Winning a Prize

Feb 3, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Mike Orenduff

Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win a signed copy of Mike’s latest book The Pot Thief who Studied the Woman at Otowi Crossing and a link to order it from Amazon and an indie bookstore.

Authors are an insecure bunch. And why not? More than three million books are published every year in the United States. Of course that number is inflated by self-publishing and publishers who specialize in reprinting popular books that are in the public domain. But Bowker – the ISBN agency in the U.S. – issued over 500,000 new ISBNs to traditional publishing companies last year. That’s over 800 books a day. Big name authors like John Grisham and Lee Child and celebrities like Barack Obama and Tina Fey don’t have anything to worry about. But what about the 499,950 of us who don’t fall into one of those categories? How do we get noticed? Simple – win a big prize. The Pulitzer, for example. Or the Nobel Prize for Literature won by Bob Dylan in 2016. And he never wrote a book! Okay, let’s set our sights a bit lower. If, like me, you write murder mysteries, you might aspire to win an Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, Dilys, or Lefty.

Just a few days ago, I learned that the ninth book in my Pot Thief series (The Pot Thief who Studied the Woman at Otowi Crossing) is a finalist for the Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery of 2020. Great news, right? But then I read the list of the other five finalists and saw one of them is Carl Hiaasen. Remember the “Big name authors like John Grisham and Lee Child” I mentioned above? Hiaasen is one of them. So I went to Amazon and looked up his latest book which is competing with mine. Never mind the other four finalists. I figure if I can beat Hiaasen, those other four don’t stand a chance. Hiaasen’s book has over 9,000 reviews. Mine has fifteen reviews. But his was published a month earlier than mine. So all I need is 300 people every day for a month to review my book on Amazon, and I’ll be neck-and-neck with him. It may be a bit difficult because I don’t know 300 people, much less 300 a day who would agree to do a review. So if you – loyal reader of Kings River Life and devoted fan of the Pot Thief books – would post a review, it would be greatly appreciated. Technically, you should have read it before reviewing it, but this is an emergency, so take my word for it. “It’s a Great read.” “I couldn’t put it down.” “A real page-turner.”

Of course the Lefty is not awarded based on Amazon reviews. It is determined by the vote of people signed up for the Left Coast Crime Convention. My wife is planning to attend that event along with me, but she is a huge Hiaasen fan. So one part of my “beat Hiaasen” plan is to slip her ballot out of her goodie bag and use it to vote for my book. So along with my own vote, that makes two that I can count on. But it gets better. The meeting will be in Albuquerque where my books are set. Hiaasen’s books are set in Florida. I may have a home field advantage. He probably won’t attend anyway; too busy trying to read all those reviews. So I need all you New Mexicans to vote for my book, the only one in which the word ‘chile’ is spelled correctly.

To enter to win a signed copy of The Pot Thief who Studied the Woman at Otowi Crossing, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “pot thief,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 13, 2021. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Mike Orenduff spent much of his youth on the banks of the Rio Grande and in the Mountains of the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico. He earned a master of arts degree at the University of New Mexico, a PhD at Tulane, and later served as president of New Mexico State University. He is married to the noted art historian Lai Chew Orenduff (author of A Scenic Tour of Modern Art and The Transformation of Catholic Religious Art in the Twentieth Century). The Pot Thief books have won dozens of awards, including the “Lefty” for best Humorous Mystery of the year and two New Mexico Book of the Year awards.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Was a Winter Texan for many years.
    living in the Rio Grande Valley. Fun
    to hear of an author from the area.
    Sounds like an interesting read.
    thanks. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  2. Good luck! Count me in the drawing!

  3. I love humor in my books! I can’t post 300 reviews a day for you but I could most definitely post one! JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com

  4. Yes please I’d love to win this book. I own the first four books in the series and then lost track of the author. I enjoyed the stories very much.

  5. I’m always looking for new authors to read, thanks for the opportunity! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  6. Mike, you deserve to win the award. I would love to win a copy of your new book. I will post on Facebook asking for more reviews for you. Good Luck.

  7. I can remember when I ran against you for an Epic contest–and you won! I’m certainly not the same kind of competition you are up against, but I’m putting my money on you!

  8. Love it, and love your books. Your sense of humor gets me every time, and I love learning a little something when I read a book. Good luck! I’ll be at Left Coast Crime in Tucson in two years, so you’ll have to write another book so I can vote for it. 🙂

  9. I see Left Coast Crime 2021 has been postponed a whole year, until April 2022. I think you can get those 300 people a day by then. Or are there that many people in New Mexico? Great post. As always, you made me laugh. And since it should be rather convenient to drive up to Albuquerque next year, I plan to be there. And vote for you, of course.

  10. I have read a lot of the “Pot Thief Books” and have loved them all. Mike has a wonderful sense of humor and it shows on every page. He deserves awards on his writing because he has invented the most wonderful characters. I can picture them as they try to solve a mystery or are having drinks at the local watering hole. I don’t know 300 people either, but if I did I would call them to start writing reviews daily.

  11. I would love to win your book! Kings River Life is such a great way to learn about new authors and their books!! I’m glad yours was shared! Thank you for the chance to win!!

  12. Thanks Mike.
    I received an ARC in my book bag at LCC San Diego (all one day of it) and loved it.
    I was all ready to do a review, but it was not yet on Goodreads, and since I did not buy it on Amazon I don’t post reviews there.
    I will need to reread to review the plot (yeah) and can promise you one vote for it at LCC (particularly since I was one of the people who nominated it)
    Best of luck and keep writing.

  13. We have a winner!


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