Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Where Are We?

Well, we're gone. But we've left all the articles open for your reading pleasure. Every article is writing related, so if you've come to learn some craft issues - this is the place.

If you're looking for us - you can find most of us on our personal blogs and/or websites:

Helena, Connie, Anne and Molli have yet to dip their toe into personal websites and blogs, but when they do, we'll be sure to add a link.

Thank you again for making The Prairies the success it was. Happy Writing :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Signing Off...

Unbelievable – the end of October and the end of Prairie Chicks Write Romance – where has the time gone? For the past month, as each of us took turns to write about the past and the future, I’ve wanted to send an e-mail with "NNNNNNOOOOOOO!" plastered all over it. But, all things must come to an end and it’s time here on The Prairies to say good-bye.

Over the last year, my love of writing and my desire to write has taken a major hit. Rejection upon rejection wore me down. And I could not see past the disappointment. I wrote less and less even though I was writing a blogpost every day over on Janet’s Journal. Muse up and left, taking EE with her (you know it’s bad when they leave together). I had seriously considered giving up.

But the voices in my head will not relent. Nor will those that support me and continually tell me that I am a writer. Those two factors push me forward – force me to continue to pursue my dream. Even if that dream is just to entertain people. I started an online story simply to write – without the worry of submission, agents, publication. The response has renewed my creativity, given me back some of the confidence rejections had stripped from me. And Muse and EE have returned (they are still hunkered down in a corner, but at least they are present).

I am seriously considering signing up for NaNoWriMo. This is brand new territory for me; I am a NaNo Virgin. I figure the premise of just writing, getting all those thoughts, plots and voices down on paper is exactly what I need to get back to the way I write. I’m hoping that the excitement will lure Muse back onto my shoulder, whispering ideas in my ear. NaNo might be the major jumpstart I need to get back to serious writing, serious goals – put to rest the need to follow the rules or someone else’s idea of the writing process.

Whatever you are meant to do, move toward it and it will come to you. ~ Gloria Dunn

My future? I will write! And continue to chronicle my trials and tribulations – and a bunch of other stuff (running, reading, East Coast photos) – on my personal blog: Janet’s Journal. And I will pursue my dream:

There are some people who live in a dream world, and then there are those who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into another. ~ Douglas Everett

May all your dreams become reality – Happy Writing, People of Blogland.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Snowed Under - Literally Inside and Out

by Anita Mae Draper

Coming up for air... I've been in my cave working on Emma's Outlaw. Yes, trudging through Tuesday's blizzard from the house to my office in our converted garage. At least it gets me out in the fresh air - even though the wind almost blew the coffee out of my mug on the way there.

But finally, I'm at the end. And, I'm on such a high about it, I didn't want to stop and draft my posts.
Yes, I said posts. You see, I'll still be posting on my inspirational group blog Inkwell Inspirations. I really enjoy it over there because I get to talk about life and books and not just writing, although I slip it in sometimes, too.

Take my Inky post for yesterday - it's called When Fiction Meets Fact. It's about my excitement of starting a new book and how I'm trying to figure out how to make my hero heroic. I use the biblical story of David and Bathsheba as an example because when King David was faced with temptation - a nude Bathsheba - he succumbed.

Hmm, that's doesn't sound heroic, does it. But it sure makes for an entertaining story. I mean, not only did David commit adultery with her, but when she informed him she was pregnant, he tried to cover it up by calling her husband home from the battle. The plan was for her husband, Uriah, to sleep with Bathsheba, then think the baby was his. Except it didn't work out that way because Uriah refused to enjoy the pleasures of his warm, loving wife when his men were sleeping in the cold courtyard.

So, when that didn't work, David sent Uriah to the front line where he'd have the best chance of being killed. Sure enough, Uriah died in the battle. (Are you beginning to think that maybe Uriah is the true hero here?)

Worried that he'll be found out, King David makes up a story and sends it out as fact. In other words, he lied while trying to cover up his crime. What kind of hero does that?

Add to that, David didn't even repent until the prophet Nathan called him out. Finally, David repents. God forgives him and after some more bumps on the road, David and Bathsheba have another child - Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived.

When you look at David's life as a whole, he is a hero. He just happens to be a hero who stumbled. And because of that monumental stumble, we get to enjoy David and Bathsheba's epic love story. But is it truly a love story? That's the discussion over on my Inky post.

So, the challenge is to write an exciting historical romance with a hero similar to a larger-than-life hero like David. Except, I'm not sure I want my hero to succumb like David did. Maybe take him to the brink of temptation, dangle him over it awhile, then let him come to his senses. I dunno - what do you think?

Anyway, twice a month or so, I'm over at the Inkwell. We have theme days over there and I usually stick to Historical Tuesday's or Fiction Wednesdays. The first two Tuesdays in Oct I blogged under the Historical theme  about using repeat or Now and Then photography.

But back to Emma's Outlaw, I'm polishing the end, now. While my critique partners check it over, I'll be making the final adjustments to my synopsis and query letter. By this weekend it will be gone - submitted to the editor and agent who've waited over a year to read it.

NaNoWriMo starts Nov 1st and I'm hoping to start my new story at that time. I'm very excited about it because it'll be set in 1881 in the District of Assiniboia (now Southern Saskatchewan). I've wanted to do a western Canadian story for a long time and feel the timing is right. Especially since Love Inspired Historical is gearing up to release 4 new titles a month instead of 2 and intently recruiting new writers. So that's who I'll be targeting this time around.

You can find out more about my NaNoWriMo experience - and my new story which I've yet to name - on my personal blog at http://anitamaedraper.blogspot.com/.

I also have a website in the works but the only thing that's available on it at this time is daily horse information and a daily cowboy/western quote. Both are interesting and sometimes good for a laugh.

I'll be adding the following to my website soon:
- recipes used in my stories (really old recipes)
- photos and interesting stuff about my research trips
- jigsaw puzzles of my photos
- links to my posts here at Prairie Chicks and Inkwell Inspirations
- links to places I guest blog

At this time, I've only posted at one other blog and that was at the International Christian Fiction Writers (ICFW) and my post was entitled Canadian Prairies Missed the Old West. That post was actually what got me thinking about my upcoming story.

I also blog at http://community.eharlequin.com/users/anita-mae although I've been remiss about posting there these past few months.

And finally, I'm on Facebook and Twitter which is probably the first place you'll hear news of my 'call'.

Thank you to the readers and guests who took time to visit us here. I really appreciate(d) your support.

To my fellow Chicks, it was an honour to work, learn and write with you. I wish you many successes in your writing journey.

Anita Mae.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Until Next Time

“The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating.”  John Schaar
Wow, today’s the day. My last post for the Prairie Chicks. It’s been a great experience that’s allowed me to venture forth and explore the writing life with a great group of women who supported and encouraged me. All I can say is, thank you and thank goodness I took advantage of an opportunity when it was offered. Daunting as it was to put myself out there, I did it. I dipped my toe into a life from which there is no turning back.

At this point in time. I have a completed manuscript I’m proud of and am in the process of submitting. This is such an exciting time. Letting go, putting a stop to the endless tweaking, and preparing to submit the best damn manuscript I can has been a huge learning curve and almost like a coming of age story. It’s time. I’m ready for the next step.

Immediate goals. After much thought I’ve decided not to participate in NaNoWriMo, instead I’m going to revise last year’s attempt and set some heavy revision goals for the month of November. I’m very excited to start revising this project. The two main characters, Kate and Seth, have been with me for a long time and it’s time to work on their story.

Going forward. I vow to take advantage of opportunities and create others. I vow: To write. And write some more. To learn. To listen. To make mistakes. To communicate with other writers. To follow my heart.

To be fearless.

You can find me:
http://www.karyngood.blogspot.com/ – Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

Twitter – karyngood

Facebook – Karyn Good

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

To Boldly Go

So, I swear I didn't plan it this way, but today is my last blog post with the Chicks, I'm talking about what's on the horizon in my writing life...and it's my birthday. 26 on the 26th. So this is a real transition date for me, insofar as anything like birthdays, ends of things, or new frontiers ever feel real and solid and immediate.

Almost a year ago I stepped into full time writing for the first time. Since then I've had short fiction published, joined the SFWA, established a writing schedule that works for me, and laid the smack to flighty writing patterns. Now it's time to take things to a whole new level of ass kicking. And trust me, these sort of things warrant aggressive language. There's no room for meek or self-deprecating here.

This past weekend I went to the Surrey International Writers' Conference. I've been before, but this was my first time as a serious writer, and with a mindset to publish. I took my first three pages in for critique at a Blue Pencil session. The only critique was the author wanted to read more. I worked my ass off preparing a killer pitch. The agent requested pages.

So I head home tomorrow. New focus, new goals, new year (as far as birthdays go), and new stage to dive into.  Time to kick ass, write some damn fine prose, do horrible things to my characters, make them bleed and hurt and ache worse than ever, and make them work for the endings they deserve, and get that book out on shelves so people won't need to keep asking when they can read it.

So I will write. And I will revise. And I will polish. And I will take my kick-ass pitch and query the hell out of it, and see what comes back at me. That is what I will do on the horizon.

And I will write more short fiction, when I need distance from the novel so I can approach it with fresh eyes. I will try new genres and new approaches, and wander outside my comfort zones, and maybe even try writing something that doesn't wind up mildly (or greatly) morbid or negative. Maybe.

I will continue to overuse words like kickass, badass, and smartass. I will not be ashamed of having utter confidence in my work, nor will I bother with the pretense of seeming otherwise for the sake of appearances. I know what I can do, I know what I have done, and I know what I will do. To act otherwise would be false. People, of course, are free to interpret that attitude as negatively as they want. I don't mind.

I will continue to over-analyze the minutiae of fiction and then write blog posts about it. And perhaps find new methods of picking apart and distributing said analyses. I will also get a subdomain soon, and hoard all these ramblings on my own site. Either way, there will be blogs, and tweets, and excessive thought put in to small, inconsequential aspects of fiction.

(I'll also be posting in more detail about the Surrey conference, workshops there, and my experience in the next two weeks over on Eventide, including a blow by blow of this year's Surrey Idol for the curious.)

The time has come to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new agents and new publishing contracts. To boldly go where no Hayley E Lavik has gone before.

Eventide Unmasked

Monday, October 25, 2010

Onwards and Upwards

Hayley suggested we write one blog about where we’ve been and one about where we’re going. I’m looking forward to the future and the next steps in my writing career and I’d like to share them with you.

I’m very excited to announce that I have a new novella coming out from The Wild Rose Press on January 5, 2011. Flawless is set during World War Two in occupied France. Here’s a blurb:

France, 1942. The Nazis have stolen the infamous blue diamond, Le Coeur Bleu, intending to barter it for weapons that will destroy the Allies. Jewel thief Hunter Smith is given a choice; help the French Resistance steal back the diamond and avenge the death of his best friend, or stay locked up in an English prison. He chooses revenge.

Resistance fighter Madeleine Bertrand’s husband died when he was betrayed by Hunter Smith. How can she now pretend to be married to the arrogant American? How can she betray Jean Philippe’s memory with her passionate response to Hunter’s kisses? Neither is prepared for the maelstrom of attraction that erupts between them. To survive they must uncover the mysteries of the past and conquer the dangers of the present. But first Madeleine must decide if her loyalties lie with her dead husband and the Resistance or with the greatest love of her life.

And if I want to sell lots of copies of Flawless as well as my other books, I need to do some serious promotion. I'm currently working on a Facebook Page. It's definitely a work in progress, but I'd love you stop by and "like" me. I also want to get familiar with Twitter. I’ll be going back to Hayley’s excellent article in Prairie Chicks about Twitter in order to get myself in gear. And I’m not done with blogging yet either. My new blog on my website entitled Jana’s Journey goes live November 1. It’ll be about my life as a writer, a mother and wife, an admin assistant, a cook, a baker, a candlestick maker. Along with articles on writing topics and the writing life, I’ll have musings about life in general. I’ve got some serious juggling to do and I’ll talk about it at www.janarichards.net/blog-jana-s-journey

As far as writing projects go, I’m currently working on a submission for The Wild Rose Press’s Class of ’85 series. This series follows the adventures of Summerville High School’s graduating class of 1985 as they meet for a reunion in their hometown. I hope you have a look at the stories that have already been released in this series, because it’s a load of fun. My novella length manuscript is called “The Girl Most Likely”. Cara McLeod knows her life has not turned out the way she thought it would back in high school when she was voted “the girl most likely to have the perfect marriage.” She’s now divorced and in her words feels “fat, frumpy, and over forty”. The last thing she wants to do is to face her old classmates, and her ex-husband, at the Summerville High reunion. When she’s cajoled into attending by her daughters and her best friend, she vows that she’s going to shape up and lose a few pounds in the six weeks until the reunion. She enlists the help of personal trainer Finn Cooper, who thinks that Cara is beautiful just the way she is. Now Finn must convince Cara how wonderful she really is, and how right they are for each other.

Okay, my blurb hasn’t yet been perfected; this is my first stab at it. I’ve finished a rough first draft and Janet has generously consented to critique the story for me. I’m excited to move forward with this project. Wish me luck!

As far as other projects, my goal is to finish unfinished projects in 2011 (FYI: this was my goal in January 2010. Better late then never.) Two stories that I pitched at the 2009 conference in Surrey await completion. I even have names of agents to send them to! I’m not quite sure what I’m waiting for. But I swear I’ll finish at least one of them in 2011.

I’d also love to write a magazine article or two in 2011. At the very least, I’d like to figure out if writing articles for magazines and/or ezines would be profitable enough to quit my day job. Lots to do and to discover in the year ahead.

And so we come to the end of the Prairie Chicks. Thankfully we’ll live on in the articles and posts we have archived here. But I think all of us are looking forward to new projects and new challenges as we make our way in this writing life.

Goodbye from this Chick. I’ll see you soon at http://www.janarichards.net/

Friday, October 22, 2010

One Last Hug

A question / answer set I learned last year at the Surrey International Writers Conference and have heard repeated again this year is:

Q: What is your favorite piece of your own writing?
A: The one I am currently working on.

When you are a famous author (or a yet unfamous / yet unpublished author with more than one complete / yet to be completed piece of writing), feel free to use this in an interview like so many other authors. Or be honest and tell them the name of your favorite work. Or tell them my instinctual answer:

All of them.

I include my small part in the Prairie Chicks blog in this list of favorites. The Prairie Chicks Write Romance blog isn't rolling belly-up in the water. The Chicks will cease posting because they're finished. Not giving up. Finished.


This is how I see it. An accomplishment to be proud of.

What else have I seen?

Well. Today, I observed a flock of determined Chicks fearlessly experiencing the Surrey International Writers Conference (Expect great things from these women. I do).

And you know you are too. You're fearlessly determined. But you don't need me to tell you that. You know already. That's why you're here. Even if it is because you feel the need to search for some spark to remind you of your determination. Day by day, I am finding my spark and am glad for the shower of flames and positive energy this weekend promises.

Call it a project or an experiment or a work of love or a relentless drive, but you are a writer. You don't need me or anyone else to tell you that. And there is nothing I or anyone else can do to stop you. Remember that.


What have I learned?

I am the opposite of a fair weather writer. I like it cold and dark and snowy. Summer is for gardening and edits.

Writers as a collective are unbelievably supportive and kind and caring, even if they pretend to be introverted hermits.

I am less of an introverted hermit than I originally suspected.

What is in my future?

Writing. Writing. More writing. I vow not to get in the way of my story. Not to be that author whose head pokes out from the shrubberies or who you can tell is hiding in the linen closet. I will allow my characters be described by their actions, not a list of their hair and eye color.

A lot more time with mermaids and mermen. Mostly mermen. Shirtless ones.

Some thought into the pros and cons of a pen name. A piece of advice from Julia Quinn this weekend - if you want a pen name, go ahead. But keep your first name so you actually turn your head when someone is talking to you.

Perhaps a bit more blogging on my personal blog, which has sadly fallen into disrepair over the summer.

What bit of advice can I, an unpublished author, offer to you:

Be authentic. Be true to yourself. The right decisions in life are usually the difficult ones. This does not mean every difficult decision is the right decision. Follow your heart. Follow your head. Follow your stomach. Floss. Sing in the shower. Eat your main character's favorite meal. Spend time with the ones you love. Secretly observe them as character research. The show must go on.

And finally...



Enjoy every moment you write. Enjoy this thing you love. This thing we love.

"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough."
-Mae West