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!


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