Thursday, November 26, 2015

New home for a while

I've decided to put a passion project I've had peculating for years into play.  So I'm blogging at a new place where you can be a part of the journey from the beginning AND be a part of the progress.

Join me now at

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A great opportunity for writers!

Something you don't want to miss!   From the Trans Canada Romance Writers Blog:

Maple Seed Awards

2014-2015 Maple Seed Awards

The purpose of the Maple Seed Awards is to inspire and reward writers of romance fiction.

• Participation is open to all Romance Writers (published and unpublished).
• All work must be the writer’s original work that has not been contracted for publication.
• Entries are to be the first three chapters.
• Open to all romance categories, including erotic, but not erotica.
• Email entries only.
• Multiple entries are accepted, but each entry must have a separate entry form.
• All entrants must request and complete a Maple Seed Entry Form.

Entry Fee:
No entry fee required for Trans Canada Romance Writers’ members.
$20.00 for non-TransCRW members.

Contest Opens: November 01, 2014

Contact Michelle Carter for a Maple Seed Entry Form:

Entry of Chapters:
• Chapters must be professionally presented, double spaced, one inch margins, Times Roman font, and size 12.
• The writer’s name must not appear anywhere on the document.
• Entry title must be included in the header.
• Word Document (.doc) or Rich Text Format (.rtf) or PDF file saved as ‘MapleSeedContest.YourName.Title’.
• Email the completed Maple Seed Entry Form and your entry to Michelle Carter at: with ‘MapleSeedContest.YourName.Title’ as the subject.

Entry Deadline: January 04, 2015

Failure to comply with the entry rules will disqualify the entry.

First Round will be judged and scored by five romance readers. The top three finalists will be chosen and advance to the final round.
First Round Judging Deadline: February 06, 2015.
The top three finalists will be announced and notified by February 09, 2015.

Second Round will be judged by a publisher. The guest publisher will select a winner from the three finalists.
Second Round Judging Deadline: February 23, 2015

Maple Seed Awards results announced on all Trans Canada Romance Writers social media sites and winner notified, by February 27, 2015

Maple Seed Awards 

First place winner will receive the Maple Seed Award Medal, Maple Seed Award Certificate, and their three chapters edited by a professional editor.

Second and Third place winners will receive Maple Seed Award Certificates.

For questions and to receive a Maple Seed Entry Form contact: Michelle Carter at

Plant the ‘seed’ of your story with your first three chapters!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I have PROOF!!

Well, actually I don't....and that is often a major problem.

I can't stress enough how important it is to PROOF your manuscript before you submit.  The hard part is that being so close to the work, it is easy to miss the simple errors like turned quotes or two periods or misspelled words that look similar to the original word, ie: 'maent' instead of 'meant' 

Your eyes see what you want them to see because you are focused on the more important things like POV and structure.  BUT, the editor's eyes are not.  Unfortunately, we pick up on the little things.

And just to be clear, I'm not talking about the occasional incident; we more than understand this can happen.  I'm talking about the multiple proofing misses that keep popping up where at least half should have been noticed if a solid proofing had been done--this is a case of NOT the more the merrier. 

A few tricks of the trade:

a) Have someone else read the story for you, giving them instructions to watch out for the simple fixes needed;

b) Change the font--a different font can trick your eyes to seeing things in a different light;

c) Read the story backwards--this takes the focus off the sequence and makes you look at each word and symbol separately;

d) Read the story out loud. Yes, the simple action of verbalizing the story can make a huge difference because your sensory perception is to visualize the word as well as pronounce it.  This is also good for listening for natural dialogue (when contractions should be used for instance) and flow of sentence structure.  If you stumble over words so will the editor, or if the dialogue sounds robotic, it will sound just as metalic to the editor.

So, give an editor PROOF that you are doing your homework and take a bit of extra time to make sure your best--and the right--words shine!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thursday Q&A: Why am I not getting published?

Today’s question comes from Natasha B.:

 My family and friends read my story and loved it, so why does it keep being rejected by publishers?

You have to love family and friends, especially the truly supportive ones.  Always make sure you appreciate them!

But, there are two general reasons why it isn’t such a good idea to have them critique your writing. 

First, most loved ones only want to encourage you and don’t want to hurt your feelings by saying anything negative.  This doesn’t mean they are lying to you or didn’t like the story, simply that they will usually tell you what you want or need to hear—even if you ask them to be hard, they won’t, for your sake.  Admirable and loving, most definitely…but not helpful.

Second, and most important, most family and friends don’t know the technical aspects of Goal-Motivation-Conflict, POV, Pace, Validation/Details, Characterization or Sentence Structure.  So, they may enjoy your story, not knowing the facets that could make it better, and more important, publishable.

Not that you shouldn’t let family and friends read your work if you so choose, simply that you also need an impartial third party to evaluate and see what's really going on in your manuscript.

Critique partners are INVALUABLE for this.  Getting with a group or even just one or two other writers to help motivate, and especially assist in helping find the areas that aren’t working in your manuscript is essential for the up and coming writer--well, in truth, any writer whether new or established. 

Now, I will say that I equate finding a critique partner to that of dating.  It may take feeling out a few to find the one or two that you can work with.  Everyone has different personalities and different work ethics, and it is important that you find those that you are compatible with.  BUT, let me tell you, when you do, the added bonus is often building great and long lasting friendships. 

If finding a critique partner isn’t up your alley or too time consuming for you, then having your manuscript assessed by a freelance editor is another option.  There will obviously be fees associated with this choice, but the knowledge you will gain and the guidance in the areas that need to be worked on can more than make up for the cost.
So, let your family support you, but don't put the pressure on them to evaluate your manuscript.   Find a critique partner, writing group or freelance editor to guide you down that path to publication.

For those of you reading this, do you have critique partners?  And if so, how did you find them?  Feel free to share stories and benefits!



Thank you again to Natasha for the question today.  She will receive a thank you envelope with a pen, bookmarks and other fun stuff from a number of my authors. 

For a chance to receive a fun stuffed envelope, simply send me a question about writing, editing or the publishing process.  No question is too little, too silly or should be too embarrassing to ask--knowledge is the key that opens many doors. So, go ahead and ask me: 

And if I use your question on my blog, I will send you a small thank you envelope, too.