Tag Archives: Writing contests

Cinco De Mayo and Eden’s Coming Out Party

Happy Cinco De Mayo

Today 5/5/11 my interview will publish on Sex Marks The G Spot as an up and coming– but as yet unpublished– author. It should be a lot of fun. I would love to have you guys come by and comment. There is an interview where you might learn some interesting things about me. Then an excerpt of the first scene of Dragon’s Mark, where you will meet my twin hero characters, Caleb and Ethan. This is the WIP that finaled in the Winter Rose and in the Beacon unpublished in 2009.

On Friday at the same location there is a character interview with my three principal characters from the same work. And yes, let me clarify this is an erotic, paranormal, romance. Once a judge was quite confused that there seemed to be two hero’s in the story and was very interested to know which of the two the heroine would pick. Hello, (knock knock knock) Can you say Menage’ lol.

My mother used to to tell me that “You can’t have your cake and eat it to.” Which I thought was ridiculous. Why would you want to have cake if you couldn’t eat it? My writing enterprises on the theme that there is no point in having cake if you can’t eat it. lol.

So come have come cake and please enjoy eating it.

My Dragonshifters are yummy and well worth the visit.

Wicked Lies or True Confessions

Okay kiddies. Time to tell me if you think these are wicked lies or true confessions.

I miss my ex-husband, but my aim is improving.

I had to take my ex-husband off my life insurance. I am a smart woman it was only a matter of time until I figured out how to kill him without getting caught.

I don’t make mistakes, I have design revisions.

I am an outcome engineer. I’m sorry you see that as manipulative. If you would just cooperate we will both be much happier, much faster.

I am not snarkey, witchy or nasty. I just happen to always be right and don’t mind instructing you on ways you have failed to emulate my success model.

My mantra is “Unsolicited advise is seldom appreciated.” But hey, people seldom appreciate the truth. Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t hear it.

Which of these do I believe and which are wicked lies against my personality. lol… Can’t wait to see what you think.

And for the advanced points….Are these philosophies of one of my characters? if so, who?

Writers Coloring Box

I have had a eureka experience I have to share. I read voraciously. I think it is an essential part of the universe, readers write or perhaps better writers read. I have favorite authors at all levels of the stratosphere from epub to mid-list to NYT best sellers. There are certain qualities I fall in love with that causes their work to be a keeper for me.

Throughout this journey I have pondered good writing. At first I thought perhaps it was a sense of quality plot. All the I’s dotted and T’s crossed that the threads came together at the end with a plausible believable resolution. That became an ingredient to the stew but certainly more was indicated in my recipe for quality writing.

Next I considered character. All my keepers have great characters. People I want to take the journey with. People I grow to care about. People who are believable with their own imperfections and totally multi dimensional. They could be my friends. They exhibit a character growth through the book to become better on their own pathway through life.

Some day I want to meet Judith Ehrlich She was a final round Judge in the Beacon unpublished 2010 and gave my entry a thorough critique. She was detailed and objective. She is also a shrewed insightful woman. In the thirty something pages she critiqued for the contest, she said a lot of wonderful good things. Things that made me laugh and clap my hands like a six year old whose momie liked the rainbow I drew.

However, some very real problematic issues arose. I have a lot to thank her for in taking the time to make that critique and the tone that she used both encouraging yet honest without guile. References to weak writing and that my heroine was a “prop” for the two dynamic heroes. Now before my friends get out their pitchforks and get all up-de-up. Let me say — I understood perfectly what she said and I agree. I love my “boys” I have a wonderful male voice in my writing. My heroes leap off the page. My girls fell flat.

I spent about four months reading strong heroines. I wrote fan fiction for myself playing with a female character I admired. She was strong yet vulnerable and I understood her well. As a result, I acquired a good female voice for my heroines. I recognized character is another essential element to quality. Yet, she said weak writing so there was more.

Along this same line and about the same time my main critique partner and I spent an evening talking about writing. She had received a series of encouraging requests. First for 20 pages, then 20 more, then 20 more. I don’t know why they didn’t just request the whole thing. But that is how it went. I agonized for her each time the agent requested twenty more pages. We just knew this was it. A contract had to be in the works.

Please allow me to digress a little bit and say other than my own writing. I adore my critique partner’s work. Her stories are vivid, the pieces come together at the end and are threaded along the way. I love the people she creates. I mean really love them. I wish they were my people. I want to wrap them up and take them home and hear all about their lives forever and every. I could go on. She is one of the smartest women I know and I am so grateful for her influence in my writing through her excellent critique. Okay, okay so stage set.

So, why on EARTH after sixty pages did they reject her work saying all the right things, all the good things about the Manuscript, the plot, the characters — but….always the but… Something like– the writing just wasn’t consistently strong enough.

WTF? Consistently strong enough? *see the incredulous expression on MY face* It really threw me for a loop. If my C.P’s work wasn’t ‘consistently strong enough’ what did I have to offer. I call myself blessed to creep in her shadow as a minion.

It caused me to do a lot of thinking. I looked over comments I had received from judges in the contests both first round and final round. I suppose I was struggling with what it meant to have weak writing. Don’t think that I just fell off the turnip truck yesterday. I have a deck of cards that I made that I roll through in the editorial phase. I will be talking about those cards in future blogs. Those cards helped me find some of the obviously rookie mistakes writers make. Each card has a little reminder of something to screen the manuscript for. I’m not talking about those superficial things. It is deeper than that. After all the editing was complete and I couldn’t find anything else…. there was still the “weak writing” comments. I didn’t understand how to change or avoid it.

Last night I started reading a writers reference book and “Sokath His eyes uncovered” A little tiny book put understanding to the concepts I’ve been exploring and coming to terms with for a year.

I am going to spend some blog time talking about weak writing. How to recognize it. How to avoid it. My disclaimer is that this is not a lesson mastered. It is a lesson in progress. I yearn for the day when I will be a strong writer.

Okay, so in getting ready for this journey together…. What does it mean to you to be a weak writer or a strong writer? Perhaps you have it all figured out and I’m sitting on the floor of the short bus all alone. Leave a comment about your thoughts on weak writing.

The Beacon Unpublished CHALLENGE IS ON

I’ve had a lot of contemplation lately on just exactly what I am doing. At first I called myself an aspiring writer. I’ve gone through the phase of…. I’ll be a writer someday. Okay well I’m writing so obviously I am a writer. At one point I somehow thought it sounded more ego boosting to say I’m a pre-published writer. Then I realized that might mean that I actually had a “contract” waiting for it to work through the system to BE published. So that didn’t work. Here I am. I write therefore I am a writer.

If you have decided you are a writer too take this as the challenge. ENTER the BEACON UNPUBLISHED writing contest. I have to tell you three years ago….no one on the planet had ever read a word I had written. I had just almost completed a full length fiction manuscript and NO ONE HAD READ a word I’d written. I say it twice for emphasis folks. I took the first 30 pages and entered the Beacon unpublished. Call me crazy, I know. However, as BAD as that manuscript was. And honey, it was BAAADDDDD. The judges comments were kind and given objectively and they made me feel good about what I was doing while pointing out some obvious ways I could improve the work. It was the most educational experience of my writing career. So the challenge is on. Enter the Beacon. Yes, maybe you would want SOMEONE to read your entry before you submit it. I don’t recommend the cold turkey approach I used. But, at the time…that was me.

Last year I entered the Beacon Unpublished and made the final round. So from scores in the 70’s to the 90’s in one year. Hummm maybe this year I could actually win? We’ll see. But you won’t know unless you enter! The best part is for a relatively new writer you have wonderful critique comments on your work. If you are a more experienced writer then check out who the final round of judges are. You could get your work in front of some pretty impressive people. There is something for everyone. Below are the deets.

DEADLINE APPROACHING – The First Coast Romance Writers 2010 Unpublished Beacon Contest closes for entries at MIDNIGHT, OCTOBER 8.

Please TWEET or Share a link

All electronic contest open to ALL WRITERS who have not been contracted for novel-length publication in the last 3 years, RWA membership is NOT required.

Judges first 30 pages (with optional synopsis) of an unpublished manuscript.

Cost: $25 – $35, Deadline for entry is October 8, 2010.

Each entry will be judged by a published author and a trained judge, with detailed comments on the ms and a simplified score sheet. Our final round judges include an editor AND an agent for each category.

Finalists will have the opportunity to revise before entries are submitted to final round judges.

Final Round Judges:

Chick Lit / Women’s Fiction / Mainstream – (E) Mercedes Fernandez, Kensington; (A) Weronika Janczuk, D4OE Literary Agency

Young Adult – (E) Debra Dixon, Belle Books; (A) Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger Agency

Historical / Regency Romance– (E) Sally Williamson, Harlequin Mills & Boon; (A) Amy Boggs, Donald Maass Literary Agency

Single Title Contemporary Romance – (E) Georgia Woods, Samhain; (A) Elaine English, Elaine P. English Literary

Contemporary Series Romance– (E) Rhonda Penders, The Wild Rose Press; (A) Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary Agency

Romantic Suspense – (E) Tessa Woodward, Harper Collins Publishers; (A) Paige Wheeler, Folio Literary Agency

Fantasy, Futuristic, Paranormal Romance – (E) Leis Pederson, Penguin / Berkley; (A) TBA

Erotic Romance – (E) Raelene Gorlinski, Ellora’s Cave; (A) Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency

Inspirational Romance – (E) Elizabeth Mazer, Steeple Hill; (A) Pam Strickler, Pam Strickler Author Management

For more information, visit http://www.firstcoastromancewriters.com/contest_un.htm or email fcrw_beacon2010@yahoo.com .

Thank you to

Winter Rose Contest

My 2009 WIP made the final cut in the Winter Rose contest, sponsored by the Yellow Rose RWA Chapter in Texas.

I didn’t think I would hear until the 9th of April so news was a couple days earlier than I’d expected. I opened my email before going to bed last night and there it was. It was a big wheee moment for me.

Now, I don’t know how many paranormal manuscripts were in the contest. I don’t know who else made the final round. All things I’m curious about.

In the mean time a big arm pumping, “All Riiigggghhhhtttt”

I immediately sent an email to my crutique buddies, FCRW chapter, . Then I did a FB post. Today I posted to my lalala Sisterhood.

I am fighting the urge to shout it from the roof tops.

Craft Resources

This week has been fraught with emotional ups and downs. Coming down from the Writers Retreat last weekend, high high high point of the year. Many ah ha moments.

Lightening did not strike me on Thursday. I have a heart but it won’t be golden this year.

It caused me to think about resources for writers. I’m not really thinking of self help type books but more resources that helped you along the way. No not really the big book of paranormal creatures that’s on my shelf. I can research on the internet. No not an alphabetical listing of all the big “R” little “r” rules to remember.

What are your resources as a writer?

Mine are the FCRW chapter I belong to. Also the couple of yahoo groups I maintain membership in.

My FB friends are great. Danica and I have had fun bracketing the week with me sponsoring Fantasy Man Monday and she offering Fantasy Man Friday. Friday’s are hotter.

Ink Plots, the live critique group I’m a member of helps. My Critique Partner is my life line.

I just received the Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines; Sixteen Master Archetypes. Great resource book by Tami Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders. It is outstanding.

Does anyone have that book on plot archetypes? I saw it on amazon.

What are your resources that help you both in the actual mechanics of writing and surviving the tough times?

Golden Heart Finals Announced Today

How do you measure a year?

Today thousands of unpublished romance writers are all waiting for a phone call telling them they made it into the final round of the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart writing contest. I’m one of them.

Last December I and all the others sent the first fifty pages of polished finished manuscript along with a CD containing the entire work to RWA headquarters for the Golden Heart Romance Novel Contest for unpublished authors.

That act of faith represented an entire year of plotting, writing, revisions, editing. I have an active full time day job. Most of my writing happens between 9p.m. and 2a.m.

Today I’ll try to not glare at the phone every five minutes. I’ll try not to have an anxiety attack. I’ll try to make it through the next five hours.

Good luck to all my FCRW Chapter Friends in the contest and my online cyber buddies. Here’s reaching out to squeeze your hand with a hope that you get your phone call today.

How do I measure a year? I think I’ll write another book.

Write the D@$! Manuscript Challenge

The FCRW (First Coast Romance Writers) sponsor a contest for members of the chapter each year.  It’s called Write the D@$! Manuscript Challenge.  Members are encouraged to just write the D@$! Manuscript.  We try to do fun things along the way to help keep participants encouraged.

So often the more we as writers know the less we are able to do.  We fill our time with all kinds of things.  After the basic rudiments of living, family, home, job, we find other time suckers to keep from writing the D@$! Manuscript. . . my space, face book, twitter, email, research, BLOGGING. oh my.  And frankly we let the Internal Editor from He(( shut us down way to often.

So the Write the D@$! Manuscript challenge is an opportunity to take the time to make writing your priority again.  Rather than the psychological suicide of NaMoWriMo in 30 days, our version gives you an entire year…ok ten months technically, to write a complete story arch accomplishing at least 40,000 words to a finish, the end.

We aren’t even so tough to expect the WIP to be finished and edited, polished and pretty.

So if you’re not convinced that this is a great activity for your writing group, here is what I got out of the D@$! Manuscript challenge of 2009.  I wrote my WIP Dragon’s Mark.  I finished the entire book in draft form between Feb and early October, some 100,000 words of the beast.

I had time to edit the first 30 pages and enter the Beacon Unpublished contest. I edited a little more and entered the Golden Heart.  Edited a little more and entered the Winter Rose.  Now a year later the work is finished, edited and polished pretty and I am beginning to Query and search for Agented Representation.

The entry in the Beacon 2009 won second place.  Still waiting to hear from the others.

The point is I wrote the D@$! Manuscript.  Didn’t matter that I didn’t win the grand prize drawing.  I wrote.

So, now I am beginning the D@$! Manuscript Challenge 2010.  I’m sitting here immersed in social networking and blogging.  I haven’t started work on my manuscript entry.  However, I know I have to have a word count for our meeting in two weeks to report with the other Challenge Participants.  I sure don’t want to be standing there saying well I haven’t really started yet….  So, I’m going to get busy and Write the D@$! Manuscript.

Dragon’s Mark 2009 Beacon Unpub – 2nd Place Finish

Okay kiddies, Results are in as the title of this blog outs, Dragon’s Mark came in Second to Bad Girl.  Congrats to Bad Girl author for her win.  Those of you who have followed this blog know we struck up a conversation cheering each other on to the finish.  When I said I was hoping for a one two finish I was more thinking me one, you two?? **grin**  Next time babe’  lol.

One of my judges shared that if she picked up a book and found that it had a me’nage theme she would put it down.  What can I say?  This is not the book for you.  I have two heroes and one heroine.  There’s no cliff hanger on how this is going to turn out. At least she/he didn’t say she/he would throw it at the wall.

No judge bashing here.  For the most part judges work very hard to make their comments relevant and educational.  And in all fairness, just because our tastes in literature differ she/he had some important helpful things to say in her specific comments.

So Yeah, Dragon’s Mark 2nd Place.  First contest for this book.  Second contest for me.  I’ve put this piece two more contests with more up to date edited versions.  We’ll see how it goes!

Contest Final

I am so thrilled.  Word just came through that Dragon’s Mark has finaled in the Beacon Unpublished Contest hosted by First Coast Romance Writers a chapter of RWA.

It is the third book I’ve written.  This is the second contest I’ve entered.  Last year I entered the Beacon with a Contemporary Suspense manuscript.  This year I wrote Dragon’s Mark and entered it into the Beacon contest as well as the Golden Heart.

I am doing the happy dance and squeee like a fan girl.

Fingers and toes and eyes crossed for the final round to be announced in Feb, 2010.  Not to mention how much I hope it will do well in the Golden Heart.