Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Book Review: Deep in the Heart of Trouble.

Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist, releasing in June 2008 from Bethany House

(I never repeat the back cover copy. You can read it here. And check out the back cover for Courting Trouble while you're at it--I came closer to that one, but didn't do it justice, I'm afraid.)

God gives a clean slate, but what happens when past sins will affect someone else? That’s Essie’s dilemma. She lives with the fear that if she has to reveal her secret, people will see nothing but the ugly stain.

Deep in the Heart of Trouble takes us back to Texas in the early days of the oil industry. It’s now 1898. In the years that have passed, Essie has committed to living for Christ first and foremost. The growth that has taken place in her character is remarkable—both in her spiritual life and in her relationships with others. She’s wiser, more mature, and has a greater sense of purpose. But she’s still the same head-strong, bicycle-riding gal looking for adventure.

This two-book series is aptly named. Trouble follows Essie around. However, she’s in store for an entirely different brand of trouble than in the first book. She has her hands full running her bicycle club, managing her father’s oil company, and demanding respect from a new hire who’s trying to give her orders.

Almost the entire cast of characters returns. Mrs. Lockhart, with her love of slightly naughty romance novels, takes a bigger role. And we’re introduced to the new characters of Tony Morgan, disinherited oil man looking to start fresh and learn the business from the ground up, and the surly Deputy Howard.

While it technically could stand alone, I wouldn’t have wanted to read it without the deeper understanding the first book gives.

Full of fun, romance and lively characters, the plot moves forward at a pace that kept me turning the pages. With each new book, Deeanne Gist earns her place on my list of favorite authors. This book is much less sensual, for good reason. And I was pleasantly surprised by a touch of a mystery toward the end. A great follow-up to the first book.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Review: Courting Trouble

Courting Trouble by Deeanne Gist, Bethany House, 2007.

Texas, 1894. Essie is the town spinster. All her hopes and dreams revolve around having a husband and family. When she turns thirty and God still hasn’t provided a spouse, she decides it’s time to take matters into her own hands.

Since she doesn’t have feelings for any of the eligible men in town, she draws up a list of each man’s pros and cons, spreads the papers on her desk, closes her eyes, and points. Where her finger lands is the man she’ll pursue. And that’s the beginning of her troubles.

This is not your typical romance novel. It contains plenty of romance to make a reader’s heart thump, but it vastly deviates from the formula. The story takes so many twists and turns, I never knew what was coming next. I highly recommend this book.

There’s a good dose of humor injected into the story. I’d say more humor than her previous works, which is a fitting balance, as this book also deals with much more serious issues. I’ll let you discover what issues on your own.

Anyone who’s read Deeanne Gist knows she’s a master manipulator of her reader’s emotions. That ability especially shines in this book. With a few words she was able to soften me toward a character, then, with a snippet of dialog, harden my heart against that same character. This was artfully done to sweep me along with the ebb and flow of Essie’s emotions.

When Deeanne Gist describes a kiss, she makes the reader feel the kiss. That’s not everyone’s cup of tea—it might be a little too much passion for some. I was surprised by her first novel (A Bride Most Begrudging). She wrote scenes bursting with sexual tension. I thought, can a Christian novel do that? But she knows what to say and what to imply to paint a picture without crossing the line.

I personally prefer that to novels which pretend physical attraction doesn’t exist between a man and a woman. But there are audiences for both types. I only mention it because those who are new to this author should be aware that while this is a clean romance, it isn’t a tame one.

In the next post, the sequel to Courting Trouble.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A million miles away?

On a writing/book related note, I've written two book reviews this week that I'll post next week.

I don't mean to go so long without posting. I got out of the habit and now it's going to take conscious effort for me to post a few times a week. But that has nothing to do with this post's title.

I said I might post something about my father-in-law. His death was two months ago yesterday. The whole process was such a healing/grieving time that I haven't felt the need to work out his death through writing. But I do want to make a note of that very special time.

In the midst of it, a man requested a book review. I briefly explained why I didn't want to take on any extra obligations and he replied with his sympathies. He also reminded me that even though God might feel a million miles away, He was in fact right there with us.

God a million miles away? I can understand someone feeling that way. But in my case it was so opposite the truth that I just sat and stared at that sentence. It was a foreign concept.

I've never felt closer to God than I did around Perry's death bed. God was such a very real presence in our midst. The entire family was together. In the evenings we'd sit around and sing old hymns and choruses. My husband Brian, and sometimes his brother, would play guitar. The four-part harmonies filled the cramped living room.

The natural-born Helmuths are all gifted musically--a gift from both their parents--as are the sons-in-law. So the sounds they produced were beautiful. Perry had always loved the song "I've Never Been This Homesick Before," and it was more meaningful than ever. (If you aren't familiar with that song, try looking up the words.) "What a Day That Will Be," "I'll Fly Away." Many, many more. I never realized how many songs there are about longing to be with the Lord.

I usually sang along, but at times I just had to sit back and listen. Along with the harmonies filling my ears, the peace of God filled my heart. And I'm sure the hearts of everyone in the room.

It was a stressful time, but those peaceful evenings are the part I miss. Sure, we can have music when the family gets together in the future. But it will never be quite the same. We'll never recapture the feel of it because we were all sending our dad on ahead of us.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

PhD 2

by Linda Glaz


Staring into the darkness, Rochelle rested against the side of the dumpster, trying to will herself back to reality.

Where am I? How long have I been here?

Peeking through the swollen slits of her eyes, she cautiously absorbed the immediate area. She stared through the darkness, her breath coming in painful gasps.

Rochelle crawled over broken glass shards and a crumpled burger bag that leaked mustard. The smell caused her to turn her head aside and vomit. [This could have more punch: “The smell twisted her gut. Her stomach heaved and she turned her head to vomit.” Something along those lines.] Hoisting her tender arm gingerly, she managed to wipe her mouth and then press[ed] her coat sleeve against her nose because of the horrific odor. She cried, “Oh God, oh God, oh God, please! Jesus . . . please help me!” Over and over she repeated the phrase until her breathing steadied with the familiar mantra. [Nice.]

At last, she yanked one item after another from her bulky purse until she discovered her cell phone at the bottom.

In the distance, from the direction of St. Phillip’s, she heard sirens and wondered, dazed, who else had been hurt.

[Personal opinion: I’d have her feel a surge of hope at hearing sirens. Were they heading for her? She listens, but they fade instead of getting louder. Then she chides herself—who could possibly know she was there? That would build more empathy for your character instead of simple wondering.]

After punching in numbers, Rochelle did not know the man who answered her call. She almost hung up hearing a stranger’s voice. Then, she recognized the regular locker room shouting and laughter before her boyfriend, Ed McGrath, came to the phone.

“Eddie. Come get me, please? Now!” Rochelle cried into the thin phone at her ear. Blood trickled over the edge of the receiver and onto her hand drop by drop. Without deliberate effort, she lifted her hand to her mouth, tasted the blood, and grew queasy all over again. [I’m a little confused here. Do you mean with deliberate effort? “Without” doesn’t create a clear picture. And do you mean she put a bloody hand to her mouth for the purpose of tasting her own blood? Why would she do that after she’s already thrown up? If that’s not what you meant, it’s how it reads to me.]

Is this really happening?

“Where are you, Chell? What’s going on?”

“Please, Ed. Help me. I’ve been in some kind of accident.” She struggled for the right words. [This will be more effective like this: “Please, Ed. Help me. I’ve been …” She struggled for the right words. “…in some kind of accident.”]

“Rochelle, what is going on? Where are you!” he shouted. [Dialog tags like “shouted” aren’t necessary. Well, if they are necessary, you haven’t written your dialog properly (but you have). Plus, he’s repeating the same things he asked her before. Try, “What? Where are you?”]

“I feel sick. Please get help. I’m,” she surveyed her surroundings, her judgment blurred by the overwhelming nausea, “next to a huge metal dumpsters past Nino’s.” She sobbed uncontrollably for a moment and then cried, “For the love of God! Help me!”

[Overwhelming nausea, uncontrollable sobbing, and her cry of “For the love of God!” all contribute to an overly dramatic paragraph. Those techniques aren’t the way to get emotion across. Also, her judgment blurred doesn’t sound right. People seldom know when their own judgment has been impaired. But I know what you mean—she was having a hard time judging her surroundings. Rewrite the paragraph to something like this:

“Please get help. I’m…” She surveyed her surroundings. “…next to a dumpster past Nino’s.” For several moments all she could do was cling to the phone and sob. “Please, just come get me!”]

To pack the right kind of emotional punch in this scene, she could have a nagging fear that her attacker might return, maybe try to steady her shaking hands enough to work her phone.

* * *

Hidden behind the corner of the dumpster, Kyle examined her from the shadows and ridiculed a god who would allow her to rot like this. Though his first thought should have been escape, he paused long enough to delight in her misery. Her dark hair had loosened more and blood caused soft curls to mat against her head.

Kyle stumbled away with her leather glove dangling from the pocket of his Army jacket.

You know me now, don’t you, Princess?

You know me reaaaal good.

Cursing the cold in his fingers, he hauled out half a poorly rolled joint and lit the end with an old Zippo lighter engraved with “Born to Raise Hell” on the side. As he strolled away he hummed a tune reminiscent of an AC/DC album his mother used to play late at night when she entertained. After each puff and each step, he considered himself more in command, more in charge of his life.

Princess got just what she asked for. You want to give people like me a guilt trip every time you open your stupid mouth on the radio?[All that was over a guilt trip? You need something more compelling here. Or just skip his rationale in this scene.] You dirty little witch. You got just what you deserved.

He stopped a couple steps outside St. Andrews on Barrymore Street kitty corner from Nino’s. The lights were off; the building appeared locked up tight for the night. And Kyle smirked.

Will you look at that? Nobody’s home. I think God just may be on vacation. Well, I appreciate it O’ Mighty One. Thou dideth me a big favor tonight. Stay on vacation, You hear?

A loud clanging noise and Kyle spun around glaring toward the alley. The kid at Nino’s with more garbage, he supposed. He longed for a final glimpse of Rochelle spread on the ground bloodied and sobbing, but the fantasy was not meant to be. He had to make tracks.

Just keep your pious opinions to yourself from now on, Princess. Stay put in your little ivory tower. Your opinions don’t matter out here in the real world. Nobody wants ‘em. Nobody cares.

With his head bowed into his hands to drag on what was left of the joint, he breathed deeply and stepped blindly into the street. Before he could react, he heard the screeching wheels of a city bus.

* * *

Blaring sirens resounded through the air while Rochelle fought to regain consciousness once again. She felt herself being lifted. The sound of doors closing. The sirens again.

Forcing her eyes open, she caught a glimpse of Ed, still outfitted in his red and white team jersey, clutching her hand to his lips. Is he praying? Why? A stranger inserted a needle into the back of her hand. What is he doing? She winced at the pain. Noticing blood smeared on Ed’s jersey, she wanted to ask him if he’d been hurt in the game. Words would not come.

Finally she tried, “Ed, why is there blood all over you?” Her voice sounded faraway and remarkably calm. Ed didn’t answer her. Rochelle tried to recall the events of the evening, but her mind felt as if it were shutting down. Drugged.

Oh, why can’t I remember?

Then, she closed her eyes and allowed the gentle feeling to wash over her. She floated for how long, she wasn’t sure.

“We’re almost there, Chell. The MedVac’s making great time.”

His words drifted in and out and Rochelle’s mind whirled into a battleground of questions, able to hear but not to answer. Why were they in a MedVac? Maybe Ed was going to tell her. “Don’t worry, Chelley. We’re getting you to the hospital. You’re doing fine.”

Why should I worry?

“They’ll take care of you. We’re just a few minutes from St. Phillips.”

Why am I going to a hospital?

“I promise you’ll be okay,” he said. “You have to be okay.” Then, he grabbed her hand and kissed her fingers over and over.

Of course, I’m okay. Why is everyone acting so funny?

Little by little she started to remember as Ed’s tears dripped onto her cheeks and her hands. Just when they arrived at the hospital, she fought through the fog in her mind and clutched at him, screaming, “Oh, God. No!”

The scene is fine for the most part. But it would be better with even subtle little changes. Her thoughts annoyed me for some reason. Forgive me, but I’m going to edit it to show you the difference:

Blaring sirens resounded through the air while Rochelle fought to regain consciousness. She felt herself being lifted. The sound of doors closing. The sirens again.

Forcing her eyes open, she caught a glimpse of Ed, still outfitted in his red and white team jersey, clutching her hand to his lips. A stranger inserted a needle into the back of her hand and she winced at the pain.

Ed’s jersey was smeared with blood. Had he been hurt in the game? “Ed, why is there blood all over you?” Her voice sounded faraway and remarkably calm. Ed didn’t answer and her mind felt as if it were shutting down. Drugged.

She closed her eyes and allowed the gentle feeling to wash over her. How long she floated, she wasn’t sure.

“We’re almost there, Chell. The MedVac’s making great time.” His words drifted in and out.

Rochelle’s mind whirled into a battleground of questions she was unable to ask. Why were they in a MedVac? Why was Ed crying and praying?

“Don’t worry, Chelley. We’re getting you to the hospital. You’re doing fine.”

Why should she worry?

“I promise you’ll be okay. You have to be okay.” He grabbed her hand and kissed her fingers over and over. His tears dripped onto her hands.

The fog in her mind lifted a little. One after the other, images flooded her mind. Her attacker’s face. His cruel eyes. His eager hands reaching for her.

Dear God, please tell me it didn’t happen.

But she knew God couldn’t make such any such reassurances. She clutched at Eddie. “No!”

Monday, May 5, 2008


By Linda Glaz

(red = could be deleted, blue = my comments/additions)


A snip and a cry.

“Welcome to the world, Stacy McGrath.” His father whispered. Fifteen minutes later, ignoring the disarray of the room, John placed a sweet-smelling, swaddled baby in his wife’s arms. His heart skipped [at her blissful expression]. Her expression pleased him so.

Donna sighed. “Look at him. His fingers. His toes. He’s absolutely perfect.”

John kissed the tip of her nose and slipped a hand around his son’s fuzzy head. Twisting to face Dr. Reinholdt, he chuckled, anticipating the obstetrician’s answer. “All parents think their babies are perfect, don’t they?”

“Yes, John. But in your son’s case, he is. Look at those eyes. So bright and clear. Ah, yes, he is as perfect a specimen as I have ever seen.”

“Specimen?” John laughed.


Kyle Finley fixed his eyes on Rochelle LeMieux, a Christian talk show host. He hated her more than anyone else in the world. Ignoring the unusual cold that seeped through his threadbare jacket, he drew his hands from the pockets.

As the light turned from red to green and she stepped into the street, he watched her approach from his post at the corner. Black ice covered much of the road. And her boots, which he could tell were purchased for fashion rather than practicality, were going to be her undoing. Although he was almost close enough to reach out and catch her, he remembered why he was there and let her slip.

[He hated her more than anyone else in the world. Intellectually, that tells me everything. Now I have the head knowledge that he hates her. But I’d rather feel his hatred.

Kyle Finley fixed his eyes on Rochelle LeMieux, Christian talk show host. He felt his lip curl. Hypocrite. Striding across the street in her I’m-a-slave-to-fashion stiletto boots. Heedless of the black ice in front of her. Idiot.

Doesn’t that give you a feeling he’s not too fond of her? Also, you never actually show her slipping. I was wondering if she actually fell, or if he was still anticipating it.]

Brushing at her coat with muddy gloves she said, “And where’s my knight in shining armor when I need one?”

Knight? You think you know people so well, Princess. [His thought doesn’t match what she just said. The fact that she’d like a knight to rescue her says nothing about how she thinks of other people. Knight? You think you’re a princess? would fit better.]

He blew warmth into his cupped hands.

Who are you to sit on your throne behind a microphone and judge me? [Again, you need a logical thought flow. Something needs to trigger a particular thought—why is he feeling judged at that particular moment?]

Every thought rushing through his mind served to anger him further, but he kept his eyes on his prey. [Show his thoughts getting angrier, then this sentence won’t be necessary at all.] He inched closer. She was already entering the dark alley behind Krestons’ Klothing Closet and Nino’s Italian restaurant. Kyle had observed her taking the shortcut many times as he waited patiently in the shadows, devising his plan.

You don’t know what it is to be me, Your Highness. To be so poor. So alone. [To me, that makes your villain sound a little too pathetic.]

You’ve got it all. The little princess. Kyle started to shudder now; his hands trembled, his lip and eye twitched. To prevent the screams in his throat from escaping, he jammed his knuckles against his mouth. Blood bathed his chin while he pressed against the wall of Tiny Tots and Kids. There, he watched her draw near the restaurant.

Did your father come home everyday? Was your life in the castle cozy? Was your family content? Did you ever notice not everyone’s life was so hunky motherlovin’ dory as Mommy and Daddy held hands and tucked you into your little beddy-by at night? You smiled and they smiled. You laughed and they laughed. And not one of you ever turned your thoughts to the thousands of kids outside the castle walls who were freezing-so-bad-and-so-hungry-and-so-scared!

He knew he had to calm down. Had to control his emotions. Slowly, slowly, Kyle leaned forward, breathing against his numb fingers. A loud crash! brought him back. She stopped. He stopped. He couldn’t believe what he saw as she stretched over boxes of scattered garbage to help a young boy get to his feet.

[You can avoid “he knew” by saying, “He took a deep breath to regain control of his emotions. Skip the exclamation point in the middle of a sentence. And I’m not fond of “he couldn’t believe what he saw” type sentences. Just show it.]

“Are you all right?” she asked, loud enough so Kyle heard every word. [Not necessary. We’re in his head, so obviously he’s hearing it.]

“Yeah. Thanks, lady,” replied the boy. He appeared to be no more than twelve or thirteen.

From Kyle’s vantage point at the back of Krestons’, he could see Rochelle’s face twisted into what? Concern? No way, he thought. She only cares about herself.

“Would you like some help with this mess? I really don’t mind.” Rochelle offered her hand.

“Shoot, no. My dad would have my head on a platter if he thought I didn’t clean up after myself. But thanks.”

Goody Two Shoes to the rescue. Imposter!

[What’s your purpose for this part? To show the readers she’s really a good person after all? Don’t be afraid of someone seeing your main character in a negative light. This is the villain’s POV after all. It’s bound to be skewed. So if that exchange doesn’t make Kyle pause to reconsider what kind of person she is, or if it doesn’t put his plan in jeopardy (a witness, will he be seen?), then it’s not necessary.]

Kyle waited for the boy to finish jamming spoiled food and lettuce leaves into the metal container before he caught up with her again. He nearly choked on the smell when he passed the garbage cans, remembering all the times his mother had kicked him in the butt and called him “nothing but trash”.

Did your mother love you?

His eyes misted over. A cough spasm’d out of his chest while the lump in his throat threatened to choke him.

Well, did she, Princess?

Thick, heavy clouds reminded him that more snow was on its way. Hurry up! He wiped his runny nose on a sleeve, coughed, and hawked up a thick glob of mucus. After spitting, he sucked back another deep breath and willed the lump in his throat away. Willed his anger to replace the feeling of hopelessness which lived with him, his constant companion.

Or did she come to despise you? Hate your guts. Wish you were dead. No. I don’t think so, Princess. I don’t think you know as much about me as you believe you do. You don’t have a clue what it’s like to be me.

That’s right, Princess. The perfect family.

As quickly as they had misted over, he felt his eyes go dry like sand. A cold, hard determination, which would have struck fear in the darkest soul, filled his gut like nourishing manna.

For a split second he glanced over his shoulder to make certain the boy had returned to the restaurant.

You’re only going to get what you asked for every time you opened your mouth and spewed out your hateful opinions about me and people like me. People like me. People . . . like . . . me.

Rochelle’s footsteps grew fainter. After the briefest moment of hesitation, Kyle strode from the back entrance where he had lingered out of sight. She would be moving about ten feet past him, he thought. Near enough for him to overpower her. With meticulous accuracy, Tiny Tots closed at seven every night and switched off each light before locking up the daycare center; Kyle counted on their consistency.

Fifteen feet beyond Tiny Tots, parallel to the deserted alley, loomed a large gray dumpster and just beyond the dumpster, an exposed grass lot where kids from the day care center often played tag and duck, duck goose. The noisy Italian restaurant remained the only site which might provide witnesses. But the boy was gone and the supper crowd created a howling ruckus from seven to nine in Nino’s. Not a soul would hear her cries.

Rochelle could not be more than ten feet from him, when she turned. “Is someone there? Hello?”

Kyle ducked behind the Tiny Tots climbing wall and it excited him to think she sensed his presence. Did she fear what might be hiding in the dark or was she looking for the boy? He had to slap a hand over his mouth to stifle a laugh. To think she didn’t have any idea what was going to happen to her. He stole a glimpse of her as she quickened her steps, but he was faster.

Then, a light scent of musk floated back to Kyle as he grew closer. Three more feet and he grabbed for her hair, but Rochelle jerked free and ran without ever looking back. Kyle stared as the heel of her boot snapped and she tumbled to the ground. He wasted no time but ran to her side. “Did you see that guy? Must be a crack head. Are you all right, Miss?”

“Yes. Thank you so much,” she said and he helped her to her feet. But he could hear the fear in her voice. She knew.

[You were building momentum, but spoiled the tension with his “Are you all right?” ploy.]

“Rochelle, don’t make a sound or I’ll kill you.” He spoke through pursed lips and his fingers tangled into the curly softness of her hair.

Her wide blue eyes, darting back and forth, told him everything he wanted to know. No one was coming to help her and she knew it. “Are you happy now, Princess? You asked for this.”

I used to be happy. Just like the perfect family you’re always preaching about on your talk show. Church on Sunday, Dad home from the base every night playing games, tucking me in. Perfect. You got it? The perfect American family. One dad, one mom, and a kid. A kid who believed his life would never change.

Then, as she twisted against his hands, he summoned up memories with clarity about how life had been following his father’s death. Kyle had been an unwilling participant in his mother’s nightmare world of alcohol and strange men.

[We only need just enough of his background to show his motivation. It doesn’t seem like he’d dwell on it when he’s finally acting out his plan.]

With one hand digging into her shoulder and the other across her mouth, he looked again to be sure no one was watching. He wanted the freedom to enjoy every last minute.

“Do you know what it’s like to have a parade of ‘uncles’ moving through your front door like a turnstile, Princess? No. You don’t have a clue, do you? Makes it hard to believe God’s watching over you, doesn’t it?” He thrilled to her struggling against his grasp, but afforded her no chance to respond. He hauled her behind the dumpster, where a brown, furry something with bulging eyes scuttled over her legs and into the night with racecar speed.

At the same time, Kyle’s hand slipped from her mouth and she cried out, “Help me, someone. God, help me. Why are you doing this?” Only then did he deliver the first blow with his fist. Her head was driven against the frozen ground.

“God? Where’s God now, Princess?” [It would be more effective for this to trigger his thoughts about God watching over him. “God? Why should he watch over you when he didn’t watch over me? Do you know what it’s like…”] Without waiting to consider whether she would pass out or attempt an answer, he tugged her face closer; his breath the only air moving. Her left eye had already swelled shut, a thin line of blood streaming from the cut outside her eyelid. Bringing her head to within an inch of his own, he inhaled deeply of her perfume. His tongue flicked out, snaking to the nape of her neck just below her right earlobe, and he was pleased when he was rewarded with a terrified moan. [The fact that you mention it as a reward implies that he was pleased.]

Kyle listened and smirked. She muttered a plea to God one last time before he jerked her back and glared into her one good eye, now blinking wildly.

“Answer to your prayer, Princess.” He laughed and slugged her again and again until he could tell she had no fight left. [Seems excessive. It doesn’t appear to me that she was fighting back at all after she initially tried to get away. What’s coming is her punishment, and he’d want her conscious for it.]

Then, he whispered in her ear, “The court jester’s here. Let the party begin.”

[The end of the chapter fizzles for me. For best dramatic effect, I’d cut the scene after the icky neck licking.]

Friday, May 2, 2008

Taking it easy

I haven't posted as much as I thought I would. I guess I'm taking a bit of a break from extra obligations.

The week we knew for certain my father-in-law was on a downward turn, and the end was near, was also the week two books for review landed in my mailbox. Plus I received a manuscript for a paid critique. Oh, and the 7 entries I was judging for the Genesis contest also arrived in my inbox. All in the same week when stress levels were already a bit high.

So I'm sure you can understand why I'm enjoying a time to be a little more laid back.

It was an honor to be asked to judge for Genesis this year. I'm a little disappointed that neither of the two manuscripts I thought were really good ended up as finalists. But it was a good experience and I think I'd do it again. I received very nice thank yous from all but the entry I scored the lowest.

One entry I also scored pretty low was so grateful for the comments I made that she asked if she could send me a rewrite. (I'm sure she was also grateful for the other 2 judges' comments, but I put my name on all the entries I judged.) I said I'd be happy to take a look at what she did, but that I'd like to post the critique on my blog if she didn't mind. She didn't.

So, Monday and Wednesday I'll have the two chapters I critiqued.