Monday, September 29, 2008

Family Stuff



Sorry I'm late posting but yesterday we went to Homossassa to see Nana and Grandaddy. Daddy went fishing with Grandaddy and we all went swimming. Matthew (four) practiced swimming with only one floatie, my brave boy. :-)
Nate (2) had a very sturdy floatie on but stubbornly clung to the edge of the pool. :-)
And Sean (1) ? Boy, he kept me running. The kid had no fear of the water. Kept trying to dive in.
But it was wonderful fun and I'm so thankful to God for my children.

So-Those are my boys!


Sorry, no writing post today but tomorrow . . . something happened on the trip that made me think of writing.


Hope you all have a great Monday!
Okay, okay. Here's a link on episodic writing. Every author needs to beware this plot trap.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tales from the . . . Crypt? Part 2

Well, I was going to write the nice stuff, but in looking over this particular entry, I didn't really find anything. So I scoured the comments and found some sugar to help me swallow the bitter pill of reality.

Judge A said I had a good hook.
Judge B made me feel better about this chapter. Said I did a good job creating believable characters and that the setting was interesting.
Judge C said I did a good job raising questions that the reader might want answered.

I'm not a stranger to contests. I absorb the positive stuff first, study the negative, and then soak in the positive again. It helps buffer the blow of learning my chapter is not a romance masterpiece. *grinning here*

Like all of you said, this is a subjective business. What is beautiful to one is ugly to another. It's not personal, and yet it so completely is.

Thank you all for your constructive and edifying comments last post. It is hard to take criticism, both in writing and in our personal lives. But the ability to do so can make a world of difference to whether we succeed or not.

And yet, praise is necessary. Have you ever received a compliment that blew you away? That had you grinning for days?

Writing related or no, I'd love to hear about it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tales from the . . . Crypt?? Part I

Not really, but sometimes it feels that way. I'll share some of the depressing stuff first, then later more "inspiring" words.

Contest results came back recently. I thought I'd post some comments made.

1. Heroine seems weak.
2. Hero seems unlikeable (lol, I've been hearing that alot!)
3. Need more practice writing before I'm ready for publication (ouch)
4. Need more showing than telling

These are some of the main things pointed out by three different judges. Yep, reading them hurt but I pretty much agree with all of them but one. Can you guess which one? :-) And may I also add that while I've heard of cruel judges, these comments were in no way snarky or mean. I'm very thankful for the judges taking time to look at my work and give their input.

So, have any of you entered contests? I'd love to hear about your experience. Or how about just some of the feedback on your work. Any comments that made you cringe? Bash your head against a desk? Hurl the computer and devour obscene amounts of chocolate?

Ummm, not that I did that . . .

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Pile By My Bed

First, a whole bunch of Amish books by two bestselling authors. I picked up one the other night and set it down at page 15. Sorry, but it was SO boring. I picked up the other author's and made it to page 13. I liked the writing a lot better, though the plot still seemed slow, but because I was tired I planned to pick it up the next day.
Thank goodness I was saved by the library.
I love to read Amanda Quick because of her quirky heroines and amusingly serious heroes.
Then my Barnes and Noble order came. YeeHaw!!
Beside my bed:

1. A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman. This is the second in the series and I'm already almost finished with it. This one seems even better than the first. Less dramatic but just as hooky and in a way, it has more depth. But that's probably just me because I'm sympathetic toward Charity. Or should I call her Scarlett? (wink, wink) Anyhow, I'm loving it!! Go CBA. In my opinion, Lessman is an author to keep an eye on.

2. Single Sashimi by Camy Tang. This is the third installment of her Sushi Series and I bought it for several reasons. A) I loved the first and second ones B) Tang is generous. I won the second book, Only Uni on a blog and when she sent it she also sent some extra books. I'm all about free books! :-) C) She helps authors out. See her Story Sensei blog.

3. Mulberry Park, by Judy Duarte. Although she's multipubbed with Harlequin, this is her first single title. I bought it because A) I wanted to support her debut Single Title, especially as it's a book close to her heart and B) Months ago on a writing link Duarte took time out of her day to exchange e-mails with me and give me some publishing tips.

So that's my pile.
For now. :-)

What's next to your bed, hogging the floor? And why?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Links for the Weekend

Here's some links I found interesting this week.

Agent Chip MacGregor has a fascinating post on how to create page-turning novels.

Check out Camy Tang's helpful post over at LaShaunda's Blog on writing query letters.

I knew it!!!! I know who Miss Snark is! Oh my gosh, I'm so screaming right now. Sorry Snark, you're outed. Check out this blog. Read the comments.

My friend Anita has her amazing website up! Make sure to listen to the music. It's lovely.

Query Counts: One request Thursday, Two rejections yesterday, One rejection today.
Interesting tidbit: Snail mail SASEs come back sooner.



Have a great weekend guys!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tag- I'm it.

Hey, I got my first tag ever by Susan of the Christian Writer-Reader Connection.

Here goes seven things you might not know about me.


1. An extra bone in each foot
2. Love to learn foreign languages
3. Got married two days after high school, and I wasn't pregnant :-)
4. I love to dance but got no groove
5. I'm 5'10
6. Though it's not my normal style, I love the movie Napoleon Dynamite. Stop groaning everyone. Sheesh.
7. Hhhmm, can't think of anything else.

I tag Haleigh, Candi, Karen (a very sweet irritable mother), Anita and Chatty Kelly. I'd like to tag more but either you already got it or I'm tired of copying and pasting my blog list. So if you're not on here, I still want to know!!! Leave it in my comments or tell me where I can go to find out about you :-)





Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rules, Schmules

The last few days I have been devouring an absolutely fabulous book. A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman is one of the best inspirational romances I've read in years. I say this because not only did her characters (especially her very sexy heroes) hook me, but she wasn't afraid to show that passion is indeed a pure gift from God!

If you didn't know it, CBA has been very strict in the past about a hero and heroine's physical interactions. So strict that it often felt unreal to me. As though these people who should be completely enrapture by each other are nothing more than friends.

Kudos to Julie and to many other authors who are able to portray passion in a God-honoring way.

But to the point of this post . . .

Her book just came out a few months ago. And la-dee-da, guess what I found!

Broken rules.

Now, she has a highly respected agent and is published by a Revell, a major CBA publishing house. Tons of people, professionals, read her book.

No one cared when a rule was broken. Probably because she did it well. She has her own, distinct voice that calls for her own, distinct style.

Who wants an example of a broken rule? LOL, sorry Julie.

PG 473 Heroine's POV "Turning, she stared up at him, her eyes glowing." Let's play a game. :-) Who can tell me what "rule" was broken, and how.



Not that it matters. I flew through this tome and I think you will too. If you love romance with strong emphasis on God, this is a book you'll adore. I did. And I'm gearing up to get the next one, which just came out!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Who's The Boss?

Regarding the rules I mentioned in a previous blog, I've been wondering--who said so? I mean, did some editor say this is how great books should be written? Or did the rules come about through authors? Or did readers make the rules by buying more from authors who wrote certain ways?
Pick up a romance from twenty years ago and it'll be way different than how we're told to write now. I'm not knocking the rules. They're great. As long as you remember that they're more of guidelines. Following them to the letter does NOT guarantee publication.
Sometimes I see unpublished writers fretting over these "rules", afraid they're not following them exactly.
Who can we blame for this . . . stress, I wonder. :-)
I guess us, the readers. Through demand we've given success to writers who tell stories with words in a certain way. A great way, really.
Adverbs combined with said DO pull me out of a story. Unclear head-hopping totally confuses me.
So I stumbled across Tina Russo's website the other day. It has some great articles, including
Elmore Leonard's rules for writing.
He pretty much says it all.
What do you think? Are rules made to be broken? And have you ever thrown them out the proverbial window in favor of creative expression?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Tribute

When 9/11 happened, I had just started my first "real" job as a bank teller. I was eighteen and had never heard of the twin towers. The situation seemed distant to me, unreal. It wasn't until later that the reality slammed into me.

Today while driving my four year old to Pre-K, I heard a Nickelback song with recordings from that day. I started crying, which is kind of weird for me. But hearing the fear in voices made this tragedy so much clearer.

Because of evil choices, thousands of lives were affected. This freedom of choice seems to be both our greatest blessing and our greatest curse.

Eight years ago men chose evil. Let us remember the consequences of their public hatred. Let us remember and choose to do good.

Let us choose to love.

Irony

Remember how I was sucked into buying Janet Dean's debut novel Courting Miss Adelaide? (By Walmart, not by her).
Well, yesterday I received an e-mail saying I had won the book on Lena Nelson Dooley's blog a few days ago. Haha. Talk about ironic.

There are still free copies floating around. Today Janet Dean's interview is posted at Romance Writers on the Journey.

I started the book yesterday and am half-through already because it's so cute! I love the heroine and the hero. Dean has a lot of plot threads subtly woven throughout these beginning chapters and I'm interested to see what the end result is.

Does anyone notice the time? Yeah, 6:15. My two and four year old woke me up.
argghhh!! I miss the days when they slept until eight.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Well, I wasn't going to do a post today but I stumbled across too many interesting blogs.

First, if you're tired of following all the "rules" of writing . . . You know, the no-adverbs rule, and the POV purist rule, and no dialogue tags . . . I could go on, but I won't. Check out Kristen Painter's Divalicious blog for the rules that matter. They're much more flexible and I agree with them totally!

Then, I was going to follow Janet Dean around on her blog tour to try to win her debut novel Courting Miss Adelaide but while at Walmart the book section sucked me in with its literary force field and forced me to buy it. But if you'd like to try to win a free copy, check out her interview at the Seekers. She'll tell you where she'll be today.


Last but not least, Romance Writers on the Journey is hosting an author who wrote-get this- 47 manuscripts before she was published. If her book was my kind of romance I'd buy it just to support her. Sheesh, talk about fortitude and dedication. Delilah Marvelle is definitely worth reading about!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Another Rejection

But I feel pretty good because the agent said she liked many elements of my project! Haha, that's definitely a boost.
She'll be getting a thank you card.
Anybody else get rejections in the mail? Requests? Share so I can be jealous :-)

My queries out list is dwindling. It's time to search RWA's website for more agents to astound with my "astonishing work of genius".
That's a mutilated quote taken from Randy Ingermanson but I can't find the original so am relying on my "genius" memory.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

You Go, Girl!

The American Title V contest hosted by Romantic Times Magazine and Dorchester Publishing has announced its eight finalists.

I'm excited to know one of those finalists. Marie-Claude Bourque. Not only is she a kind lady who gives great critiques, she's also one awesome writer! It's pretty cool that she's finaled in this prestigious contest. Get this, the winner is promised . . . A Publishing Contract by Dorchester!! Too cool.


Good luck, Marie-Claude. I'm rooting for you.


You can check out her website and her Myspace for more info about her paranormal dark romance, Ancient Whispers.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The power (or not) of sacrifice

The other night I watched the movie Hancock. I love it! My curiosity had been piqued by someone's blog where they mentioned him and how they wondered how he'd become heroic, since he was depicted as decidedly unheroic. Plus, I usually like any movie with Will Smith in it. So I saw it, loved it. Especially the end. His true test of character showed in his sacrifice.
Then I watched the movie Wanted, with Jolie. I expected to like it. I kept hoping to really love it.

Didn't happen. And the sacrifice at the end? It did nothing for me.

So I've always been a big proponent of sacrifice in our novels. As part of the character arc and for emotional intensity.

But I learned something from these two movies.

Sacrifice means nothing if you don't care about what happens to the character.

From the beginning, we knew John Hancock was a jerk. Among other names. But through the eyes of the other hero (whose name escapes me) we realize Hancock is misunderstood. Sympathetic, even. And I wanted to root for him.
In Wanted, I had difficulty connecting to a protagonist, so when said protagonist does the Big sacrifice, I just didn't care that much.

It's a good lesson to remember for my plots.

What movies and/or books have impacted you because of their protag's sacrifice? And which ones fell flat?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lessons in Head Hopping

Head-hopper or purist? Originally, I hopped heads. Badly. But eventually I discovered that being a POV purist is "correct". Yes, it's quoted because I hate it.
You're probably not wondering what I'm talking about because POV is a huge thing in writer's circles. But I'll write it anyway, because I'm exhausted and can't think of anything else to post about tonight.
Head-hopper means you see things through different character's eyes/heads in the same scene. Purist is one character per scene or scene break. Like Nora Roberts can hop heads all she wants because she does it well but many writers don't do it anymore.
If you absolutely have to (like me, lol) then make sure the hop is clear. A good way to do that is have the character perform an action first, then think a thought or say something.
If you can keep the scene in one character's POV, you're better off. It's safer that way because you don't run the risk of losing the reader's attention.
My tiny lesson is over because the chocolate is sitting on the counter, waiting for moi.

How do you handle POV? And do you think it's a big deal on how it's done?