Today I downloaded my email and was surprised to see Jane Austen Made Me Do It in the subject line of an email from Amazon.  Sure enough, when I opened up the email, the anthology was on the top line of suggestions:

How cool is that?  My name is listed on Amazon as a contributing author.  I still can’t believe it.

Grand Prize Winner

The big announcement has been made on the Jane Austen Made Me Do It website.  The anthology releases on October 11, 2011, just after my birthday.  What a fabulous present, to have my story published in a book!!

The whole thing came about as a result of a tweet I saw on New Year’s day regarding the contest.  I was so intrigued by the possibilities: the title alone cried out for a story to be written around it.  So, as I was drafting up my New Year’s resolutions, I decided to add this to the list.

I squeaked in just in time, turning the story in on the last day before the contest started.  After two weeks of nailbiting and wondering if anyone was actually enjoying the story, I was thrilled to see that my story had made the top ten finalists.  I am in good company.  All of those stories were very entertaining.  Some of the writers are now published or soon-to-be published.

I have to say that by the time I finally heard that my story had won, I had lost hope.  So when Laurel Ann of Austenprose, called me in May, I was flabbergasted… and incoherent. I got over it and I wanted to talk.  And TALK and SHOUT and SING.  But alas, the nature of the contest was such that I would not be revealed as the winner until this fall.

The time has come and I’m so proud and excited to be included in this exciting collection.  If you happen to read my story, please feel free to drop me a line and let me know how you liked it.

If you are a fellow contestant, I’d love to connect with you, also!  We’ve shared an amazing and unique experience and I don’t see why that could form the basis of Internet friendships.

More to come in October, but I’m pleased to say that the reviews coming in already are positive!

Measuring Up

On the very first day of this year, 2 months ago almost to the day, I drafted a list of writing goals for the year.  When I did so, I promised myself that I would revisit them often and not forget about them.  There were ten goals altogether, the first nine of which had due dates attached to them (what can I say, I’m a teacher, I work better with due dates in mind!).  The due dates have made all the difference!

Two months into the year and I have accomplished two of the ten goals.  In January, I was pleased to become a member of RWA- Pro by querying Broken Oaths to an agent, which I did.  As expected, I got rejected, but it was the rejection I needed to provide in order to show the organization that I am seriously pursuing publication.

In January, also, I began writing a short story which, for goal number two, was to enter into the Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest.  It was an amazing opportunity that comes along rarely for aspiring writers.  I figured I’d take a shot at it.  To my great pleasure, I am honored that “The Love Letter” has been selected as one of the top ten stories.  To think that people read and liked my work well enough to vote for it is very validating for me.  To think that my story will be read by an editor, and considered for inclusion in an anthology amongst many other great writers, is thrilling indeed.

While I’d love to pause, sit back and savor the moment (and I will for a little while), I realize that I only have a one in ten chance of winning the grand prize.  The odds of winning this round are less than they were at the beginning (10/88 is still better than 1/10) but I will cross my fingers and remain hopeful.  Even if I don’t win, though, I’ll still be thrilled that I made it this far and that my work was appreciated by many of those who read it.

Now, on to the next goal.  I’m in the process of polishing the first section of Violette and write up a short synopsis of the plot for entry into the Orange Rose contest held by my home chapter of RWA.   Those due dates sneak up quickly!

Jane Austen Made Me Do It

As per my goal at the beginning of the year, I have just submitted an entry to the Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest.

I’ve had quite a struggle with it.  I’ll talk more on that later in a post which I plan to entitle “Trusting Your Gut Instinct.”  I’ve redrafted the story from different points of view and deleted entire scenes and restructured it.  The story has always been the one I wanted to tell.  It was just the manner of telling it that complicated matters.

One thing’s for sure.  I combed that manuscript multiple times for all manner of typo and yet, only after it was submitted did I see one missed return, one use of double word, and a seriously messed up set of commas (due to the fact that I’d deleted words from a sentence but forgotten to rearrange the commas).  This experience has taught me a lot in microcosm of how it will doubtless be on a larger work of fiction (only magnified that much more).

The inspiration for the story is The Letter (you know the one).  It is about a young man who receives a page torn from a novel mailed anoymously to him and the chain of events that result from it.

The first line reads:  I never expected to pull a mystery out of a self-addressed stamped envelope.

To read the rest, click the link: The Love Letter.  If you like it, feel free to vote for it!

As of this writing, there are over 60 Jane Austen-inspired stories to read and enjoy.   I’ve read almost all of them and noticed that there is a huge variety of both genre, style and influence.  The creativity is truly amazing!

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