A ‘Golden’ month and September reads

I’ve had a golden month: my paranormal romance Scent Of A Man finalled in the From the Heart Romance Writers ‘Golden Gateway’ competition!

This is the second time I’ve entered and the second time I’ve finalled in the competition – first was back in 2006. And what I really like about it – well duh! aside from finalling, of course – is that the finalists get their first round scoresheets and are given a couple of days to revamp their entry before it’s sent to the final round judges. It’s a chance to rectify that ‘thing’ you missed and when a judge makes a note about it you go “Sheesh! (whacks head with heel of hand) How could I have missed THAT????” It’s a chance to look at comments and see where your story might not be working. Or where it is working but could be just that much better with a little tweaking. It’s just such a bonus to be able to check over your entry and polish it just that little bit more if necessary, BEFORE it’s sent to that eagle-eyed final round judge or agent.

And guess what? I don’t usually get off on in-your-face boasting but darnit, this is something to boast about as far as I’m concerned. I had 3 judges and got 97/100, 99/100 and a perfect 100/100! Yee-freakin’-hah! Visualize me punching the air and doing the happy dance. Three judges who all really liked this entry…like all in the same competition??? Be still my wildly beating heart!

Seriously, though, despite the scores there was still some tweaking to be done coz these 3 judges were the best kind – the kind who give lots of comments both within the manuscript and on the scoresheets. The kind who do not let the scores speak for themselves, coz as we all know, it’s really hard to be objective when you’re faced with a 3/5 for a section and there’s no supporting comment to tell you why it didn’t work so good on paper. The kind who make you really think about why that sentence or word or punctuation was there in the first place.

So now we’ve got all MY boasting out of the way, the even better news was that I was not the only RWNZ member to final in this year’s Golden Gateway. Two talented ladies, Sue Mackay and Deborah Shattock, also finalled in their categories. So way to go Kiwis! Fingers crossed one of us gets to the next level.

And now to September reads.

You’ll notice there was an ARC (Advanced Review Copy for those of you who aren’t writers) in the list. I’ve never actually seen an ARC before, so this was a real boost for me to actually see an important part of the publishing process firsthand. Not to mention the delicious knowledge that you’re reading something that hasn’t been publicly released as yet. Super bonus: it was a really fantastic story! I love Gail Dayton’s Compass Rose series and am just about to embark on the 3rd book, The Eternal Rose’ just as soon as I’ve re-read the first two in the series. And I’m thrilled to report New Blood was totally different and…totally wonderful! I have to thank Frances, here, for snagging the ARC from Ms Dayton at the RWA conference and touting it all the way back to Auckland to give to me. Thanks, again, Frances! :-).

You’ll also notice a few of Abby Gaines’s books listed. Abby brought a box of her books to our last Auckland chapter meeting and invited us to help ourselves. I love her books so I was not backward in coming forward, you might say! Thanks Abby. As always, her books are a funny, engaging and wonderful read. I even got to explain to my hubby about the whole NASCAR genre when he saw me reading one of them. It’s a tribute to Abby’s skill as a writer that I’m not a NASCAR fan but I love reading her NASCAR books!

-New Blood by Gail Dayton (ARC)
-Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
-All About Evie by Beth Ciotta
-Twist by Colby Hodge
-Hot Mama by Jennifer Estep
-Slave by Cheryl Brooks
-Constantine’s Revenge by Kate Walker
-A Secret Vengeance by Miranda Lee
-The Bachelor Doctor by Judy Campbell
-A Lady of His Own by Stephanie Laurens
-The Diaper Diaries by Abby Gaines
-The Bride Tamer by Ann Major
-The Expectant Bride by Lynne Graham
-Pretending With The Playboy by Cathleen Galitz
-Rafael’s Love-Child by Kate Walker
-The Greek Tycoon’s Revenge by Jacqueline Baird
-His Bride For One Night by Miranda Lee
-Mistress By Contract by Helen Bianchin
-Two Weeks with a Stranger by Debra Mullins
-Fully Engaged by Abby Gaines
-Lone Rider Bodyguard by Harper Allen
-The Kept Woman by Susan Donovan
-A Fine Passion by Stephanie Laurens
-Miracle Season by Pamela Britton**
-Season of Dreams by Gina Wilkins**
-Taking Control by Ken Casper**
-The Natural by Abby Gaines**
-The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

**From A NASCAR Holiday 2 anthology



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2 Responses to “A ‘Golden’ month and September reads”

  1. Marc Honore says:

    Cool Maree – way to go!!

  2. Maree says:

    Thanks heaps, Marc! Fingers crossed my entry gets some positive feedback from the agent who’s judging the final round. If he was interested in agenting me I’d be over the freaking moon!