More Dealbreakers

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So lately, especially in contest entries, I've read a lot of tough heroines. Tough to the point of being unsympathetic. Maybe they've been hurt before and have built a huge, thick wall around themselves. Some are just butt-kickers, not needing a man, not bending, often rude to the hero for no apparent reason.

I have trouble relating to a heroine like that. I've written some women who have been through the mill, but I think I've made them sympathetic and relateable. What do you think makes them this way?

Okay, the other dealbreaker....infidelity. I've been watching Veronica Mars and there was an infidelity when they were on a break. She can't forgive him because of who the infidelity was with. I was thinking about what one of my friends said when Ross fooled around when he and Rachel were on a break. She said that Rachel was so hurt because Ross was the one person she never thought would hurt her. I don't think you could say the same about Logan...Veronica is just waiting for him to hurt her. But is it a forgiveable sin? Would you be able to forgive a hero or heroine who committed an infidelity?

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Goals for First Week in July

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I hesitate to say, but this week shouldn't be too busy.

So of course I signed up for BIAW.

1) BIAW with Surface
2) library
3) get son permit (yes, still hasn't done it)
4) day with Mom
5) keep up house


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Project List

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Here is my project list. I revised my spreadsheet about what I'm working on when so I can give better attention to each.

revise Surface for backstory and paranormal element - target NAL, HQN, Berkley, Dorchester, Kensington, Source, Samhain
revise Ghost Hunters for atmosphere, motivation and to make it not a SPN clone - need to double check to see who has turned this baby down ;)
revise Spy Girl for external conflict and hero and setting (remember, was a Nano book) - target NAL, HQN, Berkley, Dorchester, Kensington, Source, Samhain
revise Vamp story for characterization, plot and setting (also a Nano book) - target NAL, HQN, Berkley, Dorchester, Kensington, Samhain
revise cop story for plot - target SRS and Samhain

write cruise ship story - target SRS and Samhain
write bodyguard story - target SRS and Samhain
write assassin story - target SRS and Samhain
write undercover story - target SRS and Samhain
write high concept story - absolutely need to do a plotting retreat or something with this one

Last night we went to Cindi's to give her son his bday present. We sat out back and ate watermelon and cupcakes and watched the kids and the kitten play. It was really nice. Also watched a TON of Veronica Mars yesterday. I checked the last two seasons out at the library, and, well, you only get them for a week, and that's 10 discs! I still have Season 3 to go. And my Tivo is about to explode, as well. I see another day in front of the boob tube in my future, after I finish judging contest entries.

I also saw Definitely Maybe yesterday, a nice movie from a guy's POV. The concept is that he's getting divorced, and his daughter wants to know why he fell out of love with his mother and he tells her the story of the three women he loved, without telling her which one is her mother. Really sweet, not kid friendly.

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New Project Fun

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So I'm going back to Beneath the Surface. I'm keeping the relationship stuff, but the backstory and the actual archaeological find are going to be different.

When I go into a new project, I make a collage and a soundtrack. I already had a soundtrack for Surface - ACK! When I went to look for it on my iTunes, it's GONE! GAH!

Okay, must remake soundtrack for Surface.

Also, I want to do a collage. So those are my fun projects today, after taking the boy for his permit (YES! FINALLY!) and dropping off Cindi's son's gift.

What do you do to get ready for a new story?

And since I'm working on Surface, look who's back!

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Query/Rejection Update

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I've sent out 5 equeries - 3 are rejected already.

I've sent out 5 partials and 3 snail mail queries.

It was probably a mistake to go shopping yesterday after seeing Sex and the City. My motto became "What would Carrie wear?" The answer was a lot smaller size than Mary wears ;) I did find a great skirt at Coldwater Creek that had been $150 and I got it for $25. Still have to get a top to go with....

Excuse JDM, he's back for a short visit while I smooth out the last 100 pages of STTA.

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Just Sayin'

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Shopping today at the outlet mall. I'm not a big shopper, unless it's for books or DVDs. (Don't ask how many I've bought this summer. 15, that's how many. 10 books and 5 DVD sets - 3 for the dh.) And I need to go to Office Max before my coupon expires, or I run out of paper, whichever comes first. I don't like to try on clothes (too depressing.) Maybe I'll find some pretty drinking glasses, though. And maybe a gift for Cindi's oldest, whose bday is Friday.

I finished the Toronto contest entries last night. Next, Lone Star entries. Any day now, PYHIAB entries. I know, I know, just say no!

I started moving right along on BD, then realized I have to go back because one scene's in the wrong POV. I've added 10 pages, though, which I didn't think was possible!

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Superromance

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I don't generally read Superromances but this month I picked up two. I know both authors - Beth finalled with me a couple of times in the GH and Cindi used to be in SARA. I read one in two days, started the other last night and am already a third of the way through.

The first was Beth Andrews's debut, NOT WITHOUT HER FAMILY. It's about a woman, Kelsey, trying to make amends with her estranged brother in a small town. Jack, the chief of police is suspicious of her and her brother, and when a crime is committed, Kelsey is committed to helping her brother, all the while falling for Jack, even though he's a cop.

Jack is an Ultimate Good Guy. He makes some mistakes, and has made some, but he's the kind of guy you want to lean on, the kind of guy Kelsey wants to lean on.

Kelsey is alone in the world and your heart breaks for her. She has a tough exterior to hide a tougher past and you absolutely root for Jack to break through.

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The second book is A Soldier Comes Home by Cindi Myers. I read an excerpt of this book and immediately ordered it. It's about a war widow, Chrissie, who's ready to find love again, only she will not find it with a soldier, even the handsome one next door. Ray returned home from a tour in Iraq to find his wife wiped him out and left his three year old son with his parents. He's having to rebuild his life with his child while readjusting to civilian life. And after a misunderstanding with Chrissie, he's wondering if she can help him find that balance.

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Both of these are SO GOOD.

I have to go back to WalMart today to get my glasses fixed, and I plan to get Stacey Kayne's newest, Beth Cornelison's newest (a firefighter!) and Jill Shalvis's newest (another firefighter!) Also buckling down to finish BD revisions. I don't see how it's going to make 85000 words, though....weird that my straight romance made 85000 easy and my action suspense romance didn't.

I had a dream about Helo from BSG last night but I don't remember it.

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Goals for Last Week of June

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1) finish BD
2) query agents
3) send partial of BD to Superromance
4) promo on Tuesday
5) Pam Morsi’s booksigning Tuesday
6) Get Cindi’s oldest son’s bday gift
7) Judge contest entries
8) Keep up house
9) walk
10) day with Mom
11) dh's gig
12) boy's permit
13) get glasses fixed

I have to share a wicked trick with you guys. I love chocolate croissants, and my mom found an easy way to make them - buy the Pillsbury crescent rolls, sprinkle chocolate chips in, roll them up and bake. Mmmmm.


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Happy Birthday, DH!

Today is my dh's bday, and while he's sleeping in (he's rarely off on Saturday), I thought I'd tell you a bit about why I love him.

He loves cats.

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He plays guitar ;)

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He cooks.

He brings me flowers on special occasions.

He likes my friends.

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He likes my family.

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He likes kids.

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He's won 3 Emmys ;)

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He's a great dad.

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He loves to go out to breakfast.

He's VERY patient with me, with the writing and the brainstorming, and the messy house, and the pictures of heroes on my computer.

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Happy birthday!

The ds got a haircut yesterday. I'd post a picture but I can't find the cord for the camera! I also picked up my glasses, but I can't see, so I have to go BACK to the eye doctor today, in between going to the grocery store for last minute stuff for the bday party and the party! GAH!

Hot Shot got a new review and Where There’s Smoke is up for best book of the month. Please vote!

Reunion Stories

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I watched Fool's Gold this week, and while the pratfalls had me rolling my eyes, the reason for the two of them getting a divorce was pretty convincing. I think it's always a tough balance when writing a reunion story, finding a good enough reason to split them up and then being able to get them to overcome that reason to get back together. As Tess's lawyer said in Fool's Gold, "You married a guy for the sex, then expected him to be smart." I really didn't think they overcame the conflict - Finn's immaturity drove Tess CRAZY, but he did prove how much he loved her.

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Another reunion movie, one I actually got the beginning of Beneath the Surface from, is Twister. The thing splitting them up is him thinking he wants something and by the end of the movie realizing he had what he wanted all along.

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Writing reunion stories is tough. I've written two, one about two cops who split up after their child dies (was THAT hard to write! I still want to go back and fix it, though. It became a bit episodic.) and Surface. I've always felt the weakness in Surface was the reason they split up, so I have a new reason now and I plan to get going on it next week, if I can finish fixing BD this weekend.

What are some good reunion stories you've read or seen?

Today: clean up backyard and back room for dh's bday party, read Trish's chapters, work on BD and do a little promo if my email cooperates. Yesterday all I did was read and sit in the pool - it was HOT!

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Critique Groups - Your Take

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I went to SARA last night for the first time in six months. We were voting for the new board and to pass the new bylaws, so I braved the horrible traffic (which actually wasn't too bad last night). Anyway, we didn't have a speaker, so we went around the room talking about what we wrote, what inspired us and what we'd learned in our writing.

A huge percent of them said they'd learned so much from critique. We have two groups, a lot, I think for an organization our size. I've participated, usually with just the beginning of my story, though BD has been through my smaller group almost in its entirety (that story is still kicking my butt - I need 20000 more words to make it ST!!!) Several of these ladies send their whole books through.

Then I started thinking - none of my contracted books have been to critique at all. Hot Shot and Smoke were in contests, and while I revised HS a lot because of that, Smoke is very nearly identical to the way I wrote it. Yes, HS went through revisions with editors and agents, but never went to critique. Trish read Wayback, but she's the only one. Even the cp who's also writing a Wayback hasn't seen it. Yet it got contracted.

So what's your take on critique groups?

Today: take ds to get earbuds, hopefully a haircut, clean living room, work on BD and read Trish's chapters


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My Wayback Rodeo Cover

Bull by the Horns

My first cowboy! Now to discover the release date so I can go nuts at VistaPrint.


I'm also blogging at The Wet Noodle Posse about using promo loops, kind of a "do as I say, not as I do..."


I sent 7 queries yesterday. I want to send BD to Superromance but don't remember how to do return postage. I dug out my submissions chart but hadn't updated it in awhile, so I don't know where stuff is....


I judged three and a half contest entries, did my Supernatural revisions and went back and forth on my cover. I also saw Fool's Gold, which would have been better without the physical comedy. I STILL haven't been in my pool.

Today - the grocery store, post office, SARA and BD.

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He's an ACTION FIGURE!!!

I must has!

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Say Goodbye....

To JDM for a while....I finished STTA today!!! The last 100 pages or so need edits, but it came in at almost 400 pages!

Today was wild. I went for my eye exam, then to pick up my MIL because she'd taken her car to have a belt repaired. We went to breakfast, then to WalMart to look at glasses, then to check on the car, then to the library, then home to get my old glasses, because I decided to just put new lenses in them, then back to WalMart, then home, where we called the garage. FOUR HOURS LATER, they called and said the car was ready. My poor MIL is 71 and was exhausted. She fell asleep on the couch about 30 minutes. After I took her to get her car, I fell asleep. Hopefully tomorrow is permit and haircut day for the boy, then no more running!

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Goals for the week of Father's Day

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UGH, this is a busy one...



1) Father’s Day
2) Send out queries for STTA
3) revisions on SPN essay
4) Eye doctor
5) Get boy permit
6) Get ready for dh’s bday
7) Finish STTA
8) work on BD
9) SARA?
10) Newsletter
11) Judge one contest entry
12) Newsletter
13) critique
14) blog at WNP
15) interview for The Romance Studio
16) take MIL to get car fixed
17) figure out promo schedule
18) Nudge Susan Litman
19) One day out with Mom
20) Keep up house
21) Walk

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Movies

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I saw The Last Boleyn Girl this week. NOT your feel good movie, lemme tell you. I emailed my brother with my comments as I was watching, since he'd already seen it. He was most disturbed by the beheading, which was not my Ick moment. We talked about it yesterday and he was also upset with the shallow characterization. Henry was purely a man led by...um, lust, at least in this characterization. Anne deserved to be beheaded. Mary, the sister, was naive. I'd say watch it, but maybe only 3 1/2 stars.

Indiana Jones was a disappointment. My brother and I also discussed this. We lamented that the archaeology was skimmed over, that the CGI was intrusive (and my dh added that locations were part of what made the other Indy movies so spectacular) and the stakes weren't high enough.

National Treasure 2 was better the first watching than the second. I was very distracted by Nick Cage's hair. I liked the secret city storyline, but there were too many unnecessary steps, and conclusions were reached too quickly.

Rambo started out promising, but evolved into a bloodbath. He's such an intriguing character, at least as he was conceived.

I couldn't bear Sweeney Todd.

Have you seen ANYTHING good lately?
The Accidental Husband

Books I'm Dying to Read

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I can't help myself - I'm an addict. Over 200 books on my bookshelf and this week I bought 5 more, including these 3:

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I have to say viral blogging worked for the first 2.

But then I look at my TBR shelves. I still haven't read

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I've only read one of Terry McLaughlin's, only one of Stef Feagan's, only 2 of Colleen Gleason's (and the second was still in manuscript form!) Only one of Stacey Kayne's, only one of Michelle Willingham's, only one of Anne Mallory's, only two of Diane Gaston's. I just can't read quickly enough, even in summer, though I did read over 200 pages yesterday....

What books are you looking forward to? And how do you make time to read? I still have 2 DVDs sitting here, and another on the way....

I had a great JDM dream, that he was a soldier on leave and we were on a bus together and all these women were fawning over him but he picked me (in my POV, but a 20-something body). Sigh.

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Still Full Speed Ahead

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My last day of school was a week ago and I still feel like I’m going full speed ahead.

Monday and Tuesday I worked on revisions for Wayback. Yesterday I did promo, then errands. Today, more errands. Tomorrow, hopefully, nothing. I’m still not finished with STTA, but I kind of knew yesterday would be a no-writing day because of the promo loop (which makes my shoulders absolutely tense). Still, I have 10 contest entries to read and critique group this weekend. I have 3 DVDs to watch and return. Everything seems to be on a time table. Plus, since I'm trying to save gas, I combine errands, and that stresses me out, trying to remember everything.

I have gotten a lot of the house clean. I threw out so much trash we could barely move the humongous trashcan to the curb. Today I’m cleaning the kitchen, so there should be more trash or stuff for Goodwill. Of course, I come home from taking the boy to a friend's, then going to the grocery and the kitchen counter is loaded with dishes no one bothered to do.....

Remember Fly Lady? She would tell you to throw out 15 things every time you cleaned a room. She would be so proud of me.

Oh, and yesterday I got our back door open. Why is this a big deal? Because we lost the key 6 years ago. We have another back door, but this one is right off the laundry room and being able to exit it is so convenient. It’s gross and dusty and there’s a mummified lizard stuck between the screen and the slats, but it’s open!
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Goodreads

M.J. Fredrick's books on Goodreads
Breaking DaylightBreaking Daylight
ratings: 11 (avg rating 3.33)

Beneath the SurfaceBeneath the Surface
ratings: 11 (avg rating 4.00)

Hot ShotHot Shot (Samhain)
reviews: 2
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.00)

Where There's SmokeWhere There's Smoke
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.00)

Good Reads

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MJFredrick
I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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