After months of frustration I am writing again. The joy is bubbling like champagne. I’m not up to speed yet, but I feel hopeful. My writer friends understand. Writing is not a choice. It’s an obsession. An addiction. Being so overwhelmed with other parts of my life that I had to put my writing aside took a toll on me.
Depression threatened. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I couldn’t concentrate. I didn’t care about normal things like getting dressed or using makeup. uh oh. All classic signs I was slipping into a real slump. I was lucky. I did recognize I had a problem.
Its not easy to get out of that hole. It took me several weeks to force myself into a healthy routine.
And most of those days I wanted to write.
I can’t blame all of my feelings on not writing since being the caretaker for my recovering husband took all of my time and energy for months. He’s been cleared by his cancer surgeon.There is no trace of that horrible bugaboo, but life is not back to routine. He still has a physical therapist to help rebuild the muscles weakened by long days in bed.
So what did I do? I stopped nagging at myself. I got enough sleep. I worked in my garden although it wasn’t really spring yet. I walked my dog.
The fresh start I got this week is like a blessing.
Thanks you to all my friends for your support and prayers.
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After finishing the edits and sending them back to my editor, I had plan. The next book in the series is more than a spark in my eye; I have several ideas for another holiday romance and am planning the promo for book three.
So what happened?
What happens every time I finish a book? I shouldn’t have been surprised. Writing is like giving birth and just as exhausting. I slept for twelve hours. And I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. For three days I accomplished nothing. The fourth day I finally vacuumed the rugs washed the dishes and cleaned the counters. Whew. Got on the computer and cleared my email. Went to bed early and slept late again. For another three days.
Someone might call this depression. I might have at one time, but it’s not the classic diagnosis. It’s the writer’s version.
Any writer puts heart and soul into finishing that book. It is draining and foolish not to recognize the need to recover. The first time this happened I believed I had writer’s block and panicked. Oh my goodness, would I ever write again—
Well, I did. And the time after that, etcetera.
This time I recognized the need to let my mind go blank. Only it didn’t. I had dreams every night. I had plot ideas fluttering like butterflies through my head. I let it all happen.
Today I didn’t jump onto the computer and check my email. I decided to write this blog and let you know it isn’t unusual to fall down the rabbit hole. Like Alice we come out with a different perspective.
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Edits are time-consuming, frustrating and ultimately satisfying. I finished the first edit round for Ancient Curse yesterday and sent it back to my editor Amanda Barnett with a prayer.
This is the third book in my Rhodes End series for the Wild Rose Press. I should be a little more confident that they like my work. Especially since my holiday romance Journey of the Magi was a bestseller.
Any writer will agree the next manuscript is a difficult to write as the first. I remember picking away at every detail of my first. I wanted it perfect. I still want this one perfect, but I’ve learned to be easier on myself. I use spell-check when I question my memory. I depend on my editor to pick up any glaring flaws. Its not easy.
My books are my babies. And my human kids will tell you I’m still picky even though they’ve grown up and moved out. I await my first critique with both fear and hope. Then when I have the most wonderful reviews, I cry for days. If you don’t believe me, check Journey of the Magi http://amzn.com/B00ES5DZEQ
So much credit goes to my editor Kinan for making sure I did my best. she is the good kind of picky.
So I learned more about the right kind of picky: build the romance, weave the plot, make strong characters, use effective description.
Whew. That’s work.
Well, did you expect writing to be easy? I think I did. Now I’ve learned it takes daily work. Hours and hours of writing followed by hours and hours of picky, picky, picky edits.
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I’ve loved words since I was a child. I found that using the right word at the right place could change a dull sentence into a brilliant insight. It’s the magic that makes me a writer, a poet, a dispenser of stories.
Words are powerful. Words can heal or hurt. Words show truth or expose a lie.
I want to share with you my belief about words. I think it hard to say what I mean in this politically correct world. Someone is taking away my power to say what I mean. If I can’t say ‘that’ because ‘that’ might offend the hearer, than I am limited in expressing who I am. Doesn’t that hurt me more than them?
In the novel, 1984, by George Orwell, the government gradually eliminates words until people can no longer express anything. It scared the heck out of me but I said that could never happen in real life. The government couldn’t, wouldn’t remove words that let me argue with clarity. Then they did. Don’t say terrorist or illegal alien even if it’s true.
Then I was told not to tell ethnic jokes. Any ethnic jokes were taboo. By listening to those idiots, we lost a whole segment of colorful, descriptive, stereotypical, ‘funny’ words that enabled us to laugh at ourselves and our foolish beliefs. If I don’t like an ethnic joke, I can choose not to laugh. If I don’t like a sexual comment, I can tell the speaker to behave better.
I want my choices back!
I’ve read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and accepted the occasional ‘word’ as part of that culture. Not the one I grew up in, but a realistic portrayal of another time and place. Do I want it edited? No way should any book be rewritten to make it acceptable to the current norms.
I don’t watch people who say things that offend me. I have the choice. Just like they have the choice not to read or listen to me. Their choice is what gives words power.
If I want to argue politics, I want to express my true beliefs, not some watered down, politically correct version of some wishy-washy, lukewarm, dull, soulless opinion.
Words are our heritage. No-one has the right to edit our ability to express our thoughts, beliefs or emotions. Keep alert. Words aren’t the only item in danger.
“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Am I addicted to the internet? I scoffed at my husband when he said yes. I work on my computer I insisted. I don’t play video games or text. My use of Facebook is for promoting my writing personae and my books, not to be social as in chat with friends. I tweet about my friends’ blogs or new books, not my dog or cat. I have my books listed on GoodReads, Shelfari and LibraryThing and belong to a few groups devoted to reading.
I use Triberr as a huge timesaver to keep my contacts active and I limit it to one visit a day.
Am I addicted to the internet? When I was hacked I discovered, to my horror, that I am. If you call go into cold sweats when I couldn’t connect a problem.
Oh yeah. I realized I needed that daily dive into the wide wide world of cyberspace. I couldn’t concentrate on other things like writing my book or blog. My contact list was gone. I was essentially alone on a cold plane of reality.
This is not a funny as it sounds. For four days I frantically worked to get my loops and groups back into my life. I had a temper tantrum. I ate continuously. On the fifth day I realized I was acting like a nut. I hadn’t written anything productive in days. The real focus of my life, my writing, had somewhere gotten lost in the shuffle and I sat down for a long look at my work habits.
I used to get on my computer right after breakfast and write until lunch. Most days I did housework, exercise or fun stuff in the afternoon. I didn’t work on the weekends, choosing to do stuff with my family. That had changed. I got on the internet. I spent anywhere from an hour to two or three daily. Even weekends have become a part of the cyber-flow.
What should I do?
For one thing, I’ve written more on my book in the last week than I have in the past month. I let my groups and loops slide. I’m not sure what’s happening and although I miss my contact with on-line friends I’m refocusing.
I made a couple decisions about time on the net. I visit Triberr before breakfast. It’s quicker that early and I’m off in less than 20 minutes. I am slowly revisting the sites I joined to promote my books and taking a look at each. If I’m not using it to my benefit why am I there? What is the most efficient use? Often I don’t know and I shake my head. What am I doing?
As to my addiction, I recognized I have a problem. I am limiting the time I spend on the net by putting a limit on its use.
The best thing I’ve done is to make a list of places that need attention and the time I will devote to each. This is a serious work in progress.
Are you also in denial? Are you addicted to the internet?
Blog reposted from Roses of Prose
With the year winding down, I’ve been assessing the success of my efforts at
promotion. I established my own blog and post about my travels, my books and my family. Not exactly a focused effort but people seem to like it. My followers are on the upswing. I try to post twice a week- a New Year’s resolution that went the way of all resolutions. Sigh.
I decided against being in a group blog. I try to blog at my place http://mudpiesandmagnolias.blogspot.com/ once a week, but I miss the occasional week. Blogging is about revealing more about my stories or me, and I like to have most of those posts concentrated at a venue I control. I do blog tours when I have a release, but I’m a blog-lite kind of gal, maybe one to two guests blogs for about 3 weeks and I call it good for new book PR. Even I’m sick of my characters and hype by then, LOL.
But I have taken a reverse approach to blogging as I try to comment on multiple people’s blog-posts each week. And, most of the time I remember to leave a link back to my blog. So I’m trying to do some stealth blog-networking. Does it work? I don’t know, but its my plan and I’m sticking to it.
I was awed by Morgan’s reply. I would love to have the energy to do this and also write wonderful books like she does.
Acme Authors Link – http://acmeauthorslink.blogspot.com – My days are each Wednesday. Members post almost everyday here – This is more of a personal life of writers blog, about our books and our writing and personal lives
Books Gone Viral – http://booksgoneviral.blogspot.com – The rules in this blog are there are no set rules on when to post. Our many members post whenever they feel the urge or have an event to tell readers about.
I also participate in a group blog owned by Dani Greer, called The Blood-Red Pencil, http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com, where I’m on the first Tuesday of the month and then later at an assigned date later in the month. This blog consists of mainly editors, but I was admitted because they like my hints for authors.
GUEST BLOGS: I own two guest blogs that are specific in requirements:
Sweet Not Spicy – http://sweetnotspicy.blogspot.com – Guests promote their sweet fiction and romances – Once a week a post appears on Tuesday and stays up until the next Tuesday’s guest.
Spunky Senior Authors and Talents – http://spunkyseniors.blogspot.com – Guests who are 50 years of age and older share their lives, and if they’re authors, they also share their books. – Once a week a post appears on Thursday and stays up until the next Thursday’s guest.
I HAVE TWO PERSONAL BLOGS:
Double M’s Take on Books, Blogs, Dogs, Networking & Life – I share what the title says, and at times host guests. This blog has no set schedule, whenever I have time or a special occasion to a post about.
Morgan’s Book Links – http://morgansbooklinks.blogspot.com – This blog is similar to a website, in that the content rarely changes. It highlights each of my books, plus offers buy links, and excerpts.
I try to post twice a week on my personal blog Romance Under the Moonlight. I blog once a month on 99 cent book, 4RV publishing and Once Upon A Word. I belong two other group blogs but I’ve neglected as of late because my writing commitments were overwhelming. I’m getting out from under the writing commitments this Nov.,_._,___
Celia Yeary added:
I post on my personal blog roughly twice a week. I co-own a group
blog called Sweethearts of the West, and each of us–15–have a certain
day, even days of the months, which gives each of us a two-day exposure.
These two are my focus and sometimes takes more time to do than others.
Two others I can post on anytime, as long as I get on the calendar. I can rarely
manage more than two blogs at a time, although I do have good intentions.
The use of blogs seems to be as individual as each of us. I can’t draw any conclusions from what I learned, but maybe you will. I hope you take the time to visit each of these blogs and read what they have to share. If you like it, you can ask to be a guest.
Long before politicians started pushing the value of volunteering, my Mom, Helen Gadamowitz, was a good example for me and my sister Patricia Anne Nadeau. We were far from well-to-do and money had to stretch to cover food, clothes and medicine. My Mother gave her time instead and taught me to do the same.
I was a member of our church’s Altar Society before I hit middle school. I found that what I gave didn’t equal what I received. One member taught me to crochet. Another’s daughter became a friend.
Over the years I’ve given time to many organizations. Because of my kids I was with the Boy Scouts for eleven years, the Girl Scouts for five and the Parent/Teachers association for six. Don’t get me wrong, I helped because it allowed me to spend more time with my children. The giving benefited me. It gave me hours of wonderful experiences with my sons and daughter. We camped with the troop, went to
summer day camp, and met some fine people. I can’t list the other places I volunteered, some for a day or a week.
From there it was a jump to RWA chapter President. I benefited so much from the writers who shared their talents and knowledge that I founded a chapter in Connecticut, The Charter Oak Romance Writers.
Again when I thought I was giving, I received so much more.
I taught Sunday School and joined the church choir. The joy I received cannot be measured.
So here I am making a list of things that I’m thankful for. Not in any special order.
1. My sons: the perfect men. Said with a mother’s smile but a belief it’s true.
2. And my Daughters-in-law who gave me grandchildren and are the greatest women I know.
3. Strength to survive the loss of my daughter Theresa Stark (Piazza, Spahr) was a gift from God, that and the sweet memories.
4. My grandchildren who are proving to be talented, smart and generally wonderful.
5. The ability to write is a joy that allows me to share my heart. Thank you God for five books published when I didn’t believe I could do it and for the dozen more in the pipeline.
6. How can I give enough thanks for my husband’s survival of his heart attack?
7. I thank God for the stubborn streak that pulled me through health problems that others failed under.
8. Thank you for my family, my friends and life.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Count your blessings and share your love.
When I wrote my first book I didn’t even know about readers. I wasn’t worried about those vague future participants in my success. I wasn’t thinking in terms of number of books sold, but in getting the darn thing written and published. I spent months writing my manuscript.
Then I put my hours into finding a publisher. When I say hours I mean hundreds of hours before the call came.
Whoopee! Someone out there thought my book worth putting on the market.
Then came the edits. Oh boy, who knew that that wonderful person who loved my story was so picky? My editor wanted the grammar correct, the plot to flow smoothly, the characters to be consistent, the dialogue to make sense. More months spent on rewrites and edits.
All of this is to please the reader. And I thought my book was perfect when the editor offered a contract.
To get to the point: readers.
Readers buy books. Since my book is so good, I knew it will fly out the door. Hah. A few friends bought it. A few more read the great reviews and bought it. Then nada. I did book signings and sold more. Sold a bunch at the Romantic Times convention.
I needed a way to reach readers. The next move was a website, only someone had my name on hers. Turns out she was an exotic dancer. Sigh. Didn’t exactly drive readers to my site. I added free reads and buy links. I persisted since all my friends and family owned a copy and I really needed to find more.
For a time I became lost in the world of cyber promotion. Do you realize how much time you can waste on the web? That writing time is lost forever when it could be used on the next book instead.
I went on FaceBook, Yahoo groups, Goodreads, Shelfari, Twitter, posting my profile and book information everywhere I could find. Sales hiccup with each action.
Then I had the AHAH moment. Another author said, you need to write more books. Each book adds more readers. It’s called a geometric progression in fancy language.
This was what I really wanted to hear. Write, write, write. So I wrote and published several more books. The giant leap didn’t happen. A steady climb, but not huge.
The point is still readers. My publishers are great, supportive and helpful, but they can’t add readers. I get my name out there.
A part of me is still the hermit writer huddled over my laptop, but another part is the media mogul spending part of each day inviting readers to learn more about me, like what they learn and be interested enough to buy my books.
Every year there was something special that I wanted for Christmas.
I remember wanting a horse. Not a pony, a real live horse that I could ride like in The Black Stallion. Sigh. It didn’t happen and with good reason since I had trouble taking care of a cat. But I wanted that horse.
How about the year I wanted a clarinet? I wanted to take the free music lessons offered at school but my parents had to provide the instrument. That was the year I learned that money didn’t always stretch to cover a son in college and a girl in elementary school’s wishes.
There was the year my sister was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and I wanted her to be well again. She learned to care for herself and I learned good things don’t always happen to good people.
There was the Christmas I was seven months pregnant and huge as a whale. I wanted that baby to arrive, but he stayed with me until February. Happy Birthday, Stephen.
Christmas was a time for planning on how to make the money go far enough. I wished for enough to buy everything my children wanted, but it never happened. I made jars of mint jelly (green) and crab-apple jelly (red) to give to their teachers. I knit slippers and mittens because hand-made things were less expensive. I saved so they could make a list to Santa and I promised to get them three things off that list. They got them, but it wasn’t always the most expensive items.
I wished to finish my manuscript by Christmas but didn’t. Shoot.
For years, I wished for my daughter to come home for Christmas, but Alaska was too far away.
This year I wanted to have my entire family gather for the Holidays. That ain’t going to ever happen. My son with the christmas tree farm is still working. The grandson in the navy’s submarine put into Groton so he came with his sweetheart. My granddaughter in the Air Force was flying to Colorado. My grandson in Florida started a new job at SeaWorld and couldn’t get the time off. The grandson in College surprised me and brought his girl-friend. My son in Virginia couldn’t take any more time off, but I’ll see him in a couple weeks. Every year I wish the same thing. To have us all together again. Maybe next year.
Ancient Awakening started as a romance and a stand-alone book. It quickly changed, became complicated and detailed. The different characters blurred after several chapters and I realized I needed a better way to keep track of eye color, hair style, physical
description and other pesky details. I’ve used character sheets, interview
sheets, lists and found they didn’t meet my needs.
Then another author mentioned using a ‘bible’ and the light bulb flashed over my head. What could be easier than a method I could do on the fly?
After creating a new document I quickly skimmed what I had already written. To make it easy to find, I used bold for the character name. It was easy to copy/paste sections of description any time I mentioned him/her.
Let me amend that. I copy the information when I go back to do a simple edit. I never stop the writing process for editing. It breaks the flow and I don’t recommend using anything
that does that.
I also found it helpful to have a timeline of events. Mine is at the front of the ‘bible,’ but you can put it anywhere.
Once I decided Ancient Awakening was the first of a series set in Rhodes End, I added the town as a character. I’m also drawing a map using my characters actions. You’d be surprised to know how hard it is to recall if you turn right or left out of the driveway to get
to the cemetery.
Since I’ve worked on Ancient Blood, Book Two and Ancient Curse, Book Three, the information is invaluable. I have opened ‘bible’ two and three,
copied the appropriate character descriptions as needed, and keep on writing.
I’ve found it helpful to add research details. So many times I’ve wasted time hunting for that important detail because I couldn’t recall the spelling, the year, whatever.
The ‘bible’ is meant to be a flexible tool. I recommend it.
Blurb for Ancient Blood: Lily Alban escapes a murderous stalker, but his vicious attack leaves her with the ability to see auras. She finds safety in
the tiny hamlet of Rhodes End where a stranger stands out like a red light. Try
as she might to deny her growing desire for Cole, she seeks his help but soon
discovers the man she loves is not a man at all.
Werewolf Cole Benedict resists his attraction to Lily. A botanist researching the healing herbs to find a cure for Lycanthropy, he’s determined to protect Lily from her stalker as well as himself even in human form, but instinct takes over when he changes to his inner beast.
Together they must use their extraordinary gifts to catch Lily’s stalker before he attacks again, but revealing their secrets to one another could destroy their growing love or save them both.
“Lily?” His strong hands gently
cupped her shoulders.
“Don’t, please don’t.”
She pulled away, fully intending to
flee. Her resistance shattered, and she turned into his embrace. It was too
late to escape. Pressing against his strength, she wound her arms around his
neck and pulled him closer. His erection prodded her stomach, and she moaned. A
heavy groan filled his throat as he lifted her from her feet. He kicked the bag
aside as he sat her on the counter.
“I can’t wait,” he growled. His
flaring aura spiraled with colors she couldn’t name. She caught her breath. One
hand burrowed through her hair, keeping her still as he stepped between her
thighs. “You’re all I could think about all day.”
Clasping her bottom, he slid her to
the edge of the counter. With his lips claiming her mouth, he unbuttoned her
slacks, than lifted her slightly to push them down and off.
The cold surface only made her more
aware of his scorching heat. His rough denim pants scraped her inner thighs in
contrast with the silky hair under her palms. Her pulse leaped, and she gasped.
His male scent mixed with hints of the wild forest filled her nostrils. When
his fingertip explored the heated moisture gathering at her juncture, she
tightened her thighs around his hips.