September Literary Challenge and Bernice Thurman Hunter


No, don't run screaming for the hills - not you, me.
Query letter time is fast approaching.

I've still got to enter all the changes I've been scribbling all over the MS (and if you think your editing life is frantic, check out Diana Gabaldon's current schedule), and I've got reams of advice, including some from Joanna Bourne, to plough through and distil, and then I've got to polish the letter. Then it's agent selection and query time.

The September Literary Resolution comes at just the right month:
"Submit. Submit to your dream of being a writer. Submit your work to a contest, a local newspaper, a literary journal."
Here're the paragraphs I've got so far:
Exiled from her Spanish homeland by the Inquisition and separated from her family as they flee their home, 18 year old Rosa must place her life in the hands of a stranger from the Ottoman Empire. Baha, estranged from his own father and returning to his homeland after ten years, is her one hope of reaching Constantinople and reuniting with her family. The fact that he's attractive and tender is an unexpected pleasure.

As they travel together, her burning drive to be reunited with her loved ones is matched by a deepening desire for the man at her side -- but all too soon they may run out of time to be together. Rosa's family will likely not accept her marriage to a man of different faith, let alone one who has been renounced by his family. Yet before she can even introduce them, their reunion is cut short by the arrest of her father and brother at the hands of the Sultan's Grand Vizier. Rosa and Baha are the only ones that can rescue them, and together prove that their love can withstand their differences.
Meanwhile, if you're already published, and your book happens to include a romance of any kind, why not submit your book for review to our One Hundred Romances blog?

And now, Bernice Thurman Hunter. If you haven't read the Booky series (starting with That Scatterbrain Booky) or the Margaret series (starting with A Place for Margaret) and all of Hunter's other books - some MG, some YA, most taking place in the first half of the 20th Century in the greater Toronto area, then you're missing out on some amazing Canadiana.

I devoured Hunter's books when I was younger and still make time to reread them. She was awarded the Order of Canada a short while before she passed away, for her contribution to Canadian Literature. As her daughter says:

When she was younger, "she gathered her courage and sent some of her writing to L.M. Montgomery, treasuring the response, when it came: "Do keep writing, you have a lively imagination, characters ring true". L.M. Montgomery further advised her to "Keep up your education" – but university was out of the question for a child from such a poor family."

She didn't actually publish her first book until she was 59!

The first time I visited Toronto, I looked for all the places I knew from her books, but many of them just don't have the 1930s flavour I'd expected. I know, I know, it was silly to expect the corner of Yonge and Bloor streets to look the way they'd had back then, but she was my main frame of reference for the city. Swansea, Swansea!


Carol Riggs said…
Hey, your novel sounds very intriguing, Deniz! :) And I haven't read the Booky series but they also sound interesting. I had to smile about her not actually publishing her first book until she was 59--at this rate, that'll be me! (I'm 51 now)

Take care, Happy Sunday.
Michael Offutt said…
I really like the setting in those two paragraphs that you've included above. 1) I've always wanted to know more about the Ottoman empire and 2) I like Spain and all things Spanish and 3) I've always had ideas in my head as to what Constantinople might have looked like. What an intriguing book you're working on.
Marcia Richards said…
Interesting book excerpt! Good luck with your editing. I'll keep those children's books in mind for my grandaughters.
Fun read. Sounds like a great book!
I'm going to check into the Booky series. Good luck on your goals this week!
Nice job distilling your book to a synopsis -- that can be so hard!

Good luck on your goals this week, and finding an agent to work with.
Nas Dean said…
Hi Deniz,

It Sounds like a great book!
I'm going to check into the Booky series. Good luck on your goals this week!
yikici said…
Heya Deniz, your synopsis sounds great -there's so much rich history within the Ottoman Empire that I'm intrigued about your novel as a whole.

Keep that-positivity-a-flowing :)
Deniz Bevan said…
Whew! [wipes brow] Thanks so much for the kind words, everyone. Glad to know I'm on the right track...
allie said…
Hi Deniz. Your book blurb is an intriguing mix of culture and romance. Very interesting! Good luck with your goals. :)
L'Aussie said…
Hi again Deniz. See, twice in one day! You are working so hard so I'm sure you'll be rewarded. I love your two crafted paragraphs. Looking forward to reading more!

Tracy Krauss said…
Enjoyed the peek into your book. Keep on polishing and keep on submitting! Thanks for stopping by my blog too.
Can't wait to read a little more and then a little more. That was a great little teaser. Thanks for stopping by today. Will visit back soon.
Brynne said…
Sounds yummy, Deniz! Cant wait to read more! Cheering for you from afar, dear soul!:)
Trisha said…
Oooh, good luck with the querying!! It can be so scary, yet so exciting!!
Al said…
Good luck with you querying!
Sounds like a fascinating time to write about.
Anonymous said…
Best of luck with the submittion process. It sounds like you have a good handle on things.

Have a great week :)
Deniz Bevan said…
Aww, thank you Denise!

Thanks Tracy, Writing Well, Brynne, Trisha, Al and Gene! You guys are so supportive :-)
Anonymous said…
Good luck. This isn't the first time I've read excerpts about Rosa and Baha. They are an intriguing couple.

Have a great week.
alberta ross said…
that is so hard to do - well done on yours - you've conveyed the essence of the book in 2 paras - am dead impressed - make me want to read it (even if you didn't have a Baha also)
Susan Barclay said…
Hey, Deniz - I've nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award. Check it out at!
Crystal Collier said…
I love your blurb. Querying I think is actually the easiest part of the whole process. It's hooking the agent once they've requested your work that's the challenge. =)
Susan Fields said…
I love your query - sounds like an exciting book! Good luck with the querying!!!
Deniz Bevan said…
Thank you Medeia - glad you liked it!

Aww, thanks alberta - it's fun sharing a name :-)

Ooh, thanks Susan!

Crystal, you think querying is easy? Oh my, got any tips?

Thanks Susan!! Two Susans :-)
Glynis said…
Wow, you went to Colchester Castle? That is where my daughter had her wedding reception. We had drinks in the gardens and then had the whole place to ourselves for eating and drinking after the visitors had gone. It was great roaming around with wedding cake in hand!

Love you trying the toga! Just being you is good.
Deniz Bevan said…
That sounds lovely Glynis - I didn't know you could have receptions there!
Glynis said…
Yes,in The Charles Grey room. After the tourists have left you are free to roam the museum. We had the wedding at the Old Library in the town hall and walked to the Castle. The shoppers cheered, it was a hot day so spirits were high.

The cost was half the price of hiring one of the venues outside of town. Worth knowing for someone. Thought I'd share. Our daughter loved being a princess in a castle on her day!
Deniz Bevan said…
Sounds like a dream, Glynis! If my friend hadn't already chosen a venue I'd definitely suggest it to her.

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