So I haven’t posted in a while, and I’m curious–how is everyone out in blog land? Have you read any un-put-downable books lately??
I have a few recommendations:
IT ENDS WITH US by Colleen Hoover — Not your usual NA romance. A must-read, heart-breaking, bone-deep book.
FRIGID by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout) — Incredibly hot friends-to-lovers NA romance.
WICKED INTENTIONS by Elizabeth Hoyt — The first in her Maiden Lane Series. I went back for this on after reading DUKE OF SIN. This is not your usual historical romance. Hoyt is a master! Check her out for beautifully-written, outside-of-the-box characters.
VAMPIRE MINE by Kerrelyn Sparks — Sparks is the kind of author that reminds me of why I started writing paranormal in the first place. She strikes a perfect balance between the high stakes of a dangerous universe and the quirky humor of its characters.
So I have news. 🙂 I’m excited to share that my new adult paranormal romance, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS, finaled in Virginia Romance Writers’ Fool for Love Contest!
This contest holds special significance for me since I finaled last year with my young adult paranormal romance, BENEATH US. Awards were presented at a tea party themed luncheon hosted by VRW that I attended. I was ecstatic to hear that my YA project took first place in the young adult / new adult category! We were given out tea cups as gifts after the luncheon, and I keep mine on the counter for good luck and as a reminder of all the awesome writers I met that day.
Now, I’m crossing my fingers for my new project, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS! This is the eighth RWA chapter contest in which this project has finaled. TTEK took first place in three contests so far: The Heart-to-Heart Contest, The Beacon Contest, and The Four Season’s Contest. For more, see my Projects page.
I am singing and dancing and hugging my rabbit! My geeky, dark new adult paranormal romance took first place in the paranormal category of First Coast Romance Writers’ Beacon Contest!! I am so thankful to everyone who’s supported me: my critique partners, husband, and family. I’m really pulling for this story and hope to make them proud by publishing this strange, little piece of fiction, but we shall see. 🙂
Each time I get contest news, I like to write a bit more about my inspiration for the story, so I’m going to share about the gamer side of things. Since college, I’ve enjoyed hanging out with my husband and his friends who are retro-gamers. My job and writing leave little time for me to play games, but I’ve played many a game vicariously through my real-life, geeky husband hero. He spends a lot of time researching retro games and began collecting both systems and carts a couple of years ago. His collection is modest, but he’s got some great classic carts in there–mostly NES, SNES, and Genesis titles.
A few years ago, we noticed arcades like Yestercades of Red Bank and Somerville, NJ opening up. These retro arcades are a fun place not just for adults to relax and reminisce, but they seemed to attract a decent population of teenagers who were curious about retro games and really seemed to enjoy them. This echoed a trend I noticed on retro collection videos posted on YouTube where its not just Gen Xs reveling in the nostalgia. These incredible games hold appeal for people of all ages as they are timeless, fast-paced, and just plain fun.
This is my inspiration for Bess and her friends, characters in THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS. Freshmen in college, they are wacky, bright, and like nothing more than to chill in a local retroarcade. Of course, Bess isn’t really at a point in her life where she can be anything close to “chill.” And there’s the matter of her former academic rival, Serge, who shows up on the worst night possible and literally beats her at her own game…
My new adult paranormal romance, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS, took first place in the paranormal category of San Francisco RWA’s Heart-to-Heart Contest! This is an incredible surprise–I still can’t believe it! I have my fingers crossed for this project since it is close to my heart in so many ways.
Because every time I post about this project, I try to share a little bit more, I’d like to talk about one of its unique characteristics. My heroine, Bess, works part-time as a medical scribe. In other words, she takes care of the clerical functions of a doctor’s job so that the doctor can be more efficient. A minimum of a high school diploma, computer skills, and a responsible attitude are required for the job. Working as a scribe is a great opportunity for college students who are thinking of aiming for a medical degree and want to see if medicine is for them. It’s also a great way to build experience and can turn into a career! Learn more about it here:
In my book, Bess is working as a scribe in the ER, so the normal risks of the job as well as the stress are compounded. She is also working with an awful doctor who tests her at every turn.
Part of this tale does take place on a college campus, but I wanted THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS to be as unique a new adult book as possible. That meant new jobs, new settings, and unique characters. Oh–and of course–a strange little curse…
**Cue scene in which I spin in circles on a green hill and then break into Katy Perry’s “Roar.”**
These contests are all RWA chapter contests and their first-round judges have provided me with invaluable feedback about my project. The judges also gave me a lot of encouragement. Their comments just made me smile. 🙂 It’s one thing to believe in your book and quite another to hear someone else–a complete stranger–say they love it and can’t wait for it to be published.
Every time I sit down to write a new book, I try to push myself in some way. THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS is my first new adult book. It’s also my first book in dual POV, and I’ve woven my new learning from craft workshops into the fabric of the book. I also can’t help playing with things–like tying the paranormal aspect directly into the romance and its obstacles. The paranormal and romance plots do not coexist but are one in the same.
As always, I couldn’t do this without a few really savvy critique partners. When I was a teenager, I’d lock myself in my room and write and write and write. Those books are still somewhere in my basement on floppy drives (dating myself here)–fantasy paranormals that nobody ever saw but me. But as soon as I decided I wanted an audience and set that goal to be published, I knew I was going to need help. In many ways, it’s all about the journey, and I’m having an absolute blast working with my girls: Kimberley Ash, Arell Rivers, Noella Phillips, and Aryn Youngless. Write on!
Oh my gosh–I don’t know where to start! I took the drive down from Jersey to attend the Virginia Romance Writers’ 2016 Awards Luncheon because I was excited to meet members of VRW as well as other finalists. The event had a tea party theme, and it was fun to see individual writers’ personalities reflected in their outfits from tiny top hat to fireman’s helmet. The air was thick with good humor, creativity, and the smell of fragrant tea.
Jacqueline Bragaw was one of the first writers I met and the organizer of the event. She was so sweet, welcoming, and witty as were many members of VRW. Guest speakers Carolyn Greene and Cynthia Holt Johnson delivered a humorous and heartfelt presentation of the origins of the VRW, The Fool for Love Contest, the Holt, and their their own journey as writers.
As Jacqueline–with poise and panache–began to announce the results of the Fool for Love Contest, my hands started to shake. I had no clue what to expect and was honored just to be a finalist in a contest that helped so many writers get their start. When she announced that BENEATH US took first place, I couldn’t believe it!
Sadly, the Luncheon soon came to an end, but I got to keep my tea cup, my memories, and hope to see members from the VRW visit the New Jersey Romance Writers for our October Conference!
To find more information about The Fool for Love Contest and VRW’s published author contest, The Holt, click here.
Recently, I received call from a Contest Chair, Megan Randall, who was happy to share the news that I finaled in the YA category of Virginia Romance Writers’ Fool for Love Contest! They read it. They liked it. Watch me as I dance the Watusi!
So now what? Lately, I’ve been drawing inspiration from Jodi Thomas’s RWA workshop, Why Write One Book When You Could Write a Series? and putting together a detailed plan for another three books. Quirky characters, strange magic, dark worlds, and three girls who will sacrifice everything for one small town–one small world to anchor them all. Can’t wait to get started. 🙂
What projects have you been working on lately? #amwriting much?
Here’s a micro blurb: Reaper by birth–not by choice–Gail hasn’t dared visit the Netherworld since she accidentally killed her boyfriend. When a quirky, hot messenger from Death crashes into her life, she’s faced with a choice between her surface-world dreams and the crumbling cities below.
If you have a manuscript that you feel is ready but haven’t entered a contest yet–consider it. Even if you do not final, the feedback you receive from the judges is invaluable.