Tag Archives: treasure

“Lessons From Rejection” by Olive Balla

Please help me welcome Olive Balla with an article all writers should read…

“Lessons From Rejection” by Olive Balla

For the umpteenth time, I click my cursor through the terse, to-the-point emailed responses to my latest barrage of agent queries. Thanks, but no thanks; Unfortunately, your work is not a good fit for our agency; and finally, the dreaded: This is in no way meant to reflect on the quality of your writing, keep it up.

“I’m seventy years old; the clock’s ticking,” my internal doomsday prophet intones. How many increments of a typical six-month waiting period do I have left? I don’t even buy green bananas.

Driven by the desire to hit that sweet spot required to find an agent willing to take a chance on my writing, I ask, “What does a good fit look like?”

Apparently, as the old saying goes, it’s different strokes for different folks. One agent’s pot-o-gold is another’s anathema. The bottom line is, how tough would an agent find it to sell my story? The shifts in the industry over the past decade alone have made it harder than ever to sell anything even remotely considered cliché, passé, overdone, or not edgy enough. To quote an agent who spoke at a writer’s convention I attended, “Please, don’t send me another story about vampires or kid wizards.” It’s a market-driven business; fads quickly come and go – emphasis on GO. To be marketable, a novel must not only be well-written, it must sizzle and pop with unique plot, peopled with and acted out by unique characters.

The latest series of rejections compelling me to action, I spend the day researching books on Amazon, paying careful attention to the back covers and blurbs to get a feel for what’s selling. Then I read my manuscript out loud, in hopes that getting another sense involved may help me spot gaps in the plot or highlight weak verbs and wonky sentences. Regardless of how many times I’ve edited, I edit again, searching for typos, misspellings, and over-use of be, am, is, are, was, were, been, or has been and have been.

If I’m still happy with my plot and character arcs, I seek and destroy anything written in passive voice – the use of which will doom even a great story.

I then move on to the Query letter. Does it sing? Does the Hook really hook? I re-read Query by C.J. Redwine and invest a day re-working my Query letter. I search the pages of the latest Guide to Literary Agents, highlighting the agencies I’ve not yet queried.

After doing everything I know to do, and as the melody of Cast Your Fate to the Wind – a golden oldie from the seventies – floats across my memory, I send out another barrage of Queries. Then I square my shoulders, open the Outline Template on my desktop, type in a working title, and begin another story.

 

Blurb: 
Eleven-year-old Jillie Ross escapes the vicious relatives threatening to flush away her beloved sister’s ashes if she doesn’t lead them to her dead father’s rumored treasure. Determined to find her sibling’s ashes and honor them along with their parents’ remains, the feisty orphan must endure harsh weather, escape a stalker, and hide from the police. But how long can she survive when at least one family member wants her dead?
Excerpt: 

Jillie dropped the metal lid as if it were red hot… Her stomach heaved, and something sour shot up her throat. Panic sent her running to the door where she pounded against the unyielding wood until the muscles in her arms cramped.  She  fell to her knees and clawed at the floor, ignoring the pain radiating up her arms from torn fingernails…The sound of approaching footsteps made the tiny hairs on the back of her neck move. Jillie snatched up the broken shovel handle and took a position in front of the door. With her legs slightly bent,, she balanced on the balls of her feet as she’d seen a martial arts professional do on television. She gripped the pole in both hands as if it were a sword, aimed its broken, pointed end at the door, and waited.

Olive Balla is a retired educator and author of two mystery/suspense novels An Arm and A Leg and Jillie published by TheWild Rose Press, Inc. A New Mexico native, Ms. Balla lives in the village of Los Lunas with her husband, her bossy puppy, and her pesky Internal Editor.
Find Olive Here:

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Catherine Kean’s Her Gallant Knight from Treasure the Knight Boxed Set

I’m pleased to introduce the fourth and final author in the Treasure the Knight boxed set. Please help me welcome Catherine Kean with Her Gallant Knight.

 

Do you own a piece of jewelry with a lot of sentimental value? I do—a gold knot ring that belonged to my British grandmother, who died many years ago. While the ring is too small for me to comfortably wear, I cherish it because it’s not only exquisitely crafted, but it reminds me of her.

The idea of a ring having important sentimental as well as monetary value became the starting point for Her Gallant Knight, one of four all-new stories in the $0.99 Treasure the Knight eBook collection that will be released on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks on January 22. Each of the tales focuses on the Knights Templar and the riches they supposedly brought back with them from Crusade.

My heroine, Lady Amelia Bainbridge, received a ring from her beloved brother just before he died, and wears it in honor of him—unaware that the very same ring was stolen three weeks prior from Lord Ryder Stanbury, a Templar knight who vowed at a secret meeting at Acre to keep the jewel safe for the Order. Ryder and Amelia, once childhood friends, haven’t seen one another in six years, not since he embarrassed her in front of an important guest. When he rescues her and her lady-in-waiting from masked outlaws and sees Amelia has the ring, he is honor-bound to get the jewel back. She, however, refuses to part with it. They are forced to resolve what happened between them in the past, but are also drawn into a perilous quest to solve a mystery surrounding the ring. It’s a story that, I hope, will keep readers enthralled until the very end.

***GIVEAWAY – What piece of jewelry do you own that’s special to you? Tell me about it. Two commenters will win copies of the Treasure the Knight collection.

 

Blurb:

A humiliating childhood incident made Lady Amelia Bainbridge vow to avoid Lord Ryder Stanbury. Yet, years later, Ryder comes to her rescue. Shocked to recognize her ring, he realizes she’s connected somehow to the Templar treasure he and fellow knights brought back to England—riches that not only bring him and Amelia a second chance at love but deadly secrets.

Excerpt:

God’s Holy Bones. Seeing the sharp blade so close to Amelia’s creamy skin had almost driven Ryder to leap into the carriage and snatch the weapon away from her. Before he could act on that impulse, she’d succeeded in putting away the dagger.

He’d been vulnerable, though, for that brief moment. He didn’t like losing control of his emotions.

Even more irritating, she hadn’t moved to accept his offer of aid.

“Come on. Give me your hand,” he said, his tone gruffer than intended.

“I can get down from the carriage on my own.”

Why did she have to be so damned stubborn? He was tempted to outright ask her, but he didn’t want the conversation to become an argument. “I am sure, under normal circumstances, you could get down without assistance, but you have just been through a frightening ordeal.” If she still resisted, he’d mention her shaking hands.

“You may not be eager to get out of this contraption, Amelia, but I am.” Her hips swaying, Nanette crossed to the doorway and, with a coy smile, slid her fingers into his. Avoiding direct eye contact—he didn’t want to encourage the girl’s advances—he clasped her right hand and helped her down to the ground. When he tried to release her, she beamed and pressed his fingers in thanks before letting go.

He turned to Amelia. “Now you.”

She tucked loose strands of hair back behind her ear, clearly hesitant. Sunlight gleamed on the gold ring on her right hand—a jewel that would have been taken from her, if he and his men hadn’t stopped the outlaws. She could have lost far more than the ring, including her virtue. Thankfully he’d been able to disrupt the attack.

Amelia approached the doorway.

At last.

She extended her hand to grasp his. Her slender fingers were smooth and unblemished, as he’d expect of a noblewoman with a castle of servants to do her bidding.

As his fingers closed around hers, he caught a better view of her ring. The wide band was set with sapphires, rubies, and emeralds.

Shock jolted through him, for unless he was very much mistaken, ’twas his missing ring.

How had she gotten hold of it?

His fingers instinctively tightened, and she pulled back in response. He didn’t let go, though, and in the end, she had no choice but to step down to the ground.

“Thank you,” Amelia said, trying to withdraw her hand.

He held on, for he’d not let her escape just yet. “I could not help but notice your ring.”

Her cautious gaze locked with his.

“Where did you come by it?”

Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://a.co/3ljFomF

Amazon Canada: https://tinyurl.com/y9lksbvf

Amazon UK: https://tinyurl.com/y8xp93xq

Amazon Australia: https://tinyurl.com/y8zd2aso

BN: https://tinyurl.com/y8e8rema

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/yb9b9fyf

iBooks: https://tinyurl.com/yaspt9u4

 

Bio:

Bestselling, award-winning novelist Catherine Kean is a Kindle Unlimited All-Star author of medieval romances. Her love of history began with visits to England during summer vacations, when her British father took her to crumbling medieval castles, dusty museums filled with fascinating artifacts, and historic churches. Her love of the awe-inspiring past stuck with her as she completed a B.A. (Double Major, First Class) in English and History. She completed a year-long Post Graduate course with Sotheby’s auctioneers in London, England, and worked for several years in Canada as an antiques and fine art appraiser.

After she married and moved to Florida, she started writing novels, her lifelong dream. She wrote her first medieval romance, A Knight’s Vengeance, while her baby daughter was napping. Catherine’s books were originally published in paperback and several were released in Czech, German, and Thai foreign editions. She has won numerous awards for her stories, including the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Her novels also finaled in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the National Readers’ Choice Awards, and the International Digital Awards.

When not working on her next book, Catherine enjoys cooking, baking, browsing antique shops, shopping with her daughter, and gardening. She lives in Florida with two spoiled rescue cats.

Visit her website at http://www.catherinekean.com

 Contact Links:

Website: http://www.catherinekean.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catherine.keanauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/695820.Catherine_Kean

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Filed under Author Blog Post, giveaway, New Release