Archive for the ‘Writers’ Orgs’ Category

Wednesday Wound Up

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Er, make that “round up.”

In the I Can’t Find Enough Hours In The Day department, otherwise known as What Have I Been Up To?, I thought I’d pop in with the following:

Paint colors aren’t nearly as exciting as recent TV advertising would have one believe. At least, if you’re painting the interior of a mud room closet white, they aren’t. White is white, and such a delight. But, in the end, it’s just white.

I’ve decided it’s The Summer of White. I hereby pledge to paint every white room and piece of white wainscoting and white trim in the shared areas of the house (ie. the mud room and one hall, plus the kitchen wainscoting and trim. Okay, and some outside of doors. The parts that face into the hall). It’s way overude. I mean overdue. (Overude sounds over-rude). I figure if I only paint something white every couple of weeks, I won’t aggravate the bicep injury I created in the fall doing too much outdoor painting.

Nearly ALL the white sundeck trim I painted last summer has peeled off! White is a complete PITA sometimes! Or maybe it’s the rain/roast days of summer we “enjoy” that’s the PITA.

Come to think of it, where’s the summer? Okay, summer technically doesn’t start until June 21st, but this is ridiculous. One day it’s hot enough for air conditioning, the next I want My Liege to light a fire.

And none of this has anything to do with writing.

So, in the Writing Department, Penny has received a tentative release date for her erotic romance single title (sometime in the fall. I actually have a more precise idea of when in the fall, but I’m  not ready to announce it yet. Things are “in the works,” as they say). Because Penny loves to sit around on her lazy duff all day, this means I have to fill out her Cover Art Information Forms and write her cover blurb. I’m doing that this week.

As for Cindy, I’ve been working on my romantic comedy short story series and doing a lot of E.S. Just Moved Out post-cleaning.

I overindulged in peanut butter cups while awaiting the Rapture.

And I’ve been serving as a mentor for the ChickLit RWA on-line chapter. Me! A mentor. Imagine that.

I’m working with a writer on the other side of the pond. So far it’s been a pretty cool experience. I just hope I’m not piling too much “help” on her. I just figure, we only have two months to do this (May and June), and I’ll be out of town twice in June (I employ big, burly housesitters), so we don’t have as much time to work together as we should. So I’m giving it. And hopefully it’s helping her.

I would have loved a mentorship program like this when I was first starting out (I wonder if there’s such a thing as “when I was lastly starting out”?). But that was in pre-Internet days. I remember joining the RWA Outreach Chapter, which conducted all its business through the mail. That’s how I connected with my first critique partners. I still critique with one of them from time to time. My critique partners were my “mentors,” and I acted in the same capacity for them. I guess we were peer mentoring, because none of us were published at the time.

I’ve hooked up with other critique partners over the years. A couple of CP’ships lasted several years and were profitable for both sides. I still consider some of these writers very good friends. But sometimes “Real Life” interferes, family needs change, careers take off, and one or both partners needs to take a step back. Deadline Pressure is a real killer.

What else?

I haven’t had time to blog-hop the way I used to. It’s far easier to keep up with people on Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook, I’m thinking of canceling my MySpace account. I never go over there anymore, so why bother? Penny is thinking of having me cancel her account as well.

Eldest Son is now fully moved out but Youngest Son’s summer job doesn’t start until June. So May continues to be an “in flux” month, much as April was. So, lest any of you think the reason I haven’t been blogging is because I went back to South America, no such luck, I’m here. Just wound up from trying to find time to wind down.

All aboard the Get ‘Er Done! train. Leaving the station… Now!

RITA Report

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

The deadline for getting in RITA® scores is March 9th. I’m happy to report that I’m done. Read all the books in my panel, submitted the scores on-line. Good for me.

RITA judges are instructed to “hold all judging and/or scoring data confidential” (from the Judging Guidelines), so I can’t talk about my panel of books in any way that might identify them. What I will say is that judging the RITA this year was a pleasure compared to last year. Last year was my first time judging, and I don’t know how or why it happened, but I wound up with 9 books to judge, 8 from the same category and one from a second category (judges select a minimum three categories that they’re willing to judge, and it can’t be a category in which you’re currently entered). This year I had 6 books, from three categories. I liked that much better! Judging 9 books within a short time frame last year was tough. Especially because most of the 8 books that were from the same category last year were also published under the same line/imprint, and, oddly enough, several were even set in the same city. It was an odd judging experience, to say the least. As a judge, I want some variety. I didn’t get that last year, and I had to keep reminding myself that the authors of the books in my panel had no idea that I’d wind up with several books all set in the same city and with fairly similar story lines. In other words, I had to work extra hard last year to ensure I was being fair to all the entrants.

I can’t remember which three categories I selected to judge last year, because I only received entries from two. This year, though, I dropped at least one of the categories from last year in favor of a different category. I might have done this with two categories, actually. And it paid off. I had a great time this year with my entries. I was introduced to authors I might not otherwise have bought, and I discovered a couple of authors I want to buy again (that’s what I love about the RITAs). I don’t know if I lucked out, but the vast majority of books in my panel were above par.

I don’t have a 2010 release as Penny, so next year I can ask to judge the category Penny usually enters (Romance Novella). I’m looking forward to that.

It’s odd, when I used to judge the Golden Heart, it didn’t bother me if I received entries from just one category. But you only have to judge three chapters and a synopsis in the Golden Heart. For the RITA, you have to read the entirety of each and every book in your panel. That’s a lot of words.

How is your RITA or Golden Heart reading going? Have you finished? Are you lagging behind? Are you judging another contest this year? I’m not. Maybe next year I’ll take on another contest or two. For now, though, I need to step back.

Tell You Tuesday

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Hah, tricked you with the title change, didn’t I? Usually it’s Tell ME Tuesday.

You can go ahead and tell me, anyway. How’s the writing going? Life? Any good news/bad news to report?

After the blogging kerfuffle of last week, I needed a little break. Pretty much waiting to hear what’s next from Horizons Vs. RWA. Plus, I had the H1N1 shot yesterday. It wasn’t a bad experience, but it did make me feel slightly lethargic. I took advantage of my brain-deadness to do something that makes me feel even more braindead—compiling a fiscal year end for delivery to our accountant. No sense wasting the H1N1 glow on something ambitious like writing.

Last night I watched the Thanksgiving episode of Dexter for a second time. dexterMy Liege had an early Sunday night, so I watched it myself then. All I can say is, “Wowzer!” The way this season started out, I thought, “Ho hum, another serial killer introduced in the form of Trilogy, Dexter will be trying to figure out a way to get rid of him without revealing the monster within throughout the whole season, and then he’ll succeed.” But the Thanksgiving episode contained a number of Wowzers!, the little switcheroo at the ending being the best one. I thought I knew what was going to happen at the end of the episode…that Trinity would begin a new killing cycle with J’s new girlfriend. Did not see the twist coming at all.

Still waiting for the onion that is Rita to be peeled. I have theories that drive Youngest Son nuts. “Not everyone on the show has to turn out to have some sort of psycho past, Mom.” Sure, but Rita’s gotta have a darn compelling reason to act like a Stepford Wife. I swear, the voice alone drives me insane.

third3aOn a side note, is anyone getting flashbacks to Dick from Third Rock from the Sun while watching John Lithgow as Trinity? I keep expecting that guy who could talk to the Big Giant Head to show up…

Harlequin Horizons, Part Two

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Wow, a lot happened yesterday. Not only did Romance Writers of America inform Harlequin/Silhouette that they were no longer on RWA’s list of eligible publishers (which get perks like meeting space for Spotlights and book signings and for offering editor appointments) as a result of opening a vanity publishing division and putting the Harlequin name on it, but Mystery Writers of America and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America stepped in, too. Author Jackie Kessler provided a breakdown of the Horizons press release on her blog. Here’s a link to her post yesterday, Harlequin Horizons Versus RWA. If you’re considering submitting to ANY vanity publisher, I encourage you to read it. It’s very, very important for a writer to educate herself about the multitude of, um, opportunities available in publishing today.

In her post, Jackie points out:

Vanity presses hurt authors. The rule of thumb is money flows **toward** the author. Period. Authors should not have to pay to get their books published — they should be paid for their work. If authors choose to self-publish, they damn well should get 100% of the profits, because they have paid for everything up front.

With vanity presses, money flows TOWARD the press FROM the writer. The press keeps some of the royalties, too. This differs from true self-publishing where the writer pays all the expenses to publish her book but also retains ALL the profits.

If a writer decides to publish her work through a vanity press, that’s her choice. But educate yourself first. Make SURE this is the option you want to take, when there are so many other options available, such as true self-publishing, or, hey about this one—continuing to hone your craft and submitting to advance and/or royalty paying publishers that don’t require you to contribute a dime toward the publication of your work.

Back to RWA and Harlequin Horizons. RWA pulled the hard line and removed Harlequin from their list of eligible publishers yesterday. Harlequin responded and is now going to remove the Harlequin name from the Horizons venture. Agent Kristin Nelson printed the Harlequin letter to its authors in its entirety on her blog. Here’s a snippet of that letter:

Most importantly, however, we have heard the concerns that you, our authors, have expressed regarding the potential confusion between this venture and our traditional business. As such, we are changing the name of the self-publishing company from Harlequin Horizons to a designation that will not refer to Harlequin in any way. We will initiate this process immediately.

Jackie Kessler then breaks down that letter on her blog in a post called The Day After: Harlequin Blinks. If you’re looking for a crash course in the Horizons, um, journey, this is another good post to read. Read Harlequin Horizons Versus RWA first.

I am proud of RWA for taking a hard line with Horizons. They have taken a hard line with small publishers when those publishers have chosen to open new lines or divisions that don’t meet the requirements for an RWA-eligible publisher, so it only makes sense to me that they would take a hard line with a major publisher, too. I can’t say that I had every confidence that the RWA board WOULD take a hard line. Because I didn’t. I was pleasantly surprised. Hurrah for the new RWA board.

I am glad the Harlequin name will no longer be associated with Horizons. However, I am still unhappy about the possibility of Harlequin rejection letters pointing rejected writers TO Horizons as an avenue for publishing their books. I personally don’t see how retaining this option will get H/S back onto the list of RWA-eligible publishers.

Stay tuned!

Tell Me Tuesday

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

I haven’t done one of these in a while…

That was one loooooooonggggggg weekend. Youngest Son arrived Thursday morning, and we just dropped him off at the airport again last night. Had a wonderful visit, and Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ Sunday went off without a hitch. Now it’s back to work! I’m happy to report that (I think) I’m finally getting a grasp on the revisions for my single title. My mind really struggled with them all of last week. It’s nice what good a little break can do.

I also entered Penny’s December ’09 Secrets novella, KISS ME AT MIDNIGHT, in the RITA yesterday. The RITA was open to entries from major-a.k.a.-RWA-eligible publishers for the last three weeks, but just opened up to entries from non-vanity/non-subsidy-but-otherwise-non-RWA-eligible-publishers yesterday (ie. mainly e-pubs, which includes Red Sage now even though the Secrets print anthologies have been around for years and were always considered RWA-eligible or whatever the vernacular was at the time, until Red Sage opened an epub division and had to bow out of RWA-eligible status because of the whole low-advance thingie for the ebooks). I had no clue when I went to enter if the RITA was full up yet or not. So I was glad to get in. Not that Penny’s novellas tend to do well in the RITAs. They don’t. They get good (dare I say great, like 4 stars from Romantic Times?) reviews and my readers seem to enjoy them, but all that hot sex…that’s my excuse for them not doing well in RITA, and I’m sticking to it, LOL.

KISS ME AT MIDNIGHT began life as a sexy novella targeted to the now dearly departed Legendary Editor of Kensington Brava. In the first version, the sexual relationship between the hero and heroine didn’t begin until about 75% through the story, although there were lots of sparks. When that sale…didn’t occur (I won’t go into details other than that the editor no longer felt the love for the hero and the story concept)…I submitted the story as was to my first Secrets editor. She told me she loved it and was sending it up the line for approval—just when she was leaving her position to focus on her own writing career. Somehow, the submission went…awry…I was assigned a new editor and told to re-sub the story. I did, and received a form rejection. What a blow! After my first editor wanted to buy it, that set me back. So I emailed the new editor and asked for details, upon which she informed me that it needed to pack a lot more heat for her tastes, but that I could revise and resubmit if I wished.

I decided to do that, but first I wanted to try a new novella with her to make sure I knew from the get-go what she wanted. I wrote and submitted (and sold) the story that became Penny’s second sale and appeared in Secrets 26 last December. Then I finally submitted the revised version of KISS ME AT MIDNIGHT to my new (second) Red Sage editor. And then she left the house, LOL. Finally, I was assigned to the new Managing Editor, who bought the revised version of the story with one minor change to an early scene. So it was a long, hard battle to get that story onto the shelves. And it just goes to show how subjective publishing is, especially when you consider the difference in response between Secrets editor #1 and #2.

Why am I telling you all this, you ask? It’s my convoluted way of getting back to the subject of the RITAs. I have hope that KISS ME AT MIDNIGHT will do better in the contest than either of Penny’s first two novellas, because the H/h hold off on consummating their relationship until the 40% point. Erotic novellas don’t often final in the RITAs, and KISS ME AT MIDNIGHT is the least erotic of all three novellas Penny has sold thus far. Therefore, regardless of whether it finals or not, I expect it to fare better overall. Now watch, just because I came out and said that, it’ll do the worst of all three!

Well, I’m just glad the contest was still open to entries and that I made it in to have another kick at the can.

How about you? How’s your week faring? Any accomplishments or setbacks to report? (I know of someone with a major accomplishment, but I won’t out her as I understand she has some…paperwork to do first).

RITA Controversy Makes PW Blog

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

The controversy about the new “mass-produced” stipulation in RWA’s 2009 RITA contest has reached the Publishers Weekly Blog. Makes for interesting reading, and you can share your views as well, if you wish.

I’m glad the RWA office appears to have clarified the confusion surrounding the return of disqualified books. Yes, they will be returned. From RWA, via the blog :

A rumor is circulating that RWA refused to return disqualified books. That is not true. They have either been returned or are in the process of being returned. The mailing of the RITA books to judges was a priority for the staff, delaying some returns, but any member who contacted the office with this question was told that her books would be returned.

As for returning the entry fees, that’s another issue. When you enter the contest, you sign a box stating you have read the rules. Despite the confusion surrounding the new mass-produced stipulation, it appears RWA is sticking to their guns on this matter.

By the way, a blog post and petition begun by author Kristen Painter led to the Publishers Weekly blog post. You can have a look at Kristen’s petition here. Information about why she felt it necessary to spearhead the petition is on her blog.

There has been talk on one of my chapter forums about whether or not to protest this latest kerfuffle by returning one’s box of RITA or Golden Heart entries, thereby refusing to judge. I do respect individual choices, however, to me, sending back entries as a form of protest hurts the individuals who entered the contests more than it does RWA, and who’s to say that members whose books weren’t disqualified don’t share the same philosophies as members who are considering returning their packet of books? Also, it’s the RWA office staff that then has to run around and find more judges for the returned entries. The staff has nothing to do with the change in rules. However, they must enforce the change.

Every RWA member must make up her own mind how to protest, if indeed she wishes to. For myself, I have no intention of returning my box of RITA books. I do respect the right of others to send back their box of books, however. Meanwhile, I am 2.3 books into judging my packet of 8 or 9 books, and I’m enjoying the process very much.

More Worms

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Remember when I said Monday that changes to the RITA contest this year might also affect the Golden Heart? Here’s how.

Last year, changes to RWA publisher recognition occurred so that an author’s ability to enter PAN (the Published Author Network of RWA) was no longer tied to whether or not an author’s publisher met RWA-set standards. Instead, now, an author can join PAN independently of her publisher’s ability to host official editor appointments and publisher Spotlights at National, yada, yada, and her requirements for joining PAN are instead based on achieving a set minimum dollar amount of advance/royalties combination on one novel or novella. This change enabled me, myself and Moi (all three, I assure you) to join PAN last spring. Yipsee-doodle.

Suddenly, I found myself unable to enter the Golden Heart (which didn’t bother me in the least). I was thrilled not to enter the Golden Heart. After all, the year I finaled, I had two books contracted, and one of those books, BORROWING ALEX, was published just a month before the National RWA conference in Dallas. I confess, it always felt a bit strange to me to enter my unpublished manuscripts in the Golden Heart when I had books available for sale, but that was the avenue open to me, so that was the avenue I took. Fine and dandy. I entered the GH with an unpublished manuscript in 2007, and I finaled (yay, me). Did I feel guilty about taking away the chance for a truly unpublished author to final? Um, not really. Because I think every RWA member should have a chance to enter either the Golden Heart or RITA contest if she so chooses. However, the RITA changes this year now prevent that.

Now, if you sell a work of over 20,000 words to a non-Subsidy, non-Vanity Publisher, you can no longer enter your unpublished works (ie. not the work you sold) in the Golden Heart. However, once that book you sold/contracted is in print, unless it’s mass-produced (ie. not POD, which are books printed as they are ordered) you can’t enter it in the RITA contest either.

You can’t enter your published work in the RITA.

You can’t enter your unpublished work in the Golden Heart.

I’m a bit bamboozled. This is the first year since I joined RWA that I can recall a member not having the ability to enter either contest. That bugs me. Even though it doesn’t apply to my situation.

I also find it ironic that an author can join PAN on the basis of her earnings, then find herself unable to enter the same book that qualified her to join PAN in the RITAs—because her publisher uses print on demand technology instead of Print Runs of a Mysterious Number Yet to be Announced.

What am I missing?

By the way, there’s an excellent discussion about the topics of today’s and Monday’s blog post occurring over on Absolute Write, if anyone wants to check it out. Last I checked, no one in that thread had received confirmation of what constitutes “mass-produced.”

RITA Changes

Monday, November 17th, 2008

I’m mailing Penny’s entry to the RITA contest today. Wish Penny luck! Erotic romance novellas don’t usually final in the RITAs, but a Secrets novella has finaled before, so you never know. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Um, not always. Recently, I was rather disappointed to find out that entry qualifications for the RITAs have changed yet again. Last year, for the 2008 contest, for the first time ever that I can recall, micro-press books could be entered in the RITA if the entrant provided copies that were printed and bound by the publisher (IE. entrants could not print off and enter paper copies of their ebooks). Amber Quill Press prints trade paperbacks of all its novel-sized ebooks, so last year I was able to enter RITA for the first time with BORROWING ALEX. I was very excited, as the same opportunity wasn’t available to me with HEAD OVER HEELS. So I entered. That opened up another can of worms, because then I had to decide whether to enter a short novel in the Single Title category to compete against novels up to twice as long, or to enter BORROWING ALEX in the Series Contemporary category, the category descriptions for which included enough language loopholes enabling me to enter it regardless that BORROWING ALEX didn’t have a number (as in numeral) on the cover, like books published by Harlequin and Silhouette do.

I didn’t expect much. With judges not accustomed to reading micro-press books in the RITA, dared I hope I could compete? Well, BORROWING ALEX didn’t final, but it competed just fine, garnering one 9 (the top score in the contest for those not in the know) and an 8 out of the panel of five judges (IE. my peers). Yay, me. I’d hoped that by entering the RITA last year with a micro-press book I’d help pave the way for future entrants in similar circumstances. Alas, this year, anyway, it is not to be. Here is the information from the public pages of the RWA website:

Books entered in the 2009 RITA contest must:
  •  Have an original copyright date (printed on the copyright page) or a first printing date or a first North American printing date of 2008.
  • Not have been previously entered.
  • Be mass-produced by a non-Subsidy, non-Vanity Publisher in print book format.
  • Meet the requirements for the category in which it was entered.
  • Be a work of original fictional narrative prose.

It’s the “be mass-produced” phrase in the third bullet point that bothers me. Why? Because, either: (a) I’m so out of touch that I didn’t realize this pretty darn big change had occurred; or (b) it occurred without a big announcement or fanfare, like that which occurred last year.

Now I’m wondering, what qualifies as “mass-produced”? I know print on demand (POD) technology does not qualify as mass-produced, because publishers who use POD technology, like Amber Quill Press, print the books as they’re ordered. Mass market prints “print runs.” But the 2009 RITA rules do not specify a print run number.

Does this mean micro-press authors can order 10 copies of their book and then submit five copies of that book for entry to the RITA? Does 10 copies qualify as a print run (“mass-produced”)? I’m not trying to be ridiculous, I’m trying to figure it out. I’ve “heard” (IE. as in a rumor) that 500 is the minimum number required for mass-produced, but the 2009 RITA rules do not state the 500 minimum. They just state “mass-produced,” which, to a mind like mine, is open to interpretation.

I don’t know, how do you feel about these changes? Regardless of whether they affect you?

Oh, yeah, these changes also affect which authors can and can not enter the Golden Heart, but that’s another blog post.

New Industry Blog

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Novelists, Inc. has started a new blog. As a member of NINC, I’m posting the new blog to my blogroll.

I haven’t yet decided if I’ll participate in the NINC blog. For one thing, I have this blog to maintain, and, for another, the 2007 Golden Heart finalists are in the planning stages of developing a group blog, and I’m not only a scheduler but have signed up for the management team. Yes, I’m crazy. Right now we’re batting around design ideas. If that’s not enough blogging around, a few months ago I was approached about doing a group author blog with 5 or 6 other authors. I’m not sure if this blog is still in the works, as the driving force behind its inception became very, very, very, very, very, very (did I mention very?) busy and blog development discussion understandably stopped. But if that multi-author blog does come to life, I’ll be writing a post there every week. So while I’ll read the NINC blog whenever I have a spare moment, for now I think I’ll hold off on joining the participating hordes of authors and industry professionals.

Drop by the NINC blog and tell me what you think.

Tell Me Tuesday–I’ve Been PANned

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Not much to report in the WIPpy department. The writing is going well, but I’m still in the No Man’s Land of writing new scenes before I get to begin revising the scenes drafted during my NaNoWriMo experiment. The closer I get to those drafted scenes, the more I realize that the manuscript might just fall in line with my “plodding” (a.k.a. plotting). This, of course, amazes me to no end. And I have my brainstorming group to thank for it, because I couldn’t have done all that plotting without them (thank you, Looney Binners!).

My big news this week (well, last week or the week before, but I don’t think I’ve announced it yet), is that I’ve finally been admitted to RWA’s Published Authors Network (a.k.a. PAN). My Alter Ego’s third sale to Red Sage Secrets did it. It’s taken me so long to get here: two novel sales and three novella sales. Phew! And, if not for the change in RWA author eligibility standards last summer, I still wouldn’t belong to PAN. Because, before the changes, novella sales, regardless of advance level, didn’t count. Only novel sales counted, and my two Amber Quill novels, as amazing as they are, have not yet reached the level of income generation (LOIG – and, yes, I made that up) required to join PAN. However, now I am in PAN and they can’t get me out. Mwahahaha.

I know not everyone in RWA is happy with the changes to the eligibility requirements, but, I have to admit, being in the position of being able to continue entering the Golden Heart although I was in fact a published author always felt weird to me. This year, for the first time, because of the changes, I was able to enter the RITA, RWA’s contest for published works. Even though I didn’t final with either my or my Alter Ego’s entries, that I get to enter feels, well, exactly where I should be.

I was also able to join NINC this year (Novelists, Inc.). However, NINC’s membership requirements are different from RWA’s (which makes sense, considering they are different organizations). When I joined NINC in the fall, the requirements were two published novels. HEAD OVER HEELS and BORROWING ALEX qualified me. Last I knew, NINC was in the process of changing its membership requirements to one that might also include an income generation level (IGL for those into acronyms, as I, um, appear to be), however, seeing as I’m already a member, even if my earnings don’t reflect the minimum (I have no clue if they do), I don’t have to worry about it. I’m grandfathered in, and, unless I allow my membership to lapse, they can’t get me out. Mwahahaha.

Does anyone else have good or bad or lackadaisical news to report?