Monday, June 25, 2018

I'm Officially an Indie Author!



Well, I have taken that first nerve-wracking, breathless step and become an indie author with my first self-published work. The best news for you? It's FREE! You can now download FINDING HOME through Smashwords, and soon, other outlets. Keep checking back as I add them to the book's page.

FINDING HOME is the story of Cecilia Marsh, who has come home after many years to the little town of Langley Mills, Wisconsin. There, she discovers the town hasn't forgotten her ... and it turns out, she hasn't forgotten it, either.

This story is close to my heart, as it is one of the first works I ever submitted to a writing contest, and it went on to win the 2008 Rebecca Eddy Memorial Writing Contest. I was so proud and honored to win this award, which celebrates a young woman to whom the written word was very special. I hope she'd be pleased at how the story turned out. I know I am, and I hope you will enjoy it, too.

Click here to get FINDING HOME for free!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads, uncles, stepdads, and father figures! I hope you have a fun, peaceful day doing what you love with the people you love. We spent yesterday with some old friends pitching horseshoes, and today, a family friend has put together a bowling party for all the dads in our circle. This evening, it's dinner with my stepdad. It's going to be a fun afternoon! Enjoy!

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Learning from the Experts: Susan Gable and Holly Jacobs

A good writing workshop is informative.  A great workshop is informative and timely. Bestselling authors Susan Gable and Holly Jacobs presented the members of CNY Romance Writers today with a truly great workshop, covering not only how to infuse our writing with emotion, but a special presentation just for marketing and promotion.


The first portion of the workshop dealt with adding emotional resonance to characters, touching on the importance of delivering on our promises to the reader, whether it be solving a crime by the end of a mystery, or the happy ending that is a given for all true romance novels. Holly and Susan moved on to how to work with writing a series, including using a master character sheet or "book bible" which outlines all of a book's characters, plot points, and important details. This helps a writer keep everything in order when working on another book in the series.

Finally, they offered a detailed explanation of how to best market and promote our books in today's changing climate. Traditional publishers are no longer the only game in town. In fact, romance authors are leading the charge in indie publishing. We have more options than ever before, and it doesn't stop there. Holly and Susan gave us many possibilities, explaining that while there are multiple avenues, it isn't a "one size fits all" world out there. Use what's comfortable for us, they said. Facebook, Amazon, and BookBub are currently the big players, but new options are emerging all the time. I came home from this portion of the workshop with a few new tricks up my sleeve, and a better handle on the best marketing route for my writing career. I hope to be able to put this knowledge to work soon! If you get a chance to attend a workshop presented by these terrific speakers, I highly recommend taking it.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Parenthood


I've been a parent for a number of years now, and it's a bit like juggling the space-time continuum.

Moms, I'm sure you get this.

I know it's 2018, and that my son is getting so tall he can just about look me in the eye. But sometimes I can't help looking at him and seeing that little baby we brought home from the hospital, with those ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes. I remember how his hair smelled and how soft it was. I remember sitting on the couch with him and grinning at him, and my delight when, at three weeks of age, he grinned back. I can also look at him and see that toddler we brought to his first Renaissance Faire in his little kilt. And then when he got big enough to tote around a wooden sword at the Faire. This kid looks So Cool in a kilt. *grin*

And then, once in a while, I look at him and I can see what he's going to be like at 15, or 20, or even 30. That happens a lot more now that he's catching up to me in height.

Is it like this for every parent? I can't say. Do you forget what day it is? Do the weeks go by in a blur until you realize, holy cow, it's spring again? Are you buying shoes and pants because your kid's growing out of them the week after you got him a new pair?

Then yep. You're right there with me.

I love my son at every age. The more he changes, the more I miss that little guy. And then, the more he changes, the more I love seeing the new things he can do. I am with him every step of the way, and at the same time, I am right there with him again when he's a toddler taking his first steps, or in some slightly hazier future where I watch him graduate high school and head for his dreams. It's bittersweet, and still the best feeling I've ever had.

It amazes me every day that my husband and I made this person, this incredibly smart, kindhearted person. Part of me wants to hold onto him forever, but the other part is simultaneously looking forward with excitement to the day he jumps out of the nest and flies. He's a constant gift.

Moms, I'm sure you get that, too.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The End! (Swing, beta, beta, beta...)



I have finally finished the first round of edits for my New Adult book, and I'm happy to say it's pretty clean. Now, I have to begin the arduous process of getting beta readers and critique partners to go through it and poke holes. *grin*

The importance of a fresh set of eyes on your book can't be understated. It's great to have someone come to your manuscript with no preconceived ideas, because they may see something you've missed over many passes. You generally want beta readers and critique partners. Beta readers are voracious readers. They can go through your MS looking for that "wow" factor, and they aren't shy about telling you when they find it. Critique partners are also writers, and they can help you with the nuts and bolts of good writing. If you can find a one of two of each, you will find yourself with a well-rounded manuscript.

That's what I'm hoping for with this book. Since it's a fresh genre for me, it's almost like starting over. Wish me luck, because the fun's just starting!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Writing Life



Feeling grateful today.

It occurs to me now and then how much richer my life has become since I started writing seriously. I have met amazing people, been to spectacular places, and learned some awesome things. Many writers say they write because (in varying terms) they are trying to better understand themselves and the world around them. I have learned that I can be strong, even if I never have to be. I can be stubborn (and usually am). I can show people a beautiful world where people heal each other instead of hurt. Most of all, I have found my tribe, an ever-growing, some close and some far, quirky, serious, shy, boisterous, always fascinating group of kindred spirits who live by the written word because that's where their hearts are.

I want to thank each of you who has come into my life because of this crazy writing life, whether you are like me, chasing the dream, or you read voraciously and happened to pick up one of my books. My writing family is amazing. Stick with me, because the best is, as always, yet to come.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Tax Time



It's that lovely time of year again, when writers get hives and start biting their nails. Yep, it is a deadline, but no, it doesn't involve your prose. It's tax time.

I used to get anxiety about it, too, but it really isn't that hard, with a little organization and some math skills (and a good tax guy to make sure you have all your math right).

Some Basic Organization Tips

At the beginning of each year, I start a file with the year labeled on it. Inside the file, I have dividers marked House, Writing, Medical, Donations, etc. I put all the year's applicable receipts in it, sorted by where it falls. All writing receipts, including those for book purchases (my own and others'), office equipment and supplies, income, 1099s from my publisher, writing-related postage, and domain fees, go in my Writing section. If you keep a folder in your emails pertaining to these incomes and expenses, it helps you sort and print applicable receipts at year's end. This includes mileage driven for the purposes of your writing, such as trips to your writers' conferences and meetings. (The IRS publishes the current mileage rate every year. You can Google it to get right to the page.)

If you itemize, you may also be able to write off a portion of your mortgage, homeowner's insurance, and utility bills. Be sure to save year-end totals for these expenses so that you can calculate your home office's portion of these bills.

Be sure your deductions are sensible, logical, and related to your writing, with receipts showing proof of expense. Your pleasant vacation to Hawaii, while it may become good book fodder, is probably not a business expense. Your trip to the national RWA writer's conference, however, is a verifiable business expense, because you're going there specifically to learn about your craft.

Keep a spreadsheet where you can enter the data from your receipts, and you will be able to track your income and losses each year. If you like the quick answers, like me, you will be able to see at a glance whether your year's effort is paying off, and make adjustments the following year accordingly.

Disclaimer

I am not a tax professional, merely an author who has been doing this for a while. Don't take my words as gospel on the subject, just a rough guide. Seek a professional's advice for what is allowed in your state when it comes to navigating the tax season. Good luck!

2018 "Earth Day Giveaway!"

My 2018 “Earth Day Giveaway” Contest is here!

** Permission To Forward Granted **



It’s April, and that means it’s time once again for the “Earth Day Giveaway” contest!  All month long, you can enter to win one PDF eBook or audiobook of your choice of any of my currently released paranormal, paranormal lite, or contemporary romance books (EARTH, WATER, AIR, FIRE, THE SERPENT IN THE STONE, FLASHPOINT, or HEAVY NETTING)! Not sure which to choose?  For details on each book, click here. Enter for a chance to win by clicking this link:

Nicki Greenwood’s 2018 Earth Day Giveaway!

Contest ends at 5:00 PM EST on April 30th.  The winner will be announced that evening on my blog. Good luck, and Happy Earth Day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The End!


I'm happy to say I finally finished the first draft of my New Adult novel, which I'd been writing, off and on, for several years. This book is one of my favorites so far, and is a departure from the romance novels I usually write ... but I couldn't ignore it, no matter how I tried.  (And for you writers out there, those are the books you want to finish!)

It's still in drafting stages, but I hope to share some tidbits with you once I have it a little more settled. Until then, happy reading!

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Reviews and Gratitude


One of the hardest things an author will do - besides write a book - is try to get an audience. These days, with the glut of available books on sale, low-priced, box-set, or free, it's insanely difficult to get noticed. Readers have to sift through many possibilities, some with great covers and not-so-great editing, some with superb stories and covers that don't hint enough at the treasure within. As readers, it's hard enough to choose which book to read, let alone set aside time out of our busy days to devote to that pleasure.

So, it's with heaping amounts of gratitude that I'd like to turn my attention to my readers. Those of you who have set aside some of your hard-earned time and money to take a trip through one of my books, please know that you are the reason I keep doing this. You are why I keep going back to my keyboard to spin these stories. I am grateful to each and every one of you who have taken the time to share this writing journey with me. I am also more grateful than words can say to those of you who have taken time to write reviews or mark my books "liked" on Amazon or Goodreads. I don't currently have a newsletter, and I'm not out there hustling my books as much as I could be, so the fact that you found me, read my work, and thought enough of it to share that enjoyment with others, is better than any writing award I could ever win.

Thank you, so very much. I hope you'll stick with me, because the best is yet to come.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's a romance writer's favorite time of year! Happy Valentine's Day to one and all. Whether you're going out with your honey or staying home with a book or movie, I hope you have a terrific day full of all the sweet things. Cheers!

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Good Habits and the Voices in Your Head

 The Slow Start

I have begun my year as I do most years, with the intent of writing at least one page per day in my current work in progress.  I was sidetracked for about a week when everything at home went sideways because of a basement flood (which we and our more expensive things survived), but overall I have managed to maintain my goal.  I had taken a long break after finishing FIRE because I was burnt out, and I needed to recharge or, as we writers put it, "refill the well."  It took a lot of refilling, more than a year of writing listlessly and not regularly.  Like a muscle too taxed with overwork, my "writing brain" was worn out and in need of a rest.  No amount of pretty stationery or writing goodies could coerce me to get words out.

Then, 2018 rolled over.  I knew it was time to get back on the proverbial horse.

I won't lie.  At first, it sucked.  Writing one paragraph was an effort.  I tend to edit as I go, so that what I put on the page is as clean as I can get it in my head before I type it out.  I have never been able to shut off that internal editor.  My personal best is only thirteen pages or so in one day.  I have learned that in about half an hour I can get out one page of "pretty good" work.  (That's one page, formatted, for those of you who wonder, about 250 words, and "pretty good" means it's mostly clean work that has already had its first pass of edits.)  Some days it's less effort than others, but if I have managed that much for a day, I call it a win.

You First

Over time, this PITA page a day that (to me) was just crummy writing started to become better writing again.  It became less work.  Any writer will tell you, we live with hundreds and maybe thousands of imaginary people in our heads, who have conversations and interactions with one another.  Many of these imagined scenes become fodder for our books, and nothing is more frustrating than when your imaginary people stop talking.  That's what happened to me for more than a year.  NONE of my characters would talk on their own.  I had to make up stuff I thought they might say and do, rather than have that lightning strike of inspiration appear in my head without provocation.  And I really, REALLY missed that lightning strike, because it's the joy that keeps every writer going in the hope that it happens again.

Then something funny happened.  My characters seemed to start trusting me again, as if *I* had abandoned them and they were sulking somewhere in my head.  After a couple of weeks of daily at-the-keyboard effort on my part, they started talking to me spontaneously, instead of me dragging the dialogue and actions out of them.  In fact, the main character essentially told me, "Look, I see you've painted yourself into a corner with this plot thread, so I'm gonna help you fix it.  Here's how," and the scene rewrote itself in my head.

Hallelujah.  Lightning strike.  I was so happy to have that happen for the first time in many, many months. You can call it pre-writing, or plotting, or whatever you like, but for me, the best work happens when my characters are "talking" to me.  They were just waiting for me to do some work first.

Staying on Track

No one can tell you how to do your best writing.  Whether you're a plotter or pantser, storyboarder or Scrivener fan, you know how best to get those words out of yourself.  The common thread is to make what works best for you a habit.  Then, it's not as much work; it's just something you do.  You can always go back and edit the words, as long as you have words to edit.  Just keep at it.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

The Power of Yes



It's often said that to be a "yes man" is a negative thing. This is a person who responds with an unqualified yes to everything you say, no matter how outlandish or incorrect (see sycophant). People say it's healthy to have a certain amount of argument and opposition.

It's true that blind agreement with an opinion is unwise. However, I feel that a certain amount of affirmation toward others is a good thing. In a world of divisiveness and negative press, it can mean a lot to have someone respond to you in a positive way. Don't get me wrong; I don't mean that you should agree with everything others say, but it's not a bad thing to seek and respond to the positive in another person's viewpoint (or at least acknowledge it if you can find common ground). Rather than respond with a knee-jerk need to point out the "wrong" in another person's statement, which promotes the feeling of social difference, try responding to comments where you might share some commonality.

This goes for more than those comments on social media, and more importantly, it affects how you see yourself. Telling yourself "yes" can have a wonderful effect on your self-image and overall mood. Learning to respond to life in the positive promotes a can-do attitude. You're not ignoring the difficulties. There are no rose-colored glasses. There is just an attitude of willingness to try, to see the possible benefits (not only in connection with others, but in your own abilities, when that "yes" is self-directed).

It's hard enough to get by these days when everyone is telling you no. Think how much you could do, and how much we could do together, if you start saying yes!

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year! I hope this year brings you happiness and good health. As always, I'm hoping to finish a book, but this year, it'll be different: I'm working on a college-age New Adult book rather than romance! This book's main character first "spoke" to me several years ago, at four o'clock in the morning, and refused to stop talking until I got up and began writing. Those are the kind of characters you want: the ones who tell you their story and all you need to do is take dictation! I'm very excited about this book, and I hope you will be, too. Keep an eye out, because I will let you know as soon as I have news about it!

Enjoy your 2018!

Monday, June 25, 2018

I'm Officially an Indie Author!

No comments:


Well, I have taken that first nerve-wracking, breathless step and become an indie author with my first self-published work. The best news for you? It's FREE! You can now download FINDING HOME through Smashwords, and soon, other outlets. Keep checking back as I add them to the book's page.

FINDING HOME is the story of Cecilia Marsh, who has come home after many years to the little town of Langley Mills, Wisconsin. There, she discovers the town hasn't forgotten her ... and it turns out, she hasn't forgotten it, either.

This story is close to my heart, as it is one of the first works I ever submitted to a writing contest, and it went on to win the 2008 Rebecca Eddy Memorial Writing Contest. I was so proud and honored to win this award, which celebrates a young woman to whom the written word was very special. I hope she'd be pleased at how the story turned out. I know I am, and I hope you will enjoy it, too.

Click here to get FINDING HOME for free!
Read More

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day!

No comments:
Happy Father's Day to all the dads, uncles, stepdads, and father figures! I hope you have a fun, peaceful day doing what you love with the people you love. We spent yesterday with some old friends pitching horseshoes, and today, a family friend has put together a bowling party for all the dads in our circle. This evening, it's dinner with my stepdad. It's going to be a fun afternoon! Enjoy!
Read More

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Learning from the Experts: Susan Gable and Holly Jacobs

No comments:
A good writing workshop is informative.  A great workshop is informative and timely. Bestselling authors Susan Gable and Holly Jacobs presented the members of CNY Romance Writers today with a truly great workshop, covering not only how to infuse our writing with emotion, but a special presentation just for marketing and promotion.


The first portion of the workshop dealt with adding emotional resonance to characters, touching on the importance of delivering on our promises to the reader, whether it be solving a crime by the end of a mystery, or the happy ending that is a given for all true romance novels. Holly and Susan moved on to how to work with writing a series, including using a master character sheet or "book bible" which outlines all of a book's characters, plot points, and important details. This helps a writer keep everything in order when working on another book in the series.

Finally, they offered a detailed explanation of how to best market and promote our books in today's changing climate. Traditional publishers are no longer the only game in town. In fact, romance authors are leading the charge in indie publishing. We have more options than ever before, and it doesn't stop there. Holly and Susan gave us many possibilities, explaining that while there are multiple avenues, it isn't a "one size fits all" world out there. Use what's comfortable for us, they said. Facebook, Amazon, and BookBub are currently the big players, but new options are emerging all the time. I came home from this portion of the workshop with a few new tricks up my sleeve, and a better handle on the best marketing route for my writing career. I hope to be able to put this knowledge to work soon! If you get a chance to attend a workshop presented by these terrific speakers, I highly recommend taking it.

Read More

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Parenthood

No comments:

I've been a parent for a number of years now, and it's a bit like juggling the space-time continuum.

Moms, I'm sure you get this.

I know it's 2018, and that my son is getting so tall he can just about look me in the eye. But sometimes I can't help looking at him and seeing that little baby we brought home from the hospital, with those ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes. I remember how his hair smelled and how soft it was. I remember sitting on the couch with him and grinning at him, and my delight when, at three weeks of age, he grinned back. I can also look at him and see that toddler we brought to his first Renaissance Faire in his little kilt. And then when he got big enough to tote around a wooden sword at the Faire. This kid looks So Cool in a kilt. *grin*

And then, once in a while, I look at him and I can see what he's going to be like at 15, or 20, or even 30. That happens a lot more now that he's catching up to me in height.

Is it like this for every parent? I can't say. Do you forget what day it is? Do the weeks go by in a blur until you realize, holy cow, it's spring again? Are you buying shoes and pants because your kid's growing out of them the week after you got him a new pair?

Then yep. You're right there with me.

I love my son at every age. The more he changes, the more I miss that little guy. And then, the more he changes, the more I love seeing the new things he can do. I am with him every step of the way, and at the same time, I am right there with him again when he's a toddler taking his first steps, or in some slightly hazier future where I watch him graduate high school and head for his dreams. It's bittersweet, and still the best feeling I've ever had.

It amazes me every day that my husband and I made this person, this incredibly smart, kindhearted person. Part of me wants to hold onto him forever, but the other part is simultaneously looking forward with excitement to the day he jumps out of the nest and flies. He's a constant gift.

Moms, I'm sure you get that, too.

Happy Mother's Day!
Read More

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The End! (Swing, beta, beta, beta...)

No comments:


I have finally finished the first round of edits for my New Adult book, and I'm happy to say it's pretty clean. Now, I have to begin the arduous process of getting beta readers and critique partners to go through it and poke holes. *grin*

The importance of a fresh set of eyes on your book can't be understated. It's great to have someone come to your manuscript with no preconceived ideas, because they may see something you've missed over many passes. You generally want beta readers and critique partners. Beta readers are voracious readers. They can go through your MS looking for that "wow" factor, and they aren't shy about telling you when they find it. Critique partners are also writers, and they can help you with the nuts and bolts of good writing. If you can find a one of two of each, you will find yourself with a well-rounded manuscript.

That's what I'm hoping for with this book. Since it's a fresh genre for me, it's almost like starting over. Wish me luck, because the fun's just starting!
Read More

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Writing Life

No comments:


Feeling grateful today.

It occurs to me now and then how much richer my life has become since I started writing seriously. I have met amazing people, been to spectacular places, and learned some awesome things. Many writers say they write because (in varying terms) they are trying to better understand themselves and the world around them. I have learned that I can be strong, even if I never have to be. I can be stubborn (and usually am). I can show people a beautiful world where people heal each other instead of hurt. Most of all, I have found my tribe, an ever-growing, some close and some far, quirky, serious, shy, boisterous, always fascinating group of kindred spirits who live by the written word because that's where their hearts are.

I want to thank each of you who has come into my life because of this crazy writing life, whether you are like me, chasing the dream, or you read voraciously and happened to pick up one of my books. My writing family is amazing. Stick with me, because the best is, as always, yet to come.
Read More

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Tax Time

No comments:


It's that lovely time of year again, when writers get hives and start biting their nails. Yep, it is a deadline, but no, it doesn't involve your prose. It's tax time.

I used to get anxiety about it, too, but it really isn't that hard, with a little organization and some math skills (and a good tax guy to make sure you have all your math right).

Some Basic Organization Tips

At the beginning of each year, I start a file with the year labeled on it. Inside the file, I have dividers marked House, Writing, Medical, Donations, etc. I put all the year's applicable receipts in it, sorted by where it falls. All writing receipts, including those for book purchases (my own and others'), office equipment and supplies, income, 1099s from my publisher, writing-related postage, and domain fees, go in my Writing section. If you keep a folder in your emails pertaining to these incomes and expenses, it helps you sort and print applicable receipts at year's end. This includes mileage driven for the purposes of your writing, such as trips to your writers' conferences and meetings. (The IRS publishes the current mileage rate every year. You can Google it to get right to the page.)

If you itemize, you may also be able to write off a portion of your mortgage, homeowner's insurance, and utility bills. Be sure to save year-end totals for these expenses so that you can calculate your home office's portion of these bills.

Be sure your deductions are sensible, logical, and related to your writing, with receipts showing proof of expense. Your pleasant vacation to Hawaii, while it may become good book fodder, is probably not a business expense. Your trip to the national RWA writer's conference, however, is a verifiable business expense, because you're going there specifically to learn about your craft.

Keep a spreadsheet where you can enter the data from your receipts, and you will be able to track your income and losses each year. If you like the quick answers, like me, you will be able to see at a glance whether your year's effort is paying off, and make adjustments the following year accordingly.

Disclaimer

I am not a tax professional, merely an author who has been doing this for a while. Don't take my words as gospel on the subject, just a rough guide. Seek a professional's advice for what is allowed in your state when it comes to navigating the tax season. Good luck!
Read More

2018 "Earth Day Giveaway!"

No comments:
My 2018 “Earth Day Giveaway” Contest is here!

** Permission To Forward Granted **



It’s April, and that means it’s time once again for the “Earth Day Giveaway” contest!  All month long, you can enter to win one PDF eBook or audiobook of your choice of any of my currently released paranormal, paranormal lite, or contemporary romance books (EARTH, WATER, AIR, FIRE, THE SERPENT IN THE STONE, FLASHPOINT, or HEAVY NETTING)! Not sure which to choose?  For details on each book, click here. Enter for a chance to win by clicking this link:

Nicki Greenwood’s 2018 Earth Day Giveaway!

Contest ends at 5:00 PM EST on April 30th.  The winner will be announced that evening on my blog. Good luck, and Happy Earth Day!
Read More

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The End!

No comments:

I'm happy to say I finally finished the first draft of my New Adult novel, which I'd been writing, off and on, for several years. This book is one of my favorites so far, and is a departure from the romance novels I usually write ... but I couldn't ignore it, no matter how I tried.  (And for you writers out there, those are the books you want to finish!)

It's still in drafting stages, but I hope to share some tidbits with you once I have it a little more settled. Until then, happy reading!
Read More

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Reviews and Gratitude

No comments:

One of the hardest things an author will do - besides write a book - is try to get an audience. These days, with the glut of available books on sale, low-priced, box-set, or free, it's insanely difficult to get noticed. Readers have to sift through many possibilities, some with great covers and not-so-great editing, some with superb stories and covers that don't hint enough at the treasure within. As readers, it's hard enough to choose which book to read, let alone set aside time out of our busy days to devote to that pleasure.

So, it's with heaping amounts of gratitude that I'd like to turn my attention to my readers. Those of you who have set aside some of your hard-earned time and money to take a trip through one of my books, please know that you are the reason I keep doing this. You are why I keep going back to my keyboard to spin these stories. I am grateful to each and every one of you who have taken the time to share this writing journey with me. I am also more grateful than words can say to those of you who have taken time to write reviews or mark my books "liked" on Amazon or Goodreads. I don't currently have a newsletter, and I'm not out there hustling my books as much as I could be, so the fact that you found me, read my work, and thought enough of it to share that enjoyment with others, is better than any writing award I could ever win.

Thank you, so very much. I hope you'll stick with me, because the best is yet to come.
Read More

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

No comments:
It's a romance writer's favorite time of year! Happy Valentine's Day to one and all. Whether you're going out with your honey or staying home with a book or movie, I hope you have a terrific day full of all the sweet things. Cheers!
Read More

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Good Habits and the Voices in Your Head

No comments:
 The Slow Start

I have begun my year as I do most years, with the intent of writing at least one page per day in my current work in progress.  I was sidetracked for about a week when everything at home went sideways because of a basement flood (which we and our more expensive things survived), but overall I have managed to maintain my goal.  I had taken a long break after finishing FIRE because I was burnt out, and I needed to recharge or, as we writers put it, "refill the well."  It took a lot of refilling, more than a year of writing listlessly and not regularly.  Like a muscle too taxed with overwork, my "writing brain" was worn out and in need of a rest.  No amount of pretty stationery or writing goodies could coerce me to get words out.

Then, 2018 rolled over.  I knew it was time to get back on the proverbial horse.

I won't lie.  At first, it sucked.  Writing one paragraph was an effort.  I tend to edit as I go, so that what I put on the page is as clean as I can get it in my head before I type it out.  I have never been able to shut off that internal editor.  My personal best is only thirteen pages or so in one day.  I have learned that in about half an hour I can get out one page of "pretty good" work.  (That's one page, formatted, for those of you who wonder, about 250 words, and "pretty good" means it's mostly clean work that has already had its first pass of edits.)  Some days it's less effort than others, but if I have managed that much for a day, I call it a win.

You First

Over time, this PITA page a day that (to me) was just crummy writing started to become better writing again.  It became less work.  Any writer will tell you, we live with hundreds and maybe thousands of imaginary people in our heads, who have conversations and interactions with one another.  Many of these imagined scenes become fodder for our books, and nothing is more frustrating than when your imaginary people stop talking.  That's what happened to me for more than a year.  NONE of my characters would talk on their own.  I had to make up stuff I thought they might say and do, rather than have that lightning strike of inspiration appear in my head without provocation.  And I really, REALLY missed that lightning strike, because it's the joy that keeps every writer going in the hope that it happens again.

Then something funny happened.  My characters seemed to start trusting me again, as if *I* had abandoned them and they were sulking somewhere in my head.  After a couple of weeks of daily at-the-keyboard effort on my part, they started talking to me spontaneously, instead of me dragging the dialogue and actions out of them.  In fact, the main character essentially told me, "Look, I see you've painted yourself into a corner with this plot thread, so I'm gonna help you fix it.  Here's how," and the scene rewrote itself in my head.

Hallelujah.  Lightning strike.  I was so happy to have that happen for the first time in many, many months. You can call it pre-writing, or plotting, or whatever you like, but for me, the best work happens when my characters are "talking" to me.  They were just waiting for me to do some work first.

Staying on Track

No one can tell you how to do your best writing.  Whether you're a plotter or pantser, storyboarder or Scrivener fan, you know how best to get those words out of yourself.  The common thread is to make what works best for you a habit.  Then, it's not as much work; it's just something you do.  You can always go back and edit the words, as long as you have words to edit.  Just keep at it.
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Sunday, January 07, 2018

The Power of Yes

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It's often said that to be a "yes man" is a negative thing. This is a person who responds with an unqualified yes to everything you say, no matter how outlandish or incorrect (see sycophant). People say it's healthy to have a certain amount of argument and opposition.

It's true that blind agreement with an opinion is unwise. However, I feel that a certain amount of affirmation toward others is a good thing. In a world of divisiveness and negative press, it can mean a lot to have someone respond to you in a positive way. Don't get me wrong; I don't mean that you should agree with everything others say, but it's not a bad thing to seek and respond to the positive in another person's viewpoint (or at least acknowledge it if you can find common ground). Rather than respond with a knee-jerk need to point out the "wrong" in another person's statement, which promotes the feeling of social difference, try responding to comments where you might share some commonality.

This goes for more than those comments on social media, and more importantly, it affects how you see yourself. Telling yourself "yes" can have a wonderful effect on your self-image and overall mood. Learning to respond to life in the positive promotes a can-do attitude. You're not ignoring the difficulties. There are no rose-colored glasses. There is just an attitude of willingness to try, to see the possible benefits (not only in connection with others, but in your own abilities, when that "yes" is self-directed).

It's hard enough to get by these days when everyone is telling you no. Think how much you could do, and how much we could do together, if you start saying yes!
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Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year! I hope this year brings you happiness and good health. As always, I'm hoping to finish a book, but this year, it'll be different: I'm working on a college-age New Adult book rather than romance! This book's main character first "spoke" to me several years ago, at four o'clock in the morning, and refused to stop talking until I got up and began writing. Those are the kind of characters you want: the ones who tell you their story and all you need to do is take dictation! I'm very excited about this book, and I hope you will be, too. Keep an eye out, because I will let you know as soon as I have news about it!

Enjoy your 2018!
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