It’s my turn in the Writing Process Blog Tour meme. The lovely Cara Bristol tagged me last week, so here I go, answering four questions about how I write. On March 24th, visit the authors I’ve tagged to participate — A.S. Fenichel and Lisa Carlisle.
This one is exciting to answer, because for the first time, I’m working on a series. The document I have open these days is called “Icing on the Cake” and it’s Book 2 of my ‘Close to Home’ series. Each book features a new romantic couple and will be able to stand alone, but I do think readers will get more out of the stories if they read in order. That’s usually the way, isn’t it? 😉
Icing on the Cake is scheduled to release in June.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
That’s rather a loaded question! And one I don’t think I can answer, frankly. Is my work different from others of its genre? I don’t know. I don’t try to write “different”, I just write what I enjoy, the way the characters and their stories unfold. I write hot (sometimes very hot) contemporary romance. My stories have banter and humor, intensity and teary parts, steamy sex, and happily ever afters. They’re different from other books in the genre because they came out of my head, that’s all I know for sure.
3. Why do I write what I do?
This one is easy to answer. I write what I write because those are the stories that pop into my brain and demand to be written. I don’t choose to write a certain kind of story or theme, ideas just come to me like little sparks. The ones that keep pinging around in my head, developing into something more, are the stories I sit down to write.
4. How does my writing process work?
Ha, that’s a joke, right? 😉 Okay, this is how I write.
I’m out walking my big doggie and a spark of an idea pops into my head. I pull out my phone, bring up the notepad app and jot whatever it is down. Maybe it’s a concept, maybe it’s a few sentences. Whatever. Then I put the phone away and keep walking the doggie. (Isn’t she adorable?)
If that idea keeps niggling at me, I open a blank document and write a beginning. Maybe it’s a paragraph, maybe it’s a page. Whatever. Then I save and close the document and go on with life. Dishes, laundry, scooping the cat’s litter box… the glamorous stuff, you know?
If the story keeps unfolding in my brain, I open the document again and write some more. (This part could repeat for days. Weeks, even.) Maybe I end up with three pages, maybe a first chapter. I save and quit. Save and quit. Do more glamorous life stuff.
Hooray, the story is still unfolding in my brain! So I take a long shower or walk my dog, to see if “scenes” pop into my head. This is how it happens for me — entire scenes play in my head, sort of like movie snippets. I grab those scenes and scribble the gist of them in a notebook. Around those scenes, I *try* to make an outline. Aside from those scenes I can see quite vividly, the rest of the outline is loose and vague. A bony thing that with A LOT of determination and a healthy dose of luck, *may* become a book.
Using the outline, I make a Post-It note for each scene, be it specific or general, and stick them to the wall near my desk. There’s no better motivation than being able to rip those suckers down as I go! Using the Post-Its, I estimate the word count for each scene to calculate the approximate finished length of the book, as well as a possible completion date. Assuming, of course, that unplanned scenes don’t crop up out of nowhere and demand to be added to the story. And you know what they say about assuming. 😉
I give myself a deadline for completion based on the estimated word count ahead. I tell myself I am absolutely, without a doubt, going to buckle down and meet THE DEADLINE. (Insert hysterical laughing here.)
Then, I write. Sloooowly. Because I edit constantly while writing. (And maybe because I get distracted by the internet just a teensy-weensy little bit.) Anyway. 😉 I’ve never been able to fast-draft or rough-draft. Instead, I pick, pick, pick and wordsmith every single time I open my document. I also write in a linear fashion. If something is really tripping me up, I highlight the section and attempt to move past it temporarily. This rarely works. Usually, I send needy messges to my friends, who pull me back from the ledge, lovely people that they are.
When I finally reach The End, I head back to the beginning and edit some more. And some more. After that, I send it to my beta readers and try not to totally freak out because I KNOW THE WHOLE THING SUCKS BIG HAIRY BALLS. I binge eat, alternating between sweet treats and salty snacks. Then I walk my dog so that I’m too busy to message the poor beta readers every half hour to see if they hate it.
While I’m out walking my dog… a new idea pops into my head, and the process begins again. And that’s how I write. 🙂
Next Monday, click over to my friends’ blogs to read about their writing processes.
A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back. A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story. Multi-published in erotic, contemporary and historical romance, A.S. has several books currently contracted to multiple publishers, and will be bringing you her brand of romance for many years to come.
Lisa Carlisle loves stories with dark, brooding, isolated characters (like Heathcliff, Dracula, Darth Vader, and Severus Snape) and tough, independent, caring heroines. Her reading tastes very widely and she’ll read almost anything–especially paranormal romance, mysteries, and non-fiction on any new topic of interest. When she was younger, Lisa served a short time in the Marines, serving in Parris Island, South Carolina, the California desert, and Okinawa, Japan. She then backpacked alone through Europe and lived in Paris. Returning to the U.S., she owned an independent bookstore for a few years and started to write. Currently, she lives in New England with her husband, two children, a cat, and too many fish.
I’m super excited to reveal the cover for my upcoming release, CUP OF SUGAR. I think it’s sooo pretty and romantic, and a perfect fit for the story.
CUP OF SUGAR is a hot contemporary romance. Here’s the blurb:
The reveal date is set for February 6th, and I’m looking for people to help me spread the cover love! If you’re interested, please send me a message by email (email@example.com) or on my Facebook page. I’ll happily return the favor. 🙂
It’s not unusual for my cell phone to start dinging with messages the second I drop my kids at school, but today I got one from Mandy, the awesome blogger/reviewer behind Straight Shootin’ Book Reviews, congratulating me on making it on to Scandalicious Book Reviews. I had no idea what she was talking about until I clicked over and saw this totally awesome shout-out and review of BODY OF WORK. What a woohoo! way to start the day!
I love Brian Black pretty hard myself, so it makes me all giddy when other people do, too.
So there’s a relatively new book blog in town, and if you haven’t checked it out yet, I recommend you rectify that. Not only because its lovely owner is doing a spotlight on my books, plus a fun Q&A (though you should go check that out, of course 😉 ), but because her reviews are fun to read, she often has giveaways and posts other cool stuff, too.
When I started writing BODY OF WORK, I intended it to be a 15k word quickie novella. Yeah, that plan didn’t happen. It finished at 69,864 words, and only because I reined it in to keep it from jumping into the next price bracket with my publisher. (Anything over 70k retails $1 higher.) In truth, I would like to have added another 10k, namely a couple more scenes with secondary characters. Anyway, I’ve ventured way off track here.
My point was, I loved writing this book. These characters. The secondary characters. As happy as I was to be finished so I could publish it, it was like crashing from a really big sugar-rush. So, when I found a notice in my email, pointing me to a 4.5 star, TOP PICK review, I was thrilled. The reviewer totally “got” everything I poured into the book. That’s an awesome feeling.
Thank you, M. Harvey and Night Owl Reviews! You made my day! 🙂
←Click that fancy badge to go to the review site.
Here’s my favorite part of the review…
“Body of Work” is a wonderful story about how two people wary of trusting the wrong person again can’t help but keep coming back to each other, first for lust and then for love.
Everybody loves a sale, so here you go. Until the end of September, you can buy any of my books for 50% off at Kobo!
Click the link to go to my books on Kobo.
At the shopping cart, you will see a spot where it says “Have a gift card or promo code? Use it here”. Click that line and enter code: B2S50 in the box, then click to apply the discount. Boom, the price will be reduced by half.
Happy reading! 🙂
Coming ( 😉 ) this August… the Sex Scene Championship over at Scorching Book Reviews. If you enjoy erotic romance, this is an event you won’t want to miss. I always find lots of new books for my TBR list during this event. Plus, tons of great prizes are up for grabs.
I hope you’ll check out the daily contestants, and yes, I hope you’ll vote for my scene on August 11th! 🙂
Over on Facebook, three of my awesome author friends — Cara Bristol, Stacey Kennedy and Siobhan Muir — tagged me to participate in a “7” meme. In this game, you go to page 7 or 70 in your Work in Progress and post 7 lines that include dialogue. Well, if you know my writing style, you know I love dialogue! But since this my blog, I decided to cheat a little…don’t count the lines, because there are a lot more than 7. 😉
So here goes. An unedited excerpt from page 7 of my untitled, almost-finished WIP:
“Hey dream girl.”
That voice. She turned—gravitated, really—toward the rich sound. Several people stood between her and the owner’s twinkling, deep-blue eyes. She silently mouthed the words ‘hey asshole’, but her face betrayed her yet again by smiling. Without apologizing, he detoured around the customers separating them and deposited his armful of products behind her heaping pile.
“You just cut in front of four people.”
“I wanted to be behind you.” He took his time perusing her body before meeting her eyes again. “I’m sure nobody blames me for that.”
“She does.” Paige pointed at the somewhat-shrunken woman chirping at him in Italian. Or maybe Portuguese. Hard to tell which, but the lady was definitely peeved.
He showed zero concern, didn’t even bother to look. “Did my t-shirt keep you warm last night?”
“Very.” She leaned closer to him. “Especially when I was lying on my sheepskin rug…watching it burn in the fireplace.”
He barked out a laugh, attracting the attention of everyone in their line and beyond. “That was my favorite t-shirt.”
“I don’t think you’ll miss it.” She nodded at his current apparel—an identical, plain black t-shirt.
He shook his head, still smiling. “Big attitude for such a tiny thing.”
“I’m not tiny.”
“No?” He stepped closer. Invaded her space with his massive everything.
“I’m average. You’re just—” Her eyes drifted across his shoulders, then down. “Huge.” Heat flared in her cheeks as the last word slipped from her mouth in a breathy tone that belonged in the bedroom, not the superstore checkout line. Shit. “Don’t even go there.”
He shrugged, a wolfish grin spreading across his stubble-shadowed face. “You said it, not me.”
And now they both knew she was thinking about his cock. Awesome.
That’s all for now. What you think… Like it? Hate it?
It’s the first full week of summer vacation for the kids. And it rained this morning, meaning lots of sitting on our collective bottoms, staring at computer screens. But the rain stopped and the sun (sort of) came out, so I took my dogs out for a walk. And while I was at the park, I pulled out my phone and texted my almost-twelve-year-old daughter. The following is a transcript of those texts:
Me: It’s actually pretty warm outside now. I’m going to make you do something active when I get home.
Tween: No mommy, it’s crummy outside.
Me: I’m out here in a tank top and shorts and it’s fine.
Tween: But I don’t want to. Mommy no.
Me: Sorry, you’re going out.
Tween: But mommy, I have all summer to be active.
Me: Starting today.
Tween: No mommy please.
Me: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. You’re funny.
Tween: No mommy, I don’t want to start today.
Me: See you in five minutes. Put your shoes on.
Summer fun, right? 😛
It’s giveaway week!
First up, I’m giving away one e-copy of any of my books in the Tattoo Week event over at Riverina Romantics blog. (Draw closes June 8th)
The second offering is courtesy of my lovely friend, Violet Duke. She’s giving away a copy of BODY OF WORK on her Facebook page, so head over there for a chance to win. (Draw closes midnight, Hawaii Standard Time, June 4th)