Tag Archives: Novel

Fantasy Man Monday

I’ve been subtly celebrating my contract with Rebel Ink Press. I have days when I feel like a “real” author. Then I am humbled by some dumb thing I do and realize I’m still little old me, guppy Dorie.

My current WIP for Rebel Ink’s “Once Upon A Twisted Tale” due out October, 2011 in time for Halloween is a male/male romance. That’s all I can say about it officially at the moment. Once cover blurb is approved and I finish all the revisions I’ll be able to promote more. I wanted to give you a few images that inspired my hero characters. Nathaniel Hawkins and Ike Sandhill in “The Galloping Ghoul of Hockomock Swamp”.

Cast as Ike Sandhill

Isn’t he a darling hero to rescue?

Cast as Nathaniel Hawkins

Nathaniel has that brooding maturity with a spark of joy behind his eyes. Can’t you see how much he needs Ike?

The thing I love about romance. Love is Love no matter what packaging it arrives in.

Revisions Love them or Leave them?

I received my very first revision letter. Well, if you don’t count the real first letter that basically said. “Oops, the idea you’ve had is basically fan fiction of a 100 year old story that is still under copyright. So, a tidy do over would be in order.” Completely understandable and I was completely hyperventilating at that juncture.

Yes, I did have a moment of panic. I gave myself a full fledged half hour of freaked out OMG what am I GOING TO DO? Then my girlfriend R.M. Kinore sat me down and basically said, get a grip, you are a professional and you CAN do this. In order to not have a total melt down, she helped me break down the changes I would need step by step.

All that aside, LOL. I manged to pull off the changes. I made the necessary re-writes and while it’s not exactly where I thought I would go– I ended up with a story that I’m pleased with.

Back on task. I received my revision letter. I know it is the “first” revision letter because my editor titled it “first revision”. Did I mention I adore my editor. I think perhaps we are kindred sisters of separate mothers. I don’t often encounter people that really understand me and ‘get’ my voice. My critique partner and a couple of people in my Ink Plots Critique group do. It is an unsettling discomfort when someone reads my work and doesn’t understand me. So, I have a lot of thankful relief that my editor does understand me so well. I read through her revisions and had several “head/desk….head/desk” moments. I realize one of my flaws is I write without capitalizing on the contractions as I need to.

I will admit I have heard many many groans over revison letters. I will go on record to say that I found my revisions educational and yes, a bit humbling. I mumbled through quite a few “I should have known that” over her edits. LOL. She said in essence. I am telling you this now…newbie… so I don’t expect to have to tell you this again. And, she said it in the kindest, most objective way anyone could possibly have.

One more first in this exciting journey toward publication. Take a look at this you tube video for a laugh about revision.

Rebel Ink One Year Anniversary

This Thursday Rebel Ink celebrates it’s one year Anniversary.

REBEL INK PRESS has a lot of fun activities planned over the next few weeks to celebrate their anniversary and showcase their authors. I suggest you drop by and check it out. Did I mention there would be swag? Lots and Lots of glorious Swag to entice you!

Visit their Facebook Event page to get the run down on Rebel Ink Press Anniversary Celebration

The Celebration includes a Chat this Thursday with Rebel Ink Press Authors and readers on a yahoo group called Joyfully Reviewed from 7:00 – 9:00p.m. EST Come on over and join the fun!

This invitation is hot so click it to see where to go. You need to be a member of Joyfully Reviewed to participate in the Chat.

Rebel Ink Anniversary Celebration

Rebel Ink Press is celebrating their anniversary. All kinds of give away’s and goodies are planned. Check them out. You can subscribe to the Rebel Ink Press newsletter in my side bar. That way you can get in on the fun.

Do I hear a Rebel Yell?

Many months ago I pitched a proposal to Rebel Ink Press for their Halloween Anthology. I submitted my work on deadline and crossed my fingers, toes and other body parts until they are sore, held my breath until I turned blue. Not that I was auditioning for the part as Smurfette. (ewww I will skip the Smurf movie, but I digress.)

I received a reply and I am now a Rebel Ink Press contracted author for that anthology. Whoo Hoo.

I think it is quite fitting for this southern girl to find a home at Rebel Ink Press. They are a relatively new kid on the block celebrating their first anniversary (more on that later). They have established themselves as a professional team in here for the long haul. I have been very impressed with the quality of their authors and the manner that they are moving in the industry. Watch for them. I’m thrilled to be one of their new contributing authors.

More to come.

Fantasy Man Monday

*laughing and singing* Here comes Peter Cotton Tail. Hopping down the …. Well, you get the idea.

Monday after Easter Sunday begs me explore interesting Peters in the world. *snicker*

The first Peter that came to mind was….. Aww No, don’t even go there. However, he is ageless and at least 300 years old. Does that entitle him to buy beer?

Peter Pan

Moving on! The next peter I found was

Peter Parker? Yikes. You know even with the upside down kiss scene… I didn’t find this one particularly sexy. What do you think?

I must dig deeper for a more interesting Peter.

LOL – Come on work with me…. I wait all year to make Peter puns about Peter’s Peter. Peters everywhere cringe at this time of year, don’t they?

Aww here is one. My favorite Peter….

Peter Jackson. Director of the *sigh* Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The person with the brilliance to make the menage of directing work for filming/editing/producing three epic movies at the same time. The intelligence to see how to masterfully edit Tolkien’s original work. *sigh* okay. Love Peter Jackson. Now, Love fest over. He is as cute as a hobbit though isn’t he?

I must have more Peters! Ah here is an interesting one. Peter Facinelli of the Twilight Saga Fame. He has the pretty boy look doesn’t he? He is leading man sexy enough to be on camera!

Oh, and how is this one for an obscure Peter?

Peter Sims author, speaker, entrepeur. Isn’t he a hottie? Love that smile and the mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

Okay I’ve shared my Peter(s) with you. Do you have a Peter to share with me? Who’s your favorite Peter? Buhahaha. Don’t you dare say Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater!

*Laughing & Singing* Hippity Hoppety Easter’s gone away.

Fantasy Man Monday

I have a confession. I started out with my teen daughters loving the series of Grey’s Anatomy. We were faithful viewers. We would rush home on Thursday nights to see the next installment in the tv medical drama. We were there to giggle with the reveal of McDreamy, McSteamy, McHottie.

Then somewhere along the line we fell away. Like any habit we got “out of it”. Too much of the McWierd, McDrama, McOMG unbelievable happened.

Do writers of series feel the same way. How do you continue a 10 book or more legacy in the world you have built. Anne McCaffrey did it well with her Dragon Riders of Pern world and ensuing so-many-I-lost-count trilogy after trilogy. JR Ward does it quite well with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Fans are rabid for the characters. Sherilyn Kenyon does it…. The list can go on.

How do writers sustain and feed the flames of giddy fangirldom for such a long run?

I think it must be the characters. The intricate layers of personality and emotion within a well built world and finely crafted story.

Similar to our Fantasy Men each week. There is mystery and depth. I can look at a lot of fantasy men. Yet, they eyes draw me in to make the picture more. Often I have seen the photograph of a model and the ideas for a character have launched.

Take a look at Mathias Lauriden of Denmark. He is a sizzling sensation in the modeling industry, yes even high fashion. Okay I guess today is cougar day cause these ‘boys’ are pretty young.

The moment I saw him I recognized a character I had been thinking of.

And the second model I chose today…Sadly was promoted on another blog and I couldn’t find his name. I did a lot of model searches trying to find out his name and where they had copped his photo from. So, sorry mystery fantasy man. But those eyes… I had to show him.

(If anyone knows who he is, please advise. I like to give credit where credit is due.)

The men I have chosen over the course of a year plus for Fantasy Man Monday have a commonality. Their image is engaging. You see their face, their body and you see more…the visual representation draws you in and you ‘see’ a story.

I hope my writing work has the same qualities as my fantasy men. I hope to be able to sustain a readership through my worlds and stories as successfully as my writing role models have done.

What do you think? Is this quality craft that you can learn? Or is there an innate talent that some authors have and the rest of us will never ever be able to touch?

Writer’s Coloring Box

Continuing on my story of what it means to have weak, or strong writing and my personal eureka experience. See earlier blog post(s)

In the course of editing I have those cards I told you about that I flip through. There are different words on the cards that, one at a time, I check through my manuscript and edit. It does sound rather laborious. Maybe as time goes on I will find an easier way to do it but this is the process at this point.

The first word on my list is “was”. I try to limit the number of ‘was’ words on the page to three or four. I find when I eliminate the ‘was’, I usually structure a stronger sentence. Too many ‘was’ and I hear a lisping buzzz when I read my pages.

I also look at “ly” words. I strive to minimize the number of words ending in ‘ly’. I find that when I re-write the sentence I am able to use more powerful words that give me greater meaning than an ‘ly’ word would have produced.

I do the same process for “that”. There are many times that is an unnecessary word. The sentence will have equal meaning with or without the ‘that’ word. At times ‘that’ is a meaningless word. For example, in the sentence — He mused aloud, hoping to draw out knowledge that the warrior might not realize that he possessed. Yes, I know there are lots of problems with this sentence. However, Take out the ‘that’ words and the meaning doesn’t really change. You have — He mused aloud, hoping to draw out knowledge the warrior might not realize he possessed. It is still an awkward weak sentence but I think it illustrates the point I was making. It is certainly better without the ‘that’ words muddying it up.

Another word on my card deck, is “it”. I can’t remember who told me that the word ‘it’ was a parasite sucking meaning out of sentences. I examine each usage of ‘it’ and work hard to give a word that has real meaning.

I have another collection of favorite words that I over use because they are convenient. Shrugged, smiled, growled. You know the list of words that you tend to stick in when you are drafting along. Look for those and reduce the echo.

There are more words on my cards. Some help me identify passive writing. Others identify places where I am distancing the reader with un-necessary words like She felt, She thought, etc.

I think as I become more experienced I will write tighter drafts without as many of these common weak writing flaws.

How about you. What do you edit for?

Writers Coloring Box

I have had a eureka experience I have to share. I read voraciously. I think it is an essential part of the universe, readers write or perhaps better writers read. I have favorite authors at all levels of the stratosphere from epub to mid-list to NYT best sellers. There are certain qualities I fall in love with that causes their work to be a keeper for me.

Throughout this journey I have pondered good writing. At first I thought perhaps it was a sense of quality plot. All the I’s dotted and T’s crossed that the threads came together at the end with a plausible believable resolution. That became an ingredient to the stew but certainly more was indicated in my recipe for quality writing.

Next I considered character. All my keepers have great characters. People I want to take the journey with. People I grow to care about. People who are believable with their own imperfections and totally multi dimensional. They could be my friends. They exhibit a character growth through the book to become better on their own pathway through life.

Some day I want to meet Judith Ehrlich She was a final round Judge in the Beacon unpublished 2010 and gave my entry a thorough critique. She was detailed and objective. She is also a shrewed insightful woman. In the thirty something pages she critiqued for the contest, she said a lot of wonderful good things. Things that made me laugh and clap my hands like a six year old whose momie liked the rainbow I drew.

However, some very real problematic issues arose. I have a lot to thank her for in taking the time to make that critique and the tone that she used both encouraging yet honest without guile. References to weak writing and that my heroine was a “prop” for the two dynamic heroes. Now before my friends get out their pitchforks and get all up-de-up. Let me say — I understood perfectly what she said and I agree. I love my “boys” I have a wonderful male voice in my writing. My heroes leap off the page. My girls fell flat.

I spent about four months reading strong heroines. I wrote fan fiction for myself playing with a female character I admired. She was strong yet vulnerable and I understood her well. As a result, I acquired a good female voice for my heroines. I recognized character is another essential element to quality. Yet, she said weak writing so there was more.

Along this same line and about the same time my main critique partner and I spent an evening talking about writing. She had received a series of encouraging requests. First for 20 pages, then 20 more, then 20 more. I don’t know why they didn’t just request the whole thing. But that is how it went. I agonized for her each time the agent requested twenty more pages. We just knew this was it. A contract had to be in the works.

Please allow me to digress a little bit and say other than my own writing. I adore my critique partner’s work. Her stories are vivid, the pieces come together at the end and are threaded along the way. I love the people she creates. I mean really love them. I wish they were my people. I want to wrap them up and take them home and hear all about their lives forever and every. I could go on. She is one of the smartest women I know and I am so grateful for her influence in my writing through her excellent critique. Okay, okay so stage set.

So, why on EARTH after sixty pages did they reject her work saying all the right things, all the good things about the Manuscript, the plot, the characters — but….always the but… Something like– the writing just wasn’t consistently strong enough.

WTF? Consistently strong enough? *see the incredulous expression on MY face* It really threw me for a loop. If my C.P’s work wasn’t ‘consistently strong enough’ what did I have to offer. I call myself blessed to creep in her shadow as a minion.

It caused me to do a lot of thinking. I looked over comments I had received from judges in the contests both first round and final round. I suppose I was struggling with what it meant to have weak writing. Don’t think that I just fell off the turnip truck yesterday. I have a deck of cards that I made that I roll through in the editorial phase. I will be talking about those cards in future blogs. Those cards helped me find some of the obviously rookie mistakes writers make. Each card has a little reminder of something to screen the manuscript for. I’m not talking about those superficial things. It is deeper than that. After all the editing was complete and I couldn’t find anything else…. there was still the “weak writing” comments. I didn’t understand how to change or avoid it.

Last night I started reading a writers reference book and “Sokath His eyes uncovered” A little tiny book put understanding to the concepts I’ve been exploring and coming to terms with for a year.

I am going to spend some blog time talking about weak writing. How to recognize it. How to avoid it. My disclaimer is that this is not a lesson mastered. It is a lesson in progress. I yearn for the day when I will be a strong writer.

Okay, so in getting ready for this journey together…. What does it mean to you to be a weak writer or a strong writer? Perhaps you have it all figured out and I’m sitting on the floor of the short bus all alone. Leave a comment about your thoughts on weak writing.

Excellence in the Blogosphere

I have friends who have fantastic blogs. So today I want to share a few of them with you. There is no particular order intended here. And No, this is not ALL of the great blogs my friends have. I’ll get around to revealing more as time goes on.

Kristen Lamb author most recently of “We are not alone — The writer’s guide to social media” writes a wonderful blog with help for writers trying to build a platform using social media techniques.

Today however her blog is about how her life is like a junk drawer. I’m with ya Sistah! Her blog struck my heart. Go visit her today and browse around the warriorwriters blog.

Another heart touching, thought provoking blog is by friend Jamie D. It’s called I’m Trying To Do Something. She writes about life from the heart and her family and the things that she thinks about. I love her words and the person that she is. Go visit.

Charlie Allden is a critique friend who gets my voice. She proved she was a smart girl when she created Smart Girls Sci Fi blog.

She started the blog to appeal to sci fi readers with reviews of multi media sci fi entertainment. You go Charlie! She is an awesome writer and has helped me learn things and grow in ways she may never realize. I’m still a little bird, not even quite out of the shell but I value her friendship and wise critique skills.

A collection of other critique friends did a similar thing with something they like thinking and talking about and that’s FOOD! Lisanne Harris and Abigail Sharpe put together a blog all about cooking and food. It is a great resource. Go visit Chicks In The Kitchen and check them out.

And a new friend Adrienne Wilder writes edgy urban romance fiction and you can find her worlds at The Atlanta Dens follow it through to her portrait/character portfolio because she is also an amazingly talented sketch artist.

I’ve decided she might be a kindred sister of separate mothers when I read her blog today about making a back yard water garden pond. She struck my funny bone and I’m still giggling about it. On first read, I laughed so hard and loud that office mates had to come see if I was alright. I guess they might have thought I was having a nervous break down or something. Cause work is so NOT funny right now. Go read it for yourself at her blog.