Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category
After last night’s good news on my contest final, I got more excellent news this afternoon.
One of my writer friends had asked to read “Beauty and the Ballplayer.” She’s read a couple of my other manuscripts (“Blind Date Bride” and “Operation Snag Mike Brad”). She’s always busy, though, as a grandma of I don’t know how many … so I didn’t expect fast feedback.
Boy, was I surprised. She called today and said she read the whole thing in one day.
That in itself is a great sign … and she also said she loved pretty much everything about it. (Another excellent sign.)
She does, however, take issue with my poor hero, who refers to his — ahem — male part using a word that begins with “c.” I figured he’s a guy, and that’s what he’d be likely to think of it as, when he’s thinking of it (which is often). Besides, I already used my favorite name, “Mr. Happy” in Kari and Damien’s story. Two different heroes can’t have the same … er … pet name for their anatomy.
Pat steadfastly maintains Matt would not use such a crude word … so she made up a list of alternatives. We’re getting together Tuesday morning to go over them. I can’t wait.
… Ah, the life of a romance writer! Where else can you have a breakfast meeting to discuss the male anatomy?
P.S. Now that my creative juices are flowing, I’m thinking I might lobby Pat for something like “Li’l Slugger.” It’s a little more creative than the C-word — and it fits. Matt is a baseball player, you know. 😉
What do you do when you get great news at 11 p.m., when everyone who cares is sound asleep? I have to share it with someone … I already tried texting the Boyfriend, with no response. I shared it in my Facebook status and got one “like.”
But I’m still too excited to settle down, so now I’m going to shout it to the blogosphere: The gals at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood picked my first line as one of 10 finalists in their “Make It Golden” contest.
I was thrilled — and a little stunned, because I read the competition. There were some fantastic first lines. Many of them made me want to read more.
For the next round, I give them the first 250 words. I was pleased when I discovered my first 240-ish ended on a mini-hook.
The grand prize is my $50 Golden Heart entry fee. Not too shabby!
But even if I don’t win, I’m excited to have finaled. There were 79 entries. Yes, 79. I’m not great with math, but I think that puts my first sentence in the top 12 percent — and that has to be a good place to be.
It’s no secret that I hate the working title on Bree and Mike’s story, “To Catch a Wife.” I blogged about it way back in May.
Last night, inspiration struck as I drove to the grocery store. I thought I’d found a perfect replacement: “Virgin and the Tramp.” A play on “Lady and the Tramp” … a description of the heroine and hero … perfect, right?
Not so much, apparently. When I posted the suggestion in my Facebook status, it was almost universally panned. One of my friends, someone I went to high school with, said it sounded like two lesbians. I have nothing against gay romances …. however, I did not write one, so I don’t want the title to make it sound like that’s what it is. I was thinking of Mike as the tramp (at least in everyone else’s mind. He works hard to maintain that image!)
Another of my friends said she’d pick up a book with the first title, but not the second.
So “Virgin and the Tramp” doesn’t play well in the Heartland.
Knowing that, I went back to the drawing board … again. “To Catch a Wife” was a decent title for the original draft of the book, in which Mike spent a good portion trying to convince Bree he wanted to marry her (because he thinks she’s pregnant, which she’s not). That still happens, but the book’s focus has shifted a bit, focusing more on Mike’s journey from pseudo-playboy who uses his bad-boy image to push away girls he doesn’t think he deserves to guy who knows he not only deserves but needs the love of a good woman.
Again, I started toying with the words I’ve been kicking around for months: mirror, image, playboy, virgin (because the heroine is one). I’d been down this road many times before and came up dry. However, the thought crossed my mind that Mike moonlights as a stripper — and a new perfect title was born: “Moonlight Madness.”
At first, I thought, “No way.” But it quickly grew on me. I walked through the parking lot to my car thinking, “That’s not bad.”
I think I even said it aloud: “That’s pretty good, actually.”
Why? Well, Breanne has harbored a crush on Mike, a coworker, since she started working at the paper … but she’s resigned herself to being just friends. As the story opens, she and her roomates are at a bachelorette party at the local strip club. She’s enjoying the show despite herself — until she discovers Mike’s the masked man shaking his junk at her.
Madness sets in and she can’t stop fantasizing about Mike. (She’s only a virgin, not dead!) When they get snowed in on assignment with one hotel room between them, she gets drunk and screws up the courage to give him her virginity (even though she knows it’s a bad idea). Mike, who’s sworn never to get involved with another virgin, doesn’t handle it well when he discovers he’s just taken it … and they spend weeks not speaking until Mike, who has a bad habit of eavesdropping, overhears what he thinks is Bree telling her former roommates (both of whom are now married) she’s pregnant. (She’s not.) Guiltily, he flashes back to that drunken night … yep. No condom. That’s what three hours of foreplay and a six-pack’ll do to a guy. But despite the image he goes to great lengths to create, he has old-fashioned values. So he sets out to seduce Bree back into his life. (Thus the original “To Catch a Wife” title.)
Unlike the crew from “Saturday Night Live,” I don’t have a lot to report: I’ve been reading/editing most of the weekend.
That means I’ve done no new writing … and I’m waffling about entering a third MS into the Golden Heart. A couple of nights ago, I started to wonder if I should enter Bree & Mike’s story. (I reread it, and I still think it’s pretty good. I LOVE Mike James. Visually, he’s beautiful and he’s interesting on the page — sordid past he keeps to himself, potentially questionable morals.)
Right now I’m leaning toward not, though. It’d be in the same category with Meg & Matt, the story I think is stronger … It had better be, since I’ve been honing my craft between the two. Of course, a lot of what I really like about Bree & Mike’s story is the stuff I went back and added in this spring, when I was expanding it to the proper length. (It started out at about 38,000 words.)
Besides, I’d have to write a synopsis AND come up with a better title. The frontrunner, thanks to my Facebook clan, is “She’s Snow Virgin” … but I don’t think even that works. (Better than “To Catch a Wife,” though, which is what I’ve been calling it.)
Does SNL even do “Weekend Update” anymore? Working most Saturday nights, I haven’t had a chance to watch in years.