Let’s Revisit the Beginning, Shall We?

I’m baaaack! It’s Six Sentence Sunday time and it feels kinda good to be back in the fold.

For any of you that follow me–and I’m optimistic there’s at least a few of you :)– I’ve completed RETRIEVAL and even begun to sub it. Exciting stuff, that, but I’ll blog more on my submission trials later.

Fornow,allow me to take you to the very beginning of my sci/fi paranormal superhero romance, RETRIEVAL. These first six, and I mean the very first six, take place in the cafeteria of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. My heroine–well, let me let the story tell itself.

Skylar had pulled thirty-six hours straight, cutting, sewing, setting and diagnosing so many patients she couldn’t even remember why she’d agreed to do the extra shifts in the first place. Still something nagged at her, pricked that part of her that was always prepared for the unknown even as weariness slowed her steps and made her vision hazy. She rubbed her gritty eyes.

Her stomach rumbled as she passed items that looked like food, but had long since congealed into disgusting mounds of colored goo under the warming lights of the hospital buffet. Nausea or true hunger, it was hard to tell. She loaded a tray and with bread and juice.

There’s the first six. I’ve cut and chopped, revised and edited this joker so much that when I read it upon finishing, it was the same story told so much better. Thanks for letting me share.

May the words be with you all this week. :)

Scary Stuff, Submitting…

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to post about my journey toward submitting a completed manuscript. Now that I have a shiny, revised, edited-out-the-yang-yang novel, I’m ready to begin. But to tell the truth of this journey I have to take it back about nine months. *And in case you can’t hear it, there’s that crazy harp music playing–we’re going back in time people–play along*

Nine months ago, my laptop was uber heavy with five, count ’em five, completed manuscripts. But the stories were just sitting there as I jumped into yet another story and began writing a novella. On the advice of a friend, I joined a little site called Romance Divas and my entire world changed. I knew that my ultimate goal with these works was publication. I wasn’t just writing just stories, I had belted out novels over one-hundred thousand words in length. They needed to be freed to the world and give some relief to my uber heavy laptop.

The problem? I had no idea how to go about this process. Here’s the part where I tell you I have a family and a full-time job. My days are and have been for years now, filled with work, work, work and then a little more work. What time was left, or what time I could manage to steal at the EDJ, was filled with getting the words down on my stories. The rest of the time was filled with sleep. It’s still this way for me to a degree, though I have gotten better at time management. But I digress.

Let’s recap: Five completed manuscripts, more writing occurring, uber heavy laptop, work, work, work, no knowledge how to get my stuff viewed, joined Romance Divas. Okay, review over.

I joined RD, jumped into the threads on their amazing forum and began to pick up on all the ways I was deficient in the knowledge I needed to attain my goal of publication. I discovered a critique partner is a great thing. Since I’m the only one who had ever read my stuff, it was vital to have the feedback of another writer. I lucked into Linda, my CP, and then later I lucked into an amazing program offered by RD–the Mentor Program.

Linda helped me realize that my story was good, but my craft, the actual art of writing, was lacking. The bones were there, but I needed knowledge in order to cover those bones with flesh, give that flesh a heart and make that completed work dance a jig at my command. She gave me what I needed: the truth. Yes, my stuff was a good beginning, but it wasn’t strong enough to submit. I had to work on my craft, hone it and then submit.

Here’s the thing:  I had gotten ahead of myself prior to lucking into Linda. When I first joined Divas I read a few threads that led to agents and publishing houses. I looked the agents and houses up and proceeded to submit, yes, I said ‘submit’, my completely inferior, unpolished work to them. I submitted to five different agents–every one rejected me. Not just rejected, but form rejected. No feedback…nothing but “No.” It hurt.

See, I thought my writing was phenomenal; right up until Linda told me it was strong, but not good enough. I loved going back and reading my own stories, they rocked, kicked arse, all of that. What was she seeing that I wasn’t? I’ll admit to a bit of resistance when she gave me the dreaded truth. She delivered it so very softly, she was so freaking kind, but it was painful nonetheless. My resistance consisted of a few carefully worded suggestions, all unspoken mind you, as to what she could do with her truth. Then I had to stop and reevaluate.

The bottom line: I had read some of Lin’s stuff. She was really good. I compared her completed stuff to mine {not the stories or the voice themselves, rather the quality of the writing} and, well, let’s just say inferior doesn’t really cover it. I had to suck it up. I had to put aside my own personal feelings and insecurities and I had to wallow in the beautiful truth she’d given me. I took heart in what she said, “You have good stuff here.” I picked up my toys, but instead of going home, I rearranged them, sat my happy arse back down and began to play again.

I’m stubborn. I’m sure my family would say it’s to a fault. Yet, this is the one thing that I feel sure will carry me toward success. I loved/love to write. and determined that not one damn thing was going to keep me from doing that and doing it well. Her words lit a fire under me and I began to thirst for the knowledge she’d said I needed to become a top-notch writer.

And this thirst led me to the Mentor Program on RD. A three-month intense program where writers who want to learn can do so from other writers who have achieved success in their field or genre. At this point in the game, I had submitted one final time with the ‘before RETRIEVAL’, we’ll call it that because it’s the same story now that it was then, only bettah baby :). I had submitted to Carina Press.

Yes, yes, I know, what was I thinking? I’m not real sure and there’s a truth for you. I just wanted to get my stuff out there, hit it on a wing and a prayer maybe? Who the heck knows? There was an open call by Angela James and I responded. Hindsight’s always twenty-twenty and I still wince a bit when I think of hitting the send button on that email to her.

Shortly after, I began the mentor program and was paired with David Bridger. You’ve heard me rave about him in previous posts. The bald truth is, he’s nothing short of awesome. I couldn’t have been paired with a better writer, a better person. If the success I’m wishing and working toward ever comes, a lot of it will be due to his influence on my craft. Another truth is this: I had no craft per se until he guided me and directed me toward it. I put words down on paper, nothing more. He led me to water and I drank like a woman who’d been in the desert for thirty years. He gave me link upon link to visit about voice, style, deep third POV and so many more things that are vital when a writer sits down to craft and mold a work of words.

Then he led me to a little workshop called, Before You Hit Send. And irony of all ironies, guess whose workshop it was? Wince with me now… Angela James. The same editor I’d submitted ‘before RETRIEVAL’ to prior to entering the mentor program. I scrambled, could I withdraw my submission? David said, “Yes, yes, do!” So I tapped out an email and wonder of wonders, Mrs. James responded with “Of course” and “Feel free to submit when you’ve revised.” (I’m praying she never read the first submission) I was elated. I now had an opportunity to revise and edit my work with the knowledge that I’d gained from Linda, David and Ms. James herself through B4YHS.

The journey took me through three months in the mentor program with ObiWan Bridger. He’s truly the ObiWan of writing, at least to me. I gained a load of knowledge, remembered things I’d lost over the almost twenty since college–folks, I not only found my craft, I honed the hell out of it. I’m still honing it because I’ll never be perfect. That’s a joy to me. If the learning ever stops, I’ll dry up and so will my writing.

So here I am now. The mentor program is finished. RETRIEVAL is finished. It’s a product of which I’m infinitely proud. It’s the same as ‘before RETRIEVAL’ only much, much better. And the good news? I’m submitting again.

I submitted to one agent. Start of small is my motto. Not the agent, but the number. I’ve been rejected. No need to gasp. It didn’t even sting. Because I have a product I’m proud of, one agent’s pass is another agent/editor’s opportunity. I’m moving forward and one day, hopefully really soon, I’ll be able to update you with a post that says: I DID IT!!

This is what I’m left with: whatever happens to you as a writer, discover the craft of writing. Hone it, sharpen it and force it to cut like a scythe for you. Oh, and never, ever give up. Rejection is another form of encouragement. One’s loss is another’s gain. Plug and plod away and never stop writing. Never give up.

I’m wishing all who read this WORDS. Happy writing and reading. 🙂

It’s been a quick minute, yeah?

I haven’t updated in a few weeks. Man, that’s a while. I’ve taken a little break from Six Sentence Sunday because I didn’t want to give out passages that may or may not change as I go through re-writes and edits. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to rejoin the other amazing authors who put their stuff out on #sss. I miss sharing my story with you. For all of you who check in occasionally, you ‘re appreciated. I’ll be back at it soon.

I’ve been writing. I had a week off not too long ago. It wasn’t that productive writing-wise but boy was it amazing to have some time off from work. This last week though has been amazing as far as my productivity. Literally, I’ve hit it out of the park. I’m waiting as we speak/read/write to hear back from my mentor on the last 3, or was it 4, chapters I sent him for critique. But I’m hitting even more chapters, knocking them down fast and I’ve found my love for this story again.

I’ve been writing for about five years. Yeah. Five years. I am long time lover of all things in the romance genre. Paranormal, contemporary, historical, suspense, it just doesn’t matter–if there’s love involved, I’m all in. But I have my favorite authors and it takes a lot to get me to add new ones to my list. It’s not that I’m old, it’s that I’m set in my ways–like a good pudding. 🙂 Just sayin’. I decided, as I was going through a dry spell where I couldn’t find any new books I could get into, that I’d damn well write my own.

And I did. I wrote one, then another, then another. I just kept writing. It was cathartic, beautiful and the stories just piled up. When I decided to get serious about it, I discovered Romance Divas. From there, the snowball began to roll and I ended up being accepted into their Mentor Program. I know you’ve heard me talk about my wonderful mentor, David Bridger. There aren’t enough words to describe how lucky I’ve been to be paired with him for this journey. The things I’ve learned through him, and also my amazing CP, Linda Adams, have expanded my love for the craft of writing. I’m getting better at it, folks, watch out! 😉

Now the journey continues and I’ve picked Retrieval, a paranormal/sci-fi romance to be my first work for official submission. I’ll have to tell you about my previous experience with submissions in another post–not pretty at all! It’s not that I received rejections, even though I did, it’s that I had no idea why I was receiving the rejections. I do now, trust me. But it’s all good, because I wasn’t ready and neither was my work. I’ve discovered that I love my stuff and it deserves to be the absolute best when I send it out for others to read. I’m really close. REALLY CLOSE. That makes me happy.

So here I am. This is me and this is where I’m at in the journey. I’m a writer with big hopes and even bigger dreams. And now I’ve got some of the tools to help me realize them. I don’t mean to ramble, this was just supposed to be a check in to let you know I’m still out here. But I’m a sharer, so there ya’ go. For the #sss crowd…I’m watching and loving what you’re putting out there. Keep it going, you’re doing a great job!

Now go read, peeps. Or write. That’s even better.

Six Sentence Sunday-Quatre (Part 4, Peeps)

I despaired that I would reach the weekend, but here I am and now every second that ticks away is one step closer to Monday. They’re never long enough–the weekends that is. It’s all good, though. I’m not gonna sweat it. I’ve the rest of the weekend to catch up on a workshop I’m taking–Angela James, Before You Hit Send. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, let me take a second to give you some advice: look it up. If I were more tech savvy, I’d post a link. Alas, I’m not but I can’t say enough about this workshop and the sheer amount of information I’ve gained this past two weeks. Angela James is the Executive Editor for Carina Press, Harlequin’s Digital First Press and she presents this workshop a few times a year. It’s chock full of editing/polishing tips and gives you insight into what editors are looking for in your manuscript. If you’re looking to be published–take this course. I feel like an infomercial but I’m a believer–pimping over 🙂

Other than that, I’m hoping to get in some writing, editing, etc . I need to visit with my characters a bit, get the low down on what’s been going on while I’ve been embroiled in nothing but work, work, work. There will come a time in the future when I make a gazillion dollars and am able to do nothing but spend it. For now, I work, yes I do and it takes up huge chunks of time that I could otherwise use to write. Hence, my characters feel a little negelected. I’m going to try to appease one of them with my #sss offering. {Here’s another moment where I could be tech savvy and post a link–yeah, you guys are quick–have no idea how to do that quite yet.} Just look up Six Sentence Sunday and join some truly amazing writers as they post six sentences from a current wip or published work.

Let me set this up:  Skylar has just seen Sebastian for the very first time in the cafeteria of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She’s tired but she sees him and BAM! Last week was the initial few sentences of that meet and this week is the continuation. I’ll quit yapping, here’s my offering this week:

Iron filing to his magnet, she was powerless to stop the forward momentum of her body. She bumped into others sending trays flying and people stumbling. Uncaring, she continued to move ahead. The scent of cedar wood and dark chocolate teased her. She licked her lips desperate for a taste. She’d become what she’d always feared: a creature of pure instinct.

I hope you all have an amazing week and I wish you much writing.

Six Sentence Sunday- la troisième partie

I took French in high school and loved it. The ‘la troisieme partie’ is just a bit of fun on my part. It means ‘part 3’ and is a nod to my third Six Sentence Sunday.

Last week, I introduced you to the villain of my paranormal/sci fi romance, Retrieval. He’s a man bloated with the need for power. His ultimate desire is to rule the world and he has the knowledge, money and lack of morals to make his dreams come true. He’s a nasty bloke, yes he is. I struggled this week with my next offering. Should it be more about my villain or should I introduce you to my hero/heroine?

I’m going to take the plunge and introduce you to Sebastian and Skylar. He’s a former spec ops soldier sent to find the villain’s errant daughter. She’s the errant daughter. These six represent the first time they’re in the same space. He’s found her–and her reaction is visceral.

So here it is: the next six for your reading delectation and my accountability 🙂

The cafeteria faded as her entire world narrowed down to him. Lightning rippled along her nerves. Muscles twitched under her skin. She stood and moved toward him. I have to get to him. His eyes widened as he straightened in his seat.

And there they are. I hope your week is amazing.

Six Sentence Sunday-Part Deux

Alrighty then–my second Six Sentence Sunday is here. Last week, there was some nervousness. This week, yeah, there’s still nervousness. But the ropes have loosened a little, so I’m all good. My armpits aren’t sweating this go-round. Could be the change in deodorant or it could just be that I’m not as apprehensive as I was last week. Too much? Hey, I’m in a sharing kind of mood tonight. Whatever the case, I’m here to deliver another six.

I debated on whether to continue with the WIP I’m currently working on with my Mentor. (I’ve probably mentioned the amazing David Bridger, but back off, peeps! He’s my Mentor and you can’t have him for a while yet.) I decided I’m going to switch it up a bit. I’m also working on another completed manuscript, doing edits, re-writes, etc. I’m using this manuscript in the workshop Angela James puts on, Before You Hit Send. It was recommended to me by ObiWanBridger. I’m passing it on to you. Amazing workshop–you should sign up next time she offers it.

As I was saying, this manuscript is completed. I’ve been plugging away at it for a while with my CP. It’s a paranormal sci/fi romance novel. To set the stage for you, it’s the early 1980’s. You have world powers struggling through the Cold War and then you have Dr. Dolan Smythe-Ward. He’s a world-renowned scientist lecturing to an auditorium filled with future geneticists about the work he does with his company, GenTech1. What kind of work, you ask? The creepy kind–muwahahahaha!

Without further ado–here it is: my next six (the very first six in the book) from the very first offering in my GenTech series, Retrieval. (*psst* did you get all that?)

“As far as some of my colleagues within the scientific community and their disingenuous comments about the adverse effects of gene splicing on the population, let me say they’re just that: untruths. None of you sitting in front of me today have been unfavorably affected by my work. I would go so far to say that none of you in this auditorium have sprouted wings, laid eggs, nor do you bark at the sound of a bell. Indeed, it’s my opinion that my fellow scientists, many my competitors within this growing market, have led you wrong. The work we do at GenTech1 is cutting edge and I’m proud of it. We’re looking in innovative new directions to help propel mankind to the next level.”

And there it is, my SixSentenceSunday offering. Thanks for taking a look-see. Happy reading this week!

Quick shout-out to Sidney Bristol–ummm, you rock 🙂

Six Sentence Sunday

Here it is folks! My first entry for Six Sentence Sunday. I’m a little bit nervous and whole lot excited. Nary a soul may read these–but I’m putting them out there. These six sentences come from one of my current WIPs. Gotta give a shout out to the amazing David Bridger–without his guidance these six sentences would be more like twenty. Oh, the meat was there, but he helped me chop it up into palatable bite-sized portions. He is the man as far as I’m concerned. I’m lucky to have him as my Mentor 🙂 This WIP is from the futuristic sci/fi installment of my GenTech1 Series–tentatively titled Hope for Me

 

Hope’s eyes watered as a defiant ray of sunlight sliced its way through the rain laden clouds above her. The lone ray illuminated the few remaining green shoots of grass trying to hide from winter’s searching grasp. Their brethren had long since died under early fall snows, but these tendrils clung to life bravely.

She wiped her eyes clear. “They should have been here two days ago. Do you think they got cold feet?”

Ta-Da! There she is–the first six of my current WIP. Whew! It’s done–I’m gonna go do a happy dance now for getting it out there. I’ll probably drink a Dr. Pepper and have a handful of M&M’s to celebrate.

Have an awesome day 🙂