Wednesday, June 10, 2009

CAUTION: HORMONE-FREE ZONE!! (Contest Horror Stories ... and Julie Lessman Book Giveaway)

“Mom, it’s not that bad, really.”

“She hated it,” I cried, sobbing into my pillow.

“But the other judge liked it—she said you had a nice voice.”

“Who cares! I got a 50% score … I’m garbage.”

“Mom, ya gotta handle contests better than this.”

I fisted a tear-stained entry in my hand. Rrrrrrrrip! I stared my daughter down and tossed the pieces in the air like confetti. “How’s that for handling??” I rasped. “Tell Dad we’re eating out.”

JULIE LESSMAN’S CONTEST TIP #1: Never … repeatNEVER enter a contest after you’ve gone off hormones.

Okay, maybe I never really ripped a judge’s comments in two, but I certainly entertained thoughts of ripping a few judges in two. I mean, let’s face it—criticism hurts—bad! But you learn from it, you grow from it, you develop a thick skin (a prerequisite for trying to write novels), and—God willing—you become a better writer. So, bottom line, I am ALL FOR CONTESTS … unless, of course, you recently went off hormones.

Trust me, I know what I’m talking about, and so does the contest coordinator for the Heart of the Rockies contest a few years back. Poor thing. We’re friends now, but I think she went into rehab after that contest, if I’m not mistaken. Remember that cancer scare in the news regarding taking hormones? Yeah, so does my family … that was about the time they went into hiding when I weaned off HRT. You see, I was contest crazed … and if I wasn’t crazed, I was crying. Judges’ comments were lifeblood to me, and I torpedoed the Heart of the Rockies coordinator daily like a heat-seeking missile when I didn’t receive my judges’ comments.

“But where are they??” I badgered.

“They were sent out a month ago, Julie; you should have them by now.”

“Well, I don’t, and I need them—bad! Can’t you resend them?”

“Sorry, we don’t keep copies.”

Long, high-pitched groan. “But can’t you have the judges redo them—please?” (Yes, I really did ask that … a definite symptom of hormone withdrawal.)

“Julie, I’m sorry, but they are apparently lost in the mail. Give it time.”

Time? I didn’t have time. At this rate, I would never be published! So I did the only thing I could to stay sane while entering contests—I went back on HRT and became “normal” again (a relative term). I stopped crying, even when the scores were awful, because I knew that every contest made me a little bit better, a little bit stronger—a fierce competitor. And, I truly believe, contests played a key part in getting me published (finaling in the Golden Heart contest netted me a fabulous agent who landed me a 3-book publishing contract. Take that, Judge # 21!).

Months later after the Heart of the Rockies debacle, my husband and I were dining out, and I happened to comment about those lost judges’ scores. “I guess I’ll never know where they are,” I lamented.

My husband lowered his head. His focus seemed to sharpen on cutting the steak on his plate. “Er … they’re, well they’re … under Amy’s mattress.”

I blinked. “Excuse me?”

He looked up with a sheepish grin. “We decided—Amy and me—that given your emotional state at the time, those scores were not a good idea.”

My mouth sagged open. “So you hid them? Under Amy’s mattress? To keep the contest lunatic from going over the edge???”

He grinned. “Pretty much.”

I chugged my beverage of choice and gave him a shaky smile. “Thanks, babe, you’re the best.”


OKAY, guys ... don't leave me out on a limb here (or an edge) -- tell me your own contest horror stories! Everyone who leaves a comment (horror story or not) will have their name thrown in the hat for a signed copy (winner's choice) of one of the books in The Daughters of Boston Series. Winner will be announced in The Seekers Weekend Edition. So whether contest judge or entrant ... this is YOUR chance to pop a hormone or two and unload. Go for it!




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  18. Julie loved your post. Love your husbands idea of hiding the contest forms under the matress.
    Thanks for the laugh it felt good.
    im back to surfing blogs loving my new home.
    this weeks been busy mum turned 90.

  19. What a great story! And, um, what timing. Just before reading your post I emailed a contest coordinator because I haven't gotten my scores yet. Surely if they announced finalists while I was at a conference last month ... and other folks started getting their scores then ... and mine still haven't come ...

    I promise to wait at least a couple of days before emailing her again. :-)

    And - I hope to see you and Maggie at the Buford book signing in a couple of weeks. Just gotta see if the workload will allow me to drag the kids off for part of the day.

  20. Hey Julie! Still stalkin', but don't enter me, as I am the luckiest stalker EVER. :) Your post made me laugh out loud! Who can't relate to the depths of the hormone cesspool? Sigh...

  21. JENNY!!! Welcome back, my friend, we all missed you something fierce. Soooo glad I could make you laugh!! And Happy Birthday to Mum! :)

    LEIGH!!! Step away from the contest coordinator ... I suspect you will be a LOT more rational than I was when you contact them, at least I hope you will be. Keep in mind that contest coordinators have very LONG memories ... I know -- haven't finaled in that contest EVER, pubbed or unpubbed ... :)

    And, Leigh, I am SO excited that we may get to meet at the book signing in Atlanta June 23 at Nora St. Laurent's LifeWay Store (it's not really hers, I guess, but she has a very important job there!). Keep in mind that you will probably have to grab my face and say, "Julie, it's Leigh from Seekers!" because that's mostly how I know you. See you then!!


  22. You are so funny, Julie!!! No wonder I love you so much! You're as over-the-top on the outside as I am on the inside. My Southern upbringing forces me to stay inhibited--usually.

    I once sent a "thank you" note to a judge and said, basically, but not in these exact words, "You gave me a 62 on an entry that finaled in another contest, so maybe you were wrong, don't you think?"

    I got in trouble with the coordinator for that little snippy "thank you" note! Bad idea. Very bad idea. But the judge wrote me back and we talked and she was very nice about it. Much nicer than I deserved!!!

  23. Hello, Julie. I love your contest story! I'm still chuckling.

    No contest horror stories here. Not that I didn't get low scores, but I earned them, trust me. :-)

    Keeping with my cheery mood, I brought green eggs and ham this morning.


  24. I'm totally weirded out here. I just realized that this is a post from 2007--AFTER I saw that I posted a comment. I thought this looked familiar. Talk about deja vu. I wondered why the comments were gradually disappearing.

    So I HAVEN'T watched The Lake House one too many times!

    It is still a great post, and I was enjoying reading the comments again! At least I posted a different one this time!

    (People are reading this and wondering what in the world I'm talking about.)


    Attention everyone -- no, I didn't delete 17 comments where people railed at me about the edginess of my books ... I simply ran out of time this month because of an overdue deadline and repeated the first Seeker blog I ever wrote in 2007. Unfortunately, I failed to remove the old comments (from 2007), so I did that this morning. Thus the ridiculous # of deleted comments. Sigh.

    The heck with hazelnut coffee this morning ... I need the triple-strength expresso!!! Comes with thick-slab smoked bacon and blueberry crumb or peach pecan french toast and Vermont maple syrup -- dig in!


  26. oh thats funny too about all the deleted comments. I thought i was late commenting! im about to go to bed its getting late and im so tired.
    but love the new house.

  27. I entered contests as a fiction newbie and wasn't so concerned in the beginning about the scores. I just wanted to learn and I learned a ton.

    I would enter in the final hours, rushing to get to the post office before closing, or hitting send just before midnight, standing in my dark kitchen with everyone else in bed, praying the dial-up didn't fail me.

    I didn't realize how important formatting was and once my Word program took my *'s between scenes and stretched them into a box or something. You know, how Word will just go crazy?

    Well, the judge drew an arrow at this box thingie I had no way of changing at the last minute (I didn't know how to change it either). and said "WHAT'S THIS?" I wanted to say, "If I only knew..."

    Another time, I e-mailed the mss and ALL the formatting was removed. I mean everything. The judges kept pointing out that I needed to indent paragraphs. Yikes!

    I'd love to win a book. cathy underscore shouse at yahoo

  28. My contest comment comes from when I was in high school. My church had this thing called Festival of Life, which was a contest of all areas--arts, sports, debate, etc. and teens from Nazarene churches across the entire Northeast would ultimately meet up to compete. It started with a competition against other teens in New England. I had recently gotten into drawing, so I entered something I'd done in school. When the scores came back a couple judges really liked it, giving me 8s and 9s. Then I got my final score sheet--4s and 5s. I got all upset, tears and everything. Then when I discovered writing poetry a few months later, I wrote about it.

    I'd love to win a book. Please enter me.


  29. LOL! This is too funny. You have a great family. Gutsy, too!

    I haven't entered a lot of contests, but the most memorable would be the first one I entered where I was sure I would final, win, and go on to multi-published glory.

    One of the seekers (I won't say who!) was one of my judges. As kindly as possible, she said, "Sweetie, this stinks."

    Oh, she was so right! It reeked. I walked in the humiliation of that entry for quite awhile.

  30. SHERRINDA ... "Hormone Cesspool" ... oh, I like that!!! And, girl, you ARE the luckiest "stalker" ever! I have had one or two blog giveaway commenters win two books from me before, but never FIVE!! Sherrinda is living proof that it does pay to cyber-stalk blog giveaways ... :) Thanks for your support, my friend.

    MELANIE ... "Over the top"??? Moi??? I think you have me confused with Mary or Ruthy, sweetie. Everybody knows I'm the cool, calm one in the bunch. Now, you? Yep, I'm guessing that despite your calm demeanor, you may just be a little over the top as well, 'cause anybody that would send a note to a judge telling them they were wrong ... well, need I say more?

    Oh, JANET, you "Seussed" me so early in the morning!! Glad you have no horror stories to report -- must be because you're a little more on the normal side of this group ... if there IS such a thing!


  31. MELANIE ... Grin, got ya!! Yep, I blew it and posted all the 2007 comments, which are now appropriately deleted. And, YES, isn't it nice to know you were creative enough to say something different??? :)

    JENNY ... Congrats on the new house, sweetie!! And no, you are not a day late and a dollar short ... only the author of today's blog is ...

    CATHY ... YIKES!!! Realizing that all the formatting in my entry would have put me over the top, hormones or no!! You poor thing ... let's see if we can't make you feel better with a book win ... :)

    All right, HOLLY, way to make lemondade out of lemons, girl!! Trust me, quite a few of my hostile and heavy-duty emotions in my books have been wrung from my angst over contests, I have no doubt! Thanks for your comment, and good luck.


  32. Thanks for making me laugh!!! I can relate to the whole hormone thing, PMS makes a girl do STRANGE things LOL!!! Please don't enter me for the books, I just HAD to comment on the post :-D

  33. "It's under Amy's matress."
    LOL! That's funny, reminds me of something my siblings and I would we'd do for our Mom. Sometimes she gets over-anxious we try to keep stuff from her, but she ALWAYS finds out!!

  34. Hi Julie:

    Here’s how my mind works. I thought all those deleted comments were intentional to grab everyone’s interest. Well, at least it worked that way for me. I couldn’t wait to see what was coming next! You even had a great ‘attention-grabbing’ lead-in when you weren’t even trying to.

    I don’t know about these contests. I’ve been in three. The first was very mixed. One judged loved it, one thought it was average, and the third said, “I didn’t like it. I didn’t get it. And I don’t have much to say about it.” This last comment made me laugh. I thought “That’s one honest judge.”

    My next two contests were all 9 and 9.5s but I didn’t final in either. I got very favorable comments but I felt like the guy who is being highly praised by his boss during the process of being fired. (For example, “You are just too strong to be working here.”)
    One judge did say that she wanted to know what my characters’ bodies were doing when they were speaking. I really thought this was a funny remark until I reread the entries and it hit me: she was dead right. In the end, if you have an entry that the judges like and score highly but you don’t final, I’m not sure you have learned anything.

    I think the best one can hope for is for the judges to be right in their specific criticisms. That’s worth the money to me.

    I have to run and learn about the ‘doughnut hole’. I think it is like a senior ‘black moment’.


  35. This post is as funny now as it was in '07.


    I can totally see the angst, the gnashing of teeth, the yellow eyes...

    Oh, wait.

    That's "Where The Wild Things Are", but every time I hear about Julie's rants and raves, I picture Maurice Sendak's adorable monsters, and Max, the naughty little boy who chased the dog with a fork.

    I raised four boys and that story was a constant here.


    I don't rant when I get mad. I get quiet. Real quiet. Heaven knows I'm noisy enough when I'm happy, so quiet works better for me.

    The term 'deathly silent'?

    That encompasses my reaction to bad contest scores.

    My May goal was to enter four contests. Time constraints plague most of us, so I only got into two, but did re-write a book and a synopsis for that book, so I was okay with that. A baseball player that bats .500 is doing well, making millions. I'd be happy with a shot at the editor's desk. We'll see.

    And I didn't enter inspirational because these works are aimed toward straight contemps, giving me a different latitude with humor and feelings. I like stretching my wings.

    Contests are risk pools. You may win or lose, but if you don't take the risk the loss is guaranteed.

    I like risk. I was a tree climber early on.

    Risk is fun.

    But I cushion the risk with chocolate so I brought sponge candy dipped in Ghirardelli chocolate and a platter of French Toast with sides of fresh fruit and syrups.

    Including real NY maple syrup. Yum!

    Dig in. It's good stuff.


  36. Mrs. Julie, you are one hilarious person! I love the way you write--even a simple blog post! Please, enter me to win A PASSION DENIED.


    I think if I ever entered a contest like that, and the judges didn't like my work, and however long after I got published, I would mail a free copy to those judges. LOL! Naw, of course I wouldn't do that. But I would be tempted. ;0)

  37. Please change my email to clp1777(aol)dot(com)

    My other one isn't working. Thanks!!!

  38. clp1777(at)aol(dot)com

    Sorry, I'm havin' a time gettin' that typed right. Haha!

  39. RENEE ... "Steeler Girl"!!! Ahhhh, PMS, yes, I remember it well ... Only trust me, for me, the menopause thing was WAY worse ... just ask my family!! Hope you get to bypass that ugliness when you get to my ripe, old age ... Thanks for stopping by, sweetie, to leave a comment -- I always love seeing ya!!

    CAROLYNN ... YES, mothers DO always find out ... I think there must be a radar hormone or something! And gosh, girl, you really need to win a book by now, don't you???? Keeping my fingers crossed ...

    VINCE ... grin, yeah it is pretty "attention-grabbing," I'll warrant you, but not necessarily the good kind (uh, the blogger is a ditz!).

    So glad the third judge's comment that “I didn’t like it. I didn’t get it. And I don’t have much to say about it” made you laugh! It would have made me laugh, too ... uh, about six months and seven whine letters later ... :) I admire you, though, for having such a great attitude about it.

    And your comment that "I think the best one can hope for is for the judges to be right in their specific criticisms. That’s worth the money to me" is dead-on. Feedback from judges is SO important, and I attribute it in large part for my eventually getting published. Of course, not EVERY comment from a judge ... just those that pass the filter of prayer.

    Thanks for your comment, Vince!


  40. Yesterday I decided I needed to get caught up on the TY notes I hadn't yet sent to my judges in the Dixie, Duel on Delta, and Daphne contest.

    Well, with the Dixie, finalists didn't get their first round scoresheets so I sent a nice note anyway thanking the judges for their time.

    With the Duel on the Delta, I sent specific notes to each judge.

    Then I wrote one for the Daphne, only to realize AFTER I sent the note to the coordinator to ask her to forward that the note I wrote was for a GENESIS judge. Duh. By this point in the day, the three contests were blurring together and I couldn't even remember what manuscript I'd entered in what contest.

    Silly contest entrant. :-)

  41. I have no contest stories. I won all mine....

    Okay I'm going back on my hormones now.

    I've never returned snippy notes, after I tried them on my husband, and counted to ten I decided the judge knew they were wrong already. Why rub it in?

    Totally . . . okay half-way . . . okay quarter-way kidding.


    Let's face it, when I finaled in the Genesis, everyone

    and I mean EVERYONE, should have gotten the news that I was the number top list, prime A writer. And they should have chosen any other story I sent in accordingly.

    Dreams oh dreams, they're lovely aren't they.

    As for the gazillion you deleted. I had visions of angry contested spouting their 'woes is me's' and figured since you removed them I couldn't put my hormonal reduced saga down.

    My word for the day is CRINGLOV
    truly it is.

    AS IN, don't cring(e) lov, when you read my comment.

  42. Leigh,

    As a contest coordinator, I can say we are generally a patient and understanding bunch.

    Especially when hormone-enraged entrants include chocolate or Starbucks giftcards in with their rants. Trust me, nothing softens the "where are my scoresheets" or "did you know my judge said ____" comments like a venti caramal mocha frappachino.


    Melanie, I can't believe you said that to a judge. Although I do understand your frustration.

    In fact, I don't at all have a problem with an entrant telling a judge, "when you said ______, I struggled with not taking the comment offensively. I realize now what you meant, but perhaps in the future you could find a more gracious way to tell an entrant that her heroine deserves to die in the frozen tundra."

  43. I don't remember any specific horror stories ... just sort of a consistent WHIIIIIINE *sniffle* *honk* grab more Kleenex and repeat, when results came in.

    I would love to be entered in the drawing!


  44. I've only entered one contest - this year's Genesis. After I'd already sent in my entry, I had a wonderful author/editor offer to look at my first chapter.

    Of course, I took her up on it and waited anxiously for her to tell me the chapter was fabulous. She didn't exactly say that. She asked a lot of hard questions and her comments stung. Kinda like washing a scrape with soapy water. Painful but helpful.

    I took a deep breath, prayed and re-worked the chapter. But, I also knew that with all those necessary tweaks the entry would never final. Be a big girl. Chalk it up as a learning experience. Move on.

    Well, my horror story turned into a huge surprise. Somehow, I finaled in women's fiction anyway. (And, yes, the Genesis judges pointed out some of the same things my editor friend had so I'd already fixed those issues.)

    Not exactly a horror story but I'll never forget that sinking feeling of wishing I could take back my entry and exchange it for the improved version.


  45. One thing I've learned thought contest entries and editorial comments is, even if I read a judges/editor's comments and see that they're wrong, it's still my problem. Because if they're wrong then the book isn't clear.

    I'll give an example of an editor's comment that I think (I hope) does no harm to speak of aloud. (cyberly) and if it DOES do harm, well, heck we've already proved we know how to delete comments this morning, right? :)

    I had a baby calf born in my book Clueless Cowboy, in the middle of summer and the editor said, "Calves are born in the spring. You said so on page 35.)

    Well, those were beef cattle and beef cattle ARE born in the spring. But this new summer baby was a holstein, a baby born to a dairy cow.

    But see, the editor didn't know that and now instead of thinking, 'wow, editor doesnt' know nuthin' about birthin' baby calves.'
    I need to realize that the mistake she made is absolutely common and reasonable adn will be made by many people who don't know livestock stuff.

    So, I simply added this.

    Clueless Cowboy hero said, "Why's she havign a baby now. You told me cows have their calves in the spring."
    Heroine Ranch Lady replies, "That's beef cows. Dairy cattle have babies year round."

    So simple and I suppose technically I was right, but I wasn't really. So I take editorial and judge's comments very seriously because even if they're wrong, they're wrong for a reason and that's still MY PROBLEM.

    Love you, Julie. This is a terrific, hilarious blog, well worth repeating.

  46. So I take editorial and judge's comments very seriously because even if they're wrong, they're wrong for a reason and that's still MY PROBLEM.

    Very well said, Mary.

    I'm writing that on a sticky note.

  47. RUTHY ... "deathly silent"??? Oh thank God -- that means you have never really been MAD at me, I guess, because God knows I've never seen you "silent" that I can recall ... Snarky, yes, disciplinarian mother, true, but never, EVER silent ... :)

    COURTNEY ... thanks for your kind words about my ranting ... I mean writing! And you know, that's not a half-bad idea to send a published book to some judges I've had in contests ... uh, the nice ones, that is. Wouldn't be too expensive, I don't think ... only one or two books ... :)

    GINA ... gosh, at least you SENT notes, my friend!!! Writing notes to judges can be as bad as writing wedding thank-you notes if you are a contest junkie like you and every other Seeker and Seeker friend!!!


  48. TINA ... Ooooo ... I like the husband safety net of venting in a note, then have him read it -- good idea. Only my husband hears me vent WHILE I'm reading the scores, WHILE I'm typing the note and WHILE I'm ripping it up (we share an office), so my poor guy gets a workout.

    Oh, ANN, move over, honey, because I'm right there with you and your "consistent WHIIIIIINE *sniffle* *honk* grab more Kleenex and repeat, when results came in." Only for me, you also have to add "rant"!! Oh yeah, and "PRAY!!!" ...

    SUPER CONGRATS, CANDEE, on the Genesis final, girl -- way to go!!! And congrats, too, for such a great attitude toward the judge who spent time and effort to share some of the things she learned the hard way.

    One of my horror stories about being a "judge" was when I received an e-mail from a writer I didn't know from the ACFW loop, asking me to "critique" something she wrote. Now I was still pretty newly published and didn't know that I cannot say yes to every request for help, and I was swamped at the time, but said that I would look at her pages, which were about 7 or 10 or so.

    Well, it wasn't bad, but there were SO many things she did that I had learned not to do the hard way, that I thought, "Hey, I'll go ahead and share them with her nicely." I spent THREE HOURS critiquing this woman's work, giving her EVERYTHING I had learned in five years of writing/contests/submitting. Do you know that that woman never even responded back with a thank you, kiss my butt or anything. NADA!! So I prayed for her, got over it and went on. UNTIL months later when I saw a review she wrote about my first book, A Passion Most Pure, where she trashed me. Sigh. More prayers. Hard lesson learned, I can tell ya.


  49. I've only entered one contest so far--still a new writer. The comments I got were fine. I'm still thinking about it trying to figure out how to change the beginning of my story. You do need a thick skin when you read the comments. That's something God's working on me about since I'm very sensitive to comments.

    Please enter me for the drawing.

  50. MARY!!! Man, I wanted to stand up and applaud (but I didn't, sorry, my tired butt's still in the chair) on your comment that:

    "One thing I've learned thought contest entries and editorial comments is, even if I read a judges/editor's comments and see that they're wrong, it's still my problem. Because if they're wrong then the book isn't clear."

    Oh, AMEN to that, my friend!!! It's amazing how much true humility can teach us. We can always learn something from everything, even comments that say "smut is smut"! :)

    GINA ... honey, you are spending WAY too much time on this blog today, girl, if you are entering as many contests (and coordinating them too) as you are. Get back to work, sweetie ... I want to read your books!!!

    CYNTHIA ... Good for you, girl, that you have hit the contest circuit -- there is NO better way to get great feedback and grow, in my opinion.

    And, yeah, we all start out pretty "sensitive to comments" in the beginning, but when we mix it with prayer (and forgiveness for the REALLY snarky judges), WHOA, BABY, before you know it, you're not only developing a hide like a Texax Longhorn (which, ahem, will come in really handy when you get those rare 1-star reviews!!), but you will start finaling in contests too ... :)


  51. Julie.

    Are you required to tell the world at large what a complete SNARK I am???

    Oh, man, I was hoping that a few of them would bask in ignorance and just see me as a nice old gal, misunderstood by the masses.


    But being a snark has its advantages. Everyone expects me to be bossy... When I'm not, they're strangely relieved and treat me well, as if I'd done them a huge favor, LOL!

    And for tomorrow's post I took my snark hat off and am presenting the Ruthy Herne family recipe for Rodeo Stew...

    Start with the meat of one Cowboy...

    Add a little spice....

    Some great pecs...

    A rakish grin...

    Oh, yeah.

    Ya' gotta love a good rodeo, don't ya' girls?

    Of course we only go to rodeo to see the barrel racing.

    Wink. Wink.

    Ruthy (bringing rodeo food tomorrow too. Come hungry.)

  52. ROFLOL. Julie, if you knew what I was doing today...well, I'll just tell you.

    I have a kidney stone that I'm trying to force to pass. I found a natural remedy that is suppose to do the job. Between 10-12, I drank a 2 ltr of Cherry Coke. Then I drank 8 oz of cooked, pureed asparagus. Trust me, salting doesn't make it any more palatable.

    Now I'm finishing up on the two hour of drinking a quart of H2O. Of course, my toddler stuck a purple crayon in my bottle of water so I'm trying not to swallow it.

    Needless to say, drinking a 2 ltr of Cherry Coke has made me very figity. I can't concentrate for anything on my WIP, nor sit still long enough to do any researching 'cause I'm constantly having to get up to tinkle. My apologize for the TMI.

    Caffine overload is not advised, especially if you're not use to drinking caffine every day.

    My hands are shaking as I type.

  53. Julie, I'm almost done coordinating the TBL and just starting coordinating the Golden Pen.

    Next year, I'm only helping with the TBL. I love my inspy entrants!

    As far as entering contests, I entered 5 this year. Finaled in 4. I've considered entering more, but after looking at potential ones, I'm not feeling strongly lead toward any. If you're gonna enter a contest, you'd better have a purpose.

  54. Hello Julie, Great post. Have a good week.Please enter me for the drawing.
    Thank you.

    "But being a snark has its advantages. Everyone expects me to be bossy... When I'm not, they're strangely relieved and treat me well, as if I'd done them a huge favor, LOL!"

    OH, SO VERY TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!! And, girl, I'll be there tomorrow with spurs on ... 'cause you had me at "rakish grin" ...:)

    GINNNNNNNNAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!! I am SO sorry for berating you and being a pain in the butt when you obviously already have one that I truly hope passes ... along with the caffeine overload! And as far as the TMI -- don't worry about it! Better you than me! :)


  56. Ruthy,

    I am so basking in the ignorance that you're just a nice ol' gal.

    I'm getting sunburned.



    I'd merely have to drink a cup of caffeinated soda and I'd be bouncing off walls.

    Sorry bout the stone, but look on the bright side, all that bouncing should make it pass quicker.

    As for the TBL contest, were all the entries supposed to be back by now?

    And Mary,

    Let's get this straight, when I tell my granddaughter she's having a cow, I better make certain I let her know it's a dairy cow, if she'd having it in the winter.

    IF it's spring she can have a big beef if she'd inclined to.



    Once said contest entry sheets return, I open them with timidity and excitement. Which quickly, if said score is low, turns to tears and frustration.

    Hubby hears the whining, crying (and woe is me I'll never be a writer, no one likes how I write. I'm gonna quit. then more crying and well . . . things I shall not mention as I am lady.
    We share an office at our business. And sometimes I look at personal stuff.

    Oh wait that's what I'm doing now.

  57. Here I thought all the deleted comments came because some stinking "spammer" type posted their link to a porn site or something. (Guess that only happened to me!)

    LOVE the story with hiding the results under the mattress, sounds like something my family would do. Or maybe it's just the envelope fell off the back of the couch and got kicked under the couch because we seem to only take the mail that far. :(

    No horror stories with contest... though maybe someday I will...

    I did enjoy the kidney stone "recipe" to get it to pass. My 18 year old son has had problems with kidney stones for 10 years now... Not sure I could get him to try it though...

    Blessings to you and I had no idea this was a repeat post!!! You guys could have kept a secret for us "newbies."

  58. sorry, no horror story, but I sure enjoyed yours :)

    I'd love to win A Passion Denied :)

  59. Well, Julie, I'll have you know I've spent that few hours ironing clothes. Ooooh, how fun!

    Tina, I can't answer your question. Kelly is in charge of historical entries and has also been coordinating the Daphne published contest. I knew what my June schedule was so I knew if I didn't return my LC and SC entries asap, then I wouldn't get a chance to return until July.

    Kelly will return them, I'm confident, when she has a chance to breathe. Her life is far more busy than mine.

  60. LOL. I just sent in my short story for my first contest EVER, and I am nervous as all get out. I may not have a horror story yet, but I'm sure I will eventually!

  61. You gals are absolutely HILARIOUS!!!! You've had me laughing SO HARD for the last 15-20 minutes ~ especially GINA with her kidney stone comment! *grinning*

    GINA - even though it's a funny comment, I'm sorry you're having to go through all that! I've heard they can be REALLY painful. :(

    JULIE - you know I'm still trying to win "A Passion Denied". LOL *fingers crossed* Your contest story was TOO FUNNY! I was already laughing before I even started on the comments ~ the deleted ones had me worried at first. :)

    Thank you for sharing!
    Lori S.



    Dear Julie,
    Hello from Debby Lee. I'm a newbie at FHL. I tried to post my contest horror story on your blog but was met with technical difficulty.
    There was this contest I wanted to enter but we were scheduled to move one week before the deadline. Not wishing to bother the judges with an address change, new phone number etc., I decided to postpone entering until after we moved.
    During the move, my writing stuff got boxed, shuffled, and tossed around, which made finding the necessary information a nightmare. I was a wreck until I got it all together and mailed out. I then breathed a short lived sigh of relief.

    The contest coordinator emailed me a few days later to say I had forgotten to sign the entry form!
    I learned that if you're set on entering a contest the month you move, be very careful with your paperwork. I just wanted to pass this along hoping it helps someone.

    Sorry I couldn't post this, but thanks for the opportunity to share. Have a blessed week.
    Love and hugs from Debby Lee


  63. TINA!!! Well now, okay, since there is weeping involved, you and I are pretty close here, girl!! And you share an office with your hubby too??? YIKES ... must be love for those men to stay with us ... :)

    HOLLY, yeah, I guess I could have said "mums the word" on the repeat post, but I am just so stinkin' honest that I even get on my own nerves. Sigh. If I didn't love God so much, I'd say Christianity ruined me.

    STAMPEDWITHGRACE!!!! Gosh, it's been an age since I've seen your addy, girl -- where have you been??? I always remember your e-mail addy from the contests I had with the first book because I always thought it read "Stampede with Grace"!!! :) Either one works as far as I'm concerned, but I like the mowing-down effect of a stampede for God, don't you???

    GINA ... Ironing??? Gosh, I only do that once or twice a year and I try to watch Gone With the Wind when I do. Sigh ... Rhett Butler sure puts the steam in my iron, let me tell you that! :)


  64. EMMA ... whoops ... I skipped over you, girl -- SO sorry!! Thank you for stopping by and I wish you the very best in the contest.

    LEY ... Good for you, my friend, for entering that contest -- be sure and let us know if you final, okay??

    LORI!! Soooo glad we could give you a few chuckles today, and YES, I realize you are still going for Denied, and trust me, I'd love to see you win it, so be sure to check out my website calendar for even more giveaways, okay? And I'll bet the deleted threw quite a few people for a loop, especially after my last somewhat controversial blog about "edgy Inspirational" romance!! YIKES!!

    DEBBY LEE -- Thanks SO much for taking the time to not only try to post a comment, but to turn around and send it to me as well. You are a sweetheart, and your story will help some poor, unsuspecting young woman entering a contest while moving, I am sure!


  65. Julie--Your books are waiting for me in Montana, and I'm counting the days! Four left then we fly out. Of course lack of internet connection means Seekersville withdrawals for a couple days any way. Sigh. And the reason for the deleted comments just made me laugh. I'm glad I get to participate now!

    Debby Lee-We're having to find a new apartment at the same time as getting ready to fly overseas. Whoa! Too many things to think about. Contests will just have to wait. Big sigh.

    I'm excitd, though, since Camy told me I can enter an unpublished story in the ACFW Genesis contest next year, so I'm rolling up my sleeves and polishing that manuscript like crazy!

  66. I confess I haven't developed a thick skin for judge's remarks yet so I'm eating up all the feedback coming off this blog.

    Julie--Thank you so much the signed copy of A Passion Most Pure. My mom said she has it waiting for me. Oh, patience, be with me! You can be sure I'll be scouring the pages to see those suggestions in play for how to make passion intense!

  67. AYRIAN!!! OMIGOSH, you will be back in the states in FOUR DAYS???? I am SO thrilled to hear that because somehow you seemed SO far away before -- wonder why!! :)

    Anyway, YES, your signed copy of APMP is waiting, as will I be regarding your thoughts when you are done, my friend. Happy reading ...


  68. Don't really have any contest horror stories, but I have friends who have told me their's. Please enter me in the contest.


  69. PEACHYKATH ... So good to see you here!! Consider yourself entered, sweetie. :)


  70. Morning, Julie. (waving) Sorry I'm late to the discussion. You asked me to post this story, so I will. About 18 months ago I thanked all 3 judges regarding a romantic suspense I had submitted.
    2 of the judges were very kind, 1 a little harsh.
    I thanked all 3, though it was difficult to thank the 3rd.

    Long story short, the 3rd was a NY Times bestselling author, and she is now reading my debut release from Five Star with an eye out for a cover blurb.

    You never know when you're creating relationships . . . and it's always kind to say thank you.

    Thanks for the reminder--and thank you, Julie for this timely post!

  71. RYLEE ... Gosh, I just LOVE that story!!! Thank you SO much for taking the time to drop by and share it, my friend -- good stuff!


  72. Such a good post for me to read this morning, especially since I was having a hormone moment this morning - railing at my poor husband about how the only time I can do anything for myself is early in the morning & late at night leading to sleep deprivation (which isn't true, but who ever said you have the right perspective at this time in life).

    As far as contests go, I've had positive experiences - but I haven't entered one since going off the pill. LOL I have learned, however, to take what judges say with a grain of salt. Their wisdom is welcome (and often much needed & appreciated), but they're not God. :)

  73. You know what? You can have the same response when you're pregnant too :-) I was less likely to rip and more likely to ball each page up and violently throw them across the room. I didn't, of course, but I DID start crying...screamed into a pillow...and then entered another one, and that was 6 years ago.

    I just won my first one.

  74. What a fun story to share :)

    I just entered my first contests this year (I entered the same two mss in three different contests). I didn't have a funny experience with it. I was a little surprised to receive such drastically different scores, though.

    How about advice for a newbie contest enter-er? Print out the scores and take a highlighter to all of the low scores: if more than one judge gave you a low score on the same topic, WORK ON IT!

    Okay, that's it. Please enter me - thanks!

    kvbwrites at yahoo dot com

  75. LYNN!! "Hormone moments" and "sleep deprivation" ... oh-oh, you're playing my song!! Move over, girl, 'cause we're in the same boat, and sometimes I feel like it's sinking ... how about you? Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment, and good luck in the contest. I'll pick a winner tomorrow!

    PEPPER!!!! Sooooo great to see you here, my friend, and SUPER CONGRATS on the contest win too -- AWESOME!! Uh, but crying and screaming into a pillow ... come on, you can do better than that! Ripped pages, kicking a wall, anything to make me feel a little more normal ... if that's even possible! Thanks for stopping by, and keep entering those contests, girl!

    KARIN -- Great advice!!! You learn faster than I did, I can tell you that. And as far as polar opposite scores in a contest? Before A Passion Most Pure was published, I entered it in a contest where it got a perfect 200 out of 200 score and the judge wrote "please, please, please let me know when this is published ... LOVED the family of subordinate characters!! Pretty nice, right?

    Yeah, I guess, except another judge in the SAME contest pretty much canceled that out when she gave me a 50% score (I didn't think anybody could score that low!) and said I devoted WAY too much attention to my subordinate characters. Whew ... sure glad my publisher didn't agree with her ... :) Thanks for your comment, Karin -- good luck in the contest!


  76. I'm a reader and the only contest horror stories are the ones where I miss seeing I have won a lovely prize from a generous and kind author or book company and they had to choose someone else. Horror of horrors.

    I understand totally but when I'm on nights I sleep most of the next day so I can go to work again and the computer time is almost 0.
    Please enter me.

  77. ROBYN ... Grin. Thanks for the smile. Consider yourself entered!!