Sunday, December 30, 2007

Newsflash! Avon Seeking Submissions from Debut Authors

This information was posted to one of my writing lists today. Avon has decided to dedicate 2008 to finding debut authors! Take a look at their guidelines. How To Submit A Manuscript *Please note Avon's new submission policy To submit your romance or women's fiction (only), please query first. You must query by e-mail. When you do so, please put QUERY in the subject line. Due to the overwhelming amount of spam e-mail received, subject lines that have manuscript titles often do not reach the editors. Your query should be brief, no more than a two-page description of your book. Do not send chapters or a full synopsis at this time. Also, please not send attachments—THEY WILL NOT BE OPENED. You will receive a response—either a decline or a request for more material—in approximately one to two weeks. Please e-mail your query to: avonromance@harpercollins.com. Include a stamped, self-addressed envelope big enough to contain your manuscript, in case we have to return it to you. We cannot reply to submission materials without a SASE. And be sure to keep a copy of your manuscript! Please send either a query letter, or the first three chapters (50-100 pp) and a 5-10 pp synopsis of the whole story –- not the complete manuscript. If we like that partial, we will ask to see the whole manuscript. Please do e-mail manuscript submissions or query letters. Send your manuscript to any of the following Avon editors: >CarrieFeron, Executive Editor >Lucia Macro, Executive Editor >Lyssa Keusch, Senior Editor >Micki Nuding, Editor Avon Books 10 E. 53rd St. New York, NY 10022 Because of the many submissions we receive, it takes four to six weeks to answer a query letter and three to six months to evaluate a manuscript. If you haven’t received a response after that time, please drop us a postcard listing your name, address, phone number, title of manuscript, whether it was partial or complete, when you originally sent it and to whom. We look forward to receiving your submission to Avon Books Good luck! *Info via the January, 2008 Romance Writers Report & Avon Website.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Finishing Your Novel

Check out this writers resource by Timothy Hallinan. There's a section on his website entitled Writers Resources, where he guides and encourages struggling writers to finish and/or begin their book.
I’m offering the Writers' Resources section, which is intended to get people to that blessed point where they can type the words THE END. So if you’re among those who want to finish (or even begin) a novel, check this section out – there may be something that you’ll find helpful.
I spent half a day reading through Timothy's exercises and suggestions. Hopefully, this will help with finishing my own WIP's. If you're experiencing the same dilemma, I suggest you go on over and read Timothy's suggestions. Happy Writing

Wrter or Author?

“A writer is someone who finishes.” -- Thomas Farber
Writer
  • One who writes, or has written; a scribe; a clerk.
  • One who is engaged in literary composition as a profession; an author; as, a writer of novels.
  • A clerk of a certain rank in the service of the late East India Company, who, after serving a certain number of years, became a factor.

Author

  • The beginner, former, or first mover of anything; hence, the efficient cause of a thing; a creator; an originator.
  • One who composes or writes a book; a composer, as distinguished from an editor, translator, or compiler.
  • The editor of a periodical.
  • An informant.
  • To occasion; to originate.
  • To tell; to say; to declare.

Writer or Author. Which is the correct title if you're unpublished?

There's a post at The Writing Life that's similar to this one, with a few links to other blogs on the subject. The more I read what other writer's thought and felt about this, the more I realized I wasn't alone.

I read somewhere that the term "Writer" is described as - one who writes, especially as a business or occupation (author, journalist, etc.) and the term "Author" is described as - one who makes or originates something; creator. The writer of a book, article, etc. For some reason, I feel uncomfortable calling myself an author. In my mind, I won't earn that title until I'm published. Until then, I'm a writer.

The term "author" to me, refers to someone who has a written a book (or article or whatever) that you are able to purchase, either online or at a brick and mortar store. It has a cover, an ISBN number and a Publisher. The lucky ones who've had the good fortune to accomplish this, IMO, are authors. Until you're published, you're a writer. Right...?

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Free eBooks At eHarlequin Dot Com

Did you know eHarlequin was giving away a FREE ebook every day from December 25th thru January 1st? I didn't, but I do now - and so do you!
Whether you're trying this portable format for the first time or you're a seasoned downloader, you'll love our special offer this month—get a FREE eBook each day from December 25 - January 1. Simply add today's featured eBook to your shopping cart and use the corresponding coupon code at checkout—you'll automatically get today's eBook absolutely FREE!

Head on over and get your free ebook today!

Boxing Day?

Boxing Day (bŏk'sĭng) Date: 1833 n. The first weekday after Christmas, celebrated as a holiday in parts of the British Commonwealth, when Christmas gifts are traditionally given to service workers. I have to admit I've never heard this term before yesterday. I read about it on a few blogs, and thought - what the heck is that? So, like any inquisitive writer, I looked it up. Apparently, Boxing Day is celebrated in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Canada on December 26th or 27th (according to which country), and, it's a tradition that goes waaay back. According to Wikipedia: It was the day when people would give a present or Christmas box to those who had worked for them throughout the year. This is still done in Britain for postmen and paper-boys - though now the 'box' is usually given before Christmas, not after. In feudal times, Christmas was a reason for a gathering of extended families. All the serfs would gather their families in the manor of their lord, which made it easier for the lord of the estate to hand out annual stipends to the serfs. After all the Christmas parties on 26 December, the lord of the estate would give practical goods such as cloth, grains, and tools to the serfs who lived on his land. Each family would get a box full of such goods the day after Christmas. Under this explanation, there was nothing voluntary about this transaction; the lord of the manor was obliged to supply these goods. Because of the boxes being given out, the day was called Boxing Day. In England many years ago, it was common practice for the servants to carry boxes to their employers when they arrived for their day's work on the day after Christmas. Their employers would then put coins in the boxes as special end-of-year gifts. This can be compared with the modern day concept of Christmas bonuses. The servants carried boxes for the coins, hence the name Boxing Day. In churches, it was traditional to open the church's donation box on Christmas Day, and the money in the donation box was to be distributed to the poorer or lower class citizens on the next day. In this case, the "box" in "Boxing Day" comes from that lockbox in which the donations were left. Boxing Day was the day when the wren, the king of birds,[3] was captured and put in a box and introduced to each household in the village when he would be asked for a successful year and a good harvest. See Frazer's Golden Bough. Evidence can also be found in Wassail songs such as: ''Where are you going ? said Milder to Malder, ''Oh where are you going ? said Fessel to Foe, ''I'm going to hunt the cutty wren said Milder to Malder, ''I'm going to hunt the cutty wren said John the Rednose. ''And what will you do wi' it ? said Milder to Malder, ''And what will you do wi' it ? said Fessel to Foe, ''I'll put it in a box said Milder to Malder, ''I'll put it in a box said John the Rednose. etc... Because the staff had to work on such an important day as Christmas by serving the master of the house and their family, they were given the following day off. As servants were kept away from their own families to work on a traditional religious holiday and were not able to celebrate Christmas Dinner, the customary benefit was to "box" up the leftover food from Christmas Day and send it away with the servants and their families. (Similarly, as the servants had the 26th off, the owners of the manor may have had to serve themselves pre-prepared, boxed food for that one day.) Hence the "boxing" of food became "Boxing Day".
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • In a similar vein to the United Kingdom (see below), shopping occurs similarly in Australia and New Zealand, although some Australian states, including New South Wales are tightening restrictions on Boxing Day retail trading[1], deferring the post-Christmas sales to December 27. Boxing Day is not formally observed in the Australian state of South Australia, instead what would have been the next working day after Christmas is officially titled Proclamation Day and a public holiday is observed. [9]. However, it is still referred to as Boxing Day.
  • Canada
  • In Canada, Boxing Day is observed as a holiday, except (in some cases) for those in the retail business. Boxing Day and the days immediately following are when many retail stores sell their Christmas and retired model products by holding clearance sales. Some shoppers will line up for hours at night (sometimes before midnight and after midnight on December 26) for retailers to open their doors. Except in Quebec, retailers often open their stores earlier than usual, such as 6 or 7 am. Some retail companies internally refer to the sales week after Christmas as the "thirteenth month." (See Boxing Week.) It is similar to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, in the United States. Boxing Day 2005 was the single largest economic transaction day ever in the history of Canadian commerce (according to Visa). Individual big box stores can even gross over CAD$1,000,000 on one single Boxing Day.
  • As an exception, most retail stores are not permitted to open on Boxing Day in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2006, Nova Scotia eliminated a similar ban on Boxing Day openings, although most retailers elected to continue past practice and remain closed that day. In these provinces, most stores offer the same specials on December 27 that they would offer elsewhere on the 26th. This distinction is not well known in central and western Canada.[10]
  • In addition to the retail aspect of the holiday, Boxing Day also serves as a second day for families to gather for dinner and to exchange gifts. Boxing Day dinner is, in many ways, just as much a part of many families traditions as Christmas dinner itself.
  • Boxing Day has also been referred to as the day that people "box" up their Christmas decorations and put them away until next year.
  • European countries
  • Boxing Day is a holiday of peculiarly British origin, but in most years it falls on the same day as the Feast of St. Stephen (St. Stephen's Day - 26 December).
  • See December 26#Holidays and observances
  • South Africa
  • In South Africa, Boxing Day is known in the official calendar as Day of Goodwill.
  • Ireland
  • In Irish it is called Lá Fhéile Stiofán or Lá an Dreoilín — the latter translates literally as another English name used, the Day of the Wren or Wren's Day. When used in this context, 'wren' is often pronounced 'ran'. This name alludes to several legends, including those found in Ireland linking episodes in the life of Jesus to the wren. In parts of Ireland persons carrying either an effigy of a wren, or an actual caged wren, travel from house to house playing music, singing and dancing. Depending on which region of the country, they are called Wrenboys, Mummers or Strawboys. A Mummer's Festival is held at this time every year in the village of New Inn, County Galway, Co. Galway. St Stephen's Day is also a popular day for visiting family members. A popular rhyme, known to many Irish children and sung at each house visited by the mummers goes as follows:
  • The wren, the wren, the king of all birds, On St. Stephen's Day was caught in the furze, Up with the kettle and down with the pan, Give us some money to bury the wren.
  • Wales
  • St. Stephen's Day in Wales is known as Gŵyl San Steffan. Ancient Welsh custom, discontinued in the 19th century, included bleeding of livestock and "holming" (beating or slashing with holly branches) of late risers and female servants.[1]
  • CataloniaIn Catalonia it is called "Sant Esteve" and is a bank holiday, but not in the whole country of Spain.
Phew, all this, and I never heard of Boxing Day? You'd think I under a rock! Here's a few more versions and countries that observe Boxing Day: Dutch: Tweede Kerstdag French: le jour suivant Noël (jour férié en Grande Bretagne) German: 1. Weihnachtsfeiertag Italian: (il giorno di) Santo Stefano Spanish: día de San Esteban, 26 de diciembre Need some help researching Boxing Day? Kids.net.au Answers.com Kids Turn Central Allwords.com Kirk's Weblog Wikipedia So, how about you. Have you ever heard of Boxing Day?

Updated Resources

FYI, I've updated the Resources For The Non-RWA Newbie (pt 3) post with additional resources and links. You can check it out here, or by clicking on the title in the November 2007 section of this blog. Again, if you have a question, have a resource you'd like to share, or if you can't find something I've listed, just let me know by leaving a comment. Also, if this post has helped you in any way I'd love to know about it (still working on my writer's karma). :) Happy Writing!

Interested In A Free Novel Writing Course?

Interested in a FREE 2 year Novel Writing Course? If so, you can read about it here. The two year long course is presented by Lazette Gifford and will take place on Holly Lisle's Forward Motion for Writers forum. Below is a snippet about the course I pinched from the forum. Happy Novel Writing!

Year One topics: Writing Basics: Ideas, Genres, Themes, Conflict and more Character development Worldbuilding Outlining Writing, including what to do when you get stuck Year Two topics: Completing your first draft The second draft Final edits Submission You might also consider buying the 2YN: Year 1 book, which is available in PDF (Download) format and which you can print out. This is the material that I'll present in the class, so it's not necessary that you have it. However, some people have found it helpful to have the book since they can look ahead and do the work in an order that is more natural to them, though they cannot post material before the class is presented on the boards. It is also helpful so you can do the work even if they are not able to get to the computer on days I put the material up. As always, there are no fees or special requirements, other than you be a member of Forward Motion. If you are interested, just post to this thread and I'll add you to the board when it's open.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I'm On A Roll Once Again

I'm on a roll once again - a contest winning roll, that is! In a previous post, I told you about the surprise package I got in my snail mail a couple of weeks back. Remember, the five books and bookmarks I won from Author Ann Christopher November contest? Well, if you'll recall, right after that I won a can of Kuma Sutra honey dust. Then, this past Sunday I got an email notification saying I won the Night Owl Romance Yahoogroup Door Prize. Talk about surprises! LOL Then, guess what? Apparently, my name was picked for Kate Walkers 12 Days of Christmas drawing, because today I received a package (in the snail mail) from Leena Hyatt at My Tote Bag, that included an autographed copy of The Antonakos Marriage by Kate Walker, a Kate Walker promotional pen, a Kate Walker book bag, a hand painted Christmas card and bookmarks. How cool is that? Then today, I was doing my daily blog routine (catching up and reading my favorite blogs), and guess what - when I got to Paperback Writers blog, there was my name listed as one of the three "Bookwish" winners! OMG, what a surprise! What's a bookwish, you ask? *A BookWish is any book of your choice that is available for order from an online bookseller, up to maximum cost of $30.00 U.S. I will throw in any applicable shipping charges involved. Woo-hoo! How cool is that? I'm so excited! I don't even remember entering some of these contests. Even though it may seem like it, I'm not a contest junkie. I don't go looking for them and I don't enter every single contest or drawing I run across, but I do enter a lot (as you can see). What happens is, when I do my unusual, daily routine reading blogs, if there's a contest, I'll enter. Simple. I guess there is something to that old saying "you can't win if you don't play!" Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays

Photobucket

I'm the NOR Yahoogroup Doorprize Winner!

I came home from Christmas shopping today to find the following email in my inbox. What a nice surprise for Christmas - I'm so excited (Oh, by the way, I received the Kuma Sutra Strawberry and Champagene honey dust I won last week in the mail yesterday-yum, yum)! Happy Holidays!

Hi Carol,

You have won a door prize via the Night Owl Romance Yahoo Group.Can you please send me your snail mail address.My direct email is (blank)

Your winnings include -

and much more!

Congrats. Tam

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Helpful Verb, Action Verb and Grammar Sites

Here's a few links to some very helpful verb, grammar and descriptive word websites. I printed off the cheat sheets, and refer to them often (especially when I'm stuck). Just thought I'd share. Happy Writing! Cheat Sheets Action Verbs Descriptive Words Transition Words 100 Ways to say "said" Writer's Cheat Sheets Action Verbs 100 Verbs to Write By by Deanna Carlyle Cheat Sheet for Writers! Helpful Grammar Sites Show, Not Tell Guide to Grammar and Writing Grammar Now! (sign up for a weekly email grammar tip) Adverbs Passive Voice Active and Passive Voice What is an Adverb? Transition Words (msn Romance Writing Tips) English Grammar and Mechanics Links Common Errors In English Grammar Girl

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My X-Mas List

75% of the blogs I read have posted their Writers Christmas list, so I thought I'd get in on the fun. Who knows, maybe I have a secret Santa somewhere just waiting for me to post this list. :) Word 2007 RWA Membership Subscription to Writers Digest Subscription to Romantic Times Subscription to Wild West Magazine Digital Camera Studs 'N Spurs Calendar Women Writing the West Membership Gift Certificate(s) to Barnes and Noble and/or Amazon E-book Reader (Maybe) So, what's on your X-Mas list this year?

Monday, December 17, 2007

I'm A Winner!

I just received this in my inbox:

Carol, Congratulations! You won the Karma Sutra Honey Dust from our Blue Moon Magic giveaway. All you need to do is pick your favorite flavor...Original, Strawberries and Cream, or Raspberry. Just email me back to let me know your preference and I'll get it shipped to you. Happy Holidays,

Honey Jans

http://www.angelfire.com/jazz/honeyjans/Twice in a Blue Moon ~ Book 2 Blue Moon Magicwww.loose_id.com One father. Two mothers. Four siblings. One incredible night that will change them all...Forever

Woo-hoo! Can you guess which one I picked? Strawberries and Cream, of course (the dh's favorite *grin*) This is the second thing I've won this past week. A couple of posts down, I blogged about the package of books I got in the snail mail last week. Remember, five books from romance author Ann Christopher's contest? I wonder if this is any indication of how my new year go! Maybe my luck will hold out long enough to snag a contract! Wouldn't that be nice? Happy Holidays!

My New Blog - With Major Problems

Well, as you can see, I've changed my blog template again, with the hopes that the new template would solve my widget and link problems. And it did - to a certain extent. I now have a blogroll, however, there are about eight copies of each link (just shoot me now). How that happened, I don't have a clue. All I know is I have my blogroll. I'm just about ready to give up on Blogger and go over to Wordpress. I've already transferred my posts, and I have a template over there that I actually like. The only thing is, I'm just not 100% sure I want to make the switch. Wordpress had a much nicer and a large template selection. There's also a better selection of websites offering Wordpress templates. I had a hard time finding just one site that offered Blogger templates, much less free Blogger templates. I've played around with the Wordpress formats, widgets and other stuff, and not once did I have a problem with anything. They're very user friendly. I don't know. What do you think? Have you made a transition like this, and if so, how did it work for you? Please leave a comment if you have to let me know the pros and cons of such a move - I could really use some suggestions. *sigh* Happy Blogging!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My New Blog Design

I've been looking for a new blog design for ages. I've surfed and surfed and surfed to no avail. Then yesterday I discovered FinalSense.com. What a great site! They have the best free blog designs I've found so far (and I've done a LOT of surfing). I spent hours trying out new templates, and even more time trying to decide which template I wanted to use. The only thing is, when I made the change, I lost a most of my widgets and formatting. I tried to add the old stuff using the blogger drag and drop option, and it said I'd successfully added the things I wanted, however, they're not there (and yes, I saved everything)! I have a sneaky suspicion that to add the extras, I will have to write them in using css or html (just shoot me now). That's the one thing that's held me back from making this change earlier (besides the fact that I couldn't find a template I liked). So, until I learn to write css or html, or figure out another way to add my blogroll and widgets, I'll have to do without them. That's what I hate about making changes, whether it be to your website, blog or whatever, you always run into some kind of road block. It's never simple. Grrrr! So, if you happen onto my blog, and don't see your blog link, please don't think I've deserted you (and your blog). Just please bare with me until I get this all figured out. In the meantime, if you're thinking about changing your blog and you haven't been able to find a decent template, visit http://www.finalsense.com/. Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

All I Want For Christmas Is...

Woo-hoo! How's this for a stocking stuffer?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Get a Studs N' Spurs calendar at AllPosters.com - Mine's on its way! :)

A Surprise For Me Today!

I received a nice little surprise in the snail mail today. A package of books! How exciting! In October I entered a contest on Ann Christopher's website, and apparently, I was November's Winner - and I didn't even know it! Woo-hoo! Here's what I won:
  • Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase
  • The Devils Waltz by Anne Stuart
  • Just One of Those Things by Candace Hern
  • Lord of Fire by Gaelen Foley
  • A Passion for Him by Sylvia Day
  • Four bookmarks
Well, I'm off to do some reading!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Free Workshop Tomorrow - Fight Scenes or How Butts Get Kicked

Fight Scenes or How Butts Get Kicked Presented by Fiona Jade Tuesday, December 11, 2007 On The EroticRomanceWorkshop E-Loop With erotic romance spanning various genres, fight scenes– be its words, or fists or laser blasts - speed up the action on the pages.Like lovemaking, a fight scene presents similar challenges to the author – depicting simultaneous action in a sequence of phrases,pacing, verbiage, and, well, "punch". This workshop will present butt kicking and still feminine heroines, various ways to hurt a body (if you REALLY have to) and the little known fact rarely depicted on the silver screen - that when one punches something really hard, one's knuckles really hurt. Bio: Fiona Jayde is a pilot, a ninth degree black belt in three styles of martial arts, a computer hacker, a mountain climber, a jazz singer, a weight lifter, a super spy with a talent for languages, and an evil genius. All in her own head. In life, she is an author, insists she is a good driver even though various loved ones refuse to let her drive, possesses a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do and blue belt in Aikido, a web developer, scared to death of heights, loves jazz piano, can bench-press about 20 pounds-with effort, speaks English and Russian fluently, and when not plotting murder and mayhem enjoys steamy romance novels, sexy spy thrillers, murky mysteries and violent movies where things frequently blow up. Her latest series – Urban Myth, Urban Legend and Urban Fantasy is a trilogy of paranormal romances with humans and vampires highly skilled in the arts of combat fighting and training for peace amidst the races. You must be a registered member of the EroticRomanceWorkshop on Yahoogroups to participate. Click on the link above to join - it's FREE! *Reposted with permission from the EroticRomanceWorkshop group.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Writing Exercise

I ran across a couple of really nice writing exercises and thought I'd share.

Enjoy!

  • Create a Memory House by sketching a floor plan of any house in which you have lived. Now write a memory in each room. If a memory inspires you, write from it.

Here's another one:

  • Take a sheet of paper and write"I remember" at the top of the page, then just write. Keep your hand moving and let the words flow. When you come to a stopping place, take a deep breath, let it out, write "I remember" again and keep going. Come back to this exercise often. Different days evoke different memories. Go back to the memory list later and highlight (or use a crayon to encircle) the ones that seem fresh and full of potential stories.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Free Workshop Tomorrow - Writing From The Male POV

Writing From the Male Point of View Presented by Sascha Illyvich Wednesday, December 5, 2007 On the EroticRomanceWorkshop Learn the ins and outs of character creation from a side of romance we rarely hear from, the male romance reader/writer! Paranormal Romance author Sascha Illyvich shares with us tips on how to create more memorable characters, avoid some common pitfalls and have more fun with our writing! What you'll learn from this class:

  • Male Archetypes and how they affect our characters
  • How (il)logical men think and why they act the way they do
  • How to take any male character from any movie/story and modify him to fit your story
  • How to get your man to express his true "self"
  • The Male Cycle of Emotions and how it compares to the female cycle of emotions
  • A man's journey in life
Bio: Sascha Illyvich writes paranormal erotic romances, erotica in many genres and an occasional contemporary erotic romance. Sascha first started writing seven years ago, first releasing poetry and an occasional short erotica story. Taking the advice of Mistress Koi of http://very-koi.net, Sascha joined the Erotica Readers and Writers association. Submitting stories for critique, Sascha gained valuable feedback and sold numerous pieces to various websites Adult Story Corner, Peacock Blue and Cyber-Mistress. Sascha's first full length paranormal romance "ENDANGERED: Nights of Lust book 1" was released through Venus Press in January of 2005. The follow up story "Separated Self" was released a year later alongside the re release of "A Christmas Favor" through Silk's Vault. Several short erotic stories were released in 2005. Click here to join EroticRomanceWorkshop - it's FREE!

New Romance Writer's Group Opening Up

I read an article by Barbara Vey at PW today, which told of a new Romance Writers forum, the United Romance Writers Association (URWA). The United Romance Writers Association is a forum for authors to critique, workshop, discuss and share info about the Romance industry. This forum is a private member group FREE to all Romance authors published and unpublished

Although the title says "Romance Writers Association" authors of all genres are welcome to join.

In fact, we have one big fat rule about joining – we don’t exclude anyone. We want you here. We know we can learn from you and from each other.

So, if you'd like to become a part of the URWA community, you can do so by going here. Here's the link to their MySpace page if you'd like to visit.

Happy Writing!

The End

...of the line for me. I didn't make it to the next round of Karin Tabke's First Line Contest. I did make it all the way to round eight, so, that's pretty good, isn't it? It's just so disappointing to get dropped. Guess I'll just keep on, keepin' on! :) Karin Tabke did leave a comment for me. She said, "Carol, for what it's worth, my judge really struggled this week." That was nice, wasn't it? It was a fun contest, and I had a great time. Guess it's back to the drawing board! Happy Writing!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

New Contest For Aspiring Harlequin Presents (M&B) Writers

If you're an aspiring writer who plans to target the Harlequin Presents line, this is a great opportunity for you. I write single title, so this contest won't help me, but the writing tutorials on the site will! For those of you who write category - you don't want to miss this! This comes from Executive Editor Tessa Shapcott and it's all about the special contest that Presents (M&B Modern) is running for not yet published writers. Here's what Tessa has to say: INSTANT SEDUCTION A brand new writing competition from the world’s best-selling romance series is about to hit the blogosphere! It’s an exciting time for Harlequin Presents: from January 2008, there will be 12 of our intensely passionate romances available every month. And with this increase of titles comes a great opportunity for aspiring authors – we will be looking to buy more books for publication! The old saying goes that first impressions are lasting impressions – and when it comes to reading a Harlequin Presents, that certainly holds true. If the first chapter doesn’t immediately grip the reader with its pace, passion and intensity, then she won’t continue to turn the pages. So Presents is inviting unpublished writers to show us how they can grab the attention of our readership with first chapters that really sizzle. The INSTANT SEDUCTION competition offers prizes that are chances of a lifetime for the lucky winner and runners-up:
  • *First prize – win yourself an editor for a year!
  • *Two runners-up will be given editorial critiques of their first chapter entries and also a personal telephone consultation about their writing!
Visit the Iheartpresents.com blogsite for full details of the competition – and the chance to prepare for publication with an exclusive series of writing tutorials prepared by the editorial team at Harlequin Presents, including advice on First Chapters, How to Write a Synopsis, Loving the Alpha Male and Generating Emotional Conflict. Entries for the competition will be accepted as on-line submissions only from 1st January until 14th February 2008. Entries should comprise of the first chapter and a synopsis of a previously unpublished/unsubmitted novel aimed at Harlequin Presents. Address for entries: instantseduction@hmb.co.uk Any further details, and lots of helpful hints on how to write for Harlequin Presents, M&B Modern can be found over on the I heart Presents blog. I wish the best of luck to those of you who enter!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Margie Lawson At Publishers Weekly Today

Writer and Psychologist Margie Lawson is doing the Right Brain, Left Brain, Whole Brain thing again at Publishers Weekly today. Margie blogged about this at Magical Musings a couple of weeks ago (see 10 posts down), and it was really fun. She posted a quiz that determines what kind of thinker you are - right brain, left brain or whole brain, and she graciously replied to those of us who posted their quiz score (or made a comment). This time, in addition to the quiz, Margie posted a really cute men's and woman's brain diagram. What a hoot! You have to go and see it. You'll crack up. Margie will also be giving away one of her Lecture Packets. In case you haven't heard of Margie or her lecture packets, visit her website. Her workshops and lecture packets are very popular among writers and she offers them for purchase on her website at the very reasonable price of $20 each. Believe me, they're worth every penny. You can choose from:
  • Empowering Character Emotions
  • Defeating Self-Defeating Behaviors: Allow Writing Productivity and Creativity to Soar
  • Deep Editing; The Edits System , Rhetorical Devices and More
For $20 you can't go wrong. To enter the drawing, all you have to do is leave a comment in the comments section. They'll pick a winner tonight at 9:00 PM Mountain Time (that's 12:00 Midnight my time EST) and announce the lucky winner in tomorrows blog. If you missed Margie at Magical Musings last week, make sure you get on over to the PW blog today!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Query Letter Example

The Nelson Literary Agency Website offers some good tips on query letters and has a nice query letter example on their site. You should take a look-see. They also have a MySpace page, so, if you have one, too, maybe you should "friend" them. I did. :) Just thought I'd share. Happy Writing!

Updated Resources and Links

FYI, I've updated the Resources For The Non-RWA Newbie (pt 3) post with additional resources and links. You can check it out here, or by clicking on the title in the November 2007 section of this blog. Again, if you have a question, have a resource you'd like to share, or if you can't find something I've listed, just let me know by leaving a comment. Also, if this post has helped you in any way I'd love to know about it (still working on my writer's karma). :) Happy Writing!

Free Pitch Critique Offer Still Open at Bookends

I just came from the Bookends blog, and it appears that Jessica Fausts' offer for a free pitch critique is still open. A few posts ago it sounded as though she'd just about had it and was giving up on the remaining submissions, but now it looks like she's decided to keep at it. I submitted my pitch a couple of weeks ago, so I'm waaayy down at the bottom of the list. I hope she gets to it before she really gets burned out and decides to stop doing the critiques. :) If you want to submit your pitch you'd better get over there before she changes her mind! And remember, you have to submit your pitch in the comments section of the original post. Good luck! Bookends Blog Bookends Website Original Bookends Post - Perfecting Your Pitch

PNWA Literary Contest

I ran across this contest at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association website today and thought I'd share. This looks like a great contest, and I plan to enter. PNWA LITERARY CONTEST Featuring $12,000 in prize money Every qualified entry receives two critiques Finalists critiqued by and Agent or Editor First-place winners are invited to attend the Agents & Editors Reception 12 Categories: 1. Mainstream 2. Inspiration 3. Romance 4. Mystery/Thriller/Horror 5. Science Fiction/Fantasy 6. Young Adult Novel 7. Non-Fiction Book/Memoir 8. Screen Writing 9. Poetry 10. Adult Short Story 11. Children's Picture Book/Short Story or Chapter Book 12. Adult Short Topics (Article/Essay/Short Memoir) Awards and Benefits Finalists (eight in each category) will be notified prior to the PNWA Annual Summer Conference, July 17 - 20, 2008. Award Winners will be announced at the conference. Awards will be given for: First Place: $600 and the Zola Award. The Zola Award honors founding member Zola Helen Ross for her vision in creating a writing community over 50 years ago. Second Place: $300 Third Place: $150 Every entry accepted in the contest will receive two critiques, a valuable tool for any writer. Finalists who attend the PNWA Summer Conference will receive a Finalist ribbon for their name tag, giving them high visibility to the agents and editors at the conference. In addition, their manuscripts will be made available to these agents and editors. First-Place winners will have the opportunity to attend the Agents and Editors Reception at the PNWA Summer Conference. $35.00 entry fee for PNWA members and $50.00 for non-members and you don't have to have a completed manuscript to enter. Entries must be postmarked no later than FEBRUARY 22, 2008. Go here for the submission guidelines and rules. Visit http://www.pnwa.org/ for details, or send an email to: staff@pnwa.org or you can call: 425.673.2665 The deadline is February 22, 2008 Zola Helen Ross article

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Made It To Round Seven!

OMG, I made it to round seven in Karin Tabke's First Line Contest! Woo-hoo! I can't believe it - again! I just checked the site to find out who made it to the next round, figuring this was it for me, but lo and behold, there it was...my entry! Woo-hoo! Because of the holiday, Karin posted the next round entries a day late (understandably so). Therefore, we had an extra day of waiting. It was worth the wait, though! You can read my entry here. I'm number 4. Well, I'm off to post my next line. Wish me luck! First Line Contest rules

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Get A Free Cover Letter Critique

The Ellora's Cave Publishing Editors are offering free cover letter critiques. All you have to do is email your cover letter to redlinesdeadlines@gmail.com. They'll select a few cover letters to critique and post them to the blog in a couple of weeks. Also, if your letter is selected you'll win a free download of an Ellora's Cave or Cerridwen Press ebook. How cool is that? Visit Redlines and Deadlines for more details.

Friday, November 23, 2007

What's Your Writing Voice?

I need another diversion like I need a hole in the head. If you need one, too, here's a cool quiz that determines your writing voice. Here's my results:
Mostly D's: You are Jackie Collins. And you are naughty.
I can live with that. What's your writing voice? Taken from THE WRITER'S LIFE blog by Kevin Alexander

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

I Made It To Round Six!

Woo-hoo! I made it to round #6 in Karin Tabke's First Line Contest! Yes! Wow, I can't believe it - I'm so excited! I can't believe I managed to make it another week. I will admit that I'm starting to get nervous. Also, it doesn't help matters that I'm undecided about which next line to submit next. When I entered Leah Michaels Chase the Dream Contest, I added a new paragraph to the opening scene and I still haven't decided if I should keep it or not. Since my entry didn't make it as a finalist in that contest, I can't help but wonder if it would have made a difference had I left the new paragraph out. Guess I'll never know. :) Well, I'm off to post my next line. Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Whole-Brained, Left Brained or Right Brained Thinker - Which One Are You?

Psychologist and Writer Margie Lawson guest blogged at Magical Musings today. She posted a really fun quiz that showed if you were a whole-brained, left-brained or right-brained thinker. Those who took the quiz posted their results and Margie Lawson kindly replied to each one. My test score was 11, which indicated that I was a Whole-Brained thinker. Margie went on to say that a lot of writers were. Then someone mentioned the dancer test, which I had recently read about (and tried). According to the test, if your dancer turns clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain (creative and intuitive) if your dancer turns counter-clockwise, you use more of the left side of your brain (logical, linear-thinker). My dancer started out going counter-clockwise, then she randomly switched directions. Apparently, this indicates what?I don't know, the test didn't say (I believe it's a whole-brained characteristic), but, some saw the same as me, including Margie Lawson (Margie's a Whole-Brained Thinker, by the way). Which one are you?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What I Read Today...

I received the new issue of Cynthia Sterling's Market Newsletter a couple of days ago. If you read the newsletter you'll know that every month since the RWA National Conference in July, Cindi's done a "spotlight" on a different publishing house. This month her spotlight is on St. Martin's Press. As I mentioned probably a hundred times already (and I'm sure, if you read my blog, you're getting pretty sick of reading about this), one of the reason's I'm so excited about the First Line Contest is because Bookends, LLC Agent Jessica Faust said in a recent post that a certain editor at St. Martin's Press would be interested in finding "a really good western historical" and a St. Martin's Press editor is the final First Line Contest judge. The thing is, Jessica didn't mention which editor that was, so, I could only guess. But...being that Hillary Teeman is a ST. Martin's Press editor and she's judging the First Line contest, I'd hoped that she was the mystery editor that Jessica referred to. But, I didn't know for sure. So, the question is, which St. Martin's Press editor is it? Good question, huh? Well, guess what? I found out who it is. This issue of Cindi Sterling's Market Newsletter kindly answered that question with her St. Martin's Press spotlight. Cindi reported that, and I quote, "BLANK (insert mystery editor here) said she'd be interested in finding a really good western historical." The bad news is, the editor in question is not Hillary Teeman (sniff, sniff). The good news is, I know who the mystery editor it is (*grin*). Wanna know who it is? Do ya, huh? Do you wanna know? Do ya wanna know who it is? Okay, I'll tell you who it is. Drum roll please... The St. Martin's Press editor who's looking for a really great western historical is...Jennifer Enderlin. Yes, that's right folks. It's Jennifer Enderlin. Mystery solved. Cindi also went on to say that: These editors will consider queries from unagented authors. Monique also prefers one chapter with the query letter, but she stressed this only applies to her. Jennifer wouldn’t mind “a few pages” of the first of the book with the query. Word count for manuscripts is ‘generally’ 100,000 words, but that’s not set in stone. Even first-time authors are offered multiple-book contracts from the beginning with St. Martin’s. You'll have to read the newsletter to find out more. You can subscribe by sending a blank email to cynthiasterling-subscribe@yahoogroups.com Th, th, th, that's all folks...

Pitch Critiques at Bookends, LLC Blog

Over at the Bookends, LLC blog, Jessica Faust is taking the time out of her busy schedule to give pitch critiques. I'd thought about submitting mine when I first heard she was offering to do this, but I admit, I'm a chicken. I'm also a glutton for punishment, so, lo and behold, I bit the bullet and submitted my short pitch. :) It'll be interesting to see what Jessica has to say, if she happens to pick my pitch to critique. Jeez, one more blog to remember to check every week. :) Wish me luck!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Made It To Round Five!

Woo-hoo! I made it to round #5 in Karin Tabke's First Line Contest! Yes! Here's my week 5 entry: “Betrothed…you can’t be serious!” Calvin O’Donnell watched his daughter jump to her feet, knocking the chair to the floor. He knew this would be difficult and she would be unhappy, to say the least, but even so, he was shocked by her outburst of anger. “Now, Mairin, lass, calm down.” He had to be firm or else he’d never go through with it. Whaddya think? Will it make it to round #6? Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Now That's L'Amour

Every so often I get in a nostalgic mood. I was feeling that way today, so I decided to listen to some of my favorite music. Usually, when I get in this mood, I go straight to Country. But today, for some reason, I wanted to listen to rock (classic rock, I guess I'd be called these days). I never did know all the words to some of my favorite songs, and a few of the ones that I did know the words to, I'd forgotten. So, I did a google for song lyrics and ended up spending the better part of the morning listening to music and reminiscing (I know I'm weird). A lot of the lyrics to some of these songs really got to me (probably due to pre-menopausal hormones *grin*). Some of them really tugged at my heartstrings. But, the one song that got to me the most was Bon Jovi's I'll Be There For You. I don't know why I felt this way about this particular song. I've never really been a big Bon Jovi fan (sorry all you BJ lovers out there). I mean, I like them, but they've never been one of my top favorite rock groups. Now, Lynard Skynard, Bad Company, The Allman Brothers, Led Zepplin, The Stones...those are my #1 favorites and the ones that bring back memories of my teen years. Bon Jovi just isn't up there for me. But, for some odd reason, when I listened to this song today, and read the lyrics, I was just blown away. Because this song affected me this way, I thought I'd share the song with you all and see what you think. I'm sure that tomorrow or the next day, when I come back and read this post and listen to the song again, I'll probably ask myself where in the world that came from. But, until then, I'm a Bon Jovi I'll Be There For You fan. I posted the lyrics below. If you'd like to listen to the song just scroll down and click on the player. Pay special attention to the chorus - that's the good part. Enjoy! I'll Be There For You by Bon Jovi I guess this time you're really leaving I heard your suitcase say goodbye And as my broken heart lies bleeding You say true love in suicide You say you're cried a thousand rivers And now you're swimming for the shore You left me drowning in my tears And you won't save me anymore Now I'm praying to God you'll give me one more chance, girl Chorus: I'll be there for you These five words I swear to you When you breathe I want to be the air for you I'll be there for you I'd live and I'd die for you Steal the sun from the sky for you Words can't say what a love can do I'll be there for you I know you know we're had some good times How they have their own hiding place I can promise you tomorrow But I can't buy back yesterday And Baby you know my hands are dirty But I wanted to be your valentine I'll be the water when you get thirsty, baby When you get drink, I'll be the wine Chorus Solo And I wasn't there when you were happy I wasn't there when you were down I didn't mean to miss your birthday, baby I wish I'd seen you blow those candles out Chorus Again The End Now that's L'Amour... *sigh* Note: I took out the player because I couldn't get my song to show up, then somehow it magically appeared with a whole playlist that I didn't create. Sorry about that, folks.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Resources for the Non-RWA Newbie Part 3

I think I've just about exhausted my advice in parts 1 and 2 so I'm going to keep part 3 short. I left off in Part 2 of Resources for the Non-RWA Newbie (see post below) by suggesting you join as many writers groups as you can, visit each and every writing website you can and read lots and lots of blogs... and keep up with them! Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open. That's the best advice I can give. Knowledge is power and where there's a will, there's a way, I always say. :)

Below I've listed some of my favorite resources. I'm not going to post the links to all of them because it's just too time consuming, but I will add to it from time to time, so please check back often. For additional resources check out my favorite blogs and links on the sidebar of this page. If you find a site you're interested in visiting and the link isn't on my sidebar or listed below, do a google search. 99% of the writing eloops and groups that I have listed are hosted on Yahoogroups. You can do a search for any of the groups right from the Yahoo Groups home page. If you do the above, you shouldn't have a problem finding any of these resources on google or yahoo groups, but if you do, just leave me a comment and I'll be glad to point you in the right direction. And, if you know of any resources that I haven't mentioned or that you think might be of interest to me or if this post has helped you in any way, please leave a comment and let me know. I'd love to hear from you (plus, I'm working on my writing karma and I'd like to know how that's coming along). :) Again, I'll be adding links and resources as time allows, so check back often. Happy writing! Contests (These are all free or, at the very least all they ask for is a donation)
  • Chase the Dream Contest
  • First Line Contest
  • Gather First Chapter Romance Writing Competition
  • American Title
  • 2007 Brava Novella Contest
  • Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest
  • Wild Rose Press Through the Gate Contest
Resources in General - these include magazines, forums, critique groups, etc.
Newsletters NOTE: A lot of newsletters offer free ebooks when you subscribe. FundsForWriters especially.
Writers eLists, eGroups and eCourses (HINT: Look in the file section of these groups and lists. Many keep handouts and archive classes and courses there). EroticRomanceWorkshop - This is not just for erotic romance writers. Since I joined a couple of months ago, they've offered courses on POV, 1st Person POV, Plotting, Description, Idea to Outline, Query Letters, the Tortured Hero and more. This is a GREAT resource.
  • MotivatedWritersLife
  • WritersWorkshop
  • FinishTheDarnBook-writers support group
  • RW-C - Charlotte Dillon's group. Also, check out her romance writers resource website. This is a great starting point, one that helped me in the beginning (and still does). Charlotte also offers a critique group.
  • JoAnnRoss
  • romancelivesforever
  • LoveRomancesCafe
  • Carmel's Group
  • Western Romance Writers - also offers Western Romance Wrtiter's critique group
  • WritersResourceCentral
  • Marketing for Romance Writers - also offers free courses
  • Samhain Cafe
  • Wester Romance Writers - and critique group, too
  • World Romance Writers
  • Writers Resource Central
  • Contest Alert
  • Earthly Charms
  • Edit Tips
  • WRW - World Romance Writers
  • Romance Contests
Blogs (HINT: Once you visit a favorite blog, check their favorite blogs and links. This is how I found a lot of my favorites. For more of my favorite blogs, check my sidebar.
  • Bookends, LLC - right now Bookends agent Jessica Faust is offering a FREE Pitch critique.
  • The Knight Agency
  • The Rejecter
  • Single Titles
  • Miss. Snark
  • Lit Agent X
  • Writer Beware!
  • Cruse'n With Lonnie
Note: I don't consider Cruse'n With Lonnie a writers resource per se, but I listed it anyway because every time I stop there, I'm glad I did. Her blog is a refreshing break from the usual research, learn and read, read, read routine. Her posts are fast paced and humorous and I actually feel refreshed after my visit. We all need a break every once in a while. :) Lonnie writes the Metropolis Mystery series set in the real city of Metropolis, Illinois. And the new '57 Chevy series featuring Kitty and Jack Bloodworth and Sadie, their fully-restored, trophy winning 1957 Chevy Keep in mind that there are tons more resources available. This list is meant as a starting point. Again, check out the links on the sidebar and check out the links on every blog, website, MySpace Page, Facebook, Shelfari or wherever you visit. You'll be surprised at the treasures you'll find. I wish you all the best in your writing endeavors ~Carol

Resources for the Non-RWA Newbie Part 2

If you've been doing your research, you'll know that the judges I mentioned in part 1 of my Resources for the Non-RWA Newbie post below are people who you WANT to get your work in front of. These are the people you WANT to notice you. Even if you don't final in the contest, don't think they don't notice. They pay attention. They watch what's going on. That's thier job and the reason they get involved in contests. Otherwise, why would they waste thier valuable time judging them? The same goes for Karin Tabke's First Line Contest. Like Leah Michaels and Rachelle Chase, Karin Tabke is a well known, established author. Her contest is a small, quieter contest, but that doesn't mean that it's not a darn good contest. Believe you me, it's just as important. Hilary Teeman of St. Martin's Press is the final judge for Karin Tabke's First Line Contest. Again, not too shabby. Not even a little. And, if you've been following my blog, you'll know #1) I write western historical romances and #2) that, Hilary Teeman is an author at St. Martins Press and #3) After reading the Bookends, LLC blog entry, a certain editor from St. Martin's is looking for a really good western... Bingo! Invaluable advice! Now, don't you think I entered this contest just as fast as my fingers could type? I did. In fact, I was the very first entry (I won't mention the very inbaressing bo-bo I made, either *grin*). But you see what I'm saying? Who knows, this just might be the break I'm looking for - or you're looking for. Which brings me to the next form of keeping abroad of the romance industry without the help of RWA. Blogs. Blogs are an excellent way to keep up with what's going on in the romance industry. This may be a little time consuming because of the fact that you need to do a LOT of reading to keep up with them, on a daily basis or at least on a weekly basis, but they are an invalualbe tool. I can't stress that enough. That's how I learned abuout Karin Tabke's contest and the Chase the Dream Contest. Karin Tabke's contest wasn't broadcast all over the place like most are. What I mean by that is, it wasn't mentioned on ANY of the writer's lists I belong to (and I belong to a LOT) like contests usually are. On these writers lists, if there's something important going on, this is where you'll usually hear about it. But, apparently, some things do slip by, which is why the aspiring romance writer should join as many as she/he can possibly keep up with in addition to reading blogs. This is how I learned about Karin Tabke's Contest - on a blog (and I can't for the life of me remember which blog). But, there you have it. If I hadn't read that blog, I never would have learned about this contest, therefore, I might have missed a good chance to get noticed, because I write western romance and Hilary Teeman is a St. Martin's editor and she's the final judge for the First Line Contest and a certain St. Martins Press editor is looking for a really good western...see where I'm going with this? LOL There are a lot of very informative blogs that you should keep up with and read faithfully. The ones I highly recommend and suggest you read are the agent and/or publishers blogs and published author blogs. By reading thieir blogs you can learn what agents and editors are currently looking for, what's popular, who's accepting what and more. And, the best thing about this is, these things are not rumnors or hearsay (sp?). They're facts - straight from the horse's mouth (I don't like using that particular term to refer to agents and editor and publishers - sorry if you're reading this - but it gets my point across). VBG On the Bookends, LLC blog (which is my favorite, by the way) every once in a while the agents will post what they're looking for and sometimes whats hot and whats not. In fact, Bookends, LLC's Jessica Faust is offering a free Pitch critique as we speak. Back in May she offered a Query workshop, where she critiqued queries. See what I mean? Authors blogs often list these kinds of things, too. Not only can they keep you abreast of what's going on, they often post mini-workshops, articles and some even sporatically offer mini-critiques (another benefit of keeping up with author blogs is the promotional contests they have. You won't believe the books, calanders and other stuff I've won in the past four months! Woo-hoo! Everyone like to win things, don't they?). Another good non-RWA resource example is The Muse Online Conference that was put on by Leah Schzeas just recently. I cannot begin to tell you the wealth of learning infomation offered at this FREE, week-long online conference. Wonderful presenters, great handouts and friendly people. This conference was not only geared towards romance writers, either. There were a lot of courses presented for poetry and children's writers, fantasy, mystery writers, etc., but, the same rule applies. It's a way to learn, to network and to grow. Another point I'd like to make/stress. I learned about this conference MONTHS ago from a MySpace blog post. Yes, MySpace (believe it or not, MySpace is another great networking tool). The post told about the conference and gave the link to the site. Once there, I was able to register and sign up to receive a reminder (since I registered months in advance). My point is, you have to keep your eyes and ears open. You have to read everything, and I mean everything, you have to join everything and you have to get involved. Register for online classes, courses and conferences (as I mentioned, the majority of these are free). Join MySpce, Facebook, Shelfari, attend chats, join writers groups and eloops and lists (and, let me just mention that a lot of editors, agents, publishers and published authors are members of these lists. They may just lurk in the background, but they're there.). Yes, it's a lot of work and believe me, it's very time consuming. It involves a LOT of reading and heavy online involvement but, in the longrun it just might be worth the effort. If you want to learn and grow and possibly get your foot in the door or your manuscript in front of a publisher, editor and/or agent without the help of RWA (even with the help of RWA), it's necessary. Plain and simple. If you want to play the game, you'd better be up for it. End of Part 2 Note: I planned on only having 2 parts to this post, but it ended up being much longer than I expected, so I've seperated it into 3 parts. Check back in a couple of day for part 3

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Resources for the Non-RWA Newbie Part 1

I recently returned to romance writing after a three year hiatus. Since then, I've been diligently trying to pick up where I left off. If you've been reading my blog this past month, you'll know that I've been busy entering writing contests. But, what you might not know or realize is, these contests are non-RWA sponsored contests. I'm not a member of RWA. I used to be, but when I ran into personal problems three years back, not only was I forced to set my writing aside, I was forced to let my RWA membership lapse.

Believe me, I miss my RWA Membership. I miss the sister chapters I belonged to. I miss the camaraderie and I miss the RWR (Romance Writer Report), which is RWA's official monthly Newsletter, which is chock full of valuable information. It lists the current market changes, upcoming contests, contest winners, who's had their first sale and just about everything else you can think of. Joining RWA is the best thing an aspiring romance writer can do to learn and grow in her or his writing career. But, sometimes things happen. They just do. You, your husband or God forbid, you both get laid off. The business or corporation you work for go under. Someone falls ill. There are a million and one things that can happen and when/if it does, you're forced to prioritize.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's had the misfortune to find herself in this position. Hopefully, it's temporary and before long, I'll be able to join RWA again. But, until then, what do you do? How do you learn and grow and keep up with the highly competitive romance writing industry? Believe it or not, there are a LOT of things you can do. Just because you're not a RWA member doesn't mean it's the end of the world. It doesn't mean that you won't have the same opportunities and tools that a RWA member has. It only means that you'll have to take a different route to find them.

The opportunities are out there. There are lots of romance writing groups and lists and many offer free writing courses and workshops. They have author and agent speakers, offer up tips, articles, advice and just about anything else you can think of. But what about contests? Are the only contests available to romance writers RWA sponsored contests? The answer is no. There are quite a few contests available these days that are not RWA sponsored. And a perfect example is the two contests I've been talking about the past few weeks here on my blog.

Six years ago when I first started writing romance, I didn't know that other contests, like the ones I just mentioned, existed. And maybe at that time they didn't. Or maybe they did but I just never knew about them. Whatever the reason, I discovered that they do indeed exist. And, the majority of them are free. Sure, there are RWA contests offered for non-members, but there's still the entry fee. And those fees can add up. And if you're unable to afford the entry fee, much less the $100 RWA first time enrollment fee just to become a member, this is the route to go.

Besides the many non-RWA writers lists and egroups and courses available, there are also non-RWA contests available. And, these contests are just as good or BETTER than some of the RWA sponsored ones. And, as with the RWA sponsored contests, they're also great opportunities to get your MS in front of an editor and/or agent.

Take Leah Michaels and Rachelle Chases' Chase the Dream Contest. Both Leah and Rachelle are established, well known, published authors. They know they're stuff. I was honored to have my little 1,000 word entry critiqued by them. And, who better to get a critique and get advice from than published, well established authors like Leah Michaels and Rachelle Chase? I learned a lot, possibly more in that critique than I learned in a long time. And, not only is that, IMHO, an invaluable experience, just the fact that they (and other contests put together by other well established authors) have a wonderful line-up of judges is reason enough to enter.

This is one of the best ways for a pre-published author to get noticed, whether your a member of RWA or not. This is a way to get your manuscript in front of an editor and/or agent without the help of a RWA sponsored contest. Just look at the line-up of judges for this years Chase the Dream Contest:
  • PAULA EYKELHOF, Executive Editor, Harlequin Everlasting
  • HILARY SARES, Editor, Kensington Publishing
  • RAELENE GORLINSKY, Publisher, Elloras Cave and Cerridwen Press
  • ELAINE ENGLISH, of Elaine P. English PLLC — Attorney and Literary Agent
  • CHERYL FERGUSON, of Ferguson Literary Agency — Literary Agent
  • CHRISTINE WITTHOHN, Agent, Book Cents Literary Agency

Not too shabby, aye?

End of Part 1
Because this post ended up being so long, I decided to split it into two separate ones. Please check back in a couple of days for part 2 of my article on Resources for the Non-RWA Newbie

How's Your Grammer?

You Scored an A
You got 10/10 questions correct. It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors. If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs. As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human. And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.

Monday, November 5, 2007

I Made It To Round Four!

Woo-hoo! I did it again - I made it to round #4 in Karin Tabke's First Line Contest! Yes!

Another week of waiting to look forward to. I'm not complaining, mind you. I'm just amazed!

My entry is #6 if you want to check it out.

http://www.karintabke.com/blog/index.php

Wish me luck - again!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

What I Read Today...

Over at the BookEnds, LLC blog, Jessica Faust said:
"Kim said that the one thing she’s hearing over and over is that romance editors are excited about the resurgence of interest in historicals. It seems everyone is hunting for new, fresh historical romance voices so you historical authors should get cracking. You’re in demand again!"
Ohhh, I got goosebumps! I have a feeling that something goods about to happen. I really do. I've had this feeling for the past six months and it's getting stronger.
She also had a post on submission guidelines. She said they've changed in the past year, so if you're planning on sending a query and you haven't checked the guidelines lately, she suggests you do so before mailing out that query.
Head on over to the Bookends blog and see what else Jessica Faust has to say.
--------------------------------------------
In the October 21, 2207 edition of Cindy Myer's Market News Newsletter, Cindy did a Spotlight on Dorchester Books from the RWA National Conference.
Here's what she said:
The Spotlight on Dorchester was presented by Editor Leah Hultenschmidt and Senior Editor Chris Keeslar.
"Dorchester is one of the oldest independent publishers, in business since 1971," Chris said in his introduction to the company. Dorchester publishes all varieties of mass market paperback fiction (and a little bit of trade and hardcover fiction.)
They are not a small press and have wide distribution in all major outlets.
They publish all genres — westerns, thrillers, horror, science fiction and fantasy, romance, and detective fiction. Romance is the major part of their list. They have a number of bestselling authors on their romance list. They also buy a number of new authors each year.
They have three romance editors on staff. Each authors gets individualized attention. They can react quickly to changes in the market and are willing to try new things.
The acquisition process is streamlined. There’s no huge editorial board that has to approve acquisitions. “We don’t pay as large an advance as some larger companies,” Chris said. “But that allows us to take chances.”
They buy books they love. Each year they do a contest for new writers in conjunction with Romantic Times — the American Title contest.
“We like to publish things that are different, that don’t fit into any particular categories,” Chris said. “Books that really touch nerves.”
"Things that don’t pigeonhole well are perfect books for Dorchester,” added Leah.
Historical romance continues to be strong for them.
They do all kinds of different settings and time periods from ancient times through the 1930s and 1940s: Americana, Victorian, Scottish, British Colonial, World War II, Native American historicals.
They were one of the first houses to publish paranormal romance. They do dark and light paranormal, historical and contemporary.
Dorchester publishes contemporary romance “with a twist.” They do very little straight contemporary romance. There should be a touch of paranormal or mystery or something that makes it different and unique. Chris prefers contemporary romance with strong humorous elements.
They’ve also published a lot of humorous romantic mysteries. They publish romantic suspense — darker, fast-paced and “thrilleresque.” There must be a suspenseful, valid mystery and a believable romance.
Editorial Director Alicia Condon is especially interested in romantic suspense. Dorchester has always published futuristic romance and continues to do so. This is a special interest of Chris’s. He doesn’t see enough of this.
All the editors work on all the different sub-genres and authors may submit to any of them. If something comes in that doesn’t work for them that they know will work for another editor, they will pass it on.
If your work doesn’t get passed on to someone else you’re probably wasting your time to re-submit to a different editor at Dorchester.
Dorchester publishes African-American romance, edited by Monica Harris.
If you want to subscribe to Cindy's Market Newsletter, you can do so by by sending a blank email to:
Posted with permission per Cynthia Sterling Market News Newsletter
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As I mentioned in a previous post, on the Monday, October 8, 2007 Bookends, LLC Blog post, Jessica Faust said:
"An editor at St. Martin's also told me recently that they would love to find a really great Western historical romance. Great news for lovers of this genre"
I just love hearing that. :)
Here's the link to that post: http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/
Happy Writing!

The Blog Readability Test

According to THE BLOG READABILITY TEST this blog is at the Colledge Post Grad reading level.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Hmmm...very interesting. How about yours?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

And We're Off...

Woo - hoo! Hope everyone's ready cuz...it's time! It's November 1st and as of 12:00 Midnight last night, the first official day of NaNoWriMo 2007. This will be my first time doing NaNo. I've joined a few groups, made a few new friends and buddied up with a great gal that I met through my Shelfari NaNo group. I have my Alpha Smart, my notes, my portable CD player & earplugs, my Brain Sync (Brainwave Therapy) High Focus CD, a glass of Coke, my cigarettes (I know, bad habit) all ready to take into the living room (so I'm away from my computer) where I plan to graciously plant my butt (in my Lazy-Boy, of course) for the next few hours and haul you- know-what! Guess I'm about as ready as I'm ever going to be - how 'bout you? Let's get those fingers moving, people! Happy writing!

Monday, October 29, 2007

I Made It To Round Three!

Woo-hoo! I made it to round 3 in Karin Tabke's First Line Contest! I've been doing the Snoopy Dance all afternoon. Another whole week of waiting to look forward to.

My entry is #5 if you want to take a look.

Wish me luck - again!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ahhhh!

Okay - I give up. I changed the format setting on this blog and now not only is this post goofed up, but ALL my posts are goofed up. No matter what I do, the posts are not coming out like they are supposed to - Ahhhhh! Alright, I'm finished now. I just had to get that off my chest. You will now be returned to your regularly scheduled program. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rachelle Chase's Mini-Critique

Today Rachelle Chase posted her mini-critique of Dangerous Desires on the Chase the Dream Contest site. Like Leah Michaels did yesterday, Rachelle Chase made my day. She gave me a treasure trove of advice, as did Leah, and I absolutely appreciate every bit. Here are some of the very nice things she said:
"You’re very welcome, Carol. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your entry - the writing is smooth, with a nice balance of narrative and action, which gave it just the right pacing. And, I love forced marriage stories. In fact, in my first class with Leigh, I wrote a modern day forced marriage story, and she pointed out the many ways it was not believable. (She was correct). LOL Well, you obviously do not have this problem, as yours is believable."
I loved this. Rachelle went on to explain the reason she'd have my opening scene in the heroines POV and WHY. And that's the best part. She explained why and how it would make the reader more sympathetic with my heroine. The biggest problem (and ONLY problem) both Leah and Rachelle had with my entry was the opening character POV. Needless to say, I took their suggestions to heart and I will absolutely apply them to my WIP. Here's what else Rachelle had to say in addition to the very nice comment below: "this was a well written scene":
"At any rate, much success to you with this story. You’re a talented writer with a great story idea and I’d love to find out what happens to Mairin at Don Garcia’s house. "
I've been doing the Snoopy Dance since yesterday. My DH is beginning to think I'm going crazy. Do you blame me? If you'd like to see Rachelle's (and Leah's) critique, click here. I'm off to apply my changes. Wish me luck!