Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bad Girl Wins Beacon Contest FF&P Category!

Yay! My futuristic won the First Coast Romance Writers Beacon contest for unpublished manuscripts! I was very excited to get the judges' comments, particularly from the final round judge, Meghan Conrad from Cerridwen Press/Ellora's Cave. Bad Girl has been seen by agents but never by an editor, so waiting to see what she had to say was nerve wracking. But her comments were positive and shed some light on where I could make the story better. And that's really what we're looking for when we enter contests--advice that makes our stories better.

Congrats to fellow FF&P category finalists Eden Glenn with her story, Dragon's Mark, and Mary Karlik with her Izzy's Tale, as well as to all the Beacon contestants and finalists. Thanks to the first round judges who have a lot of entries to read (this contest was for up to 30 pages! 30!), and it's not an easy task. They did a great job explaining what worked and what didn't in my story. More thanks to Ms. Conrad for her comments and suggestions, and for taking the time to explain things as well. And thanks to the First Coast Chapter and its contest coordinator Maria Connor. Contests are part of a chapter's bread and butter. Fees let them continue the work of helping writers of all levels navigate the world we've decided to occupy. Plus, you get read by people who understand you. How cool is that? And coordinating a contest requires more patience and organization I'll ever possess. My hat is off to you, Maria.

Finally, a big thanks to my friends and crit partners, Sharron and Jody. Your comments on the early manuscript helped form Bad Girl, for better or worse : ) Thanks!

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Friday, February 12, 2010

The Practical Winter Olympics

The 2010 Winter Olympics open today in Vancouver, B.C. I love watching the Olympics, especially if I can do it from the warm comfort of my home. The athletes are all so strong and agile, so determined and dedicated. They are the top contenders in their sports, an elite group of humans who do amazing things many of us would never even try. Snowboarding in a half-pipe and shooting 20 feet into the air while doing tricks? Not gonna happen. Luge down an ice tube at a gazillion miles per hour wearing a helmet and a rubber suit? Um, no. Ski down a mountain--a MOUNTAIN!--on two pieces of fiberglass with only two skinny sticks to help keep you upright? I don't think so. I'll be right here, on my couch sipping tea and wearing my fuzzy slippers, thank you very much.

We enjoy watching these fine athletes but know we will never be in their class, never achieve such grand accomplishments. Besides, when will being able to hurl yourself down a slippery mountain at 60 miles per hour ever come in handy? For those reasons, I present to you my list of Practical Winter Olympic events. Doable by your average Joe or Jane. No athletic prowess required.

1. Shoveling—the use of a regular snow shovel or larger “scoop” shovel is permitted. Style points for creating a dump pile that can be climbed without slipping back down again when halfway up.
a. Driveway—team and individual
b. Roof—team of two: one on the roof shoveling, the other on the ground removing snow from front of house and to call 911 when “roofer” hits unexpected patch of ice.

2. Walking icy sidewalk w/o grippers, carrying hot coffee—10 points for no spillage, 5 if some slop-over, 0 if the cup is dropped. Style points for avoiding fall awarded. Refills are available.

3. Driving an unplowed road—navigate a road you *know* is under there somewhere. Points deducted if you follow another vehicle’s tracks.

4. Driving an icy road the morning of a melt/freeze cycle, before sander arrives—style points for slide control and number of spins, awarded as necessary.

5. Wood cutting--Though usually done in summer and fall, wood cutting and its accompanying activities (splitting and stacking) are necessary skills for winter survival (like how basketball is a sport typically played in winter but part of the Summer Games).

6. Car window ice scraping
a. Using regulation scraper
b. Using whatever you can find inside the car or on your person

Now, these events will not get your name splashed across the sports pages, or get your image on a box of Wheaties, or your name in a record book. There will be no gold medals awarded at the end of the season, but if you can excel at one or more of these, your spouse/partner/significant other will be appreciative. That's better than a hunk of metal any day, isn't it?

BTW, good luck to all the athletes at the REAL Olympics. You are all amazing and inspire the rest of us to go for the gold in whatever we do.

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Dear Russian Women...

I'm sorry about ignoring your emails, but I can assure you we did not meet either in your country, online, or anywhere else. Surely you have me mistaken for someone else.

Be that as it may, your offer to become my wife is appreciated. I've discussed it with my husband and he thinks it's a grand idea to have a 23 year-old blonde as a second wife. I couldn't agree more. There are plenty of chores left undone around here, so another pair of hands would be appreciated. While you're doing the things I never seem to have time for, I can continue to do the things I want to do. And our husband, fab guy that he is, won't have to worry about the house being clean, dinner being cooked on time, or getting bored with the same woman he's been with for nearly 18 years. The kids will have someone sort of near their own age to hang with, because surely you are way cooler than their 40+ year-old parents.

So yes, please come over and be our wife. The check for expenses is in the mail. It may not be as much as you expected as we may have to check out the offer for E.D. pills. With two wives Hubby will be a busy man.

Can't wait to meet you,

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