greater community. And congratulations to my fellow travellers who entered and won. I wish you all success in the publishing of your memoirs.

Leslie September 21, 2014 at

Wow, what exciting and well-time news that the first paragraph of my memoir, Nuclear Legacy: From Hollywood to Hiroshima was chosen for an honorable mention. I had become so discouraged because an editor I had paid to help prepare the final version had been stringing me along and now stopped communicating altogether without providing any edits/feedback/comments for my money. This recognition encourages me to keep my eyes on the important goal of getting the story out to the world and not let this obstacle hold me back from the next steps.

Pamela Jane September 22, 2014 at

Leslie: thank you for your comments. It can be discouraging when a freelance editor (you are compensating) stops communicating with you, or does not follow through on what the two of you agreed on. But take heart! We loved your entry and found your premise intriguing.

By the way, you may be interested in reading a post I wrote for Womensmemoirs a while back on tips for hiring a writing coach or freelance editor: http://womensmemoirs.com/memoir-writing/thinking-of-hiring-a-memoir-writing-coach-5-tips-for-getting-the-most-out-of-the-experience-and-expense/

And without revealing too much…I can say that we’ve heard many horror stories about editors. So many that Matilda and I have been talking about this problem for a couple of months and believe we have a new concept that can help writers at a reasonable cost. You’ll hear more about our unique editing service in the near future when we launch it.

SueAnn Porter @My Embellished Memoir September 22, 2014 at

Congratulations to everyone who made the Honorable Mention list!

Maddy McGuire September 22, 2014 at

Congratulations to everyone who made this list. I am so pleased to have been given an honourable mention, which apparently strengthens my proposal with the publishers. Thanks so much for creating the competition. I look forward to reading the first paragraphs of the other category winners.
Maddy

Clarbojahn September 23, 2014 at

Congrats to all my fellow Honorable Mentions noted in this post. I along with the previous commenters will eagerly await the pdf of first paragraphs to go with the titles.

Thanks again for dreaming this contest up. :)

Tracey Lee September 24, 2014 at

WOW! I am honoured to be receiving a mention for my first paragraph Tsunami 2004 – THANK YOU to Matilda and Pamela!
Well done to all you ladies and I can’t wait for the pdf. What a great competition for us all.
Good Luck to everybody going on for bronze, silver and gold

Best wishes from a rainy London Zoo in the UK
Tracey

Edwina Cowgill October 2, 2014 at

Congratulations to all the winners! Keep on writing!

Becky Lewellen Povich October 21, 2014 at

Congratulations to all the winners and HMs. Fabulous titles and the first paragraphs that I read on the previous post were amazing! Great job!

Raven White October 25, 2014 at

Hi Ladies, just wanted to inform you my book: “Bad Can Be Broken” by Raven White has launched. Here is the link to the bookstore for purchase. Unfortunately, the “see inside” feature is not available yet. I appreciate any and all who check it out. Hope you enjoy and God bless.

Raven

http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/AdvancedSearch/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=Bad+can+be+broken

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