Thursday, 31 January 2013

ABNA Buddies

The absolute best thing about ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award) is without doubt the sheer quantity of wonderful creative people you meet on the pitch thread. Every entrant has up to 300 words to sell their story and this is way harder than writing the actual book. So Sir Thomas and his band of trusty pitch doctors help all the newbies to better their chances by helping them to improve their voice, structure, hook and clincher.
If you want to read more about this, Sir Thomas' excellent blogs do it way better than I ever could. Check them out: part1 and part2.

 Who is this paragon? I hear you cry. Why none other than the awesome Thomas A Knight - author of some of the most original and exciting science fantasy I have ever read. Don't just take my word for it, other reviewers say The Time Weaver is "entertaining, gruesome and a whole lot of fun," "an online game brought into a volume"  and that "I couldn't find a good place to put it down." 
Do yourself a favour. Click and buy.

Don Falloon is the class clown, brightening up the thread with his witty remarks and capturing hearts with his tales of kilt-clad, pirate re-enactments. His writing has humour, wit and pathos in equal measure - in short - it rocks like a Journey concert. To me, Heart of Ezdar combines elements of sci-fi and film noir in a deliciously irreverent "chase"-style book. The hero wakes up in hospital to find that something important  has been attached to his heart. The doctor (with weird tentacles for fingers) now wants it back and he doesn't care whose memory he wipes to achieve his goal.
Don't just sit there, get your copy now.

If you're a fan of Downton Abbey, Paradise and now Mr Selfridge, this is the book for you. Filled with beautifully drawn characters and well-researched, plausible situations, A Tale of the South follows one man's struggles to survive extreme suffering and degradation when his rival in love consigns him to a life of slavery.
Adina is in turn charming and compassionate, fun and feisty, and capable of extreme naughtiness when goaded (which I do often). Her writing gives a "wonderful feel for the era," she has an "engaging storytelling style," and she warns about "content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under." 
Mmmm, sounds spicy - why not find out for yourself?

My first comment on reading this was that Eli's writing style fits my preferred reading style like a hand in a glove. Dead Trees reads like Terminator meets Resident Evil with an action heroine who would put Linda Hamilton and Sigourney Weaver through their paces. Elise describes herself as a "bipolar, beastie-killing, off-my-rocker mommy". The story oozes an edgy, graveyard humour that lightens the white-knuckle tension and has credibly flawed, likeable characters. Others say it’s a “direct and pinpoint focused thriller,” a “well thought out and delivered piece of writing” and a “multidimensional tale with shades of SF.” Highly recommended - a five star read.

Buzz Malone's way with words is enough to turn a happily married woman's head. Charm, wit and style are such tiny words to describe this man's literary accomplishments, both on the thread and in his books. I could wax lyrical forever about this book. Oh look, I have.  Silence of Centreville
I'll let a few others get a word in: "a well written, insightful look at the joys and agonies of being different in 1950s small town Iowa"  with  "heartbreakingly sympathetic characters" and  "sensuous, well written descriptions- a book that makes you "laugh and cry and just sigh."
Go on, treat yourself. You won't be disappointed.


  1. What conscientious reviews! It makes me want to read every one of these. Cool blog, too. The spirit of Archer is truly represented here! See you on the ABNA boards!

  2. Thanks Jen,
    It took me a while to recognise you as the astute JM - you always give good crit. Good luck - hope to see you in the semi-finals.