Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Saying Good-bye to Old Friends...

I'm in the midst of a dilemma (per usual).

Have you ever been so attached to your characters that you can't let them go, but yet you don't know where they are going? That is the case with my Revolutionary War manuscript "A Convenient Misfortune." I've been working on it since I was in high school. Way back then, I didn't even know the word 'outline' and so I wrote and wrote until I wrote myself into a hole. Then I went back a few years later and made some revisions, but I never could see the end of the novel. Now that I have spent some time studying this whole craft we calling writing, I'm better prepared to work on this manuscript.

Or am I?

I love the hero and heroine in "A Convenient Misfortune" even though they are both vastly different from Alex and Julienne in "The Enemy Within." Jackson is far more roguish than Alex, but he hides a secret hurt that he intends to protect at all costs. Arabella has some similarities to Julienne: she is well educated and feisty (albeit in a more social acceptable way). While Julienne rails against her position in society, Arabella knows that she has to do what she has to do. She's also a conflicted character like Julienne when it comes to men. There are two men in her life: one that she is over her heels in love with and the other is a dear friend who desperately wants her to reciporcate.

Despite my attachment to Arabella and Jackson, I feel like something is missing in their story. I've got plenty of drama (that's my signature, right?) but I fear the plot is weak. Part of me wants to keep writing to see where they take me because I am emotionally invested in them, while the other part of me doesn't want to pour the time into something that is not viable. Let's not even get into my quandry over POV. At the end of the day, I worry that this is my "trunk" novel and that makes me very sad.

So what about you guys? Have you ever not wanted to put away a manuscript?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Changes are Afoot!

Hello all!

I hope you are winding down your work weeks in fine style. I'm sorry that I have been a bit neglectful lately, but I've had a lot of news recently that has been...well distracting. Most everything has been most welcome, but before I can get to the good, I must dispense with the bad.

I am dedicating this post to my dear Darcy. He passed away almost a week ago at the ripe old age of fourteen. As you might have guessed, Darcy came to the family during my Jane Austen phase (hence the name). For many years, he would have nothing to do with me after I left for college. Like his namesake, forgiveness was not his forte. But in the past year, we had grown close again since I've been camping out at my parents' house most every weekend. And so it was with great sadness that I had to say farewell. It's hard not to remember all of the quirky things he used to do. My favorite was whenever we would go traveling, he would drop one of his stuffed mice in our bags. Inevitably, we would arrive at our destination to discover his present, which always made us long for home. He was definitely one cool cat and completely irreplaceable. He will be dearly missed!

Let me move on before I burst into tears for the upmteenth time. I have two happy things to note. First, I received some very good news on the writing front. For all the details, please see my Facebook page, but I will give you a hint--I'm now a successful querier! Although the fun (and the wait) is just beginning, I am very happy.

Secondly, I got a job offer last week! Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I have been suffering through a commuter marriage--well no more! In approximately two weeks, I will be re-united with my husband. But as you might imagine, it will be a very busy (read: stressful) time. I have recently put our house on the market so between realtors and moving, I may be MIA from the blog for a time. But once the dust settles, I will be back in action!

So has anyone else gotten some good news that they would like to share?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Genre: A Great Dilemma

So I've turned my thoughts to genre. As I hammer out the bajillionth copy of my query (yes, still), I am exploring the notion of calling my novel a historical romance. The label frightens me really because in my mind historical romance is that aisle at the Barnes and Noble that features scantily clad ladies and gents on the novel covers.

I'm pretty sure I read this one. And yes, I'm blushing.
But my novel is a love story, and I must accept what I have written. While it is also about revenge and redemption, death and life, and most importantly, family honor, it would nothing without Julienne and Alex's relationship. I set out to write a straight historical fiction, and may even deviated (slightly) from the standard romance formula (but yes, there is a happy ending!), but I cannot deny what my book is. If only I could figure it out.

The question has plagued me for some time. I really began to tackle the concept this evening when I realized that one of my favorite historical fiction writers is published under the Mira imprint, which is owned by Harlequin. Then I noticed that even the author refers to herself as a historical romance writer. Well, I'll be.... Her books are romantically driven, but definitely not the standard historical romance. Heck, she doesn't even do sex scenes. To add further fuel to the fire, I was looking at an agent blog wherein she cited Phillipa Gregory and Karleen Koen as historical romance authors. I definitely fit in with those authors.

So what do I do? My query now reads that "REBEL HEART is a historical fiction with romantic elements" but should I just bite the bullet and call it a historical romance? I posed the question to my husband, to which he replied (with his characteristic clarity): "I think you should classify it to the genre that sells." Excellent advice, really.

So what about you? Have you had any genre conundrums?