Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Pet Peeve by Mary Waibel

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a perfectionist. And as a perfectionist, typos drive me nuts. It always amazes me how many words are misspelled in this day and age when most typing is done on a computer, and most programs have a spell checking function.

Now, have I sent manuscripts to Critique Partners (CP's), Beta Readers (betas), agents, publishers, and editors with typos? Of course I have. Have I posted things on my blog or facebook or twitter with spelling or grammar errors? Guilty as charged.

Having gone through the editing process, I was shocked at the typos I found in my own work after having gone over it and over it, not with just my eyes, but with others looking at it, too!

Typos are going to happen. It's inevitable. But, when I'm reading for enjoyment, and there are multiple spelling/grammar/word missing/wrong word used issues, I have a hard time not being pulled out of the story.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, when you're looking over your work look carefully. Your readers will be thankful for the extra time and attention!

A reverse Sleeping Beauty tale where the princess goes on the quest to save the prince.

Mary lives with her husband, son and two cats. When she isn't twisting fairytales, she enjoys reading, playing games, watching hockey, and camping. Her debut novel, Quest of the Hart, will be available from MuseItUp Publishing April 19, 2013. The Lost Princess, a companion novel, will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in August 2013.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pet Peeve: Faster than a Speeding Bullet Rejection


Rejection—on a requested manuscript--that is
Faster than a Speeding Bullet  

Author Christy McKee
We are writers. Part of our job—the least favorite part for most of us— is querying editors to get our book in front of one of them. After we’ve given birth to our prose, developed multi-faceted characters, created an intriguing plot, revised, buffed and polished, our creation is ready to be sent out into the real world to become a book. We know rejection is likely, and many of us have a wall of them to prove it.  All we need is one editor to read it and give us the nod.  

My book was ready to be sent out and I started taking advantage of every online pitching opportunity to find a publisher.  When an editor contacted me on Monday morning with an enthusiastic email about my book, I sent her the requested synopsis and three chapters by the end of the day and celebrated my good fortune that night with a glass of Riesling. My excitement meter started hovering over happy.   Three days later, the editor contacted me again, asking for the full manuscript which I sent it within the hour. The excitement meter was a hair from “over joyed.”

I wasn’t naïve enough to think I would hear anything back for a while; it was, after all, a 97,000 word manuscript.  After all, editors have stacks of submission emails cluttering their computers, not to mention the virtual six foot high slush pile in the corner. So when I checked my emails in the afternoon, I was amazed to have an email from the publisher.  This time it was the editor’s assistant saying the editor was on vacation and would review the book when she returned in a week. Ok. Even editors deserve a vacation.

The real surprise came the next morning when I received an email from the editor rejecting the book.   How did she find the time  to read it?  She’d   had it for under twenty-four hours. Did she simply decide to clear her desk before she went on vacation? Was I the victim of pre-vacation house cleaning? I tossed my excitement meter into the bottom drawer. The weekend loomed dark ahead of me.

I could handle a rejection, I told my husband.  My collection of them is rather impressive. My gut told me the manuscript had never been read. Saturday morning my husband left me a sweet note before he left for his golf game.  “Send it back out there today.”

Right after breakfast I took his suggestion and sent out it to another publisher.  Within two days I received a request for a full and a week later I got a big fat “yes” to the book.  Of course receiving a faster than a speeding bullet acceptance far out shines the rejection. However, my pet peeve still stands.  Rejections, on requested full manuscripts, that are faster than a speeding bullet, are a more emphatic way of saying “NO” than a timely and subtle “not right for us” rejection. At least you have reason to think someone actually read your work.

It was our own Lea Schizas who gave me the big fat “yes” and the book, Maybe Too Good to Be True, was released by MuseIt Up Publishing in August, 2012.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Pet Peeve--Writing Cliches by J.Q. Rose

My Pet Peeve--Writing Clichés by J.Q. Rose

For some reason clichés are not approved by editors when checking my stories. I don’t know why. It makes writing as easy as pie. These familiar expressions are as good as gold when it comes to taking a short cut in your storytelling.

Instead of writing a paragraph about how bad the storm is, I can just say the rain is coming down in buckets. The reader knows exactly how bad that is. However, after sending this in to the editor,  the phrase will appear red-lined in the manuscript and a comment will show up in the margin gently reminding me that I should not use a cliché. But seriously, if I want to describe how hot the weather is in a story, why can’t I say it was hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk? That really does explain the heat factor!

When push comes to shove, a cliché is the way to go for me. For instance, when the coroner arrives at the death scene, why can’t he say the victim kicked the bucket? That is so much more colorful than saying he’s dead. 

It makes me madder than a wet hen when I realize I have used clichés in my writing. For Pete’s sake, I KNOW the editors won’t let me use them, so I try to be conscious about it when I write and re-vise the chapters. 

Still and all, once in awhile a cliché does slip into my writing. The solution is to carefully read through the story and concentrate on finding the little demons. To tell you the truth, I don’t always recognize them.  I submit the manuscript for editing on a wing and a prayer that I have caught every cliché and I won’t have the editor tearing her hair out when she reads it.

There’s no time like the present to change and recognize clichés in my writing. How about you? I plan to be as sharp as a tack when putting words down on paper so I can make it easier for me and my editor to get through the manuscript. 

I’m not trying to pull the wool over your eyes. I'm vowing to do better on using clichés. Just notice how much I’ve improved already!

Pastor Christine Hobbs never imagined she would be caring 
for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.

MuseItUp Publishing recently released the mystery, sweet romance, Coda to Murder, by J.Q. Rose.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Writing Pet Peeves: An E-book Is a Real Book by Katie L. Carroll

My YA fantasy Elixir Bound will be coming out in paperback later this year, but it's already a book...a real book. It's been out as an e-book since last August. But I know some readers are still confused about whether or not an e-book is a real book. Here's my response to a question I received from one such concerned reader.

"DEAR WRITER: I am a young-at-heart reader.
Some of my friends say an e-book isn't a book at all.
Daddy says, 'If you see it on the Internet it must be so.'
Please tell me the truth; is an e-book a real book?"


READER, your friends are wrong. They are stuck in an ancient world. They cannot adapt with the times and long for the days when oral storytelling was the main form of sharing tales. Human nature dictates they fight against any form of change or evolution.

Yes, READER, an e-book is a real book. It is as much a book as a song played on an iPod is real music or verse scribbled on a bathroom wall is a real poem. A print book is not a book itself, not if you take a look at all the definitions of the word. "Book" is a noun, a verb, an adjective. It can be a set of matches or a record of bets. It can be making a reservation or entering an official charge against a criminal. It can describe a department in a store.

An e-book not a book! Do your friends also not believe in magic? Magic is having hundreds of stories at your fingertips with one click of a button. It's escaping into a world you never experienced on this plane of existence, whether historical, realistic, or fantastical. It's feeling a character is so real you mourn their loss when the story ends.

No, you can't physically flip an e-book's pages or smell its moldering pages, but none of that makes a book. The words are the important part. They are woven together into sentences and paragraphs that can bring a story to life in your mind. Therein lies the power of a book, the divine communication between writer and reader to create. No need for paper and ink and bindings.

You can try and fathom what form a book will take in the future, but the form is not the thing. A million years from now a print book, an e-book, a feed directly into your brain, they will all be real books. Care not about how you get the story, care about getting it. Read print books, read e-books. Just read. Fill yourself with the knowledge, emotions, fun, love that is a good book and you will have a rich life indeed.

Katie L. Carroll is an author, editor, and mother. She began writing after her 16-year-old sister unexpectedly passed away. Writing was a way for Katie to help her sister live on in the pages of a story. Her YA fantasy ELIXIR BOUND is available on the MuseItUp bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online book retailers. Her picture book app THE BEDTIME KNIGHT, illustrated by Erika Baird, is available from MeeGenius. For more about Katie and her books, visit her website at or find her on Facebook and Goodreads.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pet Peeves of a Technophobe

Photo Courtesy of Photobucket
Pat McDermott here, stating unequivocally that I do not write hieroglyphics on papyrus. My typewriter vanished ages ago. Yes, advances in modern technology have made my life easier. I’ve come to love word processors, but I see no need to embrace the new writing programs I hear about. Why should I? By the time I figure them out, they’re sure to become obsolete.

It’s not just writing programs. Email, Skype, Kindles, IPads, digital cameras, tablet computers, and SmartPhones bewilder me constantly. And the expense of mobile gateways to the web and their accompanying plans? Please. What’s wrong with a notebook and pencil instead of a netbook and keyboard? How can anyone keep up?

Nowadays, being a writer clearly involves much more than writing. Preparing submissions and cover letters requires at least a nuts-and-bolts knowledge of email and electronic formatting. Then there’s marketing on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, web sites, and blogs, not only our own, but also those we visit, often having to sign in via a confusing array of platforms like Blogger, WordPress, and Weebly—and they don’t always work the way they should. Consequently, I’ve learned enough about codes to know how much I don’t know.

Because technology changes so fast, I tend to omit any reference to it from my stories to keep from dating them. (I also suspect I would have been happy back in the days where signal fires and drums were the fastest means of communication.) However, I did brave the world of cell phones in my YA novels, Glancing Through the Glimmer and Autumn Glimmer. Kids like that stuff, right?

In this excerpt from Autumn Glimmer, an Irish fairy witch named Becula leaves a note for Ireland's King Brian, giving him her email address. The king hands the note to his teenage son, Prince Liam:
"Flowery handwriting," Liam said. "Very old-fashioned." And then he laughed. "She’s given Dad her email address!"

His father nodded. "She set up an email account at a cybercafé in Dublin. I gave her my personal email address and asked her to use it rather than leave enchanted notes on my desk. I told her I’m not always at my computer and might not see her messages right away, but I’d respond as quickly as possible."

"You’re dancing to yesterday’s fiddle, Dad." Liam set the note on the table and pulled his phone from his pocket. "You need one of these."

A scowl darkened the king’s face. He waved the phone away. "I most certainly do not! Don’t I have enough people hounding me every minute of the day? There are times when I like being unreachable."
I’m with King Brian. I’m not as tech savvy as Becula, let alone Prince Liam. My cell phone is ancient. I don’t even know how to turn it on. I can text, but only when absolutely necessary, and only from my computer. And I still prefer creating stories with paper and pen and WordPerfect. I do my best to keep up with technology, but one of these days, I suspect it’s going to leave me in the dust. And I’m going to let it…

Thanks for reading!

Pat McDermott
Romantic Adventure Set in Ireland
Pat’s Web Site
Put the Kettle On
Across the Plain of Shining Books

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Writing Pet Peeve

(otherwise titled: I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No!) 
by Helena Fairfax

A couple of years ago we sold the large house where my children grew up and bought somewhere much smaller.  It was an old Victorian terrace in Yorkshire (in the north of England, where I live) and it needed a LOT of renovating.  I basically spent a year living in dirt.

The cluttered room where I work
Now I’ve put away the step-ladders and the paintbrushes to concentrate on my dream: writing.  I’m lucky to have a little money left from the sale of my first house and, instead of saving it for the old age which is creeping up on me, I thought I’d use it to support myself building a career as a writer.  I’ve done years and years of the nine to five, trying to fit in writing, and now I feel tremendously lucky that I can work on my dream full-time.

So, there doesn’t seem to be much to peeve about here, huh?  There’s just one small fly in the ointment.  Now people know I work from home, I am the go-to person for help.  Since I no longer work in my factory job, people seem to think that “just writing”, especially “just writing romance novels” isn’t really what they'd call a proper job and that I have all the time in the world.

Requests for help can range from neighbours asking me if I’d mind “nipping to the Post Office” to pick up a parcel whilst they’re at work (and believe me, no-one “nips” to my local Post Office!  There’s never anywhere to park, plus a massive queue of people, all sending parcels to far-flung places and paying with piles of one pence coins), or else looking after a friend's ill child whilst she's at work, to running people to hospital for their appointments.

Of course I don’t mind helping people in need – I’ve been in need myself and I know what it's like – it’s just that sometimes I wish people would recognise that writing is actually a “proper job” which takes up a lot of my time, and if I don’t spend time on it I won’t earn any money.  

Now, I’m supposed to finish my post by showing how I deal with my pet peeve…but I honestly can’t think how to deal with this problem!   

I have a Plan A:  Don’t answer my phone.  Obviously this works, but really I'm just avoiding the problem.  Plus, I might miss an important call.
My wild look

 My Plan B is: spend all day in my jimjams reeking of gin, with my hair all wild, looking like thesort of person no one in their right mind would ever ask for help.  This one might be fun for a while, but again, I think I'm just avoiding the problem - plus even my long-suffering husband would soon get a little tired of it!

How do you turn people down assertively?  Does anyone else find it hard saying no?  Any commenters will go into a draw for a free Muse book – and I'll also be massively grateful for any advice or to share your experience!


Oh, and I have somehow found time to write after all, because my first novel, The Silk Romance, is due out in May and is on pre-order here in the Muse Bookstore
You can follow me on Facebook, or follow my own blog here at Helena Fairfax

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pet Peeves: Sassy Answers to Silly Questions

One of my pet peeves are the questions writers appear to attract at coffee hour, potlucks, and when meeting relatives one hasn't seen in a long time: the kinds of questions  where the other person doesn't really care about the answer. So here are a few, along with some possible answers:

1. Where do you get your ideas?
A: From asking questions like, "But didn't her daughter object to being jerked out of school in the middle of the semester?" when I'm reading a book.

B: They strike me out of the clear blue while raking leaves or shoveling snow, and I have to run inside to scribble them down before I forget them.

C. From my dog, when we're out walking. He's full of ideas: arf, arf. All I have to do is interpret them.

2. How long have you been a writer?
A. I haven't worn a watch in forty years, more or less, so  I'd have a hard time figuring this out.

B. As best as I can remember, I've been writing something since my first grade teacher taught me to print.

C: What? Oh, you mean a published writer? Why didn't you say so?

3. What's your book about?
A: Which book?

B: A boy with a problem.

C: Aliens, spies, and terrorists. It's great. Go buy it.

4. How long does it take you to write a book?
A. Which one?

B. The first draft, or the final version?

C. Not long. I'm a fast typist. It's the editing that consumes the cycles.

5. What are your strengths as a writer?
A. Great wrist muscles

B: My typing abilities. I can type over fifty words a minute, and I don't have to look at the keyboard, either.

C. My ability to keep a straight face when answering all these questions.

6: But I really am interested. What now?

Email me. We'll chat. But be prepared for a page, at least, for each question.

Margaret Fieland is the author of Relocated. You can find her on  facebooktwitter, goodreads, her website and blog.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Special Offer. Far Beyond Rubies by Rosemary Morris

I am delighted to announce Far Beyond Rubies by Rosemary Morris will  be sold in  store on March 29. The historical novel is already available with pre-order savings at:


Far Beyond Rubies

When Gervaise sees Juliana for the first time, he recognises her, but not from this lifetime…
Back Cover

Set in 1706 in England during Queen Anne Stuart’s reign, Far Beyond Rubies begins when William, Baron Kemp, Juliana’s half-brother, claims she and her young sister, Henrietta, are bastards. Spirited Juliana is determined to prove the allegation is false, and that she is the rightful heiress to Riverside, a great estate.

On his way to deliver a letter to William, Gervaise Seymour sees Juliana for the first time in the grounds of her family home. The sight of her draws him back to India. When “her form changed to one he knew intimately—but not in this lifetime,” Gervaise knows he would do everything in his power to protect her.

Although Juliana and Gervaise are attracted to each other, they have not been formally introduced and assume they will never meet again. However, when Juliana flees from home, and is on her way to London, she encounters quixotic Gervaise at an inn. Circumstances force Juliana to accept his kind help. After Juliana’s life becomes irrevocably tangled with his, she discovers all is not as it seems. Yet, she cannot believe ill of him for, despite his exotic background, he behaves with scrupulous propriety, while trying to help her find evidence to prove she and her sister are legitimate

Author’s Notes

When the popular Charles II died in 1685, he left a country torn by religious controversy, but no legitimate children. The throne passed to his Roman Catholic brother, James.
It was an anxious time for the people, whose fears increased when James II became so unpopular that he was forced into exile, and his daughter, Mary, and her husband, William of Orange, succeeded to the throne.
The Act of Settlement was passed in Parliament in 1701 to prevent a Roman Catholic inheriting the throne. This meant the Roman Catholic son of James II, by his second wife, Mary of Modena, could not become king.
In 1702, James’s childless younger daughter, Anne, inherited the throne from her sister Mary, and Mary’s husband, William of Orange.
Anne’s Protestant heiress was Sophia, the granddaughter of James I. If Sophia died before Anne, Sophia’s uncouth son, George, Elector of Hanover—who spoke no English—would be next in the line of succession.
Anglicanism, a mixture of ancient Catholic ritual and Church government with Protestant tenet, was the official national religion, re-established by law in 1660. Queen Mary and Queen Anne were staunch supporters of the Anglican Church.
Anglicans and non-conformists united in their loathing of the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholics, or papists, as they were called, were suspected of endlessly plotting against the Government, and their civil liberties were restricted. For example they were forbidden to travel more than a mile or two from home.

Chapter One


“Bastards, Juliana! You and your sister are bastards.”
Aghast, Juliana stared at William, her older half-brother, although, not for a moment did she believe his shocking allegation.
It hurt her to confront William without their father at her side. At the beginning of April, she and Father were as comfortable as ever in his London house. Now, a month later, upon her return to her childhood home, Riverside House, set amongst the rolling landscape of Hertfordshire, his body already lay entombed in the family crypt next to her mother’s remains. Would there ever be a day when she did not mourn him? A day when she did not weep over his loss?
A cold light burned in the depths of William’s pebble-hard eyes.
Juliana straightened her neck. She would not bow her head, thus giving him the satisfaction of revealing her inner turmoil.
William cleared his throat. His eyes gleamed. “Did you not know you and your sister were born on the wrong side of the blanket?”
Anger welled up in her. “You lie. How dare you make such a claim?”
Hands clasped on his plump knees, William ignored her protestation. “You now know the truth about your whore of a mother,” he gloated.
Well, she knew what William claimed, but did not believe him. “You are wicked to speak thus. My mother always treated you kindly.”
“As ever, you are a haughty piece.” William’s broad nostrils flared. Anger sparked in his eyes. “My dear sister, remember the adage: Pride goeth before a fall, however, do not look so worried. I shall not cast you out without the means to support yourself.”
William rang the silver handbell. When a lackey clad in blue and gold livery answered its summons, he ordered the man to pour a glass of wine.
Juliana watched William raise the crystal glass to his lips. What did he mean? How could she maintain herself and her sister? She had not been brought up to earn a living.
She looked away from her half-brother to glance around the closet, the small, elegantly furnished room in which she kept her valuables and conducted her private correspondence before her father’s death.
Now it seemed, William, the seventh Baron Kemp, and his wife, Sophia, had sought to obliterate every trace of her by refurbishing the closet. Where were her books and her embroidery frame? Where was Mother’s portrait? Rage burned in the pit of her stomach while she looked around her former domain. Juliana wanted to claw William’s fat cheeks. It would please her to hurt him as he was hurting her. No, that wish was both childish and unchristian. She must use her intelligence to defeat him.
At least her family portrait—in which her late mother sat in front of Father, and she and William, dressed in their finest clothes, stood on either side of Mother—remained in place. One of her father’s hands rested on her pretty mother’s shoulder, the other on the back of the chair. A handsome man, she thought—while admiring his relaxed posture and frank expression, both of which depicted a man at his ease.
At the age of five, she already had resembled Mother when Godfrey Kneller painted her family in 1693. They both had large dark eyes and a riot of black curls, as well as fair complexions tinged with the colour of wild roses on their cheeks. She touched her narrow, finely sculpted nose. Judging by the portraits, she inherited her straight nose, oval face, and determined jaw from Father.
Her hands trembled. After Father died, she knew life would never be the same again. Yet nothing had prepared her for what would follow.
Today, when she first stepped into the spacious hall, it seemed as though she had also stepped over an invisible threshold. From being a beloved daughter of the house, she had become her half-brother’s pensioner. Knowing William and Sophia’s miserly natures, she doubted they would deal kindly with her. Yet she could not have anticipated William’s appalling accusation of illegitimacy, and his arrangement—whatever it might be—for her to earn her living.
The lackey served William with another glass of wine.
William jerked his head at the man. “Go.”
Her head still held high, Juliana looked at tall, fleshy William. She liked him no more than he liked her. Indeed, who would not dislike a man so parsimonious that he neither offered his half-sister the common courtesy of either a seat or a glass of wine? Infuriated by his gall, she clasped her hands tighter, trying to contain her anger and keep her face impassive.
She shivered. Today, when she alighted from the coach, rain soaked her clothes. On such a wet, grey day, why did no fire blaze in the hearth? Here, in the closet, it was scarcely warmer than outdoors. She clenched her hands to stop them trembling and imagined the heart of the house had died with Father.
“You shall put your fine education, which our father boasted of, to good use,” William gloated. “You shall be a teacher at a school in Bath.”
Fury flooded Juliana’s chilled body. “Shall I?”
“Yes. Our father saw fit for you to have an education far beyond your needs. You are more than qualified to teach young ladies.”
“Beyond my needs? Father admired Good Queen Bess and other learned ladies of her reign. He deplored Queen Anne’s lack of education. Our father decided no daughter of his would be as ignorant as Her Majesty and her late sister, Queen Mary.”
The purple-red colour of William’s cheeks deepened. “Enough! I despise over-educated women.”
She stared at him. Undoubtedly his mean-minded wife had influenced him. Sophia was jealous because her own schooling comprised of only simple figuring, reading, and writing learned at her mother’s knee, whereas Juliana benefited both from the tutors her tolerant father, the sixth baron, had engaged, and her father’s personal tuition.
William interrupted her thoughts. “You have no claim on me. Moreover, our father left you naught in his will. To make matters worse the estate is so neglected, I cannot afford—”
“Cannot afford,” she broke in, outraged. “What nonsense is this? I have lived here for most of my life. Father encouraged me to familiarise myself with Riverside estate. I know every detail of it. Father even encouraged me to examine the accounts. I assure you everything is in perfect order, and the estate is profitable.” Scornfully, she assessed the poor quality of William’s black broadcloth coat and breeches. “You are a wealthy man. Besides the income from the Kemp estates, you have the revenues from those you inherited from your mother, God rest her soul. You could bear the expense of half a dozen siblings.” She glared at him. “I shall ask nothing for myself, but what of my sister?”
Despite her pride, Juliana’s heart pounded with fear for Henrietta. Although she cared little for William, who had rarely spoken a kind word to her, she adored her eight-year-old sister. She would do all in her power to care for and protect the child.
While she waited for William’s answer, she thought how different their lives would have been if, when she was ten-years-old, Mother had not died after giving birth to Henrietta. Although she should not question the will of God, sometimes it was almost impossible not to.
William shifted in his seat. The brass buttons of his waistcoat strained in the buttonholes due to the pressure of his sizeable girth. Juliana wrinkled her nose. Unlike their fastidious father, her half-brother did not bathe regularly. In fact, he reeked of stale perspiration, partially masked by musky perfume which nauseated her.
“Henrietta shall go to school.” William averted his eyes from her. “After all, I am a generous man. I shall pay for her education. She may think herself fortunate. I am under no obligation to support her.”
Juliana did not doubt he would send Henrietta to a school which charged the smallest possible fees, one which skimped on good food—a school at which clever Henrietta would learn little.
William sipped his wine. Did he want her to cry? If so, he would be disappointed. She would no more do so now than when she was a child, when he pinched her or pulled her hair out of jealous spite because he believed Father favoured her. Yet William never had any reason to envy her because Father had told her he loved William as much as he loved her and Henrietta.
How heartless her half-brother and his wife were. When Father died, they ordered her to remain in London, and at the time of Henrietta’s greatest need, confined her to Riverside House. For the first time since their marriage two years earlier, William and Sophia had returned to Riverside. Now, William’s cruel plan to send Henrietta away from home astonished her.
“Pay attention, Juliana!”
“I am all attention. You told me you will send Henrietta to school,” Juliana said, jerked from her still raw grief by outrage, yet determined not to make a fool of herself by pleading with him. “Be good enough to excuse me, I must see Henrietta. Where is she?”
“I have no patience with the snivelling brat. On my orders, she is not allowed out of the nursery.”
Juliana’s dislike of William flamed like a live coal. She could not endure the unreasonable fool’s behaviour for another moment. The sight of Father’s favourite gold ring, set with a diamond, on the puffy finger of William’s right hand, brought a lump to her throat. The diamond, of the finest quality, caught the light, displaying the colours of the rainbow. She coughed to check rising emotion. “I am going to the nursery.”
William raised his hand. “Grant me a moment more of your time.” He smirked. “Those of your clothes my lady wife deems suitable for your new position are in her tirewoman’s chamber, where you will sleep tonight.”
So, Sophia had appropriated her silks and satins, velvets and furs, before relegating her to a servant’s bed!
An outraged tremor ran through Juliana. More than likely, instead of the large bedchamber reserved for the mistress, Sophia had moved into the smaller, more comfortable one she, Juliana, had always slept in; the one adjoining the large bedchamber traditionally used by the Master of Riverside.
The thought of William sleeping in her courtly father’s bed intensified her grief. Never again would Father summon her in the morning to partake of hot chocolate and read to him while he lay abed, or while, on cold days, she sat snuggled up on the large wingchair by the fire.
“You may go, Juliana.”
How dare William dismiss her as though she were a servant?
She regarded William with acute distaste, but mindful of her training in the ways of society, Juliana curtsied before she straightened her back, hands clenched at her side to control her impotent wrath.
After she withdrew, she hurried not to the nursery, but to the closet which had been her father’s.
Without hesitation, Juliana opened a drawer and then pressed a knob at the back which opened a secret drawer in a lacquered cabinet. Smiling, she removed a drawstring purse bulging with gold coins.
Juliana sank onto a chair. Furious with William, she considered her situation. Until now, she took Riverside House—with its pleasure gardens, fruitful orchards, outbuildings, stables, and home farm—for granted, as she did the fertile acres encompassing villages and tenant farms.
Why did Father will the estate—which her maternal grandfather settled on Mother and she left to Father—to William? Deep in thought, she frowned. Why, in spite of his promises not to do so, did Father appoint William to be not only her own, but also Henrietta’s guardian?
Despite her love for Father, resentment stirred deep within her. She stifled it. Throughout his life, her father’s word was always as good as his bond. Now, although broken promises were his only legacy, he would not have failed her without good reason. But what could the reason be?
She frowned. Notwithstanding William’s words, Juliana believed she and Henrietta were legitimate. No lady as virtuous as her mother would have lived in sin with any gentleman. She cupped her chin in her hand. Bitter laughter escaped her. If William lied about that, what else was he lying about? Yet could he have spoken the truth? Could she and her sister be bastards? Surely not, for in that case her mother would not have been accepted at court as her father’s wife. Would it not have been impossible for a mistress to masquerade as a wife?
Nothing made sense. If Mother had been Father’s mistress and their daughters were illegitimate, how could Father have acquired the right to leave the estate to William? She had been told her grandpere settled Riverside on her mother, but was it true? What of her mother’s will? The will in which Mother had left jewellery and other personal possessions to both her daughters? Did Mother leave the estate to Father, or had she married him? If she had, the property would have become Father’s. But she had been told that under the terms of grandpere’s will, Mother’s eldest child would inherit Riverside. Was it true?
Well, she would not accept William’s claims. She would go to London immediately and consult Father’s lawyer, but first she must see her sister.

Vicki Batman: Writing Pet Peeve & How I Resolved It

Writing Pet Peeve and How I Resolved It: Write Tight

Early in my writing career, I didn't know all the RULES. I happily wrote for me and made sure I had an interesting character that was in quite a predicament, a swoon-worthy hero who was having all kinds of problems with the heroine, and a villain. And I wanted this bad person to be someone totally unexpected.

Happy, happy, happy writing. I showed my friend, my sister, read bits to girlfriends who laughed. Based on their reactions, I just knew my story was perfect.


I did do one thing right: I joined my local RWA chapter and began to take advantage of their critique group. My seasoned critiquer gave me the best advice ever--Write Tight. She recommended the book, Write Tight: How to Keep Your Prose Sharp, Focused and Concise by William Brobaugh.

Praise the Lord! This book saved me. I learned how to eliminate the pet peeves of thats, justs, etc. How to use adverbs and adjectives properly. How to construct an interesting sentence without over usage of language. I reach each chapter and then raced to my computer to apply what I learned to my own (there's a tidbit!) manuscript.

The second helpful hint came from a writing friend. She puts her work through After the program counts the words, I print out the report. I go back to my work and search for over usage (oops!) the repeat offenders. This rewording forces me to write more creatively and fresh. That's what we want to give our readers.

It's hard to turn off my internal editor when reading now. When critiquing a new writer or contest entries, I've cringed when encountering passages that need write tight and repetitive words. Often, I've recommended the book and the website.

When you read a story, do things jump out at you? Do you find an author continues to repeat something which is irritating? Does it become your pet peeve, even causing you to not read their work anymore? 

With a diet Coke nearby, Vicki Batman is practicing Write Tight as she works on her newest manuscript, a fun and sweet holiday story. Find Vicki at: or at: . Vicki's San Diego or Bust will be available late March thur .