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First chapter of Lady Blade up on wattpad

First chapter of Lady Blade up on wattpad

Hi Friends,

So, how do you stuff a 600 page (double spaced) book into a 120 page screenplay? Seriously, I’d like to know, ’cause I’m having a hell of a time.

Okay, so I do have some ideas. I originally wrote Lady Blade as a screenplay so I have the original work to start from, But in the five years I spent writing the book the story has changed quite a bit. There are a ton more characters, lots more difficulties for my main character Francesca  to overcome, more subtleties and subplots. I know I have to let them all go, but it hurts.

So I’m saying goodbye to Willy Brown, the orphaned 16-year-old son-of-a-gun (or son of a woman who worked the docks) who trained Francesca in her topman duties – working the lines and sails above deck on the ship.  And who Francesca saves when he’s going to be strung up for stealing from another pirate.

Sayonara to Tuit, the tattooed islander who takes the “bad luck” off Francesca in a moonlight ritual. And goodbye to the ritual too.

Farewell to Mr. Hart, the ex-navy sailing master who refers to Francesca as Mr. DiCesare because he doesn’t approve of women aboard ship.

And to Old Nob, the ageless, leathered leader of her messmates who scurries through the rigging like a squirrel.

And so much more.

Creating them was a joy. Losing them is painful. But it’s not like they’re going away for good. They’ll still be there in the book. I can always go back and visit. And I do like that the process of adapting the story back to the screen makes me really focus on what’s important.

Still, it’s painfully obvious why people always go to the movie and then say, “I liked the book better.”

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First chapter of Lady Blade up on wattpad

First chapter of Lady Blade up on wattpad

Hi Friends,

I’m thrilled to see that in the month that the first chapter of Lady Blade has been up on Wattpad it’s already gotten over 200 reads! Great news. I’d love to keep the momentum going! So if you haven’t taken a look, it’s free to read, and here’s the link:

Lady Blade – Chapter One

My short story, My Brave Girl, about Francesca’s birth during a pirate attack, has gotten 192 reads! If you haven’t read the story yet I do believe it is my best so far – and it’s free! So if you like pirates, tall ships and mayhem, here’s the link:

My Brave Girl

Thanks everyone!

C. J.

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Read the first chapter on wattpad

Read the first chapter on wattpad

I was going to call this an idiot’s tale. Because that’s probably what I am. I can’t seem to let this story go and just move on to something else. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. On the one hand, I may be beating the proverbial dead horse, on the other hand, they say that persistence wins. So when exactly does persistence turn into foolishness? I wish I knew.

But I should start at the beginning.

I first wrote Lady Blade as a screenplay back in the early 2000s. In the craziness after 9/11 my glass business and my freelance web design business had dried up and I was out of work for a year.  I’d done some writing as a kid and actually had a book published while I was in college so I figured, what the heck, maybe it’s time to try again.

It took me a few years,  fourteen drafts, and a screenwriter’s group to learn how to write a decent screenplay. And Lady Blade won some awards, including a critique from Linda Seger, who said she thought it was very sellable. So I was hooked.  I seemed to have found my niche. Visions of dollar signs danced in my head.

But as many of you know, writing and selling are two different things. I sent the script out to producers and agents with no luck. I wrote a couple other screenplays but always seemed to go back to Lady Blade to tinker some more. Eventually I found an agent, Frank and he started sending it out. The response was always the same. We love it, but we pass. It’s too expensive to make. (To be fair, there are sea battles and whole towns destroyed so yes, it would be expensive.)

So it occurred to me that while there are only a handful of big budget movies made a year, there are probably thousands of books that get published.  And the price for a book is the same no matter how many towns you burn to the ground. Besides, if the book was popular, getting the movie made would be a slam dunk. So I set off on a five-year mission to write Lady Blade, the novel.

It was a steep learning curve. I mean, screenplays and books have very little in common besides plot. I had to relearn how to write. But, five years, two writer’s groups and a professional editor later I had a good book ready to go. Again, Lady Blade did well in a few contests. A quarter finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel completion and finalist in the San Francisco Writer’s Convention contest – I’m still waiting to hear on some others.

So I sent it out to literary agents and waited, and more literary agents and waited… You get the picture. Moving on to plan B, I had my screen agent send it out to a few publishers and that’s where it is now. Again with the waiting.

Which brings us to the “back again” part. During the course of rewriting Lady Blade the screenplay as a novel the story had changed. Not drastically, but enough that I feel the need to go back and bring the screenplay up to date. On top of that, I got this funny little notion in my head that perhaps a graphic novel could will bring Francesca to life and those usually begin with a screenplay.

So here I am, on my continuing mission, re-learning how to write yet again. (A screenplay is 120 pages. Roughly a page per minute of screen time. The novel is 600 pages – double spaced. Cramming the one into the other is a journey in itself. But I’ll talk more about that next week.)

I’ve been working on Lady Blade in one form or another for over a decade. I believe in my main character, Francesca. I think this is a great story and I want to see it told to a wide audience. Whether that’s foolishness or dogged persistence, I guess that’s up to you to decide.

Thanks for listening,

C. J.

P.S. The first chapter of Lady Blade, as well as two short stories about Francesca are available to read free on wattpad.

My Brave Girl

Francesca and the Baron’s Son

Lady Blade – Chapter One

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ladybladechap1coverHi Everyone,

I’m trying to forget the fact that two publishers have agreed to read my novel. I hope that by telling you I can put it out of my mind for a while. We’ll see if it works.

First off, many thanks to my amazing agent Frank for unleashing Lady Blade upon those unsuspecting publishers – who will remain nameless in the hopes of not jinxing it.

I am, of course, grateful for the opportunity – but it is also agonizing. I’ve had a low-grade headache for days now since Frank told me. You know, the little annoying ache brought on from a slight tightness in the shoulders and jaw from knowing at this very moment someone might be reading your work and either  sighing or smiling. The feeling that your future rests in others’ hands our of your control.

I know that’s not true. If they say “no” life will go on. Frank and I will find other publishers to try, and failing that, I will self-publish. I even like the control that self-publishing offers these days, though I know that I could use the marketing help a large publisher could provide. So I tell myself it’s no big deal either way. But the headache continues.

Part of it is the waiting. I’m not good at it. I know it’s part of the job and comes with the territory, but I don’t have to like it. One major publisher debated for six months, going back and forth and giving it to more people to read before they finally said no. I’m hoping we’ll get quicker replies either way this time, but who knows.

Anyway, I’m done bellyaching about my good fortune. I’m such an ingrate. Thanks for listening.

If you’d like to read the first chapter it is free to read on Wattpad: Lady Blade – Chapter One

Now I’m forgetting all about it and getting back to work.

C. J.

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Read the first chapter on wattpad

Read the first chapter on wattpad

Hi Everyone,

Some good news.

First, my short story/prologue, My Brave Girl now has over 100 reads on Wattpad. I’m gratified to see that so many people are enjoying it.

My short story, Francesca and the Baron’s Son has 44 reads and the first chapter of Lady Blade, which I just put up 6 days ago is already at 36 reads.

They are free to read so check them out if you haven’t already:

My Brave Girl

Francesca and the Baron’s Son

Lady Blade – Chapter One

Second, and I don’t want to jinx it here, but I’ve got a publisher reading Lady Blade as we speak. Fingers crossed.

Thanks everyone!

C. J.

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Hi Friends,

Well, in the two weeks that my short story has been up on Wattpad it’s already gotten over 60 reads! Great news. It also got 4 votes, although I don’t really understand what the voting is all about. Still, I’ll take it.

If you haven’t read the story yet I do believe it is my best so far – and it’s free! So if you like pirates, tall ships and mayhem, here’s the link:

My Brave Girl

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A new swashbuckler from C. J. Thrush

A new swashbuckler from C. J. Thrush

Hi Friends,

I’ve put another piece of Francesca’s story on Booksie and Watpad to read for free.  This is the story of Francesca’s birth and of course, me being who I am, it happens during a pirate attack. As if a ship full of Barbary Corsairs wasn’t enough for her father to deal with, I throw in a very pregnant wife and a mother with a broken hip. I am just so mean! The story is called My Brave Girl.

My Brave Girl on Booksie

My Brave Girl on Watpad

I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with this. I think it will either be a prologue for Lady Blade or it will be the first chapter of the prequel to Lady Blade. Either way, I really like it and couldn’t wait to share it with people.

Here is a little teaser for you:

Salerno, Italy
June 8th, 1701

                Thurio DiCesare, the world-famous fencing maestro, felt his heart beat a staccato rhythm as he hurried toward his mother’s house. Chaos filled the narrow, cobbled streets packed with horse-drawn carts. Men and women ran in and out of houses piling wagons with belongings. Children wailed. Men driving carriages cursed as they tried to squeeze between other vehicles and became wedged, bringing traffic to a standstill. Voices rose, fist fights broke out.

                Fools, thought Thurio. Their avarice will doom them. If they left their belongings and fled they might have a chance.

                He turned a corner and entered the blue door of a gray stone house. He called out as he rushed up a staircase two steps at a time. “Mary! Mother! Where are you?”

                Two women appeared at the top of the stairs, their faces pale.

              Mother wore a navy-blue dress that, along with her gray hair, was so tidy as to be severe. She leaned on a carved-wood cane. “What has gotten into them?” she asked. “The entire town is in the streets!”

            Thurio reached his wife Mary and took her in his arms, relieved that she and their unborn child were safe for the moment. He buried his dark face in her red hair and breathed in her earthy scent. She pressed away and looked up at him with spring green eyes.

             “What is it this time, my love,” she said. “Is the world ending yet again?” There was bravado in her light tone, but the narrowing of her eyes meant she was frightened and her heart pounded. The Scottish accent to her Italian words reassured him as nothing else could.

            “Barbary corsairs,” said Thurio, moving past them into the bedroom. “They’ve raided Amalfi and are headed this way.”

            “Slavers,” hissed Mary, putting protective hands around her swollen belly.

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Hi Friends,

Francesca and the Baron's Son

Francesca and the Baron’s Son

I wanted to let everyone know that my short story, Francesca and the Baron’s Son is now posted on both Wattpad and Booksie. That means you can read it for free if you haven’t seen it so far. (instead of paying Amazon 99 cents. Amazon won’t let you put things up for free.)

Here are the links:

http://www.booksie.com/historical_fiction/short_story/cjthrush/francesca-and-the-barons-son

http://www.wattpad.com/story/7168967-francesca-and-the-baron%27s-son

What it is about:

In Tuscany during the sixteenth century a girl had to know her place or there were consequences.

Try telling that to Francesca DiCesare, the eleven-year-old daughter of Maestro DiCesare, Europe’s most renowned fencing master. Francesca has more courage than common sense, and learns her lesson – just not the one they were trying to teach her.

Set amid the blushing poppies in the Tuscan countryside, this is the first in a series of coming of age stories.

I’ve also finished the story of Francesca’s birth – during a pirate attack of course. I’ll put that up in a few days.

Thanks everyone!

C. J.

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Francesca and the Baron's Son

Francesca and the Baron’s Son

I’ve been receiving tons of nice comments on the short story Francesca and the Baron’s Son and I’m gratified. I’m especially gratified that people are cheering for Francesca as she stands up to the local bully. Why? Because that bit is based on my own childhood.

Okay, so I didn’t grow up in Tuscany in the 1700s. But if you substitute suburban Wisconsin for Tuscany, the 1970s for the 1700s and a bicycle for the horse, you have my summers in a nutshell.

The girls weren’t my cousins, or twins, just the neighborhood girls I hung out with. But I will admit I never could figure out how dolls were supposed to be fun. I was more into red rover or kick the can or anything that involved running around the neighborhood at breakneck speed.

We had two bullies on our block, Kurt and Jim. Jim wasn’t bad when he was by himself, but add Kurt and he was a bully too. They were two years older than me and loved to ride their bikes over whatever the girls and I were doing, smashing it to pieces. So I regularly planted myself between them and the girls. This often meant that I went home with split lips, bloody noses or black eyes. And yes, I usually got punished for my troubles. But like Francesca, I’d do it again. And I will say, they went home hurting too.

Thanks everyone for your great response to Francesca and the Baron’s Son. We’ve had over 400 downloads in 4 days. Today is the last free day, so get it now if you haven’t yet.

Catherine Thrush

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Hi Friends,

FrancescaBaronsSonGood News! My short story, Francesca and the Baron’s Son is now available in digital format for the Kindle. For the next five days it will be FREE to download.

Francesca and the Baron’s Son

In Tuscany during the 1700’s a girl had to know her place or there were consequences.

Try telling that to Francesca DiCesare, the eleven-year-old daughter of Maestro DiCesare, Europe’s most renowned fencing master. Francesca has more courage than common sense, and learns her lesson – just not the one they were trying to teach her.

Set amid the blushing poppies in the Tuscan countryside, this is the first in a series of coming of age stories.

This story introduces Francesca, the title heroine of my novel, LADY BLADE. The novel takes place when Francesca is eighteen, so this is a precursor. Personally, I’d like to keep the story for free, but Amazon frowns on that apparently, so after this promotion it will be for sale for 99 cents a pop. I’ll do more free promotions as often as Amazon will let me, which I believe is every 90 days. So feel free to download and share with friends. And if you like it, I would love a review or  “like.”

Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on the cover picture! I think it turned out well!

I hope to have more stories soon!

Catherine Thrush

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