Saturday, April 30, 2005

And Still I Can't Write!

The good news? I managed to get my partial off to the agent I met with in San Antonio at the Merritt conference. Yay!

The bad news? I haven't written anymore. I've got great ideas and even planned exactly what I would write for my very last scene while I stood in the line at the post office. Yet, I still haven't put pen to paper or fingers to keyboards for the manuscript. Of course, I've sent out a bunch of e-mails and checked friends' websites, but I can't get back to work!

More good news? I got an old critique partner back. Nic ( critiqued my first manuscript that went to an editor after the 2003 contest win. She is awesome and I've often told her she should be working as an editor somewhere. Now, with the trio of critique partners I have, Brenda, Nic and Deb, you'd think I'd be eager to finish the manuscript and get their feedback, right?

Noooooo. Even they can't kick my butt into working. Guess I have to find the willpower to do that on my own. Either that or my next hero and heroine will kick my butt into gear so that I can get to their story!

Maybe tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Hope continues...

Okay, so the editor I told you had a manuscript for 7 months now? I called her today to get an update because everyone in and outside my writing world said I had to check. Am I ever glad I made that phone call! I spoke with her directly for a good ten, fifteen minutes. It was awesome! We talked about how long it really takes to get a response from H/S, about the Bombshell line and what we liked about the books. She remembered that my manuscript had gone to the freelance reader, but she couldn't say where it was in the process now. In two weeks, if I haven't heard from her I've got to get back in touch with her for an update. She also remembered me from Nationals last year! She mentioned that if they want my book, they'll be asking for like the next three. I guess I chuckled or something because she said she was serious and that a lot of authors aren't ready for that. I told her the next book is just about done and that's basically why I wanted to get an update and make sure they hadn't rejected me and it got lost in the mail.

I tell you, it was like talking to a friend I haven't seen in months. Anyway, I really felt like we clicked. Even if my manuscript comes back with a rejection (see, I'm trying not to get my hopes up), I'm confident that she'll request more work. I'm knockin' on that PAN door and just waiting for someone to unlock it!

It's just a matter of time....

Monday, April 25, 2005


Well, after several cups of tea yesterday morning, I was able to actually get back to work on my partial. (Well, a little push in the right direction came from a friend's email. Thanks, Emily!) I didn't work the whole day, but I worked long enough to rekindle the dying fire. I'm only 100 pages from being done with the rough draft. Forcing myself to work on the synopsis for my partial made me see exactly what was missing. The dots are beginning to connect. The ducks are realigning. My hero and heroine are talking to me and are quite pleased with how I'm telling their story. My next hero and heroine are starting to stir up trouble in the background of my mind, just waiting for their chance. Hopefully we can all be appeased within the next two weeks! That's a tall order considering my revisions usually take close to a month, but I'm going to give it a try!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Pure Evil

I went to bed around 1:30 a.m. It's just 7 a.m. now. I woke up fifteen minutes ago. To a morning person, this would be late. To a night person like me, it's just cruel. On a weekend no less. I guess this just means I can get back to my partial that much earlier. Still, it just seems so cruel. Must have caffeine....

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Humble Beginnings

I just remembered I promised to tell you how I got to this point in my writing life. Well, like so many others, I've been writing for as long as I can remember. Unfinished plays in grade school. Fan fiction before I knew what that meant in middle school. My very first completed story over 100 pages was a story based on the characters of the A-Team when I was 11 or 12. I'm serious. Don't laugh. Stephen J. Cannell had a profound influence on my writng path. I tell you now, he will be in the dedication of my first book!

I wrote short, violent stories in high school when everything I read outside of school was on the Vietnam War. My first romance, which at the time I didn't realize was a romance, took me 6 years on and off to complete and that was throughout college (and two years after.) Nancy raved about my writing and nagged...I mean encouraged me to write some more. I wrote, I got better. Nancy insisted I was good enough to eventually become a published author. I didn't take it seriously, though. I just kept writing to entertain my friends.

THEN came Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. If you like Scottish historicals, this is a must-read. I never bought thick books before this because they scared me. Short attention span, I guess. But this book was about Scotland with a time traveling heroine who goes back to the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie. I just had to read it. When I finished that book, I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I decided that I wanted to write characters that affected my readers as much as Gabaldon's characters affected me. And so I wrote.

My first romantic suspense draft was completed in one year and it took me another year to revise. About this time, I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) and started submitting to agents and editors. This was my stupid stage. I had no idea what I was doing or what any of "the rules" were, but you live and learn. I also entered my first contest. Well, I came in second or third to last in the romantic suspense category, but the feedback was phenomenal! Just what I needed. (Wisconsin Fabulous Five Contest, in case you're wondering.)

At this point, I decided to treat my writing as my second job. I became a professional. I focused my attention on my craft and writing a good story. I spent 30 hours a week on my writing in addition to the 45-50 hours I put in at the day job. The next year, 2003, I decided to enter the same contest with my new manuscript, Rebel Hart, just to see if I'd made any progress. I ended up winning the romantic suspense category that year. Not only that, I got a full request from the final judge, an editor at Harlequin/Silhouette.

Although she ended up rejecting that manuscript, she did request any other work I'd completed. I scrambled to write another book (at this point I started writing 2-3 books a year) and sent it to her. That one and the next one got rejected, but this same editor keeps requesting my work. When I wrote to her last August to tell her my focus was changing to target Silhouette Bombshell, she responded within a week with another request. This is the editor I said was waiting for this current manuscript.

A side note about Silhouette Bombshell. I first learned of this line at RWA National last year. I loved everything I heard. I spoke with the acquiring editor about my type of story. She requested one. I sent an old manuscript that I loved after a complete overhaul to make it Bombshell worthy. 7 months later, Silhouette still has it. Unless it got lost in the mail after they rejected it.

So, there you have it. My writng life up to this point. I've got a great cheerleader in Nancy. Excellent critique partners in Brenda and Deb. Awesome support in Austin RWA. And now a whole new audience to share everything with!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Computer problems, injuries, and more excuses

Well, this is my second attempt to type and post this post. I'm telling you. Computers don't like me! I wrote a whole bunch of stuff yesterday afternoon, pushed the button to publish and lost it all! I was so mad I didn't even turn on my computer when I got home. So, here I go again.

I'm in a writing funk. I don't want to write a thing. I just want to read and concentrate on my day job for a while. What do I do, you ask? I'm a middle school English teacher. Some days are great. Like today. We laughed a lot and managed to learn a little too.

Some days are not so great. Like 3 1/2 weeks ago when I got a bone in my hand broken thanks to a rambunctious 6th grader who came barreling out of a classroom and slammed a metal door into my outstretched fingers. Hence the reason Brenda had to cut up my meat at the Merritt Conference 2 weeks ago. For more info on that, check out
  • Brenda Bradshaw's Blog
  • .

    So, back to this funk. I think I've put too much pressure on myself. I won the Merritt romantic suspense category with my current, yet-to-be-finished manuscript, Under Cover of Darkness. I met with an agent there and she requested a partial (synopsis and first 3 chapters). I wanted to have that out to her last week. Didn't happen. Then, I've got an editor waiting for the full manuscript. Well, waiting may be too strong a word. She requested it back in the fall. So, I keep thinking, "What am I waiting for?"

    Now, I have a tendency to start a book and then try and take over the story telling. Well, my characters don't seem to like that and will intentionally picket until I allow them to tell me their stories the way they want them told. So, right now, I think part of my problem is I'm being too stubborn. I know something's not working, but I'm not letting my characters talk to me. I'll get over it and step down off my high horse eventually. I just hope it's sooner rather than later.

    Well, I've just come in from the doctor's office and after poking and prodding my broken finger, he told me I could take the splint off and start using my hand again. That alone is incentive enough for me to start working on the manuscript again now that I can type with two hands!

    Wednesday, April 20, 2005


    Just had to create my own blog since my critique partner (CP) and friend, Brenda Bradshaw, started one. Actually, I've been stuck going to read her posts daily and finally thought, "Why don't I do something like that?" Although, I am extremely computer illiterate and thought it would be much harder. (Sh! I don't think the machines like me!)

    That's all right. I may not know my way around hard drives and CPUs, but ask me about murders, kidnappings, fights and chases, and I can talk for hours!

    My name is Chris (okay, Christine really) and I am a romantic suspense writer.

    As you can tell from the top of the blog, I'm not published yet. But I'm damn close. As writers call it, I'm in the "Almost There" stage. That means I'm at the point where I know I'm good, I've got all my ducks lined up and yet I still want to stick that pencil point through my eye!

    In my next post, I'll probably tell you how I got to this point in my writing career and the absolutely wonderful people who have helped me get here. (Hi Nancy, best friend in the whole wide world!) I thought about doing it now, but I'm exhausted. So, be sure to tune in to hear me rant and rave about my journey! Thanks for stopping by!