As some of you may already know, most of the authors that make up Lady Scribes first met through an online critique group. On May 14, 2010, the Historical Romance Critique Group celebrated their 2 year anniversary, and I cannot let this momentous occasion go unnoticed.
This group was formed by Jerrica Knight-Catania. She and I had been in another critique group together (and I think it was my 3rd online critique group) and we were not exactly happy with the advice we were getting. After receiving frustrating, and some downright mean, critiques, she decided to form her own group and I followed as a co-founder/moderator. Over the past two years we have had a number of members, some are not with us now, and the majority left due to time constraints. She had a few rules, but the most important was to “critique honestly but critique nicely”. We both felt there was a way to deliver criticism without crushing the muse.
At the moment we have 17 members, all at various stages in their writing. This blog is to acknowledge their achievements and to show what a good critique group can do for any writer. I personally feel a good critique group is a must for any writer, especially if they are just starting and/or unpublished. I know that these ladies have been invaluable to me.
Here is what we have accomplished in two years, in their own words:
JERRICA KNIGHT-CATANIA (founder and member since 5/14/08)
Since we started the group, I've had 1 (almost 2) full-length Regency Romances published (A Gentleman Never Tells, Nov. 2009; More than a Governess, Summer 2010).
My first publication came in February of 2009 in a romance anthology called Love is on the Wind, with my short story The Perfect Kiss. I've also had 4 short stories published in True Love Magazine (Vegas Vacation, Jan 2010; Finding Angela, March 2010; Taking the Plunge, June 2010; and Cruise to Destiny, July 2010.) I continue to write for True Love Magazine in addition to working on my 5th full-length Regency. I am a proud member of RWA with PRO status and will attend my second National Convention this summer in Orlando. But I think the greatest thing is seeing all the success that my critique partners have achieved since joining the group!
AMY DE TREMPE (co-founder and member since 5/14/08)
Since co-founding the group with Jerrica, I have only entered two contests. I have pitched stories to publishers and a full and a two partials were requested. Prior to becoming a part of this wonderful critique group, I did enter a contest were my publisher noticed me. Since, Loving Lydia was published in July 2009, and Pure is the Heart, is due out in June, 2010. I also published a short story in a romance anthology called Love is on the Wind and I will have another short published, murder mystery this time in Murder is in the Wind. Though I should have done it much sooner, I recently obtained my PRO status with Romance Writers of America, have attended the RWAs National Convention the past two years and plan on attending this year in Orlando. I also attended the Chicago North RWA Spring Fling Conference this year.
JODIE PEARSON (member since 5/15/08)
When I joined the critique group two years ago – I had completed 2 Regency Historical manuscripts and had my RWA PRO status.
After joining – I have finished two more solo Regency Historical manuscripts.
I have finaled in several contests, and how strange it is to not remember what they were anymore. I do remember that I took 1st place in the Gotcha! Contest in 2008. (Apparently, I can remember when I take 1st place and the others have been erased from my memory.)
I have been elected as President of my local RWA chapter – Heart of Carolina Romance Writers. And I have also entered into a joint venture as “LYDIA DARE” with Tammy Falkner. Together we have sold 7 different Paranormal/Regency romance books to Sourcebooks/Casablanca –
Book 1 – A Certain Wolfish Charm, April 2010
Book 2 – Tall, Dark and Wolfish, May 2010
Book 3 – The Wolf Next Door, June 2010
Book 4 – The Taming of the Wolf, November 2010
Book 5 – It Happened One Bite, Spring 2011
Book 6 – In the Heat of the Bite, Spring 2011
Book 7 – Never Been Bit, Spring 2011
I am happy to say that I am exceedingly grateful for all the critiques I have received in the last two years! (Well, most of them anyway.)
CLARISSA SOUTHWICK (member since 6/21/08)
Joining this group was the single best thing I’ve ever done for my writing career. When I started, I had no publishable manuscripts. I had never submitted to an editor or agent.
Now I have 3 completed manuscripts. I have finaled in more contests than I can count, including the Golden Heart and the Daphne.
From Baghdad with Love, won first place in the Lone Star writing contest, and Best of the Best in the Dixie Kane contest.
Overlander won the 2009 Chase the Dream contest,
Izzie’s Letters won the Sourcebooks Teen Fire Contest.
I have a verbal agreement with a fantastic agent, and I am only waiting on the final contract to make it official.
With Lydia’s “encouragement”, I joined RWA and became secretary of my local chapter where I met the most supportive people in Idaho. I attended my first RWA conference (ECWC), attended several workshops, and participated in several online classes.
But most importantly, I have made friendships here that will last a lifetime.
SAMANTHA GRACE (member since 8/3/08)
Since joining the group, I’ve completed three Regency Historical manuscripts, and I started a fourth last week. My story, The Ruination of a Rake took fourth place in the 2009 Between the Sheets Contest. I went on to judge the contest this year and thoroughly enjoyed giving back to the Greater Detroit group. I’ve also judged several other contests and will be judging The Golden Claddaugh this year. Just this week I learned that Unrequited Love, my third manuscript, took third place in the 2010 Great Beginnings Contest. I participated in the Dorchester Best Celler Contest on TextNovel with Maid for Seduction and had a great run in the top twenty for several weeks. More importantly, I confessed to all my family, friends and colleagues that I'm a romance author and received an outpouring of support. Maid for Seduction also earned an Editor’s Choice Award. I attended my first National RWA Conference last year in DC and plan to attend this year’s conference in Orlando. I also attended the Chicago North RWA Spring Fling this April and have it on my to-do list for 2012. I’ve pitched twice and didn’t pass out either time, so that is quite an accomplishment. I am a PRO member. I’ve had 4 short stories published in True Love magazine since January 2010. I created my own website and I’m one of the founding members of Lady Scribes.
JULIE JOHNSTONE (member since 10/14/08)
Since joining our wonderful critique group I have:
Won first place in the historical category of the 2009 Fools for Love Contest
Won first place in the Casablanca Authors Fifty Word Pitch Contest
Placed second in the historical romantic suspense category of the 2009 Golden Claddagh Contest
Placed second in the historical category of the Enchanted Words Contest
Placed third in the historical category of 2009 Golden Acorn Contest
Placed third in the historical category of the 2010 Fools for Love Contest
Received honorable mention in the historical romantic suspense category of the Daphne du Maurier Contest
Published three short contemporary romances: Crazy Crooner May 2010 Issue of True Romance Magazine, Springing Love May 2010 Issue of True Romance Magazine
By Summer’s End July 2010 Issue of True Love Magazine
Also, before I joined the group I had never gotten a request for anything. I have had so many partial and full requests now that I have lost count! Seriously, I have learned soooooo much with this group, and I may not be published full length yet, but I know I am a heck of a lot closer than I would be if I had never found you ladies.
HEATHER BOYD (member since 11/21/08)
Joined the critique group while in the midst of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Completed edit and then rewrote beginning of first regency, Lover in Waiting, with a huge amount of help from the members. Attended the RWA Conference in Washington - my first solo long distance flight and met Jerrica (1st of course), Amy, Jodie, Tammy, Michelle, Julie, and Kelli. Lover in Waiting placed equal third in the 2009 Gotcha Contest.
Novella, One Wicked Night, was published as an e-book in April 2010 by Noble Romance Publishing.
Completed edit of Broken, my NaNoWriMo novel, in April 2010.
Unfinished projects: Charity (novel), and three erotic regency romance novellas
PHYLLIS CAMPBELL (member since 8/24/09)
Oh, let's see...What have I accomplished lately... Since joining the group, I have finished two full length novels. I've had my dream publisher read my story - and reject it. I received a few more requests from big agents. Signed with an agent. Switched to writing Christian romances. Rewrote two of my previously pubbed stories for the Christain market. Had two publishers request one of the stories - and one finally made an offer.
Whew! That's quite a bit that's happened in the nine months I've been with ya'all.
LEANNE MAILLE (member since 9/1/09)
When I joined this fantastic group of ladies, I was greener than new grass in spring. I have learned so much in from these terrific writers. Since I was so new, and had so much to learn myself, I was not sure how much help I could be to this group of talented authors, but I figured, avid reader that I am, a fresh set of eyes and take on what they had written couldn’t hurt.
Almost a year and a half later, I am proud to say that I have my first erotic short, A Duke’s Desire, ready to submit, and I owe a large part of this milestone to the authors at historical romance critique. If it weren’t for their experience, support, and helpful, encouraging critiques, I may have given up a long time ago. Thanks ladies!
CATHERINE GAYLE (member since 12/9/09)
I joined the critique group in December of this last year. At that point, I had two complete manuscripts and had a third in progress for a series that I was soon to discover was not working. I’d been part of critique groups in the past, but something about this one clicked for me in a way that none of the others ever had. Since I joined, I’ve made some tough decisions about that initial series, and started work on a new project. Better than that, I think I may have finally stumbled upon my true voice! The critiques I’ve received in this group have been invaluable to me, but the most rewarding aspect has been the support. Without the feedback and camaraderie I found here, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to take this new step.
MELISSA DAWN HARTSELL (member since 12/12/09)
Well yes, I completed the Dynasty. But no contests wins, requests or anything. I did get my website up but that was pretty easy. I recently sent a query off to Wild Rose Press. Wish me luck on that lol.
ERIN KELLY (member since 2/24/10)
I recently attended my first conference, the Chicago North RWA Spring Fling, and as a result of my first pitch, I received a full request for a full. I have also received a partial request from a query letter. The group helped me hone my first (and only-lol) manuscript down to just the good stuff, and helped me with some grammar and structure issues. I did not final in the RTTA contest, but I submitted my manuscript before I found the crit group, and therefore have made it much better since then. I am still waiting to hear from the Spring Into Romance contest. I think that's everything. Just this week I submitted my first short story, and am hopeful it will be published.
SHELLY CHALMERS (member since 2/24/10)
Anyway, since I joined, I've completed two manuscripts with polish, and completed a rough of a third. Also have had full requests from two agents who I haven't heard back from yet but were very enthusiastic, and I think it had to do with the help I had polishing and revising that first chapter of the manuscript I submitted to them.
KERRI YOUNG (2/26/10)
I'm pretty new so the only thing I have to my name after joining is the completion of Burning Desire and I'm working on editing it now.