Tag Archives: RWA

A Shit Show & A Happy New Year

Well, I was on vacation since the week of Christmas and I was supposed to get so much done. Um, I did not. I barely left the house and ate my way through just about everything we had. I can feel the weight gain as I type. But, here’s a recap of what did happen. I’m warning you now, this is going to be a long one.

  1. Ugh, it’s been rough to live in Columbus this past week. First, OSU lost to Clemson which probably most of you know. I didn’t watch it because I just…can’t. I am an anxious and angry fan. Then OSU basketball lost to WVU the next day. Then CBJ lost and the goalie got hurt because of stupidity. So there’s that.
  2. I binge watched The Witcher on Netflix. It took me three or four episodes to decide if I actually liked it and finally decided on yes. I did have to watch it with the closed caption on so I could understand what they were saying and they were speaking English. Whoever was responsible for the sound mixing on this show sucks. However, it did make for some great reading. There were some “Hmm’s” from Henry Cavill, quite a few “sigh”s every time someone took a breath. I kept yelling at the screen, “that was a snort you idiots!”. Then there was the “whooshing”. I shit you not. Every time the wind blew, the cc marked it as “whooshing”. It was amazing. On top of all of that, I keep humming that stupid song in my head.

You’re welcome! #sorrynotsorry

Now, the timeline is screwy but once you figure it out, it makes total sense. The sword work was quality and Henry Cavill did all his own stunts. I read an article about how big a fantasy nerd he is and quite frankly, it makes me adore him all the more. There are a couple of points that need to be addressed. Gerald of Rivia and the Bard Jaskier are the Bromance I didn’t know I needed in my life and Yennefer is a BADASS. I love her. If you haven’t seen the trailer, here you go.

3. I followed my binge watching with something a bit more low key and WAAAAAAY more soapy. Welcome to Virgin River.

OMG, this had every cliche plot twist you could imagine.

  • Dead husband and child…got it.
  • Woman running from her past to a small town to forget…got it.
  • PTSD Irag Vet leading man…got it.
  • Battered woman hiding her and her kid from an abusive husband…got it.
  • The woman the hero didn’t actually love is now pregnant right when he’s finally discovering love…got it.
  • Oh, and did I mention the heroine can’t have kids…got it.

The only thing we’re missing here is amnesia. I expect season two will not disappoint on that front. And yes, I will be watching it.

The best part of all of this was that Ross was around while a few of the early episodes were on and he was CRINGING and talking about how bad it was. I got a couple of “really?”s out of him which just made it more fun for me to watch it. Bahahahaha! I love torturing him. It brings me joy.

4. Ross and I went to see StarWars: Rise of Skywalker. It was – meh. There was a point, and I realize this is stupid but I’ve been watching Luke try to lift that fucking X-wing out of the Dagoba swamp for like my entire damned life so when he finally lifted it out of the sea for Rey, I was so fucking proud. That was the highlight of the movie for me. There were parts that were very heavy handed but then I remembered that when I was a kid, we get the “certain point of view” lecture and I remember thinking (when I was six or seven back in the now distant 1980’s) how profound that was.

5. I got pod cast equipment for Christmas which is exciting. This means that I can record my own work for audiobooks because I’m too poor to hire a professional. To all my friends that said they couldn’t read my books because they heard my voice in their heads…this won’t help you.

6. Last by certainly not least the shit show that is RWA. No, i’m not joking. #RWAshitshow was actually trending along side #Istandwithcourtney

This shit has now been covered by the NYTimes, Washington Post, The Guardian, as well as several other national media outlets. Feel free to review any or all of these articles. There’s a pretty good recap on twitter by Cate Eland (or see below).

The worst thing is, this keeps getting worse. With each new release that RWA puts out, they just keep digging themselves a deeper hole. The reality is that I wasn’t going to renew my membership in August with RWA or my local chapters this month for my own reasons. I’ve often felt marginalized because of the genre I write and I never really fit in. I’ve discussed that here before so I won’t rehash. I’m not surprised that those people, particularly women and men of color, were also marginalized. RWA focuses too much on a mold of romance and if you don’t fit in that mold, they don’t want you.

I’ve been reading my digests pretty much everyday and following this shit show on twitter. Honestly, I’m disappointed in some people and incredibly proud of others but that’s to be expected.

So there you have it. Happy New Year everyone!

Memberships and Contest Scores

I finally got my preliminary scores back for Hereditary Magic from the Rita contest.

Below please find the scores for your entry, Hereditary Magic Blood and Bone Legacy, in the preliminary round in the 2019 RITA® Contest.

Paranormal Romance 1
2

3

4

5
Score4.89. 8. 6.58.   
Does the entry contain a central love story?YesYesNoNoYes
Is the resolution of the romance emotionally satisfying and optimistic?NoNoNoNoYes
Does the entry fall within the category description?YesNoYesYesYes
Did Not Finish (DNF) Reason (craft or grammar). The field will be blank if the judge did not select DNF.    

Final Score: 7.5      

Final Scores are calculated by dropping the high and low scores and averaging the three remaining scores.

If there are 3 negative responses to any one question, the entry is disqualified.

You may refer to the following information in order to determine the ranking of your score.

For the Paranormal Romance category:

            Top quarter; final scores equal to or greater than 8.3

            Second quarter; final scores from 8.26 to 7.83

            Lower half; final scores equal to or less than 7.8

Let’s talk about these and my own experiences with the Rita entries for a moment. As you can see from the underlined contingency above, Hereditary Magic was disqualified for having 3 “No” responses in a single category. The category question was Is the resolution of the romance emotionally satisfying and optimistic? The quick answer to that is of course not. It’s a series and if you solve the central romance in the first book, the series is basically over. There has to be some conflict and growth. Otherwise, THERE’S NO POINT.

There was one judge, #2, who actually got the book. And he/she is right. This book doesn’t fall within in the strict category of paranormal romance. None of my books do. That’s part of the problem.

I don’t write romance.

I write genre fiction that doesn’t subscribe to the regimented format of romance. I don’t have a happy ending at the end of each book. I don’t have the romance as the focal point in each book. My romantic entanglements are not always resolved at the end of each book. That’s part and parcel of writing series.

As a judge this year in the Rita contest, I find it disheartening to learn Hereditary Magic was disqualified while more than half of the entries I was given to judge were subpar, not just in their character development but in grammar and writing style.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that I’m no Margaret Atwood. I am very cognizant of how minuscule i am in the publishing world and even more so about how niche my genre is within that publishing world. However, I can construct a damned sentence properly…most of the time.

So, this is what it has all come down to…

I’ve been a member of Romance Writers of America now for 10 years and each year I renew my membership with reticence. What is RWA and the affiliated chapter memberships providing me? Honestly, not a whole lot at this point.

This year I paid my $99 membership fee in August to maintain the other chapter memberships through December. It will be my last year. Each year, I feel more and more marginalized in an organization where I clearly don’t fit in.

I have plenty of romance writer friends that get a ton of benefit from their memberships, and that works for them. I’m not one of them. And that’s okay. I just can’t seem to justify sinking money back into an organization that isn’t beneficial to me and my writing career. Not anymore.

This isn’t a condemnation of RWA or their contests. They do a lot of good for quite a few people. I’m just not one of them. I think that saying goodbye may be the best option for me. I have made many great friends in this organization and relish those friendships and support I have found in their company. But I must say goodbye to the organization that brought us together.

Farewell, RWA. It’s been nice knowing you.

Hey, I’ve been busy

Well, it’s been a while. Three weeks to be exact. I’ve been crazy busy. Let me see if I can catch you up.

I’ve been reading non-stop for judging purposes.

  • First it was the Rita awards which I didn’t final. Honestly, I don’t even know why I enter that thing. I’m not a romance writer, not really, and they don’t know what to do with me.
  • Then it was the Prism which I haven’t heard yet if I am a finalist. Keeping my fingers crossed. Again though, don’t have high hopes since I’m not a straight romance writer. Although the Fantasy community tends to be a little more forgiving about the romance thing.
  • Now, it’s the Ignite the Flame contest, mainly out of guilt. This is what happens when your writing group emails you directly and lays it on thick. Since I’d never judged that particular contest before (and I’ve been a member for almost 10 years now), there was a small amount of guilt that sat heavy in the pit of my stomach…so I agreed. Only to two or three entries though. I do have to actually write something this summer after all.
  • Plus, I don’t know why but the entries that I have been judging in all three of these contests were just…bad. Either poorly written, horribly cliched tropes – and the I’m going to kidnap you because you’re my fated mate and you’re going to like it scenario doesn’t work in the #metoo era. It’s all a bit “no means yes” for me. I think we can leave that behind. The whole time I was reading these horrible books, all I kept thinking was that someone was reading my book at that very moment and thinking the same thing. UGH! It was all very demoralizing and depressing.

Ross and I got a weekend away to go to a wedding. We had a great time. I got trashed on red wine and let’s be honest, throwing up red wine might be one of the most horrible experiences of anyone’s life. You think that shit is acidic going down?!? Try having it come back up and through your nose… You’re welcome! #sorrynotsorry.

Also, I’m a shit. The couple had door knobs on their registry. I get why. They bought a house and are renovating. But I couldn’t resist. There were 5 gold doorknobs and 7 silver doorknobs. First, why are you mixing colors? Second, the idea of doorknobs as a wedding present made the asshole in me come alive (which doesn’t take much). So, instead of being nice and buying all five of the gold doorknobs on their registry, I only bought four. I wrapped them in a big box filled with tissue paper so that when they open them, they’ll be looking for all five door knobs and it won’t be there. Ross was irritated that we were going to have to carry this huge box up to Cleveland to take to the wedding. I then reminded him that they were going to have to cart this huge box from Cleveland to Baltimore – cause that’s where they live. That appeased his grouchy old man beast. Then on the card I wrote, “Hope you enjoy the knobs!”. Bahahahaha! You’re welcome Cara!

This is Ross at the reception. That’s right, the reception was at Brown’s Stadium.

Moving on.

Scarlett had a play date with another little kid which was the MOST uncomfortable 2.5 hours of my life. I’m not a social person. AT ALL. Idle chit chat is the most painful thing in the world for me. That’s why I married Ross, so he could do all the chit chatting for me. I’m only half joking about that. I think I’d rather have a root canal than partake in chit chat. I kept looking at my fitbit wondering if it was okay to leave. Don’t get me wrong. These people were very nice. I’m just not the social butterfly that flourishes by engaging in conversation with others. This was, literally, my nightmare come to life. I don’t think I can communicate to you the level of discomfort and dread I felt throughout this whole endeavor. Especially when you take into account the anticipation for the two weeks leading up to this play date and actual suffering during the play date itself that I experienced. And Ross just laughed at me. Because don’t forget, he’s an asshole too.

And finally.

This was Scarlett’s first go around for soccer. I spent most of my Saturday mornings for six weeks straight yelling across a soccer field that the ball was the other way as she picked flowers of walked with the coach as all the other little kids actually ran after the ball. There were many instances of Scarlett running across the field to get a “mommy hug” before I shoved her back out onto the field to run in the complete opposite direction as everyone else. She’s really good in practice and running in general. Is there preschool track? She might be really good at that…

I think you’re all caught up at this point. Until next time.

Missing RWA

This week is the RWA (Romance Writers of America) national conference. I stopped going to this years ago. The longer I went, the more I discovered that the panels and discussions were the same, repackaged and updated but the same every year nonetheless. Each year, I had a hard time finding new things to interest me and it began an endless cycle of business panels about marketing and brand building that I could get on YouTube for free instead of the cost of registration, travel, and just eating. As a not very successful author, I have limited funds for this type of thing.

Also, every year, I realized more and more how I am not a romance writer. I don’t miss sitting through endless panels that didn’t apply to me and trying desperately to gleam some bit of useful information from them. Also, sitting through presentations and awards that I never qualify for because I don’t fit into their box was frustrating.

I don’t miss the throng of people. As we’ve discussed previously, people exhaust me. I am not the extrovert to go out there and just be. One of the reasons I love writing is because it’s a solitary occupation. I can get in my own head and play around in there for a while. That is very appealing to me. I think it’s appealing to quite a few writers.

This week I’ve been watching the pictures of all my friends on Facebook who are at RWA in Denver this week and feeling a bit . . . nostalgic maybe. I’ve met some amazing people at conferences. But I also have friends that I haven’t seen since Scarlett was born because, you know – baby/toddler. There they are at RWA having a blast. There’s a part of me that is jealous that they’re having all the fun and I’m not. There’s another part of me that understands, I would not have been having that fun with them. I probably would’ve been hiding in my room, recouping from exposure.

So there you have it, a mixed bag of emotions and kinda regret but not really.