Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Readers and writers

There is a common theme that emerges when you visit author blogs and websites or follow their tweets. Authors are readers. And many readers have said to themselves at one time or another, "Hey, I could write a book like this." They have dreamed up continuing story lines for favorite books or movies and usually have found some way to write at least some of the time.

So, my friends, let's take a tour of some of the readers and writers we know and get to know them better! Starting tomorrow I hope to have guest authors stopping by to tell you about themselves, their books, and why and how they write.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Where do stories come from?

When I sit down to write I usually have only a rough idea of what I want the story to be. As I type along - I am very fast at the keyboard - the first draft sortof stumbles out onto the screen. I have done the Book in a Week and Book in a Month and in both cases I found that if I carved out the time and sat down to write, the story would come. I go back later and add in layers of description, make sure dialog is fresh, examine point of view and make sure it is deep and interesting. I sometimes move scenes around a little because in those writing marathons I'm not making the manuscript pretty, and besides each publishing house has its own formatting guidelines.

Writing has always been a fairly solitary activity as well. While I have had critique partners, for the most part only my ideas drove the story, and I didn't discuss the book with anyone until I was done. (In the early days that was years and years because I kept playing and polishing and failing to submit it to anyone.)

With my Augustt 21 release, Animal Instinct, I had a completely different experience.

First, this is a collaborative effort. Tami Dee and I have discussed the concept together, and we came up with the framework together.  It is different and really fun to discuss the story with another writer, a co-author. Someone else cares about my characters. Knows them. Is wondering right along with me exactly how they are going to get through the dilemnas and troubles and find true love. When I talk about Allison and Sean, there is someone else who knows who they are!

Secondly, the concept came out of my realization that I wasn't writing my favorite kind of book. This is a little tricky, because I read and usually love absolutely everything. I have always been drawn to books that have a fantasy or science fiction element, however, and my first book and the one coming out in October are great stories, but are real-to-life, current ones.

Animal Instinct is definately a fantasy, with ancestoral memories and magic stirred into the mix. It has evolved out of conversations as well was typing and seeing what happens.

Tami, on the other hand, let me know that she dreamed the entire story line for the next book in the Time after Time Series.  How cool is that! When we start interviews on this blog - soon - she will be the first and you can learn all about it!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Time after Time Saga: Animal Instinct

Watch for this one August 21:
An evil from the past threatens to destroy the love developing between Allison and Sean.
Will ancestral memories hold the key to freedom, or overwhelm them with fear? Allison must find a way to hold onto love. Will Sean be the man to help her break the ancient curse?

Monday, January 16, 2012

In fewer than sixty days...

We are counting down to the release of More Than a Job. I am excited for you to get to know Paige and Joshua. Be sure to read the excerpt on my website and plan to load the book to your Kindle, Nook, or iPad on March 15.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Life and work - how do you keep a balance?

I have had, for the most part, jobs that I love.

That doesn't mean they were all good for me. Being on call in residential services is always a challenge, no matter what position you hold. Services that happen on weekends, holidays and 24 hours in each day overflow into life regularly. The rest of the world - meaning children, schools, spouses, athletic events, church - assumes some free time during the week.

In recent years I have worked out of town, and sometimes worked long days because my family and pets were not around,. It still wasn't good for me, and I found that my eating, sleeping and creative time were scrambled as a result.

Paige Hamilton has one of those 24/7 jobs, and it isn't until she loses it that she discovers a richer way to live her life. In More Than a Job she discovers there is more to life than work, and leverages her job loss to take a new life path, one that leads to love.

Have you ever struggled with balance in your work and personal life? Do you have any tips for making sure that you liive your life no matter what is happening at work?

Monday, January 2, 2012

A new year and a final edit

Today I finished the final edit of my first book, More than a Job, and sent the document to the editor.

It amazes me to actually be done. Like many would-be authors, I have tweaked and edited and played with my two complete manuscripts for literally years.  If it had not been for the encouragement of my writer friend, Tami Dee, they might both be sitting in my "writing ideas" file awaiting yet another read and edit.

This kind of editing is procrastination. There is always something that can be improved. Sometimes I changed names of characters, or the setting, or the first meeting.  I polished the first three chapters endlessly as those are the pages that are entered into contests. Instead of finishing and moving on to other works, I played with these two.

I am happy to say that I have started three other works since my books were accepted by Desert Breeze Publishing. I am working forward rather than re-reading the first chapters over and over. I open and write a page or more every day. On holidays like today I write considerably more. From time to time I set aside a day or two to give them my full attention, turning off the internet and the phone and plowing through.

Editing will come. My publisher has a team of talented people who can help with that, after I finish and do one beginning to end edit.

Between now and then my job is to write, not to edit. Not yet.

It is a valuable lesson.