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2019 Melody of Love Contest

January 4, 2019 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Contests, Writing Contest tagged as , , ,

Sponsor: Music City Romance Writers
Fees: $22 for MCRW Members, $27 for other RWA Members, $32 for Non-RWA Members
Contest Opens January 1, 2019 
Deadline: February 28, 201
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Eligibility: Open to published and unpublished authors over the age of 18. The manuscript entered must be the author’s original work and be unpublished and uncontracted at the time of deadline and unpublished during the contest itself. Manuscript must also meet minimum word count lengths.

Entry: First 25 pages or a maximum of 7,500 words.

Categories: Contemporary, Mainstream/Women’s Fiction, FF&P (Futuristic, Fantasy, & Paranormal), Historical, Young Adult. All heat levels welcome.

Judges: Judging is on a point basis, with all manuscripts judged by three authors from a pool of PAN, PRO, and trained general members. Judges are highly encouraged to comment and critique each entry.

Final Round Judges:

Contemporary Romance: Megan Broderick (Assistant Editor, Harlequin) and Ann Rose (Agent, Prospect Agency)

Futuristic, Fantasy, & Paranormal Romance: Lexi Smail (Associate Editor, Hatchette Book Group, Forever Yours) and Marlo Berliner (Agent, The Jennifer De Chiara Agency)  

Historical Romance: Sarah Blumenstock (Assistant Editor, Penguin Random House) and Katelyn Uplinger (Agent, D4EO Literary Agency)

Young Adult Romance: Annette Pollert (Editorial Director, Bloomsbury) and Elizabeth Poteet (Agent, The Seymour Agency)

Mainstream/Women’s Fiction with Romantic Elements: Norma Perez-Hernandez (Editor, Kensington) and Janna Bonikowski (Agent, The Knight Agency)

Three finalists per category. Finalist entries will be judged by one editor and one agent.  

Top Prize: Finalists in each category will receive a certificate and announcement in the RWR (RWA’s print and online publication), on the MCRW website, and across MCRW’s social media. The overall winner of each category will be announced at MCRW’s June meeting and will receive: a $50 cash prize, a 50-page critique by a published author or editor, and a commemorative Melody of Love pin.

FMI, check out our full rules at https://musiccityrwa.blogspot.com/p/melody-of-love-2019-rules-in-full.html and the simplified registration page at: https://musiccityrwa.blogspot.com/p/contest-registration.html  It is recommended you read the full rules and category descriptions and such before entering.

You can also mail our Contest Coordinators Jody Wallace and Dana Brantley-Sieders at contest@mcrw.com


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Creating the Perfect Environment for Your Writing by Connie Vines

November 13, 2015 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , , ,

Do you know what you need from your environment in order to write?

If not, it is time to find out.

Our physical surroundings are immensely important to our writing process.
Far more important than most people think.

We cannot work if we are distracted, annoyed, or constantly interrupted.  We need to feel inspired and comfortable in our surroundings in order to be creative.

If your home office is cluttered with papers, laundry, and stacks of research materials, it is not the right place to write.

The mess might distract you and make you miserable, because it sends a signal about the kind of work environment you think you deserve.

It is just as bad if your office is empty. Writers work best in a creative atmosphere.
If inspiration disappears when you sit down to write you must reassess your surroundings.
Sometimes removing the clutter and reorganization of your work area will do the trick.  Other times, you need a more drastic approach.

Create a Place to Thrive.

I need privacy to work on big projects like a novel.  My Pandora app on my iPhone and my BOSE speaker create the perfect blend of music that centers me in my storyline. New Orleans Jazz now, but it was country and western when I was writing my rodeo romance. As a rule, I type or dictate to my computer while writing, but I keep a pen and composition book close by to make notes.

Do You Feel Inspired in Your Writing Place?

If not, what do you need to do to make your workspace inspirational?
Perhaps you are a writer who must have activity all around, all the time– 24/7.  Since my day job is at a middle school, I am unable to relate to such a need.  However, the library café, coffee shop, or park picnic table may be your perfect writing place.

Ditch the Distractions.

Television blasting, cell phone ‘pings’, Facebook alert messages, the must ‘do list’ at the corner of your desk, all must be out of sight.  I must have all other work in progress or notes on future projects in my filing cabinet.  If I have my notes visible, I am excessively tempted to work on this project too.

Make Your Writing Workspace Beautiful.  

Sit on a quality chair, fresh flowers (or display your roses from OCC), candles, a window, favorite mug, favorite pen.  Any item that makes you spend more time in your writing space.  What makes you happy?

Of course, a tailor-built writing space, or even a room dedicated as your office, is not always possible.  Be creative.  Find your personal writing space.

Remember the quickest way to writing success is sitting down and making it happen.

Happy Writing!

Connie Vines

Coming Soon
from BWL

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NOVEL EDITS

July 14, 2014 by in category Archives tagged as , ,
I spend more time editing a novel than writing it. Writing is done in a fit of passion, fingers flying furiously over the keyboard as I create heart-palpitating dialogue and brilliant flash-bang action that is never as good as I think it is. It’s sort of like a first date with an absolutely gorgeous human being who is funny and wise and wonderful – only not. What I might have seen in a sultry, shadowy bar after two glasses of wine is not what I face in the light of day. The sooner I acknowledge that, the better.
Editing is the day after the first date. It is addressed with objectivity, reserve, and grave consideration of the future of my novel. Okay, maybe it’s not as grave as assessing a man the morning after a first date but I’m darn serious about it.  It’s taken me years to discipline myself and admit that my writing is never publishable after the first – or even third – go-round.  In fact, it’s so hard to be objective that I made a list of bottom-line, life-and-death edits, so that I wouldn’t be seduced by my own pretty phrase, an arrogant word, or ridiculous scenario.
Here are the 6 edits I can’t live without (and neither should you).
      1)   Same Word Edit: If you use the same word over and over, learn a new one. Words lose their potency just like spices. It is sort of like whining, after a while it’s just another high-pitched sound.
       2)   The Thesaurus Edit: Don’t use big words, vague words, or unusual names. Readers will trip over them, be upset that you are taking them out of the story, and, worse, that you made them feel stupid.  A book is like a float down a river, you never want a reader to run aground.
        3)   The Logical Movement Edit: Move characters from point A to point B with sensible purpose and the story the same way. If you don’t, the reader will be puzzled and spend more time wondering how things happened rather than accepting that they happened.
       4)   Love or Lust Edit: Characters make love if there’s reason to be in love. Be clear about why your characters deserve to be cherished and admired. If they are just in lust, be clear about that too. The two ‘L’ words should never be confused.
        5)   I’m Tired Edit: Readers can tell when an author gets tired. Step away and recharge. Come back at it in full form. 

        6)   The Consistency Edit: A character must stay in character, details build a scene, red herrings need to be revisited and wrapped up. Life in a novel should be tidy at the end even if it’s a marvelous mess of storytelling.
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emaginings: Nobility in Romance

April 16, 2013 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

What a wonderful meeting we had this last Saturday!

In the morning, we had a guest in PAW, Dawn Vaeoso of All Romance eBooks. I was already familiar with ARe, but mostly as a reader. Dawn and Debra led a lively discussion and I think we all learned something. I missed the morning workshop by Jackie Barbosa, but heard it was excellent.

But I want to riff a little on something our afternoon speaker, James Scott Bell said in his fabulous talk. When talking about creating unforgettable characters, he listed several characteristics that will make your characters jump off the page:

  • Unpredictable
  • Passionate
  • Resourceful
  • Complex
  • Gutsy
  • Wounded
  • Noble

In passing, he noted that the last quality, nobility, is underused, but also discussed characters who are willing to sacrifice to attain their goals or to save someone else. I was busy listening and taking notes, but still thought at the time that nobility isn’t so rare in romance. I’ve been in critique and plot groups for years and can’t begin to count the number of times we’ve been plotting, usually toward the end of the book, only to have someone ask: What is he/she going to sacrifice? Or at least be willing to sacrifice?

Of course, the classic example of character sacrifice is The Gift of the Magi. Such a beautiful, romantic story. But that kind of sacrifice isn’t at all uncommon in romance. We’ve all read romances where the hero or heroine jumps in the path of a bullet to save the other. But it needn’t be a life or death matter. Is one willing to give up a job opportunity to be with the other? Or willing to uproot his/her life and move far away? There are lots of possibilities.

Here’s how the mutual sacrifice works in Rogue’s Hostage, my captive story set during the French & Indian War. Toward the end of the book, Jacques and Mara are trapped in the besieged city of Quebec. Mara’s brother, Gideon, is with the besieging British Army. Jacques knows the situation is dire and tries to have Mara ransomed to the British. He is willing to give up the woman he loves in order to keep her safe. When things go wrong, Mara risks her relationship with her brother, her only living relative, to save the man she loves. I could say more, but that would be giving away a spoiler, so I’ll refrain. 

What do you think? Are romance characters more noble than most?

Linda McLaughlin

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LyndiLamont

Rogue’s Hostage buy links:
Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00BJO26OY
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1005663623
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/291719


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Ranting About Units of Measure and Lazy Writing

March 19, 2013 by in category Archives tagged as , ,

Monica Stoner w/a Mona Karel

When did ‘ton’ evolve into a generalized unit of measure?  At one time, a ton was 2,000 pounds. Yes, there was metric ton and no doubt some other scientific variations but it all came back to a method of stating the weight of an item.  Simple, exact, precise.

Suddenly we have a “ton” of ideas, a “ton”of fun, a “ton” of jobs to do. I might expect to see this sort of casual expression among middle school students and young people but it has become pervasive in the work of what I thought were professional writers. Which leads me to wonder if this has become standard usage. Whatever happened to such wonderful words as ‘plethora?’ ([n.] excess) Granted we might not encounter the word in common usage but should that mean we choose an inappropriate word instead?

Will we encounter the same spreading misuse as we did when a well known author applied ‘laconic’ ([adj.] brief statement, concise explanation) to her hero’s raised eyebrow. Granted eyebrows aren’t capable of extensive speech but this usage is far beyond the definition. Sadly I find she has established a trend of lazy writing when a quick perusal of the thesaurus might suggest, well, a plethora of more correct adjectives.

To exacerbate the situation, I just received a message about a FREE GIVEAWAY book. Is this phrasing supposed to make me want the book more? To be honest, I figure if the promotional notices show such disrespect for our language I’m not likely to check out the book itself. Free is too expensive when I waste time on poorly written books.

Then you have the brilliant new idea that word usage isn’t as important as story telling and content. According to this theory if a writer can’t remember the difference between your and you’re it doesn’t matter as long as their characters have appeal. And here I wondered how we devolved to using ‘ton’ to identify something other than a large unit of weight.
Maybe I’m just in a crabby mode. Words do have an exact meaning and we write for the joy of sharing those words with others.  Unless of course we’re writing to silence the voices in our heads.
Is there anything that rubs your writerly self the wrong way?

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