Walk the Line

Ever since I saw the movie Walk the Line, I have never forgotten the scene when Johnny Cash and his friends are auditioning in front of record label owner, Sam Phillips. Johnny is shocked when Sam stops them during the safe gospel number and says he can’t sell that style. That people have “heard that song” a hundred times. Flustered, Johnny insists Sam explain what he’s looking for. Sam then asks if he were dying and only had time to sing one song, what would he sing? A song that would “sum you up” because that’s the song “people want to hear”. Johnny considers this, then begins to sing a melody from his heart (“Folsom Prison Blues”). A glimpse into his deeper self that until that moment he hasn’t shared. His memorable sound emerges.

I’m grateful my return from RWA2019 has been filled with completing requested submissions. But after the preparation, pitching, and considering my Daphne scores, I once again face a similar decision as a writer – Do I concede to the norm, or maintain a style that offers something different? A voice that reflects how I feel about my time on this planet.

I learned to write through reading books by editor Sol Stein and agent Donald Maass rather than study romance centric techniques. Their approaches are what resonated with me. In short, even though I write romantic suspense or thrillers (depending on your marketing viewpoint) my style isn’t like the majority. Not because I’m striving to be “different” but because that’s how I deliver the best story I can. I don’t know if this round of submissions will prove that to be enough. All I know is, I can’t be “everyone else”. I have to pitch the style, the voice, the story that is real for me. It’s the only way I can make it real for the reader.

Blind Conviction wins Second in the Daphne!

I’m delighted to announce that Blind Conviction won second place in the 2019 Daphne contest – Single Title Romantic Suspense/Unpublished Division! The Death by Chocolate party in NY city was fantastic. Magically we all survived the decadent desserts. (There’s always next year.) I am indebted┬áto the Kiss of Death Chapter for all of their efforts, in particular the Daphne Chairman, Brooke Wills. Congratulations to my fellow finalists – Kiss of Death is awesome!

Blind Conviction Finals at Daphne du Maurier Competition!

I’m elated to announce that BLIND CONVICTION has finaled in the Kiss of Death chapter’s coveted Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense Competition!!! (Single Title Romantic Mystery/Suspense category/Unpublished division). I am so grateful to the judges, the Kiss of Death Chapter, my support peeps in the RWA, MWA, Sisters in Crime, family and friends, and especially my beta readers. Without them this achievement would not have been possible. Looking forward to the Death by Chocolate party at RWA national, when the winners will be announced. Congrats to my fellow finalists!

Publishing Goal #1: Keep your sense of humor

Celebrating the new year last month I had lunch with my mom and son before he returned to college. After enjoying some of P.F. Chang’s finest, including the Great Wall of Chocolate (Cha!) we were served fortune cookies along with the check. Like many people, it’s our tradition to add a phrase to our fortune, but you have to decide on the phrase before you open the cookie. My son went first with “When I return to school. . . .” Thus, his fortune was “I will hear from distant relatives when I return to school.” Ah. Fitting.

My mom went next. Because she’s researching family lineage she picked something along those lines and got the fortune she would “make new discoveries”. Wow. Great cookies!

Now my turn. Of course, not being traditionally published yet and being the new year it was time for me to dive in. Contest entries, agent submissions, website updates, and of course, a new WIP. Encouraged by my family’s good luck I said, “This week as I launch a fresh start with my writing career . . .” And I opened the cookie . . .

To absolutely nothing.

Never have I opened a fortune cookie to nothing. I burst out laughing. The look on my son’s face made me laugh that much harder.

Rule #1 in publishing: Never lose your sense of humor. I guess no matter what happens to me in 2019, I’ll at least have that!