Tag Archive | MCRW

A Great Opportunity

Hey all you writers out there!

As you know, the key to getting your manuscript noticed is a great pitch. I am still learning the art, and believe me, it is an art all in itself!

My writers group, Music City Romance Writers, is sponsoring a pitch contest. This is a great way to get feedback on your pitch as well as get it into the hands of agents and editors. More information is listed below. Go for it!

WRITERS: MCRW’s Pitch contest is now open to entries!! Want help with your query blurb or back cover copy? Enter MCRW’s PICTH contest. http://bit.ly/1gJnWxW – All PAN judged, terrific final judges, quick turnaround!


Enter 200 word max. This would be the back cover copy or pitch letter blurb. — $15 entry fee — Accepting a max of 100 entries only! — Deadline: 11:59pm CST April 15


Final judges:  Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary — Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, Foreword Literary — Lauren MacCleod, Strothman Agency — Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency — Holly Root, Waxman Leavell Agency — Elizabeth Poteet, Assistant Editor, St. Martin’s Press

Good luck, and WRITE ON!

Write, write, write...




My Writing Process — the Blog Tour

Being a member of Romance Writers of America, as well as my local chapter, Music City Romance Writers, brings unique opportunities my way. And today I am acting upon one of those opportunities!

Fellow member, Jody Wallace, is part of an ongoing blog tour that highlights each writer’s writing process. Please check out her blog at: http://meankittybox.blogspot.com. You will find her writing process blog on the March 10th posting. Jody is an author of paranormal, science fiction/fantasy, and contemporary romance, as well as a few other goodies as the mood strikes her. She is especially fond of cats and when she engaged me to participate in this tour and helped me tweak my blog page, she hinted that I may now see cats pop up in my posts unexpectedly. Hmm… Good thing I like cats!

So now it’s my turn to answer four simple questions about my writing process. I know that I have a number of other authors who follow my blog, so if you’d like to hop on board, send me a message.

Question 1: What am I working on?

I decided several months ago to take an enormous step into the world of self-publishing, and will be releasing “Marked” in late April. So, I am working on some deep revisions, and have already hired a cover artist and editor so that my book is the best it can be. Terrifying? Yes. Exciting? Most definitely! Please check out my “books” tab after you read this post and you can read my prologue.  🙂

Question 2: How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I initially thought I was writing ‘romance,’ and though my book is a love story it goes beyond the typical romantic elements needed to make it fall specifically into the romance genre. It has a happy ending, but the angst the characters go through makes it fall into the line of ‘women’s fiction.’ Also, I don’t know of anyone else right now who is writing a book that takes place on an 1850’s Mississippi River steamboat.

Question 3: Why do I write what I do?

I love history, research, and happy endings. I also love stories that have depth and plenty of emotion. I want my readers to feel something that will touch their hearts. And most of all, I love to step back in time and imagine what things could have been like. Books should take us on a journey, so that’s what I always try to accomplish with my writing.

Question 4: How does my writing process work?

Strange as it may seem…most of my ideas have come from dreams. Somehow ideas just pop into my head and I run with them. I always jot down my basic plot and know how the story will start and end, but the middle is always a mystery. My characters take on lives of their own and often lead me down new unexpected paths. That’s the fun part!

Next Monday, March 24th, another fellow writer will be posting her blog, so please check out her page.

Deanndra Hall is a working author living in far western Kentucky with her lovable partner of 32+ years and three weird little dogs. When she’s not writing, she’s probably in the gym, kayaking at a local national recreation area, or lunching with friends. She writes erotic romance and erotica, which embarrasses her two grown kids to no end, and has two ongoing series and two independent novels to her credit, with another series in the works. You can see what she’s up to on her blog at http://www.deanndrahall.blogspot.com.


A cat...for Jody. :)

A cat…for Jody. 🙂

Finding Your Voice

Every writer has a unique voice. As a reader, you should be able to hear the unique qualities of the book’s author  in your head.

Some authors write with a natural flair for humor. Others, have a more subtle approach. But it’s your voice as a writer that will cause a reader to keep reading. You may have the best plot in the world, but if you have a dull, monotone, completely uninteresting voice, your reader won’t get far enough into your book to see that you have a killer plot!

It was easier to understand “voice” when I was working as a singer. My voice was obvious. It boomed out into the lounge thanks to a great sound system. I’m happy to say that no one ever threw rotten vegetables at me. A good sign that my voice was appreciated. But, everyone has different taste in music, and not all people liked to hear me sing. I didn’t rap, (okay…I made an attempt at it once), and I wasn’t into heavy metal. Also, opera was, and is, something I’ll never attempt to sing. It’s not me. It’s not my voice.

When I first decided to sing, I had people ask me if I was going to take voice lessons. Should I have been insulted? No. Though I chose not to take voice lessons, I look back now and believe they could have helped me. I was afraid that they would take away my unique qualities and make me like everyone else. What I didn’t understand is that I could have learned techniques that would have enhanced my voice, not change it. Perhaps it was pride that kept me from taking that next step. Whatever the case may be, I know now that it never hurts to learn ways to improve your craft.

So, how does this influence me as a writer? Well…again, I have a unique writing voice. But what I’ve learned is that I’m not going to shy away from learning ways to improve my writing. When I first joined RWA and my local MCRW chapter, I had someone tell me that I needed to learn what everyone else in the group knew, so that I could be like everyone else. My thought was, ‘why would I want to be like everyone else?’

I understand now. Others in the group knew more than I did about the industry. They knew techniques to improve my writing. Sitting around me was a vast amount of knowledge in the minds of other writers who had no hesitation about sharing what they knew. All I had to do was listen and learn. Wow!

So, instead of being insulted believing that I was being told I was unable to write at that point, I jumped in and started soaking up knowledge. And, after nearly two years in the chapter, I’m still learning. And loving every minute of it!

My voice is still my voice, but now I’ve learned ways of putting it on paper that will make a reader want to keep turning the pages.

Keep your unique qualities, but don’t shy away from learning ways to improve them.


Find your voice...

Find your voice…

Learning From Others

My grandfather used to say “I’m no spring chicken.” He also used to tell me that he probably wouldn’t be on this earth much longer. The first time he told me that I believe I was about ten years old. He was 60, and lived to be 101.  Oops!  I’m telling my age now!239140774108_0_BG

I was blessed that he lived a long life because I learned a lot from him. Not long ago when we were moving, I came across some old cassette tapes that he made for me. Instead of letters, he would record cassettes and send them from Illinois to my home in Idaho. Hearing his voice always cheered me, and his tapes were full of wisdom and humor. When I found the long-forgotten cassette and put it in my archaic tape player, I cried like a baby. Not only was his voice on the recording, but my grandmother also made a reluctant “appearance” on the tape.

I wish now that I had recorded all the information he told me when we traveled across Illinois and he showed me where he grew up and stories of how his family came to America. My love for history makes me wish I had the foresight to at least take notes.

Lesson learned. Pay attention. Take notes. Learn what you can from people who have lived and done things you’ve never done before.

That applies to my journey now.

Years back when I was performing in a summer theater group, I met an incredible tenor by the name of Robert McPherson. If you get a chance, go out to you tube and pull up his rendition of the National Anthem. Amazing… Anyway, I told him once that when I heard him sing, I wondered why I even tried. He sings effortlessly, and beautifully. His response to me was something like, “Don’t discount your own talent. Everyone has something to offer.”  So, I kept singing too.

And now, I can apply that same wisdom to my writing venture. I wrote previously about the “Self-Doubt Monster” and this ties into that. Every writer is unique. We all have different voices and different stories to tell. Don’t discount your own talent.

When I first joined Music City Romance Writers, I remember being in awe of the published writers in our group. I still am. I also remember the first time I asked Trish Milburn to sign a copy of one of her books for me. I was nervous asking, but she graciously signed, and has never been out of reach as a fellow writer. In fact, I’ve not met one person in our group who looks down their nose at anyone. If anything, it’s just the opposite. They embrace new writers and willingly pass on their knowledge and share their writing journey.

It’s a pleasure to be a part of a group that lift each other up instead of back-biting and trying to climb over one another. Unlike some jobs where people can viciously try to claw their way to the top, we are helping each other get there, and rejoicing when someone has success.

I hope that I can be encouraging to new writers and that all the things I’m learning can be passed on.

Write on!MCRW Natchez Trace 2013 018

Show, Don’t Tell

“Show your story, don’t tell it.”

Okay…this one really stumped me. I thought that as a writer I was supposed to tell my story! And then, over and over again at MCRW meetings and retreats, I kept hearing, “Are you showing, or are you telling?”

I think I finally “get it.” Simply put, it’s the difference between writing: “John was angry, and yelled, ‘I hate you.'” AND “John’s hands gripped the rail, tighter and tighter as his knuckles became white. His rapid breathing caused him to spit out the words, ‘I hate you!'”

It’s not some of my best writing, but I wanted to make a simple illustration. I’m sure you can see the difference.

No, I don’t yet consider myself an expert, but I hope that sharing my writing journey with you will help you on your journey too. Don’t get discouraged. You will be your best, worst enemy. Self-doubt can kill your inspiration, so always remind yourself that whatever you put on paper is better than nothing at all. Keep at it, and “show” your stuff!!

Edit, Edit, Edit

Being around other members of MCRW who talk about the endless nights of editing… I want those nights!

Every road leads somewhere...

Every road leads somewhere…

I long to get that phone call, telling me that a publisher finds my work worthy of publication. I want to hear the words, “We love it!  Now…here’s what you need to do to fix it.”

In the meantime, while I’m waiting for that phone call, I’m doing my own line-by-line edits. With everything I’ve learned, I’m taking my books a step further. Every step leads me closer to the bookshelf at your favorite bookstore, or that “e-universe” where you can download it into your e-reader.

Thank you for sharing the journey with me, and be sure to check out my “Books” page and read my prologue for “Marked.”


MCRW Retreat

Natchez Trace State Park, Lexington, Tennessee.  Wow!!  What a wonderful time I had learning from and sharing with other writers!!  The scenery was breath-taking and inspiring, and the workshops offered by some of our members who are published authors was priceless. I learned ways to improve my already existing manuscripts, and have already started a major edit on “Marked.” Though I know my existing manuscript is very good, I believe these simple changes will make it GREAT!  I’m very motivated!! And…I plan to do much better at keeping up my site!ImageImageImage