Wednesday, November 30, 2011

San Francisco: Red Hat and Chocolate

Just a tiny recap of my almost-week in San Francisco.  By now, you probably know that my red hat travels with me.

(Not on me. I look awful in red.  Besides which, what if someone spotted me?!)

So two of the highlights of my trip to the city were as follows:

Lunch and general running-around with Christine Nguyen-McGrew, one of my crit partners and the best cheerleader a gal could have.  (You should have heard her squealing over the phone when I signed with Josh.  I couldn't understand a word she was saying.  And it was the first time I'd ever spoken with her.)

Breakfast with the illustrious Gabrielle Harbowy, whose soft-spokenness belies the fierceness of her dedication to all things editorial and bookish.  You'll see her in action next week during the Baker's Dozen Auction!  And, yeah.  She looks amazing in the hat.

And here it is: MY BOX OF TEUSCHER TRUFFLES.  May I just pause a moment and say that walking into the Teuscher shop and picking out a box of truffles was one of the BIGGEST CINDERELLA MOMENTS OF MY LIFE.  I could've stood in there and just BREATHED THE CHOCOLATE all afternoon!  And no, the box isn't empty yet.  There are exactly 6 truffles left.


So there you have it.  It wasn't the writing retreat I'd hoped for, but I'm glad I went.  Trolleys, Victorian architecture, and the best sushi I've ever had--not much to complain about!

Still.  I'm glad to be home.  I'm an utter hermit at heart.  Which is probably why I write in the first place.  Right?

Oh.  And today is the anniversary of the first time Mr. A kissed me.  Feel free to celebrate at will. *grin*

Monday, November 28, 2011


The 60 winning entries for our Baker's Dozen Auction will post THIS FRIDAY!  You're in for a treat.

I'll be posting all the itty-bitty details about the auction on Thursday.  In the meantime, here are a few important tidbits:

  • Critiquing may begin IMMEDIATELY.  I will ask you to hold off on critiquing during the actual bidding window next week.
  • WINNERS:  If you see any formatting issues or want to change anything once you see your post, please email me at facelesswords(at) WITH THE TITLE OF YOUR NOVEL IN THE SUBJECT LINE.  I will make the changes.
  • NON-WINNERS:  I will be posting instructions on how to submit your excerpt to one of our 10 guest blogs for public critique.  Please remember that this is OPTIONAL; you don't have to participate if you don't want to.

I'm excited!  Spread the word to your writing friends and communities; this is going to be wonderful to watch as well as to participate in.  The posts are already in the queue and ready to post automatically.  I'm finally getting to the point where I can sit back and watch things unfold.

Well, almost.  A few more emails and last-minute details.  Then the fun will begin!

Another word of thanks for your donations, too.  Just a reminder that all donations from this point forward will go to admin.  I'm going to be placing the book order for my library this week, so I can no longer accept donations for books.

You can donate at any time during the auction.  Again, thank you.  I am repeatedly humbled by your generosity.

Okay -- onward!  Many sparkles ahead.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Fricassee

So I forgot to warn my mom not to put the Brussels sprouts cuttings in the garbage disposal.  Because, for whatever reason, our garbage disposal doesn't like Brussels sprouts.  Invariably, they clog the drain.  Not the disposal, mind you; the DRAIN.

Yep.  For two hours, my husband and parents worked on unclogging the drain sans chemicals.  (Because I'm anti-Drano and nothing you say will change my mind.)  We're talking toilet plunger, rubber gloves, baking soda and vinegar.  And a hissy-fit or two from my husband, who clearly expected Thanksgiving to be a little more fun than that.

It became a man-quest of sorts, after a while.  I think my husband and my dad would have skipped dinner altogether in lieu of getting the kitchen sink unclogged.  I stayed out of their way and continued with my food prep.  And cheered as much as possible when that stupid pipe finally gurgled open.

In the end?  Boiling water.  Mr. A figured that boiling the jammed Brussels sprouts leaves would cook them and turn them soft enough to plunge free.  And he was right.

I told him he should do a youtube video.  He wasn't amused.

But really, the day wasn't a disaster.  I'm thankful my parents are here (traveling isn't their most favorite thing) and I'm going to squeeze drops of joy from every moment I can.  My writing limbo (you know what I mean--the I'm-in-between-stuff-and-what-the-heck-am-I-supposed-to-be-working-on thing) has actually timed well.  Because I really don't want my nose to be stuck into Beatrice while my mom and and dad stare at the back of my head.  Last Thanksgiving break, I was still reading slush for the Baker's Dozen.  Which wasn't something I could even begin to explain to my parents.  ("Well, Dad, it's like this. There are all these literary agents, and they are going to place bids on excerpts from novels.  Except, it's not money; it's pages.  And it's all going to take place inside comment boxes on my blog. Know what I mean?")

So, yeah.  It's all good.

Okay, so maybe I'm a tiny bit twitchy.  But that's nothing that a slice or two of pecan pie won't handle.

Next week: Baker's Dozen!  Spread the word; it's going to be incredibly fun, even if you're just watching.

See you Monday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On Giving Up

Yesterday's comments were another testimony of the amazing community here.  When "Anonymous" announced that not having been chosen for the Baker's Dozen Auction meant an end to his/her writing pursuits, you rose to the occasion and offered exactly the encouragement--and gentle admonishment--that was needed.

Thank you.

(I didn't even feel the need to jump in.  You were all doing beautifully without me.)

Here's the thing.  The initial despair that comes with rejection can feel VERY HUGE.  So huge, in fact, that we may feel swallowed by it.  But after the grand sucking sound of the quicksand, WE REEMERGE.  And we move on.

In case there are others of you who are silently planning to quit, let me reiterate what was shared so eloquently and sensitively in yesterday's comment box:  This is a subjective business.  One man's smelly left sock will be another man's gift card for Best Buy.  (Okay, that was a really dumb analogy.  Bear with me; I haven't been awake that long.)

And you know what?  Maybe an agent or an editor or the hapless slush readers of a blog contest rejected your work because it really wasn't ready.  Because it still needed a lot of work.  But you know what?  THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT YOU SUCK, EITHER.  Now, if you don't get good, solid feedback and work your fingers off to MAKE IT BETTER, then, yeah, you're not going to move forward.  Not ever.  BUT!! (This is a big but.)  If you DO keep working; if you DO stay open to critique and keep learning and growing and writing and rewriting, then the only way you can move is FORWARD.

In short:  Don't give up.

You know that's my mantra.  You know how long my journey has been.  I'M STILL HERE.  (And I'm not going away.)

Years ago, I submitted a short story to the now-defunct Victoria magazine.  Non-fiction, anecdotal--just what they were looking for.  And I received the most incredibly snoot-tastic rejection letter ever.  (Think "We wish we could accept every submission our readers send; but, alas, we cannot."  Gag.)

I might've said to myself, "Wow.  I can't even get a story into a magazine with lots of pictures of flowers and Victorian porches in it.  I'd better stop writing."

But I didn't.

Then, of course, there was the middle grade fantasy that I queried to death, and, despite several requests for the full, never got me an agent.  I loved this story.  (I still love it.)  But in the end I had to shelve it.

I might've said to myself, "Wow.  I've sent a lot of queries and EVERYBODY HATES ME.  I'm not going to write anymore."

But I didn't.

So please don't throw the towel in because you don't move forward right away.  In fact, this is a principle that applies not only to writing, but to life.  I mean, seriously?  We don't get things right the first time.  Well, sometimes we might.  But that's the exception.  Most things take time and practice.


Keep practicing.  Keep perfecting.  Keep GRITTING YOUR TEETH AND PRESSING FORWARD.

And if you honestly don't feel like you can do that?  Like it's really not worth it?  THAT'S when you quit.  THAT'S when you decide that this writing thing isn't for you.

Because it's not for the faint of heart.  It's for the TOUGH-SKINNED.  The TENACIOUS.  The BLEEDIN' STUBBORN.

And, clearly, the SENSITIVE AND SUPPORTIVE.  Because that's what you are.

I adore this community.  Am both humbled and encouraged by it.  Thank you for everything you are, and everything you offer!

Monday, November 21, 2011

YA/MG Winners Have Been Emailed

If you did not receive an email from me, your entry has not been chosen as one of the 35 winners in the YA/MG category.

Again, THANK YOU ALL for the privilege of reading your work.  It's never easy to whittle the winners down!

The Process

Now that we've got our 60 winners chosen, formatted, and ready to roll, I thought I'd give you a wee bit of insight on how Jodi and I worked our way through the list.  (And, yeah. We were both really grateful that the maximum entry amounts weren't reached.  Because...we'd still be reading.)

  • Good writing trumps a weak logline.  Always.  So if you're critiquing your way through the auction and stumble upon a logline that makes you think we must've been sniffing glue while choosing winners, keep reading.  It's the WRITING that ultimately counts.  (I'm exaggerating about the glue-sniffing.  You know that, right?)
  • Voice trumps a weak opening.  Because sometimes there's REAL POTENTIAL in a piece, but it may be simply a matter of not having started the story at the right place.  Which is a VERY COMMON PROBLEM.  (Yeah.  Ask me how I know.)  But if the voice shines through?  That's a whole lot of sparkly right there.  Voice is HARD.  And a strong voice always gets our attention.
  • Weak writing kills a killer logline.  Because a brilliant logline needs to be followed by an excerpt that lives up to what was promised.  WE HATE WHEN THIS HAPPENS. happens.
  • This is the scary part:  Jodi and I ALMOST ALWAYS feel exactly the same way about an excerpt.  There may have been two or three instances where there was a deferral; but even then, it was never a strong polarization.  (Does this mean we should open our own agency?? I HOPE NOT.)
  • As we read through and discuss each entry, we mark some as immediate YESES, and many more as MAYBES.  At the end, we count our YESES (of which we never have enough) and then go through our MAYBES to decide which ones should make the final cut.  (MAYBES are a good thing.  Because sometimes we might've said MAYBE because we were tired or hungry or not feeling particularly gracious toward a certain genre.  Or simply because we just weren't sure.)
  • Jodi is the mistress of detailed spreadsheets.  I rely on her COMPLETELY to keep our responses organized.
So there it is.  Sure, it's a lot of work.  But there's an inherent high in working on something that showcases the creativity of our peers.  And fishing the gems from the sea of entries is pretty satisfying.  Especially when the agents start placing their bids!

Admit it--you're dying to see the entries.  They'll be up a week from Friday!  Until then, we'll dawdle along and talk about other things.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Fricassee

Happy Friday!

I'm officially ready to not be living in a hotel room any more, despite the view and the amazing food choices in the city.  This morning, I'm breakfasting with Gabrielle Harbowy, who will have to swap her gray felt hat for my red one so I can add to my people-wearing-Authoress's-red-hat collection.  So looking forward to meeting her!

Yesterday morning, Jodi and I FINISHED READING THE SLUSH.  We're still working on our final list of winners, and I'll email the notifications on Monday as promised.

And...well, that's it, really.  I'm flying home tomorrow, so that'll give me Sunday to get my ostriches in a row.  Biggest bummer of the week?  My book choice.  I HATE it.  (No, I'm not going to tell you the title.  No, it's not anything that's been published in the last year.  It's a YA fantasy and it's making my fingernails crawl off my fingers.  That's how much I hate it.)  I'm going to have to find a bookstore today so I can buy DIVERGENT for the trip home.  Because that's what I REALLY want to read.

Have you ever been stuck with a stinky book while traveling?  This has happened to me twice in the past year! Dreadful, dreadful.

See you Monday!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Quick Hello!

Silly me for thinking I'd be all bored and lonely while Mr. A is busy at his conference.  I've got WIFI and an entire city to myself!

Well, not an entire city.  I'm just proud of myself for navigating the nearby streets of San Francisco ALONE this morning.  Without getting lost.

This is no small feat.  (Really.  I'm the type who needs to hold up her left thumb and forefinger to make the letter "L" so I know which way is left, remember?)

So, yeah. I don't mind being a tagalong-to-the-conference wife.  It's a wonderful break from routine and an opportunity to get some solid, uninterrupted writing-and-other-work done.

Like the rest of the slush.  Fewer than 50 to go!  The trickiest part is that there is now a 3-hour difference between Jodi and me.  I keep forgetting that her day is ahead of mine.

(My body also seems to have forgotten that I'm in Pacific time zone now, as I woke up at 4:00 this morning raring to go.)

I'm also pleased to report that my darling Mr. A has put his Authoress-is-afraid-to-touch-it camera in moron mode for me.  As in, I can push a button and it takes a picture.  (Imagine that.)  Funny the things we stress about before a trip.  Especially when we're not especially fond of traveling.

So I'm in good shape!  My Most Beloved Agent is going to be sending more edit notes at the end of the day to keep me busy, and Jodi and I will soon be making our final decisions on the YA/MG entries.  (Have I mentioned I couldn't do this without her?)  Same stuff, different location.

AMAZING how a different location gives us fresh perspective!

Hope your week brings you some fresh perspective, too, wherever you are.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Baker's Dozen Tidbits

Submissions are closed, adult winners have been notified, and Jodi and I are 75% of the way through the YA/MG entries.  I'll be in San Francisco this week, and blogging may be light. So I thought I'd take a moment to gather the Baker's Dozen eggs into a basket.

  • YA/MG winners will be notified via email on Monday, November 21.  Entrants, please take a moment to add facelesswords(at) to your address book, to avoid spam traps.  If you do not hear from me, your entry has not been chosen for the auction.
  • A reminder that ALL non-winning entrants in both categories will be invited to submit their entries to one of ten participating blogs for public critique.  This is optional.
  • We've lost one of our participating agents due to personal issues. OUR ALL-STAR LINE-UP OF AGENTS, EDITORS, AND AUTHORS IS HERE.
  • Each of the 60 entries will receive critique from one editor and one author, in addition to all critique offered from blog readers.
  • The 60 auction entries will be posted on Friday, December 2.  Critique may begin immediately.
  • Bidding will open at 11:00 am EST on Tuesday, December 6. It would be helpful to have NO CRITIQUE DURING THE 24-HOUR BIDDING WINDOW. I've encouraged the agents to subscribe to the posts they're bidding on, and I'm sure they'd appreciate NOT getting lots of critiques in their inboxes.  Critiquing may resume after bidding closes on Wednesday.
  • Please remember to mark your donations ADMIN or BOOKS. 
  • I will accept BOOK donations for one more week (until November 21).  After this time, all donations will go to ADMIN.  (This gives me time to purchase and present the books to my library before Christmas.)
  • THANK YOU for your generosity.

Post questions below! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Fricassee

How about a list of Happy Things this Friday?  Because, compared to last week, the past five days have been Disneyland.  Or maybe my perceptions's changed. 
  • One of the many awesome teens in my life has been involved with an orphanage in China.  For Christmas, she has organized her own, personal, adopt-a-child-for-Christmas program.  So I have "adopted" the most beautiful 3-year-old Chinese girl I've ever seen.  I may go absolutely nuts buying her the warm (and stylish, naturally) winter clothing that has been requested by the orphanage. My heart sings whenever I look at her picture.
  • Jodi and I found a couple fairly amazing entries in the YA/MG Baker's Dozen segment during our slushfest yesterday. And that's a special kind of high that only slush readers can understand. (I don't know how agents do this on a regular basis. I really don't!)
  • I've just received a gift of Teuscher chocolate from one of my blog readers/fellow writers. In the form of a donation earmarked as such.  Best part? Teuscher has a shop in San Francisco, which is where I'll happen to be next week.  Guess who's going to saunter into the chocolate shop and buy a box of beautiful truffles? I AM BLOWN AWAY BY THIS KIND OF GENEROSITY.
  • My husband took three days off to decompress this week. He is a different man. And I love him even more!
  • I am deliriously happy to have my latest work (finely polished) back in the hands of my agent (greatly beloved) and his adorable assistant (truly irreplaceable), and now have some time to play around with thoughts for Book 3--because Book 2 is already plotted (I hardly know myself).
  • My joditmitts are safe. And it's grown cold, so my hands are grateful.
  • I am having Clandestine Meetings with People Who Know My Real Name next week.  Which makes me feel like the protagonist in a fast-paced thriller.  (Or not.)
The only thing I'm angsting about is the fact that I don't have a camera, and it's a bit poopy to travel and not take pictures.  Mr. A has a gorgeous Panasonic Lumix that he purchased primarily for filming, but I'm afraid to touch it.  What I NEED is something small enough to fit into my purse (Lumix makes an amazing little point-and-shoot).  So I'm thinking I may have to start begging family members and neighbors to let me borrow a digital camera.  That's not déclassé, is it?  (Maybe I should wear my red hat when I ask them.)

So...lots of HAPPY this week!  I thought I'd sprinkle it around a bit.  Feel free to share your own bits of happy in the comment box; then there will be plenty to go around!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Three Questions for Authoress

Our own Peter Salomon (MSFV success story and soon-to-be-published!) has graciously interviewed me on his blog. His "three questions" format gives a fresh spin on the traditional interview, and was certainly fun!

READ IT HERE.  Then leave a kind word or two for Peter.  He's a wonderful, behind-the-scenes guy, maintaining a mailing list for all the MSFV success story folks, and welcoming each newly-announced person to the growing gang.  I'm thankful for his kind heart and people-personness.  (Yes.  That's a real adjective. Because I said so.)

Thank you, Peter!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Time For Another SUCCESS STORY!

It's been a little while, but we've got another success to celebrate.  Perfect timing, after the hullabaloo of Baker's Dozen submissions.

Disclaimer:  This one's a bit unorthodox.  I'm not advocating this author's "rule breaking;" I'm simply celebrating her ultimate success.  Because--well, yay!

Here it is, in the author's own words, and with her permission:

Hi Authoress,

I wanted to thank you so much for your time and dedication to keep your Secret Agent contests running. I have an indirect success story to share with you. I entered the January 2011 Secret Agent contest with Mary Kole judging. I didn't win, but a "lurking agent" (Weronika Janzuk) spotted my story, THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER, and asked to see the manuscript. Well, I was thrilled, except for a small problem...the manuscript was just a very rough first draft and not ready for submission. I KNOW this is breaking the rules, so I'll just be up front about that and beg forgiveness :) But by June, when it was ready, I sent it to Weronika as well as several more agents. About a week later, I had signed with my wonderful agent, Josh Adams of Adams Literary. And a few weeks after that, we had a three-book deal from Balzer+Bray/HaperCollins!

Participating in your contest and having a lurking agent take an interest in my work gave me the confidence to eventually submit. And the feedback from Mary Kole and the other contest participants was invaluable. I took all their advice into consideration and rewrote a much stronger first page, and novel as a whole. THANK YOU for giving me this opportunity!

Megan Shepherd

Monday, November 7, 2011

Adult Winners Have Been Emailed

If you have not received an email from me, yours is not among the winning entries.

THANK YOU ALL for entering your work.  Choosing 25 winners was not an easy task.  (We actually miscounted and ended up with 26, and had to go back...ohhhh the pain!)


At 11:15 on Friday night, I found my jodimitts.

No, they weren't returned to me by a repentant mitt thief.  They weren't lying in an obscure corner of the church parking lot.  In fact, they weren't anywhere they shouldn't have been.

They were sitting on my desk.  In full view.

Um.  It was one of those weeks.  That's all I can say.  Clearly the submissions fiasco, coupled with a difficult personal issue, made bits of my eyes leak out of my skull.  Or something.

So I was plugging Beatrice in for the night.  The kitchen was dark, and I saw what appeared to be a jodimitt lying on my desk.  Excellent sleuth that I am, I stood there for about six seconds staring at it in the dark, wondering if it could possibly be a jodimitt, or if my eyes were playing a cruel trick.  Then it occurred to me that I could turn on my desk light and get a quick answer.

Yes.  Jodimitt.  And the other one was hidden beneath a bit of Desk Junk.  I scooped them up and squealed and pressed them to my cheeks.

"I found my jodimitts!" I said to Mr. A, who had entered the kitchen during my little jodimitt dance.  Sweet husband that he is, he squooshed me into his arms and told me how happy he was I'd found them.

Well, that was after he asked me where.  And shook his head in a too-familiar Yet Another Dumb Moment In My Wife's Life way.  Unconditional love is a grand thing.

I wore them to bed.  Yes, I did.  It was a good way to work through the trauma of having been separated from them for three days.

Probably the rest of your donations through the holiday season should be marked THERAPY FOR AUTHORESS.

*hugs jodimitts*

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Fricassee

And the second slushfest begins!

Blogger is being a real poop.  They have a limit set on how many daily posts you can have.  If you go above this (rather arbitrary) number, you're asked for a verification for each post.  Back when I was doing the contests by hand, I would doggedly type in the code for each post.  It slowed me down, but it didn't stop me.

Now that things are automated, I CAN'T DO ANYTHING.  The Bot is (brilliantly) set up to post the entries directly to my Blogger account, where I can read them easily.  But when there's a flood of posts, Blogger only posts so many...and stops.  The entries sit in the database waiting patiently for their turn.

And Jodi and I can't read slush until Blogger decides to release the posts.

So, yeah.  Blogger's control issues are a bit frustrating.  Jodi and I got through the first 30 entries yesterday, and as of this writing, Blogger still has the rest in captivity.  When they're finally released, it will only be some of them.  And I have no idea when.

Which makes it a little tricky to schedule our slush parties.

But no worries!  They'll all come through eventually, and we'll get our list of winners sorted out in time.  I just needed to have a rousing Blogger vent.  I feel better now.

The saddest news in my life right now is that my beloved jodimitts are still missing.  I know exactly where I left them (lying in the grass beside the parking lot of a church building) but when I returned to look for them, they were gone.


I contacted the church via their web site, and an Extremely Kind Person got right back to me and said he would look everywhere, inside and out, and get back to me ASAP.  His kindness alone has given this mini-tragedy some meaning.

But seriously?  Who would want my not-quite-clean, getting-kinda-ratty, too-small-for-most-people's-hands JODIMITTS?  They can't possibly look beautiful to anyone else's eyes -- not after they've been loved into submission the way they have (Jodi would cringe).  Surely somebody put them somewhere.  Right?

Anyway.  I do have another pair, so I'm not bereft of warm hands.  It's just this was my first pair, sent as a cheer-up-Authoress gift, and I'm emotionally attached to them.  They're irreplaceable.

Silly, I know.  But there you have it.

So I'll be spending my weekend making my YA paranormal Very Shiny.  At least, that's what needs to happen.  I'm determined!

May your weekend be what you most desire it to be!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Good News for Adult Entrants

Jodi and I finished ahead of schedule!  The 25 winners will be notified THIS MONDAY, November 7, instead of a week later as originally announced.

I will send the emails from facelesswords(at)  Please be sure I'm in your address book NOW.  If you don't receive an email from me on Monday, it means your entry was not selected as one of the 25 winners.

Thank you ALL for giving us the privilege of reading your work.  Jodi and I don't take this lightly.  (Well, okay. We do have FUN. But we take the slush part seriously.)

Baker's Dozen Submissions Today

Submissions open at 9 AM EDT. They will remain open until 5 PM EDT or until 200 entries have been received.

Today's submission window is for MG and YA fiction.


Good luck, everyone!

(For those of you who wish to donate to the contest without entering, please click on the DONATE button on the sidebar. Remember to label your donation either "BOOKS" or "ADMIN." Your donations are GREATLY appreciated!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What Really Happened Yesterday

It's simple.  I checked, rechecked, and re-rechecked the contest data, to be Absolutely Certain I hadn't made a mistake.  Because, yanno, I made a mistake in the first round of adult submissions, and I didn't want history to repeat itself.

Then history repeated itself.

Basically, I forgot to email Michael to let him know the contest was set up, so that he could add the fee bit. It's the only part I can't do myself (the auction is the only thing with a fee, so it's not a normal part of my contest-setting-upping).  So the submissions started rolling in at an alarming rate, and I realized in a flash that they were posting immediately.

And then I realized why.  (This moment of my life is utterly indescribable.)

So I shut down the contest, tweeted seven hundred times, and posted an alert on the blog.  Long story short: I moved the contest times and Michael saved the day.

But here's what really happened yesterday:

I learned that, despite years of personal growth, I still have a long way to go in the GIVING MYSELF GRACE department.  As in, I died about twelve times yesterday because I had screwed up.  And it had affected people all over the globe.  People who had stayed up late to enter the contest.  People who had to leave for work.  People who were excited and nervous and ready to follow the rules.

I couldn't handle the letting people down part.  It felt like a personal Armageddon.

And then I discovered that, while I was drowning in self-loathing, the people I had let down were POURING GRACE OVER ME LIKE A WATERFALL.  Giving me what I couldn't give myself.

Nobody bashed me.  Nobody yelled at me.  Nobody called me an irresponsible, fluff-brained toad.

By the end of the day, I felt absolutely adored.  Forgiven.  Supported without a moment of oops-I-think-they're-going-to-drop-me-now.

If I said "thank you" a thousand different ways, it wouldn't express my level of gratitude.

And now I'm imagining a world that reflects what happened here yesterday--a world in which it's okay to mess up.  In which patience and gentleness prevail.  In which nobody holds a grudge when someone lets him down.

And, yeah.  In which I regularly receive donations labeled "chocolate."  I mean, seriously!  My grin was so wide it hurt.  And I needed some grins like that yesterday.

It took a submission fiasco to show me I still have a way to go in learning to forgive myself when I'm not perfect.  Which is, um, every day.  You were all a part of God's gentle whisper to my heart: "Stop being so hard on yourself when you mess up."

Okay.  Got that.  I may need to print out this post and re-read my own words for the next year or so, but I've definitely gotten the message.  "Authoress doesn't have to be perfect."  Check.

I've officially run out of words to tell you how amazing you are.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Today's submission window will be from 3:00 to 11:00 PM EDT.

I am SO SORRY.  Those of you who entered the cancelled round and paid via the donation button, please pop me an email and I will refund your donation.  The fee can only be paid via the web form because there is no other way to administrate which entries were paid and which were not.

You guys.  Bleh.

Contest on Standby

The contest was not set up correctly.  My fault.

Please stand by.

Baker's Dozen Submissions Today

Submissions open at 9 AM EDT. They will remain open until 5 PM EDT or until 150 entries have been received.

Today's submission window is for MG and YA fiction.


Good luck, everyone!

(For those of you who wish to donate to the contest without entering, please click on the DONATE button on the sidebar. Remember to label your donation either "BOOKS" or "ADMIN." Your donations are GREATLY appreciated!)