Pitching a story.

I did it.
I pitched my story to another author for a contest she is holding.
Donna Alward. I found her webpage by chance--or no, through my a CP--and I hate to say, I haven't even read one of her books...yet. I will. It wouldn't be right not to. :)
The contest closes at the end of the month.
I'll let you know what happens.

I do things on the spur of the moment...alot.
this was one of those moments. No editing, no researching. Just throw something together and shoot an email. I must be nuts. [Time will tell]

It's snowing again on the Plains.
We're all cuddled up in our home, enjoying the winter weather...
I think I finally figured out what to do about exercising.
I'm going to try tomorrow, using our little Vehicle DVD player while I'm on the treadmill.
Hopefully that stupid thing isn't slipping on it's belts...tensioner needs some work.

My manuscript is revised and completed through chapter five. You could say six, but I would like to get a few more crits before I move on. I've done my own revisions through chapter thirteen...and have a rewrite ready for thirteen when I submit the original and my CPs holler that it's BAD! VERY BAD! LOL That never happens, btw. But I'm pretty worried about that chapter cuz it has a love scene in it...and maybe it's too soon. *eyeroll* Anyhoo. We shall see what they say, when they type it. :D

Thanks for stopping by.
See ya around.

My Manuscript is running away without me.

In other words, How to keep it Simple.

I don't know how to do this well. This morning my secondary opened his mouth and said, "I have a problem with my radios."

I was like, What? What the hell are you talking about? No! No problems with radios!!! Stop it. Just stop it.

Then a friend of mine Inez Kelley said something to me that really helped!

Make the story about One Thing. [not those exact words, but that's what I got from it]

Okay, I can do that. My story is about one thing. Each thread doesn't have to be another story, it just needs to add to the ONE THING.

So I took out my pencil and started writing down all the things that would affect ONE THING. Let me give you an example. I have this ww2 setting...and spies. BUT, my main characters are actually part of a civilian unit that is working to extract refugees from occupied Europe, France, Belgium, Germany, Poland...

So, the point is...

Everything that is highlighted in this story must somehow affect that objective. I'm doing okay... I haven't completely lost my focus. Most of the revision changes will be minor... *cough* of course, i'll probably adding a scene here or there.

OMGosh. this is totally why I'm going to plot my next story.
Also, when do you quit?
I mean, the revisions just keep happening! When do I step away from the keyboard and say, this is a good story, but you're still learning to plot your craft... you might want to take what you've learned and start new, start fresh?

Fiction Friday

Mark is in Switzerland with Flannery. This particular scene I'm inserting into chapter twelve in hopes that when chapter thirteen rears its lovely head, I'll be more prepared. :D So, here you have it. In all its rough draft glory. :) The Last Lie


An Opel, German made truck circa 1930, whined its way down the side of the hill. He had a very bad feeling they were about to be submersed in a day’s worth of back and forth. He measured with his eyes and figured at least three trips. "Let’s start unloading."

"Maybe it’s not our contact."

Mark gave Flannery a look of disbelief. "Who else? There’s no one here. Hasn’t been anyone here in some time, I’d guess."

His friend shrugged and jumped back into the plane to pull the wooden crates from the stacks, neatly lining them at the door. "Come on old man. Get your ass up here."

Mark waved him off and walked toward the terminal. The truck rumbled to a stop feet from the end of the runway where he stood. He choked on the dense smog of exhaust, covering his mouth and nose.

A big man hoisted himself from the driver seat and stepped down. He wore brown overalls and a denim, long-sleeved shirt. His balding head glistened with a sheen of perspiration. Bushy eyebrows hooded large droopy eyes that lit up when he smiled. "Dzien dobry. Hallo!"

Some of the tension he’d been feeling since he’d flown out of Lakenheath dissipated. He grasped the older man’s hand. "Hello, I’m Mark Danbury, RAF."

The man’s accent, European, though Mark couldn’t determine where from, gilded his words. "We wait long time for someone to come."

"We’re a little short on information, but still glad to help in anyway we can." Mark turned and pointed toward the plane whistling through his teeth. "That’s Flannery O’Riley."

Flannery waved from his perch in the cargo bay.

"My name is Emil Tomaszewski. Come, let us help your friend so we can continue or journey." Emil walked with a slight limp, but despite that and the protruding middle, he carried more of his share during the task.

The midmorning sun caused sweat to pour down Mark’s face, but he appreciated the manual labor. It kept his mind from lingering on Maggie, from seeing her board the train with that knowing smile. Remembering the taste of her lips…

"Watch it, Mark." Flannery sidestepped him with a crate full of canned goods.

He broke from the trance he’d been convincing himself the work would distract him from and shook his head.

"So, you think about a girl, eh?" Emil stood at the cargo entrance with his hands upraised for another load. He slipped his fingers into the slots on either side of the crate Mark had shoved over.

"My wife."

"This is good! You have wife."

Mark smiled at the jovial man. After just an hour or so of work and talk, he now knew that Emil had been married twice and had two grown sons. James and Adalbert worked within occupied Poland, during the day as street pavers, but by night as underground network emissaries. His current wife was ten years his junior and had stayed by his side as they crossed through the Czech Republic[check this for timing] and Austria[bavaria?] before reaching Switzerland.

Mark imagined a stern woman, tall and strong…with muscles. He chuckled to himself. European women were not the same soft, loving female variety he was used to. Maggie would never have the strength for what Emil described, some days taking to the roads on foot.
"Eh." Emil nudged him. "She is pretty, no?"

"Yes. She is very pretty." Mark lifted the last box onto the bed of the truck.

"It all fit." Flannery walked up after closing the cargo bay door and removed his cap. He scratched his head. "I’ll be danged."

"No kidding. I was sure we’d be taking at least three trips." Mark lifted his small duffel bag from the ground and slung it over his shoulder.

Emil threw his head back and laughed. "I learn to pack. Very quick and tight." He patted the side of the truck. "Fuel is hard to come by, but we are lucky. So far, the German’s have stayed out of Switzerland. So, men like me—we bring our families into these mountains. And we do what we have to…including bring supplies in from the airport." He struck the air above his head with his finger. "We go! Marta has made a fine meal to share."

Mark’s stomach growled at the mention of food. "Thank you. We could use a meal and a good night sleep."

"How many families did you travel with?" Flannery squeezed in between Emil and Mark on the bench seat. Emil started up the engine before answering the question.

With his side pressed up against the door, Mark hung his elbow out the window. The fresh cool mountain air swirled through the window and into the cab. Mark caught the scent of hard work and sweat mixed with the mountain heather.

"In March five new families come from Germany. All together, there are eleven, three from Poland, three more from France, and one couple from Prague--newlyweds."

Mark’s mind wandered as Emil ran through a list of everyone’s name, what they liked, how long it took them to get to the farm… His head fell back against the seat and he rested his eyes as the truck rumbled through the quiet streets of Langnua before becoming dirt.

Flannery must have understood his fatigue because he kept up the easy banter, relieving Mark of the obligation.

He jerked awake when the truck ground to a halt. A tall house rose out of green rolling hills that were backdropped by the magnificent rise of the Alps. Gray peaks with tops of white, a fortress for this small farming community. Mark yawned away the vestiges of much needed sleep.

picture found at FiddlersGreen.net

Completing a manuscript

My WW2 is finished at just over 33k.
I've started revisions. And that's actually fun for me. Bwahahaha.
You can hate me if you want!

I have 112 pages...
and I've done 15 so far today.
There are some simple word changes and other less simple expansions.

These are my notes so far for these revisions.
1) things to remember
a. Margaret is a US citizen. [she was a UKer]
b. Mark has blue eyes. [i'm always finding different descriptions as I go along.]
c. Margaret is taller than shorter but not tall. LOL I crack myself up.
2) Conflict
a. They were married on the spur of the moment.
1. mark is freaked out
2. Margaret is uncertain but certain :D
b. Margaret gets involved in activities that put her in cahoots with the bad guy, a German spy.

When I'm finished here, I'll send it to my Critique Partner.
And then we'll really see.

If you're interested in writing in general...doesn't have to be romance...and have what you think is an exceptional first paragraph, visit Nathan's blog and submit it! Nathan Bransford, a literary agent with Curtis Brown LTD, is offering a wealth of advice and experience [i just made that up right now, but it must be true!] to the winner.