Archives for : Thanks

Thirteen Encouraging Comments from the 2016 Wisconsin Romance Writers’ FAB FIVE Contest


Writing communicates. I hope that’s what my stories do, but often, especially with an early draft, I’m not so sure the scenes or characters work. Critique partners reassure me, but sometimes it’s fun to enter a contest to discover what readers, who don’t necessarily have to be kind candidly think.

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Recently, I entered the FAB FIVE and here are thirteen of the best comments my manuscript received.

  1. The story is off to a very strong start. With a bit of tweaking and editing it will be ready to submit.
  2. Dialogue: Unique concept started in these few pages. Again, would like to read more.
  3. Dialogue: Seems natural for a YA.
  4. I love these lines: She didn’t trust him. Probably wouldn’t for weeks. He and Jilly had done this dance over and over and still he was no closer to figuring it out.
  5. The author has a nice voice.
  6. The opening scene was nicely written with enough intrigue to keep the reader in. The author’s voice is different and fits the YA story that is unfolding.
  7. The author got a lot of information and emotion across in a very short time.
  8. I liked both the Hero and the Heroine, and I’m already rooting for them.
  9. Your manuscript really impressed me. There’s always polishing that can be done, but this is close to submission worthy, in my opinion. Good job!
  10. I was caught by the story right off, and continued reading, surprised when I reached the end so fast. Nicely done.
  11. Interesting opening. A fresh set-up that makes the reader want to know more.
  12. Unique concept started in these few pages. Again, would like to read more.
  13. Toby was an excellent character. Trying to conceal his peculiar power makes me want to know more.


Now, I bet you’re wondering—were all the comments good? My answer is yes, although I didn’t include the ones that had suggestions for improvement. I’m simply going to apply the ones that ring true and. God willing, I’ll have an excerpt or two to share with you in a future post.

I’d also like to share the Fab Five finalist banner.


Thanks for sharing my good news. And thank you WisRwa members, friends, and volunteers.







November Thanks-A Pages From The Heart Win

PFTH_First_MiaJo_Celeste_UPARA copy (1)

It’s my pleasure to announce that SUCKER PUNCHING MAGIC earned first place in the Paranormal/Futuristic/ Time Travel Category of the 2014 Pages from the Heart Contest.

Thank you. 🙂

SUCKER PUNCHING MAGIC finals in the 2014 Pages From The Heart Contest

In this world where teeth can always be a little whiter, weight can always be a little less and working woman can always try a little harder, it’s great to receive affirmation. Last week my e-mail contained an “Atta girl!” I’m excited to share.

My YA Urban Fantasy SUCKER PUNCHING MAGIC made it to the finals in the 2014 Pages From The Heart Contest

PagesFromTheHeart_FINALIST copy

The Judges made a lot of comments. (Thank you, Judges) Here are my favorites:


  • I literally couldn’t stop reading at the beginning.
  • Excellent. I would like to read the entire novel, and would recommend it to my friends who read YA. I absolutely loved Jude. He was so personable and complete.
  • I literally couldn’t stop reading at the beginning. I absolutely loved Jude. He was so personable and complete.
  • Loved this hero. He got my sympathy at once.
  • Poor Jude – I felt for him right away!  And Luz seems to be a very well drawn character with depth. I’m not sure these two will end out as a couple in this YA since they haven’t met yet by the end of the entry, but it’s obvious they’ll make a good team in trying to find Eric.
  • The dialogue moves the story forward, is appropriate to the characters, and is easy to follow. Nice job!
  • The opening was very well done – introducing the reader to the world building elements right away.
  • I love this story! I want to read the rest of it. I would buy this book in a heartbeat.
  • I felt the author did a great job with the entire story. The writing is smooth. There were no discernable errors in the manuscript that I could detect. The character development is smooth and interesting. I believe this will be enjoyable to both YA and adult readers. The behavior and emotions of the characters are very well suited to their described ages, the language is appropriate.
  • I can absolutely tell what drives the characters, and I can see the potential for change and for love
  • Excellent. I would like to read the entire novel, and would recommend it to my friends who read YA.
  • The world building is nicely interspersed with the rest of the story. I love the details like the mirrors and the romance novel.
  • I rarely give perfect scores, but when I do, it’s because I honestly believe the story deserves it. This YA novel is very well done and I love the concept of The Fairy Tale Effect – I can see several novels coming out of this concept.


Again, thank you, Judges and From the Heart Romance Writer sisters. And thanks, dear readers. I appreciate you letting me share these—it’s really nice to hear good things about something I’ve worked hard on. As always, I’m grateful to you for taking an interest and stopping by.



Inspired by Kindness: A Shout Out to the Judges and Coordinators of the 2013 Great Expectations Contest as well as the Members of the North Texas Romance Writers


Like a lot of romance writers, I’ve entered a contest or two. Sometimes, my writing finals and gets awarded a first, second, third or fourth place. Often, I receive good feedback, but, for me, it’s the little kindnesses that make the difference—the gentle words and the small gestures of good intentions. I opened an envelope last week to find a whole page signed by well-wishers. It brought a huge grin to my face.

This post is my way of saying, “Thanks, I appreciate you, too.”

Kindness is an awesome quality. I know I’m not alone in delighting in it. Here are what 13 great thinkers have to say on the subject of kindness.

Thursday Thirteen Polyhedron courtesy of M.C.

  1. Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind. ~Henry James
  2. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. ~Plato
  3. There is nothing so rewarding as to make people realize that they are worthwhile in this world. ~Bob Anderson
  4. If you can’t be kind, at least be vague. ~ Judith Martin
  5. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. ~ Aesop
  6. All I’m saying is, kindness don’t have no boundaries. ~Kathryn Stockett, The Help 
  7. Moments of kindness and reconciliation are worth having, even if the parting has to come sooner or later. ~Alice Munro
  8. Always try to be a little kinder than is necessary. ~J.M. Barrie
  9. But remember, boy, that a kind act can sometimes be as powerful as a sword. ~ Rick Riordan, The Battle of the Labyrinth 
  10. Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. ~ Mark Twain
  11. Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. ~ Mother Teresa
  12. The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful then a thousand heads bowing in prayer. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
  13. The shortest distance between two people is a smile. ~ Victor Borge


It’s fun to brag about kindness. Do you an experience you’d like to share? Or a quote that exemplifies charity or compassion? I’m all ears. And, as always, thanks for stopping by.

A weekly blog hop where writers share their inspirations. Please join us!


A Bucket List Win

When I first joined the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Special Interest Chapter of RWA, I dreamed about writing something that might place in the Chapter’s On the Far Side Contest. For several years, I entered and my manuscript failed to place.

So I reviewed the comments of the judges, read some of the works that won and kept trying. Over the years, I realized this win was a bucket list thing for me, a quest I won’t easily give up on. I thought if my piece actually made it to the finals, and even better if it took a first place, I’d have made it as a writer.

Well, this January, the results of The 2013 On the Far Side Contest were published in the Romance Writer Reader and…drum roll, please…my manuscript, Dark Bringer, took a first.

I don’t know if I’ve made it as a writer, but I will be crossing off a goal on my bucket list. I appreciate all the judges, friends, family members, critique partners and chapter mates who helped me. Thanks.