Tuesday, April 26, 2016

LOSER


 

     Since the focus of this week is the Linda Howard Award of Excellence Contest, I wanted to share what it means to lose. The first contest I entered was the 2013 Linda Howard and guess what?

     I lost.

     I’ve entered more contest than I can remember since then and haven’t won in any. Until this year and after a lot of personal editing, I’d only finaled in one contest; and after receiving the comments realized my placement into the finalist category had been because they needed a third book and there was no other choice.

     Not very inspiring.

     Even losing all those contest, including the Linda Howard, I received valuable advice that I’ve used to help make my story better. Honest comments from someone who doesn’t know it’s my story they read helped the most. Some of the best comments caused me to delete a lot of wordy information that slowed the story down.

     Did it hurt? Yes.

     Did the story improve? Yes.

     My end goal has been to publish a book and whatever I have to do to improve my manuscript towards publication is what I will do.

     Is it still my story? Absolutely.

     So, with all that said about being an All Around Loser, it’s now 2016 (three years and four months later) and I’ve finaled in two RWA contest this year. Before you say, “Wow! Way to go!” Let me caveat that announcement. I entered two different manuscripts in two different contest (a total of 4-submissions): one paranormal and one contemporary. My paranormal finaled in one and as you’ve guessed, my contemporary finaled in the other.

     After reading the advice from each losing story, I came to a profound revelation (actually I already knew this and you do too but now I have statistical proof). Opinions vary and the variety of those opinions are vast. What one person likes, another does not. One size does not fit all.

     Am I discouraged or want to quit? No, not discouraged.

     Maybe sad because I want to be a winner, but who doesn’t. I don’t plan to give up because I’m competitive by nature and it’s not in me to quit. Quitters never win. I’m not a ‘my glass if half-empty’ kind of girl. My scores are getting better, which proves to me that all the effort I’ve put into being successful has worked. In truth, I don’t consider myself a loser but a winner. I won fabulous knowledge on how to make my story better at an affordable price (much cheaper than hiring a editor to train me).

     Here’s a little backstory (which I recommend that your weave throughout your story instead of dumping like I’m about to do; but hey, this is a blog and not a manuscript, so it’s acceptable for the sake of keeping things short and sweet): I began writing in 2013 with the dream of taking the world by storm like Stephanie Meyer did with the Twilight series. My goal was to write this awesome paranormal story and have it published within a year. You already see where this is going because you’re smarter than I was at that time. I entered the Linda Howard contest and basically was told thanks but keep trying. Inspired to tell this paranormal story, I joined my local RWA Chapter (Southern Magic) and began to learn how to tell the story so that someone would actually want to read it. One of these days, I will be published, just give me time.


Monday, April 25, 2016

2012 Linda Howard Award of Excellence Winner: Christine Glover's Story

Author Christine Glover
I entered 4 manuscripts into the 2012 Linda Howard Award of Excellence contest. My hope was to final with at least 1 manuscript, but I got super lucky and TRIPLE FINALED!! There is a YouTube video of me swinging my hair at a Southern Magic meeting after this fantastic announcement.

Finaling felt great! Triple finaling felt even greater.

This triple final came at a time when I had reached a dark place as an unpublished writer. I was very close to quitting that January. Though I had finaled and won other contests during the years prior to this triple final, and I had garnered lots of requests from editors and agents due to those finals, I just couldn't get any traction. After 7 years of sitting alone in a room on a chair, the demons of doubt and despair were pounding at my door.

Why go on?
Am I just kidding myself?
Will I ever sell?
Does this even matter?

Recognize any of those questions? Yeah. They dogged me, and I actually spent one week not writing at all. I redecorated my media room, went for lunches with friends, pretended that the stories no longer mattered as much as regaining some sense of accomplishment.

Yes. I almost quit writing in January 2012. Surprise!

Then I got the call from Heather Leonard, that year's Linda Howard Award of Excellence coordinator, and she told me I triple finaled. Wow! I was floored. I couldn't believe it. But it was real. Pinch me!

This triple final saved me from myself. It stomped the demons of doubt and despair, and booted them out of my mind. I wasn't a hack. I wasn't wasting my time. I was going to sell one day. And I was validated as a writer.

I got back in the chair. I wrote again. I was inspired to keep chasing my dream of being published. I worked toward getting that "call." I won the 2012 Linda Howard Award of Excellence and my winning manuscript was requested by the editor who judged the contest. It was also requested by another editor at a different publishing house. That manuscript didn't sell, but it opened a lot of doors for me, giving me the opportunity to work directly with a Harlequin editor for over a year. More than that, it gave me the fire in my belly to fight again. To go for the brass ring. To WIN!

The following year, I took on the role of overall coordinator for this prestigious contest. I ended up finding my current editor during my tenure as coordinator for the Linda Howard Award of Excellence. I sold my first story to her in May 2013 and I've had a fun run ever since I got the "call" from Entangled Publishing. I currently have 4 books published since 2013, 3 more coming out in 2016 and a new series on the deck for release in 2017.

I am living the dream!

And I have the Linda Howard Award of Excellence contest to thank for keeping my dream alive during the darkest hours of my writing career.

What does this mean to you? To the person who is wondering whether or not to enter? Enter!! The feedback alone helped me improve all my manuscripts. One of those triple finaling manuscripts that wasn't requested in 2012, sold in 2013 to Entangled Publishing.

Enter today! You will be happy you did for a multitude of reasons. And if you final, please contact me and tell me how awesome you feel about your final!

christinegloverauthor@gmail.com

Bio:


Christine Glover is the author of tantalizing, sensual, emotional contemporary romances. She enjoys finding the silly in the serious, making wine out of sour grapes, and giving people giggle fits along with heartfelt hugs. When she’s not writing, you can find her traveling the world, cooking gourmet food, and desperately seeking a corkscrew.

For more information about Christine's books check out her website: christinegloversite.com

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Christine's next release is THE MARINE'S RED HOT HOMECOMING: Book 3 in the Sweetbriar Springs' trilogy. Check her website and Facebook page for her May release information.

Currently, you can pre-order Christine's anthology HEARTBREAKERS AND HEROES: Billionaires, Bikers, Sports Stars, Cowboys, Cops and More!

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A brotherhood of twelve men bound together by their troubled youth and one mentor who taught them the rules for becoming men of honor. But some of them haven't been following those rules...

Get your hands on TWELVE sexy HEARTBREAKERS AND HEROES- all new romances from USA Today bestsellers and your favorite contemporary authors that are sure to get your heart pounding.


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Friday, April 22, 2016

#FridayFeatures Celebrating Southern Magic Authors #Romance #MakingMagic

Author: Larynn Ford

Title: Reclaiming Forever

Genre: Contemporary

Heat Level: Two Flames: Sweet with some love scenes, more sensual and euphemistic

Blurb:

Lara Simons is living her dream--a husband, two button-nosed daughters, and a cozy home. But when Doug Simons unintentionally reveals his secret life, she's forced to move on, building a life for her children with spunk and grit to spare.

A chance meeting with an old flame ignites her sleeping desire for Lance Becker and offers a happy-ever-after do-over. But can she trust again? Lance regrets his actions of ten years ago that drove them apart. Lonely years spent building his business from the ground up, being strong for his mother and younger brother, and maintaining the family farm. Lara still owns his heart but can he convince her this time, it is forever?


Connect with Larynn online at Website   Facebook   Twitter


Friday, April 15, 2016

#FridayFeatures Celebrating Southern Magic Authors #Romance #MakingMagic

The spotlight today will be Southern Magic Author, Ingrid Seymour.

Ingrid writes in the genres of Young Adult SciFi, Young Adult Urban Fantasy, and New Adult Contemporary.


Title: Ignite The Shadows

Genre: Young Adult SciFi

Blurb:

All her life, Marci Guerrero has kept a secret. Her mind is ravaged by shadows that cloak her thoughts and override her. They induce outrageous behavior that humiliates her mother and have Xave, the boy she likes, convinced she's a stunt-addicted brat. To cope, she Karate-kicks in a dojo every day, while at night she earns her reputation as the best teen hacker in Seattle.

Still, Marci is restless, always getting into trouble as she looks for release from the tormenting shadows inside her head. During one of her stunts, she lands in the path of tenacioius James McCay, the leader of a clandestine group know as IgNiTe.  His presence stirs Marci's brain into a maddening frenzy. Her symptoms and ability to control them don't go unnoticed by James, who soon recruits her and reveals the awful truth...

A large number of the world's population is infected by sentient parasites. They bind to the human brain and rewire the pathways for all thoughts and actions.  Once there, the creatures morph their hosts into grotesque monsters with extraordinary strengths. Winged, clawed, fanged half-humans become living nightmares. Worst of all, the creatures plan to infect all humans in a vicious attempt to take over the world.

Soon Marcie wishes she was crazy, because the truth is worse. It turns out she's one of them. She's infected.

Determined to stop this evil race, Marci fights alongside IgNiTe and others who. like her, can resist the infection. She battles for the world, herself, and to keep the trugh from Xave.  He must never learn she's a monster.





Title: Eclispe The Flame

Genre: Young Adult SciFi

Blurb:

In the new world of The Takeover nothing and no one will be safe. Marci must choose: love or vengeance.

One night she secretly follows her lover to a club. To her horror she discovers those closest to her, minglng freely with parasitic creatures which have secretly possessed human minds. A bloody ambush follows, leaving Marci a shadow of her former self.

Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious attacks. Ignite, the only resistance group, is disintegrating. As the world catches fire, Marci struggles to control the buzzing spectres in her own head.

Her hardest battle is between the forces of good and evil within herself. For Marcie must fight. She was meant to burn.


Connect with Ingrid online at Website   Facebook   Twitter





Friday, April 08, 2016

#FridayFeatures Celebrating Southern Magic Authors #Romance #MakingMagic

Author: Sherry Fowler Chancellor

Title: Kat's Song

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Heat Level: One Flame - Sweet with no consummated love scenes or completely off screen.

Blurb:

Kat McKay's heart is locked tight against further entanglements. Determined not to give it again, she's abandoned all hope of love and holds herself apart from men. The last one did a number on her and she's never going there again.

Paul Baker, a world-renowned musician, keeps his deepest secrets close to his heart. He's as determined as Kat McKay not to let his heart get stomped on. The difference is, his isn't personal. It's public.

Out of necessity, the two of them join together. One with a motive to protect and the other reluctant to be protected. Their competing desires threaten to derail them both. Resolution can only be made at great risk


Connect with Sherry online at Website   Facebook


Monday, April 04, 2016

Stormy Relationships for Character Development



If you’re trying to create dynamic characters for your stories then you want to create characters that readers can relate to. You want them to have real flaws, so readers can celebrate their successes and growth. One of the ways you can do this is by creating conflict through stormy relationships.
There are great examples of stormy relationships bringing characters together by growth. For example, your hunky hero is a battle scared warrior who was left at the alter by his intended bride that ran off with his brother. You now have a hero that’s ripe for a reader’s attention. He’s hot, burned by love, let down by his family, has trust issues, etc. Then toss in a feisty heroine that’s determined to save her family, but the only way of doing so is by getting the hunky hero to fight to save their land. Her fiery nature will drive him nuts, but encourage his growth. 
The thing to remember is that this is a two way street. You don’t have just one growing and changing. Both will. However, one changes the most. That’s who’s story this is. That’s who the readers will cheer on the most.
Think about the last great story you read. Who was your favorite character? Make a list of that character’s backstory. What do you see? If you see a stormy relationship (romantic, friendship, family, etc) then you just learned a great deal about that character. You may have even learned a bit about yourself as well.
Personally, I read in order to get a break from real life. That doesn’t mean I always want to read a fantastical story that could never actually happen. It just means that I want a story that has great moments. In life we all have great moments. Our characters are no exception. They deserve great moments from us.
One of the reasons that I love Doctor Who is that the Doctor has such a stormy past. There’s good things and then there’s bad things. There’s even horrid things. Yet, everyone is important. Everyone matters. The Doctor has faced extremely difficult decisions in life and been strong enough to make the right decision almost every time. Even if it was a terrible decision. This all brews from stormy relationships. The Doctor and the Daleks. The Doctor and the Cybermen. Heck, the Daleks and the Cybermen.
The depth of character is important as well. Characters have to have purpose. Think about why they are there. Do they offer something to the story? Are they a main character or a secondary character? Main characters should propel the story forward. They should entice the reader to continue reading. Grow and change with the story. We should see this growth throughout the plots and subplots.
Secondary characters are a bit different. They’re not exactly in a story for the purpose of propelling it forward. Their goal is to help the main characters grow. For example, our hunky hero’s brother, the one that ran off with his fiancee, helped created the hero’s motivation to remain free of attachments. The brother also created his conflict. How could the hero trust the heroine when the woman he was supposed to marry ran off on him? Everyone could be suspect at trying to take the heroine away from him. Or he could view all women as being fickle. 
Think about how our feisty heroine would handle that. How she responds to him says a lot about her character development. Maybe she begins questioning herself because her family relationships weren’t great. It could be that her father was trying to get rid of her and created the rift that causes the need for someone to save their land. When the hero begins spouting off about how untrustworthy he views women as being, then this is the perfect moment to show the trauma on her face. This is the perfect moment to showcase just how the heroine needs to change. It’s also the perfect moment to showcase just how far the hero has to go to change in order to be worthy of the heroine. You’re showing your readers so much in this moment. It’s worth it to put some work into it.
A great way to practice is by going through your favorite stories, as I suggested a moment ago. In fact, keep a notebook next to you when you’re reading a book you love or watching a great movie. Write down notes about what you love in regards to the characters. Then write notes about why you think you love it. Try to tie it back to the characters’ development. How many times do you find that a stormy relationship is at the center of the great character? How many times do you relate to the character better because of this past? Also, make note of the types of relationships you see. Do you see family conflict more with heroes or heroines? How about romantic conflicts? How about friendship conflicts? At the end of it you’ll have great notes on how to create likable characters, story ideas, and an idea of what makes a good story great.

We’re all human and we connect in the strangest ways. The thing we all have at heart though, is the ability to move past damaging moments in our past and focus on our future. Our characters should be able to do the same. We’ve all had a stormy relationship at some point or another. They define us and help us grow. That’s how we can help our readers relate to our characters. How we can help our readers fall in love with our characters.

Friday, April 01, 2016

#FridayFeatures Celebrating Southern Magic Authors #Romance #MakingMagic

Author:  Christine Glover

Title:  Reforming the Heartbreaker

Anthology:  Heartbreakers and Heroes

Genre:  Contemporary

Blurb:

Rule: A real man never breaks a woman's heart.

Can Olympic bike champion Ryder Bennett and his public relations rep Addison Carrington keep things professional between them this time around, or will they risk a sexy scandal for a chance at love?



Connect with Christine online at Website   Facebook   Twitter