Thursday, April 17, 2008

Team Anderson!

First, let me begin by saying I love spring. My daffodils are blooming, and the magnolia outside my office window is stunning. I waited all winter for this riot of color. Plus, it's so rewarding to see all my hard work coming to fruition as the gardens return to beauty.

Now, on to business!

A new short story is on the website - "The Girl With the Coal-Black Eyes." To quote a friend, it's saucy, so don't read it at work, people! Plus, it's the companion to the final book in the Emerson series. Some things won't make much sense until you've read the book. But if you want to see what I've been up to, check it out. Sometimes you've got to go where your muse takes you. Mine spent a few weeks in Vietnam.

The hubby and I will be leaving for Chicago and the Spring Fling conference in a week. I have been frantically revising Marrying the Emersons on the optimistic hope that an agent or editor will request pages at the conference. I want it ready to go. All while the adorable toddler had the tummy flu. It's been a weird week, but it's getting better.

My critique team has been putting in some overtime too. The good news is I think I've finally got an opening I can stand behind. But it was a long week and a half as the team members wrangled with the best way to start this danged book.

Writing is, at times, a solitary event. But getting published is a group effort. Anyone who tells you different is lying.

So I'd like to introduce Team Anderson. Without the love, support, and occasional smack down these generous people provide, I'd be spinning my wheels.

Critiquing is what these people do best!

Mary D. - Technically, Mary is my supervisor at the day job. But she's a darned fun woman, and tolerates my babbling about adorable toddlers and plot twists with surprising grace and humor. She's a primary source - a farm girl, born and bred, and is more than happy to share such valuable information about everything from baling alfalfa to plucking chickens to outhouse construction. Plus, she knows more about grammar than Strunk AND White combined.

Leah Lucas - My sister, if you must know. But Leah has an unwavering grasp on how things SHOULD go and sound. If it ain't right, she's perfectly happy to get nasty on my manuscript when everyone else says it's fine. The new opening is mostly her iron-fisted editing in action.

Pauline Friday - Truthfully, Pauline is good for one thing. Sex Scenes. If you want to know why, read her blog yourself at But don't say I didn't warn you!

Mom - A history teacher, Mom and I have frequent arguments about including the exact number of people who died in the Spanish Influenza epidemic, and how much radios cost back in 1937, and whether or not I need to mention FDR more. Everyone should have a critique member who frequently strokes their egos, and Mom does it for me!

Dad - Well, sorta. He read an early draft, and I'm not sure he ever recovered from the sex scenes. But he had some good points - I just had to listen to them. Eventually. He could say I told you so if he wanted to, but he's just not that kind of Dad.

But Team Anderson is much more than a Critique group.

Other valuable Team members:

Hannah Clampitt - My other sister, she's a PR goddess. I haven't had much use for that yet, but the day will come, and she'll be all over that. Welcome back home!

Craig Clampitt - As I mentioned last week, he's my Web guy. I've got an amazingly beautiful website,, that's all him. Plus he's got a house by a lake. Hello, three day weekends!

Leah Hanlin - Some of us are just lucky enough to have a dear friend who is a hyper-talented graphic designer. Letterhead? Check. Business Cards? Check. Bringing her kids over to play with mine and just hang out? Check. Plus, she picked out pretty decent bridesmaids dresses. The girl's got taste!

The Passionate Pen - Run by Jenna Peterson/Jess Michaels, The Passionate Pen is my unofficial mentor in the world of romance writing. She's kind, gracious, and helpful. I can't wait to meet her in Chicago!

Friends who listen to me babble: Mary D., Melissa, Leah H., my whole family, Uncle Doug, my Hubby, and countless others who nod and smile. Some of my best ideas come when I'm bouncing them off others.

There you have it. As I've entered this new phase, these people have done everything they could to help me make a go of it.

I couldn't do it without them!

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