Great Victorian Era Map I Found…

Hi Folks,

While out researching where my heroine was going to live in London, I came across this Poverty Map that showed a few streets on the East End of town. My heroine isn’t going to live in this area, but I thought the map was marvelously interesting to see the areas of blue and black and the comparable red. Couldn’t find yellow or pink easily… or what I see as white might have meant to be yellow. Who knows.

Poverty map of Old Nichol slum, East End of London, showing Bethnal Green Road, from Charles Booth’s Labour and Life of the People. Volume 1: East London (London: Macmillan, 1889). The streets are colored to represent the economic class of the residents: Yellow (“Upper-middle and Upper classes, Wealthy”), red (“Lower middle class – Well-to-do middle class”), pink (“Fairly comfortable good ordinary earnings”), blue (“Intermittent or casual earnings”), and black (“lowest class…occasional labourers, street sellers, loafers, criminals and semi-criminals”)

February and March Writing Contest Deadlines







Compiled by Jason Locke

EA = Electronic Format Available
EA/Non US = Electronic for Foreign Entries
EO = Electronic Only
MO = Members Only
U = Unpublished
P = Published
P/3 = Not published in three years
Pnr = Published, but not by RWA standards
PC = Not published in category selected


Fire and Ice Contest Chicago-North RWA Entry cost: $25/$30 (non-RWA members) E-Entry Deadline: Midnight of February 1, 2012 Prologue/first chapter (25 pages max)

Willa Award (P) Women Writing the West Entry cost: $50 Entry Deadline is February 1, 2012 Copyright of 2011

Merritt Contest (EO – U – P/4) San Antonio Romance Authors Entry cost: #30/$35 (non-RWA members) Deadline: Midnight, February 14, 2012 First twenty pages, plus up to five page synopsis.

The Sandy Crested Butte Writers Entry cost: $30/$35 (non-Crested Butte members) Deadline: Midnight February 12, 2012 First 20 pages plus two page synopsis.

PNWA Literary Contest Received by February 17, 2012 Entry cost: $35/$50 (non-PNWA members) Beginning and Synopsis (not to exceed 5 pages) total 28 page max.


Fab 5 (EO – U – P/5) WisRWA Entry Cost: $18/$20 (non-WRWA members) Received by March 1, 2012 Up to first 2,500 words.

Great Beginnings Utah Chapter RWA Entry Cost: $10 Deadline: March 1, 2012 First five pages.

Inspirational Readers Choice (P) Faith, Hope & Love Entry Cost: $20/$25 (Non-FHL members) Received by March 1, 2012 Copyright of 2011

More Than Magic (P) Romance Writers Ink Entry Cost: $25 check, $27 Paypal Entry Deadline: March 2, 2012 Copyright of 2011

Genesis Award (EO – U – P/7) ACFW – American Christian Fiction Writers Entry Cost: $35/$95 (Non-NCFW members Received by 3:00 PM CST March 2, 2012 First 15 pages plus optional one page synopsis

ACFW Book of the Year (P) ACFW – American Christian Fiction Writers Entry Cost: $40/$115 (Non ACFW members) Postmark by March 10, 2012 Copyright of 2011

CNW Contest Postmarked by March 15, 2012 Entry Cost: $5/$10 First five thousand words.

Daphne du Maurier Award for Published Authors RWA Mystery/Suspense Chapter Received by March 15, 2012 Entry Cost: $25 Copyright of 2009

Daphne du Maurier Award for Unpublished Authors (U) RWA Mystery/Suspense Chapter Entry Cost: $25 Received by March 15, 2012 First five thousand words, plus synopsis of no more than 675 words.

Touch of Magic (EO – U – P/5) Central Florida Romance Writers Deadline: March 20, 2012 Entry Cost: $25/$30 (Non CFRWA members) First twenty-five pages plus up to three page synopsis (unjudged).

L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest (U) Received by March 31, 2012 Entry Cost: $0 Up to 17,000 words

On the Subject of Penises? O_o

Read a funny blog passed to me about a guy trying to write sex scenes that appeal to both men and women. That has to be the most challenging thing EVER – for me at least.

His take on a scene where his hero walks struts moonwalks across the room with his naked manhood penis is hilarious! I totally empathsize with his dilemma.

Impromptu Contest from Kim Lionetti at Book Ends

A friend, who is represented by Book Ends, forwarded this to me:

BookEndsKim  Kim Lionetti

“IMPROMPTU CONTEST!  Tweet me a pitch for your tortured hero book.  Must fit in 1 tweet.   Contest closes tomorrow 9 p.m. EST
I’ll pick 3 winners to receive critiques of their syn and first 3 chapters.  Please RT!”
I heard that she especially likes tortured historical heroes. So if you have one, get cracking!

New Year’s Writing Resolutions – How to Not Break Them

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday, no matter what you celebrated.

So, did you put together a list of Resolutions that you wanted to keep for 2012? I did… the usual – “lose weight manifesto”, but I have a deadline this time, because of my friend’s upcoming wedding where I’ll be a bridesmaid. I seriously need to lose some weight fast!

Aside from that, instead of creating a list of resolutions that I need to keep the whole year-long (yeah right, who actually does that?), I am creating monthly ones. Call them monthly goals if you want… might take some of that pressure off the word “resolution.” Whatever works.

For example, in January, my resolution is to enter 1 writing contest, query 2 agents, edit 5 chapters, blog at least once per week and sign up for RWA Nationals. Might be a bit lofty with my hectic schedule, but as the month wears on, I’ll establish my February’s resolutions rather than arbitrarily setting them all at the beginning of the year. I figure that it makes these monthly resolutions easier to stick to.

Also starting in February, my local RWA chapter is hosting their annual PALs challenge where we write a book in 8 months. I’m definitely signing up for that while I continue to edit and query my current manuscript. Hopefully you have a group of friends or a local chapter where you guys can continually set monthly goals to keep the momentum going. It made a world of difference for me and helps ease the anxiety of waiting for contest results or to hear back from agents.

And for those who could care less about New Year’s Resolutions, Calvin sums it up best:

Calvin & Hobbes



January Call for #Submissions

Hi Everyone,

As one of my New Year’s Resolutions of blogging more, I thought I’d start off simple, by passing information on. Here is some news regarding what publishing houses are asking for. If you have a manuscript completed and ready for submission, then these might just be the right opportunities for you!


Compiled by Louis Bacio used in the January 2012 Issue of Orange Blossom, newsletter for Orange County Romance Writers


Western Witches … Calls for Submission

Want to start the new year off with some creative inspiration? Why not kick it off with a short story? Here are the latest Calls for Submissions … perfect for helping meet those resolutions.

Hex Appeal

Ellora’s Cave is casting a magical spell for all things Wiccan. Charm readers with stories about wanton witches, lusty warlocks and sizzling spells! 18K – 70K words Deadline for internal submissions: June 15, 2012. Deadline for external submissions: May 15, 2012. Stories will release in October 2012. For more information,

Western Escape

Decadent Publishing is accepting pitches for their new series, Western Escape.
If you have a tale of a hot cowboy, or a cowgirl who can hold her own in a man’s world, we want to hear about it. Give us lariats to tie up desire, a beautiful sunset over an open prairie to weaken inhibitions, or even the slow rocking of a horse to spark things off. Decadent Publishing’s Western Escape follows the lives of Freewill’s residents and visitors. Heroes and heroines can be locals or tourists, but they must all pass through or connect to Freewill in some way whether interacting with the town ghost or locals, attending a conference at the Misbegotten Gaines Ranch and Resort, or something only you have thought of.

All submissions must have a Western theme. Tell us of the city boy roped by the hottest cowgirl in the West. Show us the wild or simple joys of a trip to the rodeo. Offer a plea to the ghost of Pierre Dauville and demonstrate the power of believing in what you cannot not see. For more information about Freewill look around the blog and make yourself at home or contact us.

Due to the somewhat conservative nature of the setting, all stories should focus on heterosexual relationships with a satisfying HFN or HEA ending. If you have a wilder cowboy in mind, please send it through general submissions.

Genre: A Western connection is a must, but we are open to any sub-genre including but not limited to Historical, Time Travel, or BDSM, as well as some paranormal elements such as psychics or reincarnation themes. No sci-fi or extreme fantasy please. Although a little implied magic is acceptable, we would prefer our cowboys on horses rather than riding dragons or space ships. 12K -50K (We will consider longer works on an individual basis.) Sensual to Hot (2-4) See submissions link below for taboo subjects. Remember this is romance so no straight erotica please. For more information, visit

Coming Out Stories

Loose Id wants Coming Out stories — Thoughtful, authentic erotic romances featuring men and women who come out. The coming out theme must be integral to the story. All stories must follow Loose Id submission guidelines. Final deadline for full submissions will be June 15, 2012 but the earlier, the better. Those accepted may be included for release in conjunction with Coming Out Day.

Coming out refers to the expression “coming out of the closet” meaning to tell others about your sexual orientation. Note: Coming Out Day is observed in many countries, usually on October 11. In the UK it is celebrated on October 12. For more information, visit

Faery Rose

The Faery Tales at Wild Rose Press are not for children. The Faery line is a fantasy world where you can allow your imagination free rein, a place to enjoy romance with mystical or mythical characters. We are looking for a sensual hero who knows what he wants and who goes after his leading lady. The heroine should always be a female we can identify with—someone we want to see achieve her dreams with strength she draws from inside.

Here are some possible scenarios:
– Dragons in the mist that turn into mortal men and women while overcoming obstacles to their love may have a little lust on their minds as well.
– Elves with challenges to their emotions could be looking for love with a bit of mischief thrown in.
– Ghosts may come back for the love of their life—or serve as the conflict keeping hero and heroine apart
– Wizards, warlocks, and witches crank up the romance like they spit out a spell.
– Futuristic worlds reveal heroes and heroines capable of wielding a sword or a laser, who fearlessly go after what their hearts desire.
– Time travels moving through centuries with the hero and heroine seeking not the secrets of the ages but of love.

And because our line is limited only by your imagination, if you have any other mystical creatures you think might be a fit, we will certainly look at those also. For believable romantic interaction, the hero and heroine must be of the same species or both humanoid. Your work should be a Romance above all, and every story should have clear goal, motivation, and conflict no matter how long or short. “Show” us the trials and tribulations of your hero and heroine—make them suffer. We want to “see” their emotions, don’t tell us; put the reader in the story rather than telling a “bedtime story” to a friend. For more information,

How a Broken Microwave Helped Me Write

Not my actual broken microwave

If for no other reason than the title intrigued you, I am glad that you are visiting my blog. Today’s blog centers around how my broken microwave helped me write.

What exactly was wrong with the microwave, you might ask? The Heating Element went out. And since it was the second time that it failed, we decided to replace it and are never going to buy a GE product again. But I digress. . .

Since over-the-range microwaves cost a bit more than the college dorm variety, we had to wait a bit to save up for a new one. In the meantime, we had to do things the old fashioned way. We actually had to cook everything instead of nuke it. Not only did this make us very frugal with the amount of food we cooked, because there was no reheating it later. But also it slowed everything down . . .time to get the milk to a screaming baby, no popcorn for DVD night, etc. Yeah, real hardships, I know, but I challenge you guys to go without a microwave to defrost food (among other things) for a while and see if you’re not whining for modernity.

As I was coming to the conclusion of my Victorian Romance, I found myself having difficulty drawing everything to a close, partly because I didn’t want to say goodbye to my characters, and partly because I didn’t want to drag on the ending. So that left me with a bit of writer’s block. What should I write to satistfactorily close the novel?

A *BLANK SCREEN* blinked at me relentlessly for days.

Since I was forced to experience weeks without microwave, I decided to go back to writing, as if I didn’t have modern tools, like a laptop.

And I have to say . . .there’s just something about writing out notes and ideas on paper. Drawing circles and lines and arrows for brainstorming. It’s fabulous. I know there’s an Apple equivalent for this called iThought and if I ever get an iPad, you better believe I’m going to buy that app, but still, it’s the ability to draw out your thoughts in a different way than you would just typing on a keyboard.

Along with writing long-hand, I also did other old-school tricks:

Writing exercises – like listening to a specific song (preferably without words) and listening to it a few times before trying to imagine a scene based purely on the music. Write what’s happening based on the music alone: it does not necessarily have to involve anything from your current WIP. (Thanks Chris Green for that oldie-but-goodie writing exercise)

Brainstorm bubbling – I alluded to it earlier, but to reiterate, use a blank sheet of paper and draw a circle in the center and write a phrase for a scene you’re working on. Then take off in different directions with alternative What-If scenarios like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Book (am I dating myself?) and see where your ideas take you.

Stovetop Popcorn – So there’s definitely some finesse required to this . . .just enough kernals with just the right ratio of butter/flavoring, and just the right amount of time, plus constance viligance watching them pop in the pot. This was great for idea brewing. I would imagine my characters are the kernals, and by adding just the right amount of oil and the perfect level of heat and they popped into a tasty treat. If I overheated them, turned my back on them, or didn’t keep them moving, the popcorn would burn. (There’s nothing worse than the smell of burned popcorn – blech) I liken this to  how a scene can over-burden a reader with a giant info-dump. The right timing, amount, and (for writing only) placement is key.

It really can be done.

More than anything a broken microwave reminded me how to get-back-to-basics and reinforced to me that just because something is old (like writing exercises) it doesn’t mean that it’s not helpful or worthwhile to stock your arsenal with.

Thanks for stopping by.