Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 8th Challenge

Hi it’s Christina –

Good Morning! Chin up, it’s only two days until the weekend.

Since Dani was up, I didn’t even attempt to start this blog first thing this morning. Instead I poked around on the internet. One of my friends posted this photo, with the story behind it. Like most things posted on the internet, I was skeptical, so I looked into it further.

It turns out, this is a true story, but what people might not know, is the photo is almost twenty years old. Kyrie and Brielle Jackson were born on October 17th, 1995 in Massachusetts, which means they are most likely either seniors in high school or freshmen in college now. It’s amazing, a photo and the story behind it, which took place almost two decades ago, is still circulating on the internet.

(in my front yard)
Lily of the Valley
(lining my walkway)
Well, I think the wait is finally over, Spring just may be here to stay. Yippy!!! Although my allergies are in overdrive, I am not going to complain one bit. I was happy to see, two of my favorite flowers, were blooming. In my mind, the combination of these two, is what Heaven smells like. I just LOVE both of them. I only wish they didn’t bloom at the same time of the year, that way I could thoroughly enjoy one, and then when it was finished, be able to enjoy the other.

I have a confession to make. I kept checking my email yesterday to see if another message came in from the folks at Indie, but sadly, it didn’t. Now I’m wracking my brain (or is it racking my brain – another word where you get vehement opposing views and I’m never sure which is right) as to what Taking Chances was missing.

It’s very frustrating. How am I supposed to learn and improve, if I can’t figure out what made A Second Chance a winner, and Taking Chances not even get an honorable mention in the romance category? Was there too much intrigue, action, and suspense for it to be labeled a true “romance” in their eyes? Is there something I should or shouldn’t do in Simply by Chance – the third in the series?

Although I am not claiming to be at the same level as Johanna Lindsey or as Stephanie Laurens, their Mallory and Cynster Series, respectively, are pretty much on the same lines as my Bradford Series; historical romance novels, with a high degree of action, adventure and mystery, with an interwoven cast of characters. Plus, like both of their novels, there are some steamy scenes, and, of course, the predictable yet required, happy ending.

I know, Taking Chances was better written than A Second Chance. The characters were deeper, the conflicts more intricate. I learned a lot from writing and then from the editing of A Second Chance, so I was able to implement the knowledge while writing Taking Chances. I learned even more from Taking Chances, and I tried to bring that knowledge into the books I’ve written or am currently writing.

However, this is making me wonder if I’m getting steered off course somehow; if my interpretation of the “knowledge” or my implementation of the “knowledge” has gone awry. I’m NOT saying I should have won, and if Taking Chances had become a finalist in the ROMANCE category, I would not even be questioning any of this right now.

Obviously the book has appeal, since it was a finalist in a category which encompasses multi genres, and I am THRILLED about that, but I’m still left scratching my head, and second guessing myself.

Many of you out there have read both A Second Chance and Taking Chances. Can you give me some feedback or insight? I DO NOT WANT A PAT ON THE BACK HERE. I want some honest, constructive, warts and all, feedback. My goal is to give readers what they want, and if I’m not doing that, I need to fix it, and fix it fast, or I might as well hang up my pen (keyboard).

Oh well, enough wallowing. I’m working again today, so I have to start getting ready. I hope you have a great day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Share a brief microhistory on any subject you know about, because you could hardly do research in the ten minute allotted time. Make it as interesting as possible so it does not read like an instruction manual.

While writing historical romance novels, you have to do a lot of research. In the course of that research, you come across many interesting facts, facts which never make it into your novels, but are interesting non-the-less. When I was writing Taking Chances, I had to do research on the Napoleonic War, French and Spanish ships, the Battle of Trafalgar, and Lord Nelson. Let me tell you, I could probably write a doctoral thesis on the subject at this point.

One of the interesting facts which never made it into my book was what had happened to Lord Nelson, after he was killed, during the Battle of Trafalgar. Remember, this battle occurred in the early 1800s. The voyage from Cadiz back to England took quite a bit of time, and the crew couldn’t give Lord Nelson a burial at sea as they would have any other fallen sailor, so they needed to figure out a way to preserve his body until it could be returned to England. Their solution, they placed his body in a barrel and used the salt they used to preserve meat during a voyage, to keep him “fresh”. In essence, they pickled him.

Innovative for sure, but that’s not even the worst part. Supposedly, when his body was returned, it laid in state for three days, as was customary for dignitaries at that time. Okay, I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure if I would want to view a body which has been dead for three weeks and pickled. EEEEwwwww!

Your Next Challenge is:

Write a FIRST person experience from the viewpoint of a dollar bill.

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.