Monday, October 19, 2015

Margaret Atwood Short Story Contest

As I have mentioned in several blog posts, I started a Wattpad account about a year ago. I post some of my writing there, including the first draft of my newest book I'm working on. The fun thing about Wattpad is that there are various Wattpad-run accounts you can follow that have writing contests.

In the last 6 or 7 months, I've written several science fiction short stories, which were a ton of fun. One of them even won first place!

The talented Ms. Atwood
I also found out that one of my favorite authors, Margaret Atwood, had an account on Wattpad. Several months ago she posted a writing contest that I really wanted to participate in, but I had no time for the story.

About a month ago, I received notice of another contest Ms. Atwood was running on Wattpad...this time as part of a promotion for her latest book, The Heart Goes Last. Several chapters of the book were posted on Wattpad. A writer could choose from 3 secondary characters that were presented briefly in the posted chapters and write their back story.

It sounded like fun, so I made sure to set aside some time to read the posted chapters and write something. I decided not to put pressure on myself and just finish something to upload. I finished my entry today and you can read it here: My Contest Entry.

If you have some time, please read, comment or vote!

There will be 5 winners who will have their stories read aloud at a livestreamed book event in NYC on November 7-8, 2015. Winners will be announced by November 2nd.  The first place winner will receive a signed copy of The Heart Goes Last, an e-card from Margaret Atwood, and promotion of your story on Wattpad and Doubleday media platforms.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

TV Pilot Review: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

I think I should've been a tv or movie reviewer in another life. I am obsessed with video entertainment. My viewing habits have changed over the years, so I am watching a lot less scripted tv than I used to. However, every new television season, some of the pilots being advertised will catch my eye, and I will find myself wanting to check something new out.

Last spring, I was reading up on the new shows that were being worked on for the fall. One of them was "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," which would be aired on the CW. Maybe many of you have not heard of this show. I am here to tell you about it because, yes, it really is that good/funny.

The show involves a hardcore New York attorney named, Rebecca Bunch (played by Rachel Bloom who was a writer on the show "Robot Chicken"). She's a go-getter and is in line for junior partner at the law firm where she works. On the day of her promotion, she begins to wonder if her life is truly happy. By happenstance, she runs into her old high school flame, Josh Chan. He admits to her that he made a mistake breaking up with her because she turned out to be 'hot.' She suggests they meet and get reacquainted (secretly believing this is fate bringing Josh back into her life). Josh tells her he is about to move back home to West Covina, CA and gives her his phone number, telling her to get in touch if she ever finds herself in his neck of the woods.

This begins a complete life overhaul for Rebecca. She decides that this chance meeting means she should change her whole life and that Josh is her destiny. She turns down the offer of junior partner, quits her job and moves to West Covina - basically an armpit of a town that is the exact opposite of New York. The hilarity amps up from there.

Not only is the writing sharp and funny, there are awesome musical numbers tucked into the show that include "The Sexy Getting Ready Song," which must be watched to be believed:


All of the songs are equally funny and really quite well sung and produced. I think they are even available on iTunes for purchase!

Will Rebecca find Josh? Will he be her true love? Is Rebecca crazy? Will she make a life in West Covina? Will her mother drive her nuts? Is she really a 'drama queen'?

Take some time to watch the pilot online and then set up the program to record on your DVR every Monday at 8 pm on the CW.

If you've seen the show, please leave a comment about your like or dislike of the program. I'd love to know what the rest of you are thinking!



Monday, October 12, 2015

Update on GoodReads Giveaways

I am now a pro at conducting a GoodReads Giveaway. My second giveaway, this time for 5 signed copies of my newest book, ACAPULCO NIGHTS, ended last Tuesday.

I had slightly better participation in this giveaway...1284 people signed up and 531 people added my book to their 'to-read' list. So, doing the math, about 41% of the entrants added my book to their GoodReads account. Not bad.

I was hoping for more sign-ups, since the contest ran for 2 weeks instead of 1. But no big deal. I got exposure for my new release and will possibly have 1 or 2 people review it once they receive their free copies.

My BLOOD MOON book giveaway last month resulted in 1 new review so far...so 10% of the winners (she was kind enough to post it to both Amazon and GoodReads, which was very much appreciated). There could eventually be more reviews as people take the time to read their prize books. Who knows!

I am going to run another 2-week contest next month (November 3 through November 17)...this will also be for 5 signed copies of ACAPULCO NIGHTS. So if you missed out on this giveaway, you can try again in my next one. I will add it to my sidebar in the next day or so...I just need to wait for GoodReads to approve it.

I thought it was interesting to note that I had 8 foreign recipients of my book out of 10 the first go-around with BLOOD MOON. With this contest, I only had 1 foreign winner (from Canada) and 4 from the U.S. although I added a LOT more countries to the list of eligible entrant countries.

I am not sure what that means. But maybe there are always more people from the U.S. entering these contests to begin with.

Just as an additional note, I have had quite a few KENP reads through Amazon in the last week for ACAPULCO NIGHTS. My assumption is that it is related to my contest, but that could just be coincidence.

Have you ever entered a GoodReads Giveaway? Or have you ever run a giveaway as an author yourself? Let me know in the comments.

UPDATE 10/15/15: GoodReads Giveaway link added to sidebar. New giveaway begins on November 3rd.