Monthly Archives: December 2009

The First Five Pages

I’d heard about this writing craft book written by agent Noah Lukeman and thumbed through it a RWA National conference bookstore. A repeat mention in a self-editing workshop tape put the book on my Christmas list. The dh had to order it online, but so far it’s worth the extra trouble.

The format is chapters, ranked according to an (this) agent or editor’s patience with the writer’s skill at getting his message across. The first is Presentation, the second Adjective and Adverb (mis)use.  Okay, soon after my first contest returns three years ago I got on the train with those two, though a recent crit had a gentle reminder about those pesky ly words. (Hey, the heroine is an emotional savant – she’s all about touchy-feely.)

The third chapter is titled Sound. Interesting. How one divides and punctuates sentences creates a pleasing sound. Well, I’d heard to mix the short and long sentence constructions, but this takes it to a new level. So does the fourth, Comparisons. The next is Style, and those five chapters comprise Part 1: Preliminary Problems.

There are nineteen chapters total. They not only build on each other (He directs readers to complete the end-of-chapter lessons before moving on.) but they also loop, because Chapter 3 is related to Chapter 19, Pacing and Progression. Yo-boy. All right, I’ve read into Chapter 4, but according to Mr. Lukeman, I’m still in Chapter 3, because I haven’t read a paragraph out loud and devoted four working hours to it.

Can I do this? Can I, a writer who really would like to publish, afford not to?

By the way, the book is subtitled A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile.

New Year’s Resolutions, anyone?

Indiana’s Golden Opportunity Winners

Indiana’s Golden Opportunity 2009

Congratulations to all our Winners!
Best of the Best will be announced approximately November 18th.

Historical Finalists Judge — Jesse Feldman, NAL

The Soldier by Patricia Patton

Love and the Heir by Patricia Patton

The Yard Man Affair by Jill Stone

Mainstream Finalists Judge — Paige Wheeler, Folio Literary Management

Odin’s End** by Dawna Fichtner

The End at River’s Bend by Cathryn Pritchard

Damaged Goods by Barbara Binns

Paranormal Finalists Judge — Kerry Donovan, NAL

Darkness Dawns by Leslie Duvall

The Story Queen by Joe Fraser

The Chimera Courtships: In Like a Lion by Karin Shah

Single Title Finalists Judge — Latoya Smith, Grand Central

Chocolate Kisses** by Kelli Zeiher Riley

Uncivilized by Meghan Murphy

Once Upon a Margarita by Heidi Luchterhand

Romantic Suspense Finalists Judge — Megan McKeever, Pocket Books

Degrees of Death by Linda Lovely

Dangerous Choices by Donna Meier

Trail of Secrets by Greta MacEachern

Young Adult Finalists Judge — Holly Root, Waxman Literary Agency

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers

The Dead Guy Downstairs by Sheri Adkins

Seaside Sorcery by Laurel Wanrow

One of the reasons I’m going back and looking up my past contest co-winners is I’ve been in touch with the gal who won this one, Lisa Desrochers. Lisa has won a slew of contests, but I first contacted her when I was coordinating the YA category for my chapter contest, Maryland Romance Writer’s Reveal Your Inner Vixen, to tell her she’d finalled. She placed second and we shared some contest stories. The best came a few days ago when she wrote to tell me she’d sold! Not just Personal Demons, but three books in an auction. How exciting is that?  What every writer dreams of getting for Christmas. Read about it on her blog: Go, Lisa!!!

Lone Star Writing Competition Winners

I’m backtracking and posting my other contest co-winners. I think it’ll be fun to keep a watch on these manuscripts that are making the journey at the same time I am.


presents the winners of the

The Seventeenth Annual


The 2009 Lone Star Writing Competition committee is proud to announce the 2009 winners.  A third of our winners had requests from an agent, an editor or both.  Congratulations!

Contemporary Series

Wanda Ottewell, Harlequin

Natanya Wheeler, Nancy Yost Literary Agency

1st: HEAD GAMES, Denise Cychosz, Waukesha, Wisconsin*

 California (formerly of Dallas)

3rd: LAURA TAKES A LOVER, Mary Oldham, Beaverton, Oregon

*Partial request from editor

Young Adult

Kat O’She, Leap Books

Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management

1st: WILDFLOWERS AND WINGED BOYS, Laurel Wanrow, Reston, VA*

2nd: A WITCH’S WISH, Martha Ferris, Freedom, WY

3rd: JOURNEY TO EDEN, Natasha Hanova, Overland Park, KS

*Partial request from editor

Romantic Suspense

Becky Vinter, NAL

Lois Winston, Ashley Grayson Literary Agency

1st: FROM BAGHDAD WITH LOVE, Gail Zerrade, Boise ID*

2nd: SWITCHED IN DEATH, Sherry Foley, Smithville MO

3rd: SHOT THROUGH THE HEART, D’Ann Linscott-Dunham, Olathe CO

*Full request from agent

Historical Category

Alicia Condon, Editor, Dorchester

Michelle Grajkowski, Literary Agent

1st: THE VISCOUNT’S DILEMMA, Theresa St. Romain, Wichita KS***

2nd: SURRENDER THE STORM, Angelique Newman, Sault Ste. Marie, ON*

3rd: THE HOUSE PARTY, Beatriz Chantrill Williams, Greenwich, CT*

***Full request from editor and agent

*Full request from editor and partial request from agent


Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks

Tina Wexler, International Creative Management

1st: SUBENA’S SACRIFICE, Robin Weaver, Concord, NC *

2nd: GUARDIAN ANGEL, Joey Kristine Berube, Round Rock, TX

3rd: CALLING FIRE, Melanie Card, Waterloo, ON

*Partial requested from agent

Single Title

Leis Pederso, Penguin

Paige Wheeler, Folio Literary Management

1st: SONGBIRD, Lizbeth Selvig, Webster, MN

2nd: PLEASURE, Jeanell Bolton, Georgetown, TX

3rd: KISSING MY OLD LIFE Au REVOIR, Beth Watson, Oak Creek, WI


Jessica Barnes, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Tamela Hancock Murray, Hartline Literary

1st:  VIOLETS AND VIOLINS, Keli Gwyn, Placerville, CA*

2nd: TURNING PAIGE, Kara Bonnevie, Wellington, NZ

3rd: LETTING LOVE IN, Teresa Goudey, Leona Valley, CA

*Full request from agent

100 words over 100 days

Drum roll, please …… Day 100: 295 words!

I completed my personal challenge of writing at least 100 words for 100 days. I logged my daily count with others on the loop and I have to say that once I started I didn’t consider quitting on this encouraging group. While I only wrote just over my minimum most days, one writer completed NaNoWriMo, often logging on after midnight with her 1700 plus counts.

I did have a few high days. I kept track my 100 day total working on a new YA fantasy, Conifer Curse. With the exception of about 5 days writing on a different ms, I totaled 35027 words.

A fun feature the group encourages is designing your finishing tiara. Several others described theirs and gave me ideas, so mine was set in silver, covered with glittery diamonds and sported an amethyst in the center front.

I am happy to have finished for the holidays and will concentrate on another round of edits for Passages, preparing it for querying in the new year.

Happy Holidays!

On The Far Side Contest Winners

The winners of RWA’s Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal Chapter unpublished writing contest were announced a few days ago and I’m excited to report my two manuscripts entries placed second and third: Passages was second in the Futuristc category and Seaside Sorcery third in the Young Adult category.

Here’s the announcement of all the winners:
Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal Special-Interest Chapter is proud to
announce the following winners in the 2009 On The Far Side contest.
Congratulations to all the winners!

Romantic Elements:

1 – Soul Trade by Melanie Card

2 – The Darkshaper Invasion by Karen McCullough

3 – Windborne by Brenda Nelson-Davis


1 – MIA Case Files: Wolfsbane by Tracy Truman

2 – Gods and Mortals by Rebecca Zanetti

3 – Catacomb Bound by Robin Haseltine


1 – Rites of Clay by Bonnie Johnston

2 – Wild Fire by Rashda Khan

3 – A Soul for Trouble by Crista McHugh


1 – Unspeakable Acts by Cheryl Alldredge

2 – Passages by Laurel Wanrow

3 – Apocalypse Daughter: Dystopia by Tracy St. Hilaire


1 – Echo 8 by Sharon Lynn Fisher

2 – Night Walker by Lisa Keesler

3 – Stealing Time by Elise Chand

Time Travel:

1 – Once in a Coyote Moon by Crista McHugh

2 – Machine Slave by Jennette Heikes

3 – The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone Seguin

Young Adult:

1 – Breathing Fire by Christine Canada (Request for full!)

2 – Frostbite by Lynn Rush

3 – Seaside Sorcery by Laurel Wanrow

Congratulations everyone!

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