Ericka Scott
Nevermore – or Happy Birthday to Me
Monday, June 7th, 2010
Filed under Uncategorized

Well, my work in progress, currently titled Nevermore, is finished. Or as finished as it can be right now. I won a critique through Brenda Novak’s auction from an agent at the top of my list (Scott Eagan at Greyhaus Literary) — the auction items I win each year are my “birthday gift” to me. I’ll be putting the proposal package together tomorrow and shipping it off to Scott (with fingers crossed) for comments. He did a fantastic job of critiquing one of my unfinished manuscripts in 2008. I never managed to write the entire book because I was derailed by Drama Teen’s brain surgery. Somehow the plot and the anxiety I felt over her medical condition somehow got entwined. So, every time I opened the file, I felt ill, anxious, and overwhelmed. Finally, out of desperation, I shelved the project. I didn’t discard it mind you…the files, the research, it’s all still on my hard drive, it just hasn’t been opened in a long while.

As Nevermore drew to a close a few weeks ago and I began the polishing process, which is all grunt work at times — meaning that while I am working, I am focused on the story, but I don’t have to carry it with me the rest of the day. The characters have been put to bed, the plot is as solid as I can get it, and my critique partners are ripping the prose to shreds. So, in my spare brain time, I started pitching story ideas for what I wanted to write next. I have a couple floating around in my noggin; however, none of them full-fledged enough to be anything but ideas at this point.

Which is when this story started jockeying into position. I love the characters and spent a lot of time on the mythology and research. Just this morning, while I readied the boys for swim lessons and summer day camp, I printed up Scott’s old critique, read through it, and realized that I short-changed myself by not finishing the manuscript. The book has a fantastic premise and there are parts that are really, really cool…My sirens are “to die for” — at least if you are a man (LOL).

I’m ditching the story I had written. I’ve learned so much by writing the past few books that I’ve realized there’s some major problems in most of the prose. So, I’m spending the next couple of days working on a snowflake (see Randy Ingermanson for his plotting method) for the book. I can salvage some of the existing manuscript…a couple of scenes at the most. It’s not as much as I would like, but I think the final outcome will be much better, scarier, darker, and more romantic.

Since I’m finally ready to send my “baby” out into the cold, heartless world of publishing, here’s my blurb for Nevermore. Enjoy!

Poe's Raven

Patrick Shea may be driving a hack now, but he is also chasing the story of a lifetime in hopes of garnering a journalist position on the staff of The Baltimore Sun. At the home of René Molyneaux, he doesn’t just catch sight of his quarry, a Haitian Voodoo Practitioner called King Louis, but also someone totally unexpected – his wife, Barbara, who disappeared two years ago. She’s working as Molyneaux’s parlor maid. The problem? He finally works up the courage to confront her for the sake of their two-year-old daughter, Emily, when Barbara disappears yet again. While looking for clues to her whereabouts, Patrick finds himself falling in love with her replacement, Mary Reynolds.

Mary Reynolds walks like a lady, talks like a book, and is as pretty and polished as any lady in 1849 Baltimore Society. And so she should, up until ten years ago she was the beloved daughter of a Baltimore mover and shaker. Then, upon her mother’s death, Mary was discovered to be illegitimate and her life crashed down around her. She lost everything: her mother, her home, and her status. Due to the kindness of her mother’s friends, she went into service; however, she’s never given up on her dream of regaining her place in society. When she least expects it, Fate steps in and reveals a clue to her true identity and her birth name, Lenore. With the help of Patrick and his landlady, Mrs. Pym, Lenore begins to rebuild her life. While searching for answers about her past, she encounters magic, zombies, and Edgar Allan Poe. Shocking as all that is, her biggest discovery is the one she makes about herself.

Fiddling Friday Update
Friday, June 4th, 2010
Filed under Uncategorized

This week was the first week of summer vacation. I have to say that although the kids are loving the “no school” schedule, it’s been h*ll for me. But, it’s Friday and I’ve made it through. We’ve been to the park to feed the ducks, eaten lunch “out” (as in, eating in McDonald’s instead of just running through the drive in) to kill time and seen The Spy Next Door at the $1 movies (which is now $1.50). The movie might be discounted but the snacks aren’t (ouch).

Next week, the boys start swim lessons and summer day camp. I’ve signed them up for 5 weeks of fun (freedom for me), one week of soccer camp (in the mornings). We also have some vacation time scheduled into the summer to travel to Champaign-Urbana and then Green Bay to visit both sets of parents…with all that, summer will be “done”! School starts on 8 August and I’m counting the days.

Drama Teen went to the physician for her physical last Friday. She stepped on the scale and we all said “holy heck”… I already know I’m hiking around far more pounds than needed, and even Mr. Wonderful has a tiny pot belly… Guess you know what that means. The lovely 4-letter word – DIET. South Beach worked for us before the boys came along (there was far too much cooking involved for it to work when they were little)…but now that they are older, we’re getting back on the wagon. Which reminds me, I need to make a quick run to the store for more veggies…and a treat of zesty chicken wings out of the deli for Drama Teen.

The boys are bored, bored, bored, bored, bored…in desperation, I threw them down for a nap yesterday and rued it all evening. Although they slept less than an hour from 2-3, they were up until 11 pm last night and awake at the crack of dawn this morning. Teach me to send them for a nap so that I can have more than seven minutes of peace (and yes, I’ve timed it…seven minutes max– no wonder I don’t get anything accomplished and feel as relaxed as a ping-pong ball on speed).

I got a fantastic review for Crisscross from Jaye Leyel at The Romance Studio.

“This edge-of-the-seat mystery held me enthralled until the end. The author has created a spine-tingling mystery with twists and turns that have you gasping and wondering.”

Those were just a few of the nice things she had to say about the book…you can read the entire review by following the link below.

Too True Tuesday
Tuesday, May 25th, 2010
Filed under Uncategorized

I know I’m done with a book when I am DONE with a book — hate the characters, think the plot is full of holes, and other characters/plots keep intruding into my thoughts at the most inopportune times. Unfortunately, this often happens before I’m actually done with the book…right now I have 5.25 hours of work left incorporating redlines (about 0.5 hour per chapter) and I still have to write the synopsis and query letter for Nevermore. :cry:

Monday, Monday…don’t go away….
Monday, May 24th, 2010
Filed under Uncategorized

This is the last full Monday of school…the kids will be OUT on Friday, and although they are thrilled, this stay-at-home Mom isn’t.

I’m not going to say much about Nevermore at this point…I don’t want to tempt the Blog fates to throw any delays in my direction. ;-)

I’m still frantically inputting changes into the story. This is the last polish…if I go through it once more, I’ll simply be changing everything back to the way it was and making backward instead of forward progress. So, to entertain you….I’ll leave you with this delightful video from a fellow author, Parnell Hall. He writes mystery, but I’m sure there are a lot of Romance authors who have stood in his shoes.

Click here and Enjoy!

A Frantic Friday Update
Friday, May 21st, 2010
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I had a few extra minutes today so I thought I would throw a frantic Friday update at y’all.

I’m doing the mega-happy dance as I won, I won, I won. Remember the Brenda Novak auction for diabetes? There are various 1-day auctions throughout the month, and I won a read with Scott Eagan of Greyhaus Literary Agency. Woot! I won a critique from him several years ago – he’d requested a full but the book wasn’t quite ready, okay, it wasn’t even fully written and with my daughter’s upcoming surgery that year, it just didn’t happen. This time, I’m prepared. Nevermore is written, edited, and in the polishing process. So, Scott, be prepared. It’ll be on it’s way, soon!

By this time next week, school will be out. For two of my children, it’s a wondrous event. For Kinderboy#1, the stress of change is beginning to creep in. He likes his schedule…he doesn’t like change. His behavior has been ping-ponging back and forth between excitement and panic. Tantrums which he’d stopped throwing more than one a day, have crept back into the two or more incidents, usually over things he knows he can’t have and has forced you into say “No” just to give him the excuse to whine, cry, and lose privileges.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that Drama Teen passes her two math courses. Prior to this year, a failure just meant summer school; however, with all the district cuts, summer school has been canceled. So, if she fails, she’ll have to work it into her regular schedule somehow. Bleh.

Kinderboy#2 is dreading summer camp — I’m not sure why, but I’m hoping that once he realizes what fun he’s having, he’ll change his mind.

Well, that’s it for me…I’m heading back to the painstaking process of polishing up my manuscript. I’m less than a third of the way through and only have 1 week to finish before the kids are home, sucking up all my creativity and energy.

Wish me luck!

Lost in 1849
Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
Filed under A Writer's Life

Sorry for my lengthy absence, rumors of my abandonment of the blogging world have been highly exaggerated. Instead, I’ve been lost in another year, another century, in fact. 1849. I’m sure you’ve gathered by now that the historical romance I’m writing revolves around a pivotal event in September/October of that year. On September 27th, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe stepped off a boat in Baltimore Harbor. On October 3rd, he was discovered, ill, disheveled and disoriented, at Ryan’s Tavern by J.W. Walker of The Baltimore Sun. What happened over those fateful five days remains a mystery, even today. In Nevermore, my solution is sinister, horrific, and involves voodoo and a zombie or two…

The first two drafts of Nevermore have been completed. I’m thrilled with the way the story evolved and am doing the last bits of historical research and the really hard grunt work of tightening and editing…for example, just removing extraneous thats took 1.5 HOURS today. I then ran the document through Autocrit to grab all the repeated words and phrases as well as overused words. I’ll be using the printout to polish Nevermore to within an inch of it’s life and I have to be quick about it. I only have the rest of this week and half of next before school is out (groan).

Thank goodness I’ll have the kids home for only 1 full week before our park district begins Summer Day Camp. I’ve signed me the boys up for 5 weeks of freedom activities. Even better, I’ve convinced Drama Teen to apply for a volunteer position helping at said summer camp. Here’s hoping she gets a job (fingers crossed). Then I could be rid of ALL my children for many hours a day (insert evil laugh) and get lots of writing done ~ important as I have two erotic novellas to pound out in those five weeks and get started on the plot of another full-length novel, which may or may not be a follow-on to Nevermore.

I *hope* to regain my regular blogging schedule next week…

Too True Tuesday
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
Filed under Uncategorized

I shouldn’t take Tylenol PM. Yes, it makes me sleep at night, unfortunately, leaves me in a fog for most of the next day as well.

As my brain cannot come up with a topic for Too True Tuesday, I’m going to leave you with this entertaining little clip.


Monday, Monday…I love you…
Monday, May 10th, 2010
Filed under Uncategorized

All the kids toddled off to school today and Mr. Wonderful dashed off to the dentist early, leaving me and Tucker alone with the computer and my book. Contented sigh.

I’ll admit I totally goofed off all weekend. Heck, I didn’t even do laundry! Yeah, you heard me, goofed off. Saturday, we celebrated Mother’s Day early by going to lunch at Crab Monster (Red Lobster) and then stopped at Loewes for plants, plants, and more plants (my Mom’s Day gift). As I’m a stay at home mom, every day feels like “Mother’s Day” – “Mom, can I? Mom, Mom, Mom.” So, the best gift Mr. Wonderful gives me every year is a day without kids. So, for several blissful hours, I was without children (another big contented sigh).

The price I’m paying for all that leisure time is more work now. Mondays always fly by…today went even faster. But the good news is I’m down to the last 50 pages of inputting redlines…two scenes to write (one almost at the end and one at the very very end) and need to rewrite the first chapter. Then, starts the hard, grunt work of spell-checking, removing excess, unneeded words, tightening prose, and upping tension. I *hope* to be done by the end of May.

Conveniently, Harlequin Historical is having a pitch contest (deadline in early June). If I get my buns in gear, and get my prose tightened so I’m not over the word count, I hope to have something to submit! Wish me luck!

Whoosh – the sound of a week flying by
Saturday, May 8th, 2010
Filed under A Writer's Life

I survived nearly two weeks of minimum days at school with the kids home before noon. In revenge, I set off early Friday morning to our local community services district office and signed them up for Summer Camp. It’s my birthday gift to myself — 5 Weeks of Virtual Freedom! Woot!

Despite it being a short day, homework for Drama Teen continued in an avalanche. I simply do not remember having this much homework when I went to school. Even the Kinderboys have homework packages that are far more involved than Drama Teen’s were 10 years ago.

I’m playing around a bit with time management — working first, playing later. Yeah, I know…it should be intuitive, but I’m a procrastinator. Oh, I sit my butt in the chair, but find that I want to “ease into” my writing by reading e-mail, reading blogs, (muttered — playing games on Facebook), before I type the first word. I’ve thought that jumping straight into my document would be like bellyflopping into that really cold pool. To my surprise, it’s not. Once I get a few words typed, I’m hooked and back to walking the streets of 1849 Baltimore.

Unfortunately, with only a short 3 hours to write (and I’m a slow writer), lots of other duties (housework, critiquing, and those Facebook games) languished. So, I’m left with lots of pressing questions…Will all the kids go to school every day next week? Will I be able to finish the second draft of Nevermore? Why is it that my ideal Mother’s Day is a day without children? and most importantly, Will the laundry never end? LOL.

Stay tuned for any and all answers. In the meantime, Happy Mother’s Day!

Too True Tuesday
Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
Filed under Just for fun

Essie, over at The Accidental Mommy, has failed me by not throwing down the challenge this week. So, I’m on my own.

I love a good auction. About once a month, I cruise through E-bay and buy something. It’s usually something for the kids, or for an author giveaway. Once a year, Brenda Novak has a kick-butt auction and let me tell you, everything I bid on is ALL ABOUT ME! Yep.

The first year, I bet on a ton of stuff and won nothing. I’ve gotten better at gauging my bids and as items get stolen out from under me I get outbid, I put the money I budgeted for that item into the items I really, really, really want.

Needless to say, my hubby would probably blow a gasket if he knew what my auction budget was. Good thing I get outbid on a lot of things, or we’d probably be in debt for the next 10 years to pay for my auction addiction.

With that, I’m off to see what’s up for grabs on the one-day auction for today~! You can come along –

See you there!