Order Steal My Heart
Steal My Heart
by Aimee O’Brian
When a fantasy turns
into a cold reality
Lexanne Harris had a plan down to the last sexy detail. Never did she think her attempt to spice up her love life with her boyfriend would involve her in a burglary with a sexier than sin thief whose emerald eyes and serious between the sheets skills are impossible to forget. As a police detective she is expected to stand on the side of the law and fight for justice. But what happens when the lines of justice blur and what’s wrong becomes way too tempting? The situation might be challenging but Lexanne is determined to get assigned to the case, recover the jewels and catch the culprit. The question is: What will she do with her sexy cat burglar when she catches him?

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Oh, the Possibilities…

Judging the Heart to Heart contest as a member of the San Francisco Area Romance Writers of America has been a wonderful experience. I read many delightful entries that inspire me to improve my own work. The not-so-delightful entries however have provided even greater impetus for my improvement.

As writers we get enamored of our own cleverness, a turn of phrase most profound, that adverb that must not be cut. To see the same qualities in another’s writing and see how they not only don’t work, but are in fact colossal mistakes, is eye-opening.  

Making comments back to that contestant in the kindest way possible is important. Letting her know what didn’t work and what did is the reason she entered, well that and the possibility of her story winning, being seen by an editor, publication followed by a spot on a best seller list. No one dreams bigger than a romance writer. We rely on happy endings.

The score sheet for the contest I judged is hard. I looked at what I considered entering and back at the score sheet and thought, my excerpt needs more work. Seeing entries that hit all twenty of the scoring areas which include pacing, plot, character development, setting, research, marketability – I won’t list all twenty – is motivating. After judging, I know now it can be done.

What’s more, when I send in my partials to those editors and agents who requested them at Nationals, my first three chapters damn well better hit all those points head on or I won’t get any requests for the full.

I think about where I started two years ago with one finished manuscript and no idea where to go from there to all I am learning now as I put my introverted self out there. I enter and judge contests. I submit manuscripts to editors and agents. I take all that feedback, all I am learning and revise, revise, revise – all while I work on my latest and greatest idea.

Outwardly I am practical, hardworking, and plucky. Inwardly, I am alternately self-aggrandizing and dejected. It doesn’t matter. I keep on. I might as well try to quit breathing as stop writing.

Introverted Emily Dickinson said it best as she put her words and her heart out there for the world: “I dwell in possibility.”