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Very emotional and evocative cover. Looks great, Evelyn.
I agree the flashbacks were beautifully handled. Zara
Fasten your seat belt. Here comes my next novel. This one is a historical women’s fiction in the style of Phillipa Gregory – 1st person present. This may or may not appeal to you – let me know what you think about the tense. ALSO – Do you want to read more? Is it confusing? Do you find the main character appealing/fascinating? Does she have voice? Does she sound like a truthful character or is she unreliable, do you think?
Since I have been criticized for depicting Civil War women as too bold, one thing I should mention is that Chapter 1 depicts a real person and a real event covered in the newspapers of the time. Also, she really did have short curly hair even though hardly any other woman of the time did so. You will learn more as you read more chapters.
I think you might like Prowriting better than Grammarly and it’s cheaper. I used Grammarly and it didn’t find missing quotation marks well as Prowriting does. Do give the free version a try. See what you think.
As always. The perfect way to say it. Just fixed it. Zara
Here is that same rewrite I just posted with Jen’s suggestions worked in. Zara
He stared at the luggage. “You’re leaving Jana?”
She nodded. “The idea that she had dealings with that slimebag Wheeler. Let him in our apartment. Ugh.” She slipped a flash drive out of her pocket and handed it to him. “Jax Wheeler won’t be bothering anyone for a very long time. I forwarded the surveillance video to my poppa, the district attorney. He and Jana will be facing real estate fraud charges.”
“Couldn’t happen to a more deserving crook. Sorry about Jana, though. I think her heart was in the right place. Just chose the wrong tactics.”
“Jana will have to find another honeybun to warm her bed—in prison. You don’t show your love by destroying the lives of other people. ”
Mic swallowed a curse and stepped into the elevator. He stared at the floor numbers whirring past. Harmond was right. Jana Firth had destroyed him. He’d been played the fool and seen his dreams broken into a thousand pieces. He’d lost his money and his reputation. He’d lost the chance to build his bridge.
Those things he might survive. But losing the woman he loved? He’d never recover from that.
Back again. Connie. Would this work to show Jax and Jana get punished?
She (Harmond) nodded. “The idea that she had dealings with that slime bag Wheeler. Let him in our apartment. Ugh.” She slipped a flash drive out of her pocket and handed it to him. “But so you know. Jax Wheeler won’t be bothering anyone for a very long time. I forwarded the surveillance video to my poppa, the district attorney. He and Jana will be facing real estate fraud charges.”
“Couldn’t happen to a more evil guy. Sorry about Jana, though. I think her heart was in the right place. Just chose the wrong tactics.”
“You don’t show your love by destroying the lives of other people. Jana will have to find another honeybun to warm her bed—in prison.”
She was right about that. Jana had destroyed everything. He swallowed a curse and stepped into the elevator. He had no worries about Cecile Harmond. She’d find another lover to keep her living the high life.
While he, on the other hand, had no hope left. His life was broken into a thousand pieces. He’d lost his money and his reputation. He’d lost the chance to build his dream bridge. He’d proved his sister right. He had no common sense.
Those things he might survive. But losing the woman he loved? He’d never recover from that.
Thanks, Jenn. Your feedback was specific and to the point. Used all your suggested changes. You even found misspellings that Prowriting and my publisher’s editor missed.
By the way everyone, I am trying out ProwritingAid https://prowritingaid.com as a grammar and spelling checker. A friend of mine who edits textbooks told me most copyeditors use Prowriting now. Just ran the whole novel through. So far it has done a pretty good job. It missed a few things, but not too many and sure found a ton I didn’t see, especially missing words which is my biggest problem. It also finds repeated phrases which is helpful if you do cut and pastes. It is free for small writing selections. If you want to paste in your whole novel, it costs $46 a year which isn’t too bad. Note, I found the summary and most other things it does not terribly helpful. And Autocrit does one thing it doesn’t, it shows you repeated words that are in close proximity and in a much easier to see and use format. But I see Autocrit is now way expensive. I was grandfathered in for free and didn’t realize they had jacked up the price so much. Anyone have something they use for editing?
Thanks for the feedback, Connie. Very helpful. I planned Mic’s black moment to be when he decided to give up his bridge project and save Lena and then almost dies in the sewer. I might have to make that clearer. I let Jax get away so he can reappear in the next book. But maybe you are right, and I need to take him out or at least indicate that he’s been defeated in some way.
I have reworked the ending a bit. Here is a possible new version. Thoughts?
Heat rushed through him. Mic crushed her to his chest. “Wouldn’t want you back? How can you say such a thing? Don’t you know? You stole my heart the night you fell off a bridge and landed at my feet.”
Lena grinned up at him. “Best heist of my life. You never gave up on me. Never turned your back. Never stopped trying to save me and my family.” Lena put her hand on her own heart. “You are a very precious man, and I know exactly where I’m going to keep that very precious heart I stole. Tucked right here under the skin next to mine forever.”
“Forever sounds perfect to me. Lena Correr, I promise to love you and our future children for as long as my stolen heart beats. Now to stake my claim so no one steals you.” Mic patted his pockets. “I don’t seem to have an engagement ring handy. But I do have this.” He lifted her arm and slipped on the watch. “Mine.”
Lena rubbed her hand over the watch. “Ours.”
He rested his hand on her baby bump. “Us.” Then his lips met hers, and they melded together, skin to skin, heart to heart, forever.
Thanks for the suggestion and quick turn around. I meant his heart not the watch so I definitely need to rewrite it. I was trying to get under the skin in there as I have done that in the other books in the series.
I think you attached the wrong crit. This one was for the short story with the carpenter. Can you check. I know you will have great suggestions. Zara
This the end of Under the Skin. I am submitting both chapters as I am in a time crunch. Crit as much as you want to. But I am particularly concerned about the ending, and I need to get this back to my editor by Tuesday at the latest. Those of you who have read most of the story -do you think it ends emotionally enough and on the right note?
Sorry to have gotten behind. Here are chapter 18 and 19. Use what is helpful. Zara
Thanks you so much, Jen. Great catches as always. Much appreciated. Zara
Here is the CRIT of 12-14. I did it back then but must have forgotten to upload it. Apologies. Hope it is still helpful.
I accidentally downloaded Ana’s Crit. I inserted my comments too. They are in blue. Let me know if that gives you trouble. Zara
Thank you Connie, Ana, and Jen for your feedback on Ch 31. It is so great to have all those pairs of eyes. Each of you find different things that need fixing. Love you all!
I don’t write about Boston although I have been there. But I do write urban settings. One thing you could do is describe more urban elements like smells, traffic sounds and sirens at appropriate moments. They might use public transport more as parking and driving can be an issue. You can use actual street names and names of stores. One thing I do is go on Google maps (satellite view) and pick out the area I am writing about. Then I find a street where I want the character to live and then I go to Zillow (that a realty company) and type in the street and it brings up houses on the street so I can pick an actual house an include elements in the description so it has the feel of the place and community. The cool thing is you get to see the interiors too if it’s for sale. One thing you need to look for are areas of Boston near MIT that have swimming pools, because I gave a quick look and don’t find swimming pools to be common. You may actually have to use a suburb for where they live. Then you would need to talk about commutes and more traffic. Boston area rush hour traffic is miserable. You can go to street view in Google maps and “drive” along the streets as your characters would. MIT is on the Charles River right in the heart of Boston so you might mention famous landmarks too. Another thing is to check out the weather. It’s summer in your novel and you mention the heat, but the Boston area isn’t just hot it is terribly humid and subject to heavy downpours. Hope these ideas help. The best thing is to go visit the locale, but I know this is not always possible.
Here is chapter 32 of Under the Skin. All your wonderful feedback is appreciated.
Did you get my suggestion on how to fix this? I sent it from my email, but I don’t see it here. I copied it below. Zara
Under the review tab click REVIEWING PANE. It is next to the Track Changes icon. See if that helps. I find it great for catching punctuation changes. Also you might want to check the VIEW tab. Are you in anything other than PRINT view? Zara
Thank you Jen. You caught so many little things. Much appreciated. Thank you for the fast feedback. Zara
Happy to be back in this story. Attached is my Crit. Didn’t find too much. Check out leotard First use is in the 1930s. Zara
Hi Connie, Here’s my feedback on CH 17.2. Use what is helpful. Zara
Had a little interlude with the holiday. let me know if I missed anyone’s subs. I am back to Under the Skin. I think we were on Ch 31. I have attached it for your feedback.
Here is chapter 14.
I am trying to catch up. Sorry to have been off loop so long. Here is chapter 13, Connie. Use what is helpful. Zara
Apologies for being so behind on the crits. As soon as the holiday is over, I will get those up for you all. Meanwhile, as a thank you for all the hours you have put in reading my work, here is the link and password to the newsletter Christmas story you all so kindly critiqued for me. Enjoy!
Thanks, Jenn. very helpful catches and suggestions. Much appreciated.
Taking Anna’s suggestion I added a kiss on the end. Is this one passionate enough. I didn’t want to over do it as they did just meet.
“So let’s forget about words.” Cliff gathered her against him and settled his mouth gently on hers. His lips were warm, soft, and after a fraction of a second, she opened to him.
It had been so long since she’d been held. So long since she’d been kissed. Shivers ran up and down her spine. She wanted to stay in his arms forever. Still, Clint Whitney was pretty much a stranger, even if she did love the soft comfort of his beard and how his mustache tickled her upper lip and the way he tasted—like he’d just licked a minty candy cane. For the first time in a long time, warmth filled her from head to toe.
But all he was doing was trying to make her feel better after that horrible faux pas. No sense encouraging the man. Surely, an Olympic star had kissed far more glamorous women in his time on the slopes. He could do a lot better than a grumpy carpenter who didn’t own one dress.
Emma pressed her hand against his chest. “Stop. Please.”
He jerked back. “Sorry. I didn’t mean—”
She plucked at her flannel shirt. “Not the kiss. Liked that. It’s just. Well, look at me. I’m blunt and unfashionable—”
“And strong? Confident? Hardworking? Unbelievably brave?.” He ran his knuckles down the side of her cheek and smiled. “Brave enough to save my lambs. Brave enough to save this Santa. Emma let’s not be strangers anymore.” His arms came around her and his mouth lowered again.
This time she didn’t pull away. This time, Emma let herself sink into the kiss. Let herself believe that maybe sometimes Christmas wishes did come true.
Here is the end of my Christmas story. Time is tight so it’s a little longer than I usually send. I started this last year, and it has taken me forever to finish it. I wrote at least ten versions. I would love to send it out to my newsletter subscribers this year if you all think it is worthy. I would appreciate any feedback especially on the ending – is it emotional enough?
Thank you, Lisa Marie
Every crit is most welcome. Everyone finds things that need fixing. I appreciate your eyes on the work.