A Writer’s Vacation

So this past week I took a vacation. An actual, honest-to-goodness vacation that was not a writers’ conference. I saw the ocean, scrunched my toes in the sand, ate ice cream on a daily basis, and spent quality time with two of my writer-besties, Miranda Liasson and Sandra Owens.

We headed to the low country of South Carolina. You can tell by the picture that we were in the tidal marsh. We could see this from the back porch of the house we stayed in! What a view, and what a way to unwind. There is something magical about water. Sandra says that water is ‘her peace.’ And I can understand that.

So we spent time by the beach, and we walked along the sand several times as well as traveled the island on bike and golf cart. And we had some amazing food there too.

And when you get writers together, we’re going to talk books – whether it is what we are reading or have read that is ‘really good’, or talk about our own stories to see if we’re heading in the right direction. Brainstorming, synopsis writing, beta reads got tucked into the trip as well.

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And of course we’re there to support each other too. All in all, it was an amazing adventure.

I got home today and what did I do first? Write about it, of course!!

 

When A Writer Cries

This past weekend I finished the first draft of my fifth paranormal wedding planner book, FOR WITCH OR FOR POORER.

I sat my butt in a chair and wrote 9,635 words over the course of a weekend. And just so you know, that is NOT a normal occurrence for me. By Sunday evening, I was exhausted.

I told my father I felt beat up and that I had cried twice while writing. He went into “Father-Mode” and said if writing makes you cry, you shouldn’t do it!

And I had to explain to him that I wasn’t crying because I was writing. I was crying because of WHAT I was writing.

I always know the good scenes are the ones that pull raw emotions from me. I can find myself laughing out loud, or just plain excited about what the characters are facing. But some of the most powerful scenes are the ones that I cry through while writing them.

Those pack an emotional punch because I’m with those characters experiencing their heartache and their growth and watch as they move forward and allow someone else to be close to them.

For this story, it isn’t just about the emotional journey of the main couple, but also the emotional journey of family whether born into or chosen to part of.

Good stories are about emotions for both the reader and the writer.

Writing Style – Tortoise or the Hare?

Writing is an interesting job. It’s part part project management, part marketing, part story-telling. The list goes on. And because of this, it takes creativity as well as mental and emotional strength to create an engaging story.

And for me, sometimes writing can be compared to the tortoise and the hare. I am currently writing my second paranormal wedding planner book this year. FOR BETTER OF FOR WOLF, book 4 of the series, is an eighty-one thousand word book that I wrote in two months. I wrote the last twenty thousand words in about ten days! Definitely reminiscent of the rabbit, or hare, right?

FOR WITCH OR FOR POORER, book 5 of the series, is chugging along at a ridiculously slow pace. The book is going to be a bit shorter, around fifty thousand words (or at least that’s the plan) and as much as I try, I can’t seem to up the pace. Tortoise vibe going on here.

Neither is necessarily a “bad” way to write, it’s just different. Sometimes it depends on where we (the writer) is in our lives. How much energy we have to expend at any given time when our real world (not our made up worlds) also need our attention as well.

So for now, I’ll move forward and finish this book. Whether I plod along of hop, the important thing is that I’m moving forward!

Spring has Sprung! Time for a Book Sale!

Spring is finally, FINALLY in the air where I live. And I want to celebrate. How does an author celebrate sunshine, green grass, and flowers?

With a book sale, of course!

And what better book to put on sale than FROM THIS FAE FORWARD. I mean, look at the cover below – it screams spring!

For the next week, you can get this book for 99 cents. If you haven’t spent any time in my paranormal wedding planner world, you’re in for a treat. Charlie, the hero of this book is a sexy, southern sea nymph who thinks he can sweet talk his way through anything and anybody. Until he meets woodland nymph, Sheila that is.

Sparks fly, sexy-banter ensues, and a mystery is solved along the way. Check it out!

 

Buy:   Amazon | iBooks  |  Kobo  | B&N  From Fae Final Ebook

What if Romeo and Juliet were paranormal…

Exiled from her woodland nymph clan, Sheila Hampton works as an exercise instructor for stressed-out paranormal brides—until her father tries to force her to marry as part of a political power play. Her unlikely hero/fake fiancé? A sexy-as-sin sea nymph from a rival clan. She should hate him, she really should…

Charlie Tucker has protected people in the past. It’s just a job—until it’s not. Not when it comes to a beautiful and headstrong woodland nymph. Now he’s posing as Sheila’s loving fiancé and planning the biggest fake nymph wedding of the century with her. He should hate her, he really should…

But when Sheila’s life is threatened, can this paranormal Romeo and Juliet find a way to change their tragic ending to a happy ever after?

A Writer’s Form of Exercise

Tonight I came home from work and worked out. The exercise DVD I used had me huffing and puffing and sweating, but when I was done it gave me a boost both psychologically and physically which I definitely need for my evenings.

For writers, we have to exercise our “writerly muscles” as well. Sometimes that means we brainstorm – like stretching our muscles so that we can get to the heavy lifting part of the exercise/writing.

Other times it means digging into the characters and plot – which is equivalent to the warm up part of the routine.

Then it’s all about writing those scenes. The crux of your workout, where you are chugging along and sometimes you’re flying high and other times you are wondering when the heck you’re going to be done.

Then there are the special scenes that just seem to “click” – that is the boosted part of the workout where you are really getting that heart rate up.

Finally you finish by jotting down some notes for tomorrow’s scenes. That’s your cool down period.

And so the cycle continues as I write my stories, stretching and conditioning my writerly muscles.

Just One More Chapter

I thought I would share my new T shirt with you. What do you think? Obviously, any avid reader would give a thumbs up to the idea of “Just One More Chapter” and I found it especially cute since it had a cat with glasses on it. How can you go wrong with a bespectacled kitty cat?

But what makes this saying even more appropriate for me is that I am in the midst of editing the next book in my paranormal wedding planner series. And so I forge ahead with each chapter to work through the notes/edits my wonderful editor sent me.

Edits can range from simple grammatical issues to having to rework a scene. I am plowing through all the changes I need to make. And of course there is also the clean up that can drive a writer to distraction. For example…how many times can you have your characters smile? or frown? nod? or shake their head? Apparently a LOT. Which means going through the manuscript and finding different ways to express things (like the dreaded dialogue tags).

But I move forward so I can share the story. I am not the only one who wants me to complete JUST ONE MORE CHAPTER before I call it a night…

 

An Author’s Sweet Treat

There is an amazing bakery in my town that I visit every Saturday. I walk in and study the case of goodies. The fascinating thing is that each week the desserts change. Different cakes, and cupcakes, and cookies grace the counter.

And I walk back and forth and ask about the different treats to see which one will be coming home with me this week. Some have an ooey-gooey center, some a crunchy outside, some a surprising mix of flavors.

I only buy one. I can justify one treat a week, especially when next week will be a chance for something new and exciting.

I think that the sweet treats at the bakery are similar to a good story. Each book I pick up offers a new world and characters for me to fall in love/hate with. Is there something ooey-gooey for my heart to enjoy, or a a new twist (flavor) to a plot for my curious mind?

If the story is good it’s a treat to savor. And unlike the bakery, I can’t stop with just one!

Writers Collaborating – AKA Escaping the Muck

I’ve told you before that even though writing can be solitary, often at its best, it is collaborative.

For me, I love it when my writer friends tell me about a concept they have been working on, or send me a couple pages of a new story and I dive into it and send back ideas for them to use (or not) in their story. And of course because it’s new and the beginnings of world-building, it’s full of excitement and energy.

But what is even more important sometimes is when a writer gets stuck in a story and can’t seem to pull their way out of the muck. At times like these, reaching out to a writer friend and telling them you need help is like a lifeline.

I am writing a new book and I got a few chapters in and it came to a screeching halt. And I pushed forward getting myself even more stuck than before. So I reached out to one of my critique partners and she literally was like, why don’t you do this? And it was so beautiful in its simplicity that I could have kicked myself for not thinking of it myself!

But that’s what collaboration is about. And then when another one of my writer friends read the first few chapters and I mentioned what writer friend A told me, she built on it even more for me, adding in some conflict for me.

Yahoo! And I am now moving forward with the story thanks to collaboration. So don’t believe it when you hear that writing has to be solitary.

So. Not. True.

WHERE is the journey taking us?

I hope you’ve been having a good time on this journey. We have been talking about re-covering my Mind Sweeper Series. We’ve touched on WHY, WHO, WHEN and WHAT. Today we’re going to talk about WHERE.

When you decide to change or re-brand your books, it isn’t just the print book cover that you need to worry about (if only it were that easy, my friends). No, re-branding touches ALL aspects of the book.

First, the retailers need to be updated. When you download the books from Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, or Kobo, or Apple you now see the amazing (if I say so myself) covers.

But that also means updating my website with new book covers as well as an social media that carries the AE Jones brand, like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

And let’s not forget my newsletters, and other areas where my covers appear. It can be a bit daunting to change all of this, but it’s worth it to give your covers a new look and feel. Because covers also convey emotion. Take the two covers of my series that deal with Jean Luc and Talia – I was looking for emotion and I got that and more in these two covers!

Now to the WHAT of our Journey…

And away we go again on this journey of new covers for my Mind Sweeper series. Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about the WHY, WHO, and WHEN of recovering my series. Today I’m going to talk about the WHAT.

Sweeper Ebook Final (1)What is it that I am trying to say with my covers? With the new covers, I wanted to convey more of the Urban Fantasy vibe. To give readers a hint of the paranormal or other that my Mind Sweeper world lives in.

And this is when the fun and creativity comes into play.

My cover artist conveyed the sense of other with color. The purples, blues, pinks and turquoise takes us down a path of being a bit different, yet the colors all tie together overall, making the books compliment each other.

Then there’s the smoke or glow around the characters on the covers that give you that paranormal sense.Shifter Final Ebook (1)

Backgrounds also help convey a message. Since this series is Urban Fantasy, the urban (or in this case grunge) backdrop is important. Believe it or not, each background plays a part in that particular book’s story. For example, part of Shifter Wars takes place in a body shop, so it seemed appropriate to showcase Kyle standing in one.

And one of the coolest parts of the Shifter Wars cover is the cat sitting on the car. He plays an important part in the story as well!

Mind Sweeper has several pivotal scenes that take place in empty warehouses which lends itself to that urban feel.

Sentinel Lost’s background of the hallway on one side, and the stairs on the other represents choices. In that book, Kyle has to make a number of choices when it comes to love, her family, her own safety, and finally her life.

Sentinel Ebook Final (1)Even the font type conveys a “feeling” of other for the stories.

And we can’t forget about the pics on the t-shirts. For Mind Sweeper, the little girl with the magic wand is a perfect example of Kyle. Trying to find her way in the world when she doesn’t exactly “fit in” with everyone else.

The wolf on her Shifter Wars t shirt is pretty self-explanatory, (I hope) and finally the key on her t shirt on Sentinel Lost is the crux behind Kyle’s entire story arc.

Am I making your head hurt yet? Needless to say, my cover artist rocked these covers! And I wanted to share with you the WHAT behind the covers to give you an idea of what they represent for the series. And also to let you know about the thought behind them.

Let me know what you think…