I know I haven’t been posting regularly here. I haven’t been reading romance lately, so I’ve had nothing to review. I’m focusing on the MFA for the moment. And there’s only so much a person can do (apparently—though I always think otherwise).
Still, I have some good news: my short story “The Lie That Binds” won third place in the Smoldr Lake Covington contest, winning me my first income as a real writer. And it was three digits!
If you’re interested in buying the anthology it’s in, it can be found here.
I haven’t posted in a while because I’m so busy with classes I’m taking for a Master’s in applied statistics (it’s relevant to my day job). I’m too tired after doing math all night to read, which is a bummer. I’m totally behind on my Goodreads reading challenge.
However, I do have some news: a short story called “The Lie That Binds” that I wrote for a contest is going to be published in the contest anthology mid-March, 2020. The contest involved an assignment—in my case, a kindergarten teacher named Joy and a bouncer named Russ had to get together while spending most of their together time in a dive bar called Mojo’s. It wasn’t easy for me to write a kindergarten teacher, let me just tell you that. It’s super-low on the heat scale, which is different from what I normally write. This is an American Idol-style contest, with readers voting for the winners of the contest based on those in the anthology. It will be available in print and ebook. I’ll post more info here when I have it.
I was also able to attend a writing conference a couple weekends ago. The Pacific Northwest Writers Conference is one I go to every year. This year was a little disappointing, somehow. I think the sessions were all good, but my pitch sessions (I had two) left me feeling a little meh. I did pitch Programmed for Love and got a full request for it. I’m debating on sending it in, though I think I will, because it’s the first of a series and I’m afraid I won’t be able to finish the next two in time to make the publisher happy. Based on what the editor told me, I’d probably be able to negotiate one book a year, which might be doable. But it would mean I’d have to be writing the second one while completing the MFA (in case you were observant and wondering, the stats program would be on hold until I finish the MFA, which will happen January of 2021). I probably can do it but it will be hard.
Anyway, that’s it for now. I am reading a romance at the moment (Alisha Rai’s The Right Swipe) so I’m hoping to get a review up in the next week or two.
So I’ve been posting here for a year or so, and those posts have been mostly book reviews. However, this is supposed to be my writer site because what I’m really doing is trying to learn to write better and to write romance novels. Reading books and writing reviews are both good for learning the craft, but they’re not the only ways. I started an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in creative writing in July and it’s a lot of work but looks to be great. So I probably am not going to be able to keep up my once-a-week reviews, because I have a lot to do besides reading a romance novel every week. So I’m going to do my best to continue posting weekly, but some of those posts may not be reviews (and if I slip a bit, you’ll know why).
The MFA is a low-residency program through Oklahoma City University. I go to Oklahoma for ten days twice a year, right before each semester starts, to attend workshops and plan out the semester. I’m pretty excited about this semester. For the degree, I’m actually focusing on young adult fiction (though most of it applies to romance, too) and I’m getting to read and study twelve good YA books this semester plus White Oleander by Janet Fitch and The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, two books I’ve read and enjoyed before. This semester I’m focusing on two things: plot/structure and short story form. So I’m also reading loads of craft books and several short story collections (I’m currently reading Chekhov and I feel confused most of the time, unfortunately—hopefully the others will go better). The way the program goes is I work with a specific mentor (this semester, Kerry Cohen—she’s interesting) one-on-one throughout the semester, writing both about the books I’ve read as well as working on several short stories. On top of all that, I’m taking an elective in pedagogy, because teaching writing is my retirement plan.
So, I’ll be busy for the next 2.5 years, but I’ll come out a better writer.