Tuesday, July 03, 2007

To-Do Tuesday: Keeping Cool

Welcome to this week's blazing hot edition of To-Do Tuesday. Unfortunately, I'm not writing this from a pool (someone needs to invent a waterproof laptop). I hope our readers manage to find themselves a cool little nook to pound out the pages during this hot week! And, tomorrow's the Fourth. There won't be a blog entry, but I will put up a "watching fireworks sign" with a fun short question of the day for anyone looking for an escape from fireworks and watermelon. Today, however, I'm more stuffed with news and oppotunties than a Fourth of July family BBQ.

As always, keep sending me your news, and be sure to check out today's question of the day!
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Lori Barber Has Story Published

Chapter member Lori Barber has great news! Her story, "Dumplings for Dinner," was published in Country Extra. Lori has a fun tale of how she discovered her success:
I sent a story to Country Extra back in March 2004. I never heard
back. Wrote if off as another rejection and completely forgot about
it. We subscribe to their magazines and received our July 2007 copy
last week. I look through a few pages each day. Wednesday I placed my
bookmark in pages 16-17. In the mail that afternoon I received a big
folder from Country magazine. Inside, I found another July 2007 issue,
a nice letter, and a fat check. They bought my story! It sits on page
18.

Way to go Lori! Your tale shows that you are indeed a natural storyteller, and we hope this is a sign of more sales to come!
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Paty Jager Finishes Outlaw in Petticoats

Paty Jager announced on her blog last week that she's finished the first draft of Outlaw in Petticoats, her sequel to Marshall in Petticoats. This is great news for the fans of MIP, who can't wait to read more! Paty had a very productive June, finishing her final edits of Perfectly Good Nanny, and hosting a successful reading in Sisters, Oregon. Way to go Paty! Your productivity and organization is an inspiration!
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Karen Duvall Gets Great Review


Karen Duvall's Desert Guardian continues to rack up great reviews! Long and Short Reviews gave Karen an enthusiastic review, saying, "Duvall exhibits huge insight in this work." Click the link for the full text of the review. If you haven't checked out this review site, it's very well organized, and the blog format makes it easy to add new books to your TBR pile. Way to go Karen!
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July Contests At Author Island

Author Island is celebrating it's first birthday, and they've made it easy for you to win one of several great prize packages. Just enter as many of the author-sponsored July contests on the site as you want! Each entry also gives you a chance at the July prizes. In addition to the great prizes donated by bestselling authors, the two lucky readers will win a book a week for a year! If you're a published author, you should think about signing up for Author Island's free monthly promo and market newsletter, full of opportunities for self-promotion!
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Author Scene Looking for Articles!

Authorscene.com an online fiction reader's magazine is looking for new articles about genre fiction. Each issue focuses on different genre, and one of the upcoming issues focuses on paranormal fiction. They're also seeking articles reporting on summer conferences! For more information, click here.

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July 7 Deadline for Ticket to Write Contest

Red River Romance Writer's annual Ticket to Write Contest has a July 7 deadline. But, more importantly, it has an outstanding slate of final round judges, experienced first round reviewers offering critique, and a low entry fee! Click here for more information!
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July Exercise & Contest

If you can't get enough of our fun writing exercises, why not try an exercise that's also a contest? The Heartland Writer's Group has a fun, 500 word exercise. This is a great chance to work on adding sexual tension between characters, read other entries, and have fun outside of your WIP! Click here for all the details.
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Question of the Day: Life Without a HEA?

What if there was no happily-ever-after ending in store for your characters? I've just finished two amazing books, The Alchemist's Daughter and What Comes After Crazy. Both books have strong romantic elements, yet each has an ambiguous ending. Will the hero and heroine actually make it? The unanswered questions sent me racing for Amazon to discover a sequel, but both appear to be stand alone books. In fact, they are so well written that the ambiguous ending doesn't take away from story, but instead leaves the reader hungry for more of the same ride. It's a bit like the last firework of the show--there has to be more right?

What do you think about ambiguous endings? Does a romance always need a clear HEA? Love them? Hate them? Even if you hate them, it is interesting to think about what the alternative to a HEA would be for your characters? What would be the second-best thing? What place do they need to come to regardless of the outcome of the romance? Thinking about these questions can actually increase the punch of a HEA ending. So, share your thoughts with us!

13 comments:

Piper Lee said...

Congratulations Lori!! Woo Hoo! And what a fun way to find out that your story got published. Money's good too. LOL

Paty and Karen, another big Way To Go! You two girls are rockin!

Wavy-- You always do such a fabulous job with Tuesday's blog. :)

Now to the question of the day...

Life without a HEA?

My first thoughts went to the Dear Frankie movie staring the incredibly sexy Gerard Butler, beautiful Emily Mortimer, and the adorable little Jack McElhone. This story is one that touches your heart, makes you laugh and cry. Lizzy, (Emily Mortimer) is hiding a secret from her son Frankie, (played by Jack), and in order to keep up the secret, she hires her friend's brother, (Gerard) whom she's never met, to play the roll of Frankie's seafaring father who's been writing him letters all his life but too busy at sea to ever come home and visit him. Frankie's real father has never actually written him in his life. He's a big jerk.

It's a great story and the end is, as you said Wavy, ambiguous.

Usually I hate stories that end without an obvious, smack you over the head HEA, but this one left off with just the right amount of information to let the viewers make up the HEA for themselves.

I absobloominlutely LOVE this movie and recommend it to anyone who doesn't have to have a HEA spelled out for them. (Which I usually prefer. LOL)

Thanks Lisa for giving me the gift of my own copy! You're an awesome chick! ;)

Karen Duvall said...

I don't need an HEA to be satisfied with the ending of a book, but I really don't like stories than end on a downer. Terabitha wasn't a love story, though the two kids were awful cute with their budding baby romance, however the ending of the movie sucked big time. Sad, sad, sad. Don't watch it. Message in a Bottle was a downer, too. And I can't remember the name of that movie staring Nicholas cage as an angel in love who gets to be human so that he can be with the woman he loves only to have her die soon after. Aaargh! Romeo & Juliet didn't do it for me either.

True love stories are supposed to be tragic, I guess, making the black moment linger on forever. Not for me. I like the upbeat "ahhhhh" moment of the HEA. Sigh.

I just judged a contest entry where the hero dies. Then, at the very end, he's mysteriously alive without an explanation. Doesn't work, for obvious reasons. If he had to die for the sake of the story (which I really didn't see as necessary to begin with), unless he comes back as a vampire or a zombie, you've got to accept he's gone. There can't always be an HEA, and it certainly can't ever be forced.

Piper Lee said...

Karen-- That Nicolas Cage movie was City of Angels. I didn't see it because I hate those kind of endings. Did you ever see Sommersby? Talk about a wrenching ending. Ugh! I'll never forget or forgive the makers of that film for that tragic ending. Jerks.

All the movies and stories you've mentioned I don't want to have anything to do with them because they are so tragic. Like you, I prefer the HEA. I don't care if it's predictable or not. It's the journey getting there and knowing that you're not going to have your heart ripped out by a senseless UN-happy ending that makes the story so great.

You know how you mentioned that "true love stories are supposed to be tragic" even though you don't agree cause you're smart! :) Well, I don't think anyone truly prefers a tragic ending to true love. How does that even make it a true love story. I suppose some people think it's romantic to suffer in that way, but I don't. I believe in good vs. evil and that evil will not prevail in the end. I guess I'm just a different kind of romantic in the fact that it's romantic to me if the bad guys get there asses kicked and love conquers all. :)

I enjoyed your comments. You made a lot of sense. Hope your day today has a HEA! LOL

And where the heck are all the rest of the bloggers today? Yoo Hoo!

Paty Jager said...

Piper - I've been contemplating Wavy's question as well as being a moderator on a loop and editing a poorly written partial.

Lori- awesome news!
Karen- cool review!
Wavy awesome blog as usual and what a killer of a question! I read this earlier and left to ponder it and then come back and see what others put! ;)

I don't watch many movies, so you people lose me a lot when you talk movies. LOL And I wish I could read more. As for Terabithia- I read that book when it first came out and found it sad. And I couldn't make head nor tails out of the previews of the movie. I don't remember all that weird stuff in the book. Hmm..

Okay, I'm avoiding the topic! LOL I like HEA in everything I read and watch, whether it's knowing there will be another book coming along to keep the characters a live, or they actually do get together in the end, or the bad guy gets whats coming to him. My dh and I were watching a TV show the other night and the bad buy got away, we both felt let down. That truth didn't prevail. And we watched a movie a while back on Tv and we both were unhappy with the ending. I can't remember what it was, but I remember looking at him and him looking at me and saying we were disappointed.

So I guess that makes me a HEA fiend. Gotta have that Happy Ever After!

wavybrains said...

Piper--Of course you'd think of a Gerad Butler movie! What do you think of YA's and HEA? Most YA's have more ambiguous endings. Will your YA have a HEA?

Karen--I believe the Nicholas Cage movie is "Angel," and I cried my eyes out! If the hero makes a huge sacrifice, he should be rewarded in the end. Of course, sometimes he makes sacrifices along the way, but I still want him to get the ultimate reward, if it's a love story. Castaway wasn't a love story, so I was ok with the hero's journey ending on an ambiguous note.

And, I believe killing off the hero at the end of the book would be a huge no-no for a romance. It's one thing to START a book with a dead love interest or to have fake or near death or cliff hanger death in a RS, but they can't actually BE dead and still have a romance!

wavybrains said...

Thanks for the compliments! I really enjoy doing the blogs.

Paty--you're not a HEA fiend, just a romance writer!

I've noticed more TV series moving away from the HEA. I was so relieved that Friends finally gave Rachel and Ross that HEA. But, Gilmore Girls--ambiguous ending and clearly not a HEA for Rory! And, I've yet to forgive the writers of Enterprise for their final episode.

wavybrains said...

Oh and Karen--isn't it funny how the Tragic love story model often appears in Sci Fi & fantasy? All comic book heroes seem to have a tragic love story, and so many Sci Fi books & movies also have the tragic love story versus a HEA.

Danita Cahill said...

Lori, how cool is that? I had stories accepted by a children's mag once -- payment upon publication -- that's been, oh let's see, 15 years ago or so. Haven't seen a check yet. Ha! So glad you did!

Wow, Paty and Karen. TWRP is really working out well for you two. So happy to hear that.

Danita Cahill said...

As for the HEA ending, nope, I don't need it. I like it better, generally, but I've seen/read some good movies/books without it. The Old Man is a great movie, one of my favorites, and the HEA ending is only implied.

Danita Cahill said...

Yeah, Karen, Terabithia was sad. So is Pay it Forward, but I still though they were very good movies. I could see why the producers/authors ended them as they did, although they were hard endings to take. But then, I don't mind a good cry. Clears the sinuses. ha!

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Congrats to Lori on her sale! Woohoo!!!

Way to go, Karen, on your awesome review. Fabulous!

And Kudos to Paty for finishing her wip.

Great stuff this week, Wavy. As to your question, I don't always need a HEA so long as the ending fits the story. For instance, a few movies I loved without the traditional HEA (warning, spoilers ahead...)The Guardian. Kevin Costner dies in the end and his ex-wife - who they hint at a lingering romance - is left alone. But it fit the ending so I was okay with it. Blood Diamond. I really REALLY wanted Leo to live in this movie, but his death at the end worked for me and added a punch the movie would have lacked had he lived. Pirates III. I read a blog by a romance writer who HATED The end to the trilogy because Will and Elizabeth didn't get their HEA. I disagree. They got their HEA, but it's very untraditional. And I thought it worked.

I watched part of Message In A Bottle, liked it (because I like Kevin Costner) and decided to read the book. HATED the end to that book. It wasn't that I don't like tragedies (on the contrary, I liked Titanic, and I liked Pearl Harbor, even though one hero lived, the one I wanted to live died), it was that the ending to Message In A Bottle was useless in my mind. The hero in that book/movie didn't need to die. Same with Sommersby (also known as The Movie Becky Hates). It seems to me the death at the end of those movies (books) was for pure shock value and not because it completed a character arc in any way.

When I pick up a romance though, I expect a happy ending. So if a known romance author throws in an unhappy ending at the end, I won't read them again. If I know an ending could go either way (general fiction, etc), I'm okay with it so long as it "fits".

Alice Sharpe said...

I have been off sailing. I am either going to flourish or die. Right now, it's a toss up.

First and foremost, Lori, huge congratulations sent your way. Awesome news. So happy for you. Be sure to bring a copy of the magazine to the next meeting so we can all ogle your success!

I'm too tired to think of anything else. Congrats to all who earned it. HEA? Yeah, I'm a sucker for them, too. Hated Message in a Bottle and City of Angels for reasons mentioned. Like someone said, Wavy, I think, if the set up, as in Castaway, is not a romance, it's okay. But a romance needs to end happily for me.

Gotta go. Been seasick. On a lake! The shame of it! Ack!

Alice

wavybrains said...

Eli--you make a really good point. When the death doesn't complete the character arc, you feel particularly cheated. And this can be true for beloved secondary characters too!