Contest, Spirit and Dust

Spirit and Dust Contest

Next week (May 13th!) I’ll be celebrating the paperback release of Spirit and Dust!  It seems like the perfect time for an awesome, amazing, artistic contest!

That’s right. An artistic contest. This one is going to require some creativity.

What’s the mission, should I choose to accept it?

Create any type of Spirit and Dust inspired art or fiction and submit it by May 31st. It will be judged by a panel of a graphic artist, a young adult librarian, a reader/fan of the books (who won’t be able to enter, obviously), and of course, me. The winners will be announced by June 15th. The prizes are, as the MasterCard commercial says, priceless.

Are you talking about fan art/fiction?

Basically, yes. Any original work that is inspired by Spirit and Dust: events in the book, Daisy, the Goodnight family, other book characters and their fates or their backstories, etc.

What are some examples? 

  • A picture of a scene or character(s) from the book.
  • A photo composite that encompasses elements of the book (like a movie poster, for example).
  • A written scene that wasn’t in the book but you imagined what might have happened.
  • A short story that happens in the past or future of any character.
  • Any combination of the above. (Like an illustration of a missing scene or whatever.)

Use your imagination. Show me what you picture when you read Spirit and Dust. You are not limited to the time period of the book, or to the main character(s), or even to any of the living characters. It should, however, be connected to Spirit and Dust somehow.*

What do you mean by “original”?

  • The general idea, magic system, and characters are mine.** The writing/drawing should be yours.
  • If you do a photo composite, then alter or combine images to make it unique. And this is important:  Any images you use must be royalty free or covered by a Creative Commons license. I cannot stress that strongly enough.
  • If you retell a scene in the book from another character’s point of view, you can use the dialog from S&D, but everything else must be different.

Is anything else off limits? Blood and guts? Or, you know…*wink wink nudge nudge*

I don’t want to limit creativity, but use your best judgement. I know many of you are old enough to see R rated movies, and even if you’re not, it doesn’t mean you aren’t watching them anyway. But if your submission is graphic enough to squick out the judges, I can’t say that won’t factor in when we pick a winner. (Email me if you have questions.)

What If I Have Zero Artistic Ability???

Get creative. Make a collage. Pose your friends and take a picture. Storyboard a book trailer with stick figures. Someone once even named a hand-dyed yarn after Texas Gothic.  Nothing is off limits (except using copyright material).

My library’s copy is checked out and it’s been awhile since I read it. Do you have any refresher resources? 

Yes.  Here are all the blog entries about Spirit and Dust, including excerpts. And here is the Pinterest board.

What criteria will the judges consider?

Creativity. Is the idea fresh or unexpected? Did you put some thought into it? Is it something we haven’t seen or read a million times before?

Connection to the source material. I want to see what you see when you read Spirit and Dust. I don’t expect you to recreate what’s in my head. That’s why there’s a panel of judges. But we should be able to tell that you read the book. The more you reflect the world and the characters, the better.

Artistic/writing quality. Not everyone is Van Gogh or Hemingway, but it should look like you put forward a good effort. Can I follow what’s happening in the scene? Can I tell Daisy’s head from a cantaloupe? So basically, yes, neatness and spelling count.

What do I get when if I win? 

By June 15th, we will select three winners:

  • Overall Grand Prize Winner, selected from all entires, art and fiction.
  • First Place Written entry.
  • First Place Visual entry.

All winners get:

  • Bragging rights. (With your permission, I will post or link to your entry so others can admire it.)
  • A one of a kind prize package of items related to places and things related to Spirit and Dust and the Goodnight family.

The Grand Prize Winner gets:

A Skype interview/visit. We can chat about books, or you can ask me questions about writing, or what I’m working on next. (And you know I never talk about that, so it’s kind of a big deal.) If you prefer, you can keep the goodies for yourself and share the Skype visit with your school or library.***


I will critique up to five pages (double spaced) of original writing. [Five pages doesn’t sound like a lot, but that’s how far most readers (including agents and editors) read before they decide to reject or read on.]

This sounds amazing! How do I enter? 

  • Click here to download the entry form, which includes these instructions and the text which you need to paste in your email.
  • Email the entry form info and your entry to
  • You can attach a file (.jpg .pdf or .doc) to the email OR you can send a link to the file (in Google docs, Dropbox, your own site, whatever).
  • Post about it on the Internets. Here’s a start:  I just entered @rclementmoore’s fan art/fiction contest for SPIRIT AND DUST!

Don’t authors usually discourage fanfic of their works, or at least pretend it doesn’t exist?

Some do, and I normally don’t read fanfic because I don’t have time. But I want nothing more than to inspire creativity in my readers, and that’s how I see it. I’m much more bothered by people downloading pirated copies of my books than I am someone loving my characters enough to write about them.

Also, I didn’t know I was writing fan fiction, but that’s how I first started writing. My friends and I would exchange stories in the Star Wars universe, or Pern, or whatever. It’s where I started writing my million words of crap so I had them out of the way by the time I wrote my first real novel.

And, obviously, I hope it will create buzz about the book to celebrate the paperback release!

I have questions that you didn’t answer. What do I do? 

Email me or post them in the comments, dude.

 Good luck and happy drawing/writing/crafting!

*For instance, you could write about the ghost of Cleopatra in the Saint Louis Art Museum before Daisy shows up, but not about living Cleopatra in ancient Egypt. (If you’ve read the book, that should make sense. If you haven’t, it’s just going to sound crazy.)

** If you post your work someplace like DeviantArt or, I’d really appreciate you stating this. One, it makes it clear that it’s fan fiction/art, and two, maybe someone new will discover the book(s).

***  So teachers and librarians, if you have students who like the book, encourage them to enter.