One tattoo, two elevator pitches, three synopsis and much advice

I make excuses but there’s only one reason I don’t clean the house my husband bought us last year; I dare not disturb his rotting body.

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OMG – it’s been too long my lovely friends on WordPress – how the devil are you all?

I’ve been doing lots of studying on The first line hook. How did I do?! Did that catch your attention? 🀣Man of the Woods is safe and well, I assure you.

The old fallen trees in our woods have been receiving his attentions all winter and we now have enough fire wood stored to run a small island.

So, what have you all been up to with your writings recently? You tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine.

I was editing last time we spoke, and since then I’ve sent the manuscript to fresh eyes for a viewpoint and some feedback about whether the story ‘works’.

I met with two industry professionals who (without reading a word of our books) attempted to show and teach us the magic of an elevator pitch. How to condense your 77,000 word novel into two sentences. Jeee whizz, have you tried that recently?

‘Well, there’s this woman ….’ is not going to cut it πŸ˜‚

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Two worlds collide when English carer Martha is left a vineyard by Blanche, whose extended family in Tuscany have deep rooted links to the mafia.

Secrets start to unravel, as does her resolve to never fall in love again, when she meets Antonio on his release from prison.

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I didn’t think that was too bad, but what it showed the profressionals from the outset was that my story crosses two genres and they asked me where I saw my book sitting in a book shop, i.e. next to which authors?

The sizzle of excitement which the question evoked was short lived when no-one could think of anyone, and I came away with the advice to think hard about what primary story I wanted to write;

1. Antonio’s crime thriller tale

2. Martha’s romance

But I want both. Am I being greedy? I don’t think so; it’s simply not the same story without the grit.

I did come away with a possible new title – and everyone I’ve spoken to seems to like it.

So I sent it on to two people to read whose opinions I trust to be honest and constructive. I’ve since received one feedback report which makes for fascinating reading. I believe it all, and now I’m stuck. On how to start the necessary changes I mean.

I’ve walked away from it while I take a breather, doing that thing all writers go through when they question what on earth they are actually doing.

I think one of the biggest problems is that I never had a plan, a plot, let alone an arc for Martha to follow. I pantsered my way towards the midpoint and ground to a halt last summer; you watched me. Then slowly the wheels of the cumbersome steam train shufftied (my new word) round and we made, with loud efforts full of steam, steady progress through to autumn.

Reading ‘Save the Cat’ was a game-changer. I wished I’d had it eighteen months earlier. Even though I typed THE END in early January, and have happily skipped through it twice pretending to know what I’m doing during a phase called ‘editing’ I’ve never been truly convinced I knew what this was about. And the message is coming through loud and clear – IT SHOWS.

Can I really do this?

Meanwhile, you know me, I had to keep typing. My writing buddy over at alitlebookproblem said pretty much the exact words I’d been thinking – TAKE A BREAK FROM THE WIP.

Last autumn I thrashed out a 17,000 erotic piece and submitted to carina press, remember? A polite rejection 8 weeks later hasn’t put me off trying again and I remembered how I enjoyed the words pouring from my fingers, so last week I typed another. Except this time, I did more research.

Mills and Boon’s Dare line has been around for a little over eighteen months now. Some talented writers have produced many great tantalising tales. They are still love stories but with far more explicit sex on the page. Pure and simple unadulterated sex (is that a conundrum?). I read four titles and certainly saw the ‘pattern’ which some call formula. Meet the hero and heroine in chapter one, none of this fiddling about taking the reader on a long arduous journey to find him/her. Settings are exciting cities around the world, New York (been there once and got stuck in a motel outside JFK), London (go there a lot), Milan (yup, tick), Paris (twice – hey I could do this).

So I’ve typed the first three chapters and a synopsis of a sexy little tale involving an independent and sensual businesswoman on the verge of expanding her business into LA (been there four times). She just needs a massage before she leaves. Except Scott gives more than the sports therapy his business card portrays….

Out came the 8,000 words like ants to a jam spillage. I printed off the pages, found the pink pen, made some grammatical changes, played with syntax. Lucy and Scott are there in the first chapter, I disturbed by mere mentions of third parties. The internal dialogue pov is from them both, split 50/50 like many M&B titles and the pacing I believe is worthy of what would be the next 42,000 to complete the expected fifty total that is a M&B category romance in this category.

This time I have a story arc in mind, a HEA and a change of mindset across the book for both characters. All we need now is for the peeps at M&B to like my voice, amongst the thousands of submissions they will be receiving weekly for this line, because everyone probably thinks they can write a sex scene….. don’t they?

Don’t know how he got there, but can we just take a moment πŸ–€

My tiny tattoo.

My reminder that I’m a little shining star within my world.

Yes I can do this because I could self publish – any of – these titles at any time. However…

When I process my clients’ horse rugs, I do them to the best of my ability. And I want the same for my writing. I want each piece to be the best it can be, and alone I’m not convinced I can make it so, hence the confusion as to what help I should take.

Do some blogs again, said Julie.

She was correct – I’ve so enjoyed sharing this with you this morning. I love chatting and shall make a cuppa and read some of your blogs now.

Oh, and Michael? I’ve killed Matsu, it’s a complete disaster πŸ™ˆ

This notification from WordPress cheered me up though πŸŽ‰