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Avon’s giving away $1,000

Do you ever come up with brilliant ideas for stories but don’t have the time or energy to actually write a book?

Be rewarded for your laziness! Avon’s holding a contest where you can submit a story idea and the winning idea will be written as a novella – It Happened One Season – by four Avon authors: Stephanie Laurens, Mary Balogh, Jacquie D’Alessandro and Candice Hern.

Better yet, the winner gets a $1,000 AmEx gift card!

The constraints:

  • It has to be Regency.
  • It has to take place in one Season (in the Regency sense, not in the weather sense).
  • You need to submit three plot points by 14 February 2010.
  • You need to be a US resident over 18.

Read more on the  It Happened One Season website. If you do submit an idea, I’d love to hear about it!

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Get free romance novels!

If you love to read romance, there’s a contest with your name all over it. The lovely folks at RomCon are looking for more judges for their Readers’ Crown contest.

Judges get at least five free romance novels (more if you choose to judge more than one panel). You can choose to have all your books from one category (they’ve got 11 categories, including long contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and short historical romance), or from a mix of categories.

You get to keep the books and just need to fill out a judging sheet online.

Here’s the application to be a judge. Fill it out quick – they’re sending the books out at the beginning of February.

Published authors, you have until 31 January to enter (I’m pretty sure that means they have to have your books in their hot little hands by then).

Winners will be announced at the RomCon Convention in Denver  9-11, which looks like it’ll be attended by some of the genre’s best and brightest.

While we’re on the subject of RomCon, you should check out their blogs, too. Good stuff.

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Haiti earthquake

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Haiti. The Red Cross has volunteers there. If you’re in the US and want to donate to help people right away, you can give to the American Red Cross.

If you’re in the UK, please consider giving to the British Red Cross.

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Susan Elizabeth Phillips fails me

It pains me to write this, but my quest to convert my husband to romance reading has failed. And, since I was completely relying on the unending brilliance of Susan Elizabeth Phillips, I think it’s only right that I blame her.

(I know there’s almost no chance she’ll ever read this, but in case she does: it’s not really your fault. It’s my husband’s.)

Hubby got to page 280 of Natural Born Charmer before asking for the third time where he could quit his SEP challenge. At one point, he even said: “They’ve had sex now, so can I stop reading? It’s essentially over, right, even though there are 200 more pages?”

Typical man.

This time I took pity on him and said he could quit. He did have a few revelations, though, which were worth the torture (at least, from my perspective).

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Susan Elizabeth Phillips – muddying the plot?

My husband’s 100 pages through his Susan Elizabeth Phillips challenge (the challenge: to read one entire romance novel. Yes, that’s it).

He’s just discovered subplots, and he’s hating life.

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Susan Elizabeth Phillips – agent of deception?

If you’ve just stumbled upon this blog, you could be forgiven for thinking I’m obsessed with Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I’m not. Certainly not in the “why-hasn’t-she-returned-my-calls-and-what-is-this-about-a-restraining-order” sort of way.

I do like her, though.

So when my husband suggested we swap reading material, I knew she was the one author who might have a chance at helping him appreciate the romance genre.

So far, so wrong.

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On paying for UPS workers to have a great Christmas

I sent my manuscript off to Romance Writers of America yesterday for the Golden Heart Award.

Royal Mail can’t track anything once it leaves Britain, so I had to look for other options. It cost $88 to mail it via UPS from London to Houston. Ouch.

Merry Christmas, UPS executives.

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Susan Elizabeth Phillips – kind-hearted fairy godmother?

I wrote last week about how my husband made me a deal: I’d read one of the novels he’s studying for his PhD (Don Delillo’s White Noise) and he’d read one of my favorite romance novels (SEP’s Natural Born Charmer). He made it through 100 pages before begging me to let him stop.

Heartless wife that I am, I told there was no way he could wriggle out of our deal.

Okay, it’s not just that I’m heartless. Continue reading

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Save the contemporary

Good news comes in threes! (Well, deaths of famous people come in threes, so it stands to reason – sort of – that good news does, too).

1. I entered my manuscript in RWA’s Golden Heart competition today! Woo hoo for finishing a manuscript!

2. According to Publisher’s Weekly, people want to read funny contemporaries, which is what I write. I first saw the link to this fantastic article posted by Jane at Dear Author, who loves contemporaries so much she’s set up Save the Contemporary. It’s a great place to get recommendations and . . .

3. Free books! They’re having a competition to win goodies from St. Martin’s Press, including Lisa Kleypas’ Smooth Talking Stranger. Oh, I do so hope I win. My local library has only a handful of contemporaries, and I’ve exhausted their supply.

Whoops. Jane at Dear Author just emailed me to say that was a really old contest. Oh well. I guess good things come in twos, and are closely followed by disappointment.

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My husband and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, part one

If you had to give a man one romance novel to show why you love the genre, which one would it be?

My husband is a PhD candidate studying American literature. He hates romance novels. Or, at least, he’s convinced he would if he ever read one.

The other day he came up with a deal: I’d have to read one of the novels he’s studying for his thesis, and he’d read a romance novel of my choice.

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