What have I been doing in July? (Besides sweating, that is. Because as of today, July is the 5th hottest on record, and if tomorrow hits 90 as they expect, it will creep up to the 4th hottest July) I’ve been fighting with my blog. I can’t see comments unless I use my mouse to highlight them. I don’t know what to do about that. I’ve sent an emil to someone who might be able to fix it, so here’s hoping she can. Back to updates! Here’s a brief rundown of my writing activities.
1. I finished the 2nd draft of Tracking Tami and turned it over to the beta readers. I’ve received feedback from one, and she pointed out some areas that will need a little more work. I’ll wait until I receive the other one back before I begin making changes. I still plan to have this ready to be turned in by August 13.
2. I made minor revisions to Sleeping With the Wolf and Wolf’s Glory in preparation for getting them into print. The cover artist, Lyn Taylor, gave me permission to use her lovely cover art. April Martinez is formatting them for me as I am a complete idiot when it comes to that sort of thing. She sent me a proof of Chapter One of Sleeping With the Wolf so I could see how I liked it or wanted any changes made. I liked it a lot. So I’m hoping to have those available in a few weeks. We’ll see how long it takes.
3. I’ve been ordering some promotional material and swag to send my street team. See the pretty Romance Trading Cards for Wolf’s Glory? I still have room for 3 or 4 more people. so if you’d like to receive a package of Romance Trading Cards and magnets, etc please sign up in the top right corner for my newsletter and include your mailing address. I have people in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, so yes, I do ship overseas. . I’m planning to mail the first swag packages out around the end of August.
4. I’ve been mulling over Rose and Sky’s story. They were both so young when his wolf claimed her. How have they changed in the past seven years? Is Rose an Alpha like Glory or a sweet shy thing like her best friend Ellie? How has growing up as the darling princess of an overprotective wolf pack formed her character? What does she want for her future? Is Sky a bossy Alpha like Shadow? Can he be a tender lover like Taye? Why on earth has he stayed away for seven years? What has he learned about the world outside the Pack and the Clan while he’s been in the new Sin City of Omaha? How will the Princess and the Wolf come to love each other so utterly that they can’t live without each other? I know some of the answers to these questions, but some are still waiting for me to figure out. Sometimes this is the fun part of writing for me. I still need a title. Since Rose is seen by townies as the “princess” of the wolves, I thought of “The Wolf’s Princess” or “Princess of the Wolves” or “The Wolf and the Princess” but I just don’t know. Any suggestions?
I am officially dieting. Again. I’m tired of looking like a flabby apple on legs. I decided to diet on Monday, AFTER I did my grocery shopping on Friday, so not everything in my house is good for a dieting person. And some of these I’ve had for while but jsut haven’t eaten yet. So far I’ve kept my calories between 1300 and 1700 a day, and I’ve done some excercise. Need to do more excercise. So here are thirteen things (some better choices for a dieter than others) I have to snack on:
1. Jordan Almonds. I love these candies. I thought these might be okay, as they take me a while to eat since I suck on them until there’s only a thin candy coating around the almond before crunching them up. However, while it might take me an hour to eat the allotted 13 pieces in a serving, that is 190 calories and a lot of carbs.
2. Sweet Bing cherries. I also love fresh cherries.
3. Gourmet Aussie black Liqorice. Another candy favorite that has way too many calories and carbs.
4. Cucumber sticks. Almost no calories in these and I like them.
5. Carrot coins. You know those crinkle cut carrot slices.
6. Peanut M&Ms.
7. Pretzel sticks. With a little ranch dressing these are nice.
8. Chips & salsa. The chips aren’t probably the best thing for me, but not the worst either.
9. Apples. Some new variety that I don’t remember the name of now.
10. Honey roasted sunflower seeds. Lots of fat, but it’s good fat, right?
11. Cinnamon Raisin bread. Nummy toasted. Lots of carbs.
12. German Chocolate cake. Still in the box, it needs to be made. I have company coming for supper on Friday. Maybe they’ll eat most of it so I don’t have to feel guilty?
13. Green pepper. Not really a snack, I bought these for the salad I’m making on Friday. But if there are left overs, a strip of green pepper is tasty.
What healthy snacks do you enjoy?
People sometimes ask me “How do you write a story? Do you write in chronological order? How many drafts do you write? Where do you get your ideas? How long does it take? How do you do it?”
Let me start by saying every writer will have different answers to these types of questions. And there are no right or wrong answers. What I am going to say pertains to me and the way I write. Your mileage, and that of every other writer, may vary.
1. Where do you get your ideas? Well, I don’t know. That’s not very informative, is it? Sometimes an idea will just spring into my head. For example, I was idly wondering how Rose will react to a certain thing that Sky does (I’m trying to not give spoilers here) and her reaction sprang into my head and made me laugh. Because I was totally not expecting that, but it fits perfectly. Or sometimes I’ll watch a movie and something in a scene or a character will make me think: “That’s cool!” and I’ll branch off of it.
2. Do you write in chronological order? Yes, almost always. The exceptions are when the idea for a scene come to me and I’ll quick jot it down, usually in brief outline. However, there is an exception to that, too, like the proposal scene in Tracking Tami. I ended up writing it in detail because it seemed so clear in my head and I didn’t want to forget it.
3. How many drafts do you write? As many as I think I need. For instance, I wrote four drafts of Sleeping With the Wolf before submitting it. The first draft I wrote for some friends at work. They really liked it and said I should submit it somewhere. I ended up doing quite a bit of chopping and re-arranging, as I had written one story that told both Carla & Taye’s and Lisa & Eddie’s stories in one manuscript. The second draft was pretty choppy and uneven. The third draft I thought was pretty good so I had some other friends do a read through and give me their take on it. The fourth draft incorporated their suggestions. Of course, the editor at Liquid Silver had me do further revisions, which produced a story I’m proud of.
4. How long does it take? Too long. Actually I wrote my first draft of the story of Sleeping With the Wolf/Eddie’s Prize (Originally titled Carla & Lisa, Prize Brides) in only about 2 months, but I wasn’t trying to write super well. Wolf’s Glory took me seven months. Tracking Tami took me five months (and it’s not really done. I’ll have one more draft to do before I turn it in)
5. How do you do it? Well, that’s a pretty vague question. Here’s my rather lengthy answer:
A. I get home from work, pour a mountain dew or a cup of coffee and sit down and type. Sometimes I’m on fire with a great scene I’m dying to get down. Sometimes I’m just slogging along on something that I know I’ll have to re-write. I sometimes tell myself I have to write until I finish a scene. Sometimes I have a word count that I shoot for.
B. After I finish a first draft I try to leave it alone for a couple of weeks while I either work on something else or knit or haul out my spinning wheel to spin. The point of that is when I come back to the story it will be fresh. When I’m writing a story, I’m so involved that I never leave it. The scenes and characters are always with me. I’m so close that I can’t see it clearly. When I put it away for a while and then come back I’ll see it with fresh eyes and I can tell (hopefully) where a scene isn’t working or a character isn’t behaving like himself.
C. I write the second draft to correct things and add more to fill in gaps. Then I send it to some friends (a lot of writers call them betas, because they are the second set of eyes to read the story). They read it and then send it back with comments like “Why does your hero do this?” and “Chapter 12 seems kind of boring. Nothing really happens” and “The whole scene where the heroine does X needs more showing and less telling” etc.
D. I write the third draft, taking into account the betas’ suggestions. I call this the polishing draft. When I think it’s as good as I can make it I am ready to submit it. And that is a whole other blog post!
I am buried in revisions for Tracking Tami, Book 3 in the After the Crash series. Tami is a modern woman who runs a wilderness survival school but is thrown into a future where women are treated in some places like possessions. She was married against her will and runs away. Tracker is a loner from the Clan who was hired to find her and bring her back. It’s a long hard chase for both of them. The woman that Tracker expected to be an easy job challenges him every mile of the way.
As she turned to leave the kitchen to get her snare set up something on colorless, papered wall caught her eye. Stapled to the wall was a sun faded, age-yellowed calendar. For the year 2017.
“Sky,” Rose uttered with loathing.
Tracker politely pretended to not notice this sign of discord in his young cousin’s mating. He would allow himself be amused by it later when he was alone.
The first thing that struck Tracker when he came back to camp was the rich enticing scent of one particular woman. The second thing was that the damn woman had made off with his dinner.
Tami woke with a silent gasp. The quiet murmur came out of the cold dark like a lover’s whisper.
Helpless was one thing she was not. Tracker wiped at the blood on his face with the back of his wrist.
There we go. 13 sentences from my WiP Tracking Tami. What are you writing or reading these days?
I have decided to put out a newsletter. I’ve had people ask me if I had a newsletter and I’ve always said no. Newsletters were for “big” authors. I’m still a newbie, and it’s not like I put out four books a year or sell 100,000 copies a year. But some of the writers over on Romance Divas were talking about newsletters, how to do them and how effective they were. And I figured, What the heck. If only ten people sign up I’ll happily send out news about my writing to ten people.
Let me tell you how I plan for this newsletter group to work. If you sign up for the newsletter you are only required to enter your email addy, your first name (or a nickname) and the format you want the newsletter to come in. You will receive an emailed newsletter about 4 times a year, although there may be an extra here and there when I am having a contest or something extra special happens.
If you would like to join my street team you can also enter your mailing address. Those on the street team will receive extra bling in the mail once or twice a year. In exchange I ask that they promote my books when possible. I want to clarify about that. I don’t expect anyone to stand on street corners and preach about my books. *shudder* No, I mean that if it seems appropriate, mention my books. Maybe write a review on GoodReads or Amazon or Shelfari. If someone on a readers forum asks for a recommendation you could mention my books. Don’t leave your comfort zone. I want this to be fun, not work.
Okay? Then go here to sign up for my newsletter.
Updates: I said there would be updates, so here you are.
I am working hard on Tracking Tami, Book 3 in the After the Crash series. I finished the rough draft on July 5, then put it aside for a bit. I plan to finish revising Tami by next Monday so I can get the manuscript out to a couple gals who agreed to read it for me and catch any errors or rough spots in the story. Writers call these types of readers “beta readers”. They are the second sets of eyes to look at a story. I hope to have the book back from them by August 1st. Then I’ll go through the story again and hopefully get it submitted by August 13. You know, it’s hard to pick a favorite hero. But Tracker is definitely in the running. Where Taye was tender and coaxing and Shadow was demanding, Tracker is silently, hopelessly in love with Tami. But he just can’t find the words to say so to her.
In between times I am working on Eddie’s Prize. It’s actually mostly written, but I have to add some scenes to flesh out the story. Right now Eddie’s an angel, so in love with his newly won bride that he can’t get enough of her. But that’s going to change and I know I’ll be fighting the urge to slap Eddie silly. Hm… Maybe Lisa will do that for me. That woman has the patience of a saint combined with a spine of Minnesota-Nice, but she does have a temper. I think Eddie is going to have to grovel extravagantly to win her back.
Words are fun. Hey, I’m a writer. I LOVE words! And some words are just plain fun.
1. Manolo Blahnik - okay, not actually a word. This is a name. But still, it’s fun. 1) it has a funny sound. 2) shoes. Shoes are fun.
2. Spaghetti – just fun. And yummy. When I was young I couldn’t pronounce it. I called it Scabetty.
3. Effervescent. Another fun sounding word. Kinda sounds like “effing pheasant”
4. Egg. What a stupid sounding word! This one must have been around since caveman days.
5. Mississippi. Sounds kind of like a snake with elegance
6. Worcestershire. How do YOU pronounce it? Wishes stir sure
7. Scandinavia. It has such a nice flow, with accents making the voice rise and fall.
8. Possession. There’s not a Z in this word. Why do we pronouce it that way?
9. Earl. Another short gutteral word. Say egg. Then say earl. Which is lower in the throat?
10. Mama. So easy to say it’s usually the 1st word a child says.
11. Pizza. There’s not a T in the word, but that’s often how Italian words with double Zs are pronounced.
12. Wednesday. Do you pronounce the D?
13. No. Another easy word. Do you add a W sound at the end?
There 13 words I think are fun! Happy Thursday!