Tag Archives: Manuscript

Time Flies and Priorities Change

Time is flying by, even more so that I have a definitive timeline to get this BlurredClockmanuscript finished. My deadline is BBDD. Before Baby Due Date.

With that comes a massive priority struggle. Between my son’s schedule, gearing up for the baby (and picking out a name!), as well as finishing this manuscript and critiquing a friend’s manuscript, blogging has fallen off of my priority list. Not a great first posting for 2014, I know.

But that doesn’t bode well for an author trying to market a recent release. I can’t devote that much time to social media or blogging, because I selfishly would rather focus any free time on writing/critiquing. Come mid-March, free-time will be a fond and distant memory (much like sleep). Writing will become ‘that thing I love, but I need to take a shower and 2hr nap today.’ So the stories in my head will be stuck on the rear-burner. Along with my blog.

BabyandStorkBut I want you all to know that I won’t be going away completely. I promise I’ll still be here. Albeit, a much more tired, ragged version of myself. It will take me longer to respond to emails and hop onto Facebook/Twitter. But I WILL respond. Priorities will shift (they kinda have to!) but I know this blog will still be here when I’m ready.

More importantly, I’ll still try to market AUDREY’S PROMISE as much as possible and attend those treasured conferences and events (between feedings!). RWA National is a major one for me, particularly since it’s in Texas this year. At some point, I’ll have my first book signing!

In the meantime, I follow several blogs that will more than make up for my lack of presence. Feel free to follow these folks and fill your brain with inspiring knowledge and entertainment!

Greater Ft Worth Writers 

Author CA Szarek

Author Kimberly Packard

Author Scot Morgan

The Creative Penn

Nathan Bransford 

Taking Stock of 2013

champagneAnother round of New Year’s resolutions and goals. This normally includes taking stock of the previous year.

This past year, I had 1 primary goal: Go with the Flow. It was the first year I didn’t have a list of concrete, measurable and trackable goals.

Considering the circumstances, I think I did pretty well. It was a very challenging year (we knew it would be), with good days and bad days. But my personal goal was to go with the flow when the really trying moments came up.

And then a whole bunch of things happened:

*I sold my first novel, after years of rejection and shredded manuscripts.

*I became pregnant, after several years of no success.

*My 5-year-old would finally have a conversation with me about his day.

There were a million other little victories that happened this year too, mostly centered around my son. I learned more about the world of ASD, and met some truly talented and wonderful people. I learned even more about the madness of insurance, claims, appeals, and benefits depts. I learned how hard parents have to fight to get their children the services they really need, not just from insurance companies. From people who are ‘supposed’ to work in the best interests of the child.

More importantly, I learned how strong my son is. How strong my husband is. I already knew he was an incredible man (that’s why I married him!). But I have a much more thorough appreciation for his hard work, dedication and perseverance after going through something like this. Just proves to me more I really did pick the one man who broke the mold.

There’s one very big lesson I learned this year, on top of all the above. I learned how to ask for help. In certain situations, outright demand it and not take ‘no’ for an answer.

This feeds in really well to my writing. I finished another manuscript and am halfway through it’s sequel. I’m able to shrug off rejections easier, and at the same time identify the difference between criticisms that are nuggets of gold, versus lumps of coal.

2013 was a year full of lessons, and some incredibly wonderful surprises! Undoubtedly great successes. I think my plan of non-measurable goals worked out well. Thinking of going the same route for 2014. But I’ll save that for tomorrow.

My grand plans for a farewell to 2013 includes spending a quiet evening with my family, and probably falling asleep before the ball drops (I have a valid excuse: preggo!)

Happy New Year, everyone!new-year-2014

 

Sequel-Hell: About to Commit Manuscript-icide

I’m in that horrible, gut-wrenching place called “Sequel Hell.” Where you frustrated-writerquestion everything about the plot, the characters, even the overall plausibility of the trilogy. My confidence is near bottom on this thing.

I’ve finished the first novel in the trilogy and sent it out to several publishers (it’s a romantic suspense). I have the plot outlines on both the second and third stories, and I’m not quite halfway through writing the second. And I want to rip it to shreds already. Not just rip it to shreds, but make snowflake chains of it and watch it float over the edge of a massive canyon. Call this the edge of Manuscript-icide.

I’m hoping this is just a case of the ‘drastic willies.’ I’ve told a few of my friends who visited “Sequel Hell” recently that they were just overreacting. I helped talk one of them off the ledge of manuscript-icide as well. The stories were fantastic (because they are!!! *Cough* Kim and Chrissy.) But I’m not so confident that’s the case with mine.

My goal was to have the first draft of this novel completed by Dec 31st. Not going to happen. Mild panic attack set in last week when I realized there was only 2 weeks left until that deadline, and I still had a crap load of non-writing related stuff to do. Which takes away from my fragile writing time. Throw in a few minor complications with a pregnancy that requires more doctor visits…bottom line is that deadline is just unrealistic at this point.

So now I have a more realistic goal: finish the first draft before this baby comes.

That is, if I don’t have to start all over again. Which is very possible with the way my brain is functioning right now. *manuscript in hand, approaching the freakin’ ledge*PaperOffLedge

Audrey’s Promise Official Release Date

No, this is not the official cover. I just love the photo.

No, this is not the official cover. I just love the photo.

I’m thrilled to announce the official release date of AUDREY’S PROMISE, my debut novel from The Wild Rose Press, is NOVEMBER 1st!

Perfect timing, considering that the book takes place over Thanksgiving.

And more good news, I received the preliminary cover art today and am really excited! Which means the final cover should be in my inbox soon! As soon as I have the final cover, I’ll share with the world.

So everyone mark your calendars: November 1st, a brand new novel from yours truly hits the e-shelves!

AUDREY’S PROMISE

Contemporary Romance set in rural East Texas

Audrey Allen is poised to become the youngest Texas Senator, a position she’s primed for with her nickname, “The Peacemaker.” But she’s unable to make peace with many in her hometown, where memories and grudges run deep from a decade-old tragedy. Ethan Tanner, ambitious and tantalizing journalist, joins her home for Thanksgiving for an in-depth look at the promising candidate. But he has an agenda of his own that’s not entirely honorable. Will he stir up more trouble for her budding career, or awaken the deep passions she’s buried for so long? Can Audrey hold on to the promise she’d made?

Darker Side of Writing

I started writing this story that planned to be more romance than suspense. As BookRoseI’ve written further into it, it’s becoming more suspense than romance, but what concerns me the most is this has become darker than I anticipated.

I realized my motivations for one of the major turning points wasn’t strong enough. But I had to get my heroine, Gemma, to abandon everything she knows to join the hero back to his home country. So instead of leaving to keep her home safe, I’ve forced her to leave because her home doesn’t exist anymore (for lack of better explanation, and I don’t want to give spoilers!)

But I’m struggling with how much darker the story has become. I normally don’t write this morbid, but it makes the motivation strong enough for the character. One particular scene had me in tears as I wrote it, but it was crucial.

The reason I’m so concerned is this doesn’t fit the standards of the current publisher I work with. Selling this story could prove to be more difficult than I’d like.

Writers: have you ever experienced something like this? Where a story morphs into a different genre or tone before your eyes? How do you handle it? Or maybe I should finish the thing first and worry about those issues later. Hm, conundrum.

Writing Retreats

Dilemma. Need solutions. Isn’t that the key question to most everything? :) Headhache

My writing muse is firmly stuck in dozing mode. Normally, this is frustrating enough. Yet a few other writing friends of mine are also stuck. In either initial first draft, edits, or the dreaded (but interesting problem) of second-book-curse-oritis.

Aha! Solution: writing retreat. The last one was a great cure to kicking the muse in gear. One can only assume another writing retreat will do the same. Yay! Problem solved.

Oh. Wait. Another dilemma. Finances are critically low. Writing retreats involve overnight stays, which means hotel rates, food, even travel costs depending on how far it is. And my family doesn’t have that luxury right now. Probably not for another 2 or 3 months.

Ok. So we’ll need to condense our ‘retreat’ into a full day. No overnight stays. But where can we go where we’ll be out of the way, free from distraction, and free to brainstorm with each other in peace?  Somewhere that doesn’t cost much, if anything.

I’d hate to take up an entire section of a coffee house for a whole day. I’m sure we’d be kicked out after 2 or 3 hours. Outdoors is too unpredictable – weather, visitors, etc. Hm.

Thoughts anyone?

I Will Be Published… Happy Dance Time!

Five years of learning my voice and writing style.

Four manuscripts- either waiting in the wings or on my laptop.

Eight months of writing  and revising this particular manuscript.

A year of querying and rejection.

Fourteen full or partial manuscript requests from either agents or editors.

What do all of these equal?

I will be a published author!!

Yes, folks. I received ‘the call.’ Or in my case, ‘the email.’

I sold AUDREY’S PROMISE to The Wild Rose Press.

No release date yet, but as soon as I have it I’ll announce that.

And for anyone who knows me, they know what comes next:

Happy Dance time!

PeanutsDanceWhoseLineDanceNow

Happy Dance

Happy Dance

celebrateeverybody-dance-now_Aladdin

Sweets and Sours

I have some interesting news, potentially awesome. But I don’t want to jinx it. As soon as I have more info, I’ll share it.fingers crossed

But it’s been a good few weeks as far as writing goes. In a business full of rejection, and the lovely habits of swallowing those rejections week after week, it’s good to know my story and voice has reached a few people.

A few people who are veterans in this business.

But I can’t let this get to my head. I must get back to writing. As often as I can, with the lovely trials and challenges of every day life.

For those of who who’ve asked, the family situation I alluded to earlier this year has still not been resolved. But we’re closer. One way or another, I’ll make it happen and we’ll be the better for it. Even if I must set some things aside, and change a few goals, I can do it. And I know my writing will be there waiting, no matter where we are.

 

Apologies for Silence

I apologize for my silence over the last few weeks. 2013 isn’t starting off as promising as I’d hoped and we’re dealing with a not-so-pleasant situation, that I have no idea when will be resolved.apology

But I know you all understand. Family and health come first.

Sadly, this also means I haven’t been able to write much either. If it weren’t for the Writer’s Retreat I participated in the second weekend of January, my word count for the month would be a big fat ZERO.

Speaking of writer’s retreats, I highly recommend one for you fellow writers out there. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money or be too far from home, so we went to a local lake and rented a small cabin. January and February are off-season for those places, so you can get some INSANE deals, which we did. Over half off.

So wherever you are, you can always find those kinds of tucked-away places to get you away from your normal grind, without spending too much or being too far away if an emergency pops up.

Thanks to the two incredible ladies who joined me~ I hope to partake in another one soon!

God willing.

Conveying Emotion in Scenes

Writing emotion in a scene is crucial. It’s the only way a reader can truly connect Angerwith a character. In most cases, it’s the best way to determine whether a novel is great and will succeed. For writers, sometimes it’s extremely difficult to capture the right emotion, and level, in a critical scene.

Like a particular chapter I’m writing in my latest WIP. To be honest, I’m stuck. I can’t capture the right emotion in words and stick it on the page. And perhaps it’s because my inner conscience is telling me the scene isn’t going the right way and I need to steer it in a different direction entirely.

But I remember a scene in another manuscript I wrote where I pulled anger from one very vivid memory stuck in my mind. Which is what I think most great writers do. They use some of their experiences to portray emotion.

And anytime I need to write a scene full of pure anger, I go back to that one memory. It’s a very personal memory that took several years to get over, but I remember it so vividly that it’s easy for me to pull from. The time I was the most enraged I’d ever been (even to this day) and relive it in my mind. Needless to say, I can’t be near anyone when I do this, because it puts me in a very bad mood. But I pull from the emotions and write what comes to me through the character.never_wrong_a_writer_tshirt

Obviously, the scene may require tweaking afterwards, but it’s the main way I can make sure the emotion is there.

Writers: what do you do to invoke the right level of emotion in a scene? Do you remember the moment in your life that you were the most enraged or the most hurt? Does it help to pull from those memories, or just piss you off more?