Wednesday, April 16, 2014

CONFERENCES & CONTESTS - ORA 2014 Writing Competition Now OPEN!

ORA's annual Weta Nichol Contest is now open for submissions!

Weta Nichols Writing Contest
Ozark Romance Authors

Entries accepted April 8-July 15.

FINAL ROUND JUDGES: To be announced

Submit the first chapter (up to 2,500 words) of your unpublished novel to win prizes and a chance to be read by one of the agents or editors serving as our final judges.

Contest is open to both published and unpublished authors, but the piece submitted must be:
- unpublished (traditional, self-pub, or e-pub)
- not under contract to be published.

Categories in which entries may be judged are:
- Historical
- Contemporary
- Paranormal/Sci-Fi
- Young Adult/Middle Grade
Entries are open genre and not required to contain romantic tones. Membership
in Ozarks Romance Authors is not required in order to enter.

There will be three prizes awarded in each category:
1st place: $75 and a 1-Year ORA Membership
2nd place: $50
3rd place: $25

Please read all guidelines carefully at

If you have questions about the rules,
please email us (with WETA QUESTION in the subject line) at
OzarksRomanceAuthors (at) gmail (dot) com

Monday, April 14, 2014

CURRENT PROJECT- Yes! The Fiction Flows

With all of my attention focused on the music industry and freelance of late, I have struggled with writing fiction. The characters are still talking to me but I just tell them to sit and wait their turn. They listened... for awhile.

With the deadline for the Arkansas Writers Contest drawing near ( entries have to be postmarked by April 18th), I opened up the floor for character discussion. I've revisited a couple of early pieces as well as dove into research for three new groups of folks.

One of those folks is the legendary Hank Aaron. I am sure I am in the minority (as opposed to the minors) when I say I don't enjoy baseball. I never have. So imagine my surprise yesterday when as I researched historical events over the past seven decades, Hank Aaron's name came up multiple times. By the time the afternoon was through I had learned more about the Home Run King than I ever thought I wanted to know. The poem I thought I was going to write morphed into something totally different. By the way, I'm writing this when I should be working on that poem.

The 'write what you know' thing comes into play once more because I now know enough about this baseball legend to write something with my own voice. Will this piece be a home run? I'd like to think it will at least place. But even if I do not, at least I learned something new on this journey.

Speaking of new... that fish bowl thing I talked about last week? The algae is clearing in the tank. I'll let you know when the water is free of gunk and let you see for yourself.

Creative Blessings!

Friday, April 4, 2014


If only my brain held only one idea. One thing to focus on. Instead, my head feels more like this:

As a writer, I am always plagued with an abundance of what to write about.  I find stories in multiple sub-genres of romance. My favorite is paranormal or time-travel. There's something about putting a contemporary girl in close proximity with a ethereal hero that creates a sizzle like no other. While I love these stories, I also write sweet contemporary with other premises in a variety of settings. 

While settings are important, I feel for any artist to establish themselves, they need to find their niche. That one spot in the pocket of coral where they can snuggle in, do their thing and watch the rest of the world go by. This applies to any art form. Just as there are sub-genres of romance, you will find them in tangible art and the music industry. And it is only when an artist finds their niche, do they begin to blossom - to come into their own. 

With my background in the music industry, I'm discovering that is where I am most comfortable when writing a story. My passion for the trials and tribulations of what someone in that field goes through on a daily basis to live their dream is something I get. They say 'write what you know'. 

In the mean time, Somewhere Down the Line still does not have a release date and that troubles me. So add that water nyph to my fishbowl brain and my head truly hurts with what to do about the situation. I think I'm closer to an answer. Check back next week to see if more fish have been added or if I'm beginning to see my way through the junk.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

GUEST AUTHOR - Lisa Medley

 Today I want to introduce you to a talented new author. Lisa Medley is a member of Ozarks Romance Authors, of which I am also a member. I've had the pleasure of beta reading not one but two of the books in her Reaper series debuting with Harlequin E this week.

Lisa Medley writes reapers. The grim kind. Her urban fantasy romance, Reap & Repent is available now in a Harlequin E Box Set with three other Harlequin debut authors. A lover of beasties of all sorts, she has a farm full of them in her SW MO home including:  one child, one husband, two dogs, two cats, a dozen hens, thousands of Italian bees and a guinea pig. Not so in love with the guinea pig. She can do ten pushups IN A ROW and may or may not have a complete zombie apocalypse bug-out bag in her trunk at all times. Just. In. Case.

Reaper Rules: The Basics 
How will you know if you meet a reaper? Two ways. One you’re dead already and it will become obvious rather quickly or two…you’ll never know. Reapers blend into the background. You may have already crossed paths with one. If you did, and you’re reading this now (which means you are NOT dead) you’ll never remember him.

You’ve probably heard the stories of the “mysterious angel” who showed up at the scene of an accident, lifted the car off a child, pulled a driver to safety, saved a drowning person, _____________ (fill in the blank), and then disappeared. No one got a description. No one took a photo. No one remembers clearly what the helpful stranger actually looked like. 
There’s a good chance, they met a reaper on his way to or from collecting a soul. 

There are two rules of survival as a reaper: 
1. Keep your energy.
2. Keep your head.

Everything else is survivable but it also means that even reapers are not immortal. They can live for a long time but usually flame out after a couple of centuries. Ferrying the dead is a soul-sucking job (pun intended). 
Reaping is a full-time proposition with a human population over seven billion. And that does not even count all of the other creatures with souls that need reapers. Yeah, there are reapers for every creature with a soul. And they all meet in one place. Purgatory. 

While they might not get along topside, Purgatory is supernatural Switzerland. Forced d├ętente. Conflict will get you smited, lickety-split. 
And no one enjoys a smiting.

Want to know more? Reap & Repent, from Harlequin E, is now available at all ebook retailers.

Reap & Repent Blurb:
Deacon Walker is a burned out loner, whose two hundred years as a reaper have left him empty inside. But when he meets Ruth Scott, a gorgeous shut-in with unusual gifts, he’s forced to set his career complacency aside to train her for a destiny she never knew existed. Soon the two will face the ultimate test: a battle against demons determined to destroy humanity, one soul at a time

Excerpt from Reap & Repent:

What does a guy have to do around here to get some service? Deacon Walker marveled as he glared at the undulating queue of grotesque reapers in front of him.  

For all that’s holy, move the hell along already. 

It had been a long week, and it wasn’t over yet. He needed to make at least one more pass through the hospital circuit before he could call it a day. He could already feel the tug of a freshly departed soul. Again. People were dropping like flies lately.

He massaged his brow, trying to soothe his exhausted patience as the line inched forward at a snail’s pace.

He was worn thin. Over the past few weeks, three demon soul poachers had popped up in his fair city of Meridian like poisonous mushrooms after a hard rain. While it wasn’t unheard of for one to slip out from Hell every now and then, three was a nightmare. 

BUY LINKS: Reap & Repent is available March 3, 2014 in a Harlequin E Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Box Set with the works of three other amazing new Harlequin authors! Reap & Repent will be available for single-title release June 2, 2014.

Follow Me: 

Monday, March 3, 2014


Sorry to say I do not have anything new today unless you want to know my art studio is finally shaping up or peek in on the day job that keeps me busy...

However, I do want to give you a heads up for tomorrow just in case this latest winter storm takes my power and I can't remind you.

You WILL want to be here tomorrow to meet my friend Lisa Medley. She is releasing the first book in her Reaper trilogy with Harlequin E. I've read the first 2 books in the series. WOWSERS! I'm not a reaper kind of gal but loved these and felt privileged to be a Beta for her.

So come back tomorrow. In the mean time, please be safe and stay warm

Monday, February 24, 2014

PROJECT UPDATE - Finding a Pace

For the past few weeks my life has been all about music - primarily the Texas Music Awards coming up next month. But I've also made connections in Nashville and getting requests for album reviews. I love my job but I am missing working on fiction.

In the snatches of time I've taken to work on Heart on the Line, I've been working on the historical time line of the hero's family. Some incidents have a marked effect on the story so it is important to know what happened when and who was (or was not) responsible.

I'm getting there. I can trace Bo's family back to his grandfather - which is as far as I needed to go. And I found out Kassie's mom deserted her at the age of 16. While Kassie was at school, and later at Granny Pearl's (Bo's grandmother), Kassie came home to find her mother had up and left. She never heard from her again.

Now I'm down to how some of the scenes need to work in correlation to the time of year. The story takes place from late August through to Valentine's Day the following year. There are tour schedules to work out, funeral arrangements to be made and a wedding to plan... if all is to work out as it should.

I'm getting closer. I'm trying to grab a couple hours every day - not even the same time each day - but every day to work on my story. Writing every day is important. I will get back into the habit.

Happy Writing - and Reading!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WHODUNNIT? Contest - Sponsored by Sleuth's Ink Mystery Writers

Do you like a little Mystery and Suspense with your Romance? Or do you just like to write Mystery? Either way, I have the perfect contest for you!

Join the ranks of mystery writers and try your hand at writing a mini-mystery. If you've never written this genre, we suggest you read Woman’s World magazine, which publishes a new mystery weekly. The mysteries are located near the back, are always 700 words, and a solution is provided.

These mysteries are fun and interactive. And who doesn’t like to solve a whodunnit? Put on a Columbo trench coat and try your hand at this genre.

Guidelines and Word Count:
Simply write a short "solve-it-yourself" mystery of 700 words. That count must include the narrative and the solution. Stories should be fun and entertaining with an ending that challenges to the reader to figure out whodunnit or howdunnit.

Submission information:
Send your entry to Sleuthsink95 [at] gmail (dot) com.
Write "Contest Submission" in the subject line.

Payment information:
Include a $5 entry fee per entry. (You may enter as many times as you want, but you’ll need to mail $5 for each entry.)

Mail your entry fee to:
Stephanie Jarkins
Sleuths' Ink Treasurer
6911 N. 23rd Street
Ozark, MO 65721

You will receive a confirmation once we’ve received your entry and your fee.

Cash Prizes for first, second and third place winners.

Additionally, all entries will receive feedback by at least two published WW authors! What have you got to lose?

Deadline: May 31, 2014 (winners will be announced in early July)

Note: This is a contest sponsored by Sleuths' Ink Mystery Writers, and has no affiliation with Woman’s World Magazine. We do, however, encourage you to submit your finished story to WW. Remember, you are eligible to win cash prizes, plus your stories will be judged and critiqued by at least two published Woman’s World authors.

Questions? Email us at Sleuthsink95 [at] gmail (dot) com and good luck!