Clash of the Titles Competitors!
by Jennifer Slattery
This morning I spent a fair amount of time researching dissociative disorders for a romance novel I’m working on, (don’t ask). According to the mental health experts, we all have a tendency to mentally check out once in awhile, to temporarily leave our problems and to-do lists behind and dive into a world of our own making—or of someone else’s making. COTT conquerors, Erin Rainwater and Cathy Bryant, have done a wonderful job of drawing the reader into their story worlds.
I loved Erin’s competing excerpt because she did a great job of using deep POV. I review for Novel Reviews and as a reviewer, there is nothing more irritating than an overabundance of dialogue tags:
“Can we go?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” he said.
“Why not?” she questioned.
Aaargh! Notice the difference in Erin’s competing excerpt from The Arrow that Flieth by Day:
Her hand moved toward his bare shoulder. She stroked it gently, stirring him into wakefulness.
"What is it?"
"Will you hold me?" Silence pressed heavily upon her. "Please, Dakota? I'm scared."
"There's no need to be. We're locked up tight. Nothing can get in."
She felt dejected, but entreated him again. "Please?"
He sighed deeply, then rolled over. He did not reach for her, but studied her careworn face in the dim light of the one chandelier lamp they had left burning at night during Gregg's illness.
And notice how our readers responded:
“The emotion in first scene was over powering. The guilt is spot on, having been in that situation, even if the outcome was slightly different and the drs ended up saving our son.”
In The Arrow that Flieth by Day, Mandy Berringer is on the last leg of a homebound journey to Denver when a mistaken accusation by Indian warriors diverts the course of her life. Believed dead by her family, Mandy will do anything to get home. But a disabling accident, an epidemic, an unexpected love and a tragic loss prolong her separation from her family until she is finally reunited with them—only to be devastated by what she finds. The man she loves undergoes crushing trials of his own, and their search for each other leads them on separate journeys into new tests of faith and enduring love.
Intrigued? We were, too! Find out more about Erin Rainwater, The Arrow that Flieth by Day, and her other great novels at www.ErinRainwater.com.
Cathy Bryant’s novel, Texas Roads, competed during the week of November 29th, in The Best Action Scene category. Action scenes are very hard to do well. Extra words slow the reader down; yet lack of details leave them on the surface level. It’s like walking on a literary tightrope. Often it comes down to that precise word--ran or sped, trembled or shook—used to convey the desired emotion. In the excerpt Cathy chose, visuals effectively demonstrated chaos and an overall sense of urgency.
Notice how the trucks were parked.
“Fire trucks parked at odd angles in the street outside Granny's Kitchen, and Will Coleman, the fire chief, barked orders to the volunteer firemen.”
And notice the imagery Cathy used to convey the emotion of her characters.
“Icy tentacles wrapped around his throat and threatened his ability to breathe.”
Then, in three concise sentences, Cathy tells us exactly what’s at stake.
“Was she lying somewhere hurt? He searched the area around the depot where a large blaze still lingered. A lone figure fought against the fire. Dani!”
In Cathy Bryant’s Texas Roads, City gal Dani Davis just wants to find a place to call home. Miller's Creek, Texas, with its country charm and quirky citizens seems like the perfect place to start over. Perfect, that is, except for the cowboy who gives her a ride into town... Dani secretly finances renovations to downtown Miller's Creek, but malicious rumors force her to choose between keeping her involvement a secret and the home for which she's always longed. Then the discovery of an age-old secret propels her down a road she never expected to travel. Steve Miller is determined to save his dying hometown. When vandalism jeopardizes the Miller's Creek restoration project, he can't help but suspect Dani, whose strange behavior has become fodder for local gossips. Will Steve and Dani be able to call a truce for a higher cause, and in the process help Dani understand the true meaning of home?
You can find out more about Cathy and her books at www.cathybryant.com