Elizabeth: The Fate of the Golden Heart

RWA’s Golden Heart necklace, awarded to each Golden Heart winner.

One of the clearest memories I have about the very first RWA conference I went to was the Golden Heart award ceremony.  I hadn’t known what the contest was all about before I attended the conference, but afterwards, entering the contest (and winning, of course!) went on the writing project plan, somewhere between “finish the manuscript” and “find an agent” – and seemed a sure stepping-stone to “see my book on the shelf at the local bookstore.”

The woman I sat next to in several workshop sessions, as well as at the awards dinner, turned out to be the winner in one of the contemporary categories.  When she accepted her award, she confidentially ended her thanks with, “all you agents out there, have I got a book for you.”  I was sure that, had I remembered her name, I’d have found her book out in the bookstore in short-order after her win.

Oh, for those wide-eyed innocent days. Continue reading

Michille: Preparing to Attend a Writers’ Conference

RWA 2018RWA National Conference is fast approaching. So it’s time to start prepping for it. Well, time for you to start prepping for it. I’m not attending this year, unfortunately, because I’m going to miss the huge jolt of inspiration and motivation that I get from it. I may look into getting the recordings so that I can experience it at least a little. Continue reading

Kay: Going Long at the Berkeley Book Festival

Last weekend, our Elizabeth, who lives just down the road from me, and I decided to go hear Catherine Coulter interviewed at the Berkeley Book Festival. This annual event, held in downtown Berkeley, California, attracts thousands of visitors, who can hear famous and not-as-famous writers talk about a wide variety of topics and, between panels, browse the many booths that crowd Berkeley’s Civic Center Park and the surrounding streets. This is the third year I’ve attended, and I’ve always enjoyed it, but this year the weather was cold and blustery, so lingering over intriguing new titles in gale-force winds was not in the cards. Elizabeth and I pretty much steamed our way through the booths in an effort to keep warm.

I was interested in hearing Catherine Coulter speak because she started her career writing shorter, category-length Regency historicals, Continue reading

Kay: Golden Contests

For writers who want to get sincere feedback on their pages, contests are one option to hear from judges who won’t have any inhibitions about criticizing a friend’s work. In addition to any critique, finaling—and especially winning—a big contest can bring the attention of agents and editors, not to mention fame and fortune, to the author.

Three years ago, our own Jeanne Estridge won the Golden Heart, a contest for unpublished romance authors. It’s a big deal, with more than 1,500 entries. We were all there to whoop it up when her name was announced. (She’s finaled again this year, and we have our fingers crossed.)

However, not everyone is a romance writer, Continue reading

Elizabeth: The Perfect Writer’s Conference

We’re about three months away from this year’s Romance Writers of America annual conference and, just before the end of the early-bird registration deadline I finally bit the bullet and clicked “register.”

This was supposed to be a non-travel year for me (excluding work travel, of course).  My travel budget has been earmarked for a long overdue kitchen renovation and, since my writing continues to move only slightly faster than the speed of erosion, the RWA conference wasn’t even on the radar.  Then of course, Eight Lady Jeanne finalled in the Golden Heart contest – again – and I found out Justine would be attending as well.  One thing led to another and next thing I knew the registration button was clicked and the plans made.

The detailed workshop schedule for the conference itself is still being finalized, but the basics are in place.  Like last year it looks like the conference will start out with a set of 3-hour “immersive” sessions.  Based on the discussions we’ve been having on the blog in recent months, I’m thinking Erica Ridley’s Newsletter Master Class will be an excellent option to begin with. Continue reading

Jeanne: March Progress Report

A funny thing happened on my way to accomplishing my March goals: I was notified that the second book in my Touched by a Demon series, The Demon’s in the Details, is a finalist for RWGH Finalist MedallionA’s® 2018 Golden Heart® award.

So, yippee!

I know that I can’t really claim that an event that didn’t occur until 3/4 of the way through the month constitutes a valid excuse for making so little progress on my goals, but it really was a complete distraction from March 21st onward.

Three years ago, when The Demon Always Wins was a finalist (under the title Demon’s Don’t), I got a request to see the entire manuscript from one of the final round judges. The book was far from ready for prime-time, and the anonymous editor or agent that requested the manuscript never followed up. Continue reading

Michaeline: Connections, connections

Four hermit crabs under the sea, in different stages of coming out of their shells.

And so, Micki came out of her shell and waved hello to the others. (Via the Internet Archive)

You never know where a new direction is going to come from. Could be north, could be east . . . could be straight up from the ground, or pouring down from the heavens.

In my case, an old friend sent me an email out of the blue regarding a writer’s conference in Japan. I suspected there were a lot of writers in Japan (there certainly are a lot of bloggers!), but I felt like we might all be like hermit crabs, hiding in shells of English Teaching or maybe IT Endeavors. You really can’t tell who is a writer and who isn’t just by sight.

But now, the internet is a miracle for peeling off those shells and saying, “Hey! Here I am!” Some savvy person got a notice for the 2018 Japan Writers Conference into a little newsletter based in Sapporo, and my Sapporo-based friend sent it along to me (the hermit crab by the sea). And then when I went looking . . . wow! The conference has a social media presence! Here’s the tweet about the conference, and there’s a Facebook page, and there could be more. (-: Not in the first two pages of Google hits, but still. Their Social Media Presence Can Be Felt.

Looking at the tweet also provides a lot of information – for example, information about the Twitter accounts of 14 people who liked the tweet. One of them has written about mermaids in Lake Michigan, for goodness sakes! (I’ve got a mermaid seeking revenge in a fictional lake in upstate New York. Writer-soul mate? Maybe. At least, I’ll follow and see what happens.)

I don’t know if I’ll be joining them in Otaru this year, but it’s just exciting to know that there are fellow strivers in the room. I mean, I guessed. Now I know.

What’s your local writing scene like? What do you get when you google “My Area Writers”? Is it all black and white photos of writers dead and gone? Or is there a living presence of scribblers like you? Let me know! I’m so curious.