Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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October 9, 2011

Taking The Local Contest By Storm

We had to break into your weekend with some amazing news. . .Laura Drake has placed second in the Orange Rose Contest!

We should have a less blurry picture of her to sub in soon, but my hands were shaking so bad, I'm lucky I didn't drop my phone taking the photo. Sharla, Laura and I (this is me, Jenny) were all a blubbering mess by the time all the names were announced.

As the names were being read from 10th place on up,  we started freaking out when we didn't hear Laura's. I started rocking in my chair at #5, crying at #3 and I almost passed out when her name was announced in 2nd place. I can't wait to hear her describe her own reaction in the comments.

Oh, and did you notice she's in a wheelchair? That crazy girl went fly fishing last weekend and came home with her ankle broken in two spots! I'm not surprised that she gets that exuberant, but while fishing? Hello... Next time, I'm sending her with a chaperone.

Anyway, the Orange County Chapter of RWA is the one most of us call "home" here at WITS. At yesterday's meeting, two of our long-time friends spoke: Mary-Theresa Hussey, senior editor at Harlequin/Silhouette, and Susan Mallery of New York Times fame. Both of them were AMAZING.

Note: I'll have a write-up on my thoughts about Susan's talk for Techie Tuesday over on More Cowbell this week. Susan is what you'd call a writer's writer.

For any of you that have never entered the Orange Rose, it is a unique contest in that the winners are judged overall, rather by category. If you haven't scored at least 136 points about of 165, you're not eligible to be in the finalist circle. As someone who coordinated the conference for two years, I can tell you that the 10 finalists typically score in the 150's and higher.

All Orange Rose judges are published authors and the final editor judges are hand-picked to match the finalists. The first year I gathered editors, I had Selina McLemore from Grand Central, Rose Hilliard from St. Martin's, Hillary Sares from Kensington, 3 Harlequin/Silhouette editors (Mary-Theresa, the MIRA editor at the time and an editor from Harlequin Historical) and an Avon editor. That's pretty typical of the editor line-up (read: stellar!).

If you're looking to enter a writing contest next year and you want great feedback, I highly recommend the Orange Rose. In the past, I've thrown a book in there just to see how I'm doing. A score in the 120's lets me know I'm on the right track. Anything above the high 140's means I'm getting really close to the last draft.

We love our local chapter and we always come away ready to write. But yesterday was a truly golden day and we wanted to share it with you.

Do you belong to a writing chapter? How has it changed your career? Are there things you wish your local chapter offered? Are there contests you recommend? What is your experience with contests?


About Jenny:
Jenny fills her nights with humor: writing memoir, women’s fiction, chick lit, short stories (and chasing after the newly walking Baby Girl). By day, she provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s digging this sit down and write thing. In addition to being a founding member here at Writers In The Storm, Jenny also hangs out on Twitter at jhansenwrites and at her other blog, More Cowbell.

0 comments on “Taking The Local Contest By Storm”

  1. WOO-HOO, Laura! Absolutely awesome to come in 2nd in an ALL GENRE win!

    I'm humbled by your accomplishment.

    Jenny (of come-join-the-party fame), has me vascillating between tempted to and afraid of entering next year. ACK! All genres? I know. I know. At least I'll get good feedback.

    But, you, m'dear got the win. Do I recall you also won the Texas Two-Step Great Expectations last year? You are on a roll. Sell your dang book and give us nonpubbeds a fightin' chance.

    1. Oh Gloria, thanks SO much - it was an amazing weekend!
      This is a tough contest - first time I've finaled - BUT the detailed feedback you get from published authors is worth the price of entry. I'm serious.

      As you may have noticed, I tend to throw myself into the deep end of the pool - sent off my Golden Heart entry on Friday...

      Go sign up for a contest!

      1. My crit partners (who have lived through the EEEs and ACKs with me) would say "NO! Don't give her permission! Stop!"

        I joined the Contest Slut Circuit this year and got some GREAT critiques. Finaled in the MAGGIE and won HOTR for Single Title. But, those are child's play compared to an open genre contest.

        Next up? GH bound. Hope we aren't the same genre. Oh. What the heck. I'll root for you no matter what. I'm Long (non-category) Contemporary Single Title.

        WOO HOO again! You WOULD turn fishing into an extreme sport. Heal quickly and pain free. G

  2. Where was I yesterday and how did I miss this? HOOT and a holler, you go biker girl. That is the best news. If I wasn't in such a hurry to get away from that hairy spider I would not have scrolled all the way down. You are the best. Good luck with the Golden Heart, although this lady things your heart is already Golden 🙂

    My local chapter is too far, but two years ago, I took a very rough draft of something and sent it into the Rochester RWA chapter contest. Got good feedback. Did a local contest and got better feedback. I think you guys are so lucky to have such a supportive and active chapter. Laura, the best to you. Does this mean you have a titanium bra as well 🙂

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