Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Big 30-0! and the Great Chocolate Contest!

So... something happened yesterday that I wasn't paying attention to. The problem with this is that I was paying attention to paying attention to it, because I wanted to do something special for it. BUT I thought had more drafts in my draft folder than I actually did, so I didn't realize until after the fact that I had posted my 300th post! In less than two years, which is much better than I thought I would be doing. But there it is! 300 published posts (301 with this one) and a handful of drafts of things in progress (not to mention my handwritten notes for post ideas that got packed away when we moved that I still haven't located). I'm not really sure why 300 seems to be a significant number to me, but it does. I'm think I won't do another one of these until I get to 501, and if anyone gets the reference, please let me know. The 501 is significant.
[Yes, I know that's not much to go on, but it will separate the men from the boys, metaphorically speaking.]

Stepping to the side for a moment, I mentioned recently that I had discovered the best chocolate ever. And I have! This stuff is the BEST chocolate in the world! At least, it's the best chocolate that I've ever tasted, and that's saying something. No, I don't know what it's saying, but I'm sure it is. Look, I like to taste things (be nice!)... I like to try new foods (is that better?), so, when I get the chance, chocolate is one of the things I like to sample. I've tried lots of different types of chocolates over the years, and this stuff is by far the best ever. It's all hand made right here in a store not all that far from my house. The stuff is divine.

Back when I mentioned that I'd discovered this chocolate, I also said that I would try to think of a contest for which the chocolate could be the prize, well, I've done that. Yep, in honor of 300 posts, and in honor of my birthday, which is coming up, and in honor of the birthday of the first edition of The House on the Corner,
which, quite by accident, turns two on my birthday (the one pictured is the 2nd edition, but that's the one that's available), I have a contest!

To some extent, this contest is a little not fair, but it's my contest, and I AM going to be giving away the best chocolate in the ENTIRE world, so, oh, well, you will just have to deal with it.

So here's the deal:
I have been thinking for a while that it would be fun to do a collection of short stories based on The House on the Corner and the Imagination Room. Those of you that have read the book will understand how that can work. I actually have two already: one that I wrote that is included at the end of the book called "Let Down Your Hair" and one that my son wrote called "Into the Trench" that is included in Charter Shorts. There's so much room for more stories there, though, and I just don't have time, right now, to write any, so, hey, why not get some other people to do that work for me, right? It will be kind of like Tom Sawyer convincing his friends to pay him to do his chores.

And here's how it works:
Write a short story based on a trip in the Imagination Room from The House on the Corner. Submit it to me by February 6, 2013. I'll pick the best one based almost completely on, just, which one I like the best, although I may have my kids help with the choosing if I can't decide. The author of the story I pick as "the best" will win a box of the GREATEST CHOCOLATE in the world. And, maybe, another special prize as well, but I'm not completely certain about the second one yet (but I'll let you know as soon as I am). There may even be more than one prize if there are multiple entries that I think are just awesome. It would be really nice if I had your permission to include your story in a special collection of House short stories as well. Oh, and just to be clear, I want short stories, so that would make your cutoff point 7500 words (though I'm not gonna quibble too much if it goes longer than that (although it would be nice if they were under 10,000 words)).

Yes, I do realize that you have to have read The House on the Corner to be able to enter this, so, if you haven't, you ought to get on that, don't you think? And, no, this is not really a sneaky way to get more sales or reviews or anything like that, although both would be nice. I just think, since quite a few of you (at least 3 or 4), have read it, that this will be a lot of fun. Assuming people actually submit stories. You can even post the stories on your blogs once you write them, and I'll link over to them.
One other note, because so many of my students at school have read the book, I'm gonna open the contest to my creative writing class, too, so you better bring your best, because some of those kids can really write!

Well, there you have it. I hope some of you decide to take part and that this is a fun idea for more than just me. If I'm wrong about that, please let me know. Otherwise, get to writing!


  1. Oh, fun! Also, I love chocolate! I hope I can grab some time to visit the Imagination Room. I'll also post this on my Wednesday post. Congrats on 300 posts! I have no idea how many I've done. Hrm.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  2. Crap, I still have to come up with something for Nick's book, which will raise money for his son. Too much writing pressure! Of course I could write one where Ruth imagines herself into a world from which she never returns...
    Congratulations on three hundred posts!

  3. Happy 300! That's awesome! I still don't think we're quite there yet. Actually, a quick look over at Blogger interface says we're at 285. We're closing in on you... Watch your back, Leon.

    Aha, yes, I have to read House on the Corner, but I'm already doing that and I'm almost done! I'll definitely enter this, especially if I have until February (seriously, thank you for not making this a 1 week deadline thing). So... question. Should I be writing this in a serious YA style, or can I write in any other style? Adult, humorous, etc?

  4. Happy 300th! I'm afraid I'm just a boy, though. I have no idea what the significance of 501 is. Unless you really like fly-button jeans. No? Hmm, I give.

  5. Wow. 300 posts seems like a lot. I'd have to double check, but I think I started blogging in 1983, and I'm jot sure I've hit 300 yet. I could check, but I'm on my phone now and it feels like so much work.

    I love the idea of a short story thing. Too bad it's a competition though, as I've already broken out in hives just thinking about it.

    Sigh. I have medication for my nerves but I don't take it because I'm worried about possible side effect. Also, I love irony.

  6. Shannon: I hope it does turn out to be fun. Not like the graduation party one of my good friends threw in high school where only two people showed up, one of which was me, and he sort of bribed me to be there.

    Alex: LOL! Well, you can write that one, but it would have to be excluded from actual House canon, since, you know, Ruth is still around in the Christmas story and Brother's Keeper.

    ABftS: Awesome! I'll be looking forward to yours. Actually, I hope you both do one, so get Brandon on it!
    As for the style, this is one of those interpretation things, so give me your take on it. Any style you want.

    PT: That's impressive. The new one, I'm assuming?

    L.G.: Oh, well, that would be telling. You'll just have to wait till I get there.

    Rusty: Oh, man, I'm expecting something from you considering all your stuff for Briane's various competitions, so get on it! And I half way expect art to go with yours, since you do that kind of thing.
    But no pressure :P

  7. All right.

    I'm in.

    But I warn you: I have a habit of ignoring rules for competitions. I don't TRY to do it, but I don't try NOT to do it, either.

    February 6, huh? Plenty o' time. And I've read "House," so I've got a leg up on the competition.

    I am curious, though: What makes one chocolate better than another? I like various CANDIES, but those almost never are "plain chocolate," and I confess that I am really unable to distinguish between chocolates. So are these chocolates just chocolate? Or are they mixed with other things?

    And will we get extra credit if our Imagination Room story involves chocolate?

    AND can we post our stories elsewhere, like if we have a literary blog that we've been neglecting for business-based reasons, but we would like to post the story? I'm thinking it's okay to post it elsewhere, but I'll wait to see.

  8. That's a really cool idea about the short story and the imagination room. I think I'll write one.

    As for your 300th celebration, congratulations on your milestone. I think I would have wanted a picture of all the shirtless men in 300 the movie, but I can understand why you wouldn't want to do that.

  9. Briane: Well, I know about you and rules. heh I think I'm not much better.
    These are from plain chocolates! Actually, I'm not even sure they have plain chocolates.
    I can't answer the extra credit issue; it's all about the story, so your chocolate story would still have to be better than the others.
    And, yeah, post them wherever you want, give me the link, and I'll link to it once you've posted it.

    Michael: Oh, man, I didn't even think of that! Actually, I would have posted that 300 image from the movie poster if I had.

  10. This is a post of a number of great achievements. Congratulations on all of them. Looks like you are going to have some reading to do in the next few weeks.

    By the way, my brother-in-law, who is an Ecuadorian, swears that the best chocolate in the world comes from Ecuador. However, my wife, who does not share the same pride in her native country as her brother does, says it's not as good as Hershey's. I just find that kind of funny.

    Tossing It Out

  11. Lee: Maybe they have the best cocoa beans? Which doesn't necessarily equal the best chocolate. I am not a fan of Hershey's, too waxy.

  12. Congratulations on 300+ posts!

    Sounds like a cool contest--and I think it's the first time I've seen an author asking for fanfiction. :)

    501? Um . . . the only thing I can think of is an HTTP error code.

  13. Congrats! Happy 300~
    Wow, this is a great contest, no I should say "sweet" contest! lol

    Congrats on all levels-your birthday, too! I love this idea :D

  14. TGE: Well, I don't know. There's all those Star Wars books, and that's kind of like fan fiction.
    No, it's not the error code, although I'd actually forgotten about that.

    Ella: And spicy, too!

  15. Congrats on 300+ posts! :) I am also a chocolate fan, but I have confined myself mostly to dark chocolate nowadays. Not that that's a bad thing. It goes really well with many kinds of wine. ;) But just wanted to specify my chocolate taste. hehe

  16. Trisha: I'm a dark chocolate fan myself, and this place has plenty of dark chocolate offerings. I'm becoming envious of the winner...

  17. 300 Congratulations Andrew! (: What a great idea to get the word out about your book and have a fun blogfest. I would have joined if I could, but I haven't read your book...yet, (but I do have it on my wish list) and the other problem is I have two entries that I have to write up between now and the 5th of Feb... and guess how much of that I've gotten done so far....oh, about 250 wrds. I don't mind working under pressure, but I'm kinda freaking out right now.
    Have fun and I'll be looking forward to reading the entries. (:

  18. Elise: Thank you so much!
    I understand about the writing under pressure thing. I did that from around the beginning of November all the way through last week trying to make a couple of deadlines. Evidently, I was stressing out my family. Or, at least, my wife.