Friday, October 14, 2011

Donna’s Journal

Actions we've taken as writers. Where are we? What are we doing?

The Elements of RWA online course I’m taking, "Weapons for Writers", has been keeping me very busy this week. Course instructors Piper Rome and Mark Pfeiffer have been serving up plenty of great information on research sites and the “warrior” mindset to use in our writing.

The focus this week has been primarily on improvised and commercially-available weapons other than guns or knives (things like batons, for example). This has been pretty familiar territory for me as a long-time martial artist, but it is interesting to discover how your training (or lack of it) tends to skew your writing without your even being aware of it.

As an empty-hand fighter, I don’t usually think of putting a weapon of any kind in my hero/heroine’s hands. Fists are thrown first. If that bad guy gets really tough, then we might grab something and clobber him with it. I do use guns (and a “stunner”) in both Unchained Memory and Trouble in Mind, but only as a threat in one and only because my heroine is an FBI agent in the second. Guess I needed this course, huh?

The course has been a challenge, too, because it’s required a fair amount of “homework”. I had to write a fight scene overnight (ironically, between teaching my karate class on Tuesday night and my tai chi class on Wednesday afternoon). I’m not really used to ripping out my fiction that fast—I’m afraid it was a little rough! Anyway, it’s been fun.

Contest Results

I got word this week from the Colorado Romance Writers that my novel Trouble in Mind had placed third in the Paranormal category in their 2011 Heart of the Rockies contest. I had been tied for third in the scoring going into the final round, which was judged by agent Laura Bradford of the Bradford Agency. This makes two third-place showings for the second novel of my Interstellar Rescue series. Not sure what is holding TIM back, beyond the presence of aliens in the story, which gives a lot of agents and editors pause. I’d like to say I have another story in the pipeline that doesn’t include them, but, alas, more Rescue stories just keep presenting themselves. And as my idol Linda Howard once told me, you just have to follow the story.

So far it’s a lonely road, but maybe someday I’ll find a brave agent or editor who’s willing to walk it with me.

Cheers, Donna


  1. Congrats on placing, Donna. All you can do is keep trying!!!!!!

  2. Donna, don't give up. I know it's disheartening to make the finals and then place 3rd (definitely been there) but it's so often all about who's judging the final round and what they're looking for in a manuscript--and too often it's not SFR.

    It's a drawback having SFR lumped into the Paranormal category where an editor or agent who reps other paranormal subgenres doesn't necessarily rep SFR.

  3. Linda is right. It's all we can do. I still think about the opening author panel at RWA - one of them commented that he wrote his book too early. But when the market finally came around he became a bestseller. Not the first time I've heard that story!


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