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Posts Tagged ‘fiction writing’

Library shelf 9-12-13I am riding an emotional high right now, full of a sense of affirmation– perhaps touched with a bit of vindication as well.

I have just returned from my first writer’s group meeting. For two hours I sat alongside fellow scribes and wordsmiths, at various and sorted levels of their craft.

While I differed from them in some aspects-age being just one of them–I still felt a connection of us all being kindred spirits on the same journey. While we were all drawing the same circle, I have to admit at some places I felt I was still a few addresses away from them.

But what led to my sense of affirmation was, regardless of where we start from, we are still all drawing the same circle. We are all unable to stop this writing fever that controls us, making us write as we do, and then the same fever makes us want to get that writing out for others to see. For some, that fever becomes a blazing rage while for others it runs a little more mild.

Listening to them speak, I realized they too have, collectively, read the books I have read, sat at the tables like I signing copies, worked at their craft in the high and harbored hopes someone, somewhere will cherish it like we do in our hearts.
It was good to know what I have done in the last year since “Whispers” launched, was common to many within the group. We continue to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, promote because we cannot stop. It is a common affliction, and a right one.

And, to cap that climax, afterward, I toured the shelves of the library where we had met. I was hoping to find my book. I did. On the end, spine out, name emblazoned with the little white library filing sticker on the bottom. Ahh, this was a sweet moment. I could not resist snapping its picture and then picking it up just once. Seeing my book in bookstores and now in the library. Now I feel like an author

 

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It s interesting me to me how many people at my readings and signings ask the question: ‘How did you get to writing this book? Who was the inspiration behind it?”

Well, there really wasn’t any real inspiration. The original story of ‘Whispers in her Heart’ was written so long ago, details have been forgotten. But recently I came across some old records (I am a fiend for keeping records and dates) that helped jar loose some memories of how it all began.

“Whispers’ as we know it today began in February 1993. Titled ‘After the Smoke Clears’ from a line between characters at roughly page 119. I had been married a couple years and been writing for many more. Being married, I thought that writing romances was what one did. We read Harlequin and Silhouette books, read True Confession Magazine and wrote love stories. Right? I was pretty young back in ’93.

So I wrote the love story. Boy and girl formula. They fought terribly. The racing concept came from two places. One–I used to love cross stitching and had a catalogue with a pretty design of an Indian warrior shooting his arrow into the sky. The title of the work was called ‘Hunter in the Sky’. I twisted them around and thought Sky Hunter would be a lovely name for a horse. Thus the character of Sky Hunter was born. Two–I loved the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley, (Still have the collection in a bookshelf in my study) The racing scenes in Whispers were borne from the many racing scenes in the Black Stallion series.

After writing this great love story, which took a good chunk of 1993, I submitted it to Harlequin. They turned me down in less than a month. Not a good sign. Tried a couple agents with similar luck. So into a drawer it went for years–1994 until 2011. In early 2011 I pulled it out. Reading it through, I initially thought to pitch it in the trash. No wonder it was turned down, I thought. All the two main characters did was fight non stop. Lots of sparks, but no cuddly kindling. Just wildfires. Nothing like my marriage or like those around me.

Thumbing through it, though, I kept thinking it could be reworked. I scribbled notes on the pages, drew big slashes and other proofreading marks. I would rework it, get to know the characters better and add the supernatural elements that were completely missing from the first manuscript.

Renamed ‘Whispers in the Night’, in late 2011, it was finally finished. To what I called acceptable. I liked it. The characters were finally in love. I sent it off in November 2011 to two agents and a publishing house. All three said nice but not for them. Thanks but no thanks. At least these refusals were taking longer to get then the first record breaking 4 week one in 1993.

So in late November 2011, I sent a query to Black Lyon Publishing. In January 2012 they wrote back asking to see the first three chapters. In March 2012 they asked to see the rest of the manuscript. In a couple weeks they wrote back, saying they were interesting in it if I were willing to make some minor changes and they listed a couple suggestions. Two weeks later–April 30th–I sent the revisions back. And waited. On pins and needles.

July 20, 2012 I received the offer to buy Whispers and the contract from Black Lyon. I took the weekend to think it over. There was to be a title change, scenes changed or removed. Could I live with all that? A whole new world was about to open. Was I ready for it?

Monday I returned the signed contract. The rest is history.

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To everyone who has been asking for a look at something new, here is the sneek peek of what is going out next. The first thousand words, for your reading pleasure. Comments always welcome….

CHAPTER ONE

The crowd was just starting to get going, Piper Kincaid thought to herself. The early birds had already been here awhile and others, like her cousin and herself, were hungry for food and entrainment. Or food at least, she decided, thinking more of herself. Entertainment was optional.
“So tell me again why we came here for dinner?” she asked her cousin, Molly.
“Because it’s the best place around,” Molly declared, barely managing to contain her excitement.
“The best for what?” Piper’s question was drowned out by the eager cries of the other women around them. She was going to guess The Beach Crab was the best for ladies entrainment in the Flamingo Beach community. So how was the food?
“Steak sandwich meal,” she requested when the waiter came by their table. “Fully loaded please. And a seltzer water.” Realizing that good conversation was going to be just about impossible, Piper leaned back to observe the show, pondering what brought her to this.
Her latest creation at the fashion house was going better then anyone had expected, except her of course. The Dusty Duds jeans were the highlight of all the shows, the talk of all the papers and blogs and the envy of all the competitors.
Eager to jump into another project, even better than the Dusty Duds, her superior brought her plans to a screeching halt. Seeing her SUV parked in its customary first position parking spot early Monday morning, he immediately called Piper into his office.
“You are a brilliant designer,” he said, after sharing the latest figures on the Dusty Duds campaign. “And you are a workaholic. I would never dream to change the first but I am ordering you to change the last one. Now. Today. Take a vacation before you burn yourself out. Come back fresh. Good bye.” Waving her off, Piper was still a bit shocked as she packed her bags and phoned Molly. Then, as she left New York for sunny Florida, she decided maybe a short vacation would help the creativity. Just a week. Use the time to gather inspiration for the next project, she told herself as the miles rolled by. A working vacation.
Now, two days into her working vacation, she crossed her arms over her chest, regarding the man up on the stage. He was cute enough, though too young for her taste, dressed in a business suit and carrying a brief case. He swayed to the music, slowly discarding his glasses, briefcase, suit jacket, tie and shirt as the women’s screams grew louder as they waved bills in the air.
Growing mildly interested, Piper watched him disrobe until the song ended and the screams continued. Molly squiggled and squirmed next to her, clapping her hands and whistling.
A brief moment of silence fell on the room as the young man grabbed up his garments and props and darted behind the red curtain. Piper took a sip of her seltzer water.
The music started up again, a different song as the curtain parted. Dollar bills of various denominations shot into the air.
“It’s him!” Molly exclaimed, gripping Piper’s arm tightly, almost making her spill the water.
Him? Curious, Piper studied this new dancer. He could have been any age, it was impossible to tell. He was tall. She stood at five foot nine, more in heels, so it took a lot for her to consider someone tall. Long blond hair was pulled back into a flowing ponytail. Sparkling blue eyes and a brilliant smile was all Piper could see from behind the black mask that covered him down past his chin.
Swaying slowly, rhythmically, he left the stage, unlike the other dancers had. Choosing to cover the room, he deposited articles of clothing every so many tables. Women stuffed bills into any spot they could find, all but swooning if he paused a second to favor them with his personal attention.
“It’s the Masked Bandit!” Molly whispered fiercely, still clinging to Piper’s arm. “Oh my! He’s coming this way!”
Feeling her heart suddenly skip a few beats, Piper watched the Masked man weave toward her table, his eyes having locked on hers.
Stopping before her, he swayed, pulling off his detachable pants, revealing furry thighs and a black G-string bikini. Molly screamed.
Piper’s breath caught. Unable to break the spell of his blue eyes, her fingers itching to touch that black mask, instead, she picked up a twenty from the table. With trembling fingers, she looped it through his gently swaying G-string. Impulsively, because she liked it, she added another one.
Lowering one hand, he reached for her hand, gently lowering his head to kiss the back of her hand. Excitement sizzled through Piper, leaving her giddy. Suddenly the Masked Bandit pulled her up out of her chair, into his arms, close to him, making her sway in rhythm with him.
He smelled clean and male, he had recently showered. The strength in his arms was amazingly both gentle and firm. She no longer heard the screams of the women around them. It was just him and her.
Her lips parted as they held eye contact, her heart hammering loudly in her chest. Painfully so. She knew the exact second he was going to kiss her. Eagerly, she waited for it, her eyes half closed.
Abruptly, the song ended and he froze, surprised. Gently he guided her back to her chair, turned and hastily scooped up his clothing. In one light bound he landed on the stage, disappearing behind the curtain.
“Oh, Piper,” Molly sighed deeply. “He likes you.”
Before Piper’s stunned senses could think of a reply, the waiter brought their food, setting the plates down. Piper stared at her meal, heart still thumping wildly, knowing somehow it would pale compared to the last few seconds.

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