Why I started an awards site?

Lesbian and Gay Awards

Why did you start an awards site?

Authors I spoke with felt they weren’t playing on a level field in some book competitions.  I heard comments like:

– Only the big publishers’ authors win awards.

– The same people seem to win time and again.

I listened because I had felt the same things when I entered other contests.  My books didn’t win either—not because they weren’t good enough—but because of politics and a host of other reasons.  I’d heard the rumors, innuendos, and bitterness, and I didn’t want that; I wanted to find a way for everyone to play on a level and fair playing field.

What qualifies you to run an awards site? 

I’ve run various companies for the past thirty years for myself and for others.  They may not have had anything to do with literature, but the principles are the same.  Anyone who reads my books knows I do my research, and long before we put up the websites, I’d been researching the various sites to see what I felt worked. I discussed it with others, who helped me create and implement our own awards sites.

One thing people stressed most was they felt the awards judging should be anonymous. They didn’t believe that the judges should know who was entering—not the name of the author or the name of the publisher—and that’s why we came up with the “blind judging” on our sites.  The authors’ names, the book titles, and the publishers’ names are stripped from the book, so our competent judges, whom we carefully vet, have no idea who was involved in making the book they are judging.  Our judging panels have included lawyers, doctors, teachers, and other professionals.  They are judging solely on the merits of the books entered, as we feel it should be.  They are contributing their valuable time and effort to judge your books fairly, and we hope, honestly.

Shouldn’t we know who the judges are? 

We believe you should know that your book is being judged fairly, and we believe the judges anonymity benefits you and them.  In the beginning, I wanted to remain anonymous as well, but that was a mistake that I immediately rectified.  I take responsibility for ensuring you are getting a full, fair judging experience for your buck.  I coordinate everything, and it’s a LOT of work!

Are you running a for-profit site? 

Absolutely, and we use your money to pay for the awards, the sites, and the marketing and advertising we will do on behalf of the winners.  Each year, we will use our profits to expand our efforts as the awards grow.

Have you made a profit yet? 

No, and I didn’t expect we would in the beginning.  I paid for everything out of pocket in order to get this started.  I went into this thinking I would give each site five years of my time, money, and effort at no charge, and others have joined me in offering their time and effort at no charge.  Our judges are not paid either.

Should you make a profit? 

Yes, eventually.  This is a lot of work, and I have plans to reinvest those future profits as well.  As the interest in lesbian and gay literature grows, we will invest our profits in new ideas to bring even more attention to lesbian and gay literature.

Why are you doing this if you aren’t making money right away? 

Because we feel someone needs to do it, and why not me?  Someday, I will pass the torch to someone else—maybe someone more qualified, with more ambition, and with better skills—but right now, it’s me and my crew that have stepped up.  The support I receive from others, including their ideas and their help, is not only appreciated, it’s valued beyond profit.

Shouldn’t there be a monetary prize for the winners? 

That is a great idea…when we are making a profit.  We get a lot of suggestions that have merit, and we appreciate them all.  As the awards grow and evolve, we will consider adding features.  Right now, the award, the marketing, the extra exposure, and bragging rights are all we can offer.

What if my category doesn’t have enough entrants? 

Unfortunately, that happened last year, and we refunded fees to every entrant of the category where there weren’t enough entries to warrant judging.  Our site states that the entrance fee is non-refundable, but we don’t plan to keep your money if your book(s) aren’t judged.

Are you different than the other awards out there? 

We believe so.  The blind judging certainly is different.  We looked at the best of what others were offering and tried to build and improve on that.  We aren’t the only awards site out there, and except for our blind judging, which we feel is original and unique, we aren’t reinventing the wheel.  We do a lot of social media promotion and continue to pursue advertising opportunities for the winners.

Why should I send you my money to judge my book? 

That money helps us pay to have your book judged fairly and in the most honest way we know.  If you win, that money buys you a beautiful award and helps us market and advertise your book all over social media and other selected sites.  We send press releases out worldwide, and as we grow, we plan to do even more.  Think of your entry fee as an investment in the book you wrote and in you as an author.  You put in the time and effort to create your works, and we want to see you rewarded.

Are you experiencing growing pains and other challenges associated with the awards sites? 

Yes, and we’re using these experiences to learn and grow.  Each year, we will learn more and create different ideas and more opportunities to make the awards and your books shine.

Ironically, despite my good intentions of assisting ALL authors, I cannot and will not enter my own awards.  Although we try to keep things as anonymous as possible, it might be deemed unfair if I won.  That’s okay though.  I enjoy a challenge, and I want to help authors succeed.  While I could be spending more time writing and publishing my own works, I also enjoy helping others.  It’s a thrill to see my fellow authors win!  And I am vicariously loving the joy I see on their faces as they hold their awards up in their pictures, when they receive congratulations from their friends for a job well done, and seeing their postings on social media and the wonderful comments they receive.

You may not agree with everything we do, and we gladly welcome constructive suggestions.  We would love to hear your ideas for improving our awards.  It’s your money, it’s your time, it’s your work, and ultimately, it’s your decision to enter or not.  We hope you do, and we hope yours is an uplifting experience!

To enter and check out the Lesfic Bard Awards

To enter and check out the Gay Scribe Awards

Year of reflection

As I started to write this, I began to think back over the many years I’ve been on Earth and this blog began to take too serious a tone.  I want and need positivity in my life, although, sometimes when I’m writing, I use realistic and sometimes sad things to write the stories.  That can be depressing and I don’t want to bum you out.  I love laughter and want to entertain my readers, but leave them wanting more.  I rethought writing anything negative as I want something positive to end the year with.

The Shiny Squirrel CoverSomething I do when there is a lot of bad happening in the world, is I hunker down, hibernate, and write like crazy to avoid the news, the barrage of it, and, of course, popping on and off social media.

This year I was able to crank out twelve books.  Let me correct that, that is, three complete books, and nine novellas.  No, I am not bragging, I have no life when I’m writing voraciously, it’s like a mania that I can’t control.  I definitely get aches in my joints from sitting too long, my shoulders and elbows too!  My fingers have been known to actually tingle from the intensity of my typing and, I apparently clench my jaw when I write.  This means my teeth hurt!

The first that I came out with was Inn the Dog House.Inn the Dog House.jpg

I often wonder if every lesbian loves dogs and cats and secretly wishes to have a day-care center for them?  Nah, just like everyone doesn’t like human kids, not everyone loves fur-kids.  That’s okay.  Diversity is what I like about our community.  Besides, who would have this kind of money to indulge like my character did?  It helped that I was in the Pet Industry for 30 years and had a bit of inside-knowledge…oh, and Pininterest helped a lot!  Check out the page on my website because I put the designs for the doggie daycare on there that I myself cobbled together.  Was pretty proud of that too!

The second book I came out with was Flight.

Flight Cover

Now, THIS one was to be only a novella.  I finished it, and then, my girlfriend said, no, I think this should be a novel.  But, I was DONE with it! <insert whine here> (rolling my eyes at her influence).  And yet, that niggling doubt created a whole ‘nother tangent that I went off on.  It also added a year to the release!  Now, my editor (who does not help me with these blogs, punctuation and other errors are my own), does not like this cover.  Apparently those with phobia’s about flying have reason not to like this cover.  However, that shouldn’t keep you from reading this awesome mystery.  Maybe you shouldn’t read it when flying or waiting for a flight?  I’m imagining the expressions of other passengers as you read this and they see the cover?

My third novel this year was An Island Between Us.

An Island Between Us

I loved the idea of doing it all yourself and these women, after WW2, were discriminated against enough that they decided, let’s make our own world.  That would be so scary, their families had reason to become alarmed, and, what an amazing story they became.

I did actually ‘write’ another story that is not available to the public.  It was for my mother’s family and I’m very proud of it.  However, since it was only for family, it is not available for sale.  Still, at the family reunion and to those generations of cousins and their kids, it will prove to be an invaluable resource of dates, pictures (I did it in color), and stories that we shared.

The Real Kleinschmidts Full-Cover 2.jpg

That’s my mother in the middle of her parents, the youngest of four.  The stories that came out in the completion of this book were amazing.  Sharing the pictures in this manner made me nostalgic for a time that no longer exists.  All of these people pictured here are gone now, the gentleman on the far left of the front cover, my Uncle Eugene was the last to go at 92!  That was in 2018.  My mother has been gone 19 years now and I wish I had written down every single story she told of her family, youth, as well as wisdom.  If you have the opportunity to do so, do it!  I am now working, of course, on the Meinel side of the family.

After my three (four) books I had some time ‘off’ as my main editor was back at school and unavailable.   I was in a creative mood and my back up editors were working on other things for me.  So, I decided to come out with a series…in fact, these stories had been in my head for YEARS and YEARS and I decided to do a creative spin from the various points of view of the women I so wanted to write about.  Some of it worked, other’s didn’t like it, but overall, I enjoyed writing them.  I released FOUR at once!  Then one a week for a while a month or so later.  I have more planned, but I was pleased to use these terrific pieces of art that I found and manipulated to my needs.  I think these covers are so eye-catching, you would never know what they looked like originally.  I think I’m getting better, not only at my writings but at my illustrating.

Welcome to A Woman Down Under series:

There is nothing like a strong woman!  I’ve got several heroines in these books and wait, there is more to come!

Lastly, I must not forget my faithful Alice.  She’s still whispering in my ear as I came out with her latest antics.  Don’t worry, I have more of her planned too.

Mandating Malice

She’s an insatiable bitch for a lesbian serial killer, but she’s the kind of woman who keeps on giving…and killing, and more…

Well, in this year of reflection, I must NOT forget that my wonderful book Pioneering, won for Best Historical Lesbian Romance!  YAY!

Pioneering Winner.jpg

and Cavalcade was an Honorable Mention!

Cavalcade Bestseller Honorable Mention

In researching and setting up various pages on my website to showcase these honorable mentions, finalists, wins, etc, I found several that I had ‘forgotten’ or been unaware of.  Check out all this here.  I’ve had at least (that I could find) TEN honorable mentions/finalists in the past years, many that I didn’t even know about!

So, overall, I’d say I had a pretty good year!  You should see what I have planned for 2020!  Thank you to all who follow me, read my works, and send me emails, inboxes, and reviews.  Leaving a Review....jpg

I hope that it all makes your life a little better for having me and my works in it, because I know I appreciate you!

Thank you

Best Lesbian Historical Romance Winner

2018-2019 Rainbow Awards

78818095_3009210019113060_1430003898004799488_o.jpg

Background 5 1000

One family’s saga had just begun…In the epic sequel to Cavalcade, we learn what happens to the Herriots when they arrive in Oregon and take up their claim. 

Erin and Molly arrive in Oregon with their family where they have been granted six hundred and forty acres of land under the Organic Laws of Oregon.  They must build their home, farm the land, and eke out a living on this piece of raw land.  Wolves, bears, and wildcats are the least of their worries in this new land.  Hard work and trusting that each will do their very best are the keys to conquering the wilderness as they pioneer their lives on the high plains of Oregon!

Come along as the Herriot family lives a life few have attempted in this wilderness near the Blue Mountains of Oregon.  You won’t want to miss Pioneering, the final half of the fantastic pair of prequels to Vetted and Vetted Further!

Pioneering, available here!

 

Honorable Mention

2018-2019 Rainbow Book Awards

rainbow-awards-honorable-mention

Annotation 2019-12-07 220129

Calvacade Background 1

Molly didn’t know what kind of life to expect when she fell in love with Erin Herriot—her schoolmate, her best friend, and a woman.  She had been grateful for Erin’s friendship when the bank swindled her after selling her parents’ farm and she was invited to live on Erin’s parents’ farm. 

After making the difficult decision to live life as ‘man and wife,’ Molly gladly accepted the challenges before them.  Together, they made the decision to sell Erin’s farm and embark on the journey of a lifetime…on the Oregon Trail.

Erin couldn’t give Molly children; however, she could love her forever.  But leaving the area where they had both grown up and where everyone knew the women was the only way they could be together without questions about the true nature of their relationship. 

Come along on their adventure as two women cross the country, adopt a family, and begin a life that neither had imagined possible growing up in the mid-1800s.

Check out the various links for Cavalcade here.

On behalf of the 2018 Lesfic Bard Awards, we want to express our gratitude to the judges who gave selflessly of their valuable time to read the many entries we received in our first year. Not only did they read the entries, they graded them using a system we devised that we feel is particular […]

via Thank you — Lesfic Bard Awards News

Thank you — Lesfic Bard Awards News

Check out this podcast

WROTE-280x72

I talk about writing, my publishing, and my awards!

Also, check out their other social media sites: