Monday, July 31, 2017

Writing Contests

We are on the verge of another year of Pitch Wars and excitement is building! Along with hundreds of others, I've been frantically editing my manuscript so I can enter. I've wanted to write this post for over a month but thought I'd better get my revisions done, first.

Last year I was fortunate to have been chosen for two contests, one was Pitch Wars. I've entered many others and was never chosen. Though I'm far from an expert, I wanted to share some of what I've learned though my experiences and what I've learned from others.

Writing contests are intimidating and stressful. We all want our work to be loved and accepted, but that's not reality. It's important to put your work out there for others to see. Yes, you will likely be judged by some, but most will give you some thoughtful feedback that you can use to grow. If you join in, you will meet many wonderful people along the way who will accompany you on  your journey. This is the real benefit to entering the contests.

Contests are just as subjective as querying to agents or publishers. No one likes every book they read. Mentors in writing contests are the same. They are looking for one they love and know how to help. Sometimes I critique things and know something is off but can't put my finger on it. If a mentor thinks that, then there's no sense picking that manuscript. Another mentor may be able to see exactly what said manuscript needs. So not only are mentors looking for something they love, they are looking for something they can truly help.

Writing contests are not the end all and be all. Some people think that getting into a writing contest is the only way to get an agent or publisher. No. There are people who didn't get chosen for any writing contests that went on to write best sellers. There are also many people who get into contests but don't get an agent from them. Some go on to find an agent or publisher for their Pitch Wars manuscript through querying, while others write a new manuscript and find an agent or publisher for that. People get picked out of the slush pile every day. Everyone's path to publishing is different. Writing contests are only one path.

Don't self reject. Enter. What do you have to lose? The worst that happens is that you meet some people and you don't get picked. You're no worse off. Yes, not getting picked stings. Rejection always does. You allow yourself sometime to mope, then pick yourself back up. This business seems to be lined with rejection. It's part of the process, a painful but necessary one. On the flip side...what if a mentor loves your manuscript and wants to work with you? It's worth the chance of a no.

Be ready to work. If you do get in, be ready to revise your ass off. Some people in my Pitch Wars class rewrote their entire MS in the two months. It can be intense. But you have a great group of people to support you.

So why enter a writing contest?

Networking. Meet people, make friends (or critique partners). Learn what you can from anyone along the way. Even if you're not picked for the contest, this is the big win.

If you get in, you have a chance to make your manuscript better. This is an opportunity to get another set of eyes on your work and elevate it to the next level. You'll probably learn a lot during this process to better your future work.

The agent round is a bonus.

Those seem to be the main topics I see relating to writing contests. If you had any other questions, hit me up!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Virtue and Honour - Interview With Randi Perrin

I'm happy to help launch the final book in Randi Perrin's Earthbound Angels trilogy.

Angela Waters juggles two high-stress jobs: nurse and earthbound angel. On a rare girls’ night out, she intervenes and saves the life of Mason Kearney, a stripper with southern charm and a secret. It’s a move that will force her to contemplate why in all the heavens she puts up with the injustice of being an angel, which leads to a bombshell that challenges everything she’s ever known.

In the midst of falling for the Alabama boy, she’s in for the fight of her life when a demon, hell-bent on taking her wings, shows up at the most inopportune times.

With a family of angels rallying behind her, she’s sent on a mission to learn everything about them, herself, and evil, to save all the earthbounds from an untimely demise.

Can Angela survive with her heart and her wings intact?

Get your copy today!
Amazon     Kobo     iTunes     Nook

Add to your Goodreads shelf!


Where did you come up with the idea for the Earthbound Angels series?

It was, legitimately, an accident. I was busy plotting out a contemporary romance novel for my NaNoWriMo project, and I was coming up with unique character traits. I decided early on she was going to have a full-back angel wing tattoo, though I had no idea the significance when I made that decision. One night, I sat up in bed, smacked my husband, and said, “Hey, what if she actually was an angel?” And from that moment forward, she was an angel. But I don’t ever do things the way everyone else does them—because that’s boring. I decided that my angels weren’t going to have feathers on their wings. From there it took on a life of its own as I completely rewrote angels into something new.

Tell us a little about the final book in the Earthbound Angels trilogy, Virtue and Honor.

Whereas Virtue of Death focuses on Sera, and Promises of Virtue focuses on Cheryl, I introduced two brand new characters for Virtue and Honor.
For all three of these books, my girls struggle with who they are. In Virtue and Honor, not only does she have that same struggle going on, but as she’s figuring that out, and how to navigate love and wings, there’s something big going down. Something that not only threatens Angela, but every single Earthbound. Both her heart and her wings are at stake and she’s not sure either one can escape intact.

What was your favorite part of writing the series?

I think bringing something completely new to the table. I love taking something people know and spinning it on its head. 

What is one of the trickiest things in writing a series?

Well, this trilogy ender was incredibly tough from so many different aspects. But, I think one thing is making sure I remained true to the characters while exploring them from different angles was a challenge with each of the books. 
Another one was bringing characters back, and how I was going to weave them in. How could I make sure they were pertinent to the story, while also allowing the main characters of the stories shine on their own right. By the third one, there was a rather large ensemble cast and it’s always hard to effectively manage a large cast.

Do we see Sera or Cheryl in Virtue and Honor?

Of course. Destin and Luc are there too, albeit in their fifties. But Sera’s still baking, and Cheryl’s still snarky. 
You might be surprised just who makes a return appearance in Virtue and Honor.

Do you have a favorite character in the series?

All of them for one reason or another. Though, I guess if I really want to wax philosophical, I’d have to say Sera because she was the one who knocked around in my head and said, “pssst, I’ve got a story to tell.” The rest only came about because of Sera.

What are some of your favourite books and authors?

My all-time favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It’s trite and everyone says it, I know, but I’ve just always loved that book. (Admittedly, I first picked it up because a cute boy two gradesahead of me was reading it and I wanted to read what he was reading. I never expected that it’d stick with me quite the way it did.) 
Of course, I will read anything and everything Sara Dobie Bauer writes (and she knows it too). Oh, yeah, Em Shotwell, too. I could go on and on about indie authors I adore if you’d let me. Mary Billiter, Megan Lowe, Gen Ryan, Marie Piper, Wendy Sparrow, Jen DeLuca…. 
I loved Good in Bed and In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner. One of the things I love bout Jennifer Weiner, she’s always written fun, flawed, and real characters—which is something I strive to do when I write, as well.

Don't miss the first two books in the series!

Nothing about life or love comes easily. For Sera though, she’s got it all figured out. Life is about ingredients in the right proportions to make something beautiful. It’s classic. It works.

When her calm peaceful existence gets flipped upside down, it’s good versus evil while Sera breaks every rule she’s ever played by. A little defiance is not necessarily a bad thing—even if you’re an angel.

After a fall that drastically changed the course of her life, Cheryl’s off to take the vacation of a lifetime. Along the way she learns a bit about herself, how deep-seeded her passions truly are, and how much she longs to be loved.

This time it’s not about defiance, but self-preservation. Can she survive once her heart and mind belong to someone else?

Randi has spent her entire life writing in one form or another. In fact, if she wasn't writing, she'd likely go completely and utterly insane. Her husband has learned to recognize when the voices are talking in her head and she needs some quality time with an empty Word file (the key to a successful marriage with a writer). 

She lives with her husband, daughter, and four-legged children (all of which think they are people too).   

A pop culture junkie, she has been known to have entire conversations in movie quotes and/or song lyrics. 

Find her on online

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

#PimpMyBio - Pitch Wars 2017

It's that time of year again! Writers are frantically fixing up their manuscripts in preparation for Pitch Wars.

I was lucky enough to get in last year and am going to try my hand at it again with a new manuscript. One of the best things about entering Pitch Wars is the wonderful people you meet who are also tossing their manuscripts into the ring.

Why enter again?

Same reason as last year. I want to work with someone who can better my writing and my manuscript. I'm open to tearing it down and building it back up if that's what it needs.

I'm looking for a mentor to push me and call me on things. Some of my favourite comments from critique partners are ones that point out a problem and tell me I can do better. I'm here to learn. So let's get to work!

My editing style is binge editing. I do better when I edit in large chunks at a time. I've tried swapping a chapter a week with people, but it doesn't work for me. Binge editing lets me immerse myself in the story and characters so I can really get into the flow. I'm not one to do things half way. I'm a go big or go home type of person.

What do I write?

If you don't know me from last year, I usually write adult contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, and speculative fiction. I tend to write on the darker side and don't always believe in happily ever after for my characters. My characters are usually stuck with happy for now if I'm being nice.

I like characters who banter, are sassy and broken. If I can throw some weird in there as well, I will, though my Pitch Wars manuscript doesn't have that. What it does have is a female lead who meets my mentioned criteria, plus she's a Pagan and bi. She breaks my heart because she won't let herself have anything good.

A Little About Me...

This is always the part I struggle with...what do I share?

Favourites is always a good place to start....

Some of my favourite reads are:
  • Interview With The Vampire
  • The Witching Hour
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  • American Gods
  • Harry Potter
  • Geek Love
  • Plus one from a PitchWars mentor but I won't say because I wouldn't want to be accused of sucking up.

I don't watch a lot of television my favourite shows at the moment are:
  • The Handmaid's Tale (I LOVE this series!)
  • Supernatural

And Now The Fun Stuff...

Other exciting facts about me:
  • I've read Tarot cards for over 25 years (wow, that's a long time). During that time I've mentored people, written articles for the Canadian Tarot Network, and did readings over the internet and at events.
  • I live in a house once owned by the mother of the original author of the Hardy Boy's series.
  • I LOVED Nancy Drew books when I was young (the New Case Files, not so much the original ones).
  • Music has always played a big role in my life and I usually listen to music when I write. Though there are some songs that come on and demand I take a rock out break.
  • I co-host #DarkLitChat on Twitter once a month with one of my CPs.
  • Sarcasm is my second language.

Thanks for taking the time to pop by and get to know me a little better. Hope I've managed to entertain you somewhat.