The TGN Golden Critiques are coming!

The Golden Network, an official chapter of the Romance Writers of America®, is offering FIFTY free critiques by Golden Heart® finalists and winners in its inaugural TGN Golden Critiques programme to help those entering the Golden Heart® to polish their submissions.

To find out more and how to enter, click here:




Never Alone 💛


Today my Rebelles from the Heart guest is Heather Newsom Leonard, a fellow Paranormal category finalist (whooohooo!!!! Go Paranormal!). Echoing Kelli Newby’s sentiments about finding tribe, I have been so lucky to find myself surrounded by such talented, ambitious, kind, warm-hearted, wise, and generous women.

Heather is not only a paranormal writer, but a lawyer to boot. A woman after my own heart. ❤ I think many of us can identify with Heather’s experience, especially the guilt. 

It was a lonely and sometimes painful endeavor, but I finished the darn thing. It plagued me for months. Guilt in the morning that I should be getting out of bed to write. Guilt when I got home that I should be writing instead of decompressing from work. Guilt when I looked at my computer and did anything other than write. There was a lot of guilt. But it worked. It got me to finish the manuscript and enter the Golden Heart.

Reading has always been my escape. Writing allowed me to be my own tour guide. Unfortunately, I was a tour guide without a destination. Writing without a goal led to a lot of aimless words. Sure, there was the nebulous “one day I’ll be published” goal on the horizon (keeping company my old buddy, the “I’ll’ lose ten pounds” goal), but other than piddling around by starting numerous projects, I wasn’t doing much that was productive.

Enter the Golden Heart. It had an entry deadline. It required me to finish a manuscript. It had a ceremony (like a mosquito to bug zapper, I’m drawn to anything that promises I can get attention).  It had everything I needed to make me finish the darn book. And I did. It wasn’t easy (did I mention all the guilt?), and it required sacrifice. Getting up early when I was tired. Missing out on the television shows everyone loved (what is this Game of Thrones thing everyone has been talking about?). Having my husband block social media on our home network so I couldn’t fall into the time-suck cycle of checking Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (that lather, rinse, repeat cycle has claimed more hours than I want to quantify).

And it was worth it. I’m in the company of some of the most amazing and inspiring ladies I’ve ever met. Their talent and drive leaves me in awe (and truth be told, leaves me wee bit intimidated). What does it mean to me to be a Golden Heart Finalist? At first, it meant I had crossed the finish line and finished my book. But that isn’t the end of my journey. Now it means I need to get up earlier, work harder and write more. I’m a little bit closer to the “I’ll be published” goal (let’s not talk about the lose weight goal). With the help and support of my Rebelle sisters, I’ve realized I’m not alone on my writing adventure, And our adventure will be epic.



Heather, a civil rights lawyer and mediator, writes paranormal romance. If she were a super-hero (because capes are sooo in this year), her superpowers would be the ability to find the best bottle of cheap champagne and dominate in Harry Potter trivia. She also likes to talk about her self in the third person, as this bio indicates.

You can follow Heather on Twitter at @HNLeonard or Facebook at

Scrivathon: 51,649 words $3115 in 24 hours for Syria Relief

24 hours to write as many words as possible and fundraise for Syria Relief-that was our goal. We finished sprinting, and as a team we raised $3115 for Syria Relief and wrote 40,349 words. A fantastic result all around. Everyone who made this happen should be very proud of their efforts. The wonderful sponsors who generously donated amazing prizes. All those who donated their time and money to help support the event. And our wonderful team members who fundraised. These are:

  • Adele Buck
  • Alexandria Sturtz
  • Christina Dwivedi
  • Dante Medema
  • Erin Cosyn
  • Kim Cohen
  • Lyla Lawless
  • Maria Guglielmo
  • Morgan Hazelwood
  • Nola Sarina
  • Racquel Kechagias
  • Sara Mortensen
  • The Winged Pen

Our two top fundraisers were Maria Guglielmo and Morgan Hazelwood raising a whopping $725 and $700 respectively.

I cafe hopped as I wrote, visiting 5 different cafes and restaurants over 14 hours, heading home for the final stretch. A fun caffeine fuelled day.

And here are the winners of our raffle prizes!

  • Query and first five pages critique from literary agent Beth Phelan won by Jay Perin
  • A spot at Story Masters, a 4 day workshop with Donald Maas, Christopher Vogler, and James Scott Bell from Free-Expressions (travel and accommodation and other costs not included) won by Brooke Hartman.
  • 3 chapter edit from editor Katelyn Uplinger won by Maria Guglielmo
  • 50 page edit from editor Kellie Doherty won by Joseph Layden
  • 50 page edit from author Dana Alison Levy won by Ben Langhinrichs
  • One month’s book coaching with author and editor Tiffany Hoffman won by Sara Mikulic
  • Ten page critique from author Maria Guglielmo won by Matt Mutshnick
  • Five page critique from author Brenda Drake won by Candace Davenport
  • Scrivener Mac won by Barbara Penner
  • Scrivener Windows won by Vicki Weevil
  • Five page critique from author Suzanne Purvis won by Lori Fulton
  • 3 three chapter edit from Author Accelerator won by Candace Davenport, Matt Mutshnick, and Marsha Wallace
  • Plot Consultation with Rebecca Petruck won by Christina Dwivedi
  • Query and first page critique from The Winged Pen won by Matt Mutshnick

All winners have been notified by email. If you haven’t received your prize details, please get in touch!

Milestones Matter!

I read this wonderful thread on Twitter from Julia Brandt. She’s inspired me to live a little more in the moment. I tend to downplay achievements, and hold off on celebrations. I am queen of delayed reaction. Because life and adulting get in the way, often the celebration gets left by wayside. So these are things I’m celebrating!

I was a finalist in the Colorado Gold contest, and while I was pretty disappointed not to place in the top three, I am pretty chuffed I made it to the top 5 in a category that wasn’t a perfect fit (Speculative Fiction for my Urban Fantasy).


The sting of not placing the Colorado Gold contest was soothed by winning first place in the RWA Indiana Golden Opportunities contest. WHOOHOOO!! A nice grown up dinner out on Thursday will be the perfect celebration.

I’m also almost finished rewrites on my MS–I completely reworked the plot thanks to some invaluable insight from Rebecca Petruck. Half is already with my editor… next half coming up this week. I’m excited and stoked.

Celebrating the little wins feels really good. 🙂 My new motto: Milestones matter!

Just as every mother needs a wife, every writer needs one too

Amy Poehler acknowledges the universal truth that every mother needs a wife–a person who supports, encourages, and empowers (be it a babysitter, a nanny, family, friends, or husband) who enables the mother to work and fulfil personal goals.

The same is true for writers. But for writers, our wives are critique partners, beta readers, and editors. It is so difficult to be objective about one’s own work. We are too close. We have our own insecurities that often have nothing to do with a reader’s experience of our work. So the best way to strengthen our weaknesses is to identify them. The best way to do that? Feedback. Absolutely invaluable.

If you’re a writer and are looking for feedback, Scrivathon raffle prizes have a number of excellent critique prizes. A donation is all it takes to enter the raffle, and you could win a chance to take your manuscript from pretty good to shiny agent ready awesome. Some of these prizes have ZERO entries–so your chances of winning a valuable editing package are very high! Go on, enter. And see where your writing can take you! 😀


The writers at The Winged Pen have generously offered their time and expertise for a number of critique packages:

ENTER HERE with code “Winged Pen Query & 1st Page” for a chance to win one of TWO query and first page critique from The Winged Pen’s contributors

ENTER HERE with code “WP 1st Page Crit” for a chance to win one of FIVE first page crits from one of Laurel Decher, Gita Trelease, Halli Gomez, Jessica Vitalis, and Kristi Wientge

ENTER HERE with code “Winged Pen Query & 1st Page” for a chance to win one of TWO query and first page critique, from either Gabrielle Byrne or from Julie Artz.

And to round up the other editing and crit packages available, here they are:

ENTER HERE with code “BP-Q5” for a chance to win a query and first five pages critique from literary agent Beth Phelan. Yes, that Beth Phelan. Of #DVpit fame.

ENTER HERE with code “KU-3CH” for a chance to win a 3 chapter edit from editor Katelyn Uplinger.

ENTER HERE with code “KD-50” for a chance to win a 50 page edit from editor Kellie Doherty.

ENTER HERE with code “DAL-50” for a chance to win a 50 page edit from author Dana Alison Levy.

ENTER HERE with code “TH-1M” for a chance to win one month’s book coaching with author and editor Tiffany Hoffman

ENTER HERE with code “MG-10CRIT” for a chance to win a ten page critique from author Maria Guglielmo.

ENTER HERE with code “BD5CRIT” for a chance to win a five page critique from author Brenda Drake.

ENTER HERE with code “SP5CRIT” for a chance to win a five page critique from author Suzanne Purvis. (I’ve taken classes from Suzanne Purvis, and she has a keen and excellent eye. Great opportunity here for some excellent insight).

ENTER HERE with code “3CH AA” for a chance to win one of 3 three chapter edits from Author Accelerator that includes: an evaluation of up to 30 pages, feedback in 2-3 weeks with in-line comments, a summary of strengths/weaknesses, and those all important suggestions for next steps. Value $135.

ENTER HERE with code “RP PLOT CONSULTATION” for a chance to win Author Rebecca Petruck’s Plot Consultation that includes: a review of your story’s plot chart and/or synopsis of up to 5 double-spaced pages, mark-up copy, and follow-up with 1-hour phone Skype call. Value $150. (I’ve also been fortunate enough to have had a plot consultation with Rebecca. If you are stuck on your plot, if something feels meh, or off, Rebecca is amazing.)

Structure Plotter/Detail Pantser

My secret weapon for Nano is my three act eight sequence plot chart–something that gives me a structure to write within, but also allows freedom for my pantser heart to dance and sing. Head on over to Operation Awesome for my guest post showing you how to put together your own outline.

I put the wrong link for my DIYMFA guest post earlier, but that’s been fixed now.  If you want to head there, here’s the correct link.

PRIZE DRAW: One Month’s Writer’s Coaching from Tiffany Hoffman


One month of writer’s coaching by Tiffany Hoffman, FicFest khaleesi and editor. Including: editing 10k words on any cat/genre manuscript, 1 query critique, and weekly coaching via Skype for writing, querying, editing, and all things writing. Value $150


The draw will close at 11:59pm on the 12 November 2016. Winners will be announced on the blog and on Twitter. Good luck!