Holiday Distractions for this Writer

Time is flying my friends. I swear, I was just wearing my Halloween costume and now Thanksgiving has come and gone. And I try really hard to enjoy my turkey and gravy before I let the speeding train known as the Christmas Holiday Season take over.

So now that I have sworn off cranberry sauce again for another twelve months, I pulled out my decorations and started, well, decorating. And (you guessed it) I have a theme.

I’m celebrating snowmen. Yep, you heard it here first. There is something so endearing about snowmen. They make me smile, and I’m still early enough in the season to still like snow. (All bets are off by February).

So I thought I would share my first attempt at decorating my mantle. I’m sure it won’t be my last since we just ventured into December, but you get to see it first.

And now that I’ve done some decorating, I can try to work on my writing…or at least that’s what I keep telling myself!

Finding That Writer’s Spark Again

It’s been a busy couple months, my friends. Between working on a large project on my day job and releasing not one, but two books in my paranormal wedding planner series, I have not had any time to really start writing my next book.

And when it all comes down to it, the writing is the magical part for me. Let me rephrase that – it’s magical when it is flowing!

So how do I get that writing spark to ignite again? Brainstorming helps somewhat. Trying to think through some of what I want to have happen in the book. I am not a plotter, so I don’t outline my stories. But I do have some ideas of where I want it to go.

Since I have been struggling a bit, this weekend I decided to pull out my headset and try dictating my story for a while. It’s a different way to use my brain as part of the process and it seemed to work. Yay, team dictation!

Plus Girl Cat liked sitting on my lap instead of having to fight for space with the laptop!

So I’ll be donning my headset tonight and talking away to my laptop. We’ll see where it takes me. Hopefully further into McHenry’s story.

Before I sign off, I want to take a moment to thank both the Veterans and active duty military who have served or continue to serve. My thoughts, prayers, and thanks to you for all that you do.

Twisty-Turny Cover Journey

Last week, I revealed the cover of FOR WITCH OR FOR POORER, book 5 in my wedding planner series. And I thought it would be fun to share with you the twisty-turny journey I went on to get it to you.

Actually, it wasn’t just me on the journey. Melissa Stevens my cover artist from the Illustrated Author, came along for the ride. But let’s back up to the beginning. What you might not realize is that Melissa and I worked on all six covers for the series back in 2017. The first three books in the series had been written and when we finished those covers, I was so jazzed at the amazing job Melissa did that I asked her if she wanted to work on the final three covers.

She agreed, and we moved forward with them. The fourth book, FOR BETTER OR FOR WOLF, that is releasing on September 16th, came next. I already knew who the hero and heroine were and where I thought that story was going to go, so we moved forward and created the fun cover with the shadow of the wolf on the couch. Hee, hee – I still get a kick out of that!

I also knew who my hero and heroine were for book six, so we created that cover as well. Five down, one to go, right? Well…the WITCH cover was a harder nut to crack. I knew who the hero was but was not too sure of the heroine or where I was going to go with that book. So we worked on that cover and worked on that cover and (you guessed it) worked on that cover until we finished it.

Witch4 Cauldron.jpg

Or so we thought.

Flash forward to 2019. I finished writing the WITCH book and knew that the cover just wasn’t right. The heroine was wrong (which is a little funny since she is a cartoon after all). But we found a new heroine for the cover. And even though the fish bones in the background were cute and a salute to the cats, they just weren’t right either. So we toyed with the whole idea of a bubbling cauldron and bubbles were added in the background. And in a flash of creative brilliance, Melissa added them to the top of the cauldron and voila!

A cover that worked for the story!

Witch Ebook Final new

So why spend so much time on a cover? Simple. The cover draws the reader in. It is one of the biggest selling points to a book in this digital age. And with my books, whether it comes to the story or the cover, I follow my instincts. And they told me the cover wasn’t done yet. So I listened and instead of telling me I was crazy, Melissa came along on the ride with me and made the cover what it needed to be!

 

Proof Positive

My proofreading editor sent back FOR BETTER OR FOR WOLF to me today with the final proof edits. And as I go through them I think about all the steps that got me to this (somewhat) last edit.

Brainstorming that started back in the prior book of the series so I could set up the heroine for book four (I’m tricky like that), followed by writing and writing and did I mention writing?

Then it went to content edits, then regular edits, then final line edits before I sent it to proof. And in between all of these steps, I read and reread the book some more. Soon I will be sending it for formatting as well so that it can be sold as an ebook and a print book. (But not before another read through).

It’s a journey for sure, but it’s always amazing to me when I get to this point as I read through the book, that I created this world, this story, and these characters. It’s a part of me and I love to share it with my readers.

So as I finish my edits, I thought I would share the joy with you 🙂

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!

In The Zone

Last week I was having a little trouble writing my novel. I had finally gotten past the midway point and I thought it was smooth sailing from there. Now, you would think that after writing numerous novels and stories, I would realize by now that you NEVER can assume ANYTHING.

So, like I said, I was stuck a bit. I wasn’t sure where I was going with the external conflict. The internal/couple conflict was working well, but the external/bad guy conflict was deflating.

What to do? What to do?

I started to think about options A & B. If I do this, then this happens. If I do that, then that happens. You get the idea. I finally chose a path and sat down to write. And write I did – 6000 words in two days. Hot diggity dog!

I love it when I get in the zone. It doesn’t happen often and I have to savor it when it does. I especially love when I keep writing because I can’t wait to see what is going to happen. Silly since I’m the author, right?

Not so much. I have a general idea where I am heading, but the fun is the nuances that bring the couple even closer together. The perfect scenes that let us savor the growing relationships and beating the bad guy on top of it!

Hopefully this will continue until the end of the book. I find if I am really enjoy writing a particular scene, those are the ones that readers like as well.

So fingers crossed that I stay in the zone!

 

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!

Clean Sweep

There is something cleansing about starting a new year. You finish out the long holiday season to start fresh with a new year.

For me, I always do what I like to call “the purge” at the end of the year. I go through my house and determine what I no longer need. I pack up clothes for donation, go through my pantry and throw out anything with an expiration date, look through all my things to determine if I really need it anymore, or if it can go into the storage totes I have my annual garage sale items stored in. And of course, there is the annual cleaning of old bills, and other documents.

Once I do all of this cleaning, I feel ready to face the new year and that goes for my writing too. It’s like sweeping the cobwebs out from the corners of my brain as well!

I’ve started working FOR BETTER OR FOR WOLF, the fourth book in my wedding planner series and I’m looking at my whole writing schedule for the year – time to plot some of it out now. Sounds crazy, right? But it worked for me last year 🙂 (says the girl who wrote three books).

So many things in 2019 to look forward too. And all because I’ve made a clean sweep of things!

What do you do to prepare for a new year?

It’s Never Too Late To Be Thankful

Last week I lost track of days. Maybe it had to do with only having to work three days  before Thanksgiving. But Monday came and went last week and I didn’t think about posting my Monday blog. And when I woke up Thursday morning and turned on the Macy’s day parade for some reason that jogged my memory that I hadn’t posted anything!

I had planned on writing about being thankful – very appropriate for the holiday. And I realized that it is NEVER too late to talk about being thankful. I think it is something we should think about every day of the year, not just on Thanksgiving.

I am so thankful for my family – my dad, especially. And my friends who have been with me for years and those I have met recently as a writer.

And I am thankful for my writing. It has opened up a world for me. I have met amazing people and readers! I am so thankful for my readers – you jump into my world and understand my characters and keep reading! How blessed and thankful can one writer be?

Very, very thankful!