And the results are…

I realized I hadn’t posted anything about the RWA conference and the results of the Boroughs novella contest.

First, the conference was great!  I went to high tea at the Ritz Carlton with friends.  I ate at a couple great restaurants, including a terrific Turkish place.  They had lamb; what’s not to love?  I saw old friends and made new ones.  I got lots of books and promotional goodies.  The luncheon speakers were so inspiring, especially Kristan Higgins.  She made us laugh and then she made us cry.  But we all came away loving her.  The Rita and Golden Heart ceremony ran like a well-oiled machine (shout out to my fellow Playfriends Kira Sinclair, Andrea Laurence and Dani Wade!).  Congrats to the winners.  I got to help with the trophies this year.  Now I wonder what the person who hands out the Oscars feels like.

And now for the contest results.  I didn’t win the overall prize, but because YOUR votes got me to the final round, my novella will be published!  I don’t have any info yet about a release date but I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

I did, however, get the most popular votes (thanks again!) and because of that I get to submit a full-length manuscript for consideration.  Woot!

I say I’ll keep you posted, but it won’t be here.  Pretty soon I’ll be launching a new website under my pseudonym.  No one can pronounce or spell my last name, so I dug back through the family tree and found a name I really liked.  I’ll still be Marilyn.  I think it would be too much to learn to answer to a different first name.  But the last name will change.  Just look for an announcement and directions to the new website.

Here’s a photo of me at the Boroughs open house.  The woman on the right is Alanna Lucas, overall winner of the contest.  She writes Regency romance.  On the left is Joan Bird, one of Boroughs’ authors.

boroughsparty

It’s going to be an exciting (and scary) adventure to finally work with my editor and have the professional guidance to make my work shine.  I often wondered if I’d ever be able to say those words — my editor.  I don’t yet know who it will be, but I met them all and I will be happy regardless.

Gonna Fly Now

Day 3 of the Boroughs “What’s in a Name” contest and I’ve spent a lot of time promoting my entry.

Just in case you’ve missed it, you can vote for my novella, BETTER AS A MEMORY, here. You can vote daily but your votes must be 24 hours apart.

I’m starting to feel a little like Rocky Balboa. I’ve run along the railroad tracks. I’ve done figurative push-ups. I’ve definitely had things that punched me in the gut.

But what I really want to do is be able to celebrate victory. The contest winner will be announced at the RWA conference in Atlanta next month. Should I run up a flight of stairs and stand victorious at the top if I win? 😉

TGIF

I’ve had a long, frustrating week in many ways, but it’s Friday (albeit a rainy one).  It’s also the day before the second Saturday of the month, so that means only one thing:

RWA chapter meeting tomorrow!

My local chapter is Heart of Dixie, and I’ve been a member for nine years.  I’ve learned a great deal from the other members, the monthly programs and the workshops we have periodically.  It’s a time to meet with other people who understand that voices in your head aren’t necessarily a sign of mental illness and who also understand the frustrations of operating in a publishing world that seems to change hourly.

The best part, though, is getting with my Writing Playground peeps.  We’ve been together since 2005.  The other four members of the group, Kimberly Lang, Andrea Laurence, Kira Sinclair and Dani Wade, have all sold to major publishers.  While I’ve sold around 250,000 words of short stories — the equivalent of 4 category romances — my name hasn’t been on any of them and none of it counts with RWA toward any sort of recognition.  The Playfriends, however, have recognized my accomplishments and continue to be supportive.

The long dry spell I’ve had during and since my divorce seems to have come to an end and I’ve been back in the writing saddle since the first of March.  I have a novella almost ready to submit to a publisher contest and a short romance (about 8000 words) nearing completion for submission to the same publisher. And I have some new story ideas too.  So it’s onward and upward for me.

And speaking of stories almost ready to submit, I’d better get back to them!

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Or I hope my absence has made you grow fonder of me.  ~grin~

I’ve been down with a nasty eye infection (it’s all cured now thank goodness) and I’ve been writing.

And writing and writing and writing.

My novella is complete and the synopsis is very close to completion.   I just have a tweak or two.

I have a short story almost ready to submit too.  It needs one more read-through to make sure I haven’t missed anything.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking ahead to the next story.  What if…?  That’s how it all starts.

Tea for Two

That’s the working title for the story I’m revising to submit to Boroughs Publishing Group’s Lunchbox Romance line.  It isn’t finished but as I’ve neared the end, I’ve realized stuff I need to add earlier in the story.  Things like location, more character description, the time of year, et cetera.  So I’ve printed it out and begun slashing and adding with my green pen.

As I’ve revised, I have discovered the heroine’s grandmother has two different first names.  I’ve also found loads of comma errors.

And speaking of commas and grandmothers, here’s a funny I saw on Facebook.

lets eat grandma

 

I love it!  I love writer-ly humor in general.

What’s your favorite writer humor?

Visually speaking

I am a visual learner as opposed to being audial or kinesthetic. I like pictures and lack of clutter (though you’d never know it to see the top of my desk now).

When I write something that’s more than a short story, I need photos of what my hero and heroine look like so I can focus on that and try to really get inside their heads.

So for Max and Victoria, the hero and heroine of Better as a Memory, I searched and searched until I finally found them. I found Max first. It took me over a year to find Victoria despite her being right under my nose every Monday night at 9:00 p.m. Central time. Now their photos are posted over my monitor so I can see them as I write their story.

Do YOU use photos of your characters? Your locations? Anything else?

Here they are, by the way.

Bradley Cooper as Max Brown and Stana Katic as Victoria Sharpe

Bradley Cooper as Max Brown and Stana Katic as Victoria Sharpe