“I know I was writing stories when I was five, I don’t know what I did before that. Just loafed, I suppose.” P.G. Wodehouse. Well … thank heavens Mr Wodehouse stuck with it. Bertie Wooster is one of my all-time favourite heroes. So bumblingly earnest. And so bedecked with troublesome aunts.
Now that I have a critique partner I am beginning to understand how people lose their hearts (and bank balances) to strangers online. It is weirdly cathartic having an online friend that you’ve never met. We met through a peer-mentoring programme set up by the Romance Writers’ of Australia, and at first had fake names issued randomly by the hosting site, but have since revealed our real names. Our arrangement (subject to live intervening) is to swap a chapter on the first of each month. Five months in – five chapters done. It is certainly motivational.
I saw a notice from the Romance Writers’ of Australia that they were extending the deadline for the Valerie Parv competition by a week and it must have fired up my competitive instincts (long dormant for anything other than being the first to the packet of snakes in the weekly grocery shop) and used my current work-in-progress to whip up an entry. We had to submit a 1000-word synopsis and then the first 10,000 of a manuscript. The manuscript didn’t have to be complete (which is lucky as mine is at about the 25000-word mark). The prize is a 12-month mentorship with RWA legend and romance superstar Valerie Parv. I just googled her and Wikipedia tells me she has sold over 29 million books! Fingers crossed.
It’s competition time again. The Little Gems Anthology is published each year by Romance Writers’ of Australia showcasing the finalists of their annual short story competition. The theme in 2017 was Onyx. I decided to write a treasure story (because who doesn’t like the idea of finding sunken treasure?) and I was thrilled when my story Beneath the Waves made it into the finals (and so into the 2017 anthology). The ebook and paperback versions are published in August 2017 to coincide with the annual RWA conference – I’ve ordered a few extra copies to plump out the shelves in my study 🙂
I entered the synopsis of Tropic Storm into a competition at the Romance Writers’ of Australia (my first competition) and hallelujah! I came in 6th out of about 80 entries, which makes me an official finalist. Members of RWA chose a short list to send to Megan Broderick from the New York Office of Harlequin, who chose the six finalists. So a good day on the writer’s journey!