Thursday, December 18, 2014


Is there some holiday coming up soon? Every once in a while as I come up for air I hear something about it. I know for a fact that The Urchins want in on it. Just can't put my finger on what it is...

I've been a bit distracted lately. The blue-haired old ladies have commandeered much of my spare time. I'm sure I've mentioned once or twice that little old ladies are my personal Kryptonite. These particular ones run long, rambly meetings and send me all over town on errands for the New Year's Eve Drop they do for the community each year. (They drop pants from a flagpole. I kid you not.) I'm in charge of children's crafts and games, among other things.

I've also been playing the "Where's My Spy Camera Game" for the past month.

Refreshing my email every twenty-seven seconds to see if the people who requested my manuscript have rejected me yet has my nerves frazzled. It hasn't done much good for my sleeping habits either.

Most of my writing efforts have been used up on refraining myself from re-editing the manuscript I submitted. That's been an effort of Herculean proportions. So I've been focusing on how to improve my query letter for when the rejections come. I'm not pleased with the second paragraph describing Ethan. It seems choppy, but I've looked at it too many times to make improvements. Though I wouldn't be adverse to suggestions in the comments. ;)

Searching for home…

Weary pool hustler Sheridan Ward craves a normal life. Her ticket out? A high stakes underground tournament. Working her way across Texas from honkytonk to pool hall and all shady points between, she’s almost earned enough for the buy-in. Until she hustles some good ole boys who aren’t so good. Now she’s got an injured wrist, a truck that’s trashed, and a handsome sheriff dogging her to press charges.

Searching for justice…

Sheriff Ethan Bankert doesn’t have time for a woman. But the beautiful hustler picked the wrong men to con. He should know—they’re the main suspects in his father’s murder. A case that’s gone cold. Whether she wants to believe him or not, tangling with them has painted a bulls-eye on her back. Now, with Sheridan under his roof, protective custody takes on a whole new meaning. If he could just convince her to press charges, not only could he keep her safe, it would be the opening he’s been looking for to continue his investigation.

Searching for forever…

As their nights heat up, Sheridan’s walls of distrust start to crumble, but this sexy-as-sin sheriff still won’t convince her to step foot in a courtroom again. Not after the humiliation she went through there as a child. The road is calling as her last big score nears. Never mind that since she stumbled into this town her deepest dreams have grown to encompass a life with Ethan.

But their future is jeopardized by the same threat that ended his father’s life. Only this time, it’s Sheridan in the crosshairs.

A SHOT AT FOREVER is a 97,000 word adult contemporary romance, and the first stand-alone book in my series of Hard To Tame Heroines set in small town Texas. I am a member of RWA and the former (2013) president of my local chapter. A SHOT AT FOREVER was a finalist in the 2013 Sheila Contest held by the Valley Forge Romance Writers.

Present shopping and wrapping, Christmas play practices, not to mention the frightening levels of Christmas-crazy enveloping the three year olds I teach have all taken their toll. I'm frazzled and jittery and a donkey on the edge.

So as this wonderful holiday approaches at warp factor 8, I hope you all have the opportunity to enjoy your time. Don't be like me and let the outside world avalanche down around your ears.

Wishing you all peace and happiness and

Until next time, Citizens!


The Happy Whisk said...

I am no help in the area that you are writing but I will be here to cheer you along the way.

Now I'm headed back to watch that clip. Rice on the stove, chores all nearly done, baking done for the day. Soon to shower and get into my jams FOREVER!

Pat Hatt said...

Sometimes you just have to shout indeed, don't fry any nerves, it isn't fun lol

Unknown said...

I think your query blurb is amazing and very professional. I hope you get lots more requests. I can tell you from personal experience that staling your email doesn't work. I can also tell you I did it too!

Unknown said...

hehe. "SERENITY NOW" gotta love Seinfeld. I read your query twice and I think it's solid. Definitely intrigued me, and as long as you're getting requests that's the important thing! I'm keeping everything crossed for you...querying this time of year is not fun. Hang in there and happy holidays! :)

SK Anthony said...

"I'm frazzled and jittery and a donkey on the edge." Yeah, me too . . . different reasons but I share the feeling. The query is solid and intriguing, best of luck!

Kate Larkindale said...

I think your query is good. Best thing to do while you're nervously waiting for news about a MS that's out is to start a new one. Or write a short story or two. Anything to keep your mind from bing 100% focused on what might be happening to the book that's out.

Liz Blocker said...

UGH the waiting game is the worst! All I can really offer in terms of encouragement is that eventually the nerves get so frazzled from being constantly anxious that they just stop working: you wear yourself out. Fun, right??

Hang in there. I hope GOOD NEWS is coming for you soon!

I agree that the second paragraph of your query is the problematic one. The first thing I noticed is that you're having some pronoun confusion. Is Sheridan the "beautiful hustler"? And is she the "she" and is Ethan the "he"? I know it sounds dumb, but I was honestly confused. Try writing out their names in every sentence to just clarify and then you can cut the extras out.

I'm also not quite sure what's happening in that paragraph. Should it be "wrong men" or "wrong man"? Are the men the ones she conned? And they hurt her - or why else would she press charges? And can she if she hustled them in the first place?

I did figure it out once I read it carefully a few times, but I think you can easily clarify it. The pronouns will help, but even a little bit of clarifying words will help, too. What about something like, "Sheriff Ethan Bankert doesn’t have time for a woman, but Sheridan is beautiful, and in danger to boot: she picked the wrong men to con. Ethan should know - those same men are the main suspects in his father's murder case."

I don't want to rewrite it for you, but that sort of language will just help the reader pick up the story more easily. Make sense? If not, email me: lizblocker at gmail.

Hope this helps!!! :)

Cathrina Constantine said...

This holiday had crept on at warp speed!!! I hope you hear good news. I'm the same way checking my email for the dreaded rejections, but you might be surprised!!! Have A Merry Christmas!!!

Ava Quinn said...

@Ivy- Thanks for the support! And mmmm. Jammies forever. ::Drifts off into a happy place where everyone wears comfy pjs.::


@Lexa- Thanks! Yes, the stalking must end. I just don't know how! lol!

@Beth Ellyn - Thanks so much! You have a great holiday too!!

@S.K. - Thanks. Hope things calm down for us both soon. Have a great holiday!!

@Kate- :groans: I know! But its soooo hard!! lol! :) I'm plotting book 2 and have written a bit on it. I'm also working on a separate project as well. But my pace is slower than usual due to the all-consuming pins and needles! lol!!

@Liz- Trying not to burn out those frazzled nerves. :) Pronoun Trouble! Reminded me of one of my favorite Bugs Bunny cartoons! I'm trying to push a lot in that paragraph. Which is a problem. But I feel like it all needs to be there to show the stakes and the reason she just doesn't leave town. sigh. But, hustling isn't illegal since it's not a game of chance like say poker or craps. Thanks for your input. I'm gonna try it and see what I come up with. Have a fantastic holiday!

@Cathrina- Waiting is the worst! I never knew I was so impatient! lol! Thanks and have a wonderful holiday!

Empty Nest Insider said...

You had me at the "sexy-as-sin" sheriff! I'm sure you'll be chanting "Serenity Now," as you watch your lady friends drop trou from a flagpole! Good luck with your captivating query! Happy Holidays, Ava!


A Beer for the Shower said...

Ah yes, the eternal waiting that is the sent query letter. You'll get there. Just hang in there.

Liz already said a great piece, and as you already confirmed, there's a lot going on in there. Perhaps too much. One thing I learned about queries/synopses is that you don't have to tell EVERYTHING about the story. For example, "A case gone cold." I'm sure that's very important for your story as a whole, but for a 3 paragraph synopsis, it's not as important. After all, the focus as a whole is Sheridan and the trouble she's in, not Ethan's case going cold. I mean, we still know she's in danger by implicating these men in that murder, and adding that the case is cold doesn't really serve to add to that danger. Just by removing that detail and linking those first couple of sentences I think it reads a lot cleaner.

Loose example:

Sheriff Ethan Bankert doesn’t have time for a woman like Sheridan, but the beautiful hustler picked the wrong men to con—after all, they’re the main suspects in his father’s murder. Whether she wants to believe him or not, tangling with them has painted a bulls-eye on her back. Now, with Sheridan under his roof, protective custody takes on a whole new meaning. If he could just convince her to press charges, not only could he keep her safe, it would be the opening he’s been looking for to continue his investigation.

Good luck, and I hope this helps!

Christine Rains said...

Wait, what? The holidays are here? Yikes! They did suddenly pounce upon us. I hope you and yours have a very holly jolly Christmas! :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Every year the holidays sneak up more quickly! Hard to believe they're here!! Hope you manage to squeeze in some enjoyment among the chaos :)

Stephanie Faris said...

I've found it helps to just start a new project once I've sent something off. At that point, all you can do is drive yourself crazy, so writing something new is a good distraction!

Ava Quinn said...

@Julie- Thanks! hope your holiday has been very merry!

@Beer- Thanks, guys. This is very helpful. I'm def. gonna play with this version. You guys rock!

@Christine- Thanks! hope you and yours, (esp. your little one:)) are having a grand time!

@Jemi- Thanks! We're trying!

@Stephanie- Great advice. I'm splitting my limited holiday time btwn 2 different stories. The next in this series and a different series.

Piotr LA said...

Let as many valuable texts as possible.
sexy girls in London

Share This

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...