It’s a well-known and much bandied about truism that writers are like magpies: we find inspiration everywhere and borrow tricks and tropes and things from one another ALL OF THE TIME. A Google search for “writers like magpies” pulls up 1,010,000 results.
Sometimes, the shiny bits we steal aren’t ideas so much as best practices. And that’s what I’m going to focus on in my new, monthly “What I Learned about Writing from” series of posts. I’m kicking the series off with Seanan McGuire’s lovely October Daye series, which I discovered just as I was starting my PhD program and have been reading loyally ever since, because the series taught me something that’s been heavy on my mind, of late.
(Speaking of magpies and Seanan McGuire, the other day I ran across this post on her Tumblr and it is amazing.)
Anyway, to return to the topic at hand. Writing. Learning about writing.
shuffles through notes
Oh, yeah. THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD. If you haven’t yet read A Red-Rose Chain (Sept. 2015), you may want to stop reading here. And you may want to reconsider your life choices. Hie thee to a library or bookstore and read it (and the rest of the series, and everything else she’s ever written) ASAP.
After years of scribbling madly, researching writer’s guidelines and possible markets, mailing and emailing, and desperately waiting by my inbox as reading periods drew to their ends, I’ve finally sold a short story.
As an ABNA Quarter-Finalist, I won a Publishers Weekly review of my manuscript, They Called Her La Llorona:
This unique mystery features a father/daughter team determined to prove the innocence of a prime suspect in a horrible murder. Jesse Giles Clacher is technically retired as a New Mexico Marshal, estranged from his daughter Colette, thanks to his second marriage to Sadie. When a woman collapses into the restaurant where Clacher’s retirement dinner is being held (reminding them of the La Llorona legend), and her two little girls are found dead in the river and she is accused of the murder, Clacher can’t let it go, or let his successor railroad the woman. He calls his daughter, an expert on the La Llorona myths, and convinces her to come “home” to help him on the case. She is intrigued enough to agree. Although it starts as a way to avoid dealing with her boyfriend’s proposal, it quickly becomes a commitment to proving the woman’s innocence. However, there is a great deal going on behind the scenes in a story that is original and intriguing.
ABNA semi-finalists were announced and, well, They Called Her La Llorona was not one of them. I expected that this would be the case; I only made it through one really good round of edits before the contest deadline and there are some things that I need to improve. I’m glad that I made it to the Quarter-Finals (which meant that I was a second prize winner and got a Publishers Weekly review out of the deal), and I’m ready to dive into more edits and start querying.
They Called Her La Llorona in ABNA
Amazon has an annual writing contest, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and my novel, They Called Her La Llorona, is a Quarter-Finalist, which means, of the 10,000 entries the contest began with, my novel is one of 500 that are still in the running.
It also means I’m getting a Publisher’s Weekly review (probably tomorrow–eek!) and my excerpt can be downloaded and reviewed by any Amazon customer anywhere. In June, my full manuscript will be posted for customers to download and review (or, I’ll be eliminated from the contest).
So, if you’re looking for some reading material, click through and leave a review!