Posts Tagged ‘writers’

Book Cover Reveal: Little Bag of Fears: A Horror Anthology

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Coming this spring to a bookstore near you!

BagFears2

Eight Reasons Why Some Authors Really Quit Writing

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

As a certified creativity coach and as a writer I run into creative people every day on the verge of giving up, giving in and losing the joy that writing can bring. If you’re a writer who would stop writing if you couldn’t make money at a writing career…that’s your choice. No sweat. This isn’t directed at you. If you hurt when you can’t write, you long to write, and you feel empty if you don’t write…read on.

You stop writing because:

You used to make money at this writing thing (and sometimes a lot of it), or you never did make any in the first place.

You become disgruntled because you see books you consider crap making a ton of money. (Green-eyed monster run rampant).

You pay too much attention to other people’s careers instead of minding your own situation and just doing what you want to do and damn the torpedoes.

You follow herds because it is a group think situation, and you believe that if you only follow the herd you’ll have the same results. Maybe you will and maybe you won’t. When you don’t you throw up your hands and ask, “What’s the point?”

You sometimes follow the herd because you don’t understand or believe that you don’t have to follow it.

You don’t allow your own instincts to tell you which way to create a writing career and rely too much on the previously mentioned herd.

These are some really BIG reasons why people jump ship. They certainly aren’t the only ones. Every single writer/creative person is different.

What’s first and foremost among all of the reasons many stop writing?

YOU FORGET WHY YOU STARTED WRITING IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Return to your original reason for writing. Ask yourself what it was and use it as an anchor point when the going gets tough. Keep it in the back of your mind when you’re having that rotten day where you feel like throwing your hands up. Now, get back to work and create!

Writers & The Crazy Idea

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Every writer has those moments where we want to throw up our hands and scream. Very few writers never have this experience. I know I have. The trick is in understanding how to navigate around the resistance we have to creating. This is a huge topic! Several writers have covered writer’s block and other forms of resistance to creating. One author who has a slew of good advice is Steven Pressfield. Steven’s book The War of Art is one of my favorite books on the topic. Steven also wrote a book called Do The Work. Recently I was reading this book again and came across some particularly great parts of the book.

“When an idea pops into our head and we think, “No, this is too crazy.” That’s the idea we want. When we think, “This notion is completely off the wall…should I even take the time to work on this?” The answer is yes. Never doubt the soup. Never say no. The answer is always yes.”

In the romance writing industry there are a lot of authors, probably a majority, who reject the idea above. But I believe in it wholeheartedly. 🙂 Whatever the idea is, there’s a really good chance it has tremendous merit and it’s firing you up to create some great stuff! Don’t ignore the muse!

With that tiny piece of advice, I’m off to be a slug. Maybe if I don’t fall asleep, I’ll write some today.

How Many Stories Out This Year? How Many Is Too Many?

Monday, February 17th, 2014

This year I’m a bit stunned. I’ve got a lot of stories coming out or that have already been released. Pretty much it was by accident because the universe lined up that way. But how many books is too many? Bear with me. I have a point to make eventually. Here’s what I have out this year:

Under Fire

One London Night

Before There Was You (March 10–Available for preorder now)

One Chance With You (release date TBA)

Cooper’s Haven (release date TBA)

Double Threat (release date TBA)

Meet Me At The Castle (May 12, 2014 release)

Body Language (July 7, 2014 release)

WHEW. That’s a lot. Eight stories. I must qualify by saying that Under Fire, Once Chance With You, Cooper’s Haven, Double Threat, Meet Me At The Castle and Body Language are either short stories or novellas. Only Before There Was You and One London Night are novel length.

That being said, there are authors who average writing twelve books/novellas a year. I couldn’t do it. Probably not even if I had to. Why? Because my creativity doesn’t work as well under the pressure of deadlines or “shoulds.” It shuts down and has a temper tantrum. Not only does my creativity demand I write what I want when I want, it won’t create series that goes on forever or allow me to stay in one genre of romance. That’s why I can’t say I have a “brand” because I refuse to be slotted into being one type of romance writer. I’m just not happy if I’m not writing whatever blows my skirt up and when it blows my skirt up. Man, did it take a long time for me to understand that.

Under Fire and Double Threat are in the erotic military romantic suspense arena. One London Night is World War Two romance, Body Language is erotic romantic suspense, Before There Was You qualifies as contemporary with a little romantic suspense, Cooper’s Haven and Once Chance With You aren’t erotic, but they do have suspense. Meet Me At The Castle is a historical paranormal romance. So I’m all over the map. And that’s the way my muse likes it. Body Language and Meet Me At The Castle (in their original form…they’ve been revised) were written several years ago. It took me two years to write Under Fire and Double Threat (and the first story in the trilogy, Sudden Heat) because I was writing other stuff and paused. One London Night, with research and writing, took about five or six months to write in first draft. Before There Was You took about two months, and it’s a good size novel, but it is unusual for me to crank out a first draft that fast. Cooper’s Haven and Once Chance With You took less than a month or two to write both, but again they are short.

What’s my point in telling anyone this? Because as a writer and creativity coach, I’ve seen many writers beating themselves up because a New York Times best seller they know writes ten or twelve books a year. The author lamenting that they don’t write that many books thinks they should. I mean, isn’t that what “real” success is? Nonsense. The only number of books an author should write is what keeps them sane. If that means one book a  year, so be it. Writing twelve books a year or publishing six a year means there’s all the promotion and other add on that goes with it. Writing sixteen hours a day, seven days a week isn’t generally healthy either, but some people do it.

Point is this…the number of books you write a year should be what is comfortable and feels just right. Not so many that your health suffers, your relationships suffer and you never leave the house. When you start to feel stress, it’s time to reassess.

Your public service announcement for the day. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Writer’s Journey: Plotter or Pantser

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Rules?

*New writers often think there must be a wrong way and a right way to create novels. They eagerly join writing groups and devour how-to books with the idea that a gold answer on “how to write a book” will be dropped in their lap. There’s nothing wrong with this. Wanting to learn something new guarantees you’ll be curious enough to ask plenty of questions.

*In the process of learning, writers hear two words tossed around frequently. Pantser and plotter. There are plenty of pros and cons for both types of approaches to writing a novel. Contrary to what a writer may hear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with writing either way.

*What becomes a problem is when an author tries to jam a square peg into a round hole and allows someone to tell them they should be a pantser or a plotter.  This doesn’t mean new writers shouldn’t learn craft. It means they have to take care that they are not writing according to so many strict rules there is no creativity left in their writing process. I’ve seen new writers become so frustrated that want to stop writing because the “rules” suck the creativity right out of them.

Plotter vs. Pantser

*A plotter needs structure when they write. They often need charts, diagrams and outlines to feel comfortable.  Many times they need to understanding what the beginning, middle, and end of the book before they start writing. Not knowing things ahead of time can create significant anxiety for the writer who is a plotter.

*A pantser needs varying degrees of freedom. A pantser may have a title or an overarching idea for a book based on a time period, a concept, or an individual character. They may know one or two of these ideas up front. Or they may start with a single scene that intrigues them. They will rarely know the end of their book. (I’ve known the ending for a book a couple of times before I even started the book and I’m a pantser.) Pansters may have basic knowledge who their characters are and may do character charts, but creating a synopsis can sometimes destroy their desire to write a book. Most of the time outlining their books beforehand damages their ability to write with authencity. Writing a synopsis of their book beforehand can destroy the muse and create writer’s block.

*Many authors discover they work best combining these two ways of doing things. It’s even possible an author may be a plotter for one book and a pantser for another if it feels right.

The Controversy

*There is nothing wrong with either way of writing if it gets the job done. I have run into plotters who think pantser writers waste time. They honestly can’t understand how not outlining or plotting up front can prove productive. Whole books have been written on if you “only do it this way, your book will be easier to write.” Well, it might. And it might not. No one ever said writing a book was easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it.

*In Anne Lamott’s fantastic book BIRD BY BIRD, she describes the problem many pantsers encounter if they try and force themselves into being a plotter when it isn’t natural for them, “Characters should not, conversely, serve as pawns for some plot you’ve dreamed up…I say don’t worry about plot. Worry about the characters. Let what they say or do reveal who they are and be involved in their lives, and keep asking yourself, ‘Now what happens?’…Your characters had something in mind all along that was brighter and much more meaningful than what you wanted to impose on them.”

Writing In Flow

*Personal Definition of Flow: A sublime state of being unaware of your surroundings, steeped in ecstasy, contentment, a sense of rightness. A natural high when the entire universe seems to surge through your fingertips and onto the page. This state doesn’t materialize for most authors on an everyday basis, although it can be coaxed to emerge. What does all this have to do with the difference between a pantser and a plotter?

*Recognize what type of author you are and honor that. If you are a new author, chances are you’ve started out as a panster. This doesn’t mean that you will stay that way. It may mean you decide later on that plotting, outlining, and diagramming everything from the get go is what you need to write the best book possible. If, however, you try to do all these things and find it gives you “creative constipation” where you can’t write a thing, chances are you are not a plotter. I decided some time ago that while I am mostly a panster, I am a bit of a plotter when I create historicals. If I find myself clogging up, it’s usually because I’ve tried to “direct” the book too much with a plotter frame of mind.

*How does this pantser plot when she does plot? Sometimes when I write a historical I start off by interviewing the hero and heroine. I ask them questions, write down their answers. This helps me to get inside their heads. If there is a bad guy, I question him as well. I also write down what my hero and heroine look like, their mode of dress, what they like too eat, etc. (I also do this with contemporary novels). I read a few books dealing with that time period. This gives me ideas about some plot points I may want to put in my book, and I write these ideas down as they come to me. I also do some research before I start writing. However, I do not use researching relentlessly as an excuse not to start writing the book. I soak my head in the ideas long enough to absorb the information into my bones.

*When I write a contemporary novel I still sometimes soak my head in information before I start the book. A good example of that is my firefighter novel, COMBUSTION. I wanted to be accurate, so I made sure I had all the firefighter resources I needed to keep my facts straight. With my SWAT series, HEART OF JUSTICE, I made sure I did the same by taping into police sources.

*In conclusion, stay true to your writing dreams and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t make this journey as a plotter, pantster, or a combination of both.

 

 

 

Cook Like A Writer Cover Debut!

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Hello everyone! I hope if you’re in a snowy part of the world right now that you’re cozy and warm. We woke up to a frosty start with a tad of snow on the ground.

Today I wanted to share with you the cover of Cook Like A Writer by the Book Posse. The Book Posse consists of me and fantabulous writers Selena Robins, ACatherine Noon, Kimberley Troutte, Nancy Lauzon, and Renee Wildes.

The book release is coming soon.  I don’t have an exact date yet, but as soon as I have a date I’ll scream.  In the meantime, jump on over to the other authors in the book and see what recipes they have for you. Enjoy

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You can find yummy recipes at the following links:

Selena Robins 

Nancy Lauzon

ACatherine Noon

Kimberley Troutte

Renee Wildes

Technology Is The Devil

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Okay, I’m being totally tongue-in-cheek here. This last week I’ve been having some issues with my Amazon Cloud Drive and some other technological weirdness. So it got me to thinking about the time “before” I had many of the technology advances I have now.

Yeah, I’m at that age. You know the one everyone warns you about. Where you start saying things like, “When I was a kid.” Yeah, that one.

I’ve lived in a world where there were no cell phones and to have a “car phone” meant paying $150 a month to have a phone in your car. I’ve used rotary dial phones. I lived in a world with a black and white television. I typed on magnetic card typewriters and key punch machines and huge IBM word processors that took up an entire wall. I lived in a world where if your car broke down there wasn’t help a cell phone call away. I lived in a world where there wasn’t a DVR, cable television or VCR. No digital cameras. No personal computers. I could go on and on. And sometimes the world was a better place without those conveniences. Of course it was only better because you didn’t know what you were missing.

Sometimes I think it is wonderful and heavenly to simply sit in nature without the cell phone, the Facebook, the Twitter and exist like we once used to…without our minds and bodies believing we have to have all those things.

Don’t get me wrong. I do love much of my technology on the days it works. I love that ebooks are the rage because that means many of you are now buying my novels. I totally love that, of course. The photo I took of these crazy monsoon clouds is only possible because the tech savvy camera I own knows how to take this type of photo (without me doing much more than point and shoot.)

So do you ever disconnect from the grid?

Respecting Other Authors

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

One of my goals in life over the last few years is to state what I believe rather than trashing others for what they believe. I think this is hard. In fact, I know it is. I’m human like everyone else. ☺ Today I’d like to discuss respect and writers trashing other authors.

Authors disrespecting other authors isn’t new. Yet lately I’ve seen one book being trashed over and over by other authors in a way that makes me sad. I’m not talking about personal conversations in private. I’m talking about blatant disrespect on social media and blogs for the entire world to see.

Without naming titles or authors, I will say this book is a number one best seller on more than one list and has taken the writing world by storm. People have questioned the quality of the writing, the editing, the “luck” involved in the book being so successful because of the author’s connections. People are buying the books because they want to know what the big deal is, negative or positive. The media is acting like erotic romance is a new phenomena and it isn’t, all because of this book. The media has a short memory and grabs onto anything “of the moment.”

Do I have thoughts one way or the other about these novels? Yes I do. Here is what I want to say.

1. Congratulations to the author for being brave enough to write the books. Any person willing to write a book and put it out there for possible publication is brave.

2. Congratulations to the author for the mega sales.

3. Congratulations to the author for using whatever media and connections she possesses that may have helped her increase chances her book is a best seller.

4. Whether the book is well written, or not, is a matter of conjecture. After more than twenty years in the writing world, I’ve learned that quality is in the eye of the beholder. Quality does not guarantee a book will be a best seller. Lack of quality also doesn’t mean a book won’t be a best seller.

5. Complaining that this book made a lot of sales is useless. If it were your book up there on the top there would be plenty of negative individuals saying your book shouldn’t have made all those sales and that the writing sucked. Your book would be trashed and dashed by any number of jealous authors or mean-spirited readers. It’s easy to trash other people’s success if you feel you don’t have enough of your own. Concentrate on writing your books. Make your own success as defined by your ideals and desires.

6. Above all, you can try to influence readers to love your books. You can’t influence them to not buy someone else’s work by trashing other authors. What you will insure is that a reader may find your behavior unprofessional and not buy anything you’ve ever written.

Go forth and feel good and write. At the end of the day that’s all you can do.