Saturday, April 27, 2013

Lookout Alabama SELTI Writing Contest Finalists Announced

Cook Castle, the venue where the winner of the Lookout Alabama SELTI Writing Contest will be announced.
Cook Castle is the home of Jeff Cook, of the famous Fort Payne music group Alabama.
Photo by Cook Castle Events.
The winner of the Lookout Alabama SELTI Writing Contest will be announced May 10 during the Lookout 2013 summit at Cook Castle. Lookout 2013 will celebrate the Lookout Mountain region's potential and launch Lookout Alabama magazine. The judges for the competition were very pleased with the five finalists, who are listed below in alphabetical order next to their short story title. The first place winner's story will be published here on SELTI in May and in the first print edition of Lookout Alabama magazine in June, which will be distributed throughout the Southeast.

Lookout Alabama SELTI Writing Contest Finalists 
(in alphabetical order)

Shawn Blankenship for "Coming Home"
Natalie Cone for "The Totem"
Melonie A. McClenden-King for "Udowhi Odalv (Beautiful Mountain)"
Dedra Tuten for "Mountain Memories"
Neal Wooten for "Canyon Casanova"

One of these finalists will be declared the winner of the Lookout Alabama SELTI Writing Contest and receive the 2013 SELTI Tourism Fiction Award. Many thanks go out to everyone who entered this year's writing contest. Lookout Alabama magazine plans to publish more of the finalists' stories in future editions of the magazine.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Alabama Legislature Passes Resolution Inviting Authors To Write Tourism Fiction Set In Real Alabama Attractions

Senator Clay Scofield presents writer Kathryn Lang with the
2012 SELTI Tourism Fiction Award for her story that promoted
Moundville Archaeological Park. Now the Alabama Senate is
asking writers across the state to follow up with more tourism stories. 
Write it, and they will come! That is the concept behind Alabama Senate Resolution SJR25, "Expressing support for authors and publishers who produce works of fiction set in real Alabama tourism attractions." The basic idea: have the state, cities, and counties invite authors to write fictional short stories and novels set in real Alabama tourism attractions. These works would include informational tourism guides at the end showing readers how to visit the real places in the story. If readers connect with the characters in the stories, then they might come visit the real places where the action in the story took place (think romance, mystery, suspense with a real tourism element).

A key part of this idea is that new e-readers like Kindles, iPads, and smart phones allow readers to instantly click on related tourism websites if there are links embedded by the publisher in the fictional stories. So, if someone were reading a tourism novel set in Montgomery, like Blind Fate, then the reader could click on links inside the novel to the websites of the real attractions and learn how to literally step inside the settings of the story.

The full text of the resolution is below, which was passed by both houses of the legislature on April 24. SJR25 was introduced and sponsored by Senator Clay Scofield, Chairman of the Alabama Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee. Senator Scofield recently did an interview with Alabama Public Radio about this concept of inviting authors to promote the state's attractions in their fictional works. Listen to the APR interview by clicking here.

In the mean time, the winner of the Lookout Alabama SELTI Writing Contest, set in the beautiful Lookout Mountain area, will soon be announced. The writing contest was one of the models for the senate resolution and could serve as the model for many other similar tourism fiction contests around the state. The five finalists for the contest were selected, and judging for the first place winner completed (the winner was notified by phone). Come back here for the May SELTI feature to read the winning story! The winning short story will also receive a $500 prize from the Alabama Tourism Department and be published in the inaugural issue of Lookout Alabama Magazine.
Little River Falls in Lookout Mountain, Alabama, a setting
in the Lookout Alabama SELTI Writing Contest, the
project model for Senate Resolution SJR25.

Senate Resolution SJR25

By Senators Scofield, Allen, Beasley, Beason, Bedford, Blackwell, Brewbaker, Bussman, Coleman, Dial, Dunn, Fielding, Figures, Glover, Holley, Holtzclaw, Irons, Keahey, Marsh, McGill, Orr, Pittman, Reed, Ross, Sanders, Sanford, Singleton, Smith, Smitherman, Taylor, Waggoner, Ward, Whatley and Williams
First Read: 14-FEB-13


WHEREAS, tourism helps to create and sustain jobs in the economy of the State of Alabama, helps to stimulate local economies through consumer spending, and generates tax revenues for municipal, local, and state government programs; and

WHEREAS, consumer spending represents a critical percentage of the state economy and job base and 70 percent of the national economy; and

WHEREAS, recent federal tax increases will have a dampening impact on Alabama's economy and consumer spending levels, requiring some type of method to increase consumer spending to avoid a negative impact on economic growth; and

WHEREAS, new marketing and technological advances in publishing allow readers to instantly learn about real tourism attractions within the stories they read if writers and publishers connect them through informational guides and links; and

WHEREAS, readers tend to connect emotionally with fictional characters and the places in which those characters interact, creating a significant but largely untapped potential for boosting tourism around the state in an entirely new and effective way through the private sector fiction publishing market; and

WHEREAS, nationally, few publishers or writers have taken advantage of or applied this new marketing technology to tourism fiction; and

WHEREAS, the Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative, an Alabama project, has provided working models for tourism fiction projects that could be used by many writers, publishers, and municipal and county governments; now therefore,


(1) Invites authors and publishers to consider using Alabama tourism attractions as settings for fictional stories and novels, thereby boosting the state economy.

(2) Expresses support for those private sector writers and publishers who produce tourism fiction projects set in real Alabama tourism attractions.

(3) Encourages municipal, county, regional, and state governments to develop ways and means to attract authors to write fictional stories in real Alabama tourism attractions and thereby boosting real tourism dollars around the state.

(4) Recommends that local governments develop ways and means to work on a local level in attracting tourism fiction projects and on a statewide level to attract writers from outside the state in promoting real Alabama tourism attractions.

(5) Calls upon educational institutions, including high school and university English, creative writing, marketing, and travel and leisure programs and departments to promote Alabama tourism fiction through providing professional input where asked and class assignments where appropriate.

(6) Advises that the state apply for federal grants to promote tourism fiction throughout the state and design a promotional method to be available nationwide.

(7) Requests that citizens participate in promoting tourism fiction projects by recommending tourism attractions in which to set fictional stories through polls, by reading tourism fiction, and by advising local, state, and federal representatives and officials to promote local areas through fiction.