Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Fricassee

Hello, Dear Ones.

I love to sit back and watch the energy flow among you as you give and receive critiques.  Thank you for another round of loveliness.  Entrants, I hope you're coming away with some solid gems to help you along your writing/revision path for these projects.

Word of advice that I should probably say more often:  Let the comments marinate for a while before implementing anything.  If you have a printer, print them out and tuck them away for a couple of days.  Or swipe them into a document to read later.  Responding swiftly to a critique may not yield the results you need.

I've got to tell you that I actually gushed about you during my job interview last Friday.  As serendipity would have it, the gal who interviewed me was also a writer.  As in, fiction.  You can imagine the immediate connection that happened.  When I began to explain my revelation about the relationship between "voice" (in novel writing) and copywriting, she nodded her head as I spoke.  She's one of us--she gets it.

So she also understood me when I spoke of the writing community and how it's truly one of the best groups of folks I've ever been a part of--not only here, but in so many varied places across the Internet.  I probably sound like some sort of bloated Mother Hen when I talk about you, but I can't help it.  I'm proud of who you are, and I'm blessed to be among you.

I haven't heard anything this week, interview-wise.  That could mean anything or it could mean nothing, but there you have it.  I'm thinking it might mean that someone else floated to the top.  But this whole process is so outside my daily experience that I really have no idea.  (Anyone care to enlighten me?)  At any rate, the next (final) step would be an interview with the CEO.  Which would make me ten times more nervous than I was last Friday.

One thing I've noticed in my life in the past month or so is that I've been dropping balls.  And I am NOT a ball dropper.  Seriously forgetting things--like needing to bring something important with me, or remembering a scheduled meeting, or making an appointment.  (Well, okay.  I majorly procrastinate appointment-making as a general rule, so that one probably doesn't count.)

I'm hating this.  I'm hating the feeling that I'm dropping things and leaving holes and presenting myself as scattered.  I may be a tad hasty, but I'm not scattered.  Not generally.  Mr. A says it's because I have a lot on my mind.  Well, other than the job thing, I'm not sure what "a lot" means.

There is my birthday a week from today, which is one of the ends-in-zero birthdays that makes you reevaluate your whole stinkin' life.  So there's that.  It's the birthday-I-hoped-to-be-published-before.  And I'm not.  So I've had to deal with that.

Probably I just need a lot more chocolate.  Yeah, that must be it!

But it's all good.  I've decided to celebrate my birthday for the entire weekend, which is a bit out of character for me, too.  Life is such a gift, though, so I've decided to stay in my thankful place and simply rejoice that I'm here.  That I live and breathe and have something to offer, no matter how small.

Also?  Last night I had many several slices of a CARAMEL APPLE DIPPED IN WHITE CHOCOLATE.  Oh. My. Stars.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I licked every morsel of chocolate from the plate, once the slices were gone.  Yes, I really did do that.  Why waste perfectly good white chocolate?

Happy writing, happy weekend, and hugs to you all!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Name That Genre: Critique the Winners!

Here are the 300-word excerpts!  Choose one or two that catch your eye, and offer your critique.  Or grab a cuppa and critique them all!  Whatever you have time for will be greatly appreciated.

Also?  I'm offering another critique prize!  Every critique you leave gets you one entry in another drawing for a 5-page line edit from Authoress Edits.  11 critiques = 11 chances to win.


Name That Genre: Critique Round #11

TITLE: Children of a Broken God
GENRE: YA Fantasy

The wood of the door fails to mute Jilana’s wrath. “Fragments, Mazani, why!”

After each yell comes a strained silence.

“That’s months of someone’s work you’ve ruined!”

I would not be brave enough to defy Master Jilana. But Mazani is. After each refusal to speak her mother roars louder. The weavers around me stare at their looms, hands frozen in mid-knot. My mother’s eyes dart between the door and me.

It was Mazani’s idea to lead us into battle. Her game, Jilana’s other prentices versus the novices next door.


Mazani’s victims retaliate, of course: knives mysteriously blunted. Dragon dung on the yarn. If a journeymen sits on a thorn meant for us, we take the blame to hide what we did to them.

But this is different. Mazani would never have tipped a loom.

“We have to pay for that!”

In the silence that follows I am reminded far too much of another day and another door. I had been the one inside. Mazani had pounded her knuckles bloody, screamed her voice rough, until the shopkeeper was forced to throw the bolt open, forced to accept Mazani’s apology, there, in front of witnesses.

Mazani had admitted to her mother beneath the shopkeeper’s glare that she had broken into his shop, she had led us in trespassing in our game of sleeve-the-apostate. I had been barefoot; I had stepped on the glass she had broke -- that’s why I’d been caught.

I could pound this door now -- let them know it was my fault.

I could do that.


But -- it was an accident, the ruined rug.

But -- Mazani asked us to do these things.

But -- her mother won’t beat her. Not badly. Not like what the shopkeeper did to me.

I reach for a ball of yarn. Shame knots my stomach; the door stays closed.

Name That Genre: Critique Round #10


“There’s a funny thing about space,” Laura said, staring lazily over her red boots into the black, “and that’s that it’s big and black, until it’s not big and black, and then it kills you,”

“I’d argue, for those of us without metre thick steel hulls, that the big and black is more likely to be deadly than the… not big and black,” Fio replied, frowning across at her Captain. “I’d also argue that it’s not really that necessary to have so many others onboard. I mean, really, I thought this was going to be just you and me,”

Laura notched her glasses down, archaic things of plastic and glass that didn’t serve much purpose beyond ‘looking cool’ (though they served that purpose well) and raised an eyebrow at the Limb. “You thought that I, a starship Captain, would be carrying out this mission with naught but my ship at my side?”

Fio’s frown deepened and she looked down at her body, olive skin shining silvery in the dim light. “You know I have more than enough Limbs to accomplish the task,”

“I know, and they’re biomechanical wonders. But, to be honest, a Captain’s got to have people around to answer when she calls, and hearing your voice from every one would just get disconcerting,”

“I… I understand,” Fio replied, standing with a respectful nod and leaving the observation room. Laura watched the Limb go and saw another just like her walk by before turning back to the stars, knowing the ship was still watching.

“It’s not meant as an insult, you know,” Laura said, lifting a bottle to her lips and drinking deep.

“I know, Captain. I just… you know,” Fio’s voice filled the room from nowhere in particular, more artificial than when it had come come from her Limb.

Name That Genre: Critique Round #9

TITLE: Friendzone
GENRE: YA Contemporary Romance

I was walking Cassidy Freeman home from the Fall dance. Cassidy freakin’ Freeman. I, Seth Waters, walking Cassidy Freeman home. Me, weird unsociable art freak, walking next to the most popular girl in school and she actually knew I was there! Dude, way to make yourself sound weirdly pathetic.

It’s not a big deal, I reminded myself. Which was true as Cassidy was crying because her (ex)boyfriend was at the dance with her (ex)best friend, which put a damper on my good mood. It was barely seven o’clock so the sun was still out and it wasn’t very romantic, not to mention I was holding her heels, because she kept tripping in them, and not her hand. But still. Cassidy freakin’ Freeman.

“You’re such a nice guy,” Cassidy said, in her slightly choked voice as she attempted to wipe tears from her cheeks. “What’s your name again?”

I felt myself slump over a bit in defeat because she still didn’t know my name. We’d been in the same class since third grade, our lockers had been next to each other since freshmen year, we’d talked nearly every day and she didn’t even know my name.

“Seth.” I forced myself to keep the disappointment from showing in my voice or on my face, as I grinned a tight grin, feeling shorter suddenly. That’s the power of beautiful girls, my mom would tell me, they can make you feel like the greatest hero who ever lived or less than two feet tall. Sometimes both at the same time, she’d add.

“Right. You’re so nice and just the best friend a girl could ask for.” She continued as we walked down the sidewalk, her leading while I followed along behind her like the love sick puppy I was.