Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Operation New Desk: Sub-Optimal Areas of Organization

Sunday, January 10th, 2016

To Avoid Hell, Organization Requires Commitment

So, some time ago, the day job negotiated renovated office space… and a lot of office equipment was offered up to employees. I snagged an adjustable desk because I want to set up a treadmill desk. I measured etc and confirmed the desk would fit in my room. I found a college student with a truck and arranged to get the desk to my house. The desk isn’t huge but it’s not light. But also, I was in the middle of trying to finish My Demon Warlord and Seduction in Winter and so I ended up having the guy park the desk in the living room until I had time to clear out drawers etc…

And there the desk stayed. For a really really long time. Because desk drawers. Because all the stuff I had on the desk… And the closet and and…. And every spare minute needed to go into writing.  Organization requires commitment of heart and time. If you stop halfway into an organization project you might as well go live in hell.

I was starting to hate the desk, taking up space in the living room on its end… A too-inviting target for small dogs.

And I was dreading the work…

But then I finished My Demon Warlord and sent it to the copy editor and whoo-hoo! My son was still home for Winter break and I finally had time to spend with him. I had him set up Apple TV when he got here and then signed up for the free trial of Netflix. And he had been watching Netflix. With my break between books he and I watched the first episodes of Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Sense8. Then we watched several episodes of Jessica Jones and then he went back to school.

Sub-Optimal Areas of Organization

And so, there I was with a long New Year weekend and a desk taking up space and so began Operation New Desk Binge Watch. I emptied desk drawers and surfaces and other places of  . . . let’s be kind and call them “sub-optimal areas of organization” and I brought out the shredder and put all this “stuff” into boxes and watched Jessica Jones while I shredded and sorted and discarded and found new homes for things. Rinse and repeat. When I ran out of Jessica Jones, I started on Daredevil.

Then I was exhausted. But yesterday, I looked at my office with my old icky desk cleaned off but still with a broken drawer and said “I’m going in!”

Only Slightly Bruised

I got the old desk out by myself because it’s not all that heavy, just 20 years old and, well, it’s had a broken drawer for years and no holes for cables so I wasn’t even sorry to see it go out. My brother was over, and he helped me maneuver the “new” desk in. My right toenail is only slightly bruised, I swear.

Then I set up the computer and dropped the cables through the cable holes in the back and Whoo-hoo!!

Phase Two Point Five

So it turns out I need a keyboard tray for the desk, which whatever. I ordered one on Amazon last night — while I was in bed with the lights off. THIS is how technology improves our lives. Since the new desk does not have drawers, today I’m going to buy something suitable that the printer can sit on (currently it’s on the floor) with drawers so I can proceed to Phase 3.

Phase Three

Phase three is to go through all the stuff I didn’t discard and figure out where to store it. Some will go in the Phase 2.5 pedestal thingee and the rest will be relocated to …. somewhere else.

Because of the NSA case, I have a lot of documents that need to be preserved, which is an additional challenge but might as well have it all in the same box, right?

Verdict

Jessica Jones is an awesome series. I love her so hard. I didn’t love Daredevil until about 4 episodes in but then I did. I’m on Sense8 now and I’m blown away at how great this series is. Normally, when I see TV it’s something from the more traditional channels and I watch maybe 2 times a year. But these shows have women doing awesome things and people of all colors and no one is being safe about writing, especially Jessica Jones. Though, a couple of times on Daredevil I thought some of the dialogue was pretty clunky and maybe they needed to call a lawyer a couple of times to get a grounding in how the law might actually work. I’m only a few episodes into Sense8 but yay for a show that isn’t just straight white guys!

Share

My Demon Warlord – Status

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

I have a status! Something to tell you!  I just sent the MS for My Demon Warlord to the copy editor.

It turned out that I did not one but two significant rewrites even after my revisions were done. I wasn’t happy with certain parts of the story. My second paper read-through was a sea of pretty ink colors. Lets, see, I used sparkly green,  copper, sunrise orange, pink, purple, sparkly blue, and sparkly gray. I’d run one pen dry, and either swap out the cartridge immediately and keep going or switch pens until I ran that one dry….  Then I put in those edits and did a third paper read through and…. again massively revised (see list of ink colors above) and then I got in those edits and started reading again, and then I gave up on paper and went back to the digital version and things were finally holding together the way I wanted them to. And then I was mostly catching little stuff like typos and punctuation instead of completely rewriting and now it’s on it’s way to the copy-editor.

After that, it goes to proofreading, then to the formatter.

For everyone who’s been asking about Book 3 in the Sinclair Sister’s series (that would be Emily and Devon!) I can start the plotting/brainstorming pretty much now. I’ve already worked out the basic framework so I may start drafting sooner rather than later.

For everyone who’s been asking about stories in the “The King’s Dragon” world, I’ll be writing the first one after Emily and Devon. That’s a story idea I’ve jokingly called The Dark Elf Series. It’s got elves. It’s dark. There’s a short story set in that world over at Heroes and Heartbreakers. You can read the whole thing there for free. You have to register, but that’s free. MacMillan sells the story for $0.99 at most vendors. (The King’s Dragon, by Carolyn Jewel)

The off-site office makes a big difference in my ability to string together some hours without being interrupted.

 

Share

Love Letter to MikeTheBlogger

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

It turns out this love letter needs a prologue. So here it is.

I’ve known of MikeTheBlogger since he was born and certain of my siblings babysat him. I don’t think we ever spoke until a couple of years ago. To be honest, the only reason we talked was because a few years before that his mother (unbeknownst to him) gave me a copy of something he wrote. No expectations. Just, here. (But of course she was hoping for validation of her son’s talent. Which she got, only I don’t think I told her that because the words belonged to MikeTheBlogger.)

So, okay. I read his words and, unlike every other piece of writing that comes to me from people who don’t know me in my writing life, I not only got past the first page, I got to the last one.

I read them and I kept thinking, I can’t show this to my agent because it’s not ready yet, but I think she’d be interested if it were. So, not ready to show to agents or editors in that form, but in a couple of drafts it would be.

To my knowledge he didn’t do the drafts I hoped he would.

Then he started blogging and that same voice rolled out. Sharp and bitter, wrapped up in vulnerability. So I talked to him again. By then self-publishing had taken hold, so even though any of the Big 5 would probably buy a project from him, he had options.

But to my knowledge, he didn’t work up anything up that he got out there. Maybe he did, but I believe if he had, he’d have sold something.

Dude.

Do over. Allow me to speak your language.

Dude, Jesus fucking Christ, what the hell, motherfucker?

Words are a gift for the writer who can put them on the page and make people feel. That’s your gift. And the very best writers are the ones who sit there in despair saying “I suck so fucking bad at this why am I even doing this?”

Because the words are there and they won’t go away.

And that’s where gap theory comes in. (We talked about this at your birthday party. I’m not sure you were sober, but whatever.)

The very best writers transport us, and the readers who are born with writing in their souls know those words are very, very good. And they see all the ways their own words are not. They forget they’re reading the written, re-written, edited, revised, re-revised, complete redo, re-edited copy edited and proofread version.

MikeTheBlogger, your worst words are better than 99.99% of the other words out there. You only see the gap between you and authors you love for their words.

Until you take a piece of dreck first draft work and work on it until you see places where it’s really good, and where you’ve actually written a story, goddamnit-how did that happen?-you won’t learn that your very, very good words belong. In your voice that is not anyone else’s.

There’s no guarantee of outside success in writing words. But if you have words in your heart, you should be writing them.

Please do.

 

Share

Office Space

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Last week I had dinner with two of my writing buddies, something we do fairly often, but not often enough. Along with much great conversation and enjoyment, we talked about  how things were going for us. I mentioned my challenges and how much they’ve impacted my writing schedule— as in I’m way behind on almost everything. One of my friends asked me this: what might happen to my writing time and production if I rented office space somewhere and went there after work to write? Would not the constant interruptions at home be less disruptive since I would have already put in writing time?

My other friend said she’d been thinking the same thing about my situation, and that by the way, the town where the two of us happen to live has an office-sharing business. Right smack downtown.

Are those angels singing?

One of my dinner companions once gave me some very very good advice I did not follow. I wasn’t mentally prepared to take steps she recommended. I knew she was right at the time, and two years later I knew for a fact that every single thing she’d said I should do had been spot on and that had I taken her advice, I’d likely already be in a position to quit the day job. I’ve always felt she would probably never give me that level of deep and targeted advice again, and that I had missed a big opportunity. I promised myself that if she ever gave me advice directed exactly at me and my situation, I would take that advice no matter how scary it felt.

I sat there with my friends knowing they were exactly right and thinking to myself, it’s probably too expensive. How can I do something like that? How would that even work? I would need afternoons and weekends and they probably only offer daytime on weekdays. Which I could not do. I already have a schedule that I adhere to, and it’s—subject to constant interruptions with a dose of distraction.

I also thought, really, what would be the worst case? It’s so expensive I can’t afford it? It is only weekdays during the day? How expensive would it have to be to exceed a rational, sensible, deductible business expense? I arrived at a number that would not break the writing bank, having factored in the benefit of getting more writing done, which is something that leads to more books on sale, which leads to more writing income.

My other friend said that she heard it wasn’t expensive at all. How could that be? I thought.

When I got home I Googled the company and looked at the costs, available hours and the required commitments.

Yes, Those ARE angels singing

They offer space after hours and on weekends. More or less, their space is available 24/7. The after-hours plan is $95 a month, no ongoing commitment required.

And????

So. The day after our dinner, I went there and signed up for the plan that fits my schedule.

And????

I’ve been there every day this week and I get a lot done.

Share

Book Updates and News

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

I’ve been really low profile these days, but here’s some book updates and news.  I ended up working on multiple projects at the same time, which isn’t always the best thing for me. I can’t really lay things out linearly because they didn’t happen in a straight line. I have personal issues that are taking up more of my writing time, but I have managed to figure out how to adjust to that. The adjustment involves the word  “ruthless.”  Woo-hoo?

I have a historical novella A Seduction in Winter for the   upcoming Christmas anthology Christmas in Duke Street.  It was rough going. My initial idea seemed great. I really liked it. But when I sat down to  write, a different story showed up and it wasn’t the story I had prepared for. Long story short  (Hah!  That’s a writer joke!)  It took a lot longer to write and then rewrite than I anticipated. Involved at least one night of staying up until 2 AM and getting up at 6 AM to get in the final edits. However, I really like the story. It came out great.

Now I’m back to working on  My Demon Warlord which is on track and going well. I am targeting a December release date, which is well beyond what I’d originally hoped.

After that, I’ll start on Sinclair Sisters Book 3, Emily and Bracebridge.

Once all my fast writing was done for A Seduction in Winter, my hands were sore and achy so I’ve started dictating as much as I can.  It speeds things up considerably.

And now, back to the writing cave.

Share

The Fork is OUT!

Sunday, August 30th, 2015
Fork against a blue sky with white clouds

The Fork

My story for the Christmas Anthology Christmas in Duke Street is done. The title is currently A Seduction in Winter, but I’m not sure that will be the final one. It’s off to the copy-editor.

I’m learning to work with and around the disruptions that are happening in what is supposed to be my prime writing time. This is due to the medical condition of a family member. There is nothing I can do about that but figure out how to deal with the changes.

I’ll post the anthology cover shortly.

Share

RWA – Reporting In!

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

I have been crazy busy at RWA, the Romance Writers of America’s national conference being held in New York City. The Golden Heart/RITA ceremony is later tonight. I’m as gussied up as I can be and then I get to cheer on all the contestants. Yay!!!

Tomorrow I head home. Later, I’ll blog more about the conference, not of interesting to everyone, I know. I will also update you on the status of projects . . .

Share

Sneak Peek: Cover of My Demon Warlord

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Here you go, gentle readers: A sneak peek at the 97% sure cover for My Demon Warlord, My Immortals Series Book 7. This is not the final cover, as in there are still some tweaks to do.

A draft cover for My Demon Warlord

Draft Cover for My Demoin Warlord

Share

Progress Update for My Immortals Book 7

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

I’ve hit critical mass for My Immortals Books 7. I’m over 50,000 words now which means mostly the story is there and now I just need to write it better. I’m mostly pretty sure that the title will be My Demon Warlord. Final word count will be around 95,000.

I’m doing my first paper read through and I have already completely re-written chapter 1 three times. This is good news, actually, as dire as that sounds. I am revising using a fountain pen with copper ink. This is fun.

The chapter I thought might be chapter 1 is currently chapter 22.

I love doing the first paper read through. It’s when magic happens. I see themes I didn’t know where there, and that will be interesting to follow through with, and I get to see where things really work and where they don’t, and knowing that matters a lot.

And now, back to it.

Share

Writing, Will Write, Have Been Writing. Also: Reading

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Reading

My RITA reading is all done. Now I’m back to reading Judith Ivory. It’s a slice of reading bliss…

Writing

I attended a writing function last night where someone else paid for dinner and I got to chat with lots of Romance authors and persons in the business. But I had to drive to San Francisco and … Hey! I did find parking on the street, there’s that! My car, bought used, and now paid for, is getting cranky in its old age. I never know which key (I have two, no, no fob…never never buy a car without a fob….) will actually open the door. Any door. And now I’m never sure which key will actually start the car. One of these days the answer will be “None of them!” Sigh. Anyway, I was glad to find parking because that meant I wouldn’t have to give the valet 10 minutes of instructions about what to do if the door(s) won’t open and how to voodoo the ignition. But I didn’t get home until midnight and I had to be up at 5:15AM — I was at least smart enough to not even try for the 4:00AM workout — and so my point is I’m really tired right now.

I’ve been working on My Immortals 7 and things are going pretty well. I’m liking the story a lot and am almost at the point where the story is really essentially done and there’s not much plot left to deal with.

What the title will be, I don’t know yet. I have a few ideas, but nothing I want to commit to yet, and that is why I cannot show you the cover for Book 7 — because the cover is all done except for a place holder title from Book 5. But I love, love, love the cover.

I’m going to be writing another historical novella for a second anthology with Grace Burrowes, Miranda Neville, and Shana Galen. The anthology title should be Dancing in the Duke’s Arms. We were able to arrange a custom photo shoot and so provide some very specific requests for poses and emotions to be conveyed for our cover image. We’ve selected the image we want to use, but there is nothing to show you yet.

Also, I know the story I want to write for the anthology, and it’s an idea that keeps nagging at me.

Arithmetic

Six weeks into 2015 already! I should be doing my taxes but I’m not. Yet. ::Shrug::

Share