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2013 in review ~ and a fun new contest


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s time again for WordPress helper monkeys to regale us with the site stats for Pen of the Dreamer for 2013!

These fun monkeys prepared a year-end annual report for my website/blog. I love this feature! And I’m going to send a few gifts out to some special people who helped make this year a success. Read to the end and see if your name is listed. 🙂

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,200 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

For best overall post with responses:

Ally Robertson aka. Alicia Dean– for an excellent editor’s post and great comments in return! 74 comments with a grand total of 181 views and the highest comment count in 2013, which kicked off last January with a bang!

For most comments posted:

Mae Clair– 39

Liza O’Connor– 36

Kelly Moran– 34

Vonnie Davis– 29

Mackenzie Crowne– 25

I need all six of these lovelies to email me at with your snail mail addresses!

I have a special *Thank You* gift for those who promoted the heck out of this blog or hosted awesome posts this past year that helped me get some fabulous results. 🙂

But I want more! 😆

In 2014 I’m going to run a year-long contest. Whoever generates the most commenter response for their guest post, and the top commenters for the whole year will win- beginning NOW. That means if you are a guest blogger or have your cover posted on UnCover Monday you need to rally people to visit and COMMENT! Viewers only will not count because views alone don’t raise the post to popularity, but comments can. You will be expected to promote the post in every venue and comment often on your post. Each post can be promoted for longer than your own day since this is a blog that has permalinks to share, but responses ON your day is what counts, that’s the date WP records. 😀 Plus, the more you comment, the more numbers you rack up toward winning that category too! 😀

You want to beat this years’ winning numbers so that means more visits per contestant. 🙂 I’m putting a minimum of 50 comments per entrant for the year, and it would be awesome sauce if bloggers can beat 74 comments for guest posters on that day. Maybe 100? More? Leave a comment here to get you started. It can be a new year’s resolution to WIN MY CONTEST!!!!!!!!!

Periodically throughout the year I’ll post a contest reminder because I know we all get busy and don’t always take time, or even have time, to visit and comment on a lot of blogs. We forget to keep up when life intervenes. When it’s over, I’ll pick the top two blogging guests and top four commenters. Winners will receive a goody bags or gift cards-not to mention awesome recognition if you are promoting yourself and/or a book. If you are a winner it will be announced on New Years Day 2015 with a link to you in recognition. Later this year I’ll post the prizes to motivate everyone. 🙂

I wish you all have a blessed New Year!


This is a world wide contest.
Void where prohibited by law.
No purchase is necessary.
Participants MUST be 18 years or older and winners may be asked to verify age.
Prizes will only be mailed inside the US, and within 30 days of contest end.
Winners outside the US will receive a GC* within 30 days of contest end.
*Gift card amounts TBA, but will not be valued at less than one prize package.

Wednesday Wrap-up with Wild Rose Press editor, Ally Robertson


Today I’m debuting yet another new feature on The Ranch. I’m calling this one Wednesday Wrap-up. Why, you might ask. Well this feature is strictly open to editors and publishers to ‘wrap-up’ all your questions, to put rumors to rest, simplify guidelines, tell you exactly what an editor wants, or whatever they might bring to the table. It will allow these professionals to get word out on changes they might be going through, their own inner-workings, or maybe tips on how to better your writing. Once a month I’m going to try to have someone on the ‘inside’ who can answer YOUR questions. Who knows? Sometime in the future I might even host a blog pitch for readers to have the rare opportunity to interact with and get your writing in front of an editor without the slush pile headache!

So for the first edition of Wednesday Wrap-up I’m thrilled to introduce you to a great writer, a friend, sister OKRWA member and (one of) my own publisher’s excellent Suspense editor. Please show Ally some Ranch love!

Thank you for having me, Calisa. Hi! I’m Ally Robertson and I am extremely pleased to talk about our fantastic publisher, The Wild Rose Press, Inc. I am a Suspense editor for the Crimson line, and I started with TWRP when they opened their doors. We are now entering our seventh year of business, and the business continues to grow. I am thrilled and proud to be a part of the company. They truly treat authors and editors with the utmost warmth, respect, and encouragement.

We call our company a garden, and it’s fitting, because we love to help ‘grow’ writers. I don’t know much about actual gardening. (I tend to kill plant life). But I think I can compare it to the care and nurturing a gardener gives plants, helping them put down roots and eventually blossom. Our editors try to look past some of the rough edges for the beauty underneath. We don’t reject a manuscript just because a submission isn’t perfect. We have to see something in your story, in your writing, but if we do, we try to work with you and help you polish it until it’s ready for a contract offer.

I know that some authors are hesitant to sign with a relatively small e-publisher, but I have found many, many advantages to doing so. Especially with a company like TWRP. (I am an author there as well as an editor). With TWRP, you have a presence on the web that you don’t have as a self-published author. (Obviously, you have your own author presence, but not a company ‘store’ where readers can find your books) You have a wonderful marketing team, beautiful covers, editing, and a whole staff of people working for you. (As an SP, you have to pay for all of those things, sometimes, pay a LOT) Also, literally anyone in the world can self-publish. There is something about an editor wanting your work, a publisher wanting to be your publisher, that gives an author a sense of accomplishment, a sense of pride in having reached a goal. (I have self-published some of my titles, but only the ones that did not fit TWRP criteria). A publisher ‘having your back’ lends credibility to your work. There is nothing wrong with self-publishing, but having a publisher behind you elevates your status as an established author.

TWRP is always looking at how they can gain exposure for their authors. This year, for example, they are working even harder to get titles into audio, they have contracted an International Agent who helps sell the catalog to publishers overseas interested in translating the work into another language.  Such a contract was already signed with the country of Greece. They have produced a television ad (can be found on the website), the books were used as props on a movie set (the movie RED), and one of our recent promo steps was to offer authors an opportunity to have their stories come out on Kindle Select 90 days before the official release date.

Now, for some exciting TWRP news. The timing for this blog post couldn’t be more perfect. The Wild Rose Press is making some changes in 2013.

We are now open to submissions in a few genres that are not romance. Up to this point, we have been a ‘romance only’ publisher, but we are now opening up to the following:



Women’s Fiction

Historical Fiction

In the past, I have had to reject some worthy manuscripts that I really enjoyed because the romance wasn’t strong enough. Now, I get to work with a wider variety of genres, and I couldn’t be happier.

Please feel free to ask any questions about TWRP or editing or writing in general. I would be delighted to answer to the best of my ability. You can find us here:

Again, Calisa, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog!

Thank you, Ally! I can see I’ll have to have you back again.

Okay folks, pull out those cheat sheets and ask your questions!