Dia(B)log

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 (Single Title Romantic Mystery/Suspense category/Unpublished division).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!

Handwriting Analysis here I come!

Thanks so much to the RWA Kiss of Death #KOD chapter for their fantastic COFFIN classes. I’ve taken three over the last year and they never disappoint! Not only with the knowledgeable instructors and information provided, but the inspiration for manuscript fodder.

My current class involves using the Gestalt method to gather character traits from writing. Even my husband is getting into it by being the first to provide a writing sample. This from the man who I’m lucky to get a signature on a card!

Now, back to psychoanalyzing my family. And prepping for my next WIP.

Art and Humor

Love to see the @mfaboston and @Gettymuseum getting into the spirit of Super Bowl weekend with #MuseumBowl2019. Proving once again art is timeless. And I was just re-reading Search and Seize Her again this week!

Confessions of an Unpublished Author

Whenever you hear an author speak about their first big win, be it a contract, contest, or book launch, she almost always thanks her support group for believing in her and the endless encouragement to “never give up”. (As she should!) But while I agree with the former sentiment, I have a love/hate relationship with the latter.

I relish the perseverance in writing. For a scene, a sentence. The first draft or the dreaded second. Victories I fight for every day at my desk. But have I given up the dream at times?

Hell yes.

For me, being a writer is as much about persistence and drive as raising your middle finger to the dream of being traditionally published. The idea at two a.m. that rushed me to the keyboard? It still doesn’t work a month later. Charming. The sentence I love hearing my character say, but my beta reader stumbles on every time I correct it? Trashed. The contest I felt certain I would final in and I’m not even close. The first page that was music to my muse an agent shreds . . .

Or the best example in my case: the risk I took temporarily publishing two manuscripts on Amazon for a contest (which stipulated I had to pull ISBN’s) only to have it be considered by some years later as self-published. (“If it’s not published, why does Amazon say it’s unavailable?” {Their terms of use policy, that’s why.}) Now a tactic I used to get feedback flaunts my ineptness. As I “tried something new” the rules shifted under me once again.

These are all instances when not only should a writer “give up” but she must to achieve success. Chuck the dream for a week to clean out my house, scrub the shower, or fifty other things I don’t accomplish when writing 40+ hours a week. It’s the only way I can gather my courage for the next WIP. With the level of rejection in publishing, how can I give of myself to my characters (and thus my readers) if I don’t give myself a break and offer an “up yours” to the  publishing world every now and then?

I can only write my butt off (rather than just hope) to be that newly launched author one day. But when I thank the amazing supporters I’ve been blessed with, I hope I’ll also be thankful for the times I gave myself some space. Space to grow and recharge and accept it wasn’t my time yet.