Friday, January 24, 2020

The Power of Writing Contests


by Linda Thorne

I recently entered a writing contest for a short story I'd written a long time ago and was reminded of how these contests can get your creative juices flowing. I polished off my unpublished short story, revising and revising until I felt I'd reached perfection. I submitted it early for a contest that doesn't end until close to the end of the year, but it's a big contest, huge, even for those who don't win but make the finals. I not only felt satisfied, but totally motivated. This started me on another contest for my unpublished novel in the works. My work in progress is still in revision stage, but I'm plowing through it now. Why? Because I have a contest, and this time the deadline is early summer.

I'd forgotten the power writing contests always had over me. When I first started writing I entered them regularly. That magic feeling. For years I’d entered the Minotaur Books/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition with my first book. They also have one for First Crime Novel. This contest is free for those mystery writers who have not yet published a novel and, if you win, it's traditional publication for your debut novel with an advance against future royalties of $10,000. The judges read your entire book. That’s an opportunity you don’t often find. That's gold! Sometimes I think the motivation to win this contest was what drove me to get the finished product I needed to find a publisher for my book. There is no second or third place winner in this competition only first place, or in the finals, or out of luck. I never won the contest, but for the last two consecutive years I entered, my book was a finalist. I definitely recommend this to anyone who has a novel in works (mystery or crime fiction), but has not yet published a novel.

Before I was published, I entered numerous writing contests regularly, not just for motivation, but for feedback from judges and an occasional critique thrown in as a bonus to those contests that charge fees for submissions. To me, the writing contests provided an invaluable learning tool.

Some other contests that I recommend to those seeking publication are: The Sandy Writing Contest, The PNWA Literary Contest, and The Colorado Gold Writing Contest.

Contests are motivational because there is a shorter-term possibility of getting something in return. You have a good reason to buff your submission. There’s the hope of a win of some sort. You’re given a deadline, so you meet it instead of dallying around. Then there's the precious worthwhile feedback many writing contests offer.

If you're trying to get published, seeking writing training, or want to get out of a writer's block mode, try submitting to a contest. If you do this, trust me, you'll really "get" what I've said here.  


Linda Thorne Website

Book on Amazon - Kindle on Sale for 99 cents

Amazon Author Page




Wednesday, January 15, 2020

AN ANNOUNCEMENT! - A BIG ONE!


by Janis Patterson

This has been in the works for the past eight months, and I’m finally free to get the word out publicly.
Most of you know of my lengthy affiliation with the American Research Center in Egypt, a scholarly organization which is headquartered in Cairo – with a secondary headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. Begun over seventy years ago as an archaeological facilitating entity for those scholarly institutions and museums which did not maintain a dedicated presence in Egypt, ARCE has become one of the biggest Egyptological organizations in the world.
I have been working with ARCE for almost thirty years on a volunteer basis. The North Texas Chapter – one of the largest and most active chapters – was begun in my den in 1992. I’ve served the chapter in some capacity on the board for almost every year of its existence. I began and for nine years put out the Newsletter of the North Texas chapter, which for the nine years of my reign (word chosen deliberately) was the only monthly publication for ARCE in the world. It was archived by universities and museums as a scholarly journal in spite of physically being just four sheets photocopied and stapled. Some of the biggest names in Egyptology wrote for our Newsletter. I’ve also served the international organization in several small ways. One of the highlights of my life was being the closing speaker at the ARCE International Conference of 2005.
Do you get the idea that I’m slightly mad about Egyptology? I even met The Husband through our mutual love of Egyptology, and he proposed to me in a moonlit garden across the street from the Pyramids. Yes, those pyramids…
So you see, Egyptology has always been a big part of my life.
Now ARCE and I are starting something new, something that neither one of us has ever done before. (And with the life I’ve led, that’s a rare statement for me to be able to make!) Here’s the text of the press release – it’s prettier in actuality, with my picture and a pretty border and some photos of Egypt, but this gets the important part across…

INTERESTED IN IMMORTALITY?
SILENT AUCTION APRIL 3RD- APRIL 4TH @ 2PM, 2020

The Ancient Egyptians believed in achieving immortality through their burial practices. You can do it through a winning bid, and you don’t have to die!

Well-known mystery novelist Janis Patterson is partnering with ARCE to auction off a chance to become a character in her new mystery novel set in Egypt. The highest bidder will be named as a secondary character in her next novel set in Egypt.

There are still more chances to win. The second and third highest bidders will be named as tertiary characters in the novel.

The Silent Auction will be held during the Annual Meeting starting Friday morning, April 3 and conclude at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 4. The winning bidders will be announced at the April 4 Members Dinner.

Look for the Janis Patterson booth at the Annual Meeting and win the chance for immortality!

Janis Susan May/Janis Patterson is a 7th generation Texan and a 3rd-generation wordsmith who writes in mystery, romance, and horror. Once an actress and a singer, Janis has also been editor-in-chief of two multi-magazine publishing groups as well as many other things, including an enthusiastic amateur Egyptologist. Janis’ husband even proposed in a moonlit garden near the Pyramids of Giza. Janis and her husband live in Texas with an assortment of rescued furbabies.

Can you see why I’m excited? I'll keep you all up to date on how this goes...

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

And Now it Has Begun--2020!

It's still hard for me to get my mind around the fact that this is 2020!

Nearly two weeks in and it's well on it's way. I've already attended my first meeting of the San Joaquin chapter of Sister in Crime, have worked more on my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery and all the other things that come in the day-to-day process of living.

This is the time of year when we authors start to make plans about promotion. What are your plans in this direction?

So far, I'm signed up for the Public Safety Writers Conference in July--my favorite because I can hang out with my favorite law enforcement and fire fighter folks, and mystery writer friends.

I'm making a plan for a panel with two other local authors to be held at our local library, and we plan on calling it, Ask the Author.

Haven't heard yet about up-coming book fairs, but I'm sure that's coming.

I'll keep on doing blog posts and guesting on blogs.

I also plan on doing more online promotion for my older books.

And as we all know, sometimes our plans don't work out because of unplanned events in our lives.

So, what have you got on your agenda so far?

And if you're a reader and not a writer, what kind of author events are you most likely to be interested in?

Marilyn who is starting 2020 full of enthusiasm.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Bundle Rabbit


Make Mine Mystery
 










January 5, 2020
Linda Lee Kane

Bundle Rabbit


  Have any of you heard of this marketing group? I hadn’t but one of the authors I worked with in Death Among Us found it and put our book, with the permission of all of the contributors into this bundling service.

  This is a do-it-yourself bundle service and it distributes to Kobo, Amazon, and the other usual suspects. You can first join as an author as I did, watch it for awhile, if you like it, you can wait to see if you are picked up by other authors, or you can look for other authors to bundle with you. You may decide to become a curator.

   If you decide you want to forgo waiting to be picked up and decide to become a curator, all you have to do is follow Diane’s advice-https://djmills.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/ebook-bundles/. She explains everything about how Bundle Rabbit works for authors.

  What’s great about this service is they collect the money and pay you directly. No dividing up among other authors which is difficult.

  I’m still in the process of watching everything as an author but I’m thinking why not bundle all of my books together and see what happens. I’ll keep waiting and watching. Until then, Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

"Twas the Night Before Christmas...."

Wishing you all the merriest of Christmasses.

How do you spend Christmas Eve?

Over the years, what we've done has changed. When the kids were little, they got to open one present before they went to bed. No one got much sleep. Once they were gone, often it was time to put some of the gifts together. I remember once, one of the kids got something so complicated, it too all night to have it ready.

Now, with our children all grown up, two of our grown children and their spouses join us, plus one of our son's son, wife,  and two of his kids, and our granddaughter and husband, and their three girls. We have dinner, then open presents. Nowadays, because our family has gotten so huge, we draw names.  Opening presents doesn't take so long, and everyone can go do other things if they are so inclined.

Do any of you writers continue with your writing chores during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?

For me, it's celebrating the birth of Christ and enjoying family.

Soon we'll be beginning a brand new year, 2020! Hard to believe.

Have the best of whatever you  celebrate at this time of year.

And Happy New Year!



Friday, December 20, 2019

Christmas Again Already????

by Linda Thorne

Why does it seem Christmas gets here quicker every single year? There were a whole lot of years when my step children were children. Those were the greatest Christmases of all and I remember them well. We lived in Denver then, so those were often white Christmases. The last white Christmas we had in Nashville was in 2010. Our children are grown with children of their own and all live in different states. This year it will be just me and my husband. Our two dogs (featured in the picture), brother and sister border collies didn't make it to Christmas 2018. We miss them so, and keep them in our memories of Christmases past or what writers call backstory.


Speaking of that, my second book in the series is close to completion, but not yet ready to turn over to my publisher. Right now my biggest struggle is backstory. The main plot is built around a 30-year-old cold case with my lead character, at the age of 20, being the intended victim. Someone else was murdered in her stead. I love the story line, but weaving in an inciting incident that happened 30 years earlier is not only difficult, but a science. A friend of mine read much of the book and gave me suggestions and then warned me to tread carefully in finding the right places to drop in the backstory. I'm so thankful she's willing to look at it again once I've struggled through this process.

Does anyone else find Christmas is here before you know it? Anyone want to talk about the problems with backstory?


Either way, hope each and every one of you have a wonderful, happy holiday event.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Blame It On Santa


by Janis Patterson

Or maybe not. The old gent has enough to worry about this time of year.
No, the blame is totally on me. I have been so swamped with Christmas, a dear family member moving across the country, some other family issues, including some health issues, and the everlasting crush of approaching hard deadlines that I just plain pushed this blog to the back of my mind and there it stayed until my second mug of coffee this morning. Ooops.
All I can say is that I’m sorry and apologize profusely. Usually I love sharing things with all of you, but this month life just got away with me and I apologize. And make an early New Years resolution to be better.
I also promise the announcement of something wonderful in January. It’s taken a lot to keep my mouth shut about this, but I’ll tell all as soon as the news is officially released!
Still, I want to take this opportunity to wish you the Merriest of Christmases, the Happiest of Hanukkahs, the best of whatever you celebrate in this wonderful season, and the loveliest and most creative of New Years! Bless you all -