Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

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.


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.



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.


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


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


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.


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.


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 . . .


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


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.


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

Friday, February 13th, 2015


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


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.


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


Inspiration – Some of my favorite Bollywood Movies

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

As some of you may know, I am a fan of Bollywood movies. My knowledge and expertise is narrow, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have people who are knowledgeable provide me with recommendations. Including, as it happens, some members of the offshore development teams I work with.

Here’s a list of some of my favorites, with some links to reviews where I’ve done them. You can find more if you click on my Arjun Rampal Fan Page tab.

This link will take you to my movie review posts, most of them are Bollywood movies so just scroll past the American Sniper review.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi — This is one of my all-time favorite movies. I love it. You all should watch it. Shah Rukh Kahn.
Om Shanti Om — SRK AND Arjun Rampal
Rajneeti — Arjun with homage to Quentin Tarrantino — so, if violence bothers you, maybe skip, but this is a political film.
The Last Lear — Really really really good movie.
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham — a recent recommendation from one of the offshore devs I work with. This is about family.
Band Baaja Baaraat — @alisharai recommended this on twitter. Super cute movie with a super hot kiss scene.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai — SRK, with one of the hottest shoulder touching scenes in the history of ever. Persevere to the 2nd half of the movie.
My Name is Khan — SRK. I bawled like a baby.
EMI — kind of a silly movie but thoroughly redeemed by one of the love stories — probably a must see for Romance authors.


Mass Reorg AKA Progress!

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Over the weekend I did my first big reorganization of My Immortals 7. This time around, I’m trying to keep some vague keeping track of stuff in Scrivener, because it’s a great tool for that, while doing the actual writing per usual. Scrivener was very helpful in allowing me to structure, label, and organize the story the way I wanted to.

I don’t write in scenes. At least so far I don’t. But I have chapters that must move together, if I do move things around, because they’re linked by time or story flow. And Scrivener made that easy.

But it does mean I didn’t write as many words as I’d hoped. On the other hand, because the new order makes me happier and because now everything flows and is paced better, it was easy to see how and where I would up the ante.

I’m off to do that now.