Had to post to let you know that two of my dearest friends have finaled in the Golden Heart!

First shout-out to Maven Darcy Burke, who finaled in the Regency Historical Romance category with her wonderful manuscript, Glorious. I am proud to say I knew Glorious when it was just a twinkle in Darcy’s eye, and that I always knew it was…well, glorious.

The second shout-out is to someone who hasn’t announced her finalist status yet Courtney Milan, but she whose Breath of Honor made the cut in the Historical Romance. If she swings by and outs herself, I’ll update this post, but until then, congratulations! You know who you are! Many felicitations and congratulations!

Falling In Love

I got one of those rejections today that makes you want to scream. Oh, not because it was mean or got my name wrong or was a form letter. No, it made me want to scream because it was nice and complimentary, but ultimately amounted to an “I liked it, but I didn’t love it” with no real explanation of why.

But that’s just the thing, isn’t it? Love is irrational and, when you get right down to it, impossible to truly justify. Oh, you can always cite reasons. But in the end, it comes down to chemistry, to that indefinable quality that one person (or book or movie or work of art) has and another doesn’t.

Read the rest of my words of wisdom at the Manuscript Mavens blog.

Wednesday’s Word: Arms

After a two-week hiatus, the Wednesday Word is back! (Waits for applause to subside. Hey, allow my delusions of grandeur without laughing quite so loudly, please.)

I do have to warn you that today’s entry isn’t related to romance (or even fiction) writing at all. No, today’s blog is overtly, shamelessly political. Not in the sense that I’m taking sides, though. In the sense that I get annoyed when I see language so blatantly misused by everyone, up to and including justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Yes, today, I am talking about the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a case stemming from a Washington DC ban on individual licensing of handguns.

Naturally, the debate falls along the usual lines: those who want to interpret the 2nd Amendment as granting a broad, individual right to gun ownership and those who want to interpret it in light of the preceding clause, which mentions the necessity of a “well-regulated militia to a free state.”

But see, I don’t take sides in that battle. Because as far as I’m concerned, the 2nd Amendment doesn’t say anything about guns at all. It says “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Guns are arms, to be sure. But so are rocket-propelled grenade launchers, tanks, fighter jets, Scud missiles, and ICBMs. As are swords, knives, spears, and bows and arrows.

Now, call me a semantic hair-splitter, but I have yet to understand how this particular clause in the Bill of Rights is always, always read to grant individuals the right to own guns, but not (say) nuclear bombs. It says arms, and that the right to keep and bear them shall not be abridged. Just because the framers weren’t capable of foreseeing nuclear fission (any more than they were capable of foreseeing Uzis, given that in their time, the only guns available were of the single-shot variety) doesn’t mean they didn’t intend to give individuals the right to own A-bombs, does it?

And really, if the purpose of this clause was (as many “strict” constructivists believe) to give people the ability to resist the tyranny of a government run amok, then you know, guns alone are probably not gonna cut the mustard. Just sayin’…

You might think from the above rant that I oppose gun ownership. Far from it. (Although we don’t own guns ourselves for a number of practical reasons, my son has been target and skeet shooting many times, and I fully approve.) But I do think it’s rather silly that so many people stridently hold to the position that the 2nd Amendment gives people the right to own just about any type of gun known to the hand of man, but not the right to own other types of weaponry that would be, frankly, a heckuva lot more effective in the event of a breakdown of our system of government.

Funny, ain’t it?

YOUR TURN: Are there any words you see persistently misused or misinterpreted in political (or other forms of) speech? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What do you mean, there has to be a conflict?

Cross-posted from the Mavens blog

When I wrote my first manuscript the first time (and the second, third, and even fouth times), one of the comments I persistently got from my critique partners and from contest judges was that there “wasn’t enough conflict to sustain a full 100K-word novel.” But since I’d actually written more than 100K to get to The End (the first completed first draft was a whopping 136K and that was after I chopped some stuff), I have admit, I kinda scratched my head over that.

I mean, I’d sustained a 100K novel with the conflict I had. What in the world were they talking about? Obviously, they didn’t know what they were talking about and should be shanked with Erica’s machete.

Read the rest of my moment of brilliance (or forehead-smacking d’oh!) here.

Sorry to Have Been Scarce…

I’m afraid I was too busy hacking up a lung last week to post (though if I’d had a little more energy on Friday, I could’ve cross-posted my Mavens post–must remember to do that this week). I hope to be back with a Wednesday Word tomorrow, but there are some rumblings in the underground that may prevent it. I may have some exciting news to tell soon (or none at all, lol), but we’ll save it until we know for sure.

One fun bit of news: I was a runner-up in the Bookends LLC first 100 words contest in the erotic romance category. I entered just for fun, so being selected as a runner-up was a great thrill.