Not Home for the Holidays is the reverse-Hallmark Christmas movie where the country girl finds her city HEA.
The week before Christmas, quirky, country girl Emma Lopez is in New York City, aiming to win a social media contest for small-business owners. Minutes before her high-stakes interview, an impulsive, sizzling kiss under the mistletoe with a handsome businessman turns into an even bigger surprise
She goes all-in enjoying the holiday excitement of the city and shaking up a certain dapper businessman. Thanks to a snowstorm, her phone, and a couple more kisses, she counts herself a winner. Then, her high-spirited attitude leads to an unexpected opportunity of a lifetime, one she’s certain she can’t accept.
A couple weekends ago, my friends invited me over, just to hang out and maybe have some wine. I arrived, with no makeup, hair not done, and a hoodie. It was a gorgeous fall day... They asked if I wanted to join them outside to snap a few photos; I declined, saying I'd been at my desk all day and didn't feel "picture-y." Well, you can see that attitude didn't last long. We stayed outside until the sun went down and our teeth were chatting from the cool night air. We plan to do it again after the first big snowfall, so stand by. Hopefully, those photos will show up here in a couple months.
My book of the month is a Christmas story, but do not worry. I'm not rushing through autumn. I just want ya'll to be ready when the holiday mood strikes.
I plan to spend November getting in a couple more long walks, joining in on the National Novel Writing Month excitement, and trying out some new baking recipes.
I hope you all have some festive plans for the month. Come find me on the socials so I can follow you back and see what you're up to. I'm easy to find, just look for @isabelledrake!
Excerpt From Not Home for the Holidays:
The elevator is straight ahead, flanked by a row of gray and white marble columns. Garlands and potted poinsettias are everywhere. The greens are wrapped around the columns, the pots are beside the elevator doors and placed in exact locations along the walls. Classical music drifts through the air. The soles of my boots hit the tile floor with a smart smack and the echo of my walk follows me as I move closer to the elevator then stop. I push the up button. As I wait, I recognize the song. It’s Deck the Halls, but its barely recognizable in the very formal classical version.
Lights above blink and seconds later, the doors separate, revealing a man, standing squarely in the center of the car. He’s wearing a navy-blue suit, white and blue striped shirt, and coordinating blue tie. That may sound basic, but this guy is anything but average. Everything about him says attention to detail and tailor made. Even his face, with his deep brown eyes and perfectly positioned brown hair, looks custom made. Bespoke and perfect. When our gazes connect, I get the sensation that he’s looking at me. Not a glance. He’s really, really looking at me. A little something in me jumps. Well, maybe not so little. Something simmers through me, making me warm all over. Inside and out. I stand there too long, him looking at me and me staring back at him.
Me smoldering the whole time.
November is NANO month. For some writers that's a whole month of writing - all day everyday. What happens after the first draft?
Part of revising can be workshopping. Below are some guiding questions that can be used for part of the workshopping process.
WORKSHOP QUESTIONS - FOR THE AUTHOR AND READER
Questions for the author:
Answer these questions in general:
How do you make yourself want to write?
How do you create authentic characters instead of generic ones?
How do you keep readers reading?
Answer this specifically in regard to the workshop manuscript:
What are you looking for feedback/help on?
What story/message/etc are you trying to tell?
What are you hoping the reader gets from your story?
Who do you think your audience would be?
Questions for the reader:
Overall story experience:
How does the title contribute to the story experience?
Does the movement of the story feel organic?
How does the transformation depict the 5 story elements?
Is the story being told or revealed?
How does the setting contribute to the overall experience?
What do the characters in this story want?
Does the story have life such as a transformation in the life of the character?
What makes the characters relatable? If not relatable, how does that impact the story?
Was there anything that seemed out of place/character?
What does the character learn/change? If not, why not?
Where does the story tension come from?
Is story pacing intention? Effective?
Consider the end. What about it satisfying? Is anything missing?
On a small plate, combine the ground ginger and sea salt. Rub the lime wedge along half of the rim of a rocks glass and dip the glass in the mixture. (For a finer texture, pound the ginger and sea salt with a mortar and pestle.)
Add the tequila, allspice dram, amaretto, pumpkin puree, lime juice and agave nectar into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.