Monday, August 31, 2009

2010 New Voices Writing Competition

Calling All Authors:

Do you remember your first dream?

Epic Authors presents the 2010 New Voices Writing Competition for young writers. This free annual contest provides the opportunity for budding authors to submit and be judged, and to win and be published.

Viewpoints are rapidly changing in the publishing industry and our school systems regarding e-publishing. EPIC’s members have been on the forefront of the literacy fight, speaking at schools and conferences, encouraging evocative and expressive writing from young writers.

--New Voices Brochure

The New Voices competition takes short stories, essays, and poetry submissions from youth ages 11 to 18 (Middle School and High School). Judges are educational or publishing professionals. Our winners are chosen from each age group and category, and are published in an anthology. Prizes vary and range from an e-reader to gift certificates (and more).

New Voices is a wonderful chance to encourage our youth to develop their talents and pursue their goals. Spread the word about New Voices and foster a child’s dream.

Visit the New Voices website for details:

Or, for more information, contact

Danielle Thorne

New Voices 2010 Co-Chair

Thursday, August 27, 2009

For The Sweetest Romance Authors Scavenger Hunt

The bufo marinus, also known as the cane toad, is a critter Floridians may recognize. These huge toads, which can weigh up to four pounds, aren't native to Florida, however. They come from Central America and South America. Cane toads are the most introduced species of amphibian in the world.

These little (or big) guys were introduced to help control insects that attack sugarcane. While they did serve their purpose, they are now well-established in many places other than their native lands.

Cane toads are omnivorous and will eat just about anything, including dog and cat food. They're most active at night, so a bright sunny afternoon is not likely the best time to go looking for one. And should you decide to look for a cane toad, remember that the secretions from their skin are highly toxic. It's known to sicken or kill small animals, such as cats and dogs. The secretions may also cause skin irritation or burn the eyes of humans, so stop and think carefully for a moment before handling one of these enormous toads.

If you're still curious about the bufo marinus, check out this neat fact sheet.

Chatters from The Sweetest Romance Authors chat, here's the link to your next clue:

Good luck and enjoy the rest of the chat! For more information on The Sweetest Romance Authors and Readers, check out the group's page.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

Thank you, Anne Patrick, for giving me the Kreativ Blogger Award!

Wow, seven things no one knows about me...well, I can come up with seven that aren't well known, so I hope that counts. :)

7 Things You Never Knew (About Me):

1. I wrote a young adult novel during my high school career and self-published it after I graduated. It was a very expensive lesson that taught me that even if getting a traditional publisher takes a lot longer than self-publishing (usually) and is more difficult, but the traditional publishing contract is totally worth it.

2. When I was in high school, I took marine biology for two years and considered becoming a marine biologist.

3. I hated writing as a kid, but I loved reading and making up stories.

4. I had three learner's permits before I got a driver's license.

5. I once taught a drama class for homeschooled children.

6. My garden almost always has green beans and tomatoes...I don't like to eat either one.

7. For years, doctors said I had autistic-like behaviors. Since graduating from high school, I've received three or four unofficial diagnoses of autism. It's amazing how difficult it is to get an official diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder if you were born before about 1990 and you're high-functioning.

On to the nominations! Do I even know seven bloggers? Just kidding. Here's the list:

1. Miss Mae

2. Laurean Brooks

3. Ashley Ludwig

4. Grace Brooks

5. Kimberli Campbell

6. Sharon Donovan

7. Roni Adams

Now, here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award. (Thanks, Anne!)

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.

3. Link the logo to the person who nominated you for this award.

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might not know.

5. Nominate 7 Bloggers.

6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.

7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What a weekend...

My life has been a whirlwind for the last four days, and it's not letting up yet. Thursday, I received word from Sea Crest eBooks that my newest ebook, Light in the Darkness, was released. That started a flurry of emails about promo and probably a few silly questions on my part. Sheila, you are such a sweetheart and so patient with the tons of questions I've had. Thank you for all of the help you've given me.

I spent Friday with The Sweetest Romance group in the Latte Lounge of Coffee Time Romance. We had a blast and I want to give a big thank you to everyone who stopped by, including the lurkers. I hope you guys enjoyed the chat as much as I did!

On Saturday, I worked on my blog. A huge thank you and a big hug goes to Lula for pointing me to the site where I found the new background for my blog and for the banner she so kindly created. As I've already said, Lula, you are such a sweetie! Thank you so much.

I've also been working on updates for my website the last few days. I'm hoping to have all the work done on the site next weekend, but we all know how the best laid plans can go awry. I'll keeping working toward getting the site updated next weekend anyway. :)

Sunday, I finished reading See No Evil, My Pretty Lady by Miss Mae. If you've never read this historical romantic suspense, I recommend buying a copy. The story kept me guessing all the way to the end, and when I found out the true identity of the villain, I couldn't have been more surprised. Major kudos to Miss Mae for a job well done.

Of course, not all of Sunday was great. My laptop, which is older than dirt, finally gave up the ghost. I coaxed it into working long enough to rescue all of my files, but now I'm stuck working on the desktop computer, which resides in one of the busiest rooms of my house. So much for peace and quiet while working. Hopefully I can replace the laptop soon, but we all know how expensive computers can be.

Today I'm hanging out on the Diana Kay Publishing loop and promoting Light in the Darkness in between working. I'm also participating in a couple of other promo events coming up before the end of the year, which I'll mention here as those days draw closer.

On top of all of this recent insanity, I'm in the midst of major revisions on what I hope will be a full-length novel by the time I finish, and I'm working on revising a couple of short stories. A writer's work never stops, but if it could slow down a little, the writing part would be a whole lot easier. Ah, well. Squeezing out time to write is part of the complex juggling act of life.

Everyone have a great week, and remember to make time for books(including ebooks), whether you write or just read.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chat with The Sweetest Romance!

Come chat with The Sweetest Romance Authors this Friday, August 14, at the Latte Lounge! Make sure to sign up with Coffee Time Romance now so you can be sure you'll be able to post to the boards and chat with us. There will be prizes, excerpts, and plenty of fun for all!

If you miss the Summer Fun Chat, you can still find The Sweetest Romance in the Java Junction. Read excerpts, discuss books, ask questions...The Sweetest Romance Authors love to hear from readers and are always happy to chat.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Word Addiction

I know, the title of this post sounds like a no-brainer, right? Of course an author and avid reader is addicted to words. But this post isn't about my love of the written word. No, it's about another word addiction that I'm embarrassed to admit I have.

I'm addicted to "ing" words, "was," and "were."

Shameful thing for an author to admit, right? But here's the thing, like any other addiction, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

How did I find out about my addiction to these words, the ones that catch an editor's eye and too occurrences of them get you a rejection? You guessed it. I received a rejection. I didn't even know I had so many "ing" words in that story until the editor told me to do a search for them and highlight them. I did, and every page came alive with color. I searched out "was" and "were" as well, highlighting them in a different color. Guess what? I suddenly had a rainbow of highlights on my pages.

Oh, that poor editor, having to suffer through my passive, "ing" filled story. I'm so grateful she pointed that out to me. Now I know what to look for: bad writing habits I thought I'd overcome. The hard part is rewriting sentences to make them much more active and remove the "ing" words. Of course, there is a silver lining to all of this. The revisions to combat my word addiction will tighten up the writing and make the story even better.

Thanks to the poor editor who had to suffer through my lazy writing, and was kind enough to tell me what I needed to work on, I see a light at the end of what likely would have been a very dark tunnel of form rejections. And not just on this story. I did the same search and highlight method on a short story I thought was almost ready to go. Same result. It makes the pages quite pretty with all those highlights, but I'd rather have the writing itself be pretty. Good writing is what keeps editors and readers happy, not how many highlights you can fit on one page.

Let's open up the comments section for a bit of writerly group therapy. Do you have a word addiction you're trying to overcome? Some bad writing habit you know you have, yet you don't seem to realize it crept into your manuscript until after you submitted?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Coming Soon -- Light in the Darkness

I'm so excited! My newest ebook, Light in the Darkness, will be available soon from Sea Crest eBooks. Want to know more about this story with an awesome cover? Here's the blurb:

Kennedy Drake loves exploring dark places, which makes his job as a graveyard shift security guard ideal. While checking out strange noises in his elderly neighbor’s basement, he discovers a hidden room with a woman trapped inside. Chastity Mooreland has more to fear than her time trapped in darkness. Will Kennedy believe her bizarre tale of a stalker no one thinks is guilty—and will he help free her from a life of despair? Can Chastity look past her suspicion of mankind to accept his offer of friendship?

I'm looking forward to the release of this one. It's quite a bit different from Dreams Do Come True. For one thing, it's not a romance. Another difference is that it's written entirely from Kennedy's point of view. I'll admit right now that thinking like a man isn't always easy. David Jameson in Dreams Do Come True was my first attempt at writing the male POV. I learned a lot through that adventure, and I think I did pretty well writing Light in the Darkness from Kennedy's perspective. Time (and readers/reviews) will tell.

Just as soon as I know the release date, I'll post it here. Have a great Monday!