Monday, February 10, 2014

Love Stories and A Minute on the Lips by Cheryl Harper


 
I think most writers probably have stories that mean something extra special. Maybe books are supposed to be like children in that we aren’t allowed to have favorites and it’s true that I love all my books. But A Minute on the Lips is special.

When I first decided to get serious about writing, I had a friend take me at my word. Susan took me to a fabulous, energizing writing workshop. We started going to a small writer’s group together. And I think that having someone else treat me like a writer started the ball rolling in a way that making a resolution might not have on its own.

Instead of showing what I’d written to friends or family, I wanted a fair and impartial judge to tell me I was good enough, so I entered a small contest. And I won. I could hardly believe it. And I was hooked. I entered larger contests. I won some. I lost some. But the victory was enough to keep me going even after the rejection letters started.

A Minute on the Lips started as one of those contest entries. It was the first chapter of a mystery. And it won first place. The judge came to tell me I should definitely finish that story. After I got over the shock, delight, and panic, I did. Seeing that cover thrills me because getting it ready took some work and a patient editor. And I love this story more for it, I think.

From the beginning of the writing journey to the words I wrote for today’s word count, I’ve always wanted to tell funny, feel-good stories. That’s what I like to read. Whether I’m celebrating a first-place contest win, showing off a real booky book in my hand, flopped on the floor despairing over my latest editorial letter, or kicking around a new story idea, that’s always my goal: a smile for the reader.

A Minute on the Lips fits that goal and makes me smile when I think of it. This book showed me the value and satisfaction in sticking with a story because I love it. At each round, I learned something about the story, about myself as a writer, and what is possible once I get out of the floor and take a chance on improving the story.

I hope that you’ll visit Tall Pines to meet Sheriff Jackson and newspaper editor Mark Taylor, have lunch at Jackie’s Country Kitchen, home of the prize-winning chili champion, say hello to Andi’s Gram and be tolerated by her cat Mojo, and that when you leave, you’ll love this story too.
If you'd like to win a copy of your very own, I have a couple of contests going right now. You can find out the details on my web site: http://cherylharperbooks.com.

12 comments:

  1. Cheryl, Love your build up to the call story. I like warm, feel-good stories, too. I've always thought that everyone, whether they admit it or not, is looking for love. And I think the books we write give hope.

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    1. What a great comment! I agree. I want to live my whole life with hope so I'm drawn to the promise of the happy ending. And to be able to write that and maybe give someone else a little lift is special.

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  2. What a wonderful success story! Congrats and thanks for sharing.

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  3. Cheryl - Funny, feel-good stories are my favorites too. And a handsome newspaperman, cats and chili - I'm sold! Congratulations!

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  4. 'Flopped on the floor despairing over my latest editorial letter'-LOVE IT:) Wonderful post:)

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    1. Thank you! And I should have added two things:
      1. Every one of those letters has made a huge improvement in my book, and when the fan line forms for editors, I'll be at the front. I've worked with two who really made me better.
      2. My inner critic is both a perfectionist and a bit of a drama queen! In my head, I sort of look like George Michael from Arrested Development even if I'm only staring in panic at the words on a monitor, wondering if I can pull off the changes.

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  5. Tall Pines sounds like a great place to visit, Cheryl! You've created such a rich, interesting setting full of unique characters. I can't wait to read it!

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  6. Great post and a great lesson on sticking through to 'The End'!

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