Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Contest Alert: Indiana's Golden Opportunity

Indiana Romance Writers of America presents

The 20th Anniversary of

INDIANA’S GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY 2010

Our detailed score sheet and considerate feedback can help you fine-tune your manuscript.

**Trained first-round judges, including published authors

**Acquiring editors and agents as second- and third-round judges

**$50 for first place in each category

**The Best-of-the-Best winner is chosen from among the first-place winners in each category and will receive $100.

DEADLINE: Entries must be received by June 27, 2010. For your convenience, IGO accepts only electronic entries.

ENTRY FEE: $25. Can use PayPal or mail a check.

ELIGIBILITY: Unpublished in novel-length fiction by a non-vanity publisher in the last five years (See www.indianarwa.com/ for detailed eligibility guidelines.)

ENTRY: Beginning chapters (prologue included) and synopsis. Pages and synopsis combined not to exceed 35 double-spaced pages.

FIRST-ROUND JUDGES: Either trained judges or published authors.

SECOND-ROUND JUDGES:

Historical/Regency: Jesse Feldman, NAL

Mainstream with Strong Romantic Elements: Maureen Walters, Curtis Brown, LTD

Paranormal: Alicia Condon, Kensington

Romantic Suspense: Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks

Single Title: Latoya Smith, Grand Central Publishing

Young Adult*: Holly Root, Waxman Literary Agency

BEST-OF-THE-BEST JUDGE: Meredith Giordan, Berkley

*Young Adult does not need to be a romance.

PRIZES:

The top entry in each category will receive $50 in cash and a certificate

The entry judged best overall will receive $100 in cash and a certificate.

Further information and contest rules are available through our IRWA Web site: www.indianarwa.com/.

If you have any questions, you can e-mail the Contest Coordinator at: contest@indianarwa.com.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Incoming Transmissions...

(News and links.)

SFR Brigade member Rhiannon Leith just released With A Touch with Samhain Publishing today, March 30, 2010 (adult content).  Congratulations, Rhiannon! 

An interview with Sharon Lynn Fisher about being a RWA Golden Heart finalist for the second year in a row is up on Spacefreighters Lounge.  Sharon is a member of the Brigade.

Northwest Houston RWA announces The 18th Annual Lone Star Writing Competition.  The contest is now open for entries. The Lone Star Writing Competition is one of the few contests with two published authors and one unpublished author judging the first round. Finalists will be sent to BOTH an agent and an editor for judging. Early bird entry fee: $5 discount on all entries submitted by midnight May 23, 2010.  Read more here.

Member Pauline Baird Jones talks about an Easter contest, her upcoming release and other topics on her blog in The Tax Man Cometh, But Contests Can Ease the Pain.

Please send news, information and links for recent SFR sales, contest wins or *April releases* to me at Lgreen2162 [at] aol [dot] com.

Thursday Night Twitter Blast?

OK...*deep breath*   All our membership requests are caught up to date and we now have...*drum roll please*...37 members!  We've covered a lot of parsecs in just a few days!

In an ealier post, we mentioned doing a coordinated Twitter Blast and Facebook Foray as a way of getting the word out to more enthusiastic people who have an interest in joining the SFR Brigade.  Are those of you who use Twitter game for a Thursday night Blast?  How's the timing for everyone?  (I realize Thursday "night" is different times for everyone, so if we start in "our" evening--wherever we are--we could have coverage a good portion of the night.)

Yup, there's a method in my madness.  I'll be home and manning my computer on Friday, so I can field requests that come in Thursday night and Friday morning.

If you're game for a go, post a comment below.  Also, if you don't mind posting your Twitter handles--mine is SFRLaurie--I can follow you and jump in to help relay the retweets.  I suggest we link to the Five Reasons post (the "Why Join?" link on the sidebar and in the labels).

This is open to everyone's thoughts, ideas and suggestions.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tuesday Tour

Part of the fun of being part of a community like SFR Brigade is getting to know your fellow members. I thought we'd kick off the first week with two sites, both full of great information.

Isabo Kelly 
Published author, Prism Award winner and speaker.  Be sure to take note of her upcoming events, especially if you're in the New York area.  Be sure to sign up for her newsletter.

Rae Lori 
A talented author and artist who has graciously volunteered to work on graphics for SFR Brigade.  Be sure to check out her podcast interview and media room.

~*~     ~*~     ~*~

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ready, Stormtroopers?

It Takes a Community

By now you’ve been hearing about this “community concept” for days, but what does it really mean? It means we can accomplish great things as a group if everyone contributes a little to the forward momentum. To thrive as a community, we need to move ahead as a dedicated group—each person offering what they can of time, ideas, research, resources or expertise. I know we’ve got extremely talented members who are willing to work together to advance our battle lines. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t enthused about the idea, right? Like Heather Massey said in her post, The SFR Brigade Wants You!

So…how can you help?

Here are just a few things we can do to launch our community. All these things won’t happen overnight, but some of them could happen very quickly if members are willing to jump onboard the shuttle. What would you like to get involved with? What ideas or expertise can you offer? Even if you don’t have expertise or a lot of time, doing one small task would help us accomplish major things. If everyone offers just a little, the combined energy will be enormous.

Are you excited yet?

Let’s discuss a few close-range soirees:

Facilitators (otherwise known as “administrators” in the G-world)
We’ve reached the point where we need three or four more facilitators to help get new members signed up (especially if we plan the Twitter Brigade below) and stand guard against the inevitable spam bots. (Think of them as alien attacks.) What does it involve? Not a lot. Knowing a bit about Blogspot, such as how to access Layout and Settings/Permissions and how to delete spam comments. Each member request takes less than five minutes. We could really use a “Down Under” or “UK” facilitator so we have good round-the-clock coverage. Any takers?

Twitter Brigade
After we have our facilitators onboard, a Twitter-cast would really help get the word out. Do you have a Twitter account? How about Facebook? You can link to our “5 Reasons” and get our message out on all the subspace channels? We can accommodate up to 100 members on this site itself--we’re more than a third of the way there already! The more members we have, the bigger the voice and the more vast our resources.

Web Site
Over thirty-five members in just a few days is one impressive accomplishment (hats off to Heather, once again). A dedicated web site linked to this blog would help give us a solid web presence. Do we have any web designers in our midst? Or do you know of someone who would design a web site? Let’s put on our tinfoil caps and turn on the radar.

Promotion
Banners and buttons and cards, oh my! Anyone know how to design a blog banner that members could post on their sites? How about a big six-foot long paper one? Or an 8 x 11? How about bookmarks? Or buttons that say “Member of the SFR Brigade” and business cards to pass out when people inquire?

Ambassadors
We have some big conferences coming up including RT and RWA. How about some of the –cons? Are you attending? Would you be willing to help get the word out by wearing badges or passing out those gorgeous SFR Brigade cards to interested parties?

Those soirees are great for starters, but what about a few major engagements?

A Dedicated SFR Award
Yes, it’s a huge, but shiny, undertaking. We have a member onboard who has a lot of experience in this area and is willing to advise, and there’s a wonderful series of articles Heather Massey wrote for The Galaxy Express (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV) with background information on the former SFR newsletter and Sapphire Award. Who would be interested in making some contacts and doing some research on resurrecting the award? Think of it! Our very own award for SFR! Let’s go back to the future!

Science Fiction Romance Writers International
That’s one possible name in what could become our own organization. But how to we get wayyy over there across the galaxy from our little home planet? A little recon, for starters. Is anyone a member of FF&P? Would you be interested in contacting them to see if we could form a splinter group? If so, would a specialized chapter of RWA be in our future? Or should we be independent from RWA? Would you like to be part of a task force who would study these ideas, present information to the membership, poll or survey the members?

These areas will get us launched on the road to the future. What say you? Thoughts? Ideas? Mission volunteers?  Please post below.

"Let’s rock!" 

Igniting the Main Engines

To be a healthy community, activity is the key. Here are some suggestions:

Fire at Will
Each of you have access to post (or an invitation has been sent—check your email). Feel free to post book reviews, contest finals or wins, upcoming releases, SFR submission calls, links to helpful articles, or posts about SFR in general. In order to keep the communications coming at a digestible megahertz, I propose the following:

If your first name starts with A - H, post on Mondays
If your first name starts with I - K, post on Tuesdays
If your first name starts with L - Ma, post on Wednesdays
If your first name starts with Me - R, post on Thursdays
If your first name starts with S - Z, post on Fridays

Anyone can post on weekends, so you'll have two opportunities per week to post personal articles, if you so choose.  Of course comments are open season at any time. 

Task Forces/committees/soiree scouts (see Ready, Stormtroopers?) can post at any time with information or news on their findings, discoveries, or victories.

I think too much content is a smaller problem than too little content.  (Uh...Did you copy that?)

Recreational Activities

Tuesday Tour
Every Tuesday we’ll post a members’ site or blog to infiltrate in massive numbers so as to make their stat counters explode. But it’s a friendly skirmish. Really!

Thursday Tag Party
I’d like to institute an Amazon tag party on Thursdays. This is a group effort to tag SFR books in order to help readers find them. We’ll focus on a few books or a particular author every week. Every Thursday, our tag target will be announced for the coming week.

Activity plans may be altered as our theater of operations expands, so other ideas are not only welcome, they are strongly encouraged, endorsed, and may be rewarded with a medal.  HUA!

Let's Get this Ship in Shape

Hi All!

Could you please do two things before we get rolling our launch window this week?

1)  Make sure your name is in the member list and click your link to make sure it goes to the blog or web site you specified.  You might want to check out other members' links too.  We've got a wonderfully diverse group here--"and that makes us mighty." (A little bow to Joss Whedon's Firefly.)

2) Verify you were invited as an author (and if you weren't, please check your email and spam folder).

Note that it's not a requirement to be a blog member (with ability to post) but we'd like everyone to have that access because information on your upcoming releases, submission news, contests you hear about, etc. is all part of the community concept.  More on that later.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Don't Forget to "Follow"

Unless you have other means of getting updates on new posts, be sure to click the "Follow" button on the sidebar so you receive notifications of posts as they are published (and you don't miss any of the good stuff).

Also note we added a new sidebar feature "Can't Stop the Signal" which will feature links to interviews or articles by or about our members.  We have our first one up for an interview with D. L. Jackson at the Nights of Passion romance blog.

BONUS! A contest point will be awarded to the first Brigade member who can explain where the "Can't Stop the Signal" quote originated.

Friday, March 26, 2010

More New Members Coming Soon

We've had a wonderful response from new members wanting to join the Brigade thanks to Heather's feature on The Galaxy Express. I'll be working to get everyone added this evening and over the weekend.

If you sent a request to join and haven't yet heard back, fear not - we'll be responding soon. (If you don't hear from us within three days, please do ping us to make sure you haven't gotten lost in the shuffle!)

We'd love it if folks would take a moment to introduce themselves in the comments!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Congratulations to our Golden Heart Finalist!

It's been a very exciting day for Brigade member Sharon Lynn Fisher who was just announced as a finalist in the RWA Golden Heart with a SFR novel titled SHADOWED!  Sharon also finaled in the 2009 Golden Heart. 

Sharon will be our first member to kick-off our Finals and Points contests.  Congratulations, Sharon!

Sharon, feel free to post an article or a comment to tell us a little about your experience in getting "the call" this morning?  What was going through your head?  Any immediate plans?  How does it feel to be a two-timer?  (The good kind of two-timer, I should say.)

Welcome New Members!

We'll post information on new members to join the Brigade in the comments below. 

Let's give them a hardy Brigade welcome!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hearts in Space

The finalist announcements for RWA's 2010 RITA and Golden Heart Awards are just a few days away! We're hoping for a great showing of skiffy rommers this year. If you final with a sci-fi romance (SFR) manuscript in either contest, please drop by and leave a note in the comments so we can raise a glass to you!

Also be sure to check in on the Paranormalists blog (our mother ship), where we're kicking off our launch with a Rita/Golden Heart blog party.

By the way, the groovy pendant at right (from DannieGlam) is the first addition to our prize cache for our first contest year.

Friday, March 19, 2010

SFR Contest Rules

SFR Brigade [SFRcontests.blogspot.com] is part of the Paranormalists community, and like the main community, it tracks three concurrent contests.  The difference is you must be a member and identify the title of your SFR manscript (so we are able to track it) to be listed in the standings lists. Members are eligible for prizes which will be accumulated throughout the contest year and awarded to the contest winners on or around April 1 after the close of the contests.  Prizes will be listed under the Special Cargo sidebar as they are accumulated.

By Finals

The member with the highest number of finals wins!  Current rankings will be tracked in the Finals Standings sidebar. In case of a tie, a drawing will be held to determine the prize winner.  If you don't see your contest final listed in a post, email SFRPreview @ gmail . com [without the spaces] with a link to the announcement so we can update our list.  The largest number of finals over the course of a year beginning March 25th and ending March 24th wins.  Why those dates?  Because that's when the Golden Heart finalists are announced which marks the start of our "contest year."

By Wins

The member with the highest number of contest wins will be declared the winner.  Curent rankings will be tracked in the Win Standings sidebar.  In case of a tie, a drawing will be held to determine the prize winner.  If you don't see you rcontest win reported in a post, email SFRPreview @ gmail . com [without the spaces] with a link to the win announcement so we can update our list.  The contest runs concurrently with the Finals contest--March 25th to March 24th.

By Points 

The Point Contest rewards a combination of contest wins and finals and site participation. Current ranking will be tracked in the Point Standings sidebar. This contest runs concurrently with the Finals and Wins contest. In case of a tie, a drawing will be held to determine the prize winner. Points are tallied as follows:

Contest Final  = 1 point
Contest Win  = 2 points
Golden Heart Final  = 2 points
Golden Heart Win  =  4 points
Recruiting new members = 1 point per new member (member must state they were refered by you)
SFR book reviews posted on SFR Brigade = 1 point for 500 words or more
SFR book reviews of SFR member books posted on SFR Brigade = 2 points for 500 words or more.
Special bonus points for specific activities may be announced at random throughout the contest year.

Five Reasons Why You Should Join the SFR Brigade

1. Networking. Science Fiction Romance is a specialized niche genre. Bum around with SFR writers on the blog and hear the scuttlebutt on everything from who's requesting, buying, or actively seeking SFR, to who are the hottest authors, to what are the best websites or what great SFR books are coming down the pike? Anyone who's a fan of SFR is welcome to join--writers, readers and/or industry professionals.

2. Build a Following. Your peers are your future readers. Start building name recognition and a fanbase with your target audience before your work is sold or published.

3. Help Create a Bigger Voice.  Years ago the demands of Paranormal readers helped push Vampire Romance into the popular standing it holds today by increasing market demand. Is SFR the next big thing? It will be if we make it the next big thing. This shall be our quest.

4. Socialize with Like-Minded Writers. This is how beautiful friendships start. Don't write in a vacuum. Don't feel like the odd person out in the group of "regular" romance writers. Come join the fun!

5. Join Today!  The SFR Brigade kicked off on March 25, 2010 and has since grown to over 300 members!

So how do you join? It's easy. Just send your email to SFRPreview @ gmail . com [without the spaces] and we'll send you an invitation to join the blog. That's it. Piece of pie.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Welcome to the Brigade!

Welcome! Congrats on your arrival at our brave, new blog. Ready for a brief on the mission plan?

Mission Statement
(What are our coordinates, Captain?)

To advance the interests of the Science Fiction Romance (subgenre-niche-specialty genre-whatever) and SFR writers everywhere.

Details:  SFR Brigade is a networking site that includes a blog, Facebook group, and web site as social forums for SFR writers, authors and fans who are interested in working together to support and promote the SFR genre.

Purpose:  To have fun, network with like-minded writers, build your name recognition and future reader base, and socialize with other SFR authors, NG ("next generation") writers and fans who love science fiction romance.

Ship Dress: Casual.  Relax and be yourself. Put your deck boots up and stay awhile. Friendly chatter is encouraged. This is a 'no salute' zone.


Long Range Trajectory
(Delusions of Grandeur)

As our SFR community grows, these are some of the distant stars we’d like to reach.

Establish Our Own Website
As our membership grows, we expect to outgrow the blog concept and explore establishing our own dedicated web site. What we need to get there? An activity level on the SFR Brigade that indicates it’s ready to make the evolutionary jump to the next dimension. We aim to misbehave.

Establish a Contest Exclusively for SFR
We will actively work toward establishing a contest solely for the various sectors of science fiction romance. This may involve finding a partner organization or business to sponsor our endeavor. What we need to get there? Evidence there are enough writers penning science fiction romance to support a dedicated contest. Outstanding.

Charter an RWA Special-Interest Chapter
We hope to develop a special chapter similar to FF&P (Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal) dedicated to science fiction romance that will be affiliated with one of the major author groups such as RWA or SFWA. What we need to get there? Enough interest and support from members to charter such a group. Help us, Obi Wan Kenobi.

Found Dedicated SFR Awards (Resurrect the SaFiRe?)
We’d love to see an award created ala the PEARL, EPIC, etc.and the now defunct Safire Award for excellence in SFR, in both published and unpublished categories. (Our own little Golden Heart/Rita contest). What we need to get there? Support from members as well as reaching each of the delusions of grandeur goals listed above. Make it so, Number One.

Found a SFRWI club
That stands for Science Fiction Romance Writers International (…or Intergalactic?) How does establishing an international club dedicated to science fiction romance sound? We envision this club being open to both published authors, ASP members (actively seeking publication), and AR corps (Addicted Readers). This will be our finest hour.


FAQs

I'm not sure I write or am a fan of SFR. What's the definition?
Science Fiction Romance, within the context of this blog, is any original work of fiction that contains futuristic or imaginative settings where technology (not magic) and human or alien characters are the focus (not vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters or other characters of the fantasy realm, unless they are indigent alien species or created by genetics, or natural or artificial mutation).

To fall into the SF Romance genre, the romantic elements should also conclude with a Happily Ever After, Happy for Now, Happy Until Sequel or Most Satisfying Resolution Possible.

This may include any of the following:
  • alien romance
  • alternative history romance (an unknown or divergent human history--ala Battlestar Galactica)
  • apocalyptic romance
  • biopunk romance
  • colonization romance
  • contemporary science fiction romance
  • cyberpunk romance
  • earth-based science fiction romance (ala Jurassic Park)
  • erotica science fiction romance
  • first contact romance
  • futuristic romance
  • interstellar adventure romance
  • military science fiction romance
  • medical science fiction romance
  • near future romance
  • parallel dimension romance (when technology or physics is incorporated)
  • planetary romance (story is based on another planet)
  • psi-fi romance (when psi elements have a basis in science, technology or physics)
  • space opera romance
  • science fantasy romance (technology blended with metaphysical elements ala Star Wars)
  • slipstream romance (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, other blend with technical or scientific elements)
  • steampunk romance
  • time travel romance (if time travel is via technology or physics, not magic)
  • young adult romance or new adult romance in any of the above
Still not sure?  Write us at SFRPreview @ gmail . com [without the spaces] with any questions.

Why should I sign on? So you can network and share your enthusiasm for SFR while supporting your subgenre and your peers. Get "the buzz" on industry news. Help celebrate career landmarks, agent acquisition, sales, debuts, new releases, contest finals and wins, and other goals achieved. Best of all, pre-promote your work to a target audience of SFR fans on the SFR Brigade Fan Page. We suggest you read Five Reasons Why You Should Join the SFR Brigade for our recruiting message.

Why don't you use Yahoo Groups?  Although other contest groups and organizations use Yahoo Groups to conduct business, we believe the Facebook and blog format is more user frieindly to creating a professional network environment, can be viewed at the member's discretion without having to manage multiple emails or digests, and works more seamlessly with graphics and photos.

How do I join? There are several paths to induction, according to your online preferences.

1. Send a request to join the Facebook Group page and add your name to the membership info under the Files tab by editing the document.

2. Email SFRPreview @ gmail . com [without the spaces] with your pen name or user name and your blog or website address.

3. Add a comment under the JOIN page (see tab at top of this blog) with a way we can contact you.

SFR Brigade Bases of Operation