Friday, May 16, 2008

Guest Blogger Lee Duncan

Our guest blogger today is Lee Duncan. I met Lee through the Launching a Star contest where I also met and signed with agent Roberta Brown. I will never forget the day that Lee called to tell me that I not only finaled, but Roberta wanted my phone number. I have to commend Lee for dealing with my questions and excitement in a most professional manner. Now I have never been a contest coordinator but I've always made a point of thanking them for undertaking such a challenge. If you think it's easy, check out the picture of Lee surrounded by all of the hopeful entries. So please, put your hands to the keyboard and welcome Lee Duncan!


ONE IN A THOUSAND

When I was asked to serve on the Board or run my chapter's contest, Launching A Star, my reasoning went something like, ‘A Board position involves two meetings a month. I'll take the contest.' Talk about colossal misjudgments. I had no idea how much time it took to coordinate a writing contest. I do now. By checking out Anne-Marie Carroll's column on "Running A Successful Contest" (www.anne-mariecarroll.blogspot.com), you can, too. Suffice it to say that Launching A Star eats up waaay more of my time than any Board position ever could. Unless it was Treasurer. Given my ‘so long as it's close' approach to checkbooks, balancing the chapter accounts to the penny would involve antidepressants and copious pots of coffee. High test. Not decaf.

But I love coordinating our contest. For one thing, it provides an outlet for all those anal organizational skills I used in my previous life as a Configuration Manager. Better still, it's an opportunity to give back to my fabulous home chapter, the SpacecoasT Authors of Romance (STAR). I've learned more from this fantastic group than from all my college writing classes. Working with the contest also allows me to chat via email and, occasionally, on the phone with literally hundreds of my fellow aspiring authors. (Be honest – who among us has entered a contest without asking the coordinator at least one question?)

Not me. I want to be sure because – let's face it – entering can be an expensive proposition. In both time and money. Entrance fees for chapter-length submissions average thirty dollars. With the price of stamps rising like spring flowers each May, this year's postage and SASE will set me back an additional nine dollars and twenty cents. Tack on another dollar or two for paper, ink and envelopes, and pretty soon I've invested nearly fifty bucks.

Then there's the time factor. Not only do I have to write something – always the most difficult part – there's the time it takes to format and print and run to the office supply store for sturdy envelopes. Don't forget a trip – or two – to the Post Office. Roxanne St. Claire, author of the best selling Bullet Catcher series, attributes her initial success to her practice of always keeping ten manuscript packages in circulation. Some to editors and agents. The rest to contests. Multiply ten times fifty and you're not talking incidentals anymore. You're talking a budget item. So, why do it? Why enter contests? Since taking over Launching A Star, I've had plenty of chances to ask our contestants that same question. Here are my five favorite answers:

1. To test out new material. Okay, so this has never applied to me personally, but I've had contestants tell me they wanted to switch genres and, for one reason or another, were afraid to share that tidbit with their critique groups. Instead, they entered the new material in a contest to see how it played out. To me, that's a little like going on Dr. Phil and admitting you had an affair with your husband's best friend – I mean, aren't your cp's going to find out when you WIN? Yet some amazing entries come from authors who find their true voice only when they switch to a new sub-genre. (I suspect their critique partners forgive them.)

2. For feedback from peers. Some of us don't work with critique partners and don't belong to on-line critique groups. Others need to see how their work plays outside the safety net of people who have grown accustomed to their voice. By entering contests we get anonymous feedback. Okay, so sometimes we wish we hadn't. Most of the time, though, it's a winning situation. By the time our work hits an editor's or agent's desk, it is better for the suggestions we've received.

3. Contests are cheaper than conferences. If, along with your basic black outfits and spiffy red heels, you pack an intense desire to get trapped in an elevator with your fav editor next weekend, consider this. Going to a conference is – whew! – way expensive. Registration fees, hotel rooms, transportation and meals add up. To say nothing of those absolute necessities – clothes, jewelry, and, did I mention new shoes? A much less expensive approach is to identify a contest where that very same editor is judging, write your very best work, and enter.

4. For feedback from a targeted house or agency. Nearly every contest calls on the big guns – the industry's editors and agents – to judge its final round. Smaller ones increase the odds that these professionals will review your material. In larger contests, the odds of finaling might shrink, but the satisfaction quotient is higher. No matter where you final, it means you've honed your craft and polished that diamond until it gleams.

5. To be discovered. Who doesn't want to become the literary equivalent of Lana Turner in Schwab's Drug Store? Who doesn't long for the moment when an editor or agent picks up their manuscript and says, "THIS is what I've been waiting for!" Like the Lana Turner story, there's more to it than simply ordering a coke at the neighborhood lunch counter, but it happens. Take this year's Launching A Star contest for example. Our wonderful slate of editors and agents requested fifteen full manuscripts from our finalists. Before the shouting was over, two of them signed with their dream agents.

We've all heard that the odds of making it as a writer aren't that great. In a speech to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers', Barbara Samuel once said, "For every aspiring writer, only one in a thousand – or less – will ever be published." I want to be that one in a thousand. To improve my odds, I enter contests where I get valuable feedback and the opportunity to have my work reviewed by the best in the industry. That's why I enter.

To help others become that one in a thousand, I coordinate Launching A Star. That's what works for me. What works for you?

63 comments:

Roxanne St. Claire said...

Great post, Lee - you know I am a huge fan of contests. You did an AMAZING job on the Launching a STAR contest! Another great reason to enter contests is that the positive feedback is like nectar to the soul during the dark, unsure days when you're first writing. The first time I entered a contest and received a positive response it was so validating, a gift from the gods.

Rocki

Anonymous said...

I knew Lee was getting something out of all that organizing! She's feeding her inner-organizer. Seriously, there is a wealth of solid information in this blog, and it comes from the experienced horse's mouth.
Marian

SP SIPAL said...

Lee, I had to LOL at your "copious pots of coffee. High test. Not decaf."

That's so me. But your desk is not. How can you be that neat and organized even with all those contest entries? You wouldn't even be able to take a picture of mine, it would be completely swamped. :-)

Your reason #1 was mine for entering this year's STAR, except my critique partners knew all about my new venture. Problem was, no one was experienced with YA, so I was wanting to try it out for feedback.

I'm very thankful for your excellent organizational skills, that I totally lack, which made this contest so wonderful. The feedback was fabulous as well. And a contest like STAR, which gets your entry before both an editor AND an agent, is like gold.

Lee R. Duncan said...

Amen to that, Rocki. I love positive feedback -- both giving and getting it. Seriously, you're the one who taught me the value of entering contests. And whether the feedback is all positive or all negative, I always mine them for those golden nuggets that help make my work stronger. Lee

darkmarguerite said...

You did do a wonderful job, Lee. You answered all of my questions in both stages of the contest without leaving me feeling like I was intruding on your time.

I entered the contest because I had tried something new with my story, two main characters in first person and alternating between the two. I was contemplating rewriting the whole story in third, but decided to enter it into the contest first and see if it worked for the reviewers or not.

Like Rocki said, it was very validating. I didn't have to rewrite it, I received some very positive responses, and Roberta Brown recommended a publisher to send it to.

Based on the comments I received I did add two new chapters at the beginning and I like the way it rounds out the story. I'm almost done with the editing and synopsis and before May is over with I'll be submitting it.

So thank you Lee Duncan and your STAR chapter too for the contest.

Marguerite Labbe

Anonymous said...

I was lucky enough to be a finalist in this years Launching a Star contest. Lee personally called me to congratulate me, and called again when the agent requested my full manuscript. An e-mail is great, a call is special. I want to congratulate Lee on a well run contest. As a contest junkie, I can tell you that I sit at home checking my e-mail every 5 minutes and suspecting that my phone is malfunctioning...waiting for results, but Lee did a greeat job at keeping us informed. Thanks Lee!

Kelly Fitzpatrick
Pleasant Lake

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Lee, long ago, about 1999, I spent a year entering contests. That experience has definitely helped me now as a newly published e-author.
If I had more time...which is like gold now...I would enter contests for feedback, or as an author.
I have to say, when one of my manuscripts received a personal glowing letter of how much the judge loved my entry, and it was the best thing she'd ever read, I must have cried for an hour, and I was trying to run around doing chores. Driving and tears don't really work that well together.
Sad to say, that particular completed mss, Risk-Fierce Ravishing Pilot, may never get published because of the unusual style of writing I used.
Thanks for being with us today. And thanks for what you do.

Katie Reus said...

I'm a HUGE proponent of contests. When I first started writing I entered contests for objective feedback. I knew I was nowhere ready to submit my work and was still too afraid to join a local group so contests were the path I took. Sure I got one or two crappy judges, but I'll always be grateful for those contests and especially for those coordinators!! I'm impressed by anyone that organized ;)

Mel Hiers said...

Lee, welcome to Title Magic!

Your post came at a great time for me. I just joined RWA in March and I've been poking around the contest listings, trying to decide if I want to take that plunge. This extra knowledge makes me feel a bit more comfy about entering. Thanks!

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

Hi Lee! Thank you so much for sharing your insight with us today on Title Magic.

I understand this was a fantastic year for the Launching a Star contest with a record number of manuscripts requested and two writers signed with agents. I know I was one but who was the other lucky writer?

Lee R. Duncan said...

Marian and SP - That picture sure doesn't spotlight my organizational skills, does it? I'll tell you one thing I learned this year -- never go out of town the week of the contest deadline. In 2006, my first year with Launching A Star, we had a grand total of 40 entries. We worked hard to improve the contest and this year, our numbers tripled. But you never know that ahead of time, so I blithely went on vacation the week before our deadline. My neighbors, bless them, met the mail carrier every day that week and carted boxes of entries to my house. When I got home, there they were -- all 150 of them -- neatly piled on my dining room table. It took a few days to get them 'organized'.

Lee R. Duncan said...

Marguerite -- I'm so glad the contest was a positive experience. And don't forget to let me know when your manuscript is published! Lee

Lee R. Duncan said...

Kelly -- We tried to take a page out of Debbie Macomber's book and turn Launching A Star into a 'value-added' contest. You know, Debbie always includes a recipe or knitting instructions along with her promo materials. It's just one of the ways she stands out from the crowd.

I contact every contestant via email, just to let them know their entry was received. And personal phone calls to the finalists and winners? The Category Coordinators and I fight over who gets to make them. Sometimes I don't know who's the most excited -- the winner or the caller.

Lee

Lee R. Duncan said...

Savanna, The first contest I finaled in was the Fab 5 a couple of years ago, and it's a wonder I didn't break something when the coordinator called to give me the news. I was jumping around like a crazy person!

Stephie Smith said...

Hi Lee!

You really did do a fantastic job on STAR's contest. As a fellow STAR member and a sometimes contestant, one of the things I really appreciate about our contest is the integrity. If the rule says there will be a discrepancy judge if points differ by so much, then the entrant can bet on it.

Your comment about contests versus conferences cost-wise really hits home for me. That's exactly why I have entered contests. But the feedback alone is well worth the money spent. I've had judges catch things I couldn't believe I missed, and I've had judges so enthusiastic about my writing that their comments actually kept me from quitting.

So carry on. You are greatly appreciated.

Lee R. Duncan said...

Katie, Unfortuately, we all get 'those' comments. Recently, a judge's comments let me know she simply did not 'get' the whole point of my story. But, I keep a list -- oh, those handy, dandy organizational skills -- Every time I get feedback from a contest, I summarize it and add it to my list. Then, once or twice a year, I look it over. And if I see a recurring theme -- I make changes. I think it's helped make my writing much stronger!

Anonymous said...

Lee-I unfortunately wasn't home when you called to notify me that I finaled this year...but I got a personal phone call recently that I finaled in the Daphne du Maurier Kiss of Death contest, and my hubby thought it was a hoot because I just jumped up and down on the balls of my feet during the entire call, but my voice remained calm...so I would say the finalist is the most excited...but I might be wrong. And the Authors of Romance web-site is cool too...I could watch my name float by all day long.

Kelly

Kristen Painter said...

Lee, you're ONE in a MILLION and I'm in awe of your ability to make coordinating the STAR contest seem so easy. I wouldn't work on that contest if it weren't for you! Thanks for all your hard work!

Anonymous said...

Great post! I enter contests as a way to get my work in front of an agent/editor, as well as for the helpful feedback. I was also one of the lucky finalists in the Launching a Star contest who received a request from the judging agent. The manuscript is still with the agent, but whether she takes it on or not, I was thrilled with the fact that she WANTED to see it.

I was also thrilled that Launching a Star allowed for electronic entries this year, since I live overseas.

And Lee is an awesome coordinator! She stays in close contact with the entrants. She even emailed me to congratulate me when I finaled in a completely different contest.

Tina Butts

Lee R. Duncan said...

Anitra,

Thanks for having me as a guest blogger. This is my first ever time blogging. If I'd known what fun it was going to be, I'd have done it sooner. BTW, I love the Title Magic site -- it's sooo pretty!

But to answer your question -- the other finalist who signed with her dream agent was Kimberly Brody whose entry, Virtue and Vice, finaled in the Historical Category. Kimberly signed with Elizabeth Pomada of the Larsen-Pomada Agency.

Lee R. Duncan said...

Mel,

Thanks again for having me. This is great fun.

And good luck with the contests. There are a lot of them to choose from. The new, shortened version of contest listings in RWR doesn't provide a whole lot of info about categories, submission requirements, and final round judges. But there are other ways to get that information. One of them is Stephie Smith's Contest Chart.

You can find it on her website: www.stephiesmith.com.

Or you can go to the SpacecoasT Authors of Romance website (www.authorsofromance.com) and link directly to Stephie's Contest Chart from the Links page.

Best of luck with your entries!

Lee R. Duncan said...

Stephie -- It is nice to be appreciated. And you're absolutely right. Rules are rules. Even when they aren't comfy, we have to follow them. Like this year when we expanded the Score Sheet from 100 points to 150 and someone -- yours truly -- forgot to modify the discrepancy spread from 20 to 40 points(sometimes even my organizational skills fail me). We ended up with a huge number of entries to DJ -- and all our judges rallied to the call. It wasn't easy, but not one of my judges said, "just let it go." Everyone of them knew our contestants deserved the best contest experience we could give them.

Lee

Lee R. Duncan said...

Kristen -- Thanks! But don't let Kristen fool you -- she single-handedly lines up our amazing panel of final round judges -- one editor and one agent in each category. Now, that's a big job! And one I'm very glad she handles. Because without Kristen and the other fabulous Category Coordinators, I wouldn't work on this contest either.

When I was at the Washington Romance Writers' Retreat a few weeks ago, I learned that their chapter has a special person assigned to acquire and work with their contest judges. They call her a "Judge Wrangler". What a great idea!

Lee R. Duncan said...

Tina! How are things down South? It's good to hear from you.

We'd love to expand our electronic entries contest-wide, but frankly, they take a lot more time than paper ones. Maybe it's just that over-active organizational gene, but I used to do Configuration Management -- handling all the different versions of software in big development projects -- so I'm pretty anal about not overwriting files and saving backup copies and removing electronic id's & such.

If anyone has found a simple method to handle electronic entries, I'd love to hear from you.

Lee

Mel Hiers said...

Thanks for the extra resources, Lee! You rock! :-)

MariaGeraci said...

As a judge in this year's contest, Lee was so incredibly helpful when my electronic entries didn't want to behave :( As a former contest ho I think contests are a great way to get known in this business and I was very impressed by how well organized this one was!

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

Thanks for the info, Lee, and I'm glad you are having fun--see, I told you it would be a blast! :)

And like Maria said, I was a total contest ho too. ;) I always knew it would be my ticket in and I have Lee and the STAR group to thank!

Lee R. Duncan said...

Maria,

A contest is only as good as its judges...and you're one of the best! I hope you'll work with LAS again this year.

And we simply MUST get together the next time I'm in your part of the state.

Lee

Lara Santiago said...

Hi Lee,
Awesome post today!
Of course, I adore you and I know you are all things wonderful and organized especially with regard to the Launching a Star contest. :):)
Seriously, you do an amazing job as the Contest Chair for LAS. :)
As long as you're in charge...I'll keep being a contest coordinator.
Lara

Lexie O'Neill said...

Lee,
Thank you so much for the great post-and for joining us here at Title Magic. You must have brought your chapter along--how wonderful they are all so supportive!
I haven't been able to find a critique partner or group, so contests have been invaluable. Yours in 2006 was one of the first I ever tried, and the comments helped me final in ATIV!
Thanks!
Lexie

Lee R. Duncan said...

Lara,
Awesome pic, Lara. I don't think I've seen that one before.

Lara is our Excel Queen. An important asset for any contest -- someone who knows their way around the inner workings of Excel...and can write formulas!

So, how many people does it take to run a successful contest? That can vary, but it can be literally hundreds. You need judges, first and foremost. We figure 1 published and 1 un-published judge for every 4-5 entries, and all our judges are either very experienced or have taken a judge training class. (Lois Winston offered a tremendously helpful on-line class through PASIC last year. If you have the opportunity to take it, I recommend it!) You'll need at least one coordinator per category, plus someone to take care of the electronic entries -- a huge job on its own. And I really like the idea of a Judge Wrangler (I might borrow that idea from WRW). The chapter's Treasurer needs to be very involved. Plus, there are tons of 'little' jobs to farm out for chapter members who want to help, but can't judge. Organizing all the volunteers, the entries and keeping in touch with the contestants -- that's what I do. Oh, and it helps if you have someone who likes to cook -- we always munch our way through contest meetings. LOL

Lee R. Duncan said...

Lexie,

Not everyone who wrote in today is a member of STAR, but I do belong to a great chapter, don't I? Having been a member of several non-romance writing organizations, I think RWA chapters are the absolute best. Where else could you find a group of people who are all competing for the same goal, and yet are so willing to help each other? STAR, in particular, is blessed with some powerhouse writers who share their time, knowledge and expertise. I'm very proud to be a member of this chapter.

Lee

Anonymous said...

Lee, and all STAR's contest coordinators -- many, many THANKS. You're the best.

I'm prejudice, I know, because I'm a STAR member, but the Launching A Star contest has grown and matured right along with our chapter and it's the great leadership that has taken us to new heights.

I enter quite a few contests...it's fabulous high when you get a judge who loves and gets your work. They may be one reader, but that judge has a huge impact.

We all need that boost.

Laurie

Lee R. Duncan said...

Laurie,

You said it better than I ever could!

Lee

Savanna Kougar said...

An exciting day! Here at Title Magic. You are knocking them out of the park, Lee.
Savanna, who taking a little breaky from edits...argh!

Lee R. Duncan said...

Savanna,

I'm sure having a good time. And it's sooo great to hear all the positive feedback on our contest. It's sort of like a really good comment on a Score Sheet. You know in your heart you've done a good job, but validation makes it sooo much better.

Lee

yvonne said...

Hi Lee! I think I see my entry in those stacks and stacks. :-)

Entering the LOS contest was a great experience. You ROCK!!!

Lee R. Duncan said...

Yvonne,

Yeah for us. And yeah for you, too. Your chapter's contest -- The Marlene -- is top notch! Very prestigious. Very much one of 'the' contests to final in or, oh how I wish, win.

Lee

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

I think Lee brought up a great point--a lot of people go into making a contest successful.

First of all you do have to have a contest coordinator who keeps everything together (those anal retentive organizational skills are a real plus!)

And then you have all the judges who give their time and attention to give the entrants lots of critical feedback that remains positive.

And then you have the agents and editors who also donate their time--it's a lot of people and they all volunteered. What do they get out of it? What Lee said: the chance to be a part of helping someone else. That's why I judge several contests a year. People took the time to help me so I want to give back.

I guess I just wanted to take a moment and say thanks to all of you who give your time and effort to help someone be that "one in a thousand". :)

Lee R. Duncan said...

What an excellent note to sleep on, Anitra. It's a little after 9 here -- earlier for the folks on Mountain Time -- and I'm going to log off for now. I'll continue to stop by, check for comments and answer questions through the weekend. But I just wanted to say thanks one more time to the wonderful owners of Title Magic. This has truly been a magical experience. Most of all, I'm glad I was able to answer your questions and share what little knowledge I've gained about contests.

Lee

Anonymous said...

A little late to the party, but I wanted to say hi, Lee, and thank you for your hard work on Launching a STAR. This year's contest was my first-ever final. I loved the fact that you contacted us personally; it really shows how much you care. And I'm sorry if I squealed your ear off, by the way. :)

Celia

Arkansas Cyndi said...

Late to party. Sorry Lee.

The STAR Launching a Star contest was wonderful. You did a fabulous job with that!

Rocki is right... you sit all alone and write and wonder... Do I suck? Positive feedback is a lifeline for unpublished authors.

Thank you for taking on the STAR contest. LOADS of work but you did it so well.

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

We really need to thank you, Lee! Thank you so much for spending the day with us and hopefully the weekend.

Ah, hem. Now that Lee has gone to bed I can post a brag for her: Lee Duncan's Romancing The Storm is the Winner of the 2007 Golden Rose in the Series Contemporary Category and 2nd Place winner in the 2006 Hot Prospects Contest. Her Growing Gardenias is a finalist in the 2007 Beacon Awards and 2006 Fab Five & Colorado Gold Contests.

So, not only is Lee a great contest coordinator, but she is also a contest finalist!

All my best to you, Lee, and I will do all I can to help you become the "one in a thousand"! :)

Lee R. Duncan said...

Good morning! For those of us on the East Coast, it's not so terribly early. Birds are chirping in my back yard. Light breezes and plenty of sunshine promise a warm, but beautiful day.

Lee

Lee R. Duncan said...

Celia,

I'm so glad you chose LAS as your first contest! Your first contest -- and you finaled?!? How great is that!

Lee

Lee R. Duncan said...

Cyndi -- How are things in Arkansas? Cyndi and I have finaled in a couple of the same contests, so we both have first-hand knowledge of how important the positive comments can be!

Right now, I'm compiling a list of ways to say 'you can do this better' to give to our judges. What's the best way a contest judge has ever said, 'you're an excellent writer, but...' to you? If you post your best-crafted correction here, I'll include it in my list and will be glad to email the completed list to you later this summer.

Lee

Lee R. Duncan said...

Anitra -- You made me blush!

Lee

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

We chatted about this a few blogs back, about how to be a better contest judge. What I do is say that I didn't understand something, not that they didn't explain it. (I'm putting the "blame" on me, not them.)

I think using "I" statements is a good idea because I'm taking responsibility where "you" statements places blame. I'll see if I can find the blog and post a link.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Lee, thank you for being with us here on Title Magic and for a fascinating blog. I've judged in contests before and in 2006 I had a year of entering quite a few, but this year for the first time I'm a category coordinator in a contest. The work hasn't started yet and I gulped a bit at the pic of you with all those manuscripts. But the one I'm coordinating for is electronic, so at least I'll have less piles of paper to wade through.

Savanna Kougar said...

Helen, you'll have to give us the benefit of your cordinating experience.

Lee, so glad you're with us today. And in my part of the world, it is a breezy lovely spring day. And the clouds are dreamy-floating by -- now, if only the allergens weren't after me.

Lee R. Duncan said...

Anitra,

I hope you find the link to that previous blog. I teach a judge training session each summer and am always looking for tips on being a better judge -- for those I teach and for me, too.

I like the "I" statements. That's a great way to focus the comments. When it's applicable, I'll use a really positive statement to encourage a writer to make a change. As in, "You have an excellent grasp of POV, so I know you can fix this little problem here." Oh, look at that, There's an "I" statement in there.

Lee R. Duncan said...

Helen,

Good luck with your contest this year! It can be a time consuming job, but it's soooo worth it!

Make sure you read Anne-Marie Carroll's blog entry on Contest Coordinators. She runs the TARA contest, which is huge, and did a great job of summarizing everything that goes into it. In fact, it wasn't until I read her entry that I realized how much work I was doing!

If you haven't already joined, ask your chapter president or the previous contest chair to get you on the ContestLink. It's a Yahoo group just for RWA contest coordinators. Whenever I run into a problem, I post the question. There's always someone else who has already dealt with the same issue and can offer advice.

And, of course, you can always drop me a line. I'll be glad to share what I know about running a contest in general, and electronic entries in particular.

What's your contest's name and when is your deadline? Is this a brand new contest?

Lee R. Duncan said...

Savanna,

Ooooh, I feel for you! Allergies are the pits.

Lee

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

Wow, Helen, it's a big commitment but I'll bet you'll be great! You are super for donating your time! And just remember: ask for help. Lee and others can offer you tons of advice on how to organize it all. I am personally amazed at how helpful folks are with their personal experience. :)

Lee: I couldn't find the blog but today has been a little crazy. I will ask the ATIV group to help me with my brain hiccup. :)

Oh, and Sav, I feel you on the allergy thing. Today in Utah has been like summer--80 degrees with a nice south wind--sadly it's also flinging around all the pollen! :(

This is a weird suggestion but have you ever tried a neti pot? I swear by mine. It cuts my consumption of anti-histamines in half.

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

Well, I didn't find the contest discussion yet but I found my blog about "The Call":

http://titlemagic.blogspot.com/2008/01/call.html

I thought you might want to check that out Lee since you were instrumental. :)

Savanna Kougar said...

Anitra, thanks for the suggestion. I do know what a Neti pot is, only because I worked in a health food store mid-to-late 90's. I know they work really well for lots of folks. I've just never been able to convince myself on that remedy. However, my Country Life Aller-Max formula helps a lot, and so does another herbal formula with Brigham Young Tea. And actually small doses of caffeine help too.

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

LOL, Sav, but yes, I know neti pots take a bit of getting used to. The first time I poured saline water through my nose I wanted to gag--but it worked. Now, I don't know how I lived without it. I use it before I run and before I sleep. Just clears things out, ya know? And Brigham Young tea? Is that made from a plant called Mormon Tea? It grows wild in Utah and some folks swear by it--tastes very bitter to me but it is astringent. I wonder if it's made of the same plant.

Oh, and sorry Lee for going very off topic. That often happens here on Title Magic. :)

Back to topic I will be posting about my contest experiences and offering tips for entrants. So stop by on May 19th for that blog.

Savanna Kougar said...

Anitra, yeah, I think it is also called Mormon tea. It was used by the ladies of the evening for energy, but it also helps allergies by working on the lungs like a bronchodilator. And I know it grows in drier, desert type conditions. Although, it is the whole herbal formula called HAS from Nature's Way that works better than the Brigham tea alone.

Lee R. Duncan said...

Anitra,

How exciting that I could play a small role in your career! And to sign with Roberta is a real coup. She accepts few new clients -- and must feel very strongly about someone's career path before considering them. So, double congrats!

I'm off to Titusville this morning, helping my brother-in-law move his small business. Oh, my aching back. But I'll check in this afternoon.

Lee

Lee R. Duncan said...

Before we move on to other topics, I just wanted to say, "Thanks," again to the great gals at Title Magic. This has been a terrific experience for me -- and I've learned some things I didn't know about contests. Thank you sooo much!

Lee

Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

Thank you again for being with us and we hope you'll return soon. :)

One last question: When is the next Launching a star contest? I'm sure after this wonderful post, many people would like to enter.

Lee R. Duncan said...

Well, since you asked...

I'm very excited about this year's Launching A Star contest. We've split the Paranormal Category in two to provide better finaling opportunities and we have an amazing line-up of final round judges -- one acquiring editor and agent in each category. And for the second year in a row, we'll accept emailed submissions from anyone residing outside the continental US.

Launching A Star will begin accepting entries the first week of June. All entries must be postmarked or emailed (foreign entries only, please) no later than September 8th. Snail mail packages must be received by September 15th; emailed entries by September 10th.

Please visit our website at:
www.authorsofromance.com for complete rules and entry forms. Or contact me at: contest@authorsofromance.com if you have questions.

And thanks again to the wonderful owners of Title Magic. Take some time to look around their amazing website. I've added it to my "Favorites" List. I'm sure you will, too.

Savanna Kougar said...

Lee, so exciting about what you're accomplishing with Launching a Star. And so glad to see the Paranormal split into two categories.