Go big or go home, they say

I’ve been tossing around what to do next and my CP helped me find my way — which is why it’s important to have partners that are good at the things you suck at. For me it’s coming up with ideas and where to put commas.

So I wondered if I should leave medieval China, try something else. Something maybe more “marketable” in case this China thing doesn’t work. But I just couldn’t. So if anything, I’m going deeper into the wuxia genre that inspired me by adding paranormal elements.

It’s quite exciting! The supernatural is so prominently woven into Chinese history and culture that I practically feel like I’m still researching a historical rather than worldbuilding for a paranormal romance. There are major texts on the supernatural and a city that is well known to contain the gate to the underworld. I mean, so well known that there’s practically nothing mysterious about it. I’ll have to change that in my book. đŸ™‚ And it’ll have all the things I love — swords, honor, melodramatic characters – LOL.

I’m trying to learn something new by brainstorming a series. All my previous stories were related, but standalone. Plotting a series you need to think of the series arc as well as each story arc. It’s quite fascinating. I don’t have what I call the “Big Bad” nailed down yet, so things are still pretty loose.

But I do have nearly all five couples mapped out. I realize that I don’t start with character sketches or outlines or even worldbuilding. I start by matchmaking. I figure out the hero and the heroine and gauge if there’s enough conflict and chemistry for them to carry a book. I don’t know much about them other than whether they’ll spark. I guess that’s why at the heart of it, I write romance.

Oh, a hint? Tao sorcery, exorcism swords…a Secret Service team that works for the Emperor (inspired by my research for Unusual Historicals). I think I can start writing by this weekend. Giddy!

The Gateway to the Best Contest

Ah, nostalgia…this time last year I was polishing Butterfly Swords and trying to enter it in contests in preparation for the Golden Heart®. The Golden Pen contest is closed for entries, but the Gateway has just opened!

I’m a little partial because:

1) MORWA is my home chapter and I’m coordinating the historical category

2) This was the very, very first contest where I finaled. It was with The Dragon and the Pearl (aka Silk and Shadows at the time) and not Butterfly Swords, though I did get great feedback on Butterfly.

3) This was the first time I received a request for a full manuscript off of pages — which means the first time an industry professional took notice!

Anyone who has their eye on the Golden Heart® or who wants to get good writing feedback, should enter the Gateway. There’s a half-off discount on multiple entries and MORWA as a chapter is very much into critique with the majority of the members also being active in the CORE critique group. Because of this, the comments tend to be very detailed on the entries. (No guarantees! But you have a much better chance, honestly!)

Here’s the bulletin below. More details about the significance of this contest to my writing journey will be revealed in an interview I’m doing with author Keli Gwyn on September 3rd on her blog: Romance Writers on the Journey

*****Permission to forward*****

Gateway to the Best contest is open! One of last year’s finalists, Jeannie
Lin, won a Golden Heart last month and sold her book. Two other
Gateway winners also finaled in the Golden Heart.

Entries consist of first twenty-five pages; no synopsis. Electronic entries

Final judges are:
Historical -* Esi Sogah, Avon*
Contemporary Series -* Laura Barth, Harlequin*
Paranormal -* LaToya Smith,** Grand Central*
Single Title -* Katherine Pelz, Berkley*
Suspense -* Margo Lipschultz, Harlequin*

Deadline is Sept. 11 with payment via PayPal or check.

First entry is $30. Half price for multiple entries. No restriction on
number of entries in each category.

The first place winners will each receive a certificate, a one-year
membership to MORWA (e-newsletter only), a Gateway Arch charm, and an
electronic banner announcing the win for the author’s website. The second
place winners will each receive a certificate and a one-year membership to
MORWA (e-newsletter only). The third place winners will each receive a

Grand prize winner receives $100 and a critique of full manuscript by one
major Published Author.

For more information, visit http://www.morwa.org/gateway.htm or contact me.
Nancy Litzau
Gateway coordinator

Missouri Romance Writers (MORWA)
nlitzau@sbcglobal. net