Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Save the Date"

"Save the Date" by Jenny B. Jones took me captive in the first paragraph of the prologue. The sassy protagonist, Lucy Wiltshire thought she was about to become engaged to her long-time boyfriend. The expected proposal turned out to be his news of a job another state.
Two years later, Lucy found herself in dire straits when Sinclair Hotels, one of her biggest donors for Saving Grace, pulled their funding. Tough economic times, it seemed, knew no boundaries. Lucy established Saving Grace, the home for girls who age out of foster care, and her dedication to "her girls" created some comical scenes throughout the book. One of my favorites was Lucy crashing the Sinclair gala...literally. Alex, the heir to the Sinclair fortune and a candidate for Congress, swept her to the dance floor to keep her away from the affluent guests. But Mr. Zaminski didn't have a chance. Lucy knocked into a waiter, causing him to spill his tray of shrimp cocktail on the floor. The beaded strap of her second-hand gown broke at the same time. Zaminski hit the floor. Lucy, graspong her last semblance of modesty, headed for the nearest exit. Alex followed her outside. While comforting her, he inadvertently gave the news media photos of him embracing a young blonde.
Two weeks later, Alex discovered his numbers in the polls rose dramatically because of the photos and a bogus magazine story about his romance with Lucy Wiltshire. Thus came his scheme to easily slide into his Congressional seat. Lucy needed funds to keep her home for girls open. He needed her to pose as his fiancée.
From their first meeting to the end of the story, I watched Lucy grow from a klutzy kid to an elegant young lady. Alex grew from a self-centered football hero-playboy to a caring young gentleman.
I identified with Lucy because she knew as much about football as I do and shopped for clothes in second-hand stores (you can find me most weekends at Life's Treasures in south Tampa - Bruno Magli shoes for $3.00!) .
I highly recommend this light-hearted romance novel. Jenny B. Jones is a master at planting seeds, setting gems, and creating sassy dialogue. Her talent for flashbacks (or back story) is pure genius. A great example for any aspiring writer to follow, this is the way a novel should be written!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Another Success for Obedient Heart!

I received the e-mail from West Bow/Thomas Nelson/Women of Faith writing contest while my sister was here visiting from Alabama. My novel, Obedient Heart, had placed in the top 30 entries. Kathy rejoiced with me. The contest would announce the first place winner on March 1, 2011.
I left it in God's capable hands, and returned to Birmingham with my sister, my husband Tom, and his granddaughter Becca for a short visit. While Kathy & I went to a weekend scrap book retreat, Tom stayed in Birmingham to do "guy stuff" with Kathy's husband David. Becca continued on to a friend's home in Tennessee.
With all our giggle fits, with a bit of scrap booking here and there, I forgot all about the contest.
Tom & I drove back to Tampa on February 28th, and I went back to work on March 1st. A posting on Facebook asked, "Are you the Janet Rockey who won in WOF writing contest?" I checked my e-mail to find a message from West Bow Publishing at the same time my phone rang. One of the editors of West Bow called to congratulate me. I had won third place. Okay, so it isn't FIRST place. But to place third in 750 entries is exciting. I checked the web page and found that I had been in fifteenth place before they made the final decision. And almost all my writing friends who critiqued this novel are at the Florida Christian Writers Conference. I'm sure they heard my shout all the way to Leesburg!
The prize is a 50% discount on publishing costs, since West Bow is a self-pub house. That would be great if I had a stash of cash hidden inside the walls of my 1926 bungalow. Alas, but no. I have to make a decision, and soon. I wonder if they'll give the third place accolades to another entrant if I can't come up with the money to pay for my award. If the author who came in behind me can swing the cost, I wouldn't mind giving it to him or her. But let me keep the recognition of being a third-place winner!