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Just a quick update on the Heart of the Crystal proofread

I have now completed the proofread of Heart of the Crystal and did a bit of tweaking. I take heart (;)) from the fact that I still enjoy the story after who knows how many passes. The characters are interesting and their troubles are compelling. Now only to convince an agent/editor of the same.

Oh, and I was doing some research on the Romance Writers of America site and discovered that I was correct on the category only rather than solely contemporary romance, this falls in the sensual romance category. That and I added a tweak to the query letter that I wish I'd thought of before sending any out.

I'm considering entering Heart in the RWA contest, but one thing concerned me. In reading about the contests and why to enter them, people say that the cost of the entrance fee is for the feedback you receive and that makes the fees/contests worth it even if your entry doesn't win. While I'd like to believe Heart would race to the top of any heap, at the same time having the backup value to the contest being feedback, especially since the rules require the judges to read the whole novel, makes sense.

However, RWA no longer provides feedback. The judges' FAQ explicitly speaks out against actual comments beyond the category based scores. And the reason for that is fear of being sued or the results being contested. Ouch. How we writers like to shoot each other and ourselves in the foot. Anyway, if anyone has an opinion on this, I'd appreciate it :).
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Things are trucking along in the new and improved Margaret world, progressing if not catching up to where I wanted to be.

I've written 13 of the 15 Story a Day short stories I have made as my more reasonable goal, and one might even be perfect for an upcoming anthology.

The proofread of Heart of the Crystal is moving along at a good pace with only the last 15k or so remaining. Regardless of my plans, if I were to get a full request, I could easily turn it around in less than a week, so there I'm feeling much more secure.

I'm also about a third into my latest novel critique and keeping up somewhat with short story edits.

Do I regret all the things I had to cull from my list? Of course. However, they weren't getting done any faster for all that they were screaming in my ears. Now their muffled pleas make sure I won't forget them while not interfering with what I need to get done.

So a much calmer, saner, me is now in command of this blog ;). Of course someday I really should make a novel-specific update, right?

Oh, and to give this post some meat, here are short summaries of my SAD stories. It should give some sense of the breadth and depth the SAD challenge offers and maybe a hint into why I try to do it every year. There's SF, fantasy, and contemporary fantasy all mixed in :).

1: A village witch takes in an injured stranger at the changing of the world from peasant to industry.
2: An alien mining consortium being sold for pieces from the perspective of the employees just finding out.
3: A rebellious boy discovering the truth behind his people's religion and learning it isn't quite as fabricated as he'd believed.
4: A mutant child left isolated by her mother's death must fend for herself despite her village.
5: A self-aware power grid takes care of humanity.
6: A wizardry student discovers history as written wasn't exactly true when the spirit of the first major wizard corrupts him.
7: A guilt-ridden monk relives the past when his brethren were slaughtered even though that time is over.
8: The last survivor of a mining colony who was raised by aliens is restored to human hands.
9: A gun-toting outlaw who had been a slave sold as pleasure girl finds just what she deserves.
10: A woman struggles to meet the demands of a demon she's inherited from her father.
11: A young woman named a valkyrie has to find a dead hero and judge his right to go to Valhalla.
12: A slave bound only by his word has to find a way to get released without breaking his promise.
13: A fairy who loses his wings because he helps a human regains them by bringing the two people together.
14 and 15 are still to come :).


For those who don't know, Story A Day is one of the monthly challenges over at Forward Motion. Participants post raw versions of their stories in a password-protected section of the site for the fun of proving they put out 10, 15, 20, or 31 stories in a month. Oh, and the stories are supposed to come from a series of idea generators listed within the challenge.
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Okay, the last one was an attempt to mimic Harlequin back cover blurbs. This one takes into account some of the comments and the mixing in my brain, plus assistance from a good friend :). My only concern is this is more of a non-romance one because the answer to the question at the end is obvious, just not how she will manage it. On the other hand, the how will she is implicit in the question so I think it works. What do you all think?

Hounded by paparazzi from childhood, Bethany Michaels has no reason to trust a man who shows too much interest in her mentally unbalanced mother. Still, her heart won't let her forget him. But what can she do when she discovers damning evidence that he is after the former superstar's story? Can she risk her mother's happiness for her own?
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Okay, it's a first pass and who knows what it will end up with, but this actually represents the story and asks those sort of blurby questions that a blurb should do :). Contemporary Romance for those who don't remember or didn't follow that process.

Bethany Michaels devotes her life to protecting her mother, an aging singer, from tabloid reporters. She has little time or energy for normal relationships. When she crosses paths with Damien Donnellin, she craves more. But is he interested in her? Or just using her to get Isobel's traumatic story?


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Margaret McGaffey Fisk

April 2017

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