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Harlequin Who?

As I have mentioned before I submitted to Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write, along with hundreds if not thousands of other hopefuls.  Who won’t submit with the promise of “we’ll get back to you in a little over a month.” Ok, I was a little nervous. Who won’t be, this was my first submit to a major player in the publishing business. I worked on my Query, my synopsis and my first chapter, revised, reread, revised. All my critique partners did the SYTYCW as a goal of sorts and we each helped with content and line edits.  It’s a learning experience to no end. 

I wish I could say I was one of the few hopefuls who received a revision request or the golden ticket per say, but I was just like the majority of hopefuls, and received the rejection letter. It didn’t hurt, it stung but the letter pointed out a problem with my story, one I had a feeling about,  and one that I can fix.  One day, my MSS is going to be strong enough and the right publishing house and editor is going to love it.  Positive Outcomes only. 

The one bright spark out of this whole adventure is my dear Hubby.  I told him about my rejection and the conversation with like this:

“What did you do this week?” My Hubby said.

“Wrote, Carted the kids around. Got rejected by Harlequin.” Shrugged my shoulders.
With brows pinched together he said, “Who’s Harlequin?”

It took me  a moment, shook my head. “A major Publishing house specializes in Romance Novels. The little books in all the stores, gas stations… been around for decades.”


“Really.” I shrugged.

“Nice.” Then he patted me on the back and said, “You aren’t doing something right unless you’ve been rejected a 1,000 times.”

And he’s right. So to all my fellow comrades in the SYTYCW, pull out your MSS, look at it, read it… fix it or more on, because Rejection is a learning experience one we all must live through at least a 1,000 times in a lifetime before we do it right.  Besides Practice makes perfect. Fingers to a keyboard, head in the creative space and write on my friend… write on.


Reguritate a little which and that

We’ve all use these two words, which and that. But how much of it is left in our finished product?  Not much.  Often the word that can be removed during the editing stages. Actually, on many Publisher’s websites they have self-editing guidelines and in many of them ask to find ‘that‘ and eliminate 90% to 95% of them.  They’re not needed in the sentence structure. Once again this is regurgitated information all the way from English 101 but if you’re like me, what is not applied repetitively, can and will be forgotten.

Which is a different puddle of fish, the information it throws into the sentence is a clarification tool. The stinker about which is when using it as a nonrestrictive clause you need a comma to proceed it and may need commas to enclose the clause within in the sentence. For more information on restrictive and nonrestictive clauses . See Chicago manual of Style Chapter 6.22.

Some examples I’ve come across:

Thick dark brown hair that waved gently, hazel eyes covered by thick eyelashes, and rich lips that were moving but my brain turned to his body.

He stole my brain, synapses misfired at one look from those steamy hazel eyes framed by thick eyelashes and the Mc’awesome thick wavy brown hair. I struggled to grasp even a single thread of words, which came from those kiss-me-forever lips, damn I was in trouble.

We sleep in that bed more or less in the whole day.

We lounged in bed most of the day, just talking.

The boat which was yellow was easy to pick out at the marina.

The boat, which was yellow, was easy to pick out at the marina.

Stay tune for the next installment of Reguritation Wednesday.


Regurgitation Wednesday… Passive Voice

Over the past five years that I’ve written, I’ve attented numerous workshops and conferences. Each Speaker has his/her twist on information that has been around for centuries…since the first cave drawings. I’m going to add my two cents into the mix.  I’m no means an expert, I just know what works for me. Most of the information I’m presenting is regurgitated from everyone who has spoken to me or I’ve read in the last few years.  No matter what you write,  some grammar issues never change.  When you submit, you want your MS as polished as you can get it.  Don’t worry, the editors and agents will give you more helpful hints to pull your MS up to the pedestal where it needs to be, but getting your foot into the door is key.

Content is supreme.  If your story has conflict, emotion, to die for characters, and you find the right person to love your baby then you’re golden.  But here are some tips that will make your novel a little more polished.

Passive voice.  This is about the style of your writing, your voice of the story.

Passive voice sentences are sentences that the verbs used aren’t in direct correlation with the subject of the sentence.  Most the times you can switch up the sentences make it mean the same but make the subject more active.  In doing so, your stories are stronger, more memorable and… in tune to what is on your bookshelves. 

According to Chicago Manual of Style: The passive voice is always formed by joining an inflected form of be (or, in colloquial usage, get) with the verb’s past participle.

Typically, you can pick out passive voice by searching your MS for the word “was” then looking to see if the word following ends in a “-ed”. Look for these verbs: is, are, am , was, were, has been, have been, had been, will be, will have been, being  followed by a past participle.

Here are examples that I’ve come across and ways to fix them:

He was tempted by her touch to move closer…. Her caress tempted him, drew him closer until he gazed deep into her eyes.

She was moved by the movie…. As the closing credit ran, she wiped the tears from her cheeks before the lights came up.  You could always say… The movie moved her to tears. But If you are going to tell the what’s happened, why not show it instead.

I was hit by a dodgeball…. The dodgeball hit me in the chest.

Houses were built……. The Andersens’s built houses.

 Stay tuned for next week. With another Regurgitated Thought.



New Year, New Month…and new Resolution…What?

It’s not a new resolution, it’s an awaking of the writers life. Ten months from the conference with Bob Mayer on getting my writing butt in gear to be a Warrior Writer. To focus! And how am I doing?!?

Let’s see in the past ten months I finished a rough Draft on a novel and submitted it to SYTYCW Harlequin contest. I went to a Conference and pitched short story, submitted it, and a got a revision request. On those terms… I’m doing 100% more progressed in my writing life then I was ten months ago.

But let’s ask how are my writing habits… they are lost in cyberland. I made a goal… 5000 words a week for 2011. But at this moment I’m looking at 347 words to date from January 2011. So back to basics, I need to focus on the goal. I need to write, read, and edit.

I have started reading for enjoyment about two weeks ago, I’m almost back to my four books a week habit. The amazing thing about writing is, you need to write, read and feel reality all at the same time… but there is hardly any time to achieve all three in one day unless you really plan.

I have a friend,  who does all three really well. Sometimes, in the car she records her ideas for later. Once she told me, on a nine-hour drive she got most of a book spoken, but when she got home she realized half of it was worth anything. But its the same for writing. We have to write until our subconscious works out the kinks in order for the story to really take a breath of its own. Then we need to edit the begeeze out of the story to polish its hardware, and finally hand it over to someone who will hopefully love it.

So I’m ready to start the process all over again, here we go. Editing, writing, outlining and reading. Let’s go 5,000 words a week. Resolution… let’s call it a life change for the better.


Progress with a little help from Writer’s Therapy

Writing therapy

Word count as of Monday….5030 words and counting. Progress in my current WIP is partially in due to my wonderful new critique group, I’m nick naming the Writing Therapy Session. We’ve started a project where we break our thoughts and works into pieces. Instead of just reading line by line, each author creates:

  • a basic plot line,
  • character sketches,
  • conflict locks,
  • basic story idea.

Then, each author has the floor and we brainstorm:

  • The story,
  • Where is it going,
  • What’s the conflict,
  • Is my antagonist taking over,
  • Is my protagonist strong enough, 
  • Do I really have a tangible antagonist?

In the end, ideas flow like raindrops. It’s truly is like a writing therapy session. The good thing about the WTS is everyone knows where your work is going so if by chance you are stuck, the couch is yours. No more talking to walls, or inter conversations with your characters which lead to… you talking to yourself.

And with several therapist(critique partners) you’ll soon diverge into the meat of your story and come out with real, real reason your story is suffering.

My WTS brainstorming turn was on Tuesday, and through talking to individuals I’m on the right track. Now I know why my antagonist really ticks, the ruthless s*?of a B^5&$. Talk about inner soul-searching there. But the weight is off my shoulders, out of my mind and buzzing through my fingertips to the computer.

 My immediate goal is to complete a rough draft of my current WIP by November so I can start NaNo with a new story. If you have a story, get out there use your resources and get typing. Happy Typing.


First day of School

Pancakes on the stove. Bookbags by the front door and feet running. Thirty minutes ago the little rugrats were out the door and on their way.
It’s bitter sweet.
Gone are the carefree summer days of reading and hanging out at the pool.  My daughter has gel in her hair (training her bangs out of the way) and my son was a little man with super manners. Soon they’ll be home and after school mayhem will inslue. Homework, books, gossiup and such.
For me I have a timetable up and running where I’m going to fit my schedule in my day. So right now I’m to be picking up my house… blogging is more important. I can see my schedule going down the tube.  But I’ll give it go. Besides this is the first day of school. I can be more relaxed.


Where does the time go?

In the mad rush of summer, realizing the time is slipping away is always a disappointment.  Here we are in mid-august, school will be starting soon and for some of us lucky the Write On Rochester! Conference is right around the corner. 
Jessica Andersen is scheduled to give two workshops for LCRW on Sept 17&18 and I’m thrilled.  The workshops are on World Building and Pumping up your writing.  As a paranormal fiction writer these topical are right up my avenue.  But this could be for any genre in any style from children’s to YA to Adult to… the spectrum is broad. 
If you think it’s not worth it, think again. This conference isn’t about an all day workshop; it’s about networking. There will be editors, writers, readers and such.  Support, information on what to do and what’s going on.  At one conference I went to in the past, they were saying it’s about the elevator time.  Normally you run into editors, publishers and the like at Conferences and it’s the elevator time, that is important. You have 25 words to get your point across. 25 words, commercial to say what you need to say for that one person to remember your book.
Conferences are more than just the speakers, it’s the experience, the knowledge you gain from going.  So if you are in the Rochester area,and are a writer come out for the weekend. Find out how Jessica Andersen went from a PHD in genetics to an award winning Author and her secrets. Find out what it’s like to have elevator time, to network, to pitch your ideas. Come have an experience you’ll remember always.
Check out for more information.

July 2018
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