The Exiled Teaser Tuesday

>BACKGROUND: This week’s teaser is an excerpt on my paranormal YA, THE EXILED.  This particular scene is after Bree and Patrick’s big fight and after he tells her the truth about why he loves her.



He smiled down at me and the setting sun glittered behind him like a halo. I couldn’t speak.  He’d taken my breath away. 
“I was just thinking the same thing,” he whispered and lowered his head to kiss the side of my neck.
I closed my eyes and enjoyed the feel of his warm lips against my throat just under my ear. My hands twisted in the cotton of his t-shirt. After a minute he groaned, stood up and held out a hand to me. 
“It’s getting late and I have to work the stick.”
I giggled.  It sounded so dirty.  
He smiled.  “The bar.  I have to serve drinks.”
 I tried not to be disappointed.  It was the smart thing to do, but all I wanted to do was bask in the glow of our newly healed relationship. 
“I’ll make it up to you,” he said, and kissed the side of my mouth.
My breath hitched at the touch. “Promise?”
“Promise.” He intertwined his fingers with mine as he we walked back home.
He had a sparkle in his eyes when he slipped into the pub and I wondered with a smile what he was hiding this time. 
He grinned at me and kissed my knuckles.  “Why don’t you come down around closing and wait for me?”
“Okay.”  I ignored the butterflies his touch had caused, but gripped the collar of his shirt and yanked him back to me, kissing him.
He nudged me away and stepped back.  “Wear something pretty.”  He grinned and slipped down the stairs. 
I grabbed a book and read until the designated time.  Then slipped into a red summer dress with flared skirt and matching heels.  I didn’t know what he’d planned, but I wasn’t going to complain and I was damned sure going to make sure I looked my best.
At the door that led into the pub, I pressed a hand to my nervous stomach in an attempt to control the butterflies.  I didn’t even know why I was nervous.  It’s not like this was a first date.  I was just waiting for him to finish. 
Taking a deep breath, I stepped through the door and frowned at the dark room.  Candles sat in the middle of the tables he’d lined along the walls, leaving the center of the room empty.  Patrick stood in front of the jukebox.
He wore black slacks and a white dress shirt with the top buttons unbuttoned that glowed in the candlelight.
            He smiled at me and held out his hand. 
Without hesitation, I walked over and took it.  “What’s this about?”
            “I’m making up for everything.”  He pressed a button on the juke and music poured through the speakers.  He brought my hand up to his mouth.  “May I have the pleasure of a dance?”
            Overwhelmed, I nodded. He led me out to the middle of the floor and placed his other hand on my waist.  He spun me around the floor, holding me close.  Our bodies swayed to the music as the sounds of the tympani bled from the speakers. I recognized it as one of my favorite songs.
            I gave him a questioning look and he smiled.  “Remember I have known you through our dreams.”
            “I know.  It just feels weird.  I don’t really know you that well.  Considering.”
            “I’m an open book, Angel.  All you have to do is look.”
            I rested my head against his chest and closed my eyes, letting him lead me around. He held me close, his hands trailing over my skin he sang the lyrics in my ear.
When the song ended, he whispered,  “I love you.”
 Tears stung my eyes at the rush of emotions that filled me.  How could I have almost thrown this away?  This was everything I wanted.  Everything I needed.  I just hadn’t known it. 
“I love you, too.”
He pulled back and brought a hand up to brush the loch of hair, which had fallen across my eye, resting his knuckles on the side of my head as he smiled at me.  Then he brought his lips to meet mine.
The warmth of his body surrounded me like a blanket, his woodsy scent filling my nose and I expected the overwhelming giddiness, but instead felt something else.  Something stronger than I’d ever felt before.  It was like a lock had snicked open and released a torrent of emotions.  His and mine.  I was drowning in them.
Tears spilled over my cheeks, and he pulled away. I buried my face into his chest, hoping he wouldn’t see them.  He lifted my chin, oblivious to the mascara I’d smudged onto his shirt, and asked, “What’s wrong, Angel?”
I stroked my hand down his face, noticing for the first time how smooth it was.  Like glass.  It made me wonder if all this was an illusion and it would shatter just as easily.  “Nothing.  Everything is perfect.”
His eyes searched my face, before he grinned and picked me up to spin me around in a circle, his lips on mine.  I giggled and clung to him, praying for the night to never end.
A movement out of the corner of my eye caught my attention as Patrick set me down. His eyes followed my gaze and he tensed, gripping my hand.  Kian stood in the doorway that led from the kitchen.   He stared at the two of us, pain pouring from him in waves, before he turned and bolted.

TEASER TUESDAY- THE EXILED

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  BACKGROUND: This week’s teaser is an excerpt on my paranormal YA, THE EXILED.  This particular scene is the day after Brianna’s arrival to Sitnalta, a village in a hidden reality in Ireland.  She’s sitting in the kitchen of the pub and talking with Hannah, (the cook) and Kian (one of only 5 boys her age in the village).
          “Bree?” Kian asked, pulling me from my thoughts.  “You okay?  You look like you’re sick or something.”
           Hannah glanced over, a look of worry on her face.  “Are you feeling ill, Honey?  Those awful contraptions, cramming so many people into such a tiny space.”
           I shook my head.  “No.  I’m fine.  Just got a lot on my mind.”  That was the understatement of the century.
            Hannah nodded her head.  “I can’t imagine it’s easy traveling all alone away from everyone you know.”
            If I hadn’t already liked her, this would have done it.  The fact that she understood.  It didn’t matter she couldn’t do anything about it.  Just knowing she realized I didn’t want to be there and I wasn’t just going to accept it and move on, made me feel so much better.
            “No, it’s not, but it’ll probably be easier when I get to know people.”
            “Sure it will,” Hannah said.  She glanced at Kian, and then at me.  “So…do you have a young man who’s waiting for you back home?”
            I concentrated on the food in front of me.  “No.  I did, but we broke up a few months ago.”  When I looked up, I saw Kian staring at me and I touched a hand to my mouth.  “What?  Do I have syrup on my face or something?”
            He chuckled.  “No, just looking.”
            “At what?”
            “You.”
            I blushed and looked back down at my plate.  It must be something in the air.  Why was everyone hitting on me?  Then I laughed at myself.  Maybe they weren’t flirting. I’d always heard Irishmen were friendly with the ladies; it was probably just that Irish hospitality. 
            “Enjoying the view?”  I asked, testing out my flirting skills again, thinking it would be interesting to see his reaction.
            He leaned forward, and twisted a lock of my hair around his finger.  “Yes.  I’d like to see what else the view has to offer though.”
            I opened my mouth to respond, but Hannah took her wooden spoon and rapped him on the head.  “Leave the poor girl alone, Romeo.  She has enough worries without adding you to the list.”
            Kian waited until she’d turned back around, before rolling his eyes.  “You should spend the day with us, Bree.  We can get you started on meeting people.”
            “Us?” I asked.
            “Yeah, my friends and I.  I’m sure they’d like to get to know you,” he wiggled his eyebrows at me, “and I know I want to.”
            I lowered my head so I could peer through my lashes and when I spoke, I deepened my Southern twang.  “Now why would you want to get to know little ‘ol me for?”
            Hannah snorted from her spot at the stove.  Kian ignored her, and with a mischievous smile, leaned closer.  “Well, now that you ask–” He was cut off when Patrick walked through the back doors and stopped in his tracks.
            Patrick looked back and forth between the two of us, as Kian sat back in his seat and I focused on my plate.  Patrick’s fist clenched, and then he asked, “What’s going on?”
            “Nothing,” Kian mumbled and shoveled more food into his mouth, while I shook my head in amusement.  That boy could eat. 
            Patrick glanced over at me, but I kept my mouth shut.  If Kian didn’t want to talk about it, I wasn’t going to either.
            Eventually, Patrick gave up and sat next to me.  “Good morning, Angel.  Did you sleep well?” he asked, with laughter in his eyes. 
            I shrugged.  “As well as can be expected when I’m trapped somewhere I don’t want to be with a man who won’t even let me call my own mother.” 
            Hannah snorted and tried to cover it up with a cough, but Patrick frowned over at her anyway. 
            “You’re not trapped,” he said, facing me again.
            “Yeah, okay, whatever.  How do you explain the fact that I don’t have the Internet and I can’t call my friends,” I responded, with an eye roll toward Kian, who laughed.
            Patrick glowered at him. Kian became very interested in his breakfast again.  Then Patrick leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, “You know exactly why I couldn’t let you talk to your friends.”  His breath tickled my ear and I shivered in response.
            “No, I don’t.  All I know is you won’t tell me the real reason I’m here.  Are you going to tell me now, or are you going to find another excuse not to.”
            He glanced over at Hannah and Kian.  “I can’t now.  Later.”
            I shook my head and hissed through my teeth.  “Yeah, I figured.” I stood up.  “Listen, Kian is going to take me to meet his friends.  Is that okay, or am I barred from trying to make new friends, too.”
            Patrick narrowed his eyes at Kian, who ducked lower in his seat, but otherwise didn’t move, before turning his attention back to me.  “No, I’m sure it’s fine.  He’ll keep you safe.” He turned back to Kian.  “By the way, that reminds me.  Did you have any problems yesterday?  Did you find each other okay?”
            Kian shrugged.  “No, it was just as you said, Boss.  I was to look for a pretty girl, causing trouble.” He winked at me and I smiled in return.
            Patrick raised one eyebrow and then smirked at me, taking a bite of the pancakes Hannah had placed in front of him.  “Oh, was there trouble?”
             “No.  No trouble.  We found each other quickly,” I said, not wanting to go into, or remember, the events from yesterday.
            Kian on the other hand didn’t seem to understand what I wanted and blurted out, “She didn’t cause the problem, but she was a part of it.  Apparently the woman who sat next to her on the plane just passed out for no reason.”
            Patrick eyes focused on mine.  “She just passed out?” 
            I nodded and felt a pressure in my head, as if I were coming down with a head cold.  “Yeah, it was odd.  She was fine, talking to me as we’d been the whole time, and then the next thing I know, she’s convulsing on the floor.”  I shuddered as I remembered the blood coming from her mouth and nose.
            Patrick dropped his fork and grabbed my hands in his, startling me.  I exchanged a glance with Kian, as Patrick asked, “What happened before that?  Did you see or hear anything odd?”
            I shook my head no, but Kian interrupted, “She said she saw a shadow go over the woman’s eyes.”
            Patrick’s hands tightened on mine.  “A shadow?  In her eyes?”
            The look on his face scared me, almost as much as what had happened, so I decided to tell him everything.  Even if that mean he would see me as an idiot.  I was sure it was better than the alternative.  “Yes, and then they turned pitch black.”
            “What color were they originally?”
            “Uh, violet, but it wasn’t a normal violet.  It was so strange. I can’t really describe it.”
            The pressure inside my head increased and it felt like I was being stabbed with hundreds of tiny knives.  I rubbed my fingers over my eyes, in the hope I’d stop the pressure or pain, or both. 
            Without warning, Patrick grabbed me and gave me a slight shake.  “Damn it, stop fighting me.  For once in your life, stop being so damn hardheaded and let me in!”
            Confused, I could only stare at him as the pain continued behind my eyes.  “Let you in where?”
            “In your head.  I need to see what you saw!”


TEASER TUESDAY- MIRROR IMAGE

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This is from my finished MSS MIRROR IMAGE. 
Blurb:  You’d think imagining a handsome stranger in your rear-view mirror, crashing through a guardrail, and careening into murky water would be bad enough. But when the imaginary boy–who gives his name as Jackson–rescues seventeen-year-old Lily Baker, that’s just the start of her problems.

After coming home from the hospital, Jackson starts showing up in any and all reflective surfaces — mirrors, puddles, windows, you name it. Lily, fearing others will think she’s crazy, keeps the visions to herself. After all, they’ll just go away if she ignores them, right? Not if Jackson has anything to say about it. And it isn’t long before he convinces her he’s real. Even when Jackson starts talking about strange cults and parallel dimensions, she can’t deny his powerful pull. The more time she spends staring into her mirror, the more she realizes she’s falling in love with a boy her family and friends insist is nothing more than shadows in her mirror and the hallucinations of her healing head injury.


 This is the scene after her parents start realizing something isn’t right about Lilly’s new boyfriend and wonder why if she likes him so much, why she’s constantly locking herself in her room.  In the previous scene she reassures them everything is okay, but they don’t believe her.  She doesn’t realize that though and so we from there.

Hours later, happy and exhausted I padded into my room a smile on my face.  The whole evening had been a blast and made me realize what a wonderful family I really had.  I never really fought with my parents or my siblings.  We had the occasional row, but nothing serious.  The best part was that they always stood behind me.  No matter what stupid thing I’d done.
            I glanced at the mirror, but it only showed my room, not his.  Damn it.  Where is he?  I really missed him.  As much fun as I had with my family, seeing my parents together had only made me miss Jackson more.
            My radio was still playing and another slow song came on as I pulled out a silk nightie from my drawer.  I hummed along and moved my hips slowly as I removed my shirt and imagined my hands were his. I trailed them along my skin, tracing lightly over my stomach, up my sides and along the curve of my breast, before sighing and pulling the top over my head. 
            “Stop daydreaming, Lily.  It’ll never happen,” I said to myself.
            “What’ll never happen?” Jackson asked, startling me.
            I spun around, and ran to the mirror, too happy to care he had scared me.  “Hi!”
            “Hey, Gorgeous.  Miss me?”
            I gave him a sly smile.  “Nope.”
            His lips curved.  “No? Well, then I guess I didn’t miss you all that much either.”
            “Good, then we can go on not missing each other.”
            He laughed and his eyes made a slow pass down my body and then up again.  His eyes darkened to almost black along the journey and goose bumps rose along my skin when his eyes met mine.  “That was some show you just put on.”
            My face warmed from the heat of my blush.  “You saw that?”
            “Well, not all of it.  Your back was to the mirror.”
            “Oh,” I said, oddly disappointed.  I should be glad he hadn’t seen anything.  Shouldn’t I?
            “But I liked what I did see.” His fingers caressed down the mirror and sketched down it, in almost the same pattern I had used with my own.  My skin tingled as if he were touching me instead of the glass.
            For the first time since we’d started talking, I noticed his shirt was off and he was only in pajama bottoms.  I gave him a saucy grin.  “I like what I see, too.”
            He grinned back and placed his palm on the glass in front of me and waited until I did the same. As one, keeping our palms together we slid down, until we were sitting on the floor in front of each other.
            His eyes roamed over my body again, sending more tingles over my already supercharged body.  My heartbeat accelerated and, from what I could see from the pulse in his neck, matched his.  My breath clogged in my throat when he said, “You are so beautiful, Lily.”
            “Thank you,” I managed after a minute.
He moved so only his fingertips touched the glass, sliding along the area my palm covered.  The surface was so warm already, I couldn’t be sure, but I would have sworn I felt a change in the temperature. A slight one, but enough to cause a shiver to run down my arm.
 “Are you cold?” he whispered, his eyes moving from my palm to my face.
 “No.”  I raised my other palm to the glass and he copied me, trailing his fingertips down the image of my hand.
 My heart skipped a beat and I had to look down for a moment, to stop the spinning in my head.   When I looked up again, he was watching me.
 “The moonlight is different over there,” he said.  “Softer, somehow.”  He moved his fingertips to the center of the mirror, brushing the surface in a curve.  “It just barely touches your cheek.”
 I covered my cheek with one hand, certain I would find some trace of him on my skin. As it was, I could just barely feel that cheek was warmer than the other. My heartbeat filled my ears in the quiet of my room.  It surprised me he couldn’t hear it.
            “It’s not fair that it gets to touch you, but I can’t.” His voice was husky, making me tremble even more. “Is it strange to be jealous of it?”
Jackson pressed his right hand to the center of the mirror, and I brought mine to meet it.  Palm to palm, we stared at each other.  Without a shirt on, I could see that he was breathing shallowly.  If I tilted my head, I could make it look like my hand covered his heart.
 “It’s the glass that makes it unfair,” I whispered.  “How did you get through to save me, and now we’re both trapped?”
 “Maybe if we concentrate…” he murmured.
 We matched up our hands once more and stared into each other’s eyes.
 “Concentrate,” he whispered.
 I nodded, afraid to even blink.  I imagined my hands sinking into the warm surface and finding the heat of his palms on the other side.  I could almost feel it thinning.
 “Close your eyes.”  Jackson’s voice was just a breath, but I did what he said. How could I not? “Concentrate.”
 No more glass, no more glass, I chanted in my head like a prayer.
 The heat under my hands grew–it was hot, almost to the point of pain, but it didn’t burn me.  “Do you feel something?” I whispered.
 “Yes.”  His voice was tight.  “You feel closer.”
 I heard a rustle and opened my eyes to find Jackson up on his knees.  His fingers were still splayed on the glass, fitted to mine, but now his chest was just inches behind them and his mouth was close enough to steam the glass.  I swallowed, hard.  He was so close, but just out of reach.  I mimicked his position, raised up on my knees.  My breath steamed the mirror a few inches below his, and I tilted my face up to close the gap.
He opened his eyes and found me gazing at him.  With a slight tilt of his head, our breath made a perfect match.
My body tingled and strained toward the glass.  “Please,” I whispered.
“Please,” he echoed, his eyes slipping shut again.
I closed my own and pressed hard into the glass, willing it away.  The heat between our hands crested and for a moment, I could have sworn I felt the touch of flesh, but then as quickly as it came, it was gone.  I gasped and looked into Jackson’s eyes.
“Did you feel that?”
“I’m not sure.  I felt…something,” he sighed.
I rested my forehead on the glass, while disappointment made me aware of the floor biting into my knees and the chill of the room.  He touched his forehead to mine, mere millimeters of glass keeping us apart.  I leaned back and used one fingertip to scrub away a bit of the condensation from my breath.
            He leaned back as well, but his eyes were still dark, his breaths still uneven.  He straightened his shoulders.  “Does this mean the same thing in your world?” he asked, and drew an X and an O in the steam on his side.
I nodded as an overwhelming sense of relief poured through me.  “Yes.”  I huffed a new patch of steam near his markings and drew a heart.
He smiled, and touched his fingertip to mine at the base of the heart.

Caution! Novel Under Construction: Grab your hard hats and Jack Hammers

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Today, as promised, a few ways to make your manuscript stronger and stand out from the others.  Granted this won’t be everything you need, but it’ll help. 
My first bit of advice is to write.  Don’t stop to edit.  That’s what first drafts are for.  That way you know where the story is going and you can add in or delete all the little details you need to make it shine while your editing.
So, now you’ve written your story and you’re happy with it.  The best thing to do is let it sit for a while.  A week at least.  Yes, I know you’re thinking I’m crazy, but really the best thing to do is let it sit.  You’ll catch more things if it’s not so fresh in your mind.  I learned this one the hard way.
My first run-through I don’t do any editing.  I make no changes to the actual structure.  I’m only looking for inconsistencies or things that need more (better) or less descriptions.  Also, I make sure each character is completely well rounded.  I play a little scenario in my head and see if I can take each character and make a little story for him/her.  Almost as if I’m doing a spin off.  That way I know they aren’t flat.  There are some excellent worksheets on this that you can find on the web or contact me and I’ll be happy to send it to you.
Then I go through it a second time, this time looking for structural changes. 
I do a “Find” for the words: just, that, all words that end in ly, was, and “I heard,” “I felt,” and “I saw,” highlighting each one a different color so it catches my eyes when I go through the MS.   
Also, as I’m going through it, I look for words that aren’t necessary.  And try to see if I can rearrange a sentence to mean the same thing, but make it more concise.  The rule of thumb is “less is always more.”  If you can say something in 2 words, why say it in 10?  Unless you weaken your writing by doing so.
Here’s a great list by Kat O’Shea of ways to make your writing stronger.  It was written for romance books, but it works well for all types of books.
1) Cut unnecessary words. Eliminate adjectives and adverbs (just, very, really, and other words ending in ly). Use strong verbs and nouns instead. Also, verbs do not need to be propped up with start to, tried to, began to, seemed to, continued to, needed to, decided to, could, would, etc. Run a search and delete as many as possible.
2) Weed out intruders. When you use phrases such as she saw, he watched, she remembered, he felt, or she touched, you are putting a filter between your character and the reader. Readers are not experiencing the hero’s actions themselves; the author is telling/describing what’s happening. Any time you’re tempted to write a sense word, drop yourself into the middle of the scene and see the scene through your character’s eyes, touch it with her hands. It’s the difference between:
She touched the mat of curls on his chest.
Her fingers tangled in the mat of curls on his chest.
She felt his muscled chest press against her back as he leaned over.
His muscled chest pressed against her back as he leaned over.
The second ones are much more sensual and immediate. They drop us into the action. Which ones make your pulse race faster? Which ones make you feel like you’re part of the action? Can you see the difference eliminating filters/intruders makes?
3) Look for passive voice—was and were are good indicators. Replace these with active verbs to make your writing sparkle. Also look at each sentence to see who is doing the acting. Is the subject taking charge or is he/she being acted upon?
PASSIVE: The book was read by Moira.
ACTIVE: Moira read the book.
PASSIVE: Alisha was served dinner by John.
ACTIVE: John served Alisha dinner.
4) Show rather than tell. Telling is describing, whereas showing is action that demonstrates what is going on in the character’s life. If you’re not sure what this means, here’s one example:
Telling: Sally was angry with Brad.
Showing: Sally glared at Brad, then turned and stomped off.
The second sentence not only lets us know that she’s angry, it shows how she expressed her anger. It’s much stronger and more interesting. Change any places where you describe a character’s thoughts or deeds instead of showing him or her in action. See the following websites for more info:
http://www.rooftopsessions.com/OpeningHook.htm  (Mostly about openings, but check out her two examples of openings to see the difference between showing and telling)
6) Dialogue needs to be crisp and to the point. It must also move the story along and/or develop your characters. Eliminate the usual conversational pleasantries (hello, how are you, good-bye), filler (you know, um, you see, I guess, well), and repetitions. Concentrate on the essential information you need to convey, and make your dialogue sound better than real life. Never use dialogue to tell readers things the characters already know nor use it as an information dump (to let readers know all the interesting facts you learned while researching).
7) The main reason people read romance is to be transported to another time, place, situation. Imagining themselves in the heroine’s place, they live the story through her. In order to create that illusion, details can be extremely important. Sensory details flesh out a fully realized world. What is she smelling? hearing? feeling? tasting? You don’t want to bog the story down with description, but a few well chosen details add spice and make the setting feel real. (But do it without adding “intruders.” See # 2.)
8) Avoid using It was or There were to begin sentences; those are weak constructions. Often just cutting them takes care of the problem. Usually the rest of the sentence can stand on its own. If not, reword it. 
9) NNTT (No Need to Tell)—Many writers use body language, dialogue, or an action that shows how a character is feeling or reacting, then they follow it up with an explanation. Stick with the action, and let readers figure out how a character is feeling. If you’ve portrayed the emotion through action or dialogue, trust that your readers will understand.
When Lynn turned the key, the ignition clicked a few times, but the engine refused to turn over. She pounded on the steering wheel and swore
, furious that her car wouldn’t start
.
As readers, we realize she’s furious—we see her temper fit. We also know her car didn’t start, so telling us that is unnecessary.
10) Watch for ing verbs. They’re usually weaker than verbs that end in ed. And because ing indicates the action is ongoing, they often make for impossible actions.
Racing up the stairs, she grabbed his shoulder and glared into his eyes.
Wow, she can hang onto his shoulders and maintain eye contact as she’s racing up the stairs? Pretty impressive. If that’s not what you meant, then change the sentence to She raced up the stairs, grabbed his shoulder, and glared into his eyes.
11) Avoid backstory in your first three chapters. Use those chapters to introduce your heroine, your hero, and the main story conflict. Show them interacting, acting & reacting to each other. Backstory, imagination, and being in a character’s thoughts slow the story down too much. Actions that happen in the past also put too much distance between the character and the event and lower the tension. (One clue to backstory is had in front of your verbs. One or two may be necessary to order events, but avoid had for whole passages.) Begin with the inciting incident—an event that sets off sparks between your hero & heroine (or between your character and an antagonist). Weave a tiny bit of backstory into later chapters, but only if absolutely necessary. Keep the story in past (or present) tense to give it a sense of immediacy. Using only past or present tense keeps the reader guessing about what’s about to happen.
12) End each chapter with a cliffhanger. If tension drops off at the end of the chapter or a problem is resolved and all is well for your character, readers have no reason to continue reading. They can easily close the book at that point and have no incentive to finish the story. To keep readers involved, end chapters during the high point of the action, right before the resolution. Then readers have to read on to see how the scene ends. Or if you resolve a problem before the end of the chapter, make sure the resolution results in a new problem and hints at it or introduces it at the close of the chapter. This is a key to writing a page turner that your readers won’t be able to put down.
Some must have books are Struck and White’s Elements of Style and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.  Strunk and White’s Elements should be used a reference, while Self-Editing should be read through from cover to cover and then used as a reference.  It does, essentially repeat the 12 steps above, but it goes much more in-depth and uses real life examples. 
I hope this has been somewhat helpful. 
Tomorrow I’m taking a page from a friend’s book and making it “TEASER TUESDAY.” Where I’ll post an excerpt from one of my stories.   

The Writers’ Hate On For Agents

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Lately, I’ve been reading on agent’s blogs and Twitter about a new trending topic that, well, surprised me.  More and more writers are developing a “hate on” for agents and I’m not sure where this is coming from. 
It doesn’t make sense.  Sure it’s frustrating to get rejection after rejection after rejection, but it’s the name of the game.  It’s just the same with publishers, but people aren’t taking their frustrations out on publishers.  Nope, just the agents who get caught in the middle. 
An agents job is to find manuscripts that the publishers are looking for and passing it along, amongst countless other things that blow my mind.  I actually kept my Tweetdeck open last week for “agents day,” which was where all the agents on Twitter tweeted about what they did during the day.
 It was ridiculous.  Most of them were reading queries before work, on their way to work, after work (notice the trend?  It’s all on their personal time.)  The same goes with non-client mss (those coveted partials and fulls), all done on their personal time.
Then they spend their actual work day doing client stuff, negotiating contracts, editing manuscripts, submitting, talking with editors, the list goes on and on.  Most stayed well past what corporate America would consider closing, just to go home and read more MSS and queries.
Now, the “haters” are popping out of the woodwork and, what seems to me, attacking these people because of their job.  Most of it I think is the rejections they are getting.  Instead of taking a look at their own work to try and see if they can improve it, they’re venting their frustrations on the people they see as the reason they’re not getting published.
They complain when an agent responds too quickly or not quickly enough.  They complain when the get feedback or just a form response. 
It seems that there is no pleasing these people. 
Some make some good points that I’ll admit have crossed my mind a few times, but you know what, writing hateful things on your blog, or worse, emailing or phoning the agent in question to “chew them out” is not the way to handle it.  Please refer to my blog posts of the previous two days to help you with what you can do.
Yes, agents are picky, but they have to be.  If they pick up something that doesn’t sell, they don’t get paid.  Nobody wants to work for free.  And yes, some are jerks, but again, if you don’t like it, go somewhere else.  There are tons of agents out there and most are awesome.
Most spend countless hours helping ‘newbies.’ They post blogs about writing, how to submit, what they’re looking for, what they aren’t looking for.  They offer mss or query letter critiques, they post on Twitter the things NOT to do.  The list goes on and on, my friends.
Is publishing flawed?  Probably.  Are good people getting missed because of those flaws?  More than likely, but this is the system we have to work with, so you need to learn to “work it, baby.”  (If anyone knows what this is from, please comment I’m interested in finding others who loved this and I may just give something away to the person who answers correctly HINT:  If you read my story Maid Of Honor, you know the answer.)
Now, enough of my rants.  Next week, I’ll go back to writing tips.
Monday’s Post will be on hints for a successful self-edit of your MSS.