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.

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.

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!

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…

 

 

The End is Hopefully The Beginning

This past weekend I finished writing the first draft of the fourth book in my wedding planner series.

Cue the marching band, and the choir of angels, and the fireworks.

Because it was (and is) a big accomplishment. Every idea that is turned into words then sentences, then paragraphs, then scenes, then chapters, and finally stories is a big deal.

For me, when I’m writing a story, the characters become a part of me and they want their stories resolved and their endings written. It becomes a mission for me to complete the book so that my ideas find a home and I can then move on to the next characters and their evolution.

Good stories are about evolving the characters – emotionally, mentally, whatever they need to grow and become the people, we the readers (and writers) want them to be.

Ultimately, when I type THE END, I actually want it to be the jumping off point for the rest of my characters’ lives because we’ve become that invested in them.

 

 

Sleepy Time

As an author, I have to find time to think about my books. For me it’s not just sitting down and writing it, it’s also thinking through some of the main points of the book. Even though I’m not a true plotter that outlines the story, I still have to pick a direction and go!

Thinking about the characters and the general plot is often done when I have a spare moment – in the shower, on my daily commute, etc.

But I have found for me that the best time to come up with those great character developing moments and pivotal scenes is first thing in the morning when my alarm has gone off and I set it for snooze, or I know that I can stay in bed a little bit longer on the weekend.

That is when the ideas come to me since I’m not bogged down with to do lists, and social media, and my day job. My psyche is free to explore options I wouldn’t think about if I was fully awake.

I call it my sleepy author time. And I treasure it.

So if you’re trying to work through something, try thinking about it when you first wake up. You never know what you might come up with!

Even Authors Fall in Love with their Characters

In one week, DEMONS ARE A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND will be out in the world. I’m super excited for Aleksei’s story to release for several reasons.

For one thing, it is a story of seeming opposites. A high-powered, over-thinking, OCD, male paired with a gut-following, fearless female. How could opposites attract??

Because they compliment each other and teach each other to take a risk! Hee, hee, I love it when that happens.

I also love creating powerful female characters and Naya is definitely one of those. What makes it cool, is that Aleskei is also a strong male. Tempers flare and sparks fly. Are you intrigued yet?

And there is something special about Aleksei. I think it’s because when we  first met Aleksei in the Mind Sweeper series he was a bit pompous. And even though Kyle quickly put him in his place (and continues to do so) he evolved into a wonderful character. Which made me want to write his story.

I love when characters surprise us and make us root for them, right?

So I’ll stop here, since I could keep going and going. But I want to save something for the release!

PreOrder:   Amazon   ibooks   Kobo    B&N  

 

When Your Characters Won’t Wait For Their Happy Ending

In one month Misha’s book will release! He is so excited about his story going out into the world. Maybe it’s because he’s seen his teammates Kyle and Jean Luc find their true loves and he’s wanting to find his. And trust me when I say Misha can be impatient.

In the meantime, since it took a while for me to write his story, he was busy looking for love on his own. How did he do it? Online dating of course! So with Misha’s permission, I am sharing his dating profile. See what you think…

Name: Misha Sokalov
Age: 265
Species: Shamat Demon
Where do you live: Cleveland, OH
Languages: English & Russian
Children: None
Divorced: Yes (times 3)
Occupation: Supernatural Detective
Hobbies: Puzzles, matchmaking, eating, computers
Favorite Movies/TV Shows: TV – Anything from the 60’s through the 80’s, and anything goes for movies, from romantic comedies to action flicks. And of course Sci-Fi!
Are you close to your family: They make it hard not to be!
What do you want in that special someone: someone willing to have fun, but also looking for a long-term relationship. And they have to be able to put up with my family (see question above).
Are you willing to relocate: My job and family are in the Cleveland area, so I would like to stay in Northeast Ohio
What would your family say about you: that I can be a bit clueless, (which I don’t agree with) but I have a big heart that is looking for it’s special someone to fill it(which I do agree with).

And the profiles goes on…

Misha didn’t get too many hits on this. I told him it might be because his responses about his overbearing family scared suitors away! But no worries, thanks to me he will soon have his lady love in his arms!

And you will soon have the story in your hands!

Do You Feel Lucky? I do!

Writing can be rewarding, but it can also be hard. Even though I rely on a team of wonderful women to help me edit, proof, format, and cover my books, when it comes down to the writing of it, it’s me and my computer.

And as much as my characters talk to me a LOT, writing is solitary. So how do I keep moving forward?

I rely on my writing community. Today’s blog is a shout out to a wonderful group of super-women. We were all finalists in RWA’s Golden Heart contest in 2013. We’re from all over the world and write all different forms of romance. We call our group the Lucky 13’s.

And we’re fierce cheerleaders for each other. Give me an S-U-P-P-O-R-T!

Yesterday, I found out that I am a Holt Medallion finalist for my book TO HAVE AND TO HOWL and that is such a thrill and honor. But tonight, I was reminded how truly “Lucky” I am. An outpouring of congrats emails and Tweets came my way from my writing pals. After five years we still have each other’s backs.

Always there for each other. Always supportive. Always…just always…

Thanks Luckies for you Love – right back at you!

 

Time To Take A Spin

As many of you know, I am writing a Mind Sweeper spin-off trilogy based on Misha’s family. What you might not realize is that I am writing them simultaneously. Here’s what I mean…

Misha’s book has been written and edited. Next will be proofreading. In the midst of that, the first draft of Aleksei’s is completed and I am going to be doing some scene edits before I send it to my editor for detailed edits. And let’s not forget that I am also in the process of writing Sergei’s book right now as well. That will be going for content edits the first week of June, and then detailed edits once Aleksei’s book is done.

Have I made you dizzy?

If not, you will be soon – hang on. Because not only is the writing and editing craziness happening all together, but I am also writing some crossover scenes as well. So a scene in Misha’s book might also appear in Aleksei’s book and another scene from Aleksei’s book might be part of Sergei’s. The fun part is seeing the scenes in a different point of view!

Crazy, right? Maybe, but I’m up for the challenge (or maybe I’m too dizzy now to slow down). Either way, I hope you’ll be up for the read!