Something very interesting happened to me this morning. I got flogged. And I’m surprised to say it didn’t hurt, because I REALLY REALLY REALLY thought it was going to hurt. Not only did it NOT hurt, but it felt good, REALLY REALLY REALLY GOOD! So much so, I wouldn’t mind getting flogged again. Often. Someone, anyone, flog me, please!

What the hell am I talking about? I’m talking about a website called FLOGGING THE QUILL, which is a site I visit often, like once a day, where writers can take the FLOGOMETER CHALLENGE by submitting the first 16 lines of their book, and Ray Rhamey, the editor, will post those 16 lines on his page, along with a short critique, a little advice, and whether or not he’s compelled to turn the page and read more. Rarely does the man turn the page. What he does do is a lot of crossing out and rearranging. Needless to say, I’ve been sitting on pins and needles for the last two months waiting to hear from Ray, and at the same time, scared to death to hear from Ray, because the man is brutally honest. Well guess what….I heard from Ray. Today. He read the first 16 lines of SKYDOLL (CLICK THAT LINK and make me a top 10 writer on the site), a novel about love and sex at 35,000 feet, and not only did he turn the page, but he had several nice things to say about my work. The husband better watch out….I think I love Ray.

So here’s what Ray posted on his site, FLOGGING THE QUILL, which will be added over there on the right, underneath a new column I’ve created – WRITER SITES. If you’re a writer, scroll way down and take a look, it’s interesting…..

Heather’s first 16 lines of her chicklit novel:

Diet Coke no ice, Club soda with lime, coffee with cream, the never ending beverage service, that’s what I’m doing when I hear the muffled sound of a cell phone ringing. I shove a plastic scoop into a drawer of ice and trudge up to the front of the aircraft. In a pleasant sounding voice, I make an announcement that it is time to put away and stow all electronic devices, we’ll be landing soon. As I’m walking down the aisle and checking each row for compliance, I hear it again, the Ice Castles theme song, and that’s when it hits me. That’s my special ring!

“Flight Attendant Connors,” mumbles a manly voice in my ear. I quiver at the warm breath on my skin as a hand reaches up my skirt and a finger…oh my!

Bolting straight up, I gasp for air, and open my eyes. I’m awake. And I’m not on an airplane. Nor am I in a cheap dumpy airport hotel room. I’m in an apartment. A very nice apartment.

FUCK! I think what I really mean to say is FUCK FUCK FUCK! Because I’m sitting up in a bed that is not my bed. My bed, you see, is white and fluffy with dainty rosebuds embroidered around the edges. This bed is big and blue and cold. Yet very nice. And the room, it’s nothing like mine, which is small and light and cheery, cluttered with clothes and paperback books. Oh no, this room is huge and dark and meticulously clean. And ummm…there’s a man, a naked man I do not know lying in this strange bed beside me. Based on his tan muscular shoulders and the…
I turned the page

Good reasons to turn the page include a likeable voice, good writing, and a good story question or two — who is they guy, why is she there, did they…? I liked the description of the apartments as ways of characterizing the people.

I really have little in the way of nit-picking to do here. A couple of little things: “never ending” in the first paragraph should be hyphenated. Also, what happened to the cell phone ringing? I assume it’s in the apartment she wakes up in, probably in her purse, but I think that should be made clear. It could be the lead-in to the apartment descriptions, i.e. My cell phone rings inside my purse, which lies on the floor of a …etc.

However, I would have Heather delay the apartment descriptions to get to this part that comes on the next page:

God this is bad, real bad, worse than bad. I mean…did we? Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t want to know. What I do know is I have to get out of here and fast!

That really cranks up the tension and interest for me. Just a thought. Nice work, Heather, keep at it.

Comments, anyone?

For what it’s worth,


A NOTE TO RAY: Ray, for what it’s worth, THANK YOU…you’ve inspired to me work even harder.



  1. Finally – an editor who can recognize an entertaining, well-written book. Well done, Heather. I hope it gets published one day.

  2. aaah, who needs Ray… 😀 You already know you can tell a good story and really that’s what counts. Once your book is published you are going to have so many critics that you will see that the only critic that counts is you (and mom of course ;-))

    Congratulations! Now read the manifest to see if you have any acquisition editors on your flights ;-)…

    I fly reserve on the P.S. Trans-Con flights and you better believe I can’t wait to meet Mr. Spielberg so I can pitch my book for a movie deal. ha, ha!

    Aside: Thank you so much for thinking about me! I flew my first flight as a ‘real’ crew member this past Saturday. I began with a two-day – LGA-DEN-ONT layover -and back again. It was a blast! I know I’m going to love this job!

  3. Hooray for you! And thanks for introducing me to this website. I can’t wait to use it myself… if I ever finish a draft of my novel 🙂

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