Cover-SweetonYou-SMALLWelcome Laura Drake!  2014 RITA Winner!

 

RITA-Home-300x300

Laura’s back on the blog with her newest release

 

Sweet on You

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ex-army medic Katya Smith has always healed other people's pain. Now she has to deal with her own. Taking a job as an athletic trainer on the Pro Bull Riding circuit seems like the perfect escape from her grief-except Katya doesn't know anything about bulls, and even less about the tough men who ride them. She doesn't expect to fall for the sport, or for one tantalizing cowboy who tumbles her defenses.

For rodeo champion Cam Cahill, fifteen years of bucking bulls have taken their toll on his body. Before he retires, he wants a final chance at the world title-and he doesn't need some New Age gypsy telling him how to do his job. But when the stunning trainer with the magical hands repairs more than his worn muscles, everything changes. Soon Cam finds himself trying to persuade Katya to forgive her past so she can build a future . . . with him.

 Laura Drake

Out of over 300 writers I’ve taught in my four-day intensive Immersion classes, Laura did something no one has ever done. On the last night, she grabbed my hand, squeezed tight, and told me she was determined to make her writing stronger and stronger—to do everything I taught her—to get published.

 

 That was May, 2011. And her grip, her tone, her expression were I-will-succeed intense.

 

 Less than 2 ½ years, five-books-in-print, and a RITA award later, Laura is just as determined to make every book strong.

 

Laura Drake and Margie RWA 2014 MediumMargie Asks Laura:  Do you remember grabbing my hand that night, and telling me how determined you were to get published?

 

 

Laura Responds:

Honestly? No.  But it sounds like me . . . Pollyanna with Labrador-puppy enthusiasm. Yeah, I’m a dork – but I’ve learned to embrace that part of me, because look where it got me!  Squeee!

 

 

 

Examples from Sweet On You:

 

If you’ve taken my online courses, you know I put NYT by examples that are so well written they’ll boost you toward a contract, toward bigger sales, toward the New York Times Bestseller list.

 

I just counted the number of sentences or passages I marked NYT in Sweet On You.

 

Ninety-one.

 

That’s 91 times Laura’s writing wowed me big time.

 

And I have at least a couple hundred other examples marked in Sweet On You that impressed me. They’re fresh and strong. Strong enough to use in my online courses as Teaching Points.

 

Sweet On You – Description

 

Laura makes anything she describes multi-task. Look what she accomplishes in these three examples.

 

First Example:

 

She crossed the room to the coffeepot sitting among beakers and test tubes like a hillbilly at a black tie dinner.

 

229 Cover Nothing SweeterLove that Humor Hit!  Smart to use an unexpected simile.

 

Second Example:

 

Tourists were an extinct species in a war zone. The shops were shuttered. Still, people needed to eat. Intrepid vendors had set up tables in the narrow band between the buildings and the street. Vegetables mostly, sold by men with light, loose clothing and disrespectful eyes.

 

If you’ve taken my Deep Editing course, you’ll spot two rhetorical devices in that sentence frag: parallelism and zeugma.

 

Read it out loud. Hear the parallelism?  … light, loose clothing and disrespectful eyes.

 

Zeugma – clothing is on one track, disrespectful eyes jumps that track.

 

Powerful Backloading:  disrespectful eyes

 

Third Example:

 

Behind her, on a platform high above the bucking chutes, the spotlight hit Cam. The blast of white light flattened him to a two-dimensional study in light and shadow. He looked bigger than life and badder than bad. His chaps flared, following the slight bow in his legs up, to hug his hips. His huge gold champion’s buckle flashed in the lights. When he doffed his hat, the crowd’s voice swelled to ear-split level. He looked like a movie star—unknowable, untouchable.

 

Two Quick Deep Editing Notes:

 

Parallelism:  He looked bigger than life and badder than bad.

 

Powerful Backloading:  unknowable, untouchable.

 

Margie Asks Laura: 

 

Does it take a lot of brain power to use the deep editing tools you learned from me? To empower those examples with rhetorical devices, power words, backload, and make every sentence cadence-driven?

 

Laura Drake The Sweet SpotLaura Responds:

 

That’s the magic of Margie. Seriously. I don’t know how you do it, and I don’t even know if you know you do it, but somehow, your lessons seep into the brain, and come out the fingers. There’s no way I’m smart enough to do that and write a book, too. Not consciously, anyway.

 

It’s not just me, either. I’ve heard other of you students say the same thing.

 

Now we’ll dive into Dialogue Cues and Visceral Responses from Sweet On You

 

Sweet On You -- Dialogue Cues:

 

You are very pretty. You know it too, don’t you?” the voice whispered, soft, close, creepy.

 

Doc spoke in his calm-a-spooked-horse voice, his hands running over the cowboy’s neck, checking his skull, his facial bones.

 

The tiny voice tried for sultry and missed.

 

“How was that your fault?” His pushy tone pricked her wounds like a dirty knife slicing a scab.

 

“She was gorgeous.” She held her voice to a “whatever” tone. It wasn’t as easy to pull off as it should have been.

 

She fell back to lie staring up at the ceiling. “I lost my healing.” Her voice cracked on the last word, like ice, when hot tea is poured over it.

 

Her road homeSweet On You – Visceral Responses:

 

Kayta’s heart rate shot up, kicking into triage mode.

 

A gut-bomb went off in her stomach.

 

The ground tilted, and her stomach staged a hot-dog rebellion.

 

Katya grabbed the trauma kit and put her hand on the gate latch. Her lungs heaved, and her heart banged her ribs so hard it hurt. Sweat dampened her armpits. When she put her hands to his chest, her stomach flipped. Her heart banged like a tank laboring uphill.

 

Katya jerked, and before she could control her body, she was crouched under the table, sweat popping in her armpitsand her heart hammering like the piston of a redlined engine.

 

You’re okay. Her heart beat so fast it almost fibrillated. It’s just fireworks.

 

Two Paragraphs:

Her stomach heaved. I’m going to throw up. Right here in front of God and everyone. She swallowed bile and bent, reaching for the cervical blocks. From the end of a long telescope, she saw her hands moving. The periphery of her vision darkened, closing to a small tunnel. Her stomach heaved again.

 

The light at the end of the tunnel winked out.

 

The Reasons to StayMargie Asks Laura: 

 

What tips can you share with our blog guests about writing visceral responses?

 

Laura Responds:

Wow, I guess the above proves I’m in love with stomach viscerals! I don’t search for words. I close my eyes, and remember what it feels like. That last paragraph is a key scene, and Katya passed out. I never have passed out, but I’ve come close. I tried to describe that weird, tilting, queasiness, and how reality just doesn’t seem a part of you anymore.

 

Don’t think about the words. Dig into how it feels.

 

Margie Asks Laura:

 

What kept you writing through 413 rejections in sixteen years?

 

 

Laura Responds:

 

I wrote a blog post on that just the other day! This is what I wrote:

 

It’s not for the struggle, or the accolades (awesome as they are). It’s for the joy of writing – getting down that one perfect sentence that describes JUST how something feels. Something that matters deeply. My goal has always been to give others the experience I’ve had so many times in my life; to read something, stop, and think, that’s just how that feels, and I’ve never heard it described that way, but it’s true.

 

One perfect sentence, telling the perfect truth.

 

That’s what your teaching showed me, Margie – how to do that. It’s still not easy, and I still can’t do it all the time, but at least now I have the tools!

 

Margie Asks Laura: What's your writing process, including time line for each book? 

 

 Laura Responds:

 It takes me about 8 months to write a book. I can do it in six, but then there's a lot of stress and whining involved. Okay, no one throw tomatoes....I only have one draft. I write a chapter, turn it over to my 'critters', edit based on their changes, then I'm done. I work through, chapter by chapter as I go, and then turn it in.


Now, before you get process-envy...I write v-e-r-y slowly. 1500 words in a day is absolute max for me. Since I don't plot much, it takes me a long time to work out scenes, and what comes after that.

 

me n BrendonMargie Asks Laura:

 

We’ll wrap up with hearing about your book signing experience at the Professional Bull Riding World Finals in Vegas last October. It must have been such a sacrifice to watch cowboys for three days.  :-)


 

 

 

 

finals resizeLaura Responds:

 

That book signing was an experiment - I'd heard book signings were dead. A Vegas B&N employee told me they had John-freaking-Grisham come to sign, and FIVE people showed up. Yeah, I couldn't believe it either, but she swore it was true.

The PBR has their World Finals in Las Vegas every year, and I attend every other year. This was an 'on' year, and I had two PBR books out, so I decided to give it a try. Melissa Cutler (another Western author) and I shared a table at the 'Fan Zone' - a marketplace for all things Western. A good match, right?

 

This was my target audience! 

 

B&N came and sold our books, and we signed them. Sold some books, and met tons of potential readers! You know, they used to say that someone had to see a reference to you three times before it rang a bell? With all the distractions that day, that has increased to 9!  Hopefully I made inroads on that stat during that week. Besides, it was FUN!

 

 

Thank you Laura.  Your writing is so fresh and strong. I’m proud to claim you as an Immersion-grad!

 

Laura responds: The above says it all, Margie. I’m serious that a lot of my success is due to you and everything you teach!

 

Want to win a print copy of Sweet on You

 or

The Reasons to Stay

or

a Lecture Packet from Margie?

 

Leave a comment below!

Drawing Sunday night, 8 PM Mountain Time

 

Connect with Laura! 

Website

Facebook

Twitter

 

Laura Drake and Fae Rowen and RITA!

Laura Drake and Fae Rowan with RITA Award

 

Lawson Writer's Academy -- Courses Starting Nov. 3rd:

1. Diving Deep into Deep POV, Instructor: Rhay Christou, MFA

2. Proofreading Like a Best-selling Author, Instructor: Kathy Ide

3. Triple Threat Behind Writing a Scene, Instructor: Tiffany Lawson Inman

 

Comments  
# Thank you, Margie!Laura Drake 2014-10-24 11:29
Thanks so much for having me, Margie.

Making it on your Pubbed Grad Blog was my goal for SO long...I can never thank you enough for your guidance and wisdom.

People, Margie took me from 'good' to SOLD!
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouKimberly Belle 2014-10-24 13:12
Hi Margie and Laura, I love reading your pubbed blog. I always learn so much, and Laura is definitely a master. Thanks for sharing these examples, and can't wait to read the new release!
# Hi Kimberly!Laura Drake 2014-10-25 08:32
Thanks Kimberly! And YOURS is on my TBR pile!

The one regret of being published is I no longer have enough time to READ as much as I'd like!

My TBR pile grows much faster than my 'read' pile. Thank God for my Kindle!
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouPamela Stewart 2014-10-24 14:23
Love me some zeugma. And it's comforting to know the process takes time for some and not everyone is an overnight phenom. Awesome, Laura. And love the techniques, as always, Ms. Margie.
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouLaura Drake 2014-10-25 08:33
Thanks, Pamela - and know that you're not alone. Margie's classes were what made the difference for me.

My mantra is by Randy Pausch: Walls are there to stop the people who don't want it as badly as you.

Keep at it!
# Chapter by ChapterSuzanne Purvis 2014-10-24 17:18
Ah, Laura, I've been stalking, I'm following you, on various blogs and through Margie for a while now, and I was so heartened to see you write slow and chapter by chapter. I do too and I've just come to accept that's the way it goes for me. Thanks for the validation, all your examples and good luck with your sales.
# RE: Chapter by ChapterLaura Drake 2014-10-25 08:36
Thanks for stalking, Suzanne!

Isn't it funny that, no matter what our process is, we want something else. Like our hair, right? ;-)

I think my process comes from my complete aversion to editing (yuk).

But however you get there, the important thing is that you get to the end, right?
# Live Vi-Carrie-ousCarrie Padgett 2014-10-24 18:52
What an encouraging post. I loved the examples. It's no wonder Laura sold and has received so many accolades. Well done!
# RE: Live Vi-Carrie-ousLaura Drake 2014-10-25 08:38
Thank you, Carrie!

I figured if I kept learning, working and breathing, I'd get there eventually!

It just took me longer than I'd expected. But isn't that true of most things we want?
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouStephanie Scott 2014-10-24 21:32
I agree on Margie's teachings; they sort of seep in, and now I am always looking to end on a powerful word and to push for more beyond hearts beating. I'm also encouraged to hear from a "slow" writer. The important part is, you finish the books. Not everyone writes fast, so a thoughtful approach that leads to a finished manuscript is just as valuable as whipping up drafts in record time.

Thanks for sharing your process.
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouLaura Drake 2014-10-25 08:40
Thank you, Stephanie, for stopping!

The tortoise and the hare both got to the end, right?

But I've found that this writing journey is a long road that doesn't end with 'sold' - and I'm thankful for that.

Keep writing!
# Margie grads rockJ.E. Taylor 2014-10-24 23:45
Any time someone asks me what they can do to deepen their writing skills, I point them in Margie's direction.

Laura, you hit it spot on when you said the lessons Margie teaches have a way of seeping into our heads and just seem to spout naturally onto the keyboard.

I loved all the classes I took and wish I could have made it out to Colorado for an immersion class.

I can't sing enough praises and your examples are stellar.

Rock on!
JET
# RE: Margie grads rockLaura Drake 2014-10-25 08:42
Hi JET,

Another member of 'Margie's Army'! I've steered a LOT of people her direction, and every single one has come back to tell me how much she helped their writing.

I hope you can make it to 'the mountain' sometime - it's an amazing experience!
# Loved Meeting YouSheri Humphreys 2014-10-25 00:03
Laura, I met you several times at the 2014 RWA national conference, including chatting with you at the Golden Heart/RITA reception and the PRO retreat. I enjoyed getting to know you a little bit. I am such a fan of your writing! I just finished SWEET ON YOU, and I loved it! You go so, so deep into your characters, really getting to the heart and soul of them, and not a lot of writers accomplish that. This blog was great, learning a bit about your writing process.

I'm signed up for one of Margie's Immersion classes next May. I know it'll be a fabulous experience, and I can't wait.
# RE: Loved Meeting YouLaura Drake 2014-10-25 08:48
Of course, Sheri - I remember you from RWA-WF too, don't I? Congrats on the GH final! Your writing must be STRONG!

Thank you so much for reading (and liking!) Sweet on You. I entered it in this year's RITA, so hope springs eternal!

Oh, you lucky one - going to Immersion! Be ready, rested, and open - soak up all that amazing experience. I'm so jealous!
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouLori Freeland 2014-10-25 00:35
I have not yet read your new book, Laura, but it's first on my list. Your books always get automatically added to my TBR list, no questions asked. Loved your examples. I also love your publishing story :) It's inspirational for me!
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouLaura Drake 2014-10-25 08:49
Thanks Lori,

Can't wait to see YOUR book on the shelves of my local bookstore! There's no doubt in my mind it'll happen!
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouA. C. Cockerill 2014-10-25 00:47
Hi Laura and Margie,

Always love learning from a fellow Margie grad. Hope to meet you in person some day.

Congratulations and cheers, Ashley
# Hi AshleyLaura Drake 2014-10-25 08:50
I'd love to meet you, too - I'll be at the So Cal conference in March, and RWA in NY - you going to either?

Thanks for stopping by!
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouJodine Turner 2014-10-25 02:45
I always learn so much from examples like these!
I hope to take a course in person one day - I loved the one I took online, it helped make my scenes so much more real and compelling.
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouLaura Drake 2014-10-25 08:53
Jodine, I love Margie's online courses too - because you not only get her wisdom, but input from many other students who understand her edits system, and her teachings.

Keep an eye out on her website - she travels a LOT, and may be speaking somewhere near you soon!

Thanks for stopping and reading!
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouLisa Wells 2014-10-25 02:54
Hi Laura,

I have your book on my TBR pile. I can't wait to settle in and read it. I love the examples Margie shared. Congrats on 91 NYT hits. Whoot!
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouLaura Drake 2014-10-25 08:58
Thanks Lisa,

I'm sorry I missed your '30 days to a Stronger Novel' course - it sounded great!

When are you teaching it again?

Let me know how you like Sweet on You - and thanks for reading!
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouMindy Hardwick 2014-10-25 14:33
Thank you for sharing your process and examples! I added your books to my TBR pile!
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouLaura Drake 2014-10-25 19:56
Thank you, Mindy! I hope you like them!
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouJulie Glover 2014-10-25 17:41
I LOVE when Laura Drake is here! Her examples are awesome. And hey, she reminds me of a hot toddy -- warm and sweet with a sassy kick. ;)

My favorite line from the above was: "The tiny voice tried for sultry and missed." I don't think I have enough of what characters don't do or accomplish in my writing. I need to remember that. Her example was a power-punch line that came off so smoothly.
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouLaura Drake 2014-10-25 19:58
Aw, thank you, Julie!

I'm still jealous, of you though, since you've so recently 'been to the mountain', and with another of my good friends!

What I'd have given to been there!
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouBarbara Rae Robinson 2014-10-26 02:10
Love your mantra! "My mantra is by Randy Pausch: Walls are there to stop the people who don't want it as badly as you."

Wonderful examples of the power of writing the Margie way! I'm still working on learning it.

Barb
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouLaura Drake 2014-10-26 09:31
Barb,

Keep at it, and that Margie Magic will happen - it'll just flow.

Promise!
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouJacquie Biggar 2014-10-26 16:34
Hi Margie and Laura,
Every time I'm lucky enough to come upon one of your posts, I learn. Congrats Laura on your win, well deserved! I loved these lines:
The periphery of her vision darkened, closing to a small tunnel. Her stomach heaved again.

The light at the end of the tunnel winked out.

So emotive, I think we could all feel her passing out there, awesome.
Thanks for the great examples, back to work. :)
Jacquie
# RE: Laura Drake Sweet on YouAmy Pfaff 2014-10-27 00:08
Laura,

I just loved Sweet on You. Congratulations on your well earned success.

Amy

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