Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Eighth Deadly Sin - Dawn McClure

Posted without comment since my only comments would be "wow" and "amen." Please welcome Dawn McClure, author of Azazel, Asmodeus, Heaven Sent, and Samael.

During an interview I had a while back I was asked what my writing process was like. Of course I couldn't put LOL as my response, but that's exactly what I did...I laughed out loud. Then I explained that I don't have a writing process, which, when admitted, reads like the eighth deadly sin. For my novella Azazel, the story hit me like a brick thrown from a cannon. WHAM! I knew the story, I knew the characters, and I simply sat down and wrote it. For my novel Asmodeus, I wrote a chapter a day and stumbled my way through the first draft. It wasn't until my second round of edits that it resembled an actual story. Heaven Sent was much like Asmodeus, and Samael...don't get me started. It only took me a month to write the first draft...and then two months to revise it.

With my next book I plan on doing a little research first. I’ve decided to go the 'worksheet' route. What the hell is that, you ask? Well, I have a worksheet for character development, scene descriptions, GMC (goal, motivation, conflict), a conflict grid (can't have too much conflict), a relationship toolbox (that just helps you figure out why the two main characters should fall in love), and my Fast Draft and Revision Hell worksheets. Yes, I'm still trying to find my process, but I'm afraid I've already found it - every book is different. I've listened to other writers talk about their process, and each and every one has a different way of completing their book (though most seem to have a handle on their own individual process). Through the grapevine I've heard that Nora (who doesn't need a last name) writes only dialogue in her first draft, which she so sweetly calls her POS (piece of shit, for you innocents out there). It (supposedly) takes her three drafts and then she has a completed novel. I wish. Sometimes I only need two drafts, maybe three. Other times...I actually lose count. I’ve begun to wonder, are there other authors out there like me?

Am I actually committing the eighth deadly sin?

But even if I do come up with my own handy-dandy process, would it be a perfect fit for another writer? Probably not. If I thought there was a perfect writing process out there, I'd try out Nora's, since she is the most prolific romance author to date. But writing only dialogue for the first draft wouldn't suit me. I already know this, so why waste my time? There is no magic pill...quite I'll just muddle along until I find my own brand of genius when it comes to the writing process.

What I can do is give you a few ideas for reading material that may help you find your own process. Stephen King wrote a wonderful book, ON WRITING, that chronicles his writing endeavors. He talks about rejection and how he remained motivated through those hard times. In JR Ward’s book, THE BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD: AN INSIDER’S GUIDE, she talks about her own writing process (which is incredible, by the way). My personal favorite craft book is Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon. This book takes you by the hand and guides you through the process of coming up with a solid plot, creating engaging characters and writing scenes that will keep your story flowing.

I’ll leave you with a quote. Knowing is not enough; you must apply. Willing is not enough; you must do. ~Goethe

Thanks to Dawn for blogging with us at Five Scribes today. Leave a comment with your process (if you have one!), and we'll draw two lucky winners - one will get a copy of Asmodeus in print and another will get a wallop of new and gently used books I'm culling from my bookshelf (book-a-palooza!).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Are you a new writer or in need of a refresher course? The TOP TEN reasons to enroll in Beginning Writer Workshops

Workshops are a wonderful resource for honing a writer's skills and advancing a writer's career. If you're a beginning writer, however, workshops are invaluable. Presenting the TOP TEN reasons a NEW writer should enroll in Beginning Writer Workshops.

10. You have the most stupendous idea for the next blockbuster bestseller, but don't know where to begin.

9. After the first several stupendous pages, you hit a brick wall.

8. You've written a 500,000 word book that will land you at the top of the NY Times list, but you haven't a clue how to get it there.

7. The only persons you can get to read it are your mother and your best friend.

6. You discover you don't know the difference between a genre and a gerund.

5. Even your MOTHER says the book doesn't hold her interest.

4. You finally get a published writer's opinion of your manuscript, and she tells you that you have too much backstory in the opening chapters.

3. With your first and only criticism of your work, you're starting to doubt yourself.

2. Your mother and your best friend suddenly stop returning your phone calls.

1. You want to be a successful writer, and you want the building blocks to become one.

Beginning Writer Workshops. Taught by Experts in Industry and Experts in Craft.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Seasons That Inspire

Do different seasons of the year inspire you to write for that time? Christmas does that to me. Over the past many years, it doesn't matter what kind of story I'm in the middle of writing, the urge to put it aside and work on a Christmas story invades my mind.

This phenomenon happens over a small span of time. Usually when I'm hurrying to send out cards or discover I have completely overlooked a person on my gift list does this wild urge to write about the craziness creep into my subconscious. It rarely lasts more than a couple weeks, but man, do those couple weeks really throw me for a loop.

Let's face it. I write romance. Pure and simple.

What time of year better inspires one's heart desires?

All of a sudden I begin to romanticize the holiday decorations blinking in beauty as darkness comes early along the Front Range of Colorado. Or maybe, a couple strolling hand in hand along a winding path in the winter stillness while big, fat snowflakes swirl around them. Or maybe disaster strikes at a time when peace and joy need to be celebrated around the world.

Is there another season, another holiday that creates a mood better? Thanks to Hallmark, I'd say the answer is no. No other holiday begins to gear up months before the appointed date. No other holiday inspires visions of sugarplums or lively orchestras or anonymous good deeds than Christmas.

What a plethora of material and props waiting to be incorporated in a novel bearing good cheer and happily ever afters : )

Of course, being an inspirational romance writer, it tickles me to no end to include the heavenly hosts, trumpets and birth of Jesus in a lowly stable centuries ago. Angels. We can never have enough angels. Just go read Debbie Macomber : )

So, once again, I look at my WIP and blow out a heavy sigh. Someday I'll write a Christmas romance.

Who knows? Maybe my next manuscript will be suspiciously filled with snowflakes, carolers, and twinkling lights.

And angels.

Gotta have angels.

Does Christmas have the same affect on you? How about Valentines Day? Spring? Fall?

What season inspires your writing?

May your 2009 wind down with good spirits, and may 2010 bring you lots of surprises!!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Kiss of Death Chapter presents the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense

Holiday shopping done... Check

Packages delivered ... Done

Diets and New Year's Resolutions in place... Affirmative

Daphne Books and Electronic Entries Ready... ????

Are you missing a critical element on your "To Do" list? MARK YOUR CALENDARS. THE 2010 DAPHNE DU MAURIER AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN MYSTERY/SUSPENSE is closer than you think: The Contest begins January 15, 2010 with an eye-blinking deadline of March 15, 2010.

Published Authors do you have a mainstream mystery or romantic suspense with a 2009 copyright? Will 2010 be the year you add the prestigious overall DAPHNE to your writing resume or win your Mainstream Mystery or Romantic Suspense genre?

Unpublished Authors, have you checked out the final round judges who could be reading YOUR Daphne Entry?

Patience Smith, Silhouette Intimate Moments & Michelle Grajkowski, Three Seas Literary Agency

Alex Logan, Grand Central Publishing & Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Caleb Sjogren, Tyndale House Publishers & Steve Laube Agency

Heather Osborn, Tor/Forge & Paige Wheeler, Folio Literary Management

Margaret Marbury, MIRA/HQN & Stephanie Maclean, Trident Media Group

Toni Plummer, St. Martin's/Thomas Dunne & Stacia Decker, Donald Maass Literary Agency

Further Details at

Interested in judging? To learn our criteria, contact the Overall Daphne Coordinator at (Please note you may not judge the same genre you are entering.)

Questions to 2010 Daphne Coordinator, Donnell Ann Bell --

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Enduring Words

Words are powerful. Images, too. How many times have you heard a quote or a snippet of a poem, story, ad, letter, and immediately had a picture in your mind where the rest of the words are filled in and you have a memory association?

Rage against the dying of the...

It is a truth universally acknowledged that any man in possession of a good fortune...

Yes, Virginia....

What is it about enduring phrases that can bring back such visceral memories and that can fill in the blanks of the remaining sentence? Could it be the emotional impact of the words? The symbolism? A trick of the mind caught rapt at one time?

I just reread The Sun's letter to Virginia about Santa Claus. I hadn't remembered anything but the famous sentence that begins the letter's second paragraph. I had recalled the whimsical beauty of the words, but not the specifics. I did, however, flash to my childhood, sitting in the back seat of the car with a piece of hard candy in my mouth, hearing the words, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus," on the radio as we drove over a bridge. Powerful!

And inspiring. Have I written anything that would stick with a person? A sentence or phrase so impactful that, on hearing it again, a reader would remember where she was when she first saw it? I'm not sure, but now I definitely want to go back through my manuscript and see if I managed the imagery and tightened the prose well enough.

What words or phrases have stuck with you? What do you think drives those words to imprint on the mind?

Monday, December 14, 2009

More Christmas Reading!

As the holidays close in fast, I find I need a sanity break more often than usual. It's been cold here along the Front Range of Colorado, so along with bitter cold temps, fighting holiday crowds and complete apathy for the day job, I have cards waiting to be written, gifts that need wrapping...and the biggest dread of the house.

It times like this I need to make myself take a break. Thankfully, there are some great Christmas stories out right now, books that crept onto the shelves in November and I'm just now getting around to reading them...

I just finished reading Yule Die by Debby Giusti. Packaged with another Love Inspired Suspense, Merry Mayhem by Margaret Daley, the pair of stories can be found within the common cover of Christmas Peril.

Both stories are heartwarming, holiday reads. Here's the back cover blurb:

Merry Mayhem

When single mom Annie Coleman unexpectedly arrives in Christmas, Oklahoma, police chief Caleb Jackson suspects she's hiding secrets. He'll be watching her closely. And his protection is just what Annie and her daugher need, as danger has followed them to their new home.

Yule Die

It's hardly a happy holiday for medical researcher Callie Evans...until she discovers her ailing patient is her long-lost brother. And he's being watched by undercover police officer Joe Petrecelli. When the trio is abducted by a cadre of bad guys, Joe and Callie will have to fight to keep her brother--and themselves--alive.

What can be better than Christmas suspense, especially when the HEA comes with a Christmas blessing?

Not that you don't have anything else to do : ) I encourage you to pick up Christmas Peril and indulge in some suspenseful Christmas cheer!

Merry Christmas!

Happy Hanukkah!

Blessings to all!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fear and Power

Writing is miraculous. Seriously, how does a small idea, a vague image, a couple of resonating words, or a setting turn into tens of thousands of words? And how do those words make readers laugh, cry, cringe, hide under the covers, rage, or fall in love?

I'm sure the answer doesn't lie in the writing so much as the rewriting.

"Books aren't written- they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it." Michael Crichton

When I sit down to write the first draft, I give myself permission to vomit on the page. After all, I can fix it long as there's something there to fix. If I obsess over every word or phrase as I'm writing, I'll never get the story done. I'll spend years tweaking and playing until I've eviscerated the story driving those words.

So why, when I sit down to revise, do I have a little freak-out moment?

"Rewriting is like scrubbing the basement floor with a toothbrush."  Pete Murphy

The enormity of the task - taking tens of thousands of words and making them worthy of another person's attention - gives me pause. Every. Time. Revision is seriously the biggest writing fear I have. I can start a thousand stories, but when I go back to the beginning to make sense of what I just vomited on the page, I fear the task.

Ninety thousand words. One hundred thousand words. That's a lot of words. And from the first to the last, I want perfection. The problem is that there are so many levels of perfection I need to nail. The images need to be solid. The writing needs to be fresh. The action needs to make sense. The characters need to grow and yet remain believable in their evolution. The story has to be layered but cohesive. And all this has to be accomplished in those words I've already spewed.This is huge - and what if I just make it worse?

"You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke." Arthur Polotnik

It's daunting, and I admire those who find the exercise fun or exhilarating. It's a challenge for me. But it's part of the work. It's part of the process.

Where there's fear, there's power. I like that saying, and I firmly believe it. So my task now, as I dive into the final round of revisions - big, juicy, story-altering revisions - is to maintain my sanity and work through the fear. I'll lean on my support system of critique partners and writing friends, and I'll sacrifice a few peppermint mochas to my muse and the writing gods. I'll even don a pair of Depends just in case the fear gets too gnarly. There's power here. Power to make those readers giggle or cry. Power to disappoint them when the story is over and they realize they'll have to wait to dive into that world again.

"Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain." Elie Wiesel

What part of writing do you fear? And how do you work through that to become a more powerful writer?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How I met A NaNoWriMo Superstar

First of all, I have to qualify this interview. From the end of October when everyone started putting on their NaNoWriMo hats, I slunk into a corner to observe. In my mind, pounding out 50,000 words in a month is akin to walking on water. Despite the fact I was skeptical, I was still intrigued, and kept asking the people I knew who were participating... how's NaNo working for you? Will you have anything you can work with after you complete it?

I belong to a Goals' group, and one outstanding writer was disappointed when she only reached 14,000 words, while another committed and disciplined member met more than 60,000 words during this month-long challenge. 14,000 or 60,000, I was standing on my chair applauding.

But then Dale Mayer announced her word count, which brings me to the subject of this blog. When Dale came up for a breather during NaNo, she had not only made her goal of more than 50,000 words, she'd finished a 93,700 word novel. What's more, this author forced the skeptic in me to depart, because I'd already discovered that Dale could produce a workable first draft.

Dale entered her 2007 NaNo attempt Tuesday's Child in the 2009 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and Dale's work came a mere point or two from finaling in the paranormal category. Tuesday's Child has since gone on to final in the 2009 Emily and is a current finalist in the 2009 Where the Magic Begins. Dale's 2008 NaoNoWriMo manuscript Hide'n Go Seek just finaled in Gateway to the Best and placed second.

So you see, not only is Dale accomplishing her goals, she's making a NaNoWriMo believer out of me. I thought we'd talk to her and see how she does it. Want to come along?

D.B.: Dale, thanks for being with the Five Scribes today. First, fiction isn't the only type of writing that you do. You are used to deadlines in your nonfiction assignments. Tell us about that side of your professional career.

D.M.: Thanks, Donnell. It was so kind of you to ask me to be here. You're correct in that fiction isn't the only kind of writing in my world. I am a full-time freelance writer and work with many clients--and therefore deadlines. I have two business books published and am currently working on my third. All three of these works are close to 65,000 words. I also complete assignments on a daily, weekly and a monthly basis. My word counts go from a 450-word article to thousands of words for various ebooks. I'm currently creating a workbook on Stopping Procrastination. Deadlines are as varied as people. I've been given from three months to three hours to complete various projects.

D.B.: Do you feel that having these types of deadlines gives you a head start in NaoNoWriMo? Why or why not?

D.M.: I think any practice you have to adhering to deadlines would help to complete the NaNoWriMo challenge. If you can set a daily deadline of a specific word count by a specific hour, then you are ahead of the rest. For myself, setting deadlines are easy -- now following them without the pressure of a client sitting behind them is where the challenge comes in. I'm good with challenges, and I'm good with motivating myself to move forward, but there are days I wonder if I can make the goals I set myself.

D.B.: Do you brainstorm before you start in November, or do you have a brief outline? Please tell us about your process.

D.M.: It's certainly helpful if you have an idea well in advance of November 1 and starting the challenge, but in truth, I'm a panster, and although I had a three-line blurb about the story, mainly about the character, I had no idea how the story would play out.

D.B. : You have four children. What do you do in advance of NaNo to prepare for this month-long challenge?

D.M.: I do have four kids, and, yes, I'm a single parent ;) but I've never found (dare I say 'allowed') that to stop me from doing the things that are important to me. My writing is important and my children are amongst my greatest supporters. I don't stockpile food, nor do I set up a schedule and expect them to adhere. I find life continues pretty much in the same vein as before the challenge started. Except maybe I'm a little more tired ;)

D.B.: How many hours do you dedicate to NaNo in a day?

D.M.: As many as I need to? Honestly, I found the trick that worked the best for me was to write approximately 1,000 to 1,500 words first thing in the morning and then go to my nonfiction work. In the evening, I'd return to my NaNo ms. and continue until I reached 3,000 words a day. Sometimes, I couldn't get my word count done in the morning and between 7 and 11 p.m. I would do all 3,000 words and sometimes more.

D.B.: When a new day begins, do you go back and read what you wrote the day before?

D.M.: No. I didn't feel the need to. By writing to the extent I did every day, the story stayed fresh and the characters were always there in my mind.

D.B.: What do you think of your writing as you're putting the words down on the page? Is your muse having an inspirational good time, or are you practical in saying just get it down -- worry about it later?

D.M.: I find the more I write the better I am at writing the first time around. Does that make sense? It's not to say that this ms. won't need major revisions because it will. But the story was fun to write and went down fairly smooth. I did struggle around the 65,000 to 75,000 mark, but after that it flew down.

D.B. : Was it your plan to write an entire book in one month? Tell us about that.

D.M.: I had hoped to but hadn't tried before and didn't know what my 'stick to itness' capacity would be in this instance. I wasn't sure even to the last night how close I'd come. I had it in my head the ms. would be 90,000 but I forgot to ask the characters! I wrote 5,000 words on the last night in order to complete the manuscript. I typed The End at 11:10 p.m. on the last day.

D.B.: I think your achievement and your stick-to-itness as you call it is amazing. Finally, what advice do you have for anyone who's on the fence about participating in NaNoWriMo in 2010?

D.M.: I think the biggest thing anyone looking at trying the NaNoWriMo in 2010 is [to] go in with the attitude of seeing what you can do -- for yourself, your writing and your manuscript. Don't compete against other people -- because the rule is that no matter how good you are -- there is always someone better. Compete against yourself and you always come out a winner. Plus it's important to not consider yourself a loser if you don't make the 50,000 [word] goal. My first attempt at doing a marathon of writing like this was done with a writer's group and in private because I was shy of doing the [official] NaNoWriMo. That was how Tuesday's Child was born. Now I know it's okay to do your best and not worry if it's as 'good as' anyone else's attempts. Writing is for you. Do what you need to do.

You know what, Dale? I think you've made some excellent points and I've definitely jumped off the skeptic fence. Thanks for being here to talk about your process and congratulations on finishing Maddy's Floor. I can't wait to see how it turns out, and I wish you much success with it. Further, I plan to do some practice sessions based on your advice and next year participate in my first NaNoWriMo. Thanks for being here and explaining your process.

Read the End first?

Sooo I'm curious. How many of you are spoil sports and read the end of a book first?

When I found out my daughter does this I was shocked. It seems like cheating and . . . well, why bother to read the whole book if you know how it ends? It seemed so foreign--I'd never even considered it. Then I began hearing more and more people who do it and it's not as uncommon as I'd thought, but I still don't really understand the rationale. Anybody out there that can explain it to me?
Geesh, do you hunt through the house and find out what all your Christmas presents are too?????

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Terrific Christmas book!!

I just finished reading A Forever Christmas by Missy Tippens and can't keep the smile off my face. Missy's books have a charming, heartwarming flavor to them, but this one is definitely a Christmas keeper! She takes past love, hurting hearts, untimely grief and wraps it all up in a Christmas story filled with hope and happiness.

The woman is a master of her craft!

Here's the back blurb:

Home For The Holidays

Sarah Radcliffe's quiet Christmas back in her hometown will be lost if she agrees to direct the church's Christmas pageant. But when she meets two little boys determined to gain their father's attention, Sarah agrees to help. Then she discovers that the dad in question is Gregory Jones, the man she loved and lost. The single dad is working himself to the bone to give his boys the Christmas of their dreams, when all they want is some family time. Time that includes a new mommy. If Sarah can learn to open her heart, she may receive the most wonderful present of all -- a family of her own.

If there is a Christmas story you read this holiday season, make it A Forever Christmas! You'll be filled with joy and ready to face the Christmas season with cheer.

To learn more about Missy, check out her website and blog.

A Forever Christmas
Steeple Hill Books
November 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

Words of Wisdom From Creative Screenwriting

Wow, these really hit the spot.

"A classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard). It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness."
~Edith Wharton

"You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success--but only if you persist."
~ Isaac Asimov

Please, that I have talent! Goodness knows I persist!!!!

Be inspired

How do we solve a problem like Harlequin?

If you've been vacationing in an internet-free zone and haven't heard about the drama with Harlequin and their brand-spanking-new vanity press, get thee here and read what happened while you were blissfully ignorant. Or go there and grin over Ms. Kessler's fabulous way with a Low Down.

Today, Mystery Writers of America announced that they have "voted unanimously on Wednesday to remove Harlequin and all of its imprints from our list of Approved Publishers, effective immediately." What does this mean for MWA members? Nothing if they were already acknowledged as published authors by way of a December 2 or prior contract with Harlequin. For anyone else? Denied.

Romance Writers of America have revoked Harlequin's privileges as an "eligible" publisher at the 2010 conference, and the board will meet to decide Harlequin's fate within the RWA.

Last night, during an awesome #askagent session on Twitter, I tweeted a question to find out how agents are reacting to the MWA, RWA and even SFWA (sci-fi and fantasy writers organization) to Harlequin's business decision - are they changing their submission policies to Harlequin or their relationship? Colleen Lindsay of Fineprint responded: "Not at all; Harlequin is still a good publisher."

I have to agree. Harlequin is still a good publisher with helpful and professional editors. Though I haven't sat in on any business meetings, I'm almost certain this bollocks decision was made by Torstar (Harlequin's parent company) with zero regard for how it  would affect their cash cow.

Then again, isn't it the responsibility of the writers' associations to protect their members? And isn't Harlequin still in ethical murk because they're pimping the vanity press in rejection letters?

What do you think? Is RWA/MWA/SFWA helping the situation? Do you think Harlequin will (or should) change how they do business in order to align with the demands of the writing organizations? Will you still submit to Harlequin? Will you sign a contract knowing it could mean ineligibility for awards and published perks (or membership) within these writing organizations? Do you have an agent, and is that agent still willing to work with Harlequin?

We've seen a lot of discussion about Harlequin's DellArte Press now, but we haven't seen much from the authors affected by this, the ones who will sacrifice to be a Harlequin author or the ones whose reputations and future careers might be affected by their publisher's decision.

Keep it respectful. Keep it professional. But tell us how this will affect how you will carry out your career pla

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My to-do list in December

As some of you may know, I love mystery and romantic suspense, and while December is a hectic time for many, it's a crazy time for me. Why? Because as a member of Romance Writers of America's, Kiss of Death Chapter, one of my passions is coordinating the Daphne, otherwise known as the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. Named in honor of legendary Suspense Author, Daphne du Maurier, this two-part contest is geared for Published and Unpublished authors, and begins January 15, 2010.

For those who write straight mystery, we have our mainstream/mystery suspense category. If you're a romance writer who incorporates suspense into your manuscripts, we have something for you too. Check out our 2010 Final Round Judges:

Category (Series) Romantic Mystery/Suspense
Patience Smith, Silhouette Intimate Moments & Michelle Grajkowski, Three Seas Literary Agency

Historical Romantic Mystery/Suspense
Alex Logan, Grand Central Publishing & Kevan Lyon, Marshal Lyon Literary Agency

Inspirational Romantic Mystery/Suspense
Caleb Sjogren, Tyndale House Publishers & Steve Laube Agency

Paranormal (PTTF) Romantic Mystery/Suspense
Heather Osborn, Tor/Forge & Paige Wheeler, Folio Literary Management

Single Title Romantic Mystery/Suspense
Margaret Marbury, MIRA/HQN & Stephanie Maclean, Trident Media Group

Mainstream Mystery/Suspense
Toni Plummer, St. Martin's/Thomas Dunne & Stacia Decker, Donald Maass Literary Agency

Contests can be intimidating; they can also be career builders. Published authors, the Daphne levels the playing field. The contest is open to all venues of trade paperback, e-publishing, self-publishing, subsidy (vanity) press, print-on-demand or small imprint publisher. If you have a copyrighted 2009 mystery, romantic suspense novel, consider entering one of the most prestigious contests out there. Your book must be bound and formatted per our guidelines on the web page,

Note: The website still says 2009, but will be updated shortly.

Also, for anyone considering entering, I recently was a guest blogger at Romance University. I answered a lot of questions about this contest as well as about judging. If you're interesting in learning more, check out:

Now go finish decorating, and doing that shopping, and then get that manuscript and/or book ready and come see me in January. Happy Writing! ~ Donnell