Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Well, except for the name. When I first started considering writing erotic romance, I knew I wanted a pen name. My kids went to a super conservative school and the last thing I wanted was them to be in any way singled out because "their mom writes porn." Middle school is damn hard enough without that crap added to it.
Now that my oldest son has a girlfriend, (eep!) I'm really glad I have a pen name. Most every conversation with her starts and ends with, "I'm gonna die if I don't know...what's your pen name?" The girlfriend is awesome and I adore her, but she has a Kindle and she's a book buying fool. (Which is fantastic - I approve!) However, her parents who are extremely strict would stroke out if they knew what I wrote, and that would be the end of her relationship with my son. Again, I'm not interested in making my kids' lives miserable because of my job.
The great thing is that she asked Killian once for my pen name and his response was, "How much respect would you have for me if I gave away a secret that was important to someone else?" She grudgingly admitted that her respect level would drop. Then she said, "Okay. I get that. I won't ask you again. But I'm totally bugging your mom." He laughed an told her to go for it. So she does. She told me straight out that she hopes someday I'll give in and tell her. I told her I would when she's 18. This didn't make her happy, but oh well.
If other people ask - people that I'd prefer not know - I usually just say something along the lines of "I prefer to keep my personal life and professional life separate. So far, that line is working great.
So what about you? Pen name or no pen name?
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
I have a saying I’ve tried to live by for most of my adult life. If there’s a problem, there’s a solution. The solution may not always be what I want it to be, but it’s an answer to a seemingly unanswerable problem. When hit by something that seems to be overwhelming or even paralyzing, I first try to calm down and look at the problem logically. I consider myself a very logical person, although my husband, my knight in shining armor tells me, that ain’t so. Still, I try to hang on to that self-image.
Back to the problem, I try to see what needs to be done to solve the problem and how to go about resolving it. I consider intellect more powerful than emotions. I know it’s not so, but as an emotional person, I have to feel I have some control in my life, so I tell myself intellect will out.
So to my problem. Procrastination. Throughout my life I have seen how procrastination causes problems and exacerbates them, so I try really hard to overcome that fault in my otherwise sterling character. I am given to a love of clichés, but we’re not dealing with that today. I guess that would be my first approach to a problem is to focus on it and see what it takes to undo it. And never, NEVER be too proud to take advice from others, if it’s relevant.
So, the problem I want to focus on is my procrastination and how it affects my writing. Days can go by and I don’t even turn on the computer. But when you’ve made a commitment and a book is due, you can’t do that. You have to produce a not just acceptable manuscript, but a smashing bestseller with every book. That’s what I aim for anyway.
Well, to overcome this very real problem. I had to face my procrastination and admit that in this case, it was nothing more than mental laziness. So I took advice from a friend and added some other gems of advice gleaned over the years and found a formula that works for me.
First and foremost is to study my plot, my characters and what must happen next in my book. If I haven’t developed my characters thoroughly, it’s hard to know how they’re going to react to given scenarios. If I haven’t thought through my plot so I know exactly what my characters will face and how they’ll get through all the conflicts ahead, I can get bogged down with a whimpy beginning, saggy middle and unsatisfactory ending. I don’t think this is a real problem for me, since a reviewer for my second vampire book commented on sexy love scene and a lot of plot. Sounds like a book I would read!
So, if you have your characters figured out and your plot outlined, you should be able to go, but suddenly, it just seems a little overwhelming. I always give myself over achiever tasks, like today you’re going to write 5,000 words and every word will sparkle. Suddenly, writing becomes a daunting task.
A friend, whose output is truly amazing, revealed her approach to writing. She said she sets an easy daily goal for herself and everyday she writes that goal, even if she has to do major edits or throw the whole thing out later. That gets you writing and once you start writing it gets easier. After all, we are writers: that’s what we do. So I gave myself a goal of 1,000 words a day, every morning when I have the house all to myself and my other duties could be shoved aside. Without my self demands to perform, I began to relax. Every word I’ve written is not set in stone. I can change things if I have to. I tend to self edit as I write which can be anathema to your flow. But then the magic began to happen, I looked eagerly to my morning writing, the words came easier, my characters were absolutely brilliant (which meant that I must be) and the book was progressing. I even found I didn’t want to stop writing when my prescribed number of words had been reached. At first I made myself stop. As the author of more than 30 books, I’m all too familiar with burn out, so I approached this new schedule warily. After a time I did allow myself to continue on, but not until I was depleted on thoughts and ideas and words. I stopped at a place where I knew what was happening next and I was eager to write it. That made coming to my computer the next morning something I looked forward to and that brought back the joy of writing.
I know many non-writing friends who think writing is such a glamorous thing to do, those of us who actually write know the truth of it, yet we’re driven to tell stories and create characters and plots. We are avid readers who exalt in the talent of other writers. We aspire always to improve our skills, to reach for greatness in the written word and always it starts with our daily battles to overcome our procrastination and sit in front of our computer and produce.
I just don’t to be anything else than a writer!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Note: The Turkey Drop for Mel Trotter is happening the same day this post goes live, so I'm writing this ahead of time as I will be doing that and most likely forget...which is why it's about my Monday. Thanksgiving is around the corner and it always reminds me to be thankful for having a roof over my head, food on the table, people and pets that love me, and my hubby. He's a Saint, although he'll never admit it!
I'm having one of those Mondays...the kind where you dash out the door with wet hair, knowing full well you'll be late to your first meeting because you just KNOW you'll hit every red light on the way there. Which was close...I was 10 minutes late, but due to a McDonald's truck who got himself a bit stuck trying to basically make a U-turn out of the McDonald's and onto the freeway on-ramp. (Drivers in Michigan don't seem to understand that big rigs can't maneuver like cars and have really bad blind spots, yes lady in the Hummer that got in his way, I'm talking to you!)
So, it comes as no big surprise that I accidentally posted today's JC Hanks blogpost on the GRRWG blog and vica versa. Thank God for cut-and-paste!! I'm hoping no one wandered by while it was live...not that there's anything to hide, but I think anyone would be confused by my reference to my character's names.
The rest of the day will get better though. I will finally get my exposed molar covered appropriately with a new crown this afternoon(I wish it was a sparkly one for my head instead!), and I'll get to snuggle up with a blanket and my laptop for some more writing after that. Plus I have another vintage machine that I'll be doing some work on the bentwood case for and cleaning up the old girl for resale to someone who simply wants her for decoration. Which is even better as I need to steal parts from her (and why I bought her to begin with).
And in 4.5 days I will be on vacation for the first time in over a year! I'm not going anywhere, as I have writing to do for NaNoWriMo and ROAR. But, I will get to see some of my favorite recent college grads while they're in town and have lunch with a few friends that I haven't seen in months.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Soooo….I took a few months off of the GRRWG blog. Not because I don’t love GRRWG. I do. But I got a little busy/overwhelmed with wedding planning, back to school, and then life in general. But I’m back and trying to figure out, once again, how to balance it all.
I still haven’t figured it out, but I’m trying.
In terms of writing, I’ve decided to take a break from novels for a while. I’ve been writing short stories. I’ve written a literary story, a scary story, and a sci-fi story. (If you haven't read the scary story yet, check it out HERE.) Next up is another sci-fi story with a bit of a Twilight Zone feel to it. It’s so different from my comedic writing, but I’m finding it really enjoyable. I like how finite a story it is. How it’s just a zeroing in on a particular time and place and event. But I think it’s good muscle exercise for novels.
Still trying to find an agent. Still trying to get the new book published. Still working full time and then some. Still a mom. Now a wife too. Still cooking for the family. Still moving on. Still writing in between it all.
I guess it really isn’t a balancing act at all. You don’t have to juggle everything at one time…It’s more of a wiggling act. Wiggle something in this way, wiggle something in that way. Wiggle a little more time for the things that are important.
GRRWG is important to me, and even though I could do a hundred other projects right now, I’ve decided to do my monthly blog. And then I’ll move on to the next thing.
One benefit of wiggling with all these things, I have to say, I’m rarely bored. (Plus, wiggling is stimulating. Especially when you wear tight pants. Ahem.)
Now…time to wiggle in some exercise and then write a little more.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Call it what you will. It’s important to start. But what’s most important to the process is sticking with it. Take my marathon for instance. I followed a training plan for four and a half months, walking in the heat of summer, taking my long walks on Saturdays when the heat and humidity were both in the nineties, chalking it up to training. One August walk lasted until after 1am because I wanted to avoid the rain, beginning a sixteen mile walk at 9pm.
I wasn’t looking for speed – I knew my pace would be fine. The day of the race dawned rainy and cool. I packed with extra care, taking two pairs of socks in case mine got wet, protein bars for fuel, my iPod, phone, and sunglasses. (I am an optimist.) I wore cotton gloves to keep my hands warm and a hooded rain jacket that I could tie around my waist if need be.
Picking up my registration packet on the Saturday before the race was dramatically different this year than last. Last year, registered for the half-marathon, I felt like I was walking in a daze. Everything seemed surreal. This year I felt energized and confident – fully prepared for 26.2. At mile 11, I ended up with a severe charley horse that stopped me in my tracks. Walking through the muscle spasm’s pain slowed my pace. I had the option to quit. I did not quit. I walked, sometimes limping, sometimes grimacing, but ended up getting to the finish line while the clock was still up.
It doesn’t have to be a marathon. It can be writing a book or writing a poem. Painting a picture or starting a diet. Take a lesson from the hare and begin with speed and excitement. More importantly, take a lesson from the tortoise. Keep going. Imagine yourself crossing the finish line or seeing your book on the shelf at your favorite bookseller. Whatever your dream, keep heading toward it until you can wrap your arms around your accomplishment and say, “I did it!”