Sunday, October 31, 2010


Whenever I see the word "vacation", I think of the Connie Francis song. If you don't know which song I'm talking about, you're much too young. :-)

I had a fantastic time this month. First there was RomantiCon, Ellora's Cave's second annual conference in Richfield, Ohio. I got to visit with authors, meet readers (EC has the best readers), attend great workshops, and visit with good friends, including five of the Scribes. Oh, and ogle the Cavemen. Eight tall, hunky guys who are just as nice and polite as they are gorgeous.

After the conference, the second part of my vacation began. I've known Nikki Soarde, a sister Scribe, for almost ten years. We met online while we wrote for the same e-publisher before we discovered Ellora's Cave. We clicked and have been friends ever since. I live in Texas and she lives in Ontario, so visiting has been difficult. Not this year! I flew into Toronto, rode to the conference with Nikki and her husband, then rode back to her house and spent eight days with her. I had such a good time! I saw so much pretty scenery, including Niagara Falls and lots of autumn color.

Nikki and I went to a play in Stratford, a wonderful production of Dangerous Liaisons. I stood on the beach of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. This picture is of Lake Huron shortly before sunset. I tried poutine and a Beavertail and the famous Tim Hortons coffee.

I got to meet her three teenagers, who were all such polite young men. They made me feel very welcome. The Canadian Thanksgiving was on October 11th, so I got to enjoy Nikki's turkey and stuffing. And I was part of the family's weekly pizza and movie night.

It was a wonderful trip that I'll always remember. Nikki said she has other places she wants to show me. I hope I can go back soon!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Contests and Judges

Every once in a while someone (or several someones) in my writing circle gets the results back from a contest and it’s almost never what the entrant wants to hear. We all provide sympathy, electronic hugs, and make sure the author knows that the contests are subjective. It doesn’t hurt to inform the author knows that the judges are brainless twits with no literary taste (that’s what friends are for, after all).

But sympathy and support should only go so far. Here’s the truth…if you enter a contest, you need to accept the outcome. You asked the question. You asked someone to look at your baby and tell you if it’s ugly and if they say “yes” you can’t just ignore it and turn to someone else hoping for a different answer.

Not all comments are valid. Not all judges are good or smart or kind but I think there is merit in at least listening. Even if a comment isn’t valid, the author needs to look at their story through that judge’s eyes. Something about it bothered them. Something triggered a response. If there is confusion to something you thought was obvious, maybe it isn’t obvious.

Now, some judges just shouldn’t judge or they’re judging the wrong things. People who hate vampires shouldn’t judge vampire stories but it happens.

You need to think about what you want out of a contest. If it’s just someone to tell you your stuff is wonderful, send it to your mom, your best friend, your neighbor.

I think you enter contests for two reasons…

1) You’re getting close to being published and this is a way to get your manuscript in front of an editor who buys the stuff you write

2) You want someone who hasn’t been involved in the process (someone not from your critique group or you haven’t discussed the story with) to read your story and give you comments from the standpoint of a reader off the street.

Now I know, that the second one doesn’t always happen. We’re writers. We want to fix things and tell other authors how to make it better. But in my mind, if a judge asks a question or makes a comment, dismissing it as “they don’t know what they’re talking about” is dismissing a reader’s confusion.

Review the judge’s comments, get irritated and then put them away. Come back in a week and read them again. When you read them the second time, come to it thinking “They might have point. I should look to see if I agree.” You might not. That’s good. It’s your story.

Don’t dismiss comments because it isn’t what you wanted to hear. That won’t improve your story.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Hi everyone! I woke up this morning and checked my notes for the following week and almost fell over. There in bright red letters was my reminder that it’s my turn to blog this week. YIKES! I’ve got every minute planned between now and next Sunday night. You see, my youngest son is getting married next Saturday. We are here…the wedding…it’s finally within grasp, the best week of my year! I’m thrilled to gain another daughter, although she’s like my kid anyway. I couldn’t be happier for my son and I couldn’t be more thrilled for my family!

But all this comes on the heels of Ellora’s Cave’s Romanticon in Ohio last week. I was really fretting about it before leaving, wondering what the hell I’d been thinking of to register and be gone for nine days so close to the wedding. I had a good friend who told me you won’t be sorry. Just go and have a great time. And that’s what I did! Once there the stress was gone and I was back in the writing world I’ve so missed. Networking with all the great EC and CP authors was wonderful! Oh, and let’s not forget the buff men of our covers. Yalsa! Are they just getting hotter or am I getting more needy? LOL! Not to take away anything from the entire long weekend but if I had to choose, I’d say the very best part was seeing all the great authors from my writing group, the Sizzling Scribes! Lynn Lafleur, Cait Miller, Tara Nina, Diana Hunter, Nikki Soarde and myself we all able to make the conference. These gals are my soul sisters and women I know I can depend on if I need something. I so hope that next year Tielle St. Clare and Arianna Hart can join us. Then we’ll be complete.

The six of us who attended held a work shop on being a part of a writing group and what it takes to make it run smoothly and how a group effort can work well. We had fun and hope to do the same next year, only expound a bit more on exactly why it works and why authors should think with a group effort mindset.

So with that, I’m going to sign off and get my ass in gear! I thought the mother of the groom was supposed to sit back, enjoy the atmosphere and just show up for the wedding. NOT! LOL! But I wouldn’t give up this coming week for anything. My husband and I were literally giggling over breakfast this morning and vowed to enjoy and remember every second for the next week and tuck those memories away in a safe place. I’m sure when it’s all over I’ll most likely dissolve into a puddle, but that’s okay. I just plan to mop myself up, dust off my writing chair, and get to work on my next submission! Be good and don’t let the goblins get you on Halloween!