This week's belated installment for the #MFRW 52-week Blog Challenge focuses on "How I celebrate completing my manuscript."
That's easy: I have a small breakdown. It doesn't last long. After making damned sure to save the file, I heave a deep breath, shut down the computer, and let my brain disengage while I rummage for a glass and either wine or whiskey. I'm partial to dry reds, bourbon, and single malt scotch, the last being an acquired taste that I have to acquire every time I taste it. Next, I carry the beverage to the sofa, sit, and simply fall apart.
For a few hours, I'm good for absolutely nothing. Don't try to hold a conversation with me. I don't care to read. I don't even really care what's on TV.
I don't find writing cathartic, as do many people. Finishing that manuscript, though ... ah, yes, that's cathartic. That's the release from the tension built up by writing the story.
After the crash--usually the next day--I force myself to get back into gear and notify my editor: "Hey, Cindy, that manuscript's ready. Work your magic!" Then I've usually got a couple of weeks to let my mind wander until she sends back her edits. Those begin with a compliment to prepare me for lots and lots of red lines crisscrossing the manuscript.
I don't mind the red lines. I specify, "Be brutal." If I'm lucky, she is. Because that makes the writing better.
I missed last week's blog challenge due to an unpredictable schedule determined by the needs and requests of my parents. I'm visiting them for a few weeks while Mom recuperates from hip replacement surgery.
So this week's writing prompt concerns writing contests. I've entered a few in my time. Just a few.
Around 30 years ago, I entered a national writing contest sponsored by Otherworlds magazine which I only saw sold at Waldenbooks. This was, of course, before the (public) internet and before my hometown lost all its "new book" bookstores. (We still have a couple of secondhand bookstores.) I submitted a short story. (Either "Silence" or "Dragonspawn," I can't remember which.) It won. Giddy with joy, I haunted that bookstore, waiting to see my story in print. I received a Dungeons & Dragons chess set--which I still have. Even my kids think that's pretty damned cool. And I received three D&D tee shirts. I still have (and wear) those, too. I never did see that Otherworlds issue with my story published in it.
That contest validated my ambition to be an author; it offered proof that I could write a good story.
Fast forward to 2017 and three more contests, two sponsored by Authors Talk About It and the other by Chanticleer. Unlike the old Otherworlds contest, these charged entry fees.
I didn't win either of them. ATAI loved my entry, The Falcon of Imenotash. I blogged about that. Their flattering review is linked on this website's home page and I use it in marketing. ATAI didn't like the cover design, which is pretty much what kept the book from reaching that coveted 5-star rating and being a real contender for the grand prize. Too bad.
ATAI's mixed review of Ulfbehrt's Legacy conflicts with reader reviews. They didn't like the cover design on that book either. Obviously, cover design ain't my forte as far as ATAI is concerned.
The entry fee for Chanticleer's contest was more than twice the fee for the two ATAI entries. I don't know what they thought of my book, because they took my money and I never heard back from them, not even with a critical review. That struck me as dishonest and a painful lesson learned. I won't be going back to them for anything. I have much the same criticism about many book review sites.
Subjective by nature, writing contests offer validation desired by the authors who win them; however, I prefer to receive validation from clients and readers. Those who appreciate my work will buy it.
Daughter of the Deepwood
Book 2 in the Twin Moons Saga
Lifetime imprisonment for an immortal doesn’t bear consideration. As cold iron burns his skin and dampens his magic, fae captain Falco wrenches power and freedom from the broken body of another prisoner—a witchbreed female—tossed into his cell to make room for a new harvest of criminals. Honor and obligation mandate that he not abandon her.
Unable to heal her extensive injuries, he takes the dying witchbreed to the heart of the Great Forest where the most ancient magic lives. His plea granted, the woman is remade of a blend of his blood, her flesh, and deep magic. Bound by his debt, Falco takes Calista as his mate when he returns home to Froúrio Daimónafae, a sentient fortress-city carved from a mountain. Although he regrets his intended fae mate’s anger, his increasing affection and desire for his witchbreed mate surprise him.
Lost in a foreign culture, spurned by the fae, her body unfamiliar to her, and unable to believe in Falco’s professed affections, Calista makes her own destiny and realizes the fate of an unfriendly nation rests upon her shoulders.
“I am beyond healing,” she said. “Let me die.”
“No,” he growled and the power in his soul flared brightly. “You can be healed, and I will not let you die.”
“I cannot remove the manacles.”
“You won’t have to,” he whispered and dreaded what he must do. “Are you still bleeding?”
She twitched. “Yes, but—”
“Where?” he demanded.
Terror wiped all expression from her dirty face. She closed her eyes and sank into whatever dark place she went when the horror and disappointment of her circumstances grew too much to bear.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
Looking for a place to swap blogs? Holly Bargo at Hen House Publishing is wanting to Blog Swaps in 2018. For more information: