For the past week or so, as I've listed to talk radio on the drive to and from work, there have been a number of call-in shows asking area residents how they planned to commemorate the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Quite a few people said they were going to treat it like just another day.
I wanted today to come and go without getting caught up in the ceremony and fanfare we practice in this country to signify the passing of an anniversary. In fact, I had all intentions of getting in my car, driving in to work, and treating today like your run of the mill, ordinary Wednesday.
I just could not do it.
How can I think of this as just another day when I drive past Lake Lawn Cemetary and see the 1,464 white flags displayed on their grounds in memory of the people who lost their lives in the wake of Katrina? Or, when I turn on the radio and hear about the President and First Lady visiting Martin L. King, Jr. Charter School in the Lower Ninth Ward? Believe me, that doesn't happen on your average Wednesday. Or, when I think about the dozens of memorial services, bells tolling at 9:38 a.m. (the time of the first levee breech), and the thousands of media personnel flooding the city in nearly the same fashion as Lake Ponchatrain two years ago?
It is just too hard to be in New Orleans today and treat today as if it is just another day. For those of us living here, and the thousands who have picked up and started their lives in other parts of the country, August 29th will never be just another day.
I'm thrilled to have yet another guest blogger grace my blog. It gives me great pleasure to welcome debut author Stefanie Worth. Stefanie is one of the newest authors to the Dorchester Publishing family. Her debut novel, WHERE SOULS COLLIDES, combines romance, a hint of suspense, and a touch of paranormal. Whew! I have a hard time writing a simple little love story.
Stefanie, when did you start writing romance?
When I started my novel in 1998, it didn't start as a romance, it was just a story. As I became more involved with Romance Writers of America and my critique group, I learned about the "rules" of romance and became more open to targeting that genre. I stopped writing the book in 1999 to focus on my family and picked it up again in 2004 when I re-joined my critique group. When I completed the novel in 2005 and began revisions, I ramped up the romantic elements while trying to keep the mainstream feel.
What was your reaction when you got THE CALL?
Ecstatic! I was at work when the call came and so my editor followed up with an email, which I read from my desk. I wanted to shout the news to the whole office, but, of course, I didn't. I called my mom instead.
Funny, my mom was the first person I called too!
Tell me a little about WHERE SOULS COLLIDE.
Where Souls Collide comes down to a choice between second chances and new beginnings. It's the story of a woman (Navena Larimore) juggling the re-emergence of her psychic power with the lure of a former lover (Maxwell McKnight) and the looming bankruptcy of her newspaper. She's forced to unravel the conflicting struggles of her personal, professional and psychic lives and weave them into a fulfilling outcome for herself and the man she loves.
So, Stefanie, what are you working on now? I'm wrapping up a story about an empath who gets entangled with a very unethical villainess. I'm really enjoying this one, but ideas for the next story are already beckoning!
That's awesome, Stefanie. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop in at my blog.
WHERE SOULS COLLIDE is available in stores everywhere. You can check out Stefanie's website at www.stefanieworth.com to read an excerpt.
For the past two years, when I sit down at the computer with a fresh, blank document just waiting to be filled with a great story, I always tell myself "You've got a system now, it won't be as hard." Because that's what writers do, right? They develop a system, and after refining it over two or three books, the rest of this writing thing is a piece of cake.
Wrong, people. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Or, if that is the case, I'm just too much of a dimwit to get the system down.
For me, every manuscript has required a different process. What worked for the previous book has done absolutely nothing in helping to develope the plotline, backstory, or secondary storyline for the next book.
I've found the same to be true of the editing process. With my last book, RELEASE ME (coming soon from Leisure Books -- hey, it's my blog, I can plug my own book if I want to!), I found a wonderful system to get through the editing phase, complete with multi-colored index cards and a dry erase board. I felt soooo smart!
As I edit the final book in my Holmes Brothers series, tentatively titled RESCUE ME, I have only one question: What happened to my perfect little system? Not a single one of my fancy ideas has helped the story click into place. Oh, I have no doubt it will click eventually, but it's going to take developing new ways to structure the story. And, of course, if that's what it takes to write the best book possible, that's what I'll do.
So, for all you writers out there, is there anyone who has found one sure-fire system that works when it comes to both the creative process, and the editing process?
Today, I am beyond excited to have debut author Victoria Dahl as a guest. Victoria's first published novel, TO TEMPT A SCOTSMAN, hits stores today!
Take my advice, run out and buy this book now! I have been waiting for its release for two years, and it was so worth the wait. The book is just that good.
I invited Victoria over so she could fill the rest of the masses in on her first sale journey. Here's what she had to say:
How did your first sale come about?
This is the perfect question for Farrah’s blog, because my first sale involved Farrah!!! In 2005, TO TEMPT A SCOTSMAN was up for a Golden Heart. I’d actually given up on historicals because of the market. My agent had never even asked to SEE any of my historicals. She was busy trying to sell my paranormals in the hot paranormal market. *g* I was surprised when Scotsman finaled in the Golden Heart. And thrilled! But I finaled with eight other wonderful writers, and figured I didn’t have any chance of winning. But then there came a glorious sign! I sat down at a table at the pre-show awards dinner, and a few moments later there was a big buzz on the other side of the table. Come to find out that FARRAH was sitting there and… get this… She’d been one of my judges! What are the chances of sitting down with one of my judges out of the 2000 attendees? Well, after that sure sign of good luck, I won the Golden Heart, and my agent finally asked to see Scotsman. A few months later, John Scognamiglio at Kensington bought it, and here we are. I wouldn’t have sold if Farrah hadn’t given me a good score in the preliminary round! THANK YOU, FARRAH!
Tell me about TO TEMPT A SCOTSMAN.
To Tempt a Scotsman is the story of Alexandra Huntington, the rich, ruined daughter of a duke, and Collin Blackburn, a strong, responsible Scotsman who wants nothing to do with English society. Needless to say, there are lots of sparks when they meet. Sparks that Collin is determined to resist, and Alexandra is determined to fan into flames! I really wanted to write about a heroine who wasn’t perfect. A heroine who makes mistakes and sometimes is even a little (dare I say it?) selfish. *gasp* She wants Collin because she wants him, and at this point in her life, she has nothing left to lose. I also wanted to write a hero who doesn’t fall into bed with anything that moves. To me, that makes his attraction to Alexandra that much deeper. He doesn’t want her because she’s pretty; he wants her because there’s something in her spirit that moves him. I love a little melodrama in my books, and this one definitely has that, but I try to avoid misunderstandings or miscommunication as the basis for conflict. I think genuine relationships are volatile and dramatic enough. Falling in love is hard, even under the best of circumstances. Add in a heroine with a tainted past and you’ve got a story!
What are you working on right now?
I’ve already finished my second historical, tentatively titled A Rake’s Guide to Ruin. It’s the story of Alexandra’s brother, the Duke of Somerhart. His heroine has a gambling problem. (Are you detecting a theme of imperfect heroines?) This book is even hotter than Scotsman, so I can’t wait to see what kind of cover it gets! *g* I just finished up a contemporary romantic comedy last month, and I’m starting the third historical this week!
Victoria, thank you so much for stopping in at my blog. TO TEMPT A SCOTSMAN is everything I thought it would be, and so much more! I cannot wait for A RAKE'S GUIDE TO RUIN.