Archive for August, 2007

Week in Review

Posted in writing on 08/31/2007 by Susan Shay

This has been a great week! Just look at what’s happened (in no particular order.)

#1– Billy Vessels came home to Cleveland! Well, his statue came home. He was Oklahoma’s first Heisman Trophy winner in 1952. In case you’re wonder, no, I don’t remember when he won. I do remember swimming with him once.

I was maybe 7 or 8, and I loved to swim. I spent as much time in Cleveland’s pool as my parent’s would let me. I heard the murmurs when Billy and his wife and son came into the pool. “Wow, that’s the Billy Vessels.” But I wasn’t that into football, so I wasn’t really excited. Besides, I’d just learned to go off the high board. I was too busy to pay much attention.

Anyway, I was at the top of the hb, which to a little shrimp was really high. I loved the feeling of free-falling from that height. I was at the end of the board, getting ready to go, when I noticed Billy pointing at me. He was talking to his son. “Look there! Even that little bitty girl can go off the high board. Don’t you want to go?”

His son didn’t mince words. “I’m not going.”

I wanted to yell back, “Hey! I’m not that little!” but I didn’t. I used to be shy.

#2–I heard from an old friend. Don’t you love it when old friends get in touch? I do! This was a friend I’ve loved for years and years and don’t hear from often enough. It made my week!

#3–I read some great contest entries.

#4–I got my printer fixed. Do you know how hard life is without a printer? ARGH!

#5–The Wild Rose Press was recognized by Romance Writers of America as  a Non Subsidy/Non Vanity Publisher. Our first sales will be listed in Romance Writers Report! And we can enter the Rita. In case you’re wondering, this is a good thing. <G>

#6–I had my toes done. Guys don’t get it, but pedi’s are wonderful. Especially when they have massage chairs at work, too.

Buy me a massage desk chair and I’ll write on forever!    

#7–Friend Jaci Burton is having twins. One is named, Releasing the Demon, and arrived on August 28.  The second twin, named Exclusive, is scheduled for September 4th.

See? It’s been a great week! new-tootsey-toes.jpg

too funny

Posted in Funnies on 08/31/2007 by Susan Shay

Where the Magic Begins Contest

Posted in writing on 08/29/2007 by Susan Shay

Okay, contests are not a lot of fun, unless you win the contest. And since To School a Cowboy was published this year, I couldn’t be in the unpublished contest. *sigh*

The really exciting thing about Where the Magic Begins is the wonderful writing we judge.

The really disheartening thing about Where the Magic Begins is the wonderful writing we judge.

Honestly, it’s amazing that some of these people aren’t published. They are that good! I’ve read many books that aren’t as good as these entries.

So why aren’t they published? I can think of a few reasons: 1- Some people want to rack up wins as part of their publishing plan. “The book is called X Y Z, and it won not only the Hot Cha Cha award, but the Broken Heart and the Chickadee!” Who wouldn’t want to buy a book with all those wins under it’s belt.

2- Some writers polish the same 1, 2 or 3 chapters again and again, entering them in contests rather than finishing the book. The win is what the contest is about. Not selling.

3- It’s fun to win. (What else need I say?)

We see the same women winning with the same entry in several contests. So, you ask, just because XYZ has won every other contest it has entered, does it affect the way I view their manuscript? *Snort.* If you knew me, you wouldn’t ask.


I have to admit, my taste in books isn’t everyone’s. Thank goodness! I’d hate to be just like everyone else.

I’ll tell you something else I like about contests. The titles. Sometimes I think they should have a contest for titles. There’s already one for first lines, sponsored by Karin Tabke. Writers get really excited about making it through the cuts. So why not a title contest?

Let me share a few titles I’ve seen recently. Better than Sex, Tempting Fate, Burnt Sugar, Wild Iris. Don’t they make you want to rush to the store and slap your bills on the counter just to read them?

I’m not saying anything about the caliber of the writing. Just the titles. They aren’t easy to come up with, either. I’ve helped bf Marilyn a few times. Once or twice she even liked my ideas. My favorite was when she was looking for a title for the book that turned out to be One Stormy Night. FANTASTIC BOOK! The story starts during a hurricane. I made a few suggestions, but my best idea was Blow Me.

Marilyn loved it. Her agent and editor turned it down.

Go figure.    

Chuckle worthy

Posted in Funnies on 08/24/2007 by Susan Shay

mouse-trouble.jpgSame sister sent me this one who sent the one below. Can you guess which one? Debbie, Cindy, Lisa or Amy?

This funny from one of my sisters.

Posted in Funnies on 08/24/2007 by Susan Shay

chicken.jpgSee if you can guess which sister shared this with me.

Contest/Conference Blues

Posted in writing on 08/22/2007 by Susan Shay

Before I tell you about me having the “blues”, I need to clarify one thing: My hometown fire department did NOT pick me up, serve me champagne and take me to the library for my signing. They do not have enough hunky firemen to fulfill that fantasy. They do not have a fireman named Sven.

It was all my imagination. (Hey, I wanted a ride-to-the-signing story as cool as the husband-hired-limo one.)

Oh, and the fire chief, who as far as I know goes just about every time the truck is out, is a woman.

Contest Blues: Romance Writers Ink, of which I am a founding member, has an unpublished contest each year called Where the Magic Begins. (Great name, huh? I didn’t think of it.) We also have a conference called Cimarron Dreamin’. (I did help think of that name.) <g>

The contest begins in August (final extended deadline this year was August 19th at midnight.) The conference is October 12-13-14 at the Southern Hills Marriott Hotel in Tulsa.  Since they’re so close, we announce the unpublished winners at the conference. Great, huh?

For the winners, it’s wonderful. Your name is announced in front of your immediate writing world. EVERYONE knows . . . you’ve done it! You’re the tops. Life is wonderful.

But for the people on the contest committee, not so wonderful. We extended the deadline this year, and received more entrants than ever in the history of the contest! (SNAP!!!) Here’s the prob. Our contest is famous for giving good advice. We give KIND criticism. We do our best to help the people who enter get published. (That is, after all, the reason for writing. Right?)

We can’t just rush through the entries and dash off numbers. It’s imperitive to take your time, sharing the best of your knowledge.

This year, because we have so many entries, we’re short on judges. Trained judges, who’ll give a helping hand, not a backhand. So everyone who can is taking an extra group of entries.

And we have only 3 weeks to do it. After that, the top three scorers go to editors who decide third place, second place, and W-I-N-N-E-R!–and possibly ask for complete manuscripts.

Oh, and there’s one more prob. Marilyn Pappano, who usually does far more than she should, fell and broke her elbow, so she’s a bit hampered this year. (To be honest, her newest “pupper” knocked her down, and she broke the afore mentioned bone. Ouch.)     

Conference Blues: I’m also on the conference committee. What was I thinking? Well, that I wanted a really good conference. And that I didn’t want to miss out on any of the fun of getting ready for it. <g> We’ve got wonderful speakers coming: Jenna Petersen, Barbara Dawson Smith, Allison Brennan and Jodi Thomas. I can’t wait to meet them and get to know them, at least a little. (At a conference the size of ours, everyone gets to know everyone else. It’s wonderful.)

We also have two agents. Vivian Beck and Elaine Spencer and Silhouette editor, Mary Theresa Hussey. 

It’s going to be a wonderful weekend, full of interesting people and tons of chances for inroads into the business.

It is going be great! That is if everyone on the committees survive.

BTW: If you’re a trained judge and have an extra moment on your calendar, let me know. I’ll hook you up with Meg Reid, the judge assigner. She’d love to get to know you.   

Friday Night Lights :-)

Posted in writing on 08/19/2007 by Susan Shay

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