Welcome to Romance Weekly! If you’ve come from JJ Devine, then welcome. If you’re starting here with me, howdy! Let’s get to this!
1.) Was there a defining moment in your life when you knew you were going to become a writer? If so, what was it?
The short answer is no. I never knew I would become a writer. I’d wanted it since I was in the sixth grade, but I didn’t know if I’d be able to get published. I don’t think it was until I actually was published that I figured out I was going to become a writer. And even then, because I suffer from imposter syndrome, sometimes I still wonder if I’m going to become a writer, and that’s after four published books.
The long answer is that there was a moment when I decided I wanted to try. My son was two, and my husband decided he was going to start writing apps. And I remember looking at him and saying, out loud even, “I think I can write a romance novel.” I surprised even myself that day, because I never thought I would admit that out loud. That i wanted to be a writer, that I thought I could be a writer, and that I was actually going to try, despite my insane fear of rejection. It’s funny, because after I said the words out loud, I set out to doing just that: writing a romance novel.
2.) When you write a story do you see it unfold as one big picture, or do you add layering in subsequent drafts?
I layer in subsequent drafts. I’ve been known to change a story 70,000 words in, which is crazy, and don’t do that. I usually know where I’m going to end up, but how I get there changes with each draft.
3.) How many drafts do you usually write before you send your work to your editor?
Heh. It depends on the book. I usually edit as I go, and rewrite chapters as I write them (finish a chapter, then go back and re-read, edit a little, fix some more, etc). The bare minimum is three. The first one to get the story down, the second complete re-write to make sure that I don’t have any issues with continuity (though that happens anyway, when, in subsequent drafts, I change something and forget to fix a word. I’m still kicking myself over that one). The third draft is where I run the entire document through autocrit to catch over used words, make sure I’m not using too much passive voice (actually, my major failing is “it/there” and “that”.), and cut out all the damn sighing. Once I start looking for it, I start thinking, “OMG, my characters all have asthma or COPD!” It’s ridiculous.
Typically, the work you are reading is a third completed draft, followed by two rounds of edits, and another read through. And even then, errors get in. By that last round of edits, I don’t see them anymore. That’s what beta readers are for, I suppose, though it’s hard to ask when you’re on a deadline and you know you’ll have to tell someone, “Oh, hey, I need this back in four days. Can you do that kind of turn-around?”
Why not go see what the lovely Leslie Hachtel has to say on the subject?
Wealthy, arrogant Clayton Brandt knows well the costs of a woman. Not until Penelope (Penny) Jones comes into his life does he know the value of a woman.
Anger at Clayton, her new boss, causes Penny to snap out of the lethargy she’s experienced after seeing her husband killed. She puts to use all her innate abilities, learned skills, and intuitiveness to cope with the overbearing Clayton and the women in his life. Penny, in time, knows she loves him, but will not become one of his women—not on his terms.
On her terms, they marry only to be parted by federal agents before they leave their wedding reception. The ensuing intrigue, danger, and antics of Clayton’s ex-wife play a part in Penny being in eminent peril. Even after their love survives all this, it is once again threatened by a letter from a vindictive woman who is dead. The letter devastates Clayton and crushes his hopes for happiness.
How Clayton and Penny find their happy-ever-after is a breath-holding adventure at times and a breathtaking love story at other times.
Neva’s social media efforts still need work, but she can be found at:
20140918 Thursday Threads C.D. Hersh The Turning Stone Chronicles
TITLE: The Turning Stone Chronicles
GENRE: Paranormal Romance
HEAT LEVEL: Sensual
Three ancient Celtic families. A magical Bloodstone that enables the wearers to shape shift. A charge to use the stone’s power to benefit mankind, and a battle, that is going on even today, to control the world. Can the Secret Society of shape shifters called the Turning Stone Society heal itself and bring peace to our world?
Find out in The Series The Turning Stone Chronicles
Excerpt from book one of the chronicles titled “The Promised One” currently available in eBook and paperback on Amazon at: http://t.co/yW59QqvkLh
I know it’s been years since you’ve heard from me, not since my brother’s murder, but Alexi’s time has come. I tried to shield her from the destiny, teaching her only the basics of the ring and waiting until she was an adult to start any training. I didn’t want to push her, but now she is developing skills I’ve not taught her. I need someone from the Council to come and assess her, and I can’t think of anyone I trust more than the man I fought beside in so many battles. After making such a mess of Sylvia, I don’t trust my judgment. I need an advocate on the Council and your advice. If you agree with my assessment, I want to present Alexi to the Council this coming Samhain. Please come as soon as possible…
The letter’s date and postmark indicated Baron had written the letter about two weeks prior to his death. Prickles crept over her arms. My time? Present me to the Council? Sylvia’s comment about the Promised One came back to her. Had Baron sent for Eli because of the great destiny he always insisted she had? Alexi closed the door and rested her forehead against the solid surface. Life was already too complicated. She didn’t need this.
Excerpt from book two of The Turning Stone Chronicles titled “Blood Brothers” coming this fall from Soul Mate Publishing.
The telephone jangling pulled Delaney Ramsey out of a deep sleep. Moving the digital clock on the nightstand closer to her, she squinted at the bright green numbers. Three a.m. She fumbled for the receiver.
“If you’re calling at this ungodly hour, someone better be dead,” she mumbled into the phone.
“Delaney, ’tis Eli McCraigen.”
Sitting up, she pulled the duvet cover with her. Why was the Keeper of the Stone calling her? “What’s wrong, Eli?”
“Dinna worry yerself. ’Tis good news.”
Slumping against the headboard, she yawned, the adrenalin draining away with his words. “If it’s such good news, why couldn’t you wait until tomorrow?”
“I need ye tae call a special meeting o’ the council before they get away from the city.”
“Nay, only the senior council. I’ve a new Promised One tae present.”
“Why wasn’t he presented last night at Samhain?”
“He hadnae committed tae the cause, and he dinna have a ring until minutes before midnight.”
“This is highly irregular, Eli. I don’t know if I can get the council to agree.”
“Ye have tae. He’s a verra special man.”
“A Promised One who hasn’t even had his ring more than a few hours. That’s unheard of. How can you expect someone like that to pass even one proof test?”
“He’s already shown me two–and they’re not the paltry tests most Promised Ones have failed. He has the elusive, legendary powers, and he did them using the power of other shifters’ rings.”
She snapped awake. “Other shifters’ rings? Whose?”
“Mine, Alexi Jordan’s and Sylvia Jordan’s.”
Delaney switched the light on, knocking her reading glasses to the floor with the motion. Great. She’d just bought them. Leaning over the edge of the bed, she retrieved the glasses and put them on. “Sylvia Jordan Riley?”
“’Tis that what the she-witch is calling herself now?”
“Seems so. Her name has come across my desk in her official capacity with Homeland Security.”
“That’s the other thing I need from ye. Sylvia’s butting intae Rhys’ and Alexi’s jobs and personal lives. I’m pretty certain she knows what he is, too. I need reinforcements.”
In all the years she’d known Eli, he’d never asked for assistance. And he comes to me now. At the worst possible time. “I’m honored you’d think of me, but I can’t do more than call the council for you. Ask one of them to get your reinforcements.”
“Fine, the council can arrange that, but I need ye on a more personal mission.”
“I’m in the middle of something very important and time consuming. I can’t help.”
“Dinna ye know who’s asking ye, lassie?”
She knew all right. The most powerful man in the entire Turning Stone Society. She was crazy to even consider refusing him. Her position on the council rested on his say so. However, finding her daughter meant more to her than anything else. “Normally I’d be willing to die for you, Eli, but–”
“Let’s pray dying won’t be what we’ll be needing. But I could be putting ye in a verra dangerous position.”
That did it. No way could she help if it might cost her life. Not now. Not until she found Lila. “I’m sorry. I can’t.”
“I need ye, Delaney. Come tae University Hospital and see me. I’m in ER.”
“ER? Are you all right?”
“We had a little run-in with a panther.”
LINKS for C.D. Hersh
Amazon buy link for The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles): http://t.co/yW59QqvkLh
Today, we are writing flash fiction based on a GIF. Click here to see it.
So anyway, if you’re here, hopefully you came from A.S. Fenichel. Welcome!
The Most Wanted
He brushed her hair back from her forehead. it felt so right holding her in his arms. Her body and his fit together like a key into a lock, like two pieces of the same puzzle.
“Ethan,” she whispered.
Her mouth was so close to his. So close he could almost taste her–she’d be sweet, like mint and honey. They shared the same space, and when he inhaled, instead of life-giving air, he took in her.
He breathed her breath, felt her invade his heart and his lungs. Knew the exact moment she became a permanent fixture inside of him, immutable and eternal.
He cupped her face in his hands. It would be so easy to kiss her, to claim her. He wanted to. He wanted her more than he’d ever wanted anything in his entire life. More than he wanted his titles, his lands, the air in his lungs.
She released a stuttered breath, a small sound that promised more than just a night of passion. She would give him her heart if he let her.
She already had his.
He tarried in their shared space, trying to live a lifetime in a few short breaths.
“Cat,” he whispered. He let the name slide off his tongue, the first time–and, almost certainly, the last–he would call her by her given name.
She pressed closer to him, and he nearly lost his resolve right then and there. But he didn’t. That one small sacrifice was, perhaps, the only honorable thing he’d done in a long time.
“I can’t do this.” He stepped away from her, away from the most powerful intimacy he’d ever had. Losing that was like losing a piece of his soul. Actually, it was worse than that, as if he had cut himself off from something that, once experienced, had become vital.
It would kill him to let her go. He’d do it anyway, for her sake.
“No. We–we cannot be. I–I’m sorry.” And with those words lingering in the air between them, he left her at the door.
Fiercely independent and determined to be taken seriously in a man’s world, PI Rose Baxter will do whatever it takes to find the kids who are disappearing from the streets and bring them home safe, even teaming up with PI Marty Brown, a man hot enough to burn whatever part of her gets too close – her fingers, her sheets, her life, and her other nature’s whiskers.
But her other nature knows whiskers grow back and will accept nothing less than this man as her mate for life, a plan Marty’s all in on. Sparks fly when she refuses to be the little woman. Besides, those kids need her and their time’s running out. But, thrown together 24/7 can she fight it?
Rose heard the unmistakable sound of duct tape stripping from its roll. Her hands, bound together behind her back and another piece loosely secured the bag around her neck. Her memory of stored scents identified Mabel and Stan even before they spoke.
“Take her to the lab. I’ll stash her car.” Mabel’s footsteps hurried away. As soon as the front door close behind Mabel, Rose stiffened her body and formed an impossible to move statue. Her arms flexed and ripped the tape to separate her hands. Stan grabbed for her to regain his grip. She spun around to deliver a kick toward the sound of his astonished breathing. He collided with the floor and skidded to a stop when he smacked into the cabinet doors. As he scrambled to right himself, the knives rattled in the butcher block on the kitchen counter.
She ripped the tape from around her neck and yanked the pillowcase off her head in time to see the man lunge toward her. She side stepped his attack.
Shouting rang out from the living room. “Let go of me!” One sniff confirmed Logan and June had entered through the front door. Mabel would cause no more trouble.
The kitchen windows vibrated. The backdoor burst into splinters as Marty stormed through. His roar rattled the dishes stacked in the drainer when he spotted Stan holding a knife on his mate. “Nooo!”
Before she could blink, Marty swung one arm and backhanded Stan, sending him crashing through the window and out onto the patio. The stunned man scrambled to his feet, hobbled around the side of the house to his SUV, and hightailed it out the driveway.
Marty gripped Rose gently by the shoulders and turned her to face him. “Are you okay? Did he hurt you?” His eyes were intense. “Rose, answer me?”
“I’m fine. Did they catch Stan? I heard a vehicle leave.” She turned to the living room where Mabel sat in a huff.
“Oscar just called. The SUV’s have left the park and headed west out of town. I’ve called the police to come and pick her up. I’m assuming you’ll be pressing charges for kidnapping?” Logan had handcuffed Mabel and planted her in a chair. June stood ready in case she tried to escape.
“I want a few minutes with her first.” Rose turned to Mabel. Her nostrils flared and the fire from her inner animal flashed in her eyes. No, as much as she’d like to, she wouldn’t inflict the bodily harm this woman so deserved for her part in this whole scheme. She’d like to body slam the bitch to the floor, but her daddy had taught her the self-control she needed to work this job and work it right.
Getting some answers now was her primary concern. She wanted answers. While she wouldn’t physically injure the woman, she wasn’t above scaring the crap out of her to get the information she needed.
Mabel sneered at her and rolled her eyes. “And just what do you intend to do with your few minutes? Do you think I’m afraid of a mousy little thing like you? Oh, help, the little mousy girl is going to scare me,” she humphed in a mocking tone.
“Oh hell,” Marty said. He adjusted the hat on his head, glanced Logan’s way with a y’all best look out expression, and stepped back out of the way to give Rose room to work.
“June bug. Move back, honey,” Logan said as her steered his wife to the corner by the door and positioned his body, brick wall style in front of her for her own safety, just like an alpha male. Everyone read Marty’s message loud and clear.
Mabel’s expression changed from glaring sarcasm to certain fear as she watched the woman she had labeled as little make her way slowly toward her.
Rose’s eyes narrowed and focused on the woman. Her hands flexed from tight, curled fists to stiff, extended fingers, and back again. Her nails lengthened, exposing her razor sharp claws as she stepped over to the mouthy woman. Her eyes never left her target.
She leaned down to bring herself nose to nose with the evil before her. “Where are you really taking these kids and what are you going to do with them?” She spoke in an even voice, accentuating every syllable.
An increasing layer of fear replaced the smug expression on Mable’s face. “You- you don’t scare me,” she stuttered. “I’m not telling you anything.” She attempted to bring her tough side back to the surface but was less than convincing.
Rose placed one petite hand on Mabel’s shoulder and pressed down. She held back to a mere vise-like grip. Not the bone crushing strength she was more than capable of using.
Mabel sucked in a pained breath and flinched back, drawing on her last bit of resolve. “We know you’re not normal. You’re some kind of freak with super blood. Don’t think we won’t come after you again.” She let out an injured cry from the pressure applied to her shoulder. “You’ll pay for this!”
This week’s questions are from Ronnie Allen! Let’s get to it.
1. When do you decide that you’ve done enough editing and changes would now be making it different, not better? So it’s the time to submit.
That’s a good question. I’m never certain it’s “done enough.” The only time I don’t feel the need to tinker with a project is after it’s been published, and even then, I find errors and things I should change. It’s one of the reasons why I have a problem with reading my stuff after it’s done. I can always think of something I could have done better, or done differently.
I guess what that means is that I’m a terrible person to ask this question of. I tinker until the darn thing is published, and then I generally wish I had tinkered a little bit more.
2. When and how do you accept change advice by rejection letters and critique partners?
It depends on the advice. When a publisher gives me advice–especially when they’re rejecting me–I generally take it unless it would change the overall tone of the story. After all, they’re saying they don’t want it, but they took the time to give me advice on what could be done to make it better. That sort of advice always deserves a second look. The only time I disregarded this advice was when I wrote an urban fantasy, and the publisher asked me to re-write the entire thing as a YA, focused around a single scene in the story (that didn’t even have the main characters in it, since they were both adults). That’s not asking for rewrites or giving me advice about how to make THIS story better; that’s asking me to write and submit something completely different. I ignored that advice, though I’ll admit, the story she wanted would make a nice, gritty NA.
As for changes suggested by critique partners? Well, it depends on the changes. Most of the time, I listen to what people tell me. If it would change the entire storyline, well, no, I won’t change that. But if it’s a change to make it flow more logically, then sure, I’ll look at reworking chapters or scenes or sentences to make it work. I think it’s important to listen to what everyone says with an open heart, but to remember that the work is yours. Take the advice that is useful, and disregard the rest. At the same time, I think it’s important to remember not to view your words as so precious you refuse to part with them or make changes. No one’s work is so good that they couldn’t use and editor, and no one’s story is so perfect it can’t use improvement.
3. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your day or do you create your day around your writing?
Gads, that’s a hard question. Work days generally look something like this:
6:00am: Wake up. Check Facebook. Try to think of something witty to say, something engaging and interesting and awesome. Usually fail. I might settle for silly.
6:30: Get out of bed and into the shower.
7:00: I’m READY! Oh wait, my hair’s still wet.
7:15: Ah, hell. That’s good enough. It looks the same regardless of the effort I put into it anyway.
7:30: Do dishes, throw something into the crock pot for dinner, make lunches, feed kids.
8:15: Leave for work. Hopefully, the homework was done and checked the night before, otherwise I’m checking it in my office at work. And none of us like that.
8:30-4:30: Work. If I’m lucky, and ate lunch sitting at my computer, I got it all done. If I’m unlucky, I’ll be writing IEPs at midnight. Again.
5:00: Arrive at outside client’s house or a kid activity. It depends on the day.
6:15-6:30. Home. Throw down backpacks and eat. Unless it’s Cub Scout night, in which case the boy and the hubs grab it to go, and head out the door. Or, the kids might have swimming after we see the outside client, in which case we go there instead, and get home around 7:00.
7:00: Check homework.
7:15: Tell the boy he has to do it over, because it’s super messy.
7:45: Tell him he can type it, because it’s just getting worse.
8:00: Everyone to bed. Husband and I chop the vegetables for the next day, if we’re on top of things. Afterwards, I’ll break out the laptop. Get distracted by the piles of laundry. Maybe start a load.
9:00: Girl child complains she can’t sleep.
9:10: I put in headphones and start to write.
9:45: Oh, look, the siren call of Facebook!
10:00: Just this one tweet, and then I’ll get to it.
10:15-12:00: I’m writing! If it’s going well, I might go until 2:00am. Which, by the way, is insane. Don’t do that.
Non-work days often look this:
6:00 Wake up. OH MY GOD, I’M SO TIRED! Oh wait, it’s Saturday. **Snore**
6:30: Boy child walks in, wearing (if I’m lucky) pajamas and a Darth Vader mask. “Mom, can I watch a show?”
Me: “Bananas are on the counter. Don’t forget to do your flamenco dancing. And beware the octopus.”
Boy child, breathing heavily: “Right on, my son. I’ll watch Star Wars. Oh, and Mom?”
Me: “I need to give the unicorn a bath.”
Boy Child, in his best Vader voice: “Uh huh. I am your father.”
Because I am asleep, I can’t explain the physical impossibility of this, but whatever. His father, who is awake during this whole exchange, thinks it’s hysterical, and won’t ruin the moment with things like logic.
7:00: Wake up again. Why am I singing The March of the Sith? Go back to sleep.
7:15: Children walk in: “Mom, we’re hungry. Can we eat chocolate for breakfast?”
Me: “The dog barks at midnight. Are you wearing underwear?”
Girl Child: “Chewey, that means yes. You are wearing underwear, aren’t you?”
Boy Child: “Mostly.”
Girl Child: “Good enough. Come on, let’s go before she wakes up.”
Me: “Wha?” **Snore**
8:00: I get up for real this time. Am miffed because all of my chocolate is missing, and Chewey looks like Poirot, with his giant chocolate mustache. I make breakfast anyway. I make pumpkin pancakes. Unfortunately, everyone wants eggs and toast.
8:30: Do dishes, and contemplate doing more chores.
I usually get the opportunity to write until about 11:00, when I have to take the Girl Child to Girl Scouts. But then I get to sit in the library at the university and write for two solid hours. It’s lovely.
2:30-6:00 Is family time.
6:30: Daddy time and a movie. I write while hanging on the couch with the children.
8:30-????: We all head upstairs to bed. I put in headphones and write until I fall asleep at the computer. The two pages of eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee will have to be rewritten, but hey, it works for now.
That’s it for me! (I say “that’s it!” like I wrote some short little ditty instead of the multi-page manifesto that is actually vaguely embarrassing. Or would be, if I had any sense of shame left)
Since you’ve had enough of me, why not head over and see what Josie Malone has to say?
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