Thursday, 25 May 2017

61. Bye Bye Manuscript

Usually, I’d be telling you what I’ve been doing for the past thirty odd days. And while I do have news, the reality is that I’ve spent most of that time wearing out the lenses of my reading glasses as I stare at my screen looking for grammar mistakes, overused words, plot holes, continuity issues, and that’s not counting the added stress in general as I edit my story.

I’m not sure if I’m meant to get to the point where I hate it. (I don’t.) But just like hearing Satan speaking when you play a record backwards (apparently, that’s a real thing, and yes, I know what a record is,) I’m certain I can recite my novella backwards too. Although, if anything demonic has happened around me, I’ve yet to notice. Despite any potential visits from the Anti-Christ, my staring at a torrent of words has led to a brave and long overdue moment. That novella is on its way to a publisher. Yes, dear readers, I pressed SEND! And now I feel sick!

It’s normal though. The build-up, the effort, the passion, the frustration, the what-the-hell-was-I-thinking, and the can’t-believe-I-sent-it sick feeling is all standard when you send your book baby away. Mind you, I’m not going to look at it in case there is a mistake in my submission, which there probably is. I’m just going to take a moment, okay, several moments, to pretend I’m reclaiming my sanity before I start on the next book. After all, it’s a long wait between submission and reply. There’s another positive though – I survived the challenge of a five-page synopsis.

For those who don’t know, a book synopsis describes the main theme of a nonfiction work. It explains the novel’s central characters, their conflicts, their relationships, and the outcome of the story. Editors and agents use these to get a feel for the story and determine if they want to work with a new author. Let’s just say my first effort sounded more like a summary of the story rather than an invitation to enjoy an enticing read. You think I’d know better, but no, I’d summarised my novella from start to finish. And I knew it wasn’t right.

Fortunately, I was smart enough to send it to a writing friend who sent back some sage advice and opened my eyes to my then obvious mistake. So, synopsis sorted, (I hope). But on a side note, I can also summarise a 38,000-word novella in 1,800 words. Go me!

I did manage to detach myself from the computer long enough to catch up with a friend from my hometown who introduced me to one of the best (made with real chocolate) mochas I’ve ever had. It was so good to see a friendly face ‘from home’. And by accident, I also discovered a friend from my softball days happens to live just fifteen minutes away. Oh, the stories she could tell... That I won’t be. ;) I’m looking forward to catching up with her too.

That's me playing First Base many moons ago.:)  Don't I look serious? LOL

I’ve also met some lovely writers here, both online via my ambassador’s role with Romance Writers Australia, and through the writing group I’ve recently joined. One of those writers happens to be a paranormal author. How cool it was to have a coffee with her and talk writing and books. I’m not sure what our surrounding caffeine drinkers thought about our conversation and our comments on the likes of mystical creatures, the undead, and things that go bump in the night, but we certainly enjoyed our chat.

Another of those special events happened this month and I was just a little bit spoiled for my first Western Australian birthday. :) The kids and I also made Herbed Tomato Gnocchi from scratch. Hardly restaurant standard, but we sure thought it tasted good.

These are the beautiful flowers my sisters and Mum sent. :)

And our gnocchi attempt.

I’m also pleased to report I have ten normal coloured toes again, although I’ve been living in my trainers because I’m not game to try on my boots yet. Maybe in a few more weeks. If the change into cooler weather is anything to go by, however, I’m seriously considering taking my kids to school in my slippers. Do you suppose they’ll let me through the gate in my pj’s?

The one thing I did make time for was reading, and lucky me, one of my favourite authors has released two stories for me to review. :)

Book Reviews

Beauty Conquers the Beast by Jenny Schwartz
Lady Nora and Prince Alexander were never friends, and she can’t think of anyone more deserving of the curse that made him the Beast of the Sighaway Forest. But when six princesses from neighboring kingdoms fail to break the curse, it’s more than just the big and brutish Alexander who is suffering.
For her country, and out of an overdeveloped sense of duty, Nora will enter the beast’s castle. She’ll fight mysterious magic and confront the secrets of her heart, but the elusive beast remains untamable.
The shocking solution to breaking the curse will change Nora’s life forever.

This story is a twist on the traditional tale of Beauty and the Beast – but for grownups. Nora must break her godmother’s curse to see the beast free. Never mind that she’s a Lady, not a Princess, and they’ve all failed to grant Alex the freedom he doesn’t seem to want. And why should she care what happens to a former spoiled prince anyway?

Punished for ‘borrowing’ one of Morningstar’s prized possessions, Alex finds it easier to bear the curse rather than admit the real reason he’s hiding from his kingdom. He’s no future king. He never expected Morningstar to send her goddaughter to help him after she ordered him to leave Nora alone, and he’s worried Nora’s attempt just might work, but at what cost?

This story, to me, had a flavor of historical romance with the paranormal twist Ms Schwartz does so well. I loved the prim and proper vibe turn into something so much more. A fun read, and so not the fairy tale you’re used to. ;)

Fire Fall (Old School – Book 4) by Jenny Schwartz
Vanessa Araya is not hiding! She’s trying to find herself after the terror of being kidnapped six months ago. Who is she when her trust in people has been stripped away? How can she be free and brave and in love with life when a little part of her is always looking over her shoulder? Being the daughter of a billionaire hurts in unique ways.

Seth Bentham fell for Vanessa three years ago, and walked away. He’s a wizard mercenary: lethal, magical and in deep in a dangerous world. He would have only brought Vanessa pain. Now he’s hunting the southern Rocky Mountains for a kidnapped barrier wizard; not to save the man, but to learn more about the plot that involves him. The very last person Seth expects to stumble over while hiking is Vanessa, but here she is, strong, scared that she’s broken, and his.

This time, Seth won’t walk away.

But the price of stealing time together is high. Old enemies and new threats lurk in the mountains. There are fantastical creatures and there is the racing, hungry inferno of wildfire. Before the Fourth of July explodes in fireworks, someone will die.

Months ago, Vanessa was the victim of a kidnapping. The Stag mercenaries hired to find her, failed thanks to a traitor in their midst. Fortunately, her Old School mates rescued her. While she regained her freedom, Vanessa couldn’t recover the sense of carefree happiness she once took for granted. And that’s what she’s really doing in the Rockies under the guise of hiking when Seth, one of the Stag’s highest ranking officers, finds her – searching for the one thing that will grant her happiness.

It’s been three years since he last saw her. He couldn’t stand by and watch the woman he cared for love someone else. And now here they were, together at last. But she needs to leave because not only are the mountains unsafe, the wizard who’d betrayed the Stag, and in turn, Vanessa, is here too. He’ll have to call upon some dark and powerful magic to keep her safe because Seth won’t lose her again, even if it means losing himself.

Ms Schwartz has done it again – thrown me into the opposite direction to which I thought the story was heading. Once more I found myself changing my perceptions about a character. And, you guessed it, she managed to weave previously mentioned characters and references from the series into this story like a delicately spun web. Ms Schwartz knows how to spin a tale, and in them, I am happily caught.

More on Ms Schwartz’s stories here.

While I’m waiting to hear if my book baby has found a new home, the routine hasn’t changed – keep working through my goal list, send those stories out for critiquing, edit, hope for the best, and repeat. :)

Oh, and prepare for my first real winter. I’m so not ready. :/