Chanticleer Author’s Conference 2019

Hello everyone,

This weekend I’m heading off to the Chanticleer Conference in Bellingham Washington.  I’m looking forward to hanging out with other authors. For a while I was worried I might not be able to go. I’ve been very sick for the last month with a nasty bug and just recently got better. 

Virtuous Souls is a finalist in three categories: science fiction, fantasy and romance and I’m crossing my fingers I get a ribbon this year in at least one category. I’m in the process of getting the book edited and ready to be published.  I have a draft of the second book in the series. I’m ready to move forward and looking forward to this weekend!

I’ll write back when I have news!

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Last Update in 2018

Time to post my last update of 2018. I started my news post just about a year ago. Tomorrow starts a New Year, 2019, and good riddance to 2018. Did anyone have a good year last year? (Yuck!) Hopefully better times are ahead.

I’m still waiting to hear back about Virtuous Souls from publishers. I’m hoping no news is good news. There are a couple of publishers who have had it for a while, and I’m hoping they’re interested. I’ve had a few rejections, of course, but people have been very positive.  Stay tuned.

With Virtuous Souls this year, it is shortlisted for three Chanticleer awards (science fiction, romance and fantasy) and I plan to go to their conference again. I am also submitting Virtuous Souls for some other awards.  We’ll see what happens.

I have a draft of the sequel of Virtuous Souls done, and a good start on my mystery/romance. So the fiction writing is moving along. Once the books get into draft, they start moving along much faster. I’m enjoying the editing process, and will be teaching a college class this Spring.

Finally, as of today, I have 5,500+ Twitter followers. Not too shabby, and quite surprising, given my cluelessness around social media. I’m hoping I might have 10,000 followers by this time next year. Stay tuned and follow me at the addresses below. I have been a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of people wanting to be writers, but amazed by the interesting and enthusiastic people I’ve met online.

Follow me on Twitter @pclepage and don’t forget Instagram: pc.lepage

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More news: Virtuous Souls shortlisted for Chatelaine Book Award for Romantic Fiction

Just a quick note to let you know that Virtuous Souls got shortlisted for the Chanticleer Review Team’s Chatelaine Book Award for Romantic Fiction.  I’m very excited.  I was hoping my book would get a romance-focused award.  I plan to attend their conference in April 2019.  Last year I had fun at their conference, which is in Bellingham Washington. I have relatives in Tacoma and Seattle. I’ll add more later. Woohoo!

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Some News to Share: Chanticleer SciFi Shortlist, 2018 and more

I shouldn’t be writing a news post today. I have tons of grading and other work to finish.  I’ve really enjoyed working with a new group of students at a new university.

I’ve also had some good news on my manuscript.  I was shortlisted for the Chanticleer Cygnus Science Fiction Award for 2018.  I submitted last year before I knew about my 2017  paranormal win. But, I’m glad I did it.  This is a new group of competitors and it’s nice to know my book is still holding up against other SciFi books.  I’m very excited and honored that Virtuous Souls has been doing so well in the Chanticleer competitions.  I think I love these people!

Since I had such a good time at the Chanticleer conference in April, I wanted to go to the RWA conference in Colorado and hobnob with other romance writers.  But I’m teaching this month.  I did, however, have a lovely RWA chapter meeting last month with two seasoned writers.  I really like my chapter.  The women are very supportive.  Below I have a picture of our group with the two speakers from last month (Rachael Herron and Sophie Littlefield).  The month before that Gail Carriger  came and talked about brand. Very nice.

I can’t wait to get back to my writing.  I also need to get back on social media.  I’ve missed some Twitter pitches.  One of them was geared toward people who called, “The Insecure Writers Group.”  They sound interesting, but not so insecure.  In academia we learn very quickly, if you can admit your faults, especially that you’re insecure, most likely you’re the most secure person in the room! Anyway, I’ll write more when I finish teaching!

Follow me on Twitter @pclepage and don’t forget Instagram:  pc.lepage

I plan to start a professional Facebook page soon, so stay tuned!

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The continuing saga of social media: Instagram

Hey everyone, I’m on Instagram!

I wanted to check in quickly. I agreed to teach two classes this month and I’m doing some consulting so I’ll be busy for awhile.  I’m continuing to write. I’ve been jumping back and forth from writing a sequel to Virtuous Souls to writing a new book, a murder mystery, which I’m really enjoying.

I can’t spend a lot of time on social media this summer, but I’ll give you an update. So far I have 2700 Twitter followers.  Not bad!  It’s not because I’m special. Writers are surging on Twitter for a lot of different reasons, I’ll talk about that later.

Right now I want to talk about Instagram. I want to diversify my social media.  I thought I’d hate Instagram (sound familiar?). I’m not photogenic. Some people look better on camera.  Some people look the same. Some people look like they’ve been dragged from Hell. That’s me. Okay, I’m being hyperbolic, but I don’t like having my picture taken. Unfortunately, on Instagram people want to see pictures of your face. This is your story. They want to see you.

What’s interesting about Instagram is that it’s an aesthetic story.  It’s artistic, and I’m enjoying trying to portray my life in pictures and also present my artistic style (or maybe — get some).  I’m slowly getting better at it.  Each medium allows you to express yourself in a different way.  I’m happy I got engaged with social media; I needed to learn about the process. Not just the technology, but also the social complexity and how it’s changed people’s experience with our culture and their identity. Kids grow up differently than they used to. Some things you have to experience to understand. As a professor in education it I like to experiences these things before talking about them. Truthfully, I never understood social media until I engaged with it (beyond a few Facebook posts) myself.

Surprisingly, I’m enjoying Instagram, but I’m also confused. Twitter I understand completely.  I get the social nuances, the complexity, the goals. But Instagram, who is it is for exactly? Is it something for friends or for everyone? Do you follow people you know or people who have pretty pictures? Most people have private accounts so how do you know who to follow? I’m lost! My numbers aren’t going up very fast because I have no idea what I’m doing, and that’s fine.  I’ll take this one slowly.  You have to be careful on social media not to give people the wrong impression. Some people think social media sites are dating sites.

Anyway, I do like seeing all the cute pictures of people, their dogs, their kids, and their gardens. Young people use Instagram a lot and they’re good at it.  It’s artistic and aesthetic and visual and joyous and it lifts my spirits to see people having fun and enjoying themselves.

Anyway, I’ll get back to you after my work slows down.

So, follow me on Instagram!

And don’t forget Twitter too! @plepage

Pam

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Virtuous Souls wins First in Category for Chanticleer Paranormal Award

Okay, I’m back! And guess what – I WON! I won First in Category for the Paranormal Award at the Chanticleer Authors Conference (#CAC18). Can you believe it? I can’t, because this rarely happens to me. I often get close, but no cigar. Truthfully, I’m stunned! I honestly believe Virtuous Souls deserves recognition, and I want it out in the world, so I’m thrilled! Nothing else I say really matters, but I’ll jabber on anyway.

After attending the conference, I understand why the Chanticleer team liked my manuscript – they are my manuscript—a little rough on the outside with a lot of good beneath the surface. I’m sure many of them have seen great writers overlooked and now they’re out to save squealing lambs from an untimely slaughter. Thank god for them. In a world where people care more about marketing over substance, they look for quality. I like that.

I enjoyed the conference. I’ve been to lots of conferences in my 30 years in higher education – not all of them were captivating. This time I was engaged, got some ideas, learned some new tricks, jotted down a few phrases, and met some people. I even got a bit intimidated. Can we please stop talking about Stephen King! I will never write like Stephen King!

One last thought. I know I’m not supposed to say this, but it’s the truth. I was thrilled that I won the award. I was happy that people read my book and loved it. Today, authors HAVE to find a way to stand out. I’m glad I went. I’ve wanted to be recognized for my efforts, something that rarely happens in academia. But, I still felt bad for the people who lost and the family members and friends who had to console them. Is that pathetic? I always thought I’d enjoy this type of recognition even though competition makes me uncomfortable. Now I know my discomfort holds true, even when I win. I’m trying to decide; does this make me super sensitive or just plain crazy? Is this a gender thing? Can the fear of losing outweigh the potential thrill of winning for those of us who want community and believe competition can upset the balance? But then, how do you sort out the good from the bad, reward talent and hard work, and still support community?

In the SciFi panel I joined on the first day of the conference, one audience member said it best. “Good science fiction always addresses one of the important questions.” And, I’ll add, “In the best science fiction, there are no answers.” For now, I’m going to enjoy a sweet victory!

Pam
@pclepage

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Virtuous Souls on Shortlist for Chanticleer Paranormal Award

Hey everyone,

I’m back again. I haven’t provided an update in a long time. Sorry about that.

I did want to let you know that I got shortlisted (is that a verb?) for another Chanticleer award– their Paranormal Award. I’m truly humbled and excited by their recognition. I’m going to their conference in a few weeks. I doubt I’ll win because my raw manuscript is competing with published books, but their conference is about marketing books and I’ll need that, no matter what happens.

What makes me happy about making the two Chanticleer shortlists is that these people actually read my entire book and “got it.” And, they’re right! It is more than just a fun, sexy romp through space! In the modern publishing world, just getting people to read your entire book seems like nothing short of a miracle. Most people read about five pages, and I understand why. Agents and editors are inundated with material, so they’re always looking for easier ways to find gold as they sift through the mud. I think most of them would rather miss a few nuggets than to go blind reading too many manuscripts.

Anyway, I’ll give you an update after the conference. If nothing else, hopefully, I’ll have some fun! See you on the flip side!

Pam LePage
@PClepage

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Stumbling through a Twitter Pitch Contest

Hello, I’m back again.

I’m starting to feel like Jack Nicholson in the Shining, popping up like a horror movie villain. Anyway, I’m back, and not only have I added more Twitter followers, right now I am involved in something called a Twitter pitch contest. This is a contest of sorts where you throw out a simple one or two-sentence “pitch” about your book on Twitter and supposedly a bunch of editors and agents look at it and jump at your brilliant pitch.

I swore I would never do that. Mainly because it is so public, and I am terrible at the one sentence pitch. But, also because it feels so weird, like begging maybe, or maybe just unprofessional. I’m so used to academia; this seems very juvenile and a dumb way for people to find talent. But, mostly I can’t pitch to save my life. Seriously, I would rather someone asked me to write a book, than to write ad copy! If I could write copy, I’d be making money!

But, now that I’m on Twitter, I’ve watched as people pitched their books in various contests and I’ve felt kind of bad. A voice in my head kept screaming, “YOU will never get anywhere if you don’t even try — stupid!!!! And, who are you? Are you so much better than everyone else that you can’t do this? Get out there and stop being a snobby ass!”

So, I did it, and I will let you know what happens (I’ll put a note at the bottom #NothingHappened — see, told you so!) just to let you know how things go. How could it go well? My husband just pointed out a grammar mistake in my one-sentence pitch. I’m such a dope!

What is fascinating to me is that in this day and age, it seems that you have to be able to get people to care about you online. There are lots of ways to do it, and different people find interesting ways to make connections, but that seems to be the key. And I worry, because some people are just not good at that. Being older and starting from a different place myself, it’s different for me, but I can’t imagine how it must be for young people. What if they can’t find followers? What if people act like they don’t care? It must be devastating for them. It makes me want to get on Twitter and tell all my followers how great they are and how I love all their stuff so they know at least one person cares. See, this is a woman, wanting people to feel good, while a lot of men would say, “Screw everyone else — I want my book contract,” and people would love them for it. That’s why it’s so complicated.  It’s not about just being nice.  It’s about being human, and being yourself, but not in a needy, creepy, sad or irritating way.  Capiche?

Anyway, gotta go — Gotta check my #SFFpit thingy (smile)!

@PClepage

 

So what happened….

#learned!, #connected with lots of writers, #got a few nibbles, #definitely worth it!

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Virtuous Souls shortlisted for Chanticleer Cygnus Award

Hello everyone,

I’m back, and as of today I have over 200 Twitter followers and it’s been less than a month. I’m enjoying Twitter more than I thought I would, although I’m still not sure what to say. It is surprisingly supportive to gather virtually with other writers. I even had some guy ask me if I was single (woo hoo!). See, even at 55, love is still possible. My husband was not amused.

But, I’m happy that my numbers have grown. Deep down I was afraid nobody would want to follow me (boo hoo!). Now I am reassured, there are plenty of advertisers out there!

Seriously, my initial suspicion was right, people follow you if you follow them back. But now it’s a bit different, people can cheat. I’ve gotten tons of sales people telling me they can send out my Twitter requests to 500,000 people asking for followers (for a small fee). Hey, that’s not fair! Once again, people with money have the upper hand. I’ll take the long road, thank you very much.

Today, however, I’m focusing on my book. I’m submitting to publishers, so stay tuned. I’m staying optimistic. I think it will take some time before I hear back because my book is so unique (smile). It’s about a group of soldiers who die during a mission and are transported in the afterlife to a planet where they must past five tests of virtue to ascend to immortal status. The book follows two timelines, one before they die and one after. It’s set in the 1980’s and is a romance. A young woman is allowed to join an elite military unit (as part of research on women in combat). Ultimately, we discover she’s special, in more ways than one. The book is primarily a fun and sexy story, chock full of action, where two people find true love. But, it also raises questions about what it means to be virtuous and unapologetically tackles controversies surrounding sexism, religious radicalization and war.

Since I last talked to you I found out my book made the shortlist for the Chanticleer Review team’s Cygnus award for science fiction — WOO HOO!   I was very excited and honored, but also surprised because my book is still a manuscript.  It’s nice to know there are people in the business who’ve read my manuscript and like it.  It’s great to get some positive feedback!

We’ll just have to see what happens! Wish me luck!

Pam LePage

@pclepage

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Happy to be on the outside looking in…

Hello everyone, this is my first post, and I’ve finally decided on a name for my news post, “From the outside looking in.” It’s probably too long, but I plan to use “From the Outside” most of the time.  It’s perfect because I’ve always felt like I was on the outside looking in (even when I was on the inside). I’ve come to believe a lot of people feel the same.

For the last 20 years I’ve been an education professor, but now I’m retired so now I can write fiction. True, I’m not making a lot of money at it (well, any money–yet!), but I’m having a lot of fun, having my voice, and slowly getting better at it.

Right now, however, I’ve entered the world of publishing and once again I’m looking from the outside in. For example I’ve been on Twitter lately, reading people’s feeds, and thinking, “WTF?!?” How does this help people connect? That’s what I want.

I started an account because some random guy on the Internet said that writers needed gumption and for him gumption was about having a strong presence on social media.

So far I have no followers. I haven’t started to reach out. Some part of me wants to see how long I can go with no followers, not one. I know how to get followers. I had an account many years ago and deleted it because I was too busy. It’s easy, you follow someone and they follow you back. It’s called tit-for-tat. As a professor I told students I would post announcements (like when class was cancelled) and guess what, they followed me! Your popularity is not dependent on how cute your dog is (although cute dogs help, no doubt about it! I’m shamelessly using mine). It’s more about social media algorithms.

But, letting my Twitter account stand idle with no followers, that, to me, takes real gumption! I’m feeling this desperate need to click, but I’m a rebel, baby! Right now my account looks so pristine, untainted by even a hint of pointless drivel. No doubt it won’t take long before I’m having fun spouting gibberish to nobody in particular. It’s an acquired taste, I’m sure.

Can you guess what I write about? I write science fiction and my characters will always be on the outside looking in. I’ve finished my first novel called Virtuous Souls and it’s out on submission. I was thrilled recently to learn that the Chanticleer Book Review team chose my novel to compete for the Cygnus Award for emerging new talent in science fiction for 2017.

We’ll see if my novel sells to a publisher. In the meantime, I probably should go do something about my sad Twitter account. It’s just that when I look at some of these social media platforms, I can’t help but worry that some people feel they’re on the outside looking in — feeling like losers. And, it’s easy to get the impression that there are clear-cut winners and losers, especially as people compare jobs, cars, homes, or numbers of twitter followers. Let me just say right now:

IT’S an ILLUSION, BABY! We all face challenges, and in my book (literally) everyone can be winners, even if they’re dead!

PS: Drop me a note below if you wish, or check out my twitter feed at @PCLePage if you want to see a picture of my dog! 😊  What I do like about social media is the connection!

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