As far as I know, this is a new competition for aspiring authors. I received a press release, so I'm passing it on. I know Killer Nashville is a reputable crime fiction event, but don't know more about the competition than what I'm relaying below.

Contest Pairs Nashville Conference and New York Publisher
to Offer Mystery & Thriller Authors a Quick Shot at Publication

For aspiring mystery and thriller writers, the long road to publication may have gotten shorter. This coming August, the Killer Nashville Mystery and Thriller Conference will announce the winner of the first annual Claymore Dagger Award. The Claymore Dagger will be given to the author with the best beginning (as defined by the first 50 pages) of an unpublished mystery or thriller fiction manuscript. The winner will receive an engraved replica of a Claymore dagger and publication consideration by longtime New York publisher Avalon Books.

Killer Nashville, held annually on the third weekend in August, was created in 2006 to bring together forensic experts, writers, and fans of crime and thriller literature.

Killer Nashville founder Clay Stafford states, “Our goal in creating the Claymore Dagger Award is an extension of one objective of Killer Nashville: To help authors get out of the slush pile and perhaps expedite what can often be a long and arduous process. Several authors have already found publication by attending our conference alone. We are hopeful that this award will open the door for many more. It is an honor to join with Avalon as a publishing partner with Killer Nashville in this endeavor.”

Avalon Books, established by Thomas Bouregy, has been providing readers with quality books in a variety of fiction genres since 1950. Faith Black, Avalon’s acquisitions editor, says, “Avalon Books is delighted to partner with Killer Nashville in the presentation of the Claymore Dagger Award. We look forward to receiving and evaluating your submissions and hope in this way to become acquainted with many promising new authors.”

Although unpublished writers would benefit the most from winning the award, published authors who are “between publishers” and would like to create buzz about their new works would also benefit.

Submissions must be received no later than May 5, 2009 to be considered for the 2009 competition and will be evaluated through a blind judging process to ensure fairness.

The winner will be announced at Killer Nashville 2009, held on August 14-16 at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs Hotel and Convention Center in Franklin, Tennessee, ten minutes south of Nashville. The author need not be present to win and is under no obligation to accept a publishing contract should he/she be offered one by Avalon. Winner will be determined at the sole discretion of editors of Avalon Books from the top ten submissions as chosen by Killer Nashville readers in a blind judging process. All decisions are final.

For interviews or more information:,, 615-599-4032.

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The house sounds beautiful, Dennis. When I was in high school, I went to Sparta with the marching band. I remember it as a lovely area.
Way too cool, Beth. We love Sparta. We are eight miles up the mountain to Bon Air. Friendly folk, rich in lore. At one time, there were seven working coal mines and each had its own community. Spearmint's Wrigley from Chicago, built a manse on Bon Air that burned in the sixties.

Our view of the valley below is to die for. Just can't begin to handle the winters, even though I was born & raised in Michigan. I'm planning our summer vacation to include Killer Nashville.
It sounds like a good place to set a novel:)

I look forward to meeting you at Killer Nashville.
Thanks, Beth

See you, then.

Come to think of, I would love to use the Sparta area as a backdrop for a novel. Set during the coal mining years. Hhhmmm.
Thanks for posting this information. I'll bring it to my next writers' group meeting. There are some people in the group who are considering self-publishing (using lulu or iUniverse). I've always thought they should at least try the competition route if the agent process didn't work out. Who knows? It would be a bummer if they self-published but could have won a contract through a competition.


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