Thursday, December 1, 2016

How About a Good Book for Christmas?

I thought I would share with my loyal followers a bit of good news.  As most of you know I have written a couple of mostly fiction books, but based on true events, and have self-published them.  The Justin Gates Chronicles is a trilogy, the first in the series being subtitled “California Nightmare” and the second “Texas Daydream”.  A few months ago I entered the 24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards competition.  The results will be announced and published in March.  However, as a part of the competition each book submitted is read by one of the editors of this prestigious writer’s magazine and the work rated on a scale of 1-5 (see below) and a brief editorial review written about the work.  I just got the results for the first book, California Nightmare, and I wanted to share them with you.  I was pretty happy with an overall ranking of 4.5 out of 5 and the praise of the judge in his review below:

Entry Title The Justin Gates Chronicles - California Nightmare
Author: Jud Smith 
Judge Number: 22
Entry Category: Genre Fiction

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Plot and Story Appeal: 5

Character Appeal and Development: 5

Voice and Writing Style: 4

Judge’s Commentary*:

The Justin Gates Chronicles: California Nightmare presents with a cover that is really standout and attention grabbing.  I really like this one!  Well done.
There’s a saying that a family friend of mine says about teenage boys…”all they can think about is lipstick and gasoline” and this character holds true that saying.  Author Jud Smith has penned a character in Justin Gates that will stick with you and drive you off into his world of teenage angst mixed with some murder, mayhem, and danger.
What more could a reader ask for?  The plot was well thought out, carefully designed and masterfully written.  I simply loved this book.  No pacing issues or other developmental defects. 
On the technical side, the editing was mostly well done.  Keep an eye on your use of dialogue tags.  For instance, you don’t need to type “I thought to myself” for internal dialogue and include quotations.  You simple need to write that internal dialogue in italics.  Small details such as these should be caught and corrected by a professional editor.
This was a fine entry and I was thrilled to meet Justin and this well written cast.  I hope to read more from this author and thank you for sharing your imagination with us! - Judge. 24th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards 

Some of you may know that I had California Nightmare produced into a screenplay by the very talented and award winning screen writer, David L. Carter.  This work was also submitted to Writer’s Digest for their annual screenplay competition and I am pleased to report we actually won “Honorable Mention” out of over 6,000 entries (see below).  I am very pleased with these results for a first time submission:

Among the ten competition categories, there were over 6,000 entries in total – our judges were very impressed! As you already know, your entry was selected to represent your entries category as a Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition Honorable Mention Winner; and we understand how important bragging rights can be!

The world of book writing and publishing is fraught with challenges.  Today, everyone is a writer; of books and novels, of short stories and Facebook posts, of blogs and Tweets.  Soon there will be more writers than readers to read all of the writing. But until then success in book writing and distribution hinges on, perhaps surprisingly, not advertising or public relations or even conventional publishing houses promotion, but rather successful word of mouth.  Basically, friends spreading the word about a good book they would recommend to other friends.  

SO, if you are struggling to come up with that unusual Christmas or holiday gift this season, or you are looking for a way to say thank you to someone, or just want a good read for yourself, might I suggest one (or both) of my books.  They are easily available on or and can be ordered and shipped in a matter of minutes, in both paperback and digital reader (Kindle) download versions.  Follow these two links, below, and help a starving writer feed his family for another week.  O.K., well, maybe that is a bit over the top but you could at least bring joy to someone’s life.

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