Killer Nashville Claymore Award Propels Writing Careers

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Killer Nashville announces Claymore Award winners and finalists, plus publishing details.

The Killer Nashville Claymore Award

The Killer Nashville Claymore Award

“Winning the Claymore changed everything for me in the span of about three weeks,” said Dana Chamblee Carpenter.

As swords go, the Claymore is a special one.

First, it was a mighty, two-handed sword used mostly from the 15th to 17th Centuries and, most notably, it was the weapon of choice by the famous warrior William Wallace in the first war for Scottish Independence.

It’s only fitting that such a solid blade would be the namesake of this Killer Nashville writing award. It is given only to unpublished writers, and everyone who has received it has also been offered a publishing contract, a special kind of independence. This goes for the finalists as well.

“It is part of the mission of Killer Nashville to assist authors in getting published. It is part of our mission to break down walls, expedite their success and find the voices of tomorrow,” said Clay Stafford, founder of Killer Nashville.

This year judges were thrilled to read about a 13th century mouse with unnatural abilities. Dana Chamblee Carpenter won first place for her book, Bohemian Gospel. Two different publishers became interested in her work after she was announced a finalist.
Her book will be available in the fall of 2015 and will be published by Pegasus Books.

“Winning the Claymore changed everything for me in the span of about three weeks,” Dana said. “The initial call, telling me I was a finalist, gave me a boost of confidence at a time when I was starting to listen to those demons of self-doubt, and meeting other writers at Killer Nashville reminded me that I wasn’t alone in pursuing my dream or in wrestling demons. Winning the Claymore was the icing on the cake. My agent sent notices to the editors who had my manuscript, and within the week several of them were expressing interest—what a roller coaster!”

Recognized as first runner up was Ronald Kidd for his work, The Raven and Me; and there was a tie for second runner up for Philip Cioffari’s Cold Eye of Danger and Barbara Nickless’ White Line Fever.

Look for these books and others to also hit the market soon.

Here is a complete list of the 2014 Claymore Finalists

  •     Ross Cavins, Barry Versus the Apocalypse;
  •     Nichole Christoff, The Kill Shot: Book 2;
  •     Steven Cooper, Desert Remains;
  •     Laine Cunningham, Break the Bow;
  •     Rick Koster, Gris Gris Gumbo;
  •     Tim O’Brien, Twelve Bricks.

The tradition continues. The Killer Nashville 2015 Claymore Award contest is now open for writers with unpublished manuscripts. The Killer Nashville Claymore Award website has all pertinent information.

The annual Killer Nashville International Thriller, Mystery, and Crime Literature Writers’ Conference was created in 2006 by author/filmmaker Clay Stafford to bring together forensic experts, writers, and fans of crime and thriller literature. The conference draws attendees from as far away as Portmahomack, Scotland; Rome, Italy; Hadano, Kanagawa, Japan; and South Korea. For interviews or more information:, contact(at)killernashville(dot)com, 615-599-4032.

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