Monday, December 27, 2010

Gayle Wilson Award - Published Writers



2011 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence

The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, sponsored by RWA chapter Southern Magic, was conceived in honor of multi-RITA Winner Gayle Wilson to award excellence in published romance fiction. The contest is judged by avid readers of romance, booksellers, and/or librarians. The winners of each category are awarded a bookmark engraved with the author’s name and the book’s title. Winners will also be included in a full-page RWR advertisement.

Eligibility: Entries must be received by January 15, 2011. Novels and novellas must have a copyright and first printing date of 2010, no matter the format. Books are eligible to enter as long as they are published by a non-vanity, non-subsidy publisher. Ebooks may be entered as long as they are in print format—in perfect or case binding, and printed on both sides of the page by the publisher with the copyright page.

For the purposes of this contest, Southern Magic uses the definition of "non-vanity, non-subsidy" as defined by Romance Writers of America: "Subsidy" or "Vanity" publishing means the production of books in which the author participates in the costs of production or distribution in any manner, including assessment of fees or other costs for editing and/or distribution. This definition includes publishing programs that withhold or seek full or partial payment or reimbursement of publication or distribution costs before paying royalties, including payment of paper, printing, binding, production, sales or marketing costs; publishing programs whose authors exclusively promote and/or sell their own books; and publishers whose business model and methods of publishing are primarily directed toward sales to the author, his/her relatives and associates." If you have any questions about eligibility, please contact the contest coordinator.

Entry fee: $30 first book; $25 subsequent books.

Author must provide three copies of the entered book, which will not be returned. Finalists will be notified in March 2011. All finalists receive a certificate. Winners receive an engraved bookmark and inclusion in a full-page RWR ad. Authors may enter more than one novel; however, the same novel may not be entered in multiple categories. If a category does not receive at least 5 entries, the category will be canceled, and the entrants’ books and entry fees will be returned.

Categories for entry:

Contemporary (Single Title and Series)
Romantic Suspense (Single Title and Series)
Inspirational (Single Title and Series)
Paranormal/Fantasy/ Futuristic/Time Travel
Young Adult
Novella (20,000 – 40,000 Words)

Judging: All entries are judged by avid readers of romance, booksellers, and/or librarians. The top two scores are added to form the final score. The lowest score is dropped. Ties are broken using the dropped low score. After the dropped low score is used, if there is still a tie for first place, authors will be asked to send two additional copies of the book to break the tie. Failure of the author to supply these copies in a timely manner will result in forfeiture of the win.

Books are given to the judges as a “thank you” for judging. They are not returned. Scores and finalist placement are not revealed. Score sheets are not returned. The decision of the judges is final.

PLEASE NOTE: We would like to make this contest electronic this year (as much as we can for a published contest). Entered books will go to an address different than the PO address listed below. The address (for books) will be sent later in an “Entry Confirmation” email.

Make checks payable to Southern Magic, or send entry fee by PayPal. When sending by PayPal, send funds to Please type the category of your entry in the comment section of PayPal.

Send electronic entry forms (preferred method) to:

Callie James at


Send paper entry forms (NO BOOKS) and checks to:

Callie James
Southern Magic Contest Coordinator
Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence
PO Box 261
McCalla, AL 35111-0261



Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow Day

Believe it or not, it's still snowing here. We only accumulated a dusting yesterday, but that's enough to call it a White Christmas, right?

After melting off and not snowing a while yesterday afternoon, it apparently snowed more overnight, giving us about a half inch of snow accumulation, enough to turn the ground mostly white. It's still snowing quite a bit this morning, although it looks like the sun is trying hard to shine through the breaking clouds.

Here are a few pics I took this morning.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


It's Alabama.

It's Christmas.

And it's snowing.

No, really.

Isn't that a sign of the apocalypse?

It's snowing really hard, but the ground is still above freezing at the moment so not much is sticking. However, if the snow showers keep it up this way, that'll change and we might get as much as an inch on the ground.

Check back every once in a while. If it starts to stick here, I'll update with photos.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Final day of Santapalooza

As of tomorrow, I'll be off the clock until Monday. Fortunately, I just wrote the last word of my book that's due January 15th, so all that's left is the critique partner's edit and my own final pass, which will happen after the new year. I'm hoping to finish the third chapter of my next proposed book some time later today, which means I'll actually get to spend Christmas work-free. Yay!

So since I plan to be all about Christmas with the family tomorrow, I'd like to take the opportunity today to wish all my readers a very merry Christmas. When I was complaining about feeling a little Grinchy this year on another blog, a commenter suggested I should read some verses from the Christmas story in the Bible. It's a good suggestion every Christmas, so I'll share my personal favorite passage from the story:

Luke 2: 8-14

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

I love that Jesus came to earth as a vulnerable human baby, not an other-wordly conquerer, and the message of his birth was revealed not to kings but to shepherds working their ordinary jobs in the fields. God loves us all and reaches out to us where we are. That's a wonderful message any time of the year, isn't it?

Thank you, all of you, for reading my blog and supporting me this past year. I hope to have new, fun stuff to write about next year as well, with four new books coming out and other proposals in the works for 2012.

God bless all of you and have a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Yesterday's Winners

Thanks to everyone who commented on your Santa disillusionment moment! The winners of the prizes are: Sherry, Caroline Bell and Sue!

Ladies, please email me (my email is listed in my Blogger profile) with your preference of prizes. If you choose the autographed book, I'll need your snail mail addy.

What's my Christmasy blog message for today? Well, today, I'll attend my office Christmas party, which at the ad agency I work for consists of bringing in lunch, chatting about something besides print deadlines and media buys, and going home right after lunch. Yay! No chance for anyone to get naked and make YouTube history, thank goodness.

Then, I may go with my mom to do some last minute Christmas shopping, or I may be a good girl and buckle down on trying to finish the book I'm writing at the moment, which is due Jan 15th. Fortunately, I'm only about a chapter and a half from the end of the story, so I'm hopeful that I can finish by Christmas Eve and not have to work on Christmas at all. I'm hoping to also sneak in a little aunt time with my nieces and some serious cat cuddling.

So, what do the rest of y'all have planned for the next few days?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I couldn't come up with anything for today--it's just that busy both in my day job and my writing job. Remind me not to plan a deadline around Christmas next year, 'kay?

But that doesn't mean I can't give stuff way, does it?

I'm going to pick three winners at random from the comments, and you'll get your choice of A) $10 eGiftcard from the online bookseller of your choosing: B) your choice of any book on eHarlequin, including Mira and HQN books, which I'll order and send to your address or C) a copy of any of my books, up to and including my August and September 2010 books, autographed and personalized by me.

You will not hurt my feelings if you don't choose my books. I'm going to assume you either already own them or you love me as an author enough to want to buy them yourself so I'll make the royalties. Right? Right?

And just so you don't have to comment at random, let's see if I can come up with a Christmas related question to discuss in the comments...hmm...

How about, "How old were you when you began to doubt the existence of Santa Claus? And what made you doubt the jolly old soul existed?"

And if you still believe in Santa...well, you can make your case in the comments as well. :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

No Tree This Year

We finally conceded holiday defeat and didn't put up a Christmas tree this year. We'd gotten the tree size down to a four-footer, but with all the cats and dogs we have now, the tree was a constant victim of their rowdiness.

Where are the presents, you ask? Right now, they're on top of the storage chests of drawers in our dens, in boxes and ginormous gift bags. Which is kind of festive, if cluttered.

We've never been big decorators, not at Halloween or Christmas or any other holiday. We're clutter prone anyway--the last thing we need is more folderol. So it wasn't a huge step to go treeless, I suppose. And even when we had a tree, they were usually varying stages of ugly. (I believe I've told you about the Worst Christmas Tree Ever).

I guess maybe I come by my Grinchiness naturally, huh?

What about you and your family? Do you decorate for the holidays? Do you have a tree this year? What does it look like? Let me live vicariously...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Welcome to Santapalooza

Despite my recent descent into Grinchiness, Christmas is still my favorite day of the year, for all sorts of reasons. Primarily because of what it symbolizes to Christians like me, but also because it's a day to remember that loving each other matters and that giving is as much a blessing as receiving.

So, now that I have that bit of sappiness out of the way, let's get this party started!

I was thinking about some of the suggestions y'all gave me in the blog the other day, and one that stuck out for me was "most memorable Christmas gift."

I wish I had a poignant, dramatic answer for that question, but I really don't. When I was growing up, my family didn't have a lot of money, so while we never lacked for gifts, I wasn't likely to find a Trans-Am under the tree or anything. So I can't remember any big impact-making gift. Also, most of my most notable gifts came when I was a child, and I can't remember a lot from my childhood unless something triggers the memory.

I remember getting a little nursing uniform when I was about ten or eleven because at that time, I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up. I got dolls out the wazoo--I loved dolls back then, even though now, I don't have many maternal instincts--so I remember a few of those, including my first Baby Tenderlove and the year I got a "toddler" doll.

And speaking of triggered memories, that reminds me of a non-Christmas story from my childhood. My sister, my friend Woni and I were having a sleepover downstairs in the basement of the home where we lived when I was growing up. Also at the time, my sister and I had a pair of life-sized little girl dolls that were, roughly, about the size of my three-year-old brother, Dennis.

Anyway, the basement was nearly windowless and very dark at night, and we were about seven or eight years old at the time, a prime age to freak ourselves out completely. We had "gone to bed" at the time, which in sleepover language means, we were in bed but we were too giggly and excited to actually sleep, so we were talking. But Woni decided she needed to go to the bathroom, which was upstairs. So as she was heading upstairs to the bathroom, I heard her falter to a stop and say, in this freaked-out voice, "Dennis? Is that you?"

Suddenly, there was this big thump and Woni screamed her head off. One of us, either my sister or I, got up and turned on the lights to find Woni on the floor, wrestling with one of those big dolls. Apparently, she'd run into the doll in the dark, felt its hair and size and thought my little brother had sneaked down stairs to see what we were doing. When it fell on top of her, she thought she was under attack!

So, I guess that big two-year-old doll was my most memorable Christmas present, although it took a few months to reach its full memorability potential. ;)

Now it's your turn? Do you have a memorable Christmas gift, good or bad? Tell us all about it!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And we have a trifecta...

Cooper Vengeance is now available for pre-order from

I just read the line edits on this book, and I have to admit, I really love this book. I have a very soft spot for a hero who's loved someone deeply and lost her to tragedy or, worse, violence. I started the Cooper Justice series with just such a hero, and I ended this particular series with a hero going through something similar, although J.D. Cooper is a very different guy from Riley Patterson.

I think I've given him a worthy heroine. I'm dying to hear what y'all think.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Driving to work today, I convinced myself that Santapalooza was supposed to run 12 days before Christmas. Was freaking out, calling myself all sorts of names that added up to "Blogger-slacker." But just checked the post about it, and Santapalooza doesn't start until Monday. Whew! Crisis averted.

But since I've started a blog post, might as well keep going. So here's a little this and that...

Item One: My Blogging Schedule

I'll be blogging at the Intrigue Authors blog tomorrow, and I have no idea what I'm going to blog about. I haven't done a cat update in a while---maybe I'll cat blog, if I can get the cats to settle down tonight and let me take some decent photos. But really, I wouldn't depend on that. The last time I tried to take photos of the cats, they call came out looking like this:

I'll also be blogging at Romance Magicians on December 28th, if you're out of your Christmas food coma by then. And I'll be giving away books. Maybe even more books than just my own. You never know--you'll have to drop by and find out.

Item Two: My Writing

Just heard from my editor that she's turned in my edits for Cooper Vengeance, the final book in the Cooper Justice series, which will be on sale in June 2011. So except for the final galley edits (what we call Author Alterations at Harlequin), the Cooper Justice series is officially done.

Well, sort of. Have I yet mentioned that my next book proposal is for a Cooper Justice sequel, featuring cousins of the original Gossamer Ridge family? I'm pitching the series as Cooper Justice: Cooper Security. Yeah, a little wordy, but I think it works. The three brothers and three sisters all work for Cooper Security, an investigation and security firm run by the eldest of the Cooper cousins, Jesse.

The details aren't firmed up--after all, I haven't even pitched it yet--but I'm hoping to have more information soon after the first of the year.

Item Three: Santapalooza

You may have noticed that I'm a bit scattered and ditzy this month. It's the combination of trying to finish a book due 1/15/11, trying to get my edits done on two of the three books coming out in the spring of 2011, trying to invent and write a proposal for new books for 2012, and trying to get a 28-page catalog designed and composed at my day job, which is due this week, and not all of the outside vendor pages have come in yet. Eeek!

And that doesn't even factor in Christmas activities.

So I could use a little help from y'all--and all it requires is a little thought. Just answer this question: For Santapalooza, I would like to see Paula write about ________________.

I mean, I've done the favorite Christmas carols thing (although I wouldn't mind doing it again, because I'm opinionated and love to tell you what I think is good or not). I've done the Christmas traditions thing. I've done blogs on my favorite Christmas movies, like A Christmas Story, which I love beyond all sanity.

So this year, I'd like to know what y'all are interested in discussing. Think of it as an interactive blog experience. Or something like that.

And the first two people to post an answer in the comments get a $10 eGiftcard from the online bookstore of your choice.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Last Minute Christmas Shopping

I have to admit, all my Christmas shopping is done. You can hate me now. I had a royalty check come in November, so I decided to do my shopping while that money was still around. Also, I shop online (because I hate shopping in malls and stores), so it was easy to shop at my convenience without the halls of crowds. Plus, you have a lot more options and the discounts can be amazing.

But if you're not like me, and you're still looking for gifts for the romance readers on your list, I have to recommend eHarlequin. Even if you're not buying one of my books, I still recommend it. I shop online with eHarlequin all the time, and not for ebooks, although those are available, too.

Need some good reasons?

1) I'll get it over with up front: if you click on the book cover links you see at the right on my blog (not the ones but the others), you not only get my books at eHarlequin's low prices, but I earn a little commission on the sales. So please, if you're thinking about buying my books online, buy them either through this blog or my home page to help me out. Also, the ebooks link and the "free shipping" text link right below it (farther down the right hand side bar) are also what are called affiliate links. So if you want to shop at eHarlequin and help a poor writer out, you can click through and purchase through those links and I'll get commission.

2) Now that the icky business part is out of the way, did I mention that eHarlequin offers lower prices than most retailers or online bookstores? They do. Prices are usualy around 50¢ to a dollar less than anywhere else, outside of used books. (And used books earn the author exactly zip, so if you can buy new, please buy new and help an author out). Plus, Harlequin has cool promotional authors, such as the free shipping I mentioned (link to the right) and other deals, like slashed prices on select books and Free Books on Fridays.

3) If you buy from eHarlequin, you know you're buying new, and that the authors whose works you love so much are getting paid for giving you so much enjoyment. (Okay, this post is starting to sound a little money-grubbing, isn't it?)

4) If you shop at eHarlequin, you might also hang around to read all the cool forums and blogs available on eHarlequin. Make some friends among a bunch of avid readers and friendly, helpful writers who hang out there as well.

5) eHarlequin offers a huge variety of books for sale, including eBooks, which means that almost anyone you know can find something to love there. Mira offers thrillers and women's fiction as well as romantic suspense, historicals and contemporary romance. You can find fantasy/science fiction/speculative fiction from Luna and both of the single title imprints (HQN and Mira). You can find all the great series romance people love. You can also find sexy paranormals and sexy romances and wonderful inspirational romances, romantic suspense and historicals.

So, if you're looking for just the right thing for a reader on your gift list, you could do a whole lot worse than shopping at eHarlequin.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Ooo, another Cooper Justice Book!

Amazon's finally listed The Man from Gossamer Ridge for preorder.

I'm actually reading the final galley edits of this book, and I have to say, I'm really enjoying it. I don't always say that about my books—usually by the time I'm at the galley stage (the final time I get to look at the book before it goes to print), I'm heartily sick of a book. But this one has such fun characters, and the romance starts percolating right off the bat, which is not true of all my books.

It's the second book in the Cooper Justice: Cold Case Investigation trilogy, and it features Cooper brother Gabe, a bass fisherman/fishing guide and part-time sheriff's deputy who has a very personal stake in the investigation of his sister-in-law Brenda's murder. When his niece Cissy calls him to come visit her at college, he ends up drawn into a serial killer investigation that may have everything to do with what happened to his sister-in-law twelve years earlier. One of Cissy's college instructors, Alicia Solano, is convinced Brenda's murder was one of several murders committed by the same killer, a murder spree spanning over a decade. And Alicia is willing to put her own life on the line to prove her theory. Will Gabe, as hungry as he is for answers, let her risk her life for the truth?

I hope y'all love The Man from Gossamer Ridge as much as I do. Hey, I have an idea! Preorder the book and find out yourself! :) Just click on the link to the right.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

What will Paula be Blogging for Christmas?

Last Christmas, I did Blog Days of Christmas for the month of December. By the time I reached Christmas Day, I was so over it.

However, m usual Grinchiness as a blogger runs smack dab into cyber-Whoville around this time of year, and I do feel compelled to blog more in the month of December about Christmas. However, since I'm on deadline, I can't promise I'll be posting every day. I am, however, going to post more this month. And there's no telling what the topic might be or whether or not it actually has a bloody thing to do with Christmas.

However, I'll promise you this: Santapalooza is coming! December 20th - 24th, I'll be posting all sorts of Christmas related things every day, with chances to win prizes included! Why, I believe my heart has grown three sizes just thinking about it! ;)

Tell your friends to watch for Santapalooza. If don't follow my blog, click the little "follow" button and you can get email reminders on the days I blog so you don't miss a thing, including chances to win great prizes! (And as you know, I don't blog a lot, so you're not exactly going to be bombarded with emails from me).

Talk to y'all soon!