Thursday, March 28, 2013

Welcome SYTYCW Finalist Sun Chara

Please welcome Sun Chara, a Top 28 Finalist in the So You Think You Can Write contest 2012.

Sun Chara recently sold her western historical romance, Gamblin' Lady, to the wonderful Chris Keeslar editor-in-chief at Boroughs Publishing Group. It should be coming out sometime in April.

Welcome Sun Chara, so glad to have you here today. I enjoyed your entry, Manhattan Millionaire's Cinder Girl. Overall, how would you rate your experience with So You think You Can Write Global 2012?

Exhausting but exhilarating!

We were required to upload the first chapter as our entry in SYTYCW. Is that chapter still in its original form or has it gone through more revisions?

The chapter remains in its original form…had revised about a dozen times prior to entering contest.

How about the rest of the book? Is it finished? Going through more revisions?

The book is finished. Of course, if/when an editor requests revisions, then I will revise once again.

Any thoughts on submitting your entry to another publisher or agent?

Of course, the object is to sell…my first choice is Harlequin!

How long have you been writing?

Ever since I can remember, but it’s been over 12 years.

Have you ever entered a contest like this one before?

Yes. I entered The New Voices Contest and an earlier SYTYCW contest. The 2012 SYTYCW was the easiest to navigate, and the best so far…fabulous opportunity, thanks to Harlequin!

Yes, I agree. I think it's a wonderful opportunity and there aren't many publishers that help new authors as much as Harlequin. What are your thoughts about the promotional aspect of the contest?

Great! Gives writers the opportunity to get their work & name out there…when they sell, these new friends celebrate with them. It’s also great for the publisher, because it reminds the public of the world-renown Harlequin brand…creates an exciting buzz all around the world!

If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently, if anything?

Be more social media prepared. As for the work itself – can’t think of anything right now I’d do differently. (If anyone has any suggestions, please tell!) I gave it my all this time around, and loved it! Because this business is so subjective, it’s not a good idea to try to outguess the what ifs… Always go with your gut and send in that story…and let the chips fall where they may. 

I love your thoughts on the subjective aspect. I couldn't have said it better myself, and we are wise to keep it in mind. What are you working on now?

Am working on completing the manuscript on partial I submitted to Harlequin Kiss from the SYTYCW 2012 contest request. This is a new one, and not the one that finaled…although I have a soft spot in my heart for, Manhattan Millionaire’s Cinder Girl.

Where can we find you on the Web?

https://www.facebook.com/sunchara3 https://twitter.com/sunchara3

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Winners Announced!

Bridgette O'Hare has announced the winners of her "pick the cover" contest last Thursday. And they are ... (drum roll)

Poster of Aedan model, Gary Taylor...Christie Lawrence

Prof. Beta Read...Moira Crooks

Congrats Christie and Moira and thanks for voting!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Welcome SYTYCW Finalist Bridgette O'Hare

I'm super excited to welcome Bridgette O'Hare to my blog today. She was a Top 28 Finalist with So You Think You Can Write with her novel, Lullaby. Not only is she here today to answer my grueling interview questions, but she is also asking us to vote on our favorite cover for Lullaby! See the poll below.

Hoo boy, I don't know about you all, but I'm voting for the Gerard Butler look-alike.

Hi Bridgette, thank you for being here today. Overall, how would you rate your experience with So You think You Can Write Global 2012?

For me, SYTYCW 2012 was an amazing experience. Lullaby is my first novel and when I entered chapter one into the competition, I wasn’t even halfway finished with the manuscript. Being selected as a Top 28 Finalist forced me to focus hard and meet the deadline for submission. It was a true blessing in many ways. I’m an Editor myself, and often times I put my own writing to the side to work on editing for my clients. In addition to pushing me to complete “Lullaby,” the experience of meeting so many great new authors and the support and encouragement everyone in the competition offered was unbelievable – I’m a sociable person and I LOVED getting to network with everyone. Making it to the Top 28 was icing on the cake. I am fully aware of what a great opportunity it was to skip all the formalities of submitting (queries, rejections and more) and just get my manuscript right into the hands of the editors. It was truly a remarkable experience.

We were required to upload the first chapter as our entry in SYTYCW. Is that chapter still in its original form or has it gone through more revisions?

As of right now, it’s still in original form, but I’m in the process of mapping out revisions as suggested by the Editor of Harlequin’s Teen line.

How about the rest of the book? Is it finished? Going through more revisions?

As I said, I had to submit a completed manuscript when Lullaby made it into the Top 28 Finalists, so it was completed. I didn’t make the Top 3 and that was due in part to the fact that the editors didn’t feel my story actually fit into any of the lines that were part of the competition, so they passed Lullaby on to the editor of their teen line. I finally received feedback from the Harlequin Editor and I am working on revisions now.

I’m also considering a revision for the cover. The original design is of my female MC, Halle Michaels. The redesign would be of Aedan, the male MC. See both below to vote on your favorite and enter the giveaway (one of the prizes would be a personalized signed poster from Gary Taylor – the model for the Aedan cover)

Any thoughts on submitting your entry to another publisher or agent?

Actually, yes. This experience has been amazing, but it has also shown me that maybe Harlequin isn’t the best match for my target audience, at least not for this storyline. I now have my own editor and once we have completed revisions I’ll be exploring other avenues. I have a short list of agents I’ll be in contact with. I feel like Lullaby and the Book of Dreams Trilogy are really more of a mainstream fit, Twilight fans would love this Trilogy so it isn’t just for teens.

How long have you been writing?

My mom says I made up stories when I was little, but I don’t remember those. I remember writing poetry and song lyrics from the age of 12 and all through high school. There was a short story here and there, of course, but Lullaby is actually my first attempt at anything beyond that. I began writing it on April 30, 2010. I took almost two years off from it for personal reasons and picked it back up in June of 2012.

Have you ever entered a contest like this one before?

No. This was my first (and only so far), so it was hard to believe I made it as far as I did.

What are your thoughts about the promotional aspect of the contest?

I think it gives writers a realistic taste of what being an author is about now. In today’s world, promotion is key because of the technology and the competition out there. There are many talented writers and sometimes you have to put forth more effort to get your story to the readers because of that. Personally, for the competition, I did focus on promoting my own story, but I also tried to point out to the readers that mine wasn’t the only one worthy of voting for. Maybe everyone isn’t into the Paranormal/Supernatural storyline, and with that in mind . . . I just wanted them to vote for someone!

If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently, if anything?

I would have had not only the manuscript but the blurb that introduced my story more polished before submitting.

What are you working on now?

At the moment, (in addition to revisions for Lullaby) I’m working on Book Two of the Book of Dreams Trilogy – working title, Dream Walkers. I am also writing Book One, Seven More Foul, of my Seven Series as well as a standalone novel, Footprints in the Snow. All are Paranormal/Supernatural, Edge-of-your-seat reads with a Romantic twist.

Of course, I’m also Editing over at Plot2Published.com where we offer editing for Indie Authors as well as Cover designs, Beta Readers, Book trailers and so much more at very reasonable rates.

Yes, oddly enough I do find time to eat, watch Vampire Diaries, and even sleep on occasion.

Where can we find you on the Web?

I’m like Santa . . . I’m all over the place . . . lol.

Facebook Author Page – Bridgette O’Hare

My writing blog – Random Writes of Passage - bridgetteohare.blogspot.com

Facebook Editing Page - Plot2Published Indie Author Services or just www.Plot2Published.com

Twitter – www.twitter.com/bridgetteohare @bridgetteohare



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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Welcome SYTYCW contestant Author Robyn Rychards

I'm super excited to have Robyn Rychards here with me today. She's a regular on the Harlequin Board and recently had a little party thread when she sold her debut novel, Her Man from Shilo, to Harlequin Escape.

Overall, how would you rate your experience with So You think You Can Write Global 2012?

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being perfect, I would rate it an 8. It was definitely worth entering and if I wasn’t working for Harlequin at this point, I would enter again next time.

We were required to upload the first chapter as our entry in SYTYCW. Is that chapter still in its original form or has it gone through more revisions?

I am in the process of major revisions on the first several chapters because I submitted it to my publisher and she gave me some revision suggestions.

How about the rest of the book? Is it finished? Going through more revisions?

I did submit a chapter from a completed manuscript to the contest, although it seems like there’s always tweaking that needs to be done, and now, of course, I’m doing a rewrite on it.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was in middle school, though once I started having children, I had to put it on the back burner. I am in awe of anyone who can write with small children around. I wasn’t able to get back to it until my youngest was in school all day.

Have you ever entered a contest like this one before?

SYTYCW was my first real contest. I had entered the Writer’s Challenge several times on the Harlequin Boards and placed with each entry.

What are your thoughts about the promotional aspect of the contest?

Hmmm…. I like to leave that sort of thing to the professionals. Seems to me they did a pretty good job of it.

If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently, if anything?

Enter a different story.

What are you working on now?

I have several irons in the fire right now. Two completed manuscripts that I’m reworking the first few chapters on, one of them my SYTYCW entry. It appears I have a bit of a problem getting the beginnings of my books right…. I am also working on a new manuscript that I hope to submit to Harlequin KISS or Romance. I’m about a third of the way done with that one.

Where can we find you on the Web?

I never thought I’d see the day, but I have a website, www.robynrychards.com . I am on Facebook and Twitter as well, and of course my digital publisher’s website, Harlequin’s Escape Publishing www.escapepublishing.com.au. I feel like I’m all over the place now. Including Amazon and iTunes! Who would have thought?

I'm really happy for your, Robyn and wish you much success with your debut novel!

And now here's a blurb from Robyn’s debut Her Man from Shilo:

Rafferty Pierce's step-father has arranged a marriage for him in order to expand the family ranch. Just one small problem-Rafferty already has a wife.

Daimiana Casey has loved two things for as long as she can remember…. Dancing and Rafferty Pierce. Will she be able to convince Rafferty she doesn’t have to give up one to have the other?

With his step-father’s ultimatum, Rafferty is forced to reveal the shotgun marriage he’s kept secret and with it passion and tension erupt. Can Daimee and Raff have what they both want more than anything?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Welcome SYTYCW Finalist Monica Tillery

We're doing a little switcheroo this week, and Robyn will be visiting next week. Today I'm happy to welcome finalist Monica Tillery, who has some great insights.

Hi Monica. Overall, how would you rate your experience with So You think You Can Write Global 2012?

SYTYCW 2012 was an overwhelmingly positive experience for me. It came at the perfect time, as I had been working on my first manuscript and I used the opportunity to get serious about writing. The public voting aspect of the contest forced me to share my dreams of becoming an author with my friends and family and gave me the push that I needed to be bold and purposeful in my work. The support and camaraderie that developed between participating writers was such an unexpected bonus. It was an amazing experience to get support and encouragement from people that were essentially competing against one another. Another aspect of SYTYCW that was invaluable to me was that, as a top 28 finalist, I was given the opportunity to send my full manuscript to Harlequin editors. No query, no partial, no slush pile required. That’s a rare opportunity and I know how lucky I was to get to do that.

We were required to upload the first chapter as our entry in SYTYCW. Is that chapter still in its original form or has it gone through more revisions?

The chapter I submitted for the contest has been through multiple revisions since then. When I uploaded it to enter, I honestly thought I was putting forth my best work. When it came time to send my MS to editors for the next round, I saw how woefully wrong I was! It looked like a first draft to me when I came back to it with fresh eyes.

How about the rest of the book? Is it finished? Going through more revisions?

My book is finished! I was fortunate enough to be in the top 28 finalists and had to send my complete manuscript to the editors. I did not continue on to the top 3, but I was excited to receive a revise and resubmit letter for my submission. I was given a letter outlining ways in which my story wasn’t right for Harlequin Romance and the opportunity to revise and resubmit. I have revised the ms according to their critique and the book is currently under consideration. I haven’t heard another word about it, and I’m trying to stay positive and focus on other things while I wait!

Any thoughts on submitting your entry to another publisher or agent?

Harlequin is my first love, my dream publisher, but if they reject this manuscript, I am open to submitting it elsewhere. I also think it’s important to consider other publishers for books that don’t fit within the right category guidelines of Harlequin’s imprints.

How long have you been writing?

Like so many people, I spent years saying that I want to write a book. I have many, many aborted and abandoned attempts as well. I got serious and started writing with purpose in May of last year. I feel like I’ve learned so much in the time since then, but at the same time I feel like such a beginner!

Have you ever entered a contest like this one before?

No, not like this. I entered a short story I wrote in a Writer’s Digest contest once, but this has been a much more satisfying experience!

What are your thoughts about the promotional aspect of the contest?

Do you mean that we needed votes to advance? That we had to promote ourselves in order to have a chance? I found it intimidating to put myself out there to ask for people to read my chapter and vote for me, but a big part of success in writing is learning how to self-promote. Authors today must learn how to be visible without annoying their audience, how to promote themselves without always seeming like they’re promoting themselves. I know that the top 28 chapters might not have actually been the best 28 of the 700 submissions, but the importance of promotion and networking can’t be denied. Fortunately, editors from Harlequin combed the submissions for promising chapters that didn’t make it onto the next round. Several aspiring authors received requests from their entries, so everyone benefitted.

If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently, if anything?

I had a beautiful experience and I was thrilled to go so far since it was the first book I’d ever written. My dream is to be ineligible to participate in SYTYCW 2013 because I’ll have a publishing contract with Harlequin, but if I enter again this year, I will know more of what to look for when revising my work. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and have made some improvement in my writing, so hopefully my next entry will be even stronger.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently revising my second book, another category romance for Harlequin Desire, and planning a third. When I’m not writing or revising, I am learning. There is a lot of information available, and the more I learn, the more obvious my previous mistakes become! I hope that I’m improving with every piece I complete and getting closer to my dream of being published.

Where can we find you on the Web?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter!

Thanks for being here today, Monica!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ugly Purple Hat with a Purpose

Today I'm at my sister blog, Writers Writing Out Loud, blogging about ugly purple hats, shoes that murder feet, and the women who love them anyway.