Sunday, July 26, 2015

Writing Contest Update!

For unpublished writers, contests are an extremely important stop on that road to publication. Aside from the opportunity to final or win, the feedback from judges is often invaluable.

Here's the lowdown on several approaching deadlines. Good luck!

"2015 Red Hen Press Short Story Award," sponsored by Red Hen Press; deadline, July 31, 2015; Entry, Original Short Story up to 25 pages; FMI,

"Flash Fiction Contest," sponsored by Women on Writing (WOW!); deadline, August 31, 2015; short fiction -- 750 words max; FMI,

"Heart to Heart Contest," sponsored by San Francisco Area Romance Writers; deadline, August 31, 2015; Entry, the initial scene where your hero and heroine meet; 15 pages with a one-page set up; FMI,

"2015 Melody of Love Contest," sponsored by Music City Romance Writers; deadline, September 7, 2015; Entry, first chapter up to 25 pages; FMI,

Have a great week, Everyone!

(photos c/o

Sunday, July 19, 2015

You always remember your first!

 Not too long ago, Kimba at the Caffenated Book Reviewer (, did a daily post on favorite romance novels. I have too many favorites to count, but I remember my first. Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith was given to me by my grandmother. I still have have my yellow-paged, tattered, falling apart paperback from the 1960s.

Although the book cover has changed, I was excited, to find a re-issued 2010 copy on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and stunned to find someone had set up a Facebook page for the book! This book cover photo is courtesy of that FB page (


In 1927 Brooklyn, teenagers Carl Brown and Annie McGairy meet and fall in love. Through hardship and poverty, their commitment perseveres, and soon they realize that their greatest sources of strength, loyalty, and love will help them make it through, together. Joy in the Morning is, in the words of Best Sellers, “a human-hearted song of joy” from the immortal Betty Smith.

Amazon Buy Link:

Barnes & Noble Buy Link:

Editorial Reviews (Reviews posts c/o Barnes & Noble)

Chicago Tribune

"A glad affirmation that love can accomplish the impossible."

New York Times Book Review
"A more dauntless heroine or a more appealing one has not turned up in a current novel in years." 
 Joy in the Morning listed on Wikipedia --

I just loved this book and read and reread many times.

Do you remember the first romance novel you read?

(bird photo c/o NovemberRaindrop @

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Conference Update

Conferences are a great opportunity to meet, share and learn from other writers and industry professionals. Here are several conferences scheduled for the Fall.

2015 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference; September 11, 12, and 13, 2015; sponsored by Rocky Mountain Fictions Writers; The Westin, Westminster, CO; FMI,

Reader Weekend/University, September 25, 26, and 27, 2015; sponsored by RomCon; The Renaissance Hotel, Denver, CO, FMI,

Chicago Writers Conference, September, 25, 26, and 27, 2015; University Center, Chicago, IL; FMI,

The 2015 San Diego Writing Workshop, October 9, 2015; sponsored by Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop; Crowne Plaza in Mission Valley, San Diego, CA; FMI,

New Jersey Romance Writers "Put Your Heart in a Book" Conference, October 16 and 17, 2015; sponsored by NJ Romance Writers; Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel, Iselin, NJ; FMI,

Emerald City Writers' Conference, October 16, 17, and 18, 2015; sponsored by Greater Seattle RWA; Westin Hotel, Bellevue, WA; FMI,

Have a great week, Everyone!

(photo c/o vjk20w at

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Visit Philly...Where it all Began!

National Constitution Center

Happy July 4th Weekend! I'm proud to live in Philadelphia, birthplace of our nation. If you get the opportunity to take a trip to our great city, be sure to visit these historic sights!

National Constitution Center

"We the People..."

Independence Hall

Origin of the "Declaration of Independence" and "The United States Constitution."

"Betsy Ross," outside her house, displaying our nation's first flag

Betsy Ross House

Not only did Betsy sew the first flag, tour her awesome house!

Liberty Bell

Icon of our freedom.

Carpenter's Hall

Building where the First Continental Congress met to discuss our nation's future.

Benjamin Franklin Museum

Spend the day soaking up the legacy of perhaps our country’s greatest strategic thinker.

Have a great week, Everyone!

(National Constitution Center photo c/o; 
Betsy Ross House photo c/o

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Beatles!

John, Paul, George and Ringo…

I don’t even need to give you their last names. Whenever we see or hear those four names together, our brains click immediately. Four individuals, one entity, The Beatles.

I was just a tiny tot when they came to America in the 1960s, but with a teenage sister in the house, I grew up listening to their music vibrating from my sister’s old phonograph. By the time I was a teenager, the “Fab Four” had decided to go their separate ways. I actually witnessed first-hand music by the solo artists -- John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

The other night, as I was channel surfing, I came across the movie “A Hard Days Night.”  As I watched, I was reminded how spectacular and unique John, Paul, George and Ringo were when they became one band, The Beatles. Together, this group was magic.

The next morning, as I waited for the bus with neighbors, one gave us an enthusiastic critique of Paul McCartney's concerts earlier that week in Delaware and at Philly's Well Fargo Center. Another of my neighbors said he wouldn't want to see Sir Paul, who turned 73-years-old this month, in concert without the other three Beatles. We all agreed The Beatles was like no other band in rock music history. 

I thought about posting my favorite Beatles' tunes, but the list was getting too long (because nobody can have just one favorite Beatles' tune). Instead I've included this short sampling via YouTube link. How about you, readers? Do you have a favorite Beatles tune?

Enjoy and have a great week, Everyone!

Best Beatles Song per Album

(YouTube video c/o BeatlesList; photos c/o

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Wishing my dad, and all the dads out there, a very happy Father's Day!

(photo c/o

Sunday, June 14, 2015

How Do You Think?

Recently, I submitted a story to a publisher. After an initial read, the editor offered to take another look if an additional 2,000 words were added.

My initial reaction was “2,000 words? No sweat,” but I discovered adding those words was easier said than done. I stared at my computer screen. Nothing. 

I picked the awesome brains of several of my RWA buddies and after reworking two scenes, I was still 500 words short.

Philadelphia is a "walkable" city. After leaving my day job one beautiful Spring afternoon, I walked through Washington Square and towards Philadelphia’s Historical District. So many sights to see, so many visitors, I hadn’t realized that I had been walking, thinking, and learning. As I strolled along Elfreth’s Alley, America’s oldest residential street, I overheard a guide tell his group that back in the time of our founding fathers, fire companies were for-profit institutions. If your house caught fire, and you hadn’t paid your dues, you were out of luck.

I browsed the gift shops at the International Visitors Bureau and the National Constitution Center than headed over to Franklin Square. By the time I returned to my bus stop, I had walked over three miles. Not only did I solve my problem with how to come up with the extra 500 words, but I got an idea for a future story, the blog post you're reading now, and an upcoming post.

Friends, when you need to think, or be inspired, what do you do?

Happy Flag Day and have a good week, Everyone!

(photos c/o