Friday, August 9, 2013

Cross the Ocean (guest post, excerpt and giveaway)

Cross the Ocean               
by Holly Bush

 BLURB:   
1871 . . . Worlds collide when American Suffragette, Gertrude Finch, and titled Brit Blake Sanders meet in an explosive encounter that may forever bind them together. Gertrude Finch escorts a young relative to London and encounters the stuffy Duke of Wexford at his worst. Cross the Ocean is the story of an undesired, yet undeniable attraction that takes Blake and Gertrude across an ocean and into each other’s arms.



We have the privilege of having a post from the author, discussing one of  her early experiences with her colleagues.

After you read the great post and excerpt from Holly Bush, please leave a comment on something new you were glad that you tried even though you were nervous about it and don't forget to leave a valid e-mail address.  

The author is very generously offering a giveaway:  one randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.


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The Making of a Romance Writer


One of the very first writer’s conferences I ever went to, I signed up for an evening event where a small group of aspiring authors read the first page or two of their books aloud, and a published author did some critiquing. I have no idea any longer who the author was, but she had published many, many Harlequin romances and one or two big historicals. I nervously read the first page of Romancing Olive, and I remember her saying she liked my writing and she proceeded to ask a lot of questions about the book. Many more questions than she’d asked anyone else. I described the book, as I still do, as a story about a spinster librarian in the late 1800’s who travels west to rescue her newly orphaned niece and nephew after receiving news of the violent death of her brother. 

                                                   
 


I remember very vividly this author asking me to repeat my description and then she asked me what I thought was the strangest thing I’d ever heard. ‘Which of the 22 approved plot lines does this book fall under?’ I’d never heard of the approved plot lines. I looked around the room and all the other women (authors) were nodding and staring at me like, ‘What are you waiting for? Answer the question!’ I said I’d never heard of such a thing and didn’t know I was supposed to use one of them. Everyone chuckled and tittered. Then one of them began counting off on her fingers, ‘Boy hates girl, girl hates boy, parents hate boy, secret pregnancy,’ and on that they all sighed and started talking at once. ‘I love secret pregnancies! They’re my favorite! Secret pregnancies are the only ones I read!’ I had no idea then and still don’t know how anyone keeps a pregnancy secret. And I think it’s interesting that these approved plot lines were specific and individual and weren’t mushed up together. There was no ‘neighbor meets sister who hated the cat that tripped the milkman while he was hiding a secret pregnancy.’
 

I think the vast amount of genres in the romance world today indicate a broad spectrum of readers with varied tastes and tolerances, which is a good thing, a great thing, in fact. But readers also like to have their books sorted ahead of time. They want to be able to find the story that lets them stop thinking about their problems and start thinking about the heroine’s problems. I encourage readers to step outside their genre comfort zone. Find a new writer or a try a new type of story.
 

Writers – challenge yourself to write the story or book you feel. Readers’ favorite stories are the ones where they connect with the characters. If the character in your head prefers a certain sex or sexes, are from another planet, time or world, write that character. Write the change or the action for that character that makes the reader connect to them regardless of whether they suck blood, waltz at Almack’s or have multiple partners. Write the characters’ story first and then identify the genres that may help readers find you.


(From ELF:  What great advice!  It's always scary trying something new and it is so great to get a glimpse of the beginnings of a writer's journey.  Thanks so much for sharing and for allowing me to spotlight Cross the Ocean)



Cross the Ocean

      





Excerpt
 
Blake found his guests in the music room listening to Melinda play the pianoforte. “Miss Finch, may I beg a moment of your time?” he asked as he touched her elbow.

The two of them retreated out of hearing distance from the rest.

“Yes?” Miss Finch clipped off and folded her hands at her waist.

“I find I do owe you an apology,” Blake began.

“And every other woman in the room as well,” she replied.

“I am not concerned with every other female in the room.” Blake stood tall. “I have many faults, but hurting a guest’s feelings cannot be one of them.”

“I agree with you there,” Miss Finch said and clapped politely.

“Agree with what?” he asked.

“You have many faults. The least of which are poor manners.”

“Yes, well, in any case, I apologize for what I said.” Blake looked away ashamed. “I was wrong. You are really quite attractive.”

Gertrude Finch put her hands on her hips, and her voice rose with each word. “I could care less what you think of me.”

“Now, now, no need to call attention our way,” Blake said and glanced at the assembly listening to Melinda. “No need to be defensive, either. I am aware of the tender sensibilities women associate with how attractive they are. My own mother made us all kiss and coo over Aunt Constance, and she had whiskers longer than . . .”

“Listen to me, Sanders. I meant what I said. I couldn’t care less whether you think I’m attractive or not. You dismiss ideas and brains for the lack of a pretty face. I think you’re a pompous idiot. What do you think of them apples, Your Highness?” she said.

Blake held his hands behind his back, and a muscle twitched below his eye. “Miss Finch, the title ‘Your Highness’ is reserved for the royal family. You Americans bandy about titles as if a one of you could trace a history further back than the last mule you shoed.”



One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.  Please leave a comment on something new you were glad that you tried even though you were nervous about it and don't forget to leave a valid e-mail address.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



For more chances to win, please check this link for other tour stops

23 comments:

  1. I think if authors stuck to the "22 approved plot lines" we would just be reading the same stories over & over. I love unique stories and books that cross over genres.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Isn't it funny what some people think is important? I agree that I love the variety of plot lines that come out of author's imaginations and appreciate their versatility. Thanks for visiting!

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  2. Good morning Mary and I agree. I thought it was the strangest thing I'd ever heard of, but at the time there was a list, official or not, for Harlequin with approved plot lines. This was a real learning experience for me!

    Thanks for having me Elf!

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    1. Great to have you here Holly, and fantastic to get a glimpse into your journey!

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  3. Replies
    1. You are quite welcome, thanks for introducing me to a new author!

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  4. Thank you for the interesting post. I laughed at the 22 approved plot lines.

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. You're very welcome...it does sound almost like a hazing ritual, doesn't it? Thanks for visiting.

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  5. Very interesting post. I tried sushi...once. Glad I tried it but I won't ever do that again...eww. lol

    miztik_rose@yahoo.com

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    1. Several members of my family loves sushi...I have taken too many parasitology classes to ever be comfortable eating raw food, lol. Thanks for visiting!

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  6. Mary - My kids eat sushi and I love fish but I've never given it a try. You're braver than I am!

    Rita - Glad you got a chuckle! It's Friday - we should all be chuckling!

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  7. WELL...I guess you could have said, "This is #23!" And I HATE secret pregnancy stories. LOL.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

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    1. That would have shaken up the room, I am sure. Thanks for visiting.

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  8. I enjoyed reading that post, what an interesting behind the scene's look at they way things were and now there are so many plot lines :)

    MinDaf @ Aol.com

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    1. Isn't it funny how things evolve? Thanks for visiting!

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  9. The secret pregnancy thing never interested me either, Catherine. In fact, I don't think I've ever read one.

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  10. At first I was scared to try snorketing, but when I held my breath and dove in (not literally), I enjoyed the underwater world of colorful and varied sealife.
    Romo@iMagicWonders.com

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    1. I am afraid to swim in the ocean...I need a rope to hang onto because I panic when my head goes under water. I do ok in a swimming pool because I can hang on to the wall, lol. Glad that you have had such wonderful experiences snorkeling.

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  11. Sorry for the late post. I’m playing catch-up here so I’m just popping in to say HI and sorry I missed visiting with you on party day! Hope you all had a good time!
    kareninnc at gmail dot com

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    1. Glad you popped in, I know what you mean about playing catch-up. I keep taking 'breaks' from what I should be doing and trying to visit some of my favorite blogs! Good luck on the giveaway.

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  12. I always appreciate genre-bending!

    vitajex(at)aol(dotcom

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    1. It definitely adds a different twist when the genres are 'bent'. Good luck on the giveaway!

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  13. Sounds like a great read!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

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