“Worst First” Contest Open for Submissions!

Before we begin, I am beyond excited to introduce you to the judge of the “Worst First” contest!

Jillian Kent writes historical fiction and is represented by literary agent Rachelle Gardner.

Jillian has generously agreed to offer GREAT PRIZES to the first and second place winners! She’ll critique the first page of the winner’s manuscript, and the second place winner gets a signed copy of her debut novel.

So, without further ado, here’s Jillian…


Hi Everyone!
Christi has been kind enough to invite me here so I want to answer as many questions for you as I can. So ask away. Nothing is off limits, but I may choose not to answer it if I think it’s something that I shouldn’t put out there for the whole world to read.
There was a combination of things that occurred in my life that led to the love of historical romance. I discovered the poem, “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes at a young age. You can read it if you are not familiar with it on my website at www.jilliankent.com It’s in the public domain.
I went to England the first semester of my senior year of college. Loved all of Great Britain. I lived and studied with other students from Bethany College where I went to school.

I read historical romance novels in my twenties and said, “I could do that.”
I am a research addict. I struggle a lot to stop researching and keep writing. Now that I don’t have the freedom to write at a slow pace (I’m really slow), I have to let some of the research go and just write. When I get to something I don’t know I leave spaces and notes to myself in a different font or color. I’m still trying to find the balance.
The way to publication has not been easy. I decided to begin studying the craft when my first child was born and that was twenty-one years ago. You must reach deep inside yourself and find out what it is you want related to writing. WHAT DO YOU WANT?  Do you want money, fame, a life-long career? This is a question only you can answer. I have to tell you that once you get published it’s a very busy time. You’ll have twice as much to do as you think you will.

So what are you thinking about today?


If you have any questions for Jillian simply leave them in the comments section of this post. I know for a fact she’s generous and kind with writing information, so please, ask away!

Now, on to the “Worst First” contest!

Entrants shall create, on purpose, the worst opening line to a novel.

One sentence (fifty word limit).

The use of commas, semi-colons, ellipsis, and/or hyphens is highly encouraged.  

All genres accepted.

Let’s keep it clean. No sex, extreme violence, or cursing.

Enter your sentence in the comments section of this post.

Entry deadline is Saturday at 11:59pm (Pacific Standard Time)

Winner will be announced when Jillian completes judging.   

(The “Worst First” was inspired by this annual writing contest.)


Fun Contest Alert: Get Your Worst Ready!

Dust off your trunk novel(s) fellow writers!

(Well, at least the first page.)

This Wednesday, I’ve got Jillian Kent (represented by literary agent Rachelle Gardner) coming on my blog to judge a super fun contest.

In the spirit of this annual writing contest, I’ve decided to host something similar.

Create your “Worst First Line” and Jillian will judge which one was the “best worst”. In other words you create, on purpose, a really bad opening line to a (pretend) novel.

(All genres accepted. Word limit is 50 words…and yes, I’ll be counting :) )

And there are PRIZES!!!!!!
Jillian has agreed to critique the first 250 words of the winner’s manuscript, and the second place winner gets a signed copy of her debut novel.

She appears this Wednesday so get your worst ready!

Spreading the word about this super fun contest will not help you win, but I’d really appreciate it :D

And the Winners Are…

We have winners!

I’d LIKE to say that the judges (my six-year-old twins) took this very seriously. I’d LIKE to say that they thought each caption over at length, discussed in great detail the subtle nuances and deeper meaning of each entry, and then after serious thought CALMLY selected the winner.

Well, that’s how I envisioned the judging portion going in my mind.

But, they’re six. 

So here’s how it really went down…

The judges, fueled by waffles and far too many cartoons, were herded into the room at 7:00am (PST). Once they finally stopped jabbering about our upcoming trip to the grocery store and who got to push the cart this time because other one got to push last time and could we buy their favorite cereal and could the dog go with and why does brother get to sit closer to mommy and why does sister get to hold the cat, I explained my above method for how they should judge the contest. 

Blank stare from one and the other one made a run for it.

I quickly re-evaluated and we ended up settling for having me read each comment out loud, and them giving a “funny” or “not funny” response. Then, we would tally up the winners. Also, it should be noted that neither I, nor the Dear Hubby, influenced their decisions in any way. This was truly judged by them :D.

The sink picture winner was chosen quickly, and without hesitation, by the judges. In fact, they thought it was so funny they began dancing around the room while chanting it at the top of their lungs.

Congratulations to Pat Ocken!

“Does this boat go any faster if we pump this handle?”

The judging of the cat in shopping cart picture led to massive disagreements over what was “funny” and what wasn’t. I read all the comments and then ended up reading them all again. Some garnered giggles, others full on belly laughs, and in the end we have a tie and a runner-up…

Congratulations to Florence Fois and Monica Gudlewski!

“Attention shoppers: put something PURRfect in your shopping carts today!” (Monica’s entry)

“Do you believe my luck? I got a free shopping cart when I bought the kitty.” (Florence’s entry)

Runner-up goes to M. Howalt

*sigh* “Those huge, two-legged, furless kittens …”

And now we’re off to the store so the judges can pick some items for the winners. I believe Play-dough and a cat have been mentioned as prizes.

Congrats to the winners and thank you to all who entered. This has been great fun!

Caption Contest! Winners get Prizes!

The Captioning Contest is officially open! (Click here for full contest details)

Please, enter captions for BOTH photos in the comments section of this post.

Photo 1…Sink

Photo 2…Shopping

Don’t forget to check back on Saturday, April 30th to see if the judges selected your caption as the winner!

Fun Caption Contest with Writing Prizes!!!!

Bring your wit and humor on Wednesday because that’s when the captioning contest begins!

How it Works

I’ll post two pictures on Wednesday, April 27th. Enter your caption in the comments section. You are allowed one caption per picture.


I’ve enlisted two judges and they are tough…my six-year-old twins! They have sole discretion in awarding the winners so you may want to gear your comments accordingly :D.


Two prize packages will be awarded, one winner per picture. The prize pack is geared toward writers and includes a pen, notebook, small flashlight (for when the inspiration hits in the middle of the night) and lots of other writing goodies.

Contest Length

Contest begins Wednesday, April 27th at 1:00am (PST) and ends Saturday, April 30th at 7:00am (PST). Winners will be announced Saturday (after the judges eat their breakfast and get their fill of morning cartoons).

Spread the Word

This is not a requirement, nor will it gain you extra sway with the judges (especially since they’re not allowed to use the computer without supervision :D), but I’d love if you could help spread the word about this fun contest!

And finally, speaking of spreading the word about contests…Florence Fois of the blog Ramblings from the Left is participating in a contest and needs your help! Click here for details…

Tell How You Broke A Bone and Win a Book!

Writer and Blogger extraordinaire, Lydia Sharp, is hosting a fantastically fun contest over on her blog.

(Click here for contest rules and to enter)

Have you ever broken a bone? Seen anyone else break one?

Simply tell the story (extra points for adding humor) in 300 words or less and you’ll be eligible to win Hannah Moskowitz’s debut novel, BREAK.

Contest ends in two days so hurry!

Show Me The Voice Blogfest and Contest

I’m participating in the Show Me The Voice Blogfest over at Brenda Drake’s blog. Here’s how it works (taken directly from Brenda’s blog).

Post the first 250 words of your finished manuscript (any genre) on your blog to get critiques from your followers and then hop around to the other participants’ sites and give critiques. Polish those 250 words and email them to me [Brenda].

All entries submitted before the cut off time will be considered. The first round will be judged by a chosen panel of your peers (agented and unagented). We’ll pick the best 20 entries and post them on my blog by March 24. The 20 entries we pick will be judged by Natalie [Fischer]. The winners will be announced on or before Monday, March 28.

So, without further ado, here’s my first 250(ish). Please, let me know your thoughts, especially the sentence I’ve marked. (In your comment, please specify if I should keep it as it reads now, or change the sentence to the version at the bottom of the post)

Name: Christi Corbett

Title: Along the Way Home

Genre: Historical Fiction

Charlottesville, Virginia

Wednesday, April 5, 1843

Every Wednesday Kate stood on the same front porch, her hand poised inches from the door, willing herself to finally do the unthinkable—walk away without knocking. However, during the hesitation, her courage inevitably fled.

Wednesdays were a long-standing tradition, and one she couldn’t disrupt.

*Stiffening her spine and her resolve, Kate rapped her knuckles on the wood.* Familiar footsteps clicked toward the other side of the entry and she forced a smile as the door opened to reveal an overdressed, overfed, overbearing woman.

“Katherine Davis, how dare you appear at my doorstep looking like some commoner? Get that bonnet on your head this instant!”

Her smile faded. “Yes, Aunt Victoria.”

Kate pulled the velvet cage over the mass of auburn hair secured in a knot at the nape of her neck, knowing full well she’d only remove it after stepping across the threshold. Under the guise of propriety, her aunt had tortured her for years.

From etiquette during afternoon tea to running a household, Aunt Victoria enforced her opinions over Kate’s every move. Recently she’d expanded her teachings to include the fine art of manipulating men. Snaring a husband was the ultimate goal.

Kate followed the perfume cloud into the parlor. Cream and gold wallpaper, the best her father’s money could buy, adorned each wall. Marble-topped tables stood between overstuffed chairs and a matching sofa. Polished mahogany frames held paintings of stern men and sweeping mountain ranges. A buffet displayed a china tea set adorned with red roses.

Taking a seat on the sole wooden chair in the room, Kate prepared for the upcoming interrogation. The bitter spinster didn’t disappoint.

*(I need some advice. Should the line above stay as is, or instead read Steeling herself for what she would endure over the next two hours, Kate rapped her knuckles against the door.)*

Save the Cat

*Update…I WON!!!!!!!!!!!! So excited to make my very own plot board with the box of “plot board goodies” Melissa is sending my way!

No, not MY cat (who is lounging on the dresser, staring down at the dog, taunting him to jump up. She’s as bad as the cats in Lady and the Tramp.)

Save THE Cat.

What is Save the Cat?

It’s a book, and you can win it if you enter the contest hosted by Melissa Dean. She’s giving away a copy of the book, and other writing goodies, to a lucky participant.

Hop on over to Melissa’s Blog for your chance to win. And, she’s dropped some hints about giving away more than one copy!

Author and Prizes Revealed!

The award-winning author hosting my blog on November 3rd is…Maureen Smith!

Congratulations (and an awesome prize–a signed copy of one of Maureen’s books) go to A. Grey for being the first one to correctly guess her identity!

Maureen will share her journey to publication, including how she landed her agent, Jessica Faust of BookEnds. She’s also looking forward to answering your questions.

And, I have prizes! 

Everyone who asks a question will have their name thrown into a basket. Then, my twins will each pick a name. First name gets a signed copy of one of Maureen’s books, and the second name gets a *critique*  from Maureen!

Now that you know who she is, start thinking of questions.  And yes, more than one question gets you more than one entry for the prizes.

Email me your questions by Monday at 9pm (Pacific Standard Time) to be included in the drawing.

Here are a few links to get you thinking…

Her biography

Her books 

Her news and features

Maureen has a new release coming up in November so you could ask questions about that process too.

I’m not going to set up a point system for spreading the word about this contest, but I’d really appreciate if you could tell your writer friends!

(*We are still working to determine the scale and depth of the critique. I’ll update with exact details later.)


Because I’m coming up on a milestone for posts (ok, it’s just 40, but seriously…how cool is that?)

Because I’m chugging right along on my rewrites, and at the same time coming up with the production side of my book trailer I plan to start producing in about a month (yep, I used to make commercials for a living. My favorite story is when a salesperson told us the golf course wasn’t even built yet, but could we make a commercial to run in three days? By the way…we rocked it)

And, because it’s my blog so I can if I want to…I’m going to “rerun” a previous post.

PS. Castle is on tonight. Don’t forget.


I recently entered, and won, a guest hosting contest over at “Pimp My Novel”. (http://pimpmynovel.blogspot.com)

The post I “reran” here is the one that will be featured on December 23rd, so I am removing it.