Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What's Missing?

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“It was a magical moment. One a girl dreams about all her life. You know?” Marci sipped a bit of her mocha cappuccino, letting the chocolate and caffeine coat her taste buds and sooth her befuddled ego. The saucer chattered against her oversized mug as they met. She looped a strand of her fizzy red hair behind her ear and peeked between her dark lashes at Liz for the first time since starting her tale.

Her friend’s glossy lips were parted and a huge, silent ‘OH, MY’ hung in the air beyond them.

Marci inhaled the aromas of her favorite coffee and bagel shop while her spine became a spine. In her lap, her fingers gave a paper napkin one last twist. “Will you stop staring at me like that? And tell me was I crazy for doing what I did?”

“Crazy is a good word to describe it. Insane would be better.” Liz placed her half-eaten bagel on her plate and leaned forward, scanning the couple at the next table before she said in a hushed tone, “A sane woman doesn’t drop her clothes, or her towel, just because a guy looks at her.”

“A handsome guy.”

“Okay. A handsome guy.”

“A very handsome guy.”

“Marci!” Liz’s hand flew to her chest. “I don’t’ care if he was Tom Cruise or—”

“He’s more like Zac Efron.” She broke off a piece chocolate chip cookie and popped it into her mouth, fighting the smile wanting to break out.

Liz slapped her head. “I don’t care if this Joel is every great looking guy rolled up into one yummy bar.”

“He’s beyond a good looking guy. He’s more like a god. And he picked up the towel.”

Blush warmed her cheeks while she remembered how Joel’s gaze had traveled down her body. He wasn’t the less bit turned off by her plus size. In fact, she thought she’d seen appreciation in his Caribbean aqua eyes. And she had been thinking breast reduction.

“Look at you. You’re all starry eyed.”

“Like I said. It’s was a magical moment.”

“But nothing happened, right?”

Something happened alright, but she wasn’t about to share what with Liz. Not yet.

Are you hooked? I hope so. I love doing writing exercises, so this morning I thought I’d write an opening for a book (first draft mind you) and put it out there for you to tell me what is missing?

The first five pages are the most important in drawing a reader into your story. That is not saying the rest of the book can be crap. If you want a following the entire book has to be great, but to get the reader to pay out their hard-earned dollars and take your book home, the first pages need to be great.

So, tell me. What have I not written into the story, so far? I’m sure you’re all going to take note of it right away. I notice this when authors leave this tidbit out. What is it?

I’ll be giving away an e-copy of Obsessed By Wildfire to one lucky winner who both signs up to follow my blog and comments during the month of August. (SECRET: We'll start today). And so those of you who are already following me don’t feel left out, I have a special prize for you too. Your names are already in the basket. To enter again, comment. The winners will be announced on September 1st.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Don't Forget This

In one week, two thousand romance writers will travel to Orlando, Florida for the RWA National convention in hopes of learning more about the craft and industry, networking, and or gaining an editor or agent’s attention. Many seasoned authors have blogged or added posts on their websites advising first time attendees of what to expect at the huge event, what to wear and what they need to bring, such as business cards, but I’ve yet seen a post telling them about the most important element--confidence.

Confidence is defined as the quality or state of being certain. As you walk among the other attendees, be certain that you are a writer too, even if you’ve yet to publish. If you have put words to page, you are a writer. If you have a burning desire to learn the craft, you are a writer.

Hold your head high. Be a sponge and soak up all the knowledge you can. The conference has an amazing list of speakers from which you will learn tons. Focus on workshops that target your weaknesses instead of the one your friend is attending, and remember, the only question that is stupid is the one not asked.

Don’t be afraid to talk to people, including editors and agents. They’re people too and they like to talk about other things besides books, which is their work. We all know there is more to life than work. Make a connection.

Smile. Be yourself. I’m sure you already have a boat load of friends. Attending a conference is an opportunity to make more. I’m truly grateful for the hundreds of friends RWA has provided me. Collect business cards. Write where you met and a bit of your conversation on the back of their cards. That little note will come in handy.

Have fun. Yes, attending a conference is considered work, but who says work can’t be fun. Remember to drink plenty of water and come yourself downtime each day.

When you enter your pitch session, don't be nervous. The industry professionals are not there to bite your head off. They're at the conference hoping to find someone you who has written an interesting book. Have you? Then relax. Just tell the story as if your telling it to me. The worse they can say is, "I don't think it sounds like a book for me." We've all heard or read those words, and guess what, you didn't wait months for the response. If that happens, smile, thank them for their time and move on. If you receive a request, you'll want to fly, drive, run home and print off the material and get it in the mail, but stay and enjoy the rest of the conference.

Now repeat after me. I AM A WRITER who can learn more about my craft. I AM A WRITER who always has room for another friend. I AM A WRITER who will pitch with confidence!


PS: On Friday, July 23, I will asking the Ruby-Slippered Sisters a burning question, concerning editors and agents. Join me there and read their answers.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Weekend View Of D.C.


The past weekend my DH and I headed south to our Nation’s Capital. It was a fun-filled and inspiring trip.

Our first stop was at one of the two National Air and Space Museums. Dulles A & S is in Chantilly, VA. It’s truly a remarkable collection of air and space crafts. While my DH was totally engrossed with the planes that flew in the skies during the wars of the twentieth century, I was amazed at the enormous size of the challenger. I really didn’t think it was as big as a 2000 sq. ft. Ranch home. I can’t imagine the lift-power generated to launch it into space. I was also surprised at the compact size of satellites. I envisioned them to be much larger.
The museum is filled with stories of brave men and women who risked their lives to better mankind. You really need to visit. Parking was $15.00 but entrance is free. So load up the car and go.

Our next stop was Arlington Cemetery where we spent hours viewing and paying tribute to those who served our country. I especially prayed for the man, and his family, who died on his twenty-eighth birthday. It’s a very humbling and proud experience to watch the Honor Guards stand watch over the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is the one of the highest honors to watch over this monument. The men who do are the best of the best and very disciplined. They’re tour of duty is for one year, but it can be longer. To learn more about the Honor Guard visit If ever get a chance to visit Arlington, please don’t pass it by.

Saturday ended with a drive up Embassy Row, pass the Vice-President’s Home and the National Cathedral which was beautiful. Here is a picture of it from our room. We spent the evening enjoying a dinner and the sights of the Georgetown area.

Sunday morning we started off early. The Intentional Spy museum was on my must see list this trip and our first stop. Awesome. Love it. The museum was filled with biographies of spies as far back as the seventeen hundreds and the items used in espionage dated centuries before. I took notes as plots were coming at me like flying baseballs. My souvenir this trip is a mug from ISPY. GRIN.

After my husband literally drug me out of the ISPY, we headed to the Ford Theater. We met a very nice lady from Anchorage, Alaska while standing in line and had a great conversation about our states and our experiences in D.C. Inside the theater I got the goose-bumps knowing I was in the same room where one of our greatest leaders had been and where history was changed. A spokesperson shared details of President Lincoln’s final days in the White House, which ironically was his happiest because the Civil War was ending and his son was home safe. She also retold his final day’s activities and the final words he shared with his wife, Mary (Todd).

We also learned facts about John Wilkes Booth and his death that we didn’t know, such as, he had had plans to kidnap the President in order to hold him for ransom, hoping to gain freedom of one-hundred thousand confederate soldiers, but several days before April 14 General Lee had surrendered to General Grant thus ending the war. On April 14, that morning, Wilk was told a rumor concerning the President granting voting privileges to freed slaves which outraged him thus cementing his plan to exterminate President Lincoln. Ford’s Theater is a must see.

The rest of the afternoon we spent visiting the National Museum of Natural History (Both the dinosaur exhibit and the Hope Diamond were on my list to see, and both were awesome. Which would you rather stare at?)

and the original Air and Space Museum which houses another awesome collection from aviation history.

Our final stop was at the footsteps of the Capital Building. We marveled at its beauty and while looking at buildings of this magnitude, which were erected centuries ago, wondered how its construction occurred without large equipment and modern technology. The manpower it had to take. WOW!

While this was our second visit to D.C., my DH and I decided it will not be our last. The residents are friendly. The food is wonderful and there is still so much for us to see. Plus there are monuments we truly would like to visit again.

I hope you enjoyed my little recap.

Oh, a note for writers. I noted while riding the metro there were more people reading e-readers than paperbacks. Hmmm.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Creative Gene Syndrome

Creative Gene Syndrome

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Once upon a time there was a girl. I’ll call her Sally. Sally had dreams. There were those who thought Sally was a little strange, but they didn’t know her. While other children weren’t content to play by themselves and would throw tantrums because friends weren’t allowed over, Sally was totally okay being on her own. Sally read so much she’d wear out her library card over the summer. She’d play with her dolls for hours, draw beautiful sketches or ride her horse to the mountain top and stare out over the valley below. Those who knew Sally knew she acted the way she did because she carried the creative gene.

When she looked at tree trunks or the clouds in the sky, Sally saw an elf doing a tap dance, a wolf leaping from boulder to boulder or something outlandish and absurd to those with her. She saw pictures in the strangest places—every plane of wood or grain of tile carried a tale, and Sally would weave stories to go with them. People would wonder about her, but they would listen with interest to the story she told.
As Sally became a woman, she longed to express the thoughts and the images that gnaw inside of her, but the people in her world said you can’t. You must stop being the dreamer and do something productive with your life—something that will benefit mankind. So, Sally laid aside her dreams, hushed the voices inside of her and followed the advice of others.

New calendars replaced the old many times over and each time Sally saw a teakettle or lion cub in an indigo sky, the voices tears filled her heart. Then, a child entered her life and soon after Sally whispered a tiny tale into his ear and the child smiled. Her delight at seeing his happiness tore a peep hole in the black veil she’d draped over the voices and Sally told him another story, and another, and another. Sally filled her lungs with a joyous laughter for the first time in years. She was being who she was supposed to be, a storyteller. And at that very moment, Sally realized every dream does have a purpose.


Excerpt from EVIL'S WITNESS

After a week, her touch was familiar. His heart melted. He grabbed her hand, holding her in place as he turned and smiled down on her. Her nipples pushed against her white T-shirt. He gently brushed a knuckle across one peak. “No. It was hell without you.”

“Mmmm. Same here.” She pulled back and lifted his arm around her, curling into him.

Looking out over the lake, she sighed. “I could stay here forever, if you’d let me.”

“I wish we could.” He gathered her closer and kissed the top of her head. “But eventually Bobby and Em would have to go to school.”

“I could home school.” Her chuckle was strained.

He felt her pain. He smiled while his heart wrenched. He would like nothing more than to forget about the world and stay here with her and the kids. But they couldn’t. “Sooner or later Ben will call. We’ll have to go back.”

“I know.”

Steph moved away. A cold void took her place.

She drifted to the other porch column. Leaning against it, she folded her arms across her chest. Her lips pressed together as if she was forming the right words behind them. “I know I said that our time together here was going to be enough to last me a lifetime, but—” Tears brimmed her lids. “I was wrong. A lifetime won’t be enough.”

John stepped toward her. “I don’t know what—”

“I know; you don’t know how we can be together. So, Ben will call. We’ll go back, and I’ll identify Victor. You’ll toss him in jail and throw away the key. You’ll drive off in pursuit of the next bad guy and me…Well, I’ll go home and wonder where you are. Wonder if what I felt was love.”

The woman knew how to make a guy feel like a heel.

John pulled her into his arms. She buried her head in his chest and cried softly against him. He kissed her head and smoothed her hair. “Steph, I didn’t think I’d ever love again,” he whispered softly, cupping her chin and tilting her face up until she looked at him. “Like a bomb, you dropped into my life. Every defense I’d put up to protect myself from ever being hurt again came tumbling down. You opened up my heart. As much as you don’t want to live without me, I don’t want to live without you. I love you."

He kissed her gently. Her arms wrapped around him and held on. “Somehow, we’ll figure this out. I promise,” he assured her.

No part of this post may be used without the expressed permission of the author, Autumn Jordon.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Winner of $50.00 B&N Certificate is..

First, I'd like to thank everyone for helping me get the word out about Evil's Witness. You were AWESOME! There were quite a few of you entered. GRIN And a number of people entered mutiple times. Yeah you!

The last two weeks have been amazing. Evil's Witness received it's first review from Night Owl Reviews. Here is what NOR said...

This is a good romantic suspense novel by Ms. Jordon. There was a lot of physical action and the romance was spicy enough to keep the story interesting....The romance between John and Stephanie was genuine and very well incorporated into the story. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Jordon’s work.

I'm so happy she wants to read another story. Maybe she'll review Obsessed By Wildfire. Hmmm.

My blog tours continue and I'm giving away more prizes. Where I'll be is listed on my website under news. So jump over there and mark the dates down.

Now for the drawing. I'm reaching into my basket and drawing a name...

Drum Roll

Wanda Flanagan

Yeah Wanda!!! I hope you use part of the $50.00 to buy Evil's Witness. Please contact me at so that I can get your snail mail addie.

Thanks again everyone for making my debunte AWESOME. Have a wonderful holiday.

(((HUGS)) AJ