From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

Monday, May 31, 2010

Misc. Monday

It's not just any Miscellaneous Monday here at Fiction Flurry, it's Memorial Day.  It is hard for me to comprehend the selflessness and courage willingly given by millions of our service men and women, past and present.  I have extended family in the military, but none in my immediate family serves.  When I try to imagine what it might be like to have a close family member in the military, I'm not sure I could handle it.  The families of military members deserve a hearty "thank you" as well.

Since this is a blog about writing, I thought I might highlight some books written by American military members.  Military stories, true or fictionalized, make for great suspense, heartache, tragedy and triumph. 

Flags at Westerville, Ohio on May 30, 2010

Here are some books that caught my interest that you may want to check out too.  The summaries are taken from

Back in Action: An American Soldier's Story of Courage, Faith and Fortitude by David Rozelle
From the Inside Flap:

They put a price on his head. They did everything they could to disrupt his mission. Finally, when an anti-tank mine tore off his right foot, the warriors of jihad in Iraq thought they had neutralized one of their most resourceful, determined foes.

They were wrong.
Refusing to let his injury stop him, Captain David Rozelle roared back into action, returning to Iraq as commander of an armored cavalry troop. He became the first amputee in recent military history to resume a dangerous command on the same battlefield.

American Soldier by General Tommy Franks Review

As Commander in Chief of the United States Central Command from July 2000 through July 2003, Tommy Franks led the American and Coalition forces to victory in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Unsurprisingly, the portions of American Soldier covering these wars are the most interesting because they combine military maneuvers, political wrangling, and lots of action and commentary. This does not mean, however, that the rest of his autobiography is dull. General Franks's writing is clear and engaging and his insider's perspective is informative and interesting, particularly when he explains how the military moved into the 21st century by emphasizing speed, agility, and better cooperation among the various branches--a significant shift from the first Persian Gulf war just a decade earlier.

In addition to his years as a war general, his memoir also covers his childhood, his early years in the Army, his tours of Vietnam, and how he contemplated retirement before being called up as commander of Central Command, "the most diverse, strategically vital—and unstable—region of the planet." Ever the diplomat, General Franks offers insights, but little criticism of individuals. Other than expressing admiration for his own staff and for President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in particular, he is tight-lipped about any conflict within the administration that may have occurred regarding policy issues. (The one exception is counterterrorism specialist Richard Clarke. "I never received a single operational recommendation, or a single page of actionable intelligence, from Richard Clarke," he writes). He also writes that he was surprised by the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that no WMDs were used against American troops. Still, the invasion of Iraq was justified in his eyes: "While we may not have found actual WMD stockpiles, what the Coalition discovered was the equivalent of a disassembled pistol, lying on a table beside neatly arranged trays of bullets." American Soldier is a compelling look at the war on terrorism from one who served on the frontlines as both a warrior and a diplomat. --Shawn Carkonen

Kill Zone: A Sniper Novel by Sgt. Jack Coughlin and Donald A. Davis

From Publishers Weekly

Coughlin wrote with Davis on Shooter, a memoir of Coughlin's career as a Marine Corps sniper. In the team's debut novel, the two pit Gunnery Sgt. Kyle Swanson, the corps's best sniper, against a secret alliance of government and business bigwigs. A triumvirate of National Security Adviser Gerald Buchanan, Senate Armed Services Committee chair Ruth Reed and megarich businessman Gordon Gates IV are using Gates Global (the world's preeminent private security company) to implement a plan to take over the military, rewrite the Constitution and usher in the creation of a New America. In Saudi Arabia, Marine Brig. Gen. Bradley Middleton is kidnapped by two mercenaries working for Gates Global. After Swanson is chosen to be part of a rescue team, helicopters carrying the rescuers crash on landing, and Swanson is left with only his exceptional combat skills and his high-tech rifle, Excalibur (a sniper's wet dream). The action reaches such a furious pitch that readers will hardly notice an overly romantic subplot or the clumsy machinations of the evil trio. (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Snippet Sunday

This is the first scene of my work in progress, an as-yet untitled paranormal romance. Love it or Hate it? Let me know, I'm interested in getting some feedback.

“Please, help me,” she cried. “Someone is trying to kill me!”

Dax Ulric looked at the beautiful stranger standing at his door and acted without thinking – he pulled her inside and locked the door behind her. Anyone coming after her now would have to get through three inches of solid oak, a deadbolt - and him.

Turning around, he instinctively tried to comfort the white-faced, shaking woman. There was such an air of fragility about her, he couldn’t stop himself. But the moment he touched her, she stiffened and pulled away from him.

Dropping his hand in confusion, he said, “I’ll call 911,” decisively pulling out his phone while reaching behind the door for the shotgun he kept there. Stupid, he thought to himself. Why would he try to embrace a complete stranger? Usually he was the one who kept himself apart, no matter how beautiful the woman was.

“No, wait,” her interruption stopped his thumb over the last digit. “I need a minute to think. I don’t want to bother the police unnecessarily,” her voice had an edge to it – and something else.

Dax looked up from his dialing. He’d been en route to the locked gun safe where he kept extra shotgun shells and his pistol. He was prepared to defend his home – and her – against intruders. And if guns didn’t do the job, he had other ways to stop them. He just hoped he didn’t have to use them. She was still pale and shaking and he could see her take a deep breath, trying to pull herself together by sheer force of will.

“Miss, if someone threatened your life, you should file a police report. They can help you.” From previous experience Dax didn’t have a lot of faith in the local police helping anyone, but he really didn’t want to get involved in the situation and was looking for the easiest way to get this woman – beautiful as she was, with long, chestnut brown hair and cinnamon brown eyes – out of his house and life. He had problems of his own to deal with.

“No – I mean, yes, of course, you’re right. It’s just…,” She trailed off. She had a dazed look in her eyes and Dax cursed under his breath as he saw signs of shock setting in. He shoved his phone back into his pocket and motioned her toward the living room, taking care not to touch her again.


“Jordan, Sophie Jordan.”

“Miss Jordan -.”

“Please call me Sophie.” She mustered a wan smile. “I just moved in down the road.

I’m your new neighbor.”

Being neighbors would explain how she ended up on his doorstep, Dax thought. She must have rented the old Duncan place. They had retired to Florida just after he’d come back. He didn’t get many visitors this far out of town, not even family. He’d chosen his cabin precisely for its remote location. But he wondered why she chose to live here. Not many people lived on the side of this mountain in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains and those that did were usually ready to fend for themselves. Sophie Jordan didn’t strike him as a woman used to roughing it.

“Sophie, I’m Dax. Would you like to sit down for a minute? Can I get you some tea?” The manners his mother had drilled into him from birth suddenly made an appearance, overriding his impatience to get Sophie out of his house.

“Tea would be lovely,” she said.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Envelope, Please...

...And the Winner Is:  V.M. Pettingill

Be kind to her and share a little love by visiting her blog:

CONGRATULATIONS and a HEARTFELT THANK YOU for following our blog!  I hope you will enjoy it!  We have all sorts of wonderful things planned for the future, so be sure to pop in regularly to check out our content! 

Here is a sampling of what we will be doing -

Sunday Snippets - Writers will share their work.
Misc. Mondays - A hodge podge, with each individual author choosing a topic relevant to them.
Contests and Polls on Tuesdays - Always something fun to look forward to, and lots of great stuff, to boot!
Writerly Wednesdays - Tips and tools for writers and writerly types ;)
Rejection Thursdays - Hey, we've all been there; it goes with the territory.  How to deal!
Friday Reviews - Reviews of our favorite (and sometimes not-so-favorite) stuff!!!
Saturdays - Our day of rest!  But don't be too surprised to find one of us here.  Writers are ALWAYS writing!

We invite everyone who visits to PARTICIPATE.  Please leave your feedback.  What do you like?  What don't you like?  What would you like to see more of?  Help us to make this blog bigger and better, and to provide you with the best possible experience when you come to visit with us for a bit.  And don't be shy about following!  Join us on the journey :)


Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Book Review - Mistress By Mistake

Today in the Friday Review, I'm reviewing the book Mistress By Mistake by Susan Gee Heino. In the interest of full disclosure, know that Susan is a member of our critique group and our first published author. However, that is not the reason why I decided to review this book.

I had two criteria when choosing a book for this project; One, that it was that is was a romance and two, that it was the first book published by an author. Romance is my favorite genre so that was a no-brainer. Reading a first time author just seemed to fit - I like to start at the beginning, whether it's a series or an author. And let's face it, Nora Roberts doesn't really need more publicity, does she?

Also, in accordance with the FTC rules, I should tell you that I purchased this book, it was not provided to me.

Mistress By Mistake by Susan Gee Heino ISBN 978-0-425-23151-7

Evaline Pinchley and Lord Randolph Dashford have one thing in common - neither of them wants to marry. Although this might seem an odd premise for a book (especially for people who don't read romance), in Regency England (1795-1837) it makes perfect sense.

I have to say upfront, that Regency romances have never been my favorite thing to read. The women are always fluttering about, swooning with the vapors. And the men - well, let's just say that you don't find a lot of Alpha males running around in lace cravats and satin knee breeches. I had some preconceptions going into this book, to say the least.

Well, I was wrong. Mistress By Mistake combines a heroine who is feisty and independent with a hero who is a man's man. No fluttering, no lace cravats. These characters feel real - with human failings that a reader can understand and relate to.

In the opening scene, Evaline gets drunk on her birthday and ends up in Lord Dashford's bed - something more than a few of us can relate to (I'm not talking about me. No, really). The resulting actions and reactions fill the book with drama and intrigue. And just when you think there isn't any reason for them not to be together, his fiance shows up - and the bridge is washed out, stranding them all together with nothing to do but have a picnic in the dining room.

What kept me interested in this book, in addition to the well written characters, was the humor. Let's face it, writing humor well is hard. But writing humor for Regency England? Yikes! The author has a real talent for using humor in the right place to make the characters and situations come alive and feel real to the reader.

The author writes a complex story and there are several subplots woven around the main romantic plot that keeps the reader hooked . Will Evaline's aunt succeed in her evil plotting? Why is there so much interest in the abandoned property next door? And why is the boat grotto so popular? Well, perhaps that last one is obvious.

I highly recommend reading Mistress By Mistake to everyone. To help make that possible, I'll be giving away an autographed copy of Mistress By Mistake (graciously provided by the author) next week. Check back Tuesday for further details - and tell all of your friends and followers.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rejection Thrusday: Stay Positive

Rejection is something everyone experiences at some point in their lives. Rejection happens in love, careers and friendship. Sometimes, it's just barely a sting to the ego, while other times you wonder if you'll ever make it through alive. For us writers, rejection happens quite often. Someone telling you the novel you've slaved over for months sucks, is like someone telling you that your baby is ugly. I know, because this has happened to me several times.

For me, a generic rejection letter doesn't sting quite as bad as being a finalist or being 'this close' to grabbing your dream agent or a spot in publishing house. I can't tell you how many times I have finaled in a contest, only to be told later that the plot is good but the story is missing XYZ. That literally makes me want to pull my hair out or bang my head against my desk (See above picture for stress relief solutions). LOL. I'd rather miss something by a mile, than to be so close that I can almost touch it, my hopes all amped up, only to have the door once again swung in my face. I can see why so many people give up after a short time, because sometimes it feels like it's never going to happen. Makes you think, hey, maybe I should just give up now, right?


After a countless number of times hearing the dirty word no, it only takes one yes. One person to say, I love this, do you already have an agent? One person to say, this is fabulous I want to buy it and send it out to the masses because I believe it'll be a best seller. That one little yes can completely change everything. Those months or years of struggling will haven't been for nothing, because it'll only make you appreciate your success that much more!

So don't give up my friends, stay positive, and I know soon it's gonna happen for all of us who are currently struggling.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Writing Tip Wednesday - Keeping Motivated

Today is writing-tip Wednesday. The day of the week where we offer a bit of writing advice. Although we are all on various parts of our writing journey, we have all found that we can learn from each other.

Today I am going to focus on motivation. Sometimes it's hard to sit down everyday and complete an entire chapter, or write that synopsis. Whatever large project that might be hanging over your head, the task becomes easier if you break it down into small segments.

I received this writing tip at a writer's conference that I attended in Philadelphia. It's called the nifty-two-fifty! Each day write 250 words. When you break it down, it's really only one page. Multiply your nifty-two-fifty by the number of days in the year and you will have a 365 page novel completed in one year.

Good Luck, and happy writing!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Benefits of Bribery (or How to Win a Starbucks Gift Card!)

Okay, let’s all start by agreeing: taking a bribe to do something dishonest is bad. Period. We’re not even going to discuss it further. However, offering a bribe to get someone to do something you want/need/really know in the long run is good for them is a lot more like telling your best friend/significant other/yourself, “nope, your butt definitely doesn’t look fat in those pants.” Just like that little white lie, some bribes are truly a win-win. You want it, they want it, they just don’t know they want it yet. It’s in their best interest; right?

For example, here you are, reading a blog that you probably didn’t even know existed until, like 30 seconds ago. Why are you here? Because you were enticed by the notion that you could possibly win a little slice of caffeinated Starbucks heaven (which you can – more on that, below). In the meantime, I want/need/really know it is in your best interest to read along with me.

Writing fiction is a lot like a legally approved form of bribery. As an author, I create characters then place them in situations that twist, tangle and thoroughly tease them – all for your amusement and approval. There is a pay-off for both of us, you see. It works like this: I endeavor to write the best piece that I can, then I turn it over to you, the reader. I bribe you with an entertaining story that keeps you engaged until you hit those two final words, “the end.” You have taken a short journey with me that I hope you have found worthy, and I have – for the moment, anyway – quieted the beast inside me that wants/needs/really knows it is in my best interest to write. Win-win.

Oh yeah, here’s the real bribe you came for: FOLLOW THIS BLOG and you will be automatically entered for a chance to win a $15 Starbucks gift card. All followerswith the exception of contributorswill receive one chance at winning. Contest will remain open until midnight (EST), Friday, May 28, 2010, at which time Bijoux will randomly pick the winner. Good luck to all!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Snippet Sunday

Here's the first half of the first chapter of my novel in progress, Monticello Mystery.  As the title suggests, Thomas Jefferson, or rather his remains, figure prominently in this novel.

A curious package sat on her desk. Faith's secretary customarily opened her mail for her each day, stamping the date in the upper right hand corner of each piece. However, it was highly unusual for her law firm to receive a box-sized package, let alone one that covered nearly a third of Faith's desk. Because of the unorthodox nature of the package, the secretary had not opened it, rather placing it on Faith's large oak desk, where it sat looming upon her return from lunch.

"Caroline, what's up with this package? Was it delivered by Fed Ex or by regular mail?" Faith questioned, stepping just outside her office threshold so that she could see her secretary.

"Ms. Fisher, it was delivered by a private service with signature required. The sender's name was not listed on the receipt. Were you expecting a package?"

"Nope. I guess I'll just open it, though I'm a little wary with an unexpected package from an unknown sender." Faith stepped back into her brightly lit office, sunshine meandering in, cascading a soft spotlight on the package.

"Since you're hesitant to open it, do you want me to call building security, just to be safe?" Caroline called from her station just outside Faith's office.

"That's not necessary, Caroline. I'm just being paranoid, I think." Faith closed her office door, something she rarely did. She sat down in her brown leather desk chair, leaning back to survey the rectangular box on her desk, which was wrapped in generic brown paper. Faith slid her hands on both sides of the package and lifted slightly, to judge its weight. It was solid and surprisingly heavy. Though no one was watching her, she was embarrassed when the thought crossed her mind that she should probably put her ear to the package to make sure there were no ticking bomb sounds. Standing up, she placed her hands on the sides of the package and bent at the waist, pressing her right ear to the top of the box. She sat back down, satisfied that there was nothing left to do but open it.

Faith Fisher was thrown off by the break from routine. Craving predictability, she had worked at the same law firm and lived in the same house for 15 years. She and her husband, Ross, a science professor at University of Virginia, took the same vacation to Cape Cod each summer. Highly organized, Faith did not like surprises or change. Even at home, Faith paid her bills online the day they arrived in the mail, and laundry was washed, folded and put away three times a week.

She took a rarely-used letter opener from her top desk drawer and slid it through the taped ends of the brown wrapping, careful not to ruin yesterday's french manicure. A shiny wooden box was inside. She grabbed the flaps of the thick outer paper and tipped the package up slightly so that the wooden box would slide out the opposite end. Placing the brown paper on the floor, she began her inspection of the wooden container.

The dark wood gleamed with a high polish. It was well crafted with a silver clasp in the center of one of the long sides. There were no markings or other indications as to the origins of the box or its contents.

Faith flipped the clasp open and slowly lifted the lid upward on its hinges. Peering in, Faith felt her stomach tighten as she realized what was inside. The box was lined with burgundy velvet fabric. The bottom of the container held what appeared to be a variety of bones, some whole and some fragmented. Bones lay one on top of the other, filling the container half full. A pocket was sewn into the short side of the lining. Without reaching into the pocket to grab its contents, Faith pulled the fabric out to peer down inside. There appeared to be three silver fasteners of some type, perhaps buckles.

Her head swam with possible scenarios for the reason a box of bones would be on her desk. Feeling woozy, Faith plopped with a thud into her chair. She began to inventory her list of crazy clients. All attorneys had at least a few clients who were difficult, or quirky, or just plain nuts. Perhaps one of her crazy clients had sent her this box for some reason. Her mind then wandered to her family for possible culprits. Faith had not seen most of her extended family for several years. She could not imagine her parents, sister, or in-laws doing anything this morbid.

On edge, Faith jumped when she heard a light tapping on her door. She did not want anyone entering her office right now, with the pile of what appeared to be human bones on her desk. "Just a minute," was all that Faith could utter. She closed the box and latched it. Feeling warm, she pulled her straight chestnut hair into a low pony tail at the nape of her neck. She walked to the door and opened it a crack. It was Caroline.

"Is everything alright? I mean with the package?" Caroline asked with concern.

"Not really. Would you mind checking to see if Brad Henderson is available, and if so, have him come to my office?"

"No problem, Ms. Fisher. I'll call his secretary right now," Caroline said, heading for her desk.

Faith closed the door and returned to her chair. Brad Henderson was the managing partner of the firm, Barclay and Cahill. He had hired Faith and had also been her mentor as she learned the practice of family law. Brad was the only person in the firm she felt she could trust to share the contents of the package. He had a level head and had never betrayed a confidence. Brad was the glue that held the firm together.

Footsteps echoed on the marble floor outside Faith's office door. A firm knock was followed by Brad's smooth voice. "Faith, it's Brad. May I come in?"

Faith jumped out of her chair and opened her door, taking care not to open it so wide as to let anyone passing by peer in her office. "Thank you for coming so quickly. Come in. You're never going to believe this."

Brad sat in the chair opposite Faith's desk, curiously eying the box. "What's in the box?" he asked.

"First, let me say that I have no idea who this is from. It was delivered over lunch by a private delivery service with no sender name on the receipt. I need for you to come around to my side of the desk so you can see what's inside. I'd tell you, but I think you're just going to have to see it for yourself." Once Brad made his way around to Faith's side of the desk, she stood up, unclasped the latch, and lifted the top. Faith watched Brad's face as he peered in the box. His eyes widened and his jaw fell slack, which was a look she had not witnessed on his face in 15 years of working with him.

"Holy shit. Are those human bones?"

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Food Chain

Cat prowls through garden,
hoping for bird to fly low.
Nature, not hunger.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Sound of Silence

Rock singer Tom Petty might try to persuade you that “the waiting is the hardest part.” Though I can say that I would agree with Tommy on a number of other subjects, on this front, anyway, I am much more inclined to side with Simon and Garfunkel. For me, at least, the hardest part in the writing journey is “the sound of silence.”

The sound of silence cruises the back alleys of otherwise ordinary life. And as an author who is willing to put their work out there for public scrutiny, it is just one more in the long list of ways that we can be rejected.

I am fortunate to be involved in a writing support group (geez, that makes it sound like we have issues, doesn’t it? As in, “hello, my name is Beth. And I’m an author”). All of the people in my group are talented, supportive, and brave. We have all sent ourselves – in the form of our writing – out into the world to be judged. A few of my fellow writers have already commented about this here on the blog. Several of them have received back the standard rejection: “sorry, not for us.” A few of them have gotten back considerably longer, thoughtful responses with personal notes from agents with suggestions, positive input and genuine well wishes. Then there’s the happy flip side: requests for partials, fulls, one-pagers, book deals, the stuff we all dream about.

I think I could deal with any one of these responses (certainly that last one!) Instead, I have had a steady stream of….nothing. Nada, zilchy, just – you guessed it – silence. Of course, I understand that the cogs of the great publishing houses turn, and spin they must. To try and answer every query, every submission, every everything would be the equivalent of publishing anarchy. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do that, nor the man/woman/will power. Okay, I get that. Hey, I’m a sympathetic gal that way.

Still, what we have here is the writer’s equivalent of sitting by the phone waiting for “the call.” You know the one, from that gorgeous so-and-so that you gave your number to eight days, thirteen hours and fifty-two seconds before? (Uh, not that I’m obsessive like that or anything.) Yeah. Not gonna happen. This is when my neurotic self kicks in. I re-read my submission. Did I follow the guidelines? Yup. Did I type precisely 300 words, and not accidentally 301? Yup. For the love of the Lord, did I remember to double space? Loud sigh of relief…yup. So what? What then did I do wrong? And the answer, my friends, is: nothing. That’s right. The sound of silence is just another way writers grow and improve and – are you ready for this – toughen up. Because it takes a thick skin to even think about entering into this profession. It ain’t for sissies.

Ironically enough, my most recent success also came via a tortuously similar experience. I followed all the guidelines – then fastidiously double and triple checked that I had followed all the guidelines – and sent the piece off. The decision date came…and then went. Okay, I told myself, at least I’ve got myself a respectable piece to post on my blog (please excuse this interruption for a little shameless self-promotion: ) I let the matter go, and lo and behold, two days later I received a voicemail message – the piece had been selected! Success! Which just goes to show, the “sound of silence” can even lead to a far more frightening noise: me, belting out my very own rendition of Handel's “Hallelujah Chorus” (just ask my neighbors). Can I get an Amen on that?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday Writer's Tip

Today we start a new weekly feature called Wedneday Writer's Tip, where each week we'll be posting our favorite tip on how to improve our writing. This week, my tip is about writing with passion.

“He submits to be seen through a microscope, who suffers himself to be caught in a fit of passion” - Johann Kaspar Lavatar, Swiss Theologian

From the tone of this quote, Mr. Lavatar implies that passion is something to be rooted out and willed into submission by any means possible. Of course, as an 18th century church deacon, I guess that was part of his job title.

However, I would propose that, as a writer, being caught in a "fit of passion" is part of my job title. To be a writer is to expose a part of yourself to the world. To allow strangers to see into your soul and judge you - good or bad. Perhaps the scariest thing for a writer to do, since we spend our time locked away, alone in our writing cubbies, with only the cat for a critic (no wait, that's just me).

I know my personal journey towards publication is as much about being validated as a writer as it is about the story itself. I want people to see my work. I want to shout "I'm a writer" from the rooftops, while holding my hot-off-the-press hardcover aloft.

But in order to get to that point (I'll be sending out invitations for my rooftop foray, don't worry), I have to write. And I have to write with all of the passion I have. I can't worry about what others will think of my writing - only what I think. I write my stories for an audience, so sure, the readers are on my mind as I put words to paper. But I write for me. I write because I have to. It's not a choice, it's a passion.

I'm okay with being under the microscope, as long as I know that my writing conveys my passion for the story. I encourage all writers to be passionate about their writing - and not to worry who's looking.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Contest Tuesday

I love to get something for nothing, as long as that something is worth...something.  The Fiction Flurry Writers are all about a kinder, gentler critique of each other's work.  We all make an effort to find the good in each other's writing, not just that which can be improved.  After all, we are looking at each other's first drafts.  Screw ups are expected in first drafts, but there are also kernels of great writing. The Fiction Flurry Writers try to lift each other up and encourage improvement without making anyone feel incompetent. 

So our blog is about offering you, our reader, "something."  It might be the entertainment of reading a poem, short story, or sample from a novel.  It might be encouragement to keep writing, or a tip that might save you time or effort.  Tuesdays, henceforward, will be about contests and polls, often with some kind of recognition or reward:  a kinder, gentler critique of your work, perhaps a book signed by its author, something...

Today, the first person who is not a contributor to Fiction Flurry to correctly answer the following question in the comment section of this post will receive something for nothing:  a promotional post on our blog about your writing project or blog.  Word of mouth can be a powerful thing, can't it?  Now for the contest question:

What novel begins with this line?

"Only three people were left under the red and white awning of the grease joint: Grady, me, and the fry cook."

Post your answer in the comment section, and make sure that your e-mail address is linked to your profile so that we may contact the winner.  Here goes nothing!

Epilogue:  If you're stumped, Google is a wonderful thing!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Welcome To "Snippet" Sunday

Each Sunday one member of our group will be posting a little "snippet" of their writing. I am going to launch Snippet Sunday with a copy of the one-page that I prepared for a writer's conference I attended last September.

A one-page is a sheet that you can easily present to an agent or editor that gives a brief summary of your novel. Think of it as what would appear on the back of your book cover.

Healing Springs

To embrace her future Jackie Stevenson must forgive her past. That is, if she can survive it.

Jackie Stevenson is on the run from her abusive ex-husband, a Chicago police officer. Nick will stop at nothing, including murder, in order to find Jackie. Not only did Jackie humiliate him by leaving him, when she left she took with her information that he desperately needs.

When Jackie's car breaks down in the small town of Healing Springs, Virginia, she is immediately welcomed by the town's friendly citizens. One person she wants nothing to do with is Blake Carson. Jackie instinctively knows he's a cop, and to her all cops are dangerous.

Blake is taken instantly with Healing Springs's new arrival. Problem is, Jackie turns down all his attempts to get to know her better. A former police officer, blake is curious to find out just what she may be hiding, so he starts an investigation.

What he uncovers releases a chain of events that could prove deadly for both of them.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rejection Thursday - Handling Rejection

Today is once again, rejection Thursday. The jury is still out as to whether or not it is a compliment to post on this day. If you are a writer, chances are you have received your share of rejections. The question is, how do you handle that rejection?

I believe that rejection is actually encouraging. It signals that someone took the time to read your work, and offer you feedback. The challenge is learning from the rejection. If you consistently receive the same comments (i.e. POV is inconsistent) then learn from your mistake. Get your hands on a great writing instruction book, and try to improve your craft.

Another way to grow as a writer is to join a critique group. Honest feedback on your work is a tremendous help, and stretches your ability as a writer.

Whatever you do, don't stop writing. When you receive that rejection...and you will, have your moment of disappointment, learn from your mistakes, revise your manuscript, and send it out to another agent or editor. I also try to remember this quote from author James Scott Bell, "Rejection isn't personal unless it's accompanied by a punch in the nose."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rejection Thursday

Rejection is a doggedly unattractive fact of life for all writers, no matter how brilliant the scribe.  To add salt to the proverbial wound, many writers are introverted and sensitive, making the inevitable rejection that much worse.  The Fiction Flurry writers would like everyone to know that yes, we too have been rejected, and we use our rejections as a tool to help each other avoid mistakes.  Thursdays are our day to share our rejections with you.

Here's my rejection story:

I took an online course on writing magazine articles through the Writers Digest website.  It was helpful, and when the class was over I had a fairly polished article about Abraham Lincoln's three trips to the Ohio Statehouse.  The problem was that I had written the article as a timely piece for the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, which was in 2009.  I completed the article in March 2009 and began to market it right away, knowing time was short.  Lincoln's first visit to the Ohio Statehouse was in September 1859, so I thought it might be attractive for some Ohio based magazine's September 2009 issue. 

There are only so many magazines for and about Ohio.  There are even fewer that focus on Ohio history, so I had a very narrow market with which to work.  I did send out multiple submissions, feeling it was necessary with the limits of the article's relevancy.  My first choice was Timeline, a magazine published by the Ohio Historical Society.  Some publications will specify the required lead time in their guidelines, but Timeline's website did not indicate the average span from submission to publication.  I took a shot anyway.  What could it hurt?  I submitted my MS in March 2009 with the hopes of a September publication.

A YEAR LATER, I received a form letter rejection from Timeline.  I was obviously too late for Timeline's timeline.  My lesson?  For unsolicited manuscripts, evergreen is key.  I could re-work the article to make it relevant now, but 2009 was a big year for Lincoln, and I may have missed my opportunity. 

If you'd like to read the doomed (yet informative) article, here's a link:

Monday, May 3, 2010

Romantic Times Slide Show Recap

Hey Gang!

This video will hopefully recap Amy and I's Romantic Times Adventure. Also pictured is the awesome Susan Gee Henio!! :D

PS---There is music, and if you want to comment, click the title of the video post at the top and the page will reload for your comments. Blogger is being crazy. LOL

Stat Counter