Category Archives: Open Book Blog Hop

Failure As a Motivational Tool

Open Book BH 3

This week we’re talking about failing at the goals we’ve set for ourselves. It happens to everyone at least once in their writing career, moreso if you’re trying to balance family, a day job, and writing. It’s not the easiest thing to do – especially if you have young children who can’t entertain themselves – and at some point you find yourself with your head in your hands wondering how you managed to get there.

Setting goals for yourself is a great thing for those of us with super hectic schedules. I’ve heard many people say that it’s a good thing to schedule some time in your day to write and even read one person say you should commit to being creative during your scheduled time. The problem is, your brain doesn’t always cooperate.

You can’t schedule creativity. You can find time to write but if the creative juices aren’t flowing there’s a good chance you’re going to have to cut everything you just wrote when you edit it.

So what do you do when you fail at a goal you’ve set? I accept the fact that I didn’t get where I wanted or what I expected, then use it as a lesson. What worked? What didn’t? Was there a reason I didn’t make my goal, and if so can it be worked around next time? By asking myself these questions I not only learn a lot about my writing process, I also learn about myself and get that much closer to achieving my goal next time.

How do my fellow writers deal with failure? Check out their posts on the blog hop!
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.



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Tape Flags and Highlighters

Open Book BH 3Today on the Blog Hop we are talking about our favorite office supplies!

I have to say, I absolutely LOVE office supplies. I have always loved roaming the aisles at Staples or Office Depot, checking out the latest pens (I prefer fine or extra-fine point), and buying way too many Post-It notes and highlighters, all of which I use when I’m doing my first round of edits.

My favorite office need by far, though, is the humble tape flag. I use them as a quick way to mark a page that needs a change, and I prefer the ones from Post-It because they’re like tiny horizontal Post-It notes and I can scribble a quick note on them if I need to. I can also put some on the top and some on the sides if I need to remind myself where I was at during the last editing session. They come in all sorts of colors (I prefer the neon-colored ones) and they’re surprisingly cheap.

Once I decided I was going to try and make my own tape flags out of Post-Its, but it ended badly and I ended up walking to the drugstore to buy some of the real deal instead. Ditto for the ones made like tape, which are hard to write on. I always come back to the Post-It ones and try to keep a pack of them handy whenever I have to do some editing.

Another thing I love are Sharpie highlighters. They’re liquid highlighters which seem to go on smoother and last longer than regular ones, and despite being liquid they don’t smear ink as badly. When I go through the manuscript for the first time I do it on a hard copy, so highlighting and tape flags are immensely important to me. This is a very timely post, as I will be starting edits tomorrow on Turn the Page and need to make sure I have all this stuff!

What are my fellow authors loving these days? Check out their posts on the Blog Hop and see!

 
Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use ?#?OpenBook? when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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The Worst Day

Open Book BH 3

This week on the blog hop, we’re talking about a topic that affects almost every writer at some point – a time when we considered giving up writing.

I wrote The Detective’s Brother in 2011 and spent several years trying to get it published through every possible avenue, but even though I got a little bit of interest from agents I was ultimately rejected.

Every time I got a rejection letter I felt like I was personally being rejected. No matter how many times I reminded myself that every writer gets rejected and that JK Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers before she found one that would publish Harry Potter, I felt my resolve that I would ever publish slipping.

Then one day I just woke up and couldn’t write. Everyone has an off day so I just sat around watching movies and crocheting, deciding that I would try again the next day. But the same thing happened over and over until I couldn’t put more than a paragraph on the page without worrying about its quality.

Rather than trying to ignore my inner editor as they tell us during NaNoWriMo, I overanalyzed every word in an attempt to understand why no one wanted to take a chance on my writing. I got so caught up in trying to craft the perfect sentence that someone might love that I wasn’t enjoying writing, and eventually I just stopped.

After a few months of attempting to write this way, I gave up. I decided I was just going to stop writing because obviously it wasn’t good enough for anyone, so I put away my computer and sank into a deep depression. Every day that I wasn’t writing felt like an eternity but I couldn’t look at a blank screen any longer.

Then my husband suggested that I write something completely outlandish just for fun. When I was in college and high school, I used to write fan fiction (if you don’t know what that is, it’s when you write fiction using the characters and stories from something established like Harry Potter or Doctor Who). I decided I was going to write something like that again just for fun, and once again I found joy in writing.

I got used to writing every day again and before I knew it I was getting ideas again and writing outlines for stories of my own. I started rewriting Detective’s Brother and submitted it to small presses. You know the story from there!

Since then I have never had a day like the one where I decided to stop writing, and it’s been a relief. Now I can’t imagine making that decision again.

 

Acceptance Day

Open Book BH 3

This week on the blog hop, we’re talking about a personal experience. With the release of my book coming up in just a couple of weeks, I thought I’d tell you about how I felt on the day I found out The Detective’s Brother was accepted for publication.

My car decided to break down at the most inopportune moment; when we were scheduled to go down to San Antonio for an important meeting. My husband tried to close the back door and found to both our horror that he couldn’t get it to close. I knew from a letter I’d received from the Ford dealership that there was a recall on the door part so I called up the nearest dealership and made an appointment to have it taken care of. Or at least I thought it was the nearest dealership.

As it turned out, I had actually called a dealership about an hour and a half away from my house. By the time I realized my mistake it was too late to make another appointment in the amount of time we had the rental car, so we went out there and turned the car over.

We were pretty hungry by that time so we decided to go to Cracker Barrel, and it was while I was sitting and looking at my green beans that I got a notification in my email. I saw that it was from Booktrope, who I had submitted my manuscript to about two and a half months earlier. I held my breath as I opened it, afraid it was going to be yet another rejection letter. Instead, I saw that it said that they wanted to publish The Detective’s Brother and called it an outstanding story.

I was incredibly happy in spite of being sick to my stomach and stressed about my car. I grabbed my husband’s hands and started babbling about how happy I was, and we bought cobbler to celebrate.

Detective's Brother

It’s been an incredible journey to publication for The Detective’s Brother and I’m excited to see where it takes me next!

Want to see what my fellow authors are chatting about? Check out the other blogs on the hop!

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use ?#?OpenBook? when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

Behind the Scenes

Open Book BH 2

After a couple of weeks of hiatus, I’m back on the blog hop!

This week on the Blog Hop, we’re pulling back the curtain and giving our readers a glimpse behind the scenes of our writing.

I don’t talk about it much but I work a full time job in the medical field, which means I’m on my feet 10-12 hours a day with no time to think about anything besides vital signs and drug dosages, and I come home tired and wanting to doze off on the couch.

As a result, I do a lot of my writing in short bursts just before bed. I won a Kindle Fire in a raffle and gave it to my husband, so he usually sits with me and catches up on his reading or sometimes plays video games so that we’re spending time together even if my head is back in 1885. I also get some tidbits written over my lunch hour, though they’re usually more disjointed scenes that I put together later when I have more time.

My favorite place to write is on the couch with my feet up while a horror movie of questionable quality plays in the background. I get more writing done that way on my days off, and I’ve actually amassed quite a collection of horror movies that I’ve seen so many times I could recite the script. If it’s too quiet I invariably end up getting stuck on things that I would have flown past.

When I was in college writing fan fiction (also of questionable quality), I did my best work in the University Center with Tri-Sigmas talking about their sorority drama or professors complaining about their office hours. I couldn’t get anything done in the library, so my laptop was my best friend back in the days when a laptop weighed ten pounds. I still carry my writing computer with me everywhere just in case I get a stroke of inspiration when I’m in the cafe waiting for my husband to get off work.

Speaking of my writing computer, it’s a cute little blue number with only the most basic software needed for writing. I don’t use it for music or movies, just work, which limits the distractions I face when I’m trying to write. The two programs I use almost exclusively are Word and Scrivener, switching back and forth between them as I go, and Scrivener keeps me moving forward along my outline but also gives me the flexibility to add scenes and info whenever my characters decide to do something completely out of left field.

When I get an idea for a story, it’s usually not more than a single line or two, and the first thing I do is fire up Scrivener and start making notecards. I start filling in the blanks later but once things start falling into place it happens quickly. One thing that isn’t hard and fast for me is chapters. Sometimes I’ll feel like a chapter needs to be added or switched around, and Scrivener lets me do that easily. Almost too easily sometimes. And once I start doing research, it’s all over for me. I’m neck deep in a new story and I won’t see daylight for a couple of months.

Want to know how some of my other author friends do their work? Check out some other stops on the blog hop!

Author Interview: Traci Wooden-Carlisle

Open Book BH 2

Today as part of the Open Book Blog Hop I am interviewing Traci Wooden-Carlisle, a writer of Christian fiction and all around nice person. She has a new book coming out in 2016, so get to know her now. Enjoy!

1) What are you working on now?

I recently began working for myself. I was sure it would give me more time to work on the list of books I intend to release this year, but I am still trying to restructure my time so I can finish my current work which is the “My Garment of Praise”, the 3rd book in my Christian fiction Series, Promises to Zion.

2) What inspires your work the most?

My relationship with God is my greatest inspiration for my books. I found myself in a really dark place as a teenager. It took almost a decade of me trying to deal with my circumstances myself before I was compelled to seek a relationship with God which led me to a love affair with myself.

My love for young women who just need a little guidance is my next inspiration. Though my books are Christian fiction, the life situations could belong to anyone. My books are meant to provoke thought and entertain.

3) What is your favorite genre to read?

I love romance and almost all its sub-genres. I really like alpha males so I usually gravitate towards military/suspense romance and shifter type paranormal romance. (Shrugs) I love a good romance, but a story that keeps going even after the hero and heroine get together.

4) Do you have a day job and do you love it or hate it?

I had a job I would go to from 9 a.m. to 5:30. There were parts that I adored, but there were definitely parts I wanted to sweep under a rug (like the paperwork). Now my day usually begins at 7 a.m. and ends somewhere around 10:30 p.m., but the stress factor is a great deal lower. I am as happy as a lark. I am now a freelance graphic artist, author and jewelry maker and seller. I am just a little busier, but I have an immeasurable sense of peace. I think I will live longer too.

5) How did the cover of your latest book come to be?

I have four main characters and as soon as I knew who was being spotlighted I started looking for pictures. I like sunset and natural backgrounds so I just had to find one that worked with the model. The character I chose to place on the cover is very bold and aggressive so I had her look straight out at the reader.

6) What have you learned from having an editor, if you have one?

I was originally afraid an editor that didn’t work with my genre would try and change my voice or misconstrue some of the messages being conveyed. Now I wish I had an editor that could have talked me into using a little less Christian terms and more general words that would convey the same thing so that a larger population could understand the culture of the church in my books.

7) Your favorite kind of music?

I have an eclectic taste in music. I love everything from gospel to classic rock to smooth jazz. It depends on whether I want to dance hard, relax and let the rhythm sway me side to side or encourage my soul. I am a lover of Fleetwood Mac, everything Prince, Dave Koz, Nora Jones, Mariea Antoinette Hackley, Fred Hammond and Israel Houghton, just to skim the surface.

If I had to pick from those it would be any music I could shout/sing to in my car (with the window up, of course.)

Thank you for those great answers, Traci! If you want to find out more about her and her work, here are some links to her sites:

Website: www.tawcarlisle.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/traciwoodencarlisle
Blue HonorBefore you head off to learn more about the other authors in our little group, check out K. Williams’ book Blue Honor. I can’t wait to read it myself!

Get to know some of the other authors in the Blog Hop here!
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The Detective’s Brother Backstory

Open Book BH 2

This week on the blog hop we are talking about the backstory of our novel, which is quite timely now that I’m getting close to publication!

The Detective’s Brother isn’t actually the first Western romance I wrote, it was one called Framed that I wrote on a whim. I’ve always written stories that had some romantic elements to them and decided I would give a real romance a try. I had a lot of fun writing it but I was two chapters from the end when I had the idea for Detective’s Brother and started writing it instead.

I decided on Quinn and Simon’s characters by creating a headstrong, smart girl who knows exactly what she wants and will do whatever it takes to get it, then going with a damaged and brooding man who would test her dedication every chance he got. Not exactly your fairytale couple, but one that was incredibly fun to write.

The main idea of the story itself was easy to write; I loved my characters and let them do whatever they wanted, even if that led me down paths that I hadn’t planned on, and the story and world expanded from there. I’ve always enjoyed the whole “dark secret” aspect of romance novels and writing about one was just as enjoyable as reading and figuring out one.

Writing historical fiction was a lot more challenging than I expected, because while I adore history and always enjoyed reading about my hometown’s beginnings as a teenager, things like detectives and what men wore under their clothes weren’t exactly in my history books. Thanks to a lot of internet searches and some thick books from the heritage section at the library, I managed to get a grasp on what Fort Worth was like in 1885 and now I can’t imagine setting my stories anywhere else.

Have you written a book too? Tell us the backstory of your novel and join the blog hop! If you have a Twitter handle, leave me a comment and I’ll tweet your book into my timeline as well!

Before you go, check out Lela Markham’s book Life As We Knew It!

Life As We Knew ItChaos changes everything!

Shane Delaney, a burned-out mercenary with a troubled past, returns home to small-town Kansas to heal his scars and quiet his demons, not planning to stay long enough for the townsfolk to reject who he has become.
He never expected the town to need his deadlier skills.

When a terrorist attack on distant cities abruptly transforms life as they knew it, the people of Emmaus must forge their own disaster plan to survive.

What would you do if the world as you know it ended today?

The people of Emmaus will find out.

 

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use ?#?OpenBook? when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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