Friday, February 16, 2018

Research vs. Writing - The Inner Battle

I have two book series that require a lot of research. Lately, I've been focusing more on research in lieu of writing and am struggling to get back on track with both. The research for the series is vastly different, the happier research involves the various world religions, the other deals with a particularly evil time in recent history. Both affect me differently, both in my desire to dig deeper and in my need to write.

The religious research is so interesting I tend to lose track of time. The topic is fascinating, I'm learning quit a bit and finding each religion has pieces I enjoy and others I despise. Yet I want to learn more and not stop to write.

World War II, in particular Hitler and his inner circle is equally fascinating. It is sad, morbid, and at times deeply disturbing as I can parallels with today's society and the German situation as Hitler grabbed more and more power. Mengele's experimentation is the most disturbing, yet I need to understand him a bit better as I need to understand his methodology in order to make a part of my story line work.

It is hard to force myself to write after doing research, as my drastically affects my writing. I didn't plan on becoming a writer or author, my original career choice was to be a Veterinarian. I'm a long way from that now, with a day job that eats up  60+ hours a week (don't get me started). My characters found me and insisted I begin writing their stories.

I'm trying an experiment over the next month. For every hour of research I do, I have to write at least 100 words on any of my books. They don't have to be good words, it doesn't have to be "gold", I simply need to get some words on the page. I'm hoping that will help jump start my writing output.

What do you do to get your writing mojo back?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Starting Over

I've been working on a WIP, rearranging the middle of a mystery, and forwarding pages to my "volunteer" editor. I've changed enough of the middle now that I'm having to rewrite the ending in order to throw the reader off and still keep them interested.

It feels like I'm writing an entirely new story, which is somewhat true. The main story line is the same, but there's some new scenes I hadn't seen coming that have thrown me for a bit of a loop and making it necessary to come up with some new red herrings. Established writers will occasionally put out the piece of advice that you will "normally" need to write five books before you're really ready to be published. I'm not sure I have that much patience.

As this book gets straightened out and polished up, I'm gearing up to get back into the routine of sending submissions, and receiving rejections. I'm ok with the rejections that I do get back - at least they're responding. I greatly appreciate the ones that come back with suggestions or any kind of feedback. It's not personal, what I'm sending them simply isn't a fit.

I look at submissions as if they are a job interview (and I've had hundreds of those). If I get an agent or publisher I want to be as good a fit for them as I want them to be for my book. Yes, it's a bit strange to have that frame of mind, however I've been in the business world long enough to separate the business from the personal.

So I find myself back at square one, with a different book series, still looking fondly at my first book series (yet to be published), at the start of a new year. Seems fitting.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Bye, bye, bye 2017

While I'm not all that thrilled about getting older, I'm happy to say goodbye to 2017. It's been a rough year for a lot of people. Mother Earth hasn't been happy, throwing lots of strange weather our way from fires to hurricanes to tornadoes. If she was a toddler, I'd suggest she needs a nap.

Family and friends were affected by the fires in California, those in Puerto Rico are still trying to get some fractional semblance of "normal". Other friends have been flooded out, or had their houses knocked down by winds. It's be a roller coaster much of the year.

I'm looking forward to my characters starting up their chats again. They've been far too quiet as they've stepped back to let me deal with all of the chaos.

So bring on 2018! May it be filled with less chaos, more character chatter, higher word counts, and a little bit of peace.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Are you a NaNo'er?

NaNo is rapidly approaching. For those new to NaNo, NaNo is short for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a novel in a month, 50,000 words minimum to be more accurate,.  It starts November 1st and ends at 11:59pm November 30th.

I've done it several years now, I don't always make my goal as my day job tends to get in the way and I find myself on-call on again this year right in the middle of NaNo. But I'm prepping earlier than usual.

If you've been on the fence about possibly writing the novel idea tumbling about in your head, this may be the kick in the pants you need. I did write my first novel in a month, long before I'd heard about NaNo, so I know it can be done.

There are many previous winners who have been published, 449 since 2006, not including those who self-published. That is a shorter list, however, it is still inspiring.

The nice thing is that NaNo has loads of resources available to us writers, all of it is free. NaNo is also a non-profit and, due to donations from a variety of sources, has expanded it's programs to include virtual writing camps, special programs for young writers (grades K-12), and programs for libraries.

Each region has leaders that help with questions, organizing write-ins, and keeping your motivation going. Some regions are more active than others, but there's usually at least one write-in event, giving you a chance to meet other writers and get some additional inspiration.

This year I'll be working on the second book in my Coven Sisters series, wish me luck!

If you'd like to know more about NaNoWriMo, check out their site at:

Friday, September 1, 2017

Summer's End

Hope everyone has had a great summer! I always try to get a lot of writing done during the months when I'm not teaching and the two orchestras I play in aren't meeting. But somehow, the time is quickly filled with other commitments, and all the writing and sewing projects are still incomplete. Now that the fall schedule is starting, I've got to kick things up a notch or two.

I always get more done when I have a plan. The first step is to write out in broad strokes what I want to complete by the end of the month. And then I'll break it down into smaller steps. This afternoon I sat down and figured my four main goals for September. Tonight or tomorrow I'll figure out what needs to happen each week so that on September 30 I'll be able to say they're done!

What do you want to finish by the end of this month?
                                      ~ Patricia Kiyono

Monday, April 24, 2017

Interview with an Editor and Member Chris Allen-Riley

Member Elle Clouse interviews fellow member Chris Allen-Riley on editing!  Join Focus on Fantasy Romance as they discuss the editing process and cover some pitfalls facing new authors.

Mentioned in this podcast: Writing Slices; Reading the Books that Teach You to Write
Find out more about Chris’ writing as Bronwyn Green here:
And check out Round Table Author Services here:
More Focus on Fantasy Romance episode with Elle here.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

How Will 2017 be Different?

by Patricia Kiyono

Happy New Year! This is the time when we make decisions about our lives; we vow to make better choices, work harder, and become healthier. Or maybe we decide to let go of things that tie us down. As authors, we make decisions about what we want to complete. But how do we do that?

On January 14, I'll be speaking at the Grand Rapids Region Writers Group's monthly meeting about goal-setting. I'll have some exercises to share, but one of the things I want everyone to think about is to take stock of what the past year has been like. What have you accomplished? What were the things that allowed you to do these things? What did you want to accomplish but were unable to? What prevented you from doing them?

Once you've got a clear picture of what has come before, then you can look ahead. Decide what projects you want to get done. Not just "write something" but more specific. Try "finish my historical legal thriller." Or "finish and self-publish a memoir about my time in Paris." Then break it down into manageable chunks. What can you get done in a month? Write down 12 of those chunks for the year. Then break each of those 12 chunks into 4 smaller tasks. Now you've got your weekly goals. Keep track of these on a calendar, or whatever method works for you. A large task doesn't seem so daunting when you break it down into small, manageable steps.

Let's make this the year when you reach your goals!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

New Release

by Patricia Kiyono

I'm so pleased to announce the release of my new Christmas romance novella, Three French Inns! This is the third in a series that began in 2012 with The Partridge and the Peartree and continued with last year's Two Tutor Doves. This time, the story takes place in the French Alps, and I had a great time writing about Pierre and Caroline. Research was difficult - most of the resources available to me refer to the nobility, so I had to spend a lot of time reaching out to experts. Thanks to several other authors, as well as Dr. James Smither at GVSU, I was able to complete the book in time for this Christmas season! The book is only 99 cents, and is available at several online book sources. If you enjoy historical romance, I hope you'll give it a try!

Peter Brown joined His Majesty’s Army in the fight against Napoleon, but when he was wounded, a lovely French woman tended him. She was a recent widow, and they were on opposing sides of the war, so they went their separate ways. But he never forgot his “bel ange” — his beautiful angel.

Caroline Bouchard Duval marched with her husband in Napoleon’s army, eager to leave her sleepy village and see the world. But after being widowed, she returned to her childhood home in the French Alps. When a bloody traveler enters her father’s inn, she recognizes him immediately. Could this man give her another chance to fulfill her dreams?

Buy Links: Three French Inns is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, All-Romance ebooks, and Kobo.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Elections and Characters

My characters are having a field day with the upcoming elections. One is telling me which candidates remind him of which former world leaders – including Stalin and Hitler -and laughed at the Muppet's meme that went around social media. Another is finding England's potential departure from the EU fascinating and making comparisons to the US Revolution. And then there's Jess.

Who's Jess? Jess is my first and most beloved character. She's wildly independent, stubborn, unfetterd and doesn't give a damn what others think. My kinda girl! She's the one who forced me (she wouldn't shut up, especially at 3:00 a.m.) to write her story. Jess also swears like a sailor and loves picking up new insulting terms. She's having a field day with all of the mud-slinging, name calling, and fear mongering this election round.

New terms are being flung around my brain like so much confetti. She keeps repeating her favorites over and over, terms like “butt trumpet” keep popping up at inappropriate times. This is distracting at best, inconvenient at worst as she makes me laugh in the middle of conference calls or while troubleshooting an issue for a client.

Her BFF isn't much help as he admonishes her for her rancid mouth and penchant for speaking in a bad British accent when using her newly discovered phrases. As soon as Paul starts in Jess ramps it up, getting more foul until he throws his hands up in disgust and walks away. This of course has me belly laughing uncontrollably while my husband threatens to dial the local psych ward.

I'm not sure if this is normal behavior for characters or not, it is certainly normal for mine.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Writers Need Each Other

by Patricia Kiyono

When I write, I guess I tend to focus on what’s happening. But things can only happen if there are characters to make them happen. And the characters don’t do things without a reason. That was the basis of our lesson from Christie Craig at our teaching sessions at the Mid-Michigan Romance Writers’ Retreat from Harsh Reality last weekend. She spoke with conviction and LOTS of humor, drawing from her own life experiences as well as giving examples from her many books.

It’s difficult to not be inspired when you’re in a beautiful relaxing setting along with 35 other authors. But the inspiration for powerful writing comes when you have someone who helps you see what is needed to make a story go from “Oh, that’s nice” to “Man, that was awesome!” Each month, we get together and share our writing news, and then after lunch and a meeting we listen to a presenter who will hopefully leave us with a little gem of an idea that will make our writing better.

But what about the time between our meetings? We set goals, and many of us reach at least some of them. The idea of local write-ins was brought up at our last meeting and will hopefully catch on. I know several writers in the Kalamazoo area get together weekly at a coffee shop. Others meet monthly at a restaurant. Some are set up as critique groups, where each person shares something they’ve written. Others are quiet times, when people gather with their laptops and simply write. It’s a lot easier to concentrate on what you’re writing when you don’t have the distractions of home and family.

We have a few people who are looking for places to hold these write-ins. Whether it’s for camaraderie, writing help, or simply to get words on the page, consider getting together with your fellow writers on a regular basis. You and your writing will be glad you did.