Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Contest Crazy




You'll see a new picture on the sidebar. Mistress by Midnight finalled in the 2008 Golden Claddagh contest! And fellow Vixen Elyssa Papa's Take a Chance on Me is also a finalist! I'm pretty excited. My pages will be read by an Avon editor and I'm hoping to get valuable feedback. I'm in the homestretch now, about 25,000 words to go to get to HEA-ven. For the first time in ages, I haven't written the last part first. The whole book has been freakishly consecutive. In fact, I don't really know how it's going to end, because, as we've established, Pants R Us.

I have a few balls in the air. The evil uncle may not really be dead. A good guy may turn out to be bad, or at least a bungler. There are two children whom I do not wish to seriously imperil---as the mother of four, nothing is scarier to me than children-in-danger themes, even if my babies are grown up with babies of their own. Serious secrets need to be revealed, and since no therapists are handy in 1820, I need to have a reasonable resolution. All in all, I have written myself into a challenging corner.

(And then there are the sheep. To find out more, come back to read my next post on Wednesday, July 16.)
Contest: Who wants to write my ending for me? Here's your chance.

Hero: Desmond Ryland, Marquess of Conover (AKA Con) (age 32)
Heroine: Laurette Vincent (age 29)
Con's son: James (age 11)
Con's and Laurette's secret baby (yes!!!): Beatrix (age 11)
Evil, possibly undead uncle: Lord Ryland (if alive, 70s)
Good/bad guy/bungler: Jacob Carter, retired soldier/farm manager (40ish)
Setting: West Yorkshire dales. There are caves. Ruined outbuildings. Sheep (see above).
Time: Summer, 1820

Serious or silly entries only. Those participating in Finish This Mess (hereafter known as FTM) will automatically be entered into an MRMR contest with a fabulous, or at least free, prize package! Random winner selected and announced on 7/16. Enter early. Enter often. Tell your friends. Extra points for talking sheep.

And is it finaled or finalled? Spellcheck hates either one.

38 comments:

skirbo said...

Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations! I'm so tickled for you.

Sarah

Tiffany Kenzie said...

OMG! What a hilarious post... Congrats again on the final!
So well deserved to both you and Ely!!!!!!!!!!! WOO-HOO VIXENS!

Serious or silly entries only, eh? LOL

Stephanie J said...

CONGRATULATIONS! That's so exciting! And not surprising at all. :)

Hmm...let me think about this...

terrio said...

KUDOS TO MAGGIE!!! (AND ELY!!!)

Let me get this straight, you want me to write an ending to a story telling me nothing but who the characters are and loosely how they're connected? K.

But I'll have to spend a little time on this one. LOL!

Elyssa Papa said...

WOOHOO!!!

Congrats, Maggie!!!

YAY!!!!

I still vote for kids in peril. Let the kiddies foil the villain's plans.

J.K. Coi said...

CONGRATULATIONS Maggie, and Ely TOO!! You guys both totally rock the Claddagh!

I think the ending needs to see those sheep! Other than that, really I think we need more deets.

Kathy said...

Congrats to both Maggie and Ely!!

I agree with Terrio. Writing this ending with little to go on poses a significant problem for me and it might lead to quite a hilarious version. LOL. Thankfully, comedy is welcome. :-)

terrio said...

So I went and read the beginning of this story. I can't write a funny ending for that. It's too damn good. I'll just wait and see what everyone comes up with.

Maggie Robinson said...

Oh, Kathy, hilarious is best. You never know how my twisted mind will react.

Terri, thanks for reminding me that the opening of MBM is on my other blog Begin as you mean to go on. For anyone with serious aspirations, that's a good place to start. Con and Laurette were childhood sweethearts forced to separate so he could marry for money. He wants her back, and will try anything to get her, including blackmailing her to be his mistress. She wants the past to stay buried...because of the SECRET BABY, LOL. Enough details, JK? And Terri, don't chicken out!

Thanks, Sarah. I want you to write an ending too, although congratulations are very welcome! You can throw in Jonathan and Arthur if you want. :)

Tiff and Ely and Steph, you're not off the hook. You have 6 days to ruminate.

J.K. Coi said...

Thanks Maggie *grin*, although I think I know the details well enough, I wasn't sure about everyone else.

terrio said...

Well, that gives me a bit more to go on. I'm still not sure where the sheep come into it. LOL!

Maggie Robinson said...

I'm seeing a "let's save the baby lamb" scene right now. I knew this brainstorming would work.

J.K. Coi said...

More secret babies, a litter of secret babies! Do sheep have litters?

J.K. Coi said...

Okay, I'm going crazy now. Must get off the computer for a while.

terrio said...

How about cloning the sheep. Oh, or cloning the secret baby?

Maggie Robinson said...

I am laughing like a hyena. And no, sheep usually have one and very occasionally two babies. I've done my research.

J.K. Coi said...

More about the "other mistresses".

The evil undead uncle steals the secret baby and hides it in a manger with the litter of sheep.

Tiffany Kenzie said...

What do you mean we aren't off the hook ;)

How long does it have to be? This is suspiciously sounding like homework. *g*

Anonymous said...

How about the evil uncle IS dead and is reincarnated as a talking sheep?

Congratulations, Maggie!!!!
Goggle won't let me leave a message anymore (Yes, computers really do hate me. Sometimes). I hope this goes thru under anonymous. Yea!! again for Maggie!

AprilsMom

Elyssa Papa said...

You ask and I deliver...But you decide if this is a joke...or not. hehehe

Shearing sheep was a tricky business.

And she had no idea how to go about doing it.

Con, on the other hand, seemed right at home. His strong arms wrapped around one sheep’s body as he began cutting its fleece off with a pair of long, silver blades.

The sounds danced upon the wind, along with the baleful baas of the newly naked sheep. She heard the children laughing as they chased still furry sheep around the pasture, trying to tackle them to the ground and more often than not, landing amid a pile of legs and arms, in the slick grass.

She was not going to think about the state of the children’s clothes.

“Laurie.”

At first, she thought she had imagined that longful note of yearning. The sweet, melancholy chord that touched her arms in the barest caress. She shivered.

“Laurie!”

She heard a running noise behind her, and frantic yells. She started to turn around but then…

Something slammed into her from behind, and Laurette went flying. She screamed, her arms and legs flailing about, her eyes wide open as time slowed down to a grinding halt.

She counted sheep. One, two, three…there were too many blasted sheep. And then she counted the wolf—Con. He dropped his shears to the side, and she realized she was going to smack into him. Hard. She would have bruises. Slamming her eyes shut, Laurette braced herself from the impact and for the coming pain.

She let out an “oomph” as her body connected with his. His arms went out, embracing her, as he fell back to the earth with a heavy thud. Her head butted against his, and stars flew across her eyes. Her skirts were hiked up to her knees, and she moaned into his shirt.

His hands ran down her back, and she looked up, staring into his darkened eyes.

“Con…” As if on their own volition, her fingers traced the lines of his face. Traced the furrow of his brows, his straight nose, the mouth that delivered passion…and sin.

His kiss was harsh, and too brief to her liking.

When he broke away, he stared past her shoulder and narrowed his eyes.

“That’s it,” he said, “Tonight, we’re having mutton.”

Maggie Robinson said...

Oh, Ely. I'll throw it in with a footnote attributing it to you, LOL. I absolutely love it (and you!).

AprilsMom, high concept---love the reincarned evil-sheep-uncle.Maybe I'll change the whole thing to paranormal!

JK,a waif in sheep's clothing? Away in a manger? Three sheeps to the wind?

Tiff, think of this as a writing exercise, not homework.*g*

Tessa Dare said...

Congratulations, Maggie and Ely!!!


Yes, as someone who frequently puts goats and sheep in her books, I vote for the sheep playing a pivotal role. Can there be a secret lamb?

Janga said...

Hurrah for Maggie and Ely! I'm so pleased for you both.

Undead secrets and undead uncles? Sounds like paranormal territory. Hmm. I have to consider this very carefully. I shall return.

Maggie Robinson said...

Tessa, there can be a silent lamb.

Janga, I'm looking forward to your return!

irisheyes said...

CONGRATS!!!!! Maggie and Ely! What wonderful news.

Off to read the beginning of the story...

Elyssa Papa said...

You know, Tessa, why not make it a secret zombie lamb??? *g*

terrio said...

Before you read this, remember you asked for it. And remember I don't write Historical. LOL! So forgive any mistakes in that regard.

"Everything is gone." Con said the words with regret in his voice. Laurie couldn't read his expression since he refused to look her in the eye. Instead he stood like a royal guard at the entrance of the cave watching their two beautiful children frolic with the sheep in the field.

"What is gone?" Laurie asked. Con had been distant for several days. She'd thought when he suggested a family outing on the property, he must have something to tell her. She'd foolishly hoped he would request her hand in marriage. Again. This time she would have a different answer.

"Carter has been mismanaging the farm for some time. He altered the books to hide his mistakes. It seems gaming debts were enough to lure the man to desperate measures." Laurie could see the muscle tick in his jaw. He still refused to meet her gaze.

"Are you saying you've lost the estate?"

"No. The estate is intact, however, the finances are strained to the point of breaking. We can recover, but it will take sacrifices. And time. Many years perhaps."

Laurie could understand his despair at the loss of his property, for property was everything to a nobleman, but she didn't understand the tone of something more dire in his announcement.

"Oh." What could she say? Why wouldn't he look at her? "Des," she said, knowing that would gain his full attention.

Con turned to her, pain in his eyes and strength is his broad shoulders. How she loved this man.

"Are you concerned about the children? You have to know they want nothing more than your love. The money doesn't matter to them."

"What of you?" His voice strained over the words and Laurie could see he believed himself possessed of the answer before she said the words. Such a silly man.

"What of me?" She crossed the distance between them and took his hands in hers. "All that matters to me are those children out there playing amongst the sheep, and the love of the man standing here as stoic and stubborn as ever."

Con visibly exhaled. "But the sacrifices-"

Laurie placed her fingertips upon his lips. "The only sacrifice I will never make again is losing you, Desmond Ryland. I will do anything else you ask of me, but I will never do that again."

MsHellion said...

*clapping wildly* That is a good satisfactory ending. Though my pragmatic side and the fact I talked to my happily married friend just last night: TOTALLY OUTSIDE THE REALM OF POSSIBILITY.

But we are talking fiction, yes. Still. I think the best fiction has some reality. I think she says the RIGHT thing, but she says it too soon...or she's too damned nice to begin with. I think she needs to freak out a little first--and that's the black moment, and then she's all, "I don't want to lose you." But that's me.

But good voice; not anachronistic...and it is the ending we're all looking for and makes us go, "*sighs* That was nice..." and go to bed smiling. Which is all I ever really want. Something to sweet dream over.

terrio said...

I paid you to say something nice, not to crit the thing! LOL! She wanted an ending, no one said that had to have a black moment. The woman has faced poverty before. She's not afraid of facing it again. As long as she has love to sustain her.

(hehehe...I love saying stuff like that that drives Hellion crazy. But don't tell her I said so.)

Maggie Robinson said...

WTG, Terri! And tell that bossy captain to back off! Love it...and your authentic Regency voice as well, m'dear. You all tickle me so much.Rum all around.

Elyssa Papa said...

Love it, Terri!!!

Kelly Krysten said...

Congrats Maggie and Elyssa! You guys so deserve it.

terrio said...

Thank you, Maggie. I enjoy pretending to be a lady of the Regency every now and again. LOL!

Yes, we can never have enough rum!

Anonymous said...

I just heard the fabulous news and am making my rounds to say YAAAYYYY!!! You Vixens ROCK!

Is it still too late to play?

I'll throw one in the pot. Do with it what you will or won't!

"Con?" whispered Laurie as she tip toed her way amid the bleeping sheep. She'd have to yell if she had any hopes of Con hearing her amidst the din of sheep.

"CON!"

"You don't have to yell. I'm not deaf you know." Con grumbled as he came around the bend.

"I have a surprise for you, Con."

"Well, this could prove to be very interesting." Con's *insert eye color here* eyes lit up with mischief.

"Do get your mind out of the gutter. Now brace yourself." Laurie admonished, a strange quiver in her voice belying her sternness.

Con's eyes widened as she reached behind her and placed the surprise at Con's feet. She squeezed her own eyes shut to gird herself against his reaction.

"A sheep? You brought me ANOTHER sheep?"

"Sheep? Well I suppose she's a little lamb. No, you goose, I brought you your daughter."

"Enough with the farm ani...Daughter? I - you - we - have a child?"

Laurie opened her eyes, turned and spotted their daughter on the ridge behind her.

"Do come here child and make your curtsy to your father."

Father and daughter stood, gaping at one another with like colored eyes, before taking off at run into each others arms.

Laurie watched the reunion through a veil of tears that slowly made her way down her cheeks. The pounding of her heart was even louder than the bleeping sheep.

With a joyful yelp she ran to join her little family.

Congrats once again Maggie and Ely. Off to find more places to squee!

Santa

Maggie Robinson said...

Thanks, Kelly!

I'm so happy to see you, Santa...and you're not too late, sweetie. Very twisted, touching scenario!

RevMelinda said...

Maggie, what if the evil uncle has engineered a Secret Baby Coverup?

Unknown to Con, his wife wasn't really pregnant, just claimed to be, stuffed her shirt with wool (courtesy of the sheep) and laid around in bed.(Perhaps she had some dread disease as a child which rendered her infertile and then finished her off shortly after the Secret Baby Conspiracy.)

The plan was to pass off Laurette's baby as the wife's.

Then Laurette has her baby and it's twins! The secret boy (James) is smuggled up to the wife's room (in a sheepskin?) while Con is out spelunking in the caves. But the girl (Beatrix) is an unforseen complication who ruins the plan.

She is given to the Jacob Carters to raise.

The evil uncle is killed in a collapse of the ruined outbuildings, and the twins are reunited with their parents when the evil plot is revealed at the Annual Shearing celebration.

RevMelinda said...

And maybe the uncle isn't really dead (having faked his death in the ruin collapse) but is masquerading as Jacob Carter?--or, maybe he is masquerading as one of the sheep! And he appears throughout the book as the "imaginary friend" the talking sheep who chats with Beatrix as she hikes the Yorkshire dales trying to come to terms with her loneliness and sense that she's missing something (having been separated at birth from her twin)--

--and maybe the Evil Uncle masquerading as a sheep is unmasked by accident at the Annual Shearing!

. . .

CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU MAGGIE on finaling!

Maggie Robinson said...

Ah, RevM, sneaking in just under the deadline. I'm telling you, give up this minister business and join us on the Dark Side of romance writing. You have a certain flair (and have I read that plot before somewhere---or was it on a soap opera, LOL?)! So happy to see you and hope your summer is going well!