Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I just love a good challenge.

I’m not a very competitive person, but I find myself surrounded by challenges lately. Some I initiated, and others I’m running into blindly.

But what makes a good writing challenge? Should you move forward with writing on a subject even if it’s leaps and bounds outside of your comfort zone?

Rhetorical question my dear friends! Of course you should. Well, that’s what accepting a challenge means, doesn’t it? Pushing past the unfamiliar and doing the required research and reading to pull off a piece successfully.

Recently I left my comfort zone and it paid off in a big way. I submitted a synopsis and first chapter to the Mills & Boon Mid-Summer Madness Medical Fast-Track. This was a romance line I’d never considered before. Sure, I watch a good amount of medical drama on T.V., but how would that translate into a highly emotional romance good enough to catch the eye of an editor at Mills & Boon. I instantly realized I didn’t want to go at this challenge alone. So I posted for my critique group (the amazing 9 of Chapter By Chapter, to whom I owe more gratitude than I could ever convey) to write and send in submissions along with me. Four of them said yes. What did we have to lose?

Turns out, going outside the box was just what I needed. I got a partial request. But, things are never that simple. What I really got was a “revise your first chapter keeping these points in mind, then send in your partial” request. No complaining, I’m honored and will take a request anyway I can get it. So, for me the challenge continues. Again, I must push past my comfort zone and produce a piece that will sell.

That’s not the only challenge I have going on. Today I am entering the Battle of the Sexes Suspense Blog contest at Romance in the Backseat. Eight of us will face off against each other to write on a prompt in the POV of the hero or heroine for the readers to vote on. I only thought writing a medical was outside my narrow little box. Putting my work out there for the world to vote on – this truly turns my insides. I have yet to develop the thick skin an author needs to handle rejection. And should I lose after the first round, it will be a very public rejection.

As if all the above isn’t enough – Angela James, Carina editor extraordinaire - is taking blog pitches at Savvy Authors. Yep, you guessed it. I’m going to submit a three line pitch for a short story I wrote at the beginning of the year – by September 18th. Better get busy, huh?

But, if I don’t push through my insecurities and outside of my writing box, what would that say about me as an aspiring author?

What kind of author do you want to be?

I’ll leave you with that question swirling through your mind.


What I’m reading – One Tough Marine by Paula Graves
What I’m writing – Chaps Two and Three to my Medical, Suspense Challenge, and polishing my short story.
What I’m watching – Nothing, don’t have time. Oh, Being Human how I miss you.
Who I’m loving – My Twinkies (no not the food!)


  1. What a great post, Melinda. I'm so glad you're stepping up to these challenges. Its a win-win all around, eh. :-)

    Love the new blog look, too!

  2. Thank you Ms. Dane. There are so many opportunities around us, we need to grab them.

  3. You are the best, Mel, you just throw yourself into everything with such abandon. It's a great quality, and has served you so well in this grind we call writing. You're constantly in motion, workshopping, writing, critting, moderating, blogging etc. and just immersing yourself in the whole deal. CONSISTENTLY, ACTIVELY pursuing your dream on all fronts. Half the battle is won, because a passive writer is an unpublished writer. Add to that your immense talent, recognizable voice, charm, and great hair you are truly a force to be reckoned with. Can't wait to buy your first novel!!!

  4. Awww...I'm getting all teary Chris! This year has been great - next year - watch out world!

  5. Kudos!!

    As for what kind of author I want to be, I want to be Lemony Snicket: a shadowy figure with a cool name that incites in people equal parts amusement and trepidation.

  6. Great post Melinda all these contests your entering, they're going to pay off. I love the new look of your blog!

  7. Very nice Elizabeth.

    Thanks Ally!

  8. Hi Melinda - I just read your Chapter 1 entry in the Mills & Boon contest. Everyone and their brother is telling you it's terrific, and they're absolutely, 100 percent right. It's the best thing I've read in a long time, in or out of print. It's so good, in fact, that I'm reconsidering submitting my own entry — I frankly find it hard to believe that the judges aren't already blowing the ink dry on a contract with your name on it. And rightfully so.

    Good luck!

  9. Thank you johnsrenovation aka Heather (I think!)

    You've made my day! Kind words are always welcome here!

  10. Good lord! I can't believe I haven't been in this new and improved, and very lovely, new blog Meli! Anyway, you are an inspiration to us all. I am so proud of your many endeavors and gogetem. My gogetem is watered down right now with too many logs on the fire and not enough time at home. Between your incredible talent and beauty (you're still my personal model)- we Twinkies all are winners for knowing you. Thank you for the challenge to medicals. Without it, I may not be sitting on yet another request for a partial. Just remember- take time to smell those roses you're planting! I love you too.