Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Coffee. Please. I can’t find the pot. My eyes feel like burning gumballs. My tushie hurts from too many hours in the computer chair. I really need some good, hot coffee. And a shower. I could really go for a shower except I know another chapter is just waiting to get out. My muse Persephone says it is. And if I don’t listen to Persephone she cracks that whip of hers and nails me with a stiletto. OUCH!
Laundry. I need to do laundry. Is it really cheating to wear the same underwear two days in a row? Really? Just this once. I mean, I only have a few more chapters to go. How many days is that?
That’s not fit behavior for a diva? I’m not a diva. I’m just a multi-pubbed author if I can get this puppy to the editor by the end of the month like she asked me to. She’s a pussycat compared to Persephone, though. It’s WHAT? No, that’s not possible. It wasn’t that close to the end of the month last time I looked. Of course, that might have been last week.
Bills. I need to pay bills. I actually have a letter from my broker telling me I can take $3,000 out of my account and I haven’t sent it because I don’t want to take the time to check the little boxes. It would take 30 seconds, tops. I also have to sign it? Too much time. The bills can wait. Even the one for $600 for heating oil when it’s not even winter yet. Especially that one.
It’s the phone. God help me, the phone. It’s my 84 year old neighbor calling ME to ask if I’M all right. She says she hasn’t seen me lately. Of course she hasn’t seen me lately. My tushie is glued to the chair with Super Glue. My neighbors act like I’m one of those frail elderly people you should check on when the weather gets too hot or cold. They know. My frail elderly neighbors are going great guns. If it weren’t for them, I might be dead. On the other hand, if my friend Nancy is right and we all reincarnate anyway, I can come back in my next life to see if anybody read me. There’s no sign of it in this life. I haven’t sold a book on Amazon in thirty-eight days. Of course, I haven’t had a new release in a lot longer than that and I won’t if I don’t get back to the keyboard.
Coffee, I need it. Now. Steaming hot and a lot of it.
IF I DON’T FIND THE FREAKING COFFEE POT, THERE’S GOING TO BE REAL TROUBLE IN THIS HOUSE!!!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Title: Marked Book Two: The Unsaid Trilogy
Author: Sally Royer-Derr
Author Website: Sally Royer-Derr
Genre: Mainstream Romance: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Link to purchase
What I liked: My father’s eyes. The only thing he ever gave me.
He had the blood of a murderer flowing through his body and he often wondered if he too possessed murderous tendencies.
I’ll find out soon.
He strapped on his gun and walked out the door.
Cameron Brown is torn between avenging his father’s death and following his heart that beats beneath the life-long hatred for Danny and Amy Lopez. Cameron only met his father, the terrifying Alex Miller, once – and that was when Alex was in prison. Cameron cannot understand why he feels compelled to finish what Alex could not. Is it the only way Cameron can feel loved again since the loss of his mother?
In the third and final book of The Unsaid Trilogy, Marked, Sally Royer-Derr’s suspenseful tale promises more of the exciting twists readers enjoyed in the previous two volumes.
Conveniently, Cameron becomes a police officer and just as conveniently lands a job with the department where Danny Lopez works. Cameron can execute is plan by getting close enough to the Lopez family to destroy them. Until Emily Lopez, Amy's daughter, ruins Cameron’s plans. And why is Marissa Blake, policewoman, so eager to help Cameron? Does Cameron share his father's ability to overpower women and render them useful?
Unlike Alex, Cameron does not possess the same evil tendencies. Cameron knows he should, he must; hate the Lopez family with every ounce of his being. Cameron finds this difficult because he is actually falling in love with Emily. How can he hurt her and her family? How can he not?
Royer-Derr continues her story telling through her multi-dimensional characters and their strong loyalties. Each character must not only fight for what is right but must also decide whether the loyalties of the past are still important in the present.
Book blurb: Cameron Brown, Alex's son, is intent on avenging his father's death. His obsession with Captain Danny Lopez leads him into a career as a police detective working in Danny's precinct. Cameron didn't count on having doubts about his hatred of Danny. Or the romance he would find with Emily who is Danny and Amy's daughter. His sights are marked to destroy the Lopez family, but will love change his mind?
Book excerpt: The tantalizing smells of Italian meats and cheeses filled the small neighborhood deli. Cameron Brown walked up to the greasy, white Formica counter to place his order.
"Hey, Officer Brown," Joe, the owner of the deli, greeted him. "Hot today, isn't it?" He wiped his perspiring forehead with his arm. "What'll it be, the usual?"
"Yeah, Joe." Cameron leaned his tall frame against the counter. He watched him assemble the large Italian sub, extra cheese and mayo, no onions. His dinner of choice, practically every night since he moved over the busy deli, four months ago.
He paid for the sub Joe handed him, wrapped in white deli paper, and proceeded up the narrow stairway in the back of the building. Opening the gray door of his tiny apartment, he walked inside and dropped the sandwich on the miniscule kitchen counter.
Cameron unbuttoned his shirt and laid his gun on the counter as well. What a day. Two murders, and a young boy was one of the victims. It had drained all the energy he had left. All he wanted to do was eat his food and sit in front of the TV. He grabbed a beer out of the fridge, took his sub, and sat down on the frayed, green sofa. Clicking the remote, he surfed through the channels until he found something mindless to watch. A rerun of The Office fit the bill. He laughed watching Michael Scott and the gang struggle through the day.
I wish I had problems like that, easily solved in thirty minutes. Cameron looked around the shabby apartment he inhabited. The same apartment his father called home for a few months, almost six years ago. Six years had passed since his father was killed and Cameron's obsession with him grew every single year. When he got the job with the Reading Police Department, he knew he wanted to find and live in this apartment.
The only recollection he had of his father was in the jail visiting room at seven-years-old. Even though he denied Cameron was his son, Cameron could see in his eyes he knew it was the truth.
The son of a murderer. The title wasn't easy to live with in the city where the most prominent murder took place. Cameron hoped to get to know Alex, his father, when he was released from jail. Maybe get to know another side of him. A side that cared he had a son in this world.
Cameron tossed the empty wrapper on the chipped coffee table. He mindlessly stared at the droning TV in front of him. Danny Lopez took care of any chance I may have had of getting to know my father. He would meet him soon, according to his plan, the man who watched his father take his last breath. The one who took his life.
Tammy Elizabeth Southin
Friday, July 23, 2010
Title: Retribution Book Two: The Unsaid Trilogy
Author: Sally Royer-Derr
Author Website: Sally Royer-Derr
Genre: Mainstream Romance: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Link to purchase
What I liked: “He’s going back to jail,” Amy said. She laid the knife down on the black granite kitchen counter.
I wish everything could stay exactly as it is today.
Amy Lopez believes that after 15 years she is safe and secure. Her solid and sizzling marriage to Danny Lopez has produced two beautiful children and the perfect loving home. But with her past in the form of Alex Miller about to hit her square in the face, literally and figuratively, again is Amy really safe or has she been lulled into a sense of false security?
If we had to face the most terrifying event in our lives, would we have what it takes to stand up for what we believe in? Could we sacrifice ourselves to save those nearest to us? Amy is the determined heroine who has to prepare for battle yet again and she will need to draw on every ounce of strength to do so.
In Retribution, the second gripping instalment of the Unsaid Trilogy author Sally Royer-Derr takes us further into Amy’s psychological journey. Unlike so many series that tend to be somewhat predictable, Royer-Derr’s Retribution throws some great twists into the plot to keep readers glued-and on their toes. Alex has an ally and has convinced everyone, save for Amy and Danny, that he is a new and improved man. Amy knows Alex for what he really is.
The tension is mounting between Amy and Alex, leading up to a showdown. But the stakes are higher this time. It is no longer just Amy against Alex because Alex is ready to strike out at anything and everything Amy loves. Alex is bent on destroying Amy’s happiness, her life, and every last family member if it is the last thing Alex does.
Let’s hope he meets his end before it’s too late.
Will Alex succeed in his hate-fuelled and rage-fed revenge quest? Will Amy finally be free of the evil force that has cast a shadow over her life? Retribution keeps us hooked to the end and prepares readers for the extraordinary events in the third and final book of the Unsaid Trilogy.
Book blurb: Alex is back and looking for revenge. His romance with the prison psychologist made him a free man, and once again his sights are set on Amy. The strong love Amy and Danny share continues to grow after fourteen years of marriage, but will Alex destroy their lives in his zealous quest for retribution?
Book excerpt: "This man has been convicted of murdering one woman, kidnapping and attempting to murder me," Amy stated to the parole board in the dingy gray meeting room. "He should not be released into society. The potential violence he may inflict on another woman is too great."
"Mrs. Lopez, I understand your concerns," Melissa Cunningham nodded. "However, as the prison psychologist I have been seeing Mr. Miller for over ten years. It is my belief he is rehabilitated and no longer a threat to society. In fact, I feel he has reached a point where he can start contributing to society again."
Amy struggled to keep her emotions in check listening to this ridiculous woman spout Alex's miraculous recovery every time he was eligible for parole.
"Dr. Cunningham," Amy demanded. "Are you saying you guarantee Mr. Miller will not harm another woman if he is released?"
"No, I can't say that," replied Melissa. "But I can say it is unlikely."
"Thanks for the reassurance," Amy retorted. Looking at the rest of the parole board she pleaded. "Mr. Miller is still a danger to me, my family and anybody else who gets in his way. He is a dangerous man, capable of just about anything. Please keep this in mind when making your decision."
Amy walked back to her rigid folding chair next to Danny. He took her hand, holding it tightly as she stared at Dr. Cunningham, who still pled Alex's impressive rehabilitation. A plain woman with no nonsense light blonde hair pulled away from her face and only a hint of makeup on her bumpy completion. She was thin, uncomfortably so, as her navy blue suit dwarfed her emaciated frame.
Despite her forgettable appearance her pale grey eyes blazed with passion and determination in her plea for Alex's impending freedom, making Amy wonder how Alex could arouse such loyalty from a trained professional. Is it possible she sees a glimmer of a real person inside of Alex? Amy shook her head, knowing Alex only showed Dr. Cunningham what he wanted her to see.
Tammy Elizabeth Southin
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Never Tease A Wolf
Author Website: http://www.la-day.com/
Genre: Erotic Shapeshifter Romance
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Buy Link: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-8340-never-tease-a-wolf.aspx
What I liked:
This was a smoking hot, fun to read story. Damianos is a great Alpha male and I loved that when Jenny decided she was going after her man, she spared nothing to get him, even learning how to dance. I’ve never read LA Day before but after reading this sexy romp, I am looking forward to checking out more of her work.
While it was a short story I enjoyed it immensely. For me it was the perfect lunch time read but would easily also be a perfect bedtime story.
A harem outfit and a flogger? Sounds like a party. That’s why Jenny chose them as the key ingredients in her plan of seduction. For two years she has worked for Damianos Alexander, but tonight at the costume party she’s determined to become more than his secretary. Tonight, she’ll take that sexy male animal home—to her bed.
Damianos always gets what he wants, and he wants Jenny. She’s half naked, her body undulating in the movements of an ancient dance. Tempting every man in the room, including him. Too bad she doesn’t realize she’s tempting a wolf. Once she unleashes his feral side, there is no turning back.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
by Melissa Blue
Genre: Historical Romance (Civil War/American)
Publisher: Champagne Books
What I Liked:
I hope I'm not the only one who started humming Metallica when I read this title. Not that it was appropriate for the story (other than, obviously, the subject matter), but it just put me in a good mood to read the book. I love the black album--there's so much to enjoy about the song Unforgiven. And this book, Angel and the Unforgiven, had a lot to enjoy as well.
First, I'll say that I love the setting. I think there are not enough Civil War and post-Civil War romances out there. Post-war in general, if I'm honest. I think that post-war romances could have a lot to say to our country at this time in our history, in addition to having the upside of the ultimately hopeful ending that romance novels are known for. This novel had both: the reality of a post-war culture and the hopeful feeling of a romance novel.
Second, I always appreciate a Captain. Eliza Knight wrote probably my favorite series of Captains ever, and I think that Angel and the Unforgiven gives a similar picture of a man who has been at war and his struggle to understand how to love a woman who doesn't share that experience.
And I have to say, this heroine has one of my favorite unusual heroine names of all time. Love the name "Cadence". It just has such great... well, cadence. And the hero is really quite dashing.
I appreciated the intrigue of having her dressed as a cabin boy, and the scene where we find out that she's really a she (in the eyes of the hero, anyway), is great. Also, although I don't want to give too much away, I appreciated his valor and respect of her. I think Curtis was a good hero. All in all, I enjoyed it.
When murder suspect Cadence Jamison disguises herself as a boy and stows aboard the Heavenly Mistress Captain Curtis Langston may find his two past occasions for rescuing her more than he bargained for.
Bitter and Cynical after service in the Confederate Army, Curtis believes himself no more deserving of another’s love than capable of returning it. Content to drift through life free of emotional and therefore romantic complications the once carefree and mischievous rogue may be forever gone. But when Cadence appears in his life Curtis finds himself smiling again, smiling and dreaming and feeling more like himself than he has in five years. Drawn with almost unnatural force to the sweet and innocent goodness Cadence offers, Curtis blunders again and again to resist the pull of what a life with her could be.
Can Cadence show this wounded soul how to love again? Or is he doomed to be forever unforgiven, haunted by the ghosts of his past?
Genre: Historical Short Novella
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Friday, July 16, 2010
Celtic Hearts Campus Workshops for August.
Registrations open at: http://www.celtichearts.org/workshops.html
FMI: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org (CHRW Education Coordinator)
08/01 thru 08/15
Instructor: Cindy Carroll
A good logline can make people sit up and take notice. Whether you write books or scripts the logline is an essential part of your marketing material. Just the facts, Ma'am is a two week workshop that covers what makes a good logline.
2. I already have an idea - turning your idea into a logline.
3. Generating ideas - how to generate ideas for loglines.
4. High concept - just having a high concept doesn’t mean you have a logline.
5. Bonus Lesson - The Art of the Three Line Pitch
6. Staying focused - using loglines to stay on track
Feedback provided for student loglines
Cindy Carroll joined RWA in 1992 and started out writing novels but turned to scripts when an idea for one of her favorite television shows wouldn't leave her alone. That first attempt, and her second teleplay for the same show, garnered her honorable mention in the Writer's Digest 76th Annual Writing Competition in the screenplay category. She graduated from Hal Croasmun's screenwriting ProSeries intensive in June of 2008. Her interview with David Rambo, writer/producer for CSI appeared in the summer special edition of The Rewrit, the newsletter for Scriptscene, Romance Writers of America 's screenwriting chapter. Currently working on the rewrite of her second feature, Cindy is also developing two new television pilots.
The Book Factory: Producing Multiple Novels in One Year
Instructor: Kerri Nelson
Is life getting in the way of you completing that novel? Ever think there’s not enough hours in the day to find time to write? Have a full time job distracting you from your real passion of being a novelist? Are family responsibilities weighing you down and interfering with your writing goals?
I’m here to tell you that you can do it all and do it successfully. In 2009, I successfully managed one husband, two jobs, three children, a difficult pregnancy, AND still managed to write twelve books, sell ten of those books (including all the editing and promotion), and coped with other various life challenges thrown in just for fun!
How did I do all of that and still find time to eat and sleep?
I developed a method of writing known as “The Book Factory Method”. It does require commitment and desire to “get it done”. If you’re willing to put in the effort, you can produce multiple books in one year.
What’s the benefit of completing multiple books in one year?
The more books you have ready to submit, the more chance you’ll receive contract offers on one or more of those books.
Why shouldn’t you just focus on one book and continue polishing that book all year long?
The cold, hard truth is that you might not ever sell that one specific book. You should always have more than one project “in the works”.
Are you one of those writers who starts multiple projects but never finishes any of them?
Then this class is for you as well. We’ll talk about how to finally see those projects through to completion.
Have trouble with time management or procrastination?
We’ll address methods for getting organized and staying focused. Plus much, much more!
If you want to learn how to get started, stay on track, and get those books ready to submit…this workshop puts a method to the madness of novel writing.
Kerri Nelson has always been passionate about reading books but when she wrote her first poem in the second grade, she discovered her love of writing. At the age of sixteen, she became a columnist for her local newspaper as the high school correspondent for the weekly "Panther Tales" column. She won the Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year Award for her efforts.
After an education and career in the legal field, Kerri began to pen romantic suspense novels with a legal or law enforcement theme. She is a true southern belle and comes complete with her dashing southern gentleman husband and three adorable children. When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her baking homemade goodies for her family, feeding her addiction to blogging online or designing custom made book trailers. Kerri is an active member of Romance Writers of America as well as numerous Chapters including Gothic Romance Writers, Futuristic Fantasy & Paranormal, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.
Kerri is a multi-published author of romance in every genre from romantic suspense and paranormal to young adult and inspirational novels. In 2009, Kerri wrote and sold twelve books to multiple publishers using her Book Factory method. Her latest paranormal romantic suspense “Courting Demons” will release from Dorchester Publishing in 2011.
Read more about Kerri’s books at her website: www.kerrinelson.com
Come out and chat with Kerri at her blog: www.kerribookwriter.blogspot.com
Need a custom made video trailer ad for your novel? Visit the award winning Book Boost Designs page at Kerri's website here: www.kerrinelson.com/9.html
Need affordable cover ad placement? Or want to play, learn and compete with other authors in the biz? Visit the Book Boost Blog here: www.thebookboost.blogspot.com
For the latest news and updates from Kerri, follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/kerribookwriter
Monday, July 12, 2010
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
What I liked: What didn't I like from this story! I liked everything, it was very hot and sexual. It was a beautiful story about Grace who wants to have more in life and then she ends up meeting Mark. Grace doesn't expect to fall for him, she figures she would get her fantasy fulfilled. When the two meet they have a lot in common and not all of it in bed. I really liked both characters and the scenario. There is also some action here as we get to see Mark's friend and how the war affected him. Cayto knows how to add the suspense, action, along with the romance.
Former army-turned-ER doctor Grace McKinnon is through with going to bed with nothing more than fantasies and a yearning to resurrect her personal life. She’s determined instead to take the Cougar Challenge with a flesh and hot-blooded younger man. She discovers the perfect opportunity steaming up the curtain of exam room four.
Captain Mark Bennington has been locked and loaded—ready for action—since meeting Grace. He’s on a mission to heat up the Boston nights while on leave. This sexy older woman is lighting his way, fulfilling double-time every sex wish he’s ever made. But it’s going to be the toughest fight of his life to convince her to take a chance on more than just a fling.
Published by: Old Line Publishing, L.L.C.
Book Blurb: Zale. Gauthier. Varden. These three dynasties... They all sound like something out of an ancient, oriental myth or fairy tale. The concept of humans and dragons helping and living in harmony with one another, without fear. To me, that's exactly what they are. A distant dream only read of, whispered secretly, quietly yearned for. For, you see, I am the new Quelda of Tynan.
These words echo the mystery, horror, and romance found within Schulze's fantasy novel. Along with her new husband, Chalom, Crislin must choose to embrace cruel tradition, run from it, or stand against it. The young couple's only hope is to rally the help of the three peaceful dragon dynasties of Sulamon - but tradition is not on their side, even outside the realm of Tynan. The dragons outside Tynan's borders have been rumered as too stubborn and proud to believe their Tynan brothers would commit such horrors as inflicted upon the Quelda. Gaining their aid is not a likely hope. Yet any hope at all is valued in Tynan...
If they are to stand a change of bringing cruel tradition to a permanent end, Crislin and Chalom must brave the constant, consuming blizzards of the Ever-white. They must brave the three dynasties and the challenges awaiting there. Together, they must convince the dragon emperors to allow them access to the shrines which house the secred Aria - protective strands of music which may be able to disperse the evil from Tynan and unite the four dynasties of Sulaimon as a whole once again. Their only aid stems from a sprite whose moods are as unstable as her magic, a yough minstrel, and a mysterious fox. Despite the odds, such plans are daring, dangerous, unprecedented, but fully possible - if they can escape the Wall first.
What I thought: I have never read a book like this before, so when these wierd creatures started to change colors I was not sure what to think.
There was not much characterization for my liking, and the dialogue was a bit bland. What I got from the main character, Crislin, she seemed to worry about others, but a little bit not sure of herself and needy.
I enjoyed the action and description. It really brought things together for me because it was exciting and flowed with what was going on. I would recomend the story for a young adult.
Excerpt: In Sulaimon, four kingdoms stretch to the four corners of that vast land, each ruled and guarded by four dragon dynasties.
To the East, across the feathery meadows, upon an island hovering not far from the coast lays the Zale Dynasty. Serpent-like dragons slither through pure ocean waters and fields, slipping so silently it looks like a gentle wind sways the tall reeds. Raised facets glitter like sapphires and diamonds upon smooth, aqua-blue scales. They are the most playful of the dragon families, the gentlest dragon rulers. They catch fish and rabbits for the people of the island and protect them from sharks, wolves, and other fearsome creatures. Serene bynature, the Zale dragons spend much time in meditation, studying peace and charity towards all. Thus, they require from their human inhabitants the lightest of the required tributes. In exchange for care and protection, the Zale Dragons oblige only an annual feast which the people prepare and share with the dragons.
To the West, the treacherous, harshly windy Valther Mountains loom. On top stands the Gauthier Dynasty. Unlike the elegant Eastern palace clad in gold and light silks, a sturdy, stone fortress houses the Gauthier Dragons. They are the fiercest of the dynasties, a warring family. They do not war needlessly, though if the humans of their land were ever threatened, they would brutally defend them until death. Many a time, their strength protects the people from wild mountain beasts. Thick, leathery, long wings battle snow and ice to find those humans who lose their way. The dragons also quarry great rocks, minerals, and precious gems which their human architects build with and the blacksmiths forge into great armor, weapons, all sorts of fine things. Thus, the tribute the Gauthier dragons require every year includes some of their blacksmiths' most excellently crafted armor, weaponry, and jewlry. The Gauthier dragons are great collectors, admiring the humans' abilities to create such magnificent wonders despite their frailties.
All in all, my first try at fantasy has challanged me to be more open minded to the wierd. I will try it again, as a second try.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
I actually finaled with two different manuscripts. One, I'll call "RN" and the other "RS" (to preserve some of my anonymity, haha, as if such a thing exists). They are the two extremes of my writing experience.
One (RS), I wrote almost ten years ago and have been revising over the years. It was the first novel I had ever written, and I finished it when I was 20 years old. I knew absolutely nothing about how to write romance novels. I went on to do an MFA and write literary short fiction for many years, and that novel is very much a product of my training in literary fiction. It was slow, richly detailed, and incredibly complex. In short, it wouldn't sell anywhere as a romance novel.
I'd sent it out to agents in January and gotten nothing but rejections. In a bold move a couple of months ago, after some particularly insightful critiques from a friend, I went through the rewrite process with RS. Changed the genre, beefed up the conflict, added some research detail that I'd taken out in an attempt to make it move more quickly, and got rid of about half of the plot complexities.
The book I have today is a much more interesting, much more well-written book than the one I finished at 20. That shouldn't be a surprise. Given that almost all authors will say that their writing improves over the years, I would expect that. But it still has enough of my inner ingenue that it makes me nostalgic when I read it. I still have a lot of work to do, as per the judges' suggestions. And I don't expect to get a requested full from the agent/editor final judge. It's still way too rough, and way too similar to the neophyte version of my college years.
The RN novel is exactly the opposite. I wrote it in a month. It represents the newest work that I've done, and is probably the project that I'm most excited about right now. Both RS and RN are historical in nature, but RN is a time period I hadn't written in before. Yet one that I have a lot of affinity for. This is my favorite project. It's also the one that I spend the least time with, currently, because it's basically stalled. In order to do my final edit, I have to do some major research work for a couple of the elements in the book, and it's going to take me awhile before I have the time to hunker down in the library for a week or so to work through these research projects.
RN, I also wrote under a pen name. Because it's not a genre I'm publicly writing in yet. I want to see what comes of a couple of contacts I've made. It's possible that I'll continue to use the pen name (and potentially a writing partner who's emerged) to work in this genre. It's also possible that I won't get any kind of traction in this genre, and I'll have to just cut my time losses and return to the genre I'm writing in right now.
The contest itself was a whirlwind for me. I entered three manuscripts because these are works that I'm not getting any feedback about right now, and I desperately needed the feedback. I got some great judging comments that will really help me take these manuscripts to the next level.
In contests that I've entered before, I've had two extremes of judging advice. On one side, I've had judges (published and unpublished) who are obviously interested in giving feedback. Some of it is constructive, and some of it is downright mean. What I've learned (although I didn't have this issue in the GC) is that I need to read the comments and then leave the entry alone for a couple of days before I do any editing.
What happened when I finaled in the Genesis was that I had some really intense feedback, even though I finaled, and I had two and a half days to get my entry back in for the final judges. I didn't take the time I needed to come down from being personally affected by the criticism, and I just jumped right into editing. I ended up editing away all the personality from my entry, and sent in a final entry to the judges that was not at all representative of my writing. Frustrating.
I'm not making the same mistake with the Golden Claddagh. When I got my entries back, I sat with the feedback for a couple of days. Then I came back and read it again about a week later. And now, tomorrow, I'm going to read them again. Only then will I finally start to edit the entries for the final judges. Thankfully, because I have the time, I'm able to take this time. But I think I've decided that I'm going to try to do this with all critiques and feedback from now on. Otherwise, I lose my voice amidst my desire to please others.
Anyway, that's sort of my journey. I hope that's what Denise was looking for. I'm just about to start my final edits on the RS/RN entries for the final judges. If you're interested, you can read more about my writing journey (including my contest entries/finals) on my writing blog or on my foodie romance blog. You can also follow me on Facebook or on Twitter if you are interested in those media. I'll be writing about my novels, my teaching, and life in general, plus reviewing more books. I hope to see you here and everywhere else. Thanks again for all your support!
And thanks for coming to the Pen & Muse. We do love our readers!
Monday, July 5, 2010
Do you find that your muse takes over when writing?
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Coast of Normandy, August 1066
Above chalk cliffs, two knights sat buffeted by streamers of remorseless wind. They had done serious swordplay and hard riding, and they and their horses were sweated. It was the only reason to be glad of the cooling wind blowing hard onshore.
“We cannot sail,” Gilles said.
Neel de Jardinier glanced sideways at his friend. Even with his hair tonsured, Neel looked like a Viking. His ancestry had bequeathed the wheat-colored hair, blue eyes and fair skin of the Northmen who had settled Normandy. All he needed to pose as an Anglo Saxon was the long hair and mustache many of them wore. But those were the men they would be fighting and he stayed carefully clean-shaven.
“Not yet,” he agreed. “God will deliver the wind when the time is right.”
“And do you get this information from God or Sir Hugo?”
“Hugo, of course.”
“Of course.” Blood counted, no matter how it came. Though he had fostered both of them with equal diligence, Sir Hugo du Flaumier would always share things with Neel, bastard cousin of Duke William of Normandy, that he would not discuss with Gilles, fourth son of a minor noble.
But the two young knights were equal in one regard. Across murky, choppy, wind-driven waters lay fortunes to be made and land to be claimed, and neither could obtain them except through service.
“They say the Papal banner has come,” Gilles ventured.
Neel nodded. “Harold is foresworn. Jesu, how can the man think he can swear on the relics of a saint to support William and then steal the crown of England?”
“Easily. There is not a shred of honor in his entire family.”
“William will make them a better king.” Taking his horse’s reins in one hand, Neel freed the other to check his chain mail shirt at the arm. “I am going to have bruises.”
“It is no time for light practice. Get one of the girls to rub you down. They will fight for the privilege.”
Neel flushed. “I was not complaining.”
“I know. Dreaming of some noble’s virgin daughter, are you?”
“Well, there will be many widows in England.”
Neel reached down to stroke his horse’s neck, smoothing tufts where wet patches were drying in the wind. When it turned, that wind would bear him to England and his fate, and he felt it like a second heartbeat marking the days of his life. “The Saxons have no idea what it is to stand up to a cavalry charge. They will break.” He stared across the gray-green expanse of water as if probing the mind of his Duke’s adversary. “We will break them.”
Look for The Comet from DCL Publications late this year or early next!