Get Your Mystery/Thriller Noticed! by Beth Daniels, aka Beth Henderson, J.B. Dane

fated_paradox_redOne of the toughest fences writers have to leap is getting their story noticed by readers – and by readers I’m not just talking about those who plunk money down or click for a free download, but editors and agents, too. They are our front line targets, right? It’s through them that we inch our foot in the door at the various publishing houses usually.

This is particularly true of the mystery and thriller marketplace, and if you’re a writer still looking for that first sale or ready to branch out into this particular market niche, sometimes submitting your work to a contest gives your work a bit of a push. A win or “place” at least supplies something to drop in a query letter in regards to your viability as a writer in a specific genre. Sometimes there is feedback that can be helpful, too. Contests are the equivalent of beta readers if you don’t have beta readers…and once upon a time none of us had beta readers but we did have contests.

Besides being a long time member of Savvy Authors, I’m also a member of Sisters In Crime and it was through them that I learned of a contest that might be just what you’re looking for.

It’s called the Fated Paradox and offers modest cash prizes as well as exposure. Lots of exposure because, while you retain all rights to the content you submit, it is the votes of readers that will narrow contestants down to the top 10% for the staff of Inkitt (the ones running the contest) to choose the winners from.

As their website says “Keep us on the edge of our seats with your best mystery and thriller stories. Submit accounts of murders and red herrings, or have us biting our nails over stories full of adrenaline and espionage. We want you to leave us breathless with your tales of unmatched suspense.”

There is no limit on the number of entries you can submit and no word count limits. While physical prizes (and that applies only to the 1st place winner) can only be shipped to the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the member countries of the EU, the cash prizes merely require that the winner have a Paypal account.

These have to be original stories, of course, and there are specific formatting requirements that need to be followed (find them at But, let’s face it, we end up reformatting things all the time when electronic submission is done and this is merely another case of that. Writing the story is the hard part…well, that and editing it to perfection. That is obviously required of any submission.

This is a contest for completely finished and polished manuscripts but they can be short, short stories or novel length. That’s up to you.

The Fated Paradox is getting new tales of mystery and/or suspense loaded every day. The deadline for all submissions is July 4th, 2015, so you’ve got a few weeks left to write something new and short or to make sure that longer manuscript is so polished it is shining.

For more details or clarification, head to and click on the Fated Paradox in their menu.

Good luck!

imagesBeth Daniels wrote and rewrote and rewrote and rewrote and rewrote a historical, a romantic-suspense and a more traditional romance that took place in a haunted mansion from the mid 1970s through the 1980s before landing her first publishing contract. It was for the romantic-suspense, which is also a romantic-comedy, NIKROVA’S PASSION, which was released by a small publishing house that did hardcover books for libraries in May 1990. Within six months of that first sale the fall of 1989, the other two books had also sold and within nine months she had contracts for further books. She was now working for four different publishing houses and wearing the pseudonym of Lisa Dane as well as using her married name, Beth Henderson. While writing another six books she finished her BA and launched into an MA, decided to get a divorce, moved back to her home state of Ohio, began working on a different MA and landed her first sale with Harlequin (the Silhouette division). Another six contracts for them plus seven YA books based on the “Saved By The Bell” TV show for Aladdin Paperbacks, and a third historical for Leisure kept her busy into the early years of the 21st century. Unfortunately, the turn of the century also featured a bout with clinical depression which caused a lot of staring at the blank screen of her computer. Because the thought of not being able to be creative haunted her after it passed, Beth began solidifying ways to force things to move forward. Online workshops followed and in answering questions for students she discovered there were all kinds of things that she knew about writing merely from having worked with so many publishing houses and editors. Poof, more workshops. The workshops led to non-fiction books that combined elements from workshops. WRITING STEAMPUNK frequently made it into the top ten in its category at Amazon. Currently Beth’s in the process of re-inventing herself as J.B. Dane in mystery and fantasy and as Nied Darnell in Steampunk fiction. While there are 28 published novels with one of her various names on the cover, she’s going to be greedy – she wants more than that.

Keep track of her at,, or


GearedUpCov2jpg75Geared Up! Writing Steampunk is the leaner and meaner version of its predecessor, but still packs a lot of useful information for anyone who is interested in writing steampunk fiction. Everything from archetypal steampunk characters to the various subgenres and time periods is covered here. My favorite bits are when the author discusses historical figures and events and how best to warp them to suit your story (especially in the appropriately titled chapter “Mangling History”).

There are some great improvements from the first edition in both content and format, and it remains the best primer on writing the steampunk genre I’ve encountered. Geared Up! is also just plain fun to read, so slap on your goggles and get ready to write your own steampunk adventure. ”  Review by Savvy Author member Ella Gray

Long time Savvy Author workshop presenter, Beth Daniels, got her first call from an editor offering a contract early in September 1989 and continues t...