Hard to believe, but we’re nearing the end of this year’s edition of Novel Rocket’s LAUNCH PAD Contest, Boosting You Out of the Slush Pile.
Today, we announce the winner of our sixth and last category. Next, we’ll let the Final Round judges go to work reviewing all the year’s genre winners. They’ll have the tough job of determining which of those talented writers should be the winner of the crystal rocket trophy. Finally, in December, we’ll announce who wins Grand Prize: not just a trophy, but an opportunity to place his or her winning entry on the desk of a specially-selected agent or editor, bypassing the slush pile.
Making that choice will be a challenge. This month, however, the judges had no difficulty choosing a winner for the Speculative Fiction category.
“Creating a believable narrative in a novel is challenging,” said one judge. “Creating one in a speculative novel is even more arduous. This entry accomplishes this, and more. I was drawn in by the compelling characters and a richly layered plot that left me wanting to read the rest of the story.”
The other judge agreed. “This entry had fantastic movement and compelling characters. It’s a rare
treat in a contest to find an entry that makes you forget you’re judging
and supposed to be commenting. The author has done their work in honing
their craft! Very imaginative and fun! Well done!”
I guess they liked it. And we’re happy to present to you this month’s winning entry, Wyrmholes by Amelia Grimstad of Richland Hills, Texas.
The firedrop from the pommel of Tambre’s sword flew a good
stride and a half and hissed into the Melimilak River.
on physical form sank. Ripples reproached Tambre from three different locations
on the surface. Oh firmament above, had it skipped?
her sovereign had not yet assigned her a ward. She fled when startled.
be having to manifest underwater.
her involuntary dispersal to where Ovryn stood, half-concealed in the shrubbery
along the island’s shoreline. His shoulders shook with silent laughter while
the echoes of his triumphant, inarticulate cry raced across the water.
touchstone, and with his burden extended in a way that suggested she was
getting better at projecting, returned to the rocky shore. He held the glowing firedrop out between his
thumb and index finger, and she reached for
it, materializing one hand that cupped the rounded bottom of the stone and
another that gripped the sword hilt that flowed upward as soon as her essence
touched the physical anchor.
as its needle-thin gold inclusions blazed and flames licked the edge of the
forming blade. As she continued to manifest, she focused on sheathing the sword
so she would not have to meet Ovryn’s eyes. She had trusted foolishly, and she
was not sure with whom she was madder.
apex of one of her folded wings. “Beloved, are you—?”
an Interraphym was truly capable of, but right now, she hated him just as
the western shore. Good choice. Her mate had more experience in the human lands
than she did. He just might be able to avoid her until she calmed down.
allow, and she touched down on the shore right behind him. Ovryn had retained
his neutral form—visually similar to a human—but had modified his wings to
resemble a cloak. Tambre compressed her being into that shape as well, rather
than a grizzly or a snow lion—something with good speed and nice, sharp claws.
she took to adjust to being fully mired in time and trapped in one shape, Ovryn
ran. His usual good sense must have fled in the other direction, because he
grinned and called over his shoulder, “Catch me if you can!”
late to choose the snow lion form. She settled for a human growl and sprinted
passed. Slow down. Rest. All is coming to
had not sown more carefully.
of life flaring from a field mouse nest. He gained another pace when he
fluttered his wings to avoid trampling an oak sapling that would shelter a
human couple’s picnic in four generations. However, when he glanced over his
shoulder and flashed her an expression of unbridled delight, she put her head
down and found a new level of speed.
the ground, she figured any bruises he took were only justice. Break a promise
to her, would he? Insufferable male.
could see the mirth still dancing in his eyes. “Oh, beloved, you should have
seen the look on your face.” He paused to giggle—giggle—like a human child. “You haven’t looked like that in—”
and I promised to never forgive you if you did it again?”
mistakes, but why, oh why, had He made females’ memories so much better than
He snorted and made suspiciously laughter-like noises again. “Could not help
to his gut, but he knew as well as she did when an act of the will was
involved. If his prank had been inevitable, she would have foreseen him jumping
out at her like sunrise on the day after the feast of Ceadamhain. If she could
not help retaliating, he would be poised to block the punch she wanted to
[Click here to continue reading.]
When she’s not coordinating the Launch Pad contest, Yvonne Anderson writes fiction that takes you out of this world.
Looking for a fun fiction getaway? Fly through the Gateway to Gannah series for some serious sci-fi adventure!