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Plotting Class is Finished – So is My Para Rom (not in a good way)

I just finished my third workshop with the fabulous CJ Redwine. She’s a great instructor BTW. I highly recommend. Anyhow, I had an hour to chat with her last night and she asked some amazing questions, really got me to dig into my book, flesh things out. This is what I learned.

I may have written a paranormal romance, but I am no para rom writer. Nope. Listen to the ‘p’ pop on that one. Para may be the big seller these days, and I will write just about anything because its what I do, but there are some things that I should skip. This is one of them. I have about 80,000 words down and the manuscript is complete. I figured another 5-10K will come from revisions and editing to round my plots and shape my arcs, and so I took CJ’s workshop.

Unfortunately, I wrote 80,000 words of b-o-r-i-n-g. My “love” scenes are lame-o, and I’m just out of my element all the way around. As it turns out, this is one of those manuscripts to chuck. Stick a fork in it. You understand.

CJ was concerned that she may have upset me. Nah. I like to write. I will mark it up as lesson learned. If ever they stopped publishing all genres aside from para rom, I would just write for a family collection. I would still write, but I can’t swing the demon/human/ghosty/sexiness. I fail.

About the death of this manuscript: I don’t mind writing it off (pun! pun!). But now I have a new problem.

In October I have a pitch session scheduled with the lovely and talented Cori Deyoe from Three Seas Lit. She has written a couple of romances and 3 Seas agents lots of them, and plenty of para rom. This is why I drug mine from the drawer to revise. Now that I see there is no hope to make it viable, and I have no desire to do this, I am empty handed.

I have to have a summary of what I’m pitching in to Cori by September 15, 2010 and I am staring at a big empty Word page. Can we all say “Uh-oh” together?  On the one hand, I have an agent for one of my works, and I almost have one for the YA I wrote (still waiting to hear back from her “reader” for the thumbs up to sign me), but I have this pitch session too. It’s an incredible opportunity and experience and I will do my best to not look like a doofus. So, going in with nothing is not an option.

Now, I have about 3 weeks to write something that she would be interested in. I need enough that I can talk about it intelligently and then I can always polish, edit, etc. later, but I want to put my best foot forward and learn all that I can from this conference.

So, now, I need an idea, and about 300 pages in about a month? No problem. (OK yes, super-major-problem).


Nothing is impossible.

Just keep writing.

I’ll keep you posted.

Yippee! Hooray! & Wow! Women on Writing!

Did you ever have something sneak up on you? I did. I have a very set routine each morning. Right after I curse the sun that burns my face off because my window faces the wrong direction and my curtains are pretty sheers instead of those light-blocker-2,000s, and make coffee, I open my tweetdeck, hit the usual sites, and update my blog.

Today I had the pleasant surprise of finding an article that I wrote on one of my favorite sites, Wow! Women on Writing. I entered a short submission to their open call a couple of months ago and voila! There it is :)

For many of you, this is probably no big. However, for me, it’s way big. I have never read anything written by me online, I mean, except for this blog, but that goes without saying. So, I am starting my weekend with a big smile.

What a fun surprise. Even if I knew it was coming, I was not expecting it, and I will be happy all the day LOL!

Stop by Wow!’s blog site The Muffin today to see my very first online article. Please :)

Welcome Author Gayle Trent to Musings!

Gayle Trent is a multi-published author, now working on her second series of cozy mysteries beginning with The Quick and the Thread, and she is here to talk with Musings today!

In Gayle’s new series, she is writing under the pseudonym of Amanda Lee. Here is a little peek at the story:

“The Quick and the Thread: An Embroidery Mystery
By Amanda Lee

The first in a new mystery series that will have readers stitching–and itching–for more…

Marcy Singer has big plans: a move to the breathtaking Oregon coast, opening an embroidery shop called The Seven Year Stitch, and a fun grand opening stitch-in. What she doesn’t plan on is the shop’s old owner showing up–DEAD–in her shop. Some people think Marcy killed him. Some people think she’s the next victim. All Marcy knows is someone has to uncover the murderer before she’s forced to flip the sign on her shop door to CLOSED permanently. And it looks like that someone might be Marcy. She’ll have to find the killer before someone puts a final stitch in her.” -Wow! Women on Writing

Amanda was kind enough to share the opening chapter with me, which had me grabbing my keys to the car, but I will tease you with this little snippet, also provided from Amanda Lee:


I was feeling good as Angus and I unlocked the door and entered the
shop. I had my lists in hand and was eager to start calling people
about the first embroidery classes. About seven people had signed
up for the cross-stitch tote bag project. Twice as many had signed
up for beginner’s crewel and candlewick classes. Besides that, many
of the women at the party had indicated an interest in stopping by
for “Sit and Stitch” sessions between eleven a.m. and one p.m.
every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Suddenly, Angus ran to the storeroom and began pawing the door.

“What’s up with you? You’re usually not this active until you’ve
been awake at least an hour or two.” I strode to the storeroom and
flung open the door. “There. Now are you–”

I screamed. Timothy Enright was lying on the storeroom floor.

Now that you are as excited as I am, lucky me had the chance to ask Gayle a few questions about life. work and pseudonyms!

First of all, I want to tell you how very excited I am to have the chance to ask these questions of mine. As a woman who is new to both writing and blogging, I have been quite inspired by your story. I also recently found my own interest in cozies. Now, meeting a woman, mother, publisher and writer of successful cozies, I am thrilled!

1. How do you find balance (mother, writer, blogger, and teacher)?I should add – those workshops look very exciting.

Thank you, Julie. Sometimes it’s hard. In fact, one of the reasons I agreed to teach a creative writing class for home-schooled high school students this fall was to have some real life social interaction. :) As you know, writing can be such a solitary profession. For example, right now my teenagers are still sleeping. While that’s calm and peaceful (especially since the cat has been snoozing on my lap), I’m ready for them to get up and come talk with me. The cat can be a good listener, but she isn’t much of a conversationalist. And she seldom laughs…unlike the dog–he thinks almost everything is funny.

2. What is it that draws you to your genre? Why the cozy?

I like cozy mysteries because they aren’t too graphic. The focus is on the mystery or the puzzle to solve rather than to the horrific crime scene.

3. If the mystery genre ceased to exist, where would you turn in your writing? Is there a genre that you feel most intimidated about writing or perhaps one where you would love to make a mark?

I don’t know. Fantasy, maybe? Or nonfiction. I’ve written my share of nonfiction, so I might have to go back to articles.

4. Writing a series under a pen name is intriguing to me. Do you feel any added freedom in this? I’m wondering if there is some inhibition in using another name (whether or not everyone clearly knows).

There is some added freedom in using the pen name. When I write the embroidery series, I get a feeling of stepping into Marcy’s shoes…of being someone else. Although I feel similarly when I’m writing as Daphne in the cake decorating series, I’m treading more familiar ground–Daphne and I are closer in age, we live in the same area, etc. While that brings a certain comfort level, I’m constantly learning something new when I’m writing as Marcy.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to getting my hands on this book!
Best wishes in all you do!

Best wishes to you, too, Julie! Thanks again for having me visit your blog. Please send along any clarifying questions or follow ups.

You can find out more about Gayle by visiting her websites:


Book Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

I just read the yummiest book! When I picked it up, I was all shrugs and “why nots.” I never expected this would keep my interest, and it DID and I read it all today. No kidding, I barely spoke to my family. It was sad, but it happens. Thanks to having three of them and hunny home all week, no one was too distrubed by my book-in-the-face all-day-day.

Perfect Chemistry by” Simone Elkles

Main characters: Alex a south side gang member & Brittany a north side rich girl

On their first day of their senior year these two are paired as chemistry partners. They are natural enemies, complete opposites, and fully biased against one another based solely on rumors and appearances.

Each kid has their own major issues to deal with. They are both keeping people out and putting up major fronts and walls to protect their own hearts and egos. Eventually, they see this and fall in LOVE. *sigh*

There’s a bet on the boy’s side that he can hook up with her by Thanksgiving. Yes, this has been done more than a few times as has the plot of Romeo and Juliet in modern days. Couple that truth the fact that I’m not really a romance reader and you, like me, will be left wondering why I bothered reading this book.

Here’s the truth: Simone Elkeles is crazy-good. I was sucked in on page one and raced to the end. Every chapter left me hanging, turning to know more. I cared about them. I believed it. I could hear the music, feel the heat, smell the beachy scenes. I was terrified when the gang business was at hand. My heart pumped for the sweet desperation of their love. It was wonderful and thrilling and funny. I did laugh out loud more than once.

Because I enjoyed this book so much that I won’t even go into the plot lines any further. Just know that if you enjoy YA (and be prepared, this is a book about a gangbager, you’re gonna read some tough language and other things that don’t happen in church or on a playground -hopefully) then you will be as caught up in this as I was.

That’s all I can say about that. You will love it. You will love them, and you will love Simone Elkeles.

Upcoming Author Interviews at Musings!

I have to say, I love interviewing authors! This all began when I saw the “blog tour” concept on Wow! Women on Writing. I asked to host one of their featured authors, Mary Lynn Archibald, and it went swimmingly. Then, I met the fabulous Keri Ford on Twitter and she interviewed here too. That was so much fun. I was checking my comments all day long! I want to take a minute to let you know about the next few interviews that I will have here at Musings.

Thursday August 19th Gayle Trent, a.k.a Amanda Lee will be here!

Gayle Trent

Gayle Trent is a multi-published author, now working on her second series of cozy mysteries beginning with The Quick and the Thread.

Who is Gayle Trent? I’ll let her tell you a bit.

“I live in Southwest Virginia with my husband and two beautiful children, a boy and a girl. I’m a full-time writer/editor/mom/wife and chief cook and bottle washer, and I love every minute of it. Okay, not the bottle washing so much, but the rest of it is great.”

Don’t miss Gayle Trent and her new alter ego Amanda Lee on this Thursday August 19, 2010!

Wednesday August 25, 2010 Gwen Morrison is stopping by!

Gwen Morrison

Gwen Morrison is a freelance writer and novelist. She has one book under her belt and another on the way. Writing has been a part of life for Gwen since grade school and she has all the enthusiasm that we need to keep on going! In fact, she has A Novel Idea and blog spot that she is going to share with us called 365 Days of Writing. I cannot wait to hear all about her quest for publication and the stops in between! Stop by her blog and check her out, then meet us back here next week for the skinny on Gwen’s personal challenge!

Welcome Mimi Barbour on Wednesday September 8, 2010!

Mimi Barbour

Mimi Barbour is the author of the Vicarage Bench Series from the Wild Rose Press! There are three complete stories in the series so far, and the next one is due out very soon! I am thrilled to have Mimi here next month to tell us all about the set of events that set her career into motion! Ladies, let me just say that I was wrong to think that all contest entries go directly to the shredder if we miss one dot or tittle!

In case your like me and patience is not your strong suit, stop by and check out her website, Mimi Barbour, then come back nest month to hear the details right from Mimi herself!

Well, that about sums it up for now, but trust me, I have more in the works. As it turns out, I love meeting all these women writers, hearing their stories and being utterly encouraged and inspired by those who are in the trenches as well as those who have made it. I can’t wait to hear from these lovely ladies and share it all with you!

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