Monday, May 28, 2012

Short Stories

As I was writing my novel, I wrote a few short stories and entered them in contests. I haven't heard back yet because it's too early, but I was curious if anyone else has tried this route to get established as a writer. I see it as a way to get feedback while improving my writing, plus it's much less of a time commitment than writing another novel. It took me a year to do that, and I'm still not finished.

One of the short stories I wrote was about two young girls, written in parallel accounts of their experience with a doll. One girl lives in the States and the other is a poor girl in South America. I think it might work as a children's book if I modified it slightly.

I think part of my problem is I don't know which genre fits me best. The novel I wrote started out sounding like a YA but ended up a suspense with a little romance thrown in for good measure. I'm rewriting another version where I'm focusing on just suspense. We'll see.

What's your opinion? As always, I love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The News

While I lived in Ecuador, I was exposed to the news Hispanic style. That would be a mix of the nightly news and the tabloid Enquirer being given equal weight. At the time, the feature story was about the "chupa cabra", literally translated means sucks goats. Hey, I didn't name it!
Anyway, the story went that this unknown and elusive animal (eyewitnesses described it as a alien looking creature) was sucking the life out of farm animals, and even, (gasp of horror) a human. I was married at the time and we sat around with my in-laws watching this story.
My reaction: "Yeah right. This is news?"
Their reaction: "How dreadful! I wonder what it is?"

Needless to say, my husband and I got on the subject of the news and I argued that in the States we would never broadcast such fodder.
Years later, we were watching the news in the States, and they featured a story of a mama duck and ducklings being trapped on a highway. Don't worry, the police went out, stopped traffic, and there was a happy ending. My husband, however, was outraged that this made national news.

To be honest, he had a point in some respects. Having lived here and in S. America, the news does seem to be catered to the American public. There are a LOT of world events that we don't know about that maybe we should. It's mostly U.S. events or world events as they affect the U.S.

I, personally, would like a little more meat on the bone the media sends us. Give it to me straight and don't sugar coat it. Although I don't mind the cute duck stories once in awhile either.

What do you think?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Awards and such!

I will begin blogging with a vengeance as soon as I finish revising my novel. (Almost there!) Until then-

First I would like to thank Elise Fallson for the Kreativ Blogger Award. She has a great blog, click on her name to link to it.

Here are the rules:

1) Thank and link back to the awarding blog.
2) Answer the following 7 questions.
3) Provide 10 random factoids about yourself.
4)  Pass this on to 7 deserving others.

1. What's your favorite song?  Free Falling by Tom Petty

2.What's your favorite dessert? Ice cream of course!

3. What do you do when you're upset? Talk it out with my husband until I no longer care about it! He calms me down by just listening.

4. What's your favorite pet? I've had all kinds and I love them all, but at heart I will always be a dog person. The way they blindly adore you no matter what- who can beat that?

5. Which do you prefer, black or white? Black.

6. What is your biggest fear? This goes without saying for mothers everywhere, but I fear losing my children the most. Maybe it's because I'm a nurse and see death more often than others, but I used to obsess about it. I've calmed down a little but it would be the thing I don't know if I could survive.

7. What is your attitude mostly? Hands down anxious. I'm the chicken little in the room.

10 random facts

1. I'm currently fostering a nursing cat and kitten from the humane society.
(Pause for the oohs and ahhhs!)

2. I'm thinking of going back to work at the hospital. I had worked in different hospitals for 8 years but have spent the last two at a nursing home. Less pay but less stress.

3. I'm turning 40! How'd that happen?

4. I have misophonia. I can't stand certain noises like sniffling, gum chewing, heavy breathing- I can go on a long time on this one.

5. My dream vacation would be to ski in Colorado. I have to hurry before I'm too old.

6. I've ridden horseback in the Andes Mountains.

7. I love to bake and I've learned to love to cook.

8. If I had money, I wouldn't change how I lived, but I'd sprinkle money around to help people. (Rich people I've found are far stingier than poor)

9. If I had a secret talent, I'd be a ballerina. (Shout out to Morgan Shamy here!)

10. Every room I walk into, I'm followed by an entourage consisting of 3 dogs and a cat. It can be pretty crowded, especially when they want to come in the bathroom with me.

I'll pass award on to my blogger friends below

Linda Jackson
S.P. Bowers
Lola Sharp

This is sad because I've neglected the blogging world so much lately that I can't think of who else, especially since I've already passed this one out before. So just 3 for me this time. :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New query letter

So, previously, I had a tah-dah moment as in- I did it! Here's my final draft query letter! But my highly appreciated blogger friends have kindly sent me back to my "desk" in a, it's good but. . . (I'm not being sarcastic- I really do appreciate the feedback) This time, the synopsis is the entire overall story, and I doubt it will be my final draft. Feedback welcome, as always!

The title is Crossing the Culture

Deep in the jungles of the Amazon, Kate Wilson's thrill seeking lifestyle has brought her to work in a medical clinic as a volunteer nurse. She's living her dream, working as a ski patroller in winter and spending her summers down in South America. The beautiful town of Bella Vista is an idyllic setting where she bonds with the simple people, including two young sisters, Anita and Luisa. At the clinic, she works side by side with a brilliant young doctor treating the tropical ailments of the townspeople.

Reluctant to leave the place Kate is learning to call home, she returns back to the States for the ski season. Feeling alone and vulnerable, she meets a lawyer, Paul, who is smitten with her. The problem is that he represents everything about her culture that she had chosen to give up. The other problem is that she can't get Doctor Felipe out of her mind.

The powerful draw of the rainforest brings her back to the town of Bella Vista and Doctor Felipe, but she discovers that something sinister has settled upon the area. Kate had known that the farmers were growing coca plants, but in her absence the government had moved in and destroyed the crop. The drug cartel would not let this slide without retribution, and the town braces for an armed conflict. As they wait, people begin to fall ill, and they learn the guerilleros have contaminated the drinking water with cholera. Tested to their limits, Doctor Felipe and Kate fight to save innocent lives, until word leaks of an American in Bella Vista. In danger of being kidnapped, Kate must get out at once. The doctor intervenes, risking his own life to save her. Will he get her out in time?

Based loosely on my own experiences from living in Ecuador, South America for three years, and drawing on my medical background as a registered nurse, this novel depicts life in the Hispanic culture and the toll of the drug trade in the place where it all begins.

That's it! Feel free to let me know what you think of the overall story as well.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Query letter

I'm still revising my novel, but I've finally put together a query letter I think I'm happy with. I lost count of how many rewrites I did of it, but tell me what you think.

The story of Kate Wilson is of a young woman who journeys across worlds and learns that the most meaningful life is one of self-sacrifice. She takes a trip to South America where a chance encounter with a stranger and a tragic event set her course in life. Kate begins work as a volunteer nurse in the rainforest of South America until her life takes some unexpected turns.

After discovering the town of Bella Vista is an agricultural source of the coca plant, things complicate further when she begins to fall for the handsome doctor who runs the clinic. Torn between the world she is leaving behind and the culture she is coming to accept, Kate struggles to find her place. Hoping that things will change for her, she continues her work in the clinic until guerilla forces with the drug cartel put her life in danger. Doctor Felipe intervenes and puts his life in danger. Will he get her out in time?

Based loosely on my own experiences from living for three years in Ecuador, S. America, and drawing from my medical background as a registered nurse, this novel depicts life in the Hispanic culture and what it is to be a nurse.

Let me know what you think. Feedback welcome.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I've been MIA with my blog lately, but all with good reason. I've had four people read my WIP and after their feedback, I'm completely reworking it. I think now that they have helped me "see" some problems with it, I have been able to move myself forward as a writer. I feel like I'm taking it to the next level. Whether that will be enough, I shall see. Regardless, I'm feeling very good about the direction I'm headed in with it.

A lot of writers have their first novel shelved, but as for myself, I don't know that I'm willing to commit more time to writing another if this is unsuccessful. It's a good story, unique, as is my background, but I just have to get my writing up to where it needs to be. In the meantime, I will keep going. I'm eager to start the query process but I need to have this as good as I can get it first.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Contest Link

I wanted to share this contest info. with the writing world. I'm going to enter my manuscript because, well, I have nothing to lose!
If you're interested, check out the website at