Conference Afterglow


Novel Clique + First Tuesday members

I can’t even begin to describe how awesome OWFI 2012 was. There were a number of informative workshops. I listened to Chuck Sambuchino discuss “Perfecting Your Pitch”, attended session where agents and editors fielded questions from the audience, heard what editor Melissa Frain had to say about genre fiction, listened to a paranormal panel discuss the supernatural, and watched Carolyn Wall ‘fall into’ her characters to demonstrate how to discover voice.

WordWeavers Bartlesville + Me

It was wonderful to see the familiar faces of my Word Weaver friends, as well as  meet new people. I had a chance to meet Rebekah Loper, a blogger encountered through the Platform Building Campaign, face to face.

Though, the thing that sets OWFI apart from many other conferences is the opportunity to attend Buzz Sessions with speakers/presenters. My critique group and I (along with a few other attendees) had the opportunity to hang out with agents Lousie Fury, Emmanuelle Morgen, and Jessica Sinsheimer and discuss things like market trends, the benefits of

Agent side of Agent/Editor panel

acquiring an agent, what to expect in an agent/author relationship, and that some agents actually visit blogs as well as search Twitter and Facebook of potential clients before making offers. *waves hello*

The keynote speaker Steven James had me laughing so hard I snorted during the ‘JOY’ part of his speech. Long story short, bad things aren’t a travesty for writer’s, it’s material. He also read snippets of rejections letters, which were funny in retrospect.

On both Friday and Saturday, I had the opportunity to pitch my YA paranormal novels EDGE OF TRUTH and BLINK to three agents. All asked for material. My critique partners also successfully pitched their work to agents.

Novel Clique post Awards Banquet celebration

The conference ended with an Awards Banquet on Saturday. Everyone in my critique group placed in one category or another. My short story ZOMBIE KIBOSH CREW earned 2nd Place in the YA Short Story category (find extended, published version on Kindle or Nook or print).

Overall, I’d say OWFI is an excellent conference and attendees get so much back for the conference cost.

Have you been to a conference lately? Which one and what did you like about it? Or perhaps you’re planning to attend a conference in the future? How did you decide which one?

It’s Official, I’m Published!


I’m so excited to announce my short story ZOMBIE KIBOSH CREW is published in the UNDEAD TALES 2 anthology. Ivy, identical
twins Dima and Vitaly, and Cherie venture into a zombie infested St. Louis to rescue survivors. It’s Ivy’s first time returning to her hometown since Z-day. Can she overcome the emotional turmoil it triggers? Or will she suffer a breakdown that will cost lives?

Zombies are real. Don’t believe me, check out this post by Laura Diamond, board certified psychiatrist, blogger, author. This post freaked me out! You should read it too, so we can all be disturbed together.

UNDEAD TALES 2 is available for only $3.99 in the Kindle version or print on Amazon.com (please click over and “LIKE” it to show your support), on Smashwords in a variety of formats, and through createspace in print format. I’ll post an update when the Barnes & Noble version is available.

While you’re out in cyberspace, check out Laura’s short story CITY OF LIGHT AND STONE  in the DAY OF DEMON anthology.

Related Post

Contest Ready?


Ever feel like the bio section at the bottom of your query letter looks a little skimpy? How about the “About” page on your blog, Facebook profile, Twitter profile, etc? For unpublished authors, winning writing contests is a one way to build a writer’s bio.  Word count limitations which challengers writers to keep the ‘short” in short story helps hone skills. Having deadlines provides motivation to complete work in a timely manner. Plus, writers get exposure of their work, and based on which contests entered, that attention could come from publishers or agents.

Here are my tips on increasing your chances of winning:

  • Check and double-check the contest guidelines to make sure your entry fits within the theme, word count, format guidelines. Don’t give the judges a reason to disqualify your entry.
  • Vanquish every typo, grammar, and spelling error from your story. It might not help you win, but a polished  entry can’t hurt either.
  • As with manuscripts, a great hook will draw the judge in. The writer’s job is to make their entry stand out above all others.
  • Unlike with poetry, short stories cannot get away with “Untitled”. Give a lot of consideration to the title for your entry. It tells the judge what to expect. For example, I recently entered my YA short story “Zombie Kibosh Crew” in the OWFI 2012 contest. The story genre is right there in the title and it helped me eliminate backstory. With a 1,200 word limit, cutting words was vital.
  • Stay focused on one point of view. Trying to work in multiple POVs can muddled the entry, may bump you over the contest word count limit, and might confuse the judge.
  • Only enter your best work, especially for fee-based contest. Otherwise, you’re just throwing away your money.
  • Don’t give up!

After you’ve researched which contest are right for you, all that’s left is mustering the courage to enter. One popular contest is the Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. This fee-based contest gains winners publication, potential exposure to editors and agents, and recognition on the Writer’s Digest website. Writer’s Relief List of Writing Contest offer information on contest for creative writers. This site also offers links to anthologies open to submissions, for those chose that route. One of my critique partners recently wrote a post on ongoing contest (here).

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Do you have any writing competition tips? Do you have suggestions for finding other contests?