|Into the Fire|
I’m very proud of Into the Fire, my short story with The Wild Rose Press, but my first novel I wrote for publication will never see the light of day. Most published authors have these manuscripts getting dusty under a bed or saved to a file that hasn’t been opened in several years. Occasionally, these are dragged out just so we can assure ourselves this story was not meant for human eyes, and we tuck it away again when our beliefs are confirmed.
That first manuscript was a learning experience. It shaped my voice as a writer and became my first completed novel in over ten years. I’m thankful for the time I spent writing that story and those characters. They’ll always be like real people to me, and the feeling of writing The End can’t be beat. Yet, after six fruitless contest entries and a couple agent/editor rejections, I finally let it go. Throughout my lifetime, the most difficult choice I’ve ever had to make is deciding whether I should “let go” or “hold on” a little longer, and writing a novel is no exception.
But how do you know when it’s time to “let go?”
Critiquing is the name of the game, and all writers have to play if we’re going to win in the end.
Lately I’ve felt very blessed, but one of the greatest blessings has been the amazing members of Kentucky Romance Writers of America. They have been supportive beyond the call of duty and kicked my writerly butt when needed.
At a recent meeting, we critiqued each other’s back cover blurbs. What an experience that was. Let me assure you I appreciated every minute of their attention to my writing, but they didn’t hold back when highlighting the plot holes in my current work-in-progress. True, it was difficult to hear what they had to say because just like one of my fellow writers pointed out, each rejection feels like someone is slapping your baby, but in the end, this is a story I’ll hold onto, and the advice they gave will make this a stronger, better story that readers hopefully won’t have an urge to throw across the room.
It’s important to let writers and readers (even some who aren’t writers themselves) give an honest critique of your work. You may not always like what you hear, but you’ll gain invaluable perspective into a reader’s perception of your novel, and you’ll learn when to let go and when to hold on a little longer.
So how about it? Any unpublished manuscripts under your bed? How did you know to let go? Or what encourages you to hold on and keep working on a manuscript? Leave a comment and your e-mail address to be entered to win a copy of Into the Fire.
I love to hear from readers, writers, and in-betweeners, so please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Into the Fire Excerpt:
Months after he stole her affections—then her executive chef position—Shyann and Luke meet again under sizzling circumstances, competing head-to-head on a televised cooking show called Kitchen Twist. Each arrives with a motive: Luke intends to win back Shyann’s heart, even as she wants closure on the not-so-tasty heartbreak he once served up.
Luke knows culinary masterpieces require a delicate touch, but that knowledge is tossed out with the leftovers as he works to show Shyann he’s not such a bad guy. Now he pushes his skills to the limit to win the competition and satisfy a bet.
Can two top chefs resist each other as they move out of the pan and into the fire?
Here's the Blurb:
His hands burned with awareness of where they rested. His pulse raced, and her lips were mere inches from his. As if time stopped completely, they stared at each other, and for the life of him, Luke couldn’t seem to remember why he’d come in here.
Shyann shook off the haze first. “Let me go. I can get this without you.”
Against his need and with exaggerated motion, he pulled his hands away. She stumbled and eyed him suspiciously but went back to jumping for a high box.
Although he appreciated the bounce of her breasts each time she leaped upward, he forced himself not to stare, gathering some of his ingredients instead. But after watching for a few more seconds, with an irritated grunt, he reached around her, grabbed her target, and handed it to her.
“I said I didn’t need your help.”
“Fine, I’ll put it back.”
His hand touched the box, and she pulled it behind her. The motion caused their bodies to collide again. Her liquid brown eyes blazed up at him, and even as a small voice in the back of his brain screamed he didn’t have time for this, he couldn’t seem to pull away. She looked so damn soft and vulnerable, and all he wanted to do was step out of the way of her win, give it all to her because she deserved it. But first, he wanted to kiss her, a long, hot, turn-their-knees-to-jelly kiss.