Comments on a contest and a sample

If there’s one thing in the writing world I, with a passion eschew, is contests. Having been a judge and having been judged I’m fully aware of the subjectiveness. But we won’t go into that for I feel sure you know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, recently I found an interesting contest run through one of the organizations I belong to.

We don’t submit a specified number of pages from an already written work. We have to submit an original work written specifically for the contest.

Now here’s where the contest gets interesting. We are given a concept to follow. Not only do we have do we have to write within the specified guidelines but, we are given a word count. No less than 3,500 words and not more the 7,000.

Then there are a few submission guidelines besides the usual font and page layout. Words and/or phrases that we would normally put in italics are to be underlined.

There are no electronic submissions allowed. All six (6) copies have to be printed out with your contact information ONLY on the cover sheet of the first copy of the story. This is to allow for blind judging, making each entry equal to the next. Very fair.

The ten (10) winners will be in an anthology to be published next year along with a submission by Lee Childs, author of the Jack Reardon series.

Since I write Army mysteries mine features a CID Special Agent. Here’s a small sample of my submission ‘A Murderous Cover-up’.

As they pulled away Abdul-Qadir noticed a dark sedan take station about three car lengths behind. Turn for turn they were inexpertly tailed. As if the other driver wanted them to know. He informed his passenger of the other vehicles but was told not to worry. Once inside the mosque he said things would work themselves out.

Mohammed, by now a close friend to the imam had a reserved spot on the street, in front of the mosque. As they pulled to the curb, he watched as the car passed them. “No, I don’t recognize them but there’s no question, they’re American. We both agree being following was no accident.”

Abdul-Qadir grunted his agreement, then as the mystery car parked across and a few cars down from them, turned to Mohammed, “I don’t like this.”

Mohammed told his friend not to worry so much or pay the men any attention. Without another word he exited the car and entered the mosque.

After prayers Mohammed stopped to talk with the imam while Abdul-Qadir went to start the car. Dusk had started to fall as Mohammed headed for his car. As he reached for the passenger door handle a man in a dark suit clasped him firmly on the shoulder. Mohammed turned to view the intruder, immediately recognized as one of the men they’d spied earlier. A low threatening growl rumbled from deep in his throat. “What do you want?” he demanded.

The man, taller by a good head, leaned over, “The Senator isn’t happy with you and is thinking of revoking the protection he’s bestowed on you.”

Mohammed looked up, a sly grin curled his lips up. “And what is the problem?”

“The murders. They’ve got to stop,” calmly the man answered not suspecting his life might be in danger.

Mohammed heard his car start, then slipped his hand inside his jacket. In one well rehearsed motion withdrew his KA-BAR and drove it straight up under the man’s ribs. With a twist of his wrist the weapon sliced through the man’s heart. As quickly as the knife went in it slide back out, crumpling the man to the ground. With a shove from his foot, Mohammed rolled the man out of the way and entered his car. Before he’d finished closing the door Abdul-Qadir had the vehicle speeding away.

 A reminder-

Next week in my usual Thursday spot I’ll be having my dear friend Mary Martinez as guest blogger. She will be discussing her latest mystery/suspense-Classic Murder-Mr. Romance. She is having a contest over the next few weeks with some nice prizes so don’t forget to check in. That’s next Thursday, February 10, 2011.

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