Monday, March 30, 2020


Okay, darlings, some of you know the drill.

Some don't.

We keep it simple.

You have bestselling, award-winning inspirational authors here, but we don't limit our critiques to just inspy works.... as long as it's G-rated, you're welcome to post below!

Here are the rules:

Keep it fairly short, this forum doesn't allow for chapters... but a few paragraphs to share the idea  is great.

If you have to hunt through your work to find a few good paragraphs, then it probably needs polish OR you need stronger coffee because you're scared to death. Both are normal.

We are not critics... we are authors and bloggers and we love great work, but our opinions are just that: Opinions. Although every one of us will tell you that we wouldn't be where we are today without paying attention to early critiques and contest judges who helped us see what worked... and what didn't.

So today it's a drive-by critique.... Any Seeker may stop in and tell you what they think, and they/we don't always agree... and YOU know your story... so take that into consideration.

But it is also advised to leave wounded egos and overly-sensitive hearts at the door because we might tell you that your work needs work... and that should always be okay. 

And we have a prize today of a one chapter critique for some brave soul, but you have to tell us you want it.... you have to mention that you want to be put in that drawing...

Don't be too scared, darlings.

No one's died from one of our critiques.


Coffee is here. Doughnuts/donuts, too, including the amazing cannoli cheese-filled donuts I get at Ridge Donut Cafe.... Because it's nice to share.

USA TODAY bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne is the author of more than 50 published novels and novellas and while she can be a meany-pants from time to time, her tough persona hides a really soft heart but she doesn't like folks to know that, so she hides it well. Very well, some say. You can friend her on facebook, follow her on the most unfriendly social media in the world, AKA: Twitter and stop by her webpage She also actually answers email (and it's really her, not "her people", so be careful what you say, lovies!!!!) at and she may brag about how her bestselling Wishing Bridge series has been on the Amazon bestseller lists for weeks, but gosh, a girl's got to be able to share good news, right??? Even bossy girls! 




  1. Best part of social distancing is that you get to be home and write, darlings.... Take advantage of every opportunity God gives you and forge ahead. Be strong.

  2. This is where the heroine and hero see each other. They will meet in the next scene.
    And I would love to be put in the drawing.

    Twenty minutes later, Michael and Isaiah stood back outside in front of the house.
    “I should be able to start Monday. With your help, we can have those repairs done in no time.”
    “Thanks again, Michael. I—" Isaiah stopped and glanced in the direction of the church yard.
    Michael also turned toward the yelling of children. Two boys fought as others hovered around cheering them on. Before he could react, a feminine figure raced to the now small crowd of children forming around the boys. She pushed her way in and pulled the two boys apart.
    The children scattered like seeds in the wind. Michael watched as the woman led the boys to the steps of the building. She pointed to the bottom step. The boys plopped down, their backs to each other. The woman glanced down at them and then returned to the top step. She pushed a few strands of hair from her face before sitting down.
    “Those boys will never learn. Miss Baxter has had her hands full with those two.”
    Michael turned and faced Isaiah. “Miss Baxter? That name doesn’t sound familiar.”
    “Oh, that's right. Miss Baxter is the new schoolmarm. She came about the time you left.”
    “She’s the new schoolmarm?” Michael’s gaze returned to the woman. She wore a simple chocolate brown skirt with a cream-colored short sleeve blouse. Her hair was pinned up with a few loose curls blowing in the breeze. “She’s so young and beautiful.” The sentence slipped out before he realized it. “I’m sorry. I didn't mean to say that out loud.”
    “That’s quite all right. I’ve seen a few men’s heads turn when she walks by. She doesn’t seem to notice them or at least doesn't bring attention to it.”
    Michael only nodded.
    “Well, I’ll let you be on your way. Thanks again for coming and looking at the house.”
    “It’s no problem. I’ll be here bright and early Monday morning.” Michael shook Isaiah’s hand and mounted Bullet.
    Samantha counted her stitches and pulled the needle and thread through the fabric. It was too nice of a day to sit inside while the kids played outside. So, she decided to join them. And it gave her extra time to practice her needlepoint. With the extra practice she did between their sewing lessons, her skill was improving. At their last session, Abigail decided to challenge her with needlepoint.
    Samantha was skeptical about it. Just like sewing, she could never find interest in needle point. Who wanted to sit around and pull a thread through a piece of fabric? But she couldn’t deny the beautiful image that came when one took the time to weave the colorful threads. She agreed to give it a try and now sat trying to replicate a small bouquet of red roses.
    She looked up to watch the kids. Not paying attention to her needlepoint, she jabbed her finger with the needle. The little sharp prick hurt enough for her to drop her work. She quickly put her finger in her mouth. Glancing around again, she caught Isaiah talking to someone. But that someone seemed to be paying more attention to her than Isaiah. Her gaze met his under the dark felt hat he wore. Her heart beat faster as he continued to stare.
    “Miss Baxter? Miss Baxter?”
    Samantha lowered her head to one of the boys on the bottom step. “Yes, Gabe.”
    “Can we go play now?”
    “Are you going to pick another fight with each other?”
    “No,” both boys blurted out.
    “All right then.” She squinted at her small watch. “There’s ten minutes left of recess. Go and play.”
    The boys leaped off the step and bounded to the group of boys playing ball.
    She smiled as she watched them join in the boys’ ball game. She dared herself a glance at the mysterious man and her heart involuntarily sank. He was no longer there.
    I don’t know why you’re getting yourself all worked up over a man staring at you. That is not why you came to Cooperton. Besides, you’ll probably never see him again. She shook her head to rid the image of the mystery man.

    1. Kimberly, I felt as though I was reading a published book. The stitching part did throw me off a little, though. Would she be doing that at school, particularly when she's supposed to be overseeing kids in the schoolyard, as well as the two boys who'd just gotten in trouble? They seem to have gotten off pretty easy, given that Isaiah had commented earlier about her having her hands full with them. But that just little stuff. I like where the story is going and am eager to see the hero and heroine meet.

    2. Hi Kimberly, you brave soul!

      I agree with everything Mindy said, and I have a suggestion for this paragraph:

      “She’s the new schoolmarm?” Michael’s gaze returned to the woman. She wore a simple chocolate brown skirt with a cream-colored short sleeve blouse. Her hair was pinned up with a few loose curls blowing in the breeze. “She’s so young and beautiful.” The sentence slipped out before he realized it. “I’m sorry. I didn't mean to say that out loud.”

      You have an opportunity here to give a glimpse into Michael's character. Instead of him voicing his thoughts out loud, perhaps you can take those thoughts a little deeper and reveal a crumb of his personality. Maybe he was a scamp as a boy just like those two she had to discipline...then his thoughts might run along the lines of "No schoolmarm he had ever known had looked like this woman. If Miss Harrison had been twenty years younger and as pretty as this, he never would have made trouble in school."

      Thank you for trusting us with your story!

    3. If this is the very beginning you should use Samantha's last name.
      If we've been reading awhile it's not necessary.
      But her sitting on the step between the two boys...where is her needlework? Did she bring it outside with her? Set it on the step to pull the boys apart? Pick it up when she sat down?
      The combo...the unexpected presence of needlework when her hands had been full with breaking up a fight, and a first name not used when the two men were talking...threw me off a little.
      I thought we jumped to another place, another woman. Or later.
      So have it like this maybe?

      Michael turned and faced Isaiah. “Miss Baxter? That name doesn’t sound familiar.”
      “Oh, that's right. Samantha Baxter is the new schoolmarm....

      Or have Samantha somehow react to two disgruntled boys.
      She waited until she was sure the two squirming boys she was sitting between wouldn't bump her arms, then picked up her needlepoint she'd dropped on the top step.

    4. Take all this advice within the contest of me liking it. You draw a nice picture the description of the clothes, the breeze, the ruckus on the school grounds.

    5. The children scattered like seeds in the wind. Loved the imagery here. Well done!

    6. Thank you ladies. You have made my day with your comments. I appreciate the advice and already my head is feeling with how I can fix this and make it better.

  3. Thank you so much for doing this, Ruthy and Seekers :) You can throw my hat in for a chapter critique. I think I can take it LOL. Here's my beginning.

    With an exaggerated flourish, Corinne pressed the blue icon on the auction site. “PURCHASE NOW”, it had demanded.

    So she did.

    Moving the laptop off her plaid-pajama-clad thighs and placing it carefully on the coffee table in front of her, she planted her slippered feet on the floor and stood, deliberate and intentional, until her excitement could no longer be contained.

    “Yes!” The sound cut through the quiet of the apartment, louder than she meant it to, but Indigo just lifted her head from the blanket she was laying on, looked at Corinne with skepticism, rolled on her side and went back to sleep.

    Corinne ran in place, pumping her arms in the air like she’d broken through the tape at a marathon. Too many years had passed since she’d felt like jumping up and down over anything and she was going to enjoy this moment with its burst of endorphins and the quiver in her stomach.

    She was going to do something just for herself. Nicholas no longer had a say in whether she got to dream or not and she would show him—no, she didn’t care what she thought. She was going to prove to herself, and only herself, that she was capable of making her own dreams come true.

    Corinne danced her way into the kitchen, allowing a little Risky Business-esque slide on the hardwood floor. She found a glass and poured water in it, gulping down the cold water in a quick moment.

    The water hit that pit of her stomach that had just been a butterfly and stopped it dead in its tracks. Reality sank in quickly.

    Had she really just bought a ski lodge? In South Dakota? With only internet photos and the word of a realtor she’d never met?

    Yes, she had. She lifted her head in defiance. Of course, she had. And this would be the next step in the plan she’d titled “Moving On with My Life” by Corinne Masters Darrow.

    1. Glynis, this story has so much potential. You might want to clarify who Indigo is. I'm assuming a cat, but you need to clear that up. New beginnings stories are always fun, and with your heroine stepping out of her comfort zone, you're off to a great start.

    2. Glynis!!! Look at you!

      I love this opening. You led us on through her celebration before dropping the bombshell - a ski lodge??? Who buys a ski lodge on-line??? PERFECT! It shows us so much about Corinne's character!

      I agree with Mindy's comment about Indigo, though. It's an easy fix, but without it your reader is distracted in the middle of Corinne's celebration. Half of my mind is still wondering...A cat? A dog? A snake?

    3. I really like this, Glynis. There might be little things to change, tweak, though I can't say any jumped out at me. Maybe tell me if Indigo is a cat or dog, like that. But I really like it.

    4. LOVED it! You have clearly stated Corinne's goals and given the story direction, plopped us right into the action, and make us want to read more. You go, girl!

    5. Yes, Indigo is a gray poodle. I will add that in. Thanks for the encouragement, ladies. It really means a lot!! And yes, Jan, Corinne is the dreamer and impulsive person I will never be. Definitely fun to write :)

  4. Thank you ahead of time for your comments. This is the beginning of a woman's fiction that is complete, but I've put it on the backburner, not sure what direction to take it next. I would like to be a part of the drawing. --Susan Lewis

    Chapter 1
    Why in the world did Kathryn McCann accept a total stranger’s offer?

    Kathryn gazed again out the window as her plane soared through the clouds, her chin cupped in her hands. She would not have even considered taking the job if her grandmother was still living. But Kathryn had been alone for a year. And she couldn’t bear to stay any longer in Crested Butte. Something had to change. And wasn’t change the essence of her grandmother’s stories anyway? The stories Kathryn had searched and searched for after her grandmother was gone. Kathryn had been desperate to find them again. But they were nowhere.

    And then a year later, those tales from her childhood reemerged, reaching out to Kathryn as if her grandmother was talking to her from the grave, asking her to take another risk. Traveling to a small community north of Atlanta, halfway across the country, was a risk that Kathryn would have never considered. If it weren’t for the name. The name had been the significant and pivotal key to her final decision after the phone call and those words she had heard that set Kathryn’s heart racing, changing everything.

    Three Weeks Earlier--
    “Is this Kathryn McCann?” A deep but slightly shaky voice had filled the room as Kathryn put her cell phone on speaker. She was still getting dressed and should have been out the door five minutes ago.
    “Yes.” Her voice held an edge of exasperation at what had to be a salesperson. She walked back across the bedroom to stop the conversation before it got started when the elderly voice said, “Cricket Bridge Coffee House would like to hire you.”
    The stranger’s words immediately paused her hand from cutting off the call and swept her memory back to those first few years living with her grandmother. It had been a long time since Kathryn had heard the phrase Cricket Bridge, years since Kathryn had seen the book her grandmother had written just for her.

    1. Susan! I'm so glad you've taken the chance to do this, welcome aboard!!!

      Okay, my first bit of advice is this: I'd flip this upside down and start with the phone call.

      If that's where the story starts, start there.... OR....

      Go straight to her being in Cricket Bridge... Put her in the most gripping moment you can, with good reason, and then let the story evolve from there.

      And huge thanks for having the courage to do this!!!

    2. Very intriguing, Susan! I have a couple of thoughts on the flashback. 1. If this flashback is a long, full scene, then maybe consider doing it in real time by opening the book there. Then the next scene will jump ahead three weeks to her arriving in town. And actually, unless something significant happens on the flight, you might just want to let her have these thoughts as she's entering town or encountering someone in the town rather than open by traveling there. 2. If the flashback is only a short flashback of the phone call, then I'd suggest working the memory of it in bit by bit wherever it fits rather than having a flashback (which stops the action). She can think about the call as she's about to meet the elderly woman or to show up at the Coffee House. That kind of thing.

      I hope this helps! I think it sounds like a great story!

    3. I see Ruthy and I were critiquing at the same time! :)

    4. I like this, too. But I agree to either start with the phone call, or start with her arrival in Cricket Bridge. The traveling is a cliché, a chance for her to think of all the things that have come before and taken her to where the story starts. Instead of that, just start, weaving in everything else as bits.

    5. Thank you, Missy and Ruth. I will definitely relook at the beginning of this story with your advice in mind. Starting stories with a strong hook is often my weak spot when writing. Thanks again.

    6. Thanks also, Mary. I never thought about traveling being cliche. But Kathryn does meet her romantic interest at the airport when she arrives so I could start there. And weaving the backstory in as the story progresses is a good idea.

  5. Thank you for this!

    I twirled my fork on the few pieces of lettuce leftover on my plate. Everyone was eating, drinking and being happy I was sitting here sulking. 

    “Josie, what are you sitting for? This isn’t time for melancholy. You’re here for your best friend, They’re playing great songs, and  your dress is too beautiful to waste sitting at the table with leftover food. “My boyfriend, Luke, chided me.

    I looked at Sophie, the bride, in her dress.  it was just a stunning as It was when I watched  from the front of the altar she walked down the aisle. Now, she’s dancing with her new husband and some of our best friends but I couldn’t muster the strength to get up.

    “I’m just taking a breather and gearing up for when the fun really starts. “I responded.  I took a sip of my soda, closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

    I never thought I’d feel such a hollow loneliness at a wedding when so much happiness abounds. All I can think about is who will Sophie tell her good news to first now? Who will she have breakfast with on a Saturday morning? Who will she share her secrets with it. It’s not me anymore, I'm not first, it's her husband, now.

    “Josie, lets get going.” Sophie tugged  my arm as Pretty Woman started to play.

    “Such a fun song.” I put on smile bobbing to the music. Sophie and a few other friends gathered around me and let her out.

    With this be the last time we have fun together?

    Let it go right now. I told myself as I tried to feel and move to the music. This is not the time for sorrow, but everything was changing by the day.

    The music stopped in at the details of the girls to line up. I want to hightail it out of there, I always hated this part.

    “Get over there.” Sophie bossed at me pointing to the others lining up to catch the bouquet.”

    “Josie!” Sophie stomped her foot and put her hand on her hip.

    I bent down to pick the flowers up. They really were pretty, green and pink flowers bundled together.

    As I lifted my eyes, I saw the sharp and shiny point of a mans shoe. I followed the line up to the blue eyes of my boyfriend, Luke, as he reached for my hand. 
    I gasped.

    He dropped to one knee, pulled out a box, and open it to a sparkling cushion cut diamond.

    “Will you marry me?”

    Everyone cheered as tears filled my eyes.

    “I think that’s a change I can embrace.” I said.

    1. Tonya, this reads like a sweet short story.... A short-short, like you see in Woman's World, etc.

      But I see a few problems here, too. Josie isn't engaging. She's pouting. At a wedding. And she's part of the wedding party, and that could turn the reader right off, so you might want to re-think that.

      And because this wraps up instantly with an engagement, we've got nowhere to go.... except there's no longing for Luke to propose or make things permanent, etc... so that kind of comes out of the blue, as if that's going to fix everything.

      I'd suggest making Josie less sulky, making her more appealing, and telling us more about the characters in general.

      And thank you for taking the chance to do this!!!!

    2. A fun flash fiction, Tonya! I love the way it ends. But I do think Josie could be more likable. What if she has a brief thought of how tough it's going to be to no longer have her best friend, but then she moves on to celebrate the joyous occasion. She could even try to get her boyfriend up to dance, and maybe he's the one who's preoccupied. Which can give her a moment's pause (she could decide that he's never going to come around to considering marriage). haha But if she's active and celebrating, yet has just that little worry in the back of her mind that everything is changing for her friend but not for Josie herself, then the big surprise at the end will feel even more thrilling, I think

      Best of luck with it! I think it'll be a really cute story.

    3. Tonya there is a way to have Josie loving her sister's happiness while aching to lose being close to her. You need to work on that, tweak it. Not huge changes just change the word pouting or sulking to … oh, you know. "I let them think my tears were tears of happiness but while I knew my sister had found a good man to share her life with, I also knew we'd never be that close again." Just winging it, but a few little changes could make a huge difference.

    4. Thank you Ruth, Missy, & Mary! You've pointed out things I didn't notice that I can take back to the drawing board. I appreciate it.

    5. Tonya, I love Mary's suggestion is just what Josie needs. We want to root for her, but as she is, I mostly just want to give her a stern talking to. :)

      While there isn't time here, you will want to have someone help you tidy up the grammar and punctuation. There were a few places where the punctuation was absent, and a few places where I think a word was missing. When submitting to an editor, you want to make the best impression possible. Thankfully, these are easy fixes that will help your story shine! :)

    6. Thanks Erica! I've copied everyone's response and saved them in a file with my story.

  6. Ive never done anything like this, TIA
    Here's the thing with Valentine's Day. I never learn, NEVER! After twenty seven years you'd think I'd have it figured out. Every year I convince myself next Valentine's Day is going to be different, I will have a date.  It's like my New Year's resolution of love.

    But this year WILL be different. This year I will give up searching, I don't need a man to feel happy. Here, February 15th, I am starting a new journaling my goal while sipping coffee at Starbucks.

      "Excuse me, did you drop this?" His eyes were a deep blue, so deep you could dive into them.

      "Uh." I swallowed, "Yes."

      "Here." He handed the the wallet that somehow dropped out of my purse.

      I took it with my nearly shaking hands and just stared. He smiled and light practically struck his perfectly straight teeth and made a dinging noise. Who is this guy?

      "Do you come here often?" He asked.

      "No." I said.

      "I didn't think so. I've never seen you before. I'm Caleb." He reached his hand out again.

      "Hi." I hoped my hand wasn't awash with sweat.

      "And your name is?"


      "Hope to see you again sometime, Harper."  I watched him walk away like he was walking out of my life and felt my heart sink.  I dumped my journal into my pink Kate Spade purse and headed for my car.

      The moment I got in my car I flipped open my phone and called Lauren.

      "Oh my gosh, you will not believe who I just met?" I said when I heard her click the phone and before she could even say anything.

      "I don't know? Just tell me."


      "Chris Hemsworth?"

      "What? No! I met the most amazing guy. His eyes they were so blue like the deepest  Caribbean ocean. I could barely breathe."

      "Harper," Lauren let out a sigh, "Are give up already?"

      "Giving up on what?"

      "You're Valentine's day slash New Year's resolution of love?"

      "Oh, yeah that. Do I really need that?"

      "So you're approaching it like a literal New Year's resolution and giving up the next day?"

      "But you should have seen him." I told her.

      "Really? A guy you talked to once you're going to throw away your goals!"

      This can't be happening.

      "What's his name?" She questioned. 


      "What does he do for a living?"

      "I don't know?"

      "I see. Did he ask for your number?" 

      "Psht, no."

      "Yeah, move on." Lauren told me.



      "Take my advice, move on. Do you want me to come over there and kick your butt?"

      "No, you're right."

      "I know I am."


      "Thanks." I sighed into the phone.

      "It's going to be worth it, Harper, it is. You just can't see the forest through the trees. Want to go out for coffee later?"

      "On Vineyard?" My voice perked up. 

        "Is that where you are right now?"

        "No." my voice cracked.

        "We'll go for ice cream instead."

        "But my diet."

        "Get over it. You'll be fine.A hot guy is a dime a dozen and a real relationship is worth more than looks. See ya later, I have to feed the baby." Lauren hung up.

      I sat in the driver's seat. I should've never called, but at least I'll get some ice cream out of it. What do you do when you blow a resolution? You splurge! I took a sip of my Frappcino, reapplied my lipstick and took off for work.

    1. Felicity, there is so much promise here! It's choppy in spots. Some punctuation and grammar mechanics, you really want to study that by reading books and making sure you've got periods where they should be, capital letters where they should be, commas, quotation marks, etc., but that's just MECHANICS.

      Mechanics can be studied and learned, (but they're important, so be sure to do that...)

      But what a fun idea, a Valentine's Day resolution, LOL!

      Now here's where I think you could make this deeper and better.




      Not giving an inch because that will intrigue the reader. Having her cave instantly is a total sign of weakness. WE don't want readers throwing the book (or Kindle) across the room, we want them engaged.... from the beginning.

      So think about that, about how to draw the reader in instantly, about what appeals to the reader in a story and then make Harper thoroughly engaging... even as she casts off cute Caleb. Think of all the rom coms you might like: Hitch.... Bones.... Sleepless in Seattle... The Princess Bride... etc. Those heroes and heroines don't give in for a long time, it's a curving walk with pitfalls. Have fun with her!

    2. Felicity, this line made me laugh out loud! " I took it with my nearly shaking hands and just stared. He smiled and light practically struck his perfectly straight teeth and made a dinging noise. Who is this guy?"

      Hahaha! I love it! I love her humor and her new goal. But don't let her give up that goal so easily. She could be trying to steel herself against him and maybe even resent those dinging teeth. :) She could tell her friend about him, how she withstood the urge to follow him out or look him up online. Anything but give up her new goal. She should be proud of herself. But each time she runs into him, it gets more and more difficult. :)

      Don't you love romance?! Nice job. I think it'll be a great story!

    3. Thank you! I can't say I thought about drawing it out but I definitely could. I'm so encouraged.

  7. Thank you for the opportunity. Here's mine:

    Eden, Oklahoma 1887

    A bear of a man hadn’t taken his eyes off Pearl Goldene since she stepped off the train. To her left loved ones embraced teary family then climbed aboard. On her right cowboys coaxed skittish livestock down rickety planks out of the cattle cars. Newly arrived passengers searched for their belongings through baggage dumped on the station platform without care. All the world had business at the depot. None of them had anything to do with her.
    None…except this man.
    He stood, hands on hips one minute, arms across his chest the next, taking her measure at his leisure. A scowl stretched his ebony skin across features bristling with disdain. She chafed at the thought of being judged without trial.
    Dismay seized her heart. She recognized the wide-eyed surprise her light skin always elicited. Color prejudice in an all Black town like Eden was the last thing she had expected. Yet, here on this dusty railway platform scented by burning coal, race prejudice had reared its ugly head.
    And again, from one of her own race.
    She closed her eyes, clutched her bible to her chest and prayed. “Please, Lord. I’m out here on your word. Let Adam Fullard be the kind of man you mean me to wed.”
    The stench of manure and sweat permeated the air. Pearl breathed through her mouth, opened her eyes and continued to scan the crowd. Somewhere amid all this hustle and bustle, her intended would appear.

    1. Well, this is wonderful.

      You had me at hello.

      I would change that phrase "teary family" because it doesn't ring well... teary-eyed family or something like that... your choice, dear!

      And the only other thing I would change is her prayer, I'd alter it to make it her discernment... not that Adam is the kind, but that she realizes he's the man God meant for her. It seems like a slight change, and it is, but it makes her more active and less passive.

      Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

    2. Hi, Anna! I'm glad you stopped by and jumped in! This is great writing. I love your description. I feel as if I'm there (sounds, smells, etc.)

      I don't think I would change a thing. I see what Ruthy is saying about the prayer. But I can also imagine that Pearl is terrified and trying not to doubt her decision to go marry a stranger (I'm assuming this is a mail-order bride story). If you don't want her to be a bit scared and doubting, then I'd say to consider the change Ruthy mentioned.

      I have a feeling that bear of a man is her intended! If so, I know the rest of the scene will be fantastic. :)

    3. P.S. I also meant to say I agree about saying teary-eyed family members (or something like that).

    4. I really like it. Maybe don't mention manure. LOL
      The smell of cattle and dust on a hot day, you know, think of some euphemism for manure.

    5. Love this! Excellent description and story set up!

    6. Thank you all for your comments and insights. I'm very heartened by your responses.

  8. I've been trying my hand at flash fiction

    The gnawing in my stomach goes deeper as I sit in the cold, gray lobby and look at the name Lily Smith, Art Director, on the interview list. 

      "She always did like art and it came easily to her." I think. "She didn't appreciate that I liked it, too, nor my abstract style. "

        For a moment I think of fleeing when my stomach grumbles again. Corn flakes aren't the most filling but they are cost effective.

      The job would be be a big raise and I'd get to explore art supplies and art history like I never would otherwise.

      The snarling of  Lily's voice in high school comes barreling back, "It looks like a kid did it." She'd say in front of everyone.

    What are the chances of people changing?

      Deep breath. "I can do this." I cheer myself on.

      Resume. Check.

      Portfolio. Check.

      Favorite lip gloss and high heels. Double check.

    "Mandy Hawhtorne." A petite woman says opening the door. 

    I pop right up and feel something sharp scrape down the side of my leg.

      "One second." I hold up a finger and look down to see a huge snag down my stocking.

      "Everything all right." The woman walks closer as I feel my face heating up.

      "It's ok." I say flustered. While trying to cover the snag, I drop my portfolio.

      "Let me help you." She bends down gathering some of the strewn papers. "These are beautiful."

      "Thank you." I manage all the while wondering if Lily will hear about this like the time I spilled soup & slipped on it in front of the entire cafeteria.

      I grasp my folders tightly and scurry down the hall as confidently as I can. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. You go this.

      The woman leads me into an empty office that looks rather stark with nuetral colors,clean and sophisticated. Lily isn't here yet and my stomach again growls like a whale.  I cringe. "Please don't let that happen during the interview."

      After what seems like an eternity I hear heels clicking quickly down the hallway and my skin starts to crawl.

      "Hello, I'm Lily Smith." She says simotaneously opening the door. 

      "Hello." I stand and reach out my hand."Mandy Hawthrome."

      Lily's eyebrows raise in recognition. She looks me up and down stopping on  the snag in my stocking, this time raising only one brow.

    I hand my resume and portfolio across the table as she sits down.  She picks them up and start finger through them with puckered lips.

      My heart races. She sets the papers down and looks me straight in the eye. Gulp.

    "Loose random lines. Bright, primary colors. Abstracts have really taken off recently and we are all about keeping our fingers on the pulse. You have an eye for it. We'll be in contact."

    1. Petunia, hi! Thanks so much for jumping in here and I'm glad you're giving flash fiction a try...

      So here's some advice:
      1. Pick up the pace. Flash fiction has to flash, it has to engage instantly, it can't dawdle, and it can't think. It's like boom! Boom! Boom!
      2. We have no idea what the job is. All we know is that she and Lily had problems in school. How would she be involved with art supplies and art history???
      3. Re-read your work carefully and I'd suggest a critique partner. You want each word to shine, you want an error-free presentation and that's easier if you have someone whose strengths complement you.

      You do a great job mixing up sentences. Some long, some short, some clipped, but you want to polish your spelling, your word use and your punctuation. Those are things you can teach yourself... but a critique partner will help you to polish the fun in your voice to a really solid story presentation!

      Thank you for being a risk-taker, Petunia, and I love your name... so old-fashioned and pretty!!!

    2. Hi, Petunia. Thanks for sharing your writing! I love flash fiction, but it's difficult to squeeze in everything.

      I'd suggest tightening this a good bit. Maybe make a list of everything you HAVE to include. For example, these are the things I would think you'd want to keep:
      --Lily Smith is director and doing the interview for such and such job. And they have a bad past, that Lily didn't like Mandy's abstract style.
      --The memory of, "It looks like a kid did it."
      --What are the chances of people changing? (I think that's probably your point of the whole piece, that yes, people can change. So be sure you keep that.)
      --She feels prepared: resume, portfolio, lip gloss and power heels--check (that adds fun details)
      --As her name is called, she gets a run in her stockings. (you can tighten that by leaving out that dialogue and interaction with the receptionist. Tighten to her name being called, hose run, and then she goes in the office)
      --Lily walks in, recognition, and Lily spotting the run in the hose. This can be a mini-black moment, where Mandy thinks all is lost.
      --Then the moment while Lily looks over her work and is impressed
      --I'd suggest Lily be more clear about Lily wanting to hire her or saying they could use her on their team. "We'll be in contact" is a little open ended for me.
      -- Then maybe do a quick reflection on how yes, people can change. And a quick sense of accomplishment maybe.

      Anything extra that's not on your list of what's important, you could cut or tighten more. I think it could be a really nice flash short story!

    3. Many thanks Ruth and Missy. I read once that sometimes a flabby flash fiction of 1,000 words can excell at 500. Maybe that's what's happening here, I'll start by cutting.

    4. Well, that's a great adage to go by, Petunia! I did flash fiction twice, I like longer pieces, but it's a fun way to sharpen the cutting knives in our arsenals... learning how to say more with less is a good way of separating great books from okay novels. It's an art that is truly a gift or a learned study... one that I'm still learning.

  9. Thank you, thisll be my first critique
    I stared tentatively into the dimly  lit store window. Ever since I was a little girl, I would look into the same window and wonder what it was like to shop there. I saw a rainbow of soft, flowy dresses adorning  the racks, hanging on the walls, and mannequins dressed in the newest, trendiest clothes I’dever seen.

    I always wanted to go in, but Mom would say it was too expensive and there was no point in even looking. We didn’t belong in stores like those. Still, every time I went to pass I wondered what it was like to step inside, to feel the fabric of the dresses and dip my toes into a pair of their shoes.

    “Can I help you? “ An older woman, with her hair pulled back in a  bun, a classic black sheath dress, black peep toe heels, and crimson red lipstick asked as I walked into the store.

    “Oh, “I suddenly felt timid, “I’m just looking. “

    “Let me know if I can help you with anything. “ she said walking away.

    My eyes didn’t know where to look first. Dresses, shoes, pants, blouses, accessories, and more  adorned the walls and racks everywhere. Each one calling my name to examine and hold up in the mirror. I looked around at the other shoppers to see them flipping through outfits, taking them off the rack and looking them up on a down. Can they smell the fact that I’ve never been into a place like this before?

    I walked to a wall of dresses. They were color coordinated light to dark. Everywhere I've shopped before had  things  strewn in whatever order they landed.

    There was a black dress with a cinched waist and delicate ruffles on the edges of thr three quarter sleeves, so elegant.  I clasped the hanger and walked to the mirror holding it up and quickly scrunched my nose.

    "Black is not my color." I said to myself and decided to skip over all the black dresses.  Yellow and green don't hold much hope either.

    I held out a deep purple halter top dress admiring the color and iridescent sequins on the bodice.

    "That's great for a night out withthe girls." A woman called from across the aisle.

    "It is fancy." I said.

    "You should get it."

    "I don't have anywhere to wear it." I held  it up in the mirror. Pretty, but not me.

    "What event are you looking for?" The short woman walked towards me.

    "Nothing specific." I smiled sheepishly.

    “You need to think about how you want to feel. Do you want to impress someone? Feel comfortable and casual?”

    “Just for fun.” I answered feeling silly, “a splurge.”

    “We all deserve that now and then.” Let’s see what there is. She began looking around and grabbing things. So I started to as well.

    “I’d like something that’d last a long time.” I said looking at different patterns and wondering if they were too loud.

    “Then focus on classic. These flowers and animal prints won’t do.” She put away a few shirts before holding up a khaki colored pantsuit.

    “That’s not me at all.” I said. I shivered at the thought.

    A dress on a mannequin caught our eye at the same time and we both nodded before walking toward it.  The closer we got the more elogent it seemed.

    “This is very classic.” I said in awe.

    “Very Grace Kelly.” The short woman said. “I can see it with pearls, flats, and if you wanted to go all out white gloves.”

    “Is there a way to try it on?” I turned around looking for the sales girl and motioning to her.

    In the dressing room I had butterflies in my stomach as I stepped into the dress and zipped up the back. It fit like a glove and I looked so sophisticated even though I didn’t know where I’d wear it, I’d have to find somewhere.

    Opening the dressing room door the short woman ooo-ed and ahhh-ed.

    A navy blue linen dress with white polka-dots, falling just below her knee. 

    “I’ll take it.” I said with a giggle.

    I never imagined myself in something but it seemed so right.

    1. I instantly felt for this heroine because I was that girl. For a long time... I will never forget how I went into Edwards (department store) and bought a black-and-brown plaid on white coat with big black buttons and a tie at the waist... Like feminine plaid trenchcoat style and I saved my babysitting money for weeks to afford that coat. I think I even put it on layaway and I'd take the bus downtown and put two or three dollars down on it each week.

      I was beautiful in that coat. :)

      That's what I thought of when I read your offering, because I know what it is to be that girl, to have that longing.

      " feel the fabrics, to dip my toes into a pair of their shoes..."

      Such pretty prose!

      But there are a few problems and that's what I'd focus on if I were you... and I was you, not that long ago, LOL!

      Mechanics: using a comma at the end of dialogue, then punctuation marks, then the "tag".... "I don't think I should," I muttered as I stepped back.

      Or you can use a period if it's not a dialogue "tag" but a new sentence.

      "I don't think I should." I took a firm step back to avoid temptation.

      See what I mean?

      So the mechanics need to be cleaned up, and I'd say make the scene jump more, make it sing. Not like a Harry Potter picture on Hogwarts' wall, but so the prose grabs the reader like your favorite published books.

      I love that your heroine drew me in. Instantly I saw a teen-age me, gazing at that coat in Edwards' window, and putting the first $8 down on it... and then working to earn it over the next several weeks.

      Oh, how I loved that coat!!!!

    2. Savannah, thanks for sharing your work! I really like your heroine. You've done a nice job making her sympathetic. But I think you could add some small touches that would help us to understand her even better. We do know where she comes from in this opening, but we're not really sure where she's going. I'd love a little hint at her goal. If this dress isn't for something in particular, is there someone she'd like to impress by wearing it or even by being able to buy it? Her family, a man, a friend? I'd love a hint at her motivation. What makes her able to take this first big step into a strange and wonderful (fancy) clothing shop? What makes her splurge? Does she have her first paycheck? Has she been saving for something else? Is she trying to prove to her mom that they're good enough even if she has to put the dress on a credit card? That type thing.

      I love that she wants something classic that will last. That's a great way to show her character. Just consider hinting at what is different now that made her walk into the shop. :) Nice work! Best of luck with it!

    3. This just took me right to an experience or two I had the first time I wandered in to a dress shop that was out of my league. You really pulled on emotional heart strings with this. I love it.

    4. I'm glad you guys connected with it. I can't wait to improve it.

    5. Hi, Savannah! You've created a very sympathetic character in an experience that will resonate with readers. I'd love to see the tension ramped up a bit. What is at stake? Is she blowing her budget? Is there someone she hopes to impress? Someone she's wanting to get revenge on by looking her expensive best? This is a lovely scene, but it needs a goal.

  10.   “Like two Christmas hams shoved down the back of her dress.” I replay in my mind what it was like reading the headline a thousand times. I even had a corset on that night.

        I twirl my fork around the plate of steamed ,butter-free broccoli  and groan over the taste.


      “She got her bad looks from her father.” One chastised.


        The media is ruthless, my first official outing and they tear apart my body. Mom and Grandmom were naturally skinny, but I have a butt.

      Now I have my coming out ball. All eyes on me. Every princess in the family has worn the same dress at their coming out ball. It’s so delicate they refuse to make alterations. Fearing the beads won’t end in the same place. 

        I stab my broccoli and put it in my mouth. “I can do this! They won’t define me."


      The last few months I've been conscious about eating more vegtables,  and less sweets. Not fun but neither is having your picture circulating online being called the fat one in the family.

      I log into my nurtrion app to log another successful dinner of steamed broccoli and grilled fish when I see a new headline "Odds are 8-10 Princess Maya busts a seam. Place bets here."

    I grab my phone and text Lacy - they're taking bets on if I can fit into my families dress. -

      -WHAT?- she responds in seconds.

      - I wish I didn't have to go.-

      -You've been working so hard. It's going to pay off and you'll shock everyone.- She encourages.

      - There's going to be headlines about how good you look.- Lacy follows up instantly.


      The next morning I anxiously stand before the heirloom dress at my fitting to pick out my jewelry, hair, and makeup. 

    The crystals spread a rainbow of color catching  light . The dress is blue chiffon with bobbin lace around the bodice.  It's draped perfectly on the mannequin and has stayed there  since my mother wore it.

    " How about we pull your hair back in a twist for a sleek, streamlined look." My stylist recommends.

      " I need all the streamlining I can get."

      The stylist gingerly unbuttons each button. She slides the dress off the dress-form before spreading out the middle for me to slowly put my toes in.

      "It's so beautiful." I say in awe as she pulls the skirt up thankfully making it past my hips without a catastrophe. 

      I slip each arm in and let out a sigh of relief before she start fastening the back buttons.

        1, 2, 3, buttons and the waist is feeling snug. I feel her hold her hand against my back to tighten the fabric without adding  much force.  I cross my fingers and suck my stomach in when I feel a pop and a high pitched clinking noise on the floor.

        I hold my breath.

        "How about we add a sash. No one will know."

      I’ll make it my own!

    1. Oh, whoever you are, I love this!

      It needs work. I'll say that right up front, but that's the easy part. The hard part is coming up with an idea that's fresh, fun, and appealing and you have all of that. I totally want to help Maya! You made her so real!!!

      Here are some ideas to help readability:

      Here's your sentence: I replay in my mind what it was like reading the headline a thousand times. I even had a corset on that night.

      A thought for streamlining it:
      That headline spun like You Tube on auto-play. A thousand replays, minimal. I even had a corset on that night.

      Here's another example... you're capturing the mood for us, but falling slightly short of the essence for the reader. That means you are so close!!! Your sentence: "It's so beautiful." (that period should be a comma before the quotation marks) I say in awe as she pulls the skirt up thankfully making it past my hips without a catastrophe.

      "It's stunning." I gaze at the dress in awe. It's not like I haven't seen it before. Of course I have, but I have never looked at it once even dreaming I might be able to wear it.

      But that's how I'm looking at it now as the fitter opens the beautiful gown's back by slipping button after ornate button through their dainty loops.

      This doesn't mean you have to make your sentences like mine, but you want them to evoke her emotions and the reality of how hard it is if you're a size 12 girl trying to change your endomorphic shape into a ectomorph's dress.

      I'm so glad you came to play with us today.

      Keep writing. The more we practice, the brighter we shine!

    2. Anonymous, that first paragraph made me cackle out loud! I love it. I love your character and can feel her pain (though I admit, I'm not a princess with princess pressures). :)

      I agree with Ruthy that you could slow the pacing a little and add in details that will make this scene richer and fuller. Be sure to milk this humor by not rushing through the scene.

      Best of luck with this!

    3. Thank you. I had a feeling there was something fub here but also that it needs work. I'm goinv to do just that :)

  11. Thank you so much for this opportunity, Seekers. Gulp, here goes.
    May, 1890
    Hannah Andersen had to get away from him at all cost, or she would be dead. Not body absent of spirit, laid in a coffin dead, but a slow, painful, humiliating, soul-sucking state of being that made one pine for the grave.
    She would not be forced into a marriage to a man she didn’t love. She refused to wake up every morning and draw breaths that lacked even a hint of joy or the possibility of dreams coming true. For a life filled with days and days of apathetic dullness, days void of passion and zeal, were a life of misery and really no life at all.
    So she ran.
    But running came with a great price, like the pearl of great sacrifice so eloquently penned on the pages of her Bible. Yet within the sacrifice she saw something shimmer, something that drove her to fight for her future.
    The Bible that she’d cherished since childhood was packed in her steamer trunk in the cargo hold of the train she rode. The book spoke of great rewards for those who clung to hope, but she had yet to see any manifest in her life.
    The blowing train whistle yanked her from her reverie. When the cars slowed she peeked out the train window and watched the images of yet another town before her.

    1. Oh, I'm in love... my historicals are set in this time period, right before women achieved rights but in the middle of them fighting for them... rights that took way too long, Debby!!!!

      This excerpt captures that time so well, a woman who refuses to follow the established norm and goes off to make it on her own...

      So well done!

      I have nothing to add except to keep writing. Please.

    2. Debby, it's great to see you here. Thanks for sharing this! It's beautifully written. This line took my breath away: "Not body absent of spirit, laid in a coffin dead, but a slow, painful, humiliating, soul-sucking state of being that made one pine for the grave."

      Wonderful writing! Keep up the great work. This short section made me wish to keep reading!

    3. Thank you Ruth and Missy. I'm working really hard on this so I can submit it to my agent. We have Harlequin in mind. :)

    4. So excited for you, Debby!! Wishing you the best!

    5. Well, it's beautiful, sweet thing.

    6. Debby Lee, this is great! We know what's at stake, and you've got a nice turn of phrase. The one thing I see is that the term in the Bible is "pearl of great price."

      Matthew 13:45-46 New King James Version (NKJV)
      45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it."

  12. I'm interested in the first chapter critique.

    Oak Ridge, Colorado
    November 8th, 1889

    Every constellation has its own unique story.

    Olivia Cartwright’s solitary wish was to paint the pre-dawn sky on canvas and hang it on her Fifth Avenue bed chamber wall upon her return to New York. Her fingers itched to pick up a paintbrush and dip it into a pot of navy blue pigment. An opaque morning did not provide enough illumination to capture the glow of snow-capped summit Pike’s Peak or a light peach hue of the rising sun between its stone pillars. After sunrise it would be wearisome to recall specific details of nature’s vivid light show.

    A gust of frigid wind nipped her face. Olivia pulled the gray woolen coat closer to her body and inhaled a deep breath of crisp pine-scented air. She heard people speak of the vibrant mountain air at social events but had paid little attention. Olivia hadn’t expected to travel to Colorado, especially this late in the year.

    With both hands, she angled the three-foot brass telescope in a north-northeast direction. Exhilaration shot through her veins like a lightning bolt. The high-end optical lens made the stars appear sharper. The North Star sat predominant in inky darkness with Cassiopeia and its two star clusters flanking the top.

    “Miss Cartwright, where did you find a telescope?”

    Olivia lowered the instrument and turned to watch Jesse St. James cross the hotel veranda. The rogue standing before her could have stepped from the pages of Persuasion. With wind-tousled blond hair and eyes a shade lighter than a shamrock, he could pass as Captain Frederick Wentworth’s doppelganger. “Mr. St. James, it is early. What are you doing out here?”

    “Duncan hired me to locate and escort you safely home before the holidays. I would be remiss in my duties if—” He looked around. “Where is your traveling companion?”

    “Upstairs in her room. I do not require a chaperone to watch the sunrise.” It annoyed Olivia that her brother hired a private detective. To make matters worse, as members of the illustrious New York Four Hundred, an exclusive list created by social arbiter Ward McAllister, the two prominent families were closely associated. The weekly letters home provided an extensive itinerary of the suffrage rallies she hoped to attend, and she did not plan to return home until the social season was well underway. How had Jesse found her in Oak Ridge? It had been a last minute decision to attend the rally.

    “There are so many things wrong with that statement.” His words carried an air of exasperation.

    1. Caitlyn, tossing your name into the candy dish for the review!

      This is beautifully written, but I'd love to know where she's standing... It's not clear to me, are we at a resort, a mountain cabin, a city hotel??? I want to define her location mentally as she stargazes.

      And I love that she's interested in women's rights. This is such an important time in women's history, that 1870 to 1920.... fifty years of pressing, fighting, asking, demanding what should be rightfully ours... Oh mylanta, it amazes me that women thought that was all right (darned English law!!!!) for so long... and how happy I am to live in the here and now where I have rights and know how to use them!

      Here's what I would suggest. We're in her head a lot, and I'd love to see her challenge him openly and verbally on the hiring of a private detective to escort her. I think I'd like that verbal sparring on the page, not mentally imagined.

      Well done, and thank you for having the guts to do this! Go you!!!!

    2. Caitlin, I really enjoyed reading this! I love your character and descriptions of Jesse. Great description overall!

      I think Ruthy made a good suggestion to have her say some of her thoughts out loud--especially those at the end of this excerpt. I have a feeling it fits with her character to speak her mind freely. :)

      Nice work!

    3. I really like this. I wish we could see her. It's so TRICKY to describe a person when we're in that person's point of view.
      But you could say, … His wind tousled blonde hair, such a contrast to her dark red curls. Or the Indigo paint, a darker shade that her eyes.

      I don't know. What I wrote is a little clunky but I like being able to see her.

      .....One of her brown curls escaped it's bun and fluttered across her eyes, she brushed it away impatiently.

  13. I'm dying laughing at Ruthy's intro. No, no one has died from one of our critiques...YET! hahaha

    Now, off to read some of these wonderful entries!

    1. You know....Ruthy TRIED to kill me with a critique once. But I survived!!!!!!!

    2. You not only survived, you THRIVED and published that book and made money off it.... Clearly I know/knew nothing!!!! :)

  14. This is the first page or so of a women's fiction I'm fooling around with -- 4 former college roommates who have maintained close contact. Each book will feature one of the four.

    Chapter 1
    Stefania surveyed the chaos of half-opened boxes and empty cupboards and wept. This could not be her life.
    Blank walls mocked her. Where were the framed photos of perfect children surrounding their loving parents? Where were the prints boasting of a happy family’s travels?
    A fractured family was more like it. Three kids growing up with an aunt and uncle while their parents camped out across the world in the bush villages and stinking slums of Rwanda. And what had all that sacrifice bought them? Joe’s heart attack and three grown strangers for progeny.
    Stefania didn’t want any art work from her missionary travels gracing the walls either. Each piece would remind her of failure. Failure to build a strong church, failure as a parent, as a wife.
    A tentative knock sounded at the door, then creaked opened without waiting for Stefania’s response.
    “Fanny?” Winnie stepped inside as if she might break the laminate flooring.
    Of course, Winnie would be the first of the Cracked Quartet to show up. Her compassion wanted to wash the problems away, but too often, all she did was add to the mess.
    “Oh, Fanny.” She moved to Stefania’s side and enveloped her in a hug. “I know this must be so hard.”
    Stefania stood motionless, chin up, fighting the tears. Her college roommates were the first and only people to shorten the elegance of Stefania to something as ridiculous as Fanny.
    Winnie never allowed for long spaces of silence. “Well, you’ve got us and three brothers to help you. Have you been living with Ben since the funeral?”
    “I stayed two nights each with Ben, then Dan, then Vince. That was enough, and the apartment was ready.”
    Winnie eyed her without comment, opened her mouth and closed it. An unusual response from the friend most likely to speak every thought that entered her head. She propelled Stefania into the only empty chair in the kitchen. “Have you unpacked your coffeemaker yet?”
    “I don’t know.”
    With hands on hips, Winnie surveyed the chaos. “Well, if it’s here, it’s well-camouflaged. I’ll run down to the coffee shop on the next block and get you something warm, rich, and delicious. Is pumpkin spice still a favorite of yours?”
    Stefania gazed at Winnie and sighed.
    “I’ll take that as a yes. Be right back.”

    1. Linda, I can really feel the pain of your characters. Nice work here. I love the opening lines showing her pain and disappointment. I do have one quick question. I'm assuming her husband died from the heart attack, but it's not really clear. Since she mentioned failing as a wife, then maybe they're divorced. If you want it to be unclear for now and make the reader curious, then you did that well. But if you meant for the reader to know she's a widow for certain, then I'd suggest clarifying.

      Wishing you the best on this!

    2. Oh, my heart aches for this woman... and the losses she feels. So tough, Linda, and you painted it beautifully.

      I agree with Missy, I'd make the names/relationships more clear just so the reader doesn't have any confusion, but this is a lovely and sad opening.

      Now I want to make her happy.

      And I want a coffee. :)

  15. Thank you, Missy. Both you and Ruth have given me something to think about regarding Pearl's prayer. And yes, you're right, the man is her intended. I've changed teary to teary-eyed, too. Thanks again.

    1. I'm glad it was helpful, Anna! It's a wonderful excerpt!

  16. this is powerful, Anna. A woman questioning and doubting her whole life of faithful service to God. Fascinated to see where it goes.

  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Lee-Ann I just loved this. LOVED IT.
      Love it all. I'm sorry. I need to critique it. I'm not helping you. But the whole idea. Even the deacon's wife's description. It made me laugh and care about her, too.
      That one little sentence of dialing back the years. Love that slip of backstory.

    2. Oh my stars, this is an awesome beginning. Absolutely wonderful.

      Go get 'em, Tiger!!!!!

    3. Lee-Ann, you really sucked me into this story! Great job!

      I do have one question. I'm not really sure what you mean by the embossed golden diamonds popping from the door. Was that some bling on the door? Or has a person begun to walk about, and it's a necklace? On first reading, I thought it was the door.

      Thanks for sharing!

    4. Thank you. :) Glad I grabbed your attention.
      Yes, Missy - it's the embossed door. The next paragraph shows the person in the shadow of the door.

    5. P.S. Lee-Ann asked us to remove this entry because she's entering it in a contest. Wishing you the best, Lee-Ann!!

  18. I'll try and read it more carefully, Lee-Ann see if I have any advice. But for now. Excellent work.

  19. Since I never got back to the Seekerville site until today, I hope you still get notified that I replied. Thank you, both Ruth and Missy. Your one questions is an easy fix, and I so appreciate that award-winning novelists see potential in this story!
    I totally spaced it that someone would make a reference to coffee in her reply!


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