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The Jubilee Blog- January 2017

Welcome to 2017.

This year I want to blog not just about my writing, but about the journey I will take during this very “crucial” year for me.  When Queen Elizabeth celebrated sixty years on the throne, it was called a Jubilee Celebration. And no I’m not sixty! If you want to think that, at least follow that thought with, holy crap she looks amazing for sixty.

I left my full-time job in October of last year to pursue my writing. And I have to start by saying thank you to my wonderful husband for allowing me to take this journey.

I have a lot I want to accomplish in this year. Including knocking things off that dreaded bucket list. But instead of the morbid side, I am thinking of it as simply doing all the things I’ve been procrastinating about all these years. Yeah, not as exciting a title as “Bucket List.”

Here’s what planned as far as Bucket Travel:

In May, Uncle Jack and I will attend the Preakness, completing (albeit out of order) our own racing trilogy. In 2015 we did the Belmont (saw history- American Pharaoh winning the Triple Crown). Last year we did the Derby. So after this year, we can say we did all 3!

In April I plan to do the highly popular PCH drive (Pacific Coast Highway). Details still being worked out for that.

I hope hope hope I can get to Lambeau Field to see the Green Bay Packers play early next Football season. My husband doesn’t want to go. I am taking requests from anyone who wants an all expense paid trip to see one of the greatest football stadiums. Hot guys get first priority 🙂

There were other reasons I chose to take time off. One concerning my dog Zoe. She turns 15 this year. Sorry to out her!

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She’s the one in the dog-bed!

Zoe is going strong, but I haven’t seen too many 16 or 17 year old pugs. My husband nick-named her OPE (Oldest Pug Ever). Her biggest problem right now is that she is cranky all day. And when my husband gets annoyed at her, I say to him, how happy are you going to be when you’re 105?

For both our sakes I hope at least one of us will be gone before we find out.

Of course, I want to finally be published. If you’ve been following my website, you will know I’ve written at least two novels at this point. Both are looking for a home. See individual pages for details.

Anyway, this year, I plan to clean house of all my writing. Get everything into at least a first draft format and then blitz the industry with submissions . I’ll document my progress as I go along this year.

Instead of “Eat Pray Love” my version will be Write-Submit-Cry.

So here’s all my work for this year:

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Could be the only time, my novels appears on the “shelf” with other books! Ha Ha.

I’ll go into details in other posts, but my “goal” is to have ten books completed for this year.

So just as in Julie and Julia when Julie blogged that she would cook every dish in the Julia Child’s The Joy of Cooking over the course of the year, I too am making a bold prediction.

Come follow me!

Halloween Post Picture

Halloween Blog Treat (no Trick)

A scene in my new novel Must Love Fashion takes place on Halloween.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Skye was a genius.

Anyone who planned a garage sale on Halloween really deserved some kind of Mensa prize. And Skye would impress Stephen Hawkins since many of her sale items were things left behind from her ex-boyfriend pop singer Miles Bookman. She fell short of qualifying for a Nobel prize for not advertising that fact.

Skye loved Halloween probably because it gave her the excuse to buy a ridiculous amount of chocolate every year. Gwen, on the other hand treasured the entire fall season for the weather and the wine.  “We’re opening that cab-franc after this right?” she whispered after dealing with one of Skye’s neighbors who harassed her to bring a pair of Lucky jeans down from ten dollars to two.

“After? I’m going to get it right now.” Skye jumped out of the metal folding chair and disappeared up the driveway. Her house was a legal two-family. She rented the main floor of the turn-of-the-century colonial to a retired couple who spent months at a time on the road in an RV that was bigger than Gwen’s house. When it was parked in the driveway, it blocked out the sun.

“I don’t think we should be drinking in front of kids,” Gwen said under her breath folding some of Miles’ tee-shirts.

“Trick-or-treat!” shouted two little zombies in store-bought costumes that looked like trash bags colored in with a Sharpie.

“Oooo. Very scary boys,” Gwen said assuming they were boys since every little girl she’d seen today was dressed as Elsa from Frozen.

“Now that’s some costume,” Darling Cove’s most handsome single dad said to her after she tossed several pieces of candy into his sons’ bags. He lived a few houses down from her but since Gwen didn’t have any kids, she never crossed paths with the man.

Gwen handed the dad his own piece of candy. “Well they didn’t have the zombie costumes in my size.” Still, her tall black witches hat, the wildly inappropriate lace mermaid dress and bright green eye-shadow swept across her cheeks turned plenty of heads that afternoon.

“Boys, wait for me at the end of the driveway,” he said to the elementary school kids digging through their bags, anxious to get to their spoils. He looked back with a smile. “Jen, right? Do you want to get a cup of coffee or a drink later?”

“It’s Gwen. And Lisa Connors tried to fix us up over the summer. You told her I wasn’t your type.” She fingered the tattered witch’s hat. “This is your type?”

“Gwen, sorry.” He cleared his throat. “Come on, you’re divorced. You know how hard it is. I wasn’t ready.”

Gwen folded her arms. As her neighbor he must have seen Dan come and go. And therefore he must have also noticed the missing Mercedes as well. What zombie dad perhaps didn’t count on was that Gwen noticed things too. “Oh really. EA week after that, I saw the High School principal leaving your house early in the morning.”

She waved him away, no long feeling guilty that Skye had been giving out candy from last year.

 

The crowd lingering in front of Andrew’s door drew immediate alarm.

As the scene became clearer he noticed several children in costumes.  Halloween. He didn’t have any candy. He hated when that holiday fell on a weekend.

But the way the mothers were looking at him, he didn’t think they wanted fun size chocolate treats.

“There he is!” One of the women said eyeing him like they wanted fun with him.

The kids turned around at the same time and in a creepy harmonized whine, shouted Trick or Treat!

This was going to be bad. To start he was a mess. He ran a few extra miles on the treadmill and even he could smell his own body odor. Next, he had no clue how to handle the situation and suddenly felt really sorry for single dads who probably had to put up with this all the time. Smile, he told himself as he got closer.

Maybe the smell will drive them all away, he thought as he addressed the group. “Hey guys. Nice costumes.”

“I’m Elsa,” one of the little girls said immediately pushing her way to the front. “She’s Anna. But everyone knows Elsa is the best.”

“I see,” Andrew answered clueless who the little girl was talking about. But since they each had on what looked like princess costumes and since he’d seen many little girls walking to school all year long wearing princess dresses, it was quite possible these were their everyday clothes and those were the girls’ first names.

“Now Catelyn, I told you about saying things like that,” a mother clawed her way out of the circle. “Hi, Andrew right?”

Shit, they know my name. “Yes. Hi.”

“I’m Stephanie.”

“We didn’t want you to feel left out.” Another mother knocked Stephanie out of the way and smothered his sweaty hands with hers. “I’m Teresa, nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you.” Not really.

“Oh and I’m Erica.” This mother grabbed his hand out of Teresa’s.

A symphony of other names crashed over him, Stephanie, Marcus, Travis, Sophie, Marianne, Chase and Dylan, a dog dressed like a pumpkin. He would never remember all of these names and now when he saw these women his usual casual glances and chin bobbing would be considered rude. “It’s nice to meet all of you. I’m sorry you’ve caught me unprepared. I’ve been out of the country and—”

“You work for Prada right?” Stephanie asked.

“Uh yeah.” Now Andrew became nervous. No man who watched Fatal Attraction would ever underestimate a woman’s ability to go to extreme lengths to get what she wants.

“Is this Prada?” Teresa glided a finger against his chest.

He stepped back. “No, Prada doesn’t make tee-shirts.”

“Well they should,” Erica said and then discretely licked her lips.

“Yeah, if they did they would cost six hundred dollars,” said the only woman who wasn’t looking at him with lust. “You have a lot of nerve what you charge for those clothes.”

Huh boy.

“Marianne, that’s not polite,” Teresa said and then turned to him shaking her head like she had been in on the joke that only the two of them understood.

Andrew drew a deep breath. “Okay ladies and kids . . . and pumpkin dog, I’ve just come back from the gym. I would really like to get inside to clean up.” He jingled his keys in the hope they would move along and stop blocking his door.

“We’re having a small party in my apartment in about an hour,” Erica said touching him again. “Come by and have some fun. I’m in 3F.”

Now he remembered her. He’d seen her in the lobby with her husband. Great, that was all he needed. “Thank you but I have some work I need to do. Perhaps if you come back tomorrow I can have some candy.”

“He doesn’t even have any candy?” a boy dressed like Batman, the dark knight version cried out. “What kind of bullshit is this?”

“Travis!” Teresa cried out, blushing. “That is unacceptable language. We talked about this.”

“Will you have some candy in ten minutes?” Elsa demanded.

Andrew smiled, pleased he now knew how to get rid of the them. “No.”

The kids stomped away complaining while their child-worshipping mothers ran after them.

Andrew unlocked his door praying there wasn’t a rabbit in boiling water on his stove.

New Feature Image for website

Drawing Bloodlines- Paranormal Romance

The Princeton Allegiant Series, Book One

Drawing Bloodlines, a Sexy Paranormal Romance is finally finally complete and ready for submission!

Logline:  A single mother falls in love with a vampire only he’s being forced to mate with a ruthless vamp who kept him as a sex slave one hundred years ago.

Dr. Alexander Manning is exposed. While drawing blood from his beautiful patient, he’s so captivated by her, he takes too much and must drink it immediately. But when she catches him, she passes out. Alex can report what happened to his allegiant’s Commander or…deal with her himself. When he tracks her down to read her thoughts and wipe the incident from her mind he discovers…she wants him as much as he wants her. Should he take her as his lover, even if it means breaking the rules and risking his entire allegiant’s secrets?

Elizabeth hasn’t dated anyone since her divorce and when she finds out the man she’s so drawn to is a vampire, she has to make a choice. Play it safe, deny how she feels or take a risk where the reward is night after night of blinding ecstasy.

But Alex’s past catches up to him when he’s chosen by the new Philadelphia commander to be her mate. He must choose…go obediently into the arms of the vamp who blackmailed him into years of sex or…fight back. Either with some hidden magical powers he’s been keeping a secret or with a little science experiment a colleague is cooking up in a private research facility.

 

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Forty Times Platinum- Women’s Fiction

Forty Times Platinum- Manuscript Available to Publishers Now

Women’s Fiction, 91,000 Words

Go inside the mysterious music industry with Forty Times Platinum, a  Women’s Fiction novel about Jennifer Montgomery, a record label executive who falls in love with Jamie Miller,  a singer who is talented and gorgeous…but young impressionable artists are strictly off limits.

Jennifer makes artists’ dreams come true at the L.A. label, Thompson Street Records. When bad-boy Jamie is signed, Jen becomes infatuated with the younger man. She attempts to keep her distance but as a former rock and roll girl herself and the label’s top writer and producer, she’s the one tapped for the job when Jamie needs a power ballad. Working on a song with him puts her professional ethics to the test…and failing never felt so good.

Jamie is a willing lover, but he’s hiding something.

Once his album is complete, he’s whisked away on an extensive promotion tour, leaving Jen to question: Does she want to take a back seat to Jamie’s career? Torn between her love for Jamie and the reality of what life is like with a rock star –Jen knows, she’s been there, she tearfully walks away so he could have his dream.

Jen turns to old flame Cam Harris for comfort, but when Jamie finds out about the new man, his distress brings him to his knees –literally, exposing his secret and putting his career in jeopardy. Jen must decide between an uncomplicated relationship with Cam or jumping to Jamie’s rescue, knowing their future will always be uncertain.

Forty Times Platinum is Book One in the Platinum series. Look for the sequels Perfect and Platinum,  Little Miss Platinum, concluding with Platinum Records

RIP Darling

RIP Darling

This post is directed to other writers out there.

We’ve all heard the expression, “Kill your darlings.” Like many of you I was appalled to hear such a thing, only because I felt it wasn’t explained in the right context to me at first. I thought I was being told to take the best lines of my book out. We all have them. That little nugget that you know no one’s ever written or read before.

A better way to think of it is, don’t keep something in your book just because of a little darling. I’ve been guilty of that in the editing processes. Keeping something that just doesn’t fit because it was written so well.

One thing I’ve found while writing and now editing two manuscripts, is that little darlings, the isolated ones probably can be used somewhere else. Every round of editing for me, includes several darlings or string of darlings that I review to see if I can use elsewhere. And usually I find a home for them.

But what about entire chapters!

I’m in the third draft phase of my new novel, “The Cougar Cruise” and something had been bugging me about the first chapter. Today, you have to define your novel in the first five pages. I think fondly of the book “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, where I was told, “Just get past the first hundred pages.” Only writers today know what has happened in publishing and how so many books we all love would never be published today, based on the new criteria.

Gone are the days, where you can let the reader get to know your main characters, and grow into the story. And then reveal the plot.

Well, just yesterday morning I stripped away the first chapter of “The Cougar Cruise” and made my second chapter my first chapter. Who cares if the first chapter introduced you to my main character properly, let you get to know her, like her, feel for her, savor her, understand her motivation. Sorry. Because that book won’t sell.

However, I am pleased with the new draft and how the book now begins. New authors have to be conformists. But that whole darn chapter was a darling. It really showcased my writing (I thought). But this is the world we live in people. Gotta have it now.

If you want to be a test reader for “The Cougar Cruise”, subscribe to the site and send me a message.

 

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Forty Times Platinum- Excerpt

For those of you not watching the world series, here is the first excerpt from Forty Times Platinum.

I’d love to hear your comments!

– From Chapter One-

“Jennifer Montgomery! I know you hear me,” Michael Bradley yelled running toward her. “Do not even think about taking another step.”

“Wha-at?” Jen said sarcastically as she turned in his direction.

The flash of her sapphire eyes turned Michael gooey and incoherent. His cheeks turned red and his uncomfortable eyes drifted to Michelle as he cleared his throat. “Jamie Miller signed.”

“He signed?” Jen’s sarcastic smile faded.

“He did. I knew you’d want to hear it from A&R first.”

She pulled her knees together and dipped her hips revealing a level of excitement that only a few people at Thompson Street Records had ever seen. Even with Stan, she maintained a degree of composure. She had never wanted him to regret hiring not only a woman, but a former signed artist to run the Talent Development department.

“Who—who got picked for EP?” she asked.

“Corey. We just told Stan.” Michael crossed his arms.

Jen bit down on her lip, suppressing the argument that Thompson had better executive producers.

“Corey Hanson is an excellent EP, Jen,” Michael contended. “Jamie will get the platinum team soon enough.”

She met his eyes with a confident nod.

“You know he wanted you, right?” Michael asked.

Leaning in, Jen asked in a whisper soft voice, “Jamie wanted me?”

“Of course he wanted you. Who wouldn’t? I meant Stan.”

Shaking off the quick rise in her heart rate, Jen turned in the direction of her office once again. “Well, Stan would love me to EP every record and write every song. Heck, he’d have me selling the damn things on the street if he could.”

“When I’m president of this label, I’ll only ask to you sell the shitty ones on the street.”

Jen swung back around and tilted a smile in his direction. “We don’t produce shitty records, Michael.” After he left music, Michael had referred to taking this so-called “temporary” position at Thompson as “crossing over to the dark side.” And now he wants to be president!

Michelle interrupted their strange but typical banter. “Michael, maybe you can convince Jen to call her mother back.”

“What’s wrong with Gigi?” he asked.

“Nothing.” Jen knocked her head back. “She’s still on the road. I can’t deal with those phone calls anymore.” The once strained relationship with Gigi had over time morphed into a series of typical mother-daughter episodes. Typical however had to take into account Gigi’s legendary singer status and her periods of substance abuse. Jen had gone to bed many nights in her mother’s Scottsdale mansion deciding which was worse.

“You gotta give her credit, though.” Michael shook his head. “She’s still cranking out records and touring after all these years.”

“You can always go back on the road. It’s not too late.”

“And leave you here to have all this fun by yourself? Not a chance sweetheart.” Michael winked and walked away.

Once a large distance was between them, Michelle said, “I hope, when I get married and then divorced, that I have such a good relationship with my ex-husband.”

Bear Selfies

Selfies with Bears

Recently I heard a report that one of the National Parks (not important which one) had to officially ban selfies with bears. When I was growing up the warning was don’t poke a sleeping bear.

Well I did just that.

Five months ago, I fed eleven bears my novel Forty Times Platinum for their long summer nap. A couple said, “Thank you, but no, Thank you right away. While the rest snuggled it close, dreaming of weekends at the Hamptons and Booze Cruises to Fire Island.

Well it was time to poke some bears. And boy, were they grouchy.

In the past two weeks, I’ve received three rejections 🙁

But what’s so interesting, is the positive way they two of them wrapped it:

“it’s clear that Deborah is a talented writer. Her prose is fun and engaging”

I’d read somewhere talent stands out. And I do keep hearing how fun the book is. Guess readers don’t want fun these days. “Fun doesn’t sell,” I can hear a publishing marketing exec say, when having to explain declining book sales.

This one gave me chills:

“I enjoyed getting a peek into the music industry and observing a gorgeous, talented rock star up close and personal. Who doesn’t have a fantasy about a rock star!? It’s fascinating what goes on in both creating the music and in the behind-the-scenes world and watching Jen and Jamie create amazing music together and dance ever closer together was great fun. I liked that Jen was in such a powerful position and I liked the chemistry between them.”

It was “me” the editor didn’t like, apparently. She didn’t “love” my voice. I am behind Jen and Jamie, who you loved!

But, that’s still only a total of 6 rejections out of 11. We still need to hear from 5 more in the top tier, and then we move on to Small Press or Indie publishers.

Please keep the support coming. Editors think readers only want Fifty Shades or Hunger Games.

Books aren’t Life Partners or even wedding dresses. And there’s a reason there are multiple genres available. Not everyone wants porn or post-apocalypse fantasies.

Sometimes girls (and boys- Dennis and Uncle Jack!) just wanna have ‘fun’.

Oh and please no selfies with bears.

God Bless Me Post

God Bless Me?

Welcome Back!

So I am going to deviate from the journey of Forty Times Platinum to talk about something personal. Another purpose of this blog is to make people interested in me (without a sex-tape). If someone is interested in me, then (in theory) they would want to read my book(s).

I’ll start with where I originally thought, I would end this story. Most of you know I am a designer (by day) for a Senior Living company. Last Wednesday I was at one of my communities with an art installer, when I came upon a resident circling around in a panic. “Help me!” she cried out. She couldn’t find her room. Thankfully she knew her room number. That’s not always the case. So of course I stopped what I was doing to help her. What heartless person wouldn’t? Of course the art installer just took out her phone and let me walk off with the resident. Hmmm.

Anyway, I found her room, the door was open, THANKFULLY. And she was so appreciative, saying, “God Bless You!” over and over. I walked back to the heartless art consultant (did I say that out loud?), thinking I just earned some points.

Well I was wrong.

Twenty four hours later, I’m sitting in horrific traffic driving to a facility in Pennsylvania. God Bless Me? That’s ironic, considering, I was heading to a town called, Bethlehem. What should have taken (according to the GPS), two and a half hours, took four hours. I was rushing to meet a drapery installer and when I got there, I was told he cancelled and was coming the following day. (Hint, that means I had to go back the following day as well)

When my fury subsided, I took a breath. I was also doing a furniture delivery that evening at five pm. So it was only say, five or six hours of my time, completely wasted. God Bless Me? Okay. The installers arrived right on time. They were nice and understanding that we were working on a dining room and that we needed to wait for the residents to finish eating. They almost seemed a little TOO understanding.

Seven hours later…. As if they were all going to turn into pumpkins, or they were all getting paid to work until midnight regardless of how long this was SUPPOSED to take, poof they were done. Did I mention, the night before I only got three hours sleep? And in two, one and a half hour increments? God Bless Me.

So it’s technically 9/11. Not that that means anything other than the irony of the date. The installers are long gone with their three massive trucks. It had been raining most of the day and mercifully, had stopped during most of their delivery, but as I was leaving the rain starting coming down again. It would be too cliché to say I didn’t have an umbrella- I did. Still, I wobbled out into the parking lot and into the new misting rain. I dumped my bags into my car and… click click click. The car doesn’t start. God Bless Me??

So yes, of course I made it back to New York the following evening. And I am still waiting for my blessing.

Yes Virginia Post

Yes Virginia, there are stupid questions.

Welcome Back!

As I had posted to Facebook nearly two years ago, anything can be found on the internet. I needed to describe what the terrain was like as Jen and Michael drove from Malibu to Bakersfield. Someone had done the drive, recorded it from the windshield and posted it on Youtube. It was extremely helpful. So I turned to Google once again to help me write my one page Query letter.

I had written over five hundred pages for what will hopefully be Forty Times Platinum and its sequels, but writing three paragraphs seriously had me looking back into self-publishing. Still I pressed on. I read example after example. Surely there had to be a way to scientifically transplant my information into another letter that had worked. I was wrong.

Just as with the novel itself, I turned to professional help. Ca Ching. Ca Ching. I submitted my letter to a critique service. Because this was my first time doing this, I put all these questions in the letter when I submitted it. And to my horror, my query was sent to one of the agents I was planning on contacting. It seems he had been volunteering with the service to do critiques. And if that wasn’t bad enough, my entire email, stupid questions and all, went right to the agent.

About three days later I got back my critique. In a word, I felt the comments were mean. It took so much not to fire back a nasty email. But I am pretty sure that word gets around about hot headed writers. So I took my time and tried to tackle one insulting comment after the other and tried to assume the agent said the things he said in a non-rhetorical manner.

The next dilemma was, I paid for a one time review. How would I know if the changes I made were correct? All art is subjective. And what one agent thinks is great and brilliant; another won’t read past one sentence. And so with most of my anger behind me, I emailed the agent, thanking him for his critique and that I worked on the areas in question and would he mind reviewing it again. I figured I had to ask. And much to my shock and awe, he wrote me back and said okay. And he was also actually, what’s the word I am looking for, nice.

Maybe I caught him on a horrible day?

I took my time and the second round critique I received back was so much more positive and helpful. It wasn’t quite there, but I had gotten about ninety percent of what he had been eluding to.

And so then I had my one page letter that was going to go out to (other) agents and make them want to read more.

But how much more? I was about to find out.

To be continued.

it comes down to one page

It all boils down to one page

Welcome Back!

I had known enough about traditional publishing to know what a “Query” was. It is a one page letter that is supposed to do the following:

  • Hook the reader in about your book in the first paragraph.
  • Completely describe your book in 2 more paragraphs.
  • Describe yourself as an author and why you’re special: which is extra fun when you’ve never published anything.

All of the above has to fit within 1 exact page, including a standard 1940’s-esq greeting with the recipient’s mailing address and the date.

The punch line is that 99% of the time, this “letter” is going in into the body of an email. But it’s a mind- (you-know-what) because you don’t know if some intern is going to cut and paste what you wrote in a Word Document to check to see if it actually fits on one page or not. I wasn’t taking any chances. So all my “queries” even though most were emailed, are sitting on my laptop in full professional business letter format.

Now for extra fun, if you Googled: How to write a query letter, stand back because an avalanche of hits will fall your way. At the end of the day, it’s a business proposal for your book. But it’s also an tease- think movie trailers: In a world…..

The best way to describe what’s in those 2 paragraphs is to look at the back jacket of any book. It’s supposed to tell you enough about the story to get you interested, but it doesn’t tell you everything. And what to tell and what not to tell is as debatable among experts as the beginning of time.

While writing and re-writing and re-writing and re-writing, Forty Times Platinum, I became viciously jealous of musicians, which is very ironic since FTP is about musicians. But all musicians have to do is come up with a stupid 3 minute song. How hard is that?

But when I tried to draw FTP down like a wine reduction into 2 paragraphs, I went into complete panic attack mode and I finally sympathized with song writers and who’s sole job is to hook you in and make you fall in love in those stupid three minutes.

To be continued.