Saturday, July 31, 2010

A new place to find me

There is another place to look for me and I am so excited about it! I have been invited to join New Kid on the Writers Block. A blog site composed of 10 women who are in the writing business. There we discuss anything from our writing habits to RWA conference to choosing a Critique Partner. I made my first post there today so I hope you will hop on over and check it out!

See ya there!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A judge's critique

About a month ago, I entered my first writing contest. I had thought about it for a week before I did so; nervous at what I was getting ready to do. It can be an emotional time. I wasn't just going to let strangers read my work, but I was allowing them to judge it, to make their remarks on my baby. Yes, my baby! That's what it feels like to someone who writes. You spend months, maybe years creating the story. When it is done and you send it off. It is like giving birth. It may be a weird analogy, but there it is.

I have sat and waited patiently. Wondering what they were thinking as they read through my book. Would they like it? Would I get the comments back and find myself sitting in a corner somewhere crying uncontrollably because I found out that I stink? I am smart enough to know that I have not written the next Nora Roberts novel, but as with any writer you want to at least know that there is potential and that was my hope.

The email I got telling me I had not qualified as a finalist in the contest was a sad moment, but I took it well. It was my first book and my first contest. The only people up to this point who had read my book were my two CPs. I knew they were giving me their honest opinions on my work, but I always wondered in the back of my mind just how gentle they were being.

When I woke up today I would never have guessed today would be the day that I got my results back. I was about to see what others thought and to see if my CPs knew what they were doing. (Just kidding girls! You know I love ya!)

Three judges had taken a look at my book. One was a little more critical then the others but as they all three had said, it was their opinions, they didn't want to hurt my feelings and their goal was to help and see me published. Understanding that helps me not to take to much to heart. The best advice I had gotten was to go into it listening, yet cold and clinical.

I don't know what I can post and what I can't. I guess really it is up to me. It's my book and my results. I can say that there were 255 points total. Judge one gave me 95 points....ouch! BUT, she was very helpful and I appreciated everything she had to say. Judge two gave me a 195 and judge three gave me a 209. I must say I like those scores a lot better!! They all said the same thing and it is what I had hoped to hear. I had a great story and a lot of potential. Making the changes now is going to be easy because I know I have something to work with. I knew I had something to work with, but it was refreshing to know others thought so too. I tell myself I can do this. I have fixed things in my book many times. Heck, I switched the entire book from 1st person POV to third person POV. Not an easy feat to do and I still find a word or a sentence that I had missed. When you have looked at your book as many times as I have looked at mine, it is easy to skip something. Thank goodness for my CPs!!

So, now I am going to finish my brownie. I had gotten it as comfort food while I read my email but soon had forgotten it's existence. Then I will start the process of reading the email again and making notes. Then off to the book I go. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Clan Macpherson Gathering

It is that time of year again! On August 6-8, 2010 in Newtonmore, Scotland; Macphersons from all over the world will gather for the annual Clan Macpherson Highland Games. The photo above is the 2006 march at the Macpherson gathering and this gathering brought over 400 Macphersons from over 20 countries together to compete, reminisce, share photos and stories. The 2006 gathering was one of the largest gatherings of any single clan since the Jacobite rising in 1746.
The gentleman playing the bagpipes on the left is wearing the red dress, ancient dye tartan. The man walking in front holding the hand of his son is wearing the black and grey hunting tartan. Another interesting tid bit; we pronounce the name Mac-fearson, but the actual pronunciation is Mac-furson.
The Clan Macpherson is an extremely active organization with branches in Scotland, England, Wales, Canada, U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. They have a 4 star rated clan museum in Newtonmore which lies in the heart of Macpherson lands. The museum was the first ever of it's kind when it was established and has an on line store if you would like to browse through and pick up something. Interested in seeing the area? You can; The BBC television series called "Monarch of the Glen" was filmed there. They used parts of Newtonmore for their town and the "Glenbogle Estate" is not far away. The actual name of that magnificent place is called Ardverikie Estate.
Sir William Macpherson of Cluny is the 27th Chief of this remarkable clan. I mention them to you because this I feel as if they have become my clan in a way since I have studied them for 3 years. The hero's of my two books are both Macpherson men. I have enjoyed every minute of learning about this wonderful clan and am glad to make my two men apart of them.
You can learn more about this clan by going to their web site; I want to thank the Clan Macpherson Association for the use of the picture, Bruce Macpherson for all of his help, and to thank you for stopping by!
Creag Dhu!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Debate

Believe it or not, this is a debate I have heard and had. Is there a difference between strip clubs and reading romance novels? I know what you are thinking? "What the heck is that all about?" Let me tell you the story.

One night, my husband and I were on a date and we had just left the restaurant. While we were driving down the road and discussing the next thing we wanted to do, the radio station we were listening to took a moment to talk and have people call in with their questions and answers. A gentleman came on wanting to ask the opinion of the DJ. This is what he said. "My wife and I are having an arguement and I would like to ask you a question. Do you think there is a difference between a man going to a strip club and a woman reading romance novels? I don't and she does."

At this point Andy was getting ready to say something and I shushed him wanting to hear what was going to be said next. Andy caught on quickly and listened too. The man went on to say that he didn't think there was any difference between the two because a man goes to a strip club for excitement and a woman reads a romance novel for the same reason. He said there was no way a woman didn't get excited from reading one when they write about kissing and sex so vividly. I just about died. I couldn't believe it and I said as much as I jabbed my thumb towards the radio. The wife said there was a HUGE difference between the two. Andy wasn't about to make a comment, but I was determined to get his point of veiw. So, he took a breath and said that he could see both of their points. I asked him how could he know if he had never read a romance novel? He laughed and reminded me of reading to him my sex scene. I blushed! So, I decided that it was only fair. To make a critical decision I needed to have both sides. Soooo, (dramatic pause), I told him to take me to a strip club so I could see what it was like. Yes, I swear, I made him take me, though I doubt I had to push very hard!!! LOL!

Okay, let's just say I am not very good company in a club like that. You can't take a girl with 16 yrs. of dance lessons in a place like that and not expect her to comment on the dancing. I did to Andy's annoyance. We didn't stay very long; Andy could tell I was uncomfortable. When we were back in the vehicle though, we resumed our conversation. I told him what it all boiled down to is that there is a difference in the two, in my honest opinion. People go to strip club to get "excited" because there is an acutal stimulation there. When one is reading a book ,that is all that is going on; reading. Even if the scenes are good ones, and I must say I have read some good ones, nothing happens. Andy understood what I was saying and agreed.

Every once in a while, when we have friends over, that evening comes up and we will discuss it. I can tell you that it makes for a good discussion and an interesting evening.

Now, I want to know what you think of it. Leave your comments below and let's see if you think there is a difference or not.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Celine Dion Taking Chances FULL SONG

I wanted to share with you the song that inspired me while I was writing my first book, HIGHLAND DREAMS. I played it all the time; practically wore out the poor CD. This will remain one of my favorite songs and I hope you will enjoy it as well!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Learning to market myself

This is new territory for me. I will admit that when it comes to fiddling around on the computer, I am at the baby stages. When it comes to self marketing myself, I feel that I am at the same stage. BUT, I am learning and I have had some very nice people help me.
I started this blog as one way of marketing myself. I am hoping with this page to tell you of my journey as I am trying to get an agent and get published. I will reveal to you parts of my thinking process and how I come up with character names and things like that. The process of creating the characters and the places they will live is just as exciting as the creating the story itself.
Another way I have marketed myself is my Facebook page. Please feel free to look it up. It's Sarah Hoss, Author. I promise to do things differently between the two pages. I want to keep you guessing! ; )
Self marketing can be scary. I know that I have not published my book yet, but I want people to see that I am serious about writing. I truly want to make a career out of it. Also, I don't think that marketing is just about selling the books. It's about getting to know the author also. If you have any questions you would like for me to answer, please feel free to ask them in the comments box. I will answer you, I promise! If I add myself to any more places, you will be the first to know!
Thanks for reading along. I apprecaite it! Take care and have a great day!

Friday, July 16, 2010

When I got my calling.

When people found out I was writing a book, everyone always asked the same question, "What made you decide to do that?" I thought this would be a great place to answer that question. I can honestly say that in the beginning, when I was young and thinking of what I would be when I grew up, that being a writer hadn't crossed my mind. If you were to ask my mom what I wanted to be when I grew up, she would tell you that I always answered, "A mom!" Well, I reached that dream and I am loving every minute of it.
Now, when I was growing up, I took 16 yrs. of dance lessons. Give me a pair of tap shoes and I could probably dazzle you. Yah, I wrote poems as a teenager, but did I think I could dazzle you with a pen and paper? I wasn't so sure.
Once I had children I had a dream of writing children's books. I tried and I tried, but I could not get a story to come to mind. Then one day, I was driving down the road and an idea popped into my head. As soon as I got home, I wrote it down. I have been writing every since. HIGHLAND DREAMS is a historical/ time travel romance set in Scotland.
Along the way I have met some great people, made new friends, and I have had a lot of fun researching for the book. The day that I wrote "THE END" on HIGHLAND DREAMS was one of the proudest moments in my life and I can't wait for the day that I will be able to share it with you!
Thank you for coming to my blog and sitting a spell. I hope that you have enjoyed it. Check back again for more!
Thank you!