New beginnings… or, please not another revision!


Bridal Wreath Spirea in bud

Now that spring is officially underway, I think most of us are wishing for signs that winter is giving in and retreating. We all realize that where we live has a bearing on how soon we can expect to see buds bursting, but we’re more than ready for the return of springtime with its cycle of new beginnings. Then again, there are some beginnings I’d rather avoid.

Monday’s post was about a blogfest where we were to offer up the start of our novel for a critique that focused on showing voice. We posted the first 250 words and waited for our fellow bloggers to tear into them and pass judgment on the quality of the opening and its voice.

Brenda Drake is hosting this “Show Me the Voice” blogfest-cum-contest, and her instructions were to post it for critiques, then polish the excerpt until it shines, and submit it to be judged.

Have you any idea how many times I’ve revised that novel? I’d challenge you to throw out a number, but in truth I don’t think I remember exactly how many. Nevertheless, I tweaked those 250 words and, of course, found myself reading on to the end of the chapter. And, just like every other time I looked at it, I could see more possible changes. Oh, please… not another revision!

I’ve asked the question before, but still, there is that niggling uncertainty. When do you know it’s time to stop revising a manuscript?

I have a different novel in revision, and another new one in the works. I don’t want to begin revising this one again. In fact, I’ve sent the excerpt to Brenda, and I’m closing the file. I just can’t face it. So, unless someone can convince me otherwise, I’m off to work on my new story. ‘Bye now!


‘Show Me the Voice’ Blogfest

I could use some help here.
Brenda Drake has a “Show Me Your Voice” Blogfest happening right now. It’s an opportunity to get critiques from fellow bloggers of the opening 250 words of a finished novel, and then submit them for judging. Twenty finalists will be chosen to be judged by agent Natalie Fischer of the Bradford Literary Agency. And there are prizes! Check out Brenda’s blog for all the details.
Here are the basic guidelines from Brenda’s website:
Everyone posts their entries to their own blog now. We get critiques from our followers and the other participants, and when we’ve polished those first 250 words we send them to Brenda at Or if we don’t need the critiques we can send off our entry now.
All entries submitted before the cut off time will be considered. The first round will be judged by a chosen panel of our peers (agented and unagented). The best 20 entries will be picked and posted on Brenda’s blog by March 24. The 20 entries picked will be judged by Natalie. The winners will be announced on or before Monday, March 28.
It sounds like a fantastic opportunity, so I’m risking hyperventilation and putting my 250 words out here on display. If I convince myself to hit the ‘Publish’ button the excerpt will appear below, waiting for any helpful feedback you’re willing to give between now and Monday evening. You don’t have to be kind. I can take it. 🙂


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Title: Refuge North

Genre: Faith-based Romantic Suspense


The back gate hung open. In the snow between it and the side door of the garage where the dogs slept there were fresh tracks – footprints alongside a strip of tire treads.

“What the–?“

Darcy followed me toward the gate, hesitating and whining at the garage door where the other three dogs waited to be let out for their early morning romp. As the geriatric member of my Doberman Pinscher clan, Darcy was privileged to sleep in my bedroom but the garage doubled as a makeshift kennel for the others. I detoured to close the gate and found the discarded padlock, its dull brass barely visible beneath grey ridges of snow.

I wondered why the dogs hadn’t barked at an intruder, why they were so quiet now. My breathing stuttered to shallow gasps. I remembered last night’s barking… ignoring it because I figured the dogs were complaining about a prowling coyote.

No morning greeting welcomed me as I shoved open the garage door, just silence. When I hit the light switch the glare illuminated the chain-link pens and the three dogs splayed out on the concrete, their gaping jaws frozen in death.

My mind switched into neutral and my body refused to react. No one understood how much these dogs meant to me. They are – were – the only things I ever loved that offered unconditional love in return. I wanted to go into the pens and check out each dog, discover this was a mistake, but my body refused to respond.

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Photo from Photostock


Valentine’s Day Romance Blogfest

It’s official. Jordan McCollum is hosting a Romance Blogfest to help celebrate St. Valentine’s Day next Monday. It’s easy to participate, and a fun way to exercise your romantic creativity as well as meet other bloggers.

Go add your URL to the ‘Mr. Linky’ on Jordan’s page now, then write something on the theme, “Love at first sight . . . or not so much” to post on your blog Monday. After posting yours and linking to Jordan’s page, you can visit the various other links to read and enjoy all the romance while you nibble chocolate Valentines… or whatever else you may do to celebrate the day.

The guidelines and ‘Mr. Linky’ are on Jordan’s blog. So what’s stopping you? Are you going to show us your romance writing ability or not?