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Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. You can comment here or there.

[See today’s All-Time Favorites post below, but this entry qualifies for the Giveaway as well.]

I’m in a frantic tizzy today. Not only is today Littlest Monster’s 5th birthday, but I’m also trying to polish last year’s NaNoWriMo novel enough to send it off to the American Title contest (to be received by the deadline, I have to overnight it to NY this afternoon). I entered back in 2004 with a very early version of Letters (nothing at all like what it morphed into today) with no luck, and rightfully so. That was a pretty immature piece of work. But this is the last year they’re holding the contest, and so I’m sorely tempted.

Enough that I took a day of vacation and I’m whipping up a synopsis and query as well as polishing the first three chapters of Night Sun Rising. ;-) I’ve got a million errands to run today, too, for LM’s birthday, so the vacation day is serving a dual purpose.

Of the two finished drafts I have eating their heads off in my story stable, NSR seems to be the best structured and closest to final story (although it needs some elbow grease). It’s an odd mix of contemporary, fantasy, and romance. Not quite urban fantasy, exactly, unless a made up Mayan ruin in Guatemala counts for urban. Not as romance as some of my other stuff has been–I think there’s only one love scene. The emphasis is NOT on the relationship at all, but saving the world. Tons and tons of Mayan mythology, which I adore.

And of course my usual mix of blood and death. Hey, it’s the Maya after all: blood sacrifice was huge!

Remember, though, that the American Title contest has several phases. One of the most crucial (IMO) is the first line portion. It must have a unique voice and hook, as well as setting up what kind of story this is. First lines are HARD for me. I sat down earlier this week and tore apart the draft, shuffled things around, and came up with the following as an opening line. What do you think? Is it hooky enough?

If men were as easy to decipher as Mayan glyphs, then perhaps Jaid would have been able to translate

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