Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Waiting for Friday

Last night in Chicago was the official premiere of the Jennifer Anniston/Vince Vaughn movie, The Break-Up. (Yes, they were both there, according to the newspaper.)

Friday the movie opens for the general public. Why am I waiting for this day? Because I spent several days working as an extra and have been waiting since last summer to find out if I can be seen or not.

Vince Vaughn plays a Chicago tour bus company owner. My main role was as a tourist riding his bus. The other 35 passengers and I spent hours riding up and around Michigan Avenue with a police escort, with and without Vince doing his lines. I also filmed one day at the end of March...apparently the ending needed to be reshot. Even though it was unseasonably warm here and all civilians were in shorts and sandals, us hard-working extras slogged about for the entire day amidst fake snow, wearing our heaviest winter attire.

I know I'm on film, because I saw a still when, a month after the first two days of riding on the bus, we were called back to film another day and had to be sure our clothes matched exactly. But will shots with me in them make it into the final film? In a few days, I'll know for sure...

Friday, May 26, 2006

American Title II results!

I recently returned from the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Daytona Beach, where the official announcement was made of the winner of American Title II. Unfortunately, it's not my novel, FOLLOW YOUR HEART. Close but no cigar.

But I still had a great time. Check out the ocean view from my room! I had breakfast with 6 other AT II finalists and last year's winner for JANE MILLIONAIRE, Janice Lynn, and two editors and the publisher of RT. I lunched with Dorchester's direct marketing manager. I met with Borders/Waldenbooks romance buyer, caught up with and received sympathetic hugs from numerous friends, brought home a bunch of free books and was invited on stage during the awards lunch with the other finalists to say our names and book titles and share the moment with winner Gerri Russell.

The good news: Dorchester is still considering FYH.
And we AT II finalists now have a blog: titlewave.blogspot.com, where we'll post news of our paths to publication now that the contest is over.

Huge thanks to everyone who voted for FYH.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Usually a most loquacious sort, this week I'm in a holding pattern that renders me silent. They say patience is a virtue, but that doesn't make having it any easier. Because those who are gainfully unemployed can spend an inordinate amount of time waiting...for contest results, word on auditions I've had or submitted to, replies from agents and editors who have requested submissions, for the start of an online class I hope will help with a work in progress.

In the meantime, I rely on discipline and drive to move forward, live in the moment and write new pages.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Contest success!

This week two of my manuscripts, THE BETTER BRIDE, a medieval, and my contemporary, MY LIFE AS A STAR, finaled in contests!

In the romance writing world, both published and unpublished authors can enter various contests. Most are offered by individual RWA chapters, others are sponsored by publishers or authors.

Here's a brief overview of reasons for entering: To get: 1) feedback from first round judges 2) if your entry makes it to the final round, recognition in online groups, the national romance writer magazine, and from editors and agents who judge the final round. These editors and agents can, and do, ask to see more material from finalists. 3) gain credentials for query letters and pitches. So far, four of my manuscripts have finaled in a total of 16 contests. 4) validation that someone, somewhere, likes your work.

Reasons not to enter: 1) Money. Most contests have entry fees ranging from $10 to $30. Though there are some e-contests, many require several copies of the entry and also return postage. 2) Contests often have different requirements...various page limits or requiring a one page or two page synopsis. If you don't already have what that contest wants, you can spend a lot of time reworking your manuscipt...time away from writing new pages. 3) Luck of the draw. Sometimes, one judge will give my entry a perfect score, say a 60, while the other gives it a 37. The night before I found out FOLLOW YOUR HEART finaled in American Title II, where editors from Dorchester selected the finalists, the same material recieved horrible scores from a chapter contest. So you never know. 4) Feedback. On occasion, I'll enter a work in progress just to get reactions. Judges may give low scores without backing them up with reasons, or conversely high scores without sharing what resonated with them.

Next post: choosing which contests and which manuscripts to enter.