Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Naked Dance

I wonder how many hits this post is going to get solely because of the scandalous nature of the title.

The other day, I had a naked dream. Why is naked the embarrassment of choice in dreams? There's a treasure trove of other embarrassing things a person can do, but there's only one everyone seems to be concerned about.

Well, I was in public and I was mortified, and then I stopped and thought about my situation. "Every single time I'm naked in public, it turns out I'm dreaming," I realized. "From now on, whenever I'm naked I should just assume it's a dream."

So I started dancing, because when one is naked in public and decides not to care, this is the natural thing to do.

Then I had another logical thought (and this is my favorite part). "What if the one time I'm naked in public when I'm not dreaming, I think I'm dreaming and start dancing when I should be looking for clothes?" This sadly put an end to my dancing days.



When my husband and I first got married, we had a lot of weird dreams. I think it was because we were still getting used to sleeping with another person, so we didn't sleep as soundly. Once Andrew snuggled up against me in the middle of the night and whimpered. "I'm so scared," he said.

I tried not to laugh as I rubbed his back. "It's okay, I'm here," I said. He woke up to the back rub and couldn't imagine why I was consoling him. After I said "I'm here," he pulled away and said, "So?" and rolled over.

Probably my favorite, though, was when I dreamt Andrew was having a seizure. I freaked out. I remembered that you're supposed to hold down someone having a seizure so they don't hurt themselves. Poor Andrew was minding his own business and sleeping soundly when all of a sudden I pounced on him, pinned him down, and shouted, "Are you okay?! Wake up! Wake up!"

Dreams are fun.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Can't Belive I Trusted Him

When I wrote Sacred Fire, I was pretty na├»ve. I thought historical accuracy was of upmost importance, and if I made even the tiniest mistake, I’d be crucified by readers. Since I didn’t know much about Rome before I started my research, I was pretty nervous.

 This turned out to be my greatest strength. I was so neurotic that every time I wrote about a real event, I had to find an ancient account and perfectly retell it. (If Plutarch and Livy still had copyrights for their work, they could sue me easily.) Characters didn’t smell or eat unless I made sure the smell and food existed back then. I looked up ancient artifacts to describe furniture and jewelry.

I was almost done with my book when I found out people don’t really care.

Take Arthur Golden, the author of Memoirs of a Geisha, for example. I won’t bash authors on my blog, but I'll make an exception for this.


An interview with Mineko

When I first read Memoirs of a Geisha, I adored the descriptions and the ceremonies and the history. I believed everything in the book was true because he said so in his acknowledgments: “Although the character of Sayuri and her story are completely invented, the historical facts of a geisha’s day-to-day life in the 1930s and 1940s are not.” I trusted him because there was so much detail in his book, and surely someone wouldn’t just make things up. Then I made a disturbing discovery:

Geisha are not prostitutes.

Golden got all his information from the famous geisha Mineko Iwasaki. She told him everything there was to know about her world. When Golden’s book was published with intricate detail about a geisha's sexuality, Mineko was mortified and insisted that the book was full of lies. Since Golden publicly thanked her for her help, people believed she helped spread the lie and she was ostracized.

Mineko Iwasaki published her own book about the truth of being a geisha, and it’s fascinating. I highly recommend it.

One might argue that Mineko Iwasaki is lying and Golden is telling the truth. Here’s my counter argument:
-          Why would she tell him geisha were prostitutes if she didn’t want anyone to know? 
-          Geisha make a fortune performing and hosting parties. Why would they sell sex when they already make so much?
-          If geisha keep it a secret that they’re prostitutes, how do they get customers?
-          Mineko Iwasaki’s book not only denies that geisha are prostitutes, but it debunks dozens of facts in Golden's book. It doesn’t make sense that she would go to all that work to help Golden with his book and then go to a lot more work to make up lies in her own book. 
-          He says she was very open about selling herself. Considering how upset she is over his book, that obviously isn't true.

Why does this bother me so much? It’s not that I did the work and he didn’t. I'm bothered that I thought I knew everything there was to know about geisha, and now I know he filled my head up with lies. He tricked me. 

If a writer lies, it defeats the purpose of writing historical fiction. Why not write a fantasy novel about a culture on another planet? These are real people we’re talking about. I write the truth because I respect the dead and I want to honestly depict their lives. Golden not only damaged the memory of thousands of deceased geisha, but also the reputation of hundreds of living geisha. He ruined lives. He got away with it.

I stand by my belief that history is good enough the way it is. Fascinating things have happened to amazing people, and their stories deserve to be told. The truth is always more interesting than the lie. If history isn’t good enough for a writer, the writer should leave history alone.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Burritos and Burnt Honey Horns

I'll never forget my first Thanksgiving with my husband. His whole family was over and they cooked pretty much the whole meal. I wanted to contribute at least one thing, so I offered to make my mom's famous honey horns.

There was of course some in-law kitchen tension because I wanted to impress everyone. What is it about cooking in front of in-laws that makes new brides so nervous?

I burnt the honey horns. I'm not talking about a little burnt, either, I'm talking about smoke alarm going off, open-windows-and-doors kind of burnt. I had only on thing to do, and it was a disaster.

I wanted to throw them away before anyone saw them and forget it ever happened. My mother-in-law is a very sweet person, so when she saw how mortified I was, she leaped into the kitchen, stuffed a honey horn in her mouth, and said, "This is good!" I tried to throw them away and push her aside at the same time while she fought to reach over my shoulder to take more, saying, "These are so good, I can't stop eating them!"

Another year we went to spend Thanksgiving with Andrew's aunt, but when we arrived, no one was there. We called his mom and found out his granddad had to go to the emergency room. He was fine (he was only dehydrated, so they just gave him an IV), but Thanksgiving had to be put on hold.

We were an hour away from our apartment and we were hungry, but the only place open was a Mexican restaurant. I'll always remember that as the year we had burritos for Thanksgiving.

I have to add a disclaimer that we did have a real Thanksgiving the next day. Andrew is horrified whenever I even suggest that we didn't celebrate Thanksgiving properly, so I had to clarify. His whole family takes the holiday very seriously. I always thought that was a little weird, until I connected it with his last name.

To my fellow American readers, I wish you all a pleasant and memorable Thanksgiving. To my non-American readers, I hope you have a good day all the same. Happy Turkey Day!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Muses and Totems and Other Fun Things

We all have Muses: elusive sources of inspiration. Something I find very helpful is to visualize what my muse looks like. (It's also helpful to visualize inner critics, which we'll do later). My muse is a fairy. She's sweet and fun, and whenever I stop writing, she tickles me until I start again.
I have my fairy hanging over my desk. Many writers call these totems: objects that inspire or help them write, or visual muses.
Do you have a totem or a muse? What does it look like?
A NaNo forum hosted a fun discussion on this. The read it, click here. I pasted some of my favorites below.
“Mine is a gargoyle perched atop my PC. He chases away the inner critic and inspires.”
“I have a little painting of my main character. Having her glare at me should be pretty encouraging to stop goofing off and go write!”

“I have a glow-in-the-dark zombie devil duck.”
“For this year, I designed a book cover from my banner, printed it on photo paper, and posted it on my bulletin board. Just looking at it makes me want to write the book.”
"Mine is a four inch high stone statue of thoth; the Egyptian god of knowledge and writing.”
“The Mean Green Writing Machine. It’s a green plastic construction helmet with NaNo stickers on it. I put it on to show people I’m "working" on my novel.”
“I have a collage of photos I found online that I cut out and put on some posterboard. It really helps me to have a visual representation of the main themes in my story.” (I did this for Sacred Fire.)
“I tried out the totem thing last year, but it didn't work out. That was because it was a stuffed cheetah plush thing. And that is NOT where my inspiration comes from, oh no...”
 “My personal totem would probably be an octopus. I love them, they're really intelligent and no matter how big they are, they can squeeze through any opening as long as their eyeballs and beak fits through it. Talk about there's-always-a-way!”
“I have a toy squid, aptly named 'Mr Squishy.' He sits on the speaker on the sill of our bay window and oversees my efforts with his sagely expression. If I'm ever troubled, he offers me a helpful head to squish. He's a very helpful old soul.”
Click below to read a fantastic poem about muses and how difficult it is to be a writer with children. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

"A Book Like that Would Never Sell"

When I heard about the Vestal Virgins, I knew instantly I had to write about them. I didn’t look forward to researching Rome, though. I don't like writing about violence and corrupt politicians, personally.

To my surprise, my research didn’t reveal the same culture we see depicted in the movies. I read stories of courage, religious devotion, and self-sacrifice. I grew to admire the Romans, and I decided to be the first to depict them in a positive light.

I spoke to three Roman professors at BYU, and they agreed that there is a lot of good to say.

I had a fascinating discussion on this subject in a forum that you can read here.

Another professor spoke at my college about modern depictions of ancient cultures. After the lecture, I approached him and shared my idea for my novel. I said (and I quote) “I want to write about Romans the way they really were.”

He looked me straight in the eye and said, “A book like that would never sell.”

Geez, mister, tell me how you really feel.

He wasn’t the only person who listened to my idea with trepidation. In my post “The Blessing of Mean Readers,” I talked about a critiquer who agreed to review my whole manuscript. I was so excited – until I explained to her my vision for the project. She felt my depiction was one-sided. After reading only two chapters, she said she didn’t want to continue because she didn't agree with my premise. That cut me pretty deep.

Why did I continue? It’s not just that I believed in the project. My whole purpose in writing is to speak to people, and if no one’s interested in my ideas, writing loses its purpose. I continued with the book because I liked it. I enjoy reading it. I believe firmly that if I like reading a book, other people will enjoy it too.

Some of us spend a lot of time trying to write popular books. Instead, we should write likable books. 

Onions

I love stories. Funny, sad, interesting, I'm a story collector, and I would love to hear any stories my readers would like to share with me.

My dearest friend and part-time mom Carol Joy Smith wrote a beautiful story I want to share. It's one of those remember forever, show to everyone you know, sit back and say wow! kind of stories. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it inspires you to write your own stories -- and maybe send some of them my way.

Comments can only be 4,000 words long, so if you have anything longer, you can send it to my email: teralynpilgrim@gmail.com. If I like it, I'll even post it.


Without further ado, I present "Onions."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NaNoToons

If you're unfamiliar with the Old Spice commercial he's referring to, you simply have to see it: click here.
Sesame Street's version is also a must-see: click here.
My Alma Mater did a fun version too: click here.

My First Request From an Agent

Wi-hoo! After a month of rejections steadily trickling in, an agent has finally shown some interest.

I found this agent at AgentQuery.com. It took her 18 days to respond to my query. This was a personalized query (it specifically addressed the agent), and the first paragraph looked like this:

I am seeking representation for Sacred Fire, a historical fiction that is complete at 88,000 words. I am interested in your agency because it offers stability and support to your authors.. You stood out to me because you specifically said on your website that you look for well-researched historical fiction, and I am passionate about coming as close to the truth as possible in my writing.

You'll notice there's a pretty obvious typo in there (and the second sentence is a little awkward, oops). People ask how important typos are for agents. I guess we know the answer to this specific agent.

This was her response:

 I have read your query with interest and would like to see the first three chapters.

I do not charge a reading fee, but I do require a three week exclusive read.
Please email the materials as one .rtf, .odt, or.pdf file (no .doc or docx files please) that has embedded your query letter and contact information.

I look forward to getting more familiar with your work!

The exclusive read thing is kind of lame, but since she's the only one reading my work at this time, I'm more than happy to oblige. 

This is how I will respond:

Thank you for your interest in my novel, Sacred Fire, a historical fiction of a Roman priestess of Vesta. I would be happy to give you a three-week exclusive read. After reading the summary of the novel ********, I can see you enjoy strong female protagonists in historical settings. My novel would be a perfect fit for you and The ******** Literary Agency.

Wish me luck!

You can read other successful query letters here and here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

NaNoWriMo – it’s even fun to say

I, along with over 100,000 other writers, am participating in this year’s National Novel Writing Month challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Today is Day 20, and it’s been an adventure! 

It’s also been one of the best things I’ve ever done. Like I’ve said before, my last book, Sacred Fire, took me 3 years to write. To finish an 88,000 word novel in three years, I only had to write about 2,500 words a month. To finish NaNo on time, I have to write 1,700 words a day.

There is some pretty intense opinions in the writing world about whether or not this challenge is a good idea. Some people think it’s a waste of time because writing that quickly will only churn out crap. Others say that when they write slowly and when they write quickly, the work comes out the same. Nathan Bransford hosted a fabulous discussion about this on his blog. 

The biggest reason I wanted to do this was because of my Mood Hang-Up. I generally think that I can only write at certain times when I’m in certain moods, etc. I wondered, “What if after all this time, I could have written books in a short period, and I just didn’t know it?” It was definitely worth finding out.

Personally, I have noticed a decline in the quality of my work, but everything I’ve written is usable. I don’t think editing will be too difficult. The words are more fluid now than when I painstakingly took my time to write everything perfectly, and even after I edit everything, I’ll finish in a fraction of the time it took to write Sacred Fire. Bonnie Goldberg said it perfectly when she wrote that we expect our writing to come out like perfected sculptures, when really, we only need to make clay. You mold the clay into a perfect shape later.

The verdict: NaNoWriMo is fabulous. Everyone should at least try it – pushing limits and experimenting with your talent is always a good thing.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Edward, Jacob, and Gender Equality

I’ve finally submitted to reading the Twilight books. I don’t go in for fads much, but a friend of mine gave me a copy (I never say no to free books). I eventually read it.
I actually enjoyed the first book. Sure, the writing’s bad, but I’ve read much worse books that were written for much more mature audiences. I’m not going to name names *cough, Time Traveler’s Wife, ahem*. Her work wasn’t extraordinarily bad by any means. Sure, it’s a sappy romance, but that’s because the genre’s melodramatic, not because the author is. My guess: most writers are just catty.
I just finished the second book, and I have a criticism that I have yet to hear from anyone:
Edward is kind of a douche.
He’s so bossy, for one thing. He always tells Bella what to do, and I don’t think he respects her. In the first book, he even drags her by her jacket and shoves her into his car. (I promise, it’s on page 103.) Um, police? I know it was supposed to be funny, but if a man did that to me, I would break his window. Ask anyone who knows me, I totally would.

That's what I'm talking about!
Now Jacob, he’s pretty cool. Bella says, “I want to go cliff diving,” he says, “I’ll take you.” She says, “I want a motorcycle,” he says, “When can we ride?” When Bella rides, Jacob’s right there with her, while Edward’s in the back ground saying, “Go home to Charlie. When you get there, go to the kitchen where you belong. Then make me a sandwich.” Page 186.


By the way, when I did my teaching mini-internship, I met an 18-year-old Native American boy with long hair and everything whose name was Jacob. When he introduced himself to me, I said, "Seriously? Your name is Jacob?" He scowled at me and said, "I'm named after the Biblical Jacob."

101 Best Sites For Writers (pretty much the most awesome resource ever)

There's an overwhelming plethora of online resources for writers. It's never been easier to learn everything there is to know about writing, publishing, and everything in between. It's also difficult to find the best resources. I hate nothing more than wasting time sifting through web pages.

If you have this problem, the first thing you should do is subscribe to my blog. The second thing you should do is register for the Writer's Digest newsletter, because when you do, they send you a PDF file of 101 Best Websites for Writers. (This sounds a lot like I'm selling something, except I'm not getting paid.) Basically, Writer's Digest knows what's hot in the world of writing, so if they say something's good, you take their word for it.

All the sites in their list are organized in the following categories:

Creativity
Writing Advice
General Resources
Jobs and Markets
Online Writing Communities
Everything Agents
Publishing/Marketing Resources
General/Niches
Just for Fun

Click here and you can register in the upper left-hand corner.

Another good way to determine whether or not a site is good is to look for the Writer's Digest Seal of Approval on the home page. If a sight made it onto the coveted 101 Best Sites list, it will proudly display this symbol:
I just realized that putting that image on my page makes it look like I'm on the list. Oops. This is just an example of what it looks like.

Happy searching!

Disappointment + Weakness = Opportunity

It took me three years to write "Sacred Fire." Yeah, that's a little excessive. I used to write all the time, but then I grew up, went to college, got married, and I got distracted. After a while, I felt like I didn't have it in me anymore. I was just as good of a writer, but I had to wait for The Muse to grace me with her presence, and she didn't come very often. I didn't like where I was headed and I got pretty depressed.

I recently got my license to be a teacher. It was a back-up plan, since I hadn't published a best-seller like I planned to when I was a freshman in college. (I also planned on being an editor if I was unpublished, but after a few jobs decided I despised it.) I thought I was guaranteed a teaching job because the No Child Left Behind program fired mass amounts of people. Pretty much the moment I got my license, Mississippi had horrendous budget cuts and they didn't rehire any of the fired teachers. I only found two openings, and I didn't get an interview from either of them.

Now I'm stuck at a boring temp job where I make even less than a teacher and there's hardly anything to do. I had told everyone I was going to be a teacher, and then I had to explain to them that I didn't get a job. Embarassing.

I was complaining about my lousy life to my husband a few months back, and he pointed out that I should write at work. "Of course I should," I told him, "but I can't write when I'm bored. My job is a sucker of creativity." He shrugged and said, "That's too bad. You could get paid to write."

This got me fantasizing. Paid to write... that's the dream.

I decided it was a dream worth fighting for, so even though I didn't feel capable of writing at work, I gave it a shot. The writing sucked at first, but then it got better. After years of sporadic writer's block, I got into the habit of writing. That's how I finished my book.

I've discovered that a Muse can be at your beck and call if you invite her in often enough.

Life can suck, but I think sometimes life sucks for a reason. Maybe my lame temp job was destiny. They say you should do what the universe tells you to do, and my luck forced me to sit in front of a computer eight hours a day, whether I wanted to or not. It was like the universe told me, "Stop being a baby and write."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Titles Make me Scream

I noticed I'm writing on a theme, so I thought I'd go with it. The theme is:

The Three Hardest Things to Write
  1. The query
  2. The first chapter
  3. The title
These three things are so hard because a. They're starting points, so you don't have your momentum going yet, and b. They sell the book. They make or break you. A book can be popular if it has a crappy chapter, even if it has a crappy ending, but if it has a crappy first chapter or a crappy title, it's not going to make it off the book shelf.
I wanted my book to have the words "Vestal Virgin" in the title. My vision was that people would think, "A Vestal Virgin? What is that? I simply must pick up this book and find out." The truth is I was stuck on "Memoirs of a Geisha" and wanted my title to be exactly the same. 

I took a writing class where we had to make a list of ten titles for our book and everyone had to vote on their favorite. I already had an idea for my title, but I humored the professor for the grade. Well, everyone unanimously hated the title I wanted. Notice a trend here, anyone?

Here's the list I gave them:

The Story of a Vestal Virgin
A Vestal Virgin's Song
The Song of a Vestal Virgin
The Priestess
A Priestess of Rome
Tuccia
Sacred Burnings
Sacred Fire
The Fire of Vesta
Vesta's Fire

I'm not saying any of these are especially good, but "Sacred Fire" stood out to everyone. (I liked "Sacred Burnings" better because then I could draw a connection between the literal burning of the fire and the figurative inner burning of the heart, but everyone thought it sounded like a cult that set things on fire for their rituals.)

I decided to use "Sacred Fire" as a working title until I came up with something better. I never did, and I eventually grew to love it. Critiquers win again.

The Blessing of Mean Readers

After my unpleasant experience with my query letter in Absolute Write Water Cooler, I started to doubt myself. I had visions of the people in American Idol who sing their hearts out thinking they're good. Poor things. Every talent has similar Idol wannabes. I've met several writers who were so bad, I instantly thought of William Hung. The sad fact of the matter is writers can't judge their work as effectively as critiquers can. With trepidation, I posted my first chapter on the site.

Everyone unanimously hated it.

 I agreed with their critiques and graciously deleted it and submitted a second chapter. To my surprise, they hated that one too. Starting to get frustrated, I switched the third chapter with the second chapter, making the third the first, the second the second, and so fourth. Finally, people said it was the right place to start my book.

Critiques hurt, but they're also a huge blessing. They kept apologizing to me for being brutal, but I kept telling them I was grateful. Since I graduated college, I had no one to help me become a better writer. One bad critique can improve my writing more than twenty writing sessions on my own. After all, if I knew what I was doing wrong, I wouldn't do it wrong.

The way I see it, writers have three choices. They can:
  1. Get rejected by a critiquer who explains why
  2. Get rejected by an agent who doesn't explain why
  3. Get rejected by readers when it's too late to fix it
 By the way, the worst critique I ever had came from my second chapter. Half way through, someone got bored and wrote in the margin "I'm losing the will to live." Ouch. I asked her to read more of my stuff and she gave me some of the best advice I've ever had.

Query Letter Hell

I have query letters on the brain, so I’m going to share with you my personal experience with Query Letter Hell thus far.
We call it “hell” for a good reason. A query letter is a one-page letter that summarizes a novel (yes, all 50,000 – 100,000 words of it) that an author sends to an agent, and if an agent likes it, he/she reads the book. Sending queries is like applying for a job you’ll probably never get.
I completed a query I was excessively proud of. I was on the verge of sending it out when I heard about Absolute Write Water Cooler. This is the best forum for writers in existence. Their advice is both expert and brutal. At the last minute, I submitted my query letter for them to critique.
They unanimously hated it.
This is my old query.
Dear Agent:

Sacred Fire, an 87,000 word historical fiction, captures the true story of a young girl selected through lottery to become a priestess in Ancient Rome.

The goddess of the hearth, Vesta, was arguably the most important god in the Roman Pantheon. Six priestesses – called the Vestal Virgins – were charged with performing all of the rites and ceremonies for this particular goddess, including retaining their virginity and caring for a small fire that had to burn constantly. The Romans believed that failure to properly care for the goddess would bring about war, famine, disease, and possibly the complete annihilation of Rome.

Tuccia is brought into the priesthood at six-years old. As she grows up, she has to adjust to the extreme life of a Vestal Virgin: fame, fortune, constant labor for her religion, upholding the virtues of chastity and modesty, the responsibility for the safety of the entire Roman people, and the fear of being accused of the ultimate sin and facing the ultimate punishment – death.

This book is fascinating for anyone interested in women’s history. The story of the Vestal Virgins has never been told, making this book stand out from others in its genre. Each meticulously researched detail will captivate readers and pull them into a world they never knew existed.

After receiving a Bachelor’s in English with a Creative Writing emphasis from Brigham Young University, I have worked for six years as an editor, a technical writer, a freelance writer, and a ghostwriter. I traveled to Rome under an ORCA research grant and received first-hand experience with the area and the ruins of the ancient world. Portions of this book have been reviewed and critiqued by college writing groups and multiple professors.

Thank you for your time and for taking my novel into consideration. Please feel free to contact me for the complete manuscript.

You might ask, “What’s wrong with this letter?” My critiquers would have said, “What’s NOT wrong with this letter?” The biggest problem (of many) is I don’t tell the story. Wikipedia says everything I just said, and you wouldn’t sign a book contract with Wikipedia.
Querk Shark is a great site for reading good and bad queries. The biggest problem I’ve seen on the site is queries read like the back cover of the book. The back cover hardly ever tells the story. It might tell the genre and say, “This is a story about love, adventure, and bravery,” and so forth. A query letter should have as much of the story as possible, except for the ending. Agents should still want more.
It took no less than FIVE drafts before the critiquers said my query was good enough to send. By this time, my ego was pretty bruised, but I’m very grateful I found my critiquers before I sent out a failing query. Here’s what I have now.
WARNING: QUERY CONTAINS MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS.
Dear Theresa Park:
 
I am seeking representation for Sacred Fire, a historical fiction that is complete at 88,000 words. I am interested in your agency because you have a small number of clients and can give your authors personal attention. A synopsis and the first three chapters are included in this email.
 
Tuccia trembled during her trial as she waited to see if she would be executed for a crime she did not commit: losing her virginity. For other Roman women, this would not be an offense, but for a priestess of Vesta, such a sin could displease the gods and condemn Rome to ruin.
 
It is hard for her to believe this is not a nightmare, since she has had this nightmare over and over ever since she was a child – ever since another Vestal Virgin was executed for losing her virginity and was buried alive.
 
Tuccia refused to accept that her friend was guilty and cannot forgive Vesta for letting her die. Her anger with the gods became a defining feature of the past 30 years of her life, even though she always wanted to have unwavering faith in her religion. As she learned about the strenuous demands of being a Vestal Virgin, as she experienced the Second Punic War and the devastating battle of Cannae, as her strength was tested again and again, Tuccia’s doubt kept crippling her. She feels like she always comes up short.
 
When a priest tried to seduce her, she quickly spurned his advances, but now he wants revenge. Tuccia knows the only way to escape this is to prove the gods are on her side by performing some kind of miracle. Other Vestal Virgins have lit fires out of nothing and carried ships past impossible barriers. She wants to believe the gods will help her do something miraculous, but it is hard for her to trust them when they would not help her friend.
 
I received a Bachelor’s degree in English from Brigham Young University. I have worked for six years as an editor, a freelance writer, and a ghostwriter.
 
Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
 
Sincerely,
 
Teralyn Rose Pilgrim 

To read more about why the first query was bad, click here.
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