Wednesday, May 24, 2017

I Finished My First Novel

Well, I finally did it! I finished a novel.
That's why I haven't been posting on this blog much. I have been obsessed with my book!

I started a short story over a year ago about two people who meet in a sauna and things get overheated. But as I wrote it, the characters wanted more than just this one anonymous fling. So I set it aside for a future time, when I was ready to write something longer.

Fast forward to October 1, 2016, when I attended a Harlequin writers workshop. It was fun and I did get a lot out of it. At the end the editor invited all attendees, as well as the other members of our local RWA chapters who couldn't be there, to join in a submission blitz. We all had until October 15th to send in a synopsis and first ten pages of a super steamy erotic romance. Ding! Ding! Ding! My sauna tale!!! It wasn't finished, but I figured "what the heck?" At the very least I would get some much needed feedback about my writing. Sure I'd been writing for over 30 years, but I hadn't learned all the "rules" of writing romance yet. I knew there was a lot of room for improvement and I was excited to get advice from the biggest romance publisher in the world.

When I re-read my old story I decided the only thing I liked about it was the sauna incident and two of the character's names. The rest of it was B-O-R-I-N-G. I re-wrote the entire thing, starting first with the synopsis. I free wrote a synopsis, which became the outline to the story. I had never tried outlining before, having always been a pantser, but I will do this from now on.

At the eleventh hour, I sent in my synopsis and first chapter (plus a short prologue). When I got a reply six weeks later I was so excited! What I did not expect was a request for the full manuscript. I freaked out, posted to my writing group, "What do I do???" and an angel appeared. A professional editor in our group told me she would help me through this process. Without her I would have given up.

This thing has consumed my life! Writing is not for the weak. You must find a way to push through the depression when you feel like your writing sucks, play writing games when the words don't come, find a way to love your characters when you get sick of reading it for the 50th time, and beg your friends to be your beta (or alpha) readers because your eyes will glaze over and your brain will insert missing words for you. Oh no! Do not try to edit yourself. Hire an editor. I will hire my friend for future books. Her help was invaluable. She kept me sane.

It took six months, but I finally got the story to where I wanted it. Sure there's still room for improvement and I expect to receive a long list of revisions from Harlequin, if they decide it's right for them. If it isn't I will publish it myself. I'm already working on book two and three of this series. And don't worry, there are no cliffhangers, just other couples.

I'll let you know what happens, probably in four months or so.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Grace - Chapter 1 (or Prologue)

Because of Julia's comment below, I'm adding a warning: This story is being told in "drabbles",  short pieces of exactly 100 words. It's a writing challenge just for fun. Each chapter might sound vague, but this is to be an outline. I welcome your input, suggestions, critiques, etc.

Three girls huddled together in a most unladylike fashion as the other boarding school students rushed past out the door.

“Promise me we will always be friends,” Constance whimpered.

“Of course we will,” Violet snapped.

“We are soul mates, destined to have found one another in our time of need,” Grace said.

“Ever the writer.” Violet murmured.

“What do you expect from the daughter of a publisher.”

“Better that than a gentleman farmer. I’m little more than a brood mare to him.”

“Has he found you a husband?” Grace asked.


“But The Season is still upon us,” Constance reminded.

Continue reading this outline on my Wattpad account. 

That Story Prompt Has Sparked Something

That story prompt sparked an idea in me. I have always loved wallflowers and bluestockings and young women who fight against their forced gender roles. Gabriella has become Grace (my daughter liked the name better) and she and her friends are wallflowers bent on revenge.

I recently learned about drabbles, short stories that consist of exactly 100 words. Since I love writing flash fiction it sounded perfect for me! I am going to write the entire story out in drabble size chapters. If I get enough feedback I hope to embellish it and turn it into a series.

I will post the entire outline on and Wattpad.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Story Prompt: Less Than a Second

I was given a story prompt in a recent RWA thread and decided to go for it.

Story prompt: It was less than a second, but it changed everything. 

I had finally done it. I had gotten my heart's desire to notice me. I had been swooning over Charles Lancaster for years, spying on him across the room from my regular position at the wall. Other girls would pass by and giggle at those of us who congregated there. Some were even cruel enough to offer their unsolicited advice when they noticed where my gaze wandered.

"Oh, Gabriella, you are positively deluded if you think to set you sights on Lancaster!"
"Gabby, you haven't got a prayer!"
"YOU? And Charles Lancaster? Ha!"

So what if I fancied myself as the belle of the ball one day? Charles might notice me. I could dream. I certainly had no wish to become Mrs. Francis Cole or Mrs. Harry Knight. Those were my mother's choices for me. She had no faith in my abilities to attract a man of importance, such as the heir to the Lancaster fortune. No, she thought I could do no better than a merchant or solicitor. Frankly, I thought the same. I stood there in quiet desolation.

But then something happened. Charles was heading in my direction! We locked eyes and he smiled. I smiled back and was planning to be very forward by offering my hand and introducing myself. I stepped into his path and he stopped. I opened my mouth, took in a fortifying breath...and burped.

His friends, the ones I hadn't noticed, roared with laughter. Charles bit his lip and did his best not to. My face flamed, but I stood tall, trying not to cry. Then he did something most unexpected.

He winked at me.

I watched him walk away, feeling my heart swell a little bit more. I gasped when he turned his head and looked back at me.

In less than a second (plus eight years, four days and two hours) I, Gabriella Huntington, had finally gotten Charles Lancaster, to notice me.

Time would tell if that was a good thing or a bad thing.


Hope you all enjoyed this. Thank you for the prompt, Hannah! I needed a nudge tonight.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Blog Background Flash Fiction, Story 3 - The Wrong Ship

Johanna lay still with her eyes closed becoming aware of  a rolling motion. In a dreamlike stupor she wondered briefly if there was an earthquake, but it didn't stop. She thought maybe she had drunk too much champagne the night before and was just dizzy. She vaguely remembered toasting her best friend at her wedding. Then toasting the groom, the parents of the bride, the parents of the groom and so on. She needed to avoid alcohol altogether in the future. Not only did she usually wake up in a fog the next day, but it stuffed up her nose. Allergies sucked. Wait. How could she be dizzy while lying still? She sat up quickly and blinked a few times, trying to focus. A shaft of light came down through a lone round window.

A window she did not recognize.

Where the hell was she? This was not her room. She glanced around at the dark wood antique furniture. It was the most beautifully ornate stuff she had ever seen, but again not hers. She climbed out of the railed wooden cot. Her long bridesmaid dress weighing her down a bit. Great. She had slept in her expensive silk gown. That was ruined forever, not that she would ever have cause to wear it again. She noticed a pitcher and bowl on a table and walked over to pour some water out and splash her face. As she patted her cheeks she thought it strange that there was a pitcher and bowl rather than a sink. Fortunately she knew what it was from all the historical romance books she read. On another table were some crystal decanters. She hoped one of them was just water. She pulled out the stopper on a bottle of clear liquid and sniffed. Thank goodness. She found a pewter mug and filled it, taking small sips as she tried to get her bearings.

Had she gone home with one of the groomsmen? Well, to his stateroom or whatever? It was obvious she was on a boat. And the furnishings in the room were all secured so they wouldn't fall over or slide off surfaces. That made sense since the wedding had been at the marina. This just didn't look like any yacht she'd ever seen. It reminded her of that old pirate-looking ship docked in San Diego's harbor. Star of India? Whatever. She needed to get out of here. How embarrassing would it be if her date walked in and she couldn't remember his name?

She got her sea legs and stepped into the corridor. The walls were dark wood here too. Mr. no-name date sure had done a spectacular job on this. It looked almost new. She ran her fingers along the smooth wall as she walked. Upon hearing voices she made her way up some steps into a bright sunny day. She closed her eyes and smiled as the beams caressed her face. She didn't have a hangover after all. She felt great.

She took a deep breath of fresh clean air and opened her eyes to see a bunch of strange men staring at her. They must be doing some sort of historical reenactment. Their clothing was definitely not of this time. Oh, crap! What if they were filming a movie and she had just ruined the shot? She smiled sheepishly. She was the only woman here, obviously having just come from someone's room.

"Hey," she said with a little wave, trying to act casual. "I'll just be going now." They all gave her an odd look. She had to get out of here. She turned to look for the exit to the dock and froze. She felt the blood drain from her face. There was no exit. She turned and glanced around in every direction, thinking she must be seeing things. There was nothing for miles but water.

"And how is milady this morning?" A deep voice with a sexy Scottish lilt rolled over her. She shook her head and steeled herself to demand answers. She couldn't let a sexy voice get to her. She turned to face her host and was struck dumb by the bluest eyes she had ever seen. The eyes glinted with humor along with a dimple and full smiling lips. She exhaled in a gasp ending in a whimper. "Cat got yer tongue, luv?"

"I'm sorry. I'm just really confused. I don't know how I got here or where here is. Did I sign up for some historical cruise?" Or had she gone home with this gorgeous creature? No. She would've remembered. "Who are you?"

"I could ask the same of you."

"Excuse me?"

"Who are you and how did you get on my ship?"

Good question.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Blog Background Flash Fiction, Story 2

Here is the second flash fiction related to my blog image.

Night Ship

Jenny walked along the shore, wiping the tears from her face. They fell aster than she could swipe them away. She wasn't even sure how she made it down to the beach. She tried to focus on the feel of the sand slipping between her toes. Where were her shoes? She glanced down to see her nightgown fluttering in the sea breeze. Strange that she would wander around in her sleepwear. She looked back toward the way she had come. The lights from Castle Montague glowed brightly in the windows. Did anyone miss her or even notice she had left the grounds? Not that she cared, having no intention of marrying the Duke of Rutherford. She would run away before she would endure than horrible man's touch. It was the twentieth century for God's sake! Who arranged marriages anymore?


Jenny froze. She recognized that deep sexy baritone, but hadn't heard it in so long. Or was it from a dream? She took a shaky breath and turned to face the man who had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. It was dark and she couldn't see him clearly. "Do I know you, sir?"

"Know me? I am wounded." He sounded sad.

"You called me Geneva. My name is Jenny."

"You don't remember do you, my love?"


The clouds parted and the full moon shone down on her mystery man. She gasped. He had the most handsome face she had ever seen, rugged but gentle. He was tall and broad, lean and muscular. His dark wavy hair just brushed the collar of his shirt. She couldn't tell the color of his eyes, but they were smoldering, like he was trying to see inside her soul. His style of dress seemed out of place, like a costume. There was something familiar about him, but she just couldn't place him.

He held out his hand to her. "Come. You will remember in a moment."

She felt no fear and reached out. The moment their hands touched she was assaulted by memories of their life together. Not just one life, but many lives. They had been together over and over throughout time. She gasped and would have collapsed from the shock if he hadn't caught her in his arms. "Christoph," she breathed. "How are you here?" She feared the answer even as she recognized the truth.

"I'm dead."

He nodded. "You were running away and fell." He pointed toward the castle. No, not to the castle itself, but the cliffs. She saw a bit of white fabric rustling over the edge of an outcropping.

Sadness consumed her, but then she realized something. "Why were we not together in this lifetime?"

He smiled. "My time on this earth had been played out. I have been patiently waiting for you. I am a guide, here to help you cross over."

"So we will never be together again?"

"Actually, we can be together for eternity if you so desire." He directed her gaze out over the ocean. A beautiful ship appeared, its sails billowing in the wind. "You can be my helpmate. Our purpose will be to assist other souls cross this ocean to their new life. It is not always easy, as some do not wish to leave. Perhaps it will be easier if we share the burden."

There was no hesitation. "Yes," she said and was wrapped tightly in his embrace. She squeezed her eyes shut and when she opened them again they were on his ship staring back at her old home. As they sailed away and her old life grew smaller she felt nothing but hope and joy. She looked forward to helping lost souls.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Learn to Write a Story a Week

How to Write a Story a WeekI don't remember how I found this article, but I thought it sounded like a great idea! Write a story a week to improve your craft. The website The Write Practice gives you a daily plan on how to accomplish this feat.

In a nutshell:
Monday - Settle on your story idea.
Tuesday - Write your opening act.
Wednesday - Write the climax.
Thursday - Resolve the plot.
Friday - Revise your story.

There are much more detailed instructions at their site, so go check it out and let me know how you did. If I attempt this massive undertaking I will post my stories here and on Wattpad.