A Convenient Risk
by Sara R. Turnquist
GENRE: Historical Romance
He never imagined her heart would be so hard to reach.
Forced into a marriage of convenience after her husband dies, Amanda Haynes is determined she will never love again. Not that it bothers Brandon Miller. He needs her husband’s cattle ranch and life insurance policy. She needs financial stability and long-term support for her son and herself. But she never expected to care so much about the running of the ranch.
Butting heads over the decisions of the ranch, adding to her frustration and grief at her loss. Her wellbeing is soon threatened as their lives become entangled with Billy the Kid and his gang. What has she gotten herself into? What kind of man has she married? Is there any way out?
A strong arm grasped Amanda, catching her upper arm and dragging her onto the horse. As soon as she was solidly on the animal, she grabbed ahold of Brandon as tightly as she could.
They took off. The bull pawed at the ground, making all manner of grunting noises, but as if by some miracle, he ran off to the left. All of this happened as if time had slowed.
The horse continued to push forward. And as they neared the edge of the fence, Brandon urged the horse to go even faster. Were they going to break through? What would happen to the cattle with the fence destroyed?
But as they approached the fence, the horse leapt. Amanda gripped Brandon impossibly tighter. Jolted when the horse landed, her teeth chattered.
Only then did Brandon slow the horse. He then placed a hand on her upper arm and pushed.
She released him.
He sucked in a deep breath and expelled it.
Had she been holding him too tightly? Her face warmed.
He took hold of her shoulders. “Are you all right?”
She nodded, and though their faces were but a breath apart, she was not quite able to meet his eyes, fighting tears in her own. Only then she found herself staring at his bare chest. Jerking her head away, she averted her gaze.
“Do you realize what could have happened?” His voice rose.
She nodded, still not able to meet his eyes. The force of his emotion hit her. Was he so concerned after her?
“I would have had to shoot that bull.”
What? Eyes wide, she tilted her face up to look at him.
“That bull is worth half my herd.”
So he was only worried about the cattle. Not her. His precious cattle.
A Word From the Author
A Word From the Author
PRE-EDITING: The Nitty GrittyMy writing tends to go in ebbs and flows. Either I'm doing a ton of writing, or all editing. I have a manuscript that is just newly under contract. So, I have to do a round of pre-edits before it's turned over to my publisher's team of editors. So, today I want to get into the trenches with you and discuss some of the nuances of pre-editing.
AdverbsWhat's the deal with adverbs anyway? What's so harmful about a few -ly words? You've probably heard all the typical answers: "It indicates 'lazy writing'", "there are better ways to say that", "it's telling, do more showing"... Mark Twain encouraged writers to avoid them as an exercise in being "simple and straightforward". Bottom line - in most cases, they are not needed.
Here is a quote from Stephen King's On Writing:
Consider the sentence He closed the door firmly. It’s by no means a terrible sentence (at least it’s got an active verb going for it), but ask yourself if firmly really has to be there. You can argue that it expresses a degree of difference between He closed the door and He slammed the door, and you’ll get no argument from me … but what about context? What about all the enlightening (not to say emotionally moving) prose which came before He closed the door firmly? Shouldn’t this tell us how he closed the door? And if the foregoing prose does tell us, isn’t firmly an extra word? Isn’t it redundant?
So, check for adverbs in your manuscript. You can do a global search for "ly". Sure you'll turn up words like "only" that are not adverbs, but it will help you pull out the adverbs more easily. How many should you have? There is no "right" answer. That is between you as an artist and your agent/publisher. My publisher's rule of thumb is one, maybe two per page.
Extraneous WordsThese are words that are just that--extra. You don't need them. But you wrote them. As well you should have. During the first draft phase, you're writing like a maniac and just putting it in the document. You aren't thinking about each word and it's necessity. But now is the time. I'm talking about the "that"s, the "to her", "from him", the dreaded "up" and "down". Here's a couple of examples from A Convenient Risk,
The silhouette of the figure became visible to her.
The "to her" is not necessary since we are in Amanda’s point of view.
“I’ll help.” He knelt down next to the glass and picked up the shards.
The word "down" is not needed. We understand that he is kneeling on the ground.
Overused WordsWait...didn't we just talk about this? By "overused words", I'm talking about words that are specific to you. As you read through your manuscript from top to bottom, you may come across a word, or maybe more, that you use more than you'd like. Words that may or may not be necessary (i.e. not all are extraneous).
I apparently love the words "over" and "toward". Most of the uses of the word "over" can just be taken out. But I have to replace/rewrite several of the "toward" occurrences. Knowing this about myself, I now do a global search during the pre-edit phase for these words to find and eliminate as many instances as possible.
FlowIt is important to have good flow, rhythm, and pacing. Flow can be helped by varying sentence beginnings. Make sure you don't start consecutive sentences with the same word. Or multiple sentences in a paragraph with the same word. And check consecutive paragraphs to ensure they don't start with the same word. It can be very off-putting if every other sentence starts with "she".
Rhythm and pacing is something that comes with your voice as a writer. And that is developed as you write. Think about how you would tell your best friend a story. (It's way different than how you would testify in court about the same event, yeah?) That's hitting on your voice.
You adjust pacing by shortening and lengthening sentences, paragraphs, and scenes. The shorter the sentence/paragraph/scene, the faster the pace and action.
All Time Good Tips
Read it aloudYou should always, always, always read your manuscript aloud. It's amazing what you can catch this way. There's something about the way it rolls off the tongue and to the ear that helps you catch mistakes (especially mistakes in flow and pacing).
Use multiple word processorsI write in Scrivener. That software catches a certain set of grammatical mistakes. My publisher and beta readers speak Microsoft Word. So, I convert it into Word before sending it. But before attaching it to the e-mail, I run another spell check in Word. Because Word catches a different set of mistakes. I can also run it through LibreOffice (another word processing program similar to Microsoft Word) which will catch yet another set of things. Some of these "catches" of course will overlap, but some will not.
In Conclusion...Now that we’ve had this chat, I know you are all ready to head out, grab your red pen (or track changes) and tear into your manuscript. Happy editing!!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sara is originally from Middle Tennessee. After a short stint in Memphis, where she earned a degree in Biology and began a career as both a Zoo Educator and a Sleep Technician, she then followed a dream to work for a large zoo in Orlando, FL as an Educator. Once she and her husband started their family, they moved back to Middle Tennessee where they currently reside. Sara and her husband now enjoy a full life with their three beautiful and very active children. She enjoys many creative outlets – singing, piano, drawing, drama, and organizing anything. And even though she has enjoyed her career as a Zoo Educator, Sara's great love of the written word continued to draw her to write. She has always been an avid reader and, for many years, has been what she terms a “closet writer”. Her travels and love of history have served to inspire her to write clean Historical Romance. Sara has made several trips to the Czech Republic. Her time among the Czech people and the landscapes of the country inspired her and greatly influenced her work on her debut novel, The Lady Bornekova, set in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. Sara is also the author of The General’s Wife, Off to War, Hope in Cripple Creek, and A Convenient Risk and a member of ACFW.
Twitter: @sarat1701 - https://twitter.com/sarat1701/
Facebook: AuthorSaraRTurnquist -https://www.facebook.com/authorsararturnquist/
Pinterest: SaraVTurnquist – http://www.pinterest.com/saravturnquist/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Sara-R.-Turnquist/e/B010VHFAQ0
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