Monday, August 9, 2010
But it's true. I'm going fishin!
Err...not really. I'm working. Not on writing stuff. The actual "job" that pays my bills! ;-) I like my job, so it's pretty important I get to keep it.
I'll be back sometime in September. Until then--I'll miss you all!
Saturday, August 7, 2010
First, thanks to DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude for hosting this bad-boy blogfest!
The rules are simple, post a "high drama" excerpt from your book/wip (or write something totally new). 1000 words or less. Bring it on!
Here goes (and I'll say I'm sorry in advance because this isn't very high drama...but I couldn't help but join in the fun!)
* * * *
Oh, wait--we need a little set-up here. Basically you have a woman, Jaimie, who is getting divorced because her husband is a lying, cheating scum. Elliott is the man she always wanted (and got after her husband filed for divorce) but in this scene, she just found out that Elliott's ex-wife is her ex-husband mistress. The same woman who stole Elliott away from Jaimie 12 years before. So daytime soap opera, right? He's already confessed and she's trying to come to grips with this new information. Okay, here goes:
“Stop,” Jaimie said firmly. “Just stop.” She rose to her feet and walked over to him. She didn’t touch him. Didn’t reach out to comfort him. Her heart loved him, that much was true, but her mind couldn’t let it go. She was upset Andy had taken two men from her and Elliott had hidden it. She didn’t know if she could forgive that.
“Do you regret it?” she asked.
He nodded, the pain still evident in his eyes.
“Why did you hide it from me?”
“I didn’t mean to hide it. I didn’t know how to tell you. I knew you were dealing with your own things. If I’d known Kevin was having an affair with Andy, I would have told you long ago. I’m sorry.”
She wiped a stray hair from her forehead. “I don’t know what to say. Right now, besides pain – I feel nothing.” He tried to reach out to her, but she stepped back. “The only thing I need is time.” And she didn’t know if that would be enough. Her trust in all her relationships was shattered, torn to pieces by three people: an old friend, a husband, and a lover. God, how had she managed to get herself into this mess?
Elliott closed the distance between them, took her hand, and placed it over his heart. It pounded hard.
“I wasn’t planning on asking for anything more. I’m sorry.” Elliott replied.
Before Jaimie could react, Elliott grabbed the nape of her neck with his free hand and drew her to him. His lips weren’t gentle when they captured hers. His need was apparent as he deepened the kiss. The pressure on her lips grew, and although she fought the urge to kiss back, she couldn’t resist it. She surrendered and parted her lips for him, allowing a soft moan to escape. He reached down and took hold of her hips with both hands. He yanked her closer to his body as he rubbed his firmness against her. Jaimie shivered at the feel. The heat radiated from him in waves. Desire overwhelmed her. She knew who her body wanted. Now she had to figure out everything else.
Elliott slowed the kiss and pulled away from her. His cheek affectionately rubbed against hers as he spoke in a low, seductive voice, “After the day you have had, I thought I might give you a proper goodbye.” The warmth of his breath danced along her skin and made her quiver. “I have to go back to Chicago for a few days to work on another case Bill needs help with.” He stroked her cheek. “I’m sorry, and I’m going to give you the space you need. But make no mistake— I’m coming back for you. I love you and I want to work this out. I promise you I will spend a lifetime trying to make up for the damage I caused.” He started to walk away but Jaimie pulled him in for one more hug. It might very well be the last.
“It will be okay, JC,” he assured her as he ran his fingers down her hair. “You’ll see. I believe in us. I believe that because of what we have, everything else will work out.”
“Believe me,” he whispered as he placed one last soft kiss on the tip of her nose. “Believe in us.”
She couldn’t watch him walk away. It was too painful to see him go. She turned, trying to keep her tears at bay as she walked back to her desk.
A deafening shatter rang out as the window exploded. Shards of glass flew in every direction. She covered her face and twisted away from the razor-sharp shrapnel. Knocked off balance, she stumbled forward and threw her hands out to brace her fall. That’s when she saw Elliott jerk forward, blood dripping from his back, right before he crumpled to the floor.
FYI…A new chapter starts right here ;-)
In utter shock and panic, Jaimie scurried to Elliott’s side. Glass dug into her legs as she made her way across the floor. The only thing she could hear was the thundering of her own heartbeat.
Oh my god. Oh my god.
Elliott didn’t move. His back was to her. Blood trickled from a wound on his back, soaking his light grey suit jacket. He coughed, then groaned as he shifted. She was afraid to touch him. She didn’t know what the hell just happened. Her mind was in slow motion and fast forward at the same time. Everything was fuzzy. She couldn’t focus. Her hands trembled uncontrollably.
The door to her office swung open and she jerked her head up.
“What was that noise?” Andrew called out. “I heard a…oh, no – what…” He spotted them on the floor, crimson pooling around them onto the hardwood. “My god, what happened?”
“Call 911,” she panted.
Jaimie turned back to Elliott, the urge to protect him erasing everything else from her mind. Her breaths ragged, her legs torn apart from the glass, she found the strength to do what needed to be done. As fast she could, she tore off her jacket and used it as a compress to stop the bleeding.
She leaned into him. He face was pale and his breaths were shallow. He coughed and blood poured from his mouth. She would die if she lost him. That alone would kill her. She glanced around the room. Her window was shattered. Glass left its mark on almost every piece of furniture. And blood – there was so much blood around her. Her racing pulse made her dizzy, but she steeled herself to keep her focus. She had to help Elliott.
“Hold on,” she whispered as she applied pressure. “Please don’t leave me.” He could do no more than gasp in a breath. “Shh, don’t speak.”
TADAAA!!!!!!!!! Well, I hope that didn't totally suck. It's pretty lame for action and drama. But like I said, I wanted to come out and play. ;-)
Friday, August 6, 2010
Hold on, cuz I'm going to try and cover it at warp speed (so you don't get bored).
Psss....read all the way to the end--tons of good stuff here!
Did you notice my new up-chuck layout? LoL. I've been playing around with the templates and I'm not crazy about any of them. Problem is, I can't figure out how to get the original one back. Grrr.
1. I want to give a BIG shout out to Candace from The Misadventures of Candyland for her interview earlier this week to one of my favorite bloggers/people--Lenny from Lenny's world. Candace's blog is by far one of the coolest and Lenny is by far one of the most charming little guys I have ever met. Check out her interview here.
And then make sure you check out Lenny's blog and become a follower. He's always got fun stories and inspirational things to say. He's one in a million. Hands down. Go check out his blog here.
2. I read an agent blog this week titled "Watch your overly descriptive language." Does any else (besides me) have this problem? If so--go check out this post from Scott Eagan at Greyhaus Literary. You'll be cutting those descriptions!!
Oh, and guess what?? Scott himself will be doing a guest blog, right here in September! Squee!
3. I had a revise and resubmit request from a small publisher. I did as asked and resubmitted. Now I am waiting (trying not to chew my nails off). Actually, I'm okay. Really. After so many rejections you just kind of get used to it. You start to expect it. So that's what I'm waiting for.
4. Grumble. I turned 30 this past Monday. Old age, here I come! But wait! I had the WEIRDEST thing happen on my b-day:
Out of the blue, a literary agent called me on the phone. I had no idea why she was calling, but I almost peed myself anyway. I snail mailed queried her 3 months ago (I had written her off as a no-response-means-no rejection a few weeks back). Anyway, she called to request the first fifty pages and the synopsis. I mean...she CALLED. Weird, right?
I've gotten emails, letters and such--but never a phone call. It was cool. And it freaked me out. For two reasons:
a. I had foot-in-mouth disease and couldn't say a coherent sentence. If she liked the query I'm sure she thinks I'm a total loon.
b. She said, "If I like the pages I'll call you and ask for more. If I don't, I will still call you and tell you why."
Hmmm....yikes!?! She went on to say that rejections that just say, "sorry this is not for me" don't cut it for her. She's spunky. ;-)
"You need to know specifics about why I don't like it, right?" she asked. I mumbled yes, still trying not to pee my pants.
So, eep. That specific feedback concerns me. Wouldn't it you? But I sent off the partial on Monday afternoon, anyway. As always, I'm hoping for the best, but expecting the worse.
5. The Great Beta of Oz (Sarah) and I are celebrating our 6 month anniversary (just a wee bit late...lol). And, man--it feels good! Here's to you, Sarah--for your six months of awesomeness and whipping me into shape:
Sarah was also kind enough to send me two books for my b-day (totally unexpected, too). I almost cried. Almost. ;-) Here's the two books she sent:
If you didn't already know, I love her. And now I love her even more for thinking of me on my birthday. She's so sweet. You're the greatest, Sarah!!! (And pssss....Sarah might have some good news I can share soon--yay!)
* * * * *
NOW---how was that for a Friday update??? Pretty cool, right? And fitting that I go out with a bang!
Yes, you read that right. I'm out. I'm going out. The blog is shutting down.
There's this little thing called work that has been occupying my time. The entire month of August is filled with this work thing. Sigh. So, in the interest of being fair, because I don't have the time to comment on all your wonderful blogs like I want to, I will be shutting down my blog until September. I'll be back, though. Dontcha worry about that! And hopefully I'll have even more cool stuff to share! Well, I will blog one more day for DL Hammons High Drama Blogfest tommorow. But then that's it for a month!)
Later Taters! I'll miss you ;-)
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
To wrap up these guest posts on Justine’s blog, I wanted to share a few stories/tips I gained from the conference I attended. Learned a lot, and I would suggest attending one if you can. Don’t forget, there’s always the free/online WriteOnCon conference – http://writeoncon.com/ -- coming up too, perfect way to “attend” a conference during a tough economy.
1. For those of you considering attending a regular conference (as opposed to an online one), I would suggest approaching/pitching agents your first day there. When I attended the WLT conference, I was thinking Day Two would be best for this. My thought process: Let everyone get settled in, and (frankly) let myself get comfortable. Not the best strategy. Day Two was packed with so many workshops, seminars, pitch sessions…by the time I got a chance to speak with agents at the end of the day, they were tired (with good reason) and had already been pitched to by probably a hundred people each. I was able to close out the day on a good note (request for partial on my book), but my strategy would have been much more effective on Day One.
2. I had the pleasure of chitchatting with one agent for about half-an-hour on Day Two, but not about my book. Just publishing in general, even his hobbies. At one point, he pulled out a tiny pamphlet, and I think we could all learn something from it.
Here’s how our conversation went (this is from my memory, and I’m really more or less paraphrasing, but you’ll get the gist):
Agent: (pulls out tiny pamphlet from pocket) A writer came up to me today and gave me this.
Me: Oh, yeah? What is it?
Agent: I don’t know. The woman handed it to me and said, ‘I’m not going to pitch to you, I’d just like you to read this when you have time.’ Let’s take a look, shall we?
(Agent opens miniature pamphlet, I peer over his shoulder.)
Agent: It’s information on her book. (agent squints, unfolds pamphlet—it’s several pages long with itty bitty print)
Me: Huh. Well, that’s a cool idea.
Agent: (shakes his head) Too much information. I don’t have time to read all of this. Here. Look at this. (points to the title of the book) Even the title’s too long. Keep it short, simple. That sells better. And look at this. (points to copyright symbol and date next to the title)
Agent: Yeah. That tells me she’s been shopping this book around for four years. (agent folds pamphlet and replaces in pocket without another look)
3. As I mentioned before, I had a twenty minute editor critique my final day at the conference. Here’s how it worked: I emailed my first 5 pages ahead of time, and then the editor (from Chronicle Books) went through it on her own time and edited it. We discussed her edit during the critique session, and I learned so much from her in the short time we met.
The first thing I noticed was she marked out most of my dialogue tags and replaced them with the action itself. Example:
Original: “You don’t understand a goddamn thing!” I shrieked, throwing my hand in the air. “My dad never said anything about going to Romania!”
Her edit: “You don’t understand a goddamn thing!” I threw my hand in the air. “My dad never said anything about going to Romania!”
So she removed the “I shrieked” and just left the action itself to show what my character was doing.
Another suggestion she had was a bit more description and/or action worked into my dialogue. I had eliminated a lot of this because I read in a writing guide that it’s good to have sequences of dialogue without anything attached to it. I removed the descriptions from the wrong places, though. For instance, one person my main character meets is (in the editor’s words) a “real schmuck.” She said that would be a good time to show the schmuck, let the reader know what he looks like, what actions he’s doing as he’s being all schmuck-like.
I could give you a ton of examples where she eliminated the dialogue tags and simply put the action after or in front of the dialogue, or where she told me to add a bit more description. I’ve been working on my manuscript, and as I’ve made these types of changes, I’ve noticed it feeling stronger. There’s always a fine line to walk with these things, but I think I’m beginning to find it.
Finally, the editor told me something that really stuck with me. I don’t know why, but it was like a light bulb clicked on in my brain. She said, “I can always tell when I’m reading a good manuscript, because I forget that I’m editing it and just fall into the story.”
I hope this information has been helpful for everyone. Great guest blogging on here, Justine! Thanks so much for having me!
Thank you, Kay for sharing your conference stories/information/tips with all of us! I've enjoyed having you! Don't forget to stop by her blog. ;-)
Monday, August 2, 2010
Another week ... another grammar problem! This week I am going for something simple:
I vs Me
This is one of the most common things used incorrectly. Weird, right? Because it's also the easiest to see if you've done it incorrectly. At least, to me. ;-)
First, the basics.
"I" is a pronoun that must be the subject of the verb.
"Me" is a pronoun that must be the object of the verb.
Joan the English Chick describes it like this: "I" is a pronoun that must be the subject, never the object, of a verb. "Me" is a pronoun that must be the object, never the subject. (The same is true for he/him, she/her, we/us, etc.)
Make sense? Okay, let's move on to the example. I know you guys LOVE examples! ;-)
Tell me, is this following sentence correct?
Crystal and me went down to the store.
Sounds fine, right? Sure...it sounds okay. But it's wrong. The best way to tell if you've incorrectly used "I" or "Me" is to take out the other noun from the sentence and see how it looks. If I did that to this sentence, it would look like this:
Me went down to the store.
Oh my. You see the problem now?
I do believe, my dear friends, that the example (and the simple way to correct it) says it all. Wouldn't you agree? Yesiree!!!
The deputy is drained for the day--because not only is it Monday, but it's also JD's 30th B-day. Whoa. Grey hair anyone? Seriously though. I was afraid to turn thirty. There wasn't any stopping it of course, so I stuck my chin high and embraced it. Kudos to me! And everyone else has been afraid of turning a certain number! :o)