It was close to one in the morning — I’d been editing all day and I’d gotten back my first three chapters from Katie (she’d read them for the third time after many, many IM convos) — and she wrote — ‘you hit it dead on.’

Hit it dead on.

Katie doesn’t say stuff like that unless she means it so I was clapping hands, so excited. Between her help and Larissa’s, I felt like I’d finally nailed down the start of this book. And all of a sudden I found myself on the friggin’ contest loop.

I know. I bitch and moan on here about how I don’t like contests. It’s not like I’m against contests for other people at all. It’s just that, for some reason, my entries don’t seem to get great feedback. It’s not the “I don’t win” thing that bothers me so much — it’s the fact that one of my scores will be 100% and the other will be an 82%. I don’t get it. I want to believe what the experienced authors say, that when you get scores with a disparity like that it means you have a strong voice, one that people either love or hate, and that that’s okay, or that my first chapters aren’t necessarily contest-ish chapters (H/H don’t meet right away, etc.). Also — I get comments like — “I LOVE YOUR HERO!” and the score would be 6 out of 10 for hero development, or “I’D TOTALLY BUY THIS BOOK” — score 72%. Huh?! So I swore — no more contests for me. Uh — uh. Feedback was too confusing. (And trust me – I’ve got a really thick skin for criticism, don’t mind having my stuff red-penned at all, but it’s got to make some sense, yes?)

But, as Cece pointed out recently, this is a business. And getting your name in front of editors, no matter how it happens, can’t hurt.

So when I saw that the Great Expectations chapter had extended their contest for an extra day or so, I just knew I had to enter. Don’t know why, (it was one of those magical things Sasha talked about — I just knew, even though it meant I’d have to rush.) So instead of brushing past it and clicking on one of the contests that had a later deadline, I clicked on the GE link. And the editor for Romantic Suspense was someone I’d love this ms to get in front of. (In fact, now that I think about it, I believe another ms of mine is sitting on her desk as we speak…) It’s not complete yet (I know — don’t YELL at me, please). But seriously — I’m just hoping for some good feedback, no one’s notified till mid-February. I’m only working on this book and this book only (part of the New Year’s Goals). So this is a nice way to push through that. But I swear — if I get uneven scores again…you got it — more bitching. More moaning. I’m just warning you now. Be prepared.

And, of course I seal the envelope up, head to PO, only to find out there’s not enough postage on the envelope. Which means there’s not enough postage on the SASE either. Which means I’ve got to mail the extra postage in a separate envelope to the contest coordinator so she can stick it on my SASE. (can we say loser.gif)

As an aside, I don’t have a pack of wolves yet or anything, but I was LMAO when I found I’d already written this into the current WIP before the wolf conversations of yesterday:

*warning: unlayered writing ahead*

The water she poured over his hair was warm and soothing, and he closed his eyes as she began to work the shampoo through the tangled mess. Her fingertips played along his scalp, working back from his temples in circles, releasing some tensions and creating others.

So damned good.

A smile spread across his face and he bit back the urge to howl at the impending full moon.

Moral of story: When in doubt, make your hero FEEL like a wolf. That’s got to be part of the layering process, yes?


Steph T.