a HARPER contest: Volume One

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      Hello, fellow humans! Long time no see!

      I'm currently six chapters into a book that I THOUGHT was going to be a novella, but is looking increasingly like it's going to be a novel. I had this stupid notion I'd be able to get all I needed on the page in five chapters, but I still have a good half the beats left to hit and I absolutely refuse to just rush to them. Every movement of every page of every story has to have intent, and it has to be earned. This means it'll be a little longer before I have anything real to say about the book.

      However, it also means more time for fun!

      I haven't officially announced this book yet, but it's one of two, smaller, bridging books I have planned before the third "HARPER mysteries" novel (which is on track to be the biggest one yet). The reason I haven't announced it, as you may've guessed from the graphic, is that I want to include you (yes, YOU) in the process!

      You see, each of the three next books happens to have a minor character who I've purposefully left unnamed. And why have I left them unnamed? Well, it's either because I'm a hack who knows nothing about naming characters, or because I want one of those three characters to be you (yes, again, YOU)! Three unnamed characters - one in each of three books -  means three versions of this contest (and more chanced for YOU to win).

      In the book we're focusing on for this contest, the unnamed character happens to be a judge.

      Now, if you've read any of the 'HARPER' books (which I really hope you have, but are not required to participate), you'll likely know that each has titles (book and chapter) rooted in the work of a specific musical artist I love. "Bully For You," its sister book "God Bless The Girl," and a couple of its companion shorts are all in reference to David Bowie, while "Among The Dirt and Bones" and its sister book "Teenage Female" are all tied to Matthew Sweet.

      This is where having read the books might give you an advantage for one or more of the prongs of this contest.

      In the currently available stories, there are loads of references to popular culture/historical events, spanning from the '60s all the way to present day. Among them, there are already a few peppered references to the artist in question, all of which could be important to this contest.

      With that in mind, let's get things started with the first of three challenges!

  • What artist is mentioned the most, but has no book to date titled after their work?

      I'll reveal the other challenges at later dates (you have until September 29th to get this clue), but for now let's just focus on finding that name.

      But that's not all! The first person to get all three of my clues for this book will not only become a fictional judge, but you'll actually win real, tangible things! Better still, two runners up will win things as well! What things? These things:

  • 1st Prize (1 winner): Not only will you become the namesake of Judge WINNER, but you will get a signed copy of the book, a digital copy, a signed print of the cover artwork, and an original, and a hand-drawn character sketch. YOU WILL, HOWEVER, BE EXEMPT FROM WINNING THE GRAD PRIZE IN THE OTHER TWO BOOKS' CONTESTS (though you can still win the lesser prizes).

  • 2nd Prize (1 winner): You will recieve a signed copy of the book, a digital copy, and a signed print of the cover artwork.

  • 3rd Prize (1 winner): You will receive a digital copy of the book.

      That's all for now, I believe. To enter, simply comment on this article, the Facebook post, the Tweet, or the Instagram post announcing this contest! Again, you have until October 30th to submit your guesses for round one, so get to it, and good luck, Judge WINNER!

      Have fun!
      - Dan Burley