Awards and Travel and Querying, Oh My!

It Started With YA…

It’s been an age since I actually updated this blog with anything related to my writing path. The last year has been…a journey. I think from last summer to this summer could be called the year of the pivot. This time last year I had just begun querying a YA Fantasy manuscript I called COBWEBS AND SILVER and prepping to enter it into Pitch Wars.

Long story short, none of that panned out. I made any number of query mistakes. Somehow still garnered a fair number of requests, which lead to rejections. Made a last ditch effort to revise it as Adult Fantasy Romance (because the manuscript had always been on the line), got two more requests and…that’s where everything stalls. I never heard from those last two (at least not yet) and I’ve effectively shelved C&S.

Then Came Love…

Then in November of last year for NaNoWriMo (also known as the only time of year I seem to be able to accomplish things) I drafted a Contemporary Romance. I fell really in love with this story and the characters right away. Saying it felt different seems cliche, but I felt different writing it. I’ve been more of a Romance reader than Fantasy my entire life so writing it felt comfortable and like I could express my voice in a way I hadn’t been.

I revised what I now call RIGHT ON CUE for Camp NaNoWriMo in April (including adding 20k more words or so). Then got beta feedback which was…good. Really good I think. People seemed to respond to the way I was pitching it.

So I took that a bit farther and pitch it to a publisher and got a request for a proposal which turned into a request for a full I’m still working to turn in.

I entered the first chapter and a half into the Cleveland Rocks Romance contest, from the Northeast Ohio chapter of RWA, and was totally floored to be announced a  finalist. I don’t even need to win, I’m already completely honored. I wanted to enter every contest I could find and see if my luck would hold up.

Next Comes a Membership…

I joined the Romance Writer’s of America (RWA) sometime early this year when I decided I was getting serious about RIGHT ON CUE and I wanted their learning opportunities. It’s hard to say what my membership fee has gotten me exactly, and I have yet to attend a local chapter meeting like I planned (I work weekends so it’s tough), but it’s doing one thing for me- I’m traveling this year.

This September I’m registered to attend a romance writer’s conference with a chapter in Houston where the amazing author Elizabeth Hoyt will be speaking. Then in October I hope to attend my online Contemporary Romance Writer’s chapter retreat in upstate New York. I’ve never flown alone, and I would be flying, taking a shuttle, and a train, and then a taxi to get there by myself. I’m completely intimidated but super excited for the opportunity. It’s not booked yet but fingers crossed it works out.

Now I’m Back Where I Started…

Just over a year from when I began querying my first manuscript, I’m putting the finishing touches on RIGHT ON CUE, and getting ready to take it into the world. I’m also planning to enter it into Pitch Wars this month.

It feels so much like the same place I was a year ago and yet as a writer I’ve changed completely and my focus is entirely different. I’m made so many friends in the last year who write, I have people I can go to with questions or for feedback, and I feel like I’ll be going into querying with 1000x’s the confidence I had in 2017. I don’t know if that will be the magic formula that gets RIGHT ON CUE onto shelves, but I’m doing what I can.

In the meantime, I’m planning who I would be as a romance writer, already plotting my next romance for NaNoWriMo, and realizing I have no clue what the next year will bring.

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Holy Schnikes! Pushcart Nomination

Holy schnikes doesn’t really sound like a verbose title that would be written by a Pushcart Prize nominee, but it is.

That’s right, I was notified tonight that my story, “She Knit”, which was published in the Wild Horses: Women on Fire 2015 edition was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

I know that thousands of stories, most of which probably far outshine mine, were nominated and I honestly think I have a 0% chance of winning, but I am incredibly excited to be nominated.

I’m still reeling that anyone found my writing publishable, so learning that an editor thought I was one of their six best pieces of the year totally makes my day.

It’ll be months yet until I learn that I for sure didn’t win, in the meantime, I’ll just be telling everyone I know.

Oh yeah, and I should probably do my NaNoWriMo words for the day.