ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

JOIN YOLANDA RENEE ON HER BLOG TOUR!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Jane Eyre, the latest movie. Have you seen it?


My followers know I'm a fan of the Byronic Hero and even did a series on these moody, broody old-fashioned masculine hunks. So when the latest version of Jane Eyre hit the big screen I was there! And it didn't disappoint (Monsieur Aussie swears he wasn't asleep, he was just breathing heavily.)

A virginal heroine who's in thrall to a powerful and vaguely threatening older man has always been the stuff of melodrama. Today's teenagers lap up Twilight, (the latest incarnation); teens from earlier generations lapped up delicious novels such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Charlotte Bronte's seminal gothic novel on which the movie Jane Eyre is based is ancient by Twilight standards; it was first published in 1847.

History of Jane Eyre movies

From the beginning of cinema, filmmakers have been attracted to this book. The first known version was made in 1910, one of two that year. At least four more versions were made during the silent film era. The most celebrated version until now was the 1943 production starring Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles, but I preferred the 1996 Franco Zeffirelli version with Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane and William Hurt as Rochester.

Skip along if you're not into trivia as there's more! There's been an Indian version (Sangdil, 1952), at least eight television versions and the Australian film Wide Sargasso Sea (1992) filled in Rochester's back story. Hey, don't forget Jacques Tourneur's I Walked with a Zombie, a horror film made the same year as the Fontaine-Wells version which deals with Bronte's basic story in very interesting ways.

The latest version of Jane Eyre


"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will."
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
                                     
So what about the latest version? Well, it stars the luminous Australian-born actress Mia Wasikowska as Jane and I think she's marvellous. You might remember her from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. I think Jane Eyre was the role she was born to. She radiates solemn intelligence and wide-eyed innocence along with pride and idealism. Edward Rochester, the mysterious owner of Thornfield Hall is Michael Fassbender, well cast also. His first appearance on his black steed is splendid, and creates exactly the right mood of excitement and danger. The love affair is in first-class hands.

I assume if you're reading this far, you know the story. In the book Rochester is far less attractive and Jane is truly Plain Jane; not in this film. The story is told non-sequentially, beginning where Jane flees Thornfield into a wild, storm-tossed landscape, beautiful but dangerous moors. Flashbacks are used to take us back to Jane's childhood, orphaned and miserable. I'm glad the filmmaker didn't spend too long at the hideous charity school Lowood as the book descriptions have haunted me since I first read the novel as a young teenager. How could adults be so cruel to children? We do see poor, doomed Helen Burns...

When Jane is sent to Thornfield as governess to Adele (delightfully played by Romy Settbon Moore), the ward of the usually-absent Rochester, she finds a friend in housekeeper Mrs Fairfax (Judi Dench wonderful as usual.)
"Why did you run away? Why didn't you come to me girl? I would have helped you."

The British class system of the 19th Century is captured in detail and the landscape is given a poet's vision - beautiful and lowering.

To me, this is the best version yet! I hope you go see it. I can't wait to re-read the novel yet again.




Sunday, 28 August 2011

Hurricane Irene hits New York, City of Islands. Are you safe East Coasters?

Source: thedailybeast.com

"The edge of Hurricane Irene hit New York, bringing torrential rain and fears of widespread flooding. Irene is the first hurricane to hit the Big Apple in a generation. Overnight there's been lightning, reports of tornadoes and deafening rainfall. The city was a ghost town after 370,000 people evacuated flood-prone areas, including near Wall Street and Coney Island. "The edge of the hurricane is finally upon us," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a press conference. "Nature is a lot stronger than the rest of us.""



We all love New York. The idea of New York bemuses those of us who've never had the fortune to visit the city regarded as the centre of the world. Thanks to Hollywood, American singers, and the general spread of American culture, even those of us living at the bottom of the world feel we know New York. She is a world city. She belongs to us all.

It is easy to forget New York is a city of islands and was once the world's busiest harbour.  So when the news says a hurricane is heading her way, we do a double take and say like, whaaatt??

Of New York's five boroughs, only the Bronx is on the mainland. For most of its 388-year history from the arrival of the first Dutch settlers, Manhattan was America's ultimate port, its shores criss-crossed by ferries and transports, the East River and the Hudson River as busy as I imagine Fifth Avenue is today.

When Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick, New York's waterfronts bristled with the masts of sailing ships. By the time Marlon Brando starred in On the Waterfront (shot in Hoboken) the maritime tradition had gone awry thanks to air travel and New Jersey's takeover of container shipping. By the 1980s, New York Harbour was derelict, a pile of rotting piers.

Happily I hear there is a renaissance taking place. Crumbling piers have become chic eateries, party venues and art installations.


Governors Island
Source:coolandsublime.wordpress.com

Governors Island intrigues me. I've read novels where it was full of spy activity and sounded so dark and creepy. Now it's a showpiece apparently, a gem off the glittering southern tip of Manhattan. Instead of being occupied by the US Army and the Coast Guard, it is now filled with quaint Victorian barracks and officers' houses dating back to the Civil War. On summer weekends, free ferries bring people across from Battery Park to spend a day in the leafy oasis ringed with imported golden sand.

We thought the Hudson River had an airstrip in the middle, but apparently it's had an overhaul too and now New Yorkers are being told they can eat fish caught in it, so clean has it become.

I've never been to New York, and only recently started to think I just might go there. Until now the only Statue of Liberty I've seen is the mini version in Paris (a gift from the Americans).


All I know about Coney Island I've learned from films and aVan Morrison song about his Coney Island.
Source: ronsaari.com 


The big picture of the Big Apple comes from the music of Frank Sinatra. 
Source:googleimages.com

Source:googleimages.com

I've never seen Ellis Island except in all those mini series and movies with the poor Irish immigrants arriving. How cool would it be to walk the halls seen in The Godfather:Part 11.

New York, City of Islands, I hope you survive Irene, clean yourself up, welcome your people back, stand tall and shine!
Other East Coasters hit by Irene, I wish you well and offer condolences to those who've lost loved ones and property!

I'll leave you with Van Morrison's Coney Island...and I know he's Irish and is singing about another Coney Island, but he moves me to think of New York...






  • Do you live in New York?
  • Have you been to New York?
  • What can you add to my post? Do I have my facts straight?
  • Have you been affected by Hurricane Irene? Share your story...





Friday, 26 August 2011

#RomanticFridayWriters 'Smooth Sailing' challenge for August 26 - an extract from my WIP, Ruby.


Romantic Friday Writers is a blogfest every Friday co-ordinated by myself and Francine Howarth. It is a fun event, showcasing the work of many fine writers who write romantic flash fiction or poetry under 400 words. Click on the icon in my sidebar or the link at the end of my post to check out others participating today or join the blogfest yourself. You will be most welcome. We are also found on twitter @RFWER. Each week we choose a runner up and a Featured Writer. 

About my extract from one of my WIPs (A Sweet Romance):


He's a Sea Captain. She's a French girl making a new life in Australia. He loves her. She loves him, but they've had a falling out. He's joined the Sea Shepherd on its mission to save whales in Antarctica, she is running her boutique hotel in Noosa on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. His name is Michael, hers is Ruby and they're in a world of pain...As this is from a WIP I am quite happy for you to offer any constructive criticism... 


SMOOTH SAILING


No stars tonight. Michael leaned on the timber railing of the deck and scrunched his eyes skyward. 

Murky blackness.

Blackness. That fitted his mood perfectly.

He’d suffered days of homesickness on the trip south to the Antarctic, rolling in his bunk as the ship surged through the icy waters, all the time dreaming of Ruby. Was she missing him? Was she dreaming of him? Why did she send him away?

But at times he felt the astounding ice of Antarctica healing his wounds—he was surrounded by it, feasting on the sight every day. Icy mountains so enormous that by comparison the ship became just a speck in the mighty ocean. To Michael the most amazing concept was that the landscape he was seeing had never been trodden by human feet.

The ship had brought him to a wonderland of indescribable beauty. If only he was in a place to fully enjoy it. All the magnificence paled when his thoughts returned to Ruby.

He turned his back on the starless heavens and stumbled to his cabin.

He lay in the dark, alert to the sounds of the night – the ship’s groaning as it sailed smoothly through the freezing waters, the clanking of steel, the yells of the night crew.

What was he doing here? He was an interloper. He’d never belong.

Sleep was far away, even though his body was exhausted from the pure physicality of the day’s labour, the clambering up and down ladders, the nervous tension of spotting for the Japanese whalers.

He snatched his ipod from under his pillow. His favourite tunes began their soothing work. He was drifting, dreaming, the words to The Cure filling him:

You’re so perfect, you’re so right as rain
You make me, make me, make me hungry again…

He had never wanted Ruby more than he did at this moment, the urge flowing through him like the spiralling sweetness of incense, seductive and sweet. He drifted towards dreams...

He wanted to make love to her. He wanted to feel her silky skin against his, feel her body rise to meet him, hear her moan and whisper. He wanted to hear her say she loved him. He wanted to take a journey with her to that one place in life where you touch the stars. Just the thought made his body ache with need.

Ruby, I’m coming home to you



©DeniseCovey2011


WORD COUNT - 398. FCA (Full Critique Acceptable)
Go here to read more stories. 


  




Thursday, 25 August 2011

Roland D Yeomans' French Quarter Nocturne - what really happened in the wake of Hurricane Katrina? And a fantabulous contest!


Long before man. Long before light. Darkness reigned.


Who can keep up with Roland D Yeomans? In the last few months he has self published 11, yes, 11 e-books. Roland's lyrical prose and dark plots are amazing. I'd like to read and review all his books, but unless I put everything else on hold it's an impossibility. So I've been slow to read French Quarter Nocturne, but once I'd re-started it (I'd begun it some months ago) I was hooked into the story, which is the way it should be if the writing's good.


I've always been fascinated by this particular part of the States - New Orleans and the South in general. When Hurricane Katrina struck, I was dumbfounded at her fury and dumbfounded at how long it seemed to take to get help to these suffering citizens. Who knew what was going on in the Convention Centre? Obviously Roland's Texas Ranger, Samuel McCord knew exactly what was happening...


In Roland's synopsis he describes French Quarter Nocturne thus:


Hurricane Katrina has cast New Orleans into darkness. Predators, living and undead, close in on the helpless survivors. Can Samuel McCord and a vampire priest keep the French Quarter from being drowned in blood?


French Quarter Nocturne is set during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, which devastated the proud, unique and unfortunately low-lying city of New Orleans. People struggled with what was happening in the wake of this disaster. How could they make sense of it? How could they come to terms with the horror? 


Dark elements are abroad on the mean streets of New Orleans. The music is of a much darker cast in the jazz club Meilori's which has shimmered into life on Royal Street. Here it is a Crossroads of Worlds. Monsters  are stalking the streets. Ghosts and vampires are abroad in an attempt to provide leadership in a leader-less city, to bring at least a semblance of order out of the mayhem and destruction that has occured. There are normal reptiles slithering around in the dingy waters but they don't pose much of a threat.  Far worse than snakes, the chaos in New Orleans has given the European revenants a one-off chance to establish a beachhead in America. Worse yet, McCord's life-long enemy, DayStar, is plotting in the shadows.


Who can step up into the void? 


Against the backdrop of Katrina's aftermath, an agnostic jazz club owner and his best friend, a haunted priest, engage enemies in the shadows that challenge both their belief systems. Sam McCord, a Texas Ranger, is trapped in a nether world with those who cannot cross over to the other side. McCord is a hero in his own right, but all the same he has personal issues that often tug at his heartstrings. But it is the memory of one woman, Meilori, that never leaves him, that dogs his footsteps. Even in the murder and mayhem and lawlessness of post-Katrina, Sam never allows that others should commit atrocities. But is Sam McCord an innocent? Does he ever do the 'wrong' thing when dire need comes calling? 


The French Quarter Noctune is a fantastic read, and you get used to bizarre instances where persons from mythological tales take centre stage. We meet famous writers from the past, too, all adding gloss to the many-layered story. But I warn you, if you must read it at night at least keep the light on. 

If you've read any of Roland's books, you may be interested in:


Your mission, should you choose to accept it,
is to write a review on Amazon of one of my 11 eBooks. (I hope, of course, that it is a good review --
but bad breath is better than no breath at all.)
Write such a review and you get FIVE, that's right,
FIVE entries into my FANTABULOUS CONTEST.
The entries are being safeguarded by my best friend, Sandra Thrasher --
who says she will break my fingers if she catches them in the huge jar. She will pull.

And 3 lucky people will have won either

A FREE STEPHEN KING AUTOGRAPH!

A FREE DEAN KOONTZ AUTOGRAPH!

or

A FREE LAURELL K. HAMILTON AUTOGRAPH!

SEPTEMBER 1ST is the draw date. 


 Good reading and good luck!



Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Become a part of the third Writers' Platform Building Campaign





Once again, Rachael Harrie at Rach Writes... is hosting this event, meant to help boost your online platform, connecting you with other writers throughout the blogosphere. I've joined each year and found it invaluable in making new blogging friends. And the challenges are just plain fun! Find out more about how it all works HERE.
This Campaign is running from August 22-October 31, and the List of Campaigners closes August 31, so there's still time to sign up. I've just joined several groups according to the genres I write in. It will be great to share with fellow writers in similar genres. There's even groups according to your country of origin. I notice the poets are light on. C'mon. Way to go! 

**********

  • Are you going to join in for the Third Writers' Platform-Building Crusade? If you have any questions, ask in the comments or pop over to Rach Writes. 






Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sing You Home and other novels by Jodi Picoult, a sort-of book review and a little opinion about research.

On the release of her novel, Change of Heart, Jodi Picoult visited Australia to promote her book. She told the rapt audience at Sails Restaurant at Noosa Heads, that when she wrote she had a Team Jodi. This team consisted of a group of researchers and professionals who she was able to call on whilst writing her latest book. (Sure beats just having Google!) To write Change of Heart (where she examines the issue of heart transplants amidst all sorts of legal ramifications) she was able to jump on a plane across America and visit death row. Cool. (Wish I could jump on a plane and research the cranberry harvest on Nantucket Island!) One can only imagine the amount of research she now puts in for her latest novels - she churns out one every 9 months!

Her latest novel, Sing You Home, is full of evidence of an army of researchers. Following the now accepted Picoult formula of early novel - set up, last part of novel - court scene, Jodi has used a stunning array of facts, stats and stories to fully examine the issue - should gay married couples be able to adopt children?

At the author talk in 2008, Picoult was asked how she chose the issue for her next novel. She replied that she was a voracious reader of newspapers to keep abreast of the current hot topics. During her sleeping hours the idea for her new novel would form in her mind, and away she would go on a frenzy of research and writing.

Jodi Picoult doesn't need my review to sell her books (you can find over 2,000 reviews of Sing You Home on the net), but something's been bugging me:

How does an author know when enough is enough? I'm a great Picoult fan, but even I am getting a bit jaded with her 'winning' formula - hot topics, loads of research, courtroom scenes with more twists and turns than a medieval maze resulting in reader fatigue with all the stats, spats and what's zats??

As much as I enjoyed Sing You Home (I loved learning about what a music therapist actually does!) and I find her multiple POV style easy to follow,  I got a bad case of legal fatigue during the last half of the book. Thorough research is necessary, but IMHO you don't have to show everything you learnt about a topic by being just so clever. Your reader knows if you know what you're talking about.

I've got to the stage where I know where's she's going and the last page reveal is, well, sure Jodi, you didn't fool me - I knew this is where you were taking me half a book ago, ha ha, whereas in Salem Falls you stunned me speechless with the reveal. I'm still reeling over that one! But I must say the pages and pages of discussion on the DNA chain complete with diagrams had my eyes rolling back in my head.

Here's happy little me chatting with Jodi Picoult after an awesome lunch
 and author talk at Noosa Heads.
From goodreads:

Sing You Home

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·   rating details  ·  7,305 ratings  ·  2,005 reviews
One miscarriage too many spelled the end of Max and Zoe Baxter's marriage. Though the former couple went quite separate ways, their fates remained entangled: After veering into alcoholism, Max is saved in multiple senses by his fundamentalist conversion; Zoe, for her part, finds healing relief in music therapy and the friendship, then romantic love with Vanessa, her counselor. After Zoe and Vanessa, now married, decide to have a baby, they realize that they must join battle with Max, who objects on both religious and financial grounds. Like her House Rules and several other previous Jodi Picoult novels, Sing You Home grapples with hot button issues. The novel also includes a CD of songs, each matched with a chapter in the book. Perfect for book clubs.


  • What do you think about author research?
  • Do you have to show all you know? 
  • Do you agree/disagree with me that sometimes authors go overboard trying to show the reader how much they've learnt? 




Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Aubrie Dionne Virtual Book Tour - her novel, Paradise 21, New Dawn Book One.

To read my Romantic Friday Writers story go here.

Today I feel honoured to be a part of Aubrie Dionne's Book Tour. I have been interacting with Aubrie at her Flutey Words blog for some time, and have read much of her work. She is a writer with a deft hand, and who knows what it is like to go through the pain of rejection, then the joy of publication. She has been generous in sharing her journey with her fellow writers.

So when Entangled Publishing offered her a contract for her novel Paradise 21, I was delighted with Aubrie's success and delighted to host her on her tour.

Paradise 21, A New Dawn Book One, will be released in August 2011. It's available now! I was lucky enough to receive an ARC copy and LOVED it! I will have a review up later this month. Space opera is not usually my chosen genre, but I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Here is the Book Blurb:

Aries has lived her entire life aboard mankind’s last hope, the New Dawn, a spaceship traveling toward a planet where humanity can begin anew—a planet that won’t be reached in Aries’ lifetime. As one of the last genetically desirable women in the universe, she must marry her designated genetic match and produce the next generation for this centuries-long voyage.

But Aries has other plans.

When her desperate escape from the New Dawn strands her on a desert planet, Aries discovers the rumors about pirates—humans who escaped Earth before its demise—are true. Handsome, genetically imperfect Striker possesses the freedom Aries envies, and the two connect on a level she never thought possible. But pursued by her match from above and hunted by the planet’s native inhabitants, Aries quickly learns her freedom will come at a hefty price.

The life of the man she loves.

Here is an excerpt:



His casual tone stung her composure. How could he talk of such mundane things when they’d almost been captured, when she’d touched him so tenderly?

“We’ll let them get farther away,” Striker explained, reasonable as always. “We’re going in their direction tomorrow.”

The sting of rejection grew, burning a hole in her heart. “Why?”

“Why what?”

Her lips trembled. “Why not kiss me like you did before?”

“I can’t.” He shook his head, and the air cooled between them; so much so, Aries wondered if the desert had turned into deep space.

He’d teased her with such affection before, it was cruel to take it away. “I don’t understand,” she said, wishing she didn’t care, wishing she could stop all the emotions he’d started in her heart.

Aries caught a glimpse of pain etched in the wrinkles around his eyes. Striker turned away and started pulling supplies out of his backpack. “I can’t do this.”

“Do what?”

Striker shook his head and Aries prompted, “Can’t kiss me, can’t trust me? What?”

“I can’t allow myself to get tangled up with someone. Not again.”

The thoughts of Striker with another woman confused her. On the New Dawn, everyone had one lifemate and that was it. “You mean you loved someone before?”

Striker’s hand tightened on the backpack. “I trusted someone a long time ago, allowed myself to love, if you will. She hurt me so much I lost my entire life and ended up here. I can’t experience that kind of pain again.”

Aries clasped her hand over her heart. “I’m so sorry.”

He waved her apology off as if it meant nothing. “It’s a tough world, Aries. And it’s dangerous to love. If I were you, I’d keep my heart well-guarded, because you never know when it will affect your decisions, when it will make you weak.”

Aries couldn’t take his advice. Watching him talk about his past made her realize she’d already given up her heart.

He had it.

I wrote to Aubrie and asked her some questions:

DENISE: Aubrie, I was very impressed with the characters in Paradise 21. How do you develop a mental picture of your characters? How do you take this mental picture and create believable characters?

AUBRIE: Thank you! Characters used to be my weakest point in writing, and I’ve worked hard to make them 3-dimensional. I think about each character’s flaws, and make them wrestle with them. They have to overcome their own faults, and perhaps lose before they can triumph.

Each one of my characters has a bit of my own personality in them, whether I like it or not! Sometimes it’s just a little bit, and other times, it’s me magnified by a thousand!

DENISE: Every writer’s journey to publication is unique. Did you always know you wanted to see your work in print? What steps did you take to make this a reality?

AUBRIE: I always wanted to hold my own book in my hands. What I didn’t realize is that sometimes you have to write a whole bunch of books before you get a hit on your hands. Paradise 21 is my fourth complete novel. I’ve also written about twenty short stories and a novella. It takes time to perfect your craft, and to find the perfect recipe of setting, characters, and plot for an interesting book.

DENISE: Does chocolate help with the writing process? Or is there something else you prefer to use?

AUBRIE: Chocolate, jelly beans, coffee, and tea all help!

DENISE: How does music figure in your writing process? I could imagine you taking up your flute at times when you needed inspiration. Do you do this?

AUBRIE: Oh yes, sometimes when I practice a story idea comes to mind. When I was in high school, I used to sit in orchestra and make up stories to go with the music. (Sometimes the flute player has to sit for a long time without playing!)

A musical phrase is a lot like a sentence. Just like an entire composition is much like a novel. You need to have your sentences flow like music, and build up to a climatic point.

DENISE: From following your blog I've got you tagged as a fairly serious person so I'm not sure if you'll answer this question or not. I've got to ask one weird question. Er, do you have some stupid human trick you can do that not many people know about?

AUBRIE: Hmmmm….I’m not very athletic, or good at math or science, but I can remember phone numbers really well. I still know my best friend’s number from junior high school (although for her parent’s benefit I won’t share it here!).

Denise, thank you for having me on your blog today! Great questions! 




A New Dawn Book One by Aubrie Dionne

Title: Paradise 21
Author: Aubrie Dionne
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
Length: Novel
Release Date: August 2011
ePub ISBN: 978-1-937044-02-2
Mobi ISBN: Coming soon!
Print ISBN: 978-1-937044-03-9

Ebook review copies available at NetGalley.com 







Friday, 12 August 2011

#RomanticFridayWriters challenge August 12 - My story for the Confused! theme...


Romantic Friday Writers is a blogfest every Friday co-ordinated by myself and Francine Howarth. It is a fun event, showcasing the work of many fine writers who write romantic flash fiction or poetry under 400 words. Click on the icon in my sidebar or the link at the end of my post to check out others participating today or join the blogfest yourself. You will be most welcome. We are also found on twitter. We are @RFWER A winner is awarded the recognition of being the week's Featured Writer.

Here is my entry:

On Top of the Mountain


On top of the mountain was where she wanted to be—leaving behind all her insecurities and unhappiness, her confusion over Tod.

The climb had been hard but the view Paradise.

She twirled round and round like a ballerina then fell in a dizzy heap.

‘Woops!’ She giggled, bathed in blue sky.

She was first.

She never got to be first.

She wasn’t even first with Tod. She knew he’d chosen her because she looked like his first girlfriend.

But today was the best day of her life.

Her confusion was lifting like the clouds on the mountain.

She’d hurried ahead of the walking group even though it was naughty. She was sick of their whining. Sure, it’d been a long climb but what did they expect? All the way from St Jean Pied de Port to this splendid mountain in Spain. What a pilgrimage. What a way to start over.

It was Roderick who riled her big time. He’d been a pain from day one, complaining about everything—the food, the weather, the organisation. 700 kilometres to go til they reached Santiago de Compostela. How could they put up with Roderick for that long? 

She was surprised the guide, Rafe, hadn’t sent him packing. But Rafe wouldn’t.  He was the nicest guy. She wished it was just her and Rafe, the two of them together. Wouldn’t that be cosy?

Ah Rafe. She pictured his built body, muscled by years of climbing. She pictured his black curls flopping over his eyes. How she’d love to twirl her fingers through those curls!

She put her water bottle aside and took in the blue sky, the mountain range, the haloes of whispy clouds.  But she was drawn to the valleys made dark by black shadows. What was it that made her always look down? Did she always have to see the dark side?

She breathed in slowly, savouring the moment. Ah, to be first at last! Would Rafe be impressed?

She heard grunting behind the scraggly bush where she’d propped herself.  

She moved the leaves aside and peered closer. She felt a clunk as her heart wound to a stop. Lying spreadeagled, a head wound gushing blood was that whiner, Roderick.

‘Hey, Ciara what have you found?’ Rafe had arrived.

She shook her head. The cloud was choking her.

She never got to be first.


©DeniseCovey2011

I hope you enjoyed my story for the Confused! challenge. If you'd like to read more, go here to the Romantic Friday Writer's site and click on the current linky.



This story is 399 words. FCA.






Monday, 8 August 2011

When should you query an editor - a happy publication story.

As some of you know, I'm first and foremost a short story writer, even though I have written 2 novels. I was pleased when reading 'A Moveable Feast' to note that Hemingway believed short story writing was excellent practise for novel writing, although I've read articles to the contrary. Never mind! All writing is good for your craft and by targeting the right magazine you can make a tidy sum (half of what you get offered for writing a Pocket Novel, not that we write for money, ha ha ha ha!)


So how do you break into the world of magazines when you have a hot little story written? Many of you know this market has shrunk alarmingly (apt adverb) in the past few years. However the good Brits and Aussies have maintained the fiction magazine. I'm not sure about the Americans, as mostly they only take subs from Americans, unlike the aforementioned, who accept subs globally. But like all submitting, you need buckets of patience...


So! You target your preferred magazine. You do your homework. You know your stories are right for the audience.


You read a few more of their mags just to make sure. You pore over the guidelines again. Get that formatting just so. Oh, they prefer full text in email body! Nearly missed that!


Okay, let's check that story again! Yep, I can tweak it a bit more there. How I love to tweak! When is it enough already! Well, now I've got me a work of art. All polished.


Now, off to editor (better check it's still The Man. Yep. He's current. If he's turned into a she, she wouldn't like to be addressed as Mr I guess.)


Deep breath! Hmm. Re-check that email address yet again. Recheck the story-length info they request for the Subject line - my name, what I had for breakfast, what is my favourite coffee - whoops, just kidding, sorta.


Insert sweet yet succinct salutations. Crawl a little. Don't forget all the pesky details - again - word count, ABN number blah blah blah. Describe my Hemingway-esque piece to The Man. By now hands are shaking! I really want it! I want my story in this magazine! It's so right for it! Where will I go if they turn me down??? The Writers Marketplace? It's so big it hurts to hold it up!


Stop snivelling. Copy that polished prose from Word and drop it into your email body. Oh, it does look small! Better check it's all there. Yep, but it looks about font size 4.6. Oh, well, that must be what they want! Maybe I should make it bigger?


I've had enough! Just re-check it twenty times Denise and send the disgusting 1,000 words of tripe to the magazine. They'll hate it! Who'd want to read that! Delete! Don't send it!


Oh, who cares? Send the ridiculous-amount-of-work thing that translates to -2 cents an hour!


SEND!!


Your message has been sent!


Whoops! Did I mean to do that? No turning back now dearie! 'Tis in cyberspace! Forget it!!!!!!!


Days pass. Weeks pass. Months pass.


I've made a special email account just for this sucker and all the other little suckers I'm going to send to this magazine. After my first success that is. The Man will be begging for more! Special email account? Yep. Which means I have to go in every day and check my mail. Sometimes two or three times when I'm especially anxious.


Check Mail. Eargh!


One New Message.


Hands trembling. Click. Admin rubbish. Grrrrr! Not The Man!


More months pass. Deathly silence. I get on with my writing life. Work on my myriad projects like blogging, tweeting, facebooking, linked-in...sometimes even my WIPs...and more short stories and non-fiction articles...


Hey, I've had enough! I'm going to query this guy. It's been nearly 5 months! I know they've had a few changes at the mag, but enough already! Egad! Maybe they've lost it! They hate it and forgot to tell me! The email failed!


Read some more articles on how long I should wait before making a nuisance of myself. I'm sick of checking emails every day. I'm sick of waiting. Bite the bullet!


Some articles tell me just to wait. The mountain will eventually come to Mohammed (oh, should I say that?)


Nah, I'm not going to wait any longer!


Dear Mr Editor Sir, crawl, crawl, crawl...hate to be a nuisance, er er, did you receive my story perchance? The 1000-words-of-fabulousness one? Hate to be a bother etc etc...


Check email. Sweat sweat.


One new message. Only two hours! What's happening? It can't be! That's right! We're in the same time zone. That makes a change...


Shaky hand, shaky head. This is it! He hates it! Prepare for rejection!


Dear Denise, sorry, sorry, sorry, should have let you know, it's these admin people you know, your story's up for 2011. Just has to pass the whole board (or whatever they call that group of editorial brains.) You'll hear soon. Sorry, sorry, sorry...


Woo hoo! I'm nearly there! He said he loved it. Will the whole editorial team share his view? Wait. Just wait. No problem, I've had plenty of practise...I can use the time to check out a few more mags...well, Stephen King says reading is as important as writing after all...


Open a writer facebook account using the same email. Avoidance issues a'plenty. Forget about the story. It's just a story! You've had others published. Why are you obsessing about this particular magazine? Send 'em somewhere else!


Sifting through the 160 notifications from facebook and networked blogs when kerbang! Right in the middle I see one from The Man! Goodness! I could have deleted it along with all that other stuff!


Reading with one eye open...I'm in! Woo hoo! Story will be published in 2011! It passed muster! The planets aligned!


Now, what was all that about? Well, if it's that hard to get one measly short story published how hard is it going to be to get a novel under contract? 


But...not only did it ease my mind by sending my query off, now I have had a chance for The Man to get to know me a bit better and maybe he'll remember my name in a good way when I send my next 1,000+ words of fabulousness.


Which reminds me, NaNo'll be here before I know it, Christmas is coming, then it'll be New Year's! I'd better get back to writing my stories! Or editing my NaNo novels? Or blogging?  What? What?




I need a break already!


I hope you enjoyed my tongue-in-cheek post. Do you have a similar or different story to tell?


Happy footnote. My story finally came out in print in this particular magazine a few months ago. Now I'm playing the waiting game again...