Aug 022017
 

Welcome to the second installment of Anatomy of a First Book. The initial post titled The Value of a Second Opinion began the chronicle of my, rather my editor Kathy and my journey to the publication of, as the title suggests, my first book.

Ever notice how we writers always seem to speak in the possessive? But, I digress.

Honorable Intentions is a contemporary romance which can best be described as Anna and The King sail to Alaska with his out of wedlock, teenaged daughter complicated by Father Knows Best meets The Nanny.

Having brought Chase and Samantha, two decidedly diverse souls together despite their erroneous preconceptions about each other, the time had come in their story for me to cruelly rip them apart. And, oh how I worked on the details of that Big Black Moment.

Circumstances neither could control had Samantha teetering on the brink of emotional collapse and I was there to shove her over the edge. She went from fighting tears to dying inside as she shredded her own heart and tossed it aside. In the name of love, I took her through a virtual sawmill of emotion not once but twice before letting her out the other side.

All the while, she presented a brave front for Chase’s benefit. And he had no idea her decision to walk away was to allow him to preserve and grow the tenuous relationship he’d come to have with his daughter.

Their break-up scene, in my mind at least, was just short of a masterpiece. (Tongue firmly in cheek here.) The scene, again in my mind if no one else’s, had it all. Love, desire, sexual tension, longing, regret, sacrifice, honor and heightened feelings turned raw.

As noted in my last Anatomy of a First Book post, the initial edit requests were mild. I’d neglected to complete some story arcs I was able to rework with relative ease and a why-didn’t-I-think-of-that attitude. Enter revision suggestion number two regarding that all important break-up passage. Roughly quoted, she said: “I think this scene would be much stronger from the hero’s point of view.”

Say WHAT? My mind screamed then went on in a quieter tone. But, it’s done. The scene is done. Finished. Completed. Hadn’t she seen I put Final in the subject line of the e-mail my manuscript was attached to?

Not only that, the BBM was written and re-written until it was one hundred percent right. Correct. Spit and polished to editorial perfection.

And she wanted it changed.

Unable to wrap my head around the enormity of that request right away, I did the only thing I could think to do; I did nothing from a writing standpoint, though I did take some form of action. Entering my office, I paced, I sputtered, with the door closed of course. After which I faced due east—oh yeah, I know where she lives—and let loose a stream of mild obscenities. Nothing major, mind you. More like a two year old stomping her foot and yelling unintelligibles because the world isn’t revolving quite the way she wants it to, i.e. around her.

I then performed the next activity to come naturally, I procrastinated.

It’s amazing what one can find to do when we don’t want to do what we’re supposed to. To provide insight into the depths of my desperation, some of the actions I took actually had to do with cleaning house and cooking. That’s how bad it was. All of which came to an abrupt end when I found myself standing alone in our bathroom, looking into the mirror above the sink, as I removed the lint from my hairdryer with a dental pick. Uh-huh, that was a definite low point, or I should say a turning point for me.

Because you know what? It got me moving. I ripped into that BBM chapter with the same passion that would make any self-respecting protagonist sit up and take notice.

If my editor wanted a perfectly good and completed scene rewritten so be it. I could do this. I’d show her. . .I’d. . .I’d. . .discovered the scene was so much stronger written in the hero’s voice.

Oh, why didn’t I see this before? Of course, the scene SHOULD be told from Chase’s point of view. His emotions were totally under control from the get go. Or so he and I thought.

While in the original manuscript my heroine gave up the hero for his own good and to preserve the future he was sure to have with his daughter, in the rewrite, the hero gave up the heroine because he determined he had nothing to offer her AND began to doubt he had much more to give his daughter. Talk about pain and desolation. This guy who had been stoic, strong and in charge throughout, was all of a sudden reduced to a heap of regret and misery he, or I, hardly recognized much less expected.

As I look at the book now, Samantha came into the story with more baggage she and I knew she would have to overcome. Chase, on the other hand, entered believing his life was okay although could have been better. In short, the scene in his voice worked because he had more to lose; rather there was more he needed to come to realize.

What’s neat is the entire process only served to confirm a little come to realize knowledge for me. One, a second pair of eyes never hurts. And two, while writing is a solitary journey, editing is not.

Thank goodness for that.

[Up Next: She still hated the ending.]

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the August 2nd posting of the IWSG will be Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner

Jun 072017
 

Ever wonder what the world would be like if you were never born? In the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey got to see the impact he had on the lives of others. For the rest of us, we’ll just have to calculate our own worth.

As authors, never been ties right in with those what if questions that drive our stories.

Where would the romance genre be without the secret baby trope?

In my first book, Honorable Intentions, I got a lot of mileage out of the teenaged daughter of a single dad hero. She was the product of a one night stand, and I built an entire book—heroine and all—around his desire to take care of her. Keep her safe and in his life.

In another, One Fateful Friday part of the Saturday in Serendipity anthology, the hero is sterile yet he and the heroine come together to adopt two orphaned children. In that same book, a secondary character and her husband who can’t conceive live their lives as foster parents.

It might be I come by these storyline ideas naturally. My own mother was an unplanned pregnancy BEFORE my grandparents were married. *Gasp* Back then, in the early 1900s, such a thing was frowned upon and then some. Though she and my grandfather eventually married and had another child, my grandmother was actually disowned by her family for having and raising the child conceived out of wedlock.

Scads of historical romances have been, well, born, with that particular circumstance as the inciting moment that drives the protagonist into action and on to what we term the heroine’s journey.

But think about it in a real sense. If my mother hadn’t been born, I wouldn’t be here, nor would my children or their children or…well, you get the idea.

My how times have changed though.

Married with two soon to be teenaged children, moving steadily upward in my career, with money in the bank and an empty nest on the horizon, I had my own unplanned pregnancy. For me, inconvenience wasn’t a sufficient reason to not have and raise the resulting twins. Long story short, my life has been better for the choice I made.

Here’s another true life occurrence that has me thinking fiction. My husband’s maternal grandmother left two children in the old country, never to see them again, while she sailed to the new world and a new life. And where she subsequently bore and raised three more children. That’s a book I’d love to write someday.

To each his or her own, but you can see what I mean about how some events in life shape the events in our stories.

What would the world be like if you had never been born? Certainly something to ponder now and then, isn’t it?

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the June 7th posting of the IWSG will be JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner

Nov 052014
 

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Where does the time go?

It seems like we just brought the summer clothes out of storage and it’s already time to put them away in favor of winter wear. Then we need to figure out the menu and other details for Thanksgiving, prepare the gift lists and then shop for Christmas. Not to mention dispose of the jack-o-lanterns and leftover candy.

Because Halloween is over. A cold, windy and snow strewn Halloween for us this year.

That’s one thing about living up here in the North Country. We have an advantage of sorts. A distinct change in the weather, rather temperature that alerts us to the arrival of the next season be that spring, summer, fall or winter.

Which brings me to the topic for this week – pacing. Continue reading »

Sep 032014
 

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

It’s no secret writing is a solitary business. Not only that, it’s a business that by its nature, brings with it rejection and disappointment more often than acceptance and success.

Being the daughter of a writer, I learned all of this at a young age. There were so many conversations in our living room about agents, proposals, submissions, sales, edits and – yes – rejection. Continue reading »

May 072014
 

This current post illustrates my thinking when I titled this Blog. As I decided originally,“Some of what I share will have to do with the craft and business of writing; others will be my take and/or experiences on life in general.”

The following qualifies as the latter. It’s an essay I wrote, based on a true incident in my life. Some of you may even identify with the event.

A Belief in Peaceful Coexistence:
Its Place In The Animal World

05-07-14 Picture 1

That Summer Saturday began innocently enough. The clear, pleasant morning gave no indication of what was to follow. Putting housework on hold, I took a cup of coffee out onto our back deck for a few moments of quiet reflection. Continue reading »

Mar 132014
 

03-11-14 Blog Post

A few weeks ago, I typed a figurative THE END on my latest WIP (work in progress) In writer jargon, that transformed the WIP to a CM (completed manuscript).

Thanks to some input from my colleagues at Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America, I have a tag line:

A parolee hides her past from a bounty hunter set on revenge

Thanks to some input from my talented critique partner Jannine Gallant, I have a blurb: Continue reading »

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