Sunday, October 30, 2011

What My First Draft Looks Like


Woot, woot! I finally finished the first draft of my WIP.  Here is a photo of it.  I finished it on October 23rd in the parking lot of a Home Depot.  The child had fallen asleep in her car seat and my fiance ran into the store to get a few things so out came my notebook! If you've been following my blog for any length of time then you know that I write my first drafts longhand in notebooks I carry with me everywhere.  This is due mostly to time constraints.

I actually started writing this book last Fall but then I had to stop to tend to other matters and I didn't really get back to working on it until April of this year.  I made a big push to get at least one draft down.  Get it out, get it on the page.  Do my worst.  This draft is what Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds would call a beachstorming draft.  (And if you haven't read his 250 Things You Should Know About Writing yet, you should get on over there and buy a copy.  It's only 99 cents and it's freaking awesome.)  Anyway, this draft was written completely out of order and when I say out of order, I mean that sometimes I'd break in mid-scene and start writing a scene that will eventually go earlier in the book.  I've started typing it up now and it's quite confusing!  But my goal was just to get it all out and deal with stuff like chronology later.  So it's out of order, barely legible and oh yes, filled with inspirational drawings by my daughter:


 

Now the REAL work begins.

This draft was like the wild, drunken party. Now I've slept off my hangover and I have to clean up my trashed house.

Anyway, here's the skinny (this is in no way any kind of pitch, I know it's rough!  But since I just went on and on about my WIP, I should at least tell you something about it.  I plan on having a polished pitch once I am finished with this next draft and have a better idea where all the puzzle pieces fit.)

So here is a short-unpolished-very-rough-just-something-to-give-you-an-idea-what-it-is-about paragraph:

A trio of men are preying on Philadelphia prostitutes, brutally assaulting and mutilating them. Police Detective Jocelyn Rush's investigation into the most recent attack unearths a series of similar assaults going back four years. She quickly tracks down two of the assailants but they refuse to give up the third suspect--the one with a penchant for mutilation. As the attacks continue, escalating in frequency and brutality, Jocelyn is desperate to find the third attacker. When a monster from her past resurfaces, offering a dubious lead in the case, she follows through on it only to find that evil lurks dangerously close to home.

I may post a chapter soon.  We'll see how it goes . . .

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Casting Call Bloghop Winner


Thanks to everyone who participated in the Casting Call Bloghop.  It was great fun and I really enjoyed learning about everyone's characters and books.  As promised, Melodie, Carrie and I chose a winner using Random.org and that winner is . . .

#12 - JP at Where Sky Meets Ground

As you know, JP gets a three chapter critique of his work from each one of us.  So Congrats!  I believe Melodie will be in touch with you. If not, please contact one of us!

In other news . . . unfortunately, Jeanie (who is swamped) has not yet chosen the finalists yet for the Fantasy Hook for Your Book Contest but the moment I know who they are, you will know!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Casting Call Bloghop!


As you may or may not know, Carrie Butler of So You're a Writer and Melodie Wright of Forever Rewrighting (and me, sort of) are hosting a Casting Call Bloghop this week: 10/24/11 through 10/28/11.

Melodie put up a sample post here and also a book trailer here. Carrie started signing up people here.

So here's the deal:

1. Go to Carrie's blog and sign up.

2. Create a blog post introducing us to some of your characters (use photos, drawings, blurbs, excerpts, book trailers--whatever strikes your fancy--but be creative!)

3. Hop around to other peoples' casting calls and meet some new characters!

We are going to pick a winner at random at the end of the bloghop and that person will get one three chapter critique from all three of us.

So here's my Casting Call. I'm using characters from my first book, Finding Claire Fletcher.

Please note: I am not techno-savvy nor am I an artist. My four year old kicks my ass in drawing stick figures so instead of sketches or drawings I've chosen the actors I think would be best suited to play my characters if a movie were ever made of my book.

Meet Claire Fletcher. When she was fifteen years old she was abducted by a psychopath who held her captive for ten years. In the early years her abductor used physical force to keep her but over time, the chains that bound her to him became largely pscyhological. It doesn't help that every time she thinks of leaving or sneaks out to try to make contact with someone in the outside world, he threatens her family.


If I had to choose an actress to play Claire Fletcher in the movie I'd choose either Evangeline Lilly or Michelle Monaghan. Both sort of look like the way I imagine her in my head and both have a sort of vulnerability about them that I think would be perfect for Claire.

(Lilly's photo is from her Wikpedia page and Monaghan's is from the following site: http://www.michelle-monaghan.celebscentral.net)

Meet Connor Parks. He's a newly divorced Sacramento Police Detective who just botched a major arrest by shooting (and killing) a rape suspect. (He thought the suspect was firing at him.) He goes to a bar and meets a mysterious woman who says her name is Claire Fletcher. They spend the night in each other's arms (no hanky-panky) but Claire leaves before Connor wakes up. When he goes to the address she leaves for him, he meets her family and they tell him that Claire Fletcher was abducted ten years ago and she is presumed dead. Connor believes the woman he met is the real Claire Fletcher so with the help of private investigator, Mitch Farrell, Connor reopens Claire's case and sets about finding her once and for all!



If I had to pick an actor to play Connor in the movie, it would be either Chris Pine or Ryan Gosling. Again, neither one looks exactly as I picture Connor but there is a quality about them that makes me think of him.

(I got Pine's photo from his Wikpedia page and Gosling's photo from this website/article: http://quotes.whyfame.com/ryan-gosling-did-not-corrupt-britney-spears-or-christina-aguilera-718)

Although I realize this post is quite long, I'm going to post an excerpt from the book--a scene between Connor and Claire. You can stick around and read it or move on. It's up to you! For reference, Boggs and Stryker are Connor's co-workers and Mitch Farrell is the PI Connor is working with on Claire's cold case.

Excerpt
In his dream, Connor stood in the doorway from which he had shot the rapist nearly two weeks ago. Except this time, Boggs and Stryker stood smoking cigarettes outside the closet door, joking irreverently about each other’s wives, although in reality, only Boggs was married. Connor stood in a shooter’s stance. His Kevlar vest pulled heavily on his shoulders. His gun was aimed at the sliver of closet door between the heads of Boggs and Stryker. They didn’t seem to notice he was there or that he had a gun aimed in their direction.
Behind him, a gruff voice said, “Come on, kid. Let’s go.” It was Mitch Farrell. Connor wanted to turn and look at the older man but he could not. It was as if his body was frozen in place but he could feel every nerve ending, every small twitch of muscle. He yelled for Boggs and Stryker to clear the way but they did not acknowledge him. It was as if a massive block of soundproof glass separated them from Connor and Farrell.
Connor yelled and yelled. Beads of sweat formed along his hairline and popped, sending hot drops down his face. He felt an urgency he could not explain. Finally, he sighted and aimed between the heads of the other detectives. He fired off a shot. Boggs and Stryker disappeared. Mitch Farrell rushed into the room past Connor and opened the closet door.
A man whose face had been blown off fell to the floor at Farrell’s feet. But it wasn’t the rapist Connor had shot in the chest. It was Claire’s abductor. Even though Connor had never actually seen the man, in his dream he knew with certainty that the body before him was that of Claire Fletcher’s kidnapper.
Mitch looked at him, eyes burning intensely. “Where’s Claire?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” Connor said.
“Where’s Claire?”
“I don’t know.”
The dream shifted and Connor was running through the halls of his house. They were elongated, stretching before him, the distance from one end to the other infinite. There were more doors than his little house could hold but he checked every one, yelling Claire’s name and getting no response. Every room was empty.
Then he heard sirens. He kept running, bursting from room to room. The sirens got louder and closer. As he moved through the endless maze of halls he realized the sound was not that of sirens but of a phone ringing. His dream self began searching the rooms for the ringing phone until his body began to wake and somewhere between sleep and waking, in the haze of unreality and confusion, his mind told him that he was dreaming. He had to wake up because the sound was his actual phone ringing.
Connor rolled to the side of the bed and thrashed in the general direction of the phone. He opened his eyes the moment his hand closed over the receiver to be greeted by the glowing green numbers of his alarm clock. It was 2:27 a.m.
“Yeah,” he said, his voice husky and raw with sleep.
There was nothing. Air.
“Parks,” he said.
Silence. Then, “Connor?”
“Yeah?”
More silence. Then his body jolted fully awake as a rush of adrenaline surged through him. His upper body sprang from the mattress. He sat on the edge of the bed. He wanted to say her name but he was afraid that if he did he would suddenly wake up to find that the phone call really was part of his dream. He felt dizzy.
“Claire,” he said.
Still no response but he could hear her breath moving in and out of her body in ragged gasps.
“Claire? Don’t hang up. God, whatever you do, do not hang up.”
“Connor,” she said again.
“Where are you?”
“I can’t tell you that. I just called because I—“
“Claire, tell me where you are and I will come and get you. Just me. I’ll bring you in.”
“That’s not possible.”
Connor’s body pulsed, his blood rushing so furiously it sounded like a tsunami in his head. He wanted to swim through the phone wires and capture her. He had never felt so powerless in his life. She was there on the other end and he couldn’t get to her.
“Claire, I know what happened.”
There was a sharp intake of breath and her voice went up an octave. “No, no you don’t. Listen to me. What I did—coming to you—I may have put you in danger. I’m not supposed to see or speak with you again but I had to warn you.”
Connor gripped the receiver so hard his hand ached. “What are you talking about Claire? Are you in trouble? Let me bring you in.”
Her voice was throaty, as if she were about to cry and Connor felt a tightness in his chest. The woman he met was so self-possessed. Damaged but very poised and in control. He could not imagine her crying.
“I can’t,” she said. “Please. Just be careful. I have to go.”
“Claire, no,” he pleaded. He must have sounded as desperate as he felt because she did not hang up right away. He listened to her breath which had become even more irregular. Connor lowered his voice. “Just wait,” he said. “Don’t do this. I can help you.”
“No one can help me,” she said. “You don’t understand. Please, just be careful. You could be in a lot of danger.”
She didn’t speak for a long moment. Then, “I have to go.”
“No.” The word came out much more forcefully than he anticipated. She didn’t speak but she didn’t hang up either. Connor didn’t know what to say but he did not want to sever the connection. He knew what he was about to say would sound ridiculous but he forged ahead anyway. “I just want to see you again.”
He heard a muffled sound and her voice was barely a whisper. “I know. I want to see you too.”
Silence. He listened to her breathe carefully, taking in every little part of the sound. Finally, he said, “Just tell me what to do.”
“You can’t help me,” she said. “It’s too late for that.”
“You don’t know that,” he said. “Give me a chance. Please.”
“I wish I could.” She was definitely crying now and the sound of it made Connor sick to his stomach.
“Claire,” he said softly. “Tell me what to do.”
“Be careful,” she said. “Don’t come after me. I’ve already put you in danger. Just protect yourself.”
He waited for the click and dial tone but she stayed on for another moment. “Connor?”
“Yeah.”
“I—“ she stopped. He waited. He could hear her gulping air. “I’m sorry,” she said. Then she hung up.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fantasy Contest Closed & Other Stuff

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Fantasy Novel Hook for Your Book Contest! The contest is officially closed. I am forwarding all entries (here and on my website) to Jeanie for her consideration. As you know, she will choose three finalists. Those finalists will send her a synopsis of their novel as well as the complete manuscript. After careful consideration, Jeanie will choose one winner. That winner will get a full read and possibly a contract with Sullivan Maxx.

Jeanie is extremely busy and we have not ironed out an official announcement date yet so please stay tuned. I will announce the finalists as soon as I know who they are. I will email the finalists as well.

Remember we're running a Hook for Your Book contest for Romance from December 12th through the 19th and one for Historical Fiction from February 13th through the 20th, 2012. Spread the word and polish up your pitches!

In other news . . . remember our Casting Call Bloghop which is being hosted by Melodie Wright at Forever Rewrighting and Carrie Butler at So You're a Writer. You can sign up for it on Carrie's blog. It runs from October 24 through October 28. Can't wait to meet everyone's characters! Melodie put up a sample post here and also a book trailer here.


I would also like to thank the lovely and brilliant Nancy Thompson and Laila Knight for mentioning me on the Pay It Forward Bloghop. Unfortunately I had no idea it was going on but I certainly appreciate these wonderful ladies sending some bloghoppers my way! To my new followers: welcome, I hope you find something useful over here!

WIP Update: I am a half scene away from finishing the first draft of my WIP. Then the real work begins . . .

Finally, I would like to apologize to my fellow bloggers. I haven't been making the rounds and commenting as often as I would like or have in the past. It's not because I'm not interested, I've just been extremely busy with work obligations, sick family members (stupid Fall illnesses!) and critiquing. I'm critiquing for four amazing writers right now. The problem with all that is that they are such fabulous writers (and you know who you are) that whenever any one of them sends me something, I cannot keep my nose out of their pages. So I'm hungrily reading away and enjoying the hell out of it whilst shirking my blogging duties! I am actually feeling kind of inadequate because sometimes it is very difficult for me to find any fault with their work. Have you guys ever had that problem? What kinds of things do you look for when you critique? Have any critiquing horror stories?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fantasy Novel Hook For Your Book Contest: Enter Now!

Today is the day! Fantasy novelists may now enter our Fantasy Novel Hook for Your Book contest here on my blog which will be judged by my agent, Jeanie Pantelakis of Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency.


We had a mystery/thriller contest in August. We'll have one for Romance December 12th through the 19th and one for historical fiction February 13th through February 20th, 2012.

The contest will run until October 17th. That means you have until midnight Eastern Time on 10/17/11 to enter your pitch here on my blog.


To Enter:

You must be a follower of this blog and provide a link to either a tweet or a blog post spreading the word about this contest.

You must have a completed novel. Your novel MUST be finished to enter this contest.

Write a 50 word paragraph that is the hook for your book. Basically pitch your book in fifty words.

Post your 50 word pitch in the comments section of my blog with a TITLE and your contact info before the closing date of the contest.

The example I used for the mystery/thriller contest was as follows:

Finding Claire Fletcher

Detective Connor Parks, newly divorced, with his career in jeopardy, spends the night with a woman he meets at a bar. The next morning Claire Fletcher is gone; leaving behind a hint of a decade-old mystery. Abducted when she was 15 years old, no one has heard from her…until now. Will he find Claire Fletcher?

Lisa L. Regan
Email: duchessmalfi@hotmail.com


Jeanie will choose three finalists. The finalists will send her a synopsis of their book as well as their full manuscript. From those three finalists, Jeanie will choose one manuscript and that manuscript will get a full read and a possible contract with Sullivan Maxx.

Good luck everyone!

Also Melodie Wright at Forever Rewrighting and Carrie Butler at So You're a Writer will be putting together a Casting Call for Your Character Blog Hop which will run from October 24th through October 28th and be hosted on Carrie's site. Melodie is supposed to have a sample post up today so head on over there and check it out!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Attention Fantasy Novelists: Save the Date! October 10, 2011

As you may know, I have been promoting Hook for Your Book contests here on my blog which will be judged by my agent, Jeanie Pantelakis of Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency.


We had a mystery/thriller contest in August. We'll have one for Romance December 12th through the 19th and one for historical fiction February 13th through February 20th, 2012.

In less than a week I'll open the blog for entries in our Fantasy Hook for Your Book contest!

The contest will begin Monday, October 10th and will run until October 17th.


To Enter:

You must be a follower of this blog and provide a link to either a tweet or a blog post spreading the word about this contest.

You must have a completed novel. Your novel MUST be finished to enter this contest.

Write a 50 word paragraph that is the hook for your book. Basically pitch your book in fifty words.

Post your 50 word pitch in the comments section of my blog with a TITLE and your contact info before the closing date of the contest.

The example I used for the mystery/thriller contest was as follows:

Finding Claire Fletcher

Detective Connor Parks, newly divorced, with his career in jeopardy, spends the night with a woman he meets at a bar. The next morning Claire Fletcher is gone; leaving behind a hint of a decade-old mystery. Abducted when she was 15 years old, no one has heard from her…until now. Will he find Claire Fletcher?

Lisa L. Regan
Email: duchessmalfi@hotmail.com


Jeanie will choose three finalists from each contest. The finalists will send her a synopsis of their book as well as their full manuscript. From those three finalists, Jeanie will choose one manuscript and that manuscript will get a full read and a possible contract with Sullivan Maxx.

Please spread the word!

Also Melodie Wright at Forever Rewrighting and Carrie Butler at So You're a Writer will be putting together a Casting Call for Your Character Blog Hop which will run from October 24th through October 28th and be hosted on Carrie's site. More details to follow on all three of our blogs but it should be great fun as it will give everyone a chance to introduce some of their characters to the blogosphere!