Monday, April 14, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop: MY TURN!!!

This first bit may look familiar, as it is almost verbatim what I posted last week when I sent you to Megan's blog where she tagged me, but TODAY is the day I share my answers:

So I've been invited to participate in a writing process blog hop... it is a weekly 'tag-you're-it' deal, where I got tagged and MY post will come NEXT week, but THIS week is the post by my friend Megan Bostic who tagged me, so I thought I'd start the intro.

The IDEA: So far as my degrees of connection in this process began, this originated with Maya Rock, though as I understand it, this blog allows it to be traced back further...

The Nearer Ancestry: I was invited by my buddy Megan Bostic, who was invited by Stephanie Feuer.

Megan and I have been friends since my first ABNA and interact most commonly on Facebook. Of my writer friends, her YA and mine probably have the greatest similarity in approach and content... not sure if that is Pacific Northwest roots or a common temperament or both, but I find her writing familiar and comfortable, even in the difficult topics she writes about.

So NOW for the QUESTIONS...

1. What am I working on?

I am finishing up A Shot in the Light, a serially published, flu conspiracy thriller thing that is the biggest bite I have ever taken and I feel like I may NEVER be done chewing. I am about ¾ done with the 11th book of 12.

But can I tell you a secret? I've been cheating on it. Not a lot, but I have an idea that has taken root and I worry if I don't get the plot down as it comes, I will miss it.

I am also meant to be EDITING What Ales Me...

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This applies to both Shot and Undoing (the new one). I like a pretty twisted tale—lots going on--Complicated. I've had reviews say I try to do too much, but I have others who love my stuff, and since this is the kind of tale I prefer to read... (none of that 'keep it simple for me--9 times out of 10, I find simple boring). I ALSO like relationships (friendships, family relationships) and focus more on those than most mystery, thriller or suspense books. To balance, I am probably light on description. I feel most engaged in reading a book when my imagination is pulled in, so I just give the basics and let the reader imagine character appearances and scenery.

3. Why do I write what I do?

To keep the darkness at bay? Because I'm mysterious and edgy? No? I write a subset of what I love to read, but I tend to write mystery and suspense involving young adult or new adult, mostly because I like people to do stupid things without being stupid people, and I think youth buys a bit of leeway there... they are the right age for learning life lessons. And maybe for discovering how to be the person they WANT to be by the end, but without having to start out as an asshat.

And also because I can't seem to write fantasy. The books I love very most—dive into and live in and read over and over again are fantasy, but I mentioned that low-description thing? Coming up with whole entire worlds, completely from scratch is just not currently in my skill set. I am more a puzzle-master than I am a maker-upper. I pull together characters, settings and plots in fresh ways and write them as they would happen. (even when I include paranormal elements, which I sometimes do)

4. How does your writing process work?

I have periods that ideas bombard me. I will have three new book ideas in a week. I diligently write them down and then close my notebook. At some later time I add them to a computer file which currently has 45 books I intend to write some day. (some of those are series).

Once they are written, I leave them there, but inevitably one of them will nag at me. Sometimes just a little—enough to take a few notes, start it's own file in my computer. But eventually one will nag me so badly I can't help but get more serious about it and I know it is the next one I'll write. I sort of think of that as the time when an book idea has adequately fermented. It tends to be well over a year after the idea first came to me. I just need things to jumble around in my head a while.

I tend to do my first drafts FAST—I do two WriMos a year and usually a third month of speed first drafting, but when I am prepping, I go through that file of ideas and SOMETIMES one of my small ideas can be merged into the thing that's bugging me—helps me round out the plot and give it some texture.

I don't outline, exactly—but I DO do a timeline. My Undoing timeline currently has 3 books, each written in 3 'Acts' and I know what each of those acts focuses on, broadly. I have noted where main characters come in and what their role in the overall plot is, so there is some detail, but I like to leave a lot of it open for later—I impose structure on the rewrite if necessary.

Like I said... zoom through the first draft, often leaving holes that just give a sentence or two as to what goes there, so I end up with a 60K first draft of what will be a 75K book. My reasoning here is simple. If I write slower, I will go on every tangent EVER and end up with a 200k MESS. If I have to go fast I get a good skeleton and what I fill in later is actually important to the story.

Once written, I need to set it aside. Shot sat for 10 months before I started revising. Many have sat much longer. I am more objective when they aren't so fresh and revising is easier. I am slower at revision by a lot, have to do it more than once, and like it less, so I have a lot of first drafts waiting for attention. I've written 16 books and only published 4 (if I count Shot at one).

And NOW, it's my turn to tag three writer friends and add them to the game... they will all share THEIR writing processes with you next Monday!!!

Helena Soister works in an office and spends her free time fencing, reading, running around Colorado, and practicing the action skills of Layla Daltry, the heroine in her thriller, The Compass Master. This means that both author and fictional character can get physically bashed up. Helena has also been known to sit down at her desk and write other novels. Her first decent book (she doesn't count the bad early ones) was the historical Prophecies and published years ago by Bantam, The Compass Master is self-published, and she's currently polishing two historical novels. 

[Tart Note: Doesn't that rock—learning all the skills her action heroine needed? I find it amazing. I ALSO want all of you to note Helena is one of the best kept secrets I know—she has AMAZING skill. Her book The Compass Master was my favorite book I read in 2012—like the DiVinci Code only with more accurate history and stronger writing—and a WOMAN solving everything. Seriously—you should buy it.]

A competitive figure skater from the age of eight, Stacy Gail began writing stories in between events to pass the time. By the age of fourteen, she told her parents she was either going to be a figure skating coach who was also a published romance writer, or a romance writer who was also a skating pro. Now with a day job of playing on the ice with her students, and writing everything from steampunk to cyberpunk, contemporary to paranormal at night, both dreams have come true.

[Tart Disclaimer: Stacy and I share a brain. She has it more often than I do, but it's because I got to be the bendy one. Stacy and I have been friends since 2005 and she was one of my earliest encouragers to 'write real books.']

Jade C. Jamison was born and raised in Colorado and has decided she likes it enough to stay forever. Jade's day job is teaching Creative Writing, but teaching doesn't stop her from doing a little writing herself.

Unfortunately, there's no one genre that quite fits her writing. Her work has been labeled romance, erotica, suspense, and women's fiction, and the latter is probably the safest and closest description. But you'll see that her writing doesn't quite fit any of those genres.
You'll have to discover Jade's writing for yourself to decide if you like it.

[Tart Note: I have known Jade less long—I really got to spending time with her through Writing Sprints R Us, a Facebook group where I spend a lot of time, but she is AMAZING. Super supportive and she has been an INCREDIBLE beta reader for Shot, which is a ginormous commitment. She ALSO is an excellent person to look to for how you get an Indie career to really take off—if that is your goal, you should pay attention. Jade ALSO, generally goes incognito, as her writing is spicy and some of her family gets heartburn]

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wait... Indie What?

So 2nd Wednesday was Indie Wednesday for ages, but I could swear I saw that wasn't happening anymore. Am I making stuff up?  I DO do that?

But because I might be, I am going to give it a brief shot ANYWAY...

I've decided solidly and completely that DONE RIGHT Indie is a hella lot more work than traditional. So there. I said it.

I don't mind hard work.
My trouble is hard work takes a LOT of TIME. And time I don't have.

That said, Book 9 is with my copyeditor. I made progress editing book 10, and I've decided I am then going to SPRINT the rest of 11 and all (read: most) of 12 before I go on my conference for work April 30.  Look at it as the delayed ending of March Madness when I had a lot of madness and no TIME.

Then while GONE, I will work on What Ales Me, which I have lots of revision notes for, and THEN, I have hopes life may get back to normal. Whatever that is.

What are you working on? Are you ahead or behind for the first 3rd of the year winding to a close?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

So I've been invited to participate in a writing process blog hop... it is a weekly 'tag-you're-it' deal, where I got tagged and MY post will come NEXT week, but THIS week is the post by my friend Megan Bostic who tagged me, so I thought I'd start the intro.

The IDEA: So far as my degrees of connection in this process began, this originated with Maya Rock, though as I understand it, this blog allows it to be traced back further...

The Nearer Ancestry: I was invited by my buddy Megan Bostic, who was invited by Stephanie Feuer.

Megan and I have been friends since my first ABNA and interact most commonly on Facebook. Of my writer friends, her YA and mine probably have the greatest similarity in approach and content... not sure if that is Pacific Northwest roots or a common temperament or both, but I find her writing familiar and comfortable, even in the difficult topics she writes about.

So I encourage you TODAY to go over to HER blog and read about her writing process.

NEXT WEEK, I will share about mine, and I will be inviting a few of MY writing friends to keep this going...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Newses you can Uses!!!

Or something...

Seriously. I am finally finding my feet again after grant hell. Today is only my 3rd day off in 3 weeks and between Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I put in 35 hours. I WILL say the team we've assembled (my boss and I—she brought me with her for the new Department and we've hired about 15 people in the last year) is AWESOME. We are brilliant. Seriously. We were there until after midnight Tuesday (frantically trying to find a service to get the damn thing to DC by the next day, because it wasn't assembled until about 11:38... and I work with a GREAT GROUP. The volume was just too much in too short a time.

But it's done. Hopefully we can convince the Grand Poobah we don't need to do another until at least October, and when we DO another that we have more lead time and it isn't quite so large.

But what I am here to do TODAY is share a bit of book news.

FIRST, our Blog Buddy Sean McLachlan is offering his book FREE from today until April 8. Hear that? FREE!!! So if you could BOTH go get it AND share the news THAT would be fabulous!!!

The Scavenger – A Toxic World Novelette

And don't forget to review if you like it!!!

And Now... It's all about ME!

*cough *

Should I reiterate my miserable last couple months because of the overworked day job? No?

I am a month later than I intended with Book 8 of my Shot in the Light Serial, but Belly of the Beast went up YESTERDAY!!! Nine and ten shouldn't be NEARLY as long in between, and hopefully 11 and 12 will ALSO be in line, though for the 3rd time I got diverted WRITING 11 with work... But once May gets here, I should be able to take a little time off.

March Madness went BRILLIANTLY for me for the first 18 days and then got shot all to hell... work. AGAIN. I'd like to have a goal of just continuing into April Madness, but as it's the 4th and I've only managed a little... and I have to work Sunday...

See, I'm a big whiny baby right now. I really should not be made to work so hard or I will complain you all to death and NOBODY wants THAT.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Breaks of Breaks, and Helping Host IWSG!!!

I know, can you imagine Our Fearless leader ALEX entrusting such a thing to a nut like me? But he DID!!!

So WELCOME Insecure Sweetie Pies!!! The Insecure Writer’s Support Group WELCOMES you and The Watery Tart, oh silliest of Digressionists welcomes you, too!

Please, if you have time, visit fellow monthly hosts, Chemist Ken, Candilynn Fite, Terri Rochenski , Eva Solar, and Clare Dugmore, and of course Alex The Super Ninja.

April is a wonky month because MOST of us are blogging A to Z. In fact this is the first year I have missed it since it began, but between CRAZY day job deadlines and being behind of a writing project I really want to get done, I just decided it wasn’t fair to sign up, as I wouldn’t have time to get around…. And you KNOW how I like to get around *shifty*

My Current Insecurity though, is NOT unrelated. I have had a day job promotion this year and have had to take a fair number of breaks. Not huge breaks… more baby breaks… like cutting back to blogging twice a week. But I notice when I’m not around as much, people don’t show up as much. I try not to take it personally. I KNOW people can’t be expected to show up when I might not even BE HERE (though I really do blog a few times a week still)… but when I take REAL BREAKS, my blog traffic takes a hit and then doesn’t bounce back…

Anybody have any advice on how to bounce back? How to get the excitement going again? Because I could sure use it!

Best of luck to any of you doing A to Z this month!  Here are some of my favorite B things for Encouragement:

I could use a Bahama vacation about now...
Or at least a beer (only microbrews need apply)

No Tart list is complete without a man-butt

And if you want to keep up around here, my plan is just once a week through April, but part of it is tied to an author process and promotion thing... stop in next Monday and get the scoop...

And NOW, go visit some insecure friends!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

MS Hatch and West of Paradise

Halo, fine friends!!!

I am giving you a special treat today--Marcy (aka: MS Hatch of Mainewords) is doing here FIRST guest blog post, and there is a BIG BIG reason!  Yesterday was her debut book release!

So I'm special because I'm her first stop, YOU'RE special because you are her first guest post readers, and Marcy is special because she's a PUBLISHED AUTHOR!!! Everybody wins!

So huge congratulations to Marcy and best of luck with your book release!!!


So. Here I am, my very first guest post! A giant thank-you to Hart for inviting me to talk about my book – another first! Not that I haven’t written a few books (six, actually), but this is the first one to be published.

I’ve also been writing a really long time (I have grey hairs if that’s any indication) so for those who are still waiting to see their words in print, have hope and don’t give up. Seriously, if I had any advice it would be that - and to keep writing, a lot!

Now about that book I wrote…

Katherine Kennedy has it all; she’s beautiful, she’s wealthy, and she’s engaged to the perfect man: Antonio D'Salvatore. There’s just one problem. She can’t marry him. Worse yet, she has no idea why. All she knows is there is suddenly nothing she wants, not Antonio, or any of the other hundred thousand things money can buy.

Jack McCabe comes home from the war with a pretty medal and a lot of ugly pictures in his head. He has little in the way of possessions, less in the way of wealth, nowhere to go and no one to go anywhere with. All he has is a vague sense of discontent, a restlessness that will not abate.

Separately, they are drawn to Paradise Tours on the privately owned Cristobel Island. There they meet Louis Cade, a man who offers them the unimaginable, something neither can quite believe until they actually find themselves over 125 years in the past, 1881 to be exact.

For Jack McCabe it’s the adventure he always dreamed of – until he meets a beautiful but deadly train robber. Katherine can't believe an ignorant bounty hunter has mistaken her for a criminal – until she sees the picture, which looks exactly like her.

Set in the old west, this is a tale of mistaken identity, romance, and murder.

And finally, three fun facts about me:

Not Marcy (It's Marcy's dog Jonah)
1. I hate sticky. Hate.
2. I wrote West of Paradise because I wanted to write a crossover historical romance, something that would appeal to an even wider demographic. Not that I had a clue what a crossover novel was when I wrote it, lol.
3. I have a dog named Jonah, a yellow lab who is almost 8-years old and still acts like a puppy. My son and I call him an infini-puppy.

[insert pic of Jonah in lieu of me – I know, big cheat, but honestly I don’t even have a pic of me that’s less than five years old]

Interested in knowing more about me? Stop by my blog, mainewords [link:] where I talk about writing, history, books, birds, skyrim, and zombies, among other things.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Big News Up the Wazoo!!! (in a good way)

So somehow this is cool kid book week, or something.

FIRST, I will give a big shoutout to my buddy Gae Polisner who has just released her second Young Adult Novel--her first is the stuff of classroom analysis (teachers pairing it with Of Mice and Men, which it uses to tie themes together)--you know... like respectable, literary reading... It has had the movie option purchased and a script has floated, so this is the real deal, as books go.

Her latest is The Summer of Letting Go:  Just when everything seems to be going wrong, hope—and lovecan appear in the most unexpected places.

Summer has begun, the beach beckons—and Francesca Schnell is going nowhere. Four years ago, Francesca’s little brother, Simon, drowned, and Francesca’s the one who should have been watching. Now Francesca is about to turn sixteen, but guilt keeps her stuck in the past. Meanwhile, her best friend, Lisette, is moving on—most recently with the boy Francesca wants but can’t have. At loose ends, Francesca trails her father, who may be having an affair, to the local country club. There she meets four-year-old Frankie Sky, a little boy who bears an almost eerie resemblance to Simon, and Francesca begins to wonder if it’s possible Frankie could be his reincarnation. Knowing Frankie leads Francesca to places she thought she’d never dare to goand it begins to seem possible to forgive herself, grow up, and even fall in love, whether or not she solves the riddle of Frankie Sky. 
If you happen to by in the NYC area, you can actually GO to her book release (and should). It is at the Book Revue in Huntington.

NEXT:  My buddy Stacy Gail releases the fourth and last in her Earth Angels Series next week. Some of you may recall Stacy and I share a brain, and it really hasn't been fair that she seems to have really hit the ground running as an author while when I have it it seems to mostly find innuendo and distractions to toy with.  But ANYWAY...

About Dangerous Angel:  Book four of the Earth Angels series

Miami's best bounty hunter, Nikita Tesoro will do anything to collar a fugitive. Including stepping into a stripper's stilettos for the night. Outsmarting her rival Kyle Beaudecker is just a bonus. Despite the sexual tension sparking between them, Nikita keeps a professional distance from "Hurricane" Kyle. After all, she can't get hurt if she doesn't care.

A descendant of the archangel Barakiel with the power to harness electricity, Kyle should be focusing his energy on tracking down a demon that may be hiding in the human realm. But he's a lover, not a fighter, and he'd much rather use his special talents for pleasure: specifically Nikita's. And teaming up to find a bail jumper means spending lots of time together…

But when their case takes a turn for the demonic, Kyle can no longer hide his true nature from Nikita. He'll do whatever it takes to win her heart—even stop the apocalypse. But he can't do it alone.

And then TOMORROW I am hosting our blogging buddy Marcy (MS Hatch) for the release of HER debut, West of Paradise (so come back tomorrow to learn about THAT!!!)

And FINALLY, another blogging buddy, Carol Riggs has just announce her first book contract!!!