Tag Archives: contests

Happy Hopping

PJ Sharon here. Thank you for joining me at the Secrets of 7 Scribes group blog. I’ll give you today’s Unlocked Secret right up front. Writing is a tough job. Try to have a good time along the way. Fun may be defined differently for all of us, but a few of my favorite parts of this writing life (aside from writing!)are great conferences and group promotional events. I’m looking forward to RWA Nationals in Atlanta this July, and Fiction Fest this fall with my CTRWA pals. In the meantime, I have several group promotional events coming up.

Tis the season of Blog Hops and Book Lovers Buffets!

I’m currently participating with sixty-one other authors in the annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop. Authors_in_Bloom-300x250Since Dianne Venetta and friends organized the whole event, I didn’t have to do much accept prepare my blog and promote the heck out of it this week. The hop runs from April 10-19th and offers a Grand prize of a Nook or Kindle Fire and a $25 gift card to your favorite e-retailer.

The way it works is that you “hop” to each author’s blog where readers can collect gardening tips and awesome recipes (you must check out my super easy and scrumptious recipe for Sunny Delight Pie), and a prize will be offered just for showing up and leaving a comment. You can find the links to participating author sites on both my blog and the AIB landing page noted above. Prizes range from swag baskets to free books, signed copies to gift cards, and much more. On my blog site, all commenters who leave a valid e-mail address (not to be used for any other promotion), will be given a FREE short story called SOUL REDEMPTION, the prequel to WANING MOON, and will be entered to win an audio book copy of HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES.HeavenisforHeroes_audiobookcover

I’m so excited to be able to offer the audio book as a prize. I’ve been listening to it at home and LOVING my narrator, Erin Mallon, who has totally brought Jordie and Alex’s story to life. Hearing the story is very different from reading it, and the experience is a bit surreal for me as the author. The audio book will be available for purchase in May! Also in May, the 1st-3rd to be exact, be on the lookout for the Book Lover’s Buffet, where you can pick up a ton of fabulous books for only .99 cents!

Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of being a published author these days, I try to focus on the “fun” stuff. Blog hops, audio books, contest wins, and conferences are at the top of my list. I truly do enjoy opportunities to hang out with amazing like-minded people and learn exciting new ways to write great books and connect to readers. I am honored to be a part of such a hard-working and innovative community. You guys rock!

So what keeps you going when you get overwhelmed? Do you have a favorite (“fun”) part of being a writer that makes the hard parts easier to endure?

Writing Success Doesn’t Happen in the Vacuum of Space

 I joined RWA and the CT Chapter in 2007 when I realized I needed to reach out to people who knew how to do this writing thing. I was immediately aided by published authors, budding newbies like myself, and everyone in between. I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in an organization where I’ve been so readily accepted and supported, and for that I am forever grateful.

Then I joined YARWA (Young Adult chapter of RWA) last year,  and I felt like I had found my people. I couldn’t believe there were others who sat around thinking like a teenager and re-writing history.

 Being a part of a writing community has afforded me the ability to share my work with critique partners and open forums where I’ve had tremendous help in learning every aspect of the craft. Although I’ve gone through four critique groups and probably six or eight critique partners, I’ve left each relationship on good terms and it is accepted that as our writing style changes and grows, our need for different perspectives comes naturally. I value each person I’ve worked with and hopefully they feel the same about me.

Crit partners, Susannah, Casey and Katy Lee

Another highlight of being involved in RWA is that I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to attend conferences and workshops with some of the most talented writers and best teachers around. The CT Chapter has outdone themselves by bringing in the likes of Michael Hague, Margie Lawson, and our upcoming guest, Laurie Schnebly Campbell. At each of the four Fiction Fests and National Conferences I’ve attended, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing people, (including my favorite author, Diana Gabaldon). I even got to fondle, covet, and admire Kristan Higgins’ RITA statue and once shared a room with Jessica Andersen. I considered myself lucky on all counts. The best part of all of it, has been the friends I’ve made along the way. 

Also, thanks to the RWA and its tireless volunteer members, I’ve had the privilege of entering numerous writing contests. The feedback and acknowledgement I’ve received has been inspiring, interesting, and enormously helpful. Contests serve many purposes, not the least of which is that it gets you in front of agents and editors and you can use feedback to judge your own readiness for publication. Contest finals and wins also look great on your writer’s resume. What I found over time and with persistence was that, as my writing evolved, my contest scores and placement improved. It was tangible evidence that I was gaining ground. The same can be said for the dreaded query process. As painful as it was, after thirty or forty rejections, you start noticing that comments get more personal, useful and encouraging. That’s when you know that publication is around the corner. As an indie-published author, I am ineligable for entering the RITA Awards, but I can still enter the Golden Heart. Odd but true, and so I’ve entered Heaven Is For Heroes. Wish me luck!

With the shifting sands of the publishing industry, my choice to independently publish my YA novels may seem either foolish or brave, depending on your perspective. Only time will tell if I am successful without the assistance of an agent and a publisher. But I can say without a doubt that I couldn’t do it without the assistance of the RWA, my CT Chapter, and my YARWA and WANA (We Are Not Alone) peeps. Without your support, none of it would be possible. Thanks everyone! I’m proud to be among you. 

If you could meet your favorite author and ask them one question, who would it be and what would you ask?