Tag Archives: writer

NaNoWriMo 2017!

I’m excited to announce that I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year!

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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.

 

A Release Day Walk Down Memory Lane

Detective's BrotherIt’s finally here! Today is the official release day for The Detective’s Brother and I wanted to celebrate by telling you about how it came to be. Some of you may have already heard all about it, in which case you can head over to my Facebook page and enter to win an autographed copy by checking out the pinned post.

To give you an idea of how important today is to me, you have to go all the way back to 2011 (previously I might have said 2009, but I went back to the original files and checked the date. It just feels like that long). I wrote it in about two months and adored my characters. I did my research, went through a couple of different settings, and was extremely cruel to Simon Creed. I edited it and sent it to beta readers, who enjoyed it a great deal, then in about 2012 I started querying agents. After a couple of false starts, I decided to try small presses.

By 2014 I was certain that my only option was self-publishing. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with self-publishing but I also have a full time day job, which leaves little time for marketing, designing, and learning the ins and outs of publishing, and definitely no time for writing. Then I was scooped up by a little startup in Canada called Sinnful Ebooks. We got a contract signed, a bonus paid, and a cover. Then they shut down abruptly, leaving Simon and Quinn stuck in literary limbo.

I submitted the story to Booktrope on a whim after seeing a couple of author friends talking about them and a few months later they accepted it! I was so happy about it that I had to keep checking my email to make sure it was true. Not gonna lie, there were times I thought that there must have been some mistake. After so many rejections, it was hard to believe that someone really wanted to publish it.

So today I’m looking at my name on a book cover that’s up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and thinking to myself wow, it’s real. Pretty soon I should have a box of paperback copies and I’ll offer them here for anyone who’d like an autographed copy. I’m nervous and excited, and I hope people read my story and at the very least are entertained for a few hours.

If you’re so inclined, stop by my Facebook party tonight and meet some awesome authors, win some prizes, and just generally make me feel like a princess on my release day! And if you’re not a Facebook person, you can still get your copy of The Detective’s Brother for $0.99 here:

Amazon.com – The Detective’s Brother

Barnes and Noble (Nook) – The Detective’s Brother

 

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!

Up Next: Proofreading!

I finished the outline for the pirate story and have been working on the character sheets, which goes back and forth between being one of my favorite things to do and one of my least favorite things to do. I’m kind of chomping at the bit to start writing the story but am doing my best to wait until the characters and research are finished so I don’t have to go back and do a rewrite.

Scrivener is, as always, an amazing asset. The ability to move scenes and chapters around if I think they’ll be better somewhere else is wonderful, and the fact that I can have all my research and character sheets in one place is even better. I’ve gotten pretty good at navigating around it with the keyboard too! If my editor and publishing process didn’t use MS Word, I’d use the compose mode but I don’t want to write an entire novella in Scrivener just to have to transfer it to Word later and possibly lose my formatting.

As far as editing this work in progress, I’ve decided I’m going to use my editor Carly again. She’s awesome and we really clicked during the editing of Detective’s Brother so I trust her with this one as well. It’s going to be published a little differently, though, so she’ll be able to get it finished quickly with her usual sharp eye.

Speaking of Detective’s Brother, now that the edits are finished and uploaded I can get it to the proofreader for the final read. Then it’s off to formatting and finally publishing it! It really has evolved since I wrote it and I’m very pleased with the finished story. I think I’ll be able to take what I’ve learned from Carly and rewrite Framed a lot more effectively.

The book cover concept has also been approved and as soon as we get that my designer will finish it up and get it sent off. It looks really nice and I can’t wait to see how it looks stacked up on a table at a book fair. I guess I’d better practice my fancy author’s signature!

A Very Uninteresting Holiday

Open Book BH 2

This week on the Open Book Blog Hop we’re talking about how we spend the holidays!

Because of my job (and my husband’s as well), we don’t really do much for the holidays. He’s not allowed to request time off in November or December, and my job requires a shift at work on holidays. No exceptions, everyone has to put in their shift and we’re all anxious to get out as soon as possible but we stay until the work is done so I never know just when I’m getting out.

Last year my husband was over on the East Coast, and his half of the family spent their time with their kids who were in the state so I pretty much kept to myself, went to work, and came home. My father is a certified workaholic and he has a key to his work’s shop, so we went to dinner and exchanged gifts but didn’t spend much time together.

This year – now that my husband is back in town – my mother in law is coming to take us to dinner and exchange gifts, and I’m sure at some point I’ll get in touch with my father for some of the same. We’ll see my father in law and stepmother too, but I’m not sure when. My work shifts vary so it’s hard to make very definite plans and honestly, after I come home I just want a shower and something to eat.

My husband and I celebrated in our own way last weekend. We went to the used book store and each picked out a few items, swapped them, and paid for each other. Not the most exciting of events and definitely not a surprise, but it makes us happy and we don’t feel pressured to find “the right gift.” I’m just happy to have him back this year so I can say “Happy Christmas” to him when we wake up on Christmas morning (my shift is in the evening)!

48 HoursBefore you check out the other blog posts, you should check out Stephany Tullis’ very appropriate 48 Hours ‘Til Christmas.

Christmas music, holiday food and festivities, and a few angelic hosts make this Christmas novel a holiday favorite; a beautiful story about the magic of Christmas, the strength of family and friends and the power of forgiveness.

Check it out on Amazon!

 

Want to share your holiday plans?
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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