Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

September 24, 2011

Golden Heart prep, Musings

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Longtime readers of my weight-loss blog know that when I go AWOL from the blog, it’s because I’m not doing so well at the whole diet and exercise thing. That’s not the case here. I’ve been writing up a storm — I just haven’t had any time to blog about it.

With my 40th birthday looming — as well as the 2012 Golden Heart contest deadline and the NaNoWriMo, it’s time to reassess.

Unless I sign with an agent and get a publishing contract in the next two weeks, I’m not going to be published by 40. That’s okay. I know I’m getting closer. It shouldn’t be long now.

I can’t believe September’s almost gone, leaving the big-40 just 13 days away, on Oct. 7. Where did it go?

But I’m beginning to think it’s impossible for me to write another 25,000 words on my single title WIP and prep it (and another entry) for GH entry by the end of October so I can clear November for the NaNo.

With that being the case, I might end up throwing two contemporary series MSs into the ring — thus competing against myself (and hundreds of other entrants). Yikes.

Guess I’ll see what happens with the Rubies’ Make it Golden first line contest. I entered three first lines — from three potential entrants — on Friday. Finalists will be announced Tuesday.

I have a sneaking suspicion that my best first line is the one I hadn’t been planning to enter, from Dave and Melinda’s story. Beth and Cody (single title) and Kenny and Kristi (CS) were going to be my go-to entries. But Dave and Melinda’s story might be the strongest of all.

Who knows? Maybe I can write 10,000 words this weekend.

Yeah, right.

September 8, 2011


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… Not writing it, thank goodness. Although I love watching “Dateline” and other true-crime shows on Investigation Discovery (“Deadly Women,” anyone?), I don’t think I have the chops to write RS. Keeping that thread of danger running throughout isn’t for me.

However, I can enjoy reading romantic suspense, when I’m in a certain mood. (That’s the way I am with historicals, too. I love to read them when I’m in the mood.) And I have just the book to put me in that mood: NARWA president Anne Marie Becker’s new Carina Press release, “Only Fear.”

The blurb:

After a violent incident with a patient leaves scars on both her mind and body, psychiatrist Dr. Maggie Levine craves isolation. A radio talk show host seems to be the perfect profession, a job where she can help people from a distance while staying safe. When a strange caller begins stalking her on the air and murdering people to get her attention, Maggie realizes she can no longer close herself off from the outside world.

A personal security expert, former Secret Service Agent Ethan Townsend is no stranger to tracking down the most violent monsters of society and bringing them to justice. Still, it will take all of Ethan’s skills to protect his new assignment, the irresistible Maggie, from a man intent on teaching her the ultimate lesson in fear…

Sounds intriguing, right?

“Only Fear” stands alone, but is the first book in a planned series revolving around the employees of the Society for the Study of the Aberrant Mind (SSAM).

“I was excited to hear that Carina Press would like to work with me on the series I have planned. We’ve even come up with a name: the Mindhunters,” Anne Marie said.

She hopes to have the second book in the series, tentatively titled “Avenging Angel,” submitted by the end of September for a summer 2012 release.

You can order “Only Fear” at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Carina Press.

Connect with Anne Marie:

Twitter: @annemariebecker
Facebook:  AnneMarieBeckerAuthor
Blogs:  Not Your Usual Suspects (Carina Press suspense authors): and The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood:

August 17, 2011



“There are a lot of good first lines. Line 1,157? Not so much.”

I saw this tweet — or something like it — recently, and it got me thinking. (I believe it came from Don Maas, but don’t hold me to it. My Twitter feed is large and growing bigger everyday.)

No doubt about it, first lines are important. People with a lot more expertise than I have will tell you how that first sentence hooks readers, sets the tone and imparts just enough detail to make everyone want more.

A few great first lines from pubbed authors (interspersed with some faves from my own writing):

— “At precisely one o’clock on a sunny September Saturday afternoon, Megan McGuire spied the pirate.” (“Dreaming of Home,” Glynna Kaye)

— “Meg Malone’s day began a slow, downward slide at 7:42 a.m., the precise moment she squinted down at the pregnancy test stick in her hand, hoping like hell she’d misread it.” (My 2011 Golden Heart finaling MS, “Beauty and the Ballplayer”)

— “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.” (“Gone with the Wind,” Margaret Mitchell)

— “There was no way around it. Catching Mr. right was damn hard work.” (“On the Fence,” Keri Ford)

— “Bethany Lincoln scowled at the now-dark cell phone in her hand, missing the good old days when she could slam the receiver down in disgust.” (My WIP “Trouble in Paradise?”)

— “‘Here in Porcupine, some folks have sex just to keep warm.'” (“Nerd Gone Wild, Vicki Lewis Thompson)

— “Heaven — in the form of a cozy birthday dinner for two, followed by some dancing and a little naughty sex — would just have to wait.” (My first finished MS, “Operation Snag Mike Brad”)

— “The best thing about being a werewolf was that you never needed a sports bra.” (“The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf, Molly Harper)

Great stuff, right?

The trick, of course, is making our prose sparkle all the way through. Line 1,157 is seldom as catchy, punchy and witty as line one.

But why is that?

I suspect familiarity breeds … maybe not contempt, but boredom. As the story unfolds beyond the first pages, the rosy blush is gone. We’ve seen the hero and heroine at their worst … caught them with their pants down (both figuratively and literally, most likely.)

Don’t ask me how to overcome the phenomenon. I’ve noticed in my current WIP that, while I love the first several chapters, I’m beginning to feel like I’m slogging along. I must be in the dreaded sagging middle.

Any of you with advice, feel free to leave it in the comments. I’ll take all the tips I can get.

Can’t get enough great first lines? Hop on over to the Starcatchers’ blog, where I asked my Starcatcher sistren to share some of their favorites.



August 15, 2011




It’s my day off and I’m in Sedona. While the Boyfriend was playing tennis this morning,  I hit Starbucks to sneak in some writing time.

I ended up doing more blogging than writing,  but I still appreciated what the barista wrote on my cup. At least I’m not the only one who calls me a writer!

Yes, it pays to be a semi-regular.

About that blogging: I have a very cool post planned for Wednesday — one that coincides with a related post on the new Starcatchers blog. Be sure to stop back by.