Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

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Welcome……Author MEG MOSELEY !

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I’ll be guilty of stating the obvious here, but the writing life can be tough.  Writers need thick skin to survive rejections and brutal reviews, but we also need tender hearts or we won’t connect with our characters or with our readers.  I was reminded of this ever-present tension when I mucked out my office last week and found an early draft of my new release, A Stillness of Chimes. The early version reminded me of my near-meltdown at a writers’ conference before I’d sold a novel anywhere.

Imagine a big room filled with published and unpublished writers, all hoping to impress a panel of agents who would read aloud from our opening paragraphs and then critique them. We’d submitted them anonymously, so we could cower in silence as the agents analyzed our offerings.

My opening lines had come to me out of the blue, months earlier, and they’d inspired a whole plot. I wasn’t sure if the story was romantic suspense, women’s fiction, or a hybrid, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t comedy. Yep, I’ve always had trouble sticking with one particular genre. I suffer mental whiplash as I go between screwball comedies and dark, moody-broody stories, and sometimes I accidentally blend the funny with the dark in the same story. This can cause problems.

When one of the agents read my lines aloud, someone in the back of the room started snickering. Soon everyone was laughing—everyone but me. I had poured my heart into my protagonist, a moody redhead who’s hiding some family secrets, and into her former beau, a small-town musician with a secret of his own. I didn’t want anyone laughing at Laura and Sean—or at me. I squirmed in my seat, wishing I could slip out of the room and have a good cry.

But then the agent said, “If this came across my desk, I would want to read the rest.  It’s different.”

That was better than being laughed at, so I didn’t give up on those opening lines or on the story. I kept working on them. I wrote and sold two other novels first, but it’s finally time for Sean and Laura to meet the world.

A Stillness of Chimes is still a genre-straddler, but I think that’s what the story requires. We shouldn’t fear being different, and we shouldn’t fear harsh reviews or snickers from the back of the room. Criticism stings, but we can learn from it and improve our writing. I think the sting of criticism can make our hearts more vulnerable and tender, too, and tender hearts are better able to feel the joys and pains of others. Better able to love our characters through all the rewrites. Better able to believe in things we can’t see.

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 “Moseley captures readers’ attention from the first page with her stellar words and writing style. This story is part fast-paced puzzle, part romantic discovery. Mystery fans will especially adore this one.” – Romantic Times

When teacher Laura Gantt comes home to Prospect, Georgia to settle her recently-deceased mother’s household, the last thing she expects to encounter is a swirl of rumors about the father she lost to the lake twelve years ago—that he has reportedly been seen around town. Elliott Gantt’s body was never found and he was presumed dead….

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 Laura Gantt didn’t believe in ghosts, but sometimes she wondered if living across from a graveyard had warped her. Part Irish, all southern, descended from moonshiners and holy rollers, she’d always believed in things she couldn’t see. Her dad said it was just the old whisperings in their blood.

All morning, she’d heard soft, sure warnings. Some kind of trouble was on its way. The whisperings hinted it would come for Sean.

—from Chapter 1 of A Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley.

 DON’T MISS OUT !!   Meg Moseley is offering one lucky commenter a copy of A Stillness of Chimes.  Leave a comment and it just might be you!

 

For more information about Meg and her books,  please visit her website or join her on Facebook.

A Stillness of Chimes is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook.com, and fine bookstores everywhere.

 

Marilyn Baron - February 19, 2014 - 6:15 am

Meg,
I’m also a genre-hopper and I don’t apologize for it. In fact, I promote it on my Web site. I hope more people will recognize that different can be better. I also combine light and dark writing in several of my novels.Your new book sounds great. Thank you for blogging with us.

Pam Asberry - February 19, 2014 - 9:11 am

I guess I’m a genre hopper too. I *WANT* to be published in women’s fiction, but so far my greatest success has been with a YA manuscript that finaled in the Maggies last year, and I am rewriting an earlier women’s fiction novel as a romance. This might coincide with my general feeling that I can’t decide what I want to be when I grow up, LOL! Thanks for blogging with us today. Your latest release sounds great!

Debbie Kaufman - February 19, 2014 - 9:41 am

Hey Meg! I can relate to the experience, only my comments weren’t all positive. My editor/agent group got hung up on the character’s name and never got past it. I was glad to remain anonymous, LOL! As to being different, I continually heard from editors “That sounds really interesting. Could you set it some place else?” LOL, I didn’t think my missionaries/cannibals, jungle adventure would fit in say, Chicago. Fortunately Love Inspired Historical agreed with me :)

A Stillness of Chimes sounds fascinating. I love a good genre straddler. That type of book is the one that usually inspires a cult-like following in a series. No one ever really hit the big time with the “same old, same old.”

Connie Gillam - February 19, 2014 - 11:57 am

Meg-

I’m still trying to figure what genre(s)I write. My books blend women’s fiction, suspense and sometimes the paranormal.

A Stillness of Chimes sounds like a great read.

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - February 19, 2014 - 12:54 pm

Thanks for sharing your book with us on PFHT, Meg. It certainly sounds intriguing, regardless of the genre(s) involved. At the root of it all, I believe we simply have to write a good book. The readers don’t care what sub-genres we’re bending into it as long as we entertain them.

Sia Huff - February 19, 2014 - 2:04 pm

I love your opening paragraph, Meg. It so hard to sit there, when everyone is discussing your work like you have no feelings. I’m so glad you didn’t put A Stillness of Chimes away forever. Good for you for making it stronger. Wishing you much success. Intriguing title too.
Thanks for blogging with us.

Meg Moseley - February 19, 2014 - 9:27 pm

Thanks for all the comments, everybody! I’m sorry I didn’t join the conversation earlier.

Isn’t it interesting how many genre-straddlers we have among us? Maybe the old genre definitions are getting more flexible, so we’re feeling more freedom to meld them. Or maybe we’re just rebels. :)

Sometimes we just have to disagree with an editor or an agent or a critique group. Sometimes we’re right and sometimes we’re wrong, but I think it’s good for us to at least know what we want to do. We can at least learn from our mistakes.

Thanks for letting me join you today. What a wonderful bunch you are!

Susan Carlisle - February 21, 2014 - 6:54 pm

Meg,
Youo have a wonderful cover. I have recently seat while everyone laughed at what I do. It is tough. We just have to believe in ourselves more than people who don’t know the work we put into our writing do.

Anonymous - February 22, 2014 - 9:47 am

Thanks, Susan–I love the cover too. I just about cried the first time I saw it, because the cover designer captured the combination of innocence (It’s just berry juice!) with a hint of trouble. (Wait…could it be blood?)

When people laugh at what we do, it hurts. But I think we can turn the hurt into the energy to keep working to prove those people wrong. Like you said, we have to believe in ourselves. Sometimes we’re the only ones who do!

Meg Moseley - February 22, 2014 - 9:53 am

Thanks, Susan. I love the cover too. I think the designer captured the combination of innocence (It’s just berry juice!) with a threat of trouble. (Wait…could it be blood?)

It hurts when people laugh at what we do, but I think we can turn the hurt into the energy to keep writing, to prove those people wrong. Like you said, we have to believe in ourselves.

Sandy Elzie - March 4, 2014 - 2:19 pm

Meg,
Like everyone else, I really like your cover. I also love how the story came into being. I’ve started several novels with just a line or two that pops into my head…or a dream segment…or even a picture that makes me think.

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