Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sincerest Apologies

Mandy has just pointed out that the Avon Romance contest is only open to US residents. My apologies for not reading all the rules before I posted!

In the meantime, 28th February is just around the corner, so I hope you're polishing your entries for the Essentials magazine Voice of Africa contest.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Avon Romance's Regency Contest

This contest is a little different. You don't get to submit your own work, but rather you suggest the plot or theme and a seasoned writer will write the winning story. The four authors include Mary Balogh and Stephanie Laurens so this is really great amazing to keeping!

The deadline is Valentine's Day, so hurry over to check out the site, It Happened One Season, for more information and let your inspiration start flowing.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year's Resolution or Boer Maak 'n Plan?

New beginnings! Yup every January 1st we get that wonderful buzz in knowing that whatever happened during the year before can be put behind us and forgiven. But let's not forget! Why you ask yourself? Sure it's easier to just pretend that all those fabulous ideals we had at the beginning of last year ... well ... maybe they were just a little too lofty, or the timing just wasn't right, or it just wasn't meant to be? No, no my friend! I'm not going to let you get away with that one! No sirree. OK enough self flagellation, let's move on shall we ...

Here in South Africa we have a powerful saying ... 'n boer maak 'n plan. If you think about it logically, have you ever met a farmer who doesn't have a plan? If you want to harvest a crop of potatoes you must first plant the seed, water it, nurture it, wait for it to grow (farmers would probably add in the ... pray like the dickens) and eventually you'll have a crop you can be proud of. But it doesn't just happen all by itself. So how can we expect this year to be any different if we don't make plans?

Does the farmer have his plan in his head, or does he actually put it down on paper, take action by ordering the seed, prepare his fields and so forth? See where I'm going with this?

Commit to yourself this year. Make all those ideals, goals, resolutions - whatever you want to call them - achievable by truly showing your conviction. Apply pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and make your list. Once you've written it down put it somewhere you can see it every single day. Then learn to visualise it happening, feel that burst of glee within you when you have the vision and hold on to that! That's what's going to get you there - your driving force. And if that all sounds like too much effort for you then you don't really have the courage to do it, do you?

So, what are you waiting for? You're reading this which means you're at your computer ... open up that clean document, type heading "Goals for 2010" then start ...

1. Me first. As a mother, wife and everything else which I consider to be my "responsibilities" I will now consider why I'm doing things. Does doing it make me happy or am I simply trying to keep the peace? If it doesn't make me happy then I shouldn't be doing it.

2. Don't sweat the small stuff. Instead of panicking about everything I'm just going to tackle each problem as it crops up. Once dealt with I'm going to let it go and not dwell upon it. Time is too precious to waste like that.

3. Finish, edit and polish at least two completed manuscripts and submit them to the publishers they are targeted at. Different genres of writing allow me to express myself in diverse ways. Instead of trying to force myself to be either one or the other, I'm going to let myself explore both avenues.

So those are my main three for this year. Now that I've shared them with you I've put it out there. My intentions are clear. Failure is not an option.

Are you ready? Would you like to share yours?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Writing Contests

There are a few contests open at the moment for Romance writers, for those of you into entering contests.

Local is lekker, so we'll start with two home-grown South African contests. First up is the second short story contest run by Essentials Magazine in conjunction with Mills & Boon. Deadline is 28th February and the details are available here. This year's prize is awesome so you really should give it a go!

Next is Penguin Books' Prize for African Writing. The deadline is 30th January and the contest criteria can be found here. This contest is for full-length adult contemporary novels out of Africa. Again, an awesome prize - but if you want to enter you'll either need a completed manuscript ready and waiting or be an awesomely fast writer.

Further afield, the Washington DC Romance Writers (a chapter of the RWA) is running its annual Marlene contest, open to entrants word-wide. The deadline is 15th January and you can find more information here. This contest does have an entry fee so I'd recommend it only if you want to get your work in front of these specific contest judges, all editors from top romance publishers.

Then there's the Chase the Dream contest. This annual contest for the opening 1,000 words of a novel, runs from 1st January to 3rd March. Details can be found here. It's great fun, easy to enter, completely free, and can also get your work in front of some top editors and agents.

If you know of any other contests for writers, and specifically for romance writers, open to South African residents, then please drop us a line in the comments section.