Contest!

When I was writing The Dirty Secrets Club, I held a contest. The prize: The winner had a character in the novel named after him or her.

Okay, y’all, I’m writing a new novel, so it’s time for a new contest. Same prize: the winner gets to be immortalized on the page. Or maybe — as the last winner, Susan Daly, put it — “mortalized.” After all, I’m writing a thriller.

So if you want the chance to become a character in the sequel to Dirty Secrets Club, and to find yourself smack in the middle of Jo Beckett’s next challenging case, roll up your sleeves.

The contest:

In 200 words or less, tell me what’s happening in the photo above.

Deadline: 11:59 p.m. GMT, August 28th.

Brevity gets bonus points. Making me laugh gets bonus points. Referencing blog topics and my fiction gets bonus points. You may enter as often as you wish. My decision will be megalomaniacal, capricious, and final. Two runners-up will get signed Advance Reading Copies of either The Dirty Secrets Club, an Evan Delaney novel, or (if you’re willing to wait until next year) the new book.

Good luck.

UPDATE: I’ve cross-posted this on the events page.

47 responses to “Contest!

  1. So many garden gnomes, so little time.

    Kill them all! the muse said. Kill them all!

    Cut their evil little hearts out and send them out to the mailing list.

    Christmas in summer is never too early.

    😛

  2. Susan Daly, aka Xochi Zapata, expresses her frustration at being ineligible to enter Meg’s new contest (i.e., her eponymous character is already massively dead, and unlikely ever to be resurrected) by indulging in a few stress-relieving rounds of the solitaire version of Mac/Paper/Scissors. And cheating.

  3. Contest Goddess

    From Dan Kotwasinski:

    Jesse Blackburn, at first bewildered by the email, clicked on the link and felt his blood pressure redline.

    “Welcome to Cousin Tater’s ‘Tater Tots’”, the homepage read.

    Jesse finally realized that The Cousin from Hell wasn’t kidding. She finally went and did it. He felt his pulse throbbing sharply in his head.

    “We specialize in Adventure Weekends for Kids, with an emphasis on teamwork, self-awareness and building self-esteem through meditation and astrology.”

    “Each child’s star-chart is read by an authorized representative of Tater Tots and he or she is given guidance in their search for their true self.”

    “We at Tater Tots are dedicated to helping your child through those difficult, formative, toddler years. We provide individual consultation focusing on paths to decrease stress levels and achieve inner peace.”

    He had finally had enough. He slammed his laptop closed, picked up the scissors and decided that now was the time to show Tater the real meaning of “Cut and Paste”.

  4. When Meg’s editor told her to ‘cut some characters out’, they probably should have stressed that they meant her latest novel.

    It wasn’t until she was caught rounding up her blog commenters with a pair of scissors and some coloured hats that everyone realised life wasn’t so much a cabaret for Meg Gardiner as a thriller all of her own making.

  5. Wow – just back from (damp and miserable) hols to be welcomed by a great contest. I’m already basting myself in creative juices.

  6. Meg was intent on writing some cutting edge fiction, which included revealing the dirty secrets of garden gnomes. She was aware that this could lead to a chain of killings but decided to cut across her initial reticence anyway and pursue her mission into whichever dark canyon it may lead. There were reports that a prominent gnome had been spotted alongside the Olympic rowing lake in China and Meg decided to make a point of bringing down the veils of secrecy surrounding the gnomes, much like Joshua brought down the walls of Jericho.

  7. Meg’s thoughts turn murderous as she opens her email to find from her publishers the proposed cover art for her next book along with the note: ‘…I know, I know…not what you were expecting, but the marketing department thinks gnomes will appeal to a wider audience, plus now retail outlets can stock your books under two sections – crime and gardening! A win, win situation I think you’ll agree…’

  8. You’ve got me laughing. Good start, everybody.

  9. “We are the Gnome.”

    “Resistance is futile…”

    “I get the message, dammit!” shouted Evan, despite knowing they couldn’t hear her. Kitsap broadband was only good for one-way communication.

    “C’mon, concentrate – think of Jesse…” again, aloud, but this time to try to break their evil mind control. She was losing the battle with the scissors, and knew the end was perhaps only a matter of moments away. And yet, she still couldn’t get that question out of her mind.

    How the hell did eight-inch-high gnomes manage to steal her lingerie from the washing line?

  10. Oh man…those things in the picture are gnomes? I need a bigger monitor. Or a visit to the eye doctor.

  11. I can’t help it….

    One list, one weapon, 1,397 gnomes.

  12. A long day of gnome shearing awaits…

  13. They had gathered in the darkness of night, revealing themselves only with dawn’s first light. And then it had begun, the unearthly chanting: Certe, Meg O’Death, sentio nos in kansate non iam adesse. For hours they had been chanting, as Meg, with increasing frustration which soon led to fear, scribbled madly, trying to decipher their meaning. My God, she prayed in desperation, I can’t waste time toying with little people, I have a deadline to meet! And still they chanted: Certe, Meg O’Death, sentio nos in kansate non iam adesse. And then she had it. Dear God in heaven, she swore, grabbing scissors with fingers palsied by panic. She’d known it would happen, but she thought she’d have more time. Oz was calling. They wanted her back. But they’d take back a bleeding corpse if she had any say….

    Outside her office door, the dog and cat high-fived one another. They’d never pulled a better prank, and the children had been such willing dupes. One purred and the other licked his privates. They’d decide later how to hide the gnomes….

  14. As a former lawyer, Meg knew the evidence was irrefutable, as was the certified family tree she held in her hand. Evan was one of the little people, from the realm of Tater Tots. Her family was demanding their cut of the profits.

  15. As if in a dream, Meg saw all of her sins lined up on the driveway, demanding their heads back, those painted domes now moldering beneath the patio. All were there, except Elvis. He would appear later…that was his way.

  16. The Verb-Name Gnomes were upset. Numbering 245, they each demanded a name, but Meg had only 239. What was she to do? What WAS she to do?

  17. Editing? How hard could it be? You just cut out all the words and mix them up into an more interesting order.

  18. Meg Scissorshands found that by emplying an oft overlooked memory device known as “Gnomonics”, she could recall the name of every garden kitsch she ever rescued from Wal Mart.

  19. Photoshop. You’re doing it wrong.

  20. Bertha peered through her neighbour’s window. She was at it again. Last time she had been throwing herself around a car, wondering aloud if a paralysed person would ‘do it like this’. At least Bertha had been able to put that down to her merely being a crazed writer.

    Now she was prancing around the room with a pair of scissors, looking at something on her computer before swiping the blades down toward the ground. Every so often she would stop to make notes. ‘Oh dear god in heaven,’ Bertha thought, ‘she’s trying to figure out how to kill small children.’

    Without further ado, Bertha hobbled for home as quickly as her zimmerframe would allow. The police would love this one.

  21. At last it had come, the communication Meg had dreaded for so long: the ultimatum from Deforest, The Dark and Stormy Gnome.

    She’d persuaded herself to ignore the previous portent: the skywritten directive, “Surrender Meg”. After all, that could have been intended for any Meg in Britain, notably that saucy minx, the ex-PM.

    But now, the handwritten epistle expressed in grammatically perfect High Middle Gnomish, could be ignored only at her peril.

    Unless—could she possibly escape though the back garden? Arming herself with her latest spy-shop purchase, her GPS (Gnome Pulverising System) fiendishly disguised as scissors, she checked the CCTV. Her heart plunged like an SUV driving over a California cliff.

    They were out there. Hundreds of them. Thousands! The Army of the the Dark and Stormy Gnome had the house surrounded. Gee Gnomes to the front, Tree Gnomes to the rear.

    Her only chance now was to isolate their leader from the pack and destroy him.

    She zeroed in on the screen, scanning the crowd of Tree Gnomes for the unmistakable striped shirt that denoted the ruthless Gnome leader.

    But it was futile she soon realised, sobbing with panic.

    She couldn’t see Deforest for the Trees.

  22. Oh, lawd. Guys, these are great. Keep ’em coming.

  23. Grandma was very puzzled by her grandson’s instructions on what do with the photo of the family reunion he’d emailed, “cut and paste”
    “How on earth am I going to cut this photo,” she mused to herself.

  24. You get what you paid for at Zombie Editors.com.

  25. They came from far and wide, some short, some tall, some ugly and some less so, some carried their belongings in backpacks, others favoured more traditional bag and pole methods. The rag-tag assembly grew in number as the day advanced, until the forest glade was full of the silent wanderers. As soon as each had found a place to stand they became as still as statues, their gaze fixed upon a Tudor style home at the edge of the glade. To the casual observer the gathering looked peaceful, albeit unusual. On close inspection however, there was a quiet malevolence in their collective gaze.

    In the Tudor style house lived a writer of popular fiction, who had apparently angered the gnomes by making disparaging remarks in public about their lifestyles and, in fact, their very existence. This, the gnomes all agreed, could not go unpunished. The author, who had witnessed the gathering of the gnomes, began to feel the power of the collective gaze and began to fear some form of attack, she quietly went through the house gathering potential weapons but her harvest was pitifully small, all she managed to collect were some kitchen knives and a pair of scissors.

  26. Determined that 2012 will be her year, Meg feverishly studies the notes cribbed from “Olympic Medalling for Dummies” and, using the “Gnomes R Us” home page to stand in for the cheering crowds, spends hour after hour in her bunker (when she should be finishing her next book) secretly perfecting the always-challenging Left-Handed Scissor Jump.

  27. “I’ll taken ‘Garden Gnomes Uncut’ for $200, Alex.”

  28. Finally fed up with the constant snip, snip, snip, Meg’s scissors began sending out the evil, telepathic thought, “Let’s go for a run”.

  29. So much work for a simple gnome de plume!

  30. In a misguided attempt to get into the minds of antagonist and victim simultaneously, Meg role-plays both Struwwelpeter and Conrad, entirely forgetting that once one thumb has been cut off, there’s no way to hold the scissors to complete the job.

  31. “Out damned slow spot,” quoth Lady Megbeth as her army of minions looked on.

  32. Okay…my last one:

    The members of the Tater Tot clan gathered to bless Meg O’Death on the last weeks of her editing process: “In gnome patris et filii et Santa Barbara. Amen.”

  33. Well known pulp fiction author, Meg O’Death was rumoured to be doing research for her new psychological thriller, The Silence of The Gnomes

  34. Jax sighed. Apparently, judging by the photographs on the Delaney reunion site, they ALL had bad taste in clothes. This would take a printer, scissors, fashion magazines, and some paperdoll style magic…

    (I know it’s a white hand. Go with me here :P)

  35. The gnomes were gathering. From the infamous Argentinian Sidling Gnome to the yet-to-be-made-famous Samoan Plunge King, they had come to pay homage, to idle on Meg’s lawn, smoke cheroots and tell tall tales about when Gnomes ruled the Earth alongside the dinosaurs. And wait. Wait for Meg to come down and lead them in the creation of their new QueenGnomdom.

    Upstairs, watching via her security monitor, Meg cursed. “Too soon! Too soon!” Spasming with rage, she sought to shred her latest manuscript before the cops arrived to break up the gathering. Before they came upstairs, snooping and asking questions. Before they settled down on the couch with cups of tea and the sequel to ‘The Dirty Secrets Club’ and learned the dirtiest secret of them all…

  36. Phizzz…Crackle…

    Do not adjust your computer. We control the horizontal. And the vertical. You are about to participate in a great whodunnit, reaching from the inner mind to the outer gnome army.

    Put down those scissors, Gardiner. No cut out newspaper letters stuck together in a crude threat and posted to our glorious Gnomemeister will prevent us from mastering the form of the thriller. See? We already mowed down the bicyclists, wasn’t that enough of a warning? Do you wish us to unleash the deadly suburban mass of our crack porcelein warriors, wreaking havoc, fishing everywhere atop illegal toadstools?

    Yes, we are the Next Big Thing in crime fiction publishing. Well, when I say big, size isn’t everything.

    Your reign is over, Anita O’Death. Stand aside!

    It is I, Gnomefinger.

    Today, California, tomorrow, Harrogate!

    (Negotiations with the fighting nuns ongoing.)

  37. Evan’s undiagnosed arthritis flared hot and burning before she could finish trimming her lady parts. She’d always taken such pride in being well-groomed, and now she looked like a plucked baby chick, patchy and scaly with the unfortunate bloody nick that had happened when her hand seized up. The gash was raw and deep and she knew that a trip to Walmart was in her future to purchase a soothing cream and skin colored Band-aids. Her BFF Meg had always warned her to not to primp her privates while working on her collection of summer squash recipes as she lost her focus and chunks of cooch as well. It was always the same story. As Evan turn to grab a Kleenex, the wound opened with a warm, painful gush and she screamed, “It’s a bleeder!” Ten stitches later, she waddled into a Wendy’s, cranky and mean, and ordered a cup of chili with crackers and a side Ceaser salad. “From now on” she mused as she sat carefully in the hard plastic chair at a table smeared with ketchup, “I’m going to sport a Wookie bush and be damned anyone who complains!”

  38. Sorry, I hit post before I fixed some mistakes. I hate it when that happens. This is my entry:

    Evan’s undiagnosed arthritis flared hot and burning before she could finish trimming her lady parts. She’d always taken such pride in being well-groomed, and now she looked like a plucked baby chick, patchy and scaly with the unfortunate bloody nick that had happened when her hand seized up. The gash was raw and deep and she knew that a trip to Walmart was in her future to purchase a soothing cream and skin colored Band-aids. Her BFF Meg had always warned her to not to primp her privates while working on her collection of summer squash recipes as she lost her focus and chunks of cooch as well. It was always the same story. As Evan turned to grab a Kleenex, the wound opened with a warm, painful gush and she screamed, “It’s a bleeder!” Ten stitches later, she waddled into a Wendy’s, cranky and mean, and ordered a cup of chili with crackers and a side Caeser salad. “From now on” she mused as she sat carefully in the hard plastic chair at a table smeared with ketchup, “I’m going to sport a Wookie bush and be damned anyone who complains!”

  39. Well Dana, I was so enthralled I didn’t notice any need for editing….

    In fact, I think this whole contest has been a blast. Thanks, Meg, for stirring up the creative juices of your Bloglodytes.

    (Handy Hint from someone who’s had her share of premature submissions: perfect the text before inputting your name and email.)

  40. Thanks susan, I was typing that speedy quick as I thought I was going to be late in submitting. It was late where I live and I was tired and my mind just skipped over that deadline. sheesh.

  41. As Meg’s seizure subsided, her frozen grip on the scissors loosened and they fell to the floor with a gooshy splat, dead center in the spilt Spaghetti-O’s and broken Martha Stewart Collection bowl she had fumbled during the big quake of aught eight that racked her svelte body 3 minutes previous. Her head lolled to it’s side where she gazed through murky eyes at her laptop and the picture of her husband, lost in the crowd of colorful midgets. Aaaah, such bittersweet memories. The photo had been snapped outside The Tower of London’s Dunkin’ Donuts franchise and even now, she could still remember the warm, sweet smell of glazed dough and the high pitched giggles of the little people. Her husband had been crowned their king and when she saw that headgear perched jauntily on his skull, she knew she had to have him.

    Where exactly was her husband when she needed him most? But she knew even before the question was formed. Undoubtedly, he was plunked on the couch, stroking the pooch, eating a tuna fish sandwich and watching Mr. Bean. His jock itch ebbing and flowing like the English Channel on a warm moonlit night.

  42. Dang it. Her head lolled to its side. Not it’s side.

    Why does my brain fix the mistakes and then show them to me later?

  43. Her body quivered with fury. The scissors just an extension of the murderous thoughts skipping through her mind like so many grade school children.

    With each infuriating post that woman made, another silly way to kill her went on the list. Meg’s sharp lawyer mind wasn’t seeing it that way as she had become focused on the task at hand. No one would suspect murder in something so weirdly random.

    She absently picked at her scabs, gazing at the Halloween group shot at her daughter’s school– each child a colorful, confetti blob. Kneading the wounded flesh between her fingers she had an aha! moment.

    Number Five: Make her eat beets until her belly swells and her breath becomes rancid and moist.

    “Surely”, Meg thought, “beets could kill anyone” and she smiled in a very cunning way.

    Relaxing her grip on the scissors, she placed them in the caddy cup on her desk. Calmly, she sipped her green tea while fingering her ear canal for the blob of wax she knew resided there.

    She had more work to do, as she only had the five ideas. Her list called for more.

    “Ten Ways to Kill a Dana Jean.”

  44. First email of the morning contained proof that the de-gnoming had gone horribly awry. Now the little bastards were gathering. A more radical measure of dealing would be called for. But what is a left handed girl in a right handed scissors world to do? Reinforcements would be necessary. Time to make like Santa and check the list twice. This would not be for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. The total annihilation of a species would need to be quick and brutal. One name jumped to the top of the list: Meg Gardiner. Time to collect for a few favors owed…

  45. It was just another day in the clinic neutering gnomes when Meg had a delightfully intriguing thought. “Who, I wonder would like to play a really fun game of rock, paper, scissors?”

  46. Pingback: Contest: And the winner is… « lying for a living

  47. Pingback: The Nightmare Thief hits the road: Singapore | lying for a living

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