Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day Four of the Countdown to the No Kiss Blogfest

Day Four of the Countdown to the No Kiss Blogfest!

This is from one of my favorite books, Match Me if You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. In this scene Annabelle is a matchmaker and Heath is her client. They are away at a camp with some mutual friends and after a night of dancing and more than a little drinking they have just kissed. Annabelle broke it off after only a moment, and they are now discussing it.

[Annabelle] heard [Heath] sigh. “We’re talking about simple physical attraction brought on by some moonlight, a little dancing, and too much liquor,” he said. “Do you agree that’s what this is?”

“I guess.”

“Basic physical attraction.”

“I suppose.”

“I don’t know about you,” he said, “but it’s been a long time since I’ve had such a good time.”

“Okay, I’ll admit it was fun. The dancing,” she added hastily.

“Damned right it was. So we got a little carried away. Nothing more than circumstances, right?”

Pride and self-respect dictated that she agree. “Of course.”

“Circumstances… and a little animal instinct.” His huskier pitch began to sound almost seductive. “Nothing to get worked up about. Are you with me?”

He was throwing her off stride, but she nodded.

He moved closer, his gravelly whisper a rasp over her skin. “Perfectly understandable, right?”

“Right.” She was still nodding, almost as if he’d mesmerized her.

“Are you sure?” he whispered.

She kept nodding, no longer remembering exactly what the question was.

His eyes gleamed in the moonlight. “Because that’s the only way… you can explain something like this. Pure animal attraction.”

“Uh-huh,” she managed, beginning to feel like a bedazzled, bobble-headed doll.

“What sets us free”—he touched her chin, the barest brush—“to do exactly what neither of us can stop thinking about, right?” He dropped his head to kiss her.

The night wind hummed; her heart pounded. Just before his lips touched hers, his eyelids flickered, and she glimpsed the faintest hint of cunning loitering in those green irises. That’s when it hit her.”

“You snake!” She pushed against his chest.

He stepped back, all wounded innocence. “I don’t deserve that.”

“Ohmygod!” You’ve just put me through Sales 101. I bow to the master.”

“You’ve had way too much to drink.”

“The Great Salesman asks just the right questions to get the mark agreeing with everything he says. He makes her nod her stupid head until it feels like it’s coming off her neck. Then he dives in for the kill. You just tried to make a sale!” (192-3)

Phillips, Susan Elizabeth. Match Me if You Can. New York: Avon Books, 2006. (192-3)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day Three of the Countdown to the No Kiss Blogfest

Day three of the Countdown to the No Kiss Blogfest!

This clip is from one of my favorite TV shows ever, Firefly (May it rest in peace). This may not totally count, but it’s absolutely hilarious. (It's the first 3 and a half minutes or so... For some reason it wouldn't let me pull a clip.)


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day Two of the Countdown to the No Kiss Blogfest!

Day two of the Countdown to the No Kiss Blogfest!

This excerpt is from Leaving Carolina, the new novel from Tamara Leigh from Multnomah. Some background for the story is that Piper, the narrator, has wandered into some poison ivy and Axel is providing her with some lotion that is supposed to help, if you get it on early enough. Also, Axel was wounded in battle and he lost a leg and wears a prosthesis. This is after their first kiss. Afterward he discovered that she was seeing someone else, someone she is no longer dating.

[Axel] steps forward and extends the bottle of lotion. “If the rash appears, wash again. If nothing else, it should lessen the severity.”

“Thank you.” Our fingers brush as I accept the bottle, and attraction hums through me. Did he feel that? I glance at him in time to catch the curve of his mouth before it flattens and his brow pinches. […]

I snatch my hand back, only to wonder where to put it. As the options are limited, I clasp it with the other around the bottle, but it feels awkward. No wonder my clients groan and complain about the tasks I breezily set for them. It takes a tremendous amount of preparation and practice, both of which I’m lacking.

“What I didn’t say was that I hardly notice it anymore.”

Disbelief crosses Axel’s face, and I’m reminded of his fiancee’s inability to reconcile herself to his loss of a limb. “It makes a lot of women uncomfortable.”

“Not me,” I say with an eagerness that surprises—and embarrasses—me. “I mean, yes, it came as a shock, as I had no idea your limp was anything more than that, but it isn’t off-putting. In fact, I think you’re…” This is not the direction I should be going.

“What?”

Oh Well. “You’re attractive, even with that whole”—I wave a hand at his lower face—“mustache-goatee-ponytail thing you have going on.”

His skepticism remains in effect, though I do detect amusement.

“I mean it.”

“Under the circumstances, you shouldn’t.” He smiles. “You are taken.”

Reminded of the last time attraction drew me to him when Grant and I were still “on,” so to speak,” I feel an urgent need to update him. “Actually, it’s basically over between me and… the man I was dating.”

Axel tilts his head. “Should I say I’m sorry?”

I almost laugh. “Would you mean it?”

“It depends on how heartbroken you are.”

Why am I not? I was practically engaged. Or was I? “I’m recovering fine.”

He glances at my mouth, which suddenly feels dry. And in need of kissing. Not good.

I hold up the lotion, “Thank you again.”

Without giving him time to respond, I hurry around the side of the cottage. (294-6)

Leigh, Tamara. Leaving Carolina. Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 2009. (294-6)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Count Down to No Kiss Blogfest - Day 1

January 2nd is the Official No Kiss Blogfest, so I’ve decided to start a five day count down to kick off this big event by posting some of my favorite non-kisses from page and screen.

And to kick off the countdown I would like to start with a scene from the TV show How I Met Your Mother


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lady Emily Ashton Series - Tasha Alexander

First I want to thank everyone who commented yesterday. I hope everyone comes back.

Next, I’d like to go WAH! because the ACFW announced who will be teaching the Early Bird session at the 2010 Conference, and it’s James Scott Bell. So here is goes: WAH!

Third, I’d like to talk about a series of books I’ve been reading that I would like to recommend. I know it’s been a while (like a month) but I’m back on board here (I think).

Today I’d like to talk about the Lady Emily Ashton Series by Tasha Alexander. These books follow the adventures of Lady Emily Ashton, a young widow who discovers a love for adventure outside the traditional life of society in Victorian England. These are mysteries with a thread of romance, all told from the first person perspective of Emily.

The first book in the series And Only to Deceive tells the story of the time shortly after Emily comes out of mourning for her husband. They had only been married a very short while, and Emily did not know him well, but after his death she begins to read the books in his library and his journals and discovers things about her late husband she never knew, and she falls a little bit more in love with him as the days go by. While she is getting to know him a little too late rumors are spreading that her husband’s death may not have been as innocent as she was lead to believe, and the man closest to her husband may be to blame.

The following books, A Poisoned Season, A Fatal Waltz, and Tears of Pearl, tell stories as Emily finds that she is not satisfied with simply being who society expects her to be and that she wants more out of life than parties, much to the dismay of her mother.

For those who like the Secret History books from Lauren Willig (new one Betrayal of the Blood Lily is coming out next month btw) I think that this will be right up your alley.

Monday, December 21, 2009

OFFICIAL Kissing Day Blogfest!

Woo-Hoo! I’m super excited about today and I didn’t even know it existed until about half an hour ago. It’s the OFFICIAL Kissing Day Blogfest! Bloggers all over the blogosphere are posting their favorite kissing scenes.

This kiss is from my current WIP Matches & Matrimony.


To set the scene a little Amanda (the narrator) and Jordan are good friends. Jordan is getting married in a month or so and he has been fighting with his fiancée, Sarahlynn. Amanda has a crush on Jordan, so the whole wedding business has been difficult for her. They are currently trapped in Amanda’s bathroom (it’s a long story involving a distracted contractor – Jordan – and a defective doorknob). Fortunately when they got trapped they had food with them (which is more than a little disgusting now that I think about it). Anyway, here it is:

“Are you going to eat the rest of your chips?” Jordan asked. I’d eaten my sandwich while he was telling me about this guy that he’d hired that was really nice, but a bit of an idiot who had to be walked through each step of every process about every time he did it. I knew how he felt.

“I’m willing to share,” I flirted. I immediately started berating myself. I wasn’t supposed to be flirting with him. He wasn’t available to flirt with.

He scooted from where he’d been sitting by the tub during our whole conversation over to where I was sitting by the sink. He started picking the chips off my plate.

“You’re a really good listener,” he said softly. “I didn’t mean to totally unload on you like that. I guess it just all came out before I could stop it.”

I smiled. “It’s okay. We all need to unload every once in a while.”

He picked at my chips some more, then he turned and looked at me. “You’re a really good friend, Amanda.”

“You’re a good friend, too,” I replied.

Then, almost in slow motion, it happened. Jordan reached one hand over, cupped the back of my head in his large palm, and pulled my face to his. And then he kissed me. Not a simple, friendly kind of kiss, but a real kiss. A full, close-your-eyes-and-throw-yourself-into-it kind of kiss.

There was a part of me that immediately said that this was wrong, but the part of me that had been longing for this for months was louder, and I slipped one hand behind his neck and started to kiss him back.

He pulled away slightly, only for a moment, to angle his head a little better before claiming my lips once again, only now deepening the kiss. But that moment was all the rational part of my brain needed to tell me that what I was doing was wrong and that I needed to stop. And this time that voice won out.

I wrenched myself away from him, and quickly stood up. Jordan!” I cried. “What are you doing? What are we doing?”

Jordan also stood. He looked slightly confused for a moment, before his eyes widened and I knew that he realized exactly what I was talking about.

“Oh, God,” he whispered, more as a prayer than an expletive. “Amanda, I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have… I don’t know…”

Jordan, I’m not the one you need to apologize to. That’s Sarahlynn.”

Jordan’s eyes grew wide again, before he closed them as though he were in extreme pain. “Sarahlynn,” he moaned.

“Yeah. You remember her. Your fiancée, Sarahlynn. The woman you’re going to marry in a month. That Sarahlynn.”

He sank back down to the floor and then buried his face in his hands. “What am I going to do?”

“Nothing,” I told him. “You do nothing. You say nothing. You change nothing. You only do exactly as you’ve planned on doing for the last three months. You marry Sarahlynn at Christmas. You forget that this ever happened.”

Thursday, December 3, 2009

FTC Guidelines Stuff

About a month and a half ago or so I received an e-mail making me aware of some FTC guidelines about book reviews. It’s a little hazy about how this applies to blogs, but I’ll attempt to comply. Apparently, as a book reviewer I am supposed to disclose where I got the books that I review. Most of the books I review I either purchase myself, borrow from the library, or receive through Paperback Swap. There are some, however, that I have received for free from various conferences I have gone to. I frequently cannot remember which ones they are. No one has specifically asked me to review these books and I in no way benefit from someone else purchasing them after reading my review. The companies, of course, benefit from it, but I don’t believe that was their goal in giving them to me for free (but it may have been, I am not a mind reader :P)

Also, in the nature of full disclosure, if you click on the Paperback Swap link at the bottom of the page and then decide to join I should receive a free credit for recommending you. I have no idea how well this works because to my knowledge no one has tried it and I don’t really read computer code, so it may not be connected to my account correctly and I would never know. And to be honest, I’m not really that concerned about it. I want more to share the wonder of Paperback Swap with the world than to get the credit for it. The credits are just a bonus :P.

Hopefully this is what the FTC is looking for and they will not fine me thousands of dollars I don’t have.

Have a good day!

Monday, November 30, 2009

I WON!

Something amazing happened last night. I was writing on my NaNoWriMo project, and as I compulsively added up my word count (because I had it going in a couple of different Word documents) I realized that my number was coming closer, and closer, and closer to 50,000, and then… something amazing happened. I CROSSED the 50,000 word mark. I was shocked. I didn’t really know what to do. I squealed at my mom and then I rushed to someplace with a phone (because we still have dialup at home) and uploaded my word count, praying that the 20 word padding that I had was enough.

I waited, with bated breath until I saw this wonderful sight:

I DID IT!

I WON!

I started bouncing around the house and then, because it was 11:00 at night, I went to bed, or at least, attempted to go to bed, because I was to excited to stay awake.

Since approximately the second week of NaNoWriMo, I have been behind. I caught up after the second week in one 4,000 word marathon night, but really, other than that, I have been behind, and yet I was still able to finish early. It may have taken an almost 5,000 word day, but that’s okay, because I finished.

During this time I attended 2 Write-Ins, one of which I hosted:

And earned 5 of the 10 NaNoWriMo Merit Badges (NaNo Socializing, Word-Count Padding, Secret Noveling – though it wasn’t really that secret because everyone knew I was doing it, Creative Nonfiction, and 50,000-Word Victory; I kinda’ earned the one for Caffeine Abuse too, which would be number 6, but I had that problem before NaNoWriMo started).

But now I’m done, and it’s back to the real world of writing… editing.

*Sigh*


And earned 5 of the 10 NaNoWriMo Merit Badges (NaNo Socializing, Word-Count Padding, Secret Noveling – though it wasn’t really that secret because everyone knew I was doing it, Creative Nonfiction, and 50,000-Word Victory; I kinda’ earned the one for Caffeine Abuse too, which would be number 6, but I had that problem before NaNoWriMo started).

But now I’m done, and it’s back to the real world of writing… editing.

*Sigh*


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bird by Bird

One of my favorite books on writing is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. This great book not only discusses the fundamentals of writing like plot, character, setting, etc. but also other helpful tips for the more advanced writer, such as ways to overcome the voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough, ideas for writing groups and what to do during the publication (and pre-publication) process.

One of the important lessons Lamott teaches in Bird by Bird is to break up writing assignments into chunks that are easier deal with. She suggests that you keep a one inch picture frame by your writing desk.

It reminds me that all I have to do is write down as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame. This is all I have to bit off for the time being. All I am going to do right now, for example, is write that one paragraph that sets the story in my hometown, in the late fifties, when the trains were still running. (18)

This lesson is also where the title of the book comes from. She tells the story of when her brother was writing a must-procrastinated paper on birds and he couldn’t figure out how he was going to complete the huge project. His father imparted upon him these words of wisdom that inspire us today. “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird” (19).

Sometimes the immensity of 50,000 words in 30 days is overwhelming, so we should remind ourselves to just take it bird by bird, and keep plowing on.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Plot? No Problem!

With November being NaNoWriMo month, I’ve decided that it would be a good opportunity to share some of my favorite books on writing. For this week I’m suggesting a book written specifically for those embarking on the NaNoWriMo adventure. It is entitled No Plot? No Problem! And it’s written by Chris Baty, the founder of National Novel Writing Month.

I almost feel as though it is cheating to suggest this book because I have not yet finished it yet. But the reason I have not finished it, is one I feel I can justify. The book in broken up into two sections. The first is about preparing for your novel-writing journey. It’s chapters include information on why the month is handled the way it is, ideas on how to find the time to write 50,000 words in 30 days, tricks and incentives to actually getting the job done, and of course ideas for how to get ideas for your novel.

This is the half I have read.

The other half of the book is a week-by-week overview of what to expect and ways to overcome the hardships that you find in each month. I have not read most of this half, but I will justify why: The book told me not to.

For maximum effect, read each of the following four chapters at the beginning of their corresponding weeks. Also, no skipping ahead! Peeking at Week Two’s pep talk while you’re still exploring the exciting terrain of Week One will cause strange and disquieting rifts in the temporal fabric of the universe, and may needlessly jeopardize the lives of everyone on this planet. Be a responsible (and fiendishly creative) global citizen and take the chapters one week at a time. (103)

The last chapter of the book is entitled “I Wrote a Novel. Now what?” and I’m going to assume that it’s about what to do with your finished 50,000 word project, but I haven’t read that chapter yet either (because I do what I’m told).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Montana Rose

Another great new Christian Fiction writer (at least new to me) is Mary Connealy. I recently read her new(er) release Montana Rose the first book in her Montana Marriages series. It is the story of Cassie and Red. Cassie is a young woman who has always been sheltered, but when her husband, a man not well liked in the small Montana town where they live, dies, she finds herself in the middle of a mob, about to be married off to a complete stranger. Red has always admired Cassie from afar, held back by the fact that she was married, but when he sees that she needs his help, he comes to her rescue, marrying her so she doesn’t have to marry any of the rougher men in town, despite the fact that she is pregnant.

As Cassie and Red grow used to one another they begin to fall in love, but things don’t always run smooth for them as other men try to get in the way of their happiness. Can they survive the harshness of the land and the people that inhabit it?

One thing I found really interesting about this book was that it included aspects of life that we almost take for granted today that you don’t frequently find in books with a historical setting.

The first of these is the aspect of the stalker. Cassie has a stalker in the character of Wade.

Wade scuffed his foot against the bedding of pine needles as he waited impatiently for [Red] to go into the house. He was learning their schedule.

Morning chores. Ride out to check the cattle. Noon break. Ride out for slightly longer to check the cattle. Evening chores. Supper. [Red] always stayed inside after supper. Always hurrying, always working. (164,5)

Wade follows Cassie like this on multiple occasions during the book and there are some even scarier moments involving the two of them. It was interesting to see how someone we are so familiar with in contemporary fiction would work in a historical fiction setting.

The second thing is the way women in labor react. We are all familiar with the woman who while in labor screams at her husband, “You’ll never touch me again!” and other such amusing things.

“Don’t touch me,” Cassie snarled.

Red jumped back as surely as if a rattler had attacked him.

Then her voice deepened almost to a growl. “Get your filthy hands off me.”

It was a voice he’d never heard come out of his submissive little wife before.

The minute he backed away, Cassie turned to him and grabbed him around the waist. She buried her face against his chest. “Hold me, please, Red.”

[…]Since she seemed to like her shoulders rubbed, he slid one hand down her back and around to massage her taut belly.

“What are you doing?” She shrieked like he’d tried to push her off a cliff. “Get your hands off me.” She shoved hard at his arm.

Pulling away from her, he stammered, “I’m… I’m sorry. I won’t touch you if you…”

A loud wail broke off at his wretched apology. “You think I’m fat and ugly.” (248,9)

Even in historical novels that include scenes where there is a birth you don’t frequently find this sort of amusing and, from what I understand, realistic demonstration of what birth is like. What makes his even more amusing is that the child is not even Red’s baby, but Cassie’s baby by her first husband.

This book is a great read for other reasons as well. It’s very well written, really amusing, and the characters are ones that you will remember for a long time.

Connealy, Mary. Montana Rose. Uhrichsville: Barbour Publishing, Inc, 2009.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tamara Alexander

I’ve recently become a big fan of author Tamara Alexander. In the past few months I have read (I believe) all of her books thus far and I have been very impressed. Her stories are very well fleshed out, the characters are interesting, and very importantly, you don’t feel as though you’re reading the same story over and over again with different characters.

Her most recent novel (I think), the second in her Timber Ridge Reflections series is entitled Beyond This Moment. It is the story of Molly Whitcomb, a former professor who has lost her position at a university and is now teaching school in a small town in Colorado and trying to hide the secret that she’s afraid will cost her her job, again. James McPherson is the sheriff in the town where Molly is going to be teaching. When he saves her life early on, they forge a close friendship that James wants to turn into something more. But if that happens, the secret Molly is hiding could cost her even more than her job.

Tamara Alexander’s books are so well written, they just pull you in. Her history seems to be well researched and you just don’t want to put the books down, and at the end you’re so disappointed that it’s over and you’re reaching for the next one.

One thing that I really appreciate is the way she deals with sexual desire in her books. The topic of sexual desire is a tight rope walk for Christian Fiction writers. We want our stories to be realistic, so we want to include all of the aspect that are involved in romantic relationships. But at the same time, sexual desire is not what these stories are supposed to be about, that is what separates Inspirational Romances from other romance novels. So there needs to be a balance drawn, between these two things. As though this weren’t difficult enough, with the varying beliefs of Christians about what is or is not appropriate, the job becomes even harder.

I feel that Tamara Alexander has found this balance. She is not afraid to address the desire, but has somehow found a way to do it in a way that it isn’t even potentially offensive, but realistic. One such example takes place while Molly is sick and James is taking care of her. “The warmth moving in her eyes made him intensely aware of how alone they were, and of how desirable she was, even with her feeling poorly,” (192). We can see his desire in this passage, but only in the most respectful terms.

Another example is a couple of pages later, “Struck by an uncharacteristic measure of spontaneity, he struggled against the desire to go to her and take her in his arms. His mouth went dry at the thoughts filling his head. Thoughts that were certainly warm, but that weren’t all that ‘friendly,’ not in the sense he and Molly had agreed to be friends,” (194). This passage even deals with some of what is happening to him physically, but not in a way that is graphic or offensive.

I appreciate that she doesn’t ignore aspects as some Christian writers do. Sometimes when reading these books I find them unrealistic because the characters are acting in ways that would spark sexual desire, but there is no evidence of it anywhere in the text, which just comes across as naïve and ridiculous. But Tamara Alexander’s have enough to be realistic, without too much. They’re great.

Alexander, Tamara. Beyond This Moment. Bloomington: Bethany House Publishers, 2009. Pp. 192, 4.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Awesome NaNoWriMo Post

This is an AWESOME NaNoWriMo story that was on their website today that I just had to share. The link to the article's website is: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/node/3294913

For those that aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo, the goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days (during the month of November). I’m participating for the first time this year, so expect lots of blogs that are my form of procrastination :P To check out NaNoWriMo a little more their website is nanowrimo.org.

Q: Cylithria, you managed to participate in NaNoWriMo while serving in Iraq. What is it like to write a novel while on duty? How did you get your novel validated to win?
A: What is writing while serving in Iraq like? The short answer is: crazy. The long answer, is as vast and various as our world's military forces. During my first NaNoWriMo Iraq Novel, I was embedded in a forward observation team of United States Marines. (OORAH!) I was an experienced NaNoWriMo participant and as is my typical style, by October 31 I had nothing but the goal itself. No plot, no characters, no world - just the goal of 50K in 30 days.

We were still at a Northern Iraqi Base, preparing for forward Ops when November 1 rolled around. For the first week, after 18 hour training days, I went back to my rack and started typing what I hoped would be an ever growing story. By the time we moved out, I had written barely 3,000 words in seven days. I knew it would only get worse as we left the comforts of a base and headed into the northern-most regions of Iraq. I was right. Within 24 hours of our moving out, I realized my laptop was useless. Bright screens at night draw attention. Plus there were no currant bushes staggered in the mountains for me to plug into. Not good. Writing on paper was an option, but it held many, many drawbacks. Most of my "off hours" were at night, thus leaving me with no light. Writing by Night Vision Goggles is difficult, but somehow I wrote onward.

Two days before Thanksgiving it was the Commanding Officer who inquired as to what I was doing. He'd caught me crying. (I'd just killed off my main character; it was a heavy moment okay?) I will never forget the look on his face.

"You're doing what? National book writing month?"

"National Novel Writing Month Sir....it's NaNoWriMo, I can't miss it. I haven't missed one yet!"

I lost two hours of precious writing time that evening as I explained what in the world NaNoWriMo was and why I kept after the goal. It was another Marine who asked how I "won". When I extracted the massive sheets of paper from my pack and explained I had to transcribe all I'd written into digital txt file and upload it to the NaNoWriMo validater, they all looked ... well mad! We didn't have wi-fi access where we were and while they may not have understood the point of NaNoWriMo, they could look at a calendar and where we were and know the final validation would never be done from our local. I think that one thing, being unable to officially win because we were so far from home bothered us all. I know it hung like an albatross in the cool night air. But still, I wrote on.

Three days later I am sitting down, finishing my final page of my draft. I am at 50,279 words, most hand written. I still had more of the story to write, but once I tallied my word count, I announced it to our unit. My Commanding Officer addressed my small victory for all of them. Extending his hand towards me, he gave me my orders for the night along with a CD.

"We've transcribed everything except todays batch. It's all here. We changed nothing and you spell awful. Sit down and finish transcribing the rest. We meet a supply bird at zero three hundred hours. You get it done, we send it back to your liaison at HQ - That's the best shot we can give you Dubois."

I stared at the CD and struggled with tears. "Sir, yes Sir" was my only reply. I sat and did as ordered. In a moving vehicle, I transcribed the last of my words and then burned it all to the CD. We stuffed it, along with my user name and password, into one of the many courier bags addressed to my unit in the United States. At zero three hundred hours, at a mobile Landing Zone I watched as my Commanding Officer asked, not ordered, the pilot and crew to try and get that CD to where it needed to be, and get it there in time.

As the helicopter lifted off, my Commanding Officer placed a hand on my shoulder. "That's a win Dubois. If these Nano's don't agree, you send 'em to me. I'll set 'em straight even if that CD gets lost."

Time isn't something easily found when you are on duty in a combat zone. There was nothing more for me then those words and that Oorah, and as quickly as we could we moved on once more. While I figured I'd never be ale to legally claim that year as a victory, I knew it was in my heart. It was almost midnight of November 30th, on the east coast of the United States of America when my Commanding Officer came running to find me. In his hand he waved a small, handheld computer. "Dubois, hot damn! Ya did it!" He held the screen to my face.

There, in an email from my Liaison in the United States was a screenshot image of the validation of my novel. 32 minutes before midnight. The message from my Liaison was this: "Ma'am your novel flew on three helicopters, three transport planes, rode one ship and was driven via hummer to my office where I used your login to validate it. Be advised, you are a winner! Congrats! Now, can you please forward the reports you *should* have been writing?"

As I read those words to my fellow Marines, OORAH rang out. My Commanding Officer was as thrilled as any of us. With a great many fist pumps and hand gestures he shouted out, "That's right, That's right.... she a wrimo from the region of Iraq::Northern Province::OORAH"

Being the National Novel Writing Month enthusiast I am, I did the only thing I knew to do to celebrate my victory. Using the sound system of one of our vehicles I blasted the song "Time Warp", and danced. Writing while actively serving your country in the military is a very difficult thing. Time, climates, duties and orders often get in the way. But there are no finer win's in National Novel Writing Month then winning the challenge while serving your country. OORAH!

Cylithria Dubois has been participating in National Novel Writing Month since she first heard of it over nine years ago. This year she will attempt to complete her tenth National Novel Writing Month Novel from the Michigan :: Flint Region. Three of her nine NaNo-novels have been written from various hot spots around the world. Although not currently stationed with her Marines, they actively email her for novel updates when duty allows. She still does the Time Warp after every win - no matter where she is! She can be found telling stories of her life at www.whynotright.com, on Twitter, and via email or by NaNoMail at eensybeensyspider.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Love's First Light

Jamie Carie’s Love’s First Light tells a story of the horrors of the French Revolution from the perspectives of a young French Aristocrat and a young widow whose husband died for the Revolutionary cause. These two people meet in a cemetery where Scarlett has gone to mourn her lost husband. Christophé, the only member of his family to escape the Guillotine has gone into hiding, only daring to go out in the dark of the evening or early morning.

As they grow to care for one another, they realize that they need to confront their pasts in Paris. For Christophé, he must confront the past of the man that killed his family. For Scarlett, it is her husband’s uncle, the man who holds the power over her family’s livelihood and survival. Unfortunately, they must both confront the same man. Will their love survive their differences?

This novel has a way of grabbing your heart with her descriptions of the way Christophé and his sister respond to the deaths of their families. You can feel their reactions to the sounds of the Guillotine and the screams of their family members. It really made it real and demonstrated that visceral reaction that a good writer wants their readers to feel. In a business where the first one hundred words are what you have to pull the reader in, these scenes are great examples of novel beginnings that suck your reader into the story and into the characters, and refuse to let go.

I’ve recently been reading about Regency period in England (see The Secret History of the Pink Carnation), and the war of espionage that ensued between France and England after the Revolution, and I thought this book really offered a different perspective on the war and the horrors of the revolution for the people who lived through it.