Well, I received some good news this week.

congratsTied for Second Place. Not bad for my first contest submission. Being recognized is exciting.


But I still have work to do – the judge (from Carina Press/Harlequin) said: “I appreciated the noir tone and what I think will be the overarching plot line.” but also, “I actually found these opening chapters rather slow, with too much time spent on internal asides.”

I have to do some research on noir – I hadn’t realized that’s the tone I was producing.

So it’s back to the drawing board for the first 40 pages – I’ve already slashed some stuff out, but it occurs to me that, since the judge was from Carina Press/Harlequin Books, my writing style doesn’t fit with the submission guidelines on their website.

fantasy-1152846_1280This year, they were seeking:

  • dark, erotic thrillers and psychological thrillers; stories of adultery and betrayal; characters with unusual sexual kinks; conflicts involving socially unacceptable pairings
  • paranormal romance especially shifters. Dragons, cats, werewolves, bears (yes, please!) birds of prey
  • Wars between clans, shifter politics, human v. shifter interrelations…bring the conflict and the sexiness to the page! What’s that you say? Writing a shifter menage (or more) story
  • romances featuring at least one main character from another world. Maybe your hero is a hot alien from a brutal warrior society, or your heroine is a badass alien adventurer. Tone of the stories should be sexy, but can range from darker to campier, sensual to trashy
  • heroes and heroines who are either in it together or facing off on opposite sides of the law. Tone-wise, anything goes, from dark, supersexy stories in the vein of the television show Banshee to the fun, quirky, somewhat absurdist feel of Spotless by Camilla Monk

Gee wizzers… I am so boring.

I write about a 42 year old woman who got dumped by a philandering husband, loses her safe job and has to start over.


Of course she talks to herself (doesn’t everyone?) – she’s alone, trying to figure out how to survive and not to screw up again. The only shifting that goes on is in her outlook on life.

The thing is, I have no interest in weird creatures from another planet having sex with unusual instruments in strange new worlds. I just can’t write that stuff.


Am I encouraged by my second-place finish? Absolutely. The contest is big. I was a judge in one category and the quality was all over the place, but very interesting.


What’s next? Well, on Monday I finished REINVENTION HUSTLE, book one in the Kenora and Jake series.

I’m going to start working on Book Two next week. The main plot line involves Kenora discovering a huge secret –  her mother had been married before but said nothing to her about it.


Her quest – to find her long lost father in South America, investigate mortgage insurance fraud and build her romantic relationship with Jake. Let the fun begin!