Archive | February 2012

Egg-cerpt Exchange – Susan Wingate

“Spider Brains” by Susan Wingate

Information from Susan:

Spider Brains by Susan WIngate

Susan Wingate’s Debut YA Novel <> Available May 15, 2012

If you would like to read SPIDER BRAINS on my blog, I’ll be posting this story daily (with the occasional break by some amazing guest author postings) and chapter-by-chapter. Press Here to Read an Installment of SPIDER BRAINS.

A Short Synopsis of SPIDER BRAINS:  If one were to bake the story SPIDER BRAINS into a cake, they should sprinkle in Charlotte’s Web, toss in one Jellicle Cat, then stir in a little Spiderman—but as a girl and not in that goofy latex outfit! A tale of hope, transformation, transition and inspiration.

After her father’s death last year and, now, in the throes of a gnarly teacher’s whim as she thinks ahead to college (or really just dreams of getting into college), a small black arachnid bites fifteen-year-old Susie Speider on the finger. The bite sends her nights into fantastical dreams about taking revenge on a teacher who, ultimately, holds her college aspirations in the palm of her cold calloused hand. But, after Susie figures out the dreams are real, she ups the ante by visiting the teacher regularly… as the spider! And, oh, by the way! Who is that boy spider munching on flies, hiding over there in the corner? A story of loss and forgiveness, tolerance and kindness, Susie Speider deals with the death of her father while Matt Ryder–the new neighbor boy–has just lost his mother. Ultimately, SPIDER BRAINS poses some important questions about how to treat Attention-Deficit-Disorder.

“Simply put, Susan Wingate is a master of the written word.  In SPIDER BRAINS, she weaves a heart-warming tale full of wit and intrigue: a nod to Kafka’s Metamorphosis in a quirky blend with The Princess Diaries.  There are laugh out loud moments with the teenage protagonist, Susie Speider, whose voice was well executed and credible.  But there are also moments that tug at the heartstrings and even bring a tear to the eye, as we see Susie’s angst when she faces pain from the past, as well as redemption through the relationship with her mother. Whether or not you’re a fan of YA literature, you’ll love SPIDER BRAINS.  But don’t expect anything ordinary!” ~Joshua Graham, award-winning, no. 1 Amazon & no. 1 Barnes & Noble bestselling author of “Darkroom” (S&S/Howard Books) and “Beyond Justice”)

“A heartwarming story full of laughs, great friendship, a touch of romance, and lots of fun facts about spiders and more. Every now and then a wonderful book like this one comes along that entertains while it teaches. I look forward to reading SPIDER BRAINS with my kids!” ~Ann Charles, award-winning author of the Deadwood Mystery Series

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 Read more about #1 Amazon Bestseller & Award-winning author, Susan Wingate at: www.susanwingate.com.

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What’s the Book About?

I’m doing my “Sexy Synopsis” workshop for Outreach RWA Chapter this March — link here — and the workshop always has me thinking about how most writers dread the synopsis, but it really is a great tool. The two big dreads seem to be:

1 – If I write a synopsis, I won’t want to write the book, and

2 – How can I possibly condense my great, big wonderful book into a couple of pages?

(Yes, folks, a synopsis really should be only about 2 – 3 pages — anything more and you’re talking a detailed outline, which is a different animal.)

I started calling this workshop the “sexy synopsis” since a synopsis really should be short, stylish and cover the basics — you want to sell the book. And it’s not just about selling the book to editors and agents.

You’ve got to sell your book to readers, too.

In other words, the synopsis is really just slightly longer back cover copy. It answers the basic question–what’s the book about? (And you cannot flippantly say, oh, about 200 pages.)

But how do you answer those two basic dreads?  Well, you can take the workshop, but here’s some quick easy tips.

1 – Start with the big stuff — like theme and the core conflict. Bob Mayer does a great workshop on core conflict, and he’s teaching this soon, so I recommend it highly. This will get your idea down to just a single line, meaning you’ve got a lot of the work on your synopsis done right there.

2 – Focus on only the main character and main plot.

3 – Know what’s your selling point, and make sure that’s there — as in, if the book is funny, make sure the synopsis has a light tone, too.

4 – Be sure to include the ending — this is where a synopsis is different than back cover copy. The synopsis must have the resolution so that it shows the book has a satisfactory ending.

5 – Cut extra words.

6 – Read your synopsis aloud. Preferably to a friend whose never heard this story or ideas — that will tell you if you’re telling a story that makes sense.

7 – Think of your synopsis as the “bedtime story” version of your story — hit only the ‘good parts’, but make sure you do have good parts scenes mentioned.

8 – Shorter is harder — know this is going to be work going in and you won’t be so frustrated when it takes ten drafts to get even close to anything approaching ten pages that make sense.

9 – If all else fails, tape record yourself telling the story to a friend, and make sure you set a time limit of getting the telling done in less than five minutes.

10 – Don’t take it too seriously. The book still matters more than the synopsis. But, here’s the thing, if the synopsis comes out bad or flawed or with big holes in it, time to look at your book structure. The synopsis can be an early warning that you really have not fully thought out your story — make sure you pay attention to what the synopsis tells you. It can save you lots of headaches in revisions.

Most of all, remember that a synopsis is a guide–not a bible. Leave yourself room to diverge, and leave your characters room to grow. Let the story surprise you. And if the story wants to go in a new direction, let it. You can always change the synopsis later.

Also keep in mind that if you get stuck or lost, go back to your synopsis. Sometimes those few pages can be key to guiding you out of the woods and into finishing your story.

Egg-Cerpt Exchange – Tina Gayle’s Book

The Executive Wives’ Club SeriesFour women…One fatal car wreck…Everyone’s lifes changes…

Blurb for “The Unwilling Widow”:Jennifer Larson, having lost her husband, friends and the perfect life she’d had plan, now faces the biggest challenge of her life, moving into an unplanned future. While the rest of the Executive Wife Club is still wallowing in the past, Jen is tempted into the future by a sexy chiropractor, Hagan Chaney.But does he really love her or is he only after her money like everyone else?Excerpt:Friday night sitting at a booth in a nice, romantic restaurant, Jen silently wished she could enjoy the subdued atmosphere, and order a rib eye steak. Instead, her hands shook and her stomach churned with doubt. The survival skills, she’d learned after becoming a real estate agent demanded a calm composed front, but she couldn’t pull it off.

Hell, who was she fooling?

After ten years without a date, what made her believe she could do this again? She stared at the menu. Could she even swallow a bite of beef? And if not, what should she order?

She lifted her gaze to the drop-dead gorgeous man on the other side of the table. Hagan Cheney, a Greek god incarnated, had strawberry blonde hair glowing like gold around his head. Wide shoulders and strong arms encased in a hunter-green cashmere sweater. Apollo, himself, wouldn’t look any better.

Why in heavens name did he ask her on a date?

And why did she care?

She had no plans other than a casual dinner for two.

He glanced up and a pretty-boy grin crossed his lips. The twinkle in his hazel eyes softened the square line of his jaw. “So have you decided what you want?”

Heat simmered low in her belly. Oh, yeah, answering that question the wrong way could get her into a world of trouble.
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Private Carraiges of the English Regency

The Regency saw the pinnacle of the art of carriage driving. New technologies provided opportunities to build better carriages. In 1804, Obadiah Elliott of Lambeth invented the elliptic spring, lightening the weight and eliminating the need for perches. Samuel Hobson improved carriage shapes by lowering the wheels in 1820. At the same time, the engineer Jon Loudon McAdam introduced his process to pave roads to create a hard, smooth surface and double the speed at which carriages could travel.

During this time, carriage types flourished, and perhaps the most popular of carriages were the phaetons and curricles.

Phaeton by StubbsPhaetons first appeared around 1788. The young Prince of Wales popularized their use in the 1790′s. In Greek, the name means “shining”, and Phaeton was a mythical character who stole his father’s sun-chariot. The carriage was noted for being built very high over the body, with four wheels (large wheels in back and smaller wheels in the front). They sported two types of under-carriage. A high perch phaeton had a straight or sightly curved central beam that connected the two axles. The ‘superior’ crane-neck phaeton offered a heavier construction of iron with two beams and hoops which allowed the front wheels to turn. These “Highflyers”could be drawn by a pair, four or six horses. However, contemporary artists usually shown them as postillion-driver (with riders on the horse’s backs), if more than four horses were in harness.

Ladies as well as gentlemen drove phaetons, and the carriages were known as spider, park, and ladies phaetons. These were often drawn by ponies. Lady Archer, Lady Stormont, Mrs. Garden and even the Princess of Wales were noted whips. Among the gentlemen, Sir John Lade, Lord Rodney, Charles FinchRE and Lord Onslow set the pace.

CurricleThe curricle came into fashion in the 1800′s. This was a two-wheel vehicle, built to take a pair of horses. Again, the sponsorship of the Prince of Wales (now too fat to climb into his high perch), promoted their popularity. Horses were attached to the light-weight body by harness connected pole, with a steel bar that attached to pads on the horse’s back to support the pole. The curricle offered seats for two, with a groom’s (or tiger’s) seat behind (the tiger was not the big cat, but a slang name for a small groom who could easily jump down to hold or walk the horses).

Chair Back GigLess fortunate gentlemen had to be content with driving a gig, which remained in service from the 1780′s until the 1900′s. Originally, the gig was built high and given such names as the “suicide” gig, denoting popular opinion of the safety of such vehicles. However, since the groom’s seat sat three feet above that of the driver’s, the name might well be based on the opinion of those in service. Since carriages were built to custom order, there were many designs, and gentlemen often competed with each other for new innovations in their carriage designs.

By the 1800′s, the big and whiskey were in common use, however, Quality did not take to them until after 1815. Both were two-wheeled vehicles that could be drawn by one horse. The whiskey got its name from the fact that it was light and easy to go ‘whisking’ along.

Many noted whips designed their own carriages, hence the Stanhope gig made in 1815 to the design of the Hon. Fitzroy Stanhope. Carriages also bore the name of their builders. The Tilbury gig of 1820 was designed and made by Tilbury the coach-builder. Unlike other gigs it had no boot, and the rib-chair body was supported entirely on seven springs, making it a popular vehicle for use on rough roads.

Cocking Cart driven tandemAt the same time the suicide gig became popular, so did the cocking cart. This two-wheeled vehicle was often driven tandem, with one horse between the shafts and the lead horse attached only by harness, so you’d have one horse in front of the other. As one might infer from its name, the cocking cart offered a boot with slatted venetian blind panels on either side for carrying fighting cocks.

CabrioletIn 1815, Count d’Orsay (the king of fashion in London after Waterloo) sponsored the cabriolet. This was in addition to his curricle, for a rich gentleman could afford to keep multiple carriages and teams. The cabriolet was import from France, and appeared similar to the curricle but required only a single horse. Instead of providing a seat for the groom, it held a small platform on which the ‘tiger’ stood. This carriage, like the curricle, offered a hood to help protect the driver and the passenger from weather, but it still served better as a town carriage for fair weather.

Full enclosed town coaches had been is use since 1605. However, in the late 1700′s these began to evolve away from the massive vehicles that held four and which required up to six, heavy draft horses.

The sociable appeared in the 1780′s. This low-hung vehicle offered a box seat for a driver and held four passengers (two facing backwards). In bad weather, a hood could be raised over the back seat, and the front seat could be folded down.

By the 1800′s, the sociable had evolved into the sociable-landau and the landau. Both were usually drawn by a pair of horses, and driven with postillions or by a coachman if a box seat had been built onto the body. Hoods could be raised, front and back, so that the landau resembled a coach, or could be lowered in fine weather.

Landeu Luke Hopkinson of Holborn introduced the briska-landau, which offered seats that rose six inches then the top was put down. Canoe-landaus offered curved, shallow bodies and were sometimes called Sefton-landaus, after the Earl of Sefton. (The landau with postillions is often the carriage still used by English royalty for events where great visibility and ceremony is required, such as for weddings, reviewing the troops, or for arrivals at the Royal Ascot race meet.)

Another town coach, the barouche did not gain in popularity until it’s heavy body and low build had been modified. However, when Mr. Charles Buxton founded the Whip Club in 1808 (which became the Four-In-Hand Club the following spring), its members drove “…fifteen barouches and landaus with four horses to each….” to the first June meeting on a Monday in Park Lane. Because its members often drove barouches, the Whip Club sometimes came to be called the Barouche Club.

BaroucheThe barouche required large, ‘upstanding’ horses, with impressive action. It could be driven from the box or with postillion riders, and could accommodate a pair, four or six horses. Two passengers could be seated in the body, and a seat provided comfort for two grooms.

A private drag was the slang term for a gentleman’s private coach, and these were built for four-in-hand driving.

Drags of the Four in Hand Club by AikenCopying the Mail Coach, a drag offered seats inside the coach, and on the roof for the driver and for two grooms. Gentlemen drove their drags to race meetings (for grandstand viewing), to meets of the Four-in-Hand and other sporting events. A convenient tray in the boot could even be lowered to create a table for picnics.

By 1815, the heavy traveling coach had been replaced by the traveling chariot. Two or four horses could be used with this light body vehicle, and were driven by postillions or post-boys. Some offered seats at the back for servants, all offered upholstered seats in satin or petit-point.

Post Chaise "Yellow Bounder" These vehicles also served as the post-chaise carriages which could be hired on the road at posting houses. At a cost of 1s 6d (that’s one shilling and six pence) a mile for a pair of horses, and double that for four, a post-chaise was not an economical method of travel. They earned the slang name ‘Yellow Bounder’ for the almost inevitable yellow bodies.

Until the advent of the automobile, carriages continued to flourish in type and design.

In 1820, the cleche (a larger version of the barouche) came to England. In 1818, T.G. Adams introduced the briska or britzcha. The fourgon and plentum, the vis-a-vis came and went. Beauty in shape and color for carriage and horse became symbols of wealth and leisure.

SOURCES:

The Elegant Carriage, 1979, Marylian Watney

Horse & Carriage, 1990, J.N.P. Watson

The History of Coaches, 1877, George A. Thrupp

The Coachmakers, 1977, Harold Nockolds

Egg-cerpt Exchange

Author Egg-cerpt ExchangeStarting Feburary 22, author Tina Gayle is coordinating an Easter Egg-cerpt Exchange — authors will be posting excerpts from their books for readers.

So, if you’re interested in finding new books to read, check out the exchange, which starts Ash Wednesday and runs through Easter. Also look for give-away specials from authors during the Egg-cerpt Exchange.

For more information head over to Tina Galye’s site.