hoo-ha in Presents Land

Last movie watched: Little Miss Sunshine
Playing right now on the iPod: Boys of Summer by Don Henley

Okay, so I should be doing line edits for my latest book,  but I simply couldn’t not read all about the storm brewing over on IHeartPresents.  Running a writing contest is not easy (done that), nor is judging or entering (yeah, done that a bajillion times too).  But when the winners to their “Harlequin Presents Writing Competition 2009” were announced, what started out as a ‘yay, congratulations!’ thread quickly denigrated into insults, snarkism, sour grapes and/or just down-right nasty name calling.

Now, the rules did state that published authors could enter (including Harlequin authors) as long as they weren’t currently under contract, which has been a big bone of contention with many commenters.  Now, when you talk about ‘being under contract’, it means that you have yet to fulfill your current obligations within a contract.  For e.g. mine read that I need to deliver a proposal, then a full manuscript by a due date.  Once done, I have x amount of days to deliver any revisions and/or line edits.  I will  get paid within this time frame.  So, I have fulfilled my contract when I’ve finished my final edits and my editor has received it in his inbox AND I’ve been paid for my hard work.   End of contract.

I find it disheartening that many commenters chose to attack the published winners, even going so far as to say that because they weren’t sufficiently excited enough, they didn’t deserve to win.  I’m sorry but excitement is personal – and this comes from having a very English stiff-upper lip father who’s idea of enthusiasm is saying, ‘yes, that’s pretty good’.  (I swear, he’d still say that if I discovered world peace tomorrow!)

I’ve been through the massive treadmill of contests.  I’ve been a judge, and entrant, a contest manager.  I’ve made contest policy, critique sheets and had the most horrific of feedback imaginable.  Setbacks make us stronger.  One of my favorite quotes?   The difference between a published author and an unpublished one is that the unpublished one gave up.

Be nice to yourselves these holidays and remember, we are romance writers.  Spread the love!

National Treasure, how I love thee…

Playing on the iPod right now: Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus

National Treasure (starring the fabulous Nicholas Cage) is one of my favorite action/adventure/romance movies ever. It and #2 are all I’ve been watching these last few weeks (when my 9yo loves a movie, he looooooves it.  All I can say is thank God for DVDs).

What’s there NOT to love? A treasure map, conspiracy theories, gripping action, bad guys, cute good guys, family conflict and romance.  It’s great clean fun, no swearing (I counted one ‘bloody’ in the first movie) so it’s a great way to involve my son in all that fab American history, which I adore.  He’s been googling “Declaration of Independence”, “US Presidents” and “American Constitution”, much to my delight.  He even pop quizzes me – “Mummy, who was the first person to suggest daylight saving?” (answer – Benjamin Franklin).  And yes, I also admit to a bit of a girly crush on geeky Riley Poole (aka Justin Bartha).  He has the best lines!

I’m doubly thrilled to see that they’re making National Treasure 3 in 2011.  I can’t wait!