Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Weather

Simon wrote an excellent post yesterday on the snow. Etherial, magical, poetic, beautiful. I, unfortunately had to shovel my driveway, up hill, and so didn't find it quite so magical.

Do you write the weather when you write your stories? Is it raining, is it cold, is it humid and sunny? Is it important? Do you care if your MC's are cold, wet, hot, sweaty, hypothermic?

Do you find that you imitate the weather where you are? If it's nice outside, is your MC outside? If it's raining, is it raining where they are? Do you care if they don't have an umbrella in a hurricane?

Friday, January 29, 2010


As I have nothing brilliant to say today, I will post an excerpt. This is from my third book from the series "The Reluctant Grooms". No title yet. And please note this is a first draft.

Mrs. Wood seemed to be a sturdy woman whom he could describe as handsome yet homespun, and would never compare her to the ladies of the ton but she held a quiet beauty and a dignity that one could only achieve from taking care of those she loved.

“Mr. Gaines,” Amanda spoke in a low husky tone that immediately went to Richard’s belly. She came across the room with her hand outstretched.

Richard took it and brought it to his lips, “Mrs. Wood, a great pleasure I assure you. I hope you don’t mind my coming unannounced, I’m only in town for a few days and Lady Penny beseeched me to bring you her gifts and letters as soon as I arrived.”

Amanda looked at the handsome man standing before her. Impeccably dressed, she blushed like a school girl as it had been such a long time since she had seen such perfection in a man. She noticed the lines around his grey eyes crinkle as he watched her take notice of him.

“Of course Mr. Gaines, I’m sorry I’m not properly attired to receive callers, they are few here. John will bring us tea, would you care for it in the dining room?” Amanda rushed her sentences wondering who in heavens name Penny had sent her.

He allowed her to lead him into the room. He carried the small trunk and he placed it on the table then took the packet of letters out of his coat pocket.

John came in with a tea tray and a small plate of scones. He placed the tray in front of Amanda.

“Thank you John, you and Mam may visit with Henry until Mr. Gaines is ready to depart,” Amanda said lightly. As he walked away, she said as an afterthought, “And if you see Esme, please tell her I would like the rest of the wool sorted while she sits with you.” This last was said as a direct command but softly and Richard knew whoever Esme was, she would sort the rest of the wool.

Amanda poured for Richard and handed him his cup, then for herself. She passed him the sugar after putting a smidge in her cup. He placed a full teaspoon in his and cream when she passed him the pitcher.

“So, tell me Mr. Gaines, how is Penny? I haven’t heard from her in some time.” She looked over her teacup at him and smiled.

“She is newly married ma’am and I’m sure the story is in that packet of letters.” Richard said and pushed the packet across the table to her.

“Married at last,” she sighed dreamily. Amanda picked up the packet and ran her hand across Penny’s handwriting then held the letters to her breast. She couldn’t help but notice a faint aroma about the packet, put it to her nose and sniffed. It was a pleasant odor; leather, the ocean, and an underlying masculine scent that seemed to overpower the rest but was agreeable to her.

“I’m sorry about the smell Mrs. Wood, I’ve literally had them on my person since Lady Penny gave them to me. I was afraid if we encountered a storm on the trip they would get damaged.” Richard explained.

Amanda looked up at him with bright eyes. “No, Mr. Gaines, they don’t smell, it’s just…no, never mind.” Whatever she was going to say she thought better of it. “Pray, tell me the quick version of Penny’s marriage. I cannot believe she’s finally married. Is he handsome? Is he titled? Is he worthy of Lord Charles?” Her voice was low and throaty and sounded like a woman of the world however the way she asked her questions he could almost see the schoolgirl Penny had described.

“She is married to the newly appointed Duke of Caymore who is most assuredly rich, and I believe Lady Penny finds him the most handsome man on the face of the earth. Lord Charles is more than happy with him as his son-in-law as Lady Honoria and the Dowager Duchess of Caymore played match maker to the whole scheme.” Richard smiled warmly, seeing her eyes light up at the mention of the Duchess.

“How is Lady Olivia?” Amanda asked.

“She is as well as she can be for her age, she even danced at the wedding if you can believe it,” Richard said remembering the Duchess and Quiggins taking a slow turn at the waltz.

“Good gracious with whom?” Amanda set her tea cup down as if afraid of dropping it.

“Quiggins, Lady Penny’s new butler,” Richard watched her face give way from a fascinated smile to a loud uproarious laugh. He liked that sound and could not remember the last time he had made a woman laugh.

“A butler!” Amanda could not imagine Lady Olivia dancing with anyone, let alone a butler.

“A butler of the first water I assure you.” Richard smiled into his cup. Amanda Wood was doing strange things to his frame of mind. He glanced at her and saw a small blush creep up her cheeks.

“Richard Gaines,” she said quietly tapping her forefinger on her tea cup, “Surely not the Richard Gaines who captured Bonaparte.” She studiously watched his face and noticed his eyes widened slightly.

Richard said nothing, he didn’t know what to say.

“We are not so uncivilized here as to not read the news from London.” Amanda smiled warmly at him to ease his obvious discomfort.

“Captain Richard Gaines at your service madam,” Richard nodded slightly.

“Goodness, what are you doing here? I’m quite surprised you’re not the Admiral of the Fleet for your heroism.” She sipped her tea wondering how Penny could ever know such a man of honor and get him to take her letters across the Atlantic.

“No, I’m afraid that distinction belongs to my grandfather. I gave twenty years of service to the Royal Navy. I fought in all the glorious battles including Waterloo,” he said with a tinge of sarcasm. “I decided after old Boney gave it up to me the cause wasn’t worth fighting for anymore. I resigned my commission much to the disappointment of my father and grandfather, not to mention the Navy, my commodore, and the Prince Regent himself.” He looked down into the dregs of his cup. He didn’t know why he was telling her all this. He couldn’t help it, couldn’t seem to stop, there was something about her that made him want to tell her his secrets.

“Enough was enough,” he continued, “perhaps someday I may go back but for right now I just want to live my own life under my own rules. Truthfully, I just wanted to see if I could stand still on dry land for awhile.”

She laughed a low deep-throated chuckle. “Tell me Captain Gaines…” she began.

“Richard,” he interjected.

She nodded briefly, “Then you must call me Amanda, tell me Richard, how are you finding standing still on dry land in America?”

Richard could not seem to form a cohesive thought. Amanda was certainly not the most beautiful woman he had ever met but she had something. Something that nicked at a place deep inside him that he never even knew existed.

“I love America,” he said finally, “It’s busy and clean, perhaps a little unsettled but then again, when have I ever been settled?” He laughed at his own joke.

“Would you ever live here? Move here, I mean?” It was an innocent question but she held her breath waiting for his answer.

“I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it.” Which he hadn’t. “What about you, would you ever go back?” His eyes rested on hers. He found them unfathomable.

“If that I could,” she whispered. “But until I have enough money to pay passage for all of us I’m afraid we’re staying right where we are.” Her tight smile told him she had indeed, thought about the question many times, and unfortunately didn’t like the answer.

“You would take your household staff with you?” Surprised, Richard thought with Lady Penny’s help it wouldn’t prove too taxing.

“Oh my yes, they’re my family. And if I could, I’d take my sheep and cow, my little cat and the chickens too.” She smiled at the whimsy knowing no captain in his right mind would ever take so many animals on board a ship unless he was going on an extended voyage and would use them as food. As for her servants, she was sure she’d also have to pay double or even triple the price for passage for them. Their ‘free’ black status didn’t mean anything to some people and she would refuse to step foot on a boat in which her family were stuck in the hold of a ship.

Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Surprise in the E-mail

And so yesterday I was overwhelmed with the responses I received in the comments section. Thank you all so much for stopping by. It's so gratifying to know I have you all in my corner. I promise, once I get my files together and my desk re-organized, I will find and 'friend' every one of you if I haven't already.

Also, an interesting and like totally freaking awesome thing happened yesterday and I'm going to tell you about it because it also bears warning. Remember how I brought up a particular agent's name in my post yesterday, how I told you his reccomendation on how to query, 10 out, 5 back, 5 out...well, last night I received an e-mail from him in my personal e-mail account thanking me for the kind words I bestowed on him. Yeah, well, I went totally nuts and scared my daughter jumping around and screaming, "He sent me an e-mail, he sent me an e-mail." Isn't that just totally insane??? However here's the warning, just be careful what you write about agents and/or publishers and/or anyone because obviously he google read his name or has some thingy on his computer that lets him know when someone is talking about him and well, it's a good thing I only said I loved him and he was a genius. I also think he's got the google police because he's got 4 or 5 writing books to his name so if I quoted him without giving his reference I might have been in a lot of trouble. So my friends, be careful who you talk about and if you do, give the correct reference. (The article I took the information off was an interview he did with the Hartline agency -- two questions were on his blog, the rest of the interview was on their's. Go to his blog to find it. www. guide to literary agents. com. You know how to do it.) And if you don't already have him in your blog roll, do it. He's a genius and knows everything and everybody.)

Anyway, I also received one form rejection. I'm sort of sad, I was kind of hoping she would have at least wanted a chapter. Oh well. On to the next.

And I went back into Ellis' story. I haven't done anything with him and Violet since I decided to rework Masquerade. God almighty thank me it's a first draft. I have to completely re-do the beginning, and after reading another agent blog last night, I might have to re-do the whole premise. IF worse comes to worse, I could chuck it and finish Richard & Amanda, that's historical with a lot of research.
Or I could bang out (no pun intended) Genna & Tony. That should actually be a lot easier because (I know I'm not supposed to say this, but I'll tell you because you guys are my friends) I'm pulling from my own experience, and even though it's fiction, it's not. Sort of. And it's contemporary, I don't have to worry about saying, 'indeed' or 'pray, tell me'. And who knows maybe if I get that done before Easter I could query that as well as Masquerade. It's not unheard of to be working for two different publishing houses, besides I have a slew of pseudonyms under my belt just for the occasion. One for historical, one for contemporary, one for YA.
I'm crazy like that.

Lastly, I'm going to clean my office today. IT IS A MESS. From order to chaos, chaos to order. When I'm working on something, I pile up research notes, dialogue, settings, random things that go in or out of the book. But now the book is done, complete, out to query, I can put all that stuff away, make hard copies of the stuff I need, put those away, and close the file. Once the office is clean, I may begin afresh. I do the same thing with my house work. It piles up and piles up and finally when I can't stand the mess anymore, I become Mrs. Clean and go nuts. However I do have to say, I do keep up the the vacuuming 3x's a week because I can't stand it. Dishes, laundry, not so much.

Have a lovely day gentle readers. And be careful who you quote.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!

Well, I did it. I finished all my line edits and my chapter realignment. And because I was in such an inspired mood I sent out queries to seven agents. TA DA.

Now for the bad news, of those seven, three agents wanted query, synopsis and chapter one. Stupid me forgot to take that line out of the query, "I would be delighted to send you the synopsis and first three chapters" which I could have said, "Enclosed you will find...blah blah blah". So much for not being a newbie. I hope they take pity on me and realize it's a multiple submission and I just forgot to change the format of the letter. (Can you hear me slamming my head against the desk.) However, it was only three agents.

Okay, let me tell you what I did -- Of the seven, five were agents I queried when I was stupid six months ago. Two of those agents said on their websites it was okay to re-query if you had done substantial revisions and enough time had passed. Chuck Sambuchino said the same thing (Guide to Literary Agents). Two of the agents were brand new, however one of those was one where I made the dreaded "I'll send you" mistake. I queried one of the same agencies I had before but this time I queried a different agent. I received one auto-reply "Thank you for your query, it's been received in our office, we'll-get-to-it-when-we-can type of things." Which I thought was very nice and polite and she actually is one of my dream agents.

Now Chuck also said, (I love Chuck, he's so smaht [smart -- for those of you who don't speak with a Boston accent]) that you should only query 7 - 10 agents at a time. BECAUSE you don't want to mass query everyone and then find after all the 50 are done you have no agents left in the pool. So you query ten at a time, wait, sort of, for those answers to come back, work on the next book, and as the rejections start coming in, send out that many more queries. 10 out, 5 back, 5 out, 3 back, 3 out. get it? BECAUSE if you send out 15 and one of those 15 wants to sign, you don't have any more queries to send out and you don't have to write a whole lot of agents and say, "Sorry I signed with so & so." Pretty ingenious huh. Wish I'd thought of it.

And someone said, I forget who, that it's better to query during the middle of the week rather than at the beginning or end. Monday's are too busy, Friday's are too busy. Tues, Wed, Thurs, agents know they have to read them and so they settle in to look for something good. If you could also time it to have the query fall into the inbox on Friday night, you might get a shot at getting read on Saturday. But you can't always be sure. And that might just get pushed to Monday which you don't want to happen.

So, there we are gentle readers, my query stats. I will keep you posted on what happens. However if I get 7 rejections within the week we will have to consider a serious chocolate party come Saturday.

And what are you doing today???

Welcome & Thank You

Hello Welcome & Thank you to Lisa and Teebore who decided to join my little blog of craziness. Feel free to browse, comment, jump right in the water's fine. I have no sharks swimming in my pool.

(The coffee line was getting old. But by all means, do try the buffet)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Good Morning gentle readers, for those of you who are hungry, and we shall not fight over the danish, there is more than enough, I have set up a buffet in the dining room with coffee and tea, hot chocolate, and a very large table filled with all kinds of food. Please feel free to help yourselves. There's fruit and yogurt, danish, muffins, granola and chocolate cake (please save me a piece.)

Now, to get on to today's post. I was going to be very witty and smart today but something happened last night to really upset me and really, truly, make me cry. You know how the other day I was talking about helping a few people with their queries, well, I was satirized. I don't even know if that's the right word. I was made fun of. Now that's not right either, I was insulted. Well, no, some would say not, but you know what, yes, yes I was. I was only trying to help, I could hear the panic in their query, so I wrote pretty much the whole thing out the way it should really go, with their own words and posted it. I ASSUMED they would take my advice, tweak what I'd given them and run with it. And considering 6 other people AGREED with me, I figured they could figure it out. Well, no, they wrote it, with the exception of one sentence, posted my query verbatim, then signed both our names. Perhaps they meant this as a compliment, perhaps they meant this as a joke. Perhaps it was supposed to be funny. I don't know. All I know is that it wasn't funny, it wasn't a joke, and god damn it, it wasn't a compliment. I was only trying to help, I felt badly that they were going through such turmoil, and re-writing it the way I did was the only way to SHOW, not TELL them what they were doing wrong. And sweet Jesus up in heaven, they had 36 other people trying to give them advice and they JUST DIDN'T GET IT. Query writing is hard. Harder than anything, I thought I was doing them a favor. I guess not. So needless to say, I will not be going there anymore. If you would like help with your query I would be happy to help. Here. On my blog or my private e-mail account. If you know someone else who would like help, I would be happy to help, here, or my private e-mail account. I will no longer do it in public anymore. And you know what, that really sucks because I enjoyed doing it. I thought I was helping. It gave me a sense of paying it forward.
I'm sorry gentle readers, cover your ears, fuck that.

Okay, now that my rant, crying jag, f-bomb is over, as some of you know, I've been working on my line edits and last night I finished them. The ending was pretty tight, funny, I actually wrote it that way, so I just breezed through. I did have to take out one or two sentences about Ellis that made it in. (I'm still not sure what to do about Ellis but that's another post.) I also cut another 2,000 words so I'm down to 95,740 and you know what, I think that's where I'm going to stay. When the Small One goes to school today I'm going to look at the chapter placements and re-do those. Then I'm definitely going to start with the queries. I 've been holding off to get the line edits done, but hey, while I wait for the answers, I can tweak as I go, you know. Who the hell is going to want a full the same day they get it right??? IT's good but it's not all that. Okay, maybe it is. hahhahahahahahah

I was also thinking of the questions for the agent if I should be offered representation. You know, do you charge for hard copies or is everything done by e-mail now. If I get a two-book deal, can I ask for a higher advance and lower royalties on the first one, and a higher royalty, less advance on the second? Is a publicity tour REALLY neccesary with a first book or should I wait until I have two or three under my belt. This is what keeps me up at night.

And I guess now that this book is CONSUMING me like a dog from Coney Island, I guess I must actually have a job. I remember laying awake on Sunday nights wondering if there would be enough milk for Monday's order when I worked at the restaurant and getting up at 5am on Mon. morning to place an order. Monday was my day off. So yes, I guess I DO have a job. I am a writer.

And so, gentle readers, are you consumed by your writing? That is the question of the day.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Welcome & Thank You & By The Way

Welcome to Kristi for joining my little group of friends today. It's nice to have you here. Feel free to browse, comment, grab a coffee. We had a fight over the danish this morning and ran out, but I'll see what I can come up with tomorrow.

Oh and by the way, I finished with my line edits this evening and have cut another 2,000 words from my manuscript bringing the total down to 95,740. YAY TEAM!!!! It's looking like a real romance ms. after all.

I'm only 3 days behind with my sending out the queries but now I feel like I have a fighting chance. Instead of "coulda' being a contenda" I really think I am one now.
Watch out single title Queens, here I come. LOLOLOLOL

Query Recipe

I was over at the TPQSP last night trying to give some advice. There is nothing more frustrating than a query and trying to help someone else through it. I'm trying to pay it forward you know. I mean, I worked on my query over there through 3 revisions and when I started to cry I said no, I can't do this anymore, it's just too much information, I got 2, count them, one & two, friends who I trusted to help me with the process. Two, and only two friends, who understood what my story was about, what I wanted to say, and who knew what the query process was all about.

With their help I think I drew up a damn good query. I had most of the words, I just had to shuffle them around a bit. And that's really all it took. I had read it SO. MANY. TIMES. I couldn't read it anymore without going blind.

Which is where these poor people at TPQSP are. I can hear the frustration, the anger, the panic in their voices now. I tried to give them the same advice my friends gave me. But they didn't seem to want to hear it.

So now I will give it to you. All you need for good query are four things:
Hook, Conflict for the MC, Motivation to get MC to end, Goal for MC. That's it. Oh, and two trusted friends who know how to write. You write up what you think is a good query following the guidelines I just gave you. You ask yourself if you have answered the four questions. You give it to friend #1 to read. If she says yes, you give it to friend #2, if she says yes, then you've got your query. If either of them says no, then you must go back and find where you've messed up. And also Less is more. You don't need twelve sentences to say one thing. One good sentence with the right verbiage (I love that word, it reminds me of a fancy salad) will kill an agent stone dead. Or make them ask for a partial.

I will also tell you I have 15 queries in Word. And 32 in pen in the "Lady's" file. Along with scratches, scribbles and every other thing imaginable. It's very hard to get your novel condensed into 250 words or less. I mean, if you go over to 265, no one is going to call Janet Reid and get the shark after you but, they better not mess up the business letter format. Unless of course, you have already been published, then you can do whatever you want.

So, that's my query recipe and I'm sticking to it. If anyone has other tidbits, helpful hints they'd like to share feel free. If anyone needs help with their query, feel free to ask. We're all in this boat together and if we can't help each other then it's going to be a long nasty voyage.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Welcome & Thank You

Welcome and Thank You to My Friendly Neighborhood Palindrome for becoming my friend today while I was at Mom & Dad's. It's nice to have you here. As I've said before I have 'friends' not 'followers' because I'm not a cult. Feel free to browse, comment, grab a coffee and some danish, if there's any left.

Weekend Warrior

Hello Gentle Readers, just wanted to keep you up to date as to what I've been doing. Frying my eyeballs doing line edits. Oh. My. God. What a pain in the ass! I got through the first 80 pages with nary a headache in sight. Now that I'm around page 150, I think I need some form of heavy medication to keep my vision from blurring.

I found the trick is to skim the manuscript, not really reading the story, per se, but looking at it from an editorial eye. Yeah, well, my editorial eyes got stuck and fogged, and then I found myself reading the story again. Well, I guess I sort of had to, I'm in the middle, more or less, and I wanted to make sure I didn't have a middle slump, you know. But man, oh, man, I swear, sometimes I just want to give up. I don't know what's worse, writing the book, the query, or line edits. This is so much harder than running a restaurant for 75, doing a wedding for 250, and a dinner for 35 in the upper dining room, at the same time. In the space of three hours, the food is out, drinks are flowing and I can clean up the kitchen and go home. This book isn't going to ever be done, and even though I gave up the booze before my daughter was born, I tell you, I could really use a Southern Comfort Manhatten right about now. With three cherries.

Okay, I also haven't sent out my queries yet, don't want to jinx myself if Donald does want the full tomorrow, lol, I want to be able to give it to him in perfect condition. Which means, I also have to realign my chapters. I cut so much out, now the chapters are all wobbly. But I don't want to do that and line edit at the same time. One thing at a time gentle readers, one thing at a time.

I hope you are having a better weekend than I. However, with only 150 more pages to go, and the ending is pretty tight so I don't think I'll need to do a whole lot with that, I'm hoping to finish tonight, and send out queries tomorrow.

Oh, and by the way, I discovered that I do have a three-act story arc. Pretty cool I think, for someone who's a panster. Sometimes I even amaze myself. And the best part, I've cut another 800 words, so now I'm down to 97K. More or less. TA DA.

Friday, January 22, 2010


17 January 2010

Donald Maass Literary Agency
121 West 27th Street, Suite 801
New York NY 10001

Dear Mr. Maass,

I am seeking representation for THE LADY'S MASQUERADE, a single title Regency romance, complete at 98,000 words.

Someone is trying to kill Lady Penelope Leighton's father and now the fiend has turned his sights on her! Frightened, she flees London in the dead of night masquerading as a traveling companion.

When William Smith, the Earl of Westerly, arrives at Wakefield to keep an eye on his aunt's cousin, he is more than surprised when he meets her young, beautiful companion. A confirmed bachelor, William is fascinated by the mysterious Miss Penny Higgins whose sweet, sunny smile and unfathomable intellect are in direct contrast to her dowdy clothes and recurring stutter. The duchess keeps a strict eye on Penny, and William means to find out why, but no one is talking. He discerns the ladies are in trouble, they are obviously in hiding, and now it appears he will also have to masquerade... as the steward.

Before either of them realize it, they've lost their hearts: Penny to a man who's sworn to never marry and William to a woman incognito and destined for the hand of a duke.

After Penny's true identity and her reason for hiding are finally revealed to William, he immediately engages his friends to help in the campaign to catch the villains. However, upon their return to London, a confounding chain of events finds his cousin Robert as Penny's fiance. William realizes his desire for Penny is more than just a passing fancy and is determined to marry her, but first he must find the blackguard who threatens her.

I would be delighted to send you the synopsis and first three chapters. Thank you for your consideration.

Very Cordially Yours,

And that's it, what do you think. Business letter format, introduction with genre, word count, marketability (single title), and the whole thing at the end with the synopsis and first three chapters says that I have completed all tasks that need to be completed when trying to sell a book. I may be a newbie with no experience but at least I did my homework. I have no pub credits so I don't need to state that, and the whole very cordially yours, is part of my 'voice'. I'm writing Regency, they would expect me to be cordial, don't you think. So there it is. What do you think?

And thank you to everyone who gave comments and critiques at TPQSP. I may not show it, but I used all the information offered to me. And if anyone has any questions about this please feel free to ask, writing a query is really hard, and I had a lot, A LOT of help. So if you need help with yours and I can help you, just ask.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Welcome & Thank You & Some News

Welcome to Elana who became my friend today. It's nice to have you here. Feel free to look around, grab a coffee, chat. I should warn you though, beware of the chocolate. It'll git ya'!

My news for the day is that I finished my query this morning.
I will be posting it tomorrow for everyone to read and comment on and if you don't like it -- I don't care -- I'm not rewriting it. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL Okay, okay, if you find something terribly wrong with it, then maybe I'll think about it.

Thanks to everyone who helped in the process, I really couldn't have done it without you. And everyone who gave me their support from the trenches. As someone said, we are all in this together and I am truly, truly blessed to find the friends I have on this crazy thing called a blog.

What Dreams May Come

Well, gentle readers after my gmail mail mishap yesterday I ate almost 10 pounds of virtual chocolate and went to bed at 8:00 eastern daylight time. I awoke this morning around 5 with the dream of the East Side of Providence still in my head and some crazy man, his wife, and a most adorable baby, getting in the back seat of my old VW rabbit while I was trying to get on the connector to get back down-town (there's been a lot of re-routing of the old highway to make room for the new I-way.) Anyway, these people were trying to get in the back seat with my big dog Jon sitting there. And I asked him, in a rather nasty voice, "Are you out of your f*%$ing mind? That dog will eat the baby!"

And he laughed and they got in and off we went to the east side. There was a man in the front seat with me, (he was the actor that played the 'numbers' guy in the movie The American President -- short, dark hair with glasses) and the reason we were going to the east side was I was looking for an apartment. (I can't afford to live on the east side, that's where Brown Univ. and RISD are, where Edgar Allen Poe used to hang out (and a couple other famous poets too whose names escape me at the nonce) And for some crazy reason I was also trying to have an affair with a man named Peter and he was married. I know him from a long time ago and did not in any, way, shape or form want to have an affair with him back then. Or now. hhhhmmmmmm.

Don't know why I dreamt all these crazy dreams. Must have been the *chocolate*. There's a warning to you. Limit yourselves to small quantities of virtual chocolate. It must be better than real chocolate. More cacao or something. (Note: I did not consume chocolate at all yesterday. As a matter of fact, I haven't had chocolate it quite some time.)

Anyway, thanks for commiserating with me yesterday. But we shall press on, what.
(Have been thinking in British for quite awhile now, makes the dialogue so much easier.) I'm going to work on paper today instead of the computer. I will print off the 16 versions of the query I have and then go sit at my kitchen table and take pieces from each. A friend gave me a template to work with so I'm going to take all the best pieces out of the 4 (was only kidding about 16 -- well, I wasn't I do have like 9 or 10 but I've narrowed it down to 4) and put together something fantastic.
I will then have my beta's, alpha's and whomever else wants to read the bloody thing and see if I can't get out these queries tomorrow. Or at least over the weekend.

My plan of attack will be to e-query the people who want just the query, and then those who want a synopsis and pages second, then those who want snail mail. I went to Agent Query to get my list but I have to back pedal somewhat because a bunch of those names do not take romance, like Nathan Bransford, he was on the list, and I know it would have to be truly exceptional for him to take on a romance, it would have to be a literary romance or something, because I can't see Nathan taking on The Steward and Miss Higgins. *laugh giggle laugh* And just for kicks, I think I will also requery the agents I queried before. Well, maybe one, or two. I went to one of their websites and she said, if you've put a lot of revision in it and a lot of time has passed you may requery. It's not a guarantee or anything but hey, why not give it a shot. I was such a freaking newbie when I queried the first time, my word count was 124K, duh, I even gave the page count. *hides my head in shame*

So, here we go, another new day, with crazy dreams and all. Anyway, that was basically the question I was going to ask you all today -- do you work on the computer all the time, or do you feel the need for paper and pen at times?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I'm sure you have all been where I am right now. I have been sitting on gmail for the last hour and twenty minutes composing a letter to a friend who is helping me with the damned query. I thought it automatically saved as I wrote.

Small One was playing with her little friend down here in the office/playroom. They got into a slight disagreement which I turned my back on the screen for 3 seconds. The next thing I knew the letter was gone. Gone. I searched, everywhere. I can't find it. An hour and twenty of questions, follow-up, new ideas, GONE. It is nowhere. I even went into places I never knew existed. It only said I was on the computer from this address at that time.

Can you hear me screaming from where you are? Somebody pass me the box of Kleenex because I think I might cry.

I know, I know, it's just a letter, it wasn't like a query, or a resume, or something really important like a partial but still, it's frustrating. I thought the damn thing SAVED as I wrote. I guess I must have inadvertantly hit a key I wasn't supposed to hit. AAARRGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!

So now I know I will have to be really careful when I send anything from this account. Thank you in advance for your commiseration.

Thank You & Welcome

Welcome and Thank You to Nicole Ducleroir who became my friend this morning while I was blogging around waiting for 8:00. I met her over at Sarah's lat night. (Writing in the Wilderness) Come on in Nicole, grab a coffee, pull up a chair, browse, comment, we're all friends.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Welcome & Thank You

Hello and welcome to Kristi Faith who became my 11th friend tonight. Come on in, pull up a chair, grab a coffee, browse around. Feel free to comment. We're all friends because I don't have followers.

Happiness Award

Stephanie at the Writer's Cocoon just gave me an award. Sweet Friends. That was so nice of her. She says I have to list 10 things that make me happy. Here goes...

#1) My daughter. She is absolutely the brightest, most beautiful, precious, happy, crazy, smart, wonderful child I could have wished for. God truly blessed me when he gave me her.

#2) The Beach. I used to live on the beach. For 35 years. I miss it so much. It's a magical, mystical place and when I become rich and famous, I'm going back as soon as I can pack.

#3) My parents. As crazy nuts as they are, and headstrong, and stubborn, and soooo parentlike, they are the best parents I could have. They have spoiled me rotten and given me the world.

#4) My writing. I don't know what I would have done if I didn't fall in love with John-boy Walton when I was a kid. I can cook, but that's not as much fun as creating people and places and situations. I'm my own little god in my own little world.

#5) My animals. My dogs don't care what kind of mood I'm in. They love me no matter what. And Henry, the cat, is finally turning into the mouser I knew she would be. (Yeah, I have a problem with gender confusion in my house. Jon, my oldest dog is a female too. Long story.)

#6) Sunrise. I LOVE sunrise. Hearing the birds, feeling the chill, smelling the beginning of a new day. Oh it's better than chocolate. (I was going to say sex but...)

#7) Having my own office. I have all my books on one big wall, and my beach glass on the windowsills, my african violet collection on a makeshift shelf. I have two HUGE windows that overlook the back forty which I stare out of when I get blocked. It's fantastic. If I were in my own space instead of sharing it with my daughter and her playroom that would be even better, but for now, I'm happy.

#8) Knowing I am ready to query. Having finished writing and almost finished revising and editing MASQUERADE, I am on Cloud 9 it will only be a few more days until I can send out my queries.

#9) Movies make me happy. I have a collection that's too long to list, but suffice it to say, they are mostly chick flicks, love stories, and Jane Austen adaptations.
Oh, and Russell Crowe in A GOOD YEAR. I LOVE him in that movie.

and finally
#10) Really good Chinese food. You can't get that where I am now and I miss it.

So, that's my list, and I'm sticking to it. I have to send the award off to someone else, but I've got to check with Steph how to do it.

Wait, I have to add one more
#11) All my new blogger friends. They are so creative and helpful and wise and wonderful. If I didn't have them, where would I be now? Probably still wondering what to do with my finished manuscript. Thank you everyone. You make me happy.


Well, after the third round of revisions on the query came back I am no closer to having a good one. Don't get me wrong I recieved some excellent feedback, the problem is most of it was really good and I tried to incorporate it all into the next round of revisions. So the last one is 320 words. The first one was 238. I know what I want to say, now I'm all just screwed up in how to say it. And as we all know, the recommendation on a query is 250 words or less.

And I just erased 4 paragraphs from this post because it was all blather. Less is more, so they say, I just have to try and get it there.

And I just erased 2 more paragraphs from this post because it was all blather. See what happens when I try and get up early to post.

Agents in my genre are limited. Although Donald Maass says he reads everything that crosses the e-mail file and if he finds something he likes, he'll rep it. HA wouldn't THAT be the %$#@ing balls. (Excuse my vernacular)

Truthfully, I'm so sick of this process, no, wait, I take that back, I'm not sick of the process, I'm sick of the rejection. I'm sick of the form rejection. Hopefully this time someone will send me a rejection with notes. So I'll know what the hell I'm doing. Then again, hopefully someone will say, yeah, I'll take you on as a client. Wouldn't that be sweet.

If I could only get an agent, then a contract, then I could just write the rest of the books, like I want to. The agent could handle all the agent bullshit and I could just write. For now. I have a marketing/PR strategy all set to go. Believe me, I have thought about this. I have a career arc, I know EXACTLY where I want to be 10 years from now. I know EXACTLY how to get there. I just need someone to give me a freaking chance.

Okay, I need to go upstairs now and start my real day. Small One is going to school today whether she's still got the sniffles or not. I've got more line edits to run.
More agents to query. I wonder if I can re-query those I already have but gotten a form rejection. No; no is no I think.

Small One's feet have just hit the floor. Have a lovely day.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Well, gentle readers, as you know, I cut 7000 words. I still feel I need to let go of maybe 2000 more but I have no more that's, just's, but's, or-ly's. I got rid of all of that. I don't have scenes to cut, per se, just words and phrases now.

After I finished with the big cuts on Saturday, I went back and started on the line edits again on Sunday. You know how I hate being stupid, well guess what, I'm not sure if I was still reading a first draft or not. In some places I read things and said, "Who wrote this, not me, I'm not that stupid." Well guess what, after three rounds of major revisions and two line edits, yeah, I am because he didn't crawl through the tunnel, he crawled threw the tunnel. I hate that. I really do. There's no excuse for it other than a bad hangover and I haven't had a drink in over 6 years.

But I have to say, the editing wasn't that hard. Well, sort of. I couldn't focus on the story, I had to skim it and go scene by scene, something I don't normally look at because I'm a panster and don't write in scenes. I write in places, ie., they were in the kitchen, the garden, the coach, the hide-out. Which in my infitismally small brain, those are scenes, I just never viewed them like that before. (I was over at the Lit Lab reading all the 'Story idea' posts last week and my head is still spinning.) I guess if I pay attention enough to what other people say and do, I might learn something.

So, as I skim read, I looked at the scenes and if one didn't have plot, character or motivation in it, I cut it. Just like that. I got rid of some good stuff too. Ellis, and Madame Beaumond, some of Will's backstory, most of the epilogue. It's tighter now, more streamlined. I like it. I even wrote some other things in, little things that make it more readable. so....

More line edits today although my ass is groaning, and it will be 60 degrees outside so...maybe, maybe not.

I also sent my query out to have a round of critiques. I've got some new names to e-mail but I'm also going to snail mail a few agents as well. I've got two I would really love to have, so hopefully I won't get rejected out-right this time. I've got the right word count, good query (I hope) the 'newbie dust' has worn off a little bit more, I'm not that 'green' (I hope), so maybe I can pull a rabbit out of my hat and get this book sold. My horoscope says something big is going to happen in the next few months so...we can only pray.

I'd also like to say Thank You to Dr. Martin Luther King. If it wasn't for him, well, we wouldn't be here, like this. His dream allowed all of us to become equal. And I mean all of us.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Slice and Dice

Well, gentle readers, I did it. I worked on Masquerade for most of the day yesterday and cut 7000 words. I can't really believe I did it but my word count says, 98,234 so I must have. I was brutal. I skim read and if I found something that didn't move the story along, out it came. I saved everything I cut and put it in another file just in case I may need it later (I'm anal that way) when I get famous and someone asks me a question I don't know the answer to, I can refer back to that. LOL. (I love my fantasy life).

I left Richard in. I know, I know, but every time I tried to cut him out, he had a relevant conversation going on that added to the plot. So he remains. For now. There is once scene he has with Penny and Robert that is really, REALLY schmaltzy but I couldn't let it go. Just for that very reason. It also sort of adds to Penny's charm and another of the reasons why William and she get together, or rather why the Duchess of Caymore allows them to be together.

It's funny too, I never thought I would ever do this, but I have to tell you, when I got to the resolution, I cried. AGAIN. When I wrote it, I teared up because I was actually writing it out of context. When I read the whole thing for the first time, I bawled like a baby and I surprised myself. Everytime thereafter when I read it, I kind of teared up again, well, because I knew what was going to happen. Now, after having it sit for so long, when I got to the end, I sort of forgot all the little details I wrote in, so they struck me anew. And I bawled like a baby. (My Small One was worried, "Mommy are you all right?") And I thought to myself, that's how I judge a good book; if I cry at the end -- out of happiness, not frustration. So, at least I know I wrote a book that pleases me. *giggle*

Now I guess it's back to the beginning for more. I guess I have to go and do some more research to find the right word counts -- I've heard anywhere from between 85 - 95 thousand. Ugh. Hopefully, it will be easier (yeah, right) but all the big stuff is gone so now it's just a matter of tightening up. Here we go, wwwweeeeeeee!!!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thank You & Welcome

Hello to Tara who became my friend at some point today while I was grocery shopping. We're all friends here so feel free to browse at your leisure, make a comment, have a coffee.

Decisions, Decisions

I've been working on Masquerade this last week doing line edits, to figure out what I need to revise, and so far am up to Chapter 10. William and Robert have enlisted Richard's help in the scheme to find Penny's tormentor, and alas, I think I have finally found the place I need to cut to bring it down to a reasonable 90-95K. Richard has to go.

I love Richard. He is sssooooo "Master & Commander". But as you know, he has his own book and so, with a little bit of an introduction and a little bit of help at the end, Richard and his horse must go. I'm sorry, I hate to do it, but I need to get this damn book down to a marketable size. Otherwise I'll never get it pubbed.

I'm sorry I have to be so brutal but I did take Ellis' whole scene out of this book. They say you can't have filler, and although Ellis and William had a touching brotherly conversation (the first, I think in their whole lives) and I thought it was a great way to introduce Ellis, I took it out. There's nothing worse than taking out a scene you love. But, it's all for the book.

And so Richard must go as well. And his lovely Belgian horse, Morpheus. This will also cause more re-writes for Penny, she plays in intregal part in how Richard can finally ride his beautiful Belgain horse, however it must be done. I hate to do it but I find I have no choice. (I awoke at 2:45am with this idea and anything that interrupts my sleep must be a good idea.)

So, I'm off to re-write. Again.

Welcome & Thank You

Welcome and Thank you to Falen (Sarah A.) for becoming my friend last night. It's nice to have you here. Feel free to look around, comment, have a good time. I checked out your blog and I have to say, you look just like my cousin Liz. She is a 'wench' as well. Just like me.

I worked a little bit on my blog this morning, put up my Works in Progress and some Labels. I hope this helps you, gentle readers, to figure out what the hell I'm talking about some days. Tomorrow I will work on my Labels and past posts to try and get everything nice and tight. I'm sort of anal that way. Once my organization becomes chaos I freak.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I have nothing to say today worth any merit so I thought I'd post an excerpt from my current WIP. This is the original beginning of Mismatched.

****** Sorry this post has been removed by the author.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dory Says

Okay, for those of you who don't know who Dory is, she's the little fish that helped Nemo save his dad. If you don't know who Nemo is rent the movie, "Finding Nemo."

Anyway, I think enough of us are in the same boat here (lol sometimes I'm so witty --because a dory IS a boat) to make me want to get some kind of cheerleader thing going on--- Okay here goes ---

Stop the Self Doubt, Yay Team, Push It Back, Push It Back, Way Back,
No More Recriminations, Yay Team, Take It Out, Take It Out, Way Out,
You Are A Fantastic Writer, Yay Team, Yes You Are, Yes You Are, We All Are.

Okay that was pretty pathetic but I was never a cheerleader so I don't know how but you get my drift.

We are, all of us, doing something that only we can do. Tell our own stories. I have my share of self-doubt, so do you, so does she, and so does he. The only person writing today that I think knows what the hell he's doing is Mr. Bailey, but then he is most god-like anyway. The rest of us are chumming around in the water looking for a line to grab onto to that will pull us to the surface so we can see the light of day and look into that agent's eyes (or telephone receiver) and say, "yes, I'd love a million dollar contract."

Will it happen, probably not for a million dollars, but I can dream. I think we are all swimming around in the ocean of self-doubt, fear and loathing because we can't grasp the idea that we are GOOD WRITERS.

Okay, I'm only going to say this once, (or maybe twice)

WE ARE ALL BRILLIANT do you know why? Because only WE can write our own stories. I can't write yours and you can't write mine. Oh you can suggest a bunch of things to make it better, words, phrases, semi-colons, but the only person who can write that story is you (or me - I've lost my train of thought). It's hard doing what we do. It's such a singular occupation, it's scary sitting staring at a blank screen, piece of paper, fingers poised waiting...waiting for the words to come.

And then they do. Like I said yesterday, I wrote a bunch of crap the other day. But you know what, it's MY crap. You didn't write it, you don't know what it means, you don't know what I'm going to do with it, where it's going to end up. It might not ever be Hemingway, but you know what, who cares if I'm Hem. I believe in my writing, I believe in the integrity of my story, if I didn't, I wouldn't write.

So, let's just take today and throw all our self-doubt, fear, loathing, self-pity back into the ocean and pick up the pen. No matter if we are all doing this alone, we still all swim in the school together and as Dory says,

"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming...."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Random Thoughts

I'm entitling this post Random Thoughts because I will be all over the place.

My eleven hour, 14 page writing spree the other day has shown me that I can keep the quota that I set for myself on New Year's, however I did say it was probably crap. It wasn't really all that bad but I did make a huge mistake and I could kill myself because now I have to go back and do some more research on the time period. I thought I had a really great idea going with the railroad and I found out the railroad didn't exist in 1816 so I am now, what I lovingly refer to as being screwed. It was such a great idea, and as a panster it saved me from doing the research but now...well...not so much. I don't mind doing the research but it takes away from the writing and I wanted to, well, just get it done. Time for rewrites.

And Dominique suggested the other day that subconsciously I made my MC sick because I myself was feeling poorly. I hadn't thought about it but it was true. And it gave the story arc a whole other dimension and a place to go that I also hadn't thought of. It put a twist into the story that works very well, allowed the MC's to discover their true feelings and leads to the climax in a much better way than I anticipated. So I guess I did a good thing after all.

Some of the blogs I read post excerpts and I have also done the same. It's a scary thing, for me anyway, to think the whole world (or at least my eight "friends") can read what I've written. I've gone to Sarah's blog (Writing in the Wilderness) for the last few days to discover a dark, war torn world, and was totally blown away. Stop by and read it, it will make you wonder, at least it made me wonder, if what I'm writing isn't trite and stupid and just not even in the same league. And I know I'm not in the same league, hell, I'm not even in the same genre, but the emotion and the visual in her work was just so fantastically amazing I'm almost ready to give up my keyboard and go back to flipping hamburgers. (Okay, maybe not hamburgers but her writing is so...I can't even describe made me want to hang up my pen.) Do you ever read what someone else (not someone famous but another regular person like ourselves) has written and thought to yourself, "I can't do this anymore. I'm not good enough." I have but I'm also a Taurus and stubborn as hell and I think to myself, well, 'If she can do it so can I.' And even though we do write in two different aspects, I think I can bring a sort of literary edge to my work, even if it is romance. I think.

My story for the Genre Wars was written from a man's POV, something I had never done before. In my past lives I have done man's work, for awhile I did landscaping and carpentry, I also was in the automobile industry working for a transportation company. Let me just say, being around all kinds of men and listening to what they have to say, about life, and love, and women, had an effect on the way I think about life in general as well. Which is why, I thought, the ending to my short story for the Genre Wars was apt. Someone said (I'm not going to tell you who and I'm probably misquoting) that it wasn't what they expected...the resolution left them feeling the story wasn't finished. And I said, "But those are the kinds of men I know." I'm showing my age here but remember the old Lucky Strike commercials on television, "I'd rather fight than switch." In my story, Owen would rather go fishing than try and deal with his emotions about his girlfriend. Men I know, do that. They fish to escape their angst. I don't really know if it's as good as chocolate but hey, whatever works I guess.

Which sort of in a round about way leads me to Simon's post from this morning. He wrote a post from a woman's POV which was totally dead on. (My only conclusion is that he must have been a waitress in a former life, or had attended 10,000 weddings in the 80's.) I write from different POV's in most of my stories because they're romance and you need that, but it's only a quick blurb here and there, mainly I stay in the female MC's head. Do you find it harder to write from your own gender's perspective or the other? Sarah seems to have no problem with writing from a man's POV. And now Simon has no problem writing from a woman's. I don't exactly know what I'm trying to say here but I find it really interesting.

And what about reading books? I used to read all the time. It was my escape from the mundane, the stressful, the life I used to lead. Throughout my teens and 20's I read trashy romance. In my 30's when I went back to college I had to read literary (thank God I found Henry David and Hem). In my 40's I had a baby and pretty much haven't read the way I used to. I used to devour books, one a day at least. (True, I read exceptionally fast.) But I digress. I did read one book awhile back, it was women's fiction by a famous author and I was not impressed. She's had movies made from her work and was/is a bestselling NYT author with accolades and all that, but I'm sorry, I just wasn't that into her. I've also, (within the last 5 years) read other books by famous bestselling authors (women's fiction and romance -- contemporary and historical) and I just couldn't believe they could write such crap. One historical romance author totally blew my mind that she could let her work go to press with as many typo's and awful sentence structures as she did for one book of hers I read. And the resolution totally SUCKED. I wanted to write to her and say, "If this is YOUR best work, then why can't I be published." I felt sorry for her. Or rather, for the people reading her stuff. I know I won't bother reading her again. There has to be some kind of standard, especially in historical romance, but how could that publisher (BIG BIG NY Pub) print what she wrote? Was it all about the money? Just to get her book out and see how many copies she could sell through? Or was it just because the bar has been set so low now that any piece of garbage (and I'm sorry, but to me it was just that - garbage) can be published. Not according to the blogs I read and the rejections I've gotten.
And this book was only published a few years ago.

Okay, I think I've gone on long enough. I told you I had a lot to say even though it didn't mean anything. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 11, 2010


I've been busy for the last few days but I have a lot to say. I'll be here, hopefully, tomorrow. (For all of you who totally miss me.) LOL

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Crash & Burn

Well, it's been a week and some since I made my New Year's resolutions. How many of you bet I wouldn't last the week. You won. For those of you who said I wouldn't last a day, well you were right too. I haven't done one thing I said I was going to do. Which is why I don't generally make New Year's resolutions. I know I won't keep them.

I think they should have New Year's sometime in July. Or maybe the end of June. How about June 21 (because Flag Day is the 14th and we don't want anything to interfere with that, it's one of my favorite holidays). On June 21 I think it would be so much easier to make resolutions -- most people make the same ones year after year after year anyway -- quit smoking, lose weight, be nicer to people. So if we tried all these things on June 21 I think we'd have a better shot of keeping them instead of in January. January is cold, it's kind of a closed month, people are shut down, shut in, shut up, nobody wants to do anything. In June people are wide open, to the weather, to ideas, to each other. C'mon with the fellowship. I know I lose weight a whole lot easier in the summer. I also know I smoke a lot less in summer than I do in winter. And I usually am a lot nicer to people because I FEEL better, I have a tan, I look better. So what do you say, let's start a campaign to have New Year's Eve in June. I think it would be much better for everyone.

Yesterday because of all the guilt I felt for not keeping my resolutions I worked on the computer from 7:30am until 8:30pm. At least my ass thought it was that long. I ended up with 14 pages. (And what was my resolution again, 2 pages per day? I can't remember -- another reason I don't make resolutions) So I guess if you want, you could say I made my quota for this week.

I think I have a cold. My nose hurts, my eyes and the back of my throat hurts. Let's hope not. Especially if I have to interview.

Did I tell you, did you hear, I entered the Genre Wars contest at the Literary Lab and they picked my story to be included in the anthology. Pretty neat huh? Considering it was the first contest I've ever entered. I guess I can write pretty good. LOLOLOLLOLOLOL I am honored and absolutely beside myself that they picked my little old story. I don't know what to think of it myself because I've never written a short story in my life (1500 words) and it's written from a man's POV, and there's such a short resolution you don't even know it's there. I guess I'll take the compliment and stop analyzing it to death. It's just so freakin' awesome!
After they publish it, I'll put it up here so you can read it too.

As to the 14 pages from yesterday -- I think they're all pretty much crap because I tried to form a cohesive thought to tell you about it but I can't. Violet got sick at Ellis' mother's ball and he took her home. From what I can tell, it's pretty serious. I don't know why I made her sick. It wasn't in the original plan but I'm a panster and don't have an outline so we'll see what happens.

Happy Weekend.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away called Oceanna, lived a woman who cooked. She cooked for the King & Queen, the peasants, the merchants, the scholars, she cooked for everyone. The people loved her food and news spread far and wide how fantastic it was. She was happy and healthy and loved her job. One day, a messenger came and asked the cook if she would relocate to a land even farther away so she could cook for other people. She decided that she would go, even though it broke her heart to leave, but life was all about adventure wasn't it. And the new people would love her food too so it wouldn't be so bad.

It was worse. She cooked and cooked in this new land but nobody ate her food. So it went rotten. She cooked more food, but the new people thought it was horrible and different and wouldn't even taste it. The little cook became sad and put away her spoons and mixing bowls, turned off the oven and decided to do something else to make money to return to her former land. But no one would hire her because she couldn't do anything else besides cook. They knew her food was horrible and different so why should they take a chance on her.

The little cook had no money, no job, no friends, and no way of ever getting back to Oceanna. One day she crawled into her bed and cried herself to sleep. She stayed there for many months until one day she woke up and said to herself, "I can read and write, I'll write a book, sell it, and then I can go back home to cook." So she wrote her book, every day, scribbling and scratching away and one day, she wrote "The End". The book was finished and she ran into the town to show the booksellers to see if they would buy her book. They said no, she was a cook, not a writer, how dare she write a book. The little cook was even sadder. How was she going to get home now?

One day, she was walking down the path that led to the Great Forest. She thought if she walked far enough she might get to the other side and be able to find her way back to Oceanna. On the path was a beautiful fairy princess who said,
"Oh little cook, I've seen how sad you are. No one will eat your food, or be your friend, or buy your book so you can return home. But if you will come with me perhaps I can assuage your sadness." So the little cook went with the fairy princess who showed her a darling little cottage in the woods. It was all set up with a bedroom and furniture, enough food in the fridge to eat, and a brand new shiny computer with printer all set-up for her to use. The little cook was surprised but happy and sat down at her little computer and started banging at the keys and found herself writing more and more and loving every minute of it.

Then, just when she was getting ready to see if the booksellers would buy a different book she had written (because it was written in a different genre and POV) the fairy princess came back. "Oh little cook, I have some news. There is a couple in the town who would like you to cook for them. They have just moved here and cannot eat the food in town. They have sent out a search team to find someone to cook for them and I thought of you. However, you must go through three tests to get this job. If you pass the tests and get the job you will be rewarded with riches beyond your imagining. If you work for a year, you could return to Oceanna with enough money to buy new pots and pans. But first you have to pass the three tests."

The little cook was in a quandry. What was she to do? She finally had found something else to make her happy but now was the opportunity to make all the riches she had once had, and enough to allow her to return home.

"Okay," she said, "What are the three tests?"

"First," said the fairy princess, "you have to write down all the things you know about cooking. Every single thing. Then you have to go to this place called 'A Big Box Office Store' and FAX them all you have written. If you pass that test, then you will be granted the first interview. If after you pass the interview, you will have to pass another test, a back ground check to see if you are trustworthy enough. If you pass that test, then you will go through two more interviews, and then you will be asked to cook for the new couple to see if they like your food."

The little cook thought that was a lot of work to just do something she loved and was good at, but the riches were so great, and she wanted to go home so badly, she said, "Yes, I will do it." However the fairy princess warned that if she got the cooking job she would have to give up her writing. There was no way she could do both. The cooking job would take up all her free time.

But then, in a bizarre twist of fate, a bookseller said he was interested in a short story she had written, it was very well done, and would she like to have it published. The little cook jumped for joy and cried because she was so happy. She was proud of her writing and wanted to continue with it, she had finally been validated but then she thought about the riches that were to be gained by cooking to go home.

What was she to do?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fiction Fatigue

Scott G.F. Bailey, or Mister Bailey, as I fondly refer to him, had a post on the Lit Lab yesterday about 'fiction fatigue'. What happens when you are half-way through your masterpiece and it just doesn't compell you as it did when you started.

This, I believe, is MY biggest problem with writing. I start out all fresh and bubbling with ideas and scenes, outlines, scraps of paper with dialogue, and then I begin. By the time I hit chapter 10, I'm so sick of my MC's and all their problems I don't care if I ever finish it. So I start another one.

I have one complete finished manuscript that I did query (but found it needs a minor overhaul). I also have four more books in that same Regency series ranging from 10K words up to 65K words. I also have two contemporary romances (22K & 55K respectively) and a YA mystery (15K) that I'm just funning with right now.

I have all these unfinished products because I got bored with writing Masquerade (the finished book). I started getting ideas and of course had to jot them down, which turned into a full-blown writing fest, then I got bored with those too, then started something else.

And I really should clear that up -- I'm not BORED with the stuff I'm doing, I just know how they end and I hate writing the ending because then I'd have to say good-bye to my characters. How crazy is that you may be thinking. Pretty damn crazy I'd say.

But I love my characters. They're more like friends and I always try and keep up with my friends, but once the book is finished, so is their life. In the Regency series, some of them pop in and out (like Lady Caymore, William & Penny, and of course, Quiggins) but I don't really know what's going on in their little worlds. Did Penny and Will finally have a baby boy? Does Quiggins get it on with Lady Caymore --(I don't know yet for sure, but it would be fun to write) Does Robert find the lady that he's been searching for all his life?

So yes, fiction fatigue is a great red beast that pops his head in and out of my subconscious for all my work. I don't particulary like him, I can't seem to finish anything, but then again, he gives me great ideas for other stories that I HAVE to write. OR at least, start.

Hopefully, someday, I will finish them all.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Making it Real

I was hopping around on the blogosphere last night and found a discussion on what makes dialogue real. Yeah, I don't know either, but it was suggested (by Nathan Bransford and Dominique's brother) that you have to make the character's speech better. I don't know if that means, make them smarter, take out the dangling particples, stop using like, even if the person uses it like 500 times in one sentence. I'm clueless. I've always written dialogue the way it would sound if someone were actually speaking (the way I speak).

So here is some dialogue gentle readers...tell me, what do you think? Is it real? Or better than real? Or trite and doesn't even come close to real? (I also tried to put spaces between paragraphs so it would be easier to read.)

More about Genna & Tony --

She hadn’t expected to see him, hadn’t wanted to see him, hadn’t thought about seeing him, but there he was, larger than life, sitting in her Uncle Sally’s diner. After ten freaking years, she finally decided to come home and who is the first person she sees? And why dear Lord, does she have to run into him without having a lick of make-up on her six-hundred mile, twelve-hour sweaty face? Him. Of all people! Antonio freaking Joseph Testa, the guy, the one, the bum who jilted her for that skinny, little witch Debbie Martino.

It might have been ten years ago but it still hurt like hell.

Genna stood to the side of the cash register waiting to ask a waitress for a cup of coffee. She couldn’t go behind the counter like she used to, and she didn’t know any of the girls on the floor so she looked around at the white-washed walls, noticing not one thing had changed in all the time she’d been gone. The same picture of Pope John Paul II still hung over the door to the kitchen. The flag of Italy still hung proudly under glass, displayed over the map of Salerno where the ancestors originated. She wondered if anyone even bothered to look at the decrepit bulletin board anymore, still by the front door with so many cards stuck to it, it was almost an eyesore. The only thing that had changed were the little café curtains at the windows, they were blue checkered now, instead of red.

That’s when she saw Tony, sitting in the far booth. He noticed her at the exact same moment. He stood up slowly, gaping, as if she was some kind of ghost. Genna looked right through him, as if he were the ghost. He sat back down. Thank God, that worked, Robby always said she could drop someone dead with that look; otherwise, Tony would have made his way over to her and she knew she did not want to spend any amount of time discussing her last decade with him. She did not even want to be in the same room with him.

“Rosa Linda Fortuna Genovase, is it really you?” Uncle Sally cried through the pass through window next to the coffee maker. He came bursting through the swinging door, arms extended for the hug she knew she couldn’t escape from. And frankly didn’t want to.

“Uncle Sally,” Genna hugged back, not expecting the tears that picked at the corners of her eyes.

Salvatore “Sally” Genovase, her father’s brother, pushed her away from his huge body, although not letting go of her hands. “Your Aunt Fortuna is gonna’ have you on a spit you know, you shoulda’ called.” He hugged her again and she felt her back crack in two places.

“I know Uncle Sally, I know, but it was kind of a spur of the moment thing, you know. I had some time coming to me from the restaurant so I decided to come home.” She held his hand as she sank onto the last stool at the counter in front of the cash register.

He took the stool next in line and asked in a very low voice, “You okay? You don’t owe nobody nothing,’ do ya’?” He looked around his small café and wondered if anyone had heard him.

Genna laughed, “No Uncle Sally, I don’t owe anyone, anything.” Ingrained throughout her childhood was the Genovase family creed: Mind Your Business, Mind Your Manners, Mind Your Family and Mind Your Money.

“You sure?” Salvatore would always think of his brother’s daughter as his own, if she needed anything, he would move heaven and earth to give it to her.

“Uncle Sally, I’m sure, now stop,” she placed a loving hand on his big arm, “I told you; I just wanted to come home. Now, what’s going on here?” She laughed and looked at the white dry erase board hanging over the coffee machine. “Same old Tuesday specials I see, when are you going to change this menu?” A waitress had finally come by and Genna asked for a cup of coffee.

“Ha, just like a woman, not even here for two minutes and already giving me grief.” Salvatore laughed, patting her face with his big hand.

“I’m not giving you grief Uncle Sally, I’m just not crazy about stuffed eggplant,” Genna giggled and poured a heaping teaspoon of sugar into her mug of coffee. She stirred and reached for the cream when she heard his voice behind her.

“Hello Genna.”

She didn’t want to turn around, she didn’t want to see him up close, and she didn’t want to talk to him. What she wanted was to melt under the floor, or better yet, have him melt under the floor so she could walk all over him the way he had done to her.

“Hello Tony,” she mumbled over her shoulder. She was only being half-impolite. At least she said hello.

“How’s it goin’? Back in town?” He stood, waiting for the waitress to pay his tab.

Duh? She was sitting right there in front of his face, where did he think she was, China? “Yeah,” she answered curtly. Now go away.

“Well, maybe we can catch up later.” He said as Heidi, the waitress who’d poured her coffee, cashed him out.

“Maybe,” Genna snorted. Not in this lifetime. Never again.

She turned her attention back to Uncle Sally who wore a pensive expression as he watched Tony go out the door.

“I know he’s not number one on your hit parade Genna, but you might want to cut him some slack. He’s had it rough these last couple years and he’s not such a bad guy once you get to know him.”

This from the man who wanted to have Tony’s kneecaps broken when he found out he’d dumped Genna for Darling Debbie.

“Listen Uncle Sally, I didn’t come here to see Tony, I came here to see you and Aunt Fortuna. Where is she by the way?” Her aunt had always been a fixture at the restaurant from nine to three during the week while her kids were in school, on Saturdays for the lunch rush and on Sundays for breakfast. That schedule had not changed even though her children had graduated a long time ago.

“She had to baby-sit the twins. Angie’s got a doctor’s appointment.” Salvatore made the sign of the cross.

“What’s the matter with Angie?” Genna asked, noting her uncle’s mannerism. She and Angie had never been close growing up although they were the same age and lived in the same house; still, she was her cousin.

Salvatore leaned in close, “Girly problems.”

Genna knew that could mean a thousand different things, nine-hundred and ninety-nine of them not being serious. She put her hand on Uncle Sally’s none-the-less for support.

“I’ll ask Aunt when I see her. Where’s Robby, down at the shop?” Genna asked about Angie’s brother Roberto. They had been the close ones, always in each other’s business, always in each other’s hair.

“I would imagine,” Salvatore glanced up at the big clock over the pass through to the kitchen, “It’s only ten, you gonna’ go by there now?” He rose from his stool without waiting for her answer and moved behind the long counter.

“Yeah, I figure he’ll be mad because I didn’t stop to see him first but…” Genna laughed and finished her coffee.

“But you love your Uncle more, right?” Salvatore poured two large to-go cups of coffee, added sugar, milk and ice and put them in a bag. He also made a container of doughnuts and pastry and placed both down in front of Genna.

“Here, give him these, maybe he won’t be so mad, eh?”

Genna stood and hugged her Uncle, kissed him on both cheeks and picked up the bags.

“I’m assuming you’ll be home for dinner,” Salvatore said to her retreating back.

“As if I wouldn’t,” she turned around to face him, her hand on the door handle, “You think I’d want Aunt Fortuna hunting me down? What time?”

“Seven I’d imagine. Soon as she finds out you’re home she’s gonna’ be cooking like it’s Christmas. Remember to bring your appetite.” He waved her off.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Thank you & Welcome

Hello, thank you and Welcome to Simon C. Larter for becoming my "friend" yesterday. I had the pleasure of reading his "No Kiss" blog post and was quite surprised. As I told him, I didn't know what I thought of him before, but after reading what he wrote, boy howdy, I'd like to be in his head for an hour.

So thank you Simon, come on in, take a look around, feel free to comment. Welcome.

A Different Excerpt

I thought you might like to see what I do with setting. This is just a descriptive set-up for the next scene. Genna's real name is Rosa. They call her Genna because it's her last name -- Genovase. (It makes more sense in the context of the whole book.)

*****Sorry this post has been removed by the author.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


I thought from time to time I'd like to post an excerpt from something that I've written. It seems that other writers are doing it and why should I be any different.
Feel free to comment, edit, find the typo's, criticize, what ever you feel like. I know I've said I write Regency, I also dabble in contemporary romance, and YA mystery.

(Working title) Genna & Tony Contemporary Romance

***** Sorry this post has been removed by the author.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome & Thank You

We have a big fat Welcome and Thank you to Sarah Jayne Smythe for becoming my "friend" today. It's nice to have you here, feel free look around, comment, have a good time.


A new day, a new year. Time to make a few resolutions and try and keep them (at least through the month of January).

1) Write 500 words a day. That breaks down to two pages. It's doable and if I stick to it, I can have Mismatched finished by April. Mimi's Ring by August. Maybe even sooner (I suck at math.)

2) Try not to write crap. I'm not looking for a literary masterpiece by any means, just a sentence that doesn't have any justs, likes, buts, thats, or -lys in it.

3) Do an outline, synopsis, scene edit, whatever it takes to get Mimi's Ring back on track. Or at least to a point where I know where I'm going and what I'm doing so I can finish the first draft by March.

4) Really put some work into Mismatched. I love the story, I think it's sweet and I would like to see it published. On that note, I would also love to revise Masquerade again. Those are the two starting books in the series and it would really mean a lot if one of them got picked up.

5) On a personal note I would love to lose 50 pounds by Earth Day -- it's my birthday. Okay, I'll take 40, only 10 pounds a month, 30 would be swell because that's my original fighting weight, but absolutely, definately 20 because I cannot and will not look like this for another year. UGH!

6) And I will quit smoking this year. Because sooner or later it will kill me and I have the most Blessed Precious 5-year-old in the universe and I don't want to leave her all alone in this big, bad world. (Some habits are really hard to break)

7) Kindness. I MUST use more kindness in dealing with people who don't understand me. I am an enigma.

I think that's all I can stand for now. At least they're written down for easy reference and not lost amidst the papers on my messy desk.

I never make resolutions because I always break them, but these are important to me this year. You may, of course, refer me back to these whenever you feel the need. I hope that, you too, are successful in your quest for fulfilling your resolutions, if you dare made any.

Good Luck! Let the New Year begin!