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November News 2014

What happened?

I’ve been somewhat absent from my newsletter/blog for a month. Writing a new novel takes a lot of butt-in-chair time.

The Work-in-Progress. You can see the "timeline" on the cork board.

The Work-in-Progress. You can see the “timeline” on the cork board.

I’ve heard of National Novel Writing Month for as long as it’s been around. I never thought I would actually do it. I did this time. NaNoWriMo was the impetus I needed to finally write a solid first draft of Token, that YA (Young Adult) work-in-progress that I’ve been telling you about for the last year. I went into the month with four chapters that were not good. I spent some time improving those. I had close to seven thousand words to start. I needed 50,000 words to win (or complete) NaNoWriMo. You see, it’s a national challenge. I probably should point out that now NaNoWriMo is an international challenge. Many people win. I’m not the only one. I have 53,000 words today. There will be more by December 1. I’m officially going to the big TGIF (thank God it’s finished) party at River Oaks Book Store. Yay!!

This is the end of the receipt from a Barnes & Noble in Pasadena. Do you see Deadly Thyme down at the bottom? Whoo! Hoo!

This is the end of the receipt from a Barnes & Noble in Pasadena. Do you see Deadly Thyme down at the bottom? Whoo! Hoo!


Now, the News:

Denise, Fern, Sarah, Me

Denise, Fern, Sarah, Me

November 8 was the Houston Writer’s Guild’s first mini-conference under the new leadership team. The team consists of Denise, Fern, and myself. Denise and Fern are the new owners of the Guild. I am honored they picked me to help them steer the course. Our mini-conference was a rocking success with a good showing of members and new folks anxious to learn the craft of writing. Sarah Cortez an esteemed speaker and winner of many writing awards for her poetry books, was our speaker. People said that the day went by so fast they couldn’t believe it. There was also lots of food with breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack.

Now for the News You Can Use:

SAM_1233_edited-1March 28 of 2015 we will hold a one day pitch practice conference to help members of HWG get their pitches and presentations ready for the BIG CONFERENCE. At the pre-conference we will have actual agents for members to pitch their novels, and screenplays to. More details to come.

The next big thing is the Amazing 2015 HWG conference. There will be several agents from NYC there. We will have some Texas agents and editors and publishers there. Friends, this is Big Time! There will be agents looking for folks they want to represent to the big six publishers in NYC. There will also be a lot of break-out sessions about how to self-publish, the art of craft, the business of doing it, the “how to” market it. More details to come.

Down on The Farm

One of the things I did do this month besides have some amazing books signings around town was that I took Cora to visit my brother on his farm. We picked vegetables, Jon took us to visit the menagerie, we petted his AKC Siberians, and Jon gave us some eggs (nicer than any from the store). I want to show you some pictures from that day.SAM_1240

And I wanted to show you some artwork that my amazing sis-in-law did. She drew this from composite photos of her trips to Egypt. She painted it with coffee. Okay, you can say “wow” too.SAM_1243

Happy Thanksgiving!

SAM_1264It’s the end of the month and I want to thank you for sticking with me in reading my blog, especially when there are weeks between offerings. I appreciate every one of you. May God richly bless you in this holiday season.

I thank the Lord for His loving kindness, and mercy in keeping our family safe and well.

Don’t eat too much and watch out for the crazy drivers.

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The Guardian's Angel

The Guardian's Angel - Lorrie Farrelly I have nine years experience working with autistic children, most of whom were brilliant as is the little, blond Tommy in this story. The author did an exceptional job of writing an autistic child dealing with serious trauma - losing both parents when they were violently murdered.

The boy does not speak at the beginning of the story. Libby, a doctor who works with autistic children and who is the main character, knows Tommy can speak because she overhears him mimicking cartoon characters. This is very realistic and shows the author did her research. When Tommy repeats the words "tree-terty" he is telling the exact time that his parents died. I don't know enough about this so I had questions here. 1. Did Tommy witness his parents' deaths so that is the reason he knows the time? 2. How did his parents die. We know they were murdered but I don't remember how, which makes talking about it awkward. The device of Tommy repeating the time whenever he missed his parents is well-written. This leads me to the end of the book where Tommy wakes JD with those words. Immediately JD announces that Tommy says it because the bad guys are here. That was a jolt. I would have assumed Tommy was having a bad dream and needed comfort.

I love the romance that was evident before even chapter two. It was well-written, subtle, not too on-the-nose. The sex scenes were well-done, not over done or too graphic. The psychic connection of the two characters was delicious. The author leaves the reader feeling very good about the future of these two. She actually didn't need the last chapter. But it was sweet - so keep it!

I had a few pauses though, for instance in the scene where Libby and JD are up in the bunk above the cab. They left Tommy asleep on the pull-out bed/dinette. I was thinking the entire scene that they would look down and Tommy had opened the door and taken off across the campground. It would have added an entire scene of angst and fear for the reader. This seemed like a missed opportunity.

Because after all, there is suspense here as well. The suspense of escaping, being on the road, getting caught, escaping again, long road flight, who knows who the bad guys have "fixed" to help. The tiny scene where we discover who the bad guys have forced into helping them was well-done. However, I would have liked to have seen more of the bad guys making their evil plans throughout the novel. This would up the race against time more.

It was jarring to have JD's family show up at the secluded cabin. I liked that it made for a touch of humor. But it seemed out of place. The solution is to take it more slowly perhaps have the reader witness the car driving up the mountain and having us believe it was the bad guys and - surprise! it is the hilarious Canadian brother-in-law and family. I loved him. He made an excellent foil to JD's serious demeanor.

Action scenes: The two major fight scenes flash by too quickly. I barely had time to register that there was a fight scene. I never did figure out how JD got shot. The end fight scene is a blur. Being a visual learner, I couldn't see it. I would suggest practicing the moves and rewriting it that way. We need to see each step every character takes and each shell casing land on the turf.

The author did an excellent job of creating characters that we really cared about from the beginning. I would recommend this to friends.