Please be Safe!

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Short, sweet, to the point. Be safe from east to west, north to south. More hurricanes on the way. Please give this information to all you know out there, in another path!

Strengthening Hurricane Maria a threat to Irma-hit Caribbean

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Really? Another Project? I was Strong-armed! SHOCK!

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Uh. Well, admittedly I am always overwhelmed with planning, plotting, writing or editing. But, this is a first for me.
Actually, my  friend is weird enough I hope it’s not the last….
Ah, yes. She talked me into co-authoring a new and crazy crime & … offbeat paranormal.  Well, Mary White … we are already off and running.
No title yet. Other than Work In Progress … Two sisters, completely opposite (and, we write that way, too), spinsters living in the backwoods of … North Carolina.
A very odd death. Sister number one is SURE it’s a paranormal murder. Younger sister says … no, but calls her long-suffering son, a homicide detective to check … just in case.
The amateur sleuths argue and banter, yet to the chagrin of the detective, the entertainment of his First Nation partner, both women continuously get into trouble. …
Yep. We have our tagline, our log line, our pitch, our first chapters and… characters.
Now I have to argue a bit with my author friend. Oh, heck no. You are Not Making Our Characters like US. <shakes head> Not happening. Keep an eye out.
Sigh. Back to editing Non Compos Mentis. I’ve made more changes in the process I want to drink (which I don’t. Yet.).

How Can I Offend Thee? Let me Count the Ways. Or show from one beggar to another.

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Christ the Reedemer.jpgYES, this may very well offend some of you. Well, darn. But it needs to be said, shared, because we do not live forever.

I hear all the time these are the End Times. Feels like it. But… they said that every age. Crazy people actually name the day and time. Maybe not insane, just misled, overly hopeful, not to mention, arrogant. Sadly, this causes such disappointment in those who believe that, they fall away. Others mock, rightly so.

Today is a come to Jesus moment. In actuality. Not because of hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, earthquakes, economic distress, crazy plagues.. okay. Maybe a bit. It’s throughout the Torah. The Bible. Most folks say Jesus was a Christian. Not. He was 100% Jewish. Born in Bethlehem. Others believe He wrote the Gospels. Not. He taught everything from the Torah. Every. Last. Word.

Which brings me to the point. Jesus freaked everyone out. First, he told everyone they had to be perfect, better than the Pharisees. Then, He claimed to be God. OH the elite religious went nuts!

Can God become man? That’s sorta like asking how many angels can dance on the end of a pin. Or, can He create a rock so big He can’t move it… The Torah says nothing is impossible for God. So then. He is the only perfect man, not a shell with God inside, but fully man, fully human. Gave himself, not ‘one for the team.’ Not (as the Pope says) just be good enough…(works), but Jesus (Yeshua) the Messiah gave us, covered us with His sacrificial Passover blood of the perfect lamb. Freeing us. 

There is no other religion that frees us from our wrongs (sin) with the one time sacrifice for us on the Cross. Every other religion relies on works. Work hard enough to be good to make it. 

Here’s an analogy. The best swimmer in all of the world stands on the beach with you and a 99 pound weakling. Your goal? Hawaii. Everyone jumps in. Yet, will anyone make it? NO. You and your swimming buddies will have to dodge the sharks, the cold, the lack of food. The desire to get to Hawaii desperately, hoping, not sure. Eventually realizing they need a ship to save them. Take them to Hawaii.

That is all of us. We all fall short of the glory of God. What does that mean? We don’t got no chance, because we don’t have a clue, nor the capability.

     

 A lot of folks say it’s crazy. How can a Trinity exist? Oh, really this is so simple a child can understand. From my point of view.

Pretend for a moment you have never read the Bible. Not even Genesis. But in the first book of the Bible, Genesis,  He said… let us make man in our image (man is also woman…). OUR. Let’s go on.

Angels cannot be God(s). There is only ONE God, not many. So, if One God is US, what does that mean? First, let me start here. I ask you, you want an egg? You say, sure… I say, which part? The yolk? The white? The shell?

So what’s with the egg? The yolk is ‘like’ the Father. The white is ‘like’ the Holy Spirit. The shell is ‘like’ Jesus, and the shell holds all of the egg together, the fullness of the egg when I show it to you. HMM. Because the Bible says Jesus was with God in the beginning, and then … lived among us, the fullness of God, His very image. As an aside, some believe Satan was his bro. Ah, no. A fallen angel. Became the devil.

Let’s move on. He said in Genesis, let us make man in our image. Take the egg concept. Our most inner soul or spirit was created to be an image of the Father. Our brain is our mind, in the image of the Holy Spirit. And our body is what you and I see … yet without all three, we aren’t there. That may not be perfect but it is the best I can do.

So … why do we need a Savior?  Well, there’s that whole apple (persimmon tee hee?) debacle. Woman wasn’t standing there all alone. Mmm, mmm. Adam stood right next to her. They didn’t die… but they were booted from the garden and their spirit died, laid dormant, and that has passed onto us.  

The Exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt was a picture of the future. The blood of a perfect lamb on the doors of those who believed. They were saved. The death of Christ was on the day of Preparation for the Passover. Sunday, He was alive. Death and the law nailed to the Cross.

My final point. We don’t know anything about the date or time. We recognize only the signs. We don’t know if we will live through tomorrow. We don’t know if our friends or family know. Time is short because our years are limited. So.. if you don’t know, if you don’t believe, here’s the short version:

1. Admit you believe in yourself as a god (idolatry, which is a sin), that you have lied even once … or stolen … even a pen … have lusted … wanted someone, something not yours … have hated/murdered (war doesn’t count, different Hebrew word). Have not loved your neighbor as yourself (the Golden Rule). Have not respected your parents… !

2. Believe that only Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is the only way to saving you from your sin.

3. Confess with your mouth (speak it out loud!) that Jesus (only) and believe in your heart (not lip service) that Jesus is Lord, and you will be saved. This is NOT by works. It is by FAITH – the belief  in what we cannot see that He gives you through GRACE, so no one can boast.

Then, grab a Bible. Recognize that mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we do not deserve. This is your salvation.

Want some verses to prove that Israel is the land of the Jews, that in the Torah Jesus is there? Where in the NT Jesus is the only likeness of God Ask me. Get into a good church. Ask me. There are some that lose sight. Blind leading the blind. Get a Bible, not one specific to a religion. You can ask me that, too. Want to know where to start? Ask me that one, too!

What a wild ride. OH, that’s right. Wait.

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Got the edits done.

Sent back to agent.

Two days later … email from agent.

HEY, that cannot be good! I didn’t want to open it. I mean. Have you ever watched courtroom shows? Bad news comes quick.

Right?

I checked all my other email, first. I chewed a nail. Maybe five. Clicked on the email, then shut my eyes. Opened one. Then the other. Took a deep breath.

OH. He got the manuscript. In about a month + I will hear back.

WHEW and … oh, piffle. Another wait. It is what it is, and at least it wasn’t: “We hate this! Go away!”

 

 

 

In the Meantime …

Well, before I get too far into this post… I yes, am going to edit HTSR again. Taking a break. Gadzooks! Am I sick of that book or what?

BUT. Don’t kill your manuscript (at least, entirely) while those wonderful rejections come in (or nothing at all).

KEEP the research you’ve done on all things too technical to keep in said MS. Why? It may come in handy for that next novel. The one you should be working on while you wait for an answer from agent or publisher.

Besides. It gives you time off to let the manuscript cool until your eyes are fresh.

 

SHOCK!

I keep a copy of each MS I edit… Okay. I am OCD about this. What if? I mean, really. What happens if an agent/PH wants more of *insert whatever you edited out.* It also shows me how bad my writing was to how it has improved. Rejections are not failures, by the way. They are good reminders that our work needs work.

Ask me, I know all about character changes. Well, not all, but a lot more than when I began. Don’t give your MC a flaw then never deal with it, or overcome it. That’s an obstacle he/she must overcome to get the goal. A cop out to let him/her continue in her fear yet conquering the villain(s). In a series, by the end of it, he/she had better deal with this in a HEA sorta way otherwise you disappoint your readers. Leaving readers hanging at the end of book one is also a bit of a cheat. Sometimes.

What if your MC knows everything from Arabic to piloting a helicopter? Is it realistic? Well, look at some of our military. Yes. It is. Or can be. Think: JASON BOURNE. Able to speak a zillion languages, memorize every car license he sees, kill with a pencil, keep weapons secret, as well as big money. Have ten passports . Did we suspend believability?

IT DEPENDS. If said character has never done this, well then, YES. If your character is part of a SEAL team or CIA, maybe not. Even if in a fake shadowy government ‘wet work’ research arm. Jason Bourne had amnesia except how to do previously said ‘everything.’ That now, is a freaky flaw.

Does this mean Jason was perfect? NO. He is emotionally damaged, walking around wondering just who the heck he is, falling in love perhaps for the first time since becoming an assassin… since losing his memory.

(image courtesy Fandom and Wiki)

Can you tell I loved Robert Ludlam?

What about Matthew Knight in Knight and Day? HI-larious, despite less than great reviews. Poor fMC keeps passing out, usually with the help of a knock out drug or Vulcan grip. Her handling of an automatic? TOO FUNNY. Most of us would be more or less in her position. We can relate to her angst. Her flaws. We don’t really see his flaws unless he is 1. presented with real romance and 2. physically in danger. AND fMC changes to overcome scary obstacles to save the man she loves, even if her methods suspend our belief a wee bit.

When you let your manuscript cool a few weeks, look at your characters. They make the script. Then obstacles make it sing for the MC who has to overcome said obstacle(s).

Villains – total cop out if they are too stupid to outwit your MC. Really.

In the Bourne Identity, the end was a HEA. The obstacles overcome (so he thought), he joined the love of his life. The second and third novels brought a new obstacle. Revenge. Repentance. The novels are better than the movies, but since I love Matt Damon’s acting and the rush of the action in film, it’s okay that the Ludlam novels had significant changes.

Let me know if any of this has encouraged you. OR discouraged you. I figure, if your passion is writing, just keep on, no matter how many times you’re rejected.

And, if anyone wants me to read and evaluate the first 50 pages of your manuscript, it’s a ten buck deal. Link to my WordPress here…

and FB page at:

https://www.facebook.com/ClaireOSullivanChristianRomanceAuthor/

 

The Big Edit

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Last night, I finished the BIG EDIT on How to Steal a Romance. I was too tired to get onto FB, WordPress, etc. to sing that hallelujah until today.

The intense past two weeks did me in. Whew. I took a day/evening off and hope to gather my wits about me, and in another day or so, will go back…and…listen…again. Via an eReader. It speaks each word



so if you have have an extra word here or there awkward sentence here… or accidentally insert a horizontal line that you thought was a strikeout line that sometimes our eyes don’t see–it picks up on it, and boom, you can hit pause and fix the MS. Even better, ’cause it’s free.

I spent about 20 minutes writing my most used phrases and words this morning (yes, again). Actions and emotions. Dialogue-y type stuff. Things that should individually belong to individual character. While the agent didn’t call specifically for these things, as a reader (and my Inner Edit Zombie), my eyes cast a shadow over them, scarier than Dark Shadows (that … might age me … if you know what that is without having to look it up, you’re in the same group!).

What is a writer’s life without the agony of editing? The rejections? The tunic rent asunder, ashes thrown into the air, with weeping and gnashing of teeth?

Okay, so that last part is 1. too Biblical and out of context … and 2. way over the top. For most of us.

Despite my ‘thank you, Lord’, for the small mercies of getting things done, I am still beat. Don’t think I could pick up a book or write a limerick today. Feel like a Borg. Plug me into the wall and let me stand there until I can fit into that waist-crushing outfit Seven of Nine had to wear (like that would ever happen).

<looks around, fanning self>

Anyone have a nice place in Nova Scotia I could stay at? It’s too hot here, so my tropical island dream right now has a latitude of Vermont or higher.

And surely there is a holiday or birthday somewhere in the world tomorrow, so Happy August Ninth *insert name of holiday* and have a great rest of the week.

 

Characters. Bigger than Story. Bigger than Perfect Grammar

I read a book that reports story is greater than structure. Oh, how I agree with that!

YET…

Have a great story? Pitch-perfect structure?  Awesome.

Cough. Blink. Cough. 

Those rejections hurt, don’t they? Each agent is the Benihana of agents who shuts… you… down. No answer. Publishing houses write you – but not what you wanted to hear. But WHY? you cry. Angry, you stomp off to self-publish. You are a genius! They miss your point, and boy, won’t they be sorry! I’ll hold my breath! I’ll stare at the sun! Wont they be sorry! 

A lot depends in what genre you write. But, publishing houses and agents who troll the internet for good work, they look for 1. good writing 2. good characters 3. Likelihood of sales.

Think Fifty Shades of Grey (I keep harping on this book probably because the author walked off with $95 million… Am I jealous? NOOOOOO, not at all). Bad writing. But great kidnapping and BDSM (oh wait, since he’s stinking rich, it’s not kidnapping).  Author laughs all the way to the bank.

But, not even story is greater than structure.  Characters rule. Write about perfect people. Why did it get rejected? Because no one overcomes a flaw or several within chapter one. Who can relate? And on the opposite side, make that main character so whiny and pathetic  throughout, and agents will toss that novel.  Why? They aren’t trying to change. They aren’t falling into old habits and climbing out of a rut.  Hey, it’s ok to remind agents time to time of the obstacle. Agents  and publishers (not to mention readers) need reminding.

Then, fill those plot holes. Make sure you have a really good editor. Share the final draft with a group of readers. Find out if they can relate to your MC. If you get thumbs up, get ready for more rejections.

WHAT?? What is hot today is already past. The publishing world changes faster than a bullet train, and your novel is shredded under it. What can you do? GIVE THE STORY A MESSAGE. Shock ’em with twists not expected. How does your new and improved MC deal with a more horrific obstacle? OVERCOME. Don’t forget that antagonist, are they too vague? Too stupid? Make sure you hate/relate with them.

Take a serious look at your flaws. Those around you. Have you written about those? Well … that, too can hurt. What if someone criticizes you? Develop thick skin.  THEN, send that new and improved MS out. After more rejections,, keep working. If your first MS is not accepted, put it aside, work on your craft -and your second novel. Don’t quit. If it’s in you (bitten by that itchy writing bug), make sure you never stop what makes you happy. But don’t be lazy, don’t quit working on those characters. Make ’em loveable.

Don’t hire a vanity press. No one should pay to read your work. When you just HAVE to be published, then self publish. Average sales? $2000 for the work. Forever. A bunch of great writers make the coveted New York Times award. But not necessarily YOU.  

So make your characters real. Then, stick them into that cool plot. Make the agents weep. As the Firefly saying goes: ‘Sigh, baby, sigh. Make your mama cry.’

You’ll get there. In the meantime … you get to cry… Keep on writing.